Daily Legal News 17.09.2008

High Court, city court gore civic agency over moo menace on city roads
New Delhi, September 17 MCD excuse: Cattle owners’ backing; HC ‘surprised’
Think twice before you shoo off ‘stray’ cattle on Delhi roads. According to the MCD, the men who own them have “political backing”.
After eight years of litigation and three time-bound orders from the Delhi High Court to remove stray cattle later, this is how the MCD explained its inability to rid the Capital’s roads of bovines bit by wanderlust. Even worse is the civic agency’s experience, as narrated before a division bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Muralidhar on Wednesday, during its attempts to “re-locate” dairy farms in the city. “Dairy owners beat up our (MCD) officers,” a senior panel lawyer for MCD said. “We have 21 FIRs for assault and other criminal charges registered against these dairy owners.
“These people have political backing.”
In 2002, the High Court had given MCD six months to remove all stray cattle from the Capital’s roads. The order was repeated in 2005 and late 2007 following complaints that the civic agency had not acted in response.
Meanwhile, the MCD’s submission about “practical difficulties” in rounding up cattle from the city thoroughfares took the court by surprise. The Chief Justice said, “I have never seen any statutory authority behave like this.”
The civic body’s counsel reacted, “I have only tried to apprise this court of the problems faced by the agency. We need help of other government agencies to remove these cattle and relocate dairies.”
To this, Justice Muralidhar retorted: “ (Do) you want the court to run the administration for you? Officers now find it very convenient to say that they will not talk to other government departments. They expect the court to do it.”
Meera Bhatia, counsel for Common Cause, the NGO which had drawn court’s attention to the problem, said: “The various departments continue to pass the buck from one to the other. The MCD’s stand is actually in contempt of the court orders.”
The civic agency, however, defended itself by claiming to have removed “18,838 cattle in the past two years”. The MCD counsel said, “We just need nine more months to remove all of them — 60 per cent of our work is over; only 40 per cent is left.”
The court directed all government agencies, including MCD, NDMC and Delhi Police, to file a joint status report on cattle menace within the next two weeks.
Krishnadas Rajagopal
Posted online: Sep 18, 2008 at 0103 hrs

Let appeals against tribunal order go straight to Supreme Court, suggests Law Commission
This proposal will ensure speedy justice, and save time and money for government servants
New Delhi: For speedy disposal of cases filed by government servants before administrative tribunals, the Law Commission has suggested that appeals be filed directly in the Supreme Court and not in the High Court.
Chandrakumar’s case
State and Central Administrative Tribunals were constituted pursuant to the 1985 Administrative Tribunals Act. As per this Act, appeals against the tribunal orders could be filed directly in the Supreme Court. However, after the judgment in L. Chandrakumar’s case in 1997, appeals would have to be filed first in the High Court concerned and then before the Supreme Court.
The Commission, headed by Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, in its report to be submitted to the Centre, has recommended to the government that it request the Supreme Court to refer the matter of filing the first appeal for adjudication by a larger Bench.
The report said it was necessary to reconsider the judgment in Chandrakumar’s case in the interest of Central and state government servants to achieve the object of the 1985 Act, to provide speedy and less expensive justice. “If this proposal [to reconsider the judgment] is taken up in the right perspective, it will reduce not only the heavy expenditure by way of fee, etc, to counsel but also the time.”
The Commission noted that the very purpose and rationale of the tribunals would be defeated if all cases had to go to the High Courts concerned again. In view of the delay in the disposal of the appeals in the High Courts, some States abolished the State tribunals.
Amendment will help
The Commission said that by an amendment to Article 227 (4) of the Constitution, it would be possible to include the Central Administrative Tribunal side by side with the Armed Forces Tribunal (which provides for direct appeal to the Supreme Court) so that appeals against tribunal orders could be filed in the Supreme Court. This would prevent explosion of cases in the High Courts.
An alternative
As an alternative, “if there is an impression that there has to be at least one appeal provided against the orders of the tribunal before the matter reaches the Supreme Court, an intra-court appeal, similar to the one provided in every High Court, can be provided under the 1985 Act itself.”
Create zones
The report said: “The decision of a single Bench can be challenged before a Bench consisting of three or more members.
“For this purpose, four zones, North, East, West and South, can be made where appeals from various Benches may be filed.
“After the decision by an appellate Bench, the matter can be taken to the Supreme Court.”
The Commission recommended to the Centre that it take up the issue with the Supreme Court in the larger public interest.
Thursday, Sep 18, 2008
J. Venkatesan

