LEGAL NEWS 31.08.2008

Matrimonial woes: SC dismisses PIL by Narendra Kumar

New Delhi, Aug 18 The Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL by Narendra Kumar Verma challenging its order directing him to reunite with his wife on the grounds that such an order violated his fundamental right to life.
A bench comprising Justices B N Agarwal, G S Singhvi and J M Panchal said no violation of any fundamental right was involved and the petitioner was trying to create unnecessary problems.

The petitioner Narendra Kumar Verma and his wife Savita had been living separately since 1992.

Source : UNI –




                      The development of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the country has very recently uncovered its own pitfalls and drawbacks. The genuine causes and cases of public interest have in fact receded to the background and irresponsible PIL activists all over the country have started to play a major but not a constructive role in the arena of litigation. They try to utilise this extraordinary remedy, available at a cheaper cost, as a substitute for ordinary ones. This mini article briefly narrates the ill effects of the emerging malady and possible remedies.


Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
                                                                                              -Martin Luther King, Jr.

                                  Till 1960s and seventies, the concept of litigation in India was still in its rudimentary form and was seen as a private pursuit for the vindication of private vested interests. Litigation in those days consisted mainly of some action initiated and continued by certain individuals, usually, addressing their own grievances/problems. Thus, the initiation and continuance of litigation was the prerogative of the injured person or the aggrieved party. Even this was greatly limited by the resources available with those individuals. There was very little organised efforts or attempts to take up wider issues that affected 
classes of consumers or the general public at large.

                                     However, all these scenario changed during Eighties with the Supreme Court of India led the concept of public interest litigation (PIL). The Supreme Court of India gave all individuals in the country and the newly formed consumer groups or social action groups, an easier access to the law and introduced in their work a broad public interest perspective.

Public Interest Litigation (PIL)-The legal history:

                    Public Interest Litigation popularly known as PIL can be broadly defined as litigation in the interest of that nebulous entity: the 
public in general. Prior to 1980s, only the aggrieved party could personally knock the doors of justice and seek remedy for his grievance and any other person who was not personally affected could not knock the doors of justice as a proxy for the victim or the aggrieved party. In other words, only the affected parties had the locus standi (standing required in law) to file a case and continue the litigation and the non affected persons had no locus standi to do so. And as a result, there was hardly any link between the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Indian Union and the laws made by the legislature on the one hand and the vast majority of illiterate citizens on the other.

                                  However, all these scenario gradually changed when the post emergency Supreme Court tackled the problem of access to justice by people through radical changes and alterations made in the requirements of locus standi and of party aggrieved. The splendid efforts of Justice P N Bhagwati and Justice V R Krishna Iyer were instrumental of this juristic revolution of eighties to convert the apex court of India into a Supreme Court for all Indians. And as a result any citizen of India or any consumer groups or social action groups can approach the apex court of the country seeking legal remedies in all cases where the interests of general public or a section of public are at stake. Further, public interest cases could be filed without investment of heavy court fees as required in private civil litigation.


1. In Public Interest Litigation (PIL) vigilant citizens of the country can find an inexpensive legal remedy because there is only a nominal fixed court fee involved in this.
2. Further, through the so-called PIL, the litigants can focus attention on and achieve results pertaining to larger public issues, especially in the fields of human rights, consumer welfare and environment.


                          However, the development of PIL has also uncovered its pitfalls and drawbacks. As a result, the apex court itself has been compelled to lay down certain guidelines to govern the management and disposal of PILs. And the abuse of PIL is also increasing along with its extended and multifaceted use.

Of late, many of the PIL activists in the country have found the PIL as a handy tool of harassment since frivolous cases could be filed without investment of heavy court fees as required in private civil litigation and deals could then be negotiated with the victims of stay orders obtained in the so-called PILs.

Just as a weapon meant for defence can be used equally effectively for offence, the lowering of the locus standi requirement has permitted privately motivated interests to pose as public interests. The abuse of PIL has become more rampant than its use and genuine causes either receded to the background or began to be viewed with the suspicion generated by spurious causes mooted by privately motivated interests in the disguise of the so-called public interests.


                         With the view to regulate the abuse of PIL the apex court itself has framed certain guidelines (to govern the management and disposal of PILs.) The court must be careful to see that the petitioner who approaches it is acting bona fide and not for personal gain, private profit or political or other oblique considerations. The court should not allow its process to be abused by politicians and others to delay legitimate administrative action or to gain political objectives. Political pressure groups who could not achieve their aims through the administrative process or political process may try to use the courts (through the means of PILs) to further their closely vested aims and interests.

There may be cases where the PIL may affect the right of persons not before the court, and therefore in shaping the relief the court must invariably take into account its impact on those interests and the court must exercise greatest caution and adopt procedure ensuring sufficient notice to all interests likely to be affected.

At present, the court can treat a letter as a writ petition and take action upon it. But, it is not every letter which may be treated as a writ petition by the court. The court would be justified in treating the letter as a writ petition only in the following cases-
(i) It is only where the letter is addressed by an aggrieved person or
(ii) a public spirited individual or
(iii) a social action group for enforcement of the constitutional or the legal rights of a person in custody or of a class or group of persons who by reason of poverty, disability or socially or economically disadvantaged position find it difficult to approach the court for redress.

Even though it is very much essential to curb the misuse and abuse of PIL, any move by the government to regulate the PIL results in widespread protests from those who are not aware of its abuse and equate any form of regulation with erosion of their fundamental rights. Under these circumstances the Supreme Court Of India is required to step in by incorporating safe guards provided by the civil procedure code in matters of stay orders /injunctions in the arena of PIL.

In the landmark case of Raunaq International Limited v/s IVR Construction Ltd, Justice Sujata V Manohar rightly enunciated that – when a stay order is obtained at the instance of a private party or even at the instance of a body litigating in public interest, any interim order which stops the project from proceeding further must provide for the reimbursement of costs to the public in case ultimately the litigation started by such an individual or body fails. In other words the public must be compensated both for the delay in the implementation of the project and the cost escalation resulting from such delay.

                         Public Interest Litigants, all over the country, have not taken very kindly to such court decisions. They do fear that this will sound the death-knell of the people friendly concept of PIL. However, bona fide litigants of India have nothing to fear. Only those PIL activists who prefer to file frivolous complaints will have to pay compensation to then opposite parties. It is actually a welcome move because no one in the country can deny that even PIL activists should be responsible and accountable. It is also notable here that even the Consumers Protection Act, 1986 has been amended to provide compensation to opposite parties in cases of frivolous complaints made by consumers. In any way, PIL now does require a complete rethink and restructuring. Anyway, overuse and abuse of PIL can only make it stale and ineffective. Since it is an extraordinary remedy available at a cheaper cost to all citizens of the country, it ought not to be used by all litigants as a substitute for ordinary ones or as a means to file frivolous complaints.

August 31st, 2008


Mind your lingo

Marathi, Marathi everywhere… not a word to miss. Speak up! Hands up! Who wants Marathi and more Marathi and nothing but Marathi in Mumbai? I love Marathi — it is, after all, my mother tongue! But that does not mean I want to force it down reluctant throats and indulge in dadagiri if my neighbour’s nameplate is in English or Latin. Or the shop down the door does not display a prominent enough signboard in the state’s official language. Laws and rules are fine. But what about common usage? Popular communication? Does language (any language) ‘belong’ to a particular community/state/nation/individual? Can it? Should it?

Language is like a mighty river which flows on. It changes and evolves constantly… it is fluid and mercurial. Which is what makes language so beautiful. We can create our own lingo. Nobody can claim an absolute right over language. Nobody can appropriate it, either. Or dictate that all people should stick to one particular language. There is nothing official about it. Language is nobody’s private property. And, any attempt to politicise it, must be resisted. Taking pride in one’s language, even linking it to heritage, is one thing. But imposing it on people is anti-democracy — it amounts to manipulation, mischief and pressure tactics.

To begin with, the famous spirit of Mumbai is fast disappearing. Do we want to hasten its demise with language issues? Let those who choose Marathi go ahead and enjoy it. By all means recommend dual language signage if that makes the life of ordinary citizens simpler (frankly, it definitely does, since a vast number of citizens do not know English). But for God’s sake, back off from employing muscle power. This sort of a self-appointed vigilante approach, is despicable. Vandalising store fronts, destroying property, beating up shopkeepers and similar acts of violence are more an indication of goondagiri than Gandhigiri.

Mumbai is done with that approach. Isn’t it immature to think that signs can change what is in people’s hearts? Their mindsets? That a person has to prove loyalty/commitment to Mumbai via such superficial gestures? That you automatically become a better Maharashtrian if you display Marathi signboards? Or the converse? It is laughable and juvenile to point fingers at other states and say that’s how it works elsewhere. Mumbai’s character is unique. It cannot be equated with any other city in India. That is the way it has always been. It is Mumbai’s strength… and now politicians want to weaken it? Retailers and traders in the city are being systematically targeted, even though a writ petition on the issue is pending in the High Court.

Raj Thackeray is an intelligent man. His family name has been taken from an illustrious English writer. Perhaps his followers aren’t aware of that. It shows that his background was free of parochial hang-ups and the assumed surname itself is an example of progressive, liberal, intellectual thinking. Has anybody questioned the Thackerays about their right to adopt a surname of their choice? Or requested them to change it? Has anybody doubted their ‘Maharashtrian-ness’ for even a moment on account of that? What’s in a name, right?

Raj and his militant followers seem to have seen good sense for now and backed off. The world is changing at such a dramatic speed, language has become a mere tool for effective communication. Language in itself has no political hues. Why taint it? Marathi is a rich and beautiful language. Its origins go back centuries. One just has to read the Poet Saints of Maharashtra to appreciate the richness of Marathi. Expose people to its wealth and poetry in a positive way. Let them be attracted to Marathi on their own. By beating them over the head with it, all you are doing is generating hostility and driving away those who may otherwise have been interested in learning and loving Marathi.There’s a charming greeting that is exchanged during the festival of Sankrant, ‘‘Til-gul ghyaa aani god god bola.’’ Raj…. shall we start?


