Tribunal upholds CCI’s clean chit to Microsoft
Press Trust of India / New Delhi Oct 10, 2012, 12:53 IST
Says Microsoft did not abuse its dominant position regarding sale of software license
The Competition Appellate Tribunal has upheld the fair trade regulator Competition Commission’s ruling that Microsoft did not abuse its dominant position regarding sale of software licenses.
The Commission’s order came on allegations that Microsoft offered software licenses at a lower price to original equipment manufacturers (OEM) while business houses had to buy the same at higher prices from the company.
“There is no question of any denial of market access for the reasons stated by us earlier to the effect that respondent no 1 (Microsoft India) was quite justified in refusing to sell the OEM to the appellant who was not the original equipment manufacturer. In short, we find no controversy of … For that matter any other provisions of the act,” COMPAT has said in the order.
Microsoft was represented by the law firm Amarchand & Mangaldas in the matter.
The complainant — law firm Singhania and Partners LLP — had alleged that Microsoft, with a market share of 90 per cent, was abusing its dominant position. It also alleged that business houses had to buy the overpriced volume licenses.
The Commission’s order, dismissing the complaint, had come on June 22, 2011.
The regulator did not find “prima facie” any substantial material against the claims that differential pricing strategy adopted by Microsoft raises competition issue.
Differing from the majority view, one of the Commission member had opined that Microsoft appeared to have exploited its monopoly in the software market and had asked for a probe by the regulators’ Director General.
The tribunal dismissed the petition along with the minority view of the CCI member.
The COMPAT bench, headed by its Chairman Justice V S Sirpurkar, said, “… We must express that we do not agree with the learned member in minority judgement”.
It also rejected allegations against Microsoft India that it maintains full control its various softwares through its licensing policy.
M J Antony: Quasi-judicial quibbles
The RTI judgment is not just about the race to grab retirement jobs
M J Antony / Oct 10, 2012, 00:02 IST
Setting up quasi-judicial tribunals has almost always been accompanied by squabbles over their powers and appointment of members. The friction started soon after the launch of the Constitution. The first was over the nature and duties of industrial tribunals. The Supreme Court ruled in 1950 that though the tribunal was very much like that of a body discharging judicial functions, it is not a court in the technical sense.
Since then, more tribunals have been set up to ease the workload on regular courts. There are over 60 tribunals at the last count. Tribunalisation has spread to all sectors, covering some 24 ministries and departments.
In recent years, the establishment of some important tribunals had been stalled by constitutional challenges. The Supreme Court has delivered major judgments in the matter of administrative tribunals, company law tribunals, money laundering tribunals and others. More recently, the Competition Appellate Tribunal was embroiled in a controversy for several years. The composition of these tribunals was the main poser before the court.
Draftsmen in various ministries had excluded judges in these tribunals and appeared to pack them with their own tribe. When this imbalance was taken to the court, the judges gave room to their own retired brethren, on the threat of striking down the law. From a distance, it looks as if the feud is over who will get the post-retirement job — the civil servants or judges?
The same issue arose in a petition challenging the Right to Information Act as the draftsmen excluded judges and gave a clear edge to the babus. The Supreme Court followed the principles laid down in its earlier judgments and made a judicial member compulsory in the information commissions. In this judgment, Namit Sharma vs Union of India, there were a few pages about how shabbily the law was drafted. For instance, “anyone carrying on any business or pursuing any profession” cannot be a member of the commission. Pray, how else can one make a living?
Though the court had merely applied basic principles enunciated earlier, commentators and the media have surprisingly batted for the babus this time. The public image of judges is far above that of bureaucrats, but civil servants got unexpected support from commentators. Judges, who do not normally approach or influence the media, cannot speak out in defence because of their position, and one has to read the judgment once again to find out what they say.
As held in the industrial tribunal case, and several decisions over the decades, tribunals lead a double life. They take not merely ministerial decisions, but have many trappings of a civil court. An information commission decides disputes brought before it after calling both parties. It adjudicates issues as a court does, and often follows the civil court procedure. It gives a reasoned order. A party dissatisfied by the order can challenge the finding and appeal up to the Supreme Court. It has to perform investigative and supervisory functions. It can impose penalty. The commission has to interpret fundamental rights like Articles 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution, as the wide expanse of the Right to Information and Right to Privacy have to be balanced.
If a commission does all these and more, it is not a mere ministerial body. Retired chief secretaries and expert members, however brilliant they may be, are not fully equipped for this essentially judicial task. In addition, civil servants might have glaring conflict of interest. Independence of the judiciary, a corner stone of the Constitution, is also involved.
Moreover, the court’s precedents and consistent views cannot be bypassed for information commissions, while the rest of the panels follow them. The talents of judges, who retire comparatively young these days, should be tapped for public benefit; otherwise they will sell them to corporate goliaths and acquire wealth they missed out while watching lawyers make all the money.
The media has reported devastating consequences of the judgment. Though the court stated that the new framework will be effective only prospectively, many commissions in large states like Maharashtra, West Bengal and Rajasthan reportedly stopped work raising imaginary doubts. Without even reading the judgment, it was alleged that only in this country judges sit on information commissions. Judges have examined information laws in the US, UK and Canada. All these democratic countries have given due weight to judicial qualification and experience of members of these commissions.
It is reported that the government might come up with a review petition. This is an opportunity to clarify the situation, like the age issue. Members of the commissions retire at 65 and judges also retire at that age, creating a riddle. Moreover, there are hold-all phrases while prescribing qualification of members, like a person’s background in “social service” and “mass media”. Since the Act and rules do not define such expressions, the court has currently “read into” the provisions its own meaning. “Vague exclusions” and “uncertain inclusions”, as the court put it, mar the Act as it stands now. Meanwhile, the information commissions should start functioning.
NCW condemns atrocity on MP woman
Press Trust of India / Morena (MP) October 09, 2012, 21:45
National Commission for Women (NCW) has condemned as “shameful” the incident where a married woman was allegedly paraded naked in a village near here last month over a land dispute.
NCW member Charu Vali Khanna met the 50-year-old victim, a resident of Balalpur village in the district, yesterday.
Later, she directed the district administration to pay adequate compensation to the woman and submit the case for trial in the Court at the earliest.
The woman was assaulted and paraded naked by a group of men when she opposed them for beating her husband over a land dispute on September 30, Khanna told reporters.
The men had an old land dispute with the woman’s family.
Describing the incident as “shameful”, Khanna expressed displeasure over delay in police action against the accused persons.
Was there specific court order to probe Mayawati’s assets?
On review plea, Bench to seek clarifications from her, Centre and CBI
The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Centre and the Central Bureau of Investigation on a plea seeking review of its judgment granting Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati relief in a disproportionate assets case.
A Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and Dipak Misra issued notice to Ms. Mayawati also
When senior counsel Shanti Bhushan, appearing for intervener Kamlesh Verma, insisted on a direction to the CBI to continue the probe against the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, the Bench said it would seek clarifications from the respondents whether there was a specific court order directing registration of a first information report to probe her alleged disproportionate assets.
The Bench had on July 6 quashed the FIR registered by the CBI alleging that she acquired assets disproportionate to the known sources of her income, on the ground that there was no specific order for a probe into the disproportionate assets and that the court order was confined to irregularities in the Taj Corridor project.
Now Justice Sathasivam told counsel that the orders referred to by him were cited earlier also and the court took them into consideration while giving the July 6 judgment. Mr. Bhushan said that during the course of the probe into the Taj case, the CBI unearthed huge disproportionate assets and a separate FIR (No. 19) was registered.
Status report on FIR 19
Counsel read out the various orders passed by the Supreme Court and said the CBI had filed several status reports on its investigation. A status report in respect of FIR 19 was filed by the CBI on July 19, 2004 and that day the court granted it three months to complete the investigation. Finding no connection between the facts found in this case and the Taj Corridor project, the court also de-linked FIR 19 and granted the CBI liberty to proceed with the probe and take action on the basis of its investigation in FIR 19, he said.
Justice Sathasivam asked counsel: “Do you think this court is protecting her [Ms. Mayawati]? We only said there was no specific direction to probe her disproportionate assets. This does not bar the CBI from initiating fresh action independently if there is material. Is there an impediment to the CBI to undertake a probe?”
Justice Misra told counsel: “They can approach the Central government to take up fresh investigation against her. We never said that CBI has no power to investigate. There is no prohibition. It [CBI] can do so, but has to get sanction from the State government.”
Mr. Bhushan said: “When there is a specific order, the probe should be allowed to continue. No political party will give sanction against another political leader. It is only the court which can give a direction for conducting the probe.”
After Mr. Bhushan pointed out the relevant order passed by the Supreme Court for conducting the investigation against Ms. Mayawati, the Bench issued notice and told counsel that it would seek clarification on this aspect.
Cauvery water dispute: Karunanidhi asks Centre to dismiss Karnataka government
New Delhi: DMK chief M Karunanidhi has asked the Centre to dismiss the Karnataka government as the state has not released 9000 cusecs of river water to Tamil Nadu, defying a Supreme Court order. The Tamil Nadu government has said that it will file a contempt petition in the Supreme Court against Karnataka. Karnataka is also planning to file a review petition before the Cauvery River Authority.
Karnataka stopped releasing the Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu late on Monday night, hours after the state informed the Supreme Court that it was in no position to continue the water flow from Monday night, a senior official said. The five crest gates of Krishanaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir in Mandya, about 80 km from Bangalore, through which Cauvery water was being released to Tamil Nadu were shut.
Hundreds of farmers gathered at the reservoir to try to prevent water release raised slogans welcoming the stoppage when Janata Dal-Secular legislator CS Puttaraju, who had led them, confirmed that water flow had stopped. Earlier on Monday, Karnataka Law Minister S Suresh Kumar told reporters in New Delhi that senior counsel Fali Nariman representing the state had informed the Supreme Court that the state was in no position to release the water from Monday night.
There was no comment from the court on this submission nor did Tamil Nadu advocates raise objection to it, he said. The submission was made when the Supreme Court was hearing Karnataka’s plea to immediately allow the state to stop water release to Tamil Nadu. Karnataka moved the court as it had on September 28 pulled it up for not obeying the September 19 ruling of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as head of Cauvery River Authority (CRA) that it should release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu from September 20 to October 15.
Karnataka began releasing water on September 29 which had led to daily protests in Bangalore and Cauvery basin districts of Mandya, Mysore and Chamarajanagar – 80 km, 130 km and about 200 km respectively from Bangalore. Karnataka had also been pleading with the prime minister to review and stay his ruling.
The Supreme Court bench of bench of Justice DK Jain and Justice Madan B Lokur also clarified that their September 28 order “shall not in anyway be an impediment in the way of chairman CRA to take decision on review application by the Karnataka government”. Soon after the clarification, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar announced in New Delhi that the state would file another appeal to the CRA to withdraw the September 19 order.
Earlier, a delegation of central ministers from Karnataka, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, who hails from Mandya, Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge and Minister of State for Railways KH Muniyappa met Manmohan Singh and urged him to immediately review his September 19 ruling. A team of 16 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliament members from the state also met Manmohan Singh with the same plea.
However, immediate review by the prime minister was unlikely as the central government stand is that he gave the ruling as CRA head and only a meeting of CRA can do so. The CRA, headed by the prime minister, comprises central water resources minister and chief ministers of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry, all of which have a share in Cauvery water. Central Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who was present when the two teams met Manmohan Singh, reiterated the stand on Monday. He told reporters after the meeting that the prime minister had given the ruling on September 19 as head of CRA. It was not the decision of the prime minister but of the CRA and the CRA would have to meet to review the decision, Bansal asserted.
(With additional information from IANS)
HC notices to Speaker, MLA
Press Trust of India / Cuttack October 09, 2012, 11:07
State Assembly Speaker Pradeep Kumar Amat and Bonai MLA Bhimsen Choudhury were issued notices by Odisha High Court today asking them to file their respective counter affidavits in response to the writ petition filed by BJP legislature party secretary Karendra Majhi.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B K Mishra directed the court registry to issue express notices to the Speaker and to the MLA by special messengers ordered to list the matter as soon as the counter affidavits are received from the respondents.
Majhi last month had filed the writ challenging the August 1, 2012 ruling of the Speaker in which the latter had rejected an application of BJP. The party had urged the Speaker to disqualify Choudhury as a member of the House since the latter had defied the party whip during the 2010 Rajya Sabha election voting.
But allowing Choudhury to continue as MLA, the Speaker had turned down the BJP application on the ground that voting for Rajya Sabha polls was not a proceeding of the House and the legislator was not inviting ‘disqualification’ for defying the party whip.
The Bonai MLA was elected on a BJP ticket but he has since been suspended from the party after the 2010 Rajya Sabha polling.
Maintaining that Choudhury had incurred disqualification for violating provisions of 10th Schedule of the Constitution, Majhi had filed the writ seeking to quash the August 1, 2012 ruling of the Speaker. The petitioner had also prayed the HC to declare Choudhury’s continuance as an MLA null and void.
Even Gandharv marriage legal if a child is born: HC
Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 05.48AM IST
Sebi to move Supreme Court over SAT’s order on Jaiprakash Associates’ promoters
Sebi plans to move the Supreme Court, challenging a recent order passed by the Securities Appellate Tribunal exonerating Jaiprakash Associates Ltd’s executive chairman Manoj Gaur and his family.
MUMBAI: Capital market regulator Sebi plans to move the Supreme Court, challenging a recent order passed by the Securities Appellate Tribunal exonerating Jaiprakash AssociatesBSE 2.58 % Ltd’s executive chairman Manoj Gaur and his family from insider trading charges, said two persons familiar with the development.
