LEGAL NEWS 8.12.2008

CJI calls for ‘responsible’ media coverage
8 Dec 2008, 0455 hrs IST, TNN
New Delhi: Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on Sunday asked the media to be “more responsible” and not pose hurdles to risky operations of security forces. Referring to the coverage of Mumbai attacks, CJ I Balakrishnan said that the coverage of the siege might have been used by the terrorists to their advantage. “A lot of criticism was made for the way media was reporting the Mumbai terror attack. The coverage may have been used by terrorists to their advantage and to change their guards,” he said. He said TV channels should be “more responsible” in such events as the reporting (live coverage) may have added to the problem of the security agencies. There are strict laws in foreign countries to deal with such a situation, he stressed. The CJI’s view was shared by his colleague Justice R V Raveendran, who also felt that in no other country media could have been permitted live coverage of terror attacks like Mumbai. Justice Balakrishnan refrained from making any comment on the need for bringing a tougher anti-terror law. “It is for the Government to decide,” he said when asked on the sidelines of the five-day workshop for journalists covering court proceedings, which was opened by him today.

Uttar Pradesh court reinstates 18,000 dismissed policemen
8 Dec 2008, 1930 hrs IST
ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has ordered the reinstatement of 18,000 policemen whose services were terminated by the Mayawati government shortly after she assumed office in 2007. A single-judge bench of Justice D P Singh, which was hearing the case and had kept its judgement reserved for the past four months, gave the verdict on Monday afternoon. Recruited during the previous regime headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav, the policemen became victims of the political duel between the two rivals. Soon after she assumed office in May 2007, UP Chief Minister Mayawati instituted a high-level probe into alleged irregularities in the recruitments. The inquiry found large-scale irregularities in the recruitment process, following which the government decided to terminate the services of as many as 18,000 of the 20,000 new recruits. While the victims filed a writ petition against the move, the government decided to reinstate the 34 police officers who were suspended for their role in making the recruitments. The court, allowing the petition, directed the state government to restore the services of the dismissed policemen. The state government has, however, not been in mood to relent and proposes to move a review petition before a larger division bench of the same court. “We will file an appeal against the order of the honourable court,” Principal Home Secretary Kunwar Fateh Bahadur told reporters in Lucknow. State government chief standing counsel Devendra Upadhaya said: “Since the order was issued by a single judge, we will first move our appeal before a division bench.” Meanwhile, there was much jubilation in the Samajwadi Party camp over the court order. “Our stand has been vindicated. We always maintained that the dismissal of these poor policemen was not only unfair but illegal,” stressed state Samajwadi Party chief Shivpal Yadav, who was largely responsible for the recruitments in his capacity as a minister in his elder brother Mulayam Singh Yadav’s regime.

48 prisoners write 8th stand exam
8 Dec 2008, 1817 hrs IST, PTI
COIMBATORE: Forty Eight prisoners, lodged in the Central jail here, on Monday wrote 8th Standard examination. A special hall was set up in the jail for the prisoners, undergoing sentence for various charges, to write the exams, under direct supervision of jail superintendent. Headmaster of Government Higher secondary school of Thennanur in the district, supervised the examinations, with the help of other senior Jail officials, jail sources said.

Campus cannot be allowed to become political battlefield: SC
8 Dec 2008, 1642 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday said that it would not allow a university campus to become a “political battlefield” with free flow of money and muscle power in student union elections. “We will see that educational institutions should not become a political battlefield. Our aim is to see that there should not be free flow of money and muscle power,” a Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and M K Sharma said. The Bench expressed its displeasure that elections in universities have become like parliamentary elections. “Things have changed over the years. See the amount of money going into these elections. Ten years ago even in Parliamentary election such money was not used,” it said. The Bench was hearing matters relating to the student union elections in Jawaharlal Nehru University, which were stayed by it on October 24 after allegations that the university was not implementing the recommendations of Lyngdoh Committee. It was also hearing the issue relating to vandalism in a college premises in Puri district of Orissa in the run-up to the students union election. The Bench took up the matter by expressing its disapproval at the students of JNU who filed an application under the nomenclature of ‘Joint Struggle Committee’ for lifting the stay on its election. The use of word “struggle” in naming the committee to fight out the stay order of the apex court on JNU students union election brought the wrath of the Bench. “What is the nomenclature of the Committee. This is certainly not the language to be acceptable. You cannot say struggle against the Supreme Court,” the Bench said.

Bhajan Lal disowns Chander Mohan for marrying second time
8 Dec 2008, 1228 hrs IST, PTI
HISSAR: Disowning his elder son for marrying second time, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal on Monday said Chander Mohan’s act had made him “hang his head in shame”. “The act of (remarrying by) my son is something shameful for me, my family and the state. I always lived with my head high, but this act has lowered it,” Lal said, a day after Chander Mohan was sacked as the deputy chief minister of Haryana when he surfaced yesterday after mysteriously disappearing for a month from public view. “I condemn Chander Mohan’s act and disown him from my family. He has no links with us after his ‘harkat’ (act),” he told reporters in the presence of his wife and former MLA Jasma Devi and former MP and younger son Kuldeep Bishnoi at his residence here. Lal said that he and his family stood by Chander Mohan’s first wife Seema, son Siddhartha and daughter Damini. “Their upbringing would be the responsibility of mine and my family,” he said. The former chief minister said he had always worked for the society and the state and tried to set an example before the people. Asked if the action of 43-year-old Chander Mohan would adversely affect poll prospects of Haryana Janhit Congress led by Kuldeep Bishnoi, Lal said, “There would be no effect as in the past two years, he (Chander Mohan) and we had adopted a different approach. “He was with the Congress whereas I and my younger son were in the HJC-BL,” he said.

Haryana dy CM converts to remarry, sacked from cabinet
8 Dec 2008, 0239 hrs IST, Manveer Saini, TNN
CHANDIGARH: The deputy chief minister of Haryana, awol for nearly a month, resurfaced in Jaipur on Sunday, a much married man who also changed his name and religion. But none of this has apparently helped. For, Chander Mohan, who was chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s deputy, has been summarily sacked from the state cabinet. Putting recent speculation to an end, Chander Mohan finally appeared as Chand Mohammad along with Fiza (Anuradha Bali, a former law officer from Haryana), saying, “I was attracted towards Islam since childhood. I have known her (Anuradha Bali) for a long time and now we are happily married.” Son of former Haryana strongman Bhajan Lal, who was instrumental in his appointment as deputy CM as part of a compromise formula (whereby Bhajan Lal himself had lost the CM’s chair to Bhupinder Singh Hooda), Chander Mohan had remained dormant within the Congress. This was even as his father and his younger brother, Kuldeep Bishnoi, floated a regional party. Sources close to the CM claimed that Chander Mohan was stripped of his post for his “absence from office for over a month”. Appearing composed while interacting with a TV channel, Chand Mohammad alias Chander Mohan said, “Positions just come and go. I am a man of commitment and am very much part of the Congress party. It’s for the high command to decide what role is to be assigned to me.” With no sign of regret visible on his face, the sacked deputy CM once again reiterated that he had never disappeared and was very much in touch with his friends and colleagues. But he refused to comment on how his family members have reacted to his second marriage. Speaking about his earlier marriage, he said, “We lived together for 18 years and I would not like to comment on my first wife and children.” On the other hand, Fiza, alias Anuradha Bali, who termed Chander Mohan as a perfect human being, said he was being targeted by a certain lobby within his party.

