Daily Legal News 30.08.08

E-Governance and Company Law in India


A very crucial question that has been recently raised by a reporter goes like this Is National E-Governance Services Delivery Gateway Part of E-Governance?. It is a fantastic piece of work that has analysed the “e-governance in India” from the widest possible angle. However, the best part about this work is that it is touching the legal enablement of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Systems in India, a topic that I am going to discuss here although in the context of corporate law in India.

The Techno-Legal Regulations have finally got the attention of a segment of Government of India, i.e. Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA). However, the media reports and the Ministry sources were totally clueless about the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000) of India that is also the sole cyber law of India. The ignorance can be found of at least two facts, i.e. knowledge about IT Act, 2000 and its harmonisation with two or more laws (in this case The Indian Companies Act, 1956, The Competition Act, 2002, etc). For instance, some sources have claimed that e-mails will be a valid piece of evidence under the new company law. They are already admissible in evidence the only fact is that lawyers, judges and regulatory bodies are not aware about the same.

According to Mr. Praveen Dalal*, the Leading Techno-Legal ICT, Cyber Law, Cyber Security and Cyber Forensics Specialist of India, “ The IT Act, 2000 already mandates legal recognition of electronic records and evidences. The problem seems to be a lack of awareness about it and absence of ICT guided coordination among various Ministries and Departments of Government of India (GOI). The GOI must hramonise legislations like IT Act, 2000, Cr.P.C, IPC, Evidence Act, CPC, Competition Act, 2002, etc at appropriate levels so as to avoid regulatory overlaps”.

India’s National E-Governance Plan (NEGP) is a very promising initiative. However, we lack competencies, will and proper policies and strategies in India to execute it effectively at this stage. Take for example the recent initiative of GOI titled as National e-Governance Services Delivery Gateway (NSDG). NSDG is a standard based messaging middleware for e-governance services. It is a part of the NEGP of Government of India. One wonders that why despite these initiatives, India’s ranking in the sphere of e-governance, e-readiness, etc is declining day by day. For instance, India’s e-readiness ranking dropped to 113 in 2008 from 87 in 2005.[1] In the recent “Ease of Doing Business Rankings 2008”, released by the World Bank, India has been ranked 120th out of 178 countries.[2] The ICT strategies of India need rejuvenation to make NEGP effective.[3] Public Initiative needed to fill policy vacuum since Governmental policies and strategies are not benefiting the common man.[4]

However, not everything is wrong with the efforts of GOI. The initiative of setting up of a single portal to link businesses with various regulators and regulatory Ministries by the MCA is a good step. The portal aims at bringing in elements and concepts which would make it possible to take effective regulation and enforcement of the company laws and regulations at all stages, including inspections, investigations and prosecutions. The MCA rightly believes that we need sound strategies in this regard including improving the quality of regulation, improving policy formulation processes and creating a healthy business environment by streamlining the interaction and improving interface between government and business, cutting out the redundancies in procedures and emphasising immediate and efficient delivery of services.

The NEGP can be a reality rather than fiction if we concentrate upon the weaknesses of Indian ICT policies and strategies. The issues like legal enablement of ICT systems in India, public and governmental awareness of IT Act, 2000, formulation of effective ICT strategies and policies in India, etc must be resolved first before we can encash the benefits of e-governance in India.

*About Mr. Praveen Dalal

Mr. Praveen Dalal is the Managing Partner of Perry4Law and heading its PTLB, PTLITC, and other Techno-Legal Divisions that are providing Cyber Law, Cyber Security and Cyber Forensics Assistances and Services. Perry4Law is the First and Exclusive Techno-Legal and ICT Law Firm in India and is in operation since 2002. It deals with legal issues associated with ICT and use of ICT for legal purposes. PTLB and PTLITC are few of the Techno-Legal ICT initiatives of Perry4Law and are in the process of upgradation and formalisation. Mr. Praveen Dalal’s specialisations include areas like Cyber Law, Cyber Security, Cyber Forensics, Digital Evidencing, Corporate ICT Compliances, etc.

[1] http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/UN/UNPAN028607.pdf

[2] http://www.doingbusiness.org/ExploreEconomies/?economyid=89

[3] unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/APCITY/UNPAN029840.pdf

 [4] http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=140177 

Saturday, August 30, 2008














Only 7 states notify Act for senior citizens’ welfare


 NEW DELHI, Aug. 29: The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, enacted for the welfare of the elderly, and published in the Gazette of India on 31 December last year, has been notified by just seven states.
These are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Nagaland, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Assam and Tripura. As the International Day of Older Persons approaches on 1 October, the social justice and empowerment minister, Mrs Meira Kumar, has reminded chief ministers of the remaining states to expedite notifying the Act.
Unless the Act is notified, its provisions can not be enforced in a state. The minister said the notification of the law would be the “best gift” for the senior citizen-population on the International Day. At a national consultative meet on “Safeguarding Rights of the Elderly in India,” the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Ms Geeta Mittal, highlighted the need for spreading awareness and sensitisation among youth to respect elders.
The meet noted that there was a steady rise in the population of older persons in the country. Majority of the elders were exposed to emotional neglect and to lack of physical and financial support.
Under the Act, children will be obliged to maintain their parents in such a manner that they lead “a normal life”. n SNS



Ensure free movement on Durgapur Expressway: HC to NHAI http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Ensure_free_movement_on_Durgapur_Expressway_HC_to_NHAI/articleshow/3423736.cms

KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court has stepped in to clear the clogged lifeline of south Bengal — Durgapur Expressway. For the past five days, the indefinite dharna in Singur by Trinamool Congress has not only brought traffic to a standstill on the highway, it has also stranded thousands of trucks carrying essential goods.

Acting on a writ petition by Calcutta Goods Transport Association and others, the court on Friday directed the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to ensure free movement of vehicles on Durgapur Expressway in accordance with law, without any further hindrance. Justice Nadira Patherya also suggested that if necessary, the NHAI authorities could take help from the state authorities in clearing the highway from any obstruction.

The petitioners contended that they had lodged complaints with the director-general of police about the blockade for the past five days, but little was done to clear the mess. So they moved high court, seeking its intervention to end the deadlock.

Appearing for the police, junior standing counsel Subrata Mukhopadhyay with Suman Ghosh submitted before the court that the force was ready to take any sort of action necessary. But since the issue was a sensitive one, the police had not taken any stern action so far.

Advocate Kalyan Banerjee, appearing for Trinamool Congress as an added party, submitted that Trinamool was not obstructing the expressway deliberately. The party was holding an agitation in Singur, because of which many people had assembled at the spot and as a consequence there was disruption on the road, he said. The matter will come up for hearing after four weeks.

Reacting to the court’s directions, chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb said they were yet to receive a copy of the order. IG (law and order) Raj Kanojia echoed him.

Besides the writ petition, a public interest litigation had also been moved before Calcutta High Court on the same issue by city resident Rana Pratap Sarkar, seeking removal of obstructions from Durgapur Expressway. During the day, the division bench of Chief Justice S S Nijjar and Justice Dipankar Dutta directed the state government to file an affidavit within two weeks.

In his petition, Sarkar had alleged that Trinamool’s protest against land acquisition was blocking the road for the past five days.

The state government as well as the NHAI authorities had failed to ensure normal flow of traffic and thousands of trucks were stranded and essential commodities were rotting, Sarkar had said in his petition.

30 Aug 2008, 0146 hrs IST,TNN





HC seeks TV footage of court proceedings

 GUWAHATI, Aug 29 – A Division Bench of the Gauhati High Court comprising Chief Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Hrishikesh Roy has ordered requisition of the footage of a news item on the proceedings of the Gauhati High Court telecast on August 14 by the NETV and News Live on the evening news bulletin at 7 pm both in Assamese and English. The court, while hearing the writ appeal filed by one Saraswati Saha against the judgement and the order dated 25.7.08 passed by Justice BK Sarma in a batch of writ petitions including the one of deportation of illegal Bangladeshis from Assam, observed that it was brought to the notice of the court that there was a tele-reporting of the proceedings of the court on August 14 in the electronic media and if the portrayal as mentioned is correct, the same tantamounts to interference of the administration of justice by the court. In order to ascertain the tentative view of the court, the exact footage along with the visual of the evening news bulletins of the two news channels is called for, the court said and directed to make the same available in its entirely by both the news channels.

The court observed that the matter is of particular concern because of the sensitive nature of the case. It has directed the Registrar General of the Court to ensure requisition of the material from the two news channels and submit the same before the court by September 3 next, the day the hearing of the case will also take place.

Law reporter





Tatas pull staff out of Singur


The Tatas on Friday signalled that they were seriously contemplating moving their small car project out of Singur when the auto major, for the first time, ordered evacuation of its engineers, technical experts and labourers in the wake of threats and intimidation to

The project work has ground to a halt with the Tata Motors authorities categorically stating that the safety of the workforce was the company’s first priority.

The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government, meanwhile, continued to wait for Opposition Trinamool Congress supremo, Ms Mamata Banerjee’s decision to come to the negotiating table for an immediate solution to the impasse.

Mamata, however, absolved her party of any responsibility in the acts of threat and intimidation to the project workers.“Our movement has remained peaceful so far and we’ll not take any responsibility of others as there are other organisations too, participating in the current sit-in,” she told her party activists in  Singur.

