LEGAL NEWS 13-9.05.2009

CJ Koshy inaugurates HC Museum

13 May 2009, 0610 hrs IST, Ravi Dayal, TNN

PATNA: The Patna High Court (HC) Chief Justice (CJ) J B Koshy on Tuesday inaugurated the HC Museum on its premises witnessing some rarest court documents and photographs neatly arranged there.

Other judges of the HC and a galaxy of lawyers visited the museum for taking a glimpse of court documents that have become rare because of their historicity.

The rarest of them all is the document relating to the death reference of the freedom fighter Khudiram Bose, DR no. 14/1908, Emperor Vs Khudiram Bose, made by the then sessions judge of Muzaffarpur who had awarded capital punishment to Bose. Along with the death reference document is kept in a large frame, the document of criminal appeal filed by Bose in his own hand writing challenging the capital punishment awarded to him.

The charges recorded against Bose was that he had hurled a bomb on a carriage of a judge of Muzaffarpur Kingsford and the bomb blast led to death of two woman.

Within the frames is placed another rare document of death reference, DR no. 07/1934, the King Emperor Vs Baikunth Shukul, made by a sessions court which had awarded capital punishment to freedom fighter Shukul.

Portraits of Patna HC judges, whose names had been recorded in the annals of its judgeship for historicity, including the portraits of the first Indian judge of HC, Justice S Sharfuddin, Justice Jwala Prasad, Justice Ali Imam, and others have been kept in the museum.

There is also a rare photograph of Lord Hardinge laying the foundation stone of the HC on December 1, 1913.

The rarest sketch hanged on the wall of the museum is the one bearing the south-west view of the Patna Provincial Court of Appeal at Bankipore (in Patna) sketched by Sir Charles D’Oyly on April 30, 1827.





Plea in HC seeks to stop Indian govt’s military aid to Sri Lanka

13 May 2009, 0500 hrs IST, TNN

CHENNAI: Yet another public interest writ petition has been filed in the Madras high court, seeking a direction to the government of India not to extend military

aid to Sri Lanka.

A vacation bench comprising justice P Jyothimani and justice T S Sivagnanam adjourned the matter by two weeks after counsel for the Centre took notice. The court also permitted issuance of notice to the Election Commission.

The petition, filed by the All India Ambedkar People’s Movement president V Balasundaram, cited Article 51 of the Constitution, and said India was duty-bound to settle the ethnic issue in Sri Lanka, as the provision mandates the Centre to “encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.”

He said Tamils in Sri Lanka were a marginalised lot, and that the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had been “inhumanly violated” by the Lankan government with the help of the Government of India. According to Balasundaram, Tamils had long been denied equal rights and treatment in the island-nation, and that Indian government had extended support to Sri Lanka, as acknowledged by its defence minister Gothabaye Rajabaksa.

He wanted the court to restrain the government from supplying military aid to Sri Lanka, and wanted the court to direct the Centre to constitute a high-level committee to bring peace in the island-nation, as per Article 51 of the Constitution.





Librarian bids Tihar adieu: Found juvenile at time of crime, HC releases convict

Krishnadas Rajagopal

Posted: May 13, 2009 at 0227 hrs IST

New Delhi Central Jail 5 in Tihar will lose its librarian “immediately”, as per a High Court order.

Having served eight years, three months and 26 days of a life term in prison for murder, Lal Mohammed will now leave his ‘job’-he is the jail librarian and teacher, as per the Tihar counsel. A Division Bench led by Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed on Tuesday found Lal Mohammed was a juvenile when he and three others allegedly poisoned a 15-year-old boy on November 13, 2000.

An AIIMS medical board report on record states Lal Mohammed was “over 17 years” at the time. A person is termed “juvenile” under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, if he or she is below 18 years of age at the time the offence is committed (see box).

The law bans imprisonment of a juvenile, and prescribes only “protective custody” at a special home — that, too, for a maximum of three years.

The court wanted Lal Mohammed out of jail so fast that it did not even want him to wait till the judicial order of his release was typed out. The court sent a note to the jail superintendent asking him to release the convict “forthwith”. The prosecutor was also directed to urgently convey the order over phone to jail authorities.

“Lal Mohammed was a juvenile on November 13, 2000. That is the only fact to be considered now,” the Bench observed. It said it was not concerned whether he was guilty, as he had already served a jail term in excess of the stipulated three years. “He cannot be detained any further,” the court ruled.

Incidentally, the court discovered Lal Mohammed’s age at the time the crime was committed when he applied for bail through Tihar’s visiting counsel B C Kapur.

The case dates back to November 14, 2000 when Vijay Kumar Bhandari of Yojna Vihar lodged a complaint with Anand Vihar Police stating that that his son Vikas was missing. The boy’s body was found near Link Road in Ghaziabad the following day.

A neighbour had last seen the deceased on the evening of November 13 in the company of Lal Mohammed and three others — Rakesh, Rajneesh and Romil Sharma. All four were arrested. Last May, a Sessions Court sentenced Lal Mohammed to life in prison and also slapped a fine of Rs 3,000 on him.

All four convicts had appealed to the High Court.

“I just visited Lal Mohammed in jail,” Kapur told Newsline on Tuesday evening. “He is happy and is distributing sweets among his students. His brother is waiting outside the prison gate for him.”

Juvenile: 18 years as per Act
The Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 said a male is a juvenile if he is below 16 years, and a female, if she is under 18. The 1986 Act was amended to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, which extended the definition of “juvenile” to persons (both male and female) below 18 years.

A Supreme Court Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph on May 5 this year confirmed the objective of the 2000 Act in a case titled “Hari Ram Vs State of Rajasthan and Another”. The Bench ordered the immediate release of Hari Ram, charged for a murder he committed in Ajmer district when he was 16 years and 13 days old in 1998.

Justice Kabir, who penned the judgment, wrote that the implementation of the law requires a complete change in the mind-set of the courts.





K R Ramasamy moves HC for action against state BJP chief

13 May 2009, 0429 hrs IST, TNN

CHENNAI: Social activist Traffic’ K R Ramasamy, who is contesting as an independent candidate in the Chennai (South) constituency, has moved the Madras High Court to direct the city police and election officials to take action against the state BJP chief L Ganesan for poll-related violence.

Ramasamy claimed that while he was campaigning in the MGR Nagar market area in KK Nagar, a group of BJP cadres instigated by Ganesan attacked him, damaged his vehicle and snatched away a five-sovereign gold chain of his jeep driver. He said his audio equipment too were damaged in the brutal attack.

Despite a complaint to the MGR Nagar police no first information report has been filed so far, he said, adding that representations to the central election observer too has not evoked any response. He wanted the court to direct the authorities to take appropriate action against the BJP leader and his party colleagues based on the police complaint.





HC directs pollution board to give report on waste burning

13 May 2009, 0427 hrs IST, TNN

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has asked the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to file a report on the illegal dumping and burning of garbage and other toxic materials around residential areas near Pallikaranai marshland.

A vacation bench comprising justice P Jyothimani and justice T S Sivagnanam gave the interim direction to the TNPCB on Tuesday, on a public interest writ petition filed by the Ram Nagar South Residents’ Welfare Association.

The petition, filed by the association secretary S Narayanan, accused the Madipakkam town panchayat authorities of illegally dumping solid wastes and toxic materials in private open lands near 9th, 10th and 11th main roads in Ram Nagar South. The garbage consists primarily of plastics, metal, glass, construction debris, biomedical waste and slaughterhouse waste, he said, adding that these chemicals could damage environment and community health severely.

Maintaining that the residents in these areas were forced inhale toxic materials, the petitioner said the groundwater and air in the areas surrounding the dumping yards are heavily polluted.

Citing the provisions of the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, the petitioner said that as per the rules the authorities must earmark and prepare proper landfill sites away from residential areas, forests, waterbodies, monuments, national parks and places of important cultural, religious and historical interests.

He sought an interim injunction restraining the Madipakkam local body authorities from dumping and burning garbage in the Ram Nagar South Layout or areas adjoining the Tambaram-Velacherry main road.





HC issues notice to seven former ministers in DA case

13 May 2009, 0005 hrs IST, Manohar Lal, TNN

RANCHI: Taking strong stance in a disproportionate asset case Jharkhand High Court on Tuesday issued notice to seven former ministers of the state.

The court asked the seven former ministers to reply as to why CBI inquiry should not be initiated against them for allegedly amassing asset disproportionate to their known sources of income.

Division bench of chief justice Gyan Sudha Mishra and Justice DK Sinha was hearing a PIL filed by one Durga Oraon in which he has demanded CBI inquiry.

The petitioner had named seven former ministers in his PIL which include Chander Prakash Choudhary, Dulal Bhuiyan, Bhanu Pratap Sahi, Bandhu Tirkey, Kamlesh Singh, Enos Ekka and Harinaryan Rai.

The state counsel on Tuesday informed the court that they have received the details of copy submitted by the Income Tax department but prima facie the details are not sufficient to order for the CBI inquiry against the respondent former ministers.

The counsel informed the court that vigilance inquiry has been initiated against two former ministers named in the PIL and it is likely that the chargesheet will be framed soon.

Income Tax counsel informed the court that notice has been issued to all the respondents to reply about their assets but none of them are complying with it and no information has been received from their side.

Senior advocate and former advocate general SB Gadodia interrupted in between on behalf of former minister Dulal Bhuiyan and argued that his client has replied to all the notice issued by IT department and is complying with all the directions.

After hearing the arguments the court asked the respondents former ministers to file a reply by May 21 and state as why CBI inquiry should not be ordered against them.

During the hearing of the interlocutory petition advocate Ritu Kumar for the petitioner argued that former chief minister Madhu Koda and his aides Vinod Sinha and Sanjay Chaudhary have made several memorandum of understanding and has bank accounts in several countries.

Court asked the state and IT department to file a reply by May 26 on the disproportionate assets acquired by the trio and why the CBI inquiry should not be ordered against them.





Sale, purchase of vote amounts to corruption: HC

12 May 2009, 2358 hrs IST, TNN

Bangalore: Vote is not a commodity available for sale. Purchase or sale of voter or vote amounts to corruption, the high court has said.

“Ballot is the instrument by which the voter expresses his/her choice in an election. Vote is his/her choice or preference, as expressed by the ballot. The right to vote for the candidate of one’s choice is the essence of democratic polity. Casting vote in favor of one or the other candidate tantamounts to expression of his/her opinion and preference, and the final stage in the exercise of voting rights marks the accomplishment,” the court said.

“Freedom of voting as distinct from right to vote is thus a species of the voter’s freedom of expression… It is unbecoming of an advocate to trade in votes. It reflects his character and conduct. Spending huge amounts of money do not speak well of candidates contesting election nor advocates who are beneficiaries of such extravaganza. They forfeit their right to be members of the noble profession…,” Justice N Kumar observed in his order.

He described the events on March 22 (when election to Advocates’ Association of Bangalore was stopped) as the blackest day.

New entrants to the profession should come out of the atmosphere prevailing on the college campus. They must try to adopt the requirements of professional conduct. They have to work overtime. They have to sacrifice childish and rowdy behaviour. They should discipline themselves. They should know they are officers of the court. The need of the hour is to prevent recurrence of events that happened during the March 22 election, the judge observed.

The new election date has been fixed on July 12.





Police produce criminal case diary of Bansal in HC

12 May 2009, 2227 hrs IST, TNN

ALLAHABAD: The police produced the diary of all the criminal cases lodged against Dr AK Bansal, director of Jeevan Jyoti Nursing Home, in the high court on Tuesday. The district magistrate, IG and DIG also filed affidavits in the court in compliance of the earlier order passed by the bench, while hearing a writ petition filed for the arrest of Bansal, in the death case of high court lawyer Laxmi Kant Misra.

The bench comprising Justice Ravindra Singh and Justice NA Moonis passed the order on a writ petition filed by SN Misra, brother of Laxmi Kant Misra. He has also prayed for an impartial probe into his brother’s death. The court deferred the hearing till Wednesday (May 13) to peruse the case diary.

Senior lawyer JS Sengar appeared on behalf of Dr Bansal, but the court did not hear him in the absence of impleadment application. The HCBA held a meeting and decided that it will not put restrictions on any of its member to appear or arguing the case for Bansal.





Buck stops at magistrate’s table: HC


As reported by Shibu Thomas at on 12 May 2009

MUMBAI: The buck will stop at the magistrate’s table if those arrested for petty offences, which are bailable, continue to languish in jails beyond seven days.

After 780 people-who were “illegally incarcerated”-were released from jail over the last few months, the Bombay High court said that if magistrates failed to obey directives to release such people on a personal bond, it would be treated as a “serious lapse”.

A division bench of Justice P B Majumdar and Justice R M Savant recently asked principal sessions judges in Maharashtra to look into the issue and order magistrates to comply with the guidelines.

The law says that a person charged with a bailable offence has to be released immediately if he furnishes the bail amount to the police. A special provision added to the CrPC states that in case the person is unable to cough up the bail amount within seven days, the court can order his/her release on a personal bond or an undertaking that he/she will show up for the investigation and trial.

An RTI application had last year revealed that of the 2,296 inmates in Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail, around 1,660 were undertrials who were charged with bailable offences and could have been released, freeing up space in the prison that is bursting at its seams.

Following HC orders to release such inmates, around 780 prisoners were freed from jails in Maharashtra. But advocate Yug Chaudhary, appointed as amicus curiae, said the problem continued despite the court orders. As of February 2009, 56 prisoners were still incarcerated despite being charged with bailable offences, including 18 in Mumbai. The average period people spent behind bars on bailable offences was 30 days.






CJI, eight SC judges coming to city

12 May 2009, 0522 hrs IST, TNN

CHANDIGARH: The Asia Pacific Jurist Association (APJA), an elite body of judges, noted lawyers and public spirited persons, is all poised to add another feather to its cap when the chief justice of India, KG Balakrishnan, comes calling to the city on May 23 to attend a seminar on intellectual property rights (IPR) being organised by it. As many as eight seniormost apex court judges are expected to come along with the CJI who would also inaugurate judicial academy complex in the UT.

A high-profile meeting, under the guidance of president of APJA’s Punjab and Haryana chapter, justice Surya Kant, was held in the high court on Monday wherein details of the programme were chalked out. There were some valuable suggestions by justice Rajesh Bindal, who is the senior vice-president of the regional chapter of APJA, even as nearly 50 lawyers too contributed with their inputs.

Lawyers Atul Lakhanpal and Vikas Chatrath, both senior office-bearers of APJA, too evinced enthusiasm about the CJI’s visit even as they appreciated the support lent by chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur, patron-in-chief of APJA, in propagating the mission and objectives of the organization.

The IPR event comes closely on the heels of a cycle rally organised by the APJA to spread the green message in a city reeling under the impact of automobile explosion, resulting in serious damage to its verdant beauty. The rally was attended by many judges of the high court and was a grand success.

Importantly, the APJA’s leitmotif remains drive against pollution, stress on water conservation and water resource management, renewable energy even as it also works for growth of nascent legal fields like IPR, ADR etc. APJA was formed in 2004 and boasts of more than 200 members, including judges, advocates and educationists.





Swiss Government Accuses India of Submitting Forged Documents in Black Money Case

May 12, 2009: The Swiss government accused India of submitting forged documents in the Hassan Ali case.

Hassan Ali, a stud farm owner, is accused of illegally stashing Rs 40,000 crore in Swiss bank. The case dates back to January 2007.

Falco Galli, spokesperson of Switzerland’s Ministry of Justice said Indian government was not cooperating on the matter and had failed to answer queries raised in April 2007.

The government recently filed an affidavit filed in Supreme Court on the issue of money stashed in Swiss bank and had named Hassan Ali as one of the offenders in the case.

The affidavit was filed in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).





HC rejects PIL against Nano land allotment

DNA Correspondent

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 13:01 IST

Ahmedabad: A division bench of the Gujarat high court headed by chief justice KS Radhakrishnan has rejected a public interest litigation (PIL) filed against the allocation of land to Tata Motors’s Nano project near Sanand. The court observed that the state government had not violated any norms as alleged by the petitioner, the Rashtriya Kisan Dal. The high court also questioned the standing of the petitioner organisation. “This PIL has been filed by an organisation styled as Rashtriya Kisan Dal, represented by its chairman.

There is nothing to show as to whether this organisation is a registered organisation, representing the cause of farmers in the state of Gujarat,” the bench observed while delivering its order on Monday.

It is pertinent to note that HK Thaker, chairman of the Rashtriya Kisan Dal, appeared in court party in person. He had filed the petition seeking that the state government be directed to not allot land to Tata Motors for the project.

Thaker submitted that by allotting the land in question to Tata Motors, the state would in no way benefit, and that the interests of farmers and agriculturists would be compromised, thereby leading to a shortage of agricultural products.

The petitioner further submitted that the project would require a substantial amount of electricity and if such projects were encouraged, people waiting in queue for power connections would be affected. If the state were to part with property reserved for cattle farms and educational purposes, milk production will be hit, leading the state to lag behind in the field of education, the petition stated.

Rejecting the allegations made by the petitioner, the high court bench observed that “the petitioner has not succeeded in establishing that the decision taken by the government in allotting the land to Tata Motors has in any way violated any statutory provision or statutory rules or regulations.”





Panel orders inspection of ashram in kids’ death case

DNA Correspondent

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 13:05 IST

Ahmedabad: Justice DK Trivedi Commission, constituted to probe the mysterious deaths of two children of Asaram ashram, on Monday directed lawyers SH Iyer, Shamshad Pathan and Mukul Sinha to carry out an inspection of the ashram. The dead bodies of Dipesh and Abhishek were found on the Sabarmati riverbed. The commission has also directed that the inspection be done in the presence of fathers of the victims; Kanjivan Parmar, the man who filed a PIL seeking a thorough investigation into the matter, and lawyer Mitesh Amin representing the state government.

The date of inspection will be fixed by the commission on May 14. The commission also issued summons to Pankajbhai, a sadhak and the administrator of the ashram, Ketanbhai who is in-charge of overall administrator, Vikasbhai, one of the key administrators, and Uday Sanghani, the PRO of the ashram, so that details of how the children may have got out of the ashram and when it happened can be enquired into.

The commission has also directed that statements of all those people, including children, who had taken dinner along with the deceased on the fateful night be taken.

The direction came in the wake of an application filed by defence lawyer in the case on Monday praying that the aforesaid factors be taken into consideration for investigation into the deaths of the children.





Panel seeks united Tricity development

12 May 2009, 0530 hrs IST, TNN

CHANDIGARH: It took 10 years and some nudging from Punjab and Haryana High Court to get this coordination committee set up by Union government to meet. The panel was created in 1975 with the objective of charting a roadmap for the City Beautiful and its periphery’s planned development


The committee met on March 16 after HC chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur and justice Hemant Gupta pulled up Centre for sleeping over such a vital issue and directed it to swiftly convene a meeting of the panel on February 16. The HC order had come following a PIL seeking curbs on haphazard development in Chandigarh’s surroundings.

Centre’s counsel Omkar Singh Batalvi told HC on Monday that the committee had asserted in the meeting that UT’s growth could not be viewed in isolation and there was an urgent need to create an integrated City Development Plan (CDP) to cater to the needs of Panchkula, Mohali and Chandigarh. It has also decided that a committee, comprising chief town planners of Punjab and Haryana and UT chief architect ‘shall review the existing scenario in and around Chandigarh’ and submit a status report after ascertaining ground realities.

Since its creation, the panel had never really taken off.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Union urban development secretary and the panel discussed threadbare various issues relating to haphazard urban growth around the UT, said Batalvi.

The Union urban development secretary, according to a report submitted before the HC by the Centre, had emphasized in the meeting that the coordination panel would endeavour to play a ‘facilitative role’ in view of the mandate under Jawahar Lal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). He categorically asserted that the Tricity had to be treated as a single urban entity. Importantly, the secretary also noted in the meeting that while the CDP for Panchkula had been ‘received and apprised’, the one for Mohali was yet to arrive. Also, a feasibility report for Chandigarh metro rail has been prepared, which would connect the Tricity.

Batalvi informed the HC that the next meeting of the panel would be convened in June after Lok Sabha polls. HC told the panel to prepare a status report in the meantime.






HC glare on Giridih plant


Ranchi, May 11: Jharkhand High Court directed the state and a private steel company today to explain how permission was granted to set up its plant by allegedly flouting rules and norms.

A division bench of Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice D.K. Sinha ordered the state to file an affidavit to explain how M/s Sun Flower Steel Industry was continuing with its plant at Isri Bazaar, Dumri in Giridih without proper authorisation from the departments concerned.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Citizens’ Forum, a social organisation, which has stated that the steel company is setting up its plant without sanction and a no-objection certificate from the state pollution control board.

The court was also informed that operation of the steel plant would lead to sound, air and water pollution. Moreover, there are two schools — Jain Middle School and Bhagat School — and a temple in the vicinity, the PIL pointed out.





A change in Metro route plan to save Sarvodaya Hospital

Express News Service

Posted: May 12, 2009 at 0015 hrs IST

Mumbai The 50-year-old Sarvodaya Hospital in Ghatkopar, which falls partially on the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro corridor route, will not be demolished, as the nodal agency is considering realignment of the route. “We’re working on the realignment of that portion,” said a senior MMRDA official requesting anonymity. According to the official, the MMRDA decided to realign the route due to the high compensation demanded by the trust. This rethink comes after the completion of the corridor is 18 months away from its desired commissioning.

Earlier the hospital trust had filed a PIL in Bombay High Court against the State’s move to acquire around 80,000 square feet of its hospital land to let the Metro line pass through. The trust that was established in 1954 has eight acres of land where affordable medical treatment is provided.





Bhim’s petition on delimitation malafide: Bar tells Court



Rashid Paul
Srinagar, May 12:
Terming the intent of the petition of the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh of increasing the number of assembly seats for Jammu as malafide, Kashmir High Court Bar Association Monday told the Court that the petitioner wants to accumulate political power in Jammu by harping on the fabricated discrimination issue.

A battery of lawyers representing the Kashmir High Court Bar Association told the division comprising of Chief Justice Barin Ghosh and Justice Mansoor Ahmed Mir that the petitioner had ulterior motives by raising an issue which the State legislature had put on hold for maintaining the integrity of J&K.
Noted lawyer Zafar Ahmed Shah, representing the Bar said that the petitioner Bhim Singh wanted to rake up a political issue through judiciary to accumulate power for Jammu region.
He said Article 253 of the Indian constitution says that application of laws of Government of India to J&K for changing the final disposition of the State could not be extended without the consent of the State government.
“The petitioner wants to accumulate power for Jammu region and effect total merger of the State with the Indian union under constitutionalism after having failed in the legislature.”
He said the 1954 order had come in the wake of the UN resolutions that were coming during the period calling for resolution of K dispute.
The order in other words recognizes the commitments made by the United Nations.
“J&K has the unique position of having its own constitution and legislature that differs with Indian states. The State legislature fixes or freezes the number of seats because of a peculiar situation of the State. The legislature also fixed the number of seats keeping in view the geography of the State.”
He said the State constitution was brought into fill a vacuum as New Delhi could not make laws for the State at that point of time. “It enacted Article 370 to act as abridge between the State and Union of India. The article can be done away with if the constituent assembly of the State recommends. The State constitution stresses political justice not political equality. Any application of laws of the Union of India to J&K has to be routed through Article 370,” he said.
The Chief Justice intervened and said: “To me Article 370 was to run the State until its own constitution came into being. It is a temporary provision and certain provisions were made applicable through it. Indian parliament has not been empowered to make laws for you.”
However Shah argued the entry 97 in the State constitution had made Union of India laws applicable to the State.
He said the State’s freedom to make its own laws for governance had been eroded largely and by raking up inter-regional problems, the petitioner wants total merger of the State with Indian Union under constitutionalism.
He said the Indian parliament had frozen the number of seats to six decades ago when the population of the State was estimated to be 63 lakh and the State government had followed suit.
“The court needs to keep the historical perspective of the current situation in mind. It is a conflict zone and we find attempt through the application to concentrate political power in a particular region.”
Accepting that the courts can not go in to the wisdom of the legislature in withholding delimitation commission up till 2026, the chief justice said: “We need to ascertain whether the basic purpose of the democracy is not infringed up on by the amendment.”  Earlier senior advocate Syed Tasaduq Hussain in a crisp argument citing various United States rulings said that the PIL was not maintainable as it had been filed by a political party and not an individual.
Citing a Supreme Court judgment of the current year he said right to vote was a statutory right, not fundamental or constitutional right.
“PIL comes under the statutory category and has no locus standi. Under the doctrine of separation of powers the state high court is a coordinate of state legislature and can not go against its own laws,” he said.
Earlier Advocate Altaf Ahmed Naikoo and G M Lone also argued the case.





Muslims have right to establish Shariah Courts: Govt. to Supreme Court

By Mohamed Iqbal Pallipurath

Muslims have right to establish Shariah Courts: Govt. to Supreme Court |

Muslims have right to establish Shariah Courts: Govt. to Supreme Court
Submitted by mumtaz on 11 May 2009 – 11:07pm.


New Delhi: Responding to public interest litigation (PIL), additional solicitor general Gopal Subramaniyam submitted before Supreme Court bench comprising Justice A. R. Laxamanan and Justice Altumash Kabir, “Muslims have the right to establish Shari’ah Panchayats under their personal law.” Next hearing has been postponed for 12 weeks.

Earlier, advocate Vishwa Lochan Madan had filed a PIL requesting the court to instruct people to refrain from establishing ‘parallel’ judicial system, namely Qazi system. Government attorney today rejected the plea and said, “Neither the Fatwas issued by Shari’ah courts clash with Indian judicial system nor these courts are deemed a parallel system of justice.”

In support of his PIL, advocate Madan had cited Imrana case in which her father-in-law had allegedly raped her but village Panchayat asked the lady to take him as her husband. Later, Darul Uloom Deoband ruled that presently she cannot live with her former husband and this was confirmed by All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

Advocate Madan requested the court to declare that Fatwas issued by various authorities cannot be put in practice and direct union and state governments to take immediate steps to dissolve all Darul Quzat (Sharia Court).

Referring to article 26 of Indian Constitution, the union government pleaded in it reply to the court that religious freedom has been guaranteed for all religions and all communities, under which they can establish and run their charitable institutions including Darul Quzat or Shariah system and manage their religious affairs on their own.

The union government submitted, ‘these institutions are not a parallel system. Moreover, Darul Quzat do not stop Muslims from going to civil courts. So, the people not satisfied with Darul Quzat verdict or do not want to solve their tangle through them are totally free to a court of law.’





Polo club controversy: Writ filed to stop AGM on May 14

13 May 2009, 0647 hrs IST, TNN

JAIPUR: The controversy going on in Rajasthan Polo Club (RPC) has landed in the district court and a club member, Pankaj Madhok, has filed a writ to stop the AGM convened by working

president and UDH secretary on May 14. The hearing of the matter will be held on Wednesday.

Madhok argued that the UDH secretary and the working president of the RPC had no constitutional right to convene the AGM. The president of the RPC, secretary, UDH secretary and working president, JDA commissioner and secretary of RPC polo ground have been made party by Madhok. He requested the court to stop the AGM that was slated for May 14 and also to ensure that the AGM convened by president Maharaja Bhawani Singh on May 13 is held without any interference.

Secretary of the RPC, Digvijay Singh said that it was a case filed by an individual member and the club has nothing to do with it. He said, “We are going ahead with our AGM slated for May 13 which was called by our president Bhawani Singh ji under section 19 (b) of our constitution.”

When asked whether the registrar of co-operative societies and other competent authorities have been informed to send observers, he replied that the club used to have elections on its own. “There has been no practice to have observers from registrar or some other sports body for club elections. I am not sure whether they have been informed,” he said.

On the other hand, the UDH secretary and working president of the club G S Sandhu has written to the club to abstain from making new members. Reportedly the club has made about 54 new members and their cheques amounting to Rs 28 lakh approximately have been tendered in the bank. The UDH secretary has also written to the bank to not to entertain these cheques and reportedly the accounts have been frozen.

But the secretary of the RPC has emphasized that the new members would be allowed to participate in the AGM on May 13. “We have deducted money from their accounts as membership fee, so they too are our members and would be allowed to participate in the AGM.” said Digvijay Singh.

The registrar of co-operative societies also had summoned the RPC authorities to check the records. The rival group alleged that the RPC, on one hand, says that the records were taken away by former secretary Vikram Rathore and on the other hand, comes out with only favourable documents.





Varun issue: U.P. moves Supreme Court

J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday challenged in the Supreme Court the recommendation of the State Advisory Board of the Allahabad High Court to revoke the slapping of the National Security Act on the BJP’s Pilibhit candidate, Varun Gandhi, for his alleged hate speeches.

Acting on Mr. Gandhi’s writ petition that challenged his preventive detention, the Supreme Court granted him parole till May 14, when the case comes up for further hearing. The State government has filed the present application in the same writ petition.

By its May 8 order, the Board held that it neither found plausible and convincing the grounds for invoking the NSA against Mr. Gandhi, nor was it satisfied with the explanation given by the District Magistrate (DM) for passing the detention order dated March 29.

It said: “The detention order stands vitiated by the failure to place the CD for consideration of the detaining authority and to furnish the same to the detenu for making an effective representation. The detention order stands vitiated by non-application of mind and breach of rules of natural justice and fair play.”

Assailing the order, the State said the Board’s recommendation was against the provisions of law. It said the finding that the DM had not recorded in his grounds for detention that the same kind of speech would continue to be made by the detenu was against the provisions of law and facts. The Board failed to appreciate the fact that the DM had not based his subjective satisfaction on a perusal of the CD and, therefore, non-supply of the CD would not affect the case in any way, the State said.

Also, the Board wrongly dealt with the merits of the criminal cases instituted against Mr. Gandhi. It was not competent to go through the merits of a criminal case on the basis of which the detention order was passed, the application said.

The Board’s finding that the DM failed to substantiate the charge that Mr. Gandhi had violated the ban order under Section 144 of the Cr.PC was perverse in law. The Board had not applied its mind to the documents and submissions of the DM justifying the detention order.






MF Global fraud: NRI trader gets 20 mn pounds compensation

11 May 2009, 2050 hrs IST, Sudeshna Sen, ET Bureau

Rajesh Gill, the NRI day trader who sued MF Global for fraud in a highly publicized case in London, has received an unprecedented GBP 19.7 million provisionally for damages, lost profits and interest. Mr Gill, who fought 7 years to bring his broker, Matthew Bomford, to book for lying to him about his account and wiping it out, has become a test case for financial fraud cases.

Speaking to ET, he said “I don’t want anyone else to go through what I did. I can only talk about my case, but I hope this sends a shockwave to the City and signals a change in culture. Man’s continued protection of a fraudster for over 7 years is indefensible, deplorable and deeply unethical.”

Mr Gill’s sensational battle with MF Global (earlier Man Financial), caught the attention of the UK media as details of sordid and sleazy dealings tumbling out in court exposed the dark underbelly of the slick world of high finance, at a time when public outrage against the bonus driven culture and high-handed ways of financial institutions is at a peak.

Mr Gill’s has become a landmark judgement for an individual taking on fraud at the biggies, and indicates UK courts are getting tough on financial fraudsters. An award for lost profits is highly unusual in the UK, and is expected to change the way other civil fraud cases are dealt with in the UK.

Justice Flaux has also considered referring Mr Bomford to the Public Prosecutor for consistently lying to the court, moving the case from the civil to the criminal arena, another highly unusual precedent. It has also highlighted the role of the FSA, which despite complaints in 2004, did not investigate the case.

MF Global (then Man Financial) received got GBP 2.5 million in commission from Mr Gill, and Mr Bomford received over 500,000 in personal bonuses, while lying to his client that he was making profits when he was actually making huge losses. Mr Bomford has since left the company.

MF Global denied any wrongdoing for years, but half way through the case it admitted vicarious liability to fraudulent activities, after what the judge described as a ‘disastrous’ cross examination of Mr Bomford. MF Global is a leading provider of exchange listed futures and options. It is present in India through a joint venture with Sify, MF Global Sify Securities Pvt Ltd, based in Mumbai, and employing about 400 people, according to its website. According to reports, MF Global is considering an appeal on the amount awarded before a final judgement.

In his judgement, Mr Justice Flaux ruled that Mr Gill’s losses in 2001-2002 were directly as a result of deception by his broker, Matthew Bomford. Mr Justice Flaux also said that Mr Bomford seemed to be a ‘stranger’ to the truth.

Mr Gill, who has been a prolific day trader for 11 years, was also able to prove that the only time he lost money was during his time with MF Global, and his trading record in complex derivatives is otherwise impeccable. Expert witnesses in court described him as the 7 to 7 man, who turned GBP 7000 to GBP 7 million in two years. Mr Gill now intends to start his own fund and continues to trade.







HC raps trial judge for ‘suspicion’ judgment


Krishnadas Rajagopal

Posted: May 12, 2009 at 0106 hrs IST

New Delhi Seven years after the death of a young woman, the Delhi High Court on Monday acquitted her husband and three of his family, who were earlier found guilty by a trial court.

A bench led by Justice Pradeep Nandrajog blamed the trial judge for an unreasonable guilty verdict — a decision based on “suspicions and not evidence” — in 2005 against the woman’s husband, Balbir Singh, his father, Randhir, and two others. All four were sentenced to life in prison.

The bench began its judgment with a preface on how “at a trial, when the heart and mind of a judge turns cold, the first casualty is Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution and the second casualty is the oath taken by the judge”.

“A reasoned decision is not one which spans pages and pages of paper. A judgment at the end of a criminal trial that ignores the evidence that has been brought on record, and without application of mind, is a serious violation of the rights of the accused,” the court noted about the findings of the trial judge . “It is settled law that howsoever strong a suspicion may be, it cannot take the place of proof.”

The HC ruling on an appeal filed by the four accused dismissed an eyewitness’ account as “concocted”. The eyewitness, victim Laxmi’s sister Rajo, was married into the same family when the incident took place.

During the trail, Rajo had testified that on July 20, 2002, she saw the accused administer a poisonous injection to Laxmi. They, she had said, then dragged her upstairs and strangled her.

The bench found her testimony “weak” on the ground that she did not tell a single woman in the neighbourhood that her sister was “murdered”. Their neighbours had visited their house when the news of Laxmi’s death spread.

“The conduct of Rajo in not telling a single (neighbourhood) lady that her sister has been murdered, is also indicative of the fact that with the passage of time, Rajo spun out a concocted version,” the bench remarked.

The court also saw the conduct of Laxmi’s in-laws in cremating her without informing the police as merely an “ill-advised” step.

The judges went on to reason that Balbir Singh and his family had “prima facie” opted to cremate the body without informing the police only due to their “fear” of the police and not because they were guilty of any crime.

Though the court noted that Laxmi’s father had indeed reported to the police about the accused abusing her, the bench dismissed his version on the ground that he did not promptly notify the police of what Rajo saw on the night of the alleged crime.

The bench also gave credence to the fact that the prosecution had failed to produce the syringe used to inject the poison or details of the purchase of the toxin, aluminium phosphide, allegedly used on the victim.





Custodial deaths: HC awards compensation

 GUWAHATI, May 11 – The Division Bench of the Gauhati High Court comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Hrishikesh Roy today by a judgment and order directed the Union of India to pay an amount of Rs 4 lakh each to the family members of late Pratul Daimary and his namesake Pratul Daimary of village Naoherua, Mazbat. Two writ petition were filed vide WP(C) No. 2154/04 and 2155/04 by the father and wife of late Pratul Daimary and Pratul Daimary claiming judicial enquiry into the death of both the Daimarys and demanded exemplary punishment to the guilty.

The allegation of the petitioners was that both the detainees were picked up by Army personnel on several occasions and finally both of them were killed on March 7, 2004.

The contention of the Army authorities was that both the detainees had link with the banned NDFB organisation and were killed in an encounter while Army personnel retaliated in self-defence.

The District and Sessions Judge, Darrang was earlier directed to make an enquiry into the aforementioned incident. The enquiry report was submitted by the District and Sessions Judge accepting the version of the Army authority.

The High Court after hearing both the writ petitions at length and also after going through the enquiry report, depositions of all witnesses came to a finding that both the detainees were killed while they were in the custody of Army and accordingly directed the Army to pay Rs 4 lakh each to family members of those killed.

The court further directed Union authorities to register a case under Section 302 IPC against the then lieutenant, Sartaj Mehta along with the provisions of Army Act.

The court directed payment of compensation amount within a period of eight weeks from the date of receipt of the judgment.

Bijan Mahajan, Arshad Choudhury, PK Das and NJ Das advocates appeared for the petitioners. R Bora, Central Government Counsel appeared for the Union of India.





Advocates up in arms against Allahabad HC order

12 May 2009, 0648 hrs IST, TNN

KANPUR: The advocates of Kanpur Nagar and Dehat courts have locked horns with the judiciary in the matter of condolence of an advocate and it appears that they are not willing to let the matters rest.

Just 11 days have passed to the month of May and the men-in-black have observed strike three times to condole the death of their colleague. The sufferer of their strike have been litigants who could not say anything to their counsel nor plead in their absence before the court.

On December 21, 2008, the Allahabad High Court issued a directive to all sub-ordinate district courts to stop the working of courts after 3.30 pm in case any advocate passed away. The advocates strongly opposed the order, saying closure of courts after 3.30 pm would not suit them as by that time the last ritual of their colleague would be over. They could easily attend the last rites and condole the death of an advocate if the courts were closed by 1.30 pm.

In a meeting with the Chief Justice of Allahabad HC in the month of February, a delegation of advocates not only presented him with their memorandum, but also informed him that they would abstain from judicial work for the whole day. Since then, they have been abstaining from judicial work since the morning.

Manharan Gopal Awasthi, former president of Kanpur Bar Association, reacting on the issue said closure of courts after pre-lunch hearing was customary and quite convenient. The new directives were against the wishes of the advocates, therefore they would not comply with it.

Meanwhile, district judge, Kanpur Nagar, Subhash Chandra said there was no custom to abstain from work for the whole day. Earlier, the advocates used to go to courts till 1.30 pm. A little adjustment would make things easier and for that the office-bearers of KBA had been invited for talks. He hoped that the issue would soon be resolved.





Trained guides’ shortage: HC rejects central govt’s stand

12 May 2009, 0248 hrs IST, Abhinav Garg, TNN

NEW DELHI: While the State government plans to train cab drivers to double up as guides to meet the high demand during the Commonwealth Games, the Central government has all these years refused to train and issue licenses to qualified guides who have cleared an entrance examination thereby contributing to this shortage.

This stand of the government that has led to lack of expert guides in the run up to the 2010 Games has now been rejected by Delhi High Court. Acting on a petition filed by such qualified guides who have not been granted licenses, justice Ravindra S Bhat recently cleared the decks for their training, asking the department of tourism to induct the selected candidates and impart training, followed by licenses.

HC disagreed with the government’s decision to abdicate its duty of selection and training of qualified guides. The central government had cited a Rajasthan HC ruling saying recruitment was job of the state government but justice Bhat differed, holding “government is bound to proceed and forward names of those candidates who qualified according to the criteria spelt out” under the examination scheme.

Challenging the government’s recruitment process for intake of guides, a tourist guides organization had, through its lawyer Anjana Gosain, moved HC against the tourism department and ASI, alleging gross mismanagement in the recruitment process.

Complaining that they were being denied licenses and barred from working at a time when there was a demand for guides, the petitioners said an examination process initiated in 2007 for guides has suddenly been scrapped even though it was set in motion under HC orders. Moreover, even those who were selected under the half-baked scheme have not begun getting training yet, leaving them in the lurch because they can’t work till they finish training under official auspices.

“More than 3000 applicants appeared for the examination and only 300 have been selected for training who have then been left in the lurch. There cannot be any limit on the number of guides as tourism has grown by leaps and bounds. The scheme is not for recruitment but for self employment hence restriction on number ought to be lifted especially because government doesn’t have to spend any money on these candidates who have to generate work after clearing the examination,” Gosain had earlier argued before HC.






SC stays HC’s suspension of relief for Narmada oustees

Rakesh Bhatnagar

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 1:27 IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday stayed a Madhya Pradesh high court (HC) order suspending disbursal of compensation to those affected by the Sardar Sarovar project, after Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar levelled serious charges of corruption against the relief managers.

“Why should the HC stop disbursement of compensation?” wondered a Bench headed by chief justice KG Balakrishnan.

The SC allowed the Madhya Pradesh government to proceed with disbursement of compensation through cheques, subject to scrutiny by the commission headed by Justice SS Jha.

The HC had set up the commission last year to inquire into allegations of forged registration of land and corruption in relief and rehabilitation for the people displaced from their land and hearth for the sake of the dam.

MP government lawyer Harish Salve said the high court order was coming in the way of the relief and rehabilitation process initiated after the apex court’s direction.

The high court had on April 24 stayed disbursement of money for oustees after NBA alleged siphoning of money meant for their relief and rehabilitation.

Salve also said the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) was trying to discredit the relief and rehabilitation package offered by the state government and its sole intention was to stop, anyhow, raising of the dam’s level.

NBA’s counsel Sanjay Parikh objected to Salve’s contentions. Judges asked Parikh about his objection to vacating the HC’s order. Parikh reiterated the charge that there was rampant corruption in the disbursement of money and the Jha Commission was set up to look into this aspect too.

“We are asking you a specific question: do you have any objection that we are staying the HC order?” judges asked the NBA counsel.




HC moved against CPI North Chennai candidate

Published: May 12,2009


Chennai , May 11 DMK today filed a petition in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to EC to remove CPI&aposs candidate D Pandian from the list of contestants for the North Chennai Lok Sabha seat alleging that he had not furnished full details of his assets and those of his spouse.

The North Chennai constituency is going to poll on May 13.

DMK&aposs candidate for North Chennai T K S Elangovan claimed that the nomination papers of Pandian were liable to be rejected as he had submitted”an inchoate and invalid nomination paper with no proper particulars”.

The petitioner alleged that Pandian had not furnished any detail of the assets owned by his wife, a retired teacher, while filing his nomination papers.

Even as for as Pandian&aposs assets were concerned no declaration had been made about the survey number and extent of property owned by him, the petition said.

Stating that he had sent a representation to the EC but no action had been taken so far and hence he was moving the high Court, Elangovan claimed that the EC by treating Pandian as a candidate despite his failure to declare all details about his assets and those of his wife had”abdicated”its responsibility and orders of the Supreme Court.

Source: PTI






Petrol from polythene: Court rules on fraud but not on claim

May 10th, 2009 – 11:05 pm EST By Sindh Today

New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) Have two Indians actually discovered a way to make petrol out of polythene waste? In an unusual ruling, the Supreme Court, while ordering trial of two Madhya Pradesh men for allegedly defrauding two Dalits of their “invention” to make petrol from polythene bags, has kept quiet on the authenticity of their claim.

A bench of Justice Tarun Chatterjee and Justice H.L. Dattu restored the prosecution of the two men – Sanjay Singh and Jayendra Singh – on grounds of having hurled casteist insults on the two Dalits after cheating them of their “discovery”.

The prosecution of the two Singhs, begun at a magisterial court in Gohad, had been stalled by the Gwalior bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

The apex court ruling – delivered Friday – while ordering restoration of trial of the two on charges of defrauding the Dalits of their discovery, strangely kept mum on its authenticity.

The Gohad magisterial court began the prosecution on a private complaint of Ram Babu, who alleged that the two Singhs had defrauded his sons Devendra Pratap and Munendra Pratap of a scientific process invented by them to make petrol out of polythene bags.

Reproducing Ram Babu’s allegation at the magisterial court, made on April 25, 2006, the apex court said in its ruling: “His (Ram Babu’s) sons produced petroleum products from polythene and they demonstrated their invention at different levels by participating in various science competitions and also received recognition and reward from various organisations.”

The apex court further quoted Ram Babu as saying in his allegation that “On Dec 5, 2005, Sanjay and Jayendra requested his sons to hand over the photos of the model for production of petrol from polythene to them so that they can get it published in newspapers.

“Ram Babu’s sons conceded to the request but, to their surprise, accused Sanjay and Jayendra got the invention published in their own name and affixed their own photographs, for taking direct or indirect benefits, by committing forgery,” said the apex court. In his complaint, Ram Babu named two local newspaper reporters as plotting with the Singhs and getting the news of the discovery published.

As per Ram Babu’s complaint, noted the apex court, the two Singhs also won a reward of Rs.10,000 from the state government, but when his sons demanded their model be returned, the Singhs made casteist remarks like ‘chamar’ etc to them and threatened to kill them.

After producing Ram Babu’s complaint in detail, the apex court ruling proceeds to examine the legality of the high court order that stopped the magisterial court from prosecuting the Singhs and the journalists. But in the process, the court forgot all about the “invention”.

The Gwalior bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court had stopped the Singhs’ prosecution saying, in a brief order, that it amounted to “the abuse of the process of law”. But the apex court set aside the high court order saying that the reason given by it for stopping the trial was too cryptic.

The apex court eventually ordered resumption of trial at the magisterial court and sought its completion within nine months. But not a word was uttered about the “invention”.

Engrossed in the legality of the case, the apex court even said, “The question at this stage is not whether there was any truth in the allegations (made by Ram Babu), but the question is whether on the basis of the allegations, a cognizable offence or offences had been alleged to have been committed by the accused persons.”

So, was the invention real? One will have to wait till the lower court decides.

(Rana Ajit can be contacted at





SNC prosecution: SC rejects plea

New Delhi, Monday 11 May 2009: The Apex Court today rejected the plea moved by Crime magazine editor Nandakumar citing that prior sanction is not needed for prosecuting CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan. Court said that the PIL could not considered by SC because the case was considered by High Court.

SC bench presided by Justice KG Balakrishnan said, “Petitioner can approach High Court to consider the PIL.”

In the PIL, it was urged that sanction was not required to prosecute Pinarayi, who had been power minister of Kerala when the Lavalin deal was inked, and the Chief Secretary’s nod for prosecuting two other retired bureaucrats.

The petitioner argued that the Supreme Court had made clear in several verdicts that Government sanction wasn’t necessary for prosecuting a person for the charges referring to acts during his stint as a public servant. The Division Bench headed by justice KG Balakrishnan will hear the plea, which was earlier given three months time by state government.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had earlier sought permission from the Governor for the prosecution of Mr. Vijayan. After vetting the request and accompanying evidence, the Governor wrote to the Chief Minister for advice. The CBI had also written to the government seeking permission to prosecute two officials — the former Principal Secretary (Power) and chairman of the State Electricity Board, K. Mohanachandran, and the former Joint Secretary (Power), A. Francis, in the case. The Cabinet referred the request to the Law Department for its opinion at its last meeting. Pinarayi Vijayan has been accused of wrongly awarding contracts to Canadian company SNC Lavalin for renovating two hydro-power projects when he was power minister of the state 12 years ago.





Human Rights activist lawyer Girish Patel felicitated


2009-05-11 09:26:16

Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad

Noted Human Rights activist advocate Girish Patel was felicitated for his contribution towards the movement of human rights and civil liberty in Gujarat. A number of public figures like Raman Magsaysay Award winner Aruna Roy and retired high court justices A P Ravani and R A Mehta were present at the function, which was organised under the banner of Girishbhai Patel Sanman Samiti (GPSS).

“Successful people know when to withdraw and this award may mean that I should take the cue. But I promise you that I will fight till the end. I had a dream to see my state and country move into the 21st century with greater voice for the meek, the marginalised and the oppressed, in governance. But I sadly admit that everybody except the marginalised are enjoying the fruits of the 21st century,” said Patel.

“I have been part of many movements small and big. Though these movements manage to amend existing laws, not many who participate in them are able to enjoy their fruits. The reason is that the movement fizzles out in the end and the new law is lost in government files. Movements need to be sustained till the end,” added Patel.

Felicitating Patel with a memento and a cheque of Rs 3 lakh, the GPSS also released three books on him. First book contains Patel’s letters to the editors written to various newspapers, the second contains his experiences related to the PILs filed in the Gujarat High Court, and the third contains articles written by various people on him.

Patel is known for his efforts to safeguard the human rights of the marginalised by utilising the tool of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) ever since it came into practice. Patel has filed more than 200 PILs in the Gujarat High Court touching varied subjects like education, shelter, water, livelihood, health, atrocities against Dalits, tribals and women, and civil and political rights. Most of these PILs were filed in the 1980s.






Environmentalists to file PIL against ropeway project at Girnar

Express News Service

Posted: May 11, 2009 at 0015 hrs IST

Rajkot Environmentalists fear that the proposed aerial ropeway project at Mount Girnar can pose a big threat to ecology in the area.

Girnar is home to nearly 10 Asiatic lions and is also an important roosting and nesting site for vultures.

While public hearing for clearance of the project is scheduled on June 6, Gujarat Nature Club (GNC), an environmental NGO is set to protest against the project. GNC has also planned to file a public interest litigation in the High court.

The fact that over 7 hectares of forest area costing around

Rs 89.31 crore has been diverted for the project has raised many eyebrows. Ropeway service cabins, each having a capacity to accommodate 8 passengers, will pass through over 1,700 meters of forest area.

According to project details, 1,000 passengers will be carried in ropeway cabins in an hour. The service will start from Girnar foothills and end near Ambaji Temple at the top of the mountain.

While the service providing company along with the forest department has agreed for compensatory afforestation in over 7 hectares of land in Toraniya plot, the damage to the ecology in the area cannot be ruled out, said environmentalists.

“The area surrounding the project site is home to at least 10 Asiatic lions. The project will disturb their normal life,” said Amit Jethva, the president of GNC.

He said, “Girnar is also an important rooting and nesting site for Schedule-I vultures. The project can pose a big threat to the site.” He said that as per the last census, there were 79 vultures at Girnar.

The GNC said that besides opposing the project during the public hearing, they will also take legal routes.





DDA fails, HC gives private body a chance

Geeta Gupta

Posted: May 11, 2009 at 0218 hrs IST

New Delhi Garbage strewn all over, sewage water flowing around, mosquitoes and a stomach churning stench of dead fish — the state of affairs at a historical pond in Mehrauli has made the Delhi High Court sit up and take notice.

Covered with dense trees on all sides, the water body (johar) is adjacent to the famous Yog Maya temple, an integral part of the annual flower festival, Phool Waalon Ki Sair. Slamming the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for its failure in maintaining the water body, the HC has ordered a private party — the Yog Maya Mandir Welfare and Management Society — to maintain the johar.

After acquiring the ‘land’ in 1971, the government had put up fences to deny access to devotees, who earlier bathed in the water and lit lamps there. With no government department showing any concern, the johar soon became a pool of dirty water and some people started illegal pig farming in the area.

“We are very happy with the court’s order. When we filed a PIL in 2007, we had thought the DDA would do the initial cleaning of the johar and we would then take over its maintenance. Since the DDA has been falsely submitting that the water body was being maintained, we decided to take over the matter through the management of this temple,” said petitioner Rajesh Sharma, who is the general secretary of the temple society. In a recent order, Justice Sanjiv Khanna accepted the petition that said the pond was part of the age-old temple premises but was acquired by the DDA for its preservation.

The court rejected the DDA’s argument that the water body falls in the ridge area and cannot be given to a private party. It said: “There should not be any objection if the petitioner helps the DDA in maintaining the johar… some private parties have connected sewer lines to the water body. DDA is directed to take necessary action and remedial steps…”

The devotees and the society now want the DDA to first demarcate the johar area as per the revenue records and revive the water body. They also wish to develop the surroundings as a bio-diversity park. “The temple management will pool resources, but the maintenance may run into crores. We plan to approach the local politicians for funds,” said Sharma.

With the DDA and the MCD passing the buck on each other with regard to the maintenance of the water body, the court sought a status report from the DDA and fixed August 11 as the next date of hearing.





Appointment of Judges of the Supreme Court of India

By : jyoti on 10 May 2009


Press Communique Appoint Judges of the Supreme Court of India

In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of article 124 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint (i) Shri Justice Deepak Verma, Chief Justice, Rajasthan High Court and (ii) Dr. Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan, Chief Justice, Orissa, High Court to be Judges of the Supreme Court of India, in that order of seniority with effect from the dates they assume charge of their respective offices.





Press Communique Appoint Judges of the Delhi High Court

By : jyoti on 10 May 2009 Email this | Print this

Press Communique Appoint Judges of the Delhi High Court

In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of article 224 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint (i) Shri Ajit Bharihoke (ii) Shri Vinay Kumar Jain (iii) Smt. Indermeet Kaur Kochhar and (iv) Shri Anil Kumar Pathak, Judicial Officers of the Delhi High Court, as Additional Judges of the Delhi High Court, in that order of seniority, for a period of two years with effect from the dates they assume charge of their respective offices.

Source : , 






By : PIRAVI PERUMAL. M on 10 May 2009

THE Supreme Court has ruled that the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has no discretionary power to interfere with orders passed by capital market regulator Securities & Exchange Board of India (Sebi). Allowing Sebis plea, the court said the tribunal has to do what is prescribed under the statute.


“When something is to be done statutorily in a particular way, it can only be done that way. There is no scope for taking shelter under a discretionary power,” said a bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice LS Panta. The court also turned down the plea that the tribunal is empowered to pass orders on an appeal as it thinks fit, confirming, modifying or setting aside the order of Sebi. Sebi had filed two appeals against the order passed by the tribunal. In one case, Saikala Associates acted as a sub-broker at the National Stock Exchange with 2 NSE Members  PCS Securities and Zen Securities  without being registered as a sub-broker with Sebi between 2000 and May 2002. It had created a value of Rs 403.29 crore in breach of section 12(1) of the Sebi Act, 1992. In the second case, Shilpa Stock, registered as a Sebi broker while executing trades on behalf of its client Kamlesh Shroff, had dealt with Jairam Enterprises, an unregistered sub-broker. Again, it was in violation of Sebi rule. The tribunal had said the proved charges were not serious enough to warrant suspension of certificate of registration and had set aside the Sebi order. Sebi challenged this in the apex court. Indeed, this is not the first time that Sebi and SAT have been at loggerheads. Only last year, Sebi filed 250 appeals with the tribunal, of which, 73 were dismissed. Sebi’s directives on Sasken Communication Technologies public notice for buyback of shares and Heidelberg Cement AG’s payment of non-compete fees to the minority shareholders of Mysore Cements were overruled by the tribunal. And thats not all. The regulator has also been hauled up by SAT for legal lapses. There have been many instances where SAT pulled up Sebi on the ground that it did not hear the involved entities in a dispute. The provisions of section 12(3) of the 1992 Act confer power on Sebi to suspend or cancel a certificate of registration in such manner as may be determined by regulations, provided that no order under the said section will be made unless the person concerned has been given a reasonable opportunity of being heard, the appellant had said. It had further said as per Rule 3 of the Sebi (stock brokers & sub-brokers) Rules, 1992, existing brokers & sub-brokers were allowed to continue business pending registration but no new person commencing the business of the broker or sub-broker after August 20, 1992 could do the business pending registration and could commence only after being registered. Allowing the plea, the apex court said, In the instant case, the position of broker/sub-broker in case of violation is statutorily provided under Section 12 of the Act, which has to be read along with Rule 3 of the Rules. No power is conferred on the tribunal to travel beyond the areas covered by section 12 and Rule 3.”





Service tax is not a value-added tax


Sukumar Mukhopadhyay / New Delhi May 11, 2009, 0:26 IST

Service tax is not a value added tax. It is just a tax on the act of providing service. VAT is just a mechanism or design for imposing an indirect tax in a particular manner. Service tax can be a value-added tax and it can as well be a turnover tax. Similarly, excise is also not a value added tax by itself. It can be designed as a value-added tax or as a turnover tax. It depends on whether the credit for the input duty is allowed or not.

The issue has now come to the fore because of the latest landmark judgement by the Delhi High Court in the case of Home Solution Retail India Ltd vs UOI. This has held that the service of renting of immovable property for commercial use is not service under Section 65(105)(zzzz) of the Finance Act 2007 though any service connected with such immovable property is service.

This judgement has heavily depended on the proposition that service tax is a value added tax and if there is no value addition, then there is no service. The High Court has relied upon the judgement of the Supreme Court in the case of the All India Federation of Tax Practitioners vs UOI, which held that “………………. service tax is VAT. Just as excise duty is a tax on value addition on goods, service tax is on value addition by rendition of service.” Really this portion is not a part of the Supreme Court judgement but only a statement of economic background of indirect taxes. Judgement is only that profession tax is not service tax and it is not ased on service tax is VAT or not. So we cannot say that the Supreme Court has held that service tax is a VAT.

Legally, it all depends on what is written in the Constitution. The Constitution in the List 1— Union List Entry 84 is “duty of excise on goods manufactured or produced”. Similarly at Entry 92C is “taxes on services”. In the List II — state list entry 54 is “taxes on the sale or purchase of goods”. So they are not duties on the value addition but on manufacture, service, sale, etc., They become value added tax only when by a design (which is a matter of policy), the mechanism of VAT is introduced by allowing the credit of the duty paid on the inputs in respect of manufacture, providing service, or sale, etc., This was precisely what was held by a full bench of the Supreme Court on a reference made by the President of India to the Supreme Court (Special Reference No.1 of 1962) in Re: Sea Customs Act, 1878 reported in 1964(3) SCR 787. The judgement held that “……… taxable event in the case of duties of excise is the manufacture of goods and the duty is not directly on the goods but on the manufacture thereof. Wemay in this connection contrast sales tax which is also imposed with reference to goods sold where the taxable event is the act of sale.”

The principle enunciated by the Full Bench of the Supreme Court is binding even now. I may also point out that before 1986 there was excise duty which was not VAT. Even now all items which pay excise don’t follow the VAT design. And State Excise is not VAT at all.

The conclusion is that only when input duty credit is allowed that Service Tax or

Excise or Sales Tax becomes a value added tax. If it is not allowed, it is a turnover tax.

By themselves, they are just tax on the act of manufacture, act of providing service or the act of sale.






Fastest murder judgement: All over in 10 days

10 May 2009, 0049 hrs IST, Ajay Sura, TNN

CHANDIGARH: There’s after all some glimmer of hope for India’s judicial system, pilloried for endless delays and sluggish hearings. A district court made legal history on Saturday by convicting a man with murdering his wife within 10 days of framing charges, and in just three hearings.

On Saturday, Chandigarh additional district and sessions judge Raj Rahul Garg found Sunil Kumar guilty of brutally killing his wife, Kiran, on February 17, 2009. The accused was convicted solely on the basis of his eight-year-old son’s statement. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on Monday.

Charges were framed within 70 days of the crime and the verdict came 10 days after the chargesheet was filed.
“It is a ray of hope for thousands of victims and a warning for those who exploit the loopholes in criminal justice system,” said criminal lawyer N K Nanda.

Sunil killed Kiran during the intervening night of February 17-18 by hitting her with a rod after she refused to give him money for liquor. Their son witnessed the murder, as did Sunil’s sister-in-law. In his deposition, the child said that he saw his father hit Kiran on the head with a log. Their neighbour, Kanta, had testified that the boy had run up to her immediately after that and that she had seen Sunil leave the house in a huff.

Though the defence counsel argued that the boy had been tutored by Kiran’s parents as he was in their custody, the prosecution argued that he had recorded the same statement with the cops after the crime.

A matter of days

Feb 17, 2009: Accused murders wife

April 29: Charges framed

May 7: Evidence recorded

May 8: Arguments completed

May 9: Accused held guilty





CJI releases book of Kalam’s former secretary

New Delhi (PTI) Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on Saturday released a book ‘Memory Bytes A Bureaucrat Remembers’ written by P M Nair, a former IAS officer who had worked as secretary to former President A P J Abdul Kalam for five years.

Justice Balakrishnan said the book containing interesting anecdotes relating to the experiences of Nair as civil servant for 40 years gave an insight to the life of the bureaucracy.

Comptroller and Auditor General of Indian Vinod Rai, who was Guest of Honour on the occasion, said the book explained the personal experiences of an officer as he goes through the rigours of the job.

He appreciated Mr. Nair as a writer for his “racy” style of writings and narrated some parts of the book, which detailed the author’s experiences of working in different capacity as Chief Secretary to Pondicherry, Arunachal Pradesh governments and also as Secretary to the government of India in the department of defence production.

The function was attended by large number of former civil servants including the former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy.

The forward of the book has been written by Mr. Kalam.




British Hindu vows fight for open-air cremation

10 May 2009, 0412 hrs IST, IANS

NEW DELHI: Davinder Kumar Ghai, a devout British Hindu whose plea to be cremated in the open was turned down by Britain’s high court, has vowed to continue his fight, saying the final rites of Hindus “must be done with dignity”.

The high court on Friday ruled that open-air funeral pyres are illegal in Britain.

“It looks like a conspiracy that the judgement is given when I am in India for medical treatment. But I will not give up. I will ensure that Hindus are given a good death that is fundamental to their beliefs,” Ghai, 70, said.

“I don’t want Hindus to be burnt in a crematorium at the Thames or at a football field. The final rites of Hindus must be done with dignity. They cannot be bundled in a box,” said Ghai, who is also the founder of the Anglo-Asian Friendship Society (AAFS).

In his ruling, Justice Ross Cranston said The Cremation Act 1902 and its attendant regulations were clear in their effect: the burning of human remains, other than in a crematorium, is a criminal offence.

However, Justice Cranston gave Ghai permission to appeal against the ruling.

“I will take the case to the Court of Appeal and also to the European Court of Human Rights. This is a fight to the end,” said Ghai, who heads back to Newcastle late Saturday after a month-long stay in India.

“I want my son to light my pyre in open air – my 16 samskaras (sacraments) to be fulfilled – this is my religious right,” Ghai said.

According to Ghai, Britain’s Hindu national umbrella organisations, collectively representing over 560,000 Hindus, were supporting his review.

Ghai, who is the father of three children, had moved the high court to challenge a decision by Newcastle City Council in 2006 which said the traditional religious practice was impractical.

“Natural cremations will save grieving families from the spiralling expense of gas cremations as funeral directors are pledging to provide natural cremation services for a maximum of 500 pounds,” he said.

“What happened when 200,000 cattle were burnt some years back because of the foot and mouth disease? Did that not cause pollution?” he asked.

Ghai said that at least 200 green woodland burial sites now operate in Britain and approved natural cremation sites in rural pastures would offer privacy to mourning families.

Ghai, who is also known as Babaji among his followers, said his body is weakened due to health problems like high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes, but his resolve is strong.

“These are pertinent issues. For instance, on the weekend Hindus cannot cremate a dead body because Jews and Muslims are given those days for burial. They question why we didn’t raise this when the regulations were imposed – the fact is we are peace-loving people, but our religious sentiments matter,” he said.







HC helps civil services aspirant to take exam on May 17


 Publication Date  10/5/2009 10:25:51 AM(IST) 

Chennai: The Madras High Court has come to the rescue of a 32-year-old man of Villupuram District who said that his application for the civil service examination was received late by the UPSC due to postal delay. In his order, Justice V.Ramasubramanian, has directed the UPSC to issue hall ticket to the candidate and permit him to write the preliminary examination scheduled to commence on May 17.

For N Kolanchi (32) of Kallkurichi this was his last attempt. This was the seventh time he had applied for the examination. He submitted that the last date for receipt of application was January five this year and the examination is scheduled for May 17.

He sent his application to the UPSC by “Speed Post” through the post office at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel National Police Academy, since he was there at that time, on January three at 1100 hrs.

He said that his application had been received only on January six due to postal delay. His application was rejected for the reason “application received late” and the same was intimated to him. He sent a letter on April 21 to the UPSC appealing against the rejection, but so far he had not received any response.

Mr Kolanchi said he had prepared well and was confident of succeeding in the examination. He prayed the court for a direction to the service commission to issue the hall ticket and permit him to attend the examination. In his order, Mr Justice Ramasubramanian ordered notice of motion returnable by June 10.

The petitioner should take private notice to the respondents — UPSC and the Chief Postmaster. In the meantime, he directed the service commission to issue the hall ticket to the petitioner and permit him to write the examination without prejudice to the merits and demerits of the claim in the writ petition.





HC directs Tata Steel to deposit Rs 50k in PM Relief Fund

10 May 2009, 1335 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has asked Tata Steel to deposit Rs 50,000 in the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for delay in challenging a decision of the Chhattisgarh government, which rejected its claim (Tatas) on iron ore mines in Rawghat.

The court’s direction came on a petition filed by the steel giant challenging the order of the Mines tribunal, which had rejected the company’s appeal on the grounds that the Tatas had delayed in approaching the tribunal.

Justice S Ravindra Bhat, after hearing all the parties, including the Centre, said that the appeal deserved to be heard on merit and asked the company to deposit Rs 50,000 for the delay in approaching the tribunal.

“Since the petitioner (Tata Steel) did file a belated appeal, this court is of (the) opinion that it would be appropriate that it is put to terms accordingly, it shall deposit Rs 50,000 with the PM’s Relief Fund within four weeks,” the court said, adding that “its appeal shall be heard and (disposed of) on its merits”.

The Tatas are building a steel plant in Rawghat. The court also directed the tribunal to hear the contention of Jayaswal Neco Industries Ltd (JNIL), which has a dispute with the state government regarding the mines in Rawghat and Bailedila. JNIL is also setting up a steel plant in the area and was promised around 1,600 hectares by the state government.





Promotion of STF men was one stage: HC–one-stage-HC/articleshow/4504052.cms

10 May 2009, 0052 hrs IST, TNN

CHENNAI: The accelerated promotion given to 748 Special Task Force (STF) personnel for their successful operation against forest brigand Veerappan in 2004, is only one-stage promotion’ and the beneficiaries cannot claim consequential seniority for further promotions, the Madras high court has said.

Justice K Venkataraman, declining to stay a government order issued in 2007, said, “it is perfectly valid and within the purview of the decision of the government.” Though he declined to stay the clarification, the judge said the earlier stay orders on the reversion of some of the beneficiaries to lesser ranks would continue to be valid.

The erstwhile AIADMK government awarded accelerated promotion to 748 personnel to various ranks by an order dated October 29, 2004. The order stated that the names of the beneficiaries would be placed at the bottom of the seniority list of the respective rank.

Following representations from other police personnel, who apprehended loss of seniority and promotions, the DMK government issued an order on October 3, 2007 amending the earlier order. As per the modified order, the accelerated promotion was one-stage’ in nature and that the beneficiaries would not get consequential seniority. That is, the seniority between the accelerated promotees and the general promotees in the promoted category would continue to be governed by their panel position.

While several writ petitions challenged the 2007 GO, many other officials who were reverted to lesser ranks too filed separate writ petitions.

Justice Venkataraman, pointing out that the government had created 748 supernumerary posts to accommodate the beneficiaries without affecting their seniors, said these sanctioned posts were person-oriented and would lapse whenever the incumbents vacate the posts. This would show that the promotions were outside the rules.

Making it clear that the validity of the orders would be decided only at the time of final orders, Justice Venkataraman said: “I am of the considered view that the GO is valid.” He also added that if the order is given effect to, then again, the consequences would be subject to the result of the petitions.





HC directs DTC to promote staffers

10 May 2009, 0433 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: A decade after two Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) staffers saved more than 50 people from armed robbers, the Delhi High Court has directed the corporation to give them out-of-turn promotion within three months.

HC has expressed displeasure over the way their meritorious service was ignored by DTC and ordered the conductor and driver, be promoted to the ranks they are suitable for.

Budh Prakash, the conductor, had moved HC and pointed out how he and Mahipal, the driver, have been denied promotions. “We are shocked to know that the manner in which the corporation has handled their cases and deprived them from the promotions,” HC said while citing a previous case in which a driver was given out-of-turn promotion for a similar feat in 1988.

Filing a petition, conductor Budh Prakash said that additional superintendent of police Saharanpur, UP, where the incident happened, had recommended on November 5, 1998 that they should be suitably rewarded for the bravery shown. Acting on it, DTC had hiked their salary from Rs 4,800 to Rs 5,000 per month, saying this was “advance increment” but after that no promotion has come for them so far.

Budh Prakash said they were entitled to the hike two years after as the same was due for them. According to him, on September 8, 1998 the DTC bus was going to Saharanpur and on the way he, along with the driver, resisted four armed robbers who accosted them. Despite being injured by bullets fired by the robbers, he and the driver had snatched pistols from them and forced them to flee.





Delhi HC comes down heavily on police for lodging false case

The Delhi High Court came down heavily on three police officials for conniving with the prosecutrix and lodging a false case of gang rape against four people, who went through the legal battle for 12 long years.

Justice S Murlidhar expressed his shock at the manner police conducted the cases and mislead the court and directed the DCP to not only take departmental action against the three officials, but also initiate a case for perjury, which draws a minimum sentence of seven years imprisonment.

The Court directed the registrar of the Delhi High Court to direct the concerned court to initiate action against the officials as well as the Prosecutrix, on whose behest the police lodged a false case.

A false criminal case was instituted in connivance with police officials that virtually ruined the lives of four innocent people, the Court said.

Acquitting the four accused, the Court directed the state to pay Rs 25,000 to each of them as cost of litigation and adequate monetary as well as other compensation to them.

The Court remarked there is a need to remind ourself that there has to be accountability for the abuse of statutory powers, particularly where it pertains to the life and liberty of a person.

On July 28, 1997, an FIR was lodged in the police control room (PCR) about a quarrel at the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Jhuggi, following which four people were arrested for gang rape of one Munni Bai(name changed).

Mr Dharmendra Arya, Mr Sunil Bainsala and Mr Sunil Kumar, appearing for the four accused, stated that they have been falsely implicated as they were picked up by police for having a fight with the sex workers and were in police custody when the prosecutrix claimed that rape was committed on her.

The Court observed that the boys were falsely implicated and directed the DCP to ensure transparent and fair trial.






HC orders BSE to compensate students

9 May 2009, 2304 hrs IST, Binita Jaiswal, TNN

CUTTACK: Orissa High Court has directed the Board of Secondary Education to pay a compensation of Rs 10,000 each to two students for the mental agony caused by faulty evaluation of marksheets.

The order came following petitions by two students who appeared for their matriculation examinations in 2008. One of them, Nibedita Mandal of Mayurbhanj district passed the examination in first division. While she scored over 90 per cent in all subjects, she surprisingly secured only 30 in Mathematics. She then applied for revaluation. But as the board does not have the provision for re-evaluation, her marks were only added again and Nibedita was informed that there was no improvement. Then she sought photostat copies of her Mathematics and another paper under RTI Act but the board did not respond. Finding no other alternative, Nibedita moved the HC praying that her Mathematics paper be evaluated again by a set of experts. Then it was found that she has secured 96 in mathematics instead of 30. Similar was the case of Pabitra Routray of Jajpur district. He secured 35 marks in Hindi but after the court’s interference the mark was corrected to 85.

Faulty evaluation is not the plight of only these two students, thousands of others face the same trauma. “The careers of students is at stake due to the faulty evaluation process. Many students fail to get admission in good college and suffer throughout life. Even all cannot afford to move court for faulty marksheets. So steps should be taken to check such practices,” a guardian Debi Prasad Satapathy said.

The BSE has taken adequate steps to stop repeat of these mistakes. “The board is earning a bad name due to the faults of examiners and scrutinizers. We have issued strict instructions that examiners will be punished under Orissa Conduct of Examination Act 1988 if they are found neglecting their duties or not doing it properly,” BSE secretary Nihar Mohapatra said.

