Daily Legal News 29.08.2008

Oct Nano launch looks bleak
Tata Motors’ plan to roll out the Nano by October is looking difficult, as work at its project site in Singur slowed down further on the fifth day of the dharna organised outside the factory by Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee. The Left Front government in the state took a hands-off approach, as fresh incidents of intimidation of workers were reported.
On Thursday afternoon, political workers blocked the entry of a Tata Motors vehicle at Gate No. 4. Earlier, in the day, some Trinamool supporters had tried to barge into the factory from the same gate but were stopped by the security and police.
Sources at the project site said the October deadline is being jeopardised by the “constant decline in attendance of contractual labourers”, which has dropped to 15%.
With Mamata’s dharna blocking the key Durgapur expressway, which is a part of National Highway 2 linking Kolkata to Delhi and north India, thousands of trucks and other vehicles remained stranded for the fifth day. But state chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb said the police will not apply force. “People will have to wait,” Deb said, referring to the stalled traffic on the expressway. Home secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborti said the situation is grave.
Thursday’s incidents have scared contract workers reporting for the construction work, coming as these a day after the assault on some contract workers. Mamata, who had promised a peaceful agitation when she launched the dharna last Sunday, continued to camp outside the main gate, unrelenting in her demand that 400 acres be returned to farmers who have refused to sell out even though the government has acquired the land, and the main factory has come up on it.
On Thursday, a Kolkata resident filed a public interest litigation in the Calcutta High Court, calling on the court to direct the state government and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to ensure free flow of traffic on the expressway. The court admitted the PIL and has listed it for hearing Friday.
The PIL alleged that the Trinamool agitation had stranded over 30,000 vehicles, including heavy trucks on the expressway, and that the administration and NHAI have failed to maintain the free flow of traffic so the court should direct them to take steps to restore normal traffic. It said perishable food articles in the trucks are rotting, leading to fears of epidemics.
State CPI(M) secretary Biman Bose pointed out that Banerjee’s dharna was no longer peaceful. On Friday’s one-hour chakka-jam or roadblock, called by her, Bose said he had instructed party cadres to exercise restraint.
“We want that her democratic agitation should be peaceful,” Bose told reporters at the party’s Alimuddin Street headquarters. He said Banerjee should discuss her issues with the state government across the table.
Corporate BureauPosted online: Friday , August 29, 2008 at 00:53 hrswww.financialexpress.com

Trucks still stranded, PIL filed to get Expressway cleared
Kolkata, August 28 A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Calcutta High Court on Thursday seeking an order to direct the state government and the National Highway Authorities of India (NHAI) to ensure smooth traffic movement on the Durgapur Expressway (NH-2). The expressway has been blocked since Sunday following the protest organised by the Trinamool Congress.
Rana Pratap Sarkar, a Kolkata resident, filed the PIL alleging that the Trinamool is carrying out its protest on the expressway without obtaining permission from the NHAI. As a result, more than 30,000 vehicles have been stranded on the highway. According to the petition, since the state and the NHAI failed to ensure vehicular movement, the court should direct them to restore normalcy of the traffic as soon as possible.
On the fifth day of Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s protest, the deadlock on the expressway continued with thousands of trucks still stranded.
The petitioner said these trucks, loaded with food articles like vegetables and fish, could not move since Sunday. Since these perishable commodities were rotting in the trucks, there was a possibility of an outbreak of epidemic in the adjoining areas.
The markets at Kolkata and the neighbouring areas have also been facing a shortage of essential commodities that has led to an increase in their prices. The petitioner said the public was suffering and the state’s economy might be affected if the expressway remained closed for long.
Tourist buses are also stranded on the expressway for the last four days and the state administration has failed to provide them food and water.
Chief Secretary Amit Kiran Deb, however, said: “People will have to wait. We are also keeping our patience.”
Home Secretary, Ashok Mohan Chakrabarty, said, “The situation is indeed grave.” Inspector General (Law & Order) Raj Kanojia, however, said the state government is not willing to enter into any confrontation.
With little support from the administration, the truck drivers have devised their own ways to come out of the blues.
Jaydeb Ghosh, president of Truck Owners’ Association of Bengal, said: “A section of truck drivers, who know the routes well, have decided to make a detour and enter the city instead of remaining stranded. We have appealed to the district administration of Burdwan and Hooghly to help them find a diversion.”
On Thursday, serpentine queues of the stranded trucks on the expressway eased a bit as the day rolled on. A few trucks took a diversion to enter Kolkata.
Ghosh, however, said: “Not all trucks could take this changed route. Many drivers do not have the money to buy fuel to take a detour of more than 100 km.”
Express News Service
Posted online: Friday , August 29, 2008