Is your petition of public interest, asks High Court
If not, the petitioner who alleged that land for project-affected persons in Navi Mumbai had been allotted to a private firm, stands to lose Rs 5 lakh
Filing a Public Interest litigation (PIL) ‘purely for public interest’ proved expensive for a Mumbai-based citizen who had filed a petition claiming that land in Navi Mumbai meant for project-affected persons (PAPs) had been allotted to a private company.A division bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the petitioner to deposit a sum of Rs 5 lakh to prove his bonafide. The court observed that if the petition was not admitted, the money will be donated to a relief fund. To file a PIL, petitioners only need to pay a stamp duty of Rs 250, as against a huge amount which needs to be deposited by a common petitioner while filing a writ in the court. The division bench of Justice J N Patel and Justice K K Tated, while hearing a PIL filed by Anil Rajgour, a local citizen, who works in Rocky Hills complex in Malabar Hill, directed him to deposit the money with the HC registrar in four weeks. Interestingly, as soon as the court directed the petitioner to deposit the amount, his advocate urged the court to allow him to withdraw the PIL, which the court declined. “You said the petition has been filed in public interest, then you must deposit the amount. The money will be returned to you if your petition is admitted, else we will assure that the money will be used for the Bihar Relief Fund,” observed the judges orally. The court while dictating the order also observed that the petition will be heard only if the petitioner deposits the amount. Anil Rajgour, had in 2007 filed a PIL challenging the allotment of a plot in Nerul in Navi Mumbai. According to the petition, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) had in 2004, leased out a plot in Nerul to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). “The said plot, admeasuring 24,010 sq metres in Nerul/Sarsone area was later sold to a M R M Associates, a private company at a much higher price,” says the petition. Rajgour, has in his petition further claimed that the said plot was allotted to MIDC to construct houses for project-affected persons of the Kukshet village, near Nerul and by handing over the said plot to a private company, the MIDC has grossly violated the law. “Being a citizen, the petitioner has filed the PIL in public interest and he has no personal interest in it,” the PIL further says. Rajgour has urged the court to hear his PIL under the provisions of Article 226 of the Constitution, which ‘gives power to the HC to issue certain writs’. The court, after hearing the submissions by the petitioner’s counsel directed him to deposit the amount in four weeks.“I have filed this PIL for public interest, the court should consider the same and should not implement such a high cost,” the petitioner’s counsel argued.• You said the petition has been filed in public interest, then you0 must deposit the amount. The money will be returned to you if your petition is admitted, else we will assure that the money will be used for the Bihar Relief Fund Posted On Thursday, September 18, 2008
Hetal Vyas

High Court quashes restriction on show timings in cinemas
High Court quashes restriction on show timings in cinemasBANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday lifted restrictions imposed by the State Government on cinema timings when it quashed a Government Order restricting cinema shows between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.Three of Bangalore’s well-known cinemas had moved the court against the order. The cinemas — Rex on Brigade Road, Navrang in Rajajinagar and Pradeep in K.R. Market — had challenged the legality and validity of a notification issued by the District Magistrate of Bangalore restricting the number of shows in a cinema to four a day.The cinemas said the notification arbitrarily and unilaterally restricted the shows and said that there should be a mandatory break or interval between the shows. This meant that not more than four shows could be held in a day.They said the State had cited Rule 41 (A) of the Karnataka Cinemas (Regulation) Rule, 1971, to restrict the number of shows.They said the State had made it mandatory for cinema halls to have a break of 30 minutes or more after each show.Defending the regulation, the Government said there was a need to give 30 minutes break between shows to ensure that the cinema halls were kept clean and tidy.The Government said the other restrictions under the Act were imposed in the interest of public safety.Justice N. Kumar struck down the regulation (notification) saying that it was illegal and not as per the provisions of the law.
Posted by The Bangalorean @ 9/18/2008 06:31:00 AM
Staff Reporter
Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rape accused set free by SC
NEW DELHI: Vigilante justice, which has seen many get lynched in the past, had a different fallout in the Supreme Court. Injuries inflicted by a village mob on a man accused of rape-cum-murder of an 11-year-old girl virtually helped him to get acquittal in place of death sentence. The benefit of doubt went to the accused as the police failed to explain how he got injured badly. Under the law governing evidence, the police is bound to explain injuries on the body of an accused at the time of his arrest, otherwise it would be presumed by the court that a confession was extracted from him under torture. A village mob severely beat up accused Raja aka Jalil in Barabanki in UP and extracted an extra-judicial confession from him that he had attempted to rape and then killed the 11-year-old girl, whom he had allegedly lured to the paddy fields to cut the crop. A Barabanki sessions judge convicted him on the basis of circumstantial evidence and awarded him death penalty. The Allahabad high court, finding the prosecution evidence lacking in credibility, acquitted him. Rejecting the appeal of the UP government against the acquittal, an apex court bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam said, “the high court has rightly noticed that the alleged extra-judicial confession was extracted from the accused by assaulting him severely”.
18 Sep 2008, 0057 hrs IST,TNN

TN CM made bald claims for dropping contempt, AIADMK tells SC
New Delhi (PTI): The AIADMK on wednesday told the Supreme Court that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and Union Transport Minister T R Baalu have made bald claims and contentions to escape contempt proceedings linked to a bandh call allegedly given by them over the Sethusamudram project.
Countering the claim of the DMK leaders that they made sincere efforts to call off the bandh in deference to the apex court order, AIADMK said there was nothing on record to suggest that instructions were issued to call off bandh announced by the ruling coalition Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA).
“A bandh did infact take place on that day (October 1, 2007). Not only that no material has been produced in support of the claim that instruction has been issued.
“Indeed one would have expected the Chief Minister to issue proper, specific and clear written orders/directions to the officials more so in the wake of his alacrity in almost instantaneously announcing the holding of fast on October 1 instead of a bandh by reason of the orders passed by this court,” the opposition party said.
Responding to the counter-affidavit filed by the Chief Minister, Baalu and other senior state officials, against whom the AIADMK has filed a contempt petition, it said the instructions given by the state government for only allowing the citizens to undertake a day-long fast so that general public was in no way affected was only for the purpose of the case.
The AIADMK termed the speech of Baalu on October 1 last as an open attack on the judiciary.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008