Apparently, patience of the Tatas has been wearing thin after several activists from a peasant front physically prevented engineers and workers while they were leaving the site after work on Thursday night. They were allegedly threatened with dire consequences if they returned reported for work next day. 

Tata officials are awaiting the return of chairman Ratan Tata from abroad on Tuesday.   “There is no possibility of resumption of work till Monday,” one of them said.

HC says ‘no’

Meanwhile, in another development on Friday, the Calcutta High Court refused to pass any interim order on a PIL seeking immediate clearance of the arterial Durgapur Expressway,which is under siege following the indefinite dharna by the Trinamool Congress at Singur.  A division bench directed the government and the petitioner to file affidavits stating their positions in this regard.

DH News Service, Singur/Kolkata:





Servant gets death for Luthra murder


KOLKATA: The state government seems to have run into a legal hurdle over its notification to ban 15-year-old commercial vehicles. Though Calcutta High Court had ratified the notification on July 18, transporters are now claiming that the government had concealed before the court that the same notification had been struck down by a single Bench in 2006.

On Friday, the Bench of Chief Justice S S Nijjar and Justice Dipankar Datta gave the government 10 days to clarify its stand on the issue.

The state environment secretary had issued a notification on July 17, fixing the age limit for commercial vehicles plying within the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA) at 15 years. The notification was issued under the provisions of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Next day, the Bench of Chief Justice Nijjar and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, while hearing a PIL by environmental activist Subhas Datta, ratified this notification, thereby prohibiting the plying of older commercial vehicles on the streets.

Peeved by this order, bus owners, along with the West Bengal Goods Carriage Association, Haringhata Bus Owners’ Association, Bengal Bus Syndicate and Mini Bus Operators and Co-ordination Committee prayed to be added as parties to the PIL. They also filed applications, seeking modification of the July 18 order.

They claimed that Justice Jayanta Biswas, by an order passed on March 15, 2006, had set aside the state government’s earlier notification of banning 15-year-old vehicles. He had also reportedly set aside the amended Rule 88 of the West Bengal Motor Vehicles Rules for not having any legislative competence. The transporters also claimed that the government had not brought this to the notice of the Bench that passed the order on July 18.

The transport operators further contended that under Section 59 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, only the Centre had the powers to fix the age limit for vehicles. So, unless the Centre directs the state, the latter cannot enact any legislation on the subject, they added.

So, they prayed to the court that BS-II compliant vehicles should be allowed to ply only if they possess Pollution Under Control certificates. The matter will be heard again after two weeks.

30 Aug 2008, 0236 hrs IST,TNN





SC refuses to pass order for setting up anti-terror agency


New Delhi, Aug 29: The Supreme Court today declined to entertain a PIL seeking constitution of a national investigating agency with powers to probe and prosecute trans-border crimes like terrorism.

A bench headed by the Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said it could not pass such a direction as it was the prerogative of the legislature to pass a take steps in this regard.

It said the petitioner can approach the appropriate authority with his idea.

The PIL, filed by Delhi-based advocate Abani Kumar Sahu, had sought direction to the Centre to provide infrastructural, budgetary, logistical and other professional support without making unnecessary delay to constituting a National Investigating Agency (NIA).

Sahu contended that constitution of NIA was necessary as in its absence incidents of bomb blasts like in Ahmedabad and Bangalore have increased.

He submitted that the CBI has failed to tackle terrorism effectively due to politicisation of the investigating agency.

“It has no single lead agency to combat terrorism. While terrorism has aggressively progressed in the country, the premier investigating agency, the CBI has progressively regressed from its professionalism. The CBI has become emblematic of politicisation of investigation in the country,” Sahu said.

A central investigating agency with its own independent accountable capability and control over intelligence, preventive operations, investigation and prosecutions is the need of the hour, the PIL said.

Posted at Friday, 29 August 2008 20:08 IST





PIL seeks inquiry into land allotment to Videocon


The land allottment to Videocon for its LCD panels manufacturing factory in neighbouring Navi Mumbai has been questioned by a PIL filed by a Pune-based organisation.     

The allotment was recently in the news as state revenue minister Narayan Rane lashed out at the government’s decision to give land to Videocon at an allegedly cheap rate.     

Now Vikram Bokey, a former IPS officer and a member of Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, has filed a PIL through his NGO, Maharashtra Organic Farming Federation.     

“We are seeking a thorough probe into the allotment,” Bokey told reporters. Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, the state council of ministers and CIDCO (to which the land belongs) have been made party to the petition.     

The MOFF contends that the land, measuring about 100 hectares, is located in a prime area — close to Mumbai — and it has been underpriced.     

“Why is the land being given to Videocon for a mere Rs 300 crore when its market price is ten times as much?” Bokey asked, while talking to reporters.     

Bokey also said that despite sending a legal notice to the Chief Minister seeking details of the allotment, there has been no reply.     

The petition will come up for hearing in the due course.

Press Trust Of India / Mumbai August 29, 2008, 18:25 IST



No workers at Singur


No workers and officers turned up to work at the Rs 1 lakh Nano car plant of Tata Motors at Singur today, the
 company informed.
On August 28, a group led by activist Anuradha Talwar  had blockaded workers inside the plant when their shift ended around 5pm
and as a result the workers were stuck there till late at night, with many reaching home after 2am on August 29.

It was said that from today morning, workers and officers would be prevented from entering the plant, though the Trinamool Congress leaders agitating at the factory gate denied it. The combination of these two factors could have led to absence of workers at the plant today.

On August 28, a Tata Motors spokesman had told Business Standard that the company had not stopped  work.

Trinamool would stage a road blockade across Bengal today for an hour from 4pm and this could have also influenced workers to stay away as the government was not expected to take substantive steps to lift the blockade.

In a parallel development, Calcutta High Court asked for a background check on an individual who had filed a public interest litigation alleging government inaction to lift the six-day long blockage of National Highway 2 at Singur owing to the Trinamool Congress agitation there.

The PIL was seeking directions on the government to lift the blockage.

A leading city daily this morning ran a report highlighting police actions that were actually leading more and more trucks to the Singur blockage and compounding the jam there instead of diverting trucks to NH6 and other smaller bypass roads.

Bs Reporter / Kolkata August 29, 2008, 20:12 IST



Govt approves changes to airport tariff regulator Bill


The government today approved amendments to the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) of India Bill, 2007.

The Bill is now expected to be introduced in the forthcoming session of the Lok Sabha. The regulatory body will be set up within three months of getting clearance from the House.

According to the Bill, AERA shall determine airport tariffs, which include landing and parking charges, housing charges, navigation and surveillance charges apart from user development fees. The charges would be fixed on the basis of performance standards of the airports, whereas most of them currently are fixed by the airport operator.

The Bill was introduced before the Lok Sabha on September 5 last year and thereafter referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture.

The committee proposed certain amendments to the Bill, which said that non-aeronautical services and fuel supply should be brought under the ambit of the regulator. Aeronautical services include landing, parking and navigation, while the non-aeronautical services include office space, food and beverages, and car parking.

The civil aviation ministry said that while the aeronautical services were a monopoly of the airport operator, the non-aeronautical services were awarded to different competing concessionaires through competitive bidding and thus need not be regulated.

However, the ministry said the revenues earned from these services, which went to the airport’s overall account, would be included while fixing the aeronautical charges. The ministry has also included groundhandling and cargo-related services under the ambit of AERA.

The ministry also said that since there would be a common aviation fuel supply facility at airports, which would be operated by the airport developer, the throughput charges levied by the airport developer should also come under the ambit of AERA.

The ministry, however, refused to accept the suggestion of bring all airports under the ambit of AERA. It retained the clause in the Bill that says that only airports handling over 1.5 million passengers should be brought under AERA. As such eleven airports came under the ambit of the proposed regulator.

The ministry said that since the eleven airports that will come under AERA accounted for 85 per cent of the total traffic and revenue in the country, including other airports would make the regulation a cumbersome process.

Bs Reporter / New Delhi August 30, 2008, 0:28 IST




After five-year wait, govt finally approves Companies Bill


The government today approved the introduction of a new single, comprehensive law to govern the Indian corporate sector. The Bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament during the upcoming October session.

Among other things, the Companies Bill 2008 proposes to tighten the rules governing share sales by firms to their owners, to bar issuance of shares at a discount to owners, does away with shares that have differential voting rights and scraps the requirement of minimum paid-up capital.

The Bill proposes the requirement to appoint independent directors, where applicable, at a minimum of 33 per cent of the total number of directors. “However, any ruling by regulators like the Securities and Exchange Board of India will override the provisions of the Companies Bill,” Corporate Affairs Minister Prem Chand Gupta told reporters.

Clause 49 of Sebi’s listing agreement states that 50 per cent of the Board has to comprise independent directors if it is headed by an executive chairman and 33 per cent for a non-executive chairman. The Bill also mandates that every company needs to have at least one director resident in India.

The Bill recognises insider trading by company directors or key managerial personnel as an offence with criminal liability, while also identifying the company as a separate entity in cases where monetary penalties are imposed on executives. It does away with restrictions on the number of subsidiaries that a company can have, envisages a single forum for mergers and approvals, a separate framework for enabling fair valuations and recognition of both accounting and auditing standards.

