Daily Legal News for 29.07.08

Verdict on ‘Beer Man’ likely on June 27


Mumbai: A sessions court is expected to deliver its judgement in the case on alleged serial killer Ravindra Kantrole, famously known as the ‘Beer Man’ on June 27.

The Sewree sessions court will deliver its judgement in one of the three murder cases registered against Kantrole.

Kantrole was arrested on February 5, 2007 for allegedly murdering three of the seven men found dead in south Mumbai under mysterious circumstances between October 2006 and February 2007.

“The prosecution had no substantial evidence or witness against Kantrole except the testimony of one witness-assistant chemical analyser Sunny Joseph of Kalina’s Forensic Science Laboratory,” Kantrole’s lawyer Sushan Kunjuraman told PTI.

Joseph had performed scientific tests on Kantrole.

However, Joseph in his final psychological evaluation report concluded that the polygraph and brain-mapping tests did not show Kantrole’s involvement in the case.

Kunjuraman further said that Kantrole has been falsely implicated in all the three cases.

Friday, 20 June , 2008, 16:19




Vodafone amends writ petition filed against IT



Vodafone, which has challenged the $2-billion tax demand by Income Tax department, has now sought the change in tax law should not be applicable to the company. The petition comes up for hearing at the Mumbai High Court on Monday (June 23, 2008).

In the previous budget proposal, the ministry had amended Section 201 of the I-T Act, with retrospective effect from 2002. The amended law stipulates that the buyer of the shares is also liable to pay taxes in India.

“Pursuant to the order passed by the Mumbai High Court, in the last hearing of the Vodafone tax case, the company has amended its writ petition challenging the constitutionality of the retrospective amendment of the changed tax law. The revised writ was submitted to the high court on June 12, 2008,” the company said in a statement here today.

The court has now permitted a week thereafter, for the Tax Office to respond, it said.

The I-T department had sought capital gains from the sale of Hutchison’s 66 per cent stake in Hutch-Essar to US-based telecom major Vodafone for $11 billion in 2006. This was challenged by Vodafone, stating that the seller is liable to pay taxes in India, and not the buyer.

The amendment will not go against Vodafone and now the company has amended its earlier writ petition filed with Mumbai High Court and has sought that it should be exempted from this amendment.

BS Reporter / Mumbai June 20, 2008, 16:56 IST




UP cops want to quiz judges in PF swindling scam



Ghaziabad, June 20: In perhaps the first such move, Uttar Pradesh police have sought permission from the Chief Justice of India as well as from the Allahabad High Court to ‘investigate’ some serving and retired judges in the alleged siphoning of Rs seven crore from the Provident Fund account of Ghaziabad district court employees.

“We are seeking the permission of the Supreme Court and the High Court to question the judges and when we get the permission we will start the investigations,” said SSP Ghaziabad Deepak Ratan.

The scam came to light in February this year with the arrest of Ashutosh Asthana the administrative officer of the district court in Ghaziabad. Asthana, who is now in jail, has reportedly confessed to misappropriation of funds from the general provident fund accounts to the tune of Rs 7 crore.

Asthana has named 36 judicial officers as recipients of the favours from the money thus withdrawn, sources said. He alleged that he bought some judges expensive gifts including LCD television sets, fridges, washing machines, furniture, jewellery, mobiles and even gave them cash.

Asthana was produced in the court last month where he reportedly disclosed about some judges being also involved in the scam.

As many as 89 persons were made accused in the case on the direction of Allahabad High Court after serving Additional Judge (CBI) Rama Jain lodged a complaint at Kabi Nagar police station here.

Posted at Friday, 20 June 2008 09:06 IST





No family business in the Gujarat High Court, demands Advocates’ Association



Ahmedabad, June 19 On Thursday, the Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association drew up a resolution requesting the Chief Justice of India to transfer all judges of the Gujarat High Court whose kith and kin are practicing in the same court.

The copy of the resolution available with the Indian Express, further states, “…any judge who is transferred from another High Court to Gujarat High Court should also be transferred out if his/her kith and kin starts practice in the same court after his/her transfer to the Gujarat High Court.” The resolution also authorises the President/Secretary of the Bar to make appropriate representation in this regard, in consultation with five Bar members.

The resolution adds, “The Honourable Chief Justice of India and his companion Judges in the Collegiums – Honourable Justice B N Agrawal, Honourable Justice Ashok Bhan and Honourable Justice S H Kapadia — be requested in the form of a prayer to immediately transfer all Honourable judges of the Gujarat High Court who fall within the category as mentioned herein.”

In his letter calling the meeting, Yatin Oza, the President (elect) of the association had stated, “In furtherance of the goal apropos the letter of Mr. Mihir Joshi, Senior Advocate dtd. 27.03.08, it is necessary that complete purity in the administration of justice be achieved.

“In his strongly worded letter to the Advocate General, Kamal Trivedi, and the President of the association, K J Shethna, which has sparked off an intense debate, the then Additional Advocate General, Mihir Joshi, had raised questions about the conduct of affairs in the High Court and the `integrity of the judges’.

Express News Service

Posted online: Friday , June 20, 2008 at 10:40:00

Updated: Friday , June 20, 2008 at 10:40:00



De-addiction centres: HC issues direction to TN govt

The Madras High Courthas directed the Tamil Nadu Government to consider and dispose of a petition filed by Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) Women’s Wing President Nirmala Raja regarding running of the State-owned TASMAC liquor shops and starting de-addiction centres in the State.

Disposing of the petition, the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice A K Ganguly and Mr Justice Ibrahim Kalifullah, directed the Secretary to the Government, Prohibition and Excise, to consider the petition within six weeks.

The petitioner submitted that the Government, which was running TASMAC shops all over the State, had asked the shops to increase its revenue target. As youngsters would be affected by this move, the Government should reduce the number of such shops, she said, adding that the Government should open more de-addiction centres across the State.