SC to fix date for considering plea for CBI probe
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would fix on September 23 an early date for examining the question of ordering a CBI probe into the multi-crore rupee Uttar Pradesh provident fund scam involving judges and other VIPs.
A bench headed by Justices Arijit Pasayat, decided to fix the date after the UP Government’s additional advocate general Shail Dwivedi sought advancement of the hearing for considering the issue.
The apex court had earlier asked the State Government whether it was open to a CBI probe in the wake of the disclosures by the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ghaziabad stating that it was “impossible” for the local police to investigate freely.
The bench, while slamming the UP government for concealing the SSP’s views on the issue, had asked the Mayawati Government to file its reply in an affidavit in two weeks and had posted the matter for further hearing to October 22.
But now in view of the UP Government’s plea for advancement of the date, the apex court said it would decide an early date on September 23.
The apex court was furious after the official letters written by the SSP to the DGP for being relieved from the case, and recommending transfer of the case to the CBI to ensure a free, fair and impartial investigation into the scam was brought to its notice by senior counsel Anil Divan, appearing for the Ghaziabad Bar Association.
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, September 17, 2008

Militants write to HC judge
Seek protection of their associateSrinagar, Sep 17: Jammu and Kashmir Bar association has filed a writ petition in the High Court regarding a Pakistani militant who has been kept at an interrogation centre in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district from last nine months. The revelation regarding the presence of the militant, Sarfaraz Ahmad son of Muhammad Salim of Karachi Pakistan came to light when two Pakistani nationals wrote a letter to justice Hakeem Imtiyaz, seeking the well being of Sarfaraz. Making the letter as the base, the Bar association president Mian Abdul Qayoom filed a petition (No 491) seeking relief from the court. The bar association has also endorsed the letter by the Pak nationals identified as Aijaz Ahmad Khokar and Malik Shahnawaz both undergoing imprisonment at jodhpur jail of Rajasthan.In the letter, the Pakistani duo has said that they met Sarfaraz while they were shifted to the center from Jodhpur Jail in connection with a case pending before a court in Kupwara. It has been learnt that since the arrest of Sarfaraz Ahmad on 26 February police has not produced him before the court for seeking remand. “I am apprehensive that I might be killed in custody after I saw a prisoner being killed after three months of detention,” the Pak duo quoting Sarfaraz wrote in the letter. In the petition the Bar association has termed the detention of Sarfaraz Ahmad as “illegal” and asked the government to “show any law justifying the fact that any one could be kept in the interrogation centre without seeking remand from the court.” PBI

Death of children at TN school: HC orders compensation
Madurai, Sept 17: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to pay Rs One lakh each as compensation to the parents of four children who died when a state-aided school gate on which they were swinging collapsed. Justice K Chandru, allowing petitions by the fathers of the children of Sri Rama Elementary school at Rajapalayam in Virudhunagar district, directed the Secretary of Education and the Director of School Education to pay the compensation. The kids had died on April 29, 2005. Chandru also directed the president and secretary of the School committee to pay Rs 50,000 to each of the petitioners. The Judge said when the children of tender age were sent to a state supported school, it was the responsibility of the school and state to take care of their safety. They should have prevented the children from playing on the gate. The school had not submitted any details about the gate’s strength and stability. Even for argument sake if 15 children had been swinging on the gate, their total weight would not have exceeded 450 kg. “It is unthinkable that the gate could collapse, unable to bear the weight,” he said. The Judge rejected the contentions of the management that the school had no funds for paying the compensation and the accident had taken place after the school hours. Terming as “ironical” the Chief Educational Officer’s statement that the incident was an “act of god” and not due to negligence, he said the CEO, by his affidavit, had given a clean chit to the management as if it was not responsible. The petitioners had submitted that death of the children was due to the negligent act of the school management. Bureau Report

Punjab HC stays custodial interrogation of Amarinder Singh
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the custodial interrogation of former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in connection with a graft case registered by the State’s Vigilance Bureau.
Justices Adarsh Goel and Ajay Tewari also issued notices to the Punjab Assembly through its Secretary and directed him to file the reply on or before October 31.
Last week, the Bench had reserved its judgment on Singh’s plea seeking a stay in the case and on his expulsion from the Punjab Legislative Assembly.
Further, Singh was directed by the bench to file a rejoinder on or before November 15 and admitted the case for final hearing on December 1 before a regular division bench.
However, the court allowed the Vigilance Bureau to carry on with its investigation into the case registered against the Congress leader and seven others in connection with irregularities in the Amritsar land deal.
Last week, Singh had moved the High Court challenging the Assembly’s September 10 decision to strip him of his membership and declaring his Patiala seat vacant after a House Committee indicted him and three others in the case.
Singh has been charged by the House Committee of releasing 32.10 acres of Improvement Trust, Amritsar land for development by private colonisers in violation of rules.
Congress leader Bir Devinder Singh had raised the issue in the House during Singh’s tenure as Chief Minister between 2002 and 2007 and made a complaint on the same.
Besides Singh, former Local Bodies Minister Jagjit Singh, former Amritsar Improvement Trust (AIT) Chairman Jugal Kishore Sharma, two employees of AIT and two builders have been named in the FIR registered in Mohali. (ANI)
September 17th, 2008