‘ACB cannot check graft for lack of funds’
Agency’s practice of seeking ‘trap money’ from complainants a deterrent in fighting corruption: PIL
A PIL filed in the Bombay High Court may perhaps make the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) richer. Filed by former scribe Ketan Tirodkar, the PIL has urged the court to direct the state government to allocate more funds to the ACB to enable it to lay traps and intercept those seeking bribe.
As per Tirodkar’s PIL, when a complainant approaches the ACB, he is asked to provide the amount that an official has sought. For example, if a government official has asked someone for Rs25,000 in bribe, it is the complainant who has to provide the amount to the ACB so that the officer can be caught red-handed. If the complainant cannot provide the amount, the PIL contends, the ACB does not act.
To lay the trap, the ACB asks the complainant to provide the currency. The ACB covers the notes in anthracin powder so as to get the culprits finger-prints on it. The notes are then confiscated and become a part of the evidence in the case. However, Tirodkar has contended that if this amount is provided by the ACB itself, then more complainants would come forward to report corruption.
Hearing the case on Wednesday, Justice JN Patel and Justice KK Tated remarked that when the complainant provides for the amount himself, he stands to get it back only after the trial in the case, the duration if which is uncertain, is concluded. The judges, however, asked Tirodkar to amend his petition and incorporate more respondents in the case.
Tirodkar, who is currently in prison, was arrested in 2004 and is facing charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act for his association with gangster Chhota Shakeel in an extortion case.j_mayura@dnaindia.net
Mayura Janwalkar
Friday, August 29, 2008 04:44 IST

Why no PIL on the Singur unrest?
The Singur crisis could have been resolved much earlier if leaders like Mamata Banerjee’s had cared about public welfare. PILs must be filed against them concerning implications of the turmoil over the Tata project at Singur..

THE SINGUR unrest has been snowballing into a criminal wastage of India’s precious resources. Why is someone not filing a public interest litigation (PIL) to make leaders like Mamata Banerjee come to heel? PILs are filed for silly reasons but, considering the far-reaching implications of the agitation over Tata’s small car project in Singur, a PIL might have arrested the growing menace. Any court could also have taken suo moto cognisance of a rapidly deteriorating situation and directed the leaders to call of such actions that do nothing, but torment the general public.

The Opposition leaders might have differences with the ruling party – it happens in any democratic setup. But, does that empower the Opposition to create unrest of the magnitude that is being seen in Singur? Blocking a road or a highway that connects remote places and compelling vehicles to stop, amounts to nothing short of holding citizens to ransom for political gains.

Voices are heard from important bodies and serious concerns are expressed over the fate of the state. Business houses and industrialists are squirming in their seats, but no one has a solution. With both sides adamant in their stand, the common man is the worst sufferer. The vehicles that have ground to a standstill on the Durgapur Express highway have perishable food on board, stocks of medicines, apart from articles of daily use by the people as well as raw material required for existing industrial setups. The blockage is affecting availability in the markets and the resultant rise in prices will not help matters. What can Mamata’s team gain by such irresponsible actions?

There was an open meeting conducted on Wednesday (August 27) evening by a Bengali TV news channel, in which the locals were involved. It was quite informative and, during discussions, it emerged that many of the youngsters do not see eye to eye with the agitators or support their actions.

One of the girls said clearly that after going through a course in engineering, no one would opt to become a farmer.

Obviously, there are ulterior motives in Mamata’s demand to return the 400 acres of acquired land to the unwilling farmers. As one school of thought goes – the land would probably not really be used for farming but exploited in other ways.

Mamata has made her point that she wields enough power to paralyse a whole state – how many votes that would finally translate into, is a matter of debate. That she has not endeared herself to the people of Bengal is clear. She should now agree to meet the chief minister to resolve the matter in the Writers Building and not force an unpleasant situation.