31 Aug 2008, 0123 hrs IST, Shobhaa De




SC widens debt waiver ambit for Kashmir

NEW DELHI: Militancy changes many things, even the concept of a debt waiver scheme that was announced in 1997 for small entrepreneurs in militancy-hit J&K.

The scheme, as originally envisaged, was meant to waive loans up to Rs 50,000 taken by those engaged in tourism, transport, trade, hotel, houseboat business and retail trade.

However, the Supreme Court on Friday gave a liberal interpretation to the scheme and extended the loan waiver facility to those who had taken money from banks for purchase of buffaloes and sheep.

The moot question raised before the apex court by the J&K Rural Bank was — could the HC have taken such a liberal view to count purchase of buffaloes and rearing of sheep as a trading activity so as to qualify for loan waiver under the 1997 Debt Relief Scheme.

Under this scheme, only commercial loans/credit limits up to Rs 50,000 were eligible for relief but not loans taken against deposits or government securities. The bank said the scheme was intended to give relief to traders for business activities, hence taking loans for purchase of buffaloes and sheep and establishment of dairy units, which were akin to agriculture, could not be eligible for loan waiver.


31 Aug 2008, 0351 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra,TNN



Court issues contempt notice to two women

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to two women associated with a Mumbai-based non-profit research organisation, Boss School, asking why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them for casting aspersions on Bombay High Court judges.

A Bench consisting of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices P. Sathasivam and J.M. Panchal, gave an opportunity to Leila David and Annette Kotian, who argued in person, to withdraw the allegations made in their petitions seeking the arrest of 10 judges for not rendering justice to them.

However, when both refused, the Bench issued contempt notice asking them to reply by September 10.

Justice Balakrishnan told them, “The allegations are per se contempt of court.” He warned that if they failed to respond to the notice they would be arrested.

Ms. Kotian told the CJI, “We are not going to withdraw the allegations.” Ms. David said, “Why should we withdraw the allegations when what we say is true.” When Ms. Kotian asked the CJI to recuse himself from the case, he said, “You have no business to say this. Mind your words. You are arguing in the apex court of this country. You will have to face serious consequences.”

He told them: “Several judges had dealt with the matter and even police had carried out investigation as to how students of Boss School are behaving. You have not even spared the Home Minister of Maharashtra by levelling serious charges against him. You think you are above the law?”

Saturday, Aug 30, 2008

J. Venkatesan


Defamation litigation: a survivor’s kit

The Supreme Court judgment in the Nakkeeran case is the main tool in the survival kit for honest media and other critics of politicians against libel litigation.

ON SEPTEMBER 17, the Tamil Nadu Government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that it had ordered the withdrawal of 125 defamation cases filed against The Hindu and various other publications. This is a tribute especially to The Hindu `parivar’ for showing guts and challenging the constitutionality of the cases filed against its representatives. The Jayalalithaa Government chose discretion over valour by not risking the Supreme Court striking down the libel statute itself as unconstitutional. Rather than lose permanently the weapon of state harassment of critics that defamation law represents, the Government chose to back down.

This is the second time that the AIADMK State Government has directed a carte blanche withdrawal of defamation cases. The first time was on January 1, 1994 when the Tamil Nadu Government withdrew numerous defamation cases filed against me in several Sessions Courts in the State. The reason then was the same: the Supreme Court Bench of Chief Justice M.N. Venkatachalaiah and Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy had heard extensive arguments from me as petitioner in person and the Tamil Nadu Government counsel on the defamation law, and then orally asked why the law should not be struck down. The Government counsel then asked for time, and came back a week later to say that all the cases against me had been withdrawn. Hence, the cause of action for my petition disappeared, and my petition became infructuous. I was personally relieved but the law survived for use on another day.

But Justice Jeevan Reddy, who had listened to me with great care, went on to write a landmark judgment in the Nakkeeran case [1994] that incorporated the core of my arguments and citations from the United States Supreme Court and the United Kingdom’s House of Lords. That judgment today c. The judgment however needs to be developed further by more decided cases further clarified by continued challenge to state-sponsored defamation litigation that has become far too frequent in the country, so that freedom of speech and expression can become more deep and extensive than at present.

Under the Indian Constitution, the fundamental right to free speech (Article 19) is subject to “reasonable restrictions.” What is reasonable is subjective in a society; it can only be developed to some objectivity by cases decided in courts [`case law’] and according to the political culture of the times. At present, reasonableness is codified in two laws — first, in exceptions to criminal culpability incorporated in Sections 499 and 500 of the British colonial statute known as the Indian Penal Code (1870), and second, the limits to civil liability incorporated as tort law. In India, defamation proceedings can be initiated under either or both, together or in sequence. Most democratic countries have however done away with the criminal law, which is archaic and draconian. But India has not yet done so.

What is one to do if one receives a court summons for alleged defamation? For example, I once received a summons from a Delhi court because I had called a BJP leader, V.K. Malhotra, “an ignoramus.” The remark was made by me during the Lok Sabha proceedings, but lifted by a sub-editor and inserted in a column I wrote for the magazine.

Under the law, I had to prove that it was true — or face imprisonment. Now, how does one prove that a person is an ignoramus in a court of law? Add to that the harassment I would have to suffer of travelling to court at least 10 times a year for at least five years to attend the case or face a warrant for my production in court. Or I would have to engage a lawyer who would charge me a hefty sum. All this for a mild rebuke of a political leader? The editor of the magazine decided he could not stomach it, so he apologised for printing the remark. I was left holding the bag.

However, I fought the case and won. Mr. Malhotra was directed to pay me Rs.8,000 as compensation for my petrol bills, which he paid with some reluctance. Now how did I do it?

I pulled out of my survival kit the first tool of defence: in a defamation case, the aggrieved person must prove “publication,” which means Mr. Malhotra would have to prove first that I had, in the original text given to the magazine, written what was printed. The onus was on him to produce the original. Now which magazine keeps the original? He failed to produce it and I won.

In a 1997 press conference, I made some charges against Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. He used Section 199 of the Criminal Procedure Code to get the Public Prosecutor to file a defamation case. This meant the contest in court was between me and the state, and not between me and the Chief Minister personally. Thus the Government would spend the money out of the public exchequer and use Government counsel to prosecute me, a totally unequal contest and wholly unfair (even if legal).

If Section 199 had not been there, the Chief Minister would have personally been the complainant and I would have had the right to cross-examine him. Now which busy politician would like that? Hence, I pulled out the second tool in my survival kit. I filed an application before the judge making the point that the alleged defamation related to the personal conduct of the Chief Minister and not to anything he did in the course of public duty. I argued that Section 199 would not apply. Thereafter, the State Public Prosecutor quickly lost interest in the case. Had the judge rejected my prayer, I would have gone in appeal to the Supreme Court and got Section 199 struck down. But alas, I could not.

In 1988 another Chief Minister, Ramakrishna Hegde, filed a suit against me under tort law for Rs.2 crore damages for my allegation that he was tapping telephones and using his office to benefit a relative in land deals. Although ultimately, the Kuldip Singh Commission and a parliamentary committee studying the Telegraph Act upheld my contentions, I would have had a problem had the court decided the case before these inquiry reports came out.

So I pulled out the third tool in my survival kit, namely the U.S. Supreme Court case laws, the most famous of which was The New York Times case decided in 1964. Contrary to popular impression, U.S. case laws on fundamental rights are applicable to India following a Supreme Court judgment in an Indian Express case in 1959.

Furthermore, since 1994, these U.S. case laws have become substantially a part of Indian law, thanks to Justice Jeevan Reddy’s judgment in the Nakkeeran case.

The principle in these case laws, restricted to public persons suing for damages, is wonderfully protective of free speech: if a person in public life, including one in government, feels aggrieved by a defamatory statement, then that person must first prove in court that the defamatory statement is not only false, but that the maker of the statement knew it to be false. That is, it must be proved by the defamed plaintiff to be a reckless disregard of the truth by the defamer defendant. This principle thus reversed the traditional onus on the defamer to prove his or her allegation, and placed the burden of proof on the defamed.

This reversal of burden of proof is just, essentially because a public person has the opportunity to go before the media and rebut the defamation in a way aggrieved private persons cannot do. If criticism and allegations against a public person have to be proved in a court of law, what is likely to happen is that public spirited individuals will be discouraged and thus dissuaded from making the criticism. This is what the U.S. Supreme Court in the famous New York Times case characterised as a “chilling effect” on public debate; it held this to be bad for democracy.

Hence the need to balance the protection of reputation in law with the democratic need for transparency and vibrant public debate. The U.S. Supreme Court admirably set the balance for freedom and democracy.

Since Mr. Hegde was an intelligent man, he recognised what my survival strategy meant. He would have come on the stand in court. He would have been examined and cross-examined on why what I said was not true, and how he knew that I had known all along that my charges were false and yet I made them. He therefore sent me a message one day wanting to know if I would call it quits. So his defamation case went from one adjournment to another, until it lapsed upon his death. Before his passing, Hegde and I met. Both of us agreed that it was unwise for politicians who have so much access to the media to rebut charges to file defamation cases and waste the time of already overburdened courts. I got the impression that some sharp lawyer was behind his temporary loss of judgment in filing the case.

Today, with developing case laws, defamation litigation has become a toothless tiger for politicians to use against the media. There are enough dental tools in my survival kit to ensure this. I am therefore writing a full Manual on how to expose dishonest politicians and get away without being harassed in court. I hope honest critics will no more hesitate to speak their minds about what they know to be the truth even if they cannot prove this in court beyond a reasonable doubt.

I am happy therefore that The Hindu chose to fight it out rather than capitulate. More should follow its lead for a better democracy and a freer media.

(The author, an economist, is a former Union Law Minister. As a rule he argues his own cases in court without the agency of lawyers.)

© Copyright 2000 – 2008 The Hindu


By Subramanian Swamy



Supreme Court defines who’s an idiot

NEW DELHI: ‘Idiot’ is a grossly misused word and an oversimplified epithet, if one goes by the Supreme Court’s brand new definition of the term. It is almost impossible for a person to qualify as an idiot, says the Court and therefore, few can expect to get a reprieve for an offence.