Nanda case: Delhi HC notice to police on Gupta`s plea
New Delhi, Sept 17: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to city police on a petition filed by one of the convicts in the Sanjeev Nanda BMW hit-and-run case, Rajeev Gupta, sentenced to one-year imprisonment for destroying evidence. Justice Kailash Gambhir asked the police to file its response by September 30 when the matter would taken up for further hearing. Gupta, a 63-year-old businessman, along with his employees — Bhola Nath and Shyam Singh — were sentenced to a simple imprisonment of one year on September 5. However, the court released them on bail till the time of filing of their appeals. Prime accused Sanjeev Nanda, son of arms dealer Suresh Nanda, was sentenced to five years imprisonment for killing six people, including three policemen, under his BMW on January 10, 1999. Filing the appeal, Gupta alleged that the trial court judge has convicted them without any cogent material as evidence against them. The judge has passed the order solely on the statement of police witnesses, he added. Pleading before the court to suspend the sentence and confirm the bail already granted by the sessions court, Gupta said that he is a heart patient and has undergone by-pass surgery four times. He is a diabetic person and his blood pressure remains unstable, Gupta said. According to the prosecution, after the accident Nanda, presently lodged in Tihar jail, had driven down his BMW car to 50, Golf Links, the house of his friend Sidharth Gupta. Bureau Report

HC orders Govt to fit Speed Governors for vehicles
Bangalore Sept 17: Karnataka High Court has ordered the State Government to register transport vehicles only after fitment of Speed Governors as prescribed in its notifications issued earlier.
A release here today said Karnataka Commissioner for Transport, Bhaskar Rao had stated that with the High Court order it is mandatory for all the transport vehicles to be fitted with Speed Governor in this month.
Mr Rao said stern action would be taken against erring vehicle owners. It may be recalled that transport operators in the State had resorted to agitation earlier against the use of Speed Governor. Reacting to the High Court order on the issue, Karnataka Transporters Association President Shanmugappa said the movement of vehicles in the State will be halted from October one, as it would be well-nigh impossible to fit the Speed Governor to the transport vehicles.
The Association representatives will meet Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa to find a solutions to the problem, he added.

SC upholds acquittal of man sentenced to death
New Delhi, Sep 17 (PTI) The Supreme Court has upheld the acquittal of a man sentenced to death by a sessions court for allegedly murdering a minor girl after she resisted his attempt to rape her.A three-judge bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, concurred with the views of the Allahabad High Court which had earlier acquitted Raja alias Jalil on the ground that the extra-judicial confession of the accused was not voluntary and the circumstantial evidence was not sufficient to confirm the conviction.”It is fairly well settled that when a case rests on circumstantial evidence, a complete chain of circumstances which rule out every other possibility except guilt of the accused has to be established,” the apex court observed while dismissing an appeal filed by the UP Government.It was the case of the prosecution that Raja on October 17, 1994 took the 11-year-old girl away from her mother Sushila Devi on the pretext of seeking the girl’s assistance in the paddy fields.The prosecution alleged that Raja tried to sexually assault the girl who resisted him but was killed by the accused.Raja is reported to have confessed his guilt after being beaten up by villagers. He was handed over to the police who claimed to have recovered the deceased’s body from the field on the basis of the accused’s disclosure.Based on the extra-judicial confession made by the accused, the Sessions Court sentenced him to death. But the High Court on reference acquitted the accused on the ground that the circumstantial evidence did not form a complete chain to fasten the guilt on the accused, upon which the State Government appealed in the apex court. PTI

Expressway promoter trying to extract land: Karnataka to SC
New Delhi, Sep 17 (PTI) The Karnataka Government today told the Supreme Court that the Bangalore-Mysore Expressway’s promoter corporation was trying to extract more land from it for the completion of the project.In an affidavit filed before a bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, Karnataka rejected the allegations of the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises Development Corporation that it had committed a contempt of court by creating hurdles in the Bangalore-Mysore Expressway Infrastructure Project.According to the State Government it was the promoter corporation which had deviated from the original alignment of the land fixed by the Karnataka Government in a judgement dated September 21, 1998. It said the promoter was trying to seek more land from the Government to complete the project.Even the Karnataka Pollution Control Board (KPCB) had refused permission to the project in view of the deviation from the originally sanctioned plan, the Government said.”They (Nandi) are trying to change the alignment of the road and seek more land than what is specifically set out in the said judgement. The present application (contempt) is one such attempt to pressurise the officials to submit to this illegal demands,” the affidavit filed by the State Principal Secretary, PWD had said.Karnataka submitted that it had called upon the promoter to come forward to take up the 20,193 acres of land as originally conceived.”However, the petitioner (Nandi corporation) refused to do so and insisted upon larger extent of land being given to it. This is one of the circumstances that prevented the project from proceeding further, for which the petitioner has to blame itself,” the affidavit said. PTI

Google, Microsoft pull gender ads after India legal threat
NEW DELHI – Internet giants Google and Microsoft have pulled adverts for gender selection products and other services considered illegal in India after being threatened with legal action, activists said on Thursday.