Keep Lutyens’ free of tall buildings, says apex court
New Delhi, August 28 SC also approved a clause in bungalow zone guidelines that no basement can be built in residential plots
No highrises or multi-dwelling units will be allowed in the Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, emphasising the need to keep it a low-density, bungalow area.
The apex court overturned an earlier judgment of the Delhi High Court which had directed the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to clear the plans for two-and-a-half-storey buildings in the zone’s Amrita Shergill Marg. These would have been multi-dwelling units or those bungalows that house more than one family.
The NDMC as well as the Union government had then moved the Supreme Court against the High Court’s verdict, appealing that it violated the guidelines that shape construction in this bungalow zone. These guidelines were framed on February 8, 1988.
The apex court’s Bench, comprising Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan and Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal, observed: “The court will have to take notice of public interest sought to be protected by the guidelines because if the guidelines had not been scrupulously followed… the LBZ area of Delhi would never have remained the bungalow area as visualised in the Masterplan… within no time skyscrapers would have come up… seriously affecting the low-density character of the area.”
The Bench also approved two main clauses in the LBZ guidelines — the height of the existing main bungalow on a plot will have to be the maximum height permissible for a reconstructed bungalow and that construction of a basement will not be allowed in residential plots till detailed development norms for the area were conceived.
The LBZ guidelines also say if a bungalow is to be constructed on a vacant plot here, it can only be as high as the lowest bungalow on nearby plots.
In this particular case, the NDMC and other appellate authorities had refused to sanction plans for the houses on Amrita Shergill Marg, maintaining they did not conform to the original guidelines. When the matter went to the High Court, it noted on May 19, 2004, that the NDMC’s objections were “illegal and without jurisdiction” and also directed the NDMC to endorse the plans.
However, the apex court would not hear of it. It observed on Thursday that the Prime Minister’s Office had also turned down any proposal to relax the LBZ guidelines.
Though the builders argued these guidelines did not have any legal or statutory foundation, the Supreme Court held that they had been legally strengthened after they were incorporated in the Zonal Development Plan on October 1, 1999.
The Bench concluded the builders could construct bungalows on their plots according to the guidelines, but they could certainly not make them multi-dwelling units.
In this case, the proposal was to build a total of 15 units — one for each family. “That is quite contrary to the guidelines,” the apex court ruled.
The judges also said the builders should refresh their plans and submit them again.
Express News Service
Posted online: Friday , August 29, 2008

State announces MC polls after SC prodding
BATHINDA : A day after Supreme Court prodded Punjab government for inordinate delay in conducting election to Moga municipal committee, on Wednesday the state election commission issued notification for holding polls to Moga, Kharar, Muktsar, Sujanpur and Badhni Kalan municipalities . Despite the apex court directing the state government on August 8 to complete the election process for Moga municipality before September 20, no notification was issued till August 26, after which the court on Tuesday threatened to start contempt proceedings for not taking its orders seriously. The SC order came after a petition was filed by Moga’s former MC president Swaran Latta, wife of Moga Congress MLA Joginder Pal Jain. In her petition, Swaran Latta accused the Punjab government of delaying municipal elections, which were due since March 21. While the state government had taken the plea of “delimitation of municipal wards” for the delay, the Congress leaders of Moga alleged that the Akalis were not sure of their victory. The Congress leaders of Moga and Muktsar alleged that under the plea of delimitation of the municipal wards in these towns, the Akalis had reconstituted the wards with an aim to divide the Congress votes so that the party candidates have less chance of winning the election . For the last about five month, the Akalis dictated their terms through appointed administrators, alleged Jain. “In the Punjab Municipal Act there is no provision for appointing an administrator to a municipality even for a single day,” he said. According to the election notification, nominations can be filed between September 1 and 4, whereas scrutiny would be done on September 5 and September 6 will be the last date for withdrawal of candidature. The election process will be completed on September 17.
28 Aug 2008, 0730 hrs IST, Balwant Garg ,TNN

Assam MP Subba got birth certificate fraudulently: CBI to SC
New Delhi (PTI): The CBI has told the Supreme Court that Congress MP from Assam, Mani Kumar Subba, has obtained a birth certificate in a “fraudulent” manner for the purpose of establishing his Indian nationality.
Rejecting the claim of Subba that he was born in Assam’s Silguri district, the CBI told the apex court that the MP had given different dates of birth and places of birth to various authorities for different reasons and was thus “prima facie” guilty of various criminal offences.
The CBI’s report comes in the backdrop of the apex court’s direction to probe the nationality of Subba, who according to a public interest litigation was a Nepalese citizen who fled that country in the 1970s after a murder case was registered against him there.
Subba, in an affidavit before the apex court, had claimed his date of birth as March 16 1958. He had claimed that he was born in Dadgram village in Darjeeling district of West Bengal and his parents had migrated from Singtam village in Sikkim.
The Lok Sabha MP from Tezpur had claimed he was born at a house with address Door No 1, Dabgra, Ward NO XXIII, PO-Silguri and named Phanindranath Sarkar as its owner.
The PIL had alleged that Subba has changed his name from Mani Raj Limbo to Mani Kumar Subba after fleeing Nepal.
The CBI has said that its verification has revealed that the certificate was bogus and obtained in a fraudulent manner.
“The certificate of birth produced by him in this regard along with his affidavit has been obtained by misrepresentation of facts and in a fraudulent manner since the given birth place was neither in existence nor Phanindranath Sarkar was its owner during and prior to 1958,” the CBI has stated in its report.