Under this act, an erring examiner might face at least three months of imprisonment and fined around Rs 3,000 if any fault is detected in the answer sheet evaluated by him, Mohapatra said, adding that the board has engaged senior teachers to correct the answersheets this time.

“Less experienced teachers make lot of mistakes. So we have roped in senior teachers for flawless evaluation of answersheets,” Mohapatra said.

According to board officials, lack of proper infrastructure is hampering the process of re-evaluation. “We do not have rooms to store the answersheets. After receiving applications, maximum of the time is consumed in searching for these answersheets. We have requested the state government Rs 17 crore to develop the infrastructure of the board,’ Mohapatra said.

In 2008, the board received over 13,000 applications for re-checking and re-addition of answer sheets but even after an year 6,400 applications are yet to be disbursed.





HC seeks lawyer’s help to get verses translated

The aayats (verses) from Quran, to be explained in English now, were referred to in a book on Islam whose author has challenged a government resolution to ban it


By Hetal Vyas

Posted On Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 03:38:42 AM


To take an informed decision on the legality of a Maharashtra government ban on advocate RV Bhasin’s book Islam – A Concept of Political World Invasion by Muslims, Bombay High Court judges have called for an English translation of certain aayats (verses) from the Quran referred to in the book.

For this, the three-judge bench of Justice Ranjana Desai, Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice R S Mohite have sought the help of senior counsel Yusuf Muchchala. They have directed him to simplify and explain in English what the particular verses mean, and submit the translation in court by June 19.

“Please explain just what they (aayats) mean. We do not want you to go into the background of the aayats or their merits,” remarked Justice Desai.

The issue reached the High Court after Bhasin challenged a government resolution (GR) issued on March 9, 2007, banning his book and its Hindi translation by Dr Anil Misr, a Sanskrit scholar from Allahabad. The GR says the book has several derogatory remarks about jihad, the Quran, Prophet Mohammed, Indian Muslims and conversion, which “pose a danger to social harmony”.

“The book outrages the feelings of Muslim section of society, maliciously insulting the religion and religious beliefs of Muslims and is likely to lead to acts of violence and disharmony,” the GR adds.

However, Bhasin in his petition claims that more than 10,000 copies of the book have been sold worldwide since its publication in 2003, and it is not likely to cause any trouble. He also says that on April 5, 2007, the police raided his Nariman Point office and seized 982 copies of his book and terms this a violation of his right to speech and liberty. Bhasin has also alleged that the government banned the book for political reasons to win Muslim votes.

Bouquets and brickbats

Lashkar-e-Hind, a Hindu organisation, has filed an intervening application through its president I G Khandelwal supporting Bhasin’s book.

“The contentions of the book are on the basis of truth and world history, nothing is false, baseless and self-motivated. The book describes the misinterpretation to the Muslim community by their spiritual leaders,” says the application.

Four Muslim organisations – the Bombay Aman Committee, Islamic Research Foundation, Maharashtra Muslim Lawyers’ Forum and Jamat-e-Islami-e-Hind, Maharashtra – have also approached the HC against
the book.

“This book contains several insulting remarks about the religious belief of the Muslim community and it contains discouraging passages about Islam and remarks vilifying the holy character of Prophet Mohammad.

It could provoke unnecessary communal disharmony. Therefore, we should be heard before the matter is decided,” said advocate Mubin Solkar, who is representing Bombay Aman Committee and the IRS.





Assets notice to ex-ministers


Ranchi, May 12: Jharkhand High Court today slapped showcause notices on five former ministers in the disproportionate assets case registered against them.

A division bench of Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice D.K. Sinha directed former ministers Dulal Bhuiyan, Bhanu Pratap Sahi, Kamlesh Singh, Bandhu Tirkey and Chandra Prakash Choudhary to explain why a CBI probe should not be ordered into their assets, alleged to be more than their known sources of income.

The sudden decision of the court was sparked off by a state report, which revealed that their assets were not disproportionate to their known sources of income. The state, in its affidavit, told the court that it had not received any information or data from the income-tax department that could indicate that the ministers had amassed disproportionate assets.

The court has given a 10-day deadline to the former ministers to file their reply.

The affidavit of the state was, however, thwarted by the income-tax department, which refuted the stand.

The counsel for the state income-tax chief commissioner told the court that despite several applications and notices, none of the former ministers had filed any reply or furnished details of their assets and income to work out their individual assets profile and to check whether those were more than their revealed sources of income.

The I-T department has to follow the statute, which makes it mandatory for the office to issue notices to income-tax assessees and allow them an opportunity to explain acquisition of their assets with regards to their incomes.

“The ministers have been sent notices more than once and no one has bothered to come out with data. In the absence of details, the department cannot work out an assets sheet of individual ministers,” the counsel said.

The matter had come up in a PIL filed by one Durga Oraon who has alleged amassing of enormous assets by the ministers through illegal means.

The PIL filed in September 2008 had opened a can of worms for the then government, which has had a rather difficult time trying to safeguard the former ministers.

The petitioner has sought a CBI inquiry into the matter for impartial investigation before which the court had directed the state and the income-tax department to inquire independently and inform the bench whether the former ministers were actually guilty of amassing assets more than their incomes.




Jethmalani: PIL on black money not politically motivated

J. Venkatesan

Supreme Court grants time for filing reply and rejoinder

New Delhi: The former Union Law Minister, Ram Jethmalani, who, along with five others, had filed a public interest litigation petition in the Supreme Court on black money, on Monday objected to the Centre’s insinuations questioning their bona fides and describing the PIL as politically motivated.

Appearing for the petitioners, senior counsel Anil Divan submitted before a Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Mukundakam Sharma that the attempt to give a political colour to the PIL and linking them with the BJP was unfortunate.

Mr. Divan said “each of the petitioners is independent and has no contact with the BJP or any other political party but are distinguished citizens in their own field of activity. Reading out the submissions, Mr. Divan said, “Illicit funds from India parked in foreign banks and foreign tax havens could be used for funding terrorists and subversive activities.”

Mr. Divan pointed out that the court on April 22 did not issue notice on the assurance that the Union of India would file its affidavit within 48 hours, but the affidavit was filed only on May 2.

In the affidavit, the Centre refuted allegations that it was slack in its efforts to bring back into India the funds stashed by Indian citizens in foreign banks, especially the Swiss banks. It said that it was the Swiss authorities, citing DTAA provisions, who “consistently refused to share bank information” and that the Centre acted with “utmost expedition” in the matter.

It said the Swiss authorities took a stance that the information on bank deposits of Indian residents was not necessary for the application of the double taxation avoidance agreement. The Swiss authorities felt that such information was required only for the enforcement of Indian internal tax laws and that it was not at their disposal under Swiss laws in the normal course of tax administration. But now steps were being taken for renegotiation.

Mr. Divan referred to the speech of National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan at a conference on security in Munich, Germany on February 11, 2008: “Isolated instances of terrorist outfits manipulating the stock markets to raise funds for their operations have been reported. Stock exchanges in Mumbai and Chennai have on occasions reported that fictious or notional companies were engaging in stock market operations.”

The petitioners — Gopal Sharman, Jalbala Vaidya, K.P.S. Gill, Prof. B.B. Dutt and Subhash Kashyap, besides Mr. Jethmalani — submitted that according to reports, between 2002 and 2006 an estimated Rs.70 lakh crore was siphoned off from India and parked in foreign bank accounts. The Indian government had not taken any steps to seize such funds and to prosecute and punish the guilty persons, they said.

The Bench, without issuing notice, asked the petitioners to file a detailed reply to the Centre’s affidavit and rejoinder by the Centre and posted the matter for further hearing on July 20.

Corrections and Clarifications

The seventh paragraph of a report “Jethmalani: PIL on black money not politically motivated” (May 5, 2009) said “Mr. Divan referred to the speech of National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan at a conference on security in Munich, Germany on February 11, 2008: ‘Isolated instances of terrorist outfits manipulating the stock markets to raise funds for their operations have been reported ..’” The speech was delivered at the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy, on November 2, 2007.





HC restricts PMC from cutting trees

10 May 2009, 0223 hrs IST, TNN

PUNE: The Bombay high court, in an interim stay order on May 6, has restricted the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) from issuing tree-cutting permissions without obtaining approval from the court.

The order came during the hearing of a PIL filed by Pune-based environmentalist Deepak Balkrishna Vahikar, challenging the felling of 1,522 trees by the civic body.

The HC bench, including Justice J N Patel and Justice Mridula Bhatkar, has banned cutting of trees in the city till June 17. “It’s the primary duty of the municipal corporation to protect the environment and maintain ecological balance by planting trees rather than cutting them,” it said.

“Taking into consideration the reason placed before us for felling the trees, we are of the view that the justification given for cutting the 1,522 trees cannot be accepted,” the order said.

After the rap from the court, the civic officials are a worried lot as the monsoon is round the corner. Pune Tree Authority officer Balasaheb Jhagzap said that the PMC has decided to file an additional application in the HC to reconsider its order. The civic body will have to urgently cut dangerous trees which are likely to cause accidents during the monsoon.

Tree activist Vinod Jain, who welcomed the order, said it was high time that such an action was taken against the PMC.





Madras HC notice to TN govt on illegal granite quarrying


The Madras High Court has issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government and the Geology and Mining Department Commissioner on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a CBI probe into the illegal granite quarrying in the state.

When the PIL, filed by one M Ramesh Kumar of Madurai, came up for hearing, a division bench comprising Justices P Jyothimani and T S Sivagnanam ordered notice, returnable by four weeks, and directed the government to file its counter by that time.

In his petition, Mr Kumar said illegal granite mining was rampant in the State leading to huge loss of revenue to the Government.

He said unless an inquiry by the CBI was ordered, the illegal quarrying would be carried on without any inhibition and prayed for action against all the Deputy Directors, Assistant Directors of the Geology and Mining Departments of all the districts by ordering a CBI probe into it.

He said the officials of the Geology and Mining Departments have failed to perform their duties by abetting the lessees of granite quarries to misappropriate the government’s property and also assess the actual misappropriation and loss caused due to the failure of the departmental staff in enforcing the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and the Granite Conservation and Development Rules, 1999.

The PIL also sought a direction to the State Government and the Geology and Mines Department to take the measurement of length and breadth and height of the granite quarries, the granite stock in the quarrying area and the granite waste lying there and the number of cubic metres of excavated stones dispatched after paying the payment to the government.

Stating that the Department was not having any basic data on the stock of granite in each quarry, the PIL said the income from granite during 2007-08 was a mere Rs 351.20 lakh, which was very low when compared to previous years.

‘There is a revenue loss to the tune of 92.4 per cent, besides disparities in the amount of granite quarried and granite exported, which clearly highlights the fact that the miners are blatantly carrying illegal mining,’ it said.

‘This sudden revenue loss confirms the fraud committed in this industry and it cannot be attributed to global recession as the industry is not affected by it,’ the PIL added.





Govt contemplating to file

9 May 2009, 0516 hrs IST, TNN

LUCKNOW: The Allahabad high court order staying the quota system in unaided colleges of the state may virtually open the flood gates of seats for the general category students. But the officials in the education department were yet to interpret the order: as to whether it applied for the Bachelor of Education (BEd) courses, or will have its impact across the board on all professional courses offered by the unaided institutions, principally the private ones (The order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a BPEd aspirant).

Officials in the education department said that the order has virtually hit the policy of the state government which was now contemplating to file a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against the order.

A division bench of the HC had stayed application of quota in the unaided colleges two days back following a PIL filed by one BPEd aspirant, Sudha Tewari after she was denied a counselling session even though she qualified the entrance exam held in 2008. The petitioner said that she was first kept in the waiting list and later told that the seats in the general category have been filled and the remaining seats were meant for the reserved category.

But now, the High Court order opens up more opportunities for the general category students aspiring to get a BEd degree for which entrance was held in 2008 by Agra University. Already the second session for counselling for the course is underway at various counselling centres.

Authorities associated with the admission process said that the order does away with the quota system from nearly 45,000 BEd seats in some 475 unaided colleges in the state. A senior official in the department said: “As of now the order is interpreted as the one meant for some half-a-dozen colleges which have been covered in the PIL. We are still to look into it.”

“But if the order comes into force, it is going to affect some 80,000 seats in the private colleges,” the official said. In all there are close to 90,000 seats available in various colleges offering BEd degree. Of these 10,000 were in the government colleges/universities while the rest were in the private colleges. With 50% reservation, the seats which remain for the general category were close to 45,000, while the rest half was to be filled by the students from the reserved category. It is these seats where the competition opens up for all categories.

Officials in the UP Technical University (UPTU) too said that they were studying the order to understand if it has shaken up the existing seat arrangement. A senior official in UPTU said that there are some 434 professional colleges associated with the university. Of these, 427 were unaided ones, while seven had a government backing.





Blood, stool sampling on at Byculla zoo

Ashwin Aghor & Pandurang Mhaske

Saturday, May 9, 2009 3:20 IST

Mumbai: After the death of five-year-old hippopotamus Shakti on April 24, authorities at the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo have started vaccinating all animals and birds under their care. Blood and stool examinations are also being carried out.

However, Vikram Pawar, deputy municipal commissioner (gardens) claimed that the healthcare system is on schedule and in place at the zoo.

Meanwhile, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) has alleged that the staff is yet to implement all orders of the Bombay High Court, even ones like stopping harassment by visitors, keeping the zoo clean and providing enrichment to animals stuck in barren cages.

Civic authorities claimed on Friday that all was well at Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo, and that the directives of the Bombay High Court had been complied with.
The HC, hearing a PIL filed by Peta, had directed zoo authorities on July 18, 2005, to improve living conditions of animals.

Pawar said that as per HC directives, no new animals would be acquired by the zoo till execution of the master plan, which is under process to control the breeding of antelope — e and female antelope have been segregated and vasectomies performed on them.

Pawar also said that as per HC directives, three hippos — one solitary male and a pair — have been shifted to Surat Nature Park and Alipur Zoo, Kolkata, respectively, four pythons have been released at Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, four porcupines released in Sanjay Gandhi National Park and a male elephant shifted to Thiruvananthapuram Zoo on April 7, 2007.

“The zoo animals are given adequate and varied food as per the feed chart prepared in consultation with Bombay Veterinary College’s nutrition department,” Pawar said.

All animals are provided fresh drinking water and the water containers are thoroughly cleaned every day, he added. “We follow a disinfection schedule to maintain hygienic conditions in animal enclosures and feeding cubicles.”




Riz chargesheet: NGO moves court

9 May 2009, 0249 hrs IST, TNN

KOLKATA: An NGO moved Calcutta High Court on Friday, seeking a review of the court’s earlier order dismissing a public interest litigation filed by it against CBI.

The NGO, Empathy 05, contended that the chargesheet filed by the investigating agency in Rizwanur Rahman’s unnatural death case omitted names of Trinamool Congress MLA Javed Khan, Rizwan’s uncle Shahidur Rahaman and former DC (HQ) Gyanwant Singh by slapping non-cognizable and bailable charges on them though the names of the trio were mentioned in Rizwan’s suicide note. The PIL demanded that the charges of abetting suicide should have been brought against them.

On February 20, the division Bench of Chief Justice S S Nijjar and Justice Biswanath Somadder had dismissed the PIL on grounds of locus standi of the petitioner and that the contentions of the PIL were based on newspaper clippings.

Seeking a review of the dismissal order, the NGO cited a motion in the state Assembly moved by CPM MLA Rabin Mondal on November 27, 2008. While disposing of the motion, the Speaker had remarked that not filing a chargesheet against the trio was tragic and unfortunate, the petitioner argued. The case will be heard again next Friday.





A vote for nobody!

9 May 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Manigandan K R, TNN

Call it a law of power, a weapon of democracy or simply a gift from God.

Whatever you choose to call it, this is one rule that is sure to delight desperate voters across the country who claim that they are often forced to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Rule 49(O), as it is known, provides the voter the right to go to a polling booth and exercise his franchise without having to vote for anybody. In simple terms, if a voter is dissatisfied with all the contestants in his constituency, he can simply say that he wishes to vote for none of them.
Venkatasubramanian of Catalyst Trust, an NGO which is a part of Citizen’s Alliance for Good Governance, says, “Everybody should vote and when you do, vote wisely. Judge a candidate’s worthiness. First look at the candidate’s character and then at his ideologies. If you find that none deserve your vote, don’t sit at home. Use the provision of Rule 49(O).”

Throwing light on the rule, former chief election commissioner T S Krishnamurthy says, “49(O) is a rule under the Conduct of Election Rules – 1961, by which a voter is enabled to register his vote without voting for anybody. By opting for 49(O), a voter only indicates that he is not happy with any of the candidates contesting the elections. It is a kind of a protest vote but at the same time, it ensures that there is no impersonation.”

The rule has existed for long but not many are aware of its existence. It will come in handy to a large number of people who wish to vote but who claim that they do not do so as they do not find worthy contestants.

The seasoned bureaucrat explains how this rule helps the system. “If the number of such votes increase, political parties will know that certain candidates are not being approved. So, they may put up better candidates. Secondly, it prevents impersonation of a voter.”

The only issue as far as 49(O) is concerned is secrecy. “There is no secrecy in this matter as a voter has to openly announce to the presiding officer that he does not wish to vote for anybody. However, in my opinion, there should be no cause for worry as only statistics of those opting for 49(O) will be revealed to political parties,” he says.
“To remove any concerns that voters may have, we had suggested that the option ‘none of the above’ be made available in the voting machine itself. But unfortunately that required an amendment in the notification to be issued by the Ministry of Law. We wrote to them, asking them to approve this because the ballot paper is approved under the rules. However, they did not do anything. A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking the availability of such an option in the voting machine. It was heard by a two-member bench and they have referred the issue to a constitutional bench,” he adds.

The good news is that this time, many people are aware of this provision. Says Venkatasubramanian, “This time, as compared to 2004, there is a keenness to use 49(O). Many NGOs are printing pamphlets and creating awareness about the rule.”

He has a few words of advice for those who are scared to use 49(O).  Says he, “If you want, look for others in your locality who want to opt for 49(O) and go to the polling station together. Find strength in numbers.”





Scarlett case: CBI moves HC

9 May 2009, 0345 hrs IST, TNN

PANAJI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has approached the high court of Bombay at Goa against an order of the children’s court rejecting its prayer to issue a letter rogatory’ for further investigations in UK in the Scarlett Keeling murder case.

The CBI had sought the letter of request for investigation/collection of evidence under Section 166-A of CrPC, as the victim’s mother Fiona Mackeown and British national Charles Carter were required to be examined following new evidence. Charles Carter, a British national, was present at Lui’s shack on the intervening night of February 17, 2008.

“Both the witnesses need to be examined as they have no plans to return to India,” the CBI had submitted. The agency had further submitted that as the investigations had reached a crucial stage, the victim’s mother should be examined in the light of evidence collected.

Taking objection to the application, the accused, Samson D’Souza, had argued that the Code of Criminal Procedure did not provide for recording of fresh statements of witnesses whose statements had already been recorded. He contended that the CBI could not be allowed to embark on a de novo (new) investigation.

While dismissing the application on March 6, president of the children’s court Desmond D’Costa had observed that both the witnesses had already given detailed statements to the police that formed part of the records. “It would have been a different case if the witnesses’ statements had not been recorded at all,” the court observed.

He further said that while the CBI claims to have collected additional evidence and recorded the statements of over 200 witnesses “none of the statements have been produced before his court making out any new angle on which both the witnesses need to be re-examined”.

“This is not a fit case to exercise the somewhat extraordinary and discretionary powers of this court to issue the letter of request to carry out further investigations in the UK. The exercise of these powers is not called for in the facts and circumstances of this case and in the interest of justice,” the judge had noted.

It may be recalled that 15-year-old Scarlett Kealing’s body was found on Anjuna beach in February last year.





HC allows ECR appeal

9 May 2009, 0456 hrs IST, TNN

PATNA: A division bench of Patna High Court on Friday allowed the Letters Patent Appeal (LPA) of the East Central Railway (ECR) setting aside the verdict of a single bench which had held that the railways should give the benefit of the “general condition of price variation” to a private firm, M/S Interlink Coal Pvt Ltd, which had been given the contract of Railway Staff Quarters Housing Project in Sonepur/Hajipur.

A division bench cmprising Chief Justice J B Koshy and Justice Ravi Ranjan said that the petitioner-contractor was not able to convince the court that there was any discrimination by ECR in not giving him the benefit of the “general condition of price variation” and ECR did not violate any constitutional provisions in this regard.





After 12 yrs, HC acquits four of rape

Express News Service

Posted: May 09, 2009 at 0122 hrs IST

New Delhi The Delhi High Court on Friday acquitted four men implicated for gangrape after 12 years of trial and conviction by a trial court.

“This case is an instance of how a false criminal case, instituted in connivance with obliging police officers, can virtually ruin the lives of innocent persons,” Justice S Muralidhar observed in his judgment.

A case registered in 1997 at Haus Khas police station accuses Pankaj Chaudhary and three of his friends — Gunjesh, Qaslm and Jail Lal — of raping a woman at the Shaheed Bhagat Singh slum camp in Katwaria Sarai on the night of July 28, 1997. The FIR claims the men raped the woman, a sex worker, after she refused to give them a beedi.

In 2000, the sessions court found the men guilty and sentenced them to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 each despite the fact that medical reports failed to confirm her rape allegations.

But appeal hearings in the High Court threw up evidence that the “victim” was in custody at the police station in another criminal case at the alleged time of the rape. Defence lawyers also said the four accused had filed several complaints against a prostitution racket flourishing in the area.

An ongoing vigilance inquiry in 2001 initially unearthed “negligence on the part of Sub-Inspector Jai Bhagwan, ASI Prem Chand and Inspector H M Bakshi, the then SHO of PS Hauz Khas”.

The woman is also in trouble as the judge initiated steps for her prosecution under Section 211 of IPC for instituting a false criminal proceeding. Maximum punishment for this offence is seven years.

The court today ordered a complete inquiry report to be placed on record before the Police Commissioner within the next eight weeks.




HC to Jet, Sahara: Settle dispute over dues out of court


BS Reporters / Mumbai May 09, 2009, 0:33 IST

The Bombay High Court has asked Jet Airways and Sahara India Commercial Corporation Ltd (SICCL) to discuss and settle their dispute over payment of dues related to the former’s purchase of Sahara Airlines during the summer holidays. The court today adjourned the case to June 12.

“Based on the submissions filed with this court on May 7, 2009, and hearing on May 8, the case has now been posted to June 12, 2009,” said Justice DY Chandrachud. The court closed for summer vacation today.

The judge suggested that “the parties make an earnest effort to attain a resolution …during the summer recess” and inform the court when it resumes hearing on June 12. The companies’ efforts for an out-of-the-court settlement had come to nought on Wednesday.

“In case of the parties not reaching a settlement by that date, the court will proceed with the matter according to the submissions and the ongoing arguments,” he added.

“The court is making an endeavour to make sure that the parties resolve the case outside the court,” said Jet Airways counsel Janak Dwarakadas said.

The counsels for both Jet Airways and Sahara told the court that they would meet on May 12 to iron out the issues. The companies would move the holiday court if they arrived at a conclusion, they added.

Jet bought Sahara Airlines from the Sahara group in April 2007 for Rs 1,450 crore. It paid Rs 900 crore and agreed to pay the balance in four installments.




After HC direction, junior doctors submit list of shortcomings

9 May 2009, 0425 hrs IST, TNN

Bangalore : Instead of patients, it’s hospitals that junior doctors in the state have diagnosed. The report was submitted to the high court on Thursday.

After a strike earlier this week, the high court had directed the protesters to file a detailed affidavit on facilities at government hospitals. Lack of proper facilities and drugs not only makes life hard for patients, but also renders our training ineffective, the junior doctors submitted.

In the affidavit, they have recorded shortcomings in government-run medical colleges attached to hospitals. The grievances are listed out hospital-wise and department-wise. Shortage of gloves, mouth masks, injections, poor X-ray machines and non-availability of ventilators are common observations for almost all the hospitals, including Bangalore’s Bowring and Lady Cirzon Hospital, Victoria Hospital and Vani Vilas Hospital.

“Life-saving injections for those who have consumed poison or have been bitten by a snake are also lacking. Patients coming after a severe asthmatic attack suffer because of non-availability of drugs. Emergency cases like a cardiac arrest, breathlessness and accidents are referred to private hospitals or NIHMANS because of lack of equipment or drugs.. The golden hour is thus wasted in shifting… Some hospitals don’t even have sufficient suture material,” the affidavit states.





HC goes beyond doc testimony in 1987 rape case

9 May 2009, 0116 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN

MUMBAI: The high court has gone beyond a doctor’s statement to deliver its judgment in a 1987 rape case.

The doctor’s testimony that the hymen was intact is not the ultimate evidence to disprove rape, the Bombay HC ruled in an important judgment. Twenty-two years after a Satara resident allegedly raped an 11-year-old girl, a division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S C Dharmadhikari has held him guilty of the crime.

The HC overturned a trial court verdict acquitting Suresh Jadhav (who was 18 years old at the time of the incident), and said the victim’s allegation of rape had been corroborated by statements of other witnesses and the chemical analysis report.

The HC sentenced Jadhav to a jail term of three years and asked him to pay the victim compensation of Rs 50,000.

“It is difficult for the court to lose sight of the fact that here is a girl victim, of the age of 11 to 13 years, who has been subjected to such sexual assault by the accused,” said the judges. The trial court had disbelieved the girl based on the statement of the doctor who said the victim’s hymen was intact and there were no bodily injuries.

The HC judges said it would be a “grave miscarriage of justice” if the accused, who has committed a rape on a minor girl, “is permitted to go scot-free just because some part of the doctors statement does not support the case of the prosecution”.

The HC questioned the doctor’s evidence. “The doctor has nowhere stated that upon examination, he was of the opinion that there was no penetration of any nature whatsoever in relation to the victim,” said the judges, adding, “Merely because (the) hymen was not torn and there was no bodily injury by itself (there) would be no ground to reject the case of the prosecution.”

Additional public prosecutor Pradeep Hingorani pointed to other evidence- the victim’s statement, testimonies of other witnesses and the chemical analysis report of the semen stains that matched the blood group of the accused. “There is no reason as to why the victim should come out with (a) false story at this tender age and suffer the pain and agony of being subjected to such a heinous offence,” said the judges.

The case dates back to August 1987. The victim was returning home with her brother, who asked Jadhav-a resident of the same village who was riding a cycle when the duo met him-to take her home. The accused, instead, took the girl to his house and allegedly raped her.

A trial court acquitted Jadhav in 1990. In 2007, the HC held Jadhav guilty, but on an appeal filed by him, the Supreme Court sent the matter back to the HC.

The HC said the trial court should have examined the cumulative effect of the entire evidence, but had instead disregarded the statements of the victim, witnesses as well as the blood-semen report without giving any reason.





If ailment’s curable, you can’t be denied job: HC

9 May 2009, 0102 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN

MUMBAI: “A person who suffers from an ailment that medical treatment can cure, and is otherwise fit to discharge the duties and responsibilities of the post to which he applies for, cannot be denied the right to lead a productive life, to maintain himself and his family with dignity, and strive towards excellence,” said the Bombay high court on Friday. In a landmark ruling, the HC overturned a decision taken by the State Bank of India (SBI) in Mumbai and directed it to employ a man who, in 2004, had undergone a kidney transplant.

Ranjit Rajak, a 32-year-old from Ghaziabad, UP, had taken SBI to court last year for having been refused a job on the grounds that he was “medically unfit”. Though the bank had first found him suitable as a probation officer after interviewing him in January 2007, six months later, after his medical test, he was declared “ineligible” because of his kidney transplant.

Rajak said it was not his first rejection; even the IDBI, another public sector bank, had denied him a job despite Apollo Hospital certifying him as “fit enough to perform tasks appropriate to the job” in January 2008.

Ironically, the SBI, too, relied on a separate report from the same hospital that found him “unfit” as he would “require continuous care”. The bank also relied on the 1979 guidelines that called for “special medical assessment while recruiting, to rule out kidney ailments, congenital heart disease, diabetes and rheumatic heart”.

Mihir Desai, Rajak’s lawyer, challenged the SBI decision saying it was not only discriminatory and violated the fundamental right to life and equality, but was also against a citizen’s right to public sector employment.

A division bench of Justices Ferdino Rebello and R S Mohite expressed concern at the discriminatory policy adopted by the public sector undertaking. The HC relied on several judgments from the US and other courts as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol, which India had signed in 2007.

The HC said the “the state as an employer does not have unfettered freedom as to who he chooses as his employee. If a person, who at one point suffered an ailment, is denied a job in the public sector, his chances in the private sector would be nil.

“Do we, as a state, condemn all such citizens to be dependent on their families? Do we strip them off their dignity to live a full life? The theory of reasonable accommodation flows from the right to a life of dignity,” said the court. The judges dismissed the bank’s stand as “unreasonable”, that it would have to bear the employee’s medical cost and that his work capability was irrelevant due to his medical condition. The court directed the bank to appoint Rajak in 60 days.






HC talks tough with BMC on Deonar dump

9 May 2009, 0122 hrs IST, Sukhada Tatke, TNN

MUMBAI: The BMC’s action plan to curb the Deonar dumping ground menace falls short of the requirement, observed the Bombay high court on Friday. Municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak, who visited the dumping ground on Wednesday on the court’s directives, presented his report to justice D Y Chandrachud, along with a short-term plan to reduce inconvenience to the residents of the area.

In what comes as a strong order and a relief to the residents, the high court has given one last chance to the BMC to pull up its socks, or officials in charge would have to face “coercive proceedings”.

The action plan suggests doubling the existing machinery like security guards, lighting, bulldozers, JCBs and dumpers. Further, in addition to the 20 trips of water tankers for fire control, a combination unit from the sewerage operation department will be used for lifting treated sewage water from the Deonar abattoir and the Ghatkopar waste water treatment plant. This water, around 1 lakh litre, would be sprayed on the burning garbage heaps.

The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by the Smoke Affected Residents’ Forum (SARF) in April last year. SARF had first moved court a decade ago, but last year, it filed a contempt case against the civic chief, calling the dumping ground’s continued existence a violation of human rights.

Even as the petitioner’s counsel Minoo Siodia and the BMC’s counsel A Y Sakhare argued vehemently, the judge maintained that “the problem of dumping at the Deonar dumping ground has assumed serious proportions. Pollution caused by the dumping ground poses danger to public health and welfare of residents in the vicinity,” said the judge. He quoted the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) report, which stated that large amounts of respirable particulate matter and the carcinogenic gas formaldehyde were found in the air around the dump.

“Unregulated dumping continues despite directives of this court from time to time. The BMC has shown apathy in dealing with the problems and has made no serious attempts to alleviate them, despite several assurances,” the judge added. The petitioner’s counsel handed over copies of videos and photographs highlighting the abysmal conditions at the dumping ground.

The judge, however, said Phatak’s report “speaks for itself and is indicative of the actual position of the ground in a fair way”. In his report, Phatak admitted that a lot of smoke emanates from the dumping ground. Letting go of his usual stand that rag-pickers set fire to the garbage, he admitted that the frequent fires were caused by “methane in the garbage”. Among other things, Phatak admitted that the number of water tankers and sprinklers was inadequate, lighting was not good enough, garbage was being dumped in a manner that made it inaccessible to tractors and cattle intruded into the dumping ground.

The judge has directed the BMC to file an affidavit on June 8 indicating the civic body’s efforts in abiding by the HC orders and the time schedule it has stuck to.




HC gets conflicting reports on med facilities in jail

9 May 2009, 0446 hrs IST, TNN

Ahmedabad : Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court KS Radhakrishnan must be in a dilemma after receiving the report of amicus curiae which contains detailed description of lack of medical facilities in Sabarmati Central Jail.

Just three days ago, a division Bench headed by chief justice dismissed a PIL alleging absence of medical facilities for inmates. The PIL was not carried forward after jail authorities and additional principal sessions judge PB Desai denied the allegations. High court accepted the judicial officer’s report and dismissed the PIL on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, advocate Shalin Mehta appointed by the same Bench to assist the court in a suo motu case on a murder in Sabarmati jail, reported that jail dispensary urgently required fresh stock of medicine. He highlighted the fact that jail authorities have requested state government to depute staff of Red Cross Society there. They have sought medical assistance from the international organisation as medical requirement in the prison remains unfulfilled.

In his report, advocate Mehta has mentioned the number of posts in the jail dispensary that are lying vacant. Lack of medical facilities within jail premises has forced authorities to send the inmates to Civil Hospital, a practice that is being discouraged at present.

Proper medical facility is not available to prisoners because authorities do not have requisite medicines. Even a cough syrup was not found in jail dispensary. In our view, it ought to have state-of-the-art equipment at least, if not the most expensive,” reads the report.

It also states that more than 40 prisoners have been suffering from heart aliments and have not been getting proper treatment inside jail. Moreover, high TDS in drinking water is also an issue, and prisoners as well as jail staff have complained about inaction of municipal corporation to resolve the problem.

Incidentally, judge PB Desai had observed in a case last year that jail inmates can’t have facilities of a five-star hotel, when a fake encounter case accused had raised a similar issue in his complaint.

Court has scheduled hearing in suo motu case on May 12. Moreover, during these two months, state government has not been able to tell court about the compensation scheme for death of jail inmate Suresh Kukadia.





CJI,Yesudas to be conferred doctorates

By , Written on May 8, 2009

Kottayam, Friday 8 May 2009: The Mahatma Gandhi University has decided to confer honorary doctorates on Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan, noted singer ‘Padmasree’ K J Yesudas and eminent Ayurveda doctor ‘Padmasree’ P K Warrier for their immense contribution to their respective fields.

Governor and Chancellor of the university R S Gavai would confer the doctorate at a function, to be held at the university assembly hall here on May 19.

Justice Balakrishnan would receive Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree, Yesudas Doctor of Letters (D Lit) and Dr Warrier Doctor of Science (D Sc) degree, a university release here said.





Contempt plea against Modi deferred

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has deferred till July hearing on the contempt petition against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged remarks that its April 27 order asking the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into a complaint against him and others was passed mala fide in conspiracy with the Congress.

Prashant Bhushan, amicus curiae in the petition filed by Jakia Nasim Ahesan, wife of the former Congress MP, Ehsan Jafri (who was killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots), filed the contempt petition.

When it came up for hearing before a Bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices Arijit Pasayat and P. Sathasivam on Friday, the CJI told Mr. Bhushan that the matter would be heard after the summer vacation.

LEGAL NEWS 09.05.2009

AXE EFFECT: HC says stop

Court orders stay on tree-cutting at Lalbagh, wants BMRCL to explain

Srikanth Hunasavadi, Bangalore
FRIDAY, MAY 08, 2009
Just when the Lalbagh campaigners thought it was all over, the Karnataka High Court stepped in on Thursday and gave them a reason to cheer. A vacation bench comprising Justice N Kumar and Justice Keshav Narayan ordered a stay on tree felling in the area and asked the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) to explain the action at Lalbagh and RV Road.
The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Mahavir Ranka, a businessman and an RV Road resident, challenging the ordinance issued by the state government allocating 1135 sq metres of land in Lalbagh for a Metro station.
The stay has brought the smiles back in the green camp which had almost given up after CM BS Yeddyurappa gave a green signal to the BMRCL for tree felling despite protests.
Arguing for the petitioner, advocate Vardhaman Gunjal on Thursday said that the BMRCL engaged in tree felling without seeking proper permission of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) tree officer.
It was submitted that even though the trees felled presently in Lalbagh are eucalyptus, which do not require prior permission of the tree officer as per the Tree Protection Act, the fact that such trees are in Lalbagh Botanical Gardens constitute an important collection of the park’s biodiversity.
The counsel gave the court a copy of the 2009 government order that involved a sale at a price fixed by the deputy commissioner of Bangalore. osted by The Bangalorean @ 5/08/2009 09:32:00 AM

Sandvik Asia gets HC nod for delisting

8 May 2009, 0252 hrs IST, Apurv Gupta & M Padmakshan, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: Reversing an earlier single-bench order, a division bench of the Bombay High Court has approved Sandvik Asia’s proposed resolution to reduce the share capital of the company by buying out minority shareholders at Rs 850 per share. In effect, the company can delist itself from the bourses, once the minority shareholders have been bought out.

“In our opinion, once it is established that non-promoter shareholders are being paid fair value of their shares, at no point of time it is even suggested by them that the amount that is being paid is anyway less and that even overwhelming majority of the non-promoter shareholders having voted in favour of the resolution shows that the court will not be justified in withholding its sanction to the resolution,” the division bench comprising Justice DK Deshmukh and Justice AA Sayed observed.

Legal experts say the verdict could have a bearing on the cases involving companies that want to delist from the bourses. Senior counsel Janak Dwarkadas, who appeared for Bharat Kumar Padamsi and others (minority shareholders), said they will move the Supreme Court against the division bench’s order.

Sandvik Asia’s lawyers argued that “a minuscule number of equity shareholders should not be permitted to override the vote or wish of the overwhelming majority of the equity shareholders of the company.”

It pointed out that the special resolution was passed by an overwhelming 99.95% of the shareholders. The promoters own 95.54% in Sandvik Asia.

“It means that only 0.05% of the votes polled by the equity shareholders present and voting were against and opposed the special resolution,” the company’s counsel said.

According to shareholders, who were against the resolution, their first objection to the share capital reduction scheme was that a public company that has invited participation from the public and wishes to retain its character as a public limited company cannot be permitted in law to extinguish the entire class of public shareholders by mooting a scheme for reduction of capital under Section 100-105 of the Act, so as to facilitate the real object of the scheme, that being to make the company a 100% subsidiary of promoters.

Transfer ban: HC notice to PU dept

Srikanth Hunasavadi
Friday, May 8, 2009 14:11 IST
Bangalore: The vacation bench of the High Court of Karnataka on Thursday issued a notice to the Pre-University department with regard to an order banning students from shifting from one college to another during second year of the PU course.
Justice BV Nagarathna heard the petition filed by the Karnataka State Minorities Educational Institutions Managements’ Federation and directed the government advocate to clarify whether this rule is also applicable to students from the CBSE and ICSE boards. The case has been adjourned to next Thursday.
The petitioner challenged the new circular issued by the commissioner of PU dept on April 21 that prohibits second year PU students from shifting to another college to pursue the course, starting from the academic year 2009-10.
Petitioner’s advocate GR Mohan submitted that the circular is illegal and arbitrary and sought stay on it.
Apart from prohibiting students from changing their college to pursue the II PU course, the circular also insisted that institutions obtain an affidavit from the students who have gained admission in the IPUcourse, as well as their parents, for the year 2009-10, that they will not seek a change of college for the PU II course after passing the I year.

Guj HC designates nine judges for trial in 2002 riot cases

Press Trust of India / Ahmedabad May 8, 2009, 13:02 IST
The Gujarat High Court has designated nine judges for as many special court to carry out the trial in the 2002 post-Godhra riot cases being probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), High Court officials said here today.
The High Court, in an order issued in this regard as per the SC judgement delivered early this month, has designated nine special courts, one for each case, which will become operational soon, they said.
Out of the nine special courts four will be in Ahmedabad, two each in Mehsana and Anand, and one in Himmatnagar of Sabarkantha district. According to the Court’s order, additional sessions judge P R Patel has been designated to conduct the trial in the Godhra train carnage case which will be held in the premises of the Sabarmati Central Jail here.
Judge S H Vora and additional sessions Judge Jyotsna Yagnik will be presiding over the trial of Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya cases respectively.
For the Gulburg society case, where Congress ex-MP Ehsan Jaffery was killed during the riots, Judge B U Joshi has been designated as judge for the special court.
For the two cases in Mehsana district — Dipda Darwaja and Sardarpura — the Court has designated Judge B N Kariya and Judge S C Srivastava respectively.
Judges S Y Trivedi and R M Sarine have been deignated to conduct trial in two riot cases in Khambodaj and Ode of Anand distict respectively. While for the riot case in Prantij taluka of Sabarkantha district where some British nationals were killed, Judge H P Patel has been deignated as judge of the special court which will be based in district headquarters Himmatnagar.
The Supreme Court on May 1 lifted stay on trial of nine cases including Godhra train carnage and post-Godhra riot cases and ordered day-to-day hearing by fast track courts in Gujarat.
It also took into consideration the report filed by Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former CBI director R K Raghavan which probed the cases. While vacating its stay order of November 21, 2003, the court had directed that witnesses be provided security for their safe passage and if necessary at their place of living during the trial.
The Court said that the SIT will act as a nodal agency to decide as to which witnesses in the case should be given protection and relocated. It also armed SIT with sweeping powers and said that it would be open to the SIT chairman to seek change of public prosecutors if any deficiency was found during trial.
The apex court also gave liberty to the SIT to recommend cancellation of bail if it is considered necessary.

HC holds hope for parents

Friday, May 08th, 2009 AT 11:05 AM
PUNE: Reeling from a steep fee hike, parents of students in private schools were in for a great relief as the state government on Wednesday clarified before the Bombay High Court that unaided schools will not be allowed to hike fees without the approval of the proposed school fee fixation committee.
The high court has set a deadline of eight weeks, i.e. June 30 for formation of the committee. School Education minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had already announced setting up of such a committee, but the high court’s intervention will ensure its quick implementation, bringing the already announced fee hike by various schools under purview of the proposed committee.
School education department secretary Sanjay Kumar, in his submission before the court, clarified that such schools would have to restore fees to the previous level and seek fresh approval from the proposed committee. Circulars would be issued to all schools in this regard within a couple of days, he informed the court.
The government has not yet formulated the structure of the fee committee, said Vikhe Patil on Thursday. He told Sakal Times, “The committee will have quasi-judicial powers and hence has to be set up by legislation. We might take the course of ordinance as the monsoon session of assembly will not be convened before the deadline of June 30.”
The state government proposes to bring even schools of other boards like Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Indian Council for Secondary Education (ICSE) and International Baccalaureate (IB) schools under jurisdiction of the committee. This is good news for parents, as the state education department did not have control over these schools until now.
The city has 313 while Pune district has 220 private schools. Many of them have hiked fees from the next academic year, to the extent of 35 to 40 per cent. Some schools have cut back the fee hike following opposition from parents.
If the experience of the fee committee for higher education is any indication, the proposed committee for private schools has a voluminous task in store. The state has 1,451 primary schools and 3,396 secondary private schools, which follow the state board syllabus. The number of schools with CBSE, ICSE and IB boards runs into a few hundred. The government will have to provide sufficient manpower and infrastructure to the proposed committee, else delayed proposals of fee hikes might snowball into controversies as presently seen in professional colleges, authorities fear.

P&H HC agrees to refer probe into PPSC irregularities to CBI

Punjab and Haryana High Court agreed to refer to CBI the inquiry into the irregularities allegedly committed in the selection of candidates for the coveted Haryana Civil Services and Allied Services in 2002 written examination and the interview conducted by the Punjab Public Service Commission.

For this, notice for May 12 has been issued to the CBI as the bench directed the concerned parties to spell out the points on which the reference is to be made to the CBI.

The Division bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice Hemant Gupta gave the order during resumed hearing on the joint writ petition of former Haryana minister Karan Singh Dala MLA and present chairman of Haryana Administrative Reforms Commission, and two unsuccessful candidates.

The bench also had a look at the answer sheet of a selected candidate Kuldhir Singh, who had attempted four questions but was given marks for five while he had neither written the note about a compulsory question nor drawn the mandatory map as required.

The selection, it was argued by Mohan Jain former Haryana Advocate General, was manipulated to benefit close associates and relatives of those in power.

It was pointed out that Kuldhir Singh is the son of Sher Singh Badshami, political advisor to the then Chief Minister O P Chautala.


MP HC directs issuing of notice to medical college


The Madhya Pradesh High Court issued notice to the respondents of a Medical College for not allotting PG seat to a handicapped girl despite her merit.

The Court also issued directives to the State Medical Education Department (MED) Director to be present in person in the court to give clarification.

Joint bench justices A K Patnaik and P K Jaiswal had accepted the petition of Dr Rakhi Mangal and issued directives to serve MED Director V K Saini and handicapped student Rajesh Tiwari with urgent notices.

The next date of hearing was fixed on May 13.

Petitioner’s Counsel Aditya Sanghi told the court that the seat was not allotted to Dr Mangal but was given to another handicapped student Dr Rajesh Tripathi, who had lesser marks.

The petition alleged that the discriminatory action was taken against Dr Mangal as she moved to the court last year alleging irregularities and the verdict went against the Director.

She said that the rest of the seats, if available, would be allotted to her after allotting seats to the students who had passed the 2009 examinations.


Put reservation provision on hold: HC to UP govt

Published: May 8,2009
Allahabad , May 7 The Allahabad High Court today directed the Uttar Pradesh government not to implement the provision of reservation in admission to private unaided colleges in the state till further order.
The order was passed by a Division Bench comprising Justice Sunil Ambawani and Justice Virendra Singh on a petition filed by one Sudha Tiwari.
The petition challenged the provision of reservation in admission to private unaided colleges in the state.
The Bench also directed the Centre and the state to file counter affidavits and fixed July nine for further hearing.

HC stays earlier ruling in PAL land case

Published: May 8,2009
Mumbai , May 7 A Division Bench of Bombay High Court today stayed an earlier order by the Court in favour of Maharashtra Government in the Premier Automobile Land auction case.
Banking major ICICI is seeking to auction a land belonging to Premier Automobile Ltd (PAL) – Peaugeot near Dombivali after the latter went into liquidation.
But last year, the state government claimed that the land originally belongs to them, which was given to local gram panchayant.
Panchayat had transferred the land to PAL for a factory.
Therefore, the state said, that it would also have a share of the auction&aposs proceedings.
Justice R S Dalvi of the High Court had then upheld the government&aposs claim.
ICICI and other lenders, who are seeking to recover their loans to PAL through auction, later moved to the Division Bench against Justice Dalvi&aposs order.
Division Bench of Justices D K Deshmukh and R S Mohite today put a temporary stay to Justice Dalvi&aposs order and asked the government to file its affidavit within six weeks.
Land was auctioned last year.
Citra, a subsidiary to Indiabulls, had won the auction, But since its bid of over Rs 670 crore was below the reserve price, so it backed out. Fresh auction is yet to take place.

Source: PTI

Bombay HC to hear Anil Ambani’s yacht smuggling case

Posted by admin on 5/08/09
Mumbai, May 8 (ANI): The Bombay High Court will today hear a petition filed by the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) Company Ammolite Holdings challenging the seizure of the luxurious yacht ‘Tian’, which was chartered by the Reliance Transport and Travels Ltd, another ADAG company.
Division Bench of Justices F I Rebello and J H Bhatia will hear the matter.
The yacht was seized in February by the Customs Department for alleged tax evasion.
The Customs Department alleged that Ammolite Holdings had violated the Customs Act by “smuggling in” a luxurious yacht, which is believed to be a gift from Anil to his wife Tina Ambani.
The ADAG has denied that it “smuggled” a luxurious yacht into Indian waters. It claims that the yacht is having a foreign flag was not imported. It can sail in international as well as Indian waters. (ANI)

Court notice on granite quarrying after PIL alleges scam

8 May 2009, 0459 hrs IST, TNN

CHENNAI: Indicating a multi-crore granite quarrying and royalty evasion scam in Tamil Nadu, a public interest writ petition has sought CBI probe into the matter and stringent action against deputy/assistant directors of geology in all districts for collusion.

A vacation bench comprising justice P Jyothimani and justice T S Sivagnanam ordered notices to the Departments of Industries and Geology and Mining, asking them to file their replies in four weeks.

The petition, filed by advocate Muthuraj on behalf of M Ramesh Kumar of Madurai, said royalty collected from quarries inexplicably fell by over 92 per cent in 2007-08 though the export figures revealed only a 11 per cent fall.

In other words, as against the royalty collection of Rs 3,200 crore in 2005-06 and Rs 4,641 crore in 2006-07, the government received only Rs 351 crore as royalty in 2007-08. During the corresponding period, the export revenue of granite dropped by only 11 per cent, indicating misappropriation on a massive scale.

Siva Kumar said the glaring disparity between the granite quarried and the granite exported highlighted the fact that miners, in collusion with officials, were blatantly carrying on illegal mining in Tamil Nadu.

When the petitioner sent separate questionnaire under the Right To Information (RTI) Act to various district authorities, either they said they did not have any mines in their jurisdiction or said they had no details pertaining to the width, length and deputy of granite pits, besides waste in the quarries.

Describing it as perpetration of annihilation of nature’s beauty, the petitioner accused the government of permitting indiscriminate quarrying of sand, stone and valuable minerals in its eagerness to fill up the coffers. Authorities vested with the duty of protecting the nature’s bounty, colluded with the perpetrators and caused loss of revenue to the tune of several thousand crores to the government, he said.

He wanted the High Court to order CBI probe into the issue and direct the government to take measurement of length, breadth and height of granite quarries besides taking stock of granites in quarrying area and waste lying therein. He also demanded action against all deputy directors and assistant directors of geology and mining departments in all districts for their failure to perform duty or abetment of the crime.

HC prod for clean fuel status

Ranchi, May 7: Jharkhand high court today questioned the Centre on its proposal to provide “clean fuel” to check pollution in the state capital.
The court, while hearing a PIL on vehicular pollution, directed the Centre to furnish an affidavit and explain what measures had been taken to ensure availability of clean fuel in Ranchi.
The petitioner, Rajnish Mishra, said that the city was reeling from pollution caused by commercial and private vehicles. Mishra alleged that the state pollution control board was not doing its duties and vehicles polluting the environment were still plying on city streets.
He said that the fuel used by commercial vehicles was not proper and its combustion caused more pollution. The Union government and the Gas Authority of India were responsible for providing clean fuel, he said, as per directions passed by the Supreme Court. Mishra also sought a ban on thousands of diesel autorickshaws running in the city.
“The diesel autos are manufactured in Lucknow and Pune, but are not allowed to run in those cities. These vehicles are known to be heavy pollution contributors,” the counsel for the petitioner said.
Clean fuel is basically liquified gas manufactured by Indian Oil Corporation for vehicles and the emission is negligible, he added.
The pollution control board filed an affidavit in the case and informed the court that it was running periodical checks of all vehicles in the city to check the level of pollution.
The board also stated that it does not have the authority to make available cleaner fuel as that was the prerogative of the Union and state governments.

350 posts for physically disabled lying vacant in UT’
Express News Service

Posted: May 08, 2009 at 0038 hrs IST
Chandigarh Nearly 350 posts meant for the physically challenged people are lying vacant in various departments of the UT Administration. Among these, 228 are waiting for direct recruitment since January 1, 1996 while 122 are lying vacant on account of non-promotion since January 1, 1986.
The data was furnished by the UT Administration in the Punjab and Haryana High Court during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by All India Blind Employees Association.
Since January 1, 1996, only 203 physically disabled persons have been recruited. Of the 228 posts lying vacant, 68 have been advertised for but not filled till date due to the election code of conduct.
The data furnished by the Administration also reveals that 11,979 recruitments in all categories (Class A,B,C,D) have been made till date. Moreover, since 1989, only 39 physically disabled persons have been promoted.
The petitioner has sought instructions to fill up the vacant posts of physically handicapped persons in various departments of the Chandigarh Administration.
In February, the High Court had taken the issue seriously and warned the Administration to immediately fill up the vacant posts. The court had also reprimanded the Administration for not filling up the posts.
In February, the Bench had ruled: “We have made it clear that in case the requisite information is not made available to the court on the next date of hearing, we will be left with no alternative but to stay further appointments in all the departments till vacancies are set apart and handicapped candidates appointed against the same in terms of the Act.”

Bidari promises to produce missing girls before next week

8 May 2009, 0005 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE : Police commissioner Shankar Bidari promised to produce missing girls before the court within a week while a high court division Bench asked the police to treat kidnapping and abduction of women, especially minor girls, as special cases. It also asked the police to depute elite officers to investigate those cases.

The Bench headed by Justice N Kumar made this observation when Bidari appeared before the court. “Every time I come across such cases I feel bad as I do have daughters. A day’s delay in such cases can prove costly as it may result in the death of the girl or they may abuse her. Don’t mix up these cases with others. Today’s teenagers are more intelligent than the police. You need to carefully handle them. Make them separate, special cases and entrust the investigation to elite among you,” said the judge.

Shankar Bidari explained to the court the various measures initiated by the police including a janata darshan programme to receive complaints.

“The abduction cases, which were 25 in 2005, 29 in 2006, 36 in 2007, 32 in 2008, have come down to just three in 2009. We have been impressing upon the DG & IG to treat these cases under the heinous crime category so as to depute personnel above the rank of police inspector to investigate them. For this, an amendment to the Karnataka police manual is needed,” he said.

He also told the court that a sub-inspector from Indiranagar police station has been kept under suspension, and a message has been sent to Mysore SP to take action against the probationary SI of Nanjanagud for dereliction of duty.

As for the words in his statement which irked the court, Bidari clarified it was meant for his subordinates.

Indiranagar SI suspended: After the high court rapped the city police for the delay in tracing a 17-year-old girl who has gone missing for two months, Indiranagar sub-inspector Rangappa was suspended on Thursday for dereliction of duty. The suspension came after Rangappa failed to trace the girl who went missing on March 3 in Indiranagar police limits, while returning from college. A senior police officer stated that Rangappa’s suspension came after he reportedly showed apathy in finding the girl. Later, the girl’s parents approached the high court seeking intervention in the matter.

Doctors’ strike case adjourned

The high court has adjourned the hearing of a suo moto PIL regarding the junior doctors’ strike after the state government’s statement that all doctors have resumed work.

Meanwhile, the Junior Doctors’ Association filed an affidavit listing certain deficiencies in hospitals attached to four government medical colleges.

Co-op elections to resume

A division Bench has clarified that the election process to the hundreds of co-op bodies across the state can resume after May 16 when the model code of conduct relating to Lok Sabha polls comes to an end. It said there’s no need to use any fresh notification.

KMF appeal dismissed

A division Bench has dismissed an appeal filed by KMF challenging the single Bench order facilitating the continuance of re-verification and re-examination of audited accounts from 2001-08.

To sit or not to sit: HC notice out

NEW DELHI: Caught napping by a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that exposed how even after more than 20 years of a Supreme Court directive, Delhi High Court has failed to change its rules that could have allowed accused to sit, rather than stand in trial courts, HC on Wednesday issued the notification.

In 1981, SC had directed all HC’s across the country to change the criminal manuals so that accused can sit while attending trial in courts. But it took a PIL by one Awadh Bihari Kaushik, filed earlier this week through lawyer R K Saini, to get HC administration moving. Interestingly, the PIL relies on an RTI plea filed in HC that revealed that no steps were taken all these years by HC to implement the SC order.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice was informed by the HC administration that a notification has been issued while the bench was hearing the PIL. HC then directed the city government to publish the notification in the gazette as early as possible. It will however, come to force after it is published in the official gazette.

The notification says that all judges should permit an accused to sit down during trial proceedings, making an exception only when a judge approaches his seat to start proceedings.

In his PIL Kaushik complained that despite an order from the apex court, the fundamental right of the accused person is being violated when they stand in the court room for several hours if the trial proceeding stretches for hours. Citing a trial going on at a district in the capital, Kaushik, a lawyer himself informed HC that the accused collapsed in court as he had to stand continuously. “This incident shook my conscience and made me do something for the sitting rights of an accused during the course of trial,” the PIL says.

Court orders temple eviction

Ranchi, May 6: Jharkhand High Court today direc- ted the East Singhbhum district administration to take immediate steps to free the premises of two ancient temples in Adityapur of encroachers.
A division bench of Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra and Justice D.K. Sinha also directed the state to construct a boundary wall around the temple, if required, to keep encroachers away.
In a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Mahesh Khariwal, it was said that encroachment and unwanted constructions on the premises of the two anci- ent temples of Sitala and Hanuman in Adityapur had become a common scene, which was affecting the environment of the place.
Khariwal in his petition had said that the temples were occupied by Bangladeshi immigrants, who were living on the premises.
The petitioner also said that the place had become dirty and the people, mostly illegal immigrants, were polluting the environment. They drank and littered the area, the PIL said.
The temple is thronged by a large number of pilgrims and devotees, who come from far-off places, and they have to go through a harrowing time due to these illegal immigrants, Khariwal said in the litigation.
They consume alcohol and other intoxicants inside the temple premises, the PIL said. The encroachers also consumed meat and fish and littered the temple premises which made the place stink, the petitioner said.
The court had earlier directed the state to enquire into the matter and furnish an affidavit with regards to the current status of encroachment on the temple premises.
The bench today obser-ved that the encroachers should be removed at the earliest and the premises made free of any unwanted constructions for the benefit of devotees.

Auto strike off, Rs 10 for 1st km, Rs 7 thereon

Express News Service
Posted: May 07, 2009 at 0304 hrs IST
Pune From Thursday, Puneites will be paying a fare of Rs 10 for the first kilometer and Rs 7 for every subsequent kilometer, as all rickshaw unions called off the autorickshaw strike at around 9.30 pm on Wednesday.
The settlement was reached after the RTA and the rickshaw unions held talks, led by Ajit Pawar, Wedneday afternoon, in Mantralaya, Mumbai.
“Across the state, it is Rs 7 for every subsequent kilometer after the first slab. The RTA told us that if a commuter files a PIL, they would be helpless, which is why we have withdrawn the strike,” said Bapu Bhave, secretary, Pune City Autorickshaw Federation.
Not too many autorickshaw drivers were happy with this decision. “What were we doing all these days then? This is a breach of faith by the union leaders. They have been compromised,” said an autorickshaw driver. “We are not satisfied. It feels like we have just about passed in an examination, not secured a distinction,” admitted Baba Adhav, president of the Rickshaw Panchayat, speaking to the media after he broke his fast late in the evening.
Earlier in the day, RTA officials said that the Rs 10 per km offer for the first kilometer had been made as a compromise. “It was the guardian minister Ajit Pawar who put forth the idea,” said Dilip Band, RTA chairperson.
“We proposed Rs 10 to settle the matter. The strike has been going on for so many days and we felt even the unions should feel like they have gained,” said RTO Chandrakant Kharatmal, who is the secretary of the RTA.
However, till evening, talks had proved inconclusive as the autorickshaw unions and the RTA left Mumbai without reaching a conclusion. The unions had been pushing for Rs 7.50 per extra kilometer 50 paise more than what the RTA was willing to offer. But pressure had been building on the striking autorickshaw drivers, as the RTA had managed to drive a wedge between the unions on Tuesday. The Pimpri Chinchwad unions had called off the strike after the RTA agreed not to enforce its “ply by meter” notification.
Nana Kshirsagar, of the Maharashtra Rickshaw Sena, said his union had withdrawn from the strike. On Wednesday early morning, his office was ransacked, allegedly in retaliation to this move. “More than five days of strike have passed, the auto drivers are poor, they need to earn their living. We withdrew because we couldn’t continue this way,” said Kshirsagar.
As Tuesday drew to an end, helplessness and strain had set in among many autorickshaw drivers as well, who were spending the hours counting their losses. “We do not have any other means of livelihood; it is a loss of around Rs 500 a day. We obviously want it to end as soon as possible, many of us are fed up but raising voice against this is impossible,” an auto driver had said earlier on Wednesday.
One driver said his union leader had refused to give the approval letter to ferry his sick child in his own autorickshaw to the hospital. “They told me to call for an ambulance. It was beyond what I could afford,” he said. Auto rickshaw drivers said they were scared to move out in their autos for fear of attack. “Not only were we losing money, we had to travel everywhere by bus,” said another driver.

The Capitalist | RCom thrives in adverse global meltdown–RCom-thrives.html

Overall, RCom earned a PBT of 8% on capital employed. Finally, in terms of return on net worth, RCom earned a respectable 21%
Inconvenient Questions. Relevant Answers | RN Bhaskar
Despite a slowdown in the economy, Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) appears to have thrived. If one takes its recently announced results into account, some very interesting facts come to light.
Also See Big Gains (Graphic)
First, while the entire corporate world was burdened by financial charges, RCom managed to recover not only the Rs938 crore it paid out during the nine months to December, but also managed to end the year to 31 March with a surplus of Rs787 crore. In other words, just between January and March 2009, RCom managed to earn over Rs1,724 crore as finance charges. It made money on money at a time most fund managers thought that it was the most difficult thing to do.
This translates into a 6.46% return on gross debt, which when annualized works out to a whopping 25.8%. While talking to financial analysts at an earnings conference call in January, group managing director Satish Seth had said: “Finance charges comprise of interest income and expense, foreign exchange gains and losses, including foreign exchange gains on bank balances and financial investments and amounts receivable from foreign subsidiaries. A composition of this is giving a net result of income.”
Also Read R N Bhaskar’s earlier columns
Also, look at the profit for ordinary activities before tax (PBT). During the nine months ended 31 December, PBT stood at Rs1,224 crore. The three months to March saw it soar to Rs6,135 crore. This means that in just three months RCom earned a PBT of Rs4,911 crore. While this represents just 6.4% on its capital employed, when annualized it works out to an impressive 25.7%.
Overall, RCom earned a PBT of 8% on capital employed. Finally, in terms of return on net worth, RCom earned a respectable 21%.
It just goes to show that when it comes to making money on money, global meltdowns mean little for adroit players such as RCom.
Power breakdown
An unexpected consequence of the economic downturn is that—more than ever before—state electricity boards are likely to show up some of the largest deficits in history. While the figures are not out as yet, bureaucrats and legislators are still fumbling for an escape route to hide the losses that have mounted.
The reason for their discomfiture is not hard to find. The downturn has caused many companies to cut back on production. That has meant poorer offtake of electricity. While it may be good news for urban and rural households, which have faced fewer power cuts in this sweltering summer, it has also meant lower offtake by the best paying sector of the economy—the corporate sector.
As may be known, the corporate sector actually subsidises power supply to farmers and rural folk, many of whom get electricity virtually free of cost, either because they steal power or because of populism, which has been fed and encouraged by politicians.
Politicians promise free power hoping it will bring in votes. And the corporate sector, followed by the urban household sector, pays high tariffs instead, as they must compensate for the dispensation of free or subsidised power.
How high are power tariffs for the corporate sector? Well, take one good example. Reliance Energy Ltd—which does not have to subsidise the dispensation of cheap power to the agricultural sector—is already the provider of the most expensive power to the corporate sector in Mumbai, for which it has a distribution licence. It sells power to business at a minimum cost of Rs10.41 per kWh. In many cases, the costs can be a lot higher. All of a sudden, with significantly lower cross subsidies available from the corporate sector, the cost of offering cheap or free power to the masses has begun to pinch.
Add this to India’s fiscal deficit and the number will be even more horrifying.
Slush funds
India’s bureaucrats must actually think that the country’s judges are dumb! How else can one explain their belated efforts to write to the Swiss banks asking for names of Indians who have accounts with them? Does any businessman or politician keep money in his own name? Were any of the Quattrocchi funds traced to any account held in the name of Ottavio Quattrocchi?
All these funds are normally kept in the names of companies which are listed in tax havens, which protect the name of the actual shareholder or operator.
What Indian bureaucrats and legislators should be doing is to join the global demand for more disclosure of shareholders of companies listed in these tax havens—St Kitts, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, et al. Merely writing to the Swiss banks will not be enough.
In fact, it is only after the Supreme Court took cognizance of the public interest litigation (PIL), asking for the government to begin tracing the list of people with accounts overseas, that the courts began asking the question this column asked almost four months ago.
How is it that a man (Pune-based stud-farm owner Hassan Ali Khan) who had four passports (some of them were obviously forged) was not kept behind bars? And how is it that in spite of the enforcement directorate producing details of bank accounts which showed laundering and transfer of funds worth $8 billion (Rs39,600 crore), not a single property of the person and his family was seized nor any application made to the banks overseas to freeze the funds?
Here’s hoping that some good will finally come out of these disclosures.
R.N. Bhaskar runs a company with significant interests in distance learning and examination certification and writes on corporate and business policy issues. Comments on this column are welcome at
Graphics by Ahmed Raza Khan / Mint

(Rpting after correcting a word in 4th line) HC restrains farmhouses on farm land from allowing function

Published: May 6,2009

New Delhi, May 6 The Delhi High Court today restrained the farmhouses constructed on agricultural land in the national capital from allowing marriage or any other function in their premises and asked court rpt court officers to conduct surprise checks to ensure misuse of farmhouses.
The orders were passed by a bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah which also the registrar general to appoint two officers to conduct surprise visits and submit a report to the court.
The Bench was hearing a PIL alleging MCD officials were not taking action against farmhouses accused of violating the guidelines and misusing the properties.
In November 2007, following a direction from the Court, MCD had issued guidelines asking all farmhouses to make the public roads free for traffic movement and farmhouse owners were asked to have sufficient space for parking of vehicles belonging to guests within the premises.
Source: PTI

HC wants govt to fast-track SAT appointments

Published on Wed, May 06, 2009 at 16:31 , Updated at Wed, May 06, 2009 at 18:36
Source : CNBC-TV18
A public interest litigation (PIL) filed against the government at the Bombay High Court has sought attention to the backlogs at the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT). The tribunal needs two more members to pass final orders, who, it is believed, have already been selected in November but haven’t been appointed yet. The Bombay High Court observed today that these appointments should be made without any further delay.
Somasekhar Sundaresan, the SAT PIL Petitioner Partner, J Sagar Associates, said, “The court has asked the government to make the appointments. The government said that it is pending with the Cabinet Committee for Appointments. The court has fixed a date of six weeks within which the government believes it would make the appointments and take the matter forward.”
“We did point out that in the last 30 days, the Air India Chairman has been replaced twice and the Appointments Committee of Cabinet seems to be quite actively dealing with other matters but not the judicial appointments. So one can only hope that the government acts quickly. However, they will have to be put back to the court in six weeks,” he added.
Sundaresan further spoke about the effect this has had on the SAT tribunal machinery and how has the delay in appointment affected the day-to-day work.
“This is denial to statutory right to appeal. The SEBI Act enables appeals against all action and decisions of SEBI, it’s a statutory rights that’s available and because judges are not there that statutory rights have been denied. Hence, a tribunal, which has brought pendency down to 90-80, the backlog has now gone up to 140-150. So this is one of the best performing tribunals in the country but the government seems to be apathetic towards it,” Sundaresan concluded.

Swiss bank: The Big Lie!

Swiss authorities claim that the Indian government submitted “forged” documents in the $8 billion Hassan Ali case. Has finance ministry lied to the Supreme Court?
Exclusive report By Sanjay Kapoor Berne/New Delhi
Someone is not telling the truth. Is it the Union finance ministry of the UPA government in Delhi, performing its last tango, caught in what is clearly a ‘Swiss Bank Tangle’?
Last week in the Supreme Court, the central government’s solicitor, responding to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that demanded government’s action on retrieving Indian black money stashed in Swiss banks, had given the names of three Indians and how the agencies were following up on their case.
In a 29-page affidavit, the government had detailed the action it had taken against Pune-based stud farm owner, Hassan Ali Khan, his wife Rheema and Kolkata-based businessman, Kashi Nath Tapuria, who allegedly were holding $8 billion in an UBS account in Switzerland.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), on its part, has issued a show cause notice to Khan for contravention of Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 after it found out during a raid in January 2007 that Khan had deposited around 8 billion dollars at the UBS Bank. The Income Tax department has raised a total demand of Rs 71,848.59 crore against Khan, his wife Rheema and other associates. Investigations so far have revealed overseas bank accounts of Kashi Nath Tapuria and his wife. The ED has seized their passports.
Hardnews travelled to Switzerland to chase a story on the Indian black money and Swiss Bank transparency issue, and learnt to its surprise that there was a manifest truth deficit on this issue. The most scandalous was the assertion by the Swiss justice ministry on the celebrated case of the mysterious Hassan Ali Khan and his account in Switzerland. In a communication from Folco Galli, Information chief of Eidgenössisches Justiz-und Polizeidepartement (EJPD) Bundesamt für Justiz (Swiss Department of Justice and Police) BJ, Berne, Hardnews was informed that the Indian authorities submitted “forged” documents to seek assistance on the Hassan Ali Khan case. Galli’s reply to Hardnews on this case is precise and direct and does not need any interpretation. Galli talks about $ 6 billion and not $ 8 billion as it is made out to be. Here is his categorical reply:
“In January 2007, Indian authorities have submitted in the case of Hassan Ali Khan a request for legal assistance to the Federal Office of Justice (FoJ)… In the same month, the FoJ informed the Indian authorities as follows: Concerning the presumed transfer of 6 billion USD, domestic inquiry has revealed that the banking information provided with the request for legal assistance are forged documents. Accordingly, the supposed transfer to UBS accounts has no reality.
Concerning the request Swiss authorities need some specification in order to be able to examine and possibly to accept and execute it:
- a confirmation that the Indian investigation is a criminal one (no tax or related investigation)
- a better description of the predicate offences which are object of the Indian money laundering investigation
- to show the relation between the predicate offences and the accounts in Switzerland… In March 2007, the Indian Embassy submitted some complements to the FoJ.
In April 2007, the FoJ informed the Embassy that the complements don’t include the necessary specification. Without these information, Swiss authorities can’t examine whether the conditions to grant legal assistance are fulfilled or not. Indian authorities haven’t submitted the necessary specification so far.”

To reiterate, Galli says the following: first, the documents that were given by Indian authorities were forged and, therefore, the transfer of Indian funds to UBS accounts “has no reality”. Swiss authorities want to provide further assistance in that case if the Indian authorities could satisfy the Swiss government’s demand to establish dual criminality – what is crime in India is a crime in Switzerland. The Swiss also wanted to know whether Khan’s offence was an object of Indian money laundering. Since April 2007, Indian government has not responded to Swiss authorities on this issue.
Interestingly, Supreme Court, too, had asked why the Indian government had not slapped money laundering charges against Khan and Tapuria.
Galli, in his communication, also informs that most requests for legal assistance come from neighbouring and other European states. “The Indian authorities submit only a few requests per year to Switzerland.” Galli did not elaborate on the quality of these requests and what came of them.
This is not the first time that the Swiss had problems with Indian documentation. Even in the Bofors case, Swiss courts had refused to entertain some of the documents as they were illegible. The moot question is: were forged documents created deliberately to prevent transfer of funds to India or the account does not exist at all?
Galli’s answer does not preclude the possibility of such an account as he expects the Indian government to furnish more authentic details to take the probe further. Evidence that the account may exist lies in the huge fine that has been imposed by income tax authorities on Khan and his associates. The question is: who are behind this charade?
It seems that the UBS managed to convince the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) of their integrity, which had put their license on hold for retail banking in India claiming lack of cooperation in tracking Hassan Ali Khan’s money trail. The ED that looks into foreign exchange related crimes gave the clearance seemingly after giving credibility to Swiss government claims. It is reasonable to infer that both the ED and Swiss Bank were on the same page on the quality of evidence against Khan. Earlier, Swiss Bankers’ Association president Pierre G Mirabaud, during a visit to India last year, had put the onus of getting to the truth on Khan’s money trail on New Delhi.
Another aspect investigated by Hardnews was how much of Indian funds are stashed in the Swiss banks. Is it really Rs 70 lakh crore as claimed by BJP’s prime ministerial candidate or is it less? It was important to get an official view from the Swiss Bankers’ Association and square it with all the figures bandied around in India.
The Swiss Bankers’ Association Communication Director, James Nason, told Hardnews in Berne about the money held in their accounts. The Swiss National Bank, Nason stated, comes out with details of bonds and securities held in custody account in Switzerland. At the end of 2008, the total was 3,822 billion CHF (Swiss Frank = Rs 43). Out of this, 2,190 billion CHF was of foreign entities that included the government, institutional and private etc. Indians had 4,306 million CHF liabilities; this includes both the custody and fiduciary accounts. China, on the other hand, had 15,650 CHF alone in custody account. Nason reiterates that all of this is not “private money”, it could be government, institutional or whatever.
Those who know the ways of Swiss banking like the author of the celebrated book on Swiss banking, (Switzerland – a rogue state?) Viktor Parma, claims that the banks in his country do not give information readily and are good at buying time. They were forced to yield to US demands under President Barack Obama as it enjoys a privileged position. The big question is: will the Swiss treat India, even if LK Advani becomes the prime minister and chases these funds, with some amount of respect?
Sanjay Kapoor is the Editor of Hardnews monthly magazine and the author of Bad Money Bad Politics – The untold Hawala story.