Her representations to the Government have fallen on deaf ears and the Government had not initiated any action in the matter, she submitted, praying for a direction to the Government in this regard.

When the matter came up for final hearing today, Public Prosecutor Raja Kalifullah submitted that the Government had set up 50 de-addiction centres throughout the State and proposed to start such centres in more areas.

The Bench recorded the Public Prosecutor’s submissions and disposed of the petition.





Mosquito: HC unhappy over steps

A division bench of the Orissa High Court on Friday expressed dissatisfaction over execution of measures undertaken to maintain sanitation and health and contain mosquito menace in Cuttack.

The bench comprising Justice BP Das and Justice MM Das directed district health wing to submit within two weeks a report on the steps taken. The next hearing on this will be held on July 9.

The Advocates’ Committee, constituted by the HC, had submitted a report stating that Cuttack Municipal Corporation’s measures were not up to mark.

The HC has also asked the Secretary, Urban Development Department to submit a report specifying what measures have been taken to preserve waterbodies.

Saturday June 21 2008 10:47 IST

Express News Service


Youth held for suicide bid before HC judge

MADURAI: A man created flutter at the Gandhi Memorial Museum when he attempted suicide in front of a High Court judge during a function organised here on Friday.

The incident created distress among visitors, including foreigners. The centenary celebration of the book ‘Hind Swaraj’, written by Mahatma Gandhi, was organised at the library hall and the function was presided over by former vice-chancellor Kulanthaivel.

When High Court Judge Praba Sridevan stood up for the felicitation, a youth, aged around 30, stormed into the hall and attempted to commit suicide by pouring kerosene over his body.

A tense situation prevailed in and around the museum. Meanwhile, the audience who witnessed the incident, informed Tallakulam police who rushed to the spot and arrested the youth.

During police interrogation, the youth, Maduraiveeran of Karumbalai, said that he was the son of Muniyandi, an employee of the museum who died in harness, Maduraiveeran had applied for the job on compassionate grounds but it was not entertained by the museum officials.

Tallakulam police have registered a case and are investigating it.

Saturday June 21 2008 10:47 IST

Express News Service


HC sets precedent, decides to re-examine convict



KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court set a precedent on Friday by agreeing to re-examine a convict after his lawyer pointed out that the trial court’s cross-examination had been “defective”. Usually, in such cases, the HC entrusts the re-examination with the trial court.

A division Bench of Justice Girish Chandra Gupta and Justice K K Prasad directed the Behrampore Correctional Home superintendent to produce Nikhil Mondal – serving a life sentence for allegedly driving his wife Patobala to suicide – on July 11 for re-examination. The Bench issued the directive acting on an appeal by Mondal’s counsel Partha Sarathi Bhattacharya.

Patobala’s father Naresh Mondal lodged an FIR in July 1989 against Nikhil and his parents, complaining that she had been physically and mentally tortured for dowry.

On July 3, 1989, Naresh was informed that his daughter had committed suicide by hanging her-self. Holding his son-in-law and his mother responsible for his daughter’s death, Naresh complained that Patobala took her life after she was unable to bear the torture.

A case was lodged against Nikhil and his mother. Nikhil’s mother died while the case was being heard in the trial court. After the trial, the Malda additional sessions judge convicted Nikhil and sentenced him to life in prison. Nikhil appealed against the trial court’s judgment in Calcutta High Court.

In course of hearing the appeal, Nikhil’s counsel Partha Sarathi Bhattacharya pointed out that his client’s examination by the trial court, under Section 313 of the CrPC, was “defective”. Bhattacharya argued that his client was not questioned at the end of the trial about the evidence of the autopsy surgeon and the investigating officer, and was thus denied a chance of defend himself.

The court accepted Bhattacharya’s argument and wanted to re-examine the Nikhil.

21 Jun 2008, 0418 hrs IST,TNN


HC first: bench to quiz lifer


Calcutta, June 20: The high court will directly question a lifer who has spent 19 years in jail, the first time the appellate authority has decided to do so.

When convicts appeal a trial court order, high court judges usually confine themselves to going through the case papers and hearing lawyers from both sides before delivering their verdict.

But while hearing Nikhil Mondal’s appeal today, the division bench of Justices G.C. Gupta and K.K. Prasad felt the questions that the Malda additional sessions judge had put to him were inadequate. So they decided to question the convict, in jail since 1989.

Nikhil had been imprisoned for abetting his wife’s suicide. A resident of Harishchandrapur in Malda, 325km from Calcutta, he had married neighbour Potobala in 1986. Three years later, her father alleged that his son-in-law had driven his daughter to death.

He also alleged that Nikhil had started torturing Potobala for more dowry days after their marriage. “Unable to bear the regular torture, she drank poison,” the father said.

Before delivering his verdict in March 1993, the trial judge had questioned Nikhil for three days.

“But the questions were inadequate and improper. The judge never tried to find out his motive for abetting the suicide,” said Nikhil’s lawyer Partha Sarathi Bhattacharya.

The division bench went through the records containing the trial judge’s questions and Nikhil’s answers and felt that Bhattacharya’s submission had merit.

The superintendent of the Malda Correctional Home has to appear in court with the lifer on July 11.OUR LEGAL REPORTER


HC dismisses PIL against Nandigram OC



Kolkata, June 20 The Calcutta High Court dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) on Friday, filed against Nandigram police OC Debashis Chakraborty.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice S S Nijjar and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose observed that the allegations against Chakraborty were general in nature and not specific. The Bench pointed that the petitioner,

Asit Roy, had levelled the allegations against Chakraborty on the basis of newspaper reports. Hence, the Bench could not pass an order and the petition could not be treated as a PIL.

