LEGAL NEWS 03.01.2012

6th Pay Commission to decide on anomalies

DAVANGERE: It was the duty of the Sixth Pay Commission to rectify the pay anomalies, and the state government has no role in it, said Primary and Secondary Education Minister Viweshwar Hegde Kageri.

He told reporters on Saturday that the committee appointed by the government to study the pay anomalies for high school teachers had submitted its report and it had been forwarded to the Pay Commission.
The state government would strongly oppose the Maharashtra government’s demand to make Belgaum a Union territory. The Mahajan Commission report was final and debating on the border dispute further was meaningless, he said. I am not an aspirant for the CM post and said that Sadananda Gowda will continue as CM, he said Horticulture and Sugar Minister S A Ravindranath and Z P president Veeresh accompanied Kageri.
Many Assam cops, officials into land grabbing: Gogoi
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Guwahati, January 01, 2012
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday said many policemen and other officials in the state were into land grabbing, which had assumed alarming proportions. He proposed a land-use policy to prevent productive farmland from being converted into industrial areas.
In his customary
New Year interaction with the media, Gogoi said a tribunal would be set up this year to handle land-grab cases. “Such cases are too many, and they need to be fast-tracked instead of gathering dust in the lower courts.”

The seriousness of the issue — ministers, legislators and former rebels have also been accused of grabbing land in urban and semi-urban areas — had in June 2010 led to the Assam Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act being passed. It was, however, panned as a toothless tiger.
In the last couple of years, at least 30 land-grab cases have been reported in Guwahati and other major towns of the state. In June last year, four persons were killed in police firing during an eviction drive in the city allegedly on behalf of builders. A few months later, a woman was abducted and killed after she refused to part with her two-storey house in a prime location.
On protecting productive farmland, Gogoi said, “We are working on a land-use policy that will clearly define which types of land can be used to set up industries and which cannot be touched.”
Villagers across Assam have been opposing various industrial projects. The most intense protests have been against the acquisition of around 340 acres of farmland for a proposed cement factory at Senabor village in Khetri, some 40 km east of Guwahati.
On a brighter note, Gogoi promised the first three position holders of high school leaving certificate examinations, from this academic session, would be sent on a study tour of National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the US.  

MERC raises power tariff by over 1%

TNN | Jan 2, 2012, 01.13AM IST
NAGPUR: There seems to be no end to the woes of power consumers in the state. Even as they are coming to terms with the steep hike in power tariff effected in November, power regulator MERC has hiked the tariff by over 1% with immediate effect.

MSEDCL had filed a petition claiming that the tariff hike in November was not sufficient. In addition, Appellate Tribunal for Electricity ( ATE) had asked MERC to allow MSEDCL to recover Rs 487.46 crore for losses incurred in 2001-02.

This is the main reason for the hike. MSEDCL will recover additional Rs 405 crore from consumers.

MSEDCL officials said that as MERC had not specified the methodology for recovering the amount, this would be done on pro-rata basis on the lines of the surcharge approved in the commission’s October 31, 2011 order. This means that lower end consumers will pay less while industries and high-end domestic and commercial consumers will pay the maximum amount.

The commission has, however, issued several directives to MSEDCL for improving its functioning. The company has been asked to submit a plan to recover arrears within 30 days. It stated that while MSEDCL’s collection efficiency was between 94 and 97%, it had to increase beyond 100% to improve the company’s financial condition.

Expressing dissatisfaction over MSEDCL’s failure to meter distribution transformers and unmetered agricultural consumers, the commission has directed it to submit an action plan within a month to meter transformers and perform circle wise energy audit. A similar plan has to submitted for metering farm pumps.

Despite MERC directions to not release any unmetered agricultural pump connections, MSEDCL sanctioned over a lakh such connections in 2010-11. The commission has directed MSEDCL to meter them within six months.

The commission has also rejected MSEDCL’s claims of power consumption by unmetered agricultural pumps. It has asked the company to study agricultural pump power consumption and submit a report within one year.

MSEDCL had claimed that intra-state transmission loss was 1.17% against MERC’s target of 5.69%. However, the commission has expressed doubt about this figure, stating such a drastic change was not possible. It has asked MSEDCL to completely review its energy accounting process and present the actual figure when it submits the next tariff petition.

GHMC to tighten up town planning wing

TNN | Jan 2, 2012, 03.58AM IST
HYDERABAD: The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has requested the state government to set up a special tribunal for trying the thousands of cases pending with the town planning wing after it was discovered that builders were going ahead with unauthorised constructions.

Were a separate tribunal to be constituted on the lines of an administrative tribunal or a special court for land-grabbing cases, it could be beneficial for the corporation and builders who are both looking for a speedy disposal of cases.

The GHMC recently wrote to the municipal administration and urban development (MA&UD) department to initiate the process for the setting up of a separate tribunal for the town planning wing. Officials said the request would be forwarded to the legal wing of the general administration department ( GAD) for further action.

GHMC officials said that there was a provision for a tribunal under New Building Rules (GO 86) introduced by the MA&UD department in March 2006. However, no such proposal was sent to the civic body by the corporation. Now, an amendment in the GHMC Act has been proposed for the constitution of a tribunal for such cases.

Officials said over 5,500 cases, all pertaining to the town planning wing, are pending in courts. Nearly 1,500 cases are before the AP high court with another 4,000 cases pending in lower courts. For most of the cases related to illegal constructions, the owners have approached courts following notices for demolition issued by the GHMC. “The proposal for setting up a tribunal for town planning cases has been sent to MA&UD department.

Extra care would be taken till then to monitor cases regularly,” GHMC special commissioner Navin Mittal told TOI. Sources said that the department was aware of staff who advise owners on how to approach courts after receiving notices pertaining to unauthorised construction.

In some cases, despite status quo orders, owners continue with illegal constructions like in the case of the Ayyappa society in Madhapur. In some cases, no demolition or further action was initiated against builders even after a stay order was vacated by eligible courts. “Our aim is to get stay orders vacated for cases pending for over six months by filing vacation petitions in courts, especially with regard to illegal buildings,” a GHMC town planning officer said.

During Sameer Sharma’s tenure as the GHMC commissioner, some exercises were performed to streamline cases since certain town planning staff were believed to be in cahoots with builders and land owners.

The then commissioner had issued a circular directing officials to provide information on court notices to standing counsels within a week of receipt. In vigilance cases, officers failing to produce records for the perusal of the inquiry officer would be held responsible for the omission and disciplinary action would be initiated against them. However, no action has been taken against any town planning officer for laxity.

According to officials, over 5,500 cases, all pertaining to the town planning wing, are pending in courts. Nearly 1,500 cases are before the AP high court with another 4,000 cases pending in lower courts.

Government misses number plate deadline

TNN | Jan 2, 2012, 02.48AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Delhi government starts the new year on a dubious note – it has missed the December 31, 2011 deadline set by the Supreme Court for implementation of the high-security registration plate (HSRP) scheme. Last-minute decisions regarding the scheme had held up the announcement for notification of the high security plates, said highly placed sources in the government. A final decision will be taken in the first week of January, added sources.

“There are several issues which need to be sorted out before the notification can be announced. This includes the engagement of a sub-contractor by the agency which had been entrusted by the government to implement the scheme,” said a senior government official. Incidentally, the SC had recommended a single-vendor process for the HSRP. The government had sent the proposal to the law department for a way to save the project and a meeting would be held on Monday to discuss the issue further, said sources.

“The court order is being scrutinized by the law department. The single-vendor clause may prove to be an obstacle as the present proposal is not along these lines,” added the official.

The agency, DIMTS, hired for the project has hired a sub-contractor to procure the high security registration plates, said officials. “According to the current proposal, the plates will be procured by DIMTS through another vendor though embossing will be done by the agency itself,” the official said. DIMTS will also undertake to fit the plates to the vehicles at the centers identified by the transport department. Issues concerning demands by DIMTS for more infrastructure, is another topic of contention.

HSRPs are tamper-proof and meant to aid agencies in tracing vehicles involved in crimes. While DIMTS is asking the government to pay Rs 100 per plate for the embossing, the vendor will charge between Rs 80 (for two wheelers) and Rs 230 (for four wheelers). A service tax will be also levied at the rate of 12%.

State to lodge protest today

KOCHI: Taking up the issue of negative approach by the expert team members C D Thatte and D K Mehta during the Mullaperiyar dam inspection last week, Kerala will file a complaint before the Empowered Committee, which will meet in New Delhi on Monday.

On December 24, members of the Supreme Court-appointed Empowered Committee Thatte and Mehta inspected the dam.
Representing Kerala, Mullaperiyar cell Chairman M K Parameswaran Nair, member James Wilson and Irrigation Chief Engineer P Lathika, were present during the inspection.
The officials from the state felt that Thatte then behaved like Tamil Nadu’s spokesperson.
He reportedly gave instructions to TN officials on the measures to be taken for strengthening the dam.
While Kerala protested, Thatte asked the Irrigation Chief Engineer to keep quiet. In protest, Kerala boycotted the inspection.
Later, the Mullaperiyar cell filed a report on the issue before Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
This report would be submitted as Kerala’s complaint before the Empowered Committee by state’s counsel Rajeev Dhawan.
The state has also sought legal advice in this regard from advocate Harish Salve.
“The Empowered Committee is actually meeting to discuss the issue of bringing down the water level at the dam to 120 ft. When we approached the apex court for the same, the court had asked to file it before the Empowered Committee. However, following the developments during Thatte’s visit, the state decided to take up this issue also. There was a clear negative attitude towards Kerala,” Parameswaran Nair said.

A myth about Gita in court

New Delhi, Jan. 1: The Bhagvad Gita may have been at the centre of a court case in Russia but the holy book has long ceased to be part of judicial proceedings in the land of its conception.

In India, courts have done away with the practice of having witnesses take oath by the Gita or any other sacred text before giving evidence, contrary to what is depicted in movies.
“That’s all Bollywood,” says lawyer Santosh Paul who began his practice in Bombay High Court before shifting to Delhi High Court. “I haven’t seen this happening in my lifetime.”
A Siberian court had last week rejected a petition to ban a commentary on the Gita in the Russian Federation. In India, there was a time when witnesses did have to swear by the sacred book of his or her religion. It was supposed to make them speak nothing but the whole truth.
The practice had later formalised into a system in the Mughal era, with Hindus swearing by the holy water of the Ganga or the Bhagvad Gita, and Muslims by the Quran.
The tradition continued well into the British era as India’s colonial rulers were cautious about disrupting established traditions. “It’s an old, imperial thing. It was assumed that a person who swore by the Gita or the Quran would speak the truth,” senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan said.
But that ended in 1840, when the imperial rulers tried to introduce a more uniform system of taking oath in the name of God.
A law was enacted to abolish these forms of oath in trial courts and enabled Hindus and Muslims to give evidence on “solemn affirmation”. This act was extended in 1863 to the high courts. The Indian Oaths Act, 1873, consolidated this position.
Some imperial-era courts, such as Bombay High Court, however, had rules that permitted non-Hindus and non-Muslims to take oath by their own religious books till 1957.
A Christian had to swear by the New Testament, a Jew by the Hebrew Testament and a Parsi by the open Zend-Avesta with his shoes on. A Hindu or a Muslim could just solemnly affirm their statements in the presence of Almighty God.
This practice of non-Hindus and non-Muslims swearing by the religious books of their religion, however, ended in 1969. After the Law Commission, in its 28th report, suggested a revamp in the Indian Oaths Act, 1873, a law was passed introducing a uniform system of taking oath all over the country.
Under the 1969 law, which is still in force, witnesses can swear by a universal god without referring in any way to any particular religious denomination.
“I do swear in the name of God/solemnly affirm that what I shall state shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” was the format prescribed.
No child under 12 needed to take such an oath. The only possible remnant of the Gita now in Indian courts is a Sanskrit inscription atop the Supreme Court building inaugurated in 1952.
It says “Yato Dharmahstato Jayah”, which loosely translated means victory lies with those on the side of dharma, the lines attributed to Gandhari in the Mahabharata.
In the epic, Duryodhana and her other sons were so desperate to win the war against the Pandavas that they sought Gandhari’s blessings on every single day of the 18-day war.
But Gandhari was careful to hedge her blessings with: “Let victory lie with dharma.” The Pandavas won the war.
“Now, inside courts, the Constitution is the only holy book,” a senior lawyer said.

Madras miscellany

A forgotten name-change
With all these articles recalling the centenary of the Delhi Durbar and the announcement that was made there that thenceforth Delhi would be the capital of India and not Calcutta, completely overlooked has been the fact that George V was remembered in Madras too in 1911. That was the year Black Town became George Town.
This Black Town, however, was the second. The first was the Indian town that developed just north of Fort St. George, on what is the High Court-Law College campus. The use Comte de Lally’s troops made of the buildings in this settlement during his siege of the Fort in 1758-59 led the English, once they had blunted the French threat, to demolish this first Indian settlement they had been responsible for developing and create an esplanade and, beyond it, in the villages of Muthialpet and Peddanaickenpet, a new, planned Black Town, a gridiron pattern consciously followed.
When George, Prince of Wales, visited Madras in 1905 and proved a popular figure at every venue where he was feted in the growing city, it was much debated what kind of a permanent memorial to him should be created in Madras. Little came of the debate till he became King George V in 1910. A competition was organised in Madras for Carnatic singers to compose classical eulogies in honour of the occasion and it was Sriram V. singing a couple of them during his talk ten days ago in the ‘Namma Chennai’ series organised by the Park Sheraton and MetroPlus that reminded me of the centenary of the way New Black Town became renamed. The visit of George V, King Emperor of India, for the Delhi Durbar was occasion enough for Madras to remember him by naming New Black Town after him.
Near the southwest corner of George Town he was further remembered in 1914 with a statue presented to the city by one of its leading Gujarati merchant-princes, Chatoorbhoojadoss Govindoss of the Kushaldoss family (Miscellany, March 6, 2006). The statue by Joseph McLure, to whom the king gave a couple of sittings in Britain, cost Rs. 45,000, quite a sum for the times.
The first cinema theatre
Another centenary this year is one which really should have been celebrated by all connected with Kollywood, given the close kinship Tamil Nadu has with the film industry. This one celebrates the opening of the first cinema theatre in the South, the ‘Bioscope’ on Popham’s Broadway. It was started by a Mrs. Klug who regularly screened a number of short silent films at each show. Despite crowds that had gathered to watch “animated photographs” at venues like the Victoria Public Hall, Museum Theatre and tents on the Esplanade from 1896, Mrs. Klug’s theatre with its permanent seating in a well-conceived hall was something different, but it just did not take off. In fact, it closed within a few months. But it certainly had demonstrated the possibilities of the medium.
It was to be 1913, by when the silent film had developed to a smoother running display, that Madras got its next cinema theatre, the ‘Electric’, owned by Warwick Major and Reginald Eyre. It was “a large corrugated iron shell with a brick façade” in what is now the Mount Road Post Office campus. The shell developed into a more ornate building that still survives but was acquired by the Post and Telegraphs Department in 1915, bringing to an end its brief cinema history. In recent years, the façade of the building and a part of its interior have been restored and serve, since 1998, as the city’s Philatelic Bureau, where exhibitions are a regular feature.
Kitty corner from it to the east was what was home of Misquith & Co (the forerunner of Musee Musicals,) and in 1907 a man called Cohen opened on its first floor a hall for entertainment called the ‘Lyric’. In a challenge to the ‘Electric’, he started screening silent films there in 1913. A fire in 1914 put paid to Cohen’s hopes of being a successful challenger. The fire also led to the building being sold to J.F. Madan of Calcutta who at the time ran the largest cinema theatre chain in India. In 1915 he opened the ‘Elphinstone’ (almost Madan’s brand) Theatre there — the first with a balcony in South India — and with it the cinema theatre was to become a major feature of life in Madras.
But before the ‘Elphinstone’ opened, Madras got its first Indian-owned theatre, the ‘Gaiety’ – which survived till just a couple of years ago — kitty corner to the west of the ‘Electric’. Film pioneer Raghupathy Venkaiah who built it opened two more theatres in the next three years, the ‘Crown’ (1916) and the ‘Globe’ that became the ‘Roxy’ (1917). Both buildings were also pulled down only recently. From these beginnings — and with sound — cinema theatres in Madras began to increase. But even during those boom years closer to their beginnings, few remembered Mrs. Klug’s ‘Bioscope’.
An Armenian representation
The Armenian Ambassador to India, H.E. Ara Hakobyan, was in Madras last week to inaugurate the Consulate office of Armenia in the city. The first Honorary Consul of Armenia in Madras is Shivkumar Eashwaran, a businessman. The inauguration was an occasion to remember the Armenian presence in Madras as far back as the 1660s, a fact attested to by the finding of a tombstone with the date 1663 near Little Mount. The name engraved on it was ‘Khoja David Margar’.
The Armenian presence in Madras began to increase from 1688 when the East India Company, finding the Armenians “sober, frugal and wise”, gave them the same trading rights as English freemen. These privileges were granted after negotiations between Coja Panous, Calendar of Isphahan, and the Company in London. The agreement was dated June 22, 1688 and was in due course communicated to the principal Armenian merchant in Madras, ‘Gregorio Paroan’, and his fellows. By these terms, they could not only trade on the same terms as the English but also had all the rights of British subjects in Madras, including the right to own land in Fort St. George, White Town.
It was also promised to them that as soon as there were 40 Armenian merchants in Madras, ground would be granted to them to build a permanent church. This was done in 1712 and for the next seven years the church received £50 a year from the Company to maintain a priest, under terms of the grant.
The first known house of an Armenian in Fort St. George is what is called Admiralty House today. It was built by Coja Nazar Jacob Jan who arrived in Madras in 1702. On his death in 1740, it passed into the hands of Coja Sultan David to whom it had been bequeathed. On Coja David’s death the house, by then known as ‘The Great House on Choultry Street’, was inherited by his son, Aga Shawmier Sultan (Suthanoomian). This house was taken over by the Company post-1757 and served in town, as Governor’s residence, Governor’s entertainment space and the venue of sessions of the Admiralty Court. Robert Clive too lived in this building after his marriage.
Aga Nazar Jan was the first of the great Armenian merchants of Madras and was followed by the legendary Coja Petrus Uscan — who has warranted much space in this column in the past — Aga Shawmier Sultan, and Aga Samuel Moorat. When Samuel Moorat died in 1816, his son Edward Moorat ran through his huge patrimony in enjoying a life of luxury. With his death, the Armenian presence in Madras began to fade.
One Armenian of this era who left a different kind of mark was the Rev. Harathun Shimavonian, who started in Madras in 1794 the first Armenian journal in the world, Azdarar, and published several Armenian classics before he died in 1827.
Madras once had a substantial Armenian presence, but the Armenians followed the seat of power (they had started in Agra) and were a few thousand in number in Calcutta during the heyday of the Raj. Their numbers warranted starting a school there and Armenian College still exists, struggling on with an intake of orphans from Armenia. Perhaps it’s time to establish a branch of that institution in Madras. It was a thought that struck me at the reception when I met one of the few IT entrepreneurs in Armenia. Why doesn’t he partner someone in Madras and establish an IT training centre for young Armenians in an Armenian College, Madras branch?

Husband, mother sentenced to life imprisonment for dowry death

TNN Jan 1, 2012, 03.19PM IST

PUNE: The court of additional sessions judge W K Sangle on Friday sentenced a 28-year-old husband and the mother in-law of a newly wed woman to life imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 2,000 each for killing her by setting her on fire over demands for dowry in 2010.
The convicts are Pravin Pawar and his mother Ambubai Pawar both residents of Wadarwadi.

The prosecutions case is that the 19-year-old Poonam married Pravin on May 7, 2009. But, 15 days after the marriage, Pravin had started harassing her and demanding Rs 30,000 as dowry.
Additional public prosecutor Shivaji Patil said initially, Poonam’s parents acceded to Pravin’s demand and her mother paid up Rs 30,000. But, in August, the mother-son duo once again demanded Rs 40,000 as dowry and started harassing Poonam physically and m entally.

Patil said that Pravin also threatened her with a divorce if she did not meet the dowry demand. Poonam’s parents again paid Rs 40,000 to the greedy mother-son duo.
According to Patil, after few days, Pravin demanded Rs 2 lakh, but when Poonam and her family members failed to meet their dowry demands, the duo poured kerosene over her and set her ablaze on April 3, 2010.
Poonam in her dying declaration had held her husband and mother in-law responsible for the incident. Patil relied on the dying declaration, medical and other evidence for proving the guilt of the accused.

Father-son duo fined 10k each for molesting woman

TNN | Jan 2, 2012, 12.55AM IST
PANAJI: A judicial magistrate first class court at Ponda recently convicted and sentenced Agnelo Fernandes and his son Severous to pay a fine of 10,000 each on charges of molestation of a woman at Shiroda in 2008.
Judge Dvijple Patkar held the duo guilty under Section 354 (outraging modesty) of the Indian Penal Code. Severous was also convicted under Section 324 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the IPC and directed to pay a fine of 10,000.
During the hearing of the case, the prosecution alleged that on May 23, 2008 , both the accused abused the victim and tore her dress. Subsequently, Severous attacked the victim with an iron rod on her forehead, the prosecution said.
The accused’s lawyer argued that his clients were falsely implicated in the case as there was a dispute between the two groups in the village.
While holding the accused guilty, the court observed, “The testimony of the victim with regard to the act of the accused of tearing her dress is reliable. The act establishes the offence under Section 354 of the IPC.” The court also noted that the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused no 2 (Severous) voluntarily caused hurt to the victim with the iron rod.
Considering the fact that Agnelo is the only earning member of his family and his son being a young man, the court noted that sentencing them to pay fine would meet the ends of justice and would have deterrent effect.
The court has directed that an amount of 5,000 shall be paid to the victim as compensation, if the fine is paid by the accused. Assistant public prosecutor R Dessai appeared for the state.

Mayawati’s minister says he can get Lokayukta sacked

Uttar Pradesh energy minister Ramveer Upadhyaya has landed in a controversy after launching an attack on the Lokayukta boasting that he could have easily got him sacked.
“I respected the personal relations which I share with the Lokayukta (Justice N.K. Mehrotra). Otherwise I could have got him sacked anytime from the Supreme Court,” Upadhyaya said at an election rally in Hathras on Saturday in support of the BSP candidate Genda Lal.
With several members of the Mayawati ministry facing the heat from the anti-graft ombudsman, Upadhyaya went on the offensive, claiming he had a better understanding of law than the judge. “I had been a student of law and I know law very well…I know law more than him,” Upadhyaya said.
The minister’s remarks came under the scanner of the Election Commission which said it was awaiting a report from the district magistrate of Hathras.
“The district magistrate has informed us about the incident and he is sending a factual report,” chief electoral officer Umesh Sinha said.
Reacting to the minister’s outburst, Lokayukta Mehrotra said the statement was made out of anxiety at the behest of the BSP and the Election Commission should take cognisance of the matter.
He denied Upadhyaya’s claims that they shared a “personal relation”.
“As far as I know I have no personal relations with him. The statement has been made in haste and political leaders say such things during elections,” Mehrotra said in Lucknow. “I can also send a formal complaint to the chief minister,” Mehrotra added.
The minister is under the scanner of the Lokayukta after a complaint lodged by the Samajwadi Party’s Hathras district president Devendra Agarwal, who accused Upadhyaya of amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income, misusing his local area development fund and land grabbing.
“The probe is still on,” Mehrotra said.
Ahead of the assembly polls, five ministers had been removed by Mayawati on the recommendation of the Lokayukta.
“It is an act out of anxiety. It is not an individual act but a party act,” Justice Mehrotra said.
The Lokayukta said on the one hand Upadhyaya claims of having personal relation with him while on the other he threatens of approaching the Supreme Court to get him removed.
He alleged that it was an attempt to create pressure so that the inquiry against him does not proceed.
Justice Mehrotra said there was a provision in the law where a complaint could be lodged before the competent magistrate, but as Upadhyaya wanted to take advantage of the situation, he was not considering taking action as of now.

Pune man, 2 doctors get RI for sex determination test

Published: Sunday, Jan 1, 2012, 15:17 IST
By Mohsin Mulla | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

In a landmark judgment on Friday, a man and two doctors got three years’ rigorous imprisonment for conducting a sonography test for determining the sex of the foetus and subsequently terminating the pregnancy.
The first class judicial magistrate in Jaysingpur town (Shirol taluka) DP Kasat convicted Ramling Bhusaheb Sutar (resident of Umalwad in Shirol taluka), radiologist Dr Shivaji Sadashiv Mane (Jaysingpur) and a homeopathy practitioner, Dr Ujma Patel (Jaysingpur).
This case was brought to light by social activist and lawyer Varsha Deshpande.“This case is unique as for the first time in the country, a relative (husband) has received a jail sentence for illegal sex determination and abortion of a pregnant woman,’’ Deshpande said while speaking to DNA.
In 2008, Deshpande had received information of an abortion of a pregnant woman being done in Patel’s hospital in Jaysingpur town. “We rushed to the hospital immediately on February 28, 2008. Unfortunately, the abortion was over before our team and the government officials could reach the spot. The detailed inquiry revealed that a female foetus had been aborted,’’ Deshpande said while speaking to DNA.
It was found that ultrasound sonography of the pregnant woman was done at Shinde’s hospital in Jaysingpur.
Accordingly, Sutar, Patel and Shinde were booked as per the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994.

Incidentally, another case of the illegal sex determination is pending against Dr Mane.

Age row: Army chief seeks legal aid, say sources

Nitin Gokhale, Updated: January 01, 2012 22:36 IST
New Delhi:  Two days after the Defence Ministry formally rejected his statutory application seeking correction in his date of birth, Army Chief General VK Singh is working out his future response.

He feels the government has given him a raw deal and therefore he has no option but to fight for his honour.

General Singh is consulting legal experts, including three former Chief Justices of India, and they have strongly supported him. Sources say the Army chief has two options: Either to go to the Armed Forces Tribunal, or move to Supreme Court directly. The Supreme Court is already hearing a Public Interest Litigation over the issue.

Sources also say that General Singh has also not ruled out resigning ahead of his tenure ending on May 31, 2012 – the date which the government has now decided.

Rejecting his statutory plea, the Defence Ministry cited Attorney General’s opinion as the reason. On Dec 16, NDTV had reported that the Attorney General is of the opinion that the Army Chief date of birth has to be May 10, 1950.

Different records within the Army show May 10, 1950 and May 10, 1951 as the General’s date of birth. General Singh has consistently claimed that he was born in 1951 and not 1950 as maintained by the Ministry of Defence.

In his statutory complaint, he had said that he was seeking to clear the perception that he was lying about his age and not fighting for his tenure, which he maintained, was the government’s prerogative.

After the controversy over his age, the Army chief had argued that that the confusion arose from a form which he had filled at the age of 15. The clerk handling his papers for the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) exams listed his age as 16 instead of 15. This was the application form for the National Defence Academy (NDA), which documents the General joining the Army.

All his promotions were, however, decided on the basis of him being born, as he said, in 1951.

In an interesting move, after receiving the formal communication from the Defence Ministry, General Singh went and met Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. What transpired at the meeting is, however, unknown.

12 MP doctors let off with Rs.5,000 fine for conducting illegal drug trials

As penalties for subjecting patients to guinea pig treatment go, this one would not even register on the blip screen.
A dozen government doctors in Indore got a mere slap on the wrist on Saturday evening when they were fined Rs.5,000 for allegedly conducting controversial drug trials on 1,883 poor and unsuspecting hospital inmates, many of whom suffered from side effects and some even lost their lives.
The trials, that took place over a period of four years in three hospitals, shockingly did not either have the government’s permission or the patients’ informed consent. What was worse, the accused appeared to have covered their tracks by not furnishing the details of the drugs or vaccines used in the experiments as also the names and particulars of the victims. In these circumstances, assessing the precise extent of damage in terms of side effects and fatalities was an onerous task.
Instead of looking at the criminal conduct of errant doctors belonging to government hospitals of Indore, the probe conducted by the city’s chief medical and health officer (CMHO), Dr Sharad Pandit, merely invoked the Madhya Pradesh Nursing Homes and Clinical Establishment (registration and licence) Amendment Act, 2003, to impose the paltry penalty. The Madhya Pradesh government’s disdain for the victims was further laid bare by the untouched provision of the same law that provides for a maximum fine of Rs.50,000.
Even that amount, however, would not have been a serious deterrent for the doctors who, according to Paras Sacklecha (an Independent legislator from Ratlam), had pocketed Rs.1.44 crore from private pharmaceutical companies to conduct the trials. “They lured poor and illiterate patients without telling them about the implications involved,” Sacklecha alleged. It was he who obtained the figure of 1,883 victims, including children and mentally challenged persons, from the government under the RTI Act.
“In fact, without taking permission for the drug trial from the government, the doctors have not only taken the huge sum from pharma majors but also embarked on foreign tours,” Sacklecha added. The penalty, interestingly, was imposed on the doctors for not furnishing the details of the victims who had been subjected to the trials.
“A fine of Rs.5,000 each has been imposed on 12 doctors of autonomous medical colleges and hospitals attached with them for conducting drug trials on children and mentally challenged persons. The doctors had expressed their inability to provide details of drug or vaccine trial, citing a provision of the Drug and Cosmetics Rules, 1945,” medical education department deputy secretary Shyam Singh Kumre said.
In effect, therefore, action had been taken only for their failing to provide data to the CMHO under the nursing homes Act. Even the press note was silent on the illegality of the doctors’ action. It merely talked about new norms: “The state government is serious about the complaints received in this connection and fresh guidelines will be issued after chalking out new parameters.”

But Dr Anand Rai, the whistleblower and a government doctor of Dhar district, said: “A maximum fine of Rs.50,000 could be imposed if the nursing homes were not registered or were unable to furnish monthly data. Yet the fine slapped on the doctors was the bare minimum.”

Rai felt the government had simply let off the doctors despite their performing drug trials on patients who had gone to the government hospitals for routine treatment. “Putting such patients under clinical drug trials without taking their consent is a criminal offence,” he added.
Between 2006 and 2010, the paediatrics department of MGM Medical College, Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalay Avum Anusandhan Kendra, and the department of medicines and neurology of M. Y. Hospital – all Indore- based – allegedly conducted thousands of clinical trials on children, men and women.
The MP government looked the other way till the issue rocked the state assembly in the last monsoon session, forcing chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to order an enquiry by the Economic Offences Wing. The latter curiously did not come out with the names of the culprit doctors, the beneficiary corporations or even the victims. However, last month, Chouhan claimed that no patient had died during the drug trials in Indore.
“The state bureau of investigation of economic offences has submitted a chart, along with its report on unethical drug trials, on important facts and statistical data. This chart shows that 81 people had died or fell unwell after the trials. But it has not come to our notice that anyone died directly as a result of the drug trials,” the CM told the House, leaving enough room for doubt about whether the home ministry was proficient enough to probe the cause of deaths after the trials.
Recently, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) served a notice to the MP government over reports alleging illegal drug trials on mentally ill patients in Indore. The NHRC asked the state chief secretary to submit a report within four weeks, referring to a media report alleging that 233 mentally ill patients were subjected to drug trials in Indore.
The NHRC wanted to know whether guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) were adhered to by doctors while taking approval for the trials from independent ethics committees attached to private hospitals. It also sought information on whether the nature of the drugs being tested had been revealed. Furthermore, the panel asked whether any survey had been conducted about the status of health of the mentally ill patients who underwent drug trials.
“Every medicine has some side effects or risks associated with its use. It is very difficult to say what kind of side effects the patients on whom the drugs were tested may have suffered. The most shocking part of the entire Indore drug trial fiasco is that the doctors conducted investigational vaccination trials on illiterate persons without telling them about the implications involved,” Dr Anand Rai said.

Army blames lawyer for officer’s promotion fiasco

An armed forces tribunal order stalling the promotion of Brigadier P.S. Rathore, tipped to be the next judge advocate general (JAG), has rattled the army. The blame is being shifted to a senior counsel who appeared for the defence ministry and army in a case where the brigadier was accused of harassing a Lt-Colonel.
Incumbent JAG Major-General B.V. Nair retires on January 31, 2012. Brigadier Rathore, currently serving as the deputy JAG in the south-western command, was considered for promotion by the special selection board in October and the official announcement in this regard was expected in the last week of December. But the tribunal directed the ministry and the army headquarters to keep the issue pending till February 7, 2012, when the matter comes up again for hearing.
Advocate B.K. Das was pulled up by the army after the tribunal’s December 19, 2011, order left it red-faced. Deputy JAG (eastern command) Brigadier V.C. Chitravanshi sought an explanation from Das as to who had authorised him to appear on behalf of the army. Chitravanshi also claimed no efforts were made to seek time for contesting the interim order.
“A plain reading of the order shows that no effort was made to seek time to contest the interim orders or to even seek grant of some time to seek the instructions to oppose the application for interim relief,” Brigadier Chitravanshi wrote.
Das has termed the charges “defamatory, biased” and “insulting”. He has asked Brigadier Chitravanshi to withdraw his letter, which is causing interruption in the tribunal’s proceedings. “I was asked to appear on behalf of the government by Lt-Col Sanjeev Pandit of HQ Bengal Area, legal cell, and invited to a conference with him for necessary instructions. I tried to contest the matter… but the tribunal passed the interim order,” he countered, adding that there was “no evidence on record to suggest that I did not defend the case to the best of my ability”.
Das said: “The deputy JAG’s letter not only discourages the counsel’s moral but is also contrary to the court decorum.”
Meanwhile, the army is said to have moved a miscellaneous application before the tribunal’s principal bench in New Delhi for transfer of the case from Kolkata.
Mail Today had first reported that Lt-Col Mukul Dev, then posted at the central command headquarters, was transferred out of the JAG branch in 2009 allegedly to harass him and hamper his career growth.

Army chief has option to move SC over age row

 New Delhi: Sources say all options are open to Army chief General VK Singh after the Defence Ministry rejected his complaint on the controversy involving his age.

He could file an appeal before the Armed Forces Tribunal (which is equivalent to high court) or move the Supreme Court.
The other option on the table is to resign before his tenure ends.
In a major setback for General Singh, the defence ministry on Friday rejected his statutory complaint seeking a change in his year of birth from 1950 to 1951 in the official records.
General Singh had earlier claimed his year of birth is 1951.
There were two different dates of birth for General Singh in official records. One with the Adjutant General’s branch in Army Headquarters lists May 10, 1951 as his date of birth and the other at the Military Secretary’s branch shows the date as May 10, 1950.

Year of criticism, from the bench and against it

CVC THOMAS: A three-judge bench led by CJI SH Kapadia declared “non est” — or nonexistent — the majority recommendation of a high-powered committee for P J Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner. The court ruled that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister’s recommendation amounted to “official arbitrariness”, coming in spite of the dissent of the third committee member (the Leader of the Opposition) and without considering the relevant material.
LEADERS vs JUDGES: Rajya Sabha members went on TV to criticise the “growing” cases of corruption among judges and raised a pitch for a Judges Accountability Bill. The CJI responded that an honest judge need not worry about such a bill, and shot back at the parliamentarians for putting all judges in the same category of “corrupt” judges. He went on to issue an open challenge to the lawmakers that if “you” want to dismantle the institution of judiciary, first show how to build a better alternative.
JUDICIAL ACTIVISM: Two back-to-back rulings in July by an SC bench led by Justice Sudershan Reddy were widely criticised as instances of judicial overreach and activism. First, it set up a Special Investigation Team to investigate and bring home back black money abroad. The decision was challenged by the government; a second Bench then reached a split decision. In the other judgment, Justice Reddy ordered the Chhattisgarh government to disband vigilante groups (Salwa Judum) fighting against Naxals, criticising the “new mantra from the mandarins of security and high economic policy of the state — tax breaks for the rich and guns for the youngsters amongst the poor”. The order was later modified. When the controversy was raging, a Bench led by Justice G S Singhvi criticised “some lawyers, journalists and men in public life” for accusing the judiciary of over-reach when it entertains public interest litigations espousing the cause of the poor and downtrodden. “So far, the courts have been used only for the purpose of vindicating the rights of the wealthy and the affluent,” the bench said.
2G BAIL: In February, the Supreme Court had exhorted the CBI, “You must catch them all.” Then in November, it criticised a tendency shown by lower courts to deny bail to any of the persons arrested. “Right to bail is not to be denied merely because of the sentiments of the community against the accused,” Justice H L Dattu wrote in his judgment. Five executives of Unitech, Swan Telecom and Reliance ADAG later got bail.
BHOPAL GAS LEAK: On May 12, the Supreme Court threw out the CBI’s curative petition against a 1996 judgment that described the tragedy as an act of negligence and not culpable homicide on the part of Union Carbide staffers. The court refused to take the blame for fact the eight accused had “walked away” with a two-year jail term from the Bhopal chief judicial magistrate’s court, after a 26-year trial.
AMAR SINGH: The Supreme Court’s displeasure at the CBI’s “shoddy” probe in the cash-for-vote case led to the former Samajwadi Party leader’s arrest. And when he decided to remove the Congress’s name from the list of those he accused of tapping his calls, the SC suspected his actual motives. The court further lifted a five-year-old ban on publication of the tapes of those conversations.
Post-GODHRA: The Supreme Court pulled out of monitoring the Ehsaan Jafri case in which Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 63 other high functionaries were accused of several offences. It ordered the SIT to present its report before the Gujarat magistrate concerned. It was the only case involving the riots that named Modi directly.
AYODHYA: The Supreme Court re-kindled the 60-year-old dispute when it stayed an Allahabad High Court judgment, calling it a “leap of faith”. The Supreme Court said it found it “strange and surprising” that the High Court had taken it upon itself to “partition” the site.
GRAHAM STAINES: The Supreme Court invited criticism when it confirmed the life sentence awarded to Dara Singh, who burnt alive the Australian missionary and his two sons in 1999. The court cited the reason that the intent was only to teach a lesson to the father about religious conversion. The court later suo motu deleted this portion from the judgment.
NITHARI: A bench led by Justice Markandeya Katju made a decisive comment when it observed that Surendra Koli “appears to be a serial killer”. The court went on to confirm the death penalty awarded to Koli.
EUTHANASIA: The SC for the first time allowed passive euthanasia “under exceptional conditions” and set down guidelines for it. The decision came in the case of nurse Aruna Shanbaug.
ENDOSULFAN: The SC banned the production and sale of endosulfan, a cheap but controversial agrochemical used by farmers, noting that the life of one child is more precious than all the financial losses that industry will incur.
BELLARY: The Supreme Court suspended mining in this district, saying miners’ “greed” has overshot the court’s efforts to balance environmental concerns and development.
26/11: The final hearing on Ajmal Kasab’s appeal against the death penalty will start on January 31. The Supreme Court has suspended the death sentence, saying it would like to hear the plea at length as “due process of law” has to be followed.
AFSPA: The CBI has sought a clarification on the extent of immunity enjoyed by Army personnel under this Act and other laws for fake encounter killings. The agency wants the lifting of an SC stay on the trial in a J&K court relating to the killing of seven youths by the Army.
VODAFONE: A judgment is awaited on the Vodafone tax case, in which the company argues it is not liable to pay capital gains tax because the deal to buy Hutchison’s India operations was done overseas.
N-LIABILITY: A PIL on nuclear liability and safety of plants will be heard. The petition wants an independent safety regulator set up.
END OF TERM: CJI S H Kapadia retires in September.

Blooper on site leaves CIC red-faced

TNN | Jan 2, 2012, 06.19AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Central Information Commission’s (CIC) inordinate delay has come to light in the five appeals filed between October and December 2010, which were heard together on September 30 last year. While the order in one appeal was given on the day of hearing, for the other four appeals the order was dispatched to appellant only in December-end.

The four orders, however, still show September 30 as the date when it was passed. On the CIC website, none of the five orders is listed in the name of IIT respondents, but the HRD ministry’s department of school education and literacy. The ministry was not even party to the case. CIC’s website lists the case as Rajeev Kumar vs. department of school education and literacy.

The first appeal related to information in all cases of admissions in IIT-Kanpur of the wards of faculty members/scientific officers since 2000. The CIC ordered IIT-Kanpur to provide the information. The second appeal was about information regarding number of students who have answered correctly, wrongly and did not attempt each question of papers I and II of JEE, 2010. The CIC told IIT-Madras that conducted JEE in 2010 to provide the records just the way IIT-Kanpur did for JEE, 2011.

Kumar’s third appeal sought details of IIT-Kharagpur faculty members involved in consultancy along with the honorarium paid to them. The CIC asked IIT-Kharagpur to give the information. It said in case IIT-Kharagpur feels information is scattered and cannot be easily gathered without committing huge resources, then supporting affidavit should be filed in the commission.

Kumar had also asked IIT-Madras to give names and details of all candidates, who appeared in both papers of JEE, 2010, in mathematics, physics and chemistry along with two ways of evaluation that was undertaken as a corrective measure. IIT-Madras told CIC that names of candidates, parents’ name are available on the website but that of SC/ST categorization is not uploaded. CIC asked IIT-Madras to file an affidavit to the commission that no intermediate data is generated.

Vetting pharma M&As out of ambit, says CCI

TNN | Jan 2, 2012, 12.49AM IST
NEW DELHI: The government’s move to get all acquisition of local pharmaceutical companies by overseas players vetted by the Competition Commission of the India (CCI) has run into trouble.

CCI, the anti-monopoly watchdog, has told the government that the law does not empower it to monitor and restrict merger or acquisition (M&A) activity in the sector. Officials told TOI that CCI has told the government that the move will be tough to defend in a court of law and can only be implemented if the government amends the Competition Act.

Amid demands from domestic industry and the department of industrial policy and promotion to cut the pharma FDI cap to 49% – from 100% at present – in October, the government settled for a new mechanism while leaving the ceiling unchanged. The new system was finalized after prime minister Manmohan Singh stepped in amid intense inter-ministerial wrangling.

Under the new rules, for any M&A, the overseas investor will have to seek permission from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). By February, the government is hoping to allow the CCI to vet these deals.

Accordingly, RBI changed the rules and said, “FDI, up to 100%, would be permitted for brownfield investment (i.e. investments in existing companies), in the pharmaceutical sector, under the government approval route.”

The government has begun brainstorming on the issue, and Pulok Chatterjee, principal secretary to PM, has also convened a meeting to discuss the issue.

Although the government is discussing a comprehensive set of amendments to the Competition Act, sources indicated that even an Ordinance could be promulgated to allow the free-play entity to keep an eye on the pharma sector.

Following a spate of acquisition by multinational corporations, concerns were raised over the impact on homegrown firms as there are fears that domestic drug prices may rise and availability could also be affected. There have been at least half-a-dozen such deals, including Ranbaxy Laboratories buy out by Daiichi Sankyo of Japan, Shanta Biotech by Sanofi Aventis of France and Piramal Healthcare by Abbott Laboratories of the US.

This prompted the local pharma lobby to seek protection from M&As, a view that found favour with the industry department and the health ministry although almost everyone else opposed the proposal.

State allows builder to sell car parking’

TNN | Jan 2, 2012, 05.47AM IST
MUMBAI: Days after the state cabinet approved a legislation meant to improve transparency in the housing sector, activists have objected to certain “grey areas”.

The cabinet approved the Maharashtra Housing (Regulation and Promotion of Construction, Sale, Management and Transfer) Act, which contains provisions for the formation of a housing authority and an appellate tribunal. To be put up for approval before the state legislature during the budget session, the Act will replace the existing Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act (MOFA), 1963, which was also meant to provide relief to flat purchasers against malpractices by developers in construction, sale and transfer of flats.

Provisions of the MOFA have been included in the new Act. Activists, however, observed that some modifications or new clauses introduced went against the “interests of a flat purchaser”.

Ramesh Prabhu, chairman, Maharashtra Societies’ Welfare Association (MSWA), alleged that the new Act recognizes the right of a builder to sell car parking areas to flat purchasers.

Objecting to a clause which states that the builder should mention the proportionate price of parking spaces separately in the agreement, Prabhu claimed that there existed a Supreme Court directive in this regard, which prohibited selling of car parking.

‘Open space can be misused’

Activists have decried ‘grey areas’ in the new housing regulation Act. Advocate Vinod Sampat, president of Cooperative Societies’, Residents and Users Welfare Association, said the clause relating to pricing of parking lots “completely disregards the SC directive”.

State officials however said that the provision was only meant to bring in more transparency in home deals. Even the model guidelines formulated by the Centre in this regard make a similar provision, an official added.

Chairman of MSWA Ramesh Prabhu further alleged that the new Act recognizes the right of the developer to sell utility areas like dry balconies, flower beds, pocket terraces, which were not provided for in MOFA. The official however said that these spaces are anyway being sold.

Activists opposed another clause which permitted promoters/developers to amend or modify the layout including recreation grounds, gardens and playgrounds. Prabhu said that this too contradicted another SC verdict. Sampat said that this could amount to “fleecing” of the flat buyer. “A flat purchaser often buys a house on the basis of the open space shown in the layout. By allowing developers to amend plans, the state is only facilitating an exercise wherein he can construct on that open space,” he said.

Prabhu also objected to a condition imposed for the formation of a cooperative society. “It states that for the registration of a society, all flat owners have to pay the full consideration amount towards the purchase and other amounts. This means, if the developer chooses to keep amounts payable by one or two flat buyers pending, the registration of the society and the conveyance of the land and building will become difficult,” he said. Sampat alleged that the MOFA Act did not contain this provision.

Both also objected to the provision stating that it would not be necessary for the promoter to obtain consent of permission from flat purchasers for utilizing FSI, TDR and or additional FSI in a bigger sized (layout) plot. A state official however said that this was only applicable for FSI and TDR remaining after conveyance of common amenities to a federation of societies, and buildings to individual societies.

Case registered under SC/ST Act

TNN | Jan 2, 2012, 05.27AM IST
KANPUR: The Sajeti police have registered a case of rape under SC/ST Act and threat to life on the intervention of police officials after seven days.

In an incident that was reported to the Sajeti police on December 26,

The victim was dragged to a sugarcane field belonging to one Raj Vishambhar in Barimhatan village and raped by Kamlesh Dikshit, son of Brij Bhushan of the same village. The victim and her husband approached the Sajeti police but the cops did not register a case. They approached senior police officials, who initiated investigations and a a case had been registered under Sections 376 of IPC and 3 (1) 12 SC/ST Act.

Case registered: The police have registered a case under Sections 302/201 in connection with the recovery of an unidentified body of woman from the bushes near Massacre Ghat in Cantt on November 28.

CCTVs installed in district court of no use
Deevakar Anand , Hindustan Times
Gurgaon, January 02, 2012
It’s been five years that CCTV cameras were installed in the district court complex here, but no court official knows how to store footage and convert it into transferable form like CD. In case of an untoward incident, this may hinder the investigation process. “No official is trained to operate/
prepare a floppy/ diskette of the CCTV recording,” the office of district and sessions court wrote to the public works department (PWD) on December 19, asking if it could help fix the problem. The office of district and sessions judge had asked the PWD to “get the needful done”, after an RTI application filed in court sought the CCTV footage from November 1 to 25.

PWD executive engineer (electricals) could not be contacted. However, the department has to respond to the RTI plea, which has been passed to it by the court officials. PWD had installed CCTV cameras in the court in 2006, after a criminal was shot in the complex.
RTI applicant Aseem Takyar said, “I doubt if the cameras installed in the court work properly. I asked for the footage in larger public interest.” A former district judge had got some 24 cameras installed in the complex, including the courtrooms. While the ones inside courtrooms were removed after a directive from the Punjab and Haryana HC, those installed outside court numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 10 are static.

285 HC positions vacant as CJs fail to give proposals

TNN | Jan 2, 2012, 06.22AM IST
NEW DELHI: The government said that vacancies in high courts across the country were because it was not getting “sufficient proposals” despite periodic reminders to the chief justices.

Though over 40 lakh cases were pending before various HCs, 285 posts are lying vacant in higher judiciary accounting for 31% of the sanctioned strength of 895 judges.

The Allahabad high court has a sanctioned strength of 160 judges as on September 1, but only 61 posts are occupied, which is only 38% of the strength.

In an RTI response to activist Subhash Agrawal, the law ministry said according to the Supreme Court judgment dated October 6, 1993, the entire process of initiation of proposal for appointment of a judge of the SC and the chief justice of HCs rests with the Chief Justice of India, and appointment of a HC judge with the chief justice concerned.

“The main reason for the large number of vacant posts is that the government has not received sufficient proposals. The government is periodically reminding the chief justices of high courts to initiate proposals in time for filling up the existing vacancies as well as the vacancies anticipated in next six months in the high courts,” the ministry said.

Law minister Veerappa Moily had said last year that over 9.5 lakh cases are pending before the Allahabad HC.

The Punjab and Haryana HCs is also facing shortage of judges as there are only 43 judges against the sanctioned strength of 68, while 25 positions are lying vacant.

After HC cracks the whip, postal dept pulls up its socks

TNN | Jan 2, 2012, 03.04AM IST
CHENNAI: The Department of Posts has decided to deliver court notice/summons to addressees on a priority basis, and not to take more than five days to complete service.

This is pursuant to the high court’s order last month, rapping the department for postmen’s lackadaisical attitude while handling court notices, and directing the chief postmaster-general to issue suitable circulars or instructions to his subordinates.

An innocuous return of a notice undelivered to the addressee often holds up disposal of cases pending in court, the court pointed out, adding it amounted to interference with the administration of justice.

The department has issued a circular advising postmen to deliver court notices and summons on priority basis. The department will be employing more postmen on contract to complete service of court letter or notice or summon within a maximum of five days.

Chennai city has about 1,000 postmen and 300 post offices. Often, services of retired postmen, who are familiar with families, are engaged to deliver mails.

Assistant director of postal services at the office of chief postmaster-general, M K Subash said postmen faced problems when addressees shifted residence or were hesitant to receive court summonses.

“It is a tough job for the postman as most addressee say they are not aware of the person or say they will have to consult their husband or lawyer before receiving the letter,” he said. In such situations the postman informs the higher-ups after two attempts to complete service. Norms state that the addressee should collect the letter from the post office within five working days, after which it is sent back to the sender.

Postmen are worried about the latest circular, as they have to make a number of attempts to trace the addressee. Stating that pressure on them is high, V Natesan, a postman at Kilpauk, said: “Each of us has been served a copy of the circular and instructed to complete delivery of court notices and summons on a priority and we are complying with it. Though it is an added pressure this is our job and we have to do it and we urge addressees to cooperate with us.”

Despite HC orders, TNPSC denies info to RTI applicant

TNN | Jan 2, 2012, 02.38AM IST
CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC), which is under a cloud over irregularities in recruitments over the past couple of months, has now extended its dubious streak of not being transparent enough. It has reportedly denied information to an RTI petition on the recruitment of assistant directors of the Town and Country Planning department despite two orders from the high court and two directions from the state information commission since 2008.

R Shivakumar of Choolaimedu filed the petition under the right to information (RTI) Act in December 2008 seeking to find out if the 41 candidates found eligible by the TNPSC actually satisfied the requisite norms. “After 30 years, TNPSC issued an advertisement on February 9, 2008 seeking applications for the post of Assistant Director of Town and Country Planning. It received about 326. After receiving the applications, the TNPSC asked the Directorate of Town and Country Planning to fix eligibilities for the post. I smelt something fishy and filed the petition,” Shivakumar said.

Shivakumar had asked for the names of the selected candidates, their qualifications, experience, date of birth and community. The Public Information Officer of the TNPSC said the information could not be provided as the selection process was not finalized. Then, in February 2008, Shivakumar appealed to the Appellate Authority in TNPSC which passed an order saying the information sought could not be furnished and cited provisions of Section 8 (1) (8) and 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act.

Shivakumar appealed to the Tamil Nadu Information Commission which ordered the TNPSC to furnish the information on September 10, 2009.

“Ten days after the commission issued the order, the TNPSC filed a writ petition in the Madras high court, seeking to quash it,” Shivakumar said.

In its petition, TNPSC said: “Only a person who participated in the selection but did not get selected is entitled to know if those selected had the essential qualifications.” Dismissing the petition, a single bench, led by justice V Ramasubramanian, asked the TNPSC to furnish the information in four weeks as per the order of the Tamil Nadu Information Commission.

The bench said: “The respondent may not be a candidate who participated in the selection, (but) it does not mean he cannot seek information about eligibility of persons selected to a post which is entrusted with statutory functions.”

The TNPSC appealed to a division bench on July 22, 2011. The bench dismissed the appeals and said: “The TNPSC is amenable under RTI Act and is duty bound to furnish information under the Act.” The TNPSC has still not furnished the information, Shivakumar said.

Only a person who participated in the selection but did not get selected is entitled to know if those selected had the essential qualifications.

HC upholds life term in boy’s sodomy, murder

TNN | Jan 2, 2012, 04.14AM IST
MADURAI: The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has confirmed life sentence imposed on two accused in connection with the sodomy and murder of an eight-year-old boy. On September 16, 2010, a trial court at Karur had convicted Mansur Ali, Nattu alias Nataraj and Kumar, sentencing them to life imprisonment for the murder of Faizur Rahman.
The boy was staying with his father at Aravakurichi village in Karur taluk where his father ran a partnership business. One Ramu alias Madan a juvenile, in conflict with law was working under them. At 4.30pm on March 2, 2008, the three accused along with Ramu, abducted the boy and took him to Sukkankarai Thottam where they molested the boy. Later, one of them killed Rahman by dropped a big stone on the boy’s head. They then concealed the dead body in a gunny bag in a garden at Jeeva Nagar. The inspector of police, attached to Aravakurichi police station registered the case and arrested all accused.
The trial court at Karur convicted all the three accused. However, challenging the judgement of the lower court, they preferred the present appeal before the Madurai bench seeking to set aside the sentences imposed on them.
Delivering a judgment on their appeal, the bench comprising Justice M Jaichandren and S Nagamuthu said according to the doctor, the death was due to a head injury which could have been caused by a stone.
The prosecution pointed out that the recto anal swab taken from the deceased was compared to the DNA of the three accused and that of the juvenile accused Ramu. As the DNA of Kumar did not tally, it was concluded that Mansur Ali and Nattu had committed sodomy and killed the boy. Hence, holding that the prosecution has proved the case against them, the bench sustained the conviction. Stating that so far the case against Kumar was not proved beyond reasonable doubt, the judges acquitted him of all charges.

HC rues habeas corpus petitions in love cases

TNN | Jan 2, 2012, 05.30AM IST
BANGALORE: Disapproving of the tendency to file habeas corpus petitions in love affair cases, the Karnataka high court has said that no directive could be issued in such instances unless illegal custody was established.

A division bench headed by justice DV Shylendra Kumar rued that every love affair between teens in the age of unrestrained spirit, enthusiasm, ideas and emotions was sought to be converted into subject matter for issue of habeas corpus.

The bench also observed that parents were finding habeas corpus petitions a convenient forum to get such affairs investigated instead of filing police complaints.

The court made these observations while dismissing a habeas corpus petition filed by a Banaswadi woman, Anusuya (name changed), after it was revealed that her daughter was in love with a boy and might have eloped with him fearing reprisal since he belonged to another community.

The court also obtained an undertaking from police that they would continue with their efforts to trace the missing girl. “There is no dearth of youngsters getting infatuated with persons of opposite sex with whom they might have developed some intimacy or relationship,” the bench said.

Scared that their affairs might not be approved by their elders, youngsters leave their parents and seek shelter elsewhere, including at unknown and strange places, it observed.

The petitioner said that her teenage daughter, PUC student Ashwini (name changed), had been missing since November 22 morning when she left for writing an examination.

Anusuya further stated that she received a phone call from a local boy who claimed that Ashwini was with him. The caller threatened Anusuya with dire consequences for having gone to police.

The call was traced to Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. A local resident, meanwhile, told police that he had seen the boy and the girl together several times and had felt that they were in love.

HC rules in favour of Indian Co in trademark copyright case

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has dismissed the Netherlandbased liquor group’s plea, seeking to restrain Tilaknagar Industries Ltd here, from using trademarks ‘Mansion House’ and ‘Savoy Club’ on products sold in India.

Tilaknagar Industries claims to be a major player in the sale of Indian made foreign liquor in India and manufactures 40 brands, including the ‘Mansion House’ brandy.

UTO Nederland BV and Distilleerderji en Likeurstokerji Herman Jansen BV had filed a suit alleging that Tilaknagar Industries, by printing labels on its products, has infringed their copyright in the original artistic works.

The plaintiffs claimed that they were the registered proprietors of the trademarks ‘MANSION HOUSE’,’MH’, ‘MHB’ and ‘SAVOY CLUB’ and contended that the defendant has, by using the trademarks, passed off their products, such as alcoholic beverages, spirits and liquors as those of the plaintiffs or as emanating from or being associated with the plaintiffs.

Comparing the labels of the products sold by plaintiffs as well as the defendants, Justice S FVajifdar held in his 90-page order on December 22 that there was no similarity between them.

The literature, shape of the label and the entire get-up of the labels are different. Prima-facie, the mere depiction of the official residence of the Lord Mayer of the city of London would not constitute an infringement of copyright.

This device is used on the defendant’s label in a manner different from the manner in which it is used on the plaintiffs’ label.

Noose for 59 in the last decade, HC confirms death in four cases

Saeed Khan, TNN | Jan 2, 2012, 03.49AM IST
AHMEDABAD: With the two accused in Chandni rape and murder case getting death penalty, the number of people sentenced to death by hanging in 2011 in Gujarat has gone up to 15. This is the second highest figure in the last decade after 17 persons were ordered to be hanged by different sessions courts across the state in 2004.
In all, 59 persons tried in 36 different offences were sentenced to death in Gujarat in the last decade but the Gujarat high court confirmed the death penalty in four cases only, one of them being the Akshardham temple attack case, wherein three persons have been condemned to be hanged till death. Seventeen cases, including those of two drug peddlers and the cases of 2011, are still to be adjudged by the HC.
The courts considered all these cases in ‘the rarest of the rare’ category and awarded capital punishment. All the cases involved multiple killings, abduction and killing of children and rape and murder of minor girls. Besides, the court awarded capital punishment in terror-related cases too, even when there was no bloodshed but large-scale conspiracy as part of cross-border terrorism was established.
Of the four cases, wherein HC held that death sentence by trial courts were proper quantum of punishment, three cases involved people charged with rape and murder of particularly minor girls. Akshardham is the only terrorism related case, wherein the HC confirmed death penalty. All these cases are now before the Supreme Court for consideration.
On the other hand, the HC acquitted accused persons in four such cases. They include a father-son duo from Saraspur area who were sentenced to death by trial court for killing five of their own family.
In most of the cases, HC has commuted death sentence to life imprisonment. These cases include Salim Sheikh, the man who threw his five daughters in the Narmada river, four swamis of Vadtal temple who conspired and killed the head priest and four Pakistan nationals who infiltrated from the Kutch border with heavy ammunitions during the Kargil war.
One Shahnawaz Bhat, who sneaked into India from Pakistan, was acquitted of charges of waging war against the nation and his death sentence was converted into life imprisonment by HC.
This year, the special SIT court’s awarding death penalty to 11 persons in the Godhra train burning incident has resulted in such a high number of death sentences. The only parallel is in 1947, when 11 persons were ordered to be hanged in Porbandar for an attack on the police station.

J&K: Wipro backtracks on UID deal after state govt ‘flip-flops’

Srinagar: The Unique Identification (UID) project in Jammu and Kashmir has entered a limbo after one of the vendors, Wipro, refused to carry out the project. CM Omar Abdullah meanwhile has pleaded ignorance of the issue.
Wipro Technologies, apparently in a letter to the Omar Abdullah government, said that it had had enough of its flip flops. It clearly stated in the letter that it would not be able to execute the UID project in the state.
The Omar Abdullah government had unilaterally scrapped a deal it had entered into with Wipro and another local vendor, Compech Technologies.
Abdullah has, however, pleaded ignorance on the status of the project.
He said, “I will have to check this.”
The two companies had won the bid to carry out enrollment of 27 lakh and 45 lakh people respectively. The Jammu and Kashmir Bank – a registrar for the UID project – later invited fresh tenders twice but failed to get the drive started.
The high-profile project will continue to remain in limbo for some more time as another techno group called Eco Bay has now moved the Jammu and Kashmir High Court seeking more transparency in the tendering processes.
The HC has stepped in and asked the bank to explain its position.
The idea behind the entire project was to prepare over 1.1 crore UID cards with biometric details of every person in the state above the age of five in three years.
CM Abdullah was the first to give his fingerprints for the project in August, but the project is yet to take off.

Maharashtra to fill vacant posts in govt colleges early this year

TNN | Jan 2, 2012, 01.11AM IST
NAGPUR: The new year would surely bring good news for institutions, especially imparting professional education across Maharashtra, which have huge vacancies of lecturers and non-teaching staff.

The state government has embarked on a major drive of filling all vacant posts of lecturers and professors along with non-teaching staff in all its colleges offering courses like engineering, management, pharmacy and computer applications among others.

“By early 2012, you will not see even a single vacancy of teaching/non-teaching staff. There will be no visiting faculty in these colleges from next year,” minister for higher and technical education Rajesh Tope told TOI. He said that the government had taken a policy decision in this regard with a view to improve quality of education.

“About 1,500 candidates would be recruited in teaching and non-teaching categories in these colleges. The Department of Technical Education (DTE) had already screened eligible candidates and prepared their list,” he said.

The minister added that the government had constituted panels under respective divisional commissioners in the state which will conduct interviews of the eligible candidates before appointing them.

“The candidates aspiring to become a lecturer however will have to appear for a written test. An advertisement was published in the first week of December and facility was offered to students to apply online,” he said.

The development would surely bring relief to lakhs of students as they are the worst sufferers in case of inadequate teaching/non-teaching staff. Colleges are suffering due to scarcity of principals, lecturers and non-teaching staff, not only in the government-run colleges but also in private institutions.

Even in case of Nagpur University, nearly 450 of over 800 colleges, including Laxminarayan Institute of Technology (LIT), are functioning without regular principals/directors, leave alone lecturers.

Interestingly, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court comprising justices BH Marlapalle and Ambadas Joshi had taken a suo motu cognizance of the alarming situation and ruled on December 3, 2008 that the government and the universities should fill the posts of principals/directors in all colleges by May 31, 2009.

The court had also directed that names of defaulting colleges should be published in newspapers and students admitted in defiance of the order shall be treated as unauthorized and not be permitted to appear for examinations. However, the Supreme Court rejected the HC ruling while maintaining that process of filing vacant posts should continue to maintain quality.

Even a PIL was filed regarding huge vacancies of teaching/non-teaching staff in LIT. The hig court had then directed NU officials to fill them as early as possible.

No cancellation or resale of Rajiv flats: HC

HYDERABAD: A High Court division bench comprising chief justice Madan B Lokur and justice PV Sanjay Kumar directed the authorities of Rajiv Swagruha Corporation on Saturday not to resort to coercive steps against the allottees of Rajiv Swagruha homes.

