LEGAL NEWS 12.01.2012

New Act has cops’ task cut out

Citizens can now claim their copies of FIR and missing reports of documents or mobiles on the same day, once the Karnataka Guarantee of Services to Citizens Act is effective. State police will have a lot on their plates as 13 services have been listed under the Act. The new Act has stipulated 20 days time for passport verification and seven days for visa extension NOC. Passport verification had been a long standing issue with public complaining of unnatural delay and police lamenting staff crunch.

From last year, May 16 the city police launched passport verifications clearing drive at police stations every Sunday. “The Station House Officer (SHO) at the police station will have to issue a copy of the FIR immediately after filing it, while a receipt of petition will be given within 30 minutes of submission. Similarly, police will henceforth get only 15 days to for a petition disposal,’’ a senior police official said.

Every designated officer or his subordinate public servant, SHOs and Circle Inspectors in the police services, will be liable to pay a compensation of Rs 20 per day for the period of delay, subject to a maximum of Rs 500 per application. The Act has also stipulated time for competent officers to complete their jobs and for appellate authority to act on a complaint of deficiency in service. The act specifies that an officer’s penalty can also be debited from his salary.

At the senior police officers meet, Principal Secretary for Home Department S.M. Jaamdar said, the Act will be an additional challenge for the department that already handles agencies like SHRC, NHRC and RTI. “Apart from these measures, Police Complaint Authority will also be soon established. The state government has already finalised on the judge who will head the authority.”

“If an officer fails to meet the stipulated time for a service he have to pay Rs 500 penalty, but the amount will get doubled on an appeal,’’ he said.







Election Commission stalls 4.5% sub-quota in poll states


TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 04.08AM IST

NEW DELHI: Even as quota for Muslims has led to sharp political divisions, Election Commission on Wednesday said 4.5% sub-quota for minorities within the 27% OBC quota announced by the central government on December 22 last year should be put on hold in the five poll-bound states till the election process gets over.

The poll panel, in its order, noted that the decision to give sub-quota was taken two days before the model code of conduct came into force. However, EC said the office memorandum issued by the department of personnel & training about the sub-quota decision would not be implemented in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.

EC had received petitions saying Centre’s decision to give 4.5% sub-quota for minorities be stopped.

On Tuesday, EC had issued notice to law minister Salman Khurshid for his announcement that 9% sub-quota would be carved for minorities within the OBC quota of 27% and it would benefit Muslims. EC said it was prima facie violation of model code of conduct. He had made the statement in Farrukhabad from where his wife Louise Fernandez is a candidate. Already, district authorities have issued notice to Louise. EC has asked Khurshid to send his reply by January 12.

EC’s order comes when the quota for “backward” Muslims, designed to help Congress attract members of the minority community, has already become a big wedge issue during the campaign, with the BJP alleging that it would hurt the interests of Hindu OBCs. The saffron outfit, whose hopes of bettering its performance rest on its outreach to OBCs, attacked the government, with Uma Bharti, a prominent OBC face of the party, saying that the quota was tantamount to country’s second partition.

The hardline is designed to lure OBCs away from the SP and BSP who are constrained not to criticize the quota for the fear of losing Muslims votes, while putting a spoke in Congress’s own plan to gather the support of MBCs.

BJP’s jibes have failed to deter Congress which is showcasing the quota as a huge initiative for Muslims. Khurshid on Monday disclosed that the party’s manifesto will pledge a 9% quota for “backward” Muslims. Soon, Rahul Gandhi, who leads Congress’s charge, challenged Mulayam Singh, rival contender for Muslim support, to match the quantum of quota. Muslims had turned their back on the Congress after the demolition of Babri Masjid.

Although the Congress’s smart performance in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections was facilitated by the return of sections of the community, there have lately been indications that the party may have failed to build upon the breakthrough. The leadership feels that quota will help the party make up for the failure, and seems to reckon that BJP’s criticism may actually help impress upon Muslims the significance of the party’s quota gesture.

Interestingly, there are indications that Samajwadi Party may pick up the gauntlet to overtake Congress in the race for Muslim support by promising a bigger quota for “backward” Muslims in its manifesto.

SP, which emerged as the firm favourite of Muslims because of Mulayam’s “muscular” secularism but lost chunks of Muslim vote during the Lok Sabha elections, seems to have succeeded in stemming the trend. It seems to be seeing the quota as the device to stay ahead of Congress.






SAT admits former Integrated Capital promoter’s appeal against SEBI order

Our Bureau

Mumbai, Jan. 11:

The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) allowed the appeal of Ms Indra Gulati and dismissed the appeal of Mr. O P Gulati against a SEBI adjudication order imposing a fine of Rs 1 lakh each on the couple for failure to disclose acquisition of shares of Integrated Capital Services under the takeover code.

The two erstwhile promoters of Integrated Capital Services acquired a 30 per cent stake from March 31, 1998, to March 31, 2004, and did not comply with the provisions of the takeover code, according to SEBI.

Counsel’s defense

The counsel for the appellants submitted that Ms Indra Gulati never acquired the shares and hence could not be held responsible for non-disclosure under the takeover code.

The counsel also submitted that the shares were acquired by Mr O P Gulati and it was for him to declare the same to the company and to the exchanges.

Hence SAT allowed Ms Indra Gulati’s appeal and dismissed Mr O P Gulati’s appeal. It ruled that the SEBI adjudicating officer was right in imposing the on Mr O P Gulati.

No undue loss

SAT observed that the two appellants had not caused any undue loss to investors.

It also added that a technical breach of regulation had occurred and neither the promoters nor the management took any undue gain or advantage.






CBI to widen probe to other tribunal benches


Rahul Tripathi : New Delhi, Thu Jan 12 2012, 03:19 hrs


Widening its probe into the alleged fixing of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) by an accounting firm, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is set to register a preliminary enquiry (PE) to examine allegations against other members of the tribunal. This comes after investigation showed alleged anomalies committed by various ITAT benches across the country. The agency recently filed a chargesheet naming accountant member of the ITAT Kolkata bench, Jugal Kishore, and five others including personnel of S K Tulsiyan & Co, a CA firm.

Sources said the PE will be registered based on the findings of the present case in which pre-dated judgments were found from the hard discs of the firm. “There is prima-facie evidence to suggest the involvement of other members of ITAT across various benches,” said a top CBI official.

The pre-dated judgments of the ITAT benches seized from the hard discs of the firm were mostly related to Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. S K Tulsiyan, who runs S K Tulsiyan and Co, also owns an office in Mumbai which is being run by his brother Sashi Tulsiyan and son Ravi Tulsiyan also named in the chargesheet.

As first reported by The Indian Express, the agency has also charged the six accused with destruction of evidence. The chargesheet alleged that Jugal Kishore demanded Rs 30 lakh as gratification.





Sexual harassment law may soon cover domestic workers

Himanshi Dhawan, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 05.45AM IST


NEW DELHI: Domestic workers could soon have the right to complain against sexual harassment. The women and child development ministry is likely to review its position and accept the recommendations of a parliamentary panel to include domestic workers within the ambit of the ‘Protection of women against sexual harassment at workplace bill’.

When asked if domestic workers will be brought within the ambit of the bill, WCD minister Krishna Tirath said, “We are in favour of inclusion of domestic workers in the sexual harassment bill.” The ministry is still working on details of how a place of residence will be monitored like an office or institution.

The bill provides for a secure working environment for women and mandates setting up of internal committees both in the formal and informal sectors to ensure that complaints are addressed.

The ministry’s change of stance comes after a parliamentary committee dismissed government’s view that there were “practical difficulties” in implementation of the law within the confines of a home.

Domestic workers comprise 30% of the female workforce in the unorganized sector. There are 47.50 lakh registered domestic workers in the country.

Incidentally, the National Commission for Women (NCW) – set up for protection of women’s rights which works under the ministry of women and child development – also shared the panel’s view. The commission said that reservations of enforcing the provisions of the bill within the privacy of the home were “unfounded” as the Domestic Violence Act had broken this myth allowing legal scrutiny and extending protection to the confines of the home.

The committee had received representations from several domestic workers associations including 5,000 postcards advocating “domestic work is work and domestic workers are workers” for inclusion.

The sexual harassment bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 7, 2010 and was referred to the standing committee on December 30, 2010. It submitted its report in the winter session last year.





16 UP officials get marching orders by Chief Electoral Officer


Published: Thursday, Jan 12, 2012, 9:45 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Agency: DNA

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday ordered the transfer of five District Magistrates (DMs), two Deputy Inspectors General (DIGs) of police and six district police chiefs.

Meanwhile, all statues of Mayawati and those of the elephants in Lucknow and Noida were covered by the Election Commission’s deadline of 5pm on Wednesday.

UP’s CEO Umesh Sinha informed reporters here that the transfers had been ordered after vetting several complaints about the officials received from several sources. He said that the Election Commission had satisfied itself about the veracity of the complaints before taking the action.

On the other hand, covers went up on about 400 statues in Lucknow and 60 in Noida in keeping with the EC instructions.

The EC had ordered the draping of these statues after widespread complaints that they would afford undue benefit to the ruling BSP in the UP Assembly election. Sources said it had cost about Rs1 crore to cover the statues in Lucknow and about Rs27 lakh in Noida.

UP BSP chief Swami Prasad Maurya has described the EC’s order as biased. “The EC is clearly functioning like a puppet in the hands of the Congress,” he told reporters in Kushi Nagar in east UP. “This order has put a question mark on the EC’s impartiality,” he said.

A PIL filed against the EC’s order to drape the statues was dismissed in the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday with liberty to file a fresh application.

BSP general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra has said that a weak writ was deliberately filed by the party’s opponents only to get it dismissed, thus getting the court’s stamp on the EC order.

He said the BSP had nothing to do with the writ. “We will take this issue to the people’s court in the elections,” he said.





Kochi Customs seeks installation of scanners at port gates

Our Bureau

In response to a writ petition, the Kochi Customs has submitted an affidavit before the Kerala High Court seeking a directive to be issued to Kochi Port and India Gateway Terminal to provide adequate space and infrastructure for installation of container scanners and Indian Customs Electronic Data Interchange System .

The Customs also sought the help of the Court to demarcate a non-processing area at Vallarpadam ICTT for discharging their statutory functions.

The Assistant Commissioner (Legal), Mr Jacob Cherian, said the Customs department had no control over the main exit and entry gates at the ICTT.

The Customs’ role, he said, was restricted to verification of the seals of imported/exported containers at an inner gate.

The issue had been taken up with higher ups and the Development Commissioner, SEZ.

The Customs had also taken up the issue of installation of container scanners with the Directorate of Logistics, New Delhi.

Export containers stuffed at the container freight stations/Kochi Port/warehouses etc. were permitted entry into the ICTT after verification of the seals of the containers. The imported containers were also moved to the freight stations/warehouses after examining their seals.

The existing procedure did not ensure 100 per cent examination of the cargo and only selected containers were now subject to checks in the terminal, the affidavit said.





Popular Front of India withdraws case filed in Bench

Staff Reporter

Judge refuses to give permission for public meeting on January 26

Popular Front of India (PFI) on Tuesday withdrew its writ petition filed before the Madras High Court Bench here against an order passed by the Tirunelveli City Police rejecting permission for conducting a Freedom Parade-cum-Public Meeting at Melapalayam on January 26.

The PFI’s counsel S.M.A. Jinnah preferred to withdraw the case after Justice K.K. Sasidharan said that he was inclined to pass orders directing the police to grant permission for the public meeting on any date except the Republic Day when police would be engaged in other events. However, the counsel pointed out that PFI’s National Executive Council which met at Calicut on January 8 and 9 had decided not to hold the public meeting on any other day as it would not serve the purpose of honouring the freedom fighters and inculcating patriotic fervour among the people.

Earlier, filing a counter affidavit to the writ petition, the Tirunelveli Police Commissioner Karunasagar, said that permission was rejected for the event only after careful examination of factors such as security, public peace, safety and law and order implications.

On dress code

Claiming that the route requested by PFI for the parade was densely populated by various communities, he stated that the dress code and drill prescribed by the petitioner organisation for the participants resembled that of “army and police formation.”

The Commissioner also stated that the proposed parade, if permitted, would lead to communal clashes as per intelligence reports. Further, such parades conducted by PFI regularly to highlight the sacrifices of Muslim freedom fighters had been banned in Kerala and Karnataka.

“In Kerala, following the attack on Professor T.J. Joseph on July 4, 2010, the Kerala police unearthed incriminating anti-national and anti-social materials such as CDs showing inhuman punishment practice adopted by Al-Qaeda and Taliban aimed to train PFI activists to commit similar crimes,” he said.

Mr. Karunasagar went on to state that PFI was portraying itself as an army of the Muslims and it had an agenda of establishing ‘Darul Islam’ (the land of Islam). In such circumstances, permitting it to conduct a parade-cum-public meeting would provoke Hindu organisations to conduct similar programmes.

Taking strong exception to the allegations levelled against PFI, its Tirunelveli district president M. Anwar Mohideen filed a rejoinder urging the court to direct the Police Commissioner to withdraw the allegations. He alleged that the Commissioner was indulging in mud slinging to defame the organisation.

According to him, the Kerala government had filed a counter affidavit before its High court on September 6, 2010 stating that there was no evidence regarding alleged connection of PFI with terrorist organisations such as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Al-Qaeda.

He claimed that PFI had been honouring freedom fighters without religious discrimination and eminent personalities such as Mayandi Bharathi and Vaithiyalingam were honoured during a similar parade-cum-public meeting conducted in Madurai in 2008.






2G Trial Court serves summons on Khaitans

Published on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 17:52 |  Source : CNBC-TV18

Updated at Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 18:40

The 2G Trial Court has once again issued summons to the accused in Loop Telecom license matter, reports CNBC-TV18′s Malvika Jain.

Justice OP Saini had first issued summons on the 21st of December as per Section 63 and 64 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Summons were issued after taking cognisance of CBI’s second supplementary chargesheet in the 2G Scam which names five individuals – Ravikant Ruia, promoter, Essar Group; Anshuman Ruia, promoter, Essar Group; Kiran Khaitan, promoter, Loop Mobile Holding; IP Khiatan, promoter, Khaitan Group; Vikas Saraf, director M&A, Essar Group  and three companies – Essar Teleholdings, Loop Telecom & Loop Mobile.

Out of this, four individuals accused Ravikant and Anshuman Ruia and Mr and Mrs IP Khaitan are non resident Indians. Neither these four accused nor their male representatives were present to receive summons on their behalf. As a procedure of law summons have now been pasted outside certain premises and are deemed to have been served. The trial in this matter will begin on the 27th of January.

CBI sources suggest that summons have been sent to addresses available as per Government records as these four persons are Indian passport holders. Nonetheless, some accused believe that summons should have been sent to the current residential addresses of the Ruias and the Khaitans.

In an official statement, Loop Telecom said that any suggestions that its promoters, the Khaitans, are avoiding summons are completely incorrect. The statement added that summons is required to be served at the residence of the accused. A spokesperson for the Essar Group said that Ravi Ruia and his son Anshuman, who are also non residents, have not yet received the summons.





Supreme Court sentences Alistair Pereira to three years in prison

A Vaidyanathan and Rashmi Rajput, Updated: January 12, 2012 20:51 IST

New Delhi:  Alistair Anthony Pereira will have to go to jail for three years. The Supreme Court has cancelled his bail and agreed with the Bombay High Court, which had found Mr Pereira guilty of running seven people over while he was drunk in Mumbai.

The Supreme Court said, “It is high time that law makers revisit the sentencing policy reflected in Section 304 A IPC (death due to negligence). It is true that the appellant has paid compensation of Rs. 8, 50,000 but no amount of compensation could relieve the family of victims from the constant agony. “

The Supreme Court also said that it considers a three-year sentence meager, but cannot increase the time in prison because the state of Maharashtra didn’t appeal for a tougher sentence.

In November 2006, Mr Pereira was 21 years old when he lost control of his Toyota Corolla on the city’s famous Carter Road seafront. Mr Pereira drove onto a group of construction workers sleeping on the road. Seven people died, eight were injured.

Mr Pereira was initially sentenced to six months in jail by a Mumbai court; this provoked much criticism. The Bombay High Court then intervened and enhanced the jail term to three years, convicting Mr Pereira of unintentional killing.

Mr Pereira appealed against this order in the Supreme Court and was given bail in 2007.

Mr Pereira, who comes from a wealthy family of real estate developers, was returning from a party at a five-star hotel; four other friends were in his car when the tragedy occurred. When being taken into the Khar police station, hours after the accident, he told reporters that it was a “mistake”, and that “mistakes happen.” His friends tried to hide their faces; Mr Pereira’s comments were seen to imply a lack of remorse. Blood tests revealed that Mr Pereira had been drinking before he began his journey home.






Centre for stopping telecom companies from violating 3G license terms


PTI Jan 11, 2012, 09.16PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Centre today told the Delhi High Court that it favours stopping telecom companies from providing 3G services to its subscribers in those circles for which they have not been granted licenses.

It told a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri that it was, however, not able to do so due to a stay granted by Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) in favour of telecom operators.

The bench, also comprising Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, fixed the matter for hearing on January 18 after Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A S Chandhiok, appearing for the Centre, said TDSAT would hear the issue a day earlier.

“Due to the Tribunal’s order, I (Centre) have not taken any step including the issuance of show cause notices and termination of licenses,” the ASG said.

He, however, sought directions from the court to stop telecom operators from providing 3G services in circles for which they have not been granted the requisite licenses.

The court was hearing a PIL alleging misuse of 3G spectrum license conditions by operators including Bartel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone, purportedly causing a huge loss to the public exchequer.

During the hearing, advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for telecom companies, opposed the government law officer’s plea, saying the same contention was raised before the Tribunal and rejected.

TDSAT had, earlier on the pleas by telecos, directed the Centre not to take any “coercive” action against three of them over inter-circle roaming (ICR) agreement on 3G.





Bedi Commission resumes probe


Srinagar, Jan 11: The one-man Commission of Inquiry (CoI) comprising of Justice H. S. Bedi, probing the mysterious death of National Conference (NC) worker Haji Yousuf, has resumed investigation in the high profile case. Yousuf died in the custody of Crime Branch after being handed over to it by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at his residence on September 29 last year.
Soon after the arrival of Justice Bedi, a former Supreme Court Judge, Secretary of the Commission, Additional District Judge anti-corruption Jammu, Jaffar Hussain Baigh issued a public notice today asking the people and groups who want or who are acquainted with the case to depose in the form of affidavits.
“The Commission of Inquiry issues this notice inviting all individuals, groups of persons, associations, institutions and organizations having knowledge directly or indirectly of facts and circumstances relating to the matter referred to the Commission, and having interest in the proceedings before the Commission, or are otherwise acquainted with the matter to furnish to the Commission statement(s) relating to the above terms of reference. Such statement(s) should be in form of an affidavit(s) in respect of the facts set out in the statement(s),” reads the notice issued by the Commission.
The notice further says: “Further, person(s) furnishing statement shall also furnish to the Commission along with the statement list of documents, if any, on which he /she propose/s to rely and forward to the Commission, wherever practicable, the originals or true copies of such of the documents as may be in his/her possession or control and shall state the name and address of the person(s) from whom the remaining documents may be traced.”
The CoI notice also says that the persons who will submit their statements can also be summoned by it.
Meanwhile, sources told Greater Kashmir that the Commission is likely to quiz people including Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, MoS Nasir Sogami, IGP Crime Raja Aijaz Ali and some key witnesses of the case.
Earlier, in December last year, Justice Bedi adjourned the probe pending the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation related with the case in the Supreme Court. The PIL was filed by Panthers Party legislator Balwant Singh Mankotia seeking direction for CBI probe into Yousuf’s death. However, State government has vehemently opposed CBI probe into the death and has also challenged the justification behind the petitioners approaching the Supreme Court without first exhausting other options including going to the High Court.
Another development took place on the hearing day (December 15, 2011 ) with Panthers Party supremo Bhim Singh filing fresh application seeking Apex Court’s direction to stay operation of the one-man CoI.
Following the death of Haji Yousuf, a major controversy was triggered in the Valley as two National Conference workers Abdul Salam Reshi and Yousuf Bhat alleged that the deceased had taken Rs 34 lakh and Rs 84 lakh from them for getting them berths in the state legislative council and council of ministers.






7 Vikhroli station shops to relocate by March

Published: Thursday, Jan 12, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Vikhroli station in the central suburb may finally become easily accessible to commuters from April. This in turn will clear the way for the railways to extend the Foot Overbridge (FOB) connecting the eastern and western sides of the station at the accident-prone junction.

Seven shop owners outside the station have given an undertaking to the Bombay high court (HC) that they will relocate their shops by March 31. They gave the undertaking after the court refused to grant them relief.

A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi has asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to identify other illegal shops and structures outside the station and initiate steps in accordance with the law.

Earlier, the HC had directed the corporation to clear illegal encroachments on both sides of the station, latest by March 31, 2012, to ease commuters’ woes.

The high court has directed the railways and the corporation to raze all illegal shops and structures which fall in the line of extension of the FOB and which are abutting platform number 1 of the railway station.

The court direction had come on October 14 last year, during the hearing of a PIL stating that several deaths take place at the Vikhroli level crossing, and yet the railways has not constructed an FOB of required length.

The court even rapped the BMC for failing to take action against the illegal shops, including Vinayak Arcade, which are obstructing the extension of the FOB.

Geeta Joglekar, advocate for the civic body, said that they would verify with the ward office whether the undertakings were filed and then take necessary action.





Coal India’s new pricing rule faces opposition

NEW DELHI: Coal India’s new pricing system faces strong opposition from consumers across the country as it has pushed fuel costs up by up to 70% for the small and medium steel and cement industries that face a shutdown now.

Power companies too are facing the heat and said that tariffs would rise by at least 40% to factor in the price hike.

Since January 1, Coal India has begun pricing coal based on gross calorific value or heat produced by burning it. Earlier, prices were fixed based on moisture and ash content present in coal.

The pricing mechanism will be reviewed after three months. Steelmakers alleged that Coal India was misusing its monopolistic position to profiteer without taking stakeholders’ views, but a coal ministry official termed the new pricing policy as the most consumer-friendly reform by Coal India ever and said that it is globally accepted method and will lead to improvement in quality of coal.

Industry representatives from Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Jhark-hand, West Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh met coal secretary Alok Perti on Tuesday to convey their grievance.

“Worldwide, coal pricing is done after taking out intrinsic impurities and a universally-accepted analysis. Coal India started the new pricing policy without proper analysis. The company is misusing its monopoly to earn hefty profits. All small and medium enterprises will be wiped out,” Chhattisgarh Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association president Anil Nachrani said.

Coal India’s largest consumer NTPC expects a 60-70% impact on tariff. “This will mean about a 70 paise per unit rise in generation cost, which will be passed on to consumers,” a company executive said. The power ministry has asked the coal ministry to move back to the old pricing mechanism.

A coal ministry official said “the company moved to the new pricing system after recommendations by the TL Shankar committee and the Planning Commission’s Integrated Energy Policy”. He said the move was revenue neutral for Coal India. Analysts, however, said that the new pricing would increase the company’s revenue by 15%.

A Coal India official said that even after the revision, coal price would be 77% lower than international prices for power, fertiliser and defence sectors. Coal India has been asked not to implement the new policy for West Bengal power companies till January 16 after a non-profit organisation, Howrah Ganatantrik Nagarik Samity, filed a PIL in the Calcutta High Court accusing the company of making abnormal profits by repeatedly raising prices.






Judge bats for school event at Shivaji Park

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 02.27AM IST

MUMBAI: “Playgrounds are for children,” the Bombay High Court said on Wednesday while allowing Balmohan Vidyalaya in Dadar to hold ‘Bal Din’ (a children’s day function) at Shivaji Park.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi was hearing an application by the Dadar school for permission to organize a “culture programme” on January 16, a day after Makar Sankranti.

The state government said it has taken a decision not give the park to private parties 15 days prior to events like Republic Day and Maharashtra Day to make arrangements for the parade at the ground.

The judges questioned why the government required 15 days to make arrangements for state functions when it would take 2 to 3 days and also if they would use that as an excuse to close entry to the general public. “We are going to replace the tiles in the high court. We are not going to shut the high court for six months,” said Justice Shah.

Additional government pleader M D Naik said dignitaries, including the governor, were expected to attend the function.

“The Chief Justice of Maharashtra is also attending the function,” said Naik, Justice Shah riposted, “May be, but we will pass an order.” The school’s advocate, A S Khandeparker, said the function was being organized annually since the past 70 years. “It’s keeping up a tradition. A small stage will be erected that will be dismantled later. It is essential to invite parents also as there is need for retention of Marathi students. Marathi medium schools will not survive,” said Khandeparker.

Wecom Trust, which filed a PIL and got Shivaji Park declared as a ‘silence zone’, opposed the use of loudspeakers. Judges said even if loudspeakers are used on a small part of the ground, the sound will not reach the other side. “It is not some rock concert. Why was the ground declared a silence zone in the first place?” wondered Justice Shah.

To a query, the court was told Hinduja Hospital is nearby. “It is nice to hear children sing. A playground is for children,” Justice Shah said. “Children should not be prevented from playing on the grounds. Why do they require permission? Kids must be encouraged to attend such functions. Instead of watching Little Champs (sic)and other TV programmes,” he added.





HC seeks report on gang-rape victim

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CUTTACK: The alleged gangrape of the 18-year-old Dalit girl in a Pipili village, who has gone into a coma since, has begun to turn the heat on the police and the medical authorities with the Orissa High Court on Tuesday seeking a comprehensive report on her health by Wednesday.

�The division bench of Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice BN Mohapatra has also directed the Puri SP to depute a DSP- level officer to investigate the alleged gangrape incident and submit its status report in a week along with arresting the accused.

�Treating a letter petition filed by advocate Prabir Kumar Das as PIL, the bench instructed the Chief Medical Officer of Capital Hospital to evaluate the treatment given to the victim and also if the patient was responding to the treatment. The CMO should also inform the Court if the victim was required to be shifted to a better-equipped hospital for more effective medical care and attention.

�Considering the threat perceptions, the Court also directed the DCP Bhubaneswar to keep watch over the victim, who is being treated at the Capital hospital and deploy personnel for round-the-clock surveillance in and around her. A lady cop should also be posted at her bedside, the bench ordered.

�The petitioner on Tuesday drew the attention of the Court to the plight of the girl and her family, who have been subjected to intolerable suffering due to denial of treatment and inaction of police in rendering them justice. The girl stood witness in the case of molestation of her friend in January 2008, who had committed suicide after the incident. The accused had been threatening her and her family to withdraw as the witness.

� The victim girl had allegedly been gangraped in November 2008 and was rescued in an utter naked and comatose state by the locals. She had been taken to the Pipili hospital, Capital Hospital and SCBMCH where she had been treated on the floor for 17 days before being discharged.

� The girl’s family members filed a police complaint against the accused but the Pipili police took no action in the matter.

�The plight of the girl was brought to the notice of the State Commission for Women on January 7 and she was taken to the Capital Hospital from where she was referred to SCB MCH Cuttack. However, she was allegedly denied admission by doctors at the SCB, the petitioner complained.

�The gangrape and subsequent denial of proper medical treatment coupled with alleged inaction of police amounted to violation of Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution, the petitioner submitted.

�Meanwhile, the Crime Branch on Tuesday took up investigation into the incident.

A special investigation team headed by a DSP under supervision of a lady Additional SP has been formed and has started its procedures, the CB on Tuesday revealed.






Court directs MoEF to take call on Kalu dam in 4 weeks

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 12, 2012


The Bombay high court on Wednesday directed the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to take the final decision on a proposal forwarded by state government seeking permission to utilise nearly 600 hectare of forest land for construction of a dam on Kalu river in Thane district. The dam is meant for augmenting drinking water supply to Mira-Bhayander and Navi Mumbai.

MoEF counsel Gauri Godse had sought six weeks’ time for taking a decision, but the division bench of justices DD Sinha and VK Tahilramani reduced the period to four weeks saying that the central ministry should have already taken a call by now.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Shramik Mukhti Sanghatana, an NGO, alleging that the dam over the river was being built without required permissions from the forest department. The dam, if built, is likely to submerge 2,100 hectare of land, including around 1,000 hectare of dense forest and, and displace people from four villages.

Responding to the PIL, the MoEF had earlier informed the court that projects like the Kalu dam, meant solely for the purpose of drinking water and where there will be no irrigation and hydro-electricity generation, don’t require permission from the MoEF.

The work on the dam began in October 2010. Although the work has begun only on non-forest land, Gayatri Singh, counsel for the petitioner, contended even this could not have started without permission from the MoEF. She pointed out a guideline stating that public projects taken up partly on forest land and rest on non-forest land should not be started without obtaining permission from the MoEF for carrying out construction on forest land.

According to Singh, the work order had been issued on May 29, 2010, and only after the filing of the PIL did the state government apply for permission to the chief conservator of forests, in June 2011. Singh sought stay on further construction, but the court rejected the plea, noting, “This is a matter of public interest where the society is going to be affected if water is not provided, and therefore stay cannot be granted.”
The matter will now come for hearing on February 17.







HC: Cancellation of sand quarrying lease

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: Apprehending depletion of river water and adverse effect on cultivation, two agriculturists from Kadapa district filed a PIL (public interest litigation) in the High Court here on Tuesday with a request to set aside the lease granted by the mines department in for sand quarrying in Cheyyaru river.

They requested the High Court to direct the lessee to forbear extracting any sand or taking it away from the Komarunipalle sand reach in Nandalur mandal in Kadapa district.

According to petitioners G Gopinath Reddy and T Narasimha Reddy, they have cultivable lands in Siddavaram, Kothapalli of Rajampeta, Penagaluri and Nandaluru mandals, and Cheyyaru river is the major irrigation source for these lands.

The assistant director of mines and geology called for tender-cum-public auction with a minimum bid amount of ` 62.5 lakh for grant of quarrying rights of ordinary sand in Nandaluru mandal for a period of two years i.e. up to March 31, 2013.

There was only one bidder, A Veera Krishna Reddy, who participated in the auction on June 3, 2011 and was declared as the successful bidder. He made some payments pursuant to the auction.

The zilla parishad chairman and the district-level sand committee passed a resolution on June 24, 2011 not to grant sand quarry lease and for cancellation of the above auction.

But the secretary to mines department ordered that the lease had to be executed in favour of the bidder on the ground that there was no provision for cancellation of auction.

Accordingly, the department issued proceedings dated December 14, 2011 allowing the bidder to carry on quarrying which is detrimental to the agriculturists of all the neighbouring lands.

Besides, 30 villages are dependent on the river for cultivation and household purposes, the petitioners said.






Soon, no junk food within 1,500 feet of schools


Published: Wednesday, Jan 11, 2012, 22:41 IST | Updated: Wednesday, Jan 11, 2012, 22:49 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: IANS


The Delhi high court Wednesday asked the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India to frame guidelines on a PIL seeking a ban on the sale of junk food and carbonated drinks within 1,500-foot radius of schools.

Acting Chief Justice AK Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw granted six months time to FSSAI and sought a compliance report by July 25.

The court said: “FSSAI is directed to consider the issue in six months. It may invite the All India Food Processors Association and restaurant associations for consultation and development of guidelines.”

The AIFPA had earlier told the court that its members were dealing with processing of fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, milk and milk products and biscuits and confectionery products.

The association had contended that petitioner had failed to specify as to what kind of food should be included in the definition of junk food or fast food.

It further said that Prevention of Food Adulteration Act did not define anything as junk food or fast food.

The court had earlier asked the health ministry to apprise it of the steps taken to create awareness among students about the “harmful effects of increased consumption of junk foods”.

The NGO sought a ban on the sale of junk food and carbonated drinks within 1,500-foot radius of schools.

The petition by Rahul Verma and Rakesh Prabhakar of Uday Foundation said: “It is… time we change the way kids eat in schools. Such a ban will set new standards for healthy food. On the one hand, children are taught in classroom about good nutrition…, on the other, we continue to make junk food available to them.”






Govt to foot prosthetic bill of blast victims


Abhinav Garg, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 01.21AM IST


NEW DELHI: The Delhi government was on Wednesday categorically told by the high court to bear the costs for providing artificial limbs to victims injured in the blast at HC’s reception counter in September last year. HC was hearing a PIL filed by a lawyer accusing the state government of red tapism and failure to abide by court directions to provide treatment and relief to blast victims.

After hearing the petitioner, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw gave a month’s time to the state government to ensure victims are provided with prosthetic limbs through AIIMS. It said the government must foot the bills in case the victims get treated from any hospital other than the AIIMS.

The PIL was filed by one Gaurav Bansal seeking a direction to the government to provide prosthetic limbs to the blast victims, including one Vipin Kumar Gautam. Bansal argued Gautam became permanently incapacitated as his left leg had to be amputated following injuries sustained in the blast which killed 17 people and injured over 90 others. Gautam said he had requested deputy commissioner, Delhi government, to provide him the best prosthetic leg. But to-date he was waiting for a response. When he approached AIIMS for an artificial limb, the institution asked him to first pay the bills, leaving him running from pillar to post for the artificial limb.






Talks with corporate raises some hope for Hope Bridge


Himansshu Bhatt, TNN | Jan 11, 2012, 10.56PM IST

SURAT: There is a glimmer of hope for the 130-year-old Hope Bridge that is going down the hammer.

Talks between Surat Citizens Council and Heritage Trust with some big corporates to take over the maintenance and preservation of the bridge have started afresh. The talks had fallen apart few months ago.

Senior functionaries of the council, which has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Gujarat high court seeking stay on the dismantling of the bridge, said there has been positive development about involvement of some corporate firm to take over the maintenance and preservation of the structure. Sources said city-based business group engaged in real estate and other businesses is reportedly interested in this work. However, council members refused to disclose the name as there is no firm commitment by the group.

“There is some progress, but the talks have not reached a final stage,” a senior functionary of the Surat Citizens Council said. “It is a viable alternative and in Surat it is not difficult to find people willing to take up such work as their social responsibility. However, this is possible only after the dismantling is stayed,” he said.

Gujarat government’s heritage policy, too, emphasizes on the maintenance and perseverance of heritage structures. Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has also said in its policy that around 2,300 buildings and structures of the city, including Hope Bridge, must be preserved.

A heritage expert Jaydev Nancy said, “It is very clear that the initiative must come from the state government. On one side, SMC talks of preserving heritage structures and on other it is singling out this bridge for demolition.”





PIL alleges apathy by TN on cyclone shelters


TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 03.57AM IST

CHENNAI: Despite the eastern coast, particularly the stretch between Orissa and Tamil Nadu, being cyclone-prone, state governments in the region have done little to put in place disaster management measures, such as shelters and all-weather roads, says a PIL filed in the Madras high court.

Had Tamil Nadu and Puducherry completed these safety structures by the deadline of December 31, 2010, the recent Cyclone Thane would not have killed 46 people, the PIL, filed by advocate M Vetri Selvan, said.






PIL seeks declaration of Tirumalai hill as ancient monument

Madurai,Jan 11 (PTI) A PIL seeking declaration of Tirumalai hill in Sivaganga district as an ancient monument was filed in the Madras High Court bench here today.
Admitting the PIL, Justices Chitra Venkatraman and Karuppiah ordered issue of notice to the Central and State Archaeological Department heads, among others, returnable within 15 days.
The petitioner contended that the hill in Tirumalai Konneripatti village in Sivaganga district had rock paintings, Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions, Jain beds and also a rock cut temple of Kluntheerswarar and Bagampiriya Ammai temple, dating back to the eighth century AD.

He said all Jain abodes throughout India had been declared as monuments. This particular one was unique as both Jain inscriptions and temples were found in the same place.
There were also 30 Tamil inscriptions of 13th Century. Similar rock paintings are not found anywhere in Tamil Nadu and only in another place in Madhya Pradesh, he said.

Though he had made representations to the government on various occasions last year to protect the monument and declare it as an archaeological site, no action had been taken, he said.

The petitioner also alleged that anti-socials are vandalising and defacing the monument.

Assistant Advocate General Chellapandian submitted that Superintendent of Police had been asked to provide protection for the temple.

The Judges then ordered notice to officials of the archaeological department of the state and centre





Eunuchs file PIL for better conditions

Shibu Thomas, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 01.45AM IST

MUMBAI: A PIL has been filed in the HC seeking orders to put an end to harassment faced by eunuchs and ensuring that they are able to secure voter’s id cards and passports. The PIL filed by a Navi Mumbai-based organization ‘Salvation of Oppressed Eunuchs’ and three eunuchs from Virar is likely to come up for hearing later this week.

The petitioners said that eunuchs are the target of physical abuse. The PIL said a major problem faced by the community is lack of identity and residential proof. The PIL has urged the court to order the state to carry out a survey about the conditions of eunuchs.

The demands in the PIL include changing the definition of “rape” in the IPC to include transgenders and transsexuals and extend the protection of the Atrocities Act to eunuchs. The PIL has asked for medical certificates to be issued to eunuchs so that castrations can be carried out by qualified surgeons.





PIL against covering BSP’s elephant statutes withdrawn


Ashish Tripathi, TNN | Jan 11, 2012, 04.27PM IST

LUCKNOW: Dhiraj Pratap Singh, who had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) against the order of the Election Commission (EC) to cover statutes of elephants installed in dalit memorials built by Mayawati government, has withdrawn his petition after the Allahabad high court pointed that the the PIL was poorly drafted.

Singh, in his petition, had said that the elephant is considered to be a symbol of Lord Ganesha and covering it would hurt sentiments of the Hindus.

The high court has left the option open of a fresh petition. Significantly, the BSP had also moved an application before the court claiming that it has nothing to do with the petition.

The order to cover the statues was given by the EC on the complaints of the opposition parties which alleged that the elephant is the election symbol of the ruling BSP and it is using them to influence voters in the coming elections.

The BSP has accused the Election Commission of not giving it an opportunity to present its defence and playing into the hands of Congress-led UPA government.






Harassed by police, lawyer commits suicide; CBI probe ordered

PTI | 10:01 PM,Jan 11,2012

Jaipur, Jan 11 (PTI) A lawyer allegedly committed suicide after he was said to be harassed by the police, prompting the Rajasthan High Court to order a CBI inquiry into the matter. Body of Murlidhar Yadav was found in a well in Barwarda village near Samod town in the district this morning, following which advocates in the High Court and Sessions Court boycotted work and protested on roads. “Prima facie, the advocate committed suicide,” police said. Justice Mahesh Sharma of the Rajasthan High Court ordered a CBI inquiry while hearing a petition filed by Bar Association of the High Court and directed the investigation agency to file status report by January 13. Following the court order, the CBI has registered a case. Yadav’s family members alleged that he was being harassed by the police in connection with a case of scuffle lodged against him with the Murlipura police station, police said. As soon as advocates in the courts came to know about the alleged suicide by Yadav, they boycotted work and protested on roads near the Sessions Court and the High Court and blocked roads. Tension prevailed in the area as the agitating advocates tried to damage a police van in which security force was sent to control the situation near the Sessions Court. Demanding immediate arrest of the accused, the advocates have announced that they will continue their boycott tomorrow.





Siddhartha Reddy gives himself up

January 12, 2012



G. Siddhartha Reddy (34), whose conviction was recently upheld by the High Court of Andhra Pradesh in connection with the suicide of actress Pratyusha, surrendered before a Nampally court on Wednesday evening. He turned up along with his father Rameshwar Reddy, and other friends, and surrendered before Metropolitan Sessions Judge Mr G. Shyam Prasad as per High Court orders.

The High Court, on December 28 last year, while reducing his sentence to two years from the five years awarded by the lower court had directed him to surrender before the trial court within 15 days. “He deposited the Rs 50,000 fine in court as directed by the High Court in its order, and was later shifted to the Chanchalaguda prison,’’ said Mr P.R. Narendranath Reddy, the counsel for Siddhartha Reddy.

According to the investigation by the CBI, Pratyusha and Siddhartha Reddy attempted suicide on the evening of February 23, 2002 as his mother refused permission for their marriage. But the issue attracted wide media attention as the doctor after autopsy declared that it was a case of rape and murder, and ultimately the case was handed over to the CBI under the supervision of the High Court.

A Nampally court on February 23, 2004 convicted Siddhartha Reddy under section 306 (Abetment to suicide) and 309 (attempt to commit suicide) of IPC. He was awarded five years of rigorous imprisonment, and Rs 5,000 fine under section 306 of the IPC, and one year imprisonment under section 309 of IPC. On appeal the High Court recently reduced the sentence to two years and increased the fine to Rs 50,000. Siddhartha Reddy will shortly move a bail application in Supreme Court and will challenge the High Court order.





Acquittal of doctors in kidney scam upheld

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday upheld a lower court’s acquittal order of 2005 discharging five doctors allegedly involved in a kidney racket.

Hearing an appeal filed by the State government to set aside the October 19, 2005 orders passed by the IV Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge, acquitting doctors Adil and Syed Adil Ahmed, K S Siddaraju, Dilip Patil, Dilip C Dhanpal from the offence of committing kidney thefts, Justice V Jagannathan upheld the lower court order and quashed the chargesheet.

The government had contended that police had filed a chargesheet against the doctors for offences punishable under various sections of the IPC for illegally transplanting kidneys of victims by theft to other patients.

The doctors subsequently filed applications for discharge under Section 227 of the CrPc and the lower court acquitted them. Later, the State government had filed an appeal to set aside the order.

The court upheld the doctors’ contention that the donors were aware of kidney transplantation as also the consent form executed by the donor.

Reinvestigation of Murder Case Stayed

The High Court on Tuesday stayed the reinvestigation of realtor-cum-film producer Govardhan Murthy who is facing charges of murdering his friend and actor Vinod Kumar. The present DGP Shankar Bidari had ordered reinvestigation of the case when he was the chief of Criminal Investigation Department.

Kiran Kumar, brother of the victim Vinod Kumar, had filed a petition in the High Court stating that reinvestigation is not required as the case is being already investigated and the witness have been examined. Hearing the petition, Justice N Anand allowed the interim prayer and stayed the reinvestigation till January 24 and adjourned the case for further hearing.

Govardhan Murthy was booked for allegedly murdering his friend Vinod Kumar in an inebriated state. Murthy, who had produced two films had invited Vinod to a party at his farm house on October 7, 2008 and shot him after a heated argument. Vinod Kumar, before his death, had stated that Murthy had shot him.





Man ordered to pay `19K a month to wife

Jan 11, 2012 |

Age Correspondent

New Delhi

A Delhi court has enhanced the monthly maintenance of a woman from `15,000 to `19,000 holding that an estranged woman living separately from her husband is entitled to the living standard of her husband.
“It is well settled law in plethora of judgements that the wife is also entitled to live as per the status of her husband,” said additional sessions judge (ASJ) Savita Rao, while enhancing the maintenance of a North Delhi woman, living separately from her husband along with her son.
The court order came on an estranged couple’s cross-appeals against a magisterial court order with the husband terming the maintenance amount of `15,000, awarded to the wife by the magisterial court as steep and the wife seeking its enhancement.
While the man contended in his appeal that his wife too was earning, the woman countered that she was living along with her son and it was her estranged husband responsibility to maintain both of them as per his financial status. The sessions court rejected the husband’s contention that he has his own expenses and liabilities to meet while his wife herself was earning.
“It is for the appellant to manage his expense considering the liability of maintenance toward his family,” the court said, adding “merely giving the details of expenses does not absolve him of his liability to maintain his wife and child.”
While working out the amount of maintenance to be paid by the man to his estranged wife and child, the court, however, took into account the couple’s total income and divided it into equitable shares for all the three, including the child.





Regulate teachers’ training schools: SC

January 12, 2012



New Delhi

In the backdrop of the HRD ministry citing shortage of properly trained teachers a major reason for lack of quality education in the country, especially in rural areas, the Supreme Court in an important judgment has directed the Centre, states and Union Territories to stop all private unrecognised teachers training institutions from enrolling the students forthwith.

Describing the unrecognised teachers’ training schools as “commercial ventures”, a bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly in a common judgment on the appeals of 37 such institutions said the Centre, states and Union Territories must regulate teachers training schools as per the mandate of National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993.
“Regulations framed under the Act has been actually deficient and the objects sought to be achieved by enacting the special legislation, namely, planned and coordinated development of teacher education system in the country, the regulation and proper maintenance of norms and standard in the system, have not been fulfilled so far,” the top court said.
In order to stop the “commercial exploitation” of students granted admission by unrecognised institutions, the top court issued 18-point guidelines to the Centre and states on regulation with a direction that “no institution shall admit any student to any teacher training course or programme unless it has obtained recognition under Section 14 and Section 15 of the 1993 Act.”






HC stays proceedings against Dr Unmesh

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

Kochi | Posted on Jan 11, 2012 at 11:39am IST

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday stayed the proceedings initiated by the Thrissur Sessions Court against Dr A K Unmesh, assistant professor at Thrissur Government Medical College, in connection with the Soumya murder case. The Thrissur Sessions Court had earlier directed the authorities to file a complaint, before the magistrate court concerned, against Unmesh for having committed an offence under Section 193 IPC (Punishment for false evidence). The court had found that he had falsely deposed before the court, contrary to the evidence tendered by the prosecution witness.

During the trial in the Soumya murder case, Unmesh had deposed before the court that he conducted the postmortem of Soumya’s body, and not Dr Sherly Vasu, head of the Forensic Department.

The court, while delivering the verdict in the murder case, had directed the police to register a case against Unmesh for taking a stand that was favourable to the accused. The court also observed that he failed in his duty and breached service rules. The doctor is now under suspension.

The Thrissur Fast Track Court had earlier found that Unmesh was guilty of giving false evidence while accepting the petition of Malayalavedi state president George Vattukulam.

Counsel for the petitioner, advocate T A Shaji submitted that the observations and findings of the Sessions Judge were not supported by any materials available on record.

The High Court adjourned the hearing of the petition to January 17. The court also admitted the petition and issued notice to the state government.






HC satisfied with Keralas safety steps

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday expressed satisfaction over the steps initiated by the state government to ensure the safety of the people if the Mullaperiyar dam breaks. “The state has taken substantial measures to safeguard the interests of the people,” the court observed.

The court was reviewing the petitions expressing concern over the safety of the dam and the people. However, when the case came up for hearing, most of the petitioners said they were satisfied with the steps taken by the government, which was recorded by the Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjulla Chellur and Justice P R Ramachandra Menon.

“The state has taken positive steps. The intensity of the matter is not as it was, and summer season is approaching,” the bench observed and added that the situation has been defused and the authorities will take necessary steps if a situation arose. Meanwhile, advocate Sivan Madathil, appearing for the Save Kerala Movement, sought time for filing an affidavit after conducting an on-the-spot inspection.

The court permitted the petitioner to visit the place and submit a report before January 30.

The petitioner sought a directive to take effective steps in the event of a dam collapse by adopting modern devices and also to make the public aware about the measures taken by the state. The court also disposed of the petition filed by V S Achuthanandan citing inadequate safety measures. Achuthanandan had sought a direction for calling the Army Engineering Corps in case of an emergency situation. The Central Government in an affidavit had submitted that it will take immediate action if a situation arose.

“There is no need for an undertaking from the Army. The Defence authorities are duty-bound to act in case of an emergency,” the court said.Meanwhile, environmentalist C R Neelakantan has approached the court seeking a directive to the state to take urgent safety measures.





HC asks media to show restraint in reporting land dispute case

Published: Wednesday, Jan 11, 2012, 16:11 IST
Place: Jammu | Agency: PTI

Jammu and Kashmir High Court has asked media to show restraint in reporting court proceedings on a land dispute after some news reports mentioned the name of a Congress minister despite him not being a party to the case.

A single judge bench of Justice Hasnain Massodi said this while taking serious note of reports on the case in a section of the press.

“The media is expected to observe restraint and avoid publishing any news item or making comments without permission of the court, seized of the matter, on the nature of dispute or involvement of anyone, not a party to the dispute in the controversy,” said Justice Massodi.

“Once the media is aware that dispute between the parties is subject matter of a trial before the court, it is expected to observe restraint and allow the court to deal with and decide the matter in accordance with law, free from any pressure, likely to be generated” due to reporting, the judge said.

The high court order came on a plea by Additional Advocate General (AAG) Gangan Basorta, who alleged in the court that “an effort is being made by the media to use the dispute as a tool to drag some public figures, commanding respect in the society, in the controversy over litigation between the parties.”

The case pertained to a dispute over 2 kanals of land in Muthi area of Jammu district.





Companies approach HC on free sugar

January 12, 2012


The AP High Court will start hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the intervention of the Centre in selling of sugar stocks in the open market by various private sugar factories of the state from Jan. 23. Several sugar companies moved against the decision of the Union ministry of consumer affairs and public distribution is arbitrary and violative of their rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

They also challenged Section 3 D of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and the Clause 4 of the Sugar (Control) Order 1966 and urged the court to declare the provisions as unconstitutional. The companies also pointed out that they are unable to clear the dues payable to sugarcane growers that due to the restrictions imposed by the Centre.

While granting an interim direction, the court permitted certain petitioners to sell the free sale sugar produced during 2011-2012 to discharge its contractual and statutory liability, on condition that the petitioners clear the dues payable to the farmers for the sugarcane crop of previous years and for the present crop year on priority basis. However, the Union ministry objected the interim order, saying that permitting the petitioners to sell the total free sugar at a time may result in hoarding of the commodity, scarcity after the season comes to an end, and may lead to inflation. The union ministry said that the Union ministry issued a policy by imposing certain restrictions on sugar mills with a view to control, supply and equal distribution of the sugar round the year and across the country. It also pointed out that the petitioners did not challenge the Centre’s policy.

PIL against Judge selection
Challenging the selection process for recruitment of district judges, Vasire-ddy Prabhunath, a practicing advocate, filed a public interest litigation in the High Court. The HC had issued a notification on December 22, 2011, for the recruitment of district judges. The petitioner said that the authorities allowed a candidate who studied abroad without intimating the Bar council and does not have seven years standing at the Bar and therefore does’nt meet the criteria. The vacation bench of will hear the case on Thursday.






Channel urges HC to allow them furnish Corporate guarantee

PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 11,2012

Mumbai, Jan 11 (PTI) Times Global Broadcasting Company (TGBC), which runs “Times Now” News Channel, has moved the Bombay High Court seeking modification of its order asking it to furnish Rs 80 crore bank guarantee towards damages in a defamation suit filed by a former Supreme Court Judge. The application came up today before a bench headed by Justice D K Deshmukh who adjourned the matter till tomorrow. A Pune court had ordered “Times Now” News Channel to pay Rs 100 crore as damages to former SC judge P B Sawant for defaming him. The Channel had challenged the order in the Bombay High Court which asked it to deposit Rs 20 crore and furnish a bank guarantee for the balance amount. The Channel prayed that instead of furnishing bank guarantee of Rs 80 crore, the court may permit Bennet Coleman and Co. Ltd. to give a corporate guarantee on their behalf. The Channel said it was facing difficulty in procuring a bank guarantee of Rs 80 crore as the company is required to provide 75 per cent to 100 per cent margin and a commission to the banks in order to avail this facility. “It would be unviable for the applicant (Times Now) to incur such high costs and to continue to run its operations effectively until the matter is finally disposed of,” it said. Justice Sawant had sued the news channel for displaying his photo wrongly during telecast of a bulletin on September 10, 2008 on a Provident Fund scam allegedly involving a Calcutta High Court judge. The report had showed Justice Sawant’s photograph in place of the High Court Judge. On a suit by Justice Sawant, the Pune district court had ordered the company to pay him Rs 100 crore as damages. An appeal was filed in the High Court which asked “Times Now” news channel in September 2011 to deposit Rs 20 crores in the Court and furnish a bank guarantee for Rs 80 crore. The Company then filed an appeal in the Supreme court which refused to interfere with the High Court order. PTI SVS SK





HC stays NITTTR order on transfer of 5 faculty members

PTI | 11:01 PM,Jan 11,2012

Chennai, Jan 11 (PTI) The Madras High Court has stayed an order of the National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research here, transferring five faculty members to different places. Issuing the interim stay on the December 23 order of the institute’s senior administrative officer, Justice K Chandru admitted a petition by a professor of Electronics Engineering Dhanasekharan and four others, challenging their transfers. Claiming that they were the most qualified and specialised faculty members of separate departments, performing distinctly specific functions, the petitioners submitted that by the order, they had been transferred to places where no posts as those being presently held by them were available. They contended that the order was arbitrary as there was no provision in the rules for transfer. PTI GR APR ZMN





Notice to cops on Facebook, Google plea

Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, January 11, 2012

The Delhi high court on Wednesday issued notice to the city police on petitions filed by Facebook India and Google India challenging the trial court order, which had summoned them and other websites to face a criminal case for allegedly allowing objectionable content.
The trial court

had on December 23 summoned  representatives of 21 social networking sites including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Youtube taking cognisance of a private criminal complaint.

The metropolitan magistrate had also directed the Centre  to take steps and also file a report  in the court by January 13.

The magistrate had said, “It appears from a bare perusal of documents that prima facie the accused in connivance with  each other and other unknown persons are selling, publicly  exhibiting and have put into circulation obscene content.”

The magistrate noted that in the material — submitted by the complainant — contained derogatory articles pertaining to Prophet Mohammad, Jesus Christ and various Hindu gods.






Bombay HC warns pvt hospital over ill-treatment of patients

PTI | 08:01 PM,Jan 11,2012

Mumbai, Jan 11 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today warned of action against super speciality hospital Seven Hills Healthcare if it was found to be ill-treating patients referred there by municipal corporation-run hospitals. A Division Bench of Justices S A Bobade and Mridula Bhatkar gave the warning while hearing a petition filed by Seven Hills challenging the notices issued by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) asking the former to vacate the seven-acre premises allotted to them to run the medical facility in suburban Marol. The corporation had issued the notices after the private hospital allegedly breached the agreement with MCGM by not allotting enough beds for treating patients referred there by civic hospitals. MCGM counsel Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told the court that a special officer was appointed to verify and ensure that appropriate treatment and services are provided to poor patients at Seven Hills. “However, there have been several instances of ill-treatment of these patients,” he alleged. “We will take action against them (hospital) if this is true,” Justice Bobade said while adjourning the matter for further hearing on January 18. According to an affidavit filed by the special officer Santosh Salagre, the private hospital was ill-treating the poor patients and charging them exorbitant amounts when they are supposed to levy only MCGM-prescribed rates. Salagre is a doctor from MCGM-funded KEM Hospital. PTI SP RSY HKS





Unauthorised tenants: HC asks BPCL, state, MHADA to settle grievance


Mumbai, Thu Jan 12 2012, 02:06 hrs

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the state government, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) and the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) to amicably settle BPCL’s grievance regarding the alleged unauthorised occupation of the tenements constructed for its employees.

The court said petroleum refineries are the lifeline of our country and everybody, from the armed forces to the common man, needed them. It was hearing a petition filed by BPCL, which contended that in December 1951, it entered into an agreement with the government, under which the MHADA built 664 flats for its employees in the Sahakar Nagar area of Chembur. BPCL, in its petition, stated that a number of tenants continued to occupy the flats even after they ceased to be employees of the company.

BPCL had challenged an order passed by the state in 1998 transferring ownership of 664 tenements to its occupants. According to BPCL’s petition, the order was illegal because as per the agreement of 1951, “MHADA had no power to allot the tenements in favour of the unauthorised occupants”.

BPCL wrote to MHADA on several occasions urging it to evict the alleged unauthorised tenants so that its present employees could be accommodated in the 664 flats. MHADA, however, stated that its correspondences were not heeded by the housing body.

The land, formerly owned by the Mafatlals, was acquired by the state government under the Urban Land Ceiling Act, 1976. Under the Development Plan, the land was then earmarked for housing BPCL workers, assistant government pleader G W Mattos said.





E-journal row: HC blow to AICTE

TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 03.30AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has restrained the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the statutory body established for the development of technical education in the country, from taking any coercive action against any institution for not subscribing an e-journal. The AICTE had recently put out a list of e-journals compelling self-financing engineering colleges to subscribe to them at mandatory rates for the academic year 2012-13.

Justice Vinod K Sharma on Wednesday passed the interim order on the writ petitions filed by the Association of Management of Coimbatore Anna University-affiliated Colleges and the Consortium of Self-Financing Professional Arts and Science Colleges in Tamil Nadu.

“The authorities are restrained from taking any coercive action against the institutions for not subscribing to a particular journal detailed in annexure 1,” the judge said. The matter will be taken up for further hearing in March.





HC sets aside summons to Ajit Pawar in cooperative electn case

PTI | 08:01 PM,Jan 11,2012

Mumbai, Jan 11 (PTI) Bombay High Court today set aside an order directing Ajit Pawar, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, to appear before a lower court to answer the charges of corrupt practises during election at a cooperative sugar factory. Division bench of Justices D K Deshmukh and Anoop Mohata quashed the order of a single judge of High Court. The matter pertained to Malegaon sugar factory in Baramati district, which conducted election for board of directors three years ago. During the campaign, Pawar had given a speech and the panel backed by him eventually won. The election was challenged by the defeated panel by by filing an election petition which is still pending before the Revenue Commissioner. Petition takes objection to Pawar’s speech, among other things. Petitioners filed an application before the Commissioner, seeking permission to produce CD of Ajit Pawar’s speech. They also demanded that Ajit be summoned as a witness. The application was rejected by Revenue Commissioner, against which the defeated candidates moved the High Court. A single judge, on November 28, allowed production of speech CD, and the summons to Pawar. The elected candidates, represented by advocate Ashutosh Kumbhkoni, then filed an appeal before the division bench of the High Court which today quashed the order of the single judge.





HC seeks report on Pipili rape victim

Ashok Pradhan, TNN Jan 11, 2012, 11.42AM IST

BHUBANESWAR/CUTTACK: The Orissa high court on Tuesday sought a report from police on a 19-year-old girl, who was allegedly gangraped on November 28 after she agreed to be a witness in a molestation case. The girl, a native of Pipili, about 20 km from here, is in a critical condition at Capital Hospital.

A division bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra directed the Puri SP to initiate a probe into the incident by an officer of DSP or higher rank, and supervise the case himself. It also asked Capital Hospital authorities to submit a status report on the condition of the girl by Wednesday and directed the Bhubaneswar DCP to provide adequate protection to her.

The directions came in response to a petition filed by lawyer and human rights activist Prabir Das seeking justice and proper treatment for the victim. “We cited before the court that the victim’s condition was very critical and she needed proper treatment,” Das said. The court has fixed the next hearing on Wednesday.

Amidst mounting pressure from various quarters, the state government handed over the probe to the crime branch. “An investigation team led by a deputy SP will look into the matter. A woman additional SP will assist him in the probe,” the crime branch said.

The SCB Medical College and Hospital, where the victim was admitted from November 29 to December 14, said she had been suffering from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and mentioned the cause as partial hanging.

“In common parlance, she suffered brain damage due to poor oxygen and blood supply,” said Dr S N Swain, spokesperson of the Capital Hospital. This could be a result of hanging or attempted strangulation. Dr Swain said the hospital was trying to arrange the best medical help for her. “She is in the ICU. A medical team is looking after her. We have asked the SCB authorities to send a neurologist for her,” he said.

The girl’s family had got her discharged from the Cuttack hospital on their own, as they could not afford the cost of her treatment. They had also approached the State Commission for Women (SCW) on January 7. The SCW took her to Capital Hospital, which referred her to Cuttack again. But instead of going to Cuttack, she took shelters at a relative’s place in Bhubaneswar and approached the Orissa Human Rights Commission on Monday. She was subsequently re-admitted to the Capital Hospital.

According to the girl’s family, the Class IX girl was raped by two persons for being a witness in a case of sexual assault of one of her friends in 2008.





HC summons Shimla DC, SP over car parking in auto-free zone

Shimla, Jan 11 (PTI) Taking serious note of illegal parking of tourist vehicles in Shimla”s auto-free zones on New Year”s Eve, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has summoned top administrative and police officials.

The bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjay Karol directed Shimla Deputy Commissioner and SP to appear in the court on January 13 with record regarding permissions granted to motorists to park vehicles on sealed and restricted roads.
“We were shocked to find that on New Year”s Eve, vehicles were parked on the sealed and restricted areas…Not only this, vehicles were also parked in the core area of Shimla town from Shimla Club to the Lift. In fact, there was double parking on this road and on enquiry, we were told that some orders have been passed by the DM and SP, permitting the tourists to park their vehicles in these areas,” it said.

Taking note of the orders passed by the district administration for permitting parking, the bench said, “This power of relaxation is not even available to the state as far as the core Mall Road area is concerned. If the state does not have the power to relax the provisions for the core Mall Road area, we fail to understand how the DM or the SP could have relaxed the provisions of the Act and granted permission to the tourists to park their vehicles in the core Mall Road area.”
“It is expected that the officials, especially the DM and the SP, enforce the law and it is not expected that they should themselves start violating the law,” it said.

In its earlier order in the same petition, dated December 30, the court had questioned plying of vehicles belonging to Army on restricted routes, without valid permits.





HC directs TN govt to expeditiously restore power

PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 11,2012

Chennai, Jan 11 (PTI) The Madras High Court today directed Tamil Nadu government to expeditiously restore electricity in the cyclone-hit Cuddalore district. Hearing a PIL filed by advocate M Vetri Selvan, seeking a direction to the state and Puducherry governments to put in place a disaster management plan, the First Bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam said they “hope that at least the electricity supply shall be restored in Cuddalore district as expeditiously as possible”. The petitioner alleged that despite continuous warnings since December 25 last by the meteorological department about the cyclonic storm ‘Thane’ and regular monitoring of its intensity, the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry governments had failed to act in accordance with the laid down guidelines. Holding the two governments responsible for the loss of lives and damages due to the cyclone, the petitioner said ‘on account of the failure of the governments to take any preventive measures, 46 persons lost their lives.” The advocate sought a court direction to the authorities concerned to prepare the preventive measures within a time frame. Counsel for the petitioner submitted that as per Section 6 of the Disaster Management Act 2005, the National Disaster Management Authority was required to take all measures to prevent of disaster or mitigate the sufferings of victims. As per the guidelines of the Act, Tami Nadu and Puducherry governments and the Centre, should have completed cyclone-resistant structures, shelters, coastal embankments and cattle mounds along the entire cyclone-prone area in the two states. Though the deadline for completing the structures ended on December 31, 2010 itself, the two governments had not even thought of constructing such shelters for potential victims. The authorities ought to have commenced the works in 2008-09, the PIL said.





HC reserves order on 2G case accused plea on CBI documents

PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 11,2012

New Delhi, Jan 11 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today reserved its order on a plea by a 2G spectrum case accused for an early decision by the trial court on the objections raised by him and others on admissibility of some documents placed by CBI as evidence. Asif Balwa, a businessman facing trial in the case before Special judge O P Saini, had pleaded to the High Court that the special judge continues with the trial without deciding on the objections questioning the document’s evidential value by various accused. The trial court’s failure to promptly decide his objections against the documents would prejudice the case against him, he had contended. “The judgement is reserved,” Justice M L Mehta said after hearing arguments on behalf of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd’s Director Balwa and those of CBI. Initiating arguments, Balwa’s counsel Vijay Agarwal said the Delhi High Court rules say that any objection raised by lawyers about the “reliability and admissibility” of a document as evidence be decided promptly. “Such decisions (by the trial judge) would make the accused aware as to whether the documents, produced by CBI or by the witness, would be relied upon and read against them or not at the time of final judgement in the case,” he said. “The objection about admissibility of a document, produced by a witness during the trial, as a piece of evidence should be decided then and there by the trial judge. And, if such objections are not decided, then it would amount to denial of fair trial to the accused,” he said. Sonia Mathur, appearing for CBI, however, opposed the plea saying “if the trial judge is forced to decide objections promptly, then the purpose of having day-to-day trial would be defeated.” Balwa is accused of playing a role in routing of Rs 200 crore to DMK-run Kalaignar TV as bribe from a firm promoted by Shahid Usman Balwa, an alleged beneficiary of the scam. PTI SJK RKS RAX






HC reserves order on Krishna’s plea, stay extended till orders


Karnataka High Court on Wednesday reserved orders on a petition by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna seeking quashing of the private complaint accusing him of facilitating illegal mining during his tenure as state Chief Minister between 1999 to 2004.

Justice N Ananada also extended the stay granted by the high court on all proceedings of the Lokayukta court including the FIR filed by Lokayukta police against Mr. Krishna last month till the pronouncement of final orders.

On December 15, the high court had granted four weeks stay on the proceedings pending before the Lokayukta court.

The Lokayukta police had on December 8 filed an FIR against Krishna and two other former Chief Ministers N Dharam Singh and H D Kumaraswamy and 11 officials on a directive by the Lokayukta Court given on a private complaint filed by T J Abraham.

Earlier resuming arguments, Abraham submitted that though earlier it was decided by the state government that dereservation of forest land to encourage mining by private sector would be done in non-fragile areas, it was done in fragile mineral bearing regions despite opposition from the forest department.

“Important files on dereservation went missing and in December 2002, the decision (to dereserve) was intentionally taken with the knowledge of the head of the state (who was S M Krishna that time)”, he alleged.

At this the Judge observed “show the culpability of the Chief Minister in dereservation. He cannot be held responsible for all the illegalities committed”.






HC disposes of ‘defector’ MLAs contempt petition

Express News Service : Chandigarh, Thu Jan 12 2012, 03:10 hrs

Disposing of a contempt petition filed by Hisar MP Kuldeep Bishnoi, against three ‘defector’ MLAs for not complying with court directions, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday gave Bishnoi the liberty to get the contempt petition revived, in case the Supreme Court dismisses the appeal filed by the Vidhan Sabha speaker and the MLAs.

Haryana Speaker Kuldeep Sharma and the five ‘defector’ MLAs had moved the Supreme Court against a high court judgment, dated December 20, 2011 that had declared the five MLAs as unattached. The Apex Court had stayed the operation of the judgment delivered by the subordinate court.

Prior to the special leave petition (SLP) filed by the speaker, Kuldeep Bishnoi had filed a contempt petition in the high court seeking contempt proceedings against the three defector MLAs who were continuing to hold office despite the court’s directions.

The said contempt petition was on Wednesday disposed off by Justice Surya Kant with the liberty that if the apex court dismisses the appeal filed by the Speaker, then Bishnoi can get the contempt petition revived by merely filing a review application.

On the other hand, Bishnoi withdrew a petition seeking quo warranto proceedings against the Haryana chief minister.

Senior lawyer Satya Pal Jain, counsel for Bishnoi, withdrew the petition in wake of stay granted by the Supreme Court.





HC rap for state on speed governors

Mumbai, Thu Jan 12 2012, 02:00 hrs

The state government’s delay in putting into practice a rule mandating speed governor devices in vehicles came under criticism from the Bombay High Court on Wednesday.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by NGO Suraksha Foundation, demanding prompt action on the issue. Arguing for petitioners on Wednesday, lawyer Anil Sakhre told the court that several other states — notably Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana — have issued notifications and have begun implementing the rule.

Reacting to this statement, the division bench of Justices D D Sinha and V K Tahilramani said, “If other states can take steps towards implementation of this rule, we see no reason why Maharashtra should not follow suit.”

The court directed the state government to issue a notification implementing the rule within two months. The government has also been directed to form a committee to put the regulations into practice.

The judges were irked while noting that the state government had earlier issued a draft notification on the issue, but was now planning to withdraw it or make modifications in it. “We cannot go on granting time. There needs to be a reasonable cause for delay. Why have you not taken action?” Justice D D Sinha asked.

The court said the notification should be issued “as early as possible” and observed that it is a matter of major public concern.





Adulterated milk: HC asks govt to reply by January 25

TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 01.36AM IST

NEW DELHI: Taking cognizance of a TOI report on rampant milk adulteration in the capital, the Delhi high court on Wednesday sought a response from the Central and state governments by January 25.

A bench of acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Shah took suo motu note of the report that 70 per cent of the milk samples picked up from the city were found to be contaminated, in a survey. HC issued notice to the city government’s food adulteration department and the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which comes under the Central government.

The report highlighted adulteration of milk relying on a survey by a government agency.

The FSSAI survey was conducted across the country and “elsewhere in the 33 states and UTs studied, milk was found adulterated with detergent, fat and even urea, besides the age-old dilution with water. Across the country, 68.4% of the samples were found contaminated.”

According to FSSAI, 70 per cent of the milk samples, taken for testing from the capital, were found to be contaminated with glucose and skimmed milk powder.

The report further claimed that almost 69% of the samples tested by the government agency across the country were found to be adulterated with detergent, fat and even urea, besides water. According to the report, the samples taken for testing by FSSAI from urban areas included both packed as well as loose milk.

The Delhi government has instructed big milk suppliers in the capital to adhere to prescribed safety standards by establishing a number of checks and balances at every stage and upgrade their laboratories.

Health Minister A K Walia chaired a meeting with big milk suppliers on Wednesday. “The test of milk quality and purity should be conducted at the first level, that is, procurement of milk from initial producers, in-house testing during processing of the milk and random testing by way of picking up a few marketed pouches of milk from various localities,” said Walia.





‘SC can’t seek RTI exemption for CJI office as case is pending’

TNN Jan 5, 2012, 01.06AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has observed that the Supreme Court cannot demand blanket exemption of information held by the office of the Chief Justice of India while a case is pending before it. While admitting that not all matters related to SC’s in-house procedures and vigilance matters can be disclosed the CIC said that if the legislature had intended for complete exclusion of the office of the CJI from the scope of the RTI Act, it would have kept an express provision for the purpose.

The Commission also ruled that the procedure of judges’ appointment should be in the public domain while asking the apex court to disclose communication between CJI and the law ministry on the question of proposed changes in appointment procedure for judges.

