FMC asked to act fast in delivery defaults issue


NEW DELHI: Jeera exporters have urged market regulator FMC to immediately resolve the delivery default issues in jeera contracts trading on the leading agri commodity exchange NCDEX.

In a letter to FMC last week, traders had complained of delivery defaults as sellers can exit the market by paying 2.5 per cent of the traded contract amount as penalty. It sought either hike in penalty up to 25 per cent on sellers or ensure 100 per cent delivery of the commodity.

“We request Forward Markets Commission (FMC) to act fast so that issues regarding delivery defaults are resolved quickly,” a Mumbai-based exporter Mr N Ashok said.

Early solution would help in increasing participation in the futures market as futures prices are ruling at discount by 4-5 per cent compared to spot market, he said.

FMC Chairman Mr B C Khatua had assured last week that it was working on a mechanism to tighten the system. Pointing that defaults are not very large on exchanges, he had said, “We are tightening the system to ensure healthy trading practices. Apart from the penalty provision, we are working on other alternatives to penalise defaulters”.

The country’s top jeera exporter JABS International Managing Director, Mr Bharat Shah said, “Besides price discovery platform, an exchange is also a risk-hedging platform for genuine exporters. Unfortunately, NCDEX has converted it into a playground for speculators without ensuring deliveries of compulsory delivery contracts”.

An exporter, who has hedged sales by buying jeera on the exchange with a view to take delivery of the commodity, is not able to get the delivery, as the fake seller escapes from his responsibility by paying a nominal amount as penalty, he said. – PTI

Business Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, September 8, 2008



River-Sea Vessel notification vis-a-vis Inland Vessel Act(2008) – A choice to make http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/News_By_Industry/Transportation/Shipping__Transport/River-Sea_Vessel_notification_vis–vis_Inland_Vessel_Act_-_A_choice_to_make/articleshow/3456208.cms

This is with particular reference to the rejoinder from the Indian Coastal Conference (ICC), published in Economic Times on September 1, 2008, in response to my earlier article.

I wish to make the following comments:

a. The rejoinder does not address the main issues raised in my article and instead ventured to launch a personal attack on my professional competency which, of course, is beyond its purview (being a trade body representing the interest of the Indian Coastal Shipping industries). There are basically two main Acts in force namely; The Merchant Shipping Act covering ocean going vessels and the Inland Vessel Act., covering inland vessels. In absence of any Act for the Coastal shipping, the government of India has taken a bold initiative to increase the scope of commercial operations of the inland vessels. The inland vessel limits based on significant wave heights is presently in hand and likely to be completed within a couple of months. Therefore, that no efforts are being made in this direction is totally incorrect.

b. The proposed River-Sea Vessel Notification, which imposes a restriction on the vessel size of 3000 gross tonnage totally ignores the present maximum cargo carrying capacity on the inland water (National Waterways) which is a mere 500 tonnes. Its therefore implies that vessels registering under this River-Sea Vessel Notification will necessarily have to restrict its cargo carrying capacity to a maximum of 500 tonnes, on inland waters though it is capable of carrying a much higher cargo load in the coastal waters. This indeed is a serious deficiency as far as promotion of commercial trade is concerned which has not been addressed to correctly and fully in the rejoinder.

c. Further, it has been brought out in the rejoinder that the author (i.e. myself) is not aware of the various inland vessel operation on both Indian coasts whose DWT are in the range of 2000 – 3500 tonnes. If that is so, then where is the necessity of having to resort to the River-Sea Vessel Notification? The vessels so deployed on coast are accorded voyage permission by DG Shipping.

d. The Inland Vessel Act is entirely under the purview of the maritime state and as such the River-Sea Vessel Notification, which is under the jurisdiction of the DG Shipping, will create a dichotomy between the state and centre.

e. The registration, certification, survey, training and examination of all inland vessels under the IV Act come purely under the purview of maritime states. Therefore, will this responsibility be taken over by DG Shipping for inland vessels opting to come under the banner of River- Sea Vessel Notification? Some one needs to answer this question specifically.

f. The Inland Vessel Act amendment 2007 has come into being after 1917. Can we not wait for another year at least for the remaining portion of the Act covering type 1 & 2 vessels to be promulgated by the Parliament? May I ask why this haste in bypassing the proposed Inland Vessel Act (Residual portion covering type 1 & 2 vessels) and thereby eroding the sanctity of the IV Act?

g. Under any circumstances, an Act is always superior to a notification as far as authority and legal sanctity is concerned.

Finally, if nothing else, I am happy to note that my previous article has awoken the Indian Coastal Conference founded in 1951 from its slumber. I only hope the issues are debated in a true professional manner and not used to cast aspersions on each other’s professional competency.

(The author is an advisor, Maharashtra Maritime Board, Mumbai. The views expressed are personal)

8 Sep, 2008, 0005 hrs IST, ET Bureau



Reassessment notice: remedy for taxpayer


What is the remedy for the taxpayer against indiscriminate use of notices to rake up a review of a completed assessment or even a return accepted without regular assessment?

The law relating to the procedure, where jurisdiction is questioned by the assessee is well set after the decision in G. K. N. Driveshafts (India) Ltd. v ITO (2003) 259 ITR 19 (SC). An assessee, where he apprehends lack of jurisdiction, can ask for a copy of the recorded reasons. Where there is such a request, it is the duty of the assessing officer to “furnish the reasons recorded in the assessment records….”. Even if a request is made after the return is filed, it has to be complied with. The assessee has then the right to object to the jurisdiction with reference to the recorded reasons. Where there is such an objection, it is the duty of the assessing officer to dispose of such objection by a speaking order before proceeding further with the matter. A writ will lie only if he fails to pass such an order. The High Court in Tolins Rubbers v Asst.CIT (2004) 270 ITR 280 (Ker) required the assessee to file its objections before the assessing officer and the assessing officer to deal with them in a speaking order.

A writ petition without raising objection to the assessing officer, when he had already communicated the reasons for issue of notice, was therefore dismissed as premature with an opportunity for the assessee to revive the writ petition in case it becomes necessary after the order of the assessing officer as held in Arvind Mills Ltd. v Asst. CWT (No.1) (2004) 270 ITR 467 (Guj).

It is, therefore, necessary for a taxpayer to ask for recorded reasons and where he finds that such reasons do not accord with the requirement of law to lodge an objection to the jurisdiction and await the assessing officer’s order thereon. He is entitled to file a writ, if such an order is not acceptable. But he may opt for the less expensive course of participating in further proceedings after recording his objection to the jurisdiction. Where he is not convinced about the assessing officer’s order on his objection, it may be remembered that if he does not formally place his objection, his participation may shut him out from questioning the jurisdiction in appeal, even if it is otherwise justified, because of Sec. 292BB inserted by the Finance Act, 2008. This provision bars an assessee, who has not raised an objection before the completion of assessment in pursuance of such notice, if he has participated in the proceedings without raising objections after receiving the assessing officer’s order upholding his jurisdiction. Sec. 292BB provides that even in cases, where no notice had been served or not served within the time limit or not served in a proper manner, an objection in this regard cannot be raised, if the assessee has not raised the objection before completion of such an assessment or reassessment. Unless the taxpayer is conscious of his right, asserts the same all in time, he may have to face action on invalid notices, though he may ultimately succeed on merits, but meanwhile put on the rack unjustifiably and inconsistently with law.


Monday, Sep 08, 2008



Wide disparity in funding of Delhi govt schools


The Delhi government spent Rs 7,220 per month in educating a child in a state-run school in 2006-07, rivalling the tuition fees of the most expensive of private schools in India’s capital. But, the same government spent around Rs 75 for a child per month in another government school in the same city.

This wide disparity in funding state-run schools is being cited as discriminatory and a non-government organisation has filed public interest litigation (PIL) against the Delhi government in the Delhi High Court.

Centre for Civil Society, a New Delhi-based liberal public policy think tank, collected data from 283 government schools in the New Delhi by filing numerous Right to Information (RTI) applications.

Results from the study revealed that there is a huge variation in the way government funds the state-run schools. “Even if we remove the outliers (referring to extreme data points like Rs 7,220 and Rs 75), the variations between the schools are huge and its hard to believe,” said Parth J Shah, president, Centre of Civil Society.

After collecting the data from 283 schools in Delhi, the educational institutions were ranked based on per capita student funding (PCF), which tells what is the spend per child in a government school. The formula is the ratio between total funds (both Plan and non-Plan funds) and total number of students.

Plan funds relate to spend on book bank, school library, uniforms for students and school extension programme. Non-Plan funds relate to salaries of staff, expenditure for electricity, water, telephone and purchase and repair of furniture.

Though some high numbers could be explained because of construction happening in that year or bunch of teachers retiring in that academic year, Shah said it is unlikely to explain the huge variation in the range between Rs 10,000 and Rs 40,000 PCF per year, which has removed the outliers in either end (below Rs 10,000 and more than Rs 40,000). “We don’t know the reason and that is why we have filed this PIL,” he added.

The Delhi education minister could not be reached for comments, while a questionnaire sent to Krishna Kumar, director of National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT), went unanswered. The PIL filed by the NGO had come for hearing twice this year, but the Delhi government sought additional time to reply on both occasions. The next hearing is slated to come in the third week of October.

“An analysis based on the empirical data so collected, reveals that the respondent’s (Delhi government) allocation of funds to the schools run by it is without any criterion or basis, is whimsical, capricious and therefore violative of Article 14 (of the Constitution),” said the petition.

More than government spending, it could also be due to lack of initiative from individual school authorities. “Funding is fairly adequate and very often it is not utilised properly,” said Prachi Kalra, who is training government teachers in a Delhi-based college.

She said often government teachers don’t know how to spend Rs 500 given to them for purchasing classroom material, adding that teachers need to be trained how to utilise the money.

The concept of per capita student funding is now widely accepted in many countries as an equitable way of funding government schools. For example, in Canada, PCF is being used to improve the accountability of government-run schools.

In India too, Shah said we could adopt this method to say that students from the disadvantaged sections of the society (scheduled tribes and scheduled castes) could be given additional PCF, so that schools were motivated to enroll them

John Samuel Raja D / New Delhi September 08, 2008, 0:39 IST



Kaypee to move High Court, calls for Central observers



Moga/Muktsar, September 07: Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Mohinder Singh Kaypee said his party would file a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court tomorrow against the “highhandedness” of Akalis in the coming Moga and Muktsar MC elections.

He alleged that the police of both the districts had neither allowed Congress candidates to file nominations nor let leaders secure party symbols.

“The Congress leaders have no option but to fight the September 14 elections as independents,” Kaypee said.

He said, “We will move the court and seek a stay on elections and restart the entire process under the supervision of Central observers or at least the Army.”

However, Moga MLA Joginder Pal Jain said, “Seeking legal remedy at this stage will not serve any purpose, as we have very little time on hand. The legal process takes time and atrocities of the Akalis are on the rise. We have videos to substantiate our claims. The police are illegally detaining our candidates and pressurising them to withdraw papers. The police are even slapping false cases of flesh trade against our women candidates. In this environment, who will fight elections?”

“Makhan Brar, son of former MLA Tota Singh, has his vote at three different places,” he alleged.

“We have asked the candidates, who are ready to enter the fray, to fight as independents,” Jain said.

Meanwhile in Muktsar, the Congress has decided to boycott election on all 23 seats. Vijay Sathi, a close confidant of Jagmeet Brar who is busy preparing for a rally tomorrow, said, “The aim of this rally is to tell the people that law and order machinery in Punjab has totally collapsed. It is a jungle raj and not democracy. Article 356 should be applied to Punjab.”

Amrita Chaudhry

Posted online: Monday, September 08, 2008 at 2337 hrs



Court to hear developers’ plea in Goa SEZ muddle


PANAJI: The controversy over special economic zones in Goa is headed for a showdown with the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court scheduled to hear Monday a bunch of petitions filed by SEZ developers against cancellation of land allotted to them.

