LEGAL NEWS 02.05.2012

Supreme Court grants time to Italian government to specify stand

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN May 1, 2012, 02.46PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today asked the Italian government to tell it by tomorrow if it would ensure the presence of four naval guards of its merchant navy ship Enrica Lexie in India during criminal proceedings against their two colleagues, accused of killing two fishermen off Kerala cost.

A bench of Justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale put the matter for tomorrow after the Italian government’s counsel and senior advocate Harish Salve said he needs time for a specific instruction from his client on the issue.

Salve said he wants to be very clear before making any submission about the Italian authorities’ stand on if they are willing to accept the jurisdiction of the Indian courts as there is also a question of sovereign immunity involved in it.

Appearing for Kerala, former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium had yesterday sought imposition of stringent conditions for release of the ship and compel the presence of the crew and marine officers during the proceeding against their two colleagues.

The court reiterated its concerns that the criminal proceedings here should not be defeated.

The apex court on Monday had termed Italy’s compromise with the kin of two Indian fishermen shot dead by its naval guards, as “illegal” and “astonishing” and had said that they were “playing” with the Indian process of law and felt Kerala should have filed an objection.

The bench said the mouths of the families of the two victims – Jalastine and Binki – have been “locked” by the Italian government by paying each an amount of Rs 1 crore, defeating the Indian legal system.

The apex court had also sought the Italian government’s stand on the question of releasing the impounded ship with certain conditions after the owner of the vessel claimed that their detention had cost the company Rs 200 crore.

Subramanium had, however, told the court that Kerala was not a party to the compromise and had reserved the right to challenge it before higher forum.

Kerala yesterday had sought imposition of stringent conditions for release of the ship and wanted the court to ensure the presence of the crew and marine officers during trial of their two colleagues for allegedly killing the fishermen in February this year.

Counsel for Kerala government had said it would not oppose release of the ship provided stringent conditions, including bank guarantee, adequate bond and security were imposed on the marines to secure their presence during trial as charge sheet would be filed in another 15 days.

Attorney general G E Vahanvati had yesterday sought to distance himself from the controversial stand taken by additional solicitor General Harin Raval that the Kerala government had no jurisdiction to deal with the issue.

“I don’t stand by the statement that the Kerala government had no jurisdiction. Even the ASG had clarified it on the other day. It was his personal view. That statement was also not an issue before this court,” he had told the bench.

Earlier on April 23, another bench of the apex court had sought replies of the the Centre and the Kerala government on Italian government’s plea to quash the criminal cases against its two merchant navy personnel.

In its petition filed under Article 32, the Italian government had asserted that the Kerala government has no locus standi to register any criminal case as the alleged offence ought to be treated under international law and covenants as India is a signatory to the UN charter.







Telenor India unit cleared to challenge auction plans

NEW DELHI | Tue May 1, 2012 12:07pm EDT

May 1 (Reuters) – Telenor’s Indian unit said on Tuesday the country’s Supreme Court has allowed it to file an application challenging the telecom sector regulator’s proposals for a 2G airwaves auction, which have been widely criticised by mobile carriers.

The court has asked the Indian government to redistribute airwaves through an open auction by August, after ordering cancellation of all permits that were awarded to carriers in a scandal-tainted allocation process in 2008.

Telenor is among eight carriers that are set to lose some or all of their zonal operating permits after the court order, and the auction would be their last chance to win back those licences.

But in another blow to the affected carriers, the sector regulator has suggested an auction starting price that is nearly 10 times higher than what companies had paid in the 2008 sale.

The regulator has also proposed that less than a fifth of the airwaves available be put up for auction, which risks driving up bid prices, and also means that only one or two of the carriers whose licences are being cancelled can win back the permits.

Telenor’s India unit said in a statement on Tuesday that it had sought clearance to argue that the auction proposals were not in line with the court’s earlier order.

“The Court has allowed us to file an application and stated that it is open to hearing our arguments,” the company said, without elaborating. A company spokesman declined to comment beyond the statement.

The regulator’s proposals are not binding on the Indian government and a panel of ministers have the final say on auction rules.

Telenor, which has written down a total $1.4 billion of Indian assets, warned on Monday it would exit the Indian market if the current plans for the auction go ahead. ($1 = 52.7000 Indian rupees= 5.7283 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)







NCW stinker to Didi on West Bengals rising crime rate

Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2012, 9:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has sent a stinker to West Bengal government pointing towards a steep rise in crime against women in the state in recent months.

The NCW had constituted an inquiry committee to look into the recent incidents of crime against women in the state. A three-member committee which visited West Bengal during first week of April, also met the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, observed that incidents of such crimes coupled with a set of unpreparedness among the officers at the level of public contact may actually make the crime a nearly risk-free business for criminals.

The Commission expressed unhappiness over transfer of two key officers – Damyanti Sen, DCP, Kolkata and Pranab Kumar, SP, Bankura – who were transferred before the investigation could be completed in the Park Street gang rape case and the Bankura case of sexual assault on a deaf and mute girl.

It also recommended review of the convention presently adopted by the Comissionerate of Police, Kolkata, which requires an order of a Court before a victim of rape is subjected to a medical examination. The Commission pointed out that this convention is not present in other police organisations including the DGP, West Bengal, and is against the spirit of law and recent judgments of Supreme Court and high courts which clearly indicate that neither the medical officers nor the accused should get advantage in the process and valuable medical evidence against the accused is lost in any matter.

The NCW quoted an analysis of recent cases conducted by a NGO network called Maitree which pointed that West Bengal recorded the 2nd highest number of rape cases in the country and the rate of increase in reported cases was twice the national average. Moreover, this state had the second lowest conviction rate.

It said girls from the age of 7 to women of 72 were subjected to rape and that in 44% cases of gang rape 39% victims were minor girls; 17% of victims were mentally/physically disabled; 8% rapes happened in hospitals/trains; in 44% of cases, accused is still absconding; in 17% of cases, women’s character, or the veracity of cases were publicly questioned; about 39% of rapists were known to women; in about 25% of the cases, FIRs were not filed at all, or filed later due to public pressure or court orders to this effect; and that majority of the case took place in the districts and small towns and villages.









Green Tribunal to hear farmers NGO against Nirma cement plant

PTI | 05:05 PM,May 01,2012

New Delhi, May 1 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal today agreed to hear a body of farmers and villagers in the case filed by Nirma Ltd against environment ministry’s decision to revoke the green nod for its Bhavnagar cement plant in Gujarat, rejecting the company’s opposition. Nirma had moved the Tribunal challenging the December 1 order of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) revoking the environmental clearance granted to it on December 11, 2008 for its 1.91 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) capacity cement plant, 1.5 MTPA coke oven plant and 50 MW captive power plant at Bhavnagar. An NGO, Shri Mahuva Bandhara Khetiwari Paryavaran Bachav Samitee, which claimed to be affected by the project was made a party after it had sought impleadment contending they have taken part in the movement against the project and raised protest from “day one” when the project was proposed to be installed. The NGO’s plea was strongly opposed by Nirma Ltd saying it is “neither necessary nor proper party” as company’s appeal relates only to revocation of environmental clearance by MoEF which is “capable of protecting the order passed by it”. The Tribunal, however, allowed NGO’s application saying the records revealed that they have been an interested party from the beginning. “It (NGO) has not only raised objections but also moved the Gujarat High Court and thereafter Supreme Court, for redressal of its grievances. “Thus it is clear that the members of the applicants association are not strangers to the ‘lis’ (suit), on other hand they have taken part in all stages of decision making process,” said a bench headed by Tribunal Acting Chairperson Justice A S Naidu. The bench directed Nirma Ltd to serve a copy of appeal along with relevant documents to the NGO within two weeks and listed the case for hearing on May 30, 2012.








NHRC notice to U.P. DGP

Special Correspondent

In a shocking incident, an aged woman, who was lying on the road after being hit by a vehicle, was mauled to death by stray dogs, even as the local police personnel were embroiled in a turf war and failed to take her to the hospital.

The incident which happened on April 21 in Hapur in Uttar Pradesh, was highlighted by the media and now the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to the State Director-General of Police, returnable in four weeks, seeking a report on the case.

The media reported that her cries of agony did not evoke any sympathy in the cops and she died on the spot after being bitten by the dogs.

The Commission observed that, if the reports were true, the cops had violated her human rights by not rushing to her assistance.








NHRC pulls up Jammu and Kashmir Chief Mnister Omar Abdullah for blocking flag hoisting

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has pulled up the Omar Abdullah-led government in Jammu and Kashmir for “disallowing” BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Ananth Kumar and a host of party supporters from hoisting the national flag in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk on Republic Day last year.

“Every citizen enjoys the fundamental right to go to Jammu and Kashmir and hoist the national flag in Srinagar on Republic Day. This right is guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution. It is not the case of the state government that the petitioners (BJP) were trying to flout any provision of the Emblems and Names Act 1950 or the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act 1971,” the commission said.

The three leaders were surreptitiously detained at Jammu airport when their chartered flight landed there on the eve of Republic Day. They were to proceed by road to Srinagar to hoist the Tri-colour the next day.

The incident reached a crescendo when Swaraj tweeted: “Arrested – cars – separate – don’t know where to?” They were forcibly escorted away from Jammu and released in Madhopur on the Jammu and Kashmir-Punjab border. A livid Jaitley then claimed that action was illegal, unconstitutional and undemocratic.

More than a year later, a full bench of the human rights commission, headed by retired Supreme Court Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, said the state government violated an apex court order that states that hoisting the national flag was a fundamental right.

Issuing a notice, it asked the state government to explain within two months why it defied the Constitution. The NHRC said the arrests or preventing anybody wishing to hoist the flag was tantamount to taking away his fundamental right.

The party’s youth wing, the Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM), had organised the Ekta Yatra (unity march), a campaign to hoist the Tri-colour at Lal Chowk on January 26. The BJYM president and BJP MP, Anurag Thakur, moved the NHRC following the state government’s highhanded action.

Separatist groups in Kashmir Valley and militant organisations had opposed the BJP’s campaign and threatened to foil it by any means. The NHRC wanted to know why no action was taken against those who threatened to stop the Ekta Yatra.

The BJP contended that the Ekta Yatra would show the separatists that Kashmir has been and will remain an integral part of India.

This was also one way of pitting national sentiments against the separatist discourse as Lal Chowk became a symbol of Kashmiri plebiscite when Jawaharlal Nehru made such as promise there in 1948.

Successive governments in Jammu and Kashmir have used force to prevent hoisting of the Tri-colour at Lal Chowk, citing law and order. A similar ban was enforced last year when Omar Abdullah’s government feared that the BJP’s campaign could whip up frenzy among the separatists, who had already vowed a similar counter-march.






SC transfers to itself Rajiv case convicts’ pleas

J. Venkatesan

Important issue: the question for consideration is whether long delay in deciding on mercy petitions entitles convicts to seek commutation of death sentence

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that the writ petitions filed by three convicts facing the death sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case — Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan — be transferred to itself from the Madras High Court.

A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadhaya passed this order on petitions filed by L.R. Venkat, president of the G.K. Moopanar Peravai, affiliated to the Congress, and two others, for shifting the case on the ground that the atmosphere in the Madras High Court was not conducive to a fair hearing.

The three convicts had filed the writ petitions challenging the rejection of their clemency plea by President Pratibha Patil after 11 years. The High Court on August 30, 2011 stayed their execution.

The Tamil Nadu government and some of the private respondents controverted Mr. Venkat and others’ assertion that the atmosphere in the State “is highly surcharged and fair hearing of the writ petitions filed by the convicts is not possible in the Madras High Court.”

They pleaded that there was no impediment to the hearing of the writ petitions by the High Court and these should not be transferred merely because a similar issue was pending before this court. They also questioned the locus standi of the petitioners to seek transfer of the writ petitions, alleging they were merely busybodies and interested in publicity.

Writing the order, Justice Singhvi said: “Although, the parties have made diametrically opposite assertions about the atmosphere which prevailed in the State after rejection by the President of the mercy petitions filed by V. Sriharan @ Murugan and two others, we do not consider it necessary to decide whether the support extended by the political outfits and others to those who were found guilty of killing the former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, may impede fair adjudication of the writ petitions filed by them warrants transfer of the three writ petitions from the Madras High Court to this court.”

The Bench said: “However, keeping in view the fact that an identical question is pending consideration before this court in the writ petition filed by Devender Pal Singh Bhullar and Mahendra Nath Das, we deem it proper to exercise power under Article 139A (1) of the Constitution.”

Similar plea

The Bench said “There is no dispute between the parties that the question which arises for consideration in the writ petitions filed by three convicts is, whether long delay in the decision of the mercy petitions entitles the convicts to seek commutation of the death sentence. This case is similar to the one raised in the cases filed by Devender Pal Singh Bhullar and Mahendra Nath Das. In our opinion, that question is of substantial general importance and a decision thereof is likely to affect a large number of persons who have been convicted by the competent courts and sentenced to death and whose mercy petitions have remained pending for years together. Therefore, we are satisfied that it will be in the interest of justice to transfer the three writ petitions pending before the Madras High Court.”

The Bench directed the Registrar-General of the Madras High Court to send the records of the three writ petitions to this court through a messenger within two weeks of receipt of communication from the Registry of this court.

The transferred cases would be listed for July 10 for final disposal. Notice should be issued to the writ petitioners that their case would be taken up for hearing by this court on July 10.







Law College order upheld

Express News Service

CHENNAI: A division bench of the Madras High Court has upheld an order of a single judge, which directed the State government to grant No Objection Certificate (NOC) to Vanniyar Educational Trust to start a new law college in the name of Saraswathy Law College at Tindivanam. The Bench upheld the orders dated September 23 last year of the single judge while dismissing a writ appeal from the Law Secretary.
“We find no infirmity in the impugned order and accordingly, we dismiss the writ appeal directing the appellant/State to consider the application made by the Trust for issuance of the NOC……..,” the Bench said on April 25 last. The Trust had complied with all the conditions, which were required for getting an NOC, the bench noted, and directed the government to pass appropriate orders within four weeks.








Allow KKNPP meeting, police told

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the police to permit a person to hold a public meeting to register protest against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) either near the Koothapakkam Murugan temple or in a ground adjacent to K N Pettai Draupadiamman temple in Cuddalore.
In a writ petition N Sundar had sought to quash an order dated March 20 of the Inspector, Tiruppapuliyur, refusing permission on the ground that it may create a law and order problem.
When the matter came up, the Special Government Pleader said the petitioner could hold the public meeting in the aforesaid places.
In the light of the submission, the petitioner’s counsel agreed to shift the venue of the meeting and to suggest a suitable date. Disposing of the petition, the Justice K Chandru directed the Tiruppapuliyur police to grant permission to the petitioner to hold the public meeting at any one of the two places.








Two government officials arrested in illegal mining case

Press Trust of India | Updated: May 01, 2012 15:09 IST

Bangalore:  A senior Karnataka forest official and a retired mines department official were arrested by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths in connection with the illegal mining case involving Associated Mining Company owned by former minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy and his wife Aruna.

A CBI statement identified the arrested as S Muthaiah, then Deputy Conservator of Forest, Bellary District, the seventh accused in the case, and SP Raju, the then Deputy Director Mines and Geology department, Hospet, Bellary district, and the 22nd accused.

Mr Muthaiah, Conservator of Forests (research), Dharwad, is currently under suspension, while Mr Raju has retired.

The duo was produced before the 47th Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge and Special Judge for the CBI cases who remanded them to police custody for 10 days.

On April 27, the CBI court had extended the judicial custody of Janardhana Reddy and his personal assistant Mehfuz Ali Khan, the two main accused in the case, till May 10.

The CBI had filed a criminal case on the directions of the Supreme Court of India dated October 10, 2011 against Janardhana Reddy and others under various Indian Penal Code sections, Prevention of Corruption Act, Indian Forest Act and Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act 1957.







Samajwadi Party’s Abu Azmi gets 2-year jail term for hate speech | Updated: May 01, 2012 16:59 IST

Mumbai:  A local court on Monday convicted and sentenced Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA Abu Asim Azmi and four others to two years of rigorous imprisonment for allegedly delivering provocative speeches to incite communal violence.

The Mazgaon Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court convicted the accused under Section 153 (a) and 153 (b) of the Indian Penal Code. Apart from sentencing them to a two-year jail term, the court also imposed a fine of Rs. 11,000 on each of the accused. The court, however, suspended their sentence, allowing them to approach the Sessions Court to challenge their conviction.

The case dates back to February 2000, when Azmi had allegedly delivered provocative speeches at Mastan Talao Maidan at Dr D M Dimtikar Marg in Byculla against Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and the then Sena leader Narayan Rane. “He had spoken about Balasaheb Thackeray and India in an undignified manner,” said the complainant, Ganpatrao Madgulkar, who was then the personal assistant of Rane.






Fiat to Army: decide on trial or court-martial

J. Venkatesan

Supreme Court order on fake encounters in Pathribal, Kamrup The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Army to decide whether its personnel involved in fake encounter killings in Pathribal in Jammu and Kashmir and Assam should be court-martialled or tried in regular criminal courts.

If Army authorities were not keen on court-martial proceedings, the Central Bureau of Investigation could seek sanction from the Centre for prosecution of the erring officers, said a Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar.

The case of killing of five civilians in the March 2000 Pathribal encounter has been pending in a Srinagar trial court with both the Army authorities and the officers challenging the Magistrate’s order which asked the Army to explain, under Section 125 of the Army Act, whether it would try its men or wanted the civilian court to do the job. As the Jammu and Kashmir High Court ruled against them, the Army personnel appealed to the Supreme Court.

The CBI maintained that no sanction was necessary to prosecute the erring officers under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) as the cold-blooded murders could not be said to fall within the ambit of their official duties.

In Assam, the CBI completed the investigation and filed charge sheet against seven Army personnel in the Court of Special Judicial Magistrate, Kamrup, under Section 302/201 read with Section 109 of the Indian Penal Code, for killing five civilians in a fake encounter. In this case, the Centre maintained that sanction from the competent authority was required for the prosecution of Army personnel.

Writing the judgment, Justice Chauhan said: “The competent Army Authority has to exercise his discretion as to whether the trial would be by a court-martial or a criminal court after the filing of the charge sheet and not after cognisance of the offence is taken by the court. A conjoint reading of the relevant statutory provisions and rules makes it clear that the term ‘institution’ contained in Section 7 of the Act 1990 means taking cognisance of the offence and not mere presentation of the charge sheet by the investigating agency.”

Rejecting the Centre’s stand that the Army personnel facing the CBI charge sheet could not be tried as they were discharging their official duty, the Bench said: “Facts of this case require sanction of the Central government to proceed with the criminal prosecution/trial. In case option is made to try the accused by a court-martial, sanction of the Central government is not required.”







MHA nod must for prosecution in AFSPA cases: SC

Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

The Supreme Court has ruled that in a case of `fake encounter’ killing by an army personnel in an area which is under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, an investigating agency would have to seek the home ministry’s sanction to prosecute the accused. However, there’s no need to secure the sanction if the personnel is court-martialled under the Army Act.

In a first-ever ruling that distinguishes between the code of criminal procedure – which regulates criminal proceedings under the Indian Penal Code and similar laws – and the Army Act, the court on Tuesday held that sanction in a criminal case such as the encounter killings of seven innocent persons allegedly by army personnel in Pathribal, J&K, 12 years ago, is necessary.

Sanction is required to “assess the act complained of.This would also include the assessment of cases like mistaken identities or an act performed on the basis of a genuine suspicion,” said the court.

“We are therefore of the view that such immunity clauses have to be interpreted with wide discretionary powers to the sanctioning authority in order to uphold the official discharge of duties in good faith and a sanction therefore has to be issued only on the basis of a sound objective assessment and not otherwise,” the top court said while issuing a slew of directions in fake encounter cases by army personnel in J&K and the insurgency-affected Kamrup in Assam in 1994.

The trial of suspected army personnel has been unduly delayed due to the prolonged litigation on whether a civil court could take cognisance of the grave offence committed by the army personnel, without sanction from the appropriate authority.

While in Pathribal killings, five armed personnel were involved in the crime, in the insurgency-affected Saikhowa Reserve Forest in Kamrup, Assam, army personnel were accused of killing five local residents under the pretext of exchange of fire with armed insurgents.

According to CBI lawyer Ashok Bhan, “This ruling is guidance for the civil and army authorities when they face cases relating to suspected fake encounter killings by the armed personnel.”
The Judges granted two months to the army authorities to take a call on whether they want to invoke the Army Act, otherwise they must inform the respective chief judicial magistrates so that the process of trial under the IPC could be resumed. But, the court martial proceedings must start immediately, judges said.

According to the CBI chargesheet in Pathribal case,the then Col Ajay Saxena ,MajorBrajendraPratapSingh,Major Sourabh Sharma andSubedar Idrees Khan `hatched’ a conspiracyto cover up the fake encounter killings. It also said in the chargesheet that innocent persons were killed in Pathribal soon after the terrorists had gunned down 36 Silkhs in village Chittising Pora, District Anantnag on March 20,2000.






Family court inaugurated at Patiala House Courts complex

PTI | 08:05 PM,May 01,2012

New Delhi, May 1 (PTI) The Delhi High Court’s Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri today inaugurated a family court at the Patiala House court complex here. Besides Justice Sikri, several judges of the Delhi High Court and trial courts too attended the inauguration ceremony. The family courts are set up with an objective to tackle a heavy backlog of cases pertaining to the family matters and hear them in a congenial atmosphere, different from the intimidating ones at regular courts. The family court, opened at the Patiala House court complex, would would deal with family cases of New Delhi district area. During the ceremony, a play based on family theme, was also staged. The family court would ensure a congenial environment to deal with matters such as marriage, divorce, alimony, child custody and others. The family court at Patiala House court complex would be in addition to the existing family courts in the city at Dwarka, Rohini, Saket and Karkardooma court complexes. The family court at Patiala House would also have full-time counsellors to guide the families.






Supreme Court grants interim bail to sexual assault victim

Special Correspondent

Made an accused by Jaipur Police in a counter case to hers against the police

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted interim bail to a paraplegic and alleged victim of custodial sexual torture from Jaipur. The girl had been made an accused by the Jaipur Police (District East) in a counter case to hers against the police.

Justice C. S. Thakur and Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra of the Supreme Court, who heard the matter, noted that the girl was a “living corpse” and she deserved dignity and not custody. Quoting from the order, the Judges said that the report from the board of doctors constituted under the orders of the High Court showed that the petitioner was a complete paraplegic. “Her left leg has been amputated above the knee. She has also lost voluntary control of bowel and bladder, and is completely dependent for all her activities of daily living. She has permanent disability of more than 80 per cent”.

The girl was represented by senior counsel Colin Gonsalves. The State of Rajasthan was represented by Additional Advocate-General Manish Singhvi.

“Mr. Gonsalves submits that keeping in view the medical condition of the petitioner and the fact that she has been in custody for past 63 days, this court could consider granting interim bail to her. Dr. Singhvi does not seriously oppose that prayer and submits that pending. Final disposal of the petition and filing of objections by the respondent, the court could grant interim bail to the petitioner,” said the Judges.

“In the circumstances, therefore, we direct that the petitioner shall be released from custody on her furnishing bail bonds in a sum of Rs. 10,000 with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the trial court .This order is only an interim arrangement and shall remain subject to the final outcome of the SLP,” they said.

The case dates back to January 23, 2011, when the girl was sexually abused allegedly in police custody. She had taken to the police station in the name of interrogation in a missing case of one of her friends. Shattered by the sexual abuse the girl threw herself in front of a train next morning. She survived the suicide attempt, becoming a paraplegic.

The policemen allegedly involved were arrested following the public outrage. When the girl’s friend returned on May 4, 2011, after having spent time in Mathura, she was made to give statements against the victim. Consequently, victim and two persons who witnessed her sexual torture were arrested. The girl was arrested on the February 29.

“The law on bail clearly gives powers to police and magisterial courts to grant bail u/s 437 (1) (2) ‘if such person is under the age of 16 years or is a woman or is sick or infirm’ but in the case of the victim, neither did the investigating officer of the case, nor the Magisterial court/ the District court granted her bail when she was a fit case of bail at all levels,” said Kavita Srivastava, General Secretary of People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Rajasthan.






Bofors appeal: NDA delayed and UPA denied

Ritu Sarin : New Delhi, Wed May 02 2012, 01:27 hrs

For all the UPA vs NDA noise over the Bofors case in the wake of Sten Lindstrom’s interview, what neither side will say is what lies buried in voluminous case files and notings by key CBI investigators and law officers. These reveal that between 2004-2006, the CBI was forced to toe the line of its political masters. So much so that it watched as two crucial court judgments in the Bofors case went unchallenged in the Supreme Court.

On Feburary 4, 2004, an order passed by Justice J D Kapoor in the Bofors case in the Delhi High Court quashed all charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act and bribery under the Indian Penal Code. Confidential files accessed by The Indian Express show that the CBI moved quickly to challenge the high court order in the apex court. The first noting on the file was made six days after the verdict — on February 10, 2004.

Subsequent notings were made on February 19, by which time key CBI officers, Keshav Mishra and A K Majumdar wrote on file: “Draft material for SLP (special leave petition) has been prepared…’’

Several weeks then passed in obtaining the opinion of noted criminal lawyer N Natarajan, which came in as late as April 21. And three days later, the CBI got a crucial input from its Director of Prosecution S K Sharma: “Both the counsel (U S Prasad, additional legal advisor, CBI and Natarajan) have recommended to go in for SLP against the order of the Delhi High Court. We may act accordingly and send a proposal to the Cabinet Secretariat for instructing the Central Agency Section to file the SLP in Supreme Court.’’

This file — along with the draft SLP — was sent to the cabinet secretariat on May 6, “with the approval of Director, CBI’’.

The draft SLP, also with The Indian Express, is a 28-page document argued that the High Court “erred.”

Even as the CBI worked overtime to file the SLP, the country voted to elect a new government. On May 20, 2004, the UPA came to power and the very next day, key CBI investigator Keshav Mishra was asked to hold a meeting on the subject of filing the SLP with O P Verma, Deputy Legal Advisor in the Law Ministry. Mishra recorded the meeting on file on May 25 by which time Manmohan Singh had been sworn in as Prime Minister.

The CBI files reveal that subsequently, it was the Law Ministry that piled up one opinion after another — reversing the stand of the CBI — against filing of the crucial appeal. Verma’s own opinion is dated June 1, 2004 and ends with …”no substantial question of law is involved, which may require any intervention under Article 136 of the Constitution. Thus it does not appear to be a fit case for filing of an SLP in the Supreme Court.’’

The next crucial opinion was that of Union Law Secretary, R L Meena, dated June 22, 2004, which was dispatched to the Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training. The operative part of his four-page opinion: “The judgement of the Delhi High Court appears to be unassailable both from factual as well as legal point of view. Therefore, this is not a fit case for filing SLP in the Supreme Court against the judgement.’’

The final nail in the coffin was the opinion of newly appointed Attorney General Milon K Banerji who, in a brief one-para opinion wrote on July 5, 2004: “I have perused the papers, in particular, the careful summary prepared by R L Meena, Law Secretary. I agree with the view of the Law Secretary that this is not a fit case for filing a Special Leave Petition.’’

The final noting on the file is that of the then CBI Director U S Mishra who on July 7, 2004 wrote: “Received a communication that Attorney General has vetted the opinion of the Law Department. In view of clear opinion of AG no SLP need to be filed.’’

Asked why the SLP wasn’t filed when he was Minister, Arun Jaitley, NDA Law Minister in 2004, in an interview on CNN-IBN, listed reasons such as vacation in the court and paperwork that needed to be done by the CBI. And he said: “We did not know we are going to lose the election.’’





1st woman judge of HC Justice Amiya Padhi dead

Express News Service

CUTTACK: Eminent jurist and first woman judge of the Orissa High Court Justice Amiya Kumari Padhi passed away at her Bhaskosh lane residence here following illness on Monday. She was 79 and is survived by her husband and former DGP Shyam Sundar Padhi, two daughters and a son.

Daughter of late Justice JK Mishra and niece of former Chief Justice and Governor of Odisha Justice Gati Krushna Mishra, she was born in Dhenkanal on September 15, 1933. She completed her matriculation in Sambalpur and graduated from Ravenshaw College in 1953. She went on to pursue law education and enrolled at the Bar in 1964. Justice Padhi was elevated to the judge of the Orissa High Court on April 18, 1988. She retired on September 14, 1995.

However, she continued to lead a very active life till the end. She was the member NSA of the Orissa High Court. She was also a member of the Ethical Committee of the Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Bhubaneswar. Judges of the High Court, Advocate-General Ajay Mohanty and senior lawyers visited her residence to pay their last respects






Sohrab case: 2 constables move HC for bail

Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012, 19:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

Two constables accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case moved a bail petition in the Gujarat high court on Monday. Their plea will come up for hearing on June 15.
Ajay Parmar and Santram Sharma, both of whom were constables with the anti-terrorist squad, were arrested by CID (crime) which had investigated the case before it was handed over to the CBI.

According to the prosecution case, the two men had played an active role in the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and the disappearance of Kausarbi.

“We have sought bail for both the constables as they have been given a clean chit by the CBI on the ground that they had acted on the instructions of officers,” said Punit Juneja, counsel for both the constables.

“Earlier in the case, the CBI had given a clean chit to VA Rathod who later got bail from the Supreme Court. Hence, Parmar and Sharma should also be given bail on the ground of parity,” the lawyer said.

Sohrabuddin Sheikh was killed in 2005 in a fake encounter by the ATS of the Gujarat police. His wife, Kausarbi, was also allegedly murdered by the ATS personnel. The Supreme Court had hand over the probe first to CID (crime) and then to the CBI after hearing the petition filed by Sohrabuddin’s brother, Rubabuddin.

More than 16 policemen, including four IPS officers, are behind bars in connection with the case. Former Gujarat minister of home Amit Shah was also arrested but he was granted bail.







Were pre-fabricated structures for liquor sale permitted on green belt, HC asks UT–HC-asks-UT/944164/

Express news service : Chandigarh, Wed May 02 2012, 00:54 hrs

To ascertain whether pre-fabricated structures for sale of liquor had been allowed to come up on the green belt or on land reserved for expansion of road, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday directed the Chandigarh administration to furnish the required information.

The court on the last date of hearing had made it clear that any allotment of license to pre-fabricated structures for sale of liquor would be subject to outcome of a public interest litigation (PIL) pending before the court.

A few residents had moved the High Court against grant of liquor licenses in a “pre-fabricated temporary structure” at various parts of the city.

The High Court had issued notices to Chandigarh administration and Municipal Corporation on the petition filed by Amit Jain of Industrial Area Phase I and other city residents.

The petitioners have sought directions of the administration and MC authorities to discontinue the grant of liquor licenses at a “pre-fabricated temporary structure”, alleging that it was not only illegal, but also hazardous to public, as it endangered free flow of traffic movement, because of the location of the structures.

Senior lawyer Chetan Mittal, counsel for the petitioners, also sought directions to quash the excise policy of the administration in respect to such sale, which had been named as “L-14-A” licenses as per the excise policy for 2011-12 or in the alternative to discontinue the same in future excise policy commencing from May 1, 2012.

Mittal also contended that taverns had become a frequent source of traffic hazards, parking woes, drunken brawls, accidents and crimes.






Schools can’t increase fees without Board nod, says HC

Express news service : Chandigarh, Wed May 02 2012, 01:30 hrs

In a significant development and respite for parents, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today restrained the schools in Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana from hiking fees without obtaining prior permission from the Education Boards and Councils they are affiliated to. “No fee and other charges shall be enhanced by any school situated within the territorial jurisdiction of this court and affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education, Punjab School Education Board and the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education, without prior approval of the respective Board/ Council”, a division bench comprising Justice S K Mittal and Justice TPS Mann held today.

The Bench has also issued directions to ensure that no books other than NCERT were prescribed in Punjab schools. The schools have been directed to take their respective Education Boards into confidence before any fee hike. The Bench has also directed that schools would submit their profit and loss statement for the past five years to the Central Board of Secondary Education, ICSE or Punjab School Education Board where they were affiliated.

Also, no CBSE affiliated schools would prescribe books published by publishers other than NCERT. The directions were issued on three PILs filed raising the same issue.

One of the petitions has been jointly filed by 10 students from Malerkotla while two other petitioners were city-based NGOs Anti Corruption and Crime Investigation Cell and All India Crime Preventing Society. Senior lawyer Pawan Kumar, counsel for the petitioners, sought directions to authorities to curb the menace of irrational and whimsical school fee hike by the schools.

The petitioner, referred to several Supreme Court judgments which hold that each school would maintain the account of the schools on the principles of non-business organisation.

Citing the example of a school in Punjab, the petitioner stated that in academic session 2009, the school was charging fee that included admission fee of Rs 3,500, annual charges of Rs 4,500 besides quarterly tuition fee, computer fee, science fee, conveyance fee and building fund amounting to total of Rs 5,000.

The fee was subsequently hiked in the following years. In academic year starting in 2012, the fee had been hiked to annual charges Rs 11,000, development fee Rs 2,000 besides other fees charged on quarterly basis.

The petitioner stated that as per calculation, in 2010, total amount of Rs 1.08 crore had been collected by the school as annual charges while the same was Rs 1.87 crore for the session in 2011. This is besides the students being forced to buy stationary and school dress from school shops.

The bench today issued directions to Punjab School Education Board, ICSE and CBSE to file affidavit about the schools in their jurisdiction and also that have all the schools’ filed profit and loss account for the past five years

The Boards have also been asked to file their responses as to it was being ensured that teachers were getting salaries as per norms and Right to Education Act was being followed by these schools.





MET vice chairman moves HC seeking CBI probe against Bhujbal

PTI | 08:05 PM,May 01,2012

Mumbai, May 1 (PTI) In a fresh trouble for Maharashtra PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, a criminal petition, seeking a CBI probe into the role of the senior NCP leader and his family members into alleged misappropriation of trust funds and property, was today filed in the Bombay High Court by Sunil Karve, founder trustee and vice chairman of Bhujbal’s Mumbai Educational Trust (MET). Karve, who moved the high court through his counsel Sayaji Nangre, demanded CBI inquiry against Bhujbal and his family members for allegedly embezzling the trust funds and property for their personal benefit. The high court yesterday issued a notice to Bhujbal seeking his reply on a PIL filed by a freedom fighter alleging that the minister’s trust, which runs the Bhujbal Knowledge City in Nashik, charged exorbitant fees to the tune of Rs 8 crore from students since 2010. Karve had filed a plaint on February 1 with the city police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) seeking investigation against Bhujbal, his wife Meena, son Pankaj, daughter-in-law Vishakha and nephew Sameer. However, when EOW did not initiate any inquiry, Karve approached the high court seeking a CBI probe. The petition states that the “possibility of bias in investigations can not be ruled out” since Bhujbal is a cabinet minister, Pankaj an MLA and Sameer an MP–all belonging to the Nationalist Congress Party–which is a ruling coalition partner in Maharashtra and controls the home ministry. According to Karve, since 2005, Bhujbal and his family members “dishonestly” occupied the entire tenth floor of the city-based Trust building. The petition is likely to come up for hearing tomorrow. PTI SP NSK






No celebratory firing in UP: HC

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 00:32

Lucknow: Concerned over the “brazen display and misuse of arms” in public places and during celebrations, the Allahabad High Court today restrained the arms license holders of Uttar Pradesh from using their weapons for celebratory firing.

A division bench at Lucknow, comprising justices Abdul Mateen and Sudhir Kumar Saxena passed the order in a criminal matter, showing serious concern over the misuse of arms in public and private functions like marriage, birthday and victory procession.

“We direct that henceforth the arm license holders of state are restrained from using arms in celebratory firing on the occasion of marriage, birthday, victory procession or similar gathering. Should anyone violates this order, he will be personally accountable and will be dealt with in accordance with law by this court,” the bench said.

It also directed principal secretary (home) Director General of Police (DGP) to appear before the court on May 3 and apprise about the stand of state government with regard to celebratory firings incidents reported in last one year and action taken there on under the arms act as well as the penal statute.

“They will also specify the steps the state government is contemplating to arrest such brazen display of arms in functions as well as in public places like highways, government offices, circuit/guest houses,” it directed.

On behalf of state government advocate Rishad Murtaza, contended that the state government has already taken steps to check misuse of arms.

The court fixed the next hearing of the matter on May 3.

“Since it is a matter of public importance, we direct assistant solicitor general of India to appear on next date of assist the court,” the bench said.






PCI moves apex court HC’s media gag order on troop movement

PTI | 09:05 PM,May 01,2012

New Delhi, May 1 (PTI) The Press Council of India today moved the Supreme Court against an Allahabad High Court order, which banned media from reporting troop movements. On April 10, the high court bench of justices Uma Nath Singh and Virendra Kumar Dixit had directed various Central and state government authorities “to ensure that there is no reporting / release of any news item by the print or electronic media, namely the movement of troops.” The directions were given to the Union Home secretary, the Information and Broadcasting secretary and the principal secretary (Home) of the Uttar Pradesh government. The petition filed through PCI Chairman and former apex court judge Markandeya Katju’s office, submitted that the order was in violation of the fundamental right under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution, granted to the media and every citizen of the country. The high court order had come on a PIL filed by a social activist relating to a report in The Indian Express on April 4, 2012. The report pertained to purported movements of some Army troops towards New Delhi. Katju earlier had said, “With great respect to the high court, I am of the opinion that its order is not correct. The media has a fundamental right under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution to make such publication, as it did not endanger national security. Katju had also maintained that the Indian Army is not a colonial army, but the army of the Indian people who pay the taxes for the entire defence budget. “Hence the people of India have a right to know about army affairs, except where that may compromise national security. The media did an excellent job in exposing the Adarsh and Sukhna scams in which senior army officers were involved, and they were well within their right under Article 19(1) (a) to do so,” the PCI chairman had said Katju’s contention is that such reporting can be prohibited only near the border and during war times.








Parity row: HC reserves verdict on plea of pilots of ICPA

PTI May 1, 2012, 05.27PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court reserved its verdict on a plea of a pilots’ body of erstwhile domestic carrier Indian Airlines seeking parity with their counterparts at Air India.

“The order is reserved and will be pronounced on Friday (May, 4), Justice Suresh Kait said after hearing arguments on behalf of lawyers of ICPA ( Indian Commercial Pilots Association), Air India and the Ministry of Civil Aviation on the petition of the pilots’ body.

Earlier, ICPA had moved the high court alleging that it has not been dealt with “at a par” with Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), an association of pilots of Air India.

Seeking parity in training, the pilots body, in its plea, alleged the commanders (head pilot) of basic aircraft of former Indian Airlines have not been considered by Air India management for training of commander of advanced aircraft like Boeing 747, 787 and 777.

However, even co-pilots of Air India were considered for the training of advanced aircraft ahead of Indian Airlines commanders, ICPA said.

Lalit Bhasin, counsel for Air India, said the management of the national carrier was willing to impart training for flying advanced aircraft to pilots of both ICPA and the IPG.

“One each from ICPA and the IPG can be trained at a time for flying Boeing 747 and 787 aircraft. However, the pilots of ICPA cannot be trained to fly Boeing 777 as the training process for this category was over,” Bhasin said, adding that these are policy decisions and cannot be interfered with by the courts.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Civil Aviation told the court that it may implement the recommendations of the Justice Dharmadhikari Committee, instituted in November last to look into grievances of ICPA, within 45 to 60 days.







Full marks for wrong questions? HC reserves verdict

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Wed May 02 2012, 04:50 hrs

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking to assign 100 per cent marks for certain “incorrect” questions in the mathematics question paper of this year’s Class XII (science stream) board examinations to all the students who appeared for the test.

The petitioner, one Dhiru Patel from Ghatlodia area of Ahmedabad who is an author of mathematics books, moved the PIL saying the questions were not only “incorrect”, but were also not as per the general guidelines issued by Gujarat Secondary & Higher Secondary Education Board.

A division bench of HC comprising acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala had constituted an expert committee of three noted mathematicians to give its opinion on the subject.

The three members have been identified as Dr M H Vasavada, Dr A M Vaidhya and Dr J C Sharma.

Patel’s lawyer Digant Popat said the expert committee had opined that out of the total questions disputed by the petitioner, a sum of five marks was incorrect and all the students who attempted these till three steps should be given full five marks for the same. “For the rest of the questions, the expert committee has opined there were some minor mistakes but, those mistakes cannot be called such which could have confused the students or because of which they could not answer the same,” Popat said.

The examination for the mathematics paper of Class XII was held on March 14 this year.

The petitioner has contended that the question paper contained apparent mistakes and incorrect questions of a total of 12 marks. He has also argued that the question paper was not as per the the board’s guidelines to the extent of 44 marks.

Highlighting the importance of Class XII examination in a student’s career, the petitioner contended, “The future of a child and his career is dependent upon the result of this examination. A difference of a single mark would matter to the student who has worked hard for his future.”

“The mistakes in the question paper cannot be taken lightly and will have serious effect in the life of a child,” he added.

He also cited a recent incident when a 17-year-old girl committed suicide after her class XII board exams did not go well.







HC asks panel on pesticides to frame guidelines by mid August

PTI | 06:05 PM,May 01,2012

New Delhi, May 1 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today directed an experts committee set up by it to frame guidelines within three months to check presence of pesticide residues in fruit and vegetables available in open market in the city. A bench of justices S K Kaul and Rajiv Shakdher also accepted a plea of pesticide manufacturers seeking a direction to the panel to allow their suggestions while framing the guidelines. The court directed the six-member committee of experts to file its report containing the guidelines by August 17. The bench also included Dr Sandhya Kulshrestha, Secretary of the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee, in the panel. Taking suo motu cognisance of a media report, the court had set up the committee in May 10, 2011 to periodically examine the fruits and vegetables available in the open market to check if they contain pesticide residues. Filing an affidavit before the court, the Centre had informed that the experts committee would be headed by the joint director of the Agriculture Ministry. On February 14, the Agriculture Ministry had convened a meeting of its senior officials with those of the food safety and standards authority of India (FSSAI) and the Delhi government’s health ministry on the issue, the affidavit said. Besides chairperson Sarita Bhalla, others members include FSSAI director Dhir Singh, scientist N K Sharma, Delhi government’s food analyst S M Bhardwaj, Union Agriculture Ministry official Vipin Bhatnagar and senior advocate V K Rao in the committee, it stated. The court also suggested eminent scientist M S Swaminathan as an “outside” expert for the panel. However, Swaminathan informed that his hands were full and he was stuck in too many assignments at this present juncture. As per the media report, some NGOs had conducted a survey and claimed that vegetables and fruits sold in the city’s markets contain poisons capable of causing cancer and harming the nervous system and liver.







HC wants guidelines on pesticides in vegetables

New Delhi, May 01, 2012

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed an expert committee, set up by it, to frame guidelines within three months to check the presence of pesticide residues in fruit and vegetables sold in Delhi markets.
The court also accepted a plea of pesticide manufacturers, seeking a direction to the panel to allow their suggestions while framing the guidelines. The Bench directed the six-member committee to file its report containing the guidelines by August 17. The bench also included Dr Sandhya Kulshrestha, Secretary of the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee, in the panel.

The committee was formed on May 10, 2011 after NGOs submitted media reports, including that by the Hindustan Times that vegetables and fruits finding their way to Delhi markets are a toxic cocktail capable of causing cancer, heart disease and infertility. They also claimed that fresh produce sold in the Capital contained four banned pesticides and insecticide.

Filing an affidavit before the court, the Centre’s lawyer Meera Bhatia informed that the expert committee would be headed by the joint director of the Agriculture Ministry.

The ministry had convened a meeting on February 14, attended by food and safety and   Delhi government officials.







HC restrains schools from fee hikes, except with boards’ nod

Sanjeev Verma , Hindustan Times
Chandigarh , May 01, 2012

In a major respite to parents of school children, all schools in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have been restrained from enhancing fee and other charges by Punjab and Haryana high court, except with the prior permission of concerned education boards like Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and Punjab School Education Board (PSEB).


A division bench comprising justice SK Mittal and justice TPS Mann also directed the two states as well as the UT to ensure that no books other than prescribed by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) were forced to be used in schools affiliated to CBSE.

All the schools were directed to submit their profit and loss account statements for the previous five years to the boards to which they were affiliated and the boards would file status report before the court.

The bench also asked the education boards to apprise the court as to how they were ensuring that teachers were getting salaries as per laid down norms and the schools were following provisions of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

The directions came during hearing of three petitions filed by two NGOs — Anti Corruption and Crime Investigation Cell and All India Crime Preventing Society — and students of Sita Grammar School, Malerkotla.

The students, including Pranav Goyal, apprised the bench that Rs. 1.08 crore was collected by the school as annual charges in 2010 while the amount was Rs. 1.87 crore in 2011. It was further claimed that students were also forced to buy school uniform and stationary from school shops.

The bench was apprised that in the academic session 2009, the school charged fee, including admission fee of  Rs. 3,500 and annual charges of Rs. 4,500, besides quarterly tuition fee, science fee, conveyance fee, building fund and computer fee amounting to Rs. 5,000.

However, the school further enhanced the fee in subsequent years and for the academic year 2012-13, the fee had been hiked with annual charges of Rs. 11,000, development fee of Rs. 2,000 besides other fee charged on quarterly basis, the court was informed.

The case was adjourned for hearing to the last week of May.





HC refuses to quash case against bank

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:Justice KC Bhanu of the high court has refused to quash criminal proceedings against Kotak Mahindra Bank by Punjagutta police here, saying that prima facie an offence of misappropriation of Rs 15 lakh had been made out against bank officials.

Kotak Mahindra Bank, represented by its vice-chairman and managing director and two others, filed a petition in the High Court seeking a stay of all further proceedings, including their arrest, in a criminal case registered by the police on a lower court’s directive. The lower court’s directive followed a complaint lodged by Khaja Azeemuddin, a city resident, alleging that he had been cheated by the bank.

Khaja said in his complainant that he had paid Rs 15 lakh by a banker’s cheque in January 2009 to the bank as earnest money deposit (EMD) to purchase a piece of land at Vijayawada which was put on sale by the bank. The bank cashed the cheque without informing him whether his offer to buy the land was accepted or not or when he had to pay the balance amount. When bank officials refused to meet him, he approached the lower court. The bank filed a petition before the HC seeking quashing of investigation into the case.

While dismissing the bank’s plea, the judge, in his order, made it clear there were no grounds to quash the proceedings. Having accepted the pay order amount of ` 15 lakh they ought to have addressed a letter to the complainant to pay the remaining amount on a particular date. No such communication was made by the bank. So, the way in which the bank officials cashed the amount and later allegedly transferred that to the account of another was nothing but misappropriation of the amount, he noted.







HC seeks details of 60 officers’ land

Express news service : Chandigarh, Wed May 02 2012, 01:35 hrs

To find out the nature of land which is in possession of 60 high-ups in Chandigarh’s periphery, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today gave two weeks to the Punjab government to specify the same. A week back the Punjab government had apprised the HC that it was probing whether land purchased by nothing less than 60 high ups in Chandigarh’s periphery was public.

The directions were passed today during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation arising of a suo motu notice taken by the High Court on the issue of alleged illegal properties owned by influential people in the periphery of Chandigarh. Unimpressed with the investigation carried so far, the High Court on the last date of hearing had asked the Chief Secretary Punjab to submit an affidavit as to whether the investigation of the case be handed over to a Judicial Commission or shall remain with the Punjab Police.

As the matter came up for hearing, Punjab law officer sought four months’ additional time for coming out with a response. Refusing to grant four months, the Bench made it clear to the government that the Chief Secretary would have to put in an appearance in case the State fails to furnish a response.

The Bench, on the last date of hearing had observed that a Commission could probe the matter independently and fairly. The Bench had also equated the gravity of the case with the infamous 2 G spectrum case.

On the last date of hearing, Punjab Chief Secretary Rakesh Singh had stated in an affidavit that “as per an affidavit dated November 29, last, filed by his predecessor, it was submitted that in case of 60 officers – serving or retired – who had land in Chandigarh’s periphery, information was not clear as per the investigating officer’s report. Consequently, the investigating officer was asked to further probe the matter and report within a month. Finally, the information officer, vide letter dated January 6, submitted that as per the information collected by the them and as per the revenue record available, no public land was under illegal occupation of these 60 high-ups”.

The case will now come up for resumed hearing on May 15.






Disclose Kudankulam nuclear reports, CIC tells govt

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 01, 2012

In an order that can open up nuclear installations for public scrutiny, transparency watchdog, the Central Information Commission, has asked the government to release safety analysis report of Kudankulam nuclear power plant minus information of strategic importance.
It all started when the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) refused to provide safety analysis report and site evaluation report of reactors I and II of the Koodankulam plant to Right To Information (RTI) applicant SP Udayakumar, who is also leading the agitation against the nuclear plant in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Kumar, who has been accused of using foreign money to fuel the agitation, filed an appeal with the transparency watchdog claiming that the information sought was wrongly denied on the ground that it was “classified”.

Information Commission agreed with Kumar’s contention that terming a record as “classified” has not been stipulated as an exemption under the RTI law.

NPCIL’s public information officer SK Srivastava had also claimed that information contained in safety analysis report was of strategic, scientific and security importance and cannot be shared.

Gandhi, however, said that the officer had failed to give specific reasons, as required under the RTI law, for applying these exemptions. In addition, similar information is disclosed on the government websites in United States, United Kingdom and Canada and denied of such information would amount to treating Indian citizens differently, he said.

Srivastava’s only explanation was that the report contained designs of Russian manufacturers of the nuclear reactor, disclosing which may amount to breach of commercial confidence.

“The PIO can severe such design details which has been provided by the supplier as per the provisions of the Act,” the CIC order instructing the NPCIL to place the information on its website, said.

On the larger issue of putting such information in public domain, Gandhi said that disclosure of the reports would provide a comprehensive perspective to the citizens about holistic understanding of the Koondakulum nuclear power plant and will enable citizens to voice their opinions on nuclear safety issues.

“All Safety Analysis Reports and Site Evaluation Reports, Site Evaluation reports  and Environment Impact Assessment reports prepared before setting up nuclear plants should be displayed suo motto…such practice would be in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of the RTI Act and would result in greater trust in the government and its actions,” the CIC order said.









Supreme Court to hear mercy plea of Rajiv Gandhi’s killers

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will hear the mercy plea of Rajiv Gandhi’s killers. It transferred the pleas from the Madras high court. The Supreme Court had rejected their mercy pleas last August but convicts Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan had sought a stay on their execution on the ground that the President had taken 11 years in deciding their mercy pleas.

MDMK chief Vaiko, who has been fighting to save the three convicts, said he would continue with his efforts. “There is no political interference in Tamil Nadu. I will continue my efforts to save the three,” he said.

Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy too welcomed the Supreme Court decision, but wanted the death penalty awarded to them to be executed at the earliest.

He said in a statement issued here on Tuesday that he had decided to seek implead himself in the case in Supreme Court to oppose any further leniency to the convicts who came to India to carry out the assassination. “They must be given death penalty at the earliest,” he said.

A bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi directed that their petitions, pending with the Madras high court, be sent to it and listed the case for hearing on July 10. The court passed the order on a petition by one LK Venkat seeking transfer of their pleas out of Tamil Nadu on his fears that the free and fair hearings would not possible in the state due to the surcharged atmosphere, favouring the death row convicts.

The Tamil Nadu government had on October 10, 2011, opposed the plea to shift the case out of the Madras high court, denying the allegations that the atmosphere in the state was too “vitiated and surcharged” to hold a free and fair hearing in the case.

Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for the three death row convicts, too had opposed the transfer plea on the ground that Article 139A (relating to transfer of certain cases) gives power only to the Attorney General or the aggrieved parties to file a petition for transfer.