Hearing cases related to the SC filed by activist S C Agrawal, chief information commissioner Satyananda Mishra said, “While we concede that due to the stay granted by the Supreme Court, all information relating to the in-house procedure of the Supreme Court and vigilance matters relating to the Judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court should not be disclosed we cannot agree that every information held in the office of the CJI should not be disclosed till the Constitutional Bench officially disposes of the issues referred to it by the Division Bench….Acceptance of this argument would virtually mean the complete exclusion of the CJI from the scope of the RTI Act which certainly is not the case.”

He said the claim that said file containing the correspondence between the law ministry and the CJI is not available with the registry may be true but it does not clarify if this is available anywhere else in the SC such as in the office of the CJI or not.

“Therefore, the CPIO must look for this information once again and, if found, provide to the appellant. We direct the CPIO to do so within 10 working days of getting this order,” he said

The Commission has also directed that procedure of appointment of judges should be disclosed and not seen as providing information on individual cases. “The procedure of appointment of judges or any proposal for modifying that procedure should necessarily be available in the public domain so that the citizens know what is transpiring among the major stake holders, in this case, the government of India and the CJI, in respect of such a vital matter as the appointment of judges to the High Courts and Supreme Court of India,” Mishra said in an order.

Rejecting the arguments of the SC that the information related to judges’ appointment cannot be disclosed as there is a stay, the Commissioner said a distinction needs to be made between the process of appointment of an individual as a judge and the procedure for making such appointments.

The case relates to plea of activist Subhash Agrawal seeking disclosure of law ministry’s draft of revised memorandum of procedure of appointment of judges in higher courts and the related exchange of communication between the then CJI K G Balakrishnan and the law minister.

The Supreme Court Registry had objected citing a pending stay on disclosure of information related to the in-house procedure of appointment of judges and said the details sought by the applicant do no constitute “information” under RTI.

It said the office of CJI was not constitutionally or statutorily required to hold this information hence it does not come under section 2(j) of the RTI Act. Both the arguments were rejected by CIC.





High Courts must not allow seat increase in private medical colleges through interim orders: Supreme Court

TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 06.19AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday frowned upon the practice in some high courts to pass interim orders permitting private medical colleges to increase their MBBS seats despite the regulator, Medical Council of India, refusing to allow hike in student intake after scrutinizing the institution’s infrastructure and teaching facilities.

This ruling came from a bench of Justices H L Dattu and Chandramauli Kumar Prasad, which allowed the MCI’s appeal against a Karnataka HC interim order permitting JSS Medical College to increase its student intake from 150 to 200 for the academic year 2011-12. This means, the college will now have to cancel the admission of the 50 additional students.

The college had applied to MCI in June last year seeking increase of its seats from 150 to 250. After the inspecting team gave a report on the college’s inadequate infrastructure, clinical material and faculty, MCI declined the request. Later, the college approached the Karnataka HC, which by an interim order granted the relief.

The bench rejected contentions of senior advocate K K Venugopal, who appeared for the college, and said in normal circumstances, HCs should not issue interim orders granting permission to increase seats in medical colleges as in case of reversal of such decisions, students would suffer.

Accepting MCI counsel senior advocate Nidesh Gupta’s argument, the apex court said, “In most such cases, when finally the issue is decided against the college, the welfare and plight of the students are ultimately projected to arouse sympathy of the court. It results in very awkward and difficult situation.”

Justice Prasad, who authored the judgment for the bench, said, “If on ultimate analysis it is found that the college’s claim for increase of seats is untenable, in such an event the admission of students with reference to the increased seats shall be illegal. We cannot imagine anything more destructive of the rule of law than a direction by the court to allow continuance of such students, whose admissions are found illegal in the ultimate analysis.”

Though the court set aside the HC’s interim order, it requested the HC to expeditiously decide the college’s petition on merit without being influenced by the observations made by the bench.






Delhi blast case: Supreme Court quashes death sentence awarded to Pakistani

J. Venkatesan

The Hindu A division bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday passed a split verdict on the plea of a Pakistani national challenging his conviction and death sentence awarded to him in the 1997 Delhi blast case.

Bench split on whether to order fresh trial or set the accused at liberty

Underlining the importance of fair trial and due procedure contemplated under Article 21 of the Constitution even to a foreign national, the Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside the death sentence awarded to a Pakistani terrorist found guilty in the 1997 Delhi bomb blast case.

Though the Bench, comprising Justices H.L. Dattu and C.K. Prasad, set aside the Delhi High Court judgment, the judges gave a split verdict in the case. Justice Dattu ordered a fresh trial, holding that the trial was vitiated as the appellant was not provided with counsel to defend himself properly, while Justice Prasad held that the trial was illegal and directed him to be set at liberty and ordered his deportation.

Justice Dattu said: “I direct the trial court to conclude the trial as expeditiously as possible at any rate within an outer limit of three months from the date of communication of this order and report the same to this Court.”

Justice Prasad said: “The appellant must be seeing the hangman’s noose in his dreams and dying every moment while awake from the day he was awarded the sentence of death, more than seven years ago. The right to speedy trial is a fundamental right and though a rigid time limit is not countenanced, in the facts of the present case, I am of the opinion that after such a distance of time it shall be a travesty of justice to direct de novo trial.”

However, in view of the split verdict, the Bench requested that the matter be placed before the Chief Justice of India to seek another Bench to decide whether the case was to be given a fresh hearing or the accused should be set at liberty.

Mohammad Hussain alias Zulfikur Ali, the appellant, was awarded the death sentence after having been found guilty of placing a bomb in a blue line bus at Rampura bus stand here on December 30, 1997, and causing an explosion in which four persons were killed and 24 sustained injuries.

Justice Dattu said the trial court “ought to have seen to it that the accused was dealt with justly and fairly by keeping in view the cardinal principle that [the person] accused of a crime is entitled to counsel which may be necessary for his defence, as well as to facts as to law. The necessity of counsel was so vital and imperative that the failure of the trial court to make an effective appointment of counsel was a denial of due process of law.”

Justice Prasad, however, said: “Howsoever guilty the appellant upon the inquiry might have been, he is, until convicted, presumed to be innocent. The fate of the criminal trial depends upon the truthfulness or otherwise of the witnesses and, therefore, it is of paramount importance. To arrive at the truth, its veracity should be judged, and for that purpose, cross-examination is an acid test. It [cross examination] tests the truthfulness of the statement made by a witness on oath in examination-in-chief. Its purpose is to elicit facts and materials to establish that the evidence of witness is fit to be rejected.”

Justice Prasad said the appellant was “denied this right only because he himself was not trained in law and not given the assistance of a lawyer to defend himself. Poverty also came in his way to engage counsel of his choice. It is true, in that incident, four persons have lost their lives and several innocent persons have sustained severe injuries. Further, the crime was allegedly committed by a Pakistani, but these factors do not cloud my reason. After all, we are proud to be a democratic country and governed by rule of law.

“By passage of time, it is expected that many of the witnesses may not be found due to change of address and various other reasons and a few of them may not be in this world. Hence, any time limit to conclude the trial would not be pragmatic.”





Supreme Court chides itself, govt for judicial backlog

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 05.57AM IST

NEW DELHI: Anguished over the state of affairs of the justice delivery system, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said people’s faith in judiciary was dwindling at an alarming rate, posing a grave threat to constitutional and democratic governance of the country.

If the apex court highlighted the non-filling of nearly 300 posts of high court judges to reflect the deficiency in itself as HC judges are selected and recommended for appointment by a collegium headed by the Chief Justice of India, it was highly critical of the government for talking tall about fighting the pendency of 2.77 crore cases in trial courts but doing nothing on the ground.

A bench of Justices A K Ganguly and T S Thakur was unsparing in its comments while candid in acknowledging the woes – large number of vacancies in trial courts, unwillingness of lawyers to become judges, failure of the apex judiciary in filling vacant HC judges posts and the dragging of feet by the Centre in keeping its promises.

On the vacancies in HCs, the bench said, “The Allahabad High Court is the largest high court but 50% of judges’ post are lying vacant. It is an area of grave concern. People are getting more and more aware of their rights and want speedy justice. The courts cannot stop filing of cases on the ground that there are vacancies. But the vacancies in the HCs are not getting filled. This is posing grave threat to constitutional and democratic governance system as people are resorting to extra-judicial methods to sort out their disputes.”

Turning its attention to the government, the bench said UPA-2 had with much fanfare announced the Vision Document promising to appoint 5,000 ad-hoc judges to wipe out a pendency of 2.77 crore cases in the trial courts. “Three years have gone by. Except for the announcement, nothing has been done. The scheme is also wholly unworkable as lawyers were not interested in permanent posts of judges and would they take up ad-hoc appointments to dispense justice on a daily wage?”

Amicus curiae and senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, who as solicitor general had contributed to the drafting of the Vision Document in 2009 when M Veerappa Moily was the law minister, joined the bench in criticizing the government. “When the government says it respects the judiciary and its independence, there is a hidden line in it. The courts are not being given importance that is why the justice dispensation system is in such a disarray,” he added.

But, the bench said how would the judiciary ask the government about what it has done. “The government will say ‘out of 900 sanctioned strength of high court judges 300 are lying vacant, why don’t you appoint’,” it said.

However, it wanted to seek answers from the government on amicus curiae’s suggestion that access to justice must be made a constitutional right and consequently the executive must provide necessary infrastructure for ensuring every citizen enjoyed this right. It also wanted the Centre to detail the work being done by the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms. The hearing would continue on Thursday.





High Court questions government favouring jallikattu

Staff Reporter

The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday questioned the authority of the State government to take a stand in favour of Jallikattu when the Centre had issued a notification on July 11 last prohibiting the use of bulls in public performances.

A Division Bench of Justices Chitra Venkataraman and R. Karuppiah directed Additional Advocate General (AAG) K. Chellapandian to obtain instructions from the government on the question posed by them and make his submissions by Thursday.

The direction was issued during the hearing of a batch of writ petitions filed both in favour as well as against the conduct of Jallikattu. Those against the sport included Animal Welfare Board of India and S. Radha Rajan, an animal lover from Chennai. Arguing on behalf of the latter, senior counsel R. Ashok Vardhan contended that the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had rightly banned the use of bulls for such events by exercising its authority under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

However, Additional Solicitor General M. Ravindran sought two weeks time to file a counter affidavit as the issue involved legal questions such as a conflict between the Centre’s notification and Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act, 2009.

Then, the AAG intervened and said that the Bench could permit Jallikattu this year alone by ordering strict compliance of the conditions imposed by the Supreme Court in a series of interim orders passed by it between January 2008 and March 2011 on the issue.

Not in agreement with such a plea, Ms. Justice Chitra Venkataraman said that the Supreme Court orders were passed before the Centre’s notification and hence those orders would not be relevant in the present scenario when there was a specific ban on using bulls as ‘performing animals.’

“Let there be a ban for two weeks until they (the Centre) file their counter,” the judge said prompting the AAG to say that banning the event would create a law and order problem. He said that Jallikattu had been a traditional sport of Tamils for more than 400 years.

“It is your [State government's] duty to maintain law and order. We did not expect this kind of submission. You could have challenged the notification. What were you doing since July when you pretty well knew that after July, it will be January?” the judge retorted.

Then, M. Ajmal Khan, counsel for one of the petitioners who was in favour of the sport, contended that Section 21 of the PCA Act, which empowers the Centre to issue such a notification, was unconstitutional as it gave unfettered right to the executive to override even State legislations.





Rescued street children do a vanishing act

Published: Wednesday, Jan 11, 2012, 10:43 IST
By Imran Gowhar | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

A child begging racket was busted and 300 children rescued in December, but now the so-called parents and caretakers of these children have hoodwinked the authorities and taken custody of children by producing fake documents such as address proof.

Sources in the Child Welfare Committee-I — in charge of rescue and rehabilitation of boys — said that they came across at least five cases wherein people claiming to be parents furnished fake documents to get the children released from custody. The committee handed over the children after the parents gave undertakings that they would take care of them.

But when Child Welfare Committee (CWC) members, along with the police, tried visiting the residences earlier this month to ensure the well-being of these children, they were shocked to learn that the addresses given by the ‘parents’did not exist. “We suspect that the parents, fearing constant scrutiny, may have gone back to their native places; 70% of them hail from Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan,” said a committee member.

“Suspecting something fishy, we have intensified our operations on checking the details of the children who have been taken away by their parents,” said the member. CWC rescued 40 children in December. Among them, 12 boys in the age group of seven to 18 years have been admitted to various schools under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, he said. The rest of them were sent back with their parents.

Similarly, with CWC-II — in charge of rescuing and rehabilitating girls — there are several cases wherein ‘parents’ have returned home with their children. Now, the CWC suspects that many ‘parents’ provided false addresses.

CWC-II chairperson Nina Jain said the committee will meet on Friday to discuss the issue and submit a report to the government. Joint commissioner of police Pranab Mohanty is shocked by this revelation. “The committee cannot be so irresponsible while dealing with this issue. How can it hand over the children without verification? If this is true, it is serious and action will be taken against the persons responsible,” he said.





Traffic dept includes school bus drivers in safety drive

Prajakta Chavan, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 12, 2012

Following the school bus mishap in which nine-year-old Viraj Parmar lost his life in November and mounting pressure to enforce the school bus policy, the transport authorities are making drivers of these buses attend sessions on road safety during their ongoing road safety drive. This is the first time a session has been scheduled for school bus staff, in which the drivers and cleaners of school buses are counselled and sensitised about safety measures. 

“Each school bus ferries 45 to 50 students, and therefore providing traffic and safety knowledge to those who drive them is essential. Besides, considering the past incidents, we decided to make them aware of road safety measures, traffic violations, school bus policy, safety rules, and so on,” said Ravinder Patil, senior police inspector of DN Nagar traffic division, which invited over 100 bus drivers from 35 schools in and around DN Nagar to Children Welfare Center (CWC) High School, Yari Road, on Wednesday.

“School bus accidents are on the rise and therefore educating their drivers and cleaners about safety norms is in the students’ interest. We will soon have a session for degree college students, too. The importance of safety rules like wearing seat belts, helmets, following traffic norms, etc. has to be inculcated in people through public awareness,” said Ajay Kaul, principal of CWC high school.

The Andheri regional transport office (RTO) had conducted an awareness program for school bus drivers on January 4 at their office. “We dedicated an entire session for school bus drivers in which 150 drivers from 80 schools participated. These drivers are responsible for around 50 lives, so educating them and clearing their doubts is the first step towards safety of children,” said DV Modak, assistant RTO, Andheri.

Other programs like eye and medical check up, counselling sessions for auto and taxi drivers informing them about various traffic violations and penalties, are also being held across the city.






RTI not to be used for judicial orders: CIC

New Delhi, Jan 11, DHNS:

The Central Information Commission has held that the Right to Information (RTI) Act cannot be used to get details of orders or judgments from the Supreme Court or the High Courts.

Significantly, the transparency panel clarified that since the Supreme Court as well as High Courts prescribed their own set of rules for providing judicial records, the information seekers could not use the RTI Act for that purpose.

“We have very clearly held that the Right to Information (RTI) Act does not override the provisions of such rules and orders made by the Supreme Court or the High Courts as there is nothing inconsistent in those rules and orders.

“Section 22 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act comes into play only in cases of inconsistency in any existing law. Since the disclosure of information is the common objective of both the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the rules and orders of the Supreme Court and High Courts, the latter will continue to prevail in matters of disclosure of certified copies of judicial records,” Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said.

The Commission was hearing an appeal filed by Delhi resident Het Ram challenging the decision of the Chief Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the Supreme Court directing him to approach the particular department under the relevant rules to get a copy of an order passed on his application filed in 1992.

Ram wanted to know the “fate” of his application filed in connection with a special leave petition (SLP) pursued by him.

During the hearing before Commission, the SC officials submitted that Ram could seek the copy of the order after filing an application under rules.

The panel headed by Mishra allowed the contention of the apex court. “We have also held that wherever any citizen is seeking the certified copy of any judicial record from the Supreme Court or the High Court, he should get such copies from the respective court under the respective rules and orders of the court and not under the Right to Information (RTI) Act,” the panel held.






Cong woos sadhus with promise to scrap Public Trust Act

Express news service : Rajkot, Thu Jan 12 2012, 05:08 hrs

Cashing in on protests by various religious bodies and leaders, including Dwarka Sharda Peeth Shankaracharya Swarupanand Saraswati, against the Narendra Modi government, the Congress today promised to scrap the Gujarat Public Trust Act 2011 if the party is voted to power in the next Assembly elections.

“This is a draconian Act. The Congress will scrap the law when it comes to power,” said Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Arjun Modhwadia during the Sardar Sandesh Yatra at Bhuj in Kutch district.

On BJP’s claims that the Congress had supported the Bill when it was passed by the Assembly in July last year, Modhwadia said, “Even then the Congress was against the act, and even today It is against it. It has become a major issue as the Act would affect even the people in small villages across the state.”

He maintained that not only the Act, but also the Sadhavana Mission has irked saints and sadhus. “First Modi used the 2002 riots to divide people on religious ground to come to power. Now, he has been trying to reach out to Muslims to reach Delhi.”

The Act, which is yet to be implemented, has landed the BJP in the soup in the election year with leading religious figures from various sects putting their foot down demanding its complete rollback.

Sankrachaya, who last week chaired a meet attended by several saints and sadhus from across Gujarat at Dwarka, formed a group to oppose the Act.

They have asked the state government to scrap the Gujarat Public Trust Act or face consequences in the next Assembly elections.






Sex determination test: 3 doctors sent to jail

PTI | Jan 12, 2012, 08.54PM IST

BEED(MAHA): A court here today sentenced three doctors to one-year rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 on each of them for conducting a sonography test to determine sex of the foetus.

Chief Judicial Magistrate S S Salvi pronounced Dr Madhav Sanap, Dr Sayyad Tareq and Dr Arun Satpute guilty under the Pre-Conception Pre Natal Diagnostic Test (PCPNDT)Act and awarded the punishment. According to the Prosecution, on September 7, 2005 social activist and lawyer Varsha Deshpande had conducted a sting operation by sending four-month pregnant woman Kavita Lokhande as decoy patient to Bhagwan Hospital belonging to Dr Madhav Sanap.

Advocate Shaila Jadhav and Maya Pawar had accompanied Kavita as her relatives and asked for sex determination of the foetus. Dr Sanap called radiologist Dr Sayyad Tareq and carried out sonography of Kavita and informed them about the sex of the child. Dr Arun Satpute who owned the sonography machine had taken Rs 1,050 by way of charges for the illegal test. On September 12, 2005, Former District Civil Surgeon Dr B D Pawar seized all articles of the hospital and a case was registered under the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act 1993 and 2003 against the three doctors.






Congress ‘convicted’ candidate: High Court reserves verdict

Ashish Tripathi, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 08.42PM IST

LUCKNOW: Justice Ajay Lamba of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday reserved verdict on the criminal appeal filed by Dilip Kumar Verma, Congress candidate from Nanpara assembly constituency.

The appeal is against judgement of a trial court in Bahriach which sentenced Verma to five year’s jail term for offences under Arms Act and SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. The trial court had convicted Dilip and Kuldip Verma for assaulting a police constable Shiv Sahay and a home guard Ram Bahadur Singh in full public view.

Verma’s lawyer Nagendra Mohan, however, argued that since a police officer to the rank of sub-inspector had investigated the matter, the conviction under SC/ST Act does not sustain. He also contended that since the appellants had not used the weapons, the offences under Arms Act were also not established. It is unnatural that two cops armed with official weapons could be assaulted without any offering any resistance, argued the lawyer. Additional government advocate Rajendra Kumar Dwivedi vehemently opposed the appeal and said that the apex court held that an investigation conducted by an inferior officer would not vitiate the judgement rendered by the trial court. “If the weapons are put on chest to threaten the persons, it cannot be said that the weapon is not used. In fact it is misused,” argued Dwivedi.

Dilip carries a long criminal history of seven cases including murder and attempt to murder registered in different police stations of Bahraich. The investigating officer had collected the said antecedent and cited in the case diary. Dilip is also facing trial in a Bahraich court relating to attempted murder in which he along with his supporters had attacked upon a police station and assaulted police officers, when he was a MLA of the Samajwadi Party in 2004.






Erring judges: Government, Supreme Court differ on response

Himanshi Dhawan, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 06.47AM IST

NEW DELHI: At a time when judicial accountability is being hotly debated, the government and the Supreme Court appear to have shrugged off responsibility on the procedure to deal with complaints against erring judges with both giving contradictory RTI responses.

While the justice department said that the chief justice of the high court concerned and the CJI (for judges of the SC and the chief justices of other courts) had the competent authority to ascertain facts and take appropriate action, the then CJI Y K Sabharwal had in response to an RTI plea in 2006 rejected a complaint for action against an HC judge on the basis that neither the SC nor the CJI were “appointing or disciplinary authority” in respect of judges of superior courts.

Significantly the government has also said that there was no provision to restrict HC judges from their entitlement of post-retirement benefits even if the judges had resigned prematurely to avoid contempt proceedings.

When asked in an RTI plea by activist S C Agrawal on action taken against judges, the justice department in its reply dated December 30, 2011 referred to a conference of chief justices in 1990, saying that the CJI had summed up the position by saying, “The CJ of the HC has the competence to receive complaints against the conduct of the judges of his court… where he is satisfied that the matter requires to be examined, he shall have facts ascertained in such a manner as he considers appropriate keeping the nature of allegations in view and if he is of the opinion that the matter is such that it should be reported to the CJI, he shall do so. The CJI shall act in a similar manner in regard to complaints relating to conduct of judges of the SC and CJs of high courts.”

In the 2006 reply to Agrawal, SC registrar and appellate authority Hemant Sampat quoted the then CJI Sabhawal and said, “Neither the SC nor the CJI were appointing or disciplinary authority in respect of judges of superior courts, including judges of HCs.” Agrawal had in October 2005 complained against an HC judge misusing his position to former CJI R C Lahoti. No action was taken against the complaint. Agrawal approached the Central Information Commission (CIC) which in an order in April 2006 asked the SC to disclose the status of the complaint. Sabharwal’s order in response to the CIC direction was that the he had examined the matter and found no merit in the complaint.







LEGAL NEWS 11.01.2012

SHRC tells state to improve beggar homes


Posted: Tue Jan 10 2012, 00:32 hrs Mumbai:

Chiding the state government for lack of adequate infrastructure and poor security arrangements at beggars homes across the state, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has directed it to take immediate measures to ensure no inmates escape from the homes.

The SHRC chairperson has described the apathy shown towards the matter as a “sorry state of affairs’’. The matter was referred to the state commission by the National Commission after an inmate named Baliram alias Usuf Ali from the Satara beggars home went missing on December 21, 2002.

Despite the NHRC directing the state to launch a search into the missing case, no action was taken. SHRC chairperson Kshitij Vyas has observed that the Satara case was not the only case, but the issue of inmates escaping from these homes was prevalent across the state.

“The superintendents of these homes (beggars home/ juvenile homes/ remand homes situated in different parts of the state) have informed the commission about the missing/ absconding/ escapes of inmates from the respective homes,” observed Vyas in the order.

Observing that an urgent review is needed, the commission has asked the Chief Secretary to intervene in the matter and review the functioning of these homes. He was also asked to take necessary action for apprehending the escaped inmates.

The beggars home complexes across the state have run-down structures with several rows of small barracks built half a century ago. The homes are established under The Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, that makes begging in public places a punishable offence.

The barracks, that are in a state of extreme neglect and disrepair, serve as a temporary home for over 180 men and over 200 female beggars rounded up by the police and brought to the home to be reformed and imparted vocational training.

However, none of the beggar homes has enough personnel deployed, making it easy for the inmates to escape from the barracks. The commission has asked the superintendent of each beggar home to submit an exhaustive report on the causes and circumstances under which certain inmates have absconded or escaped from these homes.








DoT asks TDSAT for copy of 3G deals, telcos fear information leak


NEW DELHI: The legal battle between service providers, which entered into 3G roaming agreements, and department of telecom (DoT) took a new turn on Monday after the latter asked the telecom tribunal for copies of the agreements.

However, mobile operators, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, opposed this request fearing leakage of commercially sensitive information from DoT to the telcos’ rivals.

Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) deferred the decision on the matter till January 17, allowing operators to offer services.

Last year, operators entered into pacts that allowed them to use each others’ airwaves and offer 3G services, such as video calling and high-speed internet on phones seamlessly across the country, even though none had all-India airwaves. Bharti, Idea and Vodafone entered into one agreement while Tata and Aircel entered another.

DoT sought roaming agreements from the tribunal and assured that they would be kept confidential. Telecom department’s legal counsel said that the telcos had shared the agreements with the sector regulator Trai and hence could share them with the department, who was the licensor. DoT did not put in a written request. But lawyers representing the telecom companies opposed this demand and said that the move would be unfair to the telcos.

CS Vaidyanathan representing one of the mobile operators said that the court should tell DoT to file an application for getting the agreements to which the telcos will file a reply.

“If they want a copy, let them file a proper application and then we would file our objection,” said Vaidyanathan.

Last week, DoT questioned the tribunal’s jurisdiction on entertaining the petitions of five telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone, challenging the government’s directive to stop 3G roaming agreements.

Telecom department’s legal counsel additional solicitor general AS Chandiok had cited a Supreme Court judgement that mentioned that the tribunal could not entertain petitions on altering terms of telecom licence.

DoT earlier termed roaming agreements between operators as illegal and in violation of various terms and conditions of the licence and notice inviting applications for auctions in 2010.

On December 23 last year, DoT issued notices to the telcos ordering them to immediately stop these services within 24 hours.

Mobile phone companies then obtained a stay on the DoT order from TDSAT even as they alleged the government of reneging on promises with “retrograde”, “irrational” and “illegal” decisions.

The tribunal barred the telecom ministry from taking any “coercive” action against telcos offering them temporary respite. Operators had said they had entered into these roaming deals with the full knowledge and blessings of the DoT, which they said had allowed such pacts before the 3G airwaves auction.







Show no violence in shows, says BCCC


Divya Pal, TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 12.00AM IST

There’s someone watching what you’re watching. The Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC), a body formed by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation in June last year, has received 3441 complaints against Indian TV programmes in a period of just six months.

Of these, 479 complaints have been considered seriously and action taken on them. “Ghazab Desh Ki Ajab Kahani“, a show hosted by Rakhi Sawant, which got into trouble after a participant committed suicide, got the highest number of complaints – 58. Sunny Leone’s participation got “Bigg Boss 5″ the second highest number of complaints at 36.

Wajahat Habibullah, chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities and a member of BCCC, said, “A majority of these complaints have been made by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. There are many which are not substantive. These complaints not only raise an objection to the content of the show, but also the impact these shows can leave on kids if not aired during restricted hours. Hence, we have had discussions with the TV companies along these lines. BCCC has also taken strong action on complaints filed against the victimization of women and the graphic depiction of violence against them. The issue is that when a crime is aired on TV, women shouldn’t be shown as victims. If it has to be shown, then it should be done with some degree of sensitivity. Graphic descriptions detailing how her arm was twisted or how she was attacked by a dagger or even burnt, should be avoided. These matters were also taken up by representatives of the National Commission of Women (NCW) in the meeting.”

According to Anoop Soni, who has been hosting “Crime Patrol” for close to two years, the crime-based show’s main motive is to make people aware of violent crimes. Hence, it is important for the director to ensure the stories get a real portrayal. “”Crime Patrol” is based on factual stories of crime. If we dramatize real-life crime, it is to make people aware of what’s happening in society. And to ensure these stories are kept real, the representation, at times, has to be intense, if not graphic. We have reduced the bloodshed shown on the show because we don’t want to sensationalize things. We want to sensitize people instead,” he says, adding, “The response from viewers has been so positive that we have been requested to air the show in the primetime slot.” BP Singh, director, “CID”, tells us he is, at times, told by the viewers that the show teaches people how to commit crimes. “I don’t understand this viewpoint. How can one create awareness without showing crimes? Aur jisko jo seekhna hai, woh wohi seekhega. In our show, we make it a point that no woman is ill-treated by the cops. We avoid showing blood-splattered floors or bodies in a pool of blood. Agar zyaada blood hota hai toh usko bhi hum edit kar dete hain,” he says.

For actor Karanvir Bohra, who plays an over-possessive and abusive husband and physically attacks his wife in “Dil Se Di Dua Saubhagyavati Bhava“, stringent legal action against real life criminals is more important. “There are several women in India who are subjected to domestic violence and abuse. Don’t you think we should pay more attention to real life cases? Why is there a spurt in such instances? Because those who are guilty are never punished. We can change this by making women aware of their rights and the legal help they can seek. Through our show, we have tried to tell viewers that a man who suffers from bipolar disorder needs medical help. So we portray violence – by using shadows or silhouette – to spread the message. I may be playing a violent husband, but that’s to help women understand what they can do if placed in a similar situation.”

BCCC can scrutinize complaints filed against any non-news and current affairs content programme broadcast that:
Works against national interest
Has slanderous content
Disrupts racial and religious harmony
Promotes kissing, sex/nudity
n Endorses violence/crime, gambling, horror/occult
Besides viewers, NGOs, RWAs, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, etc also have the right to file a complaint.
Action taken by the BCCC
Gazab Desh Ki Ajab Kahaniyaan: The BCCC said that the content of the episode telecast on August 5, 2011, is not suitable for children and young viewers, and so the channel should exercise discretion in future while selecting the content of the programme.
Bigg Boss 5: The BCCC called the channel for a hearing on December 23, 2011. On Sunny’s entry in the show and the alleged promotion of pornography, it directed Colors to exercise caution while selecting participants for such shows in the future. But it agreed with the channel’s position that content of the show by itself is not violative of self-regulatory guidelines and also that there is no evidence to suggest that there is a link between Colors and cross promotion of Bigg Boss 5 being done on Leone’s websites.

“In a meeting that was held on Friday, it was decided that victimization of women shouldn’t be encouraged on the small screen. The tendency on TV is to deal with violence against women in a graphic way. So we have discussed the same with some channels. In some cases, we have issued a warning and in others, we have asked them not to repeat the programmes. Besides Colors, we also asked Sony not to repeat “Prayshchit Gunahon Ka”. We also considered “Crime Patrol” for the way violence in general and against women specifically was treated on the show. We also passed an order against a show called “Keya Patar Nouko” on Zee Bangla, in which the male lead brutally beats up every woman. We have decided to issue a general advisory to all channels to avoid the same in future. As for restricted hours, they begin from 11pm and go on till 5am. We have also issued an advisory to ensure controversial promos of the shows are not aired during afternoons.
Justice AP Shah, chairperson, BCCC







Supreme Court seeks report on interlinking of rivers

The Supreme Court on Monday wanted to know about the work done by the Centre on the project for interlinking of rivers and asked the amicus curie to file a short note on it.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia, asked advocate Ranjit Kumar, who is assisting the court, to file the report within a week.

Earlier, the apex court had said that it would not favour interlinking of rivers if it causes huge a financial burden on the Centre and asked for a report on its costs.

“My concern is only with what is the financial liability of the project. We want to make it clear that we would not pass order on it if it causes huge financial burden,” the bench had said.

The river interlinking project was the brainchild of the NDA government and in October 2002, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had formed a task force to get the project going against the backdrop of the acute drought that year.

The task force had submitted a report recommending division of the project into two —— the Peninsular component and the Himalayan component.

The Peninsular component —— involving the rivers in southern India —— envisaged developing a ‘Southern Water Grid’ with 16 linkages. This component included diversion of the surplus waters of the Mahanadi and Godavari to the Pennar, Krishna, Vaigai and Cauvery.

The task force had also mooted the diversion of the west-flowing rivers of Kerala and Karnataka to the east, the interlinking of small rivers that flow along the west coast, south of Tapi and north of Mumbai and interlinking of the southern tributaries of the river Yamuna.

The Himalayan component envisaged building storage reservoirs on the Ganga and the Brahmaputra and their main tributaries both in India and Nepal in order to conserve the waters during the monsoon for irrigation and generation of hydro-power, besides checking floods.






Baba Ramdev: Supreme Court eye on Ramlila swoop ‘lie’


Published: Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012, 9:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

The Supreme Court has put the Home Ministry and Delhi police on alert saying if it’s found that the affidavit filed by them in the mid night swoop on Yoga guru Ramdev’s followers and attack on him in early June is misleading, it would initiate proceedings against the ministry and Union government.

While continuing with the suo motu proceedings questioning the reported police highhandedness against Ram Dev and the innocent yoga learners at Ram Lila ground, a bench of Justice BS Chauhan and Justice Swantanter Kumar on Monday took serious note of the contention made by Rajeev Dhawan, who is assisting the court in this matter, that June 4-5, 2011 crackdown was pre-planned by the home ministry and to derive political benefits.

In its affidavit, police commissioner BK Gupta had claimed that it acted on its own during the crackdown.

It had also blamed Baba Ramdev for organising the unlawful assembly as the authorities had granted permission to the Yoga teacher to use the ground only to hold a yoga camp and not for any other purpose such as anti corruption agitation.

Rajeev Dhawan, who is the amicus curiae or senior lawyer assigned to assist the court, had said in the last hearing that it was upon Chidambaram’s advice that the police intervened.

Dhawan also said that records, which include Chidambaram’s interviews at the time show that the crackdown on the camp had been planned by the government well in advance.When the crackdown was staged, the yoga teacher had been in negotiations with senior ministers over how they should recover black money stashed abroad.

According to Dhawan the documents including a press release from home minister P Chidambaram’s office on June 8said, “A decision was taken that Baba Ramdev would not be allowed to organize any procession or to undertake any fast at the Ramlila Maidan ground. If he persisted in his efforts to do so, he will be directed to remove himself from Delhi.”Dhawan drew the court’s attention to the press note.

“This suggests that the decision was taken at the home minister’s level, but suspended while talks with Ramdev were on… and when talks failed, the police enforced the decision,” he said while rubbishing the police claim that it had acted of its own.










PTI | 05:01 PM,Jan 09,2012

The FIR was registered following Supreme court’s order on The FIR was registered following Supreme court’s order on April 8 last on a writ petition filed by Narmada Bai, Prajapati’s mother. Bai’s petition formed the basis of the FIR, and the probe was being conducted by the special investigation team (SIT) of CBI officers which had earlier probed the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case. Bai had alleged that her son was killed in a fake encounter by the Gujarat police as he was a key eyewitness in the November 2005 killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh. CBI also sought help of the forensic experts in reconstructing the alleged fake encounter of Prajapati by Gujarat police in 2006. The CBI had questioned Yashpal Chudasama and Ajay Patel, two police officers believed to be close to Shah in the last week of December for about four hours. CBI has shown Chudasama and Patel, along with Shah, as accused in the charge sheet they filed in the Soharabuddin case. They have been accused of trying to influence witness and derail CBI probe in the Sheikh encounter case.








2G case: Court rejects CBI plea to declare witness hostile


NEW DELHI: The CBI Special Court on Monday refused to declare ‘hostile’ a prosecution witness after he allegedly retracted one of his statements given to the CBI during investigation, in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

Special CBI judge OP Saini rejected the CBI’s plea to declare Vardharajan Srinivasan – ex-RCOM executive who is currently HDFC Bank’s assistant vice-president for trade and finance – as a hostile witness when he never met or spoke to Hari Nair, Reliance ADA Group senior vice president, an accused in the 2G case.

Judge Saini said “since the matter pertains to a limited point, the witness is not declared hostile but the prosecutor is permitted to cross-examine the witness for the reason that he is resiling from his previous statement”.

The judge also asked him whether he was under “any threat, pressure or coercion”. “Are you making your statement voluntarily and as per your own free will?” the judge asked to which Srinivasan replied in the negative and said that he was making his statement as per his own free will.

CBI’s legal counsel said that Srinivasan, who had earlier said that Nair had told him and another senior executive to submit a form to HDFC Bank for opening an account for Swan Telecom, was not standing by his statement and therefore should be declared hostile.

During cross-examination, Srinivasan said he had taken instructions regarding the letter from his superior AV Venkataramani and on that basis, he had submitted the documents to the bank.

Nair and two other senior group executives – Gautam Doshi and Surendra Pipara – are facing trial for cheating and abetment in the 2G case. They, however, have denied all the charges levelled against them.







Notice to CBI on Unitech MD’s plea for dropping charges against him


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 05.26AM IST

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to the CBI on a plea by Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra for quashing charges framed against him by the agency in the 2G case.

Justice M L Mehta asked the CBI to file its response by March 13 after Chandra argued that the special CBI judge had framed charges against him “in a casual and perfunctory manner and without due application of judicial mind”.

“There was no evidence to show that the petitioner (Chandra) had in any manner conspired with any public servant to cause wrongful gain to himself or wrongful loss to the government of India,” he argued through his counsel.

The petition said there was no evidence that he or his company had paid any bribe for securing the Unified Access Services Licences (UASL) and this distinguishes his case from the rest of the accused.

“Despite this admission of the respondent (CBI), the trial court wrongly linked the bribery allegation and the Unitech Wireless Companies in its order on charge. “In the light of this categorical admission by the respondent (CBI), the petitioners case is no different from that of any of the non-prosecuted persons/companies who were granted LOIs in January 2008 or licences up to March 2007 and subsequently issued licences, or which were granted licences up to March 2007 at the entry fee determined in 2001,” Chandra argued. He said the order of the trial court is not maintainable as the entire case of CBI has failed to apportion any criminality against him.

Chandra, who is currently out on bail, was on April 2, 2010, charged by the CBI along with former telecom communications minister A Raja’s the then personal secretary R.K. Chandolia, ex-telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura and Swan Telecom’s Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka. The trial court had framed charges against him under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act also dealing with criminal conspiracy, cheating, and forgery.

It said he cheated the Department of Telecommunication, despite the fact that eight of the group firms were not eligible for the licences on the date of application.

The trial court had observed that it prima facie appeared that Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd was ineligible for 2G licences and by offloading shares immediately after getting the licences, it bagged huge ill-gotten profits.

The court had discussed the profits earned by Unitech Wireless even though it did not have telecom as its business objective in the Memorandum of Association.







Aarushi case: Rajesh Talwar on bail till Feb 4


Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, January 09, 2012

Giving a breather to dentist Rajesh Talwar, the Supreme Court on Monday directed that he will remain on bail and not be arrested till February 4 when he will appear before a Ghaziabad court to face trial along with his wife, Nupur, in the twin murder case of his daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj.

A bench of justices AK Ganguly and JS Khehar said that any further proceeding regarding his bail will be decided by the Ghaziabad court which will hear the case on February 4.

It also said that the dentist will not leave the city without informing the local police station and his passport will remain in the custody of the Magistrate.

It, however, allowed the CBI to approach the trial court to file any application in the matter.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Rajesh, submitted that his client will appear before the trial court on February 4 in the twin murder case.

14-year-old Aarushi, the only daughter of the Talwars, was found dead with her throat slit at the family’s Noida residence on the intervening night of May 15-16, 2008 and the body of domestic help Hemraj was found on the terrace the next day.

The apex court had, on January 6 asked the dentist couple to face trial in the murder of Aarushi, a class nine student, and Hemraj.

The bench had said there was nothing wrong in the Ghaziabad magistrate’s order taking cognisance against them and putting them on trial as the trial judge passed the order after applying his mind.

“We feel constrained to observe that the court should exercise utmost restraint before interfering in the magistrate’s order,” the bench had said adding, “The magistrate has applied his mind to come to the conclusion of taking cognisance in the case”.

The investigation in the case was initially carried out by the Uttar Pradesh Police which had arrested Aarushi’s father on May 23, 2008.

The probe was subsequently handed over to the CBI on May 29, 2008 and Rajesh was granted bail by the Ghaziabad court on July 11, 2008.

The CBI after probing the murder for over two-and-half years filed its closure report in the case in the Ghaziabad special CBI court, saying it had been unable to find out any evidence to prosecute the Talwars.

The trial court, however, rejected the CBI closure report, saying there was enough prima facie material in the agency’s report to put the couple on trial for their alleged involvement in the twin murders and had issued summons to them to face trial.

The magistrate took cognisance of the case and summoned Talwars on February 9, 2011.

Rajesh and Nupur had subsequently gone to the Allahabad High Court, which had dismissed their pleas to quash the trial court summons and the proceedings initiated against them.

The Talwar couple then approached the apex court which had on March 19 last year stayed the trial against them but it vacated the stay on Friday.






Scrap unique ID project, says plea in high court


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 04.20AM IST

CHENNAI: Without a parliamentary permission to collect personal and biometric details of citizens, the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDA), which issues the all-purpose Aadhaar identity cards, is an illegal entity deserving to be scrapped, a PIL has said in Madras high court.

The first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice K B K Vasuki, before which the PIL filed by S Raju of Vriddhachalam in Cuddalore district came up for admission, refused to stay the functioning of the authority but issued notices to central and state governments, besides the Unique Identification Authority of India, on Monday.

When the matter was taken up for hearing, advocate NGR Prasad, counsel for Raju, submitted that the authority was constituted through an executive order and that it had no powers to compile personal details of people. Headed by co-chairman of Infosys Nandan Nilenkani, the authority has so far spent Rs 673 crore between January 2009 and November 2011. The estimation for the period 2011-2012 would be Rs 1,500 crore, he said. Prasad pointed out that when attempt was made to introduce a bill in the Parliament, the standing committee on finance discussed and rejected the bill. “One of the grounds raised is that the Aadhaar project is a threat to national security and misuse of date of residents,” he said.

Without any statutory source for its existence, the authority has been entering into memorandum of understanding with state and central government organizations and private entities to execute the project, the PIL said, adding that people are being asked to provide details such as name, age, address and scanned image of their finger prints and iris. The Aadhaar card insisted on biometric and demographic information, it said. “It is significant to state that in the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules 2003, there is no mention of collecting biometric data from people,” the PIL said.







Remove UT’s ‘disturbed and dangerous’ tag: PIL


Posted: Tue Jan 10 2012, 02:14 hrs Chandigarh:

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday issued notices to the Centre and UT Administration on a public interest litigation (PIL) demanding the removal of the “disturbed and dangerous” area tag from Chandigarh.

Notices have also been issued to the Ministry of Home Affairs in this regard.

Surinder Bhardwaj, president of the Janta Dal (United) in Chandigarh, has sought directions from the court for the abolition of the Disturbed Area Act — enforced in 1986 in the city owing to terrorism in the region. The petitioner has contended that if the Act — enshrined under Section 3 of the Armed Forces Special Power Act — is abolished, the powers of Administrator for Chandigarh will vest with the Adviser.

He added that in 1986, after the Act was made operational, the Punjab Governor was handed over the additional charge of the UT Administrator.

It has been argued that once the Act will be abolished, the post of the chief commissioner will again come into force and the Adviser will become the Administrator, instead of the Punjab Governor.

Bhardwaj has also stated that the Act should be abolished since it is hampering the tourism prospects of the city. The petition added that to visit Chandigarh, a foreign national has to take special permission from the Chandigarh Administration because of the Disturbed Area Act. Once the Act is abolished, no special permission will be required to visit the city and this will promote tourism. This will also help in the demand for permanent status of Union Territory for Chandigarh, stated the petition.

Bhardwaj submitted that the same Act, which was enforced in Punjab and Haryana as well, was removed in 1997. Such an Act can only be justified in states like Jammu and Kashmir and Assam, he added.








PIL against ‘obscene’ display of women undergarments in shops


Ashish Tripathi, TNN Jan 9, 2012, 06.41PM IST

LUCKNOW: A public interest litigation has been filed in the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court requesting the court to direct the union ministry of women and child development to pass and order making it mandatory for all the shops selling women undergarments at least have a woman employee and a dressing room room. The petitioners also prayed that shops should also be restricted from ‘improper’ display of women undergarments as being done through a female bust.

The petition has been filed by Nutan Thakur and Urmila Pandey, social activists from Institute for Research and Documentation in Social Sciences (IRDS), Lucknow. They also requested the court to direct the ministry to ensure that the order on having a female employee and dressing room besides restriction on obscene display of undergarments is properly monitor and duly complied with.

The petitioner also said that each women and girl have to face many specific women related problems in their day to day dealing in these hops. Many of these shops have only male staff and have no trail room. As a result women are not able to explain their requirements. Wearing of unfit undergarments can also have health side-effects. They also said that obscene display of undergarments in shops is at times embarrassing for women. They referred to the latest law passed in Saudi Arabia allowing only women to work in undergarment shops.








PIL seeks to scrap Nandan Nilekani’s Aadhar project


CHENNAI: Describing the process of preparing all-purpose Aadhar identity cards as illegal, a PIL filed in the Madras High Court has sought to scrap the project, saying personal and biometric details of citizens are being collected without the permission of Parliament.

When the petition filed by S Raju of Vriddhachalam in Cuddalore district came up for admission today, the first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice K B K Vasuki declined to stay functioning of the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) but issued notice to the Centre, Tamil Nadu government and UIDAI.

When the petition was taken up, Raju’s counsel N G R Prasad submitted that the UIDAI, constituted through an executive order, had no powers to compile personal details of people for Aadhar cards. Headed by co-chairman of Infosys Nandan Nilekani, UIDAI has so far spent Rs 673 crore between January 2009 and Nov 2011, while estimated cost for 2011-2012 would be Rs 1,500 crore.

The counsel pointed out that when an attempt was recently made to introduce a Bill in Parliament, the Standing Committee on Finance discussed and rejected it on various grounds. “One of the main grounds raised by the committee is that the Aadhar project is a threat to national security and misuse of data of residents,” he claimed.

Without any statutory source for its existence, UIDAI has been entering into MoUs state governments, central government organisations and private entities to execute the project, it said, adding people are being asked to provide details like name, age, address, apart from scanned images of fingerprints and iris.

“It is significant to state that in the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules 2003, there is no mention of collecting biometric data from the residents.”

Prasad noted that collection of such details without any permission from any statutory authority or Parliament is unconstitutional and that it amounted to serious infringement of the constitutional rights of citizens.

Prasad expressed apprehensions over the Centre’s claims that the details are being compiled for the purpose of security and getting welfare schemes and contended that the possibility of misuse of personal details was very high. “If the project is aimed at distributing welfare schemes, how come income and health related details are not excluded?” he asked.

Noting that the Citizenship Rules 2003 talked only about “visible identification mark”, the PIL said the card is being made mandatory for services like LPG supply and banks. Describing it as “surveillance profiling” and “compulsory extraction of movements” of citizens, the petition sought disbanding of the authority and putting its activities on hold with immediate effect.








PIL filed against the Election Commission’s order to drape statutes


Ashish Tripathi, TNN Jan 9, 2012, 05.07PM IST

LUCKNOW: Even as state government officials started draping statutes of UP chief minister Mayawati and that of elephants and other Dalit leaders in the memorial of Dalit leaders on Monday, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Allahabad High Court against the Election Commission (EC) order to drape statutes. The court has admitted the petition and fixed January 11 as the date of hearing.

On the other hand, the EC has ordred removal of all publicity material highlighting achievement of Mayawati as chief minister from the websites of the state government and its departments. The order came on the complaints of the Opposition parties which said that government websites are being used by the BSP to highlight achievements of Mayawati rule and the promises made her, which is violation of the election code of conduct.

According to initial reports, the PIL has been filed an Allahabad based lawyer against EC’s order to cover elephants.The EC had on Saturday issued directions to cover all the statutes of elephants in Dalit memorials and that of Mayawati so that they cannot be used to influence voter. The decision was taken on the request of the opposition parties who wanted a level playing field in elections. The EC had also directed to cover the statutes of Congress leaders and former prime ministers later Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi.

The EC had directed to cover statutes of elephants because it is the election symbol of the ruling BSP. The BSP had opposed the decision on grounds that it was not given an opportunity to present its defence. BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra had also questioned whether EC will ban use of lotus (BJP’s election symbol), cycle (SP’s election symbol) and hand (Congress election symbol). He had also pointed out that statutes of elephant can be found in every temple in the country and are in President’s house and the Parliament. “Will EC cover them during general elections?” he had questioned.







Withdraw petition for union: HC to students


HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 09, 2012

Students of Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI) hoping to form a students’ union on the lines of the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU), will have to wait some more. In a singular judgment, the high court has asked the petitioners to withdraw their case against the university.

The three petitioners, led by Afroz Alam Sahil, convener of Forum for Student Democracy, had filed a writ petition in the high court in December, seeking directions for electing a students’ union along with judicial intervention for lifting the ban on students’ union elections.

The university has asserted that it has been following the guidelines laid down by the Lyngdoh Committee.

“Jamia has adequate students’ representation. In line with the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations, classes elect their student representatives. We have been avoiding the involvement of political parties in the process, which is what happens when student unions are elected in other universities,” said Najeeb Jung, vice chancellor, JMI.

They have also challenged the petitioners’ credibility, claiming that while Sahil was an ex-student of the university, the other two were complete outsiders.

“Sahil and the two other people are not students of Jamia. Sahil’s name had been struck off the rolls because he was not a serious candidate and was short on attendance. The two other petitioners were never even part of Jamia. We will not permit outsiders to disrupt the peace of the university like this,” added Jung.

The petitioners, however, are not taking this lying down. While they have accepted the court’s order, they are ready to file another public interest litigation (PIL) once they garner adequate student support within Jamia.

“Jamia is trying to flout the Supreme Court norms because the court had mentioned very clearly that no university can ban students union elections and Jamia is going against that,” said Sahil.






City is still ‘disturbed area’


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 06.33AM IST

CHANDIGARH: While Punjab has withdrawn status of ‘disturbed area’ 15 years back, UT still holds the tag by virtue of special notification of the central government. However, taking cognizance, Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday put on notice the Chandigarh administration as well as the ministry of home affairs ( MHA) to respond. Importantly, if the notification is nullified, the post of chief commissioner would be restored, which is held by the Punjab governor, who acts as the Administrator of the city.

The matter would now come up for hearing before the high court on March 5.

The issue surfaced before the division bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover while hearing a public interest (PIL) filed by Sector 7 resident Surinder Singh Bhardwaj.

Petitioner sought directions to quash the notifications issued on December 2, 1986 and December 5, 1991 whereby Chandigarh had been declared as disturbed area by the administrator of Chandigarh. He had also annexed some information obtained under the RTI Act in which UT had recently conceded that the Chandigarh Disturbed Area Act, 1983 is still in place in city.
PIL submitted that the said act was implemented in city along with Punjab during the peak time of militancy in Punjab. However, Punjab has already removed the said act in October 1997, but UT is yet to remove it despite the fact that wholesome and peace has been restored in Punjab and Chandigarh.

It was also submitted by the petitioner that due to the Act, extra forces have been posted at many places in city.





SC Order Pongal Gift for Traders


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: After more than two months, respite for T Nagar traders came in the form of a Supreme Court order to deseal 27 shops and establishments in T Nagar on Monday.

Traders heaved a sigh of relief, but many shop owners are yet to pull up shutters as they are waiting to get a glimpse of the order, said Feroze Khan, treasurer and a partner of Shabnam Garments. The Chennai Corporation and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) had taken action against commercial establishments on Ranganathan Street and Usman Road in T Nagar on October 31, following a directive of the Madras High Court to the CMDA, the Corporation, Metrowater and the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.

“This is happy news after more than two months and it is a consolation to many of us that the shops are opened for at least six weeks,” said Khan. Worries were writ large on the faces of many traders fearing creditors, who would be demanding their money.

“Till the shops were closed, we had an excuse that we could not pay the debts because the shops are closed. But now, we have no excuse,” said a trader who owns a shop in a complex.

Suresh, another trader who owns Priya Dresses in V K K Complex, said that this was a respite after 69 days. “We will be knowing the exact nature of loss only when we open our shops on Tuesday. Garments will be damaged and I will have to sell a garment worth `400 for just `50. We have been reduced to penury,” he rued.

But, shopowners like Suresh may still have the Pongal shopping season to help cut losses.

N Sukumaran, secretary of Ranganathan Street Merchants Association and owner of a shop where Jayachandran Textiles is housed, said that he felt relaxed after the court judgment. “It would have been better if they had opened the shops before December 20, We could have had Christmas, New Year and Pongal shoppers. This year has begun on a sour note,” he added.






Court rejects bail application of Milap


PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 09,2012

Patna, Jan 09 (PTI) A local court today dismissed the anticipatory bail application of the then Director of Central School Organisation C P Milap in connection with alleged misbehaviour with a tribal girl. Additional district and sessions judge B N Mihsra rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Milap. Milap has been charged with misbehaving with a tribal girl from Gumla district in Jharkhand in October 2002. The case was registered with the Patrakar Nagar police station in Patna on October 8, 2010. Earlier the court had issued warrant of arrest against Milap who was director of Central School Organisation between 2002 and 2004 in Gwalior. PTI CORR AJK NN HKS 01091907 NNNN






Accused brought late to court, state not liable’


Last Updated: Monday, January 09, 2012, 17:34

New Delhi: An inadvertent delay in producing an accused before the trail court from the lock up cannot be termed as state’s lack of seriousness in conducting the trial, a Delhi court has said.

Additional Sessions Judge Bimla Kumari made the observation while setting aside a magisterial court’s notice to the public prosecutor and the Tihar jail superintendent seeking their explanation in delay in producing a theft case accused accused before it on April 29, 2011.

The judge said as the accused was in judicial custody and had been brought to the lock-up room from the jail, the jail superintendent was not at fault and also “it cannot be said that the prosecution was not serious in conducting the trial of the accused”.

The magisterial court had issued notices after the accused could not be produced before it from the lock-up room of Tis Hazari court premises, while the prosecution witness and the complainant kept waiting.

The court had issued notices to the jail superintendent observing it has become a routine that the lock-up in-charge does not produce the accused in time. It issued notice to the prosecutor wondering “whether the prosecution is serious in conducting the trial of the cases”.

The judge, however, set aside the magisterial court’s order saying, “It is worth noting that now-a-days, the jails as well as well as lock-ups are overcrowded. It is further worth noting that lock-up in-charge produces the accused on the basis of strength of police officials, who are deputed in this regard by the government.”

She added that if there was any delay in the opinion of the trial court, it could have issued notice to the lock-up in-charge.






Midnapore skeleton case: Trial to begin from January 11


Published: Monday, Jan 9, 2012, 18:56 IST
Place: Midnapore | Agency: PTI

Trial of the twenty accused including CPI(M) MLA Sushanta Ghosh for alleged abduction and murder of five Trinamool Congress workers will begin in West Midnapore sessions court on next Wednesday.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Kallol Das fixed the date today when the former CPI(M) minister and 19 others were produced before him in connection with the Garbeta skeleton recovery case.

A total of 58 persons were made accused in the case, but only twenty persons have so far been arrested. Property of the all absconding accused were seized.

All the accused were charged with abduction, murder, criminal intimidation, tampering of evidence and possession of illegal arms among others.

Five skeletons were dug up from a pit near Ghosh’s ancestral house at Benachapra village in West Midnapore district in June last. Ghosh was arrested by CID on August 11 and the chargesheet was filed on September 23.

According to the charge sheet, five Trinamool Congress workers were killed by the accused on September 22, 2002 at Piyasala village and buried at Benachapra.

DNA tests confirmed two skeletons of two missing Trinamool Congress workers Ajay Acharya and Swapan Singh alias Raju. No DNA test could be conducted on other skeletons because of degeneration of bone marrow, police said.








Demons of 2001 encounter spell trouble for next army chief


Published: Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012, 9:00 IST
By Iftikhar Gilani | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

A March 1, 2001, encounter on the outskirts of South Kashmir’s Anantnag township is likely to come between Lt Gen Bikram Singh’s chances of succeeding General VK Singh as army chief.

A foreign militant called Mateen Chacha was killed in the encounter along with two civilians and two army personnel, according to the First Information Report (FIR).

Two others, including Lt Gen Bikram Singh, then a Brigadier heading the 5-sector Rashtriya Rifles headquartered at Janglat Mandi (Anantnag), and a civilian, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat, were injured.

Zaituna, the mother of the alleged militant killed in the firing, however, has accused the general of staging a fake encounter. She filed a writ petition in the Jammu & Kashmir high court, seeking that the case be reinvestigated by a special investigation team. Many innocent Kashmiris were gunned down by the army and government-sponsored gunmen called Ikhwanis, and were later passed off as foreign militants, Zaituna alleged.

According to seniority, General Bikram Singh is set to become the next army chief on May 31, 2012. An adverse order or even an observation by the court is bound to result in a far greater embarrassment for the army and defence ministry than the ongoing age row involving present chief General VK Singh. Therefore, the army and the defence ministry are pulling strings from New Delhi and Srinagar to avoid embarrassment to the future chief.

The police in Jammu have absolved General Bikram Singh of the charges, stating that the encounter between the army and militants was genuine.

However, the petition is proving to be a hindrance to the career prospects of the general who shot to prominence as the army’s face during the Kargil war.

In view of the petition, the court in its order on October 13, 2011, issued notices to the state government and defence ministry and asked them to file objections. It has also asked for all records pertaining to case FIR 72/2001 from the district sessions court, Islamabad, for perusal. Both parties have sought many adjournments since then.

Police chief Kuldeep Khuda said his force has nothing against General Bikram Singh as far as the FIR and investigations are concerned. Army officials in South Block, which houses the defence ministry, refused to comment. “We have nothing to say,” an army official said.

Petitioners Zaituna and her daughter Jana submitted to the court that the killed ‘foreign militant’ Mateen Chacha of Pakistan’s North Western Frontier Province was actually Abdullah Bhat, son of Qadir Bhat of Machil Kupwara. The petitioners wanted the remains of Bhat to be exhumed for a DNA test. “The DNA profile should be matched with those of his family members. The photographs of the victim taken by the police must also be shown to the family for identifying the victim,” the petitioner said.

Last November, NGO Yes-Kashmir approached prime minister Manmohan Singh, defence minister AK Antony and the state authorities and demanded that the case be revisited.





Placement agencies need regulator: Court


IANS | Jan 10, 2012, 05.09AM IST

NEW DELHI: Acquitting a rape accused, a Delhi court has recommended a regulatory mechanism to check placement agencies which allegedly exploit migrant domestic helps and subject them to sexual abuse.

“I may observe that there are increasing incidents of gross misuse and abuse of the laws relating to rape and sexual abuse and exploitation of uneducated, ignorant and uninformed domestic workers by unscrupulous persons or placement agencies for their personal gains,” said Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau in a court order made available on Monday.

If a regulator was set up, then the chances of the existing penal provisions being misused to implicate innocent people would be reduced and and no one who is guilty would go scot free, Lau said.






Lawyers to be frisked at Shivajinagar court

Posted: Tue Jan 10 2012, 04:02 hrs Pune:

Two days after an intelligence alert of a security threat at Pune District and Sessions Court, Shivajinagar, the police personnel deployed on the premises of the court have been given the permission to not just check the identity cards of lawyers but also frisk lawyers and check their belongings, if necessary.

“We have appealed to the lawyers to cooperate with us as there have been incidents in the past where they have expressed discomfort when asked for identification by the police,” said principal district and sessions judge Anant Badar, who took a round of the court premises to take stock of the security arrangements on Monday.

“Since, the intelligence alert is not for a specific period, we plan to pursue the system where lawyers, visitors and litigants will be randomly frisked,” said a senior court official.

The district judge had received a letter from the police commissioner last week stating that one or more persons, impersonating as lawyers, are likely to attack individuals in an apparent gang-war.

“We shall also issue circulars to members of various taluka bar associations to ensure that those coming from taluka courts should also carry their identity cards with them,” said senior lawyer Milind Pawar.

The problem of security on court premises had surfaced in May 2010, when a 24-year-old youth who had come for court proceedings, was murdered inside the court premises by rival gang members.

Following the incident, the then committee of Pune Bar Association had demanded installation of CCTV cameras, among other measures such as increasing the height of the compound wall, erecting watch towers, having door-frame metal detectors and more police force in the court.







Justice eludes victims falsely arrested in Mecca Masjid blast case

Hyderabad: They are the worst victims of physical and mental torture by police in the Mecca Masjid blast case. But like justice, compensation too seems to elude them till date. A few hours before Mohammed Raeesuddin was to receive a cheque of Rs 300,000 along with 15 others, his name was deleted from the list. Syed Imran Khan and his uncle Shoaib Jagirdar, who were among the first to be arrested on false charges for the May 18, 2007, blast, did not find a place in the list.

There are others who were subjected to police harassment, but are yet to receive the compensation on the ground that there are some cases pending against them. Out of 84 suspects rounded up by police after the blast, the government identified 70 for compensation and paid them Rs 70 lakh. More than 15 of them were denied compensation in last minute changes to the list.

The victims say it is a deliberate attempt by police to deny them the compensation on the pretext of other false cases. Take the case of Mohammed Raeesuddin. He was picked up by police and tortured because he was a witness in another case in which the Gujarat police had shot dead a youth, Mujahid Saleem, in Hyderabad in 2004. “I am a witness in the case. He was my friend and I want the Gujarat police officers who killed him to be punished,” Raeesuddin told IANS.

“They lifted me from the road. I was kept in a farmhouse for eight days where I was stripped, thrashed and given electric shocks. The police wanted me to withdraw as witness in the Mujahid case. They threatened to implicate me in the Mecca Masjid case if I did not withdraw,” recalls Raeesuddin, who was working in a jewellery shop when he was picked up by police and kept in illegal detention.

Raees feels more than compensation, a character certificate would help him in getting a job. “People don’t give me a job as they still view me with suspicion because of the stories cooked up by police,” he said.

He complains that police harassment is still continuing. “The police come to my house or call us to police stations on dates like ‘Bonalu’, ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ and Dec 6. They do all the harassment in the name of maintaining peace and law and order in the city.”

Syed Imran was an executive in a leading private bank and was about to join a multi-national bank when police picked him and his uncle, Shoaib, in connection with the Mecca Masjid blast case. They were accused of involvement in bringing RDX into the city. Though acquitted, Imran, who spent 18 months in jail, says it is not possible to again lead a normal life. He is now working in a small private firm.

The youngster and his uncle have not been paid the compensation as they are accused in a case of making an illegal passport. The case was booked a few months before they were arrested for the Mecca Masjid blast. “The police accused us of making illegal passports, but the fact is that not even an application for a passport was filed,” says Shoaib, a kerosene dealer in Jalna, Maharashtra.

“I don’t want money. All I want from them is a character certificate so that I can continue with my job,” said Imran, a resident of Bowenpally in Secunderabad.

The son of a retired central government employee, Imran says he will never get a job in a multinational company. “I am still carrying the terrorist tag and facing social stigma. We were once behind bars. we have come out, but we feel that mentally we are still in jail,” he said.

There are others who were booked in various cases during their detention in the blast case. “One of them was booked for using a mobile phone in the jail. Such cases are because the police implicated them in the Mecca Masjid case,” said Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator, Akbaruddin Owaisi, who wants the government to withdraw all cases against them and pay them the compensation.






FIR filed against Nakkheeran Gopal


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: A day after angry AIADMK workers protested against Tamil bi-weekly ‘Nakkheeran’ for publishing a scurrilous article on Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, police on Sunday registered a case against its editor,

Gopal. Zam Bazaar Inspector N P Rajendran told Express that a case had been registered against the editor under various sections of the Indian Penal Code on the basis of a complaint lodged by an AIADMK functionary, Anbu of Royapettah.

In his complaint, Anbu claimed that the article was aimed at tarnishing the popularity of the AIADMK leader and, hence, he came to its office in Triplicane to register his protest. Anbu alleged that he was beaten up and threatened with dire consequences. The police also booked Velachery AIADMK MLA M K Ashok in connection with the protest at the magazine’s office.






Doctor held for obscene campaign against woman techie


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 03.33AM IST

HYDERABAD: Crime Investigation Department (CID) sleuths have arrested a 29-year-old MBBS graduate for harassing a US-based woman techie by creating fake social networking profiles.

Three years ago, Manohar, 29, of Nellore, finished MBBS from the Government Medical College in Anantapur and subsequently got admission to the post-graduate programme of the prestigious AIIMS, New Delhi.

However, Manohar did not join AIIMS and began drifting away. During the final stages of his undergraduate course, Manohar developed a habit of giving missed calls to random mobile numbers.

“On noticing a missed call, some people used to call him back. If the a caller was a woman, Manohar used to make serious efforts to befriend them,” CID additional SP U Rammohan said.

Using the same technique, Manohar became friends with a software engineer from Hyderabad. The phone friendship continued for about a year but when the doctor finally proposed, the girl rejected his proposal.

Enraged with the rejection, Manohar began abusing her over the phone. He also started sending abusive SMSs and emails to harass the woman. Finally a year-and-half ago, she got married and left for the United States.

At that time, Manohar created fake profiles of the victim on social networking site, Orkut, using obscene photo graphs and description.

“From the fake profile, Manohar had sent requests to many people including some of the friends and colleagues of the victim,” Rammohan said.

Some of the victim’s friends, who saw the fake profile, brought it to her notice and her shocked family members approached the CID a month ago.

Police booked a case under sections 66-A, 67 of the IT (Amend) Act 2008 and sections 507, 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and launched a probe.

During the course of investigation, police managed to trace the IP addresses used by the accused and he was arrested at his relative’s house in the city on Monday.

Police seized a laptop, and data card used by the accused. He was remanded in judicial custody.





Order of issue process against cop confirmed


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 02.27AM IST

PUNE: As many as 141 affidavits were filed before the Justice M G Gaikwad (retired) committee probing into the Maval firing on Monday. Ninety seven affidavits were filed by Pune rural police officials, including former superintendent of police Sandeep Karnik and state reserve police force officials through lawyers Sureshchandra Bhosale, Chinmay Bhosale and Uday Nalawade. Another 44 affidavits were filed by private persons. The committee had earlier received 40 affidavits. The total number of affidavits filed till date is 181. Committee secretary K D Patil on Monday told TOI that the committee had extended the deadline for filing affidavits for the revenue department till January 13 as they have not yet appointed a public prosecutor.

Pune: Additional sessions judge S P Tavade has confirmed the order of issue process against police inspector Dattatraya Temghare for allegedly causing grievous harm to gangster Bandu Andekar in 2009. The court dropped charges against Temghare under sections 452 and 504 read with 34 of the IPC.

Andekar had erected flex boards in the jurisdiction of the Samarth police station condemning Temghare for allegedly committing atrocities on his family members.

The police had arrested Andekar at Hadapsar on February 21, 2009 and had allegedly beaten him up. Andekar had complained of ill-treatment when he was produced in court the next day. Sassoon general hospital had given a report that Andekar’s leg was fractured.

An inquiry instituted by the then chief judicial magistrate R H Mohammad had indicted the policemen and, accordingly, a complaint against the policemen was registered under sections 326, 452, 504 read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code. Lawyer Bilal Shaikh appeared on behalf of Andekar. tnn

Couple gets bail in cheating case, man arrested again

Pune: A magisterial court on Monday granted bail to Adwait Datar (31) and his wife Neelima (28) for allegedly duping several people on the pretext of giving them good returns on their investments.

The couple were released on a personal bond of Rs 30,000 each with one or two sureties of the like amount. They were warned not to tamper with the evidence and co-operate with the police whenever they were called for questioning. They were directed to give attendance at the Kothrud police station every Monday and Thursday between 10 am and noon till chargesheet was filed. The court directed them not to leave Pune without its permission.

Adwait was arrested later in a similar case registered with the Cantonment police station.

One December 17, estate agent Amresh Rao, had lodged a complaint against the Datars for allegedly duping him of Rs 5 lakh. Later, others also lodged complaints against the couple and the amount of money involved in the fraud has gone up to Rs 50 lakh.





Three convicted for abduction, rape and assault of minor girl


PTI | 08:01 PM,Jan 09,2012

Ahmedabad, Jan 9 (PTI) Three persons have been sentenced to imprisonment of different durations, while five others were acquitted by a local court here in connection with abduction, gangrape and assault of a minor girl. One Mohabbat Rasulkhan Malek was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and Jignesh Dave got seven years in jail for abduction, rape, wrongful confinement and other sections of the Indian Penal Code. While, one Hayat Malek was sentenced to two years in prison for abatement in the crime, and allegedly ‘selling off’ the minor girl for Rs 5000. Five others accused in the case were acquitted by the court following lack of evidence. Judge P C Thakkar presiding over the case observed that the three convicts were responsible for making the minor girl go through a hell-like experience. The court further observed that the convicts were responsible for the degradation of the society. It further said that the girl’s testimony of her 13-month ordeal at the hands of the accused also cannot be disregarded. According to case details, Mohabbat from Gedia village of Ahmedabad district had eloped with the 16-year-old girl on December 20, 2007 under the pretext of marrying her. But he did not marry her and had physical relation with her for seven months, during which he also abused and assaulted her. The girl then complained to village Sarpanch Hayat, who instead of helping her sold her off for Rs 5000 to Jignesh Dave who in turn raped her and then sold her to another person. This ordeal of the girl continued for 13 months after which the girl along with her family registered a complaint with the Bavla police station. Following investigation into the complaint, eight persons were arrested and trial was conducted, in which the court today convicted three and acquitted five others. PTI PB PD








Kalmadi may threaten witnesses, CBI tells court


Last Updated: Monday, January 09, 2012, 20:33

New Delhi: Former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi may intimidate prosecution witnesses if granted bail in a corruption case linked to the 2010 sporting event, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the Delhi High Court Monday.

The probe agency also opposed the bail plea of VK Verma, an aide of jailed MP Kalmadi, before Justice Mukta Gupta, who fixed Jan 10 for the next hearing.

Kalmadi was arrested April 26 for his alleged role in awarding a contract for installing the timing-scoring-result (TSR) system to Swiss Times Omega at an exorbitant cost of Rs 141 crore, allegedly causing a loss of over Rs 95 crore to the public exchequer.

The probe agency said that the CBI had tangible evidence to show “these persons (accused) have in the past intimidated persons who are today witness of the prosecution”.

“After the scrutiny of documents is over, the CBI is ready for day-to-day trial,” CBI counsel said.

Kalmadi and Verma moved the court for bail on the observation of the Supreme Court in the 2G case that “bail should be the rule and jail an exception”.

The trial court in June 2011 rejected Kalmadi’s bail plea, after which he approached the high court.

The accused individuals and two companies were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery and booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.