HC notice to Nandi

7 May 2009, 0722 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has issued notice to Nand Gopal Gupta alias Nandi, cabinet minister for institutional finance stamp and registration, UP to file a counter affidavit in a writ petition filed by a state government employee.

Issuing notice to the minister, the court observed that notice will indicate that the counter affidavit is to be filed by the minister within eight weeks. Justice Rakesh Tiwari, passed this order on a writ petition, filed by Raj Narain Singh Yadav, who has challenged his transfer made by the government on the instance of the minister.

The petitioner was transferred from the office of Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Allahabad to the CMO office, Pratapgarh on the post of junior engineer (Civil) on March 2, 2009. The counsel, appearing for the petitioner, CB Yadav contended in the court that the petitioner was transferred from Allahabad to district Pratapgarh under the influence of the cabinet minister in UP. The counsel had also appended the letter of the minister in this regard and also made the minister party in the writ petition.

The standing counsel opposed the writ petition and argued that there can be no hard and fast rule that every transfer made on the instance of an MP or MLA would be vitiated. It all depends on the facts and circumstances of an individual case. In support of his argument, the state counsel relied upon a case law reported in 2007 (8) SCC, 150 (Mohd Masood Ahmad Vs State of UP and others).

The court after hearing the parties directed to hear this case after expiry of eight weeks. The fact of the case was that the petitioner was working in the office of CMO, Allahabad from 2005 and was transferred to CMO office in district Pratapgarh, allegedly on the instance of the minister.

Tag newborns and parents, HC tells civic hospitals

7 May 2009, 0327 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: In a bid to end the rising number of thefts of newborns, the Bombay high court on Wednesday framed guidelines for civic hospitals, including round-the-clock security and biometric identification systems for infants.

Following suggestions drawn up by a committee of lawyers, a division bench of justices Ranjana Desai and Rajesh Ketkar asked the BMC, government and semi-government hospitals across Maharashtra to implement it. “These are remedial measures to prevent theft of babies from hospitals,” said the judges asking the corporation and state to inform the court of progress in implementing the guidelines by August 6.

The measures suggested include security guards equipped with walky talkies and restricted visitor entry to wards housing children. Within two hours of a baby being born, the hospital will have to record the child’s biometric footprints as well as birth marks in the infant register. The baby as well as its parents will be tagged with matching identifications bands during their stay in the hospital.

Hospitals will also have to install CCTVs for monitoring the premises and LCD TVs at strategic locations to disseminate information. The staff will be provided with identification badges and no baby will be allowed to be taken out of the ward without the permission of the sister-in-charge. Hospitals which do not have the biometric system will have to install the facility within six months, the court said.

The HC’s orders came on a petition filed by Chembur couple Mohan and Mohini Nerurkar whose new born son was kidnapped from Sion hospital in January 2009. The court had earlier asked the BMC to deposit Rs 5 lakh towards compensation to the Nerurkars. Subsequently, the high court set up a committee comprising advocate general Ravi Kadam, and senior advocates K K Singhvi and Rafique Dada to draw up guidelines to increase security at hospitals.

Public prosecutor Satish Borulkar submitted a fresh report on the police probe. The baby and the woman who is suspected to have kidnapped the child are yet to be traced, he stated in his report. The court admitted the petition and also asked the Mumbai police to double its efforts to locate the missing baby.

HC seeks ADAG reply on yacht’s `duty evasion’

7 May 2009, 0345 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN
MUMBAI: The five-cabin Rs 100 crore Yacht Tian that Anil Ambani bought from Italy is still out of bounds for him. On Wednesday, the Bombay high court gave the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) time till Friday to file its reply to the customs’ claim that the company was avoiding payment of Rs 28 crore as duty.

The customs authorities had seized the yacht in February that was imported in November last year. By then, it had already sailed to Goa on December 27, 2008, carrying on board “14 prominent passengers, including Anil Ambani and his family”.

The yacht is at present locked and docked off the Gateway of India. The customs authorities say that the foreign-flag yacht was brought in as cargo and hence, attracts import duty and a guarantee of Rs 15 crore. The Anil Ambani group of companies, through their solicitor Shrikant Doijode, said it was brought in as cargo only for convenience and could easily have sailed. “We were forced to deposit Rs 25 crore, but the yacht was still seized,” said ADAG.

The customs department told the court that the yacht is built to sail within harbour and coastal area or lakes and not meant for sailing to Colombo. But ADAG said the vessel had got permission to sail to Colombo and then to the Maldives.

“The company has used the imported luxury yacht without completing its duty liability and intended to evade duty,” said S R Vichare, assistant customs commissioner.

HC stays school fee hike

7 May 2009, 0419 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: In a huge, albeit interim, relief to parents across the state, the Bombay high court on Wednesday restrained schools in the state from hiking their fees. A division bench of Justice J N Patel and Justice Mridula Bhatkar granted the order following an assurance from the Maharashtra government that it would indeed set up a committee to monitor and regulate school fees (reported in TOI on May 2).

“Schools that have already hiked their fees for the new academic year will have to restore them to the pre-hike level,” Sanjay Kumar, principal secretary (school education), told TOI. “Schools that wish to hike their fees will have to file an application before the proposed fee fixation committee. This committee will take the final decision on the matter,” he said, adding that the committee would be set up in about eight weeks.

Wednesday’s court order came in the wake of a petition filed by around 160 parents of students studying in the Bal Bharati Public School in Kharghar. Around 1,800 students study in the school which follows the CBSE syllabus. The parents complained that the school, which was charging around Rs 1,400 per month as fees, had hiked them by 50% for the next academic year which commences in June.

Kumar told the high court that the circulars would be issued to all schools in the state in this regard within a couple of days.

There are around 775 aided schools in Mumbai which charge nominal fees. In addition, there are close to 600 unaided schools, which follow various syllabi, including CBSE, ICSE and IB. Many of these schools have hiked their fees steeply this year, evoking howls of protest from parents already hit hard by the economic slump. What’s more, there was no corresponding improvement in the teaching or facilities offered, they complained.

Last week, state education minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had said that the new proposed body, to be set up on the lines of the Shikshan Shulka Committee that regulates fees for higher and technical education , would monitor the fees of SSC, ICSE, CBSE and IB schools.

Parents, while welcoming the order, were however waiting for clarifications. “In recessionary times such an order is welcome. But, what about parents who have already paid the fees for the next academic year?” asked Sarita Deshpande of Borivli.

CBI draws HC flak for delayed trial in graft case

Posted: May 07, 2009 at 0123 hrs IST
Chandigarh With a case pending for the last 18 years, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has pulled up the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for its “lapses”.
After registering a corruption case against five residents of Ambala in 1991, the agency is yet to complete evidence in the case. In January 2008, a lower court in Ambala refused to entertain the CBI’s pleas seeking adjournments on the ground that it had to examine witnesses and “closed evidence” in the case. While there were a total of 29 witnesses in the case, 10 of them died during the course of the trial, while only 12 were examined.
The five accused in the case had allegedly forged liquor permits issued by the Haryana government to illegally supply liquor in Mizoram.
Passing strictures against the agency, Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia partly allowed its appeal that challenged three orders passed by the Ambala court. “In the present case, the CBI has not acted with due diligence. There are many lapses. They have been casual in their approach,” the judge held. While the CBI’s counsel said only two witnesses remained to be examined, the defence counsel said the two did not even figure in the list of witnesses and that a subsequent application had been given that these two were required to be examined. The High Court also took strong exception to the fact that only one revision petition was filed for challenging three separate orders of the trial court.
“It was expected that orders in two revision petitions should have been separately challenged before this court. All three orders passed by the trial court should have been assailed by filing different petitions. Since the CBI has wasted a lot of time by repeating the same demand before the trial court and then approaching the revision court, which had no jurisdiction, I am of the view that if this petition is thrown on this technicality, again a lot of time will be wasted,” the court observed.
The HC held that the trial court had rightly exercised discretion and “closed the evidence” on the ground that the CBI had availed itself of countless opportunities, but failed to examine witnesses. It was also concerned that the present case was the oldest in the trial court, the judge said.
“This court is of the opinion that a balanced view is to be formulated — neither the prosecution should be put to disadvantage, nor the accused should suffer agony. A protracted trial of 18 years will not disentitle the CBI from one effective opportunity,” Justice Ahluwalia added.
The petition was disposed of with the direction that on the next date of hearing, May 26, the CBI would be at its own risk and should endeavour to examine the two witnesses. The entire deposition of the two witnesses will conclude on May 26.
The counsel for the accused demanded that heavy cost should be imposed in case the CBI’s plea was accepted. The court, however, did not entertain this, “taking into consideration that CBI is a government organisation and the cost awarded will burden the public exchequer”.

State may go to SC over HC fiat on English

7 May 2009, 0315 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: The language issue in schools is coming to a head again. The Karnataka High Court had directed the state government to permit English medium schools. Now, the state government may approach the Supreme Court for stay on the order.

Primary and secondary education minister Visvesvara Hegde Kageri told reporters here on Wednesday that on April 6, the high court set a deadline of four weeks for the order to be implemented.

The court had given its verdict on this issue in July 2008. After consulting educationists, the government filed an appeal before the SC. Since the apex court hadn’t taken up the case so far, the high court on April 6 set a four-week deadline for the government to allow English medium schools.

“We don’t want to face contempt the court charges. Therefore, the government decided to approach the SC for a stay on the high court’s order,’’ Kageri said.

The 1994 language policy was challenged by the Association of Management of English Medium of Karnataka (KAMS). K S Krishna Iyer, general secretary, KAMS, said this was quashed by a full Bench of the high court in 2008.

“The judgment clearly states that every citizen has the right to select the medium of their choice. Judgment of the full Bench was challenged by the government in the Supreme Court,” he said.

The government filed a Special Leave Petition in the apex court challenging the full Bench judgment. “As the SLP is yet to come for hearing, the government filed an interim prayer to stay the full bench judgment,” he said.

Many schools have applied to the government seeking permission for English-medium schools. “But the government refused, stating that the case is pending before the SC,” he said. Later, the schools went to the high court stating the government is not giving permission to start English-medium school.

HC redifines extra commission retained by travel agents

Anindita Dey / Mumbai May 7, 2009, 1:05 IST
In a ruling that could severely hit the revenues of international airlines, the Delhi High Court has said that supplementary commission retained by the travel agent is not commission within the meaning of section 194H and is liable for tax to be deducted at source (TDS).
The judgment delivered last month was in response to the appeals filed by 12 airlines — Singapore Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch, Pakistan International Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Air France, Thai Airways International Public Co Ltd, British Airways, Air India, Belair Travels and Cargo and United Airlines. Both Kuwait Airways and Air France had filed two appeals on a similar issue.
Supplementary commission is paid when the airline supplies blank tickets to travel agents in bulk for on-selling to customers. This is different from the standard commission received by travel agents from an airline, which is on the basis of the total volume of business.
Section 194H, which deals with commission or brokerage, and states that any person, who is responsible for paying, on or after the 1st day of June, 2001, to a resident, any income by way of commission (not being insurance commission referred to in section 194D) or brokerage, shall, at the time of credit of such income to the account of the payee or at the time of payment of such income in cash or by the issue of a cheque or draft or by any other mode, deduct income-tax thereon at the rate of ten per cent.
Commission or brokerage for this section includes any payment received or receivable, directly or indirectly, by a person acting on behalf of another person for services in the course of buying or selling of goods or in relation to any transaction relating to any asset, valuable article or thing, not being securities. Securities for this section means shares and bonds which are tradable.
The twelve airline assessees argued that since the money realised by travel agents, over and above the net fare to the airlines, was solely on account of their efforts, the same cannot be considered as commission within the meaning of section 194 H of the Income Tax Act.
This is because, these airlines were not the source of money received by travel agents over and above the net fare, stated the airline assessees. In addition, they said that neither the difference between the published and the net fare was credited to the accounts of the travel agents, nor was the payment of difference between the two paid by the airline to its travel agents.
However, the court said that travel agents act on the behalf of airlines and established a relationship between the airline and a third party — the passenger. By entering into such a legal relationship on behalf of the airlines, the principal-agent relationship was confirmed, which was one of the basic requirements for attracting the provisions of section 194H, it said.
A similar petition was also filed by Lufthansa German Airlines but the airlines offered tickets to the travel agents at a concessional price. “The difference in real price and the concessional price of the tickets cannot be termed as commission since they are offered for personal use of travel agents and are non transferable,” the high court said.
Lufthansa was the only airline to have got a relief in the case. All others will have to pay tax in response to the notice sent to them for assessment years 2001-2, along with the interest due.

Delhi HC pulls up Prasar Bharati CEO

New Delhi (PTI): The Delhi High Court on Wednesday pulled up Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer B S Lalli for bypassing the public broadcaster’s Board and making it “virtually redundant”.
“We will not let the CEO to work in this manner. Some eminent persons are on the board and he cannot bypass the board,” a bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice N K Kaul said while asking Prasar Bharati to file a response on the allegation.
“The Board has become virtualy redundant because of the conduct of the CEO. There has to be some accountability and you file a detailed affidavit by the next date of hearing,” the bench said.
The court’s observations came while hearing a PIL seeking its direction to the Centre to remove the CEO whose tenure has been extended by the government.
The petitioner, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, an NGO, also sought an independent investigation into the allegations of financial irregularities by the CEO.
“He is acting with complete impunity and disregard for the directions and concerns raised by the Board regarding the instances of financial irregularity and his autocratic functioning,” advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner. said.
“The CEO is holding the office illegaly, despite the expiry of his term on April 21 on the basis of clarificatory note issued by the government which is against the statutory provisions of the Prasar Bharati Act,” the petitioner said.
The broadcaster, however, refuted all the allegations and said the CEO’s tenure is protected under the old law.
“There is no ambiguity and misrepresentation of the Act,” Additional Solicitor General Parag Tripathi appearing for the public broadcaster said.
The court, however, was not satisfied by his response and asked him to file an affidavit.
“You cannot go beyond the statute with regards to continuance of his tenure,” the court said adding “the Board is the supreme authority and it should not be sidelined.”
Then petitioner pointed out that the government had in 2008 amended the Act under which age of superannuation for the CEO was increased from 62 to 65 years.
It was alleged that Lalli, who was appointed in 2006, was to retire in April this year after attaining 62 years but his tenure was extended after the government applied the amendement with retrospective effect.

Tata Power gets favorable judgement from Supreme Court

Tata Power Company Ltd has announced that the Hon’ble Supreme Court, on May 06, 2009 pronounced a landmark judgement approving the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) signed by Tata Power with BEST for 800 MW and with Tata Power (Distribution) for 477 MW. These were earlier approved by Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC).

The Supreme Court has also held that Section 23 of the Electricity Act, 2003 does not give any jurisdiction to MERC to allocate any power to a non-contracting discom.

The Tata Power stock was trading at Rs.910.80, up by Rs.9.35 or 1.04%. The stock hit an intraday high of Rs.923.50 and low of Rs.900.

The total traded quantity was 111116 compared to 2 week average of 133003.
Source: Equity Bulls
Posted On: 5/6/2009 2:59:09 AM

Gujarat HC dismisses petition in Sabarmati jail case

2009-05-06 09:41:18
Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad
The Gujarat High Court has dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking the transfer of Sabarmati Central Jail Superintendent V Chandrashekhar. The petition was filed by the Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM) in view of the beating up of inmates in the prison.
A bench comprising Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Akil Kureshi observed that the inmates had already been provided treatment for the injuries they suffered in the beating inside the jail. A report on the beating up of the inmates was submitted to the bench by Ahmedabad Sessions Judge P B Desai on April 29.
Twenty-two Inmates, mostly the accused involved in the July 26 serial bomb blast cases, were allegedly beaten up by jail authorities on March 26 and 27 after they went on a mass hunger strike to protest the conditions inside the prison.

PIL against PDS, killings

Source: Hueiyen News Service
Imphal, May 05 2009: With reference to the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by social activists Nepram Anita and Moirangthem Sanatomba both residents of Langathel on behalf of the villagers of Langathel and Phundrei under the initiative of Human Right Initiative (HRI), a Division Bench of Guwahati High Court, Imphal comprising Justice Maibam Binoykumar and Justice AC Upadhyay today has issued notice to the respondents which is returnable within four weeks time.

HRI recalled that N Anita was conferred with the Youth Award in the year 2007 and stated that Targeted Public Distribution System is a food secure scheme launched throughout the nation in the year 1997 but most of the really poor families of the villages have not been getting the benefits of this scheme as the deputy commissioner of Thoubal District and his subordinate officers and District Supply Officer failed to issue PDS ration cards to 938 applicants of Langathel and Phundrei villages stated the HRI press release.

Following another PIL against killing, a bench of the same high court has also issued notice of motion returnable within four weeks time in other two cases of custodial death in the hand of Manipur Police Commandos on arrest of Asem Bikram of Khumbong and Thangboi Kipgen of New Keithelmanbi on May 24, 2008 last and later killed at New Keithelmanbi area long with another youth named Bisharup.

HRI stated that Kipgen Haokip was arrested in front of his mother (petitioner) on that day by a team of commandos coming in civil dress and was taken away in a Maruti Car.

Ashem Ibempishak, the mother of Ashem Bikram who was also a victim lodged a written complaint with the OC Patsoi but her complaint was denied and then she approached the SP Imphal West but no action has been taken up till date.

Hence the mother of late Bikram and mother of Thangboi Kipgen, Henei Kipgen have filed separate cases of unjustified killing of their sons.

The respondents listed in the case included the State of Manipur through the Principal Secretary (Home) to the Government of Manipur, DGP Manipur and SP Imphal West District.

Advocate legal council of HRI, M Paikhomba will appear the above cases on behalf of the petitioners.

HC stays SP press not on helmet

Source: Hueiyen News Service
Imphal, May 05 2009: In an interim judgment, a division bench comprising Justice M Binoykumar and Justice AB Upadhyay of the Gauhati High Court, Imphal Bench has issued a notice of motion returnable within two weeks staying the Press Note issued by the Imphal West district senior SP, L Kailun on April 29 necessitating the wearing of helmet/protective head gear by two-wheeler riders and pillion riders.

The verdict was pronounced by the Court as per a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed before the Court against the Chief Secretary, Commissioner (Home), DGP and Imphal West district senior SP (listed as the respondents) by the Centre for Legal Advancement, Manipur represented by its vice-president Akham Kom as the petitioner.

The Petitioner prayed to quash the Press Note issued by the Senior SP of Imphal West district or to provide at least 60 days forprocuring helmets to the public and to pass an appropriate interim order in this regard.

The Petitioner was heard through his Counsel, Advocate K Pradeep.

Hearing the petition, the Court stayed the operation of the Press Note issued on April 29 by the Imphal west district senior SP and no action is to be taken in pursuance of the impugned Press Note till the returnable date.

Advocate Th Ibohal appeared on behalf of the state respondents and also accepts notice on behalf of all the state respondents.

It is pertinent to mention that the SP of Imphal West district, in a press note on April 29, said that the Imphal West district police will be conducting a special drive to enforce wearing of helmets in the city while expressing concern over the fatality of accidents occurring without helmets.

It also said that two wheeler rider/pillion rider found not wearing helmet/head gear will be fined and challan will be issued as per existing rate with immediate effect.

SC poser to govt over black money

5 May 2009, 0605 hrs IST, Sanjay K Singh, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked Centre to look into the feasibility of registering criminal cases under provisions of the Money Laundering Act to get information from the Swiss government on the unaccounted money parked in banks and financial institutions there.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justice P Sathasivam and Justice M K Sharma sought explanation from the government as to why not even a single individual has been interrogated in the last five years in connection under Money Laundering Act and illicit money parked abroad.

Senior Counsel Anil Diwan appearing for petitioners Ram Jethmalani and others in his written submissions said: “The most important factor is that not even a single individual has been apprehended/interrogated by the government or UOI in the last five years in relation to money laundering and slush funds from illicit funds parked abroad.”

Alleging blatant inaction in Hassan Ali’s case, Mr Diwan said: “Why has the source of money of such large amounts not being investigated under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002?” “Prima facie this (Ali’s case) is a clear case which can be brought under the Money Laundering Act.

It is clear that the Swiss authorities would be bound to disclose information, if criminal cases were initiated against him apart from tax evasion,” said Mr Diwan.

Mr Diwan alleged: “It is not unreasonable to infer that UOI is interested in protecting powerful individuals who may be using Hassan Ali and his wife as nominee/benamindar.” When additional solicitor-general Gopal Subramanium objected to the plea, Justice Sharma said: “Money Laundering Act could be applied to try such cases.”

LEGAL NEWS 04.05.2009

SC fixes July 28 for hearing black money issue

Press Trust of India / New Delhi May 4, 2009, 12:07 IST

The Supreme Court today posted for July 28 the hearing on the petition accusing government of inaction in bringing back black money stashed in foreign banks.
Without issuing notice to the government, a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan allowed the petitioners Ram Jethmalani, senior advocate, and five others to file a comprehensive rejoinder to the affidavit filed by the Centre on May two on the issue.
The Bench also said that the Centre can also respond to the written submissions filed today by the petitioners, raising objections against the delay in filing of the affidavit in which it alleged that the petitioners had links with the BJP.
The petitioners accused the government of not honouring the April 22 promise of filing the affidavit within 48 hours. They said that the assurance to file the affidavit within 48 hours was given to avoid issuance of notice.
They said that in the affidavit the government had used the word “alleged deposits” which is directly contrary to everyone’s perception and knowledge including that of the Prime Minister.
Senior advocate Anil Diwan, appearing for the petitioners alleged that the affidavit filed by the government has not dealt with the facts that there was a fake passport case against Pune-based businessman Hasan Ali Khan and investigations relating to money laundering were also being undertaken against him, and that he was involved in transactions with Saudi Arabian arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.
Pointing out various inactions against Khan who allegedly has stashed money in a Swiss Bank, the petitioners in written submissions said, “Is it not unreasonable to infer that the government is interested in protecting powerful individuals, who may be using Khan and his wife as their nominee/benamidar”.
Further, Diwan said, “The most important factor is that not even a single individual has been apprehended/interrogated by the government in the last five years in relation to money laundering and slush funds from illicit funds, parked abroad.”
Besides Jethmalani, five others including former Punjab DGP K P S Gill and former Secretary General of Lok Sabha Subhash Kashyap, who are petitioners, have alleged that government was not taking action on the issue.
The PIL assumes importance as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L K Advani besides Left parties and others have been pressing the government to approach the foreign banks for bringing back the black money.
The petition sought a direction to the Centre to take up with the foreign banks, particularly the UBS Bank, Switzerland, the issue of freezing of accounts of Indian businessmen, politicians and other influential persons illegally holding their assets in such financial institutions.
The six petitioners, whom their counsel Diwan described as “super senior” citizens, had submitted that if the Rs 70 lakh crore, purportedly stashed in foreign banks, are retrieved it would substantially remove poverty in the country and promote its development.
In the 29-page affidavit, the government had said it has received information about Indian account holders in a German Bank but did not reveal the names on grounds of “confidentiality”.
The Ministry of Finance, in the affidavit, said German government made available the information after persistent follow up since February 2008 “on condition of strict confidentiality of contents under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).”
It had said the German government provided the information on March 18 this year about the Indian account holders in the LGT Bank, Liechtenstein. On the issue of deposits in banks in Switzerland, the affidavit had said Government has acted with utmost expedition.
The government had said that the PIL filed by former Law Minister and noted jurist Jethmalani and five others, accusing it of inaction was a “wild, reckless and baseless allegation”.

Government Files Affidavit in SC in Swiss Bank Accounts Case

May 3, 2009: The Center on Saturday filed an affidavit in Supreme Court in connection with Indian money illegally stashed in Swiss bank accounts.

The affidavit revealed that around Rs 72,000 crore were deposited in the accounts in name of horse trader Hasan Ali, his wife Raheema Khan and Ali’s friend Kashinath Tapuria.

The affidavit was filed in response to Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to seek government’s direction to bring back money in India.

Hasan Ali’s name had surfaced earlier in cases of fake passport and inappropriate assets.

Income Tax department is currently investigating the inappropriate assets case, whereas Ali has secured a bail in fake passports case.

The issue of hoarding Indian money in foreign banks was brought up by BJP leader L K Advani.

Advani had alleged that around Rs 25,00,000 crore was stashed in foreign bank accounts.

PIL against govt, I-T dept, Slocum over tax evasion

4 May 2009, 0253 hrs IST, M Padmakshan, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed before Allahabad High Court against the government, income-tax department and Delhi-based Shiv Nadar group company Slocum Investment, alleging tax evasion using the Mauritius route.

The PIL, filed by a chartered accountant Atul Kakkar, alleges that around Rs 3,500 crore was siphoned out of India using Mauritius-based overseas commercial bodies (OCBs) allegedly managed from India. The list of respondents in the case include Slocum Investment, Union of India, finance ministry and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

The petitioner has alleged that the government has not taken steps to check the loss of revenue arising from the complex round-trip transaction using Mauritius, with which India has a double taxation avoidance treaty.

When contacted an HCL spokesperson said: “Since it is a PIL, we believe it would not be appropriate to comment on the issue at the moment.”

According to the PIL, the modus operandi employed by the HCL group to circumvent tax payable in India was sent to all the authorities concerned but to no avail.

It consisted of HCL Technologies’ shares of Rs 4 face-value each being sold to Mauritius-based OCBs controlled by the Shiv Nadar group prior to listing for Rs 50 a share.

The sale was grossly undervalued as evident from the listing price of Rs 530. The shares were subsequently sold by the OCBs in the Indian stock markets at “astronomical” prices and resulted in value addition of Rs 3,500 crore.

The petitioner contends that while on the one hand the Nadar-controlled OCBs made huge profits that were not taxed in India even though they were managed from here, Slocum Investment filed its transactions in the shares as capital gains rather than business income at the time of declaration of income. In fact, these transactions were filed as long-term capital losses, which were offset against long-term capital gains from other transactions in shares.

The petitioner contends that his stand has been vindicated by an ITAT judgement of March 2006 in the case of Slocum Investment Vs. deputy commissioner of income tax, by Delhi Tribunal reported in 2007, wherein the departmental representative (DR) also acknowledged that the said shares were held as stock in trade and, thus, income arising out of sale of the said shares should be treated as business income.

“Thus it is very clear from the above facts that there has been considerable flight of capital out of the country by deliberate undervaluation of the assets,” claims the petitioner.

P-Notes in country’s larger interest: Centre tells SC

4 May 2009, 0233 hrs IST, Sanjay K Singh, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: The Centre has told the Supreme Court that investments through the issuance of participatory notes (P-Notes) are in the larger economic interest of the country.

In an affidavit filed in the apex court on Saturday, the government said, “The expert group on encouraging FII flows and checking the vulnerability of capital markets to speculative flows (the Lahiri committee) discussed by various concerns arising out of P-Notes issued by FIIs. The central government has decided the continuation of issuance of P-Notes is in the larger economic interests of the country”.

The affidavit is in response to a PIL filed by former Union law minister Ram Jethmalani and others contending that P-Notes were undesirable instruments since they did not disclose the true identity of investors. The PIL has been listed for hearing on Monday.

Significantly, the government said in its affidavit that it is “unable to subscribe to the position that evidence exists with Sebi that anonymous entities are misusing P-Notes in the Indian markets”.

It also said that Sebi is empowered to obtain information about the final holder/beneficiary or of any holder at any point of time in case of an investigation or inquiry. FIIs are now obliged to provide the requisite information to the markets regulator, the Centre said.

“The central government was duly informed by Sebi that the Sebi (FII) Regulations, 1995, as amended, already provided for disclosure of full information regarding P-Notes issued by the FIIs/sub-accounts/affiliates, as and when in such form as the Sebi may require,” the affidavit said.

The Centre said the monthly reporting format for FIIs requires them to provide “details of outsourcing ODIs”. It said Sebi is “adequately equipped” to call for any information regarding P-Notes both under provisions of the Sebi Act, 1992, and Regulation 20A of the Sebi (FII) Regulations, 1995.

“A FII in India is subject to money laundering and KYC requirements. Therefore … the nature of fund flow would be reflected in the accounts opened by FIIs with banks which in turn are under mandatory obligation to comply with the provisions of KYC and Prevention of Money Laundering Act,” said affidavit filed by Priya VK Singh, director in the department of revenue.

High officials should not be given assignments post retirement: Justice JS Verma


Former Chief Justice of India J S Verma has pleaded that those holding constitutional posts like Election Commissioner or Supreme Court judges should not be given post-retirement assignments by the government at least for the next 10 years.

The former CJI in Walk the Talk show on a TV channel, anchored by Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta, also disapproved a former chief election commissioner joining a political party after retirement and becoming a minister in the Union Cabinet.

Justice Verma, who was the CJI in 1997-98, without taking name said he did not like the conduct of an ex-CJI who tried to secure nomination from a political party to become the President of India.

Justice Verma who dealt with Hawala case in which senior politicians of various political parties were the suspects, is also against political use of the CBI and also cited a case pending in the Supreme Court in which the CBI has taken several U-turns Although he did not name the case, the reference was obviously to the Disproportionate Asset case against former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav in which the CBI has come under heavy fire from the Supreme Court for acting like a tool in the hands of the government.

Justice Verma who was also the head of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for a term of five years after retirement has also been pleading for the disclosure of assets by the judges, including the SC judges and had got faster resolution by the full SC to this effect when he was the CJI.

The present CJI Justice K G Balakrishnan is, however, opposed to the idea of judges revealing their assets.

Justice verma whose Walk the Talk interview was telecast last night by a private news channel, opposed high officials holding constitutional posts getting government assignments after retirement because, he felt such assignments adversely affect their independence and impartial functioning.

It was a bench headed by him as CJI that led to one-member Election Commission of India becoming multi-member with Chief Election Commissioner as its head, along with two Election Commissioners.

Mr T N Seshan was the CEC when Justice Verma was the CJI and he passed number of strictures against Mr Seshan.

BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L K Advani, former Delhi chief minister Madan Lal Khurana and several other political leaders were accused in the Hawala case, though later most of the political leaders were acquitted.


SFIO seeks speedy trials, changes in Companies Act

4 May 2009, 0104 hrs IST, Suchetana Ray & Souvik Sanyal, ET Now
A government agency looking into the Rs 7,000-crore Satyam Computer scam has called for setting up of fast-track courts to try cases involving corporate fraud and has advocated changes in the Companies Act for handing out maximum punishment to those found guilty.

The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), which functions under the ministry of corporate affairs, made these recommendations in its report on the Satyam scandal. The agency’s view is that after it initiates prosecution after completing investigation, delays in the already overburdened courts come in the way of quick administration of justice. The multi-disciplinary investigating agency also wants legislative changes in the Companies Act to impose hefty fines on those perpetrating fraud and also to imprison the guilty. Now, such an offence is compoundable, which means that the offender can pay a certain penalty and walk out free.

The SFIO suggests that statutory auditors, whose alleged role in the Satyam scandal has been under scrutiny, be rotated every five years, and their appointment as well as remuneration be handled by an independent agency. The SFIO has laid special emphasis on extending the scope of peer review to include audit processes as well as audit plans. It has also recommended that disciplinary proceedings against statutory auditors be handled by an independent oversight board.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and banks should adopt steps to prevent companies faking bank documents to mislead auditors, reads the SFIO report. The investigative agency has said that in the absence of full details of credit transactions of clearance in the banks’ computerised data, the investigation gets hampered as it does not lead to the details of the beneficiary, the end use of funds and cases of siphoning off of funds.

“All credit transactions in the accounts (of banks) that are generated through clearing must reveal the details of credit as is done in the case of debit clearing transactions,” the SFIO has suggested, while stating that the RBI may also formulate guidelines for scheduled banks for developing such a software.

Satyam scam has revealed that bank papers were forged to show non-existent funds. “Although the banks concerned do not appear to have played any role in falsification of accounts and forgery, there is a need to adopt a uniform practice by all the commercial banks/foreign banks while issuing balance confirmation certificates to their customers. The RBI may examine this and issue necessary guidelines to ensure that forged balance confirmation certificates are not used for perpetration of fraud,” the report adds.

Panaji: Contempt Petition Against HC in Rane Case

Sunday, May 03, 2009 3:40:53 PM (IST)

Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network -Panaji

Panaji, May 3: Goa bench of bombay high court on Monday will hear the contempt petition filed by a social activist against police inspector for having tried to close the first information report registered against state’s health minister vishwajeet Rane.

Goa’s noted social activist Aires Rodrigues has filed contempt petition against Old Goa police station incharge Gurudas Gawade for trying to close FIR registered against the health minister.

The health minister is accused of threatening to kill Rodrigues.

The High Court has already issued notice to Police Inspector Mr. Gurudas Gawade.

Rodrigues has prayed that action be taken against Old Goa Police Inspector Gurudas Gawade for contempt of Court and that he be punished in accordance with law.

On 23rd September 2008, on instructions of Police Inspector Mr. Gurudas Gawade who was present in Court a statement was made by the Public Prosecutor Mrs. Winnie Coutinho before the High Court that a charge sheet would be filed against Mr. Vishwajit Rane by the Old Goa Police.

Rodrigues has in his contempt petition stated that Mr. Gawade in flagrant disobedience of the solemn statement recorded, instead of filing the charge sheet, tried to close the case against the Health Minister.

Rodrigues has submitted that Gawade had committed deliberate contempt of Court by disobeying and failing to abide by the solemn statement made and recorded by the High Court.

IFCI moves Delhi HC against RoC notices

NEW DELHI: Financial institution IFCI has moved the Delhi High Court requesting to quash two notices issued by the Registrar of Companies (RoC) directing it to furnish details. In its petition filed before the court, IFCI Ltd, along with its subsidiary IFCI Infrastructure Ltd, has requested the court to quash notices issued by RoC on April 22 and April 23, seeking various details including disbursement of loans, list of non-performing assets, perks of its top officials etc.
“RoC has asked certain information/explanations on the grounds that IFCI has granted loans to leading business houses of this country against shares pledged by the promoters of those companies,” submitted IFCI Ltd in its petition. Moreover, it further submitted that RoC in their notices was hinting some kind of fraudulent activity going in the company.
“There is no nexus in the decision of granting loan and in fact, the business of the company is not conducted by the management for fraudulent/unlawful purpose,” submitted the company.
The matter would come up for hearing on Monday before Justice S Ravindra Bhat. RoC had also directed IFCI to furnish information as to whether E Sreedharan, MD of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, had expressed dissatisfaction on the functioning of the comp any in at a recent board meeting in the capacity of a director. – PTI

Wife’s suspicion about husband’s affair is not cruelty: HC’s+suspicion+about+husband’s+affair+is+not+cruelty%3a+HC

Press Trust Of India
Mumbai, May 03, 2009
First Published: 13:31 IST(3/5/2009)
Last Updated: 13:38 IST(3/5/2009)
Interpreting cruelty in divorce cases, the Bombay High Court has delivered a significant ruling that if a wife, who has been asked to sleep in a separate room by her husband, suspects about him having an extramarital affair and inquires about the same, it cannot be termed as mental cruelty.
“…When a wife contends that the husband had abandoned physical relationship, it was natural for her to inquire about, whether he had any other woman in life. We are therefore inclined to accept that the inquiry made by wife would not amount to mental cruelty,” Justice B H Marlapalle and Justice S J Vajifdar observed recently.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by Suyog Dahiwadkar, a 35-year-old Pune-based jeweller, challenging an order passed by a family court rejecting his divorce petition on the grounds of cruelty.
The couple had an arranged marriage in December 1997. The husband had sought divorce in July 2001, after the wife left matrimonial home in April 2001, following a quarrel.
The family court, in April 2004, had rejected Suyog’s divorce petition which alleged that respondent (wife) Mohini, 33, did not tell her correct age at the time of wedding.
“She was born in 1969, but we were told she is 1970 born,” the petitioner alleged.

The petitioner claimed his wife had also not given her horoscope before wedding and that she was into performing black magic.
The divorce was sought on the grounds of cruelty under Section 13(i) (ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act. “My wife has a quarrelsome nature. She used to misbehave with my family members. She had ill-motives against my elder brother and she had also inquired with my cousin, whether I was carrying on with other woman,” stated his petition.
Wife, on the other hand, had replied that her husband was an alcoholic and used to beat her mercilessly under the influence of liquor.
“On January 31, 2001, my husband came home late night and beat me up mercilessly under the influence of liquor. On March 23, 2001, I was suddenly told by him not to sleep with him in our bedroom. I was told to sleep separately in the hall,” she told the court.
As the wife had shown willingness to go back to her husband, the High Court refused to accept Suyog’s argument that their marriage has been irretrievably broken.
The court also enhanced the maintenance granted to his wife from Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000 a month, considering that Suyog was into 145-year-old family business earning jointly with other members an annual income of Rs 40 lakh to Rs 50 lakh.

Widen rape definition for stringent punishment: HC to govt

3 May 2009, 1153 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: Concerned with the lesser sentences given to culprits committing sexual assault of different forms due to absence of a stricter law, Delhi High Court has asked the Centre to consider the Law Commission report and include “digital rape” while widening the definition of rape.

“Unfortunately the criminal law of our country does not recognise this form (digital rape) of sexual assault as a heinous crime. As a result, the culprit get convicted for use of criminal force to outrage the modesty of a woman,” Justice S Muralidhar observed.

Digital rape is inserting finger into the victim’s private part.

“It is a matter of grave concern that nothing has been done till date…Absence of stringent law to deal with impunity,” the court said.

The court made the observation while dismissing an appeal filed by 54-year-old Tara Dutt, father of four daughters, who was convicted of committing digital rape on a five-year-old relative in 1996.

“The growing instances in the recent past of sexual assault of minors, should serve as a wake up call to make the appropriate amendments to the IPC without further delay,” Muralidhar observed while suggesting that legislators comply with the Law Commission report submitted nine years ago.

HC asks Delhi Govt to set up tribunal for old parents

New Delhi (PTI): The Delhi High Court has directed the city government to constitute a tribunal for the redressal of cases related to the maintenance of the old parents by their wards and protection of their rights.
Expressing anguish over the Delhi government’s failure to set up the tribunal even after the enactment of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act more than a year back, the Court gave the government four weeks time to execute the order and sought a compliance report by July 7.
“The legislative policy can not be defeated by executive inaction in respect of the constitution of such tribunal,” observed Justice S Ravindra Bhat in a recent order.
The Act came into force on December 31, 2007. Under the Act, state government has to set up a tribunal to hear the disputes pertaining to the maintenance of parents by the children.
“The Delhi government is hereby directed to ensure that the tribunal is constituted at the earliest, if not already done- and in any event within four weeks,” the court said.
The Act enables the tribunal to determine the cases in which children or relatives have neglected or refused to maintain the senior citizens, who are unable to maintain themselves, in the family. Under the act, the tribunal can also direct the children to make a monthly allowance and fix the rate of maintenance for their elderly parents.

Contempt petition against Modi

J. Venkatesan
Hearing next week, says Chief Justice
Court had asked SIT to probe complaint against Modi on post-Godhra riots
Modi alleged the order was passed in conspiracy with Minister Kapil Sibal
New Delhi: A contempt of court petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged remarks that the April 27 order asking the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into a complaint against Mr. Modi and others was passed in a mala fide manner in conspiracy with the Congress.
On Friday, Prashant Bhushan, amicus curiae in the petition filed by Jakia Nasim Ahesan, wife of the former Congress MP, Ehsan Jafri [who was killed during the Gujarat riots of 2002], made a ‘mention’ before a three-Judge Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justices P. Sathasivam and J.M. Panchal for early listing of the contempt petition. The CJI told Mr. Bhushan that the matter would be listed next week.
On April 27, a Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and A.K. Ganguly had asked SIT to probe a complaint dated June 8, 2006 against Mr. Modi that he and his Cabinet colleagues orchestrated the post-Godhra communal riots in 2002 in connivance with police officials and senior bureaucrats, and submit its report in three months.
In the present contempt petition, Mr. Bhushan said Mr. Modi, while reacting to the Supreme Court order, had alleged that it was passed in conspiracy with Union Minister Kapil Sibal in the Congress-led government. He said it was clear that Mr. Modi had made very serious allegations against the Supreme Court which “are totally scandalous and unfounded and what is worse is that they have been made in order to derive political advantage in the elections.”
He said this technique of Mr. Modi making contemptuous statement and allegations was not new. In December 2007, the Supreme Court was forced to issue contempt notice to Mr. Modi for having made a public speech obliquely approving the extra judicial killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and seeking votes on that basis. This was done when the petition seeking action against police officers who were involved in the extra judicial killing of Sohrabuddin was pending before this court.
The petition said: “In these circumstances, it is imperative in the interest of justice that Mr. Modi be brought to book and held accountable for his grossly contemptuous action. If this is not done, he will be further encouraged to make any kind of wild allegations and statement against this court for his political ends.”
As amicus curiae appointed by the court “it is my duty to bring this matter to the notice of the court for appropriate directions,” Mr. Bhushan said. He sought a direction to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Mr. Modi for his alleged remarks.

Judges should vountarily to declare assets: DHC Bar

Published by: Noor Khan
Published: Fri, 01 May 2009 at 19:06 IST
New Delhi, May 1: The Delhi High Court Bar Association(DHCBA) today told the High Court that judges of higher courts should voluntarily declare their assets saying it would increase the people’s faith in the judiciary.

Appearing for the lawyers’ body, K C Mittal, President of the Bar Association, argued before the Court of Justice S Ravindra Bhat that “the disclosure of assets will enhance public faith and confidence in the judiciary”.

“It will enhance the credibility and acceptability of judicial institution,” Mittal added in his argument.

The Court was hearing a petition filed by the Chief Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the Supreme Court challenging the January 6 order of the CIC directing the apex court Registry to reveal information pertaining to assets of judges.

Countering the argument of the Soliciotor General that the full court resolution of Supreme Court on May 7, 1997 , has no force of law, the counsel said this resolution cannot be treated as an informal resolution.

He also dismissed the contention of the Solicitor General that judges in superior courts, including the Supreme Court, submit the information to CJI office in fiduciary capacity.

“The judges of superior courts are Constitutional apointees and hold the constitutional position and relationship…There is no relationship of father and son, principle and agent, trustee-beneficiary, guardian-ward and attorney-client,” the Bar members submitted.

India seeks to renegotiate Swiss DTAA

3 May 2009, 0341 hrs IST, Sanjay K Singh, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: The Centre has told the Supreme Court that it has approached the Swiss government seeking renegotiation of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) pertaining to exchange of information on the bank accounts of Indians. The Swiss Confederation has also informed the OECD that it was willing to withdraw its reservation on the disclosure of information due to rule of bank secrecy, said government in its affidavit filed in the apex court on Saturday.

The government, however, ruled out any sort of fishing or roving enquiry unless specific information about depositors becomes available. “The Government of India has already approached the Swiss government seeking renegotiation of Article concerning exchange of information in DTAA with them”, said Priya V K Singh, the director in the department of revenue in the affidavit.

The Centre said, “it was only in March 2009 that the Swiss Confederation informed OECD that it intended to adopt the OECD standards as per Article 26 of the OECD Model Tax Convention and withdraw the corresponding reservation and enter into negotiations for revising its Double Taxation Agreements”.

The OECD standards on exchange of information as contained in Article 26 of the OECD Model Tax Convention provides for exchange of information even if there is only domestic interest of the requesting state i. e. enforcement of tax laws of the requesting state and no provision DTAA is to be applied.

As per the OECD standards, the limitation of information not being at the disposal of tax administration because of bank secrecy cannot be used to prevent exchange of information held by the banks. The Swiss Confederation had entered reservations on these OECD standards. In accordance with Article 26 of the DTAA, the competent authorities in India and Swiss Confederation can exchange information, being information at their disposal under their respective taxation laws in the normal course of administration, as is necessary for carrying out the provisions of the DTAA in relation to taxes.

In the past, the Swiss competent authority has consistently refused to share bank information on the grounds that information regarding bank deposits of Indian residents is not necessary for the application of the DTAA but is required only for the enforcement of Indian internal tax laws and that such information was not at their disposal under Swiss laws in the normal course of tax administration, said government.

However, government stated that as per the OECD standards, unless specific information about the depositors becomes available, fishing or roving enquiry is not permissible. The Centre also claimed that because of its continuos efforts with the German government, it has gathered information about Indian account holders in the LGT Bank Liechtenstein. “On account of persistent follow up by the Central government, the German government on March 16, 2009, informed that they were in a position to provide the information and said information was made available to the Central government on March 18, 2009,” said affidavit.

However, ruling out to divulge the details, the government said, “the information was made available on the condition of strict confidentiality of contents under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement”. The affidavit has been filed in response to a PIL seeking direction to the government to take steps to retrieve the hege amount of unaccounted money lying in various foreign banks and financial institutions. Former union law minister Ram Jethmalani and others had moved the apex court.

HC directs I-T to submit DA case details to state

3 May 2009, 0441 hrs IST, TNN
RANCHI: The Jharkhand High Court on Friday directed the Income Tax (I-T) department to submit details of investigations done by it in the disproportionate assets (DA) case against the former ministers to the state.

The court even asked the state to file a reply on what action it proposes to take against the former ministers accused in the DA case. The court in its order said it was very unfortunate that I-T department, despite the court’s earlier order, did not give the investigation details to the state government.

Counsel of I-T department argued that the department has not received the copy of court’s earlier order in which it aid that copy of the investigation details be given to the state government so that it can proceed accordingly.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice D K Sinha gave the order while hearing a PIL filed by Durga Oraon. The petitioner alleged that former ministers while holding public posts have amassed huge wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income and demanded CBI inquiry into the case.

Oraon named seven former ministers in his PIL which include Chander Prakash Choudhary, Dulal Bhuiyan, Bhanu Pratap Sahi, Bandhu Tirkey, Kamlesh Singh, Enos Ekka and Harinaryan Rai.

Earlier, the I-T department on March 4 admitted in the court that prima facie in the investigations it appeared that the ministers have amassed wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income

Meanwhile, a vigilance probe in underway against two accused former ministers Enos Ekka and Harinaryan Rai on similar charges of disproportionate assets.

Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Ritu Kumar said that interlocutory petition has been filed in the case in which former chief minister Madhu Koda, his associates Vinod Sinha and Sanjay Chaudhary have been accused of amassing disproportionate wealth.

After hearing the arguments and counter arguments the court adjourned the hearing of the case for May 12 and gave permission for the inclusion of the interlocutory petition in the case.

HC on chopper misuse

Ranchi, May 2: Jharkhand High Court today asked the state to take action against those guilty of misusing the government’s helicopter however “influential” they may be.
While hearing a PIL on the misuse of the chopper between April 2005 and November 2008 that has left the state exchequer poorer by a whopping Rs 35 crore, the bench comprising Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice D.K. Sinha was scathing in its observations.
Asking the state to stop using different yardsticks to measure common men and influential people, the bench warned the state not to compel the court to wash dirty linen in public.
“If the chopper has been used by unauthorised persons at the cost of the public exchequer, the government should initiate certificate proceedings on its own against such persons and recover the money spent on their flying in the chopper hired by the state for government use,” the bench said.
The bench took exception to the state’s stalling tactics when the counsel for the accountant-general said that despite six requests, the finance and civil aviation departments had not furnished details of expenditure on the chopper.
The court then directed the state to produce all documents sought by the accountant-general to compile a detailed report in the matter. The case will be taken up for hearing on May 19.
Not satisfied with the explanation of the advocate-general who tried to convince the court that the chopper had not been used for unofficial flights, the court observed that criminal cases be instituted to bring the guilty to book.
The court asked the state to have all records of flights and expenses audited by the office of the accountant-general.
The PIL was filed by Koderma-based social worker Bindu Bhushan Dubey who has detailed blatant misuse of the government chopper by ministers, bureaucrats and their relatives.
He has also invoked the Right to Information Act to show that the state did not have records of as many as 894 chopper flights during three years beginning April, 2005.
On the orders of the court, the accountant-general had filed a preliminary report saying that prima facie, there was enough evidence to indicate widespread misuse of the chopper chartered by the government from private companies.

The BCCI clique

Suveen K Sinha / New Delhi May 03, 2009, 0:43 IST
Is it time to separate the business of cricket and administering the sport?
Is BCCI the master of all cricket in India? It may have been started by a bunch of princes with a heightened perception of the self, but the sceptre is long gone. The board once described itself in court as a private club not performing any public function, and said that it could therefore not be subjected to public interest litigation. The board’s refuge was its status of a private society answerable only to its members — the 31 state associations. The board took the same cover when two cricket-lovers filed a PIL in February 2000, seeking accountability and transparency in the way cricket was run in the country.
As things stand, BCCI has only a handful of contracted players. There are another 450,000 or so out there who play matches in abysmal conditions, watched only by the jobless and stray dogs. Thousands of cricket players, with no hope of ever representing India and not under contract with BCCI opted to join Subhash Chandra’s Indian Cricket League (ICL), which offered them better pay and more respect at a time when IPL was not even on the drawing board.
The ICL players have now been given a supercilious and condescending offer to come back into BCCI’s fold if they ditch ICL by May 31. Most of them would be tempted, as this would make them eligible to play for their state almost immediately and for India in a year. If they do desert ICL, which is downsizing and cancelled its March programme due to the recession, BCCI would have nearly snuffed out the first flicker of competition.
The one year period is meant to be a cooling-off period, a practice common in the corporate world for executives who leave to join a rival. However, if BCCI wants to follow corporate conventions, perhaps it should also wake up to other issues that concern that world, such as free competition and monopolies. The West is extremely sensitive to this; Standard Oil, the world’s largest oil refiner, which allegedly used its size and clout to undercut competition, was broken up by the US Supreme Court way back in 1911. Microsoft has had long and bruising antitrust battles.
BCCI’s power is more absolute because in addition to being a monopoly it is also being allowed to act as the regulator. We had a similar situation when the Union government’s Department of Telecommunications, the policy maker, also operated nation-wide telephone services. Naturally, it used its position to fight competition, which was ushered in the middle of the 1990s. After a few acrimonious years, BSNL was carved out of DoT to prevent conflicts of interest. Has the time come to apply the principle to BCCI?

HC directs AG to submit final report

2 May 2009, 2101 hrs IST, Manohar Lal, TNN
RANCHI: The Jharkhand High Court on Friday directed the Accountant General (AG) to submit a final report on the misuse of helicopter giving complete details of persons who enjoyed the rides and names of approvers of the flights.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice D K Sinha even took strong exception to the complaint of the Accountant General that state was not providing the relevant details. The court asked the state to furnish each and every detail of the misuse of the chopper to the accountant general for the period April 2005 to March 2008.

The division bench issued its directive after taking up a PIL filed by one Bindu Bhushan Dubey demanding a CBI inquiry into the alleged misuse of the helicopter by unauthorized persons during the period May 2006 to September 2008.

The AG, in its preliminary report, termed 894 flights unauthorized as per the information provided by the Civil Aviation Department (CAD). The report said a total of 584 flights did not had any mandatory requisition, while 310 flights had requisition but were not signed by the competent authority.

The report of the AG said a total of 39 flights of the chopper had family members and relatives of chief ministers and governor as passengers who made non-officials trips without any payments. The payments were made from public fund, the report said.

Advocate general PK Prasad told the court none of flights undertaken by the chopper were illegal. He said the flights were in accordance with the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) regulations and the tradition practiced in Bihar and now in Jharkhand.

Prasad contended that the AG report had termed the flights unauthorized on the basis of Bihar State Aircraft Utilization Circular passed in the year 1968, which was not practically followed by the Bihar as well as Jharkhand.

Dubey, appearing in-person, countered the argument and said the state was actually misleading the court by referring to the DGCA regulations which was applicable only for the state-owned chopper and not on chartered chopper.

Dubey further said the case was for chartered chopper which was being maintained by the companies owning the aircraft, while the state government was making an excuse saying some flights made outside the state were for maintenance purpose.

After hearing the arguments from both sides, the bench asked the counsel for the AG to investigate who used the chopper and whether these were entitled. The court asked the state to cooperate with the AG in the matter and adjourned the hearing for May 19.

Ajmal Amir Kasab Trial: Court rejects Kazmi’s application seeking copy of X ray plates


The Special Court rejected the application of Abbas Kazmi, counsel of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist captured in the Mumbai attacks, seeking a copy of X-Ray plates in connection with the determination of Kasab’s actual age.

Passing an order to this effect, Special Court Judge Tahiliyani said the court had already suggested Mr Kazmi to seek the opinion of doctors before the court itself as it was not possible to provide the copies of the X-Ray plates to the defence.

The court had earlier ruled that it would give its ruling on the age issue after the arguments were completed by the prosecution and defence.

However, a clinical and physical examination of the accused stated that he was more than 20 years of age.

Judge Tahiliyani had earlier stated that the age issue was nothing but a tactic of the defence to delay the trial.

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had also opposed Mr Kazmi’s application saying that the defence lawyer had already examined the witnesses and failed to react to the court’s decision.

‘The entire thing is planned to delay and sabotage the 26/11 trial,’ he added.


Rs 29.5L for accident victims’ kin

3 May 2009, 0243 hrs IST, Supriya Bhardwaj, TNN

CHANDIGARH: In what is probably the highest compensation ordered by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, a petition was settled in favour of complainants after the court directed truck driver, owner and insurance firm to pay Rs 29.46 lakh as relief for snuffing out two young lives and leaving another person grievously injured.

In April 2004, a plea was filed by Gurdeep Kaur and others, under Section 166 Motor Vehicle
Act in city?s district courts. The families stated on November 17, 2003, Tarun Bhasin (24) and US resident Jagtar Singh (30) along with Rajan Grover (23), a Sector 32 resident, had gone to Sonepat to attend Rajan’s ring ceremony. After the function, the trio left for the city in a car. Near Ambala, the car, being driven by Jagtar, was allegedly hit by a truck. While Jagtar and Tarun succumbed to injuries, Rajan suffered serious bruises. Alleging the truck was being driven in a rash and negligent manner, both the families and Rajan moved district courts.

However, the truck driver and its owner countered that the accident had occurred as Jagtar was at fault. The insurance company pleaded that Jagtar was driving the car without a valid driving license .

Keeping the circumstances in view, court awarded Rs 29.46 lakh as compensation along with 8% interest, out of which Jagtar’s family would get Rs 20.50 lakh, Tarun’s parents would receive Rs 5.92 lakh and Rajan will get Rs 3.07 lakh as compensation.

While zeroing in on the amount, the MACT, headed by SK Aggarwal, held, “Just compensation means appropriate and equitable… that neither it (sum) is punitive against whom (it is) awarded nor a windfall or bonanza to whom (it is) awarded.”

Prior to this claim case, the highest compensation amount given in a MACT case was Rs 19.05 lakh. In that case, the award went to a family from Ram Darbar that had lost five members, including an infant, in an accident in 2005.

In another case, a court had awarded Rs 18.51 lakh to a family from Sector 37 resident after a man died when his bike was hit by a car in 2002. The deceased ran a photography and STD shop at Lake Club.

Nanded blast: CBI questions Lt-Col Purohit

New Delhi, May 3: After reopening the probe into the Nanded blast of 2006, CBI has recently taken custody of Army’s tainted Lieutenant-Colonel, Srikant Purohit, and questioned him at length about his role in the incident.
The CBI officially remained tight-lipped about this development but sources in the investigating agency said the remand of Purohit has been taken from a designated court and he has been questioned about the Nanded blast. Purohit was examined by detectives of the Special Crime unit of CBI to ascertain whether he was instrumental in providing training to cadre of Abhinav Bharat, official sources said here today. n PTI

Patwari gets three-year jail

Our Correspondent
Kaithal, May 3
Additional Sessions Judge A K Shori here has sentenced a Patwari to three years imprisonment and a fin of Rs 4,000 after holding him guilty in a bribery case. As per the court orders, the convict will have to undergo further imprisonment of six months if he failed to pay fine.
According to facts of this case, a farmer, Jaswinder Singh, had purchased about 7 acres at Narwal village. He approached Patwari Jagmal for demarcation of the said land who demanded Rs 4,000.
The farmer paid Rs 2,500 and assured to pay balance later. The farmer reported the matter to the state Vigilance. A trap was laid and as the patwari received Rs 1,500 from Jaswinder the SVB team caught him and booked him under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
In another case, the ADJ awarded one-year sentence to two persons who were arrested when they were planning to loot a petrol station on July 15, 2006. A police team led by ASI Balbir Singh received information that six armed persons were planning to loot a petrol station.
During raid the police arrested six youths, including Chander, Shalinder, Kanwar Pal of Jind district and Ram Niwas, Shamsher and Subhash, and recovered two pistols and other arms from them. According to information, Chander and Ram Niwas were sentenced while four others were acquitted due to lack of evidence against them.
In yet another case, the ADJ sentenced Jarnail, alais Kala, to one-year imprisonment. The accused, along with three others, was arrested by a Pundri police team on August 21, 2006 on the charge of making preparations to loot liquor vend. They were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Court orders probe against senior cops

Seema Sharma
Tribune News Service
Jammu, May 3
Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) YP Bourney in a significant order, passed on May 2, held custodian general Jammu and Kashmir Government Kifayat Hussain Rikzvi, KAS, guilty of criminal contempt of court, and also ordered judicial inquiry against several senior police officers, including the IG, DIG and the SSP, Jammu.
Bourney has referred the matter to the High Court under Section 15 (2) of the Contempt of Courts Act for taking an appropriate action against the respondent, Kifayat Hussain Rizvi.
The CJM has passed the order on the contempt petition filed by one complainant Iftikiar Khan Salaria through AK Sawney, advocate. The complainant said he was forcibly evicted from his land near Indra theatre.
He approached a local court for justice but the ruling of the court was not followed by the authorities concerned, due to which the contempt petition was filed.
The CJM in a separate order in the main complaint against all officers and constables has directed the inquiry to be conducted by a Judicial Magistrate, and has directed the Special Excise Magistrate Jammu to conduct the inquiry on the matter and submit the report within three months.
The complainant had filed a complaint for theft, robbery, criminal intimidation, hurt and conspiracy under Sections 323, 379, 506, 109 and 120 B of the RPC against the accused.
CJM Jammu forwarded the complaint to SHO, in charge Nowabad, under Section 156 (3) for investigation and reporting back on March 24.
According to Sawhney, though several days passed, the SHO did not take any action in the matter, and the complainant filed an application for calling of status report in the matter, wherein, the court on April 1, directed the SHO to file a report in the matter in the light of the application.
On the same day, SHO Nowabad Jamwal filed a report that the custodian general informed him through a written communication that the complaint filed was false, frivolous and motivated. He quoted provisions of law and stated in the communication that “no other court has the powers to take cognizance in the matter” .
On the basis of this communication, the SHO did not register an FIR, therefore, clearly committing gross contempt of the court, and custodian general committed criminal contempt by interfering in the course of administration of justice system.

Centre plans anti-ragging legislation

President to write to Governors
New Delhi, May 3
President Pratibha Patil will write to all Governors, who are also the Chancellors of their respective state universities, asking them to allow a group of activists to sensitise students about ragging even as the Centre plans to bring in a legislation to tackle the problem.
The activists of “Aman Movement”, led by Rajendra Kachru, father of Aman Kachru who died in ragging incident, met the President and requested her to ask the Chancellors to allow them to make presentations in campuses against ragging.
“The request was instantly accepted by the President who will now write to the Governors asking them to give permission to the group to create awareness against the ragging,” a Rashtrapati Bhavan official said.
Meanwhile, the government is also actively considering framing a special central legislation to effectively curb ragging menace and this was informed to the President by HRD Minister Arjun Singh, during his meeting with her on Friday.
Singh also told the President that he would convene an urgent meeting of all the regulatory bodies under the ministry to take up the issue to ensure that preventive measures were taken.
The President had recently expressed grave concern over the rising incidents of ragging in certain institutions of higher education across the country and said appropriate legislation should be enacted to tackle the menace.
Universities and colleges were centres of learning and for developing mutual respect, friendship and understanding, she said, adding that their sanctity could be vitiated year after year at the start of an academic season by those who indulge in mindless ragging.
Patil’s reaction came in the wake of death of Aman Kachru due to ragging in Himachal Pradesh in March this year.
Incidents of ragging were also reported from states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu last month.
Rajender had earlier met University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Prof Sukhadeo Thorat and had suggested starting a national call centre for providing assistance to students who face ragging.
Educational Consultancy India Limited (ECIL), a government undertaking, is entrusted with the task of starting such a call centre to which students can make call at the time of crisis.
Meanwhile, the UGC has prepared a regulation, which has been adopted by 17 other councils. It stipulates that students can be expelled from an institute and debarred from taking admission to any other institute after found guilty of the offence. — PTI

On a fast track

Gujarat culprits may be punished now
SEVEN years after the Gujarat riots shook the world, the Supreme Court has finally put the trials on a fast track by ordering the setting up of six courts for day-to-day hearing. The apex court itself had stayed the trial in nine major riot cases, including the Godhra train-burning case, in November 2003 following complaints of tardy investigation and allegations that several accused were not booked. There is utmost need for early completion of sensitive cases, particularly those involving communal disturbances, and as such, such alacrity should have been shown from the beginning, but it is better late than never. The step has indeed given a new ray of hope to the victims who had been banging their heads against a wall raised by the Narendra Modi government. Perhaps they can now dream that they will get the elusive justice after all.
Given the brazen manner in which the government has tried to subvert the process of law, the apex court has given the required powers to the special investigation team (SIT) headed by former CBI Director R K Raghavan. It will have the final say in the appointment of public prosecutors and the right to seek their replacements or the appointment of additional public prosecutors. It is the Gujarat High Court Chief Justice who would be appointing senior judicial officers to conduct the trials.
In the past, there has been a concerted effort to influence the witnesses. If the court has still not accepted the petitioner’s plea to shift the trial outside Gujarat, it is only because it feels confident that the SIT chief would be able to take adequate steps to make sure that they cannot be pressurised. If required, some witnesses can be given security by paramilitary forces and if the threat to their lives is grave, they can be relocated to other states, under an arrangement to be worked out by the Centre. In any case, the Supreme Court has not altogether closed the option of shifting the trial outside Gujarat. Mr Raghavan has said that the trials will take about a year. One hopes that with day-to-day hearing, there will be no need to extend this time period.

Threat to democracy

New House must ban criminals in polls
THE reports that 10 per cent of the candidates in Haryana contesting the Lok Sabha elections face criminal charges are disturbing. According to a survey by the National Election Watch, which has more than 1,200 NGOs working on improving the process of elections, democracy and governance in the country, Bhiwani, Mahendragarh and Faridabad lead in candidates with criminal charges (four each) with Hisar and Rohtak not too far behind (three each). In Rajasthan, too, 10 per cent of the candidates in the fray have a criminal record. In fact, no state is free from the candidates with criminal charges and every political party is guilty of fielding criminals. In states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Maharashtra, national parties have given tickets to criminals.
Disturbingly, Bihar has given a new twist to the menace of criminalisation of politics. If husbands are convicted and imprisoned for murder and refused permission by the Supreme Court to contest the elections, their wives join the fray. Pappu Yadav’s wife Ranjeet Ranjan is contesting from Supaul on the Congress ticket, Mohd Shahabuddin’s wife Heena Shahab is standing from Siwan for the RJD and mafia don Surajbhan Singh’s wife Veena Devi has been put up by the LJP from Nawada. This is a mockery of the law. Is the nation lacking in upright persons with integrity and character that the political parties are depending upon the criminals or their relatives?
The people should ponder over the debilitating effect of criminalisation of politics on the representative institutions and the quality of governance. If tainted people get elected as MPs or MLAs and then become ministers, they will pose greater threat to the system. The new Lok Sabha, which will be constituted after the ongoing elections, should examine the issue of criminalisation of politics. As every political party is guilty of giving tickets to criminals, the new government should try for an all-party consensus on the matter and ban the entry of criminals to Parliament and state legislatures. The Election Commission, too, should step up pressure on the Centre for early implementation of its recommendations on electoral reforms.

Sessions court acquits doctor in harassment case

Special Correspondent
CHENNAI: A Sessions Court in Chennai has acquitted a doctor who was sentenced to undergo two year simple imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs.5000 by a magistrate for an offence under section 498 A IPC (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty).
In his judgment allowing an appeal by the doctor, the V Additional Sessions Judge, Chennai, A.K.Annamalai, said that the prosecution had miserably failed to establish the offence against the doctor beyond all reasonable doubt. The trial court had erroneously found him guilty on an unacceptable ground. Hence the lower court judgment and conviction were liable to be set aside by allowing the appeal.
The prosecution case was that Karthikeyan of Egmore was married to the defacto complainant Anugayathri in February 2004. It was alleged that he along with his parents harassed her by demanding money which abetted her to attempt suicide in July 2004. The IV Metropolitan Magistrate, Saidapet, convicted and sentenced Dr.Karthikeyan. Aggrieved, he preferred the appeal.

E-way death: NHAI gets HC notice

4 May 2009, 0424 hrs IST, Sumi Sukanya, TNN
GURGAON/CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a notice to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and several other agencies including the Union road transport ministry in a case relating to the death of a boy on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway on March 7.

A Bench of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Hemant Singh accepted the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by K S Anand father of the victim Rahul Anand on Friday. It asked NHAI, concessionaire DS Constructions Ltd, Union road transport ministry, town and country planning department, the Haryana government and the state police department to submit their explanation on July 21, the next hearing of the case.

Rahul Anand, a first year student of the Indian Institute of Hotel Management, Gurgaon and a resident of Punjabi Bagh, Delhi, was on his way to college to attend the annual convocation when the accident took place. He was driving down the IFFCO Chowk flyover in his Maruti SX4, when he rammed into a stationary dumper on the main carriageway. He was trying to avoid hitting a pedestrian who had come in front of his car and took a steep right turn which resulted into the car ramming into the dumper. The car was damaged beyond recognition.

Rahul reportedly lay on the road severely injured but no policemen or volunteers from DS Constructions reached there and it was a commuter who rushed him to a private hospital after about an hour. He later succumbed to the injuries in the hospital.

“As per the contract, the concessionaire firm should placed ambulances every 300 metres on the expressway. But they have made a mockery of the contract. Also, they have failed to provide underpasses or footbridges on the expressway, because of which over 100 innocents have lost their lives so far,” said Rahul’s father, a businessman.

The aggrieved father added, “Workers of the concessionaire company had parked the water tanker right next to the median on the top lane, jeopardising the safety of motorists. So many deaths on this stretch are only because of the recklessness of the NHAI, DSC and the state government and and that is why we dragged them to a court of law.”

He went on to add that he wanted to find a purpose in his son’s death. “My son is dead and cannot be brought back, but at least others should not lose their lives in this manner in future,” he said.

Six sentenced to life in maxi-cab murder case

4 May 2009, 1254 hrs IST, Sumi Sukanya, TNN
GURGAON: A fast track court in Gurgaon on Monday awarded life imprisonment to six accused in the infamous killer cabbie case, involving the murder of two passengers who were travelling in their taxi in 2007.

This decision came in two separate murder and robbery cases. The six were also part of an eight-member gang involved in 24 cases of murder in 2006.

Additional district sessions Judge B L Singhal sentenced the six identified as Rohtas, Ravi, Vicky, Budhram, Pramod and Dalchand– all residents of Bhora Kala village along NH 8– for the murders.

The modus operandi of the gang, which used to operate taxis, was to murder their passengers, loot their belongings and subsequently throw the bodies in gutters along the highway.

The two cases in which the court awarded life sentence include murder of a factory worker, and an unidentified person from whose pockets, the murderers could recover only Rs 2 and Rs 150 respectively.

A total of nine persons, including 2 minors were arrested in these cases from Bhora Kalan village near Gurgaon.

No legal validity for AG’s advice’

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Indian Lawyers’ Congress has said that the Advocate-General’s legal advice to the State government against prosecuting CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in the SNC Lavalin case had no legal validity. In a statement here, the organisation’s State secretary P. Rahim said the same ground applied in the palmolein case against Congress leader K. Karunakaran should become applicable in this case also. The Supreme Court had, in the palmolein case, held that the government’s approval was not necessary for going ahead with prosecution proceedings against Mr. Karunakaran, he noted. – Special Correspondent

Court raps investigating officer for acting in haste

4 May 2009, 0421 hrs IST, Smriti Singh, TNN

NEW DELHI: Unhappy with the way an investigating officer (IO) dealt with a house-trespass case by probing the matter “in haste”, a trial court has asked the deputy commissioner of police to take necessary action against the officer. The court also asked Delhi Police to look into the role of the station house officer of that area for not taking the matter seriously.

Stating that IO failed to make a full inquiry into the allegations made by the complainant against two men and instead registered the FIR at the behest of his SHO, metropolitan magistrate Sukhvir Singh Malhotra said “copy of the order (should) be sent to DCP for taking appropriate action against the IO/ SHO who both appear to have acted in haste under the intimation of the court.”

The court’s directions came while allowing the bail application of the two accused Satnam Singh and Raj arrested in a case filed by a woman who alleged the two men of trespassing her house and stealing some articles from there.

Opposing the bail, the IO in the case, head constable Nahar Singh, said that during the investigation it was found out that the accused had committed the offence and their bail should not be accepted.

Noting that it was a matter of property dispute and that the accused had also submitted all the original documents, the court said the IO did not investigate the matter properly. “SHO reached at the spot and he got the FIR registered,” Malhotra said. “Such an attitude on the part of the IO without making any investigations of the fact to whether complainant was residing at the given place or not appears to be an act of the IO either at the instance of himself or at the instance of SHO and it cannot be appreciated.”

Police rapped for not protecting Dalit woman

4 May 2009, 0423 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Coming to the rescue of a Dalit woman whose `upper caste’ husband allegedly tried to kill her, a trial court has pulled up the Delhi Police for failing to invoke stringent provisions of law against the man.

“It seems, as far as Delhi Police is concerned, in a matrimony even if a hapless girl is beaten up or is poisoned and she survives then the only offence made out is under Section 498 A (cruelty)…And if unfortunately she does not survive to tell the tale of woes, it would invoke Section 304 B (dowry death) of the IPC,” additional sessions judge Surinder S Rathi said.

