Posted: Jun 02, 2010 at 0014 hrs IST
New delhi Owners of apartments in Delhi have so far had to struggle to sell off their properties or obtain a loan on them. But with a new directive from the Delhi High Court, sales transactions and mortgaging of apartments is set to become easier.
With a view to protect their interests as well as tighten the noose around law-flouting real estate developers, the Delhi High Court has drafted point-wise guidelines to be implemented by the state government so that the laws relating to the ownership of apartments, including a group housing cooperative society, are not violated.
A Division Bench headed by Justice A K Sikri has asked the government to appoint within 30 days a ‘Competent Authority’ to ensure all builders and promoters fall in line with the Delhi Apartment Ownership Act. The law that came into force in 1987 had many provisions benefiting the owners, but due to the lack of effective implementation, owners were left at the mercy of the builders.
The verdict, which came on a PIL filed by Advocate V N Jha in 2007, says a builder will now have to hand over a ‘deed of apartment’ to apartment owners and it will then be registered. The rule will also apply to those who were given the possession through a sale deed or a lease deed. In case of a leasehold land, the deed will be executed by the owner, the builder and the Land Development Officer.
This ‘deed of apartment’, as per the Act, will entitle every owner to “exclusive ownership and possession of the apartment so allotted, sold or transferred otherwise”. An owner will then also have the right to such undivided interest in the common areas and facilities available in the society.
The Act had contemplated this provision so as to confer a “heritable right” so that an owner had the absolute ownership, “capable of transfer” as per his or her wishes. The owners so far had been transferring the ownership executing a power of attorney as they did not have the absolute right on an indivisible land. The directive will also do away with the difficulties in getting bank loans as the title of the property rests with the society.
Jha had specifically mentioned in his PIL that the contractors and “henchmen” who maintained the societies charged “exorbitant amounts” from the owners. The owners also did not get the profits if earned from the common facilities in the society in accordance with the Act, the petition had alleged, adding that the government was feigning helplessness in enforcing the provisions of the Act as it did not provide any remedial or penal action.
After the government accepted that it did not have a mechanism to prosecute the builders who violated the provisions and that a new legislation was being drafted, the court pulled it up for their “inaction and apathy”.
Other important directivesCompetent Authority must ensure compliance by issuing notices to the builders and also prosecute them for evading duties and registration charges if they fail to do so.
All societies must have an ‘Apartment Owners’ Association’ of its own instead of private contractors maintaining the societies after collecting money from the owners. The association will take over the management from the builders and promoters within six months.
Delhi Government must introduce the Delhi Apartments Ownership Bill without further delay.
Ambiguous instructions in earlier JEEs too
Akshaya Mukul, TNN, Jun 2, 2010, 03.18am IST
NEW DELHI: JEE-2010 was not the first time that ambiguous instructions created confusion for the candidates. A close look at the JEE since 2006, when questions were first made available, reveals that it has been quiet frequent. In fact, senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who is arguing a PIL on anomalies in the JEE, says he has been receiving a number of phone calls from parents and students who claim they did not get the expected result. “Our plea is that candidates should be allowed a carbon copy of the answer sheet that they can take out. After the JEE, IIT should provide the answer key so that a student knows exactly how much he is going to score,” he says. Ambiguous instructions relate to Multiple Choice Questions which have one or more correct answers without having any negative marking for selecting a wrong choice. In 2006, questions carrying 72 marks had one or more correct answers without attracting any negative marking for a wrong choice. In 2007, such questions rose to 108 marks. In 2008, there was a marginal decline to 102 marks. In 2009 and 2010, questions carrying 96 and 93 marks, respectively, had one or more correct answers without any negative marks. In fact, after 2008 JEE, IIT itself published the questions and the answer key. It was found that for many questions all the options were correct. Therefore, it was possible for a candidate to get full marks by darkening all the bubbles. When the matter came to light after this year’s JEE, IIT-Madras, which conducted this year’s JEE, told the Delhi High Court, which is seized of a PIL on the exam, that if any of the choices in such a question was found to be a wrong choice, the candidate would get zero. The PIL has been filed by Rajeev Kumar of IIT-Kharagpur. As per the evaluation scheme submitted before the court, a candidate will get zero because he darkened a wrong choice along with correct answers. “This implies that a wrong choice nullifies all the positive marks scored due to correct choices. This is contrary to the published instructions that there are partial marks and no negative mark. Rules are changed after the game is over,” argues Prashant Bhushan, Kumar’s counsel. He questions how evaluation was done since 2006 because if the ambiguity was noticed earlier, the instructions would have been corrected.