The proposed law has been five years in the making. In 2004, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs started a comprehensive revamp of the Companies Act, 1956. 

Earlier, a Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2003 had been introduced in the Rajya Sabha. In 2004, the ministry constituted a committee headed J J Irani to examine the proposals after opposition from sections of corporate India. In its present form, the Bill incorporates suggestions of the Irani committee including those aimed at simplifying the compliance regime.      

Talking to reporters after the Union Cabinet approved the Bill today, science and technology minister Kapil Sibal said the existing Act was not in tune with the times. “Wholesale refurbishment was needed. This is a far-reaching Bill,” he said. Officials added the new bill “replaces the government’s intervention with shareholders’ control and demands greater disclosure”.

On his part, Gupta said the proposed law is based on global best practices and would be unmatched worldwide. “The Bill empowers the government to make future amendments through notifications without going to Parliament,” he said.

The Bill proposes to drop clauses like Section 211 in the existing law that requires companies to disclose the break-up of inputs used. “Henceforth, companies will just have to mention the total amount spent on operations in their balance sheet,” Gupta said, adding that a new clause has been introduced to stop promoters from buying shares at a discount from minority shareholders.

In addition, the Bill recognises the chief financial officer, chartered accountant, company secretary as well as the chief executive as “key managerial personnel” and makes them liable for defaults by the company. “This clause will save other directors who were earlier prosecuted, even if they were ignorant of defaults,” Gupta said.

The Bill proposes to increase the number of partners allowed in a company from the current 20 to 100.

“Professions like chartered accountancy, regulated by special Acts, will have no ceiling on the number of partners,” the minister added. The proposed law recognises board meetings held through vikdeo conferencing and voting through e-mail. It also provides for a single forum for mergers and acquisitions through the Competition Commission of India.      

Leading corporate lawyer, Kumkum Sen, partner, Rajinder Narain & Co, said: “I look forward to the proposed law streamlining consolidating the scattered provisions in other laws and parts of the existing Act to make it a far more concise law on the FEMA model, with the regulatory powers inserted in the schedules of the Act.”

Bs Reporter / New Delhi August 30, 2008, 0:28 IST



Music school seeks arrest of 13 high court judges


NEW DELHI: No litigant would have berated judges in open court as two members of Mumbai’s Boss Music School did in the Supreme Court on Friday. Not only did they accuse 13 judges of Bombay High Court of ordering “genocide” of Boss School members but sought their arrest and prosecution.

They were angered by the police action initiated on the complaint of parents of a girl and hurled abuses at the HC judges for not stopping the alleged persecution of the school’s members. “Arrest the judges of the Bombay HC who have been paid to destroy the Boss School and commit genocide on its members. They have destroyed us.

We have right to live. Act now as dead bodies do not cry for fundamental rights,” said Leila David and teenager Annette Kotian, the latter shouting at the CJI and asking him to recuse himself from the hearing. A stunned Bench comprising CJI K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal warned, “Use your words carefully or else you will face the music. You have no business to decide whether the CJI should hear the petition or not.”

Throwing caution to the wind, the two continued with their diatribe against the HC judges. When this did not pacify the two agitated petitioners, the Bench said, “Per se, the allegations are contemptuous. Withdraw the allegations and we will hear the petition. We have spent two hours going through the petition making serious allegations. The way the students of Boss Music School are behaving — we are not concerned with the faith, clout or black magic — but do they think they are above law that they should not be investigated by police or should not be summoned to appear before the court.”

30 Aug 2008, 0305 hrs IST,TNN





High court not for transfer on flimsy grounds


CHENNAI: Not just judicial officers, even staff members of the judiciary need to be protected from persons who make “reckless, baseless and unfounded allegations,” the Madras High Court has ruled.

Quashing the punitive transfer of a district court officer from Tuticorin to Ramanathapuram , a division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice R Subbiah said: “It has been time and again held by the Supreme Court that it is the duty of the higher judiciary to protect officers of the lower judiciary from persons, who make reckless, baseless and unfounded allegations, by way of anonymous petitions . The same reasoning would apply even in the case of staff members. Admittedly, in the case on hand, the impugned action has been initiated pursuant to an anonymous petition received.”

Justice Dharma Rao pointed out that the petitioner, Perachi’s transfer was punitive as it had affected his promotion chances.

Directing the high court registry to retransfer R Perachi to his home district of Tuticorin from where he had been shifted to Ramanathapuram in 2006, the bench said: “The order of transfer, by way of punishment , as in the case on hand, is not sustainable in law.”

Perachi, an employee of Principal District Court in Tuticorin, was transferred to Ramanathapuram in Sep-tember 2006 following anonymous letters leveling corruption charges against him. The High Court asked its vigilance department and the district judge concerned to verify the charges. Based on their report Perachi and two others were shunted out to neighbouring districts.

Perachi said the transfer had affected his promotional chances. Rejecting his claim for seniority in Tuticorin district , they pointed out that judges of the high court had not been taken into confidence and that the court had not constituted any committee to go into the matter. Also, the Registry had not conducted any opportunity by giving opportunity to Perachi to explain the charges. For all these reasons, the transfer of Perachi to Ramanathapuram needs to be set aside, the bench said.

timeschennai@timesgroup .com

29 Aug 2008, 0736 hrs IST, A Subramani,TNN




Govt paves way for greater shareholder freedom in new cos bill


NEW DELHI: The new Companies Bill, places more confidence in shareholders by proposing to do away with the government’s larger control by giving stakeholders a greater say in the decision making of firms.

The Companies Bill, 2008, cleared by the Cabinet today and to be tabled in the next session of Parliament, proposes to allow entrepreneurial freedom with reasonable compliance cost. The bill provides for responsible self-regulation with adequate disclosures and accountability.

“Government has decided to introduce new company bill, which meets not only today’s but also 20 years later needs,” Corporate Affairs Minister Prem Chand Gupta told reporters here.

“The new bill replaces government intervention by shareholders’ control,” Jitesh Khosla, Secretary MCA said.

The bill also proposed that listed companies would need a minimum of one-third independent directors on their boards and other public companies would have to have independent directors as per the central government rules.

Market regulator SEBI, however, needs listing companies to have 50 per cent of their board with independent directors, in case the Chairman of company is non-executive and one-third, if he is executive.

Facilitating greater freedom to companies, the bill has provisions for scrapping the minimum paid up capital requirement for public and private sector companies.

At present, private sector companies are required to keep at least Rs 1 lakh and public sector companies are required to retain Rs 5 lakh paid up capital.

It also proposes to disallow firms from raising deposits from public. Existing deposits will have to be repayed by the companies within one year of commencement of the new Act.

It prohibited the issue of shares at discount as there are some promoters who issue shares at discount for themselves.

29 Aug, 2008, 2234 hrs IST, PTI




SC contempt notice to mother-daughter duo for seeking HC judges’ arrest


Mumbai, August 29 Two are members of Vasai-based music school, ordered to file response by Sept 10 or face arrest

A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan today issued contempt notices against a mother-daughter duo, both of whom are members of the Vasai-based Boss School of Music, as they had been “seeking arrest” of several sitting judges of Bombay High Court, including its Chief Justice, Justice Swatanter Kumar.

“The allegations made are per se contempt of court. We are issuing notice why contempt of court proceedings not be initiated against you,” said the Bench headed by CJI Balakrishnan and comprising justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal. Leila David and her 23-year-old daughter Annette Kotian had raised serious allegations and sought the arrest of 10 High Court judges for allegedly not hearing their matter “in a free and fair manner”.

The CJI, while issuing the contempt notices, asked them to file their responses by September 10 or face arrest. “If you don’t reply on or before September 10, you will be arrested and produced before the court and you will not be released,” said the Bench.

Despite the court categorically asking the mother-daughter duo “to withdraw the allegations”, they refused to do so. “We are not going to withdraw the allegation,” said Kotian.

To make matters worse, the petition had a plea that the CJI should not hear the matter and recuse himself. The CJI shot back angrily saying, “That I will decide. Choose your words carefully; otherwise you will have to face the consequences. You are arguing in the apex court.”

“We have perused the allegations, which are very serious in nature. We have spent time on the two petitions. The allegations made amount to contempt of court,” the CJI noted.

“You think you are above the law,” the Bench said, asking the two women to maintain the decorum of the court. When Justice Sathasivam suggested that the petitioners could engage a lawyer and argue their case in a better fashion, they replied, “Lawyers have no guts to speak the truth.”

The Boss School of Music was founded by Glen Fernandes in 1996 at Vasai, 40 km from Mumbai, and police have registered several cases against its members, some of whom have been accused of being involved in prostitution and indulging in black magic. The PIL contained names of sitting HC judges in an apparently scandalous manner.

The petitioners were reminded that they themselves had made complaints against the Boss School of Music, like other parents, and that these had been dealt with not only by the High Court but by the police too. “Several judges dealt with the matter and even the police had carried out investigations… how students of Boss School are behaving,” the Bench said. It expressed anguish that they had not even spared the state Home Minister — leveling charges against him and other government officials.

On May 26, a similar petition had been dismissed by other members of the Boss School, wherein they had sought action against the Maharashtra government for forcibly closing down the School over allegations that the institution was indulging in black magic.