Help accident victims, cops will behave


Published: Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Rajendra Aklekar | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The government wants you to be a Good Samaritan and help accident victims reach hospital ASAP. And if you are thinking, ‘Of course I want to, but the legal wrangles and questioning by the police is too much to deal with’, there’s some good news: the law is on your side.

Following an alarming rise in road accidents and related deaths, and to encourage the public to act quickly and take the victim to a hospital in the golden hour (within an hour of accident), the Union transport ministry has dug out an old circular that was originally prepared by the Delhi Police.

The circular states…
When an accident victim is brought to a hospital, the police need to take immediate action to save the victim, and those who have brought the victim should, under no circumstances, be detained in the hospital for interrogation. They should be treated with courtesy.

Members of the public, who rendered voluntary help to accident victims, should not unnecessarily be questioned. If they are unwilling to give their particulars, they should not be forced to.

The local police should also pay the person who brings a victim to hospital whatever he/she spent on the transportation.

The circular has been sent to all states and union territories asking them to follow it. “On many occasions, accident victims remain unattended for a long time without any medical or public help till the police arrive. The public hesitates to get involved as it leads to questions and endless follow-ups,” says the order.

“Keeping in view the unnecessary loss of human life, it becomes imperative to train our police personnel accordingly to save the victim,” it adds.

A latest report by the Union transport ministry shows that Mumbai tops the country in accident deaths. Research shows that a number of the accident victims could have been saved had they received immediate medical attention.

The circular also quotes a Supreme Court order that states that the effort to save the victim should be the top priority not only of the medical professionals but also of the police or any other citizen who happens to be connected with that matter or who happens to notice such an incident.

Senior transport department officials said that comprehensive training and awareness needs to be imparted to the traffic police and the public for effective implementation of the order.

No legal provisions
There are no provisions in the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code or Motor Vehicles Act, which prevent doctors from promptly attending to seriously injured people and accident cases before the arrival of the police and their taking cognisance of such cases, preparing FIR, and other formalities.







HC: Road audit case fit for PIL


Shibu Thomas, TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 03.10AM IST

MUMBAI: The BMC’s decision to appoint Swiss firm SGS Consultancy as quality auditor for Rs 900-crore road works without calling for tenders has come under the scanner of the high court.

Corporator Niyaz Ahmed Vanu, has filed a petition challenging the decision to waive the requirement to invite bids. A division bench of Justice Sharad Bobde and Justice Mridula Bhatkar on Monday said it was a fit case for a PIL. The court directed that the petition filed by Vanu be converted into a PIL.

Last week, the BMC had appointed the Geneva-based firm to carry out regular audits of major and minor road works at a cost of Rs 6.78 crore. The works are being carried out by contractors for all major (more than 30-ft wide) and minor roads (less than 30-ft wide) at a cost of over Rs 900 crore.

“When it is a question of monitoring work of such large magnitude, the BMC should have ideally called for tenders, which it does every year,” said Vanu. “This is a clear violation of norms and sets a bad precedent.”

Vanu, a corporator for the last 25 years from Antop Hill, is the House leader for the NCP. “I had raised queries in writing before the BMC, but the administration did not give me any reply and I had no recourse except to move the high court,” said Vanu.

Vanu said the municipal commissioner has discretionary powers to sanction works not exceeding Rs 50 lakh. “On what basis have the works, which exceed Rs 6 crore, been awarded by bypassing the standing committee?” argued Vanu.

The BMC had pointed to the urgency of the works to justify not calling for tenders, but Vanu argued that quality audit was a routine and annual affair. “The BMC should have simultaneously called for tenders to conduct quality audits when it invited bids for the road work,” he said.

Vanu also claims that the firm’s appointment has come at a steep cost to the corporation. He has pointed to neighbouring Thane where the consultant is paid 0.35% of the total cost of the road works, as opposed to the BMC, which will pay SGS a consultancy fee of 0.85%. “It is not the BMC’s case that there were no other firms who do similar work. If the corporation had called for tenders, they might have got a cheaper rate, which would have benefited the BMC coffers,” said Vanu.

Additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta had earlier said in standing committee meetings that “SGS Consultancy has world-class standard and has experience of auditing road work in this part of the world”.

The petition is scheduled to come up for hearing before the PIL bench later this week.






HC declines to stay ZP polls


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 01.53AM IST

NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Monday declined to stay the zilla parishad polls but admitted the petition filed by ZP member challenging cancellation of reservation in various constituencies for the ZP and panchayat samiti (PS) polls for final hearing. The ZP and PS polls will be held on February 7.

A division bench comprising justices PB Majumdar and Ashok Bhangale deferred the hearing after government pleader Nitin Sambre informed the court that principal bench at Bombay high court had admitted a similar petition for final hearing and would soon deliver the verdict. Another plea on similar grounds was pending in the Aurangabad bench as well.

Two petitioners – Devendra Godbole, a ZP member from Mouda Babdeo in Nagpur, and Sanjay Jagtap – had moved the high court demanding conducting ZP polls with 2011 census data instead of 2001 census figures.







HC asks chief secy to convene meeting

To decide whether investigations should be transferred to a special Tribunal

To decide whether the investigation of the case pertaining to alleged illegal land acquired by bigwigs, including IAS/IPS officers and politicians, be handed over to a Tribunal, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday directed the Chief Secretary of Punjab to convene a meeting with other state Secretaries.

The High Court has ordered that the Chief Secretary will conduct a meeting with concerned Secretaries from other departments and apprise the High Court whether the investigations of the case should be handed over to a Tribunal.

The development took place during the resumed hearing of a Public Interest Litigation arising out of a suo motu notice taken by Justice Ranjit Singh of the High court on the issue of alleged illegal properties grabbed by various high-ups in the periphery of City Beautiful.

On the last date of hearing, a law officer appearing on behalf of the Punjab government had stated that since the investigation, being carried out by a Special Investigation Team, is in its final stage, it will not be prudent to hand over the case to a special Tribunal at this stage. On the other hand, the High Court observed that the case in question is equivalent to the infamous 2G spectrum case.

Newsline was the first to report the “discrepancies” in the list of properties furnished by as many as 115 officers of the Punjab government. Information from a total of 2,734 officers was sought by the SIT of which information regarding “115 officers do not tally mainly as either they have not disclosed their properties in the prescribed proforma issued by the inquiry officer or in the annual property returns”.

The SIT had suggested that cases of these officers (115) may be sent to the concerned administrative departments for verification and further necessary action. The case has been posted for resumed hearing on January 19.






HC extends stay till Jan 19 in case against Speaker Bopaiah


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 09,2012

Bangalore, Jan 9 (PTI) The Karnataka High Court today extended its stay till January 19 on Lokayukta Court proceedings and further probe by police in the case filed against state Assembly Speaker K G Bopaiah for alleged misuse of funds in a lake development project. When the petition filed by Bopaiah seeking quashing of the FIR in the case came up before Justice N Ananda, he extended the interim stay and adjourned the case for final hearing on January 19. Earlier, the court ordered issue of notice to Lokayukta police in the case. On December 19 last, Justice B V Pinto had granted the stay for four weeks. Bopaiah had sought quashing of the FIR on grounds including that no prior sanction was sought for doing so from the concerned authorities (in this case, Governor). On a direction from Lokayukta Court, the Lokayukta police in Madikeri on December 8 filed an FIR against Bopaiah and three other government officials in a complaint by a Congress member Saritha Poonacha alleging “misuse” of funds sanctioned for lake contruction in Titimathi, about 60 km from here. Apart from Bopaiah, the other three named in the FIR are: Zilla Panchayat Member S N Raja Rao, Kodagu Nirmiti Kendra Project Managerr Yoga Narasimha, ZP CEO N Krishnappa. Meanwhile, Justice Subhash B Adi adjourned further hearing to January 20, the anticipatory bail applications filed by the other three accused in the case. The FIR was filed in pursuant of the directions of the District and Sessions Judge, Ashok Nijagannanavar, also the judge of the Special Court for prevention of corruption cases.







Uraniam found in 241 water samples, Punjab tells HC


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 06.24AM IST

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government on Monday informed the Punjab and Haryana high court that out of total 1,260 water samples gathered from various districts of the state, presence of uranium has been found in 241 samples. It was also stated that to make the water fit for drinking, the government has started installing reverse osmosis (RO) systems in affected villages of the state.

This was stated by chief engineer, department of water supply and sanitation, through an affidavit filed before the division bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover the HC in response to a PIL filed on the issue of increasing uranium levels in drinking water in Punjab.

To make the water of affected area fit for human consumption, the government has installed 933 ROs in various districts and installation of 878 more such systems is on the cards, the affidavit said. This would cost the state around Rs 216 crore. The state also furnished a list of 13 districts, in which 933 systems have been installed. It was also claimed that it has not made any kind of favouritism towards any area in installing these systems. After placing the state’s affidavit on record, the bench adjourned hearing of the case to Wednesday.

The petitioner, Mohali-resident Brijender Singh Loomba, had sought directions for adequate relief to affected people and kids due to discharge of uranium in water and soil of Bathinda, Faridkot and Ludhiana districts of Punjab. The petition had also sought directions for investigation to find out sources of leakage of radioactive material and uranium in drinking water and steps required to check its spread.

Responding to the petition, Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) had recommended that only reverse osmosis (RO) system would be helpful in reducing uranium content in drinking water in various parts of Punjab.






Mullaperiyar: HC asks Engineers Assn to approach SC


Last Updated: Monday, January 09, 2012, 15:08

Madurai: Madurai Bench of the Madras High court on Monday advised the Tamil Nadu PWD Senior Engineers Association not to sensationalise the Mullaperiyar Dam issue, and wondered whether the High court could interfere when the Supreme Court was seized of the matter.

Asking the petitioner to approach the Supreme Court directly, a Division Bench of Justice Chitra Venkatraman and Justice Karuppiah said it was the duty of the government to protect the rights of the people.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by the Association vice-president RVS Vijayakumar seeking a direction to remove illegal encroachments in the Mullaiperiyar dam area.

“The case is pending in Supreme court. We cannot presume there is encroachment. We don’t see the need to superimpose on the matter. We cannot interfere in the matter pending before the Supreme Court”, the court held.

However, the case has been posted for further hearing next week as the petitioner submitted that senior counsel would be appearing.

The Kerala government advocate said the empowered committee appointed by the Supreme Court was looking into all the issues. It was contended that the writ petition was not maintainable as the dam was under Kerala High court jurisdiction, and the apex court was seized of the matter.





Govt reply on SPP appointment fails to satisfy HC


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 04.49AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Monday expressed its dissatisfaction over the state government’s affidavit saying that the file about formation of policy to appoint special public prosecutors (SPPs) is not traceable.

The process to form a policy for appointing SPP in special cases was initiated following HC directive way back in 1971. The state government told the court that the file had gone missing and what happened to the process initiated later could not be known. The affidavit filed by the legal department also sought apology from HC for not following court directive.

However, justice M R Shah was not satisfied with the content of the affidavit and orally observed that the issue of framing policy has nothing to do with the file. It is up to the government to go ahead with formation of a policy as per HC directions. Dissatisfied with the content of the affidavit, justice Shah asked the government to file another affidavit by Tuesday making it clear what time will it take to form the policy to govern appointments of distinguished lawyers in cases by paying special fees.

The issue came up before the court when senior counsel Prakash Thakkar filed a petition on behalf of one Madhabhai Asar questioning appointment of SPP in a murder case in Jamnagar. It was contended that SPP was appointed in the case as per provisions of criminal procedure code on payment of higher fees by the government because the complainant in the case had political clout.

Advocate Thakkar argued that other states have a policy in place governing appointment of SPPs, clearly setting guideline in which cases the government should make higher payment towards advocate’s fee. Though the high court had asked Gujarat government to come up with such a policy four decades ago by fixing criteria to extend the facility of SPPs, no heed was paid to that.

Following this argument, HC asked the government to state what action was taken to implement the 1971 order. The affidavit filed on Monday failed to satisfy the court, and further proceeding has now been kept on Tuesday.







HC appoints advocate commission to inspect Vilappilsala plant


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 03.43AM IST

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday appointed an advocate commission to inspect the operation of the waste management plant at Vilappilsala in Thiruvananthapuram. The court also directed the police to give protection to the advocate commissioner to inspect the plant.

Considering a petition by Thiruvananthapuram Corporation seeking police protection to dispose of waste at the Vilappilsala plant, a division bench of acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice P R Ramachandra Menon appointed advocate K Meera as the commission to inspect the plant.

The court also asked the commission to inspect the plant on Saturday and submit a report by next Tuesday. The inspection should be done by the advocate commissioner along with the officials of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board, the court directed.

Based on the petition filed by the corporation last week, the court had sought explanation from Vilappilsala panchayat and the state government. In the petition, the corporation had highlighted that the life of the people in the city were affected due to the stand taken by the panchayat not to allow disposal of waste at Vilappilsala. The corporation also challenged the confiscation of waste disposal machinery by the panchayat.








HC directs VTU VC to file an affidavit on his marks


PTI | 09:01 AM,Jan 10,2012

Bangalore, Jan 9 (PTI) The Karnataka High Court today directed Visvesvaraya Technological University Vice-Chancellor H Maheshappa to file an affidavit on the “confusion” over his marks and the allegations associated with it. The division bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna Maheshappa stated this after senior counsel Nanjunda Reddy, appearing on behalf of the VC, submitted that he had scored first class marks but it has been “misinformed” by Mysore University. The bench directed him to clarify the confusion pertaining to his marks and procedure adopted by VTU in selecting the VC. Reddy said Maheshappa after failing in the ninth semester, secured first class in the supplementary exams and if these are added to what he secured in the 10th semester, he (Maheshappa) gets above 60 per cent. “If the failed marks are included, he will be declared second class,” he said. The Court also questioned Maheshappa’s affidavit in which he has stated that the CV submitted to the selection panel was “by mistake”. When the court sought to know why he had not mentioned it in the affidavit, counsel said he was not aware of it. “You have a Vice-Chancellor who does not know his class. What is he going to do?” the Chief Justice asked. The bench then directed the Vice Chancellor to file an affidavit and petitioner J H Anil Kumar who had moved court challenging the appointment to find out the facts. The court also directed the petitioner to inform it about on the criteria to declare class. PTI BH APR SCY







HC rejects bail plea of accused in hidden gold case


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 01.53AM IST

NAGPUR: A man who claimed to be falsely implicated in a case of duping another man, under the pretext of selling hidden gold treasure, had moved the judiciary for an anticipatory bail. However, a division single-judge bench comprising justice MN Gilani at Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court declined his application.

As per the petition, Washim-resident Nilesh Rathod called on Sukhdev Patil telling him that he had found a hidden treasure having 4-5 kgs of gold and wanted to sell it off at throwaway prices. Patil apparently fell into trap and agreed to his demands. The deal was finalized at Rs 9 lakh, which was to be exchanged at Chikhalgad Shivar on January 1. When Patil reached there, he was looted by a gang of five to six persons who also snatched his gold chain worth Rs1 lakh. He subsequently lodged a complaint with Asegaon police station in Washim against Nilesh and Ravi Rathod along with unknown persons under Section 420 and 395 of IPC.

The cops later picked the petitioner Vithal Pawar and seized ornaments including a gold chain and a motorcycle. He however claimed that he was falsely implicated in the case as his name did not figure in the original FIR. He stated that the seized gold chain was purchased by him three months back. He also argued that he was only person arrested in the case whereas the main accused, mentioned in FIR, were still at large. Pawar later filed a bail application in Washim sessions court. The court rejected his application stating that the seized chain was a part of loot. Moreover, his other accomplices were still untraceable and hence he was required for the investigations. Even HC rejected his plea, confirming the sessions court’s observations.






HC questions EOW’s lack of financial experts


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 10, 2012

The Bombay high court on Monday was amused to notice that the independent branch of the Mumbai police, which probes cases related to economic offences, did not have officers who are well versed in commerce.   The court was hearing a case regarding the progress of investigation in a Rs 60 crore alleged bank fraud by its former directors in connivance with some borrowers.

A petition was filed by the Co-operative Bank Employees Union seeking recovery of money and action against the culprits through arrest and attachment of properties.

The court had last month pulled up the Economic Offences Wing for not taking appropriate action in the case that has affected around 16,000 investors.

Public prosecutor PA Pol informed the court on Monday that out of the 17 former directors of the Veerashaiva Co-operative Bank, six have been arrested while three of them have expired.

One director has secured anticipatory bail while another director is abroad, the court was told.

Pol added that seven out of 24 borrowers have also been arrested and the accounts of all the arrested persons have been frozen.

On court’s query, Pol said that about seven crores have been traced from the arrested persons.

“What about the remaining 53 crores?” a division bench of justice A M Khanwilkar and justice Rajesh Ketkar asked.

The judges went on to ask as to why the agency was not arresting the remaining directors and borrowers as well as freezing their accounts and attaching their properties.

After the investigating officer was posed with further probing by the court regarding the accounts to which the officer did not have proper statistics, the judges asked as to whether he was a commerce graduate.

“Why are you taking so long to scrutinise the accounts?” the court asked.

Being an independent branch (that probes economic offences) gives all the more reason to have someone with knowledge of accounts, justice Khanwilkar said.

The court finally suggested that the agency should take some assistance from a banker.

Pol tried to justify it by saying that the agency is already over burdened.

Meanwhile, the court was told that the FIR has named 19 directors and not 17 as stated by the state.

The court has directed Pol to file a detailed report in this regard by January 17, indicating the reasons for not arresting the remaining directors and borrowers, accounts under scrutiny, status on freezing of further accounts and attachment of property.

According to the petition, the Reserve Bank of India had conducted an inspection in which various illegalities were found after which an inquiry was initiated.






HC lawyers abstain from work


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 02.09AM IST

PATNA: Patna high court lawyers on Monday abstained from their work in protest against near collapse of stamp reporting in the high court.

Absence of stamp reporting results in undue delay in disposal of cases thereby causing harassment to both lawyers and litigants, the lawyers said. In view of the lawyers staying away from work, the court’s functioning was greatly affected.







Telecom tower firm moves HC against levy of property tax


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 09,2012

Mumbai, Jan 9(PTI) A telecom tower firm has moved the Bombay High Court against imposition of property tax on mobile towers levied by Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC). Viom Infra Networks, a telecom tower firm, approached the high court challenging the property tax levied by KDMC on the company for four of their towers at Dombivli. The property tax was levied on the basis that such towers and equipment set up on roof tops and terraces constitute a new building/structure and hence are independently subjected to property tax. In May 2011, Viom received property tax bill from KDMC for one of their towers installed above Anand Bhuvan building at Dombivli and in December received similar bills in respect of four other sites. According to the petition, the company also started receiving calls from KDMC officials threatening to take action if payment was not made. A division bench of Justices V K Tahilramani and M L Tahiliyani while issuing notices to KDMC and the municipal commissioner has restrained them from taking any action like demolition of the towers pending hearing of the petition. The court has directed the corporation and the commissioner to file their replies on January 23. According to Viom, it has entered into Leave and License Agreements with owners of the building to install the towers and that as precautionary measure, permission was also sought from the corporation. “The telecom towers are not permanent structures. They are temporarily installed. Installation of such towers are crucial for the functioning and operation of a mobile telephone system,” the petition stated.




HC admits NCP corporator’s disqualification petition


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 09,2012

Mumbai, Jan 9 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today admitted the disqualification petition of an NCP corporator from suburban Kurla challenging a lower court order setting aside his election. Abdul Rashid Malik was disqualified by a lower court on December 10, 2010 for concealing his original name in the ballot paper. The lower court had also declared as elected Khammanchand Jain of BJP, who had polled the second highest number of votes in the bypoll. Challenging the order, Malik approached the high court on the grounds that the small causes court did not have the power to set aside his election. The petition will come up for hearing in due course of time.








Law on roadside meetings upholds Constitution, govt tells HC


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 03.42AM IST

KOCHI: The piece of legislation overcoming the Kerala High Court’s ban on roadside meetings was intended to uphold the constitutional right of the people to conduct meetings and rallies, the state government told the high court on Monday.

The legislation, Kerala Public Ways Restriction of Assemblies and Processions Act, 2011, was meant to impose restrictions on the constitutional right to conduct meetings and rallies and did not violate the rights of the people, as granted by the Constitution, the government submitted to the court through an affidavit.

While hearing a contempt of court petition filed by Khalid Mundappilly on December 3, a division bench consisting of one of the judges who originally banned roadside meetings had ruled that the judges who imposed the ban would hear further related cases.

It was the division bench of Justice C N Ramachandran Nair and Justice P S Gopinathan that banned roadside meetings citing violation of the right to move freely, which is guaranteed by the Constitution.

While Justice C N Ramachandran Nair was the acting chief justice, Kerala government’s legislation to overcome the high court ban on roadside meetings was stayed by the bench headed by him. While considering Khalid Mundappilly’s petition citing violation of the court order by DYFI activists at Muvattupuzha, acting Chief Justice C N Ramachandran Nair’s bench had ordered for a stay on Kerala Public Ways Restriction of Assemblies and Processions Act, 2011 on November 2.

After the Supreme Court upheld the high court ban on roadside meetings, the LDF government brought forward the legislation in February this year. When the bill came up for consideration of the Legislative Assembly, it was unanimously supported by both the LDF and UDF fronts.

Through the Act, the government gave power to district administrations to decide on permissions to conduct roadside meetings. While issuing a stay on the Act, the court had observed that the order banning roadside meetings was issued as it was a violation of the fundamental rights of citizens.

Along with staying the government legislation, the court had issued instructions for sending urgent messages to the director-general of police to ensure that the court order banning the Act and roadside meetings was being implemented.

While upholding the high court ban, the apex court had pointed out that such meetings hindered movement of the public as well as vehicles in the narrow roads of Kerala.

On November 15, the apex court had criticized the high court’s judgment sentencing CPM state secretariat member M V Jayarajan for speaking against the ban on roadside meetings. Jayarajan was sentenced to undergo six months of imprisonment by the high court for contempt of court but was granted bail by the Supreme Court. The apex court also criticized the high court verdict that denied Jayarajan a chance to prefer an appeal.






2G: Delhi HC to hear Essar’s plea on charges


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court will hear the Essar Group’s plea in the 2G spectrum scam. Essar had approached the HC last week, challenging the court’s jurisdiction to frame charges against it.

The company has also sought quashing of charges against it, arguing that the special CBI court is not the right court to hear their case.

A special CBI court had accepted CBI’s chargesheet against Essar Group and Loop Telecom in the 2G spectrum scam case and issued summons to all the eight accused named in the chargesheet.






Nakkheeran’s Editor moves HC for police protection


Last Updated: Monday, January 09, 2012, 22:38

Chennai: Tamil bi-weekly Nakkheeran’s Editor R R Gopal has moved the Madras High Court seeking a direction for police protection to him and others in the wake of the attack on the magazine’s office by AIADMK workers over publication of a report about Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

In a petition, he sought police protection to him, his family members and Nakkheeran employees in the wake of the attack and damage caused to the magazine office here on January 7 over the report which had references to the DMK chief’s eating habits.

Meanwhile, Advocate General A Navaneethakrishnan in a mention before the First Bench comprising the Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice K B K Vasuki today said that he proposed to file a contempt petition against Gopal for flouting a 2006 order of the high court, regarding publication of matters in the magazine pertaining to Jayalalithaa.

Gopal submitted that since about 10 AM AIADMK party members had come in batches, stoned the office and threw brooms, damaging the building and cars parked there. He said he had informed the police telegraphically and through email about the attack.

“Whenever AIADMK party comes to power, our Nakkheeran Publications and its team of journalists face violent reactions from the party supremo Jayalalithaa,” he alleged listing the attacks on the magazine, its staff and property since 1991.

Claiming that his life and that of his employees were in danger and property was likely to be destroyed, Gopal sought the court’s intervention. The petition is likely to be heard tomorrow.

Gopal and some employees of the magazine also filed petitions seeking anticipatory bail apprehending arrest in connection with the publication of the report.

In a related development, AIADMK’s Tiruvallur district joint secretary of advocates wing A Vasudevan moved the high court seeking a direction to the police to register a case against Gopal for the “objectionable, derogatory and defamatory” news article against the chief minister.

The article had been published with an ulterior motive, the petitioner alleged adding he had filed a complaint on January 7 with police but was not even given an acknowledgement.

Earlier, a group of advocates burnt copies of the magazine in front of the high court, protesting publication of the article.






HC adjourns hearing on Yeddyurappa’s petition


Last Updated: Monday, January 09, 2012, 21:08


Bangalore: Karnataka High Court on Monday adjourned to Tuesday hearing on the petition filed by former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa seeking quashing of the two corruption cases filed against him.

Justice Anand Byrareddy adjourned the matter when the petition came up for hearing before him.

Responding to the arguments put forward by senior counsel for the petitioner Jayakumar S Patil on January 6, respondent advocate Sirajin Basha’s counsel Nitin said sanction for prosecution need not be accorded for each and every offence.

It is in connection with these two corruption cases out of the five filed by Basha that the Lokayukta Court had ordered issue of summons against Yeddyurappa on August 8 last year which subsequently led to his arrest.







Supreme Court grants interim bail to Sukh Ram

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: January 09, 2012 13:03 IST

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court today granted interim bail till January 16 to former Union Minister Sukh Ram who had surrendered and had been sent to jail to serve a three-year term in connection with a telecom scam in 1993.

A bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam also granted interim bail to former bureaucrat Runu Ghosh and Hyderabad-based businessman P Rama Rao who are co-accused in the case.

The bench had, on January 5, refused to entertain their appeal against the Delhi High Court’s order convicting them in the scam and awarded a jail term of three years for Sukh Ram and Rao and two years of imprisonment for Ghosh.

The bench had said that it would hear their plea only after they complied with the high court’s order and surrendered before a trial court to undergo sentence. Thereafter, Ghosh and Rao had surrendered on the same day.

Sukh Ram initially evaded surrendering on health grounds saying he was hospitalised but two days after he appeared in the trial court, he was sent to jail.

Earlier on December 21 last year, the high court had upheld the lower court’s 2002 judgement holding Sukh Ram, Ghosh and Rao guilty of being part of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the state exchequer by awarding a telecom equipment supply contract to Hyderabad’s Advanced Radio Masts which had supplied inferior goods at a higher rate to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

Sukh Ram was telecom minister between January 18, 1993 and May 16, 1996, in the Narasimha Rao government.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed the chargesheet in March 1997, accusing Sukh Ram and Ghosh of entering into a criminal conspiracy with Rao.

Subsequent to the registration of various cases, the CBI, in 1996, had seized Rs. 3.6 crore in cash which was concealed in bags and suitcases from Sukh Ram’s residence.







Property tax on cell towers? Bombay High Court to rule


Published: Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Can a municipal corporation levy property tax on mobile towers and equipment on rooftops and building terraces? The Bombay High Court will decide on the issue while hearing a petition filed by Viom Infra Networks, a telecom company.

A division bench of Justice VK Tahilramani and Justice ML Tahiliyani has issued notices to the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) and its municipal commissioner, asking them to file a reply by January 23.

In the meanwhile, the high court has also restrained the KDMC from taking any coercive action against the mobile towers of Viom Infra Networks, pending the hearing of its petition. The court has specifically ordered the KDMC to not dismantle or demolish the mobile towers till their final order.

Viom Infra Networks had filed a petition in the high court challenging notice issued to them by the KDMC levying property tax for cell towers and equipment installed on rooftops and building terraces.

Viom received property tax bill from KDMC in May 2011 for one of their towers at Anand Bhuvan building in Dombivili.

They received similar bills in respect of four other sites in December 2011 and also started receiving calls from KDMC officials threatening coercive action against the cell phone towers.

Property tax was levied on the basis that such towers or equipment constitute a new building/structure and hence is independently subject to property tax.

The municipal corporation also levied penalty on Viom on the pretext that the cell towers are illegal and unauthorised.

According to Viom’s petition, it has entered into leave-and-licence agreements with the building owners before installing the said towers and that as a precautionary measure it has also permission from the corporation for doing so.

The firm’s petition also states: “The telecom towers, which are not permanent structures, are temporarily installed. Further, the installation of such towers are crucial for the functioning and operation of a mobile telephone system.”









CIC to President office: Make info on black money stashed abroad public


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 06.39AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the President’s secretariat to make public details of correspondence among various ministries and the Delhi Police related to black money.

The order came following an appeal by RTI applicant Milap Choraria, who had sought to know the action taken on reports on the letters written by him to finance and external affairs ministries among other public authorities, in connection with unaccounted cash stashed abroad.

During the hearing, Choraria also submitted that he was mainly interested to get from the office of the President Secretariat the file notings concerning its correspondence with the banking division, finance ministry, MEA and the Delhi Police.

“It seems the Appellant had written a number of letters to various authorities regarding the Indian citizens illegally depositing black money in various foreign banks…The Central Public Information Officer (of the President Secretariat) had provided him with some information while advising him to approach the remaining authorities to know about the action taken by each one of them.

“After carefully considering the facts of the case, we do not see any problem in disclosing this information,” Chief Information Commissioner Satyanand Mishra said in his order.

The CIC directed the CPIO to provide information within 10 working days, including photocopies of the file notings from the relevant files in which his letters had been processed and correspondence made with the banking division, ministry of finance, MEA and the Delhi Police.








PTI | 05:01 PM,Jan 09,2012

However, the High Court had said there may be a situation where disclosure may affect the security, strategic, scientific and economic interests of the State but the present case is not such a one. The Central Public Information Officer of the DMRC in July, 2009, declined the information sought on the ground that it was intellectual property of the DMRC and considerable cost and time had been spent in preparing the design. Later, the CIC had directed the DMRC to supply the information as sought by the RTI applicant.






Child Labour Act may be tweaked to be on RTE page


Akshaya Mukul, TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 05.16AM IST

NEW DELHI: Within days of Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC) recommending that the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act be amended in sync with the Right to Education (RTE) Act – promising free and compulsory education for children aged between 6 and 14 years – the labour ministry will hold a meeting with HRD officials on Wednesday.

This is the first concrete action on NAC’s recommendation. NAC’s proposal, being supported by the HRD ministry, states that child labour should be prohibited till 14 years. Another amendment being proposed is that children till 18 years should not be employed for hazardous tasks. Labour ministry sources said NAC’s proposal would act as a template and there could be modifications, but implication of the RTE Act would be factored in the Child Labour Act.

Child Labour Act defines a child as a person who is below 14 years of age. The Act also says that no child should be employed for hazardous work. NAC said after the enactment of RTE Act the distinction between “prohibited and regulated employment that underwrites Child Labour Act is no longer tenable.”

Educationists as well as the HRD ministry has been arguing in favour of changing the child labour law to bring in more children in the education net. “The child who works instead of being in school loses opportunities to break out of poverty, and suffers severe and irreversible damage to her physical and mental health,” NAC said. It also argued that the “current regime of graded legality of child work is not in consonance with the fundamental rights of every child, including her right to be in school”.

While recommending a ban on child labour till the age of 14, NAC has also said that the law should not penalize parents for making their children work. “Nor should the law criminalize children assisting their parents in work at home, in the fields or vending after school hours or during holidays,” NAC said. But it has also recommended that since penalties under the Child Labour Act are “weak and poorly enforced”, all offences under the Act should be made “cognizable and non-bailable.”

NAC has said HRD and women & child development ministries should be entrusted with the job of rehabilitating child workers through child-supportive programmes.


LEGAL NEWS 10.01.2012

First phase of UP polls rescheduled


Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, January 08, 2012

First phase of UP polls rescheduled

The first phase of Assembly polls in UP to be held on February 4 has been rescheduled and fresh date will be announced soon, the Election Commission said today citing uncertainty about the date of ‘Barawafat’ festival, the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammad, which may also fall on the same day.

 The poll panel said the law and order enforcing agencies and District Election Officers of the state had also referred to the possibility of the Barawafat festival coinciding with the with the first phase of polls, during the Commission’s two-day review meeting in Lucknow last week.

A poll panel official told PTI that a revised schedule will be announced soon.

“The Commission has today decided that the notification for 60 Assembly constituencies going for poll on February 4 shall not be issued on January 10 as scheduled. This is due to uncertainty about the date of ‘Barawafat’ festival which may also fall on February 4,” an EC statement said.

“The law and order enforcing agencies and DEOs of Uttar Pradesh also raised this point during Commission’s review meeting at Lucknow on January 6 and 7. The revised schedule for 1 st phase ACs (60 ACs) will be announced by the Commission separately,” it said.

The Commission also requested Governor of Uttar Pradesh not to issue the notification for 1st Phase scheduled to be notified on January 10.

According to the earlier announcement, the Uttar Pradesh elections was scheduled for seven phases between February 4 and 28.








Mayawati’s statues to be draped today on Election Commission’s order

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: January 09, 2012 17:27 IST

Lucknow/Noida:  An exercise to cover up many massive statues of Mayawati, and of the elephants that are her political symbol, at Ambedkar parks in Lucknow and in Noida, near Delhi, will begin today.

For those counting, there are nine Mayawati statues and 25 elephants that will need to be covered at the Lucknow park and two Mayawatis and 52 elephants at the Noida park that the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister inaugurated with much fanfare only a few months ago. The Election Commission has given the UP administration time till Wednesday, 5 pm, to complete the task.

The elephant motifs and her four-faced statues in the company of Dalit greats are Ms Mayawati’s attempt at immortality. For the time being, the Election Commission saw them as hampering a “free and equal” electoral process. Uttar Pradesh votes to elect a new government in seven phases of polling all through next month.

It’s no easy task covering those almost 100 massive statues with cloth sheets. The task poses both physical and political challenges in BSP-ruled UP. So on Sunday, when government officials began the exercise, there was much drama. First, the officials ran out of sheets to cover the giant statues. They also ran out of ideas on how to effectively go about the task. Those ruminations were quickly pushed to the back by the realisation that an official order to cover the statues was yet to be received from the Election Commission. So the sheets that had been draped came off.

The Lucknow District Magistrate finally received the order on Sunday evening and it will be implemented from today. Noida officials said they would measure the statues today to get the right size of cloth to cover them.

Political reactions to the Election Commission’s decision have ranged from “happy” to “irrational” and even “utter nonsense.” TS Krishnamurthy, former Chief Election Commissioner, explains why what seems like a “strange decision” is necessary. “It needs to be done keeping in mind fair elections…This decision may look strange and some people may even call it idiotic…unfortunately, this is a consequence of a distorted democracy that we have,” he said of the present EC’s order.

Mr Krishnamurthy points to a precedence. “In the 2004 Parliament election, we had a similar situation with hoardings on the national highway for projects of the National Highway Authority of India. We had to cover the pictures of the former prime minister (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) in order to provide a level-playing field for all political parties.

The Congress is smug. In UP’s Devariya, senior Congress leader Pramod Tiwari says, “We never asked for the elephant to be covered…but we welcome the decision of the Election Commission. Covering the hand symbol (the Congress’ election symbol) is impossible because that too will need a hand.”

The Election Commission’s directive virtually endorses the Congress’ stand that the statues were Mayawati’s campaign material. Campaigning in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi drove home the association between the elephant and what he calls Mayawati’s misrule when he said, “The miraculous elephant which Mayawati has created eats out of poor people’s pockets.”

But in a very high-stakes political battle, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party is already turning adversity into advantage, signalling to its core Dalit votebank that the party’s opponents are targeting them and not Mayawati or her monuments.

“Will the Election Commission also ban the cycle during the elections in the state?” asked BSP leader SC Mishra. The bicycle is the election symbol of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, the third big player in the UP elections.

Not that all rival political parties find merit in the Election Commission’s decision that Mayawati’s statues should be covered.

JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav, who is also the convenor of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which includes the BJP, the fourth political angle in the UP elections, said, “We don’t know on whose advice this decision has been taken. Those are statues and especially the elephants; you go anywhere in India, you go to Khajuraho, Konark, elephants will look like elephants…These are nonsensical talks even if Congress says so or Mayawati says so. This is utter nonsense.”

Left leader D Raja said, “This is I think a bit of an irrational order. The Election Commission should have applied its mind properly before issuing such an order because this will lead to many other questions.”

And from faraway Mumbai comes a wry tweet that could be the last word on the cover-up. “A covered Mayawati statue will get more attention than an uncovered one. People will say, ‘Oh that is Mayawati’s statue covered,’” tweeted actor Anupam Kher. The BSP will be counting on that happening.








SC admits Sahara plea against refunding Rs17,400 cr to investors


Published: Monday, Jan 9, 2012, 13:29 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The Supreme Court on Monday admitted Sahara’s plea against a tribunal order to refund around Rs17,400 crore to its investors.

The stay on Securities Appellate Tribunal order to continue till further directions, said the apex court.




TDSAT asks Etisalat to renew 25% of bank guarantee

PTI, 08 Jan 2012 | 04:49 PM

In Loop’s matter, the tribunal observed that it has not started its operation in 14 out of 21 circles, for which spectrum has been alloted. Loop had said that it can provide information in respect of the circles where it has started information only after January 15.

Giving some relief to new telecom operator, telecom tribunal TDSAT has asked Etisalat DB to renew only 25 per cent of its financial bank guarantee submitted by the operator to government at the time of allotment of spectrum.

However, it directed Loop Telecom to renew its entire financial bank guarantee of Rs 580 crore submitted for a pan India licence within a week.

“We are of the opinion that interest of justice will be sub-served if the petitioner (Loop) is directed to renew the Bank Guarantee within a period of one week from date without prejudice to its rights and contentions, subject to the observations made hereinbefore,” the tribunal said.

Passing an interim order, a TDSAT bench headed by its Chairman Justice S B Sinha asked Etisalat DB to renew the 25 per cent of the bank guarantee within a week.

The tribunal added that “bank guarantees must be operative from the date of the expiry of the existing bank guarantees”.

It also directed that Etisalat DB, a JV between UAE based telecom firm Etisalat and DB to “furnish an undertaking supported by an affidavit that it would, in the event this petition is dismissed or this order is otherwise modified or varied, furnish appropriate bank guarantees”.

However, in Loop’s matter, the tribunal observed that it has not started its operation in 14 out of 21 circles, for which spectrum has been alloted. Loop had said that it can provide information in respect of the circles where it has started information only after January 15.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal also consented with the operator and said that as per the terms and condition of licence conditions a “contractual obligation has been cast on DoT to make periodic reviews” after services are rolled out of service.

Wondering over DoT’s inaction, the TDSAT observed, “There is absolutely no reason as to why such periodic review could not be conducted for more than a year”.

Etisalat, which has been awarded a licence of 16 circles, has submitted a bank guarantee of Rs 330 crore. As per the licence terms, such bank guarantee are to be periodically reviewed and it is brought equivalent to the licence fee paid by any operator for two quarters.

However, it was not done and Etisalat approached TDSAT requesting it to withdraw the financial bank guarantee and replace it with revised guarantees equivalent to the estimated sum equivalent to licence fee for two quarters.







We never recommended mining in Western Ghats: ICFRE


Published: Sunday, Jan 8, 2012, 10:25 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

In an interesting twist, the Indian Council for Forest Research and Education (ICFRE), on Saturday claimed that reports of the ICFRE recommending mining in the Western Ghats have been highly exaggerated and falsified.

“We have not recommended to the government that mining should be taken up in the Western Ghats. We have, however, asked them to do a feasibility study on doing underground mining in those areas,” said an exasperated Dr VK Bahuguna, director general, ICFRE Dehra Dun, at a press conference at the Institute of Wood Science and Technology (IWST).

He also suggested that the groups that have filed the writ petition in the apex court against the suggestions made by ICFRE in its macro-environmental impact assessment report to the Supreme Court are ill-informed.

“We are talking about bringing in technology that will make underground mining possible. It’s being done in Stockholm, Sweden and we want to know if it is feasible in the Western Ghats as well,” questioned Bahuguna. He also elaborated that if the study finds underground mining not feasible financially or otherwise, then it won’t be done.

Bahuguna also announced that an advanced centre for mining rehabilitation and reclamation has already been set up at the IWST that will deal in rehabilitation of the affected areas of Bellary, Tumkur, and Chitradurga.

“We have five scientists working on it and one IFS officer in charge of the operation. The centre will educate and train land owners who do not have the correct expertise on rehabilitation of land and re-building slopes and more. We will also be presenting a mining rehabilitation and reclamation model to the Supreme Court on January 20,” he said.

He added that rehabilitation of Bellary, Tumkur, and Chitradurga would cost approximately Rs14 -Rs15 crore.







Homeless crave for shelter


Ishita Mishra, TNN | Jan 9, 2012, 04.17AM IST

KANPUR: Rampal Singh’s fight with life begins every evening when, after pulling rickshaw the entire day, he is unable to find a roof under which to sleep in this biting cold weather. This 60-year-old rickshaw-puller’s attempts to find night shelters or raen baseras mostly prove futile. His thin sweater and shawl are just not enough to beat the chill, still they are more than what a number of destitute in city can boast of.

The drastic dip in mercury has added to the woes of many homeless persons in the city. Lack of adequate night shelters has heightened their problems, forcing them to spend chilly winter nights on the verandah of shops, bus stands and at railway stations. The functional shelter homes are in such a bad shape that the poor and destitute prefer not to spend the nights there. Though the Kanpur Nagar Nigam (KNN) has converted many maternity centres and other public places into temporary night shelters, these places can accommodate only a very few people.

The civic body has also invited criticism for not constructing any new permanent night shelter for the poor this year. ” A large number of rickshaw-pullers, migrant labourers and beggars are forced to spend nights on the verandahs of shops in Nayaganj Bazaar, Jhakarkati bus stand, but the civic body is not bothered about providing a decent shelter to them,” said Vikram Sahu, a social worker.

Shikha, another social activist, said the civic body had failed to address the issues of poor homeless people. Despite court’s directive, the KNN has not managed to construct a single permanent night shelter this year and the temporary shelter homes seem to be in a hopeless condition. “Despite the fact that harsh weather conditions are increasing the death toll in the city, the KNN is yet to show promptness in setting up raen baseras (temporary shelters),” added Shikha.

People also claimed that destitute women did not stay at the shelter homes due to anti-social elements misusing the place. Last year, KNN had set up more then 10 temporary shelter houses for labourers, rickshaw pullers and the homeless at Green Park, Chakeri police station, CTI crossing, Cooperganj, Parmat crossing, Babupurwa, Nawab Ganj, Express Road and Sarsaiyya Ghat.

The Supreme Court passed an order on writ petition 196/2001, People’s Union of Civil Liberties versus Union of India, clearly stating that in six metropolitan cities of the state – Lucknow, Agra, Meerut, Varanasi, Allahabad and Kanpur – the city development authorities along with the State Urban Development Agency (SUDA) would set up one permanent shelter house for every one lakh population. But, the number of shelter homes has not increased in accordance with the number of poor and homeless in city.

However, the KNN authorities refuted the allegations of having insufficient shelter homes in the city. “We are aware of the problems of the homeless. We have made adequate arrangements for the homeless and provided them with blankets. We have already managed more than seven permanent night shelters for them. We planned to set up 23 new shelters in the city this winters but the work got delayed,” said UP Agarwal, caretaker of shelter homes, KNN.

“The requirement of the city is for 28 shelter homes and we are managing with seven old shelters. All the 23 newly constructed shelter homes will start functioning within a fortnight. Then we will not need any more temporary shelters,” added UP Agarwal.

The official, while commenting on the issue of rising number of anti-social elements at shelter homes, said it was the genuine responsibility of locals to complain of any such activity and proper action would be taken.







EC issues order to cover statues of Maya, poll symbol


TNN Jan 8, 2012, 06.53PM IST

LUCKNOW: In a formal order, the Election Commission of India on Sunday issued directives for covering “each and every statue of elephant and each and every statue of Mayawati”, which was constructed or erected in public places in Uttar Pradesh.

The entire work of veiling the statues, the EC has ordered, will have to be completed by 5pm on January 11. The district election officer of the districts concerned have also been directed to submit to the commission a compliance report in this regard by January 11.

The EC also that that all statues that were built or erected using government expense and which were the subject matter of the a 2009 writ petition before the Supreme Court of India, will be covered to ensure that these statues do not influence the minds of the electors disturbing the level playing field during the current general election to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

In an order issued by the EC on Sunday evening, the expense for covering the statues will have to be borne by local authorities under whose jurisdiction the various statues were built or erected.







2G: Unitech MD moves HC for quashing of charges


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 08, 2012

Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra, an accused in the 2G scam case, has moved the Delhi high court seeking quashing of the charges framed against him, saying the order by the trial court was passed in a “casual and perfunctory manner”. He said the order was passed without application of judicial mind as there was no evidence to show that he had conspired with any public servant for wrongful financial gain.

“The impugned order has been passed in a casual and perfunctory manner and without due application of judicial mind,” he said, adding “there was no evidence to show that the petitioner (Chandra) had in any manner conspired with any public servant to cause wrongful gain to himself or wrongful loss to the government of India.”

He said there was no evidence that he or his company had paid bribe for securing the Unified Access Services Licences.

Haryana yet to probe schools violating RTE norms


Posted: Jan 09, 2012 at 0135 hrs IST


Panchkula Even as some schools in Panchkula are accused of conducting interviews for admission to nursery classes, the Haryana government has yet to probe similar allegations against four other prominent schools in the state that were accused of conducting screening tests and profiling children for admissions to nursery classes.

Four schools in Gurgaon were accused by a civil rights group, working in the field of the Right To Education (RTE) Act, for violating the RTE norms. The schools against whom a compliant was lodged at the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) include the Scottish High International School, K R Mangalam school, Salwan Montessori school, Suncity school and the Bluebells Public school. The NCPCR had issued a notice to the Haryana government, urging it to probe the allegations against the four schools. The Haryana government officials, however, claim to have not received any such notice.

“ We have yet to receive the letter from the NCPCR and when we get it, we will probe the allegations,” said an official of the basic education department, Haryana.

Meanwhile, there are allegations that parents had undergone a screening procedure in a few schools at Panchkula during admissions for the lower classes.

Amidst the reports, education officials in Panchkula have said they would conduct a probe into the issue. “ As of now we have not received any compliant about violation of the norms for admission to nursery. But we will investigate if we receive any complaint from any parent or a guardian,” said an official of education department.

The principal of Bhavan Vidyalaya in Sector 15, Panchkula, Shashi Banerjee said the school was only conducting counselling sessions for the LKG admission process. “ Candidates seeking admission to the school have to get themselves registered with Bhavan Vidyalaya. We later conduct counselling sessions where we check the date of birth certificate and other certificates for admission to all levels,” Banerjee said. The manager of the another private school in Panchkula, Blue Bird High School also said the school was following norms while admitting children at the nursery level. The private schools in Panchkula had recently come under sharp criticism for their failure to file self-declaration forms regarding compliance of the RTE. A majority of them only began filing the self-declaration forms after court intervention after a public interest litigation (PIL) regarding implementation of the RTE came up for hearing.









The Supreme Court must step in

Prakash Katoch | Monday, January 9, 2012

How can you expect the youth to be attracted to the army when even the office of a service chief is being dealt with in a deplorable manner without compunctions of willfully denigrating the military in the process? Misinformation has been ‘planted’ in the media and even through statements in Parliament that the year of birth of the present army chief is 1950 instead of 1951 and that he has been asking for ‘change of date of birth’, whereas he has never once asked for change of date of birth.

The impression created of Gen VK Singh craving for one more year is grossly untrue. The mischief originated in the Military Secretary’s Branch (which is no authority on an officer’s age) 36 years after Gen VK Singh was commissioned. He has been representing to the MS Branch and army chiefs for ‘reconciliation’ of his birth date since then but the issue has been soft pedaled deliberately. The Adjutant General’s Branch (the sole authority on an officer’s age) has throughout maintained his birth date as May 1951. The Attorney General first agrees the birth date as 1951 and at a subsequent stage changes it to 1950. What more proof of mischief is required when the defence ministry directs the MS Branch to undertake an inquiry into the birth date of Gen VK Singh “in conjunction with the AG’s Branch’, and the inquiry is NOT held and the MoD rejects the petition for ‘reconciliation of age’ describing it a petition for ‘change of date of birth’, also citing the findings of the inquiry ordered by MoD (never held).

Meanwhile the political interlocutor keeps singing lullabies, exhorting the chief to be patient and not go to court till the latter shut down for the year last year and next day reject his statutory complaint for ‘reconciliation of age’. The law minister says on TV that ‘rules are rules’, that ‘change of date of birth’ can only be taken up within three years of service but does not explain such role is applicable in this case where change of date of birth has never been applied for.

Article continues below the advertisement…

The PIL filed on the same issue is being deliberately delayed. First, the judge heading the bench discovers at the last minute that he knows the army chief and needs to be taken off and now leisurely the constitution of the new bench will take many days.

Media investigations have recently spoken of the land and arms mafias. Of course, big ticket army related contracts are in the offing — artillery and air defence, helicopters and what not. That notwithstanding, where the Supreme Court has to even direct Delhi citizens to wear seat belts and helmets, it would be only appropriate for the esteemed apex court to take suo motu notice of this case, summon both parties and give expeditious verdict.

Akin to Parliament being the symbol of democratic India, the service chief is the symbol of the military. The Supreme Court must take note of the attack being mounted on the military that will have far reaching repercussions and intervene. Should the case go to Court in the normal route, all out efforts can be expected to delay the verdict beyond May 31, 2012, the government-purported date of retirement of Gen VK Singh. That would be yet another shameful day for India.







SDPI to enter election fray, will field SC, ST, minorities


TNN | Jan 9, 2012, 03.38AM IST

MARGAO: The Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI) is determined to enter the political fray in the March 3 assembly elections by contesting in several of the constituencies where the minority community has a sizeable presence.

SDPI’s national general secretary in-charge of Goa desk Mehboob Shariff from Bangalore conducted a number of meetings with party workers at Margao, Davorlim, Housing board and Ponda on Saturday and Sunday.

While deliberating on the poll strategy of the party for the elections at these meetings, the party workers were also informed about the performance of the SDPI in civic polls in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, party sources said.

Sources said that the SDPI leadership has decided to field candidates in Margao, Navelim, Ponda, Fatorda, Curtorim, and is also considering contesting from Mormugao and Valpoi constituencies as well.

The SDPI is being supported by the Popular Front of India (PFI), a confederation of Muslim organizations in India, and is in the process of finalizing its candidates from the minority communities including the scheduled castes, tribes and dalits, sources said.

Speaking to TOI, chief of the Goa unit of the SDPI, Zia Ricarty said that the candidates will be finalized within the next one week.

“In constituencies where the SDPI will not contest, we will support clean and non-corrupt candidates. Our agenda is to clean up the corrupt political system of India,” Ricarty said.

Abdulmatin Daud Carol, a SDPI member, said that the party has a considerable number of its cadre in Goa, who will dedicatedly work for the party’s success in the assembly polls.

“The minority community has been sidelined by the Congress for long. Besides, there has been a lot of interference in the affairs of minority community institutions during the Congress rule. People are now yearning for a change,” Carol said.







Aarushi case: Rajesh Talwar on bail till Feb 4


Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, January 09, 2012


Giving a breather to dentist Rajesh Talwar, the Supreme Court on Monday directed that he will remain on bail and not be arrested till February 4 when he will appear before a Ghaziabad court to face trial along with his wife, Nupur, in the twin murder case of his daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj.

A bench of justices AK Ganguly and JS Khehar said that any further proceeding regarding his bail will be decided by the Ghaziabad court which will hear the case on February 4.

It also said that the dentist will not leave the city without informing the local police station and his passport will remain in the custody of the Magistrate.

It, however, allowed the CBI to approach the trial court to file any application in the matter.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Rajesh, submitted that his client will appear before the trial court on February 4 in the twin murder case.

14-year-old Aarushi, the only daughter of the Talwars, was found dead with her throat slit at the family’s Noida residence on the intervening night of May 15-16, 2008 and the body of domestic help Hemraj was found on the terrace the next day.

The apex court had, on January 6 asked the dentist couple to face trial in the murder of Aarushi, a class nine student, and Hemraj.

The bench had said there was nothing wrong in the Ghaziabad magistrate’s order taking cognisance against them and putting them on trial as the trial judge passed the order after applying his mind.

“We feel constrained to observe that the court should exercise utmost restraint before interfering in the magistrate’s order,” the bench had said adding, “The magistrate has applied his mind to come to the conclusion of taking cognisance in the case”.

The investigation in the case was initially carried out by the Uttar Pradesh Police which had arrested Aarushi’s father on May 23, 2008.

The probe was subsequently handed over to the CBI on May 29, 2008 and Rajesh was granted bail by the Ghaziabad court on July 11, 2008.

The CBI after probing the murder for over two-and-half years filed its closure report in the case in the Ghaziabad special CBI court, saying it had been unable to find out any evidence to prosecute the Talwars.

The trial court, however, rejected the CBI closure report, saying there was enough prima facie material in the agency’s report to put the couple on trial for their alleged involvement in the twin murders and had issued summons to them to face trial.

The magistrate took cognisance of the case and summoned Talwars on February 9, 2011.

Rajesh and Nupur had subsequently gone to the Allahabad High Court, which had dismissed their pleas to quash the trial court summons and the proceedings initiated against them.

The Talwar couple then approached the apex court which had on March 19 last year stayed the trial against them but it vacated the stay on Friday.






SC dismisses plea on tendering process


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BHUBANESWAR: In a major relief to the State-owned Orissa Power Generation Corporation (OPGC), the Supreme Court dismissed the special leave petitions filed by BJP leader and former minister Manmohan Samal and others challenging the Orissa High Court Order on the tendering process of the Ib Thermal expansion projects.

A division bench of the apex court consisting of Justices D K Jain and A R Dave while dismissing the SLP declined to interfere with the November 15, 2011 order of the High Court.

Earlier, the Orissa High Court had rejected the application filed by Kailash Chandra Gupta of Dhamnagar in Bhadrak district challenging the balance of plant (BoP) tender process floated by OPGC for its third and fourth units at Banaharpali in Jharsuguda district.

In its order, a division bench of the High Court said that the petitioner had not made out a prima facie case that public interest would be affected by not following the guidelines of Central Electricity Authority.

“No material facts are stated or documents are produced to substantiate the plea that there would be loss of Rs 300 crore to the opposite party in not following the guidelines, the order said.






SC grants bail to SukhRam, two others


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 08, 2012


The Supreme Court on Monday gave interim bal to former Union minister Sukhram. A bench headed by justice P Sathasivam also issued notice to the CBI and clarified that its order on bail would operate till January 16, the day when the court would take up Sukhram’s bail application for further hearing.

The 86-year-old former telecom minister had surrendered before a trial court on Saturday to serve his three year sentence in the 1993 telecom scam case. But soon after reaching Tihar jail, Sukhram was admitted to ICU of Deen Dayal Upadhyay hospital.

The SC also granted interim bail to former bureaucrat Runi Ghosh and Hyderabad-based businessman P Rama Rao.

It also asked the trial court to impose requisite bail conditions on the three who have also challenged the Delhi high court verdict holding them guilty of corruption in the 19-year-old scam.

Counsel for the trio submitted before the court that their clients had been on bail for last 20 years and there was no fear of them running away.









Setback for Sena leaders in rioting case


Published: Sunday, Jan 8, 2012, 12:52 IST
By Ashish Jadhav | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

Two senior members of the Shiv Sena, including party spokesperson Neelam Gorhe, have suffered a setback in a case accusing them of conspiring to provoke rioting and arson in Pune in December 2010.

On Saturday, additional sessions judge Vinay Joshi dismissed the revision petition filed by Gorhe and Milind Narvekar, personal assistant to Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, with regards to the rioting case during the agitation over the removal of the controversial Dadoji Konddev statue from the historic Lal Mahal in the city.

Narvekar and Gorhe had filed the petition for setting aside the order passed by a lower court, directing the police to collect their voice samples for investigating the conspiracy.

In a case filed by the Pune police after tapping their telephonic conversation, Narvekar and Gorhe were accused of hatching a conspiracy to create a law-and-order problem in Pune during a bandh called by the Sena-BJP on December 28, 2010, following removal of the Konddev statue by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

In order to avoid possible arrest in the alleged crime, the two leaders surrendered before the court of judicial magistrate (first class), RL Wankhade, on December 30, 2010. On February 23, 2010, Wankhade allowed the Pune police to collect their voice samples.

However, both the Sena leaders skipped their date with the Pune police on February 26 last year to submit their voice test.

On March 14 last year, the Bund Garden police filed a 17-page chargesheet against them in the court of Wankhade.

Pleading for dismissal of the petition, special public prosecutor, Prakash Suryawanshi, told the court that voice samples of the two suspects were an integral part of the investigation. He also cited the judgment by the Bombay High Court in the case of fake stamp paper scam and told the court that as per article 20 (3) of the Constitution, no person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

On December 27, 2010, the Pune city police had tapped the cellphone and landline of Neelam Gorhe, after the Sena had called a Pune bandh the next day. According to the prosecution, Gorhe had received a call from Narvekar, who allegedly instructed her to stage-manage a riot and create panic in Pune on the bandh day. Narvekar allegedly instructed Gorhe to direct the party cadres to damage public buses in the main city areas, instigate violence and create terror in the people’s minds.

As a part of the voice test, the suspects are made to read books. The natural voice and pitch is recorded in the morning, afternoon and night and then they are sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Chandigarh and to the Mumbai Forensic Science Laboratory for analysis.







Who cast the other vote?

At Mohali SDM is also the Returning Officer for the district. A frequent visitor at his office is an elderly Sikh gentleman who contested the municipal elections as an Independent candidate last time, and intends to enter the fray for the Assembly elections this year. The gentleman secured two votes last time – one his own, and the other of a mystery voter. He now has only one query – he is desperate to know the identity of the other person who voted for him so that he can take him along for canvassing.


The recent direction by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the lower Courts to send status reports of the cases disposed of and those pending on monthly basis is keeping the judicial officers on their toes. On the other hand, the High Court is also keeping a close watch on the functioning of lower judiciary and apprising the performance of lower court Judges to their respective District and Session Judges. Recently, two Judges who were found “underperforming” (from Punjab) were informed through their Sessions Judge to perform else remain prepared to blame themselves for adverse remarks in annual confidential reports.

 ‘Ingenuity’ on display

At a recent press conference regarding the police catching a gang of vehicle thieves, a number of two wheelers recovered as case property from the accused were put on display. While some vehicles stood out as fairly new, others were in a crumbling condition and it appeared as if they had not been moved for years. The idea of these being stolen could not be imagined. Many were of the opinion that the police should have at least got them washed before the press conference to make them appear as a “genuine” recovery.

Who will bell the cat?

In past ten days huge hoardings have come up at various sectors in Panchkula with colourful pictures of politicians. Though it is not any poll time in Panchkula like neighbouring Punjab, but politicians here had come up with a novel method to greet the people on new year through these hoardings. Though these hoardings have been put in violation of norms, the Panchkula Municipal Corporation is a mute spectator to the defacement of the city. May be the officials of civic body are afraid of the politicians and need their permission to pull the hoardings down.

Excuse Me!

Elections are here and so are the election duties for government employees. But unlike in the past when people were willing to on elections duty simply for the fact that it would give them a chance to skip work, its just the opposite these days. Since the day, Punjab elections have been announced Mohali Deputy Commissioner has been flooded with requests for elections duty. Not for being sent on one, but for requesting him to excuse them from the duty. One government teacher came to meet the DC, Mohali in his office all the way from Dappar, near Dera Bassi, to request him for making recommending his case against the duty. When he turned down her request, she reached his residence pleading his case. Finally the DC had to tell her that if gets involved in all this, he will end up doing it till the day of elections, so rather she should excuse him.

Old Wine in New Bottle

The General House of the Municipal Corporation might be full of a large number of fresh faces this time, but the demands of the councillors remain the same. Some of them have started raising the issue that they should be given bags as has been the trend in the past House. The others are worried that the proposal to increase their remuneration has not yet been accepted. Laptops are another issue of concern.

(UN) Welcome visitors

In the recent few weeks, the Panjab University Vice Chancellor Prof R C Sobti’s office had much more than the regular visitors. It was the University faculty members who had thronged his office to congratulate him on extension of his term. With some section of media misinterpreting the Senate’s decision on mere recommendation of extension in his term and retirement age to the MHRD as the decision, the Vice Chancellor was at loss of words each time he was visited by the University staff to wish him. What is interesting is the fact that the faculty members, a few reported to be very senior ones who had been in the University for last four decades, are clueless about the University functioning and its guidelines, that too in such a major decision affecting the term of its head.

Surprise over confusion

Recipients of the New Year’s greetings cards sent by the Haryana government this week were forced to take a closer look at the envelopes in which the cards came in. Curiously enough, the senders (Haryana Government officials in this case) had put pasting revenue stamps over the envelopes in place of postal stamps. More interesting was the fact that the glaring error seemed to have escaped the eyes of the postal department as well, which, in turn, ended up delivering the cards.






Child’s welfare key concern in disputes: Jurists

Karthika Gopalakrishnan, TNN | Jan 9, 2012, 02.50AM IST

CHENNAI: While deciding family disputes, the best interest of the child alone should be given prime importance, felt two women judges of the Madras high court here on Sunday. They were participating in discussions at the National Conference of the All India Federation of Women Lawyers (AIFWL).

While Justice Chitra Venkataraman recommended the need for lawyers to prepare clients for the litigation itself in cases of family disputes, Justice Vimala stressed on the importance of individuals going in for pre-marital counselling.

“Both judges also said that when a child is taken in for giving evidence on family matters, the child should not be bombarded with questions as is done with a chief and cross examination, but be enquired politely,” said advocate Adhilakshmi Logamurthy.

“Mediation is often the best way to resolve some of the most challenging problems in family disputes. The mediator should seek the best interest of the child in such cases,” said advocate Baby Lathika, member, Child Welfare Committee of Kannur district in Kerala. She practices at the district and sessions court, Thalassery.

Her colleague, Alice Krishnan, who practices in Kasaragode district of Kerala, said there was an inherent need for training of district judges, counsellors and protection officers to sensitise them to the issues involved in family disputes.

“Consideration for women and children should be the prime criterion for appointing judges to the family court. Since judges are transferred from other district courts to family courts, they should be given training and proper guidelines so that they can understand the intention of the legislation while passing orders,” she said.

The delegates resolved to work on the urgent need for the country to develop a law on surrogacy and for it to be enacted after wide consultations with women’s groups working on the issue. A resolution was also adopted to develop a legislation to tackle the problems of honour killings in India.

“The AIFWL will study the draft framed by the Law Commission on the Bill and send in its comments. We chose themes for the conference based on the burning issues. Though surrogacy and honour killings are hot trends today, there are no laws governing them,” said Amee Yajnik, vice-president, AIFWL, a senior lawyer from the Gujarat high court.

Dr V Shanta, chairman, Cancer Institute, Adyar, Ruth Manorama, president, National Alliance of Women and Vanitha Mohan, managing trustee, Siru Thuli were recipients of the social activism award.




Debar MLAs who quit, force bypolls: Consumer rights protection


Published: Sunday, Jan 8, 2012, 11:44 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

The all-India Consumer Rights Protection Trust has sought an amendment to Chapter 3 and 4 of the representation of the people’s act by incorporating a clause debarring those MLAs who resign from the legislative assembly and then contest by-elections.

At a conference on Saturday, trust president Gnana Prakash said that a by-election is a wasteful exercise and should be avoided.
The same candidate should not be given more than one chance to contest elections.

He pointed out that in Karnataka every now and then there is a by-election and quite often a candidate is made to resign from one party and joins another and then contest a by-election.

Prakash said this should not happen and felt that if an MLA resigns during his tenure, he should be debarred from contesting elections for a period of 6 years and the expenditure incurred for his conducting his election should be recovered from him.

He should be punished under the Indian penal code as due to his resignation the money spent by the state exchequer on his election goes waste, he added.

Only in extreme situations like the death of a sitting MLA or if he becomes terminally ill should a by-election be allowed, Prakash said.

He further added that the trust has submitted a letter raising this issue to central minister Salman Khurshid and he has replied saying he would look into it.

CR Narayanappa, former chairman of Karnataka state slum clearance board and patron of the trust, said that he too will pursue the matter.







CID reveals casting, script of Munnabhai-style scam

Published: Sunday, Jan 8, 2012, 10:35 IST
By Imran Gowhar | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Where there is will, there is a way. Eleven doctors who could not score well in the postgraduate medical entrance exam in an earlier attempt, got top 11 ranks in 2011. The only smart work they had to do in this regard was joining hands with an insider and shelling out money.

The CID has busted a group of 17 doctors who colluded to leak the question paper of the postgraduate medical entrance exam held in 2011. They even provided answers to the 11 candidates, right in the exam hall. The main culprit who facilitated the con-job is Dr Vinayaka Prasanna, assistant professor, forensic department, Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS),

Bellary. He used his good ties with the staff of the VIMS and Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) to get the job done for his clients, who are his junior colleagues.
Each of the 11 candidates agreed to pay a hefty amount to Prasanna to help them get good rank in the exam. Getting high rank in the exam ensures
admission to a government medical college, where the fee is nominal.
The CID’s chargesheet regarding the case reveals the intricate process through which Prasanna executed his plan. He has a good rapport with the employees of the RGUHS and the VIMS and he used it to the hilt. With the help of computer programmer of the RGUHS, he ensured that all the 11 candidates were allotted the same exam hall, in VIMS.
Then, Prasanna joined hands with another VIMS official and saw to it that all the candidates got seat in the same row, so that they can copy easily without attracting attention. Prasanna then approached Dr Kantesh Yallapur, the VIMS lecturer who was to be the invigilator of the exam hall where the 11 candidates were to write their exam. Yallapur agreed to distribute the answer chits to the candidates.
Prasanna too had applied for invigilator duty on the day of the exam. From the exam superintendent, Dr Manjunath, he obtained the sealed envelope of question papers about a couple of hours before the exam. He opened the envelope in his chamber and took photos of the question paper with his digital camera. He gave the camera to Dr Kiran Chand, junior division medical officer, VIMS, and asked him to take it to the house of Dr Firdos Sultana, a postgraduate doctor working with VIMS.
Sultana, with the help of Dr Vanaja (Prasanna’s wife and assistant professor, VIMS) and others, prepared eleven answer sheets. They were sent back to Prasanna. Then, Chand was instructed to hand over 10 chits to the candidates, which he did. Prasanna handed over one answer chit to Dr V Suresh, who is the 26th accused in the CID’s chargesheet.
The scam came to light after some of the examinees smelled a rat in top 11 ranks coming from the same examination hall. They filed a complaint with the RGUHS and police. The case was handed over to the CID. Many employees of the RGUHS and VIMS who have been accused of being part of the scam told the CID that they did what Prasanna asked them to and they were not aware of the larger picture—the scam. These accused testified before the CID, which helped the officials crack the case.
All the accused have been booked under various sections f of Indian Penal Code and Karnataka Education Act.









From forged plastic money to hard cash


TNN | Jan 9, 2012, 03.46AM IST

PANAJI: The 12 accused arrested by the Panaji police had adopted a new modus operandi to cheat casino operator in Panaji to the tune of Rs 39 lakh in two days: they would visit the casino as tourists and purchase chips to play. But instead of playing, they would return the chips at the casino counter and encash it claiming it to be their winning amount.

Police said that few of them would use fake credit and debit cards to withdraw money to purchase the chips and then instead of playing in they would pass on the chips to the other gang members who would also be present in the casino. “Once they got the chips, they would then return to the casino counter and return them claiming that they had won the same. Then they would leave the casino with cash,” said police sources.

The Panaji town police arrested 12 persons for allegedly duping a casino to the tune of Rs 39 lakh, by using bogus credit and debit cards, on Saturday evening.

Representative of a casino Srinivas Nayak had lodged a complaint with the Panaji town police that some persons were cheating the casino by using forged cards. Accordingly, the police laid a trap and caught Ravi Kiran, Farhaan Tangekar and Nazir Shaikh-all three from Thane-Mumbai; M Ajmal Sharief (Bangalore), Abdul Waheed Shaikh (Orissa), Juneid Shaikh, Hidayat alias Ruhaan Khan, Rajesh Bhosle, Vjid Bikla and Sangeeta Shilkar all from Mumbai and Shati Baaz Shaikh and Neha Ticker from Hyderabad.

The accused would allegedly prepare forged documents and prepare credit and debit cards in different names by printing and embossing the details. Then they would use these forged cards to withdraw cash and purchase chips from the casino.

All the accused were arrested under Section 468 (forgery), Section 471 (using as genuine a forged document), Section 420 (cheating), Section 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) read with Section 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

In two days, they are suspected to have used more than 40 cards in the casinos.






Nakkeeran editor, AIADMK MLA file cases on each other


TNN | Jan 9, 2012, 02.38AM IST

CHENNAI: Zam Bazaar police have registered a first information report against ‘Nakkeeran’ editor R R Gopal and AIADMK MLA M K Ashok after the attack on the Tamil magazine’s office on Saturday.

An AIADMK worker from Royapettah lodged a complaint stating that the magazine staff had threatened him when he went to ask them about the allegedly defamatory article published in ‘Nakkeeran’ about chief minister J Jayalalithaa. Based on his complaint, police filed a case against Gopal under sections 147, 148 (rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 505 (statements leading to public mischief) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code on Sunday.

Later, the magazine’s manager Suresh Kumar lodged a complaint against M K Ashok, party MLA from Velachery constituency. Cases were filed under section 147, 148, 427 (causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees or upwards) and 294b (obscene acts and songs).

Meanwhile, tension prevailed in Royapettah for the second day after reports of AIADMK cadres attacking the ‘Nakkeeran’ office spread. A statement released by Gopal alleged that Metrowater staff tried to disconnect the water supply at 10am on Sunday.

He said that at noon another group of AIADMK cadres armed with logs and stones launched a second attack. “They told residents and shopkeepers to go inside and continued their attack,” Gopal said in his statement. He exhorted everyone to protest against the curbing of freedom of expression.