The bench further directed that there would be no validity if the corporation resorted to cancellation of allotments made to those who had already paid money or sale of flats to new buyers in their place.
The case was posted for further hearing to January 20. Dealing with a writ petition, the chief justice noted that any action by the corporation authorities against the allottees would have no validity as the arguments in the case were still going on in the court. The respondent, Arambha Rajeev Swagruha Welfare Association, has already paid about Rs 10 lakh for a double bedroom flat and Rs 7 lakh for a single bedroom flat, and the corporation should not therefore resort to cancellation of allotments and sale of the flats to others, he said.
The welfare association moved the court for a direction to the corporation for immediate handover of flats allotted to them as the members had already paid the money. It said that they had come to know that some of the flats were sold by the corporation without the consent of the allottees concerned. They urged the court to see that the corporation gave the 25 percent state government’s mandatory concession. The corporation, which had to bear 34 percent interest in construction of 254 flats, should not add that amount to the cost of flats allotted to members of the association, it said.

Cops can’t refuse to register case saying info unreliable: HC

PTI | 10:01 AM,Jan 01,2012

Mumbai, Jan 1 (PTI) Observing that police cannot refuse to register a case on the ground that information given by the complainant is not reliable or credible, the Bombay High Court has directed city police to initiate an inquiry against three police officers of Andhra Pradesh for alleged extortion and threat. “It is a well-established position that it is no business of a police officer to inquire as to whether the information laid before him is reliable or genuine and refuse to register a case on the ground that the information is not reliable or credible,” a division bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and P D Kode observed recently. The court was hearing a petition filed by businessman Mukesh Gokal, seeking direction to police to register FIR against three Andhra Pradesh police officers and another person, claiming to be a close-aide of former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Rajasekhara Reddy. According to the petitioner, he had entered into a business transaction with an Andhra Pradesh-based company Lalitha Fashions in 2000. However, after Gokal had failed to deliver some material on time, the company had registered a case of cheating against him, the investigations of which were on. “On May 3, 2006, seven persons, including the proprietor of Lalitha Fashions forcibly entered my office in Mumbai and threatened me at gun point. Out of the seven persons, three were police officers from Andhra Pradesh, including deputy superintendent of police of Cuddapah district, Bhaskaran and one Rammana Reddy, who claimed to be a close aide of former chief minister Rajasekhara Reddy,” the petition claimed. (MORE)

HC bench stays single judge order

PTI | 06:01 PM,Jan 01,2012

Madurai,Jan1(PTI) The Madras High Court Bench here has stayed a single judge order directing the Tuticorin Port Customs Commissioner to either complete within two weeks the probe on alleged smuggling of cigarette cartons under cover of importing biscuits from Singapore or pay demurrage and container charges to the importer. Admitting the Commissioner’s plea, a Division Bench of Justices K.N.Basha and M Venugopal granted interim stay, The commissioner said there was no need to expedite the investigation as the expiry date for the biscuits,as printed on the packs was November 30, 2012.He charged that the importers were misleading the investigation by making contradictory statements and submitting fake documents. Customs authorities accused the importer of concealing high-value cigarette cartons beneath low value biscuit cartons inside the containers to avoid payment of customs duty. The attempt to smuggle the goods came to light in Sept 2011 during an inspection carried out by the Special Intelligence and Investigation Branch at the Customs House.During the inquiry,the Importer disowned the Bill of Entry (a document filed by the importer to claim imported goods). He pretended ignorance about having filed any such BoE for importing biscuits and claimed that some one else had misused his Importer-Exporter Code to take delivery of the biscuits as well as cigarettes.Then he filed a writ petition, claiming that his supplier in Singapore had mistakenly loaded the cigarette boxes along with the biscuit cartons. The Customs, in their counter, said it was a clear case of ‘planned outright smuggling’ to evade Rs.14 lakh customs duty. The single judge directed officials to complete the probe in two weeks on the ground that the biscuits were perishable goods. The Commissioner contested that Sec110 (2) of the Customs Act provided six months time to investigate.The right to investigate could not be interfered with by the High Court by invoking its writ jurisdiction.The Commissioner also said the particular brand of cigarettes, smuggled in the present case, were actually banned in the United States.

2011: When VVIPs faced trial, jail terms
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, January 01, 2012
As many high-profile politicians, hard-boiled bureaucrats and corporate czars faced trial and landed behind bars in 2011, trial courts and jails turned to be their second homes. The fag end of 2010 itself had sketched the contours of the events of 2011, which began with the CBI arresting former telecom minister A Raja along with his former private secretary and former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura on February 2 for their alleged roles in the 2G spectrum case.

As the trio were unceremoniously bundled into Tihar with Raja and Behura, yet to get bail, the year saw their alleged accomplices like DMK MP Kanimozhi and telecom tycoons Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa and three top corporate honchos of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group following suit between February and May.
Around the time Raja and others were arrested in the 2G case, the CBI was making crucial arrests in the CWG case as well, beginning with close aide and OSD Shekhar Deorukh of sports baron and CWG Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalamadi on February 11, even though some of his accomplices were already arrested in November 2010 itself.
The CBI had registered at least five different cases of corruptions in the Games-related scam but it made the most significant arrest – that of Kalmadi on April 25 and since then he has been lodged in Tihar.
The CWG scam also saw arrests of a number of government officials like KUK Reddy, Sanjay Mahindroo, M Jaychandran, TS Darbari, Lalit Bhanot and several high-profile businessmen.
The year saw crucial developments in the 2008 cash-for-vote scam. The police swung into action after the Supreme Court cracked its whips on cops’ inaction in the case. The police hurriedly made some arrests and filed charge sheet in the case, leaving for the trial court to deal with the high and mighty ones among the accused.
The subsequent court proceedings saw dramatic arrests of once indomitable, former Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh on trial court’s order on September 6, when Singh, first through his counsel, pleaded for exemption from appearance before the court on grounds of his ill-health.
But he appeared before the court in less than two hours after making the plea for exemption and landed in Tihar. The case also saw the court sending two former and one sitting BJP MPs behind bars along with BJP stalwart LK Advani’s former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni.
Owing to his failing health, Amar Singh, however, had to be rushed to AIIMS within a week after his arrest and was eventually granted bail by the high court on October 24 after nearly one and half month in custody, major part of which had to be spent in AIIMS. Grant of bail to Singh paved the way for the relief to others as well on various grounds.
Around the same time, luck smiled on 12 out of 14 2G case accused as well with the apex court granting bail.
The fag end of the year saw the CBI issuing charge sheets to Essar Group promoters Anshuman and Ravi Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters IP Khaitan and his wife Kiran Khaitan and Essar Group director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf as accused in the case. They now face the court summons for early next year.
The year also saw the trial court giving a decent burial to nearly 25-year-old Bofors pay offs case, pointing out the futility of pursing the same at the immense cost of exchequer and in a situation when the case has hit dead ends not only in India but abroad as well due to foreign courts’ refusal to extradite Italian businessman Ottavio Quatrrocchi to face trial New Delhi.
A magisterial court, however, allowed a CBI plea to extradite Union carbide erstwhile chairman Warren Anderson to face trial for his criminal culpability in the 1984 Bhopal Gas tragedy case, from the US.
The fag end of the year also saw the NIA issuing charge sheet to US-born terrorist David Coleman Headley, his Pakistani-cum-Canadian accomplice Tahawwur Rana, founder of Lashker-e-Taiba terror group Hafiz Saeed, two serving Pakistani Army officers and others for plotting and executing terror strikes in India.
The year also saw a trial court judge mooting the radical ideas like castration as punishment for rape convicts and open jails for to de-congest prisons.
A trial court convicted 15 out of 98 accused in the case involving killings of an elderly Dalit and his teenaged handicapped daughter in a caste violence at Mirchpur village of Hissar in Haryana last April.
In heinous criminal cases, the year saw the trial courts awarding stringent punishment, including death penalties to five members of a family in case of “honour killing” and life sentence to four youths for killing another youth for having an affair with one of the convicts daughters.
It also sent a stern message against the malady of dowry death, sentencing an 85-year-old woman to life imprisonment along with her elder son for burning alive her younger son’s wife for failing to fulfil her dowry demands.
The courts also awarded whopping compensation to accident victims, the highest being Rs 87 lakh, which was awarded to the family of a woman engineer mowed by a bus.

LEGAL NEWS 31.12.2011

Tribunal stays Group-I interviews

TNN Dec 31, 2011, 04.52AM IST

HYDERABAD: In a setback for the state government, the AP Administrative Tribunal (APAT) on Friday stayed the interviews for Group I services scheduled to be held from January 4.
The tribunal bench comprising its chairman Justice G Yethirajulu and member AK Goel gave this interim order after hearing scores of applicants who took the test in Telugu medium.
They alleged that several bloomers crept into the questions translated from English to Telugu.
The bench directed the state to file an additional counter by January 20 replying to the contentions and questions raised by the applicants.
Owing to the translation errors, the applicants who took the test lost as many as 300 marks, the petitioners said and charged the AP Public Service Commission with not rectifying things. It did not even answer our doubts in its counter, they said.
The bench verified with the counsel for the commission and came to a conclusion that certain mistakes did creep in and they were left unattended to. Hence, the bench thought it fit to stay the ongoing process of selection and directed the authorities to file a detailed counter.
The tribunal asked APPSC to answer the following questions such as What was the criteria for selecting candidates for the interview? Was the assessment of answersheets done in a transparent way? What was the key that was taken as a standard in both English and Telugu medium answersheets? What were the inquiries you made so far into the objections raised by the aggrieved students?
The matter will now be heard again on January 20.

Parliament fails to approve even a single education bill
First Published: 20:33 IST(30/12/2011)
Last Updated: 20:34 IST(30/12/2011)
Sibal had got three bills — National Institute of Technology, Indian Institute
of Technology and Education Tribunal — that were approved by the Lok Sabha in previous sessions. These bills were, however, not taken up for consideration in Rajya Sabha apparently because of paucity of time.

The same reason, however, did not apply for some other bills such as Factoring Regulation and National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions), which got approval of the Upper House within a week of getting assent of Lok Sabha.  
The UPA government’s minority position in Rajya Sabha has proven a bane for Sibal, who has four bills pending for approval in the Upper House. Sibal had tried to reach out to members of Parliament to get the bills approved in the last two months but the opposition was not convinced.
In addition, Sibal introduced two new bills in Rajya Sabha — the Copyright (Amendment) and National Education and Research Bill, 2011 — not without much drama.
Couple of members prevented Sibal from introducing the Copyright Bill in the first go citing conflict of interest as his son was a lawyer of a music company. However, he managed to introduce the bill another day amid the din. But, he had problems with introduction of the Architects (Amendment) Bill, which was vehemently opposed by the BJP.
Among the 17 bills approved by Parliament in the winter session, not a single bill was from the HRD ministry. When Parliament meets again for budget session in 2012, the HRD minister will have about half a dozen new bills ready for introduction, including Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Education Institutions, which has been approved by the Union Cabinet.
The government could not introduce reform legislation, the Pension Regulatory Bill, in Lok Sabha after its ally Trinamool Congress objected to certain clauses. The Judicial Accountability Bill was deferred by Lok Sabha after being considered for almost four hours because of paucity of time.
The Parliament, however, cleared the Cable Television Network (Amendment) Bill imposing new stringent rules for offending television channels and a bill to set up an academy for scientific and innovative research.
During the session, the government introduced 30 bills (27 in Lok Sabha and three in Rajya Sabha) out of which 17 were passed. Among the bills not passed was the Lokpal bill, which got approval of Lok Sabha on Tuesday but failed to get assent of Rajya Sabha as discussion remained inconclusive.

Court calls for Lal Mandir antique idol

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 01.53AM IST
NEW DELHI: An antique idol of Lord Mahavira placed in the Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir at Chandani Chowk, one of the oldest temples in the city, has been the subject of a legal battle for the past four years and now it is going to be produced before a trial court next month.

Metropolitan magistrate Aparna Swamy issued summons to a representative of Jain Panchayat (Jain organisation), with the direction that he produce the idol on January 31, 2012, as the trial has finally started against three persons who allegedly were trying to sell it in the international market.

The court’s order came while allowing the plea of the counsel of the accused, who submitted that the examination of witnesses could not be continued further until the case property was brought before it. Allowing his plea, the court issued the summons.

The idol, which is worth crores of rupees, was recovered from three persons who claimed to be contractual labourers, on February 21, 2007. Police filed an FIR alleging that the suspects were about to sell the “stolen” idol, weighing 4.2kg in the international market.

As the idol was lying in the storeroom of the Kashmere Gate police station in central Delhi for few years with no rightful claimant, Prachin Shri Aggarwal Digambar Jain Panchayat, a Jain organization, moved the court to take the idol on conditional possession and instal it in the Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir for performing its religious rituals.

The community submitted that the idol was a work of art and sculpture and belonged to society as a whole. He said the idol would be installed in a manner that it could be removed if required, as the Jain scriptures provided for ‘chal pratishtha’ (movable establishment).

Even as Delhi Police opposed the application, the court had in an order on April 9, 2007, allowed the conditional release of the idol on a payment of Rs 5 crore to the applicant organization.

12 diamantaires to arrive home from China on Jan 6

Melvyn Thomas, TNN Dec 30, 2011, 10.36PM IST

SURAT: The two year-long wait for the family members of the diamond merchants incarcerated in China may end soon with the court likely to order the deportation of 12 out of the 13 diamond merchants acquitted in the diamond smuggling case on January 5, 2012.
The family members of 13 diamond merchants – released by the Chinese court in the $ 7.3 million diamond smuggling case on December 7 – have been eagerly waiting for their safe return since that fateful day of January 8, 2010 when the Shenzhen customs had detained them along with nine other diamond merchants on charges of smuggling diamonds.
While 12 diamond merchants will be able to arrive home in January, the 13th one will have to spend another two-and-a-half-months in the Chinese jail due to some legal tangle.
“An appeal has been filed against one of the 13 diamond merchants in the Chinese court against the verdict. However, it will take another two to three months for the court to dispose of the appeal and deport the diamond merchant to India. The rest 12 diamond merchants are likely to be deported from China on January 5,” said Dinesh Navadia, president, Surat Diamond Association (SDA).
Navadia said the diamond merchants released by the Chinese court were expected to arrive on December 30. But the legal procedure regarding the deportation of the 12 diamond merchants was delayed following the administrative procedures in China.
Vijay Sheth, leader of the Hong Kong diamond industry, told TOI, “The Indian embassy in China is in constant touch with the Chinese authorities for the deportation of 13 diamond merchants released by the Chinese court. One of the diamond merchant is facing an appeal in the higher court and that the 12 diamond merchants will reach Surat latest by January 6.”
Sheth said that the family members of all the 13 diamond merchants are camping in Shenzhen from the past many days to secure the release of their men. They (family members) and the leaders of the diamond trade in China and Hong Kong and the officials of Indian embassy are coordinating with the Chinese authorities to complete the deportation procedure at the earliest.

83 ‘illegal’ PDKV staffers given pink slip

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN Dec 31, 2011, 01.37AM IST

NAGPUR: Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV) served termination notices to 83 employees on Thursday for getting illegally recruited by flouting norms.
The action was taken by vice chancellor Vyankatesh Mayande after getting orders from governor and chancellor K Sankaranarayan. He gave a green signal as per recommendations of Justice SW Dhabe inquiry committee report.
This is the second biggest setback to the Akola-based agriculture university after Nagpur bench of Bombay high court had ordered to demolish its farmers’ communication centre and centenary auditorium built on reserved land on North Ambazari Road.
Interestingly, PDKV has also filed a caveat in the Nagpur bench praying for not grating interim orders to any terminated staffer without giving notice in case of filing of a petition.
The VC confirmed the development to TOI from Akola stating that the action was taken as per directives from the chancellor’s office in Mumbai.
“We’ve given them one month’s time till January 29 to pack their bags,” he said. He added that Justice Dhabe report had found that all these appointments were illegal. “The report is placed on university’s website,” he said.
Earlier, Mayande had suspended five members of selection committee – Vandan Mohod, ER Patil, ND Jogdande, Sudhir Suradkar, and Dinkar Deshmukh – who made these appointments.
Justice Dhabe’s panel was set up by the chancellor following a litigation in public interest (PIL) by two former vice-chancellors of PDKV – BG Batkal and VT Rahate – former dean of postgraduate institute in Akola BS Phadnaik and retired professor of agronomy BS Chimurkar.
Sources alleged that PDKV had made appointments gradually from September 6 to 15, 2005 while selecting underqualified applicants on grounds of favouritism and manipulation. Selection committee chairman Patil and secretary Mohod had allegedly increased the number of posts to be advertised for senior research assistants (SRA) and junior research assistants (JRA) by double. Against 24 vacant posts of SRA, 55 were filled while for 37 JRA posts, 76 were recruited. Among them, 15 had left PDKV while 33 were nominated/selected for promotion. As per Dhabe panel report, 131 posts were illegally filled. The retired judge had recommended immediate cancellation of these appointments and action against those involved in irregularities during interviews held between June 12 and 25, 2005.

Campaign launched against bheri fill-up

TNN Dec 31, 2011, 03.47AM IST

KOLKATA: Activists swung into action on Friday following TOI’s report on the encroachment of Collector Bheri, a 43-bigha waterbody in Chowbagha mouja of Ward No. 108 in South 24-Parganas, shooting off letters, launching a signature campaign and contemplating legal action.

Environmentalist Bonani Kakkar, who had launched a campaign to check encroachment of wetlands two decades ago, wrote to the state chief secretary, Kolkata police commissioner and South 24-Parganas district magistrate, demanding urging for immediate action against the culprits. “I have requested chief secretary Samar Ghosh to convene a meeting of the East Kolkata Wetlands at the earliest to discuss the grave matter,” said Kakkar. Ghosh is the chairman of the EKW Management Authority, a body that was set up to protect and preserve the wetlands following its listing as a Ramsar site.

Kakkar had visited rushed to the spot seven months ago when there was an attempt to dump earth in the lake located next to Heritage School. Though the land sharks lay low for a while, they launched a major drive to drain the lake a month ago. “This is a crime and ‘criminals’ should be taught a lesson,” she said.

Green crusader Subhas Dutta, who has successfully used the PIL route to stop encroachment in the past, is considering legal action. “I will be going to the site to check it out in person on Saturday or Sunday
If the administration sits on the case and fails to act, I will take the matter to court,” he said, adding that it was time to stop rampant encroachment of wetlands.
“This is so shocking. It has happened so many times in the past. The same old practice of turning geography into history by cutting trees or filling water bodies. Unless exemplary measures are taken, we will lose all waterbodies and greenery in the near future,” he said.
Scientist AK Ghosh has begun a signature drive to whip up support against encroachment of wetlands with particular reference to the blatant conversion at Collector Bheri. “The campaign will lead to an appeal to chief minister Mamata Banerjee, urging her to step in decisively and save the rampant destruction of wetlands,” Ghosh said.
Condemnation on the lack of administrative action despite stop-work notice and FIR by East Kolkata Wetlands Management Authority (custodians of wetlands) has been swift.
Ecologist and wetland expert Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, who was instrumental in listing of the wetland under Ramsar, called for decisive action against the culprits. “No water body can be filled up without requisite approval from government departments. And if it is in the EKW area, it cannot be touched,” he clarified.
Kalyan Rudra, a river expert, was also shocked stunned to learn about how the massive waterbody had been blatantly encroached upon despite a police case by a statutory authority. “This is grossly illegal and should be immediately stopped,” he added.
Ornithologist Sumit Sen said that loss of the wetland would affect migratory birds and other species of fauna that depend on marshlands for survival for survival
“Even otherwise, wetlands have an ecosystem of their own that will get destroyed once it the wetland is encroached upon,” he added.

City Briefs : Handling charges: Govt warning to automobile dealers

Handling charges: Govt warning to automobile dealers
New Delhi: The Delhi government on Friday said it would cancel licences of automobile dealers who continue to take thousands of rupees from buyers as “handling charges” without authorisation. The Delhi High Court had recently directed Transport Commissioner R Chandra Mohan and Deputy Commissioner Ranjeet Singh to appear before it by January 4 and give an explanation. The court was hearing a PIL filed by advocate C Rajaram.

Govt says kids not infected with HIV in Civil Hospital

Published: Friday, Dec 30, 2011, 20:28 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

The state government, on Thursday,
denied allegations that the 23 thalassemic kids were infected with HIV in the Junagadh general hospital during blood transfusion.
The government responded to a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking action against Junagadh hospital authorities. The parents of the infected kids also sought compensation of Rs5 lakh. Earlier last week, the high court bench had directed police to file FIR in the incident.
The chief district medical surgeon of the Junagadh general hospital, Dr Govind Dayalu submitted in the affidavit that the 23 kids were not regular patients who come for blood transfusion and so they may have been infected from other healthcare providers.
He further stated that the hospital regularly conducts tests on blood bags and the kids may have contracted HIV many years ago.

The incident came into limelight couple of months back when the 23 thalassemic children came to know that they are infected with HIV. They were among 100 children across the Junagadh district who received blood transfusion in the hospital. One of the kids died recently.

Probe plea against ministers quashed

HYDERABAD: The High Court on Thursday dismissed a criminal petition filed by an advocate, P Sudershan Reddy of Nellore, party-in-person in the case alleging that some ministers and IAS officers abused their power and committed irregularities.
The advocate had filed the petition seeking to quash the order of the special court for CBI cases which had dismissed his petition recently.
In his earlier petition, he pleaded with the CBI court to order an inquiry against some ministers and senior IAS officers concerned in connection with the illegal assets case of Kadapa MP Jagan Mohan Reddy. He wanted the court to direct the CBI to register FIRs against them for their complicity.
Justice NRL Nageswara Rao of the High Court said in his order on the criminal petition (No. 13993 of 2011) that the private complaint had been rightly rejected by the lower court. The petitioner filed a complaint before the CBI special judge to take cognizance of the offences against some of the ministers and also secretaries of the government. His contention was that all these people have abused their power and committed acts of irregularities. The reason for this complaint to be initiated is the fact that in the public interest litigation in WP No.794 of 2011 and connected batch, the High Court ordered investigation into some of the allegations alleged in that complaint. It is not in dispute the CBI to inquire into the particulars of the allegations and it is not in dispute that the investigation is still in progress. Besides, the private complaint is filed against the respondents on the ground that they have committed corrupt practices by using their position and this fact is linked with the investigation ordered by the Division Bench to be conducted by the CBI.
Therefore, there cannot be any parallel enquiry to be taken up by the CBI Court. If there are any deficiencies in the CBI’s investigation, which wanted to be projected in the complaint, he can approach the division bench on the above PIL for necessary directions. But, however, the presentation of this complaint is not warranted and it being premature and the allegations there being not established by any evidence supported by the complainant.
Section 210 of the CrPC has no application and the complaint had been rightly rejected by the lower court, the judge observed.

Koda shifted back to Birsa Munda jail from hospital
Former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, who was admitted to a hospital after being allegedly beaten up by jail inmates on October 31, has been shifted back to Birsa Munda Central Jail. Besides Koda, his former cabinet colleague Bhanu Pratap Sahi and his alleged aide, Vijay Joshi, were
discharged from Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIIMS) on Friday night, a jail official said in Ranchi on Friday.

They were discharged a day after a team of Indian Army doctors had checked them at Namkom Military Hospital after the high court on December 19 ordered the prison officials to get the trio and ex-minister Kamlesh Singh checked up there.
Singh has not been discharged by RIIMS, the official said, but refrained from commenting whether the other three were discharged on the advice of the team of army doctors.
The court’s direction to check them by the military doctors came after a PIL by social activist Durga Oraon moved the court accusing all of them of using their political clout to stay in RIIMS on the pretext of being ill instead of staying in jail.
While Koda was admitted to RIIMS after being allegedly beaten up by the jail inmates, the other three had been admitted for various “ailments”.
Oraon had filed the original petition in 2009 accusing Koda and his former cabinet colleagues of amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income between 2005 and 2008 when they were in power, leading to their arrests and subsequent remand in judicial custody.
While Koda and Kamlesh Singh were arrested on November 30, 2009, ex-health minister Bhanu Pratap Sahi surrendered before a special CBI court in connection with a medicine scam this year.

Precedence, SC order allow extension of House session

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 06.12AM IST
NEW DELHI: There is precedence as well as a Supreme Court ruling that supports the discretion of a presiding officer to extend the sitting of a House and negate the arguments that led to the abrupt adjournment of the Rajya Sabha on Thursday midnight.

On Thursday, parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told the Rajya Sabha that the House cannot continue since it was called for three days and a further extension by a day or even into the new year would be unconstitutional.

Bansal reasoned that the first session of a year has to begin with a joint address by the President. But it was not long ago – as late as 2003-04 – that the Lok Sabha did continue with winter session called in December after being adjourned sine die.

But a writ petition by Ramdas Athawale of Republican Party of India praying the extended session be declared “unconstitutional” was dismissed by the Supreme Court in March 2010. The apex court upheld the then Speaker Manohar Joshi’s decision to take the session to a new year without President addressing it.

When asked of the precedent, Bansal said it had come up for discussion in the government but he had felt Congress’s decision to go along at that time was wrong. “I felt it would not be correct to repeat the mistake,” he said.

On Thursday night, opposition sensed a “choreographed sequence” to delay voting and kept asking Chairman Hamid Ansari about the duration of the session. Constitutional expert Subhash C Kashyap told TOI, “It for the House to decide if it can continue beyond midnight. It can continue till morning and there is no problem even if a new day and date sets in.”

BJP’s S S Ahluwalia, who had raised the issue in the House, said the rules clearly give the Chairman the power to extend the sitting keeping in mind the state of business. “These procedures are laid out in rules 11, 12 and 13,” he said.

On Thursday, Ansari seemed to have made up his mind. As the clock struck midnight he asked for the Vande Mataram to be played leaving no choice for the members, majority of whom wanted the House to continue till wee hours on Friday.

In 2003, the winter session of Parliament commenced on December 2 and was adjourned sine die on December 23. The House was reconvened on January 29, 2004. The SC said, “The resumption of its sittings on January 29, 2004, by no stretch of imagination, could be characterized as commencement of a new session. The House merely resumed its sittings and continued the session which actually commenced on December 2, 2003. As the House was adjourned sine die on December 23, 2003, the resumption of its sittings is nothing but reconvening of the same session after it adjournment sine die.”

The SC also clarified that term “first session of the year” as mentioned in Article 87(1) of the Constitution has “no reference to resumption of the adjourned session.”

The SC also clarified that the constitutional provision does not require summoning of every session of Parliament which was adjourned for its own reasons after it commenced pursuant to summons of the President. “It is only when a House is prorogued and a new session summoned the President’s address is required,” it said.

Commission can build confidence in women

BANGALORE: Emphasising on the need for regular training programme for the officers and members of Karnataka State Commission for Women (KSCW),Chief Justice of Kerala High Court Justice Manjula Chellur said that the commission should begin half yearly or annual training programme for its officers, which will help in building confidence in women.

Justice Chellur was speaking at the interactive session held by Karnataka State Commission for Women (KSCW) here on Friday. The workshop witnessed the participation of women from different work fields who shared their personal experiences and raised question on dealing with harassment, members of the commission working across districts and law counsels from the Karnataka High Court.
She also maintained that women commission can play pivotal role in building confidence among women. She said that during the course of investigation, the officers should look for authenticity in the complaint filed because it is observed that many people file false complaints in personal avenge.
Besides, it was also proposed that Karnataka State Women Commission will approach the Karnataka Judicial Academy to organise three-day training programmes for its members in district offices.

Zadaphia lied, Sanjiv Bhatt tells Godhra commission

TNN Dec 31, 2011, 04.54AM IST

AHMEDABAD: Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt has claimed that former state home minister Gordhan Zadaphia had lied before the Nanavati-Mehta commission when he claimed of being unaware of major massacres during post-Godhra riots and that call details provided by senior cop Rahul Sharma were not correct.
A day after the commission made the copies of Zadaphia’s deposition public, Bhatt wrote a letter to the probe panel on Friday stating that the former minister was constantly posted with the developments in the city on February 28, 2002, by the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB).
Bhatt has annexed the fax massages sent to chief minister Narendra Modi, Zadaphia and higher cops informing how mobs were gathering around Gulbarg Society and Naroda Patia, and how former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was sending SoS.
Fax messages sent to Modi and Zadaphia show how SIB informed about the situation. A first message said that mob was gathering. In a second alert, the ministers were told that Jafri and his family were in danger.
Bhatt also told the commission that he has studied the call details furnished by Sharma and that the call data procured by himself is also the same.
He urged the commission to prevent further destruction of documents by the state government, for it is headed by Modi who is “the most leading and most culpable dramatis personae” of the 2002 riots.

Pakistan judicial commission to visit India in January

NEW DELHI: Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday said a Pakistan judicial commission will visit India in January 2012.
Talking to reporters he said: “We have informed Mumbai High Court that the Pakistani commission’s desire to visit India in January and they suggested some dates. We asked the Chief Justice of Mumbai High Court to agree and give suitable instruction to judicial authorities. Once we hear from the Chief Justice we will convey it to Pakistan,” Chidambaram added.
Pakistan formally conveyed to India that its nine-member judicial commission will visit next month to interview key persons linked to the probe into 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
It will take statements of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R V Sawant Waghule & Investigating Officer Ramesh Mahale, who have recorded a confessional statement by Ajmal Kasab.
On November 26, 2008, Kasab and nine armed gunmen, attacked various places in Mumbai, killing 166 people, injuring several others. Kasab, who was sentenced to death by a trial court, is currently lodged in high security Arthur Road Jail.

Punjab polls: Election Commission enhances cash carrying limit to Rs 2.50 lakh

Viney Sharma, ET Bureau Dec 31, 2011, 03.39am IST

CHANDIGARH:Relenting to the business community’s demand, the Election Commission has enhanced the limit of carrying cash from 1 lakh to 2.50 lakh during the period when model code of conduct is in force.
EC had recently banned carrying of more than 1 lakh in cash if it was unaccounted in view of Punjab Assembly elections. Around 4 crore has been seized across the state since the poll schedule were announced.
However, the traders across Punjab, especially from hosiery sector, feel it’s still on the lower side and that the condition should be waived off.
The order led to harassment of people across the state and had drawn protests from various quarters, including traders.
Announcing the new directions special chief electoral officer Punjab Usha R Sharma told reporters on Friday that the intentions of the Election Commission were clear that black money should not be used during the Assembly elections in the state.
She made it clear that the persons will have to carry relevant documents disclosing the source and use of the money they were carrying. Sharma said the Election Commission has asked for a panel of police officers to replace Police Commissioner, Ludhiana, Sharad Satya Chauhan who joined on July 24, 2011.
APEX Chamber of Commerce (Punjab) has written a letter to chief election commissioner SY Quraishi in this regard. “Ludhiana is known for hosiery business. In this winter season customers from outside Punjab come to Ludhiana to buy hosiery in bulk and hence they have to carry heavy cash,” the chamber of commerce president P D Sharma said.

One gets life imprisonment in murder case

TNN Dec 31, 2011, 04.37AM IST

One of the two accused in the ex-municipal councilor Dimple Patel murder case got life imprisonment, while his accomplice was sentenced to five-year imprisonment by a court here on Friday.
Additional city sessions judge V M Naik sentenced Harish Kataria, the main accused, to life imprisonment and his accomplice Mahesh Galchar to five-year jail for helping Harish hide after committing the crime in 2009.
Patel was murdered on March 6 at his office at BG Tower near Delhi Darwaza.
The crime branch probe revealed that Patel was killed after he was thrown out of his office window by Harish and his friends. Harish was prompted to kill Patel after Patel refused to withdraw a loot complaint against him, investigation revealed.
Mahesh had booked a hotel room for Harish in his name and also helped him destroy evidences of the crime.

Rape accused’s jail term commuted

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 01.51AM IST
NEW DELHI: A trial court has convicted a Nepalese senior citizen for attempting to rape a physically and mentally challenged minor girl. The court, however, freed him as he had already spent over three years in jail. Taking into consideration the convict, Padam Bahadur, was the sole earning member of his family, the court freed him.

“Keeping in view the family background of Bahadur, a lenient view is taken as he is sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for the period already undergone (three years, five months and eight days),” additional sessions judge, Kamini Lau said.

Bahadur pleaded guilty and apologized for the crime before the court, saying he was drunk at the time of incident.tnn

Undertrials set unique record

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 06.15AM IST
KANPUR: The undertrials set a new record in Kanpur court in 2011. As many as 14 accused facing trial managed to escape from the court premises.

As many as 10 undertrials escaped in 2005 but the number reduced in subsequent years.

In 2011, an accused identified as Sanjay Gupta was the first to escape from court on January 5. The last undertrial identified as Raghav escaped on December 9.

The modus operandi was almost common. Most of the undertrials escaped after offering eatables or drinks mixed with intoxicants to the cops who brought them to court.

Another mode of escape was to get the hand freed from the handcuff when the courtroom was overcrowded. This year two unique methods of running away were noticed.

In one case, the cops escorting undertrials named as Naresh and Hemant set them free to bring snacks and water. Earlier, they had a drink session inside the court. The undertrials escaped, leaving the two heavily drunk cops.

In another case, an undertrial named as Sameer managed to escape from session lockup on October 31. He got an opportunity when there was a melee at the gate of sessions lockup and guards were not alert.

The police authorities had instructed the cops not to allow the undertrials to receive edibles from friends and family members. According to a police official, undertrials try to escape when they are denied bail or sometimes to settle scores.

PSC rank holders cry for justice

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 07.34AM IST
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Public Service Commission (KPSC) rank holders have alleged that the PSC has been very casual in filling the government vacancies on time. In a press meet held here on Friday, the members of the rank holders’ association said the PSC officials were least bothered about the vacancies that occur in various government departments.

“We have to move from one office to another looking for vacancies. If we come across any, we report that to the PSC. It is really unfortunate to make the rank holders beg for vacancies in various departments and bring it to the notice of PSC officials,” said Biju B, secretary. The members alleged that the PSC has never extended any rank lists to more than 28 to 30 days. “They claim that they cannot extend the rank list as the PSC had already done it before. If that had been the case there would not have been so many unemployed rank holders here,” Biju said.

The members appealed to the PSC to change its casual attitude towards the job aspirants. “The PSC is only concerned about publishing the rank lists every three years. They seldom inquire whether recruitments are made from those published rank lists or not. Even when the government reports to PSC about vacancies, the officials cause undue delay in the procedures, eventually sealing the fate of a job aspirant,” said Suji, a PSC rank holder.

Talking about the PSC’s refusal to prolong the tenure of various rank lists till April 2012, Biju said the decision was unjust. “PSC has to be more considerate towards the plea of rank holders. Every time a rank list expires, they publish a new list and the old candidates are ignored. There has to be a law which should make it mandatory for PSC to complete the recruitment of candidates included in the old list and then consider the new rank list.”

Crime graph soared in State in 2011
Staff reporter
GUWAHATI, Dec 30 – While peace talks between the Government and the banned insurgent outfits gained momentum in the year 2011, there was hardly any respite for the common man when it came to ensuring safety and security of lives and property.

Like previous years, the year 2011 was marked by utter failure of the law-and-order machinery, a fact evident by a whopping 52,560 cognizable crime cases registered in the State till September.
Noticeably, compared to last year, this year the rate in which crime cases were reported, took a steep leap.
While 973 murder cases were reported across the State till September, the number of rape, abduction, dacoity, robbery, extortion, burglary, theft and rioting cases stood at 1312, 2887, 230, 670, 763, 2666, 6290 and 1823 respectively.
Similarly, over 700 cases of criminal breach of trust, 1123 cases of cheating and 45 cases of counterfeiting were registered during the same period.
Besides, 31,752 cases under various sections of Indian Penal Code were registered with different police stations of the State. Moreover, 346 cases of Arms Act, 102 cases of Essential Service Act and 869 cases of other Acts find place in the crime register this year.
Besides, 1317 number of cases were also registered under local and special laws.

SHRC becomes hunting ground for legal eagles

TNN Dec 31, 2011, 05.14AM IST

HYDERABAD: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) is emerging as a “client scouting” hub for lawyers out to make a quick buck with promises of speedy hearings and expeditious settlement of cases. Around two dozen lawyers have turned SHRC and its periphery into their workplace, employing their time in scouting for their ‘preys’. And, apparently, it has turned into a problem of such proportions that the commission has been trying hard to put a stop to it.
“Most petitioners coming here are poor and innocent without any knowledge of the procedures. Some lawyers who lurk around the premises win the confidence of these petitioners and promise to not only help them with the procedures but get their case accepted by the commission. The gullible victims fall into this trap and end up paying them hefty fees,” said a staff member of the commission on condition of anonymity.
As per law, the commission, unlike courts, has no room for private lawyers since a petitioner can argue his own case. “Private advocates have no role almost to play in the proceedings of the commission. According to rules, where the petitioner is unfamiliar with formalities, the commission staff is supposed to help him to the extent of even filing the petition on his behalf,” said an official.
But it has been a while now that the commission has been grappling with this problem. Seven months ago, private lawyers stationed on the commission premises tried to form a ‘Bar Association of Human Rights’ but were thwarted upon instructions from the then acting SHRC chairman K Peda Peri Reddy. But lawyers have continued to take advantage of the hapless petitioners. They charge anything between Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 for filing and submitting petitions. For some, this practice provides a flourishing livelihood.
A stone’s throw from the commission is the office of a movie artist-turned-lawyer who has reportedly “prospered” over the years in this enterprise. Someone with political connections, this lawyer reportedly draws his victims’ attention to himself by making them believe that he is capable of solving cases under any jurisdiction or area for a hefty fee.
A woman with marital problems was allegedly duped of Rs 50,000 by the lawyer recently and was about to move SHRC but backed out as she was afraid of the media glare.
SP Ismail, secretary of AP State Human Rights Commission said that action against the erring private lawyers cannot be initiated by the commission.
“The exploited victims should approach the Bar Council and file a complaint against the lawyers in question. Once proven, the council is authorised to take action against them.”

For Anna tweet, scribe accused of waging war against nation

Sukanya Shetty
Posted: Dec 30, 2011 at 0032 hrs IST
Mumbai A Mumbai court has directed the police to register a complaint against senior journalist Nikhil Wagle for “waging war against the nation” among other charges, following a complaint by a group of lawyers for allegedly criticising the judiciary on twitter in connection with the Bombay High Court’s observations about Anna Hazare’s fast.

The court has also ordered the police to probe the matter.
Wagle had reportedly tweeted: “If the state/ judiciary together attempts to curb democratic dissent will our constitution be safe? Or is it an open invitation to Naxalites?” When contacted, Wagle said, “I have not received any complaint yet.

Ahmedabad couple in trouble for religious conversion

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 05.15AM IST
AHMEDABAD: Kaushangini Kadia and Altaf Mirza are suffering for committing a mistake of not following procedure of obtaining permission from authority for religious conversion.
Altaf is in jail for past nine days along with the maulvi who converted the Hindu girl to Islam before her marriage with Altaf.
The couple got married in October last year as per Islamic rituals. Before the marriage, the maulvi in Navtad mosque near Ghee Kanta converted Kaushangini into his fold.
However, the woman’s family members were against this union and filed a complaint against Altaf with Vejalpur police.
Kaushangini appeared before Gujarat high court (HC) to testify that the boy had not committed any crime.
HC quashed the FIR and ordered police to escort the couple to Altaf’s home in Behrampura. However, Kaushangini’s mother Bhavika Kadia filed another plaint with the Karanj police last month against Altaf and the maulvi for illegal religious conversion.
As per the amended Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, a person is required to obtain permission from the district collector before converting to other religion. In this case, this permission was not obtained.
On December 22, Altaf and the priest were arrested and a local court sent them to judicial custody.
Their bail applications were rejected by a magisterial court. Now Kaushangini is pursuing the case before the city sessions court, where the proceeding is scheduled on Monday. She claims that she had filed an affidavit before her marriage that she was not forced into conversion.
“I maintain that I did not convert under pressure. I did it on my free will. We were living happily, but my father does not want us to stay together. Even policemen are harassing us and force me to give statement of their liking,” she said, adding that she plans to challenge the conversion law.

Punishment awarded without following procedure is void: HC

PTI | 07:12 PM,Dec 30,2011

Chennai, Dec 30 (PTI) Setting aside punishment awarded to a teacher at a Government Higher Secondary School, the Madras High Court has held that any punishment which lacked the procedure contemplated under the rules “is void or of no value”. Allowing a petition by a Post Graduate teacher R Lalitha Bai, challenging a December 2006 charge memo of Nagercoil Chief Education Officer(CEO) and other disciplinary proceedings against her, Justice V Dhanapalan observed that a punishment of ‘censure’ did not hinder the future prospects of an employee. In service jurisprudence, whenever there were allegations and counter allegations, the authorities concerned were required to follow the procedure and only thereafter arrive at a definite conclusion, the Judge said. According to the petitioner, she was serving as a Post Graduate teacher in a Government Higher Secondary School, with over 20 years of experience. The department could not pinpoint any omission during her entire service, she claimed, but added the headmistress of the school and one of her close relatives, also a PG teacher, kept troubling her. In Dec 2006, the petitioner was issued a charge memo by the CEO after she had made a complaint that her signature in the school attendance register on June 22, 2006 had been erased and in its place ‘casual leave’ had been marked. She said she had approached the CEO after the headmistress had not taken any action over the alleged incident. The CEO issued a charge memo to her relying on two complaints against her and a letter by the headmistress. But the three documents were not enclosed with the charge memo. The petitioner said since no inquiry was held, copies of the complaints were not shown to her, denying her an opportunity of perusing the complaints and submitting an explanation. The authorities concerned denied her allegations and said the charge memo had been issued as per the law.

Ensure animal birth control programme follows HC guidelines: Activists to PMC

Animal activists recently met PMC Commissioner, Mahesh Pathak to ensure the civic animal birth control (ABC) programme follows guidelines laid down by the Bombay High Court in 2001.

Supriya Bose, animal welfare officer with the committee to monitor animal welfare laws in Maharashtra (appointed by the Bombay High Court), Ashwini Khare Dasgupta, volunteer at the dog pound, and Darshana Muzumdar, founder of the PALs Yahoogroup met Pathak regarding the issue.
“In the past one week, there have been six cases of stitches opening up. The organisation – SPCA, Latur-Udgir, which is conducting the CNVR (Catch Neuter Vaccinate Release) programme at the pound should observe the dogs before releasing them,” pointed out Khare.
Pathak have asked animal volunteers to conduct another meeting with Dr S T Pardeshi, acting PMC Health Chief, on January 2 at 4 pm.
“The PMC Commissioner was very understanding of what we were saying. If the ABC programme is conducted as per guidelines then there will be no reason to complain,” said Bose.
Both Muzumdar and Khare said the terms of the work contract of the agency at the pound seem ambiguous. “Are they supposed to feed the dogs, look after injured dogs, give antibiotics?” asked Khare.
Clarifying on the contract Dr Pardeshi said the work order of the agency will be shown to the volunteers during their January 2 meeting.
“They have a right to see it, however, we don’t want any interference from these animal lovers anymore,” Dr Pardeshi said.
Dr Pardeshi clearly pointed out, giving food to the animals or caring for injured or sick animals is not their duty.

HC relaxes Katta Juniors bail conditions

BANGALORE:The vacation bench of the High Court allowed a petition filed by former minister Katta Subramanya Naidu’s son Jagadish seeking relaxation of his bail conditions to accompany his father to London for medical treatment. Senior counsel for the petitioner C V Nagesh stated that Lokayukta Special Court on December 12 granted bail to Jagadish in KIADB land scam case.

 He has been given permission to go to London along with his father on January 2, 2012, as he is Naidu’s only son and treatment is scheduled to begin a day later.
 Justice V Jagannathan granted relaxation of the bail and allowed him to collect his passport.

Penetration must for rape conviction: Bombay HC

Published: Saturday, Dec 31, 2011, 9:15 IST
By Urvi Mahajani | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
A man can be convicted for rape only if there is penetration, the Bombay high court observed on Friday as it set aside the sentence of a 37-year-old who was charged with raping the daughter of his stepsister in May 2006.
Satish Shinde, who was arrested in December 2006, will now walk free from prison after having served five-and-a-half years of his seven-year rigorous imprisonment, handed out to him by a sessions court on November 26, 2007.
Shinde had approached the HC challenging the order of the sessions court.
The prosecution told the HC that the girl, who lives in Korphale village in Solapur, was slapped by her mother on May 2, 2006. The upset girl called up Shinde, her mother’s stepbrother, who said he would pick her up from a bus stop junction and drop her to her maternal uncle’s house in Dhorle. The prosecution alleged that Shinde raped her on the way.
Ujwal Agandsurve, Shinde’s advocate, argued that the girl’s evidence was unreliable. The medical evidence showed there was no penetration at all. Also, the chemical analyser’s report showed that no traces of semen were found on the clothes which the girl wore on that day.
Agandsurve pointed out to the court that the girl’s uncle was not examined. Also, the aunt turned hostile and did not support the prosecution before the trial court.
Acquitting Shinde, the court observed: “As such, there are serious doubts about the genuineness of the prosecution’s case. It is highly risky to rely upon the evidence of the girl in view of the other evidence brought on record.”

Can’t deny insurance claim on technical grounds: HC

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 05.32AM IST
CHENNAI: Insurance companies should not mechanically reject claims on technical grounds, the Madras high court has said, and asked the United India Insurance Company to pay Rs 1 lakh to the widow of a sand quarry worker who died in an accident while at work.

Justice D Hariparanthaman, passing orders on a writ petition filed by Valli of Chennai, said: “The United Insurance India Company should not refuse to entertain the claim mechanically in all cases, particularly when there are enough materials to suggest that the claim is based on accidental death. Otherwise, the very purpose of the insurance scheme would get frustrated. Being a central government organization, it should act fairly and should not reject claims mechanically.”

In her petition, Valli said her husband, a sand quarry worker, was buried alive when sand caved in in October 2003.

The Madhavaram Milk Colony police registered a case of death under suspicious circumstances the same day, and a postmortem report stated that the death was due to the accident.

In July 2004, the statutory Tamil Nadu Construction Workers Welfare Board sanctioned her Rs 12,000 treating it as a natural death and not as an accidental death, which would have made her eligible to claim Rs 1 lakh compensation. Valli refused accept the amount, and approached the board to get her husband’s group insurance claim of Rs 1 lakh, as he was a member of the board.

When the board wrote to the insurance company in 2007, the company initially sought a plethora of documents to prove the cause of death. When all nine documents such as the FIR and postmortem report proved that it was an accidental death, the insurance claim was repudiated on the ground of delay.

Noting that such claims should have been made within one month, the company said it could not entertain Valli’s claim after four years.

Justice Hariparanthaman, noting that all the nine documents demanded by the insurer had been furnished to it and they proved that the death was due to an accident, said the insurance company was not justified in raking up a technical issue to deny the claim of Valli.

“It is a different matter if the case was not reported to police immediately and postmortem was not conducted. In that case, it would have been difficult for the insurance company to ascertain the truth,” Justice Hariparanthaman said.

Faulting the welfare board for making the insurance claim after a delay of four years, the judge asked it to pay interest at the rate of 6 per cent on Rs 1 lakh from the date of death of Valli’s husband till date.

Justice Pal sworn in as Gujarat HC judge

Justice Mohinder Pal, who has been transferred from the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the Gujarat High Court under controversial circumstances, was on Friday morning administered the oath of office by acting Chief Justice H C Bhaskar Bhattacharya at an official function.

Interestingly, senior counsel Yatin Oza, who heads the Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association (GHAA), and has been vehemently opposing Justice Pal’s transfer, was present at the swearing-in function attended by judges of the High Court and the subordinate judiciary, besides Advocate General Kamal Trivedi, Additional Advocate General Tushar Mehta and Gujarat’s Minister of State (Law) Pradipsinh Jadeja and others.
According to the registry of the Gujarat High Court, Justice Pal has been assigned the business of “appeals from orders” and “special civil applications” where orders of the lower courts have been challenged. He will be presiding over a single-judge Bench from January 9 next year, when the HC resumes after the winter vacation.
The Indian Express had reported on December 6 that Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had apprised the Chief Justice of India (CJI) of “illegalities and irregularities” in an order delivered by Justice Pal.
Justice Gogoi had told The Indian Express that this order was one of the “major reasons” behind Justice Pal’s transfer. Justice Pal had said he was not aware of the reason for his transfer.
Following this, GHAA headed by Oza had passed a resolution requesting the Chief Justice of India to “reconsider” Justice Pal’s transfer and, in the meantime, put the move “on hold”.
When contacted, Oza refused to talk about the future course of action of GHAA. “This was a function organised by the Gujarat High Court and so I attended it,” he said.

Gujarat HC sets up panel to probe hygiene issues in hospitals

Published: Friday, Dec 30, 2011, 20:44 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA
Coming down heavily on the state and civic machinery for its ‘lethargic’ approach towards health and hygiene issues of the city, the Gujarat high court on Thursday constituted an investigating committee of nine members, which has been asked to furnish a detailed report of the prevailing conditions at all civil and private hospitals of the state.
While hearing a PIL filed by activist Illa Pathak and advocate Ami Yagnik on the poor conditions at civic hospitals, the division bench headed by the acting chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice JB Pardiwala on Thursday constituted the committee of health experts which will be headed by the Dilip Mavlankar, dean of the Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar.
The committee has been directed to submit its report by March 31, 2012.
The court held the authorities responsible for the pathetic and unhygienic condition of the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital that has allegedly directly led to the death of a doctor and a nurse. “Because of the negligence of hospital and government authorities, the court has to play the role of ‘Garbage Supervisor’,” the court observed.
The court observed that the civic body has failed to take action even after the order of the court. “The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Commissioner also did not take any action against its subordinate officers of respective zones for not doing their duty nor was any explanation sought from them,” the court observed. It was then that the court suggested, “The state and civic authorities shall shed their ego about the court verdict passed in the public interest litigation which must be accepted in the right spirit.”
Apart from the report on the hygiene conditions of the hospitals, the committee is also directed to identify the reason for the death of a doctor and a nurse, overall situation of civil hospitals of state in terms of sanitation, solid waste management and cleanliness.
The committee will recommend appropriate measures that should be taken for health and hygiene to prevent diseases like dengue and malaria. The committee will also probe the negligence on the part of hospital management and government authorities. A study will be held to find out the defects of the solid waste management setup of the AMC.
Apart from Dilip Mavlankar, the committee of nine members include vice-chancellor of Gujarat Vidhyapith, Sudarshan Iyangar, one expert from the National Institute of Malaria Research (Nadiad), one expert from the National Institute of Occupational Health, officer of regional offices of ministry of health and family welfare, one expert from NHL Municipal Medical College, one expert from BJ Medical College, medical officer and solid west management officer of AMC and deputy health officer of AMC.

150-plus KU employees to lose job

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 07.16AM IST
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Lokayukta verdict on Kerala University assistant examination and appointment might have come at a time when the country is talking about arresting corruption, but on the flip side, it has come as a shocker to those who earned the jobs through the proper channel.

“I was working in a multi-national company in Kochi when the university notified the posts. I wrote the exam and when I was selected, I had to accept the job because my family wanted me to become a government employee. Now my fate hangs in balance,” one of the employees who was affected by the verdict told TOI, under conditions of anonymity.

The case is no different for many others.

Many of them appeared for the exams leaving other jobs but the verdict has come as a blow to them. “We have worked hard to earn our job. Why should we be punished for some others’ wrongdoings?,” asked another employee who got married just after he got the job.

Barring a small group who allegedly made it through unfair way, most of them out of the 150-plus employees who are on the verge of relinquishing their jobs have made it through the proper channel.

The aggrieved are preparing to approach the high court against the verdict.

“The Justice Sukumaran commission appointed by the HC to look into the matter had said that there was no nepotism in the appointments. It had pointed out only the procedural irregularities which obviously are not the mistake of the applicants. So those who have come in the right way should be protected at any cost,” K Sunil Kumar of State Confederation of University Employees Organisation told TOI. He said that the organisation would throw its weight behind the employees who have been affected by the verdict.

The Lokayukta on Thursday had scrapped the rank list of the tests conducted to the posts of assistant grade-II in the Kerala University citing irregularities and cronyism in the appointments. It was alleged that out of the 160 candidates who were posted, 60 were close to the Left political leaders.

26/11: Govt informs Bombay HC about Pak Commission visit

PTI | 06:12 PM,Dec 30,2011

New Delhi, Dec 30 (PTI) The Government has informed the Bombay High Court about Pakistan judicial commission’s desire to visit the country and interview key persons linked to the probe into 2008 Mumbai terror attacks including the official who had questioned Ajmal Kasab. When asked about the visit of the Commission, Home Minister P Chidambaram today said, “We have informed the High Court of Bombay that the Pakistani Commission desires to visit India in January and they have suggested some dates and we have asked the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court to agree and give suitable instructions to the judicial authorities. “Once we hear from the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court we will convey it to Pakistan. I hope this will go through in January 2012,” he said. New Delhi was informed on Tuesday that the Pakistan judicial commission will visit India in January 2012, official sources said. The commission will take the statements of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R V Sawant Waghule and Investigating Officer Ramesh Mahale, who recorded the confessional statement of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist involved in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, to pursue the case in Pakistan. It also wanted to take the statements of the two doctors who carried out the post mortem of the terrorists killed. Government had to inform the High Court about the visit of the judicial commission as the terror incident and the trial of the case had taken place under its area of jurisdiction.

High Court rejects plea, says no live music in hotels after 1.30 am

Restaurants and hotels in the city will not be able to play live music after 1.30 am on New Year’s day. The Bombay High Court on Friday rejected a petition by the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association seeking permission to play live orchestras till 5 am on the first day of the new year.
The Division Bench of Justices M L Tahilyani and Girish Godbole held that it cannot interfere with the state government’s decision and noted that the association should have raised the issue earlier. On December 23, a recent state government circular was put before the court, according to which city establishments have been allowed to stay open till 5 am instead of 1.30 am on December 25 and December 31.
“Though the circular allowed the hotels to remain open and serve food and liquor, it did not give any permission with respect to orchestras. The association should have raised this point earlier, but they missed the bus,” said government pleader J S Saluja.

Supreme Court insulated 2G case from interference

J. Venkatesan

2011 is a watershed year for Kapadia’s team

The year 2011 was a watershed for the Supreme Court, and its judges, led by Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia, left their mark on all walks of life, especially in exposing corruption in high places and ensuring filing of three charge sheets in the 2G spectrum allocation case.
Justice Kapadia, heading a three-judge Bench, sent a clear message early this year of what the court proposed to do under him for the rest of the year.
Entertaining a public interest litigation petition, he held that those holding high offices should be above board and free from any charges. He set aside the appointment of P.J. Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner on the ground that he was cited as an accused in the palmolein import case pending in the court of special judge, Thiruvananthapuram.
After ordering a CBI probe in December last into the 2G spectrum case, the Supreme Court started monitoring the investigation to ensure that there was no interference, either political or otherwise, from any quarter. It not only ensured that a charge sheet was filed against the accused but also directed day-to-day trial and appointed a special public prosecutor for the CBI to prosecute the case. After filing the initial charge sheet in April, the CBI filed two supplementary charge sheets.
The monitoring of the case had a telling effect on the grant of bail to the accused, as both the Special CBI Court and the Delhi High Court rejected bail petitions. Even the Supreme Court declined to grant bail to the accused, including Kanimozhi, daughter of the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi. The court made it clear that she could seek bail after the charges were framed. As a result, the accused had to wait for more than six months to get bail.
Similarly, the Supreme Court enlarged on bail Ramalinga Raju and other accused in the Satyam accounting fraud case only after they spent more than two years in jail.
The court also jailed the former Kerala Minister, R. Balakrishna Pillai, for one year in the Edmalayar dam case.

No personal exemption

It was equally firm when it refused to grant Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa personal exemption from answering the remaining questions under Section 313 of the Cr.PC in the disproportionate assets case in a Bangalore special court.
YSR Congress founder Jagan Mohan Reddy also suffered a setback when the court refused to interfere with the Andhra Pradesh High Court ordering a CBI probe into his alleged disproportionate assets and of his associates. Nor did it interfere with a High Court ordering a CBI probe against the former Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu, and his associates. (The High Court itself granted relief later, staying the order of a single judge).

On starvation deaths

While hearing petitions relating to the streamlining of the Public Distribution System, the Supreme Court expressed serious concern at the increasing number of starvation deaths and wanted the government to ensure that no starvation death took place.
“See what the stark contradiction is in our whole approach. You say we are a powerful economy. You have a bumper crop this year and our godowns are full and it is a happy situation, no doubt. When you have your godowns full and people are starving, what is the benefit? You cannot have two Indias,” it observed.
The court asserted its supremacy, especially in protecting human rights, by declaring that mere membership in a terrorist organisation would not make a person a terrorist. Extending this concept, it granted bail to Binayak Sen, who was arrested by the Chattisgarh government on the charge of supporting Naxalites.

Personal liberty

Sending a clear message to the detaining authorities that procedural safeguards meant for the protection of personal liberty must be strictly followed, the court quashed the preventive detention of four persons under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA). In cases of preventive detention, the representations received from those detained must be disposed of expeditiously, and every day’s delay must be properly explained, and unexplained delay would be a ground for quashing the order.
While hearing a petition filed by Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, facing the death sentence, the court, with a view to laying down guidelines for disposal of mercy petitions, directed the Union government to file a comprehensive affidavit, giving details of all such petitions pending before the President and the Governors.
The Centre has been asked to provide details of the date of conviction; the date on which mercy petition was sent to the Union Home Ministry and the date on which it was sent to the President and similar information in respect of mercy petitions pending before the Governors.
Time and again, various courts had upheld land acquisition for public purposes. But the Supreme Court decried the practice of mechanical acquisition of land from farmers and others on the pretext of public purpose. It expressed concern at misuse of the Land Acquisition Act, a colonial law, by all the States. In the name of globalisation and land development, the States had marginalised farmers, paying them a pittance in compensation.
Observing that the 1894 Act had become outdated as it did not provide for rehabilitation of the displaced from their land though compulsory acquisition affected their livelihood, the court called for its replacement without delay.

Trust in the court

On the whole, the Supreme Court reinforced the public confidence that the gavel in the judge’s hand will act as a deterrent against any wrongdoing, and that the court will stand up to protect the rights of the common man.

NHRC notice to Railway board chairman

CUTTACK: The Railways, which has been trying to brush aside the incident of a TTE allegedly pushing off an unemployed youth from the running train near Jajpur Road Railway station in 2009 as an accident, has once again come under the scanner of the National Human Rights Commission.

The NHRC has prima facie held the TTE responsible for pushing Benudhar Bhoi (24), an unemployed youth, off the running train for not possessing a ticket and issued notice to the Chairman of the Railway Board directing him to show cause as to why the victim should not be provided with compensation. The Chairman has been directed to file response within six weeks.
Bhoi had allegedly been pushed by the TTE between Jakhapur and Jajpur Road railway station in May 2009. He was serious injured and had to undergo amputation of his leg.
Taking up his matter, advocate Prabir Das had filed a petition with NHRC which had asked the Railway Ministry and the Railway Board to respond to the allegations as back as May 2009. Pursuant to the directions of the NHRC, the Chief Commercial Manager had submitted that a team of two officers had probed the incident and found that Benudhar and his cousin Pradeep were travelling without ticket on May 11, 2009.
They were caught between Jakhapur and Jajpur Road station and the TTE asked them to get down at the next stop. When the train slowed down Benudhar jumped off and sustained injuries. He was shifted to the SCBMCH where his right leg had to be amputated.
 As he was a ticketless traveller, he was not eligible for compensation but the ECoR Railway Women’s Welfare Organisation had paid Rs 10,000 for his treatment. The enquiry also concluded that the TTE was not at fault.
However, the petitioner Das countered the Railway’s contention stating that Government Railway Police Bhadrak has investigated the matter and has submitted a chargesheet against the TTE in the court of the sub divisional judicial magistrate Bhadrak for trial. The Commission deemed the chargesheet as prima facie evidence of the culpability of the TTE in the incident and issued notice to the Chairman Railway Board.

Modi fasts: RTI activists move CIC against CMO–RTI-activists-move-CIC-against-CMO/894166/

Two Vadodara-based RTI activists, Rohit Prajapati and Trupti Shah, have filed an appeal before the Chief Information Commissioner against the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) in connection with their RTI application demanding details related to the expenses incurred on the Narendra Modi’s Sadbhavana fast programme from September 17-19.
In their appeal moved before the RTI Commissioner, the two have demanded that a fine of Rs 25,000 be imposed on the CMO for failing to provide the information and a direction to it to provide the same for free.
In their RTI application dated September 17, 2011, Prajapati and Shah had demanded a number of details relating to the expenditure incurred during Modi’s Sadbhavana fast programme. According to Shah, the CMO transferred the RTI application to the home department, which disposed of the application after providing partial information, saying other details would be available with other departments of the government and so it should be sought from the concerned departments.
Shah has said the CMO must know as to which details are available with which department and they ought to have either collected those details from those departments and given to them or could have directed them to specific departments.

CIC tells MEA to disclose details of Krishna’s UK trip

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 03.54AM IST
NERW DELHI: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the ministry of external affairs to make public the details of the ‘private visit’ undertaken by its minister S M Krishna to the United Kingdom in June this year.

Based on media reports that Krishna got his five-day visit in June extended to watch a Wimbeldon match, activist Subhash Agrawal had sought to know from the MEA the purpose of the trip and file notings made while planning it.

He also sought to know the daily programme schedule of his visit. Both queries were denied by the ministry, saying disclosure may have an impact on foreign relations.

After perusing the file related to the visit of the foreign minister, central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said some file notings specially the pages, where it was mentioned that extended period of visit was private for which the minister made payments from his pocket, can be disclosed.

“Page six of the noting may be relevant since it mentions that the foreign minister’s visit for second and third July 2011 was private and payment for these days has been made by the minister,” Gandhi said, while directing to disclose this information after severing the sensitive portions.

He accepted the ministry’s plea that the record of discussions of the foreign minister’s with various people of different countries could not be disclosed. Gandhi, however, directed the ministry to disclose the programme schedule.

Defence Min rejects Army chief’s plea on age issue

Last Updated: Friday, December 30, 2011, 22:40
New Delhi: The Defence Ministry has rejected General VK Singh’s statutory complaint to consider May 10, 1951 as his date of birth and conveyed to him that he will have to retire on May 31 next year.
Singh had filed the statutory complaint with DefenceMinister A K Antony, the first chief of the 1.2 million-strongarmy to do so, after the government on July 21 issued an ordersaying that it will consider May 10, 1950 as his date ofbirth, which would have denied him another ten months inoffice.

The Ministry’s decision on the issue of his date of birthwas today conveyed to the army chief, sources said here.

After the Ministry decision on the statutory complaint,the army chief has exhausted the in-house remedies availableto him and can approach a court of law which can either be theArmed Forces Tribunal (AFT) or the High Court.

The sources said the Ministry has taken the decision ofconsidering May 10, 1951 as his date of birth on the basis ofthe third opinion given by the Attorney General (AG).

The AG had recently given his opinion on the statutorycomplaint filed by the army chief where he stuck to hisearlier two opinions against giving any relief to the General.

After these developments in Defence Ministry headquartersin South Block, the army chief went to meet Finance MinisterPranab Mukherjee.

After the meeting, he denied having any information aboutDefence Ministry’s decision on his age issue.

On December 16 also, the army chief had held a meetingwith Mukherjee after discussing his age issue at length withthe Defence Minister.

Mukherjee was the Defence Minister when the controversyover army chief’s age erupted in 2005 at the time of hisappointment as Corps Commander of a Strike Corps.

The Ministry decision has come more than three weeksafter the army chief handed over a reminder to the DefenceMinister asking him to expedite decision on the age issue.

