Daily Legal News 24.09.2008

Madras HC rules in favour of Nalini
The Tamil Nadu government today told the Madras High Court that it was the sole authority of the state to consider premature release of a prisoner under General Amnesty Scheme.Arguing before Justice S Nagamuthu, hearing the petition filed by Nalini convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case seeking an early release, Advocate General G Masilamani submitted no one has the right to seek premature release unless the state decides to remit their sentence.”It is an executive power of the state whether to remit the sentence or not,” he said.He also submitted that the government is entitled to bring in certain classification for considering prisoners for premature release. It is open to the state whether to consult the Centre or not while granting remission to a prisoner who has been convicted under any Central act, he said. On Nalini’s counsel S Doraisamy’s contention that thegovernment had considered only ADGP (Prisons) recommendation while rejecting Nalini’s plea, Masilamani submitted that the government had taken the decision to reject Nalini’s plea only on the advice of the Advisory Board. However, he agreed with Doraisamy’s contention that only three members of the Board were present while taking a decision against Nalini’s plea, as against the stipulated seven. Nalini had moved the High Court seeking premature release early this year, after being in jail for the last 17 years. (Agencies)The death sentence awarded to her was commuted to life following an appeal by Congress president Sonia Gandhi on humanitarian grounds that Nalini had given birth to a girl in the jail. Priyanka Vadra had also met Nalini, lodged in the high-security Vellore prison, a few months ago.
9/24/2008 8:59:20 AM

Tapasi: Verdict on 1 November
CHANDERNAGORE, Sept. 23: The magistrate of Chandernagore First Fast Track Court deferred the judgement of the Tapasi Malik murder case, which was scheduled to be delivered today. It will now be pronounced on 1 November this year, said Mr Amar Kanti Acharya, additional district and session judge of the court said. Earlier, two accused in this case ~ former CPI-M Singur zonal committee secretary, Suhrid Dutta and his associate Debu Malik ~ were produced before the court amid tight security. Thousands, including supporters from both the CPI-M and the Trinamul Congress, gathered in the court premises to hear the judgement. At 2 p.m. today when Mr Acharya, announced in a packed court room that the judgement would be delivered on 1 November. Later both the accused were taken to Chandernagore sub-divisional correctional home under tight police protection. Trinamul Congress workers later took out a rally in the court compound demanding capital punishment for both the accused for the murder of Tapasi, an 18-year-old member of Singur Krishi Jomi Raksha Committee, who was charred to death inside the fenced-off area of the Tata Motors small car project at Singur on 18 December 2006, allegedly by five men. Citing lack of readability, the magistrate has instructed the CBI advocate and defence lawyers to submit before the court some case related papers that had earlier been submitted. Mr Partha Tapaswi, CBI advocate said: “We will submit the papers within 26 September”. Defence lawyers Mr Arindam Bhattacharjee and Mr Kishor Mondal, who were also present during court proceeding today, said they would submit the documents before the court within Friday.Earlier, the state government had ordered a CBI probe into the Tapasi Malik murder case in December 2006. Sleuths belonging to the CBI, later arrested Malik on 24 June 2007 in connection with the murder and were taken to Delhi for a polygraph test. Later Malik reportedly told CBI that Dutta had masterminded the murder. Dutta, an influential CPI-M leader from Singur who is also a CPI-M Hooghly district committee member, was arrested on 28 June 2007. The investigating agency had told the court that Tapasi was murdered for participating in the organised farmers’ movement at Singur. Chargesheet in connection with the case was filed before Chandernagore court on 15 September last year.
Statesman News Service

Khairlanji: Judgement Out..but something left!
Though the final judgement is out but the shadow of personal prejudices with respect to the Judgement in Khairlanji case is followes the Judicial system in India.
Wildly criticised, CASTE ANGLE TO the case is deeply and silently burried down with the final verdict, this will create a hUGE DEMOCRATIC DEFICEIT in the Indian society . The people of India should take congnigance of this and sensitise the systems to eradicate the Caste virus. Denying existance of such Virus will only help to prolifer the deadly inhuman desease.