The Goa government, under public pressure, was forced to take a policy decision to scrap the mammoth SEZ projects, but the central government has refused to play ball.

The union commerce ministry has maintained that once the Board of Approvals, a nodal agency for SEZs, notified a project, the state has no powers to scrap it.

The seven SEZ promoters – Meditabh Specialities Pvt Ltd, Cipla group, Peninsular Pharma Research Ltd, Paradigm Logistic & Distributors, Planetview Mercantile Pvt Ltd, Inox Mercentile Pvt Ltd and Maxgrow – approached the high court, after the Goa Industries Development Corporation (GIDC) served notices asking them why the land allotted to them should not be withdrawn in view of the state government’s new policy.

The GIDC is the government agency through which Goa has acquired about 3.8 million square metres of land for setting up SEZs.

The high court had ordered a status quo on the issue, until the matter came up for hearing Sep 8.

The allegedly hasty manner in which large chunks of land were allotted to industrial houses had led to numerous civic campaigns and a series of public demonstrations demanding that the government scrap the SEZ policy.

It forced the Digambar Kamat-led government to take a public stance against SEZ. The government said on the floor of the assembly during its recently concluded session that “in public interest, the government has taken a policy decision not to permit any SEZ in Goa.”

But organisations like the Goa Bachao Abhiyaan (GBA), spearheading the campaign against SEZs and other mega projects in the state, feel that Chief Minister Kamat was not walking the talk.

“The plans in the Sancoale SEZ case were approved by the GIDC on April 15, a long while after the government’s ‘decision’ to scrap SEZ,” alleged GBA spokesperson Pravin Sabnis.

Nitin Kunkolienkar, a GIDC director, told IANS the corporation would take the land back even as he maintained Goa needed at least two to three SEZ, which could host non-polluting industries to bring forth economic development and generate jobs.

“The contentious issue right now is the quantum of land given to the SEZ developers. It (land) should not be so much,” Kunkolienkar said, adding that he was opposed to real estate development in the name of SEZ.

7 Sep, 2008, 1857 hrs IST, IANS



Apex court allows Maharashtra to pull down old buildings


 New Delhi: The Supreme Court has permitted the Maharashtra government to demolish 16,502 old and dilapidated buildings, constructed in congested lanes of Mumbai prior to 1940, to pave the way for new high-rise structures coming up.

A Bench consisting of Justices Arijit Pasayat and P. Sathasivam upheld the Development Control Rule 33 (7) as amended in 1999 and set aside the limitations on Floor Space Index and other restrictions imposed by the Bombay High Court.

Corporation survey

Writing the judgment, Justice Pasayat pointed out that according to a 1980-81 Mumbai Corporation survey, 30,237 buildings would have crossed their lifespan by 1996. The Kerkar Committee report also said a vast majority of the buildings would have to be reconstructed.

The Bench noted that according to a report of the Development Plan for Greater Bombay, 5,82,200 tenements were required to house the natural growth of the population. “In 1991, nearly 73 per cent of the population [living in such buildings] occupied one-room tenements — vertical slums; 18 per cent lived in two-room flats. This meant that more than 90 per cent lived in small areas. Those occupying large areas constitute only 2.7 per cent. Between 1961 and 1991, the number of households increased to 20,88,000, most of which are only of 100-120 sqft. It is thus clear that the policy [to demolish old buildings] is to enhance the quality of life of those living in such poor conditions.”

The High Court, acting on public interest petitions, had upheld Rule 33 (7) (which provided for reconstruction of old buildings) but said it would apply only to dilapidated buildings.

Allowing a batch of appeals against this judgment, the Supreme Court said the High Court was not justified in reading additional requirements into DCR 33(7) after holding the same valid. There was congestion, apart from pressure on infrastructure such as sewerage, water and transport. Moreover, fire safety requirements could not be adhered to in the cramped areas. The Bench agreed with the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority’s stand that under the DC regulation, houses with a minimum 225 sqft would be provided free of cost to all tenants in these pre-1940 buildings and that builders would be entitled to construct extra FSI as an incentive.

The Bench said the policy was to enhance the quality of life of those living in such poor conditions by increasing the living space to nearly double.

Legal Correspondent



Mayawati’s ‘Man Friday’ in the dock


For almost nine months Shashank Shekhar Singh, Mayawati’s Man Friday, was babu no. 1 in Uttar Pradesh. The admininistrative head had the status of a cabinet minister, as he was the vice-chairman of the state planning commission. But now a PIL filed in the Allahabad High Court may cut down his official status.






High Court clears petitions related to pension benefits of ex-servicemen


A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today allowed five petitions filed by the All India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association holding any personnel below the officer rank (PBOR) entitled to the improved pension from January 1, 1996, the day of implementation of the Fifth Central Pay Commission, instead of Jan 1, 2006.

The judgment will benefit a large number of pre-1996 ex-servicemen. Five writ petitions were filed by Bhim Sen Sehgal, Chairman of the Ex-servicemen Welfare Association, representing the PBORs challenging the arbitrary fixation of date as January 1, 2006, instead of Jan 1, 1996. The soldiers were deprived of arrears, which were due since January 1, 1996.

The petitioners claimed that the Ministry of Defence in a letter, dated June 7, 1999, had notified the implementation of the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission relating to the pension benefits of the officers and the PBORs, with effect from January 1996.

It was revealed that the PBORs are not at all benefited, whereas the commissioned officers were benefited to a large extent and were given huge arrears from January 1, 1996, whereas the PBORs were left high and dry as formula adopted for fixation of pension resulted in downward trend. 

Source: Indian Express



Six months after SC ruling, colleges yet to implement quota


Chandigarh, September 07: Six months after the Supreme Court judgment giving instructions to start admissions under the Other Backward Class (OBC) category, none of the affiliate colleges of the Panjab University have started the same. With the Panjab University passing the buck to the Chandigarh Administration, the latter is still to come up with a decision.

The Supreme Court had announced for the implementation of the 27 per cent OBC quota in a phased manner from this year onwards. It had also asked the Panjab University to implement the same. Keeping this in mind, the varsity was to implement 7 per cent quota this year, followed by 7 per cent and 13 per cent respectively in the following two years .

The applications at the Panjab University, meanwhile, have been completed and the admissions will be held by September 15.

Bharam Parkash, president, OBC Forum, said: “When we contacted the Vice-Chancellor, he told us that the university has no discretion to ask colleges to implement the quota and it would be done by the Administration. We have received many queries and there are various students awaiting admission to different colleges of the PU.”

The colleges had earlier been asked to submit information regarding their requirements about the staff and infrastructure, that would be needed to implement the quota.

Professor A C Vaid, principal, SD College, Sector 32, said: “Ideally it is the university that should be implementing the quota as the decision for the same was passed in the Syndicate meeting. The same body governs the affiliate colleges as well. Later we had submitted the details to the Administration, but the latter is silent on the issue and we have got no directions regarding the same.”

With no answer having been received from the PU officials to the Administration, every one seems to be passing the buck. Raji P Srivastava, Director Higher Education said: “It is the education secretary who will decide about the issue as he is the Home and Social Secretary as well. We shall follow his directions.”

Sanjay Kumar, education-cum-home secretary could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.



SC dismisses pharma major Wyeth plea



: The Supreme Court has dismissed pharma major Wyeth Ltd’s petition challenging a Bombay High Court interim order that asked the company to deposit over Rs 44 crore as a precondition to restrain the government from taking any coercive steps against the company.

The Bombay High Court in June asked the pharma company to deposit principle amount of Rs 12.20 crore and furnish a bank guarantee for the entire interest liability of approximately Rs 31.86 crore from June 1990 to July 2005 as a precondition to restrain the government from taking any coercive steps against the company.

Wyeth had moved the Bombay High Court challenging demand notice issued by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers for allegedly charging excess amount of the notified prices fixed in 1981 in respect of a family of six bulk drugs and their formulation between 1990 to 2005.

Various other drug majors like Pfizer, Abbot Lab, Sandoz, Parke Davis, Ranbaxy, and Bayer had also moved the HC challenging the ministry’s demand notices for allegedly overcharging drugs.

While dismissing Wyeth’s petition, a SC bench headed by Justice R V Raveendran said: “We find no reason to interfere with the interim order of the High Court. The special leave petitions are accordingly dismissed.”

According to the bench, the High Court had not directed that bank guarantee to be furnished for the interest amount, but had merely directed security to the satisfaction of the Prothonotary and Senior Master.


7 Sep, 2008, 1516 hrs IST, PTI




Foreign cos can claim tax deduction for forex losses: SC


New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court has held that foreign companies can claim tax deductions for foreign exchange losses on account of currency fluctuations.

A Bench headed by Justice S H Kapadia while dismissing the IT department’s petition held that the loss arising on account of “foreign currency translation” was allowable as deduction and the gains on the same account were also liable to be taxed in India.

The now bankrupt Enron Oil & Gas had along with Reliance Industries and state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) had been awarded the Panna/Mukta and Tapti oil and gas fields off the Mumbai coast. Enron has since sold off its stake to BG Group of UK.

According to the court, Enron, which was the operator of the field, made capital investments and proceeds from oil sales were used to recoup the operational costs and capital investment.

While stating that the oil used for this purpose was termed as “cost oil,” Justice Kapadia said that often a company obtained profit not just from the “profit oil” but also from “cost oil.”

“Such profits cannot be ascertained without taking into account translation (currency fluctuation) losses. Moreover, taxes are embedded in the profit oil. If these concepts are kept in mind then it cannot be said that translation losses under the production sharing contract are illusory losses,” the judgement stated.

Sunday, September 7, 2008



Land acquisition for public purpose justified: SC



: Amidst the debate over acquisition of agricultural lands for industrial units or special economic zones (SEZs), the Supreme Court has held that the Government as a “sovereign power can acquire land for public purpose.”

The “public purpose” could include “industrial and other infrastructural developmental needs for the common good of the citizens,” a two-judge Bench of Justices C K Thakker and D K Jain said.

The Bench upheld the acquisition of vast tracts of agricultural and other lands by Andhra Pradesh Government in Ranga Reddy district adjoining Hyderabad city.

Upholding the acquisition, the apex court said the State being a sovereign power under the doctrine of “Eminent Domain” as provided under the 1894 Land Acquisition has inherent rights to acquire land by paying suitable compensation to those displaced.

“Eminent domain” may be defined as the right or power of a sovereign state to take private property for public use without the owner’s consent upon the payment of just compensation.

According to the apex court “Eminent domain” is thus inherent power of a governmental entity to take privately owned property, especially land, and convert it to public use, subject to reasonable compensation for taking the lands.

“It means nothing more or less than an inherent political right, founded on a common necessity and interest of appropriating the property of individual members of the community to the great necessities and common good of the whole society,” the apex court observed.


7 Sep 2008, 1309 hrs IST,PTI




Land acquisition: State to benefit from SC ruling


MUMBAI: More than a dozen special economic zones (SEZs) and mega power projects across the state, the launch of which had been indefinitely delayed owing to non-acquisition of land, are all set to be expedited following an apex court verdict on the state’s power to acquire land for public purposes.

Disposing of an appeal filed by the Andhra Pradesh government , the Supreme Court had on Friday held that it was well within the powers of the state to acquire land for public purposes for a project, which will bring in foreign exchange, generate employment and secure economic benefits for the public at large. “It will certainly help states like Maharashtra to initiate projects, which have been delayed owing to non-acquisition of land. Once we get a copy of the order, we will take necessary steps,” a senior official told TOI on Saturday.

Despite the fact that Maharashtra tops in terms of industrial investments, the progress on a large number of SEZs was very slow owing to the land hurdle. These include Mukesh Ambani’s Rs 40,000-crore SEZ, which will generate 20 lakh jobs, and India Bulls . Both these as well as four other mega projects are located in the same Konkan region. While Ambani will require nearly 10,000 hectares of land, other SEZs will need nearly 5,000 hectares of land. The power projects will require nearly 8,000 hectares of land.