Last week, the quasi-judicial body struck down the orders passed by Sebi against Manoj Gaur, his wife Urvashi Gaur and brother Sameer Gaur after it observed that the regulator was unable to bring any direct or circumstantial evidence on record to show that unpublished price sensitive information (UPSI) was passed between the Gaur family members and trading was done based on it.
The tribunal also observed that Manoj Gaur’s wife and brother traded in shares which were less in numbers compared to their holding in the company.
“If Mr. Manoj Gaur had passed on UPSI to Mrs. Urvashi Gaur and she traded on the basis of that UPSI she would not have traded in 1000 shares only,” the SAT order said. As on March 23, 2012, Urvashi Gaur was holding 59,045 shares of the company.
“We cannot lose sight of the fact that the company is a widely held listed company with a paid up capital divided into 212,64,33,182 equity shares out of which promoter group holds 44.44 per cent. It is a large infrastructure company engaged in highways,cement, power and education sector and the executive chairman of such company would not like to risk the reputation of himself and the company for 1000 shares,” SAT said.
The tribunal however upheld the charge of insider trading against two other company officials.
In January this year, the regulator had found Manoj Gaur,his wife Urvashi Gaur, brother Sameer Gaur, S D Nailwal, wholetime director of the company, and Harish K Vaid, senior president corporate affairs and company secretary guilty of insider trading and had imposed a total fine of Rs 70 lakh on them.
PIL against Ramni’s post in Sai Baba Trust dismissed
Press Trust of India / Shirdi/Mumbai October 09, 2012, 11:06
Observing that it was not inclined to hear the matter, the Bombay High Court has dismissed a PIL that sought to challenge the appointment of K V Ramni as Advisory Committee head of IT department of Shri Sai Baba Sansthan in Shirdi.
Ramni is Managing Director of Shirdi Sai Baba Trust, Chennai, and considered an expert in computer technology. He was appointed on this honorary post for a period of five years in October 2008.
Justices Naresh Patil and A B Chaudhari recently observed that petitioners had not made any representation to the respondent state in respect of the contentions raised herein.
“On the material made available before his Court as on today, we are not inclined to exercise our jurisdiction to entertain this public interest litigation. PIL is dismissed”.
Ramni had donated Rs 100 crores for construction of a tourist rest house ‘Sai Ashram’ at Shirdi. He had requested allotment of seven per cent rooms to him.
However, in October 2010, Shirdi’s Sai Baba Trust resolved to allot 20 rooms in the Ashram to Ramni, besides allowing him to open an office for his trust in the premises of Sai Ashram, the PIL alleged.
The PIL, filed by Shirdi residents, Sandeep Kulkarni and Uttamrao Shelke, has questioned the decision of Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan to allow Ramni to start the office of his Chennai-based Shirdi Sai Baba Trust in ‘Sai Ashram’ at Shirdi.
The PIL alleged that Ramni, by paying a huge donation of Rs 100 crore, had influenced the Sai Saba Sansthan to appoint him as the head of IT department of the Trust.
The PIL prayed that Ramni’s appointment in this post was illegal ab-initio (right from beginning) and was an outcome of an illegal resolution which was basically against the preamble and object of a special statute enacted by the government in 2004 for Sai Baba Sansthan.
The PIL further said the name of Ramni’s trust is deceptively similar to the Sai Baba Sansthan in Shirdi. Due to similarity in the names of the two trusts, there is a strong possibility of collection of donations from devotees by Ramni’s trust in Shirdi, the PIL argued.
Court rejects Salman petition for car sale
A magistrate court in Mumbai on Monday rejected actor Salman Khan’s application that stated he wished to sell the car he had driven at the time of a hit-and-run incident in 2002. The court passed the order on the application on Monday, said public prosecutor B B Yele. “Khan’s application stated he was no longer able to maintain the car and thus he wanted to sell it.”
In September 2002, Salman’s car had rammed into a bakery in Bandra, killing one person and injuring four. The trial in the case against Salman Khan, in which he has been booked under Section 304A (death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code is pending.
A public interest litigation (PIL) had been filed in the Bombay High Court soon after the incident by senior journalist Nikhil Wagle. The PIL, which has recently come up for hearing, demands that the punishment for the offence of death by negligence should be increased from two years to ten years.
Kin yet to get compensation
In 2002, the Bombay High Court had directed the payment of compensation to the kin of the person who died as well as those injured in the accident. The High Court was recently told that the kin of the deceased was yet to receive the Rs 10 lakh compensation, although it was deposited by Salman Khan.
Khan’s counsel Ashok Mundargi told Newsline, “There are multiple applications filed by several relatives of the dead person, Nurullah Sharif, which is creating difficulties in the disbursement of compensation.”
Mundargi had told the court that the delay in disbursement of compensation is due to a “dispute between the kin of the person.”
However, Nurullah’s lawyer Bhagyashree Jakhade said, “There is no dispute as such and there are only two applications filed for the purpose, both of which are pending. One of the applications was filed by Nurullah’s mother when his son was still a minor. That application was also filed on his son’s behalf. After his son attained the age of majority, he also approached the High Court’s legal services committee with an application. This is the only confusion in the matter.”
Sweeping powers for VC in Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology Bill
Ashok Pradhan, TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 05.01AM IST
Fake bail bond scam: CBI for scientific tests on RPF men
Press Trust of India / Mumbai October 09, 2012, 20:35
The CBI probing the fake bail bond scam involving Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel has sought permission from a local court for conducting scientific tests on the accused officials.
“We have filed an application before the magistrate’s court to conduct scientific tests as the accused are not revealing anything”, said a CBI official.
One out of the 12 accused whom the agency want to take the test has filed a reply against undergoing the procedure, he said.
The case is likely to come up for hearing next month.
A PIL in this regard was filed by activist Samir Zaveri, who alleged that a group of RPF personnel posted at suburban Kurla railway station extorted money from persons caught for violating railway norms by posing as magistrates and issuing fake bail bonds.
A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice R V More had transferred the probe to CBI in August observing that the Government Railway Police (GRP) was conducting a “tardy and slow” investigation.
The bench was to transfer the probe into the scam to the State Crime Investigation Department (CID) but later sought information from CBI as to whether it was probing into any case pertaining to corruption by RPF personnel.
The court had sought the information after going through a report submitted by former Deputy Inspector General A V Jha of RPF stating that the CBI was seized of the matter regarding illegal gratification, in which, several RPF personnel were accused.
Zaveri, in his PIL had alleged that a head constable acted as a magistrate and granted bail to the offenders and the money collected was misappropriated by the RPF personnel.
Jaipur: Residents challenge collection of waste charges on power bills
DNA | Oct 10, 2012, 06:05AM IST
Jaipur: State government’s controversial decision to levy waste disposal charges in electricity bills has been challenged in the Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday.
Mansarovar Residents Welfare Society’s president Hari Singh Nathawat has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) questioning the logic of including waste disposal charges in electricity bills. “What is the link between garbage disposal and electricity consumption,” the petitioner asked in the PIL.
The state government through a notification on July 25 had included waste disposal charges in the electricity bills of consumers for door-to-door garbage collection and cleaning of roads and drainages.
Charges Rs 100 to 300 had been imposed on electricity consumption of Rs 1000 to Rs 10000.
Claiming this would an additional burden on the public, the PIL has asked for equal sharing between the central government, state government and consumer.
Religion-based education schemes violate Constitution: Guj HC
Oct 9, 2012, 10.18AM IST
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Monday held the Government cannot give monetary benefits to any community on the basis of religion as such a move will violate Constitution that bars discrimination on religious ground.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala made this observation while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), which sought directions to the Gujarat government to implement a Centre sponsored pre- metric scholarship scheme launched nationwide in 2008. The PIL was filed by a Congress leader from Kutch, Adam Chaki.
However, the Bench declined to give any direction since a contradictory view was taken by another Division Bench of the high court earlier on a similar petition.
Instead, it referred the issues raised in the PIL to a larger bench, which would decide if the pre-metric scholarship scheme for students from minority communities was violative of the Constitution and whether the high court can direct a state government to implement the scheme.
The Bench noted held that government cannot give monetary benefits to a community on religious lines as such a move was in violation of Article 15(1) of the Constitution.
“There cannot be scope of conferring monetary benefits based on religion,” it observed.
The Central scheme is targeted at pre-matric students belonging to religious minorities whose parents have annual income below Rs 1 lakh. Under it, the Centre gives 75 per cent of the scholarship amount while states have to bear the rest.
The Gujarat government had refused to implement the scheme, saying it was discriminatory in nature. The government had further said it was providing scholarships to poor students of all communities.
In 2010, a Division Bench had upheld the Centre’s funding of schemes related to minority welfare.
Kalpakkam has all facilities to deal with emergencies: Govt
TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 02.26AM IST
CHENNAI: The state government has rejected arguments that mandatory safety and emergency medical preparedness was lacking at the nuclear power plant at Kalpakkam, and said there were enough trained medical and administrative personnel to tackle emergencies.
A counter-affidavit to this effect was filed before the first bench of the Madras high court comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam on Monday, when a PIL seeking compliance of guidelines pertaining to nuclear and radiological emergencies laid down by the National Disaster Management Authority came up for further hearing.
The PIL, filed by advocate M Vetriselvan, insisted on establishment of a super-multispecialty hospital and other amenities stipulated in the guidelines. Though the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) at Kalpakkam started operation in 1983, these mandatory requirements were yet to be put in place, argued his counsel M Radhakrishnan.
However, denying the allegations, the government submitted that necessary off-site emergency network was available to deal with radiological consequences. Noting that the deputy director of health services in Kancheepuram district is the nodal officer for implementing protective and relief measures, the counter said protective and relief measures would be made available by the district administration.
Reiterating that the medical facilities available at Kalpakkam were fully equipped and geared up to handle radiation-related emergencies arising from the plant, the affidavit said that after the initial treatment at the first aid centre at the site and the Department of Atomic Energy hospital, patients could be treated at the Chengalpet government medical college hospital, and also at three government general hospitals in Chennai. If necessary, specialized hospitals such as Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Apollo Hospitals, which have burns wards and other facilities, would be put to use, it said.
As for facilities such as immunology laboratory, bone marrow bank and transfusion and stem cell harvesting, the counter said they were available at the two private hospitals. The PIL will be taken up for further hearing next week.
HC notice a shot in the arm for GP members
K Narasimhamurthy Kolar, Oct 9, 2012, DHNS
The Karnataka High Court notice issued to District In-charge Minister Varthur Prakash and Mulbagal legislator Amaresh is a positive development in favour of the Mustoor Gram Panchayat members.
The members had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the High Court against the State government and the district administration, complaining that the latter had failed to take action against unlicensed sand mining in Mulbagal taluk, regardless of repeated requests.
The divisional bench, which heard the case on Monday, sent a notice to Varthur, Amaresh and 20 officers. It has also strictly ordered that action should be taken against unlicensed sand mining and that a report on it be submitted by December 2.
A decision had been taken on July 2 to stop unauthorised transport of sand within the panchayat limits. The panchayat members had also submitted memoranda to the deputy commissioner on July 19, 20 and 23, requesting action against unlicensed mining, but the requests were ignored, the members detailed in the PIL.
N Venkataramegowda, former president of Mustoor Gram Panchayat, residents within the panchayat limits N C Jagadishwara, B N Changalarayappa, K Venkataramanappa, Shiva Parvathi Stree Shakthi Sangha president Radhamma filed the PIL, guided by senior advocate M Shivaprakash.
Notices have also been issued to the chief secretary of the State government; the secretaries of the departments for Industries and Mining, Small Irrigation, and Transport; the director of the Mining and Geology Department; the senior geologist in the Department; the joint director of the Irrigation and Mining Department; the executive engineer of the Department for Small Irrigation; the assistant executive engineer of the PWD; the Deputy Commissioner; the District Superintendent of Police; the Deputy Forest Conservation Officer; the tahsildars of Kolar and Mulbagal taluks; the police inspectors of Mulbagal and Nangali and the executive officer of Mulbagal Taluk Panchayat, among others.
There are three to 3.5 thousand residents in the Panchayat, which has about five villages. The residents depend on agricultural activities for their livelihood, using the land in Nagavara, Byatanur, Nangali and Mustoor.
The Gram Panchayat members complained in the PIL that the indiscriminate mining activities have been destroying the fertility of the soil near the water tanks in the villages and even reduced the level of underground water. In addition, the unlicensed transport of sand to Bangalore has affected agriculture, they said.
They added that officers in the Mining and Geology Department, the Police Department and the Revenue Department were fully aware of the rampant mining but chose to turn a blind eye to the illegal activities. “The officers have all fueled the development of the sand mafia. The Panchayat and the women’s forum members have continued to fight agains the sand mining, but have lost the battle having to face the power of position and wealth. Sand is continuously mined at 15 acres and 20 guntas of the Nagavara tank, 124 acres and 34 guntas of the Byatanur tank, and 210 acres of Mustoor tank,” the members said in the complaint.
“The rule that the Mining and Geology Department, Regional Transport Office and the Revenue Department should open check posts and prevent transport of sand mining has remained only on paper. The officers have clearly failed to fulfill their duties as defined by the Constitution,” they complained.
Shivaprakash, who spoke to Deccan Herald on Tuesday, demanded that the concerned departments be instructed immediately to take necessary action against unlicensed mining of sand in the area. “A high powered committee should be formed to deal with the issue. It has also been requested that the officers personally recompense the farmers in Mustoor Gram Panchayat area, since the officers’ negligence and disregard for duty has caused the losses. The life of the people, natural conditions, underground water level and water bodies have all been wrecked because of the rampant mining,” he added.