Blockade outside CM’s further relaxed after HC intervention
IMPHAL, Sep 23: The ban on night time movement of civilian traffic on the eastern side of the NH-39 passing in front of the chief minister’s bungalow has been lifted from this evening even though the ban remained on the southern side of the road divided by the median on the road from state guest house to traffic island in front of Imphal post office. The High Court’s intervention has led to the opening of the road on the eastern side of the NH-39 section divided by the road median starting from the main gate of the 1st battalion Manipur Rifles gate up to the traffic island located in front of the Imphal post office for civil vehicular movement.The director of state transport has no authority to regulate traffic over the national highway portion. It is for the highway administration to regulate traffic over the national highways, said the ruling of the Gauhati High Court Imphal bench today while staying the order of the director of the transport regarding the prohibition.The court stayed the order of the transport department regulating the traffic over the eastern portion of the NH-39 section divided by the road median by the order of the transport department in a hearing to Writ Petition, PIL filed by advocate Khaidem Mani.According to advocate Mani, he had filed the PIL in the court considering the grievances faced by the general people due to the prohibition which has been in effect from the day of the blast inside the CM’s bungalow on September 1.The state principal secretary home, the director general of police and senior superintendent of police Imphal west were the respondents of the PIL.The PIL challenged the legality of the order passed through press release issued by the senior SP, Imphal west which regulated the traffic along the portion of the NH-39 purportedly for strengthening the security in and around the CM’s bungalow and VIP areas by prohibiting movement of civil vehicles on September 2.In the hearing, the state advocate general also frankly conceded before the court that the said order regulating traffic over the national highway was issued by the senior SP, Imphal west without jurisdiction and since it was issued without jurisdiction, the same is not sustainable in the eye of the law and it can be treated as non-est in the eyes of law. The said portion of the highway where the chief minister’s bungalow and VIP areas are located remained prohibited for civil vehicular movement from 6 pm till 7 am every day even though the western side of the median was opened.An order of the state transport department on September 20 had imposed the prohibition along the southern side of the road from traffic island in front of the Raj Bhavan to Palace Gate passing on the northern side of the chief minister’s bungalow.The order was issued partially modifying the earlier order of total prohibition of civil vehicular traffic on the section of the NH-39 from Moirangkhom to Raj Bhavan and road from Raj Bhavan to Palace Gate issued by the SP, Imphal west effective from the day after the blast, and was replaced by another order of the state transport department on September 19.With the stay on the order, the prohibition on the entry to the road has also lifted from this evening. But the restriction on civil vehicular traffic on the southern side of the road from state guest house to traffic island in front of the Imphal post office still remain.
The Imphal Free Press

Do not table part Nanavati panel report, pleads PIL; HC says no
Ahmedabad, September 23 Petitioner had sought quashing of part report, saying the panel should have filed a complete report
A division bench of the Gujarat High Court on Tuesday dismissed a joint Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking direction to quash the part report of the Nanavati Commission.
The bench comprising Chief Justice K S Radhkrishnan and Justice M S Shah observed that Section 3 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act did not prevent the Commission from preparing a part report, nor did it say whether a part report could not be filed in the state Assembly.
The PIL was filed by the Citizens for Justice and Peace and the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties and had also sought directions ordering the government not to table the part report in the Assembly during the Monsoon session starting September 25.
Representing the petitioners, advocate M M Tirmizi contended that the Commission was set up to probe the Godhra and the post-Godhra riots and hence could not split the inquiry into two parts. He pleaded that it should be a composite report of the complete inquiry.
He said the first part of the report dealt with the Godhra incident and did not reflect
on the role of the Chief Minister, other ministers and governmental officials in the ensuing riots.
“So, a composite report should be submitted to the state government and tabled in the Assembly after complete inquiry of the Godhra and post-Godhra incidents,” he added.
Referring to two Supreme Court judgements, Tirmizi further said: “It is an exercise by the state government for placing the part report of the inquiry of Godhra and the post-Godhra incidents.”
He added that the prejudicial role of the state government had been exposed following the Supreme Court order of a re-trial of the Best Bakery and the Bilkis Bano cases outside Gujarat. The apex court had also directed the state government to appoint another public prosecutor in the two cases on the suggestions of the victims, he said. He also referred to affidavits filed by former Additional Director General of Police R B Sreekumar about the role of the state in the post-Godhra riots.
He said the terms of reference appointing the Commission to look into the Godhra and post-Godhra incidents be looked in toto. Tabling one part of the report and making it public was detrimental to the public interest and amounted to splitting the terms of reference into two, he added.
As such, the state government should be restrained from placing it in the House on September 25, he said.
Express News Service
Posted online: Sep 24, 2008 at 0226 hrs