Tannu Sharma

Posted online: Saturday , August 30, 2008



UP CIC gets SC notice for making irregular appointments


NEW DELHI: UP’s first chief information commissioner (CIC) on Friday became the first such appointee in the country to receive notice from the Supreme Court on the Mayawati government’s reference under the RTI Act seeking his dismissal for making irregular appointments and rendering other commissioners non-functional.

State additional advocate general Shail Kumar Dwivedi read out the charge — 40 appointments of class III/IV employees without advertising the posts, not allowing other commissioners to discharge their functions and recalling their orders acting as if he was the appellate authority.

Added to the charges was that the CIC, Justice (retd) Mohammad Asgar Khan, during a hearing of a matter relating to Lucknow Development Authority, “made undignified and derogatory remarks, in full public view, against the chief minister, the cabinet secretary, the chief secretary and the chairperson of the UP state advisory council”.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal, after hearing the additional advocate general, issued notice to the CIC and asked him to respond within six weeks.

Dwivedi said that the state government can take action against Justice Khan only after the apex court conducts an inquiry and finds the charges actionable.

The reference under Section 17 of the RTI Act was sent by governor T V Rajeswar on July 10 to the Supreme Court.

The governor is empowered under the Act to put the CIC under suspension till the apex court gave its opinion on the reference. The reference said: “The state government has termed these allegations as serious and that they are tantamount to objectionable conduct on the part of the state CIC showing his incapacity to hold the office which he occupies.”

30 Aug 2008, 0314 hrs IST,TNN



Judiciary bound by Gay law: Judge


MUMBAI: The nature of sexual relations in society is changing, said Justice Vijaya K Tahilramani of the Bombay high court, but the judiciary still has to uphold the law as written in the statute books more than a century ago.

“There is a raging controversy over Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), with many people saying that adults have a right to follow their sexual preference,” Tahilramani said of the 1860 law that criminalises homosexuality with a punishment of up to ten years.

“Our difficulty is that we have to follow the statute. Section 377 has not been deleted by the legislature.” As long as the provision was listed in the IPC, the judiciary had “no choice” but to consider all ‘unnatural intercourse’ as a criminal offence.

Tahilramani, who has been a judge of the Bombay high court from 2001 and recently rejected the bail plea of gangster Chhota Rajan’s girlfriend Rubina, was speaking to students of K C Law College on criminal law. While discussing rape law, Tahilramani, 50, has a word of advice for her young listeners.

“Young men, beware!” she said to a round of laughter. Be “very, very careful” when it comes to sexual relations with young girls who look older than they are but may not have attained the age of consent. Under the IPC, sexual intercourse with a girl below the age of 16 years is considered rape regardless of whether or not she is a consenting partner.

Tahilramani cited a case where the rape accused pleaded that the victim had misrepresented herself as a major and consented to intercourse with him. “Even though the girl looked mature, all the documents proved that she was below 16 years and it clearly became a case of statutory rape,” Tahilramani recounted.

The judge pointed that many of the laws in the IPC, which was written in 1860, rarely apply to modern society. A prime example is the rape law that punishes a man for misrepresenting himself as a woman’s husband to gain her consent. “This worked in a era where the bride had never seen her groom and a man could pretend to be her husband,” Tahilramani said.

29 Aug 2008, 0332 hrs IST,TNN





Delhi HC issues notices to Trai, MIB on regulation of carriage fee


NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has issued notices to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, expressing a need to bring out regulation on carriage fees charged by direct-to-home operators, multi-system operators, and cable operators

“There has to be some rationality behind the continuous increase in carriage fees. However the court is not deciding to frame regulation,” the Delhi High Court said.

When contacted, a senior MIB official said: “The ministry has not yet received a notice regarding this.” Trai chairman Nripendra Misra declined to comment.

The Court was hearing the petition filed by Delhi-based news channel Total TV, challenging the validity of carriage fees being charged by DTH operators, MSOs and cable operators.

Earlier on 28 August, Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (Tdsat), in its interim order in the case between Total TV and Prasar Bharati, had permitted the channel to deposit Rs 2.5 million as the carriage fee from 6 September 2008 for a year on provisional basis.

The broadcast tribunal had also directed the DTH operator to continue carrying the channel.

Total TV had approached the court after Prasar Bharati hiked the carriage fee from Rs 2.5 million to Rs 6 million per annum to carry the channel on its DTH platform. The contract between the channel and DTH operator is scheduled to expire on 5 September, 2008.

Total TV’s counsel argued that when Trai has not prescribed any carriage fees to be charged by distributors, such types of demands should be held illegal.

The channel further questioned the basis behind fixing such charges when the government had not laid down any regulation regarding carriage fees.

Indiantelevision.com Team

(29 August 2008 8:00 pm)





Bombay HC to hear PCB’s appeal on Yousuf on Tuesday


Karachi, Aug 29 (PTI) The Bombay High Court will hear on Tuesday Pakistan Cricket Board’s appeal against the stay order passed by a Mumbai arbitrator on batsman Mohammad Yousuf, which stops him from participating in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The ‘rebel’ Indian Cricket League (ICL) had started legal proceedings against Yousuf with an arbitrator in Mumbai last year after the senior batsman backed out of a contract with them late last year and preferred to play for Pakistan.

The PCB later tried to get Yousuf a contract with the IPL but the move was stopped by the arbitrator, who issued a stay order against the batsman playing in any other league.

The Pakistan Board has filed an appeal to the High Court on behalf of Yousuf and it will be heard on September 2.

“We will be represented by advocate Iqbal Chagla in the appeal hearing in the Bombay High Court,” Tafazzul Rizvi, the legal counsel of the Pakistan board, told PTI today.

He said the decision to file a separate appeal in the High Court was taken after former Pakistan captain Moin Khan changed his statement.

The PCB and Yousuf have been claiming that the advance money the ICL paid to the batsman was returned immediately through Moin, who runs a sports marketing company and was instrumental in signing up players for the ICL.

But Rizvi said that at the last hearing held by the arbitrator in Mumbai, which was attended by him and ICL’s legal counsel and another official, Moin said he was not an agent for the ICL but for Yousuf.

“This has put us on the wrong foot and made the ICL case stronger against Yousuf,” Rizvi admitted.

But he was hopeful that the appeal against the stay order would be decided in their favour. PTI




Govt opposed to Nalini’s premature release: TN to HC



Chennai, Aug 29 (PTI) The Tamil Nadu Government today submitted that the findings of the Advisory Board, which rejected S Nalini’s plea for premature release in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, are well considered and it stood by its decision to oppose her premature release.
In a counter filed before the Madras High Court to Nalini’s petition seeking premature release, the government submitted that the Board had rejected her premature release, considering the social history of the prisoner, the circumstances of her criminal behaviour and the degree of criminality.

“The degree of criminality is not only causing the death of a former Prime Minister of a nation, but also one of causing grave social unrest, shock and turmoil in the psyche of each and every Indian.” “The authorities rightly have kept these matters in mind while arriving at a decision of not permitting premature release of the petitioner,” the government submitted.

The Centre also wanted to file a counter and sought time to which Justice S Nagamuthu adjourned the matter to September 17.

Nalini is currently serving life imprisonment at the high-security Vellore prison. PTI





HC directs NHAI to ensure free movement on expressway


Kolkata (PTI): The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to ensure free movement of vehicles on Durgapur Expressway, which has been blocked following the indefinite dharna launched by the Trinamool Congress since Sunday.

Justice Nadera Patherya, taking up a petition by the Calcutta Goods Transport Association seeking the court’s intervention to ensure smooth passage of vehicles on the expressway, in her order asked the NHAI authorities to take the West Bengal government’s assistance to make it free from obstruction.

No vehicle is going through the 76 km expressway, which is a part of NH-2 connecting Delhi with Kolkata and several important places since Sunday when the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress started a dharna at Singur demanding return of 400 acres acquired for the Tata Motors Nano project to ‘unwilling’ farmers.

The association’s counsels submitted before the court that on August 27 it had petitioned the director general of state police and NHAI authorities to make arrangements for passage of goods vehicles on the road.

It claimed that the authorities, however, did not take any action and as such it moved the High Court seeking its intervention.

Justice Patherya directed that the matter would come up for hearing four weeks later.

Earlier in the day, a division bench comprising Chief Justice S S Nijjar and Justice D Dutta refused to pass any interim order on a PIL seeking immediate clearing of the arterial expressway.

Friday, August 29, 2008





Mumbai peaceful after HC directive on Marathi signboards


No untoward incident was reported in the city a day after the Bombay High Court directed the Raj Thackeray-led MNS and its party workers not to resort to violence on the Marathi signboards issue.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) K L Prasad said that although MNS has withdrawn their agitation, police ‘bandobast’ has been deployed at certain places in the city as precautionary measures.

In response to an application filed by traders’ associations, the court on Thursday 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.

The Court had also prohibited Thackeray from personally giving any provocative or intimidating speech regarding the issue of Marathi signboards.

The deadline for shopowners to put up boards displaying the name of the shop in Marathi ended on Thursday.