On Saturday, AIADMK cadres ransacked the Nakkeeran office after the latest issue of the magazine hit the stands. Across Tamil Nadu, ruling party workers staged protests and burnt the copies of the magazine. The party’s legal wing filed a petition with the Chennai police commissioner seeking action against the magazine and its editor.

DMK organising secretary T K S Elangovan said that attacks on a magazine for publishing an article is like sounding a warning to all media houses. “They should have taken legal action rather than attacking the office and trying to cut water and power connections. The government itself could have filed a defamation case. This is an attempt to curb freedom of the press,” said Elangovan.

A senior Metrowater official denied any move to cut the water connection in ‘Nakkeeran’ office. “The staff usually cut the connection for maintenance. Otherwise, there will be no such move without informing the consumer. If there is a complaint, the concerned person can approach the Metrowater senior officials including the managing director. Necessary action will be taken,” said the official.






Homeopathy: Placebo or science? IIT Powai finds out

Mumbai: Sceptics and scientists alike say homeopathy is a placebo. However, scientists at IIT Powai have done some ground-breaking research, and plan to release a new study this March.

The British Medical Association has passed some serious judgment on homeopathy, liking it to witchcraft and black magic, “all placebo and no science”.

The debate over homeopathy is not new. Some of the criticism is over the quality of compounds which are heavily diluted with water. The final solution often contains only a millionth of the original ingredient. Researchers in IIT Bombay have found that these white pills work on the principle of nanotechnology.

A team of experts at the institute prepared a highly diluted solution of pills and checked them under powerful electron microscopes and found that even after extreme dilutions, the final solution did retain the original compounds.

Jayesh R Bellare, Professor of Chemical Engineering at IIT-B, said, ”We have shown for the first time that there is a scientific basis to the material aspect of homeopathy. Now it is possible for others to take on this and show that there is or there is not, a medical action based on this. And if there is a medical action, whether the particles that were originally there, are still there in the final medicine and whether they play a role or not.”

The medicinal potency of the drugs after dilution still needs to be studied, but the debate does not bother homeopaths.

One homeopath customer CNN-IBN spoke to, said, “These findings and debates are for scientists, not for common man. I have been using it for over 60 years and I trust it.”

Noted filmmaker Sooraj Barjatya too seems to be a proud supporter of homeopathy. He said that while allopathy was all well and good, in the end, it turned human being into a vegetable. “You wake up in the morning, you are grog, you sleep at night, you are grog.. Is that well being? So that is where homeopathy comes in.”

Finally, it may just remain a matter of trust, till the science catches up.








Convict hurls sandal at judge in Jamnagar


Published: Sunday, Jan 8, 2012, 19:42 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Rajkot | Agency: DNA

Angered by a judgment, a person convicted under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), hurled a sandal at the judge of a court in Jamnagar on Saturday, police said.

According to police sources, additional sessions Judge BA Gadhvi found 24-year-old Sushant Sareshwar Sahu guilty under the NDPS Act and sentenced him to 20 years imprisonment and fined him Rs2 lakh.

“After hearing the judgment, the convict lost his mental calm and flung a sandal at the judge, which didn’t hit him,” a police constable present in the court said. However, Judge Gadhvi did not press any charges against the youth. “I understand his feelings and mental condition. I would like to maintain decorum of the court and would not like to press any charges against him,” he said.

Police have taken Sahu in custody and sent him to prison. Sahu was arrested in April 2009 with 13.150 kg of opium in his possession. “He was arrested following a trap laid for him at Dared GIDC in Jamnagar while trying to deliver the opium to his local customers. He is a resident of Odisha and does not have any local contacts,” police sources said.








Won a case? Wait six months for order copy


A Subramani, TNN | Jan 9, 2012, 05.57AM IST

CHENNAI: For a common man fighting a motor accident claim case or a rent control case in the city, it seems winning the litigation is not as tough and frustrating as obtaining a copy of his hard-fought order.

It takes not less than six months for a litigant to get a certified copy of a judgment/decree. Court officials admit that right now they are “in the process of issuing” copies of orders delivered in July-August 2011. Reason: “There is only one photocopier machine for the 21 courts here – 16 Small Causes Courts and five Fast Track Courts,” said a court employee.

“Yes, it does take about six months for the Registry to issue a certified copy of judgments. It will take you at least two months to join the ‘Xerox Queue’ . And it would take about four months thereafter for you to see a certified copy of the judgment/decree,” said a lawyer specializing in motor accident claims cases.

And what does the law say?

According to Section 168(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 the claims tribunal should arrange to deliver copies of the award to the parties concerned “expeditiously” and in any case, within a period of 15 days from the date of the award.


Even the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles Accidents Claim Tribunal Rules 1989 lays down similar condition. As per the Rules, the tribunal should issue copies of awards and decrees free of cost within 15 days from the date of the award.

Krishnamurthy, 67, and his wife, from Nagapattinam , met with a road accident in Keelkattalai and suffered injuries. In July 2011, the tribunal awarded them 80,000 and 70,000 respectively . But till this day, they are yet to get a fair copy of the order and hence could not claim the award amount, said their counsel.

Till December-end in 2011, nearly 6,000 new road accident claim cases were filed in the courts, called MCOP Tribunals, and about 3,000 rent control cases in Chennai.

The Small Causes Courts 1 to 6, which handle MCOP cases exclusively, manage to dispose of anywhere between 40 to 80 cases a month. But, the problem lies in the actual delivery of the certified copies of the judgments.

It is strange that the five fast track courts (FTCs), located at Singaravelar Maaligai in the collectorate campus, over a kilometer away, also stop with pronouncing judgments. “Copies have to be collected only from the high court premises. Why can’t they issue fair copies there itself. It will reduce the burden,” said a leading accident case specialist.

“One can understand delays in litigations, given the huge volume of cases pending in subordinate courts. But, absence of enough photocopier machines is definitely not an acceptable reason for delays,” said a senior lawyer.








HC allows probe against Central Wakf Council secy


Last Updated: Sunday, January 08, 2012, 12:47

New Delhi: The Centre has been allowed by the Delhi High Court to probe into the alleged irregularities of Central Wakf Council Secretary Mohammad Rizwanul Haque in making appointments in the Punjab Wakf Board when he was its officiating administrator over a decade ago.

Dismissing Haque’s plea for quashing the probe against him, Justice V K Jain said the court should not interfere in the disciplinary proceedings at this initial stage.

“The normal rule is that the court should not quash a show-cause notice or a charge-sheet and it is only in exceptional cases such as the charge-sheet having been issued without jurisdiction or being otherwise illegal that the court can interfere at the interim stage,” the court said.

Haque, appointed as secretary of Central Wakf Council in 2000, was also given the additional charge of Punjab Wakf Board till 2002.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had received some complaints against Haque in 2002 and had sent the same to the CBI.

In 2004, after examining the complaints, the probe agency had recommended major penalty proceedings against Haque for allegedly committing the irregularities.






Remote for HC blast smuggled from LoC trade


Last Updated: Sunday, January 08, 2012, 14:47

Srinagar: Security agencies probing the Delhi High Court blasts are in the process of joining the dots as certain leads have emerged pointing to the remote used for triggering the explosion being smuggled from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) through LoC trade.

An examination of the circuit used in the September seven, 2011 blast at the Delhi High Court, that left 15 people dead and scores others injured, showed that terrorists had used a three-battery remote for triggering the explosion, official sources said on Sunday.

The three-battery remote has been used earlier by terrorists thrice last year — Sangrama in Sopore of North Kashmir, Udhampur in May during an unsuccessful attempt on the life of an Army officer and assassination of Jamiat-e-Ahl-e-Hadees head Maluana Showkat Ahmad Shah in April.

The three-battery remote has more range then earlier used by the terrorists as the technology used here gives them some lead time to facilitate an easy escape from the scene of crime.

A team of National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the High Court blast, has collected the sample from the scene of the Udhampur blast and also that of Sangrama IED, which had failed to detonate because of a high frequency jammer, the sources said.

The forensic evidence in the Molvi Showkat’s case was also examined but it could not give any leads other than the triggering mechanism which also pointed out at a three-battery remote, the sources said.







1985 rape-murder case: HC slams shoddy probe, state govt

In a 26-year-old case where a minor girl from Surendranagar district was allegedly impregnated by her schoolteacher and died while undergoing an abortion by an incompetent person, the Gujarat High Court has slammed the poor investigation and inaction of the state government in not challenging an order whereby the charges of murder and culpable homicide not amounting to murder were dropped by the concerned trial court in 1986.

The HC did so recently while confirming the trial court’s order acquitting all the five accused in the case, including the schoolteacher and the woman who had allegedly tried to abort the pregnancy.

The victim girl in the case has been identified as 16-year-old Mamta Pravinchandra. Mamta’s body was found in an almost decomposed condition from Bhogavo river in March 1985.

Mamta’s father had lodged a complaint against five persons in connection with the case. The five accused have been identified as Joshi Nayna, Joshi Dinkrray, Joshi Kanaiyalal, Trivedi Praful, Suthar Parsottam and Joshi Niru.

According to the prosecution case in the matter, Suthar was Mamta’s schoolteacher as well as a private tutor. The teacher had allegedly involved in the illicit relationship with Mamta who later became pregnant. Nayna was an ‘aaya’ at a government hospital and the other accused were alleged abettors in the case having charges like kidnapping, illegal miscarriage, rape, murder and destruction of evidence etc.

According to prosecution, under the instructions of Suthar, on March 17, 1985, Mamta – from Adarniya village – had left for the house of his aunt in Dhrangadhra and then for Surendranagar. From Surendranagar, under the instructions of Suthar, she was taken to Joravarnagar and there her illegal abortion was undertaken. It was alleged that Nayna had given an injection to Mamta which resulted in her death. Following her death, the accused allegedly tampered with the evidence.

Interestingly, before the trial court framed charges against the accused, they moved an application to remove charges of murder and culpable homicide not amounting to murder against them. The application was allowed by the concerned trial court in September 1986. This order was never challenged by the state government at the higher forum.

Subsequently, the trial court acquitted all the accused from the remaining charges like kidnapping, destruction of evidence, illegal abortion and criminal conspiracy one month later in October 1986, and it was this order of acquittal which was challenged by the state government at HC.

A division bench of HC comprising of Justices R R Tripathi and G B Shah dismissed the petition while slamming the police investigation and the state government inaction in not challenging the September 1986 order of the trial court to drop charges of murder and culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the accused.

“It is really painful that in a matter of such nature wherein a minor and illegal abortion and death of minor is involved, the investigation is not carried out with required precision. On account of lack of precision, the prosecution is not able to bring home the guilt of the accused. The law is very well settled on the point that unless the prosecution is able to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, the accused cannot be held guilty and cannot be punished,” the court observed.

“This court is at loss as to why the prosecution did not challenge that order, which was passed on an application filed by the accused for deleting the charge of Sections 302 and 304 of IPC. The learned counsel appearing for the defence submitted that the said application was given because there was nothing on record to show that the death of Mamta was homicidal. May be, that reason was found very convincing by the prosecution and therefore, the prosecution decided not the challenge that order,” it added.

Dismissing the petition the court observed, “This court has no doubt that the death of minor Mamta was not a natural death. It is on record that she was found pregnant and at first sight, the account of offence may lead to an inference that minor Mamta was pregnant and an abortion was attempted and in that attempt, she died. But the question will still remain as to whether this inference is sufficient to connect the accused with the offence alleged against them. The answer is in negative.”

Speaker refuses to play ‘courier’ for HC summons


Published: Monday, Jan 9, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Agency: DNA

A strange situation has come up before the Allahabad High Court which has been awaiting execution of summons issued for BJP MP Maneka Gandhi in September last.

Despite several attempts made to serve the summons on her in connection with a petition regarding suspected misutilisation of MP local area development fund (MPLAD) that she had allocated to a school, the HC has at last been told by Lok Sabha secretariat that the Speaker can’t undertake the responsibility to serve any legal process, civil or criminal, on a court’s direction.

“The summons sent for service through Lok Sabha Secretariat have been returned back with the letter of VR Ramesh, joint secretary, with reference to the direction of Government of India that Speaker of Lok Sabha Secretariat will not undertake to serve any legal process, civil or criminal or other communications, received from courts or other authorities or members of Parliament. The summons have been returned,” the HC has been told.

Faced with this unusual situation, it has directed that a notice is sent to her Ashok Road (Delhi). In case the summons aren’t served on Ms Gandhi, HC warned that “itmay be constrained to make publication of the avoidance of service by her and may issue service by Advocate Commissioner or recovery of the amount involved in the matter by coercive steps.”

On a law suit saying Rs8.85 lakhs sanctioned by Ms Gandhi under MPLAD to a college at Pilibhit was underutilized, the HC had ordered in an inquiry and it was revealed that the college couldn’t verify expenditure of Rs1.14 lakh.

Since the amount sanctioned under MPLAD scheme and released by the Central government can’t be recovered as arrears of land revenue under the UP Public Money Recoveries Act, 1972, the HC said it would examine the legality of the prohibition. Moreover, it said there’s another important question that looks for a reply: The accountability of the concerned Member of Parliament for proper utilization of fund that he or she had released from the exchequer.

This issue assumes significance in view of several reports about susceptible utililisation of MPLAD.

There are also serious concerns expressed by certain stake holders that delay in completion of the process such execution of summons and serving notices that there’s been increasing pendency of cases.








HC upholds externment of man accused of extortion, gambling–of-man-accused-of-extortion–gambling/897390/

Refusing to grant relief to a man accused of running an extortion and gambling racket in Chembur, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday upheld an externment order, which barred him from entering Mumbai city and suburban districts.

Bharat Ramtara had filed an appeal against an externment order passed on May 16 last year. The order of the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone VI), while referring to 22 criminal cases against Ramtara, cited one specific case as reason for the order. The case was registered under Sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (2) (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

According to the order, Ramtara had been engaged in criminal activities, including gambling and extorting money from shopkeepers, hawkers and residents since 2004. The order had also noted that victims and witnesses were unwilling to come forward to give evidence against him as they had been intimidated.

Arguing before the Bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar, lawyer for the petitioner, U N Tripathi, contended there was no material to support the opinion of the externing authority with respect to intimidation of witnesses. However, the court said the evidence in the show cause notice issued to Ramtara, which contained the gist of in-camera statements of three witnesses, would have to considered in the case.

It further observed that all three witnesses referred to separate incidents in 2011. It further took note of the statement of additional public prosecutor J P Yagnik to the effect that three more cases were registered against Ramtara even after the order of externment was passed.







HC asks for state’s reply on rehab of slum loft occupants


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Jan 9, 2012, 02.15AM IST

MUMBAI: Observing that lakhs of slumdwellers will be affected, the Bombay High Court has sought the state government’s reply on a petition challenging the exclusion of those living in lofts/upper floors of hutments in the slum rehabilitation scheme.

A division bench of Justice Sharad Bobde and Justice Mridula Bhatkar was hearing petitions challenging the government resolution (GR) dated July 11, 2011, which states that occupants of lofts/upper floors are excluded from rehabilitation.

One petition was filled by Gunaji Pagade, a resident of Panchsheel Housing Society at Bandra (E), which is to be redeveloped. On July 28, 2011, the slum rehabilitation authority ( SRA) held him ineligible for rehabilitation on the grounds that he is an occupant of the upper floor/loft structure, even though he claims he has been staying there since before 1976. While the order noted that Pagade’s photo pass and other documents are in order, his claim was being rejected only on the basis of the GR.

According to Pagade’s petition, the GR is ultra vires and contrary to the statutory provisions of the Maharashtra Slum Areas (Improvement, Clearance and Redevelopment) Act 1971, which states that the dwelling structure is inclusive of a loft/upper floor. It points out that under the Act, a ‘protected occupier’ means an occupier of a dwelling structure who holds a photo pass, while a ‘dwelling structure’ means a structure used as a dwelling or otherwise and includes outhouses, sheds, huts or other structures, whether of bricks, masonry, wood, mud, metal or any other material whatsoever. Thus, states Pagade, he is a protected occupier.

Pagade’s petition also states that the GR was meant for the purpose of issuing a photo pass and he has been issued one in 1976. His name is also reflected in voters’ list of January 1, 1995. Pagade urged the court to quash and set aside the SRA’s order, the GR and to direct his name to be included for rehabilitation. Advocates Anil Anturkar and Sugandh Deshmukh argued, “The parent statute includes provision for a loft. Can a GR nullify the parent statute?” The judges said that they would like to know the state’s response. “After all, it will affect lakhs,” added Justice Bobde. The judges have granted the state two weeks to file a reply.

Petitioner Gunaji Pagade’s claim was being rejected only on the basis of a GR that states that a slumdweller is not entitled to be rehabilitated if he stays in the loft.







AIDWA to protest against news report on Aarushi


Special Correspondent

The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) will submit a memorandum to Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia to protest against a report published in the January 7 edition of the Times of India that had “lurid and objectionable” details of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report on the Aarushi Talwar double murder case. The Association will demand action against the newspaper for carrying this report defaming and maligning the young girl’s character and will appeal to the CJI to act against those responsible for the CBI report.

‘Graphic and gory’

The article, titled “Hemraj-Aarushi intimacy proved fatal,” blatantly highlights the name of a young girl, along with descriptions of her alleged sexual behaviour, and the alleged actions of her mother, which are graphic, and gory, and have not been proved in court, a statement issued by Shyamali Gupta, AIDWA president, and Sudha Sundararaman, general secretary, has said.

“The publicising of a CBI report on such a sensitive matter relating to a young child of 14 years, who has been done to death, violates all norms of decency. It casts aspersions on Aarushi’s character and defames her. This is patently against the law,” the statement said.

“Those responsible for this leakage must be held accountable for their action. The publicity given to such a report by a reputed newspaper like The Times of India is also highly objectionable,” the AIDWA statement added.

When asked, The Times of India executive editor Arindam Sengupta refused to comment on the AIDWA statement or on the alleged defamation.







Tribunal pulls up army for not complying with 2-year-old order


PTI | 04:01 PM,Jan 08,2012

New Delhi, Jan 8 (PTI) Pulling up Army for not complying with its almost two-year-old judgement in a court martial case, the Armed Forces tribunal (AFT) has given two weeks to implement the order, failing which it will impose a cost on it for each day’s delay. The AFT issued this order last week in a case involving Major S S Chillar, who was acquitted of charges of possessing a particular grenade allegedly recovered from under his pillow in April 2010. “The order in question was passed on April 1, 2010 and we are in 2012. Still the order has not been fully complied with. In case this order is not complied with within two weeks then we will saddle a cost on the respondents on everyday’s delay,” AFT Chairperson Justice A K Mathur said in his order. In 2010, the AFT had acquitted Chillar after terming his court martial as “totally illegal and unsustainable in law”. Giving relief to Chillar, the AFT had asked the armed forces to appoint trained prosecutors and presiding officers for such cases as otherwise they would turn into acquittals. The AFT has been seeking civil contempt powers to get its orders executed but not much progress has been made in this direction. A proposal in this regard has been pending for some time as it would require an amendment in the AFT Act, 2007 passed by Parliament. The Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007, however, provides for “criminal contempt” under Section 19, the only power under the contempt provisions for the tribunal.







Can’t deduct rent of staff who refuses govt accommodation’


Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 08, 2012

An employee’s refusal to occupy a government accommodation unilaterally allotted to him cannot be treated as misconduct and authorities cannot deduct rent towards such accommodation from his salary, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has ruled. A bench of CAT chairman VK Bali and member Ramesh Chandra Panda on December 23 said government was obliged to refund the rent deducted from the salary of an employee who had been allotted official accommodation without applying for it.

The ruling came on a petition by Pramod Kumar, a technical officer in Dehradun who was transferred to the research centre of central soil and water conservation research and training institute at Datia in MP on July 24, 2002. The authorities allotted him quarter on June 17, 2003 and directed him to occupy it by June 30, 2003, otherwise rent would be deducted from his salary.

Kumar’s case was that, the said quarter lacked basic amenities like electricity and drinking water and he informed the authorities that he was not interested as his family was in Dehradun. But the licence fee and HRA were deducted from his salary from September 2003.

When he objected, on June 6, 2004 he was asked to look after the maintenance of new office-cum-laboratory building and civil and electrical works of residential quarters and his services were declared as essential.

Rejecting his representations, the authorities on April 12, 2007 directed him to live in the quarter else face action. Notwithstanding his April 26, 2007 reply, Kumar was placed under suspension by an order dated May 11, 2007 under Rule 10(1) of CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965.

A charge memo dated October 9, 2007 was issued to him alleging that as technical officer he disobeyed instructions of the head, research centre, Datia as well as the directions issued to him regarding occupying the quarter allotted. It was alleged that he exhibited lack of devotion to duty and acted in manner unbecoming of a council’s employee. Inquiry was conducted and charges were proved.

The disciplinary authority passed order on July 19 2008 imposing penalty of reduction by two stages from 8300 to 7900 in the time scale of pay of 6500-200-10500 for a period of two years with immediate effect. It was also directed that he would not get increments during the period of reduction and on the expire of this period of reduction would have the effect of postponing his future increment. On his representation, the authorities modified the penalty to non-cumulative but kept the rest as unchanged. 

However, the CAT quashed the disciplinary proceedings and directed the authorities to refund the licence fee deducted from Kumar’s salary for the period of non-occupation of the quarter allotted to him.

It also directed that he would also be granted admissible HRA and transport allowance for the period he stayed in rented accommodation.

“The fact remains that applicant discharged his duties and carried out the functions given to him. The only disobedience which has been attributed to

him is non-occupation of the quarter allotted to him… non-occupation of a quarter unilaterally allotted to him by no stretch of imagination could be called as disobedience, less to speak of a misconduct,” the bench said.









Verdict reserved: Delaying orders makes judiciarys name ugly

Rakesh Bhatnagar | Monday, January 9, 2012

It is presumed in all fairness to litigants and the dispensation system that courts, including high courts and the Supreme Court, are governed by the principle of fairness and rule law.

The undue delay in the completion of a trial is seen as unfair and against the rule of law. Delay in disposal of a case, if not explained satisfactorily, is detested.

At a time when serious concerns have been expressed to mitigate the trauma being caused to innocent consumer of justice due to the cumbersome procedural wrangling, it becomes pertinent to point out that huge backlog of cases isn’t always due to the varied tactics adopted by the parties in a trial or a civil suit.

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A lawsuit can’t be said to have been disposed unless the court that examined it has delivered the verdict on the dispute and that too within a “reasonable” time.

Over a decade ago, the Supreme Court observed that “a long delay in delivery of the judgment gives rise to unnecessary speculation in the minds of parties to a case”.

The problem of excessive time taken by the courts to arrive at a decision on the disputes put forth before them by the litigating parties isn’t new.

A government set up Arrears Committee that examined the recommendations of the Chief Justices’ conference in 1989 strongly suggested that reserved judgments should ordinarily be pronounced within six weeks (one and half month) from the conclusion of the arguments.

On the other hand, the Criminal Procedure Code states that the judgment in every trial shall be pronounced in open court immediately after the completion of proceedings in every trial.

Does it happen in practice? The answer is in the negative.

While instructions have been issued for the subordinate courts to abide by the strict time frame in passing judgments or orders, little can be done for the HC and SC judges because of the silence of the Constitution on this aspect.

This issue had been considered by the top court in 2001 and it passed a slew of directions which are applicable to the HCs alone.

The principle specified by the SC for expeditious judgment can’t be denied to the top judiciary. The term speedy justice doesn’t differentiate between different legal forums set up under a law or the Constitution.

In the famous Anil Rai case in 2001, a bench of justices KT Thomas and RP Sethi examined the ill effects of delay in delivering a judgment and opined that early judgment enforces people’s faith in the dispensation system.

They said delay in disposal of cases facilitates the people to raise eyebrows, sometimes genuinely which, if not checked, may shake the confidence of the people in the judicial system.

“For the fault of a few, the glorious and glittering name of the judiciary cannot be permitted to be made ugly,” they said but their words seem to have been forgotten with the passage of time.







Everybody to blame for poor state of women’


TNN | Jan 9, 2012, 02.51AM IST

CHENNAI: Indicating their outrage over atrocities committed on women, top judges of the country on Sunday made scathing remarks about living conditions of women in India.

Speaking at a national conference of the All India Federation of Women Lawyers here, justice P Sathasivam, judge, Supreme Court, said: “The traditional system of female infanticide whereby female child was done away with after birth by poisoning or letting her choke on husk continues in a different form by taking advantage of advanced medical techniques. Unfortunately, developed medical science is misused to get rid of a girl child before birth.”

The other judge from the Supreme Court at the conference, Justice Ranjana Prasad Desai, said, “Independent India is 65 years old. Yet, women’s lot has not improved. Most of them live in sub-human conditions and are treated like chattel.”

The hugely popular justice Ranjana Desai, who was described as the ‘favourite child of mother justice’ by the organizers, did not spare anyone for the sorry condition of women. Besides blaming all castes and communities for violence against women, she said even the criminal justice system had failed to protect women.

“The police, the prosecutors, the courts and, in fact the entire criminal justice administration system has failed to give relief to women though the Constitution zealously protects women,” Desai said.

Noting that millions of female fetuses are destroyed every year and women are trafficked at will, she said conviction rate of registered cases continued to be low.

On his part, chief justice of the Madras high court, Justice M Y Eqbal said, “Women’s empowerment remains an enigma trapped in mystery, inspite of tall claims made by social activists and lip service of administrators.”

He added, “Women’s empowerment includes not justice granting them the right to vote or earmarking certain percentage in representation in democratic institutions, but also giving a woman the chance to bloom from her own groundings and surroundings.”







Court acquits four convicts 20 years after murder

The Bombay High Court recently acquitted four men, who were handed out life sentences for a murder committed over 20 years back, observing that surrendering to the police on their own was not sufficient ground to hold them guilty.

The incident dates back to June 29, 1989. According to the prosecution, the four accused — Vijay Kadam, Dilip Ambre, Ramakant Ligam and Kedar Yadav — from chawls in Charni Road, Walkeshwar and Worli, had allegedly attacked Vishnu Rane with choppers. Rane, who suffered 29 wounds after the attack near the Matulya Mills junction in Lower Parel, succumbed to the injuries.

The accused were released on bail during the trial. However, after being pronounced guilty by a sessions court on September 17, 2004, they were lodged in prison.

The trial court had convicted the accused observing that they had given no reason for surrendering to the police when they should have in fact filed an anticipatory bail application. This inference of the subordinate court, Justice V M Kanade and Justice M L Tahaliyani observed, was “clearly erroneous and contrary to the settled position in law”.

The court noted in its judgment, “An inference about guilt of the appellants cannot be drawn merely because they had surrendered on their own since the burden is squarely on the prosecution to establish its case beyond reasonable doubt.”

The key prosecution witness in the case was assistant sub-inspector Wahid Khan, attached to the Traffic Control Branch. Khan was posted near the junction for patrolling as trade union leader Datta Samant, killed later in 1997, had called a strike on the day of the incident. Khan told the police that around 4:30 pm, he saw four men attacking Rane while he was 70 feet away. He claimed the accused fled as they saw him approaching.

The court, however, held that Khan’s statement cannot be trusted as he had given no description of them in his statement to the police. Also, the identification parade conducted on July 2, 1989, was not according to the prescribed guidelines, the court said.

“The incident had taken place in broad daylight on a street in Mumbai. However, the prosecution has not examined any other eyewitness,” the court observed. Setting aside the order of the sessions court, the court ordered the release of the accused who have served over seven years in prison.








Sec 377 ruling fails to get gay man reprieve in court


Menaka Rao, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 09, 2012

More than two years after the Delhi high court decriminalised consensual gay sex, a Girgaum magistrate’s court has rejected a discharge application filed by a man booked for having ‘unnatural sex’ with another man.
In 2009, the Delhi high court had read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that defines “unnatural sex” ruling that consensual gay sex between adults was not an offence. An appeal against the order is pending in the Supreme Court, which has not stayed the Delhi high court order.  

In Mumbai, the discharge application was filed by Rommel Fernandes (name changed), a merchant navy officer. Fernandes was allegedly the gay partner of Anand Gupta (name changed), a Peddar Road businessman. Gupta’s wife of 17 years had filed a police case against her husband and Fernandes for having “unnatural sex” in February 2009. Gupta and his wife have a nine-year-old son.

The police booked Fernandes and Gupta under Section 377 of the IPC, Section 498A (domestic violence) and criminal intimidation. The maximum punishment under Section 377 is life imprisonment.

Fernandes cited the Delhi high court order to seek discharge in the case. The court, however, did not accept the argument.

“Section 377 of IPC is still alive in statute. There are sufficient allegations against both accused. In the premises (sic), prima facie case is against accused,” additional chief metropolitan magistrate UK Aher stated in his order dated January 5.

“The Delhi high court judgment has held that gay sex amounts to an offence only if it involves a minor victim. The Supreme Court has not granted a stay on the order. I will challenge the magistrate court’s order in the higher courts,” said advocate Vivek Kantawala, who appeared for Fernandes.

Lawyers said the 2009 judgment had persuasive value in city courts as well. “The 2009 Delhi high court judgment has a bearing on the Bombay high court, and therefore all the courts in Maharashtra,” said advocate Anand Grover, who argued for petitioners, Naaz Foundation, before the Delhi high court.

Other lawyers said territorial jurisdiction of the judgment was a grey area. “There is a judgment of the Supreme Court, which states that if one high court strikes down a law, it is struck down throughout the country. Also, article 266(2) states that all high courts have territorial jurisdiction throughout the country. This order is worth challenging in the higher court,” said Mihir Desai, a human rights lawyer.

The magistrate, however, discharged Fernandes under section 498A, which deals with domestic violence.








Govt should re-look at quota policy, says High Court

Emphasising on merit and balance with respect to reserved seats for admissions in MBBS courses, the Delhi High Court has asked the Central government to have a re-look at its policy of reserving seats in medical colleges, especially for the candidates sponsored by it on certain criteria.

“We can only say that the Central government should re-examine the matter (of reservation in MBBS admissions),” observed a Bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Siddharth Mridul, as they disposed of a petition by three girls who had been denied admission in any of the Delhi medical colleges despite having cleared the Delhi University Medical-Dental Entrance Test 2011. “Examples are galore that even when general category candidates perform so well, they miss out and are not able to get admission because of the reservations. It is expected that these aspects would be looked into by the respondents (government) and a decision taken thereon within three months,” said the court.

The three girls, through advocate Aman Hingorani, had questioned the reservation of seats for the government nominees in various medical colleges and the manner in which they were admitted in various Delhi medical colleges. In certain cases, such students did not have to sit through examinations or even go through any sort of screening before they were admitted.

Noting that since it was too late for the court to grant any relief to the students as the September 30, 2011 deadline for taking admission in medical colleges had already expired, the Bench said the authorities must take steps to ensure these contentions do not crop up again in 2012.

“This may all justify giving a re-look by the government at the extent of nomination seats that need to be reserved for being filled up by its nominees,” said the court.

The government’s argument that many states, particularly in Northeast and some union territories, did not have medical colleges of their own and hence a preferential treatment, did not find favour with the court, which pointed out that in the new economic scenario,

several private and state-funded medical collages had come up in various states, including those in the northeastern region.

Holding that the reservation policy still had its legal validity, the court said the government also required to ensure there was no “imbalance” with respect to general category candidates and that the reserved seats were evenly distributed among different medical colleges.


LEGAL NEWS 09.01.2012

222 MACT cases disposed off by Lok Adalat on a day


PTI | 01:01 PM,Jan 08,2012

Cuttack, Jan 8 (PTI) At least 222 motor accident claim tribunal (MACT) cases were disposed off at a district-level Lok Adalat held here. This was done at the 390th district level Lok Adalat of Cuttack district yesterday in which nearly 260 MACT cases were listed for adjudication, sources said.         Cuttack district sessions judge Shatrughna Pujahari, member secretary of Odisha State Legal Services Authority Bijay Kumar Rath and additional district judges K D R Dora, Prakash Chandra Mohapatra, Muralidhar Pradhan and Debendranath Pradhan conducted the Lok Adalat and disposed off the cases awarding a combined compensation of over Rs 3.26 crore.         As many as 73 cases involving an government insurance company were disposed off on the day in which Rs 1,03,46,000 was awarded as damage to the claimants. Another 112 cases involving three other government insurance companies were disposed off on the day.         Three private insurance companies participated in the Lok Adalat and a total 38 cases involving them were disposed off. They were asked to pay damage to the tune of a little over Rs 55,000.








Encounter questioned, Delhi govt orders inquiry

Almost six years after five people were killed in an encounter with the Special Cell of Delhi Police in Sonia Vihar, Northeast Delhi, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has termed the encounter as “fake” — prompting the Delhi government to launch a magisterial probe.

Interestingly, three officers involved in the encounter had received the President’s Police Medal for gallantry in 2010.

On Saturday, the entire scene of the encounter was recreated with the help of public witnesses, and the policemen involved were summoned to the spot in the presence of Divisional Commissioner Vijay Dev. The NHRC, in its report, observed that the five men may not have opened fire on the police team because there was no trace of gunpowder on their palms, nor fingerprints on the firearms recovered from them. The Delhi Police had said in its FIR that the five men had opened fire, which is why they retaliated — killing them on the spot.

The officers include several high profile policemen of the elite Special Cell and Crime Branch of Delhi Police, such as Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Sanjeev Yadav, Assistant Commissioner of Police S K Giri, Inspector Manoj Dixit and 23 other policemen.

The encounter took place around 10.45 pm on May 6, 2006, near the Sonia Vihar Water Treatment Plant in Khajuri Khas, Northeast Delhi. The Special Cell team had reportedly killed the five men, believed to be members of a notorious gang active in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The victims were identified as Sanjay (30), Aslam (25), Manoj (25), Shehzad (30) and Ayub (32).

Prabha Jatav, the widow of Sanjay, and Zamal Ahmed, father of Aslam, had moved a petition with the NHRC, alleging that they were picked up from their house in Meerut and killed in cold blood after being taken to Delhi. The NHRC completed the probe, and based on forensic evidence, came to the conclusion that no “cross firing” had occurred.

The report was submitted to the Delhi government in July 2010, and a magisterial inquiry was initiated in September. On December 23, 2011, the DC issued newspaper advertisements asking members of the public to share information about the encounter from 6 to 8 January, 2012, at his office.

Officials said several witnesses have approached them, and they were still collecting the details. “We are recording statements of witnesses. The entire scene of encounter was recreated on Saturday and policemen were asked to share all the details,” a senior officer said.







UP Polls: Election Commission wants UP DGP, home secretary removed


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 01.03AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Election Commission (EC) late on Saturday directed the UP government to remove director-general (DGP) of police Brij Lal and principal secretary home Fateh Bahadur Singh. Brij Lal and Singh were replaced by Atul Kumar and Manjit Singh. Opposition parties had demanded the removal of the officers to ensure free and fair elections.

The BSP called the removal of the two officers belonging to scheduled castes as “an insult to the dalit community”.

BSP general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra announced the EC order to remove the officers. When contacted, UP Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha, said he has not received any official communique from the EC or the government about the transfers. Even Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) S Y Quraishi did not mention the transfers while speaking to reporters in the evening.

Quraishi was on a two-day visit to Lucknow to review the election process. He said he has received complaints from opposition parties demanding removal of a number of officers whom they claimed were “biased”.

Officials have been directed to work in a free and fair manner, said Quraishi. Three hours after his press conference, Mishra informed the EC decision to transfer the DGP and the home secretary.











PTI | 09:01 AM,Jan 08,2012

Justice Muralidhar, in his 20-page judgement, asked the Justice Muralidhar, in his 20-page judgement, asked the ICA to nominate a sole arbitrator in two weeks of receipt of a certified copy of this order. “Considering that the disputes between the parties have been pending resolution for many years, the learned sole Arbitrator is requested to pronounce the fresh reasoned award within a period of six months from the date of commencement of proceedings before the sole arbitrator,” the court said. “This court holds that the procedure adopted by the Tribunal (ICA) in the present case was far from satisfactory and was not consistent with the requirement of Section 18 of the Act. This is another ground on which the impugned Award is unsustainable in law and is hereby set aside,” it said. The dispute between the firms first arose in 2001 when the Indian firm, which was sub-assigned works for the amount of Rs 3.8 crore, alleged that French company owed it a balance sum of Rs 38 lakh.






Agitators demand tribunal for Jharkhand river water share


PTI | 05:01 PM,Jan 07,2012

Ranchi, Jan 7 (PTI) The Sone Anchal Kisan Sanghars Samiti today demanded setting up a tribunal to decide Jharkhand’s share from the Sone river after the bifurcation of the erstwhile Bihar in 2000. “It is 11 years since Jharkhand has become one of the five riparian states in the Sone river system which passes through Palamau and Garhwa districts. Therefore, we demand setting up a tribunal by the Central government to ascertain our share of water in the interest of the farmers in those districts,” Samiti Convenor Saryu Roy said here. Stating that even Patna High Court had disposed off his petition last year with a direction to the Centre to constitute a tribunal under the provisions of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956, Roy said he met Bihar and Jharkhand Chief Ministers Nitish Kumar and Arjun Munda and apprised them of the matter. “A delegation of the Samiti will visit Delhi next week to meet the Union Water Resources Ministry officials and draw their attention to the court order,” he said. Roy said earlier there were three riparian states – Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and after the bifurcation Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh were added to the list of riparian states. As per the Bansagar agreement reached in 1973, Roy said, the total annual average availability of water in the Sone river was assessed at 14.25 Million Acre Feet (MAF), out of which 7.75 MAF water allocated to the united Bihar while UP’s share was 1.25 MAF and united MP’s was 5.25 MAF. “Now that Jharkhand has been carved out from Bihar, a tribunal should be set up to mark its annual share,” Roy said. Considering the drought-prone Palamau and Garhwa districts as rain shadow areas, he said early setting up of tribunal would help the farmers of those districts. “In the last monsoon, water level rose to 22 feet above danger mark in Palamau district, but there is no dam to block and control water for future requirement,” Roy said. PTI PVR AMD








Mine rehabilitation, reclamation plan ready


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 06.54AM IST

BANGALORE: A model mine rehabilitation and reclamation plan based on mines in Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur districts, will be submitted to the Supreme Court and Karnataka government, says V K Bahuguna, director-general , Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun.

“We have done an environment impact assessment (EIA) study on this issue. An eight-member team, including experts, foresters and wildlife scientists conducted a field study. We will submit the report to the Supreme Court on January 20, and also to the Karnataka government ,” he told reporters in Bangalore on Saturday.

ICFRE’s advanced centre for mining rehabilitation in Bangalore undertakes a systematic study on the topic. It has been functioning since October last year, he said.









Doctors re-postmortem ordered


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: The High Court on Friday ordered re-postmortem on the body of Dr M.Srinivasa Rao, an orthopaedic specialist at the government hospital at Eluru in West Godavari district, who had committed suicide by hanging himself on December 6 last.Rao’s father, Dr M Tejo Murthy of Bhimavaram, approached the High Court when the local police authorities failed to take action on his request for repostmortem by exhuming the body of his son. Murthy grew suspicious over the nature of his son’s death as his son’s relationship with daughterinlaw Annapoorna was strained due to personal reasons. Hearing Murthy’s writ petition, justice Ramesh Ranganathan directed the West Godavari district superintendent of police to exhume the body and conduct repostmortem with a forensic expert except the doctor who had done postmortem in the past, and to submit a report to the court by January 19.Murthy said in his petition the postmortem conducted at 2.20 pm on December 7 was not done properly. Later, he found discrepancies in the postmortem certificate and the postmortem conducted on the body. He said he had found that the abdomen and the scalp were not opened giving rise to suspicions about the death. Besides, the certificate does not mention that the viscera was collected from the body.







New TNPCB offices to increase polluting units


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

VELLORE: The Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum (VCWF) has opposed the proposed move of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to set up zonal offices in five locations across the State, including Vellore.

The forum stated that such zonal offices were just an eyewash meant to speed up the mechanism of granting “consent” to set up new industrial units that could be potential polluters.

Honorary secretary of the forum, P S Subrahmanian said that while the proposed zonal offices should have a more effective role in preventing pollution, such offices blindly gave the go-ahead to polluting industrial units.

Moreover, in response to a writ petition filed by the forum against leather industries, the apex court in its verdict in 1996 had said that ‘consent’ should not be given for new polluting industries to be set up in the State. Section 25 of the Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1974 made it mandatory that without the consent of the TNPCB, the industries should not use any new or altered outlet to discharge sewage or trade effluents into water bodies.

The forum pointed out that in the case of Vellore district, the Palar river and its tributaries have been polluted for over three decades by chemical industries and tanneries approved

by TNPCB. It revealed that the ecological damage to these places has been huge with water bodies in several areas turning unfit for use.

The forum felt that the proposed zonal offices were redundant and the State should not permit new industries to be set up in Vellore, Tiruchy, Kancheepuram, Dindigul and Erode.







Remove solar fencing in Elephant Corridor


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the government to immediately remove all illegally-erected solar energised electrical fencing, including those of the proposed parties, in the elephant corridor in the Nilgiris district. A division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice N Kirubakaran gave the direction while passing interim orders on a writ petition from R Vishnu Ram Saravanavel of Anna Nagar West, on Friday.
The bench noted that while passing final orders on a writ petition on April 7 last year, it had observed that each private holding was bound by solar electric fencing, virtually cutting across the elephant corridor and thus the people were developing the area for the pleasure of individuals at the cost of elephant and wildlife, thus recognising the threat being posed by such illegal erections by greedy people to wildlife and allowing the creation of elephant corridor by the government.
SLPs were filed in the Supreme Court challenging the final order. But, the apex court, except for staying a portion relating to dispossession and demolition of the buildings for two months, had not intervened in the other directions given by the High Court towards creation of elephant corridor, the bench pointed out.
However, so far, nothing fruitful seems to have been done by the government towards removing the illegally erected solar energised electrical fencing, which were restricting the free movement of the animals and virtually cutting across the elephant corridor, the bench said and gave the direction. The matter will be taken up after two weeks.





Faced with NBW, Sukhram surrenders in telecom scam


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 12.54AM IST

NEW DELHI: Hours after a trial court threatened to issue a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against former Union minister Sukhram if he failed to surrender before it on Saturday, the 86-year-old politician appeared before the court after coming in an ambulance.

The politician surrendered before special CBI judge Sanjiv Jain, who sent him to jail to serve his three years’ sentence in the 1993 telecom scam case. On Friday, Sukhram’s counsel had told the court that he had slipped into coma and that he may be taken into judicial custody in the hospital itself. However, doctors attending on him had claimed that he was not in a state of coma and only feeling drowsy.

When the judge heard the matter in the morning, Sukhram counsel Anil Nag clarified before the court that the former minister was not in coma but in a state of drowsiness and would surrender before the court. He also stated that the issuance of the warrant would adversely affect their case pending in the Supreme Court. Nag told the court that the advocate who appeared for Sukhram on the last hearing had gone “over the board” while stating that the former minister was in coma.

The court then instructed the court staff to inform the authorities concerned to make adequate arrangements in case Sukhram comes to surrender in an ambulance and is unable to move on his own. As Sukhram reached the Patiala house court complex in an ambulance, the doctor, who accompanied him, told the court that the “patient” was still unconscious. The judge then said that the doctor could accompany Sukhram in the ambulance till he reaches Tihar Jail.

The judge ordered Sukhram to be taken to jail in the same ambulance and directed the prison authorities to provide him necessary medical aid as per norms. “As requested by the counsel for the convict (Sukhram), lock up/jail authorities are directed to provide necessary medical aid to the convict in accordance to the norms,” the judge said.

Sukhram was directed by the Supreme Court to surrender before the trial court on January 5 but he avoided the same citing medical reasons. The high court had on December 21 last year upheld the lower court’s 2002 judgment holding Sukhram, former bureaucrat Runu Ghosh and Hyderabad-based businessman P Rama Rao guilty of being part of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the state exchequer by awarding a Telecom equipment supply contract to Hyderabad’s Advanced Radio Masts (ARM) which had supplied inferior goods at a higher rate to the DoT.

Runu Ghosh and Rama Rao had surrendered before the trial court on January 5 and were sent to jail to serve their sentence of two and three years respectively along with Rs two lakh fine. The three convicts had approached the apex court to grant them relief so that they would not have to surrender. The apex court, however, refused to entertain their plea, saying that their appeal against the Delhi High Court would be listed for hearing only after they surrender before the trial court.









Family of four held for land grabbing


Special Correspondent

False documents created to claim ownership

A jaggery merchant who owned 13.5 acres of land at Alangulam-Sambakulam stretch near Perungudi off Madurai airport got back his property after intervention of the Madurai Rural Police.

Four of a family, who were originally working in the farm of the landlord, allegedly created false documents and claimed ownership of the property worth Rs. five crore. Despite court orders in favour of the landlord, the accused not only refused to vacate the property, but also demanded Rs. 10 lakh for handing back the possession.

Under such circumstances, Suresh Gandhi, the landlord, a jaggery merchant in Amman Sannidhi, lodged a complaint with Superintendent of Police Asra Garg.

According to the petitioner, he had bought the land in 1983 and registered it in the name of himself and his family members.

He had planted coconut saplings on the land and appointed one of his shop workers Mookiah Thevar, son of Ramu Thevar, of Alangulam.

The complainant had also built a small dwelling for Mookiah’s family to live in and take care of the land.

In 1990, Mookiah, along with his sons, quit the job and in a “jamabandhi” organised by the Revenue Department, submitted a petition praying to include his name as well in the ‘patta’ along with Suresh Gandhi and others.

In 2005, Mookiah Thevar had approached the Munsif court to get his name included in the property as co-owner since he had been managing the affairs and was in his possession for long. However, the court had dismissed the plea.

An appeal by Mookiah also went in favour of Suresh Gandhi. When Mookiah was compelled to hand over the possession, he had demanded Rs. 10 lakh in exchange for vacating the place and dragged on without obeying the court directive.

Tirupparankundram Inspector of Police Jayachandran, who investigated the crime, registered a case and arrested Mookiah Thevar, his wife Lingammal, son Kannan and daughter-in-law Meenakshi.

Mr. Garg said that the accused had failed to obey the court directive and such acts would be dealt as per law.

He commended the Inspector of Police for his swift action in retrieving the property.






IMC in a fix over illegal hoardings


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 04.59AM IST

INDORE: Pulled up by the Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court (MPHC) for turning a blind eye to the hoardings placed illegally in the city, the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) has planned to tighten the noose around flex printers, who print these hoardings. However, civic body is not clear about the way to implement its idea.

Civic body believes that if it is made compulsory to print the name and address of the printers on every flex, then they can take action against those who place it.

Officials are of the view that with the help of identity of the printers, they can easily trace out the person who had printed it. In case any printer does not cooperate, they can take action against them as well.

Municipal commissioner Yogendra Sharma said they are trying to find out the ways to implement the idea. “This cannot be implemented by the IMC alone. We will need support of the district administration as well,” he said.

Deputy commissioner (Market) Rakesh Sharma said, “IMC has removed around 300 hoardings in the last one month. But most of them were placed back late night and hence it was difficult to get hold of the people who placed them. Officials, without any proper evidence, cannot even take action against those whose photographs and names are generally printed on the flex.

“Many a time, people featured on the hoardings say that hoardings were placed without their knowledge,” said Sharma adding action can be taken only when they catch hold of the people while placing hoardings.

Civic officials pointed out those traffic policemen, who spend most of their time on roads, can play a major role in checking illegal hoardings. However, traffic department officials said that their department was under-staffed and removing hoardings was purely the job of civic body.

Interestingly, the PIL filed on illegal hoardings by Sanjay Mittal has made the state government, collector Indore, SSP Indore and IMC respondents.

Justice S S Kemkar and Justice Prakash Srivatav, during hearing recently had asked all the parties to file their replies by first week of February.

Advocate P K Shukla on behalf of the petitioner had submitted a list of around 30 places where illegal hoardings were placed. To make his case strong, he had also submitted the photographs of such places.










Artists plan rally to protest ‘culture scam’


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 02.52AM IST

KOLKATA: Renowned artists and sculptors in the city will come together on January 10 to demand punitive action against those responsible for faking Tagore paintings for an exhibition held last March. More than 50 artists and thousands of citizens are expected to gather at Metro Channel seeking “an end to the cultural scam” that has put the state to shame. The meet is being organized under the banner of Calcutta Art Forum.

“Let all artists, intellectuals and Kolkatans pray to the government to take active steps and identify the culprits through a proper inquiry. Those responsible should be exposed and penalized for using public money to exploit Tagore’s works at an age-old, government institution,” said a statement issued by the Forum. Artists like Asit Paul, Anil Sen, Rajrishi Mukherjee, Chandan Roy and Ashok Kumar Dey will take part in the meet.

In March, 2011, the Government College of Art and Craft had organized an exhibition of 23 Tagore paintings. A section of art-lovers and artists had alleged that many of the works were fake. A PIL had been filed at Calcutta high court asking the Archaeological Survey of India to analyse the paintings.

A committee of experts appointed by the ASI carried out a scientific and stylistic analysis and concluded that 20 of the 23 paintings were fakes.

“This is an assault on the cultural sensibilities of the people of Bengal. It’s also a dangerous trend that has to be curbed. We appeal to all right-thinking people to come together and condemn this. We also appeal before the court to award an exemplary punishment to those found guilty,” said Debashish Dhar, a painter and member of the Calcutta Art Forum.

Fake tagore paintings

Let all artists, intellectuals and Kolkatans pray to the government to take active steps and identify the culprits through a proper inquiry











Panels report on mining to SC


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BANGALORE: After two days of intense field survey at the mining sites at Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur districts, the ten-member team headed by Dr VK Bahuguna, Director General, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), will be submitting the model rehabilitation and reclamation plan to the Supreme Court by January 20.

Addressing media persons on Saturday, Dr Bahuguna said, “Based on the scientific facts of whatever damage has been done, the scientists have analysed the slopes, engineering structure and the extent of green cover loss due to mining, and how all these can be rehabilitated.”

“In addition, we have also made a study of how sustainable scientific mining can be practised in the area. However, the practice has to be monitored by a reputed institute all throughout, as we have found that the mine owners do not have expertise in the particular field,” he added.

Bahuguna said, “Taking the instances of underground mining in Sweden, we have just suggested a feasible study.”








Murder accused commits suicide


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 01.56AM IST

NAGPUR: A 42-year-old mentally disturbed man, an accused in murder case, set himself ablaze at his residence at Pandhrabodi on Saturday morning.

Bablu Banode, who appeared to have doused himself with kerosene before setting himself afire with a matchstick inside a locked room, sustained serious burn injuries. Bablu’s family members tried to rescue him by breaking open the door, but to no avail. Family sources said that he was declared dead at Government Medical College and Hospital.

Bablu, father of two, was under medication. According to sources, Bablu had recently attacked a man hallucinating him for an attacker.

Ambazari police have registered a case of accidental death.

Bablu was released from Nagpur Central Jail last year after he got bail from the apex court where he had appealed against conviction in the murder of Mukesh Malik. Bablu and two others were sentenced to life imprisonment by the sessions court. The decision was upheld by the high court.

The murder case, registered in November 2004, was in news again in the first week of this month when Bablu’s younger brother Sanjay was arrested. Apart from Bablu and younger brother Sanjay, there were two other accused in the case.







Drug peddler hurls sandal at judge in Jamnagar court


PTI | 10:01 PM,Jan 07,2012

Rajkot, Jan 7 (PTI) A drug peddler, who was given a 10- year prison term today, hurled a sandal at the additional sessions judge at Jamnagar who pronounced the verdict, police said. Sushant Sardeshwar Lal (26), a native of Odisha, was arrested in 2009 for possessing drugs in Jamnagar. The verdict in the case was pronounced by additional sessions judge P A Gadhvi. When the judge sentenced him to 10 years rigorous imprisonment under two different sections of IPC and slapped a fine of Rs 2 lakh on him, Sushant took out his sandal and threw it at the judge, police said. However, the judge ducked. Sushant was immediately rounded up by policemen present at the court. He later apologised in writing for his misbehaviour and the judge too forgave him.




Court rejects Gorhe, Narvekar plea on voice samples

Additional Sessions Judge V G Joshi on Saturday dismissed a petition by Shiv Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe and Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray’s personal secretary Milind Narvekar against collection of their voice samples by police.

Police had earlier charged them with engineering clashes in Pune during a bandh in December 2010 against shifting of a statue of Dadoji Konddeo from Lal Mahal. The voice samples were sought to be used for matching a conversation allegedly between the two, intercepted a day prior to the bandh.

Police said their voice samples were crucial evidence. A magistrate court had earlier directed the police to collect the voice samples, but Gorhe and Narvekar, through their lawyer Shrikant Shivade, had filed a revision petition on March 6. The petition stated that asking them to give their voice samples was a violation of Article 20 (3) of the Constitution as it compels them to be a witness against themselves.

Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Suryavanshi cited orders of the Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court to show that it was not a violation of constitutional rights. “The court dismissed the petition of Gorhe and Narvekar,” Suryavanshi said.

Gorhe said, “Our lawyers will get a copy of the verdict and approach the Bombay High Court. Our battle is for freedom of speech….”

According to the tapped conversation, Narvekar had allegedly given instructions to Gorhe to cause violence by stone-pelting, burning buses and rioting while simultaneously informing TV crews to cover it during the bandh on December 28, 2010. In February last year, Bundgarden police officer Suhas Nadgouda had moved an application in the magistrate court seeking permission to collect the voice samples.

“It is important evidence to strengthen the case,” Nadgouda had said. The court had permitted the police to collect the voice samples on February 26, but Gorhe and Narvekar failed to turn up at the police station. They said they had not received a copy of the court order.







Justice eludes gang-raped girl


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BHUBANESWAR: Justice, sometimes, is a chimera for the socially weak. Who knows it better than the family of a 19-year-old girl, allegedly gang-raped and subjected to grievous injuries in Puri’s Pipili in November last year.

Unable to get justice from the police and appropriate treatment at hospitals, the victim’s father brought her to the State Commission for Women (SCW) here on Saturday. The victim, in a comatose state, lay bundled in an autorickshaw before she was rushed to Capital Hospital by City police.

SCW Chairperson Dr Jyoti Panigrahy visited her in the hospital. Given her critical condition and the absence of adequate health care facilities there, she was referred to SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack. The Cuttack hospital too returned the patient saying she was in a terminal stage. Babuli Behera, the victim’s father, had no option but to take her back home.

And this is not the first time. Earlier too, Behera, a resident of Arjunagada village under Pipili Police Station, had tried to seek treatment at these hospitals but was turned away.

On November 28, the girl was found in a distressed state near the village. Behera alleged that she was gang-raped by two persons who also attempted to asphyxiate her. The assailants had left her to die but the girl survived. She suffered serious injuries and slipped into a coma. The family had tried to get her treatment but without much success.

It was not about treatment alone. Behera alleged that he had tried to lodge a complaint with police which initially did not receive it. Once the FIR was registered, no action was taken against the accused, Behera said.

The victim was a key witness to a molestation that had occurred in the area in January 2008 when she too was assaulted. The girl was receiving regular threats since then while the case has gone on trial at Puri, her father said.

Panigrahy said the Commission wants police to initiate necessary action in the case so that she can get justice although she admitted that the complaint, lodged with police, does not mention many of the allegations. “Our first concern was to ensure that she gets medical attention since she is in a serious condition. We are monitoring the case and will take necessary action,” Panigrahy said.








Several vehicles challaned, unaccounted money recovered


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 01.49AM IST

KANPUR: Over 190 vehicles, including two and four-wheelers were challaned. As many as 14 two-wheelers and 15 four-wheelers were seized and Rs 2.30 lakh in cash, 12 litres of IMFL, two licensed firearms, 40 cartridges were recovered during a vehicle checking drive on Saturday. The drive was held in view of the coming Assembly elections.

Three persons were booked under Section 188 of Indian Penal Code and 144 CrPC and Section 6 of Excise Act, DIG Rajesh Rai said.

A case has been registered with Raipurwa police regarding the recovery of Rs 2.30 lakh in cash. Those carrying the money were not able to produce documents related to it. The Election Commission has been informed about it.

In view of the Assembly elections, the Election Commission has imposed restrictions on movement of unaccounted cash of over Rs 2.5 lakh.







Capital’s crime rate registers a 4% jump in 2011

Delhi Police attribute the increase to prompt and fair registration of cases

Incidents of crime registered an over four per cent increase with cases of kidnapping for ransom, attempted murder and rape recording a sharp rise in the Capital last year comparison with 2010. The Delhi Police have attributed the increase to a prompt and fair registration of cases.

As per police statistics, a total of 53,353 cases under the Indian Penal Code were registered during the year as against 51,292 cases reported in the previous year. There was a rise of 3.93 per cent in heinous crimes, from 2,085 to 2,167 cases. “The increase is primarily due to fair registration of cases. We are not much concerned about the data part, but real emphasis is on public perception regarding their safety,” said Police Commissioner B. K. Gupta at the annual conference here on Friday.

Cases of kidnapping for ransom increased from 18 to 25 and 386 attempted murders were reported last year compared to 311 in 2010. Rape cases also recorded an increase of 12 per cent, from 507 to 568. Molestation cases also increased from 601 to 653, 95 per cent of which were solved. “We have taken measures like issuing direction to BPOs and other companies to ensure safety of women employees and creating women help-desks at police stations.”

There was a sharp decline of 11.67 per cent in snatching cases, six per cent in robbery and over three per cent in murder cases last year.

About six per cent increase was registered in detection rates, eight per cent in IPC crimes. The police arrested 1,770 snatchers compared to 1,592 in 2010, but only 76 per cent cases could be solved. The police found that 86 per cent were first-time offenders. While 98 per cent of the rape cases were solved, the police found that people known to the victims were involved in almost 98 per cent cases. All but one case of kidnapping for ransom were solved and all the victims rescued.

“An analysis of motives in murder cases revealed that only 13 per cent were crime related. Fire arms were used in only 12 per cent cases, where as sharp-edged weapons were used in 37 cases,” he said, noting that 95 per cent of the murder accused had no previous criminal records.

Mr. Gupta expressed satisfaction over decline in vehicle thefts, from 14,966 to 14,668. In all, 20 per cent of the vehicles were recovered as against 13 per cent in 2010. “We arrested 3,988 auto-lifters compared to 3,258 in the previous year. There was 56 per cent increase in recovery of vehicles,” said

Mr. Gupta, adding that stolen property recovery recorded a whopping 50 per cent increase.

The Police Commissioner said another area of focus was safety of senior citizens and 4,431 new elderly persons had been registered last year, taking the number to 12,788.

Seven thousand more criminals were arrested last year. There was a significant jump of 172 per cent, from 1,597 to 4,347, in the arrest of proclaimed offenders. Habitual criminals were targeted, 510 absent bad characters were traced as against 128 and externment proceedings initiated against 1,035 as against 300 in 2010. New history sheets were opened in 623 cases compared to 68 the previous year. The police arrested 38 criminals under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act and initiated 13 new proposals under the law.

Stating that drug abuse was also linked to incidents of crime, Mr. Gupta said the police carried out more arrests and seizures. About five times more cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act were registered.

In order to check street crimes, the police also focussed on gunrunning gangs. While 1,190 people were arrested compared to 1008 and 562 firearms seized as against 461 in 2010.







19-yr-old criminal found murdered in Hadapsar


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 01.53AM IST

PUNE: A criminal in police record was found dead in an open space near the Noble hospital in Hadapsar on Saturday morning.

According to the Hadapsar police, Gopal Namdeo Bhalerao (19), a resident of Mavlinagar in Magarpatta, had six cases, including five body offences and a robbery case registered against him with the Dombivli (East) police station between 2001 and 2011.

Senior inspector Pandharinath Mandhare said Bhalerao shifted to Pune after he was externed for two years in 2011. He lived in Mavlinagar with his wife and had picked up a job of housekeeping at a private hospital in Hadapsar.

Investigations have revealed that on Friday, a person known to Bhalerao met him at the hospital gate and invited him to join a party, the reason being the person had received his salary. Bhalerao accepted the invitation and told his wife, Asha (19), who was with him at the time, to go home. He said he’d follow her in a while.

When Bhalerao did not reach home till late night, Asha made several attempts to contact him on his cellphone, but in vain.

Mandhare said Bhalerao’s body, with injuries on his head and back, was found at an open plot near Noble hospital on Saturday morning. A liquor bottle, an earphone, and a cement block were found at the crime scene.

The victim’s wife has named three suspects responsible for her husband’s murder in her complaint registered with the Hadapsar police station under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. No arrests have been made so far.







Journos condemn top cop’s action


PTI | 01:01 PM,Jan 07,2012

Rajkot, Jan 6 (PTI) The Rajkot District Media Association today strongly opposed city Police Commissioner Geetha Johri’s action against scribes of a leading daily news paper for publishing a photo of hers dancing in a party, on the eve of the New Year. Kana Batwa (editor), Aniruddh Nakum (reporter) and Prakash Ravrani (phtographer) of the daily have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. The dispute between the scribes and the city police commissioner began on December 30 at a city-based club where photographers of various news papers were invited. The police commissioner was caught in the camera while dancing and the photo was published by a couple of newspapers. The commissioner had also allegedly slapped the photographer to stop him from clicking her picture. On the police commissioner’s direction, police booked the trio under various sections of the IPC on January 4. However, journalists from various newspapers and news channels gathered at the circuit house today and marched to the police commissioner office and submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner of Police R M Pandey. Kana Batwa the editor of the daily termed the police commissioner’s action as “fabricated” and said she was trying to suppress media’s voice. The trio have already secured anticipatory bail but have not been arrested, police said.


NU prof files complaint against ‘govt official’


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 02.01AM IST

NAGPUR: A senior professor and author, posted as head of department of Ambedkar Thoughts in RTM Nagpur University, lodged a complaint at Rana Pratap Nagar police station against a man who is likely to hold a senior position in a Central government department for an alleged fraud on Saturday.

Rana Pratap Nagar police registered an offence of cheating under section 420 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Arvind Sontakke for duping Pradeep Aglawe to the tune of 3.96 lakhs on the pretext of ensuring posting of seven candidates as probationary officers in the Reserve Bank of India.

Aglawe said, Sontakke assured him to use his ‘high profile’ contacts as a senior official to ensure postings. Sontakke then demanded 35,000 to be deposited by each candidate in an account number that he gave Aglawe. Sontakke was not reachable when TOI tried to contact him. A senior officer said, cops are yet to find Sontakke’s real identity.







Give us one good reason why these gentlemen should not be taken to task


Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times
January 07, 2012

Andhra Pradesh director general of police V Dinesh Reddy’s statement attributing increase in rape cases to women provoking men by wearing “flimsy and fashionable” dresses has triggered another debate. The statement attracted almost instant condemnation from various quarters, including the

Central Government. “I strongly disagree with that statement. Everyone is entitled to dress the way he or she pleases as long as he or she has regards to the occasion, the place and the context. Obviously, you don’t wear whole lot of clothes to play football or tennis and you don’t wear swimwear and go to a cocktail party,” Union home minister P Chidambaram had commented.

In fact the right to wear a dress of one’s own choice is covered under Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and expression subject to certain reasonable restrictions, including public order, decency and morality.

Reddy is not the first or the only person in power to make such a statement. Even in western countries there have been instances of moral policing. A Canadian policeman was forced to apologise after suggesting women could avoid sexual assault by not dressing like “sluts”.

While the western world grapples with the issue, as the Slutwalk showed, in a country like India where women are far less empowered and crimes against women are shockingly high – according to the National Crime Records Bureau, the total reported crimes in 2010 against women including rape and sexual harrassment were 213585 – such statements only worsen the situation by putting the onus of safety on women.

While the Canadian cop’s famous statement was a one-off that triggered a worldwide movement, in India, every time such a statement is made there is hue and cry, debate and discussion and the issue subsides. There is hardly any action against the persons making the offending statements. Can they be dragged to court for allegedly abetting or inciting crimes (such as rape and outraging modesty of women) offences against women?

According to section 107 (first part) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), “A person abets the doing of a thing, who instigates any person to do that thing.”

Section 108 of the IPC that defines “abettor”, says, “A person abets an offence, who abets either the commission of an offence, or the commission of an act which would be an offence, if committed by a person capable of law of committing an offence with the same intention or knowledge as that of the abettor.

According to Explanation 2 of Section 108 of the IPC, “To constitute the offence of abetment it is not necessary that the act abetted should be committed, or that effect requisite to constitute the offence should be caused.”

Section 505(1)(b) of the IPC, says, “Whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquility; or (c) with intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

Can statements like the one made by the Andhra Pradesh DGP amount to abetting or inciting a crime against women?

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan says such a statement has the potential to create public mischief and, depending upon facts of a particular case, it can attract Section 505 of the IPC.

“Such comments are highly irresponsible. Instead of protecting women, we find police officers saying that they are wrong to dress in the way they dress, which the officers find provocative. This shows that his mind is tainted and biased. Equally, such a statement can cause fear or alarm to women and may induce a person to commit crimes against women.”

Condemning the statement, Dhavan said: “It appears to be a statement of policy to blame the victim of a rape or sexual harassment and to absolve the rapist or the harasser. This will simply not do.”

But senior counsel Pinky Anand is clear that such statements cannot amount to inciting or abetting offences against women. “I don’t think any offence is made out…. for the simple reason that abetment has to be towards commission of a crime.” She said: “No doubt the statement by the senior officer is  unfortunate, improper and out of place. But to attract the provisions of criminal law there has to be intention to incite or abet a crime.”

Senior counsel and law commission vice chairman KTS Tulsi agrees. “It can amount to justifying a crime. But it can neither be termed as abetment or instigation. To categorise such statements as a crime would be stretching it too far.”

Tulsi, however, said, “Such statements reflect society’s male chauvinist mindset. By proceeding to rationalise or justify crimes against women, they are inadvertently promoting unacceptable behaviour on the part of men towards women.”

Advocate Anand Grover, who fought a long-drawn legal battle to decriminalise homosexual acts between consenting adults in private, says, “It’s an open question. Nobody has tried it. A lot would depend on what the person said and under what circumstances.”

He, however, said: “Crime or no crime, to say that dresses can provoke men to rape is obnoxious. It creates an environment in which people think it’s ok to rape women. No person, particularly a police officer, has a right to talk like this.”

Has the time come to drag such people to the court of law for their irresponsible statements?







NIA opposes bail plea of Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh


Press Trust Of India
Mumbai, January 07, 2012

National Investigating Agency on Saturday opposed the bail plea of a key accused in the Malegaon 2008 blast, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, in the special Mcoca court, saying she aided and abetted the other accused with the full knowledge of the strike and had offered all


On November 18, Thakur had filed a bail application in the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (Mcoca) court for the third time saying that she was falsely implicated in the case.

While opposing the bail, NIA’s public prosecutor Rohini Salian told the court that, “The investigating agency has concrete evidence against her linking to the blast. She is member of an organised crime syndicate and has aided and abetted the other accused with the full knowledge to accomplish the object of conspiracy.”

“A motor cycle registered in her name was used to plant the bomb,” she stated.

The application filed by the NIA states that Thakur was in association with the arrested as well as accused Ramchandra Kalasangraha and Sandeep Dange who executed the blast and that there is enough material against her in the charge sheet.

Thakur, against whom there is ample material, has not made out a case to satisfy the court to hold that there are reasonable grounds for believing that she is not guilty of offences, which are leveled against her, it said.

Further arguments over the bail plea would be heard on January 21.

Her two bail applications filed earlier, one saying that the ATS had failed to file the charge sheet in time and another one on the ground that she was ill, were rejected by the court.

In her latest application, she had stated she should be given bail on the ground of parity as three other accused in the case, Shyam Shahu, Shivji Kalsangrah and Ajay Rahirkar were given bail.

Twelve persons including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt Col Prasad Purohit were arrested for carrying out blast at Malegaon on September 29, 2008, killing six persons and injuring 100 others.

The accused have been booked under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), besides the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The trial is yet to commence as some of the accused have challenged the invocation of MCOCA in the case before the Supreme Court, which is pending.

“Thakur along with other accused entered a criminal conspiracy to strike terror in the minds of people by exploding bomb in Malegaon,” the NIA claimed adding that Thakur, a member of rightwing organisation Abhinav Bharat “had offered all logistics support required for bomb blasts at the target place and insisted to procure RDX and also offered service of a close confident.”

The statements of witnesses had revealed that the accused have previously discussed about the Malegaon bomb blast. Kalasangraha, the witness claimed, had admitted having planted bomb on the motor cycles of Thakur by erasing chassis and engine number at Malegaon. Thakur had asked Kalasangraha how come very few people died in the blast, the NIA said.

“Kalasangraha replied that he did not get chance to park the motorcycle in the crowded area so he had parked it at a less crowded place,” NIA said.

“Purohit had stated that Malegaon has a large number of Muslims. It was necessary to do some action there. If bomb explosion is carried out there, it will be good retaliation of atrocities on Hindus. At this time, Thakur showed her readiness to provided men for such action,” the NIA stated.

Asking the court to reject Thakur’s bail plea, the top agency stated, “There is every likelihood of Thakur committing further offence if bail is granted. There is every likely-hood that she would tamper with evidence and witnesses in the case. The probe is still in progress and two main wanted accused are still at large and granting bail to Thakur will jeopardize the final outcome of the case.”







Charges framed against Madhuri Gupta in espionage case


PTI Jan 7, 2012, 04.09PM IST

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court today framed charges against former Indian diplomat Madhuri Gupta for allegedly passing on sensitive information to Pakistan’s ISI.

Additional Sessions Judge Pawan Kumar Jain charged Gupta under Section 3 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act for spying and also section 120B of the Indian Penal Code for criminal conspiracy.

The court fixed March 22 for starting the trial. Gupta, 53, posted as Second Secretary (Press and Information) at Indian High Commission in Islamabad, was arrested on April 22, 2010 by the Special Cell of Delhi Police for passing on sensitive information pertaining to defence to Pakistan’s ISI.

She has been charged with breach of trust, criminal conspiracy and various other provisions of the Official Secrets Act.