Learning with the Times: NSG, a federal force set up in 1984
8 Dec 2008, 0203 hrs IST, TNN
When was the NSG formed? The National Security Guard (NSG) was set up in 1984 as a federal contingency deployment force mainly to tackle terrorism situations, which were beyond the control of state police and other central police forces. Also known as the Black Cat commandos, the NSG is a task-oriented force and is meant for use only in exceptional conditions. Like most of the other international special forces, it is also modelled on the pattern of the SAS of the United Kingdom. What are the main tasks assigned to the NSG? In the beginning, the NSG was trained to handle anti-hijack and rescue operations in hostage situations. It was supposed to provide support to the central paramilitary forces in dealing with anti-terrorist activities. In 1986-87, it was also entrusted with VVIP security, anti-sabotage checks at venues of VVIP public meetings and anti-hijack duties in domestic and international flights. Many NSG personnel are seconded to the Special Protection Group (SPG) which guards the Prime Minister. Apart from this, it is also deployed in bomb detection and disposal and it is responsible for collecting data on bomb explosions in the country. What is the organisational setup of the NSG? NSG operates under the oversight of the home ministry and it is headed by a director general level official from the Indian Police Service. It is mainly divided into two groups — Special Action Group (SAG) and Special Rangers Group (SRG). SAG draws its members from the Indian Army and it is the offensive wing of NSG. SRG, on the other hand, draws its member from central police organisations and is primarily used in a supportive role to the SAG. As physical fitness is a very important criterion, the NSG always maintains a young profile. All NSG commandos work on deputation. After serving for 3 to 5 years, they are sent back to their parent organisations. Where are the NSG commandos trained? The NSG training centre is located at Manesar, a village in Gurgaon district of Haryana. In the International Combat Team Competition 2007, which was conducted by GSG9 in Bonn, Germany, the NSG team won the obstacles-cum-endurance competition, a first for any team from Asian countries. Being an elite force, NSG commandos undergo tough training. The basic training course lasts for 90 days and only those who complete the entire course successfully are induced into the NSG. What are the famous operations undertaken by the NSG? Apart from the recent Mumbai terror attacks, the NSG since its inception has been involved in several high-profile operations. The NSG carried out two operations — Black Thunder I & II — to clear the Golden temple of Khalistani militants in 1986 and 1988. During Operation Ashwamedh, which was conducted in 1994, it released 141 passengers of a hijacked Indian Airlines Boeing 737 at Amritsar airport by storming the plane and killing the hijacker. In the 2002 Akshardham Temple attack by terrorists, NSG ended the siege and rescued 50 people who were trapped in the temple. Apart from this, the elite force has been involved in several operations undertaken in J&K, which range from rescue in hostage situations to conducting pro-active strikes against militants.

Goons kill rape victim’s son in Kishanganj district, Bihar
8 Dec 2008, 0229 hrs IST, Bhuvaneshwar Prasad, TNN
KISHANGANJ: In a heart-wrenching incident, goons snatched a two-month-old boy from the lap of his mother, a rape victim, and dashed him against the ground after she refused to withdraw the case against the alleged rapist. The baby died instantly. The cold-blooded murder took place at Dubadangi village in Kishanganj district of Bihar on Saturday night. A case was registered on Sunday after Suraiya (name changed), the child’s mother, complained to Kishanganj SP M R Naik. The woman was being bullied by some musclemen to withdraw the case against her alleged rapist, who is also the father of the boy. When she refused to fall in line, the goons – identified in the complaint as Kalam, Sajjad and Mustqil – tried to pressure her and her guardians and later killed the child, police sources said. According to Suraiya, 18, she was raped by fellow villager Mushtaq almost a year back. She conceived following the incident. After pressure from the villagers, he agreed to take her as wife, and a date was fixed for the marriage. However, on the wedding day, the man demanded a huge dowry. When Suraiya’s father, Abdul Samad, pleaded his inability to arrange the dowry, Mushtaq fled from the marriage venue. Thereafter, a complaint was lodged with Bahadurganj police station, charging Mushtaq with rape. In the meantime, the child was born and Suraiya cared for the child. The SP told TOI said that Bahadurganj police lodged a case against the perpetrators of the crime and efforts were on to arrest them.

Pilots may serve legal notice to Jet over pay cuts
8 Dec 2008, 0433 hrs IST, Manju V, TNN
MUMBAI: Jet Airways’ salary cutting exercise, which got going this month, may face glitches with the airlines’ Indian pilots planning to serve a legal notice alleging breach of employment contract. On Thursday, the airline employees received a salary cut email, effective from December 1. “The mail informed pilots about a 10% cut in their salary and allowances, including no monthly or annual overtime dues, reduction of per day allowance and meal allowance for outstation stays from $220 to $145,” said a senior pilot. “Some of the cuts go against our employment contract. We are planning to serve a legal notice on the airline,” the pilot added. However, there were no protests from engineers and other staff. The pilot’s protests may have seemed unjustified — given that the airline took these steps to keep its neck out of water — if it were not for its alleged partisan handling of the expatriate pilots issue. On many ocassions in the past, including the time when the airline chief Naresh Goyal called the pilots to discuss salary cuts last month, the said issue was brought up. The Indian pilots have been demanding a complete phase out of foreign pilots — they have to be paid double the salary as compared to their Indian counterparts — as the airline has surplus pilots on some aircraft like the B-737. Among other sore points are the alleged discrimination in flying hours alloted and destinations. “Despite several assurances by management, the discrimination continues, even at the cost of losing more money. For instance, the airline is wet leasing B-777 aircraft to Turkish Airlines and Gulf Air. It has decided to send expatriate pilots with these aircraft, though they would cost the airline more. An expatriate pilot would have to be paid $20,000 whereas an Indian is paid only $12,000. We can’t accept the salary cuts in such a scenario,” the pilot said, adding that expatriate pilots’ salaries have not been touched. “The only change is that the airline won’t pay for hotel accomodation in the city that the expatriate pilot is based in. Instead, they will be paid Rs 1 lakh a month for accomodation,” he added. The Jet Airways spokesperson said the measures were taken to overcome the challenges faced due to the current global economic slowdown. “Jet Airways has adjusted its route network and adopted internal measures to trim costs across the organisation,” the spokeserson said.
“All employees earning a gross salary of over Rs 75,000 per month have been requested for a graduated wage cut over the next 12 months. For pilots, this will be in the form of a combination of wage cut and allowance rationalisation, which will bring the contribution of pilots in line with the other employees in the company. The top management team has taken a voluntary cut of 25%, effective from December 8,” the spokesperson said, adding that the airline and its employees are united in their efforts.