Venkat’s counsel had, however, submitted that a free and fair hearing of the proceedings could not be held in the Madras high court owing to the “surcharged, hostile and vitiated” atmosphere prevailing there.

On a petition by the three death row convicts, the Madras high court had earlier stayed their hanging and had issued notices to the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government. The three convicts had challenged the death sentence awarded to them before the high court, notwithstanding the fact that it had been upheld earlier by the apex court.






Aarushi case: Court to decide on Nupur Talwar’s bail plea today

Ghaziabad, May 02, 2012

Nupur Talwar, the mother of murdered teenager Aarushi, spent another night in jail as a special court in Ghaziabad on Tuesday had reserved till Wednesday its order on the dentist bail plea in the double murder case. On Tuesday, special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge S Lal heard arguments from Nupur Talwar’s lawyer and those of the CBI on her bail plea and reserved the order till Wednesday.

Nupur Talwar, who spent Monday night at the Dasna Jail, was not in court as her lawyers argued that she be given bail. Her dentist husband, Rajesh Talwar, who is already out on bail, was not in court either.

Nupur Talwar’s lawyers argued that there was no scientific evidence against her in the twin murders of her 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and their domestic help Hemraj May 16, 2008, at their Noida residence. While Aarushi’s body, with her throat slit, was discovered first, the body of Hemraj was found later from the terrace of the house.

If the main gate of the house was bolted from outside, they said, how could the CBI justify its stance ruling out involvement of an outsider. The third point put forward was that Nupur Talwar was the mother of a child and she had bought her a camera just a day earlier, so how could she be a suspect in the killing of her own daughter.

The CBI argued that the Talwars had tampered with evidence and opposed Nupur Talwar’s bail.

Nupur Talwar’s counsel GP Thareja said that the CBI in its closure report submitted on Dec 29, 2010 that “after consideration of evidences during investigation no sufficient evidence was found against Dr Rajesh and Dr Nupur Talwar hence a closure report is being submitted”.

Praveen Rai, another counsel defending Nupur Talwar, said: “When it (CBI) submitted the closure report and clearly mentioned that there was no sufficient evidence and the chain of events was not complete, how could it turn its closure report into a charge sheet with strong evidence.”

“No scientific tests, including brain mapping, psychological examination, narco-analysis, DNA test, polygraph and other forensic tests, including finger prints matching  and matching of blood stains on clothes, have indicated their (Talwars’) involvement in the crime,” he said.

Seeking bail for Nupur Talwar, her lawyers said that her passport was with the court and there was no apprehension of her fleeing the country.

Thareja highlighted the merit in her bail plea and said other suspects, including  Krishna, Vijay Mandal and Raj Kumar, were granted bail by then CBI Special Judge Rama Jain. Rajesh Talwar was also granted bail, so Nupur Talwar should also not be deprived of her liberty.

Opposing Nupur Talwar’s bail, CBI counsel RK Saini said the Talwar couple had tampered with evidence by dressing up the crime scene.

He said her lawyers were trying to mislead the court and the Supreme Court’s direction  for expeditiously hearing the bail plea was not a binding on the CBI special court as it was related to another magistrate court.







LEGAL NEWS 01.05.2012

Telecom Commission to seek clarity from Trai on key recommendations

Joji Thomas Philip, ET Bureau | May 1, 2012, 09.30AM IST

NEW DELHI: Offering a glimmer of hope to telecom operators, the sector’s highest decision-making body has refused to endorse regulator Trai’s controversial proposals that included a 13-fold increase in the base price for spectrum auctions.

The Telecom Commission on Monday said it will soon seek clarity from Trai on four of its key recommendations. “We will write to Trai no later than May 2 on four issues,” Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar said.

“The first relates to its recommendations to auction only 5 MHz of airwaves that restricts the sale process to just one slot. We also want the regulator to clarify how it arrived at the base price for the spectrum auctions and its impact on tariffs,” he said.

The commission will also ask Trai to explain its proposals of mandating rollout obligations (setting up towers in certain number of locations) and refarming (distribution of airwaves in the 900 MHz band that is largely held by incumbents). Under the Trai Act, the regulator is required to revisit its recommendations and come back to the government within two weeks, Chandrasekhar said.

He said the commission decided to go back to Trai after considering the views of its members as well as representations from the industry, which unanimously criticised the proposals. Last week Trai had proposed a 13-fold increase in spectrum prices compared to 2008 and limiting the airwaves sale to a mere 5 MHz in the 1800 MHz band this year, a move that allows only one company to win back its permit.

Most operators have termed the proposals as “flawed, retrograde, regressive” and warned that their implementation would harm consumer interests and lead to prolonged disputes and litigation. The telecom department cannot reject or alter Trai’s suggestions without asking the regulator to revisit its recommendations. Another member of the commission said they will also ask Trai to explain why it has sought delay of 4G auctions.

“Trai has said that 4G auctions must happen in 2014-15 when the ecosystem matures. If that is the case, why did it recommend the base price for frequencies now?” this member asked. Norway’s Telenor, meanwhile, said it was taking a writedown on its remaining Indian assets valued at 3.9 billion Norwegian crowns (approx Rs 3,577 crore) and added that Trai’s recommendations had increased the uncertainty in the sector significantly.

Following the Supreme Court’s February 2 orders, which quashed all licences awarded in the controversial 2008 sale by former telecom minister A Raja, Telenor had already written down 4.2 billion crowns (Rs 3,852 crore) related to its Indian assets.

“As a precautionary measure, Telenor ASA has decided to write down the remaining fixed and intangible assets in India amounting to NOK 3.9 billion (NOK 2.6 billion after non-controlling interests). The writedown will be included in Telenor’s results for the first quarter 2012, to be presented on May 8,” said a Telenor Group spokesman.

After the write down, the firm had no further accounting exposure related to India, as of March 31. ET on Monday reported that Telenor had warned that it would exit India if the government accepts Trai’s proposals, especially on the quantum of airwaves to be sold and the rollout obligations.

Telecom Commission’s Chandrashekhar said it wanted clarity on the number of slots to be auctioned. While nine companies have lost licences after the court decision, 5 MHz of airwaves is sufficient only for one operator.

“Trai said that auctioning more than 5 MHz in the 1800 MHz band would impact refarming (redistribution of 900 MHz band and substituting this with frequencies in the 1800 MHz band). We want Trai to clarify if the quantum of spectrum reserved for refarming can be reduced. We also want clarity on modalities of refarming. But this does not imply that we are against refarming,” Chandrashekhar said.

He said the Telecom Commission will meet again after mid-May to consider Trai’s response.

The Empowered Group of Ministers headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee will take a final call on all issues related to the spectrum auctions. This EGoM was scheduled to meet on May 2, but this may be deferred. “The EGoM can take a decision only after the telecom ministry sends its views to it,” a telecom ministry official said.

Last week, the chief executives of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Uninor and Videocon, in a joint communication to telecom minister Kapil Sibal, alleged that the regulator had not carried out any study to examine the socio-techno-economic aspects and ignored contractual and other rights of the affected operators in its recommendations on refarming

In a related development, international news wires reported that foreign companies plan to not participate in India’s upcoming spectrum auctions. These reports said Australia’s Telstra and Sweden’s TeliaSonera will not bid in the auctions.The SC last week ordered the government to conduct 2G spectrum auctions by August 31, rejecting the Centre’s plea that it required 400 days to complete the process. It allowed the nine mobile companies whose licences were cancelled to continue operations till September 7.

Activist flays Haryana govt for delay in action against two officers

Vishal Joshi , Hindustan Times
Panipat , May 01, 2012

Demanding a compensation of Rs. 50 lakh for mental harassment he had undergone, an activist fighting for the rights of factory workers has flayed the Haryana government for delay in initiating action against the two senior state bureaucrats following their indictment for furnishing “false” information before National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Former state convener of Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), PP Kapoor, has shot off a letter to chief secretary PK Chaudhary (HT has a copy) to demand the compensation money and threatened to move a court of law if the Haryana government failed to initiate time-bound action, including registration of a criminal complaint, against both the officials.

He said that he not only suffered mental harassment but his social image was also dented due to the wrong information furnished by the two officials.

He lamented that even after 90 days of submission of the report by Rohtak divisional commissioner, no action had been initiated in the case.

On April 2, Hindustan Times had reported the contents of a high-level probe conducted by Rohtak commissioner Suprabha Dahiya in which she had categorically stated that Panipat deputy commissioner Rajive Ranjan and sub-divisional magistrate Capt Shatki Singh had submitted wrong information to the apex rights body.

The inquiry report was submitted to the CS on February 1.

The report also stated that in their early official communications to the NHRC, the Panipat district administration had confirmed registration of a criminal case against Kapoor (which was factually correct) but later the administration retracted on the issue.

Presently, the matter is under investigation by Lokayukta and the officials have been given last chance to submit their clarifications by May 16.

Kapoor was booked on the charges for attempt to murder, extortion and several other charges at Panipat police station on November 12, 2005, and was sentenced to five-year imprisonment in the case.

On December 31, 2005, Kapoor lodged a complaint with the NHRC that he was falsely booked for waging a war against the menace of bonded labour in Panipat.

In 2006, the NHRC asked the Panipat district administration to submit a status report on Kapoor’s complaint.

The then Panipat SDM Capt Shakti Singh submitted a report that no case was registered against Kapoor on November 12, 2005.

Later, Kapoor secured police records through the Right to Information Act and exposed on January 7, 2011 that the then district officials had furnished incorrect information to the NHRC.

He contended that had the NHRC been apprised of the real situation, he could have been saved from a jail term in the same case.

NHRC concerned over incentive-based population policy

PTI | 01:05 PM,May 01,2012

New Delhi, May 1 (PTI) Deeply concerned over incentive- based population policies framed by some state governments, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is mulling to frame guidelines and has sought details from states. The NHRC has written letters to all states earlier this month seeking details of their population policies by May 31. “The Commission has been deeply concerned about population policies framed by the state governments. It has been observed that some of the state governments have adopted the method of incentives/disincentives for adopting small family norms…,” the letter said. The letter written by J S Kochher, Joint Secretary (Training) in NHRC, noted that small family norms were a “gross violation of human rights, particularly women’s reproductive rights. It is mandatory for India to abandon targets and come up with programme that moved away from incentives and disincentives as New Delhi is a signatory to International Conference on Population and Development in 1994. “We want to collect some details from the states. We will study it. Then we will make some policy,” NHRC Chairperson K G Balakrishnan told PTI. The Supreme Court had earlier this month sought the stands of the Centre and various state governments on a plea alleging sterilisation surgeries on women under torchlight, in various places, specially in Bihar, in gross violation of the medical and ethical norms. A controversy had also broken out in Madhya Pradesh last month when an unmarried youth was subjected to vasectomy during a public camp held in Rewa district. Balakrishnan also said the 2011 Census has thrown out alarming information about declining sex ratio. “There are widespread allegations of female foeticide.This is a very unfortunate situation. These things are done in a clandestine manner. “It is very startling that the economically weaker sections are into such things. The most affluent sections of society are also into such things. It is not that the child could not be reared. So very sad situation. We should change the mindset,” he said. To examine the population policy and chalk out a better strategy keeping in human rights, the NHRC had in 2007 constituted a Working Group which devised a reporting format to collect information from all states. “In the meantime, the new Census has been carried out, which reveals that the child sex ratio has decreased from 927/1000 in 2001 to 914/2011 in 2011 which is a matter of great concern. “Besides, during a span of more than four years, a number of developments might have taken place related to population issues in the states,” the letter said pointing out the need for the exercise to find out the existing policies adopted by various states.

Neo Sports entitled to 7% hike in subscription fee: TDSAT to ADAG’s Big TV

Telecom tribunal TDSAT has held that sports broadcaster Neo Sports is entitled to 7 per cent increase in subscription fee for its channels from ADAG group firm Reliance Big TV, which provides Direct-to-Home service.

“Petitioner (Neo Sports) is entitled to 7 per cent increase on the subscription fee on and from January 1, 2009,” said a TDSAT bench headed by its Chairman Justice S B Sinha.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) further said that BiG TV “must allow the Petitioner to audit its system within two weeks from date” for calculation of the average number of subscribers.

Big TV had subscribed to the sports broadcaster’s two channels – Neo Cricket and Neo Sports – for its DTH platform.

The TDSAT’s direction came over the plea of Neo Sports, which had entered into an agreement with the ADAG group firm in June 2008.

As per the terms and conditions, Reliance Big TV had to pay the bouquet rates (at 50 per cent of the one fixed by sectoral regulator Trai) for Non-CAS areas, which came to about Rs 19.37.

However, in December, 2008, Trai brought out new regulations and allowed broadcasters a hike of seven 7 per cent from January 2009.

Following that, the Neo Sports bouquet rate came to Rs 20.73. Later, based on the SMS records submitted by Big TV, Neo Sports raised invoices.

However, dispute arose over the payability of subscription fees as per the terms of their agreement. Neo also questioned the subscriber number given by Big TV.

Neo Sports had approached TDSAT on March 31, 2011 seeking directions to Big TV for paying Rs 6.2 crore along with 18 per cent interest.

CAT orders Status quo

Express News Service

KOCHI: Ernakulam Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to maintain status quo till May 18 on the transfer of two of its inspectors to Guwahati and Kolkota.

The CAT passed the order while considering a petition filed by the two officials, whose names were mentioned in ASP Haridath’s suicide note, seeking to quash the transfer order. The CAT also directed the CBI that petitioners- S Unnikrishnan Nair and K K Rajan, who were inspectors in the Thiruvananthapuram branch, may not be forced to join at new locations.

They moved CAT alleging that the transfer order was issued as part of the superior officers’ plan to exonerate two top IPS officers- Vijay Sakhare and Muhammed Yasin from the Sampath custodial murder case. Under the cover of Haridath’s suicide note, the CBI top cops have transferred the duo, they said. “Haridath had been forced to undo whatever he had done earlier. It was because of the pressure exerted on him to save the two IPS officers that Haridath was forced to seek psychiatric treatment,” the petitioners said.They also submitted that the Kerala High Court had ordered that neither ASP Nandakumar Nair nor Chennai Joint Director Ashok Kumar should interfere with the probe.

However, the officials were permitted to continue in the same position, they said. The petitioners said that the higher officials in the CBI were responsible for Haridath’s death. The case diary, after both OP Gathotra and Peshin assumed charge of supervision, speaks volumes in this regard. “The suicide note was concocted to completely liquidate the investigation in Sampath custodial death case so that all the top ranking officers involved in the murder could go scot-free,” counsel for petitioners Pirappancode V S Sudheer said.

Family court at Patiala House to be inaugurated tomorrow

PTI | 08:04 PM,Apr 30,2012

New Delhi, Apr 30 (PTI) The Delhi High Court’s Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri would inaugurate a family court at the Patiala House court complex here tomorrow. The family court, set up with an objective to tackle a heavy backlog of cases pertaining to family matters and hear them in an atmosphere different from the intimidating one of regular courts, would deal with cases of New Delhi district area. According to Additional Principal Judge Kamlesh Kumar, the family court would ensure a congenial environment to deal with matters such as marriage, divorce, alimony, child custody and others. Besides Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri, Justice Hima Kohli and other judges of the high court and the district courts would also attend the inauguration ceremony. “The establishment of the family courts aims at reducing the burden on other trial courts in the city by speedily delivering justice to families. “The purpose behind exclusive family courts is to clear the backlog of cases at civil and criminal courts involving family matters,” said Additional Principal Judge Kamlesh Kumar, in a statement. The family court at Patiala House courts complex would add to the existing family courts in the city at Dwarka, Rohini, Saket and Karkardooma courts complex. The court would also have full-time counsellors to guide the families.

Citizens’ group moves SC challenging fresh Jharkhand RS polls

TNN | May 1, 2012, 01.22AM IST

NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over the likelihood of a vitiated poll, a group of citizens have challenged the fresh Rajya Sabha elections in Jharkhand to be held on May 3 in the Supreme Court.

“Any election, with same tainted candidates and electors cannot be called fair by any stretch of imagination till CBI clears them of alleged criminality,” the petitioners, who include ex-MP Salkhan Murmu and B K Mishra from Jamshepur, have said.

A writ has been filed under Article 32 of the Constitution and the petitioners have that at the instance of the Jharkhand high court CBI is currently investigating alleged horse-trading that took place during the Rajya Sabha polls held on March 30.

“This was highlighted and brought before the nation by print and electronic media and strongly criticized by leaders of various political parties in Parliament,” they said, praying for postponement of the Rajya Sabha elections in the interest of fair play and justice.

Make merit a must for Masters in Dental Science courses: High court

TNN | May 1, 2012, 05.47AM IST

CHENNAI: Fourteen dental colleges offering MDS courses have been restrained by the Madras high court from admitting students except based on merit-based rank list published by the state medical university.

A division bench of Justice D Murugesan and Justice K K Sasidharan granted the interim injunction on a public interest writ petition filed by Indian Dental Association’s honorary state secretary Dr C Shivakumar. The bench has posted the matter to June 7 for further hearing.

Noting that admission to PG dental courses shall be based only on a common entrance or merit list, Dr Shivakumar said that though the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University had already conducted a common entrance test and published a rank list too, several colleges were not following due and transparent admission system. Several members of the petitioner-Association will be adversely affected and denied of their chances to pursue higher education despite the eligibility/rank on merits, the petition said.

He said that be it a self-financing, aided or unaided, minority or non-minority, or deemed university, institutions offering PG dental courses are governed by various Acts, Rules and Regulations including the UGC Act, the notifications of the HRD Ministry and the notifications/circulars of the Dental Council of India (DCI).

Dr Shivakumar said the only credible way to determine merit was a competitive test or a common admission test. The admission in respect of MDS courses in government quota was common entrance test, which was widely publicised and was transparently conducted by the state medical university, in consonance with the notification of the DCI, the petitioner added.

Expressing the association’s apprehension of irregularities in admissions to PG courses during the coming academic year, the petitioner said colleges and institutions had been attempting to evade the due process of law and conduct the admissions in an unfair manner for ulterior reasons. Citing complaints received during the previous academic years, he further said the institutions had flouted laws, rules and regulations by conducting an admission process in a hurried, non-transparent and ulterior manner.

Disproportionate assets case: Hearing on Naseemuddin’s plea today

May 1, 2012, 04.43AM IST

ALLAHABAD: Hearing on a writ petition filed by former PWD minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui and his wife Husna Siddiqui in a disproportionate assets case will continue on Tuesday.

The former cabinet minister had challenged the order passed by the UP Lokayukta, whereby the matter relating to his disproportionate asset case had been sent before the chief minister for reconsideration.A bench comprising Justice Amitava Lala and Justice PKS Baghel is hearing the case.Siddiqui and his wife had sought quashing of the order dated March 15, 2012, whereby the Lokayukta had referred the disproportionate asset case for reconsideration to the chief minister.The former cabinet minister had demanded not to disclose the material collected by the Lokayukta or opinion formed by him in respect of disproportionate asset case either in the print or electronic media.tnn

The state government, the chief minister (competent authority under the Lokayukta Act), Lokayukta of UP and NK Mehrotra in personal capacity had been made party in the writ petition.

Petitioners’ counsel Shashi Nandan argued that Lokayuta had no power to re-send the matter of disproportionate assets case to the present UP chief minister for reconsideration/review under the Lokayukta Act.

He argued that once former chief minister (competent authority) Mayawati had finally considered the issue after the recommendation made by the Lokayukta and dropped the aforesaid proceedings, then the same disproportionate asset case against Siddiqui could not be reopened by the Lokayukta and also it could not be considered by the present chief minister.

Nupur Talwar meets Rajesh at jail, verdict on bail after lunch

NDTV Correspondent | Updated: May 01, 2012 13:28 IST

New Delhi/Ghaziabad:  A judge in Ghaziabad is expected to give his verdict on Nupur Talwar’s request for bail after lunch today. Mrs Talwar, who is accused along with husband Rajesh of the double murder of their only child Aarushi and their domestic help, is not present in court.

She is lodged at Barrack No 13 of the nearby Dasna Jail, where Rajesh, Nupur’s mother and two other members of her family met her for 27 minutes a short while ago. After they left, she was seen reading the Gita, which she had borrowed from the jail library.  (Who is Nupur Talwar?)

Yesterday, Nupur’s application for bail was moved to the CBI court headed by Judge S Lal after another court rejected her lawyers’ arguments. The court that turned her down – a CBI court- is headed by Judge Preeti Singh, who ordered in February last year that the Talwars must stand trial for the murders of 13-year-old Aarushi and Hemraj, who worked for the Talwars. The dentist couple has appealed against this decision in the Supreme Court, which has refused to suspend the trial while it deliberates the appeal.

In the jail today, Mrs Talwar rose early at 5.30 am and then bathed and spent some time in prayer, reciting lines from the Hanuman Chalisa. She then lined up with prisoners to be counted. Breakfast was tea, jaggery and roasted gram. The jail authorities said she also read the newspapers and asked for some books, including the Gita, which was issued to her when the prison library opened.

Aarushi was found dead in the Talwars’ home in Noida, a Delhi suburb, in May 2008. Hemraj was missing and became the main suspect.  But hours later, his body was discovered on the Talwars’ roof.  Rajesh Talwar was then arrested.  The case was transferred to the CBI after gross negligence by the Noida police.  The CBI decided that there was not enough evidence against Mr Talwar, who spent nearly two months at the same Dasna jail where his wife was kept last night.

Mr Talwar was released from prison and four men who worked for the Talwars and their neighbours were then arrested. But the CBI could not find conclusive evidence against them either and they were also released from prison.

Mrs Talwar was seen with her head bowed when she arrived at jail at around 6 pm yesterday, jail superintendent Veeresh Raj Sharma said. A few hours of watching TV with other women inmates and a discussion with them about the Aarushi case saw her relax a little, he said. Mrs Talwar reportedly told the other prisoners that she was innocent and would prove that in court.

The prison authorities made it clear yesterday that Mrs Talwar’s stay at Dasna Jail will not afford her any special concessions. She will have access to a television set, newspapers and books.

NCW launches helpline for women in Gujarat

Press Trust of India : Ahmedabad, Tue May 01 2012, 06:02 hrs

The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Monday launched on a pilot basis a 24-hour helpline for women in distress in Gujarat.

The round-the-clock toll-free helpline, 1800 233 22222, shall be run by the city-based Women Action Group (AWAG), an NGO working for women welfare and empowerment.

The helpline was launched by state Governor Dr Kamla in presence of NCW chairperson Mamta Sharma.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Kamla said that during hours of distress, this helpline would play a vital role in guiding women on how to reach the right place for a solution to their grievances.

“The women helpline is being launched first in Gujarat and thereafter in Haryana on a pilot basis. If successful, this model can be replicated across India,” Sharma said.

Govt sent 75 complaints against judges in past yr

Nagendar Sharma , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 01, 2012

At least 75 complaints of corruption and misconduct against serving judges of the Supreme Court and high courts were forwarded in the last one year for “appropriate action” by the government to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and chief justices of concerned high courts.

The justice department of the law ministry, which forwards these complaints, has told HT that it “is unaware of any action taken on these complaints” by the chief justice of India or of the respective high courts.

The department sent 15 complaints against SC judges and nine against chief justices of high courts to the CJI and 51 to chief justices of high courts against judges working in their courts.

The complaints have been sent by the public, lawyers and activists.

This has information been revealed — after first being declined — by the justice department through a Right to Information (RTI) query by Delhi-based activist Subhash Agrawal.

HT has the complete list of the judges but is withholding the names, since allegations against them cannot be independently verified.

As of now the government has no powers to initiate investigations into allegations against the higher judiciary. Any probe has to be sanctioned by the CJI.
The government’s view is that the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, already passed by the Lok Sabha, will also get the Rajya Sabha nod during the current session and will help in curbing corruption in judiciary.

The bill for the first time will allow the citizens to file complaints against corrupt judges, which will then be probed, if the investigating panel finds merit in them.

In addition to these complaints, 12 against former CJI and National Human Rights Commission chairman K G Balakrishnan have also been forwarded. The former CJI has been accused of involvement in several cases of corruption.


Will RTE Act fall flat for half of Andhra Pradesh children?

Roli Srivastava, TNN | May 1, 2012, 12.54AM IST

HYDERABAD: The implementation of Right to Education Act may have got a shot in the arm with the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding the 25% reservation in unaided private schools for children from lower income group families but in Andhra Pradesh (and possibly other states in the country), the Act might soon figure among the many well-intentioned government schemes that do not impact, leave alone benefit, its target group. At best, the Act might give a humble building watchman’s child admission in a private school, but its impact could just be limited to that — the urban poor — that too with a modest success rate.

And here’s why. As per government records, there are 1.07 crore children in the 6-14 age category in Andhra Pradesh. As per the government’s own estimate, over 67% of the state’s 8.7 crore population lives in rural areas and the remaining 33% in urban. So, of the 1.07 crore children, at least over 60 lakh live in rural parts, where government schools are famously poorly equipped and there are no private schools. Despite the introduction of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, it has been indicated in many studies and surveys conducted by non-government bodies that precious little has changed in the condition of schools.

While a freshly published, voluminous tome on the implementation of RTE sits on the desk of the school education department and focuses largely on schools in rural areas, including steps to beef up infrastructure, adding transportation facilities etc, the worrisome part is that the entire planning is based on what activists point out are questionable figures. As per government statistics, just about 3 lakh children in AP are out of school. The NGO statistics are at the other end of the spectrum pegging this figure at a disturbing 18 lakh. The truth possibly lies somewhere in between. As per the state’s Human Development Report 2007, about 12 lakh children in the 6-14 age group in AP were out of school, which shows the government estimate of 3 lakh out of school children rather too miraculous.

And over-reporting of enrolled schoolchildren is the first roadblock that RTE’s implementation will face. “All the implementation exercises are for the 3 lakh children,” says M Venkat Reddy, national convener, MV Foundation.

Clearly, children numbering between 9 and 15 lakh are not on the government radar, leave alone that of RTE. Funds from the Centre for initiatives to enrol out of school children are calculated based on the 3 lakh figure. Add to that the number of children in government schools in rural areas, where it’s not only the infrastructure but also the quality of education that is poor. If RTE makes them legally entitled to better quality education not only in government but in the best quality private schools, they have no access to either. Take for instance the schools in Kowdipally mandal in Hyderabad’s neighbouring Medak district. The mandal has about 100 schools but caste-wise enrolment figures here indicate poor OC (other castes) numbers and high SC/ST numbers. “There are private schools about 20 kms from here and those who can afford it, send their children there,” says M Subhash Chandra, Centre for Action Research and People’s Development.

But P M Bhargawa, former vice-chairman of the Knowledge Commission and staunch critic of RTE says one needn’t go even that far. “In the heart of Hyderabad are government schools where students from Class I to X have just two teachers,” he says. “All government schools should be high quality but that will never be done. Where is the impetus to do that,” Bhargawa says, adding that what the Act envisages works for cities.

The Act’s limited scope is a big dampener particularly for the state’s SC/ST population. B Dhenuka Naik, who has been working on tribal rights issues, wonders how the act would help the state’s 13 lakh ST population in the 6-14 age group and believes not even 1% would benefit. Officials overseeing education in the state’s tribal parts note that there are many habitations that are 4-5 km away from schools. “Transportation is not possible in all the cases because the regions are hilly and there are no roads,” says Ashish Chandra, state coordinator for tribal education and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya.

Officials, however, maintain that all efforts are being made to implement RTE effectively. “We want to implement the Act in right earnest. Basic amenities remain a source of concern and we are trying to address it. We will require involvement of all stakeholders,” says V Madhusudan, state coordinator for RTE implementation. The funds too, he says, are in place as the Rs 4,800 crore allocated for SSA will be used for RTE implementation.

Formulate clear policy on street food vans: HC

Harish V. Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 01, 2012

The Delhi High Court on Monday took a serious view of the crackdown against catering vans and chef carts in the capital and sought a clear policy by May 21 on issuance of no objection certificates (NOC) to them.

Seeking streamlining of the policy, Justice Hima Kohli questioned why multiple agencies were involved in issuance of NOC and why a catering van which obtained clearance from traffic police required further approval from civic agencies such as MCD and DDA.”Multiple agencies need to work in tandem and we need a clear policy,” said the judge.

The matter reached the court through a batch of petitions filed by owners of such vans that were once stationed in markets in Dwarka sectors 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 12, but were ordered by the MCD, DDA to shift citing traffic congestion. This was surprisingly after the Delhi traffic police had given them clearance. The court order came after Manjit Ahluwalia, lawyer for the van owners, accused the civic bodies of not drafting a uniform policy despite repeated directions.

The court had earlier emphasised on the need for chef carts and mobile catering vans to provide ready-to-eat food to a large chunk of the floating population in the city .”Not everyone is rich enough to go to upmarket restaurants. One must consider the moving population of Delhi. Where do they go when they want to eat hygienic food at an economical rate? Delhi is also known for its street food. Chef carts or catering vans are not an extraordinary sight,” Justice Kohli said.

DDA, MCD, NDMC and traffic police have been asked to consult each other and come up with an unambiguous policy by May 21.

High court directs CBI to file charges in case by June 15

Swati Deshpande, TNN | May 1, 2012, 05.43AM IST

MUMBAI: The HC on Monday asked the CBI to file a chargesheet by June 15 against those Adarsh society members who do not hold public office. The HC directed the CBI to do so after it informed the court that it would complete its probe in the case filed against the 14 named accused memberswho held or had held public office-by mid-June.

CBI counsel Ejaz Khan informed the bench of Justices Sharad Bobde and Mridula Bhatkar that once the probe is completed the agency would forward its report for grant of sanction from the government to prosecute the 14 public servants under the Prevention of Corruption Act as is legally required and only then file its chargesheet. It was then that the HC asked the agency to file the charge sheet by June 15 against those private persons for whose prosecution requires no sanction.

The HC was hearing two PILs against Adarsh. Petitioner Pravin Wategaonkar pointed out that neither the CBI nor the ED had bothered to file an affidavit in response to his two affidavits in which he had named 15 Adarsh members and sought a probe against them for disproportionate assets and abuse of power. The court asked the agencies to file a reply in four weeks. They will now see whether there is any truth behind Wategoankar’s allegations that former state CMs Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushil Kumar Shinde and Shivajirao Patil Nilangaekar had misused their position for personal benefit.

Wategaonkar also named former speaker of the legislative assembly Babasaheskb Kupekar, NCP leader Jitendra Ahwad, former collector Srinivas Patil, former top IAS officers D K Sankaran, Joyce Sankaran and their son Sanjoy Sankaran, Chintamani Sangitrao and his son I A Kundan (former collector), Deviyani Khobragade, Shivaji Kale (associate of Ajit Pawar), Shivajirao Deshmukh (former Pune collector ), N G Bhosale (former PWD executive engineer and father of Pune developer Avinash Bhosale).

Spell out stand on 3 former CMs in Adarsh case, HC tells CBI, ED

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 01, 2012

The Bombay high court on Monday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to make their stand clear on investigating 15 more persons, including former Maharashtra chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh, Shivajirao Patil-Nilangekar and Sushilkumar Shinde, in connection with Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society scam.

A division bench of the Bombay high court has given  four weeks’ time to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED to file a reply on an affidavit filed by Thane resident Pravin Wategaonkar seeking direction to investigate the alleged roles played by at least 15 more persons including the three former chief ministers, other than those already booked by the CBI in the scamThe other names include the then speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Babasaheb Kupekar, General (retired) Deepak Kapoor, former Maharashtra Chief Secretary DK Shankaran, CS Sangitrao, former secretary in the chief minister’s Office, IA Kundan, the then city collector and Devyani Khobragade daughter of ex-GM of BEST Uttam Khobragade.

Relying on the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the I-T department’s investigations, Wategaonkar, in his affidavit filed on April 27, has alleged that these 15 persons, including the three former chief ministers, have misused their official positions for personal benefit.

He has alleged that certain persons were holding benami flats in the housing society on behalf of the three former Maharashtra chief ministers. One of them, Deshmukh, was at the helm of affairs in the state and the Urban Development Department when the proposed widening of Captain Prakash Pethe marg was dropped and permission was given to the housing society to utilise FSI of 2,669 square metres (in addition to FSI of 3,824 square metres of the original plot) of the adjoining plot reserved for a BEST depot.

Shinde, as the then chief minister, had cleared the list of 51 civilians for membership of the scam-hit society, on August 24 — when code of conduct in view of 2004 assembly elections came into force in the state. During his tenure, a Letter of Intent regarding allotment of the land was issued to the society.

The HC was hearing a bunch of PILs filed by social activists Simpreet Singh, Mahendra Singh and Wategaonkar.

While they have approached the HC before the CBI registered FIR against 14 persons, Wategaokar has followed suit, seeking directions to the ED to initiate investigations into money laundering aspect of the case.

The CBI had filed FIR against 14 persons in the case in January 2011.

First woman judge of Orissa HC passes away

PTI | 10:04 PM,Apr 30,2012

Cuttack, Apr 30 (PTI) The first woman judge of Orissa High Court Justice (retd) Amiya Kumari Padhi passed away at her residence in Bhasakosh Lane here today, family said. She was 79. Wife of former director general of police S S Padhi, Kumari was ill for past several months. She is survived by two daughters and son Souryakanta Padhi, a senior advocate of the High Court. The Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and several judges of the High Court visited her residence to pay their last respects. Many lawyers, including state advocate general Ashok Kumar Mohanty also paid their respects to the former judge of the HC who presided over the benches between April 1988 and September 1995. Her mortal remains were consigned to flames at Satichoura crematorium here in the evening.

Tender row: HC tells Aiims to pay Rs. 10,000

New Delhi, May 01, 2012

Aiims has been directed to pay Rs. 10,000 by the high court for its failure to reply to a private security firm’s plea, challenging the terms of its tender.

“It is unfortunate that the respondent (Aiims) has failed to file the counter-affidavit despite grant of sufficient time,” said a bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Rajiv Shakdher. Aiims had been asked to file its reply within three weeks.

The order came on a petition by Prehari Protection System, seeking withdrawal of the tender notice issued by Aiims on March 1 inviting bids from firms for deployment of security guards at hospital premises.

Treat fixed-wage teachers as permanent employees: HC to govt

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Tue May 01 2012, 05:01 hrs

The Gujarat High Court on Monday ordered the state government to consider 46 teachers who are teaching mentally challenged children in schools on fix wages as permanent employees. The court also ordered to award them benefits of a regular employee from the date of their appointment with retrospective effect.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala passed the order.

Advocate Shalin Mehta, who appeared on behalf of six of the 46 petitioners, said, “Earlier, the six teachers were getting fix pay of Rs 4,500 per month. However, 40 other teachers who were getting fix pay of Rs 2,500 had approached the HC with a prayer that they should be getting the salary on par with the teachers getting Rs 4,500 per month.”

“A single judge bench had also ordered the government to pay the teachers on par with each other. And following the order, the government had lowered the fix wage of the six teachers from Rs 4,500 to Rs 2,500 per month,” said Mehta.

Subsequently, the issue reached the division bench, which has already struck down the policy of the government to hire people on fix wages for a fix period while calling it unconstitutional.

“On the lines of that judgment, our petitions were decided today. The court has ordered the government to consider the teachers as regular employee from the date of their appointment in 2006,” he said.

He added that it is to be seen if the government applies the order to only the 46 petitioners or to all the teachers who are teaching mentally challenged students in the state.

Remove obstructions from lane for non-motorised vehicles on SP Mukherjee Marg, HC tells MCD–vehicles-on-SP-Mukherjee-Marg–HC-tells-MCD/943821/

Express news service : New Delhi, Tue May 01 2012, 03:32 hrs

Pulling up the MCD for non-compliance of its orders, the Delhi High Court on Monday directed the civic agency to immediately remove obstructions from the lane marked for non-motorised vehicles (NMV) on S P Mukherjee Marg, where a pilot project to ensure smooth traffic is being implemented.

A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and S Muralidhar, constituted to deal with traffic-related issues in the city, directed the agency to remove the obstructions, including a toilet and two trees, from the lane within five days.

Coming down heavily for non-compliance of its January 20, 2012 order to clear the obstructions, the court noted that there was no progress on previous court orders.

“Either we have been challenged by your officers consciously or you care the least about court orders. We will have to issue a contempt notice to the MCD Commissioner if this persists,” said the bench.

The court order came after the petitioner organisation ‘Manushi Sangthan’ alleged that the MCD has failed to clear the obstructions despite an order from this bench four months ago and is shifting its responsibility stating that the Traffic police were not co-operating. The court granted two weeks’ time to remove the toilet from the lane and also directed the Traffic police to render all assistance for removal of obstructions.

Directing the civic agency to take the necessary steps for repair of the potholes, the bench sought to know from the agency about the measures taken for parking of cycle rickshaws on the lane by May 25, the next date of hearing of the matter.

Harpreet case: HC admits Nishan’s plea for suspension of sentence

HT Correspondent
Chandigarh , April 30, 2012

Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday admitted a petition of Nishan Singh, a personal security officer of former SGPC president and Bholath MLA Bibi Jagir Kaur and who was sentenced to five-year jail term by a special CBI court in Patiala on March 30 in Harpreet case, for suspension of his sentence. A notice was however issued to Punjab government and CBI on his bail plea.

A bench headed by justice Rakesh Kumar Garg admitted his petition seeking suspension of sentence, which would now come up for hearing with regular cases. The court however issued notice of motion to Punjab government and the CBI on his bail petition for May 29.

Nishan Singh was convicted along with Bibi Jagir Kaur and three others for illegal abduction, confinement and forcibly causing abortion of Bibi’s daughter Harpreet Kaur around 12 years ago.

Seeking bail, Nishan Singh contended that he was bed-ridden, unable to move and was also suffering from spinal tuberculosis. He also attached a medical certificate issued by Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences, Jalandhar. He further added that till date he had spent around three years and three months in jail.

The CBI special judge had convicted and handed separate sentences to Bibi Jagir Kaur, Nishan Singh, Dalwinder Kaur Dhesi and Paramjit Singh Raipur. However, the CBI judge had acquitted the four of charge of murder. A total of seven persons were tried, out of which two were acquitted and one died during trial.

On April 20, 2000, Harpreet was cremated without conducting post mortem under mysterious circumstances. Bibi Jagir Kaur had claimed that Harpreet died due to food poisoning.

Later, a case was registered on the statement of Kamaljit Singh of Begowal village that he had married Harpreet secretly and she was pregnant with their child, which was not acceptable to Bibi Jagir Kaur and that ultimately led to her abduction and death.


Bombay HC grants advance bail to ACP in rape case

PTI | 06:04 PM,Apr 30,2012

Mumbai, Apr 30 (PTI) Observing that prima facie no case was made out for even registration of an FIR against assistant commissioner of police Anil Mahabole, the Bombay High Court today granted him an anticipatory bail. Mahabole, accused of raping a middle-aged housewife, had moved the High Court after the sessions court rejected his anticipatory bail application. “The victim has to come forward and say that she was raped. She has not said so in her statement to the investigating officer. There is no forcible sexual intercourse disclosed. Hence there is no case even for registration of FIR,” Justice A M Thipsay said. The court pointed out that the victim, in her statement, had said she could not say anything about the alleged rape. “This is ridiculous. If the victim herself is not disclosing the offense, how can the police say rape has been committed,” the judge asked. “He (Mahabole) might have had illicit relations with her. But that is immoral behavior, at the most. The court cannot look at the case morally. We have to see the law point.” The court granted Mahabole bail on a surety of Rs 30,000. Earlier, Advocate Rohini Wagh, appearing for Mahabole, contended that her client was being made a scapegoat by the Police Commissioner. “Mahabole, while investigating the Telgi scam, had indicted several police officers who were later arrested. Since then he is being targeted. First his name was dragged into the murder of journalist J Dey, and now this rape case,” she alleged. The woman had allegedly told police that Mahabole was blackmailing her for the past eight months and had repeatedly raped her.

Sohrabuddin: CBI gets HC notice on bail pleas by cops with ‘clean chit’–CBI-gets-HC-notice-on-bail-pleas-by-cops-with–clean-chit-/943892/

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Tue May 01 2012, 05:13 hrs

The High Court on Monday issued notice to the CBI while hearing pleas for regular bail filed by two suspended policemen, Ajay Parmar and Santram Sharma, who were given a clean chit by the central agency in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case but are still behind bars.

Another policeman V A Rathod, also an accused in the case who was later given a clean chit by the CBI, was released on bail by the Supreme Court in March this year.

Advocate Punit Juneja, who is representing Parmar and Sharma, said they had demanded bails on the ground that the CBI, the prosecuting agency, had given them a clean chit to them and that Rathod, who was also cleared by the CBI, has been released on bail by the Supreme Court.

“The court has issued notice to the CBI and kept the petitions for further hearing on June 15,” Juneja said.

HC refuses to stay suspension of Worli sports club members

Swati Deshpande, TNN | May 1, 2012, 02.24AM IST

MUMBAI: Justice S C Dharmadhikari on Monday refused to stay the suspension of two members of National Sports Club of India (NSCI), Dr Shyam Nichani and Shilpa Ahuja, who are caught in dispute with other members.

The club’s Mumbai regional committee suspended Nichani for six months for lodging an allegedly false complaint against the secretary, Jaisingh Choraria, in March. Other members, who had also lodged the complaint, withdrew it a day later and apologized to Choraria, following which the secretary was exonerated.

Nichani moved high court where his counsel Prasad Dhakephalkar argued that the club did not follow principles of natural justice. But the judge said staying the suspension would be akin to giving final relief. When Dhakephalkar said not staying it would render his petition redundant as it might come up for hearing after six months, the judge said he could claim compensation. Much to the surprise of all and though not part of his order, the judge said, “In all these clubs these things keep happening. I don’t go to clubs. I tell my colleagues also not to be members of these so-called civilized clubs.”

Thapar varsity student’s death: HC asks cops to probe murder–HC-asks-cops-to-probe-murder/943687/

Express news service : Chandigarh, Tue May 01 2012, 00:37 hrs

CHANDIGARH: Refusing to show conviction in the report of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) which probed the “mysterious” death of a student of Thapar University, Patiala, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the Punjab Police to probe murder charges as recommended by its Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police. The development assumes significance since the Director General of Police (DGP) had refused to place reliance in a report prepared by its DIG, and had constituted the SIT.

DIG Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh had submitted a scathing inquiry report stating that “custodial interrogation” of those allegedly involved in the “accident” was required, and recommended registration of murder charges. Refusing to accept his recommendation report, the DGP had constituted a SIT. Taking note of this, O P Bhatia, Deputy Secretary, Home Affairs and Justice, Punjab, had said the constitution of SIT would “lead to tampering with evidence”. Therefore, he ordered that the SIT be disbanded immediately, upholding the DIG’s “recommendation” for registration of a murder case. Even though it was disbanded, the Punjab Police produced the copy of the SIT report which negated the findings of the DIG and said the student had died in an accident. In its report, the SIT had submitted that the allegations of murder were “absolutely baseless”.

Much to the relief of Gurbax Singh Bains, the father of the deceased, and embarrassment for the Punjab DGP, the HC has refused to take stock of the report tabled by the SIT. It has held that the investigating agency will probe the case on the basis of the report of the DIG who had recommended registration of a murder case. The court has given three months’ time to the Punjab Police to probe the murder charges. In another embarrassment for the police, the High Court has made it clear that no chargesheet will be produced in the trial court on the basis of the SIT report.

HC moved against Sachin’s RS nomination

Agencies : Madurai, Mon Apr 30 2012, 19:17 hrs

A petition seeking to stay cricketer Tendulkar from taking oath as Rajya Sabha member was filed in the Madras High Court Bench here today citing pendency of a case against him in a court near here.

Petitioner A. Benitto, an advocate here, also sought a court direction to the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman, its Secretariat,and Secretary General to refrain, entertain and solicit Tendulkar, who was nominated to the Upper House by the government, as a Member of Parliament.

The court should seek explanation from the Secretary General and Deputy Chairman as to how Tendulkar’s nomination as a Rajya Sabha member had been accepted by the Upper house Secretariat without proper investigation.

The petitioner submitted that a complaint had been filed before Judicial Magistrate of Melur near here against Tendulkar for allegedly insulting the national flag during a party in Jamaica in March 2010 and the same was pending adjudication.

“While so, the cricketer does not have the locus standi to become a member of the Parliament under sports category,” he said.

The petition is likely to come up for hearing on May 3.

Tendulkar, along with actress of yesteryear Rekha and industrialist Anu Aga were nominated by the government to the Rajya Sabha last week.

HC notice to Bhujbal, educational trust for ‘fee fraud’

Swati Deshpande, TNN | May 1, 2012, 02.55AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday issued a notice to state public works department minister Chhagan Bhujbal and his Mumbai Educational Trust (MET) to seek their reply on a PIL which alleged that the trust defrauded students into paying excess fees to the tune of Rs 8 crore in Nashik colleges.

The PIL, filed by a former freedom fighter Balasaheb Jhambulkar, alleged that amounts meant for technology funds were misused by the minister’s trust and students were charged excessive fees for two years. A bench headed by Justice Sharad Bobde briefly issued a notice and posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks or beyond the vacation.

The PIL alleged that Bhujbal and his trust also defrauded the Shikshan Shulk Samiti, the government committee that sets fees for private professional institutes. The PIL demanded appointment of an administrator and suspension of trustees, including founders Bhujbal, wife Meena, son Pankaj, nephew Sameer and Sunil Karve.

Jhambukar’s counsel Anil Anturkar said luxurious facilities are meant to be provided by institutes and the cost cannot be recovered through fees but the PIL, which has enclosed the income expense account statement for 2010-11 for the institutes, says “garden expenditure” is taken into account and an amount of Rs 25 lakh shown as expenses for “provision of technology development” was not used but kept by the trust in a section called ‘technology development fund’.

The committee fixes fees based on valid and permitted expenses incurred by privately run institutes in the previous year. The PIL alleges that the trust showed inflated amounts as expenses when there were none. The trust thus misled the committee.

Failed Engineering students to pass after Bombay HC directive

Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012, 7:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

After approaching Bombay High Court, over two dozen students of Mechanical Engineering and other branches (Semester 4, old syllabus students) who had failed in one paper conducted on July 19, 2011 due to allegedly out of syllabus questions, have got justice in their favour. High Court accepted the plea and later observed that indeed the questions in applied Mathematics paper were out of syllabus.

After High Court’s directive in this regard, Board of examination of University has directed all the colleges on Monday to rectify the mistake and pass all the students by awarding them minimum passing marks. According to Dean, Faculty of Technology, Dr SK Ukrande, “All 24 students, who have landed in soup, will be passed by the colleges.” Colleges have also been directed to forward forms of those students to University for final exams, if they are eligible.

Mumbai’s top cop accused of rape gets anticipatory bail

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | May 1, 2012, 02.40AM IST

MUMBAI: The victim has not said she was raped, observed Bombay HC on Monday while granting anticipatory bail to assistant commissioner of police Anil Mahabole, accused of raping a middle-aged homemaker.

Mahabole had moved the HC for anticipatory bail after the sessions court rejected it. An FIR was registered against Mahabole after the victim alleged that he had raped and blackmailed her over eight months.

Granting him bail on a surety of Rs 30,000, Justice A M Thipsay said that nowhere in her complaint has the victim stated that she was raped. Also, the victim said Mahabole had exploited her and that she consented as she needed his help. “The victim has to come forward and say she was raped. There is no forcible sexual intercourse. Hence, there is no case for registration of even an FIR,” said Justice Thipsay.

The judge also found it “ridiculous” that the victim-in her statement-says she is unable to speak about the rape. “If the victim herself is not disclosing the offence, then how can the police say rape has been committed?” said Justice Thipsay. He said Mahabole may have had illicit relations with the victim but that at the most would constitute “immoral behaviour”. “The court cannot look at the case morally. The law point has to be seen,” added Justice Thipsay.

Mahabole’s advocate Rohini Wagh said he was being made a scapegoat by the police commissioner. She said Mahabole had named several police officers in the Telgi scam, who were later arrested. “Since then, he is being targeted,” she said. She said Mahabole’s name was first dragged in the murder of journalist J Dey and “now this rape case”.

HC wanted cops to show restraint

P Ramdas

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala High Court, in the late 199os, had held that unless proper rules are framed or orders or directions issued by competent authorities, the use of the tinted safety glasses should not be restrained by the city police.

A Division Bench had passed the order on an appeal filed by two car owners in the city. The petitioners challenged the validity of Rule 100 and sought a directive to quash the decision regarding the enforcement of the ban of using tinted glasses on motor vehicles.

They also prayed for an order to the state to permit the use of tinted windows on motor vehicles and also prayed for a directive restraining the respondents from insisting on the removal of colour glasses and sun control films on wind screens and windows on vehicles.

The Single Judge had earlier ordered- “The Slate Government is directed to issue necessary instructions to the authorities under the Motor Vehicles Act and to the Police Department to see that motor vehicles registered and plying have wind screens and windows maintained in such a condition as to be clearly transparent and allow the clear vision outside from inside and inside from outside. They must take effective and urgent steps, at the earliest.”

The petition was moved challenging this appeal. The petitioners argued that the single judge did not direct implementation from any particular date, or in any particular manner. But, the authorities decided to enforce prohibition from September 1991.

However, the Division Bench restrained the move of the police and observed that the steps taken by the police were not on the basis of any written or executive order and held that the City Police Commissioner, who had issued certain prohibitions on the use of the tinted glasses, has no direct authority.

C refuses to cancel bail of BJP MLA, others

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Tue May 01 2012, 05:30 hrs

The Gujarat High Court on Monday dismissed a petition that sought to cancel the regular bail granted to some accused, including BJP MLA Shankar Chaudhary, in a 2002 riot case wherein two Muslims were killed in Radhanpur town.

Recently, the HC had dismissed a petition that was seeking transfer of investigation in the case to the CBI.

Special Public Prosecutor J M Panchal said that one Nanabhai Sheth had moved the bail cancellation petition on various grounds, the cardinal being the seriousness of the case.

“The petitioner had demanded the regular bail granted to around 16 accused, including Shankar Chaudhary, be cancelled as the case is very serious. However, the court rejected the petition on the ground that till date, none of the witnesses has complained against any of the accused,” said Panchal.

He added the court has directed the state government to provide adequate security to any of the witnesses who demands the same.

According to the details, two youths were killed by rioters on March 1, 2002 during the post-Godhra statewide riots.

Following the incident, police had registered a case of rioting and stated the two were killed in police firing.

Pending investigation of that case, one private complaint was made before a concerned magisterial court in Radhanpur by Sheth alleging the youths were killed in firings done by Chaudhary.

Subsequently, the court had ordered an inquiry into the incident under the provisions of Section 156 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

During this time, police added murder charge to the original complaint of rioting registered by it against a number of people, including Chaudhary, and submitted a summary report before the magisterial court recommending closure of the private complaint. But the court rejected the summary report and ordered further investigation.

The trial proceedings on the police complaint has been stayed by the HC following a petition by an eyewitness, Yakub Chauhan.

In his petition, Chauhan has raised suspicion that the matter might get hushed up. He has claimed that if the trial in that case got over, it would render the further inquiry order of the magisterial court on Sheth’s complaint infructuous as the accused would then claim benefit of double jeopardy.

SC slams settlement between Italian ship, fishermens kin

Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012, 9:15 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

Anguished at the ‘out-of-court settlement’ between the complainants and the detained Italian ship whose two marines had shot dead two native fishermen in February this year, the Supreme Court termed this so-called pact as an attempt to defeat the “Indian legal process”.

The SC also questioned the Kerala government as to why had it not challenged the settlement before a larger bench of the high court. A bench of Justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale on Monday expressed their displeasure during the resumed hearing in the lawsuits concerning release of the detained1,00,000 tonne Enrica Lexie cargo ship and speedy dispensation of the trial by an international forum for the alleged offence had taken place off Indian ocean maritime zone.