Shivaprakash also demanded that all departments take action by December this year. “Varthur Prakash and Amaresh continue to make false promises at every meeting or function that the unlicensed sand mining would be brought to a halt and that crores of rupees have been released for the development of the district. We request them to consider the welfare of the district at least from now on.”
Atomic power station operated as per prescribed standards: TN
Press Trust of India / Chennai October 09, 2012, 22:15
Tamil Nadu government today submitted before the Madras High Court that safety features, security set up and emergency preparedness plans in the Madras Atomic Power Station, Kalpakkam, near here, are designed and operated as per the prescribed standards.
This was stated in a counter by the then Commissioner of Revenue Administration, K Gnanadesikan, to a PIL by one M Vetri Selvan, seeking a direction to the central and state authorities to implement the National Disaster Management Guidelines on nuclear and radiological emergencies in and around the atomic power station.
Gnanadesikan said the plant and site emergencies were handled by the site committee. The off-site emergency was handled by the district administration which included sheltering and evacuation. Offsite emergency drills were conducted once in two years to create and ascertain awareness levels.
All doctors and paramedical staff of the surrounding villages were imparted awareness training prior to carrying out the exercise. The last such drill was done on July 13, 2011 by the National Disaster Management Authority.
The official submitted that the guidelines on management of nuclear and radiological emergencies laid down by the NDMA were being implemented in a phased manner. The counter also detailed the medical preparedness of the plant as per the NDMA guidelines.
PIL seeks direction for probe against Vadra
Oct 9, 2012
A writ petition was filed today before Allahabad High Court’s Lucknow bench seeking direction for probe into allegation’s levelled by Arvind Kejeriwal against Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
The petition was filed in the HC registry by Nootan Thakur who claims to be a social activist.
The petitioner sought a direction to the Prime Minister’s secretary for conducting an inquiry into the allegations related to transactions between Vadra and realty major DLF.
Block online access to controversial film: PIL in HC
TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 01.51AM IST
A division bench of Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice Aruna Jagadeesan, before which the PIL filed by advocate K M Aasim Shehzad came up for admission on Tuesday, directed the registry to post the matter before some other bench for hearing.
When the matter was taken up, counsel for the petitioner Sanjan Pinto submitted that the material was still accessible in India, and wanted the court to direct the union ministry of communications and information technology, besides Google India Pvt Ltd to enforce blockade and ensure the film was not accessible in India.
In the petition, Shehzad listed the links where the offending material was available and pointed out that several countries had banned and blocked the promo. Noting that the film contained racist, anti-religious anti-Muslim hate speech, he said it was the statutory duty of the Central authorities to ensure that the fundamental right of citizens to freedom of religion was protected.
PIL seeks special buses for school children
A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court Bench in Madurai to frame special rules governing the transport of school children in government buses, autorickshaws and vans as it had been done in the case of private school buses.
A. Arunothayam Erskine of a non-governmental organisation based in Virudhunagar district had filed the case through his counsel R. Narayanan. The petitioner stressed that his plea must be considered seriously as more than 60 per cent of school students travelled in vehicles other than school buses.
Claiming that the State government had issued 27.2 lakh free bus passes to school children, Mr. Erskine said that most of them had to travel on footboard in congested buses and suffer humiliation at the hands of bus drivers and conductors for travelling free of cost.
He said that girls and physically challenged children faced physical as well as mental abuse from some unruly elements while travelling in public transport. Many a times, the government buses did not halt at bus stops thereby making the school going children run behind the vehicles for a long distance.
The petitioner suggested that the government could consider operating special buses exclusively for the use of school children on the lines of those operated for women alone. The drivers and conductors of those buses could be sensitized on the need to treat them properly and behave responsibly.
PIL alleges graft in land allotment in Noida, Greater Noida
TNN | Oct 9, 2012, 09.49PM IST
SC asks panel to spell out stand on endosulfan
New Delhi, Oct 9, 2012, DHNS:
Apex court concerned at economic impact of ban
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked an expert committee to tell in definite terms if the use of pesticide endosulfan could at all be permitted in the country or it would be in greater human advantage to ban it in entirety.
A bench asked a slew of questions to the committee, including the exact quantity of all forms of endosulfan formulations available in the country.
The court also wanted to know if it was possible to permit the export of the pesticide in case its use was not allowed here.
The Bench sought the response within six weeks while clarifying that it would not give further time to the committee as the PIL petition seeking permanent ban has been pending for over a year.
The court passed the fresh directions after noting that the committee which consisted of, among others, Director-General, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and Commissioner, Agriculture provided no “satisfactory answers.”
“Needless to say that the matter is pending for over an year, we want a definite stand of Union of India,” the court said. The interim order banning use and manufacture of endosulfan was passed on May 13 on the Centre’s support.
The committee was told on August 5, last year, to conduct scientific study if the substance caused health hazard or environmental and ecological damage.
During the hearing, the court observed: “If we allow use of endosulfan, it creates human crisis, if we continue with ban, it creates economic crisis.” The remarks came after it was pointed out that it about Rs 1,232 crore would be required for disposing of the existing stocks.
The court decided to add Director-General Health Services, one scientist each from Agriculture Ministry and ICMR and Joint Secretary, Plant Protection, Agriculture Ministry and Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board as members of the committee.
Senior counsel Krishnan Venugopal, appearing for PIL petitioner Democratic Youth Federation of India, submitted that when report of the committee emanated from the agriculture side, it tried to circumvent the order of the court banning the use of the pesticide.
The director of ICMR could not confirm that there was no consequence on human health due to its use, he said.
Framing fresh additional issues for consideration, the Bench told the committee to hold its meeting within one week and also inform it in case, the use of endosulfan was not permitted, if it was possible to destroy the available endosulfan and cost, required in it, along with economic ramifications of such a decision.
The court, while posting the matter for passing direction for November 20, said, “We make it clear we will not be inclined to give any further time to government on the matter.” The Centre had constituted the joint expert committee having members among others from National Institute of Animal Health, a group of epidemologists and immunologists to suggest measures on the issue.
The committee submitted its report on August 24 saying that, except in Kerala and Karnataka, the ban might not be imposed because no negative impact of this pesticide on crops, human and animal health and environment had been reported in other states.
Amit Jethava murder: CBI registers case
Express news service
Posted: Oct 10, 2012 at 0444 hrs IST
Not enough hospitals to deal with mental health issues: NHRC
Press Trust of India / New Delhi October 10, 2012, 17:25
Rapid changes in lifestyle and work pressure contribute more to depression, but not many hospitals in India cater to such patients due to lack of training in dealing with mental health issues.
This view was articulated by National Human Rights Commission Chairperson K G Balakrishnan who said such issues should be given priority by medical practitioners.
“There are about 43 hospitals in the government sector and very few in the private sector that deal with these issues. Also there are no specific courses in the MBBS too that deal with the issues of mental health, despite the fact that they are on the rise due to anxiety and depression in India,” he said.
At a seminar organised by NHRC to mark Mental Health Day here, a study said issues of mental health are not given as much priority as other health problems in the country.
Suggesting the need for an insurance cover for mental health patients, Dr Prahima Murthy from the NIMHANS, Bangalore said there are better infrastructural facilities available in the hospitals across the country as compared to ten years back.
But, she said, the number of trained professionals are limited.
In most cases, patients of schizophrenia and paranoia are subjected to in-human conditions and human rights violations since most of them are forced to be treated by their family members at various religious institutions, said Prof Nimesh G Desai, Director of Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences.
The NHRC has proposed enactment of several mental health legislations to increase awareness amongst patients and family members.
Stephanians take roll row to rights panel
TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 02.07AM IST
NEW DELHI: Stephanians do nothing by halves. They’ve gone as far as the National Human Rights Commission to reclaim for Rohtas the right to sell rolls from his dhaba on the college campus. A group of the college’s alumni – the Old Stephanian’s Association – has lodged a complaint with the NHRC after their online campaign and furious statement-issuing failed to elicit a response from college authorities. Their campaign was launched when the roll-ban was first discovered by teacher in mid-September.
The former students believe that the livelihood of Rohtas’ family – running the dhaba on the college premises for decades – will be severely impacted by the ban. The ban itself – imposed because the dhaba is allowed to serve only certain items (nimbu paani, gulab jamun) and not compete with the cafe – creates a situation in which it is no longer feasible for Rohtas to run the stall, argues Old Stephanian, Ashish Joshi. This, apparently, constitutes a “gross violation of principles of natural justice, human rights and denial of equal opportunity to Shri Rohtas, who along with his father late Shri Sukhia has been running the Dhaba in St Stephen’s College for more than fifty years,” as the note puts it. The college authorities had defended the move saying that considering Rohtas’ family does not pay anything for the space they occupy, they should not compete with the college cafe.
The Old Stephanians counter that Rohtas’ father once sold cigarettes and it was after the university banned cigarettes, “Rohtas was compensated for loss of income by allowing him to sell rolls etc.” Now that even that has been stopped, says the letter, “Rohtas has been economically deprived. Situation has been created that his small business would no longer remain viable and sustainable. Adverse conditions have been whereby he cannot run a viable and sustainable business.”
“At his age he cannot find another job,” continues the letter, “He will not be able to look after his family and the family will lose livelihood and hunger will stare at them.The treatment being meted out to Rohtas is at variance with humanitarian principles.”
The feeling of outrage at rolls being banned at this eatery may be entirely genuine, but surely it needs to be tempered with some sense of proportion. We very much doubt that the idea behind setting up the NHRC was to deal with violations of students’ rights to have the menu of their choice at college eateries. Raising this issue in such a forum only serves to trivialize the notion of human rights. The petitioners would be best advised to apologize to the NHRC for wasting its time and withdraw their plea.
Ban on tinted car glasses in Kokrajhar
TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 04.57AM IST
District transport officials and the Kokrajhar traffic police were seen carrying out the drive by removing tinted glasses from cars at several locations in the town. Apart from private cars, few government vehicles with tinted glasses were also hauled up.
Kokrajhar MVI inspector D Shyam said the drive is being carried out following the directives of higher authority which came after the Supreme Court order. The Supreme Court had issued a ban on the use of sun control films and tinted glasses on May 2. The order was in response to a PIL which alleged that vehicles with tinted glasses were increasingly used for criminal activities including sexual abuse. The law enforcing authorities believe this order will help them control crime and even nab criminals as they can now easily identify people sitting inside a car.
Public too has welcomed the order and feel many untoward and anti-social activities would be controlled through this. The ban is applicable to all vehicles including government and police vehicles.
Non-hygienic conditions at slum; HC asks sr official to appear
Press Trust of India / New Delhi October 09, 2012, 11:03
Irked over alleged inaction of civic bodies in ensuring “hygienic” conditions at a slum here, the Delhi High Court today asked a senior Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) official to appear before it and apprise it of steps taken in this regard.
“Do not make a person to come to the court before you (DSIB and MCD) finally act…Let the person concerned (Chief Engineer of DUSIB) appear in person next Monday,” said Chief Justice D Murugesan.
The bench, also comprising Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, asked the civic bodies to file a status report by October 15, the next date of hearing, on steps taken by it to ensure healthy living conditions at Indira Kalyan Vihar slum at Okhla in South Delhi.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Conference For Human Rights India (CFHRI) through advocate Nanita Sharma alleging South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and the DUSIB were “passing the buck” to each other, while shying away from their duty to ensure hygienic living conditions there.
The PIL has sought a direction to the civic bodies “to ensure clean, hygienic living conditions of the inhabitants of the slum at Indira Kalyan Vihar” as all drains in the area were found open and clogged.
“The whole slum colony stands by thick swarm of flies carrying germs of all types of diseases and posing risk of outbreak of an epidemic…
“Apart from the flies, what could be more infecting for the slum dwellers is a flurry of buzzing mosquitoes in every nook and corner of the slum, posing a great risk of outbreak of a lot of deadly diseases like malaria, dengue, chicken guinea, etc,” the petition alleged, adding that no action has been taken so far by the authorities.
Road rage victim brings Facebook campaign to real world
Nitasha Natu, TNN Oct 9, 2012, 12.37PM IST
MUMBAI: A south Mumbai-based advocate, who had flagged off an online campaign against errant motorists, brought the battle offline on Saturday with a first-ever meet of all members to discuss how they could make an actual difference.
Armin Wandrewala, who founded the group Sanity on our Roads (SOOR) on Facebook, was herself the victim of a road rage case two years ago when a biker knocked her down as she chided him for breaking a signal. Following the incident, the Bombay Bar Association pursued the matter, which led to the filing of a PIL in court.
Why are residents of Raheja Gardens still thirsty: HC to PMC
PMC, which entered into dev agreement with many builders that latter will provide drinking water for projects, says consumer court is an option
Posted On Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 08:35:11 AM
It’s an undertaking that is un-civic at best, and shady at the other end of the spectrum. While the Bombay High Court has directed the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to reply to it over not providing clean drinking water to nearly 5,000 residents of Raheja Gardens housing complex in Wanowrie, the civic body itself is fighting shy of taking a stand.
The PMC gives the go-ahead to housing projects in areas where the civic body clearly states its inability to provide clean drinking water after the builder undertakes to provide the same. However, in case of violations of the undertaking by the builder, there is little the PMC will do for the aggieved flat owner apart from some friendly advice.
PMC superintending engineer (Water Supply) Narendra Salunke said, “In case there is a violation of the undertaking (to provide water) by the builder, the flat owners can approach a consumer court.
If the complaint comes to us, we can take action, like withholding building permission for future projects by the offending builder after verifying the charges. We have not maintained records of how many such societies have been built based on this undertaking.”
One of the oldest housing complexes in the city, Raheja Gardens comprises 945 flats.
The residents had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on February 21, 2012 after it was revealed via an RTI query that Raheja Builders and PMC had signed a development agreement, which stated that the construction of the scheme is allowed on the condition that it was the builder’s responsibility to supply water to all buildings in the layout, instead of the PMC.