Mumbai terror attack resurrects public accountability
8 Dec 2008, 0448 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra , TNN
Live images of the three-day Mumbai attack has changed the view of the silent majority, which thought nothing could change `the system’, a common refrain reflecting the futility of any attempt to enforce public accountability in governance. Public accountability is almost a dead phrase in politics. Lal Bahadur Shastri’s decision in the 1960s to resign from the Union Cabinet owning moral responsibility for a train accident is more of a fairy tale than an example of accountability for today’s politicians. 26/11 has changed it all. Furious coverage of the attack on Mumbai’s premier hotels made people choke with emotion, sharing the grief of those who lost loved ones. Once the terrorists were killed, they rose in salute and gratitude to the men in uniform, and then vent their anger against `the system’ run by politicians. Seldom has a ruling dispensation showed such alacrity in finding the men responsible for the lapses and holding them accountable. Heads rolled in Delhi immediately after guns fell silent in Mumbai. Enforcement of public accountability also saw Maharashtra’s top two — the chief minister and his deputy — being eased out. A nation was stirred up and public anger against non-performers was being respected. Accountability of the ruling political class to the public is an essential feature of good governance. This established fact has been reiterated time and again by jurists and courts across the world. The Supreme Court had said in S R Bommai vs Union of India case (1994 AIR 1918) that it was not concerned with the merits of a political decision. The Constitution Bench had said, “We are to reiterate that judicial review is not concerned with the merits of the decision but with the decision-making process. This is on the premise that modern democratic system has chosen that political accountability is more important than other kinds of accountability and the judiciary exercising its judicial review may be refrained to do so when it finds that the controversy is not based on judicially discoverable or manageable standards.” What Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did in easing out home minister Shivraj Patil and the political parties in booting out Vilasrao Deshmukh and R R Patil appears to be in line with Lord Nolan’s 1995 guidelines for British politicians. The general recommendations of Lord Nolan’s report on `Standards in Public Life’ under the head `Accountability’ said, “Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.” Judicial accountability, demand for which has become shrill in the wake of a spate of reports about corruption among judges in higher judiciary, appears to have been overshadowed by the flow of events in the aftermath of the terror attack. A day before terrorists struck in Mumbai, Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan made a strong statement in his November 25 address to the nation on the eve of Law Day, that virtually went unnoticed. Showing great courage, the CJI said, “So far as the 16,000-odd judges who constitute the Indian judiciary are concerned, I am responsible for their conduct as head of the system though I do not personally have legal and administrative control over them.” He added, “Nonetheless, I have a duty to explain how the judiciary is enforcing discipline among the judges to ensure that people who approach the courts will get fair and impartial justice.” To take responsibility for 16,000-odd judges, especially at a time when fingers are being pointed at judiciary, is no easy task. But the good thing is that a fresh beginning has been made, both in politics and judiciary, on public accountability.

Making equality less selective–2128936835,curpg-8.cms
First Published : 08 Dec 2008 12:22:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 08 Dec 2008 08:41:46 AM IST
Recently, there was a high court decision to compel the present Governor of Andhra Pradesh to personally appear in court to testify on a personal claim made against him. The Governor’s counsel argued that his client’s official status should be enough reason to exempt him from being made to appear in person. The court rejected the plea, sparking much favourable comment on equality before the law and outdated mores on privilege.
More recently, there was criticism by the union law minister on the Chief Justice of India’s decision, an unprecedented one, to allow the Central Bureau of Investigation to question two incumbent judges of a HC on a much-publicised bribery scam. The minister, himself a veteran lawyer, said he wasn’t in favour of the CBI or any police investigating cases against judges. All these, he said, must be handled in confidentiality by the CJI himself. Put another way, that judges can’t be subject to the same law as the rest of us and that this privilege is needed in the cause of democracy. One noted an absence of protest at this proposition.
Being colonised by the British made for some positive legacies. Among the more doubtful others is that of privilege based on official rank, passed on to a society that already had an overload of feudal culture and birth-based claims.
While we may, thus, admire the precepts on equality, it somehow doesn’t jell with our bones, even in those sworn to fight for the unprivileged.
Witness, for instance, the quasi-divinity status of, say, Mayawati in her Dalits-first party or, for that matter, Karunanidhi in the Dravidar one.
Or the notion, for instance, that a secretary to the government should take a bus to office or that the spouse of an IGP should queue to pay a traffic fine. It is good news, then, that judges have compelled a state governor to testify, for once, in a court of law. But it won’t make much of a change if they also simultaneously agree with a right to be guaranteed from police questioning on a serious matter. Or, even on a minor one. This might seem like making a fuss about nothing much; after all, we have completed so many decades as a democracy with all these privileges in good order. True, but it is useful to contemplate what sort of democracy we might have become if these privileges had been barred at the outset. Better late than never.

Homosexuality needs to be curbed as it spreads HIV/AIDS: Centre to HC
7 Dec 2008, 1114 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: Justifying criminalisation of homosexuality in the country, the Centre has pleaded before the Delhi High that it is one of the main reasons for spread of HIV/AIDS and needs to be curbed.
In a written submission filed by Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra, the Centre said that legalising Men having sex with Men (MSM), as pleaded by gay rights activists, would lead to spread of the dreaded disease and placed reports of various countries to substantiate its stand.
“In Zambia, one in three (33%) surveyed men who have sex with men tested HIV-positive. In the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, 43% of men who said they had sex only with other men were found to be living with HIV,” the government said, quoting the United Nations report on Global AIDS Epidemic, 2008.
“In Bangkok, HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men rose from 17% in 2003 to 28% in 2005 and it is estimated that as many as 21% new HIV infections in Thailand in 2005 were attributable to unprotected sex between men,” the Centre said.
The 100-page written submission was filed by the Centre as the court, while reserving the order, had allowed the government to file any additional submission in a written form.
Centre’s response came on a PIL filed by gay rights activists seeking the court’s direction to decriminalise gay sex among consenting adults in private.
At present, homosexuality is an offence in the country and Section 377 of Indian Penal Code provides punishment for up to life imprisonment for engaging in such acts.

Hindu-Christian wedlock invalid under Hindu Marriage Act: SC
7 Dec 2008, 0331 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Marriage between a Hindu and a Christian is invalid under the Hindu Marriage Act, as the Act provides for only Hindu couples to enter into wedlock, the Supreme Court ruled on Saturday. A Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and Aftab Alam upheld the judgment of the Andhra Pradesh HC which nullified a marriage, after the wife, Bandaru Pavani, a Hindu, claimed that her husband, Gullipilli Sowria Raj a Christian, had misled her by pretending to be a Hindu and married her at a temple. The husband had misinformed about his social status, the wife had complained while seeking divorce. The matrimonial court rejected her plea for divorce saying the marriage was valid under the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, even if one of the parties belonged to any other faith. However, the HC upheld her plea and said the marriage was void as the Act postulated marriage only between Hindus.

In hospital for medical aid, prisoner escapes
7 Dec 2008, 0317 hrs IST, TNN
Patiala: In a filmy operation, underworld elements in Patiala freed a prisoner from hospital and ran over a jail warden as they whisked away the don in a Scorpio. The ‘rescue’ came in the wee hours of Saturday, when Ravinder Singh, facing multiple charges of fake currency racket and attempt to murder, was wheeled out of the emergency ward of Rajindra Hospital by his cronies. The accused, arrested from Zirakpur on Monday, had suffered a leg fracture in an escape bid and was hospitalized on Thursday. He was shifted from the prisoner’s ward the next day and two jail wardens were assigned to guard him.

Prove cruelty by in-laws in dowry death case: HC
7 Dec 2008, 0312 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: Every suicide by a bride cannot be taken to be a dowry death. Cruelty by in-laws and/or the husband has to be proved in such a case, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court ruled recently. “Sentiments apart, there has to be some evidence to show that the appellant had subjected the victim to cruelty, which led her to commit suicide, in order to sustain his conviction,” said Justice R C Chavan, acquitting a Yavatmal resident, 24-year-old Vithal Lakbande, of charges of abetment of suicide of his wife. The prosecution’s charge that Kaveri’s suicide was “unexplained” did not find favour with the court, which agreed with the defence that the possibility that she could have decided to end her life for some other reason could not be ruled out. Kaveri killed herself in December 2005 by consuming poison, barely ten months after her marriage to Lakbande. Following a complaint by her mother, the police arrested Lakbande, his parents and brothers. While his family members were acquitted by the trial court, Lakbande was sentenced to ten years’ rigorous imprisonment. In the high court, Lakbande’s lawyers argued that except for the statements of Kaveri’s mother and uncles, there was no evidence that the bride had been harassed by her husband or in-laws. “Though the suicide is inexplicable, since the allegations of cruelty had surfaced only after the victim’s death it’s difficult to hold that the victim was subjected to cruelty, when such allegations do not receive any corroboration from the neighbours or other independent sources,” contended the defence lawyer.