Initially, the state had started an initiative for taking over land according to the Land Acquisition Act. In fact, when a proposal was mooted by leading industrial houses, a section of farmers in the Konkan region had given their consent.

Subsequently, when villagers started protesting, chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said his government will not be involved in acquiring land and that promoters of SEZs should deal directly with the owners. A week after Deshmukh’s statement, land acquisition came to a grinding halt, though the promoters of SEZs offered adequate compensation . Villagers led by senior PWP leader N D Patil have made it clear to the promoters that they are opposed to setting up SEZs in the Konkan region.

Significantly, now in view of the apex court order, the Congress-led democratic front government will have to rethink its land acquisition policy, said sources. “We feel that Deshmukh will have to reconsider his policy,” a leading industrialist said. According to him, on the one hand, he invited Ratan Tata to set up his unit anywhere in Maharashtra and on the other, he declined to cooperate with the SEZ promoters for acquisition of land. “In view of the apex court verdict , Deshmukh should step in for fast acquisition of land for the delayed SEZs and power projects,” he added.

7 Sep 2008, 0426 hrs IST, Prafulla Marpakwar ,TNN


SC ruling may be sweet music to politicians’ ears


MUMBAI : The recent Supreme Court order permitting redevelopment of old buildings in the island city with unlimited floor-space index (FSI) for developers has come as a bonanza for not only builders but also several politicians who are in real estate. These politicians cut across parties and that is why political criticism of an order, which is likely to severely burden civic infrastructure , has been muted.

Senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi is one of the top builders of Mumbai. His Kohinoor Group has constructed several buildings and is now implementing a mega residential-cum-commercial project in Kurla on land earlier occupied by Premier Automobiles Ltd. His nephew and former mayor , Sudhir Joshi, too is known to have interests in real estate.

Raj Thackeray, too, has major stakes in real estate; the most prominent project is the one on Kohinoor Mill land in Shivaji Park. Raj has quit the Sena but continued his business ties with Joshi. Others in the Sena who are into construction include Anant Tare and Ravindra Wairkar.

Ghatkopar MLA and former city BJP chief Prakash Joshi also has interests in several redevelopment and SRA projects in the suburbs. Mangal Prabhat Lodha, BJP MLA from Malabar Hill, is a builder. Jaywant Parab of the Congress also is believed to have stakes in real estate.

Several netas are known to have benami partnerships with builders. A Congress minister has invested heavily in the redevelopment of a housing board colony in Chembur. A senior SRA official said leading politicians often called up, asking them to clear projects in which they had stakes.

“A Union minister and a leader of the NCP are showing interest in SRA schemes on airport land. And, when SRA CEO Shrikant Singh refused, they even forced the government to remove him. It was only after a lot of counter-pressure that the CM rescinded his order,” an IAS officer said.

A builder said some politicians sent their sons or agents who demanded up to 30% stake in lucrative projects.

7 Sep 2008, 0438 hrs IST, S Balakrishnan ,TNN



Appeal to HC in arbitration


The Supreme Court has set aside the judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and ruled that the decision of a civil judge in an arbitration matter could be challenged in a high court and it need not be taken to the Supreme Court. In this case between Punjab Agro Industries Corporation and KS Dhillon with whom the corporation wanted to set up a joint venture, disagreement arose and there was no accord even on going to an arbitrator. Therefore, the corporation moved the senior civil judge in Chandigarh for appointment of an arbitrator. It was rejected. The corporation moved the high court. It also dismissed the corporation’s prayer. So it approached the Supreme Court. It explained that the corporation was entitled to approach the high court under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. When a party has a choice to approach the high court of the Supreme Court, it should not come directly to the apex court, the judgment said.

L&T wins tax liability case

The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of the Andhra Pradesh government in its dispute with Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Ltd over the latter’s liability to pay tax under the state VAT Act of 2005. The construction company had entered into contracts and assigned parts of the building work to sub-contractors. L&T placed orders on such sub-contractors for agreed prices, inclusive of taxes. The materials were brought to the site and remained the property of the sub-contractors. The revenue authorities issued show cause notice to L&T for failing to disclose the sub-contractors’ turnover in its returns. It replied that there was no such obligation and the sub-contractors were ‘dealers’. The Supreme Court upheld the arguments of the company and stated that if the department’s argument was accepted it would result in plurality of deemed sales, which is barred by Article 366(29A)(b) of the Constitution and result in double taxation.

Camlin granted excise relief

The Supreme Court last week accepted the contention of Camlin Ltd, manufacturers of various types of writing instruments, that its writing inks would not attract excise duty. The court granted excise relief to the company in its appeal against an order of the excise tribunal in Mumbai. The tribunal had stated that marker inks alone among all other inks should be taxed, but that view was overruled by the Supreme Court.

AS Fuels to pay tax on exemption availed

The Supreme Court set aside the judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the dispute between the Haryana government and M/s AS Fuels Ltd over cancellation of exemption certificates in regard to sales tax. The firm was granted eligibility certificate and exemption certificate for a certain number of years and it was renewed for some time. Later it was cancelled as the firm stopped production. The authorities demanded tax in respect of the exemption already availed of with interest. The company pleaded that it was hit by non-availability of coal, which was beyond its control. It opposed the retrospective application of the rules, asking it to pay old taxes. The high court stated that the exemption was not available only for the defaulting year. The Supreme Court accepted the government’s contention.

Security guards’ union appeal dismissed

The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of trade unions representing security guards in Maharashtra demanding full employment by the employer to whom the guards are allotted. In this case, Krantikari Suraksha Rakshak Sanghatana vs Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and others, they argued that once the Security Guard Board constituted under the Maharashtra Private Security Guards (Regulation of Employment and Welfare) Act 1981 allotted guards to a principal employer, it lost the power to recall, re-allot or transfer such guard as the allotted guard became an employee of the principal employer. The Bombay High Court had earlier rejected their arguments in several cases. In this case also the high court dismissed their petition. The Supreme Court dismissed their appeal.

National Insurance to reimburse victim

The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of National Insurance Company in a motor vehicle accident case and asked it to reimburse a third party who suffered severe injuries in a road mishap. The owner of the truck which dashed against the victim’s moped had sent a cheque for renewal of his policy. However, the cheque was dishonoured. The owner then paid cash and the company sent him a ‘cover note’. The insurance company argued that since the cheque was dishonoured, there was no contract of insurance existing on the date of the accident. The court rejected this argument and said that once the cash was accepted and the cover note was issued, the company was bound to reimburse the victim.


Bs Reporter / New Delhi September 08, 2008, 5:07 IST


HC reinstates IFS officer after six years legal battle


New Delhi

, Sept 07: After a six year-long legal battle, an Indian Foreign Service(IFS) officer who was discharged from his service on the charge of professional misconduct has been reinstated by the Delhi High Court.

A Division Bench of Justice Manmohan Sarin and Justice Sudarshan K Mishra allowed a petition filed by Mahaveer C Singhvi, a 1999 batch officer, challenging an order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) dismissing his plea for reinstatement in 2003.

“No departmental enquiry was instituted against petitioner (Singhvi), yet the respondents (competent senior officers) had in their own words thoroughly convinced themselves of the petitioner’s misconduct…the findings were definite and unequivocal,” the Bench said in a recent judgement.

“The impugned order, which was admittedly passed without a formal inquiry and without giving any opportunity to Singhvi, who has an exceptional academic career, was bad and must be quashed,” the court stated.

Singhvi, who was appointed in September 1999, in a petition had contended that his senior officer had wrongly branded him as “indisciplined” and “illegally” passed the discharge order in 2002 on the charge of “misconduct” despite the fact that he had completed the probationary training period.

The court also rejected the External Affairs Ministry’s stand that the department had received a complaint from a woman, whom Singhvi knew since he was preparing for the civil service examination. Singhvi had allegedly promised to marry her but failed to keep his word when he became an IFS officer.

Besides, the Bench rejected the plea that Singhvi had put political pressure on seniors for petty works in office and accepted Singhvi’s argument that these allegations were false and fabricated by the officers.

Bureau Report



 Bombay HC says bar dancers can be termed genuine artists


The Bombay High Court on Thursday said that a bar dancer can be termed a ‘genuine artists’.
“Merely because these girls were performing in dance bars earlier, it cannot be readily inferred that they are not genuine artists,” Justice A B Chaudhary said.

The dance bars of Mumbai had been given performance licenses by the government itself, Justice Chaudhary further noted.

While restoring the performance license of Nagpur’s Hotel Executive Club, the Nagpur Bench of the High Court pointed out though authorities prescribe that performers at hotels should be genuine artists, the term is nowhere defined.

Nagpur Police raided Executive Club on April 9, 2000 and found that obscene performances were underway there.

A criminal case was lodged against the management. The hotel’s proprietor Dhananjay Deodhar challenged the FIR and chargesheet before another bench of High Court.

In 2005, High Court quashed the FIR, observing that spot panchnama did not indicate that performances at the time of the raid were obscene in any manner.

This order was confirmed by the Supreme Court as well.

However, in the meantime Nagpur police authorities issued a show cause notice to the hotel under Bombay Police Act for violating conditions of performance license.

The license was suspended as an inquiry was initiated.

Authorities claimed licenses required that performers at the hotel must be ‘genuine artists having experience’.

Statements of the dancing girls after the raid revealed that they were all from Mumbai’s dance bars, hence they could not be termed as artists, it was argued.

Deodhar challenged suspension of license before High Court through another petition. In the judgement on the petition on September 1, Chaudhary set aside police’s action.

(ANI with inputs)


Gokhale Hall Issue : HC orders notice to Chennai corpn


Chennai,Sep 6:Madras High Court today ordered issue of notice to Chennai Corporation on a public interest litigation seeking a direction to the Tamil Nadu government and the Corporation to take all necessary steps to protect the heritage building “Gokhale Hall” in the city.

The PIL, filed by a member of Young Men’s Indian Association (YMIA), came up for hearing before a Division Bench, comprising Justice P K Misra and Justice K Kannan.

The “Gokhale Hall” under the administrative control of the YMIA was established by Dr Annie Besant in the year 1914. – Agencies

Published: Sunday, September 07, 2008


TN Health Secretary apologises before HC



Chennai,Sep6 : Tamil Nadu Health and Family Welfare Secretary V K Subburaj today tendered unconditional apology before the Madras High Court in a contempt petition filed against him by the Deen Dayal Medical and Educational Trust.

In an affidavit filed in the court, Subburaj prayed the court to purge him from the contempt petition and dismiss the same as his department had complied with the court order passed on April 16, 2008.

The court had directed his department to consider a representation of Deen Dayal Medical and Educational Trust for an Essentiality Certificate to start a medical college.

He submitted that the court order had been complied with and the Essentiality Certificate was issued to the petitioner Trust on August 29, 2008.

Deen Dayal Medical Trust had filed the contempt petition in the High Court on June 9, 2008 submitting that the state Health and Family Welfare department had failed to comply with the court order. – Agencies

Published: Sunday, September 07, 2008


Tenant won’t quit to lodge landlord’s daughter, HC says beat it



New Delhi, September 6 If you are a landlord in Delhi, chances are this episode in the High Court on Friday will make you jittery about your tenant. Your case is worse if you are a landlord, an atheist, have an only vdaughter and, to top it all, your family believes in informal meals not confined to dining rooms.

So found South Delhi resident Ramesh Chopra, 73, who wanted to stay together with his

US-returned daughter and grandchild, who do not have a house of their own in Delhi. The senior citizen did what any landlord in that situation would have done: he asked his tenant, Sardar Surjit Singh Arora, to vacate his eight-room house.