To be legally accepted as an ‘idiot’, one has to be so dumb as to be unable to count till 20, list the days of the week, or fail to remember the names of one’s parents, the Court said on Friday.

Under Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code, a person is not liable to be prosecuted if they are of unsound mind, or incapable of comprehending the nature of the criminal act and the fact that it is against the law.

The Supreme Court identified just four kinds of people who could be classified mentally unsound — idiots, the very ill, lunatics and drunks.

“An idiot is one who is of non-sane memory from his birth, by a perpetual infirmity, without lucid intervals: and those are said to be idiots who cannot count 20, or tell the days of the week or who do not know their fathers or mothers or the like,” said the judgement by Justices Arijit Pasayat and M K Sharma. They added that it was for the accused to prove they were idiots or otherwise of unsound mind.

The court was dealing with a case from Madhya Pradesh where Hari Singh Gond murdered his grandfather-in-law and then claimed innocence on the grounds of idiocy. The Bench affirmed the lower court orders convicting Gond for the murder.

If the investigating agency came across a history of insanity, it was duty-bound to subject the accused to a medical examination, the judges said. If a medical examination is not done “the benefit of doubt has to be given to the accused”, the judges said.

The MP trial court had refused to accept the accused was mentally unsound even though eyewitnesses reported he behaved in an unusual fashion at the time. Friday’s judgement differentiated between a defendant of unsound mind and mere absence of motive.
“Mere absence of motive for a crime cannot, in the absence of plea and proof of legal insanity, bring the case within Section 84,” it said. “Mere abnormality of mind or partial delusion, irresistible impulse or compulsive behaviour of a psychopath affords no protection under Section 84,” the SC added, affirming the earlier court orders convicting Gond for the murder.


31 Aug 2008, 0128 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra,TNN




“Legal research has not made much headway in India”

BANGALORE: Legal research has not made much headway in India, where law schools were yet to make a mark in terms of advancement of knowledge and there were no good research centres in the field, an expert said today.

Speaking at the 16th annual convocation of the NLSIU here, National Law School of India University (NLSIU) Vice-Chancellor Prof A Jayagovind said, however, there has been a marked improvement in the quality of students in recent years.

This has a spin-off effect on quality and number of students choosing legal studies, he said, adding, the new-found interest in legal studies could be due to the increasing opportunities available to law graduates.

“Our law schools are however yet to make a mark in terms of advancement of knowledge. Hopefully, most of us have been able to impart reasonably good legal education which was otherwise practically non-existent; but we have not established ourselves as good research centres”, he said.

“Legal research has not made much headway in India even in comparison with other social science researches. In the years to come, I hope that we will address these problems seriously”.

Speaking on NLSIU, he said while its students have continued the tradition of winning prestigious fellowships, it is somewhat disturbing that the number of students pursuing higher studies has come down drastically this year.

Jayagovind said the Chair on Consumer Protection Law has become operational at NLSIU, which has proposed to establish a consumer helpline under the Chair.

Chief Justice of India and NLSIU Chancellor Justice K G Balakrishnan presided over the function, where Prof Upendra Baxi, Professor of Law, University of Warwick, the UK, delivered the convocation address.


31 Aug, 2008, 1432 hrs IST, PTI



Cyber crimes: The Net is not in a legal vacuum


• Vital to preserve evidence integrity
• #%$@?&! watch what you say online

The Internet doesn’t give you the licence to shoot your “dirty” mouth off and get away with it, experts tell Sonia Ramachandran

YOU have your very own blog, an online journal where you express your thoughts and emotions.
There is this sense of freedom, an impunity you feel in cyberspace, and you are quite liberal with the comments you post. Some comments are disturbing, some even personal, about your friends, acquaintances and family.
Perhaps you dish out more “severe” comments to your enemies.
But before you post “explosive” comments on your blog, cyberlaw expert Deepak Pillai warns: “Anything that is not allowed in the real world, in most cases, is also an offence in cyberspae.”

This sense of impunity is also felt when you send a provocative text message through your mobile phone.
“Cyberlaws extend to more than just computers. It extends to any device that has a computing function, including mobile phones,” he says.
According to Deepak, who served on the Bar Council’s Information Technology and Cyberlaws Committee for almost a decade, cyber crimes fall into several categories, and one is crime against computers.
“This means the crime is focused against computers. This would include unauthorised access to a computer, modification of information or data on a computer, or theft of information from a computer.”
The second category is crimes perpetrated through the use of computers, says Deepak.
“Before the Internet age, crime was focused against the computer itself. But now, it’s gone beyond that.
“The computer has become a tool in the execution of other crimes, particularly on the Internet and on networks.”
It must be remembered, just because something is done in cyberspace does not mean the laws do not apply there.
“Yes, it’s open and fast moving, and people have a sense of freedom online, but at the end of the day the law still applies.”
Deepak says he is surprised and concerned by people’s attitude online.
“People seem to think that there is no consequence to what they do online.
“They have no reservations about putting their entire life story online and they are surprised when they apply for a job and the prospective employer has already extracted all this data from the Internet.
So what is Deepak’s advice?
“A statement you make online will be there for a long time because Internet search engines like Google will capture it and store it in their cache.

“So be careful what you post online, especially with the proliferation of Internet-enabled mobile phones.”
Information technology lawyer Ravin Vello says the Computer Crimes Act 1997 deals with offences relating to the misuse of computers.
Section 211 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 states that no content applications service provider, or other person using a content applications service, shall provide content which is indecent, obscene, false, menacing, or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person.
When does something written on a blog become an offence?
“When it fulfils the legal requirements in order for it to constitute an offence.
“Defamation, for instance, is something you can sue someone for, whether it’s done in a newspaper or on a blog,” says Deepak.
“So the ingredients to establish defamation through a newspaper or a blog will be the same. It’s just that you’re dealing with different environments.”
The laws against libel and slander apply to the Internet, says Deepak.
“But the thing is, if the server is not in Malaysia and the content is actually in a server in the United States, has it actually taken place in Malaysia? Does Malaysian law extend to it?
“Look at the ‘Negarakuku‘ case (student Wee Meng Chee’s parody of the national anthem which was interspersed with rap and allegedly derogatory lyrics posted on YouTube last year).
“Where was the singer when he made and uploaded the song? He was in Taiwan. Where was the song posted? YouTube. So where did the offence take place?
“That will be one of the first things you have to consider.”
The Australian case of Dow Jones vs Gutnick was cited by Deepak as an example.
Gutnick, an Australian, sued Dow Jones & Co in Australia for publishing an article defamatory of him in one of its publications which has 550,000 Internet subscribers, of whom 1,700 are in Australia.
The High Court of Australia (the highest court in Australia) unanimously ruled that Gutnick could sue Dow Jones & Co for defamation in Australia despite the fact that Dow Jones’ server was located in the United States.
Deepak points out that the Computer Crimes Act 1997 and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 provide that they apply to offences in Malaysia that are committed from abroad.
He also cites the landmark English case of Godfrey vs Demon Internet Limited.

The case concerns a defamatory statement made on an Internet Usenet discussion group hosted by Demon Internet, a major British Internet service provider.
“Someone had posted messages pretending to be Godfrey, and these messages were of such a nature that they were defamatory to Godfrey’s character.
“He brought it to the attention of Demon Internet, who hosted the discussion group, and asked them to delete the forged messages, but they chose not do anything.
“The court found Demon Internet liable.”
Can a person be forced to reveal the source of his information posted on the blog?
“A person could be ordered or compelled to do so by a court order,” says Ravin.
This procedure is called the Norwich Pharmacal proceedings.
“This came from the case of Norwich Pharmacal where the (British) House of Lords held that in certain circumstances an independent action for discovery may be brought to obtain information on the identity of the wrongdoer.”
Another procedure is the Anton Pillar Order, says Ravin.
“This is where seizure of a computer may be allowed for investigations to locate electronic evidence that may be useful in locating sources of information.”
The Anton Pillar in information technology-related cases is used especially for the preservation of electronic evidence found in a defendant’s computer or within an organisation’s network.
In such cases, the extraction, preservation and presentation of electronic evidence by computer forensic experts is of great importance when prosecuting in court.
“Sources here could mean Internet protocol addresses which may be useful in tracking someone who has posted information,” says Ravin.
“This order can be termed ‘indirect forcing’ as the application for it is made without the knowledge of the person it is intended against.”
But would preventing a person from expressing himself in any way he chooses amount to censorship?
Wouldn’t this be against the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Bill of Guarantees issued by the government which, among others, provides there will be no censorship of the Internet?
“The Bill of Guarantees is a list of promises given by the government in order to promote the MSC and some of it, for instance the non-censorship of the Internet, has been enshrined in our laws as well,” says Deepak.
“But what does ‘no censorship’ mean in the first place? Some people think it means that the laws don’t apply to the Internet and anything goes.

“Others, including myself, think it means that Internet content won’t be filtered, but if the content breaks the law, then the necessary legal action can be taken.
“So which is it? I think that is one of the key issues that law enforcement agencies, especially those who are on the policy end, have to deal with.”
Ravin says just because the government does not censor publications on the Internet did not mean a person could not be liable for information published which is false or meant to ridicule another person.
“There must be limitations. If not, there won’t be rule of law.”
Deepak says Section 3(3) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 states that nothing in the Act authorises censorship. But what amounts to “censorship” itself is not defined.
“If I was in a law enforcement agency, what action would I take when I have complaints of offensive content being accessed or being posted on the Internet, and I have to deal with this particular section?
“From a policy perspective, there are several approaches. One is reactive, where action is taken after an offence has occurred and been reported. The other is preventive, like China’s, where content is filtered right from the start.”
Another important section is Section 263 (1) and (2) of the act which provides that a licensee shall use his “best endeavour” to ensure that the services he provides are not used for the commission of any offence under any law of Malaysia.
Upon the request of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission or any other authority, the licensee also has to assist, as far as is necessary, in preventing the commissioning of, or attempted commissioning of an offence.
“A licensee is someone like an Internet service provider. So he shall not filter content because censorship is not permitted.
“But if it comes through and he notices, or it is brought to his attention that the content is an offence under the laws of this country, under Section 263 (1) he has to use his best endeavours to stop it.
“Which in the case of websites is to actually block access. So is blocking censoring?
“I think it is arguable, as it is against the law, you are allowing the offence to continue if you don’t block it off.
“But to prevent something from coming through, isn’t that censorship?”