How green is this medicine?
7 Dec 2008, 0308 hrs IST, Meenakshi Kumar, TNN
Ayurveda, the oldest health system in the world, is going in for a makeover, but is it all for the good? Till now, the biggest innovation had been coloured ayurvedic pills and capsules. But the government’s recent amendment of the 63-year-old Drugs and Cosmetics Act appears to allow a more fundamental change — ayurvedic medicine can now contain anti-oxidants, flavouring agents, preservatives and sweeteners. So is ayurveda about to lose its unique organic wholesomeness? Ayurveda practitioners and drug-makers don’t think so. They say the additives, natural or synthetic, must be in permissible quantities in order that the medicine retains its natural properties. “The purpose of allowing the use of anti-oxidants or sweeteners is to increase the shelf life of the ayurvedic medicines,” says Dr S K Sharma, advisor to the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH). The reasoning is that once they last longer, it would be easier to market ayurvedic medicines nationally and internationally. But Sharma cautions that the changed law is not “purely for commercial reasons. There is a strong need for scientific innovation. It’s time that we tried to improve ayurvedic medicines.” So, the anti-oxidants that are being allowed to use will prevent the medicine from decomposing. The additives, says Sharma, will only help in making ayurvedic medicines more stable than ever before. Some ayurvedic practitioners admit that there are legitimate concerns about additives. Dr V V Doiphode, dean of Pune University’s Department of Ayurveda, stresses the importance of testing any product before it is added to an ayurvedic drug. “The onus is on the drug-makers to ensure these (additives) aren’t detrimental to health,” he says. For that they will have to conduct extensive research and lab testing. There are other ways of ensuring compliance, not least guidelines issued by the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC), an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The IPC sets strict standards for drugs and other pharmaceutical products. Add to this, the wording of the amended Drugs and Cosmetics Act, which allows “only natural colouring agents as permitted under rule 26 of Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules 1955 for ayurveda, siddha and unani drugs.” But what if someone wanted to market a flavoured chyawanprash, say chocolate, to attract the international market? Would that be more synthetic than traditional chyawanprash? Not really, so long as it retains its original properties, says Ranjit Puranik, CEO of Shree Dootapapeshwar Ltd, ayurvedic drug-maker and exporter. The loophole, however, is that a product like chyawanprash, which is made of 54 herbs — of which amla (gooseberry) is the main — can be marketed internationally as a dietary supplement rather than a medicine. If it has to be marketed as a medicine, then all the 54 herbs have to go through a standardisation process that will certify that none of the herbs are harmful to health. The amended act allows synthetic additives in ayurvedic drugs but insists they “carry a statutory warning stating the name and quantity of the artificial sweetener.” Puranik says it’s up to the individual manufacturer to decide how natural he wants the ayurvedic drug to be. And if he uses a large quantity of synthetic additive “he clearly can’t then sell the product as ayurveda”. That may affect ayurvedic core market, but the holistic health treatment has a long way to go in persuading India and the wider world of the goodness of its old-style organic approach to healing. Industry experts estimate that the global market for ayurveda is worth $120 billion. But India’s ayurveda exports are a paltry Rs 450 crore or $91 million. China and Sri Lanka lead the world in ayurveda manufacture and export. India is finally trying to close the gap by adding innovation to the ayurveda mix. “These medicines can be tweaked a bit to suit people’s tastes, but the medicinal properties should be maintained. Say for instance, a popular ayurvedic medicine, kashayam, is now available in the form of capsules and tablets. This has been achieved by spray drying but the original properties are not tinkered with.” says V G Udayakumar, president of the Kerala-based Ayurveda Medical Association of India. He believes the same can be applicable to other medicines too. But there’s some way to go before the humble hajmola becomes the world’s prescribed cure for indigestion.

Federal agency, new law to fight war on terror
7 Dec 2008, 0102 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
New Delhi: The Federal Investigating Agency being considered by the Centre will have sweeping powers to probe incidents of terrorism anywhere in the country without obtaining prior consent of the state governments. Shaken by the terror attacks on Mumbai, and under pressure to demonstrate it means business, the Centre plans to work around law and order being a state subject by terming terror strikes as attacks on “sovereignty” of the country. This would allow the Union government to pass a law setting up the FIA. Determined to get the FIA passed in the forthcoming session of Parliament due to get underway on December 10, the government also plans to confer wider discretion to central security and law enforcement agencies to facilitate smooth interception of telephonic conversations of terror suspects by strengthening provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act. The government seems determined to push ahead with anti-terror initiatives and the FIA also figured in an internal security review which saw home minister P Chidambaram meet National Security Advisor M K Narayanan on Saturday. Intelligence Bureau chief P C Haldar, Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar and top home and law officials also took attending the review meeting. The high-level review took up intelligence gathering and analysis, air, coastal and riverine security besides media management during a terrorist crisis. There has been a business-like air to discussions and the nitty-gritty of equipment, command and monitoring mechanisms and manpower for policing were taken up. Certain proposals like registration of fishing boats present a mammoth task and while technical feasibility studies of may take longer, the emphasis was on shorter term, “doable” solutions. There will be a further review next week to focus on issues that have been tagged. In drafting the federal agency mechanism, which was finetuned in discussions involving home minister P Chidambaram and science and technology minister Kapil Sibal, both eminent lawyers, Centre hit upon the “sovereignty” clause to get the constitutional cover it was seeking. The move, sources said, is constitutionally sound as the Centre is entitled to enact laws, without amending the Constitution, under Item No. 1 of the Union List, which reads: “Defence of India and every part thereof including preparation for defence and all such acts as may be conducive in times of war to its prosecution and after its termination to effective demobilisation.” The federal agency could be given shape under Item No. 8 of the Union List, which empowers the Centre to set up a “Central Bureau of Intelligence and Investigation”, the sources say. In other words, terrorism would be dealt with at the central level and not get lost in the `law and order’ debate — a subject entrusted to the states under List II. On the lines of the existing provision for special courts to try offences probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the new enactment is likely to provide for designated courts to try terrorists and cases investigated by the proposed federal agency. Government has readied its plan to strengthen the UAPA and is also carefully weighing, keeping in view its political constraints, bringing in a new anti-terror law which is milder than Pota.