Roy is a social worker and a member of the All India Legal Aid Forum. Appearing on behalf of Roy, advocate Indranath Mukherjee moved the plea that Chakraborty had framed several people in false criminal cases.

“In spite of being in an important position, he had harassed the general public and tortured them. But his superiors had not taken any step against him,” he said. Mukherjee also said that Chakraborty should be transferred and the court should order an investigation into his “illegal” acts.

State counsel Advocate-General Bolai Roy said: “The petition

was not maintainable. So, the question of transferring the OC does not arise.”

After the hearing, Roy said that he will file a petition in Supreme Court challenging the High Court order.

Express News Service

Posted online: Saturday , June 21, 2008 at 01:30:03
Updated: Saturday , June 21, 2008 at 01:30:03



Now, lawyers seek HC name change


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Politics aside, the name change bug has now bitten lawyers of Bombay High Court. The Advocates Association of Western India (AAWI) held a special general body meeting on Friday to discuss a resolution moved by a lawyer proposing that Bombay High Court be recognised as High Court of Maharashtra.

The proposal mooted by advocate VP Patil is backed by the Maharashtra Adaptation of Laws (State and Concurrent Subjects) Order, which had, in 1960, modified the title of ‘High Court of Bombay’ to ‘High Court of Maharashtra’.

The 1960 order had modified the Bombay Reorganisation Act, thereby replacing Bombay with Maharashtra in titles like ‘State of Bombay’, ‘Governor of Bombay’, ‘Government of Bombay’ and ‘High Court of Bombay’. While the other name changes came into effect from May 1, 1960, the change in HC’s name was never implemented. 

On Friday, nearly 100 members of AAWI attended the meeting to discuss the name change proposal. “Noting the relevance of the subject, we have decided to frame a proper resolution, requesting the Central government to consider the name change for the HC,” AAWI president Shankar Thorat told DNA. The redrafted resolution would be presented before the members during the next AAWI meeting.

Patil’s request seeking a name change for the HC is not the first. In May, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray had also stated that the HC should be recognised as High Court Maharashtra owing to the 1960 order. The party had said that it was considering filing a public interest litigation in the HC on the issue.

Former police officer Sachin Vaze also wrote a letter to Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar, citing the 1960 order and pointing out that as per an amendment in Article 168 of the Indian Constitution, the word ‘Bombay’ has been replaced with ‘Maharashtra’.

Anshika Misra

Saturday, June 21, 2008  03:08 IST



HC lays pitch for cricket stadium


Ranchi, June 20: Jharkhand High Court today gave its assent for the construction of an international cricket stadium on Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) land.

The Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) will construct the stadium for improving the standards of cricket in the state and projecting the capital as a venue for international matches.

The decision of the high court comes as a big relief for the JSCA, which has been trying for long to acquire Heavy Engineering Corporation’s land for the stadium. However, the cricket association would be paying double the price than an earlier proposal for the land.

HEC had proposed leasing 31.70 acres to the JSCA for the stadium. The land, at Tiril village, was to be leased for Rs 7.5 crores. According to the deal, JSCA was to pay HEC about Rs 25 lakh for an acre.

In today’s directive, the court asked JSCA to pay Rs 50 lakh per acre of HEC land. The court directed the cricket association to also pay an annual rent of Rs 1 lakh to the ailing PSU. HEC will also be given 5 per cent of the proceeds from sale of tickets to matches in the proposed stadium.

The matter had come up before the high court when JSCA filed a petition seeking permission to use HEC land for a stadium. HEC was under heavy losses and its case was in court. The company was ready for the deal but the state government had delayed taking a decision.

Today, the court said Heavy Engineering Corporation need not go to the government for permission to give the land for the stadium.

The proposed arena will evolve as a mega sports complex and house a cricket academy, counsel for HEC said. It will also have centres for development of other sports, the counsel added.




HC Bench refuses to interfere


Madurai, June 21 The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Friday refused to interfere in the suspension of a councillor of Pattukottai Municipality by its Chairperson during the council meeting following the councillor’s troublesome behaviour. Dismissing petitions filed by 17 councillors of the Municipality, Justice P Jyothimani said the Chairperson would have acted according to the situation prevailed during the meeting and the court could not interfere.

It was not possible for the court to go into validity of decisions taken at the meeting. Prerogative power of chairman to suspend the councillor was exercised in the best interests of democratic principles, but it should also preserve decency, order and decorum of the council, the Judge said.

The petitioners submitted that there were 33 councillors in the municipality. The chairperson of the ruling party Priya Ilango suspended councillors with ulterior motive of passing the agenda whenever she did not have majority. She did it more than twice, the petitioners said.

On December 31 last year, the Chairperson suspended one counciller ‘with ulterior motive’ of passing resolutions. There was a tie with 16 councillors for it and 16 against it. The chairperson voted twice, once as chairperson and another time as councillor.

Drawing comparison with Lok Sabha, the petitioner’s counsel said the chairperson could not vote twice and could vote only once in case of tie.

The Judge said “I do not think that either the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha or Speaker of Lok Sabha could be compared with a Municipal Chairperson. Parliament was involved in law making process in the country where as it was not the case of local bodies’, he said.

Published: Saturday, June 21, 2008


Govt tells SC: Sahara razed its own structure



Lucknow, June 20 The Uttar Pradesh government moved the Supreme Court on Friday challenging the Allahabad High Court’s order that had stayed the demolition of Sahara Group’s commercial property Sahara Sahar. The apex court will be hearing the matter next week.

Though the government hurriedly approached the apex court on Friday, calling the Allahabad High Court’s order “legally unsustainable”, the Supreme Court refused to give the complaint an urgent hearing. The Vacation Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and G S Singhvi made it clear it would take up the matter only after June 23.