India’s Supreme Court had last month asked the two companies plus Yahoo to respond to a complaint that they were illegally advertising do-it-yourself kits and expensive genetic techniques to find out an unborn baby’s gender.
Activists said the products — which have not been scientifically proven to be accurate or safe — damage efforts to stem mass abortions of girls because of a traditional preference for boys in India.
“Sponsored links in Google have come down considerably. They have disappeared from Microsoft India search,” activist Sabu George, who filed the petition, told AFP.
A random search for “gender selection” on Yahoo, however, produces links to resources and clinics offering to help people choose the gender of their child.
Yahoo India was not immediately available for comment.
There are 927 females for every 1,000 males in India compared to the worldwide average of 1,050 females. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says India loses 7,000 girls daily through abortion.
Google said it will “review the petition carefully.”
(AFP)18 September 2008

Court to hear Archbishop’s plea today http://www.hindu.com/2008/09/03/stories/2008090355861200.htm
CBI probe sought into the killings of Christians in Kandhamal district
New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear on Wednesday a writ petition filed by the Archbishop of Cuttack for a CBI probe into the killings of Christians and damage caused to churches and other institutions in Kandhamal district of Orissa.
A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J.M. Panchal took the decision when senior counsel Colin Gonsalves sought early listing.
When the CJI asked Archbishop Raphael Cheenath to approach the Orissa High Court, Mr. Gonsalves said he could not go to the High Court as he faced a threat to his life. He submitted that the situation in the area was tense and it was difficult for him to freely move in the State as he had received threatening letters.
He said after VHP leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati, head of a local math in Orissa, was killed on August 23, “his supporters are saying that since you [missionaries] have killed our head we will kill your head.” Counsel said the State was not properly deploying Central forces.
Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanian, who intervened, assured the court that the Centre would fulfil its responsibilities and take necessary steps for deployment of adequate forces in the area. He said he would take up the matter with the Home Secretary and inform the court on Wednesday about the steps taken.
The Archbishop said the petition was being filed in public interest, challenging the failure of the State government to maintain law and order in Kandhamal district and protect innocent people whose human rights were being violated after the killing of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and others by some Maoists.
The petitioner alleged that inadequate compensation was being provided and said arbitrary and irrational methodology was employed in choosing recipients for financial assistance. There was a deliberate attempt to exclude churches and institutions run by the church and direct victims for any financial assistance and relief.
He said in the communal violence following the swami’s killing, hundreds of homes were burnt down, many churches and institutions were completely destroyed. Thousands have been rendered homeless.
The sequence of events would indicate that the attacks were not isolated incidents but part of a well-orchestrated conspiracy which had the full support of the State government, he submitted.
Wednesday, Sep 03, 2008
Legal Correspondent

SC bench sneers at PIL filed to strengthen Bhimnagar barrage
NEW DELHI: At a time when the Centre and states have joined Bihar government in tackling the floods caused by Kosi river, a PIL in the Supreme Court on Monday sought urgent measures to strengthen the embankment on the Bhimnagar barrage in Nepal to prevent recurrence of the breach that caused inundation of vast areas in several districts. Even before the counsel for NGO Yuva Shakti could complete his submissions on flood relief and other measures, a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal sneered at the PIL and termed the petition as a “publicity stunt”. “Can the court, by giving an order, prevent floods,” the CJI asked, refusing to pass any interim order on the petition at the mentioning stage and directing its listing on September 15. When the counsel requested the court to seek a status report from the Nitish Kumar government on the flood relief measures, the bench said the state government appeared to be doing its best to tackle the situation and “you want only publicity”. The petitioner said that more than 30 lakh people were affected by the flood that was caused by a breach in the embankment of Bhimnagar barrage in Nepal and the government of India should send technical experts to work with the Nepal government in repairing the breach to prevent recurrence of similar mishaps.
3 Sep 2008, 0149 hrs IST,TNN

HC rejects plea against Gokhale Hall demolition
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has dismissed a public interest writ petition that sought to prevent the demolition of the 94-year-old Gokhale Hall on Armenian Street in George Town, but stayed the demolition of the building for a week. Justice P Jyothimani, passing orders on a writ petition filed by T C Shankar Raju on Tuesday, asked the petitioner to approach a civil court and said, “It is made clear that if the petitioner approaches the civil court within seven days, the court shall take up the matter and pass appropriate orders.” If the petitioner fails to approach the civil court within seven days, then the management of the society would be free to take action as per law. The matter relates to the Young Men’s Indian Association’s decision to raze the Besant Memorial Building, which was the venue of Anne Besant’s Home Rule Movement . The movement was meant to denounce the British rule in India and achieve the national demand for self-governance . After the present set of office-bearers decided to demolish the building and entrusted the demolition work to a private party, Shankar Raju, a life member of the YMIA, filed the petition to save the structure. While admitting the petition on August 11, Justice A Kulasekaran had stayed the demolition works. However, even before the order could be communicated, a portion of the building had been razed and much of the interiors and wooden fixtures had been removed. Referring to the shoddy work at the YMIA’s Mylapore building, Raju said an inquiry had been instituted against some members of the governing body. “Unless that inquiry is completed, it is not safe to allow the same group of persons to handle huge money of a public interest,” he said, seeking a stay on the demolition process. timeschennai@timeschennai .com
3 Sep 2008, 0540 hrs IST,TNN