It was alleged that Gupta revealed certain classified information to Pakistani officials and was in touch with two ISI officials, Mubshar Raza Rana and Jamshed.

According to the charge sheet filed in July 2010, Gupta was involved in a relationship with Jamshed whom she planned to marry. She used to communicate with Jamshed who had a code name ‘Jim’.

The diplomat was using a computer installed at her residence in Islamabad and a Blackberry phone to be in touch with the two Pakistani spies, it said.

She had also visited Jammu and Kashmir in March 2010 on the instructions of Rana to allegedly procure the Annual Plan Report of the state. Rana also wanted information on the proposed 310 MW hydro-electric power project to be set up in the state by 2020, it said.







Apprehension of bail being granted no ground for preventive detention’


J. Venkatesan

Right to life and liberty cannot be taken away sans due procedure, says Supreme Court

Observing that the right to life and liberty guaranteed to a citizen under Article 21 of the Constitution cannot be taken away without following due procedure, the Supreme Court has held that mere apprehension of the authorities that an accused was likely to be released on bail was not a ground for passing preventive detention orders.

A three-judge Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir, S.S. Nijjar and J. Chelameswar while giving this ruling held that such prevention detention was “not justified.”

Writing the judgment, Mr. Justice Kabir said: “Article 21 of the Constitution enjoins that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except, according to procedure established by law. Although the power is vested with the concerned authorities, unless the same are invoked and implemented in a justifiable manner, such an action of the detaining authority cannot be sustained, inasmuch as, such a detention order is an exception to the provisions of Articles 21 and 22 (2) of the Constitution.”

The Bench also rejected the contention that going by the previous conduct of the accused, viz. if he was a habitual offender or he was involved in several other cases earlier, he could be detained under preventive detention law.

The Bench said: “When the Courts thought it fit to release the accused on bail [as had been done in this case] in connection with the cases in respect of which he had been arrested, the mere apprehension that he was likely to be released on bail as a ground of his detention is not justified.”

The Bench said: “There is no live link between the earlier incidents and the incident in respect of which the detention order had been passed. As has been observed in various cases of similar nature by this Court, the personal liberty of an individual is the most precious and prized right guaranteed under the Constitution. The State has been granted the power to curb such rights under criminal laws as also under the laws of preventive detention, which, therefore, are required to be exercised with due caution as well as upon a proper appreciation of the facts as to whether such acts are in any way prejudicial to the interest and the security of the State and its citizens, or seek to disturb public law and order, warranting the issuance of such an order. An individual incident of an offence under the Indian Penal Code, however heinous, is insufficient to make out a case for issuance of an order of preventive detention.”

In the instant case, Yumman Ongbai Lembi Leima, the appellant, challenged the judgment of the Gauhati High Court upholding the order of preventive detention of her husband, Yumman Somendro @ Somo @ Tiken, under the National Security Act on January 31, 2011. The said detention order, approved by the Governor of Manipur on February 7, 2011, was passed on the ground that the detenu was likely to be released on bail by the normal criminal Courts in the near future. Allowing the appeal, the Bench quashed the detention order and directed the appellant’s husband to be released forthwith.



HC reduces prison term for man who sodomised baby

The Bombay High Court has reduced punishment for a man convicted of sodomising a 10-month-old girl child, accepting his contention that he lost control over himself as he was living away from his family.

Although the court upheld his conviction under Section 377 of the IPC, it reduced the sentence handed out to Ramkishan Harijan, who worked as a labourer with a brick-trader in Mumbai, from 10 years to seven.

In his judgment, Justice M L Tahaliyani also said that the six years Harijan had already spent in jail be taken into account.

“Trial judge was aware of the fact that the appellant (Harijan) was married and (had) two children and his family was staying in Uttar Pradesh… No doubt, this by itself may not be a reason for lenient sentence. However, had it been considered in the proper perspective, the learned trial court probably would have imposed lesser sentence than 10 years,” Justice M L Tahaliyani wrote in his judgment recently.

According to the prosecution, Harijan was a neighbour of the victim, and both lived on Mankhurd-Ghatkopar Link Road. On January 10, 2006, he took the child to a deserted place near her house and sodomised her while her father was away.

The victim’s mother came to the spot on hearing the child’s cries and claimed to have seen Harijan fleeing. The child was bleeding from her private parts. Harijan was arrested the next day.

On January 1, 2008, a sessions court acquitted Harijan of charges of rape but held him guilty under Section 377 on charges of sodomy.

Arguing against the quantum of sentence awarded to Harijan, his lawyer Arfan Sait said he was poor and “living alone, away from his native place and therefore probably he lost control over himself”.






Paryaya: Legal battle in offing


Published: Saturday, Jan 7, 2012, 10:14 IST
By M Raghuram | Place: Udupi | Agency: DNA

The feud between the two Madhva mutts on permitting Sugunendra Thirta of Puttige Mutt to participate in the Paryaya fest is heading for a legal showdown.

A group belonging to the Sode Vadiraja Mutt has not paid heed to appeals of the state religious endowments minister VS Acharya or the advice of scholars.

“We have tried to bring some sense of responsibility in the administrators of Sode Vadiraja Mutt, but in vain. We have to look into the legal aspects,” said Sripathy Tantri, a leader of Madhva Brahmin community.

“The problem was not with the young Sode Mutt swamiji Vishwavallabh Thirtha, but with the people around him, including his advisor Rathnakumar and the swamiji’s father. They are keeping everybody else away from him. I pity the young swamiji, who is now confined to a room in the mutt. He has been kept under solitary confinement by the mutt authorities,” said Prof Tantri.

The act of social or religious boycott of a person or a group has been declared as a social dogma and such practices have been banished in India since 1935.

“Imposing social, religious and economical ban on a person irrespective of his crime cannot be accepted in the modern world. He can be tried in the court of law but not by any religious body or group of people. Sugunendra Thirta going abroad is not a crime. If hardliner administratorssee foreign trips as a sacrilege, they can award some sort of penance or suggest rectification process within the Ashtamutt swamiji’s council, but banning a swamiji or any other individual for that matteris anti-constitutional,” said

KL Acharya, a legal expert on religious matters.

In 2008, when a similar dispute had surfaced involving Puttige Swamiji, the high court had directed the Ashtamutts to allow Puttige Swamiji to conduct the Paryaya (2008-09) according to the tradition of Udupi.

He maintained that the direction by the court was still binding on the Ashtamutts.

“If they do not allow the swamiji to participate in the Paryaya on January 18, it will be a contempt of court,” said Prasannachar, administrator of Puttige Mutt.









Call for women’s quota in judiciary


A Subramani, TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 05.22AM IST

CHENNAI: Despite having had a woman Prime Minister and several woman chief ministers, the country is yet to have a woman attorney-general or solicitor general. Also, the Independent India has not seen a single advocate-general leading the Bar in any of its states.

This was the lament of P H Parekh, president, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), while speaking at a national conference of the All India Federation of Women Lawyers here on Saturday.

Wondering as to why women advocates were not getting what they genuinely deserved, Parekh called upon the big gathering of women lawyers from several states to revolt demanding reservation of at least 50% of all judicial officer posts.

Justice P Sathasivam, judge, Supreme Court, in his speech said the judiciary was performing the role of a ‘social reformer’ and pointed out that it had been taking care of problems and interests of women.

“In the context of gender justice and equality, the judiciary has attempted to venture into the critical role of a social reformer by upholding the rights of women especially the victims of subordination and suppression,” Justice Sathasivam said.

“The contribution made by the judiciary to the improvement of status of women, protection of and access to fundamental rights and provision of conditions of dignity of life can be discerned from a number of decisions delivered while interpreting laws and the Constitution,” he said.

Justice Sathasivam said the root cause of all evil practices faced by women are illiteracy, economic dependence, caste restrictions, religious prohibition, lack of leadership qualities and apathetic and callous attitude towards women. He also urged the Bar members to be conversant with new amendments and technological development.

Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, judge, Supreme Court, referring to destruction of millions of female fetuses every year, rape, bride burning, sexual harassment at work places, physical and mental cruelty, domestic violence and denial of property rights, said the police, prosecutors and courts had failed to give relief to women though the Constitution zealously protected women. Women lawyers can make a difference in enforcement of laws relating to women and children, though they can handle all kinds of cases, she said.

Justice M Y Eqbal, chief justice, Madras high court, said women in India are empowered in real sense of the term whereas in many countries they had just got or had to fight for their right to even vote. He said he had already recommended to the state government to constitute at least one family court in each district.

“Women’s empowerment remains an enigma trapped in mystery, in spite of tall claims made by social activists and lip service of administrators,” Justice Eqbal said.







Aarushi murder case: With Supreme Court vacating stay, Talwars out of options


Neeraj Chauhan, TNN | Jan 7, 2012, 01.24AM IST

NEW DELHI: With the Supreme Court rejecting Dr Rajesh and Nupur Talwar’s plea for quashing proceedings against them in the case of their daughter Aarushi’s murder, the couple has run out of options for now.

The SC has sent the case back to the trial court, which had taken a strict view of the CBI’s findings on circumstantial evidence and statements of witnesses and made Talwars the accused.

In her order on February 9, 2011, CBI special judge Preeti Singh had built her decision to name the parents of Aarushi as the accused on the basis of circumstantial evidence pointed out by CBI in its case diary and statements of several witnesses who had not seen the murders being carried out but helped in building the sequence of events and prove the complicity of Talwars.

Some of the witnesses who were listed as important in her order by Singh included some friends of Talwar, domestic helps and Noida police officers. The court had made elaborate observations on several points, including a V-shaped injury mark on both bodies (Hemraj and Aarushi’s), presence of only family members inside the house, cleaning of Aarushi’s private parts, Talwar’s reluctance to open the door of the terrace on May 16, 2008, bloodstains on the stairs and the doctor’s opinion that only a surgically trained person could have killed both. The judge had cited these points as the main grounds to charge the couple for murder and destruction of evidence.

One of the most important points which the court had stressed upon were the circumstances proving that ‘there were only four persons in the house that night, including Aarushi and Hemraj’. Talwar’s driver, Umesh, a neighbour, Puneet Rai Tandon, Anita Durrani and servant Krishna’s landlord, KN Johri, were important witnesses too in backing this fact. Umesh had said, “I had seen Rajesh Talwar, Nupur Talwar, Aarushi and Hemraj in the house around 9.30 pm on May 15 when I went there to return the car keys”.

A maid working in the house, Bharti, had observed: “When I went to the house at 6 am on May 16, only Rajesh and Nupur Talwar were present. Aarushi was lying on her bed and blood was coming out from a wound on her neck while Hemraj was not there”. The Talwars had accepted that they were only ones present in the house.

The court had ruled out the involvement of any outsider in the murders on the basis of statements of Sector 25 Jalvayu Vihar’s colony guards – Virender Singh, Sanjay Singh, Ram Kumar, Chandrabhushan, Devender Singh and Ram Vishal – who had stated that they did not see anyone coming to or going out of Talwar’s house.

The court had also ruled out the involvement of the servants on the basis of statements of Anita Durrani, who said that Rajkumar was present in her house till 12.30 on that night, while Puneet Rai Tandon said his servant, Vijay Mandal, was in his garage. K N Johri, landlord of Krishna, stated that Krishna was sleeping in his house with his family.

Observing that there was cleaning of Aarushi’s private parts, the court had taken note of Dr Sunil Dohre’s statement that there were no marks on Aarushi’s face or body of any resistance but the vaginal opening was wide and there was a white discharge near it.

The court had also cited testimony of a telecom department official who stated that the internet was switched on and off at regular intervals and that an outsider could not have done that.








Zakia moves Supreme Court to protest SIT ‘inaction’


J. Venkatesan

‘Ask SIT to forward final report on Gulberg Society carnage to Ahmedabad court’

Alleging inaction on the part of the R.K. Raghavan-led Special Investigation Team, Zakia Jafri has moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the SIT to forward a final report, along with the entire material collected by it, to the Ahmedabad court, which had taken cognisance of her complaint in connection with the 2002 riots in Gujarat.

Acting on the complaint of Ms. Jafri, wife of the former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed in the Gulberg Society carnage, against Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 61 others, the Supreme Court on September 12, 2011 asked the SIT to submit its final report under Section 173 (2) Cr.PC to the magistrate, on the further investigation it conducted on her plea.

The Supreme Court said: “Before submission of its report, it will be open to the SIT to obtain from the amicus curiae copies of his reports submitted to this court. The said court will deal with the matter in accordance with law relating to the trial of the accused, named in the report/charge sheet, including matters falling within the ambit and scope of Section 173(8) of the Code.”

The present application by Ms. Jafri and Teesta Setalvad of Citizens for Justice and Peace said: “The petitioners are anxious about the steps the SIT is planning to take in the matter as there have been varied newspaper reports which indicate that the SIT may actually file a closure report.”

The application said: “The petitioners have written to the Chairman, SIT, on more than one occasion, requesting him to indicate the status of the report so that the petitioners are also able to prepare themselves and assist the court concerned should the need arise. There has been no reply so far to any of the letters.” It had been more than three months since the judgment was passed by this court “but there have been no steps taken by the SIT to their knowledge.”

Ms. Zakia Jafri and Ms. Setalvad said, “The trial in the CR 67 of 2002 is also in the final stage and further delay in that trial would frustrate the very purpose of the setting up of the SIT and the monitoring of the cases by this court. Further, more than 338 witnesses have deposed in that trial and as many as 18 have identified the accused and withstood the hostile cross-examination of defence in an extremely hostile atmosphere.”

They said: “One of the key witnesses in a connected trial [Naroda Patiya] was recently murdered and the petitioners apprehend it was in connection with the present complaint, as he would in all likelihood have been a key witness in the present case and the SIT has recorded his statement as well. Following the suspicious circumstances under which he was killed, the applicants have assisted eyewitnesses/survivors — anxious about the status of evidence in Naroda Patiya and related cases, as also their own safety to make specific applications, vis-à-vis protection, to the SIT.”

Even now the SIT Chairman was available only on very few occasions at Gandhinagar, the petitioners said. “It is critical that the matter commences at the earliest and the SIT files its report in the court,” they said, and sought a direction to the SIT to submit its report to the court concerned within 30 days.







Filmmaker’s harassment plea dismissed


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 03.48AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of Madras high court has dismissed a plea of Malayalam cinema producer K P Shaju, to order a CBI probe into his alleged harassment at the hands of S Sreejith, an IPS officer of Kerala cadre, with the connivance of P Balasubramanian, then commissioner of police, Madurai city.

Shaju claimed that he and Sreejith, DIG crime branch, were close friends and had produced two movies in Malayalam. Sreejith had written the storyline for one film ‘Out of Syllabus’ and he was the creative consultant of another film ‘Suryakereedom’.

Shaju submitted that owing to financial matters, the relationship between him and Sreejith turned sour. Thereafter Sreejith, using his powers, started to harass him in many ways. He said that on 28 November 2010, he was arrested at Cochin by the central crime branch, Madurai, at the instigation of Sreejith and upon instructions from then Madurai commissioner of police Balasubramanian, in a false cheque bounce case alleging cheating and breach of trust, on a complaint by one R Kumar. He was granted bail and then moved the present petition on February 2011 seeking a CBI probe into the arrest.

He said he was assaulted at the instance of Sreejith against whom proceedings were initiated before the courts in Kerala. He said in case a complaint was investigated by the local police, he would not get justice in view of the influence exerted by Sreejith. He would further submit that there were paper reports indicating that the third respondent was involved in various financial dealings outside the purview of his duties and as such, any investigation conducted in Kerala or Tamil Nadu by the local police would not give any result. Therefore, the matter should be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation, Shaju claimed.

Dismissing the petition as a case was not made out, Justice K K Sasidharan pointed out that the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition contained details about various cases involving Sreejith and others. Those details give a clear indication that the petitioner was also aggrieved by certain actions of Sreejith. Declining to order a CBI probe, the judge pointed out that Shaju had already moved the magistrate court at Kerala and a crime case was registered before the Palarivattom Police Station against the police. He now admitted that a writ petition was also filed before the high court of Kerala.

When the incident in question happened within the territorial jurisdiction of the Kerala high court and in the light of the complaint already preferred by the petitioner before the magistrate court and a writ petition initiated before the high court of Kerala, he cannot be permitted to take parallel actions before this court.








Bombay High Court issues notices to Maharashtra chief secretary, Shiv Sena MP


Published: Saturday, Jan 7, 2012, 15:02 IST
Place: NAGPUR | Agency: PTI

The Bombay High Court Bench here has issued notices to Maharashtra Chief Secretary, Co-operation Secretary, Washim Shiv Sena MP Bhavna Gawli (Patil) and others on a public interest litigation (PIL).

A Division Bench of Justice PB Majumdar and Justice Ashok Bhangale issued the notices yesterday while hearing the PIL filed by Subhash Uttamrao Dewde, a resident of Washim district who has alleged irregularities in administration of Shree Balaji Particle Board, owned by Gawli.

Principal Secretaries of Finance and Planning Departments, National Co-operative Development Corporation (NCDC) and Ashok Gandule, PA to Gawli are the other respondents in the case. They were asked to file replies by February 14.

The PIL has demanded probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of police officers into a “fraudulent” deal involving the company. Dewde also sought setting up of a judicial panel headed by a retired High Court Judge to probe the matter.

The petitioner has alleged that Gawli acquired Shree Balaji, which has State Government’s investment worth Rs42 crore, from the Board of Liquidators at a throwaway price of Rs7 crore in the name of Bhavna Agrotech.

Her PA Gandule is said to be the “proprietor” of Bhavna Agrotech. The Sena Lok Sabha MP is a former Chairperson of the Board of Liquidators







High Court restrains deduction of service tax from film distributors

Press Trust of India, Updated: January 07, 2012 17:57 IST

Chennai:  The Madras High Court has restrained Tamil Nadu Cinema Theatre Owners Federation (TNCTOF) and Tamil Nadu Film Exhibitors’ Association (TNFEA) from deducting Service Tax from the distributors share of income by following a recent circular of the Central Board of Excise and Customs.

Granting the interim injunction on a petition filed by city-based Mediaone Global Entertainment Limited, Justice M Jaichandren ordered notice to authorities concerned and Tamil Nadu Cinema Theater Owners Federation and Tamil Nadu Film Exhibitor’s Association.

The firm, carrying on business by producing and distributing films, said it was aggrieved by the circular of the Under Secretary, (Tax Research Unit), Central Board of Excise and Customs, New Delhi, with respect to levy of Service Tax on distributors/sub-distributors of films and exhibitors of movies.

The petitioner claimed that the official without jurisdiction had completely bypassed earlier circulars of the Chief Commissioner of Central Excise, Chennai, and a circular of February 2009.

The February circular categorically held that the screening of a movie was not a taxable service, the petitioner said adding the Under Secretary had not adverted to it and had proceeded to give an erroneous interpretation placing reliance on the provisions of the Finance Acts of 2010 and 2011.

The arrangement between the distributor and an exhibitor was a profit sharing device carried by two or more persons, who bore the risks equally through a contractual agreement, the petitioner said.







Court hikes compensation for land acquired


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: A division bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court has fixed a compensation of Rs 25,000 per acre for land at Rampur village in Warangal district in an acquisition case.

The bench comprising Justice V Eswaraiah and Justice K.S. Appa Rao pronounced the judgment in the case (AS No 1963) filed in 1998 by B Lingaiah and 31 others against the Land Acquisition Officer (LAO) of Warangal. The bench allowed the former’s appeal in part and dismissed the appeal filed by the LAO.

The main contention of the claimants was that the Reference Court, without taking into consideration the market value of the land at Rs 40,000 per acre, had fixed a compensation at about Rs 16,000 per acre. They sought an enhancement of compensation. But the government pleader sought to reduce the compensation awarded by the reference court.

The bench, took into account that the land was located far away from the highway and fixed the amount at Rs 25,000. The division bench, in its order, stated that during the course of arguments, both the counsels placed reliance on the findings of the court in AS No.1891 and AS No. 1895 of the year 2000 and AS No. 775 of 2001 in which the market value fixed by the reference court at Rs 48,500 was confirmed by the court. In these orders, the land acquired was meant to establish an industrial estate.

“Before going into the merits of the case, it is to be seen whether the reliance placed by the LAO as well as the Reference Court on the documents marked either side for fixation of the market value is in accordance with the sound principles of the law as per the Act. Admittedly the land in question was acquired for setting up of an industrial estate by the APIIC. Once an industrial estate is established in the acquired land, automatically the value of the land will be increased irrespective of the factum of the interiority”, the bench observed.









SC to hear bail plea of Sukh Ram, others tomorrow


PTI | 09:01 AM,Jan 08,2012

New Delhi, Jan 8 (PTI) The bail pleas of former Union minister Sukh Ram, who surrendered and was sent to jail to undergo a three-year term in the 1993 telecom scam, will be taken up tomorrow in the Supreme Court. A bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam, would also hear the bail plea of veteran politician’s co-accused former bureaucrat Runu Ghosh and Hyderabad-based businessman P Rama Rao. The bench had earlier on January 5 refused to entertain their appeal against the Delhi High Court’s order convicting them in the scam and awarded three years jail term for Sukh Ram and Rao and two years of imprisonment for Ghosh. The bench had said that it would hear their plea only after they comply with the high court’s order and surrender before a trial court to undergo sentence. Thereafter , Ghosh and Rao had surrendered on the same day. Sukh Ram initially evaded surrendering on health grounds saying he is hospitalised but two days after he appeared in the trial court, he was sent to jail. Earlier on December 21 last year, the high court had upheld the lower court’s 2002 judgement holding Sukh Ram, Ghosh and Rao guilty of being part of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the state exchequer by awarding a telecom equipment supply contract to Hyderabad’s Advanced Radio Masts which had supplied inferior goods at a higher rate to the DoT. Sukh Ram was telecom minister between January 18, 1993 and May 16, 1996, in the Narasimha Rao government. The CBI had filed the charge sheet in March 1997, accusing Sukh Ram and Ghosh of entering into a criminal conspiracy with Rao. Subsequent to the registration of various cases, the CBI, in 1996, had seized Rs 3.6 crore in cash which was concealed in bags and suitcases from Sukh Ram’s residence. PTI AAC RKS ZMN








SC dismisses PIL for CBI probe against Gehlot


Last Updated: Sunday, January 08, 2012, 09:34

New Delhi: In a respite to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, the Supreme Court has rejected a PIL seeking CBI probe into the allegation of corruption charges against him in award of contract to corporate houses.

A bench of Justices HL Dattu and Chandramouli Kumar Prasad dismissed the appeal filed against the Rajasthan High Court order which had also refused to order any probe into the allegations.

The petition filed by Shrikrishna Kukkad, a resident of Ganganagar in Rajasthan, was turned down even without issuing notices.

Earlier, the high court, in May 2011, had dismissed the PIL seeking a probe into allegations saying no ground is made out for the investigation.

The high court had said that Kukkad had failed to provide any documentary proof of all the allegations in order to prove direct involvement of Gehlot in the decision making.

BJP had also charged Gehlot with seeking favours from corporate houses for monetary gains to his son Vaibhav Gehlot and daughter Soniya Ankhad and in turn allotting various contracts to the two corporate houses.

The petition had claimed that since Gehlot came to power both the companies of Muhnot group and Kothari group, which are allegedly close to the chief minister, have shown surprising growth in their business.

It was also alleged that a large number of government contracts have been given to the companies owned by Kothari Group as Vaibhav was working as a legal adviser with the firm.






HC rejects anticipatory bail to Nithyananda’s ex-disciple


Press Trust Of India
Chennai, January 07, 2012

The Madras high court has rejected the anticipatory bail plea of former disciple of controversial self-styled godman Nithyananda and another person, who apprehended arrest in connection with a blackmail complaint.   The complaint by one Nithya Atma Prabhananda had accused the duo — Lenin alias Dithya Dharmanantha and K Kumar –  of having blackmailed Nithayananda using a video film showing the godman in a compromising position with an actress.

Dismissing bail applications filed by Kumar and Lenin, who had earlier claimed to have shot the video, which led to the arrest of Nithyananda early last year, Justice Palanivelu said there were prima facie materials available against the petitioners, showing that they participated in the demands made on the swami.

Granting anticipatory bail to them at this stage could hamper further investigation. Besides, there was every likelihood of them tampering with witnesses, the Judge said and dismissed the anticipatory bail applications.

Investigation of the case has been transferred to the crime branch-CID of the Tamil Nadu police.

Nithayananda, who has his ashram near Bangalore, was arrested in Himachal Pradesh on criminal charges including rape after the controversial video was telecast by TV channels. He was later released on bail.






HC stays mining activities by JSPL in Chhattisgarh


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Raipur, January 07, 2012

The Chhattisgarh high court has granted interim relief to petitioners who are the owners of land wherein the Jindal Steel & Power Limited (JSPL) was excavating the coal “without” having secured the permission from the land owners. A single bench of Justice S K Agnihotri stayed the mining activities carried out by the JSPL over the land in dispute till the next hearing.

The HC cited the earlier decision of the Supreme Court where the latter held that ‘the right to excavate the mines from the land of private owner is based on the agreement; unless the lessor gives his consent, no lessee has a right to enter upon his land and carry on mining operation’.

“Prima facie, it appears that the balance of convenience is in favour of the petitioners and if the interim relief is not granted the petitioners may suffer irreparable losses”, the court stated. 

The JSPL official here told HT that the land was acquired by the state government and allotted to them for mining after diligently following all prescribed rules and processes.








HC to recruit clerks

For the first time, the Punjab and Haryana High Court is conducting examination and holding interviews for the posts of clerks to be posted in all Districts of Punjab and Haryana.

Till now, the concerned Sessions Court used to hold examination and recruit clerks. However, the process has now been made centralised. “The HC in the recent past had received numerous complaints on the issue of recruitment to the post of clerks” said a senior official of the High Court.

The selection process is already on and thousands of candidates are appearing for the post of clerks.

It might be mentioned here that last year, the High Court had removed the senior most Sessions Judge of Haryana posted in Rewari for the alleged fraudulent selections made by him for the post of clerks.

As many as three High Court Judges, a single Bench and a division bench, had passed scathing judgments against the Sessions Judge following which he had resigned.






HC declines to stall panchayat election


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 03.43AM IST

CUTTACK: The Orissa high court on Friday declined to stall the ensuing panchayat election preparations. The court gave the direction in response to a petition filed by one Balamukund Das of Dunguripalli, challenging the guidelines of the state election commission regarding allocation of reservation and delimitation of constituencies.

The petitioner had urged the court to stall the elections scheduled in February. The petitioner cited that at least 27% of reservation has been allocated for the other backward class (OBC) category, due to which the quantum of quota for SC, ST and OBC candidates breached the 50% limit.

Opposing the prayer, counsel of state election commission, Pitambar Acharya, cited that procedure for the panchayat elections have already started and it would not be proper for the high court to interfere in it. The bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra ruled in his favour.







HC evolves plan to enhance security in Madurai bench


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 03.47AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has evolved a plan to enhance its security measure, on the lines of the principal bench of the Madras high court.

Sources said the new plan was evolved in a recent meeting of judges and registrars of the Madurai bench, police officers, revenue and PWD officers. The plan would be sent to the administrative committee of the Madras high court for further approval. The state government has already allocated funds to the tune of Rs 84 lakh for the security measures.

Five metal detectors were procured and it would be put in place at important points of the high court building. It was also proposed to set up closed circuit monitoring units and watch towers at crucial vantage points of the campus.

In addition to the present strength of police personnel, additional police forces would be deployed in the court campus. The security measures are expected to be put in place shortly.







Bombay HC protects police chiefs tenancy rights


Published: Sunday, Jan 8, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Mustafa Plumber | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The Mumbai commissioner Arup Patnaik is a relieved man, with the Bombay High Court protecting the eight Chembur tenements of which he is a direct tenant from redevelopment, which would have lead to the loss of his tenancy rights. The court has ordered the developer to maintain a status quo.

The commissioner is the tenant in Sukhi Nivas, which belongs to one Sukhibai Voral, on Mahul road. The commissioner can allot the eight rooms under his tenancy as official service quarters.

The history behind the legal battle dates back to 1961, when Sukhibai moved a plea before the Controller of Accommodation (CoA) for de-requisiting the property, which was then in the police possession, as under the Bombay Land Requisition Act. The order was passed in favour of Sukhibai. However, in a few years, she agreed to allow the commissioner to be her tenant again.
In the mid-2000, Sukhibai entered a redevelopment agreement with developer Ajai Nensee.

Following this, Sukhibai moved yet another plea before the Controller of Accommodation to evict the commissioner, taking re-course to the 1997 Supreme Court ruling that directed the state government to de-requisite all properties requisitioned by it. “Accordingly on September 24, 2009, the CoA passed an ex-parte order evicting the Commissioner. The next day possession of the tenements was handed to the developer,” said Additional Government Pleader G W Mattos.

The then police commissioner D Sivanandhan moved the General Administration Department (GAD) challenging the CoA order, following which in March 2010 it was set aside and the government body directed to hear the plea afresh after serving a notice to the police commissioner. The police chief also wrote a letter to the Brihanmumbai Municipal commissioner, requesting him not allow any redevelopment permission. The BMC sent a notice to the developer, which he challenged by him along with the government’s order rejecting the CoA’s earlier decision.

When both petitions were recently heard, Mattos placed on record a suit copy filed by the Sukhibai in the court of small causes in 1966, demanding that the commissioner pay his rent as a tenant.

Mattos argued “Since the Police Department was in possession of the premises as a tenant, which are outside the provisions of the Requisition Act, the tenancy rights could not have been disturbed.”Based on the submissions made by him, the court passed an order to maintain status quo.







HC sets aside arbitral award of Rs 46 lakh against French firm


PTI | 09:01 AM,Jan 08,2012

New Delhi, Jan 8 (PTI) In a relief to French firm Degremont Ltd, the Delhi High Court has set aside an award of Rs 46 lakh against it on the ground that Indian Council of Arbitration “erred” by appointing a three-member panel instead of sole arbitrator as asked by parties to a dispute also including an Indian company. “The ICA appears to have proceeded on the basis that there was no agreement between the parties that the disputes should be referred to sole arbitrator. This was clearly erroneous. ICA committed further error by proceeding … of the ICA Rules by constituting a three-member tribunal,” Justice S Muralidhar said. The court’s judgement came on the petition of Degremont Ltd, which deals in ‘water and waste water technologies’, challenging the award of ICA in favour of Indian company Yamuna Gases and Chemicals Ltd. The French firm had given a sub-contract to Yamuna Gases and Chemicals Ltd for works relating to installation of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in Haryana under Yamuna Action Plan. Owing to a financial dispute, the firms wanted the matter to be referred for arbitration and approached the ICA for appointment of sole arbitrator. The ICA ignored contentions of both firms and rather constituted a three-member panel which asked the French company to pay over Rs 46 lakh to Indian company along with interest at the rate of 10 per cent. Aggrieved by the aribitral award, the French company moved the high court which found the “error” as “sufficient to set aside the impugned award.” MORE


HC declines to stay proceedings against Virbhadra, wife in graft case


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 01.58AM IST

SHIMLA: Not giving any respite to Union minister Virbhadra Singh in a corruption case registered against him and wife Pratibha Singh by the state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau in 2009, Himachal Pradesh high court on Saturday declined to stay the proceedings of trial court, saying that the trial court is free to examine the accused.

A division bench of chief justice Kurian Joseph and justice V K Ahuja, which had reserved its order on Janurary 5, said, “the trial court in Shimla is free to examine the accused.”

In his petition filed before the high court, Union minister of micro, small and medium enterprises, Virbhadra Singh, had sought the transfer of corruption case to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and quashing of police complaint against them. He had also petitioned for a stay on trial court proceedings.

“In case the petitioners are discharged in the process of consideration under section 239 CrPC, it’s not necessary to consider other prayers in the writ petition. On the contrary, in the process, in case the charges are framed against the petitioners, only then other contentions need be looked into, including the one for investigation by CBI,” the court said.

Virbhadra Singh and Pratibha Singh were booked by state police on August 3, 2009 under Prevention of Corruption Act for alleged misuse of his official position and criminal misconduct when Virbhadra was chief minister of the state in 1989.

“The trial court has already summoned the petitioners by order dated October 23, 2010. That order has become final. The next stage is consideration of charges. Having not challenged the order under section 204 CrPC… the petitioners have to face the next stage of consideration of charges,” the bench said, adding, “consideration of charges does not mean that charges have been framed”.

“The petitioners and respondents have advanced several arguments and have raised several contentions including maintainability of the writ petition. We do not think it necessary, at this stage, to go into all those aspects,” the bench said.

“The trial court has posted the case for consideration of charges. As we have clarified the legal position, consideration of police charges and documents sent therewith is an exercise to be undertaken by the trial court. The trial court is free to examine the accused,” it said.

However, the high court posted the writ petition after the orders of trial court under sections 239 and 240 CrPC came.

The government had filed a chargesheet against the couple in the court of special judge B L Soni in October 2010. Soon after registration of the case in 2009, the couple moved the high court.

A single bench of the high court on September 3, 2010, had turned down the minister’s petition to transfer the case to CBI under section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code.








HC declines to stay All-India Bar exam


PTI | 01:01 PM,Jan 07,2012

Chennai, Jan 6 (PTI): Madras High Court today declined to stay the All India Bar Examination scheduled for January 8 in Tamil Nadu but directed police to provide necessary protection to those appearing for the test at Vellore, Coimbatore and Tiruchirappalli centres in view of their apprehensions. Passing orders on a petition by city-based law graduate Deepika Murali, Justice S Rajeswaran said the direction was to ensure that the examination, conducted by the Bar Council of India, was held smoothly and without any disturbance what-so-ever. The petitioner said when the test was to be held on earlier occasions, there were protests against it preventing her and others from sitting for the examination. The Judge said in view of the petitioner’s apprehension that it may not be possible for candidates to take the exam on January 8 because of the liklihood of it being disturbed he had directed the state DGP to take the necessary precautions. In April 2010, the BCI had notified that law students, graduating from that year onwards should pass the examination in order to practise law in any court in the country. On January 3, the BCI had stated that the examination would be held on January 8 for candidates, who were unable to write the earlier examination in Chennai. The petitioner said the Bar council should have ensured better security arrangements instead of arbitrarily cancelling the earlier examination and charged it with non-application of mind for postponing the examination and fixing a fresh date days later and in the allotment of the exam centres. She had sought a stay of the examination. Counsel for BCI submitted that of the nearly 25,000 students slated to write the examination about 3,500 were from Tamil Nadu.

HC orders status quo till Tuesday


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has ordered that status quo be maintained till Tuesday in a grievance relating to appointments to the post of Assistant Grade-II at the Kerala University.

The order will be applicable to the 31 candidates who had moved the court challenging an Upa Lok Ayukta order.

Justice T R Ramachandran Nair passed the order while considering a batch of petitions filed by the Assistant Grade staff seeking the issuance of a directive to the Kerala University to stop it from taking actions pursuant to the Lok Ayukta’s recommendation. The Lok Ayukta had recommended the University to cancel all appointments to the post of Assistant Grade II, made from a rank-list after conducting a written test in 2005 and a subsequent interview in 2007. The Lok Ayukta had also suggested to conduct a fresh selection. The university had short-listed 2,114 candidates and initially appointed 160 of them to the post.

The petitioners submitted that the report and the findings are vitiated and has not considered relevant facts. The Upa Lokayukta had asked the officials of the Kerala University to produce the answer sheets of the entrance examination, but that has not been done so far. “The candidates cannot be put to suffer due to serious prejudice on account of technical lapses on the part of the university. Regarding non-production of the evaluated answer scripts are concerned, lapse on the part of the university was serious. But that may not be taken as a ground to cancel the appointment,” the petitioners argued. The petitioners also requested to quash the findings of the Lok Ayukta and added that this will affect the candidates who managed to get this job purely on merit.








HC seeks explanation from government secretaries


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday asked the Chief Secretary and the Environment Principal Secretary to explain why the state decided to challenge one of its order regarding the establishment of septage treatment plants.

A Division Bench comprising Justice C N Ramachandran Nair and Justice K Vinod Chandran had directed the State Government to take steps to set up plants in every district on a petition filed by advocate R Sudha. After this an interim order was passed appointing an advocate commissioner for studying the feasibility of a pilot project for a septage treatment plant at Brahmapuram. The government after accepting the report of the advocate commissioner challenged the interim order before the Supreme Court.

The court severely criticised the state for moving the Supreme Court and asked the secretaries to file separate affidavits to explain on whose advice and decision the special leave petition was filed. The Advocate General on July had submitted that immediate steps would be taken to execute the proposal for a plant at Brahmapuram. The court asked the state to file whether the AG’s advice was sought before filing the petition. The court also asked the Chief Secretary to file the litigation policy, if any, before the court.

The court observed that the state or the municipal authorities had not provided any mechanism for collecting, storing or treating toilet waste. It was reported that septage was being transported in tanker lorries and dumped at night in rivers, backwaters and public vacant lands causing pollution. The court pointed out that despite many orders, the authorities did not take any steps to set up the treatment facility. Nobody has ever bothered to find out where sepatge is being dumped, the court said.









HC seeks report on power units


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The High Court on Friday directed the Ministry of the Environment and Forests and Chief Conservator of Forests to submit a report on the status of the mini-hydro power projects that are being set up at Kenchanakumari reserve rain forest area of Western Ghats in Sakleshpur. Chief Justice Vikaramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna, hearing a petition filed by one, Prashant Yavagal, directed the Ministry and the CCF to file a report within a week. The petitioner submitted that the projects were flouting the rules mentioned in the Wildlife Act.









Free and fair elections need impartial officials’

The Election Commission (EC) has forwarded a letter written by Advocate H C Arora to the top brass of Punjab Police. Arora had written to the EC requesting the commission to ensure that no tainted police official or government servant is posted on election duty in the forthcoming elections.

Talking to Newsline, a Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) from Punjab confirmed the development. He said an official communication from the Election Commission has been received which has referred to a representation sent by Advocate H C Arora.

In his representation, Arora had said that the concept of “free and fair elections pre-supposes posting of honest and impartial government servants on election duty”.

The representation further reads. “Police officials play a very vital role for conducting such free and fair elections. In fact, their role in elections is much more important than the other civil servants posted on election duty. It cannot be disputed that police officials who are facing criminal cases cannot be expected to perform their election duty in an impartial manner”.

Arora said that he had sought information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with regard to tainted police officers in all the offices of SSPs in Punjab. So far information has only been received from SSP Gurdaspur’s office.

Under RTI it was revealed that a total of 31 cases are pending against police officers posted in Gurdaspur, Punjab. Surprisingly, some of them are facing charges of murder, rape and attempt to murder.

Submitting this information made available under RTI, Arora had requested, in December to ensure that no tainted police official is posted during Vidhan Sabha elections.










Transit home will house street children from Jan 15


TNN Jan 8, 2012, 05.36AM IST

MANGALORE: The city will soon get a permanent transit home to take care of street children, rag-pickers, child labourers and abused children rescued by the officials of labour department, women and child welfare department and the police.The transit home will be opened at a building in the premises of Govt Higher Primary School in Kapikad near here.

The home, to be maintained by Prajna Counselling Centre (PCC), will have all facilities for children. PCC has already appointed warden, consultant doctor, counsellor, teachers and cook to maintain the home which will be opened soon.The government had directed Dakshina Kannada district unit of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyana (SSA) to identify school drop-outs, children addicted to drugs, beggars, child labourers, distressed and runaway children (in 6-14 age group) and produce them before Child Welfare Committee (CWC). SSA, with the help of NGOs, identified 19 children in various parts in the district. The children need to be shifted to transit home as per rules.

But with no permanent transit home at present, they are being lodged at PCC’s rehabilitation centre. SSA deputy project co-ordinator N Shivaprakash told TOI that 19 children are being lodged in the rehabilitation centre in Kankanady here. “The central government has sanctioned Rs 15.22 lakh for the maintenance of the home. Meanwhile, Rs 1.80 lakh has already been released, and works on constructing toilets and other facilities have been taken up,” he said, adding that children will be shifted to the new home on January 15.”In addition to food, shelter and security, the inmates of transit home will be given treatment for ailments and counselling. A bridge course will be imparted to children based on Nali-Kali (the mode through which the government is imparting education).

Normally, children are kept in such homes for a maximum period of one year. Later, they will either be handed over to their parents or will be sent to nearest schools,” he said, adding that the home can accommodate 50 children at a time. The project of identifying children from the street was launched in Bangalore on a pilot basis before being introduced in other districts.








Security beefed up at district court


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 01.52AM IST

PUNE: Lawyers visiting the district and sessions court here will have to necessarily carry their identity cards and undergo thorough search from Monday onwards, in view of the security threat underlined by the police last week.

The Pune district and sessions court and Pune police officials held a meeting on Saturday to take stock of the security following inputs that some people may dress up like lawyers to create trouble on the court premises. The police commissionerate’s letter was addressed to principal district and sessions judge Anant Badar.

Additional commissioner of police (crime) Anant Shinde said the meeting was held to make a security audit and also to decide what more needs to be done to improve security in the court.

Milind Pawar, a member of the privilege committee of the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa, who was present in the meeting, said the police have appealed to lawyers and litigants to cooperate during the stringent security checks that would be in place from Monday. The bar council will sensitise lawyers practising at the taluka court to carry their identity cards if they visit to the district court, Pawar added.

Bar council member Harshad Nimbalkar, who was also present for the meeting, said that it has also been decided to have watch towers at all the three gates of the court. Policemen at these gates will thoroughly check relatives of suspects and litigants, if need be.

Deputy commissioner of police (special branch) Makarand Ranade said there are 50 policemen posted on the court premises, which includes personnel from the crime branch and special branch.

Ranade said the court and bar association has been very supportive whenever a meeting was called to take an overall review of the security. The meeting was attended by police officials, Pune Bar Association president Dhananjay Taur and lawyers. The last time security in the court was tightened was when a 24-year-old youth was murdered in May 2010.








Courts, tenant can’t dictate terms to landlord: SC


Last Updated: Sunday, January 08, 2012, 09:09

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that a landlord cannot be told either by courts or the tenant as to for what purpose the premises has to be used, and requirement of house in question also need not be for “dire necessity”.

The apex court passed the ruling upholding Mohd Ayub’s appeal challenging findings of the lower courts which held that the owner cannot run his business from premises occupied by the tenant as the latter was running his own photography business for several years.

“It is for the landlord to decide which business he wants to do. The court cannot advise him. Similarly, length of tenancy of the respondent in the circumstances of the case ought not to have weighed with the courts below.

“The district court has erroneously gone on to observe that the appellants can buy another building and start business. It has also observed that the appellants had purchased the building to make profit,” a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash observed.

Though the rent control court and the district court ruled in favour of tenant Mukesh Chand who was running the shops in four rooms of Ayub, at Rs 35 per month, the Uttarnachal High Court modified the order by saying that the owner be given at least one room back to enable his sons start a business.

“It is well settled the landlord’s requirement need not be a dire necessity. The court cannot direct the landlord to do a particular business or imagine that he could profitably do a particular business rather than the business he proposes to start.

“It was wrong on the part of the district court to hold that the appellants’ case that their sons want to start the general merchant business is a pretence because they are dealing in eggs and it is not uncommon for a Muslim family to do the business of non-vegetarian food,” the bench said.

The apex court said the hardship faced by the owners in the present case by not occupying their own premises would be far greater than the hardship the tenant would suffer by having to move out to another place.

“The fact that a person has the capacity to purchase the property cannot be the sole ground against him while deciding the question of comparative hardship, Justice Ranjana writing the judgement said referring to the tenant’s plea that the owner was financially well off to start his business elsewhere.






CIC says Air India must disclose details of planes rolled out for VIPs

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: January 07, 2012 18:24 IST

New Delhi:  Air India, which is already struggling with cash crunch, has run into fresh trouble. The Central Information Commission, acting on an RTI query, has directed the national carrier to provide details of who ordered the change of one of its aircraft on a Bangalore-Male flight last year.

Media reports said that in April 2011, a bigger plane was pressed into service by Air India on the Bangalore-Male route, apparently because the then Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel’s family had to travel business class and there were not enough business class seats in the smaller aircraft that used to ply on that route.

Reacting on these reports, Mr Subhash Agarwal had filed an RTI petition last year asking for details of who ordered the aircraft change as well as who the passengers on the special flight were.

But Air India refused to give the passenger list saying those details were confidential. They also cited commercial interests. Mr Agarwal then went to the Information Commission and argued his case and the CIC ruled in his favour saying the public interest outweighed the commercial interest that Air India needed to protect.

The CIC has also asked the airline to provide the information within 10 days of receiving the order. But it remains to be seen if the national carrier complies with the order or challenges it in court, as per the law.



LEGAL NEWS 06.01.2010



PTI | 12:01 PM,Jan 05,2012

Among nearly 2882 litigants, who were awarded Among nearly 2882 litigants, who were awarded compensations in MACT and criminal cases, 1083 were women and 317 persons were in jails as undertrials. The OSLSA also revealed that 379 benefactors belong to SC and 246 were ST. Eight children were awarded compensations by different Lok Adalats in the entire year, sources said. The Lok Adalts in the whole year disposed of 647 civil cases and 714 matrimonial cases. Besides, 150 labour cases, 9811 bank cases, 1099 negotiable instrument Act (NIA) cases, 379 writ petitions and 27 land acquisition cases were disposed of through the Lok Adalats between January 2011 to December 2011, sources added.







Election Commission blocks 400 government jobs in Goa


PANAJI: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has declared as “null and void” over 400 jobs, six Goa government departments recently awarded as the appointments violated the model code of conduct in the run-up to the March 3 state assembly polls.

Joint Chief Electoral Officer Narayan Navti Thursday said the decision covered all the government jobs which were offered Dec 24, immediately after the announcement of elections.

“Some 416 appointment orders which were given by six government departments post-Dec 24, when the election code of conduct came into force, have been declared null and void,” Navti told IANS.

The official said action would be taken against the head of departments who signed the appointment letters in “clear violation” of the electoral code of conduct.

The Bharatiya Janata Party had complained against the illegal grant of jobs, following which the action was taken by the poll authorities.

The party now claims that hundreds of similar orders were issued by other government departments in violation of job recruitment procedures like mandatory medical examination, police verification, before the midnight of Dec 23, a day before the poll code of conduct came in force.

“All those jobs too are illegal. The ECI should act against them too,” state BJP president Laxmikant Parsenkar said.







TDSAT has no power to hear 3G plea: DoT


OUR BUREAU Jan 4, 2012, 01.48PM IST

NEW DELHI: The telecom ministry questioned the jurisdiction of tribunal TDSAT on entertaining the petitions of five telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone, challenging the government’s directive to stop 3G roaming agreements.

The development came even as the tribunal began hearing operators’ petition challenging the government’s recent move to declare 3G roaming pacts between mobile operators illegal. For operators, the tribunal extended relief till January 9, the next date of hearing, implying that the roaming deals can continue till then.


Telecom department’s legal counsel additional solicitor general AS Chandiok on Tuesday cited a recent judgement of the Supreme Court that mentions that the tribunal could not entertain petitions on altering terms of telecoms licence. DoT said it would file separate application in this regard within the day after the tribunal asked it to do so.

Operators will have to reply to this application by Friday, January 9, which has been kept as the next date of hearing for the case. Government-owned BSNL requested the tribunal to make it a party to the case since it would be affected by the outcome of the case.

TDSAT chairman Justice SB Sinha said BSNL’s inclusion would be decided once preliminary issues raised by the DoT are resolved. On December 24, mobile phone companies then obtained a stay on the DoT order from the Telecom Dispute Settlement & Appellate Tribunal.

On December 23, last year, the DoT issued notices to the telcos ordering them to stop these services offered on these pacts within 24 hours. Mobile phone companies then obtained a stay on the DoT order from TDSAT even as they slammed the government of reneging on promises with “retrograde”, “irrational” and “illegal” decisions. The department of telecoms on Monday lashed out at leading telcos, accusing these companies of ‘suppressing material documents’ and also alleging they had ‘not come with clean hands’ on the 3G roaming issue.

Further intensifying the bitter war of words between the industry and the government , DoT had alleged that the telcos had not submitted required documents. The operators replied that they had submitted their agreements in a seal cover before the tribunal, and were not supposed to give it to DoT.

However, TDSAT said that DoT’s counsel could inspect the agreements. Earlier last year, operators, such as Bharti, Idea, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices and Aircel, entered into 3G roaming deals, enabling them to sign up 3G customers across the country even in areas where they did not have third-generation spectrum.

These pacts allowed them to use each others’ airwaves and offer 3G services such as video calling and high-speed internet on phones seamlessly across the country. Bharti, Idea and Vodafone entered into one agreement while Tata and Aircel forged another.







Kerala plea to reduce water-level turned down


New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed Empowered Committee on Mullaiperiyar dam on Tuesday rejected Kerala’s demand to reduce the water-level to 120 feet in the disputed structure.

The committee took this stand on the water-level, citing the recent Supreme Court order, which had ordered a status quo on the current level of 136 feet.

Kerala had appealed to the Empowered Committee that the water-level be reduced to 120 feet to ensure that safety was not compromised as the dam is in a seismic zone.

At the same time, the Empowered Committee has decided to ask the Geological Survey of India to give a detailed report on earthquake possibilities in the dam area within one month.

The Committee took this decision following repeated pleas from Kerala that the frequent tremors could result in the collapse of the dam and could pose a threat to the lives of lakhs of people living in districts around it.

The committee on Tuesday also discussed the report submitted by the two members of their team who had made a visit to the dam site last month. The two technical experts—C D Thatte and D K Mehta—had submitted their report on Monday.

It is learnt that the report has ruled out any damage to the dam structure due to the recent earthquakes in the region. Kerala had been anchoring its demand for a new dam on the frequent tremors experienced in the dam area. According to the two experts who had visited the site, the tremors have not affected the dam in any way.

The report, according to sources, has, however, blamed Tamil Nadu for not carrying out maintenance work as directed by the Supreme Court.  The two experts had visited the dam site in December after Kerala had  repeatedly expressed fears in the wake of recent tremors in the area.

Kerala had on Monday claimed that the report by the two-member expert panel was biased and opposed its consideration by the five-member committee.

The five member Empowered Committee will be meeting again on January 24 and 25 to finalise its report, which will be submitted to the Supreme Court in February.

The Empowered Committee under the chairmanship of former Chief Justice of India AS Anand was set up in 2010 with the mandate of examining all aspects of the dispute over the dam between the two states.









Counsels outsmarted security agencies


Soumittra S Bose, TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 01.53AM IST


NAGPUR: The Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) representing alleged Naxal ideologue Arun Thomas Ferreira had left the security agencies with no option but to free the man. After helping Ferreira get acquitted in 10 cases, his counsels got bail for him.

The security agencies only kept on slapping cases against Ferreira and others but failed to gather proper evidence to prove their involvement. His lawyers carried out a double-pronged attack by arguing and also helped shape propaganda for justice. They kept highlighting the police’s infringement of constitutional rights in media. It was IAPL activists’ constant highlighting of repeated preventive actions and re-arrests that got the agencies.

Ferreira was rearrested on September 27 last year from the gate of the central jail even though he was acquitted by a court in Chandrapur. He was then slapped with two more cases. Ferreira’s lawyers first made a complaint at Dhantoli police station after he was rearrested. Ferreira was acquitted in one of them and granted bail in another last year. But, his lawyers did not hurry in furnishing the bond.

On Monday, Ferreira’s family furnished personal bond and completed other formalities. On Tuesday, the lawyers filed a writ petition before the High Court citing his rearrest. and malicious prosecution with the jail authorities and security agencies as respondents.

This went a long way in keeping the cops from the jail gate from where they had made it a habit to rearrest alleged Naxalites.








Rizvi Springfield amass 716-9 in Harris Shield final


Maria Bilkis, TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 03.12AM IST

MUMBAI: As the day’s proceedings began at the Brabourne Stadium, on Wednesday, all eyes were riveted at the crease where the fiery duo from Rizvi SpringfieldUsama Parkar and Vikasdeep Yadav – stood sending the IES VN Sule bowlers on a leather hunt. Five wickets down and with 348 on the board, the boys had the onus of keeping the run machine in order. And they did as much.

With a century each, Usama (126) and Vikasdeep (103) forged a 194-run partnership, helping Rizvi amass 716 for 9 at the end of the second day of the Harris Shield final.

It may have been his first-ever Harris Shield, but Usama took to the occasion like a seasoned batsman, evaluating each ball and planning his shots with clinical precision. That he was the main reason behind the frustration, writ large over the face of the opponents, became evident through the relief that his dismissal brought. Having sent the opposition all over the park with his 20 boundaries and two sixes, Usama fell victim to a wrongly judged shot, to be finally bowled by Omkar Jadhav.

“I can vouch for his ball-sense and it is pretty rare,” says coach Raju Pathak. “He has been a consistent player and plays for the team, which is the main thing.”

“He, of course, played a bad shot and got out, but overall he is a guy you can count on when in a sticky spot,” Pathak added.

While, one would expect the 14-year-old to be on top of the world, Usama knows better. “Of course, this is my highest score in Harris, but I played a foolish shot and let it all go.” It is the confrontation with his father that the Rizvi wicketkeeper-batsman is anticipating. “Abba is not home and he isn’t happy hearing I wasted a good innings because of a bad choice.” And when your father is former Mumbai stumper Zulfiqar Parkar and your uncle is India international Ghulam Parkar, cricket is as serious as it gets.

With the natural aspiration of representing the country some day, the teenager, at present, is eyeing the trials for the State selections in the coming two days. “I need to keep performing well and I have been training well for the occasion.”






Selection of judges questioned


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: A division bench of the High Court comprising justice G Raghuram and justice G Krishna Mohan Reddy on Tuesday admitted a writ petition questioning the ongoing selection process for appointing district judges in the state.
Sai Kalyana Chakravarthy, an aspirant to the district judge post, moved the court stating that the authorities had erred in altering the criteria midway.
In a related petition, another aspirant contended that as the new set of rules were not published, they cannot be given effect to.








Bomb case: couple alleges harassment


Staff Reporter

A married Muslim couple from Tenkasi in Tirunelveli district have filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court Bench here alleging that a police inspector was harassing them in connection with a case related to implanting of a pipe bomb under a causeway at Alampatti near here when Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani’s Jan Chetna Yatra was to pass through the route on October 28.

Justice K.K. Sasidharan directed a government counsel to take notice on behalf of the police and adjourned the matter to January 18.

The petitioners, S. Safurnissa and A. Syed Sulaiman Sait, alleged that they were being harassed for the only reason that the latter was an accused in a murder case, and a co-accused in that case was a prime suspect in the bomb planting case too.

Claiming that they were living peacefully after the release of Sait on bail in the murder case, the duo stated that it had nothing to do with the bomb planting case.

They sought for a direction to the Director General of Police to initiate appropriate action against Inspector Chakravarthi, attached to the Special Investigation Team, for allegedly harassing them in the guise of investigation.

Another accusation

Already M. Hakeem (32), who was under judicial custody in connection with the bomb plating case, had filed a writ petition in the High Court Bench last month seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the case.

He too had accused the local police of subjecting him to third degree methods and keeping him under illegal confinement for a couple of days.

The matter is pending adjudication.








Government can issue job orders to VAOs


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: The State government is at liberty to issue appointment/posting orders to the selected candidates for the post of village administrative officers (VAOs) within four weeks, the Madras High Court has said.

Justice K Suguna made the observation while passing interim orders on a batch of writ petitions seeking to quash a notification dated July 21, 2010, of the TN Public Service Commission, as far as it earmarked 1,077 posts of VAOs as shortfall vacancies for SC/STs.

Petitioners claimed that the shortfall of SC/ST vacancies for the VAO posts was only 197. But the notification erroneously earmarked 1,077 posts, which affected the chances of other community candidates.

Advocate-General A Navaneetha krishnan submitted that the total number of shortfall vacancies for SC/ST was about 1,232.

The judge observed that the strength of vacancies could be dealt with only at the time of final disposal of the writ petitions. If actually, any excess quota had been reserved for SC/ST, the same could be adjusted in the future selections. As far as the present position was concerned, according to both the sides, the selection was already over and the selection list had also been announced. Apart from this, the post of VAOs was a very important one with regard to local administration.

“For these reasons, the interim (stay) order already granted is not extended and the stay petitions filed in the writ petitions are dismissed and consequently, the vacate stay petitions are closed and the respondents (government) are at liberty to issue posting orders within four weeks,’’ the judge said on December 23.



Pay retirement benefits or face contempt: TNSTC


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: If the monetary benefits after retirement are not paid to one of its employees on or before February 2, suo-motu contempt proceedings will be initiated against the MD of TN State Transport Corporation, Coimbatore division, the Madras High Court has warned.

Justice K Chandru gave the warning on Wednesday while passing an interim order on a writ petition from

S Chelladurai, who worked as conductor and retired on January 31, 2006.

According to advocate R Y George Williams, the charge against Chelladurai was that he collected the bus fares from the passengers, but not issued the tickets, in 1983. Ultimately, he was dismissed from service on May 19, 1983. He raised an industrial dispute and the Labour Court in Coimbatore ordered his reinstatement with continuity in service but without backwages, in April 1996. Both Chelladurai and the STC moved the High Court with writ petitions, the former seeking backwages and the latter questioning reinstatement. Both the petitions were dismissed in February, 2005. The STC preferred an appeal, but it was returned due to deficiencies. Chellladurai retired on January 31, 2006. As the retirement benefits were not paid till date, he filed the present writ petition, Williams added.









Ensure safety of old buildings: Court


TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 01.58AM IST

NEW DELHI: Three months after the Chandni Mahal building collapse that claimed seven lives, a trial court has asked Delhi Police and MCD to evolve a mechanism for ensuring safety of old buildings that face the risk of collapse due to unauthorized construction or demolition in it or in an adjacent building.

Special CBI Judge A K Mendiratta also asked the MCD and Delhi Police commissioners to hold their officials accountable for any unauthorized constructions or demolitions that take place in the areas under their jurisdiction.

“Irrespective of the investigation in the present case (of Chandni Mahal building collapse), it needs to be ensured by MCD and police that in cases of unauthorized demolition and construction of old structures, some preventive action is immediately taken to ensure the safety of adjacent buildings to avoid loss of precious lives,” the court said.

“To ensure safety of buildings adjacent to those under unauthorized construction, some modalities and guidelines need to be laid down and followed by the commissioner MCD in consultation with commissioner of Police, Delhi, to ensure timely action where unauthorized demolition and construction of buildings is carried,” the court said.

The court’s order came while dismissing the bail plea of contractor Jalaluddin, arrested for his criminal culpability in the September 2011 collapse of an old building in the Chandni Mahal area due to ongoing work in the adjacent structure.

The court also sought a probe into the role of local police and MCD officials in the Chandni Mahal building collapse. “The role of the local police, which remained silent till the entire building was demolished, also needs to be looked into to prevent similar incidents wherein precious lives were lost,” the court said.

While rejecting Jalaluddin’s bail and his contention of getting parity with co-accused Anil who has already been granted bail, the court said, “The case of the applicant cannot be said to be analogous to Anil as the applicant was the contractor and the demolition of the adjacent structure had been carried out without ensuring the structural safety of the other parts of the building.”







Five of family get lifer


TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 01.39AM IST

AMRAVATI: Achalpur court sentenced five members of a family to life imprisonment for setting afire their daughter-in-law.

Victim Vanmala alias Uma Pawar (21) had married Shiva Pawar during mass marriage ceremony on August 13, 2008. Vanmala’s husband and in-laws started harassing her immediately after marriage. Tired of mental and physical torture, Vanmala left her husband’s home. However, the two reconciled after some relatives intervened.

Finally, Vanmala returned to her in-law’s house in Wadner Gangai in Daryapur tehsil. The very next day i.e. on December 17, 2009 Vanmala was set afire. In her dying statement, Vanmala revealed that her in-laws bashed her black and blue, impounded her in one of the rooms before setting her afire.

On the basis of her statement, offences were registered against Shiva, brothers-in-law Shakti Pawar and Vishnu Pawar, mother-in-law Chandrakala and father-in-law Panjab Pawar.

Before delivering the verdict, court examined 17 witnesses. District and session judge RU Deshmukh convicted Shiva and four other accused of murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment. They were slapped fine of Rs 1,000 for murder and two years imprisonment along with fine of Rs 250 each under Domestic Violence Act.







Defence Ministry begins search for next Army chief

New Delhi: The Defence Ministry has begun the search for the next Army chief in a bid to avoid any confusion in case General VK Singh quits or if a court rejects his plea before his official tenure comes to an end.

The government says he will retire in April this year, but General Singh is fighting a legal case to have his birthdate moved back one year, thereby giving him another year in service.

Meanwhile, an ex-servicemen’s NGO has filed a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) in the Supreme Court backing General Singh’s claims.

The Grenadier’s Association of Rohtak filed a PIL demanding that the apex court fix his birth date as May 1951.

BMC to get green vehicles


Shibu Thomas, TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 02.13AM IST

MUMBAI: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC’s) much-delayed plans to purchase non-polluting Bharat Stage IV (akin to Euro 4) compliant vehicles may finally see light of the day, in no small measure due to the gentle prod from the Bombay High Court. A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi on Wednesday asked the corporation to go ahead with its plans to purchase/invite tenders for 211 vehicles, including fire engines, ambulances, dumpers and garbage compactors.

The court was hearing an application filed by the BMC seeking exemption from the Bharat Stage IV rules, saying manufacturers were not able to supply vehicles which comply with the BS-IV emission standards.

The court said that the civic body could not be permitted to violate the rules. It has asked the corporation to place orders for the vehicles where tender process had been completed. In other cases, the court directed the BMC to invite tenders, but award the bids only after the civic polls on February 17 as the election code of conduct was in place. “Do the spade work (to procure the vehicles) now, you can award the tenders later,” said the judges. The HC asked the manufacturers, Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland, to expedite delivery of the vehicles for which orders had been placed.

Advocate Geeta Joglekar, counsel for the BMC, said though the corporation had issued tenders for some vehicles in 2010, they were not delivered yet since BS-IV vehicles were not available. “This is affecting the day-to-day functioning of the corporation,” she said. As per a 2010 rule enacted by the Centre, all vehicles purchased after April 2010 had to be BS-IV complaint.

The BMC’s application was in connection to a PIL filed by the Smoke Affected Residents’ Association and the Bombay Environmental Action Group over a decade ago. As a result of the PIL and HC orders to implement the V M Lal committee report, over 45,000 polluting taxis running on diesel were converted to CNG. Over 1 lakh autorickshaws plying in the suburbs also had to covert to CNG engines. All commercial vehicles like buses and trucks which were over eight years old were banned from Mumbai, unless they converted to CNG. The BEST’s entire fleet was changed to CNG or BS-IV.

The PIL’s plea to implement the committee’s other recommendations -a traffic restraint scheme -is pending before the HC.


PIL seeks probe into pilots’ license issued to UP Cabinet


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Secretary Allahabad, Jan 04 (PTI) A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Allahabad High Court seeking an inquiry into the issuing of pilots’ license more than three decades ago to Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh. The PIL has been filed by an advocate Chitaranjan Das Agrawal who has demanded an inquiry by the Director General, Civil Aviation, into “the circumstances under which pilots’ license was granted to Singh”. The PIL was today placed before a Divison Bench comprising Chief Justice S R Alam and Justice Ran Vijai Singh which posted the matter for hearing on January 12 even as the state’s Chief Standing Counsel M C Chaturvedi opposed the petition saying it could not be treated as a Public Interest Litigation. Singh had begun his piloting career in the 1970s. After retirement, he became closely associated with Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati who made him the Cabinet Secretary after becoming the UP Chief Minister in 2007. Petitions challenging Singh’s appointment as Cabinet Secretary on the ground that he is not from the IAS or the Provincial Civil Service and that states do not have such a post are pending both before the Allahabad High Court as well as the Supreme Court.







PIL against pilot licence issued to cabinet secretary

A PIL has been filed in the Allahabad High Court seeking an inquiry by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) into the circumstances under which Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh was granted a pilot’s licence. The court has fixed January 12 as the next date of hearing and directed the petitioner to file a supplementary affidavit informing it about the source of information on the basis of which the PIL has been filed.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice S R Alam and Justice R V Singh, heard the PIL filed by Chitranjan Agarwal, an advocate from Allahabad, for nearly two hours before passing the order.

The counsel for the petitioner, senior advocate S M A Kazmi, argued before the court that granting the licence caused Singh to become the beneficiary of additional emoluments and bonus and helped him in climbing the bureaucratic ladder.

“I argued before the court that the grant of licence helped in his appointment as a senior official in the UP government’s civil aviation department. He first became a director and then secretary of the same department and, finally, rose to the highest post in the state bureaucracy though he was not qualified for it,” said Kazmi.

The PIL said that when Singh, a former Army helicopter pilot, was granted the licence (called open rating licence) for the first time in 1986, he was not qualified under rules. “The case of the petitioner is that a pilot can be given this particular licence, on the basis of which he joined the Civil Aviation Department of the UP government, only if he had an experience of 1,000 hours of flying an aircraft of a certain weight category, which Singh allegedly did not have,” said Kazmi.








Stung, party’s scam exposing panel goes into a huddle

The induction of expelled BSP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha into the BJP has cast a shadow on the BJP’s grand plan to expose scams in the ruling party.

Led by national secretary Kirit Somaiya, the BJP had planned to file a public interest litigation in the Allahabad High Court after the winter vacation seeking a court-monitored probe into certain financial dealings of Chief Minister Mayawati, party general secretary S C Mishra and people around them.

Senior BJP leader Keshri Nath Tripathi, who was consulted by Somaiya on the subject, said he was not aware when the PIL will be filed. “I was only consulted on the possibility of filing the PIL. I do not know when it will be done,” said Tripathi, also a senior HC advocate.

Asked about the likely impact of Kushwaha’s induction in the party on the campaign, Tripathi said: “I don’t exactly know the justification (of him joining the party). I am yet to talk to the national president about it.”

Somaiya could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. His Mumbai office said he was in Delhi, but efforts to reach him in Delhi proved futile.

A party office-bearer who is closely associated with the “expose scam committee”, which was constituted to help Somaiya, said the fact that Kushwaha was an insider in the Mayawati regime might help in making a stronger court case against the chief minister.

“After all, there has been talk that even the CBI wanted him to be an approver,” said the office-bearer, who did not want to be named. He maintained, however, that the PIL will be filed but “finetuned to make Mayawati the main target’’.

Somaiya had taken a deep personal interest in advancing the cause of exposing scams in the BSP. Recently, he submitted several documents to the CBI to support his allegation of money-laundering by the chief minister’s brother Anand and Satish Mishra. He also dug up records of the bogus firms that were allegedly floated for this purpose. Somaiya had claimed that he had met the chiefs of the CBI, the ED and the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes on the issue and these agencies had sought “more documents from him”.








File affidavit on law school: HC to state


Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 01.33AM IST

NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Wednesday directed the Maharashtra government to file an affidavit on the issue of setting up state’s first National Law School (NLS) in Nagpur.

A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Pramod Kode granted three weeks to government pleader Nitin Sambre for the purpose. Earlier, Sambre sought four weeks to take instructions from the government and make a statement on the contentious issue.

The high court resumed working after 10-day winter vacations where the petition was listed before Justice Dharmadhikari’s bench. The PIL was filed by Maha-Arya Lawyers Association’s vice-president Shrikant Khandalkar after media reports were published. Vishal Anand and Kishor Ghugguskar appeared for the petitioner.

During the last hearing, minister for higher and technical education Rajesh Tope had informed that he had dispatched a letter to the central government appealing them to set up the prestigious institution in Nagpur.

Khandalkar, a lawyer himself, named Union law minister among supporters of this project stating that even a land was identified at Koradi for the same. Justifying Nagpur as first choice to establish the prestigious project, the petitioner contended that the city has excellent rail, road and air connectivity coupled with its strategic location in the middle of the country. He prayed to retrain the respondents from shifting the project to Mumbai for the benefit of large number of local students.

During recent assembly session in Nagpur, Tope had cleared confusion, stating that the Centre would fund only one NLS while other two would be raised by the state and those would be at par with similar infrastructure and facilities.

The uncertainty was created following demands from three cities – Mumbai, Aurangabad and Nagpur – to establish the prestigious institute at their places. It was followed by promises by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and deputy CM Ajit Pawar to open three NLS in the state. Interestingly, India has 16 such law schools with only one in each state.






Consumers may have to pay for pole removal


Ashish Roy, TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 01.58AM IST

NAGPUR: If you want the electric poles, standing on the middle of the roads, to be removed, you might have to shell out 130 per month. MSEDCL has filed a petition at the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court to recover 50 crore of its share. The petition will be heard by MERC on Thursday.

Court had ordered NMC and MSEDCL to remove all the 8,384 poles by April 30, 2012 and had ordered them to share the cost equally. MSEDCL had appealed in the Supreme Court unsuccessfully. The cost of this work is about 100 crore and MSEDCL wants to recover 50 crore through levying a surcharge from consumers of Congress Nagar, Mahal, Gandhibagh and Civil Lines division. While NMC in the standing committee meeting held on December 23 had sanctioned its share.

MSEDCL wants to recover this amount from consumers, but is not doing anything to recover over 200 crore from its power franchisee Spanco, whose dues have been increasing gradually. The company has also not refunded the extra surcharge collected under zero load-shedding (ZLS) scheme from Nagpurians.

Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) has strongly opposed MSEDCL’s plea. RB Goenka has stated in his objection that the petition should to be rejected as cost of infrastructure development and similar works can be recovered through power tariff only and not through any surcharge.

Goenka pointed out whenever VIA had demanded lower tariff for Vidarbha, as it was a power surplus region, MERC had rejected its contention stating that differential tariff could be levied. Based on the same principles, the surcharge would be a grave injustice to consumers.