Ayesha Banerjee, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 01, 2010
Vinod K Jain, founder-chairman of the NGO Tapas, recently took a boat ride to the more polluted stretches of the river Yamuna in Delhi but had to turn back in a hurry as he started feeling sick. “You are likely to faint if you go to the more polluted parts… or even die,” says the man whose RTI query recently got the Delhi Jal Board to admit that the treated sewage water was only fit for horticultural purposes, and not for bathing. That is the sorry, shameful state to which the holy Yamuna has been reduced to today… surprising, since the river supplies almost 70 per cent of Delhi’s water needs. Jain, a jewellery exporter who also taught commerce at Delhi University for some time, runs Tapas with his own money because he doesn’t want any interference in the tough battles he fights. Recounting the filing of a PIL in the Delhi High Court, and later the Supreme Court, for the protection of the Yamuna flood plains and cleaning, Jain says he had to work hard to spread his message. “I went for seminars and conferences to educate the media and the people about related issues, met the chief minister, the lieutenant governor, the union urban minister and wrote to other bodies,” he says. “The response that I got to my RTI query was surprising. No one was willing to take responsibility for the river, not the state government, nor the DJB, nor the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the MCD, Ministry of Water Resources, or the Central Water Commission,” Jain adds. So taken aback was he that this water activist showed the responses he had received to the judges of the Delhi High Court to his petition. To not take responsibility for a river that’s a lifeline to millions is unforgivable, he feels. “Why is it then that when it comes to the doling out funds, everyone stands in queue for the money,” he asks.For someone who doesn’t believe in collecting crowds and shouting slogans to attract attention to his cause, Jain has triumphed often. He has been instrumental in getting the ban on plastic bags in place. Thanks to him, the DDA has had to revise a zonal plan for 2006 for theYamuna and formulate a new one which disallows concretisation of areas near the river and gives the the go-ahead to green activities. A court order following Jain’s PIL on delinking of sewerage from storm-water drains was also accepted by the Delhi government. A law was also passed disallowing disposal of flowers and other material for puja into the river, “though nobody has been challaned till now”, rues Jain. Such issues have been duly highlighted by the media and pressure has been built on government authorities to come up with solutions — “one of them being the laying of sewer lines in 189 rural villages,” says Jain.What is interesting, he adds, is that during some of his ‘save Yamuna’ awareness programmes, a lot of young people and schoolchildren have come up to him to ask how they can contribute to the revival of the river. The answers to their questions might well be with Vimlendu Jha, 30, founder and executive director of NGO ‘Swechha – We for change’, which educates people about the condition of the Yamuna. Young Jha is at the moment busy with a new programme, optimistically titled ‘Influence’. It provides an opportunity to young people to do volunteer work for the environment, including the river Yamuna. So far, says Jha, “we have got 350 volunteers from different parts of Delhi and we will place them in various NGOs for experience in conservation and welfare work”. “I had wanted to start a chai shop,” he laughs. “I got into conservation work more by accident. He started Swechha (then taglined ‘We for Yamuna’) in 2000 “for my personal love for the river. And when the movement began we had lots of people joining us,” he says. Should money be the motivating factor for someone wanting to become a conservationist?“Look at me,” says Jha, “I’m not dying of poverty, I can take care of myself. You don’t have to be a billionaire to be a happy person. One does not have to wear khadi and hawai chappals to be a river conservationist. You can wear Levis and flaunt a Blackberry. It depends on how socially responsible you are – so you can be a doctor or an engineering dude and at the same time do something for the revival of the river.” For Jain, money doesn’t matter, dreams do. “The river is effectively dead, there is no aquatic life in it. I hope things improve and one day we see people going for walks by the riverside.”And we all live on in hope.
What’s it about?You can work for the conservation of our rivers in various ways. An NGO worker creates awareness among the public or pressurise the government and related authorities to improve the state of polluted rivers. A water engineer specialises in water treatment at waste-treatment plants. A hydrologist studies the movement, distribution and quality of water. You also have to study watershed management and thus can get involved in identifying sources of the pollution that is reaching the river. Environmental engineers are involved in water- and air-pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, and public health issues. One can also study environmental law to tackle the legal issues connected to river-water pollution
Clock WorkThis is what a day in the life of Vinod K Jain could look like?8 am: Read morning papers, do some gardening.9 am: Have breakfast before attending to business matters11 am: Go to court and attend legal proceedings in connection with a PIL filed for river pollution5 pm: Attend to business matters, do some designing for a jewellery collection8 pm: Give time and attention to environmental issues one has taken up9 pm: Talk to the media, friends
High Court disposes IA on ArcelorMittal
Bangalore, June 1, DHNS:
The High Court has disposed off an application in connection with the land allotment to steel giant ArcelorMittal.
Hearing an interlocutory application by the petitioner Arun Agrawal, who had moved the High Court in connection with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), the High Court has disposed the matter following the State Government’s submission that there is no MoU at present with any of 88 companies which have expressed interest to invest in the State.Earlier, Agrawal in his PIL had challenged the State Government’s decision to allocate over 4,000 acres of land in the state to set up a steel plant with a dedicated mine.The High Court bench headed by Justice V G Sabhahit on April 6 had termed the petition as premature and granted the petitioner the liberty to approach the court in case of any notification. The petitioner in his IA mentioned about the notification and sought directions against the notification. He pointed out that ArcelorMittal have deposited a sum of Rs 260 crore with the state government. MoU not signedMentioning that the iron belonged to the people of Karnataka, the petitioner had claimed that the State Government had no right to allocate the precious mineral at a meagre price.The State Government submitted that there were only in principle agreement and there were no MoU signed with any company. They also submitted that all agreements would conform to the rules of Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. About Arcelor, the state’s counsel submitted that the company had advanced technology and could extract iron with 47-48% of Ferrous content. The main petition will be heard on July 13.
Lawyer leaves wedding midway to defend clients
TNN, Jun 2, 2010, 05.06am IST
AHMEDABAD: Little did Ejaz Qureshi, 26, know that the biggest day of his life would see a death sentence. The advocate defending five of the six persons convicted in the Akshardham terror attack case, had been fighting for an early decision ever since his clients moved the Gujarat high court. And it had to come on his wedding day! For two years after the high court heard the case, nothing had moved. Finally when the high court chose June 1 to pronounce its judgement, Ejaz was getting married. He hurried to the court room early on Tuesday morning, put on his black coat and cloak, obviously not very prepared for the session. When the judgement was pronounced, he quickly interpreted it for the relatives of the convicts waiting outside the courtroom, consoled them, attended questions by mediapersons and then rushed for his wedding reception at Paldi. “I had not expected the order to come on this day and that too when the high court is on vacation. I would have married earlier, had I known this to happen on my wedding day,” he said chuckling, as he rushed to say ‘kubool hai’ to his bride.