The raging controversy over Gen Singh’s age started whenthe army on basis of an RTI application changed his date ofbirth from May 10, 1950 to May 10, 1951, which would havegiven him an extra 10 months in office.

Later, the Defence Ministry stepped in and on basis oftwo opinions from the Attorney General, decided that May 10,1950 will only be considered as Singh’s date of birth as hehad agreed on it in written undertakings.

Soon after the ministry order, Gen Singh filed astatutory complaint with the Defence Minister against thegovernment decision to treat May 10, 1950 as his date ofbirth.

A few weeks later, Antony said Singh’s date of birth isMay 10, 1950 and he will have to retire on May 31 next year.After his retirement, Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen BikramjitSingh is most likely to take over as the Army Chief.

If 1951 was accepted as the year of birth of Gen Singh,he would have been in office for another ten months. Thiswould have also changed the succession plan of the army and LtGen KT Parnaik would have been the front-runner for the postof army chief.

Impact fee’ Act stuck in fine print

Final notification for the Gujarat Regularisation of Unauthorised Development Act, 2011, which was cleared by the Governor nearly two months ago, is likely to be further delayed at least by a month since the state government has not been able to resolve complications related to revenue laws.
The Act, which seeks to regularise unauthorised buildings for an “impact fee”, was passed by the state legislature in March 2011. However, its notification has been held up since a final decision on payment of stamp duty and premium for conversion has not been taken.
A meeting of revenue officials chaired by the state’s revenue minister on Friday could not reach to a decision and the meeting was postponed.

Separate marriage act for Sikhs to be implemented soon: DSGPC

PTI Dec 30, 2011, 06.29PM IST
NEW DELHI: Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (DSGPC) on Friday said the demand for implementation of the Anand Marriage Act (Sikh’s separate marriage Act) would soon be fulfilled by the government.
An assurance to this effect was given by Law Minister Salman Khurshid to a DSGPC delegation which met him recently, its president Paramjeet Singh Sarna said.
“This has been a long pending demand and we thank the government for keeping its promise,” he said.
“We have learnt that after being cleared by nine ministries there is no impediment now in the implementation of the Anand Marriage Act,” Sarna said.
The DSGPC President also said he was for the inclusion of religious institutions under the Lokpal. “We support the inclusion of religious institutions under Lokpal so that there is greater transparency,” he said.
Sarna said the DSGPC would provide free medical insurance to Sikh families who live below the poverty line all across Delhi. There would be 20-25000 people who would benefit from this scheme he said.

LEGAL NEWS 30.12.2011

Higher education Bills unconstitutional’


K. Venkataramanan

‘Under Tribunals Bill, institutions, teachers and students can’t go to High Court for immediate relief’

Three proposed Bills pertaining to higher education are unconstitutional, as Parliament lacks the legislative competence to enact them, according to the Association of Self-Financing Universities, New Delhi.

The body has appealed to the Union government to put on hold these legislation and hold talks with higher education institutions and other stakeholders on how to deal with the issues they seek to address.

“We consulted three former Chief Justices of India, and their opinion is that these Bills will go against the provisions of the Constitution and the [doctrine of] separation of powers. They will take away the powers of the State government,” Association president G. Viswanathan said in an interview to The Hindu.

The Bills are the Educational Tribunals Bill, 2010 that was passed in the Lok Sabha and is pending in the Rajya Sabha, the Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill, 2010, and the National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2010.

The former Chief Justices, A.S. Anand, M.M. Punchhi and K.N. Singh, who were approached by the Association for their opinion on the validity of these Bills, especially in the light of appropriate entries in the Union and State Lists in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, reckoned that “Parliament does not have the legislative competence for matters of universities in view of clear exclusion of universities from Entry 44 in List I (the Union List) and express inclusion in Entry 32 of List II (the State List).”

While Entry 44 in the Union List deals with “Incorporation, regulation and winding up of corporations, whether trading or not, with objects not confined to one State, but not including universities,” Entry 32 in the State List refers to “Incorporation, regulation and winding up of corporations, other than those specified in List I, and universities, unincorporated trading, literacy, scientific, religious and other societies and associations, cooperative societies.”

Mr. Viswanathan, who is also the founder-chancellor of VIT University, said the Educational Tribunals Bill, if enacted, would mean that aggrieved institutions, teachers and students could not go to the High Court for immediate relief, but only to the tribunal. “The State tribunal has no powers to pass interim orders, so we will have to wait till the judgment is pronounced. And even after that, one can go only to the national tribunal, which also has no powers for granting interim orders.”

Noting that prohibiting capitation fees was the original intention of the law, Mr. Viswanathan held corruption as the main reason for institutions collecting capitation fees. “We, as an association, will support the government in abolishing capitation [fees], but unless corruption is eradicated, it cannot be curtailed.”

Asked to elaborate on corruption, he said: “There is corruption at various levels — it begins at the panchayat level, and [is there at] the district level, the State level and the national level. Either departments of the government or the regulatory authorities of the State and Central governments — all of them have to be paid now. And it has to be paid in cash.” If controls were increased, corruption would also increase, resulting in an increase in capitation fees.

Encourage competition

According to him, the solution lay in encouraging competition among institutions and creating enough seats for students. Harassment of those running institutions was a major impediment to the expansion of higher education. “Asking the government to fix the fees of institutions will inhibit competition. Only if there is competition, quality will go up and the cost of education will come down.”

Mr. Viswanathan said accreditation should not be made mandatory, as envisaged in the proposed law, but only voluntary. It should also be done by professionals and not solely by government agencies. “We want the Prime Minister’s liberalisation policy in business and industry to be extended to education.”

He also favoured serious steps to attract talent to the teaching profession. And if at all foreign universities should be allowed to set up campuses in the country, they should be allowed to function with a local partner. They could be asked to bring at least 50 per cent of teachers from their own countries, and only reputed universities should be allowed to operate.











Workers eligible to claim wages even if dismissal order is withdrawn, says High Court


Chennai, Dec. 28:

Even if an organisation withdraws its dismissal order of workers, they are entitled for claiming wages during the period when the order was in force, the Madras High Court has ruled.

Hearing a writ petition on imposition of selective lockouts by management of a Coimbatore-based firm vis-à-vis eligibility for claim of wages by workers, the court held that the Labour Court, Coimbatore that deliberated the issue “was right in computing wages in favour of workmen”.

If the contention Messrs Alpha Helical Pumps was accepted, then it would defeat the very purpose of Section 33 of Industrial Disputes Act, Mr Justice K. Chandru ruled in his order. The Labour Court took note of the fact that the management withdrew its July 15, 2004, order dismissing the workers. It was in that view that the labour court held that withdrawal of dismissal order did not disentitle workmen from claiming wages for period of “illegal” dismissal.

The petitioner contended that dismissal of workmen was preceded by regular domestic enquiry and they were dismissed for “grave” act of misconduct. Hence, they were not eligible for wages. It was in welfare of other workers, a partial lockout was declared on August 6, 2002. The said power to declare partial lockout was very much available to the management under the Act.

The labour court placed reliance on judgment of Labour Appellate Tribunal in Associated Cement Companies vs workmen reported in 1953 II LLJ 369. In that case, the tribunal opined that proceedings before it were deemed to have commenced by legal fiction created under Section 20(3). It also opined that it was not complete until order of reference was actually received by it.

The labour court held that workmen need not get really dismissed or penalty adjudicated by any court. Since the dismissal order itself had become void ab initio, workmen were entitled to claim wages.

The petitioner submitted that inasmuch as they were not even aware of order of reference, it could not be said that by a legal fiction, an obligation was created on management.

The judge held that the fact that summons were received from the labour court subsequent to the dismissal and that the petitioner was not aware of pendency of dispute could not hold water because the management had participated in conciliation proceedings.

Since no case was made out to interfere with impugned order of the labour court, the writ petition stood dismissed, the Judge said.








Jatara: Displaced tribals seek compensation


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: The High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Warangal district collector, ITDA project officer at Euturunagaram, Mulug RDO, MRO, VRO, endowments commissioner, principal secretaries of revenue, excise and tribal welfare on a writ petition relating to the SammakkaSarakka Jatara. The biennial state festival will take place from February 5 to 8.

The petitioner, Urattum gram panchayat sarpanch Ch Jaganadha Rao, sought the court’s direction to the respondents for payment of compensation to tribals whose lands measuring 600 ares are acquired from December to June for jatara.

The villagers, who depend on farming, lose their livelihood during that period. Besides, they are are not paid any compensation from the Rs 20crore jatara revenue, 33 pc of which went to priests and the rest to the government, he said. The case was posted for hearing to January 18.










Anna Hazare calls off fast, jail bharo stir


Himanshi Dhawan, TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 12.58AM IST


MUMBAI: In a dramatic climb-down, activist Anna Hazare abruptly broke his fast and scrapped his jail bharo campaign to pressure the government to set up a Lokpal fitting the design prepared by his civil society colleagues.

The announcement came against the backdrop of worries about the health of Hazare who started his three-day fast on Tuesday and signs of dwindling popular interest in the anti-corruption agitation under his aegis.

Although the attendance at MMRDA crowds was approximately 3,000 more than the disappointing turnout on Tuesday, it fell far short of the organizers’ expectations and triggered the perception that Team Anna may have run out of steam.

Even as Hazare vowed to persevere and threatened to campaign against Congress, accusing it of being the main stumbling block for the anti-corruption fight, he looked tired and disappointed.

Times View

On December 23, we wrote a Times View saying Team Anna “must not overplay its hand” and that such a “crucial piece of legislation…should not be passed in haste or under duress”. The events of the past two days appear to have validated our view. Team Anna has lost some ground, for a variety of reasons. But the concerns raised by it remain very relevant. It is for the political class, across the spectrum, to deliver on the demand for clean and honest governance. There isn’t any one perfect formula to do it; also, it would be foolhardy to believe that corruption can be banished by the wave of a magic wand. What the people are looking for is at least a genuine and serious effort from our lawmakers.











Bank auctions wrong plot


Deepender Deswal, TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 07.01AM IST

ROHTAK: In a strange case, the state bank of India (SBI) auctioned a plot of a senior citizen to recover the amount following default of repayment of loan taken by another person.

The owner of the auctioned plot had been running from pillar to post for the last six months but he failed to get any relief from the bank, the police or the court. His plot was auctioned on Tuesday on the orders of the debt recovery tribunal (DRT) in Chandigarh.

According to information, Jai Singh and Om Prakash had purchased plots measuring 107 square yard and 124 square yard respectively from one Malha Ram in 1980 in Rohtak. Jai Singh disposed off his plot to another person, Dharambir Singh in 1998.

The dispute began when Jai Singh allegedly furnished an old registry of the plot (which he had sold) as guarantee in bank for one Rajesh of Chiri village who had taken loan in 2004. Rajesh defaulted in payment of the loan and the bank started the process of auction of the said plot in February 2011.

The problem began when the bank earmarked the adjacent plot owned by Om Prakash instead of Jai Singh’s plot for auction. Om Prakash was shocked to find a notice from the DRT, Chandigarh, pasted on the boundary wall of his plot. When he approached the bank officials and told them that they had “erred in serving notice” on him, they told him that they had identified the right plot for auction.

Om Prakash lodged a complaint with the police against Jai Singh alleging fraud and also wrote to the public grievances department of the SBI. But he got no relief from the police or the bank authorities and finally he filed a petition in a Rohtak court demanding stay on the auction.

The court however declined to stay the auction. He filed an appeal in the district court in Rohtak on Tuesday, but the DRT officials auctioned the plot the same day.

Stating that it was a fraud, Om Prakash alleged, “I suspect that the bank officials are hand-in-glove with Jai Singh and Rajesh who defaulted in loan repayment and I am being made to suffer for the misdeeds of the duo”.

SBI’s chief manager at Rohtak Hans Raj told TOI that they had earmarked the right plot for auction on the basis of location and dimensions mentioned in the documents regarding guarantee. “We have received the complaint and referred it to the higher authorities for further action,” he added.











‘Take over Goan clubs’ assets in Mumbai’


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 01.45AM IST

PANAJI: The Indian council of management executives (ICME) has urged chief minister Digambar Kamat to take over the assets of Goan clubs in Mumbai so that the interests of members are protected and also to set up family courts and a state mediation commission to resolve pending matters in civil courts.

The issue of old Goan clubs which were known as ‘kuds’ locally, was raised during a meeting with the chief minister by a delegation of ICME led by David Joseph, a Mumbai based solicitor.

In a memorandum submitted to Kamat, ICME has claimed that there were around 1,000 Goan clubs in Mumbai several years ago which were properties of villagers of Goa and that now around 260 clubs are remaining. ICME has said that as the villagers are unable to maintain and take care of the clubs, landsharks, builders and developers and even some registered organizations are taking over the prime assets by misguiding them and taking advantage of the simplicity of the Goan villagers.

Control of assets should be taken over by the government of Goa or alternatively a team of experts should be appointed immediately to study the clubs’ assets and submit a report to the government on the options available, the memorandum said.

“On the basis of the report of the experts panel, the government should appoint a minister for clubs who will among others, liaison with the government of Maharashtra to protect and improve the market potential of the clubs thereby bringing joy and happiness in the hearts of the villagers,” ICME said.

Raising another important issue with the chief minister, ICME delegation urged the government to immediately set up family courts in Goa and also state mediation commission headed by a retired Supreme Court judge.

Joseph said that today special courts and bodies are the need of the hour in order to strengthen the faith and hope of the justice delivery system in Goa. “There are several contentious issues of law which need specialized bodies to decide and settle the same which go a long way in building peace and prosperity in Goa.”

ICME has said that mediation, which is also known as alternative dispute resolution, is proving to be a very satisfactory method of resolving disputes in every sphere of life, pointing out that there are several disputes pending in courts – inventory and civil courts – concerning inheritance, succession and properties.

In this situation, mediation is an answer. Hence, setting up of both the bodies – a family court and Goa state mediation commission – will bring speedy justice to the peole of the state.











CEO orders probe into Kushwaha, Badshah name controversies


Shailvee Sharda, TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 01.52AM IST


LUCKNOW: Chief electoral officer has ordered a probe into the name controversy relating to former cabinet minister Babu Singh Kushwaha. Orders to this effect were given on Tuesday. Speaking to TOI, Umesh Sinha, chief electoral officer said, “I have asked district election officer to submit a report in a week’s time.”

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on November 18 had directed the principal secretary of the UP Legislative Council to hold an inquiry into the allegations against former BSP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha for defrauding with the public office he held as a cabinet minister by not using his real name Ram Charan Kushwaha and further directed him to furnish the report in the court within six weeks. A division bench of Justice Abdul Mateen and Justice VK Dixit also issued notices to the chairman of the UP Legislative Council, chief election commissioner and chief electoral officer of UP to place their response within six weeks.

The PIL was filed by Sabhajeet Singh who stated that Babu Singh Kushwaha’s real name, according to his educational records, is Ram Charan Kushwaha while ‘Babu’ is his nick name. But instead of filing nomination with his official name, he used it along with his nickname. Singh also pointed out that the permanent addresses of the two names have been shown differently. The election commission is also taking a strong view in case of former labour minister Badshah Singh who has been indicted by UP Lokayukta Justice NK Mehrotra in a similar case.

Probing allegations levelled by Akhilesh Upadhaya, a Samajwadi Party worker from Mahoba, the Lokayukta found that Badshah Singh’s original name was Ramendra Singh and he had used it to get possession of unauthorised properties. Lokayukta’s report stated that Singh had contested the nagar panchayat election from Kharela in the name Badshah Singh. However, when he contested the assembly election in 1989, his name in the voters’ list was Ramendra Singh. In 1991, when Singh contested the state elections, he used the name Badshah Singh.

The Lokayukta referred the case to the election officer asking them to verify how the name Ramendra Singh, mentioned in his Class X mark sheet, was changed to Badshah Singh in the voters’ list.

Legal experts point out that, in case EC is convinced that the name change was deliberate, action can be initiated under section 31 of Representation of People’s Act. Using the provisions, electoral registration officer can lodge an FIR against the candidate in question which could mean one-year in jail.





Cry to check tourism-induced pollution at Simlipal Ambika shrine


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 06.48AM IST

BARIPADA: Massive influx of tourists and the resulting air and noise pollution at the famous shrine of goddess Ambika at Deokund, in the eastern fringes of Simlipal Wildlife sanctuary, has upset a cross-section of residents in the region, who are demanding curbs to check the menace.

An all time record number of 563 noisy and polluting vehicles, including 306 four wheelers, 20 buses, 27 auto rickshaws and scores of two wheelers carrying nearly 7,000 tourists visited the shrine on December 25, said sources in the forest department and the Deokund Development Committee.

The shrine, also known as the Panchasagar Tirtha or Shakti Peetha, a hotspot for tourists and devotees of goddess Ambika, was visited by 1,06,350 tourists last year, tourism department sources said here on Wednesday.

Only 20 four wheelers are allowed to ferry tourists through the Pithabata check gate, while another 40 four wheelers are allowed to enter the tourism zone of the STR (Simlipal Tiger Reserve) through the Kaliani check gate for day tourism in the reserve. Visitors are allowed to enter the reserve before 9 am in the morning and leave by 5 pm.

But for visiting the Ambika shrine in the vicinity there are no such rules in place to combat noise and pollution and preserve sanctity and peace in the sanctuary and the shrine, said Uttam Behera, a member of the executive committee of Deokund Development Committee.

Behera suggested that the forest department should allow the parking of vehicles at least five kilometers away from the boundary of the wildlife sanctuary at Budamara and vehicles should never be allowed to enter beyond the village. Only bullock carts or battery-driven vehicles should be allowed to carry tourists from Budamara to the shrine, he added.

“If the forest department does not wake up to the need to restrict the number of Deokund-bound vehicles, stop eco-vandalism of a different kind existing in the region, we shall soon go for a PIL to stop dust and noise in the shrine,” Behera said.

A local tribal leader, Durga Tudu, has also joined Behera in his cry for a PIL to get rid of the pollution and ensure a noise-free sanctuary.



Haryana finds nobody responsible for Rathore’s promotions


Sukhbir Siwach, TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 07.02AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Even after two years of conviction of S P S Rathore in the Ruchika molestation case, the Haryana government has not held anybody responsible for his promotions from an IG to DGP despite the fact that it happened even after his indictment by then DGP R R Singh in the case in 1990.

In different affidavits in connection with an ongoing PIL in the Punjab and Haryana high court filed by human rights activist Ranjan Lakhanpal, the state government has revealed the sequence of incidents leading to his promotions without commenting on the role of officials and politicians concerned.

On September 3, 1990, DGP Singh had recommended that a case be got registered under appropriate sections of the IPC on the basis of Ruchika’s statement.

According to one of the affidavits, it was desired at the level of the then chief minister Hukum Singh on February 1, 1991 that the views of new DGP may be obtained (regarding Ruchika molestation case.)

When then DGP R K Hooda recommended departmental action against Rathore, the CM ordered issuance of a chargesheet against him. After three years of it, then Bhajan Lal government dropped disciplinary proceedings against Rathore on July 7, 1994, though, the Centre was informed about it after two years of the decision.

At a meeting regarding promotions held on October 31, 1994, then DGP Lachhman Dass stated that no disciplinary proceedings were pending against Rathore and three other officers. However, the ACR record of Rathore was not complete. Just two days after it, Rathore was found suitable for promotion and was promoted to the rank of ADGP by the committee.

Rathore’s ACR was not found complete again when a screening committee met on May 19, 1999 to decide suitability of IPS officers for the post of DGP. After finalization of the ACR, when the matter was placed before the committee the next day, it observed that Rathore was chargesheeted for major penalty under All India Services Rules for his alleged lapses in granting parole to one Dheeraj Pahwa, whose chargesheet was pending. Then, the committee kept its recommendations in a sealed cover, which was not to be opened till the termination of the disciplinary proceedings against him. Thereafter, the chargesheet against Rathore was withdrawn and opening of the sealed cover was allowed at the level of the then chief minister Om Parkash Chautala on September 30, 1999 and in view of the recommendations of the committee, Rathore was promoted to the rank of DGP.

Later on December 29, 1999, Rathore was booked for molestation charges on the directions of the Supreme Court.







Trial on PIL challenging APSHRC chairman appointment deferred


PTI | 10:12 PM,Dec 28,2011

Hyderabad, Dec 28 (PTI) Andhra Pradesh High Court today adjourned to January 3, hearing on a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the appointment of retired judge Nisar Ahmad Kakru as the chairman of the State Human Rights Commission. A division bench comprising of Justice Gulam Mohammad and Justice Nooti Ram Mohan Rao, called for the file pertaining to the appointment of Kakru as the Andhra Pradesh State Human Rights Commission (APSHRC) chairman, in a sealed cover before adjourning the trial. In his PIL filed recently, petitioner S Satyam Reddy, an advocate, challenged the appointment claiming that Kakru, who was the Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court till his retirement in October this year, was inaccessible to the public due to the ‘Z’ category security enjoyed by him. Kakru also does not know the local language — Telugu, he added. Kakru had taken charge as the APHRC chairman on December 22.





Bhatt writes a letter, Sreekumar rebuts


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 02.47AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The blame game has begun between senior cops who are speaking against the Narendra Modi government for its inaction in the 2002 riots. It all started with former DGP R B Sreekumar’s dashing off a letter to the Nanavati-Mehta commission, in which he said that suspended IPC officer disregarded orders from higher ups to file affidavit in the past.

A day after Sreekumar’s charge, suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt on Wednesday counter-alleged Sreekumar of hiding “inconvenient and incriminating” information from Godhra commission. Stung by Sreekumar’s accusations, Bhatt replied him with all ‘personal standards of decency and professional atiquette’, “Suffice to state that the Government of Gujarat succeeded in their strategy of ensuring that certain inconvenient and incriminating details encompassed by references (a), (b) and (c) of the Terms of Reference of the Commission were excluded from your Affidavit dated 06/07/2002 filed on behalf of the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB)… As you have always claimed, the Affidavit was exclusively and solely authored by you and you alone. It would therefore be improper and inappropriate at this stage for me to speculate or comment on the reasons and motives behind your having disregarded the plethora of information that was then available with the SIB.”

Bhatt claimed that then DGP A K Bhargav asked only those officers to file affidavits, who had done so earlier. Bhatt also showed the circulars to establish that he was not supposed to file any affidavit. However, Sreekumar does not seem to be convinced with Bhatt’s explanation and maintained that as “staff officer” of then ADGP SIB, G C Raiger, Bhatt should have filed affidavit before the probe panel.

Sreekumar continued questioning Bhatt’s credentials besides accusing him of taking a convenient stand to avoid clash of interests with the government. “I filed affidavits later without direction from the higher officers. Similar action was reportedly taken by Rahul Sharma also. Does your prolonged silence owes its genesis to some ulterior motive hitherto unknown to people? Even today instead of filing an affidavit, you are asking for so much of data from the government. Do you expect the government to present data harming their political interests to you on a platter? Further, even your role in undermining the PIL by Mallika Sarabhai is yet to be presented to any judicial body by you,” Sreekumar questioned.





State Minority Commission may be formed soon


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 04.32AM IST


HYDERABAD: Under pressure from various quarters, including the National Commission for Minorities, the state government is expected to announce the formation of the State Minorities Commission soon.

According to sources, chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has started holding talks within his Congress party and elsewhere on the question of the composition of the commission and selection of its chairman. The term of the last SMC ended in March 2009, a few weeks before the general election.

The then chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was reportedly unhappy with SMC for outsourcing inquiry into the excesses committed by the police on the Muslim youth following the bomb blasts at Mecca Masjid, Gokul Chat Bhandar and Lumbini Park in 2007. The inquiry had indicted the police and recommended measures to compensate for the illegal detention of the youth.

Against this backdrop, after winning the elections, the chief minister did not show any hurry in forming the commission. His successor K Rosaiah followed YSR’s footsteps. In the meantime the NCM wrote to the CM wherein one of its six recommendations was to establish the commission.

Meanwhile Taraq Quadri, a former member of SMC, filed a PIL in the high court in April that was taken up a few days ago. When the government pleader informed the court that the government was in the process of forming the commission, he was told to file an affidavit. Though no date has been fixed the case is expected to come up for hearing soon.

The government is keen on forming this commission with representatives from all minority communities as the previous body didn’t have Parsi and Sikh representation.





Koda and ex-ministers examined by team of military doctors


PTI | 07:12 PM,Dec 28,2011

Ranchi, Dec 28 (PTI) A team of Indian Army doctors today checked ‘ailing’ former chief minister of Jharkhand Madhu Koda, his alleged aide and two former ministers at Namkom Military Hospital (NMH), about ten days after Jharkhand High Court ordered the prison authorities to take them to Namkom cantonment for check-up. “Madhu Koda, Kamlesh Singh, Bhanu Pratap Sahi and (Koda’s alleged aide) Vijay Joshi were checked by a team of army doctors at NMH,” a senior official at Birsa Munda Central Jail told PTI. The four-some, now in judicial custody, were checked by the military doctors after the high court had on December 19 directed the IG (Prison) to make arrangements for a health check-up at NMH at Namkom cantonment situated on the outskirts of Ranchi. The court’s direction came after a PIL by social activist Durga Oraon moved the court accusing them of using their political clout to stay in Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIIMS) on the pretext of being ill instead of staying in jail. While Koda was admitted to RIIMS after being allegedly beaten up by the jail inmates a couple of months ago, the three others have been admitted for various “ailments”. It was Oraon who had filed the original petition in 2009 accusing Koda and his former cabinet colleagues of amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income between 2005 and 2008 when they were in power, leading to their arrests and subsequent remand in judicial custody. While Koda and Kamlesh Singh were arrested on November 30, 2009, ex-health minister Bhanu Pratap Sahi surrendered before a special CBI court in connection with a medicine scam this year.







Three get life term in murder case



TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 02.41AM IST


AHMEDABAD: Trying to resolve a fight over a road accident cost Himmatsingh Thakore his life. He was stabbed to death by members of one of the fighting groups in Chamanpura in 2009. City sessions court on Tuesday sentenced three people to life imprisonment and acquitted one in the case. According to the case details, police officials arrested Arjun Shakaji, Govind Vanzara, Ramesh Shakaji and Bhagwan Vanzara – residents of Meghaninagar in 2009 and booked them under IPC 307, 302 and 324 for stabbing Thakore. After hearing the arguments, the court acquitted Arjun and sentenced the three others to life imprisonment. The court has also fined the three sentenced Rs 5,000.

On July 4, 2009, Thakore had tried to settle matters between Popatlal Atamaram and the arrested during an accident. However, a day later the arrested got hold of Thakore in Chamanpura and allegedly started beating Thakore and later stabbed him. During the hearing, 20 witnesses had given their statement and police produced around 21 documentary evidence to suggest the involvement of the arrested.




One Yr On, Govt Yet To Answer Army On Machil Killings

Srinagar, Dec 28: Even one year after the High Court asked it to file objections, the state government has not responded to the army’s plea to transfer the Machil fake encounter case to a military tribunal.

The High Court’s latest orders had come on December 14, giving the state two weeks more to reply in the killings last April where 11 persons, including an army colonel and a major, have been charged with murder and conspiracy by the police.

Three Nadihal villagers from the Baramulla district had been gunned down allegedly by the army in the frontier Machil sector of Kupwara district in late April 2010 after being lured by an SPO with offers of high-paying jobs.

Passed off as foreign militants by the army, the victims’ bodies had been exhumed in May on the insistence of their kin, leading to a police indictment of two top ranking military officers and other personnel.

The High Court has stayed their trial in Baramulla when the army challenged orders by the district and sessions judge for the officers to be brought before the law.

The army has been fighting the case on issues of jurisdiction, ironically stipulated by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which chief minister Omar Abdullah has been trying to lift from selected valley areas.

The army contends that personnel charged with offenses during active duty can be prosecuted by their commanding officer.

The police charge sheet in July last year names  Colonel D K Pathania of the 4 Rajput Rifles, Major Upendra Singh, Major Maurya (Adjutant), Subedar Satbir, Hawaldar Bir Singh, Sepoy Chadra Bhan, Sepoy Nagendra Singh, Sepoy Narendra Singh and Abbas Hussain Shah of the Territorial Army (TA).









Kerala mulls legal move against technical committee


PTI | 09:12 PM,Dec 28,2011

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 28 (PTI) Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today said the state will decide on moving court against the alleged unilateral approach by members of the Supreme Court-appointed empowered panel on the Mullaperiyar issue during their recent visit to the dam site. “We are discussing with our counsel in Delhi and will take an appropriate decision at the right time,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting. He said the state’s Mullaperiyar Cell Chairman M K Parameswaran Nair had personally appeared before the cabinet today and briefed about the recent developments. A decision on legal action would be taken only after consultations with the state’s advocate, he said. Earlier in the day, Revenue Minister Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan had indicated that the “unilateral way in which the members conducted their proceedings would be brought to the notice of the apex court, where the long-drawn dispute between Kerala and Tamil Nadu is pending. “It is difficult for Kerala to accept certain unilateral views expressed by technical member C D Thatte. We will decide what to do on this after consultations with the legal experts,” he said. Kerala officials had stayed away from the visit of the technical members last week alleging they did not hear the state’s views on the dam’s safety aspects. Two technical members on the panel — Thatte and D K Mehta — had a two-day inspection tour of dams in Idukki district including the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar reservoir which Kerala wants to be replaced with a new one citing safety concerns. Thatte had allegedly declined to heed views of the Kerala officials during the inspection conducted on December 23. Meanwhile, Kerala Police, in charge of the dam’s security, objected to certain maintenance works sought to be carried out by Tamil Nadu on the ‘Baby dam’ close to the main reservoir. State officials held that undertaking maintenance work unilaterally would amount to violation of the apex court orders in the dispute.











Chandni murder case: Two accused get death by hanging


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 06.14AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The judiciary in Gujarat gave its 14th death sentence of 2011 on Wednesday when two persons were awarded death by hanging by a trial court in Junagadh in the much publicized 2007 Chandni murder case.

Additional sessions judge G M Patel convicted Mohan Hamir and Mahesh Chauhan of killing Chandni Vinjvadia and raping her friend, and ordered them to be hanged till death as he put the case in ‘the rarest of the rare” category.

In his 132-page order, the judge observed that acquitting the accused would be dangerous for society. Public prosecutor D N Mori said the two were also fined Rs 25,000 each. The case had become a political issue after local MPs and MLAs got involved. Santokben Jadeja, on whose life the film ‘Godmother’ was made, too was arraigned in this case for allegedly harbouring the accused, but she died while the case was pending.

The incident took place on May 13, 2007, when Rajkot-based Ramjibhai Vinjvadia’s family had gone to Datar Hill in Junagadh for pilgrimage. Fifteen-yearold Chandni and her 18-year-old friend were left behind and stranded in a deserted place while the family was returning. The two girls were allegedly abducted by the accused. When they resisted, Chandni’s throat was slit and her friend was raped. The duo was arrested in 2009.

The testimony of Chandni’s friend nailed the accused as she not only identified them in court but also described the incident in detail. The case became controversial after members of Koli community came out in support of the family. Koli leader and Gujarat minister for fisheries Purshottam Solanki had even resigned from the cabinet at one point to build pressure on investigating agencies.

The police had even secured the court’s permission for Santokben’s narco test in the case. The legal battle had gone up to the Supreme Court, resulting in a landmark verdict that the test could not be conducted without the consent of the person.











Bills on judiciary may be delayed further


PTI | 10:12 PM,Dec 28,2011

New Delhi, Dec 28 (PTI) A much-delayed bill which provides for a mechanism to investigate complaints against judges could be held up further in Parliament along with another measure which seeks to increase the retirement age of High Court judges. The discussion on the two bills – the Judicial Standards and Accountability and the Constitution (114th Amendment) Bill, 2010– remained inconclusive in the Lok Sabha today as the House was adjourned abruptly today after uproar created by BJP which wanted voting on the two bills. The Constitution amendment bill requires that it be passed by a two-third majority of the members present which should not be less than half the strength of the house. A senior minister told PTI that the two bills were not part of tomorrow’s agenda. Tomorrow is the last day of the extended Winter session. The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill 2010, which is an amended version of the one introduced last year, provides for a mechanism to investigate complaints against judges. The 114th Constitution Amendment Bill seeks to raise the retirement age of High Court judges from the present 62 years to 65 years, bringing it on par with the retirement age of Supreme Court judges. Questions are also being raised over whether the Whistle-blowers’ Bill will be taken up in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow. The Bill has already been approved by the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha is expected to devote the entire day tomorrow on the Lokpal Bill.









Lokpal law vulnerable to repeal, say experts


J. Venkatesan

Without constitutional status, it can be scrapped in one stroke if the ombudsman proves inconvenient to any government

With the proposed Lokpal law failing to get constitutional status, there is a danger of its being repealed in one stroke by an ordinance if the institution proves inconvenient to any government in future, feel former Chief Justices of India and other eminent constitutional experts.

If the Lokpal law were given constitutional status, it could not be repealed as easily as any other piece of legislation. For, even for repealing the law with constitutional status, it would require a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting and at least 50 per cent of the total members voting in favour of the amendment, say the experts.

The former CJI, Justice V.N. Khare, cited two instances of Lokayukta laws in Punjab and Haryana having been repealed in quick succession as the then governments felt embarrassed when some inconvenient questions were asked by the Lokayuktas.

By an ordinance, these bodies were scrapped and the Lokayuktas asked to vacate their bungalows immediately. “I am giving these instances only to show that when somebody in power wants to act smart and throw away the legislation, it can be done by an ordinance and later a Bill to repeal the law can be passed by a simple majority,” Justice Khare pointed out.

Conferring constitutional status on the Lokpal, like it was done for the Election Commission, would lend the institution greater autonomy and power rather than making it a statutory body, he said.

Asked whether the government could bring in another amendment in the next session and confer constitutional status on the Lokpal, Justice Khare said: “In such matters, there is no estoppel and government will be free to bring in another amendment within six months.”

“Political decision”

Another former CJI, Justice J.S. Verma, agreed with Justice Khare and said: “It is beyond one’s comprehension that political parties want a strong Lokpal but at the same time did not want to give constitutional status to it. Everyone knows that constitutional status is higher than statutory status, but still if they oppose, I will only say it is a political decision.”

Justice Verma said: “This Lokpal Bill even if it is made into a law can be repealed by a simple majority if the government of the day feels there is no need for such an institution.” Asked whether the government could bring in another amendment, he said: “There is no res judicata [no finality] in this case and government could bring it in the next session. There is no point in waiting further.”

The former Attorney-General and senior advocate, Soli Sorabjee, felt that though constitutional status would give the Lokpal a higher position, the present Lokpal Bill, if it was passed in Rajya Sabha, could enjoy the same powers. Lack of a higher status would not undermine its credibility or authority. “The government is not barred from bringing in another amendment to confer constitutional status on the Lokpal in the next session if it feels so.”

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan said: “Like any other law, Lokpal law can be repealed by a simple majority. The real danger is Lokpal law is not immune from such threat.”

“Red herring”

Describing Tuesday’s event as ‘red herring,’ Mr. Dhavan said: “The government’s response seems to be — ‘we wanted to make the Bill strong, but the Opposition did not let us do’.”

On the clause that said funds for State Lokayuktas would be provided from the Consolidated Fund of India, he asked: “How can the Centre impose something on the States. Only the State Assemblies concerned can impose such a provision. If this clause is allowed to remain it will impinge on the financial federalism of the States, whose autonomy will collapse.”



3 more special CBI courts to come up in Delhi


Last Updated: Wednesday, December 28, 2011, 15:49


New Delhi: In a bid to fast track pending CBI cases, three more special courts will be functional in the national capital from January 2.

Delhi, which alone has 1731 CBI cases pending with it in comparison to 9996 such matters across the country as on August 31, will now have 21 special CBI judges working from January 2 to deal with the corruption and heinous crimes, probed by the agency. The number of special courts will go up to 21 from the existing 18.

This follows concerns raised by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia over growing list of pending CBI cases.

Singh, CJI and his predecessor K G Balakrishnan had advocated creation of more CBI courts across the country to deal with the growing number of undecided cases. The CJI also wrote to Chief Justices of the High Courts to expedite hearing in corruption cases.

Besides Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Assam and Goa were the states which did not either set up the sanctioned number or only partially implemented the Prime Minister’s advice given in 2009. The Delhi High Court passed an administrative order paving the way for creation of three CBI courts at Tis Hazari, Saket and Patiala House district courts complexes, to be presided over by Anu Malhotra, Ravinder Kaur and Swarna Kanta Sharma, all of the ranks of Additional Sessions Judge, respectively.









High Court reserves order on Srilakshmi bail


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 02.56AM IST

HYDERABAD: Justice N R L Nageswar Rao of the A P High Court on Wednesday called for the records pertaining to the grant of mining lease to Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) and reserved his orders for Monday on the plea of the CBI that sought the cancellation of the bail given to Y Srilakshmi, former secretary of state industries and mines wing.

While hearing the rival contentions, the judge said that though Srilakshmi claimed that it was the Centre that was empowered to give the final nod for the mining lease, she kept on writing to the Union government making a strong case in favour of OMC. It seems, the judge said, she did not sign the OMC file as a clever precaution to avoid any future responsibility for removing the word ‘Captive Mining’ in the GOs issued in June 2007.

“Though she has been maintaining that provisional lease to OMC was granted (in 2005) even before she took (she joined in May 2006) charge of the industries (mines) department, things started moving only from January 2007. Time limit granted to OMC was over by that time and she did not seek any explanation from OMC for the same. She displayed undue haste in pursuing the file”, the judge said.

Senior counsel C Padmanabha Reddy, appearing for Srilakshmi, said that the whole controversy was about illegal mining carried out by OMC in Karnataka and the leases granted to them in AP had never been an issue of controversy. “Till today neither the state nor the Centre nor even the Supreme Court took any steps to cancel the leases,” he said.

CBI counsel P Kesava Rao said that OMC was given preference citing captive use as the main reason while another firm called Zympex was in dire need of iron ore for similar purpose at its steel plant. But OMC never used it for captive purposes, he said .

The judge said that the trial court which granted Srilakshmi bail cited the nearing of 90 day deadline for filing the chargesheet and saw no scope of CBI doing it. But the CBI filed the chargesheet the next day, he said.

Srilakshmi’s counsel replied saying that even the chargesheet filed in the case did not name her because they do not have any material to fix her. The CBI did not even seek the sanction from the Centre for her prosecution, he said. The CBI counsel said they do not need such sanctions now.



Telugu actress’ death: Court reduces sentence of convict

Indo-Asian News Service, Updated: December 29, 2011 09:11 IST

Hyderabad:  The Andhra Pradesh High Court Wednesday reduced the jail sentence of G Siddhartha Reddy, a convict in the death of Telugu actress Pratyusha in 2002, to two years from five years earlier awarded.

The trial court in 2004 sentenced Reddy to five years’ imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs. 5,000 on charges of abetment in her suicide and one more year of imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1,000 for attempting suicide.

Pratyusha died under mysterious circumstances in Hyderabad Feb 24, 2002.

On Reddy’s plea challenging the order of the trial court, Justice N. Ravi Shankar reduced his jail term to two years but increased the fine to Rs. 50,000.

The high court directed Reddy, who is out on bail, to surrender before police by Jan 15.

Reacting to the judgment, Pratyusha’s mother P Sarojini Devi told reporters that she would challenge it in the Supreme Court. Her family alleged that Reddy murdered her.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which probed the case, dropped murder charges against Reddy but concluded that he drove Pratyusha to suicide.

According to the investigating agency, Reddy and his classmate Pratyusha were in love and decided to get married. However, Reddy’s family opposed their proposed marriage.

Reddy met Pratyusha at a beauty parlour Feb 23, 2002, and took her away in his car. He bought pesticide from a shop and both of them consumed it after mixing it in cola.

Later, Reddy took Pratyusha to hospital where both of them were admitted. Pratyusha died the following day.









Presumption of innocence a human right: SC


Published: Thursday, Dec 29, 2011, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

Stretching the scope of fundamental rights to suspected accused involved in a variety of criminal cases, the Supreme Court has said they are entitled to the sacred guarantee until they are found guilty by the court.

An accused is presumed innocent and he cannot be held guilty on the basis of suspicion however strong it may be, the top court said quashing an order passed by the Assam High Court holding an accused guilty of committing murder.

“It is equally well-settled that suspicion, howsoever, strong can never take the place of proof,” a bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari said.

Raising doubts over the conduct of the police that investigated the case, the court passed stricture on the investigating agency.

However, the entire force cannot be condemned for the act of one policeman, the court added.

“There is no reason for us to generalise and say that there is an attempt not to register cases against assailants and when such cases are registered loopholes are intentionally left to facilitate acquittals or that the evidence led in the courts is deliberately distorted’’, the court said. It termed such lapses in certain cases as “aberrations’’ .

While the police force may have much to be sorry about and while there is always room for improvement in terms of infusing spirit of commitment, sincerity and selfless service towards the citizens, it cannot be said the entire force stands discredited, the bench added.

Earlier, while dealing with a case regarding the death sentence to a Parliament attack accused, another bench of the court had recently said, “human rights violation cannot be the prerogative of a few privileged as it is as much available to other deprived sections of the society and victims of violence’’.

Union home minister had told Parliament that India’s conviction rate in criminal cases is 39.02 %. The average conviction rate of crimes under the Indian Penal Code has been constant for sometime.









Cop kills cop: Gets life term


Abhinav Garg, TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 02.22AM IST

NEW DELHI: Delhi high court has sentenced a police officer to life imprisonment for killing a constable almost two decades ago.

Almost two decades after an Uttar Pradesh police officer shot dead a Delhi Police constable in the city’s main railway station, he has been awarded life imprisonment by the Delhi High Court.

Mahesh Babu, a sub-inspector with UP police, shot the constable, Raj Kishore, at point blank range with a revolver because the victim expressed his inability to immediately book a railway ticket and reserve a berth for him one October night in 1992.

A division bench comprising Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Veena Birbal held Babu guilty of murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment for the crime.

“There is no evidence of there being any sudden fight or the offence having been committed in a heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel. It is not a case of the appellant having fired only once but of having fired four shots. One of the shots hit the deceased in the right side. Two shots were hit at the back and one in the right thigh. It is absolutely clear that the appellant wanted to finish constable Raj Kishore and he succeeded in doing so,” the bench noted in its judgment.

Babu wanted to go to Kanpur when he alighted at New Delhi Railway Station from Garh Mukteshwar in 1992. He then marched to the nearest police post and demanded from the constable on duty that his berth for onward journey be booked. When Kishore pointed out that it was past midnight and all reservation counters were closed, offering to instead arrange for Babu’s travel next morning, the latter flared up and hurled abuses at Kishore. HC went by the testimony of another Delhi Police official who tried to intervene and assuage Babu. He informed the court that as soon as Kishore went to the bathroom of first class passenger waiting room after bearing the brunt of Babu’s anger, the accused followed him inside and pumped four bullets into the hapless policeman, killing him on the spot.

When onlookers raised an alarm Babu fled from the spot and was apprehended after almost an hour long chase through the by-lanes near the main railway station. His service revolver was confiscated. Later, Babu was granted bail, after being convicted by a trial court in 1997.





Make citizen’s charter public, says HC


Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 01.50AM IST

NAGPUR: Team Anna’s efforts to have a citizen’s charter for all government departments received a big boost with Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court directing Maharashtra government to affix copy of the charter on notice board of all departments.

“It’s important that provisions of citizen’s charter by the government’s administrative departments must be made known to common man for whom it is meant,” a division bench of justices Dilip Sinha and Ashok Bhangale observed.

The judges directed citizen’s charter be displayed in the front lobby or at such a place which is easily visible to visiting public at all government offices. “The entire exercise must be completed by departments within two months. We also expect the government to finalize the rules to carry out purpose of the Act without further delay and notify the same in official gazette,” the court said before disposing of a petition in this regard.

The court’s directives came on a PIL filed by Nagpur Chamber of Commerce Ltd (NCCL) for early implementation of rules for ‘Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005. Harnish Gadhia was counsel for the petitioner and NCCL secretary Tejinder Singh Renu.

Earlier, additional government pleader Bharti Dangre informed that there were 29 departments of the Maharashtra government and all had prepared and posted the citizen’s charter on their website.

Government had also set up a mechanism for carrying out administrative audit to see the provisions of ‘Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005′, were being properly observed. She also contended that rules under Section 14 of the Act were in final stage of preparation and would shortly be notified.

The court noted that though all the departments were supposed to prepare and publish citizen’s charter within six months of enactment of the Act, some had failed to do so.

Earlier, the petitioner argued that legislation regarding citizen’s charter was enacted on June 1, 2006, and it specified deadlines for movement of files in a government office and final disposal of a matter. It stipulated that a file could not remain with any official for more than seven days. It also gave 45 days for a final decision on any matter. Failure to comply is punishable with issuance of a warning and adverse remarks in annual confidential report.


HC stops Badlapur civic body from cutting trees on forest land


PTI | 05:12 PM,Dec 28,2011

Mumbai, Dec 28 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today restrained the Municipal Council in Badlapur town of nearby Thane district from cutting trees to pave way for construction of a shopping mall on forest land. The injunction was granted by Justices M L Tahaliyani and Girish Godbole on a PIL which claimed that Kulgaon-Badlapur Municipal Council was planning to construct a mall without permission of the authorities. The PIL said the forest land on which the mall was planned to be built had trees of 200 valuable species and the Council was cutting down some of them to accommodate the shopping centre. The PIL, which has been adjourned for hearing after the winter vacation, alleged the land belonged to forest department since 1905 when a bungalow was built there. The land is also in the possession of forest department since then and this is reflected in entries in land records, it said. However in 1995, Thane Collector had given possession of the land to Kulgaon-Badlapur Municipal Council. Eight years later, the forest department sought return of the land. The civic body called a general body meeting in 2004 and resolved to construct the shopping mall on the impugned plot of land. In 2006, forest department of Maharashtra wrote to the Ministry of Environment and Forest asking a query whether the land was forest. However, the Ministry gave an ambiguous reply not clarifying the position, the PIL alleged. The petitioner also tried to lodge FIR with police last year but they refused to register the complaint. Various protests, including fast, were held but the Council did not budge from its position. Meanwhile, the PIL alleged another bunch of 25-30 trees were cut by the Council to pave way for the mall. PTI SVS DK SCY





RWA moves HC over mosque


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 02.35AM IST

NEW DELHI: Residents of Jangpura in south Delhi have moved Delhi high court alleging the Delhi Wakf Board has ignored violations of court orders on public land.

The residents recently claimed before HC that Wakf Board and a charitable society failed to comply with the court’s earlier order which allowed only 10 devotees to offer prayer at the site of a mosque razed by Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in January, as it stood on public land.

The board and Noor Charitable Society countered it, saying they had complied with the court’s order.

HC was hearing a case where Jungpura Residents’ Welfare Association (JRWA) have sought removal of the mosque on the ground that it is an encroachment on public land inhibiting free movement of traffic, causing inconvenience to local residents in the area. After HC orders, last year the DDA demolished the structure constructed on public land leading to protests and stone-pelting.

Later, when the matter once again landed before HC, the DDA assured the court that Noor Charitable Society, which ran the mosque, could be given 400 sqm land just 100m away from where the previous structure stood. Even as parties concerned negotiated for a settlement, the RWA informed HC that violations of interim orders have occurred.

The RWA through advocate R K Saini also presented some photographs of the area before Justice Vipin Sanghi during the hearing and said, “Though the banner and the tin structure have been removed, occupation is still there”.

Disagreeing with the contentions of JRWA, counsel for the board and the charitable society said all structures from the site have been removed. After hearing both the parties, HC ordered the board and the charitable society to remove the box from the site and also ordered to keep the prayer mats at some other place.






HC strikes down provisional admissions to higher courses


Ravinder Makhaik, TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 07.05AM IST

SHIMLA: Striking down the provisional admission process in universities, technical institutions and other institutes of higher learning, the Himachal Pradesh high court on Wednesday issued strict directions to streamline admissions for the 2012-13 academic year by admitting only those students who had cleared the qualifying exam.

The orders came from the division bench headed by Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Sanjay Karol in a petition filed by student Khwaja Bahuddin, who has alleged that a private polytechnic institute at Kala Amb had admitted him though he had not passed a matriculation examination. Having paid all due fees, he was not being assigned a roll number for appearing for the first semester examination to be held soon, the petitioner had stated in the court.

During the course of the hearing the petition, director, higher education, submitted before the court that UGC guidelines permitted only those students to be admitted to higher courses who had passed the qualifying examination as on the date of admission. On learning that an ordinance of the university that permitted admissions against norms prescribed by UGC, the judges decreed, “There must be a uniform cut off date in the state for admission to each higher course. Only such candidates who have become qualified in having passed the qualifying exam as on the date of admission shall be given admission to higher courses.”

Making all universities, including private universities in Himachal as additional respondents in the case, the judges cautioned, “It is made clear that in case any management or any institute for that matter admits any student without the certificate of having passed the qualifying examination, be it polytechnic colleges, ITI, or any college, the head of the institution shall be liable for appropriate action for contempt and also for other permissible action under the law. It is also made clear that in case they are private institutes, they shall be deaffiliated/derecognized forthwith.”

With a counsel pointing out that students who fail to pass in one subject and are this placed in the compartment category would lose one year, the judges observed, “It is not a question of a candidate losing one year. The crucial question is admission of a student with eligible qualification.” In case the candidate has failed, such candidates can certainly appear in the next available chance till they pass in all the subjects. Admission to higher courses shall only be after passing the qualifying examination, the judges ordered.





Punjab and Haryana HC asks Ghaziabad SSP to appear before it


PTI | 11:12 PM,Dec 28,2011

Ghaziabad, Dec 28 (PTI) The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked SSP Ghaziabad Raghubir Lal to appear before it and provide details regarding murder of an engineering college chairman. A division bench has asked the SSP to appear in person before it within six weeks. Sunderdeep Engineering College Chairman Suresh Chand Gupta was shot dead in April in Model Town area here. The High Court issued the order on a petition filed by one Yogesh Sangwan whose name figured in the case



HC Stays Order to Close Down Bar Hotels in Kozhi


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the Kozhikode District Collector’s order to close down bar hotels in the district on New Year eve. Justice V Chitambaresh passed the order while considering a petition filed by P Ajaikumar, managing partner, Sea Queen Hotel, Kozhikode, challenging the order issued by the Collector under Section 54 of the Kerala Abkari Act.

The Collector had issued the prohibition order on December 24 directing to close down all bar hotels in Kozhikode after 8 p m on December 31. The petitioner alleged that the order was based on a vague report of the district police chief. The police had reported that the people had a tendency to get drunk, wander in motorcycles and vehicles and even fight with each other in public on the New Year eve. The petitioner alleged that similar orders were issued during the past three years in connection with New Year. But in the previous years, the court had permitted to open bars on that day.








Visually-impaired student moves HC to get DU hostel seat


In august, when Shakti Agarwal completed LLM with first division from Delhi University’s Faculty of Law, the sky seemed to be the limit. Back then, his application for PhD in Law was also under consideration.

Battling blindness and osteoporosis, 32-year-old Agarwal felt he had accomplished quite a feat — enthusiastically looking forward to becoming the second ever visually-impaired candidate in the university’s history to pursue a doctorate in law. “Having scored 64 per cent marks in LLM, I was assured I would get the admission. And I did. However, I did not get to stay in DU’s Gwyer Hall hostel, where I was housed since 2006, when I enrolled for LLB. I was the highest-scoring candidate to apply for the hostel, and was the only one who was pursuing his Ph D in Law,” said Agarwal. The hostel authorities, however, would not let him in.

“I had submitted the application form to the hostel authorities in August, when my Ph D was under consideration. After being selected for the doctorate course, the authorities were supposed to return my form so I could re-submit it after getting endorsement from the course guide. They did not return my form, and I had to submit another one. The final hostel admission list came out on December 2, but it did not have my name. When I submitted my objections to the list, I was threatened,” Agarwal told Newsline. He had now moved a petition in the Delhi High Court.

Reading out from a petition filed through advocate Lalit Kumar Jha, Agarwal said the decision of the authorities was “filled with malice” because they were disgruntled over another writ petition he had filed in 2009, alleging inadequate security in the university campus and its hostels.

Agarwal’s previous petition pertained to the theft of his laptop from his hostel room. He reported the incident at Maurice Nagar police station on September 20, 2009, but the FIR was not registered immediately on the grounds that his complaint was not forwarded by the hostel warden. Finding the explanation “unacceptable”, the court sought a response from the DCP (North) as well as one from the university over stepping up security in the university campus.

Last month, a fine of Rs 3,000 was imposed on the police for not filing its reply. This matter will now be taken up in February.

“I was told that I was not being allotted a seat because of this petition, besides a stipulation that a student cannot be allowed to continue in a hostel for more than five years,” Agarwal said.

On Wednesday, when the matter came up for hearing before Justice Hima Kohli, the university’s counsel argued that Agarwal cannot stay for more than five years, irrespective of the course.

“But dissimilar people cannot be treated equally. The petitioner is visually impaired and has osteoporosis with severely increased fracture risk, when compared to the normal population. All the other hostels have been allotted, so why deny Gwyer Hall to somebody who is taking a course in Ph D Law? The hostel has vacant seats, and it must be given to the petitioner,” argued Jha.

To this, Justice Kohli asked the university’s counsel to ascertain if there were any vacant seats in the hostel, and if there are, what reservations do the hostel authorities have for allotting it to the petitioner. The court posted the matter to first week of January.




Civil cases pile up as city Lok Adalat shuts down


association estimate, even a hearing on such cases would now be pending for not less than six months.

The Punjab and Haryana high court order has shifted all cases to regular courts.

“At least 500 written orders were to be pronounced by the Lok Adalat when it stopped working after the HC order,” said Bal Krishna Bhardwaj, bar association secretary.

The HC order cited no particular reason for shutting down the Lok Adalat in Gurgaon.

Though the regular courts have begun hearings for civil suits that spilled over, they have not been able to devote adequate time to such cases.

They already have to deal with a long list of pending cases, 100-150 a day.

While the Lok Adalat exclusively dealt with civil matters throughout official working hours, the regular courts only have a one-hour slot — 3pm to 4pm.

Raj Kumar Sharma, an elderly litigant, had a hearing scheduled in the Lok Adalat for December 21. Now, his case has been deferred till the next month.

“I was hoping to get my matter resolved within a couple of months. Now, I can’t expect to settle a property feud with my sisters in less than 6-8 months,” he said.

Lok Adalat is a system of alternative dispute resolution.  It is a system where mock courts are held by the state authority, district authority, Supreme Court Legal Services Committee, High Court Legal Services Committee, or Taluk Legal Services Committee.

They are held periodically for exercising such jurisdiction and are usually presided over by retired judges, social activists, or other members of the legal profession.

Lok Adalats can deal with all civil cases, matrimonial disputes, land disputes, partition/property disputes, labour disputes etc.






Build toilets on your land to get extra FSI


Prasad Kulkarni, TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 03.04AM IST


PUNE: Private land owners in the city wanting to take benefit of increased floor space index (FSI) and transfer of development rights (TDR) have a new option. The new draft development plan (DP) for the old city has proposed that extra FSI be granted to those ready to give a chunk of their land to build public toilets.

A development plan (DP) lays out policies and proposals for development and use of land in the city.

Though the draft is yet to become public, minutes of the city improvement committee (CIC) meeting, a copy of which is available with TOI, said that discussions were held about the draft highlights like the key steps proposed in the plan. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) administration submitted the draft DP to the CIC recently.

“The existing DP rules have no provisions for providing extra FSI or TDR for encouraging construction of public toilets,” the minutes stated, adding that changes in the proposed DP rules have been suggested to increase public toilets in the city.

“If the owner of an establishment of over 4,000 sq m builds a toilet for public purposes and hands it over to the PMC, the owner will be able to get the benefit of extra FSI. Double FSI compared to the space given for toilet will be granted. But it will be mandatory to provide a separate entrance for the public toilet,” the proposed rules said.

The benefit of TDR will be given to those who hand over vacant land for construction of the toilet, which will be built by the PMC. “If any owner decides to hand over the land to the PMC for building a public toilet, the owner will get benefit of extra TDR. Double TDR compared to the land given will be granted to the owner,” the proposed rules stated.

The civic body has so far built 7,886 toilets and 1,336 urinals, while the actual need is 15,000 toilets and 3,000 urinals. The civic administration failed to utilise the Rs 1 crore allocated in the 2010-11 budget to construct public toilets and urinals since it could not find land to build the same.

Pune’s earlier development plan was drafted in 1982 and passed in 1987. It was to expire in 1997. However, since only 20% of the DP was executed till 1997, it got a 10-year extension till 2007. When the DP was due to expire, the civic body sought another extension from the state government and a new deadline of December 2011 was set. As per the DP sanctioned in 1987, the total number of reservations was 519, covering an area of 827 hectares.






No interim stay on Bidari’s appointment


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 06.20AM IST


BANGALORE: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Bangalore bench, on Wednesday declined to grant an interim stay on the appointment of Shankar M Bidari as director general of police (DGP) of Karnataka.

“I don’t think there are enough grounds for considering grant of an interim prayer. Though it was stated that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had indicted the respondent (Bidari), there is no document produced,” Leena Mehandale, administrative member of the tribunal who presided over the vacation bench, observed. She adjourned the hearing to January 11.

The bench ordered notices to the department of personnel and training, government of India, Karnataka chief secretary, Union Public Service Commission and DG&IGP Shankar Bidari, and asked them to respond to the petition filed by A R Infant. Bidari’s counsel appeared before court and sought time to file objections to the petition.

Infant, DGP for fire and emergency services, and director of civil defence and commandant general of Home Guards, challenged the November 30 appointment of Shankar Bidari to succeed Neelam Achuta Rao.

“There seems to not be much gap as regard seniority as they are due for retirement on the same day, May 31, 2012. Anyway, you can produce the evidence in support of your (petitioner’s ) claim at the next date of hearing,” the bench observed before adjourning the hearing. The bench also felt that the representation sent by Vimochana, an NGO, to the governor on human rights violations , could be engineered to queer the pitch.

Infant also alleged that the state government had ignored the National Human Rights Commission’s findings of serious rights violations of villagers by the Special Task Force (STF) formed to nab forest brigand Veerappan, and commanded by Bidari.


Bidari, Infant are 1978 batch officers Both are due to retire on May 31, 2012 Infant (in pic) claims Bidari may get term extended till November 2013 Infant claims human rights violations by STF commanded by Bidari Bomb attack in Bangalore during Bidari’s term.




Five persons get 10 years’ jail term for drug trafficking


PTI | 09:12 PM,Dec 28,2011

Ahmedabad, Dec 28 (PTI) Five persons including a woman were sentenced to ten years’ rigorous imprisonment for drug trafficking by a local court here today. Judge M P Sheth also imposed a fine of Rs one lakh each on them. If the fine is not paid, the sentence would be extended by two years. Those sentenced are: Subhash Singh, Jay Rathod, Suresh Sanchla, Kamaljeet Kaur and Prakash Bavlekar. “Originally there were six accused. But Manoj Gohil, the key conspirator, died during the trial which had begun in July 2007,” special public prosecutor Sudhir Gupta told PTI. “They all have been convicted under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and Indian Penal Code.” According to the prosecution, Bavlekar was the kingpin of the racket, with Gohil as a manager who hired transporters such as Kaur and persuaded them to transport the drugs across India from Jammu and Kashmir for a handsome remuneration. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had apprehended Subhash from the city with 265 kg of hashish hidden in a cavity above the driver’s cabin. His interrogation revealed the names of Gohil as the manager of the operation, of Rathod and Sanchla who were the local contacts in Ahmedabad and of Kaur, the owner of the truck. Their questioning led the investigators to kingpin Bavlekar.







When crime rose and police reputation reached an all-time low


Preetu Venugopalan Nair | Dec 29, 2011, 01.50AM IST

PANAJI: Perhaps for the first time in the history of the Goa police service, a director general of police (DGP) officially admitted to political interference in the functioning of the police department. Former DGP Aditya Arya might have admitted to the interference, but he could do little to change it. The effort that he did make to break the police-politician nexus ended on a bitter note when he was shunted out of the state within seven months of being posted in Goa.

Even when he was leaving, Arya created quite a controversy when he said, “When I was posted to Goa as the police chief, President Pratibha Patil asked me to “clean up the beaches”. Elaborating, he said they are “obvious things that happen on the pristine beaches”.

Even as Arya’s statements made it to the front pages of newspapers, incidents of crime in the state rose and detection stood at an all-time low. Picture this: The provisional figures provided by the police reveal that in 2011, there were 3,371 cases reported, of which only 2,045 were detected. In contrast, in 2010, about 3,293 cases were reported and 2,103 were detected.

Of the 47 murder cases reported in 2011, almost 43 were detected. Of the 22 attempt-to-commit murder cases reported, 19 were detected and of the six cases of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, only two were detected. Of the 29 cases of rape, 26 were detected, of the two cases of dacoity, one was detected and of the 23 cases of robbery, 12 were detected. Also, of the 70 cases of burglary by day reported in 2011, almost 27 were detected and of the 240 burglary by night cases, only 57 were detected.

There has also been an increase in auto thefts this year, with 449 cases reported and detection in only 134 cases. There were also 629 other kinds of theft reported, of which only 203 have been detected. Of the 134 cheating cases that were reported, 102 were detected and of the 45 cases of criminal breach of trust, 29 were detected. There were 30 cases of counterfeit currency reported and only four cases were detected. And the most shocking moment came when PSI Vaibhav Naik was arrested by the Calangute police in July for allegedly giving fake notes to three persons to be used in casinos.





Ex-defence officer got 2 crore from builder, says CBI


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 02.36AM IST

PUNE: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday chargesheeted retired defence estates officer (Pune circle) Sevak Ram Nayyar stating that he had received Rs 2 crore as illegal gratification from a builder in the army land scam and that he had utilised part of the money for ‘benami’ purchase of a flat in the controversial Adarsh society in Mumbai.

The others named in the chargesheet are Lohegaon village ‘talathi’ Balbhim Rama Gaikwad, builder Haresh Virumal Milani, Kevin Pinto and Mohammad Ishraque Khan alias Zarip Khan.

The chargesheet was filed before special judge D R Mahajan by CBI inspector N M Parab through special public prosecutor Vivek Saxena.

According to the chargesheet, Nayyar had received Rs 2 crore from Milani by demand draft drawn in favour of Genesis Education Society run by him as a reward for showing favour to Milani for submitting a letter/certificate saying that S. No. 233-A does not belong to the Army.

The chargesheet adds that Nayyar had utilised part of the amount for ‘benami’ purchase of a flat in Adarsh society while the remaining amount was used to construct a college in Pune.

The chargesheet says that, in September 2007, the PMC submitted a proposal to the military headquarters, Pune Sub Area, for transferring defence land admeasuring 4498.59 of S. No. 233-A at Lohegaon village for constructing a road from airport to the Ahmednagar Road.

The proposal was forwarded to Nayyar. Though no entry of S.No. 233-A was found in the military land register (MLR), the property card of 7/12 extract of the land, found in the defence estates office (DEO) record, shows that the land belonged to the military, investigations revealed.