India No.1 in children not protected against measles
7 Dec 2008, 0245 hrs IST, Kounteya Sinha, TNN
NEW DELHI: Measles deaths may have plummeted worldwide by 74% between 2000 and 2007, from an estimated 7.5 lakh to 1.97 lakh annually, but a large number of children in India continue to be unprotected against this killer. According to WHO’s latest estimates, in 2007, more than 23 million one-year-old children did not receive a dose of measles vaccine through routine immunization. An estimated 15.2 million (65%) of these reside in eight countries. India holds the dubious distinction of having the highest number of such unvaccinated children — 8.5 million — followed by two million in Nigeria and one million in China. The leading vaccine-preventable killer of children under the age of five, measles claimed the lives of 1.3 lakh children in South-East Asia followed by 45,000 in Africa and 10,000 in Eastern Mediterranean countries which includes countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Sudan. The Eastern Mediterranean region has therefore cut measles deaths by a remarkable 90% from an estimated 96,000 to 10,000 during the same period, thus achieving the United Nations’ goal to reduce measles deaths by 90% by 2010, three years early. Although more than 3.6 million lives have been saved due to increased vaccination coverage, measles is still one of the leading killers of children worldwide, with an estimated 540 children dying each day from the disease (22 deaths every hour). According to the Measles Initiative, South-East Asia experienced a 42% decline in measles deaths — the lowest among all regions — due to the delayed implementation of large-scale vaccination campaigns in India, which currently accounts for two-thirds of global measles deaths. Presently, the injectible measles vaccine in administered only once, when a child is 9 months old. It is part of India’s routine immunization programme that includes polio, DPT and BCG vaccines. With India’s routine immunization rate as low as 50%, measles vaccination has also suffered. Unicef says that in 2006, 68.1% children were vaccinated against measles. But like in polio, Bihar, UP and North-East have recorded a poor 30% coverage. “A measles vaccine provides 85% protection. So children still get infected. Some experts say the vaccine should be given a second time. However, we are presently more concerned with strengthening the first dose delivery rate,” a health ministry official said. India is also carrying out measles immunization campaigns using its existing infrastructure for polio eradication. Meanwhile, the global fight against measles is facing an acute funds crunch. “Currently the shortfall stands at $176 million for 2009-2010, of which $35 million is urgently needed for 2009. During these tough economic times, it is important to remember that prevention is always more cost effective in the long run than treatment,” officials from the Measles Initiative said. The highly contagious virus is spread by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions. The virus remains active and contagious in the air or on infected surfaces for up to two hours. It can be transmitted by an infected individual from four days prior to the onset of the rash to four days after the rash erupts. Measles outbreaks can result in epidemics that cause many deaths, especially among young, malnourished children. The most serious complications of measles are blindness, encephalitis, diarrhoea, ear infections and pneumonia.

Delhi HC: Directs Govt to give alternate plots to poor
The Delhi High Court has directed the government not to uproot the poors, who had been allotted land in 1975 under the then prime minister’s 20-point programme scheme, till alternate land was allotted to them elsewhere.After hearing a petition filed by 34 petitioners of the Harijans and other poor class of Village Kochanpur (Dwarka), a bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Manmohan Singh on Friday directed the government not to uproot them for building a housing project for others till they were allotted an alternate plot.Holding the DDA’s stand to acquire all the land in Dwarka as a part of the development plan, the court held that for larger and more comprehensive schemes, larger tracts of land were required and to leave out small tracts as undeveloped in between will not only be counterproductive, but would also create difficulties in the proper implementation of such schemes.During 1975, government had allotted land to the Harijans and other poor people to built their houses.The land, which was allotted to the poors, was from different Gram Sabhas. Land was also allotted to 34 such landless people at village Kochanpur in 1977.In 2000, the DDA had framed a housing project and much land was placed at the disposal of the DDA by the government. Notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act was issued by the government on December 13, 2000, and the process to acquire the land, including the land of village Kochanpur, began.The petitioners challenged the government decision to acquire their land and asked ‘When the Harijans were rehabilitated by the government it defied commonsense why such people should be uprooted for the purpose of development of residential plots for others.’ The High Court held that giving de regard to the law, the government should not have acquired their land. But now in the larger interest, if the government had acquired the entire land of the area, including the land which belonged to the 34 applicants, which was just a minuscule of the entire project, it must ensure that the petitioners were given alternate land within eight weeks from now.The court said the policy makers must ensure a comprehensive and holistic view before formulating schemes of such magnitude.UNI

Madras HC rules out Govt proposal to offer certificate course
The Madras High Court has ruled that the proposal of the Tamil Nadu government to offer a six-month certificate course in diabetology through the Distance Education was untenable and the Government Order (GO) providing such a course was unconstitutional.The First Bench comprising Chief Justice A K Ganguly and Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla, quashing the order dated August 5, 2008, made it clear that the government could not grant any certificate to candidates, who had already joined the course that is currently being offered in all the 14 government medical colleges in the state. The proposal to launch a six-month distance education course on diabetology had come from the director of Medical Education. However, four doctors challenged the constitutional validity of the GO, stating that no medical qualification could be awarded to doctors unless it was recognised by the Medical Council of India (MCI).Senior Counsel, representing the MCI, P Chandrasekaran submitted that diabetology is a specialty in medical education and it would be impermissible for the government to offer a certificate course without the MCI’s nod.Additional Advocate General (AAG) S Ramasamy, however, said prevalence of Type-Two diabetes in Tamil Nadu was about 12 per cent in urban areas and 4.5 to 6 per cent in rural areas among the adults. Describing the course as a reorientation, he said it aimed to prevent complications as general practitioners are treating diabetics now.Quashing the GO, the Bench said the MCI was the apex body to ensure standards and this objective would be defeated if the state was permitted to run a parallel course.‘The impugned GO seeks to introduce, in exercise of its so-called executive power, a course of a different nature on the same subject, may be for a smaller duration by giving a different name. It is nothing but a course in medical education,’ the Bench observed.‘Coordination in higher education will be difficult if such courses are allowed,’ the Bench said.UNI

Madras HC: Employer’s denial of jobs to apprentice destroy human resources
The Madras High Court has observed that training schemes were introduced to promote employment chances of educated and unemployed, and if an employer did not provide jobs to qualified apprentices, it would destroy developed human resources. Dismissing a writ appeal filed by the Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) Limited, Tiruchirapally, a Division Bench comprising Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice V Dhanapalan said the nation should get the benefit of time, money and energy spent on the trainees, which can be ensured only when they were given preference in employment. Services of BHEL Workers, engaged temporarily on daily wage basis, were subsequently terminated. Initially, they demanded regularisation of their services and later moved the Labour Court, Tiruchirapally, which ordered reinstatement without back wages as well as continuity of service. Following the ruling, the BHEL management filed petition. The workers, too, challenged the denial of back wages and continuity of services. The single Judge dismissed the management’s petition and partly allowed the workers petition. The present appeal was against this order.UNI

Allahabad HC: Directs formation of board for management of Radha Vallabh
The Allahabad High Court has put its seal on the removal of self-styled Tilkait Adhikari Goswami Radhesh Lalji from the management of the famous temple of Thakur Radha Vallabhji Maharaj of Radha Vallabhi Sampradaya, pronounced by Swami Hit Harbansji Maharaj in the 16th century.The High Court directed District Judge, Mathura, to form a board for the management of the temple till February 1, 2009.This order was passed by Justice Dileep Gupta. The Court has also cleared in its order that expelled Adhikari and his descendents would not receive any type of gift or collection. The said temple is one of the most revered and old temples of Vrindavan. In this temple, Goswamis of Sampraday have been authorised for the worship and task of management is divided in two pali. Second pali is of Vikas Vansh and allegation was made about this.UNI

No evidence linking us to Malegaon blast: Purohit, Rahirkar
6 Dec 2008, 1915 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: Terming the invocation of MCOCA against them as “inappropriate”, Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Abhinav Bharat treasurer Ajay Rahirkar, both accused in the September 29 Malegaon blast case, on Saturday moved the special MCOCA court seeking bail. Purohit and Rahirkar in their bail applications claimed that the investigating agency, Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), had no evidence linking them to the blast and that they have nothing to do with the case. Special MCOCA Judge Y D Shinde directed the prosecution to file its reply on the application by December 16. Meanwhile, Purohit and another accused Rakesh Dhawade, whose police custody ended today, were remanded to judicial custody till December 16 along with eight other accused, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur. The ATS in its remand application sought judicial custody of Purohit and Dhawade stating that they would seek police custody of the two if required later. The court also granted Purohit permission to undergo an MRI scan at a private hospital as it found the state-run J J Hospital’s refusal to do the same claiming it might dislocate his knee permanently, as pointless. Earlier, the court had directed J J Hospital to conduct an MRI scan on Purohit’s knee which had been injured when he was in the army.