HC upholds death for three in Akshardham terror attack
TNN, Jun 2, 2010, 03.52am IST
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday upheld the special Pota court’s verdict and confirmed death sentence for three of the six convicts in the Akshardham temple terror attack, Gujarat’s first major terror attack to avenge the post-Godhra riots. A division bench of Justice RM Doshit and Justice KM Thaker confirmed gallows for Chand Khan alias Shaan Miya from Bareilly, Adam Ajmeri and Mufti Abdul Qayyum Mansuri from Dariapur area in Ahmedabad for conspiring and providing logistics to the terrorists that stormed the temple on September 24, 2002, killing 34 and injuring 81. The HC also confirmed life imprisonment of Mohammed Salim Shaikh, 10-year jail term for Abdullamiya Qadri and five-year term for Altaf Hussain Malek. Two fidayeens, identified as Murtuza Hafiz Yasin and Ashrafali Mohammed Farooq, members of Tehriq-e-Qasas, a wing of Lashkar-e-Taiba, opened fire in the temple that evening with AK-56 rifles and hand grenades. They were killed in a night-long battle by the National Security Guards (NSG). A note from the Tehriq was found on the gunmen which said the attack was a “gift to L K Advani and Narendra Modi for the killings of Muslims in Gujarat”. It exhorted other Muslims to take up arms and avenge the 2002 Gujarat riots. The HC upheld the Pota court’s conviction order of July 1, 2006, on basis of the confessions under section 32 of the now repealed terror act, of all accused except Qadri. The bench observed, “Some foreign nationals, presumably religious fanatics and members of the terrorist groups, out of hatred for Hindus, decided to commit crime against the Hindus in Gujarat and accomplished their ill-will without any loss to themselves. These foreign nationals utilized Indian nationals and their hard earned money to accomplish their cherished dream of massacre of the Hindus — the men, women and children of all ages and an unborn child, too. This could have been avoided had the community leaders been vigilant. Instead of fuelling the hatred, they could have utilized their authority to pacify the people and to douse the sense of hatred.” The order was delivered in the open court where the media was barred. The judges said, “Not only that those innocents and their family members are the victims but the accused before the court, too, are the victims of the same crime as they are going to lose their life to the gallows or in jail. Their families will have to suffer for rest of their lives. We only wish that these young people who are easily lured into committing the crime in the name of religion are also made aware of the consequences that may befall upon them and their families. Their energy and idiosyncrasies could be diverted for constructive work for betterment of themselves and the society.”
HC asks telcos to submit account books to CAG
2 Jun 2010, 0109 hrs IST,PTI
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked telecom companies to submit their account books to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). CAG had been asked by the Centre to check under-reporting of revenue for calculating the licence fee. A division bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Valmiki Mehta directed telcos to provide details of their revenue sharing to CAG. “We direct that without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the parties, the petitioners (telcos) will make available the revenue sharing details/documents to the CAG for auditing,” the bench said in an order. Over the telcos plea that they are private industry players and do not fall under the domain of the CAG, the court said, “in our considered view, prima facie the interest of the government is the revenue generated under the licence agreement.” The court, however, also said the CAG will not ask for any further document except the details relating to revenue sharing. “No further material would be asked from petitioners except those concerning the revenue sharing arrangements,” the court said. The court further directed the CAG not to disclose information given by telcos to the public domain or to any third-party. “Since this information is being directed to be disclosed without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the petitioners, the said information shall not fall into the public domain and will not be disclosed to any third party,” the court said. The court, however, admitted the petition filed by the GSM lobby Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and CDMA lobby, Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) and issued notices to the department of telecom and sectoral regulator, Trai. The COAI and AUSPI had challenged the recent CAG direction to the telcos to submit their revenue sharing details for auditing. Earlier on May 20, telecom tribunal TDSAT had also declined a similiar request from Bharti Airtel and Vodafone to stay the CAG audit.
Gujarat HC upholds POTA court’s verdict, death penalty to three
Express News Service
Posted: Wed Jun 02 2010, 03:45 hrs Ahmedabad:
The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday upheld the Special POTA court’s verdict handing down death sentences to three out of the six accused in the 2002 terror attack on Akshardham Temple that left 33 people dead.
The Division Bench of justices R M Doshit and K M Thaker pronounced the judgment without enhancing or remitting the punishment awarded to the six accused by the Special POTA court. The verdict has come two years after all arguments were rested in the case.
The HC confirmed the death sentences of Shan Miyan alias Chand Khan from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, and Adam Ajmeri and Mufti Abdul Qayyum Mansuri from Ahmedabad.
The other three who have been slapped with sentences are Mohammed Salim Shaikh, Abdul Miyan Qadr·both residents of Ahmedabad’s Dariapur area· and Shahpur resident Altaf Hussain Malek.
On July 1, 2006, Designated POTA Judge Sonia Gokani had sentenced Mohammed Salim Shaikh to life imprisonment, while Abdul Miya Qadri and Altaf Hussain Malek were handed down 10-year and five-year sentences respectively. Following the judgment by the Special POTA Court, the six accused had filed an appeal in the HC against their conviction. The state government had, at the same time, approached the HC to get the mandatory confirmation of death penalty awarded to the three accused.
Since April 25, 2008, the judgment was kept reserved by the Division Bench. In November last year, the convicts had also moved a petition praying pronouncement of the judgment.
Special public prosecutor J M Panchal and additional public prosecutors Umesh Trivedi and K J Panchal had appeared before the HC on behalf of the state government. Panchal told mediapersons after the verdict that the court took serious note of the fact that the accused, despite fully knowing the gravity of their acts, had provided logistical support and aid to the terrorists to carry out the bloody attack.
He also said that the court has accepted the confessional statements of five of the accused under the provisions of POTA and corroborative evidence put forward by the prosecution.
Panchal said that in its judgment, the HC has considered the fact that the convicts are Indian citizens. “However, the court also did not ignore the fact that the convicts participated in anti-national activity with full knowledge of its consequences.”
On September 24, 2002, two armed Pakistani militants belonging to the Laskhar-e-Toiba (LeT), stormed the Akshardham Temple, which is run by the Akshar Purshottam Swaminarayan Sansthan. They lobbed grenades and opened indiscriminate fire on devotees in the temple premises.
Twenty-nine visitors, two National Security Guard (NSG) commandos and two state commandos were killed and 81 people injured in the attack. NSG commandos, after a nightlong gun battle, killed the terrorists, identified as Murtuza Hafiz Yasin (code name Doctor 2) and Ashrafali Mohammed Farooq (Doctor 3). The militants were connected to Tehreeq-e-Qasas, a wing of the LeT. There were 34 accused (including the two militants who were killed) in the case, of whom the police arrested only six. The main accused, Abu Hamza, is still absconding.
The then Assistant Commissioner of Police G L Singhal, now posted as Superintendent of Police at Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad, had investigated the case.
Media shunted out of courtroomThe media was kept out from the courtroom during the verdict pronouncement on Tuesday even though it was admitted in the courtroom during the hearing earlier. Court officials ordered mediapersons sitting inside the courtroom to move out, saying they had orders from the court. It maybe mentioned that the special POTA court had also allowed the media inside the courtroom during the pronouncement of verdict in July 2006. The trial then was held inside the high-security Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad.