Nayyar wrote a letter to the Pune Sub Area and dishonestly informed them that, as per the records the land does not belong to the military. He calculated the value of the land as Rs 4,45,35,744 as per the instructions received from the office of the director general of defence estates (DGDE), New Delhi. PMC deposited Rs 4,45,35,744 with the defence authorities as compensation for acquisition of part of the land after it had received an approval from the DGDE.

Meanwhile, according to the chargesheet, Khan established contacts with Nayyar and managed to get copies of important documents, which were used by Pinto and Milani to claim ownership of S.No. 233-A. On February 26, 2008, Pinto submitted an application at the office of the ‘tahsildar’ for deleting the name of military and entering his name on the 7/12 extract of the said land, but the ‘tahsildar’ issued a letter to the DEO asking them to give documents of S.No. 233-A and 235-B.
In the DEO’s reply to the ‘tahslidar’, Nayyar wrote that he was not in possession of the documents of S. No. 233-A. The chargesheet says that he dishonestly did not mention his opinion whether to delete the name of military from the property card of the said land. On S.No. 235-B, Nayyar informed the ‘tahsildar’ that three ‘gunthas’ shown in the DEO record was requisitioned for defence purpose.

The ‘tahsildar’ forwarded the documents received from Pinto and Nayyar to ‘talathi’ Gaikwad for taking action after verifying the documents. Investigations had revealed that Gaikwad had allegedly inserted the name of Pinto in S. Nos 233-A and 235-B on the basis of which he claimed ownership of S. No. 233-A.

The CBI chargesheeted the suspects as it was revealed that they had used false documents to induce revenue authorities and had made an attempt to obtain possession of the land at S. No. 233-A. The suspects were chargesheet under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.




Play by rule book, officials told


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BHUBANESWAR: State Government officials have been directed to maintain strict neutrality during the general election to the three-tier panchayati raj institutions (PRIs).
‘It is of utmost importance that Government officials including police at all levels should maintain strict neutrality in the discharge of their duties and do not act in any manner in the furtherance of the prospects of election of any particular candidate or party, Chief Secretary BK Patnaik said in a circular to all heads of departments.
Referring to the Orissa Gram Panchayat Act, 1964, the Chief Secretary said that any Government servant and employees of local authority who committed breach of the provisions of Section 28 of the Act will be liable to have his or her service terminated.
The Chief Secretary said that official vehicles, machinery and personnel belonging to the Government, public sector units, cooperatives, local bodies and PRIs should not be allowed to be used in the electioneering work in any manner.
Government, semi-government, PSUs, local bodies and PRIs have been asked not to issue any advertisement at the cost of the public exchequer portraying the achievements of the Government in power until the completion of the election.
The Police Department was also instructed to act on the complaints of criminal intimidation, violence and violations of several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including 153A, 153B, 171B, 171C, 171D, 171G, 171H and 505 promptly and firmly without any bias.
While the State Election Commission has banned the transfer of officials involved in the election work, the Chief Secretary said that the ban would apply to all officials actually or likely to be associated with the electioneering process.
Secretaries of Government departments, director-general of police, Revenue Divisional Commissioners, heads of the departments and district collectors have been directed not to give ad hoc promotion or temporary appointments at lower levels till February 22, 2012.
As per the code of conduct, grant of leave other than casual leave of officials connected with the conduct of election is also prohibited, he said.





CBI says no conspiracy behind Swami Nigamananda’s death


NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, December 28, 2011

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today filed a closure report in the case relating to the death of Swami Nigamananda in Uttarakhand in June this year, saying there was no conspiracy behind it as had been alleged in some quarters.


“Detailed investigation by the CBI revealed that there was no case of poisoning, a statement from the agency said here.


The closure report was filed in the Court of Special Magistrate, CBI, Dehradun.


Swami Nigamananda had gone on a fast for 65 days at Haridwar in Uttarakhand against illegal mining in the Ganga riverbed during February-April this year


“The technical, clinical, medical investigation has concluded that the cause of death was malnutrition leading to Wernike’s encephalopathy and associated complications due to prolonged fasting. Chemical analysis of the viscera of Swami Nigamanand did not detect any poison, including organo phosporous poison,” the statement said.


The statement said a medical board headed by experts from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) was constituted to examine the cause of death of Swami Nigmanand.


The board also heard a representative of the complainant, doctors who treated late Swami Nigmanand in different hospitals in Haridwar and Dehradun, as well as those who performed first and second post-mortem examination on Swami Nigmanand were also invited by the board.


“After an in depth analysis and detailed deliberations the medical board concluded that the cause of death was malnutrition leading to ‘Wernike’s Encephalopathy and associated complications due to prolonged fasting’. The medical board also concluded that there were no clinical and post-mortem evidences supportive of any poisoning including organo phosphorus poisoning as alleged in the complaint. Also no evidences came on record showing nexus between the suspected persons named in the FIR,” the agency said.


Swami Nigmanand had gone on fast for 73 days from January 20, 2008 for stopping mining, quarrying and crushing in the Kumbh area.


He again sat on fast to protest against the orders of the High Court of Uttarakhand from February 19 to April 24 this year, during which he was under medical check-up every day. After that, although he was continuously under medical care, he expired on June 13.


A complaint was lodged on May 5 with Inspector Kotwali, Haridwar alleging that a doctor of a Haridwar Hospital in criminal conspiracy with the proprietor of a stone crushing company attempted to kill Swami Nigmanand by getting administered poison through an unknown nurse during his treatment in the District Hospital, Haridwar.


Later on it was also alleged that poison was given in the ambulance while Swami Nigmanand was being transferred from District Hospital, Haridwar to Doon Hospital, Dehradun.


CBI had registered this case under section 120B read with 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the request of State Government.


LEGAL NEWS 29.12.2011

IOA to set up Ethics Committee and Arbitration Commission

PTI | Dec 27, 2011, 05.21PM IST
NEW DELHI: A day after IOA secretary general Randhir Singh warned of serious repercussions on disbanding of some important committees, the apex sports body on Tuesday said it will soon set up the Ethics Committee and Arbitration Commission.

The Indian Olympic Association, in its General Body Meeting on December 15, had disbanded Ethics Committee and Arbitration Commission, but apparently after Randhir Singh’s sharp criticism, the IOA said these committees will be formed again as per the unanimous decision of the GBM.

“No member was against Ethics or Arbitration Commission. All the GBM wanted was that it should be taken into confidence while taking such important decision,” IOA vice-president Tarlochan Singh said.

Randhir on Monday criticised the disbanding of the Arbitration Commission and Ethics Committee, saying it may attract International Olympic Committee’s ire and will bring bad name to the country, already sullied by the Commonwealth Games corruption scandal.

Tarlochan said the GBM had authorised the acting IOA president Vijay Kumar Malhotra to form various committees and commissions as per the IOC charter.

“There is no question of IOA defying or ignoring the IOC or its charter. The very fact GBM unanimously vested all powers with Prof Malhotra to take crucial decisions show that members were keen to set the house in order,” Tarlochan said.

“IOA is fully aware of its responsibilities. The president is aware of the seriousness of this issue and will constitute these committees at the earliest,” he said.

Tarlochan said a “canard” has been being spread that IOA does not want these commissions.

“We are all in favour of having such commissions but with the approval of General Body. IOA is a democratic institution and has to function under its constitution. All major decisions need the approval of the house,” he said.

“What happened on December 15 GBM was that it did not ratify formation of some of the committees which were formed without its approval. There is nothing illegal or unconstitutional about it,” he added.

Elaborating on the issue, Tarlochan said that GBM in fact did not approve certain new clauses which were inserted in the Constitution and requested the president to form a sub committee to review that matter.

He said after Ranchi National Games (in February), it was the first GBM and so the members wanted that all the decisions taken in between should be reviewed because they did not have the approval of the General Body.

Election Commission upset with Khurshid’s remarks: Sources

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: December 28, 2011 12:21 IST
New Delhi:  A war of wards seems to be brewing between the Election Commission (EC) and Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid following the latter’s recent comments over the poll panel.

Mr Khurshid had, in an interview to NDTV, said that the government did exercise some amount of administrative control over the EC and cited the example of the Law Ministry signing the file when an election commissioner travelled abroad. The minister was speaking in the context of the opposition as also veteran anti-graft activist Anna Hazare’s reservation over the Centre holding on to the reins of control over the Central Bureau of Investigation as per the new Lokpal Bill that has been cleared in the Lok Sabha.

The poll panel clearly does not have taken too kindly to Mr Khurshid’s statement. Sources in the EC have told NDTV that the comments are the wishful thinking of the minister.

“If the Law Ministry thinks it can control the Commission through foreign tours, it is sadly mistaken,” sources in the EC have said, further adding, “Law Ministry serves just like a post-office…only the President approves EC foreign tours.”

Sources also said that the commission has been demanding that its budget should be from the Consolidated Fund of India but it hasn’t been done yet, adding that the Parliament votes for the poll panel’s budget.

Lokpal Bill: UPA wins one, loses one

Posted: Dec 28, 2011 at 0209 hrs IST
New Delhi If this was history in the making, it was messy and half-baked. After almost 12 hours of spirited debate in the Lok Sabha in which the entire spectrum of political opinion for and against the Lokpal Bill was heard loud and clear, the UPA accepted some key amendments proposed by rival parties to get The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011, passed through a voice vote.

But sloppy floor management coupled with a lame attempt by the Congress to turn the tables on the BJP — for not falling in line — ensured that the Constitution (116th Amendment) Bill to give the Lokpal Constitutional status, a proposal first made by Rahul Gandhi in August, fell through.
Passed in the Lok Sabha, there is now a question mark over the Lokpal Bill itself as it moves to the Rajya Sabha tomorrow where the UPA has less than 100 members in the 245-member House.
Amendments carried out to the Lokpal Bill today call for prior consent of states for Lokayuktas — a response to the near unanimous Opposition demand to maintain the federal structure — and leaves armed forces and the Coast Guard out of its purview. Other changes include changing the requirement of three-fourth of Lokpal members to approve an enquiry against the Prime Minister to two-third.
All the Opposition amendments, including the ones that sought to bring in corporates and media and remove minority reservations were rejected.
Disappointment was writ large on the Treasury Benches when Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj raised the issue that the voting on the clauses of the Constitution Bill did not have the required special majority. A Constitution Amendment Bill to be passed should have more than 50 per cent of the members of the House and at least two-third of the strength present.
But the maximum tally that the ruling alliance could manage was 251 from 430 members present at the time of voting on Clause 2 of the Constitutional Amendment Bill. Similarly, the Lok Sabha rejected Clauses 1 and 3 making the Constitution Bill infructuous for passage.
A total of 46 Lok Sabha members from parties supporting the UPA from outside — Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) — staged a walkout over the Lokpal Bill and the government managers did not bother to get them back for the discussion on the Constitutional Amendment Bill. In contrast, the opposition Left-parties, AIADMK and the BJD staged a walkout over the Lokpal Bill but returned to vote against the government on the Constitutional Amendment Bill.
Voting on the three clauses showed that the ruling side had failed to get the required number of 273 in favour, prompting Speaker Meira Kumar to drop the clauses from the bill. “Since the clauses have not been incorporated, the motion for adoption of the bill becomes infructuous,” the Speaker said.
This after the UPA’s numbers got a boost to a total of 277 in the 543-member Lok Sabha after the induction of RLD leader Ajit Singh into the Cabinet who has brought five Lok Sabha MPs with him.
An angry Pranab Mukherjee, after an impassioned defence of the government’s stand, called the development as “a sad day for democracy” and blamed the Opposition, especially the BJP, for the fiasco saying “people will teach you a lesson”.
BJP’s Yashwant Sinha, however, dismissed this saying it was the Government’s job to get the Bill through and the fact that it never crossed 272 means it was in a minority and should, therefore, step down.
The House also passed the Protection to Persons Making Disclosures Bill, 2011 aimed at protecting whistle-blowers.
While SP and BSP members walked out before voting, the non-NDA opposition, including the Left parties, BJD and AIADMK, made a brief walkout after the passage of the bill before returning to the House for participating on the Constitution Amendment Bill.
During the animated over 10-hour debate, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rejected demands for bringing CBI under the purview of Lokpal as he warned that no entity should be created inconsistent with the Constitutional framework.
This is the ninth Lokpal Bill introduced in government in a series that started as early as 1968 and ended in 2001.
Seven of them lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha while one was withdrawn.
“There are some very special moments in the life of a nation. This is one such moment. The nation awaits with bated breath how the collective wisdom of this House will be reflected in the vote at the end of the debate on the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011,” Singh said.
He warned that “no entity should be created inconsistent with our Constitutional framework and charged with onerous executive responsibilities without any accountability… Let us not create something that will destroy all that we cherish…all in the name of combating corruption. Let us remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Whats new at BBMP? A Rs223 crore scam

Published: Tuesday, Dec 27, 2011, 17:53 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA
While CID investigations are still going on pertaining to the multi-crore bogus bill scam in Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), yet another scam has unfolded involving misappropriation of Central Reserve Funds (CRF) worth Rs223 crore. This was brought to light by RTI activist S Amaresh.
At a press meet on Monday, Amaresh, managing trustee of the Right to Information Study Centre, alleged that several irregularities took place between March 2006 and November 2011.
Amaresh said that the CRF was primarily used for ward-level and emergency works.
“In 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2011, a sum of Rs174 crore was allocated for CRF in the BBMP budget. But the BBMP utilised Rs397.48 crore instead ofRs223.38 crore. This sum exceeded the funds that were allocated. The details were procured from the RTI,” he said.
Amaresh said that the BBMP commissioners, who held the post for five years, were aware of it. “Contractors, zonal executive engineers, elected representatives, chief accounts officers, and deputy controller of finance are directly involved in the irregularities along with the commissioners. The excess funds were released because of pressure from contractors, elected representatives, and engineers,” he said.
He added that excess funds were released without the government’s consent.
When asked for details via the RTI Act, the BBMP refused to divulge information, Amaresh said.
Centre trustee BH Veeresh said that the BBMP must restore the vigilance squad, which was disbanded. The public can file their complaints with the squad.
“We are planning to file a writ petition in the high court pertaining to the Rs223 crore scam. We want the government to conduct an enquiry of the five commissioners: K Jothiramalingam, K Jairaj, S Subramanya, Bharatlal Meena, and Siddaiah,” he said. N Vikram Simha, a trustee, said that on various occasions the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) commissioner had favoured corrupt officials.
“We will give a memorandum to governor HR Bhardwaj to conduct thorough investigation and ask the commissioners to declare their assets and liabilities on the KIC website,” he said.

Man gets jail for bribery

TNN | Dec 28, 2011, 03.12AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court has sentenced a person to two-and-a-half-year in jail and slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 for demanding a bribe of Rs 300.
Demanding a bribe of Rs 300 has cost a man dearly with a trial court sentencing him to two-and-half years in jail and also slapping a fine, which is over 30 times the illegal gratification amount.
Special judge B R Kedia convicted Dhirender Verma, a section officer in horticulture division of DDA and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 for demanding a bribe 5 years ago.
In August 2006, Dalip Kumar lodged a complaint with the anti-corruption branch against Dhirender for demanding a bribe for allowing him to reside in a pump house at a DDA park in Mayur Vihar phase II.
Kumar told the court that he, along with his family, was residing in the pump house as an officer of horticulture department had allowed him to stay there. However, after the officer retired, Dhirender demanded Rs 200 for letting him reside there, which he paid.
Thereafter, Dhirender again demanded Rs 300 from him, which he agreed to pay the next day. However, before doing so he filed a complaint with the authorities concerned.
A trap was laid and Dhirender was nabbed red-handed.
“Accused Dhirender Verma stands convicted for offence punishable under section 7 (public servant taking illegal gratification) and 13 (2) of Prevention of Corruption Act,” the court said.
The court, however, accepted his plea for suspension of sentence and granted him bail till January 6, 2012.

HC adjourns PIL against Anna Hazare’s fast

PTI | Dec 28, 2011, 04.33AM IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Tuesday posted the hearing on a PIL, seeking social activist Anna Hazare’s fast to be declared as “illegal” till Wednesday, saying agitation is the right of every citizen and the persons staging a protest are well aware of the consequences of breaking the law.

“Agitation is the right of every citizen,” a vacation bench of Justices Girish Godbole and M L Tahalayani observed while hearing the PIL filed by a social worker Mangleshwar Tripathi, seeking the fast being observed by the 74-year-old Gandhian be declared as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

Law to curb money laundering to go global

Special Correspondent

Amendment to provide for transfer of proceeds of foreign predicate offence

The government tabled the Prevention of Money-Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2011, in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. It seeks to introduce the concept of a ‘corresponding law’ to link the provisions of Indian law to those of other countries and to provide for transfer of the proceeds of foreign predicate offence committed in any manner in India.
The Bill enlarges the definition of money-laundering to include concealment, acquisition, possession and use of proceeds of crime as criminal activities and to remove the existing limit of Rs. 5 lakh in fine.

Reporting entities

The Bill provides for attachment and confiscation of the proceeds of crime even if there is no conviction so long as it is proved that money-laundering has taken place and the property in question is involved in the crime. It confers powers on the director of reporting entities, such as banks, financial institutions and intermediaries, to call for records of transactions or any additional information that may be required for prevention of the crime and to make enquiries for non-compliance with reporting obligations.
The Bill proposes to make the reporting entities and their designated directors on the board and employees responsible for acts of commission and omission. The reporting entities need to maintain a record of all transactions, including information for reconstructing individual transactions. These entities will maintain records of documents in proof of the identity of their clients and beneficial owners as well as account files and business correspondence.
The amendment is necessitated by the fact that India is an important member of the Financial Action Task Force, and chairs its Asia Pacific group. So it is important to make the existing Prevention of Money Laundering Act conform to the practices being followed worldwide.
The PMLA, 2002, was aimed at preventing money laundering and confiscating property derived from, or involved in, the crime. It was amended in 2005 and 2009 to remove the difficulties in its implementation.
The government said money laundering was no longer restricted to the geo-political boundaries. “It is a global menace that cannot be contained by any nation alone,” the Bill says.
The Bill also provides for appeal against the orders of the Appellate Tribunal in the Supreme Court, instead of in the High Court as mandated by the existing laws. A person aggrieved by the Tribunal’s decision or order may file an appeal within 60 days of the date of communication of the order. The court may allow the appeal to be filed within a further period not exceeding 60 days, if it is satisfied that the applicant has been prevented by sufficient cause from appealing within the stipulated period.
Lokpal law clears its first hurdle
New Delhi/ Mumbai: The country moved a step closer on Tuesday to getting a new anti-corrpution law after the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) blinked and accepted key amendments to the legislation, clearing the way for its passage in the Lok Sabha.

Now, the legislation—the Lokpal and the Lokayuktas Bill, 2011—will have to be approved by the Rajya Sabha—where the ruling coalition is in a minority. Expectations are that the legislation would be struck down or require fresh amendments, which will need a joint session of both Houses to forge a consensus.
In the Lok Sabha, a walkout by the Samajwadi Party​ and Bahujan Samaj Party​ enabled the UPA to manage the voice vote on most of the amendments and also when the opposition forced a division which required members to vote.
The UPA may get a political breather after a protest led by anti-graft activist Anna Hazare in Mumbai to pressurise Parliament to pass a strong anti-corruption legislation failed to strike a chord with the public, unlike the two hunger strikes he undertook in New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar and Ramlila Maidan venues. As Hazare began a three-day fast in the city, only around 8,000 people trooped to the venue.
One of the key amendments ensures that states’ consent will be required for setting up a Lokayukta. And it further insulates the Prime Minister​ from being subjected to misuse of the Lokpal provisions by requiring a two-thirds approval vote in the Lokpal panel for initiating an inquiry against him.

The debate in Lok Sabha was largely along predictable lines, excepting that two key partners of the UPA—Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)—were critical of the draft Lokpal Bill that was tabled in Parliament. While the opposition parties attacked the government for what they maintained was a hasty effort, the treasury benches defended the legislation.

Leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj​, set the tone for the debate when she questioned the constitutional validity of “religion-based reservation”. She further alleged that by moving the legislation for the creation of Lokpal and Lokayukta under Article 253 of the constitution, the UPA was infringing on the federal freedom of states.
Article 253 would make it mandatory for states to accept the legislation as approved by Parliament due to the country’s international commitments. Instead, Swaraj argued that it should be moved under Article 252 of the constitution, which requires two states to pass a resolution asking Parliament to pass such a law.
“We wanted this Bill in the winter session but did not want such a Bill which will even destroy the existing system. We wanted a strong and effective legislation,” Swaraj said, adding: “Accept our amendments or withdraw the Bill.. Send it back to the standing committee for further discussion and bring it after 2-3 months.”
Swaraj also objected to the process of appointment and removal of the anti-corruption ombudsman and demanded that the Central Bureau of Investigation​ (CBI) be brought under the purview of the Lokpal.
Swaraj termed the inclusion of the Prime Minister under the Lokpal—with riders—a “farce”. She even questioned the provision for in-camera proceedings and disallowing making public these proceedings even through the Right to Information Act.
Making the government’s case, human resource development minister Kapil Sibal​ sought to put the political onus on the opposition. According to him, the opposition was engaging in double speak: claiming to support the anti-corruption legislation, but aborting its chances through obstructionist tactics.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh intervened midway through the nearly 10-hour debate in the Lok Sabha and appealed for a political consensus to fight the “cancer of corruption”.
“Unless Lokayuktas are put in place, the cancer of corruption will spread. Let us not delay the issue any further. Federalism cannot be an impediment in the war against corruption,” Singh said, before adding, “State authorities are charged with providing essential services to the common man. It is here that the bane of corruption needs to be combated.”
In a veiled reference to Hazare, he said, “The task of legislation is very serious business and must eventually be performed by all of us who have been constitutionally assigned this duty. Others can persuade and have their voices heard. But the decision must rest with us.”
TMC representatives who spoke after Singh took exception to the Prime Minister’s remarks.
“Don’t undermine the state legislature, don’t undermine the ministers of the state,” Kalyan Banerjee, TMC member of Parliament (MP), said. “Don’t enter into the field of the state legislature, it would be a dangerous proposition.”

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha also joined issue with Singh and claimed tongue-in-cheek that the prime minister’s intervention was a “farewell speech”.

“A morally bankrupt government has brought not a Lokpal bill but a Brokerpal Bill…The government will say to people in poll-bound states that they had brought the Bill, but Parliament did not pass it…We doubt their intentions. We doubt that they (government) themselves do not want to pass the Bill. They have included such irrelevant issues that the Bill will fall flat in the court,” he said.
Similarly, the Left parties too criticized the Bill in its current form.
“I welcome a Lokpal Bill but not the one that has been introduced,” said Gurudas Dasgupta, a leader of the Communist Party of India​ (CPI). “If you say that something is better than nothing, then of course it is good…but (it is) not everything that the country needs,” He also questioned whether the Bill had been introduced under duress.
Basudeb Acharia, of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM, said the government’s intention was to create an institution that is not accountable to anyone.
“We don’t want such an institution. That is why we raised in the all-party meeting that Lokpal should be accountable. They should be accountable to Parliament and the Supreme Court,” Acharia said.
Harsimran Kaur, MP from Shiromani Akali Dal, said the Bill was “toothless”. She alleged that the UPA was hurrying the legislation through with the sole purpose of mitigating the political damage ensuing from Hazare’s campaign and to posture ahead of the upcoming polls in five states.
Lalu Prasad​, leader of the Rashtriya Janta Dal, which supports the UPA from outside, rejected the Lokpal Bill and asked the government to introduce a fresh and strong Bill.
“This also brings armed forces, Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing under Lokpal. They should not be covered and (should) remain outside Lokpal,” he said.
In Mumbai, meanwhile, observers attributed the lukewarm public response to Anna Hazare’s fast to his team’s inability to mobilize support from local political parties, the strong north Indian community in the city and the Dalits.

Gaining momentum: Anna Hazare’s supporters gather at the fast venue in Mumbai on Tuesday.(Reuters)
Hazare’s first two agitations in Delhi for a strong ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ received massive public support, so Mumbai had been expectant about the response he would receive in the city. The grounds where he sat on fast can accommodate around 60,000 people, but according to Mumbai police, there were only around 8,000 in attendance.

“The government has reneged on its commitment of a strong Lokpal Bill to Parliament given in August and this is nothing but cheating,” Hazare told the crowd. “We have to teach a lesson to Congress for not keeping its promise. I will tour all five poll-bound states and appeal to the people not to vote for the Congress.”
He also reiterated his demand for electoral reforms and giving people the right to reject all candidates in the fray if they wished to do so.
“There are around 150 MPs in the Lok Sabha with a criminal record today and the only way to ensure that such elements do not enter Parliament is to give people the ‘Right to Reject’.” He also announced a plan to launch an agitation in support of the demand that without village councils’ approval, no land acquisition for industry and infrastructure projects should take place.
“Anna’s agitation did not get much support in Mumbai as the Shiv Sena, which provides muscle to any agitation in Mumbai, is opposed to the Lokpal Bill,” said Prakash Akolkar, political editor of the Marathi daily Sakal. “North Indians, another highly politically aware group in the city, also stayed away from the agitation as their leaders like Kripa Shankar Singh and Raj Hans Singh belong to the Congress, who are obviously anti-Anna; and another politically important group comprises Dalits and Dalit organisations who are also opposed to the Lokpal as they feel it is an attempt to change the Constitution given to us by Dalit icon Babasaheb Ambedkar​.”
In a separate development, the Election Commission of India issued a press release clarifying on some media reports that the EC was “watching the moves” of Anna Hazare and his team’s campaign in the five poll-bound states.
“The Commission has already clarified repeatedly that everyone has a right to canvass for or against any political party or candidate, as it fully respects the freedom of expression of every Indian citizen guaranteed to them under the Constitution of India. The Commission’s concern is, however, limited to the extent that in such campaigns no inflammatory speeches or slogans are raised…” the EC said in a statement.

Seven get life in jail for murdering woman, son

PTI | 10:12 PM,Dec 27,2011

Vadodara, Dec 27 (PTI) Seven accused in a double murder case were awarded life imprisonment by a court here today. They were found guilty of killing a woman, whom they suspected of practising witchcraft, and her son in village Bhangiyavad near here on May 14, 2010, by Additional District Sessions Judge K S Patel. Radhaben and her son were beaten to death by the accused, who were armed with sticks and held the woman responsible for the death of two persons in the village. Their bodies were later hanged to a tree. Public Prosecutor Prakash Thakkar had demanded capital punishment for all of them. However, the court said this case does not fall under the category of rarest of the rare and awarded life sentence to the convicts.

Habitual molester sent to jail for a year

Soumittra S Bose, TNN | Dec 28, 2011, 02.30AM IST
NAGPUR: The district and additional sessions judge has sentenced a 48-year-old man to one-year imprisonment and fine of Rs 500 on Tuesday for attempted rape and outraging the modesty of a woman. The court convicted Lekhraj Nimje, alias Lakku, after he was found guilty of molesting a widow from Golibar chowk.
Nimje has already served a prison term for a different offence. He is learnt to be a habitual assaulter of women, making lewd remarks and indecent proposals to even schoolgirls.
His latest conviction came about due to a handful of women coming together in different roles. It was female judge Vibha Ingle who pronounced the judgment after the prosecution, represented by additional public prosecutor Varsha Aglawe, provided adequate evidence to indict the accused. The testimony of five female witnesses, who had also rescued the victim from almost certain rape, helped the court to convict Nimje.
The women, braving Nimje’s counter attack and acid threats, had shooed him away before police arrested him on December 23 last year. TOI had highlighted the strong, joint stand taken by women of Golibar chowk against Nimje and his ways.
Nimje had been targeting Supriya (name changed) even when her husband was alive. He would often stand in front of her house and make indecent gestures. During the attack, Nimje had held Supriya by the hand and pinned her to the floor. While she tried to free herself, Nimje had nearly disrobed her. Annoyed at her refusal, Nimje had even threatened to splash acid on Supriya.
It was during this struggle that women from adjacent houses rushed to rescue Supriya. Police were informed and Nimje was arrested. Tehsil police had charged Nimje with attempt to rape and molestation.
“The court did not convict Nimje for rape, since there was no medical evidence. But it was a strong case of outraging the modesty,” said additional PP Aglawe.

Triple life term for 3 accused

KOCHI: The Ernakulam Fifth Additional Sessions Court on Monday awarded triple life term and a fine of Rs 1.3 lakh each to the three accused in the murder of 60-year-old John Kuzhikkandam of Kothamangalam. Delivering the sentence, Sessions Judge V Vijaya Kumar said the sentences shall run concurrently. The convicts were sent to the Viyyur Central Prison.

The court held that based on the ‘Swami Sradhananda case’ the accused were not entitled to claim or get remission of sentence before serving at least 20 years of imprisonment. The convicts are Basil Kuriakose of Kuttambuzha, Rajesh of Eramallor and Jacob Esthappanos alias Kunjumon.
The court awarded life imprisonment under Section 302 (murder), 449 (house-trespass in order to commit offence punishable with death) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and an additional five year rigorous imprisonment under Section 392 (robbery) of the IPC. The court further held that the fine amount would be given to John’s wife and children equally as compensation.
The case is that on January 1,2004 a money lender John Kuzhikkandam of Kothamangalam was strangulated by the three accused. The postmortem report revealed that John died in the combined effect of strangulation and abdominal injuries. The accused left the body of John under a cot in the house. They stole his camera, mobile phone, wrist watch and scooter. Prosecutor P G Manu submitted that the accused had entered into a criminal conspiracy for robbery by killing John. He argued that the murder was preplanned and brutal and comes under the category of ‘rarest of rare’ cases.
The court held that the prosecution succeeded in proving the crime beyond doubts.

Court awards 68L to kin of 4 killed by DTC bus

TNN | Dec 28, 2011, 06.43AM IST
NEW DELHI: A trial court has awarded a compensation of around Rs 68 lakh to the family members of four persons, who died in a road accident caused by a rashly driven Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus five years ago.

Additional Sessions Judge Raj Kumar Chauhan directed the National Insurance Company, with which the offending DTC bus was insured, to pay a total of Rs 67.94 lakh to the family members of deceased Praveen Kumar, Dharampal, Rakesh Kumar and Rajan Singh, who lost their lives in 2006 when the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus collided with their car.

“I am of the considered opinion that petitioners (family members of deceased ) have succeeded in proving that the accident has occurred because of rash and negligent driving of DTC bus driver as a result all the occupants of the car has expired,” the judge said.

While deciding the compensation amount, the court said that loss of love, affection and company because of the death of the husband, father and son of the petitioners is immense and the same cannot be compensated for in terms of money.

According to the prosecution , all the four victims were working in the same firm, AIR Grip Footwear Pvt Ltd, and were going for a business meeting.

The accident took place on July 9, 2006 near Rohtak road when the offending bus had suddenly taken a right turn without any indication and after jumping the red traffic signal, ended up hitting the car.

The driver was caught by a passerby and was handed over to the police. The court, after taking into consideration of the age and background of different victims, awarded different amount of compensation to them. It awarded Rs 37,56,000, Rs 12,91,400, Rs 11,43,488 and Rs 6,03,350 to the family members of Praveen Kumar, Dharampal , Rajan Singh and Rakesh Kumar respectively.

CBI wants ‘tainted’ Paradip Port chairman transferred

Tuesday, 27 December 2011 22:27
PNS | New Delhi

The CI has sought transfer of Paradip Port Trust chairman to a non-sensitive position as the agency feels that he might influence witnesses in a criminal case he is facing.
Instead of transferring the official, the Shipping Ministry is learnt to have told the agency that the accused chairman GJ Rao is too senior an official to be posted at a “non-sensitive” position in the Ministry.
The agency has booked Rao along with two other senior officials for allegedly entering into a criminal conspiracy in 2009 when he was the Deputy Chairman at Chennai Port Trust (CPT).
The incident under investigation dates backs to April 2007 when a ship carrying teak logs of Singapore-based Olam International Ltd was allowed to dock at Chennai, official sources said.
The CBI had alleged that the then CPT chairman K Suresh along with Rao and one other official abused their positions and registered cases under Sections of Indian Penal Code relating to criminal conspiracy and cheating besides relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act

Trio gets 1-month jail for robbery

TNN | Dec 28, 2011, 04.17AM ISTPANAJI:
 A judicial magistrate first class ( JMFC) court at Mapusa recently sentenced three accused to undergo one-month imprisonment and directed them to pay a fine of 10,000 for snatching a gold chain at Mapusa in 2003.
The prosecution had charged Imamsab Kudchikar, Mainuddin Hukkari, Tassaduk Pathan for wrongfully restraining Shittija Dhargalkar and snatching her gold chain weighing 10gm on July 30, 2003, at Ansabhat-Mapusa.
During the hearing of the case, the victim deposed before the court and narrated the incident. She said that one of the accused was caught by the public after she cried out for help.
“Thus, upon scrutinizing the evidence on record, it is evident that on July 30, 2003, while the complainant was returning from Mapusa market and upon reaching her house, all the three accused wrongfully restrained her from the front, and one of the accused caught hold of her, pushed her down and snatched away her gold chain weighing 10gm,” judge Durga V Madkaikar observed.
The complainant identified all the three accused in an identification parade, the arrest panchanama corroborates the testimony of the prosecution witnesses and the recovery panchanama was also proved, the court stated.
The court convicted the accused under Section 392 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code ( IPC) and directed each of them undergo one month of simple imprisonment and pay a fine of 10,000 each.
If the fine amount is not paid, each of the accused will have to undergo imprisonment for a period of 15 days. Assistant public prosecutor N Marathe appeared for the state.

B-town is legally bound

TNN Dec 27, 2011, 04.57PM IST
Not A Love Story: Producer Shareef Zuberi filed a suit in Mumbai seeking to restrain director Ram Gopal Varma from releasing the film as he claimed he had already registered the script with the Film Writers Association, and that RGV had copied his idea. Shareef also claimed that his film was 70% complete and that he had already spent `70 lakh on the project.
Azaan: This movie courted controversy when a Samajwadi party leader filed a case in the Mumbai High Court stating that the film’s title hurt Muslim sentiments. A fatwa was also reportedly put on the film by a Muslim cleric who contested that no film should be named after the auspicious call of prayer. The petitioners demanded a ban on the film until the producer changed its name. However, the makers went ahead with the title.

Aarakshan: The Amitabh Bachchan and Saif Ali Khan starrer got into a legal tangle when co-producer Firoz Nadiadwala was sued by Sushil Gupta over payment issues. Firoz had reportedly borrowed `3.50 crore from Sushil and had to repay `3.75 crore, including interest on the loan.
Mausam: Pankaj Kapur’s friend Nawman Malik claimed that the title of Pankaj’s debut directorial, “Mausam”, was registered under Nawman’s name. Nawman also reportedly filed a complaint with the Association of Motion Pictures and TV Programme Producers, alleging that the story was his.
RA.One: Shah Rukh Khan’s much hyped superhero film was dogged by legal hassles when producer Yash Patnaik and writer Mustaq Sheilk got into a row with SRK over copyright issues. Yash moved the court, claiming he owned the copyright of the content and demanded `1 crore as compensation.
Rockstar: One of Bollywood’s most awaited movies of 2011 grabbed headlines when the producers alleged that the distributors hadn’t paid their share towards the film’s budget and reportedly sent them a legal notice to that effect.
The Dirty Picture: Silk Smitha’s brother Naga Vara Prasad filed a writ petition at the AP High Court, objecting to the way Silk was portrayed in the film. Bollywood star Vidya Balan also got booked for obscenity. The criminal court in Andhra Pradesh passed the orders on a petition filed by advocate SK Azad, who claimed the posters and hoardings of the film caused harm to society. The judge asked the police to book Vidya under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and under Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986.
Don 2: The producers of the original “Don” claim that the Farhan Akhtar-directed sequel infringed upon the original copyright. According to the producers, they had only given Farhan and Ritesh Sidhwani’s production house rights to remake their movie. And since they weren’t given the rights to make a sequel, the producers of the original sent them a legal notice and are suing them for copyright infringement.
Compiled by Richa Bhatia

Pranab Mukherjee pleads for a Lokpal Bill, reflecting views in Parliament

New Delhi, Tue, 27 Dec 2011 ANI

New Delhi, Dec 27 (ANI): Asserting that the government is not insensitive to the needs of the Members of Parliament and of the outside forces, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said the legislation on the Lokpal Bill must be done on the floor of the House.

 Participating in a debate on the Lokpal Bill inside the Lok Sabha today, Mukherjee said: “The debate has been lively.

Various points have been covered. The government has not moved in undue haste. For last six months, we are debating this issue inside the House. Country is agitating and debating this issue outside the House. They are the decision-makers, not suggestion-givers.”

“There is nothing wrong in dialogue with civil society, but I also don’t agree when they say it should be only their view. Contradictory positions taken by political parties. We received mandate from all-party meeting. Not under duress, not under threat. We wanted to have effective strong anti-corruption legislation in form of Lokpal Bill,” he added.

 Accusing the political parties of taking contradictory stand on the Lokpal Bill issue, Mukherjee said: “Nothing has come from magician’s hat. Everything was discussed.
 The government received mandate at all-party meeting. Quota was also brought up.
 The government draft is based on daylong discussion in Parliament.”
 “But again it is called sarkari Lokpal. Because of five members in selection panel – who will include PM and Speaker. We talk of sovereignty of House, but then we raise questions about this,” he added.
 Further taking on senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha, Mukherjee said: “On August 27, we agreed on this through Sense of the House. You say federal structure will be compromised. But we are going to bring amendment to provide that without consent of state government, it will not be enacted. 40 years we have waited. I did not expect Yashwant Sinha to say this (PM) is a farewell speech.”
 “Why are you in a hurry? Why don’t you wait for two years more? PM is not giving farewell speech. PM has introduced new direction in parliamentary democracy. He suggested engaging with civil society,” he added.
 BJP leader Yashwant Sinha had earlier criticised Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan’s speech made inside the Lok Sabha, and said that the former’s speech seemed like an exit speech.

Participating in a debate on the Lokpal Bill in Lok Sabha today, Sinha said: “The way the Prime Minister listed his government’s achievements seemed like an exit speech. The government wants to shove this bill down our throats. Why? You have deliberately created a weak and helpless Lokpal.”

 Yashwant Sinha further accused the government of deliberately creating a weak and helpless Lokpal.

“A morally bankrupt government has brought not a Lokpal Bill but a ‘Brokepal’ Bill. What this government has put us through with its scandals -that is why an old man is on a fast in Mumbai. The honest PM heads the most corrupt government India has ever had. This is why people are restless and desperate for change,” said Sinha.

 “Prevention of Corruption Act covers everyone from peon to PM; so does Indian Penal Code. These two laws are what the Lokpal will enforce, isn’t it? Not one minister from Atalji’s Government is in any jail. Minority reservation – you (UPA Government) have introduced this, you know it will not stick,” he added. (ANI)
Black money in polls: EC writes to political parties
27 December 2011
Press Trust of India
NEW DELHI, 27 DEC: In order to curb the use of black money during Assembly polls in five states, the Election Commission has written to all political parties asking them to avoid cash transactions and instruct their cadres not to carry huge cash during elections.
The Commission, in this context, has written a letter to all recognised political parties in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur, enlisting the steps it has undertaken to “curb use of money power during elections”.
“In order to maintain the purity of elections and in particular to bring transparency in the process of elections, it is advised that political parties avoid transactions in cash and should instruct their office bearers, officials, agents and candidates not to carry huge cash during the ensuing process of elections,” the EC wrote in its 26 December letter.
The Commission has advised candidates to open separate bank accounts for their election expenses and to make all election expenses through the said bank accounts.
The EC has also issued fresh directions to the chiefs of Income Tax (Investigation) department in all these states to “keep vigil over” financial brokers and hawala agents including keeping track on illegal movement of cash at airports and through other transit locations.
“…instances are reported to Commission and also in media that cash, liquor and several utility items are being used in a clandestine manner during the process of elections for bringing influence on voters.
“Such distribution of cash, liquor or any other item for gratification of the voters is bribery and is punishable under the Indian Penal Code and is also a corrupt practice under the Representation of People Act,” the Commission said in its letter.
The EC also asked all the parties to ensure that any fund provided by the party to its candidates for election purpose should be reflected in the day-to-day account of election expenditure of the candidate.
“The Commission has also advised candidates to open separate bank accounts for their election expenses and to make all election expenses through the said bank accounts. The parties are also required to maintain and lodge the accounts before the Commission after the election is over,” the EC said.
The EC had recently announced a seven-phased poll in Uttar Pradesh between 4 and 28 February, while Assembly elections in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa will be held in a single-phase.
Punjab and Uttarakhand will go to polls on 30 January, while they will be held on 28 January in Manipur and on 3 March in Goa. The counting of votes in all the states will be held on 4 March.

Moscow courts had dismissed Gita cases

Mona Mehta, TNN | Dec 28, 2011, 04.13AM IST
Tomorrow at 12:30 hours IST, Tomsk court, Russia, is due to pass its verdict on banning the Bhagavad Gita. An “anti-cult” group affiliated to the Russian Orthodox Church, has called for a ban on the Gita terming it an ‘extremist’ text. And the verdict can have far reaching repercussions – either way.

An expert panel was constituted to examine if the text incites religious hatred and humiliation.

“Banning the Gita as an extremist piece of literature would mean banning the Russian chapter of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness – one of the biggest Hindu organizations in Russia with a following of around 40,000, of which nearly 1,000 people visit the temple in Moscow every day,” said Swami Bhakti Vigyan (nee Vadim Touneev), scientist by training and head of ISKCON, Russia, currently in Delhi.

This is not the first time that the Bhagavad Gita has been involved in a court case. “There were two others in a Moscow court, but Moscow being more cosmopolitan, these cases were dismissed. This one time, they have gone ahead and pressed charges and it has come to court for hearing in Tomsk,” said Swami Bhakti Vigyan.

So what is so objectionable about the Bhagavad Gita – the text or commentary by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada? “Contrary to what the Russian government’s spokesperson has to say, what the court is objecting to is not Prabhupada’s commentary but the Bhagavad Gita itself,” Swami says, who helped translate the text into Russian. “I have been involved with the translation of the Gita, especially its third edition, released in 2007. All I did was to make a few stylistic changes. The rest of the book remains the same as it was in 1984 when the Gita was first distributed in Russia. We have given out more than 10 million copies since,” he adds.

A majority of the Russian population, 70 percent, would align themselves with the Russian Orthodox Christian Church, the religion prevalent in Russia before the Soviet rule, say experts, while 10 percent follow Islam. The rest are mostly atheists. “I do agree that there is a difference in the Christian and ISKCON conception of God, I understand the court has a problem with terms such as ‘demons’ for asuras and ‘fools’ for mudhas but Russians are philosophical by nature, with a high level of receptivity. They seek answers to what is the meaning of life after death and why we are born. Many Christians have told me that their understanding of the Bible has become deeper after reading the Gita,” said Swami Vigyan. “The contention is that we differ at a theological level, but a normal court is not the place to debate these differences. The core teachings of both Christianity and ISKCON are the same – love thy neighbour, love God,” he added.

Cidco can’t cancel nod for plot use’

Swati Deshpande, TNN | Dec 28, 2011, 01.40AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court recently held that the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd. (Cidco) was not entitled to cancel permission it had granted earlier for the residential-cum-commercial development of a plot in Kharghar and the builders having acted on it.
A bench of Justices S A Bobde and V K Tahilramani quashed a March 2011 order passed by the vice-chairman and managing director, Cidco, revoking the “permission granted to the petitioners for change of user of Plot No. 1 in Sector 1, Kharghar, from commercial to commercial- cum-residential and directing restoration of the user of the plot for commercial purposes.”
Shree Ambica Developers who had been allotted the 1.3 acre land at Rs 40 crore in a 2009 bid had filed a petition before the HC to challenge the revocation order. The land was allotted for commercial use and Ambica had sought permission to develop it for residential use as well. Cidco granted the permission with certain conditions in February 2010. The developer began construction of residential flats and entered into various sale agreements. In September 2010, Cidco issued a stop-work notice to Ambica and in March 2011 cancelled the dual use and restored permission for commercial use alone. Cidco counsel V A Thorat argued that permission granted earlier was “illegal” and “the Cidco vice-chairman had no authority to permit dual land use”. He said the restoration for its original commercial use alone was “in larger public interest.”
Developer’s counsel J P Cama said the land agreement specifically gave sole discretion to Cidco to permit, on payment of development fees and additional premium, residential construction also.
The HC held Cidco’s argument could not be accepted as in August 2009 the general development control regulations for Navi Mumbai were amended to specifically permit a change in land use.
“The power was clearly contemplated in the bid document and there is thus no merit in the contention that Cidco officials were prohibited from granting such permission,” the high courtsaid. Cidco had also argued that a “subordinate officer” could not authorize any change but the a bemused high court said, “It is not possible to accept the description of the VC and MD of Cidco as a subordinate officer.”
The high court said, “Cidco’s stand that its earlier action was illegal is not tenable.” since there was a provision for permitting change of user and that Cidco is not entitled to invoke public interest particularly after the petitioners had invested large sum of monies in the project.”
The HC rejected a plea made by the state government and Cidco for a stay of the judgment. “We see no reason to stay this judgment,” the judges said.

HC seeks GO copy on cops shoe prices

HYDERABAD: In another case, the division bench directed petitioner A Pavan Kumar to file a copy of the GO pertaining to price fixation for purchase of shoes for the state’s police personnel. The case was adjourned to March 5, 2012.The petitioner sought a direction from the bench to the authorities for not initiating action against senior IPS officer Umesh Kumar for his alleged involvement in irregularities in purchase of logistics and provisions to policemen when he was the additional directorgeneral of police (provisions and logistics). The vigilance and enforcement authorities had probed the matter, he said.The chief justice directed the petitioner to submit copies of the relevant GO, audit and vigilance reports.

Gujarat HC notice to state govt, AMC over demolition on private land

Published: Tuesday, Dec 27, 2011, 19:05 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

The Gujarat high court on Monday issued notices to the state government, AMC and the civic body officials on a petition filed by trustee of Jan Utkarsh Trust seeking compensation for demolition on the private land near riverfront without any prior notice.
The petition filed by Dipak Babaria, trustee of the trust, alleged that AMC officials had demolished construction on the private land in addition to demolishing an illegal encroachment on the land for the riverfront project.
Babaria alleged that the property of survey number 3442 and 3344 near Khanpur belongs to minority community. Both the properties are owned by Wakf Trust namely Shahbazkhan and Kabrastan Trust. It was on these two properties that 18 families, who were affected due to the demolition drive, resided. He further alleged that these properties were not included in the development and there was no need demolishing it.
Alleging that no prior warning was given to these people, the petition also states that these 18 families were not listed in the list of project-affected families as they are not connected to the project. The families had made several representations to the AMC officials but to no avail.

Babaria also sought compensation for the residents apart from seeking action against officers responsible for the demolition.

Govt’s apathy to kids of prisoners angers HC

TNN | Dec 28, 2011, 01.03AM IST
HYDERABAD: Taking a serious view of the pathetic condition of children of prisoners, the AP High Court on Tuesday sought to know if the state government had any policy to take care of such children.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice P V Sanjay Kumar expressed anguish over the absence of any state mechanism to take care of such ‘homeless’ children and sought a report from the women and child welfare secretary as to what facilities would be provided to such kids. It also directed the department to continuously monitor the welfare and upbringing of such children.
The court gave this ruling in connection with a case pertaining to four minor children who became ‘orphans’ after their parents were awarded life term in a murder case in 2005.
John Vikram and wife Sumalatha (names changed to protect the privacy of the children) of Musheerabad in Hyderabad, who have two boys and two girls, were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2005. After the parents were jailed, the children started staying with their grandmother. Some time later, she died and the four children became orphans.
They along with another minor girl, who also became an orphan following the death of her mother, went to Secunderabad railway station, got into a train and landed in Guntur. Later, they landed in an ashram there. The elder sister, who was doing a short-term beautician course, went missing in February 2010. Their father wrote a letter to the court from jail urging the CJ to ensure the welfare of his children. The matter then went to police who launched a search operation for the kids.
Meanwhile, their mother was set free on remission in August 2010 and following her petition, the HC sought a status report on the matter. According to K Janakiram Reddy, the counsel for the home department, the children were brought from the ashram in Guntur and police were trying to trace the girl.
The HC directed the authorities to hand over the three children to their mother, while their friend (the minor girl) was handed over to her maternal uncle. The court also directed the authorities to make it mandatory for all ashrams and destitute homes in the state to notify the nearest police stations about the arrival of kids.
HC sets aside seniority, promotion of 57 DySPs


Jammu, Dec 27: Jammu and Kashmir High Court today set aside “respective promotion” of 57 Deputy Superintendents of Police (DySPs) – direct recruits – and directed the state government to fix their fresh date of promotion.
The directions were issued by Justice Hasnain Massodi of Jammu & Kashmir High Court, Jammu Wing in two petitions filed Anita Sharma and Shakti Pathak challenging the fixation of seniority of the direct appointed DySPs.
The court, while allowing the petitions, set-aside the Government orders dated September, 2008 and April, 2010-to the extent it gives retrospective promotions to the  private respondents with effect from February 6, 1997 and the consequent benefits with effect from the dates shown in the Orders – and the Government Order No. Home – 508 (P) 2010 dated April 29, 2010 – whereby final seniority of Superintendents of Police is fixed, to the extent it relates to the parties to the petitions.
Court further directed official respondents to under take a fresh exercise to fix the date of promotion of the private respondents as Deputy Superintendents of Police, in compliance of writ Court Judgment dated November 29, 2004, upheld by Supreme Court on December 5, 2007, after giving a fair and adequate opportunity to the parties to project their stance.
“The official respondents shall embark on such an exercise on January 9, 2012. The parties to the petition shall project their stance by January 25, 2012 and State respondents, shall, having regard to the stand projected, on examination of documents, if any, produced by the parties take a decision in the matter by February 9, 2012”, the court held.
“The parties shall continue to have the status as on date till February 9, 2012, i.e. the date the state respondents are to take final decision in the matter and till then further promotions/induction in Indian Police Service on the basis of the impugned seniority list, shall not be effected,” the court observed.
Petitioners and private respondents in the petitions are members of Jammu and Kashmir Police (Gazetted) Service. The dispute involved in the petitions related to inter se seniority of the petitioners and private respondents. The petitioners were the direct recruits, whereas the private respondents have risen from the ranks.

Government chalks out strategy to resolve Indu Mills row

Sandeep Ashar | Dec 28, 2011, 02.49AM IST

MUMBAI: Facing criticism from court over its handling of the agitation surrounding Indu Mills in Prabhadevi, which was encroached upon by supporters of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, the state government is working out a strategy to resolve the dispute.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday discussed the matter with senior ministers and home department officials.
Followers of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar have demanded the release of the 12.5-acre mill land, which is in possession of the National Textile Corporation (NTC), for a memorial of their leader. On December 6, supporters of Republican Sena, led by Ambedkar’s grandson Anandraj Ambedkar, forcibly occupied the mill premises.
The NTC approached the HC following the state’s failure to act against the “encroachers”. A division bench of Justice D K Deshmukh and Justice Anoop Mehta rapped the government for its inaction. On December 22, the state informed the court that it had persuaded the squatters inside Indu Mills to vacate within a week and if they did not, they would be evicted forcibly.
it was decided to engage with various factions of Ambedkar supporters. The government has decided to persuade Republican Sena to withdraw its people from the mill land. At the same time, it will also interact with leaders of other groups representing Ambedkar supporters like Ramdas Athavale and Prakash Ambedkar, among others, to ensure that there is no repeat of the incident.
A section of ministers’ present for the meeting feared backlash from Ambedkar supporters in the event of forcible eviction.
It was decided that a delegation comprising leaders from the ruling parties and RPI factions will meet the Prime Minister to press for the land’s release. The state government has demanded released of land free of cost for setting up the memorial.
On Thursday, Chavan also exhibited willingness of paying cost to purchase the mill land.
All leading political parties in the state have endorsed the release of land for the memorial. The issue has become a political hot cake in the run up to civic elections in Mumbai, which are scheduled for February next year.

PIL against Anna Hazare’s fast dismissed, high court says citizens have right to protest

PTI Dec 27, 2011, 09.18PM IST
 (A division bench comprising Justice Rammohan Reddy and Justice Venugopal Rao in its order also observed that there was no public interest in the petition against Anna Hazare’s agitation.)
BANGALORE: Karnataka High Court today dismissed a PIL petition seeking directions to restrain social activist Anna Hazare’s three-day fast and ‘Jail Bharo’ stir over Lokpal Bill, observing that the citizens had the right to protest.
A Division Bench comprising Justice Rammohan Reddy and Justice Venugopal Rao in its order also observed that there was no public interest in the petition.

The petition was filed by advocate A V Amanath, contending that the fast and jail bharo programme were “illegal and unconstitutional”.
He had alleged the protest amounted to ‘a criminal conspiracy and offence against public tranquillity.’
Meanwhile, some members of India Against Corruption (IAC) commenced a fast at the Freedom Park to express solidarity with Hazare who is on the three-day protest in Mumbai demanding a stronger Lokpal Bill.
Freedom fighter and Gandhian H S Doraiswamy Iyengar was among others who are taking part in the fast here.

Petition dismissed by High Court

Jammu, Dec 27: In a significant decision, Jammu and Kashmir High Court Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking concessions for the Schedule Tribes (ST) – regarding residential status in a district or division for applying in district cadre or division cadre government vacancies – at par with the Schedule Cast category in the state.
The Court while rejecting the contentions of the petitioners – J&K Tribal United Forum and Others – observed that it was part of the constitutional obligation of the state to take extra measures for the Scheduled Caste (SC) category as regards its representation in district cadre and divisional cadre posts.
“Section 13 (Clause 3) of the Act and Rule 13 (Sub-Rule 5) of the rules, are nothing but an effort on part of the legislature and the rule making authority to discharge its constitutional obligations towards SC category”, the court held.
The aforesaid provisions, therefore, are not in conflict with Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India but carry out the constitutional mandate embodied in the preamble of the Constitution that makes the state duty bound to secure to all its citizens justice in all manifestations – social, economic and political and equality of status and of opportunity and also in Articles 15, Clause 1, 16(4), 46 and 335 of the Constitution of India, it held further.
In the judgment delivered by Justice Hasnain Massodi, the court further observed that it is pertinent to point out that even if, the petitioners’ plea is accepted and Section-13, Clause-3 of the Act, and Rule-13 sub rule-5 of the Rules, held unconstitutional, the petitioners are not to get any benefit. “District and divisional cadre posts earmarked for SC category, left unfilled due to non-response from the category because of its near zero population in some districts/Kashmir division are to be de-reserved without any change in ST category share”.
The petitioners were aggrieved that concessions extended to the members of SC category in the shape of relaxation of the conditions as regards permanent residence of district or division for applying to District Cadre/Divisional Cadre posts has not been extended to the members of ST category in the state.
The petition insisted that because of relaxation for restrictions as regards permanent residence in the concerned district or division in favour of SC category, the official respondents have “indulged in naked discrimination.”
The petitioners’ grievance was that while respondents have picked up SC category for preferential treatment, same treatment has not been given to ST category, notwithstanding the fact that both SC and ST categories are identified as Reserved Categories by the Constitution of India and stand on equal footing.
However, the court after hearing both the sides, observed that the state after making a survey of the population of SCs in different districts of the State found that there is no SC population in four of the districts – Anantnag, Pulwama, Baramulla and Kupwara – and there is 0.10% or less SC population in four districts – Srinagar, Budgam, Leh and Kargil.
Therefore, in all the districts of Kashmir Division, SC population is less than 0.5% on an average as against 8% of the District and Divisional Cadre posts reserved for the category, the court observed adding resultantly, the posts in District and Divisional Cadre reserved for SC category go un-responded and unfilled, making it necessary for the recruitment agencies to revert the posts to the General Category.
The end result is that the level of representation of SC category in the public employment does not show any significant upward swing, the court held while observing that SC population being primarily concentrated in Jammu, Kathua and Udhampur districts, a good number of candidates from these districts compete for 8% posts set apart for the category and most of them are not selected because of imbalance between the posts available and the number of aspirants.
“The result is that the unemployed SC candidates remain unemployed leading to a sense of frustration and disappointment. The SC population, thus, continues to be caught in disempowerment and chill penury.  Same is not true about ST population,” the court observed.
ST population is spread across the state, has its presence in every district and in Leh and Kargil districts, it observed further adding that the category represents 82% and 88% of the population in these districts.  In none of the districts of the State, its population is less than 2.3%.  The ST candidates, thus, are available in every district of the State and none of the posts advertised and earmarked for ST category is left unfilled to be reverted to General Category.
“The bases for such classification are dispersal of their population in different districts of the State and inability of Scheduled Caste Category candidates to fill up the posts earmarked for the category in District Cadres and Divisional Cadres because of their almost zero presence in eleven of the twenty two districts of the State”, it observed.

HC clean chit to IAS officer in land-grabbing case

TNN | Dec 28, 2011, 05.02AM IST
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Tuesday gave clean chit to the IAS officers including the CEO of Gujarat Urban Development Company Ltd, K Srinivas in the case of allegation of grabbing prime land near Gandhinagar by forging revenue records.
Finding the allegations wrong, the court imposed the cost on the petitioner, one Ghanshyamsinh Vaghela of Pindarda village, for land measurement exercise.
Vaghela filed a PIL in 2009 claiming that Srinivas and other officials conspired to grab part of a 92 hectare plot near Allooa village, which was leased out to the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) for the purpose of afforestation. He claimed that Srinivas forged maps, plans and revenue records by changing survey number of the land and thereby showing that the land is not located on the Sabarmati riverbank.
On Vaghela’s accusations that one Allooa Non-Trading Organisation Association Built Club and senior government officers got sprawling bungalows built over the government land, HC ordered the District Inspector of Land Records (DILR) to measure land. It showed that no encroachment on huge level as alleged was made. However, some superstructure was put on by the Allooa Hills Resort.
Vaghela expressed doubts over correctness of measurement on the ground that high level officers are interested in the case, so independent agency should be asked to conduct measurement. HC roped in the additional surveyor general of central government, settlement commissioner and a representative of SSNNL. The committee measured the land again. But before that, HC made the petitioner to deposit Rs 3.20 lakh towards cost of measurement, in case his allegations are proved wrong. Accordingly, he paid the amount.
Finally after two surveys, HC concluded that the record of DILR and district collector showed same chronology of revenue records, and the land purchased by the IAS officers was a private land.
Under such circumstances, HC refused to direct CBI or CID to undertake inquiry in this case, and decided towards making Vaghela pay another Rs 1 lakh towards cost, as total measurement expenditure was Rs 4.44 lakh. However, the two surveys revealed that the eight hectare land of SSNNL has been encroached upon by the association. Since, some of his allegations were found to be true, the court limited the amount of fine to Rs 3.20 lakh only.
Besides, HC asked SSNNL to make the association vacate the land and directed the state government also to clear the encroachment made by Allooa Hills Resort within three months. HC suspends its order for six weeks and permitted Vaghela to move the Supreme Court.

Allow my girl to come home’

Posted On Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 03:59:38 AM
The mother of the 16-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by former encounter specialist Arun Borude and other accused, has written to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC)to hand over her daughter and her 15-month-old child to them. The victim had given birth to a girl on October 19, 2010.

She was later shifted to a CWC home in Andheri and is currently at a Mankhurd home. However, according to her family members, she is tired of staying there and wants to return to her mother.

She has requested the authorities a number of times that she be allowed to go home, but no decision was taken as she is a minor, and the case is going on in the court. Now her mother has written to the CWC to hand over her daughter or she will harm herself.

According to her mother, she has met her daughter a number of times, and every time she cries asking to be taken home.

“She tells me that she will harm herself and may even kill herself. So I wrote to the CWC to hand over her and her kid to us,” the victim’s mother said.

Sunil Kajrolkar, a social activist who has been aiding the victim’s family, said, “The girl has been crying and asking to get back to her mother’s place. She says that she will die at the home or even harm herself.

“The case is being heard at a Session’s court and the girl will be handed over to the family only after she is a major. But we have requested that she be allowed to go home as she needs her mother.”

Repeated attempts to contact CWC officials did not yield results.

The case

Borude, a former encounter specialist, was charged with raping a 15-year-old girl from Powai at his flat, in November last year.

Borude, who was then attached to LT Marg police station, went into hiding soon after the matter came to light.

He was then dismissed from service. His body was found near a railway track in Ahmednagar a month later.

There were two more men arrested in the case and a woman who had allegedly taken the victim to the accused.

Lokpal vote: Sonia wants list of absent MPs

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 28, 2011, 14:48
New Delhi: After the embarrassment in Lok Sabha, an angry Congress President Sonia Gandhi today sought the list of party MPs who remained absent during voting on Constitution Amendment Bill on Lokpal amid moves to issue show cause notices to them.

Sources said party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, who had floated the idea of granting constitutional status to Lokpal, is also furious after the bill failed to get through in the Lok Sabha yesterday because of want of requisite numbers.

According to preliminary details, 16 MPs of the UPA were absent.

Of them, six Congress MPs are from Gujarat, including Union Minister Dinsha Patel who was at home in connection with the marriage of his granddaughter.

Among others who were said to be absent were K Sudhakaran (Kerala), Hamdullah Sayeed (Lakshadweep), K Raj Gopal Reddy (Andhra Pradesh) and M Rajamohan Reddy.

- Reddy is a supporter of YSR Congress leader Jaganmohan Reddy and has already submitted his resignation to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.

Three MPs of DMK and two of Trinamool Congress were also absent.

The sources said Sonia Gandhi was angry and has tasked party MPs Girija Vyas and Sandeep Dikshit to prepare the list and find out the reasons for the absence.

A show cause notice would be issued to the absentee MPs, they said.

With regard to action against the absentee MPs of allies, the sources said it was for the leadership of respective parties to decide.

LEGAL NEWS 28.12.2011

Error of Commission

The Election Commission ponders the “novel challenge” posed by Anna Hazare and his team, which has vowed to campaign against the Congress in the five states that will hold elections in the near future. According to Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, this raises questions of “propriety and ethics”. The EC, he said, would watch carefully for any breach of the model code of conduct, for any hate speech or law-and-order problem that might come up. While Quraishi agreed that “in a democracy, they had the right to support or oppose anybody”, he also wondered aloud whether this movement was entering into politics, and that it was for Team Anna to make sure it did not end up on the wrong side of the law. While Team Anna was free to campaign against any party, he said that if it ended up campaigning for a particular party or candidate, that cost would be added to the party’s tab.

Team Anna’s right to criticise — or endorse — any candidate has to be fiercely protected. Speculation by the CEC on Team Anna’s politics is entirely avoidable. As Quraishi himself said, everyone has a right to openly agitate against any political party — and this becomes problematic only when they become shadow-warriors for another party.

But it is not the EC’s mandate to speculate about such eventualities — its role is limited to ensuring free and fair elections, and for that, to make sure it stays away from any appearance of political slant or bias. Constitutionally guaranteed full independence, the EC has been the one institution that has done India proud. Despite a few occasional controversies, the commission has been a role model for others around the world — for all the disillusionment expressed about other institutions, India has placed enormous trust in its EC, and the elections they oversee. Many election commissioners have emphatically asserted their independence vis-a-vis the political establishment, some almost taking it too far. Impartiality, and the appearance of impartiality, is central to the job description. While the EC has not taken any steps that suggest it is less that scrupulously neutral, it should also refrain from commenting on the political fray until it interferes with the freedom and fairness of the election.








