New Act has cops’ task cut out
- January 12, 2012
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
HC: Cancellation of sand quarrying lease
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
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 |
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
By S.S. NEGI
HC stays proceedings against Dr Unmesh
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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