BJP commerce wing to file PIL against power cut
Coimbatore, Oct 19: The industrial and commerce wing of Tamil Nadu BJP has decided to file a PIL against the ‘unequal distribution of power and power shortage’ in the State for the last one year.
Expressing solidarity with the industries, which have planned one-day stoppage of production on Oct 22, State Party observer, S R Seghar in a statement said that the Electricity Board was using a different yardstick in the distribution of power to different places across the State.
This fact has been admitted by the power minister, Arcot N Veeraswamy in his statement last evening, Seghar claimed.
Stating that the second largest consumer of electricity in the State–1400 MW was Coimbatore, he said that instead of scheduled power cut or load shedding of six and half hours, Coimbatore was facing power cuts for more than eight to 10 hours daily. – Agencies
Published: Sunday, October 19, 2008

College chops down trees to make building visible
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Nagpur/College_chops_down_trees_to_make_building_visible/articleshow/3616755.cms NAGPUR: Even as the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court is hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) on large-scale felling of trees in Ambewadi (Mah

arajbagh), at the agriculture college, another case of illicit felling of huge trees inside a college in Nandanvan has come to light. In utter disregard to rules and Nagpur’s green city tag, the Women’s College for Arts and Commerce, Nandanvan, fell huge trees inside its premises recently. Shockingly, principal of the college, N R Dixit, says the trees were cut because college building and board were not visible to the people from outside. Interestingly, Dixit told TOI that permission was taken before felling the trees. However, N S Shrikhande, tree officer and garden superintendent, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), doesn’t remember giving any such permission to the college. “We chopped four to five trees. Not only our college building and board, the building of neighbouring Gayatri Convent was also not visible due to these trees. Our premises looked like a forest. Otherwise also, the existing college building is falling short and we need to expand by having a new building,” Dixit explained. The principal then turned apologetic, “We admit our mistake and it won’t happen in future. In fact, the college is promoting tree plantation and we will plant more trees to compensate for ones we cut.” “It’s really disgusting that an educational institute, which should take lead in creating awareness about environment and climate change, is itself indulging in felling trees. The felled trees were very old and shadowed the entire patch of road in front of the college. Now the patch looks completely barren,” remarked senior citizen Shankarrao Waghmare. N S Shrikhande says, in such cases, action under the Maharashtra Urban Tree Preservation Act, 1975 can be taken. “I’ll order a spot inspection of the college on Monday,” he added. The high court is hearing a PIL filed by city-based environmentalist Seema Shahu on Ambewadi where over 100 small and big trees were chopped down. TOI was the first to expose felling of trees in Ambewadi. Some of the trees cut were scheduled ones like mango, sesame, umbar, and neem. Speaking to TOI, Shahu said, “It is really shameful. I will visit the spot and include this case in my PIL being heard by the high court. The continuous felling of trees in Model Mills will also be taken up.”
20 Oct 2008, 0332 hrs IST, Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN

Court can take action: Legal eagles
KOLKATA: If the government is not willing to stop Gorkhaland activists from replacing government signboards and changing vehicle registration plates

in Darjeeling, Calcutta High Court should step in and take action against the violators. This is what a wide spectrum of legal experts, including former Supreme Court judges, had to say about the recent spate of Gorkhaland protests. State home secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti has made it clear that the government will not use force against the agitators. A senior police officer in Darjeeling admitted they were following a policy of non-confrontation. “This is stopping us from taking action against GJM supporters,” the official said. “Replacing registration numbers of vehicles with GL numbers is illegal and the state government must stop this immediately. If the government is ignoring this, Calcutta High Court must order police to take action against the offenders,” said former high court judge D K Basu. Advocate Subrata Mukherjee said changing number plates violated the Motor Vehicles Act. “Offenders can also be charged with conspiracy and waging war against the state,” said Taj Muhammad, deputy director, prosecution directorate. Former CJI Ranganath Mishra felt that the high court should act if the state government was not doing anything to quell the disturbance. “It could be that the state government is apprehensive of law and order problems. But it should still take steps to prevent lawlessness,” he added. According to ex-Supreme Court judge V S Malimath, the protesters need to be handled firmly. “Those defacing government boards are committing an offence and need to be prosecuted. Anyone can file a PIL against the state’s inaction. The court can also ask police to act,” Malimath said. Justice Basu said that the state government’s wait-and-watch strategy cannot be accepted. “Today some are wiping out West Bengal from government boards and replacing it with Gorkhaland. Then, Kamtapur supporters can start writing Kamtapur on government boards in Jalpaiguri. What will the state do then?” he asked. Calling the defacing of government signboards a major offence, Justice Basu said: “The high court can direct the state government to take action against the offenders and ensure the safety of people.” He felt that even legal activists can file a PIL seeking to restore normalcy in the Hills. “All of this is taking place while the Governor is in Darjeeling and this amounts to challenging the authority of the state,” he pointed out. However, Calcutta High Court advocate Subrata Mukherjee felt that defacing government boards is a mode of protest and other groups had done the same thing in the past to highlight their demand for a separate state.
20 Oct 2008, 0406 hrs IST, Debashis Konar, TNN


ESPN Stars Sports v. Global Broadcast News Ltd. and Ors. is the latest case decided by the Delhi High Court following a string of cases dealing with the exception of fair dealing and news channel reporting.
This case seems to a chance to take advantage of the favourable attitude of the Delhi High Court towards broadcasters, especially in light of the earlier decisions of the concerned court in Prasar Bharti v. Sahara TV Network Pvt. Ltd. and Ors. (MANU/DE/3041/2005) and the injunction suit filed by Prasar Bharti against news channels in relation to infringing broadcast by the latter of the Beijing Olympics. An earlier post by Prashant dealt with the dispute involving Prasar Bharti and several news channels over the telecast of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The facts of the case are as follows: the Plaintiff, ESPN Stars Sports, sought a permanent injunction against the Defendants, Global Broadcast News Ltd. and Ors., seeking to restrain the Defendant news channels from utilizing the future footage of Plaintiff, in the matches played, and to be played during the India-Australia test matches, 20×20 series and the one day internationals involving Sri Lanka, India and Australia, (all the matches to be played in Australia, during December 26, 2007 to March 8, 2008) without obtaining the Plaintiff’s prior permission or in violation of the Plaintiff’s terms and conditions.
It is pertinent to note that the footage was used and to be used by the news channels in special segments/programmes telecasted by the news channels in relation to these matches. Some examples of these programs being ‘LOC: Love of Cricket’, ‘Sydney Ke Villain’, and ‘Wah Cricket’ (the Bollywood inspired names of these programs are cited here for pure entertainment purposes).
Case History
Just to map the case history, this case was originally decided by Justice Ravindra Bhat in favour of the Defendant news channels. His decision of dismissal of the matter was based on the failure of the Plaintiff Broadcasting Organisation, the exclusive licensee of the concerned broadcast, to implead the owner of the broadcasting right, in violation of the mandate of Section 61 of the Copyright Act. The appeal was based, inter alia, on the ground that the rights of broadcasting organizations are treated as ‘related rights’ under the Copyright Act, not falling within the ambit of a copyright. Therefore, given the special status and nature of these rights, they are exclusively governed by Chapter VIII (Sections 37-39A) of the Copyright Act. Consequently, since no reference is made to applicability of Section 61 to broadcasting rights and infringement actions in Chapter VIII (more specifically in Section 39A of the Act), the latter is not applicable to an action of infringement filed by an exclusive licensee of a broadcasting organization. Hence, the Court of First Instance erred on holding that Section 61 is mandatorily applicable to infringement actions filed by broadcasting organizations in the capacity of an exclusive licensee.