No licence to rape a woman who appears to be promiscuous: SC
New Delhi, August 28:: A woman who appears to be promiscuous in her sexual behaviour cannot be forced into a sexual relationship and nobody has a ‘licence’ to rape her, the Supreme Court has said.
“Even if the victim in a given case has been promiscuous in her sexual behaviour earlier, she has a right to refuse to submit herself to sexual intercourse to anyone and everyone because she is not a vulnerable object or prey for being sexually assaulted by anyone and everyone,” the apex court observed.
“Even if it is hypothetically accepted that the victim had lost her virginity earlier, it did not and cannot in law give licence to any person to rape her,” a Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Mukundakam Sharma passed the observation while quashing the acquittal order passed by the Allahabad High Court in favour of a rape accused.
Though the trial court had convicted the accused Munshi and another person for the rape of a 17-year old woman, the High Court acquitted the accused persons on the ground that victim was promiscuous in her sexual behaviour and had already lost her virginity.
Aggrieved by the acquittal, Uttar Pradesh Government filed the SLP in the apex court.
Upholding the appeal, the apex court on perusal of the medical and other evidence said that even assuming that the victim was previously accustomed to sexual intercourse, the same cannot be a ground for disbelieving her testimony or convicting the accused.
“On the contrary, the question which was required to be adjudicated was did the accused commit rape on the victim on the occasion complained of. It is the accused who was on trial and not the victim,” the Bench said.
The apex court said that a prosecutrix complaining of having been a victim of the offence of rape is not an accomplice of the crime.
“There is no rule of law that her testimony cannot be acted upon without corroboration in material particulars. She stands at a higher pedestal,” the Bench observed.
Hence, the apex court directed the High Court to ‘re-hear’ the matter.
Posted online: Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gujarat HC Judge transferred and Delhi HC Judge appointed
The appointment of a Delhi High Court Judge and the transfer of a Gujarat HC Judge by President Pratibha Patil.Gujarat HC Judge Arvind Mohanlal Kapadia has been transferred as a Judge of the Rajasthan High Court, an announcement by the Law and Justice Ministry said.The President acted after consultation with Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan and directed Justice Kapadia to assume charge within 11 days– by September 5, it said.The transfer will increase the number of vacancies in the 42-Judge Gujarat HC to 13 and leave the 40-Judge Rajasthan HC with four vacancies.Delhi HC Additional Judge Vidya Bhushan Gupta has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, another Ministry announcement said.The 48-Judge Delhi HC has seven vacancies.A count last month showed that more than 260 of 876 sanctioned judgeships in India’s 21 High Courts were vacant.
Source : UNI –

Make stand clear on GUJCOC issue, HC tells Centre
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court, on Wednesday, asked the Union government to make its stand clear on the issue whether it would sanction the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Act (GUJCOC ). A division bench of acting Chief Justice MS Shah and Justice DH Waghela has sought the reply by September 10, when further hearing on the petition demanding this anti-terror law by an NGO, Justice on Trial is scheduled. The court asked the Centre to clear its stand after the advocate for the NGO, Tushar Mehta, contended that the petition has been pending for more than two years and in absence of Pota, the government requires stringent laws to tackle organised crime. The petition claims that the Centre has sanctioned such law for Maharashtra in form of MCOCA, then why Gujarat should not have this act particularly? The state Assembly had twice cleared the Bill in the House and sent to the Centre for approval. The advocate general also stated that the state government has sent a letter to the Centre reiterating its demand in the aftermath of recent serial bomb blasts. Justice on Trial has sought court’s direction to the state government as well as to the Centre to expedite the process of sanctioning GUJCOC.
28 Aug 2008, 0455 hrs IST,TNN

HC to Orissa govt: Deploy more forces
CUTTACK: Taking note of the violence in Kandhamal, Orissa High Court has directed the state government to immediately take adequate measures to protect life and property in the strife-torn areas by deploying forces. A bench comprising Chief Justice B S Chauhan and Justice B N Mohapatra gave the directive to restore peace and normalcy in the district, where violence erupted after the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati. “Take measures to restore peace in the area immediately by deploying adequate forces,” the bench observed on Wednesday while adjudicating a PIL filed by Ambedkar-Lohia Vichar Manch chief Sangram Mallick. Stating that many people in the disturbed areas were now homeless and had taken shelter in nearby jungles due to mindless violence, the petitioner alleged that poor and innocent people were targeted in the attack. Seeking the court’s intervention, the petitioner said the basic human rights of the affected people were being violated. During the hearing, the state government counsel informed the court that the government was aware of the volatile situation, adding that timely and appropriate measures were being taken by the government to restore normalcy in the area. “The government is committed to protect the life and property of all sections of the people,” the counsel said.
28 Aug 2008, 1339 hrs IST,PTI

HC closes case against ex-minister
CHENNAI : The Madras high court on Tuesday closed a habeas corpus petition alleging that several persons belonging to a family in Perundurai in Erode district had been abducted by former handlooms minister N K K P Raja’s henchmen. A division bench, comprising Justice Prabha Sridevan and Justice V Periya Karuppaiah, treated the matter as closed after the detenus were released from custody and the police filed a status report on the investigation. The detention was allegedly related to an attempt to grab a 10-acre piece of land belonging to P C Palanisamy of Perundurai. Earlier, the police had told to the court that Raja was not involved in the offence, even though the abduction was a fact. The inspector of police, Perundurai police station, in his status report on the probe said three persons have so far been arrested and a few more suspects identified. Vehicles involved in the offence had been seized.
28 Aug 2008, 0734 hrs IST,TNN