The Lucknow Development Authority has contended that the Sahara India Commercial Corporation Limited (SICCL) had flouted the mandatory provisions of the UP Urban Planning and Development Act, 1973 and raised unauthorised constructions over carved zonal roads without its permission.

The LDA told the court the “the illegal acts of the company deprived the common people from free access to the area”.

The Special Leave Petition filed through advocate G Venkateswara Rao further alleged that Sahara had approached the Allahabad High Court “concealing vital facts so as to succeed in its evil design of grabbing public property.”

The government said the company on June 13 had agreed to remove certain encroachments on both zonal roads — which are a part of the Masterplan 2021.

The government also said the Sahara group had itself demolished the encroachments after 10.30 pm on June 17 — using its own people and machinery.

The LDA officials said it had leased 130 acres of land to the company for residential and commercial purposes in October 1994 and 140 acres for the green belt in 1995.

The state government has appealed to the Supreme Court after the Allahabad High Court rebuked the LDA for demolishing the outer walls, the auditorium and the watchtower of Sahara Sahar without prior notice.

The court also asked the government to restore possession of the land to the company, after the Sahara Group knocked at its doors.

HC: Three-day extension to stop demotion at night
A DIVISION Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Friday extended for three days the deadline for compliance of its interim order, which directed the state government not to carry out any demolition work after 5 pm and before 9 am.
On Thursday, a Bench comprising Justices D P Singh and Bal Krishna Narain had ruled that no demolition work should be carried out during the night. The court had sent a copy of the order to the chief secretary, asking him to issue circulars in this regard and submit the compliance report within 24 hours. This was in response to a petition filed by Sahara India Commercial Corporation Limited, in connection to the demolition of parts of its property Sahara Sahar.
On Friday, Advocate General Jyotindra Mishra requested the Bench to suspend the interim order as the state government has filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court. Mishra also stated that the chief secretary could not comply with the order as he was out of station.
The Bench refused to suspend the interim order, but extended the time period for compliance and scheduled the next hearing for the week commencing on June 30.

Express News Service

Posted online: Saturday , June 21, 2008 at 02:02:04
Updated: Saturday , June 21, 2008 at 02:02:04




Privacy in a transparent world




The right to privacy is one of the fundamental rights recognised the world over. We find special references to privacy in ancient Greek and Chinese literature. In their article on ‘Global trends in privacy protection’, David Banisar and Simon Davies have chronicled privacy law in as many as 53 countries in the world.

Unfortunately, otherwise not short of laws, India singularly lacks a law on privacy. The absence has become all the more conspicuous due to the enforcement of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (the RTI Act).

In view of the vacuum on privacy law, the Central Information Commission (CIC) is increasingly faced with balancing the right to information of the requester with the right to privacy of the concerned parties, both in cases of personal and business information.

The CIC is clear that though there is no specific law, it is legally recognised that privacy is inviolable unless there are good and sufficient reasons to disclose, as the concerned party may suffer incalculable and irretrievable harm by unjustified disclosures.

Section 8(1) (j) of the RTI Act does protect disclosure of personal information unconnected with any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual. The clause goes on to lay down that the disclosure of personal information and invasion of privacy may be justified if the larger public interest so warrants.

In addition to the specific privacy clause, personal information is also protected under some other exemptions of Section 8 of the RTI Act.

The CIC is categorical that income-tax returns, PAN numbers, details filed for tax determination, bank accounts, sources of funds, partnership details, plan to run dealership and so on are all matters protected under some or all concerned exemptions of the RTI Act.
The bottomline is, as the CIC explained in A L Mehta vs CBDT that “protection of personal information, especially of a third-party, is a valuable privilege which should not be lightly done away with or diluted”.

The CIC, however, is clear that any activity of a public servant in his official capacity should be revealed to the public. Thus there is nothing secret about service matters like appointment, confirmation, upgradation, suspension-revocation, postings, calculation of pension, details of leaves and tours.

Similarly, it has been held that selection to a post is a public activity and educational, technical and experience certificates of selected candidates must be shared. Though initially there was division of opinion in the CIC on putting property returns of officers in the public domain, the current case law favours the disclosure.

Privacy is a double-edged sword. Since government servants have the right to keep their personal information protected, they are themselves barred from accessing the same if the disclosure serves no public purpose. The state is the repository of huge personal and commercially critical information of individuals as well as of commercial entities.

Technological advances, globalisation and liberalisation have increased such records manifold. India is fast joining the club of nations where such information exists in significant volume and is being increasingly demanded.

Additionally, India is becoming a leader in business process outsourcing and large amounts of personal information from other countries are flowing into India.

Majority of the RTI requests are disposed of by the Public Information Officers (PIOs) and Appellate Authorities and hardly a fraction reaches the CIC. We also have to appreciate that there are innumerable PIOs at different levels of hierarchy with varying ability to appreciate law and facts.

It is not difficult to anticipate the vast difference in their level of understanding of the RTI Act and their accessibility to the decisions of the commission. We also have to appreciate that PIOs are required to consult the concerned party (called as the third-party under the RTI Act) in five days of receipt of application. And as they are under the threat of penalty payable from their pocket, the tendency is to ignore the invisible third party and release the information.

The confusion has the potential of getting further compounded as state information commissions are independent in interpreting the RTI Act. It is, therefore, not possible to even expect uniform standards or common minimum understanding among all information providers and adjudicators.

It needs to be appreciated that privacy is as much a fundamental human right as is the right to information. The only way we can protect and respect the integrity of personal information is to enact a separate legislation on privacy.

This legislative intervention is necessary so that the reputation and feelings of concerned parties are not jeopardised and at the same time legal complications and resultant litigation are minimised.