Circuit bench awaits HC, SC nod to open
RAIGANJ, Dec 7: The state law minister, Mr Rabilal Moitra said today that the infrastructure development work for the Jalpaiguri Circiut Bench is complete and the Centre has been informed of the matter. “At present, we are awaiting the approval of the Supreme Court and the Calcutta High Court. Once we receive their approvals the Circuit Bench can start functioning,” he said. The state law minister said this at Islampur in the North Dinajpur district after attending the annual conference of the North Dinajpur unit of the state democratic Lawyers’ Association today. The minister also admitted that most of the courts in the state were facing acute shortage of judges as a result a good number of cases has remained pending for years. “The state government is aware of the problem and has already initiated a move to fill up the vacancies at the earliest so as to facilitate prompt disposal of the cases,” he said. Referring to the tribal unrest in different parts of the state, the minister declared that the state government is committed to the socio-economic upliftment of the tribal majority areas in the state. “We have done alot to bring the backward community to the mainstream by taking up massive poverty amelioration and other programmes in course of the three decade long Left Front regime,” he said. “A good number of roads have been constructed in the tribal dominated parts of the state. This apart, many tribal families have been brought under income generating schemes. However, much more has to be done, keeping in view the long standing backwardness of the community,” the state law minister said. He also criticised the opposition parties for attempting to make political capital out of the growing discontent in the tribal community. n SNS

HC issues notice to Maha, Cental govts
7 Dec 2008, 1729 hrs IST, PTI
THANE: The Bombay High Court has issued notices to the Maharashtra government and the Centre to give their say on a petition filed by an advocate regarding the setting up of a commission to probe into the recent terrorist strikes in Mumbai. Justices Swatantra Kumar and S A Bobade directed the respondents to file their reply within two weeks and the matter is likely to come up before the bench on December 18. In his plea, petitioner VP Patil said that the main prayer is to appoint a commission like the Srikrishna Commission which was set up to probe into the riots that took place in 1993 in Mumbai. Secondly, in 1989, he pointed out, the police ill treated the then chief judicial magistrate N L Patel of Nadiad in Gujarat which was inquired by Justice R M Sahai, judge of the Allahabad High court who was elevated to the Supreme court after completion of inquiry. He said in USA after the 9/11 incident, that government appointed 9/11 Commission which submitted its report within three months and the actions were initiated against the concerned. He requested that the same be followed in respect of the Mumbai terror attacks and a sitting High Court judge be appointed to fix the liability against ministers and bureaucrats concerned.

Recruitment scam exposed in HC, disposed of by govt
Posted on 11:51 AM
The Department of Local Government has reportedly shown an unusual haste in disposing of a case pertaining to a recruitment scam that surfaced in the Kharar Municipal Council (MC) earlier this year. The department’s decision to close the case file by withdrawing a thorough probe ordered earlier to fix the responsibilities of those involved in the nexus has raised many eyebrows.Several appointments were allegedly made at the Kharar MC, throwing norms and conditions to the winds. Certain officials had allegedly appointed their near and dear ones on different posts in an “illegal” and “wrong” manner.The scam came to light when one such appointee approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court. In her petition, Jiwan Lata, a resident of Kharar, sought the release of her salary, pension and other retirement benefits after 16 years of service, for which she claimed to have been paid only Rs 106.45.When the court sought a reply from former Kharar MC executive officer (EO) S K Gulati, he submitted that Lata had actually worked for four days only, after which she had taken voluntary retirement. He brought to the court’s notice how Lata and others were recruited by his predecessors in an “irregular” and “illegal” manner.Gulati said all such appointments had been cancelled soon after the alleged irregularities came to the notice of senior officials. The appointees were duly paid their dues, he told the court. Gulati said Lata had concealed this fact from the HC that she was the wife of Tarsem Lal Sharma, who was working as an accountant in the MC at the time of her appointment. Among other “illegal” appointees were Deepak Kumar, a close relative of the then EO Pawan Kumar Gupta, and Jagdish Lal, nephew of the then section officer Hans Raj.Submitting that Lata’s petition was based on completely “false” and “fabricated” facts, Gulati said Lata’s husband had also appointed another relative and his namesake, Tarsem Lal.While Lata, Deepak and Jagdish were appointed as clerks, Tarsem Lal was given the job of a peon/chowkidar. Gulati told the court that neither these appointments were made through the employment exchange, nor were the posts advertised in newspapers.Not only did Lata seek benefits of her “long” service that actually never existed, she also pleaded for a job to her son on compassionate grounds, claiming she had sought voluntary retirement prior to attaining the superannuation age on medical grounds.Gulati said Lata had also claimed all these “undue” benefits on the basis of her “backward-class” status, by mentioning the name of her father, though she had married a Brahmin much before her appointment. At the time of her appointment in 1991, Gulati said, Lata was 42 years old, which made her ineligible for the job anyway. “Moreover, she was appointed on an ad hoc basis,” he pointed out.Gulati produced records to substantiate his claim that Lata worked for three to four days only, for which she was paid Rs 106.45.“Even an entry was made to this effect in the MC cash book by Lata’s husband who was the MC accountant then. She never worked with the MC thereafter, and hence there is no question of paying any salary to her,” said the former EO. Gulati said Lata’s appointment letter was “totally illegal and void” as it was issued “for and on behalf of” the then MC Administrator, and not the EO who was the competent authority.After the startling disclosures, the Director-cum-Special Secretary, Local Government, issued an order on February 6 to hold a thorough inquiry to fix responsibilities so that Lata or anyone else could not derive any undue benefit.Finding herself cornered and fearing an “adverse” action, Lata withdrew her petition from the High Court. In his fresh orders issued recently, the Director-cum-Special Secretary, Local Government, however, directed to close the case file, paving way for Lata and all others involved in the nexus to go scot-free.

Hindu-Christian marriage invalid under Hindu Act: SC
6 Dec 2008, 1905 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: Marriage between a Hindu and a Christian is invalid under the Hindu Marriage Act, as the Act provides for only Hindu couples to enter into a wedlock, the Supreme Court has ruled. A Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and Aftab Alam upheld the judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court which nullified a marriage, after the wife, Bandaru Pavani, a Hindu, claimed that her husband, Gullipilli Sowria Raj a Christian, had misled her by pretending to be a Hindu and married her at a temple. The husband had misinformed about his social status, the wife had complained while seeking divorce. According to the couple, Raj, a Roman Catholic Christian married Pavani on October 24, 1996, in a temple by way of exchanging of ‘Thali’ (sacred thread) in the absence of any representative from either side. Subsequently, the marriage was registered on November 2, 1996 under Section 8 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The matrimonial court rejected her plea for divorce saying the marriage was valid under the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, even if one of the parties belonged to any other faith. However, the High Court upheld her plea and said the marriage was void as the Act postulated marriage only between Hindus, following which the husband filed the SLP in the apex court. Dismissing the Christian husband’s appeal, the apex court said Section 5 of the Act makes it clear that a marriage may be solemnised between any two Hindus if the conditions contained in the said Section were fulfilled.