The PIL named the municipal commissioner, Raheja Builders Group, the superintendent engineer of PMC’s water supply and drainage department and others as respondents in the case.
In their petition, residents have claimed that although they are paying water tax of Rs 12 lakh every year, PMC is denying them their basic right. On July 19 this year, the HC had directed Raheja Builders to look into the matter and take appropriate steps.
However, residents are now alleging that the builder is still supplying contaminated water, mixing it with PMC-provided potable water. They also furnished a laboratory analysis of the water, which stated that it is not fit for drinking.
Prakash Walde, a petitioner and resident, said, “I have purchased a water filter twice in one month. When the first purifier broke down, the company changed it during the guarantee period. When I insisted that the machine be changed again, the sales manager inspected the machine and told us that the water quality is very bad and no purifier will sustain in such water.”
A resident of Dahlia Society in Raheja Gardens, Mohammed Sayeed Merchant, said, “Water supplied by the builder is not potable. I buy mineral water for daily consumption as I have small children. It’s very expensive to buy water everyday.”
A J Mistry, secretary of Lily Society, said, “The water provided by the builder is so filthy that water purifiers break down. The builder’s new system to chlorinate it is also not appropriate. It is our basic right to get clean drinking water. We are the highest taxpayers here and are paying water tax too.”
The petition stated the PMC has not been supplying water though it is its responsibility as per the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, and that Raheja Builders hid the fact about the development agreement at the time of handing over possession.
The PIL further stated, “The source of water is by an underground stream, which has seepage from a nearby sewage canal. It is an open canal where dogs, cats, pigs urinate. Solid waste including sanitary napkins, animal carcasses are dumped in it. The same water is alleged to be ‘treated’ and supplied to the residents of Raheja Gardens Complex.”
Advocate for the petitioners, Shirin Merchant, also a resident, said, “We have prayed that the court be pleased to issue a Writ of Mandamus under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950, directing the respondent PMC and Raheja Builders to immediately start supplying adequate potable and pure drinking water to all the residents of the said Raheja Gardens Complex.”
The PIL prayed to direct the PMC to permanently refrain itself from sanctioning building plans based on undertakings given by builders and developers that they shall supply water to flat buyers.
It urged to direct that the civic body make it mandatory for such builders to annexe a copy of such undertakings to the flat booking agreements, to ensure that flat buyers are informed about such an undertaking.
The builder should regularly issue public notices in this regard in leading local newspapers, as well publish the names of such constructions on its websites permanently to be viewed by prospective flat purchasers.
The PIL urged that the PMC should refund the water tax that it has been collecting from the residents of Raheja Gardens Complex since its inception, showing the amounts received from each tenement.
A Peerzada, project manager with Raheja Builders, Pune and Sanjay Shinolikar, general manager, said they cannot comment on this issue as the matter is sub-judice. “The court will decide the further course of action. We have been providing clean water right from the first day,” Peerzada said.
Salunke added, “We’re yet to receive a copy of the HC order. We’ll submit to the court that we are ready to supply potable water after the existing water supply network is adequately expanded. As per the undertakings, till date the responsibility of water supply is with the builder.”
Advocate Aroona Nafday, convenor, Pune Forum for Flat Owners (PUFO), said, “There is no provision in any Act or in the DC rules that water cannot be supplied to residents. It is mandatory that the PMC supply water, as it is a basic right.
We’re hopeful the decision will be in favour of the concerned residents. Sanctioning of building projects should not be given if there is a water crisis. The concerned builder and PMC engineer should be slapped with criminal cases, as this is cheating.”
SC quashes liquor vend re-auction that ‘favored’ Ponty in 2004
TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 05.41AM IST
SC may allow tiger tourism in core reserve areas
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 12.35AM IST
NEW DELHI: With the season of festivals and holidays drawing near, the Supreme Court on Tuesday served some good news for wildlife enthusiasts by indicating that it would lift the two-and-a-half month old ban on tourism in core areas of tiger reserves next week.
After additional solicitor general Indira Jaising informed that National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) would notify new guidelines permitting regulated tourism in core areas within a week, the court fixed further hearing on October 16 and said on that day, it would “modify or vacate” its July 24 interim ban order.
A bench of Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar realized that the court could not have passed the July 24 order on a special leave petition challenging an interim order of Madhya Pradesh High Court and said, “The Supreme Court could not in these proceedings either put a stamp of approval on the NTCA guidelines or quash them.”
After the interim ban, the NTCA revisited its guidelines on tiger reserve management, made a U-turn, and framed fresh guidelines giving importance to public participation in efforts to conserve tigers and recommended limited tourism in 20% of core areas under strict supervision of forest officials.
Given the legal status of the guidelines framed by NTCA under its statutory obligations, the bench said, “NTCA may therefore issue the formal notification notifying the comprehensive guidelines in accordance with the Wildlife Conservation Act. The additional solicitor general appearing for the NTCA submits that the requisite notification will be issued within a week. List the matter for further hearing on Tuesday, October 16, for consideration of the prayer for vacating/modifying the interim order.”
The SC’s July 24 interim order banning tourism in core areas of tiger reserves had cut off access to popular tourist destinations like Dhikala in Corbett National Park. It had brought politicians and environmentalists together in citing the importance of tourism in core areas for protecting the endangered big cat from poachers.
What the court was concerned about was rampant commercialization of buffer and core areas of tiger reserves without proper demarcation of these two important areas in protected forests. Its interim ban had shaken the NTCA to shed its lethargy and consult stakeholders before framing fresh guidelines on a war footing.
On July 9, the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) had filed the ‘Guidelines for Ecotourism in and around Protected Areas’ in the apex court and said, “Any core area in tiger reserves from which relocation has been carried out will not be used for tourism activities.”
The guidelines were based on key recommendations of the Tiger Task Force (2005) and were in sync with Section 38(v) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (as amended in 2006), which defined core/critical wildlife habitats as such areas that needed to be kept inviolate for tiger conservation without affecting the rights of Scheduled Tribes or forest dwellers.
On September 26, the NTCA submitted new guidelines to the SC and said tourists were permitted to visit only 20% of core areas of tiger reserves and it was well within ecologically permissible levels.
Taking into account the court’s concern for tiger conservation, the NTCA had said conservation efforts must have public participation and regulated tourism was an effective and invaluable tool to harness community support for this purpose.
It had said, “With the importance of tourism in tiger conservation in mind, it is recommended that a maximum of 20% of the core/critical tiger habitat usage (not exceeding the present usage) for regulated, low-impact tourist visitation may be permitted.”
The core area is kept free of biotic disturbances and forestry operations, where collection of minor forest produce, grazing and human disturbances are not allowed. The Act defines buffer zone as the area peripheral to the critical tiger habitat or core area providing supplementary habitat for dispersing tigers, besides offering scope for co-existence of human activity.
Man ordered capital punishment
Press Trust of India / Sambalpur (Odisha) October 09, 2012, 11:02
A local court ordered capital punishment to a man today for the murder of a minor girl after raping her last month.
District Sessions Judge Bibhu Prasad Routray ordered that Pradip Dalai be hanged till death for mercilessly killing the 7-year-old old girl and rigorous life imprisonment for raping her.
Dalai (27), a driver, was also convicted for tampering with evidence (section 201) and kidnapping (section 366) under the IPC.
The court had convicted the man October 1 and pronounced the death sentence today.
The girl, a standard two student, was playing with her friends on September 2 afternoon when Pradip lured her away on the promise of treating her to chowmein.
When the girl who called Pradip, a father of two, ‘mamu’ (maternal uncle) did not return even after night fall her family members launched a search and found her body in a bush in the early hours of the next day.
The girl, daughter of a daily wage earner, was found to have been raped and then strangulated during autopsy.
Pradip was arrested and forwarded to court the next day and chargesheeted within seven days.
Pradip is the sixth person to be awarded the death sentence in Odisha’s Sambalpur district in 58 years. One person was awarded capital punishment in 1954, followed by two in 1993 and another two in 2009. So far only the 1954 death sentence has been executed.
Dhananjoy Chatterjee was the last man to have been hanged to death in the country in 2004. He too was charged for raping and murdering a minor girl in Kolkata.
Man who staged wife’s murder as suicide gets life
Press Trust of India / New Delhi October 09, 2012, 11:03
A man who had killed his wife by hanging her from ceiling and attempted to stage it as suicide has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a Delhi court.
Additional Sessions Judge Narinder Kumar convicted Feroze considering, besides other circumstances, the medical opinion which confirmed that the hanging was not suicidal but “homicidal”.
The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Feroze.
Feroze’s mother Mehrunisha was, however, let off by the court due to lack of evidence.
Feroze was found guilty of murdering his wife Tarannum, whom he had married in 2007, by hanging her from ceiling of their room on the intervening night of August 11-12, 2010.
Tarannum’s brother told police and the court that Feroze and his mother used to harass and beat her but it nowhere transpired if it was for dowry.
The court arrived at the conclusion that it was a case of murder and not suicide, considering the medical evidence that all injuries of the victim were fresh and death was due to asphyxia caused by homicidal hanging.
On the question as to who killed Tarannum, the court held Feroze guilty as he had deposed that he was sleeping with his wife in the same room and he found her hanging when he woke up late in the night.
“In the given circumstances, it was for Feroze to explain as to how did Tarannum suffer fresh injuries on her person. This goes to show that scuffle took place prior to Tarannum was hanged. The doctor has categorically opined that it was not a case of suicidal hanging,” the judge said.
The court also noted that Feroze’s conduct in not rushing to his mother to inform that his wife has hanged herself and not calling the police goes against him.
Transfer bail proceedings to Mumbai: Pandian to HC
TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 05.17AM IST
AHMEDABAD: One of the accused cops in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, Rajkumar Pandian has requested the Gujarat high court to shift the court proceeding on his bail plea to Mumbai.
Pandian’s application came after the Supreme Court transferred the fake encounter case outside Gujarat on the request by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Justice R H Shukla adjourned the case till October 16, said the CBI counsel Yogesh Ravani.
Pandian argued in this case as party-in-person, and the local CBI court has now declared that the accused would not be in its custody as it was to hand over case papers to the high court for further transfer of case to Mumbai.
The suspended IPS officer has filed a bail application before the special CBI court on Mirzapur court campus. His earlier bail applications were rejected by the sessions court as well as the high court.
Last week, the high court refused to entertain a bail application filed by another accused cop, N K Amin. The high court did not act on the bail plea citing jurisdiction issue, particularly after the transfer of the case.
As per the chargesheets filed by the CBI as well as CID (crime), it was the former ATS SP Pandian who had gone to Hyderabad to abduct Sohrabuddin. However, apparently he made the trip as he had gone to inspect a bomb-blast site in Andhra Pradesh. He has also been accused of playing key role in elimination of the gangster and his wife Kauserbi after they were brought to Ahmedabad.
Pandian has also been named an accused in the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter, which took place a year after Sohrabuddin’s encounter. However, Pandian was never arrested by CID (crime), though he has been in judicial custody in another case for more than five years.
Twin murder case: Double lifer for six accused
Express News Service
Nearly a decade after two men were murdered in Kollakodai in Ponganur village in Jawadhu Hills, Additional District Sessions Court-III in Tirupattur on Monday sentenced six persons to double life imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 13,000 each.
Judge M Prakasan found the six accused, Jayabalan (34) and Thirumurugan (29) of Athimur village, and Bala (alias) Balasubramani (21), Mosh (alias) Moses (21), Murugan (21), and Manikandan (19), all from Polur, guilty of the crime and sentenced them to double life imprisonment under Section 396 (dacoity with murder) of IPC and slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 each. He also awarded them seven years rigorous imprisonment and penalty of Rs 1,000 each under Section 395 (dacoity), seven years (RI) and penalty of Rs 1,000 under Section 302 (murder) of IPC and two years RI and Rs 1,000 fine under Section 201 (disappearance of evidence) of IPC, said Additional Public Prosecutor A Dilli Babu.
Jamunamaruthur Police registered a case against the the six accused and arrested them on December 21, 2002. Police investigations revealed that the accused had strangled Poochi (40) and Chinnapillai (37), who were on night watch at a farm, in the late hours of December 17 and robbed them. After dumping their bodies in a nearby well, they went to Poochi’s house in Ponganur assaulted his 15-year-old son Babu and escaped with gold jewellery from the house.
Sessions Judge acts on letter of imprisoned man for bail
Mandi (HP), Oct 9 (PTI) Acting on a letter written by a prisoner lodged in Sub Jail Mandi to Sessions Judge, Mandi, the court granted him bail and asked him to furnish bail bonds and two sureties before a lower court.
Laxmender Pandey, a resident of Kalka (Haryana), wrote a letter to Virender Singh, Sessions Judge Mandi, seeking bail.
Court acquits youth of charges of kidnapping minor girl
Press Trust of India / New Delhi October 09, 2012, 17:05
A Delhi court has acquitted a youth of the charges of kidnapping a 14-year-old girl and forcing her to marry him, relying on her testimony that she was in love with him and had accompanied him of her own free will.
Additional Sessions Judge J R Aryan freed Bihar-native Sillan Kumar Das after considering the girl’s statement that she knew him for the past five years and had willingly gone to Bihar with him in December last year where they had married.
The prosecutor had argued that as the girl was less than 18 years of age, there was no question of her consenting for being taken away from her parents’ custody.
However, the court said, “Even if the girl was a little less than 18 years of age but if she has got married to accused and had accompanied him by her sweet consent and wish then offence of kidnapping or graver charge of kidnapping intended for some illicit purpose cannot be held to have been made out from the evidence of the girl and other evidence.