The judges asked the Kerala government to challenge the settlement approval order passed by a single judge bench of the HC, as under the Indian penal law, the state is the prosecutor on behalf of the complainant in a classified serious crime.

Meanwhile, a Kerala court has extended the judicial custody of two accused marines Latorre Massimillano and Salvatore Girone, who are facing the charge of murdering fishermen Ajesh Binki, 25, and Gelastine, 45.

Last week, the shipping company had signed the out-of-court settlement after paying Rs1 crore to the families of each of the killed fishermen and another Rs17 lakh to J Freddy, owner of the fishing boat in which the victims were travelling, as compensation for damage to the boat. In return, the complaints alleging the offence wouldn’t be pursued by the dependents of the murder fishermen.

The Italian ship owners have been insisting on the release of the ship saying the marines could have been involved n the crime but not the ship, thus she can’t be detained as the ‘case property’.
“It pains us the manner in which the Indian legal process is sought to be defeated,” judges told the lawyers Gopal Subramanium (Kerala), KK Venugopal (ship) and Viplav Sharma (Italian government).

Referring to the so-called compromise, judges told the senior counsel that “this is a challenge to the Indian judicial system, this is impermissible. It is most unfortunate.”

The top court also indicated that it isn’t in favour of detaining the cargo ship and her two marines unless their presence is required by the investigating authorities.

“Not only the citizens of this country but even foreign nationals, present in the country are entitled to the protection as per Article 21 which grants right to life and liberty to everyone in India,” the court added.

Govt committed to strong Lokpal: Khurshid

Last Updated: Monday, April 30, 2012, 14:22

Farrukhabad: Flaying the opposition for not cooperating on the Lokpal Bill, Law Minister Salman Khurshid has said the government was committed to bring a strong anti-corruption legislation.

“The Union government is ready to accept every good proposal and is committed to bring a strong Lokpal Bill for which the opposition parties need also to cooperate,” the minister who was here on a day’s visit to his Parliamentary constituency yesterday said in reply to a question on Swami Ramdev’s statement on black money.

He said that besides the Lokpal Bill, the government is also committed to bring eight bills for further strengthening the Indian Penal code, checking corruption in judiciary, curbing atrocities on women and bringing transparency in government purchases during the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

For providing better health facilities in the state, the Union government is vigilant towards providing a multi-speciality facility like the AIIMS, the minister said in reply to a question.

While refusing to give a direct reply to questions on reports of his move to resign from the ministry and instead working for the party organisation, he said that all depends on the wishes of party president Sonia Gandhi.

To a question on checking paid news being published in newspapers during elections, he said that Centre was working towards finding a way besides the Election Commission is also trying to work it out.

The minister said that he has discussed ways and means like having a self-imposed code of conduct by the media managers on coverage of defence related matters with the chairman of the Press Council Justice Markandey Katju recently to guard national interests.

Kobad Ghandy to be tried under UAPA: Court

Jayant Sriram : New Delhi, Tue May 01 2012, 03:54 hrs

A Delhi court on Monday accepted a fresh set of charges filed by the Delhi Police against suspected Maoist sympathiser Kobad Ghandy under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The court said the 65-year-old would face trial for being a member of a banned terrorist outfit, CPI(Maoist), and promoting its activities here.

“I hereby take cognisance for the offences punishable under Section 20 and 38 of the UAPA (for being member of a banned outfit and promoting its activity) against accused Kobad Ghandy,” Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav said.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police had filed fresh charges against Ghandy after a sessions court had dropped all charges against him under the anti-terror law for want of proper sanction. However, while it held that defect in obtaining sanction was incurable, it said that there was enough material to make out a case against him under certain actions of the Act.

“There is sufficient material on record to make out a prima facie case for offences punishable under Section 20 and 38 of the UAPA against accused Kobad Ghandy,” the court had observed.

Ghandy and his co-accused Rajender alias Arvind Joshi also stand charged for impersonation, cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.

The court held that evidence collected against Joshi indicated that he had helped Ghandy in obtaining a fake voter ID and PAN cards so that he could live in Delhi and carry out his activities under the assumed name.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Yadav said the proceedings for all offences would take place before the sessions court as they were closely connected. The CMM directed that Ghandy would be tried jointly with Joshi, rejecting the latter’s argument that he cannot be tried with Ghandy as the sessions court has stated that no case under the UAPA was made out against him.

Action against Mayawati if found guilty: Akhilesh Yadav

Ashish Tripathi, TNN Apr 30, 2012, 10.48PM IST

LUCKNOW: Even as yet another scam related to free distribution of seeds to farmers has been unearthed in Uttar Pradesh, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said that all scams reported during previous Bahujan Samaj Party government are being probed and legal action will be taken if former chief minister Mayawati is found to be involved in any one of them. While talking to reporters at Mainpuri, Yadav also assured that guilty in seed scam will not be spared.

The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and toilet scams during Mayawati’s regime are already under the scanner. The Samajwadi Party government which came to power in March after winning assembly polls has decided to form a commission to probe all the scams alleged to have taken place during the Mayawati rule. The NRHM scam worth over Rs 5000 crore and is being probed by the CBI as well. The toilet scam is of over Rs 2900 crore.

The ‘seed scam’, estimated to be of over Rs 60 crore, has been unearthed by a farmer Anand Kumar Singh through an RTI query. The money for free distribution of seeds to farmers was provided by the central and state governments. However, the distribution was shown only on papers. Nothing was done at the ground level. Brokers and officers were pocketing money for free seeds since through forged documents having names of fake names of farmers

Also, Singh claimed, out of 10 lakh quintal unregularised wheat seed in the state, 2.5 lakh quintal was sold in open market. Singh has filed an FIR with the police against the project officer of Seed Corporation, Lucknow, Surendra Pratap Singh, Bareilly project officer Ram Kumar Verma, marketing department chairman Hari Kishore Prasad and deputy chief financial officer Prithviraj Manchanda. Singh has also filed a PIL in the high court on the issue.

As per Ashutosh Pandey, deputy inspector general, Lucknow range, the complaint related to the ‘seed scam’ is being investigated by the police and if needed, it will be transferred to the economic offences wing of the state police. The police suspect that amount of money involved in the seed scam can be more. The seed distribution and production programmes were being run by the UP Seed Development Corporation, Lucknow, in different parts of the state.

Punjab and Haryana high court issues notice to administration, police, education department

TNN | May 1, 2012, 06.03AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Acting on a petition filed by an NGO accusing IAS officer Prerna Puri of misusing her official position by allegedly ill-treating a domestic help hired by her mother, Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday put UT administration, police and education department on notice. The authorities have been asked to respond on May 4.

NGO Vatsal Chaya filed a PIL through its chairperson Sangeeta Vardhan stating that in 2009, it came across two children aged about 11 years, working as domestic help in Sector 8-C, Chandigarh. One of them named Shambu, hailed from Jagatpur village in Bihar, and was employed with mother of Prerna Puri, who has been serving in UT.

The petitioner submitted that they requested Shambu’s employer to send him to their evening school for four hours and he was enrolled in 2009. The petitioner alleged that for the past few days it was observed that Sambhu was scared of coming to school and when they probed him, he said a “didi,” who used to come to their house with policemen, would “threaten and harass” him.

“Upon detailed inquiries, it was found that didi happened to be none other than Prerna Puri, thus she misused her official position and denied educational facilties to Shambu,” the petitioner submitted.

The petitioner sought directions for an in-depth inquiry while praying to record statements of all concerned to probe their role. It sought strict action against those found guilty. After hearing the petition and considering the sensitivity of the matter, a division bench headed by acting chief justice of the HC M M Kumar asked the UT administration, police and the education department to file their replies in the matter before the court. The bench, however, refused to issue notice to IAS officer at this stage.

High court disposes petition on medium of instruction

TNN | May 1, 2012, 02.21AM IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Monday disposed of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Ruhi Dicholkar and three others challenging the circular issued by the directorate of Education (DoE) as regards release of grants to primary schools with English as their medium of instruction (MoI).

A division bench comprising Justice A P Lavande and Justice U V Bakre passed the order following a statement made by the DoE that the government had now decided to withdraw the circular issued on June 10, 2011, by substituting it with a fresh circular.

On April 24, the director of education, Anil Powar, had filed an affidavit before the high court stating that it would issue a fresh circular in that regard after taking into consideration suggestions from all sections of society and the provisions of the Right to Education Act, 2005.

During the hearing on Monday, the petitioners’ advocate, Mahesh Sonak, suggested that the petition can be disposed of in view of the DoE’s statement that it would not implement the MoI circular.

The petitioners had also complained that several primary schools had switched over to English as their MoI, despite a stay order passed by the high court.

On July 18, 2011, the high court had passed an interim order that the cabinet decision and the subsequent DoE circular on MoI shall not be implemented.

PIL seeks AIIMS-like institute in Allahabad

PTI | 11:04 PM,Apr 30,2012

Allahabad, Apr 30 (PTI) A Public Interest Litigation was filed today in the Allahabad High Court seeking setting up of an AIIMS-like institute in the city. The PIL, filed by advocate B P Singh, sought a direction to the Uttar Pradesh government and the Centre for setting up the proposed institute here. The PIL said the city was best-suited for such a project and this would help in reducing the rush of patients from the impoverished regions of Uttar Pradesh to the AIIMS in Delhi. The petition alleged though the Centre had sanctioned more than Rs 800 crore for the proposed project, there had been no headway due to lack of coordination between the Centre the state government. The PIL is likely to come up for hearing on Wednesday.

PIL on CBI going soft on National Rural Health Mission scam big shots

TNN | May 1, 2012, 04.41AM IST

LUCKNOW: A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday against the alleged double standards adopted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in arresting those accused in the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam.

Filed by Lucknow-based social activist, Nutan Thakur, the PIL came up for hearing before a division bench of Justice Imtiyaz Murtaza and Justice V C Gupta. The bench has posted the hearing for Tuesday. The PIL has cited TOI reports published on April 21 and April 7 which highlighted how the CBI had arrested some bit players while some influential people like the former mission director of NRHM, Pradeep Shukla, had only been questioned. The PIL has requested the court to direct the CBI to clarify its position and furnish the status report of the NRHM probe before the bench.

Significantly, it was the high court which had asked CBI to probe the alleged scam said to be to the tune of Rs 5,700 crore. The scam has also claimed as many as six lives so far which include the murder of three medical officers and three suicides. On January 31 this year, a division bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, which was supervising the probe, had pulled up the CBI for its slow progress. The bench had also expressed concern that ‘big players’ are interrogated and let off. So far, 14 persons have been arrested. But barring Kushwaha, none of the high-profile accused, out of a total of 41, has been arrested.

LEGAL NEWS 30.04.2012

Aarushi murder case: Nupur Talwar surrenders before Ghaziabad court

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 08.48AM IST

NEW DELHI: Nupur Talwar on Monday surrendered in the Ghaziabad court as Supreme Court had refused to stay the non-bailable warrant against her. She has been taken into judicial custody.

Nupur Talwar also filed her bail plea in the trial court. However, the CBI has asked the court that they will file a counter application to oppose her bail. The CBI will be filing their reply in two hours.

On April 27, Nupur Talwar was directed by the Supreme Court to surrender on Monday before the trial court in Ghaziabad in the twin murder case of her 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj in Noida four years ago.

Refusing to stay the non-bailable warrant issued against her by the special CBI court, a bench of justices A K Patnaik and J S Khehar asked her to approach the trial judge for bail after surrendering which shall expeditiously consider her plea.

The court also turned down her plea for granting protection against any arrest on her surrender.

“We should not anticipate about what the trial court is going to do. You appear before it and the court shall consider your bail. If you do not get bail then there are higher courts,” the bench said.

The bench pointed out that her husband also got bail in the twin murder case.

“We are not inclined to stay the operation of the order of NBW issued by the Special Judge, Ghaziabad. But we direct that petitioner (Nupur Talwar) will appear on Monday and move her bail. In case application for bail is moved, the same shall be considered expeditiously,” the bench said.

School-going Aarushi was murdered on the intervening night of May 16-17, 2008 at her Noida residence and the body of domestic help, Hemraj, was found on their terrace the next day.

Nupur faced arrest after Ghaziabad special court issued non-bailable warrant against her on April 11 following which the CBI had carried out searches at her Delhi home.

The investigating agency, however, later on assured the bench that it would not arrest her till the hearing of her plea in the apex court.







BSNL directed to provide call details to lawyer

Nothing wrong in providing details about his own number: HC The Madras High Court Bench here has directed the General Manager of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) here to provide details of incoming and outgoing phone calls made by a lawyer through his mobile phone on a particular date along with details of locations from where the calls were made and received in order to prove his innocence in a criminal case registered against him.

Allowing a writ petition filed by the lawyer, B. Stalin, through his counsel P. Rathinam, Justice D. Hariparanthaman said that there was nothing wrong in providing the details sought for by the petitioner as he was seeking information about his own mobile phone number. “It is a different matter, if the petitioner had sought for certain details relating to a mobile phone belonging to someone else,” he added.

The judge also pointed out that the Madurai Collector U. Sagayam too had written a letter to the General Manager of BSNL on April 7 asking him to provide the details sought for by the petitioner by stating that “we are living in the era of Right to Information Act and hence every citizen of the country had the right to obtain the information sought for by him.”

The Madurai district police had registered a criminal case against the lawyer on March 10.

However, he was granted interim bail by a Division Bench of the High Court on March 13 following a habeas corpus petition filed by his father K. Bhaskaran.

Subsequently, he made an application to BSNL seeking the details about the calls made and received on March 10.

The information was not provided and hence the present petition.








Kerala seeks SIMI ban extension

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Kerala Government in its affidavit filed before the Special Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act Tribunal, headed by Justice V K Shali, has requested the Centre to continue its ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
In February, the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had extended the ban for two years under Section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1963.
The Central Government in March 2012 constituted a committee headed by Justice Shali to examine if sufficient evidence exists against SIMI to extend the ban. As per Unlawful Activities Act 1963, the ban has to be approved by the tribunal.
Kerala Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan confirmed the state government move. “The Central Government had already extended the ban in February. We are just endorsing it. SIMI is still spreading propaganda in the state through various front organisations.The state government wants the ban to continue. We are facing a lot of problems because of SIMI activities.
I will try and meet Justice Shali when he is in Kerala next week and convey our stand,” Radhakrishnan said.
Radhakrishnan also hinted at various front organisations floated by SIMI in Kasargod district that have been active in organising seminars and symposium.
“The state government will soon convene an all-party meeting to discuss the problems in Kasargod and parts of Kozhikode. It is important to put a curb on propaganda circulated through various NGOs by organising symposium,” he said.
Home Ministry sources said there are at least 15 front organisations of SIMI in Kerala and intelligence input received by the Centre over the years clearly indicate SIMI links with Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba. “Some non-governmental organisations are acting as messenger. There are reports indicating that these NGOs are receiving funds from abroad,” sources said.








Endosulfan: NHRC presses State to pay compensation

Special Correspondent

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Chief Secretary to personally appear before it on June 11, if the State government failed to take action on the compensation recommended by it to endosulfan victims in Kasaragod district.

The Chief Secretary is to file an action taken report on the NHRC’s recommendations before June 4, failing which he would have to appear before the Commission. The NHRC has warned that it would approach the Supreme Court for enforcement of its recommendations if the government failed to pay the compensation.

The NHRC had said that the State should pay at least Rs. 5 lakh to the next of kin of those who had died and to those who were fully bedridden or unable to move without help or mentally retarded and Rs. 3 lakh to those who have got other disabilities.

Though the NHRC had said that the Union government should give adequate financial help to the State government, the Centre is yet to approve a proposal submitted by it.

Recently, the State government issued an order taking over liabilities of the Plantations Corporation of Kerala in this regard. It was the Corporation which undertook aerial spraying of endosulfan in its estates spreading across or adjoining a dozen villages in Kasaragod district, disregarding rules. The spraying of endosulfan, which started in the late 1970s continued till 2001.

The NHRC, which considered the issue suo moto in 2010, had given its recommendations in December 2010. Last year, the State government said in an action taken report that the payments could not be made since the assistance from the Centre was not forthcoming. More than 4,000 people have already been identified as victims eligible for relief and four-stage verification is on in the case of about 1,400 more applicants. The process includes medical examination by experts and confirmation of place of residence by Revenue Department.

The NHRC had recommended that a panel of doctors might assess the extent of physical disability to classify the categories of victims. It had also called for a survey of other populations that might also have been affected by the use of endosulfan including in Palakkad district where there were reports of similar problems faced by villagers.

Besides, the NHRC had recommended increase in the quantum of relief, rehabilitation for victims and their families, improvement in facilities for diagnosis, treatment and therapy available at hospitals and health centres. It also suggested that at least one of the hospitals attending to the victims should be equipped and staffed to offer advanced care and all Primary Health Centres in the eleven villages, which are seriously affected, may be upgraded to Community Health Centres.









NHRC issues notice to UP police over death of woman

PTI | 06:04 PM,Apr 30,2012

New Delhi, Apr 30 (PTI) The NHRC today issued notice to Uttar Pradesh Police in connection with death of a road accident victim after it was alleged that cops of two police stations were busy arguing over jurisdiction instead of taking to hospital the injured woman who was mauled by stray dogs. If true, this indifference by the police who are supposed to take action is quite reprehensible and also violative of human rights of a citizen, the National Human Rights Commission observed in its notice. The Director General of UP Police has been asked to submit a detailed report in the matter within four weeks after taking suo motu cognisance of the incident, an NHRC spokesperson said. A woman senior citizen was knocked down by a vehicle in Hapur on April 21 and the police allegedly argued over jurisdiction and did not take the injured lady to a hospital for treatment. Quoting media reports, the NHRC said, even as she was crying for help, the stray dogs mauled her to death.







Conditional acquittal for all accused in Umta rioting case

Manas Dasgupta

All the surviving 109 accused in the Umta rioting case, in which two persons were killed during the post-Godhra communal riots, have been granted conditional acquittals by the Visnagar court.

Mohammad Abdul Sheikh, a retired teacher, and Abdul Mansuri, were killed and later their bodies thrown into a fire during communal violence in Umta village in Visnagar taluka of Mehsana district in north Gujarat on February 28, 2002. More than 100 houses of the minorities were also looted and set afire by a mob of over 2,000.

The police arrested a total of 120 persons in connection with rioting, arson and murder. Of them, 11 died during the trial.

Visnagar court judge K.V. Magnani on Friday acquitted all the accused giving them the benefit of doubt because no “concrete evidence” was available against any of them. The court, however, stipulated conditions asking them to furnish a personal bond of Rs. 10,000 each, deposit their passports if they held one, and submit their address proofs before the court. The acquitted have also been told not to leave Gujarat without the permission of the court.

Special Public Prosecutor Navin Barot regretted the court order but said the court had to give them the benefit of doubt as prime witnesses, who hailed from the village, had all turned hostile and refused to recognise any of them as attackers. He said he would give his opinion about challenging the judgment after studying the order.

Babubhai Patel, one of those acquitted, claimed that the local Muslims supported their cause because the two communities always lived together in the village and would continue to do so. He claimed that the attackers were mostly people from outside but the police had wrongly arrested the locals. Some minority leaders, who were helping the victims in the court case, however, claimed that the local Muslims had “bought peace” with the majority community members by not identifying the accused in court.

Meanwhile, the Gujarat High Court on Friday admitted the petitions filed by various parties concerned in the Sardarpura massacre in which 33 members of the minority community were killed in the village, also in Mehsana district, on March 1, 2002.

The special fast track court judge S.C. Srivastava last month sentenced 31 convicted to life imprisonment while exonerating 42 others, including 31 of them on benefit of doubt. While the State government and the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team have applied for enhancing the punishment for the convicts and also challenged the acquittals of the 31 persons, the victims and witnesses have filed a petition demanding application of “pre-planned conspiracy” theory against those convicted.

A Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Justices Jayant Patel and Paresh Upadhyaya, has admitted the petitions and fixed May 2 for the hearing. It will hear on June 18 the petition filed by the State government.









Court dismisses South African woman’s plea for custody of child

Staff Reporter

This court has no territorial jurisdiction, says Judge K. S. MohiA family court in Saket here has dismissed a petition by a South African divorced woman for full custody of her minor child with whom she had fled that country ostensibly to escape harassment from her husband, a local politician there.

“This court has no territorial jurisdiction to entertain the present petition under Section 9 of the Guardians and Wards Act 1980,” said Judge K.S. Mohi, while quashing the petition.

The couple married in 2004 in South Africa and again in 2005 in Goa and divorced by mutual consent in 2010, obtaining the decree from a South African court. They had agreed to share custodial rights over the child.

The woman alleged that her former husband regularly used abusive language and she feared for her five-year-old daughter. The man also allegedly abandoned her before her divorce, leaving her to fend for their daughter as well as two of his other children from previous marriages.

The woman had obtained permission to travel on holiday to the U.K and, on applying for her visa, was told that her South African visa was a spouse visa and no longer valid after her divorce. The woman, after several consultations with the Embassy, made her way back to India.

She had filed a petition for perpetual and mandatory injunction restraining her former husband or his relatives or anyone else acting on his behalf from approaching her or her child, restraining him from coming within 100 metres of her, her present place of residence in Delhi and the school in which she intended to put her child, and restraining her former husband from sending any correspondence, email, SMS either directly or indirectly.

The defence, however, stated that the court had no territorial jurisdiction to deal with the matter because the minor child was not residing within its territory at the time of filing the petition and was therefore not maintainable in the eyes of the law. They further contended that the woman had, after obtaining a consent divorce allowing joint custody and rights to the child, moved an application in Cape Town for a holiday in the U.S. The court had granted its consent with certain conditions, which were never fulfilled by the woman.

The court contended that the matter was sub-judice as the matter was pending in the South African court and questioned the intentions of the woman who defied the South African court’s orders by coming to India and that her child could not be considered a citizen of India as she was born and brought up in South Africa.

* This report has been edited for a technical error.









Senior lawyers must guide juniors: Justice Deshpande

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 01.21AM IST

AMRAVATI: “Judges and lawyers should work jointly to ensure speedy justice to clients,” said chief justice of Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court RK Deshpande.

He was speaking at the inaugural function of the new building of Nandgaon Khandeshwar Court on Sunday.

“Senior lawyers should guide juniors regarding behaviour in court. They must also provide them with opportunities to ensure justice is delivered,” said Deshpande.

The Nandgaon Khadeshwar court started functioning in 1997. It will be shifted to the new building soon. The new structure was constructed at a cost of Rs 3.31 crore. It has provision for all basic amenities.

Chief district and sessions court judge of Amravati, MK Walchale too addressed the gathering while civil judge and magistrate of Nandgaon Khandeshwar court, AP Karad made the introductory remarks.

The guests at the function included MLA Virendra Jagtap, former judges, lawyers and citizens.










Mining scam: SC to decide on independent probe against BSY

New Delhi: It is a crucial day for former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa as the Supreme Court on Monday will decide whether to order an independent probe into allegations that the Lingayat leader’s family received kickbacks from mining baron Praveen Chaddha.

Yeddyurappa will also be appearing before a Lokayukta court in connection with the alleged illegal denotificiation of land in South Bangalore.

The high-level panel headed by PV Jayakrishanan, which has gone through voluminous documents submitted by Dharwad-based NGO Samaja Parivartana Samudaya (SPS), submitted its report to the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia.

In what could be a serious indictment for the BJP’s star campaigner in the southern state, the recommendation for the CBI probe will put Yeddyurappa’s demand of reinstating him as the chief minister of Karnataka into a jeopardy.

The SPS which demanded a CBI probe into the alleged nexus between corporate houses and people in power, alleged that some of the land denotification done by Yeddyurappa when he was in power and subsequent sale of the properties to mining companies was nothing but quid pro quo.

Petitioners SR Hiremath and P Vishnu Kamath from SPS have alleged that over 12 firms and trusts run by family members of Yeddyurappa, including Prerana Trust, Bhagat Homes Private Limited, Davalagiri Property Developers Private Limited and Sahyadri Health Care Limited, received huge donations from mining companies in return for mining leases.

The SPS alleged that the said documents showed that companies belonging to family members of Yeddyurappa received Rs 6 crore from R Praveen Chandra, who got the mining lease in Chitradurga district. The NGO also submitted documents pertaining to Rachenahalli land denotification case to the CEC.

Earlier, Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde had accused the former chief minister of not taking steps to stop illegal mining.

The Lokayukta report had indicted Yeddyurappa and his family in the illegal mining case. “We have pointed out illegal mining can be controlled but unfortunately no action has been taken. We had to examine over 4 lakh records and 50 lakh entries to produce this report which comes to 25,288 pages. The illegalities done have been described in 31 chapters. We have come to the conclusion that the loss caused is Rs 16,085 crore from 2006 to 2010,” he had said.

After the Lokayukta report, the BJP strongman had to quit from his post.









Orissa high court orders Central Electricity Supply Utility of Orissa to appoint new CEO

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 06.27AM IST

CUTTACK: The Orissa high court recently directed Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) to remove Bijoy Chandra Jena from the post of chief executive officer (CEO) of CESU and to appoint a new CEO within two months. Division bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra gave the direction in response to a petition challenging the appointment of Jena.

Seventy-year-old Jena was handling two crucial posts of chairman and CEO in the government owned power distribution company. Challenging his appointment, secretary of Odisha Electricity Employees’ Federation, Dhobei Sahoo, had filed a PIL seeking judicial intervention in the matter. He had alleged that one person holding both the posts of chairman and chief executive officer of CESU since August 2010 was illegal. The petitioner had alleged that post of CEO is the key post of CESU and the CEO is supposed to report to the chairman if any misappropriation of funds or irregularity is detected in the company, but if CEO and chairman is the same person then who will check the corruption. tnn










Rethink age of consent for sex, Court tells lawmakers

Express news service : New Delhi, Mon Apr 30 2012, 02:34 hrs

A Delhi sessions court has called on the legislature to “rethink” the existing laws regarding the age of consent for sex keeping in mind the changing social sensibilities in the country. The court made the observation while acquitting a youth who was facing charges of abducting a young girl with an intention to compel her to marry him.

“It is time for legislators to have a re-think regarding the existing law by creating certain exceptions and making allowances regarding the age of the consent/protection keeping in view the changing social attitudes and social sensibilities,” Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said.

“Many jurisdictions world over have made allowances regarding age of consent in cases where there is not much difference between the age of older partner and that of the minor engaged in a sexual act. The enforcement of the age of consent law varies in different places depending upon culture, social sensibilities and changing societal attitudes,” Lau said.

In the present case, the court noted that the girl and the accused were in love and had planned to elope since their parents had not consented to their marriage. At the time of the incident, in October 2008, the girl’s father had filed an FIR saying his daughter was a minor and had been kidnapped by the accused. On the same day, she was ‘rescued’ from the Wazirpur area here.

During trial, the father and mother of the girl said after seven months of the alleged incident, she was married to a Bihar-based man and they were now living happily. The parents told the court that they have not informed the husband of their daughter about the incident and requested the court not to summon her as her marital life would be ruined.

The court noted that the accused youth was also happily married to another person and ruled that the future of the two youngsters should not be destroyed by an incident that occurred in their past. Further, it noted that during trial, an ossification test of the girl was conducted and, as per the medical record, she was of 18-19 years at the time of the alleged incident and the accused was only a few years older.

“The legal system cannot be used to punish youngsters in love who are at the verge of attaining majority and this court cannot ruin their lives by taking a hyper- technical view, especially so when the age gap between these youngsters is within acceptable limits and does not reflect an exploitative coercive situation,” the court said.









Misuse of Army dress code: three held

The police here have arrested three persons in connection with staging a procession wearing dress similar to that of the Army uniform as part of Milad-un-Nabi earlier this year.

The arrests of Arshad (27), Arif (27), and Junaid (28) were made during a police raid led by Kanhangad Circle Inspector K.V. Venugopal on Saturday, a senior police officer told The Hindu. The arrests were made under provisions of the Indian Penal Code including Section 124-A (sedition). A case was registered under Section 79 of the Kerala Police Act for taking out a procession without taking prior permission from the police.

The police had registered cases against 90 persons in three similar incidents in the Kanhangad police station limits, Mr. Venugopal said.

A similar procession was taken out at Parappa near here a week later despite a firm assurance from the community’s leaders that no such unhealthy practices would be repeated.









Manipur student’s death: Youngsters rally for justice

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 05.44AM IST

BANGALORE: Hundreds of stu dents turned up at a rally at Town Hall on Sunday, dema nding justice and transparent investigation into the alleged murder of 19-year-old Loitam Richard, a student of Acharya NRV College of Architecture near Hessaraghatta.

A first-year B Arch student Loitam was a native of Im phal, Manipur. He was found dead in his hostel room at Madanayakanahalli on Tum kur Road on April 17.

A Facebook page hosted by activist Monika Khangembam for the cause of students’ se curity had mobilized opinion among youth in the city against the tardy probe into Loitam’s killing.

The ‘Justice-For-Richard Group’ has already submitted a memorandum to PM Man mohan Singh, pointing to mis leading reports about Loitam being a suicide or drug abuse victim. ” Loitam was not real ly taken to the hospital and how could the hostel doctor declare him dead? Preliminary reports did not suggest any drugs or toxins in the blood; the man agement is trying to hush up the case despite there being three witnesses giving their statements to police,” said Monika . Two seniors allegedly punched Loitam on his head after he changed the TV channel which other students were watching. Police interrogated Sayeed Afzal Ali and Vivek Banerjee, two inmates of the hostel, but released them.

A family friend of Loitam who did not want to be named said he was too shocked that the teenager had died such a pathetic death.

Rahul Prasad from Juvenile Care, an NGO, said: ” I have come here to study; no one has the right to beat me up if I switch off TV,” he said.

The postmortem report was inconclusive and his viscera samples and body parts have been sent for chemical analysis and histopathological examination, respectively.











Shortage of bureaucrats plagues Maharashtra

Madhavi Rajadhyaksha, TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 02.43AM IST

MUMBAI: A delegation of citizens who met chief minister Prithviraj Chavan recently over the vacant posts of information commissioners under the RTI Act in Maharashtra was told that there weren’t adequate bureaucrats to spare to fill these posts. The excuse cited by the CM points to a deeper problem stalking the power corridors of Mantralaya in recent months – the shortage of bureaucrats to run the affairs of the state.

A tally of the IAS officers making their way to Maharashtra puts the situation in perspective. The state currently has a sanctioned strength of 350 IAS officers but officials from the general administration department say 52 posts are vacant, mainly owing to retirement or officials leaving government service.

The problem is compounded since the intake of bureaucrats doesn’t match the state’s requirement. “We are facing a shortage of IAS officers ever since the intake for the state was cut down. We get seven new IAS officers every year which is too little,” said Chavan on a recent visit to the TOI office. Officials say they need at least 15 IAS officials annually.

The strains on effective decision-making and administration are evident, with senior officials juggling dual portfolios or key posts lying vacant.

The implementation of the RTI Act in the state has been hampered, believe citizens. Bhaskar Patil, who held the Amravati divisional post of the information commissioner, now juggles the charge of chief information commissioner (CIC) as well, even as three divisional information chief posts in Mumbai, Konkan and Pune lie headless. “The post of CIC is demanding and such dual charges leads to inefficient clearing of RTI appeals,” said RTI activist Krishnaraj Rao who, along with eminent citizens like former police commissioner Julio Ribeiro, met the CM recently to point to the mounting pendencies under the act. There were roughly 1.07 lakh RTI appeals pending across the state at the end of 2011, even as citizens point out that the posts needn’t be filled only by bureaucrats.

The fallout is evident across sectors. Take, for instance, the industries department, a major portfolio for a state aspiring to boost its industrial quotient. MIDC chief K Shivaji took on additional charge as principal secretary (industries) after bureaucrat A M Khan, who was holding the portfolio, took voluntary retirement. Urban development secretary Manu Kumar Srivastava holds additional charge of special projects after his predecessor took voluntary retirement. Chief posts at City and Development Corporation (Cidco) too are waiting to be filled.

“The shortage of IAS officers will affect the efficacy of administration, service delivery and the development of the state in the long run,” said former chief secretary Johny Joseph. The lack of able hands doesn’t augur well particularly for a bureaucracy plagued by low morale following the arrest of senior IAS officials in the Adarsh scam. While the posts, particularly at the lower-levels such as CEOs, can be filled from non-IAS cadres, officials admit that the IAS comes with its specialized skill-sets and training for multi-tasking, which is crucial to effective administration.








RTI applications now expensive and difficult; will the move kill the act?

Reported by Sidharth Pandey | Updated: April 29, 2012 16:00 IST

New Delhi:  It was hailed as the UPA’s big achievement when the Right to Information Act was passed in 2005. Now it seems like state governments and public authorities across the country are making it increasingly expensive and at times a virtually impossible task for people to seek information.

In states like Chhattisgarh, the Vidhan Sabha or state assembly has recently hiked the fees for information to Rs500 for each query. This means, that anyone asking questions like details of how many days their elected representatives have attended the assembly, or the expenditure on their foreign trips, will have to shell out 500 rupees each time. That’s 50 times the price as envisaged under the original 2005 RTI Act. The Uttar Pradesh assembly has been asking 500 rupees for years now.

It doesn’t stop there; in fact citizens should avoid asking for any photocopied documents from the Chattisgarh assembly unless they are ready to pay 15 rupees per page as charges to the assembly. That’s 15 times the market rate for photocopying.

So while in some states the cost of applying for information has become expensive, other states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh have set a word limit to just 150 words.

It now seems that Madhya Pradesh too is about to set a word limit and also double the fees for seeking information from Rs. 10 to Rs. 20.

The justification to hiking fees and limiting queries given by various authorities is that the move is aimed at curbing frivolous applications that end up over burdening government officers with answering frivolous applications. But these changes in the rules have not gone too well with activists who have been fighting to strengthen it.

Shekhar Singh, the coordinator for the non profit organisation, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), says the present and proposed changes may be ok in the letter but not in the spirit of the law.

Singh, who was a key player in drafting the 2005 landmark information act, says that citizens should challenge the change in rules.

“Even if we agree to the Rs. 28 income a day, as the line that divides the poor according to the planning commission that means a person will have to save his entire months income just to file one RTI. It in effect takes away a person’s fundamental right indirectly” explained Singh.

But changing rules is one thing, changing the act is another.

“More and more exemption provisions are being made than what are there are in the original law and this is not acceptable,” said Satyanand Mishra, India’s Central Information Commissioner (CIC).

As the CIC, it’s Mishra’s job to ensure that the RTI is implemented across the country. He also plays the role of chief referee between information seekers and public authorities, often ruling on appeals filed by citizens who have been denied information by officers.

But increasingly he’s had to pass orders asking public authorities to not only give information to citizens but also re-look at the changes made by them which have altered the nature of the law.

The RTI is heralded as one of the most important laws since independence, by civil rights campaigners. It’s allowed ordinary citizens get a host of basic services from water connections to passports. But now with many states and authorities making this process difficult and expensive, the RTI could soon be a mere act in government books.











Disclose plaint letters against judges: CIC

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 03.30AM IST

NEW DELHI: In a move which may make public the names of judges against whom complaints have been received by the law ministry, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the ministry to disclose the forwarding letters attached with such complaints referred to the Supreme Court and the high courts by it.

The ministry had earlier claimed that it cannot provide copy of complaints because these complaints are forwarded to Chief Justice of India and Chief Justices of High Courts in respective cases. It had also said that the ministry officials do not keep a record of these complaints.

While hearing the plea of RTI activist Subhash Agrawal, the CIC found his demand of the letters “reasonable” and ordered the disclosure of such letters dating back to last one year immediately and asked the officials to trace records for three years and provide it to the applicant. Information Commissioner Sushma Singh also directed the ministry to maintain the records in such a manner that they can be retrieved easily whenever requested for by the applicants.












Burglary at Bombay high court judge’s flat

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 06.27AM IST

PUNE: Unidentified persons broke into a flat of Bombay high court judge, Mrudula Bhatkar, located in Erandwane. Kothrud police said that the flat was unoccupied and nothing except bank locker keys had been stolen from the flat. The driver of the family, Sanjay Sohani, has lodged a complaint with the Kothrud police station.

Senior police inspector Chandrakant Ghodke of the Kothrud police station said that the incident came into light on Saturday evening, when the residents of the Anushri society in Erandwane noticed that the locks of the door of Bhatkar’s flat were broken. “When they found that Bhatkar’s car was not in the parking area, they realised that the family was not in the city. They then suspected something amiss and informed the police,” Ghodke said.

Ghodke said the suspects may have broken into the house two-three days back. “When the police reached the flat, they found that all the clothes were scattered in the room. The suspects had checked the cupboards and made away with the bank locker keys,”he said. tnn

Assistant police inspector A D Walambe, who is investigating the case, said that Bhatkar on Sunday visited her flat and checked whether anything was stolen. “She and her family are living in Mumbai and had not come to the flat since the last three-four months,” Walambe said.

Bhatkar’s husband Ramesh Bhatkar, a veteran actor, used to visit the flat whenever he came to Pune for shoots. “We are investigating further,” Walambe said.










Bombay High Court to hear plea of student who wants sex-change operation

NDTV Correspondent | Updated: April 30, 2012 09:52 IST

Mumbai:  The Bombay High Court will today hear the plea by a 21-year-old college student from Guwahati who has alleged that his family stalled his sex-change operation scheduled for this month. Bidhan Barua says that his parents had threatened the doctors at the Saifee Hospital, who have now refused to operate upon him until they get a go-ahead from the court. He wants the court to restrain his parents so that he can undergo the operation and become a woman.

His father says the surgery cannot be treated as “a personal decision” and that the 21-year-old must get the consent of his entire family, including his grand-parents and his uncles. “I gave birth to a son, not a eunuch,” said his father to NDTV.

Bidhan has acknowledged that at a very young age, he realised that he enjoyed dressing up as a girl and that embarrassed his family members who abused him and often beat him up. After he finished high school, he began working odd jobs to save up money for the operation that he believed would free him from a life and identity that he didn’t feel comfortable with. He then ran away from home to Mumbai to undergo his operation.

In Guwahati, Bidhan’s father, who works as a cook, said he is concerned about his son and wants him to be happy but cannot understand or accept his insistence on becoming a woman. “I feel ashamed that he wants to change his sex,” said Supti Ranjan Barua to NDTV. “If he changes his gender, I will not be able to bear the humiliation,” he pleaded.

But the matter for Bidhan is not just about his sex change surgery. It is about being with his beloved. “I want to be with my fiance and he has accepted me as I am. That’s what finally pushed me into taking this decision.”

Psychiatrist Dr Yusuf Matcheswala has examined Bidhan and says he is ready to undergo the surgery. “It’s a complex issue. The parents must be counseled as it is always not easy to accept such decisions. There could be serious dangers if the decision of the child is not accepted. Ultimately he only wants to be happy,” explained Dr Matcheswala.









Abandoned by mother, child forced to stay in psychiatry institute

Preetu Venugopalan Nair, TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 01.39AM IST

PANAJI: Abandoned by his mother, a 15-year-old boy has nowhere to go and is forced to stay at the institute of psychiatry and human behavior (IPHB), as authorities at the state run home for children, Apna Ghar, are refusing to accept him.

The doctor treating the boy at IPHB certified him fit to be discharged almost a fortnight ago. The boy had been detected with conduct disorder and treated for this at IPHB.

Sources said Apna Ghar authorities are refusing to accept the child stating that conduct disorder is a “mental illness” and the boy should be kept at IPHB and not Apna Ghar. The doctor treating the boy has now written to CWC (South) stating that most Apna Ghar inmates show signs of conduct disorder and the child needs to be kept at Apna Ghar, not IPHB.

Confirming receiving the letter, CWC (South) chairperson Martha Mascarenhas said, “We are concerned about the boy’s safety and welfare and are worried that if brought to Apna Ghar his situation may worsen. Also we have to look into the other children’s safety. We are in talks with two homes in which to lodge the boy. In case he is not taken in by either of these homes, he will be brought back to Apna Ghar. We don’t want the child to be troubled anymore.”

She added, “I had met him in IPHB and the tears in his eyes shattered me. I don’t want the child to continue staying with adults in IPHB. The child is special and he needs care and love.” CWC looks into issues of children in need of care and shelter lodged in the state run home.

The minor was referred to IPHB after he, along with two other children, went on a rampage and vandalized the child welfare committee’s (CWC) offices and the dormitory in February this year. The child was allegedly upset as he was kept in a separate room and not allowed to interact with other children in the home.

Psychiatrists said conduct disorder is a psychological problem diagnosed in childhood and juvenile delinquents. “Most of the children in Apna Ghar come to IPHB with such a problem,” a psychiatrist at IPHB said.

CWC claims that on the psychiatrist’s advice, they are trying to arrange some employment for the minor boy. “The doctors have said he needs to be occupied with some job so that it can bring in a change in his life and attitude. I have spoken to NGOs ARZ and SCAN to help the boy get a job,” added Mascarenhas.

When contacted, ARZ representative Arun Pandey said, “This amounts to child labour. What the child requires is care and protection and not employment. He seems to be in a no man’s land in the most child friendly state in India, with Apna Ghar and even NGOs neglecting him.”








Ball in govt court in chopper issue: Army chief

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 06.55AM IST

LUDHIANA: Chief of Army Staff General V K Singh has said that the “ball is in the government’s court” in the issue of allegations of corruption in the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters by India.

“It is up to the government now to take a stand on the issue,” Gen Singh said here on Sunday. The issue had even come up in Parliament after reports of Italy investigating allegations of payouts of Rs 350 crore made to a Swiss consultant in the deal.

Gen Singh was here as a part of his tour across the country to address problems faced by ex-servicemen. He met ex-servicemen from all over Punjab.

“We decided that this year would be dedicated to Army veterans. We are trying to meet as many veterans as possible, trying to know their problems and solving them,” Gen Singh said at a gathering organized by the Indian Ex-servicemen League, adding that all efforts were being made for the implementation of ‘one-rank-one-pension’ scheme.

“As many as 46 anomalies related to pension and benefits of ex-servicemen have surfaced and this would require Rs 3,000 crore to correct. The implementation of one-rank-one-pension scheme will require Rs 1,300 crore,” he added.

He also raised issue of mismanagement in the Canteen Stores Department or CSD. “It (CSD) is run by the government and linked to Consolidated Fund of India. A budget is made by the government every year and items are purchased but there have been problems with the management and we don’t mind stepping in and taking over the functioning of the CSD,” the COAS said.










Congress government ‘killed’ the Bofors case: Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: BJP leader Arun Jaitley said that the NDA government made all efforts to bring the guilty to book in the Bofors scam and alleged that successive Congress-led governments or those supported by that party tried to “kill” the case.

Speaking to Karan Thapar on Devil’s advocate, he said that during the NDA regime from 1998 to 2004, the Bofors case was taken to its “logical conclusion” and the CBI, which was probing it, acted independently of the government.

Here is the full transcript of the interview:

Karan Thapar:Hello and welcome to Devil’s Advocate. With the Bofors controversy back in the news, how does the BJP face up to the questions it must answer. That’s the key issue I should explore today with the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley.

Mr Jaitley, your colleague in the Lok Sabha, Jaswant Singh has demanded a judicial commission into the Bofors affair. Is this the official position of the BJP?

Arun Jaitley:Well, Mr Jaswant Singh is a very senior man and when he says something he says it on authority and party fully agrees with him. The real intention being whether you have a full debate or have committee or commission, should not after 25 years of the disclosure. The Indian society knows, that not withstanding the fact that the entire truth came out, in terms of law we are unable to prosecute the concerned people. Therefore I think since, this was the terrible chapter in history where you had corruption at a very high level and yet you are a failure of the system, at least we need to know what went wrong.

Karan Thapar:But let me put to you, as a former Law Minister, do you believe a judicial commission is a fitting and the appropriate way of enquiring into a matter, that the High Court has closed?

Arun Jaitley: Well there are possible argument that there will be difficulty in that, I quite concede to you on that. But at the same time you call it a committee, you call it a Parliamentary committee, you call it an administrative committee of the government. But then must be a fair assessment of what went wrong, and I think this was the intention behind what Jaswant Singh suggested.

Karan Thapar:In other words what we need, is an enquiry that shows where lapse are made. And if possible also point up the responsibility for those lapse on individuals or on goofs?.

Arun Jaitley:And I think it is more important that this sad chapter of history, at least the truth must be distort some where.

Karan Thapar:The important thing is to get to the truth?

Arun Jaitley:I think that’s the pursuit of truth is most important aspect.

Karan Thapar:Alright in getting at the truth. Let’s begun with Sonia Gandhi, Sten Lindstrom, the whistleblower has said “Sonia Gandhi must be questioned, I know what I am saying.” Do you agree with him?

Arun Jaitley:Well, he must be having some material on basis, he said so, but as far as the Indian system is concerned, the Indian system proceeds on the basis that when investigations are in progress, investigator reach a particular conclusion, facts come before them. If any person is in position of information which can help in investigation to find out the truth, they are entitled to question that person.

Karan Thapar:In your eyes, is Sonia Gandhi in that position? Are we entitled to question her?

Arun Jaitley:I would say, it would entirely depend on the kind of information that the CBI had, which the CBI case diaries and record would disclose. It would really depend on that and the crucial question would be, in swinging the contract where did Mr Quattrocchi draw his influence from?

Karan Thapar:Did that influence come from Sonia Gandhi? That’s a critical question.

Arun Jaitley:I think, it is the record of the CBI and the nature of the investigation that would answer that question.

Karan Thapar:Your colleague is General Secretary of the party, he is the Chief Spokesperson of the BJP, Ravi Shankar Prasad has gone on record to say Sonia Gandhi has a lot of explaining to do. If she has explaining to do…

Arun Jaitley:Why Ravi Shankar, even I have also said this in the past.

Karan Thapar:If you said it and standby, then does she need to be questioned?

Arun Jaitley:I have said it in the past also. There is one aspect making to the state to the media and the reason for that is, where did Mr Quattrocchi draw his influence. If you go though the fact which have come out, is now almost established on record, available with the CBI, obviously he was successful in swinging the contract, he was not an official middleman, he got paid. Why did he get paid and where did he draw his influence from? Somebody has to answer that question.

Karan Thapar:Absolutely and that somebody as you are suggesting is Sonia Gandhi. But the point is this, from 1998 to 2004 the 6 years of the BJP was in power, the CBI didn’t make any afford whatsoever to question?

Arun Jaitley:Your question is based on complete ignorance. If CBI made substantial progress, it was made during two periods.

Karan Thapar:But they didn’t question her, that’s the point?

Arun Jaitley:Questioning her is one aspect, but the CBI in establishing the truth made huge progress and I owe to you since you asked this question, to tell you what progress the CBI made.

Karan Thapar:But the question I asked you is that in the 6 years when you were in power, the CBI, didn’t question her once, they made no effort to do so.

Arun Jaitley:That the discretion CBI has to exercise, if they have the material to question they would question, they don’t have material, they don’t.

Karan Thapar:Can I quote Sten Lindstrom? He said “it can’t be the coincidence that Quattrocchi gets the money in this way, there must be some connection. She can explain it somewhere and in someway it will be very helpful.”

Arun Jaitley:There is a common sense presumption that Quattrocchi drove strength from some place, that he got the money in the contract where he was not the middleman. But the record and diaries of the CBI will show, if CBI reached a particular conclusion on basis of which they need to cross examine somebody or not, that is the question CBI better suited to to answer.

Karan Thapar:Just a moment, you either saying CBI is failed to do what they should have done? Or they didn’t reach the position where they need it to do it.

Arun Jaitley:Well I am not aware of the records so I am not going to speculate that.

Karan Thapar:Expect for the fact, that you began by saying, you agree with the Ravi Shankar Prasad that she has explaining to do. If she has explaining to do, she should have been questioned, if she wasn’t questioned…

Arun Jaitley:Well, it’s an explaining where the entire leadership of the Congress has to do, as to where and why did Quattrocchi draw this influence from in order to swing the contract. We are talking in terms of legally admissible evidence, you can’t ask me a question which really CBI should be answering.

Karan Thapar:No, I am asking a different issue. I am saying if there is a reason to question her and she wasn’t questioned, that’s their addiction. And she wasn’t questioned because there is no case against her, the you can’t say she has explaining to do.

Arun Jaitley:It’s a very good question you are asking to me, which is the question you should ask to CBI not me.

Karan Thapar:I tell you why I asked it because many people say that there was a secret understating between the BJP and Congress, not to question Sonia Gandhi.

Arun Jaitley:I think it is complete rubbish, there is no question to that effect. The CBI had full freedom during NDA period, to proceed with the case in the manner they considered the best and they did their job.

Karan Thapar:I tell you why I raised this question because George Fernandes told this channel on the March 11, 2007, that he wanted to probe Bofors and he was told by Mr Vajpayee not to do so. His exact words were “Vajpayee told me not to touch this.”

Arun Jaitley:Well according to me the investigation was not with the Defence Ministry, the investigation was with the CBI. The CBI not only and now I use this opportunity to answer the question, you told me you asked me. When in 1998 Mr Vajpayee became the Prime Minister, you had an FIR, you had Letter Rogatory, you had details of accounts coming in, you had documents. The CBI concluded the entire investigation. In 1999 the CBI files the chargesheet, the accused were prosecuted, charges were farmed in court. Therefore the entire due process of the law was being carried out and therefore it is not for a minister, its for the CBI to investigate the case and CBI was doing it.

Karan Thapar:Except for the fact that you were Law Minister for much of this time. And except for the fact that one critical person who should not be questioned, was never questioned. Let me again quote Sten Lindstrom, he says “it has always amazed and it continues to…”

Arun Jaitley:I don’t think we in India makes statement to that effect where politicians decide who CBI should question.

Karan Thapar:Just a moment, let me finish quote of Sten Lindstrom, he says “it is always amazed and it continues to amaze me as to why Indian investigators didn’t take obvious step of questioning her.”

Arun Jaitley:Obviously I think Mr Lindstrom has lot of information on the basis of he says so. If that information is available with the CBI, he is probably right. But that is the question which has to be addressed to them.

Karan Thapar:A second aberration, in the way which BJP handles Bofors, arise is directly you said It something in the Parliament this Thursday. You said and I quite “in 2004 one judgment said no case is made out, it wasn’t even appealed against and we gave the whole burial to the case”. But infact the government that should have appealed and refused to do so, was your and you were Law Minister.

Arun Jaitley:Well I think lets be correct the dates.

Karan Thapar:The date is February 4, 2004

Arun Jaitley:Yes, I know. The CBI got the copy of the judgment, the CBI processed the copy, the CBI recommended the filing of the appeal, and the government law officers advised them to file the appeal. The CBI because of the court vacations and the pending elections, was to file an appeal, the government changed and the new government overrule the opinion and said appeal should not be not be made.

Karan Thapar:Just a moment, The Delhi High Court judgment of February 4, 2004, it had to be appeal begun within 90 days or it could be technically time bar. Those 90 days lapsed on May 4 and you were in power till after the May 28, it was your responsibility to do so.

Arun Jaitley:You are absolutely mistaken, it’s 90 days when you obtained the copy of the judgment and therefore the limitation was expired sometime in the month of June. The CBI prepared it’s case for an appeal, the CBI got all the opinions when the government changed and it was the Congress government which took a decision, not to file the appeal.

Karan Thapar:Are you saying to me that infact the blame for not filing the appeal rest on the Congress not the BJP?

Arun Jaitley:Entirely because the record would show, during the NDA government the record was entirely prepared, advices and opinion given, why that incorrect judgment must appealed again.

Karan Thapar:I tell you two reason, why the blame lies with an not the Congress. First of all, even if you are correct and saying the 90 days period ended in June and not on the fourth of the May 4 as I pointed out. You confined an appeal within 70 days or 60 days, you don’t really need to that

Arun Jaitley:You can file in two days.