Arora, though, refused to vacate. The dispute soon reached the Rent Control Court, which decided Chopra’s requirement of the house was “bonafide”.

“The landlord required at least eight rooms to meet his requirement of one bedroom and a drawing room for himself and his wife, one bedroom and a drawing room for the daughter’s family, one dining room, one puja room, and one servant’s room,” the Rent Control Court ruled earlier this year.

But Arora moved the High Court, armed with a set of arguments to “convince” Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra why his landlord “did not,in fact, need the house” at all. He told a visibly surprised judge that daughters, once married, did not form part of the family. So, “requirements of daughters cannot be considered as requirement of the landlord.”

He thereafter classified his landlord’s family as belonging to the “poor strata of society”, one that “did not require more rooms”.

The house owner, Arora contended, does not require a dining room since there is “no tradition in the family” of “taking (their) meals together. There is no requirement of a separate guestroom as no one visits the landlord’s family. He does not require a separate bedroom since he does not have a big family, and they belonged to the poor strata of society.”

As for the puja room, he dismissed it with a simple conclusion: “He (Chopra) did not believe in God.”

But stopping Arora in his tracks, Justice Dhingra noted that this case is a “classic example” of how the Delhi Rent Control Act is misused by tenants to “blackmail” landlords. On Arora’s “flimsy” reasons for refusing to vacate the house, Justice Dhingra observed, “The tenant cannot dictate the living standards of the landlord. It is not up to the tenant to dictate whether his landlord is a believer in God, or whether he should have a separate guestroom or bedroom…. The tenant is not the judge.”

On a married daughter’s right to her parents’ property, the Bench said: “No distinction can be made between the requirement of a son and that of a daughter. A son and daughter can both be dependent on their parents for residence.”

“Here, the requirement is genuine as the daughter is living on tenanted premises and wants to live with her parents. More so, when the landlord has no son and in his old age has only daughters to take care of him and his ageing wife.”

Dismissing Arora’s petition, Justice Dhingra ordered him to pay a fine of Rs 25,000.

Krishnadas Rajagopal

Posted online: Sunday , September 07, 2008 at 12:15:34


Justice delayed, but not denied!


French philosopher Blaise Pascal had once said, “Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may be just.”

Unfortunately, in India, that is an exception rather than being the norm. Money, power and influence play a great role. In this context, Sanjeev Nanda’s much talked about hit and run case assumes great significance. Nanda, the grandson of a former navy chief, had crushed six people to death under his BMW on January 10, 1999. He was in an inebriated state at that time.

This reminds us of the much talked about Alister Pareira case of November, 2006. In a similar case, Pareira, 21, at that time, had crushed seven migrant workers sleeping on the Mumbai pavements to death under his speeding Toyota in the wee hours of morning. Quite shockingly, a session’s court had initially let him off with a six months simple imprisonment and a fine of rupees five lakhs. After a huge public outcry, the Mumbai High Court sentenced him to three years of rigorous imprisonment.

And well, everyone knows about our Salman Khan’s drunken driving case of 2002, which resulted in one death and injuries to four other.

Does handing out harsh punishments (albeit late) in such high-profile cases act as a deterrent for people? Prominent writer Rani Dharker doesn’t quite think so. She opines, “It’s great that Nanda has been punished and couldn’t use his money to get away. But even Salman should have been convicted by now. And these days, thanks to fast cars and changing lifestyles, young people tend to drive real fast. I feel that parents need to keep a check on the whereabouts of their wards.” Given that the rich and famous use their money and power to try and subvert justice, how do common people feel about such cases? Says Maunil Hathi, a banking professional from Ahmedabad, “I’m glad with the court’s verdict. But I just hope that such cases don’t drag on for so long. Such culprits should be punished at the earliest.”

But it’s not always easy to book the culprits. Shailesh Vyas, an advocate with the Gujarat High Court, feels, “See, the judiciary relies heavily on evidence. What happens sometimes in such cases is that the witnesses turn hostile, making it extremely difficult to prosecute people. But I am glad because I think this case will set an example.” So, can we hope for better days ahead, as far as prosecuting the powerful and the ‘famous’ is concerned? Taking a holistic view, prominent sociologist Kiran Desai says, “Unfortunately, there are two sets of rules in our country for the “haves” and “have- nots”. Thanks to the media pressure and certain activists, justice has been delivered in some recent cases.”

We just hope that it continues that way.

8 Sep 2008, 0000 hrs IST, SOUMITRA DAS ,TNN


Over-burdened lower courts need qualified manpower: CJI


New Delhi

, Sept 06: The Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on Saturday expressed concern over the widening gap between the rate of institution of fresh court cases and disposal rate, linking it to lack of qualified manpower.

“Out of 15,000 required strength, 14,000 are working at different level of the district courts. The ratio of judge to population is much lower while there is also a gap between disposal and institution of cases,” Balakrishnan said.

“There is also lack of qualified manpower in Indian judiciary system. But it is also not prudent to fill posts in haste,” he said, stressing the need to have focus on quality education.

He also said that the High courts and lower courts are working with three-fourth of the required strength.

As per government documents there are over 2.7 crore pending cases in lower courts.

He referred to an example of Allahabad High Court where out of 486 posts for subordinate judiciary, only as many as 350 suitable candidates were found.

“We have to avoid candidates of questionable competence in the selection process,” he said, while speaking at the inaugural function of Dwarka district courts here.

Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Justice A P Shah pointed out that a total of 7.66 lakh cases were pending at the lower judiciary level in the Delhi courts till June one, this year, out of which over five lakh were cheque-bounce cases.

Each metropolitan magistrate here was burdened with, on an average, 3,000 cases in comparison to the ideal figure of 1,000 cases, he said.

He, however, said that Delhi was ahead in quality of judicial infrastructure.

Justice Shah also informed that 15 family courts are likely to come up here to solve matrimonial and petty disputes while two e-courts — one in the High Court and one at Karkardooma courts — had already been created.

The Dwarka district courts complex would have 79 courtrooms with modern facilities, besides 344 lawyer chambers. Lands for 200 chambers have already been identified, he said.

The new district courts would start functioning from Monday.



Cracking Methods and Their Prevention



Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has both positive and negative sides and “cracking” is one of them. Cracking means gaining an unauthorised access to the computer system of the victim. This unauthorised access is not only illegal but also a violation of privacy rights of the victims. Cracking has been declared as a cyber crime all over the world including in India. In India, the Information Technology Act 2000 (IT Act, 2000) deals with cracking (termed as hacking) and some selective cyber crimes.

According to experts there is a difference between the terms hacking and cracking. While the former is legal the latter is illegal. Hackers generally include “white hats” who gain access to a computer system to expose its vulnerabilities and security lapses. On the other hand, crackers are “black hats” whose main purpose is to take unlawful advantage of the victim’s computer system.

According to Praveen Dalal*, the Leading Techno-Legal Specialist of India, “Generally cracking is a five stage process. It includes information gathering, scanning of victim’s computer, gaining access to victims’ computer, setting up a backdoor entry for future abuse and elimination of hacking and other intrusion tracks. Interestingly, sometimes the backdoors left by a cracker is exploited by another cracker to “hijack” an already compromised system. Thus, crackers “customise” the compromised computer as per their requirements through a single command and control system. These compromised computers, also known as botnets, are also sold or given on rent to launch distributed denial of services attacks (DDOS) against the victims. The recent cyber war against Estonia is an example of one such attack”.

Cracking practices cannot be eliminated absolutely either by law or through technology. We must have good “Techno-Legal Measures” in place to minimise cracking nuisance. Some basic cyber security habits like installing a good firewall, increasing the security of web browser, installing good anti virus and spywares, etc can minimise cracking incidents to a great extent. There is, however, nothing that can prevent a committed cracker from intruding a computer system as operating systems and applications are by their very nature insecure. The good security habits are nevertheless very effective against script kiddies.

Sunday, September 7, 2008




US prepares to clear last n-deal hurdle – Congressional nod


With the nuclear suppliers Group (NSG) giving India a waiver, the US is preparing for one more push to clear the last hurdle for their historic civil nuclear deal – final approval by the Congress.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said she would speak in coming days with the leaders of the relevant congressional committees to push for the deal’s approval by the legislature before it adjourns for the year September 26 to campaign for November elections.

“The Congressional calendar is short. The main thing is that the international work is now done,” Rice said. “I certainly hope we can get it through,” she told reporters travelling with her on a tour of North African countries on Saturday.

“It’s a really very big step forward for the non-proliferation framework,” she said, adding “It’d be a huge step for the US-India relationship,” Rice was quoted as saying. “It’s no secret that India has been outside the non-proliferation regime for the entire history of its programme.”

The top US diplomat said she had made “a lot of calls” to foreign officials to help win NSG approval. President George Bush, who looks at the India deal as a “historic achievement” of his foreign policy, too is reported to have spoken to leaders of some hold out NSG members.

“We understand that time is very short,” Rice was quoted as saying. “We will just have to see whether it is possible for Congress.”

“In any case we will have left a very good package and I hope it would be taken up (by the next US administration),” she said.

Both the presidential candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, are supportive of the deal. Though Obama had moved a “killer amendment” when Hyde Act was taken up, he is now on record as saying if elected he would not seek any changes in the India deal.

Under the enabling US law, the Hyde Act, Congress must be in session a full 30 days to consider the nuclear deal. But the White House would have to work with lawmakers to waive this provision and expedite a vote.

Of the two legislative chambers, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden, who is now Obama’s running mate, has vowed to push the nuclear deal in the Congress “like the devil” if New Delhi gets its end done.”

Biden, who as then ranking member of the Republican controlled panel, played a key role in getting the Hyde Act passed in a lame duck session in

Arun Kumar, Indo-Asian News Service

Washington, September 07, 2008

First Published: 09:07 IST(7/9/2008)



New petition to save Gokhale Hall


CHENNAI: Marking a second round of litigation to save the Gokhale Hall, where Anne Besant launched the Home Rule Movement against the British, a new public interest writ petition to prevent demolition of the 94-year-old structure has been filed in the Madras High Court.

A division bench comprising Justice P K Misra and Justice K Kannan, admitted the petition filed by E Jayakumar of Old Washermanpet and ordered notices to the state, Chennai Corporation and the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authorities (CMDA), besides the Young Men’s Indian Association, which manages the hall. The matter was adjourned to Monday for further proceedings.

Jayakumar urged the court to restrain the YMIA management from demolishing the building and also to direct the authorities to take necessary steps to protect the Hall.

Pointing out that there was no exclusive heritage law in Tamil Nadu, the petitioner said, “Though there is no legislation in place for the protection of heritage buildings, the government has a public duty to protect such buildings and ensure their preservation, so that such buildings be preserved to inspire future generations.”

He said Gokhale Hall was steeped in the throes of the Freedom struggle, and added that contractors had removed the wooden flooring and first floor before a writ petition could be filed and an interim order obtained. The petition, however, was dismissed on September 2 with a direction that the civil court be approached for remedy. The court also granted a week-long stay on the demolition of the building, he said.


7 Sep 2008, 0517 hrs IST,TNN




Ex-IPS officer from Pune files PIL against CM


Vikram Bokey wants to know why prime land was allotted to Videocon in Navi Mumbai instead of in any other under developed area in Maharashtra

Pune: The controversial Videocon land deal in Navi Mumbai last month has got a Pune resident, a former IPS officer, in a bind.Vikram Bokey, who is also founder chairman of the Maharashtra Organic Farming Federation (MOFF), has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court against the government of Maharashtra. The PIL has been filed by Advocate Aseem Sarode on behalf of Bokey. The government of Maharashtra, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), Videocon Industries and the Union of India have been made respondents in the PIL.

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had taken a personal interest in the allotment of 250 acres in Navi Mumbai to Videocon Industries to set up an LCD manufacturing plant. State Revenue Minister Narayan Rane had opposed the proposal in the Cabinet meet and had even threatened to resign. The issue was eventually pushed to the back-burner.