BMW case: Court seeks police response
NEW DELHI: Even as it set the ball rolling to hear Sanjeev Nanda’s appeal against his conviction in the BMW case, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday expressed its reluctance to suspend his sentence of five years of rigorous imprisonment. Nanda was handed the punishment for running over six persons with his BMW car, which HC said was a ‘‘serious’’ offence. Justice Kailash Gambhir, however, issued notice to Delhi Police and sought its response by October 3 on Nanda’s petition challenging his conviction and quantum of sentence. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Nanda, contended that the trial court had wrongly convicted him due to publicity in the media and he shouldn’t have been given more than two years of imprisonment. ‘‘The court relied on Alistair Pereira case where the accused was given three years of imprisonment for mowing down people sleeping on the pavement. On the other hand, in this case the accident happened because of the victim’s fault as they were standing in the middle of the road in the wee hours but Nanda was given five years of imprisonment,’’ Rohatgi said. ‘‘Nanda’s offence stands on a lower footing as compared to Pereira and he should not be given more than two years of imprisonment,’’ he argued. But HC didn’t appear to be entirely convinced with the contention and wondered, ‘‘Do you want to say that the car accident is not a serious offence. People standing on the road were run over by the car.’’ Seeking bail, 30-year-old Nanda contended in his petition that the trial court had accepted the testimony of controversial prosecution eye-witness Sunil Kulkarni which was not reliable as he was in Mumbai and not in Delhi at the time of the accident. Alleging that the police had delayed the recording of Kulkarni’s statement, the petition said that the court ignored the testimonies of the other defence witnesses. Nanda, who was sentenced to five years of imprisonment on September 05 by the trial court, said that the fact that he had paid a compensation of Rs 65 lakh each to the victim’s family was also ignored by the court. (toireporter@timesgroup.com)
24 Sep 2008, 0332 hrs IST,TNN

High Court extends gag order on govt, final verdict on Sept 26
Kolkata, September 23 The Calcutta High Court said it will pass its final order on September 26 on the Tata Motors plea for not allowing the state government to disclose contents of the agreement on setting up its small car plant. It also extended the interim gag order till September 30.
On September 12, Tata Motors had moved a plea urging for secrecy of the agreement. Justice Dipankar Dutta had passed an order staying the disclosure of the agreement for two weeks, which will expire on September 26.
Advocate Samaraditya Pal, counsel for the Tata Motors submitted that West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) had published a part of the agreement in their website on September 12, following a direction issued by the chief information commissioner (CIC). Pal termed the disclosure as “illegal”.
On Tuesday, Pal moved a plea saying that Tata Motors should have been given an opportunity to place its objections before the CIC before any order was passed on the disclosure of the agreement.
Counsel for Leader of the Opposition Partha Chatterjee, meanwhile, argued that once the agreement was read out on August 27 in a meeting of the standing committee, the people have a right to know the details of the project.
Express News Service
Posted online: Sep 24, 2008 at 0127 hrs