“Rest all witnesses in this case were formal and were only of supporting nature. Accordingly, prosecution case was closed. Accused is acquitted of the charge.”
According to prosecution, the girl’s parents had lodged a complaint that there minor daughter has been kidnapped by accused Das on December 29 last year when she had gone out.
The police said that the girl was kidnapped with an intention to force her into illicit relationship.
After the girl was rescued from Bihar, she was brought to Delhi in January this year and she told the court that she was in love with Das and had married him in Bhagalpur in Bihar with her consent.
Court awards lifer to duo for murdering cop
Kupwara, Oct 9: A local court here on Tuesday convicted a duo for murdering a cop and awarded life term to them.
Principal Sessions Judge Kupwara, Shahzad Azem convicted Shabir Ahmad Bhat of Maratgam Handwara and Mushtaq Malla of Shatgund Maratgam after they were found guilty of murdering a cop, Abdul Gaffar Mir of Maratgam Handwara seven years ago.
After hearing arguments of the counsels representing the State and the accused, the court had on Wednesday last reserved its judgment on the petition which was announced on Tuesday.
The prosecution examined 14 witnesses during the trial and all of them corroborated the contents of the First Information Report.
The prosecution was able to prove the guilt of the accused under Section 302 (murder) of RPC and under section 7/25 of Arms Act, who were accordingly convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by the court with a fine of Rs, 50000 each.
The court directed that Rs 30000 from the fine of each accused be provided to the next of kin of the victim. “In case of default the convict will have to undergo a further imprisonment of six months,” the court said in the 86-page judgment.
Emotional scenes were witnessed in the court room, when the judgment was being pronounced. The family members of the victim family hugged each other.
Reacting to the verdict of court, Zainab widow of the victim said “justice has been eventually done to us. We were waiting for the day when the killers would get the lifer”.
The constable Abdul Gaffar Mir of Badugh Kralgund Handwara was killed on September 6, 2006. A case under FIR under sections 302 of RPC and 7/25 of Arms Act was registered in Police station Kralgund against the accused.
After concluding investigations, the police had apprehended the accused and chargesheet was presented in sessions court on August, 22, 2008.
The State was defended by senior public prosecutor Ghulam Muhammad Shah.
while the convicts were represented by counsels, Bashir Ahmad Dar and Mir Bashir Ahmad.
TP murder case transferred to Kozhikode court
TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 01.16AM IST
The principal sessions judge, Kozhikode, will take a decision on the court where the case will come up for trial. The principal sessions judge himself can try the case or will forward the case to some other court.
Sources said there was very little chance for setting up a special court for the trial. “If the charges are framed by the court and the schedule fixed, trial can be finished within months,” a source said.
Meanwhile, Vadakara magistrate rejected the bail pleas of the accused, including P K Kunhanandan and K C Ramachandran. The accused argued that the chargesheet in the case was incomplete. But the court accepted the prosecution stand that only the larger conspiracy behind the case needed to be investigated.
Panel to look into sexual harassment cases within SC premises created
TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 01.12AM IST
NEW DELHI: It took 15 years and a petition by 63 women lawyers for the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) to set up a committee, as mandated in the apex court’s judgment, to look into complaints of sexual harassment within the premises of the highest court.
A month back, the women lawyers had petitioned the Supreme Court seeking implementation of its 1997 judgment in Vishaka case mandating that every office, including in the private sector, constitute a committee comprising mostly of women, to look into complaints of sexual harassment at the workplace.
The petitioners had said, “There is no forum in Supreme Court, or the courts below, for women to address the issue of sexual harassment experienced by them frequently at the hands of their colleagues and persons in whose contact they come in while discharging their duties as advocates.”
The issue was raised on Tuesday at the Supreme Court Bar Association’s executive meeting by assistant secretary Gaurav Bhatia and the body constituted a five-member committee to look into complaints of sexual harassment of women lawyers in the Supreme Court premises. It comprised senior advocates Altaf Ahmed and Pinky Anand and avocates Meera Bhatia, Kumud Lata Das and Sharbani Chakravarthy.
The women lawyers in their petition had said, “In order to sub-serve the ends of justice towards the women advocates who require protection from sexual harassment in court precincts, there is an urgent requirement that SC gives further directions in this regard.” They had requested the court to make them a party in a pending case relating to alleged physical violence against a female advocate in Delhi High Court.
As per the guidelines laid down in the 1997 Vishaka judgment, a committee headed by a woman and with a majority of women members had to be set up in the apex court, each HC and trial court so that such cases could be addressed and resolved, the women lawyers had said. “At present, there is no such forum and in the light of the case before the Supreme Court, such a committee is the need of the hour and should be immediately set up,” they had said.
Angry words prompting crime not abetment, says court
NEW DELHI The Supreme Court has said that anything uttered in a fit of anger resulting in another person committing an offence or taking his life would not amount to abetment or instigation.
“The words uttered in the fit of anger or omission without any intention cannot be termed as an instigation,” a court bench of Justice BS Chauhan and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla said in a judgment.
“The offence of abetment by instigation depends upon the intention of the person who abets and not upon the act which is done by the person who has abetted. The abetment may be by an instigation, conspiracy or intentional aid as provided under Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC),” said Justice Chauhan who pronounced the judgment.
Holding that the instigation had to be gathered from the circumstances of a particular case, the court said: “No straight-jacket formula can be laid down to find out as to whether in a particular case there has been instigation which forces the person to commit suicide.”
Referring to a scenario where in a case there may not be direct evidence of abetment, the judgment said: “In a particular case, there may not be direct evidence in regard to instigation which may have direct nexus to suicide.”
Having pointed to a situation of no direct evidence, the judgment said: “Therefore, in such a case, an inference has to be drawn from the circumstances and it is to be determined whether circumstances had been such which in fact had created the situation that a person felt totally frustrated and committed suicide.”
“More so” the court said: “While dealing with an application for quashing of the proceedings, a court cannot form a firm opinion, rather a tentative view that would evoke the presumption referred to under Section 228 Cr.P.C. (Court of Criminal Procedure)”
The Section 228 of the Cr.P.C. deals with the filing of charges says that a judge before committing a case for trial have to be satisfied that there are grounds for presuming that the accused has committed an offence.
Under the Section 228 Cr. P.C. the charges have to be read and explained to the accused and the accused shall be asked whether he pleads guilty of the offence charged with or claims to be tried.
The court said this while dismissing an appeal by one Praveen Pradhan who is accused of abetting the suicide of one Anuraj Singh.
In the complaint filed by the deceased Anuraj Singh’s brother, Ambreesh Singh it was alleged that Praveen Pradhan had been compelling his brother for long to indulge in several wrongful practices at the work place, which he resisted. In retribution Pradhan allegedly started making illegal demands, which were not complied with.
As a consequence Pradhan on one occasion sought to disgrace Anuraj Singh in front of the other staff members by saying that “had there been any other person in his place, he would have died by hanging himself”.
Soon thereafter, Anuraj Singh on October 6, 2005, narrated the incident to his relatives and next day on October 7, 2005, committed suicide after leaving behind a note holding Pradhan responsible for his extreme step.
Five realty firms ‘encroach’ on defence land, booked
Pradeep Gupta, TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 02.35AM IST
Dowry Thrives In India In Gold Or Hard Cash
By Saraswathi Muniappan
NEW DELHI, Oct 9 (Bernama) — The skyrocketing gold price has not deterred the practice of giving dowry in India, instead families have become more innovative in meeting the dowry obligation.
Gold, which is traditionally given by the bride’s family as dowry, seems to have lost its luster especially after the commodity’s price breached Rs 32,000 (RM1,747) per 10gm recently.
Nowadays, Indian families seem to have moved away from gold to hard cash or properties or a combination of any of the two or all three.
In a modern India, the dowry system seems to have withstood the test of time and legislation barring the practice. In fact, it is thriving though many view giving dowry as a diabolic practice.
Fat Indians weddings and dowry as a precondition for marriage is a norm and glamorously reported in the media though dowry is blamed for many of the cruelties against women.
DOWRY HAS GONE AGAINST WOMEN
Dowry, known as Stree Dhan, is actually gift items usually given to the bride by her parents and relatives at the time of marriage.
In Hindu scripts, the Vedas, dowry is mentioned as Kanyadaan (gift of the maiden), said Nitasha Agarwal, chief manager of Smile Foundation, an NGO working for women’s welfare and empowerment.
“As the daughter in a family is not entitled for equal share in the family property, they are given gifts in the form of dowry but sometimes it is offered to entice the groom’s family.
“This has obviously worked against the women and their basic rights,” she said.
CRUELTY TO WOMEN
It is common knowledge that in most communities in India the amount of dowry given is nothing less then 100 sovereigns of gold and when a girl is born the family starts saving for her wedding immediately.
“Thus girls are considered liability, therefore female foeticide and infanticide prevails,” she told Bernama in an email interview.
Bollywood actor Aamir Khan in his Satyamev Jayate (Truth Alone Prevails) talk show brought to light that 80 per cent of bank loans were taken by people to meet dowry demands.
Moreover, the dowry demands continue even after marriage and failure to fulfill the demands lead to harassment, physical and mental torture and the horrific practice of ‘bride burning’ .
“One woman dies every hour in India in dowry related cases,” Aamir revealed in his show.
Nitasha also blamed on the misplaced societal perception that if a girl is married at an early age, a small amount of dowry would work but if the girl is educated then the family has to pay a high dowry to seek a bridegroom of same status.
Therefore, the dowry system to a great extent is also to be blamed for child marriages, neglect of daughters and sexual harassment.
PROHIBITED BY LAW
Meanwhile Dr Rizwana Parvin, a practicing lawyer in Delhi said that India has sufficient laws to protect women but has not been enforced properly and do not fully take into account several gender sensitive issues.
Dowry is even banned under the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 and Section 498A of Indian Penal Code (IPC) while a host of other laws protect women against domestic violence, rape, and prohibit gender selection tests.
However, there is a lack of awareness about these laws. Also, it is the fear of social stigma that stops women from seeking divorce when they suffer domestic violence due to dowry demand or any other reason.
“So, women to some extent tolerate such harassment either not knowing the existence of laws that protect them or due to the mindset of how the society will look at them when they seek divorce,” she told Bernama.
“I have handled a few matrimonial disputes (related to dowry and otherwise) and the women found proper justice and their needs were well taken care of.
“The fact that dowry-related violence and deaths have shown no abatement in the past two decades only indicate that the existing laws have not been implemented properly and therefore failed to serve as deterrents,” said Rizwana.
HIGHEST CRIME AGAINST WOMEN
Thousands of women are killed every year in India over dowry. The cases of dowry-related torture are the highest accounting for 32.4 per cent of crimes against women in the country.
Among the recent cases were a young woman being brutally killed allegedly by her husband for dowry in Vijapore village of Navsari district, Gujarat and a woman from Punjab claimed she was tortured by her husband and in-laws for giving birth to a girl and bringing ‘inadequate’ dowry.
And such cases are not restricted to poor or uneducated segment of the Indian society.
Early last month, a 28-year-old homemaker was allegedly murdered by her engineer husband over dowry at Motilal Mallick Lane in Baranagar, Kolkata. While the husband was arrested, the victim’s mother-in-law fled.
Dowry deaths continue and their perpetrators consistently go unpunished, despite a considerable amount of activism both globally and domestically and the availability of international and domestic laws, said Nitasha.
A report quoting the National Crime Records Bureau’s statistics indicate a crime has been recorded against women in every three minutes in India.
Every 60 minutes, two women are raped in the country. Every six hours, a young married woman is found beaten to death, burnt or driven to suicide.
“Gender subordination is among the reasons for such violence against women as they are generally considered as secondary compared with men in terms of education and career,” said Nitasha.
Others were institutionalisation of dowry system all across society-caste, class and religion as well as turning dowry into opportunity to make gains and as a marketing exercise. The problem is made worst by the lack of stringent action against dowry law violators, she pointed out.
“Women are trying hard to save their lives and dignity with the support of legal amendments, media, serious activism, and heightened awareness. Despite of all these protests, India still could not shed the dowry stigma,” she said.
IT IS STILL NOT TOO LATE
The mechanism to stop crime against women should be strengthened further by making the authorities, such as police to be more sensitive in handling gender issues, said Nitasha.
Firstly, there should be a proper system to report on crime against women, active and properly functioning women police cell as well as crises centres.
Shelter homes had to have competent counselors and proper rehabilitation approach, she explained.
Capacity building among young girls, boys and local leaders to say no to dowry is another method of weeding such problem from young.
She said civil society organisations and individuals should also work on changing perception of family and society towards girl, especially parental perception towards their child and her upbringing, rights to property and awareness on laws and protection policies.
“We have encourage people to start thinking positively, because when our social relationship is dictated by religion, caste and creed, we follow all that exists within. Yet when we come out from the closet, we see others as humans in our social relationship,” she said.
3/7: ‘Yasin Bhatkal planted bomb at Dadar’
October 10, 2012 01:13 IST
An accused in the July 13 Mumbai [ Images ] serial blasts last year has confessed that fugitive Indian Mujahideen [ Images ] chief Yasin Bhatkal planted the bomb at suburban Dadar that left one person dead and 14 others wounded.
The bomb had exploded atop a bus stop in Dadar. The main objective of Bhatkal behind hatching the conspiracy and planting the bomb was to trigger communal conflagration in Mumbai, IM member Nadeem Sheikh said in his 25-page confession.
The confession was recorded before a magistrate’s court in March under section 164 of CrPC (recording of confessions and statements) and opened last week, sources said.
Twenty-seven people were killed and 127 injured when three near-simultaneous explosions ripped through Dadar, Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House on July 13 evening.