Section 61
In a very interesting judgment, the court overruled the earlier decision of non-maintainability of the suit in light of Section 61.
Section 61 of the Copyright Act reads as follows:
61. Owners of copyright to be party to the proceeding. – (1) In every civil suit or other proceeding regarding infringement of copyright instituted by an exclusive licensee, the owner of the copyright shall, unless the court otherwise directs, be made a defendant and where such owner is made a defendant, he shall have the right to dispute the claim of the exclusive licensee.
(2) Where any civil suit or other proceeding regarding infringement of copyright instituted by an exclusive licensee is successful, no fresh suit or other proceeding in respect of the same cause of action shall lie at the instance of the owner of the copyright
Thus, as is clear from a plain reading of the text, the provision mandates that in an civil suit of infringement filed by an exclusive licensee, the owner of the copyright shall, unless the court otherwise directs, be made a Defendant. As stated above, Justice Ravindra Bhat dismissed the suit on the ground that the Appellant (Plaintiff) had failed to comply with the mandate of Section 61 of the Copyright Act. He concluded that, “the mandate of Section 61(1) applies in case of claims for infringement of broadcast reproduction rights and the non-impleadment of the owner of copyright is fatal to the maintainability of the suit. Similarly, the non-joinder of owner of the copyright renders the suit liable to be rejected. The proviso to Order 1, Rule 9 Civil Procedure Code enacts that a suit can fail for non-joinder of a necessary party. The failure to implead the owner of copyright in the present case has resulted in keeping out a party whose presence is necessary for a final and complete decision on the question involved in the proceeding. Thus, apart from the suit being not maintainable due to Section 61(1) of the Act, it is also bad for mis-joinder of a necessary party.”
It is pertinent to note that in his reasoning Justice Bhat treated copyright and broadcaster rights to be at par, such that, provisions which govern copyright would also be applicable to broadcasters rights unless specifically excluded.
On appeal, the double bench of the Delhi High Court stated that as per Clause 11 of the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Copyright Act, the broadcasting reproduction rights were akin to the rights of copyright holder. This terminology in itself showed that the two rights, though akin to each other, operated in exclusive and separate ambits.
The court further strengthened its argument of the separate existence of the two rights on the multiple reasons of:
(a) inclusion of a separate definition of ‘broadcast’ in Section 2(dd) of the Act and not including it within the definition of ‘work’ (defined under Section 2(y)) that would be the subject matter of copyright protection under Section 13 of the Copyright Act;
(b) copyright infringement being dealt with under Section 51 of the Copyright Act, whereas the infringement of Broadcasting Rights being dealt with under Section 37(3) of the Act, independent of any reference to provisions dealing with copyright infringement;
(c) Lastly, that fact that Section 39A referred only to certain specific provisions, applicable to copyright, which were to be adapted, modified and applied to rights of broadcasting organisations. Hence, given the fact that the legislature has enumerated the specific provisions which are to be made applicable to broadcasting organizations, the absence of a non-obstante clause does not take away from the exclusive operation of these provisions, independent and to the exclusion of provisions not mentioned in the concerned section. Thus, since Section 61 is not mentioned in Section 39A, the same is not applicable to infringement suits filed by exclusive licensees of broadcasting rights.
To briefly reiterate, the separation between broadcasting rights and copyright is important because it leads to the conclusion that the latter are ‘special’ in nature and are exclusively governed by Chapter VIII of the Copyright Act and the adapted and modified versions of the sections mentioned in Section 39A. Since Section 61 is not mentioned in Section 39A, the same is not applicable to the exclusive and special domain of broadcasting rights and infringement suits filed by exclusive licensees of broadcasting rights.
However, the most interesting part of the judgment regarding Section 61 relates to the analysis made of the separate parts of the telecast and the various rights held by the Appellants in the telecast. It is pertinent to note that during the telecast of these matches, the Appellant also telecasted several shows like experts in a pre-match analysis, change of innings show and a post match show, wherein cricket experts analysed the match and the result etc. Also, during the match the Appellants organized commentary by cricket experts and legends. The commentary is partnered by telecast of statistics and hawk eye analysis during the match. For example, when a batsman was to start his innings, the Appellants would flash his career statistics or flash statistics reflecting the possible run rate the batting team could reach if it retained a certain run rate. The court held that the Appellants held copyright over the independent insertions and programs telecast. However, in the live match broadcast by the Appellants as exclusive licensees of Cricket Australia, they held broadcasting reproduction rights, independent and exclusive of the copyright held by them in their own additional inputs. It also went on to say that the telecast by the Appellant is distinct from that of the host broadcaster in light of the substantial additional inputs made by the Appellant. Consequently, given the substantially altered nature of the final telecast made by the Appellant, it holds copyright in the same. Therefore, given the fact that the Appellant is the copyright owner of the substantially modified final telecast, it can file a suit against the Respondent. In such a situation, since the Appellant is the copyright owner, the requirement stated in Section 61 does not affect the maintainability of the suit. Moreover, if the Appellant is to be treated as Exclusive Licensee of the Broadcasting Rights given the special nature of these rights and the fact that they operate independent of provisions other than those mentioned in Section 39A of the Copyright Act, Section 61 does not affect the maintainability of the suit.