Various issues have been raised in Bokey’s petition. According to the petitioners, “The decision of land allotment has been taken without appreciating the land value. The government has failed to maintain procedure and transparency of land allocation. The government’s finance department has also raised serious objections against this move to allocate the land. The government has claimed that the project will create employment, but, if so, why has it not set up projects in the under-developed areas of Washim, Nanded, Beed, Latur, Nandurbar, Buldhana, Yavatmal and other suicide-prone areas in the Vidarbha region?”

“Why was this particular location selected? Has somebody from the government scrutinised the claim for land by Videocon? What about the actual present market value of the said land and the price arrived through the ready reckoner?” questioned Bokey, who has asked for the minutes of the meeting in which the proposal to allot land to Videocon was approved.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Nitin Brahme




No cars on the road !


54 year old Davinder Singh from Mumbai finally purchased a car from his provident fund. He thinks his new car will save his time and energy . But having a vehicle of your own is no respite from the snarling traffic in metropolitan cities of India. Reason -traffic jam and may be the number plate of the car. Surprised? Read on.
A new PIL for regulation of traffic
Recently a NGO called Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG) has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Bombay High Court pressing for the implementation of the Traffic Restraint Scheme (TRS) in Mumbai. It was a scheme proposed by a committee headed by former transport commissioner VM Lal. The committee had come up with 100 ways to reduce Mumbai’s vehicular pollution, one of which was the TRS. Under this scheme, applicable during peak hours, vehicles with number plates ending with numbers 1 and 2 would be barred entry into Mumbai on Mondays, number plates ending with numbers 3 and 4 will be restricted entry on Tuesdays, 5 and 6 on Wednesdays, 7 and 8 on Thursdays and 9 and 0 on Fridays. Government and police vehicles, ambulances and emergency vehicles would be exempted from the ban. The state government of Mumbai opposes the scheme. The implementation matter is in the court.
According to the NGO such schemes are needed to control traffic and protect environment. Such measures will provoke people to use the public transport. The number plate idea is not new and was introduced most recently in Beijing. The system also exists in Athens and Rome. Neeraj Doshi , an environmentalist with Rianta Capital says that it is high time the authorities took traffic and environmental problems seriously. “We need to protect the environment of these cities. People will respond only when forced by the authorities. It will help in cutting down the emissions. Cities like Delhi and Mumbai are among the most polluted cities.”
Need of the hour?
Delhi is the fourth most polluted city in the world. A Business Standard study points out that the city’s population has grown by more than 50 per cent during the last 10 years. The average length of roads of Delhi is per100 sq km (1,922 km) -still way above the national average. But the pressure is too much to handle. A report by the Environment Protection Control Authority says the every day 963 new vehicles arrive on Delhi’s roads, of which 308 are diesel-run.
So any plans to implement TRS scheme in Delhi? According to Additional Commissioner of Police of Delhi Muktesh Chandra, such policies can only be initiated by the government. “The traffic problem in the city is growing by the day. We will need such stringent measures anytime now. But we are not the policy makers. Our duty is to catch the defaulters.”
Traffic jams, less parking spaces, damaged roads …all these are path blocks to Delhi’s dream of becoming a world class city. So where does the problem lie? For Chandra, it’s a multifaceted issue. “Role of civic agencies, master plan without a distant vision, immigration and population growth are the various reasons for the mess. With increasing incomes and affordable cars like Nano, people would want to buy more than one car. So the authorities need to gear up.” If the authorities implement TRS, will all problems get solved? As per Doshi, any plan requires good research work to make it successful. “ TRS can be successful provided it is backed by an efficient public transport system. The government should also provide the alternatives. Crowded buses and trains are not the answer.”
For Davinder Singh of Mumbai what will be the use of buying the car if one cannot use it when needed ? “My age does not allow me to make use of the public transport. My health and need for money are important than thinking about the environment.”
So ultimately with whom does the onus of controlling the traffic and addressing the environmental concerns lie? The government or the people?

Journalism students of AJK Mass Communication Research Centre at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

Sep 6, 2008

By Sumiran Preet Kaur



High Court clears petitions related to pension benefits of ex-servicemen


Chandigarh, September 06: A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today allowed five petitions filed by the All India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association holding any personnel below the officer rank (PBOR) entitled to the improved pension from January 1, 1996, the day of implementation of the Fifth Central Pay Commission, instead of Jan 1, 2006.

The judgment will benefit a large number of pre-1996 ex-servicemen. Five writ petitions were filed by Bhim Sen Sehgal, Chairman of the Ex-servicemen Welfare Association, representing the PBORs challenging the arbitrary fixation of date as January 1, 2006, instead of Jan 1, 1996. The soldiers were deprived of arrears, which were due since January 1, 1996.

The petitioners claimed that the Ministry of Defence in a letter, dated June 7, 1999, had notified the implementation of the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission relating to the pension benefits of the officers and the PBORs, with effect from January 1996.

It was revealed that the PBORs are not at all benefited, whereas the commissioned officers were benefited to a large extent and were given huge arrears from January 1, 1996, whereas the PBORs were left high and dry as formula adopted for fixation of pension resulted in downward trend.

Express News Service

Posted online: Sunday, September 07, 2008 at 0133 hrs



Madras High Court allows women to become temple priests


Madurai, Sep 6 (ANI): The Madras High Court has allowed a woman to become a temple priest. 

Justice K Chandru of the Madurai Bench allowed a petition filed by Pinniyakkal, the only legal heir of the temple priest to perform ritual at the temple.

He rejected the plea of one of the respondents, a male cousin of the petitioner only a male member can be a priest

The Judge held that such a contention did not have legal or factual basis.

Justice Chandru said that it is ironical that when the presiding deity of the temple is a Goddess, objections are being raised against a woman performing prayers in such temples.

“Neither provision of law nor any scheme prohibits a woman from performing prayers in such temple,” he added. (ANI)

Madurai, Sat, 06 Sep 2008 ANI


SC order may lead to urban chaos: Activists


MUMBAI: Thursday’s Supreme court judgment opening up the redevelopment of over 16,000 cessed buildings in congested areas of the island city through the use of unlimited FSI has triggered fear among NGOs, activists and prominent citizens, who think this will lead to urban chaos.

According to them, civil society will now have to strategise a way forward and involve large sections of people in the wake of several Mumbai-related public interest litigations being overturned, mainly by the apex court.

Thursday’s ruling comes as a second jolt to citizen activists after the 2006 mill land casethe Supreme Court had overturned a high court order, which directed a larger chunk of defunct mill lands in central Mumbai be earmarked for public amenities like gardens, parks and low-cost public housing. The apex court verdict pertaining to about 600 acres of mill plots resulted in the city losing out on this space and allowing mill owners to retain almost all their lands to build residential and commercial towers.

In 2006, the Bombay high court allowed builders unlimited construction rights in the suburbs following a PIL, which had challenged the government’s transfer of development rights (TDR) policy on the grounds that it led unplanned development and pressure on the civic infrastructure.

“Civil society will give up on courts,” said urban planner Shirish Patel, one of the petitioners in the redevelopment of cessed properties case. “Politicians are the ones supporting builders. Rules are drafted only to help them.”

Housing activist Chandrashekhar Prabhu, who has led the campaign against the misuse of Development Control Rule 33 (7) by some builders, said experience shows that convincing the Bombay high court about these issues is easier than the Supreme Court. “Several high court judgments have been nullified by the apex court. If any judicial order results in the destruction of the social and moral fabric of a city, then who is responsible? Citizens looked at the courts as the only hope. Now they do not know whom to turn to,” he said. Prabhu added that some of these judgments need to be revisited.

“Why does the Supreme Court keep ruling against Mumbai?” asked urban historian Sharada Dwivedi, referring to the mill land case and Thursday’s order on cessed properties. “Groups that are taking up these city-related issues are doing it for future generations . These orders will sound the death-knell for the city,” she said.

Former municipal commissioner S S Tinaikar said three decades ago, the state’s policy was to decongest the island city. “Instead, the opposite has happened. In the cessed properties case, the Supreme Court has ignored the high court’s observation about the crumbling civic infrastructure. When all these towers come up in congested localities, not only will it increase the population density, but will also put pressure on water supply, power and drainage,” he said.

According to Tinaikar, in any case Mumbai’s development plan has been made irrelevant . “The city will not be livable at all. Is this the life we want?” he asked.

Environment activist Debi Goenka said these battles can no longer be left to a handful of people. “More citizens need to get involved and hit the streets. People who agitate within the constitutional limits are getting the short shrift while those who break the law seem to be getting better results . This is a huge tragedy,” said the activist.

Activist and lawyer Y P Singh said society was governed by principles of the rule of law and the best thing was to have a two-pronged approach-put pressure on the state to change controversial laws and apply the anti-corruption laws. “Today, the civic body can grant any permission , however blatant it is, and get away with it,” Singh said.

Policy for a better living condition

As it upheld the validity of DCR 33/7 on Thursday, the Supreme Court said while formulating the regulation, the policy of the state could not be faulted. “The policy was to enhance the quality of the lives of those living in such poor conditions by increasing the living space to nearly double. This is to be contrasted with the need to give a better lifestyle to those who can afford it. If such people have to undergo some hardships, the policy cannot be faulted especially when they constitute a minority.”

6 Sep 2008, 0651 hrs IST, Nauzer Bharucha ,TNN



Court asks U.P. millers to pay 110 rupees per quintal


MUMBAI (Reuters) – Supreme Court in an interim order on Monday has asked sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh to pay farmers 110 rupees per 100 kg of cane in the year to Sept’08, a senior official of U.P. Sugar Mills Association said.

The decision pushed up stock prices of sugar companies like Triveni Industries, Balarampur Chini Mills and Bajaj Hindustan by 3-8 percent.

“The court has asked both the government mills and the private mills in the state to pay all arrears within four weeks,” Shyam Lal Gupta, secretary of U.P. Sugar Mills Association, told Reuters on Monday.

The order automatically stays a lower court order passed in August where the mills were asked to pay 125 rupees per 100 kg, which was the price fixed by the state government, he added.

It also stays a separate High Court order where mills were asked to pay only 86 rupees per 100 kg, Gupta said.

Last month mills and state government had filed separate appeals before the Supreme Court challenging the two High Court orders on cane price. Both the appeals were heard by the apex court on Monday.

“We went to the Supreme Court on economic grounds that 125 rupees is not a viable price for the sugar industry,” said Kishor Shah, chief financial officer of Balrampur Chini Mills.

But the company won’t be affected by the order as “we had drawn our accounts based on 110 rupees only,” he added.

Private mills in the state have paid 68.5 billion rupees or about 98 percent of the total cane purchased in the year ending Sept 2008, Gupta said.

The Supreme Court decision “is a step in the right direction and will help in determining cane pricing by the state,” said Sanjay Tapriya, director (finance), Simbhaoli Sugar Mills Ltd.

Government-owned mills and co-operative factories have paid only 38 percent and 59 percent of cane arrears respectively, Gupta said.

The court has now given the parties time of about four weeks to file counter affidavits and another two weeks for rejoinder affidavits after and only after that the case would come up for hearing again, Gupta said.

The court has also asked millers to pay farmers up to 123 rupees per 100 kg of cane purchased in the 2006/07 season ended September 2007, Gupta said.

Mon Sep 8, 2008 4:25pm IST


Supreme Court grants bail to Ketan Parekh


New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to stock broker Ketan Parekh and others in the Canfina Mutual Fund scam case.

Parekh was held guilty in the case related to the 1992 stock scam, in which Canbank Financial Services was duped of over Rs 47 crore.

On April 1, a special court in Mumbai had sentenced Parekh, Hiten Dalal and four others to one year in jail for siphoning off funds from Canbank Financial Services Ltd, a unit of Canara Bank.