Karan Thapar:In which case why u didn’t you.

Arun Jaitley:Well it is the question that CBI processes have to go through, their entire processes have to move the file upward, take a law officers opinion, their own legal department opinion. Everything they did, they had till June to file an appeal which would strictly be filed on the reopening of the court because June was vacations. The government changed and the first act of the UPA government was, to advice the CBI not file it.

Karan Thapar:I tell you why infact there is a second reason for blaming the BJP because you should have known, there was no way the Congress is going to appeal against a judgment that exonerated its leader.

Arun Jaitley:We don’t know we were losing the elections.

Karan Thapar:Secondly, judgment that they had used in the campaign, they tom-tom and drum beaten the judgment. They are not going to appeal against the judgment.

Arun Jaitley:I think you question is based on very weak footings, for the simple reason you are blaming a government which advised the filing of an appeal, as against a government which advised not to filing the appeal. I think your anger in your questions should be directed against those who advised against not filing the appeal.

Karan Thapar:I tell you why my anger, if you want to call it anger, actually it’s not anger , its skepticism and cynicism, is directed to you. Because Vijay Shankar speaking to on the August 15 ,2007 when he was CBI director said “my predecessor in the CBI and Arun Jaitley created a weak case, that’s why he says we were not able to proceed when it came to Argentina and we lost it in the first court.’

Arun Jaitley:Well I wrote to him when he write the statement, he called me up and said he has been misquoted and regretted this particular statement, but that apart, it’s a incorrect statement which he regretted to me personally. As far as Argentina is concerned, let’s get the facts through, so that this smoke screen doesn’t remain for you. Mr Quattrocchi escaped to Malaysia in 1994, when information came that the beneficiary account was his, no efforts were made to extradite him. We made an effort after 1998 to extradite.

Karan Thapar:And failed.

Arun Jaitley:We failed. So we appeal to the highest court in Malaysia.

Karan Thapar:And failed.

Arun Jaitley:We didn’t fail there, you are incorrect. We appeal to the highest court and he escaped from Malaysia over the weekend, when the CBI appeal was coming on Monday for hearing. In the weekends between Friday and Monday he escaped from Malaysia. He was next found in 2007 in Argentina, our ambassador Mr Rath asked the Government of India whether he should take steps to get him and send him to India. The Government of India advised him that this process is to costly and no effort in this regard should be taken.

Karan Thapar:Expect the facts the CBI director who have quoted just now said, the reason they failed in Argentina because you and the CBI predecessor prepared a weak case.

Arun Jaitley:Well that’s factually incorrect, that CBI during Congress government which tried to put a burial to this case. They obviously cannot blame the predecessor. You first take a decision not to file an appeal thereafter you start telling the crown prosecutor in the England to defreeze the account and then you say my predecessor went wrong.

Karan Thapar:Let me raise a third so called aberration in the manner in which, this time not BJP but you personally have handled this issue. Mani Shankar Aiyar in Parliament, Chitra Subramanian writing in Outlook magazine this week, both have said that the Letter Rogatory prepared when you were Additional Solicitor General was shoddy. It had handwriting all over it, it had pieces of paper stuck all over it, it has staple and Chitra Subramanian adds that it was thrown out.

Arun Jaitley:Well the Letter Rogatory was issued by an Indian court, it is not issued my Additional Solicitor General, these are all propaganda. After the Letter Rogatory was issued by an Indian court, some misleading arguments were made. And you know what was the kind of arguments was raised, why do you have a special judge in India trying this case, why not an ordinary judge? These were the kind of objections, not realising that the CBI cases prosecuted by the special judge. The Letter Rogatory questions were raised the CBI answered the questions and what Mani Shankar Aiyar doesn’t say, it is on basis of that Letter Rogatory that the actually the Swiss authorities conveyed the beneficiaries of the accounts. The five names came pursuant to that Letter Rogatory, the documents came back pursuant to the process after the Lettr Rogatory and not withstanding the fact that the Congress government took various steps including Mr Madhav Singh Solanki asking the Swiss not to cooperate with India. But all the documents and the evidence came because of that Letter Rogatory.

Karan Thapar:Alright I will grant that to you. Let’s take a break and come back and pick up on a key point that you made in your Parliamentary speech on Thursday. You said that the time had come to introspect and secondly to try and understand how it is, that we ended up killing the truth. Back in the moment’s time, see you after break.

Karan Thapar:Welcome back to Devil’s Advocate, in an interview with leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha on how BJP has handled the Bofors controversy.

Arun Jaitley in Thursday on Parliament you said and I quote ‘this is the text book illustration of a fraud as to how to kill the pursuit to get to the truth.’ The central point I have been making in part one is that, some of the fraud has happened when the BJP in power and some time, it happened when you were Law Minister. So, do you accept that your failure to ensure that Sonia was questioned is part of that.

Arun Jaitley:I completely reject that suggestion. You had two faces of completely non-Congress government or government not supported by the Congress. In 1990, for three years no FIR was registered from 87 to 90, you registered an FIR, you got the accounts frozen in 1990, and you sent a Letter Rogatory. Thereafter in 1998 when the next government came you filed a complete chargesheet and I can tell you, I personally seen the charges, the documents substantially established the charges.

Karan Thapar:Can I then interrupt and put this to you, if you filed the chargesheet when you were there in power. How come no one took the critical, essential and obviously step of questioning Sonia Gandhi. Once again I am going to quote Sten Lindstrom, he says ‘if you examine the logic in the document in one hand and the direction of the cover up on the other that is the obvious step to take.’

Arun Jaitley:Well I am afraid he may well have basis to say that but the decision whom to question is not taken by the Prime Minister or the Law Ministry. It is taken by the CBI and therefore the CBI will do it on the basis of the evidence with the CBI has available.

Karan Thapar:The whole point I am making and I have quoted George Fernandes in support of quoted public opinion. There was collusion between the BJP and Congress not to question her.

Arun Jaitley:Well if you just see the kind of evidence you will realise by yourself. Evidence number one you had a contract with AE services of Mr Quattrocchi entered in to, which helped the contract to be swung in favour of Bofors. AE services gets the commission, the person behind AE services is Mr Quattrocchi.

Karan Thapar:He is a Italian and he is a friend of Sonia Gandhi.

Arun Jaitley:He is Italian and he allowed to escape from India when Narasimha Rao was in power.

Karan Thapar:You are making my case for me. Why then did you not have her questioned?

Arun Jaitley:Will this is the decision on the basis of the evidence which CBI has to take.

Karan Thapar: Arun Jaitley ,no one in India believe that the CBI operate autonomously to the extend of you blaming.

Arun Jaitley:I can tell you the CBI under NDA operated on professional line, even in Mr Advani’s cases they went without the advise of the government. They had prosecutors who were completely independent in those cases.

Karan Thapar:Why did Atal Bihari Vajpayee tell George Fernandes, don’t touch Bofors.’?

Arun Jaitley:Well I doubt very much because in the NDA regime Bofors was actually taken to its logical conclusion.

Karan Thapar:This is the convener of the NDA who told to the Prime Minister.

Arun Jaitley:I don’t know whether he correctly quoted or not. The facts indicate….

Karan Thapar:Not correctly quoted he said it on the camera.

Arun Jaitley:But the facts indicate to the contrary , the chargesheet is filed, people are prosecuted, Mr Rajiv Gandhi shown in column two in the chargesheet. You are asking me the question which is to the contrary.

Karan Thapar: The reason I am asking because the one critical lady who could have shed light on the whole thing, who was a Italian, who was a friend of Quattrocchi, was never questioned.

Arun Jaitley:Perhaps there were may have a need and may have not been need, it is for a CBI to decide.

Karan Thapar:Hang on a moment, if you believe she has explaining to do which you agreed to do in part one, the there was a need to question?

Arun Jaitley:There is a explaining which she and every Congressman has to do, Why Quattrocchi got paid.

Karan Thapar:But she can’t explain, if you not question her.

Arun Jaitley:So therefore whether CBI considered it as a legally admissible evidence or not, is the question you must address to the CBI.

Karan Thapar:I am suggesting and I will say upfront that actually the CBI was told by the Government, the BJP government, hands off Sonia Gandhi. That’s why you people have the case to answer her as well.

Arun Jaitley:It’s a figment of your imagination, it has not truth and no connection with any form of reality.

Karan Thapar:In you speech in Parliament on Thursday, you also said ‘we need to introspect, how easy it has become for people who indulge in these kind of activities.’ I put it you, one reason why some of got a way and I deliberately won’t take name.

Arun Jaitley:Why?

Karan Thapar:It’s because you didn’t question people who should have been questioned.

Arun Jaitley:Absolutely rubbish, the reason for that is, you had large tenures of Congress government or Congress supported government which tried to kill the case.

Karan Thapar:Except for the fact from 98 to 2004, it was BJP unbroken for six years and questioning didn’t happen?

Arun Jaitley:Except for the fact that during that period, the chargesheets was filed, Quattrocchi was named an accused and charges were framed.

Karan Thapar:So, you honestly telling me that you don’t have any sense of regret, leave aside guilt about the way BJP handled Bofors.

Arun Jaitley:I have no sense of guilt but I have one regret. The NDA did what NDA could, it was the Congress which tried to kill the case.

Karan Thapar:Did the NDA really do what it could when it stopped short to question Sonia?

Arun Jaitley:Well the NDA doesn’t have to cross examine Mrs Gandhi or any other person, it is the CBI. And CBI will do it on the basis of the material CBI has.

Karan Thapar:Alright, Arun Jaitley, a pleasure talking to you.










Supreme Court land ruling may hit Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation hard

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 03.57AM IST

HYDERABAD: At a time when Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is struggling to acquire land from property owners for the metro rail project, road expansion works and other projects, the Supreme Court judgment on payment of compensation as per market value to property losers came as a big blow to the civic body.

The Supreme Court on Friday said property owners should be paid highest market value for land acquisition and not the registration value of the same area as land value is deliberately kept low to pay less registration fee for the sale deed. The court gave this direction in a case pertaining to the erstwhile ruler of Faridkot state. The court asked the Punjab government to consider the bona fide sale deeds in the area proximate to the date of notification of land acquisition.

GHMC has been acquiring properties for various purposes like widening of roads for metro rail project, general road widening on congested routes, remodeling of storm water drains, junction improvements and other projects like construction of bridges and flyovers in the city. The corporation has been incurring an expenditure of nearly Rs 200 crore towards payment of compensation to property owners. GHMC officials are worried over the Supreme Court verdict on compensation as it will have to cough up more money if the market value is to be paid to property losers. Currently, acquisition of 250 properties is underway and the GHMC land acquisition wing has already started procedures on stretches like Madhapur road, Banjara Hills Road No. 13, Raidurgam Road, Rahamathnagar, Uppal and Lakdikapul (parallel bridge). In the next one year, the corporation has proposed to takeover nearly 1,000 properties, including some on the three metro corridors.

For acquiring properties, the GHMC has been adopting two methods. They follow procedures under the Land Acquisition Act like giving draft notification, draft declaration and so on in the first method and in the second, they negotiate and get the consent of the property owners. In most cases, the corporation has been adopting consent method as it saves time compared to land acquisition procedures. If the owners do not want cash compensation, the GHMC offers transferrable development rights (TDR), where owners get additional built up area normally allowed on plot size in the area. This TDR can be utilised anywhere in the GHMC limits.

While taking over properties, the owners were being paid basic registration value of the same area for the past three years. However, the registration values have been low compared to the prevailing market rates. For instances, for widening the road on the Khairatabad-Nirankari Bhavan stretch, property owners were paid Rs 25,000 per square (sq) yard compensation, while the market value is over Rs 50,000 per sq yard.

In cases where there is urgency for road widening and a particular property has become a major bottleneck, the corporation was paying compensation more than the government value, close to prevailing market rate. The highest compensation is being offered to owners who give consent to acquire their property.

Recently, owners of 37 properties were offered Rs 45,000 per sq yard compensation on the Ameerpet- Erragadda stretch where properties become a major bottleneck for road widening and metro rail project. Recently it completed acquisition of properties on stretches like Seven Tombs (Gandipet road), Musheerabad-Chikkadpally road and expansion of Muriki nala by paying normal registration values to the owners. When contacted, GHMC land acquisition officer M Suryakala said they have been following Board Standing Orders of the revenue department while fixing land value for acquisition, which says basic registration value has to be paid to land owners. “We will study the Supreme Court judgment on compensation and decide what to do,” she added.

The Supreme Court on Friday said property owners should be paid highest market value for land acquisition and not the registration value of the same area as land value is deliberately kept low to pay less registration fee for the sale deed.









Boy with epilepsy shuttled between two welfare homes in four months

Pritha Chatterjee : New Delhi, Mon Apr 30 2012, 02:16 hrs

All of 12 years, and found abandoned at New Delhi railway station, his medical report shows he was diagnosed with epilepsy. In four months, he has been made to scuttle between two childrens’ homes, spanning the jurisdiction areas of three Child Welfare Committees (CWC), only to be returned to the first — as authorities at the two other institutions called him a “disturbance” to other inmates.

The CWC (Mayur Vihar), on December 29, 2012, had sent him to Don Bosco home in Okhla as authorities found the children’s home in their area “not equipped to handle his medical needs”.

In March, authorities at Don Bosco home, under CWC (Lajpat Nagar), said that “being a short-stay institution housing 20 children, we are not able to adequately manage the child and it becomes a disturbance for the other children.”

The boy also sustained a head injury after he accidentally fell down during an episode of fits while he was there. The authorities of the home suggested that the child be sent to another one — Antodaya Niketan in Kashmere Gate, “for its proximity to St Stephen’s Hospital and their better resources, which will help them manage the child properly.”

So, on March 25, CWC (Lajpat Nagar), ordered he be moved to Antodaya Niketan.

But within three days of being transferred here, in an official letter dated March 28, Antodaya Niketan authorities said, “The child is continuously afflicted with epilepsy and needs special attention. Moreover, it is a disturbance to other children at our home.”

They requested CWC to “transfer the child to other homes specialised in handling such cases.”

CWC (Kingsway Camp) directed the child be transferred back to Don Bosco last week.

According to Father George Nadackal, director of the Don Bosco Home, “This child needs a lot of special attention. We have to devote an attendant permanently for him. Also, his medical expenses amount to a lot — MRIs, CT scans, etc. We do not have the resources to take care of his needs. Now that he is back with us, we will try to find a solution.”

Tej Wilson, social worker at Antodaya Niketan, said, “We could only keep this child for a few days, because he had a lot of special needs and other children were getting disturbed. Since he was being well taken care of in Don Bosco, we requested our CWC to transfer him.”

With no designated home for long-term care of children diagnosed with neurological disorders, CWCs say they are in a constant dilemma over finding a place of care for such children. “Authorities at most homes say they do not have the facilities to take care of these children,” Raaj Mangal Prasad, chairperson, CWC (Lajpat Nagar) told Newsline.

However, department of Women and Child Development (WCD) officials dismissed these arguments as “excuses to turn away children”. “All normal homes are supposed to take care of the special needs of children. Isolating those with neurological disorders is not correct,” WCD Director, Rajiv Kale said.

The unwritten rule in Delhi institutions, is to direct children to Nirmal Chhaya home where an NGO, Manas Foundation, provides mental health counselling service. “We have over 120 psychiatry patients — 10 of them diagnosed with epilepsy. Since we provide a facility, all CWCs have started referring such children to us,” said Monika Kumar, Managing Trustee of Manas Foundation.

Nirmal Chaya chairperson Neera Mullick said, “We take care of all children diagnosed with epilepsy. It may be traumatic for other children to see them in a state of fits, but isolation is not the solution.”

The boy will be produced before the CWC ( Lajpat Nagar) on Monday where a final decision on his stay will be taken.






CCI approves HSBC proposal to acquire RBS assets in India

Last Updated: Sunday, April 29, 2012, 14:06

New Delhi: Competition watchdog CCI has approved the proposal of HSBC to acquire retail and commercial assets of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS NV) and wealth management business of RBS Financial Services (RBS FSPL) in India.

In an order, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) noted that HSBC and RBS FSPL have relatively very few branches in India and there was presence of a large number of banks that provide services similar to the services provided by HSBC, RBS NV and RBS FSPL.

“Considering the facts on record and the details provided in the notice given under sub-section (2) of Section 6 of the Act and the assessment of the proposed combination is not likely to have any appreciable adverse effect on competition in India…”

“…Therefore, the Commission hereby approves the proposed combination under sub-section (1) of Section 31 od the Act,” the CCI while approving the proposed merger.

In July 2010, UK-based RBS had announced it would sell off its retail and commercial banking business in India, worth USD 1.8 billion (about Rs 8,500 crore then), to British banking major HSBC.

RBS, which received a 45.5 billion pound bailout from the UK government post the 2008 financial crisis, would sell its retail and SME business in India for a premium of USD 95 million, which would be over the adjusted net asset value of the bank’s businesses in the country.

As on March 31, 2011, HSBC and RBS together have 81 branches in India.

HSBC in its submission to the CCI had said except for some of the branch licences to required to continue its business, RBS NV would surrender its branch licenses.

“HSBC would apply to the RBI for obtaining the licences for its new branches to continue the business being acquired under the proposed combination,” CCI said quoting HSBC’s submission.

Even after the sale, RBS has said it would continue to retain its wholesale and investment banking businesses in India.








Dismissed college faculty reinstated by HC

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 03.04AM IST

TRICHY: Two associate professors of Thamizhavel Umamakeswaranar Karanthai (TUK) College at Thanjavur, who were first suspended and then dismissed by the management on October 1, 2011, have been ordered to be reinstated by the Madurai bench of the Madras high court.

The court, however, said the order was not on the merit of the charges and defence put forth by the two respondents (S Senthil Kumar, and Durai Panneerselvam, both associate professors in the Tamil department). The court also held that the college management failed to seek approval for dismissal under Section 19(1) of the Tamil Nadu Private Colleges (Regulation) Act 1976. “It is poetic justice,” Kumar told TOI. “After seven months of being in the wilderness, I am delighted. Justice has once again triumphed,” Panneerselvam said.

The two associate professors were suspended on August 17, 2011 for entering into a dispute with some non-teaching staff in the college. On October 1, 2011, both of them were terminated from service. The two professors appealed to the regional joint director of collegiate education (RJDCE), Trichy against the termination. On October 4, the RJDCE termed the termination illegal and asked the secretary of the college to reinstate the duo. Meanwhile, the director of collegiate education too, upheld the RJDCE’s order to reinstate the professors. However, the management moved the court.

The court ruled that it was clear that the management had not obtained any prior approval, which is mandatory under the act for dispensing with the services of the faculty members, and so such orders of termination cannot stand in the eye of the law. If such an approval is not obtained before termination, the order of the termination has to be construed as illegal and void, the court said.








HC notices on DTU registrar

New Delhi, April 30, 2012

The city government and the Delhi Technological University have been directed by the Delhi High Court to respond to a plea questioning the appointment of the University’s registrar even after he had reached retirement age in 2010.
The plea also questioned the subsequent extension of his tenure this April by another two years, while he was 61 and had ceased to be eligible for appointment as registrar when he was first appointed at the post.

A court issued notice to the Delhi LG, DTU besides Registrar UK Worah and sought their replies by May 16.











HC acquits man held guilty of killing sis-in-law

PTI | 02:04 PM,Apr 29,2012

New Delhi, Apr 29 (PTI) Citing the questionable credibility of evidence in a murder case, the Delhi High Court has set aside the conviction of a man who was given life term for killing his sister-in-law by pouring acid on the victim. The high court set aside the conviction and entailing sentence of the man, questioning the reliability and credibility of the victim’s dying declaration. “Reliability and credibility of the witness who deposes about the dying declaration are the twin requirements which the trial court is obliged to satisfy itself about, while basing its findings on such evidence,” a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and S P Garg said. According to prosecution, Kishore was unhappy with Meena for her working as a domestic help to sustain herself. Despite his objections, she continued with her work and on April 22, 2008, when Meena was at a park, Kishore poured acid on her and fled. The prosecution said a home guard constable reached the spot on being told by a boy about the incident. On the way to the hospital, Meena narrated the event to him. The court, however, questioned the conduct of the home guard constable, saying, despite “being a responsible officer trained in the drill of what ought to be done when dealing with a medico-legal case”, the home guard constable had left the hospital without waiting for the police to arrive. “His conduct is not that of a responsible individual, he does not even mention having seen any police man, and satisfying himself that the incident was suitably reported to the nearest police station. He certainly was not present when the alleged dying declaration was recorded by PW-20 (police officer),” the bench said. (More) PTI AKI PNM RKS RAX










HC strikes down ‘onerous bail conditions’

PTI | 04:04 PM,Apr 29,2012

Madurai, Apr 29 (PTI): Madras High Court has come down on a Judicial Magistrate for imposing “onerous conditions totally unknown to law” while granting bail to a suspected Al Umma activist, an accused in the case involving planting of a pipe bomb on BJP leader L K Advani’s yatra route in October 2011. The magistrate at Tirumangalam had said that the man, Karuvai Hakeem, should execute a bond with two sureties by his blood relations. Justice A Selvam of the High Court bench here in his recent order allowing Hakeeem’s petition, deleted the portion relating to sureties and said it was sufficient if he executed a Rs 10,000 bond along with two sureties each for a like sum to the satisfaction of the Magistrate concerned. Petitioner’s counsel said his client was in prison for more than 140 days though he was entitled to statutory bail within 90 days of his arrest as police had failed to file a chargesheet. The delay in obtaining bail was due to several impediments like inability of blood relatives to give sureties as they were bereft of property. He referred to the 1978 judgement of Supreme Court in the Moti Ram vs State of Madhya Pradesh case, where it disapproved the practice of imposing onerous conditions while granting bail. Hakeem, arrested here on Nov 27 2011 by the Special Investigation Team, is a close associate of Fakruddin and Bilal Mallick, suspected to be the main accused and absconding since the incident was reported. The pipe bomb that was unearthed from under a bridge and defused on October 27 at Alampatti village, about 30 km from here on the route of Advani’s Jan Chetna yatra. Subsequently, the BJP leader’s route was diverted.











DNA test on May 2, SCB may move HC on baby care

Express News Service

CUTTACK: The SCB Medical College and Hospital (SCBMCH) is in a fix over keeping custody of the baby girl at the centre of child-swap controversy even as the samples for the DNA test are scheduled to be collected on May 2.

The Orissa High Court, while directing conduct of DNA tests to establish the parentage of the almost 30-day-old baby, had ordered the SCBMCH to take care of her until the reports came in. However, the authorities of the Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU), where the baby has been kept since her birth, along with the Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) Department are not in a position to keep her for much longer.

The baby has begun to grow and begun to move her limbs. She has gained weight and begun to kick the walls of the warmer bed of the SNCU. Thus, she is in great risk of falling down and sustaining injuries. Besides, she is also making loud noises.

According to sources, a newborn can be kept in an SNCU for a maximum of 42 days if the child is in a proper health condition. Under the present circumstances, in the absence of the mother or parents the child can’t be shifted to the general ward in O&G Department or Paediatrics Department due to various considerations like hygiene, care and security. “The DNA test is a time-consuming affair and it will take more than a month to obtain the reports. It would be very difficult on the part of the hospital to keep the baby under its care till then,” said a senior doctor.

Faced with such a dilemma, the hospital authorities are planning to move the High Court to shift the child to a proper childcare facility after the procedures for the DNA test are completed. Meanwhile, the Registrar (Vigilance), Orissa High Court, has issued notices to the SCBMCH authorities and the complainant __ Sushanta Mallick and wife Rashmita Mallick __ and the other couple Nirpuama Mallick and husband Sukanta Mallick fixing the date for sample collections to May 2 at 11.30 am. The samples would be drawn in the presence of the Registrar under supervision of Head of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (FMT) department Prof. A Behera. The samples would be sent to the Institute of Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.

Meanwhile, the High Court-appointed Advocates’ Committee, comprising PR Das, Tarananda Patnaik and Dr PK Pradhan, on Saturday visited the SCBMCH to enquire about the well-being of the baby.






Thapar varsity student’s death: HC asks cops to probe murder

RAGHAV OHRI : Mon Apr 30 2012, 02:34 hrs

Supports DIG’s report, says no chargesheet on basis of SIT report.

Refusing to show conviction in the report of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) which probed the “mysterious” death of a student of Thapar University, Patiala, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the Punjab Police to probe murder charges as recommended by its Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police.

The development assumes significance since the Director General of Police (DGP) had refused to place reliance in a report prepared by its DIG, and had constituted the SIT.

DIG Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh had submitted a scathing inquiry report stating that “custodial interrogation” of those allegedly involved in the “accident” was required, and recommended registration of murder charges. Refusing to accept his recommendation report, the DGP had constituted a SIT.

Taking note of this, O P Bhatia, Deputy Secretary, Home Affairs and Justice, Punjab, had said the constitution of SIT would “lead to tampering with evidence”. Therefore, he ordered that the SIT be disbanded immediately, upholding the DIG’s “recommendation” for registration of a murder case. Even though it was disbanded, the Punjab Police produced the copy of the SIT report which negated the findings of the DIG and said the student had died in an accident. In its report, the SIT had submitted that the allegations of murder were “absolutely baseless”.

Much to the relief of Gurbax Singh Bains, the father of the deceased, and embarrassment for the Punjab DGP, the High Court has refused to take stock of the report tabled by the SIT. Instead, the High Court has held that the investigating agency will probe the case on the basis of the report of the DIG who had recommended registration of a murder case. The court has given three months’ time to the Punjab Police to probe the murder charges.

In another embarrassment for the police, the High Court has made it clear that no chargesheet will be produced in the trial court on the basis of the SIT report.

Advocate Gurbax Singh Bains had argued that since the SIT had been disbanded vide order dated January 24 this year, it had no jurisdiction to proceed further to prepare the conclusion report.

The FIR was registered at Police Station, Rajpura, Patiala, in 2010. Gurbax Singh had moved the High Court alleging that his 21-year-old son Gagandeep was “murdered” in 2010. The Punjab Police had registered a case of “rash and negligent driving” in the death of Gagandeep claiming it to be a case of accident. The “accident”, which claimed the lives of Gagandeep and his friend, occurred on September 28, 2010, near Rajpura, Patiala. The case will now come up for hearing in July.











HC: No hard and fast rule for non-custodian parents access to child

Published: Monday, Apr 30, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Urvi Mahajani | Place: Mumbai

“There can be no hard and fast rule when it comes to granting children’s access to a non-custodian parent, the courts have to be flexible.”

The Bombay high court made this observation when hearing an appeal filed by a father whose access to his two daughters, aged 16 years and 15 years, was cancelled by the family court on March 31, 2011.

The family court had continued his access to his minor son.
Justice Roshan Dalvi observed that the couple has had a “very acrimonious dispute” which can be seen by the number of applications made by both of them before the courts.

The father argued that under the law, the parent must be granted access till the child is 18 years of age.

Disagreeing with the argument, justice Dalvi observed: “No hard and fast rule can be laid down, except the prime rule that all children need love and affection, care and upbringing of both their parents and the parental responsibility extends to each of the parents granting the other opportunity to do so.”

Also, it is not the right of the parents that are to be determined in an application for custody or access but the right of the child to have such access, observed the judge.

Justice Dalvi had interviewed the daughters and the father independently and jointly in her chamber before passing the order.

“The daughters demonstrated an extremely venomous disposition towards their father. The father was amiable and understanding.

The daughters narrated to the court parrot-like what was mentioned in the petition containing expressions like harassment, cruelty without any illustrations, except one showing certain beatings on her hands on a given date,” observed the high court.

Justice Dalvi further noted: “Having been in the custody of one parent and having had absolutely no contact with the other, the source of such venom is easy to see.”

“However, in view of such vehemence, coupled with their age, counselling would not be worth embarking upon,” observed justice Dalvi, while upholding the cancellation of access rights to the father.










HC acquits man held guilty of murder, says evidence unreliable

New Delhi, April 30, 2012

Delhi High Court has set aside the conviction of a man who had been given a life sentence for killing his sister-in-law by pouring acid on her, questioning the reliability evidence.
“Reliability and credibility of the witness who deposes about the dying declaration are the twin equirements which the trial court is obliged to satisfy itself about, while basing its findings on such evidence,” a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and S P Garg said.

According to the prosecution, Kishore was unhappy with Meena for working as a domestic help. Despite his objections, she continued with her work and on April 22, 2008, when Meena was at a park, Kishore poured acid on her and fled.

The prosecution said a home guard constable reached the spot on being informed about the incident. On the way to the hospital, Meena narrated the event to him. The court, however, questioned the conduct of the constable, saying, despite “being a responsible officer trained in the drill of what ought to be done when dealing with a medico-legal case”, the constable had left the hospital without waiting for the police to arrive.

“He certainly was not present when the alleged dying declaration was recorded by PW-20 (police officer),” the bench said.

The victim’s neighbour had testified that he heard Meena shouting loudly and running in the street in front of her house saying Jugal Kishore had poured acid on her. The bench, citing the testimony, said the versions of the constable and the neighbour regarding the place of incident are “inconsistent and irreconcilable”.

“This aspect assumes importance because no public witness was associated while the police seized earth control, a jug (which contained acid) and the lid of the jug, from the park,” it said.

 It added that “the doctor who recorded the MLC, and also made an endorsement that the injured (Meena) was in a fit state of mind to record the dying declaration, was not joined in the investigation, much less produced in court”.

“The other important aspect is that the injured lived on for two more days, the prosecution did not indicate any attempt on its part to have a declaration or statement recorded,” the bench said.









Flat owners on forest land to form co-operative society to appeal in Supreme Court

Clara Lewis, TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 03.13AM IST

MUMBAI: Citizens fed up of waiting for a SC verdict on their flats on private forest land have decided to form a co-operative society and intervene in the matter. Nearly 1,500 flat owners of three buildings in Mulund on Sunday resolved to together appeal to the SC to set up a three-judge bench to hear the matter.

Advocate Vinod Sampat said the co-operative housing society guidelines require that 60% of the flat purchasers should have registered their documents to form a co-operative society. “There are instances where the HC has allowed flat buyers to form a co-operative society in case of disputes,” he said.

“We were to get possession of our flats in 2006-07 but its been nearly five years and there is no end to the matter. Our only hope was the SC but the matter is delayed there as well,” said Laxmi Ramchandran, a flat owner. Ramachandran said owing to a stay order, the buildings were not constructed completely. Many of the investors are retired senior citizens who are living on rent. “The situation is so bad that they threaten to commit suicide,” said Prakash Paddikal, president, Hillside Residents’ Welfare Association.

Residents have already paid a regularization fee as directed by the SC. In early 2012, residents were informed that they would have to pay more as earlier they had been charged on the basis of barren land. When the Union ministry of environment and forests questioned the state on why the land abutting a dense forest such as the Sanjay Gandhi National Park was classified as barren, the state issued fresh notices about the increased charges. Residents have decided against paying the increased rates.










HC rejects passport agents’ plea for log-in facility over security

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Mon Apr 30 2012, 05:48 hrs

Observing that national security is paramount, a division bench of Gujarat High Court (HC) recently dismissed a petition by an association of passport agents who had demanded a direction to the authorities to allow them to have a log-in facility in their names to submit passport applications on behalf of their clients even in the recently introduced Passport Seva Kendra Scheme which has completely changed the process of issuance of passports while curtailing the role of passport agents.

The petitioner organisation has been identified as Association of Recognised Passport Agents of Gujarat. The association had challenged a single-judge bench order of the HC that had dismissed its petition challenging the provisions of the scheme that are curtailing their roles in the passport issuance process.

Following that the organisation had preferred an appeal before a division bench. And a division bench of the HC comprising of Justices V M Sahai and A J Desai passed an order recently on their appeal while dismissing the same.

According to the details, the central government has completely changed the passport issuance process while introducing Passport Seva Project. Under the new scheme, the person who wants to have a passport has to personally appear before a Passport Seva Kendra.

Earlier, the passport agents were recognised by the Ministry of External Affairs and they also used to submit the forms on behalf of their clients to get the passport. In the new scheme, the passport agents have not been included.

With their roles curtailed, the petitioner organisation approached the HC with a prayer that they be given a separate login facility to submit forms on behalf of their clients. However, this prayer was dismissed by the division bench also while observing that the national security is of paramount importance.

The petitioner organisation had pressed for their demand while arguing that they have been carrying business as agents for last 50 years and therefore their livelihood was going to be affected.

The central government had opposed the petition on a number of grounds. One of them being the issue of national security. The central government counsel contended that there are many instances when fraudulent persons have managed to obtain passports.

Dismissing the petition the bench observed, “The passport is a very important instrument which permits an Indian Citizen to travel beyond the country and, therefore, before issuing such important instrument, the authority has to scrutinise the application for passport in detail since it is a matter of national security. It is a fact of common knowledge that large number of persons travel beyond the country on fake passports which are prepared in the name of bogus/dummy persons.”

“In view of this aspect, if the Government decides that the person, who is interested in getting passport, shall file the application in his own name having sufficient details about himself/herself, the same is not prejudicial to anybody,” it added.









Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike overlooks DC’s diktat on drains

M K Madhusoodan, TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 05.36AM IST

BANGALORE : Are possession of khatas and licence to build on encroached land cast-iron reasons to continue with illegal occupation ? Revenue authorities don’t believe so but BBMP is citing them as reasons for not clearing encroachments on a storm water drain through Chinnappanahalli village in KR Puram .

Bangalore Urban district’s deputy commissioner M K Aiyappa had shot off a letter to BBMP joint director (Mahadevapura division ) KN Devaraj , stating that a detailed inspection by the East tahsildar revealed encroachments dotting the drain passing from Survey Nos 3 to 14 in Chinappanahalli .

The DC said there were several petitions from locals aboutencroachments andhowseveralbuildings had been built with BBMP permission . Encroachers should be served notices and all illegal constructions should be demolished forthwith , he said .

“The BBMP should take immediate steps to cancel khatas and licences given to construct buildings on the encroached land ,” the letter said , offering all cooperation of revenue authorities for removal of encroachments .

“Wecannotdo anything now as revenue authorities hadn’t taken any action till now . They have now asked us to do the job but it’s difficult as all buildings have been granted khatas and licence to construct on the land under question . We’ll do a joint inspection with the tahsildar , get details of encroachments and try to demolish the buildings as soon as possible ,” BBMP chief engineer (storm water drain ) HC Ananthaswamy told TOI. He added that revenue authorities should have taken action before the encroachments happened .

The DC’s letter clearly mentioned there were large tracts of encroachments in 33 blocks of the survey numbers in the village . “Criminal cases under Section 192 (a) of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act have also been ordered against those found guilty of encroaching the SWD ,” the letter stated .

Khata alone doesn’t confer land ownership

Revenue authorities say khata in itself is not an ownership document as it is basically a receipt of record of tax collected by urban local bodies. To streamline urban property records, the revenue department has now started a drive to issue unique property identification number. Khatas will become redundant once the property identification numbers will be allotted to properties.


LEGAL NEWS 29.04.2012

Apex court quashes quota benefits for SCs, STs, OBCs in promotions

New Delhi, April 28, 2012

Terming the move unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has quashed Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to provide reservation benefits for SCs, STs & OBCs in promotions to higher posts saying the same was done without any sufficient data.

Upholding a bunch of petitions filed by aggrieved general category employees challenging the reservation in promotions, the apex court said the state failed to furnish sufficient valid data to justify the move to promote employees on caste basis.

“The conditions precedent have not been satisfied. No exercise has been undertaken. What has been argued with vehemence is that it is not necessary as the concept of reservation in promotion was already in vogue.

“We are unable to accept the said submission, for when the provisions of the Constitution are treated valid with certain conditions or riders, it becomes incumbent on the part of the state to appreciate and apply the test so that its amendments can be tested and withstand the scrutiny on parameters laid down therein,” a bench of justice Dalveer Bhandari and justice Dipak Mishra said.

In this case, the employees had challenged the validity of the provisions contained in Rule 8-A of the UP Government Servants Seniority Rules, 1991, which provided for promotions to SC, ST, OBC employees for higher posts.

While a two-judge bench of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court had quashed the rule as unconstitutional, another two-judge bench of the high court upheld the reservation, after which the employees and the UP government filed appeals in the apex court.

The apex court said the rule was contary to the various judgements by the Constitution benches in the M Nagara, Indra Sawhney and various other cases wherein it was provided that reservation in promotions can be provided only if there is sufficient data and evidence to justify the need.

NHRC mulling ‘code of ethics’ for corporate

Published: Sunday, Apr 29, 2012, 12:35 IST
Shemin Joy | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Controversies over land acquisition and labour unrest involving big businesses have prompted the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to come up with a “code of ethics” for corporates.

A draft report in this respect has been submitted to the NHRC by New Delhi-based Institute of Corporate Sustainability Management (ICSM) Trust and has been perused by the Commission.

NHRC had commissioned a study — ‘Developing Code of Ethics for Indian Industries’ — with the objective of bringing into effect a similar a code of ethics for corporates by drawing from international norms.

For the study, data was collected from ten sectors –steel, power, mines, cement, paper, FMCG, sugar, banking and MFI, textile and pharma.

“We had a sitting on the draft report. It talks about what corporate bodies have to do in ensuring human rights, their obligations of corporates to maintain human rights and their attitude towards employees besides other issues,” NHRC Chairperson Justice K G Balakrishnan told PTI.

He said NHRC was looking at a scenario where the state will watch the performance of the corporate bodies and ensure that human rights values are observed by these bodies.

“There should be accessibility for common man to redress their grievances. So the state should provide this accessibility. So if there is a human rights violation, a single citizen may not be in a position to fight against the corporates. So should give the facility and accessibility by court or other fora,” he said.

Balakrishnan noted that the issues with corporates was not an India-specific problem.

“This was discussed during the Geneva Convention also. A member from Germany alleged that the land acquisition is creating problems there also. Huge land acquired and not enough compensation is paid. So then NHRC suggested that Haryana model could be adopted,” Balakrishnan said.

In the annuity-cum-compensation model followed in Haryana, the farmer gets not only the market price for his land, but also a fixed amount at pre-determined intervals for a specific number of years.

He also said NHRC has requested major universities to design their own courses on human rights.

“We have requested some of the universities to do research projects on important themes. We will enter into an MoU with them. Earlier, we thought of having Chairs in Universities. But we decided against it later.

“We think that it is more effective to have university do research on various themes. It will act as a foundation for some of our work, improve on some aspects of our work,” he said.

On environmental issues, he said NHRC has suggested to the International Coordination Committee (of national human rights bodies) to study the international protocols on environment and codify it for the national bodies.

“There are human rights issues involved with environment. There are a number of protocols. So a codified document will help us,” Balakrishnan said.









2002 riots: Bhatt writes to Prez for new probe panel

Ahmedabad, April 28, 2012

Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt has petitioned President Pratibha Patil to appoint a new Commission of Inquiry to probe the role of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and others in 2002 riots. “The Government of India should expeditiously appoint a two-member commission, under Section 3 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1952, headed by a retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India, to inquire into role of chief minister,” Bhatt said in his petition to the president.

Bhatt further said that the role of chief minister and any other ministers in his council of ministers, police officers, other individuals and organisations with respect to the adequacy of administrative measures taken to prevent and deal with disturbances in Godhra and subsequent disturbances (communal riots) in the state should be examined by the new panel.

“The new commission should also inquire the adequacy of the steps and measures taken by the administration, from lst June 2002 till date; to facilitate relief, rehabilitation and the delivery of justice to the victims of the Godhra incident of 27th February 2002 and the subsequent communal riots of 2002 in the State of Gujarat,” Bhatt has said.

It may be noted here that a panel headed by Supreme Court justice (retd) GT Nanavati and high court justice (retd) Akshay Mehta is already inquiring 2002 riots.

Bhatt also contended in his letter that there was a lacuna in terms of reference of Nanavati Commission.

The point of adequacy of administrative measures taken to prevent and deal with disturbances in Godhra and subsequent disturbances in the state–which was mentioned in the original terms of reference of Nanavati Commission–was deleted when the terms of reference were revised in 2004, he said.

Bhatt has also cast doubts on the overall role and conduct of the state government towards Nanavati Commission.

“It is indeed ironic that the Government of Gujarat instead of conducting itself as a neutral and dispassionate entity has chosen to act in a partisan manner by identifying with and espousing the cause of the functionaries of the state administration, including the chief minister, whose very role and conduct is squarely covered by the terms of reference of the inquiry,” Bhatt said in the letter.

He further said that the state government has been severely criticised by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and several judgements of Gujarat high court and supreme court regarding the 2002 riots.

Meanwhile, Bhatt, who was summoned by the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), in response to a complaint lodged by one Niyazbibi Malek from Ognaj village in Ahmedabad district, has filed an affidavit, claiming that the gruesome incident at Godhra railway station was an orchestrated attempt to commit violence on the person and property of Muslims with “total support” and “complicity” from the state government.

The complainant had alleged that certain records that “indicated” of the state government’s involvement in the riots have gone missing.

All these facts have been brought to the notice of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) as well as the Nanavati Commission but despite this they are bent upon giving a “clean chit” to these tragic events by branding them as “spontaneous” outrage against the Godhra riots, Bhatt said in the affidavit.

“It should be noted that there is enough documentary as well as oral evidence available to establish the complicity of the state and its high functionaries in these riots but the Commission and SIT are deliberately turning a blind eye to the overwhelming evidence and any persons who try to bring out the truth are victimised,” he has alleged.

Commission nod for KSEB estimates

Power tariff hike soon to bridge revenue gap of Rs.1,889.16 crorePower tariff for all sections of consumers in the State is set to go up steeply soon. The estimates of annual accounts of Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) for 2012-13, approved on Saturday with modifications by the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission, show a huge revenue gap of Rs.1,889.15 crore.

The approved estimates put the expected revenue at Rs.6,097.24 crore and expense at Rs.7,986.39 crore. The single largest component of expense is ‘purchase of power,’ which, according to the KSEB, will come to Rs.5,659 crore. A stiff dose of tariff hike is indicated to save the power utility from a liquidity crisis.

The average revenue realisation from one unit of electricity now is Rs.3.49. This will have to be increased to Rs.4.64 to bridge the revenue gap. It means the tariffs will have to be increased across the board by nearly 33 per cent to help the KSEB break even.

Subsidy likely

The government might step in with a subsidy to protect low-end domestic consumers, agricultural consumers, and institutions for the poor, from the tariff shock. The KSEB told the commission that it would submit a tariff hike proposal in consultation with the government.

The tariff hike would have been still more severe had the commission accepted the KSEB’s accounts without some severe pruning and strict directives to ensure efficiency in demand-side management and bring down transmission and distribution loss.

The KSEB’s estimates had pegged its total expenses during the year at Rs.9,638.12 crore and income at Rs.6,397.87 crore, leaving a revenue gap of Rs.3,240.25 crore. Even these estimates were based on the assumption that the commission would permit it to impose 15 per cent restriction in power supply to all categories of consumers. This would have necessitated 51 per cent tariff hike.

Without such a restriction, the KSEB had estimated its expense during the year to reach the Rs.10,540.93 crore and income Rs.6,203.85 crore, leaving a revenue gap of Rs.4,337.08 crore. And that would have necessitated 70 per cent tariff hike.

KSEB’s calculation was that if the commission were to allow the power supply restriction proposed, 50 per cent of the consumers would purchase energy beyond the restricted level at a suggested high rate of Rs.11 a unit, thereby bringing it additional revenue of Rs.775.94 crore. But the commission said such a restriction throughout the year was not the correct way to approach the problem.

Public hearing

So the directive is to submit before the commission a proper tariff hike proposal immediately. The commission has fixed public hearing on June 4, 6, and 8 on the tariff petition the KSEB would submit.

Probe fake damages claims’

Smriti Singh

NEW DELHI: A railway claims tribunal in the capital has asked Delhi Police to conduct an inquiry to find out whether kin of the victims of the Samjhauta Express blast, who have already been given compensation by another state tribunal, are fraudulently filing similar claim petitions in Delhi.

Justice U K Dhaon, chairman of the tribunal’s principal bench, through the tribunal’s registrar A K Arya, has directed the Delhi Commissioner of Police (DCP), north, to take necessary action in the matter and submit a report by May 20, 2012. “To elucidate the facts, it is expedient that an inquiry be conducted by some independent agency of the government so that necessary steps may be taken in such cases,” the judge said.

The tribunal’s order came in wake of several petitions being filed before it by relatives of some Pakistani nationals, who died in February 2007, when a bomb exploded in the Samjhauta Express, a train that linked India and Pakistan, killing over 60 people.

The petitions sought compensation even as the counsel for the Indian railways claimed that they had already been awarded compensation by a Ghaziabad railway court.

In one such petition, a man claimed Rs 8 lakh as compensation on behalf of his relative Kumari Mehreen, a Pakistani national, who died in the blast. His plea, however, was opposed by the counsel for the railways on the grounds that a similar claim was filed before the railway claims tribunal at Ghaziabad and the compensation had already been awarded. The railways counsel also sought prosecution of the petitioner for submitting false evidence and making false claim. The petitioner claimed that he had filed the case “by mistake” on the advice of his counsel and sought court’s permission to withdraw it. The court, however, noted that “prima facie” the petitioner misrepresented the facts and “played fraud upon the court” and it needed to be investigated.

Plea to quash charges of threatening woman cop dismissed

PTI | 09:04 AM,Apr 29,2012

New Delhi, Apr 29 (PTI) A plea by three men to quash a magisterial court charges against them for threatening a woman police personnel and hindering her in performing her duties 11 years ago, has been dismissed by a Delhi sessions court. Northwest Delhi residents Sandeep, Nitin and Rahul had been put on trial by the magisterial court for threatening Assistant Sub-Inspector Rajwanti Deshwal on October 24, 2001 and obstructing her from performing her duty. The trio had allegedly threatened Deshwal and used physical force in a bid to to stop her from issuing them a traffic challan to pay Rs 100 as fine for parking their motorcycle in a no-parking zone. The trio had reached the police station after coming to know that their motorcycle had been towed away and had entered into an altercation with her as she proceeded to prepare the challan. Additional Sessions Judge Ramesh Kumar rejected their plea to quash charges against them saying “there was grave suspicion that the trio had committed the offence.” “I am of the view that, prima facie, it is apparent that the complainant was discharging her public duties of issuance of the challan, at the time of alleged incident. “Further, they after sharing the said common intention, used criminal force to deter the complainant, woman ASI, Rajwanti Deshwal, from discharging her public duties,” the court said.

CM nod to special courts for corruption cases

Sanjay Ojha

RANCHI: If Bihar can, so can Jharkhand. The government has finally taken a strong step to curb corruption cases in the state by deciding to set up special courts for speedy disposal of such cases.

The four-page draft proposal of the ordinance – Jharkhand Special Courts Ordinance 2012 – was approved by chief minister Arjun Munda on Saturday and sent to governor Syed Ahmed for his assent. All government officials in the state will be in the ambit of cases to be heard by special courts. In Bihar, the state government has already established special courts and attached property of an IAS. The order for attachment of property of an IPS officer was stayed by the high court.

Sources in the chief minister’s secretariat said the decision to set up special courts to deal with corruption cases was taken in wake of a growing number of corruption cases pending before the cabinet (vigilance) department. The courts will be headed by district and sessions judge or additional district and judge-ank officers.

“On getting a complaint of corruption, the court will issue notice to the official and his associates asking them to explain why the property moveable, immovable or both should not be attached by the government. The accused official will have to file a reply within 30 days,” said a source.

The ordinance will also empower the state government to attach property earned by a corrupt official. “The government will have power to attach both moveable and immovable property. The person will have to surrender once the court passes order against the accused. In case, the order is opposed then the officer authorized to take over the property can even use force,” said a source.

“There have been instances in the past when a corrupt person creates wealth in name of some other person. Once the ordinance is in place, the court can even serve notice to those people who are in possession of the property – both moveable and immovable – and even attach it,” said the draft.

Jharkhand Special Court Ordinance awaiting Guv’s nod

PTI | 11:04 PM,Apr 28,2012

Ranchi, Apr 28 (PTI) Jharkhand will soon have special anti-corruption courts to seize, attach or take back “ill-gotten” property by public servants. The Arjun Munda-led government has sent Jharkhand Special Court Ordinance, 2012, to Raj Bhavan for Governor Syed Ahmed’s consent, according to an official release here. The special courts will be headed by sessions or additional sessions-ranked judges to deal with corruption cases against public servants, the release said. The move to set up special courts was taken after many corruption cases came before the vigilance department, it said. The main aim of this ordinance is to speed up cases relating to corruption and take back any ill-gotten property by any official found guilty by the special courts, the release said.

Bail plea rejected a month ago, but corporator still free

AKOLA: In what raises serious questions over the effectiveness of the police department, corporator Nakir Khan of Samajwadi Party (SP), a co-accused in the gang war in Akot file area of the city, continues to enjoy freedom despite the fact that his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the sessions court here on March 27.

The gang war, which claimed a person’s life and injured two others, took place occurred in 2010. Khan was a disqualified corporator of the last AMC due to his continued absence in the general body meeting of AMC. He was again elected to the AMC for which election was held on February 16.

He was absconding since the gang war and filed the anticipatory bail petition in December last year. But even after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected, he has enjoyed freedom. Since March 27, he has been again reported absconding by the police and they have not dared to arrest him. If sources are to be believed, Khan has been moving freely in the city and staying at his residence.

In another related development, the police have challenged the bail granted to another co-accused Abbas Khan in the Supreme Court and the police team is reported staying at Delhi for the outcome of their plea for cancellation of bail.

Abbas Khan is a co-accused in the gang war case and has been recently released on bail by the local magistrate on the direction of High Court Bench at Nagpur.

Surprisingly, an assistant to prosecutor on behalf of the complainant also stated in court that Nakir can be released on bail. However, assistant public prosecutor Mangla Pande flatly told the court that she does not require the assistance during the hearing on bail and the defence lawyer’s attempt to get the anticipatory bail for the accused was foiled.

Bangaru Laxman sent to 4 years in jail

Published: Sunday, Apr 29, 2012, 8:00 IST
DNA Correspondent | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

A sessions court in Delhi handed out a tough sentence to former BJP president Bangaru Laxman, who had been caught on tape accepting bribe in a sting operation done almost a decade ago. The sentence immediately triggered off a war of words between the Congress and the BJP, with both parties accusing each other of corruption.

The judge came down severely on the septuagenarian tainted leader saying that this “sab chalta hai” attitude would have to be dispensed with. There was a strong plea from Laxman’s lawyers that the aging leader who is also suffering from various ailments be treated leniently. They pleaded for a maximum of six month sentence.

But the judge had decided to set an example. Not only did he hand down a sentence of four years’ imprisonment to the veteran leader but he also asked him to cough up a fine of Rs1 lakh. Laxman was sent off to Tihar Jail where he will have to cool his heels till his lawyers plead for his bail in the High Court. It is learnt from the disappointed lawyers of the former party boss that they would move a higher court of appeal next week itself.

From Friday, when the leader was convicted, the BJP had been gradually distancing itself from Laxman, arguing that he had been fighting his own case and that the party had not been in touch with him for a long time. On Saturday, the BJP said that the amount for which Laxman had been punished — the sum of Rs 1 lakh — was a pittance compared to the major scams like the 2G and the CWG in which UPA leaders were involved.

BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain said the BJP was committed to fighting corruption. He recalled that the decision to remove Laxman as party president was taken immediately after the bribery allegations. Hussain’s colleague, Ravi Shankar Prasad accused the government of preventing a fair investigation into several cases corruptions, including alleged kickbacks to Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrochhi in the Bofors gun deal.

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said this was the first time that the national president of a national party had been found guilty and punished by a court. Alvi added: “It is proper time for the BJP to do self-analysis, to rethink about its organisation.”