Vishal to move HC for relief from asset sale order
STAFF WRITER 9:55 HRS IST
Mumbai, Jun 2 (PTI) Buoyed by robust sales in the last two months, Vishal Retail today said that it is planning to approach the Delhi High Court to seek relief from an order restricting it from selling any of its assets over the next six months.Vishal Retail is eyeing sales to the tune of Rs 1,800 crore this fiscal.On a petition filed by Vishal’s Singapore-based creditor DBS Bank, the High Court had, on May 11, passed an interim order barring the cash-strapped company from selling any of its assets before November 25.Vishal, which had already received approval from the lenders for a possible takeover by PE firm TPG Capital, is is yet to clear dues of DBS Bank, amounting to Rs 40 crore.”We will move the HC this month with our plea. We are quite hopeful that the judgement will be in our favour.
Institute red-faced as HC won’t ban IIT topper’s book
Posted: Jun 02, 2010 at 0027 hrs IST
New delhi Faridabad boy Nitin Jain, who topped IIT-JEE exam in 2009 and also bagged the top position in the All India Engineering/Architecture Entrance Examination (AIEEE) that year, has won another bout. The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition by FIITJEE, the coaching institute where he prepared for the exams, seeking an interim restraint order against publication and distribution of The Secret of My Success, a book penned by Nitin, who now studies at IIT-Delhi’s Computer department.
While the 252-page book, which hit the bookstores last month, elaborates the efforts made by 18-year-old Nitin along with his tributes to those who contributed to his success, the coaching institute was aggrieved that certain portions of the book were “defamatory, offensive and fallacious”. FIITJEE also moved the court seeking a permanent injunction against the publication of the book and also a declaration that the remarks against it were unjustified. It also sought a directive from the court to remove all such statements made by Nitin and his father N C Jain in the book.
But after a Single Judge refused to entertain the plea, FIITJEE challenged it before the Division Bench of Justices Vikramjit Sen and A K Pathak, which also refused to stay the publication or distribution of the book. “All these facts are within the personal knowledge of the author and his parents. In case the appellant disputes the same it has to prove to the contrary, for which it has to lead evidence discrediting the version of the author and his parents,” the Bench held. On Wednesday, the High Court will take up the main case regarding the permanent injunction.
In the book, Nitin has denied writing any ‘letter of appreciation’ crediting his triumph to FIITJEE and its faculty. While the letter was part of several of the institute’s advertisements and brochures after Nitin’s success, the book claimed he was “subtly pressurised” and “cajoled” into writing the letter and most of it was not true.
FIITJEE, however, claimed Nitin and his parents had given several interviews saying the institute’s role in his success was most important. FIITJEE also took offence to a statement by Nitin’s father that the institute made them make several rounds for disbursing the monetary award to the topper of their ‘Talent Reward Exam’. Moreover, the book says Nitin got just Rs 75,000 instead of the Rs 1 lakh declared.
N C Jain said the order has armed him with another reason to fight for the cause of students, who are looking to emulate his son. “The main case is listed for tomorrow and I am going to stick to all the statements made in the book, for they are absolutely true,” said Jain, adding that Nitin did not know about the legal issues as he was occupied with his second semester exam.
Despite repeated attempts, FIITJEE could not be contacted.
HC slams Punjab Police for ‘trafficking’ minor girl
Express News Service
Posted: Wed Jun 02 2010, 05:38 hrs Chandigarh:
The police had handed over the abducted girl to the father of the accused and forced her parents to settle the matter
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the Punjab Police for colluding with a self-styled spiritual leader whose son had abducted a minor girl and forcing the girl’s parents to enter into a compromise.
Justice Ajay Tewari slammed the police for “handing over the girl to the father of the abductor, Baba Jeevan Shah, a resident of Hoshiarpur, rather than giving the custody of the girl to her parents”. The police had forced the father of the girl, Dev Raj, to write in the compromise letter that after the girl turns an adult, she will be married to the abductor Raj Kumar.
“I am shocked. This is extremely unfortunate. What kind of police officers are these? They are trafficking girls. Why was the minor girl not sent to the Nari Niketan?”, Justice Tewari asked.
Interestingly, the girl who was present in the court refused to return to her parents. “Woh mujhe maarte hain, main nahin jaoongi (They beat me, I do not want to return to my parents),” said Ranta. She claimed she was married to Raj Kumar. However, the court held that there was no proof to substantiate the statement.
The judge also had some harsh word for the girl and her to return to her parents.
The court also came down heavily on Sub-Inspector Tirath Ram who was posted at Hoshiarpur. The father of the girl in his petition had alleged that Ram, in connivance with Baba Jeevan Shah, forced him to sign the agreement.
The court has given a week’s time to the Punjab law officer to look into the matter. Till then the girl will remain with her parents.
HC upholds driving licence through post
Express News Service
First Published : 02 Jun 2010 05:46:47 AM IST
Last Updated : 02 Jun 2010 09:03:16 AM IST
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court upheld the state government’s order on issuing driving licence (DL) to applicants on Tuesday.
While dismissing the writ petition filed by Janath Driving School and others, Justice Ananda Byrareddy upheld the government order, issued on February 2010 directing all the Regional Transport Officers (RTO) not to issue DLs directly to the applicant or the driving schools.
The government in the circular had directed the RTOs to send DLs to applicants through speed post and not issue them directly.
Earlier, the petitioner had contended that the government’s order was against the Motor Vehicle Act, while the government had contended that the circular issued does not violate any act.
HC summons home secretary
The High Court has directed the home secretary to appear before the court on a petition challenging the registration of a case.
While hearing the petition filed by Hulikal Nataraj, Justice Rammohan Reddy directed the home secretary to appear before the court on June 4.
The petitioner’s counsel had argued that the petitioner was involved in exposing a racket involving evil beliefs and purported miracles but the police had registered a case against him at Madikeri and without any summons, the lower court had also issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
Notice to BBMP Commissioner
The High Court has issued contempt notice to Bharat Lal Meena, Commissioner of BBMP, Subeer Hari Singh, Principal Secretary of UDD, Tushar Girinath, Managing Director of Bescom and Uttam Chand Bhandari, President of Lord Adinath Jain Swethambar temple trust for violating the court order by demolishing the temple at Chikpet cross in Bangalore.
While hearing the petition filed, the division bench headed by Justice VG Sabhahith issued the notices.
Meanwhile, the petitioner alleged that the authorities had demolished the temple, which was considered as the monument in the city, despite the court issuing a stay order against the demolition of the temple.