28 Jul, 2008, 0121 hrs IST,Prabodh Saxena ,



Tenant bound to vacate premises for owner`s personal use: HC




New Delhi, July 28: A tenant cannot refuse to vacate rented premises on a rent controller’s order even if the landlord or the landlady who wants to evict him and use the property for personal use dies during the process, the Delhi High Court said on Monday.

The court’s observations came in connection with a banker’s plea to allow him to occupy rented premises as its original owner – who wanted it for personal use – had died last year.

The court ruled that an elderly landlord who suffers from various ailments and is not able to climb stairs has a “bonafide need” and is legally entitled to ask the tenant to vacate the ground floor for his own living.

Upholding an order passed by Additional Rent Controller (ARC) asking Sahu Basheshar Dayal Bankers to vacate the first floor premises of Sujata R Nath, the land lady who died last year, Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra said “the bona fide or genuine requirement of a landlord/lady has to be assessed keeping in view the peculiar facts and circumstances”.

Dismissing the banker’s petition challenging the ARC’s order, Justice Dhingra said “the order of ARC does not suffer from any infirmity and neither is it based on wrong premises of law…”

The court was hearing a petition filed by the bankers that the ARC’s order deserved to be vacated as the landlady died last year.

Bureau Report



HC upholds life term for sailor’s murder




NEW DELHI: A seaman who killed a colleague aboard a cargo ship 12 years ago has failed to get any relief from the Delhi High Court which has upheld the life imprisonment awarded to him.

“We find no reason to arrive at a finding different from the one recorded by the trial court in regard to the complicity of appellant in committing the murder of L Shiv Ramanan on board,” a division bench comprising Justices B N Chaturvedi and G S Sistani said, while rejecting Manderam Langeswaran’s appeal against the trial court’s decision.

According to the prosecution, both Langeswaran and the deceased were working as helmsmen/seamen on a cargo ship motor vessel “Lok Prem” owned by the Shipping Corporation of India which was charted by a South African private company for carrying chrome alloy.

On November 30, 1996 the ship was en-route from South Africa to Japan via Singapore.

Suddenly, before reaching Singapore the auto-controls of the ship became dysfunctional and the repair work could not be carried out due to non-availability of a technician on board, the police said.

Shiv Ramanan had asked Langeswaran and another colleague M Y Talgharka to manually steer the ship but both of them showed their reluctance to do so. Following which, both the convict and the deceased had got into a fight leading to the murder of Ramanan.

Langeswaran killed Shiv Ramanan out of vengeance and confessed the crime before Kalyan Singh, the second officer of the ship, while handing over a blood-stained knife.

The Master of the ship had immediately reported the incident to the Shipping Corporation of India and an FIR was registered against Langeswaran on the charge of murder.

28 Jul 2008, 0222 hrs IST,PTI




SC questions Nagaland over MLA appointments


New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court has sought response from the Nagaland Government on a petition challenging appointment of 13 MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries in the 60-member State Assembly.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan issued notices to the state government and others on the petition filed by former Nagaland Students Federation (NSF) President Chokriveyi Venyu seeking quashing of notifications relating to the appointment and salaries for Parliamentary Secretaries.

Venyu’s counsel Khawairakpam Nobin Singh alleged that appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries was an attempt to circumvent the 91st Constitutional amendment Act that provides that the total number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister in the Council of Ministers in a state shall not exceed 15 per cent of the total strength of the Assembly.

The NSF leader submitted that the coalition Democratic Alliance government in the state has given cabinet and state minister status to all its 36 members.

The petition said there was no need for having so many Parliamentary Secretaries in such a small state when a full-fledged Council of Ministers was in place and such appointments were unreasonable and malafide

Monday, July 28, 2008



SSCP: VHP questions centre’s assertion before SC on Lord Ram


Coimbatore, Jul 28 (PTI) The VHP today questioned the Centre’s assertion before the Supreme Court that Lord Ram himself had destroyed the Ram Sethu (Adam’s bridge) and said it was a distortion of history.
“Nowhere in the Kamba Ramayan is it mentioned that Lord Ram destroyed the bridge. It is to appease DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, whose party is a partner in the UPA coalition, that the Centre is doing such things,” VHP International President Ashok Singhal told reporters here.

He was replying to questions on the Union Government’s stand on the Sethusamdudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP).

“It (Ram Sethu) will be protected at any cost,” VHP International General secretary Praveen Togadia, who was also present, said.

He said Saints and Hindu leaders at a meeting at Haridwar had demanded that the Sethu be declared a historical monument.

On construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya, he said it would be done by an act of Parliament. “The temple will come up and we will see to it that such an act is brought in the next Lok Sabha,” he said.





HC raps PMC for waterlogging


PATNA: The Patna High Court on Monday remarked Patna becomes a slum during the rains with the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) turning a Nelson’s eye to the problem of waterlogging and related health hazards.

A division bench of Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad and Justice Ravi Ranjan made this remark while hearing a PIL of a lawyer, Shyam Kishore Sharma, who submitted the recent unprecedented waterlogging in the city was spawned by the failure of the PMC to clean the drains and run the sump houses.

The judges said the civic authorities should rise to the occasion and take measures to check waterlogging in time.

They said the civic authorities did not implement their promise about short and long term plans to improve the drainage system and check waterlogging. “I wonder how the state is functioning,” remarked Justice Prasad.

When PMC counsel Chandrashekhar argued the city experienced the heaviest rainfall this monsoon, the judges said, “Then go to the temple and pray to God to rain less.”

The court directed the state government to arrange for free treatment and supply of free medicines in government hospitals and dispensaries for the people getting sick due to waterlogging-related health hazards. The court also directed the PMC and other civic authorities to spray DDT, bleaching powder in the affected areas.

Petitioner Sharma submitted before the court he filed an IA petition in his PIL on March 10, 2008, fearing serious waterlogging problem if the PMC did not clean the drains. The PMC did nothing despite receiving a copy of the IA petition.