Unauthorised structures: PIL against officials
CHENNAI: A public interest writ petition to punish “delinquent officials” who had failed to remove encroachments in T Nagar , was filed in the Madras high court on Tuesday. When the petitioner, Traffic K R Ramasamy, mentioned the matter before the first bench comprising Chief Justice A K Ganguly and justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla, he was permitted to file the PIL. Referring to the August 2006 order of the high court quashing three regularisation schemes introduced by the state government, Ramasamy said the court had ordered removal of encroachments in busy streets like Ranganathan Street, Natesan Street and Madley Street. It had directed police and civic authorities to coordinate the encroachmentremoval drive, he said, adding that none of these directions had been implemented. Pointing out that clutter of shops on Ranganathan Street hindered movement of firefighting engines on Monday morning, when fire was raging at Saravana Stores, Ramasamy said many lives would have been lost had the fire occurred during daytime. Blaming civic authorities for non-implementation of court orders, he wanted the court to direct the director-general of police to hold an inquiry and file a report about the loss in the Ranganathan Street fire. The corporation should be asked to hold an inquiry against officials responsible for the non-implementation of rules, Ramasamy said.
3 Sep 2008, 0533 hrs IST,TNN

Jurong committed to Science City project
Major industries minister J Geeta Reddy said that Jurong International Company had written to the government informing that it would take up the Odyssey Science City project in Anantapur district after the court dismissed public interest litigation (PIL) as per the agreement.
Replying to a query by P Raghunath Reddy of TDP, she said the company was keen on completing the project in 10 years. It stopped works after a PIL was filed against the project in the high court.
The company management communicated that it would resume works immediately once the case was dismissed. She said the company had already deposited Rs 10 crore in the account of APIIC, the nodal agency for Science City project. It would deposit the remaining Rs 40 crore after the PIL was dismissed, the company had said. TNN
3 Sep 2008, 0558 hrs IST,TNN

Post cash-in-bag , it’s slow on pleas
Chandigarh: Litigation and loads of it is not only a matter of bread and butter for lawyers but also ensures them a high degree of visibility across the spectrum. However, such has been the impact of the cash-in-bag row that a vast section of high court lawyers are shying from filing fresh cases, waiting for the storm to tide over. To put it rather bluntly, they asserted that their faith in the system had taken a battering and it would take some time before things become normal again. And this is no hyperbole, a cursory glance at court registers makes it clear that there has been at least 30% reduction in fresh litigation. “While at least 1,000 cases used to be filed a day on an average earlier, post the cash-in-bag controversy, the number has come down between 500 to 600,” claimed Vinod Sharma, a lawyer. Even PIL filing has taken a steep nosedive as evident from the CJ’s court register . Two months back, there used to be nearly 50 urgent cases before the first division bench headed by chief justice, but now there are barely six to 10 cases, a majority of which are just applications relating to previous cases only. In fact on Tuesday, there were only five urgent cases, all of which were applications and none were fresh cases and neither there were any PILs. The same was the story on Monday that saw 14 urgent cases, of which only four were fresh filings while nine were applications (called civil miscellaneous applications) and one was an appeal plea. However, there were some lawyers who asserted that the reduction might be superficial as the roster had been changed recently which ensured more equitable distribution of work. Nevertheless, they admitted that lawyers were a bit apprehensive about filing fresh cases as they weren’t expecting apositive outcome owing to the controversy. Echoing lawyers’ concern, HC bar association president Rupinder Khosla said, “Everything is based on factum of people coming to high court for redressal of grievances. When they find that the judicial system had gone haywire, they tend to abstain from coming forth with litigation.” Atul Lakhanpal, another lawyer, too stressed that the reduction in filing was symptomatic of erosion of faith in the functioning of judiciary. However, the latter was said to be of the view that reduction , if any, was a temporary phase and would have no implications on the integrity of the institution.
3 Sep 2008, 0726 hrs IST, Vishal Sharma,TNN