Justice V M Kanade, heading the special court for trial of offences relating to transactions under the Securities Act, held them guilty of criminal conspiracy, misappropriation of funds and cheating.

The court, however, had extended their bail and suspended sentence until July 31 to enable them to file appeals in the Supreme Court.

Monday, September 8, 2008



Residue evidence enough to convict an accused: apex court


New Delhi: Even if a major portion of evidence is deficient, and in case residue evidence is sufficient to prove the guilt of an accused, courts can record his conviction, the Supreme Court has held.

“It is the duty of the court to separate the grain from the chaff. Where the chaff can be separated from the grain, it will be open to the court to convict an accused notwithstanding the fact that evidence has been found to be deficient or not wholly credible,” said a Bench consisting of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Mukundakam Sharma.

“Falsity of material particular would not ruin it from the beginning to end. The maxim falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus (false in one thing, false in everything) has no application in India and the witness cannot be branded a liar. This maxim has not received general acceptance, nor has it come to occupy the status of rule of law. It is merely a rule of caution. All that it amounts to is that in such cases testimony may be disregarded, and not that it must be disregarded.”

Writing the judgment, Mr. Justice Pasayat said: “The doctrine merely involves the question of weight of evidence which a court may apply in a given set of circumstances, but it is not what may be called a mandatory rule of evidence. The doctrine is a dangerous one specially in India for, if a whole body of the testimony were to be rejected, because witness was evidently speaking an untruth in some aspect, it is to be feared that administration of criminal justice would come to a dead-stop.”

The Bench noted that this dictum “is not a sound rule for the reason that one hardly comes across a witness whose evidence does not contain a grain of untruth or at any rate exaggeration, embroideries or embellishment.”

Courts must differentiate between normal and material discrepancies in evidence. “Normal discrepancies are those which are due to normal errors of observation, normal errors of memory due to lapse of time, due to mental disposition such as shock and horror at the time of occurrence and those are always there, however honest and truthful a witness may be. While normal discrepancies do not corrode the credibility of a party’s case, material discrepancies do, as they are not expected of a normal person,” it said.

In the instant case, in a feud between two political parties, two persons were killed. Fifty-seven people were cited as accused. The Sessions Judge, Vizianagaram, convicted and sentenced 11 of them to life imprisonment and acquitted the others. On appeal, the Andhra Pradesh High Court confirmed the conviction and the life sentence.

In their appeal against this judgment, Gunnana Pentayya alias Pentadu and 10 others cited the principle of ‘false in one thing, false in everything’ and contended that non-acceptance of the evidence of the prosecution witness to a large extent was a ground for throwing out the entire prosecution case.

The apex court rejected the contention and dismissed the appeal.

Monday, Sep 08, 2008

Legal Correspondent


HC issues notice to ITC Limited


CHENNAI: Madras High Court has suo motu issued notice to ITC Limited and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) in an environmental pollution-related issue in Coimbatore district.

Justice A Kulasekharan ordered issue of notice to Vice-President of ITC Limited’s Coimbatore operations and TNPCB Chairman after both of them were suo motu impleaded as respondents in a petition filed by an ITC’s vendor company, White Star Fibres Limited, seeking to quash an order of Mettupalayam Tahsildar.

The Tahsildar had ordered closure of operations of White Star Fibres after it supplied non-fibre materials, segragated from imported waste material, to one Rangasamy to fill up a deep unused well.

The Tahsildar also issued notice to the ITC, objecting that the filling up of the well with non-fibre materials would pollute the ground water.

Though the petitioner company removed all the non-fibre materials from the well on July 17, 2008 complying with the Tahsildar’s directive, its premises were sealed by the local authorities.

A similar order was also issued to the ITC by the local authorities, cancelling its operational licence at Kemarrampalayam village in Mettupalayam.

Following this, the ITC moved the High Court, which on August 19, 2008 set aside the cancellation order, granting the local authorities the liberty to issue a fresh notice and decide the matter in accordance with law.

White Stars Fibres, a company engaged in the business of segregating and sorting waste materials, had an agreement with the ITC for sorting waste from non-fibre materials.

6 Sep, 2008, 1928 hrs IST, PTI


Madras HC allows women to become temple priests


NEW-AGE FEMINISM: Neither provision of law nor any scheme prohibits a woman from performing prayers.



Madurai: The Madras High Court has allowed a woman to become a temple priest. Justice K Chandru of the Madurai Bench allowed a petition filed by Pinniyakkal, the only legal heir of the temple priest to perform ritual at the temple.

He rejected the plea of one of the respondents, a male cousin of the petitioner only a male member can be a priest. The Judge held that such a contention did not have legal or factual basis.

Justice Chandru said that it is ironical that when the presiding deity of the temple is a Goddess, objections are being raised against a woman performing prayers in such temples.

“Neither provision of law nor any scheme prohibits a woman from performing prayers in such temple,” he added.

Published on Sat, Sep 06, 2008 at 13:27 in Nation section

Rajdeep Sardesai



Find out source of salaries: HC



: The high court on Friday directed the government to give details on the source from where salaries are drawn for persons occupying constitutional posts like Lok Ayukta, office of the advocate general and related posts.

“Who pays salaries to people holding these constitutional posts? From which fund is their salary drawn? Is it from a consolidated fund or the state fund?, asked a division Bench on a petition filed by advocate Y N Nagaraja. The petition challenged the appointment of former PSC chairman H N Krishna as the state information commissioner . The HC will hear the case again on September 30.

Advocate general Udaya Holla told the HC that the state information commissioner is a constitutional post and not controlled by the government. “There is no bar in appointing an ex-PSC chairman as KIC commissioner,” he said.

The petitioner had claimed that Krishna was involved in a recruitment scam related to group A and B posts while he was KPSC chairman. Article 319(b) of the Constitution also bans ex-chairman of any Public Service Commission to work for the government after retirement.

Gokarna PIL transferred

Justice N K Patil has transferred to the Dharwad circuit Bench the petition filed by a group of Archakas, Upadhivantas and devotees of Gokarna Mahabaleshwar temple in Karwar district. The petition challenged a government order (August 12) to hand over the temple’s control to a mutt.

“The state cabinet has rejected the move. The transfer of control is a personal gift by the CM given to the mutt for political gain,” the petitioners said.

PIL on defence land admitted

A division Bench issued notice to the government, BBMP and others on a PIL challenging illegal construction on 7,000 sq ft of defence land at Byappanahalli .

A central government advocate replied to the HC that defence authorities no longer owned the land. Jacob Mathew , a Richards Town resident, said construction started after the former area councillor persuaded some “influential officials ” to go ahead.

toiblr.reporter@timesgroup .com

6 Sep 2008, 0534 hrs IST,TNN




K’taka HC orders review of B’lore music ban


BANGALORE: Justice NK Patel of the Karnataka High Court (HC) has directed the state police department to reconsider the applications for live bands within eight weeks, during a hearing on Thursday.

The HC gave the order after hearing a petition filed by Bangalore’s Cave Caterer’s Pvt. Ltd., Four Friends Enterprises and others.

The petitioners had filed a petition in the HC questioning the decision by the Bangalore police commissioner which rejected their applications to start live bands in the city. On April 17 this year, the HC had ordered the state government to dispose of the applications to start live bands within 30 days of receiving them, failing which it was deemed that permission had been granted.

The police commissioner rejected the applications, forcing the petitioners to approach the HC. The police rejected the applications in May this year, citing lack of proper infrastructure to support performances by bands in Bangalore.

On August 16, the police commissioner released a set of conditions for obtaining a license to start live bands in the city. The court has ordered the Bangalore police not to reject any application to run a live band if the applicant would follow the guidelines prescribed by the police commissioner, and to dispose the same within eight weeks.

The month of August saw a series of protests by various organisations protesting the ban on live performances at indoor venues in the city. The move even led to rescheduling of the Independence Rock semi finals in the city last week.

Posted By: Tarachand Wanvari    05 Sep 08 17:05 IST


Make scheme to prevent exploitation of minor girls: HC to NCT Govt

The Delhi High Court today directed the National Capital Territory (NCT) government to formulate a scheme to prevent harassment of minor children after being employed in households.

The court order came following a letter received from the Chairperson of Child Welfare Committee (CWC) challenging a Metropolitan Magistrate’s order dismissing its application for a baby’s custody and allowing a couple to adopt a baby whose mother was a minor maid and a rape victim. 

Expressing concern over the growing number of cases relating to exploitation of minors, a Division Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Muralidhar said, “The monitoring of functioning of placement agencies would have to be undertaken on a far more rigorous scale to ensure that minors are not allowed to be employed and placed in households.”

The Bench added, “We would suggest to the government of National Capital Territory to seek the involvement of the Child Rights Commission at the Centre and State level to formulate a scheme in the area.”

With an aim to provide free legal aid to the minors under the Juvenile Justices Act, the Bench also recommended that the Legal Services Authorities constitute a special panel of advocates with the requisite degree of sensitivity for such cases on a daily basis in the proceedings in the Juvenile Justice Board and the CWC. (ANI)

PIL triggered the reaction



: Now, men in olive no longer need to be in their uniform while going for a movie. Deciding to delete the provision of the PED, the Haryana government filed a formal affidavit through Anand Dahiya, under secretary of the department of excise and taxation before the first division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday.

The state decided to delete this portion from the rules in the wake of a petition filed by Western Command-based woman Army officer Lieutenant Alifa Akbar. In her petition, which was filed on behalf of the entire armed personnel, Lt Alifa submitted the stipulation that being in military uniform while watching movie in Haryana to avail tax exemption was impractical, illegal and arbitrary.

She contented it was unfeasible and otherwise also against rules as mentioned in Army regulations and letter of ministry of defence issued on August 27, 2007, that wearing of uniform is not allowed when a defence personnel is not on duty.
To claim exemption from the payment of entertainment duty in Haryana, defence persons have to produce identity card, a certificate in form of PED 15 signed by the official of the rank of JCO or above of the unit concerned and also be in uniform at the time of entering the hall.

Haryana was the only state in north India where such strict rules were in operation as Punjab and UT omitted them many years ago. In Delhi, defence personnel have to produce only their identity card to get exemption in entertainment tax.
In her petition, Lt Alifa Akbar also sought similar provisions for Haryana-based soldiers. However, the final verdict on the petition is yet awaited.

6 Sep 2008, 0511 hrs IST, Ajay Sura,TNN




SC view could force State to revive sick TEs

 NEW DELHI, Sept 5 – With the Supreme Court taking a stern view of the starvation deaths in the tea gardens, tea growing States like Assam are going to be under pressure to revive the sick gardens and the ailing industry. Assam with 30 sick tea gardens of the total 55 such gardens countrywide would have to come up with a concrete plan of action. Similar situation existed in the sick tea gardens in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, a petition seeking the intervention of the Supreme Court said.

A PIL in the Supreme Court filed by International Union of Food and Agriculture (IUFA) has alleged that the Centre and some tea-growing States have failed to address the issue of starvation deaths of workers of tea gardens, illegally abandoned by the tea companies. The PIL filed through a writ petition in 2006 came up for hearing on Wednesday.

Complying with the Centre’s plea, a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and comprising Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal gave it two week time to report back to the court on the measures taken to improve the condition of the workers as well as possible revival of the sick tea gardens.

Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam told the Bench that the Central Government was working in close coordination with the Tea Board to ensure basic amenities to tea garden workers through Centrally funded anti-poverty schemes. He claimed that almost 70 per cent of the sick tea estates have witnessed a turnaround.

The PIL had urged the court to direct the Centre to start ration shops and give BPL cards to these workers who were starving and also to provide them the guaranteed 100 days work a year under National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).

According to a presentation furnished to the court by the Counsel of the petitioner, Colin Gonsalves, Assam has conceded that there was a serious problem relating to payment of wage arrears in almost all the 30 sick tea gardens in the State. It also admitted death of 99 workers in tea gardens that lacked healthcare facilities.