Interestingly, Laxman’s conviction and subsequent sentencing closely followed the debate over the Bofors controversy and to some extent took the sting away from the BJP onslaught.










Two bosses for STF to probe fake encounters in Gujarat

Prashant Dayal

AHMEDABAD: Who should the special task force (STF), formed to probe allegations of fake police encounters in Gujarat, take orders from? Should they report to Justice H S Bedi, appointed by the Supreme Court, or Justice K R Vyas who was appointed by the state government?

Unhappy with the Narendra Modi government’s decision to appoint Justice Vyas as the chief, the SC had asked Justice Bedi to replace him.

Strangely, however, the Gujarat government has not yet cancelled the notification that appointed Justice Vyas, creating a situation where there are two chiefs for one STF. Home department sources said Justice Bedi has been given a specific job of investigating 17 encounters that took place between 2003 and 2006. Justice Vyas would probe all other encounters, including those that may happen in future.

For instance, four Kashmiri youths who were killed in an encounter in Ganga Row House in the Vatva area of Ahmedabad in 2006 has not been included in Justice Bedi’s list.

Legal experts feel the state government is playing with fire despite SC’s clear directive. “The appointment of Justice Vyas was held annulled by the Supreme Court when it asked Justice Bedi to probe the encounters,” says advocate Anand Yagnik, who represents the father of Sameer Khan Pathan who was killed in an suspect encounter in October 2002.

“Any effort by the state government to continue with Justice Vyas amounts to defiance of the SC order, if the order is taken in its true letter and spirit.”

The state government invited SC’s ire after it appointed Justice Vyas in February in place of retired SC judge M B Shah, who was reluctant to head the STF. While appointing Justice Bedi, SC had said it wanted the supervision to be done by “someone whose integrity is completely beyond any question”.

“We deem it fit to request Justice Bedi to head and monitor the investigation of the cases of alleged fake encounter enumerated in the writ petitions,” a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai had said.

The Gujarat government was asked to extend all facilities to Justice Bedi “to enable him to make meaningful, effective investigation into the cases”. The STF was formed on basis of two PILs filed in 2007 by journalist B G Verghese and lyricist Javed Akhtar after senior cops including D G Vanzara were arrested for the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter. The petitions listed 17 police encounters and sought an independent probe.

AP Government justifies ACB transfer

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The state government on Friday defended its decision in transferring IPS officer Kothakota Srinivasa Reddy from the post of additional director of ACB to IG coastal security on April 3. The government submitted before the AP High Court stating that re-transfer of Srinivasa Reddy to the ACB at this juncture would set a ‘dangerous precedent’ and impede the effective functioning and administration.

Advocate general A Sudarshan Reddy on Friday filed a counter affidavit before the division bench comprising chief justice Madan B Lokur and justice P V Sanjay Kumar which was dealing with various writ petitions on the liquor scam and seeking a stay on the orders of transfer of Srinivasa Reddy from the ACB.

The advocate general asserted that even after transfer of Srinivasa Reddy the ACB has registered many fresh cases and arrested several officers and that the probe is going on unhindered.

The advocate general said that the promotion and transfer of Srinivasa Reddy was done as per the guidelines prescribed by the Centre. As there was no vacant post in the rank of IGP in the ACB, he was transferred and posted as IGP, coastal security. The bench directed the petitioner’s counsel to file a counter reply to the government’s affidavit and posted the matter for hearing to June 11.

GO stopping increment to DSP quashed

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The order dated December 3, 2008 of the State Home Secretary imposing a punishment of stoppage of increment for one year without cumulative effect on C Kanagaraj, DSP, attached to the Economic Offence Wing-II in Nagercoil, has been set aside by the Madras High Court.

Justice KN Basha, who quashed the order, also directed the authorities concerned to give notional promotion to Kanagaraj, if he was otherwise eligible and qualified, to the post of Additional Superintendent of Police with all attendant and monetary benefits. The exercise should be executed within 12 weeks, the jduge added.

The judge was allowing two writ petitions from Kanagaraj, who was recruited as SI in 1976, promoted as inspector in 1989. He was again promoted to the position of DSP, in 2003.

He was served with a charge-memo dated May 10, 1993, while working as inspector attached to the CB CID in The Nilgiris. The charge against him was that he had kept a person in illegal custody at a police station in Cumbum for two days in February, 1991. The second charge was that he tortured the detenue. Kanagaraj offered his explanation.

However, the disciplinary authority imposed the punishment in February, 2002. He took up the matter with the Appellate Authority, the IG of Police (Crime Branch), Chennai, who by an order dated June 12, 2002 set aside the order of punishment.

However, by the order dated December 3, 2008, the Home Secretary imposed the punishment again. Petitioner’s consel Abudu Kumar contended that there was an inordinate and unexplained delay of more than six years in passing the order from the date of setting aside the order of the disciplinary authority. Hence, the entire proceedings were vitiated. The Home Secretary could not inflict the punishment by suo-motu proceedings without assigning any reason, Kumar added.

Accepting the submissions of Kumar, the judge set aside the punishment order and gave the direction to promote the petitioner.

Chandigarh education department told to clear teachers’ salary arrears

CHANDIGARH: The UT bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) directed the Chandigarh education department to release the arrears of enhanced consolidated salary of contractual teachers of various government schools of city.

These arrears have been pending since 2007 and the tribunal has now set a deadline of two months for the funds to be released to the beneficiary teachers, working under various capacities in UT government schools. The directions were passed by a division bench of CAT headed by Shayama Dogra.

CAT directed the U T Administration to release the enhanced consolidated salary with effect from 2007 in pursuance to UT administrations policy decision, within a period of two months. The issue was argued before the bench on behalf of the petitioners that the U T Administration has taken a policy decision through a circular dated March 13, 2007 to revise the consolidated monthly salary of contractual masters/mistresses from Rs 8,000 to Rs 9,900 with effect from January 1, 2007.

Similarly, vide subsequent policy circular dated January 10, 2008 and March 5, 2009 the said salary was further enhanced to Rs 10,500 and Rs 11,200 respectively. Similar pay enhancements were made with regard to contractual JBT teachers and lecturers.

74-yr-old former judge gets 3 yrs in jail for graft

New Delhi, April 28, 2012

A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Saturday awarded a 3-year jail term to a former judge in a 26-year-old graft case.

Special CBI judge VK Maheshwari sentenced former judge Gulab Tulsiyani to undergo three years’ rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 on him.

Tulsiyani, while holding the post of metropolitan magistrate at a Delhi court, was caught accepting a bribe of Rs. 2,000 at his residence June 6, 1986 from complainant Ajesh Mittal. Tulsiyani had asked a bribe from Mittal for settling his judicial matter pending in the court. He retired from judicial service in 1998.

The court, while awarding the sentence to the former judge, said the public’s confidence in the judiciary was getting shattered day by day. Special judge Maheshwari expressed his dissatisfaction saying that at present, the judiciary was suffering from self-inflicted wounds.

The court said: “The judiciary must take utmost care to see that the temple of justice does not crack from inside, which will lead to a catastrophe in the justice delivery system resulting in the failure of public confidence in the system.”

The court also added that judicial office is an office of public trust, therefore high integrity, honesty, ethical firmness is the requirement of society from the judge.

“A judge’s conduct is expected to be judged by standards higher than that expected from any other public servant,” said the court.

The special judge remarked that to keep the “stream of justice clean and pure”, a judge must be endowed with “sterling character, unimpeachable integrity and upright behaviour”.

However, the court suspended Tulsiyani’s sentence till May 28 and allowed the former judge’s interim bail after the convict informed the court that he would like to appeal against his conviction.

Excessive quotas violate equality mandate: SC

Express news service : New Delhi, Sun Apr 29 2012, 00:51 hrs

Noting that “excessive reservation” violates the constitutional mandate of equality, the Supreme Court has said that interests of certain sections of the society cannot be favoured over “the interests of every citizen of the entire society”.

In a judgment delivered on Friday, the Supreme Court said: “Article 16(4) which protects the interests of certain sections of the society has to be balanced against Article 16(1) which protects the interests of every citizen of the entire society. They should be harmonised because they are restatements of the principle of equality under Article 14.”

A Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Misra said state governments can carve out quotas for SC/STs and OBCs in their region only if they can back their “exercise of power” with precise data on the backwardness of the communities. “Be it reservation or evaluation, excessiveness in either would result in violation of the constitutional mandate,” the judgment authored by Justice Misra observed.

The judgment dealt with two amendments brought by the Uttar Pradesh government to enable reservation and accelerated promotion for SC/STs and OBCs in the UP public services.

Both Rule 8A, which dealt with accelerated promotion in the UP Government Servants Seniority Rules, 1991, and Section 3(7), which prescribed quota during promotion in the UP Public Servants (Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Classes) Act, 1994, were quashed as ultra vires the Constitution.

The UP government had moved the SC after the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court quashed the two provisions in 2011.

The Supreme Court Bench said the state government’s amendments were not backed by any quantifiable data.

26 years on, HC sets free 12 convicted for killing villagers

Kanchan Chaudharii, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, April 29, 2012

Nearly 26 years after being convicted for a gruesome attack on a rival political group from Pirkon village in Uran tehsil, the Bombay high court has set free 12 persons convicted by a trial court for killing five and injuring 58 others in the mass attack after finding that the witnesses’ testimonies were unreliable.

The incident took place in December 1986 when a mob of about 250 persons attacked a group of a rival political party from the same village. The mob had killed five persons and injured 44 others, 14 of whom were grievously hurt, and also destroyed houses of many of the victims.

The Uran police had booked in all 95 persons for the attack, and relying on evidence of seven prime witnesses, the Raigad sessions court had held 12 from the mob responsible for the killings and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The trial court had acquitted all others for want of cogent evidence.

The convicts had carried the matter to the high court, where a division bench of justices Bhushan Gavai and Shrihari Davare found several loopholes in the prosecution’s case. The judges found all the seven witnesses were related to the victims. “No doubt that merely because the witnesses are interested or related to the deceased is not the ground for discarding their evidence,” the judges said, adding, “But the evidence of such witnesses is required to be scrutinised with greater caution.”

The judges found the evidence of the witnesses was full of contradictions, omissions and improvements. “The ocular testimony of these witnesses is not corroborated by any other evidence,” they noted. “On the contrary, ocular testimony is in contradiction with the spot panchanama,” the judges said while reversing the trial court verdict.

The high court also noted that the trial court had disbelieved evidence of these witnesses while acquitting the accused of the charge of rioting and house breaking, but relied on the same evidence for convicting the 12 for the charge of murders.

The high court also found that these witnesses had improved their versions and their testimonies were contradictory to the medical evidence.

HC orders State Bank of India to reinstate employee, pay all salary dues

HYDERABAD: Stating that being a sympathizer of Maoist philosophy or being a relative of a Maoist is no ground to terminate the services of an employee, Justice B Chandra Kumar of the AP high court has directed the State Bank of India (SBI) to reinstate an employee and pay him all the salary benefits accrued to him from the date of his termination.

The judge made this order after hearing a petition filed by B Mallikarjuna Reddy of Guntur who was working with the bank branch in the district as an assistant in the cash wing. The employee was sacked in 2009 when he was on extended probation. The reason the bank had shown for his termination was that his father was a Maoist and was working as a president of district kerosene hawkers association. Mallikarjun’s name also figured in a ‘bind over’ case booked against several people. Showing this as a reason and also his antecedents as a relative or sympathizer of a Maoist, the bank sacked him.

Justice Chandra Kumar, in his order, found fault with the authorities of the bank for not seeing the ground realities in this case. The police and revenue officials who booked Mallikarjun in the case gave him a clean chit later. The bank should have taken this into consideration.

“The experience of the society shows us that if you repeatedly harass a person branding him as an extremist, he might be forced to become one finally. If a person commits crime or abets it then he may be prosecuted but not because he is a sympathizer or a relative of an extremist. You cannot punish a person for expressing certain views. If you punish people like that then there is no meaning to the model of democracy and the words of Rabindranath Tagore that… Our minds to be fearless and heads held high…”, the judge said and ordered reinstatement of the employee.

HC seeks CBI explanation on charges against ADGP Pulikesi

KOCHI: The high court has ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation’s Kochi unit to provide an explanation on the charges it had framed against ADGP S Pulikesi in connection with the procurement of medicines while Pulikesi was in charge of Supplyco. The order followed a petition by the ADGP challenging the charges.

The CBI has accused Pulikesi, who was the managing director of Supplyco, and 11 others of having hatched a criminal conspiracy to dupe the corporation while buying medicines for Maveli stores at exorbitant rates. According to the investigating agency, this brought about a loss of Rs 134 crore during 1998-2006 period.

In his petition, Pulikesi has challenged the charges, pointing out that CBI’s accusation that he had caused Supplyco losses was based on speculation. He has also said CBI hadn’t got state government clearance to prosecute him.

The Central agency had obtained clearance from the Central government to prosecute him thinking he belonged to the Central cadre. Permission should have been sought from the state government, instead, Pulikesi’s petition says.

After Pulikesi’s counsel C P Udayabhanu concluded his arguments, Justice P S Gopinathan ordered the CBI to file an explanation regarding the points raised by the ADGP in his petition. Though the petition had come up before Justice A M Shaffique earlier, the judge had declined to hear the case.

In December 2007, the high court had dismissed a petition by Pulikesi seeking quashing of the recommendations of the commission that inquired into the irregularities in the purchase of spices for Supplyco.

Pulikesi’s had pleaded that CBI should not be allowed to proceed with the investigation as the commission had not heard him before making the recommendations. It was a committee headed by former district judge E K Muraleedharan that had recommended that CBI probe the dealings of Supplyco.

HC asks WFI to allow dropped female wrestler to go to Finland

Last Updated: Sunday, April 29, 2012, 09:23

New Delhi: Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has been asked by the Delhi High Court to allow wrestler Geetika Jakhar, dropped from a touring athletes` contingent, to take part in an Olympic qualifier tournament in Finland.

Justice Vipin Sanghi also came down heavily on WFI for omitting Jakhar`s name from the list of touring athletes despite the fact that she had defeated rival Alka Tomar in a bout held on April 19 to select a wrestler in 63 kg weight category to represent India at Helsinki.

“I direct that the petitioner (Jakhar) shall be permitted to participate in the tournament in 63 kg weight category at Helsinki. The petitioner`s passport is already available with the WFI. They should proceed forthwith to obtain her visa, and it is hoped that the visa shall be endorsed by concerned authorities on April 30,” the court said.

The court was critical of WFI`s selection policy and subsequent change made in it to include a wrestler, who did not take part in qualifying bout as she was in China, in the touring contingent.

“There is no apparent reason for this sudden change of mind that WFI seems to have experienced. Having chalked out a course of action, they should stick to it, as the last minute changes, when Indian contingent has to leave for Helsinki on May 1, not only shakes confidence of athletes but also raises doubt about bonafides of the action of WFI,” the court said.

The court`s order came on Jakhar`s plea, filed by lawyer N K Chahar, against her omission from touring athletes` list.

Jakhar had taken part and won the bout against Tomar on April 19, organised by WFI for selecting wrestler for the Olympic qualifier. However, the sports body had ordered a re-trial as Tomar had challenged the result.
Tomar, who had lost the bout, raised protest, contending that she, in fact, had “floored” Jakhar whose shoulder had touched the ground and hence, re-trial should be held.

The WFI allowed Tomar`s objection and fixed the re-trial bout on April 23. However, Jakhar did not participate in it.

The sports body then changed its policy and inserted wrestler Anita`s name in the list. She did not participate in the WFI`s bout here on April 19, as she was in China.

Aggrieved by the decision of WFI, Jakhar moved the court which quashed the sports body decision and also asked the Union Sports Ministry to take all necessary steps for granting approval to her.

The court, in its order, rapped WFI`s decision to hold re-trial bout saying “even in a real competition, a bout`s decision is taken by the referee, match chairman and judge and their decision is final. The WFI action in calling for re-trial between petitioner and Alka Tomar defeats whole purpose of holding the bout in the first place, as it can lead to a never-ending process.”




SC slams Allahabad HC for indiscipline

New Delhi, April 28, 2012

The Supreme Court has chided the Allahabad high court and its Lucknow bench for conducting parallel proceedings in a single case and hoped “judicial enthusiasm should not obliterate the profound responsibility that is expected from the Judges.”

A bench of justices Dalveer Bhandari and Dipak Mishra also faulted the two-judge Lucknow bench for passing a judgement overruling another two-bench judgement which it said was contrary to established judicial norms as ideally such a conflicting view should have been referred to a larger bench.

According to the apex court, judicial discipline commands in such a situation when there is disagreement to refer the matter to a larger bench.

“Instead of doing that, the Division Bench at Lucknow took the burden on themselves to decide the case. There are two decisions by two Division Benches from the same high court.

“We express our concern about the deviation from the judicial decorum and discipline by both the Benches and expect that in future, they shall be appositely guided by the conceptual eventuality of such discipline as laid down by this Court from time to time.

“We have said so with the fond hope that judicial enthusiasm should not obliterate the profound responsibility that is expected from the Judges,” the bench said.

The apex court made the remarks while dealing with a bunch of appeals filed by employees and the Uttar Pradesh government challenging conflicting judgements of the Allahabad high court and its Lucknow bench relating to validity of Section 3(7) of the 1994 Act and Rule 8A of the 1991 Rules of UP Government Servants Seniority Rules, 1991.



Flexibility needed in parental access cases, says HC

NEERAD PANDHARIPANDE : Sun Apr 29 2012, 01:44 hrs

The Bombay High Court on Friday observed that there is a need to have a certain degree of flexibility while dealing with cases of allowing a parent access to his or her child.

The court was hearing a petition filed by a man seeking permission to meet his two daughters aged 16 and 15. In an order passed in March last year, the family court allowed him access to his nine-year old son, but disallowed him from meeting his daughters.

The family court had held that the daughters have reached an age when they are capable of taking decisions on their own. However, the father contended that as per law, access must be granted until the child is 18 years old.

In the order, Justice Roshan Dalvi noted that the husband and wife had had a very ‘acrimonious’ dispute with both filing several applications against each other.

The judge, who heard the father and daughters in her chamber, also recorded that the daughters displayed a very ‘venomous’ attitude towards their father.

“The daughters narrated to the court parrot-like what was mentioned in the petition containing expressions like harassment, cruelty, etc without any particulars or illustrations… Having been in the custody of one parent and having had absolutely no contact with the other, the source of such venom is easy to see,” Justice Dalvi observed.

The judge also observed that the father ‘patiently heard all the accusations’ and did not argue to assert his right.

However, ruling against the father, Justice Dalvi said, “In view of such vehemence, coupled with their (daughters’) age, the entire effort as counselling would be whittled down and would not be worth embarking upon.”

The order noted that no ‘hard and fast rule can be laid down’ in such cases. Significantly, the judge also observed, “It may also be mentioned that it is not the right of the parent that is to be determined in such applications, but the right of the child to have such access.”

Boat owner-Italy pact gets HC nod

Express News Service

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday approved the settlement made between the Republic of Italy and J Freddy, owner of the fishing boat involved in the Enrica Lexie episode, regarding compensation.

The out-of-court-settlement made with the Lok Adalat was recorded by Justice A M Shaffique of the High Court. Freddy’s counsel Raja Vijayaraghavan told the court that a demand draft for Rs 17 lakh has been handed over to him.

He also added that as per the terms of settlement, Freddy would withdraw all complaints and other legal proceedings initiated by him against the Republic of Italy.

Passing the award, the Lok Adalat headed by former High Court judge K John Mathew and former District Judge Sreelatha Devi held that the adalat is satisfied that the settlement was beneficial to the petitioner. Italian Consul-General Giampaolo Cuttillo handed over a DD of `17 lakh. Counsel for both the parties were also present.

In an undertaking produced along with the settlement agreement, Freddy agreed to unconditionally abandon all his claims in this regard and withdraw all allegations made by him in the suit.

Freddy stated that he is even willing to file an affidavit or statement to enable the Italian marines being exonerated or discharged from all accusations and charges with respect to the allegations against them.

Land acquisition for CMRL upheld

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The proceedings of the State government to acquire lands on Anna Salai, Saligramam, Anna Nagar and other places for the ongoing Chennai Metro Rail project(CMRL) were upheld by Madras HC on Friday.

“On consideration, I find no force in these writ petitions,” Justice VK Sharma observed while dismissing a batch of writ petitions from Emcete & Sons P Ltd, Anna Salai, and six others.

He noted that the objections of the petitioners were considered and they were informed that the same could not be accepted. The bonafide of the government in acquiring the lands could not be doubted. It was also proved that the urgency clause was not mechanically invoked.

“It had been invoked keeping in view the real urgency and to see that the project did not come to a standstill. The petitions were not maintainable in view of the settled law that it was not open to the land owners to challenge the acquisition after passing of the award. Since they had participated in the award proceedings, they could not now challenge the acquisition,” the judge said and dismissed the petitions.

Reliance Power gets govt reprieve on Sasan coal use

NEW DELHI: Anil Ambani’s Reliance Power got a reprieve on Saturday as a ministerial panel under finance minister Pranab Mukherjee upheld a decision that allowed the company to use excess coal from Sasan power project’s mines to fuel its Chitrangi generation plant.

Both projects are being built in Madhya Pradesh, and the decision to allow Reliance in-house use of surplus coal from Sasan’s captive mines was taken in August, 2008, during the UPA-I rule.

The panel under Mukherjee, set up to smoothen the way for Centre’s showcase generation plants – or ultra-mega power projects – decided not to tinker with that decision after taking legal opinion from Attorney General G E Vahanvati.

“We were not reviewing that (in-house use of surplus coal) decision, we were trying to understand that decision based on Attorney General’s opinion… Given the conditions that applied at that time, the decision that was taken at that time, we have to interpret what surplus coal means and how that surplus coal can be utilized. We can’t review the decisions of the past. We can certainly look at the implications of these decisions in changing circumstances and what we need to do in the future,” law minister Salman Khurshi told reporters.

“What to do with the surplus coal is the question and is to be seen in the context that you don’t have to discourage the developer. If there is good technology and that good technology is bringing out more coal that it was there … How to utilize that coal is the issue. And that, Attorney General has taken decision in 2008, in subsequent developments that take place you cannot change decisions of the past.”

Tata Power, which has legally challenged the award of Sasan project to Reliance and the decision on use of surplus coal, said in a statement the “(Sasan) matter is sub judice”. Tata Power moved the SC after it had lost the legal challenge in the Delhi HC.

Power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and Plan panel deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia are also members of the ministerial panel that took the decision on Saturday.

Court orders issuing of notices to major Aviation bodies

Press Trust of India | Updated: April 28, 2012 15:14 IST

Bangalore:  Karnataka High Court on Friday ordered issuing of notices to Secretary, Civil Aviation, Directorate General of Civil Aviations (DGCA) and others on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the construction of a star hotel by the Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) near the main terminal.

The petitioner who had given a representation to the concerned authorities filed the PIL when no action was taken on his representation.

The petitioner said that the star hotel was being constructed by BIAL, not even half a kilometre from the main terminal which would cause a major concern for safety of VIPs. He also claimed that the masterplan of BIA does not provide for construction of a hotel.

A Division bench, comprising Justice Hulwadi G Ramesh and Justice L Narayanaswamy, ordered issuing of notices to Secretary Civil Aviation, DGCA, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and BIAL on the petition filed by an advocate GR Mohan.

Indore police lacks equipment to measure tinted glass

Kundan Pandey

INDORE: In the backdrop of Supreme Court order to ban tinted glasses in cars that blocks light by 50 per cent to 70 per cent, the Indore police do not posses equipment required to measure the visibility of the glass.

Talking to TOI, senior superintendent of police (SSP) A Sai Manohar confirmed that police lack the instruments used for measuring the percentage of visibility. “We will start taking action against the vehicles having tinted glasses, after receiving the court order,” he added.

Traffic DSP Pradeep Singh Chauhan said, “Though there are 50-75 per cent of tinted-screened vehicles in the city, the police plan to purchase the ‘transparency measures instrument’ only in the next fiscal year.”

Another senior police official on the condition of anonymity said this new rule had been in existence since long, but it lacked proper mechanism to measure the visibility of the glass. Police have sent its proposal to higher authority but in vain, despite the fact that the instrument costs to Rs 30-40 thousand only, he said.

Hearing a PIL that complained cars with black film on window panes were being increasingly used for crimes, including sexual assault of women, the Supreme Court on Friday went by the limits prescribed in the Motor Vehicles Act and said anything beyond the visual light transmission (VLT) limit of 70% for the front and rear windshields and 50% for the side windows would be punishable. The decision would come into force from, May 4.

Bench refuses to extend stay on enquiry

Law officers spend anxious moments as case was posted wrongly before single judgeThe Madras High Court Bench here on Friday refused to extend the stay granted by it on the enquiry initiated by Madurai Collector U. Sagayam against M.K. Alagiri Educational Trust, of which Union Minister M.K. Alagiri was one of the trustees, on charges of having destroyed irrigation channels for constructing Dhaya Engineering College at Sivarakottai near here.

Justice K. Venkataraman refused to extend the stay on the ground that on Thursday itself he had referred the writ petition filed by the trust to be posted along with a Public Interest Litigation petition pending before a Division Bench and hence it would be practically impossible for him to pass further orders. “I have washed my hands of. You have to mention it before a Division Bench,” he told the petitioner’s counsel.

When the writ petition challenging a show cause notice issued by the Collector came up before the judge on Thursday, he extended the stay, originally granted by him on April 20, until Friday when the PIL petition, filed by the leader of a farmers’ association against the trust, was expected to be listed for hearing before a Division Bench of Justice R. Banumathi and Justice B. Rajendran.

However, the Division Bench was not constituted on Friday as Ms. Justice Banumathi had flown to the Principal Seat in Chennai on official work. The case was not listed even before another Division Bench comprising Justices S. Rajeswaran and M. Vijayaraghavan as it took up only fresh PIL petitions that came up for admission for the first time and not those that were pending already.

Curiously, the case was listed before Mr. Justice Venkataraman on Friday too giving some anxious moments to the law officers who were perplexed as to how could a case that was ordered to be posted before a Division Bench was listed before the same judge on the next day too. But relieving them of the anxiety, the judge himself clarified that he would not take up the case.

In the meantime, the counsel for the trust Veera Kathiravan and R. Janakiramulu requested the Division Bench presided over by Mr. Justice Rajeswaran to take up the PIL as well as the writ petition on Friday. When the judges expressed their inability to hear the case on the same day, the counsel obtained an order to post both the cases on the first summer vacation court on May 3.

Seven Afghan nationals get life term for trespassing into India

Press Trust of India | Updated: April 28, 2012 22:23 IST

Jodhpur:  A court today sentenced 7 Afghan nationals to life imprisonment for trespassing into India allegedly with arms and ammunition in 1997.

All of them were arrested in October, 1997, by the Indian Army in Kupwara sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

The hearing in the matter, which was taking place in J&K, was transferred to Jodhpur sessions court following the shifting of the accused to Jodhpur central jail in 2008.

The sessions court later transferred the case to the court of ACJM (SC/ST cases) in July 2010, where the hearing of the case had been going on since then.

The court had completed the hearing in the case last year and listed the matter for pronouncement of the order on 11 July, 2011. But the court amended the charges on the day instead of pronouncing the order and the hearing resumed again.

Magistrate Anoop Kumar Saxena sentenced all the seven to life imprisonment convicting them under sections 121, 121 A, 122 and 123 of Ranveer Penal Code (J&K), section 14 of Foreigners Act and section 25 read with section 7 of Arms Act.

Amicus curie Manish Vyas, appointed by the court for these nationals, said the order can be challenged as neither any evidence was produced before the court in support of the charges under Ranveer Penal Code nor any arms were ever produced before the court to prove that they are militants.

Newborn found abandoned in duct at hospital, critically ill

PUNE: A newborn baby was found abandoned in a duct between two buildings on the premises of Bharati Hospital early on Saturday morning.

The hospital authorities say the baby boy was in shock and is currently being given intravenous fluids, oxygen and inotropic drugs to increase its blood pressure. He is under observation at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the hospital. The infant is a full-term baby, weighing 2.1 kg, less than the normal weight of 2.5 kg.

“A nurse in the casualty ward noticed the baby first, when she heard him wailing around 6 am. She brought him to the casualty ward and later took him to the NICU,” said N G Kamat, deputy medical director of the hospital. “When found, the baby was in shock (a condition in which the blood pressure falls and heart starts failing), and needed oxygen and inotropic drugs to enhance his heart functions.” He added that the placenta was still attached to the baby and it appeared to have been just born.

Hospital authorities have registered a medico-legal case at the Bharati Vidyapeeth police station.

“The infant is in a critical condition and will therefore have to be observed minute-by-minute for the next 24 to 48 hours,” said senior paediatrician Sanjay Lalwani, medical director of Bharati hospital.

“We do not know the medical history of the mother, whether the infant cried immediately after the delivery or not and the sequence of events at the time of delivery, among other things,” he added.

Lalwani said the baby had bilateral pneumothorax (collection of air in the pleural cavity of the chest) when found. “We put him on a chest drain to remove the air. We will contact an NGO once the infant’s condition is stable,” he said.

The police have registered a complaint against an unidentified person for abandoning a newborn baby under section 317 of the Indian Penal Code.

“We conducted an inquiry with the hospital authorities in this regard, but they said that all the newborns at the hospital were accounted for,” said sub-inspector G M Landge. “A wireless message has been sent to all police stations in the city and we have appealed to the public to contact us if they have information about the baby, his parents or relatives,” he added.

Victims of money-doubling racket move High Court

Investors from across Maharashtra who fell prey to a ponzi money-doubling scheme, find themselves still without redress due to the alleged apathy of the police and the State administration.

The court recently came down heavily on the administration for tardy implementation of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act. Sessions court judge Laxmi R. Rao recently observed that the State government had not appointed a competent authority under the Act for years together.

“The Home Department of the State government is directed to take immediate steps in appointment of competent authority in this case and several other cases under the MPID Act in which no action seems to be taken for years together,” she said in an order passed on April 24, adding that it defeated the purpose of the legislation by allowing the accused to tamper with property.

Meanwhile, the 681 investors have now approached the Bombay High Court seeking a direction to transfer the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation in view of ‘shoddy investigation’ by the Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW), advocate Filgi Fredrix, lawyer for the investors, told The Hindu.

The petition will be heard next week. “The police have seized only those bank accounts which the victims have themselves provided. They seized the accounts very late, rendering the process futile as only Rs. 5 lakh was found in the accounts. The list of property too has been provided by the accused themselves. There is no independent investigation whatsoever in the case. We have thus said in our petition that the case should either be transferred to the CBI or that guidelines should be issued to the EOW for proper investigation,” he said.

Middle class families from Pune, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Kolhapur, Nashik, Thane and Mumbai invested money in Raj Investment Services based in Mumbai, after the company promised that the money would be doubled in a few years, police said. It kept on introducing several schemes over a period of time.

More than a decade later, many investors have lost hope, while some have been running from pillar to post in the hope of recovery of at least the original amount.

The Sessions Court rapped the police for their inaction and gave an ultimatum for the attachment of the property of the accused. The judge observed that the police were yet to recover Rs. 32 crore from the accused.

A senior EOW officer told The Hindu that the EOW sealed 42 bank accounts, and initiated the procedure to seize three vehicles and 11 pieces of property in Nashik, Kolhapur, Pune, Lonavala, and Ratnagiri. The approximate worth of the seizures is slated to be barely Rs. 50 lakh.

Kalpana Anant Pakhurde, a clerk with a bank, started investing money with Raj Investment Services since 1998 after Amoolya Waskar and Vaishali Waskar, the couple owning the firm, assured her guaranteed returns.

“They showed us documents regarding registration with the SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India). They told us that they invest in shares,” her husband Anant Pakhurde told The Hindu.

Whenever her investment matured, she would be lured into a new scheme to reinvest the money. Finally, in 2011, when the company failed to return the money despite repeated requests, she suspected foul play.

“But even the police did not register our case in the beginning in 2011. The police approach was apathetic, to say the least. We had to meet senior police officials even to get an FIR [First Information Report] registered,” Mr. Pakhurde said.

The police finally registered an FIR in January this year after instructions from Deputy Commissioner of Police Mahesh Patil. Amoolya Waskar, his wife Vaishali Waskar and Dattatray Palkar were arrested and charged under sections 409, 420 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

But when the police started investigating the case, where the investors had been cheated of Rs. 75 lakh, they realised it was just the tip of the iceberg. Hordes of investors started approaching the police after they learnt of the FIR.

Two more accused namely Riya alias Jyoti Rajesh Bandre and Vilas Raikar were arrested and more charges under various sections of the MPID Act, the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (banning) Act, 1978, were slapped on all the five.

Soon, the EOW started investigating the case. Exactly 681 had been cheated of more than Rs. 32 crore.

Of the five arrested, four have secured bail. The police filed a charge sheet against one accused a few days ago.

LEGAL NEWS 28.04.2012

HC seeks MHA reply on selection of logos


Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Thu Apr 26 2012, 00:21 hrs


The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought a response from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on a petition which said there are no uniform guidelines for public competitions to select symbols and logos of entities of national importance.

Petitioner Rakesh Kumar Singh, who had earlier challenged the selection of the Rupee symbol, approached the Bench again in the wake of the court’s suggestion that he should file a PIL instead to raise general concern over lack of guidelines.

On Wednesday, a Bench headed by Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri admitted his petition and asked the central government’s counsel, Jatan Singh, to file a counter affidavit in four weeks.

The MHA must inform the court if there are guidelines in place for convening public competitions for selection of such symbols and how the government ensures equal opportunities for all citizens to participate, if there are no such guidelines.

Singh highlighted selection of five symbols — Indian Rupee, UID, ‘I’ Mark, Railways and RTI. He said selection of all these symbols lacked democratic process and deprived several people of the right to participate and be counted for their ideas. “There was lack of wider national participation and (such competitions) are conducted in a manner to benefit selected groups,” the petition said, adding that the process was repugnant to the concept of participative society.

Singh added that the advertisements for public competitions were usually issued only in English, in complete violation of the Official Language Act. Also, in the case of selection of the UID symbol, entries were sought only by e-mails, thereby depriving many people not conversant with computers from participating, he said.


NHRC not in favour of curbs on media reporting’

Last Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012, 20:01

New Delhi: NHRC Chairperson KG Balakrishnan Friday said the Commission would not like to have any curbs on media reporting which has an important role in promotion and protection of human rights.

He was asked about NHRC’s stand on the Supreme Court appointing a committee to make guidelines for media reporting during a media workshop organised by the Commission.

“The Commission is a formal party in the matter. However, it has decided not to intervene in it as the issue is only about reporting on court proceedings and not for general issues.

“The NHRC would not like to have any curbs on media reporting and it would rather want to have as much increased interface with media as possible for building awareness on human rights issues,” he said.

He said media has an important role in the promotion and protection of human rights.

The decision not to intervene in the Supreme Court matter, which is being heard at present by a Bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia, was taken at a recent sitting of the Commission presided by Chairperson Justice K G Balakrishnan.

The Supreme Court constituted a bench to frame media guidelines following “misreporting” of certain proceedings in the court as well as reporting matters which were yet to come to the court.

The case has been vigorously argued in the court with some senior lawyers opposing any attempt to frame guidelines saying it would amount to curbing free speech while one senior lawyer has welcomed it.

Earlier in an interview to PTI, Balakrishnan had flagged concerns about the press breaching privacy laws and rights of accused though he said that NHRC was not intervening in the matter.







HC directive to reinstate ousted lecturer

Express News Service

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday directed the St.Albert’s College management to soon reinstate Sebastian K. Antony, the ousted senior lecturer in Malayalam. A Division Bench, comprising Justice V Ramkumar and Justice K Harilal, passed the order while considering an appeal filed by Sebastian challenging an order of the M G University Appellate Tribunal.

The tribunal had confirmed the management’s order dated January 1, 2009 dismissing the lecturer from service. The petitioner has been working at St.Albert’s College with 24 years of continuous service.

Counsel for the petitioner, Advocate N Nandakumara Menon, submitted that Antony was suspended from service on February,2008 on certain cooked up allegations framed against him by the management. The petitioner was charged by the management for tampering with the attendance register of the Malayalam Department, erasing the leave column and signing across seven different dates in June, July, November and December, 2007.

The petitioner contended that the dismissal order passed by the management was totally vindictive. The court pointed out that the counter-affidavit filed by the MG University stated that Antony was a genius. The management had failed to prove the petitioner’s absence.

So the petitioner should be re-instated to service with the complete back wages and attendance benefits, the court said.








Amity suicide: Sangma says niece phone taken away

TUHIN DUTTA : Gurgaon, Sat Apr 28 2012, 01:07 hrs

Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma on Friday told The Indian Express that his niece Dana M Sangma’s mobile phone was taken away by Amity authorities after she was stopped from taking an examination.

Dana, who the college claims was caught cheating, allegedly committed suicide later.

“If a person is distressed, he/she will try to talk to someone. But when her mobile phone was taken away, she couldn’t. This is what my investigation has revealed. She could have been counselled,” Sangma said.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken suo-motu cognisance of Dana’s suicide. The NCW said she committed suicide after she was reportedly humiliated by an exam invigilator.

An NCW statement said a four-member team has also been constituted with Wansuk Syem as its chairperson. The panel will meet police officials and others to ascertain facts.










Court appreciates SP for ending caste animosity

Mohamed Imranullah S.

To say human being is untouchable is to deny God: Asra GargThe Madras High Court Bench here on Thursday appreciated Madurai Superintendent of Police Asra Garg (31) for efforts taken by him in putting an end to long pending hostility between Caste Hindus and Dalits of Villoor near here through talks.

Justice D. Hariparanthaman recorded his appreciation for the SP and his team of policemen while closing a writ petition filed last year by Villoor Panchayat President S. Subbulakshmi seeking a judicial enquiry into the incidents that led to a police firing in the village on May 1.

The case was closed with the concurrence of the petitioner as well as the respondents after recording the contents of a status report filed by the SP, according to whom some forms of untouchability was in existence in the village, inhabited by Agamudairs and Dalits, from time immemorial.

Mr. Garg said that Dalits were not allowed to ride their vehicles through streets occupied predominantly by Caste Hindus in the village. Double tumbler system was also practised in tea shops and Dalits could not dare to sit on the benches in the local eateries.

Abhorring such practices, he said: “I feel that we should realise that God never made man that he may consider another man as an untouchable. And to say that a single human being, because of his birth, becomes an untouchable, unapproachable or invisible is to deny God.”

On April 30 last year, the local police received a complaint that a 22-year-old Dalit G. Thangapandi was assaulted by Caste Hindus when he attempted to ride a two-wheeler through their street. A case was registered on the basis of the complaint and five of them were arrested on May 1.

“Since the matter seemed to be a serious one involving untouchability, I visited the village in the afternoon on May 1 in order to assess the actual situation. After I left, a few Dalit houses were damaged by a big mob of Agamudiar community people.

“On hearing about this, again I returned to the village. While I was approaching the area with a few policemen, suddenly another crowd armed with weapons such as swords and stones started attacking us. Because of being outnumbered, we retreated back to the Villoor police station.

“Finally, they surrounded the police station and attacked it. As all other legal steps taken by us did not yield any result, in order to protect our lives and the police station, myself and my PSO (personal security officer) fired a few ammunition rounds (in the air) under which the miscreants ran away,” the SP said.

Stating that as many as seven criminal cases had been registered in connection with the firing incident, he said that a team of policemen headed by him recently took efforts to bring about peace between the two warring groups by holding a series of peace committee meetings.

The efforts bore fruit as leaders from both the communities signed an agreement on April 24 agreeing to iron out their differences and live peacefully. It was also resolved that all out efforts would be taken to ensure that no form of untouchability should be practised in the village.

The other terms of the agreement stated that Dalits should not be forced to perform menial jobs. At the same time, they must not prevent any individual who willingly assists Caste Hindus and exaggerate small personal and trivial issues as a communal problem.

“They (Dalits) shall also ensure that if any such anti-social element indulges in magnifying trivial issues and disturbs communal harmony, they shall themselves hand him over to the police… It is therefore humbly submitted that this status report may kindly be accepted and this court may pass any order as it may deem fit,” the SP concluded.










HC issues notices to Bihar Governor and Patna University VC

PTI | 08:04 PM,Apr 27,2012

Patna, Apr 27 (PTI) The Patna High Court today issued notices to Governor Devanand Konwar and the Vice-Chancellor of Patna University on a writ petition challenging the latter’s appointment without consultation with the state government. Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi passed the order on the writ petition filed by a student leader, Mukesh Kumar Singh, and others. The judge issued the notices to Konwar, who is also the Chancellor of universities in Bihar, and Patna University’s Vice-Chancellor Shambhu Nath Singh, asking them to explain their position in the matter. In the petition, the petitioners alleged that Konwar, vide an order dated August 8, 2011, had appointed Singh as the Vice-Chancellor of Patna University without holding consultations with the state government as was required under the provisions of Patna University Act.







Vacate official residence by May 31: HC to former UP cab secy

Last Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012, 21:19

Lucknow: Allahabad High Court on Friday asked former Uttar Pradesh cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh to vacate government residence given to him before May 31.
The order was passed by Lucknow bench on a writ petition filed by Singh challenging April 24 order of the state government cancelling allotment of his house in Raj Bhawan colony.

The state government had on April 25 also issued a notice to vacate the house. The former cabinet secretary had yesterday moved a petition challenging the government order.
Senior counsel JN Mathur, appearing for Singh argued that the order was “arbitrary and illegal”.
The single bench of Justice SN Shukla observed that on the event of retirement, ordinarily, the retired employee is entitled to retain the accommodation for one month and further for one additional month by special permission of the state government.

“The petitioner retired on March 9, thus, ordinarily he was entitled to retain the house till April 9 but under the strength of office memorandum dated March 6 he continued his occupation which entitled him to retain the accommodation till March 9, 2013 which now has been cancelled by the government,” it said.
“But keeping in view the submissions of senior counsel Mathur that petitioner’s house is under repairing and that may take about further one month to be completed, I accept his undertaking as recorded and allow him to retain the house till the mid night of May 31,” it added.
The court directed that as per his undertaking Singh was bound to vacate the house by the mid night of May 31.
“In default, the government shall be at liberty to get the house in question vacated with the aid of the police force,” it said.
“On the request of the counsel for the petitioner, I hereby observe that petitioner’s living in the house in dispute shall not be disturbed till the mid night of May 31,” the bench added while disposing off the writ petition.
Singh showed his willingness to vacate the house by recording undertaking through an affidavit filed before the court.
“Through his statement as recorded in the affidavit in the form of undertaking, it is stated by him that he gives an unequivocal undertaking on oath that he shall vacate the official residence on or before May 31,” the bench said.










HC upholds acquisition proceedings for Chennai Metro Rail

PTI | 09:04 PM,Apr 27,2012

Chennai, Apr 27 (PTI): The Madras High Court today upheld acquisition proceedings of land in Anna Salai, Anna Nagar and some other places for the ongoing Chennai Metro Rail Project (CMRP). Dismissing a batch of writ petitions from EMCETE and Sons Private Ltd and six others, Justice V K Sharma observed ‘On consideration, I find no force in these writ petitions.’ Noting that the objections of the petitioners had been considered and that they were informed that their objections could not be accepted, the Judge said the bonafide of the government in acquiring the lands could not be doubted. Rejecting the contention that the urgency clause had been mechanically invoked, the Judge said it had been invoked keeping in view the real urgency and to see that the project did not come to a standstill at any stage. The Judge said the writ petitions were not maintainable in view of the settled law that it was not open to land owners to challenge the acquisition proceedings after the award was passed. Since the petitioners had participated in the award proceedings, they could not now challenge the acquisition, the judge said and dismissed the petitions. PTI GR APR APR







Sardarpura case: HC admits plea against acquittal of 31

Last Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012, 23:48

Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court on Friday admitted a petition of the state government challenging acquittal of 31 accused by a trial court in the 2002 Sardarpura riot case.

The division bench of Justices Jayant Patel and Paresh Upadhyay admitted the appeal and scheduled further hearing of the case on May 3.

The court has also issued bailable warrant against the 31 accused and told them to avail bail on personal bond of Rs 5,000 each.

In November last year, a special court in Mehsana had awarded life imprisonment to the 31 people in the Sardarpuara riot case and acquitted 42 others.

The incident had taken place on March 1, 2002 after the Godhra train burning incident, where 33 people of a minority community were burnt to death.

“The state government’s appeal challenging acquittal of 31 people in this case was admitted today in the high court,” special prosecutor for SIT JM Panchal said.

“The trial court had acquitted 11 saying that they were not involved in the case, while 31 others were acquitted on the grounds of benefit of doubt. The state government has challenged the acquittal of these 31 people,” Panchal said.

The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team, which had probed the case, has also filed an application seeking leave to prepare appeal against the trial court’s order of acquittal of 31 people on benefit of doubt.

Meanwhile, victims of the case have also filed appeal against acquittal in the case. The 31 people convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the case have also approached the court against the verdict of the trial court.








Aarushi murder case: Supreme Court tells Nupur Talwar to surrender before Ghaziabad court on Monday

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN Apr 27, 2012, 03.26PM IST

NEW DELHI: In a setback to the Talwars in the Aarushi murder case, the Supreme Court has asked Nupur Talwar to surrender before the Ghaziabad sesions court on Monday.

The apex court refused to stay the non-bailable arrest warrant against her.

The court allowed her to move bail plea before trial court on Monday and asked the magistrate to decide it on the same day.

SC says it will hear in detail on next Friday Nupur Talwar’s plea for review of the apex court’s January 6 order by which it had dismissed her petition challenging the trial court summoning her as an accused in the case despite the CBI filing a closure report.

The trial court had summoned both Dr Rajesh Talwar and Nupur as accused by an order of February 9 last year.

Nupur had pleaded in her petition that besides being an aggrieved mother and law abiding citizen, she also enjoys the reputation as one of the best dental surgeons of this country and if she would be arrested, then people would not make any distinction between arrest at a pre-conviction stage or post-conviction stage of this present case.

Nupur and her husband Rajesh Talwar are facing trial in the twin murder case of her daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj.

Aarushi was found dead with her throat slit at their Noida residence on the night intervening May 15 and 16, 2008, while the body of Hemraj was recovered from the terrace of the house the next day.








High court slaps Rs 50cr fine on Makrana marble mining body

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 01.50AM IST

JODHPUR: Cracking the whip on miners disobeying its orders, the Rajasthan High Court on Friday slapped a fine of Rs 50 crore on the Sangemarmar Khan Vikas Samiti, the association of marble mines of Makrana in Nagaur district.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Kumar Mishra and Justice Kailash Chandra Joshi found the association’s mines guilty of damaging the Jaipur-Jodhpur railway tracks passing through Makrana town and imposed an additional penalty on 61 such mines for not complying with a restraint order passed by the high court in 1996.

As additional penalty, the 61 mines would have to pay as much as 10 times the cost of the total marble extracted by these mines from the restraint order to till date.

Further, the court has directed the state government to register police complaints against three mines, which have caused the maximum damage to the railway tracks. Owner of one of these three mines-Khalil Ahmed-has been directed to pay an additional fine of Rs 1 crore.

The mining association and the individual mines have been directed to deposit the penalty money with the state government within three months. The Indian Railways, which has been directed to repair the damaged tracks within this year, would be able to use this money.

The high court has ordered the government to stop all mining activities within 45 meters of any road and railway track across the state with immediate effect.

The division bench has suggested to the state government to identify all its mining officials who were posted in Makrana during the period when the court’s restraint orders were violated.

The high court passed the order as it disposed of the separate petitions filed by the Union of India and the mining association of Makrana in 1996. The Union of India had identified before the high court the 61 mines that continued their operations despite a stay order passed in 1996. The next year the mining association filed a petition requesting that the ban be lifted, but the high court turned it down.

While hearing the petitions on 16 February the high court had asked the state chief secretary to tell the government’s stand on the mines operating close to the railway tracks. The chief secretary assured the court that all mining leases close to the tracks would be cancelled and that the government would ensure there is no further violation of the court order.

The bench on Friday also ordered contempt of court proceedings against a local photographer who accompanied a court commissioner appointed to review the damage done by the illegal mining but later failed to hand over the pictures clicked by him to the high court.










High court rejects suspended Inspector General’s bail plea in Dara case

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 07.29AM IST

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan High Court on Friday rejected the bail application of suspended Inspector General A Ponnuchami, who is currently in judicial custody at the Jaipur Central Jail for his alleged involvement in the Dara Singh encounter case.

The court, however, pulled up the CBI for not informing the state government about making notorious criminals Veer Singh and Tilia prosecution witnesses in the case and recording their statements before a magistrate under Section 164 of CrPC.

Justice Mahesh Sharma rejected the bail plea and directed CBI officer Subhash Kundu and attorney general GS Bapna to inform the state government about these two prosecution witnesses.

“The court said after the material witnesses are done with testifying in the case, the accused can move bail applications in the district session court,” Ponnuchami’s advocate AK Jain told TOI.

In the Dara Singh case trial, statement of 19 witnesses – Om Prakash, Kusum Lata Meena, Kaluram Meena, Vijay Singh, Soran Singh, Kailash Narain, Krishna Kumar, Ram Kishore, Mukut Bihari Chouhan, Rohit Kumar Singh, Bhanwar Lal, Hari Ram Meena, Vishnu Kumar Gour, Milan Kumar Johia, Sushil Sharma, Virendra Pal, Vishal Singh, Yogendra, Ajit Singh have been recorded. The CBI has named 254 witnesses.

“The court asked the CBI to record the statement of remaining material witnesses. The court said after material witnesses’ statements are recorded, the accused men would be able to move bail applications in the court of district and session judge, Jaipur district,” said Jain.










Supreme Court upholds High court’s decision to quash quota in promotion

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 01.33AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Supreme Court, on Friday upheld the Allahabad high court’s decision to scrap the policy of reservations in promotions introduced by the Mayawati government.

The Allahabad high court on January 4, 2011 had dubbed it “unconstitutional” and struck it down following at least 50 petitions by employees associations from across the state. Following this, a special leave petition was filed in the Supreme Court against the order by the Bahujan Samaj Party government and some organisations.

Terming the SC decision to quash reservation in promotion as a milestone, the state government employees of general category burst into celebrations on Friday. The decision will benefit nearly 18 lakh UP government employees — mainly of the general and OBC category — who have been waiting for their promotions for the past five years.

The issue dates back to 2007, when Mayawati came to power and introduced reservation in promotions. The BSP government introduced the policy that stipulated reservation for SC employees in the first stage of their promotion and that of the benefit of consequential seniority in successive promotions under Rule 8-A of the UP Government Servants Seniority (Third amendment) Rules, 2007.

However, on January 4, 2011, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court comprising Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi ruled that there is no provision of reservation in promotion with respect to government services in Uttar Pradesh. It also struck down rule 8A of the consequential seniority rules as amended in 2007, holding that they are not in conformity with the Supreme Court directives. Also, the court quashed a number of seniority lists of various government departments, which had been prepared on the basis of the said rules.

The Mayawati government had then moved a special leave petition in the Supreme Court following which the high court order was stayed.

Things started changing with the change of guard in Uttar Pradesh in March when SP rode to power. In fact, the high-level committee, headed by UP chief secretary Jawed Usmani on March 28 issued a circular stating that the state government will abide by the high court’s order of January 4, 2011.

Employees under the aegis of Sarvajan Hitay Sanrakshan Samiti distributed sweets and hugged each other as soon as the news of the Supreme Court decision trickled in. “It is not the question of one’s victory or other’s defeat. It is a question of welfare of the state,” said president of the Samiti, Shailendra Dubey. He said that there have been grave resentment and apprehensions among the employees vis-a-vis their future for the past five years. Dubey claimed that it will also benefit over two lakh SC/ST employees, who could not be promoted (as per their seniority) since the matter was sub judice.