Reforms commission looking at uniform legislation for banks



Our Bureau


Amendments to allow preferential allotment by private sector still not carried out

Mumbai, Dec. 26:

The Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) is considering a single, harmonised and uniform legislation applicable to all banks and giving the central bank the power to sanction takeover of a co-operative bank by commercial banks, said Mr Anand Sinha, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India.

The fact that different banks are governed by different laws has resulted in an uneven playing field and this need to be addressed. The Commission was set up by the Government earlier this year to recommend radical overhaul of laws governing the financial sector.

For example, while amendments were carried out to enable State Bank of India, SBI subsidiary banks and nationalised banks to issue preference shares, though at different points of time, banks in the private sector cannot issue preference shares as the amendments to the Banking Regulation Act is still to be carried out.

Similarly, while bilateral netting (the amount that is due to or from the insolvent counterparty) in the event of liquidation is admissible for private sector banks (which are governed by the Companies Act and the normal bankruptcy laws), the position in this regard for public sector banks, SBI and its subsidiaries is not clear, explained Mr Sinha in his address at the Financial Planning Congress.

“A single, harmonized and uniform legislation applicable to all banks will provide transparency, comprehensiveness and clarity and provide ease of regulation and supervision to the RBI,” said the Deputy Governor.

He observed that there is also a need to sort out the conflicts and overlaps between the primary laws governing the banking sector and other applicable laws. For example, the Competition Act, 2002 is in conflict with the provisions of the BR Act, SBI Act and other statutes dealing with the amalgamation of banks.

Considering the challenges faced in quick resolution of failed cooperative banks, certain enabling provisions in the BR Act facilitating RBI to sanction a scheme for takeover of banking assets and liabilities of

a cooperative bank by commercial banks would be desirable. Partial merger of certain businesses or assets and liabilities of banks also may need to be examined, said Mr Sinha.

Voluntary mergers and transfers help consolidation in financial sector and pave the way for stronger financial institutions to rescue the weaker ones, he emphasised.

Appropriate amendments may have to be carried out in the BR Act to provide a statutory backing for the banking secrecy laws and the limits on the privacy of customers should be laid down.











State human rights commission has failed to perform: Panel chief

Former Justice Narayan Chandra Sil, acting chairperson of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, today admitted that the state commission had not been able to accomplish its task of educating people about human rights.

Speaking at a seminar organized by the National Human Rights Commission and Calcutta University, Sil said the commission received lot of complaints daily but many of them were not acceptable.

The complaints were often on subjects such as land, service and relations between husband and wife, which did not come under the purview of human rights. So it was the duty of the human rights commission to make people aware of the concept of human rights and its legal provisions.

The West Bengal Human Rights Commission, set up in 1995, was the first human rights commission at the state level in India. However, the commission had been running with an acting chairperson for more than three years. Besides, there is only one member in the commission. Therefore, the panel had failed to organize seminars at the district level to educate people about human rights, said Sil.

Addressing the seminar, former Justice G P Mathur, member of the National Human Rights Commission, said there was a relation between human rights and development. The poor are deprived from human rights in India, whereas development is confined to the affluent and rich, he said.












Planning Commission junks its 12th Five-Year Plan, Montek Singh Ahluwalia unhappy with draft


NEW DELHI: More than four years in the making, with barely 90 days before it is to be published and released, the Planning Commission is unhappy with the way the document of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan has turned out.

The Plan strategy, it feels, is neither credible nor compelling enough as a masterplan for India’s medium-term future. The think-tank’s Deputy Chairman, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, will meet members in January to decide whether the XIIth Plan should be deferred by a few months so that the Plan strategy can be reworked and the bulky document rewritten.

Ahluwalia and his commission colleagues have read and discussed the current approach paper for the Twelfth Plan, which will come into effect between 2012 and 2017, after receiving critical feedback that it doesn’t match up to the commission’s stated intentions when it began the planning process. “We ourselves didn’t feel convinced after we read the Plan and feel it is unfinished work,” Planning Commission member Arun Maira told ET.

While there have been delays in the commencement of five-year plans in the past, the government had promised a paradigm shift in its approach to the XIIth Plan to make sure that development plans turn into reality rather than remaining statements of good intent.

The Eleventh Plan, which expires on March 31, 2012, had set 27 unwieldy goals around the theme of inclusive growth, but has delivered little. The idea for the XIIth Plan was to break the silos that exist within the government and align the actions of all ministries and agencies towards a dozen common themes.

11th Plan ends on March 31

Most of the feedback that members of Planning Commission got is that the Twelfth Plan reads like any other Plan of the past and silos still exist because there are no magnets to draw different departments towards common goals. “With the country in a state of policy confusion and economic slowdown, if at any time you needed the Planning Commission to perform, this is the time,” said Maira.

“It needs to provide the magnets to drive policy with strategic thinking, not just keep tinkering with schemes and budgetary allocations,” he said. The reason for the disconnect between the Plan’s intent and stated strategy is that while the commission spent time to understand the most critical issues facing India, it reverted to the old planning structure of writing different chapters for each sector.

For instance, many aspects of the Plan approach that deal with skill development, urbanisation, industry or the farm sector allude to creating more and better livelihood for people. But the Plan approach, titled ‘Faster, Sustainable and More Inclusive Growth’, does not project this.

“Livelihood is a more concrete concept unlike inclusive growth, which has become about subsidies and handouts,” Maira pointed out. Similar ‘magnetic’ concepts being explored across the approach, but not stated explicitly, include improving governance structures and building consensus with all stakeholders so that stop-start reforms like allowing FDI in the retail sector don’t become a habit.

The think-tank is hopeful it can fill in these missing pieces and distill the Plan’s message in time. Technically, the Eleventh Plan period is over on March 31. When the commission’s members meet in January, they have to decide whether to have the Plan ready by March 31 just to meet the deadline or take a few more months.






Election Commission asks for transfers of six police officials


Punjab Newsline Network

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

CHANDIGARH: With the Election Commission of India (ECI) team comprising of Dr.S.Y.Quraishi, CEC,  V.S.Sampath, ECI, H.S.Brahma, EC, Alok Shukla, DEC, Parveen Kumar, CEO, P.K..Dash and  Akshay Rout both DGs to begin its visit of Punjab today, the Election Commission (EC) has asked for  transfer of six senior police officers. 


The transfer orders of police officers, including five SSPs, are expected to be implemented soon as Punjab Election Commission gets clearance from the ECI panel. Five SSPs of Patiala, Barnala, Moga, Mansa and Muktsar and SP (HQ) of Patiala were likely to be  transferred or shifted include Gurpreet Gill, Surjit Singh, Snehdeep Sharma, S S Chahal, Inder Mohan Singh and Gurdeep Singh Pannu, said highly placed sources.


These officials are being transferred as some of them  have links and are related to candidates while others have an allegedly questionable integrity and background. The Department of Home has also drawn a list of officers to replace those to be transferred.


##ad_2##Meanwhile, state election commission has also  reportedly sought another report from the Deputy Commissioner of Mansa, Ravinder Singh pertaining to the incident in which Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal had been asking students to urge their parents to vote for Akalis in the upcocoming elections. The DC in his earlier reports had stated that none of the officials present at the spot had heard contents of Harsimrat’s speech.


The function had taken place on December 8. The Election Commission also cancelled recruitment for the post of Assistant Professor (Punjabi) at Punjab Institute of Technology at Mansa on Monday.


Meanwhile among the 117 assembly segments in the state, 30 had been declared as ‘sensitive’ by the election commission.These assembly segments are-Qadian, Batala, Fatehgarh Churian and Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur, Ajnala and Majitha in Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Bholath in Kapurthala, Jalandhar Cantt, SAS Nagar, Dera Bassi, Ludhiana South, Moga, Dharamkot, Zira, Jalalabad, Fazilka, Lambi, Gidderbaha, Muktsar, Faridkot, Kotkapura, Rampura Phul, Talwandi Sabo, Mansa, Bhadaur, Barnala, Rajpura and Patiala. Besides this, 19 ‘expenditure sensitive’ constituencies are Ajnala, Rajasansi, Majitha, Amritsar North, Attari, Roopnagar, Chamkaur Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ludhiana East, Ludiana South, Baghapurana, Moga, Dharamkot, Lambi, Gidderbaha, Faridkot , Rampura Phul, Bathinda Urban and Patiala.













Mumbai attack: Indian envoy meets Pak minister


Islamabad: India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal and Interior Minister Rehman Malik have discussed matters relating to Mumbai attack and the visit of a judicial commission to India.

The meeting took place on Monday, reported Associated Press of Pakistan.

India on November 5 welcomed Pakistan’s decision to send the judicial commission.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner Shahid Malik had met Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram and conveyed to him that the Pakistani government would be sending the commission to take forward the process of bringing to justice the perpetrators and conspirators of the Mumbai carnage.

The commission is expected to record the statements of Mumbai Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate RV Sawant Waghule and investigating officer Ramesh Mahale, who had recorded the confessional statement of Ajmal Amir Kasab, convicted of the terror attack.

Kasab is the lone surviving terrorist caught alive during the 26/11 attacks and he has already been convicted in the case by an Indian court.

Islamabad has contended that the charges against seven LeT militants, including its ‘operation commander’ Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who are currently lodged in a Pakistani jail, were based on Kasab’s statement and hence the magistrate and the investigating officer’s statements were necessary to furnish before the anti-terror court.















Frivolous petitioner told to pay up


CHENNAI: Strongly condemning frivolous petitions, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has fined a Perambur-based businessman Rs 25,000 for re-sending a previously withdrawn petition that alleged corruption among the consumer commission members.

The petitioner, VR Krishnakumar, had filed a petition with the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in 2006 seeking compensation of Rs 2 crore from American Express bank for causing him loss of business by not extending a Letter of Credit to sanction credit facilities for his current account. This, despite his requests made to the bank for the same, he alleged. Krishnakumar’s case had already been dismissed by the Banking Ombudsman, while efforts to take the issue to the Director General of Foreign Trade, Central Vigilance Commission and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Chennai, had all proved futile.

In its order in November 2008, the commission dismissed the complaint. Kumar filed another petition, alleging that the members who dismissed his complaint had been collecting bribe for over two years and repeatedly granted adjournments without recording them in the court record docket. When this case was posted before the commission for maintainability because the opposite parties in the petition – the commission members – enjoyed protection from their official duties, Krishnakumar endorsed withdrawal of his complaint. Following this, the said complaint SR No 989/2009 was rejected.

And yet, he then filed the same petition with the state consumer disputes redressal commission in another typeset, alleging corruption on the part of the commission members. When the case was brought up again, Krishnakumar did not appear at all. It was then that the president of the commission M Thanikachalam fined the petitioner Rs 25,000.

In a strongly-worded order, M Thanikachalam has stated that such “mudslinging upon the opposite parties, ….. most frivolous vexatious unwarranted case on earth, should be rejected with cost” and ordered the fine to be paid within 10 days. The president, in his order, also noted that the petitioner did not opt for an appeal when his first petition was dismissed, to question the correctness of the finding of the members. A source in the commission confirmed that the petitioner made the fine payment.













TDSAT directs Viacom to pay Rs 2.68 cr to MSM Discovery


New Delhi: Broadcast tribunal TDSAT has held that Viacom’s move to terminate its pact with MSM Discovery in June last year “was not legal” and asked it to pay damages equivalent to three months of profits to the channel distributor.

Passing the 193-page order, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal has asked broadcaster Viacom to pay Rs 2.68 crore.

MSM Discovery is a 74:26 JV between Multi Screen Media (Sony group) and Discovery Communications to distribute their channels. Viacom, on the other hand, broadcasts popular channels such as MTV, Colors, Nick and VH1.

On February 11, 2009, the two signed a pact for the distribution of Viacom’s channels by MSM.

However, Viacom alleged later that MSM Discovery had misrepresented and under-reported its subscribers’ base.

It also said that the distributor packaged Colors in an unfair manner, as despite being one of the best-rated Hindi entertainment channels, it was not included in the basic tiers/bouquets/packages of DTH operators like Tata Sky and Dish TV.

When MSM Discovery placed their own channel Sony in more prime packages right on the top, on June 13, 2010, Viacom terminated the distribution agreement.

The matter was taken before TDSAT by both parties.

MSM contended that Viacom terminated the pact without serving the 90-day mandatory notice. It also said that Colors become the most popular channel only after MSM Discovery became its distributor.

There was also dispute on return of IRDs/decoders/viewing cards from MSM Discovery. The tribunal has directed the two to convene a meeting and settle the issue.

The tribunal has also agreed with Viacom’s offer to pay Rs 11 lakhs to MSM Discovery as ‘incentive charge’ which it had to give to its distributors.

“We, therefore, are of the opinion that grant of three months? profit as damages subject of-course, to the adjustment of due amount to Viacom in terms of the agreement would sub-serve the ends of justice; claim of damages under other heads having not been proved.

“For the financial year 2011, the total collection was Rs.71.50 crores. For three months, therefore, the amount would be around Rs 17.87 crores. We may assume that the profit element would amount to 15 per cent of the said amount. The amount of damages payable in favour of MSM Discovery would, thus, be Rs 2.68 crores,” said the tribunal.





Relief for over-aged OCS aspirants


TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 04.05AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: In an interim relief to over-aged Orissa Civil Services (OCS) aspirants, the Orissa Administrative Tribunal, Cuttack, has allowed applicants eligible for the years 2007 to 2010 to apply for the vacancies advertised recently.

The tribunal on December 21 sought reply from the government within three weeks, specifically indicating vacancy positions of 2007 to 2010 for which no advertisements were published, to take a decision on whether those vacancies would be filled on the basis of the amended rule of 1993 or rule 2011.

In a petition, one Debasis Rout had contended that the government had advertised for 494 vacancies recently, with eligibility age being considered as on January 2011. Since no advertisements were made between 2007 and 2010, applicants eligible for those years should also be considered eligible, he pleaded.

In the latest advertisement, candidates under 32 years and over 29 years of age as on January 2011 are eligible to apply. The upper age limit is relaxable by five years for candidates belonging to scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, socially and educationally backward classes, women and eligible ex-servicemen.

The last date for receipt of applications is December 31.

In the advertisement in 2006, the government had considered all those eligible between 2000 and 2006 for applying for the posts because no advertisements were issued between 2000 and 2005.

D Routray, the petitioner’s counsel, said the tribunal has issued orders to all respondents and posted the matter for the next hearing in the first week of February.




Team Anna is not soft on communalism: Kejriwal


Staff Reporter

‘All religions, castes are standing with us and against corruption’

Key member of Team Anna, Arvind Kejriwal, has sought to dispel any impression that social activist Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement is soft on the issue of communalism.

“Corruption does not discriminate between Hindus and Muslims. It affects all communities, and a corrupt officer is neither Hindu nor Muslim. The UPA can try to project Annaji’s agitation as anti-Dalit or anti-Muslim, but the fact remains that all religions and castes are standing with us and against corruption,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

The statements were made on Sunday, after Mr. Kejriwal had a long discussion with representatives of many Muslim NGOs such as the Mumbai Aman Committee, the Impact India Foundation, the All India Ulema Council and Federation of Muslim NGOs (AIUC).

“Communalism is a bigger danger than corruption. We have said repeatedly that we are totally against communalism,” he said.

Explaining the last-minute change in the venue of the meeting, AIUC chief Maulana Mehboob Daryabadi said: “We were scheduled to meet at the Islam Gymkhana Club but they were being pressurised by some members of the Congress party, so we decided to change the venue and avoid unpleasantness. We had long and frank discussions with Mr. Kejriwal and we are with him and Annaji in the fight against corruption.”

Mr. Kejriwal sought to allay fears that a larger gathering at the fast venue could lead to trouble or violence. “In Delhi, lakhs of people got together on the Ramlila grounds, yet there was no trouble. This is because we asked everyone to be vigilant.”

Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Kishore Joshi said in a statement that Mr. Hazare’s agitation was directed only at the party, which had been instrumental in introducing the Lokpal Bill, while the Shiv Sena had opposed it and challenged Team Anna to launch an agitation against its chief Bal Thackeray.

PIL seeks CBI probe into Team Anna’s funding

J. Venkatesan reports

from New Delhi:

A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Supreme Court for a CBI probe into the sources of funding for the protests launched by Team Anna. It will be heard on January 16.

In his petition, advocate Manoharlal Sharma said the probe should be conducted against Anna Hazare, Manish Sisodia, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi. Besides the Centre and the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Ford Foundation has been cited as a respondent.

Mr. Sharma said that according to the statement released by Team Anna, the expenditure for its recent agitation on the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi was Rs. 1.5 crore for organising Mr. Hazare’s sit-in camp; Rs. 52 lakh for public meetings; Rs. 26 lakh for printing pamphlets; Rs. 9.8 lakh towards travel and conveyance, and Rs. 45 lakh for sending over 30 crore SMSes.

Since 2005, the Ford Foundation had allegedly been funding/promoting Team Anna in various agitations through the media under the banner, ‘Fight against corruption,’ the petition said.

On November 1, when Congress leader Digvijay Singh questioned the source of funds, Team Anna declared that it had received Rs. 42 lakh from unknown sources, via bank transfer, in August 2011 and said it was planning to return the money. However, Mr. Sharma said, Team Anna did not reveal the funding allegedly received from the Ford Foundation.

The PIL sought a direction to the Centre and the CBI to conduct an impartial judicial inquiry under the court’s supervision to find out the source of Team Anna’s funding, to fix responsibilities in accordance with law and to prohibit foreign-sponsored agitations.






Civic body in Badlapur is building a mall on forest land : PIL–pil/942948.html



PTI | 05:12 PM,Dec 26,2011

Mumbai, Dec 26 (PTI) The Municipal Council in Badlapur town of nearby Thane district is planning to construct a shopping mall on a forest land without permission from the authorities, a public interest litigation (PIL) alleged today before the Bombay High Court. The PIL said the forest land, on which the mall was planned to be built, had trees of 200 valuable species and the Kulgaon-Badlapur Municipal Council was cutting down some trees to accomodate construction of the shopping centre. Justice M L Tahaliyani and Justice Girish Godbole decided to hear the matter on December 28, while allowing Jayshri Jamhale, an environmentalist and petitioner, to serve notices to the civic body, forest office and the contractor. The PIL alleged that the land belonged to the forest department since 1905 when a bungalow was built there. The land is also in the possession of forest department since then and this is reflected in the entries made in land records. However, in 1995, Thane Collector had given possession of the land to the Kulgaon-Badlapur Municipal Council. Eight years later, the forest department sought return of the land. The Civic body called a general body meeting in 2004 and resolved to construct the shopping mall on the impugned plot of land. In 2006, forest department of Maharashtra wrote to the Ministry of Environment and Forest asking a query whether the land was forest. However, the Ministry gave an ambigious reply not clarifying the position, the PIL alleged. The petitioner also tried to lodge FIR with police last year but they refused to register the complaint. Various protests, including fast, were held but the Council did not budge from its position. Meanwhile, the PIL alleged that another bunch of 25-30 trees were cut by the Council to pave way for the mall. PTI SVS DK DK






Give autonomy to CBI, lokpal should not be a behemoth’


The lokpal should not be an “all-encompassing behemoth”, but the bill is another opportunity to make the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) an autonomous body in a real sense, journalist and social activist Vineet Narain has said. “Team Anna is asking for the moon,” Narain told HT.

“There is an urgent need to strengthen the existing mechanism of CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) and the CBI.”

To this end, he suggested three first steps: abolish the single directive — a rule to have prior sanction before probing officials of the rank of joint secretary or above; financial autonomy for the CBI; inclusion of more members in the CVC to make it broad-based.

“I hope the MPs would bring amendments in this regard,” said the journalist, whose PIL in the Jain hawala case in the Supreme Court had provided the first glimmer of hope for an autonomous and efficient CBI.

The 1997 SC judgment in the case provided for statutory powers for the CVC, quashing of the single directive, fixed tenure for the CBI director among other provisions for its autonomous functioning.

But, according to Narain, far from quashing the single directive, the NDA included it in the CVC Act of 2003. The CVC has monitoring power over the CBI, so the inclusion of the single directive in the CVC Act became a major hindrance in the CBI’s functioning. This is one reason why the anti-corruption stance of the BJP cannot be termed serious, Narain said.

“If the government doesn’t want to fully abolish the single directive, it should at least be made time-bound,” he said. If the CBI seeks permission to investigate senior officials, the department concerned should be duty-bound to reply within a stipulated time. “If permission is denied, an explanation should be included,” Narain added.








Rehabilitation of child beggars a challenge


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


BANGALORE: With no previous case to compare it with, the city police are grappling with the rehabilitation of more than 210 children they rescued on December 2, 2011 from begging on the streets. With representatives from the police department, Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and eight other non-governmental organisations working together, the focus is primarily to ensure the safest rehabilitation for these children.

“We are learning on the case. We need a new process of investigation because we have not come across such a case especially on this scale,” said Pranab Mohanty, Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime, West Division. He explained that the key questions that need to be answered are why these children were found begging, whether this is part of a bigger racket involving child trafficking and how to go about rehabilitating the rescued children.

The Child Welfare Committee, a quasi-judicial body is preparing reports for every child rescued, by talking to the child and those claiming to be his parents. Meena Jain, Chairperson of Child Welfare Committee, said that this procedure is called a ‘social investigation’ which is part of the procedure specified by the Juvenile Justice Act. Once the CWC generates a report for each child, the police intervenes if there are any irregularities in any case. Meena Jain said that the fundamental challenge for her committee is in matching documents produced by those claiming to be the parents of children. “There are false or no documents in most cases. We are not comfortable with the documents given by the adults who come to claim children as their own. And this is a matter of concern,” said Jain.

She also said that in the case of some children who have been sent to schools, it has been found that some of them have returned to the streets instead of attending school. “We have sent case workers to check if these children are going to schools,” she said. With a recent rescue operation in Yelahanka where some more children and women were rescued, she said it is possible that this entire case is part of a bigger racket.

“What we want people to refrain from giving money to child beggars. They should click their pictures and send them to police. It will help us in our probe,” said Jain.






NIA’s Headley chargesheet leaves Mumbai crime branch red-faced


PTI Dec 26, 2011, 01.52PM IST

NEW DELHI: Mumbai Police’s elite Crime Branch’s probe into the role of Fahim Ansari and Sabbauddin Ahmed in the conspiracy behind 26/11 finds no mention in the exhaustive charge sheet filed by NIA regarding the role of Pakistani-American LeT terrorist David Headley in the Mumbai attack.

The 60-page charge sheet, filed by National Investigation Agency(NIA) on Saturday before a special court in New Delhi, details reconnaissance activities carried out by 50-year-old Headley of the targets attacked by Lashker-e-Taiba(LeT) terrorists on November 26, 2008 that left 166 people dead.


Mumbai Crime Branch had accused Ansari and Sabbauddin of providing details of the targets attacked by the LeT during 60 hour gun battle and had to face embarrassment twice when the trial court and the Bombay High Court acquitted the two saying there was no evidence against the two.

Former Commissioner of Mumbai Police Hasan Gafoor and the then in-charge of the Crime Branch, Rakesh Maria, who is at present head of Anti Terror Squad, had repeatedly claimed that Ansari and Ahmed had carried out reconnaissance of various targets attacked by Lashkar terrorists on November 26, 2008.

In its revision petition, the Crime Branch had again claimed that Ansari and Ahmed had played a role in providing details to to the Pakistan-based terror outfit about the targets attacked by terrorists on November 26.

The NIA has given details about how every target attacked by LeT terrorists was scouted by Headley, who is at present in a Chicago jail.

The investigation agency has gone into the role of Headley and eight others including founder of Lashker Hafiz Saeed, mastermind of 26/11 Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and two serving Pakistani Army officials.

But it has not mentioned a word about Ansari or Ahmed or the claims of Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal D Nikam, who said the 10 LeT terrorists entered the country’s financial capital with the help of hand-written maps drawn by Ansari.

The statement of Headley, who was recruited by Lashker, to the US authorities and NIA before a magistrate, which forms as one of the annexures of the charge sheet, talks about his role in carrying out the survey of the locations attacked by the terrorists on 26/11. This had left Mumbai Police red-faced and punctured their theory of criminal conspiracy involving only Ansari and Ahmed.

The claims by Nikam about terrorist entering into Mumbai with the help of hand written map provided by Ansari was rejected by the trial court, saying better maps were available on Google and that the hand-written map, recovered from one of the killed terrorists, was fresh and had no wrinkles on it.

The division bench of Bombay high court comprising justices Ranjana Desai and R V More while dismissing the plea of state government earlier this year had said “we are of the view that the view taken by learned Sessions Judge so far as involvement of the duo in this case is concerned, cannot be called unreasonable, palpably false, manifestly erroneous and demonstratively unsustainable which merits our interference.”

The high court concurred with the view taken by Sessions Judge that the map recovered from killed terrorist pocket should have some wrinkles on it and blood spots as the LeT terrorist was badly injured in the gun-fight.





State govt sanctions Rs 294 cr for jails’ security upgrade

The state government has sanctioned Rs 294.38 crore to upgrade security at the main prisons in the state and initiated the tendering process to acquire multi-zone door frame metal detectors, handheld metal detectors, walkie talkie sets, mobile detectors and CCTV cameras.

The information is part of an affidavit filed by Rajendra Dhamne, Deputy Inspector-General of Prisons, and submitted to the Bombay High Court.

The affidavit was submitted to the court by Additional Public Prosecutor P S Hingorani during the hearing of appeals filed by Rajesh Chaudhari and Mohammed Irfan Shaikh, who were convicted by a sessions court for committing the murder of Sayyed Ajgar Mehandi inside the Arthur Road Jail, where they were lodged as undertrials, on January 28, 2007.

Observing that adequate steps were not taken by the government, the court had earlier questioned the jail authorities over how the weapons used for committing the murder — a stainless steel knife, an iron knife, a screwdriver and sticks with blades — were acquired by the accused inside the prison. The court had also asked the authorities about the steps they propose to take to prevent the smuggling of weapons into prisons.

Dhamne’s affidavit states, “To ensure that no weapons of assault are smuggled into the jail, effective search is being conducted at the time of admission of prisoners and staff in prison.” The affidavit states that according to the Government Resolution of March 10 issued by the home department, “Rs 2,943.84 lakh was sanctioned to upgrade security measures”. The necessary equipment for enhancement of security measures will be availed by all prisons in the state through an “effective plan” over the next five years.

The affidavit states that after the 2007 incident, disciplinary action was initiated against Lahu Kanaskar, working as Jailor Group II in the prison, and his increment for two years was stopped.

The appeals filed by Chaudhari and Shaikh have been admitted by the court, however, their bail applications have been rejected.







Court grants bail to doctor


TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 02.31AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court has granted bail to a gynaecologist arrested for negligence, leading to a woman’s death shortly after giving birth, after the police failed to prove the charges.

Additional sessions judge Ravinder Kaur allowed the bail plea of the woman doctor who worked in a Dwarka clinic, saying the police have not been able to link the death to the doctor’s negligence. “The prosecution has failed to show what act of the accused was negligent in conducting the delivery of deceased Lata and what was the nexus between the negligent act of the accused and the excessive bleeding resulting in her death,” the court said.












1 Lakh compensation for rape victim


Smriti Singh, TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 02.00AM IST

NEW DELHI: Expressing anguish over the “indifference of the state to the plight of rape victims”, a trial court has directed the Delhi government to pay an interim compensation of Rs 1 lakh to a rape victim and work for her rehabilitation.

In a first of its kind order, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau has asked the Delhi government to also provide the victim with vocational training and assistance “so that in future she is in a position to take care of her financially and is not dependent on anyone”.

“The trial of the case is yet to conclude and the physical condition of the victim is life threatening, requiring urgent medical attention and state intervention. I hereby direct the GNCT of Delhi through principal secretary (Home) to grant an interim compensation to the tune of Rs 1 lakh,” ASJ Lau said, while also asking the state departments to co-ordinate with each other to rehabilitate the victim.

The court’s order came when the victim told the judge that after the incident her family suffered immense social and psychological harassment and trauma and she had no further capacity to pursue the matter in the court or anywhere else.

The victim was raped when she was all of 13 years of age. She had attempted suicide by consuming acid soon after. She survived but suffered extensive damage to her internal system as a result of which an artificial food pipe had to be inserted. Her condition has been deteriorating and no medical assistance was provided by the state in the past four years.

The judge was shocked to know that despite several guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court, no effective scheme for restorative and compensatory justice to rape victims has been put in place by the government.

“It is cases like these which the ministry of women and child development needs to target for restorative justice so that medical and legal assistance, professional psychological counselling, shelter and other support is provided to the victim,” the judge said while directing the state to get the treatment of the victim done from a specialty hospital like AIIMS.

The court also asked the government to examine the possibility of permanent reconstruction of the food pipe of the victim and to submit the details of expenses involved on the next date of hearing.

The victim was raped when she was 13. She had attempted suicide by consuming acid soon after. She survived but suffered extensive damage to her internal system, as a result of which an artificial food pipe had to be inserted










Court Diary: Youth convicted for molesting minor

Additional sessions judge MG Chilbule sentenced 23-year-old youth to 6 years rigorous imprisonment for molesting a minor girl and slapped a fine of Rs 1,000. The incident took place on July 15 in 2007. According to the prosecution, Rahul alias Babu Ashok Shinde of Yerawada, not only outraged the modesty of the girl from the same locality, but also used derogatory language as the victim belonged to a Dalit family. Shinde tried to stop the girl on road while she was going home with her nephew. But when the girl did not stop, Shinde dragged her to a vacant plot and molested her.

Man gets life term for killing wife

Additional sessions judge, S D Tulankar sentenced Vishal Haridas Shinde (28) of Satara to life imprisonment for killing his wife Shubhangi alias Kanchan (24). The victim’s brother Yuvraj Sarjerao Magar had filed a complaint. According to the prosecution, Vishal had married Shubhangi but he had illicit relations with another woman. Shinde raped that other woman under the pretext of marrying her. However, she committed suicide and he was arrested by the police in Satara in 2008. On December 18, he was released on bail. His wife Shubhangi had left their house after finding out about his crime. After repeatedly calling her, Shinde met her on January 2 in Pune and took her to Diveghat jungle, where he strangled her to death. Additional public prosecutor, Nileema Vartak, examined 26 witnesses in the case.

Kotlikar new president of lawyers’ association

Advocate Sunil Kotlikar has been elected as the new president of the family court lawyers’ association for the year 2011-12. Advocates Ganesh Kawade and Pradip Chitale has been elected as vice-presidents while Zakir Maniyar was unanimously elected as the secretary, Dattatraya Bhujbal as treasurer and Shirish Purohit as deputy secretary.The executive members elected include Sujata Darbe, Radhika Kirthiraj, Meenakshi Dimble and Nanda Pawar. The bar association has appointed Nivedita Kale as the chief returning officer.







HC breather for Babu Bajrangi, bail stands–bail-stands/892544/

In a breather for Babu Patel alias Babu Bajrangi, one of the main accused in the 2002 Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya massacre cases, the Gujarat High Court on Monday rejected the state government’s application to cancel his regular bail granted in October, 2002.

Justice R H Shukla passed the order on a petition moved by the state government in 2010 demanding to quash the order of the Ahmedabad Sessions Court granting regular bail to Bajrangi in the Naroda Gam massacre case.

To back its case, the state government had also highlighted the sting operation broadcast by a private news channel wherein Bajrangi was found making “confessions” of his role in the 2002 riots.

However, Bajrangi’s counsel argued his client was granted conditional bail by the sessions court in 2002 and to date, he had not violated any conditions. He stated he has not threatened any witness and is attending the court regularly.

He also argued that others accused of bigger role than that of Bajrangi have been granted bail and their bail orders have been confirmed by the HC.

Bajrangi also argued that the trial is almost over in the case and all the witnesses have been examined by the court and so his bail should not be cancelled.







Info chiefs push for citizens’ charter to save sunshine law


TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 03.38AM IST

MUMBAI: The query filed under the Right To Information Act (RTI) in August was quite clear but even after four months, there seems to be no hope of getting a reply to it. And even information commissioners are aware of the hurdles the applicants have to face.

The applicant wanted to know if there was any Airports Authority of India (AAI) rule that prohibited an employee from discussing with other staffer any air-traffic or air-safety incidents. A month later, the applicant, an AAI employee, received a response saying answering the question would drain AAI’s resources. The applicant filed an appeal with the AAI appellate authority Jyoti Prasad, who ruled that AAI should reply to the query within a month’s time. A month later, the applicant received a letter from AAI which said they could not reply to the RTI query as the “question was not clear”. Now, it has been four months since the seemingly simple query was first filed, but there has been no hope of getting a reply to it.

Every month, hundreds of RTI applications, especially the ones posing controversial queries, are stonewalleby government officials with impunity. If the RTI Act was to be honoured the above-mentioned applicant should have received a reply in September. “It was a simple question and it is hard to see how replying to it could have strained AAI’s resources as claimed by the AAI’s public information officer,” the source added. None of the AAI officials has been hauled up or fined for violating the RTI deadline and denying a reply, despite an order from the AAI appellate authority. Such instances are commonplace and activists and RTI information commissioner say if the said manner of dodging/delaying RTI queries continues, the ever-increasing number of pending appeals will eventually render the Act impotent. The central information commission (CIC), headquartered in Delhi, had as many as 22,725 RTI appeals (if an appellate authority denies information, the applicant can approach an information commissioner) pending before it as on November, 2011. With each passing month, the number of pending appeals goes up, increasing the time it takes to get a response.

The fact was registered in the November meeting of central information commission when information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi proposed the need for a citizens’ charter. The draft charter, presented in the meeting, underlined, apart from other points, the immediate need to set deadlines for disposal of appeals. The draft set the deadline to 2015 to achieve a list of objectives. The first was to ensure that over 95% appeals and complaints are adjudicated within 120 days of reaching CIC. “Ensure that non-compliance of CIC’s orders is brought to less than 5%. All public authorities are routinely complying with their obligation to disclose certain categories of information suo motu,” it added. And finally, digitization of records and use of e-processes in the working of CIC.








Indian legal system is slow: Imran Khan



Actor Imran Khan, who had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court against Maharashtra government’s decision of raising the age limit of drinking to 25, believes that the slow legal system is delaying the case. “It’s around two months now but I haven’t heard from the court yet. You know how slow the legal system of India is. I don’t know when I will get the date of the first hearing or even how long it will take to get a verdict on the case,” says Imran who filed the petition in September.

“I have learnt that PIL hearings are held on Thursdays. Lets see when my turns come,” adds the actor,  who took up the resolve to fight against the issue post Delhi Belly release in July.

Before the release of  Mere Brother Ki Dulhan in September, the actor was seen juggling hectic promotions with completing formalities for filing the petition.

Incidentally, there was some uncertainty on his eligibility to file a PIL in India as he is a US citizen but queries under the Right to Information (RTI) Act had confirmed that he could go ahead with it.

“I will not let it go. My lawyers are working on it. Sooner or later, there has to be some hearing on the PIL that I have filed,” says the actor.

Imran has just completed shooting Shakun Batra’s directorial debut, Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, in which he stars opposite  Kareena Kapoor.

The rom-com will release on February 10 next year. 








Without legal reforms Lokpal will fail: Study


IANS Dec 27, 2011, 09.29AM IST

BANGALORE: Scholars at the university set up by IT czar Azim Premji seriously doubt the effectiveness of the all-powerful Lokpal, advocated by Anna Hazare and his team, to fight corruption without legal reforms.

“Without highly contentious legal reforms, an extremely powerful agency, which the Jan Lokpal Bill (advocated by Hazare and his team) promises to establish, can at best marginally improve investigation rates and filing of chargesheet in corruption cases without securing more convictions,” they assert.

The scholars also fault the Jan Lokpal bill as well as the central government’s Lokpal bill that is being debated in the Lok Sabha, for not taking into account the experience of Lokayuktas (state ombudsmen).

“We conclude that a bill that does not assimilate the experience of existing anti-corruption agencies in states like Karnataka is doomed to fail,” A. Narayana, Sudhir Krishnaswamy and Vikas Kumar of Law, Governance and Development Initiative of Bangalore-based Azim Premji University said in their recently released study.

“The presumption of a criminal conviction model is at the core of the Lokpal bill, which means that it will come up against the same environmental limits – the efficacy of the criminal justice system – that the Lokayukta in Karnataka confronts.

“The proposal for the Lokpal at the moment fails to address this core problem and for that reason is bound to fail to achieve its primary purpose: the criminal conviction of corrupt officials,” the study said.

Narayana has a Ph.D. from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Krishnaswamy a D.Phil in Law from Oxford and Kumar was a doctoral fellow in economics at university of Hamburg.

Their findings are based on a study of the debate that has been raging for several months on the Jan Lokpal bill as proposed by Hazare and his team and the working of the Karnataka Lokayukta, the most active state ombudsman in India.

The Karnataka Lokayutka was the first in India to be set up in 1986 but became highly active only since 2001 and made history in July this year by indicting the then chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa for corruption in illegal mining scandal.

Yeddyurappa, the first Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) chief minister in south India, was forced to quit July 31 following the indictment.

Noting that while there was “agreement on the core moral imperative to tackle corruption seriously”, the study said the debate “has quickly moved from this agreed premise to the questionable conclusion that we need a powerful national institution to prosecute and convict the corrupt under the criminal law.

“To our knowledge the choice of appropriate legal instruments to deal with corruption has not been debated,” it pointed out.

The study said: “There has been no systematic effort to evaluate or assess the experience of existing anti-corruption agencies in the states.”

“Our analysis suggests that the policy debate on the Lokpal has focused on issues that have been anticipated and largely resolved by existing legislation and institutional design of the Lokayukta in, say, Karnataka and has ignored critical issues that may have little or nothing to do with the design of the Lokpal itself but affect its performance,” it said.

The study said the Karnataka experience showed that sanction of prosecution and completion of investigation were not an issue at all as both were done in overwhelming majority of the cases handled by the state Lokayukta.

“The Indian public debate on the Lokpal has focused extensively on the need to equip the institution with extraordinary powers of investigation. Our analysis leads to the conclusion that much of the Indian debate has sought to extinguish a problem that does not have a very significant impact on the effectiveness of anti-corruption agency,” the study said.

However, it noted, that “the story changes after chargesheets are filed”, that is at the trial end.

It said the average time taken for the trial to be completed was over five years and conviction rate was very low.

“The Indian debate on the Lokpal has focussed extensively on the remedying institutional inefficiencies at the complaint and investigation stage in the Lokpal. No matter how successful these innovations are, they will not tackle the core problem with a criminal trial in India: the trial stage,” the study said.

“If we use criminal conviction as the measure of success then the best Lokayukta in the country (that is Karnataka Lokayukta) is undoubtedly a failure. But a caveat is in order: the Lokayukta does not administratively control the criminal court. Hence, we should attribute this failure to the choice of a criminal conviction model as the centrepiece of our anti-corruption strategy,” the study advocated.

It noted that between 1995 and 2011, Karnataka Lokayukta carried out only 357 raids on its own – the power to conduct raids on its own was given only early this year – against individual officials but received and responded to over 2,159 complaints against 2,681 officials.

“Interestingly, institutional leadership (a reference to the head of the Lokayukta panel) is seen to have a significant impact on the agency’s performance. For instance, in Karnataka more than 66 percent of the raid cases by the Lokayukta were initiated between 2006 and 2011, when Justice N. Santosh Hegde was the Lokayukta.”

The five-year term of Hegde, a former Supreme Court judge, ended Aug 2.







CBI files chargesheet in NCHAC scam case


Last Updated: Monday, December 26, 2011, 16:25


New Delhi: The CBI has filed two chargesheets in three separate cases of alleged corruption in the management of North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council at a special court in Guwahati.

A CBI spokesperson said here on Monday that the “first case relates to alleged misappropriation of a sum of over Rs 13 crore for execution of works relating to different schemes under Social Welfare Department.”

In its chargesheet, CBI has accused Mohet Hojai, the then chief executive member, NCHAC, R H Khan, the then deputy director, Social Welfare Department, Haflong besides three other officials and two private contractors Debasish Bhattacherjee and Amjad Ali of misappropriating government funds of Rs 13.53 crore.

“The CBI has booked these officials and contractors of Social Welfare Department of autonomous council under sections of Indian Penal Code for criminal conspiracy and cheating among others. Relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act have also been pressed in the charge sheet,” she said.

CBI alleged that during the probe, cash amounting to Rs 13.45 crore was recovered from a secret chamber constructed in the garage of the brother-in-law of the accused Deputy Director R H Khan, sources said.

In the second case relating to Soil Conservation Department, CBI has named divisional soil conservation officers Arup Rai and Amitabh Rai, Subrata Hojai, Executive Member, Dima Hasao Autonomous Council, Haflong, L Chetia, Range Officer (since Retired) besides three others officials for alleged misappropriation of an amount of Rs.1.66 crore sanctioned for execution of works relating to water harvesting and land development in the area.









Junagadh hospital superintendent, blood bank staff booked for homicide

The Junagadh police today booked the superintendent of civil hospital and officials of pathology laboratory and blood bank for culpable homicide not amounting to murder following an order by the Gujarat High Court after 23 thalassemic children registered with the hospital were infected with HIV.

The B-Division police registered an FIR under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 308 (culpable homicide) and 328 (causing hurt). The complaint has been registered in the name of Ravji Sandarva, father of one of the children who were infected with HIV between January and August.

“An offense has been registered against JCH superintendent, pathology laboratory officials and authorities of Sarvoday Blood Bank, a voluntary organisation that collects blood for the hospital,” said Investigating Officer inspector A R Jankant.

“We need to check all the records and data of the 23 affected children. (We will investigate) the source of blood, how many times transfusion was done, what kind of testing kits were used, the condition of testing and storage facilities as well as the roles of blood bank and laboratory staffers,” added the officer.

While 23 of the over 150 thalassemic children registered with the hospital were tested positive for HIV between January and August, the matter came to light in September after parents of one of the affected children approached a non-government organisation.

Soon after the issue hit the headlines, the state government sent an inspection team from the health department, Gandhinagar, to Junagadh.

Though the government had given a clean chit to the hospital and blood bank claiming the children were affected prior to their admission to the hospital, it transferred and terminated contract of over 10 employees of the in-house laboratory.

Subsequently, a team of Food and Drug department officials inspected the hospital and sealed its pathology laboratory and Sarvoday Blood Bank on November 4, which reopened after 24 hours.

The blood bank is run by a voluntary organisation headed by senior BJP leader and Junagadh MLA Mahendra Mashroo. The organisation has been allotted two rooms in the hospital premises.

Like the Congress, Mashroo had also written to the government seeking a detailed inquiry into the incident, action against those responsible and best medical facilities for the affected children.










Shankar Rao attack case: 11 more arrested


TNN Dec 27, 2011, 03.36AM IST

HYDERABAD: The LB Nagar police on Monday arrested 11 more persons in connection with the attack on textiles minister Shankar Rao. With the latest arrests, the number of people held in the case has reached 20.

On December 20, the minister was assaulted by a mob led by local Congress workers when he went to visit the family members of LB Nagar history-sheeter Jahangeer Ali at NTR Nagar.


The agitators, who according to the minister were the henchmen of home minister Sabita Indra Reddy and local MLA Sudheer Reddy, hurled stones, eggs and tomatoes at him. Shankar Rao’s Innova got damaged in the attack and he was admitted to Nims. Following the attack, the LB Nagar police have arrested nine members, including a corporator and two ward members on Saturday.

On Monday, the minister alleged that police arrests were a mere eye-wash and the real culprits have not been arrested. Shankar Rao also threatened to approach the SC&ST Commission if the real culprits were not arrested.

After the minister’s statement, the LB Nagar police swung into action and by evening arrested 11 more culprits namely Ranga Reddy district NSUI president Santosh Reddy, Saroornagar division Congress president Kondal Reddy, R K Puram division president Sudheer Reddy, Green Hills Colony division president Yadav Reddy, Srinivas Goud, Madhusudhan Reddy, Hafeezullah, Devender, Lingaiah, Someshwar and Mohammed Lal under sections 341 (Wrongful restraint), 323 (Voluntarily causing hurt) and 504 (Insult intended to provoke breach of peace) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The arrested were produced in court and remanded in judicial custody.





Legal system of India lacks pace: Imran Khan


Zeenews Bureau

Mumbai: Bollywood actor Imran Khan is one of the many who feel that India’s legal proceedings lack pace. According to Imran the judiciary must find a way out so that cases are dealt in a speedy manner.

The actor had filed a Public Interest Litigation this September in the Bombay High Court against Government of Maharatshtra’s decision to raise the age limit for alcohol consumption from 21 to 25.

Talking to a daily, Imran said, “It’s around two months now but I haven’t heard from
Court yet. You know how slow the legal system of India is. I don’t know when I will get the date of the first hearing or even how long it will take to get a verdict on the case.”

The young man is waiting earnestly to hear something on his petition.

“I have learnt that PIL hearings are held on Thursdays. Let’s see when my turn comes.”

Imran happens to be a US citizen but had filed a PIL under the RTI. He is determined to maintain his stance and will do everything possible to ensure a hearing on the PIL that he has filed.

“I will not let it go. My lawyers are working on it. Sooner or later, there has to be some hearing on the PIL that I have filed,” said the actor.












Court issues arrest warrants against two lawyers


Bhuvaneshwar Prasad, TNN Dec 27, 2011, 05.45AM IST

ARARIA: The court of first class judicial magistrate, Araria, has issued permanent warrants of arrest against two lawyers here recently.

The court of first class judicial magistrate Pritam Kumar Ratan passed the orders against the two lawyers — Basukinath Jha and Prabhakar Mishra – and declared them absconders after they failed to comply with the court’s order to appear before it by December 13 in a complaint case lodged by the general register (GR) clerk Anil Kumar Das.

Das had lodged a complaint case in 2000 charging Jha and Mishra with escaping with the records relating to a case at Tarabari in the district.

The court clerk had averred in his complaint that the two lawyers had wanted to peruse the case records of GR/86/2000 and GR/393/2000. While he was engaged in some important work in the office, the two lawyers disappeared with the case records. The two lawyers did not care to appear before the court of the first class judicial magistrate despite notices and earlier warrants issued against them, court sources said.



PIL wants court to stop Hazare, IAC from fasting


Published: Monday, Dec 26, 2011, 19:14 IST | Updated: Tuesday, Dec 27, 2011, 0:36 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Even as volunteers of the India Against Corruption (IAC) along with other NGOs take part in Anna Hazare’s three-day fast against a weak Lokpal Bill, the vacation bench of the Bombay high court will hear a public interest litigation that has sought to declare the movement as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

Filed in the Bombay high court by social worker Mangleshwar Tripathi alias Munna on Monday evening, the PIL asks the court to restrain Hazare and his followers from resorting to unconstitutional and pressure tactics like fasting and jail-bharo andolan.

Advocate Yusuf Iqbal, who filed the PIL on Munna’s behalf, said that Hazare and the IAC be “restrained from turning the anti-Lokpal stir’ into a political matter”. Alleging that Hazare has been propped up by certain people with vested interest, the PIL wants the court to restrain them from making any statement against any particular party.

Another contention made by the PIL is that by resorting to a fast, on the three days when the Bill will be debated in the Parliament, the respondents are attempting to exert undue influence and put pressure on the Central government and the Parliament to accede to their demands. Without waiting for Parliament’s decision, Hazare and his followers rejected the proposed Lokpal Bill and are going on nationwide protest, the PIL said.

Warning that allowing the Anna trend will tear the fabric of democracy, the PIL contends: “It’s highly wrong and incorrect if a group of a person (who have no electoral mandate) are allowed to ride roughshod over the government of a country and force upon the elected representatives and legislators to accept their version of the law.”







Now, court battle to procure air guns


K Kumaraswamy, TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 07.13AM IST


PUNE: The Indian shooters will board the flight for Doha on Wednesday to take part in the Asian Championships with a mixture of excitement and apprehension.

Excitement because the quadrennial event from January 11 to 22 offers the last chance to win a few more Olympic quotas and apprehension due to a recent notification of the Customs department at the IGI airport in New Delhi.

The Customs, in its order, had said that air weapons without license would not be allowed to be imported following the Delhi High Court’s ruling earlier this year, making it mandatory for anyone possessing an air gun to acquire license.

The government, in an effort to promote shooting as a sport, had exempted air weapons from license under the Arms Act 1959, but that was struck down by the Delhi HC in May while giving its verdict on a case filed by People For Animals, an NGO headed by Maneka Gandhi.

The vexing part is that there is no authority to issue license because of the government’s policy. “The result is that, one can carry firearms now, but not an air weapon,” an Arjuna awardee shooter observed.

NRAI secretary Rajiv Bhatia said the athletes need not worry. “The PIL in the Supreme Court comes up for hearing on January 2. We are hopeful that the verdict would be in our favour,” he said.

Although the Customs notification mentions “import of Air-Pistols, Air-Guns and Air-Rifles may not be allowed”, a senior official clarified that it would also apply to old guns.

“One may carry the weapons out of India but they would not be allowed to return (without license). The weapons would be detained,” K K Jain, a Deputy Commissioner of Customs at the IGI airport, told TOI on Monday.

When asked whether the rule would be applied for national shooters when they return from Doha, Jain said: “Yes, they (weapons) would be released once they produce the license.”

The sport’s governing body NRAI, which has filed a PIL against the Delhi HC’s order in the Supreme Court, was taken aback by the Customs department’s stand.




RTE Act top priority of CBSE


TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 04.30AM IST

CHENNAI: Effective implementation of the Right to Education Act (RTE) and the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) in schools are the top priorities of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) said Vineet Joshi, chairman of CBSE .

He said CBSE has instructed all schools to implement RTE act. “The reservation of 25% of seats for less privileged students would not create a burden to the schools” he said. Joshi also said “Under the CCE pattern, it is aimed at reducing burden and pressure on students with the priority for monthly tests.

He also said CBSE is planning to shift exams online. “Online mode of exams is effective, however, there are difficulties in implementation,” he said.











Traffic cop’s upright act gets him 1K



TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 02.12AM IST


NEW DELHI: A traffic head constable stopped a vehicle to issue a challan despite being “warned” that an officer of IG rank was seated inside it. Not only did he issue the challan, he also walked up to the senior officer in the car, saluted him as protocol demanded and let the vehicle go. After the senior officer recommended him for a reward, the traffic police has given the head constable (HC) a cash reward of Rs 1,000 on Monday.

The incident was reported on Friday in south Delhi when HC Neeraj Kumar, posted in Delhi Traffic Police’s chase-and-challan wing, flagged down a vehicle that jumped a red light at the Kautilya Marg-Sardar Patel Marg crossing while moving from Gyarah Murti towards Dhaula Kuan. When the HC told the driver that he would be issued a challan, the driver reportedly told him that a joint director at the home ministry was in the vehicle and he was in a hurry.

“The driver told Neeraj the officer had asked him to drive quickly to their destination. But Neeraj told him that no police functionary would tell anyone to jump a red light and proceeded to continue with issuing the challan. The senior officer inside the vehicle continued to observe the proceedings without interfering,” said a senior traffic officer.

The senior officer later told traffic officers about the good behaviour of the head constable, who had joined the force in 2008. “Head constable Neeraj showed commendable behaviour by remaining undaunted by his senior’s name and this was commented favourably on by the senior officer who recommended him for a reward,” said joint commissioner of police (traffic) Satyendra Garg.










Lokayukta appointment: Fresh hearing begins in HC

Justice V M Sahai of the Gujarat High Court on Monday began hearing on the petition of the state government challenging the appointment of Justice (retired) R A Mehta as the Lokayukta.

The court while continuing hearing ordered the advocate of the HC to give details of when Justice (Retired) J R Vora was appointed as the director of the Gujarat Judicial Academy, said senior counsel Girish Patel, who is appearing for one of the interveners in the petition.

The hearing will continue on Tuesday.

On August 25, Governor Kamla Beniwal had appointed Justice Mehta as the Lokayukta. The appointment was challenged by the government at the HC while it unconstitutional.

A division bench of Justices Kureshi and Gokani had pronounced a split verdict over the appointment. Justice Kureshi had upheld the appointment of Justice Mehta whereas Justice Gokani had quashed the same.

Subsequently, the matter was referred to Justice Sahai after which the division bench framed the points of disagreement over the petition for Justice Sahai.







Board urges HC to revive body set up to look after shelters

For providing better civic facilities to the homeless and improving co-ordination between all stakeholders, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) has urged the Delhi High Court to revive a joint apex advisory committee.

In a report comprising minutes of the meeting held on the directive of the court, the DUSIB has agreed with the court’s suggestion that there should be a revival of the committee with the DUSIB CEO as its chairperson and Amod Kanth, general secretary of PRAYAS, as its vice-chairman. Other members of the committee will comprise nodal officers from the civic bodies, including MCD, NDMC, Delhi Police, DDA, and representatives from the NGOs working for the homeless in Delhi. The first such committee was set up in 2002-03 and it had helped in establishing some permanent shelters for the homeless in the city.

“The court may issue necessary directions to the heads of the departments concerned for appointment of their nodal officers for the proposed joint apex advisory committee within seven working days,” the report, submitted in the court on Friday by standing counsel for the Delhi government Najmi Waziri, stated.

The report endorsed by DUSIB Director (Night Shelter) V K Sharma stated that the option to have multiple use of building — for different work during the day and as shelters at nights—will also be explored.

However, regarding the number of temporary night shelters, the affidavit stated that it was agreed upon that in the first phase, 50 shelters will be erected and a decision can be taken later by the committee over requirement of more such shelters. Currently, 32 shelters are in operation and the remaining 18 will become functional within a week’s time, the report said.

The number of temporary night shelters is still way short of the 84 insisted upon by the court. If the government fails to set up 84 shelters, it will be held in contempt of court. The contention over number of night shelters is expected to come up during the next hearing on January 4.




AMTS’s privatization bid challenged before HC


TNN Dec 27, 2011, 04.10AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Monday issued notice to the civic body over a PIL filed by a trade union challenging further privatization in its transport service – Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS).

Petitioner Gujarat Masdoor Sabha has sought HC intervention to restrain AMTS from going ahead with its Request for Proposal (RFP) to invite private operators to operate 550 buses with private staff. The PIL has claimed that under the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, AMTS is duty-bound to provide services to people, and setting up and maintaining the infrastructure and human resource as statutory duties. Any privatization of its services is against the law, the PIL contended.


The petition stated that AMTS has at present approximately 1000 permanent drivers and 1250 permanent conductors. There are 543 buses owned by AMTS and 317 private buses. Apart from the permanent staff, AMTS also employs 617 temporary conductors, and 250 contract drivers. The petitioner union claimed that awarding contract to manage buses to private players would render its daily wagers and contract drivers and conductors jobless.

It was submitted during the hearing that the industrial tribunal by an award has granted payment of wages to temporary and daily wagers of AMTS at par with permanent workmen. And the privatization bid is just to frustrate the award of industrial court, the petitioner argued. Further hearing on this issue is kept in January.





HC cancels Rajagopal’s bail


TNN Dec 27, 2011, 02.54AM IST

HYDERABAD: Former mines official and third accused in the illegal mining case V D Rajagopal suffered a setback on Monday after the AP High Court cancelled the bail granted to him by the CBI court.Former mines official and third accused in the illegal mining case V D Rajagopal suffered a setback on Monday after the AP High Court cancelled the bail granted to him by the CBI court. Finding fault with the trial court for granting bail to Rajagopal at a time when the investigation was at a crucial stage, the said Rajagopal had “vested interests” in the scam-hit Obulapuram Mining Company of Gali Janardhan Reddy.

After hearing the arguments of counsels for the accused and CBI, Justice N R L Nageswara Rao said there was conclusive material gathered on the illegal mining when Rajagopal was at the helm of the mining department. The CBI investigation established commission of serious lapses by him and his vested interests in OMC in which his brother-in-law was a director, the judge pointed out. “Therefore, CBI’s theory of conspiracy in which Rajagopal has played a key role cannot be said to be ill-founded,” Justice Rao contended.

Agreeing with the CBI contention that the investigation into the scam did not end with mere filing of a chargesheet, Justice Rao said releasing Rajagopal at this stage would be `an adventure’ in itself. “The chances of his interference in the investigation and influencing witnesses cannot be ruled out.” In a stinging remark against the lower court, he said the court while granting bail to Rajagopal had neither admitted the chargesheet nor applied its mind.

The judge described the scenario as most disturbing and said that it needed to be tackled with all seriousness. “What we are seeing is the picture of an unscrupulous politician in a position of authority finding willing accomplices, even from the top echelons of administration, who would go to any length either for making or breaking the rules for personal gains,” he observed. The judge cited the report of the empowered committee of the Supreme Court and also the findings of a three-member committee appointed by the state to drive home his point.

He said when the illegal mining case came up before the Supreme Court, it had expressed a desire to have a look at the chargesheet and posted the matter to January 20, 2012. “What must be the purpose of the apex court in doing so can only be known on January 20 when it hears the matter,” the judge observed.

The CBI court earlier granted bail to Rajagopal with certain conditions but CBI appealed against the order of the trial court expressing apprehensions about the safety of witnesses in the case.


Tilaknagar Industries wins trademark battle in Bombay HC

India Infoline News Service / 08:43 , Dec 27, 2011

TI is a leading player in the IMFL industry with a dominant presence in South India and continues to successfully extend its footprints on a pan-India basis

Tilaknagar Industries Ltd, a leading and well established player in the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) industry, announced that the Bombay High Court has dismissed the Notice of Motion no. 993/2009 in Suit No. 632 / 2009 filed by UTO Nederland B.V. seeking to restrain Tilaknagar Industries Ltd. from the use of Trademarks ‘Mansion House’ and ‘Savoy Club’.

Commenting on this development Dr. Keshab Nandy, Chief Legal Officer, said, “We are pleased by the judgment passed by the Bombay High Court, which we believe provides fair justice and validates our stance. However, we are awaiting a copy of the judgment. We have in the past, focused immense energies & investments towards the brands ‘Mansion House’ and ‘Savoy Club’ and developed them as sustainably successful products in the Indian alcobev sector. Thus going ahead, we remain committed to drive growth and fortify our long standing presence in the industry on the back of a solid business model with strong brands and geographic reach.”

Sales of Mansion House Brandy closed in on nearly 6 million cases in FY 10-11 and is expected to show a healthy growth in FY 11-12. Mansion House Brandy is the second largest selling brandy in the world as per the latest reports of Euro Monitor and remains one of the fastest growing brands in the world.

TI is a leading player in the IMFL industry with a dominant presence in South India and continues to successfully extend its footprints on a pan-India basis as well as in several overseas territories. TI has over the years, widened its product and brand bouquet, which today consists of more than 40 brands at attractive price points for varied customer preferences and tastes. TI has strived to establish its distinct identity in the liquor industry and positions itself in the premium segments by continuously introducing brands. TI’s brand array houses two millionaire brands, Mansion House Brandy and Madira Rum which have also been recognized as the fastest growing domestic brands in a study by Euromonitor.

The Company has achieved a healthy volume growth across its brands, with its well-established manufacturing facilities along with several lease and tie up arrangements with manufacturing units across India. TI is confident on exploring ample growth opportunities that the sector offers, to deliver solid performance on a sustained basis.







Outfit presses on against ex-MCI boss in HC

Seeking a direction to the Gujarat Medical Council to implement a decision of the Medical Council of India to suspend the medical licence of Dr Ketan Desai, a voluntary organisation has moved an appeal before a division bench of High Court challenging a single-judge bench’s order, which had dismissed its application.

Former MCI chief Desai is facing criminal cases of corruption and disproportionate assets.

The appeal was moved by the voluntary organisation, People for Better Treatment, through its president Dr Kunal Saha. According to Saha, the MCI, acting on his complaint, had suspended medical licence of Desai on the grounds of professional misconduct and violation of medical ethics in October 2010.

Desai was arrested by the CBI for taking bribe from a private medical college when he was the MCI president. Subsequently, he was booked in a case of disproportionate assets.

Subsequently, on October 9, 2010, MCI’s Board of Governors decided to suspend Desai’s right to practise medicine. However, the GMC refused to follow MCI decision.

The GMC, according to the petitioner, has taken a stand that MCI rules are not binding on it.








Two Court Managers for each district soon: Lokur


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KARIMNAGAR: Andhra Pradesh High Court Chief Justice Madan B.Lokur visited some prominent places in Karimnagar district on Sunday.

He was accompanied by two HC judges GV Seethapathy and V Eeswaraiah. Lokur expressed happiness over visiting some historical places in the district.

Then he proceeded to Warangal. On way, he laid foundation stone for three court buildings at Huzurabad.

Addressing a gathering of advocates there, he said that a video conference system would be installed soon at the High Court so that judges could have conferences with district judges easily and dispose cases soon, he said.

He said that recruitment to the court manager posts, created recently, would be taken up soon. Two managers will be recruited for each district to facilitate HC’s interaction with district Judges and district administration.

For the first time in Karimnagar district, three HC benches were set up for disposing pending cases, he said.

Lokur also visited NTPC’s station at Ramagundam. The three judges, came to the district to attend the valedictory of the three-day ‘Mega Lok Adalat’ on Saturday.

Later, they visited Vemulawada Raja Rajeswara Swamy temple and offered prayers to Lord Siva. On Saturday night, they went into Godavarikhani-11 underground coal mine.







Demand up for special teachers



R Uday Kumar, TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 06.38AM IST


MYSORE: The Government Teachers Training Centre for Visually Handicapped and Hearing Handicapped in Tilak Nagar is in great demand after a landmark judgment from Delhi High Court. This centre conducts a two-year D Ed course for special teachers.

The demand for trained special teachers increased after the Delhi HC passed an order for appointing special teachers in Delhi schools. The demand went up further after the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) granted approval to B Ed ( special education) and to D Ed courses.

The training centre is getting requests for special teachers from private schools and NGOs. However, the centre complains that the students are absorbed well before the completion of their course.

States like Delhi and Rajasthan have already started the process of recruiting special teachers after the court verdict. The state government is also planning to fill the vacant special teachers’ posts at various schools.

The special teachers training centre in Tilak Nagar is the only centre in the state of offer D Ed (special education) under department of empowerment of differently abled and senior citizens, Government of Karnataka.

The Helen Keller Government Teachers Training Centre for Visually Handicapped (primary level) was started in 2000-2001, while Government teachers training centre for Hearing Handicapped (primary level) was started in 2001-02.

Keshavamurthy, in-charge deputy director of the centre said, “Duration of each course is 2 years. Candidates with minimum 50% in PUC are eligible for the course and not more then 25 are admitted for each course.” From its inception, the centre has produced 500 special teachers. These teachers are already working in different special schools and NGOs in the state. The government has set up special schools in Mysore, Bellary, Hubli, Davanagere and Belgaum apart from private schools.

Opportunities for successful candidates from the training centre are plenty. They can work as special teachers, resource teachers in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, field workers in DDRC, MRW, VRW and as home-based teachers at rural level.

The selection of candidates is based on common entrance test conducted by Rehabilitation Council of India, New Delhi. Admissions for these courses are through All India Online Aptitude Test.






Man drags land-grab cell to high court


TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 04.32AM IST

CHENNAI: A 58-year-old man has accused an entire team of police officials in charge of the specially created land-grab cell in Tiruvallur district of forcibly grabbing his property. In a petition filed in the Madras high court, N Moorthy of Manavala Nagar said the officers detained him and his wife in the police station and got a property registered by coercion. The high court has issued notice to the government seeking its reply.