HC upholds life term to man for killing girlfriend
STAFF WRITER 21:55 HRS IST
New Delhi, Jun 1 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has upheld the life imprisonment of a man who killed his girlfriend after suspecting her of falling in love with her employer.A Division Bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ajit Bharihoke accepted the dying declaration of the girl and rejected the convict’s argument that it was taken without following the rules laid down by the Supreme Court.The court upheld the sentence awarded to convict Abhishek Sharma by the trial court.According to the prosecution, Sharma and the deceased girl were working together in a call centre in Saraswati Vihar. On the night of September 20, 2007 both of them left in Sharma’s car for home.The Police PCR van found the girl in flames near the Queens Marry School in Model Town and she was rushed to the LNJP Hospital where she succumbed to burn injuries.
In public interest
The strong views of the new CJI, Justice S.H. Kapadia, on frivolous public interest litigation sharpen divisions within the judiciary and outside it.
Justice Sarosh Homi Kapadia, the senior-most judge in the Supreme Court, succeeded Justice K.G. Balakrishnan as the 38th Chief Justice of India (CJI) on May 12. Justice Kapadia, who will be the first CJI born after Independence, will have a tenure of two years and four months, as Supreme Court judges retire at the age of 65. He is known within the legal fraternity as a tough judge, and his appointment has aroused high expectations.
Justice Krishna Iyer, a former Supreme Court judge, hailed Justice Kapadia’s appointment. He said it filled him with hope “that we are on the verge of an era of constitutional justice”. In a letter to him, Krishna Iyer said: “India is a poor country and poverty jurisprudence and social justice must receive high priority.” In his reply, Justice Kapadia spoke about his humble origins, how he started his career as a Class IV employee and went on to state that his only asset was his integrity.
Expressing his resolve to fulfil his obligation to the Constitution in the matter of achieving the goal of inclusive growth, Justice Kapadia said: “Even as a judge of the Supreme Court I have used my knowledge of accounts and economics for the welfare of the downtrodden, including tribals and workmen….”
However, the CJI’s views on public interest litigation (PIL) have caused disquiet among those who consider it an effective method to achieve social justice. He said on his first day in office, while hearing a PIL as part of a three-judge Bench: “Huge cost will be imposed for filing frivolous PILs.”
On May 15, while hearing another petition, he said: “PIL petitioners have been moving the courts straightaway without even bringing the problem to the notice of the authorities. And the courts have been entertaining these PILs, virtually taking over the function of the authorities. We will not allow such bypassing of the authorities to take place any more.” In this case, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) had sought the implementation of road safety measures by the Andhra Pradesh government. The CJI sought to know whether the NGO had issued notice to the authorities concerned before approaching the Supreme Court.
Some may wonder whether the executive has to be reminded about its duty to implement road safety measures and whether such a reminder serves any purpose. The CJI’s views could trigger a debate on the PIL and whether it should be the last option. The general perception is that waiting for the executive to show sensitivity to a grievance would mean letting it aggravate.
It will be of interest to examine the CJI’s views on PILs in the light of the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Balwant Singh Chaufal case, delivered on January 18. In this case, the High Court had directed the Uttarakhand government to decide whether the appointment of a person who was more than 62 years old as Advocate General of the State was valid or not. The law on this issue is settled: there is no upper age limit for a person to be appointed to the post.
The Supreme Court allowed the appeal and said: “The State of Uttarakhand was a part of the State of U.P. [Uttar Pradesh] a few years ago. In the State of U.P., a large number of Advocate Generals appointed were beyond 62 years of age at the time of their appointment. The petitioner, a local practising lawyer, ought to have bestowed some care before filing this writ petition in public interest under Article 226 of the Constitution…. In our considered view, it is a clear case of the abuse of process of court in the name of the public interest litigation. …The petitioner ought to have known that the controversy which he has been raising in the petition stands concluded half a century ago and by a Division Bench judgment of the Nagpur High Court and was approved by a Constitution Bench of this court.” The Supreme Court imposed an exemplary cost of Rs.1 lakh on the respondents for filing the frivolous PIL before the High Court.
The Bench then traced the evolution of the PIL in India. In the first phase of its evolution, the court tried to preserve and protect the fundamental rights of the marginalised and the deprived and poor sections of society by relaxing the traditional rule of locus standi and broadening the definition of aggrieved persons. The Supreme Court and High Courts earned great respect and acquired great credibility in the eyes of the public because of their innovative efforts to protect and preserve the fundamental rights of people belonging to the poor and marginalised sections.
The second phase began sometime in the 1980s and was marked by innovation and creativity of the courts, where directions were given to protect the environment.
Unfortunately, of late, it was increasingly felt that the method was being abused blatantly to file petitions with oblique motives. “We think time has come when genuine and bona fide public interest litigation must be encouraged, whereas frivolous public interest litigation should be discouraged,” the court said and laid down guidelines for High Courts on PILs. The Supreme Court directed all High Courts to frame and notify their rules in this regard.
The Supreme Court is monitoring the implementation of its directives, and the case came up for hearing on May 3 before the Bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra. The Bench found that some High Courts had responded and others sought time to do so before the next hearing on July 19.
In its January 18 judgment, the Supreme Court Bench, comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Mukundakam Sharma, laid down the following guidelines to be followed while admitting PILs:
The courts should prima facie verify the credentials of the petitioner before entertaining a PIL;
prima facie be satisfied about the correctness of the contents of the petition;
be satisfied that substantial public interest is involved;
ensure that the petition that involves larger public interest, gravity and urgency is given priority;
before entertaining a PIL, ensure that it is aimed at the redress of genuine public harm or public injury;
ensure that there is no personal gain, private motive or oblique motive behind filing the PIL; and, finally,
ensure that petitions filed by busybodies for extraneous and ulterior motives are discouraged by imposing exemplary costs or by adopting similar novel methods.
Some observers have suggested that the judgment is silent on the need for such uniformity in the Supreme Court in entertaining PILs. Further, such a guideline can be seen as judicial legislation being implemented in a sphere where there is no law. In a system where there is a clear separation of powers, the sphere of legislation should be left to the legislature,
They wonder whether it would be feasible to verify the credentials of petitioners, considering the volume of litigation in India. Regarding the guideline that the court should prima facie satisfy itself as to the correctness of a petition, it is pointed out that every petition is supported by an affidavit of the petitioner. In case a false statement is made therein, he or she is liable to be prosecuted for the offence of perjury.