The Samiti has asked the state government to promote officers and get the vacant positions filled as per the seniority. The Samiti also demanded notional promotion to those who retired from the service without taking their due promotions.

Executive member of Abhiyanta Sangh, Sandeep Pandey said, “It was because of the vacant positions that many development activities have been stalled in the state. That may resume now,” he said.

However, government employees belonging to the reserved category under the aegis of Arakshan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti termed the decision as “unfortunate”. Samiti president, KB Ram said that the officials of the reserved category will be filing a review petition in the Supreme Court. “We have asked the members to maintain restrain and continue to fight. It is unfortunate that the employees of the reserved category have been deprived of the benefits prescribed in the Constitution,” Ram said.







Retd army officer moves court against conviction

PTI | 08:04 PM,Apr 27,2012

Chennai, Apr 27 (PTI) Retired Army officer K Ramaraj, sentenced to life imprisonment for killing a 13-year-old boy who had entered the army officers quarters complex, a restricted area, in July last year, today moved the Madras High Court against his conviction. In his appeal, Ramaraj, a retired Lt. Colonel, sought setting aside of the April 20 order of a Fast Track Court which had convicted him for murder and slapped on him a fine of Rs 60,000. Additional Sessions Judge (FTC-V) R Radha directed that Rs 50,000 of the amount be paid as compensation to the mother of Dilshan who was shot in the head on July 3 last allegedly by Ramaraj after he and two friends had scaled the boundary wall of Old Fort Glacis Army Officers’ Enclave to pluck almonds. When the appeal came up for hearing before the court, a division bench comprising Justices C Nagappan and P Devadas ordered issue of notice to the crime branch-CID of the Tamil Nadu police.










2 get life term for murder of LMC chief

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 12.42AM IST

PUNE: Three years after the murder of Lonavla municipal council (LMC) president Raju Hiralal Chaudhari alias Bhupendra, the court of additional sessions judge V V Joshi on Friday sentenced the two accused to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs 13,000 each.

The accused – Sumit Gawli (27) and Jaffar Shaikh (27) – were also sentenced to five years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) on charges of attempting to murder Umesh Mudaliyar, member of LMC school board, also an eye witness in the case.

The accused were further sentenced to three years RI for destroying evidence. The sentences will run concurrently.

The four other suspects – Prakash Gawli (27), Amit Gawli (27), Shashikant Jadhav (63) and Girish Kamble (32) – were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

On May 26, 2009, around 2.15 pm, Chaudhari (53) was chatting with Mudaliyar in his office, when Gawli and Shaikh barged into the chamber and started to abuse him, the prosecution had said. Gawli dragged Chaudhari from his chair and attacked him with a sharp weapon on various parts of his body, killing him on the spot. When Mudaliyar tried to intervene, Gawli and his accomplice hit him on the head with the same weapon and made a daring escape. Chaudhari had received 42 wounds.

According to the prosecution, Chaudhari was president of the LMC for two years prior to his death and was about to complete his tenure. However, even after the completion of his tenure, he was expected to continue in the post since it was reserved for other backward class candidates. This had reduced the chances of Gawli’s brother, Amit, from getting elected as president. Amit was an elected representative in the LMC.

Meanwhile, the incident had created a law-and-order problem in Lonavla. The Pune rural police had filed chargesheets against six people in the murder case.

Out of the 26 witnesses, six had turned hostile, but special public prosecutor Sadanand Deshmukh and the victim’s lawyer, Suresh Gawli, had relied on the evidence of Mudaliyar and others for proving the guilt of the accused.

The 49 page judgment reads that the prosecution had proved that the accused had murdered Chaudhari even as eye witnesses and injured persons had tried to save him. The accused had also assaulted them with sharp weapons and had disappeared with the evidence.

Judge Joshi held that the motive of committing the murder was clear since the LMC, in a demolition drive, had demolished the hotels run by Gawli and his family. Even though Chaudhari had nothing to do with the drive, Gawli had held him responsible. The LMC had launched the drive as per the directions of the Bombay high court.

Judge Joshi observed that the prosecution had proved that Gawli had committed the murder in connivance with Shaikh. In the cross examination of witnesses, it was brought on record that there was political rivalry between the family members of the deceased and the accused.

The prosecution had also proved that blood stains of the victim found on the clothes of the accused and the weapons seized from them had tallied with the victim’s blood group, the judge added.

On the acquittal of four suspects, Deshmukh told TOI that he will file an appeal in the Bombay high court after receiving a certified copy of the judgment. The accused were represented by lawyers Dhairyasheel Patil and Sushilkumar Pise.










Court jails Bangaru, says corruption worse than prostitution

Last Updated: Saturday, April 28, 2012, 19:23
New Delhi, April 28: A court here on Saturday sentenced former BJP president Bangaru Laxman to four years in jail and also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on him for taking a bribe of Rs 1 lakh in a fictitious arms deal case 11 years ago.

72-year-old Laxman, also a former Union minister, was yesterday convicted by the court of Additional Sessions Judge Kanwal Jeet Arora at Dwarka.

The court held Laxman guilty of taking the bribe from fake arms dealers to recommend to the Defence Ministry to award them a contract to supply thermal binoculars to the Army.

The court awarded him the prison term, rejecting his plea for leniency and ordered that he be taken in custody to serve the sentence.

“Balancing the twin interest of society and that of the convict, I am of the opinion that interest of justice would be met, if the convict is sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a term of four years and to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh for the offence under Section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act,” the judge said.

“It is often said that the accomplice of the crime of corruption is generally our own indifference. ‘Sab chalta hai’ syndrome has led us to the present situation, where we are, where nothing moves without an illegal consideration. People are forced to pay for getting even the right things done at right time,” he added.

Laxman’s counsel said they will appeal against the sentence in the High Court.

The Congress, meanwhile, reacted by saying it is the first time a national chief of a political party has been sentenced. Rashid Alvi said it was time for the BJP to sit back and introspect.

During arguments on quantum of punishment earlier in the day, the CBI had sought the maximum five years’ punishment for Laxman.

Citing various Supreme Court judgements on corruption, the prosecutor had said corruption is rampant and it has to be dealt severely.

“CBI has been able to prove the case against Bangaru so we want maximum punishment for him under Section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act,” the prosecutor said.

On being asked by the judge as to why he should be given a minimum punishment of six months, the politician had said he was not keeping well and has undergone bypass surgery twice.

“I have health problems as I have undergone bypass surgery twice and suffering from diabetes. I have never been involved in any such case before. So, I should be given the minimum sentence,” Bangaru had pleaded.

The court had found Laxman guilty under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

“I am of the considered opinion that CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) had been able to establish the necessary ingredients of offence under Section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 against accused Bangaru Laxman beyond reasonable doubt,” the judge had said yesterday.

“The accused Bangaru Laxman on January 5, 2001 had accepted illegal gratification of Rs 1 lakh from M/S Westend International and has further agreed to accept the balance amount of illegal gratification in dollars, as a motive or reward for exercise of personal influence on the public servants working with ministry of defence, to show favour for award of a supply order in favour of the above mentioned company of HHTIs (hand-held thermal imagers) to Indian Army,” the court added.

The case dates to 2001, when newsportal carried out a sting operation that caught Laxman on camera receiving money from a journalist posing as an arms dealer. He later resigned as the BJP chief.

Tehelka had released CDs showing Laxman accepting money for awarding a contract to a fictitious Britain-based company M/s West End International, for the supply of the imagers to the Indian Army.

A Delhi court had in May 2011 framed corruption charges against Laxman. The CBI, in its chargesheet, said that Laxman accepted Rs 1 lakh from the representatives of the purported firm in 2001 at his office for pursuing their proposal to supply certain products to the Army.











Crime victims don’t need court’s nod to appeal: HC

Shibu Thomas, TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 01.04AM IST

MUMBAI: Striking a blow for the rights of victims of crime, the Bombay high court has ruled that such victims or their legal heirs do not require permission from court to file an appeal in order to challenge a trial court verdict. “The victim is not required to apply for or obtain leave of the court to file any of the appeals under the proviso to section 372 (of the Criminal Procedure Code),” ruled Justice Roshan Dalvi on Friday.

Under the changes introduced in the law in 2009, a victim can file an appeal against a trial court verdict in three eventualities-to challenge acquittal of the accused or conviction for a lesser offence or inadequate compensation.

The matter was referred to Justice Dalvi following a split verdict by a division bench of the high court earlier this year. While Justice V M Kanade had held that no permission from the court to file an appeal was necessary, Justice A M Thispay said that leave was required. With Justice Dalvi agreeing with Justice Kanade, it now becomes the majority view.

“To grant the court the right to give leave would be to denude the only right of the victim granted to him or her in Indian criminal jurisprudence,” said Justice Dalvi. The judge said that it was for the victim that the justice system was created in the first place. “Yet it is common knowledge requiring judicial notice, that the victims are a neglected lot. They are, at best, wholly ignored,” said the judge. “Law, as an instrument of social welfare, came to the rescue of the victims who were then not only the victim of the particular crime but victims in the criminal justice system itself, then neglected and even violated and ‘revictimised’.”

One of the first beneficiaries of the high court judgment would be in the Adnan Patrawala murder case. Adnan’s father Aslam Patrawala, had filed an appeal before the high court on Thursday to challenge a sessions court order acquitting four accused in the case. The state is yet to file an appeal in the case.

Another beneficiary is Dindoshi resident Nilesh Harkulkar, whose brother Dattaram was allegedly bludgeoned to death by eight accused in 2001. “The judgment allows victims or their families an opportunity to place their say before a higher court and bring to light facets of the case which may have been ignored by the prosecution,” said advocate Swapana Kode, counsel for Harkulkar who had challenged the trial court order to acquit his brother’s alleged killers. According to Swapana Kode, with the HC order, a victim will have the same rights as an accused to challenge a trial court verdict without seeking permission from the court.

The special law to empower victims was enacted after a series of criminal cases like the Best Bakery case and Jessica Lal case, where witnesses turned hostile due to the influence of rich and powerful accused. The law also considered an eventuality where the state may not file an appeal.

The court said that the appeal by a victim was on a different footing. “It is of a person who knows the nuances of the case and who seeks to bring the hitherto unappreciated facts to light. In short it is he/she who would exhibit the truth of the case which another impersonal authority has been shown not to have known or cared for,” said Justice Dalvi.








Court acquits 109 persons in Umta village 2002 riots case

Published: Friday, Apr 27, 2012, 20:26 IST
Place: Gujarat | Agency: PTI

A local court on Friday acquitted 109 persons who were accused of killing two people in Umta village of this taluka in Mahasana district during the post Godhra riots of 2002.

Additional Sessions Judge KB Meghanani released all the accused giving them benefit of doubt in the case.

The court said that the prosecution was not able to clearly establish the role of the accused.

On February 28, 2002, a violent mob of over 1,500 people had burnt down many homes and business establishment of minority community members at Umta.

During the rioting, one retired teacher Mohammad Sheikh and Abdul Mansuri were taken away by the crowd, beaten up and killed. However, their mortal remains were not recovered by the investigating agencies.

Chargesheet in the case was filed against 120 persons, however, 11 people died during the course of trial.

74 witnesses were examined, and except for the relatives of those killed and the police, most of the other witnesses turned hostile, public prosecutor in the case N J Barot said.

The case was investigated by local police and relatives of the victims were not satisfied with the investigations.








Post-Godhra riots: Court acquits 109 people in lynching case

Visnagar(Guj) New Delhi, April 27, 2012A local court today acquitted 109 persons, accused of killing two people in Gujarat’s Mahasana district, during the 2002 post-Godhra riots. Additional Sessions Judge K B Meghanani acquitted all the accused on benefit of doubt. The court said the prosecution was not able to clearly establish the role of the accused.

On February 28, 2002, a violent mob of over 1,500 people had burnt down many homes and business establishment of minority community members at Umta village.

During the rioting, a retired teacher Mohammad Sheikh and another person Abdul Mansuri were lynched by the crowd. However, their mortal remains were not recovered by the investigating agencies.

Charge sheet in the case was filed against 120 people, of which 11 died during the course of trial.

74 witnesses were examined, and except for the relatives of those killed and the police, most of the other witnesses turned hostile.

The case was investigated by local police and relatives of the victims were not satisfied with the investigations.










Man awarded 5 year jail term for ‘killing’ heart patient

Soumittra S Bose, TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 01.09AM IST

NAGPUR: Think twice before picking up a fight with a heart patient, especially if the person has gone under the scalpel. The sessions court recently awarded a prison term of five years and fine of Rs 5,000 to a man held guilty of punching a heart patient in his fifties in the chest leading to his death. The deceased, Bhawrauji Thote, had undergone angioplasty some time before the incident.

District and additional sessions judge GT Kadri held 50-year-old Maroti Sakharwade guilty while acquitting his wife Meerabai, elder brother Sevdas, nephew Tejram and another Suresh Kale. They had been accused of culpable homicide not amounting to murder in a case at Aaroli police station last year.

Thote’s son Rameshwar and Sakharwade’s daughter were married around three years ago. There had been regular domestic feuds between the couple, but the situation worsened after she was not allowed to go to a friend’s marriage. The Sakharwades had come to the Thote residence at Ijani in Mouda tehsil to sort out the issue, but it snowballed into a quarrel.

Thote collapsed after being hit on the chest by Maroti and others from Sakharwade family. Thote’s wife Rukmabai was also present during the quarrel. Police had initially charged Maroti and others with murder and rioting. The court framed charges under culpable homicide.

Additional public prosecutor Vijay Kolhe said the court observed that the Sakharwades knew of Thote’s ailment but did not have any intention of killing him. “The medical practitioners played a crucial role in the case. The cardiac specialist who had conducted the angioplasty on the deceased deposed about the risk such patients always face. The forensic expert also said that the victim had suffered a vasovagal attack during the fight, which caused his death,” said Kolhe.

He added that the court’s verdict revolved around the fact that the death was more due to negligent behaviour out of a provocation, and not a planned one. The court examined 11 witnesses, said Kolhe.










Sixteen years on Moga finally gets a session court

Amrita Chaudhry : Ludhiana, Sat Apr 28 2012, 03:57 hrs

Some sixteen years after it officially became a district, Moga is set to finally get a sessions court after the Punjab and Haryana High cleared a proposal to set-up a sessions division here on Friday. Karamjit Singh Kang, Additional Session’’ Judge, will assume charge as the first Moga district and sessions judge at a function, which will be held here on Saturday.

According to the president of the Moga District Bar Association, Sunil Garg, Justice Ranjit Singh Randhawa, chairman of the HC building committee, will preside over the formal function that will be attended by Justice K C Puri, Administrative Judge of the Faridkot and Moga districts and Justice AN Jindal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. “”A district is only complete after its gets a session court. A district can be created and it may be politically or administratively announced but the setting up of sessions division completes the process. This success is the result of the struggle and perseverance of the Moga advocates that began the same year the district was made and finally it has borne fruit,” Garg said.

Moga is the 17th district of the state and was created on November 24, 1995. It along with Muktsar were carved out of Faridkot, which in turn had been carved out of Ferozepur. “Creation of a sessions court is a huge relief for the general public who now had to travel all the way to Faridkot for matters that can be addressed only in the principal court like transfer of cases or some administrative tasks. This is a huge moment for the district,” added Garg.










TDSAT reserves order in Rs 1,200-crore RInfra-Etisalat DB case

NEW DELHI: Telecom tribunal TDSAT today reserved its order over the plea of Anil Ambani group company RInfra that is claiming Rs 1,200 crore dues from Etisalat DB for using its telecom towers and other infrastructure.

A TDSAT bench headed by Justice S B Sinha reserved its order after hearing the arguments of RInfra and Etisalat DB, a JV between UAE-based telecom major Etisalat and DB group.

During the proceedings, Standard Chartered Bank which is a secured creditor of Etisalat DB also put its arguments and opposed the claims of RInfra.

The counsel appearing for Standard Chartered Bank contended that Etisalat’s matter is already taken before the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT). He contended that RInfra can not ask the secured creditors of Etisalat DB to sit out.

Meanwhile, TDSAT passed orders in S-Tel matter, where RInfra has approached tribunal for the similar prayer.

“We are restraining (S-Tel) from transferring its property to a third party,” the tribunal had said while passing interim order.

The TDSAT has made its ‘interim’ order restraining the Chennai-based operator ‘absolute’, till the Delhi High court passes an order. The matter is also pending before the Delhi High Court.

However, the tribunal said RInfra would not deny access to S-Tel to its tower, where its equipments are lying.

Etislat DB’s counsel also supported Standard Chartered and said that a receiver has been appointed by the DRT and soon a liquidator may be appointed.

He further informed that there was a deadlock in the company. Its Indian directors have resigned, salaries are not being paid, statutory compliances are not done.

According to him, claims against Etisalat DB have been filed before Delhi and Bombay High Courts and DRT and it was not in a possession to create a third party interest by selling the assets.

Both Etisalat DB and S-Tel had entered into an agreement with the RInfra for sharing telecom infrastructure on a 10-year lease in 2009.

However, following the recent Supreme Court decision canceling the licences of S Tel and Etisalat along with other new entrants, RInfra moved the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) for recovery of its alleged dues.

TDSAT’s directions came over a batch of petitions filed by RInfra, against Etisalat DB and S Tel, claiming Rs 1,500 crore due over use of its telecom infrastructure.









Dalveer Bhandari elected as World Court judge

New York, April 27, 2012India’s nominee, Justice Dalveer Bhandari, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, has been elected to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the first time an Indian has managed to get this key international post in over two decades.  Bhandari secured 122 votes in the United Nations General Assembly against 58 for his Filipino rival, Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesperson of the external affairs, said.  

In simultaneous elections Friday at the UN headquarters in New York, Bhandari also secured an absolute majority in the Security Council.

In the election to the ICJ, a primary judicial organ of the United Nations, commonly referred to as the World Court, Bhandari was locked in a fierce contest with Justice Florentino P Feliciano of the Philippines.  

Bhadari takes the place of Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh of Jordan who resigned from the Asia-Pacific region seat at the end of 2011.

An eminent legal luminary, Bhandari will serve the remainder of the term 2012-18. India was last represented at the ICJ more than two decades ago.

The 64-year-old Justice Bhandari has variegated experience in international law and is well-versed with the working of the UN. Bhandari has been on India’s apex court since 2005 and has served in the higher Indian judiciary for over two decades. He will retire in September this year. He served as the chairperson of the Delhi Centre of the International Law Association for several years.

Bhandari is also a member of leading international academic and legal bodies and is closely associated with a large number of committees dealing with various aspects of international law such as: human rights, biotechnology, sustainable development, securities regulation, trade, nuclear weapons, non-proliferation and contemporary international law and space.

Acknowledging his outstanding contribution, the Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, US while celebrating its 150 Years (1859-2009) selected Bhandari as one of its 16 most illustrious and distinguished alumni.

In New Delhi, the Supreme Court on Thursday had refused to quash Bhandari’s nomination as a judge for the ICJ.

A bench of justices Altamas Kabir, J Chelameswar and Ranjan Gogoi initially wanted to outrightly dismiss the plea for quashing Justice Bhandari’s nomination for the ICJ, but later allowed counsel Prashant Bhushan to withdraw it, treating it as “dismissed as withdrawn.”

Established in June 1945 by the charter of the United Nations, in The Hague,  Netherlands, ICJ’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorised United Nations organs and specialised agencies.










CIC takes the lead on transparency

Anahita Mukherji, TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 03.18AM IST

NEW DELHI: Commissioners with the Central Information Commission (CIC), which presides over the country’s Right To Information Act, have been voluntarily declaring their assets on the CIC website over the last one year to promote transparency.

“The general public is curious to know of the financial assets and liabilities of those in public positions. We see no reason not to fulfill this curiosity. I feel that, sooner or later, all public servants must declare their assets,” Chief Information Commissioner Satyananad Mishra said. Mishra made it compulsory for all information commissioners to disclose their assets a year ago.

Earlier, Shailesh Gandhi disclosed his assets on the CIC website when he was made a central information commissioner in 2008.

“While citizens want public servants to disclose their assets, little is done to check whether the assets are commensurate with the person’s income. While it’s important for public servants to declare their assets, it’s equally important for enlightened citizens to go a step further and investigate the link between income and assets,” said Mishra.

In addition to declaring their assets, three central information commissioners, including Mishra, have put out details on the list of cases pending before them on the CIC website. Mishra said the remaining commissioners would follow suit.

“With the list of pending cases displayed on the CIC website, people will know if the commission is taking up their case in a fair manner. If someone’s case has not been registered, the person will immediately come to know of it. This practice should be followed by all quasi-judicial bodies and the judiciary itself. If this happens, people will know where their cases stand and whether cases are taken up in a fair manner,” said Gandhi.

RTI activists believe that the move to disclose assets and the list of pending cases will set a great precedence. “I feel that this will inspire all public servants to disclose their assets and will increase transparency. The public will greatly appreciate the move and will begin to trust the authorities. For if someone freely declares his assets, it means he has nothing to hide,” said Mumbai-based RTI activist Milind Mulay.










Pump out sewage, drain water fromvillage, says HC

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 03.11AM IST

PATNA: The Patna high court on Wednesday took a serious view of different state government departments’ failure to address the issue of sewage and drain water spilling from Biharsharif town to the adjacent Basawatbigha village in Nalanda district. The court directed the government to take measures to pump out the sewage water from the village by May 9.

The matter related to siltation of a canal carrying sewage and drain water from Biharsharif town to a rivulet which caused spillover of sewage and drain water to Basawatbigha village causing waterlogging and sanitation problem.

The PIL filed by an NGO alleged that the work to remove silt from the canal was not done due to shifting of responsibility among Nalanda DM and departments of water resources and minor irrigation. A division bench of Justice P C Verma and Justice A K Trivedi said if drain water was not pumped out from the village by May 9, the chief secretary must appear before the court and explain.












No illegal tinted glass in cars from May 4: Supreme Court

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 05.05AM IST

NEW DELHI: From May 4, if your car has black film on the front and rear windscreens that blocks light by more than 30% and the tint on the side window panes is more than 50%, then you could be in contempt of court in addition to being prosecuted as per the rules provided under the Motor Vehicles Act.

A bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar went by the limits prescribed in the MV Act and said anything beyond the visual light transmission (VLT) limit of 70% for the front and rear windshields and 50% for the side windows would be punishable.

The decision came on a PIL filed by Avishek Goenka, who had complained that cars with black film on window panes were being increasingly used for crimes, including sexual assault of women. He said though there was no express restraint on use of black film under the MV Act, it prescribed VLT limits.

Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Kumar said, “On the plain reading of the rule, it is clear that cars must have safety glass having VLT at the time of manufacturing… In other words, the rule not impliedly but specifically prohibits alteration of such VLT by any means.”

It’s illegal, but tinted glass windows in cars in the city are a common sight. However, after the Supreme Court banned use of tinted glass beyond the permissible limit, such defaulters are going to have a tough time. Traffic police now intends to intensify the drive against use of tinted glass in vehicles.

There has been a traffic police drive against tinted car windows since last year. However, there has been a lull in the prosecutions this year, with only 9,279 such prosecutions till April 15 this year. Last year, for the same period, there had been as many as 30,582 prosecutions. Cops claim that better compliance has resulted in lower prosecutions.At present, car owners who are found not following the permitted percentage set for tinted glass have to either hand in their registration certificate or their driving licence along with the usual Rs 100 challan slapped on defaulters. “A notice is also issued to them by traffic police and the defaulter has to report to the area traffic inspector where the violation was recorded within 72 hours for inspection of the vehicle.

If the directions are not followed, the matter will be forwarded to the court,” said joint commissioner of police (traffic) Satyendra Garg. As per the permissible limit there should be at least 70% transparency in the film on the front and rear windows while 50% transparency is required on the side windows.”Usually, since the fine is just a meagre Rs 100, which is nothing compared to the money spent on films (ranging from Rs 700 to Rs 14,000 for the more fancy ones that protect from UV rays), it is not much of a deterrent to defaulters who continue to travel in the tinted vehicles. We hope that the stricter action will make the defaulters mindful of the rules,” said a senior traffic police officer.Last year, as many as 45,649 vehicles with tinted glass were booked. “Significantly, a majority of these were repeat offenders, showing that despite being caught, Delhiites are mostly unmindful of the rules,” said a senior traffic officer. This year, in a drive started on March 27, about 2,064 offenders have been booked till April 26.

Of them, 999 vehicle owners were made to remove the tinted film on the spot.The “Rules of Road Regulations, 1989″ framed by the central government under Section 118 of the Motor Vehicles Act state that, “A driver of a motor vehicle and every other person using the road shall obey every direction given, whether by signal or otherwise, by a police officer or any authorized person for the time being in charge of the regulation of traffic.” Under the rule, even a traffic constable has the power to issue notice to the defaulter, said traffic police. Tinted glass in vehicles has been a major source of concern for women’s security as well as criminal activities. Delhi Police had earlier sent a proposal to the Union home ministry to amend the Motor Vehicles Act to enhance fines on use of tinted glass. The amendment is expected to increase the fine to a minimum of Rs 500. Tinted car windows have helped criminals especially in cases of rape and murder.








High court ultimatum to Haldiram’s in illegal use of amusement park case

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 01.18AM IST

NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Friday gave a last chance to Haldiram’s International to file a reply in a PIL alleging illegal use of its amusement park Krazy Castle near Ambazari lake for marriages and private functions. The case was listed before a division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Ashok Bhangale.

According to petitioner Sandip Agrawal, NIT had given its 6.4 acres land to Haldiram’s on Built Operate and Transfer (BoT) basis for running an amusement and water park at rate of 12 lakh per year. He contends the purpose seems to have been defeated since the company is misusing this prime area by providing the park for private functions/weddings.

The petitioner, citing a circular released NIT under Right to Information (RTI) Act, contended that this is resulting in loss of revenue to the trust. The NIT clarified in the RTI query that Haldiram’s wasn’t granted permission to provide the area for private parties/weddings.

Agrawal added that neither the tender nor the agreement contains any clause mentioning use of this land for private functions/marriages. In fact, the use should be strictly confined to an amusement or water park, he argued.






Supreme Court grants 3-month relief to scrap dealers

Sumita Sarkar, TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 12.43AM IST

NASHIK: The Supreme Court has given three months time to scrap market dealers at Satpur-Ambad Link Road to clear the location off their encroachments.

The controversial scrap market at Satpur-Ambad Link Road had to be cleared by March 31 as per the order of the Bombay High Court, but the government had sent a letter to the civic administration during the last week of March extending the deadline for the dealers to clear out their shops by two months.

Meanwhile, the dealers had appealed in the Supreme Court through a writ petition. Last week, the Supreme Court ordered that the scrap dealers remove their shops within three months.

Local citizens have been demanding for a long time that the scrap market at the Satpur-Ambad Link Road be removed but the Nashik municipal corporation had been unsuccessful in doing so. An official said that political pressure and minority issues had prevented them from taking any concrete action over the issue.

It took a public interest litigation by Shiv Sena’s former leader of the house, Dilip Datir, five years back, to initiate action against the encroachers. In July 2011 the Bombay high court pased an order demanding to move the scrap traders within a span of three months, in response to Datir’s PIL in light of rising law and order problem in the Chunchale Shivar of the Ambad-Satpur link road.

The deadline for doing away with the encroachments was March 31, 2012. Despite this the encroachments were not removed. An official on condition of anonymity said that the government had sent them a letter in the last week of March asking the NMC to extend the period of removing encroachments by two months.

Now, after the scrap dealers approached the Supreme Court with their grievance, they have been granted another three months to remove their encroachments.







PIL against land allotment to Deshmukh transferred

Last Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012, 20:39

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court Friday transferred a PIL seeking a CBI probe into the allotment of land to the Latur-based trust run by Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to the Aurangabad bench.
“Since the land is based in Latur, and since all the transfer deeds were executed by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to the Vilasrao Deshmukh Foundation (VDF) in Latur, this bench of the high court does not have the jurisdiction,” said the bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice N M Jamdar.
The Latur land allotment issue has been raised by the same five agriculturists, who had challenged the allotment of land in suburban Mumbai to filmmaker Subhash Ghai’s Whistling Woods film institute. The court recently struck down that allotment.
In the present PIL (which was separated by the court from Whistling Woods issue), Rajendra Sontakke and four others have taken exception to the allotment of 2 lakh sq m of land by MIDC to the VDF for setting up educational institution.

The land was allotted when Deshmukh was the chief minister of Maharashtra. The PIL alleges that land was allotted at Deshmukh’s behest, for “illegal, mala fide and corrupt considerations”.
At the last hearing, senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, representing the petitioners, had said that Bombay bench of the high court should hear the case, because both MIDC and CBI have offices in Mumbai.

But the court rejected this argument, saying that by this logic, every PIL against government decision would have to be heard in Mumbai, because it was where the the secretariat is.
However, the high court has stayed its order of transfer for 12 weeks, to enable the petitioners to challenge it before the Supreme Court.






HC denies man custody of minor kids due to past misbehavior

PTI | 09:04 PM,Apr 27,2012

New Delhi, Apr 27 (PTI) An NRI man living in New Zealand was today refused the custody of his two minor daughters by the Delhi High Court which held that considering his past misbehaviour, it would not be safe for the children to live with him in a foreign land. A bench of Justices V K Jain and B D Ahmed refused the man the custody of his minor daughters living in India with their mother who alleged having been harassed by him on various ocassions. The bench also noted that during its interaction with the children, they expressed their wish to live with their mother “even if it is at the cost of being deprived of the company of their father.” The court also considered an order passed by the New Zealand court directing the mother of the kids to place them in its custody and said “the welfare of the minor is the paramount consideration, even in a case involving principle of comity of courts.” It also held if the woman is directed to go back to New Zealand with the children to live with her husband, she is likely to be harassed. The bench also noted if the woman is subjected to cruelty in front of the kids, they would be traumatised and stressed, which would amount to “psychologically abusing the children under the laws of New Zealand.” While making the observation, the court considered some tape-recorded conversations and SMSes between the man and his estranged wife and found him have used filthy language. PTI AKI










Forcing Tiwari to face blood test no rights violation: HC

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 03.28AM IST

NEW DELHI: While making it mandatory for N D Tiwari to undergo DNA test in a paternity suit, the Delhi high court said, “The perception that the law, as Mr Bumble (in Oliver Twist) said, is ‘an ass, an idiot’ will be cemented, if the courts themselves hold their own orders to be unimplementable and unenforceable.” The single judge, whose order was set aside by the HC, had said the order asking Tiwari to undergo the DNA test for ascertaining the paternity of Rohit Shekhar, who had filed a suit against the Congress leader, was “unimplementable and unenforceable”.

“Upon Tiwari continuing to defy the order, the single judge shall be entitled to take police assistance and use of reasonable force for compliance thereof,” the bench said. The court rejected Tiwari’s argument that forcing him to give blood sample is in violation of his rights under Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution. “It is the duty of every court to prevent its machinery from being made a sham, thereby running down the rule of law and rendering itself an object of public ridicule…,” the judges said.










HC denies NRI kids’ custody, ignores New Zeland court’s order

Last Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012, 21:30

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to grant a non-resident Indian the custody of his two minor children, ignoring a New Zealand’s court’s order to their mother living here to hand them over to the man.

A bench of Justices VK Jain and BD Ahmed denied the New Zealand-based man the custody of his children, holding their welfare “paramount” and more important than the “principle of comity of courts”, requiring courts of one country to show respect and courtesy to courts of another country.

“The welfare of the minor is the paramount consideration, even in a case involving principle of comity of courts,” said the bench.

“Having given due regard to the order passed by the New Zealand Court asking the children’s mothers to place both children in its custody, we are of the view that the relief sought in this petition should not be granted since it will not be in the interest of the children to send them back to New Zealand,” it added.

It also a cited an apex court ruling which said “comity of courts simply demands consideration of any such order issued by the foreign courts and not necessarily their enforcement.”

The court’s order came on a New Zealand-based man, seeking custody of his two minor children living here with his estranged wife, ion the basis of the foreign court’s order.

The high court denied him the children’s custody, also taking into the account the past records of his misbehaviour with them and their mother and said it would not be safe for the children to live with him in a foreign land.









Bombay HC upholds edu criteria for seeking auto permits

Published: Saturday, Apr 28, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Mustafa Plumber | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Autorickshaw drivers seeking new permits will need to have a minimum educational qualification of Class 10 if they wish to be given the first preference in allotment of permits.

The Bombay high court, while dismissing a plea filed by a 60-year-old, uneducated rickshaw driver, upheld the state government’s decision.

A division bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and justice SS Shinde said, “The instructions issued favour an elimination process apart from giving preference to better educated persons in allotting permits. How can such process be termed unreasonable?”
The bench made this observation while hearing the plea of Kolhapur resident Chandrakant Otari, who challenged the decisions taken in the joint meeting between the chief minister and the office-bearers of rickshaw unions from Thane and Mumbai.

At the meeting held on October 9, 2011, it was decided that the new permits will be allocated in three stages, in the first of which priority will be given to licence-holders who have passed Class 10. In the second stage, preference will be given to licence holders who have cleared Class 8, while the remaining permits will be allocated to other eligible candidates.

While asserting that the resolution of the joint meeting could apply only to members of rickshaw unions from Thane and Mumbai, and not to Kolhapur, the petitioner said the decision is an unreasonable restriction. Moreover, the restriction itself is not backed by any provisions of the Act or rule.

But the bench noted, “Even if we accede to the argument that the resolution is not binding on the rickshaw operators in Kolhapur, we fail to understand as to how the criteria evolved in the said meeting can be said to be unreasonable.”










’84 riots: HC expands probe ambit–HC-expands-probe-ambit/942493/

Express news service : Chandigarh, Sat Apr 28 2012, 03:38 hrs

To ensure that members of the Sikh community who were brutally killed in communal violence in Haryana are adequately compensated, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday expanded the ambit of Justice T P Garg Commission. The commission was probing incidents of killings in Hond Chillar and Rewari which took place in the 1984 riots.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Alok Singh ruled that the commission will also probe similar incidents of communal violence which took place in Gurgaon and Pataudi.

The Bench held that the ends of justice will meet if the area of reference is expanded and considered by the commission. The court had dismissed petitions seeking probe by a retired high court judge with the assistance of the CBI. The dismissal order was passed after Haryana told the court that a one-man commission would submit a report within six months.

The petitions had been filed by New York registered ‘Sikhs for Justice’ and ‘All India Sikh Students Federation’. Advocate Navkiran Singh, counsel for the petitioners, said the victims’ belongings were burnt and even a Gurudwara was reduced to ashes. On January 16, 2006, Haryana announced compensation for the deceased, but no compensation was provided for other losses. Navkiran also had added that the FIR dated November 3, 1984 registered at Jatusana police station, was not investigated properly. “None of the eyewitnesses were contacted and the crime has gone undetected”, reads the petition.









6 months after HC order, still waiting for plots–still-waiting-for-plots/942601/

Dipankar Ghose : Noida, Sat Apr 28 2012, 01:35 hrs

Six months after the Allahabad High Court directed the Noida and Greater Noida Authorities to give villagers developed plots on 10 per cent of their land that was acquired, no developed plots have been received by farmers so far. Villagers in the area said that while they have received the added compensation that the Allahabad High Court also ordered on October 21, the Authority’s failure to make good on the courts’ direction so far has resulted in them having no means of a stable income.

Manoj Yadav of Itehda village said, “First, our land was taken away because of the urgency clause, and we were told that roads and industrial projects would come up and give us employment and enable development in the area. Then we learned that the land had been given to builders. The lump sum that we got as added compensation will not last forever.”

The Noida Authority and the Greater Noida Authority both have different versions of why the process hasn’t gone forward. Officials at the Noida Authority said, “After the judgment, work was stalled as the model code of conduct came into force. After governments changed, a CEO has yet to be appointed, which is why big decisions like these are being delayed.”

While the Greater Noida Authority CEO has remained unchanged, officials of that authority point to a more generic problem. “The court allowed construction in all but three of the villages. Villagers want their developed plots right next to their residential land. If the land has already been notified for other projects, how can we give it to them? The builders will then take us to court.”










HC allows Shashank to stay in govt bungalow till May 31

Express news service : Lucknow, Sun Apr 29 2012, 03:39 hrs

The Allahabad High Court on Friday allowed former cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh to stay in the government bungalow allotted to him by the previous Mayawati government after he gave an undertaking that he would vacate it by May 31.

Singh, who is no longer in government service, was allotted the bungalow in Raj Bhavan colony until May 2013. However, the Samajwadi Party government cancelled the previous government’s order on April 22 and served Singh a notice to vacate the house on April 25. Singh challenged the government order.

During the hearing, Justice S N Shukla observed that Singh, who had retired on March 9, could retain the house until April 9 under the rules.

Singh’s advocate J N Mathur submitted that Singh’s private house was under repair and may take another month for completion.

Singh then submitted an affidavit stating that he would vacate the house by May 31, 2012.

Accepting his undertaking, Justice Shukla said that after this date, the state government could get the house vacated with the aid of police. The judge observed that till midnight of May 31, Singh’s possession should not be disturbed.









HC quashes petition, Gaur set to return as FSL head–Gaur-set-to-return-as-FSL-head/942495/

Express news service : Shimla, Sat Apr 28 2012, 03:40 hrs

The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Friday set aside the order of a single bench quashing the appointment of Director State Forensic Sciences Laboratory J R Gaur, paving way for his reappointment to the post. The court also dismissed the original petition, challenging his appointment.

The division bench of the High Court comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice V K Ahuja in its order said that, “We are not at all in agreement with the judgement delivered by the learned single judge and accordingly set aside the judgement of December 23, 2012 and dismiss the writ petition with costs assessed at Rs 30,000 to be paid in equal shares by the three private respondents.

As a result, the appellant shall continue to serve as Director, state FSL, till his attaining the age of superannuation.”

Observing that there was no merit in the petition, the bench observed that Gaur had rendered more than two decades of service in Himachal Pradesh and had places on record material to show that persons who were junior to him had been promoted to the posts of Director in FSL Haryana long time back.










HC criticises single judge order in paternity row case

PTI | 09:04 PM,Apr 27,2012

New Delhi, Apr 27 (PTI) The Delhi High Court, which asked veteran Congress leader N D Tiwari today to undergo DNA test to help it decide a paternity suit, also criticised the ruling of its single-judge bench that he cannot be physically forced to give blood sample for the test. “The court cannot take a role of a silent spectator and see its order being frustrated by a party. The power of enforcement of orders cannot be reduced into an empty one,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said. The court, in its 31-page order, allowed the appeal of 32-year-old Rohit Shekhar, who claims to be the biological son of Tiwari, against the single-judge bench’s order which had said that the leader cannot be forced to give evidence in the civil suit. The single judge had said “mandatory testing upon an unwilling person would entail an element of violence and intrusion of a person’s physical person and may leave irreparable scars and is unwarranted and impermissible under Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.” “In our view, to say, that the exercise earlier undertaken by the court, was an empty one and in futility – that though the court could issue a direction for DNA testing but not implement or enforce the same, has the tendency of making the law and the court, a laughing stock,” the court said while setting aside the September 23, 2011 order of the single judge in the case. “The perception that the law ‘is an ass – an idiot’ (as said by Mr Bumble in Oliver Twist) will be cemented, if courts themselves hold their orders to be un-implementable and un-enforceable, it said. (More)








HC raps families of Enrica victims

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 04.00AM IST

KOCHI: Dependents of the victims of Enrica Lexie shooting incident were criticized by the Kerala HC on Friday when they tried to withdraw their petitions against the Italian marines following settlement of compensation claims with the Italian government.

Fishermen Valentine Jelestine and Ajeesh Pink had died when the fishing boat they were in was allegedly shot at by Italian marines onboard Enrica Lexie on February 15. Earlier this week, Italy had come forward to settle the compensation claims by the dependents of the fishermen and had paid Rs 1 crore to the families of each victim.

One of the conditions of the agreements signed by the victims with Italy for settling the suits was that all cases and allegations raised by the dependents against Italy and its marines be withdrawn.







Delhi HC orders ND Tiwari to provide blood sample

NEW DELHI: In a setback for veteran Congress leader ND Tiwari’s efforts to quash a paternity suit, the Delhi High Court on Friday ordered him to provide a DNA sample, which could be procured if necessary with police intervention. Tiwari has decided to move the Supreme Court against the order.

With “the respondent one (Tiwari) continuing to defy the order, the single judge shall be entitled to take police assistance and use of reasonable force for compliance thereof,” the court order said. The order comes in response to 32-year-old Rohit Shekhar, who had filed a paternity suit claiming to be his biological son. Tiwari had refused to give a DNA sample. The high court had on February 28 reserved its order on Shekhar’s plea that Tiwari’s had shown “dismissive conduct” against its previous order to give his blood sample to decide his paternity suit.

“Tiwari has decided to appeal against the high court order in the apex court… This is a judicial process and we respect the court’s order… after reading the copy of the order and a through discussion with lawyers, we will fix a date for appeal,” Tiwari’s officer on special duty, Sanjay Joshi, said. “We have not got the copy of today’s order. What we know is only media’s version. However, the leader has left for Delhi to take further action,” he said.

Friday’s order by a bench of acting chief justice AK Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw overturned last September’s order by a single bench which said that Tiwari could not be compelled to provide a DNA sample. The court turned down Tiwari’s plea that he couldn’t be forced to undergo a DNA test, saying it is the right of a child to know his or her biological father.

Allowing the plea by Rohit Shekhar, the bench disagreed with the single judge that the court can draw adverse inference if Tiwari refused to give his blood sample, saying, “adverse inference cannot be a substitute to the enforceability of a court direction for DNA test. The valuable right of the appellant (Shekhar) under the said direction to prove his paternity through DNA testing cannot be taken away by asking the appellant to be satisfied with the comparatively weak adverse inference,” the bench said.

The Delhi high court had also dismissed Tiwari’s plea challenging imposition of Rs 75,000 as cost on him for seeking deletion of certain paragraphs in the paternity suit.








HC pats Asra Garg for uniting dalits and caste Hindus

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 03.12AM IST

MADURAI: Madurai rural SP, Asra Garg came in for praise from the Madurai bench of the Madras high court for creating unity among caste Hindus and dalits of nearby Villoor village, who were at loggerheads for a long time, through negotiations.

Justice D Hariparanthaman recorded his appreciation for the police team led by the SP, closing a petition filed by Villoor panchayat president S Subbulakshmi, who sought a judicial inquiry into the incidents that led to police firing in the village on May 1, 2011.

The case was closed after Garg filed a status report, stating agamudaiyars and dalits had agreed to live in peace. The SP said some forms of untouchability did exist in the village from time immemorial. Dalits were not allowed to ride vehicles through streets occupied by caste Hindus and ‘double tumbler’ system was in vogue in tea shops.

On April 30, 2011, a 22-year-old dalit youth was assaulted by caste Hindus when he tried to ride a two-wheeler through their street, in connection with which five persons were arrested on May 1. Garg said he had visited the village that day to assess the actual situation and that after he left, some dalit houses were torched by a crowd. He again returned to the village and as he was approaching the area, another armed crowd attacked them, forcing them to retreat as they were outnumbered.

The crowd surrounded the police station and attacked it. As all lawful steps did not yield any result, Garg said he and his personal security officer fired a few rounds in the air to protect themselves and the police station, after which the crowd dispersed.

Seven criminal cases were later registered in connection with the incident. Meanwhile, a police team tried to bring about peace by holding a series of peace committee meetings.

The efforts bore fruit as leaders of both communities signed an agreement on April 24 to iron out differences and live peacefully and to ensure untouchability is not practiced. agencies








HC expands Garg commission scope

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 06.37AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Extending the scope of Justice (retd) T P Garg Commission, which is probing communal violence in Hondh Chillar village in Rewari district of Haryana, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday asked the panel to probe similar incidents that had taken place in Gurgaon district.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Alok Singh issued these directions while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking extension of the scope of Garg Commission.

While pronouncing the orders, the bench held, “The ends of justice would meet if the area of reference made to Justice T P Garg is expanded from the area of Hondh Chillar, to the claim in respect of Gurgaon district, including Pataudi, is also considered by the commission”.

However, the bench made it clear that all those cases of Gurgaon, which had already been heard by the GT Nanavati Commission, would not be heard by the Garg panel.

The petitioner had submitted that 47 people were killed in Gurgaon and two teenaged girls along with 17 others were killed in Pataudi on November 2, 1984. The state government had constituted the commission headed by Justice TP Garg, a retired judge of the Allahabad high court, on March 5, 2011, to inquire into the killing of 32 Sikhs in Hondh Chillar village of Rewari district. The directions were sought to probe the communal violence of Gurgaon and Pataudi.

The petitioner also sought directions to set up a special investigation team (SIT) in the same manner as was done into Gujarat riots case.


LEGAL NEWS 25.04.2012

Kerala recorded 132 incest rape cases in last decade

The New Indian Express

NEW DELHI: Is Kerala the most incestuous society in the whole of South India? Yes, it seems if one were to go by the statistics which the Home Ministry has in its hands. Kerala in the last 10 years (2001-11) has registered 132 incest rape cases, highest in South India and fifth in the country.

Worse, Kerala has the dubious record of being the only state where the incest rape cases have steadily increased over the years in comparison to other states. The number of cases was highest in 2006, when 28 women were molested by family members in Kerala. The age of the victims, as per the data available with the National Human Rights Commission, varies from 11 years to 60.

Next to Kerala among the southern states is Tamil Nadu. The state has 118 cases of incest rape registered in the last 10 years. But in the case of TN, the number has been steadily decreasing with no cases being reported in the last two years.

Andhra Pradesh is third with 82 cases. Here also the numbers have been coming down drastically over the years, with only two cases being registered in the last three years.

Karnataka, with the least number of cases recorded in South India, has only 49 cases registered in the last 10 years.

“That Kerala has the highest number of incest rape cases even more than states like UP and Bihar, which normally have high rape cases was something unexpected,” said an official with the NHRC.

“There is no palpable reason from the criminal case point of view to point out why one state has more incest rape cases than others. It could be due to the fact that the state has a better system of recording the crime due to highest standards of social indicators,” said the official.









DG&IGP one-upmanship: Bidari scores in SC

Published: Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012, 12:42 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Three weeks after Karnataka High Court quashed the appointment of Shankar M Bidari as the state DG&IGP, the Supreme Court stayed the order and asked the high court to examine afresh the appointment of the incumbent, AR Infant.

But here is the catch: the Supreme Court has asked the HC to dispose of the case before May 31. After this date, the outcome of the decision will cease to matter as both Infant and Bidari will retire from service on that day.

Bidari was asked to step down from the post of DG&IGP on March 30, when the high court upheld the verdict of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) that his appointment was done in a hurried manner and without considering the charges of human rights violation against him. Infant, who had challenged Bidari’s appointment, took over the post of the state’s top cop.

Bidari had appealed against the decision in the apex court, which ruled in his favour on Tuesday. A bench of Justices Aftab Alam and CK Prasad asked Karnataka high court to examine the matter afresh.

The SC on Tuesday observed that Karnataka high court had not gone into the findings of Justice Sadashiva Commission and National Human Rights Commission and passed its order based on assumptions. The high court had, on March 30, set aside Bidari’s appointment, observing that only one-sided version of his service was sent to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

While giving its orders, the apex court observed that it was of the view that the findings of the Sadashiva Commission and NHRC—which were the main reasons behind Bidari’s ouster—were not relevant considerations for empanelled officers. However, the SC said it would not go into the merits of the issue at this stage and left it to the high court. The apex court has directed the HC to go through the report of Sadashiva Commission in detail and then arrive at a decision.

Responding to the development, home minister R Ashoka said the government would take a decision regarding the post of top cop after it got a detailed copy of the Supreme Court’s order.
Bidari expressed happiness over the decision of the Supreme Court, stating that justice was done. Infant, on the other hand, said he would wait for the high court’s decision, refusing to comment on the Supreme Court’s order.








NHRC not to intervene in media guidelines issue

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 15:56

New Delhi: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has decided not to intervene in the Supreme Court proceedings on framing media guidelines for court reporting but flagged concerns about the press breaching privacy laws and rights of accused.

The decision not to intervene in the matter, which is being heard at present by a Bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia, was taken at a recent sitting of the Commission presided by Chairperson Justice K G Balakrishnan.

“NHRC is a formal party in that litigation. But we decided it is a matter between media and the court. We have no role to play. Ultimately, the court has to decide what should be done. So, we decided not to reply or counter it. We are not intervening,” Balakrishnan, a former Chief Justice of India, told a news agency in an interview.

The Supreme Court constituted a bench to frame media guidelines following “misreporting” of certain proceedings in the court as well as reporting matters which were yet to come to the court.

The case has been vigorously argued in the court with some senior lawyers opposing any attempt to frame guidelines saying it would amount to curbing free speech while one senior lawyer has welcomed it.

Balakrishnan said the problem is that of competition in media and “inexperienced” journalists.

“The problem of electronic media is somebody is saying something from a distant place and it is directly transmitted. There is no editing or intervention of seniors. They are all young journalists,” he said.

“It is very difficult to edit and control such things in electronic media…I don’t say it is done intentionally. It is inadvertent or inexperience without knowing the consequences of the statements,” he said.

Balakrishnan said NHRC was not going to frame any guidelines for reporting of human rights issues but advocated the need for self restraint by media itself.

“No, we do not want to issue any guidelines…It is not like the court reporting. Court reporting sometimes affects the privacy rights, rights of children, rights of the accused,” he said.

When pointed out that he himself was Chief Justice of India and whether he thought that media had gone overboard, he said, sometimes it appeared so though not all reports could be painted with the same brush.

“Every accused is entitled to fair trial. We have seen sometimes some investigation materials are published. I have seen some of the materials, even some private letters, have appeared in media even before it reaches court.

“People have an obsessed mind that they pronounce the accused guilty even before court takes a final view of it. Ultimately, it may come out to be nothing but irrelevant publication. Such publication should be avoided. Media should itself take care of it,” he said.

He said in countries like England media will never publish a naked photo of a body and that they are very careful even without court directions.










Self employed entitled to higher compensation: SC

Published: Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012, 19:26 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

Self-employed and those engaged in unorganised sector are also entitled to higher compensation for injuries and deaths in road accidents, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A bench of justices GS Singhvi and Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhayay said judgements relating to accidents and land acquisitions should be revisited by courts in tune with the changing socio-economic conditions of the people.

“In our view, it will be naive to say that the wages or total emoluments/income of a person who is self-employed or who is employed on a fixed salary without provision for annual increment etc. would remain the same throughout his life.

The rise in the cost of living affects everyone across the board. It does not make any distinction between rich and poor, Justice Singhvi, writing the judgement, said.

The apex court passed the ruling while enhancing the compensation amount by Rs1.40 lakh to a woman Santosh Devi whose husband was killed in a road accident in Punjab in 1995.

The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Gurdaspur(MACT) had pegged the compensation at Rs1,32,000 with interest at the rate of 12% per annum from the date of application, which was upheld by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, following which Devi had appealed in the apex court.

Both the lower courts had relied upon an earlier judgement of the apex court in the Sarla Verma case (2009) to state that the family was not entitled to a higher compensation as the deceased was self-employed. The two courts had also held that the two sons of the deceased cannot be treated as dependent as they were majors.









Traders threaten stir over Central Warehousing Corporation levy at Attari ICP

TNN | Apr 25, 2012, 03.58AM IST

AMRITSAR: Unhappy over the service charges levied by Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) at the newly commissioned integrated check post at Attari, traders have convened a meeting to discuss the hiked service charges before announcing their next course of action.