The petition naming a DSP, three sub-inspectors and four constables of the land-grab wing of the crime branch police came up for hearing before Justice A Arumughaswamy on Friday.

Moorthy said on November 11 he and his wife were woken up at 3am and taken in a police vehicle to the district superintendent of police office premises where the special cell is located by a sub-inspector. All through the journey they were abused with filthy language and threatened by the personnel, he said, adding that at the station they were made to sit on the floor and wait for a deputy superintendent of police (DSP). The DSP came in the morning and told them that they would be booked under Goondas Act and sent to jail over their purchase of a 1.57-acre land at Perambakkam village in the district in 2006.

Moorthy said that though he had a sale agreement with a Robert Gnanaraj, it was purchased from Gnanaraj’s wife Ajit Mary as he had died before the sale transaction. The present dispute arose after Ajit Mary sold the same property to another person as well.

In his petition, Moorthy said the DSP and other personnel asked him and his wife to sign necessary papers canceling the sale deeds existing in their favour and threatened to slap them with ganja cases if they did not do so.

While keeping them in custody, the police personnel purchased stamp papers, got them typed and escorted the him and his wife to the Perambakkam registrar office, where a cancellation deed was executed by force, Moorthy said. He said though he lodged a complaint with the SP in this regard, no action was taken.

Naming a DSP, three sub-inspectors and four constables attached to the land-grab wing of the district crime branch police, he wanted the court to direct the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption to register a case against the police personnel and investigate the matter.

After the Jayalalithaa government came to power, it set up special cells to crackdown on land-grabbing. Several DMK leaders, including former ministers, were arrested.







New high courts will not impact justice delivery: Justice Goel


PTI | 09:12 PM,Dec 26,2011

Shillong, Dec 26 (PTI) As there is a proposal to allot separate high courts for the three Northeastern states of Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura, Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court A K Goel today said separation was a ‘political decision’ and it would not have any impact on justice delivery system. Justice Goel, who called on Meghalaya Governor R S Mooshahary at the Raj Bhavan here, said, ”The number of cases does not depend on the separation of courts; it is a matter of political decision and the aspiration of the people.” Goel said, “The only difference is that it (separation) will only have separate Chief Justices (for each new Court)”. The Gauhati High Court has jurisdiction over seven states with provisions for separate Benches for each of the states. The new proposal will have separate High Courts in Shillong, Imphal and Agartala. Asked on the number of pending cases, Goel said their number was not very large. Till November 2011, there are 52, 897 pending cases in the Gauhati High Court for which Shillong Bench accounts for 812 cases, Imphal Benches has 3794 cases and Agartala Benches has 6393 pending cases. While till December 31, 2010, there were 40,636 pending cases in the Gauhati High Court. Goel maintained, “Justice delivery system will not change except the magnitude of cases.” Justice A K Goel replaced Madan B Lokur as the Chief Justice of the Guwahati High Court. He was accompanied by Justice Jasbir Singh of Punjab and Haryana High Court.







PILs in Bombay, Karnataka High Courts to declare Anna Hazare’s fast as “illegal”


PTI Dec 26, 2011, 09.45pm IST

MUMBAI: On the eve of Anna Hazare’s fast in Mumbai, two separate PIL petitions were moved before the Bombay High Court and the Karnataka High Court today with a plea to declare the Gandhian’s protest action as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

The petition filed by Mangaleshwar Tripathi, a social worker, also sought Bombay High Court’s direction to Hazare and his supporters to ensure they do not break law and order and to restrain them from turning the agitation into a political matter.

Hazare is undertaking a three-day fast to protest against a “weak” Lokpal Bill that is before Lok Sabha. “Hazare through such fasts and ‘Jail Bharo aandolans’ is exerting undue pressure on the government. The Lokpal bill is currently under debate and such actions of Hazare are highly unconstitutional and subversive to the principle of democracy,” the petition states.

It also sought directions to Hazare to be restrained from making any statement against any political party. “If such actions are allowed and encouraged then it would tear the democracy of our country and will lead to complete chaos and anarchy. It is highly wrong if a group of persons who have no electoral mandate are allowed to force the government and elected representatives to accept their version of a law,” the petition claims.

Tripathi, who is the president of a social outfit “Uttar Bhartiya Vikas Parishad”, said he would mention the matter before the vacation judge tomorrow. In his PIL before the Karnataka High Court, advocate A V Amarnathan pleaded that Hazare’s protest be restrained as it amounted to ‘a criminal conspiracy and offence against public tranquility.’ He contended that Hazare was making ‘nuisance’ by mobilising public for ‘an illegal and unconstitutional’ fast.

The petition filed by Mangaleshwar Tripathi, a social worker, also sought Bombay High Court’s direction to Hazare and his supporters to ensure they do not break law and order and to restrain them from turning the agitation into a political matter.

Hazare is undertaking a three-day fast to protest against a “weak” Lokpal Bill that is before Lok Sabha. “Hazare through such fasts and ‘Jail Bharo aandolans’ is exerting undue pressure on the government. The Lokpal bill is currently under debate and such actions of Hazare are highly unconstitutional and subversive to the principle of democracy,” the petition states.

It also sought directions to Hazare to be restrained from making any statement against any political party. “If such actions are allowed and encouraged then it would tear the democracy of our country and will lead to complete chaos and anarchy. It is highly wrong if a group of persons who have no electoral mandate are allowed to force the government and elected representatives to accept their version of a law,” the petition claims.

Tripathi, who is the president of a social outfit “Uttar Bhartiya Vikas Parishad”, said he would mention the matter before the vacation judge tomorrow. In his PIL before the Karnataka High Court, advocate A V Amarnathan pleaded that Hazare’s protest be restrained as it amounted to ‘a criminal conspiracy and offence against public tranquility.’ He contended that Hazare was making ‘nuisance’ by mobilising public for ‘an illegal and unconstitutional’ fast.





HC dismisses Bhatt’s plea seeking relief in atrocity case


Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Monday dismissed suspended IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt’s plea for stay on ongoing criminal proceedings against him in a 1990 incident of alleged police atrocity that resulted in the death of one person.

Bhatt, in his petition, had challenged the legality and validity of the order of a Jamnagar district court refusing to defer framing of charges against him in the 21-year-old case.

He had sought quashing of the order of Jamnagar court and further demanded stay on all proceedings against him in relation to the case till the criminal revision application filed by him there is decided upon first.



Justice MR Shah, hearing the case, dismissed Bhatt’s petition saying that there was no need to restrain the court from framing charges against the accused.

The High Court, however, observed that framing of charges against Bhatt would be subject to the outcome of his criminal revision application which the Jamnagar court would decide upon after hearing him and the prosecution.

Justice Shah during the course of arguments further said that framing of charges against the accused after 21 years was denying justice to the victim.

The Jamnagar court is scheduled to frame charges against Bhatt and six other accused in the case tomorrow.

On December 9, a fast track court of Jamkhambhalia taluka in Jamnagar rejected Bhatt’s application seeking deferment on framing of charges against him.

Bhatt’s advocate I H Syed argued that the Jamnagar court, while rejecting the plea for deferment of framing of charges, did not consider the criminal revision application and plea for condonation pending before the same court.

The Jamnagar court’s framing of charges against Bhatt and other accused would render the suspended IPS officer’s criminal revision application infructuous and cause prejudice against him, he added.

Bhatt’s petition was opposed by the state government and the victim’s advocate who alleged that it was merely delaying tactics to avoid prosecution in the 1990 case.

As per case details, one Prahbudas Vaishnani, who was arrested during a communal flare-up at Jamkhambhalia town at Jamnagar in 1990, died in a hospital few days after he was released from police custody.

Following this Vaishnani’s family members filed a complaint against Bhatt and six others for police atrocity leading to the death of a person.

The case was probed by the state CID, which gave Bhatt and other cops a clean chit, but the magistrate presiding over the case did not accept CID report and initiated criminal proceedings against Bhatt and others.

The Gujarat government had then the position that Bhatt and others had acted in discharge of their official responsibilities and filed a revision petition in the session court in 1996 halting the criminal proceedings.

This revision petition was withdrawn by the state government in July thereby exposing Bhatt and others to prosecution.








HC refuses to let Chandra visit Singapore

Sanjay Chandra, the managing director of Unitech Wireless Pvt Ltd who is a co-accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case, on Monday withdrew his plea from the Delhi High Court seeking permission to take his nine-year-old son to Singapore for treatment.

Chandra who planned to fly out to Singapore Monday withdrew his petition after the High Court refused him permission.

Chandra had moved the High Court after a lower court refused his request.

The CBI had opposed the plea in the lower court, arguing that probe into the 2G scam case was still on.

Besides, it added, somebody else could accompany the child to Singapore.

“The investigation in the case is being looked at by two agencies, the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate. Investigation related to the money trail in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case is going on,” the CBI had said. “ ED has sent Letters Rogatory to its counterpart in Singapore and is yet to receive the reply.”

Chandra and Unitech were put on trial in the 2G case on October 22 this year. Chandra was granted bail by the Supreme Court on November 23.








Whiff of fresh air for undertrials


Published: Tuesday, Dec 27, 2011, 8:00 IST
By Kanu Sarda | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

More than 2.5 lakh undertrials languishing in over-crowded jails across the country saw a ray of hope when the Supreme Court arrested that ‘bail is the norm and jail is an exception’ and refusal of bail only for the purpose of giving “him (accused) a taste of imprisonment as a lesson” is a wrong notion. All thanks to the high-profile accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, the top court said this after they had already spent more than six months in jail.

These words may not be new to legal experts, but judges often seem to forget it, resulting in an increase in the number of undertrials, who often belong to the lower strata of society and do not have the means to hire lawyers or to fulfil the bail conditions financially.

These words of the apex court upholding the right to speedy trial, which overrides the necessity to deny bail, may bring some relief to a majority of the 67 per cent of the jail population in the country.
According to the government data regarding undertrial prisoners, the number of jail inmates has drastically gone up by 50,000. There are several people who languish in jail without being produced before a magistrate even once.

Though their prolonged and unexplained incarceration defies the fundamental right to life and liberty, the state has failed to arrange justice for them.

This judgment opened a Pandora’s box with several pleas reaching various courts in the country — the latest being the application of former Commonwealth Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi approaching the Delhi high court seeking bail saying that when the 2G scam accused can be granted bail, then why he can’t be given bail.

Scoffing at the common perception of bail, the Supreme Court had said, “In this country, it would be quite contrary to the concept of personal liberty enshrined in the Constitution that any person should be punished in respect of any matter, upon which he has not been convicted or that in any circumstances, he should be deprived of his liberty upon only the belief that he will tamper with the witnesses if left at liberty, save in the most extraordinary circumstances.”

The court also asserted that the right to bail is not to be denied merely because of the sentiments of the community against the accused, which means that courts are not run by the societal pressures but only by the rule book.

However, the same court had, in 2006, cast gloom on many influential persons who had been incarcerated during their trial in a variety of heinous crime cases. It was held that the gravity of offence must be considered while granting bail in such cases.

Scrapping the Allahabad high court order granting bail to a lawyer husband and his wife who are facing the charge of murdering their friend in their own bedroom, the apex court had said: “By now it is well-settled principle of law that one of the considerations in granting bail in non-bailable offences is the gravity and the nature of the offence.” (The Court has the power to grant bail in certain cases involving non-bailable offences too).

Earlier in the case of former UP minister Amarmani Tripathi and his wife Madhumani who were charged with hatching a conspiracy to murder Amarmani’s poetess ‘friend’ Madhumita Shukla, the top court had observed that various circumstances must be considered while granting bail in a serious crime.

The court has to see whether there is any prima facie or reasonable ground to believe that the accused had committed the offence. It must look into the nature and gravity of the charge and severity of the punishment in the event of conviction. It should be probed if a bail seeker could abscond or flee, if released on bail, the top court said and added that his or her character, behaviour, means, position and social and economic standing must not be overlooked.

The court must be sure that the accused wouldn’t repeat the offence if let out on bail or may not intimidate or pressure witnesses or tamper with the evidence. It’s the duty of court concerned to ensure that the accused on bail would not thwart justice.

A bench of justices HK Sema and RV Raveendran had said that the high position that an accused holds can’t be ignored while considering the possibility of tinkering of the evidence or influencing the witnesses in case such a person is let of on bail.

Known as a lawyer for most of the accused who are politically and financially heavyweights, Ram Jethmalani feels chances of absconding can be judged from social circumstances of the accused. If a person is arrested for allegedly committing an offence which isn’t that grave, he shouldn’t be denied bail. There is the least possibility of him absconding from the trial, he added.

The object of bail is to secure presence of the accused. Bail cannot be denied as punishment. Grant of bail is rule to provide fair trial to the accused and to prove his innocence as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, Jethmalani recently told the Supreme Court while seeking bail for some of the 2G scam accused persons. Law laid down under the Supreme Court decisions are binding, he added.

At a recent interactive conclave, chief election commissioner SY Qureshi touched upon the issue of the right of prisoners to participate in the electoral process. He said there are approximately 2.68 lakh undertrials lodged in different jails across the country. They have been languishing in the jails for many years waiting for completion of their trials.

These undertrial inmates lose the right to vote, a statutory right. Qureshi said that except those undertrial prisoners who had committed heinous crimes such as rape, murder, kidnapping, terrorism and grave acts of fraud, all others ought to be granted bail.

However, the undue delay in introducing reforms in police administration and management, which would make the law enforcement agencies sensitive to the self respect of citizens, is also a major cause for the rising prison population.

Moreover, the neglected judicial reforms, which are also much awaited so that speedy dispensation becomes a reality, do add to the woes of undertrial prisoners.





LEGAL NEWS 27.12.2011

TNPSC fails to provide info on recruitment

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: Even after two High Court orders and a direction from the Tamil Nadu State Information Commission, the state Public Service Commission (TNPSC) is till denying information relating to the recruitment to post of assistant director of Town and Country Planning.

R Shivakumar, who filed the right to information (RTI) petition in 2008 seeking information to find out whether the 41 candidates found eligible by TNPSC satisfied the requisite norms, has been made to run from pillar to post and denied information despite two High Court orders and a State Information Commission directive. “I filed the petition after I smelt something fishy as TNPSC has been denying the information continuously,” Shivakumar told Express while providing the two court orders and a Tamil Nadu Information Commission directive.

Interestingly, the state information commission in 2009 had directed the Public Information Officer to supply the information within two days of the receipt of the orders and report compliance to the Commission besides levying a fine of Rs 25,000. But TNPSC failed to provide the details and moved the High Court. Justice V Ramasubramanian in 2010 dismissed the petition of TNPSC and set a four-week deadline to furnish the information as per the directive of Tamil Nadu Information Commission.

The judge had observed that even a person who participated in the selection but who did not get selected was entitled to know if only persons who got selected fulfilled all the essential qualifications. “Though the respondent may not be a candidate who took participated in the selection, it does not mean he is not entitled to the information,” the judge had observed. Similarly, a two-judge bench of Madras HC on July 22, 2011 again dismissed the petition of TNPSC when it went on appeal against single judge order.

“Why is the TNPSC trying to hide the facts and not providing the information despite two high court orders and a State Information Commission directive?” asked Shivakumar, adding that there was something fishy in the recruitment to the post.“Now, denial by TNPSC is contempt of court and it is now up to the court to take action against the erring officials,” he said.









Quraishi rules out change in Uttarakhand poll date

J. Balaji


PTI Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday to announce the dates for the Assembly elections Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.

Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi on Sunday expressed the Commission’s inability to consider changing the poll schedule in Uttarakhand from the already announced January 30 as the date had been decided considering various factors including weather condition.

He claimed that the poll dates announced by the Commission was widely welcomed by the people and political parties in different States.

He was reacting to The Hindu on the concern expressed by State Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri and Congress president Yashpal Arya who claimed that there could be snow falls in some regions of Uttarakhad during January end and hence poll should be postponed to middle of February 2012.

“The Commission fixed the date after consulting experts in the Indian Metrological Department too and it was informed by them that the snowfall could be more only in the second week of February. Moreover, if the polling gets affected due to snowfall in one or two places there is always possibility of adjustment,” Mr. Quraishi said.

The term of the present Assembly of Uttarakhand ends on March 13 and Punjab on March 14 and before that the elections had to be completed, results declared and the new House needs to be constituted in both the States. There should be some time gap between the declaration of the results and constitution of the new Assembly after the new government took over.

Moreover considering the huge geographical area, electoral strength, movement of security forces and sensitive nature of Uttar Pradesh, the poll there should be held in multi phases and the polls in that State could not be held separately later as the polling/results pattern in one State might affect the election results in other States.

“So the polling and the counting of votes in all the States have to be completed by first week of March to enable the constitution of the new Assembly in Uttarakhand and Punjab by second week of March and hence the polling date was fixed as January 30 considering various aspects including examinations,” Mr. Quraishi added.

Mr. Khanduri had on Saturday claimed that it would be snowing in the mountain regions of the State throughout January and sought postponement of the poll. Given the inclement weather, elections in January could have an adverse impact on voting, he had said.

Mr. Arya had said election in January was not only inconvenient for the parties and the voters but would also be a challenge for the Commission.









Ban campus placements by PSUs: PIL

TNN | Dec 26, 2011, 05.43AM IST

CHENNAI: A public interest litigation in the Madras high court slammed public sector undertakings (PSUs ) for holding campus recruitments in private institutions saying the practicewasopposed to public employment policy , as PSUs cannot disregard job notifications and reservation policy . The PIL has sought cancellation of campus recruitments , if they have already been completed .

Thefirstbenchcomprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and JusticeT S Sivagnanam hasissued notices to state and central governments , besides various PSUs such as Indian Oil Corporation ,ISRO ,Hindustan Aeronautics Limited ,etc.

Filedby advocateMP alanimuthu ,thePILcontendedthat PSUs could not disregard recruitment rules governing them and without affording equal opportunity to all eligiblecandidates , no recruitment couldbedone .

Palanimuthu said that as per rules , recruitmentfor positions in PUS s should be done either through employment exchanges or through public advertisements inviting applications from eligible candidates throughout the country . Instead of following these rules ,PSUsof latehavestarted to recruit employees through placements .

Besides violating job rules , these PSUs unwittingly contribute to the demand for private educational institutions which organize such placement drives , Palanimuthu said , adding that equal opportunity in mattersof publicemployment could not be denied tocandidatesentitledto participate in selection process . Such process cannot be confined only to educational institution organizing campus placements ,hesaid .

Besides seeking a stay on campus recruitments by PSUs , the petitioner wanted the court to cancel appointments already made through campus recruitments and in violation of public employmentof publicsector units .He said his representation to the authorities did not evoke any response , leaving him with no choice except approaching the high court for remedy . He wanted all publicsector undertakings functioning under state andcentral governments to be banned from participating or organizing campus recruitments in educational institutions .









Plea to introduce CNG-run vehicles in Patna

TNN | Dec 26, 2011, 03.59AM IST

PATNA: On the basis of an order of the Patna high court passed on a PIL for making representation before the secretary, Union ministry of environment, state chief secretary and Bihar State Pollution Control Board for putting a stop to plying diesel commercial vehicles on Patna road, the petitioner’s counsel, Arvind Kumar, sent them the representations with court order and PIL copies. He has not received any reply in this regard, though.

Kumar had argued before a division bench comprising Justice T Meena Kumari and Justice Vikash Jain on the PIL of Sanjay Singh, a resident of Patna, that highly increased numbers of diesel vehicles, particularly three wheelers, were severely polluting the city.

The PIL referred to study conducted by the IIT Delhi about the ill effect to nitrogen oxides and toxic particulate matter emitted from diesel vehicles severely affecting people’s health. The PIL also sought supply and distribution of CNG to ply vehicle — an important step to check environment pollution.

In its order disposing of the PIL, the bench had recorded the plea made in the PIL for direction to the Union ministry of environment, Bihar State Pollution Control Board and state government to implement the provisions of Environment Protection Act, 1986, provisions of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, and to stop plying of diesel-run three wheelers that caused the worst form of pollution in the city.

The PIL also sought direction to the respondents to fix ambient noise standards for all vehicles plying on Patna roads.

Kumar told TOI that in case no action was taken by next month by the authorities concerned in the Union and state governments, the PIL would have to be revived or a fresh PIL would be filed before the Patna high court seeking directive to the Union minister of environment, Bihar State Pollution Control Board and the state government to implement provisions of Environment Protection Acts.








Anna Hazare, a victim of his own rhetoric?

When the Bombay High Court on Friday slammed Team Anna Hazare’s petition asking for the state to give land for their agitation at cheaper rates, not many shed tears or were disappointed with the court’s reaction.

For many in the state, Hazare and his team had it coming for a long time. “I am really happy with the court’s order. I am fed up of this attitude that whatever they do is right and whatever others say is wrong. The court’s verdict was needed because they needed to be shown that they are not always right,” said Rita Almeida, a resident of Bandra.

Anna Hazare and his team may want to ignore Rita’s comment. If they don’t, it would be at their own peril for, till recently, Rita was a supporter of Hazare and his Jan Lokpal Bill.

“My disillusionment came after Anna’s second fast in Delhi. I believe instead of the issue of Jan Lokpal being the centrestage it is Anna Hazare who is in the limelight and is being projected as the new Gandhi. There can be only one Gandhi, you can follow him, but you can’t proclaim to be him,” Rita said.

Rita is not wrong. Hazare and his team, in not so subtle a way, is trying to portray that he is the next Gandhi. For instance, three months ago, elders from Hazare’s village Ralegan Siddhi gave him the title of ‘Mahatma’. Seeing eyebrows being raised, Hazare promptly said he won’t take the title.

People in Mumbai sign up in support of Hazare.

However, the incident had already set the cat among the pigeons. For, it is common knowledge that Hazare is in the know of anything significant that happens in Ralegan Siddhi and it is likely that the villagers bestowed the title after taking Hazare’s consent.

The incident has not dampened Hazare and his supporters’ enthusiasm.

Handbills and pamphlets being distributed in Mumbai have a picture of Mahatma Gandhi on one side and Anna on the other. “I was in the gym when the India Against Corruption (IAC) volunteers came and gave me a handbill and asked me to join the three-day fast and jail bharo agitation. What riled me was how strategically they had placed Gandhi and Anna Hazare’s photos next to each other in the handbill,” said Shashank Purohit, a chartered accountant from Andheri.

He added that the brazen way with which Team Anna was ridiculing those opposed to them was matter of concern. “I think everyone agrees that corruption is very serious issue in our country. However, the way these people are going about their protest is simply like ‘if you don’t agree with us then you are anti-national or corrupt’. The court order was like a rude awakening that not everything you say is right,” said Purohit.

Team Anna has also not been helped by its continuing flip-flops and the leadership speaking in different voices. For instance, five days ago, when the Mumbai police denied permission for the fast in Azad Maidan, Anna and his supporters said it would be held at Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) grounds in Bandra (East).

In fact, at the time IAC volunteers asserted that the high price being charged by MMRDA for the ground was not going to be a factor at all. But within a span of 24 hours, the IAC changed its stance at Hazare’s behest.

The IAC claimed that Hazare had disapproved of the high cost and was not ready to accept the ground even though there were volunteers willing to arrange money for it.

Since Hazare did not accept the ground, the IAC volunteers decided to file a PIL. Unfortunately for the IAC, the high court came down heavily on the organisation and its demand to be allowed to use the ground for free.

Hours after the IAC verdict, Hazare made a volte face and criticised his own team for rushing to the court.

Hazare claimed that was not consulted before the PIL was filed and said the decision to go to the court was wrong. This, when himself had said the cost for the MMRDA ground was too high!

“For a man who is projecting himself as the second Gandhi, he should be taking responsibility for the actions of his people and not disown them, which Hazare did after the court’s order,” said Anil Galgali, an RTI activist from Mumbai.

“The present issue has shown that there is no difference between Hazare and the politicians, Hazare and his team wanted the MMRDA ground for cheap as it ‘was in public interest’ while our politicians also avail of facilities for free as they ‘represent the people’. In fact, the past two months’ events and the high court’s order have clearly shown that it’s not the government that is behaving in a dictatorial manner but Anna and his team,” Galgali added.

The court’s verdict has come as a boost for the Congressmen who had been demoralised and have been the favourite whipping boys of Team Anna for a while. Congress leaders in the city have naturally been sporting a big grin after the verdict.

“The verdict has punctured Team Anna’s claims that they are above Parliament. The agitation has now lost its credibility after the high court’s order,” said a Congress leader.

He added that though Anna will fast they are not going to be unduly worried as it’s going to be for three days only.

Although the IAC activists have put up a brave face in public, in private they acknowledge that the high court’s stinging observations have dampened their morale.

“With hindsight it was definitely a wrong approach to go to the court because, however exorbitant the rate, we should have paid the money for the MMRDA ground the first time itself. Now, though the fast will go on, the momentum has shifted,” said an IAC functionary.





R R Patil in the dark on goings-on in hometown

TNN | Dec 26, 2011, 02.37AM IST

The politically-sensitive Sangli district, hometown of not only rural development minister Jayant Patil and forest minister Patangrao Kadam, but even home minister R R Patil, has emerged as a major trading and manufacturing centre for party drugs.

Neither the Sangli police nor the food and drug administration took cognizance of the illegal manufacture of drugs even though it was brought to the notice of the home department and FDA by senior BJP leader Vinod Tawde in March. The crisis-ridden FDA woke up from its slumber only after the directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) seized a huge stock of drugs from Pune in June and later from Ahmedabad in November. The drugs were manufactured by a Sangli-based firm.

The DRI found a blatant violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and the firm owner had manufactured the drugs in excess of the permitted quantity. It was found that after the DRI seized the drugs in June, that the then FDA commissioner Seema Vyas and FDA vigilance officer Dilip Srirao directed the Sangli FDA to register a criminal case against the firm, suspend the manufacturing licence and seize the stock of drugs. There are no records to confirm that the order passed by Vyas, particularly on lodging an FIR, seizure of the stock of drugs and sealing of the factory premises, was implemented. Sensing the case’s gravity, FDA’s new commissioner, Mahesh Zagde, ensured that the licence was cancelled permanently and a criminal case was filed against the owners. A glance of the manner in which the police and the FDA dealt with the case shows that R R Patil is in the dark on the state of affairs in his own backyard.

Though not even remotely associated either with the allotment of land or granting of an occupancy certificate to the controversial Patliputra cooperative housing society, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan is at the receiving end for protecting the illegal structure.

In 1999, a prime plot of land was allotted to the society promoted by bureaucrat Sunil Porwal. Former chief secretaries Johny Joseph, J P Dange and V Rangnathan, home secretary Umeshchandra Sarangi, Thane municipal commissioner R A Rajiv and urban development secretary Manukumar Srivastava are among the 50-odd high-profile society members.

Former IPS officer Y P Singh has filed a PIL against the society for violation of development control rules. Subsequently, it was found that as per the terms and conditions of allotment, the society was permitted to use 15% of the built-up area for construction of small shops to meet daily requirements of society members. Much to the shock of right to information (RTI) activists, the society or builder constructed a huge mall, in excess of the permissible limits. In addition, it was revealed that most members submitted false affidavits on their income status to secure flats. When the issue of illegal construction was raised in both houses of the state legislature, Chavan faced a piquant situation. Had it been any other society, Chavan would have ordered demolition of the mall, but owing to the high-profile nature of the members, he appears to be undecided on the course of action. A trusted aide said it was a real test for Chavan.

A week ago, JJ hospital dean T P Lahane was on an unexpected mission. Soon after he took over reins of the hospital, he was told that many full-time teachers were unavailable for patient care, as they were practicing in private nursing homes. An administrator par excellence, Lahane reviewed each department to find out the number of patients examined by doctors and the number of surgeries and procedures performed in the last one year.

On the receipt of a comprehensive report, Lahane identified medical teachers who were unavailable on hospital premises and were minting money with private practice. Lahane visited the departments at least once a week and after it was confirmed that some doctors were absent for prolonged periods, he launched a search operation.

On a tip-off, Lahane called up a leading hospital to seek an appointment with a doctor, a full-time teacher with JJ. When the appointment with the doctor was confirmed, he disclosed his identity and made it clear that it was unethical and he was terminating his (doctor’s) services.

But the doctor quit before the termination order was served. Lahane said he was determined to convert JJ into a world-class teaching and research centre.








Intel bodies can’t snub graft RTI

Monday, 26 December 2011 00:12

The Central Information Commission has ordered that intelligence agencies like National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) cannot withhold information under the RTI Act on corruption-related matters and related in-house investigation details.

The landmark decision is a serious blow to intelligence and security agencies, which often reject applications under RTI on corruption- related issues.

In this case, CIC has directed NTRO to provide information on the in-house probe details on irregularities and corrupt practices in the agency on complaints filed by whistleblower VK Mittal, a former Joint Secretary of the technical intelligence agency. Mittal was crusading against corrupt practices in the organisation and complained to the CAG to conduct an audit on NTRO’s murky affairs.

“The chief public information officer (CPIO) of NTRO is directed to inform the appellant the outcome of in-home enquiries,” said an order of Information Commissioner Sushma Singh.

The whistleblower has approached NTRO under the RTI Act, demanding information on investigation details of corrupt practices and irregularities in the organisation.

A series of probes was initiated on the working of NTRO upon the direction of Prime Minister for the past two years. But the agency declined to provide details of the findings, learned to have indicted top officials of NTRO on manipulation of secret services fund and nepotism in appointments even in top posts.

The CAG’s performance audit on NTRO, submitted to the President on February, has not yet been tabled in Parliament. According to sources, the CAG report exposed the gross corruption and manipulation of Cabinet Committee on Security’s approval in the purchase of more than `350 crore worth unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The UAVs purchased from Israeli vendors were defunct and are still grounded.

The CAG report also exposed NTRO — which directly works under the National Security Advisor, who, in turn, reports to the Prime Minister — for misusing public fund and gross nepotism in appointments.

A public interest litigation is already pending before the Supreme Court on the alleged corrupt practices in NTRO. The PIL has sought the court’s directive to the Government to place the controversial CAG report. This is the first report of the CAG on an intelligence agency.

According to the Constitution, the CAG report should be placed before the Parliament, as soon as it is submitted to the President.








Reprieve from regulator gives Adani Power some breathing space

Pratim Ranjan Bose

Virendra Pandit

Kolkata/Ahmedabad, Dec. 25:

Adani Power Ltd (APL) is expected to maintain its profit margins in October-January quarter on the back of a recent reprieve by the State-level regulator from effecting supplies of 1,000 MW at a “non-remunerative” tariff of Rs 2.35 a unit, from Mundra to the Gujarat State utility. The profits will largely be contributed by merchant sales of the available power.

APL posted a profit before depreciation and tax of Rs 331 crore on a turnover of Rs 1,073 crore in July-September 2011 quarter.

Supplies from Feb

According to a company official, contrary to the expectations of State-run Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL), the supplies will now be effected from February 2012, consequent upon commissioning of the entire 4,620-MW thermal power station. “The State regulator has allowed us to effect the supplies from February 2012,” a company official told Business Line.

The development has brought a major relief to the Adani camp, as the company is already facing a squeeze of margins following imposition of index (HBA Index)-based coal export by Indonesia beginning September this year and the sharp devaluation of rupee against dollar.

Earlier APL’s plea to State electricity regulator for a tariff revision was turned down. An appeal before the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity challenging the State regulator’s order was also rejected in September 2011, giving rise to apprehension that the company may have to give effect to the loss-making PPA in the current quarter.

Non-remunerative PPA

In 2007, APL signed two power supply agreements of 1,000 MW each with GUVNL at fixed tariffs of Rs 2.89 and Rs 2.35 a unit, for 25-years. While the first agreement was linked to units to be run on imported coal the second one was linked to domestic coal-based generation.

Based on the agreement, GUVNL argued that APL should start supplying 1,000 MW at Rs 2.35 a unit as soon as the fifth and sixth units of 660 MW each were commissioned early this year. APL, however, felt that the contract is effective as soon as the entire 4,620 MW project is commissioned.

“We were hurt on both the PPAs, due to unexpected change in Indonesian law. However, the one based on domestic coal-based generation hurts us the most,” an APL source says.

No domestic coal

According to company officials, overall 40 per cent of the capacity was linked to domestic coal to be supplied by Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation from Morga block in Chhatishgarh.

However, an embargo by the Ministry of Environment and Forests came in the way of GMDC to carry out mining in the block. Though the State-controlled miner was later compensated by another block (Naini) in Orissa; the loss of time forced APL to bank on import options to feed the generation capacities implemented ahead of schedule.

According to Mr V.S. Gadhvi, Managing Director of GMDC, the Naini block is currently under exploration. The company expects to approach the Environment Ministry for environmental clearance in mid-2012. Considering the procedural uncertainties, he is not ready to give a timeline for beginning production.










Known by the company we keep



Corporate legislation in India has, by and large, favoured companies, but even then businessmen in this country rarely pass up an opportunity to slip through a loophole. Industrialists are getting away by selling big chunks of their businesses without the small shareholder getting so much as a look-in. Slump sales, as these transactions are called, have allowed promoters to control large amounts of cash leaving minority shareholders without any immediate gains. Also, promoters can buy back up to 5 per cent of a company’s equity capital, in a year, through what’s called a creeping acquisition; that’s clearly unfair because they’re insiders and are privy to what’s happening in the company, whereas other shareholders are not. But where promoters have really benefited is from the absence of strong bankruptcy laws. Whether it was the Essar Group or the Arvind Group, few companies have ever been told to shut shop and it has always been banks who have taken the haircuts, continuing to lend to inefficient businesses. Promoters may make a killing on other businesses in the group, but the banks don’t see any of this. Indeed, in the absence of a recompense clause, banks are not entitled to any upsides when a business is turned around.

That’s why the new companies bill is a bit of a disappointment. While there’s been an attempt to tighten the rules and plug some gaps, it could perhaps have done more to facilitate bankruptcies. There is, of course, the proposed National Company Law Tribunal and a National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, which are going to be taking up corporate debt restructuring cases, but one wonders whether the banks will get justice. Hopefully the tribunals will sort out the cases quickly — a time frame of three months has been suggested but what we need is a Chapter 11 or a Chapter 7 kind of legislation so that when a firm’s net worth has been completely eroded and the debt is too huge to service, the restructuring results in the company’s owners being left with nothing. Instead, the creditors simply take over.

Today, banks are not able to recover too much by auctioning properties through SARFAESI (Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest) Act. And once they have lent large sums it’s the banks who are in bigger trouble than the promoter who simply throws up his hands. The corporate debt restructuring (CDR) packages are turning out to be exercises in which banks are throwing good money after bad. In fact, banks should put their foot down when it comes to restructuring, insisting the business be sold.The point is that in India promoters have never had to give up control of their businesses and we need the legislation and mechanism to help change this.

In the meanwhile, class action suits have been introduced so that a set of shareholders or depositors can now approach the tribunal, to bring to its attention, any malpractices they may have spotted. How quickly or effectively the tribunals will deal with such grievances is another matter altogether, but this should help increase investor activism — very little of which has been seen so far in this country. Indian promoters are a thick-skinned lot but perhaps the tribunals will make life difficult for them if they have erred. And with electronic voting being ushered in, perhaps fewer small shareholders and institutional shareholders will vote with their feet. What’s also new in the companies bill is the concept of independent directors, about whom much has been said in the aftermath of the Satyam scam. While it would be wrong to say that they have not contributed to better corporate governance practices, the general perception is that they don’t seem to be doing enough and are not really “independent”. At least a third of the directors on a board now needs to be independent, a meaningful presence that should help improve boardroom culture. But making their jobs too onerous might result in a shortage of competent directors. Also, one would have thought the authorities want the best out of directors; so allowing people to be on as many as 20 boards rather than 15 at present, is somewhat surprising.

Meanwhile, companies will be happier with the simpler norms for mergers and amalgamations; Indian companies can merge with foreign companies and vice versa, two or small companies can be more easily merged as can a subsidiary with a holding company and its subsidiary. But the fact that a shareholder, with less than a 10 per cent stake in a firm or someone who has lent less than 5 per cent of the debt, can no longer raise objections to a transaction goes against the interests of minority shareholders. It’s true that people do make a nuisance of themselves but the tribunals should be able to take care of that. Again, the window allowing minority shareholders to be squeezed out, a Western concept, seems a tad unfair because no matter how fair the value offered for the stock, shareholders have the right to hold on to their investments. The bill also says companies can no longer do more than one buyback of shares in a year. Since buybacks do support the share price and boost earnings, and since no one can really force a shareholder to sell shares, the move is somewhat hard to understand. Perhaps the idea is to encourage companies to leave enough of a floating stock in the market so that stocks don’t become too illiquid.

The bill seeks to improve corporate governance and transparency; so auditors need to be changed every five years and companies need to provide separate audited accounts of each subsidiary. At the end of the day though, companies must want to do things the right way for their creditors, employees and shareholders. It should be a way of life.









Fraud firm spent 100cr on realty, cars

Mateen Hafeez, TNN | Dec 26, 2011, 02.31AM IST

MUMBAI: Office bearers of alleged fraud firm SpeakAsia had invested around Rs 100 crore in commercial galas at prominent shopping malls in the city, flats in posh buildings and cars. This was revealed during the probe on the firm across across several nations.

An officer from the economic offences wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police said that the properties were bought over the past one year. “We have identified the properties in over a dozen buildings and shopping malls. In some buildings, the flats cost over Rs 12-13 crore. The accused also used the money to buy costly vehicles. Two Mercedes cars have been seized and we are planning to seize more,” the officer said.

The police say that they don’t want to disclose the properties at this stage. “We are securing these properties. Once the process is completed, we will request the court to attach them,” the officer added. The officer was reluctant to talk about the locations and names of the buildings and malls where Speak Asia office bearers own properties.

The EOW, which is probing the alleged multi-crore fraud case, said that a red corner notice had been issued against Manoj Kumar Sharma, the Indian chief of the firm. “We received information that Sharma had transferred huge sums of money from India to the United Bank of Singapore, and from there to Latin America,” said Rajvardhan Sinha, additional police commissioner, EOW.

While nine persons were taken into custody by the police of various districts and states in the country, the company’s chief operating officer (COO), Tarak Bajpai, managed to jump bail and has disappeared. “Bajpai is still at large,” said Sinha.

Bajpai told police he was a flight lieutenant before joining the multi-level marketing business in 2004. Police sources said that some of the accused still pretend to be victims and had even filed writ petitions in the Bombay High Court and Supreme Court stating that their business was completely legal.

“However, we have informed the court that a case has been registered against the company and that they have duped lakhs of people,” said Shelke. The police said that the alleged fraud took place between March 2010 and May 2011.

A police officer said that in such cases, the investors can also be booked under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978 since they are essentially gambling.










Plea to freeze elephant as BSP symbol dismissed

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Dec 26, 2011, 01.47AM IST

NAGPUR: The Delhi high court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by representatives of International Organisation for Animal Protection (OIPA) seeking direction to ban use of national heritage animal ‘elephant’ as party symbol by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Naresh Kadyan, the petitioner and India representative of OIPA, affiliated to the United Nations, duly recognized by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), wanted the court to issue directions to chief election commissioner (CEC) to freeze or replace the symbol of the BSP from elephant to other.

The petitioner also wanted respondent – ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) – to make guidelines and rules for the national heritage animal to protect them from any kind of abuse, unnecessary pain and suffering.

“The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) although imposed a ban on display of elephants, it failed to rescue them. The BSP was abusing national heritage animal elephant during elections by using it live in the party rallies and hence it should be withdrawn as party symbol,” said Kadyan.

But, dismissing the writ petition for a ban on elephant as BSP’s election symbol, the Delhi high court said, “Elephant does not come under the National Emblems Act (NEA) and hence the writ petition is dismissed.” The NEA prevents improper use of certain emblems of government, said Rajender Yadav, counsel for the petitioner.

Kadyan said that under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, elephants are protected under Schedule I, and hence use of any protected wild animals and their trophies is an offence.

He alleged that BSP candidates use live elephants for parade and campaign and also in victory rallies. Recently, a BSP MP had booked elephants for pride during marriage celebration in Meerut. Due to abuse, the animals went out of control and damaged public property. Same elephants were later rescued and rehabilitated by the authorities.

Similarly, Kadyan said, in 2008, a BSP candidate booked two elephants for campaigning. Besides, elephant is being displayed symbolically on statues in parks along with statues of late Kanshiram and Mayawati. This is being done to gain popularity.

“We will appeal in the Supreme Court against the high court order,” Kadyan stated.












Team Anna’s opponents to start parallel fast at Azad Maidan

Bharatiya Vikas Parishad might go on an indefinite fast at Azad Maidan – the venue of Hazare’s movement in August – to protest against the latter’s agitation.

The activists will file a writ petition in the Bombay high court on Monday, demanding the court to issue directions to stop the protest.

“Hazare’s agitation is misguiding the nation. Even the court has said that if the bill is discussed in the Parliament, there isn’t a need for an agitation. Congregating people here disrupts civil life,” said Mangleshwar Tripathi, president, Uttar Bharatiya Vikas Parishad.  “I have applied for permission to start a hunger strike at the Azad Maidan at the local police station. If the court does not stop Hazare’s agitation on Monday, I will go on a  fast.”  

Meanwhile, the National Campaign for Equal Opportunity (NCEO), a forum that is also protesting against Hazare’s agitation, will organise awareness campaigns across the city to educate people about existing laws and why neither the Jan Lokpal Bill nor the Lokpal Bill are warranted.  “Our Constitution is strong enough to investigate and punish the corrupt. We will educate people about the Prevention of Corruption Act, which should be implemented strictly instead of passing a new law,” said Chandrakant Jagtap, NCEO conveyor. 

The Congress came down heavily on Hazare too. State spokesperson Sachin Sawant questioned Hazare’s decision to shift the fast from Delhi to Mumbai citing harsh weather in the capital. “Mahatma Gandhi travelled to and stayed in England, where the cold is much harsher than in Delhi,” he said.















RTI reply reveals MCD ‘ignored’ police advice


Wonder how and why unauthorised construction proliferates across Delhi, especially in plush areas such as Sainik Farms in south Delhi? Replies to an RTI application reveal that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) hardly takes cognisance of information about unauthorised construction sent by Delhi Police. Acting on a complaint, the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) has now directed the MCD to inquire into unauthorised constructions in Sainik Farms area.

Delhi resident RH Bansal had asked MCD several questions under the RTI Act related to construction in Sainik Farms. It included a list of ongoing constructions and action taken by the MCD. Despite admitting that the Delhi High Court has banned construction in Sainik Farms, the MCD, however, maintained there is no construction going on.

Not satisfied, Bansal approached the CIC. At a recent hearing, he pointed out the possible “collusion of MCD officials with those indulging in illegal and unauthorised construction” and produced a list of 120 such properties about which Delhi police had communicated to the MCD.

MCD director (press and information) YS Mann said, “We are conducting an inquiry as directed by the CIC.”











Bombay HC upholds removal of officer who allowed arms in 1993 blasts

Published: Sunday, Dec 25, 2011, 11:39 IST
Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI

The Bombay High Court has set aside an order of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) which had reinstated Customs Inspector SM Padwal after giving a finding that his removal from service was not proper.

Padwal was removed after a departmental probe, which held that he was guilty of accepting a bribe of Rs4.5 lakh from 1993 bomb blast accused Mohammed Dossa and Uttam Potdar for giving safe passage to arms which landed in Dighy coast in nearby Raigad district prior to serial explosions in Mumbai.

The CAT had ruled that Padwal’s removal from service was not proper. Being aggrieved, the Union Government filed an appeal in the high court, which last week quashed the CAT’s order. Justice DG Deshmukh and Justice Anoop Mohata found the officer’s removal from service “fit and proper”.

After the 1993 serial blasts in which several persons were killed, the role of the officer was unearthed following confessions given by Dossa and Potdar during the trial.

Padwal contended that the confessions of the two accused, recorded under TADA (P) Act, were used against him in the departmental inquiry and this was not proper. He said the confessions could only be used in that case under TADA(P) Act and not against him in the departmental inquiry.

Padwal contended that Dossa and Potdar, both 1993 accused, were not called by inquiry officer for examination and hence he did not get an opportunity to cross-examine them.

The Union government, however, contended that Dossa and Potdar were in police custody and hence they could not be produced before the inquiry officer.

Moreover, it argued, the existing laws do not provide that the Indian Evidence Act should be strictly enforced in a departmental inquiry. Hence they could use the confessions recorded under TADA (P) Act against Padwal for the purpose of departmental inquiry, the Centre argued.

After hearing the arguments, the high court stayed CAT’s order and admitted Centre’s appeal.









Was whistle-blower victimised for doing her job?

Rahi Gaikwad

PMO probe on as officials deny their own records

It could have been just another day at work. For IAS officer Smita Bharadwaj, it turned out to be anything but. The day she blew the whistle on financial irregularities and sought an inquiry, little did Ms. Bharadwaj know she had stirred up a hornet’s nest.

Ms. Bharadwaj, a Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer, “joined on deputation” as Executive Director of the Synthetic and Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council in 2009. In the course of her job, she found that the assistant director (Finance) “had taken higher grade pay for himself without taking due approvals which would have financial implications for the SRTEPC,” as stated in the Bombay High Court order.

The move ensured her swift and summary ouster. It provoked a welter of allegations and counter-allegations, an attempt to sully her service record and above all a string of peculiar denials from the government in courts of law. Everything but an official probe into the irregularities she had brought to notice.

“This is a case of a whistle-blower being victimised,” Nitish Bharadwaj, the officer’s husband and former MP, told The Hindu.

CAT’s opinion

Ms. Bharadwaj was prematurely repatriated; her deputation cancelled on grounds of poor performance. Noting that no explanation was sought before repatriating her, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), where she challenged her repatriation, observed: “It was as if the applicant was seen as a stumbling block against smooth functioning of the SRTEPC and her summary removal from the scene was seen as the solution. That was done.”

The October 8, 2010, order concludes: “ … we find that the impugned repatriation order is not sustainable in the eyes of law for being illegal.”

The High Court and the Supreme Court upheld the CAT order for reinstating Ms. Bharadwaj. However, till date she has not been reinstated in her position, compelling her to initiate contempt proceedings.

In line with the CAT order, the High Court observed that the Council found Ms. Bharadwaj to be “an inconvenient officer” and sought her “ouster.”

“There is no material on record even to reach a prima facie conclusion that the applicant was proved to be dishonest, high-handed or whimsical in her approach or that while discharging her duties she acted against the interests of the Council.”

Deputation denied, Ms. Bharadwaj’s case stood legal scrutiny, but the government went to astonishing lengths to put its foot in its mouth.

Consider this. The Council and the Ministry of Textiles, on whose request Ms. Bharadwaj was deputed, told the courts she was never deputed in the first place. Charging her with “suppressing” facts before the CAT, the Council contended Ms. Bharadwaj was a “direct entrant.”

However, records of the Government of India’s (GoI) Ministry of Textiles (MoT) and Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) obtained under the Right to Information Act by Mr. Bharadwaj prove otherwise.

The “Department has ‘no objection’ to the proposed deputation … for a period of five years,” wrote the DoPT in a letter dated January 23, 2009. An earlier office memorandum of the MoT stated that her “selection procedure” was to be “in conformity with the provision of para 1.2.1 of the Consolidated Deputation Guidelines.”

What’s more, Ms. Bharadwaj’s salary slip even shows a “deputation allowance,” paid by the SRTEPC every month. And the Council’s request letters to the MoT asked for “cancellation of deputation.”

Upholding the appointment as deputation, the CAT noted, “… the sheer fact of her appointment in SRTEPC having been considered and treated as a case of deputation and cadre clearance … her limited rights as a deputationist cannot be whittled down by the respondents by turning back and saying that hers was not a case of deputation.”

Private company

In another surprising twist, the Council contended that it was a private company. It countered nearly six decades of claims that it was set up by the Union government in 1954.

The nature of the Council is now a matter pending before courts. However, there lies a bizarre prelude of flip-flops whereby the Council is seen to owe allegiance to the GoI and deny it at will.

For instance, a year ago, when Council Chairman Ganesh Kumar Gupta’s car was stopped from entering the office premises he shot off a letter to the director of DB Realty (which has the building’s ownership rights).

“The Council,” Mr. Gupta said in the letter, “is an all-India apex organisation of around 4,000 exporters set up by the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.” A copy of the letter dated November 9, 2010, obtained under the RTI, was furnished to the Tribunal.

The phrase ‘Set up by the Government of India, Ministry of Textiles’ also finds a proud mention on Mr. Gupta’s visiting card. Plus, a list of public authorities downloaded from the MoT’s website by Mr. Bharadwaj and submitted to the court includes SRTEPC. Currently, SRTEPC is absent from this list.

In the Supreme Court, however, the Council did a stunning U-turn.

“It may be clarified at this stage that, on account of some oversight in the past, inadvertently, on some of the official documents, including letter-head … it came to be historically written that it is ‘Set up by the Government of India, Ministry of Textiles’,” says the Special Leave Petition filed by the Council on April 4, 2011.

When The Hindu spoke to Vinod Kumar Ladia, current Chairman of the Council, he said: “We are a private company, never set up by the GoI. We are only promoted by the GoI. We were set up under Section 25 of the Companies Act. The GoI does not hold a single share in the company … She [Ms. Bharadwaj] was sent by the MoT. The matter is sub judice. There are legal points to be decided.”

Annual reports of the Council are tabled in Parliament. Its primary objectives of export promotion are akin to performing a government function for which the Council receives grants. As the courts have observed, it has “multiple trappings of a ‘State’.”


Contempt proceedings are under way, in the absence of compliance with the CAT order. In addition, Mr. Bharadwaj has written to the Prime Minister’s Office seeking an inquiry against Textile Secretary Rita Menon and the Council, for “an unnecessary legal battle … [and] wasting of public money and precious time of the judiciary as well as gross misconduct of senior IAS officers.”

Subsequently, in May, the Cabinet Secretariat sought “comments” from Ms. Menon, “on all the allegations levelled in the complaint.”

When contacted over the phone, Ms. Menon refused to comment saying the matter was sub judice. “I can’t say anything. I have not heard of the Supreme Court order. I don’t wish to say anything about the case,” she said.

It is apparent from the mountain of litigation in the case that the Ministry and the Council, which receives government funds, have spent a colossal amount of time and, expectedly, money in simply undoing their own records.

Refusal to comply

On condition of anonymity, an official from the Ministry said in an emailed response, “[The] government’s position on the matter is that the case is sub judice and we have no comments to offer on the subject at this stage.”

“Any publication citing government officials other than the above would be rebutted by the government in the light of the above clarification.”

Mr. Bharadwaj refuted the stand that the matter is sub judice. “It is not. The Supreme Court has dismissed SRTEPC’s SLP and its order was served to the MoT. A contempt notice has also been sent,” he said.


Smelling a rat in the whole affair, the DoPT, which acted on the MoT’s requests for deputation and repatriation, asked the MoT to present the correct facts.

“The contention of the Respondents No. 3 [the MoT], 4 and 5 [SRTEPC] that the appointment of Ms. Smita Bharadwaj is not a deputation does not appear to be fully correct … The Ministry of Textiles is, therefore, requested to discuss the matter with the government standing counsel in Mumbai and apprise the Hon’ble CAT of the factual position,” as per the DoPT’s letter obtained under the RTI.

Its internal note sheet dated November 15, 2010, clearly states, “…it appears that Ministry of Textiles has suppressed these documents [obtained under RTI] from the Hon’ble Tribunal and completely misrepresented DoPT.”

The CAT too pulled up the MoT for producing only “part of” the official records. “It does not give us any pleasure,” the CAT observed, “to mention that complete official records have not been produced before us.”

In the wake of the ongoing PMO inquiry, the MoT’s position and its vain attempt at suppressing its records have been put under the scanner.

But at the heart of the matter is the question: Was Ms. Bharadwaj victimised for being a whistle-blower?









Now, driving licence in delivery service law

TNN | Dec 26, 2011, 02.04AM IST


NEW DELHI: The Delhi government has decided to bring around 60 more public services under the Delhi Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of Services Act that makes babus liable to pay penalty to people for delay in delivering desired services within the prescribed time limit. The new law came into effect on September 15. As many as 25 new services will be brought under the ambit of the Act within the next one week and the remaining 35 will follow in February.

Once the list of 25 services is added to the current list of 44, the transport department will be required to issue a second copy of driving licence as well as an international driving licence to an applicant within two days. Similarly, the excise department will have to grant licence for serving liquor at home within 15 days of application and online registration of shops and establishments by MCD will have to be completed within a day of the submission of application.

Similarly, registration of group housing societies will have to be done within 60 days of filing application, new domestic water connection will have to be given within 35 days. Permission for serving liquor at a place other than the licensed premises will have to be granted within four days and temporary registration of vehicles will have to be issued within 15 days.

Deciding to expand the purview of the law to more services by next week, chief minister Sheila Dikshit pulled up the transport department for failing to deliver certain services to the people within stipulated time-frame. The department’s defense at the meeting was that the delay has been caused as the private entity which was given contract to install certain electronic appliances did not complete the work on time.

“Transport department is the only department where pendency has been reported as the contractor has not been able to install appliances to generate required documents,” said an official.










Law Ministry’s advice sought on amending rule for airport fee

PTI Dec 25, 2011, 02.23pm IST

NEW DELHI: The Rajya Sabha Secretariat is understood to have sought the Law Ministry’s views on whether it could take up amendments to a rule relating to charging of airport development fee after the mandatory 30-day period for carrying out these changes is over.

The matter relates to amending the Airports Authority of India (Major Airports) Development Fee Rules, 2011, which authorise private-led airport operators to charge DF after an order passed by the regulator, Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA).


The issue came up after a scheduled discussion on a Statutory Motion was not allowed to be held in Rajya Sabha on Friday with Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan saying it cannot be taken up as any amendment of rules should be debated and decided within 30 days and that deadline had elapsed by a day.

But CPI(M) MP K N Balagopal, who had moved the motion along with BJP’s S S Ahluwalia, blamed the government for the delay in listing the matter on the agenda saying the motion was moved first during the Monsoon Session and then again in this Session, way before the 30-day deadline.

He also shot off a letter to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari blaming the government for delaying the motion and crossing the laid-down time limit and urging him to protect the legislative powers of Parliament.

Following this, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat has sought the opinion of the Law Ministry on the matter, sources said.

“I doubt there is a conspiracy behind this attitude of the government to protect the interests of those who collected Rs 1,481 crore (worth of DF) illegally and further, it intends to give illegal benefits to companies which are part of the PPP model of development of airports,” he said.








We blocked website in compliance with law: RCom

TNN | Dec 26, 2011, 05.47AM IST

NEW DELHI: A day after TOI published its report on blocking of several file-hosting websites by Reliance Communications, the company said that it acted in accordance with the law.

“Under Section 79 of the IT Act, an ISP has to adhere to any copyright infringement notice and court orders. Given that Reliance Entertainment has obtained a specific order from Delhi high court to protect Don 2 from online piracy, we are in full compliance of law,” said a Reliance Communications spokesperson.

Experts to whom TOI spoke said that authority to block websites in India rests only with Department of Information and Technology (DIT) and even if a court has ordered blocking of a website, the procedure has to be initiated by DIT officials.

Section 79 of the Informatoin Technology Act 2000, which was amended in 2008, deals with the liability of intermediaries like internet service providers but doesn’t explicitly talks about blocking of websites.

A senior official from Reliance Entertainment said that measures like blocking website are the only way for them to counter piracy.

“All websites like Megaupload and Filesonic are located out of India. They rampantly promote online piracy. In fact, steps such as the John Doe Order from a court are the only step we copyright owners have,” said Sanjay Tandon, VP (music & anti-piracy) at Reliance Entertainment.








On fast-eve, call to House for ‘real’ law
- Hazare team writes to PM, MPs

Dec. 25: Anna Hazare’s team today sent an open letter to the Prime Minister and members of Parliament urging them to enact a “real” and “best possible” anti-corruption law as the curtains went up on another round of fast by the activist.

The letter came two days ahead of Hazare’s protest in Mumbai, where volunteers oversaw preparations for the stage on the MMRDA grounds in the commercial capital.

The day also saw Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh fire a fresh salvo at the 74-year-old’s alleged RSS links, a charge Team Anna said was aimed at diverting attention from the bill.

In the letter to Manmohan Singh and MPs, Hazare’s team repeated several of their earlier demands and noted that the year-long campaign against corruption had brought people to the edge of a law that could tackle the scourge.

The Lokpal bill is set to be taken up when Parliament reconvenes for an extended three-day session on Tuesday to debate the draft legislation.

“Sensing the national mood, Parliament has also taken it upon itself to foster a significant debate on the issues within the bill, and for this we thank our elected representatives,” the letter said.

On Thursday, after the UPA government had tabled its Lokpal draft in the Lok Sabha, Team Anna had trashed it as “weak” and “useless” and dared coalition chief Sonia Gandhi to an open debate.

Today’s open letter reflected the team’s “displeasure” with the current draft, but said “we are also keen that the best possible law should now emerge from the debate in the people’s Houses”.

“We urge Parliament’s consideration and adoption of these points, to give the country a real anti-corruption law. Our opposition to various other provisions of the draft bill remains, and we will take up the fight for improvements to the legislation in the months and years ahead.”

The activists urged the MPs to incorporate their suggestions, including an independent investigative wing for the proposed ombudsman, saying without these provisions the Lokpal bill would be “just another law, one among the many that have proven ineffective so far”.

Minister of state for parliamentary affairs V. Narayanaswamy voiced confidence that the House would come out with a strong Lokpal law. “…we will work in that direction and bring in a strong Lokpal bill,” he said.

“They (Team Anna) should have patience, because they cannot go for cheap publicity by all these things,” he added, alluding to the protest plans in Mumbai.

Hazare tonight asked his supporters to refrain from violence, saying some people were “waiting” for his agitation to take such a turn so that they could malign his movement but did not elaborate. “Some people are waiting for violence during the agitation. If there is violence, the agitation will be maligned,” he said in Ralegan Siddhi, his village in Maharashtra.

The activist said he would reach Mumbai tomorrow in preparation for his fast. “After the fast, I will go to Delhi and stage a dharna outside the house of Sonia and Rahul. After Mumbai, we will hold a fast in Delhi. Our agitation has been going on for over a year but to no avail. We will need to speak in the language they (government) understand,” Hazare said.

“During the agitation in Delhi, we have prepared ourselves to receive lathi blows if the government resorts to cane charge,” he said.

Digvijaya’s fresh salvo at Hazare came in a tweet. “Anna Hazare worked as secretary with RSS leader Nanaji Deshmukh and (got himself) trained in (Sangh activities) in 1983 in Gonda. See Nai Duniya front page today,” he wrote on the micro-blogging site, referring to a picture published in the Hindi daily purportedly showing the activist with Deshmukh.

“And he denied any association with RSS! Now whom do we believe Facts with Picture and the claim of RSS or Anna ? I am again proved right,” Digvijaya, a strident Hazare critic, tweeted.

Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal, who reached Mumbai this evening, said the reports on Hazare’s alleged links with the late RSS leader was a ploy to divert attention from the bill. “The government is provoking us by saying Anna is an RSS agent. What is the mistake of Anna Hazare? That he is raising his voice against corruption? He has got medals from the army,” Kejriwal said.

In Mumbai, one of the volunteers for Hazare’s movement said the stage was being constructed for the three-day protest from Tuesday.

“Behind the stage will be a room for Anna and other facilities for medical aid, VIPs, media, police control room and fire control. There have been registrations of around 89,000 from the entire country for the jail bharo andolan at the end of the three-day fast,” Preeti Menon said.

Volunteers dressed in Santa Claus costumes spread out across the city to explain the reasons for the agitation.








For a career in mathematics

S. Kesavan


In India a mathematical career has been regarded as being synonymous with a teaching career, but a trained mathematician can be very well employed outside academia. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan

It is indeed possible to build a perfectly satisfying career in mathematics if one is deeply interested in the subject

India has a long and ancient mathematical tradition. The Sulvasutras, Vedic texts for the construction of ritual altars, contain a lot of geometrical results and constructions. These include a statement of the Pythagoras Theorem, an approximation to the value of ‘pi’, and the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. India gave the world the decimal place value system, the modern way of writing numbers, and above all, the number ‘zero.’ It boasts of mathematical schools like those of Aryabhata and Bhaskara. Much later, in the 15th century, came the flourishing School of Madhava in Kerala, which anticipated, by more than 200 years, several results of the Calculus invented by Newton and Liebniz.

There was a complete break in this tradition during the years of colonial rule. In the 20th century, perhaps inspired by Ramanujan’s life, there was a revival, especially in the south, of mathematical research. In the post-Independence era, the Government of India established some schools of excellence, where several individuals distinguished themselves, and continue to distinguish themselves, by doing excellent work.

Nevertheless, for a country of India’s size, despite having a large scientific workforce, we have failed to make the kind of international impact that countries like, say, China, have made. India’s own scientific leaders have often bemoaned the ‘ocean of mediocrity’ that has been created.

The main problem is that a mathematical career has been regarded as being synonymous with a teaching career. We religiously teach our children slokas like Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Maheshwarah. However, equally cruelly and callously we say things like vakkillathavanukku vathiyar velai (a teacher’s vocation is for those who have no other option). This has become a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. Barring a minuscule number of exceptions, India’s brightest minds are not engaged in scientific research. The situation in general is that those who fail to join professional courses leading to gainful employment come to research as a last resort. These are the ones who will become the (uninspiring) teachers of the future — and we are caught in a vicious cycle.

The situation should, in reality, be the opposite. Those taking to a research career should be those who are passionately involved in the subject. As the experience of the information technology industry shows, anybody with a reasonable degree can be trained on the job and be well-employed, whereas that is not the case in academia.

It is indeed possible to build a perfectly satisfying career in mathematics (and much of this applies to other pure sciences as well) if one is deeply interested in the subject.

Job scene

Look at the job scene. A trained mathematician can be very well employed outside academia. Government departments engaged in space research (the Indian Space Research Organisation, or ISRO), defence research (Defence Research and Development Organisation, or DRDO), aeronautical research (National Aeronautics Limited, or NAL), all employ mathematicians to solve their special problems. Today, cryptology is in vogue (the systems ensuring the safety of your credit card transactions are based on some very sophisticated mathematics). Organisations such as the DRDO and the Society for Electronic Transactions and Security (SETS) are interested in mathematicians with training in this area. Financial mathematics is another area that leads to well-paid jobs. Computer giants such as IBM and Microsoft have research departments which have highly paid scientists who are either mathematicians or theoretical computer scientists. (They can, for all practical purposes, be considered as mathematicians). Thus, there is plenty of scope, outside academia, for well-paid jobs for mathematicians.

Having said this, it must be emphasised that the majority of mathematicians will end up in academic jobs, namely, in research and teaching.

What are the plus points of such a vocation?

•In India, all these jobs are in universities or in public-funded research institutions. With the implementation of the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, the salary is nothing to be sniffed at. The entry point (roughly between the ages of 28 and 32) is that of an Assistant Professor, who can expect to start at a monthly basic salary of Rs.30,000. To this, add the dearness allowance (which has well crossed 502 per cent of the basic), transport allowance, and (if accommodation is not provided by the employer) a house rent allowance (which touches 30 per cent of the basic in the metros). Thus, before tax, we arrive at something like Rs.50,000 or more a month. This, unlike in industry, is not the ‘cost to company’ but what the employee actually gets. Added to this are perquisites such as comprehensive health care, leave travel concession, aid to children’s education and employer’s contribution to the provident fund or the pension fund. All in all, the remuneration today does guarantee a very good standard of living with all the creature comforts.