Press Trust Of India

Mumbai, August 29, 2008

First Published: 15:57 IST(29/8/2008)





HC refuses to provide relief in Singur highway blockade


Kolkata, August 29: The Calcutta High Court refused to pass any interim order on a PIL seeking immediate clearance of the arterial Durgapur Expressway, which is under siege following the indefinite dharna by the Trinamool Congress at Singur.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice S S Nijjar and Justice Dipankar Dutta, declining to pass any order before hearing out the matter, directed the West Bengal government and the petitioner to file affidavits stating their positions in this regard.

The state government would have to file its affidavit within two weeks and the petitioner in another week. The matter would be heard by the bench after three weeks.

Stating that the West Bengal government and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had failed to ensure free movement of traffic on the expressway (NH-2) connecting Delhi and several other north Indian cities to Kolkata, petitioner Rana Pratap Sarkar demanded that action be taken to remove the blockade.

Claiming that blocking of a national highway was a criminal offence and punishable under the country’s laws, the petitioner sought the court’s direction to the state to ensure immediate removal of the impediment and to ensure free movement of traffic.

Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee is holding a dharna since Sunday before the Tata Motors small car plant at Singur on the Durgapur Expressway demanding return of 400 acres of land to the farmers, who are unwilling to part with their land for the project.


Posted online: Friday , August 29, 2008



HC bars gadgets in exams


Mumbai: No mobile phones or electronic gadgets in the examination hall-this University of Mumbai diktat to students to prevent newer forms of cheating was accorded legal sanctity by the Bombay high court on Thursday.

A division bench of Justice P B Majumdar and Justice Amjad Sayed declined relief to a 19-year-old student of S K Somaiya College who was penalised after she was found with a mobile during the exam.

“By taking any electronic device or cellphone in the examination hall, a student can misuse the same in case any data is stored in such a device ,” said the judges. “It is time parents and students learn that no such device should be allowed in the examination hall and if any student is found with one, he or she may loose a precious academic year and may also invite severe punishment.”

The judges also reminded students that guilt would be presumed, irrespective of whether they were intending to copy or not using the mobile. “Even a bonafide mistake can be considered serious negligence as intentionally or unintentionally no students should be allowed to carry such an electronic device at the time of entering the examination hall.”

The court has asked the University as well as the colleges to widely publicise the ban on such gadgets. It also directed the college authorities to make arrangements to collect mobile phones and other gadgets either outside the examination hall or before the start of the exam.

Advocate Rui Rodrigues, counsel for the university assured the court that the rule would be strictly implemented and any incident of a student carrying an electronic device in the examination hall would be treated as “using unfair practice in the examination.”

The case was filed by Megha Iyer, a first-year BMS student of Somaiya College in Vidyavihar. During the March 2008 exams, Megha was found with the mobile phone after the question papers had been distributed. Following an inquiry, the Unfair Means Enquiry Committee of the college found her guilty. As punishment , the panel declared her performance in the exam as void.

29 Aug 2008, 0603 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas,TNN




Court can quash arbitration award if it is against law


New Delhi: A court can set aside an arbitration award if it is contrary to law or the Arbitration and Conciliation (AC) Act or against the terms of a contract, the Supreme Court has held.

A Bench, consisting of Justices P. Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, said: “An award could be set aside if it is contrary to the fundamental policy of Indian law; or [to] the interest of India; or [to] justice or morality or prejudicial to the rights of the parties or if it is so unfair and unreasonable that it shocks the conscience of the court.”

Writing the judgment, Justice Sathasivam said: “It is open to the court to consider whether the award is against the specific terms of contract and if so, interfere with it on the ground that it is patently illegal and opposed to public policy.”

Quoting an earlier judgment, the Bench said: “If the Arbitral Tribunal has not followed the mandatory procedure it would mean that it has acted beyond its jurisdiction and thereby the award would be patently illegal which could be set aside under Section 34 of the AC Act.” If the arbitrator had no jurisdiction to go into the dispute, the award would become null and void and could be interfered with.

In the instant case, an arbitrator passed an award against the Delhi Development Authority, levying 12 per cent interest from the date of decree until the payment was made to R.S. Sharma and Co.

A single judge of the Delhi High Court set aside the award but on appeal a Division Bench confirmed it. Setting aside this judgment on appeal by the DDA, the Supreme Court said the single judge was fully justified in partially setting aside the award of the claims but the Division Bench, while reversing this order, proceeded on an erroneous premise. The arbitrator had accepted the claim without giving any justification.

“We are satisfied that this is an error apparent on the face of the record as well as contrary to the terms of the agreement,” the Supreme Court said and restored the single judge’s order.

Friday, Aug 29, 2008

Legal Correspondent



Set Singapore exempted from paying tax in India; HC rules


MUMBAI: In a decision pertaining to multinational companies who pay tax in India, the Bombay High Court has said that Sony Entertainment Television (Set) Singapore is not liable to pay tax in India.

It has ruled that since the foreign entity has paid an arm’s length remuneration’ (transfer pricing of the permanent establishment) to its local agent in India, Multi Screen Media (MSM), it is not responsible to paying tax in India.

Citing a Supreme Court judgment in the Morgan Stanley case which held that if the parent company has paid an arm’s length remuneration then it is not liable to be assessed separately in India, SET Singapore had filed the contention.

Whereas The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) disagreed saying that that income generated from India is attributed to parent company and hence it is liable to be assessed in India.

The Bench headed by Justices F I Rebello and R S Mohite said, as far as a foreign enterprise pays appropriate arms-length remuneration to its permanent establishment in India then no further profits can be attributed to it, and nothing further would be left to be taxed.

The ruling will exempt foreign companies from paying tax in India if they are remunerating their local agents.

Indiantelevision.com Team

(23 August 2008 7:00 pm)



BCI objects to HC move to bar Anand, Khan from practise


New Delhi, Aug 23: The Bar Council of India (BCI) on Saturday objected to the Delhi High Court’s decision to bar senior advocates R K Anand and I U Khan from practising for four months, terming it as an encroachment on its power.

The apex regulatory body for practising lawyers comes a day after advocates struck work in subordinate courts here on the same issue.

Suraj Narain Prasad Sinha, Chairman of the Bar Council of India, said they were not concerned with the merit of the verdict against the two lawyers.

“As far as the merit of the judgement is concerned, we are not bothered…Our stand is with regard to the powers encroached by the Delhi High Court in directing the two senior advocates not to appear in the High Court and its subordinate courts for the next four months,” he said.

“If it is not set aside, then the order will become a law,” he said.

Asked if striking work in courts was the best way that the lawyers could have drawn attention to the issue, he said, “The Bar Council of India is not in favour of strike. According to the Supreme Court, the strike is applicable only in exceptional cases.”

The BCI favoured strict punishment for convicted advocates if they were found guilty but the decision to bar the advocates is not acceptable to it.

“Even the BCI will take strict action if they will be found guilty but encroachment of power of the Council is not acceptable,” BCI member advocate Ram Avtar Gupta said.

The Council also denied receiving a copy of the High Court judgement. “It was only through media that we came to know about it,” Gupta said.

On the future action in the matter, Sinha said, “The power of the BCI are original powers, appellate powers and revision powers. If the disciplinary proceedings were not finally concluded within one year by the state Bar Council, then the matter will be transferred to the BCI.”

The High Court, on June 21, had barred Anand and Khan from practise for four months and recommended stripping them of their “senior advocate” designation after convicting them for contempt of court in the BMW hit-and-run case, following a sting operation.

Bureau Report




Delhi HC rejects GSM players’ plea on dual tech



New Delhi, Sat, 23 Aug 2008 NI Wire




Rejecting the plea of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) lobby, the Delhi High Court has cleared the hurdles of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators to begin their service in GSM technology along with CDMA operations under dual technology license; if the petitioners do not move to Supreme Court on against the decision of High Court.

This decision of Delhi HC may also affect the judgement of Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) where the petitioners had already filed a case against the CDMA players for beginning their dual service, which next hearing date is scheduled on September 04.


Citing the decision, hearing Justice Gita Mittal has also slapped the fine of Rs.50,000 on each petitioners – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Spice Telecom and their industries association ‘Cellular Operators’ Association of India’ (COAI) by stating, “Government decision was in tandem with the Universal Access Service Licence (UASL) and in public interest.”

The fine will be deposited with the Delhi High Court Legal Service Authority.

COAI is yet to comment over this decision and its future steps, while Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) the lobby of CDMA players has expressed joy over this decision and quoted it as the ‘right’ decision and ‘in the interest of public’.

Welcoming the decision, S C Khanna the Secretary General of AUSPI said, “It allows the government policy to be carried out smoothly, and opens up the market for more operators, which ultimately will benefit the consumer.”

The GSM players share over two third ratio of total mobile subscribers that is nearby 30-millions in India, while CDMA players – Reliance Communication (RCom), Tata Teleservices Limited (TTS), state run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Shyam Sistema shares only one third share. Among it, BSNL is the government telecom company that operates in both GSM and CDMA technology under dual technology license while till now RCom was the private operates that operates the GSM service in only eight circles of India.

But now, last December, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had granted the PAN India licence to RCom, TTS and Shyam-Sistema to begin GSM service on dual technology.


In that response, the GSM players had opposed the decision of TRAI and moved to Delhi HC and TDSAT. The COAI had also alleged TRAI to favouring Reliance by quoting that TRAI had granted the ‘in-principle approval’ to RCom well before announcing the new policy on dual technology into the public. This move of TRAI would allow RCom to get double benefit into yet to release 3G Spectrum allocation.