DIG promotion case: High Court stays Central Administrative Tribunal order–High-Court-stays-Central-Administrative-Tribunal-order/395631
Mohan Kumar Posted: Dec 08, 2008 at 0245 hrs IST
Mumbai: The UPSC has moved the High court challenging a Central Administrative Tribunal’s order that held the action of the authorities in excluding M M Rathod, Deputy Inspector General of Police, from the list of those inducted to IPS in 1987, as unjust and arbitrary.
UPSC moved the High court against the tribunal’s order following which the court stayed it. The court has asked the commission to consider Rathod in the 1988 selection list. However, according to Rathod’s lawyer Samir Vaidya, Rathod still loses one year. “The petition is pending final disposal. We might now move the Supreme Court against the HC stay order,” Vaidya said.
Rathod was denied selection as he was under suspension from 1982-87 in the wake of a criminal case against him and was declared ‘unfit’.The case pertains to a raid which Rathod’s team had conducted at a gambling den in 1982 after which the gambler and others involved made false allegations against the raiding police party. The trial went on for five years before a special judge in Kolhapur after which Rathod was acquitted of all charges.
The state Government in the meantime confirmed Rathod’s name along with 41 other state cadre officers as ACP from December 1993.
After the suspension was revoked, Rathod’s confirmation as ACP was revised with effect from 1986.
With this development, Rathod said that he was entitled to be inducted to the IPS in the list prepared by the Selection Committee Meeting held in December 1987 wherein his batch mates and even juniors were considered and promoted.
He then made a representation to the state government against the order dated February 2005 giving him IPS with effect from January 2002. The state government recommended the UPSC to consider his case. The UPSC however rejected the proposal on the grounds that there was no provision in the IPS rules for suo-motu review.
Rathod then moved the tribunal stating that there were 16 vacancies in 1987 for promotion to IPS and only 10 officers were selected. The tribunal allowed his application and directed the selection committee to reconsider it.
The committee in 2006 gave him a deemed appointment to IPS with effect from 1992. Rathod was however not satisfied and approached the tribunal once more.
The tribunal bench observed, “the applicant was available to perform his duty but was prevented from doing so because of the circumstances totally beyond his control and in this background; it is totally unfair to consider his case by following the criteria as applicable to other officers.”

No doctor’s scrawl, make copies of judgments legible: High Court–make-copies-of-judgments-legible–High-Court/395436
Utkarsh Anand Posted: Dec 08, 2008 at 0015 hrs IST
New Delhi: The problem of illegible handwriting, earlier synonymous with doctors’ prescriptions, is now plaguing judges. Delhi High Court judges are finding it difficult to make sense of ‘certified copies’ of various orders and judgments of the lower courts as they can barely be read. Judgments on poor quality paper or bad prints are not only a strain on judicial officers,they also waste precious court time.
Certified copies are the ones issued by the lower courts to parties involved in a civil or a criminal case on request. They are generally photocopies of original documents and attached to the appeal filed by the litigants in the higher court.
Things are likely to change and reading judgements bound to be less taxing for High Court judges after a circular was issued to all lower courts.
The circular, forwarded to the nine district and sessions judges by the Registrar General of the High Court, unequivocally states all the civil and criminal court judicial officers are to ensure that judgments are printed in a manner that their copies are legible.
“Kindly issue necessary instructions to all judicial officers under your control and under the control of other district judges to ensure that the orders or judgements passed by them should be in good prints so that certified copies obtained from them are legible,” it reads.
In order to bring the directive to the knowledge of not only the judges but all the other court staff responsible for handing over the certified copies of the judgments to the litigants, copies of the circular have also been issued to the copying agency, administrative wing and the computer branch.
A court staffer said there were no specific guidelines on the subject.
“There are no definite directions regarding the font to be used or the font size to ensure uniformity,” he said.
Talking to Newsline, a former judge of High Court said the administrative decision was needed as it would not only save precious judicial time but would also lessen chances of misreading.
“Earlier, various interim orders were handwritten by lower court judges but now most are computer-typed. Issuing a directive to ensure good prints would indeed be of great help,” he said.

Minor’s rape: no court relief for 51-year-old
Utkarsh Anand Posted: Dec 08, 2008 at 0049 hrs IST
New Delhi: A 51-year-old former manager of a petrochemical company, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail for raping his minor domestic help and physically abusing her, has been denied the relief of suspension of sentence by the Delhi High Court.
Adopting a stern view on the offences, Justice Veena Birbal threw out an application by Ravindra Brijmohan Prasad seeking the suspension of his sentence and an interim bail for a period of three months to look after his ailing mother in Jharkhand.
“Considering the gravity of the offence, the appellant is not entitled for relief as is prayed in the application. The application stands rejected,” the court observed in a recent order.
Prasad was held guilty by a trial court in March last year on charges of sexually assaulting his 12-year-old help, brought by him from Jharkhand in January 1991 to do domestic chores in his home in Mumbai.
The girl was kept properly for a few months before Prasad started assaulting her repeatedly despite her protests. The victim’s complaints to his wife Krishna Lata brought more troubles instead of any relief.
Lata blamed her for the whole thing and started physically harassing her by inflicting cuts on her body with a blade. She also suffered a fracture in her right hand after being hit by a heavy object.
When the girl came back to her native place in November 1993, she narrated the tale of her trauma to her mother and other relatives and an FIR was subsequently registered.
The case was transferred from Mumbai to Delhi on the plea of the National Human Rights Commission, which pleaded that the victim would not get justice there.
Pronouncing the verdict, the trial court judge had said: “Sexual violence, apart from being a dehumanising act, is an unlawful intrusion on the right of privacy and sanctity of a female. It is a serious blow to her supreme honour and offends her self-esteem and dignity. It degrades and humiliates the victim and where the victim is a helpless innocent child or a minor, it leaves behind a traumatic experience.”
“A rapist not only causes physical injuries but more indelibly leaves a scar on the most cherished possession of a woman, i.e. her dignity, honour, reputation and not the least her chastity,” the court had observed while handing down ten years each of rigorous imprisonment to the couple under respective penal provisions.
Prasad and his wife then filed an appeal with the High Court against their conviction. The dismissal of Prasad’s application came after Justice Birbal noted that not only did the facts of the case point to the gravity of the offence but also that Lata had already been released on interim bail for taking care of his mother.
The court also found substance in the contention of the counsel for the state that the possibility of his fleeing from justice could not be ruled out if he was released on bail.