This decision of the Court also meets the practical concern of the exclusive licensees. Normally, under the exclusive license agreement, a foreign owner of the copyright or ‘broadcasting rights’ relinquishes all rights in the licensed market and often under the agreement allows the exclusive licensee to file infringement suits within the licensed territory. The point being that, after an exclusive licensee is appointed, the concerned market becomes his exclusive domain for exploitation of the licensed intellectual property rights, even to the exclusion of the copyright owner. Hence, subject to the terms of the contract, the owner has little incentive to effectively contest the infringement suit in the concerned country/territory of the exclusive licensee. Thus, casting a burden on the licensee to make the owner a party would often result in an ex-parte decision in relation to the owner and unnecessary delay in the proceedings since the Plaintiff would have to prove that he has made all reasonable attempts to serve notice on the owner such that he can turn up for the hearing.
Fair dealing
Before the Single Judge Bench, the Defendants had raised the defense of fair dealing to the claims of infringement. The Plaintiff opposed the defense stating that the extent of usage of the telecast footage and the fact that the news channels benefited commercially from the same took away from the claim of fair dealing. To support their claims the Plaintiff cited the earlier dicta of the Delhi High Court in Prasar Bharti v. Sahara T.V. Network Pvt. Ltd. and the Broadcast Code published by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and BSkyB, dated 29.2.2006. These sources basically restrict the broadcast usage by news channels and state clear caps in terms of time that a news item can report specified sporting events, using excerpts from the event. As per the BBC Broadcast Code, the concerned broadcast usage cannot exceed 90 seconds per sport events within the specified events. While, as mentioned above, in the Prasar Bharti case, the Delhi High Court accepted a cap of seven minutes of a broadcast in 24 hours. On the basis of these sources, the Plaintiff argued that the permissible levels of broadcast of such cricket matches by news channels, for the purposes of news, could not be in excess of 30 seconds per bulletin and a total of 2 minutes per day. As opposed to this minimal usage cap, the data submitted by the Plaintiff before the court showed that the aggregate amount of the plaintiff’s footage already used by the Defendant news channels varied from a maximum of approximately 15 hours to a minimum of roughly 9 hours, over a given period of telecast.
It is pertinent to note that the Appellate Court did not give any ruling on the matter of fair dealing or grant any interim relief as the concerned matches and telecast were over. However, as regards the defense of fair dealing the court stated that any unauthorized and prolonged telecast/replay of cricket matches or portion thereof falling beyond the concept of fair dealing and is an infringement of the exclusive rights of broadcasting organisations. They went on to disagree with the earlier judgment of a single judge and stated that the matter should not be dismissed on the mere ground that the cap proposed by the Appellant cannot be made universal. Interestingly the single judge in his obiter had dismissed the injunction application on the ground that the Plaintiff had not shown sufficient materials, barring the aggregate length of the clippings used by defendants in their news programmes and sports reviews, to say that it amounted to unfair dealing. Thus, the Plaintiff had not satisfied the balance of probabilities to be granted an injunction in its favour and not on the ground of the Plaintiff proposing a universal time cap.
Further, the court went on to state that there is no universal time cap or 30 seconds or 7 minutes, and to what extent an infringing telecast is fair dealing depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. To establish the relevant parameters to be used in determining of fair dealing, the court adopted the parameters laid down in Media Works NZ Limited and Anr. v. Sky Television Network Ltd., wherein it was stated that, “fair dealing meant that the extract must be brief, and should be considered in light of the length of the recording. Moreover, the extracts should be used within 24 hours of the concerned event for it to amount to current event and only be used in a programme that reported current events, e.g., not in a review of the player’s career to date.” Using these parameters, in the case the High Court of New Zealand decided the matter in favour of the Broadcasters. The Delhi High Court adopted the test and went on to state that commercial deployment of the Appellant’s footage in excess of 30 seconds per bulletin and a total of 2 minutes per day may negate the plea of fair dealing. Thus, bringing the law back to the post Prasar Bharti dicta. Thus, based on all these arguments the court opined that the Defendant could show controversial incidents and landmark achievements of players, however, in the guise of fair use such events could not be shown to the extent that fair comment transpires into a commercially profitable programme.
The most interesting part of the fair dealing argument kicks in with the connection made by the Respondents between Fair Dealing, Freedom of Speech under Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution and their right to telecast the snippets from the match. Following the established practice of American courts in this regards, the Delhi High Court held that though news reporting is a fundamental right, repeated and prolonged telecast by the Respondents, especially in the form of a special programme, may amount to commercial exploitation which is not protected under Article 19(1)(a), especially so, when the factum of the programme being aired later in the day is constantly advertised and announced by news channels and such programmes are liberally interposed with commercials. Thus, on these grounds, while not granting the interim relief application in favour of the Appellants, the court concluded that the excessive usage of the Appellant’s telecast commercially by the Respondent negated their plea of fair dealing.
To conclude, though the dicta of the Delhi High Court did not result in an interim application against news channels in this case, as stated by the court itself, its decision and the strict parameters laid down by it are relevant for deciding similar future cases.
Posted by Suchita Saigal at 11:45 AM
Monday, October 20, 2008
They had it coming – By Ghulam Muhammed
Monday, October 20, 2008

The way media has been messing up with the security and integrity of the nation by indulging in routine sensationalism and exaggeration of news and views, somebody had to haul them up on the carpet.
It looked so much appropriate that the judiciary with their highest eminences in presence, realizing that the media is increasingly acquiring the role of prosecutor, defense and the judge, all rolled into one, and thus encroaching on their space, had sent out the first mild rebuke to the fourth pillar of democracy to stick to the legal Lakshman Rekha.
In Mumbai, a workshop was conducted by Maharashtra State Legal Service Authority, at the Bombay High court and was attended by a galaxy of ‘Supreme Court and High Court judges, court reporters, media persons and eminent lawyers.
The media was clearly on the defensive, though from the stable of The Times of India, the most notorious of all, in presenting news as holy gospel, its TIMES NOW presenter, Arnab Goswami, tried to paper over their long record of indiscretion and tried to took credit for the fence-mending now visibly organised to hide their sullied image of treated by people as ‘Police Times’.
Following is the media reporting the event in English newspapers.
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