Illegal Internet action

• Downloading pirated content like movies and music.
• Online gambling.
• Connecting to the wireless networks of others without permission.

Do’s and don’t’s of blogging

• Do not post anything on your blog which you would not publish or say
in the physical world.
• Do not assume that you are anonymous on the Internet.
• Do not assume that blog providers will not give your information to law
enforcement agencies— read the terms and conditions.
• Do not use copyrighted materials (eg. pictures, videos) of others on
your blog without permission.

Cyber crimes: Vital to preserve evidence integrity

TO investigate a cybercrime effectively, other than identifying the person involved in the commissioning of the cybercrime, the evidence to prove the crime needs to be secured in such a way that its integrity is preserved.

If the integrity of the evidence is compromised, the evidence could be thrown out by the court.
“In cybercrime, one of the most important things are the computer logs,” says lawyer Deepak Pillai.
“So, when a computer has been used in the commissioning of a crime, and someone switches it on before the investigator comes on the scene, the integrity of the evidence could have been compromised as the very act of switching it on changes the logs of the computer.
“So, are victims of the cybercrime aware they are not supposed to do anything which affects the integrity of the evidence?

“There is also the question of how long this evidence has to be preserved before being presented in court and how it should be preserved.”
Deepak says while there is awareness of cybercrimes among the enforcement agencies, IT departments and general computer users, the depth of that awareness could be increased.
“We could do with more education and resources in tackling this area.”
Lawyer Ravin Vello says the cybercrime phenomenon is a serious problem in Malaysia and the world over.
“In Malaysia, we lack the awareness on many levels. In every organisation, whether big or small, cybercrimes can take place at the employee, management and even the board of directors level.
“In fact, on many occasions cybercrime is assisted by innocent people due to their lack of understanding on how such crimes occur.”
He says email policies in companies should also extend to network communication services such as messenger services.
“Many of these services allow messages to be sent over the Internet instantaneously. Here, defamatory comments may be exchanged as well.
“Many companies do not take heed of the fact that sensitive information is being sold or given out freely to their competitors daily.
“Can you imagine the level of losses suffered over the years by an organisation?”
Ravin suggests government departments and organisations implement computer crime infrastructure to educate employees and to increase awareness on how serious such offences could be.
Who do you call if there is a cybercrime?
“If it involves content or activities on a network, you should call the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission,” says Deepak.
“If you want to trace something or require technical assistance, then you should go to CyberSecurity Malaysia.
“If the matter is criminal in nature, then you have to go to the cybercrimes unit of the police.”

Cyber crimes: #%$@?&! watch what you say online

ACCORDING to Black’s Law Dictionary, “Censorship” is to “officially inspect (especially a book or film) and delete material considered offensive”.

Communications and Multimedia Act 1998
Section 3(3): Nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting the censorship of the Internet.
Section 4: Territorial and extra-territorial application.
(1) This Act and its subsidiary legislation apply both within and outside Malaysia.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), this Act and its subsidiary legislation shall apply to any person beyond the geographical limits of Malaysia and her territorial waters if such person:
(a) is a licensee under this Act; or
(b) provides relevant facilities or services under this Act in a place within Malaysia.

Section 211: Prohibition on provision of offensive content.

(1) No content applications service provider, or other person using a content applications service, shall provide content which is indecent, obscene, false, menacing, or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person.

Section 263: General duty of licensees.

(1) A licensee shall use his best endeavour to prevent the network facilities that he owns or provides or the network service, applications service or content applications service that he provides from being used in, or in relation to, the commission of any offence under any law of Malaysia.

(2) A licensee shall, upon written request by the Commission or any other authority, assist the Commission or other authority as far as reasonably necessary in preventing the commission or attempted commission of an offence under any written law of Malaysia or otherwise in enforcing the laws of Malaysia, including, but not limited to, the protection of the public revenue and preservation of national security.

Computer Crimes Act 1997

Section 9: Territorial scope of offences under this Act.

(1) The provisions of this Act shall, in relation to any person, whatever his nationality or citizenship, have effect outside as well as within Malaysia, and where an offence under this Act is committed by any person in any place outside Malaysia, he may be dealt with in respect of such offence as if it was committed at any place within Malaysia.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), this Act shall apply if, for the offence in question, the computer, program or data was in Malaysia or capable of being connected to or sent to or used by or with a computer in Malaysia at the material time. Sunday, 31 August 2008 08:43am

©New Sunday Times (Used by permission)
by Sonia Ramachandran


5 hospitals raided for violating PCPNDT Act

PUNE: After cracking down on clinics in Mumbai for violating the anti-sex selection law- the Pre-conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, the National Inspection and Monitoring Committee (NIMC) raided five city hospitals including Deenanath Mangeshkar and Poona hospital on Saturday.

The NIMC team is monitoring the implementation of the PCPNDT Act which bars using technology to determine the sex of a child. “Sixteen ultra sound machines were sealed including eight at Deenanath and five at the Poona hospital. Three machines at private clinics were also sealed,” said Varsha Deshpande, NIMC member.

Deshpande said that these hospitals were not maintaining records as per the requirement of the anti- sex selection law. “Form ‘F’ to be filled in with expectant woman’s details and a declaration by the doctor and the woman saying that they are not seeking the sex of the foetus, were found incomplete and incorrect at Deenanath and Poona hospital,” said Deshpande. Besides, many important columns were left empty, she added.

“It is a major cause of concern that super-speciality hospitals are found violating the norms. This is an indicator of what could be the situation in smaller hospitals. Declining girl-child sex ratio in cities like Pune is something that makes all of us hang our heads in shame,” said Deshpande.

The raids were conducted jointly by the Union Ministry for health and family welfare, women and child development with the PMC, said Dhananjay Chandakar, PMC deputy chief medical officer.

Dhananjay Kelkar, medical director of the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, clarifying the hospital’s stand said, “Among the 600 ‘F’ forms which were filled in by the hospitals in the last two months, only four to five were not signed by the concern radiologists. Everyday, 20 to 30 forms are filled in and at times the concerned person is unable to sign on a particular form. This does not mean the papers are fake.”



31 Aug 2008, 0447 hrs IST,TNN



Hari Puttar release still on hold

The makers of children comedy Hari Puttar – A Comedy of Terrors continue to be in trouble.

Though the release date has been fixed at Sep 19, it will depend on the next hearing of the case filed by Hollywood studio Warner Bros alleging infringement of their copyright of the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise.

Warner Bros filed the copyright case against Mirchi Movies, makers of the film.

Munish Purii, COO, Mirchi Movies, said that the next hearing will be on Sep 2 at the Delhi High Court when a judgement is expected.

The last hearing, scheduled at the Bombay High Court on Aug 25, was cancelled.

Asked what action they planned if the judgement went against them, Purii said: “Let’s wait and watch. We will see what we can do.”

Purii said he is hopeful of a favourable verdict as the title was registered way back in 2005 and feels it has no similarity to the popular Harry Potter series.

About the film, Purii said, “It is a 90 minute fun-filled film with four and a half minutes of animation where the two children take the audience for a joy ride.”

“It is a film about two children and the power of presence of mind and how the kids create a lot of hilarious sequences,” he added.

Music is an integral part of the film and the songs have been composed keeping in mind the situations in the story, he said.

“I think the music will be quite outstanding as we have tried to create fun filled music keeping in mind the storyline.”

Besides singers like Sukhwinder Singh, Sunidhi Chauhan, Aadesh Shrivastav, Shaan and Neha Bhasin, new comers like Sameer and Aishwarya of Sa Re Ga Ma Chote Ustaad fame have also sung for the movie. The music has been composed by Aadesh Shrivastav and Guru Sharma.

Directed by Rajesh Bajaj and Lucky Kohli, Hari Puttar stars Zain Khan, Swini Khara, Jackie Shroff, Saurabh Shukla, Vijay Raaz and Sarika.

Indo-Asian News Service

Saturday, August 30, 2008: (Mumbai):



Bangalore: Language Policy – Supreme Court Upholds HC Verdict

Bangalore, Aug 30: The state government’s efforts to put its language policy on a firm footing by extracting a stay order from the Supreme Court for the state High Court verdict, has come to naught. The three-member bench of the supreme court headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, at the hearing of the special leave petition filed against the High Court judgement by the government on Friday August 29, refused to consider the government’s pleas for issuing a stay order.

The court ordered issuance of notices to managements of private unaided schools in the state, to respond to the SLP within three weeks. President of Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association G S Sharma said that the association will study the petition and respond to it suitably. He expressed the belief that the court will not come in the way of the liberty the parents enjoy as far as choosing the kind of education and medium of instruction their wards need to have.

Earlier, the High Court had upheld the right of the private unaided schools in the state to choose the medium of the instruction of their liking, duly quashing a part of the government order making it compulsory for the schools to adopt Kannada as the medium of instruction.

Saturday, August 30, 2008 1:02:50 PM (IST)  

Daijiworld Media Network – Bangalore (SP)



Calcutta HC asks NHAI to seek govt help in Singur

After the Calcutta High Court yesterday directed the National Highway Authority of India(NHAI) to ensure free movement of traffic along the Durgapur Expressway, senior NHAI officials visited Singur for a  dialogue with the Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee today.

Justice Nadera Patherya had asked the NHAI to take the help of the state government to make the highway free from obstructions. A senior official of NHAI today visited the Singur dharna site where TMC and its allies had launched an indefinite protest since Sunday. He is reportedly accompanied by the district magistrate and superintendent of police of Hooghly district and could have a dialogue with the TMC chief.