The court expressed its concern over the registration of the FIR by police in “mechanical manner” without going into the details of the incident. “Police are not supposed to underplay the gravity of allegations and turn a blind eye to the trauma of a woman in need. A strong objection is taken on the conduct of local police in registering the FIR mechanically under subdued offences instead of invoking appropriate provisions of law,” the court said.

The court’s observations came while dismissing bail plea of a man, who was alleged to have offered poisonous tea to his wife and his daughter. The accused, Bharat Sethi, was arrested on April 15 under milder provisions of committing cruelty and criminal breach of trust.

The court noted that the police did not invoke provisions of Section 307 (attempt to murder) and Section 328 (administering drug with intent to cause hurt) of the IPC and provisions of the SC/ST Act despite there being every reasons for doing so. The woman had alleged that her in-laws made derogatory remarks about her caste too.

The investigating officer of Burari police station failed to give any reasonable explanation for not registering the FIR under these offences, the court said. The victim, who was present during the hearing, alleged that family members of her husband used to abuse her because she belonged to the scheduled caste category.

She told court that accused married her on February 9, 2007 after the police forced him to do so as a part of compromise for not registering a criminal case against Sethi for committing rape with her in June, 2006.

Report on Shanno death in 10 days: HC tell govt

4 May 2009, 1341 hrs IST, IANS
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the government to file a detailed inquiry report on the death of 11-year-old Shanno, who died last month following alleged corporal punishment in school.
The court issued notice and asked the government to file an inquiry report within the next 10 days.

Shanno, a student of a government school in Delhi, slipped into coma April 15 and died two days after she was allegedly punished by her teacher.

LEGAL NEWS 02.05.2009


By : Nirav Pankaj Shah on 02 May 2009
Just because an institution like hospital, charges fee for the services rendered, that by itself would not preclude it from claiming to be doing charitable work as defined under section 2(15)

ITO v Kaushalya Medical Foundation
ITA No. 423/Mum/2004
April 6, 2009
9. We have perused the orders and heard the rival contentions. Main objects of the assessee as per the Trust registered under the Bombay Public Trust Act 1950 are as under :
“a. Medical:- For giving medical aid and relief including establishment, maintenance, administration and support of hospitals, dispensaries, clinics, nursing home, medical care centers, convalescent homes, rest houses, recreation centers and institutions for medical aid and relief or promotion of health and hygiene, both preventive and curative.
b. Educational: For the advancement and propagation of educational and learning in all its branches, for the establishment, maintenance, administration and support of colleges, schools or other educational institutions, professorship, scholarship, prizes and fellowship, specially in medical science and/ or in any other branch of science, commerce, arts etc. Or in assisting students to study abroad, either by way of lump-sum or by payment of periodical sums.
c. Relief from poverty: For the relief of poor, including establishment, maintenance and support of instructions or funds for the relief, any form of poverty including relief from any distress caused by elements of nature, such as famine, pestilence, fire, tempest, flood, earthquake or any other calamity.
d. Research and Development For the accomplishment of various objects of the trust, to promote, ‘establish, provide, maintain, propagate, conduct, or otherwise subsidize, assist research programme, laboratories and experimental institutions mainly for scientific medical, surgical research, experiments and tests and to undertake and carry on researches, experiments and tests of all kinds without in any way derogating from generality of the force going keeping in view the social, economic and industrial needs of the country.
e. To do all such acts and things as are incidental or conductive to the attainment of the objects of the trust
f. For advancement of any other public charitable purposes, which the board may deemed fit to do so in their absolute discretion.”
Stipulation regarding application of income as contained in the trust Deed has been reproduced by the Ld. CIT(A) at pag/i 31 of his order as under:
Application of the Trust Fund
(c )To pay or utilise the balance of such interest, dividends, rent and other income of the Trust Fund, (hereinafter called “The Net Income” and if the Trustees so desire the corpus of the Trust or any part of the Corpus for all or anyone or more or the following charitable purposes and objects in such shares and proportions and in such manner in all respects as the Tmstees shall in their absolute discretion think fit without distinction of place, nationality or creed, that is to say:-
(i)Medical:- For giving medical aid and relief including establishment, maintenance, administration and support of Hospitals, Dispensaries, Clinics, Nursing Homes, Medical care centres, Convalescent Homes, Rest Houses, Recreation Centres and Institutions for medical aid and relief or promotion of health and hygiene, both preventive and curative
ii) to do all such acts and things as are, incidental or conducive to the attainment of the objects of the Trust
PROVIDED ALWAYS that without prejudice to generality of the foregoing that the help to be given under any of the foregoing heads may be given either by way of pecuniary payments or in kind or in any other manner which the Trustees may consider desirable.
PROVIDED HOWEVER THAT, if at any time hereinafter it is held that any of the objects or purposes aforesaid for which the corpus and/or income of the Trust Fund or any part thereof hereby directed to be applied or expended are not charitable according to the law relating to Income Tax then in force, so as to exempt the Trustees of this KAUSHAL MEDICAL FOUNDATION from the payment of income tax on the income of the trust expended the corpus and/or income towards execution of and carrying out only such of the objects an purposes aforesaid as may be held to be strictly charitable according to such law to enable the Trustees of the Trust to qualify for and secure such tax exemption.
The Trust shall exist solely for philanthropic purposes and not for purposes of profit. Any income, surplus or profits derived by the Trust, from whomsoever and wheresoever shall be applied solely for the attainment and promotion of the objects of the Trust setforth in these Presents;
No portion of any such income, surplus or profit derived or earned shall be paid or transferred directly or indirectly by way of dividend, bonus or otherwise howsoever by way of profit to the Settlor or the Trustees of the Trust.
PROVIDED HOWEVER THAT nothlhg contained herein shall prevent the Trustees from reimbursing themselves” and discharge out of the Trust Fund all bonafide expenses that may be incurred by them jointly or severally in or about the execution of the Trust, and any other reasonable expenses incurred for Trust purposes.”
Thus, clearly the main objective of the Trust are medical aid/relief, educational work, relief from poverty, and Research & Development. Admittedly, during the relevant previous year assessee’s work was concentrated in the medical field. Even if assessee is generating some surplus, no doubt, the conditions set out in the trust deed regarding obligation of utilizing such surplus clearly stipulate that such utilization has to be only for charitable purposes and other objects specified here-in-above. If we see the definition of charity as given under Section 2(15) of the Incometax Act as it stood for the relevant A!V, it read as under.:-
“Charitable purpose includes relief of the poor, education, medical relief and the advancement of any other object of general public utility”.
Now the objects of the assessee would definitely fit in with the definition of charitable purpose as given u/s. 2(15) of the Act is not mentioned in the definition that medical relief has to be directed to the poor only. Medical relief is given to any sick persons and they could be from any strata of the society. Every sick person irrespective of his financial capacity is a needy person for medical relief when he/she is sick. In our opinion, just because an institution like hospital, charges fees for the services rendered, that by itself would not preclude it from claiming to be doing charitable work as defined under Section 2(15) of the Act. In other words, it is not necessary that medical relief and hospital services should be only given to the poor nor it can be presumed that unless any particular percentage of services are rendered free, a hospital would become not a charitable one. In fact, A.O went about by his own definition of charity, oblivious of the definition given u/s. 2(15) of the Act. If we see audited accounts of the assessee trust, for the relevant previous year, it would show that there was a deficit and no surplus. Even after ignoring the substantial depreciation claim of Rs. 47,33,795.79, the net surplus would be only Rs. 136936.79 which against the total hospital receipts of Rs.6240866.76 was negligible. Had the assessee been running the institution with profit motive, there would definitely have been a surplus even after charge of depreciation. No defect has been pointed out in the books of accounts of the assessee by the A.O. He has relied on a solitary incidence of a help given to one Mrs. Lata Tolani, wife of one of the donors, who had given Rs. 1,00,000/- as donation and therefore according to the A.O, this is hit by Section 13(1)(c) of the Act. No doubt Smt. Tolani would fall within the class of persons mentioned in Sub-ruction (3) of Section 13 read along with Explanation 1 thereto. However, assessee had all along maintained that Mrs. Tolaniwas not given free treatment but was discharged before giving any treatment, upon the death of her mother. Again. Sub-section (6) of Section 13 clearly specifies that exemption u/s. 11 or 12 shall not be denied (in relation to any income other than the income referred to in Section 2 of Section 12) by reason only that a trust had provided education or medical facilities to a person specified in Sub-section (3) of Section 13. Therefore, this could not havebeen considered as a reason for denying assessee it’s claim of exemption u/s. 11 & 12 of the Act in-toto. In fact, it was the only solitary instance which the A.0 could point out to have been in deviation, vis-a vis the provisions of the Act and even such incidence was never admitted by the assessee. We find that no trustee founder or relative had taken any services nor participated in the profits and surplus or activities of the Trust. Helping a director or a person involved in an accident is also charity because this would fall within the definition of medical relief. In the case of Dharmadeepti v/s. CIT, 114 ITR 454 decided by the Hon’ble Apex Court, assessee was under one of it’s incidental objectives, carrying on kuri business. The terms of the trust deed provided that income could not be applied for any purpose other than charitable purpose. Such income was held by the Apex Court to be income from property held under Trust for charitable purpose and exempt u/s. 12 of the Act. Their Lordships gave a finding that the terms ‘to give charity’ and to ‘promote education’ are same as ‘relief to poor’ and ‘education1 mentioned in Sub-section (15) of Section 2 of the Act which defines ‘charitable purpose’. If that be so, the objectives of the assessee as mentioned at para 9 above have to be considered only as charitable. No doubt, out of 18 persons to whom A.0 had issued letters, 12 came back unanswered but nevertheless this would not be sufficient to give a finding that assessee had not rendered any concessional service to such persons. As already mentioned by us, it is not necessary for the assessee to establish that medical services were rendered only to the poor to come within the ambit of definition of charitable purpose under section 2(15) of the Act.


By : Nirav Pankaj Shah on 01 May 2009 Email this Print this

V.S. Datey
Recent decision of Delhi High Court that service tax cannot be imposed on renting of immovable property has raised hornets nest. The judgment has raised many issues and created numerous problems to landlords (service providers) and tenants (service receiver). In this article, attempt has been made to discuss various questions arising out of the judgment and possible plans of action.
1. Background
As per section 65(105)(zzzz) of Finance Act, 1994; any service provided or to be provided;to any person, by any other personin relationto renting of immovable property for use in the course or furtherance of business or commerce is a taxable service.
Many writ petitions were filed and all these were transferred to Supreme Court. It seems these were transferred by Supreme Court to Delhi High Court to consider the matter. Delhi High Court has passed order on 18-4-2009. However, the judghment nowhere mentions that all writ petitions were transferred to Delhi High Court. In any case, that decision cannot be taken as decision of Supreme Court on the issue.
In Home Solution Retail India Ltd. v.UOI (WP(C) 1659/2008 and others decided on 18-4-2009),Hon. Delhi High Court has observed, Service tax is a value added tax. It is a tax on the value addition provided by some service provider. Insofar as renting of immovable property for use in the course or furtherance of business or commerce is concerned, we are unable to discern any value addition. Consequently, the renting of immovable property for use in the course or furtherance of business of commerce by itself does not entail any value addition and, therefore, cannot be regarded as a service. Of course, if there is some other service, such as air conditioning service provided alongwith the renting of immovable property, then it would fall within Section 65(105)(zzzz).
In short, service in relation to renting of immovable property is taxable (e.g. air conditioning of immovable property given on rent), but renting of immovable property is a taxable service.
No decision about constitutional validity of the tax- It may be noted that Hon. High Court has not expressed any view regarding constitutional validity of the service tax on renting of immovable property. It was observed, We have not examined the alternative plea taken by the petitioners with regard to the legislative competence of the Parliament in the context of Entry 49 of List II of the Constitution of India. Such an examination has become unnecessary because of the view we have taken on the main plea taken by the petitioners as indicate above.
1.1 Various definitions using the term in relation to
In the judgment, Hon Delhi High Court observed, Sometimes, ‘in relation to’ would include the subject matter following it and on other occasions it would not. As in the case of the service of dry cleaning, the expression ‘in relation to dry cleaning’ also has reference to the very service of dry cleaning. On the other hand, the service referred to in Section 65(105)(v), which refers to a service provided by a real estate agent ‘in relation to real estate’, does not, obviously, include the subject matter as a service. This is so because real estate by itself cannot by any stretch of imagination be regarded as a service.
There are many definitions of service where the term in relation to has been used where the subject matter itself is a taxable service.
For example, any service provided or to be provided to a client, by any personin relation to business auxiliary service is a taxable service [section 65(105)(zzb)].This cannot be interpreted to mean that business auxiliary service itself would not be a taxable service.
As per the section 65(105)(zzq) of the Act, any service provided or to be provided to any person, by any other person in relation to commercial or industrial construction service is a taxable service. As per section 65(105)(zzzh), any service provided or to be provided to any person, by any other person, in relation t oconstruction of complex; will be taxable service. Thus, construction itself is a taxable service.
As persection 65(105)(zzzza),any service provided or to be provided; to any person, by any other personin relation tothe execution of a works contract is a taxable service. Does it mean that works contract service itself is not taxable?
Any servicein relation toinformation technology software is a taxable service [section 65(105)(zzzze)]. Thus, it can be argued that IT software itself is not taxable.
As per section 65(105)(zzzx), any servicein relation totelecommunication service is taxable service.
As per section 65(105)(o), any service provided or to be provided to any person, by a rent-a-cab scheme operator in relation tothe renting of a cab is taxable service.
As per section 65(105)(zzp), , any service,in relation totransport of goods by road in a goods carriage is a taxable service.
As per section 65(105)(zzg), any service provided or to be providedin relation tomanagement, maintenance or repair, is a taxable service.
There are over .60 definitions of services where the phrase in relation to is used to cover the subject matter itself for levy of service tax.
These services are – Air transport of passenger embarking in India for international journey, Automated teller machine operations, maintenance or management service, Asset management including portfolio management, Beauty parlour ,Auction of property, movable or immovable, tangible or intangible, Service, repair, reconditioning or restoration of motor cars, light motor vehicles or two wheeled motor vehicles, Banking and other financial services,Business exhi bition, Support services of business or commerce, Cable services, Cargo handling agency,Cleaning activity, Clearing and forwarding operations,Advice, consultancy or technical assistance by consulting engineer,Credit card, debit card, charge card or other payment card service, Credit rating of any financial obligation, instrument or security.,Design services., Development and supply of content , Dredging, will be taxable service., Dry cleaning., Erection, commissioning or installation., Event management.,Fashion designing.,Forward contract, Health and fitness services, Intellectual property service., Planning, design or beautification of spaces by interior decorator, Access of internet., Mailing list compilation and mailing., Use of a mandap in any manner., Manpower recruitment or supply , Market research of any product.,Mining of mineral, oil or gas.,On-line information and database access or retrieval , Opinion poll,Packaging activity., Pandal or shamiana, Photography, Port services., Programme service, Managing the public relations, Booking of passage for travel by rail, Sale of space or time for advertisement, Scientific or technical consultancy., Security of any property or person, Site formation and clearance, excavation and earthmoving and demolition, Any kind of sound recording, Sponsorship, Survey and exploration of mineral, Survey and map-making., Technical inspection and certification., Technical testing and analysis agency, Tour, Transport of goods by aircraft, Booking of passage for travel by travel agent., Underwriting., Video-tape production.
In all these cases, it will have to be examined whether there is any value addition!.
2. Meaning of in relation to
It is well settled that the term in relation to is expansive [That is the reason why it has been liberally used in service tax provisions].
‘In relation to’ are words of comprehensiveness which might have both a direct significance or indirect significance depending on the context. They are not words of restrictive content. -State Waqf Boardv.Abdul Azeer Sahib(1967) 1 MLJ 190 = AIR 1968 Mad 79.
The expression in relation to is of widest import. Thyssen Stahlunion GMBHv.Steel Authority of India1999 AIR SCW 4016 = AIR 1999 SC 3923 = 1999 (6) SCC 334.
The expression in relation to (so also pertaining to) is a very broad expression, which pre-supposes another subject matter. These are words of comprehension which might both have a direct significance as well as an indirect significance depending on the context. -. – Relating to is equivalent to or synonymous with as to concerning with and pertaining to. The expression pertaining to is an expression of expansion and not of contraction -Doypack Systems P Ltd.v.UOI(1988) 2 SCR 962 = 1988 2 SCC 299 = (1989) 65 Comp Cas 1 = 1988 (36) ELT 201 (SC) = AIR 1988 SC 782 *Tamil Nadu Kalyana Mandapam Associationv.UOI2004 (167) ELT 3 = 4 STT 308 = 267 ITR 9= 136 Taxman 596 = 135 STC 480 (SC)CCEv.Solaris Chemtech(2007) 7 SCC 347 = 9 STT 412 = 214 ELT 481 (SC).
3. Rule of purposive construction
The rule of purposive construction states that interpretation of statute should be done having regard to the purpose of the Statute. An eminent jurist of UK (Late) Lord Denning (1899 – 1999) has evolved this rule of construction.
Lord Denning had observed It is true that the words used, even in their literal sense, are the primary and ordinarily the most reliable source of interpreting the meaning of any writing : be it a statute, a contract or anything else. But it is one of the surest indexes of a mature and developed jurisprudence not to make a fortress out of the dictionary; but to remember that statutes always have some purpose or object to accomplish, whose sympathetic and imaginative discovery is the surest guide to their meaning’. – quoted with approval inK P Varghesev.ITO- (1981) 131 ITR 597 = AIR 1981 SC 1922. = 1982 (1) SCR 629 = (1981) 4 SCC 173 = 7 Taxman 13 (SC) *DLF Universal Ltd.v.Appropriate Authority243 ITR 730 = 2000 AIR SCW 1838 = 110 Taxman 315 (SC) same view inAmrendra Pratap Singhv.Tej Bahadur Prajapati2004 AIR SCW 4103.
InPepperv.Hart(1993) 1 All ER 42 (HL), it was observed, The days have long passed when the courts adopted a strict constructionist view of interpretation which required them to adopt the literal meaning of the language. The courts now adopt a purposive approach which seeks to give effect to the true purpose of legislation and are prepared to look at much extraneous material that bears upon the background against which the legislation was enacted. quoted with approval inThyssen Stahlunion GMBHv.Steel Authority of India1999 AIR SCW 4016 = AIR 1999 SC 3923 = 1999(9) SCC 334.
If there exists some ambiguity in the language or the same is capable of two interpretations, it is trite that the interpretation which serves the object and purpose of the Act must be given effect to. In such a case, the doctrine of purposive construction should be adopted Nathi Deviv.Radha Devi GuptaAIR 2005 SC 648 = (2005) 2 SCC 271 (SC 5 member bench).
When an expression is cable of more than one meaning, the Court would attempt to resolve the ambiguity in a manner consistent with the purpose of the provision, having regard to the consequences of alternative constructions -Prakash Kumarv.State of GujaratAIR 2005 SC 1075 (SC 5 member bench) same view inSouth Eastern Coalfieldsv.CCE2006 (200) ELT 357 (SC).
Applying this rule, it is difficult to say that the purpose of legislation was not to tax renting of immovable property.
See the relevant definitions reproduced below-
As per section 65(105)(zzzz), any service provided or to be provided;to any person, by any other person in relation to renting of immovable property for use in the course or furtherance of business or commerce is a taxable service.
Explanation 1.-For the purposes of this sub-clause, immovable property includes -
(i)building and part of a building, and the land appurtenant thereto;
(ii)land incidental to the use of such building or part of a building;
(iii)the common or shared areas and facilities relating thereto; and
(iv)in case of a building located in a complex or an industrial estate, all common areas and facilities relating thereto, within such complex or estate,
but does not include-
(a)vacant land solely used for agriculture, aquaculture, farming, forestry, animal husbandry, mining purposes;
(b)vacant land, whether or not having facilities clearly incidental to the use of such vacant land;
(c)land used for educational, sports, circus, entertainment and parking purposes; and
(d)building used solely for residential purposes and buildings used for the purposes of accommodation, including hotels, hostels, boarding houses, holiday accommodation, tents, camping facilities.
Explanation 2. -For the purposes of this sub-clause, an immovable property partly for use in the course or furtherance of business or commerce and partly for residential or any other purposes shall be deemed to be immovable property for use in the course or furtherance of business or commerce.
As per section 65(90a),renting of immovable property includes renting, letting, leasing, licensing or other similar arrangements of immovable property for use in the course or furtherance of business or commerce but does not include -
(i)renting of immovable property by a religious body or to a religious body; or
(ii)renting of immovable property to an educational body, imparting skill or knowledge or lessons on any subject or field, other than a commercial training or coaching center;
Explanation 1 For the purposes of this clause, for use in the course or furtherance of business or commerce includes use of immovable property as factories, office buildings, warehouses, theatres, exhibition halls and multiple-use buildings.
Explanation 2 For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that for the purposes of this clause renting of immovable property includes allowing or permitting the use of space in an immovable property, irrespective of the transfer of possession or control of the said immovable property [explanation2 insertedvideFinance Act, 2008w.e.f. 16-5-2008].
The intention to levy service tax on renting of immovable property itself seems quite evident from aforesaid definitions.
4. Meaning of value addition
The term value addition is nowhere defined and in fact, nowhere used in the Finance Act, 1994 relating to service tax.
Value addition is a slippery and vague undefined term. The fact that someone is paying an amount for something means he is getting benefit out of that and hence it is value addition for him. Otherwise, why he should agree to pay something?
Further, when legislature itself defines an activity as a taxable service and when there is no constitutional bar, there should be no impediment in imposing a tax.
5. Binding nature of Delhi HC judgment
It is well settled that decision of High Court is binding on all tribunals and quasi-judicial authorities within jurisdiction of that High Court but is not binding on other High Courts.
One question is whether the decision of one High Court is binding on tribunals and other quasi-judicial bodies in other States, in cases where there is no binding decision of High Court of the State where the tribunal or quasi-judicial body is situated. In such cases, inCITv.Thana Electric Supply Ltd.(1994) 206 ITR 727 (Bom HC) – followed inConsolidated Pneumatic Tool Co. (I) Ltd.v.CIT- (1995) 79 Taxman 458 = (1994) 209 ITR 277 (Bom HC DB) *CITv.Highway Construction1999(105) ELT 14 (Gau HC DB) *Geoffrey Manners & Co. Ltd.v.CIT(1996) 89 Taxman 287 = 221 ITR 695 (Bom HC DB), where it has been held that decision of High Court is not binding precedent on Courts or Tribunals outside the jurisdiction of that High Court. It has only persuasive effect on courts and tribunals situated outside the jurisdiction of that High Court – same view inTaylor Instrument Co.v.CIT(1998) 99 Taxman 155 = 232 ITR 771 (Del HC DB) *CITv.Ved Prakash(1989) 178 ITR 332 = 44 Taxman 365 (P&H HC).
However, Tribunals have expressed different views.
InMadura Coatsv.CCE- (1996) 82 ELT 512 = 13 RLT 186 (CEGAT 3 member bench), it has been held that (a) decision of High Court having jurisdiction over the adjudication authority and assessee will have to be followed by Tribunals (b) When jurisdictional High Court has not taken a view and there are conflicting views of different High Courts, the Tribunal can formulate its own views (c) When there is decision of only one High Court (which is not connected with constitutional validity of a provision), the Tribunal is bound to follow that decision all over India. (d) However, when decision of one High Court is in respect ofviresof any provision i.e. its constitutional validity, the decision of High Court is binding only in jurisdiction of that High Court – decision confirmed and followed inCCEv.Kashmir Conductors1997 (96) ELT 257 = 22 RLT 343 (CEGAT 5 member bench).
InKhanbhai Esoofbhaiv.CCE1999(107) ELT 557 (CEGAT 5 member bench), it was held that in absence of any decision of a High Court holding a contrary view, decision given by a High Court is binding on Tribunal. (All over India – though these words were not used).
6. What assessee should do?
As discussed above, the decision of Delhi High Court is not on the basis of constitutional invalidly. It is only on the ground that in renting, there is no value addition.
It is reported in some articles that Central Government has 90 days time to file appeal or SLP before Supreme Court. Really, Delhi High Court has not specified any such limit and in fact, for fling SLP, there is no time limit.
The (so called) defect in legislation is no minor that it can be easily corrected by making retrospective amendment. Government can also approach Supreme Court for stay of the decision.
In any case, decision of Delhi High Court is not the last word and in my view, the decision will be unsettled either by Supreme Court or by retrospective amendment.
Action by landlord It should be noted that statutory liability is on landlord. Liability of tenant is only contractual. In my view, it is safe to collect and pay service tax, particularly if he is outside the jurisdiction of Delhi High Court, binding nature of decision outside jurisdiction of Deli High Court is weak. He should note that if tax is found to be payable later, it will have to be paid with interest @ 13%.
If possible, collect Deposit against possible service tax liability from tenant assuring that if final decision is in your favour, you will refund the amount or it can be adjusted against future rent
In any case, the landlord must safeguard his interest at least by getting undertaking from tenant that he will pay service tax amount if finally decision goes against the landlord. [Of course, such undertaking can be enforced only through civil court and not through any statutory provision].
Renting within group companies Ifrenting is within the group companies itself, payment of service tax can be avoided (at least deferred) by informing department.
Action by tenant, if he is able to avail Cenvat credit If tenant is in position to avail Cenvat credit, better option is to ask landlord to continue charging service tax. It is well settled that once tax is paid, Cenvat credit can be availed whether tax was actually payable or not.InCCEv.CEGAT2006 (202) ELT 753 (Mad HC DB), it was held that the words used in rule 3(1) of Cenvat Credit Rules are excise duty and service tax paid and not payable. Thus, once duty is paid, Cenvat credit is available, whether duty was payable or not – same view inCCEv.Ranbaxy Labs Ltd.2006 (203) ELT 213 (P&H HC DB) *Manaksia Ltd. v.CCE(2008) 232 ELT 497 (CESTAT 2 v. 1 order) *Savera Pharmaceuticalsv.CCE(2008) 222 ELT 457 (CESTAT).
If tenant is in dictating position and not in position to avail Cenvat credit- If the tenant is not in position to avail Cenvat credit (and if he is in position to dictate terms to landlord), he can refuse to pay service tax (and let landlord suffer), since the tenant has no statutory liability to pay service tax or even interest.
6.1 Disclosure to department
Whatever you decide, it is highly advisable to write to department, so that charge of suppression of facts is avoided and your liability is restricted to service tax plus interest.
6.2. Can assessee or service receiver claim refund?
Assessee or service receiver claim refund, but chances of actually getting refund are negligible, in view of doctrine of unjust enrichment. Landlord cannot get refund if he has collected service tax from the tenant. The tenant can refund only if he can establish that he has not passed on the burden of tax to another person.
Refund claim beyond one year is anyway time barred even if it is found that the levy was illegal!
7. Conclusion
In my view, decision of Delhi High Court is not the last word on this issue, particularly because it is not on the basis of constitutional validity of a decision. It can be easily overturned by judgment of Supreme Court.
Central Government need not take even that trouble and can overturn the decision simply by making a minor retrospective amendment, particularly because the phrase in relation to has been used in at least 60 definitions of services.
In any case, landlord should take steps to protect his liability and should make full disclosure to department.
Source : taxmann,

Delhi HC makes exam mandatory for custom house agents
By : PIRAVI PERUMAL. M on 30 April 2009

The Delhi High Court ruled that to be a Custom House Agent it will be mandatory for aspirants to clear an exam stipulated by the Custom House Agent License Regulation (CHALR) in 2004.
A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudershan K Mishra said all those who have fulfilled the criterion set up in 1984 by the CHALR Act and are yet to get the license to be the permanent agents will have to clear the examination.
The court directed the Customs Authorities to allow all those who are working as temporary agents to continue with their work till they clear the examination which will be conducted in the near future.
Rajan Sabharwal, counsel for the customs department, contended that as per the rules, initially an H-card used to be issued to all those who wanted to be temporary license holders. Then they were issued the G-card for a period of three years and as per the rule 9 (5) of the Act, to get a permanent license, such persons, in addition to fulfilling other criterion, had to clear the examination also, he said.
In the year 2004, these rules were superseded and the persons desirous of getting the permanent license were asked to clear just one examination. The temporary licenses was done away with and examination for permanent custom agent was started.
Many agents, who had cleared the examination earlier and were awaiting results, were now asked to appear in the examination afresh. Resenting to such a situation the agents approached the court contending that they have already gone through the process as stipulated in the 1984 rules and hence should be granted the same without appearing in the examination again as per the 2005 rules.
A single-judge bench of the HC on July 23, 2005 had held that once the examination results were declared the government should implement the 1984 rules.
The court today set aside the single judge order of July 2005 and said the respondents who could not be granted the licenses earlier should be allowed to appear in the examination and the names of the successful candidates should be considered on priority basis in terms of availability of the licenses.

SC concern over increasing cases of sexual assault of minor
By : PIRAVI PERUMAL. M on 01 May 2009

The Supreme Court has expressed serious concern over the increasing number of cases of sexual assault, involving rape and murder of minor girls. Two judges of the apex court, however, differed on the quantum of sentence while upholding the conviction of a person in a rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl, who was a student of class four, in Surat district of Gujarat in 1999. Presiding judge Justice Arijit Pasayat, upheld the death sentence awarded to Ramesh Bhai Chandi Bhai Rathod, a chowkidar, however, the other judge on the bench, Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly said that the case did not fall in the rarest of rare category and therefore commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment. The two judges finally referred the matter to a larger bench on the point of quantum of the sentence. The bench directed the registry to place the matter before Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan for marking to a larger bench. Justice Pasyat, in his 33-page separate judgment noted, ‘The plea that in a case of circumstantial evidence that should not be avoided is without any logic. If the circumstantial evidence is found to be of unimpeachable character in establishing the guilt of the accused, that forms the foundation of the conviction. It has nothing to do with the question of sentence as has been observed by this court in various cases while awarding death sentence. The mitigating circumstances and the aggravating circumstances have to balanced.’ ‘In fact in most of the cases where death sentence is awarded for rape and murder and the like there is practically no scope for having an eyewitness as they are not committed in the public view,’ he said. ‘The case at hand falls in the rarest of rare category as the circumstances highlighted establish the act of the accused and it calls for only one sentence that is death sentence,’ he said. Justice Ganguly, however, in his separate 56-page judgment while agreeing with Justice Pasayat said that the appellant was guilty of rape and murder of the minor girl, differed on the point of sentence and noted that instead of death sentence, a sentence of rigorous imprisonment will serve the ends of justice. The convict was awarded death sentence by a fast track court in Surat and it was confirmed by the Gujarat High Court.

Court: set up six fast track courts to try Godhra & riot cases
J. Venkatesan
Vacates stay on trial; more charge sheets to be filed
Supreme Court asks SIT to submit quarterly reports
Security for witnesses wherever needed
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the setting up of six fast track courts (FTCs) to try the 2002 Godhra and post-Godhra riot cases in Gujarat and vacated its 2003 order staying the trial.
A Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat, P. Sathasivam and Aftab Alam requested the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court to set up these FTCs in the districts of Ahmedabad (four cases — Naroda Patiya, Naroda Gam, Gulberg and Godhra train at the Sabarmati jail); Mehsana (two cases); Saabarkantha (British national case) and Anand.
Accepting the report of the Special Investigation Team headed by R.K. Raghavan, former CBI Director, the Bench said: “Due to the efforts of the SIT, persons who were not earlier arrayed as accused have now been arrayed as accused. From the details it appears that in most of the cases a large number of persons have been additionally made accused. Besides this, a large number of witnesses were examined in each case. This goes to show the apparent thoroughness with which the [Supreme Court-appointed] SIT has worked.”
Writing the judgment, Justice Pasayat said: “It is imperative, considering the nature and sensitivity of these cases and the history of the entire litigation, that senior judicial officers be appointed so that these trials can be concluded as soon as possible and in the most satisfactory manner. It would be advisable if the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court selects the judicial officers to be so nominated.”
The Bench directed that supplementary charge sheets be filed in each case as the SIT had found further material and/or had identified other accused against whom charges were now sought to be brought. The trials should be held on a day-to-day basis keeping in view the fact that they were already delayed by seven years. “The need for early completion of sensitive cases, more particularly in cases involving communal disturbances, cannot be overstated.”
The Bench said public prosecutors should be appointed in consultation with the SIT chairman. He should keep track of the progress of the trials to ensure that “they are proceeding smoothly and shall submit quarterly reports to this court.”
The Bench said: “The stay on the conduct of the trials is vacated to enable the trials to continue. Wherever necessary the SIT can request the public prosecutor to seek cancellation of the bails already granted.” To instil confidence in the minds of the victims and their relatives and to ensure that witnesses deposed freely and fearlessly before the court, steps should be taken to provide security to the witnesses wherever considered necessary, the Bench said.
The Bench said:
“The SIT shall be the nodal agency to decide as to which witnesses require protection and the kind of witness protection that is to be made available to such witness. The SIT would continue to function and carry out any investigations that are yet to be completed or any further investigation that may arise in the course of the trials.
“It was the apprehension of some of the counsel that unruly situations may be created in court to terrorise witnesses. It needs no indication that the court shall have to deal with such situations sternly and pass necessary orders. The SIT shall also look into this area. Periodic three monthly reports shall be submitted by the SIT to this court in sealed covers.”

HC speedens process for closure of med college
2 May 2009, 0537 hrs IST, TNN
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat High Court on Friday granted a six-week period to state government to move a formal recommendation to Medical Council of India (MCI) for closure of Kesar Sal Medical College
. City-based self-financed college run by a charitable trust Adarsh Foundation, has been derecognized by Medical Council of India since 2007. This happened after the college allegedly failed to provide infrastructure contemplated under laws, and hence students were not enrolled. However, the college remained recognised for three years only and total strength of students at present is 300. With derecognition, future of students of three batches hangs in balance. Ultimately some 200 students moved the court demanding accommodation to other medical colleges for completion of their degree course, MBBS. High court sought explanations from various authorities. MCI then informed court that according to formal procedure state government must give recommendation, then MCI will forward it to Centre. Final decision for closure of a medical college is to be taken by Central government after this procedure. After MCI?s reply, division Bench headed by Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan asked state government to complete this procedure to send recommendation of closure of Kesar Sal college within six weeks. On the other hand, the students complained before the court that they should be immediately shifted to other college, as there is no education facility at the Kesar Sal college even after the management has charged lakhs of rupees from each of the students. The court has asked the students to submit their issues in form of an affidavit, and further hearing is kept on May 12.

HC contempt notice to PU VC, registrar
2 May 2009, 0217 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Justice TPS Mann of Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday issued contempt notice to Panjab University’s vice-chancellor RC Sobti and registrar SS Bari for August 6, following a plea filed by ousted lecturer JS Rathor, who submitted before the court that university authorities were not complying with the HC order of November 26, 2008, passed by justice Ajay Tewari. Justice Tewari had in November last year set aside PU order of December 31, 2004, through which Rathor’s services were terminated. Also, the judge had stated that Rathor would be on deemed suspension from the said date even as the university was granted the liberty to initiate disciplinary against the petitioner by issuing him a chargesheet based on its report, dated March 27, 2000. The judge had also directed PU to transmit the entire suspension allowance to petitioner before issuance of chargesheet. However, despite the lapse of five months since the HC order, the university authorities neither gave any suspension allowance to Rathor nor issued any chargesheet to him. The PU laxity prodded the petitioner to knock the doors of the HC again.

HC for more stringent law on child abuse
2 May 2009, 0412 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Alarmed at the growing instances of child sexual abuse, the Delhi High Court has called for a more stringent law for deterrence effect, saying the definition of rape under section 376 IPC should be made age and gender neutral. Justice S Muralidhar was hearing the appeal of a man sentenced to two years imprisonment for committing “digital rape” (inserting finger in vagina) of a five-year-old girl. The judge was upset that lack of a suitable law prevented the courts from inflicting the same punishment on him as that reserved for a rapist. “The offence of a child sexual abuse is an extremely grave one. Innocent and tender children are abused sexually through a variety of means, one if which is the present case. Such incidents leave a deep scar on the psyche of the child and has the potential of adversely affecting the child’s emotional and mental development… the harsh truth is that these incidents are more frequent than we imagine and very often goes unpunished by the child suffering the trauma silently,” the court observed, dismissing one Tara Dutt’s appeal. HC lamented how the courts hands were tied as the crime committed by Dutt, 54 at that time and father of four children, is not recognized as a heinous crime, resulting in him being convicted under section 354 IPC (outraging modesty of a woman) and not 376 IPC (rape). “Despite the report of Law Commission of India lying with the government for over nine years and the Supreme Court in 2004 hoping that the Parliament would make appropriate changes, it is a matter of grave concern that nothing has been done till date. The absence of a stringent law can only have the pernicious effect of crime continuing undeterred,” HC added, saying it was high time that definition of rape was made “age and gender neutral” so that cases like Dutt’s could be dealt with severely. According to the prosecution in June 1996, the victim complained to her mother that in her absence Dutt, a distant relative, committed digital rape. Following this, her mother lodged an FIR with the police and criminal proceedings were initiated against him.

Delhi HC summons FIPB, Trai execs in spectrum case

Press Trust of India / New Delhi May 1, 2009, 13:29 IST
The Delhi High Court today directed the Telecom Commission Chairman and Additional Secretary in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to be personally present on May 15, on the issue of non-compliance with its (the High Court’s) earlier directions in the case of telecom company Bycell. In March, the court had directed the authorities to dispose of the grievances of Bycell Telecommunications, which hasn’t got spectrum despite getting the letter of intent (LoI) a year back for five circles. Justice S Ravindra Bhatt directed the Telecom Commission Chairman, who is also Secretary in the Department of Telecom (DoT), and Additional Secretary of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) after the counsel appearing for the government informed the court that there was no communication from the authorities in this regard. “The Secretary of Telecom should be present on May 15 and the concerned functionary of FIPB not below the rank of additional secretary should also be present,” said Justice Bhatt. The court also said if they fail to be present on May 15, warrants against them will be issued. “Today five weeks have gone by and the decision is not taken in the regard of petitioner (Bycell) as stipulated by the court … ,” the court said.

HC lawyers boycott work to protest against advocate’s death

Allahabad, May 1 (PTI) Work in the Allahabad High Court was today paralysed on account of a boycott call given by the Bar Association here to demand arrest of a doctor at whose hospital an advocate died allegedly due to negligence of the authorities.As soon as the court assembled for the day, High Court Bar Association members began moving around the various court rooms, appealing to refrain from judicial work. Work was soon stopped in the court.Advocate Laxmikant Mishra died on Sunday last after authorities of a local hospital allegedly stopped his treatment on account of non-payment of bills. After the advocate’s death, the hospital authorities allegedly told the family members that the body will be handed over to them only after all the dues were cleared.The hospital premises were thereafter vandalised by a group of advocates who demanded the arrest of the owner and neurologist A K Bansal’s besides compensation for the victim.The advocates staged a demonstration in front of the hospital carrying the body of Mishra on Monday.Bansal has refuted the allegations, saying no pressure for payment of dues was put on the family members of Mishra, whose death resulted “from the refusal to heed our advice that he be taken to the SGPGI hospital in Lucknow as his case was complicated”.However, advocates have threatened to step up their agitation if Bansal was not arrested. PTI

HC seeks explanation on transfer of asst labour commissioner
1 May 2009, 0425 hrs IST, TNN

HYDERABAD: The AP High Court on Thursday directed the central labour commissioner to appear in person in the court and explain the reasons for transferring an assistant labour commissioner from Hyderabad and relieving her from duties despite a status quo order issued by the court. The division bench comprising justice Gulam Mohammad and justice P V Sanjay Kumar while dealing with a petition filed by an assistant labour commissioner Ashina Misra who was challenging her transfer to Visakhapatnam from her present post at Hyderabad, sought to know from the authorities as to why they were resorting to chaotic steps like not paying the assistant commissioner her salary and keeping her idle without any work. The bench did not agree with the explanation given by the government counsel. “Is this the way the machinery should function”, the bench asked and ordered the presence of the central labour commissioner and posted the matter to June 5. When the government counsel insisted not to order the presence of the top official, the bench said there is nothing shameful about coming to the court.

SC fast-tracks trial of Gujarat riot cases
2 May 2009, 0211 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: More than six years after it stayed trial in nine key Gujarat riots cases, including the Godhra train-burning case, the Supreme Court on Friday showed the green light for swift trial of the accused by setting up six fast-track courts for day-to-day hearing. The court ordered filing of additional chargesheets against the accused brought to book by its Special Investigation Team (SIT), following up on an earlier order which was seen as an indictment of the shoddy probe by the Gujarat police which left many of those allegedly guilty of the carnage out of the prosecution net. Even though the court ruled that the trials, at least for the time being, would be conducted in Gujarat, it took into account apprehensions of victims, conferring vast powers on the SIT which is supposed to be autonomous of reigning preferences in Ahmedabad. On crucial issues related to the trial — from protection of witnesses to selection of public prosecutors — SIT will take the final call. “The conduct of trials has to be resumed on a day-to-day basis — keeping in view the fact that the incidents are of February 2002 and the trials already stand delayed by seven years. The need for early completion of sensitive cases, particularly in cases involving communal disturbances, cannot be overstated,” said a Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam. The SC requested the chief justice of Gujarat High Court to choose senior judges to head the fast-track courts, three of which will function in Ahmedabad to try cases of riots at Naroda Patiya, Naroda Gam, Gulbarg Society and the train arson in Sabarmati that is said to have sparked off the state-wide mayhem. The other three courts will be set up at Mehsana to try Ode and Mehsana riot cases; at Sabarkantha to try the case involving murder of British nationals and the one at Anand to try cases in that district. The court made plain its intention to engage with the matter. Thus, even though it did not accept the petitioner’s plea to shift the trial outside Gujarat, it stressed that it was not closing that option altogether. It also fully appreciated the concern about protection of witnesses against the accused, saying that the call taken by SIT chief, former CBI director R K Raghavan, on the kind of measures needed would be final. In fact, the Bench said, if required, some witnesses could be provided security by paramilitary forces, and if the threat to their life was grave, they could even be relocated to other states, under an arrangement to be worked out by the Centre. The court also addressed the issue of competence of prosecutors — pre-requisite for free and fair trial — stating that experienced lawyers familiar with the conduct of criminal trials alone would be appointed as PPs in consultation with the chairman of SIT. “SIT chairman could seek change in PPs or appointment of additional PPs if he found their performance unsatisfactory,” the court said. Refusing to let go of monitoring of the trial in these riot cases, the Bench said, “the chairman of SIT shall keep track of the progress of trials” and give periodic reports to the apex court. Justice Pasayat, writing the judgment for the Bench, said the right of victims to see that perpetrators of the crime were punished stood on an equal footing with that of the right of the accused for a fair trial. “It needs to be emphasised that the rights of the accused have to be protected. At the same time, the rights of the victims have also to be protected… Accused persons are entitled to a fair trial where their guilt or innocence can be determined. But from the victims’ perception, the perpetrator of a crime should be punished. They stand poised equally in the scales of justice,” the Bench said.

Court approves CBI probe into PF scam
J. Venkatesan
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday approved the probe conducted by the CBI so far into the multi-crore illegal Ghaziabad provident fund withdrawal scam allegedly involving judges.
A three-judge Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat, V.S. Sirpurkar and G.S. Singhvi, after accepting the second status report submitted by Solicitor-General G.E. Vahanvati on behalf of the CBI, made it clear that no further status report be filed in this case. The Bench also said it did not think it was necessary to direct the CBI on the modalities of the enquiry to be done hereafter and posted the case for further hearing in the third week of August.
(According to sources, the CBI, in its second status report, has mentioned the names of at least 10 judges, including a Supreme Court judge, who were questioned in connection with the scam. The report, however, did not arrive at any conclusion about their role, which the CBI says could be determined only after further enquiry or questioning.)
Mr. Vahanvati said the CBI did not want to file a piecemeal report though enquiry was complete for certain persons and further enquiry was on for others. He said no monitoring of investigation was necessary.
Mr. Justice Pasayat told counsel that since the investigation was proceeding on the right lines and even judges were questioned, monitoring the investigation was no longer necessary.
He said the Supreme Court had no supervisory or advisory jurisdiction over the CBI to see whether enquiry was being done in the way it should be done.
He said the moment it was found that prima facie commission of offence was established, monitoring might be necessary but that stage had not yet come.
Mr. Justice Sirpurkar observed that if the CBI machinery was already activated, “we don’t think that further monitoring is necessary. Monitoring will be against the basic tenets of criminal law.”
Senior counsel Shanthi Bhushan said the Supreme Court should continue to monitor the investigation of the case.
He said “the CBI is not perceived as independent and people have faith only in the Supreme Court.”
Senior counsel Anil Divan said the issues involved in this case were “whether no enquiry can be conducted against sitting judges without the permission of the Chief Justice of India; whether the investigating machinery needs permission from the CJI even for collecting materials against judges and whether sanction for prosecution from the CJI was necessary.”

HC notice to CS on power plant at Telnilapuram
1 May 2009, 0424 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: A division bench of the A P High court comprising chief justice Anil Ramesh Dave and justice Ramesh Ranganathan on Thursday ordered notices to the chief secretary in a writ petition filed challenging the permission granted by the central government for setting up of power plant near Telnilapuram bird habitat at Santha Bommali mandal in Srikakulam district. The writ petition filed by Captain J Rama Rao, representing Forum for Sustainable Development said that the Environmental Appraisal Committee of the Ministry of Environment visited the site and found that it is ecologically fragile area and rare birds breed here and these are wetlands and swamps. The petitioner said that such lands need to be preserved as per the action plan of Prime Minister for climate change. He said that the MOEF ought not to have cleared the project. He said that as the National Environmental Appellate authority (NEAA) has become ineffective he is filing the writ petition. The bench ordered notices to proponent, chief secretary and the secretary to of environmental department of the state and adjourned the case to June 11.

Resolve impasse over bus routes in 4 months: HC directs transport unions
Express News Service
Posted: May 01, 2009 at 2343 hrs IST
Chandigarh The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed Chandigarh and Haryana to prepare an inter-state transport agreement within four months. The two states have been given the deadline to arrive at a conclusive settlement regarding routes for the buses of the respective state transport unions and other outstanding issues.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Hemant Gupta, arrived at the decision while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Arvind Seth, a resident of Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 5, Panchkula.
During the hearing, Haryana Law Officer Advocate Randhir Singh accused the CTU of misconduct and causing inconvenience to the public and backed the new bus route initiated by Haryana Roadways from Ramgarh Fort to PGI on April 15.
“There are far more buses travelling from Chandigarh to Haryana. Under what provision does the Chandigarh Administration claim monopoly on the plying of buses in Chandigarh? We have a right to ply buses inside Chandigarh,” Singh said
Senior standing counsel for the UT Administration, Anupam Gupta, on the other hand, made it clear that they were keen to resolve the dispute. Referring to the unions, Gupta said, “They have a history of animated intervention. There was no problem prior to April 15.”
Contesting the claims made by Advocate Singh, Gupta said Chandigarh had exclusive jurisdiction over the plying of CTU buses. He also referred to a notification to this effect issued few years ago and informed the court that the UT Home Secretary had held a meeting on April 28 after the PIL was filed and the dispute was amicably resolved. He said that status quo would remain between the two states as prior to April 15. “We have started the process of consultation, but the code of conduct stands in the way,” Gupta added.
Standoff remains, passengers at recieving end
With the deadlock between HRTC (Haryana Roadways Transport Corporation) and CTU (Chandigarh Transport Undertaking) over disputed routes continuing, passengers remain an inconvenienced lot.
Though the administration claims to have the issue resolved soon, the meeting scheduled for Wednesday among officials of the state transport unions was cancelled.
While CTU buses are not plying on internal roads in Panchkula, keeping on point-to-point routes till a decision is reached, HRTC has withdrawn its buses on the ‘disputed’ route —Ramgarh to PGI— started recently in response to public demand. This was decided on April 28 after a meeting between top officials of Haryana and Chandigarh, including the UT Home Secretary and the Haryana Transport Commissioner.
UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas, speaking on the High Court’s decision today, said, “Although we have been given four months’ time, a decision will be worked out after the code of conduct is lifted. With the administration in no position to take a decision due to the code of conduct, the scheduled meeting was not held.”
CTU Director M L Sharma said, “The meeting was not held as the officials were waiting for the High Court’s decision. We will abide by the High Court’s decision, which says the matter should be resolved with a reciprocal agreement between both the state transport unions.” President of the Haryana Roadways’ Employee Union Lal Chand Kasana, meanwhile, said if the issue is not resolved amicably in due time, the administration will be responsible for passenger inconvenience.

On Mulayam, CBI takes cue from Cong-SP ties
Ritu Sarin Posted: Friday , May 01, 2009 at 0827 hrs IST
New Delhi: Does Mulayam Singh Yadav have assets disproportionate to his income? That’s the question at the heart of the case against him and the answer, going by CBI and Government’s internal documents, obtained by The Indian Express, varies — depending on which side of the UPA is Mulayam’s Samajwadi Party on.
So much so that in a startling admission, Union Law Minister H R Bhardwaj told this newspaper: “The CBI has obviously targeted Mulayam Singh Yadav and (has) attempted to fix him. I told them that the case should be objectively re-examined.” What Bhardwaj does not mention, of course, is how his own role has been far from “objective.”
In March 2007, a case of disproportionate assets (DA) case was registered on directions of the Supreme Court on the basis of a PIL filed by lawyer Vishwanath Chaturvedi alleging that Mulayam had assets worth hundreds of crores.
Unusually, the apex court directed the CBI to submit its findings to the “Union of India.” The CBI completed its preliminary inquiry in October 2007 and claimed to have found “sufficient material” for a DA case. That same month, it filed an “Interlocutory Application” asking for permission to proceed with the probe “without further reference to the Union or State Government.”
That was an unusual assertion of its independence — an assertion that quickly unravelled.
For, the case took a brazen U-turn after July 22, 2008 when the Left withdrew support and the SP bailed out the UPA in the confidence vote on the nuclear deal.
Soon, the Government took the familiar route of intervention in CBI cases — via the Law Ministry and its law officers. Official records accessed by The Indian Express show how the Ministry of Law and the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) — which has administrative charge of CBI — moved with alacrity to get the agency to reverse its stand.
On November 8, 2008, Union Law Minister H R Bhardwaj signed a file asking for opinion of Solicitor General G E Vahanvati. The SG’s opinion, available with The Indian Express, demolished the CBI’s investigation. The law officer criticized the move to club the assets of the former Chief Minister with those of his family members stating, “Smt Malti Devi (Mulayam’s wife) and Dimple Yadav (his daughter-in-law) held no public office and there is no reference in the judgment about them holding any power or authority…It is not possible to club all assets and incomes together and conclude on the consolidated figures that there is a case…of holding disproportionate assets.”
While the CBI pegged Mulayam’s unexplained assets at Rs 2.6 crore, this was the SG’s final calculation: the former CM had movable and immovable assets valued at Rs 71.76 lakh; income and gifts totaling Rs 2.54 crore; expenditure totaling Rs 1.26 crore and thus the “surplus” of Rs 1.28 crore, in his view, “sufficiently accounts for the money for acquisition of the moveable and immovable assets of Rs 71.76 lakh.”
Concluding his opinion, Vahanvati said that “on the basis of the facts which I have set out” the Government should “look into CBI’s report” and also “consider” withdrawal of its IA, still pending before the Supreme Court.
The Law Ministry, on receipt of this opinion dated November 14, 2008, wasted no time in implementing the SG’s observations. So on November 17, 2008, Bhardwaj signed off on the file: “I agree with the legal opinion of the learned Solicitor General. The Department of Personnel may withdraw the IA pending in the Supreme Court.”
On December 4, 2008, a directive from the DoPT on the subject made one more revelation: the CBI had tagged the opinion of its Director of Prosecution, S K Sharma, along with that of the SG to justify its U-turn in the Supreme Court.
The CBI’s flip-flop invoked the surprise of the Supreme Court and the agency was asked to explain. During a hearing on January 27, 2009, the bench even indicated its anguish: “The direction in the judgment to submit the report to the Centre was possibly a mistake.” During a subsequent hearing, Vahanvati made a surprising oral submission: “My opinion in the case is no longer relevant.”
The second flip-flop in the case began to unfold as the Cong-SP relationship turned cold over seat-sharing in Uttar Pradesh. And during the last hearing on March 31, the CBI informed the Supreme Court that it still “stands by its recommendations” made in the status report dated October 26, 2007 (in which a DA case is made out) and has acted in “utmost good faith.” It also asked the apex court to “ignore” the Solicitor General’s opinion in the case.
The next hearing of the case is May 5. The CBI is red-faced as it will have to explain its shifting stand. The Mulayam Singh Yadav camp is angry that the case hasn’t been wound up and his lawyers have submitted a set of 12 CDs in a sealed cover to the Supreme Court containing tapes purportedly of meetings where “negotiations” were allegedly held between CBI officials, law officers and SP leaders.
How authentic these tapes are or what’s on them may not be known yet but one thing is clear: so political has this case become that the next step in it will also be a test of which takes precedence — law or politics.

‘Solve CTU-HR row in 4 mths’
1 May 2009, 0242 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Acting on a PIL filed by advocate Arvind Seth, who projected the plight of commuters hit by the ongoing row between unions of CTU and Haryana Roadways, the HC on Thursday set a four-month deadline for Haryana government and UT to resolve the issue by inking relevant transport agreements. The division bench of chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur and justice Hemant Gupta mooted formation of a panel by UT and Haryana government to resolve the contentiousn issues.

Supreme Court on water front
Editorial Posted On Thursday, April 30, 2009
When the government failed to perform its fundamental duties then a constitutional institution like the Supreme Court had to come forward on the issue of water. The problem of drinking water and electricity in the State has become grave. Still no concrete action seems to have been taken by the government. A PIL has been filed by an NGO Kachh Sankat Nivaran Samiti in the Apex Court seeking redressal of water problem. The court has commented that water is the most important fundamental right of a citizen, and if any government fails to ensure this right, then it has no right to continue in office. In the meanwhile, the government has formed a high-level committee of scientists and experts for overcoming the water crisis. It is headed by secretary of science & technology ministry. The committee has been directed to furnish its report in every two months. Its first report will be submitted on Aug 11. The main issue in front of the committee is to work out the method to transform the saline water into drinkable water at minimum cost. It was said in the PIL that reason of countrywide water crisis is due to inept handling of water resources. Justice Markandey Katju & Justice Dattu, in their remark made a reference of Article 21 of Constitution, in which the right to life is mentioned. How can one survive without drinking water? The State is responsible for providing its citizens with electricity, road, water. Whereas any work carried out in this direction is highlighted as government achievement rather than its duty. The judges also said that many of the slums do not get water for more than half an hour. Many states like Maharashtra, MP, Rajasthan and south Indian states do not get water for many days. Rivers are drying up and getting polluted. The stark example is Yamuna which has transformed into a dirty sewage.

Chhattisgarh HC: Challenge to SPSA
The Chhattisgarh High Court has accepted a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging constitutionality of the much-debated Special Public Security Act (SPSA) 2005 for consideration.A joint bench of Justices Dheerendra Mishra and Rangnath Chandrakar has issued a show cause notice to the Centre and the state government and asked reply within four weeks while hearing the PIL of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) General Secretary Pushkar Raj and PUCL President Rajendra Sayal yesterday.Petitioner’s counsel Sudha Bharadwaj said in the petition that the state government has passed and implemented the SPSA in March 2005 and the law constituted under the Act is illegal and anti-people.It was said in the petition that in this Act the definition of illegal activities and legal organisation is ambiguous. It includes every kind of democratic protest and organisation. It is the deprivation of fundamental and democratic rights provided by the Constitution hence it should be cancelled, said in the petition. UNI

AAI union calls off stir after HC intervention
1 May 2009, 0231 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Air passengers can rest easy for a while as the Airports Authority Employees Union deferred its strike after the Delhi high court on Thursday extended Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) deadline for them till July 31. Justice S Ravindra Bhat extended the deadline, which was going to expire on Thursday, to enable the employees to make ‘‘reasonable choices’’. The court’s direction came on a petition filed by Airport Authority Employees Union challenging an agreement under which they were being transferred to different zones in the country if they didn’t opt for VRS, nor were absorbed by DIAL or MIAL. Nearly 4,000 employees are likely to be affected by the transfers. The union had contended that the transfers were not allowed under the Airport Authority of India Act. ‘‘Most employees of AAI were employed at the time the Act was in existence and the transfer clause did not exist for its ‘B’ and ‘C’ category employees,’’ the court noted, adding the interest of employees has to be protected. The court also extended the tenure of the tripartite committee set up by the civil aviation ministry comprising employees representatives, Airport Authority and officials of the ministry till July 31. The committee has been asked to submit its report by June 15 to the government. M K Ghoshal, general secretary of the union said, ‘‘We are waiting for the matters to be discussed in the tripartite meeting. The ministry will no longer be able to get away with its arbitrary decisions.” The union had threatened to go on an all-India strike from the midnight of April 30-May 1 if the ministry did not reconsider its decision.

HC relief for private schools on fee hike
1 May 2009, 0802 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Private schools in the capital on Thursday got relief from the Delhi High Court as it stayed a Delhi government circular asking the schools to seek approval from parents on fee hike. A division bench of justice A K Sikri and justice Suresh Kait stayed the government’s public notice of April 15 and asked it to file by May 26 a detailed reply to the objections raised by the schools. According to the public notice, the schools were asked to convene a general body meeting within 30 days where they had to consult the parent-teacher associations (PTAs) before deciding on a fee hike. Based on PTAs’ recommendations, they would have to approach the Directorate of Education (DoE) to review their case and allow them a hike. The schools protested against the notice before HC, arguing that under the Delhi Education Act, the management committee of a school is the supreme authority to decide on fee hike and the government’s notice ran contrary to the Act. The schools have been demanding up to 50% hike in tuition fees in order to give teachers a raise and arrears in accordance with the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations. The DoE has created five slabs on the basis of the existing tuition fees in schools, allowing them a maximum fee hike of Rs.500. While granting the stay, HC expressed its displeasure at the government’s failure to furnish any response, despite the court’s direction, to the petition filed by a group of parents challenging the fee hike. The court has now asked it to reply by May 26, the next date of hearing. The bench was hearing a PIL, filed by the Delhi Abhibhavak Sangh, Social Jurists, an NGO, and Faith Academy Parent’s Association through counsel Ashok Aggarwal, alleging the government had gone contrary to the recommendation given by S L Bansal Committee, constituted to look into the fee hike by schools. They sought direction to quash the notification issued by the education department on February 11 permitting the schools to hike tuition fees with retrospective effect from January 1, 2006. According to the notification, for every Rs 500 in tuition fees, there will be Rs 100 increase monthly. Delhi government had constituted a committee headed by S L Bansal, a retired officer, to examine the implications of Sixth Pay Commission for recognized unaided schools and the education department relied on the committee’s recommendation while issuing the notification for school fee hike.

Lodha Junior moves Calcutta HC
1 May 2009, 0110 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: Former Birla Corporation chairman R S Lodha’s younger son Harsh Lodha on Thursday moved an application before the Calcutta High Court praying that he be appointed administrator of the M P Birla estate, thereby opposing the applications filed by the Birlas earlier. After the death of R S Lodha the executor of the M P Birla estate in October 2008, some applications seeking appointments as administrator had also been filed on behalf of the Birlas. Justice Kalyanjyoti Sengupta has fixed May 14 for the next hearing on the junior Lodha’s plea. In his application, Harsh Lodha claimed that his father had been appointed administrator as per the 1999 will of the late Priyamvada Birla. However, the senior Lodha died before the probate proceedings were completed. Since Harsh Lodha claimed that he was also a beneficiary of Priyamvada Birla’s will, he should be appointed administrator.

MOEF can decide on mangroves removal to build new airport: HC–Fauna/MOEF-can-decide-on-mangroves-removal-to-build-new-airport-HC-/articleshow/4468943.cms
30 Apr 2009, 2101 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has made it clear that no authority, including the Ministry Of Environment and Forest (MOEF), has been restrained from exercising its statutory authority by court’s ban on destruction of mangroves. The State government yesterday moved the Bombay High Court to clear a technical hurdle regarding coastal regulation zone (CRZ) rules for the proposed international airport at neighbouring Navi Mumbai. Advocate General Ravi Kadam submitted that the State was having difficulties in getting clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forest for the airport project. The MOEF was apprehensive of relaxing or amending CRZ notifications in view of an October 2005 High Court order banning destruction of mangroves and creating a 50 metres buffer zone for mangrove lands. Kadam submitted that CRZ rules can be relaxed for vital public projects and the international airport was vital for the city. Division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice V K Tahilramani said no authority has been restricted by court’s order to exercise their statutory powers. In 2005, in response to a PIL filed by the NGO Bombay Environmental Action Group, the High Court imposed a blanket ban on destruction of mangroves.

HC restrains govt from demolishing kiosks
30 Apr 2009, 0649 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Wednesday restrained the state government from going ahead with the demolition of four kiosks (gaddas) located outside the compound of the Goa Medical College (GMC), Bambolim. While restraining the state government from removing the kiosks until further orders, the court has also granted relief to the owner of a fifth kiosk Prajoti Amonkar, whose gadda had been demolished by the authorities. The bench has granted her provisional permission for selling her wares at a location near the remaining four gaddas until the court passes further orders in that regard. A division bench comprising Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice U D Salvi were hearing two separate petitions filed by the kiosk owners challenging the governments decision to demolish the gaddas. The petitioners submitted that five gaddas had been allotted the space outside GMC hospital under the Deen Dayal Rojgar Scheme of the state government. The scheme was meant to provide self-employment to the unemployed youth. After the authorities had demolished one of these five kiosks as part of its beautification plan for the GMC complex, owners of the remaining four kiosks had moved the court. Senior advocate Saresh Lotlikar, appearing on behalf of the petitioners, told the court that the government had acted high-handedly in the matter. He further told the court that the demolition had been carried out in spite of the kiosk owners having all the necessary permissions and licences. At this point the bench admitted both the petitions and directed the matter to be taken up expeditiously for final disposal. The petitions are now likely to come up for hearing in June this year after the end of the summer vacations for the high court.

HC penalises man who sought release of Rajiv case convicts
30 Apr 2009, 0608 hrs IST, A Subramani, TNN
CHENNAI: The Madras high court on Wednesday imposed costs of Rs one lakh on the petitioner who sought the release of Nalini and six other convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Incensed at the utter lack of legal basis for such a habeas corpus petition and the attempt by petitioner E Veluchamy to describe the seven convicts as detenues’, a division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice C T Selvam said: “The seven persons are not detained under any preventive detention laws, but are convict prisoners serving their sentences as awarded by the Supreme Court, after exhausting all legal remedies available to them. No provision of law permits a third party to file any petition for any relief on behalf of such accused persons, except the accused himself.” Decrying the “malicious attempt” of Veluchamy, the judges asked him to pay Rs one lakh to the Chief Justice’s Relief Fund within four weeks. They also directed the registrar-general to initiate all necessary legal proceedings to get the amount from Veluchamy under the provisions of the Revenue Recovery Act, which involves even attachment of properties. In his habeas corpus petition, Veluchamy faulted the CBI probe and said the real culprits had not been brought to the book. Citing the formation of various judicial committees which went into the conspiracy angle of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, he wanted the court to set at liberty the seven detenues’. While Nalini and three others are serving life terms, her husband Murugan and two others are on death row. Justice Rao, writing the judgment for the bench, said the present petition was a “classic example” of how well-established facts could be twisted to the convenience of individuals and how law could be misused and valuable public time of the court could be wasted by persons filing fictitious and frivolous litigations for publicity and political mileage. All the seven persons concerned were awarded varying degree of punishments, including death penalty, only after full-fledged trials, the judges said, adding that all reasonable opportunities were afforded to the accused. The Supreme Court, besides confirming the conviction of these persons, dismissed their review pleas as well. Though different commissions were formed by the government of India, they did not go into the guilt aspect of these seven persons and no clean chit was given to them, the judges pointed out. Noting that Veluchamy had not approached the court with clean hands, the judges referred to the ongoing parliamentary elections in the country and said the petition had been filed “to settle his (Veluchamy’s) personal and political scores, with an intention to make use of this court as a tool in achieving his wicked desires…”

Can’t disqualify parties on ground of socialism: Centre
30 Apr 2009, 0236 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: Market forces may have been the determining factor since the early 1990s marking the beginning of the liberalisation era in India, but the Centre swears on oath that socialism and its principles are still relevant and, in fact, an important part of governance. This was stated in an affidavit by the UPA government in the Supreme Court on Wednesday in the midst of electioneering. The affidavit was in response to a PIL filed by NGO “Good Governance India Foundation”, which sought derecognition of political parties not adopting the principles of socialism as was required under the Representation of People Act. Section 29-A of RPA mandated that no political party would be registered by the Election Commission unless it bore “true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established and to the principles of socialism, secularism and democracy…” It defended the provision in RPA mandating political parties to stick to the concept of socialism and said it “is one of the fundamental principles underlying the Indian Constitution”. So if a political party did not conform to the principles of socialism, as a logical corollary should the EC not derecognise such parties, the PIL asked. No, said the Centre. “The Election Commission has no power to derecognise any political party on the ground of violation of sub-section 29-A of the RP Act or on the ground that socialism, though a declared objective of a political party, is not being adhered to in practice,” it said. This means that though the Centre agreed that a political party merely has to say it owed allegiance to the principles of socialism, it was candid in conceding that no political party would be visited with adverse consequences if it in practice it did not adhere to it. In support of its stand, the Centre quoted a 2005 judgment of the Supreme Court in the Indian National Congress Vs Institute of Social Welfare to say: “Parliament deliberately omitted to vest the EC with the power to deregister a political party for non-compliance with the conditions for the grant of such registration.”

HC orders appointments in lok adalats
30 Apr 2009, 0338 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Wednesday gave three weeks’ time to the state government to appoint permanent members in the district lok adalats. A division bench comprising Chief Justice J B Koshy and Justice Ravi Ranjan issued the directive while hearing a PIL initiated suo motu by the court. Information commission The same bench on Wednesday directed the state government to file a counter affidavit to a PIL of Vikash Chandra alias Guddu Baba seeking appointment of chief information commissioner at the State Information Commission. The petitioner submitted that the post of chief information commissioner has been lying vacant for the last several months after first chief information commissioner Justice Shashank Kumar Singh completed his term.

Centre files affidavit on black money in SC
May 2nd, 2009 – 7:21 am EST
New Delhi, May 2 (ANI): The government of India on Saturday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on the steps taken by it on the black money stashed by Indian nationals in Swiss banks.
The Centre assured the apex court that it was doing its level best to retrieve the amount of over Rs. 70 lakh crore in black money believed to be stored in foreign banks by rich Indians.
The affidavit was filed in response to a public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by former Law Minister and reputed jurist Ram Jethmalani, former Lok Sabha General Secretary Subhash C Kashyap and former Punjab Police chief KPS Gill, who have been seeking court’s direction to the government to bring back the black money.
In the affidavit, the government has claimed that the lawsuit filed against it was ‘ politically motivated’.
Doubting the intensions of filing the lawsuit in the middle of the general elections, the Centre sought the dismissal of the PIL.
Jethmalani and others had mentioned the petition in front of the Court on April 22. They had alleged that the government was taking no action on the black money issue.
Though the apex court had not issued notice, it had posted the matter for hearing on May 4 after the ASG had promised to file the affidavit within 48 hours.
Dismissing the charges by the petitioners, the ASG had pointed out that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his opening speech at the recent G-20 submit in London, had said that ‘there should be an absolute transparency and banking secrecy should be over’.

HC rejects villagers’ claim on Nano land
30 Apr 2009, 0017 hrs IST, TNN
AHMEDABAD: Villagers claiming compensation for the plot in Sanand taluka, which the state government leased out to Tata Motors for Nano car project, have miserably failed to prove their ownership on the land before the Gujarat High Court. The court on Wednesday not only dismissed two petitions filed by farmers of Bol and Khoda villages, but also imposed fine of Rs 10,000 on each of them for filing “frivolous, speculative and vexatious” petitions. A division Bench headed by the Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan held that the villagers, who claim to be legal heirs of original claimants of the 2,251 acre land of Northcote Pura near Chharodi, cannot contend after 100 years that their forefathers were not paid adequate compensation, and hence they should be compensated instead. While rejecting the petitions demanding compensation on lines of recent market value of the land, the high court observed that the petitioners’ ancestors had never questioned the validity of the award, which was nearly Rs two lakh in 1911, then why the villagers of Bol and Khoda should raise question the government act after a century. After the government sold 1,100 acres out of 2,251 acres of land in Northcote Pura to Tata Motors by way of passing a resolution on October 21 last year at the rate of Rs 900 per square metre, the villagers of Bol and Khoda moved the high court claiming that the land belongs to their ancestors, and the government should give compensation to them. They based their claims on argument that the government had taken the land on lease in 1900, but in 1911 acquired it without following due procedure. Bol villagers sought compensation for 810 acres and 36 gunthas, which Khoda villagers demanded it for 865 acres and 27 gunthas. In a counter reply, the state government stated that first of all, the petitioners have nothing on record to show their ownership on the land. Advocate general said that the government has taken a lot of efforts to procure the century old documents from various offices in Gujarat and Maharashtra, and the affidavit relies on the data obtained from the Department of Archives in the neighbouring state. However, certain documents remained untraceable. After hearing both the sides, the judges observed that a compensation of nearly Rs 2 lakh was given to villagers in Bol and Khoda was a fact and it cannot be disputed, and the only question to be judged was with regard to the failure of the “then” government to follow mandatory provisions under the Land Acquisition Act. The court concluded that some of the petitioners have also filed a civil suit regarding their claims on this land, and therefore the petition in the high court is nothing but an abuse of the process of the court. Therefore, the court slapped fine on them asking them to deposit the amount with the high court’s mediation centre within one month.

Navi Mumbai airport: HC relief for state
30 Apr 2009, 0148 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: Decks have been cleared for the Maharashtra government to approach the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to seek relaxation in rules for its new airport in Navi Mumbai. The Bombay high court on Thursday said that its order had not restricted any authority from exercising its statutory powers. Cidco had sought the high court’s permission to move the MoEF seeking a change in the Coastal Regulation Zone law for its upcoming airport at Panvel. Advocate general Ravi Kadam told the court that CRZ rules could be relaxed for vital public projects like the international airport. Kadam said that the MoEF was apprehensive in granting any relaxation in the light of the October 2005 HC order banning the destruction of mangroves. Of the 2,053 hectares of land earmarked for the airport, around 115 hectares comprise mangrove land. In a related development, the BMC has also sought permission for land-filling activities in mangrove land at the Kanjurmarg dumping ground.