In order to attract young Ph.D.s who have done rather well by way of research, especially but not limited to those from abroad who seek employment in India, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) offers the Ramanujan Fellowship for three years. It carries a high salary and a generous contingency grant that allows purchase of research equipment, travels abroad for conferences, and so on. Institutions like the IITs and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore also offer generous start-up grants to freshly-recruited faculty members to facilitate their research.

•Job security.

•Job satisfaction: you get to choose your research problems.

•A good quality of life: the timings are regular with vacation periods that are well-defined.

•Plenty of opportunities to set up research collaborations with fellow-researchers in India and abroad, providing possibilities of interesting domestic and international travel.

•Being in contact with young minds all the time has a rejuvenating effect on one’s outlook to life.

On the other hand, one should ensure that one is really interested in the subject. To rise in the profession one needs to have a reasonably steady research output for nearly three to four decades. The real downside is that the gestation and apprenticeship period is quite long. It takes about five years to get a master’s degree and between three to five years more for the doctoral degree. Even after that, it is expected that a person does at least two years of post-doctoral work, which is the time when one emerges from the shadows of the thesis supervisor and chalks out one’s own path of research. Thus, as mentioned earlier, one can expect to get one’s first job when in the 28-32 age group. But this period is not financially barren, and the remuneration keeps increasing.

Job opportunities

What about job opportunities in India? There are three kinds of institutions of higher learning.

Purely research-oriented institutions like the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai, the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) in Chennai, and the Harish Chandra Research Institute (HRI) in Allahabad. Interestingly, all these are autonomous aided institutions that are fully supported by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) of the Government of India. TIFR is now a deemed university, while the IMSc and the HRI are affiliated to the deemed university called the Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI) that covers all other aided institutions of the DAE.

Institutions of teaching and research which can offer degrees but do not come under the purview of the University Grants Commission (UGC). These are set up by Acts of Parliament, and some come under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). These are the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), the IITs, the IISc, and the newly set up Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) in Bhopal, Kolkata, Mohali, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram, and the National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) in Bhubaneswar (set up by the DAE). Then there is the precursor to these latter new institutes, the unique Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI), which is an example of public-private partnership. ISRO has also established its own such institution in Thiruvananthapuram.

The State and Central universities. While the State universities have plenty of vacancies, these being filled is often tied to the policies and politics of the State governments.

All the other institutions of research and teaching mentioned above have well-established and transparent methods of selection, and all of them have a crying need for fresh faculty. In fact, the need is so great and the supply so meagre that the age of retirement has been increased to 65 for these institutions. And in many cases they are allowed to re-employ superannuated faculty members till they are 70. The government has suddenly started NISER, the five IISERs and about eight new IITs, all of which need faculty members. These are currently functioning with a bare minimum of recruits, augmented by adjunct faculty members, who are retired mathematicians. This is not sustainable in the long run.

Thus, for those who hold a reasonably good doctoral degree, there are plenty of job opportunities in such institutions. This will be so for a long time to come.

Even the existing institutions like the IITs face continuous attrition due to retirement of faculty members who were engaged from the 1960s onwards.


Now for the training process of a mathematician in India. The regular route for a student is a three-year B.Sc. course followed by a two-year M.Sc. programme in mathematics, after which she or he could join a doctoral programme in a recognised university or research institution. There are the following variants to this theme.

The IIT-Kanpur pioneered the five-year M.Sc. programme (admission is through the joint entrance examination) which combined the B.Sc. and M.Sc. programmes. IIT-Bombay followed suit. Now, this pattern is followed by all the IISERs and NISER. The Central University of Hyderabad and that of Pondicherry have also started such programmes.

Recently, the three science academies in India have been advocating educational reform that involves the introduction of a four-year B.S. programme followed by a year of research and training leading to an M.S. The IISc will launch the first such programme in August 2012.

Institutions of pure research (the TIFR, the IMSc and the HRI), the IISc and the CMI also have integrated Ph.D. programmes. Promising students are selected after a bachelor’s degree in any science discipline or engineering directly for their Ph.D. programmes, provided they clear the (very rigorous) entrance tests and interviews on a par with M.Sc. candidates. They pick up an M.Sc. degree after two initial years of course work and research.

All the IITs and universities also have independent M.Sc. and Ph.D. programmes. Admission is based on entrance tests and/or interview. The CMI has an M.Sc. programme in applications of mathematics with specialisation in financial mathematics and computational applications of mathematics. It is contemplating a stream specialising in cryptology. The ISI has an M. Math. Programme, held alternatively at its Kolkata and Bangalore campuses.

A special word on the undergraduate programmes of the CMI, which is B.Sc.(Hons.) in Mathematics and Computer Science in Chennai, and the ISI — B.Math at its Bangalore campus. These are not for the faint-hearted. But if a student has a strong taste and talent for mathematics from an early age, these are the places to go for mathematics education. Both these programmes are very intense. At the end of three years, the students can compete with any master’s level student anywhere on equal terms — and often they fare better.

As a measure of the success of these programmes, it must be said that their graduates have managed to breach the U.S. firewall that requires a four-year collegiate-level education to enter graduate school, by being directly admitted, with full aid, to graduate schools such as Caltech, Chicago, Princeton, MIT (and so on in the U.S.), the Max Planck institutes in Germany, and the elite Ecole Normale Sup´erieure in France, after finishing the three-year degree programme. Students from the early batches have started completing their doctorate work and are already making a mark. It is gratifying that some have come back to take up positions in India.

Finally, about scholarships. First of all, there is the Kishore Vaigyanik Pratsohan Yojana which conducts a test for high school students. The successful ones opting for a career in science get a handsome scholarship all through their higher education, up to completion of the doctoral programme. The CMI and the ISI provide modest stipends to their undergraduates and postgraduates, together with tuition waiver, as long as the students maintain a healthy academic performance.

For the doctoral programmes, university students need to take an examination conducted by bodies like the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research or the DST for a research fellowship. The current rates are Rs.16,000 for the first two years and, subject to satisfactory performance, Rs.18,000 a month thereafter. There is an annual contingency grant as well.

All research institutions and institutions of teaching and research mentioned here have their own funding for Ph.D. scholarships at the same rates. In case the institution cannot provide subsidised accommodation on campus, house rent allowance at the same rates as applicable to faculty members is allowed.

Post-doctoral fellowships provide for a consolidated pay ranging from Rs.21,000 to Rs. 25,000 a month (with the provision for HRA), along with a contingency grant, depending on the candidate’s post-doctoral experience.

The National Board for Higher Mathematics (NBHM), set up by the DAE to promote mathematics, conducts an examination every year for the award of a scholarship for M.Sc. programmes in mathematics in any recognised university or institution, and pays a monthly stipend of Rs.6,000. The advertisement appears in newspapers by the end of June; the written test is usually held towards the end of September. It also awards Ph.D. scholarships, at the same rates as other research fellowships, by conducting another examination which is advertised in November; the test is usually by the end of January or early February. The NBHM also offers post-doctoral fellowships.

To sum up, if a student has the taste and the talent for mathematics, it is possible to make a satisfying, interesting, respectable and remunerative career out of it. If you think you have it in you, just go for it. Study abroad if you really want to; it can broaden your horizons. But do come back to inspire future generations so that India will become a mathematical superpower in the coming decades.

Parents ought to let children do whatever they are best suited for — literature, dramatics, mathematics, painting and so on. They should not try to live out their ambitions through them. While it may be a status symbol to count a non-resident Indian in the family, as one grows older there is a pleasure and sense of security in having one’s children living and working close by.








PTI | 12:12 PM,Dec 25,2011

With corruption remaining the major concern of the apex With corruption remaining the major concern of the apex court, the Centre found itself cornered for not making public the names of persons with black money stashed in foreign banks and goofing up on the issue of Hasan Ali Khan, the Pune stud farm owner accused in the massive money laundering case. The issue of black money and the policy of the Centre and state governments arming tribals as special police officers (SPOs) and creating anti-vigilante groups like Salwa Judum and Koya Commandos in Chhattisgarh to counter the Maoists and Naxalites also reflected the turf war between the judiciary and the executive. Ruling out government’s contention that judiciary was encroaching into the domain of the executive, the apex court castigated the authorities for their inaction and appointed a Special Investigation Team to probe the issue of black money. However, the victory of the civil society was short- lived as within a fortnight, the government moved the apex court for recalling or modifying the judgement on the black money which resulted in a split verdict. The verdict will once again be re-examined by the third bench. So was the case on the issue of SPOs in which the apex court rejected the contentions of the Centre and Chhattisgarh government and came down heavily on the practice of deploying vigilante groups like Salwa Judum in the fight against Maoists by declaring the policy as unconstitutional. However, later the apex court modified its order to allow the use of services of SPOs in fighting outlaws in the country, except in Chhattisgarh which came out with an ordinance to absorb around 5,000 SPOs in its auxiliary force by relaxing the educational criteria.





SC committee inspects Vaigai dam

TNN Dec 26, 2011, 02.01AM IST

MADURAI: The Supreme court-appointed empowered committee visited Vaigai reservoir on Sunday.

The members, C D Thatte and D K Mehta, who conducted tests to gauge the safety and strength of Mullaperiyar dam in Kerala’s Idukki district on Saturday visited Vaigai dam on the Tamil Nadu side on Sunday and made inspections.

Accompanied by R Subramani, chairman of the Cauvery Technical Committee and senior engineers from the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department, they visited the power generation house at Lower camp as well.

The committee landed first at Lower camp around 10 am the four bay dam – from where the mammoth hydel pipes arise to take water downstream. eraichal palam” – an outlet for surplus water located on Lower camp and Kumily and the Periyar Power station.

The two experts also collected samples of lime at lower camp, from where lime was apparently used for construction of the dam.

Later, the team went to Vaigai dam where they inspected the shutters. They also inspected the spillway and measured the spillage level. After spending about an hour at the reservoir collecting data on the inflow, outflow, channels and irrigated area, they left for Muthulakkampatti, a village about two km from the reservoir where Madurai-Sedapatti drinking water project is on. The team then visited Nilakottai in Dindigul district where they inspected “peranai”, a check dam that helps irrigate several hundred acres. The officials are likely to visit Kallandhiri and Melur in Madurai district as part of their inspection.

PWD sources said their visits to these places have been mentioned in the programme chart of the committee itself. The EC, though constituted to study the safety aspects of Mullaperiyar dam, is leaving no stones unturned to get a comprehensive report on the entire dam project. The committee would collect data like other water storage structures in the Periyar Vaigai command area, water level in these structures, water usage pattern and area of cultivation. The team would also collect drinking water usage of the water from the dam.







Police to act against overcrowding

Published: Sunday, Dec 25, 2011, 14:23 IST
By Sandip Dighe | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

The Pune police have decided to conduct surprise checks on hotels and restaurants in the city for overcrowding on the eve of the New Year.

A senior police officer attached with the city police told DNA, “The hotel and bars have a limited seating capacity. But on New Year’s eve, some of them increase the capacity as they are going to use other areas on their premises such as terraces and lawns to accommodate the people. If someone has not taken permission from us, then appropriate action will be taken against them,’’ he said.

Moreover, the police will take action by carrying out checks at these places and see if more patrons are allowed by the establishments than the permitted number.
The city crime branch police will coordinate along with the local police to check if hotels and bars allow more guests than the permissible capacity.

The officer said, “If the establishments are found violating the rules and allowing overcrowding of patrons, then action would be taken. They would have to flush out customers from the place,’’ he said.

If the authority has taken permission from the police, then they should provide enough parking space for the vehicles, otherwise, the police would take action against them.






RTI hurdles aplenty

Manju V,


TNN | Dec 26, 2011, 06.20AM IST


From 1,865 in 2006, the backlog of applications at the Central Information Commission has swelled to above 22,700. Activists say the RTI Act will lose its bite in a few years if the present state of affairs continues.

In September 2006, an RTI applicant sought a simple list of schemes approved under the Urban Land Ceiling Act. The government department concerned demanded Rs 16 lakh from him. He appealed against the hefty charge to the then state information commissioner Suresh Joshi. He is yet to receive a response to his query. Information commissioner Sushma Singh was to question the appellate authority of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on December 15 for not replying to an RTI query filed in April. The query was about the government’s character verification of candidates for top DGCA posts. Even before the hearing, Singh adjourned it to February after DGCA officials told her they were busy with Republic Day celebrations.

The proponents of Lokpal and Lokayukta could learn a lesson or two from the RTI Act and brace themselves for a long-drawn battle. Each year, bureaucrats devise new ways to deny or delay information to RTI applicants, who need to cross an ever-increasing number of hurdles to get it.

Hurdles can be as small as the public information officer (PIO) not listing the name of the appellate authority in an RTI reply. “It is binding on the PIO to state the name of the appellate authority in a reply so that the applicant knows who to appeal if he or she is not satisfied with the PIO’s reply . But many government bodies like the municipal corporation and the slum rehabilitation authority, and development agencies hardly follow this norm,” said RTI activist Simpreet Singh.

Common ways of dodging RTI queries are giving incomplete replies, sending delayed responses with a back date (made evident by the post office’s stamp, which reveals the actual date of reply) and not forwarding a query to the department concerned. “It is common to find an appellate authority asking the applicant why a PIO should give him the sought information . But the RTI Act states that it is the PIO who should be asked to explain why information is being withheld,” Singh said.

Even information that is generally put in the public domain , like the fixed assets of directors of government organizations , is routinely denied . And when an order is passed in violation of the act, enough care is taken by the officials concerned to cover their tracks. “When Ramanand Tiwari was information commissioner , he gave the Juhu police another chance to reply to my query. This was against the RTI Act’s provisions and so Tiwari did not put it down in writing. Till date, it is not on record,” said RTI activist Yogacharya Anandji referring to an application he filed in 2006.

In the DGCA case (mentioned above), “the officials didn’t even turn up for the hearing” , said Supreme Court advocate Prashant Shukla, who was representing the applicant . Shukla said the adjournment order was oral. Information commissioner Sushma Singh was not available for comment.

Predictably, the pendency of RTI appeals is rising steadily . The Central Information Commission (CIC), headquartered in Delhi, had a pendency of 22,725 appeals as of November 2011 (see box). The number represents only those cases that went to the CIC directly . It does not include appeals pending before the state information commissions.









Real estate bill is against consumer interest

Jehangir B Gai ,


TNN | Dec 26, 2011, 02.55AM IST

It is common knowledge that most builders blatantly engage in various malpractices-be it delay in construction, use of substandard materials, deviation from sanctioned plans, failure to obtain the occupation certificate, avoiding the formation of a co-operative society, illegal sale of parking and other open areas, misappropriation of advance monies taken for maintenance etc. Flat purchasers are always at the receiving end, with builders flouting the provisions of the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act. The only viable, time-tested and effective remedy available to a flat purchaser to fight the might of the builder was through the redressal mechanism provided under the Consumer Protection Act.

Will consumers get better protection with the introduction of the real estate (regulation & development) bill by the ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation? Though this new legislation appears to project a rosy picture, an analysis of the various provisions will show that in reality it will be beneficial to builders at the cost of the flat purchasers.

The negative aspects

Under Section 2 (c) of the new law, by a legal fiction, opens spaces are included under the definition of “apartment”. Once the bill is passed, builders will be legally entitled to sell the open spaces (like parking space, terrace and private garden) for independent and private use. At present, as per the interpretation of law by the Supreme Court, sale of open spaces by a builder is illegal, as the land and other open spaces would belong to the society. The new law will help builders overcome this well reasoned judgment and profiteer by selling the open spaces.

Section 3 of the bill provides that a builder must compulsorily be registered with the real estate regulatory authority for plots measuring 4000 sq. metres or more. Most of the buildings are constructed on smaller plots. Hence this provision will not be applicable to most builders.

Section 18 of the bill provides for establishment of the real estate regulatory authority comprising of one chairperson and two members. There law does not mandate the appointment of any judicial officer on the authority. So, given the way our country functions, the appointments may be made to favour persons with the “right connections”. The composition of the authority and its strength of three members will be inadequate to cope with the construction and development projects being carried out throughout the country. Also, it would be difficult for the common man to approach a remote centralized authority.

Similarly, the real estate appellate tribunal comprising nine members, to be constituted under section 35, will be unable to set up Benches throughout the country to deal with disputes. Accessibility to the redressal mechanism will become more difficult and costly.

Section 46 provides that the order of the tribunal can be enforced like the decree of a civil court. This proceeding is lengthy, cumbersome and costly. Unlike the consumer fora, the authority or tribunal under the new bill does not have power to adopt penal proceedings/criminal prosecution for non- compliance. Such proceedings would have to be initiated by the authority or tribunal by filing a complaint before a criminal court, and the flat purchaser would not have any idea about what is happening in such pro-ceedings.

Section 47 provides that the decision of the appellate authority would have to be challenged before the Supreme Court. The quality of adjudication by the authority with no judicial member would be questionable. The rates of appeal would be high. The cost involved would also be high. The tribunal would not be easily accessible to the common man. The three-tier redressal system under the Consumer Protection Act would be much more effective and economical.

The most anti-consumer provision of the new law is Section 60, which states that no injunction shall be granted by any court or other authority in respect of any action taken or to be taken in pursuance of any power conferred by or under this Act. The new law, thus, takes away the alternative, efficacious remedy which was hitherto available to a flat purchaser under the Consumer Protection Act.








Court frames charges against Rakesh Juneja

Sanjay Yadav,


TNN Dec 26, 2011, 02.14AM IST

GURGAON: An additional sessions judge court framed charges against Rakesh Juneja for conspiring to kill his wife Nargis Juneja. Recently, the state crime branch had submitted a closure report in the case claiming that they did not find any evidence against the accused.

On Saturday, additional sessions judge Vimal Kumar found that there is a prima facie case against the accused, who has been behind bars, considering the earlier chargesheet filed by the city police in October. “The court has framed charges under 202 /120B of the IPC against Rakesh Juneja and the next hearing for witnesses has been fixed for January 28. The closure report by the crime branch has also become a part of the court proceedings,” said advocate Sanjeev Vats, Rakesh Juneja’s counsel.


A senior police officer also said that since the court has found a merit to carry out trial of Rakesh based on their chargesheet, the case will go on.

Over a year after the murder of 42-year-old Nargis Juneja in her DLF-III residence, the investigating agency had hit a dead end and the matter had taken an interesting turn when the DGP (CID) office wrote to the city police to close the case as “unsolved”. The letter also gave a clean chit to the co-accused, Rosy Bhasin, whom the city police had declared a “proclaimed offender” during investigation.

Subsequently, the FIR (No. 312) was declared as untraced on December 8 by the DLF-II police where the case was lodged. “We have submitted the information to the court but the court did not agree with the finding and wants to continue the trial,” said Navdeep Singh Virk, deputy inspector general of the state crime branch.

Nargis Juneja, director of Kidzee playschool, was murdered by unknown assailants inside her residence on December 1 last year. The assailants had entered the house and slit her throat, leaving her bleeding to death while her domestic help was tied and gagged.











Supreme Court-appointed panel inspects Vaigai dam

Staff Reporter

Kerala Irrigation Department engineers accompanied it

The Supreme Court-appointed Empowered Committee on Sunday inspected Tamil Nadu Hydel Power generation station at Lower camp and Vaigai dam as part of its inspection of Mullaperiyar dam here.

Kerala Irrigation Department engineers accompanied the panel during inspection.

The panel’s main objective was to assess utilisation of water, including drinking water and irrigation purposes, and to inspect the ayacut areas.

The panel comprising C.D. Thatte and D.K. Mehta, first inspected the Four Bay dam and power station at Lower Camp near Goodalur and enquired with officials representing Tamil Nadu. Later, it inspected a limestone quarry, situated on the way to the Sri Mangaladevi Kannagi Amman Temple near Lower camp. (Limestones present at this site were used for construction of the Periyar dam 120 years ago).

The panel then checked the condition of the Vaigai dam. The members asked the officials to lift one of the main shutters to check the functioning of the electric-powered shutters. When they saw the flow chart of Vaigai dam, they enquired about distribution of water for irrigation and drinking water supply at various points.

The Tamil Nadu Public Works engineers, who accompanied the team, explained the flow chart and utilisation pattern of Vaigai dam water in five southern districts.

The officials said the water was used for irrigation of several lakh acres of land under its ayacut in Madurai, Theni and Dindigul districts and to fill tanks in Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram districts for irrigating several acres. The team also inspected the dam’s tunnel to check seepage levels.

The team also visited Mudalakkampatti village and inspected the pick-up weir to study distribution of drinking water to Madurai city and for the Sedapatti drinking water scheme.

Mr. Mehta and Mr. Datte came to Dindigul district in the evening and inspected Peranai, one of the main drinking water supply sources to Dindigul, and many wayside villages.

The team will inspect Vaigai ayacut areas in Melur and Kallandhiri areas tomorrow.






Judiciary, army should work within limits: Gilani

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday said all state institutions, including the judiciary and army, should work within their constitutional limits as tensions continued between the civilian government

and the powerful military over the Memogate scandal.

“Parliament, judiciary and the army – we respect all three and we want these three institutions to work while remaining within their constitutional limits,” Gilani said in televised concluding remarks at a special meeting of his

cabinet in the southern port city of Karachi.


“We are with them, we fully support them and we have no intention to see the fall of any institution,” he said.

Gilani further said his government was committed to working with all state institutions.

“We are the elected people of Pakistan. We should respect the judiciary, we should respect the military, we should respect parliament and we should also respect the media. There is a thin line but we will take all of them along. This is our commitment,” he said.

“Sometimes governments are formed and sometimes they fall. We have fallen and risen several times. It is not a new struggle for us to be in power,” Gilani added.

Gilani’s remarks came against the backdrop of continuing tensions between his government and the powerful army over an alleged memo that sought US help to stave off a possible coup after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May.

There has been widespread speculation that President Asif Ali Zardari, who spent almost a fortnight in Dubai earlier this month for medical treatment, would be forced out by the military over the scandal.



Woman judicial officer lights mother’s pyre

Pardeep Rai,


TNN | Dec 26, 2011, 06.24AM IST

KURUKSHETRAurukshetra: A woman judicial officer presented the feminist perspective on an age-old ritual when she lit the funeral pyre of her 76-year-old mother at Mohannagar area cremation ground on Saturday evening. Neelima Sangla is posted as an additional judicial officer of a fast track court. Rituals require that a pyre should only be lit by a son or a male member of the family of the deceased. Neelima is the eldest among three children of Rani Sangla. Her mother was on ventilator for three days and died on Saturday morning.

Representatives of various religious organizations of the holy city, who also took part in last rites, appreciated the initative by this judicial officer. Swami Mukta of Geeta Kunj Ashram, Kurukshetra, said, “This is a great message to society that girls should be given equal rights when it comes to performing last rites of their parents. The trend set by Neelima would definitely bring a change in the mindset of the society.”

Jyotisha Acharya Rishab Vats of Kurukshetra said, “This is an era of daughters. When we are seeking so many rights for them, it should also apply to their carrying out the last rites of their parents.”

Hailing from Ambala, Neelima has been associated with various programmes intended to save the girl child. She has also been invited by various religious organizations to perform pooja at inaugural sessions.

Box: Twice in 9 months

This is the second occasion in nine months when a senior woman official performed last rites of her parents at Kurukshetra. In April 2011, Kurukshetra ADC Sumedha Kataria performed last rites of her mother Shanta Kataria








Ex-armyman among five sentenced to 14 years for spying

A local court in Faridkot has convicted and sentenced five persons, including an ex-army personnel, to 14 years jail term each for spying.

Naib Singh, Randhir Singh, Baldev Singh, Sukhdev Singh and ex-army man Manjinder Singh were handed down the sentence by the Court of Additional Sessions Judge, Ramesh Kumari on Saturday.

The trial of the case started in March 2000 and the convicts were charged with supplying secret and strategic information of the Indian army to Pakistani agencies.

Manjinder Singh was dismissed from the service in January 2010.









Delhi court absolves youth of sodomy charges

PTI | 12:12 PM,Dec 25,2011

New Delhi, Dec 25 (PTI) A man charged with sodomising a teenaged boy has been let off by a Delhi court on the suspicion that he might have been falsely implicated in the case by the victim’s uncle who allegedly wanted to take over the accused’s job. Additional Sessions Jugde Sanjay Sharma absolved Birju Patel, 23, of the charge of sodomising a 14-year-old boy, saying, “The possibility of the accused having been falsely implicated by them for removing him from his job cannot be ruled out.” “False implication in rape cases is not uncommon and in some cases parents do persuade gullible or obedient daughter to make false charge of rape either to take revenge or extort money or to get rid of financial liability,” the judge said, citing an earlier judgement of a higher court. According to the prosecution, Patel had sodomised the boy on April 18, 2010 in a canteen at the Anand Vihar Railway Station, where his uncle Rai Singh was also employed. Patel had in his defence contended that he was being implicated in the matter by Singh who wanted to “take over his job in a Railway canteen since the canteen in which Singh was working had been closed down for unauthorised operation”. (More) AKI RAX RBT ZMN











Plaint filed in ‘Miyan Modi’ poster case

TNN Dec 25, 2011, 10.59PM IST

RAJKOT: Amid speculation over who was behind the ‘Miyan Modi’ posters, the police filed a complaint against unidentified people in connection with the posters.

The police itself became the complainant in this case and it was filed with Pradhyumanagar police station on Sunday.

“We have filed the complaint under section 153A of the Indian Penal code, which deals with promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony,” said inspector V B Jadeja.

A day after former mayor and present BJP councillor Uday Kangad abused and assaulted city Congress president Jaswantsinh Bhatti for removing Sadbhavana posters at Race Course Ring Road, ‘Miyan Modi’ posters appeared in the city, sparking another ‘poster war’ ahead of chief minister Narendra Modi’s Sadbhavana fast on December 26.

Pasted near the mayor’s bungalow and the Mahila College on Kalavad Road, the posters depicted Modi in a green kurta, wearing a skull cap.

The caption reads, “Na Hindutva ka, na sadbhavna ka, ye khel hai kursi ka’. Juxtaposing a picture of ‘saffron’ Modi and ‘miyan’ Modi, the poster says he used Hindutva to reach Gandhinagar and is now using Muslims to become prime minister. Police presence has been increased in the city as the situation is already tense after Friday’s clash between BJP and Congress leaders.

On Friday night, Congress workers banded together and roamed the city pulling down Sadbhavana mission posters. Although the Congress has denied any role in ‘Miyan Modi’ posters, BJP leaders alleged it is their handiwork.

“We have information that Congress workers have done it out of frustration as Modi’s Sadbhavana mission is getting overwhelming response from all quarters, including Muslims,” city BJP president Dhansukh Bhanderi alleged.

“The Congress fears that it will lose whatever little they have in their kitty and is hence doing this,” said Raju Dhruv, BJP spokesperson for Saurashtra-Kutch.

“We are nowhere in the picture so far as these posters are concerned. If we do it, we do it openly. We never do anything surreptitiously,” countered Bhatti. There was speculation that the Mahagujarat Janata Party may have been behind these posters but MJP workers denied any involvement and said they have kept away from any programme against the Sadbhavana mission.




Lokpal Bill only offers free legal help to the corrupt, says Kejriwal

Staff Reporter


PTI Team Anna members Arvind Kejrewal (right) and Mayank Gandhi speak to the media on the MMRDA grounds, Mumbai, where they are looking after arrangements for Anna Hazare’s fast. Photo: PTI

Alleging that the proposed Lokpal Bill would do nothing but provide legal help to persons accused of corruption, Arvind Kejriwal, key aide of Anna Hazare, on Sunday said the present draft was a tool to ensure that “nothing ever changes.” Mr. Kejriwal was speaking at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority ground at suburban Bandra-Kurla Complex.

“The government has only labelled the bill as anti-graft, in reality the bill provides free legal help to the person accused of corruption.

Instead of being strict on each act of corruption, the Bill covers only five per cent of government servants and 10 per cent politicians and the strictness is only on NGOs, temples, clubs, schools,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman Sachin Sawant said Team Anna was “misdirecting public sentiment and encouraging people to participate in a badly conceived plan which has no clear aim”.







Timely rap for Team Anna

The Bombay High Court is right in refusing to direct the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to let Anna Hazare and his supporters use the Bandra Kurla Complex grounds for free or at concessional rates – the anti-corruption crusaders have scheduled a three-day fast at the venue coinciding with the debate on the Lokpal Bill in Parliament from December 27.

First, the organisation through which Mr Hazare’s supporters approached the MMRDA was not a registered social organisation, eligible for special treatment from it. Team Anna has all along claimed to be backed by Indians from all corners of the country. Given such a support base, the court is right in assuming that they will be able to pool together a sum of a few lakhs needed as rent for the venue.

But more important than this technical consideration is the high court’s observation that it could not allow parallel canvassing when Parliament was discussing the Lokpal Bill, as that would amount to interfering with the democratic process. We wish the court’s sagacious remarks make Team Anna rethink their strategy of exerting pressure on the supreme legislature in this way.

Also relevant is its observation on Anna supporters, citing public interest, that what was satyagraha for the anti- corruption crusaders could be nuisance for other people.















PTI | 12:12 PM,Dec 25,2011

The apex court’s zero tolerance against corruption which The apex court’s zero tolerance against corruption which was manifested on the issue of CVC case, was also reflected when it dealt with the cases of corruption in judiciary with iron hand. The high-point came when it dismissed pleas of Chief Justice P D Dinakaran of the Sikkim High Court and Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court. Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia also resorted to large scale transfer of High Court judges as fingers were raised on the credential of many working judges. With former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan’s family members facing allegations of amassing disproportionate assets during his tenure, the apex court also agreed to hear a petition against him and allowed an advocate to file documents related to the property acquired by them. During the year, the apex court also rebuked Delhi Police for its inaction for over three years on probe into the 2008 cash-for-vote scam, involving the alleged payment of bribes to some opposition MPs for their votes in favour of the July 2008 trust motion by the UPA-I government. This resulted in arrests of former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and BJP leader L K Advani’s former close aide Sudheendra Kulkarni, besides two former and one sitting BJP MPs among others. Virtually reflecting the public ire against corruption and price rise, the apex court, while continuing to tighten the screw on corruption, expressed deep anguish over the widening gulf between the rich and the poor in the country and said, in one of its orders, that there cannot be “two Indias”. Observing that no one in the country should die of hunger and malnutrition, the apex court directed the Centre to provide 50 lakh tonnes of additional food grains for distribution among people below poverty level and asked them to build sufficient night shelters to ensure that no homeless person is forced to sleep in the open in the harsh winter.













Kidnapping accused granted bail

TNN Dec 26, 2011, 05.02AM IST

GUWAHATI: Fulber Ali, father of Farzan Ali, the 12-year-old boy who went missing on July 30 from the city’s Gopinath Nagar, can now only pray he gets justice from Gauhati high court after a lower court on Monday accepted the bail bond of Mahesh Kalita, the prime suspect in the case. “I lost my son and now the weak stand of police has freed the culprits. Now, my only hope is the high court,” said Fulber Ali.

Farzan Ali, alias Raja, a student of Little Flower School at Birubari, went missing while he was playing in front of the Alis’ home on the morning of July 30. He was suspected to be kidnapped and killed later, as the abductor demanded a ransom of Rs 15 lakh for his release. Farzan is still traceless.

Fulber Ali filed a habeas corpus petition on November 29 after police failed to trace his deceased son’s body. Ali filed the writ petition (WP (C) 42/11) in the high court alleging that the police showed negligence in the investigation.

“We are suspecting the role of police in the case. Though Mahesh Kalita in his 161 CrPc statement to police confessed to killing Farzan and throwing his body in Deepor Beel, the police could not collect any evidence against him. Kalita later did an about turn and denied the charges in his 164 CrPc statement before the chief judicial magistrate, a move that helped him get bail,” said the counsel of the petitioner, Siddharth Bhattacharjee.

“We argued before the court that if the six persons arrested confessed to killing Farzan, why they were not booked under Section 302 and their statements not recorded under 164 CrPc,” added the counsel.





LEGAL NEWS 22/23.12.2011

2002 Gujarat riots: Nanavati Commission credibility hit again

The Nanavati Commission which is inquiring into the 2002 Gujarat riots has been facing criticism on various counts, especially the delay in submission of its report. Amazingly, on Tuesday it got its seventeenth extension, harming its credibility even further.

The commission’s credentials were always questionable as it was appointed by the same Gujarat government which was in the dock over the riots. The manner in which the commission went about its job did nothing to belie suspicion about its very purpose. Despite its terms being expanded to include examining the role of chief minister Narendra Modi, the commission has not summoned him for deposition so far.

One of the members of the probe panel – Justice Akshay Mehta – was under a cloud due to the revelations of Babu Bajrangi, the prime accused in the Naroda Patiya massacre. In a sting operation, Bajrangi claimed that Justice Mehta had granted him bail as a high court judge without even looking at the files, with Mr Modi having a role in the case being assigned to him.

Further, the acquittal of 63 accused in the Godhra train case was an embarrassment for the panel which had concurred with the police’s story. Expecting an unbiased report from such a panel seems like a long shot.





Supreme Court committee members to visit Mullaperiyar dam


Two members of the Supreme Court-appointed Empowered Committee (EC) on Mullaperiyar dam will visit the dam on Saturday.

C.D. Thatte and D.K. Mehta, the technical members of the EC, will visit the Idukki, Kulamavu, and Cheruthoni dams on their way to Mullaperiyar dam on Friday. Mullaperiyar Special Cell chairman M.K. Parameswaran Nair and member James Wilson, Irrigation Department Chief Engineer P. Lathika, and Irrigation Department Executive Engineer (Inter-State Waters) Leena George will accompany the committee members.

The members are expected to reach Thekkady by evening and stay there overnight, senior government sources told The Hindu. On Saturday, they will visit Mullaperiyar dam. As per the schedule, they are expected to spend the entire day at the dam. The members will then proceed to Tamil Nadu on Sunday where they will visit among other places the Vaigai Reservoir.

The visit by EC members assume significance in the wake of recurring tremors experienced in the vicinity of the dam and the tension prevailing between the two border States over the safety of the dam.

Tamil Nadu authorities have brought equipment from Maharashtra to check the safety of the dam ahead of the visit of EC members.





Court orders status quo

Special Correspondent

The Madras High Court on Thursday ordered that status quo be maintained till December 23 in a matter relating to a building allotted to M.K. Stalin, Kolathur MLA, to run his office in the constituency.

Justice V. Dhanapalan passed the order on a writ petition by Mr. Stalin.

Mr. Stalin stated that the Chennai Corporation had allotted him the building on First Circle Road in Jawahar Nagar. It was an old structure and had not been used for at least 10 years by the civic body. It was renovated to run the MLA office. On Thursday a resolution was adopted authorising the corporation to recover the building. He alleged that the authorities were determined to take over the building. False information was furnished in the resolution as if there was an order in a writ petition that the building should be used only for educational activities. At no point of time was the 4500 sq.ft. structure used for educational purposes. Ever since a portion of the building was allotted to him, the State government started questioning the same. There was an immediate urgency to protect the office.

Mr. Justice Dhanapalan said after hearing the Advocate-General he intended to hear the action contemplated under the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act, under which the State government should give an opportunity of hearing to the person concerned. The Advocate-General consistently said that an opportunity was given. The Judge posted the case for Friday.





Actor told to appear before Family Court

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BHUBANESWAR: A family court has asked actor Dushmant Panda and his wife Kajal to appear on January 25. Earlier, a case had been before the family court by Priti Mohanty who had claimed that the duo was in a conjugal relationship.

�Panda has been surrounded by controversy ever since Priti came up with the claims and even his marriage with actress Kajal was a spoilt affair.� Cases have been filed with the police from both sides in this connection. �






Court directs owner not to run chemical unit

TNN | Dec 23, 2011, 03.36AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday directed a chemical factory owner to refrain from running the factory, following gas leakage on January 28, 2011, which had claimed six lives and injured 10 persons.

The order was passed by a division bench comprising Justice Abdul Mateen and Justice SK Saxena on the PIL filed by Uttam Kumar Gupta and others. The PIL demanded compensation to the victims’ families and action against the factory – Amit Hetrochem Labs India Ltd, Hardoi – for violating the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act. On Thursday, the court was apprised that the factory was going to run its business, which is not just. However, the owners of the factory contended that they were shifting to Gujarat.







Vaitarna among most polluted rivers in state

TNN | Dec 23, 2011, 06.22AM IST

MUMBAI: Vaitarna, which provides drinking water to Mumbai, is among the most polluted rivers in Maharashtra. The only solace for Mumbaikars is that the BMC has one of the finest water treatment plants in the country. Residents of other towns are not so lucky.

In an affidavit filed before the Bombay High Court, in reply to a PIL filed by former BMC corporator Nicholas Almeida, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has admitted that the bio-chemical oxygen demand (BOD) exceeds its standard of 5mg/litre all the time.

Among rivers where the values are exceeded all the time are Bhima, Damanganga , Godavari, Indrayani, Kolar , Krishna, Mithi, Mula, Mutha, Pawana, Pedhi, Purna , Tapi, Ulhas, Vaitarna, Wena and Wainganga. Many townships located on riverbanks are the sources of pollution , said the MPCB. “High BOD values observed in the downstream stretch of rivers at major cities indicate poor domestic waste water treatment. Locations close to the cities show frequent noncompliance of standards,” reads the MPCB report.

The board has 248 monitoring sites and checked the water quality of all rivers in the state on a monthly basis between 2007 and 2009.

Almeida said he was forced to file the PIL as the state was granting permissions to set up hazardous industries close to riverbanks through the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). “If the government violates its own notification, what can an ordinary citizen do,” he asked.

The MPCB report states that water quality of 29 seafronts and creeks is poor, except at Ganapatipule, Bhagwati Bunder, Karambhane creek and Mandavi Bunder. Polluted beaches include Malabar Hill, Gateway of India, Nariman Point, Girgaum Chowpatty, Haji Ali, Dadar Chowpatty, Worli sea-face , Mahim creek, Juhu beach, Versova, Vashi, Thane and Kalwa creek and Arnala.

Nitrate pollution is becoming more prevalent in ground water in Maharashtra, states the report. Studies carried out by Groundwater Survey and Development Agency revealed that 87 talukas in 22 districts have shown nitrate levels about desirable limits.

The MPCB told the HC that high nitrate levels are of great concern as it may cause mortality , especially in newborns.

Godfrey Pimenta, Almeida’s advocate, said the HC on Thursday issued a showcause notice to MPCB to explain why polluting industries were allowed to operate near rivers. The next hearing is on January 16.





2002 post-Godhra riots probe: Nanavati Mehta Inquiry Commission to give final report by March

TNN | Dec 23, 2011, 04.16AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The Nanavati Mehta Inquiry Commission probing the 2002 post-Godhra riots will submit its final report by March 31, 2012. During hearing on a PIL seeking details on the status on the commission, the state government produced a letter from the panel stating that it will submit its report by the end of March.

The submission was made by government pleader P K Jani before a Gujarat high court division bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala. Last week, the court had asked the state government to find out from the two-member commission if it had got an extension and when it would be submitting its findings.

The direction was issued on the basis of a PIL filed by Jignesh Goswami through his advocate K G Pandit. Goswami in his petition had sought to know whether the commission has applied for extension of its term, and if yes, was the state government ready to grant it.

On Thursday, the government pleader submitted the letter from the commission. It says that the commission is likely to submit its report by the end of its extended term, which is March 31, 2012. Jani also informed the court that on December 20, the commission’s term, which was to end on December 31, was extended till March 31. This is the 17th extension given to the commission since its inception in March 2002.

After hearing the response from the commission and government, the HC bench said they would wait till March 31, and if no report is submitted by then, the matter would be taken up in first week of April for appropriate orders.

The petitioner had sought details on the grounds that public money to the tune of Rs 6.37 crore has been spent on the commission since its inception in March 2002.

The petitioner has said that even after more than nine years, and 17 extensions, it has only submitted an interim report in September 2008, but not given its final report, neither has it informed the state government or the people of Gujarat when it intends to submit the final report, he added.






ISKCON allowed to have Jagannath Rath Yatra at Shivaji Park

Published: Thursday, Dec 22, 2011, 22:27 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The Bombay high court on Thursday granted permission to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) to hold Jagannath Rath Yatra at Shivaji Park on January 7, 2012.

A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi have allowed Iskcon to hold the rath yatra, however, with the condition that they would not disturb the scheduled cricket matches at the park.

Sandeep Aole, advocate for Wecom trust, who had originally filed PIL seeking declaration of Shivaji Park as silence zone, said that cricket matches have been scheduled at the Shivaji Park for January 7 and 8, 2012. “If stages are erected then it would damage the cricket pitch,” said Aole.

Sachin Shetye, advocate for ISKCON, assured Aole that the stage would be in one corner and would not damage the pitch. However, Aole contended that it would still damage the outfield. “The outfield would be occupied even if they don’t use the pitch,” said Aole.

The court has allowed ISKCON to use the Park on January 6, 7 and 8, 2012, and asked them to clean the ground immediately after the rath yatra.

They have also been directed to ensure that the cricket pitch is not affected in any ways.




Bombay HC asks BMC to clear Vikhroli hurdles on foot overbridge

Published: Friday, Dec 23, 2011, 8:45 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

In a major relief to commuters at the Vikhroli railway station, the Bombay High Court has asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to clear all illegal encroachments on either side of the station by March 31, 2012.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi has also given time till January 5, 2012, to half a dozen illegal shops, which are falling in the line of extension of the foot overbridge (FOB), to give an undertaking that they will remove the structures on their own by March 31. Failing this, the corporation has been directed to demolish these shops.

The HC had, on October 14, directed demolition of illegal shops while hearing a PIL stating that several deaths have been taken place at the level crossing at Vikhroli.

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

“We clearly said that take action against those shops, which are in the green zone (area acquired by railways) and for the other illegal shops in the area, follow due process of law,” said Justice Dalvi.
When the shop owners sought more time to get documents (showing they existed before the platform 1 was constructed), the court said that their assessment has showed that the documents were fabricated.

Justice Dalvi said, “We have found your (shop owners) documents were fabricated. Probably it is done in collusion with the corporation.”

Refuting the allegation, Geeta Joglekar, advocate for the BMC, said that they have issued notices to the shops and are in the process of passing final orders.

“We didn’t ask you (BMC) to assess. We have already done that. You just had to take action against these shops, which fall in the acquired area,” said Justice Dalvi.

The high court had on December 7 given an ultimatum to the Central Railway authorities and asked them to demolish illegal encroachments outside the Vikhroli station in order to extend the FOB.






Incumbent of SEC being finalized

PTI | 11:12 PM,Dec 22,2011

Puducherry, Dec 22 (PTI): A decision will soon be taken to appoint the State Election Commissioner, paving the way for holding of civic polls which are due, official sources said. They said a list of four names has been submitted to the Lt Governor for finalising an incumbent. The SEC post has remained vacant since 2007 after the previous incumbent completed his tenure and goverment would go ahead with preparations for the polls as soon as the name is finalised, they said. Puducherry has two municipal councils (Puducherry and Oulgaret councils) while Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam regions have one council each. There are 10 commune panchayats (all in Karaikal) while there would be 98 village panchayats. The last poll in June/July 2007 was the first civic poll held after a 38 year gap and for the first time under the Village and Commune panchayats Act 1973. The present poll would be second under the legislation. The term of office of the civic bodies constituted in the wake of the polls held in 2006 had ended in July this year. CPI(M) had filed a PIL in Madras High Court for a directive to revive through elections democratically elected civic bodies, following which the court had directed preparation of logistics for the polls. Appointment of the SEC is the first step in this regard. It is feared that want of elected civic bodies would deprive the local administration department of central funds. PTI COR SS







Court orders fresh probe into girl’s death at Nitin Gadkari’s Nagpur

A two-year-old case of the mysterious death of a seven-year-old girl has come back to haunt BJP president Nitin Gadkari . A Nagpur court on Wednesday ordered to reopen the case and asked the Maharashtra Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to probe the matter further.

The body of Yogita Thakre was found in the boot of a car parked at Gadkari’s Nagpur residence on May 19, 2009.

The police had initially registered a case of accidental death, but later made it a case of murder. The post-mortem examination report indicated that the child was smothered. It stated that abrasions and wounds were found on the body.

However the CID, which took over the case in 2010 after Yogita’s father filed a PIL, called the death accidental. Since then the victim’s family has been fighting for justice.

The court rejected the CID’s closure report after the family insisted that the girl did not die accidentally but was murdered.






Proposed citizen charter law to cover pvt sector

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 23, 2011

The private sector utilities providing public services such as electricity distribution companies have been brought under the ambit of the citizen’s grievance redressal, also known as citizen’s charter bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha this week. The proposed law provides for designating

a public grievance officer responsible for redressal of grievances of citizens within a period of 30 days. It also mandates each public authority to have a citizen’s charter defining its public services and duty of officials in providing the services.

Failing to redress the grievance in 30 days could result in fine of up to Rs 50,000 by the state grievance redressal commission and action against the erring officer. The bill also prescribes grievance redressal mechanism to be adopted by public authorities. 

The definition of the public authority in the proposed bill mentions that any company which supplies goods or renders services in pursuance of an obligation imposed under any Central or State Act or under any license of authorization under any law for the time being in force by the Central and the State government.

This clearly covers private companies such electricity distribution or municipal service companies which have signed an agreement with the government to provide services to people on behalf of the government. Companies providing other services such as telecom and health would also be covered.

The definition of public authority under the Right To Information (RTI) law was regarding private sector substantially financed by the government. But, the proposed grievance law is a step forward from the RTI law with provisions clearly including private companies rendering public services.

The proposed law explicitly mentions any agreement between the government and private entity including Public Private Partnership agreements to be covered, which the government had refused to bring under the ambit of transparency law RTI.

Once the proposed bill is enacted, the citizens will get another platform to get their grievances redressed apart from consumer courts. With it, the government has tried to address a major concern of citizens regarding companies not heeding to their complaints.




Banks to move SC for more time to shift out

Aniruddha Ghosal, TNN | Dec 23, 2011, 01.35AM IST

NOIDA: The Noida Authority on Thursday met banks and residents affected by the SC order banning commercial units in residential plots to devise a solution to the problem. Banks requested an amendment in the city’s master plan allowing mixed land use, however Authority officials said they needed time for such policy changes.

Officials also requested banks to approach the SC for an extension to shift from the residential plots.

“We don’t want to move to a far flung commercial space. The relocation process or any policy level change undertaken by the Authority will take time, which was our primary demand,” said Rohit Sapra of Noida Residents Bank Association.

The banks have requested the Authority for a letter stating more time is needed to effectively deal with the situation so that they can approach the apex court.

“Neither the Authority nor residents can approach the SC. Therefore, banks are the only affected party who can plead for an extension,” said an Authority official.







SC/ST Commission summons Collector

PARADIP: The Chairman of National Commission for SC and ST, PL Punia, has summoned Jagatsinghpur Collector Narayan Chandra Jena and SP S. Debdatta Singh for personal appearance on December 27 in connection with the Kujang firecrackers explosion case.

�As Kujang police have been silent on the issue even a month after the incident,� State Dalit Association president Ashok Biswal and Jagatsinghpur Ambedkar Association president Manoj Bhoi had sought the intervention of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes seeking proper inquiry into the explosion besides compensation to the injured persons and kin of the deceased.

�Though two persons of Balrampur village had lodged an FIR against the accused, Kujang police are yet to act against those involved. Police have, however, registered a case against the owner of firecracker manufacturing unit.

�The Collector, meanwhile, said he is yet to receive any letter from the Commission� for appearance but the administration has already requested the State Government to compensate the victim families and steps have been taken for the purpose.

�Meanwhile, IG (Crime Branch) Susant Nath visited Kujang police station and inquired about the probe status. He also visited the spot at Kujang bazaar where the explosion took place in November.








SC clarification sought on advancement of 2G cutoff date

New Delhi, Dec. 22:

The Additional Solicitor General of India, Mr Mohan Parasaran, has taken a view that a clear direction should be sought from the Supreme Court on the legality of the Telecom Ministry’s decision to advance the cut off date for applying for new 2G licences from October 1, 2007 to September 25, 2007.

The case relates to an appeal filed by STel, one of the new players who did not get licences in all the areas they applied due to the change in the cut off date. While the Delhi High Court had quashed the Ministry’s decision to advance the cut off date, the Supreme Court did not give a clear ruling as STel pulled out its appeal.

“In the light of the facts that the matter was not heard on merits, it would be improper to sustain the High Court’s findings and therefore a clarification of the Supreme Court’s order is necessary for clearly bringing out the legal anomaly that is created by the Supreme Court’s observation of not interfering with the High Court’s findings with regard to the cut off date,” Mr Parasaran said in response to a query from the Department of Telecom.

STel had applied for 22 circles but was given licences only for 6 areas on grounds that its application for the other 16 circles was made after September 25, 2007. STel challenged the decision and sought that the decision to advance the cut off date from October 1 be quashed. The Delhi High Court ruled in favour of the company and quashed the press release issued by the Telecom Ministry through which it had announced the change in cut-off date. The Government challenged this decision in the Supreme Court. But even as the hearings were going on Stel withdrew its appeal on grounds that market situation had changed and it agreed with the Government’s decision. As a result, the Supreme Court dismissed the entire case. According to Mr Parasaran this has created an anomaly on the legality of the issue.







Pune youngster gets 6 year RI for molesting minor

Published: Thursday, Dec 22, 2011, 11:55 IST
By Team DNA | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

The court of additional sessions judge, MG Chilbule, on Wednesday sentenced a 23-year-old youth to 6 years’ rigorous imprisonment for molesting a minor girl. The court also slapped the convict with a fine of Rs1,000.

The incident took place on July 15, 2007. According to the prosecution, Rahul alias Babu Ashok Shinde of Yerawada, not only outraged the modesty of the minor girl from the same locality, but also used derogatory language as the victim belonged to a Dalit family.

On July 15, 2007, Shinde tried to stop the victim on road while she was going home with her nephew. But when the girl did not stop, Shinde dragged her to a vacant plot and molested her. Disturbed by this incident, the victim stopped eating properly.

During the trial, two eyewitnesses told the court that one month before the incident, Shinde had misbehaved with the girl near Regional Mental Hospital gate and said that since she belonged to the Dalit community, no one could dare to question him.
Swimming coach commits suicide

Unable to deal with rejection from a girl, a 26-year-old swimming coach, Suyog Rajaram Shinde, committed suicide by throwing himself into a stone quarry on Vetal tekdi. He was a resident of

Deccan Gymkhana and worked as a swimming coach in a city-based five-star hotel.

Police inspector (crime) SB Navle of Chatuhshrungi police station said they found a suicide note in his truosers. Navle said Suyog had been missing since December 14 and his family had registered a missing person’s complaint with the Deccan police.






J&K sex scandal: Victim turns hostile, gives clean chit to six accused

After giving a clean chit to five of the accused in the previous two hearings, one of the ‘victims’, on Thursday, gave a breather to another accused in the ongoing trial of the infamous J&K sex scandal in the special court of CBI.

According to the CBI special counsel RK Handa, the 28-year-old ‘victim’ had earlier recorded her statement before CBI, in the presence of District and Sessions Judge of Srinagar court, implicating six persons for allegedly molesting her.

“During cross examination in CBI court, the victim has now diverged from her previous statements saying that she never made a complaint against anyone in the case,” said Handa.

The six accused were identified as Absar Ahmad Dar, Ashraf Mir, Hilal, Mehrajudin Malik, Riaz Ahmad, Ahjaz Ahmad Bhatt. The case is scheduled for next hearing on February 7 and 8. The evidence process will continue in the next hearing.

The scandal hit headlines in March 2006 after an MMS was found doing rounds in Jammu and Kashmir. During investigations it was found that prime accused Sabeena was allegedly engaged in supplying girls to various officials in the state. A number of bureaucrats, politicians and police officials had been named in the case.

Later the case was transferred from police to the CBI. A total of nine cases for various offences, including Section 376 (rape) of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), Immoral Trafficking Act and the Information Technology Act were registered.

Nine accused were named in one case, while three each were named in the remaining eight cases. Sabina, who had allegedly introduced the ‘victims’ to the other accused, had been named in all the cases.

In September 2006, the apex court had ordered transferring of the case to the Chandigarh Sessions Court from Jammu and Kashmir High Court. The order to transfer the trial to Chandigarh came on a petition of 14 accused who contended that “no lawyer” in Srinagar was willing to defend them and the state bar association had already passed a resolution to that effect.

While the evidence process continued for over three years in Chandigarh Sessions court, the case was transferred to CBI court in October 2010.








Juvenile delinquent’ seeks justice


Guwahati, Dec. 22: Benjamin G. Momin was 15 when they sent him to jail instead of a juvenile home. Having spent his entire youth as an undertrial, Momin, now 27, is still waiting for someone to hear his voice.

Behind the high walls of Guwahati Central Jail, Momin lives in a world of his own, dreaming of justice, which remains a far pavilion.

The plight of the juvenile delinquent, who has spent 11 years in jail pending trial, came to light when he wrote a letter to Gauhati High Court Chief Justice A.K. Goel on December 3, pleading for speedy trial and claiming that gross injustice had been meted out to him.

“I was only 15 years old when I was arrested in January 2000 and since then I have been in jail without any education. My family is very poor and can’t afford a lawyer. Sir, I have spent almost half my life behind the bars and have no idea about my future. Every hour and every day I am waiting for someone to hear my voice and help me,” Momin said in his letter.

I shall ever remain thankful to you if your honour kindly looks into the matter and imparts justice to me,” he added.

He has sent copies of the letter to district and sessions judge, Kamrup, Rumi K. Phukan and the chairperson of Assam Human Rights Commission, Aftab Hussain Saikia.

In his letter, of which The Telegraph has a copy, Momin says despite being a minor when he was arrested in 2000, he was sent to jail instead of a juvenile justice home.

Two certificates — one issued by the school where he studied and the other his birth certificate issued by the Nagaland government — submitted in court mentions his date of birth as May 2, 1984.

According to court records, Momin, who hails from Mendipathar in East Garo Hills district of Meghalaya (it is not known where Momin’s family lives now) was arrested in January 2000 from Dimapur in Nagaland, where he was studying in Assembly of God High School, in connection with a robbery and murder case registered at Boko police station in Kamrup district of Assam on November 7, 1999.

The district and sessions court, Kamrup, where the case came up for trial in 2005, had written to the headmaster of the school and the director of the department of economics and statistics of Nagaland to verify that the documents submitted by Momin were genuine.

The court, where the case (sessions case number 287-K) is still pending, is awaiting the two replies.

Md Mehdi Hassan, a lawyer who visited Momin in jail a few days ago, said, “If the certificates submitted by him are genuine then gross injustice was done to him. According to the law, juvenile delinquents cannot be sent to jail and they should be shifted to juvenile justice homes or observation homes because they are yet to attain adulthood.”

Hassan said before making any such arrest, the police need to make every effort to ascertain if the criminal is a juvenile.

There have been allegations that the police often arrest juvenile delinquents, ignoring documentary proof of their age put forward by their families. The children are sent to juvenile homes only after the fact is established in court.

When asked about Momin’s trial pending in court for so many years, another lawyer, requesting anonymity, said, there is a Supreme Court judgment on the right to speedy trial.

He said a long-pending trial was unjust as it brought uncertainty and anxiety in its wake and this inhibited an undertrial from making future plans or executing present ones. His confidence starts to erode and at the end of the trial, even if he is honourably acquitted, the scars remain.

“He feels condemned despite the acquittal,” the lawyer added.







Case against Moran MLA to continue

Dec 22, 2011, 11.02PM IST

DIBRUGARH: The court of district and sessions judge, Dibrugarh, has ruled that the case against Congress legislator from Moran Jibantara Ghatowar, pertaining to submission of forged documents while filing nomination papers during the 2006 assembly elections, will continue.

In a judgment on November 18, the court observed that there was sufficient ground to presume that the accused had committed an offence u/s 199/471 of the IPC. In 2006, the complainant, Dayananda Borgohain, a rival candidate of Ghatowar, had moved the Dibrugarh CJM court (case no 123 c/2006), challenging that she had shown a false affidavit at the time of filing nomination papers before the returning officer for the election using forged documents as genuine.

According to the complainant, Ghatowar had mentioned that she appeared in the HSLC examination from Chinamara High School in 1979 whereas school records say she left the school in 1975. The legislator, who is the wife of Union DoNER minister Paban Singh Ghatowar, had submitted a photocopy of an admit card wherein it was shown that she appeared in the HSLC examination from the school in 1982.

The principal of Chinamara High school, Dilip Sarma also deposed before the court that the accused studied in his school till 1975 and there was no record of her appearing in any examination from that school after that.

Significantly, the judgment of the court assumes importance as a compromise was reached between the petitioner and respondent and the complainant agreed not to proceed further with the case and withdraw the same from the CJM court Dibrugarh. Sessions judge NK Bora, in his recent judgment, stated that in the event of non-appearance of the complainant in the course of trial, the court will pass an appropriate order in due course of time.

Hailing the judgment, AGP candidate Sunil Rajkonwar, who contested against Jibantara Ghatowar in the 2011 assembly polls from Moran, said the legislator should step down immediately on moral grounds in view of the recent circumstances.

“Being a representative of people, it is unbecoming on her part to resort to falsehood and deceit. She should honour the sentiments of the public and resign immediately. Even before the last assembly elections, I had appealed for disqualification of the Congress candidate,” Rajkonwar said on Thursday.





Court grants bail to Mitrasen Yadav

TNN | Dec 23, 2011, 03.57AM IST

FAIZABAD: Additional sessions judge of Faizabad on Thursday granted bail to senior Samajwadi Party leader Mitrasen Yadav in an embezzlement case.

Granting him bail, additional session judge Faridul Haque ordered the suspension of the sentence awarded of additional chief judicial magistrate of Faizabad A K Shukla, who had earlier sentenced Mitrasen to seven years of rigorous imprisonment, and had also imposed a fine of Rs 15,000. The case is related to an embezzlement of Rs 62,000 from the accounts of Kisan Inter College of which Yadav used to be the manager. The case was filed against him in 1997 in Tarun police station of the district.

Mitrasen Yadav, a three term MP is Samajwadi Party’s candidate for upcoming 2012 state assembly polls from Bikapur constituency of Faizabad.







Jethava case: Investigator seeks nod for narco test

Prashant Dayal, TNN | Dec 23, 2011, 03.54AM IST

AHMEDABAD: Superintendent of police Surendranagar, Raghavendra Vatsa, who is probing the RTI activist Amit Jethava murder case, has sought permission to conduct narco analysis on six arrested accused. Vatsa has filed an application in the sessions court in this connection.

Vatsa said that the test is necessary to ascertain whether the member of parliament, Dinu Solanki, is connected to the murder case. The slain activist’s father Bhikha Jethava had accused Solanki of masterminding his son’s murder.

Amit was shot on July 20, 2010, at 8.30 pm outside the Gujarat high court by two persons. A complaint was later lodged with the Sola police. Investigation in the case was later handed over to crime branch and six persons were arrested including two shooters. Solanki’s nephew Shiva Solanki was also among those arrested.

Not convinced by the police investigation, Bhikha moved the Gujarat high court, alleging that Ahmedabad crime branch was trying to shield the MP. On November 12, HC handed over the probe to Surendranagar SP. Vatsa had sought police remand for all the six accused on December 7. However, the remand application was rejected. Vatsa then questioned the accused inside the Sabarmati Central Jail.

After this session, Vatsa told the court that the accused were hiding more than they were ready to reveal. To unearth the truth, he felt, that the accused should be subjected to forensic interrogation through narco and lie-detection tests.

Vatsa cited six reasons for conducting the narco test. He told the court that he had grilled all the accused between December 12 and 14. “When I asked them about Solanki, all the accused gave unsatisfactory replies and seemed to be hiding much,” he said . Two other accused – Bahadur Vader and Sailesh Pandya – were questioned about the weapon used to shoot Amit. Vatsa told the court that both gave contradictory statements.

In a similar manner, when an accused Pachan Desai was asked about the car used in the murder, he too gave contradictory statement about the ownership of the vehicle.








‘Will clear Indu Mills in a week

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Dec 23, 2011, 05.38AM IST

MUMBAI: The state government on Thursday told the Bombay High Court that it would persuade squatters inside Indu Mills to vacate within a week and if they did not, it would evict them forcibly.

A division bench of Justice D K Deshmukh and Justice Anoop Mohta was hearing a petition filed by National Textile Corporation Limited, seeking eviction of followers of Dr B R Ambedkar who have taken possession of the mill. Additional government pleader G W Mattos said that the government would make efforts to settle the issue within a week by persuading squatters to voluntarily vacate. If such efforts fail, then the government will remove them forcibly within three days thereafter, he added.

The court got the government to make this statement after upbraiding it in the morning session. Mattos had submitted that the government had initiated dialogue with the various groups and was confident of resolving the issue. Justice Deshmukh retorted, “Where is the question of negotiation? Are you saying that the terrorists who entered the Taj, you would negotiate with them?”

Republican Party of India advocate B K Barve protested. “We are not terrorists. We are followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar,” he thundered. “We are Indian citizens. We are not claiming a territory of India but an inch of land from the map of India near Chaityabhoomi,” said Barve. He said that RPI supporters are “sitting there for worship of Lord Gautam Buddha and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.” Barve said both houses of legislature have agreed to give one-third land meant for Mhada for the memorial. Even if the Union government has given the land to the state, what right did they have to go and squat in the mill, asked the judges. “What right do you have to go there,” asked Justice Deshmukh. “Even if your entire case is accepted, how will your forcible entry on the land serve the purpose,” he asked.

Advocate Sangraj Rupawate, appearing for Anandraj Ambedkar of the Republican Sena, said that they were willing to withdraw after the central government makes an announcement. “This will go on. Otherwise, they will be at the gate. This will lead to a law and order problem for the police.”

“Are you threatening the government,” asked Justice Deshmukh. He added, “You have made your point. You wanted to invite attention. Now you (squatters) leave. If this measure is sanctified and everybody starts behaving like this for fulfilling their demand, then what would remain?”

The judges added that NTC moved court to protect its land. “That is a constitutional method. If you had adopted it, even Dr Ambedkar would have approved,” said Justice Deshmukh. Rupawate said that a public interest litigation for a memorial for Ambedkar was dismissed in 2008 saying “the remedy lies elsewhere”.

The judges said they are dismayed at the stand adopted by the state. “Your attitude is totally baffling. Why are you willing to go on with blatant illegality? This will only show that the government is spineless and has no authority,” said Justice Deshmukh. The matter is adjourned to January 4.







Hasan Ali booked for hiding info regarding passport

Last Updated: Thursday, December 22, 2011, 12:00

Pune: The Pune Passport Office has filed a complaint against the main accused in money laundering and tax evasion case Hasan Ali Khan for allegedly giving false information while renewing his passport in 2004, police said on Thursday.

Khan is booked under sections 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) of the Indian Penal Code and sections 10 (3) and 12 (1) of Indian Passport Act by Chatushrungi police station.

The passport office has said in its complaint that the city-based stud farm owner, while applying for renewal of his passport, deliberately did not disclose information about the other two passports held in his name.