According to Sheikh, the conspiracy to trigger blasts was hatched in February 2011 after Bhatkal arrived in the city and introduced him to planters of the bombs at Opera House and Zaveri Bazar, Waqas and Tabrez respectively.
Sheikh said Bhatkal along with Naquee Ahmed, Waqas, Tabrez, and a person identified only as Munnabhai [ Images ] worked out the details of the plan in a secret meeting held on July 7.
It was after this meeting that Bhatkal asked Ahmed and Munnabhai to steal two-wheelers and hand them over to Waqas and Tabrez who planted the bombs, Sheikh said in his statement.
The locations were chosen after much deliberation so that the planters can not be identified.
The ATS had arrested Naquee Ahmed, Nadeem Shaikh, Kanwar Pathrija and Haroon Naik in the 13/7 case while six other IM members including Bhatkal are absconding.
The ATS had filed the first charge sheet in the case on May 25 against 10 IM members under the stringent provisions of the Maharashtra [ Images ] Control of Organised Crime Act, Indian Penal Code, Explosives Act, Explosives Substances Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Properties Act and Unlawful Prevention of Activities Act.
Among the wanted accused are Riyaz Bhatkal, Yasin Bhatkal — top operatives of the home grown terror outfit — Waqas Ibrahim Sad, Danish alias Tarbez, Dubai-based Muzaffar Kolah and Tehseen Akhtar Shaikh.
As per ATS investigations, Bhatkal, Waqas and Tarbez had rented a third floor flat in suburban Byculla’s Habib building where they allegedly assembled explosives used in setting off the explosions at Dadar, Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House on July 13, 2011.
The ATS filed an additional charge sheet against Mohammed Qafeel Ansari on August 14.
Lawyer moves court against Jairam Ramesh’s toilet remark
Press Trust of India
Lucknow: A lawyer has moved a court here seeking a direction for lodging an FIR against Union minister Jairam Ramesh over his comment that there were more temples in the country than toilets. The court on Tuesday fixed October 12 as the next date of hearing on the plea.
Chief Judicial Magistrate Rajesh Upadhay also called for a report from local Alambag police station regarding the plea. The lawyer, Yaduvansh Mani Singh, has filed the plea alleging that the statement of the Union Rural Development Minister is an offence under Indian Penal Code and FIR should be lodged against him in the matter.
The Rural Development Minister earlier had said that toilets are more pure and holy than temples.
Drunk driver gets seven years in jail
Soumittra S Bose, TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 05.47AM IST
Briton to depose via video conferencing
TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 06.21AM IST
PANAJI: The state children’s court recently allowed an application filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking examination of a British witness, Michael Mannion alias Masala, through video-conferencing in the trial of the two accused charged for allegedly killing 15-year-old Scarlett Keeling at Anjuna beach in 2008.
Sources said that the court on October 8 passed the order granting permission for ‘video examination’. The premier investigation agency had filed an application in March 2012 to examine the witness through video conferencing facility, which is available in the court hall. The prime British witness had refused to travel to Goa to depose before the court. Mannion had informed the CBI that he would be able to give his deposition from England through video conferencing. The court is likely to hear the case further in the month of November.
After taking over the investigation from the Goa police, the CBI had filed a supplementary chargesheet against the accused, Samson D’Souza and Placido Carvalho, before the court in October 2009. The voluminous chargesheet filed by the CBI, after conducting investigations for 16 months, charged the accused for allegedly committing culpable homicide not amounting to murder, sexual assault, destroying evidence and some other sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Goa Children’s Act. The court has framed charges against the duo.
Revealing the circumstances in which the British teenager was killed, the CBI alleged that the victim was seen intoxicated in front of Lui’s Cafe during the night before her body was found on the beach on Feburary 18, 2008.
To nail websites, Centre seeks extradition course
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 09, 2012
Appearing before a city court on Tuesday, Union home ministry under secretary Amar Chand suggested initiating extradition proceedings to secure the presence of some US-based websites, including Facebook and Google, in a criminal case launched against them for allegedly hosting “objectionable
Man faces action for letting Kejriwal restore power
New Delhi, Oct 9, 2012, DHNS & Agencies
BRPL files case under Act which bans tampering with power cables
Two days after Arvind Kejriwal launched his attack against the city government by restoring power supply in some houses, BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd filed a police complaint against a man, whose connection was restored on Sunday by the activist-turned-politician.
During protests across Delhi as part of his ‘bijli-paani satyagraha’, Kejriwal had visited the house of a labourer on Sunday at Tigri Colony in south Delhi and reconnected the power line cut off by the discom.
BRPL on Tuesday filed the case against the labourer with Neb Sarai police station in south Delhi.
In the complaint against Banna Ram, the discom has invoked Section 138 of the Indian Electricity Act, which states that it is illegal to interfere and fiddle with the electricity network. The discom said unauthorised power connection is a punishable offence that may attract imprisonment up to three years. Ram got a power bill of Rs 15,000 last month, and since he was unable to pay it, the discom cut off electricity to this house.
On why a complaint was not filed against Kejriwal, discom officials said action has been taken against the consumer who has been given the connection. State power minister Harun Yusuf had accused Kejriwal of trying to spread “anarchy” and “lawlessness” in the city.
Case against BJP leader
The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) of Monday filed a case under Sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of duty) and 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code against state BJP leader Vijay Goel for protesting outside the DERC office. DERC filed the case with Malviya Nagar police station, under whose jurisdiction Goel and his supporters had protested and disrupted hearing of the agency.
Police said BJP supporters surrouned DERC chairperson P D Sudhakar in his office. Police came an hour later and removed the protesters. Police said India Against Corruption activists had a minor scuffle with policemen when they tried to enter DERC office in Malviya Nagar.
HC rap govt on failure to curb drunken driving
Press Trust of India / Mumbai October 09, 2012, 11:03
The Bombay High Court today came down heavily on the Maharashtra government for failing to comply with orders passed a decade ago in connection with measures taken with regard to drunken driving, following the 2002 road accident involving Bollywood superstar Salman Khan.
A division bench headed by Justice D D Sinha was hearing a public interest litigation filed by journalist Nikhil Wagle, seeking enhancement of punishment awarded under section 304 A of IPC for causing death by rash and negligent act and increase in compensation awarded under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.
The scribe had filed the PIL soon after the road accident involving the 46-year-old actor.
On September 29, 2002 an inebriated Salman’s Toyota Land Cruiser run over five persons sleeping on a pavement in Bandra. He was arrested the next day and booked under sections 304 A, 337 and 338 of IPC. However, he was released on bail of Rs 950 immediately at the Bandra police station as all the sections were bailable.
The High Court, had in October 2002, directed the actor to deposit Rs 19 lakh as interim compensation to the deceased’s family and the four injured in the mishap.
The court had also asked the state government to file a report on what measures it proposes to take regarding such incidents and the union government to file an affidavit on increase in punishment under section 304 A.
However, till date no reply has been filed.
“Why has the state and union government not filed their affidavits ? This is a question of an order passed long time ago. Why has nothing been done yet,” Justice Sinha questioned.
Giving the State and Centre four weeks time to file their affidavits, he said, “The state government’s affidavit should say what measures it has taken to tackle drunken driving incidents and the Centre’s affidavit should clarify its stand on section 304 A.” (MORE)
State gets HC rap for applying Foreigners’ Act in case of ‘Indian’
Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 02.52AM IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Friday rapped the state for applying the Foreigners Act to a Pakistani national while claiming that he is an Indian.
A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sadhana Jadhav was hearing a petition by Wadala resident Siraj Khan who entered India at the age of nine. He has urged for a directive to be deported to his home in Manshera in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The judges observed that after the chargesheet was filed against Khan, the state government had made a statement that POK is part of India. “Do you want to contend that he is an Indian citizen? Look at the situation that emerges because earlier you made a statement that POK is a part of India. If this statement is accepted, then why have you prosecuted him under the Foreigners Act? The prosecution must go,” said Justice Oka. The judges also noted from the petition that Khan was sent to a remand home in Ahmedabad and asked the police to verify it. The case will be heard on October 16.
Varappuzha sex scam: High court raps police for not arresting accused
Express News Service
The Kerala High Court on Tuesday criticised the police team probing the sensational Varappuzha sex scandal case after the court found that an accused in the case was not arrested even after repeated orders of the court for the last one year.
Justice P Bhavadasan observed, “It is distressing to note that there has been no sincere and conscious effort of the police to arrest petitioner Muhammed Haneefa, of Bekal in Kasargod, the 52nd accused in the Varappuzha case. Almost a year passed since the first order of this court which directed the petitioner to surrender.” The court passed the order while dismissing the anticipatory bail plea of Muhammed Haneefa.
“The court is compelled to believe that even after the dismissal of three anticipatory bail pleas, the investigating agency does not do anything against the accused. The agency is being influenced or is working hand-in-glove with the petitioner,” it said.
The court also said that the delay in arresting the accused is a typical instance of either incompetency or inefficiency of the investigating agency. The court also observed that there is no change of circumstances, while the callous and indifferent attitude of the petitioner to the orders of the court could not be omitted.
The conduct of the petitioner in flouting the directions of the court and his ability to keep the investigating agency at bay speaks volumes about the influence he can wield.
Govt seeks HC nod to open 19 sand quarries
TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 01.51AM IST
CHENNAI: The state government has sought the Madras high court’s nod to open 19 sand quarries in Trichy, citing rocketing retail sand prices in the state.
In a review petition, asking for a re-look at the court’s order dated August 3, the secretaries of industries and public works departments, said the government intended to operate 19 sand quarries for which applications had been submitted to State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).
In the impugned order, a division bench comprising Justices R Banumathi and G M Akbar Ali ordered the closure of five-year-old quarries in Cauvery-Kollidam river beds, and stipulated that all new quarries in the region must obtain SEIAA clearance.
Government pleader S Venkatesh, representing secretaries of public works and industries departments, director of geology and mining and the Trichy district collector, submitted that before the August 3 order, there were 48 sand quarries in the region accounting for 6,454 lorry loads per day. After the order, the number of quarries reduced to 21 and lorry loads went down to 4,012 per day. Consequently, the price of sand per load had risen from 4,000 to 8,000 in Trichy, from 6,400 to 12,000 in Coimbatore, from 6,000 to 8,000 in Chennai and from 8,000 to 14,000 in Madurai, Venkatesh said.
Pointing out that the court had set a three-month deadline for the functioning quarries to obtain the clearance, the pleader sought more time, as the clearance might not come within three months due to procedural implications.
Venkatesh said the applications had been pending before the collectors of Thanjavur, Karur and Trichy and that they were being processed when the impugned judgment was delivered.
Hence, the new stipulation that new quarries must get clearance from the SEIAA would cause hardship and affect government’s welfare schemes, he said. Noting that quarries in the Cauvery-Kollidam river beds was the main source of supply to western and southern areas of the state, he requested the court to review its order and permit the government to operate the new quarries.
The bench has adjourned the matter by one week for further hearing.
After the August 3 order, sand prices per load rose from 6,000 to 8,000 in Chennai, 4,000 to 8,000 in Trichy, 6,400 to 12,000 in Coimbatore, and from 8,000 to 14,000 in Madurai.
Jangpura FOB delayed, HC issues notices
Express news service : New Delhi, Wed Oct 10 2012, 02:16 hrs
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Chief Secretary of the Delhi government, the Transport Commissioner and the general manager of Delhi Integrated Multi-Model Transport System (DIMTS) to explain why they have not constructed a foot overbridge near the Jangpura Metro station within the stipulated time period.
Justice Rajiv Shakhder directed the respondents to file a counter-affidavit within four weeks and a rejoinder, if any, within two weeks. In April, a division bench of the court had given the government six months to construct the foot overbridge.
The court’s deadline came on a PIL filed by the Jangpura Residents’ Welfare Association, seeking direction to build the bridge as residents of nearby colonies face the risk of accidents while crossing Lala Lajpat Rai Marg.
In a fresh petition, the welfare association told the court that they had tried following up with the Transport department as work on the bridge had not started despite the High Court order. They said the department had set the deadline for its construction to July 2013.
The petition further asked for contempt proceedings to be initiated against the respondents and for exemplary costs to be imposed upon them should they not complete construction of the bridge by October 24.
HC notice to CBI over bail plea by Janardhana Reddy
By DNA Correspondent | Agency: DNA Published: Tuesday, Oct 9, 2012, 13:18 IST
HC refuses to quash FIR filed against T D Naidu
Press Trust of India / Chennai October 09, 2012, 23:05
The Madras High Court today refused to quash the FIR filed by CBI against T D Naidu, Chairman and Managing Trustee of Deen Dayal Medical and Educational Trust, and dismissed his petition in a bank cheating case.
According to the FIR filed by Superintendent of Police, CBI, Bangalore, Naidu allegeldy entered into a criminal conspiracy with Branch Manager of Andhra Bank and others and dishonestly and fraudulently obtained term loan of Rs 41 crore from the bank.
He had furnished fake documents of qualifications, financial status and discrepant financial statements and caused a wrongful loss to the bank to the tune of Rs 57.64 crore, it was alleged.
According to Naidu, he had passed the final year MBBS exam held in January, 1981 and was declared competent and authorised to practice medicine and general surgery.
But on verification, it was found that the certificate he produced was “only fake.”
Justice T Sudanthiram in his order said “the allegations made in the complaint by the General Manager, Andhra Bank are strengthened by materials collected during investigation made so far.”
“The contentions raised by the senior counsel for the petitioner to quash the FIR are totally unacceptable. Hence, the petition is dismissed,” he said.
Bombay HC judge made Madhya Pradesh Chief Justice
Express news service : Wed Oct 10 2012, 03:27 hrs
Justice Sharad Bobde of the Bombay High Court was on Tuesday elevated as the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. He is likely to be sworn in on October 16.