Goenka further stated that while MSEDCL wanted Nagpurians to pay for pole shifting the power infrastructure of the city was in an extremely bad shape. He pointed out that the system had totally collapsed in May after a thunder storm and a large part of the city was in darkness for more than three days after the franchisee took over. He further stated that overhead distribution lines were in a very poor condition and the tap off service lines to consumers were done in non-technical manner, without using proper material which led to voltage drop and floating neutral consequently damaging electrical appliances.

Pramod Pande of Janmanch, the consumer organization that had filed the public interest litigation (PIL) for removal of poles, termed the decision as against the spirit of HC order. “The decision is unjust. MSEDCL should foot the cost. Nagpurians are not responsible for the mess so why should they pay for it,” he demanded.

MSEDCL officials, however, have a different take on it. “There are several such demands from various cities in Maharashtra. We cannot pay for each and every work from our pockets. Ultimately, it will burden the consumers through increased tariffs. So it is better that only the beneficiaries pay,” an official said.







A rail mishap turned him to activism


Published: Thursday, Jan 5, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Samir Zaveri has been to hell and back. The commuter activist, who has filed several public interest litigations and who has been active in saving lives of commuters, saw his world come crashing down after a railway accident about 13 years ago.

“I was hit by a train on August 26, 1998, while crossing near Borivli and I lost my legs. I owe my life to two men, who within five minutes rushed me to the Bhagwati Hospital, about 4km away,” he said.

But others weren’t so supportive. After he lost his legs, his employers and his fiancé, who was also a distant relative, turned their backs on him. “No relatives or friends stood by me during this difficult time,” he told DNA.

Zaveri, however, lives by the motto ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’. In time, he got himself a pair of Jaipur feet, married and has two children now.

Zaveri now fights for rail accident victims.

He is making sure that those hurt on railway tracks are given immediate medical attention. In 2008, he filed a PIL in the Bombay high court, following which India’s first emergency medical room was set up at the Dadar station last March.









SC rejects Kannamthanams plea against Chandy


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

NEWDELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking an independent panel of IPS officers for monitoring the probe into the palmolein case.

A Bench comprising Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai declined to act on the petition submitted by the IAS officer-turned-politician Alphonse Kannamthanam to investigate Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s alleged role in the scam.

Kannamthanam had moved the apex court challenging the Kerala High Court’s order, dated October 28, 2011, wherein it declined to entertain his plea for monitoring the probe into the case, pointing out the decision to import palmolein in 1991 was a collective decision of the Cabinet.

Kannamthanam, who joined the BJP last year, wanted the case to be monitored by the Supreme Court in line with the 2G spectrum scam. He also sought constitution of a special investigation team (SIT) comprising a distinguished panel of IPS officers to take over the investigation.

Notably, on October 18, the Kerala government had informed the High Court that it had no objection to the vigilance court’s decision ordering an investigation into the role of Chandy in the case.

SC respite for air gun shooters


Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 05, 2012

Ace or aspiring, shooters will no longer need to acquire licences for using air guns, air pistols and air rifles for target practice.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed a Delhi high court order, which made it mandatory for marksmen to get licences. The SC order came on a petition filed

by the Centre, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) and manufacturers of toy air guns, rifles, pistols and pellets, challenging the May 2011 HC order.

A Bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam also issued a notice to the Maneka Gandhi-led NGO, People For Animals (PFA), on whose petition the HC order had come. The HC had rejected the NRAI’s argument that air guns, air rifles or air pistols used for target practice were not firearms as defined under the Arms Act, 1959, but were toys and as such these did not fall under the purview of the licencing regime.

The PFA had argued that these arms were used for killing or maiming animals and birds.

The high court had quashed a July 13, 1962 government notification that exempted these arms from all regulations and controls under the Arms Act, 1959, including the requirement of a valid licence.

“It is safe to conclude that air guns, air rifles, air pistols are not mere toys…and they are very much subject to the provisions of the Act, being firearms,” the HC had said. The order was coming in the way of shooters’ training and many of them had openly spoken against it as only members of a military mess, club or association were treated as exception.

Maintaining that no citizen had a blanket right to carry firearms, the court said nobody, even NRAI members, could claim a right to secure a licence. “They have, at best, a right to apply for, and be considered for the grant of a licence, subject to fulfillment of the prescribed qualifications,” the HC had said.







Govt stands firm as SC set to hear plea on Gen’s age


TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 12.56AM IST

NEW DELHI: A petition in the Supreme Court on the date of birth controversy relating to Army chief V K Singh that is expected to come up on Thursday may help settle the controversy even as the government is determined not to alter its view that the general’s plea cannot be entertained.

While the general might take a cue from how the SC responds to the petition that supports his claim that his year of birth is actually 1951 and not 1950, the government will also draw up its response accordingly. Gen Singh has contested the military secretary branch record of his year of birth as 1951.

There is unanimity in the government that the record cannot be changed and that Gen Singh has taken up the matter rather late in his career. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a half-hour meeting with defence minister A K Antony on Wednesday, but the Army chief’s case did not come up for discussion.

There is a view in the government that Gen Singh has “pushed the line” on his age issue and refused to take the ministry’s decision as final even after his statutory petition was rejected. Gen Singh’s supporters, including Congress leaders from Punjab, feel the controversy should have been dealt with greater finesse.

Punjab PCC chief Amarinder Singh wrote to Antony in his “private” capacity and some other senior leaders have also broached the subject with the defence minister.

There is speculation that Gen Singh may either petition the Supreme Court or resign to “restore his honour and integrity” after the defence ministry rejected his claim of being born on “May 10, 1951”.

If Gen Singh takes either of the unprecedented steps, it will come as a major embarrassment for the government – already on the back-foot on several other issues. But MoD is sticking to its decision, which came after seeking the law ministry and attorney general’s opinions, that Gen Singh’s date of birth will stand at “May 10, 1950”.

MoD is ready to contest the Army chief’s claim in court if it comes to that, as reported by TOI earlier. Simultaneously, MoD has begun the process to announce Gen Singh’s successor, the current Eastern Army commander Lt-Gen Bikram Singh, on March 31, two months before Gen Singh retires on May 31, as is the norm.

Even finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has stepped in to work out “a compromise formula”, which even includes a post-retirement ambassador or governorship to Gen Singh. But the Army chief, who leaves for Myanmar on Thursday morning for a five-day trip, is yet to accept the offer.

With competing lobbies working overtime, the 1.13-million strong Army’s entire chain of succession hangs in balance. As of now, Lt-Gen Bikram Singh is slated to become the next Army chief when Gen Singh retires on May 31. But if Gen Singh’s year of birth gets settled at 1951, then Northern Army commander Lt-Gen K T Parnaik will the next chief because the former will continue in office till March 2013. A Service chief can serve for three years or up to the age of 62, whichever is earlier, as per rules.







After 13-year trial, blueline bus driver let off


Last Updated: Wednesday, January 04, 2012, 15:13

New Delhi: A blueline bus driver, sentenced to six months in jail for causing grievous hurt to a woman passenger by his rash driving, has been let off by a Delhi court with a fine on the ground that he faced trial for over 13 years in the accident case.

Additional Sessions Judge Lal Singh modified driver Raghunath’s sentence awarded by the magisterial court after he showed repentance for his act and assured the court that he would be a “useful citizen in society” in future.

The judge showed leniency to him as he had four minor children and was the sole earning member of the family.

The driver also prayed that he was facing trial in the case since 1998.

“Accused (Raghunath) is stated to be having four young children and youngest girl is of two years and he is the sole bread earner in his family. Keeping in view this fact also, the accused deserves some leniency. In my view, Raghunath deserves an opportunity to reform himself without going to jail,” the judge said.

“So far as the present case is concerned it relates to the year 1998 and the appellant (Raghunath) is facing the trial for such a long period. Otherwise, also the accused who is present in the court reflected repentance and assured to be a useful citizen in the society in future,” the judge said.

The court, however, said from the testimonies of the witnesses and case record, it was clear that Raghunath was negligent and the accident was caused due to his rash driving.

“It is amply clear that Raghunath was negligent and he had started the bus without ensuring that all the passengers had alighted from the bus. It was clear that accident was caused due to rash and negligent driving of Raghunath and due to that the victim sustained injuries on her left leg,” the court said.






Sayali Bhagat moves HC, seeks cancellation of ex-PR agent’s bail

Former Miss India-turned-actor Sayali Bhagat has moved the Bombay High Court seeking the cancellation of the bail granted to the owner of a public relations firm which had formerly represented her.

Bhagat, in her petition, has stated that Anant Narayan (25), whom she met in July 2011, had obtained bail from the sessions court without notices being issued to either the Cyber Police Station in Bandra-Kurla Complex or Bhagat who had lodged a complaint against him.

Bhagat had lodged a complaint against Narayan under sections of the Information Technology Act, 2000, after he allegedly issued a press release on her behalf on October 24 last year providing defamatory and false information. Bhagat has claimed in her petition that Narayan’s company Crème Talent Management had circulated the press release in the media, stating that Bhagat had faced prolonged sexual harassment in the film industry and was hence, quitting the industry to pursue a modelling career in Milan. It had also named some well-known Bollywood personalities, alleging they were involved.

Bhagat said she had issued a clarification after she got calls from various media houses about the press release. She said that the information was completely false and not issued with her consent. However, the press release allegedly issued by Narayan had multiplied on the Internet by then.

Narayan, in an affidavit filed in reply to Bhagat’s petition, had stated that he was illegally detained by the police even when the sections he was booked under were bailable. He said the sessions court’s order granting him bail is not flawed.

Additional public prosecutor Geeta Mulekar said the court was likely to pass an order in the case on Friday.







Youth gets life term for killing school trustee

A Sessions court on Wednesday sentenced a 23-year-old youth to life imprisonment for killing a school trustee over a land dispute. Dedaroom alias Almas Khan had murdered Aslam Hussain, the founder trustee of a Urdu school, Anjuman Kausar at Govandi, over a land deal that went sour.

According to the complainant, Hussain’s wife Anjum Fatema, he had bought a patch of land from Khan near his school. However, a few months after Hussain made the payment of Rs 7 lakh and the property was transferred in his name, Khan suddenly changed his mind and asked Hussain to return the land.

On May 16, 2010, as Hussain was heading towards the mosque to offer his afternoon namaz, Khan followed him and attacked him with a knife. Hussain managed to make a call to his wife and narrated the entire incident. However, when Hussain was rushed to a hospital, he succumbed to his injuries.







20 years on, gangster convicted for firing at cop


Published: Thursday, Jan 5, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

A gangster belonging to the Amar Naik gang, who was wanted for 20 years in an attempt-to-murder case, for firing at a cop in Girgaon chowpatty in 1991, was convicted by the sessions court last week.

“Rustum Sevak Asli alias Rushi, 45, was sentenced to three years’ rigorous imprisonment by the sessions court on December 29. The court also slapped a fine of Rs2,000,” said senior police inspector Ajit Surve of DB Marg police station.

The shootout took place in October 1991. Rustum Sevak, involved in several serious offences, was on his way to Girgaon chowpatty from Opera House on his motorcycle.

When intercepted by a police team, Rustum whipped out an imported revolver and fired a round at point blank range.

The bullet pierced the thigh of constable Rajesh Janbhare.

When the then police inspector Anil Nalawade and other policemen of the traffic police branch rushed to the spot to help Janbhare, they succeeded in nabbing Rustum.

He was brought to the DB Marg police station where he was booked for attempt to kill an on-duty policeman with a firearm. Meanwhile, the injured cop was rushed to the JJ Hospital.

After the investigation, the police filed a charge sheet against Rustum in the sessions court. However, he jumped bail and has never appeared before the court for hearings of his case. The court pronounced him an absconder.

In August 2011, assistant police inspector R Chavanke, police sub-inspector Sunil Pukale and the staff of DB Marg police station got information that Rustum was hiding in Alibaug in coastal Raigad district. The team rushed to Alibaug and arrested him on August 20, added Surve.








IT firms strengthen visa, legal departments


TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 01.44AM IST

BANGALORE: Indian IT companies are bolstering their immigration, visa, and legal departments to deal with the rising number of immigration issues in the West, the primary markets for these companies.

All the major tech firms today have in-house teams of 25 to 50 people. A few years ago these areas had just a few people and were part of either the HR department or were outsourced to travel agents and law firms.

TCS, Wipro and Infosys have teams of around 50 each. MphasiS has 25. The Indian operations of global firms like Accenture, HP and IBM also have large departments. Small and medium size IT providers too are hiring for the space.

The visa case that Infosys Technologies is fighting has made tech providers particularly vigilant. Wipro recently hired Inderpreet Sawhney as general counsel of the company. Sawhney previously was a partner in Santa Clara-based Chugh Firm. She is the head of Wipro’s legal function and is responsible for helping the company run the business ethically and transparently.

“Most companies are asking for people to ramp up their visa, immigration and legal departments,” says B S Murthy, CEO of executive search firm LeadershipCapital. Immigration rules, he says, are more stringent today. “America is going to elections. So Indian providers are doubly conscious about not messing up in their bread-and-butter market.”

The number of immigration compliance violation charges is rising, as is visa rejections. About 50% of L1 visas are rejected now, compared to 30% a year ago. Some companies have gone out of the US Consulate’s priority visa processing scheme, Business Express Programme, meant for those that file a minimum of 30 business visas.

Stella Nagesh, head of immigration at MphasiS, says LI visa rejections are mostly because “specialised talent” is wrongly defined by the Consulate or misunderstood by Indian companies. L1B visa is a type of intra-company transfer visa, which mandates ‘specialised knowledge’. ‘Specialised knowledge’ is defined as any knowledge that specifically concerns the employer company’s and/or the client company’s procedures, methodologies, products, tools, technologies, framework, etc, that is uncommon, noteworthy and is not commonly available in the US IT industry.

“Business visas too are misunderstood and violated sometimes,” says Nagesh. One of the criteria for business visa eligibility is that the employee must not be performing any activity that would be benefiting the US client. In general, efforts of the applicant during the US stay should not be billed to the client. If billed, it is a clear case for a training visa or a work permit (H1B or L1).

Immigration, visa and legal issues today are key to enterprises as they are directly related to business. “Travel delays directly impact business flow, kills customer satisfaction and has the potential to block repeat business,” says the legal head at a leading tech firm.

It is critical to keep the travel channel clear and you can’t expect HR or finance to know the basics of immigration. “Every company runs a visa and immigration drive internally. They are increasingly hiring law professionals to support contract drafting, contract vetting, compliance management, policy drafting, handling issues of sexual harassment etc. Some are even hiring fresh law grads,” says Nirupama V G, MD of recruitment firm AdAstra.






Court asked to explain civil judge exam ‘anomalies’


Aman Sethi

Supreme Court directive follows PIL accusing judicial officers of manipulating results

The judiciary may lie outside the ambit of the Lokpal Bill, a proposed anti-corruption legislation introduced in Parliament, but a petition lying unheard in the Chhattisgarh High Court accuses the State’s judicial officers of manipulating the results of the civil judge examinations of 2008 to favour children and relatives of senior judges and politicians.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court sought a response from the Registrar-General of the High Court on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition alleging that examiners inflated the marks awarded to the children of Justice Radhe Shyam Sharma, a sitting judge of the High Court and former Principal Secretary Law in the Chhattisgarh government, the niece of Brij Mohan Aggarwal, former Law Minister and present Minister for Public Works, Education, Religion, Culture, Tourism and Parliamentary Affairs.

The petition was filed by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform on the basis of a Right to Information request filed by Rashmi Nanda (37), who also took the test but was not selected. “I took the exam four times [in all] and each time made it to the interview stage,” said Ms. Nanda, who is an Assistant Public Prosecutor. “This time [in 2008] I was sure I had made it… all my papers had gone well and so I filed an RTI.”

Answer scripts released under the RTI Act revealed that the examiners had violated norms that mandated each candidate’s marks be noted in numerals and words. As per the petition, the marks awarded to Jyoti Aggarwal, the niece of Mr. Aggarwal, were changed in two places, while Abhishek Sharma, son of Mr. Justice Sharma, was given three extra marks that allowed him to clear the waiting list by one mark. Mr. Justice Sharma’s daughter, Vibha Pandey, was allegedly given eight out of 10 marks for incorrectly translating a particular passage. In each case, the marks were noted only in numerals, allowing, the petition alleges, the marks to be altered subsequently.

In a telephone conversation, Ms. Nanda said lawyers at the High Court refused to appear on her behalf, forcing her to represent herself. “Two judges recused themselves from hearing my case without giving any reason… the petition was not heard for two years,” she said.

Ms. Nanda finally approached Prashant Bhushan, convener of the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform and a member of Team Anna, the coalition campaigning for a strong Lokpal Act.

Mr. Bhushan said: “This case shows how appointments to the lower judiciary are manipulated with the involvement of the High Court. Appointments are taking place by wilfully neglecting the successful candidates.”

CJI’s office cannot withhold all information: CIC


J. Venkatesan

Supreme Court’s CPIO asked to give information to RTI activist

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has held that all information in possession of the office of the Chief Justice of India is not completely exempt from disclosure under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

“While we concede that due to the stay granted by the Supreme Court [in the assets case], all information relating to the in-house procedure of the Supreme Court and vigilance matters relating to the judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Courts should not be disclosed, we cannot agree that every information held in the office of the CJI should not be disclosed till the Constitution Bench officially disposes of the issues referred to it by the Division Bench,” Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said in his order.

He said acceptance of the argument that information could not be provided because of the stay would virtually mean complete exclusion of the office of the CJI from the scope of the RTI Act, which was not the case. “Had the intention of the Legislature been so, there would have been an express provision in the law to exclude the office of the CJI from the operation of the RTI Act or the information held in the office of the CJI would have been kept out of the definition of information as given in Section 2 (f) [relating to exemptions].”

Appellant RTI activist Subash Chandra Aggarwal had sought a variety of information in 11 cases. Some of these questions were about the appointment of some individuals as judges and some others related to questions arising out of the conduct of judges, based upon some newspaper reports. No information had been provided by the Supreme Court’s Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), and this order was confirmed by the appellate authority. The present appeal was filed against this order.

“During the hearing, the appellant had specifically prayed for the disclosure of the information relating to the correspondence between the Union Law Minister and the Chief Justice of India on the proposed procedure for appointment of judges,” Mr. Mishra said. “In dealing with this specific request, a distinction needs to be made between the process of appointment of an individual as a judge and the procedure for making such appointments.”

Disagreeing with the CPIO’s stand that such information could not be provided, Mr. Mishra said: “Both these classes of information cannot be equated. The procedure of appointment of judges is freely available in the public domain. Even if the appointment of an individual is made following such a procedure, the details of that appointment cannot be disclosed now, since there is an express stay on the disclosure… of such information. There is already a laid-down procedure. If the Union Law Minister has proposed, in a certain communication to the CJI, about a modification of the existing procedure and if the CJI has responded to him with his view, this correspondence cannot be equated to the appointment of a particular individual as a judge under the existing procedure.”

He said: “It cannot be anybody’s case that the change in the procedure of judges should happen completely outside the notice or the knowledge of the citizens of India, and that the citizens of India should not be given an opportunity to articulate their views. The objective of the RTI Act is precisely to help create an informed citizenry so that it can hold the state and its instrumentalities to account.”

Mr. Mishra directed the CPIO to look for this information once again and, if found, give it to the appellant in 10 days.








Top court to revisit anti-defection law


Published: Thursday, Jan 5, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Rakesh Bhatnagar | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

The Supreme Court has decided to finally settle the dispute between a Speaker of a legislative assembly and a high court over the power to declare a group of legislators disqualified for divorcing their parent political party and joining the ruling class.

It has stayed a Punjab and Haryana HC order disqualifying five MLAs who had left the Haryana Janhit Congress and joined the Congress led by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in 2009.

A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and SS Nijjar on Wednesday issued notices to the aggrieved Kuldip Bishnoi-led HJP, the Election Commission, the concerned MLAs and the state government on a lawsuit filed by Speaker HS Chatha, who suffered strictures of the HC on December 20.

The Speaker’s lawyer and attorney general Goolam E Vahanvati argued that the HC’s direction declaring five MLAs detached “ex facie suffer some lack of jurisdiction and non application of mind to the settled law”.

While admitting Bishnoi’s petition complaining that the Speaker had not declared disqualified, the MLAs who left his party to join the Hooda government, the HC had observed that a period of two years has been “consumed by the Speaker to take a decision”.

“The law against defection was enacted to save the sanctity of democratic institution whereas in the present case, the basic object of that law appears to have been lost,” the HC had said.

It also said that the five MLAs would not hold any office until the Speaker decides on Bishnoi’s petition seeking their disqualification by April 30, 2012.They will be “detached”.

The core issue the top court is likely to decide is whether a legislator can be declared “unattached”, a term unknown to the anti defection law.

The amended anti-defection law stipulates that a legislator stands disqualified if he has voluntarily given up membership of his political party, or if he votes or abstains from voting in a House contrary to any direction issued by his parent party or by any authorised person or the party’s authority.








HC directive to Centre on plea for CAT Bench in Madurai


PTI | 10:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Madurai, Jan 4 (PTI) Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court today directed the Centre to consider a plea for setting up a full or circuit bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) here. A bench comprising Justices Chitra Venkataraman and R Karuppiah gave the direction to the Union Law and Justice Ministry and Chairman of CAT while disposing a public interest litigation petition. Petitioner A.Haja Mohideen, an advocate, submitted that government officials seeking legal remedies for service matters had to travel to Chennai to initiate proceedings before the present CAT bench there. As already there was a large number of cases pending in the Chennai CAT bench, it was difficult to get remedy there, he contended adding he filed the petition as there was no response to his representations to the Centre and the CAT Chairman on establishment of a bench here. The Judges said setting up a CAT bench was a policy matter which had to be considered on the representation made. So without waiting for a decision on the representation, which was receiving the due consideration of Union Ministry of Law and justice and the Chairman of the CAT, this court could not grant the relief as sought for in the petition. However, the judges the directed the Union Ministry of Law and Justice and the CAT Chairman to take note of grievance of the petitioner and pass orders on the same.






Accused in Bhanwari Devi case arrested by Pune police


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Pune, Jan 4 (PTI) The city crime branch today arrested Bishnaram Bishnoi, one of the accused in the Bhanwari Devi disappearance case, from Lonavala near here, police said. The accused was found at an industrial warehouse in Lonavala during the combing operation launched by the police last night following tip-off by the CBI, Pune police commissioner Meeran Borwankar said here. 26-year-old Bishnoi, allegedly involved in disposal of the victim’s body, was arrested on the charges of criminal conspiracy and abduction under Indian Penal Code. Bishnoi, who was produced in a court after the arrest, has been sent to a two-day transit custody, and would be handed over to the Jodhpur police. The accused was a notorious criminal, wanted in various criminal cases in Rajasthan, it was stated. Bhanwari Devi, a nurse, went missing from Jodhpur’s Bilara area on September 1. PTI HBJ KRK DEP








Man who shot at constable lands in police net after 20 yrs

The law finally caught up with a 43-year-old man who was arrested by the D B Marg police on December 29 in connection with an attempt to murder case registered against him 21 years ago. Rustam Sevak Asli alias Rushi had allegedly fired at a policeman and was absconding for 20 years after having jumped bail. He was recently produced in court and has been sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment.

Senior police inspector Ajit Surve of D B Marg police station said, “Officers who were probing a murder case in 1991 had traced his location to Opera House in Girgaum. When they went to the spot, he got to know of it and tried to escape. Before fleeing on a motorcycle, he shot at a constable in his right thigh. The injured constable was rushed to hospital.”

Rushi, who was allegedly associated with the Amar Naik gang, was arrested by the police later that year and booked under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 333 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from doing his duty) of the Indian Penal Code. He was also booked under sections of the Arms Act for carrying a prohibited bore revolver.

The police had filed a chargesheet in the case. “Rushi got out on bail and remained absconding for 20 years. The court had declared him an absconder and we were told to trace him. Efforts were being made all these years. Our officers then traced him to Alibaug in December, where a team was sent to nab him. He was produced in court and sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment under the Arms Act. He was acquitted in the other two offences,” said Surve.

After being arrested, Rushi moved the Bombay High Court for bail but his application was rejected.

Officers also produced the constable Rushi shot at along with the former investigating officer as witnesses in the case.

“We traced the location of the former investigating officer in the case. Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police S Patil, who was then police inspector at the D B Marg police station; and the victim, constable Janbhare, who is now with the traffic police, were produced as witnesses. They identified Rushi in court. Their testimony held the key and we were able to present evidence to convict him,” said Surve.

Officers found that Rushi has also been booked under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), an Arms Act case in Gamdevi police station and a murder case at Dadar police station.







Essar GM gets bail in Naxal payouts case


A Dantewada district court has granted bail to the Essar general manager, who is one of the accused in the alleged payouts of the protection money by the multinational to Maoists in Chhattisgarh. Observing that the case of the accused DVCS Verma is different from that of the other

accused, the district and sessions court judge AK Beck granted him bail saying the police have failed to produce enough evidence against him even three months after his arrest, defence counsel KK Dubey told reporters here today.

The court ordered Verma’s release on two bonds of Rs two lakh each, he said.

The Dantewada police had on September 27 last arrested the senior Essar official under different sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the provisions of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Regulation.

A contractor from Kirandul BK Lala and one Lingaram Kodopi too were nabbed along with Rs 15 lakh cash in connection with the alleged payouts of the protection money to the Red Ultras besides Verma.

A tribal school teacher and alleged naxal conduit Soni Sodhi was apprehended from Delhi in this connection.

The court also observed that the Essar official was arrested only on the statement given by BK Lala and the investigators could not produce any additional evidence against him.

The Essar had denied the allegations of any payouts made to the Maoists by the company or its officials.






After four years, ‘Naxalite’ Arun Ferreira walks free


The district and sessions court of Gadchiroli on Wednesday granted bail to Mumbai-based alleged Maoist Arun Thomas Ferreira (40) who was arrested by the anti-naxalite squad in connection with a police-naxalite encounter in the district.

Ferreira, who was arrested along with senior naxalite

leader Arun Satya Reddy alias Murali in Nagpur in 2007, was acquitted of 11 different cases, including a case of unlawful activities by the sessions court in Nagpur. However, whenever he was acquitted of one charge and was ordered release, the state police re-arrested him on fresh set of charges.

He was booked by the Gadchiroli police last year after he was acquitted by the local court in another charge.

It was alleged that Ferreira was involved in a police-naxalite encounter near Jafargarh under Korchi tahsil in Gadchiroli district in April, 2007.

Jagdish Meshram, the counselor of Ferreira informed that the principal district and session judge, SS Ahmed granted him a bail on condition that he should report to the nearest police station at Bandra in Mumbai once in a month and a personal bond of Rs 50,000.

It was an emotional moment for Ferreira and his relatives at the central jail here on Wednesday afternoon after his release. A group of lawyers, his parents and well-wishers received and he immediately proceeded for Mumbai.

Fed up with the alleged bias of the state police and jail authorities for re-arresting him on one case after being acquitted in another, Ferreira filed a petition before the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Tuesday against the state authorities and slapped a compensation of Rs 25 lakh.

The bench on Tuesday served notices to the state home secretary, the jail authorities and seven other respondents for allegedly harassing him since his arrest in 2007.

Responding to Ferreira’s petition, Justice AH Joshi directed the respondents to reply within the next 20 days.

While filing the petition, Ferreira said that the jail authorities and state police had violated his fundamental rights of liberty. Whenever he was released by the lower court, he was allegedly abducted by the police from the Nagpur central prison premises in connivance with the jail authorities and was re-arrested by them on other charges.

He urged the court to direct the state to compensate him Rs 25 lakh and book the police and jail authorities who have re-arrested him several times on ‘flimsy’ grounds after acquitting from the lower courts. Farreira also demanded a judicial inquiry by a retired high court judge or a sitting session judge to probe his abduction from prison and re-arrest after release from the court.

Ferreira said that the act of the police and the jail authorities were criminal, arbitrary and malafide. “The authorities were putting him in the jail deliberately without a speedy trial,” he contended and sought an apology from the state machinery.

The alleged naxalite was arrested, along with a senior naxalite leader, Murali, on May 8, 2007 at Nagpur when they were trying to hold a secret meeting at Deekshabhoomi. They were charged with Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Indian Arms Acts and 353 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The suspected Maoist was since then in custody.

However, he was acquitted from these charges a couple of years ago as the police had failed to substantiate charges. The court also found contradictory evidences from the police in connection with the case.

He was re-arrested with another case of naxalite violence in Gadchiroli immediately after he was released by the court. He even went for an indefinite hunger strike in protest against the “police harassment” at the jail premises, along with other jail inmates.

It was also alleged that the alleged Maoist, along with other suspected naxalites were subjected to third-degree torture during the police interrogation. His soles were whipped with batons while ice was kept on his genitals.

An alumnus of St Xaviers College, Mumbai, Ferreira passed out from the institution in 90s. His college also came out openly in support of him and requested the chief minister Prthviraj Chavan to intervene into the matter a few weeks ago.

It was said that the Bandra resident, Ferreira was proficient in computers and was the in-charge of propaganda and communication network of CPI (Maoist) while Murali was the divisional secretary of North Gadchiroli division of CPI (Maoist).

As police alleged that both the hardcore naxalites hardly disclosed anything to the investigation agency, they were allowed to conduct narco and brain-mapping tests of Ferreira and Murali. However, police did not get much from the tests.







5 revenue officials dismissed for accepting bribe


PTI | 05:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Chandigarh, Jan 4 (PTI) Five revenue officials in Hisar district of Haryana have been dismissed from service with immediate effect after they were found guilty of allegedly accepting bribe. The ‘patwaris’ were caught State Vigilance Bureau sleuths while taking bribe. The order to dismiss them was issued by Hisar Deputy Commissioner Amit Kumar under Prevention of Corruption Act, and the Indian Penal Code, an official spokesman said here today. He said the patwaris are Chandan Singh of village Chaudhariwas, Krishan Kumar of Dhansu, Ram Kishan of Khairampur, Mahender Singh of Dabra and Jai Narayan of Narnaund tehsil.










PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

In Lucknow, Congress leader Pramod Tiwari said BJP had in In Lucknow, Congress leader Pramod Tiwari said BJP had in recent days accused Kushwaha of playing a big role in the NRHM scam and now suddenly it has taken a U-turn. In Delhi, Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said the BJP has become a “dust bin” for corrupt people. “Till the time they are in other parties, they are corrupt but the day they joined BJP, they have taken the holy dip in the Ganges,” he said. CBI officials said that a case has been registered in respect of upgradation of 134 district hospitals for an amount of Rs 13.4 crore by C and DS, a unit of UP Jal Nigam. They said that the work was given to M/s Surgiocoin (Ghaziabad-based firm) on the basis of forged documents and the materials installed in the hospitals were found to be of sub-standard quality. Besides, four cases have been registered in connection with alleged irregularities in awarding contracts in the procurement/purchase of medicine and medicinal equipment, expenditure incurred on printing of publicity material, hoardings, banners, etc by unknown officials of Directorate General (Family Welfare) in connivance with certain private persons and others. “The procurement of these items was done through a State owned Public Sector Unit at exorbitant rates which were four-five times more than the prevailing market rates,” the official said. Former DG (Family Welfare) S P Ram, Moradabad-based firms M/s Guru Kripa, M/s Kapil Medical and M/s Sidhi Traders, M/s Shreeton India, an UP Government PSU and two firms — M/s Radhey Shyam Enterprises and M/s Axis Marketing — have been named in the other four cases registered by CBI alleging loss of nearly Rs 28 crore, he said. CBI sources said that all accused can be charged under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code (for criminal conspiracy and cheating) and Prevention of Corruption Act. “So far, during the course of searches huge unaccounted cash from the accused public servants and incriminating documents related to wrong utilisation of NRHM funds have been recovered,” the official said. The Allahabad High Court had on December 15 last year directed the CBI to conduct preliminary enquiry into the alleged NRHM scam and asked the agency to complete the inquiry in four months. Besides, probing five cases, the CBI is looking into three Preliminary Enquiries (PEs) registered in the matter.









CIC asks SC to disclose info on judges’ appointment procedure


The procedure of appointment of judges and any proposal for its modification should be in public domain, the central information commission (CIC) has held.

The CIC said this while directing the Supreme Court to disclose communication exchange between chief justice of India and the

law ministry on the question of proposed changes in appointment procedure for judges.

“The procedure of appointment of judges or any proposal for modifying that procedure should necessarily be available in the public domain so that the citizens know what is transpiring among the major stake holders, in this case, the Government of India and the CJI, in respect of such a vital matter as the appointment of judges to the High Courts and Supreme Court of India,” chief information commissioner Satyananda Mishra said in an order.

Rejecting the arguments of the Supreme Court that the information related to judges’ appointment cannot be disclosed as there is a stay, the commissioner said a distinction needs to be made between the process of appointment of an individual as a judge and the procedure for making such appointments.

The case relates to plea of activist Subhash Agrawal seeking disclosure of Law Ministry’s draft of revised memorandum of procedure of appointment of judges in higher courts and the related exchange of communication between the then chief justice of India K G Balakrishnan and the law minister.









On CIC order, CBSE reveals engg exam’s answer keys


Akshaya Mukul, TNN Jan 5, 2012, 01.00AM IST

NEW DELHI: After initially refusing to part with the answer keys of All India Engineering Entrance Examination ( AIEEE) of 2010 and 2011, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) – under order from Central Information Commission (CIC) – has finally given them, but without the question papers.

In its September 30, 2011, order, CIC had asked CBSE to give answer keys in line with decisions of the Commission and the courts in this regard. RTI applicant Rajeev Kumar had asked for answer keys along with question papers and model answers. But the demand for model answers was dropped after CBSE said court cases are underway.

In 2007, CIC’s order had resulted in IITs disclosing answer keys, question papers etc of JEE, 2006, to Kumar. In August, 2011, even the Supreme Court said that all examining bodies should permit examinees to have inspection of their answer books. Apart from IIT-JEE, examination bodies of state governments have started disclosing answer keys along with question papers.

Kumar has written to CBSE stating that without question booklet, the supplied answer keys are of no value. At times even wrong questions have been asked – as happened in case of JEE in the last two years.

It has been nearly 20 months since the first RTI was filed in this regard. Initially, CBSE had refused to supply answer keys, stating that the “larger public interest does not warrant disclosure of such information”. When Kumar appealed against the order, the appellate authority said “as a policy matter of CBSE, the answer-keys cannot be supplied”. Then, CBSE took the plea that possibly records were destroyed. But it was pointed out that destruction plea of CBSE is wrong since RTI seeking disclosure of answer keys was submitted to CIC on June 15 – only a few weeks after the results were declared. However, CBSE has been regularly divulging details of All India Pre-Medical Entrance Test (AIPMT).









High Court refuses to stay elections

Responding to a petition challenging ward formation in Mumbai, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday refused to grant a stay on the upcoming civic elections in the state.

“The Election Commission has already issued a notification declaring the schedule of the elections. At this stage, the court cannot stay the process. We do not see this issue as having enough gravity to justify stalling of elections,” a Bench of Justice S A Bobde and Justice Mridula Bhatkar said.

The BMC elections are scheduled on February 16.

The petition was filed by city residents Rupesh Andhari and Sanjay Tahiliani, who challenged a notification issued last August in which the Maharashtra Election Commission issued the ward formation draft for the city. The petitioners submitted that the wards had been formed based on the 2001 Census and there has been a major shift from the city to the suburbs since then. Counsel for the petitioners, Anil Sakhre, said this change should have been taken into account while deciding the limits of the wards.

The petitioner also pointed out that the 2011 figures have been used in other districts of the state. The State Election Commission had, however, stated in an affidavit that the ward formation in Mumbai was based on the Census of 2001 as it would take two more years to obtain the block-wise population break-up based on the Census data of 2011.








High Court directs union, state govts to form Elephant Task Force


Press Trust of India, Updated: January 05, 2012 00:58 IST

Bangalore:  Taking cognisance of increasing number of elephant deaths, the Karnataka High Court today directed the state and the Union governments to constitute a task force within 10 days to work towards mitigating man-elephant conflicts.

Hearing a petition over the issue, the division bench of Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna directed the governments to constitute the force, comprising experts from various fields, including the forest, environment and also scientists and to specify short-term and long-term steps to prevent elephant deaths.

While hearing this petition in November last, the court had said permission for translocation cannot be granted unless experts’ opinion is got. It also directed the Centre to seek advice of conservation experts of Africa or any other country.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden B K Singh had then stated the main reason for man- animal conflict in the state was ‘island fencing’ of coffee estates in Kodagu, loss of forest area and indiscriminate eco-tourism.

He had said that thick growth of weeds like parthenium, lantana and eupatorium in wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Karnataka created food scarcity for pachyderms in forests. He had also referred to mushrooming resorts and farms on the Kaniyanpura Elephant Corridor and sought directions to remove fences around large private farms for uninterrupted elephant movement.

“Our exercise to translocate two jumbos has failed. We will now translocate families of five at a time,” he said.

However, Chief Justice Sen said, “You said that a resort has come up at Bandipur on the corridors. Have you recommended for removal of the resort or the elephants? You should be protecting the animals not people.”








High court stays recruitment of primary teachers in state

The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday stayed the proceedings of UP Teachers’ Eligibility Test (TET), which was conducted for the first time in the state, to fill up 72,000-odd vacancies of primary teachers.

The court also summoned two senior officers — principal secretary (Basic Education) and secretary of Basic Education Board — to be personally present in the court on January 11, the next date of hearing in the case.

The court has stayed the proceedings primarily on the ground that the advertisements issued for the purpose were wrong as per rules. TET has been approved by the National Council for Teachers’ Education as a tool to bring out uniformity in the quality of teachers across the country, as part of providing free basic education to the children under the Right to Education Act.

On a petition filed by one of the TET candidates, a single judge bench of Justice Sudhir Agarwal passed the stay order asking the respondents to explain whether advertisements for vacancies were issued as per rules. The court also questioned the handling of the entire issue that has led to “unnecessary litigation”.

Counsel for petitioner, Alok Kumar Yadav, said the petition was filed on December 21 nd was taken up for hearing on Wednesday. “Our main contention was that the advertisement was wrongly issued by the Basic Education Board for all the districts. Under the service rules for primary teachers, it is the individual Basic Shiksha Adhikari, who is competent to issue the advertisement for vacancies and recruit teachers against the same,” said Yadav.

The TET examination in the state was held on November 13.









Supreme Court breather for five Haryana legislators

New Delhi, Jan 4 (IANS) In a breather to five legislators of the Haryana Janhit Congress-Bhajan Lal party, the Supreme Court Wednesday stayed a high court order on their temporary disqualification from the assembly.

The legislators, who sought to merge their party’s legislative wing with the Congress, faced temporary disqualification after the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s order. The high court also directed the assembly speaker to decide their fate.

The apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S.S. Nijjar suspended the operation of all high court orders.

The judges also suspended the operation of the high court’s interim order which put on hold the Nov 9, 2009 decision of the speaker accepting the merger of the Haryana Janhit Congress-Bhajan Lal (HJC-BL) with the ruling Congress.

The apex court issued notice to Kuldip Bishnoi, president of the HJC-BL, who approached the speaker seeking the disqualification of the five legislators.

The court also directed making the Election Commission of India as a respondent. The case would come up next Feb 15.

The legislators who got the relief are Satpal Sangwan, Rao Narinder Singh, Dharampal Chokker, Vinod Bhayana and Zile Ram Sharma.

Sangwan and Narender Singh are cabinet ministers in the government headed by Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress.

Vinod Bhayana and Zile Ram Sharma are chief parliamentary secretaries.

The high court, while hearing a plea for their disqualification, held that they will not sit in the assembly as Congress members.

The apex court passed the stay order after Attorney General G. Vahanvati told the court of the strictures passed by the high court against assembly speaker and the high court’s ‘temporary disqualification’ of the five lawmakers.

As Bishnoi’s counsel sought to describe the stay of high court verdict as ‘unfortunate’, the court advised him not to use such words.






CWG scam: Delhi High Court refuses to stay proceedings against Swiss firm Swiss Timing


PTI Jan 4, 2012, 08.59PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today refused to stay a possible coercive process against Switzerland-based accused firm Swiss Timing for not putting in appearance in a graft case involving the award of a Commonwealth Games-related contract to it allegedly at an inflated cost.

“There cannot be a stay on the trial court proceedings,” Justice Mukta Gupta said while asking CBI to file a status report in two weeks giving details of its actions in the case.

Justice Gupta was hearing the petition of Swiss Timing seeking a stay on possible coercive measures against it by the lower court and alleged that it has not been served with the summons as per the law dealing with offshore companies.

“Improper service of summons outside India impinges on the sovereignty of that country (Switzerland) if it is not in accordance of the law,” senior advocate Amit Desai, appearing for the foreign firm, said.

“Till date, CBI has not been able to establish that it has served the summons on the company in Switzerland as there was no proof in this regard and it (CBI) misled the lower court on the issue. No order can be passed in contravention of treaty obligations vis-a-vis foreign nationals,” he said, adding that any coercive measure will have world-wide repurcussions.

The court asked CBI and the Swiss firm to file written submissions and posted the matter for hearing on January 30.

CBI earlier said that it had served summons to Swiss Timing in the manner prescribed under the treaty between two countries but the firm being under the jurisdiction of Switzerland, it would take time in bringing it to the jurisdiction of the Indian court.

Sacked Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi and other co-accused are accused of illegally granting the contract to Swiss Timing which caused a loss of over Rs 90 crore to the exchequer.








Malegaon case: Stay against interrogation of Purohit extended


The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended its order restraining the National Investigation Agency not to interrogate 2008 Malegaon blast accused Lt. Col. Shrikant Prasad Purohit and Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi till further direction.

A bench of justices H.L. Dattu and C.K. Prasad extended the stay of the Bombay High Court order allowing the agency to interrogate him and also impleaded the NIA on the bail plea of Lt. Col. Purohit.

Lt. Col. Purohit approached the Supreme Court challenging the High Court’s October 20, 2011 order allowing the NIA to take him from the judicial custody to interrogate him.

The bench asked the NIA, the Centre and the Maharashtra government to file their response within a week and posted the matter for final disposal after two weeks.

On December 16, 2011, the bench had stayed the operation of the High Court’s order.

Mr. Dwivedi also challenged the order of the High Court and the trial court allowing the NIA to take him from judicial custody for his custodial interrogation.

Lt. Col. Purohit’s bail was rejected on November 9, 2011 by the High Court which had allowed liberty to another co-accused Ajay Rahirkar on certain conditions.

“Lt. Col. Purohit was not just involved in talking about Hindu rashtra but is alleged to have been instrumental in making RDX available,” the High Court had said while rejecting his bail.

“Reliability of evidence about his bragging to a witness that he had RDX in his possession and the evidence about finding of RDX on a cotton swab would have to be decided at trial. Therefore, he would not be entitled to bail,” the High Court had said.

Mr. Rahirkar was ordered to be released on bail on his furnishing a personal bond of Rs. 1 lakh with one or more solvent sureties of the same amount.

Lt. Col. Purohit was arrested and issued a charge sheet in connection with the Malegaon bomb blast on September 29, 2008 leaving seven persons dead.










HC sets aside election of Wrestling Federation of India chief


PTI | Jan 4, 2012, 09.08PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday set aside the poll process conducted by Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for selection of its president and ordered a fresh election for the post.

“The orders dated April 5, 2011 and April 8, 2011 of the returning officer, insofar as they hold that Article XIII (d) was effective and operative in relation to the election process in question, and insofar as the petitioners nomination for the post of President was rejected, are set aside.

“The respondent number one (Wrestling Federation of India) is directed to initiate fresh process for holding the election to the post of president in terms of its amended constitution forthwith. The notification for conduct of elections should be issued within the next two weeks,” Justice Vipin Sanghi said.

The court said that the elections held by the WFI during April 5-15, 2011 were illegal.

The decision came on a petition of office bearers of the Haryana Wrestling Association (HWA) seeking quashing of the election of “respondents Dushyant Sharma, Raj Singh and Hamza Bin Omar as the president, secretary general and senior vice president respectively of WFI”.

It was alleged the election of WFI office bearers were held in violation of the constitution of WFI.

However, later HWA and its officials chose not to dispute election of other office bearers of WFI except the selection of Dushyant Sharma as the WFI president.

The court, however, made it clear that though it quashed the election of president only, but others may also approach and contest the election of other office bearers of the WFI.

“However, since the petitioner has given up the challenge to the elections for the posts of senior vice president and general secretary in the election process in question, and the same has not been challenged before me in these proceedings, the elections to the said posts is sustained, without prejudice to the rights of any other person to challenge the same independently in other proceedings,” the court said.

“I also find merit in the petitioner’s submission that the election has not been fairly held, on account of the tight time schedule fixed by the then general secretary for conduct of elections…

“Pertinently, the publication of the Electoral College was scheduled for April 5, 2011, that is on the same day on which the process of filing of nomination papers of candidates for various posts members of the Executive Committee started,” it said.

It is well-known that unless an eligible member, who may be desirous of contesting the elections is made aware of the electoral college, he may not be able to take a call on whether, or not, to file his nomination, it said.

“A candidate is entitled to know as to who all constitute the electoral college sufficiently in advance so as to enable him to assess his chance on the basis of the support that he may enlist. It is for this reason that not only the government observer, but even the government itself called upon the respondent/WFI to fix a time schedule which would lead to conduct of elections in a transparent manner and to maintain the purity of the election process,” the court, in its 33-page judgement, said.








HC enhances compensation for parents of deceased and injured

Finding legitimacy behind the demand to enhance compensation for parents of those children who died and those who suffered injuries in the accident in Ambala. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, on Wednesday, enhanced the compensation and also issued notices to Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Prithvi Raj Yadav, a resident of Panchkula, Haryana. The Court increased the compensation to Rs 5 lakh for parents of the deceased, and Rs 1 lakh for parents of those kids who were injured.

Notices have been issued to Director General of Police (DGP) of Punjab and Haryana and Arjun Public School, Ambala. The petitioner has sought directions to the three states to not “allow school buses/vans to carry students beyond the capacity of the vehicles, to stop speeding and to follow the speed limit of 40 km/h”.

The petitioner has also sought directions to the states to not “allow a single bus/van to take several rounds for bringing children to school and a single bus be not allowed to take more than one round while carrying the children to school or while taking them back home”.

The petitioner has sought “directions to make all the schools in their states follow the rules for plying of school buses and action be taken against the school”. The petitioner, appearing in person, contended that the practice of overloading school buses is prevalent in both Punjab and Haryana.

“There is no check on such practice adopted by the school managements if norms are followed properly such incidents could be averted” the petition read. The petitioner averred that Haryana had declared only meager compensation of Rs 25,000 to each of the parents of the deceased children.

The petitioner sought action against Haryana for its “inaction and the school management for its over-zealousness” to overload students in a school van.







HC breather for unsuccessful candidates


TNN Jan 5, 2012, 07.50AM IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court (HC) on Wednesday set aside the result of the 53rd-55th Combined Common Preliminary Competitive Examination, 2011, conducted by the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC).

However, the court ruled that successful candidates would not be disturbed and would remain unaffected by the judgement.

It may be mentioned that some questions were found to be wrong in the said examination as a result of which some unsuccessful candidates had approached the HC for redressal of their grievances. The expert committee set up on court’s earlier directive, which looked into the questions, found nine questions wrong.


In view of the wrong questions, a single bench of the HC presided by Justice Ajay Tripathi on Wednesday, while setting aside the result, ordered re-evaluation of the merit list though not disturbing the successful candidates.







HC relief for senior citizen


TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 03.01AM IST

NEW DELHI: A daughter-in-law has no right to reside in the house of her mother-in-law if the husband is alive and lives separately, Delhi high court has said.

Coming to the rescue of a 78-year-old woman being harassed by her daughter-in-law, Justice Valmiki J Mehta dismissed the suit filed by the daughter-in-law where she claimed residential rights on the house owned by her mother-in-law.

“In the ripe old age of 78, surely citizens of this country are entitled to peace of mind and being not harassed by their next generation – the children or their daughter-in-law,” Justice Mehta said while granting the relief to the senior citizen.

HC further said the mother-in-law in her advanced age cannot be forced to keep the daughter-in-law in the suit property when the son had moved out and was living separately. However, to ensure the son and the mother don’t connive to turn out the wife from the house, the court directed that “in case it is found that the husband was residing in the house, then in such circumstances, the daughter-in-law would have the right to live on the premises.”

After a lower court decreed against her, the daughter-in-law had moved HC insisting that according to Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act she had a right to reside at her matrimonial home. On her part the ailing mother-in-law told HC she was being harassed by her daughter-in-law and that her life was made miserable as she abused and ill-treated her. The aged woman told HC, she had to serve legal notice on both her son as well as daughter-in-law to vacate the house.







HC notice to GMADA, Centre on tree cutting


TNN Jan 5, 2012, 06.46AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Acting on a petition seeking stay on cutting of a large number of trees for the widening of the road from Mullanpur-UT boundary till the T-junction of Kurali-Siswan road, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and Union ministry of forest asking them to respond to the contentions raised in the petition. The high court has also issued a notice to the DFO, Mohali and Omaxe Infrastructure and Construction Ltd that has been assigned the road widening project.

The matter reached before the high court through a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by one Jeet Bhumbla.

The petitioner has sought directions to quash the sanction letter given by GMADA issued on November 23 last year whereby permission has been granted to cut 1,827 trees and 664 young plants on both sides of the road, besides 560 poles for the purpose of widening of the road from Mullanpur-UT boundary upto the T-junction of the Kurali-Siswan road. It was submitted that the said sanction is illegal and contrary to the forest laws because felling of 1,100 trees on one side of the road is avoidable. Till now 50 trees have been cut.

The PIL further informed that GMADA had awarded a contract worth Rs 70.4 crore to Omaxe Infrastructure and Construction Ltd for widening the road of the said stretch of the highway. The total length of the stretch is 8km with a proposed width of 200 feet, while three bridges on the said road are also planned.
The case would come up for further hearing on February 27.









HC pushes process further


TNN Jan 5, 2012, 04.58AM IST

CHANDIGARH: The anxiety of parents seeking admission for their kids in city private schools has got more intense with Punjab and Haryana high court adjourning the hearing on the petition alleging admission controversy in St Kabir School once again and this time to March 5, two months from now.

Earlier, the hearing was adjourned as the inquiry committee was asked to submit the probe report as an affidavit on January 4 and this time the high court has asked the education department to submit their reply, that is – they do not have a say on the 75% of seats in private schools, in written on March 5.
Shipra Bakshi, mother of a kindergarten applicant, said, “March 5 means two more months. I feel the matter is being unnecessarily being dragged.”

Vikram Khanna, another parent said, “I had never thought that getting your child admitted in a good school would turn out to be this difficult. From last one month my wife and I have been checking school websites in which we have applied, everyday to know the final draw date, but after today’s decision it feels as if the anxiety is going to continue.”

“It is just admission and could have been carried on peacefully but because of one school thousands of parents are suffering. Already there is so much of stress as the chances of admission are bleak due to less number of seats and this delay is become a headache,” said Ashima Bhardwaj, mother of a nursery applicant.

“The education department should now let the other schools take forward the admission process as it has been a month of waiting now. Instead, the department should strictly direct schools to make sure that there are no irregularities. We also want to get over with this pressure of admissions,” said Ashok Verma, father of a 4-year-old son.

On the other hand, other private schools are eagerly waiting for UT education department to decide whether other private schools can go on with the admission process or not. Private schools had withheld the nursery class admissions, following directions from Director Public Instructions (school) office on December 12.

However, this time they are expecting positive response from the education department as no school is willing to wait till March to 5.

Manav Mangal School director Sanjay Sardana said, “Education department should now give us some outline because if now the matter is kept pending, it will lead to chaos. The session must start by first week of April or else the burden of completing syllabus would fall on teachers.

Most importantly parents are also suffering and department should take a decision which is in best interest of parents and schools.”

DAV-15 principal Dr Rakesh Sachdeva said, “It would have been good if the matter would have settled today. But now the matter should not be delayed beyond March 5.”

Education cum finance secretary V K Singh said, “We will decide upon the next action on Thursday or definitely by Friday.” DPI(S), Sandeep Hans was not available for the comments.


Bombay HC not in favour of stalling civic polls


PTI | 06:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Mumbai, Jan 4 (PTI) Refusing to interfere in policy decisions, the Bombay High Court today said it was not inclined to grant a stay on the upcoming civic elections in Maharashtra. A division bench of Justices S A Bobade and Mridula Bhatkar was hearing petitions filed by citizens Rupesh Andhari and Sanjay Tahiliani challenging the notification issued in August last year, in which the Maharashtra Election Commission issued a ward-formation draft within the limits of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) allegedly based on the 2001 census. The petitioners have contended that the wards in 11 other municipal bodies in the state have been formed based on census data of 2011. “The election commission has already issued a notification yesterday declaring schedule of the elections. At this stage we (court) cannot grant stay on the elections. We do not see this issue with such a gravity that the elections have to be stalled,” the court said while posting the matter for final hearing and disposal. Andhari’s counsel Anil Sakhre told the court that the fact that there has been a fall in the population in the city and a rise in the suburbs should have been taken into account while forming wards. “Population census of 2011 is available then why has figures of 2001 been used,” the lawyer argued. According to the petition, the draw for declaration of ward-wise reservation should have been conducted after determining number of wards, fixing ward limits and earmarking number of reserved seats based on the latest Census figures, as mandated by the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888. The petition points out that the State Election Commission (SEC) had used figures of Census 2011 for conducting elections in neighbouring Thane and Ulhasnagar, whereas ward-wise reservations for civic elections in Mumbai were drawn on the basis of census 2001 figures. Polling for ten municipal corporations, including Mumbai will be held on February 16 and 27 Zilla Parishads across the state will exercise their franchise on February 7.







HC notice on parole plea of convict in Shivani murder case


PTI | 05:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

New Delhi, Jan 4 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today sought a response from the city police on a plea of sole convict in journalist Shivani Bhatnagar murder case that he be granted parole for re-establishing his family contacts. “Let a status report be filed,” Justice Mukta Gupta said and posted the plea of Pradeep Sharma for hearing on March 14. The conviction and award of rigorous life imprisonment to Pradeep Sharma by the lower court was recently upheld by the High Court which, however, acquitted senior IPS officer Ravi Kant Sharma and two others in the case. Seeking parole, his counsel said he had been granted bail for two months on October 8, 2009. The convict be allowed to be released on parole for re-establishing his family and social ties as there was no allegation that he had earlier breached conditions imposed by the court, the lawyer said. The court had acquitted R K Sharma, who once served as Officer on Special Duty at the PMO, and co-accused Sri Bhagwan Sharma and Satya Prakash in the case by giving them the benefit of doubt. It had, however, upheld the conviction of Pradeep Sharma for killing Shivani, then working with the Indian Express newspaper, who was found murdered in her Navkunj Apartment flat at I P Extension in East Delhi on January 23, 1999. It had held that though the motive for the crime remained “unclear” it was established that Pradeep had visited the victim on the day of the murder. The lower court had on March 24, 2008, convicted four persons, including R K Sharma. It had, however, had acquitted co-accused Ved Prakash Sharma and Ved, alias Kalu, in the case.








HC recommends action against IO


TNN Jan 4, 2012, 02.01PM IST

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad high court has directed UP home secretary home to refer a matter for investigation to the CB-CID where a former district judge VP Shukla allegedly harassed brother of his son-in-law JP Mishra alias Babloo and his family members in a matrimonial dispute.

Passing the above directions, a division bench consisting of Justice DP Singh and Justice VK Mathur directed that departmental proceedings be initiated against investigating officer (IO) Pradeep Kumar of this matrimonial dispute.

It is alleged that IO without acting on the directions of the DIG Varanasi had sent the chargesheet to the circle officer concerned for approval of this dispute.

The court directed that DIG Varanasi might initiate departmental proceedings against sub-inspector Pradeep Kumar for gross insubordination in view of aforesaid fact.

The brother of the petitioner, Gyan Prakash Mishra, was married to daughter of VP Shukla on June 30, 2010. Later, a matrimonial dispute arose between the younger brother of the petitioner and his wife. As a result, several criminal cases were lodged against the petitioner and his family members and they were allegedly harassed at the instance of the former district judge. The petitioner had alleged that investigation was being conducted under the pressure of the former district judge.





HC issues notice to Santosh Hegde


PTI | 04:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Bangalore, Jan 4 (PTI) Karnataka High Court today issued notice to former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde in connection with an appeal filed by a senior IPS officer challenging a lower court order dismissing his defamation suit against the former Supreme Court judge. Justice Anand Byrareddy gave the order for issuing the notice when the the appeal filed by Superintendent of Police (Intelligence) Hemanth Nimbalkar came up for hearing. Following a Lokayukta raid in March 2009, when Nimbalkar was SP in Belgaum, the then Lokayukta Hegde had alleged that the officer had amassed wealth of Rs 250 crore. Hegde had reiterated the claim in the press meet held in Bangalore the following day. Since the allegation was made in here, Nimbalkar had filed a defamation suit at the local court, which subsequently dismissed his suit. Nimbalkar then approached the High Court challenging the lower court’s decision. He was aggrieved over Lokayukta’s assertion that he possessed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. Hegde had earlier said that he stood by his decision to make the details of the raid public. “This is nothing new as such litigations have been filed earlier,” he had observed. Hegde, when asked to comment today’s High Court order, told PTI “I do not wish to comment or say anything about it till I get the notice from the court”.







HC allows Maneka’s NGO to care of Parulekar’s pets


PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Mumbai, Jan 4 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today directed the Commissioner of Police, Pune to ensure that Maneka Gandhi’s NGO – People for Animals – is allowed to take care of over 500 animals sheltered at the residence of Lila Parulekar, daughter of veteran journalist Nanasaheb Parulekar. A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi asked the police commissioner to assist the NGO after it was informed that the NGO members were not being allowed to take care of the animals in pursuant to an earlier court order. In December last, the court had allowed the NGO’s intervening application and allowed it (NGO) to look after the animals which were being allegedly ignored as Parulekar is bed-ridden and needs care herself. Ravi Lokhande, advocate for the NGO, informed the court today that the security guard posted at Parulekar’s bungalow in Pune was not allowing them to enter the house. Showing certain photographs of animals which were in bad condition due to lack of proper care and food, Lokhande said that some of the dogs were poisoned and their bodies dumped. Chief Justice asked whether it was possible to shift the 500 odd animals to another place where People for Animals could look after it. To this, Lokhande said that the animals were large in number and they did not have sufficient place in Pune to keep them. Jamshed Mistry, advocate for Pronoti Vyas who had filed a petition seeking medical attention for Parulekar, said that the court could ask the committee, including officers of Animal Welfare Board, to once again inspect the premises and condition of the animals.


Register case against actor for not repaying loan: HC


TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 05.39AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras HC has directed the KK Nagar police to register a criminal case against actor, D Bhuvaneswari, and file chargesheet, if needed, within six weeks. The matter relates to a complaint by an interior decorator that she had borrowed Rs 1.5 crore from him and had been refusing to repay the sum.

Justice T Mathivanan, disposing of a petition filed by R Gurunathan of KK Nagar on Wednesday, said : “The police are directed to register a case based on the complaint dated August 29, 2011 and if any prima facie case is made out during the course of theinvestigation, a reportwillbesubmitted to the judicial magistrate concernedwithin six weeks.”

In his complaint, Gurunathan saidthat after being introduced to the actor by a friend, he had given her Rs 1.5 crore as loan. Though she had sought the money for producing a tele-serial, no such venture was made, forcing him to demand return of the money.

He said that attempts to contact her and recover the money failed. Gurunathan said that Bhuvaneshwari had joined a political party as its secretary and that the party was a poll ally of the AIADMK. Charging her with threatening him, Gurunathan said the probe into the transaction too ran into obstacles due to her political connections.








HC stays recruitment of teachers in UP primary schools


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Allahabad, Jan 04 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court today stayed recruitment of teachers in primary schools of Uttar Pradesh till January 11 while asking top officials of the state’s department of basic education to appear before it and reply to objections raised over advertisements issued as part of the selection process. The order was passed by Justice Sudhir Agrawal on a writ petition of one Yadav Kapildeo Lal Bahadur who had contended before the court that advertisements inviting applications for appointment of teachers were issued for all the 75 districts of the state in one go. The petitioner had further contended that as per Rule 14 of UP Basic Education (Teachers) Service Rules, advertisements can be issued on behalf of only the appointing authority of an individual district and hence there should have been separate advertisements for the districts on behalf of respective Basic Education Officers. The court, while staying the recruitment process, asked the state’s Secretary, Basic Education, and the Secretary, Basic Shiksha Parishad, to appear before it on January 11 and “explain and justify how this kind of advertisement can be issued on behalf of all District Basic Education Officers and whether it is so permissible under law”.





HC criticises TN govt


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Chennai,Dec 4 (PTI) The Madras High Court today flayed the Tamil Nadu government, saying it was unfortunate that despite the court’s observations it had not taken any steps to arrest three police personnel for allegedly raping four ST women on November 22 for reasons “best known to it.” When the matter came up before the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam, the Judges sought to know why the guilty police officers had not been arrested. The Public Prosecutor submitted they would be arrested in due course. In its earlier order the Bench had observed that if a woman went to a police station and complained about sexual harassment or rape by a named person, the police officer did not hesitate to arrest that person immediately. “If that be so, why the law made applicable to the common man should not be applied to the police officers?” the Bench had wanted to know. However, following repeated requests by the Public Prosecutor for more time to conclude the investigation, the Judges adjourned the case by two weeks to enable the state to complete the probe and take appropriate action against the police officers allegedly involved in the offence. The case relates to the alleged rape of four women belonging to the Irular community after they were arrested in connection with a criminal case on November 22 and taken in a police van from their residence in T Mandappam to a nearby eucalyptus grove.





HC asks BMC to place order for 140 essential vehicles


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Mumbai, Jan 4 (PTI) Rapping the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for delaying placement of orders for essential vehicles like dumpers, fire engines and ambulances, which are in compliance with the Bharat Stage 4 (BS 4) norms, the Bombay High Court today directed the Corporation to place order for 140 vehicles within two weeks. BS 4 – the emission standard for heavy vehicles in India – has been implemented in the city since April 2010. BMC, however, wants to continue with the Bharat Stage 3 for some of its vehicles providing essential services. The Corporation had filed an application seeking permission to continue using or purchasing essential vehicles with BS 3 norms as the ones with BS 4 norms are still not available. The civic body’s requirement is of 211 vehicles. However, so far they have placed orders for only 71 vehicles including dumpers and fire engines. Questioning the delay in initiating process for purchasing vehicles with BS 4 norms, a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi directed the Corporation to start inviting quotations and issue tenders. Although it was decided in 2005 itself that the BS 4 norms vehicles would have to be used in Mumbai from April 2010, the BMC waited till June 2010 to issue tenders and call for quotations for essential heavy vehicles. The Chief Justice even asked the Corporation as to why it was placing orders through intermediary agencies instead of placing orders with the manufacturers. “That delays the process. Place order with the manufacturers, they will supply faster,” remarked the Chief Justice. The matter has been kept for hearing on January 24. PTI SP VKV





HC mum, parties gear up for bypoll


Sanjay Ojha, TNN Jan 4, 2012, 11.21PM IST

RANCHI: Even before the Jharkhand high court gives its final judgment over the recounting of the Hatia assembly election, political parties have started preparing for a byelection.

Political leaders, who are in race for the ticket, are so impatient that they have started organizing meeting of party members.

Recounting for the Hatia assembly took place on December 19 on the directive of the high court. The recounting was ordered on a petition of BJP candidate Ramji Lal Sharda, who was defeated by Congress nominee Gopal Sharan Nath Sahdeo by a margin of 25 votes. However, Sahdeo died last year and the seat had fallen vacant. In the recounting, the original result remained unchanged and this has given reasons to the parties to prepare for the byelection. “We know that the high court is yet to announce the decision, but we cannot wait for long. If we start preparation after the result is announced, it will be very late,” said a Congress leader.

Former BJP president Yadunath Pandey expressed hope of support from the allies during the byelection. “We hope that we will have the support from all our allies,” said Pandey.

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Sahabudin, who is aspiring for a ticket, has already put up posters greeting the voters of the Hatia assembly segment. “The sitting MLA has died and the election will be announced soon and I don’t see anything wrong in preparing for the byelection,” he said.

Ajsu spokesperson D S Bhagat confirmed that the party had started preparation for the byelection. “We have always worked for the development of people in Hatia and are ready for the byelection,” said Bhagat.

Babulal Marandi-led Jharkhand Vikas Morcha has called a meeting of its members on Wednesday to chalk out the strategy for the byelection.



LEGAL NEWS 05.01.2012

Quraishi hits back at Badal

Pawan Sharma, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, January 04, 2012

The friction between the Punjab government and the Election Commission (EC) intensified on Tuesday after chief election commissioner (CEC) SY Quraishi asked chief minister Parkash Singh Badal not to do anything that could undermine the ongoing election process in the state.

 Quraishi also urged Badal to reconsider his stated position about questioning actions of EC officials in Punjab.

The cold war between the state government and the EC became public on Sunday when Badal released a statement criticising the functioning of officials of the poll watchdog in Punjab.

Badal had appealed to the CEC to ask commission officials “to act within the parameters of their constitutional brief”. He had stated that the manner in which the EC officials were taking decisions was causing confusion about the lines of administrative control. “And that can be dangerous for peace and law and order,” Badal had said.

On Tuesday, the CEC posted a letter addressed to Badal on the EC website, expressing ‘deep dismay’ over his statement that questioned “actions of the commission’s officials during the election period.”

“I am particularly disappointed that you have chosen to communicate with me and the commission through the media rather than directly, for which several channels are always available,” the CEC said.

Quraishi stated that if there had been any deviations in the EC work, the commission would be “grateful if you (Badal) bring specific cases to our notice.”

Assuring Badal that the commission valued his standing as a political leader and statesman, besides fully respecting his high office, the CEC said: “Hence, the commission is concerned that you have made general allegations of interference against its officials and questioned their conduct without any basis.”

According to official sources, the bone of contention between the Badal government and the EC has been the transfer of officials, especially police officials, ahead of the January 30 polls.

In his letter, the CEC said the maintenance of law and order during the elections was a basic pre-condition for free and fair polls, and as such the commission could only have a vested interest in ensuring the same rather than ignoring it. “I need to assure you that the same is being done in right earnest.”

“In view of the above, we would request you to kindly reconsider your stated position on the working of EC officials,” he said.

“You would agree that we must not do anything at this juncture that can undermine the election management, the ongoing election process and overall electoral democracy in Punjab as well as the country,” the CEC added.

‘Raising cash limit not sign of weakness’
Regarding the enforcement of measures against the use of black money in the elections, SY Quraishi said the EC’s action was backed by national consensus and also by the concerns expressed by all political parties. He said the EC decision to raise the cash-carrying limit from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh was not a sign of weakness; instead, it was the action of a responsive commission.

Housing regulator gets cabinet approval

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 05.25AM IST

MUMBAI: Developers in Maharashtra will have to display details of their projects on the website of the Housing Regulatory Authority before a transaction.

The state cabinet has approved the setting up of the Housing Regulatory Authority and the Housing Appellate Tribunal (HAT), though it will take at least nine months before the two are constituted.

The Maharashtra Ownership Flats (Regulation of the Promotion of Construction, Sale, Management and Transfer) Act 1963 is being sought to be repealed and replaced with the Maharashtra Housing (Regulation and Promotion of Construction, Sale, Management and Transfer) Act, 2011. The Act will establish a Housing Regulatory Authority (HRA) and a Housing Appellate Tribunal (HAT).

The government is likely to place the Bill before the state legislature during the budget session in March. Once approved it will require the assent of the Governor and then the President as the Bill also covers the Transfer of Property Act and Contract Act which is the domain of the central government.

“It will take a minimum of six to nine months before the Act comes into force,” said officials from the housing department.

The proposed rules will certainly bring succour to flat-buyers. The note approved by the cabinet states it will be the liability of the promoter to construct flats according to specifications approved by the local authority. Promoters shall make an application to the HRA for registration of ongoing projects and where occupation certificate is to be obtained. Failure to do so will invite a penalty.

No alterations or additions can be carried out without the approval of the HRA once the plans are disclosed. If possession is not granted within a specified time then the amount is to be refunded with interest not exceeding 15% per annum. Moreover, the advance or deposit taken from a buyer cannot exceed 20% of the price. Defects noticed within three years have to be rectified by the developer free of cost.

Promoters will take steps to form a co-operative society within four months of the issue of occupation certificate or if 60% of buyers have taken possession.

Court puts sealing on hold for now

IANS | Jan 4, 2012, 02.38AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered no further sealing of unauthorized structures or their regularization or change in land use in Delhi till it examined the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Bill, 2011, and the challenge to the Master Plan 2021.

A special bench of Justice G S Singhvi and Justice Swatanter Kumar added that the authorities would ensure that there was no encroachment of lands belonging to government and public institutions. The court also ordered that there would be no construction on the government land that have already been encroached. However, it permitted the monitoring committee to inspect the premises where unauthorized construction has taken place.

The SC bench passed the order while hearing a matter relating to the sealing of unauthorized commercial and industrial units in the areas other than those earmarked for them.

The court will fix the date for further hearing in March on Thursday.

The court decided to hear the main petition and examine the Act after counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for one of the private petitioners, drew the attention of the court to the bill passed by Parliament that protects all the unauthorized structures from any punitive action.

Saying that people will be happy at the order putting on hold any further sealing, amicus curiae Ranjit Kumar pointed out that there was connivance between the people engaged in unauthorized constructions and the officials of agencies concerned in frustrating the latter part of the order. At this, the court said: “We are sure that no authority will take the chances (of defying the court order).”

Slamming the way the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) works, Justice Kumar said: “When DDA wants to know, then no brick would be put anywhere and when it does not then….” Justice Singhvi then added in that case, even a “double storey building would come up”.