TRAI, however, had denied any sort of allegation of taking anyone’s favour while RCom has said that GSM players who have thick ratio of shares in release spectrum were trying to stop others from getting the start-up spectrum for operations in the same segment.

TRAI which had earlier announced to allocate the two bandwidths of 3G spectrum to CDMA players and for this, it was willing to introduce 3G spectrum policies later moved to introduce separate 3G spectrum policy for CDMA players.


Cancel lease given to college: HC


Madurai (PTI): The Madurai bench of the Madras Court has directed the Tuticorin district collector to cancel the lease granted to a private engineering college at Nalatin Puthur to use ‘poromboke’ land as pathway.

Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and A Selvam in their interim orders, in response to a petition filed by an individual,also restrained the college management from obstructing the access to the pathway in any way.

The petitioner submitted that the state government had leased out the property to the college for nine years for just Rs 600 ayear. The then collector R Thiagrajan cancelled the lease on February 2, 2003, stating it was Poramboke and could not be leased out as per Government Order.

The emanagement however continued to enjoy the benefit, fenced the land and prevented the owners behind the college from having any access. The owners were being ‘coerced’ to sell their lands by the college authorities, he said.

The college authorities could not prevent the public from using the poramboke, the only entry to approach their properties, he said.

Saturday, August 23, 2008





BMW sting case: Lawyers protest HC’s verdict

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court may have sent a strong message by punishing criminal lawyers R K Anand and I U khan in the BMW sting case. But lawyers in the Capital are unhappy with the verdict.

On Friday Bar Association in the Delhi district court went on strike, protesting against the order.

Lawyers in Delhi were up in arms a day after the Delhi High Court held R K Anand and I U Khan guilty of contempt of court and barred them from practicing for the next four months.

All four district courts in the Capital wore a deserted look as the Bar Association went on strike protesting the HC judgement.

“We are upset with the verdict because the judge has barred two very senior lawyers from practicing in Delhi, whereas it is not up to him to decide this,” says Patiala house Bar Association’s Santosh Mishra.

The High court had found Anand and Khan guilty of trying to bribe witness Sunil Kulkarni to favour accused Sanjeev Nanda in the BMW hit-and-run case.

However, the Bar Association argues that the punishment given is unjustified, as barring a lawyer from practice is the job of the Bar council and not the court.

“We’ve had a very successful strike today as lawyers on their own didn’t practice today without any pressure since they understand that the verdict is unjust,” says Patiala house Bar Association’s R K Wadhwa.

But senior members of the legal fraternity point out that striking work is only damaging the reputation of the Bar.

“The entire Bar of Delhi could have chosen to file a petition in the SC or in the HC. Instead of resorting to strike as a strike gives a wrong message to the people,” says advocate K T S Tulsi.

A year and a half ago the Bar council had initiated inquiry against Anand and Khan, but no action had been taken so far. And as protests continue

questions are being raised – is the bar council serious enough to send a strong message by punishing the offending lawyers?

Published on Sat, Aug 23, 2008 at 11:34, Updated at Sat, Aug 23, 2008 in Nation section www.ibnlive.com


Bombay HC jolt for Lilavati CEO


Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Friday restrained Nanik Rupani and Vijay Choraria from acting as trustees in the Lilavati Hospital Trust and also observed that the Rs 800-crore hospital’s CEO, Vijay Mehta, could not appoint more than five trustees.

The order, passed by Justice Rekha Sondur Baldota, was in response to an appeal filed by permanent trustee Charu Mehta against an order dated July 31, 2008, of the city civil court which had rejected her plea to restrain Rupani and Choraria from acting as trustees. A plea for a stay against the HC order was refused.

The issue before the high court was the interpretation of clause 200 of the hospital’s trust deed as settled by Kirtilal Mehta, the father of Vijay and Kishor Mehta, who have been involved in a bitter legal wrangle for the last two years for control of the hospital.

While Pravin Samdani, counsel for Vijay Mehta, said the trust deed empowered Vijay to appoint all 11 trustees on the trust, counsel Navroz Seervai and Pranav Badheka had argued that clause 20 restricted his power to appoint not more than five trustees.

Rupani and Choraria were appointed as trustees this May after two other trustees, against whom allegations of misappropriation of trust funds were made by Charu Mehta, had resigned during the pendency of proceedings before the joint charity commissioner on the issue.

Charu Mehta’s counsel said both these appointments were not within Vijay Mehta’s powers and were apparently made to enable him to continue his control over the trust. Vijay’s counsel denied this contention and said the appointments were only to bring in prominent people on the board.

23 Aug 2008, 0515 hrs IST,TNN





Bombay HC to hear forest land case on Aug 29


Mumbai: The Supreme Court will hear a bunch of appeals against the order passed by the Bombay high court in the forest land case on August 29. “Originally, it was to be heard on August 22. However, now the case has been listed for hearing on August 29,” a senior forest official said.

The high court had held that all constructions on private forest lands across the state were illegal and action should be taken as per the provisions of the Indian Forest Act and Forest Conservation Act.

Since it was felt that flat owners on private forest land were innocent as they were unaware of the status of the land, the state government had stepped in to seek relief for them.

23 Aug 2008, 0532 hrs IST,TNN





SET Singapore won’t have to pay tax in India, rules HC


MUMBAI: In a significant tax ruling pertaining to MNC arms in the country, the Bombay High Court has said Sony Entertainment Television (SET), Singapore, was not liable to pay tax in India, as the foreign entity has paid an “arm’s length remuneration” to its local agent, SET India — now called Multi Screen Media (MSM).

The dispute goes back to the days when SET India was set up to source advertising for AXN — a channel owned by Singapore-based SET Satellite. While SET India paid the tax on the commission earned by SET India, SET Satellite did not pay any tax on the advertising revenue that it sourced from India on grounds that it was carrying on the activity through a commission agent. All payments made to the commission agent (i.e., SET India) were at arm’s length or market price. Therefore, SET’s contention was that only the commission should be taxed, and that the Singapore company was not liable to pay a tax.

However, the tax tribunal differed. The ITAT bench ruled against Sony, stating that whether one carries on the business directly or through a dependent agent, the profit attributable to such business continues to be taxable in the source country. Sony then challenged the judgement and moved the Bombay HC. The court on Friday upheld the MNC’s contention, which was, even if an MNC had a permanent establishment in India, it was not liable to pay tax if the foreign entity paid an arm’s length remuneration to the permanent establishment.

“This is a historical decision and will be quoted internationally for decisions on international taxation. When MNCs deal with India, they often have a permanent establishment in India, and there are obvious questions on the tax liability.

Sony India is an agent of SET Singapore and was indeed a permanent establishment of the company. A fundamental principle came up before HC: if you pay an arm’s length remuneration to the permanent establishment, would there be any further tax liability at all? Set Singapore contented that it paid an arm’s length remuneration, and that SET India had paid taxes on the services it offered in India and therefore, SET Singapore was not liable to pay any further tax,” said PWC head of tax practice Dinesh Kanabar.


23 Aug, 2008, 0221 hrs IST, ET Bureau




Koki Superior to Supreme Court & GOI ? – THE AMBANI QUARREL



In a shameless admission of impotency BHC asked Koki to resolve the dispute between her two Scoundrel Ambani sons. The matter of gas supplies to NTPC and RNRL is shuttling between BHC and Supreme Court, Ambanis corrupting GOI and making a fool of judiciary.

Chief Justice of India may please note that this is not a dispute of Ambani family but between People of India as Consumers, Investors and owners of national wealth and GOI. It is the GOI who has awarded contracts and had to their on time implementations. It is the duty of the Supreme Court to blacklist and declare them untrustworthy companies and direct GOI to freeze Amabani Companies and recover losses suffered by people of India.

CJI please note that people of India has suffered heavy power cuts particularly in Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP, MP, Punjab, Haryana and J&K.

We in Delhi has suffered power cuts rigged meters extortion of consumers, power break downs are common and generators and invertors are ESSENTIAL for consumers of all types.

Electrical energy shortage last year was 73 billion units even as 55% population has no electricity connection.

A gas based power plant could be operational in less than two years- all the 10,000 MW units of Dadri Station ought to be ready by now this alone would provide 50 billion to 60 billion units of power.

Reliance gas discovered in 2002 ought to be available at full capacity. Dabhol 2450 MW power station is virtually starved of gas for seven years.

Court should appoint a Supreme Court Judge led commission to ascertain economic loss suffered by people of India and deduct that from the assets of Ambanis with 100% penalty. Economic & Social loss shall not be less than $100b.

When Kenneth Lay could be hand cuffed and made to appear before district court why Superior Judiciary is satisfied with the presence of Hordes of Advocates (Without Authority) whereas presence of only Mukesh and Anil Ambanis was essential in Supreme Court and High Court.

Only Indian judiciary can be fooled in to believing illiterate Koki Ambani has the skills to resolve the dispute between large Corporates where Supreme Court of India had failed miserably.

¡¡We are willing to let the brothers sit with any expert or their mother to resolve the issue.¢¢

¡¡My client is willing to sit alone with Mukesh at whatever time and place he suggests,¢¢ Rohtagi said.

Such comments SHAME Indian judiciary- these proceedings are monitored by foreign governments and Multinationals.