The state government said that the HC order directed NHAI to take action and it could ask for assistance from either the state or central forces. Banerjee negated allegations of obstructing the Expressway illegally. TMC has, however, constructed a temporary shade overnight to shield its supporters from the vagaries of nature.

The 65 kilometer long Expressway, which is a part of the National Highway-2, was facing acute traffic congestion since the last six days on account of the TMC-led dharna at Singur demanding return of 400 acres acquired for the Tata Motors Nano project from ‘unwilling’ farmers.

Besides affecting the small car plant site, where work has been stalled by the company indefinitely citing security reasons, other major plants in the region have also faced disturbances.

C K Birla-promoted Hindustan Motors(HM) had problems with raw material supply from North India that reached their factory at Uttarpara through NH-2. “Our vendors from the north are now sending components via the rail and the air route. We are also diverting the trucks en route our plant via alternate roads other than the NH-2. Goods are thereby taking more time to reach the plant.”, said Moloy Chowdhury, executive vice president, HM. The company, however, maintained that its production was not affected and it had no plans of shutting down the plant.

Meanwhile, Tata Motors issued a statement saying, “There has been no improvement in the ground situation so far. Hence, the conditions are still not conducive for resuming work today. We continue to assess the situation closely.”

Bs Reporter / Kolkata August 30, 2008, 16:35 IST

Mumbai, Aug 30: The Bombay High Court on Saturday asked the police to produce reports of narco-analysis and other tests conducted on four suspects during the probe into murder of Congress leader Pawanraje Nimbalkar.

Division bench of Justices S B Mhase and V K Tahilramani also sought the entire case record from the police, before reserving the order on the petition filed by Nimbalkar’s wife Anandibai, seeking CBI probe into the case.

Nimbalkar and his driver were killed in broad daylight on Mumbai-Pune Expressway near Kalmboli, on June 3, 2006.

Nimbalkar’s wife filed the petition last year, alleging that murder was a fall-out of political rivalry between her late husband, and the NCP leader and former minister Padmasinh Patil.

The petition alleges that police are likely to be biased in the probe due to possible involvement of influential politicians. Nimbalkar and Patil were earlier close friends, but later fell out, the petition says.

Prior to the murder, Nimbalkar had sought police protection fearing threat to his life from Patil and his supporters.

Public prosecutor Anand Patil today said Navi Mumbai crime branch, which is probing the case, has “tried its best”, but probe has hit a dead-end.

Police recorded statements of around 125 persons, but probe could not make headway, Patil said, but also stated that there was no need to transfer the case to CBI.

While reserving the order, High Court asked police to hand over entire case record, particularly transcripts, reports and VCDs of narco analysis tests of the four suspects.

Police have arrested one Tanaji Patil, as a prime suspect, in this case.

Tanaji Patil spoke about Padmasinh Patil’s involvement in the murder during the narco-analysis, but police maintain they did not find any “incriminating clues” against the former minister and his associates.

Tanaji Patil also hinted about involvement of Chhota Rajan’s aides D K Rao and Vicky Malhotra during the probe.

However, both Malhotra and Rao have been in jail – in connection with other cases — since before the murder.

Bureau Report

Nimbalkar murder: Bombay HC seeks narco reports, entire case record




Justice Manmohan Sarin appointed Jammu and Kashmir HC Chief Justice

Delhi High Court Judge Manmohan Sarin has been appointed Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court by President Pratibha Devisingh Patil.

The vacancy in the Jammu and Kashmir HC arose with the transfer of Chief Justice Kalavamkodath Sivasankara Panicker Radhakrishnan to the Gujarat HC announced by the Law and Justice Ministry last Friday.

The transfer was ordered after presidential consultation with J & K Governor N N Vohra and Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice Radhakrishnan was directed to assume his new position within a fortnight– by September 6.

Justice Sarin’s appointment as Jammu and Kashmir HC Chief Justice is to take effect from the day he assumes charge of his office, the announcement said.

Born in October 1946, Justice Sarin enrolled as an advocate in 1979, practising in Delhi High Court, District Courts or occasionally in the Supreme Court in civil and constitutional matters.

He was appointed Additional Judge of the Delhi High Court in May 1995 and Permanent Judge in December 1996.

In India, a High Court judge retires at 62, and a Supreme Court judge, at 65.






HC relief to Chahal

CHANDIGARH: In a significant relief to BIS Chahal, media advisor to former CM Amarinder Singh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday directed the state of Punjab to give three ” working” days’ notice in advance to Chahal in eventuality of his arrest or interrogation in connection with any case that might be registered against him in future.

The order was pronounced by Justice SD Anand in the wake of Chahal’s plea wherein he prayed for grant of grant of a blanket bail in cases that might be registered by the state government out of political vendetta against him owing to his proximity to Amarinder Singh.

Chahal submitted that he ” apprehended his implication in some fresh but frivolous cases” by Punjab’s present alliance regime of Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party as was evident from cases already registered against him by the state vigilance bureau.

30 Aug 2008, 0851 hrs IST,TNN



Dina can’t claim Jinnah House: Centre tells HC

MUMBAI: In a fresh affidavit before the Bombay high court on Friday, the centre admitted that there were “differing views” over the issue of handing over Jinnah House to Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s only daughter Dina Wadia. It also said that though there was a recommendation from former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh in 2001 to give the Malabar Hill mansion ‘on a long-term lease’ to her, such ‘internal views’ do not create any vested rights in her.

The government said that since the final decision was taken in public interest to convert the property into a cultural centre, “any contrary view taken earlier and subsequently reversed, is an internal matter of the Indian government and surely creates no right in Dina Wadia” .

The affidavit was filed by the centre’s advocate Vinod Joshi after the HC adjourned the matter to October 24. It laid down the sequence of events of its ‘internal deliberative process’ and pointed out that there was no communication acceding to Dina’s request of taking the house on a ‘long lease’ . “The efforts of Dina to base her claim on internal governmental process and views that may have been taken, are entirely misguided.”

In court, additional solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam , said some information sought under the RTI Act by Dina’s son Nusli Wadia cannot be disclosed as it concerned relations with a foreign state but said the “entire record of Jinnah House right from the inception would be produced in court” .

Dina (88), who resides in the US, claims to be Jinnah’s sole heir. She contends that the government had earlier decided to grant her a long-term lease on it.

The government affidavit said the centre’s stand was that its final decision was to utilise the property as a cultural centre . “Views that preceded this decision can’t be relied on by Jinnah’s daughter” , the centre’s affidavit said.

The government clarified, “After receiving Dina’ letter dated July 2001, the then external affairs minister, Jaswant Singh, wrote to the prime minister recommending that Jinnah House be given to her on a long-term lease, subject to conditions. “This note was obviously not preceded by any inter-ministerial deliberations. The PM then directed the attorney general, urban development, home and law ministries to be consulted . The urban development ministry indicated that it had no objection to the house being given on long-term lease. But in December 2001, the home ministry strongly objected to the grant of any such long-term lease to her.”

The then attorney general said a ‘fair and equitable solution would be to grant a longterm lease to Dina Wadia’ . The views of several ministries were once again solicited in June 2002. The MEA minister once again put up a note to the PM, saying the property be given on long-term lease to Jinnah’s daughter.

The PM endorsed the MEA minister’s views on July 2, 2002. But then a new MEA minister, Yashwant Sinha, was appointed in July 2002 and the foreign secretary placed a note before him that the “most practical decision would be to convert the house into a cultural centre” .

Once again then the matter was sent back to the attorney general who, in October 2002, reiterated his earlier stand. But the foreign secretary in November said ‘the rule of law couldn’t bend to pragmatic consideration’ and the external affairs minister Sinha wrote to the PM, agreeing with the foreign secretary.

The PM in December 2002 endorsed the view that the house can’t be given on a long lease to Dina and the present government has continued to endorse this view, the affidavit said.

Court allows kin of Fatima Jinnah to intervene

Mumbai: The high court on Friday allowed the descendants of Fatima Jinnah, to whom Jinnah House was ‘bequeathed in May 1939′, to intervene in the petition. The interveners, termed Dina’s claim as “false’ ‘ and claimed 1/6th undivided interest in the residual rights of Fatima. According to them, one Ashraf Rajabally Ebrahim bequeathed her estate equally to them by her will dated March 24, 1986, as they were her son and grandson respectively . TNN

30 Aug 2008, 0519 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande ,TNN




HC admits plea filed by slain realtor’s father

HYDERABAD: Justice Goda Raghuram of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday admitted a petition filed by B Raghavender Reddy, whose son realtor Prashant Reddy was allegedly shot dead by former APCC president K Keshava Rao’s son Venkat Rao a year ago.

Following apprehensions expressed by Raghavender Reddy that the accused in this case was influencing the process of investigation and also theprosecution, the court sent notices to the respondents – secretaries of law and home, the director of prosecutions and Venkat Rao, the main accused in the case.

The petitioner sought the appointment of a special public prosecutor exclusively for assisting the trial court where the trial is going to be commenced from September 1. The judge gave two weeks time for the respondents to file their replies.

30 Aug 2008, 0619 hrs IST,TNN




HC steps into admission row

NEW DELHI: Delhi High Court on Friday sought a response from the NCT government on a petition filed by a 13-year-old boy who was allegedly denied admission by one of the schools run by it.

Justice Vipin Sanghi issued notice to the government and the school, asking them to file their response by September 18 when the matter would be taken up for further hearing.

Armaan Khan, who filed the petition was allegedly refused admission by the principal of a senior secondary school in south Delhi. The petitioner contended that he approached the government school to seek admission in class 6 as he could not afford the fee charged by private schools. But his application was rejected on the pretext that the date for fresh admissions was already over.

He also alleged that the principal of the school used derogatory language against him and shunted him out when he went to seek admission as the institute was located close to his residence.
‘‘The principal’s behaviour was highly uncultured and inhumane. She also used derogatory language,’’ advocate Ashok Agrawal appearing for the child said while pleading for action against her and seeking immediate admission of the kid.