HC pulls up govt over mining lease
BANGALORE: A division Bench of the high court on Tuesday pulled up the state and central governments over the grant of a mining lease in forest land in Bellary district. “If a common man encroaches five cents of land for raising a humble dwelling, the government makes it a big issue, whereas acres of lands are granted left and right. There are contradictions in maps and details. How can they grant lands for a mining lease in a reserved forest at the cost of natural and national wealth? We are all planting trees, you are all cutting them. “If you destroy entire forests, what is that you leave for the next generation? Ultimately, everything goes out. The governments can’t work like computers, they have to apply their mind,” the Bench observed. It asked both the governments to place on record all relevant records before the court by the next hearing and also conduct a joint survey of the area. The case pertained to grant of lease in a 10-hectare area near Sandur. Notice to state and KIADB A division Bench ordered notices to the government, KIADB , former Maddur MLA D C Thammanna and several former directors and engineers of KIADB on a PIL filed by G Madegowda, former MP from Mandya. The petitioner sought a CBI probe claiming excess compensation was awarded for acquisition of 427 acres of land for Toyota-Kirloskar Motors Ltd near Bidadi. The probe request was also for follow-up action on a report which indicated Rs 17.97 crore excess payment in excavation and levelling of that land. Women in bars: ruling reserved Justice D V Shylendra Kumar reserved his order on petitions filed by bar owners and a few women challenging provisions of state excise rules which prevent employing women in bars. toiblr.reporter@timesgroup.com
3 Sep 2008, 0700 hrs IST,TNN

18 of 32 PILs filed on environment
PANAJI: Of the 32 public interest litigations filed against the government from 2005 to 2008 in the high court of Bombay at Goa, 18 are in respect of environmental matters. In these 18 PILs, either the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) or Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) has been made party by the petitioner. While 13 PILs have the GCZMA as respondent, only 5 have the GSPCB as respondent. Of the 18 petitions, 12 have been disposed off by the court and 4 are still pending. These figures were revealed at the recently concluded Assembly. The PILs against the state government have increased from 4 in 2005 to 15 in 2007. In this year itself 5 PILs have already been filed. However, it is pertinent to note that there was no PIL filed in the high court in respect of environment matters in 2005. In 2006, there were two PILs filed regarding environmental issues, which shot up to 13 in 2007. In 2008, three PILs were filed and two of them had the GSPCB as respondent.
3 Sep 2008, 0327 hrs IST,TNN

Encroachments galore at Akalgarh market in Chaura Bazar
Ludhiana, September 02 Ten feet shops in the Akalgarh market have encroached encroachment around 20-feet space outside their shops. Some have either displayed goods outside their shops while others have given the space on rent to a private vendor.
The market, which has around 750 shops, does not have any space for free movement.
Fed up with this arrangement, about 15 shopkeepers of the market have filed a PIL against the encroachers for which the status report will be presented in the court on September 19. An MC team had visited the market in the past two weeks and issued warnings to the erring traders but to no avail.
The members of Akalgarh Market Bachao Sangrash Committee, who have also filed this PIL, said,” Because of the encroachments at the ground floor, the shopkeepers at upper floors get no business. Moreover, goods can no longer be taken upstairs as there is no space to walk around in the market.”
Kartar Singh Patna, Chairman of the committee and general secretary of Lok Jan Shakti Party, Punjab, said,” We did bring the issue to the notice of the MC authorities long ago but then they were not interested. They often used to give an excuse that it is a private market. On August 29, erring shopkeepers were told to remove their goods from the site. However, nothing has been done till date.”
Manpreet Singh Bunty, another member, added, “The traders who have their shops on the first floor have no business. Many of them are planning to sell their shops as they are finding it difficult to survive in the market.”
Not more than 20 shopkeepers have encroached the two main entrances of the market as they get hefty rentals between Rs 2,000 and Rs 20,000.
Raakhi Jagga
Posted online: Sep 03, 2008 at 0337 hrs

Court slams the high and mighty for hijacking criminal trials
New Delhi, September 2: The issue of the high and mighty hijacking criminal justice delivery system by winning over crucial witnesses on Tuesday came under the scrutiny of a Delhi court which convicted Sanjeev Nanda in the BMW hit-and-run case.
“The entire criminal justice system should sit up to find effective ways and means to tackle a situation where wealthy and highly-placed persons are able to thwart the entire course of justice and later claim benefit of the doubt as a matter of right,” Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Kumar said.
The court said “Such trials posed greater questions as to what was the meaning of fair trial and how should the court proceed when the witnesses are being won over and the trial is being hijacked by the high and mighty.”
Dismissing a plea of Nanda seeking benefit of the doubt in the event of key witnesses turning hostile, the court said “The principle of weighing cannot be applied here because this was an example where the entire trial has been hijacked by the rich and influential accused persons.”
It also slammed the investigating officer for “deliberately indulging in perfunctory investigation which caused serious prejudice to the prosecution case.”
Praising the media, the court said, “This is a trial in which the entire criminal justice system crumbled, though a hope for justice still remained because of the watchful eyes of vigilant fourth estate.”
Posted online: Sep 02, 2008 at 2104 hrs