Ambanis Shame India.

Ravinder Singh
August22, 2008

Ask mum to step in, court tells Ambanis

Swati Deshpande | TNN Delhi August22, 2008 Front Page

Mumbai: Seek your mother¢s advice, suggested the Bombay high court on Thursday to the Ambani brothers, who have been squabbling since 2005 over an agreement for supply of natural gas from the Krishna Godavari basin.

The advice from a bench headed by Justice J N Patel to seek maternal mediation to resolve the sibling hostility came after Anil Ambani¢s Delhi-based counsel Mukul Rohtagi said his client was open to discussing all issues with his brother. ¡¡My client is willing to sit alone with Mukesh at whatever time and place he suggests,¢¢ Rohtagi said.

Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani added, ¡¡We are willing to let the brothers sit with any expert or their mother to resolve the issue.¢¢ To this, senior counsel Milind Sathe said: ¡¡I appear for RIL and Mukesh Ambani is not a party to the court proceedings. I will have to take instructions.¢¢

Justice J N Patel observed: ¡¡Why don¢t you go back to your mother? Both parties should settle. It¢s not a family dispute. It¢s a matter of national importance and a resolution will be in the public interest since natural gas is a national asset.¢¢

The dispute concerns the agreement for supply of gas by RIL to Anil¢s Reliance Natural Resource Ltd power plant. The court was hearing an appeal filed by RIL challenging a judgment last October by the company court which directed the companies to negotiate and arrive at an acceptable agreement for supply of gas. Anil filed a cross-appeal questioning the direction for a negotiation.

Ambani battle: Jethmalani accuses oil ministry of graft

Mumbai: A HC bench has asked the Ambani brothers to seek their mother¢s advice over an agreement for supply of natural gas from the Krishna Godavari basin.

Senior counsel Harish Salve, representing Mukesh, had earlier argued that it was a private agreement between the brothers brokered by the mother and it didn¢t bind their respective companies and therefore the company court couldn¢t intervene. But Anil¢s legal team, headed by Jethmalani, said the issue was no longer between the brothers alone and had entered the corporate domain since the board of both companies had taken note of the agreement and thanked the mother for her ¡¡tiring and ceaseless effort¢¢.

The hearing in legal battle between the brothers turned high-octane with Jethmalani throwing in allegations of corruption against petroleum ministry. Jethmalani questioned the government¢s opposition to a suggestion that RNRL be allowed to sell gas till such time that its plant is not fully set up. Rohtagi said that if RIL supplied gas, RNRL would sell it to consumers as per government policy and once the plants came up, the gas would be used only for power generation. But RIL said it was not obliged to supply gas until RNRL¢s power plants come up, which is expected to take three years. Anil is setting up power plants at Dadri at a cost of about Rs 20,000 crore.

The Centre¢s counsel, T Doabia, created a flutter when he interrupted to say gas was a government property and government¢s approval would be required if another company was to get gas for trading from RIL.

Anil¢s case is that Mukesh even backed out of his agreement with NTPC over supply of gas. He alleges Mukesh did this because the agreement between the brothers was that Mukesh¢s RIL was to supply gas to RNRL at conditions ¡¡no worse¢¢ than what was awarded to NTPC. In fact, NTPC has filed a separate suit in 2006 before the Bombay high court against RIL in which solicitor general Goolam Vahanvati appeared for NTPC and argued that there was a ¡¡concluded contract¢¢ between the corporation and RIL.

On Thursday, the senior counsel appearing for Centre said there was ¡¡no concluded contract between NTPC and RIL.¢¢ Jethmalani pointed out that this was a ¡¡stark contradiction to the stand taken by NTPC, represented by the solicitor general¢¢. He said, ¡¡Government seems to be more concerned with the private interest of RIL than the commercial interest of a government company. This is scandalous.¢¢ Anil¢s company is not happy with the present GSMA on the grounds that it does not give guarantee of duration, quantity of supply as well as the price of gas.


Allahabad HC declines to hear petition against Justice Satish Chandra’s appointment

The second nominated division bench of the Allahabad High Court today declined to hear the writ petition challenging the recent appointment of a sitting Allahabad High Court justice Satish Chandra.

The bench comprising Janardan Sahay and Rakesh Sharma declined to hear the writ and forwarded it to the Chief Justice.

Yesterday, the bench comprising Justices Yatindra Singh and S K Gupta had also released the case.

A high court lawyer M C Gupta had filed the writ petition, challenging the recent appointment of Justice Satish Chandra.

According to the petition, Justice Chandra lacked the basic eligibility and qualification for being a judge in the high court.

Now, the Chief Justice will nominate third bench to hear the writ petition.

Justise Chandra was appointed as the high court judge on August 6 this year.






HC imposes Rs 40000 fine on civic body


KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court has imposed a fine of Rs 40,000 on Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) for failing to relocate a trenching ground in accordance with its orders.

Acting on a PIL regarding the trenching ground at Belgachia, the high court green Bench, in 2003, had asked HMC to shift the ground from its present location. In 2006, the court directed it to remove encroachments from the ground. But both the orders have not been complied with. During the hearing on Friday, environmentalist Subhas Datta, who had filed the PIL, pointed out HMC’s non-compliance with the earlier orders of the court.

Coming down on the HMC for its failure to comply with HC’s orders, the court held that the civic body was either unable or not doing the needful for reasons known to it only.

“The court cannot shut its eyes to all these conducts of HMC. We are giving it three weeks to comply with the order and imposing a fine of Rs 40,000 to be paid to the high court registrar,” the court said.

23 Aug 2008, 0300 hrs IST,TNN



Pollution board puts spanner in LMC’s dumping ground project


Lucknow, August 22 While the next hearing of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the dumping of municipal solid waste (MSW) near Gandhi Setu is slated for August 25, the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) had recently sent a proposal to the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) for the clearance of the project.

The proposal talks about the initiatives that LMC plans to take to curb the increasing pollution in the area. In reply, the UPPCB wrote to the civic body on Friday pointing out shortcomings in the proposal.

It has also asked the LMC to take the approval of Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) for its proposal.

The LMC’s proposal included construction of a retaining wall on the MSW dumping site. According to LMC, the proposed wall will act as a barrier between the leachate and the river water. “Also, to prevent emission of harmful gases, we have proposed setting up of outlets,” said A C Sinha, Additional Commissioner of LMC.

He added: “UPPCB’s letter, however, mentions several shortcomings. As part of the development of the site, we had proposed a new parking system. They have asked us to remove that among other changes.”

According to senior officials in the UPPCB, LMC’s proposal fails to mention several important details.

“Though the proposal gave an outline of what measures the LMC will adopt, it has failed to specify relevant technical details. According to the proposal, a retaining wall will be constructed.

At the same time, it does not mention several details like the dimensions and design of the retaining wall. We have written to LMC asking them to provide relevant details,” said a senior UPPCB official.

Following a recent order of the Allahabad High Court, NEERI had conducted a study on the MSW dumped by LMC on the riverbed near Gandhi Setu.

The court had ordered the study while hearing a PIL from Gomti Nagar Jan Kalyan Maha Samiti.

Neha Attre

Posted online: Saturday , August 23, 2008



‘We have earned back the faith of our investors’


At the height of the real estate boom in Uttarakhand, many developers came, sold and vanished, running away with the investors’ money. Several PILs were filed against such builders. Of the three developers who survived that period of fraud, Octagon Builders and Promoters is one of them. In a candid conversation with Our correspondent, Pardeep Aggarwal executive director of the company speaks on the trust they have now won from the investors and end-users in the region. Excerpts from the conversation:

How has the real estate market in Uttarakhand benefited from SIDCUL?
Just as DSIDC operates in Delhi, SIDCUL operates in Uttarakhand. It has identified about 8,000-acres of land for industrial development. Out of which 2,000 acres is in Haridwar alone. Two others developments have taken place in Dehradun, and Rudrapur. These three are the big ones with Haridwar being the biggest. There are also some others in smaller town.

Various developers were involved in duping the customers. Some of them even ran away with the investor’s money? Various developers who cheated were named in a PIL. Haridwar saw a number of such cases? Do you also have a PIL against you?
There is no PIL against us. I will give you some figures. During the real estate boom, there were some 30 colonisers that were developing or were at the planning stage. Most of them were frauds. Out of those 30 only three are left in Hawidwar: Octagon, Arun Dev Builders and Vardhman. Various projects fail because the landowners increase the price during the negotiating stages. They got some other buyer who was willing to pay more.

Now one may ask, why Haridwar? Topographically, Haridwar is in the plains, secondly it enjoys all the tax benefits of Uttarakhand, as do other hill towns of the state. It is well connected by road, rail and air. So Haridwar has locational advantages. Haridwar has tourism and industry.
Now wherever, SIDCUL allotted industrial development, real estate also boomed. With the boom came along a lot of developers. Local also started developing their own group housing societies. All the employees of SIDCUL need housing. For example, executives working in the Haridwar SIDCUL were looking for accommodation. Now old Haridwar has poor infrastructure, so newer areas were fast growing. The people moving into these units need entertainment hubs. As per one estimate, Haridwar belt needs 3.5 lakh houses in the next 1-1.5 years. But as of today, the housing that has been approved is about 10,000 to 20,000 houses. Now the demand is going to increase, so are the prices. Prices are going to skyrocket.