SC orders CBI probe into PF scam involving judges
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a CBI probe into multi-crore Uttar Pradesh Provident Fund scam allegedly involving higher judiciary. A bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat, Justice V S Sirpurkar and Justice G S Singhvi directed the investigation agency to file a status report in three months. The court, however, did not pass any specific order at this juncture relating to the substance of allegations against sitting judges whose names have figured in the scam. Names of 26 members of judiciary, including an apex court judge, seven Allahabad high court judges, six retired high court judges and 12 judges from subordinate judiciary in Uttar Pradesh, have allegedly cropped up in the scam. The court said that 3 months time have been given to CBI to give its report but it will not stop the agency from going ahead with the filing of a final report before the stipulated period. “The court before which the final report or chargesheet will be filed will deal according to the law,” said the bench adding that the status report will also give details on how many persons from outside the Ghaziabad treasury were involved. In an elaborate order, the bench said that CBI will appoint an investigating officer, who will be incharge of the probe and it would be open to him to indicate to the Uttar Pradesh government about the officers/officials whose assistance would be required for comprehensive investigation. “The state government will place officials at the disposal of CBI so that effective investigation can be carried out,” the bench said taking into the consideration the plea of CBI. Solicitor-General G E Vahanvati appearing for CBI said that the premier investigation agency was not equipped with sufficient manpower. So, the state government should provide requisite manpower and infrastructure facilities in such a probe, said Vahanvati. To allay fears that documents may be tampered with, the court said that the investigating officer would take appropriate steps for preservation of original records of the investigation and subsequent proceedings. Further, the investigating officer will take charge of documents already in possession of the state police and reports of the probe conducted till now. All documents relating to the case will be microfilmed and deposited before the apex court, the copies of which will be handed over to the CBI and the Uttar Pradesh government, the Bench said. It said several other issues relating to the scandal will be dealt at an appropriate time. “Let us start of the process and at any point other suggestions could be considered,” the Bench said during the hearing. The state government has also given its consent to transfer the probe to the central investigating agency. Earlier, the Ghaziabad SP, who was probing the case, had expressed difficulty in carrying out the investigations into Rs 23 crore scam. The Ghaziabad Bar Association and the Indian chapter of the Transparency International had sought independent probe into the scandal saying that it would not be possible for the state police to carry out the investigation in a case allegedly involving judicial officials. Senior advocates Anil Divan and Shanti Bhushan, appearing for the Association and Transparency International respectively had submitted that retired judicial officers are not protected by any decision of this court which relates to serving judicial officers. Earlier, the scam was probed by the UP police on the direction of the Allahabad High Court. The state police had got prepared a questionnaire and got it cleared from the Chief Justice of India to go ahead with the investigation. Later, the lawyers association sought an independent probe by the CBI and the matter snowballed into a major controversy after Transparency International filed a writ petition and sought the recusal of the CJI from hearing the matter on the ground that he, in his administrative side, had already dealt with the case.

24 Sep, 2008, 0343 hrs IST, ET Bureau

SC wants law to protect owners from squatters
NEW DELHI: This Supreme Court move will bring cheers to those who have lost their house or land to squatters. On Tuesday, the court said it wanted a change in the law that gives ownership rights to the one who has usurped a property by squatting by taking advantage of the fact that the owners were have had little time to inquire about their property. Terming the ousting of real owners from their property by squatters as a serious human rights violation, a Bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and H S Bedi has requested the Centre to take a fresh look and suitably amend the land laws that recognise “adverse possession” as a means to acquire title over a property by ousting the real owners. The apex court was at loss to understand how the law could place a premium on dishonesty by legitimising possession of a trespasser and compelling the real owner to lose his title simply because the owner has not taken back his house or land within a stipulated time. “There is an urgent need of fresh look regarding the law on adverse possession. We recommend the Union of India to seriously consider and make suitable changes in the law of adverse possession,” said the Bench rushing a copy of its judgment to the law ministry and legislative department for appropriate steps in accordance with law. The case that prompted the court to do so related to a real owner losing out his title to a squatter. The Bench — despite the existing law — restored the property to the real owner, saying the trespasser had miserably failed to establish his title over it and said it was a pity that law recognised “adverse possession” as a means to take over property from a non-alert owner. Writing the judgment for the Bench, Justice Bhandari said: “The law of adverse possession which ousts an owner on the basis of inaction within limitation is irrational, illogical and wholly disproportionate…The law as it exists is extremely harsh for the true owners and a windfall for a dishonest person who had illegally taken possession of the property of the true owner.” The concern of the court was that law, which is meant to do justice, could not be seen to benefit a person “who in a clandestine manner takes possession of the property of the owner in contravention of the law.” Though right to property has been deleted from the list of fundamental rights and has been reduced to the status of a mere legal right, the apex court termed it as an important human right. “The right to property is now considered to be not only a constitutional right or statutory right but also a human right,” the Bench said, while observing that claim of adverse possession had to be dealt with keeping in mind this important right.
24 Sep 2008, 0243 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra,TNN