Do not extend babus’ terms, HC tells state
30 Apr 2009, 0002 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: Putting paid to the hopes of babus on the verge of retirement for an extension, the Bombay high court-in an important interim order on Thursday-restrained the Maharashtra government from either giving extensions or re-appointing superannuated officers without seeking the court’s approval. Hearing a PIL filed by a former legislator who alleged that the government was giving extensions to its retired officers in violation of the rules, a division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice Vijaya Kapse-Tahilramani directed the state to furnish all records in this regard. “No one is indispensable in a country of 1 billion,” said the judges, adding, “even the man at the top can be changed.” The court said the government’s decision to allow officers to continue in their jobs even after retirement was affecting their juniors. “Why are you spoiling the chances of people who are waiting in queue after putting in 30-35 years of work for the top job?” The PIL filed by ex-MLA Jagannath Dhone claimed that the extensions were in violation of the service rules. “The salaries of these officers are paid from the Consolidated Fund of the state government and, therefore, the illegal appointments are a burden on the exchequer,” said Dhone’s lawyer Vinod Joshi. Government pleader Dharyasheel Nalavade submitted an affidavit by the principal secretary in which the state admitted that in the last six months it had re-employed 10 government officers after they had retired. Prominent among them were D R Mali, secretary (revenue and forest department) and the trio of Y K Chowdhari, V B Bhopatkar and S V Bawiskar, who were re-employed in the office of the chief minister. Of the 10, the extension given to five depended on the tenure of the chief minister. “Re-employment or extension is granted in extraordinary circumstances only when a situation arises where no other person is available to man the vacancy, which has occurred due to retirement,” said the affidavit. The petitioner disputed this, saying that under the rules, the government could grant an extension only if no one was available to fill the vacant post or the person being granted an extension had some special qualifications, which no one else in the department had. “(Extensions are granted) with malafide intention to protect the monetary interest of the re-employed person, restrain the appointment of an eligible person and avoid promotional avenues to others,” alleged Dhone.

Calcutta HC directive to Sahara India
Principal Correspondent
KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court has passed an order asking Sahara India Limited to deposit the due sponsorship money to the Indian Hockey Federation in a suspense account.
Justice Indira Banerjee passed an order in this respect on Monday, giving a new turn to the legal tussle between the old committee of Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) chaired by K.P.S. Gill and Leisure Sports Management (LSM), the marketing group of Sahara India Limited.
The Calcutta High Court asked Sahara to deposit the due sponsorship amount which is to a tune of Rs 2.11 crore — in suspense account till further orders of the court.
The order was based on a prayer made by IHF old committee, which alleged the LSM had obtained an interim order from this court by suppressing some facts, in February last year.
Green signal
The Indian hockey team can now sport its original sponsors’ logo. Through this interim order, the Calcutta High Court stayed the operation of a notice issued by the old committee of the IHF that the Indian hockey players would play international matches without wearing the Sahara logo on their jerseys.
The prosecution of case stated that there existed an eight-year sponsorship agreement between Sahara India Ltd., LSM and IHF committee led by Gill, which was signed on July 15, 2003.
According to that agreement, Sahara was supposed to sponsor Indian hockey team in international matches and the sponsorship amount was to be distributed through LSM.
The payments were to be made in four quarters in April, July, October and January every year.
Till the third quarter of 2007-2008 financial year everything was smooth. But since January 2008 the Federation did not receive any amount from Sahara. So, we decided to remove the sponsors’ logos from the Indian jerseys, the lawyers appearing for the Gill-led committee claimed.
The old committee also informed the court that the Sahara had taken the advantage of an incident, in which the Indian Olympic Committee had superseded the old committee and constituted an ad hoc committee of the federation with the intention for holding an election and form a new committee.
The lawyer appearing for the ad hoc committee claimed since it has the authority to run the federation the company (Sahara) should hand over the money to it.

HC seeks I-T dept’s reply on notice to SABMiller
30 Apr 2009, 0037 hrs IST, M Padmakshan, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: In a move similar to the Vodafone case, the Bombay High Court has asked the I-T department to file a reply on a notice it issued to SABMiller UK pertaining to the latter’s $120-million acquisition of Foster’s India from its Australian parent in 2006. The Pune income-tax office sent a notice to SABMiller in January 2008, asking it to furnish details of the deal. SABMiller has dragged the department to the HC, challenging its jurisdiction over a deal struck outside India between two non-resident parties. According to SABMiller UK, the shares transferred to it as part of the deal belonged to a Mauritius-based company that was earlier held by a group company of Foster’s. However, the department’s views on such an issue is amply clear from its stand on the $11-billion acquisition of Hutch-Essar by Vodafone from the Honk Kong-based Hutch International. The department ruled that profit generated in India was liable to be taxed in India, irrespective of whether the transfer of shares took place outside the country. It is not yet known what the department’s estimate is on the capital gains arising of the deal, which involved the sale of a brand as well as physical assets such as a state-of the-art brewery in Maharashtra. Earlier, the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) held that tax was payable in India on account of the profit arising from the sale of its (Foster’s Australia) brand, goodwill and licence to Foster’s India to brew the beer locally.

HC status quo on council chairman recruitment
29 Apr 2009, 2257 hrs IST, TNN
IMPHAL: Gauhati High Court has maintained a status quo on the controversial appointment of Sanjenbam Geeta Devi as in-charge chairperson of Council of Higher Secondary Education Manipur (COHSEM). The order implies that Geeta will be holding her earlier post of additional director of Manipur education department (schools) as she is yet to take charge as the council’s chairman, said advocate Y Nirmolchand, who appeared on her behalf. Geeta filed the writ petition challenging Friday’s government order appointing her as the council’s chairperson. Among other reasons, she, in her petition, said she did not fulfill the requisite qualifications to hold such a post, the lawyer said. In her petition, Geeta contended that such an order was made in contrary to the provisions under sub-section II of Section 12 of the Manipur Higher Secondary Education Act, Nirmolchand added. The Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur (Desam) has detected the flaw and the government’s “wrong” policy in appointing the petitioner to such post, he said. Having heard both parties, Justice UB Saha, in his Imphal bench sitting on Monday maintained the status quo. The court also issued notices to the state respondents commissioner, secretary and director of schools education to give their replies on the writ filed by her within four weeks. The respondents were also asked to reply within a week as to why the operation of the government’s order appointing Geeta as the council’s chairman should not be stayed as prayed by her or “why such further or other orders as to this court may deem fit and proper should not be passed.” Desam, while opposing Geeta’s appointment, has demanded the government to revoke the order. The All Manipur College Teachers’ Association (AMCTA) demanded the authorities to review such order. According to the standing norms, a person who holds the post as director in schools or higher education can be appointed as the council chairman, said Desam’s education secretary A Thoithoi on Sunday.

HC seeks clarification on quota benefit
29 Apr 2009, 2231 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: A division bench of the high court has asked the UP Public Service Commission (UPPSC) and the state government to file counter-affidavits within two weeks on a writ petition challenging result of the UP Combined State/Upper Subordinate Services Examination-2007. The order was passed by a bench of Justices R K Agrawal and R R Awasthi on a writ petition filed by an OBC candidate, Sunil Kumar Patel, who had appeared in the aforementioned exam. Appearing for the petitioner, Kripa Shanker Singh argued that provisions of reservation policy in respect of OBC/SC/ST have been made applicable while short-listing the candidates of the reserved categories. He said there is a provision that if a reserved category candidate competes with that of general category, then he would not be adjusted against the vacancies reserved for such category, but the UPPSC has refused to give this benefit in violation of the reservation provisions applicable in UP. The second ground taken in the petition was that the UPPSC has made a provision that only objective type questions are to be answered making a tick mark, so that computerised method may be applicable for preparing and deciding the result of the preliminary examination. As such, scaling system for optional papers can not be done by the commission as per settled norms of the Supreme Court. The court will hear the case on May 25.

HC Bar Assn protests lawyer’s death
29 Apr 2009, 2229 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: Members of the High Court Bar Association, Allahabad, on Wednesday held a meeting and accused the district administration and police of not initiating steps in connection with the death of lawyer Laxmi Kant Misra. Lawyers said the police were not taking any action against doctors who were responsible for the death of Misra. Later, they also held a token demonstration. Lawyers said they would hold a meeting on Thursday to chalk out further strategy. Meanwhile, Talking to The Times of India, Dr A K Bansal, in whose hospital Misra died, said latter’s death was unfortunate but added that the manner in which the facts were being twisted and the hospital was vandalised deserved condemnation. Advocate Misra had died in the hospital after sustaining injuries in an accident. His family had accused the hospital doctors of negligence.

Lawyer killing: HC issues notices
30 Apr 2009, 0529 hrs IST, TNN
Bangalore : The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday treated a letter written by a city-based NGO as suo motu PIL and ordered notices to the home secretary and police officers of the Mangalore crime branch on the recent killing of advocate Naushad Kasim. The vacation division bench headed by Justice D V Shylendra Kumar treated the April 21 letter addressed to Chief Justice P D Dinakaran by South India Cell for Human Rights, Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) and ordered notices to Jayant Shetty, DySP, Crime Records, police officers Venkatesh Prasanna, M Shivaprasad and Valentine D’Souza and adjourned the matter to next month. Naushad Kasim, the criminal lawyer defending Rashid Malabari who owes allegiance to Chhota Shakeel, was shot dead on April 10. His senior, Purushotham Poojary, stated that the police are behind his death. Naushad had appeared as defence counsel for Atul Rao in the Padmapriya case and in BJP leader Sukhanand Shetty’s murder case. This has irked the authorities, who are allegedly behaving like agents of the Sangh Parivar. Police rapped for lethargy Pulling up the police for not registering cases against those named responsible for minors going missing in several habeas corpus petitions, the high court has ordered them to act impartially and within the ambit of law. The court ordered notices to the city police on a habeas corpus petition filed by one B Choodamani of Nagarabhavi, alleging that her son was kidnapped on April 14 by Niranjan, Ambarish, Ashok and Jaipal, and are demanding Rs 8 lakh as ransom. In another case, the court expressed displeasure about certain wordings about the judges, in a statement of the city police commissioner. The case related to a missing minor girl from Indiranagar, who is allegedly confined in Nanjangud. The girl speaks to her mother over phone but does not give away her location. The police are yet to trace the origin of the call. In another case, the court treated a telegram sent by one Rajeshwari from Tumkur as a habeas corpus petition alleging that her daughter, who was kidnapped last year, is still untraceable. The court issued notice to the Tumkur police and adjourned the hearing to May 5. Tale of two principals The high court ordered notice to the education department on a petition filed by one Ramu, challenging his transfer and the KAT order to continue Anjane Gowda, principal of Govt PU College, Old Fort, Chamarajpet. The petitioner, who was serving in a pre-university college in Srinivasapur in Kolar, was transferred to the PU College, Fort. The incumbent principal had obtained a stay and the matter was referred to the cadre management authority headed by the minister. In the meantime, Anjane Gowda was transferred to Hagalakote in Magadi taluk, against which he filed a contempt case against the minister and was granted time till April 30. Now, Ramu is apprehensive that certain wordings in that order allow Anjane Gowda to remain at the Fort college beyond this month-end and he will have no posting as he has already been relieved. Notice on property tax The High Court ordered notice to the state government and BBMP on a PIL filed by the Citizen Action Forum challenging the validity of section 108A in the KMC Act, which provides for collection of property tax in Bangalore city by adopting UAV and zonal calculations. The petitioner claims the system is unscientific and there is no explanation as to how they arrived at those calculations, and also sought proper registration of properties before calculating tax.

On patients’ demand, HC stops Arcon shutdown
Express News Service Posted: Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 at 0105 hrs IST
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the Maharashtra
government not to close the Aids Research and Control Centre (Arcon) that
functions from Grant
Medical College.

This comes as an interim relief for thousands
of HIV-AIDS patients registered with Arcon.
The court has issued notices to the state
government, Union Ministry of Health, ARCON and its director.
Arcon was about to be closed on April 30 and
the patients and their families had filed a PIL against the move, fearing that
the support and social acceptance they had at Arcon would not be matched
anywhere else.
According to Jamshed Mistry, who appeared for
the patients, Arcon employees had even been given termination letters.
Mistry submitted that the institution should
continue running, following which a division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and
Justice V K Tahilramani gave the directions and adjourned hearing till June.

LIC Housing Finance Ltd. : Get LIC Home Loans at Low Interest Rates. No Hidden Costs. Apply Now!
LIC Housing Finance Ltd. : Get LIC Home Loans at Low Interest Rates. No Hidden Costs. Apply Now!
LIC Housing Finance Ltd. : Get LIC Home Loans at Low Interest Rates. No Hidden Costs. Apply Now!
Ads by Google –>The PIL states that in
2004, Arcon, which was started with the help of University of Texas
in 1994, received funds from the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and
Malaria (GFATM) for a period of five years.
Advertisements for the “sixth round” of GFATM
funding were issued in 2006.
Had Arcon applied in time to the central
government, the situation would not have cropped up, claim the petitioners.
The PIL alleges that Arcon director handled the
issue rather callously and casually while submitting its report to the Centre
by June 2006. This resulted in the funding not being renewed, the PIL states.
The PIL says that nearly 10,000 patients are
registered with Arcon and all of them will stand to lose on quality treatment.
According to Mistry, around 6,000 patients were treated there in March.
In 2003, Arcon had applied for the second round
of funding, and got it. It was only for a five-year period ending April 2009.
The petitioners urged the court to direct the
Centre and the state to provide funds to keep Arcon going. Arcon, Mumbai’s
first HIV and AIDS research body, provides free medicines and counselling to
AIDS patients.
Patients feel that if Arcon is shut down, they
will be deprived of their life-support.

Give Rs 2 L compensation to kin of victims: NHRC

2 May 2009, 2215 hrs IST,
Amarendra Jha, TNN

DAMAN: Almost six years after Daman
bridge collapse tragedy that left 30, including 28 children, dead, National
Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended a monetary relief
of Rs 2 lakh to kin of victims. The commission recently sent the
recommendation to union ministry of home affairs (MHA).

Earlier, a petition had been filed by local social activist Mahesh Desai,
along with a group of affected families, to NHRC with a complaint that
compensation to the next of kin of each victim paid by Central government
was not adequate. Number of reports about incident published in TOI in 2003
were also submitted by petitioners to NHRC for perusal.

A commission of inquiry headed by retired Justice RJ Kochar, in its report
in October, 2006, had indicted Daman
administration for negligence in maintenance and repairs of the bridge. It
also recommended compensation of over and above the sum of Rs 1 lakh already
paid to the kin of the dead.

On consideration of report of inquiry commission, NHRC on November 14, 2007
issued notice to MHA, requiring it to show-cause why additional compensation
should not be recommended. In response, MHA submitted that payment of any
additional relief would require formulation of revised policy based on
inter-ministerial consultations and approval of competent authority.

NHRC looked into the matter on February 4 this year and it stated that
response of Central government could only provide solution for future. The
Centre did not offer any redressal to the present problem of the families of
deceased as a result of collapse of the bridge, according to a letter issued
last month by NHRC to petitioner Desai. A copy of letter is with TOI.

“A bridge is a facility provided by the state and if such facility
endangers life, the state is liable to pay appropriate compensation to the
victims. In Damanganga bridge collapse incident, Rs 1 lakh paid as monetary
relief would be grossly inadequate in view of financial hardships and mental
caused to the bereaved families,” NHRC stated, adding that an amount of
Rs 2 lakh as monetary relief be given to the next of kin of all victims by
May 15.

NHRC asks Punjab govt to pay Rs 1 lakh for death of undertrial

New Delhi, May 1 (PTI)
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed Punjab government to
pay a compensation of Rs one lakh to the next of kin of an undertrial who died
allegedly after consuming insecticide in judicial custody five years ago.
The Commission also sought a compliance report from the state government along
with the proof of payment of compensation within eight weeks from the date of
the receipt of its directions.

Amarjeet Singh, who was lodged at Central jail in Ludhiana in connection with a case, had died
of consuming insecticide in judicial custody on February 22, 2004.

Cause of his death could not be ascertained during post-mortem but viscera
report later indicated that the undertrial had consumed insecticide, NHRC

The day Singh died, he had been taken to court for hearing. He was fit and
normal after he was brought back to jail. Singh became unwell after taking
dinner and later died in a hospital, the commission said.

A magisterial enquiry was conducted after Singh’s death but it could not
ascertain the source from where Singh got insecticide and also the time when
he consumed it.

The commission observed that Singh died in judicial custody due to the
negligence of staffs. “He would not have consumed poisonous substance and
the incident could have been averted, had the escort and guards kept a proper
watch on him,” the rights panel observed. PTI

NHRC to take action to stop govt from
withdrawing 238 cases

Kantipur Report
April 30 – National Human
Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Home Ministry to explain as to why
it had decided to withdraw 238 cases of serious crimes pending at the court.
The independent constitutional body to monitor human rights violations took
the action on Wednesday after it received a complaint against the government
On April 13, the Home Ministry
recommended the Ministry for Law and Constituent Assembly Affairs to do the
needful for withdrawal of the cases as per the directive of Prime Minister
Pushpa Kamal Dahal. The decision, said sources, was an agreed-upon deal among
the Unified CPN (Maoist), Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum and Tarai-Madhes
Loktantrik Party, whose cadres have been facing charges of grave human rights
violations in those 238 cases.
Among others, the pending cases
include the Kapilvastu carnage, which is one of the gravest violations of
human rights after the 2006 peace deal, according to NHRC officials.
Most of these cases are among
those NHRC had identified as serious crimes committed before and after the
peace deal and directed the government to punish the culprits.
“The government cannot withdraw
the cases associated with serious rights violations even if it wants,” said
NHRC member Gauri Pradhan. “We will summon responsible officials to ask
clarification on this issue and take further action.”
As per the Article 2(3) of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), of which Nepal is a
party, and Article 33 (3) of the Interim Constitution, the government cannot
withdraw the criminal cases having universal jurisdiction such as murder and
rape under any condition.
However, the government side has
been arguing that it the Article 5 of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
confers it the right to “to withdraw […] cases under consideration alleged
against various individuals due to political reasons.” Based on the similar
reasons, the government had withdrawn 349 cases last year, against which a case is pending at the Supreme Court.
However, NHRC has it that the cases — which are already withdrawn or going to be withdrawn — have nothing to with politics as they are clearly identified as pure crimes.
The recent move by the
government, which has come despite widespread criticism, has raised defenders’
eyebrows once again.
“It proves that the government
has no interest in protecting human rights,” said Madhav Bashnet, an advocate
who moved the apex court against the government over its withdrawal of 349
criminal cases. Besides Maoists, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and others too are
equally responsible in letting the impunity grow higher as they have remained
totally apathetic.
Posted on:
2009-04-30 08:57:01 (Server Time)

LEGAL NEWS & JUDGMENT 28/29.04.2009

GHCL bars Pramod Jain from board meet; director contests

Press Trust Of India / New Delhi April 28, 2009, 16:28 IST
Soda ash maker GHCL Ltd has barred its additional director Pramod Jain from attending a board meeting on April 30 saying he ceases to be a member on that day, a claim contested by the official
Jain, who also claims to hold about six per cent equity in GHCL and was appointed to the board on January 30, said that he had submitted to the chairman a post-dated resignation to be effective on April 30, but withdrew it later after finding financial mis-management in the company.
But, GHCL, which has received an adverse interim order from market regulator SEBI last week on discrepancies in promoter shareholding, said the withdrawal of the resignation was not acceptable and the company has acquired a legal opinion on the issue.
When contacted, a GHCL spokesperson said that Jain had resigned “irrevocably” and it could not be withdrawn as per the legal opinion obtained by them from former Chief Justice of India V N Khare.
Jain, on the other hand, said that he has also obtained legal opinion from former CJI R C Lahoti, as per which his resignation could be withdrawn.
The director-shareholder also said that GHCL did not accept the withdrawal of his resignation as he wanted to raise certain issues with the board regarding the irregularities at the company.
Jain further said that GHCL promoters should come out with an open offer to repurchase share from the public shareholders at the same price — Rs 100-125 a share — at which they offloaded their shares last year and brought down their holding from 47-48 % to about 18 %. Shares are currently trading at below Rs 30 a share at BSE.
Jain said that he has also written to market authorities — SEBI, BSE and NSE — about the issue and alleged irregularities in the company.
GHCL is holding probably its first board meeting after the SEBI order on April 30, wherein it would consider the company’s quarterly results.

SC constitutes new pay commission for 14,000 trial court judges
29 Apr 2009, 0139 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: If the Chief Justice of India and judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts got a three-fold salary hike, should the lowly paid trial court judges be left out? The Supreme Court doesn’t think so. On Tuesday, a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal constituted a new pay commission headed by retired Madras High Court judge, Justice E Padmanabhan, to recommend a suitable upward revision of the salaries of 14,000-odd judges of the subordinate judiciary. The Bench requested Justice Padmanabhan to give a report, if possible, suggeting increased pay-scales for the trial court judges by July 28, when the matter would be taken up again. The process of appointment of the Padmanabhan Commission was speeded up thanks to the undiluted support from amicus curiae and senior advocate Fali S Nariman to the cause of the lower judiciary, which received support from additional solicitor general Mohan Parasaran. This order from the SC came on a petition by All India Judges Association, which said the first judicial pay commission headed by Justice Jagannatha Shetty had said that whenever there was an upward revision of salaries of HC judges, the salaries of lower court judges should also be proportionately revised. It has sought a direction from the court to the Centre to “forthwith appoint a committee of one or more persons to look into the matter” relating to the pay-scales of the presiding officers of the lower judiciary. After getting respectable salaries for himself, SC and HC judges, the CJI had on January 7 talked to TOI expressing concern over the low salaries of the lower court judges. “Their monthly take home is even lower than their counterparts in the executive,” he had said. The first National Judicial Pay Commission (NJPC) headed by Justice Shetty was constituted on March 21, 1996, and it gave its recommendations in November 1999. It had recommended a salary hike that entitled civil judge (junior division) a starting monthly salary of Rs 11,775, civil judge (senior division) Rs 15,200, District Judge (entry level) Rs 20,800 and District Judge (supertime scale) Rs 23,850. But, this was recommended keeping in view the then salaries of HC judges which was fixed at Rs 26,000 a month and that of an HC CJ Rs 30,000, SC judges Rs 30,000 and CJI Rs 33,000. The salary structure for the higher judiciary recently got changed with the government agreeing to revise the salary of HC judges to Rs 80,000, HC CJ Rs 90,000, SC judges Rs 90,000 and CJI Rs 1 lakh.

PIL filed over Board’s paper assessment issue
29 Apr 2009, 0301 hrs IST, TNN
AHMEDABAD: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in Gujarat High Court, expressing reservations against the practice of employing Gujarati medium teachers to assess answer papers of English medium students in boards. On basis of newspaper’s reports, Praful Desai of Senior Citizen Service Trust has filed a PIL that claims that due to shortage of teachers in English medium, the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) assigns task of assessment of copies written by English medium students to teachers who teach in Gujarati medium. In his PIL, Desai has claimed that the Gujarati medium teachers cannot do justice to English medium students, and the students suffer in their ranking. He has argued that because of defective assessment those students who manage to score high rank in entrance exams for medical and engineering courses, actually score lower than the Gujarati medium students. The petitioner has also informed the court that he sought information in this regard under the RTI laws, and despite a favourable order by a deputy secretary of the education department, the staffers didn’t provide any data. When Desai complained in this regard before the information commission, the department forwarded an excuse that the staff was over-burdened with exam work. In his PIL, Desai has urged the court to direct the education department to explain what measures it has taken to resolve this issue, so that the English medium students get fair treatment in assessment of their copies of Class X and XII. A report from the education department in this regard has also been sought by the petitioner. When the petition came up for hearing, a division bench of Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi asked the public prosecutor to take necessary instructions from the education department. The court has kept May 13 for further hearing in this case.

PIL against Akhilesh Das
29 Apr 2009, 0523 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: The High Court has directed the state counsel to obtain instructions from the state government on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) alleging that BSP candidate from Lucknow Parliamentary constituency Akhilesh Das has acquired 76 acre land from Dalit farmers of Barabanki against rules and used it for commercial purpose. Advocate GC Joshi in his PIL has alleged that Das acquired over 76 acre of agriculture land in Sarswa Simra Saraishekh village in low prices from Dalit farmers by violating Lucknow’s master plan rules and UP Zamindari Abolition and Land Development Act 1950 and got the land transferred to a company owned by his son. Demanding high-level probe into the matter, the petitioner also alleged that Das also violated rules by levelling a pond and constructing his group of educational institutes over it. However, no action has been taken against Das because he is well connected in the government. Joshi also claimed that senior government officers were also involved in the scam, which had resulted in huge revenue losses to the government. The division bench comprising Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Sayyed Nazim Hussain Jaidi after hearing the petition instructed the government counsel to obtain instructions from the state government on the matter. The case has been listed for May 12 for hearing.

Apply Gujarat riot case principle to Sikh riots case: PIL in SC
29 Apr 2009, 0138 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: A day after Supreme Court directed a Special Investigation Team probe into the alleged role of chief minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 post-Godhra communal carnage, a PIL sought to draw a parallel between the Gujarat riots and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots seeking parallel treatment by the judiciary. The petition filed by advocate M S Butalia said the Supreme Court has handled the Gujarat riot cases with singular motive to bring to book the alleged perpetrators of the mayhem and requested it to take up the hundreds of anti-Sikh riots cases pending in various courts for 25 years without there being any justice to the victims and their families. The PIL, filed through advocate Harshvir Pratap Singh, was also categoric that pendency of the anti-Sikh riot cases for 25 years made a mockery of the criminal justice system that should equally protect the victims and the right of the accused for a speedy trial. If the accused are guilty, they should be punished or else they be let off, the PIL said while seeking an independent probe into the anti-Sikh riot cases on the line similar to one being conducted by SIT under ex-CBI director R K Raghavan into the Gujarat riot cases. Referring to the infamous Best Bakery case and the judgment in it, the PIL petitioner said the SC had laid down several guidelines regarding the trial, which was transferred to Mumbai, to be conducted in a free and fair manner. Butalia in his petition pleaded that after a free and fair investigation into the anti-Sikh riot cases, the trial should be conducted by public prosecutors appointed in consultation with the families of the victims. The Supreme Court had on Monday ordered a SIT probe into the alleged role of chief minister Narendra Modi, his cabinet colleagues, BJP MLAs, VHP leaders including Praveen Togadia, and top police officials and bureaucrats on the basis of a complaint filed by Jakia Nasim Ahesan Jaffri, widow of ex-Congress MP Ehsan Jaffri who was killed by a rampaging mob at Gulbarg Society in 2002.

CBI’s decision to withdraw red corner notice against Q challenged in SC
29 Apr 2009, 0233 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The CBI’s decision to withdraw the Red Corner Notice against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in the Rs 64 crore Bofors payoff case was challenged in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The challenge came through a hurriedly drafted 18-page application by advocate Ajay Agrawal that was filed in the SC Registry minutes before the court closed for the day. Agrawal moved the application in his PIL, pending since 2006, challenging CBI’s lackadaisical approach in getting Quattrocchi extradited from Argentina, where Interpol authorities had arrested him on the basis of the Red Corner Notice issued at the request of CBI. The PIL has also questioned the manner in which the UPA government had given consent in 2006 to the Crown Prosecution of UK to defreeze Quattrocchi’s bank account, which was lying frozen since 2003 on the allegation that part of Bofors payoff money was deposited there. In his application in the pending PIL, Agrawal requested the apex court to set aside the CBI’s decision to withdraw the Red Corner Notice against Quattrocchi. He has also pleaded that the Red Corner Notice be reissued against the Italian businessman, who should be arrested and produced before the concerned court in India for trial. He said the CBI and the government have done enough “flip flops” on the issue and alleged that both have shown disrespect to the apex court’s orders. Giving an instance, he said despite the January 16, 2006, order directing status quo in the defreezing of Quattrocchi’s London bank account, the government and CBI did nothing to prevent the money from being withdrawn immediately by Quattrocchi. “It is clear from the conduct of the CBI top officials and the government of India that they wanted Quattrocchi to get the frozen money and for that purpose the government sent its law officer to London to facilitate the release,” Agrawal alleged. He also cited the October 7, 2005, unsolicted opinion of additional solicitor general, Kalyan Pathak, who was asked to give an opinion whether or not CBI should appeal against the May 31, 2005, judgment of the Delhi High Court giving a clean chit to the Hinduja brothers. But, he went on to opine that Quattrocchi was not a fugitive and no case against him would stand in the Indian court.

SC asks Centre to appoint committee to solve water crisis
29 Apr 2009, 0218 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Observing that those in power had no right to rule if they could not provide things as basic to life as water, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Centre to set up a high-level committee within two months to carry out research on a war footing to solve the problem of water shortage in the country. “We direct the central government to forthwith constitute a committee which shall do scientific research on a war footing for solving the water shortage in most parts of our country because of which our people are suffering terribly,” ordered a Bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and H L Dattu. The order came on a PIL filed by advocate M K Balakrishnan, whose concern was limited to the vanishing wetlands in the country. However, the Bench on March 26 had expanded the scope of the PIL and made it into one dealing with the water crisis in several parts of the country. Quoting poet Rahim on the vital connection between life and water, the Bench said, “The central government is directed to form this committee to address the water shortage problem at the earliest, latest within two months from today. This committee shall have the secretary, ministry of science and technology, as its chairman.” Allowing it freedom to take help of foreign scientists if needed, the Bench said the scientific research should focus on finding out inexpensive methods of converting saline water into fresh water. It should also explore means to harness and manage rain water and “also to manage flood water and research in rain water harvesting, treatment of waste water so that it may be recycled and available as potable water”. It asked the chairman of the committee to give first progress report by August 11 detailing the activities on solving the water crisis.

HC prod for rail bridge
Ranchi, April 28: Unhappy with the tardy progress of construction of a bridge over Namkum railway crossing, Jharkhand High Court today asked Governor Syed Sibtey Razi to depute one of his three advisers to look into the matter.
The bench also said that the adviser should furnish a report, identifying which agency is responsible for the delay in construction work. The adviser will have to furnish the report on May 15.
The high court had earlier directed a host of senior government officials, including the Union surface transport secretary, liasoning officer, state road construction secretary and the Ranchi divisional railway manager, to appear in person in this regard. While all the summoned officials, except the road construction secretary, were present today, the court again asked them to appear on the next date when the adviser’s report will be tabled.
The court passed the order while hearing a PIL filed by one Dhananjay Dubey. Dubey had said in the PIL that despite tall claims and assurances of the government, the bridge had not been completed, which was a defiance of the court orders. The court observed that though the money had already been sanctioned and released by the Union government, work had not progressed satisfactorily and there was unnecessary delay.
The railway crossing at Namkum is strategically located and is an important link between the Tata and Purulia roads on national highway.
Heavy traffic plies down the road with army vehicles from the cantonement at Namkum. The road being narrow gets congested and results in long traffic jams affecting commuters, the petitioner said.

Arthur Road closure: HC tells state to have a normal trial and not panic
Express News Service
Posted: Apr 29, 2009 at 0051 hrs IST
Mumbai While hearing a PIL opposing the closure of Arthur Road in the wake Ajmal Amir Kasab’s trial, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday told the authorities that though they should be prepared to deal with terror attacks, they should not panic.
The division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice V K Tahilramani had earlier asked special Judge M L Tahaliyani (who is presiding over Kasab’s trial) to file a report in this matter. The confidential report was handed to High Court on Tuesday. Though the court would pass order on Wednesday, judges underlined that authorities must not go overboard in securing the trial premises.
“Reduce inconvenience (to local people) or shift the trial. Go to some jungle and set up court there,” Justice Nazki said. He added, “We must not give a message that we are frightened. We must have a normal life and a normal trial. There is thin line between preparation and panic. This shows panic.”
“Militants do not strike where you expect them to strike,” the judge said.
PIL was filed by residents and business establishments opposing the closure of Arthur Road to traffic. Petitioners’ lawyer pointed out that though road is closed for traffic, TV channel vans are allowed to park there.The judges then orally said that the vans and platform should be removed although an order to this effect has not been passed.
One half of Sane Guruji road along the jail wall has been closed by police, citing imminent and potential threat to the life of Kasab from terrorist organizations. Also, a platform has been erected for the media near the jail.
The police last week had said that the “underlying motive of contemplated attack is not only aimed to kill accused Kasab but also to scuttle judicial process and to send the signal of insecurity in the country.”
The case will be heard on Wednesday.

Probe anti-Sikh riots a la Best Bakery case: PIL
Legal Correspondent
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has been moved for a further probe into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, in which about 3,000 people were killed, on the lines of the directions issued in the Best Bakery case (during the 2002 riots in Gujarat), and for its monitoring the investigation.
The public interest litigation petition filed through advocate Harsh V. Pratap Sharma, sought a direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation to submit a report on the status of the probe so far; and a further investigation after taking suggestions from the victims and their families.
The advocate-petitioner, Manjit Singh Butalia, said that on March 29 information was leaked to the media that the CBI had given a clean chit to certain accused. It appeared that the CBI had not conducted the investigation freely and fairly, he said.
In the Best Bakery case in Vadodara, the petitioner pointed out, the Supreme Court clearly said, “If the state’s machinery fails to protect citizen’s life, liberties and property and the investigation is conducted in a manner to help the accused persons, it is miscarriage of justice that is perpetrated upon the victims and their family members.”
As per the directions issued in the Vineet Narain case, the filing of every charge sheet should be reviewed by the CBI Director but it was not done in the present case, Mr. Butalia said.
The State government should have taken the same measure as had been adopted in the Gujarat riots case for granting proper relief to the victims.

HC suspends Jerath’s sentence
29 Apr 2009, 0440 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Justice Rajive Bhalla of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Tuesday, suspended the sentence of three-year rigorous imprisonment handed down by the special judge, CBI, Chandigarh, to former UT chief engineer KK Jerath on April 10 in a corruption case dating back to January 1998. The orders came in the wake of an appeal filed by Jerath against the CBI court’s order on the grounds that it erred in ignoring independent sources of income of some of the defence witnesses, including his relatives BK Khanna, Kapil Jerath and Savita Jerath, and in adding their income and assets to that of the petitioner. The CBI judge had sentenced Jerath to three-year RI for possessing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income, and directed confiscating of the former CE’s property since his assets, including fixed deposits and jewellery, had come to less than the disproportionate assets amounting to Rs 57 lakh. The court had also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on the convict. However, the court granted bail to Jerath after he furnished bail bonds of Rs 50,000. Jerath?s jewellery had been assessed to be worth Rs 13 lakh and fixed deposits pegged at Rs 12 lakh. The CBI court had observed: Since these assets – fixed deposits, bank accounts and jewellery – were not sufficient, the plot of the convict (Jerath) in Panchkula also stands confiscated and forfeited. The corruption case had been registered against the former chief engineer following a raid by the income-tax department on November 20, 1997, which lead to the recovery of Rs 6.29 lakh from Jerath’s residence and Rs 5 lakh from his locker. Besides, the I-T department also detected property in the name of his wife and his sons. He had documents showing that his wife took music classes from which his earning had increased. The investigating officer had given some benefit to the accused, mentioning that Jerath had received Rs 2.45 lakh from his father-in-law.

Goshalas must give away cattle to women SHGs: HC
29 Apr 2009, 0337 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the state government to issue a circular to all goshalas in Tamil Nadu, making it clear that instead of auctioning cattle under their care, they should hand them over to women self-help groups (SHGs). The first bench comprising Chief Justice H L Gokhale and Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla, passing orders on a public interest writ petition filed by advocate Elephant G Rajendran, also stipulated that the circular should be sent by the authorities within four weeks. The bench, taking into account the apprehensions expressed by the petitioner, referred to a January 6, 2009 report of the government, and pointed out that the government had taken several decisions to accord best possible care to the animals in goshalas. According to the decision, heads of cattle sent to goshalas would not exceed the latter’s capacity, and that the district collectors would identity religious institutions and recognised women self-help groups to maintain the animals. Another decision talked about handing over these animals to temple priests, who could use the milk for religious purposes. The government had also decided to establish integrated cattle farms in temple lands at Palani, Tiruchendur, Rameswaram, Tiruchi, Salem, Madurai and Thanjavur. In his petition, Rajendran contended that despite several court directions and government decisions, the practice of sending animals to dubious goshalas and slaughterhouses continued in Tamil Nadu. Claiming that starvation deaths of animals occurred at Sri Ranganathan Temple at Srirangam and Ramanathar Temple at Rameswaram, he wanted the court to call for a detailed report from the commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department.

HC refers back death sentence case to lower court
29 Apr 2009, 0139 hrs IST, Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN
NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Tuesday referred back a petition of death sentence to the lower court citing that the “convict failed to get enough chances to prove his credentials.” Shatrughan Nimbalkar was accused of kidnapping and killing a two-year-old boy in Khamgaon. A division bench comprising justices A P Lavande and P B Varale directed the Khamgaon sessions court to decide the case before August 30. The case pertained to Shubham, son of Shrikrishna Fundkar, a relative of leader of opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Pandurang Fundkar. The child was found brutally murdered under mysterious circumstances on August 28, 2004. A court of additional sessions judge A Z Telgote pronounced capital punishment to Nimbalkar on May 12 last year. Looking into seriousness of the case, the government had even appointed renowned lawyer Ujjwal Nikam as special public prosecutor. Shubham’s killing was earlier believed to be a result of witchcraft as coconut and some other material related to worship was found near the body, but later on it came to light that the murder took place for ransom. After the Khamgaon sessions court’s verdict, the case came before the Nagpur bench for confirmation of death sentence. The bench, while referring back the case, cited three discrepancies in the lower court’s ruling. The high court bench observed that accused Nimbalkar’s statement and documents as well as witnesses testimony based on Code of Ciminal Procedure (CrPC) were not taken into account while giving a ruling. Moreover, out of 14 witnesses, the accused was allowed to cross check only one. Additionally, the death penalty was not based on earlier charges of kidnapping under Indian Penal Code (IPC) which is mandatory as per CrPC. The bench also observed that the accused had full rights to cross check witnesses and examines proofs, but he was not allowed to do so.

HC directs Bar to inspect premises for law
29 Apr 2009, 0336 hrs IST, TNN

CHENNAI: Clearing the decks for the entry of another private law college in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court has directed the Bar Council of India (BCI) to inspect the premises owned by a Vellore-based trust without insisting on a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the state government. The first bench comprising the chief justice H L Gokhale and justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla, passing orders on an appeal filed by the BCI, however, said the BCI inspection would be subject to the NOC to be issued by the state government and the affiliation to be granted by the law university. The Vellore-based Shri Swarnavinayakar Educational Charitable and Rural Welfare Trust applied for a law college, and later filed a writ petition seeking a direction to the BCI to inspect the premises without an NOC from the state government and affiliation from the law university. After a single judge ruled in favour of the trust, the BCI filed the present appeal. The government, on its part, contended that under Rule 16 of the BCI Rules, an NOC from the government and the law university’s affiliation were mandatory requirements for the BCI inspection. The judges, however, directed the BCI to conduct the inspection within six weeks, and said such an inspection would save time. Clarifying that the order was applicable to this case alone they said otherwise Rule 16 is the procedure to be followed by the authorities concerned.

HC asks for PWD report in sewer case
29 Apr 2009, 0355 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: After a TOI report last week that highlighted deaths of sewerage workers due to lack of facilities, the Delhi High Court has demanded a report from PWD in this regard. It has asked PWD that why despite HC orders to provide safety equipment to sewerage workers the situation has not improved. A division bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah took suo moto cognizance of the news report and issued notice to PWD, giving it a month’s time to respond. HC has already issued contempt notices against the top officials of Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Development Authority and Delhi Small Industries Development Corporation on death of their sewerage workers in March. On Tuesday, HC asked the PWD to respond within a month. HC was referring to an incident that took place last week in blocks 59 and 60 at Police Colony when three sewerage workers allegedly fell unconscious due to the toxic gases inside a sewer in the locality. One of them, 25-year-old Vijlesh, regained consciousness and managed to climb out of the sewer. The other two, 30-year-old Vinod and 32-year-old Ajit, eventually drowned. According to the police, despite a 45 minute rescue operation they were not able to save the duo, who were declared brought dead at the Hindu Rao Hospital. The cases of sewer deaths are becoming common. Even after repeated warnings by HC, which had issued a detailed directive asking all government agencies like DJB to provide basic safety equipment to their workers, such mishaps are still taking place. The court had made it clear in its directions that it expects civic agencies not to differentiate between its workers and those sourced in on contract, so that the protective cover against toxic deaths is extended to all. The court also hiked the compensation amount to Rs 2.5 lakhs for every death. When despite these steps deaths occurred, HC issued contempt.

Shirgao mining operation: Environment ministry gets HC notice
28 Apr 2009, 0234 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Monday issued notice to the Union ministry of environment and forests after making it party to a public interest litigation filed by the villagers of Shirgao who complained of extensive mining operations in the village. A division bench comprising Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice U D Salvi passed the order while hearing an application filed by the villagers of Shirgao complaining of acute water shortage during the summer. The villagers claimed that the reason for shortage of water was the ground water pollution caused by the proximity of mines owned by three companies. It may be recalled that the court had on April 17, 2009, had directed the state government to provide additional water supply to the villagers of Shirgao during the Larai zatra at the cost of the three erring companies — Bandekar Company Pvt Ltd, Chowgule Co Pvt Ltd, and Dempo Mining Co Pvt Ltd. However when the application came up for hearing, amicus curiae Norma Alvares pointed out that though the government was providing additional water supply to the area, it was insufficient to cater to the needs of all the villagers. Advocate general Subodh Kantak replied that the government would take steps to provide additional water supply to the area as directed by the court so that the requirements of the villagers are sufficiently met. The matter will be heard further on June 15.

No HC relief on age bar for LLB course
Anshika Misra
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 2:17 IST
Mumbai: Admissions to the three-year LLB course this year may be out of reach for those over 30 years of age. The Bombay High Court on Tuesday refused to grant any relief in a PIL challenging the 30-year age bar introduced by the Bar Council of India (BCI) for the course.
The BCI, which governs standards of legal education in India, introduced a 20 years age limit for the five-year LLB course and a 30 years age bar for the three-year LLB course from this year.
Yasmin Tavaria, a city lawyer and law teacher, filed a PIL challenging the new rule. Tavaria sought a stay on the new rule stating that the BCI had not followed the mandatory condition of consulting the university. However, BCI lawyer Nitin Jamdar told the court that the move was a quality control measure to regulate the entry of persons in the legal profession.
Critics have panned BCIs move stating that there cannot be a bar on education and that several professionals enroll into a LLB course to garner legal knowledge. Tavaria sought a stay on the rule stating that colleges had to start printing their admission prospectus and if a stay was not granted then it would lead to chaos during admissions. Refusing interim relief, the HC clubbed Tavaria’s petition along with another petition filed by a lady constable challenging the same rule. Both petitions will be heard in June.

New court complex: HC to decide on GMADA, state row
Posted: Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 at 0108 hrs IST
The ongoing dispute between the Punjab government and the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) over the construction of new district courts complex in Mohali will now be decided by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Despite sanction and clearance of land for the judicial and administrative complex in Sector 76, no construction has been started till date. It has been over six months since nod to the construction was given by the authorities concerned, including GMADA Chief Administrator and Mohali Deputy Commissioner, but no development has taken place on ground.
The GMADA blames the delay on the state government claiming the government has not even submitted a written proposal demanding transfer of land. On its part, the Punjab government says they have already sent the proposal to the departments concerned after which they will be sent to GMADA.
The issue was brought before the Building Committee, which comprises of High Court judges. Representatives from both the sides were called by the members of the committee to resolve the dispute.
Keeping in view the ongoing tussle, the committee has reportedly referred the case to the judicial side for settlement. The case will now be listed before an appropriate Bench with the Punjab government and GMADA opposite parties in the case.
Available information suggests the dispute had also arisen since GMADA officials had demanded market price for the land earmarked for the court complex. The Punjab government had, however, expressed its inability to pay the market price for the land.
Denying, Vivek Pratap Singh, Chief Administrator, GMADA stated: “We have never made any such demand. We are charging the institutional price which is barely ten per cent of the market price. Moreover, there is no delay on our part. We are ready to transfer the land to the Punjab government the moment they deposit the money for the land. But the Punjab government has not even submitted a proposal before us demanding transfer of the land.”
On the behalf of the Punjab government, P S Mand, Deputy Commissioner, Mohali said: “Proposals for the transfer of land have already been sent to the Financial Commissioner and Home Department. We got a little busy with the elections but the needful will be done within a short while.”

Allahabad High Court to decide NSA charge on Varun Gandhi

Lucknow: The judicial fate of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Varun Gandhi will be determined by the Allahabad High Court today afternoon when the state advisory board takes a final call on the National Security Act (NSA) that was slapped on him by the Uttar Pradesh government earlier this month.
The meeting of the board is slated to be absolutely confidential. Sources, however, confirmed that Gandhi would appear before the board at 3.30 p.m.
The three-member board is headed by Justice Pradeep Kant, senior judge of the Lucknow bench of the high court, and includes two retired high court judges.
As the ultimate statutory authority on the NSA, the advisory board has the right to approve or revoke the government order invoking the act against Gandhi, the BJP candidate from the Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
The verdict of the advisory board is final and if it chooses to revoke the NSA, Gandhi would be set free with immediate effect. The law does not permit any NSA detenu to be accompanied by a lawyer before the advisory board. However, one person is free to join him.
Gandhi was charged for making highly inflammatory anti-Muslim utterances during his poll campaign in Pilibhit. (IANS)

Trace missing child, HC tells crime branch
28 Apr 2009, 0410 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday asked the crime branch to trace the four-year old son of an Ulhasnagar resident, who was allegedly kidnapped by her husband.
“We have to verify if the child is all right,” said a division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Rajesh Ketkar while hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Priti Chhug (26). Priti approached the HC after her husband Bunty Chhug absconded with their son Sujal on November 14, 2008, after a family court awarded her custody of the child. Bunty’s father and brother, who are in the powerloom business, were present in court and said they didn’t have any knowledge of his whereabouts. “Our police will find him (Bunty) wherever he flees,” the judges warned. “We will not hesitate to even order the CBI to trace him.” Additional public prosecutor Vithal Konde-Deshmukh said the Ulhasnagar police had handed over the probe papers to the crime branch.

Gradmom’s drive to get girls back gets HC pat
Anshika Misra
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 3:30 IST
Mumbai: Kisabai Lokhande’s desperate fight to bring back her two granddaughters who went “missing” from a children’s remand home in Satara got support from the Bombay High Court on Monday.
Lokhande, a 66-yer-old illiterate vegetable vendor from Karad, had filed a petition in the HC seeking the court’s intervention to get back her granddaughters, aged 14 and nine, who now reportedly stay with their adoptive parents in Spain. Lokhande has sought a probe against the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), the Central Adoption Resource Centre (CARA), a Spanish NGO and Preet Mandir, a Pune-based private adoption agency, for illegally declaring the two girls “destitute” and executing the inter-country adoption without their guardian’s consent. “This is nothing short than kidnapping,” Lokhande’s lawyer Pradeep Havnur told the court.
“We are worried about such adoptions. There are allegations of malpractice. Such cases are on the rise,” observed Justice Ranjana Desai, who heard the matter along with Justice RG Ketkar. The court has issued a notice to CARA,the central agency for inter-country adoptions and summoned a senior cop to the court on May 6.
The petition hints at a global adoption racket where agencies connive to get children declared as destitute, and adoption agencies receive money in the guise of donations for processing international adoptions. Lokhande has alleged that her granddaughters were declared “destitute” without her consent or knowledge.

Madras HC stays order on Subhiksha liquidation
Sreejiraj Eluvangal
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 3:48 IST
Mumbai: Embattled retail chain Subhiksha said the Madras High Court has granted its appeal for staying an earlier order appointing a provisional liquidator in a winding-up petition filed by Kotak Mahindra Bank.
The bank, one of the 13 financial institutions which have exposure to the 12-year-old retail chain, had broken ranks with others and filed a winding up petition against Subhiksha in the Madras High Court four weeks ago.
The banks are negotiating with Subhiksha to explore the possibility of an easier repayment schedule on the Rs 800 crore worth of loans they have advanced to the company.
Kotak Mahindra, which is estimated to have an exposure of Rs 40 crore to the chain, alleged that Subhiksha’s case was not of normal bankruptcy but one of siphoning off of funds by the promoter, R Subramanian. The single judge had appointed the provisional liquidator before Subhiksha presented its arguments in court.
Subramanian, who is trying to resuscitate the closed down discount store, pointed to the stay on operations of the liquidator as vindication of his argument for more time. “It is pertinent to note that this stay has been granted only after hearing the counsel representing Kotak Mahindra Bank and after considering their representations,” he said on the stay order.
Kotak Mahindra Bank did not confirm whether the earlier order had been stayed or not.
The court had earlier asked Subhiksha to submit all its accounts for the last three years for scrutiny by the liquidator by April 27. It was not clear whether that order was also stayed.
Subramanian has maintained that he is trying to raise around Rs 300 crore to restart the operations and it was premature to wind up the company now.

HC wants probe into Gehlot land transfer
28 Apr 2009, 0748 hrs IST, TNN
JAIPUR: With just over a week to go before the May 7 polls in the state, Rajasthan High Court on Monday directed a city court to start proceedings in a case of land allotment involving chief minister Ashok Gehlot. The high court also quashed the order of the trial court passed in February this year whereby it had refused to order a police investigation into the alleged land scam and had taken unto itself the work of investigation under Section 200 of the CrPC. Though Justice R S Rathore of the high court did not explicitly direct the trial court to order a police investigation in the case, it has asked the court to follow the direction given by the high court itself in the case of one Babulal last week in which the court had made it clear that in cases of a private complaint being filed by an individual under Section 156(3) of the code of criminal procedure, the trial court has no other option but to refer the matter for police investigation. The police, in turn, has to file an FIR before the investigation. An inference is now being drawn that an FIR shall be ordered to be registered against Ashok Gehlot and four others. The high court was hearing a criminal revision petition filed by Krishan Kumar Bharadwaj, a local resident, against a previous order of the additional chief judicial magistrate No 2 of the city.

Maidan: HC rejects DYFI plea
28 Apr 2009, 0238 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court, on Monday, refused to buy the DYFI (CPM’s youth wing) plea that it had no role to play in the damage done to the Maidan during its rally on December 20, 2008. Reacting to a submission that the damage had been done by caterers and hawkers, the division Bench of Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice T K Dutt observed that if an organisation brings out a rally and there is a violation of court orders by others, it does not have the right to hold any such programme in future. The court was hearing an appeal filed by environment activist Subhas Datta against violation of the court orders on protection of the Maidan by DYFI during its rally. In its report to the court, submitted on April 2, the army claimed that DYFI had violated the court orders and that it was not in favour of such programmes being held at the Maidan. DYFI, on the other hand, in its affidavit submitted on April 9, claimed that the army’s allegations were baseless as there had been no violation of the court orders. The outfit referred to a Kolkata Police report, which stated that the violation had been committed by caterers and hawkers. The court expressed displeasure at the police’s inability to enforce its orders of September 28, 2007, and May 8, 2008. Through those orders, the court had restricted activities within a three-kilometre radius of the Victoria Memorial Hall. One of the strictures was against lighting of open fires at the Maidan. The court had also forbidden digging up of the Maidan for any purpose. “We had fixed responsibility and had confidence but police failed. They simply expressed helplessness,” the judges said regarding the police reaction. “You had organised the rally. If you had no control over the goings-on there, you should not hold such programmes. If any violation takes place, you are responsible. You cannot avoid it. You ought to have detected that cooking and other violations are taking place. For such offences, those responsible should have been handed over to police. That you did not do. Now, you take the plea that outsiders violated the court orders during the rally. For, the caterers did not come on their own. They must have been there at the behest of the organizers,” the Bench told DYFI. Datta submitted that violations were taking place on a regular basis and reports and photographs were appearing in newspapers. He prayed to the court to set up a watchdog committee, comprising officers of the army

and police. The court reserved its order on the matter.

File SEZ pleas by May 7, HC directs petitioners
28 Apr 2009, 0242 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Monday directed all advocates appearing in petitions relating to special economic zones (SEZs) in the state to finish filing and exchanging their pleadings by May 7, 2009. A division bench of Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice U D Salvi made it clear that “no further adjournments would be granted”. They further suggested that the petitions could be taken up for final disposal in June this year. The court was hearing petitions filed by six SEZ promoters who have challenged the show cause notices issued by the Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC). The notices direct the promoters to stop work and revert the land allotted to them by the state government, in view of a change in the state’s SEZ policy. The promoters Meditab Specialities Pvt Ltd, Peninsular Pharma Research Centre Pvt Ltd, Paradigm Logistic & Distribution Private Ltd, Planetview Mercantile Company Pvt Ltd, Inox Mercentile Company Pvt Ltd and Maxgrow Finlease Pvt Ltdhave pleaded in their petitions that as they have invested heavily in the SEZ projects, they suffered huge losses due to the stop work orders issued by the state government. They prayed that the notices be quashed. Goa Industrial Development Corporation had acquired about 3.8 million sq m of land across the state to set up SEZs. Following large scale opposition from locals to the special economic zones in 2007-08, the state was forced to rethink its policy and subsequently issued show cause notices through the GIDC. Meanwhile, the court will, on May 7, also hear various public interest litigations filed by the villagers of Keri, Sancoale and Verna challenging the GIDC’s decision to allot land in their respective villages on lease agreements for SEZs. The villagers have complained that the land was allotted fraudulently and without public involvement in the land allotment process.

Cover Sonsoddo site with tarpaulin, HC directs MMC
28 Apr 2009, 0242 hrs IST, TNN


PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Monday directed the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) to cover the Sonsoddo garbage site immediately with tarpaulin before the commencement of the monsoon, to prevent leachate from flowing out. A division bench of Justice B P Dharmadhikari and U D Salvi was hearing the public interest litigation filed by NGO Goa Foundation, who prayed that the court direct the MMC to treat the piling garbage at Sonsoddo. Advocate for the petitioner, Norma Alvares, pointed out that the government had allotted Rs 3 crore to the MMC to set up the landfill site at Sonsoddo. However, the money was lying unutilized, she told the court and pleaded that the MMC be directed to ensure that the site is covered with tarpaulin before the monsoon to prevent the garbage from being washed away. “The leachate would ultimately result in groundwater contamination,” she argued. Advocate S D Padiyar, appearing for the MMC, told the court that the monitoring committee appointed by the government to ensure proper utilization of funds to manage the site, had still not taken a decision on the matter. He further informed the court that the MMC chief officer, who is also the convenor of the committee, will have to convene a meeting on the issue. The bench subsequently, directed the MMC to immediately cover the site with tarpaulin and also directed the chief officer to convene a meeting to decide the allotment of funds to purchase the tarpaulin. The court further ordered the MMC to submit a report of the meeting on May 5.

Settle I-T dispute out of court: HC tells Jet, Sahara
28 Apr 2009, 0139 hrs IST, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Monday advised Jet Airways and Sahara India Commercial Corporation to resolve their dispute over an income tax liability out of court. Justice DY Chandrachud expressed hope, while hearing a separate application by Jet, that both the parties would sit together to sort out their differences over the issue. Jet and Sahara are fighting a legal battle over an income tax payment. The origin of the dispute dates back to April 2007. Jet had agreed to buy Sahara Airlines for Rs 1,450 crore, but paid about Rs 900 crore. The remaining amount of Rs 550 crore was to be paid in four equal installments. One of the clauses in the agreement between the parties stated that if there was a tax liability of over Rs 50 crore for the period before the filing of consent terms, the same would have to be borne by Sahara. When a tax liability of Rs 107 crore arose, the Jet paid only Rs 100.50 crore as the first installment after deducting the tax liability in March last year, to which Sahara did not raise any objections. However, when Jet did the same in March this year, Sahara claimed a default of Rs 37 crore. The High Court
will hear the case on Wednesday.

State healthcare system: Submit fresh report by May 4, HC tells panel
28 Apr 2009, 0237 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa has directed the panel of comissioners appointed to study the state’s healthcare system, to submit a fresh inspection report by May 4 with regards the availability of infrastructure in government hospitals and primary health centres (PHCs). The order was passed on Monday after amicus curiae, senior counsel Saresh Lotlikar, pleaded for extra time for the commissioners to file the report. The division bench of Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice U D Salvi were hearing a public interest litigation filed by Prakash Sardessai last year. The petitioner has complained that the state’s healthcare system is below the prescribed standards. He has alleged that the hospitals are understaffed and that some departments function in an inappropriate manner. Subsequently, the court appointed a team of commissioners to visit the state’s healthcare facilities to examine the allegations made. On July 4, 2008, the commissioners submitted a detailed report highlighting the pathetic health facilities in the state. During the hearing of the matter on December 15, advocate general Subodh Kantak filed a chart detailing the infrastructure available in government hospitals and PHCs. The government also submitted the various steps it proposed to remove the defects and deficiencies in the system. On January 20, the court directed the commissioners to verify whether the steps proposed by the government had been put into action.

HC relief for real estate group Lok in IT issue
Published: April 28,2009

Mumbai , Apr 27 The Income Tax department has decided not to continue the attachment of 20 properties of city-based real estate company Lok Housing and Construction Ltd, the Bombay High Court has been told.
Lok had challenged the attachment, but following the department&aposs statement, High Court disposed of the case.
The I-T department had attached Lok properties and seized its bank accounts for non-payment of tax dues to the tune of Rs 98.42 crore
But as per the Income Tax Act, if such attachment is not extended, it ceases to have effect after six months. Last week, department&aposs lawyer told the court that attachment would not be extended.
The attached properties included Lok&aposs upcoming projects in Mumbai suburbs and lands. The property seized was valued at about Rs 210.67 crore
Lok had disputed the assessment done by IT department, saying that recession had hit it hard and taxable income was much less than the department&aposs calculation.
Several deals for sale of under-construction flats could not materialize because of recession, Lok said.
In view of its cancelled deals, tax liability for 2007-08 and 2008-09 would be around Rs six crore as against IT department&aposs demand of Rs 98.42 crore, it had said.
Source: PTI

Media should not interpret judgements: CJI–CJI/451382/
Posted: Apr 26, 2009 at 1942 hrs IST

Guwahati: Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan asked the media not to interpret courts’ judgements, observing it leads to ‘distortion’ of facts.
“Very often it has been observed that media reports project a distorted version of the facts and the judgements delivered by the courts,” Balakrishnan said.
Addressing a workshop on “Reporting on court proceeding on media and administration of justice” and “Implementation of national rural employment guarantee scheme”, he asked the media to report court proceedings ‘correctly’ so that common people are not deprived of justice.
Urging the ‘senior editors’ to intervene and ensure that “wrong versions of judgements” are not reported, the CJI said there should be some “moral bindings” on journalists while reporting court proceedings.
“The media is the Fourth Estate of democracy and so they have to behave responsibly and work for the development of the society and the people,” Balakrishnan said.
The CJI had a word of praise for the NREGA and said the scheme has been an instant success and helped in a big way in employment generation.

NREGA implementation Onus on Govt, NGOs, says CJI
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Staff ReporterGUWAHATI, April 26 – Chief Justice of India Justice KG Balakrishnan today said that onus is on the Government, administration, volunteers and the non-government organisations (NGOs) to effectively implement the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), 2005 in the North-east, which would go a long way in improving the condition of the rural population in the region. “If these forces work sincerely to ensure proper implementation of the Act, it would give a new boost to the rural employment scenario of the region,” he stated. Justice Balakrishnan also stated that proper implementation of NREGA in States like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala are showing good results and there is no reason why the same cannot be replicated in other parts of the country, including the NE.Balakrishnan was speaking during the inaugural session of a workshop on ‘Reporting of Court Proceeding by Media and Administration of Justice’ and an interactive programme on ‘Implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme’ here at the Administrative Staff College, Khanapara.“There are still some minor problems cropping up like delayed payment of wages which need to be sorted out but the good thing is that the women population of the country are availing the benefits of the scheme, which strives to ensure employed to rural unemployment youths for at least 100 days,” he pointed out. Dwelling on the issue of media reporting on court proceedings, the senior justice urged the mediapersons to be responsible, fair and accurate while reporting on legal affairs.“The mediapersons do enjoy special rights but they at the same time need to draw a line while dealing with sub judice and confidential matters,” he stressed, adding that the media, especially the visual media, by resorting to ‘sensationalisation’, at times knowingly and unknowingly, deprives the accused of a fair trial.“There are also chances of the judges, especially those with comparatively lesser experience, getting influenced by the media reports, which would not be right. Media should work with the judiciary to protect rights of both the victim and the accused,” the Chief Justice of India opined.“The Press Council of India also has a role to play in this regard and the media in the present scenario must work to empower the rural people,” he added. The seminars were also attended by Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court Justice J Chelameswar, Justice GN Ray, chairman, Press Council of India, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, judge, Gauhati High Court, besides several noted personalities. ASSAM TRIBUNE

Verdict in Ramabai Nagar firing case adjourned to May 5
27 Apr 2009, 1458 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: The judgement in the 1997 Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar firing case has been adjourned till May 5 after the main accused filed an application seeking adjournment on health grounds. Advocate for prime accused State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) officer Manohar Kadam, M Pawar, today filed an application on behalf of the police officer seeking an exemption from appearing in the court since he was not well. Kadam is accused of having ordered indiscriminate firing on a Dalit mob in north east Mumbai on July 11, 1997 in which 10 persons were killed and 25 injured. The mob was protesting against the desecration of an Ambedkar statue. The prosecution argued that considering the gravity and sensitivity of the case the judgement should be delivered today and the accused should be summoned to court through a non-bailable warrant. However, additional sessions judge S Y Kulkarni said considering the accused’s regular attendance in the past he can be exempted and the judgement will be delivered on May 5.

Court quashes appointment of JSEB chairman
Ranchi, April 27: Jharkhand High Court today quashed the appointment of H.B. Lal as the chairman of the Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB).
Declaring it illegal, the court in its order also questioned the role of the state in selecting Lal, who is 90 years old, for a second term as the JSEB head, ignoring rules for appointment to government posts.
A division bench of Justices M.Y. Eqbal and Jaya Roy said that the state should constitute a committee of JSEB officials to select the most suitable candidate.
It said government posts should be filled after inviting applications in general and then selecting the most eligible candidate on the basis of merit alone. However, in case of Lal, the state was rather hasty and did not follow the rulebook, it added.
Talking to The Telegraph, Lal said the judgment was not proper. “I will appeal to the Supreme Court against the order. I have been appointed again on the basis of merit and there is nothing wrong with it,” he said.
Lal’s appointment came under scanner after one Sahodar Lal Mahto filed a public interest litigation (PIL) stating that the nonagenarian was incapacitated by age and was not the fittest candidate to head the organisation. Moreover, the PIL said that Lal had already retired from active service and could not take the post.
The division bench in its 22-page judgment said that the high court had on earlier occasions, too, observed that retired persons should not be re-appointed to the state power board.
Instead of appointing those superannuated, opportunity should be given to others to prove their mettle, the court had said.
Flouting the order, the state not only appointed Lal, who retired in 1978, as the chairman for the first time in 2004, but several other retired persons in different capacities in the JSEB.
The petitioner also pointed out that Lal was notified of his second tenure on September 17, 2008, the same day the appointment order was issued. This is against the rule. The usual procedure is to notify a person at least a week after the order is issued.
Defending its stand, the state said that Lal had been appointed for a second time because there was no other candidate to match his qualification and experience. It maintained that no rule had been violated.
Besides quashing Lal’s appointment, the court also directed the state to implement the Electricity Act, 2003, by June 15. The act warrants division of the power board.

SC dismisses PIL on Sidhu case
Published: April 27,2009

New Delhi, Apr 27 The Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL challenging the suspension of conviction of BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu in a road rage death case to contest Lok Sabha election.
The court also pulled up the petitioner for filing a”frivolous”PIL and said it was not maintenable.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan was so anguished with the conduct of the petitioner Hanuman Tripathi that it even had imposed the cost of Rs 10,000 on him.
However, later it withdrew the cost after his lawyer S K Tripathi repeatedly pleaded that the court should not be that harsh on him.
Before withdrawing the order of cost, the Bench reminded him that in the past also, he had been filing frivolous PILs and wasting the time of the court.
“You have been repeatedly filing such frivolous petitions,”the Bench said.
Source: PTI

Injuring woman in cops firing HC asks State to reply within 6 weeks
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, April 27 2009: In connection with a police firing incident at Imphal last year which left a woman injured, Gauhati High Court today issued notices to the State respondents asking them to reply within six weeks.The notices of the Court followed a writ petition filed by one Kumudini Devi, a vegetable vendor who sustained bullet injury on her right foot after State police commandos resorted to indiscriminate firing while she was doing business at the crowded Keishampat junction on July 20 last year.Kumudini had filed the writ petition under the initiative of Imphal unit of the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) .In her writ petition, Kumudini said two unknown youths were killed in the said incident.However, the police commandos while submitting report on the incident to the Officer-in-Charge of Imphal Police Station did not mention anything about causing injuries to her.The petitioner further said that she had spent over Rs one lakh while undergoing treatment of the bullet injuries on her right leg at hospitals in Imphal for over 45 days but her right foot has become permanently disabled.On October 10, 208 Kumudini had submitted a representation to the Deputy Commissioner of Imphal West claiming compensation/ex-gratia and demanding punishment of the police commandos responsible for causing injuries to her.Three days later she submitted a similar representation to the Principal Secretary (Home) claiming Rs two lakh as compensation.But she had not received any response to her representations.After hearing the writ petition today, the Court headed by Justice UB Saha issued the notice of motion to the State respondents asking them to reply within six weeks.The listed State respondents include Principal Secretary (Home), Director General of Police and Superintendent of Police ( Imphal West) .

Rights activists rope in NHRC, NCW
17 Apr 2009, 0009 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Alleging that police is not performing its duties well, a battery of local human rights activists moved the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Commission for Women (NCW) and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in the Pushpa death case. The 14-year-old domestic help was found dead under mysterious circumstances at her employer’s Fair Deal Housing Society flat in Panchkula on Tuesday. The pleas were filed against state government, Haryana DGP and SP under provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act. Claiming that police was not ready to take action against the culprits, the petition stated, “The police station is just 100 yards away from the place of incident, still cops reached the spot after 45 minutes.” Regarding the protest, the petition said, “The public reaction was a result of police’s callous attitude. Cops mounted pressure in order to sweep the issue under the carpet.” Advocate Arvind Thakur, one of the complainants, said, “The state and police authorities are violating public?s human rights at large. They are taking advantage of non-existence of human rights commission in Haryana.”

CIC issues show cause notice to NCW
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The CIC has issued a show cause notice to the National Commission for Women for not providing information to an RTI applicant within the mandatory period stipulated under the RTI Act. “The NCW is in the habit of delaying furnishing of information and also not responding at all to RTI requests,” Information Commissioner Annapurna Dixit said in her order. Asking the Chief Public Information Officer of NCW to explain why a penalty of Rs 250 per day should not be imposed on him for not replying to an application, Ms. Dixit said there was an urgent need to streamline the functioning of the organisation.

NGOs posing as rights groups flayed
27 Apr 2009, 0202 hrs IST, Julie Mariappan, TNN
CHENNAI: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has come down heavily on non-government organisations (NGOs) for using the words ‘human rights’ in their names in a manner that would suggest that they represent the commission, thus misleading the public. In its order last week, the SHRC recommended that the state government make it mandatory for all societies (registered as well as unregistered) to mention clearly in English and in Tamil that they are private organisations’ and not to use human rights’ on their signboard, letterheads, visiting cards or in any correspondence. The SHRC direction comes in the wake of a complaint filed by R Karthikeyan of Vadapalani. The complainant alleged that many organisations used the phrase human rights commission/organisation’ as a prefix or suffix to their names and thus cheated innocent people and collected money. Also, members of the organisations used the phrase to coerce government officials to act on illegal demands. Taking serious note of the violations, SHRC’s chairperson, justice A S Venkatachalamoorthy, directed the director general of police, inspector general of registration and all district collectors to take action against societies or body of persons posing as representatives of SHRC or the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). SHRC also recalled similar complaints received in the past, which pointed to human rights activists or organisations indulging in unscrupulous activity. Recently, three real estate brokers had posed as SHRC members and tried to extort Rs 3 lakh from an export firm owner. They were, however, arrested. Following discussions with the inspector general of registration, joint secretary of the public department and additional director general of police, SHRC directed the state government to ensure that the names or emblems of either NHRC or SHRC were not used by NGOs on name boards, signboards, letterheads, visiting cards or in any other from of communication. According to SHRC, necessary provisions must be made in the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975, to deal with cases where registered or unregistered societies carry the words human rights’ along with their names. Many such organisations operate from other states but open branches in Tamil Nadu and include the words human rights’ in their names to circumvent the provisions of government rules and regulations. Against SHRC’s recommendations, the TN government has now to submit an action taken report within three months.

SIT report leak, betrayal of trust: Supreme Court
Legal Correspondent
“In a way, report is charge sheet; copies not given to all”
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed concern at selective leakage of the Special Investigation Team’s report on the Gujarat riot cases in the media, while reserving verdict on a batch of petitions filed by the National Human Rights Commission and others.
A Bench consisting of Justices Arijit Pasayat, P. Sathasivam and Aftab Alam took on record the suggestions given by the amicus curiae, the NHRC, the Gujarat government and Citizens for Justice and Peace. The court had stayed the trial of over a dozen cases following the demand for a CBI probe. The SIT was appointed by the court to probe afresh 10 relatively gruesome incidents that occurred during the 2002 pogrom.
When senior counsel Indra Jaising complained about a news item (relating to social activist Teesta Setalvad) in an English daily, quoting excerpts from the SIT report, Justice Pasayat said: “The SIT report is in a way a charge sheet given to the Supreme Court. That is why we have not given copies to all. We gave copies only to the State of Gujarat and the amicus curiae.”
Justice Pasayat showed counsel copies of the SIT report given to the court still in sealed covers. “If anybody has given a copy or access of the report [to the newspaper] he has betrayed the trust of this court. We don’t approve of this. We deplore this…”
Justice Alam said: “Whoever did it, this is grossly unjustifiable. It should not have been done. It is a grossly irresponsible act and we feel ashamed.”
Ms. Jaising accused the Gujarat government’s senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi of divulging the contents of the SIT report to the electronic media. “I am entitled to speak to television channels,” Mr. Rohatgi retorted. However, Justice Pasayat cautioned him not to mention anything selectively about the report.
Earlier, Harish Salve, amicus curiae, stressed the importance of continuing with the SIT and taking directions from the Supreme Court from time to time. Justice Pasayat indicated that the SIT would continue to function.
Mr. Salve pleaded for vacating the stay on trial in these cases and establishment of fast track courts in Gujarat to conduct the trial on a day-to-day basis.
His submission said supplementary charge sheets would have to be filed in each of the cases as the SIT had found further material. A team of prosecutors must be appointed to conduct the trial, for which senior judicial officers should be appointed. It would be helpful if some of the SIT officers were available to assist the public prosecutor.
Witness protection
Mr. Salve said there must be a programme to ensure safe passage for witnesses to and from the court precincts, provide security to them in their residences and relocate them in another State wherever the need arose.
The SIT “would continue to function and carry out any investigations that are yet to be completed, or any further investigation that may arise in the course of the trials. The SIT would also discharge such functions as have been cast upon them by the order as may be made by the Supreme Court,” Mr. Salve said.