Is this the case with other SIDCUL towns also?
Not exactly. Take for example, Rudrapur. The town saw massive development after SIDCUL was formed here. But the demand was less. So there were very few takers. Developers started their projects but they couldn’t sell. So here, supply outpaced the demand, which is not the case of Haridwar.

Have you witnessed corporate bookings?
We have got enquiries from Hero Honda, NTPC and BHEL. We are also negotiating with GAIL.

Why so much focus on Delhi buyers?
We are looking for investors to multiply their gains. Usually investors come early at the very start of the project. End users come in last when the project is almost ready.

It is seen religious tourism is increasing in places like Haridwar? Tourists coming for salvation and rituals want to stay for some time. So another segment is increasing which is looking for a permanent dwelling. Are you tapping this segment also?
We are not tapping tourists. Asharams and hotels are already there to cater them. Secondly, they do not live in their house for long. So most part of the year, their property is vacant.

What is the rate of plots at your project?
It is Rs 4,590 per sq yd.

How much will this appreciate by 2010?
By 2010, I expect the prices to reach to a level of 10,000-12,000 per sq yd. Investors who will invest now will double the money in two years of time.

You said that you are looking at investors who bring money. But isn’t the investor detrimental for the growth of the project? An investor usually holds on to the property.
Well investors earned profit during the period of 2004-2006 when the prices were soaring. Year 2007 started witnessing slowdown or a decline. I call it market correction. Rates, which were going up, were not coming down. Investors were reinvesting their money. The bubble had to burst. It was a correction. It happened at the end of 2007 and early 2008. The people who have the capacity of holding are holding on to their property. Rates in Delhi-NCR are again rising. I feel, tier II and III towns will witness better and gradual growth in comparison to Metros. So short term gainers are out now.

According to you what is the range of buying capacity of people of Haridwar?
Both for Uttarakhand on the whole and Haridwar in particular, rates have been moving upward. There is a strong buying capacity. Land owners who were holding on to their properties are now selling their land at good price. Again they are reinvesting their money somewhere in the remote locations for further gain in future.
The commercial space sells for 15,000-20,000 per sq ft in Haridwar city. A two-bedroom floor of 1,000 sq ft comes at an average rate of Rs 2,500 per sq ft. Luxury flats are limited. Rental incomes are still low. People prefer buying and repay in form of EMIs rather than living on rent.

Give us the details of your projects.
We are coming up with Santour City on National Highway 58. This would be 545 acres in size. It would have 10,000-12,000 dwelling units. We have a seven year plan to develop it into phases. At present we are selling plots. We are also coming up with another plotted development at Dehradun by the name Santour Hills near Garhi Cant Area. The rate is Rs 3,690 per sq yd.

Devesh Srivastava
Posted online: Friday, August 22, 2008 at 1427 hours IST



Punjab and Haryana HC issues notice to centre on Pak prisoners issue

Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the Union Home Ministry and the External Affairs Ministry to file in four weeks time their final version explaining the delay in repatriating those Pakistani prisoners who have already completed the sentence awarded to them by the competent courts.

The division bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice Surya Kant gave the orders in response to a PIL filed by World Human Rights Protection Council through its convenor advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal.

The Punjab Government in its response had stated that despite repeated communications to the Union Government to arrange for the repatriation of these prisoners, no steps had been taken by the authorities concerned to do the needful so far.

However, it was submitted that of 31 such prisoners in jails, 19 had already been repatriated while 6 of remaining 12 were getting treatment at Institute of Mental Health, Amritsar and other six were fit enough for repatriation.






Judging Lawyers


In an extraordinary ruling, the Delhi high court has convicted two senior lawyers of obstructing the administration of justice. I U Khan and R K Anand – two high-profile senior advocates of the Supreme Court – were sentenced for colluding to bribe a witness in the infamous 1999 BMW hit-and-run case, in which Sanjeev Nanda was accused of mowing down six persons, including three policemen, with his BMW car in Delhi. While the case was being heard, a sting operation was telecast last year showing defence counsel Anand along with public prosecutor Khan discussing with an eyewitness, Sunil Kulkarni, ways of bailing out Nanda. The eyewitness, who has done several flip-flops, was shown demanding Rs 2 crore to change his testimony.

The court took suo motu cognisance of the matter after the sting was telecast. After viewing the edited and unedited tapes, the judges found the footage to be genuine. In its ruling on Thursday, the court not only found Khan and Anand guilty of obstructing justice but also of contempt of court. The court has recommended that the two lawyers be stripped of their designation and barred from appearing in the courts for the next four months. They’ve also been slapped with a fine of Rs 2,000 each.

If Anand and Khan are guilty of joining hands to bribe a witness, and there is evidence to prove it, it is a serious crime for which they must be punished. However, the suspension handed out by the high court might not be legally tenable.

Under the Advocates Act, 1961, only the Bar Council of India or the state bar councils can suo motu, or on a complaint, initiate action against a lawyer. The matter is then referred to a disciplinary committee if there is any merit in the complaint. If the committee finds the lawyer guilty, he could have his licence cancelled or be suspended from practising.

The punishment handed out to Anand and Khan risks being overturned since a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in 1998 had ruled that a court could not bar a lawyer from practising while dealing with contempt of court. But if the high court’s ruling is on shaky ground, the response of the bar associations is disappointing. They called a one-day strike in Delhi on Friday to protest against the high court ruling.

Instead of a strike, the bar associations should have taken a hard look at the allegations against two of its senior members. Once the sting was telecast, the local bar council should have initiated an inquiry into the veracity of the claims and taken action. By not doing anything, the lawyers’ fraternity runs the risk of its reputation getting seriously tarnished.


23 Aug 2008, 0024 hrs IST





Cash-for-judge scam: High Court judge goes on leave


Punjab and Haryana High Court judge Nirmal Yadav on Friday proceeded on leave after her name figured in the stunning cash-for-judge scam.

A notice put up by the high court outside her court on Friday said that her cases stood transferred to Justice S.D. Anand.

Punjab and Haryana High Court judicial registrar G.K. Khanna told IANS here that he got to know about Justice Yadav going on leave only on Friday.

Justice Yadav’s name figured in the scam involving high court judges and some senior lawyers of the city.

Her decision to go on leave came a day after the high court’s administrative committee, headed by Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur, met in Chandigarh on Thursday.

Court sources said that the committee discussed whether cases be withdrawn from Justice Yadav or she be asked to proceed on leave.

The sources revealed that Justice Yadav told the committee, which comprises senior most judges of the high court, that she had nothing to do with the scandal.

The scam relates to the delivery of Rs1.5 million in cash at the residence of another high court judge, Nirmaljit Kaur, here Aug 13 by an assistant of former Haryana additional advocate general Sanjeev Bansal.

Kaur called the police after the packet containing the cash was delivered. This led to a case being registered against Bansal and others. Four people, including Bansal, have been arrested.

Bansal and others have admitted that the cash was to be sent to another judge and not to Nirmalijit Kaur. They said the money went to her house erroneously.

Police investigations have found that the money was related to a property deal that a number of people, including the judge, had clinched last week in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh’s Solan district.

Those arrested have told the police that even after erroneously sending the money to the house of the wrong judge, another packet containing the same amount was later sent by Bansal to the judge concerned.

The scam has not only embarrassed the high court but virtually divided the judges as well as lawyers.

Sixtyfive lawyers, including some senior ones, on Wednesday filed affidavits before a local court to defend Bansal when he was produced in the court after his arrest.

Bansal, who is considered close to top politicians from the region and also to some judges, was forced to quit as Haryana’s additional advocate general after the scam broke out.

Indo-Asian News Service

Chandigarh, August 22, 2008





SC slams CBI over Ansal brothers’ arrest


An angry Supreme Court has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) why Ansal brothers have not been arrested yet.

In August, the court had ordered the CBI to issue bailable warrants against Delhi’s prominent builders Sushil and Gopal Ansal, who owned the Uphaar cinema where more than 50 people were killed in a fire more than a decade ago.

The court has now told the Ansal lawyers that it would hear them only after the Ansals are arrested, though they can be granted bail soon after. The case comes up on August 29.

NDTV Correspondent

Friday, August 22, 2008, (New Delhi)




SC clears legal hurdle in way of Chiranjeevi political debut



NEW DELHI: An NGO’s attempt to put a spoke in the August 26 rally at Tirupati to mark Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi’s political debut fizzled out as the Supreme Court on Thursday trashed its opposition to holding a big rally at Avilala tank ground.

Basing its application on a 2006 judgment of the apex court asking Andhra Pradesh government to protect all water bodies in the state including ground water recharge at Avilala tank, NGO ‘Intellectual Forum’ had pleaded that the rally, with thousands of people attending it, would harm the vegetation in the area which was key to improving the water table.

A Bench comprising Justices B N Agrawal, H S Bedi and G S Singhvi asked the petitioner’s counsel L N Rao whether the state had taken any steps in the last two years to install water recharge system in the Avilala tank area.

When the counsel answered in the negative, the Bench wanted to know why the petitioner had not moved contempt against the state, choosing to move an application when a political rally was being organised.


22 Aug 2008, 0235 hrs IST,TNN






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