Police said that Enforcement Directorate’s (ED’s) investigation has revealed this act of forgery on part of Hasan who is currently lodged in Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai.

According to the FIR, Hasan also had furnished false residential proof to obtain the passport. He had not given information about the previous passports, which he had obtained from the passport offices in Patna, Chandigarh and Guwahati.

“We will follow the directives given by ED and the court in this regard,” police said.








No bail for Maulana held for forcing conversion

The Metropolitan Court on Thursday rejected the bail application of a Muslim cleric who was arrested for forcing a Hindu girl to convert to Islam after her marriage to a Muslim boy.

The accused, Maulana Yusuf Khan Pathan from Mirzapur area of Ahmedabad, was arrested by Karanj police on Tuesday under the provisions of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act.

According to details, Pathan had performed religious rituals to convert the girl from Hinduism to Islam after she got married to a Muslim boy.

The police had registered a case against the boy, Altaf Mirza, and Pathan under the provisions of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act and Indian Penal Code. The girl’s parent has lodged a complaint in this regard.

According to Karanj police Inspector M N Mirza, “Under the provisions of the Act, one cannot covert a person without the permission and information of the authorities. Therefore, the boy and the Maulana were arrested for forced conversion.”

“Maulana was produced before the court and he had moved bail application subsequently. However, his bail application has been rejected by the court and he has been sent to judicial custody,” Mirza added.







Jharkhand Ex-minister owned DA worth 3217% above his income: CBI

Former Jharkhand health minister Bhanu Pratap Shahi owned disproportionate asset (DA) to the tune of 3217% above his actual income said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The startling revelation was made by the CBI in its charge sheet filed before the court of special judge NN Singh on Thursday. The charge sheet was submitted under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Besides Shahi, the agency filed charge sheet against six other associates of the former minister namely Uma Shankar Malviya, the officer on special duty during Shahi’s tenure as minister, Ajay Singh, a Delhi-based businessman who used to convert Shahi’s cash into white money, Santoshi Devi and her husband Anirudha Prasad Sengal, Shahi’s sister and brother-in-law, Prashant Kumar Singh and Abhishek Singh, Shahi’s niece.     

The CBI’s charge sheet mentioned that Shahi, misusing his official post and position, has amassed huge assets to the tune of Rs 6.99 crore, which is above 3217% of his actual income.  The agency informed the court that Shahi had purchased 10 acres of land in Ranchi worth Rs 19 lakh in the name of his sister and niece, a flat worth Rs 22 lakh in Prabodh Tower at Shradhanand Road, Ranchi and another flat in Gurgaon.

The agency also revealed that Shahi had founded Dehati Asthapna Trust in which Rs 25.45 lakh was donated by people whose names and addresses were found to be non- existent.

Shahi, who has been languishing here at the Birsa Munda Central Jail for the last three months, is currently undergoing treatment at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS).

One Durga Oraon in a PIL filed before the Jharkhand high court first raised the matter highlighting therein as to how several ministers in the state owned huge properties in excess to their known sources of income.

Responding to Oraon’s petition, the court in August 2010, had handed over the disproportionate asset case lodged by the state vigilance bureau against former chief minister Madhu Koda, his former cabinet colleagues Kamlesh Kumar Singh, Bhanu Pratap Shahi, Harinarayan Rai, Enos Ekka and Bandhu Tirkey to the CBI for a thorough probe.

Shahi is also an accused in another case lodged by the CBI pertaining to Rs 130 crore medicine purchase scam in the state’s health department.








Trouble for Ravi, FIR filed against him

Bangalore, Dec 22, DHNS:

The complaint has been registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code. The Lokayukta police have been directed to submit a report on the investigation on January 18.

Chikmagalur councillor R Devi Prasad had filed a private complaint on December 15, accusing Ravi of obtaining civic amenity sites in the name of his wife, Pallavi Ravi, through fraudulent means and also obtaining multiple housing sites.

Prasad had alleged that three civic amenity sites in Chikmagalur were allotted to Anjaneya Education Society in 2007, of which Pallavi was the president and her sister Tejaswini the general secretary. The complaint alleged that the Society, which had been formed 17 years ago, had a completely different set of office bearers and had no activity recorded during those 17 years, until the Society made an application for that site for the purpose of starting a school. The complaint alleged that Ravi and others fabricated and forged documents.

In another instance, Ravi is accused of obtaining two sites from Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) in Chikmagalur. He is charged with lying that he does not own any other property. The complaint accused KHB of executing sale deeds in the name of Pallavi, even though the couple had made delayed payments for the sites and not paid the interest on it. The sites were also allotted in gross violation of rules.

According to rules, the sites should have been allotted by draw of lots. KHB overlooked pending applications for site allotment. Apart from Ravi and Pallavi, the complaint lists Tejaswini and her husband Sudarshan, Pavana Anoop, Revati Dharmapal, K N Puneet, Renuka Ramakrishna, Bhagya Eregowda, KHB Assistant Executive Engineer Siddalinga Swamy and Commissioner Lakshminarayana as accused.

5 yrs RI to traffic inspector

A traffic inspector attached to North Western Road Transport Corporation (NWRTC), caught red-handed by the Lokayukta in 2007 while accepting a bribe of Rs 1,000, has been convicted to undergo five years rigorous imprisonment.

A N Mulla was trapped following a complaint that he was demanding a bribe to allot duty and to sign the way bill. The District Sessions Court and Special Court of Belgaum has also imposed a fine of Rs 12,000. If he defaults on the fine, he will have to undergo simple imprisonment for five years.

SI in Lokayukta net

The Lokayukta police on Thursday trapped an assistant sub inspector in Bangalore, while he was accepting a bribe, following a complaint.

Ibrahim Shariff, a resident of DJ Halli had approached the Lokayukta, stating that ASI of DJ Halli police station Mahadevaiah was demanding a bribe of Rs 10,000 for not registering a case against him, in a family dispute. Following the complaint, the police laid a trap for him and arrested him along with another person, when the ASI tried to collect the money through a third person. A case has been registered with the Lokayukta police.








RTL executives challenge framing of charges

Staff Reporter

Three top executives of Reliance Telecom Limited (RTL) on Thursday moved the Delhi High Court challenging the framing of charges against them by the CBI special court in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

Taking their petitions on record, Justice V.K. Shali asked counsel for Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendera Piapara to file a synopsis of the charge framing order as the special’s court order was very long. The petitions would be taken up for hearing on January 16 next. The court is also seized of a petition by RTL challenging the framing of charges against it.

While framing charges against all the 17 accused in the 2G case under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act, Special Judge O.P. Saini on October 24 framed charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating against the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani-owned company and its three executives. RTL’s petition in the High Court said no incriminating material had been mentioned in the charge sheet or raised by the prosecution during the argument on the charge sheet.

The charges framed had no basis in law. In fact, there was no act or omission attributable to the petitioner that justified the continuation of criminal proceedings, the petition said.

The charges framed against the accused indicated multiple conspiracies. But it was unclear how and when the multiple conspiracies took place and how they formed a cohesive single conspiracy, the petition said.




Bhanwari Devi’s husband Amarchand sent to judicial custody

Amarchand, the husband of missing Rajasthan nurse Bhanwari Devi, was sent to judicial custody by a court in Jodhpur on Thursday, a lawyer said.

He was presented in the court after his Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) remand ended.

Amarchand was arrested by the CBI on December 8 after he failed to give satisfactory answers in connection with the case of her wife’s disappearance on September 1.

He accused the then minister Mahipal Maderna of being involved in his wife’s disappearance.

“Amarchand was presented in the court of an additional chief judicial magistrate. He has been quizzed for about 15 days and the CBI has got vital clues from his interrogation,” a source close to the CBI said.

His lawyer Mahish Vyas said that his client moved an application in the court requesting isolation in the jail as he was concerned about his security in the jail.

“He requested the court that he should be kept away from other three accused Shahabuddin, Baldev Jaat alias Balia and Sohan Lal who have been arrested in the case. The court has accepted his request,” said Vyas.

He was arrested when he did not cooperate with the agency and gave different versions during his interrogation.

Amarchand had tried to escape quizzing by the CBI sleuths in Jodhpur on December 7 a day before he was arrested but was caught within two hours and subjected to intense questioning.

He claimed his wife had been kidnapped at the behest of Maderna, who allegedly featured in a CD showing the two in a compromising position.

Maderna was arrested in Jodhpur on December 3 and Malkhan Singh Bishnoi, Congress legislator from Luni constituency, on December 19.

The agency has also arrested Parasram Bishnoi, brother of Malkhan Singh Bishnoi.

The agency also filed a charge sheet against the other three arrested accused in a court in Jodhpur.

In the charge sheet, Shahabuddin, Balia and Sohanlal were charged under Sections 364 (abduction with an intent to kill) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and various sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in the case.







8 sentenced to life in prison for murder bid

TNN | Dec 23, 2011, 02.09AM IST

PUNE: Additional sessions judge S D Tulankar on Thursday sentenced eight people to life imprisonment for attempting to murder a money lender from Nana Peth in March 2010 and also slapped a fine of Rs 9,000 each.

However, the judge acquitted criminal on police records Suryakant alias Bandu Andekar (52), his son, Krishna (20), and one Jaikumar Raghavachari (45) for the same offence. The Andekars were acquitted since the prosecution failed to prove their presence at the spot of crime.

The accused sentenced to life have been identified as Farooq Shaikh Mulani (19), Somnath Gaikwad (27), Amol Shahu Londhe (25), Santosh alias Pinkya Bharat Gawate (30), Sagar Arjun Shinde (28), Bablu Killer alias Bablu Vyankat Gaikwad, Sagar Parkhe (25) and Sagar alias Pappu Rajendra Pawar (25). They have been convicted under section 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act.

The incident had taken place on March 20, 2010, when around five armed men shot at the complainant, Somnath alias Pappu Baban Padwal, in Kolse galli off M G Road in Pune Camp.

According to the complaint, Padwal was standing with two of his friends at the corner of Kolse galli at 5.30 pm, when the suspects attacked him. The bullets fired had hit him on his chest, shoulders and chin. Padwal claimed that he had seen Bandu Andekar in an autorickshaw and the other accused standing nearby.



Two die as pole knocked down by trash truck crushes vehicles

Two persons died when an electric pole, which fell after a garbage dumper hit it, crushed their vehicles at Barapullah Flyover on Thursday evening. The driver of the dumper has been arrested.

Police said the incident occurred around 5.30 pm on the Nizamuddin-Noida stretch of Barapullah Flyover, Southeast Delhi. “A garbage dumper of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) hit the pole, bringing it down. The pole first hit the dumper, crushing its front portion, before smashing into a motorcycle and an autorickshaw,” an officer said. While the Pulsar motorcycle was swept off the flyover, the autorickshaw was completely crushed.

The victims have been identified as Sanjay (25), the motorcyclist, and Vijay (28), the autorickshaw driver. Passersby and police officers rushed the two to the AIIMS Trauma Centre, where doctors declared them dead on arrival. The bodies, which are being kept in the mortuary, will be handed over to relatives after a post-mortem examination on Friday morning.

Sanjay, an employee with BSES Power Ltd, used to live in Sunlight Colony with his parents, wife and two-year-old daughter.

Vijay lived in Ganesh Nagar with his family.

“The dumper driver, 26-year-old Abdul Rehman, has been arrested. A case of accident and causing death due to negligence has been registered against him under Sections 279 and 304 (a) of the Indian Penal Code. We have also seized his vehicle,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Southeast) Ajay Chaudhary. When questioned, Rehman reportedly told police that he had lost control over his vehicle.

The accident led to a massive traffic jam in the area.

The stretch from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to Sarai Kale Khan bus stand was packed with honking vehicles, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-Traffic) Prem Nath said.

“As the accident was a major one, it blocked the whole carriageway — causing the jam. The dumper and autorickshaw lay on the road for some time, obstructing vehicular movement. We sent SMS alerts to commuters to avoid further congestion on the stretch,” he said.







CBI files charge sheet against Minister’s son

Iboyaima Laithangbam

The Central Bureau of Investigation has filed a charge sheet against Nongthombam Ajay, son of Manipur’s Irrigation and Flood Control Minister N. Biren, in connection with the killing of a boy here on March 20 this year.

Ajay allegedly shot dead Irom Rozer, who refused to let him overtake his car near the Imphal airport. He was recently released on bail.

The CBI, however, said there was no evidence of involvement of four other youths in the incident and requested that they be acquitted. Trial of the case in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West, is expected to begin shortly.

Reports said that during a joyride on the occasion of the festival of colour, Ajay, miffed at Rozer not giving him side to overtake, whipped out a handgun and shot the boy dead. Ajay will be tried under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 27 of the Arms Act 1959.






No tusker for temple function

Timely intervention by elephant experts prevented an elephant from the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) from being taken off to participate in a religious procession in the middle of the city. The incident occurred on Thursday when an order to procure an elephant from Bannerghatta to perform at a temple in Jalahalli was issued by an undersecretary at the forest, environment and ecology secretariat, in the absence of the principal secretary.

The demand was allegedly backed by political leaders. Sources from the Forest Department told Deccan Chronicle that the order was issued without consulting the Wildlife PCCF. “When an elephant has to be moved, it requires a cocktail of procedures to be fulfilled including a medical fitness certificate from the wildlife vet. But we have been told that it was a special case and directly under the orders of Forest Minister C. P. Yogeshwar,” the sources said.

However, forest officials decided not to hand over the animal. “According to the recent rules of the Central Zoo Authority, no elephant can be used for joy rides and processions. This is a clear violation of rules and also several other rules under the Indian Penal Code. When you release a five tonne elephant in the middle of the road, there are chances of it running amok and causing heavy loss to humans and property. Elephants that are used to quiet surroundings are annoyed when they are in the middle of noise,” said an animal rights activist from Bengaluru.

Four years ago, the same temple was accused of keeping an elephant in poor conditions and the government had ordered it to be shifted to a rescue centre. “The latest trend could harm conservation efforts of captive elephants. Elephants from Kerala are brought to Bengaluru and are rented out. You pay Rs 15,000 to rent an elephant named Rajashekar which is now begging on the streets of Bengaluru,” the activist added.





NHRC orders CBI probe into journalist’s complaint

Special Correspondent

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe into the complaint of Amar Ujala reporter Sammiuddin alias Neelu that he was falsely implicated by the Lakhimpur Kheeri district police of Uttar Pradesh in a criminal case under the Wildlife Act and that the police were threatening that he would be bumped off in an encounter.

The CBI should also probe deep into the role of the then Superintendent of Police of the district and other policemen in the matter.

The NHRC took the decision as there were two contradicting reports of the State Crime Branch CID police, which investigated his compliant initially — first one stating that his complaint was genuine and the second one contradicting it. In fact the NHRC ordered payment of Rs.5 lakh to the journalist based on the CB-CID’s first report, dated March 8, 2007 and the compensation order issued by NHRC on February 4, 2010 as he was victimised by the police for exercising his right to freedom of expression.

However, after the second report of the CB-CID, the U.P. government stopped the payment and thereafter a case was registered against the journalist. The government said that it did not find any justification in granting relief to him (Sammiuddin) as recommended by the NHRC.

The CB-CID’s earlier report concluded that there were no independent witnesses except the police officers to state that Mr. Sammiuddin had in his possession contraband wildlife articles. The Departmental action was also taken against the errant police officials in the case for not procuring independent evidence.

Contradictory CB-CID reports

Now, after the second report of the CB-CID which contradicted its earlier report in the matter, the NHRC said that the matter had gone for a long time. “The protracted correspondence carried out with the State authorities and personal interaction with the Additional DG (Human Rights) on several occasions leads to one and only one escapable assumption that a concerted move is on to deny compensation to the victim — Sammiuddin — whose human rights have been violated by the UP State,” it said.

“It beats comprehension as to why a case registered and investigated by the CB-CID relating to animal skin and nails of tiger etc. allegedly recovered from the victim, culminated in the Final report (FR), but in the subsequent enquiry, the same agency, CB-CID, has changed its version and now trying to prove that the case was genuine one,” the Commission wondered and took a view that it was a case of alleged false implication by the police.

The reporter claimed that he was a respectable citizen and had no criminal history. He alleged that in the absence of independent evidence, the police had falsely implicated him.

The journalist made the complaint to the NHRC on July 13, 2006.







NHRC notice to MP govt over drug trial on mentally ill persons

PTI | 06:12 PM,Dec 23,2011

New Delhi, Dec 23 (PTI) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today issued notice to the Madhya Pradesh government over reports alleging illegal drug trials on mentally ill patients in Indore. Taking suo motu cognisance of a media report alleging that 233 mentally ill patients were subjected to drug trials in Indore, the NHRC asked state Chief Secretary to submit a report within four weeks. The Commission directed the Chief Secretary to inform whether guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) were followed by doctors while taking approval for the trials from independent ethics committees attached to private hospitals. The report also should contain details about the nature of drugs being tested and whether whether any survey has been conducted about the status of health of the mentally ill patients who have undergone drug trials. 233 mentally ill patients in Indore were subjected to clinical trials to check the efficacy of various drugs, including 42 patients for Dapoxeting, a drug used to cure premature ejaculation. The trials were conducted at private clinics by doctors of the mental hospital attached to the Mahatma Gandhi Medical College, Indore, between January 2008 and October, 2010, an NHRC statement said referring to a recent media report. “The concerned doctors had taken the approval for the trials from independent ethics committees attached to private hospitals both within and outside the State, thus bypassing the Mahatma Gandhi Medical College’s own institutional ethics committee. “Moreover, the clinics where the trials were conducted did not have the mandatory registration certificate from the District Chief Medical and Health Officer,” the Commission said quoting reports.







Foul” play in Army promotion procedure

PTI | 08:12 PM,Dec 22,2011

New Delhi, Dec 22 (PTI) A case of illegality in Army promotions has come to light where a Brigadier’s career records were erased in a “foul” manner which had almost cost him his elevation to the rank of Major General. The matter surfaced in the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) which was hearing the petition of Brigadier V G Gole, who had alleged that a portion of his Annual Confidential record (ACR) was erased, which was illegal, arbitrary and without jurisdiction. The officer had approached the Tribunal for expunging the effaced portion of his ACR and considering his case afresh for promotion to the rank of Maj Gen after he was denied elevation by an Army promotion panel in September last year. Allowing the petition, the Tribunal head Justice A K Mathur said, “It speaks volume that such kind of illegality can be committed against an officer. This is a serious matter and we are constrained to observe that it requires deeper consideration by higher authority. “They should pinpoint the officer responsible who has played foul thereby affecting the career of the officer. We allow this petition with cost of Rs 10,000 and expunge the effacing of the ACR of the Brigadier from January to June 2009″. The AFT said marks of the officer should be restored back and he should be considered for promotion to the post of Maj Gen in accordance with rules. The Tribunal directed the authorities that the impending retirement will not come in way of consideration of the petitioner for promotion to the post of Maj Gen.









PTI | 09:12 PM,Dec 22,2011

Focusing on improving accountability, the Lokpal and Focusing on improving accountability, the Lokpal and Lokayuktas in states will be autonomous and independent bodies with powers of superintendence and direction for holding a preliminary inquiry, causing an investigation to be made and prosecution of offences in respect of complaints under any law for the prevention of corruption. The Bill provides a uniform vigilance and anti corruption road map for the nation, both at Centre and States. It also institutionalises separation of investigation from prosecution and thereby removing conflict of interest as well as increasing the scope for professionalism and specialisation. The selection of Chairperson and Members of Lokpal shall be through a Selection Committee consisting of Prime Minister, Speaker and the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court Judge nominated by CJI, and eminent jurist to be nominated by the President. A Search Committee to assist Selection Committee in the process of selection will also be set up. 50 per cent of members of Search Committee shall be from amongst SC, ST, OBCs, Minorities and Women. The Prime Minister will be brought under the purview of the Lokpal with subject matter exclusions and specific process for handling complaints against the Prime Minister. Lokpal can not hold any inquiry against the Prime Minister if allegations relate to international relations, external and internal security of the country, public order, atomic energy and space.








HC Bar demands General House to discuss Justice Pal’s transfer

Over 1,000 lawyers of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association on Thursday requested the president of the High Court Bar to call a General House meeting “without any further delay” to discuss “grave issues of judicial accountability” arising out of a judgment of Justice Mohinder Pal.

The judgment became one of the “major reasons” for transfer of Justice Pal to Gujarat High Court.

In a requisition submitted to the Bar president that was signed by 1005 lawyers, they said “… the silence of the High Court Bar Association on such a vital matter is inconsistent with the highest traditions of the Association and the sensitivity that it has always displayed on issues of judicial accountability.

“This is especially so when even the Chief Justice of the High Court has publicly confirmed that he has, on the asking of the Chief Justice of India, looked into the matter and reported to the CJI about the glaring irregularities committed in a judgment delivered by the High Court Judge (Justice Pal).”

The requisition further states, “The transfer has unfortunately not yet been implemented nor has any other action been taken. The failure of the High Court Bar Association to speak out on the issue, when even the Gujarat High Court Bar Association—the Bar Association of the High Court where the Judge is proposed to be transferred—has spoken up about it, cannot but compromise and undermine our credibility and throw up a question mark over our commitment, as an Association, to judicial accountability.”

On December 8, the executive committee of the High Court Bar Association, without holding a General House meeting, had sent a resolution to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to take “appropriate action” against Justice Pal.

Earlier this week, the Gujarat High Court Bar Association had also sent a resolution, but after holding a General House meeting, to the Chief Justice of India to “reconsider” the transfer of Justice Pal to the state and till the time it is reconsidered, to “put the transfer on hold”.

The Indian Express had reported on December 6 that Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had conveyed to the Chief Justice of India of “illegalities and irregularities” in an order delivered by Justice Pal.

That order, passed in 13 days, directed Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to issue an allotment letter to a private developer, M/s Orchid Infrastructure, accepting its bid of Rs 111.75 crore for 9.5 acres put up for public auction in 2004. The auction was held by HUDA for construction of a commercial tower in Sector 29, Gurgaon.

Justice Pal’s order—which has now been challenged in the Supreme Court—set aside the Sessions Court order stopping the allotment and alleging an “unholy nexus” between HUDA and Orchid.

Justice Gogoi told The Indian Express that this order was one of the “major reasons” behind Justice Pal’s transfer. Justice Pal had said that he was not aware of the reason for his transfer.






Lokpal Bill: The ten big questions

New Delhi: As Parliament prepares to debate the Lokpal Bill, ten big questions emerge. The very first – Should the CBI be kept under the Lokpal control? Or should it report to the government?

The Bill in its present form keeps the CBI out of the Lokpal’s ambit. The investigative agency will report to the Lokpal only on probes ordered by the latter. The administrative control of the CBI, meanwhile, will remain with the government.

A panel consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the CJI will choose the CBI director. This brings us to question – Should CBI director’s appointment be limited to the PM, the CJI and opposition leader?

Should the Lokpal’s appointment be limited to just the PM, the LS speaker, and the opposition leader?

According to the current Lokpal Bill, the Citizens Ombudsman office will be a 9-member constitutional body.

Either an ex-CJI or a retired SC judge or an eminent person will be appointed the Lokpal.

A panel consisting of the Prime Minister, the Lok Sabha Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chief Justice of India and an eminent jurist will choose the Lokpal and its members.

Should minorities be given reservation when choosing the Lokpal?

The current Bill provides for up to 50 per cent reservation in the Lokpal bench for SC/STs, OBCs and women.

Parties such as the RJD, BSP and SP have sought reservation for minorities.

At an all-party meeting convened last week, it was agreed to provide reservation for minorities. However, in a last-minute change, the government dropped the term ‘minorities’ from the draft Lokpal Bill, leading to an uproar in Parliament.

Should graft against the lower bureaucracy be directly probed by the Lokpal?

Should the Lokpal only have oversight powers while probing lower bureaucracy?

Currently, the bureaucracy has been placed under the CVC. The Lokpal merely has appellate powers.

Should the Lokpal have its own investigative wing that allows it to probe cases suo moto?

Should a citizen redressal mechanism be made part of the Lokpal or be kept separate?

The Bill in its current form provides for the Lokpal to function as the final appellate authority for grievances relating to delivery of public services.

Should there be no safeguards for PM when probed by the Lokpal?

The Bill in its present form keeps the prime minister’s decisions on matters related to national security, international relations, maintenance of public order, atomic energy and space out of the Lokpal’s ambit.

The last but not the least – Is impeachment of a Lokpal through 100 MPs the only way to hold it accountable?







No way Lokpal Bill will stand judicial scrutiny: Ex-CJI VN Khare

Published: Friday, Dec 23, 2011, 9:45 IST | Updated: Friday, Dec 23, 2011, 1:21 IST
By Rakesh Bhatnagar | Place: Dead Sea (Jordan) | Agency: DNA

There’s some serious concern about the constitutional efficacy of the cumbersome Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act as former Chief of India VN Khare feels that its section 49 can’t stand judicial scrutiny.

This provision vests in the multi-member Lokpal body the sole power to act as the ‘appellate’ authority to hear appeals against an order passed by a special court that’s proposed to be set up under its ambit for dealing with cases of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

According to the proposed clause, the Lokpal “shall function” as the “final appellate” authority in relation to appeals arising from the special courts’ judgments.

Does it mean that an aggrieved person can’t move a high court or the Supreme Court against the Lokpal’s order? Justice Khare said if the law is a creation of the Constitutional amendment; it can’t shake the basic feature of the Constitution by denying the remedies to move a HC under Article 226 and the SC under Articles 32 and 136.

If the proposed Bill has been introduced as a new enactment, it can’t betray the basic feature of the Constitution, i.e. the right to appeal and judicial review, Khare added.

Another former CJI, who did not want to be named, said neither the government nor Parliament can strip the citizens of the fundamental right to resort to file writ a petition before the SC or HC.

“They can’t. If they have done it, the court will scrap it,” he said while refusing to believe that lawmakers or the political executive could envisage such a provision.






HC rejects plea of IRS officer against transfer to Ranchi

PTI | 08:12 PM,Dec 22,2011

New Delhi, Dec 22 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today rejected an IRS officer’s plea against his transfer to Ranchi as the Income Tax Commissioner saying that there was no allegation of “mala fide” against the finance minister who took the final decision. “We thus do not find any merit in the challenge by the petitioner to the transfer order or to the order of the Tribunal. We accordingly dismiss the petition,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice R S Endlaw said. The court’s order came on the petition of S K Srivastava, a 1987 batch IRS officer, challenging the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) which upheld the departmental decision to transfer him from Delhi to Ranchi after promoting him as Commissioner of Income Tax on July 14. Srivastava made allegations of “malice and mala fide” against one of the three members of the placement committee of the IT Department and moreover, the final decision to transfer him was taken by the finance minister against whom no such plea was made, the court said. Justice Endlaw, writing the judgement, upheld CAT’s order saying, “We are unable to find any perversity or illegality in the said finding of the Tribunal. The allegations of malice and mala fides are only against Prakash Chandra, chairman of CBDT, who is but one of the members of the placement committee. “The other two members of the placement committee as aforesaid are also high ranking officers and against whom there is no allegation or whisper of being inimical to the petitioner save for general blaming the entire department, if not the world. Moreover, the placement committee is but to make the recommendation. The competent authority to affect the transfer is the finance minister and there are no allegations of mala fides against him.”








Emblems suggested for judiciary, government

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Emblems identify on organisation, they are different from logos which can be used and traded by companies who have registered them. Emblems and Insignia, however, create a more permanent association in the minds of the public with the organisation using them. These and more points were raised at the unveiling of four emblem suggestions for the Judiciary and Government of Karnataka on Wednesday.

These emblems have been suggested by the Human Relevant Research Institute and feature the words ‘Constitution of India’ prominently on top along with ‘Government of Karnataka’ at the bottom and ‘High Court of Karnataka’. The emblems were revealed by G Dakshinamurthy, Chairman of Centre for Law and Parliamentary Reforms along with J R Bangera, President, Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) and other dignitaries, at a workshop on social responsibility.

“Symbolism exists in two facets, what is plainly shown and what is implied. Emblems identify a organisation that is why we believe it is important to standardise emblems especially for government bodies,” said� Dakshinamurthy.

“It is an intellectual exercise, the choice is upto the government and the court now. Logo’s can be sold or traded but an emblems will last as long as the organisation,” said J R Bangera.

The day also saw the release of a comprehensive album on emblems used by various organisations in the state. This directory will provide a roadmap through the maze of organisations that exist in the state for members of the public interested in such exercises.

“I hope the authorities accept these emblems, they will bring uniformity,” said HKV Reddy, Former President of Rotary Club.







Lokpal Bill is in, jury is out

New Delhi Virtually forced into drafting it, the government today introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha that aims to fight corruption via the Lokpal at the centre and Lokayuktas in the states, an unprecedented oversight body whose members are selected, and which is set to be dominated by members of the higher judiciary.

The singular theme emerging from the proceedings of the house today was the unease across the political establishment in dealing with a bill that virtually all were wary of. The provision for reservations for minorities in the Lokpal quickly became a minority vs majority issue and threatened to overwhelm the debate once it begins on December 27.

That’s not all. Speaker after speaker in the Lok Sabha got up to question the “tearing hurry” in which the bill was being pushed through and the threats by Anna Hazare and his team as they prepare for yet another fast beginning the same day as the debate in the house.

Overriding all objections, minister of state in the PMO V Narayanasamy introduced, along with The Constitutional (116th Amendment) Bill, The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011, that includes the prime minister in its domain and binds the states to create Lokayuktas. The new legislation replaces the Lokpal bill introduced earlier.

Going by the applause RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta and Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete evoked following their attacks on Anna Hazare and his tactics, the political class was visibly anti-Lokpal. This despite the fact that they had gathered to pass the bill under pressure from the very same Hazare.

Congress MPs who thumped their desks as Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee defended the government move, cheered Lalu and Dasgupta. Even Geete drew applause from the treasury benches. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi repeatedly thumped their desks as Lalu and Dasgupta ridiculed Hazare — Dasgupta, without mentioning his name, said Hazare thought he was another “father of the nation” — and underlined the sovereignty of parliament.

“We are disappointed,” said Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, and listed two objections. She said the provision for “not less than 50 per cent” reservation for SCs, STs, OBCs, women and minorities in the proposed nine-member Lokpal body — including the chairman — violated the Supreme Court ruling keeping the cap on 50 per cent.

The move for a religion-based reservation was “patently unconstitutional,” she said. She said the portion dealing with state Lokayuktas struck at the federal structure because it was done under Section 253, which made it mandatory for states.

The Congress leadership, which initially had the minority reservation provision included in the draft bill, had changed its mind late last night. The provision was brought back following pressure from its allies. The party leadership was aware of the lack of constitutional backing for the move but the game was to go in for it, send a signal to its Muslim constituency and leave it to the BJP to oppose the move. If the court struck down the minority reservation provision, then so be it.

Mukherjee, however, put up a spirited show. He said that the introduction could be opposed only on the ground of “legislative competence” of the house. The finance minister said it should be left to the court to sit on judgment over the legislation. Claiming there was no duress, he told the house: “If you feel it is not necessary, we will not have it. Legislation is the domain of parliament. It is not made on the dharna manch or on the streets.”

The members, Mukherjee said, were free to change the clauses in the bill or drop them. He said, “It is the constitutional responsibility of the house to pass a law. It is for the judiciary to pick holes… Let this house not assume the role of judiciary.”

He reminded the members that the legislation had been on the anvil for 43 years. He said there had been an agitation (of Hazare) and another one was impending. The current events, according to him, could be traced back to April… Where is the question of duress? There is no undue haste.”

The finance minister lost his cool and exclaimed “kaun whip diya” (who issued a whip) as Lalu referred to a supposed “whip” issued by the Congress to its members to back the bill. However, Sonia could be seen gesturing to Mukherjee to calm down and not join the issue. An unsparing Mukherjee also took a dig at Dasgupta and sought to know whose party chief (CPI general secretary A B Bardhan) had spoken from Hazare’s platform.

Leaders of several parties, including Sharad Yadav (Janata Dal-U), Basudeb Acharia (CPM), Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD), T K S Elangovan (DMK), M Thambidurai (AIADMK), Nama Nageswara Rao (TDP) and Geete (Shiv Sena), made it clear that the rights of states should not be encroached upon.

Lalu, Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party) and Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) opposed the idea of bringing the prime minister under the purview of Lokpal.







Heat on Brigadier after junior alleges harassment

A Brigadier’s promotion has been stalled by the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) on a petition alleging that the officer was harassing a lieutenant-colonel by transferring him to a post to allegedly destroy his career.

Earlier this week, the AFT Kolkata branch passed an interim order, directing the ministry of defence not to take any decision on the promotion of Brigadier P.S. Rathore till the case is resolved.

Rathore is currently serving as deputy judge advocate general (DJAG), HQs south western Command, and was tipped to be the next judge advocate general (JAG) of the Indian Army. JAG is the legal and judicial chief of the army and the branch has legally qualified army officers extending all legal help to the military.

The AFT will resume hearing in February, 2012, on the petition filed by Lt-Colonel Mukul Dev.

A frustrated Dev moved an application to the AFT after a court of inquiry, constituted to decide on his arbitrary transfer and harassment case in 2009, failed to take any punitive action against Rathore, allegedly responsible for hampering the junior officer’s career growth.

The brigadier was earlier indicted in the court of inquiry but got away without any punishment. In his application to the AFT, Dev alleged that the court of inquiry had been manipulated by senior officers and that his transfer was a calculated move to harm his career prospects and harass him.

The probe had found six officers “blameworthy” but only four officers were handed down punishments and two brigadiers – U.K. Chopra and Rathore – were let off.

Not satisfied with verdict, Dev filed a statutory complaint with the defence ministry in October, 2009. The ministry, in its proceeding notes, conceded that there has been a violation of the principle of law ‘equity of justice’.

“Other officers have either been punished lightly or have been left untouched altogether,” the MoD observed.

Earlier in 2008, Lt-Col Dev was transferred to the JAG branch as an assistant JAG but he allegedly became the victim of unfair treatment by senior officers. While he was on ‘adequately exercise’ (AE) – a tenure which would have enhanced his prospects for promotion, a transfer order was served by Chopra (P&A) of HQ central command forcing a legal professional to do an administrative job.

“I was on mandatory AE period and was surprised to receive such a letter. When I approached Rathore to seek a clarification in this regard, he expressed his ignorance about the matter and advised me proceed to a new appointment location and not to disobey or challenge the order of transfer,” Dev said in his petition.

Major-General (Retd) Nilender Kumar, former judge advocate general of the Indian Army, said Dev’s transfer was wrong. “It was non-utilisation of a professional and also hampered the career of the junior officer. Rathore acted on his own with the support of MS branch, central command. This was an improper action and calculated to harm the career of the officer,” Kumar added.

Though court of inquiry found Chopra and Rathore blameworthy, no opinion was extended to punish any officer for the lapses. After the court of inquiry was abruptly closed, Dev was asked to rejoin the JAG branch in August 2009. He was served a showcause notice vide HQ central Command.







Shrewd BJP’s balancing act

The BJP will move an amendment to Lokpal Bill calling for model legislation for the creation of Lokayuktas in states under Article 252 of the Constitution. Under this, if two or more states pass resolutions asking Parliament to regulate a state list matter, the Parliament can invade the state list. Other states too can then pass resolutions to come under the Central law.

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said the party supported this provision in the interest of the federal structure, rather than making a provision under Article 253, which would make Centre’s law binding on states. But BJP’s dissent note before the Standing Committee on Law and Justice had suggested a law under either Article 252 or 253.

The BJP has sought to benefit politically from the civil society’s anti-graft campaign, while silently steering clear of some of their more extreme demands. It has, however, tactically highlighted points of convergence.

The party had watched from sidelines as Team Anna attacked the government in its early days of the agitation. As Hazare’s fast at Ramlila Maidan reached a crescendo, the party sought to wrest political advantage by first backing his three key demands for the fast to end.

Even when it made its position clear before the standing committee, it had some differences with Team Anna, which it publicly reduced to a subtext: Team Anna’s demand to bring MPs’ conduct in Parliament under Lokpal or giving Lokpal the power to tap phones.

The party struck middle ground by pushing for a second appeal for a separate grievance redressal mechanism, rather than pushing for the citizens’ charter under Lokpal. It, however, converged with Team Anna on the PM’s inclusion.

The party has disagreed strongly on minority quota within Lokpal. Swaraj said there was no Constitutional validity of religious quotas; the “not less than 50% quota” clause would make quota breach the court’s 50% cap in the nine-member body; and there are no quotas in Constitutional bodies.

It will also move amendments for Group C staff to be under Lokpal and for freeing the CBI from government and bringing it under Lokpal’s supervision.




Food Security Act to curb states’ largesse

Nitin Sethi, TNN | Dec 23, 2011, 04.10AM IST

NEW DELHI: The states would not be able to provide subsidized food to anyone that the Centre rules out of its beneficiaries’ list under the proposed National Food Security Bill, 2011.

The Bill, tabled in a hurry ahead of the UP polls and facing criticism from non-UPA-ruled state governments like Bihar and Tamil Nadu, is bound to face stiff opposition to this proposal, which prevents states from enlarging its ambit to benefit poor that the Centre does not identify.

“No household falling under the exclusion criteria, to be prescribed by the Central government, shall be included in the priority households or general households,” the bill says.

The Centre intends to use the BPL Census to identify the NFSA beneficiaries. The Census lists categories that are automatically included and excluded as beneficiaries for government programmes. It also lays down parameters to classify the rest in or out of the beneficiaries list. But the UPA-II is yet to decide how to use these parameters. Depending upon the methodology, the total number of beneficiaries could vary by as much as 20% of the population.

Yet the bill has been tabled in Parliament while the Census has got delayed and remains open-ended in its results. Some states like Tamil Nadu have opposed the bill since AIADMK-led government is extending a similar scheme to a larger population at a cheaper rate.

Now, the Centre applies artificial caps on its subsidy based on the Planning Commission estimates while providing foodgrains. But the states circumvent this by picking up costlier APL quota grains while giving an additional subsidy at their end. This way, states give foodgrains to a larger section than the Centre permits.

The states’ options are likely to get curtailed, thanks to the new bill. It would be worse for southern states like Tamil Nadu that run more expansive food security schemes of their own. They would find themselves either bearing the entire burden of subsidy for additional beneficiaries or taking a politically deleterious step of excluding people from the programme.






HC bench rejects poll petitions

The High Court bench comprising Sharad Bobade and Sahalanya Kapse on Thursday dismissed the election petitions filed by MP Gajanan Babar and BJP city unit president Vikas Mathkari.

They had demanded cancellation of the panel formation saying the state election commission had not followed the legal provisions. While Mathkari had filed for the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Babar had filed for the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC). The election process will now be conducted as announced earlier. State election commissioner Neela Satyanarayan had earlier told The Indian Express that the elections would be held in February, as per schedule.

The bench on Thursday stated that all elections petitions before the bench stand dismissed. Mathkari said he had tried to bring before the court the matter of reservations for SC/ST candidates in the panel formation using the 2001 Census. He had stated that Pune’s population had increased by 20 lakh, which in turn also increased the population of the SC/ST. “My argument was that the SC/ST population were denied their rights. I tried my best but the court has dismissed the petition,” said Mathkari after the verdict.

Mathkari had stated in his petition that as per the legal provisions, the latest published census figures of the city have to be considered for deciding the number of municipal wards and the reserved seats in them for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). However, this was the draft census and not the actual figures.

The SEC had considered the provisional figures of Census 2011 of the city to decide the total number of seats in the PMC, which have increased from 144 to 152 on the basis of the increased population. However, he had said the SEC has considered the total number of SC and ST population decided in Census 2001, as the corresponding data of Census 2011 was not available.

SC and ST communities have to be given representation on the basis of share in population. As the SEC considered the figures of Census 2001, the increased population of these communities in the last decade have not been considered. He said the SEC should follow the law and consider only the data published in the gazette about the census.







Stalin moves HC, gets a stay on his eviction from Kolathur office

TNN | Dec 23, 2011, 07.16AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has restrained the Chennai Corporation from evicting Kolathur MLA and former deputy chief minister MK Stalin from his office and asked the civic body to maintain status quo until Friday.

Justice V Dhanapalan gave the interim direction on a writ petition filed by Stalin on Thursday. According to Stalin, the premises at Jawahar Nagar in Kolathur was allotted to him in July 2011 by way of a corporation resolution.
Noting that the premises had not been used for nearly 10 years before it was allotted to him, Stalin said he had renovated it and appointed people to take care of it. He said he often visited the premises to meet people and had received more than 200 complaints and requests from them. About 500 calls too had been received from his voters till December 22, he said.

On December 22, the newly-elected council adopted a resolution authorising the corporation to recover the building from his possession, Stalin said. The council had failed to consider the fact that he could not be dispossessed of the premises through a mere resolution, he said.
When the matter was taken up for hearing, Stalin’s counsel N Jothi said the principle of natural justice had been violated as he had not been served any showcause notice or given any opportunity to explain his position before the eviction move was initiated.

Justice Dhanapalan then asked why no notice was served to Stalin. Advocate general A Navaneethakrishnan said though Stalin was given the premises on the basis of a resolution, no separate order allotting the building to him was ever issued. Hence, there was no need for any separate show-cause notice. The government wanted to cancel the resolution, he said. When he said he could furnish all relevant documents by Friday, the judge adjourned the matter and asked the corporation to maintain status quo till Friday.

Meanwhile, Stalin said he would even discharge his duties as a people’s representative from a pavement. “It (resolution ) shows the narrow mindedness of certain elements in the ruling AIADMK. If they reclaim my office, I will even put bench and chair on the pavement at a main location and continue to discharge my duties,” he said.








HC scrutiny on medical preparedness in city’s schools

Fri Dec 23 2011, 01:04 hrs New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court has asked the government to elaborate on the steps it had taken to implement recommendations in a report prepared by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPRC) on medical crisis management in city schools.

The bench, comprising acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, was hearing a suo motu matter, wherein a letter written to the Chief Justice alleged that the authorities of a government school had failed to provide timely treatment to a Class VII student who suffered an eye injury in a stone-pelting incident on August 29. The letter sought action against the government, claiming that it had failed to learn a lesson from a similar incident in the past, when a Class XI girl student of another school had lost her eyesight.

The boy, a student of the Government Boys Senior Secondary School in New Seemapuri, was allegedly left outside the emergency ward of the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital. It was only after the boy’s parents reached the spot that he was taken to the Guru Nanak Hospital, and later referred to AIIMS, the letter claimed.

The court had earlier sought a detailed response from the government counsel, who submitted on Wednesday that a report from AIIMS was still awaited.

Appointed as amicus curiae in the matter, advocate Ashok Agarwal adduced a 2010 DCPCR report, titled ‘Psycho-physical requirement and medical crisis management in schools’. The report suggested measures for dealing with such crisis in schools, including the constitution of an emergency response team, appointment of doctors (full-time or part-time), inclusion of safety and accident prevention in regular curriculum, a dispensary on the ground floor of the school building, and a database of students and their ailments.

“The government must elaborate on what steps have been taken since this report was published. The safety of school students is of paramount importance,” Agarwal said.

Concurring with his views, the court asked the government counsel to submit a report on the actions taken by it in four weeks, and fixed the matter for February next year.









HC stays arrest of Chinmayanand

Fri Dec 23 2011, 02:34 hrs Allahabad:

The Allahabad High Court on Thursday stayed the arrest of former Union minister and BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand, who has been accused of rape and criminal intimidation by a female disciple.

The disciple had lodged a complaint on the basis of which an FIR was registered in Shahjahanpur on November 30. Chinmayanand approached the high court seeking quashing of the FIR.

The court has given the state government and the complainant three weeks to file a counter-affidavit. Chinmayanand will be given two weeks time after that to file a rebuttal following which the court will continue hearing the case.

A division bench comprising Justices Devendra Pratap Singh and V K Mathur stayed the arrest of the former minister, pending investigation after hearing all sides.

Chinmayanand’s counsel Dileep Kumar said the quashing of the FIR had been sought on the ground of “absurdity of the charges”. “Our main prayer is that the FIR should be quashed because the charges leveled against my client (Chinmayanand) are such that no intelligent person would believe them by the wildest stretch of imagination,” said Kumar.

The counsel added that the petition based its prayer on a Supreme Court ruling in the Haryana versus Bhajan Lal case, which said that if an allegation levelled is so unbelievable that it can be categorised as “absurd”, then the FIR registered on the basis of such a complaint should be cancelled at that level itself.

The disciple’s counsel, Vikram Chauhan, said: “We told the court that the allegations levelled were direct and grave in nature as it involved rape, wrongful confinement and abortion. A statement has already been recorded under Section 161 (before the police) of the Criminal Procedure Code, while the statement under Section 164 (before the magistrate) of the CrPC was going to be made shortly. Hence, we argued the arrest should not be stayed.”

The disciple, a resident of Badayun, said she came to know Chinmayanand in 2001 and became his disciple. In 2005, she was confined to his Mumukshu Ashram in Shahjahanpur, where he tried to strangulate her. When she tried to escape, she was raped and a video was made. Since then, she was sexually exploited and threatened with dire consequences if she dared to tell anybody about it. The disciple also alleged she was forced to abort twice, in 2006 and 2009.









Govt seeks CISF cover for Madras HC, bench

Karthick S, TNN | Dec 23, 2011, 04.39AM IST

CHENNAI: The Centre is likely to accede Tamil Nadu’s request for deployment of the Central Industrial Security Force at the Madras high court and its Madurai bench as a permanent arrangement. The state cited the strained relationship between police and lawyers as the reason for seeking CISF security for the court campus.

Recently, state chief secretary Debendranath Sarangi had written to Union home secretary R K Singh in this regard. Sources in the home ministry said the Centre was likely to respond favourably to the request.

Quoting a report by the Tamil Nadu DGP, Sarangi said in his letter: “The strained relationship between the state police and a section of lawyers has compounded the problems of implementing security systems in the court complexes and the entire security of the Madras high court and the Madurai bench can be entrusted to the CISF, which has enough resources and expertise in managing the security of several establishments in the country.”

Sarangi was referring to the February 19, 2009, clash between police and protesting lawyers, an incident which raised questions about the safety and security on the HC premises. More than 50 lawyers and several policemen besides a HC judge were injured the unprecedented violence.

The chief secretary said, “In the wake of a bomb blast at Delhi high court and following the directions of the Madras high court, the comprehensive security system (CSS) for the court complex was implemented on October 10.” He also said the Tamil Nadu government had sanctioned Rs 3.14 core for procuring various electronic gadgets to strengthen security in the main HC ampus and the Madurai bench.

About 430 personnel of the state police have been provided for round-the-clock security for the 150-year-old HC complex as part of the new CSS. The personnel have been guarding the sprawling 35-acre campus since October 10. “If the CISF is deployed, we can use these police personnel for other purposes. Advocates will also be happy with the CISF,” a police officer said.







HC no to stay release of ‘Don 2′, film to hit screens tomorrow

PTI | 08:12 PM,Dec 22,2011

Mumbai, Dec 22 (PTI) Decks were cleared for release of the much-publicised Shahrukh Khan-starrer ‘Don2′ with the Bombay High Court today dismissing a plea seeking a stay on exhibiting the action film due to hit the screens tomorrow. Legal heirs of Nariman Hirani, who owned rights of the original film ‘Don’(1978), had filed a suit before a single judge of the High Court, seeking the stay on the grounds of copyright violation. But the single judge dismissed it on December 19, saying it was too late. Nariman Films and Hirani family then filed an appeal. The contention was that Farhan Akhtar’s upcoming film violated their copyright by adopting signature tune, songs, script and the characters of the 1978 film (which starred Amitabh Bachchan). Hirani’s suit claims that rights for a remake were sold in 2005, when the first film starring Shahrukh was made. However, this agreement was valid only till 2009. The director and producers (which includes Shahrukh), of ‘Don2′ did not buy any rights for making the sequel, it says. Don2 also features Priyanka Chopra. “As per the agreement dated March 21, 2005, permission was given only to make one film. The petitioner saw the movie’s trailer only in October, following which a legal notice was sent to producers,” said advocate Iva Bhansal, lawyer of Nariman Films. However, the division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi refused to grant stay, pointing out that words in the agreement were “film/films” and therefore the producers could make sequels.









Residents move HC seeking restoring of original CMRL alignment

PTI | 10:12 PM,Dec 22,2011

Chennai, Dec 22 (PTI): Uneasy over prospects of Chennai Metro-Rail operating just 33 feet below their homes, residents of parts of George Town and Seven Wells areas in North Chennai have moved the Madras High Court, seeking restoration of the original alignment of the Metro Rail. When the petition filed by George Town Building Owners Welfare Association came up for hearing today, Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar issued notice to the Centre and Tamil Nadu government and Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL). Submitting that a modification in alignment has brought these densely populated areas in the corridor of metro-rail, the association claimed that between 3,000 to 5000 houses would be affected due to the deviation. The association feared the giant tunnel boring machine operating about 33 feet below its members’ homes would pose a grave danger to the lives of those occupying the buildings. CMRL in a Nov 28 last notice directed owners and tenants in these areas to close existing and abandoned bore and open wells within a restricted zone of 16.5 metres on either side of the proposed alignment. The petition claimed CMRL’s plan to use the chemical, Bendrite, to compress loose soil surrounding the underground railway line would block water sources, besides depriving residents of bore and open wells. Seeking to forbear authorities concerned from proceeding further on the proposed alignment, the petitioner wanted a Court direction on restoration of the original alignment via Old Jail Road and Prakasam Road. CMRL said the average depth of the tunnel would vary from 15 to 17 metres from the rail level with a 6.2 metre outer diameter and 5.8 metre inner diameter. The tunnel will start from a depth of nine metres from the surface level. The tunnel boring machines are designed to bore the without disturbing the buildings, CMRL said. PTI GR APR APR








R-ADAG execs move HC against framing of charges

Three top executives of Reliance ADAG on Thursday moved the Delhi high court challenging the trial court order framing charges against them in the 2G spectrum case. Justice V K Shali asked the executives–group managing director Gautam Doshi, senior vice-president Hari Nair and group president Surendra Pipara–to file short synopsis in addition to their petition against framing of criminal charges against them in the 2G case.

“You file short synopsis as the order on charge (of the trial judge) is very long,” Justice V K Shali said and fixed the matter for further hearing on January 16.

Senior advocate Rajiv Nayar, appearing for Doshi, Pipara and Nair, said that he did not want the RTL officials’ petitions to be tagged with the plea of Rajiv Agarwal and Asif Balwa, co-accused and directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables.

Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) had moved the high court on October 24, two days after the farming of charges by a trial court, seeking quashing of charges against it in the case involving former telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others.

RTL had challenged Special Judge O P Saini’s decision to put it on trial, saying it never held stakes in excess of 9.9% in Swan Telecom and that too was divested prior to the grant of licences in 2008.

A Raja opens defence
Former telecom minister A Raja on Thursday opened his defence with the cross-examination of key CBI witness Aseervatham Achary. Achary was Raja’s former additional private secretary.  Raja called off his protest in the wake of CBI filing its third chargesheet on December 12 against Essar and Loop and their promoters.








Segregate waste at source, says HC

TNN | Dec 23, 2011, 04.51AM IST

KOCHI: A Division Bench of the Kerala high court on Thursday passed an interim order regarding solid waste segregation of Ernakulam district. The order was made after a two hour discussion with mayor Tony Chammani, district collector PI Sheik Pareeth, 11 municipal chairpersons and secretaries in the district at the high court.

The bench that comprises justices PS Gopinathan and CN Ramachandran Nair directed the district collector to ensure that segregation of solid waste starts at the source itself. For this all local bodies should be equipped with dustbins and garbage boxes. The collection of garbage should be entrusted in the hands of local organisations like Kudumbasree.

Observing that vacant private plots in the district are becoming waste dumpyards, the bench asked the collector to make the owners of such plots accountable along with those who dump waste. Making available a space for dumping waste will affect the neighbourhood and hence the owners of such plots are responsible for the menace. The administration should ensure that the practice is stopped. Also vacant government plots can be identified for setting up waste treatment plants.

The interim order, that was made after a public interest litigation was filed by the Kerala Federation of Women Lawyers also directed Kochi Corporation to clean up the Brahmapuram plant and plant trees in an extensive mode in the areas close by.

Tony Chammany who met the media persons after the session with Division Bench told that he informed the bench about the difficulties in dealing with solid waste from neighbouirng local bodies.

“Brahmapuram plant is not capable to treat solid waste brought from other localities and I have informed this to the bench. Corporation has plans to expand the current plant but we are yet to identify a technology for segregating garbage. Until then it will be very difficult to cater the load projected by neighbouring areas,” Mayor said.

Later, the collector said that the sewage plant at Elamkulam would be upgraded to solve this problem to an extent. The plant, currently located at a nine-acre plot, is under-utilized, he said.



HC verdict on Dec 26 on bail for Rajagopal

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: Arguments on the petition filed by the CBI opposing bail to former APMDC director VD Rajagopal, an accused in the illegal mining case, concluded in the High Court on Wednesday.

Justice NRL Nageswara Rao reserved his orders till December 26. The Special Court for CBI cases had granted bail to Rajagopal last week but suspended its order after a CBI plea.

CBI’s counsel Kesava Rao urged the High Court not to release the accused as he would influence and threaten the witnesses. “Grant of bail to the accused would jeopardise the ongoing investigation. The CBI wants to complete the probe at the earliest but the magnitude of the case has forced it to take more time. The ill-gotten wealth running into thousands of crores of rupees has to be recovered.,” he said.

Rajagopal’s counsel Padmanabha Reddy wondered if his client had no right to get bail till completion of the investigation. Already, a charge sheet was filed and the CBI itself had stated that no irregularities had taken place in extraction of ore at but its probe related to illegal transportation of iron ore.








Hold elections in six months: HC

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CUTTACK: The Odisha High Court on Wednesday ordered fresh elections to all the State-run cooperative societies. Upholding the amendment made to the Odisha Cooperative Societies Act, the court directed� the State Government to frame the rules within three months.

�A division bench of Justices BP Das and SK Mishra ordered elections to all cooperative bodies in six months. Till the new elected bodies are constituted, the HC order said, the old ones shall continue. This will automatically mean that the Government-nominated bodies will now stand quashed.

By strength of an amended law of the Cooperative Societies Act, the Government had nominated executives to as many as 90 cooperative bodies in September this year. The HC order shall apply only to those bodies for which writ petitions were filed.

�The HC maintained that the provisions as amended were not ultra vires of the Constitution.

�The directives came in response to multiple writ petitions filed by Ranjita Kahali and others who were the elected directors of various cooperative banks. They had challenged the amendment to the election rules as well as the Government notification appointing the committee on various grounds.

Earlier, the HC had reserved its verdict after hearing the parties in 24 writ petitions and verifying the records.

�The petitioners had stated that there was no election for a long time and pursuant to the direction of the court, the elections of the managing committees were held and the new bodies took charge. While the elected bodies were functioning, there was no necessity for the Government to take such a decision which was illegal and arbitrary.

�The petitioners had alleged that after the amendment, the Government nominated the committee members hurriedly. Indicating other circumstances, the petitioners had appealed to the court to quash the amendment as well as the notification appointing the new committees.








HIV-hit thalassemic kids: HC orders FIR

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday ordered the state government to register an FIR against authorities responsible for the incident where 23 thalassemic children were found infected with HIV in September this year allegedly due to negligence of staff at the Junagadh Civil Hospital and the blood bank there.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala passed the order on a petition jointly moved by a group of 23 parents of these children.

Demanding action against those responsible in the episode, parents of the affected children had approached the HC earlier this month after their complaints to the concerned police authorities and the district superintendent of police were not registered as FIR.

In their petition, the parents stated, “…due to gross negligence and violation of regulatory requirements, blood infected with HIV positive was infused into the children/patients by doctors and staff of the hospital and the blood bank.”

The petition is being heard by the court simultaneously with a PIL in the same incident that demands free medical treatment and compensation for the affected children.

The state government opposed the petitions. An affidavit by the principal secretary (public health) P K Taneja stated that the affected children might have got HIV infection from sources other than the blood bank at the Junagadh Civil Hospital. The affidavit also detailed the steps taken by the state government following the incident.

However, the affidavit did not pass muster with the HC, which ordered the state government to file another affidavit next week with more details to substantiate its claims and first register an FIR on the complaints given by the parents of the affected children.

Advocate Girish Das, who appeared for the petitioners, said, “The state government told the court it has carried out an inquiry into the incident. However, the court rejected the submissions while ordering it to first register FIR before carrying out any inquiry or investigation.”

Further hearing on the petitions has been scheduled for December 29.







HC direction on garbage treatment plant

PTI | 07:12 PM,Dec 22,2011

Kochi, Dec 22 (PTI) The Kerala High Court today directed the state Government to initiate a centralised Garbage treatment plant-cum power generator and file report within a month. Kochi Mayor and chairpersons of 11 muncipalities and muncipal secretaries and Ernakulam District collector appeared in court to evolve steps for effective waste managment following a court directive. Bench consisting C N Ramachandran Nair and P S Gopinathan said those muncipalities who have no waste dumping plant can dump waste except plastic in Brahmapuram plant near here, until further orders. The court also granted liberty to muncipalities to identify suitable land and approach District Collector for approval. The court directed District Collector to arrange police protection wherever there was public resistance. Proceeding were initiated in a wirt petiton filed by Indian federation for women lawyers.







No tax relief for Infy’s payment to police: HC

P Vasanth Kumar, TNN | Dec 23, 2011, 06.20AM IST

BANGALORE: Can an establishment seek a deduction under the Income-Tax Act with regard to a donation/ contribution made to police for regulating traffic? No way, says the Karnataka High Court.

The division bench comprising late Justice V G Sabhahit and Justice Ravi Malimath in a recent judgment held that IT giant Infosys cannot claim deduction of income under Section 37 of the Income-Tax Act with regard to its payment to the Bangalore city police for regulating traffic near its premises on Hosur Road. “It is the duty of police to regulate traffic and the amount paid towards the same by the company cannot qualify as deduction under the Income-Tax Act. For anything to be qualified for business expenditure in terms of the Act, it has to wholly for the purpose of the business of the company,” the bench observed while setting aside the finding of the Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) on this issue.

The ITAT in its March 31, 2005 verdict held that the Rs 6.93 lakh payment made by Infosys in 1996-97 to traffic police to regulate traffic on Hosur was a “business expenditure ” and therefore it’s entitled for tax deduction.
Originally ,the assessing officer of the I-T department held the payment cannot be considered for deduction and is taxable. However, Infosys challenged this in the ITAT and the tribunal reversed it. The I-T department had filed an appeal before the high court.








Accommodate kids of closed shelter house in training programme: HC

The Gujarat High Court has asked the Ahmedabad Municipal School Board and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Gandhinagar, to ensure that 140 children of a closed shelter house are accommodated under the special training programme at Vatva.

The court, in its interim order early this week, also asked the petitioner, a public trust, to furnish addresses of the children in 10 days to SSA, whose study has been impacted due to the closure of the shelter house.

Navjivan Mahila Mandal, the petitioner, had approached the HC with a public interest litigation seeking accommodation of these children and start a school for them as a long-term solution to their problem.

The court has fixed next hearing after a month when it will decide on the plea for setting up a full-fledged school because a shelter house is a temporary measure where children can study only for two years. They have already been there for almost one and a half years, leaving only about six months till when they can study under the special training programme.

Petitioner’s counsel said that orders have also been passed for providing mid-day meals and educational kits to the children, mainly hailing from families of casual labourer and daily wage earners.








HC: Bailey Bridge a wasteful expenditure

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday observed that the Bailey bridge at Sabarimala, which was built for the pilgrims, was a ‘wasteful expenditure’ and loss of human effort. “The Bailey bridge was a highly propagated idea and was brought in by the government with a laudable objective. But it remains a wasteful expenditure.

This can be rectified only after the present season as any work that is carried out now will only adversely affect the pilgrims,” the court said.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice M L Joseph Francis made the observation while considering a petition filed by V K Salin, a licensee who has been allotted shops near the Bailey Bridge.

In the petition, he had sought a directive to the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) to provide an alternative space for doing the business. He said that none of the devotees are using the bridge and so there was no business. Salin also submitted that this would land him in a huge financial loss. Though he had given a representation to the TDB there was no response, he submitted.

The Madras Engineer Group of the Indian Army had constructed the 40-metre-long, 3.3-metre-wide Bailey Bridge within 25 days with iron girders and other components. Another Licensee Dasan Pillai had earlier approached the court and submitted that the bridge was not being used by the pilgrims.








HC a sitting duck to all and sundry?

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The September 7 bomb blasts in the Delhi High Court premises, it seems, has not resulted in any improvement in security in the High Court.
Nothing exemplifies this better than the hand-held weapon detectors at the HC, which do not work at all. Despite the incident of assault on an advocate inside the court hall on July 8, 2010, some advocates still carry loaded revolvers inside.
President of Karnataka High Court Bar Association Subba Reddy said, “As the court is adjacent to the Cubbon Park, anybody can enter it by climbing the grills. Even the city civil court has no gates and street lights and has only minimal police security. All this for a premises which witnesses a daily footfall of 12,000 advocates and nearly 20,000 persons. Police must do something before anything goes wrong.”
ACP Ramesh Babu, who is in-charge of security in the High Court, said, “We have taken necessary security measures, which I cannot disclose; the security in the court is adequate.”







HC asks IOC to cooperate with expert panel

PTI | 12:12 PM,Dec 22,2011

Cuttack, Dec 22 (PTI) Orissa High Court has allowed three weeks time to the expert committee it constituted to study the impact of impugned permanent constructions in Mahanadi islet at Hadia Patha here. Allowing a prayer of the panel, the High Court yesterday asked the Committee to submit its report positively by January 18. The HC also asked IOC which is constructing its intake well in the islet for its oil refinery at Paradeep, to furnish all records and documents as sought by the Committee. The five-member Committee headed by a former chief engineer of irrigation department had urged the High Court on Tuesday seeking at least three more weeks to record the views of all stakeholders on the issue and submit its report. The Committee had also brought to the notice of the High Court that IOC had refused to furnish the project report of the intake well to it saying it was not imperative for the panel to see the project report before reaching a conclusion. The Nationalist Lawyers’ Forum in a PIL had alleged that if construction was allowed in the islet, it would spell doom for Cuttack which is surrounded by rivers from three sides. PTI






Allahabad HC orders UP govt to restore security of Kushwaha

PTI | 04:12 PM,Dec 22,2011

Lucknow, Dec 22 (PTI) The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court today directed the Uttar Pradesh government to restore security of expelled BSP leader Babu Singh Kushwaha which he earlier enjoyed as a state minister. A division bench comprising Justices Devi Prasad Singh and Devenrda Kumar Arora passed the order after allowing a writ petition of Kushwaha seeking directions for restoring his security. The court also quashed the order of the state government through which Kushwaha’s security was reduced. The expelled BSP leader had challenged the government’s order on down- grading his security. Kushwaha was sacked from the ministerial post on April 7 after the NRHM scam surfaced following the murder of two Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) in-charge of family welfare department in Lucknow. Accordingly, Kushwaha’s Y plus security was downgraded to X category. The former Family Welfare Minister, once a close confidant of Mayawati, fell out of favour of the Chief Minister and was subsequently expelled from the BSP in November.



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