Don’t name sexual assault victims in judgements: SC
New Delhi (PTI): Judgements relating to sexual offences should not reveal the names of the victims, the Supreme Court has said.
Though penal provision did not restrict naming the victims in the judgements of the Supreme Court and High Courts, a Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and M K Sharma suggested that courts should refrain from naming them in order to protect them from social victimisation.
“True it is, the restriction, does not relate to printing or publication of a judgement by High Court or Supreme Court.
“But keeping in view social object of preventing social victimisation or ostracism of the victim of a sexual offence for which section 228-A has been enacted, it would be appropriate that in the judgements, be it of this court, High Court or lower court, the name of the victim should not be indicated,” the Bench said and chose to describe her as only “victim” in the judgement.
The apex court was dealing with a case of sexual assault in which it arrived at the conclusion that the victim was not raped but her modesty was outraged by the accused.
While deciding not to identify the victim, the Bench referred to section 228-A of IPC, which makes disclosure of identity of victim of certain offences punishable.
It said printing or publishing name of any matter which may make known the identity of any person against whom an offence under IPC Sections 376 (rape), 376-A (intercourse by a man with his wife during separation) or 376-B (intercourse by public servant with woman in his custody) is alleged or found to have been committed can be punished.
It would also apply to cases under IPC sections 376-C (intercourse by Superintendent of Jail, Remand Home etc) or 376-D (intercourse by any member of management or staff of a hospital with any woman in that hospital), the court said.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

HC order: Forest dept prepares to fell trees
Shimla, September 23 Three teams formed; trained manpower to help complete operation by end of the week
A day after High Court granted permission to fell 60-odd trees, which have been rendered dangerous, the state Government today prepared a strategy to cut down the trees.
The state’s Forest Corporation, which will be an agency to cut down the trees, has formed three teams and decided to take the help of trained manpower to complete the operation by the end of the week.
Additional Chief Secretary (Forest) Avay Shukla, who held a meeting with senior forest officials following the High Court order, told the forest officials to mark the trees that the High Court had allowed to be felled on the basis of photographs provided.
Ashwani Sharma Posted: Sep 24, 2008 at 0006 hrs IST

ITC moves HC against smoking ban
New Delhi (PTI): Indian Tobaco Company (ITC) Ltd, on Tuesday approached the Delhi High Court challenging the Centre’s notification banning smoking in private offices and other establishments from October two.
Under the curbs, those caught smoking in public places and other private organisations will be fined Rs 200 which may increase to Rs 1,000.
So far, smoking is banned only in public places and in private offices an area has been allotted as smoking zone for the cigarette smokers.
Besides ITC, two others petitioners including Indian Hotels Association have also moved separate plea challenging the May 2008 notification issued by the Union Health Ministry.
Earlier this month, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss has said that the ban from the day coinciding with Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary would also cover hotels, restaurants and offices.
Besides this, the minister said the Government has also issued notifications to make pictorial warnings compulsory on all tobacco products from December one.
To begin with, the pictorial warnings would be those cleared by the Group of Ministers and would cover 40 per cent of tobacco product packets, but after about one year, more pictures can be brought in, he had said.
The Government is also making the fight against tobacco an integral part of the school health programme.
“According to a WHO study, around 14.1 per cent of school going children are using some or other form of tobacco, which is very worrisome,” Ramadoss has said.
The Government had notified pictorial warnings to be carried on tobacco products last month after clearance by the Group of Ministers.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Calcutta HC to pass final order on Tata Motors petition on Sep 26
The Calcutta High Court today said it would pass its final order on September 26 on the Tata Motors plea for not allowing West Bengal government to disclose contents of its agreement on setting up its small car plant while extending the interim gag order till September 30.
Justice Dipankar Dutta, after conclusion of hearing in the case, said he would deliver the judgement on Tata Motors’ prayer for an injunction on the state principal information officer’s directive to the state government to disclose the contents of the agreement.
Appearing for Tata Motors, counsel S Pal submitted that parts of the document were official secrets and should not be made public.
Concluding the arguments, Kalyan Banerjee for petitioner Trinamool Congress leader Partha Chatterjee, who had applied to the SPIO for contents of the deal, said the agreement could not be treated as a state secret as the land at Singur was acquired for public purpose.
Justice Dutta had on September 12 passed an interim stay for two weeks on operation of the order of the SPIO on September 8 that asked West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation, a nodal government agency of the state for the project, to make public the full text of the document.
Tata Motors, whose small car project is in limbo, has moved the Calcutta High Court and obtained the interim gag order on the West Bengal government.
A tripartite agreement was signed on March nine, 2007 among Tata Motors, West Bengal government and WBIDC, the nodal agency of the state for the project.
Press Trust Of India / Kolkata September 23, 2008, 18:17 IST