‘‘Absurd questions were asked from the child, as if he is a criminal. He was asked in detail about all his activities in past one year when he was out of school,’’ the advocate informed HC, arguing that this way Armaan’s fundamental right to education was being violated as also HC guidelines ignored. The writ petition further narrated how once the advocate and the child approached department of education for relief, the education officer also accorded them similar treatment.’’

Widow compensated for man’s electrocution: A civil court awarded over Rs 16 lakh as damages to a woman and her three minor children, holding a contractor and a house-owner guilty of negligence which resulted in her husband getting electrocuted while working as a construction worker at the house.

The court, which also awarded an interest at the rate of 6% on the compensation of Rs 16.80 lakh, said, ‘‘Sulena Devi is entitled to the recovery of damages on account of the death of deceased, Munshi Sahni, from Khem Chand Pal (house-owner) and Surendra Kumar (contractor).’’


30 Aug 2008, 0200 hrs IST,TNN




Judge’s phone-tapping case: HC seeks report from Special Cell

New Delhi (PTI): The Delhi High Court on Friday sought a detailed report from the Special Cell, city police’s anti-terrorist unit, over a Metropolitan Magistrate’s allegation that his mobile phone calls have been illegally tapped by police.

The court also sought details related to the magistrate’s telephone from Airtel, the cellular service provider.

Justice G S Sistani issued notice to police and directed them to place before it by September 24 a report giving details of calls that were tapped from the judge’s mobile phone.

In a letter written to the Chief Justice in May this year, a Magistrate from Tis Hazari court alleged that Inspector Rajender Singh Pathania, posted in the Special Cell, had illegally recorded his mobile phone conversations.

Seeking action against the police officer, the judge claimed that he had confirmed from the mobile phone service provider, Airtel, that the Special Cell had kept his phone under observation for monitoring his calls.

The magistrate alleged Pathania was harassing him due to ulterior motives, the complainant judge said.

Explaining an earlier instance, the Magistrate said that when Pathania was the SHO of Samaipur Badli he had falsely implicated his (judge’s) cousin and his friend in a criminal case last February.

However, on a petition by victims, the FIR in the case was quashed by the High Court which also reprimanded the Inspector for his “conduct,” causing harassment of public.

The High Court had also ordered for a CBI enquiry against the inspector besides imposing a fine of Rs 25,000 on him and his other colleagues, the judge wrote in the letter.

Perturbed by the court’s order, the cop became revengeful and started troubling me, the magistrate alleged.

Friday, August 22, 2008



Faisal Khan moves HC against ouster from ‘Big Boss’

MUMBAI: A day after protests by RPI activists against the exclusion of their leader Ramdas Athavale from the reality show ‘Big Boss,’ it’s now the turn of Bollywood actor Aamir Khan’s brother Faisal Khan.

Faisal on Thursday approached the Bombay high court challenging a city civil court’s order refusing to stay the telecast of the show. Faisal too is protesting the channel’s decision not to include him in the show, claiming it was done under pressure from Aamir.

Fa i s a l had filed a plea in court alleging that a contract had been signed between him and Viacomm 18 media for participating in the show, but was terminated at the last moment, allegedly at the behest of Aamir Khan.

According to Faisal, he was promised a signing amount of Rs 7 lakh, of which the channel had already paid Rs 5.25 lakh, with the remaining amount to be paid in 15 days. Faisal has alleged that his brother, who was always “jealous’ ‘ of his success, had used his influence as a Bollywood actor and filmmaker to terminate his contract. Faisal’s application for a stay on the telecast was rejected by the civil court which held that no “irreparable loss” had been caused to him

22 Aug 2008, 0634 hrs IST,TNN



HC quashes govt fiat on surrender of surplus land

MUMBAI: A division bench of the Bombay high court has struck down two government resolutions (GR) issued in 2007 which asked land owners in possession of surplus land to hand over 5% of the built up area to government nominees at extremely concessional rates.

The plaintiff-a former MLA from Nagpur-argued that such schemes only gave unfettered powers to government agencies to “allot land to the men of their choice”.

The petitioner, Mohan Mate, quoted from the report of a oneman inquiry commission called the Justice Batta Commission to argue that such schemes were invariably misused to make land allotments to cronies of those in power.

The commission had pointed out in December 2007 that of the 1600 hectares acquired by the state government under the Urban Land Ceiling Act (ULCA), 400 hectares had been distributed amongst ministers’ cronies instead of being used for low-cost housing. Soon after the report was released, the government had discontinued a land buy-back scheme.

Mate argued that similar misuse of land would occur if the two GRs he had challenged in court were not struck down.

The state on its part told the court that it was compelling land holders to sell 5% of their built up area at one-fifth of the market rate only to provide housing for the economically weaker sections of society. The court was also informed that these land owners had been granted exemption under ULCA to hold surplus land with the understanding that they would surrender 5% of the plots to the government for providing “affordable housing for the poor” .

The state pleaded that it issued the two GRs only after the land owners started constructing multi-storied buildings and sold them to the rich.

However, justice D D Sinha and A P Bhangale held that under the ULCA the state government only had powers to withdraw the exemptions it had granted to land owners holding excess lands and not revoke or cancel building permits granted under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act.

The court finally said that the state was “not clothed with jurisdiction’ ‘ under ULCA to issue the GRs in the first place. It also considered the findings of the Justice Batta Commission while deciding the matter.

22 Aug 2008, 0625 hrs IST, Kartikeya ,TNN




Fake encounter: HC admits plea seeking probe

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Thursday admitted a writ petition seeking an independent inquiry into the alleged fake encounter of a Bhavnagar youth, Sadiq Jamal Mehtar, in January 2003. The court has kept the case for final hearing on October 7.

Sadiq’s brother Shabbir had filed the petition last year alleging that Sadiq was killed in police custody and he was wrongly dubbed as a terrorist by Gujarat police.

Blaming senior police officials like PP Pandey and DG Vanzara of planning Sadiq’s murder, his brother has sought CBI probe into the incident.

He has also complained that the family didn’t raise a voice because they were threatened by cops, and came to know about the episode after Mumbai-based journalist Ketan Tirodkar spilled the beans in a case in MCOCA court.

However, Justice AS Dave admitted the petition after prolonged arguments by advocate Mukul Sinha on whether this complaint could have been filed in a lower court. The lawyer contended that the petitioner was seeking CBI probe and the lower courts don’t have powers to direct the central agency to investigate the case. Moreover, these courts also face limitations in ordering police officials of certain ranks.

According to city crime branch, Sadiq was a Lashkar-e-Toiba operative and had come to the city with intention to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi. On January 13 night, he was killed in a shoot-out after he opened fire on police.

On the other hand, Shabbir has claimed that it was a design of Gujarat police in connivance with Mumbai’s encounter specialist cop, Daya Nayak to murder Sadiq and labelled him a terrorist seeking an avenge of 2002 Gujarat riots

22 Aug 2008, 0504 hrs IST,TNN



HC takes cognisance of Naxal letters

NAGPUR: In a setback to state government’s efforts to extend custody of suspected Naxals, Bombay high court’s Nagpur bench has taken serious cognisance of letters written by 12 alleged Naxals to the court stating their alleged harassment by the authorities of central jail.

The court has appointed Advocate Vasant Khaparde as amicus curiae in the case and directed him to club all 12 letters written by the prisoners in a petition. A criminal division bench comprising justices Kishor Rohee and A P Bhangale will be hearing the petition on August 28 for first time.

Maharashtra through its secretary of home department, deputy inspector general (DIG) of prison in Nagpur, superintendent of prisons, and medical officer of central jail in Nagpur were made as respondents in the petition.

According to the information, the 12 alleged Naxals, including Anil Mhamane, Murli Ashok Reddy and Arun Ferreira have written individual letters to the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra R R Patil, district court and high court. Out of them, Dharmendra Burle and Naresh Bansod were released from the jail after they were granted bail by the court.


The 10 petitioners, who are presently serving their jail terms in Nagpur central jail, had alleged in their letters written on April 4 that they were innocent social activists and had been falsely labelled as Naxals.

The petitioners had severely opposed their solitary confinement in ‘Anda’ or high security cell by the jail authorities. They also clamoured for facilities like unobtrusive and extended time for meeting their legal counsels and telephone facilities. In their letters the inmates protested against alleged high-handedness by the Nagpur central jail administration and demanded an inquiry by a retired high court judge.

The petitioners demanded same treatment as meted out to other inmates in the jail. To support their cause, they even went on more than two week-long hunger strike that was regularly reported by TOI in its editions.

Interestingly, the members of a fact-finding committee, including individuals belonging to several human rights groups across the country, led by advocate Mahrookh Adenwalla, also claimed that the petitioners were treated in an ‘objectionable’ manner in the prison and the government had falsely implicated them by foisting ‘false charges’.

The high court had also directed the principal district and sessions judge to conduct an enquiry into hunger strike by these inmates alleging harassment. The enquiry was done by ad-hoc district judge A R Tiwari and he had reportedly submitted his report to the district court as well as high court.

The report also recommended providing necessary medical help, which was lacking, to the jail inmates. The court also took cognisance of the compliant of the counsels of petitioners Surendra Gadling and Anil Kale, on the alleged mishandling of prisoners in central jail.

22 Aug 2008, 0347 hrs IST, Vaibhav Ganjapure,TNN



Fashion fiasco: Police probe gets HC nod

MUMBAI: The infamous wardrobe malfunction case of 2006 has come back to haunt models Carol Gracias and Gauhar Khan. The Bombay high court on Thursday lifted its stay and gave the go-ahead to the police to complete investigations in the case.

Justice Abhay Oka passed the order on a petition filed by Ravi Krishnan, managing director of IMG, which hold the Lakme India Fashion Week in Mumbai. “The police have to investigate and file a report in court,” said additional public prosecutor Dinesh Adsule.

The wardrobe malfunction had occurred during the Fashion Week held between March 28 and April 1, 2006. First Carol Gracias’ halter top slipped off as she was walking on the ramp for designer Benu Sehgal’s show. Days later, model Gauhar Khan’s skirt split at the zipper end during designer Lascelle Symons’ show.