The petitioner alleged that the Centre’s Rs 4,000-crore revival package was only enriching the owners. Though the wage arrears in 55 sick tea gardens amounted to a meagre Rs 300 crore, the owners were not paying the dues and were taking advantage of the revival package only to swell their coffers.

The PIL has claimed that at least 60,000 workers have been rendered jobless due to closure of the gardens. It was alleged that despite the Centre announcing a revival package, money has not reached the workers in the last eight years.

These gardens are sick in every sense of the term where workers engaged for part of the week are not paid full wages, PF not deposited with the PF commissioner, gratuity not paid to workers even after working for more than 10 years.

In a Lok Sabha reply, the Commerce and Industry Ministry admitted that the Indian tea industry has been passing through a period of depressed prices over the past five years. The industry is also beset with long-term problems like old age of the plantations, worn-out machinery in the processing factories and poor infrastructure facilities.

According to available information, 96 financially weak gardens passed through the process of closure or lock out during the period of crisis. With the improvement in tea prices, 62 gardens have since been reopened.

Spl correspondent

Guwahati, Saturday, September 06, 2008



PIL on urea scarcity

Imphal, September 04:

The Gauhati High Court has taken up a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a farmer pertaining to scarcity of urea in Manipur and alleged failure of 20 recommended urea dealers to stock or provide the fertilizer.

The matter was heard today following the PIL by one Ningthoujam Inaobi Singh of Moidangpok village in greater Imphal.

He contended that urea is a Government controlled item and on the recommendation of the Government about 60 fertilizer dealers were appointed by the Brahmaputra Valley Fertilizers Corporation Ltd, Assam.

Out of the total number of appointed dealers about 40 are functioning while the rest 20 are defunct since the last many years, said a statement released by the Manipur unit of Human Rights Law Network, whose counsel appeared on behalf of the petitioner.

Owing to landslides on National Highway 39, the State is facing scarcity of urea and with farmers being the hardest hit, the statement said adding that inspite of the demand made by the farmers authorities concerned had been indifferent on the matter.

Over and above there are instances of hijacking truck loads of fertilizer by Ministers and MLAs before the consignment reach their designated destinations.

The fertilizer dealers and sub-dealers have been selling urea at exorbitant price, it said.

Having heard the petitioner’s lawyer, the court asked the counsel appearing on behalf of Manipur Agriculture Department to submit necessary information and respond to the allegations on the next date of hearing after two weeks.

Source: The Sangai Express


Katara case: Vishal Yadav files appeal


Vishal Yadav on Friday moved the Delhi High Court challenging his conviction by a lower court in the Nitish Katara murder case.

Vishal and his cousin Vikas were sentenced to life imprisonment in the case.

A Division Bench of Justices B.N. Chaturvedi and P.K. Bhasin sought the trial court records on an appeal filed by Vishal and fixed November 17 for hearing.

Contending that the trial judge had ignored certain facts in the case, Vishal said the court relied upon the deposition of Ajay Katara despite the fact that he was an interested witness in case.

Vishal said the crime-related articles were planted.

HT Correspondent

New Delhi, September 05, 2008

First Published: 21:39 IST(5/9/2008)


SC judgement on redevelopment to help established players


MUMBAI: The Supreme Court’s move to allow redevelopment of around 13,723 buildings in South Mumbai has opened up a plethora of opportunities for developers, real estate funds and private equity firms, as it gives developers unlimited floor space index (FSI) for redeveloping old, mainly pre-1940 cessed buildings.

In 2005, the Bombay High Court, which had admitted a public interest litigation filed by some prominent citizens, had restricted use of unlimited FSI on the ground that it led to haphazard and unabated construction activity. The High Court had observed that this rule had led to a “subversion of urban planning.’’

Redevelopment-focused developers such as Orbit Corporation, Housing Development and Infrastructure, Sharpoorji Pallonji, the Rohan group, Akruti City, Lok Housing, Marathon, Lodha and RNA are all set to take advantage of new redevelopment projects while other developers such as the Hiranandanis, the Rahejas, the Ravi group, Oberoi Constructions and Godrej group are exploring options to enter this new segment.

Industry experts say the SC move will only help established developers such as Orbit, HDIL and Akruti as redevelopment projects need experience and expertise. “Redevelopment is a very complicated process. It may be a bitter experience for new developers and real estate funds, if they enter during the initial phase,” said an analyst with Knight Frank India. Higher margins would, however, tempt builders to enter this area. “Though slum rehabilitation projects are our forte, we have also done a few smaller redevelopment projects,” says Vimal Shah, managing director of Akruti City, a Mumbai-based developer. “South Mumbai redevelopment is something we would keenly look at doing,” he added.

The initial investment would be about 30% to 40% of the total development cost to be paid to owners and tenants. Other costs would include transit rentals and construction costs in case of housing for the middle- or upper middle-income class as redevelopment projects would co-exist with rehabilitation projects.

“These projects would have considerable potential for private funding. Nonetheless, they will adopt a wait-and-watch policy atleast for initial projects and once there is clarity over regulatory issues and clearances, they will go ahead with such funding,” said Jai Mavani, real estate head at KPMG.

However, some feel that for real estate funds, issues such as time of the project, title of land, convincing individual owners and price negotiation would be big hurdles. “Funds are operating in a time-bound manner,” said Balaji Rao, India head of Starwood Capital. “But, in redevelopment, no one can set a timeframe. Eventually, a set of developers who have specialised in redevelopment will emerge and later, established developers and private equity funds will enter the segment either through joint ventures or safe, non-controversial projects,” he added.

However, since each development project would not be more than an average of 35,000 sq ft, they would not be attractive to foreign players. Nonetheless, cluster redevelopment will attract most private players. Real estate fund Red Fort Capital MD Subhash Bedi says: “Increase in FSI would enable lot of these projects to become FDI-compliant, thus attracting private equity. Moreover, as housing stock could come on board, affordability levels will rise,” he added. According to India Reit CEO Ramesh Jogani, “It makes sense only to dogmatic real estate and private funds since many of the redevelopment funds will not qualify for the FDI guidelines.”

The new SC order prescribing additional scrutiny in the form of certification from a structural committee and a committee for verification of tenancies has been put in place. More than 500 proposals for redevelopment of cessed properties are pending with MHADA and the BMC. “Fast-paced unhindered redevelopment of all old and dilapidated structures is now possible and the pace of rehabilitation will increase. The last major constraint of the South Mumbai rehabilitation process is the CRZ,” said Haresh, general secretary of Property Redevelopers Association.

The SC order comes at a time when around 28 city-based organisations joined hands at a seminar organised by the Remaking of Mumbai Federation here last week to present their charter of amendments to proposed changes to the Development Control Rules 33 (9). This was prompted by the collapse of an old building in Bhendi Bazaar this monsoon, which killed 25 people in South Mumbai.

However, tenants say the Supreme Court judgement, which runs into pages, is silent on whether benefits of higher FSI would also accrue to them. “Though the government has stipulated bigger-sized houses for tenants, developers are not willing to give any extra area to tenants who are given houses free, albeit with riders,” said one tenant.

In the past 35 years, 2,717 minor and major building collapses have taken place in Mumbai. About 674 people have died and another 1,600 injured. After the July 26 deluge, 503 buildings were marked dangerous. Yet, hundreds of residents die due to building collapses after the monsoon each year, says RoMF chairman Lalit Gandhi.


6 Sep, 2008, 0127 hrs IST,Rajesh Unnikrishnan and Supiya Verma Mishra, ET Bureau



SC widens scope of ‘public purpose’



: This Supreme Court judgment is sure to take the wind out of political agitations — including the one by Mamata Banerjee at Singur — opposing largescale acquisition of land for setting up of projects, particularly those by private players in different states. The court ruled on Friday that any project giving largescale employment has to be treated as one serving public purpose, thus legitimising the role of state in facilitating land acquisition.

Earlier, narrow interpretation of ‘public purpose’ entitled the state to acquire large tracts of land only if every component of the project to be set up on the acquired land passed the test of public benefit.

Departing from this, the apex court gave a very wide meaning to the words ‘‘public purpose’’ and said: ‘‘If the project taken as a whole is an attempt in the direction of bringing foreign exchange, generating employment opportunities and securing economic benefits to the state and the public at large, it will serve public purpose.’’

Accepting in toto arguments advanced by solicitor general G E Vahanvati, who appeared for Andhra Pradesh, a bench comprising Justices C K Thakker and D K Jain cleared the state’s acquisition of vast tracts of land to set up an integrated project, meant to make Hyderabad a major business-cum-leisure tourism centre.

The bench held that the project, to be implemented by Andhra Pradesh Infrastructure Investment Corporation (APIIC), would make Hyderabad a world-class business destination.

The fallout of this judgment is significant as the court upheld ‘‘development of infrastructure’’ as legal and legitimate ‘‘public purpose’’ for exercising power of eminent domain. ‘‘Simply because a company has been chosen for fulfilment of such public purpose does not mean that the larger public interest has been sacrificed, ignored or disregarded,’’ said the bench. This is sure to come in handy for the embattled Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government to counter the arguments of Mamata Banerjee against Tata’s Nano project at Singur.

To determine ‘public purpose’, the project has to be taken as a whole and judged whether it was in the larger public interest, and then its various components also put to the same test, the bench said.

The judgment is in keeping with the requirements of the time with the public sector having long ago ceased to occupy the ‘‘commanding heights’’ of economy, ceding ground to the private sector. However, while the domination of public sector has diminished, there is resistance to state playing the enabler for the private sector.

The SC on Friday applied it more to the joint venture, given the nature of the case being discussed. The joint venture mechanism for implementing the policy, executing the project and achieving lawful public purpose for realising the goal of larger public good would neither destroy the object not vitiate the exercise of power of public purpose for development of infrastructure, the bench said.


6 Sep 2008, 0120 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra,TNN


SC gives green clearance to Sasan



: The Supreme Court on Friday gave environmental clearance for Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Power’s 3,960 MW ultra mega power plant at Sasan in Madhya Pradesh.

A special forest bench headed by chief Justice K G Balakrishnan gave clearance for the plant after Madhya Pradesh Power Trading Company (MPPTC) and Sasan Power Ltd moved the court in July seeking approval for diversion of 320.938 hectares of forest land required for the plant.

Reliance Power was the selected bidder to implement the project through special purpose vehicle Sasan Power Ltd.

6 Sep 2008, 0100 hrs IST,PTI



‘I will do everything to keep alive public faith in judiciary’


Ahmedabad, September 4 Justice K S Radhakrishnan was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court on Thursday morning. He was administered the oath of office by Governor Nawal Kishore Sharma at Gandhinagar. He was earlier the Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

SAURAV KUMAR spoke to Justice Radhakrishanan on his latest assignment.

From Jammu and Kashmir to Gujarat, it has been quite a journey for you. What are your thoughts on it?
This is my first visit to Gujarat and I believe my stay here would be rewarding. The transfer did surprise me. The Gujarat High Court is bigger than the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, with more cases and with a wider scope. During my eight-month stint in J&K, I did not face any problem of any kind from the Bar. I would like to think that I managed to earn their respect. There is a perception that Kashmir is not an easy place to work in, but I never faced any resistance from any quarter.

How do you see your role here?
My role would be that of any other chief justice—to ensure that justice is done. I will do everything to ensure that people do not lose faith in the judiciary. We are here because people have confidence in us. Without that, we are nothing.

You have come to Gujarat High Court when there is an ongoing tussle between the Bar and the Bench. How do you plan to deal with that?
I sincerely hope that the Bar will cooperate as much as its counterpart in Jammu and Kashmir.

You are a young judge. You were elevated to the Kerala High Court bench at the age of 44. Did you always want to become a judge?
When I started practice, I never thought about becoming a judge. But when I was elevated to the Bench, I could not refuse it. I come from a family of lawyers. My father was the Advocate General of Kerala, and for me, this was the profession of choice.