HC grants 4 months time to CBI complete probe
Kochi (PTI): Kerala High Court on Tuesday granted four months time to CBI to complete investigation of the SNC Lavalin case.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice A K Basheer said that some efforts have been taken by the CBI to complete the investigation.
Bench said that ‘we have some doubts regarding the progress made by the CBI but on perusal of the case diary volume six and seven, it is clear that progress has been made in the investigation after March 18, 2008.
Even though the CBI had asked for six months time, the court granted four months from today to complete the investigation and file the final report.
The CBI had produced the case diary and files relating to the SNC Lavalin case in sealed covers, before the High Court yesterday.
The case relates to alleged irreregularties in the award of contract for modernising and renovation of Pallivasal, Shengulam and Panniyar Hydel projects during the term of previous UDF and LDF governments.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

HC gives student special status
AHMEDABAD: He is a student of Class XII who need not attend any academic sessions. Yet, he will be considered a regular student and will also be allowed to appear for his board exam. This special status was granted to a student of St Xavier’s School, Simardeep Singh Bhatia, by Gujarat High Court on Monday. HC was hearing a case dealing with Simardeep’s rustication. The student was suspended by school over disciplinary issues, after which he approached HC. Court ultimately came to the conclusion that since his presence was harmful for his classmates and demoralising for teachers too, school can decline his presence in classroom but can allow him to take internal school examinations. HC had earlier directed district education officer to initiate an inquiry into allegations and counter-allegations between student and school authorities. Last week, DEO office submitted a report recommending that the student should be allowed to attend classes in school, because he was not heard by school authorities before suspension. Based on this report, Simardeep moved High Court again demanding that he be enrolled in school again. However, school authorities approached court too challenging DEO’s report claiming that inquiry officer had not investigated the issue properly. When respective advocates argued for and against the issue on Monday, Justice Jayant Patel observed that education inspector who had been entrusted with investigation had only narrated the incidents, instead of finding truth. While ruling that student’s presence in school can be declined , court also directed school authorities as well as education officer to ensure that Simardeep’s form for board exam doesn’t get rejected for lack of attendance. Thus, Simardeep is now free not to attend any class, yet continue to be a regular student.
23 Sep 2008, 0504 hrs IST,TNN

HC stays resumption of Gopichand’s land
HYDERABAD: Justice N V Ramana of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday imposed a stay on all the proceedings launched by revenue authorities who were moving forward for taking over certain portion of the five acre land allotted to badminton player Pullela Gopichand at Gachibowli. The player questioned the rationale behind the order of the revenue authorities to take back two-and-half-acres of land from him on the grounds of non-utilisation . Gopichand questioned it asking as to how the government would decide the requirements of this academy which was being set up in accordance with the stipulations of the Badminton World Federation. Justice Ramana gave the government time till Monday to respond on this issue.
23 Sep 2008, 0433 hrs IST,TNN

Lodge FIR in Asaram violence case: HC to cops
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat High Court on Monday directed Gandhinagar police to lodge an FIR on the basis of complaints of 22 residents of Motera in connection with the violence that took place on July 18 this year. The disciples of Asaram Bapu had allegedly beaten up the residents as well as mediapersons on the day. Acting on a petition filed by a non-governmental organisation Jan Sangharsh Manch for formation of a Special Investigation Team to probe the incident, a division Bench, comprising Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice M S Shah, asked the district superintendent of police to look into the complaints. Despite earlier order by the HC to register their complaints, Adalaj police station officials named them as witnesses to the incident. The violence erupted during a bandh call given in protest against the mysterious deaths of two kids in Asaram’s ashram at Motera. The NGO has also sought directions from the court to the government to compensate those who were injured during the violence. The petition alleged that situation escalated not only due to police inaction, but they refused to lodge complaints against the ‘sadhaks’. A public interest litigation is also being heard by the HC demanding CBI probe in the incident of kids’ deaths and that the state government hand over investigation to CID (Crime). Moreover, one-member inquiry commission of Justice D K Trivedi will also probe the violence.
23 Sep 2008, 0505 hrs IST,TNN