HC allows convict to access computer in jail
CHENNAI : He may have been convicted of a cybercrime and trafficking in women, but he cannot be denied the use of a computer in prison to give vent to his creativity and pursue medical knowledge. This is the verdict of the Madras high court on a petition from Dr L Prakash, the surgeon sentenced to life last February for forcing women into prostitution and cyberpornography. Prakash, whose thriving online porn racket using men and women forced to perform sexual acts before the camera was busted in December 2001, will not, however, get to use his own computer, but only an official computer used for training prisoners. And the duration and content of his usage would have to be monitored , the court said. Prakash had approached the court with a plea that he should be allowed to use his own laptop or desktop computer in prison. However, the prison authorities contested his demand, arguing that as a cyber-crime convict, he was not entitled to use a computer . Further, the prison rules did not permit equipment and accessories that could be used for personal communication. A division bench, comprising justice D Murugesan and justice V Periya Karuppaiah , resolved the issue by ruling that Prakash was not entitled to possess any computer on his own in his cell. “Nevertheless, his right to get education, acquire knowledge and enrich himself in the medical field and modern medical facilities cannot be curtailed,” the bench ruled. The court directed the superintendent of the Puzhal central prison to allow him to use any one of the computers already available in the prison, and prescribe timings for such usage. And mindful of the fact that Prakash had been convicted under Sec 67 of the Information Technology Act for posting prurient matter on the internet, the court asked the jail superintendent to ‘supervise and monitor’ as to whether he used the computer only for the purpose for which he approached the court – to write books and enrich himself in the medical field. Prakash said he was the author of six books and numerous scientific articles in his field. And during his years of incarceration, he had narrated the Mahabharatha in English and penned 89 books on religion, self-improvement , humour and detective fiction. Prakash, who was practising for more than 15 years at the time of his arrest, took to cyber-pornography along with an associate based abroad. With a domain name registered in the US, the duo ran a website that featured pornographic photos and videos. The matter came to light when a teenaged boy complained to the police that he had been abducted and forced into acting in a pornographic sequence before a camera. Even though the case was primarily a cyber-crime , the prosecution also invoked antitrafficking provisions, as evidence showed that many girls were detained in a guest house and forced to have sex.
28 Aug 2008, 0801 hrs IST,TNN

HC wants action on highway encroachments
CHANDIGARH : Since laxity has become a trademark of bureaucracy, it came as no surprise when the high court pulled up road department authorities of Punjab and Haryana for their slow efforts in removing violations and encroachments along national highway and scheduled roads of the region. In a recent order, chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur and justice Surya Kant directed the officials to get their act together and file affidavits by December 16 as to the actual number of violations and encroachments removed by them in accordance with the law. Perusing the affidavit filed by Sunita Sethi, district town planner (enforcement and vigilance), office of director, town and country planning, Haryana, the judges observed that though the affidavit gave details of encroachments on National Highway passing through 10 districts of Haryana, the process of issuing notices to encroachers was not fast enough. It was stated in the order that as against 2,894 violations detected in 10 districts , only 423 notices had been issued and no explanation was there by authorities to explain the tardiness. According to the affidavit by Sethi, there were 4,096 violations and encroachments on scheduled roads where as only 1,157 notices had been sent and 987 violations removed. Significantly, these figures failed to impress the judges who observed that the picture painted by affidavit was not a happy one. The Punjab story was no better. Though an affidavit by Jasbir Singh Sidhu , chief engineer (National Highway), Punjab PWD B and R, stated notices had been issued in most cases and as many as 2,119 cases already decided, yet the figures regarding actual removal of such violations and encroachments were not available. Not placated, the judges found the process of identification and removal of violations and encroachments as “slow” but gave another chance to officials of both Haryana and Punjab to sort out the mess. So much so that the judges asserted that if the encroachments were not removed as early as possible, the court would be left with no alternative but to proceed against officials responsible for delay.
28 Aug 2008, 0720 hrs IST,TNN