Arbitration clause need not be explicit, says SC
Even if one party has not signed a formal agreement, there could be a consensus on arbitration by implication, the Supreme Court has ruled in the case, Unnissi (India) Ltd vs PGI, Chandigarh. In this case, the post-graduate institute floated tenders for pulse oxymeters.
The company gave an offer which was accepted by PGI. Equipment was supplied and accepted. Though the company had sent a signed agreement to PGI, the latter had not returned it with its signature. Later, PGI complained about the quality of the equipment and alleged fraud by the company and forfeited the earnest money.
It also asserted that no agreement was executed and there was no arbitration clause. However, the company moved the district judge of Chandigarh for appointment of an arbitrator. The judge found that there was no arbitration clause. On appeal, the Supreme Court ruled that there was an arbitration clause in the tender document itself. Since the document was accepted by PGI, there was an arbitration clause. The Chief Justice of the high court was asked to appoint an arbitrator.
Money deposit as condition to hear suit legal
In a suit for money decree, a party defending the claim may be asked to deposit part of the admitted amount as a condition to hear his petition, the Supreme Court ruled in its judgement, Southern Sales & Services vs Sauermilch Design & Handels GMBH. In this case, the foreign company filed a suit against the Indian firm for recovery of Rs 4 crore.
The latter moved the civil judge in Bangalore who imposed a condition to hear the suit. The Indian firm moved the Karnataka High Court against this order. The high court ruled that the firm should deposit 55 per cent of the undisputed amount before hearing it. In the appeal, the Supreme Court confirmed the high court order, quoting Order 37 of the Civil Procedure Code. It explained that earlier, the code granted hearing without any condition. But after an amendment to the code in 1977, a condition to deposit part of the undisputed amount can be imposed by the civil court.
No re-instatement of seasonal workers
The Supreme Court has set aside the judgement of the Allahabad High Court and the labour court asking the UP Sugar & Cane Development Corporation to reinstate a batch of seasonal workers on a permanent basis. The corporation appealed to the Supreme Court arguing that they were seasonally employed between October and April, the crushing season.
Appointing them in permanent positions was a managerial task, which could not be interfered with by the labour court. The Chini Mill Mazdoor Sangh, which took up the workers’ case, contended that they were employed even during the non-crushing season and therefore they were permanent employees though paid less. The Supreme Court rejected this argument and accepted that of the corporation.
Apex court orders auction of decaying foodgrain
The Supreme Court last week allowed auction of huge amounts of foodgrain which are lying in Ferozepur and under threat of decay. The stocks were caught in a dispute between Satnam Agro Industries and the Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd.
The court had earlier given a proposal to the parties to sell the paddy by public auction to be conducted by the court to avoid any further loss and the sale proceeds be deposited in the court and the court shall keep the said amount in a fixed deposit in a nationalised bank to earn interest on the said amount. In view of the broad agreement on this point, the court asked the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Firozpur, to conduct the public auction.
SC dismisses Orissa cable operator’s petition
The Supreme Court last week dismissed the petition of cable operator Ortel Communications Ltd challenging the Orissa High Court’s judgement that ruled against the state government’s policy which allowed only one cable on an electric pole.
The apex court refused to interfere with the high court order that held against the state government’s ‘one pole one cable’ policy. Ortel is a major private player in Orissa providing cable TV, broadband internet and telephony services. The high court in May this year had directed the state government to formulate a policy to ensure equal opportunity to everyone for availing the electric pole facility. The high court had passed the judgement on a petition filed by rival multi-system operator, Variety Entertainment Ltd, a joint venture between ETV and Zee TV. It argued that the policy to allow one operator to use an electric pole for its cable distribution network amounted to creating a monopoly.
BS Reporter / New Delhi October 20, 2008, 0:53 IST

Ban on exit polls: Centre contradicts stance in SC
NEW DELHI: The UPA government’s decision to bring in a law banning exit polls till the conclusion of voting in all constituencies contradicts its strong endorsement of the psephological exercise in the Supreme Court. Favouring exit/opinion polls as instruments facilitating voters to “arrive at a balanced conclusion”, the Centre had in its affidavit stated that it was a “sheer falsehood” if anyone argued that “publication of exit/opinion polls would give misleading signals thereby adversely influencing the exercise of franchise by the voters”. A PIL filed by D K Thakur had in 2004 sought a ban on opinion and exit polls on the ground that they “have a deleterious effect and influence on the electors when they are in the mental process of making up their minds to vote or not to vote for a certain political party or a candidate”. During the pendency of this PIL, then chief election commissioner T S Krishna Murthy wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 5, 2004 seeking immediate legislative action in consonance with the EC’s view — “there should be some restriction on publishing the results of opinion polls and exit polls. Such a restriction would only be in the wider interests of free and fair elections.” Krishna Murthy’s letter to the PM further said: “Regarding the argument about the right to freedom of information sought to be linked to the dissemination of results of opinion and exit polls, it has to be noted that the past experience shows that in many cases, the result of the elections have been vastly different from the results predicted on the basis of exit polls, Thus, the information claimed to be disseminated turned out to be disinformation in many cases.” After evaluating the recommendations for more than a year, the UPA government filed its 9-page detailed response in the Supreme Court on October 13, 2005, discarding the EC’s view by seeking dismissal of the PIL. The Centre had equated news reports and editorials with opinion and exit polls and said: “It needs to be emphasized that with the informative aid provided by opinion/exit polls, the voter is facilitated to arrive at a balanced conclusion as to which of them is credible and reliable for making his informed electoral choice just as he or she will assess the weight to be attached to the editorials and articles projecting different views in several newspapers.” This liberal approach, which contrasts with the present decision taken with the polls staring in a scenario hotted up by price rise, crash in stock markets and bomb blasts, was fortified by the Centre which cited several decisions of the apex court advocating free speech. The affidavit on behalf of the Centre filed by the ministry of law and justice headed by H R Bhardwaj had stated that “there exists no provision in the election laws or has our Constitution provided anywhere in it so as to prohibit the publication of exit/opinion polls on the basis of a reasoning that it unduly influences voter’s mind”. Citing a whole gamut of legal safeguards against misguiding a voter, the Centre had said: “In such an event, there exists no possibility for any elector to be misguided by the disputed exit/opinion polls. Therefore, it would amount to sheer falsehood on the part of the petitioner to aver that the publication of exit/opinion polls would give misleading signals thereby adversely influencing the exercise of franchise by the voters.” While repulsing any attempt to ban exit/opinion polls, the Centre had, however, said that the media publishing such polls should reveal to the public “about the identity of the organisation conducting the poll, indicate the date and/or period when the poll was conducted and publish the political party or other organisation or individual which commissioned and paid for such poll”. The petitioner’s stand that “uncontrolled and unrestricted publication of opinion and exit polls by the print and electronic media go contrary to the very foundation of democracy and are as such illegal and impermissible” was discarded as “untenable” by the Centre, which said “free speech guarantee includes the public’s right to know, the right to receive information and the right of the citizen to disseminate information”.
20 Oct 2008, 0001 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN

SC notice to man on bail in rape case
MUMBAI: Following a special leave petition filed by aspiring model and fashion designer Nafisa Khan, the Supreme Court last week issued a notice to Khurshid Siddiqui, asking him why his anticipatory bail should not be cancelled. Khan, who has worked in Bollywood films like `Undertrial’ and `Bombay to Goa’, has alleged that Siddiqui, who is a businessman, had raped her under pretext of marrying her. Notices have been issued to Siddiqui as well the Versova police station which is investigating the case. In July, on Khan’s complaint, the Versova police had registered a case of rape, threatening and assault against Siddiqui, his mother Mohsina and sister Afreen, which were all non-bailable. Siddqui remained absconding for several days until he applied for anticipatory bail which was rejected by the sessions court. However, Siddiqui approached the Bombay high court which granted him bail. The court observed that there was no need for Siddiqui’s custodial interrogation as their relationship was one of consent and now Khan was trying to implicate him because he had refused to marry her. Khan argued that had she knew he was not going to marry her, she would have never given consent for the relationship. “He not only raped and deceived me, but cheated me as well.” Khan then filed a petition in the Supreme Court, challenging his bail. Khan’s lawyer Rizwan Merchant said, “The courts are expected to try and decide cases of sexual crimes against women with utmost sensitivity. If the court finds evidence of the victim truthful, trustworthy and reliable, then convictions can be recorded solely on her testimony and no corroboration is necessary.” The complaint said that Siddiqui Khursheed and Khan met in 2006 at a party at JW Marriott and became close. In 2008, Khan got pregnant and asked Siddiqui to marry her but he refused, saying that she should get the child aborted. Accordingly, Khan underwent an abortion but Siddiqui once again turned down her marriage proposal. The complaint said that Siddiqui, his mother Mohsina and sister Afreen told her to return to her house in Delhi, and if she did not comply, Siddiqui would throw acid on her face.
20 Oct 2008, 0025 hrs IST, S Ahmed Ali, TNN

The urgent need to reform judiciary
Global Corruption Report, 2007 says, corruption in judiciary denies citizens access to justice and basic human right to fair and impartial trial. The time has come when every citizen should raise his voice against corruption and demand justice.

NOT VERY long ago, a TV journalist conducted sting operation in a Ahmedabad court and had got warrants issued against the then President of India, the then Chief Justice of India and many others by paying ’bribes’ to court officials. This happened in late 2007 and then a bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan was of the opinion that highlighting and publicising such ’isolated’ cases would bring the entire judiciary into disrepute. Corruption is prevalent in India from top to bottom, but now we are coming across so many cases of corruption in the judiciary too that the common citizens are losing their faith on the judicial system.
There are four pillars of democracy, legislature, executive, judiciary and fourth estate. The judiciary in our democracy has been sinking in the morass of inefficiency, corruption and delays. Global Corruption Report 2007 says that corruption in judiciary is undermining judicial system, denying citizens access to justice and the basic human right to a fair and impartial trial, sometimes even to a trial at all. Petty bribery and political influence in the judiciary erodes social cohesion. One system for the rich and another for the poor fractures communities.
The prevalence of corruption in judiciary is not a secret anymore. Various judges have raised concerns about the same; some have even tried a guess. According to justice SP Bharucha, former Chief Justice of India, around 20 per cent of the judges are corrupt. Another judge, Justice Michael Saldalma of the Karnataka High Court said the percentage is 33 per cent. Justice Saldahna also said that the public perception about corruption in the judiciary is much more important than its actual incidence. A series of scandals in the higher judiciary had recently hit headlines.

Nevertheless, the initiatives taken by the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court send a very positive message. Some former judges of the SC have said that the impeachment process is so ’highly politicised’ and ineffective that Calcutta High Court judge Soumitra Sen needn’t worry.
The fact remains that there is no proper mechanism to judge our judges. In the proposed impeachment of Justice Soumitro Sen of Calcutta High Court, Justice Sen is accused of having been involved in financial misappropriation before he was appointed as a judge. The proposal is nothing new but then there has been no single impeachment till date in our country. The only exception was the case of Justice V Ramaswami, who faced impeachment in 1991, an attempt that failed due to the absence of a political consensus. It is expected that history will not be repeated. If it is repeated, it would be a shame upon the Indian judiciary and its accountability.
The impeachment process is very lengthy or you can say that a judge can hardly be impeached. There can be no F Information Report (FIR) against the judges or a criminal investigation initiated, without prior approval of the Chief Justice of India.

Their immunity is reinforced by the fact that the procedure isn’t just cumbersome, but also susceptible to political influence.
There is an urgent requirement to reform our judiciary, before we loose all our trust on judicial system and move towards anarchy. The reform has to begin, with the higher judiciary and from this very point we have to go further to other reforms.

The judiciary in the country is of pivotal significance. The main duty of judiciary is to safeguard the Constitution and ensure governance in accordance with the laws. Preamble of our Constitution reads, “…to constitute India into a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic and to secure all its citizens: Justice, social, economic and political; liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; equality of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all: fraternity; assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.”
CJ: Rishabh Srivastava ,

‘Not providing defence to terror accused violates SC order’
Kanpur (PTI): Not taking up cases of those accused in terror cases would tantamount to violation of Supreme Court’s directives, an eminent lawyer said here on Sunday, condemning the recent “trend” of Bar Associations asking advocates not to defend those facing terror charges.
“Not taking up a case of an accused because the person has been named in some terrorist related activity will be a violation of the apex court’s order,” said Supreme Court lawyer Shahshi Bhushan while participating in a debate on “Terrorism, Human Rights and Advocacy” here.
“India is a democratic country and getting justice is every citizen’s right. If a feeling develops in people that they not getting justice it would further promote terrorism”, Bhushan said.
He said any Bar Association “which does not allow its lawyers to take up such cases should also be condemned.”
Launching a scathing attack on media, he said that it should refrain from blowing up issued out of proportion and asked the police to bring in transparency in its actions.
Questioning the authenticity of the Delhi’s Batala House encounter, he demanded a judicial enquiry into it.
Participating in debate, Ajit Sahi, an editor with Tehelka, said that “our priority should be to bring Muslim and Hindu community closer as it will help end hatred and check terrorism”.
Sunday, October 19, 2008

Judiciary exchanges ideas with media
When the third estate met the fourth, some sparks were expected to fly. At a workshop conducted for reporting of court proceedings at the Bombay High Court on Sunday, eminent members of the judiciary and the media exchanged some ideas.
At the inaugural address of the session, chief justice KG Balakrishnan said that journalism, especially in the field of crime, must not encroach upon people’s right to privacy and give a person the right to a fair trial.
Justice Bilal Nazki of the Bombay HC said as judges they swear to deliver justice not by fear or favour. “Not by favour, I understood, but fear I came to know only after the TV boom,” he said. He attributed the formation of public perception of an accused as guilty to media reports. He said that a judge would fear acquitting an accused who is already declared guilty by millions of people watching TV.
TV journalist Arnab Goswami, however, defended the media and said that news reporting was not about ribbon-cutting ministers anymore. He said that if the media was reminding the investigating agencies or prodding the officers to take action, it was fully justified in doing that.
Justice Arijit Pasayat of Supreme Court said soon the Supreme Court would appoint a Press Relations Officer, so that information becomes easily accessible to reporters.
Mayura Janwalkar
Monday, October 20, 2008 03:31 IST