HC comes to rescue of abandoned mother
HYDERABAD: Shocked by the incident of a Nizamabad resident abandoning his 85-yearold mother by packing her in a gunny bag and throwing it in thorny bushes, Justice T Meena Kumari of the AP High Court has directed the district authorities to immediately rescue her. Justice Meena Kumari, who is also the executive chairperson of the Andhra Pradesh State Legal Services Authority, gave this directive to the officials of the AP High Court and Nizamabad district legal services authority after the incident had been brought to her notice. One of the options entrusted to them is to admit the old woman in a state home. Upon their perusal, certain details about the woman came to the fore. Her name is Mallamma. She is 85 and belongs to Perkit village of Armur mandal. She has a son and a daughter who are also living in the same village. When the police questionned the son, Dantulayya, he began pleading innocence with them. “My mother has a habit of begging and it has been more than one month since she left the house and even I am searching for her,” was his reply. The mother, meanwhile, was apparently rescued by local residents and is recovering at a Armur hospital with both her daughter and daughter-in-law assisting her actively. “We will issue notices to the son under section 24 of the Act, but will go slow on actually enforcing the law,” D Subrahmanyam, secretary , AP High Court Legal Services Authority, told ‘TOI’ .
23 Sep 2008, 0435 hrs IST,TNN

“Spare presiding officers, let tribunal rule on defection”
Presiding officers should not be under judicial scrutiny: Somnath

For all amendments, the scourge of defection continues
Blanket exemption of splits, mergers defeats purpose of law: Hooda
CHANDIGARH: Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Tuesday said the jurisdiction and authority to deal with “defection” as provided in the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution “need not continue to be exercised by the presiding officers.”
The “power should be conferred on some other authority like a special tribunal comprised of people well versed in law or on an authority like the Election Commission.”
Mr. Chatterjee was speaking at a symposium on the “Anti-Defection Law — Need for Review,” organised as part of the 73rd conference of presiding officers of legislative bodies here.
The judiciary had taken up cases challenging the decisions of the presiding officers under the Tenth Schedule and this jurisdiction was upheld by the Supreme Court. However, “to my mind, the exercise of power and jurisdiction by the presiding officer of any House should not be subjected to such scrutiny, which considerably affects the status and the position of the presiding officers…. With all respect to the judiciary, whose jurisdiction cannot be denied, it will be fit and proper and indeed desirable that the presiding officers do not continue to be under such judicial scrutiny which in many cases has given rise to avoidable tension between the two constitutional authorities.”
Mr. Chatterjee urged the presiding officers to consider the matter seriously so that suitable recommendations might be made by the conference to change the provisions of the Constitution whereby the presiding officers would be relieved of “an unwelcome jurisdiction.”
Mr. Chatterjee said the operation of the anti-defection law, 1985, over the years, indicated many grey areas in the Act. Breaking away with the support of one-third of the members of the parent party appeared easy and defections could not be checked, especially in smaller parties.
The Constitution was amended in 2003 through the Constitution (91st) Amendment Act to rectify what seemed lacunae.
However, the amendments omitted the provision relating to splits from the Tenth Schedule, and also provided that a member, disqualified under it, be disqualified for being appointed minister or for holding a remunerative political post during the period commencing from the date of his disqualification till the expiry of the term of his office or until he was elected again. Thus, the new law provided that a “split” would no longer be a defence.
However, Mr. Chatterjee said, the situation still remained largely destructive as defections motivated by power and opportunism continued to be one of the debilitating features of the Indian political system. He called for a concerted effort to see that political defections were totally banned or at least were not rewarded.
Grave challenge
Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal said political defections “betrayed the mandate of the electorate and posed a grave challenge to parliamentary polity.”
Wednesday, Sep 24, 2008
Special Correspondent


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