The bill, which was passed by Parliament on December 14, 2011, seeks to put on hold all punitive action till December 31, 2014, in respect of all the unauthorized colonies, including village settlements and their extensions, storages, warehouses and godowns for farm produce besides some other categories. The Act is aimed at facilitating realistic revision of Master Plan for Delhi.

Supreme Court denies bail to Bangalore blast accused Abdul Naseer Maudany

PTI Jan 3, 2012, 01.44PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the bail plea of Abdul Naseer Maudany, arrested for his alleged role in the 2008 serial terror blasts in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Jaipur.

A bench of justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar, however, directed the Karnataka government to provide medical treatment to Maudany, founder of Peoples Democratic Party in Kerala, at the Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala in Bangalore for his various health problems.

The apex court passed the directions for medical help to Maudany, while declining to entertain senior counsel Sushil Kumar’s plea for interim bail to him to enable him undergo treatment at the Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala in Kerala’s Malappuram district.

Kumar pleaded that Maudany be released on bail as he was falsely implicated and cited his acquittal in the Coimbatore bomb blast case after nine-and-half years of incarceration as proof of his innocence.

He further submitted that the accused, who had to undergo amputation of one of his legs and was suffering from serious spinal problems and associated symptoms, was no threat to the law enforcing agencies.

Maudany’s counsel Kumar’s argument, however, failed to impress the court, which observed, “in a lighter vein, we would like to say, people need not do things physically. They can do wonders even while sitting at one place”.

Senior counsel MN Krishnamani and standing counsel Anita Shenoy, appearing for Karnataka, strongly opposed Maudany’s bail plea and treatment in Kerala on the ground that he was involved in a number of cases and posed a threat to security.

Kerala plea to reduce water-level turned down

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

NEW DELHI: The Supreme-Court-appointed Empowered Committee on Mullaiperiyar dam on Tuesday rejected Kerala’s demand to reduce the water-level to 120 feet in the disputed structure.

The committee took this stand on the water-level, citing the recent Supreme Court order, which had ordered a status quo on the current level of 136 feet. Kerala had appealed to the Empowered Committee that the water-level be reduced to 120 feet to ensure that safety was not compromised as the dam is in a seismic zone.

At the same time, the Empowered Committee has decided to ask the Geological Survey of India to give a detailed report on earthquake possibilities in the dam area within one month.

The Committee took this decision following repeated pleas from Kerala that the frequent tremors could result in the collapse of the dam and could pose a threat to the lives of lakhs of people living in districts around it.

The committee on Tuesday also discussed the report submitted by the two members of their team who had made a visit to the dam site last month. The two technical experts—C D Thatte and D K Mehta—had submitted their report on Monday.

It is learnt that the report has ruled out any damage to the dam structure due to the recent earthquakes in the region. Kerala had been anchoring its demand for a new dam on the frequent tremors experienced in the dam area. According to the two experts who had visited the site, the tremors have not affected the dam in any way.

The report, according to sources, has, however, blamed Tamil Nadu for not carrying out maintenance work as directed by the Supreme Court. The two experts had visited the dam site in December after Kerala had repeatedly expressed fears in the wake of recent tremors in the area.

Kerala had on Monday claimed that the report by the two-member expert panel was biased and opposed its consideration by the five-member committee.

The five member Empowered Committee will be meeting again on January 24 and 25 to finalise its report, which will be submitted to the Supreme Court in February.

The Empowered Committee under the chairmanship of former Chief Justice of India A S Anand was set up in 2010 with the mandate of examining all aspects of the dispute over the dam between the two states.

Plea for police protection to run garbage treatment plant

PTI | 06:01 PM,Jan 03,2012

Kochi, Jan 3 (PTI): Kerala High Court today admitted a writ petition seeking police protection to run the Vilappilsala garbage treatment plant at Thiruvananthapuram. Admitting the petition by Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, complaining of threat from Vilappilsala Panchayat authorities, a division bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice, Manjula Chelloor and Justice P R Ramachandra Menon issued notices to the Panchayat and police through a special messenger. Earlier the panchayat had closed the unit forcefully. According to Corporation, this act of panchayat amounts to taking law into hands. The case will be heard on January 9. There has been a stand off between Thiruvananthapuram city corporation and the village panchyat on the outskirts,where the waste processing plant is located, with locals there demanding that it be re-located as its presence was causing serious health problems in the area. Though Chief Minister Oommen Chandy held talks with the panchayat and corporation authorities in December last, no solution could be found to the issue.

IMU VC posting order stayed

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: The operation of an order dated November 18 last year, posting Captain M Baweja as Vice-Chancellor of the Indian Maritime University in Uthandi near Chennai, was stayed by the Madras High Court on December 29.

Vacation judge KBK Vasuki granted the interim injunction while admitting a writ petition from Dr P Vijayan, hitherto the Vice Chancellor of the university, seeking to quash the November 18 order of the Under Secretary to Union Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways placing Baweja to hold the charge of the post of VC with effect from November 19 last year in addition to his existing duties on completion of the tenure of Vijayan on November 19.

Advocate KS Jeyaganesan pointed out that under the Indian Maritime University Act, the competent authority to make appointment to the post of Pro-Vice-Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor was the President of India, who was also the visitor of the university.

Holding that Jeyaganesan’s submission that the Under Secretary had no authority to pass the impugned order thereby placing Baweja to hold the additional post of VC deserved merit and acceptance, the judge stayed the operation of the posting order.

Ferreira sues state for Rs 25 lakh compensation

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 04.38AM IST

NAGPUR: The alleged Naxal top cadre Arun Thomas Ferreira has filed a criminal writ petition against the state and others before the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court on Tuesday. He is seeking compensation for infringement of his fundamental rights of liberty and freedom of movement guaranteed under the constitution and a speedy trial.

Ferreira has sought compensation of Rs 25 lakhs and an apology for him and his family for the undue harassment meted out by the jail authorities and different police units in the last few years after he was caught by city police in 2007. The hardened left wing activist has also sought quashing of all cases and proceedings against him.

Ferreira has also challenged the vexatious and mala fide prosecution, including delayed proceedings for showing arrests and his abduction from outside the jail premises by implicating him in different cases.

Counsel Surendra Gadling, who appeared for Ferreira, said the notice has been issued by justice AH Joshi, vacation judge, to the concerned respondents after the petition was filed before the vacation bench. Further hearing of the case has been scheduled for January 23.

Bar Council probe against lawyer

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 07.21AM IST

BANGALORE: A division bench of the high court has directed the Registrar General to forward its order in a habeas corpus petition to the Bar Council of Karnataka to take necessary action against a lawyer, Sudhakar, from Frazer Town.

The order by justices DV Shylendra Kumar and CR Kumaraswamy follows a habeas corpus petition filed by the lawyer’s sister Vathsala through a telegram which said: “My brother Diwakar was taken by Frazer Town police at about 12 noon on November 30. His whereabouts are not known.” The high court registry received the telegram on December 3 and registered it as a writ petition (suo motu) for issue of writ of habeas corpus. The matter was listed before the division bench on December 8.

When the petition came up for hearing , public prosecutor HS Chandramouli placed an affidavit of SB Maheshwarappa , inspector, Pulikeshinagar police station , which indicated that one Latisha, a resident of Peace Garden, Bagalur, had lodged a complaint with the Pulikeshinagar police. Latisha had stated in her complaint that she and her sister Jayasheela had engaged advocate Sudhakar in connection with a property dispute. She had paid Rs 3 lakh as fee to him. As he had not taken up the follow-up action even after three months, she had demanded the return of the amount and a ‘no objection certificate’ to engage another counsel.

She stated that the advocate, his brother Diwakar and other women members of the lawyer’s family assaulted both the sisters. Police after registering a criminal case arrested Sudhakar and Diwakar and produced them before the eleventh additional metropolitan magistrate on December 1. Both were remanded to judicial custody till December 15.

’02 Britons’ killing: Court to ask MEA about status of summons to ex-envoys

The special trial court hearing the case related to the 2002 killings of four British nationals at Prantij in Sabarkantha district is likely to directly enquire with the Ministry of External Affairs about the status of its summons issued to two former British envoys in India to appear as witnesses in the case.

The court had summoned the two former British envoys, Howard Parkinson and Ian Reakes, as witnesses since they were privy to some evidence related to the case.

The court is likely to take further decision in this regard on January 20.

In October 2011, the special trial court presided over by Sabarkantha principal district judge Gita Gopi had issued summons to the two former British envoys to depose before it. The summons, ordered to be served through the British High Commission in India, were issued on a plea by the complainant in the case, Imran Dawood, also a British national, said Imran’s lawyer A M Malek.

“The court has kept the next hearing for January 20. In the meantime, the court will enquire with the MEA about the status of the summons issued to the two ex-envoys,” Malek said.

In 2002, Imran visited India for the first time along with his UK-based uncles, Saeed Dawood, Shakeel Dawood and Mohammed Aswat. On February 28, 2002, the four were returning to their native village of Lajpur near Navsari in Gujarat after visiting Agra and Jaipur when a mob attacked them near Prantij.

Three of them were killed while the fourth, who went missing, is now presumed dead.

According to Malek, the British High Commissioner’s office had got some calls and letter(s) related to the case at the relevant time.

Reakes, who was with the British High Commissioner’s office, had also visited Gujarat following recovery of some bones and ashes related to the killing.


Corporation fined Rs. 5 lakh for dog bite

Press Trust of India, Updated: January 03, 2012 12:25 IST

The Karnataka High Court today ordered the city corporation to pay Rs. five lakh compensation to a five-year-old boy,who survived an attack by a pack of canines and take necessary steps to check dog menace.

The order came on a PIL filed by parents of the boy G Jishnu, who sought compensation for the dog bite and prayed for action from the city corporation against canine menace.

Jishnu, who was attacked by dogs on July six last year, received Rs. 26,500 from the corporation towards treatment on June 21, but the authorities failed to respond to the plea for Rs. five lakh compensation.

The petitioners contended that the Corporation has not acted as per the Animals Birth Control Rules and failed to discharge its duties in clearning garbage and ensuring that stray dogs do not conglomerate in one place.

Taking serious note of dog menace, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice B V Nagaratna directed Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (city corproation) to pay Rs. 5 lakh compensation to Jishnu.

The court also directed BBMP to ensure packs of stray dogs do not congregate in any locality in large numbers and ensure that streets are cleared of garbage and waste in locations where street dogs are prone to gather.

The court also directed BBMP to compile a status report on measures taken by it to curb dog menace.

Notice on PIL to fill up judicial vacancies

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: The first bench of the Madras High Court has ordered issuance of notice to the government and the TN Public Service Commission (TNPSC) on a writ petition praying for a direction to them to fill up the vacancies of presiding officers in all the labour courts and to the district munsif courts in the State.

The bench compirsing Chief Justice MY Eqbal and Justice TS Sivagnanam directed the registry to put up the matter on January 9 along with a similar writ petition pending before it. In his public interest writ petition, KM Ramesh, secretary of Labour Law Practitioners’ Association, submitted that the posts of presiding officers for the principal labour court and two additional labour courts were remaining vacant for several months, resulting in accumulation of arrears running to 12,000 cases. The same was the case in the districts also.

In the case of district munsif,the High Court had cleared the ground for TN Public Service Commission to proceed with the recruitment. But, TN Public Service Commission had not taken any steps to issue recruitment notification, so far, he said, and added that the non-filling of vacancies amounted to violation of the provisions of the Industrial Disputes (Service Rules) Act.

Banks approach SC to get respite

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 03.30AM IST

NOIDA: Banks in the city have finally approached the Supreme Court for getting relief from the order due to which they have to shut down operations and shift from residential plots to commercial areas by February 4. For the first time since the order was passed by the apex court nearly a month back, about 50 branches of 15 private and public banks across residential plots in Noida moved an application in the Apex court on Tuesday seeking a hearing.

According to the Lead District Manager of the State Bank of India, Arun Kumar, while the application was accepted in the Court, the next date of hearing in the matter is not yet known. The banks have requested the apex court to give them a hearing in the matter and are seeking an extension in the two-month time limit provided to them.

The banks have already been pitching for policy level changes with the Noida Authority to accommodate the affected branches in the vicinity of residential and commercial areas in Noida and have now requested the court for an extension in the deadline at least till the Noida Authority comes up with alternate locations. The SC order affects about 20 lakh account holders in the city.

“Ever since the SC order, the affected banks have maintained their inability to shut operations within the two month period. The subsequent meetings with the Noida Authority have not led to anything so far,” a State Bank of India official said. “With the February 4 deadline approaching, the banks had no choice but to approach the court and we were just waiting for the it to reopen after the winter break. We are hopeful of getting a hearing sometime next week,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Noida Authority, which had been maintaining a stoic stance since the court order directing banks, nursing homes, etc to shift out of residential plots, has now announced a formal crackdown of all defaulting commercial units. The Authority conducted a meeting of all project engineers last evening regarding the same.

As per the preliminary reports compiled by the Authority, about “40 per cent of the total allottees of residential plots in Noida have rented out parts of their properties for commercial activities.” All such units are now being asked to close down by next month or face action.

The SC had directed all banks and nursing homes to move out of residential plots and had particularly directed such plot owners to ensure that the occupant banks, nursing homes, companies or persons carrying on any commercial activity in the residential sector shift out and that these properties must be reused for residential purposes only by February 4.

Life sentence for man

Staff Reporter

The District Sessions Court-II, Kancheepuram, Judge E.M.K.S.Siddharthar has awarded life sentence to Karthik of Mannar Samudhiram, Thiruvaiyaru taluk, Thanjavur district, for murdering a hotel watchman here in 2008.

The accused joined as a waiter at a hotel on Railway Road in July 2008 and after working for a week he murdered the hotel watchman, Loganathan, who was sleeping near the cash counter on July 18. Karthik fled the scene after taking a sum of Rs.9400 from the cash counter and two mobile phones.

Conversion case: Maulvi denied bail

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 04.34AM IST

AHMEDABAD: A city sessions court refused bail to the priest of Navtad mosque at Ghee Kanta, Maulana Yusufkhan Pathan on Tuesday in connection with a religious conversion case. The priest was denied bail after public prosecutor Sudhir Brahmbhatt brought it to the court’s notice that he was facing three complaints for converting girls to Islam without obtaining prior permission from district collector.

As per section 2, 3 and 4 of the amended Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, obtaining prior permission of district magistrate is mandatory in a case, wherein a person is converted from one religion to another fold, the prosecutor contended. Pathan was seeking bail in a case, wherein he solemnized the nikah of one Kaushangini Kadia with a Muslim boy Altaf Mirza in October 2010, but before that the Hindu girl was converted to Islam. Since the girl’s family members were not happy with the marriage, her mother filed an FIR with the Karanj police station under the new religion conversion law.

Mirza and the priest were arrested on December 22. A magisterial court had already denied bail to both of them. Even the sessions court refused bail to the priest, since two other similar cases of conversion are pending against him and the prosecutor claimed that all three cases require further investigation also.

On the other hand, the ordeal came to an end for the couple, as additional sessions judge, B S Upadhyay granted bail to the boy. The court released Mirza, who is an executive with a citybased pharmaceutical firm, after his counsel Dilshad Pathan argued that the girl had already made an application to the collector announcing that she was converting to Islam, and there was no pressure on her for conversion.

He submitted that section 4 of the Act cannot be applied in this case because it can be invoked upon complaint filed by the girl. It is only section 5(3) of the Act that can be applied in this case. After hearing the case, the court released Mirza on furnishing bond of Rs 10,000 and on condition of registering presence at the police station every month.

Justice Majumdar to head PIL bench from today

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 04.31AM IST

NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court would start working from Wednesday after a 10-day winter sojourn. Justice PB Majumdar would head the division bench looking after public interest litigations along with justice Ashok Bhangale. He will replace Justice Dilip Sinha, who has been assigned the principal bench at Mumbai. The second division bench for writ petitions would remain the same with Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Pramod Kode at the helm. The criminal division bench would be led by Justice Pratap Hardas, and Justice Prasanna Varale will be his colleague. Other judges including Justice Vasanti Naik, Justice Ambadas Joshi, Justice Arun Chaudhari, Justice Ravi Deshpande and Justice MN Gilani would head the single-judge benches.

HC clears Forest Officers’ Training Centre

The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has given green signal to the Forest Officers Training Centre at village Kundal in Sangli. The court’s nod for the pet project of state forest minister Patangrao Kadam came while hearing a PIL by senior BJP functionary Shobhatai Fadnavis alleging gross mismanagement by forest officials in Vidarbha and particularly in Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Wardha districts. Earlier, the government informed the court that clearances were been obtained from all other authorities, including the Union Environment Ministry, and they were just awaiting clearance from the high court.

Director of Health Services visits Shanti Bhavan

PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 03,2012

Thrissur, Jan 3(PTI) District Medical Officer V V Veenus and other officials today visited the Shanti Bhavan at nearby Avanoor from where the 41 mentally weak persons were freed yesterday after complaints of torture and admitted to government mental hospital here. The director of Health Services Dr P K Jameela along with the district medical officer visited the patients at the government mental hospital where 41 patients from Shanti Bhavan were shifted to. One Joshy (50) and his wife Alphonsa (45) who had allegedly encroached the land of another person was running the Shanti Bhavan with the pretext that they had permission for the mental health centre at Avanoor. The patients were freed yesterday following the order of the Judicial Magistrate after which they were admitted to the government mental hospital. Following complaints, the District Medical Officer had visited the Shanti Bhavan on Dec 23 and submitted a report to the Thrissur Chief Judicial Magistrate. Cases had been charged against Joshy and Anphonsa under section 324 and 342 of the Indian Penal Code and sections 25, 82 and 83 of the Mental Health Act, 1987, police said. Meanwhile, the Director of Health Services P K Jameela said that a team of doctors had been constituted to examine the 41 mental patients and submit a report within 10 days. PTI COR MVG

Accused in 1992 Ajmer sex scandal case arrested

IANS Jan 3, 2012, 10.15PM IST

JAIPUR: Rajasthan Police on Tuesday arrested an accused in the infamous 1992 Ajmer sex scandal case in which over 100 schoolgirls were blackmailed on the basis of their photographs in compromising positions, officials said.

The girls were allegedly sexually exploited by a group of about 18 blackmailers.

The state police’s Special Operations Group (SOG) arrested Saiyed Saleem Chishty, 42, from Khalid Mohalla in Ajmer town, some 150 km from Jaipur.

“Chisty is an accused in the 1992 case of blackmailing some schoolgirls in Ajmer. The victims were lured into coming to farm houses on the outskirts of the town at different times. They were sexually exploited and photographs with their being in compromising positions were shot by a gang of criminals,” Additional Director General of Police (SOG) Kapil Garg told media persons.

The girls were then blackmailed on the basis of these photographs and were forced to repeatedly visit the farm houses.

“Chishty, who was one of the men who blackmailed these girls, carried a cash reward of Rs 25,000 on his head. We came to know that he was hiding in Ajmer. A trap was laid and he was nabbed Tuesday morning,” said the officer.

About 11 others have already been arrested in the case. Seven of them were sentenced to life imprisonment by a court, the officer said.

“Chishty has told us that he was hiding in Bangladesh and Mumbai before he came to Ajmer recently. He has been booked under various section of IPC (Indian Penal Code) and those of the Indecent Representation of Women Act,” said the officer.

Chishty will be produced in a court Wednesday.

82-year-old sentenced to life in jail for rape, murder

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 04.43AM IST

PUNE: Additional sessions judge S D Darne on Tuesday sentenced Mohiniraj Kulkarni (82) to life imprisonment for murder of a 10-year-old girl. The girl was found dead on the terrace of Kulkarni’s bungalow in Narayan Peth on October 14, 2009.

Kulkarni was also sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment for raping the girl and three years’ RI for destroying evidence. All the sentences will run concurrently.

The court has imposed Rs 10,000 fine on Kulkarni for rape and Rs 2,000 for destroying evidence. Since the convict did not deposit the fine, he will have to undergo additional six months and three months of imprisonment.

Additional public prosecutor Vikas Shah submitted before the court to inflict death sentence on Kulkarni as he had committed the crime in a gruesome and diabolic manner for satisfying his lust.

Shah argued that, leaving Kulkarni’s age, there were no mitigating circumstances in his favour and that his age cannot be a criterion for showing leniency. He described the accused as a menace to society and pleaded to impose death sentence as the offence committed by him falls in the category of rarest of rare cases as per the Supreme Court guidelines.

Kulkarni’s lawyer Suhas Jadhav cited various Supreme Court rulings and pleaded before the court to impose minimum punishment as his client was a senior citizen and that he did not have criminal antecedents. Jadhav said that his client was not a threat to the society.

After hearing both sides, judge Darne observed that the accused was an elderly persons and it cannot be said that he was dangerous to the society for imposing death penalty by calling this case as rarest of rare cases. Sentencing the accused to life term would be adequate as it would serve both the purpose of deterrence and reformation. Kulkarni will be entitled to premature relief as per section 433 of the CrPC, if the state government decides to commute his sentence.

Jadhav later told reporters that the convict will challenge the verdict in the high court.

The court on Monday pronounced Kulkarni guilty of committing offences punishable under sections 302 (murder), 201 (destroying evidence) and 376 (2) (f) (committing rape of a girl below 12 years) of the Indian Penal Code.

The girl’s mother Rekha Randive (28) of Ambilodha colony in Dattawadi, who was an accused in the case, had turned approver and supported the prosecution’s case by testifying against the accused. She was released as she was given ‘tender of pardon’ by the prosecution.

The case was investigated by senior inspector Motichand Rathod and assistant commissioners of police Bharat Bhushan Sharma and Ranjit Dhure.

Sanjiv Bhatt to face trial in torture case

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 03, 2012, 15:08

Ahmedabad: In a setback to suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, the Gujarat High Court has rejected his plea seeking quashing of a complaint in a 1998 custodial torture case and directed the Porbander district court to proceed with the criminal trial against the senior cop.

Justice M R Shah recently rejected Bhatt’s application in the 13-year-old case when he was SP of Porbander district. Bhatt had sought quashing of the criminal complaint filed against him.

The court also vacated the stay, granted by it in December 2010, on conducting criminal proceedings against Bhatt in the case.

The court has further directed the magistrate of the Porbander court to proceed further with the trial and conclude the same within 12 months. All those concerned with the case have been directed by the court to coop erate with the trial court for early disposal of the case.

“This court is of the opinion that this is not a fit case to exercise the powers under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to quash and set aside the impugned complaint and/or order passed by the learned magistrate directing to issue process against the applicant (Bhatt),” the HC stated in its order.

Bhatt, along with constable Vajubhai Chau, has been charged for the offence punishable under sections 330 (causing hurt to extort confession), 324 (causing hurt with dangerous weapon) read with section 34 (action done by several persons with common intent) of the Indian Penal Code on the complaint against them by one Naran Jadav in 1998 for causing him physical and mental torture in police custody for extracting confession in a TADA and Arms Act case.

New mayor faces seven cases

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 01.39AM IST

HYDERABAD: City’s first citizen Mohammad Majid Hussain is an accused in seven cases, including an attempt to murder, criminal assault and intimidation. All these cases have been registered at the Humayun Nagar police station in whose jurisdiction his Ahmednagar residence is located.

As per the case (crime number 38/2011) registered at the Humayun Nagar police station on January 20, 2011, Majid Hussain was booked under section 353 (assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for stopping police from conducting searches and vehicle checking at 1st Lancer. Subsequently, when Hussain approached the high court the investigation was stayed.

On February 6, 2011, a group of assailants attacked one Syed Altaf with knives and iron rods at Ist Lancer. Altaf suffered injuries in the attack and police booked an attempt to murder case (crime number 38/2011) under section 307 of the IPC against the assailants, who directly participated in the attack, and also Majid Hussain, who was suspected to be the conspirator. In this case, except Hussain, all the other accused have been arrested by the Humayun Nagar police.

Similarly, on November 4, 2011, based on the directions of a local court, the Humayun Nagar police had booked a case against Majid Hussain under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 352 (assault or criminal force otherwise than on grave provocation), 355 (assault or criminal force with intent to dishonor a person) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC. The case was booked after Shaik Mannan Sayeed, a local PRP leader, approached the court with a petition alleging that local police had not responded to his complaint against the Ahmednagar corporator. The petitioner alleged that during the Rachabanda programme at Ist Lancer in 2011, Majid Hussain had abused and physically assaulted him.

Apart from these three criminal cases, police said four petty cases were booked against Hussain for creating nuisance and threatening people, including a gas agency dealer in the locality, under section 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC, 70 – B and 71 of the Hyderabad City Police Act.

HC rejects DLF plea against SEBI probe, imposes Rs 2 lakh cost

Press Trust of India, 03 Jan 2012 | 08:22 PM

Justice Vipin Sanghi turned down DLF’s plea against the market regulator’s order, saying “I dismiss the writ petition with costs quantified at Rs 2 lacs. Cost to be paid within four weeks.”

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday imposed a cost of Rs 2 lakh on realty major DLF while dismissing its plea against market regulator SEBI’s order to probe an allegation that it duped a city-based businessman of Rs 34 crore in collusion with its associate firm Sudipti Estates.

Justice Vipin Sanghi turned down DLF’s plea against the market regulator’s order, saying “I dismiss the writ petition with costs quantified at Rs 2 lacs. Cost to be paid within four weeks.”

Justice Sanghi dismissed the DLF plea saying the order of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) against it was “based on reasons”.

“A perusal of the impugned order (of SEBI) shows that it certainly cannot be said that it has been passed arbitrarily or is irrational. The impugned order is clearly based on reasons which are relevant and material,” it said.

DLF, in its petition, had sought quashing of SEBI’s order, issued on October 20, for investigation into the allegations of complainant Kimsuk Krishna Sinha in 2007 against it and Sudipti Estates.

The court, in its 61-page judgement, said the SEBI Act has not put any bar on the market regulator to consider any evidence to form its opinion to order an investigation.

“There is no bar or impediment cast on the Board by the SEBI Act to say that it would not entertain or look into evidence that the complainant may rely upon in support of his complaint made earlier, while considering whether or not to direct an investigation,” it said.

The high court said SEBI’s powers should not be restricted as it has been created to look into the issues pertaining to stock exchanges.

“There is no reason to put any such fetter on the powers of the Board or to read such restrictions into the statute, which are clearly not there. The Board is the sole authority created by law to deal with the complex issues which arise in the management and supervision of the securities markets. Any such restrictions, artificially introduced, would denude the Board of its powers and hamper its functioning,” it said.

DLF had, in its petition, said SEBI’s order was passed “erroneously and in blatant non-compliance with the principle of natural justice”. The court, however, rejected the plea.

The court also rejected the contention of DLF’s alleged associate Sudipti that SEBI has no authority to investigate its role as the firm’s shares have not been traded through the stock exchanges on which the regulator enjoys powers.

“SEBI by the impugned order has directed investigation into the allegations levelled by the complainant against the petitioner about the breach of the SEBI (disclosure of Investor Protection Guidelines) 2000, read with the relevant provisions of the Companies Act, and in relation to the disclosure of information required to be made in the red herring prospectus by the petitioner-DLF,” the court said.

SEBI had earlier ordered a probe into the issue of IPOs after the high court had asked it to look into the complaint of Sinha against DLF Group and Sudipti Estates and pass an order in three months.

In the FIR lodged against Sudipti in Delhi, Sinha had alleged the company and its directors/agents had “lured and compelled” him to transfer certain plots of land and did not fulfill the promise of developing the land and providing him higher returns. (More) PTI AHA SJK HMP RAX The market regulator had said in its order that “the Securities and Exchange Board of India shall investigate into the allegations levelled by the complainant in respect of DLF Limited and Sudipti Estates Pvt Limited.”

“The investigations would focus on violations, if any, of the provisions of the erstwhile SEBI (Disclosure and Investor Protection) Guidelines, 2000, read with relevant provisions of the Companies Act, 1956,” SEBI had further said.

Sinha had alleged Sudipti, DLF Home Developers Limited and DLF Estate Developers Limited were sister concerns inextricably linked and were part of the DLF Group.

DLF has, however, maintained Sudipti is a separate legal entity owned and controlled by different individuals.

The construction major in a Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP), filed for a public issue in May 2006, had mentioned that Sudipti was its associate company.

The DRHP, however, had been withdrawn and thereafter, it filed a fresh prospectus in January, 2007, wherein Sudipti was not mentioned as an associate.

HC stays new VC order to maritime University

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 05.23AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has stayed the appointment of a new vice-chancellor (VC) for the Chennai-headquartered Indian Maritime University, which has jurisdiction over all maritime institutions throughout the country.

Days after the university’s first VC, P Vijayan, completed his term, the Centre had appointed a Coast Guard officer, Capt. M Baweja, as the VC on November 18, 2011. Baweja was to hold the VC post in addition to his existing responsibilities.

Opposing the appointment, Vijayan filed a writ petition contending that the President alone had the power to appoint a vice-chancellor.

According to him, Baweja’s appointment was made by an under secretary of the union ministry of shipping violating norms. Justice KBK Vasuki stayed the appointment of Baweja and has issued notices to the Centre as well as Baweja, directing them to file their replies by January 11.

HC blast suspects’ custody extended

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 02.53AM IST

NEW DELHI: A special NIA court has extended the judicial custody of suspected terrorists Wasim Akram Malik and Amir Abbas Dev, arrested for their alleged role in the September 7 blasts outside the Delhi High Court premises. District Judge H S Sharma extended the judicial custody of Dev till January 16 while Malik’s custody has been extended till January 17 after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said they want the accused to be produced in the court on separate days, court sources said.

Both the accused were produced in the court during an in-chamber hearing after the expiry of the tenure of their judicial custody. According to court sources, NIA told the court that investigations into the blast, which killed 15 people and injured 70, was still ongoing.

The court had earlier dismissed NIA’s plea for a polygraph test to be conducted on Malik after he had expressed “unwillingness” to undergo the test.

A polygraph test is conducted to ascertain the truthfulness of a person’s statements given in response to the probe agency’s queries but according to a Supreme Court ruling, a person cannot be compelled to undergo such tests .

HC dismisses petition on illegal bike racing

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 05.25AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has refused to pass a general direction asking the city police to impose a blanket ban on the illegal bike racing that mostly takes place in Besant Nagar, Kamarajar Salai, East Coast Road and Poonamallee High Road.

Dismissing a public interest writ petition by advocate A Vasudevan seeking a complete ban on the racing, the first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam said the PIL had been filed based on a news item publishing in The Times of India on December 12. According to the news report, a 55-year-old man was killed by the bike racers when he was knocked down on the ECR.

The judges, however, said: “The news item states that police authorities had planned to install CCTVs on some stretches of ECR and Elliots Beach to nab the violators.” They said when the police were taking steps to curb illegal bike racing in the city, no general directions as sought by the PIL could be issued.

HC takes suo motu cognizance of ill-treatment of mental patients

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 06.16AM IST

THRISSUR: The Kerala High Court has taken suo motu cognizance of news reports on the ill-treatment of patients in a mental health centre at Avanoor, from where 41 mental patients were rescued by the medical officials on Monday.

The court sought a report on the case on Tuesday and asked the Thrissur district medical officer to submit it to the high court registrar. On the basis of the court order, the DMO officials sent a copy of the report to the advocate-general.

P K Jameela, director of health services, said that inspection in mental health centres in all districts would be strengthened. “There are allegations that mental health centres run by religious organizations have been eluding the inspection of health inspectors. It will not happen again. Regardless of institutions run by religious organizations, inspection will be strengthened in all districts and strong action will be taken against the guilty,” she said.

The functioning of Community Health Centres for mental patients would be extended to all districts. She said the government was trying to fill the vacant posts of psychiatrists in district mental hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Kozhikode. The centre at Avanoor was functioning in violation of the Mental Health Act 1987.

Jameela visited the mental patients at the District Mental Hospital where they are undergoing treatment. Dr. N K Babu, superintendent of the hospital, said that they were getting in touch with the relatives of the patients.

Many patients belong to Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Orissa and Bihar.

HC quashes compulsory retirement of civil judges

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 01.20AM IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka high court on Tuesday set aside an order issued on June 23, 2009 by the then governor Rameshwar Thakur compulsorily retiring 15 civil judges in public interest on various grounds including corruption and inefficiency.

Ordering the reinstatement of the 10 judges who had petitioned the high court against their compulsory retirement, justice Anand Byrareddy also held as invalid the constitution of a committee in 2005 by the then chief justice of the Karnataka high court NK Sodhi for reviewing the performance of judicial officers and including the same in their confidential records.

The 15 civil judges had been compulsorily retired after the committee had in June 2009 recommended the same in public interest under Rule285(4) of Karnataka Civil Service Rules. PD Dinakaran was the chief justice of Karnataka high court at that time and Rameshwar Thakur was the competent authority as the governor of Karnataka. It was alleged that the civil judges were found “unfit” to hold the post for various reasons, including inefficiency, conduct and corruption charges against them.

Justice Byrareddy said that the reinstatement will be accompanied by continuity in service and all consequential benefits.

“In view of the Supreme Court direction in the All India Judges Association case, the constitution of the committee is invalid and contrary to the law. In the same way, Rule 285(4) too is no longer applicable to judicial officers. It is not possible to treat judicial officers like any other government servant on the question of desirability, ability and suitability to continue in service or to retire them from service in public interest. Any retirement from service can only be on the ground of proven misconduct,” the judge ruled.

“Though the material before the court speaks of several allegations of corrupt practices, they were not taken to their logical conclusion in spite of reports being obtained from confidential and preliminary inquiries. The order of compulsory retirement is apparently passed as a ‘short-cut’ to avoid departmental inquiry/inquiries and is clearly a punitive measure,” the judge further observed.

The petitioners had claimed that individual cases were not reviewed, no enquiry was held and no reasonable opportunity in terms of principles of natural justice was provided for them. They further claimed that though the action was compulsory retirement, it virtually amounted to dismissal from service.

What was the committee?

A committee was set up in September 2005 by the then chief justice of the Karnataka high court, N K Sodhi, to review the performance of all the judicial officers in the state and include the same in their confidential records.

The review was conducted in respect of those who were above 50 years of age and those who had completed 20 years of service so as to decide on the suitability of continuing them in service. In the case that was adjudicated on Tuesday, a full court meeting attended by all the judges of the high court had adopted the report recommending the compulsory retirement of 15 judicial officers.


“Though the material before the court speaks of several allegations of corrupt practices, they were not taken to their logical conclusion in spite of reports being obtained from confidential and preliminary inquiries.The order of compulsory retirement is apparently passed as a ‘short-cut’ to avoid departmental inquiry/inquiries and is clearly a punitive measure,”

Justice Anand Byrareddy

Karnataka high court

The petitioners

The 10 civil judges whose reinstatement has been ordered on Tuesday are T Nagappa, CR Javid Pasha, Anwar Davalsab Ansari, Shivanand Narasingappa Dhage, Channal Bapuji Thimmappa, Martand Parapa Tonne, Lakshmikant Ramappa Desai, Mahantagouda Biradar, Rudramuni Rudrappaiah, and Ullas Eshwar Balekundri.

HC directs state to provide benefits to 150 teachers

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 06.28AM IST

MADURAI: Disposing a batch of writ petitions filed by 150 retired teachers claiming that they were not given due scale of pay till their superannuation, the Madurai bench of the Madras high court on Tuesday has directed the state government to extend benefits, which is due to them within a period of eight months.

All the petitioners were originally appointed as secondary grade assistant/ secondary grade teachers/ physical education teachers. Some of them on completion of their service period even after reaching the age of superannuation, had not been promoted. However, they were given the benefit of selection grade and special grade after completion of 10 and 20 years of their respective services. Now, the grievance of the petitioners is that they were not given the benefit of scale of pay of selection grade and special grade as per instructions given in the two government orders, which were issued in 1993 and 2010.

Passing a common order on the batch of petitions, Justice T Raja pointed out that the chief educational officers of Pudukkottai, Villupuram and Salem would cumulatively show that the benefit conferred in GOs has been invariably extended to almost all the similarly placed persons.

Narrating the legal dispute that was settled by various forums, the judge further said, “When the Tamil Nadu Administrative Tribunal has given a direction to the authorities to refix the scale of pay of the applicants, the high court has also categorically issued a direction and as against that, a special leave petition filed by the state also came to be dismissed.”

The court also held that the authorities are directed to extend the benefit of GOs to all the petitioners on receipt of their detailed representations consisting of their service particulars. Since all the petitioners are senior citizens, on receipt of their individual applications with full details of their date of reaching selection and special grade, date of retirement etc, the authorities are directed to dispose of their applications by extending the mentioned benefits within a period of six months from the date of receipt of their applications enclosed with this order copy.

After the court had passed the order, K Chellapandian, additional advocate general sought for considerable time to disburse the amount by mentioning the financial problem faced by the department.

However, R Singgaravelan, counsel for the petitioners submitted that since the teachers have already retired from service and are senior citizens, six months time could be reasonable for fixation of the amount. In turn, the additional advocate general further expressing the practical difficulties sought for minimum one year’s time as the amount involved could be running to several crores.

HC to hear Ajay Chautala’s plea in DA case tomorrow

PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 03,2012

New Delhi, Jan 3 (PTI) Haryana legislator Ajay Singh Chautala today moved the Delhi High Court challenging a special court order to try him for allegedly possessing wealth exceeding his legal income. The plea of the son of former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala would be taken up for hearing by Justice M L Mehta tomorrow. In his petition filed through counsel Amit Sahani, the Indian National Lok Dal leader challenged the special court’s order contending that he was not a public servant till May 24, 1993, when the CBI’s alleged ‘check period’ began. Special CBI judge P S Teji had, on September 23, found “prima facie” evidence against Ajay and had framed charges under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act against him for allegedly possessing assets, found to be 339.27 per cent exceeding his legal income between May 1993 and May 2006. His legal income in that period was Rs 8.17 crore, while he had acquired assets worth Rs 27.7 crore, the CBI had said in its charge sheet. Ajay, however, contended, in his petition, “Since petitioner was not a public servant as on May 24, 1993 the entire purpose of holding trial with the charge of having acquired assets disproportionate to his known source of income for the period May 24, 1993 to May 31, 2006 is against the provisions of PC Act.” He contended the same fact has been concealed by the CBI in its charge sheet filed in the court on December 24, 2009. The special court while framing charges against Ajay had said “Ajay Chautala had purchased “benami” properties in the name of five co-accused in the case.

HC issues notices to Centre, Punjab gov on Sehajdhari issue

PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 03,2012

Chandigarh, Jan 3 (PTI) Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notices to the Centre, Punjab government, SGPC and Gurudwara Election Tribunal for February 8 on a PIL by Sehajdharis (non-baptised Sikhs), seeking fresh elections of SGPC and inclusion of Sehajdhari in revised list. On December 20, the High Court had quashed the Centre’s notification debarring Sehajdharis from voting in the Sikh body’s polls. The petitioner appealed that till the fresh elcetions are held, newly elected members of SGPC, which is the apex religious body of the Sikhs, be restrained from acting. It was submitted by the petitioner that the election of SGPC held on September 18, 2011 was made conditional and outcome of the writ petitions challenging notification issued by the Central government on October 8, 2003 disfranchising Sehajdharis by the full bench of the High Court as well as by the Supreme Court in the Special Leave Petition. It was contended by the counsel of the petitioners that with the quashing of the notification by a full bench of the court, the election to SGPC was non-est and continuation of the SGPC was not in accordance with law. A bunch of three petitions were filed in the High Court. In one of the writ petition Sehajdhari Sikh federation had challenged the notification dated October 8, 2003 issued by the union of India whereby in section 49 and 92 of the Sikh Gururdwaras Act 1925 the word “Sehajdari” was omitted. In another writ petition, the constitutional validity of section 44 of the 1925 Act was challenged being ultra vires of the Constitution. The third petition had questioned the validity of notification being in contradiction to the definition of “Sikh” as contained under the provisions of section 2(9) and 2(10-A) of the 1925 Act.

HC allows distribution of new media cards with rider

After Advocate General Anindya Mitra could not appear before the Division Bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Mrinal Kanti Choudhury on Tuesday owing to illness, the Calcutta High Court fixed January 16 to hear the PIL related to new rules on issuing of accreditation cards to media persons by the state government.

The state Information and Cultural Affairs department had issued a notification in October to introduce new rules for issuing of accreditation cards to media persons. Arunagsu Chakraborty, a media person had filed a Public Interest Litigation in November challenging the government notification alleging the state was not empowered to frame such rules and that it should be declared invalid and unconstitutional. Meanwhile, Justice Markandey Katju, chairman of the Press Council of India, during his visit to the state in December. requested the government not to distribute the press cards under the new rule.

Chakraborty on Tuesday apprised the High Court that the state Information and Cultural Affairs Department has already started issuing the new cards to the media persons under the new rule and requested the court to intervene into the matter. The card distribution has been undertaken ignoring the request of the Chairman, Press Council of India, he said.

The High Court said the state could distribute the new cards but the fate of the new cards would be decided according to the final order passed by the bench.

HC lawyer to be citizen candidate in Colaba Linah Baliga

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 05.15AM IST

MUMBAI: Colaba will have its own citizen candidate for the for thcoming civic elections. Educated professionals and entrepreneurs from Colaba have come together to form My Dream Colaba. They plan to use that platform to launch Makarand Narwekar (33), a Bombay high court lawyer.

Narwekar runs a free legal aid cell for the underprivileged in Colaba and has taken up several high-profile cases. He has also taken up several social causes in his area. Narwekar believes that pleading his case at civic general body meetings will be no different from what he does in court.

“It’s important for a person to have legal knowledge of proceedings and rules of the MCGM Act. It’s not going to be different as I am a litigating lawyer. The people we are electing are unaware of development control regulations or civic laws,” said Narwekar.

Ghanashyam Hegde, a member of My Dream Colaba, said there was citizenawakening in the locality.

“We asked people if we were getting the quality of life they deserved. The answer was a resounding ‘no’,” said Hegde. He said that their vision was to make Colaba a model locality by adopting participative community development techniques.

“We want to build a network of volunteers from each housing society who will be pseudo-representatives for all purposes, including interaction with the civic body. There will be public-private partnership to change the face of Colaba,” Hegde said. Prema Singh ( Congress) is the sitting corporator for ward 227. The ward which was reserved is now in the open category.

Piravom bypoll: HC seeks explanation from EC

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 06.15AM IST

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday admitted a petition challenging the delay in declaring election in Piravom Assembly constituency and ordered to send notice to the Election Commission.

Considering a petition by a voter, K K Joy, challenging non-declaration of election in Piravom constituency along with the declaration of election in five states, Justice S Siri Jagan asked the Election Commission to file an affidavit explaining the reason for the delay.

The voter has alleged that non-declaration of election in the constituency is due to extraneous reasons as no situation to delay the election process exists in the constituency. The petitioner is also seeking a court order to the Election Commission to declare election in the constituency.

Rail accidents: Who will arrange ambulance? HC tells state, railways to decide

Published: Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Urvi Mahajani | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

To ensure that railway accident victims are provided immediate medical attention during the ‘golden hour’ (within one hour of an accident), the Bombay high court (HC) asked the railways and the Maharashtra government to sort out their differences over transporting victims to the nearest hospital. It has been established that getting a victim to a hospital within the golden hour gives him/her a high chance of survival.

The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by social activist Samir Zaveri who lost his legs in a railway accident. Zaveri filed the petition since the railways failed to comply with the HC’s directions in connection with his public interest litigation (PIL) regarding commuters’ safety. The petition sought jail for chief commissioner of railways, general manager of Western Railway and officers of the railway board.

Earlier, during the PIL hearing, the railways and the government passed the buck to each other while addressing the question of whose responsibility it was to make ambulances available at railway stations. The railways had written to the government in June 2011 saying that it should provide ambulances like other state governments do. However, the government said in court that taking victims to hospital was the duty of the railways.

In 2004, the HC gave the railways several directions. One of them was that the rail accident victims should be shifted immediately to the nearest public or private hospital. However, several of these directives have not been implemented fully.l Turn to p4

Amicus curie (friend of court), Advocate Jamshed Mistry, told the court that it was necessary to take up three issues on a priority basis. They were: transportation of victims, removal of dangerous poles near tracks and updating the railways website with details of accident victims.

Suresh Kumar, advocate for the railways, said that it had prepared a form to register accident victims’ details. He said the railways’ technical team was working on updating the website and this will be completed by mid-January with help from the Government Railway Police (GRP).

The HC asked that a meeting be held between railways and the authorities concerned (government and GRP) along with the advocates to resolve all issues.

Co-accused’s statement not enough for conviction: HC

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 04.30AM IST

NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court has ruled that an accused can’t be convicted just on the basis of a co-accused’s statement. “The statement of co-accused can always be used if the accused is being tried primarily on other evidence. But his statement cannot be foundation to convict the accused when that is only the sole material,” the court said.

A single judge bench of justice Ambadas Joshi then acquitted an accused for offences of theft, cheating and forgery. “Allowing the trial to proceed would mean nothing but waste of time of the court, the prosecution, and would burden the state exchequer. Apart from that it tends to disrepute the criminal law administrative system,” a justice Joshi observed before disposing of the plea.

“Permitting trial on such unsustainable material would be vexing the accused and burdening the courts with prosecution which cannot be reasonably expected to fructify or at least could be worthy of trial,” the court said before absolving accused Pravin Kalmegh who filed the petition through his counsel Akash Moon and PS Mohgaonkar of all charges.

Kalmegh (co-accused) along with Vijay Kene, the prime accused, were charged under sections 420, 34 and 379 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). On First Information Report (FIR) of July 16, 2009, the Imambada police station arrested the duo and subsequently filed a chargesheet on September 20 in same year.

The petitioner filed four separate petitions contending he was prosecuted in four crimes only on the basis of Kene’s version and there is no other evidence available against him. He further argued that Kene named him just to satisfy his personal grudge and enmity and falsely implicated him in the crime.

The HC found there indeed was no other proof on record against petitioner. The court citing many Supreme Court and HC judgments quashed and set aside the criminal proceedings in all four cases.

Traders tense as panel defers de-sealing pleas

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: The new year for the High Court-appointed monitoring committee began on a tense note after the Supreme Court pulled up the HC on relegating the T Nagar traders’ de-sealing application to the monitoring panel, as anxious and angry traders gathered in front of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority to know their fate.

The HC had asked the business establishments to approach the committee and submit details about the building plan for removal of lock and seal. With the SC posting the hearing on Jan 9, barely a week before Pongal, traders from Ranganathan Street Merchants Association, Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sanghankalin Perammaipu and landowners who were present at the meet venue are keeping their fingers crossed. A M Vikramraja, the head of the TN Vanigar Sangam Peravai, who held deliberations with the Housing and Urban Secretary and vice-chairman of the CMDA, has urged Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to intervene so that shops could open during Pongal. “We are under pressure and many of the traders have incurred huge debt. This festival season is the only hope for traders. More than 1,500 people who have invested in chits in jewellery and utensils establishments in the area will be dejected if the building continues to be locked. This will create a law and order problem,” he warned.

Member Secretary of CMDA, R Venkatesan, said the monitoring committee met the representatives who requested desealing and decided to defer the hearings for those who approached the committee following the SC order. “We hope by Jan 9 we will get a favourable order,” he said. Meenakshi of Meenakshi Real Estate alleged, “The authorities say that a fire engine will find it difficult to enter Ranganathan Street, but the truth is that it would not be able to turn into Ranganathan street because of the bridge built by the previous DMK government on Usman Road.”

With the SC judgement, aspersions were being cast on the role of the monitoring panel by some sections of the Association of Professional Town Planners (APTP) alleging that it was appointed to examine the issues arising out of regularisation of unauthorised and deviated constructions, which had come up till Feb 28, 1999, during the First master plan.

Compulsory retirement orders of 10 Ktk. HC judges set aside

PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 03,2012

Bangalore, Jan 3 (PTI): The Karnataka High Court today set aside compulsory retirement orders of 10 High Court judges and directed their reinstatement with consequential service benefits. Hearing the writ petitions filed by the 10 judges, Justice Anand Byrareddy set aside the order of their compulsory retirement passed by former Karnataka Chief Justice P D Dinakaran. On June 23, 2009, the then Chief Justice P D Dinakaran had ordered compulsory retirement of 15 judges on the grounds that they were “unfit” to hold the post for various reasons, including low rate of disposal of cases, conduct with the lawyers not being good and also complaints against them. Subsequently, 13 of 15 judges challenged it and sought quashing of the order, stating that the grounds were false, no proper explanation was given to them and that the procedure under Karnataka Civil Service Rules had not been followed. Agreeing with the reasons stated by the petitioners, the court said the judges had been ‘unceremoniously’ sent home without proper interpretation of the rules and set aside the order. The remaining three petitions are yet to be heard. PTI BH MSR APR

Accused should clarify the cause of injuries to victims: HC

PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 03,2012

Mumbai, Jan 3 (PTI) The onus of explaining how the injuries were caused to the victim lies on the accused in those cases where he/she is last seen with the victim, the Bombay High Court has observed in connection with an appeal filed by a man convicted for unnatural sex. The court also made it clear that failure on part of the accused in explaining the cause behind injuries to the victim may lead it to conclude that the accused is responsible for the same. The observation was made by Justice M L Tahaliyani while deciding on an appeal filed by Ramkisan Surajmal Harijan challenging his conviction for having unnatural sex with a ten-month-old girl child. According to the prosecution, on January 1, 2006, Harijan, who was the neighbour to the victim’s family had taken the baby to a secluded place under the pretext of playing with her and raped her. The mother of the victim who rushed to the incident spot after hearing the cries of the child saw the accused dropping the baby and fleeing the place. “Prosecution has established that the victim child was last seen with the convicted accused. The only question which needs to be examined is whether it was the accused or somebody else who had caused the injuries to the victim,” the court observed. Harijan’s lawyer Irfan Sait had argued that none of the prosecution witnesses had seen the appellant (Harijan) indulging in unnatural intercourse with the ten-month old victim. “In the present situation, the accused was under the obligation, in view of the provision of the Evidence Act, to explain as to how the victim suffered injuries since the victim was in the custody of the accused. He (accused) was under obligation to explain the same. If he has not given any explanation then the court can draw only one conclusion that he himself is responsible for the injuries,” Justice Tahaliyani remarked. The court while upholding Harijan’s conviction under section 377 (unnatural offences) of IPC, however, reduced his jail term from ten years to seven years. PTI SP NSK


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 03,2012

It prayed that if that was not possible, the court may It prayed that if that was not possible, the court may appoint a special officer for disbursing the cheques. The petition is likely to be moved tomorrow before the court of Justice Jayanta Biswas, Majumdar said. More than 90 persons, most of them patients, died after inhaling poisonous smoke at the centrally air-conditioned seven-storey AMRI annexe building on December nine. While six directors and two officers of AMRI are in judicial custody, director R S Agarwal is in hospital on account of illness. All of them have been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder among other charges.

Provide shelter to homeless in state: HC directs UP govt

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 04.03AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to provide shelters to homeless, who are forced to spend night in open, across the state.

A division bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi further directed the state government to furnish details of death toll occurred due to cold wave in the state.

The court also asked the state government as to what effective steps it had taken for night shelter to the homeless. The court noted that newspaper reports stated that no effective steps have been taken by the state government for such poor, destitutes and slum dwellers. The order came on a PIL filed by a local lawyer AK Mishra, who alleged that despite apex court’s strict directions, the poor and homeless are forced to spend nights in open.

AMRI hospital files petition in Kolkata HC to disburse compensation

Published: Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012, 21:13 IST
Place: Kolkata | Agency: PTI

The AMRI Hospital, where a devastating fire claimed more than 90 lives, on Tuesday filed a plea before the Calcutta High Court seeking direction to Kolkata Police Commissioner to disburse compensation to victims’ families or appoint a special officer in this regard.

The petition by AMRI Hospitals Pvt Ltd stated that 88 patients and two nurses died in the horrific incident on December nine and claimed that one patient who had been released a day before, had died at a government hospital.

Stating that it would give compensation to all the 89 patients including the one who died at the government hospital, the hospital authorities said it has already paid Rs five lakh each to the families of the two nurses from Kerala.

The AMRI Hospital authorities, seven of whose directors have been arrested, claimed that it had sent four letters to Kolkata Police Commissioner RK Pachnanda requesting him to finalise the number of victims and the amount and disburse the cheques to the victims’ families, counsel for the hospital Utpal Majumdar said.

The hospital authorities alleged that the office of the police commissioner had not responded to its letters in this regard.

The petitioner, claiming that it was not in a position to distribute the cheques on its own as the hospital had been closed after the incident, prayed that the court direct the police commissioner to receive the cheques from it and hand them to the families of the victims.

Casual workers too are eligible for maternity leave: HC

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 05.31AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has asked the government to regularize the services of a woman who was denied leave and job by the authorities, reiterating that even casual workers are entitled to three-month paid maternity leave if they had worked for 80 days in 12 months preceding child birth.

Justice D Hariparanthaman, passing orders on a petition filed by L Kannaki, who was first denied maternity leave, then not allowed to re-join duty and then refused regularization of job, said: “Kannaki was unjustly denied maternity leave and employment when she reported to duty after delivery of a child. The action of the authorities is totally illegal…”

Kannaki was a casual labourer at the Exotic Cattle Breeding Farm in Thanjavur since 1988. Since 1993, the government regularized services of more than 800 casual labourers. In 1996, Kannaki became pregnant and requested maternity leave. The authorities told her that she was not entitled to maternity leave as she was a casual labourer. After child birth in September 1996, she reported for duty. The authorities refused to provide her employment. She sent several requests and reminders seeking reinstatement and regularization of her services.

In 1999, though the Tamil Nadu Administrative Tribunal directed the department to reconsider its decision to deny her employment, the authorities rejected her claim for reinstatement and regularization.

Justice Hariparanthaman, citing legal precedents supporting the claims of Kannaki and slamming authorities for their refusal, said that as per Section 5(2) of the Maternity Act, women employees who had rendered more than 80 days of service during 12 months preceding the date of expected child delivery, were entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave with wages.

As for authorities’ claim that if a job break is more than 90 days, a casual worker cannot be reinstated without consulting the employment exchange, Justice Hariparanthaman said the break in service was due to pregnancy and it had been proved by documents that she delivered a male baby in September 1996. He directed the department to reinstate Kannaki within two months and regularize her job, besides paying her the monetary benefits from the date of regularization.

Andhra High Court cancels Srilakshmis bail

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: The AP High Court on Monday set aside the bail granted by a lower court to IAS officer Y Srilakshmi, an accused in the Obulapuram mining scam case. The officer was ordered to surrender before the CBI special court before Jan. 6 failing which the CBI can arrest her.
Pronouncing the order on CBI’s petition contesting the bail granted to her, Justice N R L Nageshwara Rao said it would be difficult for the agency to gather evidence on the mining scam if Srilakshmi was given bail. It was during her time as secretary, industries, that crucial decisions in the case were taken, including granting mining leases to the OMC Since the investigation into these decision has not yet been completed, the judge found merit in the CBI’s argument that Srilakshmi was in a position to destroy evidence if she were at large.
The judge said Srilakshmi was a “brilliant and intellectual person” and therefore it was “really sad and unbecoming” of a secretary to the government to contend that the GOs were issued in her name without her knowledge. The judge found little basis to her claim of not having seen or signed the GOs. He pointed out that Srilakshmi’s subordinates had vouched that the GOs were issued with her concurrence.
“The respondent (Srilakshmi) cleverly wants to shift the blame to the subordinate staff. All this has to be mentioned by me for the reason that consideration for bail shall be based on the character of the person involved in the crime. The conspiracy cannot be proved by documentary evidence alone and unless oral evidence is entirely collected by the investigating agency, mere documentary evidence is not sufficient and such a right of the investigating agency cannot be deprived,” the judge noted.
Citing the verdict of the Supreme Court in the Amarmani Tripathi case, judge Nageshwara Rao said the apex court has laid down that in considering bail, the status and conduct of the accused must be taken into consideration apart from the nature and gravity of the charge.
“There is more than sufficient material available on record as to how the respondent was associated with the grant of mining leases and GOs which favoured OMC, ignoring the vital condition that the leases be for ‘captive mining’ only.”

Chief priest asks court to end proceedings

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 06.14AM IST

KOCHI: Sabarimala chief priest Kandararu Maheshwararu has requested the Kerala High Court to end the proceedings based on his earlier letter protesting against the denial of entry for his grandson Rahul Easwar into the ‘sreekovil’ of Sabarimala temple.

Through a letter received in the high court on Tuesday, the chief priest has asked the court to end further proceedings. On December 2 last year, the court had ruled against granting entry for Rahul into the ‘sreekovil’ until further orders.

The chief priest had been provided three assistants named by him and also a male attendant. Therefore, the chief priest’s daughter’s son Rahul Easwar need not be allowed into the ‘sreekovil’, the court had held.

In the first letter, the chief priest had stated that his grandson was brought along to assist him and was not intended to allow him to do the rituals that the chief priest had to do.

Sabarimala executive officer M Satheeshkumar had told the media then that Rahul could not be permitted to enter the main temple as he was not a member of the three ‘santhis’ (helping priests) named by the chief priest to assist him in the rituals. The TDB official had also said that Rahul could not function as the priest in the temple as ‘makkathayam’ (son after father’s tenure) was the custom being observed.

Supreme Court notice to GNOIDA, UP on land acquisition row

PTI Jan 3, 2012, 10.07PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today issued notices to Uttar Pradesh government and Greater NOIDA authority on a petition filed by a group of farmers challenging the acquisition of their agricultural land by the authorities in Garhi Bachchera village of Gautam Buddh Nagar district.

The petition pleaded “mindless acquisition” of agriculture land would lead to a food crisis in the country.

A bench of justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale sought a response from the authorities within four seeks on the special leave petition filed by five of the aggrieved farmers challenging the judgement of the Allahabad High Court which had on October 21 last year upheld the acquisition.

High security licence plates hit many roadblocks nationwide

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 05.03AM IST

NEW DELHI: While the Delhi government defaulted on Supreme Court mandated December 31 deadline – later revised to March 31, 2012 – for high-security registration plates (HSRP), the story is no different in other states. The scheme that seeks to curtail counterfeiting and duplication of number plates has run into hurdles that range from legal challenges to the notification, to the cost, making governments chary of executing the order.

In Madhya Pradesh, the government recently floated HSRP tenders with deputy transport secretary Rajneesh Shrivastava saying, “The process for implementing HSRP has started. We’re waiting for the response. Once we get the bids, the government will analyse the capacity of firms concerned to execute the orders within the deadline.” MP has around 70 lakh vehicles (2009-10 figures).

The transport department of Tamil Nadu floated tenders calling for bidders in September 2011. “We haven’t selected a bidder yet, but we are at it,” said a senior transport department official, but non-committal on deadline.

Rajasthan’s transport commissioner Deepak Upreti said, “The bidders have been invited to establish necessary infrastructure for issuing and fixing HSRP. The last date for submitting tenders is January 17. The SC made an exception for Rajasthan for not filing affidavits on December 8 because of a pending litigation relating to tender process.”

Authorities in West Bengal said they aim to meet the fresh deadline of March 31. “We’ve done 80% of the job. Even in North Bengal, we have set up HSRP facilities. If no untoward situation emerges, we can fully comply with the apex court order well before the deadline,” said MD of West Bengal Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation Dhiman Mukhopadhyay.

The Regional Transport Office of Pune (RTO) said it has not received any directions from the state government. RTO Arun Yeola said, “We require guidance on implementation of HSRP. We can’t move otherwise.” The government is still to finalize on the implementing agency, he said.

Kerala, too, does not look ready for March 31. “The deadline is over, but we couldn’t implement the order as certain agencies have approached the court and obtained a stay against the tender invited by Motor Vehicles Department,” said Ernakulam RTO T J Thomas. He also said the HSRP rates were high compared to the normal number plates. “It will cost about Rs 750 for motorcycles and Rs 1,000 for four wheelers,” Thomas said.

Uttar Pradesh, too, hasn’t been able to do much as the state government’s tendering process has been challenged in the high court.

Eyeing Pongal, T Ngr traders go to Supreme Court

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 05.06AM IST

CHENNAI: Their shops lying under lock and seal for more than two months now, the small and big merchants of T Nagar are knocking at almost every available door to resume business.

On Tuesday, a special leave petition filed by the Ranganathan Street Merchants Association came up for hearing in the Supreme Court. The petition challenged the Madras high court’s December 22 order refusing to ‘de-seal’ the locked premises.

The high court, instead, had asked the business establishments to approach the court-appointed monitoring committee, which is the expert body, and furnish relevant documents. The committee shall, the court said, analyse the documents and building plan permits and pass individual orders expeditiously.

When the petition came up for hearing before a bench comprising Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Dipak Mishra on Tuesday, the bench wondered whether the high court could refer the matter back to the monitoring committee, and asked the government to file its reply by January 9.

Simultaneously, a large number of owners and tenants of sealed buildings approached the monitoring committee seeking immediate ‘de-sealing’ so as to enable them to do their seasonal Pongal business.

“The monitoring committee has received our representations, submitted as per the directions of the high court. We were, however, informed that the members would process the documents and pass orders on our representations only after the outcome of the hearing on the petition in the SC is known on January 9,” said advocate Siva Rajasekaran, counsel for Saravana Stores.

Saravana Stores has told the committee that its twin buildings bearing no. 12 and 13, Ranganathan Street, have been sealed though no notice was issued in respect of shop bearing door no. 13, Ranganathan Street. “We have told the committee that we are ready to divide the shop, as no. 13 is strictly as per the building rules, while no. 12 was built before 1999,” he said.

As for the two shops run by Rathna Stores, its senior counsel G Rajagopalan told the committee that the shop on Usman Road was purchased through a court auction and that it was well within the cut-off date, thereby making it eligible for exemption.

The monitoring committee met today and discussed the HC order asking it hear representations of traders for de-sealing. A Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority release said the monitoring committee and the Chennai Corporation processed all appeals filed till January 2.

Funded by RIL Trust, Network18 buys ETV channels from RIL

Published: Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Team DNA | Place: Mumbai

First, a caveat: this deal is Complex, in capitalletters.

In essence, a buyer is acquiring stake from a seller, largely using money lent by the seller, even as he benefits massively from an announcement-led boost in share price.

Here’s how: Broadcaster Network 18 on Tuesday announced plans to acquire various channels (some fully, some partially) of ETV for Rs2,100 crore, using money lent by Independent Media Trust, which is promoted by Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).

ETV, promoted by Hyderabad-based media baron Ramoji Rao, is also substantially owned by RIL through its investment vehicles.

Network18, with a market cap of Rs1,881 crore as of Tuesday, will make a rights issue of Rs5,400 crore (Rs2,700 crore each in group companies TV18 Broadcast and Network18 Media & Investments).

That would be a 19% and 30% premium, respectively, to the market price of those shares on Tuesday — and that too, after both shares surged 20% apiece.

Arithmetically, that’s a potential injection of Rs5,400 crore into the broadcast company. However, since Network18 holds a 50% stake in TV18, the net rights issue proceeds would be Rs4,000 crore.

While promoter Raghav Bahl & friends will inject as much as Rs1,700 crore to subscribe to the rights, the rest Rs2,300 crore will have to be brought in by other shareholders.

In case they don’t subscribe, the promoters will pick up that portion too — which, again, would be funded by the RIL Trust.
The maximum the trust will fund, therefore, will be Rs4,000 crore.

In return, the Network 18 companies will issue optionally convertible debentures to the trust, which should be convertible to equity in 2-3 years, according to analysts.

How much stake the trust ends up with post conversion is anybody’s guess.

Yet, after all this, Bahl, the promoter, editor and managing director of Network18, will end up with a majority stake because there will be an enormous equity dilution through rights.

At the rights issue valuation, the market capitalisation of Network18surges to Rs7,700 crore. That’s a rise of 309% from Tuesday’s Rs1,881 crore — without a change in guidance on business prospects — other than the statement that the company becomes debt-free.

It currently has debt of around Rs1,400 crore.
RIL said it had invested about Rs2,600 crore in ETV channels for a substantial but undisclosed stake — and it will not be selling it all away.

TV18 would get 100% ‘economic interest’ in ETV’s regional news channels in Hindi including ETV Uttar Pradesh, ETV Madhya Pradesh, ETV Rajasthan and ETV Bihar and ETV Urdu.

TV18 would also get 50% ‘interest’ in ETV Marathi, ETV Kannada, ETV Bangla, ETV Gujarati and ETV Oriya.

A leading media player in Telugu, ETV also has a Telugu news channel and an entertainment channel.

TV18 would get 24.5% ‘interest’ in these two channels.

Interestingly, apart from saying that it would acquire a specific “interest” in these channels, TV18 has not disclosed the equity holding it would end up with. Neither TV18 nor RIL explained the difference between economic interest and equity stake.

“The funding is being provided by the trust as an accretive investment for RIL shareholders,” Bahl said in a conference call with analysts on Tuesday.
Bahl has refused to give finer details of the deal including the details of the total shareholding of RIL in ETV.
He also refused to divulge the financials of these channels and the incremental addition to TV18’s balance sheet subsequent to the completion of the deal.
“We will be able to provide the details only on consummation of the deal. There are several steps that are still to be crossed before concluding the deal. The completion of the rights issue is a condition precedent to the entire acquisition. There are various clearances that are yet to be sought including one from the Competition Commission of India (CCI). But, we are sure that we will be able to squeeze these assets (ETV channels) and focus on profitability in the next 12 to 24 months,” Bahl explained.
Apart from divesting its interest and funding the deal, RIL has also entered into a content distribution agreement with TV18 and Network 18.
As per the agreement, Infotel Broadband, a subsidiary of RIL, would have preferential access to all their content for distribution through the 4G broadband network being set up by it. Infotel would have preferential access to the content of all the media and web properties of Network 18 and its associates and programming and digital content of all the broadcasting channels of TV18 and its associates on a first right basis as a most preferred customer.
“Following the completion of this deal, TV18 will have minimal debt, which along with higher subscription revenues is a huge positive over the long term,” said Abneesh Roy, analyst with Edelweiss Securities, in a note after the deal announcement.
“Post the deal, the TV18 bouquet will include more than 25 channels which will boost subscription revenues in both domestic and international markets and impart it higher bargaining power with advertisers … Key risks/concerns are huge dilution, competition in Kannada and Telugu markets with Sun TV (who is TV18’s distribution partner) and potential merger blues,” Roy said.

Former AG seeks probe against ex-Union Secretary

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  An unusual case in which a former Accountant-General digging out allegedly forged reports which denied him a posting as a member of Central Administrative Tribunal has emerged, thanks to the RTI Act.

Interestingly, a former union secretary and a popular ex-MLA-cum-former bureaucrat are the respondents in the case.

The Division Bench of the Kerala High Court comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chelur and Justice Ramachandra Menon has directed the Secretary (Personnel), Government of India, and the Director, CBI, to submit affidavits in response to the writ appeal filed by James K Joseph, former Accountant-General, seeking a CBI probe into a conspiracy and fraud alleged to have been committed by the then Secretary (Personnel), A N Tiwari and others. The case is posted for hearing on January 4. Earlier, on September 23, 2011, the Division Bench comprising the then Chief Justice Chelamalleswar and Justice Ramachandra Menon had admitted a writ appeal against the judgment of the single judge dismissing the writ petition.

In his writ appeal, James K Joseph has maintained that he was selected by the selection committee headed by then Supreme Court Justice K G Balakrishnan for appointment as Administrative Member, CAT in October, 2004. He alleged that A N Tiwari had conspired with Alphons Kannanthanam, former civil servant and ex-MLA, and forged an adverse report as if framed by the Intelligence Bureau.

As per this report, James K Joseph was “forced” to take voluntary retirement while working as Accountant-General, Kerala, due to an adverse inquiry report against him.

In June, 2005, Justice R C Lahoti, Chief Justice of India, ordered a verification of this report by the Selection Committee. James K Joseph further alleges that five months later, after the retirement of Justice Lahoti, Tiwari submitted to Justice Sabarwal, Chief Justice of India, another ‘forged document’ which endorsed the forged ‘IB Report.’ This was purported to be the minutes of the selection committee meeting stated to have been held in Ernakulam on September 24, 2005. The allegedly fraudulent input, according to James K Joseph, resulted in the denial of appointment to him.

The copy of a letter from the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India negating the adverse report and a letter from the Department of Personnel stating that it had no knowledge or records about the selection committee meeting have been produced as Exhibits along with the petition. It is stated that all documents were obtained through the RTI Act. Interestingly, the source of the “Minutes of the selection committee meeting” as well as the information that no records are available about the said meeting, which came through the RTI Act, is with the office of the respondent itself.

Inexcusable act: Omar

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 04.36AM IST

URI: Angry protesters on Tuesday confronted J&K CM Omar Abdullah as he visited the family of a youth killed in Central Industrial Security Force’s firing on people protesting power shortage at Boniyar in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district a day earlier.

Five CISF men, including a sub-inspector, have been arrested on murder charges for killing Altaf Ahmad Sood, a class XII student, in the firing outside an NHPC power station in Boniyar. Two others, including a 70-year-old man, were injured in the incident.

The CM came out of his car to address the protesters, who blocked the way of his motorcade. He pacified them by acknowledging that excessive force had caused the death of Sood, who was shot twice in his chest.

“This is inexcusable act where CISF men fired on the crowd and targeted a student, who, according to his parents, was coming from his tuitions. The state government has announced a judicial probe and registered a murder case,” Omar said.

Omar told the protesters that he was visiting the remote village to console the family and assure them that Sood’s killers would not be allowed to go scot-free. “I have come to express my deep sorrow to the bereaved family and share their gloom and grief,” he said.

Later, the CM met the youth’s parents and assured them that he would take “the case to which ever court necessary” to get them justice. The CM promised the residents that the power supply would improve within two days.

Separately, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), a representative body of various traders and industrialists, called for a complete shutdown to protest power shortage on Friday.

Edit: Time to act

Published: Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012, 8:00 IST
Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The declaration of dates for the elections to the BMC and other municipal corporations and districts councils in the state will at least end the frenzy of announcements by the state government desperate to woo the electorate, particularly in Mumbai, where the Congress-NCP alliance believes it has a good chance of winning.