The guideline that the court should be satisfied that substantial public interest is involved has also led to some concern. In most cases, this can be done only when the court hears the parties on merits. Imposition of exemplary costs on frivolous petitioners too, observers say, can only be done after the court hears the parties. In the Balwant Singh Chaufal case, the petition might well have been a frivolous one. The High Court did not find it so and the Supreme Court decided it to be so only after hearing the parties concerned. If High Courts are to filter PILs according to their discretionary standards of frivolity, it would start a disturbing trend and undo some of the achievements of the PIL movement.
To many, the CJI’s view conceals the fact that there are two conflicting tendencies among Supreme Court judges on the question of PILs. In University of Kerala vs Council of Principals of Colleges, Kerala, decided on November 11, 2009, reported at (2010)1 SCC 353, Justice Markandey Katju and Justice A.K. Ganguly have referred the question of judicial legislation by courts in PILs to a larger Bench. The questions referred to that Bench are
1. Whether the court by an interim order dated September 22, 2006, can validly direct implementation of the Lyngdoh Committee’s Report (on holding of student union elections in colleges and universities);
2. Whether the order dated September 22, 2006, really amounts to judicial legislation;
3. Whether under the Constitution the judiciary can legislate, and, if so, what is the permissible limits of judicial legislation. Will judicial legislation not violate the principle of separation of powers broadly envisaged by the Constitution;
4. Whether the judiciary can legislate when in its opinion there is a pressing social problem of public interest or only make a recommendation to the legislature or concerned authority in this connection;
5. Whether Article 19(1)(c) and other fundamental rights are being violated when restrictions are being placed by the implementation of the Lyngdoh Committee report without authority of law; and
6. What is the scope of Articles 141 and 142 of the Constitution? Do they permit the judiciary to legislate and/or perform functions of the executive wing of the state?
The CJI is yet to constitute a Constitution Bench to consider these questions. However, the divisions within the Supreme Court on the question of PILs are becoming sharper, with some judges openly advocating restraint and others articulating a nuanced approach to the admissibility of PILs on the basis of guidelines that are debatable.
But there are certain public interest petitions that do not require lengthy hearing to decide whether they are frivolous. On May 5, a PIL petitioner sought the Supreme Court’s direction to introduce the text of the Constitution in primary classes. He argued that the Constitution should be learnt as quickly as possible as it was the foundation of all laws in the country. Another petitioner wanted the court to direct the Union to repeal laws, including the Indian Penal Code, which the colonial British wrote for the country as, in his view, only those laws passed by Parliament should continue. Another petitioner wanted total abolition of paper currency. No doubt these deserved to be dismissed, and indeed were rejected, at the entry stage.
Former Supreme Court Judge Justice P.B. Sawant once said a judge should develop a strong sense of smell. If something stinks, then he must be extra careful. It is the right judicial instinct and the skill of the judiciary that will stop the misuse of PILs and restore to them their pristine and useful character. Any amount of guidelines, laws and rules in this regard can only lead to suspicions regarding the judiciary’s real intent with regard to PILs.
Panel clears Balakrishnan as next NHRC chief
Express news service
Posted: Wed Jun 02 2010, 23:31 hrs New Delhi:
Decks were cleared on Tuesday for appointment of former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan as Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
According to sources, the decision to appoint Balakrishnan, who retired on May 12, was taken at a meeting of the committee headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Tuesday. The committee includes Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan.
Balakrishnan will have a tenure of five years or till he reaches the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
According to sources, some members present in meeting also raised the issue of the need to amend the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 to ensure that the post of chairperson doesn’t remain vacant for long due to paucity of eligible candidates. Under the present Act, only a person who has been CJI and is below 70 years of age is eligible. The post has been lying vacant since May 2009 after the retirement of Justice Rajendra Babu.
Responding to a PIL in the Supreme Court, the government said though the two former CJIs, R C Lahoti and Y K Sabharwal, were eligible, they couldn’t be appointed as they were either not inclined or not found suitable.
At one stage, the Centre was even considering amendment to the Act to allow retired judges of the Supreme Court to be considered and appointed to the post. However, the move was shelved at the planning stage itself.
Bikers come up with 16 points for JJ flyover
Nitasha Natu, TNN, Jun 1, 2010, 01.39am IST
MUMBAI: Unhappy with the ban on two-wheelers on the JJ flyover, motorcyclists have submitted a letter to the traffic police with a 16-point suggestion list. Earlier, the bikers’ association had filed a PIL in the Bombay high court, challenging the ban, but the it was dismissed. However, the court had said in its order that the issues raised by the association deserved to be considered. “The court order says that if concrete suggestions are made to the authorities, they can consider the recommendations and take a decision on the issue,’’ advocate Mubin Solkar, who represented the bikers in court, told TOI. “What we mainly want is that two-wheelers should not be completely prohibited from using the JJ flyover; the ban can be enforced only at night. Since the flyover has been closed to bikers, they have been using Mohammed Ali Road that runs below the bridge. But this stretch will be crowded with devotees during Ramzan and other festivals and it would become difficult for motorcyclists to take that route.’’ Among the suggestions made by the bikers’ association is the need for installing safety devices, like cat’s eyes and high-powered reflectors on the flyover. Signs should also be put up at dangerous turns, particularly near Mandvi post office, to warn motorists of risks involved in speeding. “The existing signboards can hardly be noticed. They need to be larger in size and lit up with neon lights or high-reflecting paint and placed at strategic points,’’ Solkar said. “Speed arrestors should be placed in a zig-zag postion so that motorists would not be able to dodge the device in any way and would be compelled to reduce the speed. Closed-circuit cameras, which can capture the numberplates of every vehicle, should also be installed. Later after going through the CCTV grabs, the police can penalise the offenders,’’ Solkar added. The bikers’ association has also suggested that separate lanes be demarcated for two- and four-wheelers on the flyover to avoid collision and sudden lane-cutting by either of them. A four-feet divider should be constructed between two lanes of the flyover so that speeding vehicles cannot drive into the flank of the bridge, ramming into vehicles coming from the opposite directions. “Instead of deploying traffic cops on the two ends of the flyover to enforce the ban on motorcycles, they should be posted at the dangerous spot near Mandvi post office,’’ the list stated. DCP (traffic) Nandkumar Chaugule said they had already written to the MSRDC about the safety devices that needed to be installed. “Most accidents took place during the day, so enforcing the bike-ban only at night is pointless,’’ he added.