He referred to his submission in his IA petition that cleaning of Salimpur Ahra drain from near Uma cinema in Pirmohani to Antahat was necessary to save the low-lying localities of Kadamkuan and Kankerbagh in Patna. He also added that a sump house near Nala Road in Kadamkuan was non-functional.

He submitted that there should be a dedicated drain channel from the lowest point of Rajendra Nagar road number 1 to the nearest sump house.

The court fixed August 11 as the next date of hearing of this PIL.


29 Jul 2008, 0304 hrs IST,TNN



Bangladeshis in Assam have become kingmakers: Gauhati High Court




Political will to free the State from illegal Bangladeshis, the need of the hour”

Guwahati: The Gauhati High Court has said that Bangladeshis in Assam had become the kingmakers and “a strong political will to free Assam from illegal Bangladeshi[s] is the need of the hour coupled with public activism in that direction.”

In his 95-page judgment and order passed on Friday, Justice B.K Sharma directed the police to immediately take into custody 49 of the 61 petitioners, who were declared as ‘foreigners’ by the court, and to keep them in police custody till their deportation. The respective Superintendents of Police have been asked to furnish report about the implementation of the direction.

The judgment and order was passed by the court while disposing of a total of 23 petitions moved by 61 petitioners after they had been declared as foreigners by the respective Foreigners’ Tribunals. The High Court upheld the tribunal judgments in most of the cases.

In voters’ lists

“Till now, the petitioners have been successful in avoiding the proceedings against them as well as their deportation from India. In the process, they have incorporated their names in the voters’ lists on the basis of which they must have cast their votes. Thus the petitioners and such other large number of Bangladeshis present in the State of Assam have a major role in electing the representatives both to the Legislative Assembly and Parliament and consequently, in the decision-making process towards building the nation. They have become the kingmakers,” the judgment stated.

The court has asked the State Home Department and the Director-General of Police to furnish report on the action plan towards detection and deportation of foreign nationals from Assam. The State government was also directed to furnish report on the action plan and the time limit within which the names of illegal voters in various voters’ list would be deleted. The court directed that all the reports be submitted on or before September 30.

Justice Sharma observed: “It is no longer a secret or in the domain of ‘doubt’ that illegal Bangladeshis have intruded every nook and corner of Assam, including forest land. In some of the cases, the petitioners themselves stated before the police during investigation that they were living in government and forest land. If reports are to be believed, they have even intruded upon the most sacred Xattra lands. Very often, they are protected by extending the protective lands of ‘secularism’ branding them to be Indian “minorities” in Assam. A strong political will to free Assam from illegal Bangladeshi[s] is the need of the hour coupled with public activism in that direction.”

The court warned that if the phenomenon continues, “the day is not far off, when the indigenous people of Assam, both Hindus and Muslims and other religious groups will be reduced to minorities in their own land and the Bangladeshis who are freely and merrily moving around the fertile land of Assam, will intrude upon the corridors of power.”

On the role of the Central and the State governments, the judgment and order stated that the foremost duty of the Central government was to defend the borders of the country, prevent any trespass and make the life of the citizens safe and secure. The State government was also equally responsible for taking effective measures to stop the unabated influx of Bangladeshi nationals to Assam threatening the very existence of the indigenous people in their own State. “Neither the Central government nor the State government can disown such solemn responsibilities, they being the protectors of the citizens.”

Sushanta Talukdar

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2008



Notice to Nagaland on jumbo ministry



NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Nagaland government’s response to a PIL challenging the appointment of political secretaries and giving them the rank of ministers, which it said was done to accommodate all the MLAs of the parties in the coalition government led by Neiphu Rio.

Though Neiphu Rio heads a 12-member council of ministers, the petitioners alleged that he subverted the constitutional mandate of limiting the council of ministers to 15% of the total strength of the assembly by appointing 13 parliamentary secretaries with the rank of ministers.

The PIL, filed by Naga youth Chokriveyi Venyo and Chubatangit Jamir, asked: “Whether appointment of parliamentary secretaries by the chief minister and administering them oath of secrecy was in violation of the provisions of Article 164-1A of the Constitution?”

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam issued notice to the Nagaland government, the chief minister’s office and all the 13 parliamentary secretaries asking them to file their response to the PIL.

The petition, filed through counsel Kh Nobin Singh, said the constitutional amendment was enacted to curb jumbo ministries in the states that drain the already strained financial health.

29 Jul 2008, 0320 hrs IST,TNN



HC order exposes aliens’ modus operandi

 GUWAHATI, July 28 – The two recent judgements of the Gauhati High Court ordering deportation of 50-odd illegal Bangladeshi settlers have laid bare the sinister modus operandi of the infiltrators who have easily managed to get their names entered in voters’ list, passports, and even exercised their “voting right” in elections. The court judgement orders, delivered by Justice BK Sharma, noted several common features in all the cases that had been used as a ploy to hoodwink the Government administration, police and even the court. The illegal Bangladeshis have made use of copies of voters’ list at random for indicating any name resembling theirs.

“It is very easy to pick up any voters’ list, find out names and particulars resembling theirs, obtain certified copies of the same and dump them to the writ court taking it for granted that the writ court will swallow the same, unmindful of requirement of Section 9 of the Foreigners’ Act-1946,” the court order stated. The petitioners did not discharge their burden of proof by adducing any evidence and/or proving the authenticity the photocopies of the documents, mostly voters’ list, the court noted.

Worse, as the hard-hitting court order stated, the Bangladeshis in question as also scores of others like them, “incorporated their names in voters’ list on the basis of which they must have cast their votes. Thus, the petitioners and such other large number of Bangladeshis present in Assam have a major role in electing the representatives both to the Legislative Assembly and the Parliament and consequently, in the decision-making process towards building the nation. They have become the king-makers,” the court order noted.