HC comes to rescue of jailed Pak couple
CHANDIGARH : Amina Bai in her mid-seventies had two years back trekked down to Amritsar all the way from Kutchh in Gujarat to welcome her long lost son into her arms, only to find son Ahmed and his wife Seema landing in jail for having entered India without valid travel documents. This was in December 2006. Though the couple has completed their sentence of one year awarded by the court, they continue to languish in Central Jail, Amritsar, in the absence of decision on their prayer for grant of Indian citizenship. Unwilling to give up her struggle to secure the release of her son and the daughterin-law besides decision on their citizenship prayer, Amina Bai knocked the doors of Punjab and Haryana High Court submitting that Ahmed and Seema were her only hope as she had lost her husband sometime after Ahmed had crossed over from Kutchh to Pakistan in the wake of near-drought conditions that prevailed in many parts of Gujarat, Amina Bai had stated in her writ petition. There now appears to be a glimmer of hope as Justice AN Jindal on Wednesday while disposing of Amina Bai’s writ directed the Union government as also the Punjab government to decide the matter within one month at best so that the petitioner was not allowed to suffer. The petitioner could not make it to Chandigarh on Wednesday as she had done at the time of filing the petition, but her counsel has informed her of the development that might prove to be the beginning of the end of her ordeal and loneliness. In a related development, the division bench of the chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur and justice Surya Kant on Wednesday issued notices for September 25 to the Punjab government as also the union government on a PIL by citybased World Human Rights Protection Council filed through its chairman advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal vide which directions have been sought for expeditious release of three more Pakistani prisoners detained in central jail, Amritsar though they had completed the sentence term awarded to them by the competent court. These prisoners also complained that they were not allowed to meet the delegation of judges, lawyers which had visited the jail at Amritsar some days back. Lakhanpal’s previous PIL on 31 Pak prisoners is due to be heard further on September 25, hence this order.
28 Aug 2008, 0712 hrs IST,TNN

Signboards: HC restrains MNS from indulging in violence
Mumbai (PTI): Observing that nobody can “hold the people to ransom”, the Bombay High Court on Thursday restrained MNS president Raj Thackeray and his party members from indulging in violence or making provocative speeches over Marathi signboards issue.
In response to an application filed by traders’ associations, the court restrained Raj and MNS members from “in any manner whatsoever disturbing” the traders in the city from carrying on their business activity, defacing or damaging their business property and assaulting or threatening them.
Justices J N Patel and K K Tated also restrained Raj personally from giving any provocative or intimidating public speech regarding the issue of putting up signboards in Marathi in commercial establishments and shops.
Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Associations, along with others, approached the High Court after the MNS chief warned shopowners to put Marathi signboards by August 28.
The court also ordered police commissioners of Mumbai and Thane to take effective steps to safeguard the petitioners and to protect them from violence by MNS workers.
Earlier, the court grilled the government lawyer as to what preventive measures it took after Raj sent a letter to traders, threatening to teach them lesson if they failed to put up Marathi signboards.
“There is a hidden threat in this letter,” Justice Patel said, asking what action was taken against Raj and whether “this gentleman has been interrogated.”
“Nobody can hold the people to ransom,” Patel said.
Government lawyer told the court that 811 MNS activists were arrested from August 26 and government was committed to maintaining law and order.
Thursday, August 28, 2008

HC allows SCs to enter temple
CHENNAI: Madras High Court on Thursday directed the Tamil Nadu government to provide adequate protection to Scheduled Caste (SC) community who wanted to enter Draupadi Amman Temple at Kandampatti village, closed since August four, 2007, following a simmering discord between Vanniar community and the SC over the latter’s entry into the temple. The above direction was given by a Division Bench comprising Justices P K Misra and M Sathyanarayanan on a petition filed by Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) leader Thol Thirumavalavan seeking a direction to Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (HR and CE) to ensure that people of all castes including Dalits be permitted to enter and offer prayers at the temple. Directing the government to reopen the temple within a period of four weeks, the Bench observed that as per the Tamil Nadu Temple Entry Authorisation Act, 1947, a right has been conferred upon all Hindus to enter into the said temple and offer worship. The Revenue Divisional Officer of Salem had ordered the closue of the temple after a peace committee meeting held on July 31, 2007, between Vanniar community and the SC failed to reach an accord on entry of SCs in the temple. The petitioner had contended that certain attempts were made to prevent people belonging to SC from offering worhip at the temple and a suit was filed by dominant community to prevent the SCs from entering the temple.
28 Aug 2008, 2038 hrs IST

NRI police officer launches legal action against Scotland Yard
London, August 23: Indian-origin Assistant Commissioner of Police Tarique Ghaffur, one of Britain’s senior officers, has launched a legal action against the Scotland Yard on the grounds that he was “harassed, degraded and humiliated” because he is Asian and a Muslim.
Ghaffur officially lodged the discrimination claim against the Metropolitan Police and Commissioner Sir Ian Blair.
The action was leaked in June and legal papers claim that Ghaffur has been further “victimised” by threats that he would be sacked unless he suspended the employment tribunal proceedings. Met Police has 28 days to respond formally.
A dossier compiled by Ghaffur in the past three years alleges that the level of racial discrimination in Scotland Yard has worsened and that senior ethnic minority officers face a “hostile” atmosphere. The combined effect has been to create a “degrading and humiliating” environment for him. Sir Ian has denied the charge.
Ghaffur is said to be upset by a failure to renew his contract beyond March 2009, which he claims is discriminating against his age, because he is over 50. The final allegation is that his 180,000 pounds a year role as head of Central Operations at Scotland Yard has been compromised and that he was silenced over the 42-day detention debate.
Posted online: Saturday , August 23, 2008