Food or drink?
LYLA BAVADAMin Mumbai
The Maharashtra government’s scheme to subsidise production of alcohol from foodgrains attracts strong criticism.
On January 7, a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court consisting of Acting Chief Justice J.N. Patel and Justice B.R. Gawai asked the representative of the Government of Maharashtra: “Do you have so many funds as to spend on these people [the distillery owners]? What is an essential commodity for you – liquor or foodgrains?” With this rhetorical question, the judges stayed the disbursement of funds, almost Rs.50 crore each to the 23 distilleries licensed to make alcohol from coarse cereals under a 2007 scheme called “Foodgrain-based Liquid and Integrated Material Financial Aid”.
The judges provided temporary relief to the petitioners, the Bhimshakti Vichar Manch, a non-governmental organisation from Aurangabad, and Chetan Kamble, a social activist, who had filed a petition under public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the scheme. But their triumph was short-lived. Two months later, the court dismissed their petition saying the judiciary did not have the jurisdiction to interfere in a policy decision. The State government is now free to disburse Rs.50 crore to each of the 23 licensed distilleries.
Business of subsidies
The background to these developments goes back to June 8, 2007, when Vilasrao Deshmukh was the Chief Minister. A government resolution announced aid for alcohol production from foodgrains such as wheat, rice, jowar and bajra. The alcohol produced was to be potable. Under the scheme, a subsidy of Rs.10 was to be granted to manufacturers for each litre of alcohol produced from foodgrains. This would be in the form of a rebate on excise duty payable by the distillery owner.
A total of 32 factories were to be granted permission to manufacture liquor under this scheme. Four factories were already functioning. So, a total of 36 factories were ultimately to be producing liquor from grain.
There was no dearth of takers for the scheme, and by January this year 23 licences were issued. The total alcohol production capacity from the 23 distilleries would be 10.85 lakh litres a day or about 25 crore litres a year. This is a significant quantity considering that the State’s 2008-09 output of spirit, both industrial and potable, was 36 crore litres. And the business of making spirit becomes more profitable when subsidies are available. If the distilleries are set up in the notified backward ‘D’ zones such as Marathwada and Vidarbha, they are offered capital reimbursement of up to 150 per cent or Rs.37.50 crore (whichever is less). And if they are in the even more backward ‘D+’ zone, this increases to 200 per cent or Rs.50 crore (whichever is less).
“Clearly, the government wanted a rush of investment and they achieved it,” said Krishna Khopkar, State vice president of the All India Kisan Sabha. “Political leaders have benefitted the most from this scheme. The entire exercise is designed to promote the younger generation of politicians…. It is an opportunity to make money swiftly.” Kamble too had noted in his PIL petition that it was the wealthy who derived the maximum benefit from this scheme.
The government claims that the alcohol industry needs subsidies because the capital expenditure involved is relatively high. However, its assertion that the scheme will help farmers who lacked irrigation facilities and grew only rain-fed crops such as jowar has been challenged by the Opposition. In the 2009 winter session of the State Assembly, the Shiv Sena said the scheme would lead to a scarcity of foodgrains and rise in food prices.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan defended the scheme but said new projects would be suspended. He said, “Many people have invested crores of rupees and it is difficult to scrap the scheme at this stage. However, since Maharashtra is facing a major foodgrain crunch, we are going to suspend all new projects of making alcohol from foodgrains.” This was the only time that the government agreed with the argument presented in the PIL petition, which said: “The foodgrain that is used to make alcohol can be used to feed the poor. Maharashtra has a scarcity of essential foodgrains and is compelled to import from foreign countries.”
Debunking the scheme as an “eyewash”, Khopkar said: “Coarse foodgrains are usually in short supply in the market. More than 40 per cent of them come to the market almost immediately after harvest because farmers are desperate for money. This desperation makes it easy for middlemen to purchase for less than the mandatory Rs.10 a kilogram. Grain is usually purchased at Rs.8 a kilo. And it is purchased mainly by the factory agents.”
The State government’s stand on food security has seen a series of flip-flops. In February, while replying to the petition, it asserted that there would be no threat to food security if jowar was used to produce alcohol. An affidavit filed by Prakash Gaud, Joint Secretary, Home Department, said: “Under the Public Distribution System (PDS), jowar has not been distributed from January 2006 to December 2009. Therefore, there was no threat to food security in using jowar as raw material for production of alcohol.” The affidavit also claimed that “jowar is not the primary staple in Maharashtra”.
Khopkar pointed out that the scheme was launched with a view to pick up spoiled grain for the production of industrial alcohol. This was meant to help farmers if their grain went bad but what has happened is something else.
“The soiled or rotten grain is collected by PDS agents, who sell the good grain with them to distillery agents and the bad grain through the PDS. Thus needy people in the PDS system get bad grain to eat, while the good grain goes into the making of alcohol,” he said.
When faced with criticism about the ethics of growing a cheap, nutritious cereal for alcohol production, the State government justified the project by saying that it fetched better prices for farmers. Quoting the economist Sulabha Brahme, Khopkar said the amount of money made from jowar-based alcohol was 11 times more than what was paid to the farmer. At the same time, it argued, the subsidy offset the greater costs involved in producing alcohol from grain rather than from molasses.
Critics allege that the profits the distilleries made are disproportionate to any advantage that the farmer might get from diverting his produce for non-food use. In reality, the scheme protects distilleries from the volatility in the prices of molasses. But similar safety nets are not available for the farmer who will continue to fall prey to the wiles of market intermediaries since the distilleries source grain not directly from them but through agents. Neither is there a minimum procurement price prescribed to protect the farmer. Thus, the subsidies are trade-distorting and divert grain that would have been consumed by people – especially the poor – or used as animal feed.
Gaud’s affidavit underlined the main intention of the scheme. It stated: “There was a surge of 80 per cent in the demand for industrial alcohol in recent years over the average consumption of 20-22 crore litres per annum. During the last two years, the requirement of alcohol, both for potable as well as for industrial use, had gone up substantially…. Combined expected future requirement for industrial and potable sectors was projected at around 60 crore litres.”