Another interesting feature of the cases is that barring three, the impugned judgements and orders (which the illegal Bangladeshis challenged in the High Court) passed by the Foreigners’ Tribunals were ex-parte. The petitioners did not respond to the proceedings before the Tribunals, which is a methodical ploy to prolong the proceedings on untenable grounds. The plea of non-receipt of notice was also untenable, as the court found out after verifying the matter with the Tribunals, that they had been served with notices, but in spite of that they did not appear before the Tribunals.

The court also expressed grave concern at the undue delay of the proceedings before the Tribunals, sometimes lasting 20 years, and said that the delay enabled the Bangladeshi nationals to collect more documents and even incorporate their names in the voters’ list. It also pulled up the State Government and the Centre, saying that even in the writ proceedings, no immediate response was shown either of the governments, causing long pendency of the cases.

On the status of the Bangladeshi influx, the court said, “It is no longer a secret or in the domain of ‘doubt’ that illegal Bangladeshis have intruded every nook and corner of Assam, including forest land. In some of the cases, the petitioners themselves stated before the police during investigation that they were occupying and living in government and forest land.

Reminding the governments of their “solemn responsibilities”, the court order said that neither the Centre nor the State Government can disown their foremost responsibility of defending the borders of the country, prevent any trespass and make the lives of citizens safe and secure.

Underscoring the need for a strong political will “unmindful of political gains” derived from the presence of illegal migrants, the court said that “it is the national interest and not the individual or political interest of any particular party, which must prevail under all circumstances.” It also referred to the Supreme Court verdict while quashing the IM (DT) Act, saying that a clear message had already been given by the apex court to be translated into action by both the State Government and the Centre.

Pointing out that the illegal migration from Bangladesh “not only affects the people of Assam but have the more dangerous dimension of greatly undermining our national security”, the court observed that “mistaken and misconceived notion of secularism” should not be allowed to hamper the detection and deportation process of illegal settlers.

By A Staff Reporter



India Supreme Court Considering Constitutionality of Haj Subsidy


On Monday, India’s Supreme Court set for hearing a lawsuit by former BJP member of parliament Praful Goradia challenging the constitutionality of the government subsidy given to Muslims going on Haj. IANS reported that a government affidavit supporting the subsidy argues that the Haj has secular foreign policy and foreign relations elements. It said that friendship with foreign countries, including Arab countries, is an aspect of the country’s foreign policy. Indian Muslims on Haj “promote international goodwill and understanding”. Goradia, on the other hand, claimed that a subsidy for Muslims, without similar subsidies for Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and Sikhs, is discriminatory. (See prior related posting.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008



HC orders deportation of 50 illegal Bangladeshis in Assam


Guwahati (PTI): The Gauhati High Court has ordered the deportation of 50 illegal Bangladeshi settlers and rapped the government for failing to stop the infiltrators from getting their names entered in voters’ list.

Justice B K Sharma, disposing of writ petitions filed by the infiltrators, in two orders last week noted that there were several common features in all the cases that had been used as a ‘ploy’ by the infiltrators to hoodwink the administration, police and even the court.

Justice Sharma pulled up both the state and central governments for “showing no immediate response even in the writ proceedings, causing long pendency of the cases.

“Neither the Centre nor the state governments can disown their foremost responsibility of defending the borders of the country, prevent any trespass and make the lives of citizens safe and secure”, the Judge stated.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Going all out to restore medical college seats: State tells HC


NAGPUR: The state government has informed the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court that it was making all out efforts to restore 40 MBBS seats of Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGGMC ). It has not only forwarded a proposal to Centre but also applied to Medical Council of India (MCI) for reinspection of facilities.

Additional government pleader Bharti Dangre told this to a division bench comprising Justices Dilip Sinha and A P Bhangale on Monday. The court was hearing a petition on shoddy state of affairs regarding infrastructure and facilities at the Government Medical College (GMC) and IGGMC.

AGP Dangre further informed the bench that the government had sanctioned a grant of Rs 10 crore to IGGMC for improvement of basic infrastructure and facilities.

The TOI had reported on July 24 that chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and state minister for higher and technical education Dilip Walse Patil had started efforts to get back the 40 seats cancelled by the Medical Council of India and had sent proposals to Union Health Ministry headed by Dr Anbumani Ramadoss. The seats were cut down for want of required infrastructure.

Earlier, amicus curiae in the case Jugal Kishor Gilda pointed out to the court that the government last year had assured to fulfill all basic facilities in IGGMC within two months. However, even after a year nothing had been done. The MCI slashed the seats as a result, he said.

Gilda also informed that for modernisation of IGGMC, the government had invited tenders on Built Operate and Transfer (BoT) basis and even inked an agreement with Maytas Infrastructure Limited.

In reply, the AGP informed that modernization proposal had been put on hold for the moment due to violation of norms laid down by the government . The government had formed an official committee to examine all aspects of the project and report to the government.

The court, after hearing arguments from both sides, asked the government to come clear on exact efforts being made to restore the 40 MMBS seats. It also wanted to know when the MCI would conduct re-inspection of IGGMC.

29 Jul 2008, 0657 hrs IST,TNN


Jessica murder case: HC refuses to stay perjury proceedings


NEW DELHI: Delhi High Court on Monday declined to stay perjury proceedings against actor Shayan Munshi and 21 other witnesses who turned hostile in the Jessica Lall murder trial.

A division Bench headed by justice B N Chaturvedi refused to stay perjury proceedings and posted the matter further to November 2008 even as advocates for the witnesses argued that how could they be charged with perjury or ‘‘deliberately deposing falsely” in the trial court, in case the apex court acquits the accused on the basis of the statements of these witnesses.