State of the Nation
Is the judiciary getting too big for its boots? Sculptor Prithpal Singh Ladi certainly thinks so. His latest exhibition, titled “Logic and Illogic” at Gallery Threshold, shows the giant pillar of the judiciary squashing the Ashoka pillar. His other works are just as comically satirical — a world of powerful elephants run by a computer mouse, a man trying to catch a butterfly but failing.
The Shillong-based sculptor’s first solo show in a decade is marked by plucky experimentation. Each sculpture is a compressed narrative with an underlying autobiographical reference. “All my works begin with a personal experience and then go on to paint a larger picture. The works tell the stories of so many others whom we categorise as India’s common man,” explains Ladi. His materials range from stone and steel to bamboo, glass and clay. A special series of jewelled insects comprise large dragonflies in glass, gemstone and metal, their desolation a comment on the scourge of deforestation.
And nothing is politically incorrect for the sculptor. “I don’t care if they arrest me for squashing the Ashoka stambha under the pillar of the judiciary because that’s the state of our country right now,” he says. Brave, indeed.
On till November 12, at Gallery Threshold, F-213 A, Lado Sarai
Suanshu Khurana Posted: Oct 20, 2008 at 0009 hrs IST
Suanshu Khurana Posted: Oct 20, 2008 at 0009 hrs IST

Special Panel recommended to screen complaints against judges
New Delhi, Oct 19 (PTI) A Parliamentary Panel on Law has suggested the establishment of a special committee to screen any complaints of misconduct by judges before it is referred to the yet-to-be set up National Judicial Council for inquiry.The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice is of the view that before the case goes to the NJC, it should screened by an Empowered Committee, which should have representation from Parliament, Executive and Bar Council of India.”We have recommended that a ‘Empowered Committee’ be constituted with a Supreme Court judge as the head and a Union Minister, one MP each from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and a representative from the Bar Council as members,” Panel Chairman E M Sudarsana Natchiappan told PTI.This move will bring transparency in the entire functioning of the judiciary and the process of inquiring complaints against the Higher Judiciary.The ‘Empowered Committee’ will screen the complaints against erring judges and if satisfied with the petition filed by the complaintant it will recommend the case to the National Judicial Council for further action.”The committee thinks if some members outside the judiciary are members of the panel, then there will be transparency. The efficacy of the judiciary’s ‘in-house mechanism’ is not known yet,” he said.”This is also done to safeguard the name of the judiciary among the general public. “It (judge) is a very honourable post. Cases relating judges should be dealt with a proper perspective,” he said. PTI

HC reserves order on stray dogs
The Bombay High Court on Friday reserved its judgment in the case debating welfare of stray dogs.
Earlier, justice S Radhakrishnan, DB Bhosale and VK Tahilramani had suggested relocation of stray dogs to dog pounds outside city limits.
In an affidavit submitted, BMC had stated that this will cost Rs198 crore. The affidavit had also stated, “It is questionable whether BMC should spend crores of rupees on feeding stray dogs when we do not do so for poor people in Mumbai who are starving.”
The court was also informed that as per the dog census of October 2007, there are 70,182 stray dogs in Mumbai and 26,900 are pets.
The petitioner In Defence of Animals, an NGO, had submitted that the idea of ‘killing dogs’ for controlling their population is barbaric, and unconstitutional. However, backing the BMC in its strategy, the government on Friday said that under the provisions of the BMC Act, the corporation had a right to eliminate strays.
Mayura Janwalkar
Monday, October 20, 2008 02:17 IST

Bhardwaj refuses comment on gay issue pending in HC
NEW DELHI: Law Minister H R Bhardwaj on Sunday refused to comment on any aspect of a matter related to gay sex pending in the Delhi High Court, before which the Union Home Ministry and the Health Ministry have filed conflicting affidavits on the issue. Asked if the Home Ministry’s stand against decriminalising gay sex among consenting adults would prevail over the Health Ministry’s suggestion to relax the legal provisions under IPC section 377, Bhardwaj said “It’s a subjudice matter, I cannot comment.” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week had also asked the two ministries to sort out differences. During the court hearing earlier, the government counsel had said that the Home Ministry was not in favour of tampering with the provisions which prescribes punishment for homosexual acts. The ministry said that the purpose of section 377 was to provide a healthy environment in the society by criminalising unnatural sexual activities which are against the order of nature. On the other hand, the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO), which comes under the Health Ministry, said in its affidavit that it did not favour the enforcement of penal provisions against consenting homosexual adults which declares such acts as an offence punishable upto life imprisonment.Describing the matter of amendment of Legal Services Authorities Act as a ticklish issue, he said the Bar and the Bench should hold discussions for achieving the objectives on the role of bar in the justice delivery system and legal aid.
His remark came in the context of Bar Council of Delhi members and senior advocates seeking a greater role for bar in justice delivery system and legal aid. Earlier, Justice Dalveer Bhandari of Supreme Court talked upon the Bar’s responsibility to improve the quality of education and said granting of affiliation to law colleges by the Bar should be done with care. Another apex court judge, Justice M K Sharma said there was a need to improve the justice delivery system in terms of quantity of justice as there has been a huge arrear of cases in courts. He blame lack of infrastructure to meet the requirements of new legislations which are brought in without setting up adequate facilities to handle the rush of cases under new laws. He pointed to the Negotiable Instruments Act under which almost six lakh cases are pending in Delhi alone. Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Justice A P Shah, regretted that at times the Bar passes resolutions that lawyers would not represent accused in terror cases or sex-related cases as these resulted in creating obstacles in administration of justice.
Sunday, October 19, 2008 17:04 IST

Govt. to overhaul judges’ appointments
The government has accepted a parliamentary panel’s recommendation to scrap the present procedure for appointments and transfers of Supreme Court and High Court judges. This move is likely to put the government on a direct confrontation course with the judiciary.
The Law Ministry has agreed to review the 15-year-old system after the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law & Justice recommended doing away with the committee of judges (collegium). Presently, the collegium decides the appointments and transfers of judges.
Interestingly, the recommendations come close on the heels of recent cases of corruption against judges of the top courts in the country.
Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj told Hindustan Times that the House committee’s recommendation had been accepted, and an action-taken report prepared by the ministry would now be placed before Parliament.
“Collegium system has failed. Its decisions on appointments and transfers lack transparency, and we feel courts are not getting judges on merit. It has become a give-and-take system. The government cannot be a silent spectator on such a serious issue,” Bhardwaj said.
The House committee had said: “Through a Supreme Court judgement in 1993, the judiciary wrested the control of judges’ appointments and transfers. The collegium system has been a disaster and needs to be done away with.”
Bhardwaj said it is the right time to review the important matter.
“There was no problem till 1993 when the judiciary tried to re-write the Article of the Constitution dealing with appointments. They created a new law of collegium which was wrong. In a democracy, the primacy of Parliament cannot be challenged,” he said.
The options available to the government include filing a review petition before the Supreme Court to review its decision or else an amending Article 124 of the Constitution, which deals with judges’ appointments, the minister said.
“The government would go for the widest political consensus on this issue. Our argument is based on the Constituion Review Commission’s report, headed by former Chief Justice of India M.N. Venkatachaliah. We are also studying other suggestions in this matter,” Bhardwaj said.
The Venkatachaliah commission recommended setting-up of a National Judicial Commission for appointment of judges. It proposed that a committee comprising the Chief Justice, two senior judges, a representative of the government and eminent citizens to decide on judges’ appointments.
Appointments and transfers of judges has been a bone of contention between the successive governments and the judiciary.
The judiciary wants to retain its supremacy and is of the firm opinion that the government should simply send the names recommended for appointment to the President for approval. On the other hand, majority view in Parliament is that this system needs to be changed and appointments of judges should be done after consultations between the Chief Justice and the government.
“President of India is the final appointing authority, the collegium wants its recommendation simply to be endorsed, this is not acceptable. The cabinet advice cannot be circumscribed by any recommendation,” Bhardwaj said.
Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times
Email Author
New Delhi, October 20, 2008