Justice Bobde was appointed as an additional judge of the Bombay High Court in March 2000, two years after he was designated as a senior advocate. He is known for his sound legal acumen and sharp wit.
He has heard several high-profile cases including the Adarsh housing society scam, the PIL against Lavasa Corporation Limited, the Maval firing incident and the residential tower near Hindustan Petroleum Corporation refinery, Chembur.
Justice Bobde, who completed his education in Nagpur, enrolled with the Bar Council of Maharashtra in September 1978 and practiced as a lawyer mainly before the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay HC. In his 21-year career as a lawyer he also appeared before the Bombay HC’s principal bench in Mumbai as well as the SC. His father Arvind Bobde was the former Advocate General of Maharashtra.
Police not following HC order: NDMC
Abhinav Garg, TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 02.24AM IST
NEW DELHI: In a fresh development in the controversial Akbarabadi mosque case, New Delhi Municipal Corporation has blamed Delhi Police for ignoring the Delhi high court’s order.
NDMC, in an application filed before the court, has urged it to direct police to grant protection to the staff who can implement court orders and demolish illegal structure in Subhash Park area.
Filed through its standing counsel Ajay Arora, the application recalls HC passed an explicit order on July 30 this year, asking the agency to take action against the structure that came up illegally at the earlier Metro site.
“NDMC was always keen and still is, to ensure compliance of HC orders by way of removal of unauthorized structure which has come up on public land in violation of rules procedure and law of the land,” the corporation says, adding it is being unfairly blamed for deliberate inaction when in reality it is hobbled by complete non-cooperation by police.
The agency said that initially cops said they couldn’t provide enough force in August as it had to make security arrangements for events like Baba Ramdev’s agitation, Independence Day celebrations and Ramzan. Now that all the events are over, police should have cooperated. But now, they are taking refuge behind an application filed by cops seeking modification of the HC demolition order, NDMC argues, urging the court to intervene.
Citing communication exchanged with the police top brass between July and September, the agency says though HC has not granted any stay order on the modification plea of Delhi Police, the latter is being extremely restrained and has refused to extend any cooperation to enable NDMC to carry out court orders. HC will take up the plea on Thursday.
HC stays DGCA order to revoke approval of Ravi Rishi’s firm
Pulling up DGCA for a “hasty” decision, the Delhi High Court today stayed the aviation regulator’s order withdrawing operational safety clearance to repair and maintenance firm Indocopters Private Ltd (IPL), a group company of Ravi Rishi-led Global Vectra Helicorp Ltd.
Pulling up DGCA for a “hasty” decision, the Delhi High Court today stayed the aviation regulator’s order withdrawing operational safety clearance to repair and maintenance firm Indocopters Private Ltd (IPL), a group company of Ravi Rishi-led Global Vectra Helicorp Ltd.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher also issued notices to DGCA and Ministries of Civil Aviation and Home Affairs (MHA) and asked them to file replies by October 10, the next date of hearing.
The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had on September 18 revoked Approved Maintenance Organisation (AMO) approval and the Continuing Airworthiness Requirements (CAR) certificate of the IPL after the MHA raised security concerns and withdrew the clearance accorded to Ravi Rishi-led firms.
Ravi Rishi-led Global Vectra Helicorp Ltd, to which IPL is a sister concern, is the largest shareholder in Tatra Holdings owning the Czech truck manufacturer Tatra that is facing CBI probe for allegedly supplying trucks at exorbitant price to the Indian Army.
During the hearing, Justice Shakdher took a strong note of the “hasty” decision of DGCA to revoke the approvals of the IPL saying “why you did not wait till October 18?” The court is slated to hear the case of Global Vectra Helicorp Ltd on the same issue on October 18.
IPL runs a helicopter repair and maintenance base. The counsel for the Aviation Ministry, however, said the decision to revoke AMO approval and the CAR certificate to the firm has been taken following the withdrawal of security clearance by the MHA.
Senior advocate Atul Nanda, appearing for IPL, said “the revocation of AMO approval and the CAR certificate can only be done as per the rules prescribed under the Aircraft Act after serving a notice… and it cannot be done due to withdrawal of security clearance.”
HC gives three days more to DCHL for giving bank guarantee to BCCI
PTI Oct 9, 2012, 07.03PM IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Tuesday granted three more days to Deccan Chronicles Holdings Ltd (DCHL) to give an irrevocable and unconditional bank guarantee of Rs 100 crore to the Indian cricket board regarding IPL franchise Deccan Chargers.
DCHL, owners of IPL team Deccan Chargers, were on October 1 directed by the high court to submit by October 9 the bank guarantee which would be in force for a period of one year.
The direction was passed by Justice S J Kathawala while hearing a petition filed by DCHL challenging BCCI’s decision to terminate the contract of cash-strapped Hyderabad franchise.
BCCI had in September taken the decision to terminate the contract after an emergency IPL Governing Council meeting in Chennai.
DCHL on Tuesday filed an application seeking extension of time to submit the bank guarantee which was accepted by the court. The company will now have to give the bank guarantee by Friday.
The court had earlier ordered that DCHL shall bear all expenses for IPL series-6 including making payments to BCCI towards franchise, players and support team costs. Besides, DCHL shall also bear the costs of conducting matches and other expenses, the judge had ruled.
In the event of any default on part of DCHL, BCCI shall be entitled to invoke the bank guarantee to the extent necessary, Justice Kathawala said.
The court had on September 26 appointed retired Supreme Court judge C K Thakkar as arbitrator to resolve within three months the dispute between BCCI and DCHL over the termination of Deccan Chargers franchise.
However, pending arbitration proceedings and making up of an award by the arbitrator, the judge asked the BCCI not to act on the termination of the franchise agreement for a period of seven days, if the award is in their favour.
The judge clarified that this order would immediately cease to be in effect if DCHL fails to furnish the bank guarantee.
HC gives govt two months to solve water-logging issue
New Delhi, October 10, 2012
A Delhi High Court bench comprising justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Vipin Sanghi on Tuesday granted two months to the Delhi government to find “short- and long-term” solutions to the problem of waterlogging in the city.
The breather came after the government’s standing counsel Najmi
Ladhar’s arbitration fee: HC seeks reply from Centre, Punjab
TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 05.49AM IST
HC rules in favour of RGV
VICKEY LALWANI, Mumbai Mirror | Oct 10, 2012, 09.41AM IST
The failure of Department had led toablamegameandconsequent rift between Sanjay Dutt, Dharam Oberoi and Ram Gopal Varma only to later see Dutt and Varma patch up, leaving Oberoi in the lurch.
A miffed Oberoi went on to file a case against Varma for non payment of dues amounting to Rs 50 lakh. He took the battle a step further by seeking a stay on the October 12 release of the film Bhoot2 directed by Varma and produced by Alumbra Productions Pvt Ltd.
Oberoi’s contention was that Bhoot 2 is a film owned by Varma, and Varma owes him Rs 50 lakh for the movie Department, co-produced by both ofthem.However,themattercameup for hearing before the Bombay High Court on Tuesday and the court refused to grant the stay on Bhoot 2′s release.
Varma and Alumbra Productions Pvt Ltd were represented by lawyer Ajay Vazirani of M/s. Hariani & Co., Advocates & Solicitors. Vazirani told TOI, “Our victory will set an example in the industry for many who try and stall the release of films a few days prior to their release date in an attempt to extort money from the filmmakers.”
Oberoi however declined to comment. All we can say is while RGV can heave a sigh of relief for now as Bhoot 2 will hit theatres on October 12 as preordained, the war between Oberoi and him looks like it is far from over.
Rajneesh Goel tells HC: We’ll pick up dry waste twice a week
TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 05.38AM IST
BANGALORE: BBMP commissioner Rajneesh Goel on Tuesday submitted before the Karnataka High Court that dry waste would be collected twice a week and not once as planned earlier. He told a division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen there is no problem with further increasing the frequency.
He was replying to a query posed by the court after GR Mohan, city advocate who has filed a PIL, claimed that collection of dry waste once a week will not help the cause.
The commissioner promised to speed up other measures for collection and disposal of solid and wet waste.
The court was further informed that the new measures by way of fresh tenders would result in 40% reduction in spending on garbage collection and disposal in segregated form. “The dry waste is 40% and is straightaway money. This will reduce the cost of transporting it to landfills 50kms away. There is good demand for composted wet waste as it can be used as manure. If we remove 40% bulk waste, we have to deal with 1,500 tonnes of wet waste, 700 tonnes of dry and 300 tonnes of inert waste per day,” he explained.
The commissioner admitted there are some constraints regarding collection of waste and hoped the new system of “no littering” would address this issue. He also said that relaxed tender conditions have enabled more persons to participate in the process resulting in competition. The bench directed BBMP to submit a status report by November 6.
The bench adjourned to Thursday the hearing on petitions by garbage contractors challenging the new tenders.
You’ll have to be superseded: HC
The high court on Tuesday morning warned the BBMP of supersession if it did not change its ways. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen directed the BBMP commissioner to appear in the afternoon session to answer queries on the garbage issue.
The bench asked why the BBMP should not be superseded as per the KMC Act for failing to address the problem. “Obviously you are not interested in solving the problem. Everybody is hand in glove. Supersession is the only way out. We have to do it. If you cannot solve the problem, you have no business to be there,” it observed.
The PIL by GR Mohan sought a specific direction for superseding the civic body for failing in its duty.
The bench observed that citizens can’t wait till the dispute between BBMP and contractors is settled. The bench indicated it wouldn’t hesitate to send officials to jail if they mislead the court. “Our patience is also running out. Some of your officials must be sent to those landfills,” the bench observed.
HC rejects plea for policy against female feticide
TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 04.01AM IST
The applications were filed with the public interest litigation (PIL) already pending with the court on the subject of female foeticide. The division bench of chief justice Arun Mishra and justice SS Kothari disposed of the applications saying the petitioner, advocate SK Gupta should make a representation before the state as the demands raised by him were a subject matter of the government policies. Gupta had pleaded that the government be directed to grant pensions to parents who have two daughters only. The court was told that the Madhya Pradesh government was already paying the pension such parents in its state. The second application related to government playing a role in dispelling the religious belief that last rites of dead person can be performed only by a son. It was suggested the government should provide incentives to daughters who perform the last rites of their parents.
HC seeks state’s stand on ownership rights
TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 01.05AM IST
The directive was given by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice AM Shaffique on a public interest litigation filed by Jana Samparka Samithi secretary Dhanan K Chettiancheril.
The society, which claims to be working towards a corruption-free society, said the palace had played a significant role in the state’s history and it should be deemed as a monument according to the provisions of Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958. It said the government was bound to preserve the palace and it did not have the right to dispose it or to hand over its management to a private party.
It contended that private groups shouldn’t be allowed to use public monuments for their business interests. Political leaders are unnecessarily accommodating business groups and the government’s decision to lease the palace out is the result of such corrupt practices, it said. Following media reports on the state decision to hand over the palace and the accompanying 4.13 hectares to RP Group on lease, the group had told the media last month that it is the legal owner of the palace besides revealing that it is willing to hand it over to the state to avoid litigation.
HC nod for RJIL merger with RIL
BS Reporter / Mumbai/ Ahmedabad Oct 10, 2012, 00:45 IST
Following the merger, entire businesses and the undertaking of RJIL would be transferred to, and vest with, RIL
The Gujarat high court has allowed the meger of Reliance Jamnagar Infrastructure Limited (RJIL) with Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) the 100 per cent holding company of the former. The nod has been given under the Sections 391 to 394 of the Companies Act for Scheme of Arrangement of the nature of amalgamation.
RJIL, a 100 per cent subsidiary of RIL, had sought High Court’s permission for merger with the holding company with a view to optimise profitability, administration, efficiency of operation and optimal utilisation of available resources.
Justice Abhilasha Kumari on Monday granted the scheme of arrangement saying that grant of scheme would ultimately benefit the company and would not affect anyone’s rights.
While granting the scheme, the court also dealt with the objections raised by Regional director, ministry of corporate affairs.
The court noted that they were duly taken care off. The court further held that it has the jurisdiction to decide the issue.
RJIL is presently developer and operator a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Jamnagar and was into business of infrastructure development. Whereas RIL is India’s largest private sector enterprise, with businesses in the energy and materials value chain. It is a Fortune Global 500 Company, with activities spanning to exploration and production of oil and gas, petroleum refining and marketing, petrochemicals and textiles.
Following the merger, entire businesses and the undertaking of RJIL would be transferred to, and vest with, RIL.
HC reserves verdict in land scam case against Kumaraswamy
Press Trust of India / Bangalore October 09, 2012, 17:45
The Karnataka High Court today reserved orders on a petition by JDS state president H D Kumaraswamy seeking quashing of a case filed against him for alleged illegal denotification of government land in 2007 when he was the chief minister.
Justice H N Nagamohan Das reserved his judgement after completion of arguments on the petition.
The case was filed by Lokayukta police on a private complaint by one M S Mahadevaswamy before the Lokayukta court alleging illegalities in denotification of three acres of government land here by Kumaraswamy for “pecuniary gain”.
Police filed the charge sheet against Kumaraswamy on April 16 accusing him of offences under various IPC sections and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
During the arguments, senior counsel Hazmath Pasha appearing for Kumaraswamy had submitted his client had “not played a corrupt role and the order of denotification of the said land was not intentional.
He had also contended that the order of cognisance by the Lokayukta court “is without any jurisdiction as no sanction has been taken (by the designated authority)”.
Counsel for the respondent Palakshaiah argued there was no need for any sanction for offences committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Besides Kumaraswamy, former minister C Chennigappa and two others, the erstwhile owners of the land, have been charged under various sections of IPC.