Do you sometimes miss being a lawyer when you see advocates arguing in front of you?
Not really. I was an advocate for two decades before I was made a judge. When I was in the Bar, I always had some idea about the qualities of an ideal judge. Now that I am one, it is my chance to live up to them. Only time and the Bar will tell how far I have been successful.

What are those qualities?
I always thought a judge should patiently hear both sides; should come to the court thoroughly prepared and never belittle an advocate publicly in the court. A judge should be sensitive to the fact that a lawyer is a professional. Also, he should always follow his conscience.

If you had to point out one case in your life that you look behind with satisfaction, which one would it be?
I was quite new in the profession, maybe just six or seven years into it. It was a case between two professors—a seniority dispute. The other side had a very strong case and even the judges thought that way. I argued for around an hour and a half, making them see my point eventually. I won the case. The thing that made it unforgettable was the fact that the defeated professor came up to congratulate me. He also said that he thought I was right. I will never forget it.

Posted online: Friday , September 05, 2008 at 04:45:26


Woman can have custody of the child, says Bombay HC


Mumbai, September 5: The Bombay High Court has suggested that the custody of a four-year-old be with his mother in Mumbai while the father, who is a South African national, may separate with her by mutual consent.

Division Bench of Justices B H Marlapalle and D B Bhosale also suggested that Rishi Nandlal (46), deposit Rs 5 lakh in the name of his son and pay Rs 5,000 monthly for his maintenance. Also, he has to pay Rs 10,000 as monthly maintenance to wife Deepti (34), the court said.

“This is the proposed order and if Rishi is agreeable to the order, this will be final. If not, the matter will be argued further on September 10,” said Deepti’s lawyer Mukhesh Vashi.

The couple moved the court, disputing over the custody of their child following a divorce suit filed by Deepti before the family court earlier.

The judges on Friday spoke to the child in their chamber before arriving at the decision.

Earlier, the court had said that the father should have access to the child and should carry the educational burden of their son. The judges had allowed Rishi to meet his son for the time he was here in the city and, as a condition, asked him to deposit his passport with the court.

As of now, the father may not get the custody of the child but he can visit the child, the court further said.

In the long vacations, the child can spend half the time with each parent but within the city.

During this time and whenever Rishi takes the kid for an overnight stay, he will have to deposit his passport with the court, Vashi said.

Alleging ill-treatment, Deepti had left Rishi’s house in South Africa and come to Mumbai to reside with her family.

The boy, who was born on July 16, 2004 in Durban, South Africa, was living there till December 2006 when he came to Mumbai with his mother. Within eight days of their arrival, she filed a petition for his legal custody and divorce from Rishi.

Deepti has said in the petition that she can take care of her child as she was in a better position to look after him being a house wife. Also, her family could support her.

Posted online: Friday , September 05, 2008 at 06:29:30




HC seeks details of “illegal” practice of registration


Madurai (PTI): The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has issued notice to the Tamil Nadu Government seeking details about the ‘illegal’ practice of registering marriage agreements between couples.

Justices D Murugesan and M Satyanarayanan, constituting a Division Bench, ordered notice to the Inspector General of Registration while passing interim orders on a habeas corpus petition seeking production of a couple who eloped, entered into a wedding agreement and also got it registered.

The Judges said there was no provision for registration of such agreements and sought details from the IG before September 26. The court also appointed advocate M Ajmal Khan as amicus curie.

The advocate said such registrations could be misused by criminals involved in wmen trafficking and sexual exploitation. “How can the sub-registrars entertain such kind of agreements?” he asked.

There was no sanctity to such marriage agreements, it was not contemplated either under the Indian Christian Marriage Act or the Hindu Marriage Act, Khan said.

Even the Special Marriages Act, which provides a unique form of marriage for all Indian nationals irrespective of their religion, requires that the couple wishing to enter into wedlock issue a notice to the marriage officer who should display it in his office for 30 days.

The advocate said the couple who co-habitated on the basis of the marriage agreements should be punished under IPC 493 (cheating a woman by making her believe that she is legally married).

Friday, September 5, 2008



HC’s first puts Suniel Shetty in trouble



: Thursday saw the Punjab and Haryana High Court taking a quantum leap in evidence appreciation with a judge granting special permission, first ever by the HC, to a lawyer to play a VCD regarding Bollywood star Suniel Shetty’s TV interview that contradicted the film star’s affidavit before the court.

The techno-barrier was broken when noted lawyer Pavit Mattewal sought justice Sham Sunder’s nod to play the VCD on his laptop as he wanted to buttress whether Suniel Shetty was a director of Hyundai India Telecom Ltd or not. Shetty had submitted an affidavit before the HC that he wasn’t a director of the company that allegedly fleeced many people across the country.

” I wanted to play the VCD containing recording of Shetty’s interview to a leading Hindi TV channel wherein he had stated that he has stakes in the company and was also its director,” Pavit told TOI.

Shetty and Sanjay Arora, zonal manager of the company, had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking quashing of cheque-bounce proceedings against them in Chandigarh district court.

However, it wasn’t easy breakthrough for Pavit, who had sought the permission of high court nearly a year ago to play the VCD. The then HC registrar had ruled that laptops weren’t allowed in courtrooms.

Pavit didn’t give up and apprised former chief justiceVijender Jain of the bar on laptops and the latter advised him to seek a special nod that justice Sham Sunder granted on Thursday.

Pavit also submitted that the HC wasn’t an appropriate forum to decide the question of fact as it was supposed to decide questions of law. He emphasized that it was for the district court to ascertain the fact of Shetty’s status as director.

Subhash Gulati of local Empire Stores had moved district court against Shetty and Arora alleging that he had paid Rs 10 lakh to the company for distributorship of mobile phones the company was claiming to launch. Shetty was allegedly projected as a key person of the company during the launch in 2004 in Mumbai and New Delhi.

5 Sep 2008, 0708 hrs IST, Vishal Sharma,TNN




File affidavit in three weeks, HC to Centre



: The Bombay high court’s Nagpur bench on Thursday directed the Central government to furnish details regarding Rs 120 crore upgradation of Government Medical College and Hospital in the city in three weeks.

Earlier, the state government had informed the court that it had forwarded comprehensive GMCH’s Rs 120 crore upgradation proposal to the Centre. Under the proposal, Rs 100 crore will be contributed by the Centre, while state government’s share will be Rs 20 crore.

A division bench comprising justices Dilip Sinha and Prasanna Varale asked assistant government pleader S K Mishra to file a short affidavit giving details including timeframe of releasing Rs 100 crore grant, nature of upgradation programme and time required for its completion.

The court’s directives came during hearing of social worker Umesh Choube’s public interest plea objecting to the diversion of Rs 120 crore funds meant for upgradation of GMCH to the JJ Hospital in Mumbai.

During last hearing, additional government pleader Bharti Dangre made a statement in the court that Central government had listed GMCH in second phase of Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) for upgradation and has approved Rs 100 crore for the project. The Centre has also asked the state government to come up with a new proposal for upgradation.

Dangre also clarified that GMCH had sent revised upgradation proposal to the state medical education secretary after earlier proposal was sent back. According to the information, the revised proposal will include improving infrastructure of existing departments and development of intensive critical care units and trauma care centre for all departments in the hospital.

The proposal also includes setting up of some new super speciality departments.


5 Sep 2008, 0730 hrs IST, TMES NEWS NETWORK ,TNN



Plagiarism: No HC relief for Pune professors


MUMBAI: Eighteen years after they lent their names to a plagiarised article written by a student and published in international journals, the high court on Thursday upheld the punishment awarded to two former senior professors of the University of Pune.

Justice P B Majumdar held that the university was right in dismissing Dr Vinaykumar Rale and compulsorily retiring Dr Mahabaleshwar Hegde for their role in the controversial article that they had co-authored with a student who was pursuing her PhD.

“The act of plagiarism is ethically and morally a wrong act,” said the judge. “Though plagiarism does not have any statutory definition or any statutory backing in an academic field it can be said to be immoral or an improper act on part of the person who publishes an article in his name which is written by someone else.”

Both the academicians had impressive credentials. While Dr Hegde was the head of the department of chemistry at the university, Dr Rale was a professor of Microbiology. Their resume however did not impress the court.

“If such highly qualified persons have not taken care to find out whether the article in question has been published earlier, there cannot be any escape from the conclusion that being co-authors they are not responsible for the act of plagiarism.”

The controversy revolved around two articles published by a student Geeta Ramesh who was pursuing her PhD with the two professors as research guides.

In January, 1990, the first article was published in the Indian Journal of Microbiology , which was identical to another article. In 1992, another paper was published in the World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology which was identical to an article written by a microbiologist.

Subsequently, the professors had to tender an apology, which the high court agreed tarnished the name of the institution . The university’s lawyer, A V Anturkar, argued that the professors could not pass the buck as in case the article had won the Nobel Prize for such publication, all the authors would have claimed equal credit for the same. This view found favour with the court.

“Every research guide and professor should be careful before publishing any article ,” said the judge. “They should see to it that the article in question is the original work of a student or whether it is copy work of someone else’s labour. It is the duty of the professor or research guide to ensure that only original work of a research student is taken into account and no one can benefit from others ‘ work.”

shibu.thomas1@timesgroup .com

5 Sep 2008, 0610 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas,TNN




HC pulls up MSEDCL



: Due to the power crisis, the state is going back to the medieval ages instead of moving ahead into the 21st century.

That was just one remark in the severe reprimand that the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court handed to state-run power distributor MSEDCL on Thursday for the extra power cuts and its failure to check the worsening power situation in the state. The court issued notices to MSEDCL, power distribution company Mahagenco and Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC). The next hearing will be held on September 10.

During the hearing of a PIL filed by Adv P C Madkholkar and others, a division bench of justices Dilip Sinha and Pradip Varale said that due to inaction on part of power companies, the state was going back to medieval ages.

When the counsel for MSEDCL said that load-shedding had been increased to prevent the power system from collapse, the bench asked that if the situation was so serious, had state government sought help of union power ministry and its agencies? The court expressed strong dissatisfaction over MSEDCL’s track record in checking power thefts. Adv Shrirang Bhandarkar, appearing for Adv Madkholkar and others, said that the transmission and distribution losses in the state was over 39% due to which 7,000 MW was not available to consumers whereas the shortfall was between 3,500 MW and 4,000 MW.

The court said that it was strange that MSEDCL was not paying attention to T&D losses. “Why can’t you appoint a special agency for completely checking power theft? Why should honest consumers living in high loss divisions pay for failure of MSEDCL. The onus of checking power theft is solely the responsibility of MSEDCL. It would take the agency hardly a month or two to visit every nook and corner of Nagpur and find out where power theft is taking place. If T&D losses are reduced drastically, there would be no need for load-shedding.

“MSEDCL is working in piecemeal manner to deal with power theft. It appoints a franchisee for some areas, then waits for four to five months to repeat the exercise for another area. Such an approach won’t work,” the court observed.

The bench asked the counsel for MERC to provide an in-depth explanation on the basis of which it had sanctioned the loadshedding protocol and action the Commission proposed to take in case MSEDCL did not adhere to it.

The court expressed strong dissatisfaction over the reply filed by MSEDCL in five other petitions against load-shedding filed by Adv Anil Mardikar, Sandeep Agrawal, Citizens Form, Grahak Panchayat and Shetkari Sanghatana.

5 Sep 2008, 0741 hrs IST,TNN




One Response

  1. i m developing cess property at girgaum, Mumbai under scheme 33(7) act of MHADA. i hv submited file long back, NOC not received. MHADA given notice that being developer, i should sift tenants today b’coz of rain at my cost. if i sift tenants and MHADA does not give NOC…. how economically viable to me said scheme.

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