Legislation on royalty for scientists to get legal teeth
New Delhi (PTI): The new bill proposing a share for scientists in Intellectual Property Rights of study they conduct in state-run laboratories has acquired legal teeth to check possible fraud by researchers.
The Law Ministry has suggested addition of certain penal clauses to the Public Funded R&D (Protection, Utilisation and Regulation of Intellectual Property) Bill – 2007 which is expected to empower state-funded institutions to commercialise their research.
“The original bill did not contain any penal clauses which prompted the Law Ministry to suggest incorporation of such measures to the draft bill,” official sources said.
The law would be “infructuous” without any penal clauses, was the opinion of the Law Ministry, they said.
Modelled on the Bayh-Dole Act of the US, the draft bill is being piloted by the Department of Biotechnology in the Ministry of Science and Technology.
It seeks to encourage public sector research organisations to patent their inventions and offer them to the industry for commercialisation on a revenue-sharing basis.
The bill proposes to share 30 per cent of the revenue from the use of the innovation with the inventor and 10 per cent for the research lab to upgrade infrastructure.
Sunday, August 24, 2008

IT act to be amended to help detection of cyber crimes
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Centre plans to amend the Information Technology Act by incorporating provisions to treat as evidence in a court of law, cyber forensics devices and tools used for cracking cyber crimes, Union Minister for Communication and Information Technology A Raja said here. Speaking after dedicating to the nation the full-fledged Resource Centre for Cyber Forensics under Centre for Development of Advances Computing here, Raja said necessary amendments to IT act would be brought in the next session of parliament. On the activities of the Forensic centre, Raja said the main objective was to develop indigenous cyber forensics technology to make the country self-reliant in combating cyber crimes. Raja also commissioned the Mobile Telmedicine Facility and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) based programme for ‘Rehabilitation Officials and Special Teachers.’ It is aimed at establishing infrastructure facility to impart distant training to special educators and professionals engaged in the education and rehabilitation of mentally challenged children. Development of tools for cyber forensics, state-of-the-art training in cyber forensics and technical services like cyber crime analysis, and cyber crime investigation were some of the activities of the centre. Emailtracer, Cyberinvestigator, PDA analyser, Trueimager, Truelock, cyberchek and Trueback were some of the tools developed by the Resource Centre for detecting various types of cyber crimes. C-DAC Director General S Ramakrishnan, M Madhavan Nambiar, Special IT secretary Department of Information Technology were among those present on the occasion.
23 Aug, 2008, 2359 hrs IST, PTI

Govt panel wants SC-ST Act to be extended to tribes
A high-level government panel has recommended extension of provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to the denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes.
The National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNST), entrusted to study the socio- economic conditions of the tribal community and recommend measures for their all-round uplift, presented a copy of its final report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on August 20.
The report asked to process the recommendations urgently for a final decision and its early implementation.
While presenting the copy of the report, chairman of the Commission Balkrishna Sriram Renke briefly apprised the prime minister about the recommendations, which included suggestions for initiation of special housing scheme, education and skill development programmes for the tribes.
It was also recommended to create a permanent Commission for denotified nomadic tribes on the lines of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, besides providing reservations to them, sources in NCDNST said.
“Although the Criminal Tribes Act 1871, consolidated by Britishers to notify certain tribes as ‘born criminals’ during the colonial rule was repealed after Independence, the tribes continue to be victims of the stigma,” a senior official of the NCDNST said.
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, August 24, 2008
First Published: 14:04 IST(24/8/2008)

PIL filed against Haj committee http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/PIL_filed_against_Haj_committee_/articleshow/3395652.cms
AHMEDABAD: The issue of a goof-up in the lucky draw system arranged by Gujarat Haj Committee to select the lucky pilgrims who would go for Haj has reached Gujarat High Court. The lucky draw system was implemented for the very first time by the committee in May. Mohammed Musa Hajiba has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) against the system adopted by the Haj committee where 7,864 persons were declared as selected for this year’s pilgrimage to Mecca, whereas the allotted quota for Gujarat is just 4,211. Subsequently, the committee had held another draw and 3,654 persons were intimated that their selection was cancelled. Aggrieved by this and terming it as “gross violation of principles of natural justice”, Hajiba has challenged the draw system in HC and sought direction to the Centre, the Central Haj Committee and state Haj committee to accommodate these people for the pilgrimage in 2008 itself. The petitioner has raised concerns over the ‘mistake’ committed by the authorities. He has urged that the government should try to accommodate them by reducing the MP’s quota of nomination as well the reserved VIP quota, which is above 2,500. He has also proposed to send these left out people on seats that remain vacant in other states. Hearing this PIL, acting Chief Justice MS Shah and Justice DH Vaghela issued notices to the Centre as well as the Haj committees and asked them to file their replies by August 29, said advocate Rituraj Meena, who appeared for the Union government . Build road for blind girls’ hostel: HC to AMC: Gujarat High Court on Friday directed AMC to construct a road for the blind girls’ hostel in Vastrapur within three days and present a report next Wednesday. Taking suo motu cognizance of the issue of hostel’s bad condition, a division bench headed by acting Chief Justice MS Shah asked the AMC to lay down the road immediately.
23 Aug 2008, 0811 hrs IST,TNN