Media must not encroach upon right to privacy: Chief Justice of India
Mumbai, October 19 : Balakrishnan inaugurated a workshop on Reporting of Court Proceedings by Media and Administration of Justice before addressing the gathering
Stating that freedom of the press means people’s right to know the correct news, Chief Justice Of India K G Balakrishnan on Sunday said that journalism, specially in the field of crime, must not encroach upon people’s right to privacy.
Balakrishnan was addressing a gathering attended by Supreme Court and High Court judges, court reporters, media persons and eminent lawyers after inaugurating a workshop on Reporting of Court Proceedings by Media and Administration of Justice at the Bombay High Court on Sunday.
“Privacy of the person must be protected. Sometimes damaging information is revealed during the investigation. It adversely affects people’s right to a fair trial,” he said.
CJI also criticized the practice of police officers to reveal information to media during the investigation. “It encroaches upon right to privacy,” he added.
CJI Balkrishnan, however, conceded that newspapers can not be as drab as Government gazettes. “A tinge of sensationalism is necessary,” he said. He also stated that they are contemplating ongiving training to journalists on how to report on court cases.
Earlier, Justice Arijit Pasayat of the Supreme Court said in his speech soon the Supreme Court would appoint a Press Relations Officer, so that information becomes easily accessible to reporters.
Also, at the High Court level, “we are exploring the possibility of appointing PROs,” he said.
Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Swatanter Kumar said on this occasion that High Court was contemplating formation of a court bar and media committee, for resolution of contentious issues related to legal reporting.
Speaking on behalf of the media, Editor of Times Now, Arnab Goswami, questioned on why can’t media be judgemental? “World has changed. Why can’t media be judgemental?” he asked while pointing out the issues where the media had stepped in for getting justice.
“It is preposterous to even think that anyone can control media,” he said.
Senior Editor of NDTV, Srinivas Jain stated that “in theory at least, there should be a synergy between the judiciary and media.”
He stressed the need for a psychological ease for the two institutions to work hand in hand and opined that the walls should be breached and there should be more transparency and openness to ideas like allowing camera in courts just like in western countries.
Stating that it is a delicate balancing exercise, former Attorney General of India, Soli Sorabji stated that there should be some regulations to prevent lawyers and police officers from talking to the media during the pendency or investigation of a case.
Justice Bilal Nazki of the Bombay High Court averred that judges are sometimes scared about their credibility due to the pressure from media as people might label the judge as corrupt for giving a wrong judgement.
“We will protect your independence and you protect our independence,” Justice Nazki said.
The one-day workshop touched upon topics such as freedom of media, reporting of sub-judice matters and ‘trial by media’.
Express News Service Posted: Oct 20, 2008 at 0045 hrs IST

Media must not run parallel trials: CJI
Mumbai : Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on Sunday said that serious inroads into a citizen’s private life should be avoided and, while reporting criminal cases, privacy issues must be given due regard. He said freedom of press meant people’s right to know the correct news, but he admitted that newspapers cannot read like an official gazette and must have a tinge of “sensationalism, entertainment and anxiety”. He was speaking at a one-day workshop which sought to explain the nuances of legal reporting to journalists. Held on the Bombay high court premises, it was attended by various judges of the Supreme Court, high courts and eminent lawyers. In a lively discussion where jurists took pains to clarify that the sessions was not for “media bashing”, it became clear that the media was playing a vital role in safeguarding rights but the judiciary was clearly miffed by its attempts to run “parallel court trials”, largely on television. “This is a classic case of tension between two values,” said former attorney general Soli Sorabji. He pointed out that bar councils should put some restraint on lawyers who speak to the press on sub-judice matters as well as on policemen who take press briefings even when an investigation is going on. Fali Nariman said there is no absolute freedom and that the media should be sensitive. He noted that despite criticism, media has done well and Indians must “gamble on liberty (of freedom of press). There is no other option in a participatory democracy”. Advocate general Ravi Kadam asked the media to be “mindful of its significant role and not attempt, even unintentionally, to influence judges.” Bombay HC Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar said pre-trial publicity has to balance press freedom with the right of an accused to a fair trial. The CJI also criticised the police’s tendency to reveal information to the media during the investigation. “It encroaches upon right to privacy,” he said. He noted that there were a lot of “bright young reporters covering courts these days, but they need some training”. “We are thinking of giving training to journalists (on how to report on court cases),” he said. On the electronic media, the CJI and other speakers said lack of editorial control was a worrying aspect. Justice Bilal Nazki said the credibility of a judge is at stake when a trial by media declares a person guilty but the judge gives a differing opinion based on facts. Speaking on behalf of journalists, Arnab Goswami of Times Now said the media was right in being proactive and was often the last resort for a hapless victim. But in a suggestion that needed to be made, Justice S B Sinha of the Supreme Court, in his valedictory address, said that mediapersons could consider undergoing training modules so that their reporting of legal matters became more accurate.
20 Oct 2008, 0021 hrs IST, TNN http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/Media_must_not_run_parallel_trials_CJI/articleshow/3616198.cms