President of Indo Foreign Chamber of Commerce, B K Bajaj, said, “With imposition of new charges on import and export, ICP, Attari has become the costliest port in India.”

He said they would hold a meeting with CWC officials and other agencies involved in the process to find an amicable solution, else they would be forced to go on strike and suspend trading at ICP.

Mukesh Sindhwani, an exporter, said that CWC had not made a conducive business environment. “If the charges are not withdrawn we will be forced to go on strike,” said Sindhwani.

However, CWC manager Rameshwar said that trade was going on smoothly. Rameshwar said he didn’t receive any representation from traders for lowering the handling charges at the ICP.









13-yr-old Dwarka domestic help returns to home in Jharkhand

Shalini Narayan : New Delhi, Wed Apr 25 2012, 01:02 hrs

Nearly a month after she was rescued from a locked Dwarka apartment of a doctor couple who were holidaying in Bangkok, the 13-year-old domestic help was handed over to her mother on Monday and sent to her hometown in Jharkhand.

After reaching Ranchi, the girl will be produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). There, a decision will be taken to either keep her at a residential school, or hand her over to her mother.

Chairperson of CWC, West and South Delhi, Neera Mullick told Newsline, “The child has been handed over to her mother. She will, however, have to be produced as and when required during trial of the case.”

The CWC had on April 19 recorded that apart from the minimum wage of Rs 42,240 that the girl was to receive, the couple had promised a compensation amount of Rs 30,000, which was to be paid by them on April 20.

Mullick said, “While the minimum wages have been received, the compensation amount is yet to be recovered. Once the amount is received, we will send a cheque to the CWC in Gumla.”

She said the Jharkhand Police has been asked to keep a watch on the girl and foil any bid by alleged traffickers to get to her.

The girl was rescued on March 29 from a Dwarka flat belonging to Dr Sanjay and Sumita Verma. The couple were arrested on April 4, five days after they returned to Delhi. They were later released on bail.










Orissa High Court orders for DNA test in baby swap case

PTI | 10:04 PM,Apr 24,2012

Cuttack, Apr 24 (PTI) The Orissa High Court today ordered for DNA test to ascertain the parents of the baby girl, who is still lying unclaimed in the SCB medical college and hospital here ever since she was born on March 30. The Division Bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice S K Mishra adjudicating in a writ petition ordered that blood samples of two newborn babies born on the same day and the two mothers would be collected at SCB Hospital on Wednesday in presence of a court officer. The state government informed the Court that it would bear the cost of the DNA test which would be held in a laboratory outside the state. The outcome of the test findings is likely to be available in two months, sources said. The Hospital authorities are insisting that the baby girl belongs to one Rashmita Mallick of Cuttack district but the Rashmita is claiming that she had given birth to a baby boy. On the other hand, one Nirupama Mallick of Jajpur district gave birth to a baby boy almost at the same time and both the babies were put on a same bed after their birth. High Court, before ordering for the DNA test wanted to take the views of Nirupama and her husband who were summoned to the Court on the day. Nirupama, told the Court that she was willing to offer herself and her son for the DNA test only after if some discrepancies appear after the DNA test of the baby girl and the mother who is refusing to accept the girl. The, HC however, wanted that the tests should be done at one time to clear all doubts and accordingly ordered that the blood samples of both the babies and both the mothers shall be collected on Wednesday in presence of a registrar of the High Court.









High court orders probe into appointment of Urdu translators

TNN | Apr 25, 2012, 04.50AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has directed the UP chief secretary to look into the matter pertaining to some of Urdu translators-cum-junior clerks of 5,061 appointees as to how they have been posted in corporations and autonomous bodies instead of taking them in government departments. Justice Shabihul Hasnain directed the chief secretary to examine the matter at his level or through a committee. The matter will come for next hearing after four months.

The order came on a writ petition filed by Syed Hadi Asgar and others. The petitioners’ lawyer Mohd Ali contended that the state government had issued an advertisement in September 1994 for appointment of 5,061 Urdu translators-cum-junior clerks in government departments including the office of divisional commissioners, DMs, tehsils, blocks and police stations. The select list was prepared through direct recruitment and selectees were given appointment letters. The grievance of the petitioners was that they were posted in other than government departments, where they would have to miss pension benefits, age relaxations and other benefits. They also said that they could be only appointed in government departments and therefore their period of service in non-government departments should be considered on deputation and finally they should be posted in government departments.

The court found that apart from petitioners, several other appointees may have same grievance and therefore directed the chief secretary to look into the matter, so that litigations do not flood the court.











Apex court reserves order on plea to shift trio in Rajiv case

Bench expresses concern over some political parties taking up cause of the convicts

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on the plea to transfer the petitions filed by three convicts facing death sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case — Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan — from the Madras High Court to the Supreme Court.

A Bench of justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadaya while reserving verdict expressed concern at the action of some political parties taking up the cause of convicts and said the convicts had now become pawn of political parties.

The Bench had reserved verdict on the petitions filed by Devendar Pal Singh Bhullar, facing death sentence, questioning the delay in disposal of his mercy petition by the President.

The Bench was hearing a petition filed by L.K. Venkat, President of G.K. Moopanar Peravai, affiliated to the Congress party seeking transfer of the petitions to the Supreme Court on the ground that the atmosphere in the High Court was not conducive for a fair hearing.

The three convicts had filed the writ petitions in the High Court challenging the rejection of their clemency plea by President Pratibha Patil after 11 years. The High Court on August 30, 2011 stayed their execution.

Mr. Venkat said the High Court, acting on the writ petitions of the three convicts, had stayed their execution scheduled for September 9, 2011. He said on August 30, 2011 when the matter was heard in the High Court, over 5,000 supporters had gathered inside and outside the court campus. They were interfering with the judicial function and also disturbing the proceedings.

‘Unethical behaviour’

He said admittedly the mob that gathered inside the Court hall shouted slogans and resorted to whistling to support the three convicts. This was totally unethical and improper.

Judges who heard the matter were helpless. He said that to ensure fair and free justice, the said writ petitions should be transferred to the Supreme Court

On behalf of the three convicts Mr. Jethmalani argued that the petition was not maintainable as no questions of law had been raised and the petitioner had no locus standi. He said the law was already settled that delay in disposal of the mercy petition had not been explained and the Centre had to file its response.

Additional Advocate General Guru Krishna Kumar, appearing for Tamil Nadu, also opposed the petition stating that the atmosphere in the Madras High Court did not warrant any transfer.










High court stays registration of Emaar villa plots

TNN | Apr 25, 2012, 05.34AM IST

HYDERABAD: The high court on Tuesday stayed the recent order of a single judge that allowed registration of Emaar plots. The single judge, after hearing the Emaar villa plot owners association and others, allowed registrations subject to an extra payment to the APIIC.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice P V Sanjay Kumar stayed this order while hearing an appeal by the state and the APIIC that wanted the suspension of the single judge order because it’s fraught with danger of property being transferred to third parties.

“Moreover, when the whole issue is being probed by CBI, allowing registrations may accord legitimacy to the fraudulent acts of the perpetrators of the scam,” the appellants contended. The bench observed that the matter needed deeper probe and sought to know the details of the original promoter of the Dubai company. “What permissions did they possess at the beginning to enter into such deals with an Indian state?” the bench said and posted the matter to be listed after vacation for further hearing.

A division bench of the high court comprising Justice G Rohini and Justice Ashutosh Mohunta on Tuesday stayed the appointment of 13 district judges. However, the bench permitted the authorities to go ahead with appointment of four candidates.

The bench reserved its judgment on writ petitions filed challenging the selection process on various grounds. The HC wanted to fill 17 vacancies of district judges. After the written test results were declared, the minimum marks rule for selection of candidates was done away with. Writ petitions were filed contending that the authorities altered midway the criteria regarding the minimum marks required for interview. It was contended that the rule was not published in a gazette. The petitioners contended that persons who were employees like assistant public prosecutor could not have been considered for the appointment.










Maoist ‘peoples court’ likely to try abducted MLA Jhina Hikaka

Bhubaneswar, April 25, 2012

With a Maoist ‘peoples court’ likely to try Odisha BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka on Wednesday at Narayanpatna in Koraput district, the ultras have taken advantage of the halt in security force operations by digging up roads in the area since Friday to make it inacessible. “As anti-Maoist operations have been stopped as per their demands following the hostage crisis, the present situation will certainly give the Maoists opportunity to re-group and prepare for major attacks”, said a senior official.

It was also not known whether the Maoists would extend their deadline as earlier, but they were lingering with the situation as operations by security forces were halted, he said.

Though the Maoist Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee holding 37-year-old Laxmipur MLA hostage has said his fate would be decided by a ‘praja court’ on Wednesday, there was no definite information about its exact time and venue.

There was, however, some indication with the state government that the people’s court would be held in Narayanpatna area, the official said.

Narayanpatna area remained cut off from the rest of the state since Friday because of road blockades put up by the Maoists and a ‘Maoist week’ called from Wednesday.

“We don’t think road communication can be restored in the next couple of days as civilians are not cooperating with the administration in removing the road blockades”, a senior district official said.

The police were considering all security measures before taking steps to remove the blockades, he said.








CAT to UT: Pay enhanced salary to contractual teachers

Express news service : Chandigarh, Wed Apr 25 2012, 04:20 hrs

Allowing the petition preferred by Chandigarh’s contractual mistress Rupinderjit Kaur and lecturer Aneet Inder Kaur, a division bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) headed by Justice Shyama Dogra on Tuesday directed the UT Administration to release the enhanced consolidated salary with effect from 2007 in pursuance to the UT Administration’s policy decision.

It was argued before the bench on behalf of the petitioners that the UT administration had taken a policy decision vide circular dated March 13, 2007 to revise the consolidated monthly salary of contractual masters/mistresses from Rs 8000 to Rs 9900 w.e.f. January 1, 2007. Similarly, vide subsequent policy circular dated January 10, 2008 and March 5, 2009, the said salary was further enhanced to Rs 10500 and Rs 11200 w.e.f. January 1, 2008 and January 1, 2009 respectively.

Similar pay enhancements were made with regard to contractual JBT teachers and lecturers. However, since the arrears of the same were not released to the contractual teachers, the petitioners approached the CAT which has directed the UT Administration to release the enhanced salary within a period of two months.









Pension: Rathore moves CAT against Union home secretary

Express news service : Chandigarh, Wed Apr 25 2012, 04:18 hrs

Former Haryana director general of police (DGP) S P S Rathore on Tuesday filed a petition seeking proceedings for contempt of court against Union Home Secretary B P Singh.

In his petition filed before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Chandigarh, Rathore has said despite orders by the CAT passed in December last, his pension had not been restored.

In his application before CAT, Rathore, who was convicted of molesting Ruchika Girhotra, had stated “pension of a person was not bounty. It is legal entitlement, which can only be curtailed by an express provision of law and not otherwise”. He also stated that the orders directing withholding of pension on permanent basis could not be passed as the appeal was pending in the apex court.

The CAT bench had then observed “no competent authority can withhold pension on permanent basis” and had allowed the application filed by Rathore.

However, the pension has allegedly not been restored to date. Aggrieved, Rathore filed a petition demanding contempt proceedings against the Union Home Secretary.

After hearing the arguments, the tribunal posted the petition for resumed hearing on July 10. No notices were issued.










Molester cop’s wife buys VIP number plate for over Rs. 9 lakhs

NDTV Correspondent | Updated: April 25, 2012 10:40 IST

Chandigarh:  Former Deputy General of Police (DGP) of Haryana, SPS Rathore, who was found guilty of molesting teenager Ruchika Girhotra in 1990, is back in the limelight; this time for his lavish lifestyle. Mr Rathore now owns new Mercedes with number plate 0001.

His wife Abha Rathore had won an auction for the fancy number CH 01 AM 0001 and paid over Rs. 9 lakh, the highest bid for any number.

“So far we have auctioned 80 numbers and another 80 remain to be auctioned. So far the highest bid for any number was Rs. 9.05 lakh. That was for the CH 01 AM 0001 number. Mrs Rathore has bought this number for a Mercedes car,” said Kavle Parashuram, SDM Registering and Licensing Authority of Chandigarh.

Last year, there was shock and anger after the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) restored the pension of Mr Rathore.

The Centre had stopped Mr Rathore’s pension in June 2010 after a CBI court in Chandigarh had, in December 2009, found him guilty and sentenced him to six years of rigorous imprisonment for molesting the 14-year-old tennis player on August 12, 1990. The girl had committed suicide three years later.










Fishermen killing: Victims’ families get Rs1 crore; case to continue

Published: Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012, 14:57 IST | Updated: Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012, 18:22 IST
Place: Kochi | Agency: DNA

In a sudden turn of events, families of two fishermen allegedly shot dead by marines on board ‘Enrica Lexie’ ship have reached a compromise with Italian authorities and accepted Rs one crore compensation but the criminal proceedings against the naval guards marines will continue.

Setting the stage for the settlement, the Kerala High court had earlier in the day permitted the family members of Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Binki to withdraw their contentions made against Italy’s plea for quashing the FIR against the marines.

Justice PS Gopinathan allowed the petition filed by Jalastine’s wife Doramma and sisters of Binki, the latter hailing from Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu.

However, Advocate General KP Dandapani said the legal heirs were not party to the criminal cases pending against the accused marines. The compensation agreement would not affect the case registered by the state, he said.

The marines have been charged with murder under the Indian laws for shooting dead the fishermen in February last when they were fishing in a boat off Kollam coast of Kerala.

The plea for compensation was filed by wife Jalastine’s wife and two children and two sisters of Binki, who will get Rs1 crore each as legal heirs of the victims.

The Italian authorities handed over the Demand Draft for the amount in the High Court’s Lok Adalat.

Shortly after police lodged the FIR in the case, Italian Consual General Giampaolo Cutillio and the two marines –Latore Massimilliano and Salvatore Girone — had approached the High Court seeking to quash the FIR.

The legal heirs of the fishermen impleaded themselves in the case opposing the Italian’s plea. Later, however, they agreed to settle for the amount offered by the Italian government.

In view of this development, counsel for the victims’ families informed the court today they were withdrawing their defence and not pressing for the charges against the marines.

The two marines have been lodged in Central prison at Thiruvananthapuram and the ship is anchored off the coast of Kochi for the past two months.

With both parties agreeing for a solution, the High court under the Alternate Dispute Resolution System referred the issue to the Lok Adalat, which recorded the compensation agreement.

On request from Italian authorities, the family members of the deceased fishermen also gave a letter to the Italian authorities stating that they had pardoned the marines.

“We have decided to withdraw the claim compensation suit after accepting Rs one crore,” Unnikrishnan, counsel for Doramma, wife of Jalastine.

“Here after, we will not file any case against them,” he said, adding,the legal heirs received the compensation amount on Tuesday.







Armed men help 4 prisoners escape from court

Press Trust of India | Updated: April 24, 2012 18:27 IST

Alwar:  Four under-trial men escaped police custody with the help of a group of 12 armed men from outside a court in Alwar, police said.

A police team had brought the prisoners in a vehicle to to the sessions court at Tijara in connection with a loot case.

As soon as the under-trials got down from the police vehicle, the armed men, who were waiting outside the court, surrounded them and took them away in a jeep, a senior police officer said.

The men also fired in the air to create panic, he said.










Court issues non-bailable warrant against sub-inspectors

TNN | Apr 25, 2012, 03.44AM IST

KANPUR: Additional district and sessions judge MA Abbasi issued non-bailable warrant against two sub-inspectors for non-compliance of the court order and asked the police authorities seniors to ensure their presence on next date of hearing.

The ADJ issued NBW against sub-inspector Mahipal Singh for not appearing in the court to give evidence in a dowry death case. He is at present posted at Etawah. The court had asked the SP to ensure Mahipal’s presence in the court on May 4.

The ADJ issued NBW against S-I Anand Masih for not appearing in the court to give evidence in a NDPS Act case. The case is passing through prosecution evidence stage.

The S-I, presently posted at Allahabad. was not appearing in the court since last couple of dates. The court had fixed next date for the hearing as May 14.









Court sentences Jharkhand man to life term for murdering wife

PTI | 05:04 PM,Apr 24,2012

New Delhi, Apr 24 (PTI) A 30-year-old man from Jharkhand who strangled to death his wife last year has been sentenced to life term by a Delhi court which said the circumstantial evidence “pinpoint” towards him. Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Atul Kumar Garg awarded life imprisonment to Jharkhand native Subhash Kumar, who had throttled his wife in a rented accommodation at Malviya Nagar in South Delhi and fled away from his house. “If the wife is found murdered at the home and husband was not present and he has no explanation about his absence, then the circumstantial evidence regarding the conduct pinpoint only upon the accused (Kumar),” ASJ said. The murder of a 20-year-old woman came to light on April 24, 2011, when the landlord opened the door after foul smell started emanating from Kumar’s flat and saw that his wife was lying dead in the flat while there was no information on Kumar’s whereabouts. The landlord had informed the police about the death of the woman. Thereafter, the police called deceased’s parents, who lodged a case alleging that their daughter was harassed and beaten by her husband. The father said that on earlier occasions also his daughter had told her mother over phone that Kumar used to beat her and asked her to bring money. Kumar, who was working with a contractor in Gurgaon, was arrested from Jharkhand on May 9, 2011. The prosecution said that coupele, who were married in 2008, were living in a rented room for the last two months in which the body of the woman was found in highly decomposed condition. (MORE)








City briefs : Park Street rape accused refused bail

Express news service : Wed Apr 25 2012, 07:20 hrs

Park Street rape accused refused bail

Kolkata:The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday rejected the bail plea of Sumit Bajaj — one of the accused in the Park Street rape case of February 5. The victim was allegedly raped in the car owned by Bajaj who was arrested on February 18. Opposing the bail plea, public prosecutor Debasis Roy said Bajaj might not have committed the offence but he was present during the incident, he said, adding that he was driving the car and did not stop the car when the woman requested him. An ornament of the woman was also recovered from his car and she identified the vehicle, said Roy. Three persons have been arrested in connection with the case while three accused are absconding.

Outfit protests labours’ arrest

Kolkata:A labour outfit has condemned the arrest of 8 people working for MGNREGS project under Lakhanpur gram panchayat in Purulia district. Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity (PBKMS) said the arrests highlighted the administration’s alleged bid to suppress protests against corruption and drawbacks in the implementation of MGNREGS. Trinamool Congress has been at the helm of affairs at Lakhanpur gram panchayat since 2009, the outfit claimed.

Netai killings: Fresh framing of charges

Kolkata:The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday turned down the Midnapore Additional Sessions Court’s order for framing of charges against the accused in the Netai killing case taking into account the typographical error in the order. Justice Kamaljit Singh Ahluwallia directed the additional sessions court to issue a fresh order for framing of the charges within 15 days after which the trial will begin. The framing of charges was challenged by CPM worker Abani Singh Sardar, who is one of the accused and currently lodged in jail. During the hearing it came to light that the CBI chargesheet mentioned prosecuting the accused under 27(ii) of Arms Act along with other criminal charges. But the order for the framing of charges mentioned 27(c) of the Arms Act instead of the 27(ii).








Court issues summons to Ansal brothers

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 22:03

New Delhi: A Delhi court here has issued summons to realtors Sushil and Gopal Ansal in a cheating case filed by a US-based woman.

Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) Ashok Kumar issued summons to Ansal Properties and Infrastructure Ltd Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Sushil Ansal and Ansal Buildwell Ltd’s Managing Director Gopal Ansal on a complaint by Sunila Wadhawan.

“I have perused the complaint and pre-summoning evidence led by the complainant. I hereby take cognisance against the accused persons… Accused persons be summoned for May 15,” said magistrate Kumar in its order made available Tuesday.

Wadhawan has alleged that the two brothers had “misappropriated” the commission amount of Rs 11.80 lakh to be paid to her husband.

The complaint was filed through advocate Tarun Rana. Rana in the application has stated that complainant Sunila Wadhawan’s husband Ashok Wadhawan was appointed as authorised agent on commission basis for marketing and selling properties of Ansal Properties and Industries Ltd, which was later divided into Ansal Properties and Infrastructure Ltd and Ansal Buildwell Ltd.

Complainant said the Ansal brothers had assured her husband that commission would be paid to him. Ansal brother later offered a plot in Gurgaon telling her husband that commission would be adjusted against it.

The complainant told court that later they shifted to USA and when they came to India they come to know that the plot was not executed in their name.

The complainant has told court that accused has committed offence of cheating, criminal breach of trust and other various section of Indian Penal code.









High Court directs regulation of sand quarrying in Cauvery

Press Trust of India | Updated: April 25, 2012 08:48 IST

Madurai:  The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the collectors of five districts in the Cauvery delta to regulate sand quarrying in the Cauvery and Kollidam rivers.

The directive to the District Collectors of Karur, Tiruchirappalli, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam and Thiruvarur was issued by Justice R Banumathi and Justice B Rajendran, in their interim order, while admitting a PIL petition.

Petitioner TN Mahendra Kumar, Secretary of “Cauvery Neervala Aathara Pathukappu Sangam”, asked the collectors to follow the guidelines issued by the court earlier for quarrying sand.

He alleged that quarrying operations were being carried across the two rivers in violation of the Rules and Regulation of Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1959.

Also alleging that the above mentioned district collectors granted license to a large number of sand quarries ‘without any application of mind’, Mahendra Kumar prayed for a ban on sand quarrying in the two rivers.

The judges directed the district collectors to ensure that not more than two poclain machines were used in the quarrying operations.

They further asked the collectors to stop the sand quarrying activities from 7 pm to 6 am. Apart from this, the judges also instructed the collectors and quarry operators to be in strict compliance of certain guidelines, which included collection of payment only through demand drafts and loading the sand to the vehicles directly from the quarries.

The petition was posted for further hearing on June 18.










SC dismisses PIL against Lokpal drafting committee

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 22:06

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL challenging constitution of Lokpal Bill drafting committee saying that task is over and the matter has become infructuous.

“Since the joint drafting committee has already completed the work and has submitted the report, the petition has become infructuous,” a bench headed by Justice A K Patnaik said.

The bench was hearing a PIL challenging the Constitutional validity of inclusion of five civil society members in a committee to draft a Lokpal Bill.

The petitioner had submitted that the notification constituting the 10-member Joint Drafting Committee, was contrary to the Constitutional provision of Article 53 as the power to issue such notification belonged only to the President of India.

It said the notification was also violative of Article 118 of the Constitution under which only Parliament has the privilege of setting up a committee comprising MPs.

According to the petition, no politician, committee or social worker have a right to take part in the drafting of the bill though every citizen’s view ought to be ascertained by way of notification at the time of drafting a Bill.









Petitioner files PIL in Hindi, seeks English medium education in government schools

Ashish Tripathi, TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 11.20PM IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday sought stand of the Central government on the demand to provide English medium education in the government primary schools in the states, particularly Hindi speaking ones like Uttar Pradesh.

A division bench comprising Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice VK Dixit issued notice on a public interest litigation ( PIL) filed by a social worker Anand Prakash Shahi. The petitioner said that there should be compulsory English medium education in the government primary schools as well. He said that students of UP are bright but suffer when it comes to search for jobs or higher education in other states. The Hindi medium students are treated as inferior or become victim of inferiority complex only because they lack in English, he said.

Shahi also argued “”Every child has a right to live with his head held high and it can happen in the present scenario, when he is imparted education in English medium, since his childhood.” He said that government primary schools should teach nursery rhymes, strengthen vocabulary and spoken English to the students on the lines of convent schools.

The petitioner has also attached recommendation of the committee headed by Sam Pitroda constituted by the Central government in 2006. The committee submitted its report in 2008 which recommended inclusion of english in the curriculum of government schools so that their students can compete with their convent educated counterparts

Interestingly, Shahi filed the petition drafted in Hindi. He reasoned the court that if he had been imparted English medium education in his childhood, he would have filed the same in English, which is the popular language of the court.

The court after hearing the arguments of the petitioner observed that every child, including poor who go to government school, have the right to opt for English medium education. The court heard the matter at length and asked the additional solicitor general Ashok Nigam to obtain instructions from the central government in this connection. The court has also asked state government and State Council of Education, Research and Training to make its stand clear on the issue. The case has been listed on May 7 for next hearing.










PIL seeking BCCI follow government regulations

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 24, 2012A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in Allahabad High Court seeking direction to the sports ministry to get Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) registered or else set up a separate body for development of cricket in India. The PIL has been filed by a UP cadre Indian Police Service official Amitabh Thakur and his wife Nutan Thakur and slated for hearing on Wednesday.

The litigation says that the Sports Ministry has given recognition to various National Sports Federations but BCCI was not part of it.

Despite that, the BCCI was getting all privileges and benefits of being a de-facto National Sports Federation of cricket from the government. And, the government has not been able to do anything about it. 

The petition also claimed that BCCI was also violating government rules as only a recognised sports federation can send nominations for awards such as Arjun Award or Dronacharya Award. The use of India by BCCI was violation of Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950, the petition claimed.

The BCCI, which claims itself to be a private body, had refused to come under the ambit of Right To Information law like other sports federations.

BCCI itself strongly insists that it is a private autonomous body having no control and affiliation with the Government. It also insists that it has never applied for being recognized as a NSF. “BCCI is enjoying privileges and breaking laws while strongly resisting any accountability and responsibility towards the Government or the People. This makes it look like being above law of the land,” the petition said.

The petition has asked the High Court to direct that the government to ask BCCI to become a recognized NSF and if BCCI does not agree, then the government should appoint some other Cricket Association as national sports federation as per the prevailing rules to end any anomaly.









HC may hear plea of Padma Tuesday

Express News Sevice

PUDUCHERRY: Puducherry Principal District and Sessions Judge C S Murugan adjourned the further hearing of defence arguments in the Sankararaman murder case to April 25.

Justice Murgan did not proceed with the hearing on a petition by Padma as she had filed a petition with Madras High Court pleading that further proceedings should not continue till her petition seeking a re-examination of her and her children was disposed of in Puducherry court.

The Madras High Court may take up the petition on Tuesday as the petition number could not be reached at the end of day’s proceedingsof the court on Monday.

SPP N Devadoss had already informed the court that he had to be present in the Madras HC on Monday. Padma’s son Ananda Sharma had reached the Puducherry court late. Only eight of the 24 accused were present on Monday.

The Kanchi Acharyas Jayendra and Vijayendra were exempted by the court from personal appearance. It may be recalled that Justice Murugan had asked Padma’s lawyer Manikandan, who argued on Padma’s petition on Wednesday last, that there was ambiguity about the prayer in the petition and there was no mention of re-examination in it.

The judge had asked the High Court lawyer to consult Padma whether she wanted a re-examination, as told to the media, and report back to the court on April 23.

Padma had told reporters on April 11 that she felt re-examination in the case was necessary as she and her family members had been “threatened” on the court premises here on August 6, 2009 by some persons while she was being taken to depose as a witness.

Sankarararman, manager at the Varadaraja Perumal Temple in Kancheepuram, was allegedly murdered on the premises of the temple on September 3, 2004. Kanchi Acharyas Jayendra and Vijayendra were prime accused in the case.

The trial was shifted to Puducherry court from Chengalpattu in Tamil Nadu by an October 2005 Supreme Court order.








UPSC exam papers can’t be re-evalued: Delhi HC

New Delhi: The UPSC cannot re-evaluate the civil service examination answer sheets due to absence of any rule for it, the Delhi High Court has held, while dismissing a plea to re-assess a candidate’s answer scripts of the 2006 main examination. The ruling comes as a big blow to candidates who had the hopes of getting their scripts re-examined and as a major reprieve for UPSC officials as it saves them the extra trouble and embarrassment.

Dismissing the civil service aspirant Syed Shabbir Ali’s plea, a bench of justices B D Ahmed and V K said, “As regards re-evaluation of the answer sheet of petitioner Ali, admittedly, there is no rule of UPSC entitling a candidate to seek re-evaluation of his answer sheets. We, therefore, find no merit in the contention that the petitioner is entitled to re-evaluation of his answer sheets,” the bench said.

The bench was hearing Ali’s plea challenging the Central Administrative Tribunal’s (CAT) order which had dismissed his plea for re-evaluation of his answer scripts in the Civil Services (Main) Examination, 2006.

In his petition, Ali had sought the bench’s direction to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to declare him successful candidate in the first rank in the Civil Service (Main) Examination 2006.

According to the petition, Ali had cleared the 2006 preliminary examination but had not been able to clear the main examination as he had not done well in English, a compulsory paper.

The English paper was a qualifying paper, for candidates of all categories, for the Civil Services Examinations 2006, as per the petition.

During the course of hearing, the bench had directed UPSC to re-total his marks in English paper and inform the court about the cut-off marks for qualifying it.

“On perusal of the record, we found that the raw marks obtained by the petitioner in English paper have been moderated and resultantly, he has been awarded higher marks, but despite that he was well below the qualifying cut-off which UPSC had prescribed in respect of the English paper. We also found that all the answers had been evaluated by the examiner and there was no totaling mistake,” the bench said.

“We are, therefore, satisfied that no mistake has been committed by the respondent in evaluating the answer sheet of the petitioner in respect of English paper and the petitioner has failed to obtain qualifying marks in the said paper,” the bench said and dismissed Ali’s petition.







HC backs eviction drive at Prez estate

Harish V. Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 24, 2012

The Delhi High Court has cleared the decks for the sealing of shops running from the premises of President’s Estate on Talkatora Road. Some of the shops have been conducting business there since 1946. The court upheld the Centre’s move to seal shops on the ground that commercial activity in the sensitive area was a security risk and would also affect the area’s tranquillity.

Apart from the six shopkeepers in the market in the estate, those facing eviction also include residents of six quarters. Justice Sunil Gaur also ruled that mere acceptance of licence fee during the period after termination of licence agreement does not affect licensor’s right to evict the licensee.

Petitions filed by a dozen other shopkeepers in the premises are pending before the court. The shopkeepers and residents had challenged the eviction process, initiated in 2003 under Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act. The eviction order was issued in 2006.

The Centre said they (shopkeepers) had no right to occupy the premises, as they did not pay licence fee after 1993 and “commercial use of the premises was a high security risk and was affecting the tranquillity in the area”. “Eviction of the petitioners from the subject premises does not suffer from any arbitrariness or material procedural lapse, warranting any interference in these writ proceedings”, Justice Gaur said.

The court rejected the argument of the petitioners that they could not be evicted in this manner, as they had been continuously paying the licence fee. The security angle was something the Centre suddenly raised ; the security issue had no mention in the eviction notice.

Rejecting the argument, the court said: “It is true that issue of security concerns was not there in  the eviction notice but the plea  was certainly there in the eviction petition…. besides, mere acceptance of payment from the petitioners during the period post-termination of the Licence Agreements would not justify raising the plea of acquiescence.”








HC orders Punjab Police to free 70-yr-old Bangladeshi

RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigarh, Wed Apr 25 2012, 03:59 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Punjab Police to release within three days a 70-year-old Bangladeshi who is in a jail in Amritsar for the past seven years even after serving his three-month jail term.

Mohammad Bilal, who was sentenced for not possessing a valid passport, is lodged in Central Jail, Amritsar since 2005. All these years, he has been claiming that he is a Bangladeshi national, but the Punjab Police has maintained that he is from Pakistan. This, despite repeated communications by the Bangladesh Embassy to the Indian government demanding his release and an inquiry report by an Amritsar Sessions Judge confirming that he is a Bangladesh national.

The Indian Express was the first to highlight Bilal’s case.

The High Court’s direction came after a communication of the Ministry of External Affairs to the Bangladesh Embassy on April 11, requesting the latter to issue travel documents and air ticket for deportation of Bilal, was produced before it last week. This came during the resumed hearing of a petition filed by NGO World Human Rights Protection Council through its chairman, advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal.









NIA to appeal in HC for Pragya questioning

Suchandana Gupta | Apr 25, 2012, 02.33AM IST

BHOPAL: The National Investigative Agency (NIA) will argue before the Madhya Pradesh High Court on May 2 as to why it was necessary for the agency sleuths to interrogate Malegaon bomb blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur in connection with the murder of RSS worker Sunil Joshi. The state High Court had stayed the questioning of Pragya Singh Thakur by the NIA last week.

NIA sources told TOI that after interrogation of other accused persons in the case, the NIA had reasons why they wanted to confront Pragya Singh Thakur and question her. She has not been interrogated by the agency sleuths in this case so far and the first time questioning was initially scheduled for April 20.

But as the NIA reached Bhopal on that day, a single bench of Justice G S Solanki granted stay on her interrogation after Pragya’s lawyer filed a petition before the High Court in Jabalpur. In the petition, it was argued that in March 2011 the state police had already filed a charge-sheet against her in the same murder case in a Dewas court and hence, it was not necessary for her to be questioned again.

RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi was shot dead under mysterious circumstances outside his residence in Dewas on December 29, 2007. NIA suspected his role in the Samjhauta Express, Malegaon, Ajmer Dargah and the Hyderabad Mecca Masjid bomb blasts. Based on Pragya Thakur’s confessional statements before the Madhya Pradesh police in Mumbai, a 432 page chargesheet in the Sunil Joshi murder case was filed against her in a Dewas court on March 1, last year.

The NIA had filed an application in the court of VK Pandey, Special Judge for NIA cases, on April 14 seeking permission for interrogation of all those accused in the Sunil Joshi case. The court granted the appeal and investigators reached Jaipur Jail on April 18 to question some of the accused persons. After their questioning, it was Pragya Singh Thakur’s turn to face quizzing by the agency detectives.

NIA legal team claimed that the stay order came before the agency could present its arguments before High Court. On May 2, we will go to the High Court and argue our case and reasons for the interrogation. It will be maintained that section 21 of the NIA Act which does not permit such a petition to be heard by a single judge bench.

The accused Pragya Thakur’s lawyer does not have the power to challenge the order of the Special judge for NIA. Only an appeal before the High Court is applicable. And the Act says two judges are to hear the appeal,” an NIA legal officer said.







HC orders inquiry against cop, doctor

PTI | 10:04 PM,Apr 24,2012

Allahabad, Apr 24 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court today directed the Uttar Pradesh government to conduct an inquiry against a doctor and a policeman for fabricating a false dying declaration of a woman in a dowry death case and, if found guilty, take “stringent disciplinary and penal” action against the officials “so that an exemplary message goes out”. A division bench of justices Amar Saran and Anurag Kumar passed the order while rejecting the bail application of Upendra Singh from Kanpur Dehat, whose wife Kalpana had died in a hospital on April 22, 2006 and the post-mortem report had stated that the cause of the death was “burns and asphyxia due to throttling”. The petitioner had contended that his wife had given a dying declaration stating that her clothes had caught fire while she was working in the kitchen and that neither her husband, who had sustained minor burn injuries himself, nor her in-laws were in any way responsible for her death. However, the court was of the view that “the version contained in the dying declaration appears to be irreconcilable with the condition found in the autopsy” and that “prima facie the dying declaration recorded by the SI Radhey Shyam Yadav and certified to be recorded by him by Dr Surendra Singh appears to be fabricated”. Directing the principal secretary and the DGP to complete the inquiry within three months, the court observed “this is not the first case when suspicion has arisen in the minds of the courts that doctors and police officials at local levels may have colluded with the accused, and engaged in such a grave fraud by fabricating a false dying declaration to save the accused in a case of bride burning for dowry. “It is important that steps are taken to go down to the bottom of such matters and to punish the parties which are found engaged in fabricating such false documents or giving a dishonest opinion for showing a fabricated document to be genuine.”









HC notice to Pallonji in illegal gratification case

PTI | 08:04 PM,Apr 24,2012

Mumbai, Apr 24 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today issued a notice to Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry, father of Tata Group chairman designate Cyrus Mistry, on a public interest litigation filed alleging that his real estate company had given an illegal gratification of Rs 250 crore to a company owned by Nitesh Thakur, former deputy collector of Mhada. Nitesh has been arrested by the state Anti-Corruption Bureau on charges of corruption and for amassing assets disproportionate to his known source of income. According to the PIL filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar, Nitesh, along with his brother Nilesh, had formed a company- PRS Enterprises. “Pallonji Shapoorji’s real estate company had paid a sum of Rs 258.88 crore to PRS Enterprises. The Income Tax Department had initiated inquiry into the transaction in December 2010 and had concluded that both the parties have failed to substantiate reasons behind payment of such huge sum of money,” the petition alleges. It further claims that the Thakur brothers were engaged in disbursing bribe to government officials on behalf of Pallonji for facilitating permission for real estate projects. Tirodkar, in his petition, has sought court to direct IT, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI to conduct a joint probe into the transactions between the two companies. A division bench of Justices S A Bobade and Mridula Bhatkar had on the last hearing directed the petitioner to add Pallonji as a respondent to the PIL. Tirodkar today filed an application seeking to include Pallonji’s name, following which, the court issued notice to Pallonji seeking his reply to the application. The reply will have to be filed on May 4. Tirodkar today also submitted an additional affidavit along with a remand note of ACB which states that it was investigating into the financial transaction between Thakur’s company and Pallonji’s company. “The Enforcement Directorate is also looking into commission of money laundering. There is no legal documentation of the transaction and it seems to be illegal gratification,” the remand note states. PTI SP NP









HC directs removal of encroachments in Tiruvannamalai hill

PTI | 11:04 PM,Apr 24,2012

Chennai, Apr 24 (PTI) Wondering how encroachments were allowed in Thiruvannamalai Hill, home to a famous Lord Shiva temple, Madras High Court today directed the government to remove all such unauthorised constructions. Passing orders on a petition by C M Sivababu, District President of the Hindu Makkal Katchi, a bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam said it was high time that government officers took immediate steps for the removal of encroachments, including a lodging house ‘Bala Dhandayudhabani Thirukoyil,’set up by Vedha Viththu alias Krishnan alias Kanagaraj. ‘We fail to understand as to why the officers of the respondents (government) posted at different places allowed the encroachers to grab land in the name of construction of temple, when there was a clear direction by the Supreme Court not to allow such constructions and to demolish all religious structures standing on government lands or public roads,’ the Judges said. The Bench directed the government to take appropriate action against the officials concerned if they failed to discharge their duty. The petitioner claimed that the Tiruvannamalai hill was no exception to illegal encroachments and land grabbings. Admitting that Viththu had encroached on a portion of the hill, Tiruvannamalai District Collector, in a counter affidavit, said he had been advised not to carry on any further construction. The man had constructed a small temple and was residing in a portion of it. Disposing of the petition, the Bench said it was evidently clear that the officials had allowed the construction. Though they were duty bound to stop the work and remove it, till date nothing had been done, the Judges said.










Shapoorji gets HC notice on Rs250cr kickback petition

Published: Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012, 8:01 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The Bombay high court on Tuesday issued notice to real estate baron Shapoorji Pallonji (father of Tata Group chairman designate Cyrus Mistry) on a public interest litigation (PIL) alleging illegal transaction of money.

The petition alleged that Pallonji’s real estate company had given an illegal gratification of Rs250 crore to a company owned by Nitesh Thakur, former deputy collector of Mhada who has been arrested on corruption charges.

A division bench comprising justice SA Bobade and justice Mridula Bhatkar issued the notice while hearing a PIL filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar.

Thakur, along with his brother Nilesh, had formed a company PRS Enterprises.

“Shapoorji Pallonji’s real estate company had paid Rs258.88 crore to PRS Enterprises,” says the petition.

The income tax department that had initiated an inquiry into the transaction in December 2010 concluded that both parties had failed to substantiate reasons behind payment of such huge sum of money, added the PIL.

Tirodkar has alleged that the Thakur brothers were engaged in disbursing bribe to government officials on behalf of Pallonji for facilitating permission for real estate projects.

The PIL has sought a joint inquiry by the I-T department, the enforcement directorate and the CBI into transactions between the two companies.

Tirodkar, in pursuant to an earlier HC order, filed an affidavit adding Pallonji as a respondent in his PIL. He also submitted an additional affidavit along with a remand note of the state anti-corruption bureau (ACB), which states that the ACB was investigating into the financial transaction between Thakur and Pallonji’s companies.

The Shapoorji Pallonji company also allegedly paid Rs141.50 crore to PRS Enterprises to buy a 900-acre land for them. Instead, PRS Enterprises bought land for itself at Alibaug, Murud and Shrivardhan for a hotel and a farm house.

The HC kept the PIL for hearing on May 4.










HC gives Dikshit and BJP chief Gupta another chance to resolve dispute

Express news service : New Delhi, Wed Apr 25 2012, 01:46 hrs

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday gave Sheila Dikshit and Vijender Gupta another opportunity to settle the defamation suit filed by the Chief Minister amicably. Dikshit had filed the suit against the BJP leader for allegedly making “unsavoury” remarks against her.

“There have been other more serious issues that this court has witnessed getting resolved… This is not an issue which should be stretched further,” said Justice Kailash Gambhir after being informed by the two leaders’ lawyers that they could not settle the case amicably. The court gave them two weeks’ time to make another attempt to find a solution and fix the matter for further hearing on May 2.

Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta, meanwhile, filed an application seeking dismissal of the case saying that fair criticism of the government was part of a democracy. “The statement was made against the government and nothing personal was said against the chief minister,” said senior advocate Aman Lekhi, appearing for Gupta. He also opposed the contention of Dikshit’s lawyer that she was willing to withdraw the petition if Gupta gave an undertaking that he will desist from making uncivilised remarks against the CM in future.

“The mere giving of such an undertaking would amount to admitting that in the past I had made uncivilised remarks,” argued Lekhi while turning down the demand. The court, after a brief hearing, asked the counsel of both parties to sit across the table and resolve the case within two weeks.

Dikshit had demanded a token Re 1 as damages and alleged that the BJP, under Gupta’s leadership in June 2010, had erected hoardings accusing Delhi Congress government of misrepresenting facts on power tariffs.










HC seeks report from Patna Municipal Corporation

TNN | Apr 25, 2012, 01.49AM IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court (HC) on Tuesday directed the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) to submit its report with regard to the action taken to clean the state capital and also installing streetlights under different wards of the city. The order was passed by a division bench, comprising Justice T Meena Kumari and Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh, on a PIL filed by one Varun Kumar Sharma.

The petitioner has stated that the state capital was littered with filth and garbage with no light on the streets causing great hardship to the people.

Petitioner’s lawyer Sunil Kumar said that the PMC, earlier on court’s direction, submitted a report to the HC, in which it stated that in 19 wards work is underway for installation of street lights, tender for which has already been issued. The PMC assured the court that work would be completed within six months. It also informed the court that cleanliness

drive would soon be launched in the city to get rid of the filth and garbage. The court directed the PMC to file progress report on the work to be

undertaken by it and said the case would be heard again after summer vacation.










Punjab and Haryana HC asks govt to form compensation commission

TNN | Apr 25, 2012, 03.51AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday asked Punjab government to set up a compensation commission within one month for the victims of large-scale violence witnessed in some parts of the state in 2009, in the wake of the death of a particular community leader, Sant Ramanandm in Vienna of Austria.

The directions were passed by a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Alok Singh while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed on the issue. In its orders, the bench also specified that such a commission should be headed by a retired judge of the high court and the state government provide appropriate staff to the commission.

This commission would invite applications from the victims of violence and after assessment take decision on the mode of recovery of the loss. The HC also directed the state government to widely publicize in print media, asking people to come forward and deport against the culprits.

The death of Sant Ramanand in Austria on May 24, 2009, following an attack in a gurdwara in Vienna, had triggered large-scale violence in Jalandhar, Phagwara, Hoshiarpur and some other towns of Punjab. Importantly, it was only after the high court took cognizance of the matter that the police had swung into action and started registering cases.

The matter had reached before the HC in December last year through a PIL filed by Phagwara branch of General Samaj Manch (Regd), seeking directions for fixing responsibility of each and every official concerned in the administration for failure to anticipate such violence and punish the culprits.

Following HC intervention, 75 cases were registered, around 445 witnesses were identified and statements of around 258 persons recorded so far.









HC for dissolving Co-operative Tribunal

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Wed Apr 25 2012, 01:34 hrs

In what would lead to a first of its kind decision, the Delhi High Court has said that it is inclined to dissolve the incumbent Delhi Co-operative Tribunal. This comes following a reprimand by the court over the Tribunal’s “cut-copy-paste” approach in passing judgments.

The Tribunal, headed by a retired district judge, decides appeals against the orders of Registrar of Co-operative Societies or arbitrators in matters relating to group housing societies in Delhi. Such matters involve registration of a society, election, audit, inspection, dispute resolution, investment of funds, etc.

Opining that having the present Tribunal was as good as having none, a bench of Justices S K Kaul and Rajiv Shakdher has sought a response from the Delhi government over the procedure to recall its present members.

“It is as good as not having a tribunal when all its orders are either set aside or are remanded back. It is clearly unable to discharge its functions. Tell us the procedure to recall its members, for we may have to pass orders for reconstituting the Tribunal,” the bench told Najmi Waziri, government’s standing counsel.

The court had earlier underlined the “unacceptable” modus operandi of the Tribunal, while hearing an appeal against the Tribunal’s order. The parties are asked to submit soft copies of their arguments, which are then entered into the computer. Subsequently, a final order is passed by the Tribunal wherein the pleadings by the parties are simply reproduced by copying and pasting them and a conclusion of merely a few lines are typed out with minimal modification.

The court was further informed about the lack of stenographers in the Tribunal. It, however, said: “Despite the inadequacies, the tribunal, in our view, cannot conduct judicial proceedings in such a cavalier manner.” The bench said the tribunal, instead of reducing such proceedings into a “mere ritual,” should have highlighted its difficulties to the authorities concerned or the Chief Justice of this court.

Waziri was then called upon to look into the matter. The standing counsel was also asked to obtain from the Tribunal copies of all the orders passed by it in the last six months for vetting them.

On Monday, Waziri submitted the government’s report, stating that while vacancy of stenographers was being filled up and three persons have been already selected, issues relating to the 87 judgments passed in the last six months involved serious considerations since these orders were bereft of judicial reasoning. “The opinion is that they must have elaborated reasons to decide cases. Absence of reasons or discussions with respect to contentions of parties could leave a sense of disquiet or injustice and they will tend to move higher forum,” the report read.

Concurring, the bench held that while the Tribunal was created to sort some issues at its level, it in fact was enhancing the workload of the courts too by passing such orders.

“It is headed by a retired judicial officer but judicious mind is reflected nowhere in the judgments,” noted the bench, while asking Waziri to come back on the next date to apprise them about the procedure stipulated to disband the Tribunal by recalling its members and then reconstitute it properly.


LEGAL NEWS 24.04.2012

Karnataka DGP row: Supreme Court stays HC order on Bidari

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Karnataka High Court order which had quashed the appointment of Shankar Bidari as Director General of State Police.

A bench of justices Aftab Alam and C. K. Prasad asked the State High Court to examine afresh the matter and dispose it of before May 31.

The apex court while staying the High Court’s March 30 order, said the latter had passed the impugned order on assumptions without going into the findings of the Justice Sadashiva Commission and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which, according to Mr. Bidari, had given him a clean chit in the case of alleged excesses and sexual abuse perpetrated by the Joint STF on tribal women.

The High Court had earlier quashed Mr. Bidari’s appointment saying that he was indicted by the commission as he was the deputy commandant at the time of the alleged excesses committed by the Joint STF of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, set up to track down forest brigand and notorious sandalwood smuggler Veerappan.

The apex court said it was of a prima facie view that the findings of the Sadashiva Commission and NHRC were not relevant considerations for the empanelled officers, yet, it said, it was not going into the merits of the issue at this stage and left it to the High Court to decide the same.

While former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam appeared for Mr. Bidari, senior counsel U.U. Lalit appeared for the Karnataka government.

Another senior counsel Altaf Ahmed appeared for senior IPS officer A R Infant on whose petition the High Court had passed the impugned order.

The apex court was hearing a petition filed by IPS officer Shankar Mahadev Bidari challenging the Karnataka High Court’s order which had quashed his appointment as DGP while dubbing him as “worse than Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi.”

The High Court had made the stinging remark against Mr. Bidari for the alleged atrocities on women committed by the Special Task Force led by him during the hunt to nab Veerappan.

The High Court had made those remarks in response to his contention that he cannot be held responsible for atrocities as he was only a deputy commander of the Joint Task Force of two states, set up to nab Veerappan and was not “omnipresent and omnipotent like Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi.”

Mr. Bidari’s appointment had been challenged by another DGP A R Infant who was a year senior to Mr. Bidari but had allegedly been bypassed.

Mr. Infant had alleged Mr. Bidari was appointed as state police chief despite the “black marks” on his service record due to atrocities on tribals committed during his stint as the head of the task force set up to nab Veerappan more than 20 years ago.

The NHRC had also filed complaints regarding the sexual and physical assault on tribal women in the area. The Central Administrative Tribunal had upheld Mr. Infant’s plea. Mr. Bidari and the state government had challenged this in the High Court.

The High Court had asked the government to relieve Mr. Bidari forthwith and appoint Mr. Infant in his place.








426 cases of ‘fake encounters’ registered in last 3 years

PTI | 06:04 PM,Apr 24,2012

New Delhi, Apr 24 (PTI) A total of 426 cases of alleged fake encounters by police, defence and central armed police forces were registered by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) during 2009-12. Minister of State for Home Jitendra Singh said till April 17, 2012, no such case has been registered and during the last two years, in none of the cases, any recommendation for disciplinary action or prosecution of the public servants has been made by NHRC. “Against 426 cases of alleged fake encounters, 84 cases have been solved and the remaining 342 are unsolved,” he said in the Lok Sabha. Singh said for expediting the unsolved cases, concerted efforts are made by NHRC for obtaining the inquest reports, post-mortem report, magisterial inquiry report etc from the state governments concerned. “It is for the state governments to take action in every crime. The Central government issues advisories, while the NHRC issues guidelines and recommendations to be followed by the States/UTs in all cases of deaths in the course of police action,” he said.






Babus ‘forced’ tribal girls to dance, indecent behaviour alleged—forced—tribal-girls-to-dance–indecent-behaviour-alleged/940470/

Agencies : Bhopal, Mon Apr 23 2012, 20:29 hrs

Taking cognisance of ‘Raai’ dance performed by minor Bedhni tribe girls at a fair at Ashok Nagar town and reports of indecent behaviour of some people, the Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission(MPHRC) has issued notices to Principal Secretary of Social Justice Department and Superintendent of Police to seek their explanation on it.

The Commission took cognisance of the incident following a report in a magazine published by Global Earth Society for Environmental Energy and Development.

The MPHRC issued notices to Madhya Pradesh Social Justice Department’s Principal Secretary, Collector of Ashok Nagar and Superintendent of Police to seek their explanation.

The magazine’s editor Dr Subhash Pandey told reporters here today that MPHRC took a serious note of the minor Bedhni girls performing ‘Raai’ dance and reports of indecent behaviour with them and served notices on the concerned authorities recently.

Pandey also submitted a copy of the magazine, CD and photographs to the Commission in this regard.

He also filed a similar complaint with the National Commission for Women (NCW) Chairperson Mamta Sharma yesterday during her visit to the city. The NCW also assured to recommend strong action in this regard, Pandey said.

MPHRC’s Joint Director (Public Relations) Rohit Mehta confirmed that the Commission has issued notice to the concerned officials in this regard and sought their explanation on the issue.







National Commission for Women to hold parallel probe into Shehla case

TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 02.27AM IST

INDORE: National Commission for Women (NCW) has decided to carry out a parallel investigation into the murder case of RTI activist Shehla Masood and submit its report to the Centre.

Talking to reporters in the city, NWC chairperson Mamta Sharma said that she condemned BJP MLA Dhruv Narayan Singh, who is under the CBI investigation in the murder case for his alleged proximity with the prime accused, for claiming to be into relationship with eight women at a time.

She said that the commission would constitute a committee in first week of May and handover the report to the Union government. With regard to the significance of commission’s report, when the country’s premiere investigating agency was already doing the job, the NWC chairperson said the committee would collect the fact at its level to bring it to the notice of the Centre.

About the mounting cases of women harassment in Madhya Pradesh, Sharma said there was no let up in atrocities against women and children in Madhya Pradesh.

“There should be much more effective policing in the state to prevent crime against women,” she said. About the recent spate in rapes in the state, she demanded that such cases be tried in fast-track courts and disposed at the earliest.









Masood case: NCW to set up committee to probe

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 00:01

Indore: National Commission for Women (NCW) would form a committee to probe the RTI activist Shehla Masood murder case, its chairperson said on Monday.

“We have decided to form a panel in the case following the alleged statement of BJP MLA, Dhruv Narayan Singh, that he has such relations with 20 women, and his name coming up in the case a number of times,” NCW Chairperson Mamta Sharma said.

“We have decided to take a cognisance of the case and form a panel to minutely probe the matter to get to its bottom,” she said.

The panel will probe, specially, how much role this angle (of illicit relations) played in the murder, she said, adding that the report would be forwarded to the government.

The main accused, interior designer Zahida Pervez, and co-accused Saba Farooqui, had alleged on number of occasions that the BJP MLA was the “mastermind” of the murder.

If necessary, NCW panel may also question Zahida and Saba, Sharma said. Both Zahida and Saba are currently lodged in the Indore’s district jail under a judicial remand.

CBI claims that Zahida planned the murder because she had become jealous of Shehla’s growing proximity with the BJP MLA.

The CBI has questioned Dhruv Narayan in the case, but he was not arrested.










SC notice to Centre, Kerala govt on Italy petition–Kerala-govt-on-Italy-petition/940556/

Express news service : New Delhi, Tue Apr 24 2012, 00:13 hrs

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Centre and the Kerala government on a petition filed by the Republic of Italy to quash criminal charges against two marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen while on board Italian vessel Enrica Lexie.

A Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir, S S Nijjar and Ranjan Gogoi asked whether a foreign state could invoke Article 32 of Indian Constitution — a relief used to enforce fundamental rights of an Indian citizen against the Indian government. The Indian government also questioned the very “maintainability” of such a petition.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Italian government, said his client was also deemed a “person” within the meaning of Article 32 for invoking the jurisdiction of the SC. The Bench posted the matter for further hearing on May 8.

In its plea, Italy asserted that the Kerala government had no locus standi to register any criminal case as the alleged offence ought to be treated under international law and covenants — India being a signatory to the UN charter. Salve told the Bench that the matter needed to be dealt with between the two countries and the Kerala government had no jurisdiction in interfering with the matter as the incident had occurred in “contigual waters” 12 nautical miles beyond the Indian jurisdiction.

He said the action of the Italian personnel was part of their official duty.









Italy moves SC for release of 2 marines

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 03.24AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Italian government on Monday moved the Supreme Court of India seeking release of two marines, arrested by Kerala Police for allegedly killing two fishermen while guarding merchant vessel Enrica Lexie, on the ground that their detention breached sovereign immunity.

The petition filed by Italian government through its ambassador and the arrested marines – Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone – said the detention by Kerala Police was illegal and their trial under Indian law was in breach of sovereign immunity principle as well as right to life and equality provisions of the Indian Constitution.

This is probably for the first time a foreign government moved a municipal court as Republic of Italy requested the Supreme Court of India to direct the Union government to secure release of the two marines from Kerala and hand them over to the Italian government.

A bench of Justices Altamas Kabir, S S Nijjar and Ranjan Gogoi issued notices to the Centre and Kerala government, both of which had opposed the petition. Noting the seriousness of the issue presented before it, the bench posted the matter for further hearing on May 8.

Counsel for the Italian government, senior advocate Harish Salve said the domestic laws would have no play in the incident as the field was occupied by international conventions. He said, “The Italian government’s case is that no Indian law will apply. These are country to country actions governed by international conventions. We deal with Indian Republic and not with an Indian state.”

Salve the marines aboard Entric Lexie took action in the vessel’s security interest after a pirate alert was sounded. “If the incident happened because of the action of someone on official duty, Republic of Italy takes full responsibility.” He said Italian law grants immunity to such action taken for the security of a ship.

The bench asked how the Italian government could seek relief from under Indian Constitution, while challenging applicability of Indian law to the incident. “On one hand you say Indian law will not apply. If they don’t apply, how are you claiming their arrest to be violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution?”

Salve was quick with a reply: “Their arrest violates the rule of law principle and the Italian government’s petition is a tribute to the human rights jurisprudence incorporating international covenants developed by the Supreme Court of India.”

For the Union government, additional solicitor general Indira Jaising questioned the basis of the petition, where a foreign government sought enforcement of fundamental rights when this right was available only to individuals, irrespective of nationality.

The petitioner said the marines Latorre and Girone, who were arrested on February 19, were military naval officials in active service of the Italian government and the action taken by them was under the bona-fide belief that they were protecting the vessel from a pirate attack.

After the incident on February 15, the ship had sailed 38 nautical miles in the high seas when it received information by phone and e-mail from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, Mumbai, requesting it to turn back to Cochin Port to assist and identify suspected pirates who had been arrested.

“In good faith the vessel turned its course and came to Cochin port on February 16. The Master of the Vessel was under no obligation under law to change course but only agreed to do so as part of good faith effort to promote international cooperation in combating piracy,” Italy said.

It said, “The continued acquiescence of the Union of India to the unlawful arrest and detention of the two marines by the State of Kerala is in violation of the long standing customary international law principles of international comity and sovereign equality among states.”











Norway court gives custody of two Indian kids to their uncle

TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 01.15AM IST

NEW DELHI: Abhigyan (3) and Aishwarya (1) Bhattacharya will finally be able to return to their family in India after a Norwegian court ruled that their custody should be handed over to their uncle. This brings to a close to a family tragedy that grabbed headlines in India, disrupted ties between New Delhi and Oslo, and even took an intervention by the PM with his Norwegian counterpart.

As soon as the court ruled for removing the children to India, the MEA swung into action. Led by Balachandran from the Indian Embassy in Norway and other senior officials, the children, their Norwegian foster parents and their uncle were whisked out of Oslo on a commercial flight to India. This was also done because the Norway court ruling has prompted a number of other families to file similar cases, which might be disruptive for their system. Sources said the Indian action was intended to prevent a stay order by the court. The parents of the children, though, continue to remain in Norway.

In Madrid, where he is attending a meeting of Indian heads of missions, foreign minister S M Krishna congratulated the MEA officials for their “fantastic work”. Krishna has personally taken up this issue after CPM MP Brinda Karat drew his attention to it. All travel arrangements for the children and their attendants are being made by the Indian government.

In a press statement, the Norwegian authorities said, “The children’s parents and the Child Welfare Services (CWS) at the hearing on April 17. The court issued a ruling granting the application made jointly by the parties. This stated that the grounds for removing the children from the care of their parents were and continue to be present, but that it is no longer necessary for them to stay with a family in Norway as agreement has now been reached that the children are to grow up in the care of their uncle and will not be living with their parents.”

Gunnar Toresen, head of CWS, said, “On behalf of Stavanger municipality, I would like to thank the Indian authorities and the Norwegian ministry of foreign affairs for their help in finding a satisfactory solution to this case. Growing up in the care of their uncle in India is a good, long-term alternative for the children,” he said.

It was almost a year ago that the children were taken away from their parents, Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, because the Norwegian authorities believed them to be unfit parents and the Bhattacharyas lost custody of their children after they said the kids suffered from an emotional disconnect with the mother, that the children witnessed violence at home, along with having a father who was reportedly under-invested in the children and family.

After the Indian government intervened in December, 2011, and a series of meetings later, CWS agreed to hand over the children to their uncle in January. However, an agreement to give the children to their uncle on March 23 collapsed after Anurup burst out saying he was being beaten up by Sagarika, and he was going for a divorce. The revelations led the Norwegian authorities to keep the children until there was greater clarity.

It took another month of negotiations between all parties for the Bhattacharyas to get relief from the court, and the children to return to India.






Court stays TRB order

Express News Service

MADURAI: A single judge at the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has stayed an impugned order of the Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB) pertaining to a BA, B Ed graduate, after she filed a writ petition alleging that her name was unlawfully dropped from the seniority list of the government employment registry.
According to the petition filed by G Dhanalakshmi, she was given a priority certificate by the special tahsildar (adi-dravidar welfare) in 2004, after 4.5 hectares of her land at Usilampatti was acquired by the government to establish a burial ground for the adi-dravidars.
Subsequently, on April 30, 2010 she was called for a certificate verification process for the post for graduate assistant in Government Higher Secondary Schools, based on her seniority in the employment exchange. She was listed as the 32nd candidate for appointment of graduate assistants for the year 2010 and 2011 and her provisional selection was published in the TRB website, she told the court through her counsel, Arul Vadivel Sekar.
In October 2011, the chairman of TRB is said to have provisionally selected her for the post of graduate assistant and he reportedly received a copy of her appointment order in the last week of October 2011. On January 6, 2012 she also participated in a counselling session to select the district for her posting.
However, her name was not found in the seniority list in an order of the TRB issued on February 23, 2012, Dhanalakshmi alleged. In place of her name, the name of one Jeyamalar was included, she said, adding that this name was not listed in the seniority list for 2010-2011.
“I am already above forty years, and my chance of getting employment in the future is very remote. Deleting my name from the employment registration took away my legitimate right of getting employed in government service,” she said.
Justice K Venkataraman, on hearing the case ordered a notice to the TRB, apart from issuing an interim stay.








SC dismisses plea against Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh

IANS Apr 23, 2012, 08.12PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday dismissed a petition challenging the appointment of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as the next Indian Army chief.

Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh will succeed General V.K. Singh as the army chief when the latter demits office May 31.

An apex court bench of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice H.L. Gokhale, while dismissing the petition by Admiral (retd) Laxminarayan Ramdas and six others, said: “We don’t find any justifiable cause to invoke Article 32 of the constitution. The writ petition is accordingly dismissed.”

Justice Lodha asked: “Can a career of a person be put on stake merely on allegations?”

Before rejecting the petition, the court had perused the original files relating to the appointment of Lt. General Bikram Singh as the next army chief.

The judges said Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati placed before them the original files of the cabinet committee on appointments concerning the selection of General V.K. Singh’s successor.

“We have carefully gone through the averments and we do not find anything to warrant invoking Article 32 of the constitution,” said the court.

The court summoned the file related to the appointment of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as the next army chief as it wanted to know the procedure involved in selection of army chief.

After perusing the file, the court told Kamini Jaiswal, who appeared for petitioners, that Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh had been cleared on all counts related to allegations made by her clients and others.

One of the allegations was that his daughter-in-law was a Pakistani national before her marriage.

At this Jaiswal told the court that “this means that the report that has been placed before the appointing authority was misleading”.

Jaiswal described Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh’s appointment as “malafide”. It was manipulated from 2005 when General J.J. Singh was the army chief.

She said that Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh’s appointment should be scrutinised in the light of what the court said in a case related to the appointment of former Central Vigilance Commissioner P.J. Thomas.

As Jaiswal was told that the CVC was a statutory appointment which was not the case with the chief of army staff, she said that “even if statutory provisions are not there, can such a person facing allegations be made chief of army staff”.

She told the court that in order to promote Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh, when he was a brigadier, Brigadier Ravi Arora, who was a gold medalist, was denied promotion.

When Brigadier Arora moved a statutory complaint to challenge denial of promotion it was delayed for a long time and eventually dismissed.

The court was told that normally the statutory complaint was decided within three months. At this, the court said that Brigadier Arora and others did not pursue their grievance thereafter.

The petition filed by Jaiswal’s clients sought the reconsideration of the decision to appoint Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as the next army chief as a case was pending in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on his alleged involvement in a staged shootout death of a 70-year-old man in 2001. The victim was described as terrorist.

Jaiswal told the court that Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh had a low command level over his troops. She said that the court of inquiry was going on in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut city into the conduct of troops under his command in Congo under the UN peacekeeping mission.

She alleged his indecisiveness as general officer commanding-in-chief (GOC-in-C) 15 Corps resulted in a “stone throwing agitation” in Srinagar. During his current posting as GOC-in-C Eastern Command, almost all the funds at the command’s disposal were returned as unspent.

As Jaiswal made allegations against Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh, Justice Gokhale observed that this “amounted to maligning our armed forces”.

Justice Gokhale said that the shootout that had been referred to, witnessed a colonel and a jawan falling to the bullets of terrorists.

Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman told the court that even Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh was hit in the back and he had to be hospitalised for nearly two months.

“He was seriously injured in the ambush,” Vahanvati told the court.

As court described the incident as “unfortunate”, Jaiswal said that “unfortunate does not absolve him”.







Cost of destroying endosulfan puts govt in a quandary

Viju B, TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 03.40AM IST

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Supreme Court’s notice to the central government asking to come out with measures to dispose the banned pesticide endosulfan by June 23 has put state government in a quandary.

Kerala has been struggling to destroy around 1,500 litres endosulfan that is being currently stored in different godowns owned by Kasaragod Plantation Corporation following an order by the Supreme Court to ban the toxic pesticide.

Last year, the court, acting on a writ petition filed by the Democratic Youth Federation of India, had banned the production and sale of endosulfan in the country. It had directed the state and central government to freeze the production licences granted to manufacturers of endosulfan till further orders.

The court, but allowed the export of endosulfan to enable the manufacturers to meet their contractual obligations, even as it made it clear that the ban on production of the pesticide would continue.

The manufacturers of endosulfan claimed around 8,000 tonnes endosulfan stock is yet to be commercially used and is being stored in different godowns across the country. They said while the cost of manufacturing one kilo of endosulfan is Rs 300, but to destroy the same quantity it would cost around Rs 4,000.

Endosulfan was banned in Kerala seven years ago, after the central government issued a gazette notification withholding the use of endosulfan in the state, on the basis of reports of the National Institute of Occupational Health. It is estimated endosulfan was sprayed in 10,000 hectares of cashew crop in Kerala prior to the ban.

The Stockholm Convention, a global treaty to protect health and environment has also declared endosulfan as a persistent pollutant .

Last year, India joined the list of 73 countries that have banned the use of this pesticide.

Environmentalists point out that further studies need to be done to confirm whether large scale congenital deformities in Kasaragod district was due to excessive and unscientific use of endosulfan.

“We need to destroy the available stock of endosulfan using non-combustible technology that will not pollute the environment. The higher cost for using such technology should not be seen as a hindrance as there is a larger social and environmental cost involved here,” said C Jayakumar, trustee of Thanal, an environmental NGO which studied the endosulfan issue.









High Court Bench restrains police from arresting lawyer

He was accused of abusing Dalits by their caste nameThe Madras High Court Bench here on Monday restrained the police from arresting or harassing P. Rathinam, a 66-year-old lawyer, in connection with a criminal case registered against him by the Othakadai police near here on charges of abusing some Dalits by their caste name.

Justice D. Hariparanthaman passed the interim order pursuant to a writ petition filed and argued by the lawyer on the ground that a false complaint had been lodged against him though in reality he had been working to uplift the Dalits by fighting for their cause legally in courts.

According to the petitioner, he was whitewashing a wall outside the High Court premises on September 1, 2010 along with a Dalit lawyer named V. Murugan.

A few people belonging to the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) objected to it. It led to a clash between them.

Mr. Murugan lodged a police complaint with regard to the incident.

Later, a case was filed in the High Court Bench seeking a direction to register a case on the basis of the complaint. Disposing it of last month, Justice K.K. Sasidharan directed the police to register the case.

Subsequently, the police registered a case on the basis of Murugan’s complaint as well as counter case against him and Mr. Rathinam on the basis of a complaint lodged by the VCK cadres who alleged that the latter had abused them by their caste name.

Alleging that the complaint lodged against him was nothing but a bundle of lies, the petitioner sought for a direction to quash the FIR registered against him and Murugan besides an order to the State Government to pay adequate compensation to the Dalit lawyer.









Court imposes Rs. 1 lakh costs on petitioner for wasting its time

The Madras High Court on Monday imposed costs of Rs. 1 lakh on a person for wasting the court’s time by filing a petition that sought the removal of General V.K. Singh from the post of Chief of the Army Staff.

A Division Bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M. Venugopal dismissed as withdrawn a petition by S. Vishwa Murti, founder-chairman of an organisation called ‘Awareness on Anti-Corruption and Crime’. The petitioner had made various allegations against the Army Chief and said he had brought disrepute to the country.

The Bench said that when a question was put to the petitioner’s counsel regarding the principles enunciated by the Supreme Court in issuing a writ of quo warranto, he was unable to answer. [A writ of quo warranto is filed to remove someone from office by raising the question under what authority they continued to hold the post concerned].

Already a CBI probe is on into the charges made by the Army Chief that he was offered bribe.

quo warranto The Bench said the petitioner had not approached the court with clean hands and with bona fide intention. This was clear from his attitude of requesting the court to permit him to withdraw the writ petition after the court had heard both parties for two days. Further more, the petitioner’s counsel was unable to answer the court as to what made him seek such a writ without even understanding its nature and concept.

For wasting the court’s valuable time, the Bench said it was imposing costs of Rs. 1 lakh on the petitioner. The sum should be paid to the Madras Society for Protection of Children, Old Washermenpet in Chennai, within two weeks, failing which the District Collector should initiate revenue recovery proceedings against the petitioner.










J&K Bank issue: CIC to take final call tomorrow

Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times
Srinagar, April 23, 2012

Is J&K Bank a holy cow or a public authority? Finally, the full bench — the chief information commissioner and two commissioners — will decide on the contentious issue on Tuesday in Jammu.  The bank argues it does not come under the purview of the J-K Right to Information Act 2009 despite having the state government as 51% share holder.

The bank returned an RTI application last year of Sayeed Naseer-ullah Shah, a member of the Pensioners Welfare Association, seeking break up of vacancies generated in the bank for Class IV employees’ and clerk-cum-cashiers since 2002 to 2010.

The RTI application also sought the list of those selected against these posts. The application, however, touched a raw nerve by asking about “the manner in which recruitment was made” and “copies of advertisements”.

“We also sought information about the selection committee members,” said Shah.

The J&K Bank is the state’s leading bank and surpassed the business target of Rs. 85,000 crore in the FY 2011-12. With more than 548 branches, the bank is spread across 20 states and one union territory. The bank has become a major job provider in the state.

“During a workshop in Kashmir, former central chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said the bank comes under the purview of the Act,” said Shah.

The bank, however, argues that “J&K Bank Ltd is a company incorporated under the J-K Companies Act 1977 does not come under the purview of RTI Act 2009 in as much as it’s not public authority as defined by Section 2(f) of the Act”.

Shah, along with three petitioners, pleaded before the information commission’s office that the state government has 51% share in the bank and should be brought under the purview of the Act.

“All money in the bank is public money and as per the Act such companies have to abide by the Act,” said Shah.

The bank’s functioning, the petitioners allege, is monarchic. “It has becoming a holy cow and untouchable with no accountability or a sense of democratic structure,” they said.

The state’s oldest bank was founded on October 1, 1938 under letters patent issued by the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, and commenced business in 1939.

It was established as a semi-state bank with participation in capital by the state government and the public under the control of the government. But under the extension of Central laws to the state, the bank was defined as a government company as per the provisions of Indian companies act 1956.

Ever since the J-K RTI Act was enacted in the state, the successive chairmen of the bank opposed the idea of opening up to queries about its functioning.

The case is listed before the full bench for Tuesday in Jammu.










Disclose psychiatric info under RTI? Yes, says CIC; No, says HC;-no-says-hc/940662/0

Pritha Chatterjee : New Delhi, Tue Apr 24 2012, 02:53 hrs

Do psychiatry patients have the right to access records of their treatment? While the Central Information Commission (CIC) directed a mental health hospital to provide this information to a patient, the hospital has moved court citing confidentiality.

The Delhi High Court has given the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) a stay order against disclosing the information till the next hearing in September.

The case pertains to a 32-year-old married woman. She was admitted to IHABS in April 2011 by the hospital’s mobile health unit from her Gurgaon home, after her husband approached hospital with her “symptoms”.

According to Dr Nimesh Desai, director of IHBAS, “Confidentiality of psychiatric information — which includes all information disclosed by different parties related to the patient for treatment purposes — is a very fundamental concept. It is something every psychiatrist promises his interviewees verbally. Unfortunately, till date, India does not have a legal provision regarding this. The unique nature of this information — which includes historical information of the patient, his or her recollections, fantasies, feelings, fears and preoccupations from the past as well as in the present — distinguishes it from other medical records.”

The patient was discharged after four days and has since been staying with her mother in Bhopal. After her discharge, she filed an RTI seeking “the basis for my admission, doctor’s observation, and clinical examination reports, and doctor’s observation…”

Meanwhile, the patient’s husband, too, filed an RTI application, seeking the reasons of his wife’s discharge, “without my information.”

In both cases, IHBAS authorities stated that “the information sought was provided by the patient and her husband, which is sensitive/confidential in nature.”

“The need for discretion in disclosing psychiatric information is compounded in cases like this, where there is a possible marital discord and each seeks such history to use against the other,” Dr Desai said.

The December 2011 CIC order by Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi stated that while the hospital was exempted from disclosing treatment records to anyone other than the patient, “these precedents are not relevant when the information is being sought by the patient herself”.

Arguing against this, in their writ before the High Court, IHBAS said, “that every party disclosed information in confidentiality to the psychiatrist and the hospital should not give it away to anyone, including the patient.”

The disclosure of information contained in psychiatry case records would discourage the patients and their relatives to furnish personal and sensitive information and they would prefer to withhold such information, which would largely affect the treatment,” the writ stated.

Meanwhile, the patient’s family said they were “exploring legal options, on this violation of the CIC order.”









Legal glitch gives B S Yeddyurappa breathing time

TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 05.03AM IST

NEW DELHI/BANGALORE: The Supreme Court on Monday provided minor relief to former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa , after it refused to entertain a plea to withdraw the special leave petition (SLP ) pending before a bench against the beleaguered leader.

The Supreme Court bench found no merit in the plea of a senior counsel to withdraw the SLP against the Karnataka High Court judgment of March 7, quashing bribery charges against Yeddyurappa . JD(S) leader Vishwanath , a resident of Ramanagaram , had filed the SLP recently in this connection.

“What prompted you to withdraw the SLP ? Why was the precious time of the court wasted ?” the Bench asked , directing the petitioner to file an affidavit justifying reasons for withdrawal , and posted the case for Monday .Thiswill providethe much-needed relief to Yeddyurappa , as the green bench of the apex court may not immediately consider the recommendation of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) for a CBI probe into graft charges against the former CM, in the multi-crore-rupee mining scam in the state , till the SLP filed by Vishwanath is settled.

On April 20, the special bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia had withheld its order for the same reason . As the SLP was before another bench , it felt it might not be proper to consider the CEC report at this stage . To avoid a delay in the disposition of the case pending before the green bench , Vishwanath reportedly decidedtowithdrawthe case and make way for an early decision by the Supreme Court on the CEC’s recommendations , when the case comes up for hearing on Friday.

Yeddyurappa’s counsel Prabhulinga saiditisdifficultfor the green benchtodraw any conclusion till the other bench decides the case , as both are similar in nature . “The recommendations made by the CEC on bribery charges against Yeddyurappa are out of its jurisdiction , as the matter had already been settled by the Karnataka high court . We will explain all these factors when we make a detailed submission on behalf of BS Yeddyurappa in a day or two, to convince the court why his case does not merit a CBI probe ,” he added.


JSW Steel Limited has decided to contest the CEC report, which recommended a probe into donations allegedly paid by the firm to a trust owned by Yeddyurappa’s kin. “The reports are not based on any order of the Supreme Court. The company will file its objections on the CEC report before the Supreme Court and contest its recommendations at an appropriate time,” JSW officials said. TNN









Court acquits man accused of offering tea mixed with sedative

PTI | 02:04 PM,Apr 23,2012

New Delhi, Apr 23 (PTI) A man accused of offering doped tea to a boy to rob him of his belongings has been let off by a Delhi court due to the prosecution failure to prove his guilt. Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Pawan Kumar Jain acquitted Sultanpuri resident Zaffar Alam, arrested in February 2011 for offering a cup of tea, allegedly mixed with a stupefying drug in it, to the boy to steal his belongings. While acquitting Alam, the court said there is no evidence on record to establish that the accused had made any attempt to administer stupefying substance to the boy in the tea. The prosecution had alleged the victim had lodged a case with the police that on February 27, 2011 in Paharganj area of Central Delhi, where he had gone for a work, accused Alam developed intimacy with him and offered a cup of tea to him. “After taking a sip of the tea, he found it tasteless, consequently he spit the same and after seeing the police official, he informed them that accused had made an attempt to administer some stupefying substance to him in order to steal his belongings,” the prosecution said. On search, a strip of seven tablets of Ativin, an anti-depressant sedative, was recovered from Alam’s possession and he was arrested, the prosecution said. “From the complainant’s testimony, it is also clear that no article was stolen by the accused. Though from the testimony of witnesses examined by the prosecution, it is clear that the tablets of Ativin were recovered from the possession of accused but mere fact that same were recovered from his possession is not sufficient to prove Alam’s guilt,” the court said. The court added that “the prosecution has miserably failed to prove the guilt of accused Alam.”









Anticipatory bail for ACP after court doubts rape angle

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, April 24, 2012

The Bombay high court on Monday granted anticipatory bail to assistant commissioner of police Anil Mahabole who was suspended by home minister RR Patil last week after a middle-aged married woman filed a complaint of sexual misconduct against him.  The court observed that prima facie it did not feel this was a case of rape.

Mahabole had secured interim protection last week from the high court after failing to get any relief from the sessions court.

After going through the reports and the letter of the complainant to the police commissioner which was treated as a FIR, justice Abhay Thipsay observed that nowhere a case has been made out for rape. “I don’t find any allegation of rape other than a case of sexual exploitation,” the judge said.

Following the court’s query on whether Mahabole has been interrogated so far, his lawyer Rohini Wagh stated that he had visited the crime branch on Saturday.

Additional public prosecutor Rajshree Gadhvi submitted that the investigation is going on and added that Mahabole is yet to surrender some of his mobile phones and SIM cards.

Wagh, however, countered that Mahabole’s three mobile phones and SIM cards have been deposited with the investigating agency.

She also pointed out that the complainant was in the habit of lodging such complaints and gave instances where the complainant had filed such cases against a policeman and a jeweller.

The court also wanted to know whether Mahabole has been suspended from his post of assistant commissioner of police. Wagh said that they have come to know about it from media reports, but he is yet to receive an official communication in this regard.

The court finally held that this is a fit case for granting interim protection while the investigation is going on and directed Mahabole to visit the crime branch on a daily basis till the next hearing on April 30.

The judge also said that in the event Mahabole is arrested, he should be released on a cash bail of Rs30,000.

Mahabole has been in the dock after the Azad Maidan police registered a case of rape against him. The complainant had alleged that Mahabole raped and blackmailed her after allegedly drugging her. The complainant claims that Mahabole allegedly shot a video of her in a compromising position to blackmail her.









Woman teacher denied bail in boy abduction case

PTI | 09:04 PM,Apr 23,2012

Chennai, Apr 23 (PTI): A sessions court here today denied bail to a woman teacher, charged with kidnapping a minor boy studying in the school here in which she was employed. Dismissing a bail application filed by the teacher, Principal Sessions Judge P Kalaiarasan said ‘it appears that the petitioner, who is a teacher aged 35 years exploited a 17-year-old adolescent boy, studying under her taking advantage of proximity to him’. Her actions, the Judge said, prima facie fell within the ambit of IPC section 365 (kidnapping or abducting with the intent to secretely and wrongfully confine a person) ‘as she by deceitful means induced the adolescent boy and took him from Chennai to Gurgaon and kept him secretely. The petitioner forgetting her noble profession exploited her own student for her ‘lust’. The Judge said the investigation was still going on and hence the court was not inclined to enlarge the woman on bail. According to the boy’s father, his son had gone to the school on March 4 to attend practical class and since then dissapeared. Opposing the bail plea, city public prosecutor M L Jagan charged the teacher with abducting the plus one student and taking him to Delhi. Pleading for bail on the ground that she had been in custody for the past 36 days and that she was innocent of the charge against her, the teacher’s counsel claimed that the boy had gone with his client voluntarily. He also claimed that the boy was not a minor. After the boy was brought back to the city, he was handed over to his father by the Madras High Court in the first week of April following a Habeas Corpus Petition.









High court dismisses PIL against Representation of People’s Act

TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 06.52AM IST

PATNA: The Patna high court on Monday dismissed a PIL filed seeking court’s intervention for stay on election to any parliamentary constituency of a person if he or she does not belong to that particular constituency.

The order was passed by a division bench of the court, comprising Justice T Meena Kumari and Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh, on a PIL filed by Dilip Kumar Mishra.

The court while dismissing the petition said that the provisions of Representation of People’s Act makes it clear that a person who is a voter can stand for election to any parliamentary constituency.

The court said that the person should be an elector and it does not indicate in any way that he or she should be the elector of that particular constituency.

The court cited the Section 4 (d) of this Act which clearly states that the person who is an elector for any parliamentary constituency is qualified to become Member of Parliament.

Directive to Saran DM: The same bench on Monday, while hearing a PIL filed by one Lalan Prasad Yadav, directed the Saran DM to take action against illegal brick-kilns running in the district. The court had earlier directed the DM to submit a report in this regard which was complied with. The DM, in his report, stated that action was taken against some brick-kilns which were demolished on the court’s order and that more action would be taken against the violators.










Supreme sense

The Indian Express : Tue Apr 24 2012, 03:06 hrs

PIL against Lt Gen Bikram Singh alleged a Sikh plot. SC was right to throw it out

The Supreme Court’s dismissal of the public interest litigation that sought to quash the elevation of Lieutenant-General Bikram Singh as the next army chief must bring some sober reflection in a runaway public debate. The traditional calm in what’s been termed civil-military relations has been rudely disturbed. First, a chasm opened up between the government and outgoing army chief V.K. Singh over his date of birth. This was followed by the army chief’s unprecedented act of taking the government to court, his public claim that he was offered a bribe, and the clanging of alarmist bells over the army’s obsolescence. The PIL against the elevation of Lt Gen Singh by several eminent persons, including retired naval chief Admiral L. Ramdas and former CEC N. Gopalaswami, was part of this unfortunate series — it alleged that Lt Gen Singh’s appointment was manipulated on personal and political considerations and, effectively, sought to reopen the date of birth row. Most disquietingly, it suggested that Lt Gen Bikram Singh’s elevation was part of a communally engineered line of succession. The court’s refusal to dignify these charges is a message: the poise and dignity of the relationship between the government and the army needs to be restored as does the army’s ease with itself.

The succession of an army chief is a non-controversial, apolitical event. It has happened by rote ceremony and ritual. India takes the army’s secular, non-sectarian ethos for granted. Even as the polity has been churned by political movements based on caste and religious identity, the army is perceived to be, and has been a parallel universe where narrow loyalties are subsumed, without friction, in an overarching allegiance to the nation. The petition against Lt Gen Singh’s elevation did not just do great disservice to this principle but also sought to prop up an artificial spectre of Sikh officers versus the rest.

By insinuating a Sikh conspiracy to wrest the chief’s post — the PIL alleged “langar talk” and claimed the SGPC played a role in the appointment of former army general (retd) J.J. Singh — the petition trod on sensitive ground. It has taken time but India has tried hard to lay the ghosts of 1984 to rest. The misdirected enthusiasms — or outright mischief — of some highly placed and out-of-work petitioners threatened to test this. The Supreme Court has done the right thing by treating the petition with the contempt it deserved.









Govt aiding illegal encroachments in water bodies: HC

Abhinav Sharma, TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 01.16AM IST

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan High Court on Monday came down heavily on the state government over illegal allotments and encroachments in the catchment area of water bodies in the state, saying the government was encouraging such illegality with active aide of its officials. The harsh criticism came soon after the government moved an application demanding that the PIL related to encroachments of water bodies shall be heard by a division bench when the court was about to pronouncement its judgment after several months of hearing.

“There seems to be no intention on the part of the government to deal with the problem of water crisis and officials including the chief secretary are totally irresponsible and have failed to take any action in the past eight months. This shows how the state’s claim on seriously handling the ever-persistent problem of potable water in Rajasthan is nothing more than a mirage,” said Justice M N Bhandari. The single judge bench, which has been hearing a PIL demanding restoration of water bodies for the past several months, was expected to pronounce its judgment on Monday.

However, soon after the court took up the hearing in the morning, the state government moved an application requesting that the matter shall be heard by a division bench as the issue is of larger public interest. This was strongly opposed by the members of court-appointed monitoring committee.

“The state government had time and again assured this court that they would take appropriate steps against encroachments. Even the chief secretary who appeared before the court in March along with other principal secretaries had given an undertaking that the government would itself take a conscious decision to see that the water bodies in the state are restored to their original shapes and dimensions as per law. Now, the government’s application that the matter be heard by a division bench when the judgment was to be pronounced is contemptuous,” contended senior advocate Virendra Dangi, a member of the monitoring committee.

Justice M N Bhandari then directed chief secretary C K Mathew to appear in person, who soon arrived in the court. The bench asked Mathew to explain as to why contempt proceedings shall not be taken against him and other principal secretaries who had earlier appeared along with him and wasted court’s time.

“We know the design behind such applications. It is clear that the government machinery is being misused by a few. There seems to be no seriousness towards the issue of consistent droughts and scarcity of potable water and encroachment in water bodies. Not only illegal allotments have been made, but those were regularized by the government itself in river beds, ponds, dams and catchment areas of such bodies,” observed Justice Bhandari.

Earlier, the state government in an affidavit filed in the court had confessed that the catchment areas of rivers, dams and other water bodies have not only been illegally allotted but also regularised against the law. However, the officials had taken a view that in case the original status of all the water bodies — as it existed in 1947– is restored, it will create law and order problem. As such, the court’s order would be complied effective from 2004 when a judgment to that effect was delivered.

Dangi brought to the notice of the court that Section 16 of Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955, bars allotment of any land of water bodies to any private persons.

The bench asked Mathew, “What action did you take pursuant to the undertaking given on March 23. What action has been taken against the erring officials and where is the list of their names?”

“We held one meeting thereafter. We came to know that as per the rules, the matter is required to be heard by a division bench. As such, we moved the application and held no meeting. We haven’t prepared any list of officers as required and undertaken by me,” told Mathew.

Reprimanding Mathew, the bench then sought a direction on the issue from the Chief Justice with a clear note on the conduct of the state government.








Writ petition in SC against HC order on Kalighat temple

Express news service : Kolkata, Tue Apr 24 2012, 07:09 hrs

The All India Legal Aid Forum on Monday filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the order of the Calcutta High Court banning the entry of the visitors inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Kali Temple at Kalighat. On Friday, a Division Bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice Jaynarayan Patel gave the order citing security reason. Only the two priest of the temple have been allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum for performing pujas. Joydeep Mukherjee, general secretary of the forum said that the High Court cannot issue such ruling on religious places. Kalighat Kali Temple is one of the 51 Kali temples in India, which are considered as “Shakti Peeth”.







Resolve water crisis by June: HC to govt

TNN Apr 23, 2012, 10.46PM IST

RANCHI: Hearing two public interest litigations filed for non-completion of water supply projects in Pakur and Sahibganj districts, the Jharkhand high court on Monday directed the chief secretary to hold talks with his West Bengal counterpart, Eastern Railway authorities and the Union surface transport department to resolve the crisis by June 12.

The division bench of the court comprising Chief Justice Prakash Tantia and Justice Aparesh Kumar directed officials of the state government to file a reply about the progress in the project by June 25.

Petitioner Neeta Pandey for Pakur and Sidheshwar Mandal for Sahebgunj sought intervention of the court in the matter of water supply system pending in the districts for long despite the fact that government had spent a huge sum in preparing the DPR, plan and other additional work.

Appearing on behalf of the state government, drinking water and sanitation department secretary Sudhir Prasad said the responsibility for completion of the water supply projects in both these districts had been given to one Doshin Valley Water Solutions.

“The company is likely to complete its work by 2014 in Pakur and by March 2013 in Sahebganj,” he informed the court.

Counsel of the petitioner Rajiv Sharma said in operationalizing pump house, availability of power supply was a major concern.

“While water is to be obtained from the Farakka reservoir according to the project plan, the West Bengal government has to supply power for the purpose. Understanding involvement of the two states and other departments, the court has directed the state government to hold talks and resolve the issues at earliest possibility,” he said.








SC refuses to stay HC order to release Cyprus ship

Express news service : New Delhi, Tue Apr 24 2012, 00:05 hrs

The government’s plan to eventually auction a Cyprus ship to recover the over Rs 1,000-crore loss it caused by a collision with an Indian war vessel ship did not pass muster with the Supreme Court on Monday.

The government had on Saturday urgently moved the Supreme Court after a Bombay High Court order to release it.

A Bench of Justices H L Dattu and C K Prasad had, however, criticised the government for waking up at the last minute, and posted the case for hearing on Monday.

Refusing to buy the government’s plan to recover the loss, the court said “we wonder how vigilant you are that your naval ship has been hit by a merchant ship”.

Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising argued that the loss to the Indian government was phenomenal and the lost naval ship was “one of its kind” in the Navy.

“And so we have lost even that one ship,” the Bench replied, declining to intervene in the HC order.








HC direction to TN govt on belated terminal benefits

PTI | 06:04 PM,Apr 23,2012

Madurai,Apr23(PTI) The Madurai Bench of the Madras High court today directed the Tamil Nadu government to pay 10 per cent interest on retirement benefits settled belatedly for an official even after dropping disciplinary action against him in 2009 and allowing him to retire from service. Justice D.Hariparanthaman said “since the disciplinary action against the petitioner has been dropped on October 13, 2009,he is entitled to interest for belated terminal benefits.” The Judge said the interest on terminal benefits should be paid within four weeks. The Petitioner S.Kumarasamy submitted that he was working as Assistant Commissioner of the Tirunelveli Corporation.He was issued a charge memo for indiscipline on May 15,2007.But he was allowed to retire. Then the charges were dropped by a government order on October 13,2009.His terminal benefits were settled,without any interest from May 2007, on April 1,2010, it was contended. Hence,he should be paid interest on the belated settlement on all the terminal benefits.









Prima facie no case of rape: HC

Shibu Thomas, TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 02.24AM IST

MUMBAI: Dealing a big blow to the Mumbai police, which had booked one of its own, assistant commissioners of police Anil Mahabole, in a rape case, the Bombay high court on Monday observed that “prima facie” no case of rape had been made out.

“Prima facie, it does not look like a case of rape,” said Justice A M Thipsay. “It seems to be a case of an illicit relationship. It may be wrong on moral grounds but we are not here to punish someone for that.”

The court took on record a report of an inquiry conducted by the police. “It seems like they had some kind of relationship. This court does not believe the allegation of rape,” said the judge.

Justice Thispay granted Mahabole an interim anticipatory bail of Rs 30,000 and a surety of the same amount. “A case for interim protection is made out,” said the judge. The court told Mahabole to appear before the investigation officer for questioning every day. Observing that it was not desirable to finally decide on the anticipatory bail application, the court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on April 30.

Additional public prosecutor Rajshree Gadhvi told the court that investigations in the case were on.

The police had registered an FIR against Mahabole last week and booked him for raping a middle-aged woman. The victim had alleged that the ACP had visited her residence a few months ago and offered her sweets. She lost consciousness after consuming the sweets, she claimed. When she regained consciousness, Mahabole allegedly showed her an MMS clip in which she was seen in a compromising position with her. In her complaint she said that Mahabole had repeatedly raped her by threatening to make the video clip public.

Mahabole refuted the allegations and claimed that the woman had been blackmailing him and had sent him threatening messages

. The police had conducted an inquiry in the matter after which they registered an FIR.












HC sets aside appointments of more than 100 principals in UP

PTI | 09:04 PM,Apr 23,2012

Allahabad, Apr 23 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court today struck down over 100 appointments to posts of principals in PG and degree colleges across Uttar Pradesh which had been challenged as being “improper and arbitrary”, and directed the state to “frame appropriate guidelines” for filling up the posts which fall vacant. A Division Bench comprising justices Ashok Bhushan and Sunita Agrawal passed the order on a bunch of writ petitions filed by Karuna Nidhan Upadhyay and others who had challenged a total of 156 appointments vide selection lists dated May 15, 2007, June 30, 2008 and July 02, 2008. The petitioners had claimed that the members of Higher Education Services Commission “at the relevant time were not qualified to be appointed as members or to hold selection of principals”. Besides, the petitioners had alleged, that the selection was based on “an interview having 300 marks without giving any credit to academic qualifications and experience” and that no criteria was fixed for conducting the interview either. “Conduct of selection only on the basis of viva-voce test without any criteria for conduct of viva-voce test leads to an improper and arbitrary selection. The viva-voce test does not afford the proper criteria for assessment of suitability of the candidates and it is highly subjective, which is capable of abuse because it leaves scope for favouritism and nepotism”, the petitioners had alleged. Moreover, the petitioners alleged, “the entire selection process by the Commission was tainted with nepotism and favouritism which is fortified from the fact that several candidates who did not fulfil the minimum eligibility had been called to appear in the interview for the posts of principals of post graduate colleges and degree colleges and were actually selected… they were not having the qualifications and the experience but still were called to appear, which clearly proves that the Commission proceeded to select the candidates due to extraneous considerations”. The court, while allowing the petitions, directed the Commission to “frame appropriate guidelines for conduct of interview” and take “early steps for filling the vacant posts of principals of post-graduate/degree colleges in accordance with law”.











HC directs IOB to give educational loan to farmer’s daughter

PTI | 12:04 AM,Apr 24,2012

Madurai, Apr 23 (PTI) The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court today directed a nationalised bank to provide educational loan to a farmer’s daughter studying engineering in a private college. Justice D Hariparanthaman, passing orders on a petition by the farmer, flayed Indian Overseas Bank for making the petitioner run from pillar to post. He directed the bank to provide loan for the student in three weeks time. G S Jeya Ganesan of Ramanathapuram in his petition submitted IOB’s Thenmalai branch Manager refused to give the loan application despite him making three visits and instead asked him in January last to avail the loan from second year. Ganesan said his daugther was doing first year BE in Coimbatore-based United Institute of Technology. He was the sole bread winner of the family. Being a farmer did not help him meet both the ends and therefore spending Rs 4,44,000 for his daughter’s education was a huge expenditure, he added. A representation he sent to the Regional Manager of IOB, Tirunelveli District, was not considered he said. PTI SSN VS









HC directs SP to file status report in boy missing case

PTI | 12:04 AM,Apr 24,2012

Chennai, Apr 23 (PTI): Expressing dissatisfaction over the steps taken by police to trace a minor boy of Hosur missing since October 15 last, Madras High Court today directed the Kishnagiri District Superintendent of Police to monitor the investigation and file a status report on June 7. ‘We are dissatisfied with the steps taken by the first respondent (SIPCOT police station, Hosur) to trace the minor boy’, a Division Bench comprising Justices C Nagappan and P Devadass said while hearing a Habeas Corpus Petition, filed by Sushil Mandal, the father of the boy. According to Mandal,hailing from West Bengal and working for a private granite company at Hosur, though he reported to the police about the disappearance of his son on October 16, an FIR was registered only two days later. He submitted that while going through the mobile phone and school bag of his son, he realised the boy had developed a close friendship with the daughter of a woman, who was tutoring him for the last two years. Hence he suspected that the girl’s family could be behind his son’s disappearance. He claimed that when he insisted police enquire with the girl’s father, he was told it was better not to act against him as he was in a powerful post. He said he had approached the district collector and even the Chief Minister’s Grievance Cell to no avail.










HC absolves Dawood’s aide of MCOCA charges

Last Updated: Monday, April 23, 2012, 22:23

New Delhi: Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s alleged aide Khalil Ahmed, accused of attempting to extort money from a trader here, was on Monday acquitted by the Delhi High Court of the charges under stringent anti-organized crime law MCOCA.

Upholding the trial court’s order absolving Khalil of the charges for allegedly running an organised crime syndicate under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA), Justice Suresh Kait dismissed an appeal filed by the state against the judgement of the Special Judge.

The court rejected the prosecution’s argument that Khalil, who was arrested by Delhi police in 2009 at South Delhi here on the complaint of a city-based businessman, was wanted in 34 other criminal cases for offences of extortion, murder, dacoity, kidnapping, assault, intimidation and attempt to murder and hence MCOCA should be invoked against him.

Police also said the accused kept changing his associates in each case.

“The offence under the MCOCA must comprise continuing unlawful activity relating to organized crime undertaken by an individual singly or jointly, either as a member of the organized crime syndicate or on behalf of such syndicate by use of coercive or other unlawful means with the objective of gaining pecuniary benefits or gaining undue economic or other advantage for himself or for any other person or for promoting insurgency,” Justice Kait said.

“In the case in hand, to satisfy the condition of Section 2(d) of the Act, the prosecution has relied upon a list of 34 criminal cases which are filed against the respondent during the period 1985 to 2009. These 34 cases include present one.

The prosecution failed to ascertain whether the offences committed therein was related to organized crime or not,” the court said.









HC is last hope for patient awaiting kidney transplant

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Tue Apr 24 2012, 02:57 hrs

On a ventilator for more than a week now, judiciary remains the last hope for Praveen Begum, awaiting a kidney transplant. Her niece had come forward to donate her kidney to Begum. All formalities were completed and the transplant was found to be medically compatible. This prospect received a jolt when the authorisation committee for human organ transplant at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital rejected her plea.

The committee questioned her husband’s reluctance to be a donor. While declining her request on April 5, it underlined the difference between the financial status of Begum and her niece, suggesting the donation could involve monetary favours.

With no alternative left, Begum and her niece moved Delhi High Court on Monday and seeking to quash the committee’s order.

“When all authorities in Uttar Pradesh, where her niece stayed, gave the NOCs , why should the committee question irrelevant facts? Her niece is a ‘near relative’ under the law,” said Begum’s counsel Vikas Pahwa and advocate B Badrinath.

Appreciating the urgency of the matter, Justice Sanghi called upon Najmi Waziri, standing counsel for Delhi government, to assist the court.

Waziri apprised him that since Delhi was a Union Territory, the appropriate authority to take a final call was the Director General of Health Services (DGHS).

The court issued a notice to the counsel for the Central government and asked the hospital to put all the relevant records concerning Begum before the DGHS by 11 am on Tuesday morning.

“This matter brooks no delay. It is a matter of petitioner’s life and death. If she is entitled to a transplant, she should get it in time,” said Justice Sanghi, while directing the DGHS to decide Begum’s plea within two days.










HC orders interest on retirement benefits

TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 07.37AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to pay an official 10 per cent interest on retirement benefits which were settled belatedly. The court also ordered dropping of charges against him and allowed him to retire from service.

The petitioner, S Kumarasamy, said he had been working as an assistant commissioner of Tirunelveli corporation when he was issued a memo under Section 17 (b) on May 15, 2007. But, he was allowed to retire. Then the charges against him were dropped by a government order on October 13, 2009. His terminal benefits were settled without any interest from May 2007 on April 1, 2010. He prayed that he be paid interest for the belated settlement of his benefits. Justice D Hariparanthaman before whom the petition came up for hearing said that since the disciplinary proceedings were dropped on October 2009, he was entitled to interest on his terminal benefits and that the same should be paid within four weeks.










HC sends custodial torture victim to hospital

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has come to the rescue of a custodial torture victim by ordering treatment for his injuries in a private super-specialty hospital.

Justice K Chandru, who gave the direction, made it clear that it was only an interim arrangement and the question as to who should pay for the medical treatment would be decided later.

C Dhanasekaran was arrested by the New Washermenpet police and admitted in the Government Royapettah Hospital on March 16. The police claimed that he had suffered fractures in a fall from a 40 feet high building. The victim’s teeth were broken, lips torn and legs found fractured.

When his sister Chitra approached the High Court seeking better treatment for her brother, Justice Chandru put a specific question to the government advocate asking how exactly Dhanasekaran sustained the injuries.

In this regard, he pointed out that Chitra had made a detailed description of the circumstances and the manner in which her brother had suffered the injuries.

Giving an insight into the torture techniques of the city police, Chitra said her brother’s legs were wrapped with wet gunny bags and tied with ropes before being beaten with casuarina logs. Two police personnel stretched his legs and stood on his knee and ankle joints. He was hit with the butt of rifles, leaving him with broken teeth and torn lips.

While all this was being done, Dhanasekaran was kept gagged with cotton. “He was denied even the privilege of crying out in pain,” Chitra alleged.

To verify her claims, the judge had directed advocate V Lakshmi Narayanan to meet Dhanasekaran in the hospital, where he was given treatment initially, and recorded his first-hand narration.

The advocate inspected the victim and filed a report, which more or less tallied with the averments of Chitra’s allegations. Convinced that Dhanasekaran had been subjected to custodial torture, the judge referred him to the private hospital and posted the matter to April 25 for further orders.









Haryana govt, police receive HC notice over toll tax collection

TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 07.39AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Acting on an application filed by the Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity Ltd (DGSCL), concessionaire of Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, alleging Haryana cops of allowing vehicles to pass without payment of the toll, Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday put the Haryana police and the state government on notice, seeking their response on the contentions raised by the concessionaire.

In its application, the DGSCL has sought directions to the Haryana government and police authorities “restraining the police officers from opening the boom barrier illegally and forcibly, and allowing vehicles to pass without paying any toll”.

The concessionaire has also sought directions to facilitate it “in the implementation of the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway project by providing dedicated police teams to assist in the collection of lawfully authorized toll, to ensure safety and security of life and property, and to regulate the traffic at the toll plazas.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the Gurgaon traffic police were forcibly closing the toll operations and facilitating toll leakage by allowing vehicles to flout the statutory rules and pass without payment of the toll fee at the booths, causing a cumulative loss in excess of Rs 4,00,000 till date.

While submitting that the high court, in its February 8, 2012 order, had observed that the traffic police were not allowed to open the boom barriers, allowing the commuters to pass the through toll plaza without paying the toll fee, the DGSL alleged that every day traffic cops have been brazenly showing its contempt to the court’s order by continuing to open the boom barriers and allowing vehicles to pass the KM-24 toll plaza at Gurgaon without payment of the toll fee. The high court has now fixed May 2 as the next date of hearing for the case.











CPI-ML(Liberation) sit-in to protest HC order

Last Updated: Monday, April 23, 2012, 17:14

Patna: CPI-ML (Liberation) Monday held a sit-in demonstration at Kargil Chowk here to protest the recent Patna High Court order acquitting all 23 persons convicted in the Bathani Tola carnage in Bihar’s Bhojpur district.

Party activists led by its central committee member K D Yadav and state secretary Kunal staged the sit-in demonstration at the Kargil chowk here during the day.

State CPI-M Secretary Vijay Kant Thakur and Forward Bloc leaders were also present.

Talking to reporters, Yadav and Kunal described as “an eyewash” the Nitish Kumar government’s announcement to move Supreme Court against the High Court order.

Lambasting the Nitish Kumar government for ‘patronising feudal and criminal elements,’ CPI-ML(Liberation) leaders said Supreme Court should take cognisance of 1996 Bathani Tola carnage case in which Patna High Court had set aside death sentence to three persons.

The HC had lst week set aside death sentence to three and life imprisonment to 20 others after a division bench of Justices Navniti Prasad Singh and Ashwini Kumar Singh allowed appeals against the conviction order of Bhojpur court on the ground that the prosecution failed to prove the involvement of the appellants in the crime beyond reasonable doubt.

The Bhojpur court had on May 3 convicted and sentenced three persons to death and 20 others to life imprisonment for the carnage in which 21 dalits were killed allegedly by the Ranvir Sena on July 11, 1996 at Bathani Tola in Bhojpur district.



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