NTPC plans to stay out of RIL-RNRL legal dispute
NTPC , India’s largest thermal power operator, said it will stay away from the ongoing Reliance Industries (RIL) and Reliance Natural Resources (RNRL) case in the Bombay High Court over the supply of KG Basin gas.
Last Thursday, central government counsel T S Doabia said that NTPC does not have a ‘concluded contract’ with RIL.
NTPC and RIL are engaged in a separate legal battle since December 2005 over RIL’s claim that it has only signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with NTPC and does not have a concluded contract with the power company. NTPC, on its part, maintained that it has a concluded contract with RIL for the supply of natural gas to its Kawas and Gandhar power stations in Gujarat.
“The central government counsel has commented on a case whose merits he is unaware of. We will not be part of any matter that does not concern us,” said a senior legal advisor to the state-owned NTPC.
NTPC had invited bids in October 2002 and RIL had emerged as the sole successful bidder for the supply of natural gas to these projects. RIL had won the right to supply 12 million metric standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd) of gas to NTPC’s power projects in Gujarat at a price of $2.34 per million metric British thermal unit (mmbtu). RIL had quoted the lowest price in the bidding process in 2004 and was subsequently issued a LoI.
“We will take appropriate action to keep our right totally intact. We are not sitting on the case. This is a commercial contract and its sanctity has to be maintained,” said R S Sharma, Chairman and Managing Director, NTPC, when asked about his company’s response to the government lawyer’s statement in the Bombay High Court. He refused to divulge further details.
NTPC went to court in 2005 after RIL did not sign the gas sale and purchase agreement (GSPA) because of a dispute over a clause related to unlimited liability. RIL could not be reached for comments.
The RIL-RNRL gas sales agreement was drafted on the lines of the NTPC-RIL gas sales agreement. The verdict on the RIL-NTPC case is important as the gas agreement signed between RIL and RNRL, which is also being disputed in the High Court, enabled the Anil Ambani controlled RNRL to get 12 mmscmd of additional gas if the contract between RIL and NTPC fails. This would entitle RNRL to have 40 mmscmd of gas at a price of $2.34 per mmbtu.
NTPC’s dispute with RIL has affected the former’s investments because of non-availability of gas for the two power projects. “Investment plans for the project were not drawn. The project was awarded and the bid was also opened. But the work could not start. A lot of capacity could not be added…1450 mw in each plant,” added Sharma.
The Bombay High Court has decided to hear the case on a fast-track basis. The next hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Bs Reporters / Mumbai/ New Delhi August 24, 2008, 4:40 IST

SC bench divided over sting operations
NEW DELHI: The cash-on-camera sting on former Union minister Dilip Singh Judeo evoked contrasting views from a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court — one judge holding sting operations to be a just means to expose the corrupt, while the other reminding all about the goofed-up Uma Khurana sting. The contrasting views came from a bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and Markandey Katju on a petition filed by one Rajat Prasad, who challenged the Chhattisgarh high court’s decision to dismiss his plea against discharge from the case. Prasad and others, including former chief minister Ajit Jogi’s son Amit Jogi, are facing trial for allegedly planning the sting operation on Judeo in 2005 allegedly to derive political mileage. Appearing for Prasad, senior advocate Harish Salve said if his client was to be prosecuted for conducting the sting on Judeo, then the other TV channels which showed the sting operations relating cash-for-query and cash-for-vote should also be liable to be prosecuted. Justice Katju said he was all for sting operations, which were the only way to expose corrupt elements. “How can those carrying out sting (operations) against the corrupt be booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act?” he asked. Coming in defence of those who conduct sting operations to expose corruption, Justice Katju said: “There is no intention to commit a crime. How can they be equated with criminals.” Striking a balance at a time when Justice Katju was justifying the sting operation, Justice Kabir said the other side of the story should also be aken into account and reminded all about the manner in which an innocent school teacher, Uma Khurana, was made to suffer because of a manipulated sting operation by a TV channel. However, the Bench issued notice to CBI seeking its response to Prasad’s plea seeking discharge from the case.
23 Aug 2008, 0233 hrs IST,TNN


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