Initially the social services branch had conducted an investigation and given the models and the organisers a clean chit saying the incidents were an accident. Subsequently, a city resident had filed an application before the Metropolitan Magistrate’s court at Esplanade urging it to charge the models and organisers for obscenity. The magistrate had issued criminal proceedings, following which Krishnan moved the high court, which stayed the case.


22 Aug 2008, 0414 hrs IST,TNN



HC backlog mounting each year

PANAJI: There are more than 5,600 cases pending before the high court of Bombay at Goa, some of them for 10 years and the number has increased several fold from 1,359 in the year 1998 to 5,680 in July 2008.

The number of cases pending in 1999 was 1,652, which increased to 2078 the following year. This almost doubled to 4,150 in the year 2005. On an average, between 300 to 400 new cases are added to the list of pending cases annually. These figures were revealed in the Assembly.

Besides, PILs filed against the state government have increased from four in 2005 to 15 in 2007. In 2008, five PILs have already been filed. Of the 32 PILs filed from 2005 to 2008, 18 have been disposed off while 14 are still being heard.

To ease the backlog, the chief justice of the Bombay high court, Justice Swatanter Kumar had in October 2007 proposed a project called ‘Arrears Free Court’ for Goa, which would ensure quick justice, as cases would be decided in 24 to 30 months. However, the project, the first of its kind in the country, will become a reality two to three years from now.

CM Digambar Kamat, who holds the law portfolio, told the House, “At present there are as many as four judges, who sit on the Goa bench to take up the pending matters. Apart from this, generally speaking there has been bunching/classification of matters and formation of special benches or conduction of special drive coupled with the afternoon session is exclusively reserved for taking up final hearing matters. All efforts are being made to control and reduce the arrears.”


22 Aug 2008, 0139 hrs IST,TNN




HC refrains from commenting on Kulkarni affidavit

NEW DELHI: The conduct of Sunil Kulkarni, a key though controversial eyewitness in the BMW hit-and-run case who spearheaded the sting operation, didn’t escape attention of Delhi HC.

Though a division Bench, comprising Justices Manmohan Sarin and Madan B Lokur, frowned upon claims and counter-claims made by Kulkarni during the course of its hearings, on Thursday it maintained a studious silence over his role. Kulkarni, who had all of a sudden appeared before HC soon after it took suo moto cognizance of the sting tapes, had claimed in an affidavit that he was forced to name Anand in the sting operation.

According to the transcript of the sting, Kulkarni was asked by Khan to meet ‘Bade Sahab’ to strike a deal in the BMW case, in which connection he was summoned to depose as a court witness. Kulkarni, in his affidavit, took a U-turn and alleged he was under pressure and the sting had been ‘manipulated’.

But the high court chose not to focus on Kulkarni’s conduct. “We do not wish to comment on the affidavit of Kulkarni. It was filed by him without permission from this court and without any directions having been given to do so. We feel that any comment on his affidavit may be capitalized on in the BMW case by either of the parties and therefore refrain from saying anything, one way or the other on its contents,” the two judges observed.

They added that Kukarni’s affidavit was actually an ‘afterthought’ as it was contrary to the spontaneous reactions shown in the sting videos.

“We are not prepared to accept the affidavit of Kukarni for three reasons. Firstly, the conversation featuring him was impromptu and a part of the sting operation…secondly there is no question of Kulkarni being pressured by the channel to call Anand as ‘Bade Saheb’, and thirdly the explanations given by him in a video recording are spontaneous unlike in the affidavit that came much later,” said the court.


22 Aug 2008, 0045 hrs IST,TNN



Stephen’s can appoint its principal: HC

NEW DELHI: St Stephen’s College is likely to get a new principal within two months as the Delhi High Court on Thursday upheld the college management’s right to appoint the head of the institution and gave it time till October 21 to fill the post lying vacant since 2007.

Allowing a petition filed by the college management challenging the Delhi University’s (DU) ordinance asserting its right to have a say in Principal’s appointment (it asked the governing body of the college to forward a list of
applicants for the post of principal), a division Bench of chief justice A P Shah and justice S Muralidhar made it clear that clause 7(2) of Ordinance XVIII would not be applicable on the college, since it is a minority institution.

Referring to SC rulings, the Bench in its judgement observed “It is clear that the right of minority educational institutions to appoint the head of institution cannot be taken away by any rule or regulation or any enactment made by state even if the institute is receiving 100 per cent aid… The law which interferes with minority’s choice of principal would be violative of constitution.” The court added “Choice of the management of such a college (minority institution) is absolute in the appointment of its principal.”

HC maintained that the only restriction that could be imposed on the College by DU was of asking it to adhere to eligibility criteria drawn up by DU for selecting its principal.

The court’s observation came while hearing a petition filed by St Stephen’s college challenging clause 7(2) of DU ordinance which says the college has to forward the list of applicants to DU for its consideration for the appointment of the principal. In its petition, the college contended that the University wants to control the management of the minority institution under the garb of maintaining high standards of education and therefore sought it be struck down with respect to the college.


22 Aug 2008, 0047 hrs IST,TNN




Judiciary Not Open To Public Scrutiny Through RTI: Ministry of Law

When judiciary itself wants to sow the seeds of transparency, the Ministry of Law says that judges are not open to public scrutiny through Right to Information (RTI). The Ministry of Law and Justice putting it more precisely has said that RTI does not cover Supreme Court and High Court judges. The move may hamper the movement towards transparency in governmental actions.


The Ministry submission in Delhi High Court says that Constitutional authorities like the President, CJI, SC judges, CJs of High Courts and other judges of the High Courts are outside the purview of the RTI Act. The new argument from government behalf is contrary to CJI K. G. Balakrishnan’s note to Chief Justices of all High Courts which asks them declare their assets.


The new argument has come in the case where Law Ministry was asked to show the files related to the transfer of High Court judges between 2005-07. Also, the move is contradictory to the Parliamentary committee on Law, Justice and Personnel’s opinion that except the judicial decision making, all other activities of administration and persons included in the judiciary are subject to RTI Act.

Last Updated: 22-08-2008 13:40:01 IST




Cash-for-Judgement scam busted, lawyer held

Chandigarh: A cash-for-judgement scam has been unearthed in Chandigarh, possibly exposing one of the biggest scams involving the judiciary in Punjab so far. A top lawyer is among three persons who have been booked by the police and the investigation is likely to throw up bigger names.

Sanjeev Bansal is the first top lawyer to be arrested in Chandigarh in the cash-for-judgement scam that came to light last week.

The former additional advocate general of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association allegedly sent Rs 15 lakh to the house of newly-appointed High Court judge, Nirmaljit Kaur. The man carrying the package, Bansal’s assistant, was intercepted by the police and then all hell broke loose.

ASP Chandigarh, Madhur Verma says, “We have registered a case under sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 120-B of the IPC. We are investigating the matter.”

The two men are pleading that the cash was an advance payment on a sale deed and that Prakash had gone to the wrong address. The package, they say was intended for person by the same name.

Meanwhile, the High Court Bar Association is up in arms and Bansal has been suspended from its ranks.

But the association won’t stop there. Following Wednesday’s meeting, they are now demanding that cases be withdrawn from presiding judges who are suspected of being involved in the bribery scandal and that local judges be transferred out to reduce the probability of their indulging in corruption

The President of Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, Rupinder Khosla says, “We think this is a fortunate incident as finally there is evidence of the wrong things going on.”

Lawyers at the Punjab and Haryana High Court say they always suspected something was amiss with the judiciary. Now, all that they are hoping for is a fair inquiry into the matter.

Published on Thu, Aug 21, 2008 at 17:39 in Nation section



Government aid to bereaved family challenged

KOCHI: A public interest writ petition has been filed before the Kerala High Court praying to quash the State Cabinet’s decision to grant an assistance of Rs 2 lakh to the parents of Sr Anupa Mary, an inmate of St Mary’s Convent, Kollam, who committed suicide on August 11, 2008 allegedly due to the mental torture meted out to her from the superiors.

The petitioner, Peter George of Edakochi, a teacher by profession, has also prayed to direct the government to prepare proper guidelines for financial assistance to the dependents of any person committing suicide or meeting with accidental death, and publish them for public knowledge.

According to the petitioner, the writ petition had been filed to prevent misuse of public money by offering financial assistance in undeserving cases. The Cabinet on August 13 decided to grant Rs 2 lakh to the parents of the deceased nun without following any guidelines or principle.

No such financial assistance had been given so far to the bereaved family of agriculturists who committed suicide on account of their inability to repay agricultural debts.

Moreover, this kind of assistance will convey a wrong message and will be an incentive for others to commit suicide. Hence, the Cabinet decision is unjustifiable, the petitioner has pointed out.

Friday August 22 2008 02:07 IST

Express News Service


Inquiry sought into 115 BJP MLAs’ US trip

Bangalore: A petition seeking an inquiry into the proposed US trip of 115 BJP MLAs, including chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, has been filed in the high court.

A Bangalore advocate sought a stay on the trip to Chicago to be undertaken by MLAs to participate at the AKKA convention, saying they plan to go abroad for a jaunt at tax-payers ‘ expense while the state is reeling under floods and other calamities.

“Tax-payers ‘ money is being wasted to finance this uncalled-for trip. An inquiry should be ordered,” the petitioner said. The plea is likely to come up for hearing in a day or two.

Retirement age rules to be changed in a month

The government has said it will take one month to amend Karnataka Civil Services Rules to incorporate raising of government employees’ retirement age from 58 to 60 years. It has initiated the process of making the amendments, it said.

Jagadish Shastri, a Bangalore-based advocate , filed a PIL challenging a government order (GO) dated July 28 seeking to implement the change effective from July 17.

“The GO was issued without effecting amendments to the Karnataka Civil Service Rules. The government did not call for objections from the people concerned before taking this decision. This will further ruin the prospects of young job aspirants,” the petitioner has claimed.