SC dismisses PIL seeking inquiry into Batla house encounter
The Supreme Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a judicial inquiry into the Batla House encounter in Jamia Nagar, New Delhi and also into the death of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma.A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal wanted to know the antecedent of petitioner Kamaran and his profession. The petitioner responded by informing the Court that he was running a security agency in the area where the encounter took place. The Court dismissed the petition in limine.Two alleged terrorists were killed in the September 19 encounter and a police inspector was shot dead by the alleged terrorists, who started firing on being challenged by the police. Two of them, however, managed to escape.The residents of the area claim that those killed were not terrorists but were students of Jamia Millia Islamia University.UNI

Mr Bhujbal, here’s priority No 1: Police reforms
Monday, December 08, 2008 03:59 IST
In their first utterances after taking over as chief minister and deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan and Chhagan Bhujbal both talked about equipping the Mumbai police force with the latest hardware to tackle terror. Giving policemen the right arms and equipment is, of course, necessary, but it’s not the main reason why they gave such a poor account of themselves on 26/11. Let’s face it. Mumbai’s policemen are in no condition to take on terror or anything approaching it in their current state of low morale. The force, once the pride of Mumbai and India, is a pale shadow of its former self. Riven by corruption and used by cynical politicians for their own ends, the force is in no shape to protect civilians. It has lost its credibility, independence and moorings. There is only one way to change things, and that is systemic reform. We all know what’s the main thing that has to be done: insulate the police force from excessive political interference. The Supreme Court has issued half a dozen directives to all states and the centre. Barring four small states —Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh — the rest have barely done anything. And Maharashtra is one of the delinquents. DNA will campaign for these changes to be implemented through its news and editorial columns from now on. The directives were issued by the Supreme Court in a PIL filed by a senior IPS officer who retired as director-general of the Border Security Force. While he moved the apex court in 1996, the final directive came only in 2006. Following are the major directives on implementing the recommendations of the National Police Commission:
1The first directive is that each state should set up a State Security Commission to insulate the police force from unwarranted political pressure. The commission is, among other things, expected to evolve policy and set norms for evaluating the performance of policemen. Maharashtra hasn’t moved a finger to comply with the directive. Mr Bhujbal, it’s time your ministry read through the Ribeiro and Sorabjee committee reports on police reform and started drafting a legislation for the same.
2The court also said any state director-general of police (DGP) should have a minimum tenure of two years. He should be chosen from among the three senior-most officers in the force. The Vilasrao Deshmukh administration violated that requirement when it appointed AN Roy as DGP where there were three officers senior to him at the time of his appointment. Mr Bhujbal, you have to remedy this immediately.
3The SC said the minimum tenure of DIGs, SSPs, SPs, deputy SPs and SHOs (state house officers) must be two years. Mr Bhujbal, you must ensure this is complied with in letter and spirit since your average police officer in Nanded is not going to court to fight for his rights.
4The fourth important directive of the court was the separation of the investigating wing from the law and order section to ensure speedier investigations, better expertise and improved rapport with the people. Mr Bhujbal, you know very well how shoddy our police investigations have been in most blast and terror cases. It is time to act on this court directive and empower the investigation teams with better equipment, better funding and good leadership. 5The apex court also ordered the setting up of a Police Establishment Board (PEB) in each state. PEBs have to decide on all transfers, postings, promotions and other service-related matters of officers of and below the rank of deputy superintendent of police. Mr Bhujbal, we know that in recent years many home ministers have meddled in even lower level postings under pressure from party functionaries and other powerful people. We hope you realise the damage this is causing to police morale and set up the board a-s-a-p. 6The court wanted all states to set up a Police Complaints Authority (PCA) at the district level headed by a retired district judge to look into complaints against police officers of and up to the rank of DSP. Similarly, a PCA at the state level should be headed by a retired Supreme Court or high court judge. Sadly, barring four very small states, none of them – Maharashtra included – has moved a finger to implement these directives of the highest court of the land. Mr Bhujbal, if you are truly the man of action everyone says you are, these six police reforms brook no delay.

M’laya poverty rate accelerating
Newmai News Network December 08, 2008 12:19:00
Shillong December 7: The reason behind the increasing rate of people facing poverty in Meghalaya can be due to factors such as the low maintenance of economic status, unemployment, lack of the cooperative societies in the state and also the less awareness of the people especially the rural areas on the human rights front. Recently, Dr Donkupar Roy, chief minister of Meghalaya had lamented over the range of 49 percent of the state’s population lying at the poverty line with almost an equal percentage of educated youth unemployed in the state.At present, there are 1193 cooperative societies in Meghalaya, functioning as credit and non -credit societies. About 220 have ceased to function. To lighten the poverty stricken people, especially in the rural areas by the cooperative societies like the Community and Rural Development Blocks, a two-day State Level Exhibition on cooperative societies was held sometimes back in Meghalaya.In that exhibition, PC Chakraborty, chairman of the Meghalaya State Housing Financing Cooperative Society while highlighting the role of the cooperative societies to remove poverty especially in the rural areas, mentioned that in comparing with other states in the country, the overall performance of the cooperative societies in Meghalaya was below expectation.Another factor can be that of the reducing growth rate for the improvement in the economic status which was 7.8 percent in the 9th plan to 6.33 percent during subsequent plan on which the expected growth rate of 7.2 percent during the Eleventh Plan also has an impact on the present state of high rate of poverty as well as unemployed youth in the state.Meanwhile, chief minister, Donkupar Roy termed the figure of poverty and unemployment in the state as “disheartening” and he further attributed the dismal state of economy and scenario of unemployment to “resource and infrastructure constraints”. Setting up of Meghalaya Human Rights Commission will add teeth to fight against poverty in the state to certain extent.On the need to create State Human rights Commission, to help the people especially in the backward areas to be aware of their rights in the state, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), North East Zone, Special Rapporteur and former Meghalaya Chief Secretary, SK. Tiwari had come to Meghalaya on June 10 to observe the implementation of the various human rights programmes in the state.The NHRC had selected 28 backward districts in the country, which included the South Garo Hills Districts from the state Meghalaya for the awareness and programmes on human rights for the government and district officials.

DIG promotion case: High Court stays Central Administrative Tribunal order–High-Court-stays-Central-Administrative-Tribunal-order/395631
Mohan Kumar Posted: Dec 08, 2008 at 0245 hrs IST
Mumbai: The UPSC has moved the High court challenging a Central Administrative Tribunal’s order that held the action of the authorities in excluding M M Rathod, Deputy Inspector General of Police, from the list of those inducted to IPS in 1987, as unjust and arbitrary.
UPSC moved the High court against the tribunal’s order following which the court stayed it. The court has asked the commission to consider Rathod in the 1988 selection list. However, according to Rathod’s lawyer Samir Vaidya, Rathod still loses one year. “The petition is pending final disposal. We might now move the Supreme Court against the HC stay order,” Vaidya said.
Rathod was denied selection as he was under suspension from 1982-87 in the wake of a criminal case against him and was declared ‘unfit’.The case pertains to a raid which Rathod’s team had conducted at a gambling den in 1982 after which the gambler and others involved made false allegations against the raiding police party. The trial went on for five years before a special judge in Kolhapur after which Rathod was acquitted of all charges.
The state Government in the meantime confirmed Rathod’s name along with 41 other state cadre officers as ACP from December 1993.
After the suspension was revoked, Rathod’s confirmation as ACP was revised with effect from 1986.
With this development, Rathod said that he was entitled to be inducted to the IPS in the list prepared by the Selection Committee Meeting held in December 1987 wherein his batch mates and even juniors were considered and promoted.
He then made a representation to the state government against the order dated February 2005 giving him IPS with effect from January 2002. The state government recommended the UPSC to consider his case. The UPSC however rejected the proposal on the grounds that there was no provision in the IPS rules for suo-motu review.
Rathod then moved the tribunal stating that there were 16 vacancies in 1987 for promotion to IPS and only 10 officers were selected. The tribunal allowed his application and directed the selection committee to reconsider it.
The committee in 2006 gave him a deemed appointment to IPS with effect from 1992. Rathod was however not satisfied and approached the tribunal once more.
The tribunal bench observed, “the applicant was available to perform his duty but was prevented from doing so because of the circumstances totally beyond his control and in this background; it is totally unfair to consider his case by following the criteria as applicable to other officers.”


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