HC tells RNRL to submit part of gas supply pact
Following Monday’s discussions on the ‘family agreement’ or the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Ambani brothers in the case between Reliance Industries (RIL) and Reliance Natural Resources (RNRL) in the Bombay High Court, the court on Tuesday has asked RNRL to produce a portion of the MoU relating to the gas supply master agreement (GSMA). This is since it’s difficult to produce the entire copy of the MoU.
RNRL is ready to produce part of the MoU that deals with the proposed gas supply master agreement, its lawyer Ram Jethmalani said. The hearing has been now adjourned to September 30.
However, the RIL lawyer said that RNRL must file a separate application if it wanted to produce the MoU—not part of the record until now—and only then will RIL take a stand on it. While RNRL contends that the terms of the MoU are binding on both the parties and have a bearing on the scheme of the demerger, RIL disputes this position.
The MoU was signed by the two Ambani brothers and their mother Kokilaben prior to the split-up of the Reliance group between the two brothers. In the course of the argument on Tuesday, the division bench of Justice JN Patel and KK Tated remarked that, “a part of the MoU may be made available to the court.” However, the court did not seek it immediately.
The court, while adjourning the hearing for September 30, asked the parties to make submissions as to whether the MoU could be admitted as an evidence at this stage, when it was not a part of the record before the earlier judge.
RIL is set to begin gas production from KG-D6 from
September, at an initial rate of 25 million standard cubic meters per day, climbing up to 40 mmscmd by March 2009 but with the court restraint, it has not been able to enter into sale contracts.
Corporate BureauPosted: Sep 03, 2008

Judicial officers cannot be prosecuted : HC
Madurai, Sep 2 : The Madras High Court Bench here today held that judicial officers could not be prosecuted for any wrong judgement as they enjoyed legal immunity in respect of their judicial work.
Justice K Chandru made the observation while dismissing a writ petition seeking sanction to initiate prosecution against a Judicial Magistrate and an Additional District Judge for a ‘wrong’ judgement resulting in imprisonment of the petitioner.
The judge said judicial officers had been given protection by Judicial Officers’ Protection Act, 1850. The Petitioner, by filing a criminal case against the judicial officers for having discharged their judicial work, could not invoke the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code to prosecute them.
The petitioner had already failed to get sanction for prosecution (of judicial officers) from lower courts and hence could not approach this court with a prayer for the same.
If the petitioner felt that he was maliciously prosecuted, the remedy open to him was to sue the persons who were in charge of investigation and prosecution and not the judicial officer who determined the case.
There was hirerchy of courts to correct the errors committed the lower judiciary and the petitioner himself was a beneficiary of revisional powers of the high court, he said.
The Judge said the only way the peititioner could seek some relief was to complain to the Chief Justice against such judicial officers who had acted injudiciously in any matter.
Petitioner J.Selvaraj submitted that a magistrate convicted and sentenced him on the charge of mischief and criminal intimidation. On appeal, the Sessions Judge modified the sentence. But, the high court acquitted him. – Agencies
Published: Tuesday, September 02, 2008

HC takes serious note of attendance records at IP University
New Delhi: Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU) has been summoned by the Delhi High Court regarding the attendance records of law students. The apex court has also issued a contempt notice against the institute.The Court said that the varsity had disregarded the rules laid down by the Bar Council of India (BCI) and the guidelines issued by the court earlier.A contempt petition was filed by two professors, who claimed that the university had promoted students whose attendance was less than 66 percent, the minimum criteria affixed by the BCI.An explanation from university officials including the Vice Chancellor, Dean, Registrar and Controller of Examination has been demanded by Justice S.N. Dhingra over the mater.”The university should file an affidavit stating the names of students who had not fulfilled the attendance criteria and what was their attendance at the end of the semester before taking additional classes”, Justice Dhingra said.Defending its move, the university said that extra classes had been arranged for students whose attendance fell short of 66 percent so that they could make up for the lost sessions.
September 02, 2008

HC : Convene panchayat meeting
Madurai, Sept 1: The Madras High Court today directed the Tiruchendur Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) to convene the Udangudi Village Panchayat Council meeting within three weeks, to enable the councillors to proceed with the no confidence motion they have submitted against the Panchayat Chairman on Jan 14, 2008.
Justice K Chandru said the meeting could be convened under provisions of the Tamil Nadu Panchayat Act, 1994, after quashing the RDO’s order rejecting the no confidence motion.
The petitioner C Gunasekaran, a councillor, submitted that the elected members of the panchayat initially proposed a no confidence motion against the Chairman, who had been indulged in irregularities on November five, 2007.
However, the Tamil Nadu government brought an amendment which said that any no confidence motion pending before the authority against the Chairman or Vice Chairman of a village or district panchayat should be abated and no confidence motion could not be brought in the first year itslef.
Hence the RDO said the no confidence motion of the councillors stood abated.
When the councillors brought the second no confidence motion on Jan 14, 2008, the RDO rejected the same on the ground that it was the second no confidence motion in a year’s time.
The judge said as the first no confidence motion had been abated, the second no confidence motion should be taken as the first one after a period of one year – Agencies
Published: Tuesday, September 02, 2008

HC reserves order on women bartenders plea
Bangalore: The Karnataka High Court today reserved order on a batch of petitions, seeking a direction to the state government to permit women to work as bartenders in the state. The petitioners Roopa and Anasuya submitted that the Excise Act, prohibiting women being employed in places where liquor is served, should be amended and women be allowed to work in bars and restaurants. Sanjay and Jayaram, owners of bars and restaurants, in their petition contended that they have no objection to provide jobs to women if permission was granted. Justice Shailendra Kumar, who heard counsel for the parties and also the state s advocate general Udaya Holla, reserved his orders on the matter. Holla said the matter involved security concerns for women if they were allowed to work.Source : PTI
Tuesday, September 02, 2008 22:22 [IST]


One Response

  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog.

    Tim Ramsey

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