NHRC seeks status report of probe into Anara case
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, April 19, 2009
First Published: 12:30 IST(19/4/2009)
Last Updated: 13:34 IST(19/4/2009)
NHRC has directed Jammu and Kashmir police to submit status report of the investigation in the sensational porn-video case of 2004 allegedly involving former Miss Jammu Anara Gupta.
The Commission also asked the state police chief to submit, by middle of May, a copy of the order of the Jammu Chief Judicial Magistrate which had rejected the final investigation report submitted by the Crime Branch in the matter and had directed for “further investigation” of the case by a SIT.
The rights panel directed the state police to “transmit” a copy of the final investigation report of the Crime Branch along with annexures which it had submitted in the CJM court.
“Before proceeding further in the matter, the Commission would like to see the final report submitted by the Crime Branch… And the order passed by the CJM, Jammu, thereon,” the NHRC order said.
“The Commission would also like to know about the status of investigation being made by SIT,” it said while hearing the sensational case that came to light in 2004.
The case registered against Anara and some others for making of a pornographic film was investigated by the Crime Branch and the final report was submitted in the court.
Another case was registered in 2007 against some police officers on complaint of Anara, who alleged illegal detention. In this case, J&K Police have informed NHRC that the case registered in 2004 has been “closed as challan”.
NHRC was not satisfied and had sought clarifications, saying the state police had not indicated the circumstances leading to the constitution of the SIT.
Responding to this, J&K Director General of Police Kuldip Khoda said final report submitted by the Crime Branch in the 2004 case had not been accepted by the Jammu CJM and the SIT had been constituted in compliance of directions given by the court.

SC order Cong conspiracy, claims Modi
Dinesh Kumar writes from Ahmedabad
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi used the CBI decision to withdraw the red corner notice against Ottavio Quattrocchi to break his silence on the Supreme Court’s order for a probe into the BJP leader’s alleged role in the 2002 post-Godhra riots by painting himself as a victim of political vendetta alleging that the apex court’s verdict was “a Congress conspiracy”.
“The Supreme Court has remembered me. The Congress wants to send me to jail. What should I do?” Modi asked the public. He then went on to say, “About 15 days ago (Congress Union Minister) Kapil Sibal said that Modi should be prepared to go to jail. The Supreme Court has now tightened the noose on me. What does it mean? Has the Congress conspired against me?” He raised these doubts while addressing an election rally in the milk town of Anand.
In an attempt to whip up emotions, Modi then went on to declare “Italy’s brother is being released whereas the country’s son is being jailed”.
Modi tried to portray that his arrest would weaken the fight against terrorism. “The Congress is trying to put me behind bars. But this will not stop me from fighting terrorism. I am not worried about my future but I will not bow down to terrorism,” he said.
Interestingly, by afternoon, BJP workers and sympathisers had begun trying to whip up sympathy for the BJP leader by making it look like a son-of-the-soil Indian versus Sonia Gandhi’s Italian origin. A bulk SMSes sent out at 4.21 pm by Parag Seth of the BJP read “Gujarat ke bete ko jail aur Italy ke bhai ko bail” (Gujarat’s son is being jailed while Italy’s brother is being given bail).
But whether or not such measures will translate into votes for the BJP in Gujarat will only be known when the election results are announced.

Illegal abortion: 10-year jail for doctor couple
Rajneesh Lakhanpal
Ludhiana, April 28Dr Sharan Kaur and her husband Dr Avtar Singh of Guru Ram Dass Hospital, Field Ganj, Ludhiana were sentenced to 10 years in jail by Additional Sessions Judge Kishore Kumar . The court also ordered them to pay fine of Rs 1,000 each.
The couple was caught while conducting illegal abortion of Baljinder Kaur of Ashok Nagar, near Jallandhar bypass. The prosecution had also claimed to have recovered the 12 to 14- week foetus from their possession, allegedly aborted by the doctor couple. The police had raided premises of the couple on a complaint of then Family Welfare Officer Dr Manorma Avasthi.
The woman had changed her previous statement recorded with the police. She had stated in her statement before court the accused did not conducted her abortion. Actually, she had gone to Field Ganj for buying some clothes. There she had pain in the abdomen. Then she went to the hospital of the accused for getting treatment. When she was entering the hospital of the accused, she aborted and there was no fault of the doctor couple.
The accused had pleaded innocence,accusing Dr Manorma Avasthi of implicating them as they failed to bribe her. It was alleged the complainant used to demand money but they did not pay and faced harassment.

Amritsar Sex ScamFormer mayor seeks quashing of FIR
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 28Amritsar’s former mayor wants the first information report (FIR) in Amritsar sex scam to be quashed. He has claimed political malafides as the grounds for the same. The FIR was registered initially under Sections 406, 420, 506, 386 and 120-B of the IPC. The offence of rape under Section 376 was added later.
In his petition placed before Justice Rajan Gupta, Subhash Chander Sharma claimed his name did not figure in the FIR. It was only mentioned that the city’s mayor was caught with a girl. During investigation of the case, however, no evidence was found against him. He added the implication in the case due to political considerations had ruined his political career.
As the petition came up for hearing, Justice Gupta recused himself as he was the CBI’s standing counsel prior to his elevation as a high court judge. The petition has now been forwarded to the Chief Justice for placing it before some other Bench.
The FIR was registered on June 3, 2006, after Justice Ajit Singh Bains of Punjab Human Rights Organisation, and his team, carried out investigations in the matter. They had come to the conclusion that the representatives of a cable firm were paying money to the police, the political leaders and other, besides supplying girls. In lieu, the powers that be were helping them in their illegal work.

Plots in GurgaonHUDA asked to hold mini draw of lots
Saurabh MalikTribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 28The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to hold a mini draw of lots for providing alternative sites to allottees not delivered possession of plots in Gurgaon.
Taking up a bunch of eight petitions by Air Marshal Loreto P Pereira (retd) and others, Justice Surya Kant observed: “The petitioners are successful allottees/re-allottees of plots in different Sectors of HUDA at Gurgaon. The possession of the allotted plots could not be delivered to them for one or the other reasons.
“Some of them have been offered alternative plots, which due to their disadvantageous locations are not acceptable to them. Their grievance is alternative plots ought to have been allotted by holding a limited draw of lots in terms of the policy decisions taken by the HUDA on September 15, 2004, and February 15, 2007.
“Some of the petitioners have also challenged the re-allotment of alternative plots to the private respondents by alleging various irregularities…. During the course of hearing, standing counsel for the HUDA states in order to obviate the hardship of those allottees/re-allottees, who are clamouring for allotment of alternative plots, the HUDA authorities have no objection in holding a limited draw of lots for re-allotment of the available plots.
“The stand taken on behalf of the HUDA is acceptable to counsel for the petitioners. Counsel for the private respondents also has no serious objection provided that the mini-draw of lots is held without loss of time”.
Justice Kant added: “These writ petitions are disposed of with a direction to the HUDA authorities that all available plots, including those already been allotted to the private respondents, be pooled together and put to a limited draw of lots, which shall be confined to all those allottees/re-allottees, who are eligible for allotment of alternative plots in their respective categories.
“The previous allotments made in favour of the private respondents are accordingly set aside, as they will be entitled to fresh allotments in the manner, directed above. The mini-draw of lots shall be held under the supervision and control of Dipti Umashankar, IAS, DC, Gurgaon, who is requested to donate some time for this public cause. The mini-draw of lots shall be held as early as possible but not later than two months.
HUDA counsel states this is a one-time concession and may not be taken as a binding precedent.”

HC rejects plea of dismissed BSF jawan
DS Chauhan
Jammu, April 28Declining to interfere with the verdict of Summary Security Force Court (SSFC) directing dismissal of petitioner from service, Justice JP Singh of the J&K High Court at Jammu, dismissed his petition seeking quashing of findings and verdict of the SSFC on a charge under Section 21 (1) of the BSF Act, 1968.
Raj Kamal Sudan, a BSF jawan, was dismissed from his service on August 31, 2001, pursuant to the verdict of the SSFC on a charge that he had shown wilful defiance of authority and lawful command given by his superior, sub-inspector Darshan Lal, to proceed to post at FDL Jungle.
The petitioner questioned the findings and verdict of the SSFC on grounds that he was unaware about the nature of the proceedings being not conversant with English language. Neither the petitioner was not given any opportunity of hearing before amendment of charge nor was informed about the plea of guilt or its effect as contemplated by the BSF Rules.
Justice JP Singh while declining to interfere with the verdict of the SSFC observed: “Records demonstrate compliance of all rules which respondents were required to follow while proceeding against the petitioner. There is no material on records in support of petitioner’s plea that he was not made to understand the nature of proceedings that had been held against him.
On the other hand, the records reveal that petitioner pleaded guilty where after the Commandant directed recording of evidence which was attended by petitioner saying that he would not cross-examine the witnesses or make his statement when provided opportunity in this behalf by the officer recording the evidence.
The court observed: “The petitioner has signed a certificate appended to the proceedings which negates his plea that he was unaware about the nature of the proceedings. Proceedings held by Commandant 59 Bn. of the BSF specifically record that officer holding trial has been duly affirmed in terms of rules and the trial has been attended both by witnesses as well as by BK Mohanty, Deputy Commandant, friend of the accused.
Justice JP Singh: “After going through records of the SSFC, trial proceedings, which carries the records of the recording of evidence and hearing of the petitioner on the Offence Report, I do not find any infirmity in the trial of the petitioner and pleas raised by the petitioner in the writ petition are not found substantiated.”

Ragging DeathJudicial custody of accused extended
Our Correspondent
Kangra, April 28Judicial Magistrate (First Class) Avinash Chander Sharma at Kangra today extended the judicial custody of four students of Dr RP Government Medical College, Tanda, who were involved in the ragging incident that allegedly led to the death of first-year student Aman Kachroo, for three days. They would be produced in the court on April 30.
The four accused, Ajay Verma, Naveen Verma, Abhinav Verma and Mukul Sharma, facing the murder charge under Section 302 of the IPC were presented in the court.
Public prosecutor Pankaj Dhiman said copies of the 194-page charge sheet prepared by the police were today handed over to the accused in compliance of Section 207 of the CrPC.
The charge sheet names 37 witnesses, including faculty members, police officers and relatives of Aman.
The final post-mortem report, which is in conformity with the preliminary autopsy report that Aman died due to head injury, is also annexed with the charge sheet.

CCI to be functional soon
Yoginder GuptaTribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 28The newly-constituted Competition Commission of India (CCI), which will ultimately take over some of the functions currently being looked after by the Monopoly and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission, will start functioning in full earnest within a fortnight.
Stating this here today its chairman Dhanendra Kumar, a former Haryana cadre IAS officer of the 1968 batch, said the appellate tribunal, which was essential under the Competition Act, would be shortly set up. The union department of company affairs would also soon notify relevant sections of the Act, after which the commission would start its job.
Dhanendra Kumar, who took over as CCI chairman after the completion of his term as executive director of the World Bank, said post-liberalisation after 1991, it was felt that the objective of the MRTP Act, 1969, to curb monopolies had become obsolete. Pursuant to the recommendations of the high-level Raghavan Committee, the Competition Act was enacted to align the Indian with the market-based economy.
He said the commission would prevent practices adversely affecting competition. It would promote and sustain competition in the Indian markets and ensure freedom of trade to protect the interests of the consumers and enterprises. The commission, the role of which was primarily semi-judicial, would have an overarching influence on all sectors of the Indian markets.
Kumar said the Competition Act was an improvement over the MRTP Commission, which remained a paper tiger as it had insufficient penal powers. Unlike the MRTP Act, the Competition Act was a comprehensive legislation bestowing sufficient powers for investigation of cases contravening the Act and impose penalty on the lawbreaker. He said the commission would have a director-general to investigate the cases of cartelisation. The commission had the power to initiate action against any violator suo motu.

Polls: It is wiser for judges to defer cases with political overtones
by Fali S. Nariman
THE TRIBUNE’s front page report (April 28) saying that under directions of the Supreme Court (April 27) the Special Investigation Team (already appointed by it) has been now directed to investigate a complaint against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his Cabinet colleagues that they had aided and abetted mob violence in the Godhra Riots of 2002 is certainly delayed justice. Chief Minister Modi has much to answer for what happened in those tragic times. But I am extremely disturbed at the impression the order gives of the image of our Supreme Court as an independent arbiter of disputes.
If the order had come one month before or one month after April 27, 2009, I would have loudly applauded. But why now? Are our judges playing politics? The answer is: No, they are not. But in a country governed by the rule of law, reasonable people must never be left under the misguided impression that they are trying to!
Gujarat will go to the polls in a couple of days, and what two judges of the country’s highest court have said in the April 27 order will certainly influence people as to how they will cast their vote.
Public memory is short but just two years ago, in March 2007, another Bench of two Judges of the Supreme Court had directed a CBI inquiry against the Chief Minister of another state (UP), Mulayam Singh Yadav. This was in a PIL filed by a Congress party sympathiser. That order, too, was singularly ill-timed because the UP Assembly elections had just been announced — to be held in May 2007. The presiding Judge retired a few days later and was appointed by the government of the day as Chairman of the Law Commission. He deserved to be so appointed but bloody-minded people wagged their malicious tongues.
All this does little credit to the Supreme Court of India as an institution.
As a lawyer I recommend a precedent worthy of emulation by all the judges of our highest court. When a contempt petition had been filed against Prime Minister Narasimha Rao in respect of the Babri Masjid case, and the matter came up for hearing, many years later before a Bench presided over by Justice S.P. Bharucha (not yet Chief Justice), it was pointed out to the Court that the case was motivated only in order to embarrass Narasimha Rao at a time when elections were round the corner.
It was also suggested that many years had elapsed since the demolition of the Babri Masjid, and, therefore, whether a contempt case should be proceeded with or not raised serious questions of law and propriety. However, counsel for the petitioner — my distinguished friend Rajeev Dhawan — told the judges that he was prepared to answer all legal questions immediately, and the court must deal with the case. But the presiding judge on the Bench, imbued with much wisdom, merely said in a speaking order that “in the light of all the circumstances” (a beautifully evasive phrase frequently used by courts when they want to be imprecise) “it will be more appropriate to adjourn the case beyond the elections.”
Justice Bharucha made it plain that he did not want the Court to be dragged into any political controversy. The right approach. As Shakespeare would have said: “A Daniel come to judgement.”
The writer is a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India.

Varun deposes before HC
LUCKNOW, April 28: Mr Varun Gandhi today appeared before the Advisory Board of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court in connection with the state government slapping the National Security Act on him. Mr Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party nominee from the Pilibhit Lok Sabha seat, is out on parole for 15 days, granted by the Supreme Court, to allow him to campaign before election in held in Pilibhit on 13 May. The Uttar Pradesh government had invoked the NSA against Mr Gandhi because of his alleged “hate” speeches delivered in Pilibhit on 7 and 8 March. He came to court today around 4 p.m. for an in-camera proceeding. Earlier, BJP supporters gave a rousing welcome to Mr Gandhi on his arrival in the city by helicopter. He was escorted to the party headquarters where he addressed the gathering. n SNS

‘Will go to jail if found guilty’
PTI & SNSAnand, April 28: A belligerent Gujarat chief minister Mr Narendra Modi today said he was ready to go to jail if he was found to be involved in the 2002 riots in the state and accused Congress of hatching a conspiracy to put him behind bars.In his first public response to the Supreme Court order yesterday directing the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe his alleged role and also of his administration in aiding and abetting the riots, Modi said he was not afraid of going behind bars for the people of the land.“After three months I might be in jail. But people of Gujarat should remember one thing, that Modi will live for Gujarat and die for Gujarat,” he said at a poll rally here. The Supreme Court had ordered the SIT probe “within three months” into a fresh complaint regarding the post-Godhra riots.“If people ask me if you want to go to jail or gallows, then I will say I want to be hanged so that I can be reborn again to serve my Gujarat,” Mr Modi said, adding, “there are conspiracies against me to send me to jail.”Mr Modi said: “Union minister Kapil Sibal had given a threat that if I did not stop talking against Congress I would end up in jail.”“Just after 15 days the order has come from the Supreme Court. What does this mean?. This is a Congress conspiracy to send me behind bars,” Mr Modi said. “On the one hand a foreign relative of Sonia (Gandhi), Quattrocchi has been given a clean chit by CBI. Everybody knows who controls CBI. On the other hand conspiracy is formed to sent me, who is the son of Bharat Mata, to jail,” he added.“To my Congress friends, I want to say that you have dialled the wrong number. You can scare the world not me. It has been seven years and everytime there is election, games are played to target Modi,” the chief minister said.“Inspite of all this, I will not stop my fight against terrorism. Delhi Sultanat can keep me any jail but nobody will be able to stop me,” Mr Modi added.Taunting Mr Sibal, the BJP leader said if there is no space in the existing jails in the country “create a new one for Modi.”“Modi is ready to spend his life in jail, But I am strong in my decisions,” he added.In New Delhi, the CPI-M has welcomed the Supreme Court’s directive to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the role of the Mr Modi, and his Cabinet ministers and top officials, in the 2002 riots in the state. Calling the directive a “welcome step, though a belated one,” the CPI-M said it was now imperative that the SIT investigate the complaint and submit their conclusions within the three-month timeframe set by the court. “It is shameful that the BJP continues to defend those responsible for the carnage in Gujarat,” the party said. Talking about the Sri Lanka situation, the CPI-M said the Sri Lankan government’s decision to halt combat operations using heavy weapons and airplanes was welcome. “This should open the way for the rescue of the tens of thousands of the Tamil civilian population who are still in the war zone. The LTTE has to stop holding the people by force and facilitate their safe passage,” the party Politburo said.

Kasab not a juvenile
Statesman News Service MUMBAI, April 28: A panel of four doctors with government-run Sir JJ Hospital today submitted their medical test report of captured terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab in the special court of judge Mr ML Tahilyani suggesting that the main accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack is not minor and should be above 20 years of age. At the previous hearing, the judge had ordered necessary medical tests like ossification and dental to determine whether or not Kasab was a juvenile as was argued by the defence lawyer Mr Abbas Kazmi. Mr Kazmi wants the case to be tried under Juvenile Justice Act in a juvenile court as he claimed the Pakistan-trained terrorist was minor as on 26/11. The medical team headed by Dr Nandgaonkar of Sir JJ Hospital had done bone-marrow and dental tests on Kasab and inferred that the results suggested his age above 20. Dental test determined growth of “wisdom tooth” which was positive in this case. Bone marrow test (marrow is a soft fatty substance inside human or animal bones) further reinforced the already drawn conclusion. Chief prosecutor Mr Ujwal Nikam examined two witnesses to buttress his contention that Kasab was above 20 years of age. First, he questioned Dr Venkataraman Murthy of the Nair Hospital where Kasab was taken after his arrest on the midnight of 26-27 November. Dr Murthy said that the accused told him his age as 21. Next, Ms Swati Sathe, superintendent of the Arthur Road Jail deposed before the court that when Kasab was brought to the jail he gave his date of birth 13 September 1987 and confirmed he was a native of Pakistan. Ms Sathe also told the court that the accused asked her permission to make a call back home to Faridkot which she rejected since it was against the jail manual. Two more witnesses, CMO of Nair Hospital and medical record controller are likely to appear in the court. The defence lawyer, Mr Kazmi, however, insisted that Kasab should be re-examined by doctors from private hospital. He argued the report by Sir JJ Hospital’s department of forensic sciences could not be accepted at its face value and was not foolproof. The next hearing in the case is due on 2 May.Smiles the accusedMUMBAI, April 28: Showing no sign of tension, prime accused in Mumbai terror attack case Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab smiled throughout the court proceedings today as two witnesses testified that the terrorist was 21-years-old and not a juvenile as claimed by him. As the jail superintendent showed records to point out that Kasab had given his age as 21 years when he was brought to the Arthur Road prison, the accused gave a broad smile and did not show any signs of discomfort or tension. n PTI

Undertrial attempts suicide in Alipore Court
KOLKATA, April 28: A 29-year-old undertrial prisoner, who was arrested on charge of possessing banned narcotic substance in 2007, attempted suicide by slitting his throat with a blade inside the Alipore Court this afternoon.The undertrial, Mr Budhiya Das, a resident of Kedarnath Chatterjee Road in Behala, took out a blade from his mouth and injured himself when on trial in the court room of the fourth additional district judge of Alipore Session Court around 3.15 p.m., said a police officer. Mr Das was arrested in Thakurpukur on 28 June, 2007 for allegedly carrying banned narcotic substances. He was booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act. He has been languishing behind the bars in Alipore Central Correctional Home since the trial began. The police officer said that Mr Das was produced before a judge around 3.15 p.m. today. He took a blade from his mouth and injured himself in front of the judge who was hearing the case. Some of those present in the courtroom quickly overpowered Mr Das and handed him over to police. He was immediately taken to SSKM Hospital with minor injuries in the throat and chest, said the officer. Following treatment, he was taken back to Alipore Correctional Home. n SNS

Court directive in favour of Raju’s family
Legal Correspondent
HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh High Court Judge Justice L. Narasimha Reddy on Tuesday directed the officers of Sub Registrar not to interfere with the lawful transactions pertaining to the properties of the family members of Satyam Computers former chairman Ramalinga Raju.
These interim orders were passed while hearing a writ petition filed by Raju’s family members. The petitioners said that the higher officers of Stamps and Registration Department have issued a memo asking the local Sub Registrars not to entertain any documents pertaining to properties of Raju’s family members. The petitioners said there is no power under the relevant statute to issue such sweeping orders.

Subscribers welcome TRAI direction on Value Added Services
M. Dinesh Varma
Telecom operators instructed to maintain transparency and clean up their VAS portfolios within 45 days
Move in response to user complaints of inadvertently subscribing to services
For VAS offers, service provider should obtain consent of subscriber before activating service
CHENNAI: Mobile subscribers and consumer rights campaigners on Tuesday welcomed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) order directing all telecom operators to maintain transparency in Value Added Service offerings.
TRAI’s instruction to service providers, including BSNL and MTNL, to clean up their VAS portfolios within 45 days of its order comes in response to large-scale user complaints about inadvertently subscribing to services they did not need in the blitz of hello tune, outbound dialler call (an automated call from the operators during which different tunes are played to attract the user) and other special offers.
The direction states that in all cases of subscription to VAS offers through “pressing of star key or other keys,” the service provider shall, subsequent to the pressing of the key by an interested user, convey to the subscriber in writing or through SMS/fax/email details of the VAS scheme.
The information should include terms and conditions and applicable charges as well to obtain explicit consent of the customer through telephone/SMS/fax or email prior to activation of the service.
TRAI has also directed service providers not to activate chargeable services during a customer-initiated call to a third party unless the subscriber’s consent had been obtained. The order also states: “Music or video related value added services such as caller ring back tune, background music, wallpaper etc; shall not be provided, even if it is free of charge, without taking explicit consent of the consumer in the above manner.”
The order follows a survey of 22,009 subscribers, which found that 24 per cent of respondents had stated that they had not given explicit consent for activating VAS offers. “These practices need to be streamlined with proper opt-in approach…” the order said.
Welcoming the order, consumer activist T. Sadagopan said its implementation would provide immense relief to mobile subscribers.
“However, we need to see how effectively operators implement these instructions.” He also suggested that TRAI’s contact details be displayed in monthly bill statements and at customer service centres.
The order has also been hailed by a cross section of subscribers, who had complained about unauthorised activation of a paid service – some were even aggrieved that the tunes were inappropriate with their social stature.
TRAI’s move is to eliminate user complaints claiming accidental activation of caller ring back tunes through the facility of “Press star to copy hello tunes” without their explicit consent.
The regulatory body’s assessment showed that almost all operators offered this service where a pre-recorded song plays out before the called party answers.
TRAI noted that most service providers induced users while dialling numbers of those who already use hello tunes by resorting to “pre-call” announcements. It is also possible that a customer may not have listened to the announcements fully or understood them before pressing the activation key.
Such examination of complaints revealed that there was a likelihood of consumers accidentally or unintentionally subscribing to such services by pressing the star button.
The body also noted that the process of customer consent vide an earlier order of October 30, 2007 had not been complied with.
A BSNL official said the move was welcome even from a service provider’s perspective as it removed room for users to activate a service and then claim that it was accidental.

PIL plea dismissed
MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here on Tuesday dismissed a public interest litigation petition filed by an advocate to restrain political parties from canvassing votes in the ongoing Parliamentary election campaign by highlighting the tribulations faced by Tamils in Sri Lanka.
A Division Bench, comprising Justice S.K.Krishnan and Justice M.Venugopal, declined to entertain the case stating it did not find any merits in the petition. The judges said it was open to the petitioner to approach the Election Commission of India. — Staff Reporter

Judge transferred
Rajampet III Additional District Judge K. Manjusri has been transferred as the Judge of SC/ST Court in Vizianagaram, according to Rajampet Bar Association

High Court summons SVU registrar
Special Correspondent
TIRUPATI: Andhra Pradesh High Court has issued orders directing Registrar of Sri Venkateswara University, here to appear before the court immediately in connection with a contempt case.
The High Court order comes in the wake of a contempt of court case which it admitted on Monday. The SVU’s deputy executive engineer in his petition has inter alia alleged that the university had failed to implement the High Court orders directing it to relieve the executive engineer (in-charge) of the post on the ground that he was not ‘competent’ to hold the same. Following the High Court orders, Registrar Y. Venkatrami Reddy on Tuesday rushed to Hyderabad with all the relevant papers.

We will hear urgent matters, says SHRC
Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: The Karnataka State Human Rights Commission has said the commission will not be closed during the vacation period but hear all urgent cases.
In response to a report that appeared in these columns on April 28, SHRC public relations officer M.C. Poonacha said during the vacation between April 28 and May 22, the commission will hear urgent matters on the notified dates.
The commission will not remain closed and there will not be any temporary break from its duties, he has said.

Ousted math head back with court order
Staff Correspondent
Devotees feel he has tarnished the institution’s image
They staged a dharna seeking his removal
Vow to fight against him through the courts
BELLARY: Kampli town in Hospet taluk was tense on Tuesday when devotees of the Kal Math opposed Gurusidda Swami, the religious head, from re-assuming charge of his duties.
According to sources in the district administration, the devotees and the executive committee members of the math were opposed to the swami continuing as the religious head as his image had been “tarnished”. The swami, armed with a court directive, sought to enter the math premises, but many devotees and members of the executive committee stood outside opposing his entry.
The Kampli police, along with the Hospet tahsildar, intervened and tried their best to prevent the situation from getting out of hand. The officials told the devotees that the swami had obtained a court order and could go inside the math to perform his religious duties. The devotees and committee members dispersed when the authorities urged them not to create a law and order problem. They were told to approach the court instead and get the injunction stayed.
Arvi Basavanagouda, chairman of the executive committee, told The Hindu that Gurusidda Swami was anointed in 2004 by his senior.
After the latter’s death, the swami allegedly behaved in a manner that brought disrepute to the math. The devotees asked him to leave the premises. He left the math, but came back with a court injunction.
Mr. Basavanagouda, while stating that he would not be allowed to continue as the religious head, made it clear that the committee would fight the case in court.

Kerala policemen released on bail
Staff Correspondent
MANGALORE: All the eleven reserve policemen of Kerala, who had been arrested on Saturday at Panambur beach, have been released on bail here on Tuesday.
The reserve policemen from Kerala had been arrested on charges of misbehaving with women and the locals at Panambur beach. The Panambur police personnel confirmed the release of 10 constables and one head constable by the JMFC second court.

Court tells police to file affidavit
Kidnap of panchayat member
Abducted panchayat vice-president produced in court
Court seeks steps taken to trace him
Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court, on Tuesday, suo motu impleaded the Circle Inspector (CI), Pullpally, Wayanad, as a respondent and directed him to file an affidavit regarding the steps taken to investigate the complaint lodged by the wife of the abducted vice-president of the Poothadi grama panchayat, V.N. Saseendran.
The Bench passed the directive when Mr. Saseendran was produced before the Bench comprising Justice P.N. Ravindran and Justice P.R. Ramachandra Menon. The court also directed the CI to state the steps taken by him to trace Mr. Saseendran. The Bench directed the police to produce Mr. Saseendran before the magistrate court concerned. The CI was directed to file the affidavit before May 5.
The court had earlier directed the Superintendent of Police, Wayanad, to trace and produce Mr. Saseendran on a habeas corpus petition filed by his wife, Vijayamma.
When produced in court, Mr. Saseendran told the Bench that he was forcibly taken away by A.V. Jayan, T.B. Sureshkumar and P.S. Janardhanan, all CPI(M) activists. He was kidnapped from the panchayat in a van and beaten up. He lost his mobile phone. They released him in Koduvalli town at 7 p.m. on Monday. He told his wife about his release over the phone and went with the Circle Inspector of Police, Pulpally, who reached there. He was not produced before the magistrate court concerned as the High Court had already issued a directive to trace and produce him before it.
The Bench recorded the statement of Mr. Saseendran.
He was allegedly abducted a few days before the Left Democratic Front-ruled Poothadi grama panchayat was to take up a no-confidence motion against its president. Mr. Saseendran who was elected to the panchayat on LDF ticket had joined the Congress recently. In the 21-member panchayat, the LDF’s strength was reduced to 10 after Mr. Sasi joined the Congress two months ago. The 11-member Congress-led United Democratic Front then moved a no-confidence motion.
The motion was adjourned for lack of quorum when it was taken up for discussion on April 27.

Writ against order on retirement
Kochi: A writ petition has been filed before the High Court challenging the government order on extending the service of the government employees and teachers who retire during the course of the final year till the end of the financial year.
The petition was filed by Kunjachan, Section Officer, General Administrative Department and another person. According to them, the government order modified the statutory rule prescribed in Part-I Rule 60(a) of the Kerala Service Rules. As per the rule, the date of retirement should take effect from the afternoon of the last day of the month in which a government servant attained the age of 55 years.
Thus, the statutory rule was now sought to be modified by an executive order. The order also referred to the budget speech for 2009-10 in which it was stated that effecting promotion and transfer at the beginning of the financial year contributed to efficiency but the existing retirement system stood in the way of such reform. The budget had not been debated in the Assembly. The legislature would express its will to alter a statutory rule only when it was discussed. The statutory rules could not be overridden by executive order or practices. The petitioners said that the government had decided to amend the rules did not mean that the rules had been modified. Besides, the executive order did not have any reason for modifying the rules.

Bail for 12 policemen
Mangalore: Twelve police personnel from Kerala who were arrested on the charge of attacking tourists on the Panambur Beach in an inebriated state, were granted bail by a local court on Tuesday. Magistrate Manjunath granted bail to the accused. — PTI

High Court stay on phone towers
Staff Reporter
Petition by residents of Nehru Enclave
“Poses a health hazard to people living in its vicinity”
“Causes noise and environmental pollution as well”
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed further installation of cellular phone towers at Nehru Enclave in South Delhi on a petition by a group of local residents arguing that it would pose a health hazard to people living in its vicinity.
The petitioners through their counsel Manjit Singh Ahluwalia submitted that electro-magnetic waves emitted and vibrations caused by the tower led to diseases like cancer and hypertension and health problems like dizziness and nausea.
Mr. Ahluwalia submitted that children and pregnant women were particularly susceptible to the health hazard.
“The electro-magnetic waves and vibrations have detrimental and irreversible effects, particularly on pregnant women and children,” the petitioners submitted.
The petitioners further stated that since the tower was run on diesel, it caused noise and environmental pollution as well.
There was also risk of damage to life and property from the tower in case it fell, the petitioners submitted.
Besides seeking a stay on further installation of towers, the petitioners also sought removal of the installed towers in the colony.
Justice S. Ravindra Bhat also issued notices to the Delhi Government, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and cellular phone operators asking them to file replies to the petition by July 20.

NDPL settles cases in Lok Adalat
NEW DELHI: Power distribution company North Delhi Power Limited settled over 900 cases at the one-day “Lok Adalat” held over the weekend at the Delhi High Court premises.
The Lok Adalat was organised jointly by NDPL and Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee for settlement of pending cases, disputes or grievances pertaining to power thefts, misuse charges, dues against disconnected electricity connection and restoration of disconnected connection.

Lawyers to boycott work
NEW DELHI: Lawyers of district courts here decided to abstain from work on Wednesday in protest against alleged “arrogant and unwarranted” action of a judicial officer who ordered police to take their two colleagues into custody.

HC respite for Ghatkopar hospital in Metro project
29 Apr 2009, 0701 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court offered relief to a hospital trust against acquisition proceedings by the MMRDA for the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro Rail project and the Andheri-Ghatkopar Link Road projects. Sarvodaya Hospital, situated on an eight-acre plot in Ghatkopar, came under a demolition and relocation threat when the MMRDA began acquiring land for the Metro rail project. In response to a petition filed by the hospital trust, a bench comprising Justices P B Majmudar and R M Sawant asked the MMRDA to maintain a status quo and to consider the representations made by the trust, which is seeking compensation of Rs 2,000 per sq ft or alternate land and transferable development rights (TDR) for loss of land and hospital building. Milind Sathe, H Ganatra and Meenaz Mechant, advocates for the hospital, said the MMRDA had issued notice last year to acquire 9,000 sq metre of land and 87,000 sq ft of the existing hospital building. “The hospital caters to thousands, mainly those suffering from tuberculosis. Despite several representations to the MMRDA and the state to provide alternate land or TDR or to realign the metro-rail route, there was no response. The only alternate was to move court for relief,” the lawyers said. The matter will now be heard on May 5. The MMRDA and the state government will have to inform the court if it is possible to accept the hospital trust’s suggestions.

Give number of flats, HC tells Parsi Panchayat
29 Apr 2009, 0653 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande , TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Tuesday directed the Bombay Parsi Panchayat (BPP) to state the number of flats it has in Mumbai that are available for allotment to needy persons in the community. The court also directed the Panchayat to file an affidavit stating the number of such flats that had been allotted since December 2006 and those that the body could not allot for “whatever reasons”. The court also said no further action can take place on the issue of allotments. The next hearing is on June 19. These queries were posed by a bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Amjad Sayed after intense arguments on a petition centred around allotment of flats to a list of 104 poor members of the Parsi-Irani community in Mumbai by the erstwhile BPP trustees last year. However, the present trustees wanted to review these 104 cases. In January, the charity commissioner had ordered the BPP to give away at least 74 out of the 104 flats. According to Rafiq Dada, counsel for BPP chairman Dinshaw Mehta, and a few of his co-trustees who had moved the court, they had cleared the application of 64 people from the 104 list. Besides, 10 other families__”overwhelmingly deserving” candidates__have been shortlisted subsequently by the new board of trustees in a sense of “fair play.” He said they had been taken on merit__some are those who sleep on the fire temple floors or are “recently engaged.” But Iqbal Chagla, representing the 40 members whose flat allotments have still not been cleared by the current BPP board, said, “It is not open for a new board to now come up and open the decision taken by the earlier trustees, who had followed the proper process. Besides, they can’t show scant respect for court orders, which had restrained further steps on the issue.” Meanwhile, advocate Nilima Dutta, representing two members, questioned the “merit-based rating system” of the BPP. She said the panchayat had 5,000 flats, which were mainly allotted to the rich.

‘Pvt divorce’ needs proof: HC
29 Apr 2009, 0754 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: Does theJain Marwari community have a custom of “private divorce”? Not persuaded by the argument put forward by a twice-married woman, the Bombay high court recently allowed her second husband’s plea to annul their marriage as her first marriage was still subsisting. “Custom is a long-standing practice followed and recognised by particular community,” said Justice P R Borkar. “In the circumstances, it will have to be stated as to which persons from the same community had obtained divorce as per the custom, what was the custom and since when such custom was being followed.” With no such details mentioned or proved, the court refused to believe the claim of a Parbhani-based woman, Seema, that she had divorced her first husband, Vijay, according to the practice of “private divorce” through mutual consent prevailing in her community. Seema told the court that she belonged to the Jain Marwari community. Explaining the custom of “private divorce”, she said in her community, relatives of both sides of an estranged couple hold a meeting, discuss and the divorce is given and accepted through mutual consent. The court pointed out that no divorce deed was produced to substantiate this. Seema has a daughter from her first marriage. She claimed she had obtained a divorce and subsequently married Nitesh in 2001. Nitesh, however, realised that she was still keeping in touch with her first husband and also found that the divorce was not valid. Nitesh filed an application for annulment of his marriage to Seema. While a trial court allowed the annulment, an appeal court quashed the order and restored the conjugal rights. Nitesh then moved the high court to declare that his marriage with Seema was null and void and restrain her from claiming to be his wife. With no proof about the supposed custom or documents to show that Seema was a divorcee at the time of her second marriage, the high court declared the marriage void. The judge also dismissed an application by Seema for restoration of conjugal rights. (Names have been changed to protect identity)

HC asks for PWD report in sewer case
29 Apr 2009, 0355 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: After a TOI report last week that highlighted deaths of sewerage workers due to lack of facilities, the Delhi High Court has demanded a report from PWD in this regard. It has asked PWD that why despite HC orders to provide safety equipment to sewerage workers the situation has not improved. A division bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah took suo moto cognizance of the news report and issued notice to PWD, giving it a month’s time to respond. HC has already issued contempt notices against the top officials of Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Development Authority and Delhi Small Industries Development Corporation on death of their sewerage workers in March. On Tuesday, HC asked the PWD to respond within a month. HC was referring to an incident that took place last week in blocks 59 and 60 at Police Colony when three sewerage workers allegedly fell unconscious due to the toxic gases inside a sewer in the locality. One of them, 25-year-old Vijlesh, regained consciousness and managed to climb out of the sewer. The other two, 30-year-old Vinod and 32-year-old Ajit, eventually drowned. According to the police, despite a 45 minute rescue operation they were not able to save the duo, who were declared brought dead at the Hindu Rao Hospital. The cases of sewer deaths are becoming common. Even after repeated warnings by HC, which had issued a detailed directive asking all government agencies like DJB to provide basic safety equipment to their workers, such mishaps are still taking place. The court had made it clear in its directions that it expects civic agencies not to differentiate between its workers and those sourced in on contract, so that the protective cover against toxic deaths is extended to all. The court also hiked the compensation amount to Rs 2.5 lakhs for every death. When despite these steps deaths occurred, HC issued contempt.

Tytler clean chit: Hearing put off
29 Apr 2009, 0354 hrs IST
NEW DELHI: Deliberating on the authority of a trial court to take cognizance of the closure report filed by the CBI giving a clean chit to former Union minister Jagdish Tytler, additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) Rakesh Pandit deferred the argument for May 23. ACMM posted the matter for hearing on May 23 on a plea of the riot victims as well as Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) that the court should decide that they had the right to be heard in the matter. November ’84 Carnage Justice Committee and DSGMC, the organizations representing the victims, moved an application before the court pleading with it to decide their locus standi in the case and allow them to make submission. Senior Counsel H S Phoolka sought the court summon for CBI’s DIG and joint director following media reports that they had argued against the closure report. CBI counsel A K Srivastava, meanwhile, sought time to file their reply to the application after which the court adjourned the matter. During the proceedings, the court was repeatedly disturbed by one “self proclaimed” witness. The court refused to entertain the plea of Man Mohan Singh who tried to move a protest petition on CBI’s clean chit to Tytler, claiming himself to be a witness.

Sagar: Send info on steps initiated to prevent future calamities in KG Basin: HC
29 Apr 2009, 0422 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: The AP High Court on Tuesday sought to know from the Central government as to what steps it has initiated to monitor the process of oil and gas extraction in Krishna-Godavari basin to avoid any kind of calamities in future on account of this exploration. The division bench comprising Chief Justice Anil Ramesh Dave and justice Ramesh Ranganathan was hearing a petition filed by Krishna Godavari Deltala Parirakshana Samithi seeking a direction to take appropriate steps to protect the region from land subsidence and environmental hazards due to exploration. A Rajasekhar Reddy, assistant-solicitor-general told the court that the directorate general of hydrocarbons, which is an authorised body to monitor the oil and gas exploration across the country has been monitoring the activities in the basin at regular intervals. The court directed the Centre to submit a report on steps being taken to monitior the exploration activity.

High court turns stage for kidnap drama
29 Apr 2009, 0319 hrs IST, A Selvaraj, TNN
CHENNAI: If the abduction of K Younis Khan, son of north Chennai-based businessman Kalandhar Nainar Mohammed on Saturday was dramatic, the arrest of his three abductors was equally dramatic, marked as it was by some mute tactics by the police. Though the police had knowledge about their movements from the city to Pondicherry, Cuddalore and back in two days, they waited till Khan was released before pouncing on the abductors. Twenty four-year-old Khan, whose marriage was slated for May 10, was abducted by his tenant Moideen (25), his brother Latif and friend Chakravarthi. Moideen was living in a rented portion of Kalandhar’s (Khan’s father) house in Washermanpet. On Saturday, Moideen took Khan in a Tata Indica to Royapettah and Tiruvanmiyur, promising him a wedding gift. Later, he took Khan to Cuddalore, where Chakravarthi joined them. Khan was told that he was being abducted for money, since Kalandhar owed money to some people. Midway, Moideen forced Khan to travel by a two-wheeler, seated between him and Chakravarthi. That night, they stayed in a teak plantation in Panruti, where Moideen and Chakaravarthi took turns to keep a watch on Khan. “Kalandhar received the first call for ransom at 10pm. The abductors told Kalandhar that his son would be killed if he failed to pay a ransom of Rs 1.5 crore. Kalandhar informed the police, but was asked to keep the channel of communication open. He kept negotiating the ransom amount, which was finally fixed at Rs 90 lakh. Kalandhar said he would pay the money only if he got his son back alive. Khan said he was kept in a room in Cuddalore and later in a lodge in Chennai, before being shifted to a lawyer’s chamber on the Madras high court premises. He was kept there for a few hours before the exchange was to happen around 5pm on Monday. Meanwhile, a team of armed police in mufti was ready. “We suspected that a leading gangster from Dindigul was behind the abduction. We had other plans if that was the case. The gang turned out to be a new one and we decided to trail and nab them,” said joint commissioner of police (north Chennai) M Ravi. After the ransom was finalised, Moideen and Chakaravrthy took the victim back to Chennai and stayed in a lodge in Parrys on Sunday. Moideen met a lawyer, Mani, of Kasimedu on Monday morning and informed him about the abduction,” a police officer said. “We were tracking the gang by monitoring communication signals from the mobile tower. On Monday, the location was found to be near the Madras high court. Special teams silently searched the whole area but could not find anyone. Finally, we realised that the accused could be inside the court. Meanwhile, Kalandhar received a call from the abductor to come to the judge’s gate with the ransom.” When Kalandhar came with the ransom along with three of his friends, two other associates of the abductors, Santhosh Kumar, an autorickshaw driver, and Srinivasan, a fishcart driver, were waiting in an autorickshaw. They threatened Kalandhar’s friends to flee and collected the ransom. They then told Kalandhar that he would find Khan near the judge’s gate. Kalandhar found his son there. A police team was watching all this from inside a car parked at a distance. They trailed the gang to Tondiarpet, where Moideen and Latif were arrested from Latif’s mobile phone shop. Chakravarthy, who had got down midway from the autorickshaw as Moideen and Latif proceeded towards Tondiarpet, was later picked up from his brother’s house in Kottivakkam. The police recovered Rs 7.1 lakh from Chakravarthy and Rs 79.9 lakh from the brothers. The balance amount of Rs 3 lakh is yet to be recovered. Special teams have been formed to track down lawyer Mani who helped the gang hide in the chamber, and a few more involved in the crime.

HC orders Rs 5 lakh relief to wife of man who went missing in custody
29 Apr 2009, 0331 hrs IST, A Subramani , TNN
CHENNAI: S Vanitha’s legal battle to find out her husband’s whereabouts, and ascertain whether he is still alive or dead, is 22 months old. After being whisked away by two policemen in June 2007, her husband Sathyaseelan is yet to return. The 27-year-old, who had petitioned various authorities, was so frustrated by the lack of response that she flung her thaali (mangalsutra) at judges a few months ago crying for justice. On Monday, a division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice C T Selvam lambasted the state police and awarded Rs 5 lakh as interim compensation to Vanitha and her three minor daughters, holding the government responsible for the misdeeds of its officers. In her habeas corpus petition, Vanitha said her husband, a farm labourer, was picked up by sub-inspector Nagaraj and head constable Uthirapathy at Ezhumahalur village in Nagapattinam on June 21, 2007. Though the bike-borne cops made Sathiyaseelan sit between them while taking him to the police station, later they told Vanitha and her relatives that he had jumped off the vehicle and fled. Disbelieving conflicting claims by the police, Vanitha filed a petition seeking a direction to the authorities to produce her husband in court. When even a judicial order and several interim directions and adjournments did not help, the court handed over the investigation to the CB-CID. But even the agency could not unearth the truth one official filed an affidavit stating that a fleeing Sathiyaseelan might have got electrocuted accidentally and his body might have been disposed of by local farmers. Justice Elipe Dharma Rao dismissed these claims and described the police version of Sathiyaseelan’s escape as a “cock-and-bull story”, cinematic” and an attempt at “make-belief”. Flaying the state police as well as the CB-CID to whom the probe had been entrusted, the judges said: “We are of the considered opinion that there is something fishy in the matter…The snail-paced investigation being conducted even by much-trusted CB-CID does not seem to reach the goal…” Applying the last-seen theory’, the bench said the burden of explaining the whereabouts of Sathiyaseelan lay with the cops who had taken him with them. “They are answerable for the missing of Sathyaseelan,” they said. Also, the liability for the deeds and misdeeds committed by its officers and employees lies with the state, the judges ruled. Awarding interim compensation, the judges expressed faith in the CB-CID III superintendent of police A Arun, who has been asked to personally supervise the investigation and trace Sathyaseelan within 12 weeks. The matter has been adjourned to July 22.

PIL filed over Board’s paper assessment issue
29 Apr 2009, 0301 hrs IST, TNN
AHMEDABAD: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in Gujarat High Court, expressing reservations against the practice of employing Gujarati medium teachers to assess answer papers of English medium students in boards. On basis of newspaper’s reports, Praful Desai of Senior Citizen Service Trust has filed a PIL that claims that due to shortage of teachers in English medium, the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) assigns task of assessment of copies written by English medium students to teachers who teach in Gujarati medium. In his PIL, Desai has claimed that the Gujarati medium teachers cannot do justice to English medium students, and the students suffer in their ranking. He has argued that because of defective assessment those students who manage to score high rank in entrance exams for medical and engineering courses, actually score lower than the Gujarati medium students. The petitioner has also informed the court that he sought information in this regard under the RTI laws, and despite a favourable order by a deputy secretary of the education department, the staffers didn’t provide any data. When Desai complained in this regard before the information commission, the department forwarded an excuse that the staff was over-burdened with exam work. In his PIL, Desai has urged the court to direct the education department to explain what measures it has taken to resolve this issue, so that the English medium students get fair treatment in assessment of their copies of Class X and XII. A report from the education department in this regard has also been sought by the petitioner. When the petition came up for hearing, a division bench of Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi asked the public prosecutor to take necessary instructions from the education department. The court has kept May 13 for further hearing in this case.

Will SIT probe its own member?
29 Apr 2009, 0302 hrs IST, TNN
AHMEDABAD: The Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court to probe 2002 riots could find itself in a spot. Going by the SC’s order of Monday to probe all 63 persons including the chief minister Narendra Modi’s role in the Gulbarg Society massacre case, one of the SIT’s members is an accused! The FIR filed by wife of slain ex-MP Ahsan Jafri, Zakia, before the Supreme Court, mentions IPS officer Shivanand Jha as one of the accused, charged of “providing false information on the offence”. Jha happens to be one of the key members of the SIT headed by former CBI director RK Raghavan, constituted on March 26 last year. Jha heads the probes in the Godhra carnage case where 59 lives were lost and the Ode massacre of Anand district where some NRIs are involved. At least 33 persons died in this massacre. The two other Gujarat officers in SIT are, Geetha Johri who heads the probe in the Sardarpura, Dipda darwaja and the Prantij case of killing of British nationals, and Ashish Bhatia who heads the Naroda Patia, Naroda Gam and Gulbarg Society massacres. Jha was recently promoted as additional director general of police. However, the SIT has probed the Gulbarg massacre case for almost a year and nabbed some 31 accused that were not arrested earlier by the Gujarat police. The local police had arrested 46 persons in this case, but most of them are out on bail. In fact, the issue for SIT is how to go ahead on recent directions particularly after six chargesheets including one by SIT have been filed in this case in last seven years. Retired DGP PC Pande, who is also named as one of the prime accused in the case has reportedly been given a clean chit by SIT, going by contents of its report to the SC, which was leaked to the press recently. When the Gulbarg massacre happened on February 28, 2002, killing 68 persons, Jha was holding charge as additional commissioner of police – Sector 1, while this massacre happened in sector 2. When contacted, Raghavan told TOI, “I haven’t got a copy of the order, it will take at least 3-4 days, till then I cannot comment”. JM Suthar, the investigating officer in the Gulbarg massacre case told TOI, “When we are asked to probe the case from a particular angle, we will do it”.

Khadim case verdict on May 20
29 Apr 2009, 0436 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: The second additional district judge, Alipore, Biswarup Mukherjee, concluded the hearing on the Khadim abduction case on Tuesday. The verdict will be pronounced on May 20. Partha Pratim Roy Burman, the owner of Khadim, was abducted on his way to the factory on July 25, 2001, from C N Roy Road in Tiljala. He was released on August 2. A special court was set up to hear the case and the trial was held under camera surveillance at the Alipore central jail. There are 22 accused in the case, including Aftab Ansari, Happy Singh and Jamil Uddin Nasir. Both Aftab Ansari and Jamil were also convicted in the American Center shootout case. Ansari had been awarded the death sentence in the American Center case. HuJI activist Jalaluddin is another accused in the case. The court examined 139 witnesses. Public prosecutor Nabakumar Ghosh said the CID had stated in the chargesheet that the ransom was fixed at Rs 5 crore and initially, Rs 3.75 crore was sent to Ansari in Dubai through the hawala racket. Several hawala operators of Hyderabad were also arrested.

Rani gets respite in Shirdi land case
29 Apr 2009, 0400 hrs IST, Syed Rizwanullah, TNN
AURANGABAD: Bollywood actress Rani Mukherjee got some respite on Tuesday in the case related to her land in Shirdi when Justice Naresh Patil of the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court directed the authorities to take mutation entries of Rani Mukherjee’s ownership on the 7/12 documents, subject to the final decision of the HC bench in the case. The HC bench is hearing a petition filed by Mukherjee challenging the Shrirampur sub-divisional officer’s (SDO) order scrapping her right on the property. The court also directed the actress to provide a bank guarantee of Rs 30 lakh subject to the decision on the petition. The SDO had imposed a fine of Rs 66 lakh on Mukherjee, said government pleader Umakant Patil, who had opposed the relief saying that it may amount to clearing the land for the actress. Lawyer Shashikumar Chowdhary, who represented the actress, said “Following the high court directives in June 2008, we had applied to the authorities for processing our application regarding inclusion of her name on the 7/12 documents. But the officials had rejected our plea.” In June 2008, too, the court had prima facie agreed with the argument of Rani’s lawyer that the SDO had no jurisdiction to pass a diktat rejecting Mukherjee’s application for inclusion of her name in the 7/12 documents and to impose a fine of Rs 66 lakh, if she wanted to own the property. On April 9, 2008, too, the court had ordered a status quo in the case and questioned the government as to why only the petitioner has been fined by the official concerned, when she happened to be the last person to buy the piece of land from the total property of 58 gunthas’ (12,000 square feet) in question, occupied and possessed by 16 people or organisations. Rani had purchased an open space measuring 11 gunthas’) closer to the pilgrim town of Shirdi.

Ashwin Naik acquitted in estate agent’s murder case
29 Apr 2009, 0430 hrs IST, Asseem Shaikh, TNN
PUNE: Almost 12 years after real estate agent Deepak Deo of Shivajinagar was kidnapped and murdered, the district and sessions court here on Tuesday acquitted alleged gangster Ashwin Maruti Naik (49) of Mumbai and seven others in the case. It was the 17th and last case pending against Naik, defence lawyer Arun Dhamale told TOI soon after the verdict. “Naik was brought to the Yerawada central prison after he was acquitted in the murder case of his wife, Neeta, about three months ago,” he said. “As per my information, there is no other case pending against Naik,” Dhamale added. The others who were acquitted along with Naik on Tuesday are: Pimpri-Chinchwad corporator Rajesh Govind Swamy Pillay, Babasaheb Sadashiv Bhosale of Yerawada and Mumbai residents Sandeep Dicholkar, Amar Pawale, Rajesh Pimpale, Abdul Inamdar and Dabbu alias Krishna Devendra. Naik was produced before the court on a wheelchair amidst tight security around 3 pm. Pronouncing the judgement, additional sessions judge H S Mahajan said, “The case is based on circumstantial evidence, but the prosecution has not established any link to complete the chain of circumstances. Hence, I cannot conclude that the suspects are offenders in the case.” The judge held, “There was no evidence to prove that Deo was kidnapped in the two vehicles recovered by the police from the suspects. Neither blood stains nor hair of the deceased was found in the vehicles”. The judge said, “There is no other evidence showing the suspects’ involvement in the commission of crime. One of the suspects had stayed in a hotel at Pimpri, but he cannot be connected with the crime”. Citing a Supreme Court ruling in the famous case of Sharad Sharda versus State of Maharashtra, the judge concluded: “That I cannot hold the suspects guilty merely on emotions that they might have committed the offence”. Additional public prosecutor Subhash Kalbhor said, “The Pune police had properly investigated the case. They had exhumed Deo’s body from Satara after interrogating the suspects.” The prosecutor said, “The prosecution had examined 26 witnesses, but 18 of them turned hostile. Eight others, including the investigating officer, various experts, magistrates and a ‘panch’ witness, supported the prosecution’s case, but its evidence was not enough for completing the chain of circumstances for proving the suspects guilty”. Kalbhor said, “After receiving a certified copy of the judgement, I will decide whether to appeal before the Bombay high court.” Naik was arrested by the West Bengal police on the Indo-Bangladesh border on August 1, 1999. He was brought to Pune two months later and formally shown arrested in the Deo murder case. Deo was kidnapped from his residence at Shivajinagar in Pune on October 1, 1997. His body was later found at a secluded spot in the hilly areas of Wai taluka of Satara district. During the trial, the prosecution had argued that Deo was eliminated by Naik’s associates over suspicion that he had links with Naik’s rival, Arun Gawli. In April 1998, three associates of Naik — Sandeep Dicholkar, Abdul Inamdar and Krishna Devendra — were arrested by the Mumbai police for their alleged involvement in the murder of Ramdas Ambavkar, a leader of Gawli’s Akhil Bharatiya Sena. Later, they were handed over to the Pune police, who re-arrested them in the Deo murder case. Within a few months, six more people, including city hotelier Anil Bhide, were arrested for their alleged involvement in Deo’s murder. Bhide was, however, discharged from the case later. One of the suspects, Vilas Kakade of Mumbai, was killed in an encounter with the Mumbai police in 2001. According to defence lawyer Dhamale, the vigilance branch of the Pune police had filed a supplementary chargesheet against Naik after he was brought to Pune for interrogation in Deo’s murder case.

Candolim assault: Bail plea of accused rejected
29 Apr 2009, 0312 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The sessions court, Panaji, on Tuesday rejected the bail application filed by one Salvador Fernandes, who was arrested by the Crime branch in connection with an alleged attempt to murder Reis Magos-Verem panchayat member Francisco Serrao at Candolim. Opposing the bail application, the investigation agency pointed out that the applicant faked illness and got himself admitted in a hospital under the pretext of availing medical treatment, and instead supervised the attack on Serrao with the help of a mobile phone. The prosecution also told the court that the motive behind the assault was to force Serrao to leave the ruling faction in the panchayat. While dismissing the application, judge U V Bakre held that the case appears to be very complicated and would require time to be given to the investigation officer to conduct a proper inquiry. “Public interest of society at large is jeopardized by such acts. The complainant is seriously assaulted and bedridden,” the judge observed. It may be recalled that in Febrauary 2009, the victim was restrained by masked accused and attacked with iron rods causing injuries to his legs and hands.

Maintain status quo over grant of NOCs for plots in Bethora: HC
29 Apr 2009, 0255 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Tuesday directed the Department of Forests (DoF) to maintain status quo over granting of no objection certificates (NOCs) for development of plots in Bethora village until demarcation of the forest area is completed. A division bench comprising Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice U D Salvi passed the order while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Nisarg and Goa Foundation. The petitioners have challenged the NOC granted by the forest department to Goodluck Developers for survey no 156/1/B in Bethora. During the hearing, the petitioners’ advocate Norma Alvares pointed out to the court that the DoF had issued NOCs to the developers despite the fact that offences had been registered against them for the illegal felling of 120 trees in the area. She further told the court that, according to DoF standards, for an area to qualify as a forest its canopy area has to be 0.4%, but in case of Bethora village it is only 0.3%. Alvares argued that the canopy of the area in question has been reduced because the developer had allegedly felled 120 trees. Alvares prayed that the forest department should be restrained from issuing any fresh NoC until demarcation of the area is complete. It has also been stated in the petition that the Sawant and Karapurkar committees appointed by the government could not assess the forest area in Bethora village as the construction of the new Ponda bypass in 1994 had rendered the area inaccessible. This led to the illegal felling of trees in the forest area, the NGOs has alleged. At this point, senior counsel Atmaram Nadkarni, appearing on behalf of the developers, filed a affidavit and argued that the developers have obtained all necessary permissions. Around 90 plots have been developed in the survey no 156/1/B, out of which 60 plots have been already sold, Nadkarni said. Subsequently, the Bench ordered status quo on issuance of further NOCs. The next hearing has been fixed on June 15.

Dust pollution: Build shed at Curchorem rly yard by 31 Dec, says HC
29 Apr 2009, 0257 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Tuesday directed the Ministry of Railways to construct and commission a temporary shed at the Curchorem railway yard by December 31, 2009, inorder to control pollution caused by handling of mineral ore. A division bench comprising Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice U D Salvi passed the order while hearing a petition filed by Goa Foundation, John Pereira and others. The petitioners had complained that people residing in Curchorem were affected by dust pollution due to loading and unloading of ore at the railway yard. When the public interest litigation (PIL) came up for hearing on Monday, advocate Norma Alvares appearing on behalf of Goa Foundation told the court that the pollution in the area affects the health of the people living there. She pointed out that the only way to combat the serious levels of dust pollution in Curchorem is for the railway authorities to construct an enclosed shed, so that the dust will not spread in the air. At this point, the Bench asked the Central government counsel, Joseph Vaz, as to how much time the Ministry of Railways would require to finish constructing the temporary shed. Vaz informed the court that according to an inspection carried out by the railway administration, the temporary shed for enclosing the railway yard at Curchorem could be constructed within a period of nine months. Subsequent to this statement, the court issued directions for completing the construction and commissioning of the temporary shed by December 31. The court has also directed the Ministry of Railways to file a status report in the court on June 26, 2009, informing the court about the progress made in the construction of the shed. It may be recalled that on March 26 the court had directed the Ministry of Railways to conduct a survey of the yard and submit a report to the court.

Policeman tricked seniors, judges
29 Apr 2009, 0504 hrs IST, Saurabh Prashar, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Not only did he manage to deceive three seniors, a suspended cop also successfully tricked judges. During his four-year tenure as incharge of Sector 17 police station malkhana (storeroom), head constable Balbir Singh made wrong entries in files regarding weapons, but the three former SHOs Satbir Singh, Vijay Kumar and BS Negi never got a whiff of the deceit. To top it all, Balbir also managed to fox the judges in granting him permission to destroy the weapons, which were firearms and not knives as shown on the papers, the investigating officers said on Tuesday. Now, a departmental inquiry will be initiated against Balbir. Though the accused was sent to one-day police custody on Tuesday, cops would seek an extension on Wednesday. Police said the firearms recovered from the suspended head constable’s house included six pistols and 66 cartridges. While some of these were reportedly seized during 1990s in cases related to murder Arms Act and TADA, others were recovered from militant hideouts. However, officers said the cartridges were police property. The investigating agency has not ruled out the possibility of more bungling by Balbir during his tenure as the malkhana incharge. Interestingly, sources said the accused enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. His son is reportedly in Australia on study visa. However, he is fighting a legal battle with his wife, who has slapped a dowry case against him.

HC notice to govt on pharmacist posts
29 Apr 2009, 0559 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Tuesday issued a show-cause notice to the state government asking it to explain why the court’s order for filling up 700 posts of pharmacists was not complied with. A single bench presided by Justice Shailesh Kumar Sinha issued the directive while hearing a contempt petition of Pramod Kumar who submitted that the process for the 700 appointments started in 1999 through an advertisement but it was not completed despite the high court verdict passed in November 2006.


People’s Union for Civil Liberties …Appellant
Union of India & Ors. ….Respondents
1. Heard learned counsel for the parties. It has been submitted by learned counsel for the Union of India that keeping in view the orders passed by this Court on several dates, several actions have been taken, which substantially comply with the directions given by this Court.
2. Colin Gonsalves, Sr. counsel on the other hand stated that though there has been substantial compliance of the directions given by this court yet there is some reservation about the revised nutritional and feeding norms for supplementary nutrition in ICDS Scheme. It is submitted that there is scope of involving contractors in the supplies which was prohibited by that Court.
3. By affidavit dated 2nd March, 2009, the Union of India has highlighted several factors which create serious dent against malnutrition. It is stated that same can be made to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of malnutrition. The said affidavit
clarifies that these interventions include universalization of ICDS (by sanctioning 13.80 lakh Anganwadi/ Mini Anganwadi Centres and20,000 Anganwadis-on-Demand making a total of 14 lakh Anganwadis/Mini Anganwadi Centres as mandated by this Court) and, most importantly, reduction in the gap between Recommended Dietary Allowance (hereinafter referred to as “RDA”) and Actual Dietary Intake (hereinafter referred to as “ADI”). On a careful consideration of the matter, the Central Government has revised both the nutritional and feeding norms as well as thee financial norms of supplementary nutrition under the ICDS Scheme.
4. It is noted that the nutritional norms have remain unchanged since inception of the Scheme (in 1975) until a recent comprehensive review by a Task Force constituted by the Central Government. On the basis of the recommendations of this Task Force, the calorific and feeding norms for supplementary nutrition in ICDS Scheme in respect of children of all categories below 6 years of age and pregnant women and nursing mothers have been revised. The Table below shows the old and revised norms:
Old Norms Revised Norms
Category Rate Calories Protein Rate Calories Protein
Rs./ per (Cal) (g) Rs./ per (Cal) (g),
benefici- benefici
ary per ary per
(i) Children below 2.00 300 day
8-10 4.00 500 12-15
3 years
(ii)Children 3-6 2.00 300 8-10 4.00 500 12-15
(iii)Severely 2.70 600 20 6.00 800 20-25
(iv)Pregnant & 2.30 500 20-25 5.00 600 18-20
Lactating (P&L) mothers
The above revised norms are incorporated in para 8.2(b) of the affidavit.
5. The Revised Nutritional and Feeding Norms for SNP in ICDS Scheme circulated vide letter no.5-9/2005/ND/Tech (Vol. II) dated24.02.2009 states that children in the age group of 6 months to 3 years must be entitled to food supplement of 500 calorie of energy and 12-15 gm of protein per child per day in the form of take home ration (THR). For the age group of 3-6 years, food supplement of 500 calories of energy and 12-15 gm of protein per child must be made available at the Anganwadi Centres in the form of a hot cooked meal and a morning snack. For severely underweight children in the age group of 6 months to 6 years, an additional 300 calories of energy and 8-10 gm of protein would be given as THR. For pregnant and lactating mothers, a food supplement of 600 calories of energy and 18-20 gm of protein per beneficiary per day would be provided as THR.
6. The letter dated 24.02.2009 No.5-9/2005/ND/Tech (Vol.II) has been annexed to the affidavit dated 2nd March 2009 filed by the Union of India. It is directed that norms indicated in the said letter addressed to all the State Governments and Union Territories have to be implemented forthwith and the respective States/UTs would make requisite financial allocation and undertake necessary arrangements to comply with the stipulations contained in the said letter.
7. It is further stated by the Ld. Additional Solicitor General that Supplementary Nutrition Food (SNP) in the form of THR shall be provided to all children in the age group of 6 months to 3 years, an additional 300 calories to severely underweight children in the age group of 3 to 6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers as per paras 5(c), 5(d) and 5(e) of the letter dated 24th February 2009. Accordingly all Union Territories and State Governments are directed to ensure compliance with the aforementioned stipulations without fail.
8. Further, all the States and Union Territories are directed to provide supplementary nutrition- in the form of a morning snack and a hot cooked meal to the children in the age group of 3 to 6 years as per Para 5(d) of the guidelines contained in the letter dated 24th February 2009 preferably by31st December 2009.
9. As far as adolescent girls are concerned, they would continue to be covered by the entitlements of the Nutritional Programme for Adolescent Girls (hereinafter referred to as `NPAG’) and Kishori Shakti Yojana(hereinafter referred to as `KSY’) till such time as a comprehensive universal scheme for the empowerment of adolescent girls called `The Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for the Empowerment of Adolescent girls’ is implemented within six months from the date of the order.
10. It shall however be ensured that the following direction by order dated 7th October, 2006 which was reiterated by order dated 13.6.2006 shall continue to be operative.
11. It is pointed out that several States like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Nagaland have not met the requisite norms. These States are directed to take steps as required to be taken.
12. Compliance reports filed by all the States and Union Territories by15th January, 2010.
13. Put up thereafter.
…………………J. (Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)
……………….J. (S.H. KAPADIA)
New Delhi
April 22, 2009


BMC Declares New IIT Hostel Bldgs Unathorised
By: Staff Reporter
Powai – 26 April 09 : Two hostel buildings of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay – Hostel No B-12 and Hostel No B-13 which stand majestically yonder the Powai Lake next to Renaissance Hotel have been declared illegal by BMC. These have been built with IIT alumni fund and designed by Hafeez Contractor at a cost of RS 35 crores.
They have been standing illegally on the institute’s campus without necessary permissions from the civic corporation. BMC Commissioner Jairaj Phatak stated this in an affidavit dated April 13 filed in the High Court, in response to a court order directing the civic body to clarify the status of the buildings.
In 2004, a PIL was filed by the Bhrashtachar Nirmulan Sanghatan on preserving the Chandivali and Powai lakes, which alleged that the hostels adjoining the Powai Lake had been built without the necessary civic permissions. After the BMC agreed, IIT was included as a party in the case.
“For a long time, both the IIT and BMC kept mum on the regularisation of these two buildings. The BMC said IIT had applied for regularisation under Section 58 of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act.
“During a hearing of the case, Justice Bilal Nazki remarked that he would pass an order for demolition of the buildings unless he got accurate information on their status,” said advocate Shakuntala Joshi, lawyer for the petitioners.
So far, architect V S Vaidya has submitted most of the required no-objection certificates/details for regularisation of the two buildings, except a no objection certificate from the Civil Aviation Department, the affidavit added.
Speaking to media, IIT director Devang Khakhar said the Civil Aviation Department NOC is a mere formality. “We don’t need it as the buildings are not high enough. We had applied for permission for all the buildings on the IIT campus together. That’s probably why they took so long. Now, I believe, we have all the permissions,” he said.

‘Illegal’ appointments: HC notices to Punjabi University, V-C
Posted: Apr 27, 2009 at 0429 hrs IST
Chandigarh The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notices to the Punjabi University, Patiala, and its former vice-chancellor in a matter pertaining to the 431 allegedly illegal appointments made to non-teaching posts on a contract basis from 2002 to 2007. The appointments were made during the tenure of former V-C Swaran Singh Boparai.
The notices were issued in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Harsharan Kaur and others, seeking a vigilance probe into what they claim were “illegal” appointments.
The petitioners have filed two applications — the first seeks vigilance inquiry into the appointments made by the former V-C, while the second seeks directions to the University to adjust the application fee paid earlier by 868 candidates of the SC category for posts of clerks, with the latest fees to be announced by the University.
Interestingly, in the first application, the petitioners have stated that an inquiry marked by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau against Boparai in 2007 remains pending. Adding to it the present appointment issue, contended the petitioners, it is now a fit case for issuing notices to Punjab Vigilance Bureau and to the former vice-chancellor SS Boparai.

Charitable hospital notification soon: state
Mohan Kumar
Posted: Apr 27, 2009 at 0314 hrs IST
Mumbai The state government has informed the Bombay High Court that a scheme for treating needy patients at charitable hospitals will soon be notified as per the Bombay Public Trust Act.
The court has also granted liberty to hospitals to apply to the government for restoration of concessions should the need arise. Advocate General Ravi Kadam said the legislature is also free to modify the scheme.
In October 2005, the court had constituted an expert committee headed by the joint charity commissioner to give recommendations under the BPT Act. The committee filed a report in April 2006, which the court accepted with some modifications.
The scheme obliges charitable hospitals to reserve beds for needy patients, treat them in an emergency and have a dedicated fund for them.
As per the court order, these hospitals should reserve 10 per cent of beds free for patients who earn less than Rs 25,000 a year, and provide treatment at concession for another 10 per cent, selected from patients who earn less than Rs 50,000 a year. The court had also suggested a helpline for complaints against charitable hospitals.
The issue was taken up following a PIL by city advocate Sanjeev Punalekar who alleged that these hospitals, despite getting concessions, were not providing free or concessional treatment to the needy. Following the PIL, a scheme was framed and implemented by hospitals.
Recently the Association of Hospitals has also agreed to treat rail accident victims in charitable hospitals regardless of their financial status.
A division Bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice V K Tahilramani disposed of the petition after observing that the scheme was by and large was acceptable to all parties.
“The monitoring mechanism as laid down in the scheme will remain in place,” Mistry said. “There are 70 charitable hospitals in the city and over 400 in the state.”

Indecent representation of women: govt’s 22-yr slumber ends
Post Comment
Express News Service Posted: Monday , Apr 27, 2009 at 0108 hrs IST
After 22 years of the enactment of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, the Gujarat government has recently authorised inspectors of every police station to take steps for implementation of the Act through a notification.
The notification has been issued on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a Vadodara-based organisation.
Mahila Punaruthan Sangh had filed the PIL seeking court’s directive to the state authorities to take effective steps to prohibit publication or circulation of any book, pamphlet, paper, writing, photograph and the like representing women in an indecent manner by enforcing the Act.
It may be mentioned that the PIL was filed in 2001, but came before hearing after eight long years. A division bench of the Gujarat High Court headed by Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan asked the government to submit a status report of the implementation of this Act. After this, the government earlier this month, issued the notification appointing police inspectors to implement the Act.