HC asks Jharkhand govt to ensure welfare of para teachers
Press Trust of India / Ranchi October 09, 2012, 22:25
Jharkhand High Court today directed the state to initiate proper steps for welfare of para teachers, who were appointed on contract, and demanding regularisation.
Hearing a petition filed by a forum known as Swarojagar Sangh, Chief Justice P C Tatia and Justice Jaya Roy also asked government not to stop mid-day meals for students in the schools.
The Sangh had filed against the frequent strikes by para teachers despite shortage of staff primary, middle and high schools, disrupting studies in the schools.
Praying for a ban of strikes by para teachers, the petitioner said para-teachers were appointed on contract by the block and the district officials of the education department and their strikes stopped the mid-day meal programme as well.
Praying regularisation of their services, the association of para teachers submitted that they were appointed just like other teachers, but were getting only Rs 4,500 while other (regular) teachers were drawing Rs 20,000.
The court would hear the petition in November for which date has not yet been fixed.
Should banking M&As come under the CCI?
It is the only body skilled enough to check anticompetitive practices but it has no role in facilitating the banking consolidation process
Business Standard / Oct 10, 2012, 00:04 IST
It is the only body skilled enough to check anticompetitive practices but it has no role in facilitating the banking consolidation process
PRADEEP S MEHTA
Secretary General, CUTS International
“In order to address the overlap and conflict issues among our regulators and competition agency, the amendment Bill makes it mandatory for mutual consultation on all such issues”
One must compliment Palaniappan Chidambaram to be able to rise above narrow considerations and support the jurisdiction of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) as the sole body to review mergers in not only banking, but all sectors. Thus, he has promoted the integrity of the economic governance system, which is imperative for the success of economic reforms.
All countries empower the competition regulator to oversee competition issues in all regulated sectors, including banks, purely because of their skills. The only exception vis-à-vis banking mergers is Turkey, but there, too, the central bank has to use the competition law to review mergers. A variation of this exists in the US, where the Federal Reserve and a few big state banking regulators oversee banking mergers, but the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice can also intervene to check the competition angle.
In many countries wherever competition issues arise in regulated sectors, including mergers, the competition agency has to mandatorily consult the sector regulator. The proposed Competition Amendment Bill cleared by the Union Cabinet on October 4, 2012, has provided for such a coordinated approach. The process itself has a chequered history, which is relevant to the discourse. To begin with, the proposed Banking Regulation Amendment Bill, which is pending before Parliament, ousted the CCI’s jurisdiction on mergers. When the proposal on the Competition Amendment Bill came up before the Cabinet sometime in July, then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee sought blanket exemption for banks. Mukherjee’s position was echoed by Kapil Sibal – the communications minister – who wanted an exemption for telecom mergers because the Department of Telecom has its own merger guidelines. Chidambaram, then home minister, opposed it, and the matter was conveniently referred to a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Mukherjee. After Mukherjee became president, Chidambaram was appointed the chairman of the GOM and also as the new finance minister. He continued with his earlier stand in the GoM and the Cabinet, fortuitously, did not change the tune.
In order to address the overlap and conflict issues among our regulators and competition agency, the amendment Bill makes it mandatory for mutual consultation on all such issues. This paradigm has also been captured in the proposed National Competition Policy (and the Planning Commission’s National Manufacturing Plan), which will now go before the Cabinet for adoption.
We have faced many such conflicting situations in which there are ambiguities in our laws that create parallel jurisdictions for different regulators. They end up creating unpredictable legal environments, a lawyer’s paradise but an investor’s nightmare. Clearly, the law ministry sleeps and promotes such incoherent ambiguities, while the line ministries push their own versions, tinged by coalition politics, ignorance and dichotomies. The latest row is on the draft notification issued by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) on competition issues in the electricity sector in August, 2012. It is empowered to do so under the Electricity Act, 2003.
Mind you, all regulatory laws are required to promote competition, but it is only the CCI that is empowered to check anticompetitive practices in the whole economy. Even our courts have not been able to appreciate this fine distinction. In the case of a complaint against an aviation fuel cartel, the Delhi High Court erroneously stayed the proceedings before the CCI on grounds that the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) is the authorised body. Under its own law, the PNGRB is required to promote competition and consumer interest, but not check anticompetitive practices. But the PNGRB does not have any competition regulations.
Why was the CERC sleeping when it could have and should have drafted the competition regulations long ago? Since the recent debate on banking mergers, CERC realised that it, too, should flex its muscles. In any event, once Parliament clears the Competition Amendment Bill and the Banking Regulations Amendment Bill, ambiguities in other laws will also need sorting out.
Partner | National Leader – Global Financial Services, Ernst & Young
“Risk management practices and financial strength are more crucial to the sustainability of the sector. So, the commission should perhaps rely on RBI’s approval framework
In a free or competitive market economy, the prices of goods and services should be determined by demand and supply. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) was established to prevent practices having adverse effect on competition, to promote and sustain competition in markets, to protect consumers’ interests and to ensure freedom of trade carried on by other participants in markets. Any monopolistic or restrictive trade practice aimed at controlling supply or prices would be detrimental to the overall economy by reducing the economic efficiency leading to externalities and costs. Given the current regulatory framework and powers of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), is there a role for CCI in the banking consolidation process?
Our banking system comprises 86 scheduled commercial banks, 82 regional rural banks, 1,645 urban cooperative banks (53 scheduled cooperative banks) and 95,765 rural cooperative banks. The business in terms of assets is dominated by scheduled commercial banks. Unlike manufacturing or other services, a critical aspect in the banking and financial industry is risk management and financial stability of the entities. The stringent regulatory and compliance requirements on capital adequacy and risk management practices lend to the stability of the banking system.
For financial products and service providers, the size of their balance sheets lends them financial stability and economies of scale. At any given instance there may be a variety of risks that are carried in the banks’ balance sheets. Larger the size, the better able a bank is to hedge and disperse the concentration as well as other risks within the portfolio. Size also provides banks with the ability to tide over unfavourable business cycles. The prolonged period of high interest rates over the last couple of years has adversely affected many sectors as well as economic growth. The banking sector, though facing a deteriorating asset quality, has been able to absorb the shock with steady return on assets and increase in operating income.
Size also allows banks to cross-subsidise products and pricing. Social banking has been one of the thrust areas in recent years and given the fact that financial inclusion in the country is around 50 per cent, the size of banks will be the key in the expansion of banking services. Banking regulations require banks to keep aside about 28 per cent of funds in cash reserve ratio and statutory liquidity ratio. Any bank without size and a business model focused on financial inclusion will struggle to stay afloat. The costs of social banking have been prohibitive for banks due to lack of branches and distribution infrastructure. Even with effective leverage of technology, the small size of financial inclusion portfolios makes it difficult to generate profits.
The experience in other geographies shows that a pyramid structure has evolved over time through consolidation and amalgamations. It is based not just on size but also on the customer segments serviced. For example, in China the four large banks have approximately 50 per cent market share and in Australia the big four banks control 77 per cent of the market. Experience in many other geographies shows a similar trend. Meanwhile, the Indian banking industry is highly fragmented with the largest bank along with its associates having a market share of about 23 per cent, the second and the third-largest banks have 5.7 per cent and five per cent share respectively. Importantly, the size of Indian banks is pale in comparison to global banks. Though on some levels it might be felt that fragmentation would drive competition and better pricing and service for customers, smaller sizes have excluded banks from achieving economies of scale.
Another aspect to consider is whether consolidation would lead to monopolistic and unfair trade practices. The industry follows a base rate system for pricing that takes into account the cost of funds, operational costs and margins to arrive at a price. The high level of transparency and grievance redressal mechanism precludes unfair trade practices.
The industry may, in effect, benefit from consolidation, given the current fragmented state, helping improve economies of scale and ability to cross-subsidise products and pricing. Additionally, appropriate risk management practices and financial strength are more crucial to the sustainability of the sector. Considering these factors, the commission may perhaps rely on RBI’s approval framework.
CCI rejects complaint against Supertech
New Delhi, Oct 9:
The Competition Commission today rejected a complaint regarding alleged abuse of dominance by real estate developer Supertech, as the fair trade regulator did not find any evidence to support the charges.
There is nothing on record which gives any evidence of dominance of Supertech, the regulator said in an order dated October 4.
The Commission said that it finds that no prima facie case has been made out against Supertech for violation of the provisions of the Act and referring the matter to Director General for investigation.
“Therefore, the dominant position of the opposite party (Supertech) in the relevant market is not made out under section 4 of the Act. The question of abuse of dominance, therefore, does not arise,” it added.
The complaint was moved by Shivang Agarwal and Shubham Agarwal, who had booked one flat each on payment of Rs 51,000 each.
The Commission said the grievance of the informants apparently shows infringement of contractual terms ad idem.
According to the informants, even though they were informed that no preferential location charges would be levied on flat on 12th floor and above, the realty firm raised demand for the same.
They alleged that Supertech was arbitarily deciding the price and raising demand contrary to the agreed terms.
ACB names 4 officers in ‘Adarsh of suburbs’
Abhijit Sathe and Yogesh Naik
Posted On Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 02:06:42 AM
Even before the dust settles around the Adarsh society scam, which cost a chief minister and several top IAS officers their jobs, four senior officers, some of them now retired, are again under scrutiny for bending rules to divert land reserved for the dishoused in Bandra to build plush apartments for high court judges.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau has sought the government’s approval to start an open inquiry into the role of former chief minister late Vilasrao Deshmukh and the four officers in de-reserving a piece of land near Gurunanak Hospital in Bandra (east) and allotting it to Nyayasagar Co-operative Housing Society which has several serving and retired high court judges as members.
While the ACB will drop Deshmukh’s name, the officers facing the heat are — former additional chief secretary, urban development department, Ramanand Tiwari; former additional chief secretary (revenue) Rakesh Chandra Joshi, who is now a member of the Central Administrative Tribunal; former Mumbai district collector Chitamani Sangitrao; and CEO, Slum Rehabilitation Authority, Sambhaji Zende-Patil.
Both Deshmukh and Ramanand Tiwari were also probed for their role in the Adarsh society scam.
The ACB in its request for a go-ahead to launch a probe has said all the four officers held important positions in revenue, urban development department and the collector’s office when the Nyaysagar file was cleared and that they misused their powers for financial gains.
State ACB’s director-general Raj Khilnani told Mumbai Mirror on Tuesday, “Even if Vilasrao is no more, our probe against officers will continue.”
A public interest litigation is also pending before the Bombay High Court on the same issue.
Five sitting high court judges, one sitting Supreme Court judge, and the chief justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court are among the judges allotted apartments in the building.
At the heart of the controversy is a 2,494-square-metre plot which, as per the development plan, was reserved for housing those displaced because of public projects in the city.
In 2002, some sitting and retired high court judges wrote to the then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh seeking allocation of land for a housing project. Two such societies, Nyaya Sagar and Siddhant, were formed and land allocated to them both a year later.
According to the ACB, the then chief minister and his bureaucrats issued a letter of intent to Nyayasagar in 2003 even though the Bandra plot was then reserved for project-affected people. The change of reservation in the development plan took place only in 2004.
There are close to 2.5 lakh families likely to be displaced because of the projects to be soon launched by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, the Indian Railways and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. The state government obviously does not have enough houses to rehabilitate these families.
The collector’s office also went out of its way to allot the land to the judges’ housing society. In March 2003, almost a year before the reservation was changed, it gave a provisional allotment of land to the society. The reason assigned for the haste was that the collector’s office wanted to prevent encroachment on the assigned plot.
None of the four officers in the dock remember anything clearly about the case. All of them say that they had nothing to do with granting permissions to Nyaysagar.
HC to hear Centre’s plea challenging warrant against secretary
Swati Deshpande, TNN | Oct 10, 2012, 02.55AM IST
MUMBAI: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in Mumbai has issued a bailable warrant against R S Gujral, who, till August this year, was secretary revenue in the central finance ministry, and is now secretary, expenditure. The warrant was issued recently to secure Gujral’s presence before the tribunal in connection with a case filed by Nitish Ray, a 78-year-old retired joint commissioner, Customs & Central Excise, over his promotion as additional commissioner based on a government order in 2002.
Ray had retired in the mid-1990s but moved the CAT in 2010 for his “rightful post dues” as his lawyer Sandeep Marne said. The tribunal passed orders in March 2011, accepting Ray’s petition. But when the government failed to implement its orders for over a year, Ray filed for contempt in June this year. The tribunal directed Gujral to appear in person on October 3 and when he failed to do so, issued the bailable warrant. But between June and October, the Centre moved the Bombay HC to challenge the March 2011 CAT order. On September 24, the HC gave the government liberty to comply with the tribunal’s order in six weeks.
On October 3, the government lawyer V S Masurkar argued that Gujral was under the impression that he need not appear since the HC had passed orders giving the ministry six weeks to consider Ray’s case.
The tribunal said, “The respondent was conscious of the fact that he had to appear to explain why action for contempt should not be initiated against him.”
The tribunal has sought a compliance report from Gujral within a week.
On Tuesday, the Centre moved the Bombay HC to challenge the bailable warrant on the grounds that the CAT order was “illegal” as the HC had already passed orders giving six weeks to the Centre. Besides, it said Gujral had vacated the post and was now a secretary of another department. In the interim, the government filed a report, saying it had considered Ray’s case and had rejected it as he was held ineligible for promotion.
CAT refused to recall its order of bailable warrant and posted the matter for further hearing on October 15. Now with the government rushing to HC, the HC bench of Justices D D Sinha and V K Tahilramani on Tuesday said it would hear the matter on October 10.
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