The affidavit stated that the worldwide trend was to use foodgrains for liquor production. It pointed out that molasses, preferred until now for the production of alcohol, had been replaced by coarse cereals. The switch is a convenient one. When the cultivation of sugarcane was criticised as a criminal waste of water and land, all objections were brushed aside by the cane lobby. Gaud’s affidavit states that bringing more areas under sugarcane cultivation was not a “realistic or feasible option” and that the processes involved in producing molasses are polluting. The government had chosen to ignore these facts earlier. Why? Because at that time the production of alcohol from coarse cereals was a cottage industry and its huge commercial value had not been discovered. The fact is also that molasses have now been diverted to the making of industrial ethanol. For investors, coarse cereals are the new sugarcane since they are cheaper to grow, are not water-intensive, and can be cultivated widely.
Given the gap between demand and availability, it is not clear where the raw material will come from. As per current indications, the 36 factories would require a total of 70 lakh tonnes of foodgrains to produce around 15 lakh tonnes of liquor. Over the past 10 years, the production of jowar has been falling. In 1996-97, 56.92 lakh hectares of land was under jowar. By 2003-04, this fell to 45.43 lakh ha. According to Economic Survey of Maharashtra 2008-09, “during the year 2008-09, the area under foodgrains reduced by 20 per cent, resulting in reduction of crop production by 31 per cent in total kharif foodgrains production. This fall was mainly in kharif jowar, bajra and all pulses.”
Khopkar says that in the past 25 years, the State government has relaxed restrictions on prohibition with a view to amassing revenue from excise. First came the wineries, under Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar’s initiative; then came the sugar factory distilleries; and now the coarse grain alcohol project. And all this, he says, “is done in the name of helping the poor”.
Rathore bail petition plea deferred till Wednesday
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday deferred the hearing on former Haryana Director General of Police (DGP) S.P.S. Rathore’s bail petition till Wednesday.
Rathore, who is now lodged in Chandigarh’s Burail jail, had moved the High Court with a review petition, seeking bail on medical grounds.
However, the High Court’s single vacation bench of Justice Ajay Tewari deferred the matter for Wednesday after it was told to him that Ruchika’s family advocate Pankaj Bhardwaj was indisposed.
Earlier, the Chandigarh District and Sessions Court had rejected Rathore’s appeal against his conviction in the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case.
The court had enhanced Rathore’s jail term to 18 months from six months.
His lawyer-wife Abha Rathore pleaded with the judge to hear the case, arguing that her husband was facing severe health problems.
She also initiated a process for a revised petition against the verdict in the court of Justice S.S. Saron, contending that the appellate court had passed the order under media pressure. (ANI)
Vodafone says no tax is payable in $11.1bn Hutchison deal
Press Trust of India, June 1, 2010 (New Delhi)
Disputing the claims of the Income Tax Department, telecom service provider Vodafone on Tuesday said that “no tax is payable” on the $11.1-billion deal with Hutchison in February 2007.”Vodafone remains fully confident that no tax is payable by Hutchison in this transaction and that Vodafone has no liability in any event, and all the taxation and legal advice received continues to be consistent with this view,” Vodafone Group said in a statement.The I-T department, yesterday, said that it has full jurisdiction over taxing Vodafone.”We have jurisdiction over taxing Vodafone…We will send the tax demand to them within few days,” Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman S S N Moorthy had said.Though Moorthy has not mentioned the tax liability of Vodafone, it is estimated to be around $2 billion.”Vodafone will be reviewing the documents in detail. The Supreme Court granted Vodafone the right of appeal to the Bombay High Court if we disagree with the tax authorities determination,” the company said.Vodafone confirmed that it has received an order from the tax department on the preliminary issue of jurisdiction. The dispute concerns Vodafone Group Plc’s acquisition of a 67 per cent stake in Hutchison Essar from Hong Kong’s Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd. The I-T department is of the opinion that the transaction is taxable in India.Earlier, Vodafone had also approached the Supreme Court, which had refused to intervene in the tax dispute between the telecom firm and the I-T department and had asked the department to check whether it has the jurisdiction to proceed further in the tax case.Vodafone had paid $11.1 billion for a 67 per cent stake of Hutchison in Hutchison-Essar (since renamed Vodafone Essar) in 2007.The government approved the deal in May, 2007, itself. After regulatory clearances were given, the tax department issued a show-cause notice to Vodafone saying the company did not deduct tax, estimated at around $2 billion.In 2007, Vodafone received a show-cause notice asking it why it had not done this. Following this, the company approached the Bombay High Court.After the high court dismissed Vodafone’s petition challenging the I-T department’s notice, the company moved the Supreme Court in January, 2009.The primary question that Vodafone requested the apex court to answer was whether Indian authorities have the jurisdiction to tax a transaction that occurred outside India between two global players.
Kapadia for review of Delhi High Court move on five new judges
A Supreme Court panel of judges headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia has asked the Delhi High Court’s panel on judicial appointments to review its recent recommendation for appointment of five high court lawyers as judges.
A senior law ministry official told IANS Tuesday that the apex court’s five-judge panel, also known as the collegium, pointed out some inherent problem with the proposal sent by the high court for appointment of the lawyers as judges.
‘To begin with, one of the woman lawyers, Meenakshi Arora, whose name was recommended for appointment had withdrawn her consent for the same,’ said the official.
Asked if she had withdrawn her consent for appointment as a high court judge, Arora, an expert on constitutional law, said: ‘I have.’ She however, did not elaborate on the the reasons for her decision.
Law ministry officials said there were other problems with the appointment proposal as well.
Firstly, the proposal had been sent by the high court’s panel, headed by its former chief Justice A.P. Shah, and that too, shortly before his retirement, said the official.
The new Chief Justice of India wanted the new and present Delhi High Court’s Chief Justice Dipak Misra to approve the proposal, the official said.
The five lawyers associated with the Delhi High Court Bar Association and whose names were recommended for appointment by the high court’s panel headed by former chief justice Shah are: Abhinav Vasisht, Rajiv Virmani, Anusuya Salwan, Meenakshi Arora and Maninder Acharya.