Not that the Shiv Sena and the BJP will give in easily. The allies are fighting hard and have been strengthened with the Republican Party of India (Athavale) joining them. They have taken up the issue of corruption as made out by Anna Hazare against the Congress at the Centre. Whether a national issue will play a role in what is essentially a local election, or whether voters will prefer the sops dished out by the Congress-NCP, will be known in good time. But few will deny that the results will have a bearing on the 2014 state elections.

A strong performance by the Congress-NCP will strengthen CM Prithviraj Chavan’s hand. A defeat for the Sena-BJP in Mumbai will put Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray under tremendous pressure to reunite with estranged cousin Raj Thackeray, who broke away five years ago to set up the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. A victory, on the other hand, will consolidate Uddhav’s position and put Raj’s fledgling party under strain.

The elections are also a test for the city’s perennially complaining middle and upper classes. Traditionally, these classes have shunned the civic poll, seeing it as something that only concerns their help. Yet, they are the first to complain about potholed roads and water scarcity. It would be a travesty if those who groan about the city’s state again shirk their responsibility. The middle class must get out and vote. Democracy is strengthened only by the participation of all people, and no politician will then ignore the voice of the middle class.

LEGAL NEWS 04.01.2012

After NHRC intervention, family of dead prisoner gets higher relief


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 07.19AM IST

CHENNAI: The state government has enhanced the compensation to the family of a prisoner who committed suicide in jail after the intervention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Of the Rs 1 lakh sanctioned to the family , Rs 33,334 was disbursed to the victim’s wife, Nambuthai . The rest was deposited in at the Rameswaram post office in the names of her two minor children .

The matter related to 29-year-old R P Murugan , son of Ponnandi Konar , who was remanded at Madurai central prison . He had tried to commit suicide by hanging on May 20, 2009 anddiedwhilebeing taken toGovernmentR ajajiHospital , Madurai . While the commission passed an order directing state authorities to increase the financial relief by Rs 50,000 in March 2011, no proof of paymentwassubmittedthereafter .

Through its proceedings in June 2011, the NHRC reminded the chief secretary to transmit a copy of the proof of payment within six weeks. In response , state authorities informed the commission two months later that one part of the compensation amount of Rs 1 lakh was disbursed to the victim’s wife and the rest deposited in the names of the children .

A compliance report for this case was the only one that was submitted to NHRC by the governmentin November 2011. The commission received 47 such compliance reports from different public authorities across the country which showed that a sum of Rs 94 ,90 ,000 was paid to victims of human rights violations or their next of kin .

The maximum number of compliance reports was furnished by the Uttar Pradesh governmentfor 11cases ,which included custodial deaths , encounter deaths , abduction and abuse of power by the police and indignity towards women . A sum of Rs 10 lakh was the highest compensation awarded in an individual case (death in a policeencounter )by theUP government .








Election Commission gaze to keep ‘star campaigners’ on edge


Published: Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012, 9:30 IST
By Iftikhar Gilani | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

As campaign for the five state Assembly polls starts to heat up, the Election Commission (EC) has issued elaborate guidelines about the conduct and expenditure of high profile public meetings, addressed by star campaigners.

Expecting a star-studded electrifying campaign, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, the EC has notified that while travel expenses of the notified star campaigners would not be added to the expenditure of contesting candidate, the expenses of the meeting would be added, in case the candidate or his poll agent is present on the dais or a banner with his picture or name is put up around the dais.

The travel expenses whether by helicopter, aircraft or any other means, will not be added to the expenditure incurred by the contesting candidates. However, if a candidate or his family member or representative travels with the star campaigner, half of the expenditure incurred will be added to his account.

To avail this benefit, the party has to notify its star campaigners within seven days of the notification of the election. A recognised political party can have maximum 40 such campaigners while the ceiling is 20 for other registered parties.

The benefit, however, is not available on expenditure incurred by a star campaigner of another party or a party in alliance as his travel expenditure will be added to the candidate’s expenditure.

The candidate has to bear the lodging and boarding expenses of the star campaigners as also half the cost of the public meetings. The expenditure will be divided among the candidates if the party leader is campaigning for more than one candidate.

Further, the expenditure including lodging/boarding will be also added to candidate’s expenses, if the star campaigner stays in a in a commercial hotel or a lodge for the purpose of campaign.

“The market value of such commercial boarding and lodging is to be calculated towards the poll expenditure of the candidate, even if the boarding and lodging is provided as complimentary. If the star campaigner while availing the boarding and lodging in one constituency, travels to another constituency to campaign for other candidates, then the lodging and boarding expense will be proportionately distributed as the expense of those candidates,” said the notification.







Non-judicial member of KAT sworn in


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sringaram Pradeep Kumar Naidu, was sworn in as the non-judicial member of Kerala Administrative tribunal(KAT) on Monday.

In a ceremony held at the KAT Headquarters here, Chairman Justice K Balakrishnan Nair administered the oath of office to Pradeep Kumar Naidu.

Pradeep Kumar Naidu was the Commissioner for departmental inquiries in the Central Vigilance Commission and former Special Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh.

KAT member Mathew C Kunnumkal, Additional Advocate-General P C Iype, Law Secretary C P Ramaraja Prema Prasad, Bar Association president K P Jayachandran were present on the occasion.

Nearly 20 cases had been filed since the KAT started its sitting on December 12, 2011. KAT, which was formed to look into cases related with State Government employees consists of three judicial members, including the chairman, and three non-judicial members and three Benches out of which two would be based in the capital and one in Kochi to handle the cases from North Kerala. But three posts, one of a non judicial member and two of judicial members are vacant.

The decision by the government on June 15, 2011, to recall two judicial members P V Asha and Ashok Mammen Cherian, both advocates at Kerala High Court, appointed by the LDF Government, had drawn flak from the Opposition.







Qualcomm offers to clear Tulip’s dues, seeks BWA licence

PTI, 02 Jan 2012 | 06:26 PM


The tribunal was hearing the petition of Qualcomm, which has challenged the DoT notice for cancelling the allotment of BWA spectrum in four circles that it bagged last year in auction.



US-based chip-maker Qualcomm today offered to give an undertaking before telecom tribunal TDSAT that it will clear the dues of its partner Tulip Telecom and requested that the telecom ministry be asked to issue licence to it for BWA spectrum.

Tulip is a 13 per cent shareholder in the consortium which had bid for BWA spectrum along with Qualcomm. As per the rules and regulation, operators has to get a no-due certificate from DoT for a new licence.

However, in December DoT had issued a show-cause notice to Tulip claiming a due of Rs 146 crore for 2009-10 and 2010-11.

During the proceedings, Qualcomm’s counsel submitted that the Department of Telecom was yet to work out the final figure of Tulip’s dues, which is disputed and once done, it would be paid.

Senior advocate S Ganesh appearing for chip-maker said Qualcomm was ready to file an undertaking along with an affidavit in this regard and its ISP licence should be alloted after that.

This was accepted by the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), which asked Qualcomm to file a formal application.

The TDSAT bench headed by its Chairman Justice S B Sinha also asked the DoT to file reply over the Qualcomm’s new move by Friday and directed to list the matter on Monday for next hearing.

Ganesh submitted that DoT has issued show-cause notice only to Tulip over the due of Rs 146 crore. It is opposed by its Indian partner and some correspondences are exchanged between DoT and Tulip, however, the matter is still at the show-cause stage only.

He said at the time of allotment of LoI on October 10, 2011 there was no dues on Tulip. The show-cause notice was issued two months after that and it is not a final demand yet.

Ganesh further quipped that the US-based company has already paid Rs 4,900 crore towards BWA spectrum and wondered why the licence is not being alloted for Rs 146 crore due which is still under dispute.


The tribunal was hearing the petition of Qualcomm, which has challenged the DoT notice for cancelling the allotment of BWA spectrum in four circles that it bagged last year in auction.

Qualcomm’s application for licence was rejected by DoT on the basis that it had made four nominees for the spectrum. The company was fearing that its licence may be revoked and spectrum may be allotted to someone else.

On December 2, Qualcomm had sought time to verify the authenticity of the dues claimed by DoT and said that if that was correct, then would pay it.

DoT had also informed the TDSAT that if the dues were verified and cleared by them, then the ISP licence would be given to Qualcomm within a day.

DoT had further submitted that after the grant of ISP licence, Qualcomm would have to apply for spectrum and it would be given in two weeks.

On November 8, TDSAT had directed representatives of Qualcomm and DoT to meet and resolve their differences over grant of BWA spectrum.

Qualcomm had bagged BWA spectrum for Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala circles and LoIs were allotted to it.






Pending probe can’t justify long suspension’


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 01.06AM IST

MUMBAI: Pending departmental inquiry or disciplinary proceedings can’t be used as grounds to place government employees under suspension for a long period of time, observed vice-chairman of the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) A P Sinha.

“Even the apex court has made it clear that long continuation of suspension and pending disciplinary proceedings make it punitive and unlawful. An employee is placed under suspension to prevent him/her from tampering with the evidence or influencing the witnesses. In the present case, no such material has been placed on record to indicate such a possibility,” Sinha observed in his five-page order while disposing of an application filed by a revenue department employee, S S Gaikwad, against her suspension.

Expressing displeasure over the state government’s failure to appoint an inquiry officer to probe charges of irregularities against her, Sinha said, “Gaikwad was suspended for making irregular mutation entries in land records.

Though a chargesheet was served on her, neither an inquiry officer nor a presenting officer was appointed despite the passage of more than a year. No explanation for the inordinate delay has been offered…..without going into the merits of the case, I am directing the government to reinstate her subject to the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings against her,” Sinha observed.

The MAT observed that the only reason given to justify the suspension order was that the allegations against Gaikwad were serious in nature while the naib tehsildar who had certified the entries made by her was quickly reinstated.

Sinha’s order assumes significance for 19 lakh-odd state government employees. At present, quite a large number of employees is under suspension as the departmental inquiry against them is pending. “Suspended employees are at the mercy of the inquiry officer. Even for a minor error, employees have to suffer for a better part of their lives,” a senior bureaucrat said.

The bureaucrat has called for a permanent mechanism for completion of departmental probes in a time-bound manner. “As has been observed by the apex court, an employee can’t remain under suspension for a prolonged period. Government should set up an independent mechanism for the purpose. Appoint senior officers exclusively to conduct departmental probes. They should be asked to complete the probe within three months,” he said.

While special inquiry officers conduct probes against IAS and IPS officials, no such mechanism exists for the rest of the employees. “Employee organizations should take up the matter with the CM and the chief secretary,” he said.

As has been observed by the apex court, an employee can’t remain under suspension for a prolonged period. Government should set up an independent mechanism for the purpose.







New rules likely to bring back smiles on Sr citizens


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 06.18AM IST

HYDERABAD: This New Year, the aged and the infirm have a good reason to smile as the state government has framed rules for effective implementation of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

The rules clearly specify the procedures and the manner in which the tribunals would hold enquiries while dealing with applications filed by parents against their children and childless senior citizens against their relatives for maintenance.

Under the enactment, parents could claim provision of food, clothing, residence, medical attendance or treatment from one or all of their children provided the latter is above 18 years of age. The rules, framed under section 32 of the central enactment, were notified in GO No. 49, which was issued a few days ago.

“The rules will be implemented strictly to help the parents who have been deserted by their children,” women and child welfare minister Sunita Lakshma Reddy told TOI. She said district-wise tribunals would be constituted to inquire into the complaints of parents.

But the aggrieved parents should first approach the appellate committees which would function under the chairmanship of a revenue divisional officer. If the grievance is not resolved at the committee level, then the tribunal headed by the district collector will look into the complaint.

The new rules have also a provision that in case of legal heirs not taking care of the parents, a maximum of Rs 10,000 would be paid to the parents. “It is better to settle the matter amicably through a conciliation officer. Tribunals should play a key role when it comes to dealing with complaints of parents facing serious health problems,” said senior citizen’s activist S Bhuma Reddy.

But experts are worried over the role of tribunals in solving the cases. “A lot depends on the functioning of the district officials in lending a ear to the woes of the complainant and solving their problems,” observed V Yateendra Yadav, programme manager in a senior citizen’s organisation.

The rules also provide for supervision on management of old-age homes under section 19 of the Act for housing those senior citizens who do not have means of a shelter. There are about 500 old-age homes in the state — 100 are being run in Hyderabad alone — where at least 25,000 senior citizens take shelter. Ten per cent of these homes would get government aid henceforth.

The new rules have also a provision that in case of legal heirs not taking care of the parents, a maximum of 10,000 would be paid to the parents








National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources to move Supreme Court after getting report on illegal mining


Press Trust of India, Updated: January 02, 2012 20:12 IST

Bangalore:  The National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources today said it would move the Supreme Court after receiving a detailed report on illegal mining at Kappat Gudda hill ranges in Gadag district and asked Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda order a Lokayukta probe into it.

Speaking to reporters here, National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources convenor S R Hiremath said he would move the Supreme Court after getting a substantive report on illegal mining in the hill ranges.

“We approached the Apex Court on the basis of a substantive report submitted by former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde on illegal mining in Bellary. However, National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources first wants to give the government a chance curb illegal mining there,” he said.

Hiremath alleged that a nexus of people’s representatives, officials and mining mafia have looted 50 per cent of the mineral wealth from that area, to which the state government had remained a ‘silent spectator’.

“We will request the Chief Minister, Speaker G Boppaiah and Council Chairman D H Shankarmurthy to discuss illegal mining in Kappat Gudda in the Assembly session this month,” he said.

The illegal mining has caused enormous environmental damage in Kappat Gudda, known for its unique flora and fauna especially medicinal plants for centuries, Hiremath said.

“When we took up the issue of illegal mining in Bellary, we didn’t expect ban orders on illegal mining in the state…likewise we hope the government would take cognisance and order Loakyukta probe into Kappat Gudda issue,” he said.

While major focus would be on Kappat Gudda issue in 2012, National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources’s other objective is to press for stringent action against four former Chief Ministers S M Krishna, H D Kumaraswamy, Dharam Singh and Yeddyurappa, Hiremath said.







Realtors to move court against RR rate hike

Tue Jan 03 2012, 02:27 hrs Mumbai:

The state government might have to brace for a legal battle with certain segments of the realty sector planning to challenge the steep hike in ready reckoner (RR) rates in court.

The revised rates for Mumbai, effective from January 1 this year, show a sharp 10-30 per cent increase from last year. In Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, the hike is a staggering 100 per cent. The move, say realty analysts, will increase the capital gains tax for builders as well as burden home buyers with higher stamp duty charges. “If the government doesn’t roll back its decision, we are planning to file a writ petition in the Bombay High Court,” said advocate Vinod Sampat and president of Registration Fee and Stamp Duty Payers’ Association.

According to estimates by the association, a 1,000 sq ft apartment in Cuffe Parade, that was priced at Rs 3.65 crore in 2011, will now be priced at Rs 4.75 crore. It has seen a 30 per cent revision. The impact will be felt even in places that have seen the least revision. In Linking Road, where the rates have been increased by 15 per cent, a 1,000 sq ft apartment that cost Rs 1.82 crore last year will now cost Rs 2.10 crore.

While the new flats sold by builders are usually 20-40 per cent more expensive than the RR rates, resale apartments would be hit harder as they are usually priced lower than the new stock. The RR rates would turn out to be higher than the agreement value, forcing buyers to shell out a much higher stamp duty.

Brokerage firm Prabhudas Lilladher in its recent report noted that property registrations in November had fallen to a 31-month low in Mumbai. “There have been no sales for the longest time and builders too haven’t increased their rates for the last 8 to 10 months. Just because the government is unable to meet its stamp duty collection targets, it cannot raise the RR rates for buyers who are already bogged down by VAT, service tax and labour cess,” said Paras Gundecha, MCHI president. He also questioned the logic of calculating the RR rates on built-up area when the government urges developers to sell flats on the basis of carpet area.

“We will raise the issue with the CM and revenue minister.”






Child sexual abuse case: docs told to file separate affidavits


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 02,2012

Chennai, Jan 2 (PTI): Two doctors, who contradicted their earlier reports on the alleged sexual abuse of a four-year-old girl, have been directed by Madras High Court to file separate affidavits asking them why they should not be prosecuted for giving false reports after examining the child. Passing further orders on a writ petition by her mother,the first bench,comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam directed that the notice be served on them through Deputy Superintendent of police, Crime Branch CID, which is investigating the case and posted the matter for hearing on January 18. In her complaint lodged with police at Kallakurichi in Villupuram district,the mother said her daughter,a UKG student in a private school was sexually harassed by the LKG class teacher and the principal. She was medically examined by a doctor attached to the Government headquarters hospital there and also by Dr M Shyamala Devi of Apollo Children’s Hospital, Chennai, following which a report was submitted. Meanwhile, the investigating agency filed the final report along with an affidavit, seeking more time. The Court said the final report stated that CB-CID had the child examined by a team of doctors, including Dr Anita Anandhi, who had earlier examined her on Aug 4 last year. The team’s report contradicted the earlier finding by Dr Anandhi and also that of Dr Shyamala Devi. The final report stated that Dr Anandhi had admitted her opinion differed from that of other doctors. She had further admitted that the opinion of the team of doctors was correct. The report had also mentioned that Dr Shyamala Devi had denied her earlier statement that on Aug 12, an Inspector attached to Kallakurichi police station had come to her room and threatened her.






Casual workers were also entitled to paid maternity leave: HC


PTI | 11:01 PM,Jan 02,2012

Chennai, Jan 2 (PTI) Stating that casual workers were also entitled to three-month’s paid maternity leave if they had worked for 80 days in 12 months preceding child birth, Madras High Court today told the government to regularise services of a woman who was denied leave and job by authorities. Passing orders on a writ petition filed by L Kannaki, who was denied maternity leave, not allowed to re-join duty and then refused regularisation of her job, Justice D Hariparanthaman said ‘Kannaki was unjustly denied maternity leave and employment when she reported to duty after delivery. The action of the authorities is totally illegal”. The woman was working as a casual labourer at Exotic Cattle Breeding Farm under the Department of Animal Husbandry in Thanjavur district since 1988. Since 1993 the government had regularized services of hundreds of casual labourers there. When in 1996 Kannaki became pregnant and requested for maternity leave, officials told her that she was not entitled for maternity leave being a casual worker. After he child was born in September 1996, she reported for duty.The authorities, however, refused to provide her employment. She kept sending several requests and reminders seeking reinstatement and regularization of her services. In 1999 though the Tamil Nadu Administrative Tribunal directed the department to reconsider its decision to deny her employment, her claim for reinstatement and regularization was rejected by an August 23, 2000 order. Citing legal precedents supporting claims of Kannaki and slamming the authorities for their abject refusal, the Judge said that as per Section 5(2) of the Maternity Act, women employees who had rendered more than 80 days of service during 12 months immediately preceding the date of expected child delivery were entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave with wages. Rejecting the claim that if a job break was over 90 days, a casual employee could not be reinstated without consulting the employment exchange, the judge said the break in service was due to pregnancy and it had been proved by certificates and documents to prove that she delivered a male baby in September 1996. The Judge directed the department to reinstate Kannaki within two months and regularise her job, besides paying her all monetary benefits from the date of regularisation. PTI GR RC



Another land scam probe against


Bangalore: The Karnataka Lokayukta (ombudsman) special court on Monday ordered an inquiry into the allegedly illegal freeing of government land on the city’s outskirts by former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy in 2007.

Admitting the private complaint filed by Madhuswamy, trial court judge NK Sudhindra Rao directed the ombudsman’s police to investigate the alleged illegalities under section 156/3 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and submit a report by February 6.

The complainant alleged that Kumaraswamy freed 3.8 acres of land from state control at Thanisandra village after it was acquired by the state-run Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) for forming residential sites near Arkavathy lake in the city’s north-western suburb.

Kumaraswamy, younger son of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda and Lok Sabha member from Ramanagara, was chief minister of the first coalition government in the state between Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for 20 months from February 2006 to October 2007.

The complainant also named former minister C. Chennigappa as co-accused and sought action under the Prevention of Corruption Act against the duo.

This is the second land scam Kumaraswamy is facing after he was accused of illegally allotting a huge land to a private housing cooperative society near the city by an advocate (Vinod Kumar) through a complaint Aug 8.

The Karnataka High Court, however, quashed the criminal proceedings by the trial court in the second case Oct 21 against Kumaraswamy and his wife Anita, a lawmaker, who was rewarded with a residential site by the society.

Kumaraswamy is also facing two graft cases in the multi-crore mining scam that rocked the state in 2011 and was named by then ombudsman Justice (retired) Santosh N Hegde in the final investigation report on illegal mining that was submitted to the state government July 27, 2011.



Govt apathy of rape victim shocks court


The post-crime trauma suffered by a teenaged rape victim and her family members and the state’s apathy to their plight has shocked a Delhi court, prompting it to order Rs 1 lakh as interim compensation to her.

Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau expressed shock after finding that the

victim had tried to commit suicide by consuming acid, leading to replacement of her food pipe with an artificial one. The victim’s father suffered two heart attacks and her mother had to work as a maid to sustain the family with no state aid whatsoever.

“I’m shocked to observe that despite this pathetic state of the victim and her family, who, I find, are feeling a sense of physical and psychological isolation, no assistance has been provided to her by the state,” the judge observed, ordering the Delhi government to award her the compensation.

The case dates to 2007, when the 14-year-old victim was raped by one Vicky Sain of Vikaspuri.

The victim, now 18, had allegedly tried to commit suicide after her rape by consuming acid. Though she survived her suicide bid, she suffered extensive damage to her internal system and despite replacement of her food pipe, she is not able to swallow food and speak properly even now.







Second autopsy on Anuj Bidve


After meeting the Bidve family for the second time on Tuesday, the visiting police officers from Greater Manchester, UK, said they had been able to “fill some gaps in understanding the events leading up to Anuj Bidve’s tragic death”.
Bidve, 23, was shot dead on December 26 in


After the meeting, chief superintendent Russ Jackson read out a statement stating that the UK police’s role was to “meet the family, to explain about the case so far”.

He said in Britain, following the charging of a suspect, the defence is entitled to a second autopsy, which is underway in Bidve’s case.

“After this Her Majesty’s Coroner will be able to consider the release of Anuj,”
he added.





New recruitment rules for zoos


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BANGALORE: A modified Cadre and Recruitment (C&R) rules applicable for employees of various zoos of Karnataka is ready and has been sent to the government for approval. The new rules will help the Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) to create new posts and depute officers from other departments. The ZAK plans to recruit 60 assistant animal keepers for the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, Mysore; Bannerghatta Biological Park, Bangalore; and Tavarekoppa Zoo, Shimoga.
The present strength of animal keepers in all state zoos is 463 which is not sufficient. Soon, they will be promoted and treated on par with Group ‘D’ employees. ZAK Chairman Nanjundaswamy told Express that twelve veteranarians of the rank of assistant directors, with a minimum experience of 8-10 years in animal welfare, will be deputed from the Department of Animal Husbandry to Mysore, Bannerghatta and Shimoga zoos. The respective zoos will bear their salary, perks and other expenses as long as they work on their premises. “The modified rules sent to the government for its concurrence is final and will not be revised in the future,” Nanjundaswamy added.
No Elephant for Germany Zoo
He said the ZAK has dropped its plan of donating an elephant calf to Leipzig Zoo, Germany, following a PIL filed in the state High Court against it. The Mysore Zoo had received recently two pairs of black bears from Sri Tirumala Tirupathi Zoo, Andhra Pradesh. One pair from that zoo and another pair of bears which are currently in Mysore Zoo, will be gifted to Leipzig Zoo, for which procedures are being worked out. Nanjundaswamy also said that e-ticketing will soon be introduced for the convenience of visitors.





Hearing on Mudumalai elephant rejuvenation camp adjourned


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 06.08AM IST

MADURAI: A public interest litigation (PIL) seeking to quash a government order passed to conduct a rejuvenation camp for elephants at the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, has been adjourned to Wednesday by the Madurai bench of the Madras high court.

In December last, V Sundaraj, an advocate filed a PIL seeking to quash the order passed by the Tamil Nadu government on December 5 to conduct such camp at the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. However, he sought a direction to the authorities to conduct the elephant rejuvenation camp region-wise instead of conducting the same at the reserve.

The petitioner had contended that the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve has the highest density of tigers in the country and that the National Tiger Conservation Authority should not permit the state to conduct the camp since it is an ecologically sensitive area.

He also said the possibility of contagious diseases and infection being spread to the wild animals from the domestic captivated elephants has not been taken into consideration. When the matter came up for hearing on Monday before the bench comprising Justice Chitra Venkataraman and Justice R Karuppiah, the additional advocate general K Chellapandian submitted similar petitions challenging the conduct of the camp were dismissed by the principal seat at Chennai.

Asking him to produce the order copy of principal seat at Chennai, the bench adjourned the case for further hearing to Wednesday.




Govt on notice for CBI probe into BBMP scam


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 02.45AM IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Monday ordered issuance of notice to the state government, BBMP and the CBI with regard to a PIL seeking a probe by the investigating agency into the multi-crore scam in the BBMP.

The division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen posted the matter to January 31 for further hearing. “Out of the 10,109 work files of the BBMP, the team headed by chief engineer (vigilance) perused 153 files and found Rs 1540 crore worth of scam in three divisions of Malleswaram, Gandhinagar and Rajarajeshwarinagar for the 2008-09 to 2011-12 period. If the inquiry is held with respect to the entire 29 engineering divisions, the scam would put the 2G figures in the shade. Though the state government had ordered a CID investigation, the magnitude of the scam requires an investigation by the CBI,” counsel for the petitioners told the court

Notice on noise pollution

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen ordered notice to chief secretary, Bangalore city police commissioner and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board with regard to a PIL seeking a direction to curb noise pollution emanating out of religious places on account of use of loudspeakers/ microphones without permission.

“This has to be stopped across the board. You are totally ineffective so far,” the bench observed while asking respondents to file their objections by the next hearing.

Jayanagar Nagarika Samiti filed this petition claiming that despite directions of the apex court regarding noise pollution and also orders of the high court, loudspeakers and microphones are being used without obtaining police permission under Section 37 of the Police Act.

“The use of loudspeakers at religious places across the city at odd hours is causing noise pollution but also torturing the public at large” the petitioner association stated.

Plea by dog bite victim

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen ordered notice to the state government, BBMP and NGOs involved in stray dog control activities. The bench ordered notice to SPCA, ARF and CUPA on a PIL filed by Master Jishnu, a 5-year-old boy from Yelahanka New Town who was attacked by six stray dogs in front of his house on July 6, 2010.

Jishnu, who was paid Rs 26,500 as compensation, is seeking Rs 5 lakh. The dogs dragged him a considerable distance and bit him on his head, as a result of which he suffered grievous head injuries. “Garbage is not regularly disposed of on an every-day basis and accumulates in many places. Stray dogs tend to feed in these areas and congregate there, creating an intolerable nuisance for residents. BBMP is required to establish a sufficient number of animal shelters and kennels for housing strays. BBMP should discharge its statutory duties and ensure proper garbage disposal from the meat shop in the locality, as well as take regular steps for control of the dog population as required by law. They should also establish a website for the benefit of victims so as to give information regarding do’s and don’ts at the time of dog bite ” the petitioner stated.

Education secretary summoned

Strongly disapproving the kneejerk reaction of the state government with regard to a PIL highlighting the poor school infrastructure across the state, a division bench headed by the chief justice directed the secretary to the education department to appear in court by the next hearing.

The bench was not happy with an under secretary filing an affidavit in this matter and directed the secretary to appear in person and explain the position. Advocate A V Amarnathan filed the PIL highlighting the lack of infrastructure.

Place records

The high court directed the state government to immediately place the records pertaining to the conduct of a meeting by the Karnataka State Scheduled Castes and Tribes Commission headed by BJP legislator Nehru P Olekar. As against government’s statement of 61 meetings, Olekar claimed he had conducted three meetings. The petitioners claimed that information obtained through the Right to Information Act shows that no meetings were held at all. The petitioners are seeking Olekar’s ouster.

Files sought

A division bench directed the secretary to the governor to place files relating to the appointment of H Maheshappa as vice-chancellor of Visvesvaraya Technological University. The petitioners claimed Maheshappa had given false information with regard to his educational qualifications.

Notice on quarters

A division bench issued a notice to the state government and the BBMP with regard to a PIL seeking early completion of EWS Quarters to be rebuilt at Ejipura near the National Games Village in Koramangala.



SC notice to Centre on foreign contribution Act

The Supreme Court wants the Centre to respond to a petition questioning the constitutional validity of provisions in the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act and Rules giving the government power to deny foreign contributions to virtually any “organisation of political nature, not being a political party”.

The petition, filed by INSAF, an NGO, said the rules gave the government “unchecked and unbridled powers” to choke the activities of organisations working for public causes by branding them “political” and stalling their foreign funds.

For instance, the petition points out Rule 3(vi) which, it says, is “drastic” in nature. The Rule says any group that “habitually” indulges in bandhs, hartals, rasta roko, rail roko, or jail bharo would be declared a “political organisation” and their action termed ‘political’.

It also said the term “political activity” is defined too loosely and “arbitrarily” including steps taken towards “advancement of political interests” by groups working for rights of farmers, students; outfits set up by youth on the basis of caste, religion, language even if they are not aligned to any political party.






SC-appointed panel on dam asks TN, Kerala to file response


PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 02,2012

New Delhi, Jan 2 (PTI) Despite Tamil Nadu’s objections, a Supreme Court-appointed Empowered Committee on Mullaperiyar Dam issue today asked the state and Kerala to file their response by Friday on the ownership mechanism of a new dam, if built in place of the existing structure. At a hearing here today, both states stuck to their known stands on the vexed issue with Tamil Nadu contending that the dam was safe and can withstand pressure and Kerala outrightly rejecting them. Kerala’s lawyers argued before the committee headed by former Chief Justice of India A S Anand that a new dam has to be built in the interest of lakhs of people residing in Idukki and neighbouring districts. During arguments, the panel sought to know from both states their stands on the ownership mechanism, regulation of water and control of structure of a new dam, if built, sources said. “Tamil Nadu rejected the idea and said the question of building of a new dam does not arise. The state argued that the dam was safe and there was no damage to it. It also argued that the argument of a new dam was unfounded,” a source said. However, the panel asked both states to file their response to the issue by Friday. The states have also been asked to file their response to a number of issues by Friday. The decision of the panel to seek response of the two states comes in the backdrop of a two-member technical committee visiting the dam in Kerala’s Idukki district for a study. The members have submitted an internal report to the committee.





Couple sentenced to death


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 02,2012

Jamshedpur, Jan 2 (PTI) A local court today sentenced a couple to life imprisonment for murdering a woman by setting her on fire here in 2007. Sessions Judge (II) R K Choudhury held Anand Deo and his wife Renu Devi guilty of setting afire one Anita Devi who in her dying statement had accused the couple. Anita Devi died in hospital two days after the buring incident.




Youth gets life term for murder


PTI | 04:01 PM,Jan 02,2012

New Delhi, Jan 2 (PTI) A local court has sentenced a 25-year-old youth to life imprisonment for killing a man over financial dispute. Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar sentenced South East Delhi resident Vipin alias Kake to life term for murdering Humayun in September 2008. According to the prosecution, Vipin had given Rs 80,000 to Humayun’s friend Sanjeev Sharma, a real estate agent, for purchase of a plot but he neither purchased the land nor returned his money. On the day of the incident, Humayun had gone to discuss the issue with Vipin on Sharma’s behalf. They met near DDA flats in Badarpur. During the conversation, Vipin got agitated and shot Humayun with a country-made pistol. He later died in a hospital.






6 youths accused of gangraping girl, let off


PTI | Jan 2, 2012, 05.51PM IST

NEW DELHI: Six youths, accused of gangraping a teenaged girl, have been let off by a Delhi court on the victim’s deposition that she had been forced to implicate them.

Additional sessions judge R Kiran Nath let off the boys, all south Delhi residents, noting that the victim “has turned totally hostile to the case of prosecution”.

The case was registered on a complaint lodged by girl’s father, who had alleged his daughter, aged about 15-16 years, had gone missing since April 22, 2011 and that he suspected someone might have allured her and taken her away.

The girl was recovered from south Delhi. In her statement, she stated that on April 22, she had telephoned Rajesh asking him to come to meet her on which he sent her brother accused Tilak to pick her up. She said he took her to Ansal Plaza where all other accused – Anil, Prateek, Pinku, Rajesh and Sudhir, were also present.

She said she was then taken to a room in Sangam Vihar, where all of them took turns to rape her.

However, in her deposition to the court, she said on April 22, after having a quarrel at home she had gone to her friend Rahul’s house where she stayed with his family for about five days and on April 27, she telephoned all the five accused persons to meet her at South Extension, Part II. She said the police personnel saw all of them together and brought them to the police station.

She further deposed that her father was also called to the police station and she was forcibly asked to make wrong complaint against the accused persons.




Murder accused held after seven years


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 01.07AM IST

NAGPUR: A man wanted for a murder committed in 2004 was rounded up at Ujjain last week by Ambazari police. Sanjay Banode has been arrested with the help of Ujjain’s women police station. He was busted as his wife whom Sanjay would beat up and torture spilled the beans before the cops at Madhya Pradesh. They passed on the information to their city counterparts.

Sanjay was booked in a case of murder along with his elder brother Bablu and two other accomplices Pramod Gajbhiye and Vinod Selokar in November 2004. They had killed Santosh Gulhane at Gokulpeth after Sanjay was released from jail where he was lodged after killing another person earlier to this.

Sources said the sessions court had convicted Bablu, Pramod and Vinod in the case while Sanjay was absconding. The High court too had upheld the sentence of life imprisonment of Bablu and Vinod. The matter is now before the Supreme Court.






30-yr-old man gets lifer for murder


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 02.23AM IST

AKOLA: Judge of the sessions court AK Gunjotikar on Saturday sentenced Gopal Dhandar (30) of village Bahadura to life imprisonment for killing Sanjay Ghayre (32). The judge also slapped a fine of Rs 1,000. The case dates back to February 26 (2009), the day Gyare was axed to death by convict Dhandar.

65-yr-old jailed for rape

Washim’s fast track court sentenced 65-year-old Bansilal Sharma of Malegaon to 3 years’ rigorous imprisonment for raping a 6-year-old girl on June 23, 2009. After luring her with sweets and money, Sharma took the victim to his house and committed the crime.





Justice will be done, Manchester police assures Anuj Bidve’s family in Pune


Amruta Byatnal

PTI Family members of Anuj Bidve who was gunned down in Salford, U.K, talk to media at their residece in Pune on Monday.

Clears doubts in the minds of family members over the killing and delay in contacting them

A week after Anuj Bidve, 23, was killed in Manchester, a team from the Greater Manchester police visited his family in Pune on Monday and cleared the doubts in the minds of the family members. The team assured them that justice would be ensured to Anuj, the family members told reporters after the two-hour visit.

Chief Superintendent Russel Jackson, family liaison officer Peter Christal Rickards and Shireen Mistry, head of communications and public affairs, British Deputy High Commission, Mumbai, visited the grieving family in the evening.

The family, which was waiting for the police to answer many questions and allay several apprehensions, stated that it had “complete trust and confidence” in the Manchester police.

Personal contact

Speaking to The Hindu after the visit, Ms. Mistry said the visit was to make a personal contact with the family and offer them every support it needed.

She stated that the family raised concerns about the fact that they got to know about the incident seven hours later, and that too, through Facebook. “The circumstances around the incident were explained to the family. We are extremely unhappy about the manner in which the family had to find out about their son’s death. The measures taken by the Manchester police to communicate with the family were discussed in person,” she stated. However, Ms. Mistry did not comment when asked if the police had apologised about it.

Ms. Mistry said the police were taking the matter “extremely seriously.”


Speaking to The Hindu, Anuj’s brother-in-law Rakesh Sonawane said the police apologised. “They told us that it was not right, and was not done in the right fashion. However, they told us that they had been looking for the right person to approach the family.”

Asked about the motive for the murder, Suruchi Wagh, Anuj’s cousin, said the police told them that it was a case of an “unprovoked attack.”

“They had not ruled out the possibility of it being a racial attack, but right now told they told us that it was a motiveless crime,” Ms. Wagh told reporters.

She said that while four persons had been released (three on bail), one was charged with Anuj’s murder. “The case will be heard in the Crown’s court on Tuesday, and a trial date will be given,” she said.

A second post-mortem will be done by an independent pathologist, and if both the reports match, Anuj’s body will be handed over to the Funeral Officer at the Indian High Commission, Ms. Wagh said. “According to the police there is no delay in the repatriation as it is a part of the investigation process. The family’s greatest concern remains getting the body back as soon as possible.”

Assuring face-to-face

An official statement from the Greater Manchester police said: “We need to explain to them in person where we are up to in the investigation and what we are doing to ensure Anuj’s body is released to them as soon as possible. Having this conversation face-to-face is absolutely the right thing to do.”

“We know the family members are extremely distressed that Anuj’s body has not yet been returned to them. We have been in close contact with the coroner, who is anxious to release Anuj’s body to his family at the earliest possible time. This remains a complex investigation and the fact we have charged someone does not mean the investigation is complete,” the statement said.





Details of ministers foreign tours to be put online


Published: Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012, 9:00 IST
By DNA Investigations Bureau | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The Union Cabinet Secretariat will soon publish online details of foreign and inland tours made ministers and the expenses incurred on them. The decision follows a Chief Information Commission (CIC) direction issued to this effect.

While hearing an RTI complaint, the CIC, on March 29, 2011, said it would be in the interest of transparency if some key information about domestic and international travels by union ministers could be maintained centrally.

A separate RTI was filed with the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions in November, 2011 seeking details of action taken by the ministry to make publish online details of foreign and inland travels of union ministers and others at public expenses.

The response said that the department concerned under the ministry of personnel, public grievances & pensions does not host any website of its own. “So in the light of the CIC decision, it has been decided that the said information would be sent on a regular basis to the cabinet secretariat, which will, in turn, upload this information on its website,” the ministry’s response said.




Amidst age row, Army chief meets key aides


Amidst a raging row over his request for reconciling the official records to show his year of birth as 1951 instead of 1950, army chief General VK Singh has met his principal staff officers, particularly the record keepers in the army headquarters in New Delhi, sources said on


Though no official information on what transpired in the meetings held on Friday and again on Monday, sources said the defence ministry’s communication on Friday that the attorney general’s opinion which was against acceding to his request did come up for discussion.

The meeting with his principal staff officers, held twice within a matter of four days, was attended among others by the adjutant general, who is responsible for record keeping and pay and in the army headquarters.

The records with the adjutant general branch, including General Singh’s school leaving certificate, indicated that he was born May 10, 1951. However, records with the military secretary, responsible for postings and promotions, showed it as May 10, 1950.

With the defence ministry rejecting his statutory complaint lodged four months ago with defence minister AK Antony, the army chief has the option of going to the courts, either the armed forces tribunal or the Supreme Court, to get his grievance addressed.

Another drastic move that the army chief could take was to resign ahead of his tenure coming to an end May 31, 2012, which would put the succession line in the 1.13-million-strong army out of gear, sources said.

On Friday, after General Singh was communicated the government’s decision on his date of birth, he met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who was the defence minister when the controversy broke out.

The army chief’s age controversy first cropped up in 2006 when his name came up before the government for appointment as a corps commander.

Antony told parliament, in reply to questions, in September last year that “the date of birth of General Singh has been maintained as May 10, 1950, at the time of his selection as corps commander in 2006 as well his subsequent promotions as army commander in 2008 and the chief of army staff in 2010.”

In the age controversy, the army chief had filed a petition May 25, 2011 before the defence ministry asking it to treat May 10, 1951, as his date of birth. But July 21, 2011 this plea was rejected by the ministry.

The statutory complaint was filed by General Singh in response to the July 21 rejection of his earlier petition.

If the ministry had granted General Singh his request, it would have provided him another 10 months in office and he would have retired in April 2013.

That would have also resulted in Lt Gen Bikram Singh, who is the present Kolkata-based Eastern Army Commander, being denied the chance to become the next chief in May 2012 and his junior Lt Gen KT Parnaik, present Udhampur-based Northern Army Commander, would have become the next chief in April 2013.





Govt should have moved step by step


The government should have moved step by step on the lokpal bill and on granting constitutional status to the proposed anti-graft watchdog, says justice JS Verma, whose opinion formed the basis for the parliamentary panel’s recommendation on the issue.     Former CJI,

justice Verma, on Monday said the government committed an error by moving both lokpal and constitutional amendment bills together.

“In my view, it would have been better had the government only moved the constitutional amendment bill for the creation of lokpal…and lokayuktas…with a constitutional status for both…,” said justice Verma.

 “It was important for the government to have forged a political unanimity on the least controversial issues first, and going by the parliamentary standing committee report, nobody appeared to be opposed for a constitutional status to the lokpal,” the former CJI said.

Asked whether it would have been advisable to split the two inter-related bills into two sessions, he said: “Given the heated debate on the lokpal issue…, a step-by-step approach would have been better. I wish the country should have been first committed for a lokpal and the controversies surrounding it could have followed.” 

On the strong stand taken by the opposition parties against the Lokpal Bill providing for mandatory setting-up of lokayuktas through a single bill to be passed by the parliament, the former CJI termed the confusion as unnecessary.






Chhattisgarh judiciary under SC lens


Appointment of judges in Chhattisgarh’s subordinate judiciary has come under the Supreme Court’s scanner.

A bench of justice RM Lodha and justice HL Gokhale on Monday issued notice to the state’s high court registry on a PIL that alleges manipulations and irregularities in the conduct of civil judges examination, 2008. According to the petitioner, Centre for Public Interest claimed the exam was manipulated to favour candidates related to some judges, bureaucrats and politicians.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, contended that no action was taken even though the alleged irregularities were brought to the notice of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) in 2008.

 “The selection process of the exam is vitiated by favouritism as candidates are close relatives of the senior judges and bureaucrats,” he told the bench.

The petition stated,“The close scrutiny of the answer sheets of the successful candidates related to the judges, law secretary indicates that they have been manipulated.”





Focus on disposing of cases, says CJ


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 02.36AM IST

BANGALORE: Judicial officers must not waste their time and energy on needless observance of punctilio (strictness in formalities). That’s the stern message of Justice Vikramajt Sen, Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court who held his first sitting in this post.

“On a recent visit to a district outside Bangalore, I was dismayed to find senior judicial officers waiting along the way just to show their respect and as a matter of protocol. This is destructive of the dignity and self-respect of judges and more significantly, their image in the minds of the public. Judicial Officers must not waste their time and energy on needless observance of punctilio. They should adhere to the advice of the Supreme Court,” Justice Sen observed during his reply to the welcome address of the Karnataka State Bar Council president AA Magadum.

“The gravest challenge to us an institution is the dispensation of timely justice .The litigant is not able to get justice expeditiously. Even the CJI expressed deep concern on this malaise. He formulated a strategy wherein cases pending for more than five years should be decided on a preferential basis. The bar should cooperate on this,” he added.

Dravid’s mantra

He also quoted from Rahul Dravid’s now-celebrated Sir Donald Bradman Oration in Australia saying that his comments are relevant to all of us with regard to the essential qualities of life, dignity, integrity, courage and modesty.

“We’re all talking about mounting arrears and low rate of disposal. Several bar associations in the state, including district and taluk, requested me to visit them to lay foundation stones and similar functions. It’s my belief that all my energies should be devoted for timely and expeditious disposal of cases,” he said

The Chief Justice promised to take steps to provide lawyers’ chambers near the precincts of the high court as well as the city civil court. He also sought the cooperation of the advocate fraternity with regard to security measures.





Madhya Pradesh cow slaughter ban Act gets Presidential nod


Mahim Pratap Singh

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Madhya Pradesh government’s efforts to ban cow slaughter and conserve the “cow progeny” have received a shot in the arm following Presidential assent to the long-pending Madhya Pradesh Gau-Vansh Vadh Pratishedh (Sanshodhan) Vidheyak (Madhya Pradesh prohibition of slaughter of cow-progeny (amendment) Bill).

The amended Act puts the responsibility of proving the prosecution wrong on the accused in a cow slaughter case. A person found guilty of cow slaughter would be liable for 7 years imprisonment, instead of the present 3 years, besides a minimum fine of Rs. 5,000.

The government had passed the amendment Bill in the Assembly in 2010 to “strengthen” the existing cow slaughter prohibition Act (Madhya Pradesh Gauvansh Pratishedh Adhiniyam 2004) and forwarded it to the Union Home Ministry on September 3, 2010.

It received the Presidential assent on December 22, 2011 and was published in the Madhya Pradesh gazette (extraordinary) on December 31, 2011. The Act will soon come into force through an official notification.

The amended Act provides that no person “shall slaughter” or “cause to slaughter” or “offer for slaughter” any cow progeny by any means.

Besides, no person, including a transporter, shall transport or offer to transport or cause to be transported any cow progeny, either by himself or through an agent, servant or any other person acting on his behalf, within the State or outside it, with the knowledge that the calf would be or was likely to be slaughtered. The Act provides that any police officer not below the rank of head constable or anyone authorised by a competent authority shall have the power of entry, inspection, search and seizure and to present the case in the court.







New Lokayukta Act comes into force


Faizan Ahmad, TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 03.03AM IST

PATNA: Without waiting for the passage of the Lokpal Bill in Parliament, Bihar government has implemented its new Lokayukta Act. The Act came into force once the governor gave his nod to the related bill and a notification was issued on December 30.

As per the provisions of this Act, incumbent Lokayukta Chandra Mohan Prasad has been re-designated as Chief Lokayukta or chairman. The Act stipulates that the Lokayukta appointed prior to the commencement of this Act shall continue as the first chairperson till the completion of his term.

“Soon, the process of appointment of two more Lokayuktas will be started,” said senior minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary on Monday. “Earlier, the Lokayukta was just an individual, now it is an institution,” he added.

The two other members will be chosen by a selection panel comprising chairman of the Bihar legislative council as convener, Speaker of the Bihar legislative assembly, two senior sitting judges of the Patna high court nominated by the chief justice as members and the immediate outgoing Lokayukta.

Chaudhary said of the two members of Lokayukta, one will be essentially from judicial background. “For the lone seat of Lokayukta to be appointed from other fields, the public and other organizations can also suggest names on the website, which will be considered by the search committee,” he said. No person with political connection will be considered for appointment as Lokayukta. The appointment will be made by the governor on the recommendation of the selection panel. However, there is no provision of reservation in appointment of Lokayukta.

The Lokayukta Act has many provisions to keep its scope wide to contain corruption. Chief minister, ministers, legislators and public servants come under its purview.

For transparency in the selection of Lokayuktas, the Act has also made provision for a search committee. The names shortlisted by this committee will be considered by the selection committee. The search committee will consist of five persons of impeccable integrity and eminence in public life. They will be selected from among retired Chief Justices of India, retired judges of Supreme Court, retired chief justices and judges of high courts, retired Chief Election Commissioners of India and others who have not joined any political party after retirement and who are not holding any office under any government.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar has termed the state’s new Lokayukta Act as better than what was proposed in the Centre’s Lokpal Bill. The new Lokayukta office will have more teeth, said Nitish, as the Lokayukta will constitute an investigative wing for the purpose of conducting investigation of any offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Till such time the investigation wing is constituted, the state government will make available such number of investigation officers and other staff as asked by the Lokayukta for carrying out investigation under this Act.





High Court cancels Srilakshmi’s bail


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 06.47AM IST

HYDERABAD: Justice NRL Nageswara Rao of the A P High Court on Monday cancelled the bail granted to senior IAS Officer Y Srilakshmi in the illegal mining case and directed her to surrender before the CBI court before January 6.

Srilakshmi was arrested in the illegal mining case for her alleged role in allotting mining leases to Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) of Gali Janardhana Reddy, who is also lodged in jail now for perpetrating a mega mining scam. However, the trial court had granted her bail on December 3, 2011, a day after her three-day police custody ended. The CBI that is probing the case challenged the decision of the CBI court in granting bail.

Finding fault with the trial court which granted her bail on the grounds that all the evidence in the case is documentary and cannot be tampered with now, the HC said: “the conspiracy as already stated cannot be proved by documentary evidence alone and unless oral evidence is collected by the investigating agency, mere documentary evidence is not sufficient and the investigating agency cannot be deprived of its right in this regard. There is more than sufficient material available on record to show how Srilakshmi was associated with the grant of lease and issuing of GOs which ultimately favoured the OMC, ignoring the vital condition of the purpose of lease being ‘captive mining’ for the proposed steel plant to be set up by OMC in the GO,” Justice Nageswara Rao said.

In this case so far, as the status and position of the respondent is concerned, there cannot be any two opinion since she is an IAS officer and her husband is an IPS officer.







Paid news case: Supreme Court to hear Chavan’s plea against Election Commission


NDTV Correspondent, Updated: January 03, 2012 09:45 IST

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court will today take up former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan’s appeal challenging the jurisdiction of Election Commission in deciding the paid news case against him.

Based on a complaint regarding Mr Chavan’s spendings during the 2009 state assembly polls, allegedly involving expenses on paid news, the Election Commission had begun proceedings against him.

Mr Chavan had approached the Delhi High Court against the Election Commission, but the court had ruled in the Commission’s favour. He then approached the Supreme Court, which had stayed the Election Commission probe.







PILs against corporates like Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani & Ratan Tata kept Delhi High Court engaged in 201


NEW DELHI: A plethora of PILs and lawsuits seeking action against the who’s who of corporate India kept the Delhi High Court busy in 2011 as it dealt with cases like RIL’s KG D-6 basin row, Air India’s aircraft purchase deal, 3G inter-circle roaming and excess 2G spectrum allotment.

Some petitions were entertained and few others trashed by the high court including pleas to prosecute Anil Ambani and Ratan Tata in 2G case.

However, public spirited litigants kept alleging that corporate bigwigs resorted to unfair means by flouting the law of the land to secure advantage.

The court also rejected the plea seeking cancellation of the license granted to Mukesh Ambani-led firm for exploration of gas in the Krishna-Godavari (KG D-6) Basin on the ground that the JV between RIL and Canada-based NIKO allegedly cheated the exchequer by inflating expenditure in connivance with a top official.

It asked petitioner Furquan to approach the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) which is seized with the issue. The bench, however, made it clear that if the petitioner is not satisfied with PAC’s findings then he may approach it again.

It was alleged the JV cheated the state by inflating expenditures as there was a provision in the revenue-sharing agreement that RIL was entitled to recover all expenses before sharing it with the government.

Taking advantage of the revenue-sharing agreement, RIL inflated capital expenditure from USD 2.4 billion to USD 8.4 billion, causing unquantifiable losses of thousands crores of rupees to the state, the PIL alleged.







Supreme Court-appointed panel on dam asks TN, Kerala to file response


PTI Jan 2, 2012, 07.43PM IST

NEW DELHI: Despite Tamil Nadu’s objections, a Supreme Court-appointed Empowered Committee on Mullaperiyar Dam issue today asked the state and Kerala to file their response by Friday on the ownership mechanism of a new dam, if built in place of the existing structure.

At a hearing here today, both states stuck to their known stands on the vexed issue with Tamil Nadu contending that the dam was safe and can withstand pressure and Kerala outrightly rejecting them.

Kerala’s lawyers argued before the committee headed by former Chief Justice of India A S Anand that a new dam has to be built in the interest of lakhs of people residing in Idukki and neighbouring districts.

During arguments, the panel sought to know from both states their stands on the ownership mechanism, regulation of water and control of structure of a new dam, if built, sources said.

“Tamil Nadu rejected the idea and said the question of building of a new dam does not arise. The state argued that the dam was safe and there was no damage to it. It also argued that the argument of a new dam was unfounded,” a source said.

However, the panel asked both states to file their response to the issue by Friday. The states have also been asked to file their response to a number of issues by Friday.

The decision of the panel to seek response of the two states comes in the backdrop of a two-member technical committee visiting the dam in Kerala’s Idukki district for a study. The members have submitted an internal report to the committee.







MCMC engineer files petition in HC


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 06.09AM IST

MADURAI: A junior engineer of the Madurai City Municipal Corporation (MCMC) has termed as illegal an order of the commissioner promoting 11 other junior engineers, and has filed a petition in the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court, challenging the same.

Justice T Raja, before whom the matter came for hearing, has ordered notice to the authorities including the commissioner of Madurai Corporation.

The petitioner S Sharbutheen, a junior engineer in the corporation alleged that due to the illegal promotion of 11 junior engineers on a temporary basis, employees in his rank are burdened with additional duty.

The petitioner said, “There were 72 wards in the city corporation, which has now been increased to 100. There are 27 sanctioned assistant engineer (AE) posts and nine junior engineers’ (JE) posts in the corporation. Hence, two wards were assigned to each AE/JE and the allocation of work constituted equal distribution of work among them in the ratio of two wards per AE/JE.”

The petitioner further contended, “The corporation has five sanctioned posts of assistant executive engineers ( AEE) all of which have been filled up. In addition to the sanctioned posts, about 11 persons also have been promoted as AEEs (in-charge) on a temporary basis. In fact, they have been working in the post of AEEs on a temporary basis for more than six consecutive months. Some of the temporary promotees also have been working in the said post for about three years.”

He contended that contrary to the Tamil Nadu Municipal Corporations Service Rules 1996, they have been allowed to continue in the post of AEEs on a temporary basis for more than three months which is illegal and hence the impugned order of the city corporation commissioner is liable to be set aside.

He further pointed out that the city corporation commissioner has not prepared a panel of eligible persons for promotion to the posts which had resulted in maladministration and arbitrariness and denial of rights of eligible candidates for promotion.







HC upholds council nominations


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 03.02AM IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Monday dismissed a PIL challenging the nomination of 12 members to the Bihar legislative council. A single bench of the court presided by Justice Seema Ali Khan dismissed the PIL filed by Visheshwar Nath Singh.

Singh, in his petition, had stated that though there exists provision for nominating members to the council from different fields, the same was not abided with.

The court, however, dismissed the petitioner’s pleas and observed that it comes under the jurisdiction of the legislature and that members are nominated on the recommendations of a committee of ministers. The court refused to interfere in the matter and dismissed the PIL.






HC asks Corporation to pay Rs 5 lakh to a boy bitten by dog


PTI | 11:01 PM,Jan 02,2012

Bangalore, Jan 2(PTI)The Karnataka High Court today ordered the city corporation to pay Rs five lakh compensation to a five-year-old boy,who survived an attack by a pack of canines and take necessary steps to check dog menace. The order came on a PIL filed by parents of the boy G Jishnu, who sought compensation for the dog bite and prayed for action from the ciy corporation against canine menace. Jishnu, who was attacked by dogs on July six last year, received Rs 26,500 from the corporation towards treatment on June 21, but the authorities failed to respond to the plea for Rs five lakh compensation. The petitioners contended that the Corporation has not acted as per the Animals Birth Control Rules and failed to discharge its duties in clearning garbage and ensuring that stray dogs do not conglomerate in one place. I Taking serious note of dog menace, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice B V Nagaratna directed Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (city corproation) to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation to Jishnu. The court also directed BBMP to ensure packs of stray dogs do not congregate in any locality in large numbers and ensure that streets are cleared of garbage and waste in locations where street dogs are prone to gather. The court also directed BBMP to compile a status report on measures taken by it to curb dog menace.










HC notice on teacher shortage


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 03.31AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Monday sought a response from the state government on a plea seeking a directive for filling teachers’ posts at a city school.

Justice Siddharth Mridul issued notices to the Directorate of Education (DoE) of the Delhi government and Air Force Senior Secondary School at the Delhi Cantt area in the capital and fixed the matter for hearing on January 20.

The court was hearing the petition of Ashok Kumar and Ram Kumar whose daughters are students at the school. The petition alleged that as many as 10 posts of teachers were lying vacant yet no attempt had been made by the school administration to fill the vacancies. The petition also states that in the absence of adequate teaching staff, nearly 1,900 students are facing difficulties.

“The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act has come into force in 2010 and according to the terms of the Act, there has to be proper pupil-teacher ratio in place within six months of the enactment of the Act,” said the petition, filed through lawyer Ashok Agarwal.

The inaction on the part of the “government-aided school” and DoE has violated the students’ fundamental right to education, the petition said.










HC relief for Assam ex-minister in graft case


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 04.53AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court has quashed a corruption case registered by the CBI against a former Assam minister Ripun Bora finding fault with the manner in which a “trap” was executed by the agency.

Justice G S Sistani quashed criminal proceedings against Bora who was chargesheeted by the probe agency in 2008 after a CBI team from Kolkata set up an elaborate trap to ensnare the then minister in a Delhi hotel without keeping the agency director in the loop.

The CBI lodged the case two weeks after the alleged incident. Bora, who was then a minister in the Assam government, was accused of trying to influence a murder investigation against him by bribing a CBI officer.

Convinced that Bora allegedly wanted to bribe a government servant, the agency, as per its chargesheet, set up an elaborate trap and arranged a room in Jukaso Inn Hotel with electronic surveillance to nab Bora red-handed giving a bribe of Rs 10 lakh.

However, the CBI says Bora became suspicious and stayed away from the hotel for two days, eventually turning up on June 06, 2008, when he was arrested while offering the bribe.

But Bora, through his lawyer Madan Bhatia, questioned the CBI’s version and argued that there were several inconsistencies. Justice Sistani noted, “A perusal of the contents of the chargesheet filed by the CBI itself shows the absurdity in the allegation so leveled and the manner in which the trap proceedings were executed by the CBI.”










HC green signal to Group I interviews


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 06.33AM IST

HYDERABAD: Ending the suspense over Group I interviews, the AP High Court on Monday gave the state and the AP Public Service Commission the green signal to go ahead with their prefixed schedule to conduct the interviews to those who succeeded in the written test from January 4.

The authorities can now conduct the interviews. However, they cannot issue appointment letters to those who are selected. The officials have to wait for the final adjudication of the matter for the letters.

Earlier, the AP Administrative Tribunal stayed the process following a petition by certain Telugu medium candidates who charged the authorities with thrusting mistakes on them while translating the questions from English to Telugu.

Both the state and the commission challenged the order of the tribunal in the High Court and the bench, comprising Justice Goda Raghuram and Justice Krishnamohan Reddy, allowed the petitions.

Advocate general A Sudarsan Reddy told the court that the tribunal has no jurisdiction to look into matters like these, which are a domain of the experts in relevant fields. The AG also said that in areas where ambiguity prevailed, marks were given to students irrespective of the way they understood the question.

Koneru seeks bail: Koneru Prasad, the sixth accused in the Emaar scam case, filed a petition in the CBI court on Monday seeking bail. Telling the court that he does not fall under the definition of a public servant, Prasad sought bail since the mandatory sixty days are over and the chargesheet in the case was not filed.










Fill up labour court vacancies: Plea in HC


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 07.31AM IST

CHENNAI: Noting that three out of four labour courts in the city are vacant and that the 12,000-odd cases pending before these courts are routinely given lengthy adjournments , a public interest writ petition has sought expeditious filling up of the presiding officers posts .

The first bench before which the PIL filed by the Labour Law Practitioners Association secretary K M Ramesh came up for hearing on Monday has posted the matter to January 9tobeheard along with a similar matter .

According to Ramesh , the presiding officer of the principal labour court was transferred in August 2011 and since then the post is lying vacant . While the I additional labour court’s presiding officer retired in November 2011, the presiding officer of the II additional labour court was transferred nearly 18 months ago . In all , over 12,000 cases are pending in thesecourts ,he said .

Noting that thousands of workmen were adversely affected by the vacancies , Ramesh said that though Rule 10-B (8) of the Industrial Disputes (Central Rules) stipulate that no adjournment should be for more than twoweeks at a time andthat not more than three adjournments should be given in a case , matters coming up for hearing in these vacant courts are adjourned by even three months .

There are cases which are pending for a period ranging from three years to 10 years , he said .

The PIL also took exception to the inordinate delay in the appointmentof district munsifsin thestate .






Delhi HC blast: Judicial custody of 2 accused extended


Published: Monday, Jan 2, 2012, 19:46 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The judicial custody of suspected terrorists Wasim Akram Malik and Amir Abbas Dev, arrested for their alleged role in the September 7 blast outside the Delhi High Court premises, was on Monday extended by a court in Delhi.

District Judge HS Sharma extended the judicial custody of Dev till January 16 while that of Malik till January 17 after National Investigation Agency (NIA) said they want the accused to be produced in the court on separate days, court sources said.

Both the accused were produced in the court during an in-chamber hearing after the expiry of their judicial custody tenure.

According to court sources, NIA told the court that the probe into the blast, which killed 15 people and injured 70, was still going on.

The investigating agency has said Malik is a ‘key link’ in the conspiracy behind the blast outside gate number 5 of the High Court.







SC trauma care centre fails to meet HC deadline


Binita Jaiswal | Jan 3, 2012, 09.55AM IST


CUTTACK: The trauma care centre at SCB Medical College and Hospital is yet to start functioning even though it was inaugurated by chief minister Naveen Patnaik in February last year. It was expected that multi-specialty critical care centre would act as a boon for accident victims.

Irked over the lackadaisical approach of the authorities, the Orissa high court had also intervened and directed the SCB authorities to make the trauma centre functional by December-end last year. But authorities failed to meet the deadline. The high court-appointed advocates committee comprising amicus curiae P R Das, advocate Tarananda Patnaik and Dr P K Pradhan visited the hospital on Saturday and took stock of the situation.

The Centre established at a cost of Rs 6 crore was envisaged to have about 150 beds, two state-of-the-art operation theatres, 16-bed ICU and many other facilities in a five-storey unified complex. But the advocate committee found that the work is still far from completion.

Authorities are yet to appoint specialized doctors to manage the trauma centre and even the construction work has not been completed. The slow pace of work have also raised fears of withdrawal of the central funds for the facility. “The authorities have not managed to make the trauma care centre functional till date. They have clearly missed the December 31 deadline and we will inform the high court about it,” amicus curie P R Das said.

” It is matter of great concern because if the facility in not made completely functional by March 2012 , then the Centre would withdraw the funds. We have asked them to speed up the work and start the centre at the earliest,” Das added.

Hospital authorities have assured the advocate committee to make the facility functional partially by January 6 and fully by February-end. “Efforts are on a war-footing to start the trauma centre. In the first phase, at least 28 beds and one OT will be made functional by January 6,” said Srikant Mohapatra, administrative officer of the hospital.








HC orders Guntur DSP’s suspension


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 06.32AM IST

HYDERABAD: Finding fault with the way the DSP and his immediate subordinates behaved with the accused, Justice Samudrala Govindarajulu of the HC on Monday directed the DGP of the state to suspend YTR Prasad, the DSP of Tenali division in Guntur, immediately. It was dealing with a petition filed by one Alaparthi Chinna, who wanted the court to cancel the bail given to K L Satyanarayana, an accused charged with atrocities against SCs in Tenali.









HC wants progress monitored weekly

To avoid further delays caused in the completion of Zirakpur-Parwanoo bypass, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Monday, opined that the construction needs to be monitored on a weekly basis.

During the resumed hearing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking directions for quick completion of Zirakpur-Parwanoo bypass and other National Highways coming up in Punjab and Haryana, the High Court questioned the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) as to why so many delays are being caused in the completion of the bypass.

Senior lawyer M L Sarin, amicus curiae in the case, highlighted the delay being caused in the completion of six-laning of Panipat to Jalandhar and construction of Zirakpur-Parwanoo bypass.

The High Court impleaded the concessionaire in the case as a respondent and directed Punjab, Haryana and NHAI to submit status reports in the case by the third week of January. The High Court also asked NHAI as to why it should not cancel the licence of the concessionaire.

Sarin contended that a former High Court Judge had slapped a penalty of Rs 50 lakh on one of the concessionaire for not meeting the deadline. The case was adjourned with the direction to Punjab, Haryana and NHAI to file the status reports in the case.









Cops needn’t wait for college nod to control violence

TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 07.23AM IST

CHENNAI: When full-blown violence rocks a college campus and armed rioting and bloodbath unfolds right in the presence of police personnel, should the law enforcers await a nod from college authorities to stop the mayhem?

It was a resounding ‘No’ from the Madras high court. The HC was hearing a batch of cases arising out of the forgettable incidents of November 12, 2008, inside the Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law College in Chennai. Neither the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) nor the Indian Penal Code (IPC) nor the Police Standing Orders has any express clause mandating policemen remain mute spectators till the college authorities give them permission to enter the campus and restore order.

Section 149 of the CrPC says every police officer must interpose for the purpose of preventing, and shall, to the best of his ability, prevent the commission of any cognizable offence. And, Section 148 of the IPC says rioting and being armed with deadly weapons is indeed a cognizable offence.

“A combined reading of the two provisions should leave no doubt in the minds of the police: They needn’t have waited for any nod or permission to launch a counter-offensive on the Presidency College campus where students roamed with deadly weapons and caused injuries to others,” said V Kannadasan, former special public prosecutor for human rights court.

“Having failed to stop the violence and having displayed inaction of the highest level, police now cannot use a fig leaf of a justification that they needed permission to enter a college campus on the boil,” said S Prabakaran, president , Tamil Nadu Advocates Association (TNAA).

In 2008, after video grabs and photographs of the violent caste clash among law students shocked the entire nation, the then DMK government suspended nine police personnel, including an ACP, arrested 29 students and suspended the college principal for failing to control the violence. All these actions did not deter courts and lawyers from raising the very basic question: Why didn’t the police intervene and save a student who was being thrashed by a gang of students?

When the government made a suspended ACP file a counteraffidavit in the HC in an attempt to justify the reluctance on the part of the police authorities to stop the violence, the bench headed by the then Chief Justice A K Ganguly disapproved of it and forced the government to withdraw the counter-affidavit . The counter, blaming the delay on the college principal, said he was ‘adamant in not allowing the police to intervene’ .









Sumit Bhuttan charged under Section 304B


TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 04.06AM IST

GURGAON: After a long trial and several flip-flops, an additional sessions judge court has framed dowry death charges against accused Sumit Bhuttan for the murder of his wife Ruchi under Section 304B of Indian Penal Code.

Confirming this, Ruchi’s family lawyer, Vandana Oberoi, said that this came as a ray of hope for the victim’s family. Earlier, the high-profile case was transferred to government railway police (GRP), Ambala, for investigation after the victim’s family had alleged that the city police were trying to save the accused.

Subsequently, the GRP had submitted a chargesheet naming Sumit as the key accused in the case. However, this chargesheet had left out the names of the other accused. In the court, the GRP had submitted that the agency would be filing a separate chargesheet against others soon. Last year, Gurgaon police were criticized for not filing charges against Sumit Bhuttan.









Man given life term for murder


Last Updated: Monday, January 02, 2012, 16:57

New Delhi: A Delhi court has sentenced a man to life imprisonment for seeking to escape punishment in several criminal cases by portraying himself as dead by burning alive a vagabond and placing his own clothes on the charred body.

Additional Sessions Judge VK Bansal convicted Karma, a Punjab native, saying “it is a unique case, where the convict faced trial for his own murder.”

“The facts emerged are repeated here again that he (Karma) killed one innocent person, who was sleeping on footpath, put his clothes on the person of that fellow and burnt him,” the court added.

Detailing the convict’s act of planting his identity card, wallet etc, the court said, “He has done it to screen himself from the punishment of crime of murder and other offences committed by him.”

“Keeping in view all the evidence, in my opinion, there was a strong motive with Karma to kill some person and get that dead body identified as that of Karma,” the judge said.

According to police, Karma was facing trial in seven other cases under various sections of Indian Penal Code, including attempt to murder, besides those of the NDPS Act and the Excise Act.

Karma along with co-accused Satnam killed a 32-year-old vagabond, sleeping on a footpath under influence of liquor on May 21, 2010 night, police said, adding they took him near Bhalswa Jheel and burnt him.

Recover damages of Pune bandh from Shiv Sena


Published: Monday, Jan 2, 2012, 20:14 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

A Pune-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) has written to the commissioner of police, Meeran Chadha Borwankar, urging her to implead Shiv Sena spokesperson and MLC, Neelam Gorhe, and Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray’s personnel assistant, Milind Narvekar, as “conspirators and instigators” in 13 cases of arson and damage to public property during the Pune bandh on December 28, 2010.

The NGO has requested the police to recover damages from the suspects and/ or their political party. The NGO, Navnirman Pratishthan’s president, Vijaykumar Khalatkar, issued the notice on December 21 through his lawyer, Raman Agarwal.

“Public property becomes the target during agitations called by political parties and such instances have increased, causing great loss to public institutions. That the public transport buses are invariably targeted and damaged by stoning or setting them on fire ultimately causes great inconvenience to the public in general,” stated the letter.

On December 28, based on a complaint by inspector Manohar Joshi of the special branch, the Bund Garden police registered a first information report (FIR) against Gorhe and Narvekar under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 153 (causing enmity between groups) read with section 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The complaint was lodged after the special branch intercepted telephonic conversations the previous night wherein Narvekar allegedly gave instructions to Gorhe for organising a bandh in Pune to protest against the removal of Dadoji Konddev’s statue from Lal Mahal.

The letter, citing the chargesheet in the case, stated that after the special branch and Shivajinagar police submitted confidential reports to the deputy commissioner of police, apprehending large scale violence, some telephones of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena leaders were tapped.

After the conversation between Gorhe and Narvekar, their party workers allegedly committed arson and stone throwing at various places in the city on December 28 and offences were registered at 13 police stations. But Gorhe and Narvekar were neither named in the FIR nor was the conspiracy section added.

In the Bund Garden case, the police failed to get voice samples of Gorhe and Narvekar despite obtaining a court order. The duo moved the sessions court against this order and the appeal is pending.

“The police can easily get video recordings of Gorhe from news channels for voice sample comparison. Also, Gorhe and Narvekar should be made ‘conspirators and instigators’ in these 13 cases and damages to public properties should be recovered from them and/or their political party,” the letter added.






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