HC refuses stay on Haldia dock issue
Sunday, 26 Apr 2009
It is reported that a PIL moved by some members of Haldia Dock Bachao Committee came up for hearing before Chief Justice Mr SS Nijjar and Mr Justice B Somaddar of Calcutta High Court on Friday.An order of injunction was prayed for on holding the board meeting on April 25, and on the tender for equipping two berths of the dock.The court refused to grant stay and asked Kolkata Port Trust and others to file affidavit by four weeks, reply by the Bachao Committee by two weeks, and the matter to appear eight weeks hence.(Sourced from Business Line)

A court for environment

Do we need an international court of environment? Stephen Hockman QC (Queen’s Counsel), a former chairman of Bar Council in the UK, thinks so. The eminent lawyer, whose areas of speciality include environment, health and safety and regulatory law, was recently in town. He was delivering this year’s Sarkar Lecture, instituted by senior advocate Sudipto Sarkar in memory of his parents Prabhas Chandra Sarkar and Sunity Sarkar, at the British Council on April 13.
Hockman spoke about the politics of global warming and climate crimes, the reason the world needs such a court. He pointed out that China is held responsible for an enormous amount of carbon emission. But it has been found that a substantial part of these emissions are caused by the manufacture of goods for the US market or export to other countries. This would be the US’s off-shore emission: a matter the court, presumably, could look into.
So who can be hauled up before the court, which would incorporate the work of other global institutions like the Kyoto Protocol?
The court would provide resolution between states and would also be useful for multinational businesses in ensuring environmental laws are kept to in every country.
The court has the right backing. Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, has said the idea of the international court will be taken into account at the Copenhagen climate conference in December, when the Kyoto Protocol will be looked at again. The concept is supported by public figures abroad, including actress Judi Dench.
Someone from Calcutta can seek redress too, Hockman reassured.
He said this despite being in the city for three days and having, perhaps, seen the garbage and the plastic piling up, the autorickshaws running amok. Though the heat is obviously a concern to everyone, environment doesn’t figure anywhere on the politicians’ agenda. How relevant is the idea of an international court in such a city?
There are other problems with such a court in a developing country. Professor Jayanta Bandyopadhyay of IIM Calcutta said that at the Copenhagen summit, a World Bank report is likely to point at India and China as important producers of fossil fuel-based carbon-dioxide — the bad CO2 — and there may be a pressure on these two countries to agree to legally binding emission control. But half the population of these countries, especially in the rural areas, does not belong to that carbon category — they do not burn petrol but use firewood or bio-mass.
Why should half of a country suffer because of the other half? How would the court address that?
Hockman agreed that it was an important issue. As for Calcutta, he felt that the city was made of survivors, who seemed to escape a terminal collision with a vehicle every second. There was no reason to believe that Calcutta wouldn’t realise its own good one day. One has to be optimistic.
But, he reminded, one deserves the politicians one gets.
Adda for Earth
The Green Adda on Earth Day (April 22) at Saturday Club, organised by India Trees Foundation, discussed the topic: Is the Earth getting warmer and how to combat it. “The answer to that question is obviously yes,” agreed a member of the group.
Yes, Calcutta certainly is getting warmer. There was further proof as the adda progressed. The hall was plunged into darkness just as the first speaker got up to speak.
Ravi Menon, the president of the group, stressed that the shrinking greens is a real problem. The most interesting insight came from chief guest Tapas Ghatak. During his many years at the urban development department of the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority, Ghatak amassed a wealth of information on the changing city.
“In satellite pictures, Calcutta looks like a white patch,” he said, because of the missing greens. Comparing the data of 1980-86 and of 2005, he showed how the urban areas have come up at the cost of the rural and wetland areas.
Ghatak said the ground water is drying up and is interrupted by unplanned withdrawals at too many points. “I can only share this information. I have no remedy. The remedy must come from everyone,” he signed off.
Green quiz
The katatel users may not have cared but Calcutta’s corporates didn’t forget to commemorate Earth Day. Case in point was the Green Biz Quiz 2009, in its fifth edition this year, organised by Environment Management Centre, Indian Chamber of Commerce, in association with The American Center.
The quiz saw eight teams, from companies including Damodar Valley Corporation, NTPC, CESC, SAIL, MN Dastur and Tata Steel.
The participants were stumped by the very first question. “Which country has the highest CO2 emission per capita?” asked Suman K. Mukherjee, the quizmaster and director of JD Birla Institute.
The answer, which at least three teams thought was the US, turned out to be the UAE. “What is the meaning of the Japanese term Tsunami?” This time the answers ranged from tidal wave to big wave, huge wave to earthquake under water (yes really!), but the correct one “harbour wave”. With six rounds of more green thought and an address by US consul-general Beth A. Payne, one of the hottest afternoons in recent times was well spent.
Chandrima S. Bhattacharya, Poulomi Banerjee and Malini Banerjee

Court orders fresh probe into 2002 Gujarat riots
Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:19pm IST
By R. Venkatraman
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The Supreme Court ordered a fresh probe on Monday into the Gujarat riots of 2002 that killed thousands, including the role of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, court officials said.
Modi is accused of turning a blind eye to the riots in which some 2,500 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.
The probe against Modi, a bearded and bespectacled star of right-wing politics, comes in the middle of a general election and could hurt the chances of his Bharatiya Janata Party, India’s main opposition, analysts say.
The court ordered a special team to investigate the killings, particularly the murder of a Muslim federal lawmaker. Modi is among 50 Hindu-nationalist politicians named as accused.
“We hereby direct the special probe team to look into all allegations, particularly in the killing of an MP (member of parliament),” judges Arijit Pasayat and A.K Ganguly said.
The Supreme Court had earlier slammed the Gujarat government for failing to protect Muslims and compared Modi to Roman Emperor Nero, who legend has it “fiddled” on his lyre while Rome burned.
Washington denied Modi a visa in 2005 on the ground of severe violations of religious freedom.
The Gujarat riots are seen as testing of whether minority Muslims can get justice in officially secular but Hindu-majority India. The violence also became a rallying point for radical Muslims and an effective recruitment tool for Islamist militants.
Following the court order, India’s ruling Congress party sought Modi’s resignation as chief minister.
“He must step down for justice to be delivered,” Veerappa Moily, a senior Congress party leader said.
The riots broke out after a suspected Muslim mob burnt alive 59 Hindus, mostly religious activists, in a train in Gujarat in February 2002.

14 years on, HC commutes drunk man’s sentence
27 Apr 2009, 0541 hrs IST, Saeed Khan, TNN
AHMEDABAD: Manu Suthar fought a legal battle for 14 years after being caught drunk, and ultimately got respite from Gujarat High Court recently. The court reduced his three-month jail sentence to just a day of compulsory sitting in the courtroom. Suthar was nabbed in an inebriated state in December 1995 from the state transport bus depot at Kheralu town in north Gujarat. Suthar’s medical report showed that his blood contained a high level of alchohol. A complaint was lodged against him, and a chargesheet filed. But Suthar did not accept he was drunk, leading to a trial. Six years later in 2001, a magisterial court in Kheralu found Suthar guilty and punished him with three months imprisonment and a fine of Rs 500. Suthar did not accept the verdict and challenged it before a fast track court judge in Mehsana. In 2004, the additional judge also declared Suthar an offender, but suspended his jail term. Instead, Suthar was asked to render community service for three months at the Mehsana Civil Hospital. This too was not acceptable to Suthar, because he was busy with his diamond polishing unit, employing 200 workers. He moved the high court in 2005 requesting reduction in punishment. The state government too was not ready to give in and filed an appeal against the fast track court’s order, demanding that the Kheralu court’s order be maintained. Four years on, when the high court took up the case, Suthar’s situation has changed. His counsel PK Jani informed the court that in this time of recession, Suthar’s diamond business had closed down and he had returned to farming. The advocate said Suthar’s condition was such that his family would be ruined if he didn’t work for three months. Justice MD Shah, who heard the case, quashed the Mehsana court’s order on technical grounds, but took into consideration Suthar’s economic condition and reduced his punishment from three months jail to TRC (till the rising of court), which means he would have to sit before a judge in Kheralu during working hours for a day.

Start criminal proceedings against directors of Veraval bank: HC
Express News Service
Posted: Apr 26, 2009 at 2239 hrs IST
Ahmedabad In a significant judgment with statewide ramifications, the Gujarat High Court on Friday ordered the state government to initiate criminal proceedings against directors of the Veraval People’s Cooperative Bank. A division bench comprising Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi ordered against the bank for making investment in the Ketan Parekh-scam tainted Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank (MMCB) without permission of the registrar of cooperative societies (RoCS).
The order was issued on a public interest litigation filed by Narandas Chandani, one of the investors with the bank who lost his savings after the bank was not returned its investment due to huge losses suffered by the MMCB. The latter had invested a huge amount in stocks, which collapsed in March 2001.
The bench directed the state government to initiate action against the bank directors within a period of six months. The court did not allow the defendants time to seek relief from the apex court. It also turned down their plea to restrain the media from reporting the matter.
Significantly, AD Gidwani, secretary of the Gujarat State Cooperative Bank Federation, said the judgment applied on all cooperative banks in the state equally and this meant prosecution of the chairmen and directors of all these banks during whose term the investment was made in MMCB in violation of the investment rules.
The bench had relied on the Supreme Court judgment in Mahesana District Cooperative Bank case in which the apex court had ordered prosecution of the directors as they had invested Rs 95 crore in CR Bhansali’s firm without prior permission of RoCS. The money was lost after the firm went bust.
Advocate Anand Yagnik representing the complainant contended before court that the bank had not followed the investment rules under Section 71(1) (f) of the Gujarat Cooperative Societies Act.
He pointed out that a prior permission from RoCS was a must for a cooperative bank to invest in another such bank. He brought to the notice of the bench that investment was made despite RoCS refusing to grant permission.
According to the PIL, Veraval bank was among 238 cooperative banks from the state that had together invested a sum of Rs 784 crore in the MMCB in violation of the investment rules and transgressing the RoCS directives. Veraval bank’s share in the investment was Rs 14.5 crore. All of this happened before March 9, 2001, when the MMCB collapsed.
After the collapse, RoCS informed the state government of the cooperative banks investing in MMCB in violation of the investment rules, but the state government did not allow action against the bank directors. A total of 37 lakh depositors of cooperative banks all over the state had suffered after 62 banks went bust and others could not repay the depositors due to failure of MMCB to pay back.
Yagnik further argued that the state government, meanwhile, directed the 238 cooperative banks to deposit another 25 per cent of their total investments in MMCB with a view to raise over Rs 800 crore as part of a revival package.
However, only Rs 325 crore could be collected and the revival effort did not materialise. Ultimately, the amount was returned to the respective banks on directions of the central registrar of cooperative societies (CRoCS) and RBI in 2007.

Hippo death: PETA threatens to move HC
Sunday, April 26, 2009 16:09 IST
The death of a five-year-old hippopotamus at the Byculla zoo recently has agitated a key animal rights body which has threatened to move the Bombay High Court if the conditions in the cages did not improve.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said it is taking up the matter with the Central Zoo Authority, Delhi, asking the nodal body to explain why the High Court order for improving the conditions of animals in the zoo has not been implemented.
“We will send a letter to the Central Zoo Authority inquiring the reason behind the animal’s death and also ask as to why the conditions in the zoo have not improved,” said Anuradha Sawhney, chief functionary, PETA.
“We will await for a response from them. If they do not take the matter seriously then we will move the High Court,” Sawhney warned.
The activists across the city are agitated over the condition of the zoo animals in the city and plan to protest against the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
The civic body has chalked out a Rs-430 crore modernisation plan to improve the conditions in the zoo, official sources said.
The hippopotamus, Shakti, was found dead in the pool of the zoo at Byculla on April 24.
Human rights activist Fiza Shah alleged “Shakti died due to negligence. People who are responsible for this must be made answerable”.
In 2005, PETA had filed a case against the Veer Jeejamata Zoo in south Mumbai’s Byculla for its alleged failure to provide basic facilities to the caged inmates.
Following this, the Bombay High Court asked the civic body and the State Secretary of Forests to provide clean food and water to the animals and maintain hygienic conditions in the enclosure.
The order also said to relocate the aged and sick animals to rescue centres and to appoint a panel of experts on the housing, upkeep and behaviour of the animals.
“There has been no proper implementation of the High Court’s order. It’s four years and still there is no improvement,” Sawhney claimed.
“The death of the hippo was an unfortunate incident. Earlier also a large number of blackbucks died at the zoo in 2006,” said another animal rights activist Bittu Sahgal.
At that time, the High Court had sacked some officials and even issued some directives, but complacency appears to have crept in again, she said.
“The Byculla zoo has one of the finest specimens of trees in Asia and should be protected as a Botanical Park and Nature Interpretation Centre,” Sahgal said.
“The death of the hippo was an unfortunate incident. This is not the first time, earlier also a large number of blackbucks died at the zoo in 2006,” said Animal rights activist Bittu Sahgal.
At that time, the High Court had sacked some officials and even issued some directives, but complacency appears to have crept in again, he said.
“The zoo at Byculla has the finest specimens of trees in Asia and should be protected as a Botanical Park and Nature Interpretation Centre,” Sahgal said.

Renting DVDs bought in US illegal: HC
27 Apr 2009, 0105 hrs IST, Abhinav Garg, TNN
NEW DELHI: The next time you rent an ‘original’ DVD to enjoy a Hollywood blockbuster at home, beware, it may be illegal. The Delhi high court has held that importing original DVDs and renting them out in India constitutes copyright infringement. This means that if your neighbourhood rental outlet has bought CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray discs off the shelf in the US and is circulating these here, it’s violating the law. Justice S Ravindra Bhat in a recent order made it clear that such original DVDs, or its copies, cannot be made available to public in India as they are not censored in accordance with Indian laws. However, purchasing a DVD or Blu-ray from abroad for personal viewing remains permissible. HC was hearing a suit filed by Hollywood company, Warner Bros, seeking to curb the practice of renting out its movies in India with DVDs bought in the US. The lawyer for Warner Bros, C M Lall, said that film production was a complex, time-consuming and costly process, needing a well-defined distribution strategy for its commercial success. Lall said it’s entirely possible that by the time a Hollywood movie reaches Indian theatres, it might already be available in home video format in US stores. Which is why DVDs in the US are not licensed to be broadcast outside the country. “Giving a film on hire without the copyright owner’s license is an act of infringement,” he argued. The defendant in this case, a company named ‘Paradiso’, argued that its policy of giving out imported DVDs on hire was part of the fundamental right to freedom of speech. The lawyer for the company claimed his clients organized seminars critiquing foreign language movies, and so fulfilled societal needs. He said award-winning foreign films were not usually screened in theatres and were too expensive to purchase for lover of cinema. That’s why the company had decided to make these films available on rent. Justice Bhat, however, interpreted the law to conclude that screening rights of films can be territorial and when rental rights are given in the US, it does not that these movies can be commercially exploited worldwide.

Media can report company’s confidential information: HC

New Delhi, Apr 26 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has held that the media cannot be restrained from reporting confidential information of a company pertaining to its up coming projects and dealings with other companies.”In the case of a corporate entity, unless the news presented is of such a sensitive nature that its business or very existence is threatened or would gravely jeopardise a commercial venture, the courts would be slow in interdicting such publication,” Justice S Ravindra Bhat said.The Court passed the order while dismissing a plea of petroleum company Petronet LNG seeking to restrain a website from publishing information which is confidential and not in public domain.”Some may argue that the press could sensationalise the facts in presentation of such information, yet the right to disseminate these views is at the core of freedom of speech and expression and any restrain would have a chilling effect on its exercise,” the court said while imposing a cost of Rs one lakh to the public sector unit to be paid to the proprietor of the website http://www.Indianpetro.Com.The company approached the High Court after it found that the website was disseminating confidential information which it alleged was affecting its business prospects. PTI

HC upholds life term awarded to four in gang rape case
26 Apr 2009, 0517 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: In its judgment delivered on April 16, the Bombay high court confirmed the lower court’s order of sentencing four youths to life imprisonment in an eight-year-old case of gang rape that took place in Lonavla. The judgment was delivered by a division bench of chief justice Swatanteer Kumar and justice D Y Chandrachud on April 16. The accused Umesh Patil, Sachin Rao, Amit Rao and Prashant Koli are all residents of Thane. The prosecution’s case was that an 18-year-old girl was gang raped in a bungalow at Karla in Lonavla on the intervening night of May 5-6, 2001. The girl had come to Khopoli with Umesh Patil, an acquaintance, to attend a marriage. Patil took the girl to Lonavla, saying that the marriage hall was not big enough to accommodate all the guests for the night. Patil and his friends raped the girl in Lonavla and later sent her to her parent’s place with threats of dire consequences if she reported the incident. After the incident, the girl developed severe complications and was in hospital for several days. She revealed the names of the accused while she was in hospital. The girl lodged a complaint against the accused after she was released from the hospital and the Pune rural police arrested four on charges of gang rape. The trial court in Pune had sentenced the youths to life imprisonment on September 17, 2002. The accused then filed a criminal appeal before the high court to set aside the conviction awarded to them. However, the HC dismissed their plea as the prosecution had established its case beyond reasonable doubt.

HC raps Chavan, Deshmukh over hotel FSI row
25 Apr 2009, 0611 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN
MUMBAI: Censuring the former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and the present one Ashok Chavan for a prima facie breach of its orders, the Bombay high court has warned both of likely contempt action in a case involving the five-star Hotel
Sahara Star. Justice D Y Chandrachud this week gave the CM last chance to expeditiously pass fresh orders on the issue of permissible additional floor space index (FSI) that the hotel—earlier the Airport Centaur—is entitled to. Sahara Star had filed a contempt petition against Deshmukh and others alleging violation of the high court’s order dated July 2008, which directed the CM to pass fresh order on permissible FSI for the hotel. The HC had set aside the state’s order of June 2007 and remanded the matter back to the government for fresh orders to be passed within six weeks. Nine months later, with no order in sight despite detailed hearing by both the CMs, Sahara, citing undue delay, sought contempt of court action against them and the urban development secretary. Its counsel K K Singhvi said the delay smacked of a political agenda. He said the state’s earlier objection to extra FSI on grounds that it would cause traffic congestion near the airport has become redundant with the opening of the new flyover. When government lawyer Niranjan Pandit informed the court that the state would pass its order on June 16, 2009, even the judge got testy. “It doesn’t reflect a serious attempt to rectify the prima facie breach of court directions. The state was under a duty to adhere to the time schedule. The state didn’t consider it appropriate to do so…The extension now sought is of two months. In these circumstances, a case has been made out for issuing a showcause notice for contempt of court.’’ The judge gave the CMs “one further opportunity’’ to inform the court when it would decide the hotel FSI before issuing any contempt notice. “Recourse to contempt jurisdiction (to main dignity of court) is taken sparingly, as a last recourse in the face of continued recalcitrance,’’ the judge said as he adjourned the matter by a week.

Service tax on renting of immovable property
S Madhavan / New Delhi April 27, 2009, 0:23 IST
In a recent landmark judgement, in Home Solution Retail India Ltd. & Others vs. UOI & Others, the Delhi High Court has pronounced its judgement with regard to several writ petitions which had challenged the applicability of the levy of service tax on renting of immovable property.
The High Court has held that the taxable service in respect of renting of immovable property, as defined under the relevant Section 65(105)(zzzz) of the Finance Act 1994 thereof, was with regard to any service in relation to renting of property and was not on the renting of immovable property as such.
Consequently, the High Court has held that the levy of service tax on the renting of immovable property itself, in terms of the relevant notification issued consequent to the introduction of the taxable service, was ultra vires the provisions of the Act.
In arriving at its decision, the court has relied on the wordings of the particular taxable service in order to hold that since the activity of renting of immovable property was itself not a service, the expression ‘service in relation to renting of immovable property’, occurring in the definition of the taxable service, can only extend to services which are provided in relation to the renting of immovable property.
Accordingly, the Court distinguished the particular definition of service in relation to renting of immovable property from several other definitions in service tax law which were similarly worded and held that in those other definitions, the expression ‘in relation to’ itself referred to a service and consequently not only was the core service taxable but also the allied and ancillary services in relation thereto were also taxable.
The court illustrated this distinction by referring to the taxable service of dry cleaning where the expression was a service in relation to dry cleaning and held the activity of dry cleaning was itself also a service which was taxable therein. As opposed to this situation, the taxable service provided by a real estate agent, for instance, was a service in relation to real estate and since real estate was not a service, the definition could only extend to services in relation thereto.
On a similar analogy, the court came to the conclusion that in the present case, the renting of immovable property could not be construed as a service by itself and hence the taxable service in question could only extend to services in relation to renting of immovable property and not to the activity of renting itself.
In arriving at the aforesaid finding, the court has relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in T N Kalyana Mandapam Association Vs. UOI (2004) 5 SCC 632) which, interestingly enough, was relied upon both by the appellants, who had challenged the legality of the levy, as well as by the respondents i.e. Government of India. Based on a detailed consideration of the aforesaid judgement, the Delhi High Court has come to a determination that the decision of the Supreme Court supported the argument of the appellants and not that of the respondents.
With regard to the nature of the service tax itself, the High Court has held that it is a value added tax and the tax is a tax on value addition done by the service provider and it must have a connection with the service. Consequently, since the mere renting of immovable property does not entail any value addition, it could not be regarded as a service for that reason as well.
Here again, the High Court has relied upon another decision of the Supreme Court, in All India Federation of Chartered Accountants Vs. UOI (2007) 7 SCC 527), which had held that just as excise duty was a tax on value addition in regard to goods, the service tax was a tax on value addition by rendition of services.
Accordingly, the Supreme Court, in that case, had distinguished property-based services and performance-based services and had arrived at a conclusion that the expression ‘in relation’, occurring in the various relevant definitions, needed to be construed in accordance with this principle of value addition.
The High Court h as, relying on the above decision, consequently come to the conclusion that the levy of service tax on the activity of renting of immovable property was ultra vires the relevant definition of the taxable service, as contained in the Finance Act, 1994.
While upholding the arguments contained in the writ petitions in regard to the above points, the High Court has held that it has therefore not been required to examine the alternate argument as contained in the petitions that the relevant definition, should it be construed as applicable to the activity of renting of immovable property as well, would be violative of the Constitution of India in that the Central Government could not, in terms thereof, impose a tax on land, as it was a State subject.
Hence, the decision is limited to the point that the taxable service as understood and interpreted through the relevant impugned notification and hence the tax so collected, was not in accordance with the statute and hence without basis in law and the decision is not with regard to whether or not the definition of taxable service itself is unconstitutional.
This judgement is applicable on an all India basis, as it is on a point of legality, and would have far reaching consequences for all and in particular for those who carry on business in rented premises and who do not have an output excise or a service tax liability so as to be able to offset this tax on rentals. The Retail Sector is thus a very major beneficiary, as the service tax on rentals is a very significant unrecovered tax cost for the sector. Further, the judgement has ramifications with regard to other taxable services as well since these are also similarly worded.
The Central Government is almost certain to file an appeal against the aforesaid judgement with the Supreme Court. It remains to be seen whether it will request a stay of the judgment in the interim and whether such a request would be granted. It is also possible that the Government may consider amending the provisions of the Finance Act, 1994, possibly with retrospective effect, in order to overcome the above judgement of the Delhi High Court. The picture will become clear in this regard in the near future.
However, until such time as these eventualities do not occur, taxpayers can take effective steps to avail the benefit of non payment of service tax on renting of immovable property. Several issues such as discontinuance of payment of tax for future period, filing of refund claims for past taxes paid on such rentals, for the period of one year and beyond, availment of CENVAT credits on such taxes, payment of such taxes to the Government, if already collected as such, the person entitled to file such claims will need to be addressed in detail, in order for the benefits to flow to tax payers.
The author is leader, indirect tax practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Expedite trial of pending cases: High Court judge
Express News Service Posted: Sunday , Apr 26, 2009 at 2300 hrs IST
The Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge K S Garewal has urged judicial officers to expedite the trial of pending cases and insisted that lawyers should help courts in reducing pendency so that speedy justice can be delivered. He was speaking in the district courts after his day-long inspection of the court today.
Around 80,000 cases are pending in the district courts. Of which, 55,000 cases are cheque-bounce cases that come under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act (cheque bounce), 2,500 are related to the Rent Act and 650 are matrimonial dispute battles.
District and Sessions Judge KK Garg said: “We have identified 200 civil and 200 criminal cases that will be heard on priority basis. During January, February and March, we have disposed of 25 per cent of the cases. Meanwhile, we intend to dispose of the rest of the cases before the end of this year.”
While the justice was inspecting the courts, lawyers entered into an altercation with the police over the issue of frisking. The altercation took place around 11 when advocate Bhag Singh Sihag, while entering into the courts complex, was stopped by a security personnel. When the lawyer protested, an assistant sub-inspector came and insisted on frisking . The lawyer entered into an altercation which turned nasty after the fellow lawyers too joined him.
The lawyers said the cops were misbehaving with them and one of them was in an inebriated state.

SC: Govt cannot take over functions of industrial tribunal

The Supreme Court has ruled that government can not take over the functions of an Industrial Tribunal and is bound to make a reference to the Tribunal in case a dispute exists between employee and employer.A bench, comprising Justices R V Raveendran and Lokeshwar Singh Panta, while allowing an appeal of Sarva Shramik Sangh representing the canteen workers of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOC) said, ‘While exercising power under Section 10 (1) of the Industrial Dispute Acts, the function of the appropriate government is an administrative function and not a judicial or quasi-judicial function.’ In performing this administrative function, the government can not delve into the merits of the dispute and take upon itself the determination of the Lis, which would certainly be in excess of the power conferred on it by Section 10 of the Act, the bench observed.However, there may be exceptions in which the state government may, on proper examination of the demand, come to a conclusion that the demands are either perverse or frivolous and do not merit a reference, they said, adding, ‘But the government should be slow to attempt an examination of the demand with a view to declining reference.’ Courts will always be vigilant whenever the government attempts to usurp the powers of the Tribunal for adjudication of valid disputes and to allow it to do so would be to render Sections 10 and 12(5) of the act nugatory, they said.Justice Raveendran, writing the 24-page judgment for the bench, directed the Centre to reconsider the matter and take an appropriate decision on the request for the reference of dispute to the industrial adjudicator which will decide the dispute on merits uninfluenced by the observations of the High Court or this Court.IOC had contended that the canteen workers of its western region marketing division, Mumbai were the employees of the canteen contractor and not of company. The workers, however, contended that the contract was a sham and they were the employees of IOC. UNI

‘CBI chief ignored reports against Tytler, Sajjan’
Tribune News Service
Patiala, April 26Anti-Sikh riot victims’ lawyer TPS Phoolka today claimed that a new evidence had come to light which showed that the central government was shielding both Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, who allegedly led the rioters in 1984 in Delhi after the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
Phoolka claimed that he had enough evidence to prove that the DIG of the CBI, who was in charge of the case, had recommended that since there was a strong case against both Tytler and Sajjan, a charge sheet should be filed against both accused.
Phoolka added that even Joint Director of the CBI Arun Kumar, after going through the facts of the case and also the recommendations of the DIG, had urged his superiors to file a charge sheet in the court.
However, Director of the CBI Ashawni Kumar and the CBI chief of prosecution overruled the recommendations of the DIG and the Joint Director.
Phoolka added that the government had pressurised the top brass of the CBI to give a clean chit to Tytler.
Phoolka said two charge sheets were ready against Sajjan but the CBI was not filing them in the court in order to delay the arrest of Sajjan.
The charge sheet against Sajjan pertained to murder cases registered against him at Delhi Cantonment and Sultanpuri police stations.
Phoolka said on April 28, when the case comes up in the court of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi, he would ask for the report of both the DIG and the Joint Director.

Proxy voting for armed forces
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 26The Election Commission has made arrangements for proxy voting to ensure maximum participation of members of the armed forces and members of other forces covered under the Army Act 1950 under Section 46.
Besides, members of the State Armed Forces, who are working out of the state, have been given the right to cast their vote by post. They can also exercise their franchise through proxy voting.
State Chief Electoral Officer Sajjan Singh said a person who would be appointed for the proxy voting should be a resident of the constituency concerned, not less than 18 years of age and must have basic qualification to be inducted into the list of electorate.
He maintained that the appointment of proxy electorate could be made through Form 13F.
To use the facility, the service voters will have to identity the persons (who were authorised to caste proxy votes) and intimation in the regard should be sent to the returning officer in a prescribed format. The ink mark would be made on the proxy voter’s second finger.
Besides, the EC will set up mobile polling stations in Jaisalmer and Barmer areas of Rajasthan and in Jharkhand’s Palamu district.

Hit-and-run caseWidow awaits justice
Tribune News Service
Jammu, April 26In the absence of at least two witnesses, a young woman, who lost her husband in a hit-and-run case in the Ban Talab area of Chinore on April 4, continues to move from the pillar to post in search of justice.
Sunil Bhan (42), who was on his scooter, was hit by a car outside the CRPF camp in Ban Talab and he died on April 9 at Batra Hospital here.
Rajni Bhan said though the Chinore police had registered a case under Section 304 of the RPC, the accused had not been arrested so far.
Chinore police post in charge ASI Nassibullah said: “We have traced the car and its owner, a woman, who lived in the Talab Tillo area. However, every time we went to the house we found it locked ”, adding that at the same time the family of the deceased should produce at least two witnesses.
“Without witnesses we can’t present the chargesheet in the court of law,” said Nassibullah.
However, Rajni Bhan, who has two children, said her husband was alone at the time of mishap and she had been finding it very hard to produce the witnesses.
“My husband was the sole earner of the family and after his death our lives have been shattered,” she said, adding that unless the case was heard by the court of law she can’t get any compensation.

NHRC to brief Malaysia rights panel on strategies
Published by: Noor KhanNew Delhi, Apr 27 : A seven-member delegation from the human rights commission of Malaysia today visited National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to share experiences on human rights issues, and learn strategies and methodologies adopted by the Indian body to tackle the cases.The delegation, led by chairperson of Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (SUHAKAM) Tansriabu Talib Othman, held interactive sessions with the NHRC officials including its chairperson Justice S Rajendra Babu.The Malaysian team, which also comprised SUHAKAM’s commissioners and secretaries besides other senior officials, is in India on a three-day interactive programme with NHRC.During the programme, NHRC will be giving a presentation before the Malaysian team on its functioning including the panel’s system of complaint management and investigation.Recently, human rights bodies from across South Asia took part in a two-day conference organised by NHRC in Delhi to deliberate on “Human Right Awareness and National Capacity Building”.The participants include national human rights institutions in the countries of South-Asian region which have set up such statutory human rights institutions with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India.

special article
The Executive And Legislature Must First Clear The Backyard By ASHOK KAPURIT is a strange paradox. India boasts what is arguably the finest Constitution and an increasingly assertive judiciary. There is a plethora of laws covering every conceivable subject under the sun and an alert watchdog of freedom and liberty in the form of an independent media. And yet, timely justice somehow eludes the common man. This has widened the disconnect between law and justice. The problem of mounting court arrears defies a solution. The litigants are helpless and the main casualty is prompt justice. The maxim ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ is a painful reality. Indeed, the judicial gridlock has jammed twenty five million cases in the lower courts and three and a half million in the higher courts. A Constitution works efficaciously once the three coordinate branches of the State ~ the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, operate harmoniously and within the bounds defined for each. If any one branch is out of step, the repercussion inevitably impinges on the other two. It would, therefore, be unfair to single out the judiciary for the sorry state of affairs without the executive first clearing up its own backyard. A huge responsibility devolves on the legislature as well. Blaming the judiciary would be to confront the problem at the wrong end. The legislature urgently needs to introduce the concept of “sunset legislation”, as suggested by Nani Palkhiwala. The existing laws, as well as those enacted regularly by Parliament and the assemblies, ought to be reviewed. The laws that have outlived their utility or relevance can be repealed. The growing tendency to legislate on purely fiscal matters or to set up committees through law needs to be curbed. This can be replaced by suitable executive instructions. After all, every legislation placed in the statute book has a potential for litigation by interested parties. Matters within the executive’s exclusive domain need not be legislated upon. The Central Vigilance Commission was set up by the executive to check corruption within its ranks. It had no jurisdiction over the judiciary. By a judicial order, it has been converted into a statute. This has led to endless litigation by delinquent government servants and others, taking advantage of the law’s technicalities and delays. There has been no worthwhile impact on the extent of corruption. On the contrary, it has merely lengthened the delay in the disposal of vigilance cases, further jamming the courts. The tendency on the part of the executive to amend the Constitution to serve the interests of politicians needs firmly to be curbed. More than a hundred amendments have been effected since the introduction of the Constitution. The political class has been aptly described as “sovereignty mongers” by Arun Shourie. In their reckoning, Parliament is “supreme” and can legislate on any issue without check or hindrance. The executive bears a major responsibility for the pile-up of cases. It must begin by simplifying the laws and rules so that the potential for misuse of a benefit is minimized. As an illustration, the leave travel rules entitle a public servant whether a peon or a secretary, a janitor or a chairman of a PSU to travel anywhere in India. If the facility is not availed of in time, it lapses. The social responsibilities and commitments vary from category to category of public servants. A peon may not be interested to travel the length and breadth of the country periodically because of other pressing social commitments. All too often, the social commitment is met by concocting documentary evidence of a journey undertaken. Hundreds of public servants are thus willy-nilly tempted to make false claims. They get entangled in criminal cases both under the Union and state governments. A much simpler and neater alternative would be to grant, say, an extra month’s salary every year to all public servants and let them decide their own priorities. The criminal courts are clogged with more cases relating to deviant social behaviour rather than conventional crime. The first category includes gambling, prostitution, drinking etc. These deviants need psychiatric treatment and behaviour therapy rather than criminal prosecution and incarceration. Authoritative studies recently carried out in India reveal that the police make 80 per cent of the arrests “unnecessarily.” For every conventional crime such as rape and murder filed in the criminal courts, approximately eight times that number are filed for deviant social behaviour. This is done to bolster the performance index of the police. As regards conventional crime, the criminal code prescribes summary trial for petty offences such as concealment of stolen property, insult, house trespass etc. The maximum punishment is three months’ imprisonment. The objective is substantive and not procedural justice. There is no formal chargesheet. Such summary cases can be withdrawn from the courts of judicial magistrates and transferred to executive magistrates. The latter are also trained and experienced magistrates who routinely exercise quasi-judicial authority under various laws. This will free the judicial magistrates to deal with serious conventional crime. At present, the labour courts are manned exclusively by members of the subordinate judiciary. These cases involve civil disputes between labour and management, covering service and disciplinary matters. These disputes are also clogging the labour courts. Such disputes can be transferred to executive magistrates, freeing the judicial magistrates to deal with serious civil disputes such as the right to title, challenged wills etc. The position is analogous to family courts which cover civil disputes like divorce and separation. The disputes are generally settled by judicial magistrates either through conciliation or annulment, with or without monetary compensation. There is no punishment or sentence. All such disputes can be settled much more expeditiously by executive magistrates without the aid of lawyers. Both labour and family courts act essentially as mediation and conciliation fora and less as conventional judicial tribunals. Such functions can be more speedily performed by the executive magistrates. To bring up a matter before a court of law, one needs the services of a lawyer. To bring up a matter before an executive magistrate, one does not need the services of an interlocutor. Nani Palkhiwala had calculated the average time of disposal of a civil dispute as almost a decade. This was in the eighties. Today, it could be much longer. The problem has another dimension that is often overlooked. There is urgent need for police reforms, specifically a review of the unfettered powers of the police to arrest without warrant. It has been established by the Constitution Review Commission, headed by a former Chief Justice of India, that the police all over the country are grossly misusing these powers. The police derives its powers of arrest from the criminal code. In cases of serious offences, the police are empowered to arrest without a magistrate’s warrant. In cases of less serious offences, they first have to obtain a warrant. Obviously, there is a strong case for curtailing the powers of the police to arrest without warrant. Once a person is arrested without warrant, even for minor misdemeanours, he has to approach a court of law for redress. This results in avoidable congestion in the criminal courts. Sections of the legal fraternity often develop a vested interest in prolonging the litigation. The lawyers charge fees for every appearance. A workable remedy is obvious ~ to curtail the powers of the police to arrest without warrant. (To be concluded)The writer is a retired IAS officer

Muluk murder case: Families of those convicted to get cash & rice
Snehamoy ChakrabortyBOLPUR, April 26: Following the conviction of 46 CPI-M cadres in the Muluk murder case, the district CPI-M leadership, wary of losing its vote bank, has decided to provide financial help to the families of the convicted unable to meet essential expenses. Forty six CPI-M cadres were sentenced to life imprisonment in the Muluk murder case in Suri court barely a month ago. Party insiders say that the apprehension that the family members of those convicted may cast their votes in favour of the Opposition, holding CPI-M responsible for the fate of their kin, has led the Bolpur zonal committee of the CPI-M to provide financial assistance to the families. The CPI-ML leadership alleged that all the families of the convicted cadres had started to shift allegiance to the Opposition, before the CPI-M proposed to support them financially, collecting rice and money from various areas in Bolpur sub-division to assist the cadres’ kin. The CPI-M cadres have already collected two quintals of rice and Rs 500 in cash from 125 booths under Bolpur zone. “The CPI-M cadres of Bolpur area are offering rice and cash to 19 families who were leaning towards the Opposition. We have been informed that those families of the convicted who have not been provided financial assistance are furious,” said Mr Sailen Mishra, district president, CPI-ML. However, the families of the convicted deemed too wealthy to receive the monetary assistance are not openly disclosing their grief. “We have nothing to say, until a direction comes from senior leaders,” said Mr Bulbul Sheikh, son of a convicted cadre.The CPI-M leadership said that they assisted those people who were poor, and the rest of the families have no issues regarding this.

Language row: State to seek stay on High Court verdict
B.S. Ramesh
State not to give in to private school managements’ demands
A senior advocate to be asked to handle
State’s case in Supreme Court
1,365 schools want permission to start
English medium schools
Bangalore: The State Government held a meeting under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Sudhakar Rao, to discuss the issue of medium of instruction in schools.
The meeting discussed the July 2, 2008 order of the Full Bench of Karnataka High Court which upheld the right of children and their parents to choose the medium of instruction. The Full Bench had struck down the contention of the State that it had the right to prescribe the medium of instruction.
So far, 1365 schools from Bangalore, Mysore, Gulbarga and Dharwad have sought permission to start English medium schools.
The jurisdictional Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) had given endorsements to 1,362 schools refusing permission.
The meeting was told that contempt proceedings could be filed against officials of the Education Department if they continued to issue endorsements refusing permission to start English medium schools.
The meeting resolved to request the Karnataka’s advocate in the Supreme Court, Sanjay Hedge, to file an application in the Apex Court seeking a stay on the High Court judgment.
The meeting decided against giving in to the demands of private school managements.
It also decided to ask a senior advocate to handle the State’s case in the Supreme Court.

HASSAN: The Principal District and Sessions Judge on Saturday sentenced Srinivasa, Danesha, Manjunatha, Govinda and Siddesha to life imprisonment and Venkatesh and Girish Babu to 10 years’ imprisonment and ordered them to pay a fine of Rs. 10,000. According to prosecution, the seven-member gang entered the farm house of Bale Gowda in Bendekere near Banavara in Arasikere taluk in 2003 and assaulted its inmates, snatched their gold ornaments and also took away Rs. 1.2 lakh.

Even a child can depose as a witness”
The Supreme Court has held that courts can rely on a child witness’ deposition for convicting an accused if he has the capacity to understand questions and respond rationally.

Media should not interpret court judgments: CJI
Guwahati: Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan on Sunday asked the media not to interpret courts’ judgments, observing that it leads to “distortion” of facts.
“Very often it has been observed that media reports project a distorted version of the facts and the judgments delivered by the courts,” Mr. Justice Balakrishnan said.
Addressing a workshop on “Reporting on court proceeding on media and administration of justice” and “Implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme”, he asked the media to report court proceedings “correctly” so that common people are not deprived of justice.
Urging the “senior editors” to intervene and ensure that “wrong versions of judgments” are not reported, the CJI said there should be some “moral bindings” on journalists while reporting court proceedings.
“The media is the Fourth Estate of democracy and so they have to behave responsibly and work for the development of the society and the people,” he said.
The Chief Justice had a word of praise for the NREGA and said the scheme had been an instant success and helped in a big way in employment generation. — PTI

Delhi blasts: Court issues notice to police
27 Apr 2009, 1816 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Monday issued notice to the police on a plea of a suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorist and a serial blasts accused seeking a copy of the alleged electronic evidence collected against him in cases relating to the synchronised explosions that had rocked the national capital on September 13 last year. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja asked the police to file their reply to the application of accused Zia-ur Rehman and fixed the matter for May 12 for arguments. Rehman, through the application filed by counsel M S Khan, sought a copy of the compact disc containing the images allegedly retrieved from the mobile phone of Indian Mujahideen operative Atif Ameen who was killed during the Batla House encounter here on September 19, last year. He also sought a copy of compact disc containing alleged call details of the accused running into 1074 pages, besides the images of the data allegedly retrieved from the lap-top of Ameen. “The accused is entitled to get copies of documents which are not even mentioned in the list of documents of the chargesheet but were being relied upon by the prosecution in the chargesheet,” Khan argued. Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan, on his part, opposed the plea, saying the documents contained objectionable material which could lead to communal disharmony if released at this stage.

Milk vendor sentenced after 22 years
27 Apr 2009, 2157 hrs IST, TNN
KANPUR: Ram Prasad, a milk vendor was punished on Monday after 22 years of offence when metropolitan magistrate first of Kanpur Nagar sentenced him under prevention of Adulteration Act to six months imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 5,000. According to the case file, Ram Prasad of Shivrajpur town was checked by a food inspector RD Sharma when he was selling milk in Pandu Nagar area of the city on November 14, 1986. The sample collected by the food inspector was sent for chemical analysis. The lab report depicted that milk was adulterated as the fat content in it was less than prescribed limits. The presiding officer observed in his order that less fat content clearly depicted that the milk was substandard or it was adulterated, which was not fit for human consumption. Hence the accused was liable to be punished.

Fodder scam convicts awarded six-year RI
27 Apr 2009, 2138 hrs IST, TNN
RANCHI: The special CBI court on Monday sentenced 26 convicts, including 11 former animal husbandry department officials, to a maximum of six-year rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine up to Rs 10 lakh in the infamous multi-crore fodder scam case. All the accused were sentenced in case no. RC 57A/ 96 which pertains to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 9.89 crore from the Gumla treasury between 1990 and 1995. Among the convicts are two former regional directors of the animal husbandry department Junul Bhengraj and K N Jha and an assistant director, Ram Raj Ram. Special CBI judge A H Ansari sentenced suppliers Tripurari Mohan Prasad and Sharad Kumar to six years’ RI and imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh. The court sentenced supplier R K Harit to three-year rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh. All the accused were earlier held guilty on April 21. Out of the total 55 accused in the case, 14 convicts were sentenced on April 24 while two were acquitted of the charges. Eight accused had died during the period of the trial, while two were declared absconding. Lawyers of most of the convicts pleaded for a lesser quantum of punishment for their clients on health ground. The court was jampacked when the judge pronounced the sentence. Special prosecutor S K Lal said this was the 30th fodder scam case to be disposed of by the court out of the total 53 fodder scam cases being tried in Ranchi.

SC reverses acquittal, restores life imprisoment for 12
27 Apr 2009, 1737 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has reversed the acquittal and restored the life sentence for 12 persons in a murder case. “It was not open to the high court to discard the evidence by observing in very generalized terms that the evidence lacks credibility and cogency,” the apex court said. A bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Asok Kumar Ganguly said the trial court had analyzed the evidence of the injured eye witnesses in great detail and had come to the conclusion about its acceptability. “Without indicating any basis as to how the conclusion of the trial court was in any manner erroneous, the high court should not have interfered with those conclusions,” the bench observed while setting aside a Orissa High Court judgement acquitting the accused Promod Kodam Singh and others. Thirteen accused persons were sentenced to life imprisonment by the sessions court in a murder case in which explosives were used by the accused. However, the high court acquitted all the accused in a terse judgement on the ground that the eye witness account could not be relied on as they were related to the deceased and their statements were “parrot-like.” Aggrieved by the acquittal, the Orissa government had filed the appeal in the apex court. During the pendency of the appeal, one of the accused Kalpataru Paikray died and hence, the case against him abated.

No relaxation in work experience for reserved candidates: HC
27 Apr 2009, 1948 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday ruled that candidates belonging to the reserved category cannot be given relaxation in the mandatory work experience required for a government job. A Bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Suresh Kait held that the apex court ruling pertaining to giving relaxation in the minimum marks required for government jobs do not extend to work experience. “It is totally different from the problem at hand where eligibility condition of specified number of years of service is imposed for becoming eligible for promotion to a next higher post. “This has to be fulfilled, which is essential condition and not capable of relaxation,” the Court said. It turned down a plea of a group of police personnel, belonging to SC category who had sought relaxation in work experience for being promoted. “The Supreme Court judgement cannot be stretched to relax the condition of five years service described in the rules for becoming eligible for next higher post,” said the court while accepting the stand of Delhi Police which had refused to promote the Head Constables for not fulfilling the criterion of five years service.

SC order a normal procedure: Gujarat govt
27 Apr 2009, 2023 hrs IST, PTI
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat government on Monday described “as a routine procedure” Supreme Court’s order to probe the role of chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the Gulbarg society massacre. “Special Investigation Team (SIT) has already given its report on the Gulbarg society massacre. Now the court has directed it to have a relook at it and see that nothing is left out. It seems to be a normal procedure,” Gujarat government spokesperson Jaynarayan Vyas said. The Supreme Court on Monday asked the SIT to look into the allegation that the Narendra Modi government did not allow an FIR to be registered into the killing of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri. The apex court, which gave its direction on a complaint filed by Jafri’s wife, directed the SIT to submit its report within three months. However, Vyas hit out at the Congress for demanding resignation of chief minister Narendra Modi. “Congress has no moral right or authority to demand resignation of Chief Minister Modi,” he said, adding, “It is well known what the Congress-led UPA government has done to shield Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, who are accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.”

Ram Narayan versus State of U.P.





Ram Narayan …Appellant


State of U.P. …Respondent



1. Challenge in this appeal is to the judgment of a Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court setting aside the judgment of acquittal recorded by the then III Additional Sessions Judge, Deoria in Sessions Trial No.347 of 1978. The accused persons faced trial for alleged commission of offences punishable under Sections 147, 148, 307 read with Section 149, Section 436 read with Section 149 and Section 302 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the `IPC’). Nine persons faced trial. All of them were charged under Section 307 read with section 149,436 read with section 149 and 302 read with section 149 I.P.C. Indra Jeet, Awadh Narain and Raj Banshi Tiwari were charged for rioting under section 147. I.P.C. whereas the rest under section 148 I.P.C. The incident occurred on 7.7.1978 at about 7.30 P.M. at three places within Police Station Kotwali, District Deoria. The F.I.R. was lodged the same night at 8.20 P.M. by Brij Raj Tiwari (PW-1). One Gunj Prasad Tiwari (hereinafter referred to as the `deceased’) was murdered in the incident whereas Subhash (PW 2), Devi Prasad Pandey (PW 5) and Virendra Kumar sustained injuries.

3. The case of the prosecution as unfolded during trial through F.I.R. and the evidence may be related thus. Brij Raj Tiwari (PW 1) resided in village Deoria Ram Nath, Police Station Kotwali, District Deoria. The accused were also the residents of the same place. Sarvajeet, Indrajeet and Jagdish accused were real brothers. Om Prakash was the nephew of Sarvjeet and other. Durga Prasad was the son of accused Awadh Narain. The accused
Rajbanshi Tiwari and Raj Kishore were Patidars of accused Awadh Narain and the Accused Awadh Narain and accused-appellant belonged to the group of the remaining accused. Enmity on account of litigation was going on between the family of the informant Brij Raj Tiwari PW 1 on the one hand and the accused Sarvjeet and Raj Kishore on the other. Earlier to the present incident, on the eve of Holi some one had inflicted a knife blow on the accused Sarvjeet in which Subhash Tiwari PW 2 (brother of the informant) was implicated as accused. Sometime thereafter, Hari Ram first cousin of
accused Durga was also inflicted knife blow by someone in which the informant, his father Guru Prasad the deceased, Mahasarey, Subhash Tiwari (PW-2) and Jai Shankar were implicated as accused. Proceedings under sections 107/117 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in short the`Code’) had also been drawn between the informant and others on one side and the accused Durga and Hari Ram on the other. In front of the door of the house of the informant there was a flour mill adjacent to which on the northern side the house of the accused Durga Prasad and Hari Ram was situated and on the eastern side thereof the house of the accused Sarvjeet was situated at a distance of about 10 paces from the flour mill. During the thrashing season, dust and sound came to be produced because of generation of the flour mill to the disliking of the accused. The accused Sarvjeet, Durga Prasad and Hari Ram had applied for electric disconnection of the informant before the Electricity Department prior to the present incident in which , the accused Raj Kishore was cited as a witness. A case under Section 133 of Code was instituted against the informant by the police which came to be decided in favour of the informant. So, there was a long string of enmity between the two sides.

The present incident occurred in three parts. At about 7.30 P.M. on 7th July, 1978 Subhash- the younger brother of the informant was sitting at his grocer’s shop on the crossing in front of the house of Sri Vishwa Nath Pandey, Advocate. All the accused with 2 or 3 other companions reached there. Sarvjeet and Om Prakash had bombs in their hands; Jagdish had a gun; Ram Narain had country made pistol; Raj Kishore had a spear. Durga Prasad had a Pharsa and the remaining accused had lathis. As soon as they
reached the shop of Subhash, accused Sarvjeet and Om Prakash attacked Subhash by means of bombs, Ram Narain by means of country made pistol and Jagdish by means of gun. Subhash ran for his life and anyhow savedhimself but was hurt in his leg in this process. This occurrence was witnessed by Jagdish Mani, Chandbali Pasi, Brijesh Tiwari and others.

The second part of the incident was that the accused came running to the grocer’s shop of the informant at Bhatwalia Crossing in search of Subhash and not finding him there, threw bombs and also fired. The accused Indrajeet set fire to the shop of the informant which was reduced to ashes. Mahasarey- brother of the informant, Devi Prasad Pandey, Surendra Prasad, Rajesh Singh and others witnessed this incident. Then the accused came running to the door of the house of the informant where Guru Prasad
the deceased was present. They inquired from him about Subhash saying that he would not be left alive that day. Guru Prasad wanted to know as to what the matter was. But the accused Sarvjeet instigated the remaining accused saying that if Subhash was not available, he (Guru Prasad) should be killed. Instantaneously, Sarvjeet attacked Guru Prasad Tiwari throwing a bomb and Ram Narain by means of the country made pistol. Guru Prasad died on the spot. The incident was witnessed by the informant, Ram Darash
Tiwari, Bhagirathi Yadav, Nand Kishore, Hari Prasad and Munni-sister of the informant. The accused persons then ran away. At the time of the incident electric light was available at the door of the informant. This was the third part of the incident.

Leaving the dead body of his father at the door, the informant went to the Police Station, and lodged the F.I.R. resulting in registering of the case. Investigation was taken up by Tota Ram Gupta (PW-13). It may also be related here that the injuries of Subhash Tiwari (PW 2), Virendra and Devi Pandey (PW-5) were examined on 7.7.1978 at 10.45 P.M., 10.55 P.M. and 11.05 P.M. respectively by Dr. J.N. Thakur (PW 8).

After completion of investigation charge sheet was filed and the accused persons faced trial as they denied accusations.

Thirteen witnesses were examined to further prosecution version. The trial Court held that the accused persons were entitled to acquittal as the witnesses examined did not establish the accusations. An appeal was filed questioning the acquittal.

The High Court found that PWs 1, 4 and 6 who are eye witnesses clearly established the accusations. It also found that the source of light was mentioned in the FIR. Accordingly, the acquittal was set aside and appeal was allowed qua the present appellant.

It was noted that the appeal had abated in respect of accused Sarvjeet, Om Prakash, Raj Kishore and Awadh Narain who died during the pendency of the appeal. The acquittal recorded for the remaining accused persons namely, Indrajeet, Jagdish, Ram Narain, Durga Prasad and Raj Banshi Tewari was maintained.

4. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the aspects highlighted by the trial Court to record acquittal should not have been upset by the High Court when the view taken by the trial Court was not perverse and was a possible view.

5. Learned counsel for the respondent -State on the other hand supported the judgment of the High Court.
6. The various aspects which weighed with the trial Court to record acquittal and which weighed with the High Court to record conviction need to be noted.

7. The first circumstance highlighted by the trial Court related to the written report i.e. FIR. It noted as follow:

An FIR has been lodged at the P.S. after deliberation and consultation including that of police and does not appear to have been prepared by the informant only, on his own showing and showing and contained twisted and false version of occurrence and was also ante timed.

That incident took place about 7.30 p.m. on 7.7.1978 and the written report was prepared and lodged at P.S. at 8.20 p.m. even when the occurrence itself had taken place at three different places in quick succession of each other and had taken about half an hour or so in all even when the P.S. was 1= k.m. far from the place of occurrence.

That the informant (PW-1) had not even witnessed the occurrence at first two places but the written report shows as itself that PW-1 had witnessed the entire occurrence from start to end at all the three places as because it was written in that very fashion.

That in evidence the informant (PW-1) admitted that neither PW-2 nor PW-3 or any one else as a matter of fact had told him the names of the witnesses of the first and second incidents yet their names do find place in the written report which PW-1 was not able to explain at all.

All the PWs examined including informant PW-1 Brij Raj Tiwari started changing the time of occurrence at the stage of evidence as in the FIR the gap was only 50 minutes.
PW-1 says he reached his house at 7.00 p.m. and G.P. Tiwari was shot dead within 4-5 minutes showing that the first two incidents did not take place at 7.30 p.m. Injury to Subhash Tiwari is not mentioned in the GD, Ka-11. Subhash (PW-2) says that occurrence took place at 7.15 p.m. at his grocery shop. Kumari Munni (PW-4) and Nand Kishore (PW-6) had not told any time to IO. In exhibit ka-6 copy of the FIR time of occurrence is mentioned as 7.45 p.m. In exhibit Ka-14 challan of dead body, the time is 7.45 p.m. In the inquest report there is overwriting about time. In exhibit ka-6 to ka-9 the letters
written for medical examination of injured there is no crime number or sections of crime mentioned. This shows ante timing.

On the other hand the High Court noted as follows:

The Trial judge had on justification to criticize the F.I.R as being too prompt.

FIR was lodged by PW-1 on getting information of the first two parts of the incident from his brothers Subhash (PW-2) and Mahasarey (PW-3) and there was nothing wrong in including full particulars of those two parts of the incidents. Rather by giving details of earlier parts in the FIR it appears to be a genuine document ringing of spontaneity. Cloud could not be imported on the 3rd part of the incident.

8. The second circumstance relates to the medical evidence qua the food contents. The trial court found as follows:

That semi digested food (rice, dal, mango) were found in the stomach of Guru Prasad which showed and suggested that at least 2 to 2 = hours prior to his death, the deceased must have taken the meals and if occurrence had taken place at 7.30 p.m. the deceased must have died at about 5.30 which was no body case.

According to the post mortem examination report the injury No.1 could be caused by a bomb which appears to be wrong because the doctor had also mentioned in the report as well as stated in evidence that the wound showed blacking and tattooing, which was not possible in case it was caused by bomb.

That the doctor also admitted when cross examined that he had not consulted any ballistic expert and deceased could be injured in a sleeping condition also and wads are generally found in gun.

That he did not find any pieces of glass, nails or metallic in the injury No.1 of the deceased and he could not give any definite opinion as to whether injury No.1 could be caused by gun shot on the head from a close range nor he could give definite opinion if it caused by bomb blast.

9. The High Court’s findings relating to medical evidence are as follows:

High Court did not agree with the trial Judge that the time of the incident was rendered doubtful because of the stomach contents of the deceased.

That the gist is that the state of stomach found at the time of medical examination is not a safe guide for determining the time of occurrence because that would be a matter of speculation.

That the trial court was not justified in doubting the time of incident on the basis of stomach contents of the deceased.

That the trial Judge wrongly held that the ante mortem injury No.1 of the deceased was not caused by bomb instead it was caused by gunshot.

That the blackening and tattooing around the skin did not mean that it was not a blast injury nor did the recovery of two wadding places from the lacerated brain tissues negate it to be a bomb blast injury.

However, under the stress of cross examination doctor (PW-7) stated that he had not taken the opinion of Ballistic Expert and could not definitely say whether ante mortem injury No.1 was caused by bomb blast or gunshot.

10. The third aspect related to the presence of source of light. The trial court noted as follows:

That according to the written report the only source of light present at the scene of occurrence was that of bulb lighted at the door of the house of informant which was claimed by the prosecution and report was obtained from the Electricity department but even that report was not on record nor any one examined from the Electricity Department to prove the case.

11. On the other hand the High Court’ s finding are as follows:

For no good reason the trial Judge doubted the presence of light at the spot where the third part of the incident took place.

In view of the overwhelming evidence on the point of light on the spot though the bulb glowing at point “F” shown in the site plan by the I.O. it hardly affected the prosecution case that the bulb was not produced by the prosecution at the trial.

12. One of the aspects which weighed with the trial Court related to the ineffective investigation, if any. The same reads as follows:

That even the investigation of this case was tainted from start to end on their own showing of the prosecution.

That alleged enmity and fired cartridge recovered from the road after the occurrence was `Gevelot’ but according to the recovery memo it was `Elly’.

That not a single line in the case diary was written by I.O. himself.

The articles recovered from the scene of the occurrence were not sent to the police station even next day of occurrence and were deposited on 9.7.1978 and all parchas were sent to the police office as late as on 2.8.1978 excepting two but why they were sent so late was not explained either by prosecution or any body examined in this case including I.O.

13. So far as the analysis of the evidence is concerned the trial court referred to various aspects:

The very fact that the first two incidents are found to be not proved and concocted, the 3rd incident could hardly be true, especially when FIR is lodged after deliberation and is ante time.

Brij Raj Tiwari (PW-1) wrote the FIR as if he had seen the first two parts of the incidents though he had not witnessed the same. This shows the extent to which he can go to tell lies. He states that Kumari Munni (PW-4) came out to give clothes to him when the father was killed but PW-4 contradicts him by saying that she came out after hearing the alarms. He mentioned in FIR that Raj Kishore had spear but in deposition he assigned a gun to him and does not say that anyone else had a spear injury to the deceased was not caused by bomb at all. PW-1 admits he was ex convict and involved in lot of litigations. He says he cannot tell the name of person who told him about the first two incident. He had not seen the clothes of Subhash Tiwari (PW-2) nor did he know of the injury of D.P. Pandey (PW-5) yet he mentions these facts in the written report. He says that accused came looking for Subhash and not finding him killed the father but none of them tried to harm him or other members of family. This is strange.

Kumari Munni (PW-4) changes her story about coming out of the house on alarm being raised. She admits that her mother and other ladies did not come out of the house which is strange. She claims that witnesses had come before the arrival of the accused which is against prosecution story.

Nand Kishore (PW-6) is a neighbour. He claims he was at his door when he heard alarms and on reaching the scene he saw the accused were inquiring Subhash and then hurled bomb and then fired on the deceased. This is contrary to the versions of PW-1 and PW-4 according to whom witnesses were already there. He has his own enmity with the accused. He says that he stood at north western side of the house but did not go to the door of Brij Raj Tiwari but in his statement he says he went to the door of Brij Raj Tiwari. He says that deceased went a little on the western side after being injured and fell down there near the road. This is nobody’s case. He says that he did not talk with the informant nor did he see him doing anything.

14. The analysis made by the High Court does not suffer from any infirmity. On the contrary, the trial Court’s judgment proceeded on surmises and conjectures and was based on totally inappropriate appreciation of the evidence. Relevant aspects were not considered and irrelevant aspects were taken into account. Therefore, the High Court was justified in recording conviction.

15. The appeal is without merit and is dismissed.




New Delhi,
April 22, 2009


HC pulls up Centre for gender inequality in armed forces
New Delhi (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Friday pulled up the Centre for not being serious about bringing gender equality in the armed forces and sought explanation for not granting permanent commission to serving woman officers in defence forces.
“On the one hand, the government talks about women empowerment and reservation and on the other hand it expresses reservation in giving equal opportuinity in the armed forces.
The government’s response does not gel with its policy,” Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said while asking the Additional Solicitor General to appear in the case to respond on the issue.
“We do consider it a matter of importance and find that the government has prima facie failed to do anything despite the court’s order. We would like the assistance of ASG in the case,” the court said adding “the matter has to be put on a different level so that it is taken seriously.”
The court made the remarks on a bunch of petitions filed by women officers of defence forces who, unlike their male counterparts, were not granted permanent commission and forced to retire after 10 years of service despite being fit for the job.

Patna HC rejects PIL against Lalu

Press Trust of India / Patna April 24, 2009, 14:47 IST
The Patna High court today rejected a PIL against RJD supremo and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad seeking his removal from the Union cabinet for his ‘crush Varun under the roller’ comment against Varun Gandhi. Rejecting the PIL filed by a lawyer S N Pathak, a division bench comprising Chief Justice J B Koshy and Justice Ravi Ranjan said the petition was not maintainable. Prasad had violated the oath of office and secrecy by the comment, the PIL said. Lalu had earlier said he would have crushed Varun under a roller had he been the Home Minister.

Patna HC rejects PIL against Lalu
24 Apr 2009, 1453 hrs IST, PTI
PATNA: The Patna High court on Friday rejected a PIL against RJD supremo and railway minister Lalu Prasad seeking his removal from the union cabinet for his ‘crush Varun under the roller’ comment. Rejecting the PIL filed by a lawyer S N Pathak, a division bench comprising Chief Justice J B Koshy and Justice Ravi Ranjan said the petition was not maintainable. Prasad had violated the oath of office and secrecy by the comment, the PIL said.

Custody row: HC wants to hear 3-yr-old’s side
24 Apr 2009, 0503 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday directed a Bandra resident, who is involved in a dispute with his former Australian wife for the custody of their three-year-son, to bring the child to court on April 27. A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Rajesh Ketkar said they would interview the child. Australian Meryl had claimed that her former husband

Salim had retained their son in violation of an Australian court order that had allowed the father to take the child on a 10-day holiday to India. The judge expressed displeasure at the attempts by Salim’s advocate to question Meryl’s character. “Even a prostitute will love her child,’’ the judges said, adding that they were forced to use such harsh language during the hearing. At the last hearing, the judges had asked the counsel to refrain from making remarks on Meryl’s character at this stage. “We are not concerned with her personal life right now. Please do not ridicule a woman,’’ the judges had cautioned. The court added that the conduct of Salim who had retained the child’s custody was not above blame. Meryl’s lawyer J Sen argued that Salim had agreed to shared custody arrangements before the Australian court and made a strong pitch for returning the child to Meryl. He further said that if Salim wished to modify the order, he should have approached the Australian court. Salim has filed an application before the family court for their son’s custody after he returned to India in September 2008. Salim’s lawyer Mukesh Vashi said his client was a Shia Muslim and in his community, the natural guardian of a male child over two years old was the father. Salim had met Meryl in 2004 while studying for his masters from Charles Sturt University. They married in July 2005. In December 2007, they divorced by mutual consent. (The names of the couple ave been changed to protect their identities)

Ghajini producer gets reprieve from HC
24 Apr 2009, 0448 hrs IST, TNN
Hennai: The Madras high court on Thursday permitted film producer Salem A Chandrasekaran who produced Tamil movie Ghajini to withdraw a deposit of Rs five crore made by Allu Arvind, producer of the Hindi version of the film. A division bench, comprising Justice D Murugesan and Justice C S Karnan, which gave the interim order, however, directed Chandrasekaran to submit a bank guarantee in lieu of the deposit. Chandrasekaran filed a civil suit last year alleging copy right violation by Allu Arvind, and had sought the court to restrain him from producing or releasing the Hindi version of the movie. In December, 2008, a single judge bench granted a stay restraining Arvind from releasing the movie. Arvind then filed an appeal on which the high court suspended the operation of the single judge order. The court allowed the release of the Hindi version on the condition that Arvind deposit Rs five crore with the court, pending disposal of the dispute between the two parties. Accordingly he deposited the amount and the movie was released on December 25, 2008. Allu Arvind later filed an application seeking permission to withdraw the deposit made by him by accepting an equivalent bank guarantee. Chandrasekaran too filed a similar petition, saying that he had prima facie satisfied the single judge to obtain a stay order in his favour last year and the stay was suspended by the court only to balance the situation so that there should not be any hardship to Arvind due to non-release of the film. After hearing both sides, the bench allowed Chandrasekaran to withdraw the amount in lieu of a bank guarantee. “We are forced to take this view having regard to the fact that at least by virtue of the suspension of the stay, Allu Arvind had transacted nearly Rs 100 crore (by being able to release the movie).,” the bench observed.

HC rejects bail plea of accused in Shashi murder case
24 Apr 2009, 0326 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: The high court has rejected bail plea of former minister in the ruling BSP government, Anand Sen in the sensational Shashi murder case. Sen is in jail in connection with the murder of Shashi, who was graduating in law from Faizabad. The order was passed by Justice, Alok Kumar Singh. Shashi’s father, Yogendra Prasad lodged an FIR on October 22, 2007 with Kotwali Ayodhya against Sen, his driver, Vijay Sen and one Seema Azad. In narcoanalysis test, Sen admitted that he had illicit relation with Shashi and she had become pregnant. That is why she was strangulated and her dead body was disposed off. During investigation her wrist watch was recovered. It was recognised by her father. Sen’s counsel, Nandita Bharti argued that the case was based on circumstantial evidence and therefore, he was entitled for bail. But the government counsel, Umesh Verma argued that there was solid evidence against Sen in the case and if he is granted bail, there is a great chance that being a former minister, he would influence the trial.

HC seeks fresh probe on MP in murder case
Calcutta, April 23: Calcutta High Court today set aside the judgment of a Suri court that had cleared the name of a CPM MP in a murder case.
The court’s order followed a petition by Shibu Mistry of of Mohammedpur, Birbhum , who had accused MP Ramchandra Dom of killing his father.
In his petition, Mistry alleged that Dom, the Birbhum MP, along with 250 CPM cadres had attacked his home and “mercilessly beaten up” his 70-year-old father Bandhu Mistry, who succumbed to injuries.
“My father was murdered and Dom, the local MP, was involved in it,” he said in the petition.
On the basis of the complaint lodged in April 2007, the Mohammedpur police started a murder case against Dom and 34 others.
In the trial at the chief judicial magistrate’s court in Suri, Birbhum, Dom’s name was removed from the list of the accused.
On August 13 last year, the magistrate acquitted all the 34 other accused from the charge of murder.
Against this judgement, Mistry moved a revision petition before Calcutta High court in the first week of this month.
The petitioner’s lawyer claimed that the magistrate had passed the verdict without hearing his client.
In the wake of the high court’s order, Dom, who has now shifted to the Bolpur (SC) seat, will have to face criminal proceedings on the charge of murder.
Today, Justice Partha Sakha Dutta of the high court asked the chief judicial magistrate of the Suri court to hold a fresh trial, this time with Dom’s name among the accused.
Dom was elected from the Birbhum (SC) seat in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls when the constituency was reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates.
For the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the adjoining Bolpur seat has been reserved for SC candidates after delimitation.
In Birbhum, the legislator said: “I am not aware of the court’s order but the law should take its own course.”

HC directive to registrar general in false affidavit case
24 Apr 2009, 0221 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court (HC) on Thursday directed its registrar general to inform the court whether criminal case has been lodged against former deputy secretary of Bihar legislative assembly Braj Kishore Singh Prabhat for filing false affidavit before the court. A division bench, comprising Justice S K Katriar and Justice K K Mandal, also asked Bihar legislative assembly counsel M P Gupta to apprise the court as to how the assembly had appointed Prabhat as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) after the HC had issued a directive for filing a criminal case against him. The court added that Prabhat should be removed forthwith from the post of OSD. Shatrughan appeals: BJP candidate from Patna Sahib parliamentary constituency Shatrughan Sinha on Thursday met the lawyers on HC premises and sought their support.

No service tax on rented space: HC
24 Apr 2009, 0301 hrs IST, Deepshikha Sikarwar, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: Retailers, realtors and companies operating their businesses from rented space can now breathe easy. The Delhi High Court has ruled that commercial renting of premises will not attract service tax. It would also mean a major revenue loss to the government. It collects over Rs 8,000 crore annually from renting service. In 2009-10, it expects to collect Rs 68,900 crore through service tax levied at the rate of 10%. The court held that renting of immovable property for use in the course or furtherance of business could not be regarded as a service, and, therefore, can’t be taxed. It gave this ruling while disposing of petitions by retailers such as Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop Home Solution and Barista Coffee. “The high court order is a welcome one for the business and shall reduce the input costs in these tough times,” Ernst & Young associate director Bipin Sapra said. The Centre will appeal against the ruling in the Supreme Court as the decision could have serious ramifications for service tax collections, an official in the government, who didn’t wish to be identified, said. “If the government appeals to the Supreme Court, there may be some time before the issue is resolved fully,” Mr Sapra said. The Centre had brought “service provided in relation to renting of immovable property other than residential properties and vacant land for use in the course or furtherance of business or commerce” under the tax net through the Finance Act, 2007. Subsequently, a detailed notification and a circular were issued on May 22, 2007, and January 4, 2008, referring to ‘renting as a taxable service’, a move contested by the petitioners. They had taken the line that since the Act provided for levy of service tax on service provided in relation to renting of immovable property, it could not be construed as levy of tax on renting. The court upheld the view and ruled that the interpretation in the notification and the circular was not correct and ultra vires to the Act and set aside both of them. Service tax is a tax on value addition provided by some service providers and renting of immovable property for use in the course or furtherance of business did not involve any value addition and could not be regarded as a service, the court observed. An alternate plea was also taken up by the petitioners that the levy of service tax on renting of immovable property would amount to tax on land and therefore, fall outside the legislative competence of Parliament as it is a state subject. The court, however, did not examine the alternative plea.

Rajasthan HC issues notice to Lalit Modi

Updated at: 1351 PST, Friday, April 24, 2009 NEW DELHI: Indian Premier League (IPL) Chairman Lalit Modi was issued a notice on Friday by the Rajasthan High Court asking him to explain why his bail in a cheating case should not be cancelled for leaving the country without its permission. The order was passed by Justice S P Pathak, who asked Modi, who is currently in South Africa in connection with the second edition of IPL, to explain the reason for not taking the court’s permission.A case was filed against Modi by a local NGO for allegedly not giving money to victims of last year’s Jaipur blasts as promised. The case was registered against Modi under section 420 (cheating) and 467 (forgery) of IPC.According to the FIR, Modi had presented a cheque of Rs 6 crore to then Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje for the blast victims but the entire amount was never deposited. It was then argued on behalf of Modi that the amount was to be paid by the five franchises. He had submitted that an amount of Rs. 5.2 crore had already been deposited by the franchisees.The court had granted bail to Modi on the specific condition that he shall not leave India without prior permission.

HC & Sc judgment prevail over excise department circulars & Instructions: SC
Apr 24, 2009 Excise Duty
The Supreme Court last week emphasised that circulars and instructions issued by the customs and excise boards are no doubt binding on the authorities but when the Supreme Court or a high court declares the law on a disputed question, the courts’ view shall prevail.
The court reiterated the view last week in the case, Commissioner of Central Excise vs Hindoostan Spinning & Weaving Mills Ltd. The authorities had sought clarifications in some earlier judgments. Therefore, the Supreme Court once again asserted that the circulars represented only the understanding of the law by the officials. But they are not binding on the courts.