Govt told to ensure free flow of traffic

A division Bench has directed the government to take more measures to ensure free flow of traffic in the city. It disposed of a PIL filed by B Krishna Bhat, seeking a directive to the authorities to fix traffic bottlenecks.

toiblr.reporter@timesgroup .com

22 Aug 2008, 0716 hrs IST,TNN




Court declines to stay Chiru’s Tirupati rally gets court approval


Aug. 21: Decks have been cleared for Telugu filmstar Chiranjeevi’s rally in Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh on August 26, with the Supreme Court declining to give stay orders on the public interest petition (PIL) filed by the Intellectual Forum. This assumes significance, as Mr Chiranjeevi is to hold his maiden political rally, where he would unveil the party’s flag and agenda in Tirupati on August 26.

Mr Chiranjveevi filed a caveat to ensure that he is heard and his version taken into account and that the petition is not heard or interim orders passed ex-parte. Although noted constitutional expert Fali Nariman’s son Rohington Nariman was present, there was no necessity for him to speak, as the three-judge bench of the apex court, comprising of Justice Aggarwal, Justice H.S. Bedi and Justice Singhvi adjourned the case, saying arguments would be heard. The bench declined to pass any interim orders restraining Mr Chiranjeevi from going ahead with the proposed rally.

The Intellectual Forum filed the PIL to oppose the sanction of permission to stage a rally at the Alivala tank-bed area in Tirupati. A Special Leave Petition was filed in 2000 in the AP high court.

Notice to Centre on Katchatheevu island PIL

The Madras High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre on a PIL seeking a direction to the External Affairs Ministry to implement the 1974 Indo-Lanka accord to protect the fishing rights of Indian fishermen off Katchatheevu island in the Palk Straits.

A division bench of Chief Justice A K Ganguly and Justice F M Ibrahim Kallifulla ordered after taking up the PIL, filed by Chennai-based Pandilakshmi, for hearing.

The PIL said that the Indian government on June 28, 1974 entered into the agreement with the Sri Lankan government to resolve the claim of Katchatheevu by both the countries.

The broad objective of the agreement was to recognise the sovereignty of both the nations over their territorial waters and in no uncertain terms unequivocally recognise the right of Indian fishermen to carry on the fishing operations off Katchatheevu, an uninhabited island in the Palk straits.

The PIL contended that after the ethnic conflict broke out in Sri Lanka around 1985, the Sri Lankan government started preventing the Indian fishermen from fishing near the island and the Indian government never objected to it.

Above all, the Sri Lankan government had resorted to unprovoked firing upon the Indian fishermen, resulting in the loss of lives of fishermen, the PIL submitted, adding that the Indian government, being a party to the aforesaid agreement, was duty bound to enforce the traditional fishing right of Indian fishermen off the Katchatheevu island.


21 August, 2008 04:30:48

By Our Special Correspondent


NCP leader Atram to move high court

Mumbai : A day after the Pune sessions court rejected his anticipatory bail plea, NCP leader and former minister Dharmrao Baba Atram will move the high court on Thursday. “We are filing an application before the HC on Thursday,” said Sachin Dhakephalkar, counsel for Atram.

Fearing arrest for his alleged involvement in the killing of a chinkara, Atram had filed an application for anticipatory bail before the Pune sessions court on August 11. In its interim order, the court rejected his plea, however, the case was fixed for August 19 for final orders. Meanwhile, Atram had moved the high court, which asked the forest department not to arrest him till August 18. Immediately after his plea was rejected by the court on August 19, he left the Pune hotel he was staying at. Forest officials launched a massive search for Atram, but could not trace him.

The charge against Atram is that he was directly involved in the killing of a chinkara on June 14. Subsequently, the forest department arrested three persons, including Atram’s bodyguard

21 Aug 2008, 0907 hrs IST,TNN




SC orders fresh bids for Super Bazar

NEW DELHI: Efforts to revive the once popular Super Bazar chain of retail stores in the Capital inched closer towards its goal on Thursday with the Supreme Court setting September 8 as the deadline for three existing bidders to submit fresh bids.

But the biggest loser appeared to be NDMC, which owns the building in Connaught Place. The NDMC had demanded that the bidders be asked to factor in rent arrears of Rs 64.25 crore in their bids, but it got only Rs 2 crore.

The demand of Rs 64.25 crore was supported by an evaluation committee report given to the court by additional solicitor general Amarendra Saran. However, a Bench comprising Justices S H Kapadia and B Sudershan Reddy found that two of NDMC’s earlier resolutions had mentioned rent arrears of Rs 2.01 crore and decided that it would not get more than that. The evaluation committee was tasked by the court to quantify the market value of the assets and liabilities of the retail chain, which has been closed for over five years.

Appearing for the Centre, ASG Saran said the wage arrears had been quantified at Rs 53 crore, which the three bidders would have to take into account.

22 Aug 2008, 0033 hrs IST,TNN



SC asks SVPCL to return IPO money

MUMBAI: The Supreme Court has upheld the Securities Appellate Tribunal judgement, asking Hyderabad-based SVPCL to refund the application money, along with interest, to investors who had applied for the company’s initial public offer.
The decision will provide relief to nearly 10,000 investors, who are expected to get a refund in eight days along with 15% interest once SVPCL receives the copy of the order.

The IPO was floated in October last year, and raised Rs 34.5 crore. Though the issue was fully subscribed, BSE denied permission for the shares to be listed on the exchange. This was because UTI Securities, the lead merchant banker responsible for post-issue compliances, had expressed its inability to give an undertaking as required by BSE under Section 73 of the Companies Act, 1956.

The IPO, which got subscribed little over one time, was stalled after BSE refused listing permission as the company had inadvertently mentioned on the cover page of its red-herring prospectus that at least 50% of the net issue to the public shall be allocated on proportionate basis to QIB. The legally appropriate term to be used was ‘up to’, and not ‘at least’.

The company then approached Sebi, who gave a green light to the issue, provided SVPCL gave an option to the investors to withdraw their applications. The company then approached BSE, but in the meantime, an investor had filed a complaint with Sebi against the company for alleged wrong-doing.

Sebi once again asked the company to issue another notice along with withdrawal option and gave it a go-ahead on January 4, 2008, which was a Friday. The company approached BSE to list the shares on January 7, but was turned down by the exchange as the 10-week period from the date of closing of the IPO has lapsed as required under Section 73.

The company once sought SEBI’s intervention. However, the regulator told the company to let BSE decide on the matter. BSE asked UTI Securities to provide an undertaking, certifying that Section 73 has been complied with. UTI Securities did not oblige as the 10-week period had lapsed. Consequently, BSE refused permission to the company to list.

SVPCL challenged BSE’s move in the Andhra Pradesh High Court, saying the delay was due to the pending complaint with SEBI, which was beyond its control. The court issued an interim order to BSE and NSE to allow only the listing, but not trading of the shares on the exchanges. But BSE challenged the interim order and told the court that the matter should be looked into by SAT.

SAT ruled that the issue was deemed to have failed because the company failed to appeal against NSE’s deemed refusal.

The company said it could not approach NSE, since it had named BSE as the designated stock exchange. The in-principal sanction given by NSE specifically asks for the basis of allotment as finalised by the designated stock exchange (in this case, BSE) as well as the notarised copy of listing agreement with the designated stock exchange.

SAT agreed that SVPCL could not have approached NSE, but said the company should have appealed against the deemed refusal. The company finally appealed before the Supreme Court, which dismissed the case upholding SAT judgement.


22 Aug, 2008, 0001 hrs IST,Apurv Gupta, ET Bureau




APMCs not exempted from income tax: SC

New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court on Thursday held that farm goods market regulator Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees are liable to pay income tax, citing that they are not local authorities.

A bench headed by Justice S H Kapadia, while dismissing a batch of petitions filed by the APMC, Delhi, upheld the Delhi High Court ruling that ruled against the committees.

“Parliament has defined ‘legal authority’ to mean – a Panchayat as referred to in clause (d) of Article 243 of the Constitution of India, Municipality as referred to in clause (e) of Article 243P of the Constitution of India.

“However, there is no reference to the Article 243 after the words Municipal Committee and “District Board”. In our view, the Municipal Committee and District Board in the said Explanation are used out of abundant caution… Parliament has retained exemption for Municipal Committee and District Board apart from Panchayat and Municipality,” the court stated.

It refused the petitioners’ contention that APMC was a local authority created by a statute to perform functions in a notified area.

The judgement will have huge revenue implication as the cumulative tax effect is expected to run in thousands of crores. There are around 3,000 such marketing committees, constituted under the Act of Parliament or the State Act, in the country.

Such committees are competent to levy and collect market fee from every purchaser of agricultural produce sold in the market area and authorised to grant, suspend and cancel a licence granted to its members.

The petitioners had contended that they had the power and authority to levy and collect Market Fees and the fact that the Government exercises control did not take away the statutory power granted under Section 62 of the 1998 Act.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Pereirawadi’s fate will be known in six weeks

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The Bombay High Court (HC) on Thursday directed state government’s high-powered committee (HPC) to decide the matter concerning the redevelopment of Bandra’s Pereirawadi under a slum rehabilitation scheme within six weeks.

A letter written by the residents of Pereirawadi to the HC was converted into a suo motu PIL.

Residents had objected to the demolition of their houses and had filed a complaint alleging fraud by the developer, which is pending with the HPC.

Government pleader DA Nalawade informed the court that CM Vilasrao Deshmukh had ordered a stay on the eviction of residents and demolition of structures on

Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice AP Deshpande said that the stay would continue till the complaint was decided by the HPC. So far, 69 of the 93 structures have been demolished by the developer.

The court also directed the government to ensure that the residents whose houses had been demolished are provided with alternative accommodation. If not the developer should give them  rental allowance, the court said.

DNA Correspondent

Friday, August 22, 2008  04:19 IST




3 Responses

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  3. Had Many Question for Raj Tackery ,if he had such Love for Marathi,they why did he put his son to One the best Engilsh Shchool of Mumbai,he should had put his son in on of the Marathi BMC School to show respect to Marathi,if he has so much love for marthi, then can he answer if had done something for people of drought hit Vidharba,for for people of remote maharsrta where people cant even effort 1 time meal for themself.

    Posting your comment.
    Leave a reply

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