Pleading that HC defer the proceedings if not stay them indefinitely, lawyers appearing for the witnesses argued before the court seeking relief on their client’s behalf on Monday. Urging the Bench that it adjourn the matter permanently till SC verdict instead of giving a future date, the advocates persisted, saying that since SC was yet to fix the date for hearing Manu Sharma’s appeal, HC could grant them relief in this form that it postpone the matter sine die.

But the court wasn’t convinced by their arguments and preferred to post the case now for November 11.

Earlier, a bench comprising justice R S Sodhi and justice P K Bhasin had turned the heat on the hostile witnesses after convicting Manu Sharma, Vikas Yadav and Amarjeet Singh Gill on December 18, 2006 for the murder of model Jessica Lal.

In the judgement, the high court bemoaned the phenomenon of witnesses turning hostile and decided to show cause to those who resiled from their statements saying that why they should not be charged for perjury and punished.

29 Jul 2008, 0232 hrs IST,TNN


Apply percentile to one institute, not boards: HC


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The arguments against the feasibility of the percentile system  heated up in Bombay High Court on Monday as the state government made attempts to defend the system, but the judges seemed far from convinced. “You cannot apply percentile to different boards. It can be applied to one institute otherwise the purpose of percentile will be defeated,” said Chief Justice (CJ) Swatanter Kumar.

However, additional government pleader Jyoti Pawar submitted an affidavit to the court stating that the percentile system was introduced to clear the disparity between the marks of students belonging to different boards at the time of giving admissions.

Citing the example of DG Ruparel College, Pawar said that until last year hardly any students from the SSC board were able to get admission in the vocational courses in the Science stream. She added that because of the percentile system 15 of the 20 seats have been begged by SSC students this year.

“We have some right to frame a policy for our students”, she said. “It is absolutely essential to apply the percentile formula as there is bound to be variations amongst the marks obtained by the students from different boards” the state government affidavit stated.

Pawar, who submitted the lists of students from different boards and the variation in their scores, also said that the ICSE students would have an advantage at the time of seeking admission as the best five scores of the seven subjects were taken for calculating their percentage.

ICSE counsel Raju Subramaniam, however, said that the ICSE mark sheet showed the scores of all seven subjects and mentioned only total marks and not the percentage.
CJ Kumar and Justice AP Deshpande also sought to know if a student could lose his chance to get admission.

Pawar, however, said that so far the state government’s education department had received no such complaint. She also claimed that as the CBSE board had not come before the court, they had no grievance against the system.

Mayura Janwalkar

Tuesday, July 29, 2008  03:19 IST



HC: Why no ads to Tamil dailies



CHENNAI: Why did you stop releasing advertisements all of a sudden to the Tamil newspapers Dinakaran, Tamil Murasu and Tamil Osai, the Madras High Court has asked the government.

When the writ petitions from the newspapers came up for hearing on Monday, Justice A Kulsekaran raised the above question.

It was well known that the advertisements had been stopped to these papers, the judge said and directed the counsel to obtain instructions from the government and to inform the court on August 5.

Earlier, in its counter-affidavit, the director of Information & Public Relations submitted that no newspapers could claim any right for release of government advertisements.

Petitioners were not entitled under any law to seek or compel the government to issue ads. There was no malice or arbitrariness on the part of the government, the counter said.

It added that the ads were being released to the papers in question keeping in view of the government’s advertisement policy and the availability of funds. There was no discrimination against the petitioners.


Tuesday July 29 2008 00:32 IST

Express News Service


Media and Judiciary mutually complimentary’


KOLLAM: Both the media and the judiciary are mutually complimentary, former judge of the Supreme Court Justice K.T.Thomas said. Inaugurating a seminar on Media and Judiciary, organised by the Kollam Bar Association as part of its centenary celebrations here on Monday, he said that if the media and democracy was not dynamic, democracy would crumble. India is indebted to media for its disclosures. But in certain cases, over-publicity had led to miscarriage of justice. But media cannot be criticised for this, he said. When incidents get misinterpreted, it is the duty of the judicial officer to insulate himself from the influences of the media, he said. There are occasions when the judicial officers also get influenced by the media reports. But the judicial officer should give importance to the proof, he said.

In the sensational Panoor Soman case, even the scientific evidence produced by the CBI stressed the view that it was a murder. But the full bench of the High Court had a different opinion and acquitted the six policemen accused in the case. But to their relief, in six months time the court got the opportunity to convince itself beyond doubt that it was a case of suicide, he said.

Justice Thomas said that the judicial officer should have attained the proper training for the judicial process. If the media got weakened it would lead to the crumbling of the society. He said that autocrats always infringed the freedom of the press and judiciary.When Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany, he infringed the freedom of the press and judiciary. When Indira Gandhi imposed emergency, she imposed press censorship. 253 journalists were arrested. Foreign correspondents, such as Mark Tully, were banned from coming to India. Many of the High Court judges were transferred to far off places. Justice H.R.Khanna was denied the post of Chief Justice, he said.

Veteran journalist K.M.Roy said contempt of court proceedings against journalists should be abolished. In many western countries media has the right to criticise the court. Since the newspaper industry became a business, journalists had to compromise to a certain extent, he said. IG of Police B.Sandhya said that the media was causing a hoax call wave in view of the bomb threats in the state. She said when people having terrorists links were booked and interrogated the media had created a hulla baloo and caused problems to the police. But the same people are booked in other states alleging terrorist links.She criticised the media for exposing the identity of victims in sexual harassment cases and cases involving juvenile criminals. She said that while the community policing had received widespread support from the public, the electronic media was trying to depict it in poor light. Manager of Deshabhimani daily K.Varadarajan was the moderator.

Tuesday July 29 2008 10:37 IST

Express News Service




3 Responses

  1. Hi good day thanks


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