PIL on Haldia port: Court asks KoPT to file affidavit
25 Apr 2009, 0414 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court on Friday asked Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) to file an affidavit within four weeks on a public interest litigation, which alleged that Haldia port is being converted from a ship port to a barge port due to the lack of regular dredging and desiltation. Members of the Haldia Dock Banchao Committee filed the public interest litigation before the division Bench of Chief Justice S S Nijjar and Justice Biswanath Somadder, complaining that inadequate desiltation had reduced the navigability of the port and the authorities had made little or no effort to develop the navigability of the Haldia port which has been preventing the smooth sailing of big vessels from the port. It was pointed out by the petitioner that for the revival of the port, a tender was floated in August 2007. The purpose was to increase the handling capacity of the port from 5,000 mt to 10,000 mt. Petitioners sought an injunction on the tender, alleging that the move was uneconomical and unviable as the tender mentions that silt deposits would be removed up to a depth of 7.5 metre, which should have been 12 metre. So, the tender process was not for the benefit of the port. The court refused to grant a stay and directed the KoPT authorities to file an affidavit-in-opposition. The case will be heard again after eight weeks.

HC asks govt to explain dummy writer case closure
26 Apr 2009, 0431 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court on Friday asked the state government to file a reply in connection with the dummy writer case. Besides this, the division bench hearing the public interest litigation (PIL) in this regard has also directed the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) to submit further report on what steps it has taken against the schools that were involved in the scam. Two students, Harsh Kotak and Komal Patel, were caught in March last year, faking fractures to avail services of bright writers to write their board answer sheets. A criminal complaint was lodged against the erring students and departmental proceedings were initiated against the school authorities. But looking at the slow pace of inquiry, National Students Union India (NSUI) leader Manish Doshi filed a PIL demanding action in this alleged fraud. However, the Navrangpura police have recently sent a request to metropolitan court to grant C summary in this case, and court has summoned the complainant for clarification. As the High Court has asked the government to submit a report on this issue, information regarding criminal investigation might also be revealed in it when further hearing is kept on May 11, said petitioner’s lawyer DP Kinariwala.

PCB told to file report on Swabhumi building nod
25 Apr 2009, 0413 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court on Friday wanted to know from the West Bengal Pollution Control Board why it had granted NOC (no objection certificate) to a private firm to build hotels and guest houses on land meant for a heritage plaza at Swabhumi off E M Bypass. The court has asked PCB to file an affidavit by May 15. The order was passed after a PIL was filed by the Forum for Human Legal and Ecological Rights, alleging that KMC and PCB had granted NOC illegally to build hotels and guest houses on a 13-acre plot at Swabhumi that was leased out to Green Parks, a private firm, in 1994 for construction of a heritage plaza. It was alleged that after the heritage park came up in 2001, a private company started felling trees there, albeit with the permission of KMC, to build hotels, guest houses and a shopping mall. Petitioners lodged a complaint at Phoolbagan police station, against tree felling. When none heeded their complaint, they filed the PIL before the green Bench of Chief Justice S S Nijjar and Justice Biswanath Somadder.

HC directs govt to ensure better amenities
25 Apr 2009, 0357 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: The High Court has directed the government to provide basic amenities to the inmates of protective homes in the capital. The bench of Justices Pradeep Kant and SNH Zaidi passed detailed instructions to the government for betterment of inmates. The order came on a PIL filed by Anoop Gupta. The court has directed the officials to provide clean habitat, food, medical facilities and drinking water to the inmates. The court also expected the government to appoint specialised doctors for treatment of mentally challenged children of the homes. There are two protective homes in the capital. One is Rajkiya Balgrah (Mahila) at Moti Nagar and the other is at Prag Narayan Road. Earlier the court had founded a panel of advocate commissioners to have a visit to these homes and submit the condition report in the court. The report was submitted in the court pointing out various shortcomings and irregularities in the homes. The panel also suggested certain measures for bettering conditions of the inmates.

Govt asked to ‘punish’ directors of co-op bank
Saturday, April 25, 2009 12:26 IST
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court has directed the state government to take immediate action against the then directors of the Veraval People’s Co-operative Bankduring whose tenure the bank invested Rs15 crore in the Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank, violating the norms of the Gujarat State Co-operative Societies Act.
The direction comes in the wake of a PIL filed in the high court by one Narandas Chandrani in 2007. The PIL raised the issue of investment of Rs15 crore by the Veravel bank in Madhavpura bank between 1993 and 2001 by violating Section 71 of the Gujarat State Co-operative Societies Act.
Chandrani stated in his petition that under Section 71 of the said act, Madhavpura bank was not included in the list of banks or financial institutions in which co-operative banks in the state could have invested their funds without prior permission of the registrar of the Gujarat Co-operative Society. The bank deposited funds even though permission was refused by the registrar, the petition said.
The petition, filed on behalf of more than 20,000 members and shareholders of the Veraval People’s Co-op Bank, also said that the deposited amountwas lost with the collapse of the Madhavpura bank in 2000-01. The latter could not be revived despite serious efforts spread over more than five years.
Chandrani further stated in the petition that many other co-operative banks of the state, too, had lost their deposits made with the Madhavpura bank illegally. “Under the revival package, some amount has been received back by the co-operative banks,” including the Veraval People’s Co-operative Bank. “However, illegal deposit has nothing to do with whether the amount is received back or not,” the petition stated.
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Anand Yagnik had submitted in the court that individual liability should be established in the matter and the lost amount should be recovered from the guilty. He also submitted that action should be taken against those officers of the state who were responsible for the aforesaid investment.

Jet to file response in Mumbai HC to Sahara’s claim on Monday
25 Apr 2009, 2036 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: Private domestic airline Jet Airways would file its response in the Bombay High Court on Monday to Sahara India’s enhanced claim of Rs 2000 crore for the buyout of erstwhile Sahara airline, now Jetlite. “We will file on Monday a rejoinder to application moved by Sahara India Commercial Corporation Ltd in this regard”, Jet Airways counsel Janak Dwarkadas told PTI here. Sahara has contended before the High Court that Jet was liable to pay Rs 2000 crore instead of the renegotiated amount of Rs 1450 crore for the takeover as it had defaulted on payment of instalments. The Court has fixed April 29 as the date of hearing of the dispute between the two parties. Jets counsel had on April 19 sought time from the Court to file a rejoinder to Sahara’s application seeking Rs 2,000 crore from it as the buyout price on the ground that the agreement was allegedly been violated. Sahara claims the takeover price had been brought down to Rs 1,450 crore from Rs 2,000 crore provided Jet Airways would not default on payment. But Sahara said there was default in payment and, therefore, concession on the takeover deal was not tenable.

Delhi HC dismisses Roche plea on cancer drug patent

BS Reporter / Mumbai April 25, 2009, 0:18 IST
The Delhi High Court today allowed domestic drug major Cipla to sell its generic version of lung cancer drug, Erlotinib, vacating an earlier interim order restraining it from selling the drug. The earlier order was based on an appeal by Swiss multinational Hoffman Laa Roche.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice AP Shah today dismissed the plea of the Swiss company saying that Cipla should be restrained from manufacturing and selling the generic drug till the issue of patent rights was decided through litigation.
“We are yet to get a copy of the order. We will soon decide whether to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court”, said Girish Telang, managing director of Roche India Scientific Company, the Indian arm of Roche.
Meanwhile, Amar Lulla, joint managing director of Cipla, said the court decision would help numerous lung cancer patients access the drug. “This is a victory for the cause of patients, than our business interests,” he said.
Roche was awarded a product patent for the drug, which it has been selling as Tarceva in India since 2006. Cipla launched its generic version, Erlocip, in India in January last year, challenging the monopoly rights of Roche. Separately, Hyderabad-based company Natco Pharma approached the patent office in New Delhi a few months ago to allow it to export its generic version of Tarceva to Nepal.
Roche filed an infringement lawsuit at the Delhi High Court immediately after Cipla launched its generic version. In March, the high court allowed Cipla to sell its version of the Roche drug. However, Roche challenged the decision with the Division Bench of the same court and obtained a decision restraining Cipla from selling the drug.
The case is being keenly watched by patent experts, global and Indian drug firms and consumer interest groups, as it is one among the first test cases of India’s product patent regime since January 2005.
Nearly 1,60,000 people in the country are estimated to be suffering from the disease, which has a high fatality rate, according to sources with patient groups.
Both Amar Lulla and Girish Telang declined to reveal the size of their business from Erlocip in India. Sources said Cipla’s generic version costs about Rs 1,600 a tablet, one-third the price of Roche, which charges over Rs 4,500 a tablet.

Criminal contempt petition against Mayawati in HC

Press Trust of India / Allahabad April 25, 2009, 12:23 IST
A criminal contempt petition has been filed against UP Chief Minister Mayawati in the Allahabad High Court for allegedly giving a ‘political clean chit’ to controversial BSP candidate from Varanasi, Mukhtar Ansari, facing trial in a number of criminal cases.The petition has been filed by a former BJP MLA and the wife of slain legislator Krishnanand Rai, in whose murder case Ansari has been named as an accused.Adjourning hearing in the case till May 18, a division bench comprising justices Vinod Prasad and Y C Gupta yesterday asked the petitioner, Alka Rai, to approach the state’s Advocate General and seek his consent for filing the criminal contempt.The petitioner had alleged that while campaigning for Ansari, who is also the sitting MLA from Mau, Mayawati had given speeches whereby she had virtually given a ‘political clean chit’ to her party’s Varanasi nominee against whom seven criminal cases are pending in various courts.Hence the BSP supremo’s statements amounted to criminal contempt, the petitioner contended.

Games Village construction: Apex court stay on HC order continues
Press Trust of India Posted: Saturday , Apr 25, 2009 at 0206 hrs IST

New Delhi:
The stay on the Delhi High Court order appointing an expert committee to assess any ecological damage caused by construction of the 2010 Commonwealth Games Village on the Yamuna riverbed is slated to continue, with Supreme Court refusing to pass an interim direction against the project on Friday.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan deferred the hearing till July as the responses were not filed by parties concerned on the petition against the HC order, passed on November 3.
The apex court had stayed the order on December 5 last year after the Delhi Development Authority had said it would seriously “jeopardise” plans for the Games on which crores of rupees had already been invested.
Advocates M L Lahoty and Sanjay Parikh, appearing for those opposing the construction of 1,100 flats, said the riverbed was being exploited by a real estate company involved in the project. They submitted that if the matter was not heard on an urgent basis, it would become infructuous. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the organising committee of the Commonwealth Games, however, sought adjournment on the ground that pleadings in the matter were not completed.
Some NGOs have filed petitions contending that the issue was not restricted to Games-related construction activities, but other alleged illegal construction that was being permitted by the authorities on the riverbed.
The Games committee had earlier argued that restriction on the construction would lead to over 71 countries claiming damages from the NCT government and the panel. The ASG had submitted that the government had already spent Rs 30,000 crore on building infrastructure for the Games. The High Court had refused to approve the construction and appointed a four member committee headed by environmental scientist R K Pachauri to assess the perceived damage.

HC reserves order on plea to free Nalini, 6 others
25 Apr 2009, 0547 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: The Madras high court on Friday reserved orders on a plea to release Nalini and six others convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The division bench comprising Justice E Dharma Rao and Justice R Subbiah reserved the orders on a habeas corpus

petition filed by E Veluchamy of Trichy who claimed to be a member of the Congress. The petitioner’s main contention was that the version of the special investigation team (SIT) of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was in conflict with that of the Jain Commission which had also probed the assassination of the former prime minister. The commission had in its final report raised a serious doubt’ regarding the alleged involvement of Chandraswami in the crime and recommended the case for further investigation. However, the apex court had not considered the recommendation while upholding the convictions, the petitioner said. When the matter came up for hearing on Friday, the CBI filed an additional affidavit stating that the recommendations of the commission could not be enforced in a court of law. Pointing out that the question of submitting the Jain Commission’s report before the Supreme Court did not arise, the CBI said that the apex court had never directed the Union government or the CBI to produce the commission’s report. Moreover, further investigation was still pending, it added. The Jain Commission had submitted its final report in March 1998. The Union government accepted the report and set up a multi-disciplinary monitoring agency to conduct further investigation. A senior superintendent of police was conducting the investigation and submitting periodical status reports to the designated TADA Court in Poonamallee, the CBI said, and sought dismissal of the petition by the court. The state government has already submitted its counter stating that no habeas corpus petition could be filed in the case and, that too, after ten years of the Supreme Court judgement. Hence, the petition was not maintainable, it contended. Four of the convicted – Nalini, Robert Payas, Jeyakumar and Ravichandran – are undergoing life sentences while the remaining three – Santhan, Murugan and Arivu – are facing death sentences.

Court orders inquiry into attachment of Azamgarh property
Apr 25th, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) A city court Saturday ordered an inquiry after two residents of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh said that property Delhi Police were seeking to attach belonged to them and not to the two alleged terrorists who escaped a gun battle in south Delhi last year.
Niyaz Ahmed and Anjum Sehar said the property sought to be attached was not of alleged absconding terrorists Ariz Khan and Shahjad Ahmed. The accused have no concern with the property, the applicants said.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Navin Arora asked the investigating officer to probe the matter and submit a report by June 4, the next date of hearing.
The court had earlier given a go-ahead to Delhi Police to attach the houses, which according to police belonged to the accused.
Delhi Police officer Mohan Chand Sharma, Atif Ameen, the prime accused of the Sep 13, 2008 Delhi serial bombings and co-accused Sajid were killed in the gun battle at the L-18 Batla House flat in Jamia Nagar here Sep 19 last year.
The two Indian Mujahideen suspects had managed to give police a slip, while Mohammed Saif was the sole IM suspect caught alive, police said.

Sleuths to re-probe engineer’s death: HC
25 Apr 2009, 0639 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: The suspicious death of a young engineer four years ago, who was working for a private firm in Peenya, will be probed afresh, the high court said on Friday. “The investigating authorities suppressed material facts at important stages of the probe, and entire case has some loose ends,” the high court observed. Then it directed authorities to let the Corps of Detectives (CoD) handle the investigation into the death of engineer Ramakrishna. The petition was filed by K Rangaswamy, an office superintendent working for the I-T department, who sought re-investigation into the death of his only son. Justice A S Pachchapure observed that the authorities have not cared to examine statements of any independent witness except officials of the company where Ramakrishna worked. “The investigators also failed to examine persons against whom the petitioner made direct allegations that they were involved in Ramakrishna’s death,” the court observed. According to the petitioner’s counsel C N Raju, the argument that six-foot-tall Ramakrishna committed suicide by jumping into a small tank is suspicious and even unbelievable. “How can a person commit suicide in a tank that has just four feet of water? Why didn’t the investigators use modern methods like narco-analysis and brain-mapping on the suspects? “The company’s managing director Vijayaraghavan and police inspector T Siddappa had met Victoria Hospital officials who conducted the post-mortem. This raises suspicion,” the court observed. Ramakrishna was working as design engineer with Integrated Electricals Company in Peenya. He was thinking about leaving the job after he got better offers. On August 26, 2005, when he didn’t return home, his parents filed a complaint with the police. Some days later, police found his body in a tank near his office. Meanwhile, his parents found a diary written by Ramakrishna, detailing how his superiors were not letting him quit the job. He even mentioned their names. His parents then approached the police commissioner and the chief minister. In a curious turn of events, Ramakrishna received an offer letter from Isro on December 8, 2005, nearly four months after his death.

26/11 judge to look into woes of Arthur Road residents
Express News Service
Posted: Apr 24, 2009 at 2328 hrs IST
Mumbai Local people and businessmen had moved court against closure of road

The Special Judge of the Bombay High Court, M L Tahilyani, who is conducting trial of 26/11 terror accused Ajmal Amir Kasab, now has the additional job of looking into the grievances of the residents and business establishments at Arthur Road.
The court on Thursday appointed Judge Tahilyani as the court commissioner, following a PIL opposing the closure of a part of the Arthur Road for traffic in the wake of the ongoing Kasab trial inside the heavily-guarded Arthur Road Jail premises.
The petition was filed by Gujarat Service Centre along with other business establishments and residents, saying their business and daily lives have been affected due to the closure of the road.
Judge Tahilyani has been asked to meet the aggrieved people and submit a report on Monday. The Division Bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice V K Tahilramani also ordered a sum of Rs 10,000 to be paid to the judge for this purpose.
Meanwhile, state government pleader D A Nalawade on Thursday contended that there is no inconvenience to the residents.
The court, however, held that the plight of the residents has to be considered and cannot be ignored. The court has directed Judge Tahilyani to find out whether the security to Kasab can be provided without causing inconvenience to the residents.
The state government has to file an affidavit by Friday stating the security threat perceptions on the gravity of information received by the government.
The petitioners had argued that the trial might take months and even years to conclude as there are hundreds of witnesses to be examined and a chargesheet that’s over 11,000 pages. There might be a good chance that the trial will prolong like the 1993 serial blasts case that dragged on for 13 years, the petition says.
It is further stated that the jail and court premises are already heavily guarded and are bullet and bomb proof, so there is no need for security arrangements outside the jail premises. The state had submitted that due procedure was followed while closing one half of the road for traffic, and security was the reason.

SC on ragging: Booze, demanding parents to blame
Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 24, 2009
First Published: 01:25 IST(24/4/2009)
Last Updated: 01:30 IST(24/4/2009)
Expressing shock over rampant alcoholism on educational campuses, the Supreme Court on Thursday said it reflected the degradation of the value system.
“It is more than ragging,” the court said on seeing the report that established a link between ragging and alcoholism in Amann Kachroo’s death at a medical college in Himachal Pradesh.
“Regular and rampant alcoholism on college campuses… the entire value system has gone,” a bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat said while hearing a PIL to devise institutional mechanism to deal with ragging.
Attributing the rising incidents of ragging to the “loss of childhood” due to parents’ unrealistic expectations, the court said the psychological factors behind ragging must be understood and addressed. “Is it because of total parental control or total absence of guidance to children?” the bench said, adding, “during the impressionable age, children need counseling”.
Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae said the court-appointed committee, too, has highlighted the need to address the psychological aspects of the problem.
“There is a dire need to examine the psychological aspects of ragging, including its impact on young students and rational behind seniors urge to rag and torment their juniors,” said Subramaniam.
However, senior counsel Harish Salve, on behalf of the Medical Council of India, said derecognising a medical college for ragging could prove counter productive and jeopardise the careers of students. The bench reserved its verdict on the issue.

SC not in favour of 24-hr medical facility at Railway stations
New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court on Friday virtually rejected the idea of making it mandatory for the Railways to provide round-the-clock medical facilities, including a doctor, para-medical staff and an ambulance, at railway stations.
“It is not possible to provide doctors at all railway stations,” a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said.
The Court was hearing an appeal filed by the Railways against the order of the Bombay High Court which had asked it to start the project on an experimental basis at Dadar Railway Station in Mumbai.
The High Court had asked the Railways to treat it as a pilot project which could be extended throughout Maharashtra.
The apex court issued notice to a Maharashtra resident Sameer Zaveri on whose PIL the High Court had passed the direction.
Advocate Wasim S Ahmed Qadri, appearing for the Railways, said the apex had on a similar matter relating to Northern Railway stayed the Delhi High Court order.
The Centre has maintained that providing such facility would be a problem.
The Delhi High Court had earlier asked the government to ensure availability of a doctor, an ambulance and three para-medics at all railway stations in the city.

SC allows withdrawal of London Hotel case against Jayalalithaa
24 Apr 2009, 1747 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa got a major relief from the Supreme Court which allowed withdrawal of the ‘London Hotel case’ against her in which she was accused of illegally acquiring property abroad. The apex court order came on an application filed by the Tamil Nadu government after it received an opinion from the Special Public Prosecutor that the charges against the former CM were likely to fall for paucity of evidence and it would be proper to withdraw the prosecution case. The trial of the case, which was transfered to Bangalore along with the ‘wealth case” against Jayalalitha, was stayed by the Supreme Court. Allowing the application of the state government, a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrihanan said, “Interim stay would not stand in the way of considering the application on merit”. Senior advocate B V Acharya, who was appointed as a Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) by Karnataka Government after the trial of case was shifted from Chennai to Bangalore on Supreme Court’s order, had sent a communication to the Tamil Nadu government asking it to seek permission of the apex court to withdraw the London Hotel case. He had said that on perusal of the statement of the investigating officer in the case and statements recorded during the investigation, the involvement of Jayalalithaa was “ruled out” in the case.

Ramabai firing case judgement likely tomorrow
26 Apr 2009, 1303 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: A sessions court on Monday is likely to deliver the judgment in the infamous Ramabai firing case, which left 10 persons dead and over 25 injured. The accused, State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) officer Manohar Kadam, who is alleged to have ordered indiscriminate firing on a Dalit mob, has been charged for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The judgment in the case was delayed for a month after the court clubbed two encounter cases filed after the firing. The second case was filed against 11 persons for rioting, assault and attempt to murder. Additional sessions judge S Y Kulkarni however held that the verdict against Kadam should not be stayed as the trial in this case is over. The trial against the 11 persons is yet to begin. The mob was protesting against the desecration of an Ambedkar statue on July 11, 1997 after which the Maharashtra government had appointed a commission under Justice S D Gundewar in November 1997 to investigate the firing. However, it completed its enquiry by August 1998. The report indicted Kadam for firing indiscriminately at the mob. Based on the report, the state sanctioned Kadam’s prosecution in August 2001 and an FIR was lodged against him.

Shifting of Gir lions hangs in balance
Thursday, April 23, 2009 10:28 IST
Ahmedabad: The plan to shift Asiatic lions to Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh continues to hang in balance. The Supreme Court on Wednesday referred the points of contention submitted by the Gujarat government to the Indian Board for Wildlife, seeking its recommendations on the issue. Experts associated with the case believe that Gujarat wants to buy time in the case so as to avoid any confrontation ahead of the elections next week.
Wildlife activist Faiyaz Khudsar had filed a PIL requesting the translocation of Asiatic lions from their only abode, Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, to Kuno-Palpur Sanctuary. But, on several earlier occasions, the Gujarat government has refused to part with even a single lion.
Based on the recommendations of the wildlife board and environmentalists, the MP government has spent Rs18 crore in rehabilitating 24 villages surrounding Kuno sanctuary and developing it to receive the lions.
Sources claimed Gujarat accused the board of not taking into account some points presented by it. On Wednesday, the apex court referred the matter to the board to consider the points put forth by Gujarat and file a reply by August 11.
Khudsar contended in the PIL that a single epidemic can wipe out the entire population of around 400 lions. Moreover, the area in the Gir sanctuary is not enough for the animals and they are pouring out of the sanctuary area.
“That tigers and lions cannot co-habit in an area, MP is not prepared to take care of lions, and there is no previous success story of such translocation are some of the 12 points of contention that we have submitted to the Supreme Court,” principle chief conservator of forest (wildlife) Pradip Khanna said.
“The wildlife board had earlier unanimously agreed that 2+2 pairs of lions must be moved to MP to protect them. The scientific rationale was the island biology theory that if an epidemic strikes, the entire population is wiped out. Moreover, the carrying capacity of Gir has been exhausted,” said the source.

Locals move court against Arthur Road closure for Kasab trial
Express News Service
Posted: Apr 23, 2009 at 2329 hrs IST
Mumbai A PIL has been filed against the closure of Arthur Road to traffic in the wake of the trial of lone arrested 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab inside the heavily-guarded Arthur Road Jail premises.
The petition has been filed by Gujarat Service Centre along with other local business establishments and residents, who have contended that their business and daily lives have been affected due to the closure of the road, named Sane Guruji Marg. They further argued that the trial might take months or even years to conclude as there are hundreds of witnesses to be examined and a charge sheet which is over 11,000 pages. The petitioners’ state that there might be a good chance that the trail will prolong like the 1993 serial blasts case that dragged on for 13 years. They further state that since the jail and court premises are already heavily-guarded and are bullet and bomb proof, there is not need for security arrangements outside the jail premises.
However, government pleader Dhairyasheel Nalavade said that due procedure was followed while closing one side of the road for traffic, and security was the reason. The Division Bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice V K Tahilramani would hear the case tomorrow.

HC notice over CNG fuel stations
Rakesh Bhatnagar
Thursday, April 23, 2009 3:10 IST
New Delhi: The setting up of CNG depots in different cities is under legal threat.
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Union government and the high-powered Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board headed by L Mansingh on a petition levelling serious charges of arbitrariness in allotting contracts for the fuel stations.
Voice of India, a non-governmental organisation, said PNGRB did not have the authority to issue licenses to begin CNG retailing in cities yet, as the body was doing the job of allotting pipelines.
A bench headed by Chief Justice AP Shah also issued notices to PNGRB chairman L Mansingh and its member-infrastructure, BS Negi.
The PIL said Mansingh issued letters of intent (LoIs) for city gas distribution network in Kakinada, Devas and Kota “on the very day the bids were open”.
It said that the bids were opened at 10:30 in the morning and LoIs were awarded by 3 pm in the evening.
“The haste with which the LoIs were issued on the very day on which the bids were opened, especially CGD (city gas distribution) authorisation for a period of 25 years, points to a certain degree of desperation on the part of the chairman,” Voice of India said in its petition.
It said PNGRB issued the LoIs despite the opinion of its member-legal that the body has no power to authorise CNG depots, as Section 16 has not come into force. Section 16 of the PNGRB Act, 2007, allows the board to authorise gas distribution network. The section hasn’t been notified by the central government, thus the board can’t allot CNG gas lines, the petition said.
The PIL also raised question about the internal functions of the board, saying its chairman is “arbitrarily” taking all decisions.
“Section 16… was specifically excluded from the notification dated October 1, 2007, and has till date not notified,” the NGO submitted, adding that without Section 16 being notified, PNGRB’ s LoIs are “redundant”.
There is also a conflict of interest as Bhagwant Singh Negi, the member-infrastructure, is running a consultancy in the name of his son Akhilesh Negi that “provides consultancy to entities who apply to the board for getting authorisation to lay, build, operate or expand city gas pipelines”, the petition said.
VoI also urged the court to direct the government to conduct an enquiry against Mansingh and Negi and remove them if found guilty.
The PIL also raised question about the internal functions of the board, saying its chairman is “arbitrarily” taking all decisions. “He has illegally appropriated the core powers of the members of the board to himself in order to get a free hand in taking all important decisions on matters of crores of rupees,” the NGO said in its petition.
“… The chairman has now illegally delegated onto himself the power of the board to authorise the entities to lay, build, operate and expand city or local natural gas distribution network — the core power and functions of the board,” it added.
The court will hear the PIL on May 13 after getting the responses of the respondents.

174 manual scavengers in TN await rehabilitation, says NGO
23 Apr 2009, 0316 hrs IST, Vivek Narayanan, TNN
CHENNAI: Pain and a sense of unease are writ large on the face of 53-year-old Venkatamma, a manual scavenger, as she cleans a public toilet that stinks. Venkatamma wants to set up an idli shop and settle down but she has no money. According to V Samuel, state convenor of the Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA), an NGO, there are 174 scavengers like Venkatamma in Tamil Nadu waiting to be rehabilitated. The organisation has identified two manual scavengers working in Chennai corporation’s division 80, unit 6. “Manual scavenging is constitutionally banned under the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines Act 1993. In 2003, when SKA filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court, the court directed all states to eradicate the practice, imposing a slew of measures and directing them to file replies. In 2005, the Tamil Nadu Government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that manual scavenging did not exist in the state,” says Samuel. Samuel points out that under the National Scheme for Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers (NSLRS) and the Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS), manual scavengers have to be rehabilitated so that they can choose some other profession. “We filed an RTI with the Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar Housing Development Corporation (TAHDCO) to find out how many manual scavengers were rehabilitated and how many still exist. They said that there were no manual scavengers in Tamil Nadu. We conducted a survey on our own and found 174 of them. When we showed the results of our survey to TAHDCO, they said the scavengers would be rehabilitated by December 2008. Then, citing various reasons, they postponed rehabilitation till March 2009. Now they say they will do it after the elections,” says Samuel. According to Samuel, manual scavenging is also practised in Madurai, Pudukkottai, Tiruvarur and Dindigul. “The DMK in its election manifesto had promised to abolish the abhorrent practice of manual scavenging by providing alternative jobs. In the 2006-07 budget, Rs 50 crore was allotted by the government to provide vocational training and rehabilitate 11,961 manual scavengers; in the following budget (2007-08), Rs 58.4 crore was allotted. The budget release mentioned that 3,199 scavengers were provided alternative jobs in 2006-07. We would be grateful if the government rehabilitates the 174 scavengers in the state,” says Samuel.

Bhatia files Public Interest Litigation PIL on Metro Rail
Independent Lok Sabha candidate from Pune city Arun Bhatia has filed a public interest litigation in the Bombay High Court requesting transparency in the implementation of the proposed metro rail project. He also suggested broad-gauge with wide coaches for the ambitious plan.

Profits from sale of jaggery to be taxed, says tax tribunal
Published: April 26,2009

New Delhi, Apr 26 Profits earned from the sale of jaggery will be taxed as converting sugarcane into a saleable commodity like jaggery or gur is not an agricultural operation, a tax tribunal has ruled.
Profit from the sale of jaggery falls beyond the ken of agriculture income,”the Chennai bench of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) said, adding there is no nexus between jaggery and agricultural operations.
The issue whether jaggery production is an agricultural activity becomes important as income from farm operations is exempted from payment of taxes.
When sugarcane was converted into jaggery it resulted in the production of a different commodity. Conversion of sugarcane into jaggery is not a necessary process performed by the cultivator to render sugarcane fit for being taken to the market,”the ITAT said in its order dated March 18, 2008.
The tribunal rejected the contention of the assessee that conversion of sugarcane into jaggery was a”process essential to make sugarcane marketable and to preserve the agricultural produce grown by an agriculturist from deterioration”.
Source: PTI

Woman prisoner who lost her child to be compensated
Apr 24th, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to compensate a woman prisoner who lost her new born baby girl because of inadequate medical facilities in the jail.
Boby, a woman prisoner, was lodged in the Agra district jail on June 20, 2006 and gave birth to a baby on August 23, 2006. On September 16, however, the child fell ill and died while being taken to hospital.
A magisterial enquiry into the matter, ordered by the NHRC, revealed that no arrangement was made in the jail for child birth as a result of which the baby was born in the prison toilet.
Even after that, neither the baby nor the mother were taken care of or given any nutritious diet. The result was that the child was very weak. According to the post-mortem report, the death of the child occurred due to intra-cerebral haemorrhage.
“The commission has, therefore, directed the UP government to pay Rs.100,000 as compensation to the bereaved mother earlier this week. It has also asked for compliance report along with proof of payment within eight weeks from the date of receipt of the recommendations,” an NHRC official said.

Nagaland seeks NCW intervention into child murder
Source: Hueiyen News Service / Agencies
Kohima, April 23 2009: Seeking intervention of National Commission for Women on the recent alleged rape and murder of a six-year-old Naga girl in New Delhi, the State Women Commission (NSWC) has expressed grave concern over insecurity of Naga girls and women in the national capital.”The atrocities and crimes, particularly rape and molestation of Naga and north-eastern girls and women, has turned out to be a daily occurrence in New Delhi,” NSWC Chairperson Sano Vamuzo said yesterday in a letter to National Commission for Women (NCW) .Terming last week&aposs incident as the”most shocking and atrocious”one, she pointed out that “justice was a far cry and many cases of atrocities against women reported were not properly investigated”.

Probe Batla House shootout for ‘transparency’: High Court’transparency’%3a+HC

Indo-Asian News Service
Delhi, April 23, 2009
First Published: 21:55 IST(23/4/2009)
Suggesting a magisterial inquiry into the controversial Batla House shootout last year, the Delhi High Court on Thursday said the government’s reluctance in conducting the probe “might create suspicion” over the police version in the case.
“The more the government hardens its stand, the more suspicion it might create,” a bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Neeraj Kishan Kaul said.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the government, vehemently opposed the idea of conducting the magisterial probe, prompting the court to say it was to bring in transparency.
“It is to bring transparency by conducting such an inquiry… This is the minimum protection (against human rights violations),” the court said and asked the solicitor to take instruction from the government on the issue.
Two suspected terrorists and a police inspector were killed September 18, 2008 last year – a week after serial bombings rocked the capital killing 26 people.
The court, however, made it clear that the report of the inquiry, if conducted, would not be used for any other proceeding and would be submitted before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which would decide on further course of action on the basis of finding.
“Take instruction from the government. The inquiry is only a fact-finding exercise and its report would not be used by any other body. The NHRC will look into the report and would decide what is to be done,” the court said while adjourning the matter for May 4.
The remark came on a petition by an NGO, Act Now For Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), which has demanded a judicial probe into the shootout.
Delhi Police counsel Mukta Gupta had told the court in the last hearing that a magisterial probe would have “demoralising impact” on the police force.


State of Orissa and Ors. Versus Harapriya Bisoi




(Arising out of S.L.P. (C) No. 10223 of 2007)

State of Orissa and Ors. …..Appellants


Harapriya Bisoi ….Respondent

(With Civil Appeal 2657/2009 @ SLP (C) No.11960/2007)



1. Leave granted.

2. Challenge in these appeals is to the order passed by a Division Bench of the

Orissa High Court allowing the writ petition filed by the respondent in Writ Petition (C)

No.8282/2004 dated 27.10.2005 and the order dated 10.1.2007 passed in the Review

Petition No.13/2006 arising out of said writ petition.

2. The background facts as highlighted by the appellants are as follows:

The dispute relates to an alleged lease of 53.95 acres of land executed by

Hatapatta dated 25.1.1933 by erstwhile intermediaries i.e. Chakradhar Mohapatra and
Ramakrushna Mohapatra in favour of one Kamala Devi. The respondent Harapriya

Bishoi claimed to be the successor in interest of Kamala Devi. Undisputedly, the alleged

Hatapatta is an unregistered document. The land is presently situated in the capital city

of Bhubaneswar in the State of Orissa. The purported Hatapatta described the land as

being for permanent cultivation but as per records or rights published in 1930-31 the

land is classified as “uncultivable” within Anabadi Land. The land is further described

as Jhudi jungle i.e. bushy forest. The estate of intermediaries Chakradhar Mohapatra

and Ramakrushna Mohapatra is vested in the State by virtue of a Notification dated

1.5.1954 issued under Section 3 of the Orissa Estate Abolition Act, 1951 (in short the

`Act’). In respect of the land in question the Orissa Estate Abolition Case 4 of 1970 was

registered. Originally the case was registered as OEA 18 of 1967 with OEA Collector,

Cuttack. On transfer of certain villages from Cuttack district to Puri District, the case

was transferred to OEA Collector, Bhubneshwar and was re-numbered as OEA Case

No.4 of 1970.

By order dated 6.1.1971 in the said OEA case the OEA Collector set aside the

disputed lease deed on the ground of not being genuine. The Collector found that since

the lands were lying fallow, the rent receipts were not genuine. The Ekpadia or

Zamabandi Register in the Tahsil Officer had no mention of Kamala Devi as a lessee.

The lease was unregistered even though vast tracts of land were transferred. It was thus

held that the lease deed was back dated and was created with the object of defeating the

purpose of the Act. The said order dated 6.1.1971 was upheld by Additional District

Magistrate, Puri by order dated 28.5.1974.

Between the period 1962 to 1973 settlement proceedings were carried out under

the Orissa Survey and Settlement Act, 1958 (in short the `Settlement Act’). By publication dated 6.12.1973, the State was recorded as the owner/title holder of the

entire land of 1056.8 acres under Khatian No.1076 of village Gadakana of which the

disputed land is a part. Further, by Revenue Department Notification No.13699-EA-1-

ND-1/74/R published in the Extraordinary Gazette No.371 dated 18.3.1974, the

Government of Orissa notified that the intermediaries interest of all intermediaries in

respect of all estates other than those which have vested in the State have passed to and

became vested in the State free from all encumbrances.

The order dated 28.5.1974 was challenged before the Orissa High Court by filing

OJC No.882 of 1974. The High Court by order dated 29.10.1976 directed the OEA Collector, Bhubneshwar to examine the matter afresh by issuing notice to the lessor andthe lessee and also to ensure that the interest of the State was protected. Pursuant to the order of the High Court dated 29.10.1976 remanding the matter to the OEA Collector,

the Collector heard the matter afresh and by order dated 24.4.1989 held that the lease

was entered into prior to 1.1.1946. But he found that the claimant was only in possession

of 7 acres of land and hence recommendation was made only for registering a settlement

in respect of such 7 acres of land. Significantly, the General Administration Department

(in short GA Department) was not brought on record in the proceedings. The record

was then submitted to the Board of Revenue. By order dated 27.4.1991, the Board of

Revenue held that due enquiry had not been made as per the orders of the High Court in

the earlier writ petition and the matter was returned to the Collector for fresh enquiry.

Interestingly, the order of OEA Collector dated 24.4.1989 was challenged in OJC 2063 of

1992 in the High Court. There was, however, no challenge to the order passed by the

Board of Revenue dated 27.4.1991. By order dated 2.11.1992 the High Court allowed the

writ petition being of the view that the finding of the Collector was to the effect that the

lease was not executed after 1.1.1946, so as to defeat the provisions of the Act. Therefore,

the OEA Collector had no jurisdiction to proceed further in the matter. Thus (a) the

determination of the extent of possession of the parties and (b) referral of the matter to

the Board of Revenue was beyond jurisdiction of the Collector. The High Court quashed

the order of the Collector directing settlement of portion of the leased property and

declared the proceedings before the Board of Revenue to be non est.

The High Court confined its order only to issue of jurisdiction and the scope of

power under Section 5(i) and there was no finding recorded regarding the genuineness

of the lease dated 25.1.1933. Additionally, the GA Department of the State which is the

relevant Department under the Orissa Government Rules of Business was not a party in

the writ petition.

After the death of Kamala Devi, her purported successor Kishore Chandra

Pattnaik filed a writ petition bearing No.OJC 15984 of 1997 praying for a direction to

the State to accept rent in respect of the disputed property. Again, the GA Department

was not arrayed as a party in the case at the time of filing of the writ petition. The GA

Department was later arrayed as a party pursuant to the order dated 3.8.2000 passed in

said OJC. One Anup Kumar Dhirsamant who was the Power of Attorney holder of

Kishore Chandra Pattnaik executed a sale deed dated 6.3.2000 covering 23.30 acres of

land on behalf of the latter in favour of the present respondent who is also the mother of

Dhirsamant. Thus, the respondent came into the picture as a vendee of Kishore

Chandra Pattnaik who in turn is the son of Kamala Devi. Kishore Chandra Pattnaik

claimed that the original power of attorney did not empower the holder to sell the land.

His plea was that the aforesaid sale was in pursuance of a forged and interpolated

document. The sale deed dated 6.3.2000 was an impounded document for evasion of

stamp duty. On 8.4.2002, a Settlement Rent Objection case under the Settlement Act
bearing case No.4013 of 2002 was instituted by the Assistant Settlement Officer,

Gadakna on the strength of the petition filed by GA Department for recording the case

land in favour of GA Department. The petition was allowed on 30.12.2002 in favour of

the GA Department. Against the said order, Settlement Appeal cases were preferred by

Kishore Chandra Pattnaik and present respondent Harapriya Bisoi. The appeals were

disposed of by order dated 7.10.2004 and the record of rights in favour of GA

Department was directed not to be interfered with. The respondent also filed a Civil Suit

bearing No.2/12 of 2004 before learned Civil Judge, Senior Division, Bhubaneswar, for a

declaration of right, title and interest in respect of disputed land. The IAs were

dismissed and the Civil Court held that the right, title and interest of the present

respondent had not been determined finally by OJC 2063 of 1992. It was held that the

findings of the High Court related only to the power and jurisdiction of the Collector

and the Board of Revenue. Respondent filed OJC 8282 of 2004 seeking a direction to the

State to accept rent from her in respect of the case land, for a declaration of tenancy in

her favour and for an injunction against the State restraining them from interfering

with her possession. By order dated 27.10.2005 the High Court allowed the writ petition

and that is the subject matter of challenge in one of the present appeals.

It is to be noted that in its order dated 27.10.2005 the High Court relied upon the

earlier judgment in OJC 2063 of 1992 and held that in view of the finding in that case

Kamala Devi and Kishore Chandra Pattnaik were deemed to be tenants under the State

government under Section 8(1) of the Act and the present respondent being successor in

interest of Kamala Devi was to step into her shoes and has to be treated as a tenant

under the Act. The relevant findings of the High Court in the judgment are as follows:

“(i) In paras 10 and 11 of the judgement of the High Court in OJC No.
2063/1992 it was held that the lease deed having been executed prior to 1.1.1946
and the same have been found to be a genuine document, the OEA Collector could
not have proceeded with the case any further and he should have dropped the

(ii) In the subsequent paras in the judgment in OJC No. 2063/1992, the Court
held that the OEA Collector had no jurisdiction to decide the question of actual
possession and make a recommendation to the Board of Revenue for concurrence.
“The orders passed by the Board of Revenue in pursuance of the references of the
case by the OEA Collector shall be taken to be non-est. The proceedings initiated
under S. 5 (i) of the OEA Act shall be taken to have been dropped.”

(iii) This Court while disposing of the earlier writ application taking note of S. 5
(i) has held that Late Kamla Devi was a tenant under the ex-intermediaries before
the vesting and on the date of vesting and was in possession of the entire disputed
property – hence Late Kamla Devi was a deemed tenant under S. 8 (1) of the OEA

(iv) In view of the decision of the High Court in OJC No. 2063/1992, late Kamla
Devi and thereafter her successor Kishore Chandra Pattnaik are deemed to be
tenants under the State Government and therefore the Tahasildar, Bhubaneswar
was duty bound to collect rent from them.

(v) Kishore Chandra Pattaik being deemed to be a tenant under the State
Government, the, Petitioner, Harpriya Bishoi, has stepped into his shoes after
purchasing the land from him and, consequently, the Petitioner is to be treated as
a tenant under the State and rent is to be collected from her.”

4. In support of the appeals, learned counsel for the State submitted that the High

Court has completely mis-construed the decision in OJC 2063 of 1992. In the said

judgment the High Court had not returned any finding or expressed any observation

with regard to the genuineness of the lease deed of 1933. The only issue before the High

Court was whether the OEA Collector had exercised its powers correctly under Section

5(i) of the Act. No further issue was under consideration of the High Court. Only the

scope and jurisdiction of the Collector and the Board of Revenue was decided. In the

said decision the High Court had not returned any finding that late Kamala Devi was a

tenant under the ex-intermediaries before the vesting and on the date of vesting and

was in possession of the entire disputed property. The High Court has erroneously

recorded the said finding in the impugned judgment. Therefore, the High Court was in

error by holding that Kamala Devi and thereafter her successor Kishore Chandra

Pattnaik were deemed to be tenants under Section 8(1) of the Act. It is pointed out that

the proceedings in OEA Case No.4 of 1970 were under Section 5(i) of the Act and not

under Section 8(1) of the Act. Neither the order of OEA Collector in OEA Case No.4 of

1970 dated 24.4.1989 nor the High Court’s order in OJC 2063 of 1992 recognizes the

predecessors in interest of the respondent as tenants under Section 8(1) of the Act. The

OEA Collector had categorically held in the order dated 24.4.1989 that the plea of the

claimants that the proceedings to be treated as one under Section 8(1) does not hold

water. The OEA Collector was therefore conscious of the fact that there was no

exercise of power under Section 8(1) of the Act, but only under Section 5(i) of the Act.

Further, the High Court was in error in its interpretation of Section 5(i) of the Act. The

settlement of the lease in favour of the lessee under the first proviso of Section 5(i) has

to be necessarily confirmed by a member, Board of Revenue.

5. It has also been highlighted that a decision of this Court in State of Orissa v.

Brundaban Sharma (1995 Supp (3) SCC 249) has been completely lost sight of. The

conceptual different between Section 5(i) of the Act and Section 8 has been lost sight of.

It was clearly observed in Brundaban’s case (supra) that the order of the Collector

under Section 5(i) of the Act is required to be confirmed by Board of Revenue even if

Collector upholds genuineness of the lease. Several gross acts of fraud have been

committed by the respondent and/or others involved. This clearly invalidates every

action. The vendor’s claims are pending adjudication before various courts. The record

of rights has attained finality in the settlement proceedings and the High Court should

not have unsettled them in the manner done. Therefore, it is submitted that the

impugned judgment of the High Court cannot be maintained.

6. On the other hand, learned counsel for the respondent submitted that

consequences of vesting and the finding of the Collector that the lease was prior to

1.1.1946 and is a genuine one has been confirmed in the earlier judgment. The same has

attained finality. The State of Orissa was represented by the Secretary to Government,

Revenue Department, Bhubneshwar and the Member, Board of Revenue was also a

party. It is submitted that the decision in Brundaban’s case (supra) was rendered in a

different set up and has no application to the facts of the present case.

7. Certain factors need to be noted in the present case.

8. In Brundaban’s case (supra) this Court held that even in a case where the OEA

Collector “decides not to set aside the lease, he should have referred the case to the

Board of Revenue. The object of conferment of such power on the Board of Revenue

appears to be to prevent collusive or fraudulent acts or actions on the part of the

intermediaries and lower level officers to defeat the object of the Act.” This Court

further held that even if the OEA Collector decides that a lease was purported to have

been granted before 1.1.1946 and is not liable to be set aside, without reference or

confirmation by the Board of Revenue, such lease would not attain finality The

judgment finally concludes that, “the’ order passed by the Tehsildar (exercising powers

as the OEA Collector) without confirmation by the Board is non est. A non est order is

a void order and it confers no title and its validity can be questioned or invalidity be set

up in any proceeding or at any stage.”

9. It is important to note, that in the facts of the present case, the Member, Board

of Revenue in its order dated 27.4.1991 while considering the decision of the OEA

Collector in OEA Case No. 4 of 1970, had observed that a detailed enquiry had not been

made by the OEA Collector “to ascertain who was in possession of the case land prior

to 1.1.1946 and from 1.1.1946 to 1.5.1954 (date of vesting of estate) and thereafter”. The

Member, Board of Revenue, had further stated that, “the OEA Collector should have

verified the records to ascertain who were the ex-intermediaries (lessors) and if they

had right to alienate the land and if they have got compensation u/ s 28 of the OEA

Act”. Further, “the O.Ps did not press their claim for a considerable period of time”

and “after notice was published in the newspaper ‘Prajatantra’ dated 22.7.87, a number

of interveners have preferred their claims before the OEA Collector”, who have not

been examined.

10. The Member, Board of Revenue in its order had concluded that, “the case land

are within Bhubaneswar Municipality where the capital of state has been established

and a number of Government institutions have developed.. In view of the above points it

is necessary on the part of the OEA Collector to conduct a detailed enquiry”.

11. Without such confirmation by Member, Board of Revenue, the order of the OEA

Collector had not attained finality, and hence, the lease deed in favour of Kamala Devi

did not attain finality.

12. Certain provisions of the Act need to be noted.

13. Section 2(h) defines an `intermediary’ as follows:

“Intermediary’ with reference to any estate means a proprietor, sub-proprietor,
landlord, land holder, malguzar, thikadar, gaontia, tenure-holder, under-tenure
holder and includes an inamdar, a jagirdar, Zamindar, Illaquedar, Khorposhdar,
Parganadar, Sarbarakar and Maufidar including the ruler of an Indian State
merged with the State of Orissa and all other holders or owners of interest in land
between the raiyat and the State.”

14. Section 2(hh) defines as `intermediary interest’ as an estate or any rights or

interest therein held or owned by or vested in an Intermediary.

15. Significantly, as the above definitions would show, an `intermediary’ and an

`intermediary interest’ cover all the holders or owners of interest in land between the

State and the ‘Raiyat’ i.e. the actual cultivator or tiller of the soil. This is in line with the

object and purpose of the 1951 Act i.e. to establish a direct relationship between the tiller

and the State, and to abolish all intermediary interests, by whatever name called.

16. `Raiyat’ is the actual tiller of the soil, and is defined in section 2(n) as:

‘Raiyat’ means any person holding the land for the purpose of cultivation
and who has acquired the right of occupancy according to the tenancy law
or rules for the time being in force in that area or in the absence of such
law or rules, the custom prevalent in that area.

17. Section 3 of the Act empowers the State to declare,, by notification, that the estate

specified in the notification has passed to and become vested in the State free from all

encumbrances. In similar vein, Section 3A empowers the State to declare by notification that

the intermediary interests of all intermediaries or a class of intermediaries in the whole or

part of the estate have passed to and become vested in the State free from all encumbrances.

18. Upon a notification being issued under the provisions of Sections 3, 3A or 4 of the Act,

the entire estate vests in the State free from encumbrances and the intermediary ceases to

have any interest in such estate other than the interests expressly saved under the Act.

Where a lease or transfer has been made prior to 1.1.1946, solely with the object of defeating the provisions of the Act or to claim higher compensation, Section 5(i) empowers the collector to set aside such lease, settlement or transfer and take possession of the land from such person.

19. By virtue of Section 8, any person who immediately before the vesting of an estate in the State government was in possession of any holding as a tenant under an intermediary, would on the from the date of the vesting, be deemed to be a tenant of the State government.

The words ‘holding as a tenant’ mean the `Raiyat’ and not any other class of tenant:

Reference in this regard may be drawn to the definition of `holding’ in the Orissa Tenancy

Act, 1913. `Holding’ means a parcel or parcels of land held by a raiyat and forming the

subject of a separate tenancy”.

20. Section 8 thus confers protection only on the `Raiyat’ i.e. the actual tiller of the soil.

21. Significantly, a `lease’ and `lessee’ on the one hand are defined separately from

the ‘Raiyat’ under the Act. Thus, the mere execution of a lease by the intermediary in

favour of a person would not confer the status of a ‘raiyat’ on the lessee nor would

protect the possession of such lessee under Section 8. In fact, a `lease’ would amount to a

transfer of an interest of the intermediary in the land to the lessee. In such a situation,

far from being a tenant protected under Section 8, the lessee would in fact step into the

shoes of the intermediary with his interest being liable for confiscation and his

entitlement limited to compensation from the State. On the other hand, for protection

under Section 8, one has to be a Raiyat cultivating the land directly and having the rights

of occupancy under the tenancy laws of the State. Thus, a `lessee’ who is not actually

cultivating the land i.e. who is not a ‘raiyat’, would not be within the protection of

Section 8 of the Act. Section 2(h) of the Act in its residuary part states that

`intermediary’ would cover all owners or holders of interest in land between the raiyat

and the State. In Kumar Bimal Chandra Sinha V. State of Orissa, (1963) 2 SCR 552, this

Court while considering the scope of the Act has held as follows:

“the position in law is that `estate” includes the interest, by whatever’ name called,
of all persons, who hold some right in land between the State at the apex and the
raiyat at the base. That is to say, the Act is intended to abolish all intermediaries
and rent receivers and to establish direct relationship between the State, in which
all such interests vest, after abolition under the Act, and the tillers of the soil.”

22. On the facts of the present case, it is clear that the land was not under cultivation

by Kamala Devi. As per the record of rights published in 1930-31, the disputed land is

classified as Anabadi Land i.e. uncultivable. The land is further described in the records

as Jhudi jungle, i.e. bush forest. In addition, by order dated 6.1.1971 in OEA Case 4 of

1970, the OEA Collector, Bhubaneshwar had found that the lands were lying fallow and

were not in physical possession of any person. The land thus not being cultivated, Kamala

Devi cannot prima facie be considered as a ‘Raiyat’ under the Act.

23. It is the stand of the appellant-State that the ‘Hatapatta’ on the basis of which

Kamala Devi has claimed her title is an unregistered document. Section 107 of the

Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (in short the `T.P. Act’) read with Section 17 of the India

Registration Act, (in short the `Registration Act’) mandates that the conveyance of title

through a written instrument of any immovable property worth more than Rs.100 for a

period of one year or more must be registered. If such an instrument is not registered

then Section 49 of the Registration Act read with Section 91 of the Indian Evidence Act,

1872 (in short the `Evidence Act’) precludes the adducing of any further evidence of the

terms and contents of such a document. [See Sri Sita Maharani v. Chhedi Mahto (AIR

1955 SC 328). There is a further requirement of registration of the instrument of

conveyance/agricultural lease under Sections 15 and 16 of the Orissa Tenancy Act, 1913

(in short the `Tenancy Act').

24. It is further submitted that even presuming that the 'Hatapatta' is legal and valid,

it would, make Kamla Devi a 'tenure-holder' as opposed to a 'raiyat'. Section 2(h) of the

Act defines `intermediary' to include 'tenure-holder'. Thus, a "tenure holder" being an

"intermediary" under the Act- the rights and liabilities of such tenure holder would

stand extinguished under the Act.

25. According to the proviso to Section 5(5) of Tenancy Act where the area held by the

tenant exceeds 33 acres the tenant shall be presumed to be a `tenure-holder' (which

includes her successors-in-interest) until the contrary is proved. As under the

`Hatapatta', purportedly more than 53.95 acres of land has been given by way of lease by

the ex-intermediary to Kamala Devi, she or her successor-in-interest is presumed to be a

`tenure-holder' and, therefore, an `intermediary' under the Act.

26. It is highlighted by learned counsel for the appellant, as various claims on prime

government land in the city of Bhubaneswar have been surfacing on the basis of

fraudulent title papers (called 'Hatapattas') allegedly to have been issued by ex--

intermediaries, the State Government in the General Administration Department, has

handed over the issue of fraudulent 'Hatapattas' to the Crime Branch, CID, Cuttack for

inquiry and necessary legal action vide Capital Police Station Case No.178/2005 dated

20.5.2005. An interim report of the Inspector/CID-Crime Branch dated 31.8.2007 with

respect to the suit land has been submitted.

27. The Crime Branch Report states that the Power of Attorney through which the

suit land has been sought to be alienated in favour of the Respondent herein has been

tampered and manipulated by the Power of Attorney holder, Anup Kumar Dhirsamant,

Managing Director, M/s Milan Developers & Builders (P) Ltd. The vendor, Kishore

Chandra Pattnaik had not given any powers of alienation to his Power of Attorney holder

Anup Kumar Dhirsamant. The respondent Harapriya Bisoi is the mother of the Power of

Attorney holder. The Crime Branch also states that Anup Kumar Dhirsamant had

interpolated the deed of Power of Attorney giving himself powers to enter into a sale deed

so as to be able to alienate the property in favour of his mother, Harapriya Bisoi, the

respondent herein. The report concludes that prima facie offences u/s

420/468/471/477A/167/120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short `IPC'), inter-alia,

have been made out against respondent Harapriya Bisoi and Anup Kumar Dhirsamant.

28. It has also come to light that the Sale Deed (RSD) No.1196/2000 dated 6.3.2000

executed in favour of Harapriya Bisoi, the Respondent herein, has been impounded for

non-payment of adequate stamp duty with the deficit stamp duty and registration fee

amounting to about Rs.1.03 crores.

29. In Settlement Rent Objection Case No. 4013/2002 under the Settlement Act, the

Asst. Settlement Officer by its order dated 10.3.2003 had recorded the suit land in favour

of the G.A. Department.

30. Thereafter, the Respondent filed Settlement Appeal Case, being Suit No. 205 of

2003, to set aside the above order. The Settlement Officer by its order dated 7.10.2004

had dismissed the appeal holding that the draft. Record of Rights in respect of the suit

land shall not be interfered with. The officer returned the following findings:

(1) On perusal of the impugned order passed by the Asst. Settlement

Officer in the said objection case it is revealed that necessary field

enquiry was made in presence of the parties.

(2) It is observed that there exists no such field/plot as found in the not final

map in respect of suit land relating to Hal Plot Nos. 7590 Ac 3.000, 7592

Ac.3.400, 7626 Ac 1.940 and 7646 Ac.5.000 - the map in respect of those

plots are imaginary.

(3) The land relating to Hal Plot No. 7646 Ac 5.000 have been allotted to

Sainik School since the year 1962-63 and comes under the premises of

Sainik School.

(4)The alleged possession of suit land by the appellant is found to be

disputed with others like Dijabar Behera S/o Bhima Behera and Golakh

Behera S/o Kesab Behera.

(5) Besides, an area of Ac 2.300 dec. out of the suit land i.e. Sabik Plot No.

4706 along with its adjoining land to the extent of Ac. 39.399 dec. have

been leased to the Government of India, Ministry of Railways, for the

purpose of construction of office and residential complex of East Coast

Railway, Bhubaneswar. It is also observed by the Asst. Settlement

Officer that no jamabandi in respect of the suit land has been opened in

the Tahsil records.

(6) The Appellant adduced no evidence as regards to acquiring of right,

title, interest and possession over the suit land which is Government

land as per the finally published ROR of the year 1973-74.

(7) Creation of tenancy right in favour of the Appellant by way of deeming

provision u/ s 8 (1) of the Act has also not been recognized by the Tahasildar, Cuttack/Bhubaneswar; the claim of possession by the appellant over the suit land is not confirmed.

31. In course of hearing of the appeals, a query was made as to what is the effect of

the order of the High Court in OJC 2063 of 1992 i.e. whether it covers the area of 7 acres

or the whole area of 53.95 acres of land. Learned counsel for the respondent submitted

that in view of the finding that the order of the Collector was indefensible, obviously the

right, title and interest of the respondent extended to the whole area. This stand is clearly

unsustainable. The Collector's order only referred to certain enquires made to confirm

possession of only 7 acres of land. The High Court apparently has not considered this

aspect. The High Court has also not considered the effect of alleged fraud and the fact

that the relevant department was not a party in the proceedings before the High Court in

OJC 2063 of 1992.

32. It is necessary to consider the effect of fraud.

33. By "fraud" is meant an intention to deceive; whether it is from any expectation of

advantage to the party himself or from the ill will towards the other is immaterial. The

expression "fraud" involves two elements, deceit and injury to the person deceived.

Injury is something other than economic loss, that is, deprivation of property, whether

movable or immovable or of money and it will include and any harm whatever caused to

any person in body, mind, reputation or such others. In short, it is a non-economic or

non-pecuniary loss. A benefit or advantage to the deceiver, will almost always cause loss

or detriment to the deceived. Even in those rare cases where there is a benefit or

advantage to the deceiver, but no corresponding loss to the deceived, the second

condition is satisfied. (See Dr. Vimla v. Delhi Administration (1963 Supp. 2 SCR 585)

and Indian Bank v. Satyam Febres (India) Pvt. Ltd. (1996 (5) SCC 550).

34. A "fraud" is an act of deliberate deception with the design of securing something

by taking unfair advantage of another. It is a deception in order to gain by another's

loss. It is a cheating intended to get an advantage. (See S.P. Changalvaraya Naidu v.

Jagannath (1994 (1) SCC 1).

35. "Fraud" as is well known vitiates every solemn act. Fraud and justice never dwell

together. Fraud is a conduct either by letter or words, which includes the other person

or authority to take a definite determinative stand as a response to the conduct of the

former either by words or letter. It is also well settled that misrepresentation itself

amounts to fraud. Indeed, innocent misrepresentation may also give reason to claim

relief against fraud. A fraudulent misrepresentation is called deceit and consists in

leading a man into damage by willfully or recklessly causing him to believe and act on

falsehood. It is a fraud in law if a party makes representations, which he knows to be

false, and injury enures therefrom although the motive from which the representations

proceeded may not have been bad. An act of fraud on court is always viewed seriously.

A collusion or conspiracy with a view to deprive the rights of the others in relation to a

property would render the transaction void ab initio. Fraud and deception are

synonymous. Although in a given case a deception may not amount to fraud, fraud is

anathema to all equitable principles and any affair tainted with fraud cannot be

perpetuated or saved by the application of any equitable doctrine including res judicata.

(See Ram Chandra Singh v. Savitri Devi and Ors. (2003 (8) SCC 319).

36. "Fraud" and collusion vitiate even the most solemn proceedings in any civilized

system of jurisprudence. It is a concept descriptive of human conduct. Michael Levi

likens a fraudster to Milton's sorcerer, Comus, who exulted in his ability to, `wing me

into the easy hearted man and trap him into snares'. It has been defined as an act of

trickery or deceit. In Webster's Third New International Dictionary "fraud" in equity

has been defined as an act or omission to act or concealment by which one person

obtains an advantage against conscience over another or which equity or public policy

forbids as being prejudicial to another. In Black's Legal Dictionary, "fraud" is defined

as an intentional perversion of truth for the purpose of inducing another in reliance

upon it to part with some valuable thing belonging to him or surrender a legal right; a

false representation of a matter of fact whether by words or by conduct, by false or

misleading allegations, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed,

which deceives and is intended to deceive another so that he shall act upon it to his legal

injury. In Concise Oxford Dictionary, it has been defined as criminal deception, use of

false representation to gain unjust advantage; dishonest artifice or trick. According to

Halsbury's Laws of England, a representation is deemed to have been false, and

therefore a misrepresentation, if it was at the material date false in substance and in fact.

Section 17 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 defines "fraud" as act committed by a party

to a contract with intent to deceive another. From dictionary meaning or even otherwise

fraud arises out of deliberate active role of representator about a fact, which he knows to

be untrue yet he succeeds in misleading the representee by making him believe it to be

true. The representation to become fraudulent must be of fact with knowledge that it

was false. In a leading English case i.e. Derry and Ors. v. Peek (1886-90) All ER 1 what

constitutes "fraud" was described thus: (All ER p. 22 B-C) "fraud" is proved when it is

shown that a false representation has been made (i) knowingly, or (ii) without belief in its

truth, or (iii) recklessly, careless whether it be true or false". But "fraud" in public law

is not the same as "fraud" in private law. Nor can the ingredients, which establish

"fraud" in commercial transaction, be of assistance in determining fraud in

Administrative Law. It has been aptly observed by Lord Bridge in Khawaja v. Secretary

of State for Home Deptt. (1983) 1 All ER 765, that it is dangerous to introduce maxims of common law as to effect of fraud while determining fraud in relation of statutory law.

"Fraud" in relation to statute must be a colourable transaction to evade the provisions of

a statute. "If a statute has been passed for some one particular purpose, a court of law

will not countenance any attempt which may be made to extend the operation of the Act

to something else which is quite foreign to its object and beyond its scope. Present day

concept of fraud on statute has veered round abuse of power or mala fide exercise of

power. It may arise due to overstepping the limits of power or defeating the provision of

statute by adopting subterfuge or the power may be exercised for extraneous or

irrelevant considerations. The colour of fraud in public law or administration law, as it

is developing, is assuming different shades. It arises from a deception committed by

disclosure of incorrect facts knowingly and deliberately to invoke exercise of power and

procure an order from an authority or tribunal. It must result in exercise of jurisdiction

which otherwise would not have been exercised. The misrepresentation must be in

relation to the conditions provided in a section on existence or non-existence of which the

power can be exercised. But non-disclosure of a fact not required by a statute to be

disclosed may not amount to fraud. Even in commercial transactions non-disclosure of

every fact does not vitiate the agreement. "In a contract every person must look for

himself and ensures that he acquires the information necessary to avoid bad bargain. In

public law the duty is not to deceive. (See Shrisht Dhawan (Smt.) v. M/s. Shaw Brothers

(1992 (1) SCC 534).

37. In that case it was observed as follows:

"Fraud and collusion vitiate even the most solemn proceedings in any civilized
system of jurisprudence. It is a concept descriptive of human conduct. Michael
levi likens a fraudster to Milton's sorcerer, Comus, who exulted in his ability to,
'wing me into the easy-hearted man and trap him into snares'". It has been
defined as an act of trickery or deceit. In Webster's Third New International
Dictionary fraud in equity has been defined as an act or omission to act or
concealment by which one person obtains an advantage against conscience over
another or which equity or public policy forbids as being prejudicial to another.
In Black's Legal Dictionary, fraud is defined as an intentional perversion of truth
for the purpose of inducing another in reliance upon it to part with some valuable
thing belonging to him or surrender a legal right; a false representation of a
matter of fact whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations,
or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed, which deceives and is
intended to deceive another so that he shall act upon it to his legal injury. In
Concise Oxford Dictionary, it has been defined as criminal deception, use of false
representation to gain unjust advantage; dishonest artifice or trick. According to
Halsbury's Laws of England, a representation is deemed to have been false, and
therefore a misrepresentation, if it was at the material date false in substance and
in fact. Section 17 of the Contract Act defines fraud as act committed by a party
to a contract with intent to deceive another. From dictionary meaning or even
otherwise fraud arises out of deliberate active role of representator about a fact
which he knows to be untrue yet he succeeds in misleading the representee by
making him believe it to be true. The representation to become fraudulent must
be of the fact with knowledge that it was false. In a leading English case Derry v.
Peek [(1886-90) ALL ER Rep 1: (1889) 14 AC 337 (HL)] what constitutes fraud
was described thus : (All Er p. 22 B-C)

`Fraud is proved when it is shown that a false representation
has been made (i) knowingly, or (ii) without belief in its truth, or (iii)
recklessly, careless whether it be true or false’.”

38. This aspect of the matter has been considered by this Court in Roshan Deen v.

Preeti Lal (2002 (1) SCC 100) Ram Preeti Yadav v. U.P. Board of High School and

Intermediate Education (2003 (8) SCC 311), Ram Chandra Singh’s case (supra) and

Ashok Leyland Ltd. v. State of T.N. and Another (2004 (3) SCC 1).

39. Suppression of a material document would also amount to a fraud on the court.

(see Gowrishankar v. Joshi Amba Shankar Family Trust (1996 (3) SCC 310) and S.P.

Chengalvaraya Naidu’s case (supra).

40. “Fraud” is a conduct either by letter or words, which induces the other person or

authority to take a definite determinative stand as a response to the conduct of the

former either by words or letter. Although negligence is not fraud but it can be

evidence on fraud; as observed in Ram Preeti Yadav’s case (supra).

41. In Lazarus Estate Ltd. v. Beasley (1956) 1 QB 702, Lord Denning observed at

pages 712 & 713, “No judgment of a Court, no order of a Minister can be allowed to

stand if it has been obtained by fraud. Fraud unravels everything.” In the same

judgment Lord Parker LJ observed that fraud vitiates all transactions known to the law

of however high a degree of solemnity.

42. There is another statute which has great relevance to the present dispute, i.e. The

Orissa Communal Forest and Private Lands (Prohibitions of Alienation) Act, 1948 (in

short `Communal Forest Land’).

43. In Maganti Subrahmanyam (dead) by his Legal Representative v. The State of

Andhra Pradesh (AIR 1970 SC 403) it was observed as follows:

“4. The purpose of the Act was to prohibit the alienation of communal,
forest and private lands in estates in the Province of Madras and the
preamble to the Act shows that it was enacted to prevent indiscriminate
alienation of communal, forest and private lands in estates in the Province
of Madras pending the enactment of legislation for acquiring the interests
of landholders in such estates and introducing ryotwari settlement therein.
No fixed duration of the Act was specified and it is impossible to hold that
merely because of the above preamble the Act became a temporary Act.
The definition of `forest land’ is given in Section 2(b) of the Act reading:
`forest land’ includes any waste land containing trees and shrubs, pasture
land and any other class of land declared by the State Government to be
forest land by notification in the Fort St. George Gazette”.

Sub-section (1) of Section 3 prohibited landholders from selling,
mortgaging, converting into ryoti land, leasing or otherwise assigning or
alienating any communal or forest land in an estate without the previous
sanction of the District Collector, on or after the date on which the
ordinance which preceded the Act came into force, namely, 27th June,
1947. Section 4(1) provided that:
“Any transaction of the nature prohibited by Section 3 which took place, in
the case of any communal or forest land, on or after the 31st day of
October, 1939 … shall be void and inoperative and shall not confer or take
away, or be deemed to have conferred or taken away, any right whatever
on or from any party to the transaction:
* * *”
This sub-section had a proviso with several clauses. Our attention was
drawn to clauses (iii), (iv) and (v) of the proviso but in our opinion none of
these provisos was applicable to the facts of the case so as to exclude the
operation of sub-section (1) of Section 4. Under sub-section (3) of Section 4:
“If any dispute arises as to the validity of the claim of any person to any
land under clauses (i) to (v) of the proviso to sub-section (1), it shall be open
to such person or to any other person interested in the transaction or to the
State Government, to apply to the District Judge of the district in which
the land is situated, for a decision as to the validity of such claim.”
Under sub-section (4) the District Judge to whom such application is made
was to decide whether the claim to the land was valid or not after giving
notice to all persons concerned and where the application was not made by
the State Government, to the Government itself, and his decision was to be
final. Madras Act 26 of 1948, was passed on April 19, 1949, being an Act to
provide for the repeal of the Permanent Settlement, the acquisition of the
rights of landholders in permanently settled and certain other estates in the
Province of Madras, and the introduction of ryotwari settlement in such
estates. Apparently because of the preamble to the Act it was contended
that with the enactment of the repeal of the Permanent Settlement by the
Act of 1948, which also provided for the acquisition of the rights of
landholders in permanently settled estates, the Act stood repealed. We fail
to see how because of the preamble to the Act it can be said that it stood
repealed by the enactment of the later Act unless there were express words
to that effect or unless there was a necessary implication. It does not stand
to reason to hold that the alienation of large blocks of land which were
rendered void under the Act became good by reason of the passing of the
later Act. Our attention was drawn to Section 63 of the later Act which
provided that:

“If any question arises whether any land in an estate is a forest or is
situated in a forest, or as to the limits of a forest, it shall be determined by
the Settlement Officer, subject to an appeal to the Director within such time
as may be prescribed and also to revision by the Board of Revenue.”

In terms the section was only prospective and it did not seek to impeach
any transaction which was effected before the Act and was not applicable
to transactions anterior to the Act. In our opinion Section 56(1) of the later Act to which our attention was drawn by the learned counsel does not fall for consideration in this case and the disputes covered by that section do not embrace the question before us.

5, Madras General Clauses Act 1 of 1891, deals with the effect of
repeals off statutes. Section 8, sub-section (f) thereof provides that:
“Where any Act, to which this Chapter applies, repeals any other
enactment, then the repeal shall not–
(a)-(e) * * *
(f) affect any investigation, legal proceeding or remedy in respect of any
such right, privilege, obligation, liability, fine, penalty, forfeiture or
punishment as aforesaid; and any such investigation, legal proceeding or
remedy may be instituted, continued or enforced, and any such fine,
penalty, forfeiture or punishment may be imposed, as if the repealing Act
had not been passed.”
This shows that even if there was a repeal any investigation started before
the repeal would have to be continued and legal proceedings under the Act
could be prosecuted as if the repealing Act had not been passed.

6. There is also no force in the contention that unless there was a
notification under Section 2(b) of the Act declaring a particular land to be
forest land, the applicability of the Act would be excluded. The definition of
`forest land’ in that section is an inclusive one and shows that `forest land’
would include not only waste land containing trees, shrubs and pasture
lands but also any other class of lands declared by Government to be forest
land. This does not mean that before a piece of land could be said to be
forest land there would have to be a notification by the Government under
the Act.”

44. In view of the aforesaid conclusions we are of the considered view that the matter

needs to be re-considered by the High Court.

45. The High Court while re-hearing the matter shall also consider the effect of the

aforesaid observations of this Court, and various aspects highlighted above.

46. In the background of the massiveness of apparent fraud involved, effective and

participative role of officials of the State cannot be lost sight of. Without their active and

effective participation manipulation of records, tampering with documents could not

have been possible. The State would do well to persue the matter with seriousness to

unravel the truth and punish the erring officials and take all permissible actions

(including criminal action) against every one involved.

47. The appeals are allowed to the aforesaid extent.


New Delhi,
April 20, 2009


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 441 other followers

%d bloggers like this: