HC seeks report on pending warrants

Mumbai, April 23 Alarmed with the huge number of pending non-bailable warrants in the state, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the district and sessions judges to have a monthly meeting with the respective police chiefs and superintendents of police and file a report within three months.
Advocate General Ravi Kadam assured the court that a mechanism will be devised to reduce the number of pending warrants. The court directed that meetings to be conducted and execution of warrants be monitored in districts.
On Tuesday, the Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor held a meeting with Kadam, public prosecutor Satish Borulkar, Additional Director General of Police Rashmi Shukla and Principal Secretary (Home) P Subramaniam in this regard.
The move has come after the court noticed earlier this month that a whopping 4,71,451 non-bailable warrants are pending with the police across Maharashtra with Mumbai alone accounting for 89,914 of those.
A division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice A P Deshpande on April 9 had directed Kadam to assist the court to “evolve a mechanism” which would reduce the time in execution of warrants issued by courts. The court had observed that this is very alarming and “in such situation it would be difficult for magistrates and sessions judges to dispose of matter expeditiously.”
“This problem needs to be addressed jointly by the judiciary and the executive,” the court had observed.
In February, the court had issued a direction to the Registrar General of the HC asking to know the number of warrants issued by various district and magistrates’ courts in the state that were yet to be executed by the police. As per an updated list submitted this month by M L Tahiliyani, registrar (inspection), there are 89,914 pending warrants in Mumbai, followed by Pune with 45,347 and Yavatmal with 37,423 pendings warrants.
The court’s direction came while hearing a petition filed by Mazgaon-resident Sheriar Patel who had filed a petition in 1995 alleging a petroleum adulteration racket run by a local hotel owner Parmanand Thakur. The police had stated that Thakur had secured bail while three out of the ten accused were absconding.
On February 6, the court was told that the NBWs issued against the absconding accused were still pending. The case will come up for hearing on July 30.
Express news service
Posted online: Thursday , April 24, 2008 at 01:26:49Updated: Thursday , April 24, 2008 at 01:26:49


HC quashes charge against Shilpa Shetty

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday quashed the case against actors Shilpa Shetty and Reema Sen, relating to publication of their ‘obscene and lascivious’ photographs in a Tamil eveninger. Justice S Nagamuthu, however, directed the trial court to proceed against the publisher. In his orders, Justice Nagamuthu said there was no prima-facie material to show that that the actors were in any way involved in the publication of their photographs and hence the judicial magistrate ought not to have issued summons to the actors at all. In 2006, T Dakshinamurthy, an advocate from Madurai, filed in the judicial magistrate-II against the Tamil eveninger and the two actors under the provisions of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act and Young Persons (Harmful Publication) Act. The lawyer contended that the newspaper had published ‘obscene and lascivious pictures’ of these two actors on different dates between December 26, 2006 and February 6, 2006. He said the pictures were “third-rate publications which would promote crime against women and unhealthy social trend.” He wanted the court to order legal action against the three. However, as the actors did not appear before the magistrate, he issued non-bailable warrants against them. The actors moved the Madurai bench for the quashing of the case. In the high court, petitioner’s counsel, W Peter Ramesh Kumar argued that once non-bailable warrants were issued, the case could not be quashed. Justice Nagamuthu observed, “no one is above law and so the actors should have appeared before the magistrate or made an alternative arrangement to dispense with their personal appearance. Their failure to do so cannot be appreciated.” “But, at the same time, when they have come to the court with a plea that the case is baseless, the court cannot shut the doors of justice on a technical ground that non-bailable warrants were pending against them,” the judge said, adding that there was no prima facie evidence to prove that the actors were involved in the publication of the photos. “There may be a prima-facie case against the first accused (the publisher). Hence, it is made clear that the trial court may proceed with the trial against the first accused.
24 Apr 2008, 0408 hrs IST , TNN

Madras HC asks TN Govt to stop quarrying in hill station

Chennai, April 24: Madras High Court today directed the Tamil Nadu Government to stop all illegal quarrying and mining activities in the hill station of Udhagamandalam.
The First Bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Ms Justice Prabha Sridevan directed the Regional Transport Officer,Ooty to prevent all JCPs,tipper lorries and heavy vehicles from transporting rocks,blue metal or any other mining materials without valid permit.
Such JCPs,tipper lorries and heavy vehicles used in illegal transportation of such material as also explosives used for blasting operations should be seized.
The court gave the direction following a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Advocate and Managing Trustee of ‘In Defence of Environment and Animals, Mr G Rajendran.
In his PIL, Mr Rajendran submitted illegal mining and quarrying in the hill station was going on in several places.
Mining and other non-forestry activities would definitely affect the environment and the ecology. These unscrupulous persons were exploiting the natural resources for minting money thereby cheating the future generation.
Such mining operations in hill areas should not be allowed and they should be stopped immediately.
The petitioner further submitted the District Collector,Ooty issued a notice in February 24, 1999 to all Municipal Commissioners, Town Panjayat EOs and Panchayat Presidents to ban the use of heavy vehicles for levelling the land. But subordinate officials did not follow the order of the collector, he contended.
The Bench also directed the District Forest Officer, Deputy Director,Geology and Mines, to inspect the area in question and make a report to the Court about illegal quarying and mining activities in the entire hill area and the extent of damage caused by such illegal activities in terms of area and cubic meter within a period of four weeks from today and posted the case to June 11 for further hearing.
Published: Thursday, April 24, 2008

Society Sec moves HC to review order

Chennai, April 24: The Agri-Horticultural Society Secretary V Krishnamurthy moved the Madras High Court to review the order made in a land lease case and expunge the remarks made against him.
In his review petition, Mr Krishnamurthy submitted that it was not correct for the court to observe that land was sub-leased to Woodlands Hotel by him. He also contended that he became Secretary of the Society in August 1996 only, and the Woodlands became lessee of the Society since 1962. In fact, the lease in favour of the Hotel had expired in 1985 and the term was extended by the previous committee headed by Mr Justice R Sadasivam by a resolution dated April four, 1985 and it was sent to Tamil Nadu Government for approval.
Hence, the obeservation made against him are to be expunged from the order, he added.
He further submitted that the allegations that he is using the premises for his car rental business or his other business activities were not made by any authority and are not connected to the issue of resumption of land, and hence the directions in the judgement should be expunged.
It may be recalled that a division bench of the Madras High Court upheld the government order to take back the land by the Society on lease.
Published: Thursday, April 24, 2008

Essar Oil plant gets HC nod for tax sop

The Gujarat High Court has today allowed Essar Oil’s refinery in the state to avail of the sales tax/value-added tax deferment benefit to the extent of 125 per cent of the eligible capital investment.
The benefit is to be availed of under the New Capital Incentive Policy — Capital Investment Incentive to Premier/ Prestigious Unit Scheme 1995-2000.
In the late 1990s, the Gujarat government had issued a policy allowing deferment of sales tax/VAT up to a certain amount, with the benefit capped for a period not exceeding 17 years. Projects with investment over Rs 1,000 crore could be eligible for the tax benefit.
A deferment benefit on sale tax means a dealer is allowed to postpone the payment of tax on purchase of raw materials sales of products for a fixed period or/and up to a specific monetary limit.
Similarly, a deferment benefit on value-added tax (VAT) means payment of VAT cab be deferred for the agreed number of years or up to a certain amount. Projects of Reliance Industries and Essar Oil’s refinery were among the eligible investments under the scheme.
Granting the sales tax/VAT benefit, the Gujarat High Court order capped the deferment benefit amount for Essar Oil to Rs 1,000 crore. The cap has been put on the ground that the state government’s infrastructure development in the region may have benefited Essar Oil. The Gujarat High Court has directed the state government to issue the final eligibility certificate within a month.
The state government had earlier rejected the deferment benefit on the ground of delay in commencement of production at the project. Essar Oil had contested the decision of the state government.
Under the scheme, the deferred amount of sales tax will be recovered by the sales tax department from Essar Oil in six equal annual instalments, beginning from the financial year subsequent from the year in which Essar Oil exhausts the limit of sales tax/VAT deferment granted to it or after the expiry of the relevant period of time limit, during which the deferment is available, whichever is earlier.
BS Reporter / Ahmedabad April 25, 2008

Uphaar case: HC says no to stay proceedings against Sushil Ansal

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court refused to stay proceedings against Uphaar cinema owner Sushil Ansal for allegedly tampering with evidence in the fire tragedy case. “Let the response come from the respondent (city government) then we would provide protection if necessary,” Justice G S Sistani said and issued notice to Economic Offence Wing of Delhi police to file its reply by May 22. Sushil Ansal had approached the High Court for quashing a trial court’s February 15 order in which it had issued summons against him and his brother Gopal Ansal, besides four others, for allegedly tampering with evidence in the Uphaar fire tragedy case and directed them to appear before it on May 2. Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Ansal pleaded for exemption from personal appearance in the trial court. The Bench, however, refused to give any relief saying that at least he (Ansal) has to appear once before the trial court. Besides the Ansal brothers, the trial court had also directed four others — P P Batra, Har Swaroop, Anoop Singh and Dharamvir Malhotra — to appear before it on May 2. Following the trial court’s order, a case was registered against them in a police station here for allegedly tampering with cheques, which they had issued as Directors of the cinema hall during the trial in the Uphaar tragedy case. Sushil and Gopal, now out on bail, along with 10 others were convicted by a trial court here on November 20 last year for their complicity in the Uphaar theatre fire case in which 59 cinegoers were killed on June 13, 1997.
24 Apr, 2008, 1951 hrs IST, PTI

Romesh Sharma files appeal in HC in Kunjum murder case

NEW DELHI: Romesh Sharma, an alleged front-man of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim on Thursday moved Delhi High Court challenging the life sentence awarded to him by a city court for killing his fashion designer girlfriend Kunjum Budhiraja. On February 18, a Delhi court had awarded life imprisonment to Sharma and five others for murdering Kunjum on March 20, 1999. The court had acquitted another accused, Jaspreet Virdi alias Sonu, for want of evidence. The Court had also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on Sharma and Rs 5,000 each on his nephew Surinder Mishra and a woman convict Tejinder Virdi alias Dolly. Other convicts — Hemchand, Santram and Ramesh — were fined Rs 1,000 each. The court had on February 15 held all of them guilty under Section 302 (murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC. According to the prosecution, Sharma had hatched the conspiracy to kill 29-year-old Kunjum while he was in judicial custody in connection with several cases, including that of intimidation, property-grabbing and cheating. Kunjum was stabbed to death by a group of hired gangsters from Uttar Pradesh at the instance of Surinder Mishra, a co-accused and nephew of Sharma. Mishra had also met Sharma in the jail a day before the incident, the prosecution claimed.
24 Apr, 2008, 1953 hrs IST, PTI

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