Crucial CIC hearing on judicial transparency issues tomorrow
New Delhi (PTI): The demand for transparency in judiciary has reached the corridors of Central Information Commission as three separate cases related to holiday expenses by judges, their assets and applicability of RTI while seeking such details, will come up for hearing tomorrow.
The tricky questions, which can have a bearing on public access to issues related to judicial transparency, will be heard separately in a single bench and two full bench hearings of the Commission.
The questions are linked to RTI pleas of Subhash Agrawal who had sought information about the number of issues pertaining to judicial transparency.
In one of his applications, he sought information regarding assets disclosure by sitting judges before the Chief Justice of India and Chief Justices of High Courts.
The full-court meeting of Supreme Court judges in 1997 had made it compulsory for “every judge to make a declaration of all assets in the form of real estate or investments held in their name or their spouse and any other person dependent on them to the Chief Justice.”
Agrawal wanted to know if such a declaration of assets had ever been filed by judges of the Supreme Court before Chief Justice of India and High Court judges before Chief Justices of respective states.
The Chief Public Information Officer of Supreme Court while refusing to provide any details said the information was not with or held by Registry of Supreme Court of India.
In a separate request, Agrawal asked from Department of Personnel and training if judges of Supreme Court and High Courts are covered under the RTI ACT.
Not getting a satisfactory reply, Agrawal pleaded before the CIC to instruct the authorities to provide him accurate information.
Sunday, October 19, 2008Sunday, October 19, 2008

Trinamool mulling legal action against Tata: Mamata
Kolkata, Oct 19 (PTI) Condemning the recent open letter written by Tata chairman Ratan Tata in which he had called upon people of West Bengal to support Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government’s efforts for industrialisation, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today said her party would take legal action.”Our party is looking at what legal action can be taken against this. I condemn this high handedness. The people of Bengal will give a fitting reply,” Banerjee told reporters when asked to comment about the letter.The open letter, which appeared in some local dailies on Friday, exhorted the people of the state to support the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government in building a prosperous state or see it consumed by destructive politics.”When 12 people, including Tapasi Malik, were killed in and around the project site at Singur, Mr Tata had remained silent. What prompted him now to issue the letter?” she asked.Saying that Tata had declined West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s invitation to attend a meeting at Raj Bhavan to settle the impasse at Singur, she noted neither the government implemented the agreement reached at the meeting, nor did it disclose its agreement with the Tatas for the small car project at Singur.”The Tatas are giving Rs 450 crore to the Gujarat government at 12 per cent interest, while in West Bengal they were to give Rs 200 crore at 0.1 per cent. Did the government here give the sops to the Tatas without getting anything in return?” the Trinamol chief said. PTI

Mamata threatens legal action against Ratan Tata
KOLKATA: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Sunday threatened to take legal action against Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata for making “defamatory comments” against her and the farmers’ agitation that led to the Nano car car project being shifted from Singur in West Bengal to Gujarat. “We are considering legal action against him for his comments. He is speaking like a political leader. Let him contest an election from Bengal,” Banerjee told newspersons here. In an advertisement splashed in several newspapers here, Ratan Tata Friday warned the people of West Bengal of the “destructive political environment of confrontation” that he said the Trinamool Congress was espousing. Criticising Banerjee, Tata said: “The confrontative actions by the Trinamool Congress led by Ms. Mamata Banerjee and supported by vested interests and certain political parties… have caused serious disruption to the progress of the Nano plant.” Attacking Tata, Banerjee said he was now determining the political line of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) that leads West Bengal’s ruling Left Front. “On the contrary, the people of the state determine the direction of our politics.
“We are stunned by his comments. He owes a lot to the CPI-M. He got Rs.200 crore (Rs.2 billion) from the CPI-M to set up the plant here. On the other hand, he had to pay Rs.400 crore (Rs.4 billion) to the Gujarat government for the proposed factory at Sanand. So, he is giving certificates to the Bengal government,” she said. “It’s a new form of joint venture – private brokership with government money,” she said sarcastically. A day before her programme to lay siege on the city police headquarters at Lalbazar, Banerjee alleged the CPI-M had hatched a conspiracy to create disturbances by deputing its cadre to infiltrate among the ranks of her supporters Monday. “These people will hold aloft Trinamool flags and then throw stones at the police to provoke them,” she said. Banerjee also took strong exception to the CPI-M youth wing Democratic Youth Federation of India’s threat on Saturday that its activists would be on the road to assist the police if the Trinamool attempted to breach the peace. “Every political party has the democratic right to undertake a political programme. How dare the DYFI say it will be on the roads to take us on? Who are they? Does that mean there is no administration in the state?” she wondered. The siege has been called in protest against the arrest of a party worker for his alleged involvement in violence in the southern part of the city Oct 5. “It seems there is an undeclared emergency in the state,” Banerjee said, warning that the government would be solely responsible if anything untoward happened Monday. “On our part we will be restrained and maintain peace. I urge the administration to do the same,” she added.
19 Oct, 2008, 2011 hrs IST, IANS

EC announces seven-phased assembly polls in J-K

New Delhi, Oct 19 (PTI) Resolving differences within, the Election Commission today announced a seven-phased election in Jammu and Kashmir beginning November 17 till December 24, saying it has taken a “risk” on the issue of participation of political parties in the exercise.Announcing the poll schedule, Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami said that the snow-bound Leh and Kargil regions would go polls in the initial two phases.The polling for the 87-member assembly will be held on November 17, 23, 30, December 7, 13, 17 and 24. Counting of votes will take place on December 28.Against the backdrop of parties and outfits in the Kashmir Valley expressing themselves against polls at this juncture, the CEC said the Commission has taken a “risk”.This was in apparent reference to political parties in Kashmir like the PDP which said no to polls and another mainstream party, National Conference (NC) which gave its nod after having voiced initial reservation.On the issue of lack of consensus among the political parties, he said “first you need to ask if political parties are ready. We are not conducting election in a vacuum. To start with there were one no, one yes and one yes-no. After that one no became one yes. So we have two yes and we have taken a risk”.To another question whether there was a difference of opinion among the three Commission members on holding polls to the assembly with 87 seats, the CEC said “various issues need to be considered. So each one presents his views which he considers the best. There are three Election Commissioners and at least there may be three opinions”. PTI

No extension in water dispute tribunal`s term: Centre to SC
New Delhi, Oct 17: The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that it cannot consider extending the term of the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT) adjudicating the inter-state dispute involving Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka Government. Additional Solicitor General Amarender Saran told a bench of Justices B N Aggrawal and G S Singhvi said the plea for extension of time by Karnataka was only intended to further delay the settlement of the dispute. He submitted that any extension of the tribunal’s term could be made only after adopting the necessary statutory amendment, which the Government did not favour. However, the bench was not impressed with the Centre’s argument and said that on the face of the petition filed by Karnataka it appeared that the tribunal commenced its hearings belatedly two-and-half years after it was constituted due to inadequate infrastructure. “If there is no infrastructure where do you expect the tribunal to function from. Do you want it to function from a vacuum?” the bench queried. But the additional solicitor general stuck to his guns and submitted that enough opportunities were provided to the respective states to put forth their views before the tribunal and as such there was no requirement for extending its tenure. But the bench was not impressed with the argument and directed the Centre to file a detailed counter-affidavit on the issue. Bureau Report


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