LEGAL NEWS 10.12.2008

Consumer can no longer be taken for a ride
In a recent verdict, the A.P. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (APSCDRC) censured Narne Estates Pvt. Ltd. for its unethical business practices.The State commission commented that the company was harassing and causing loss to the consumer and its efforts to repudiate the agreement were unethical.T. Vijaya Kumari, a resident of Indian Airlines Employees Colony, purchased a plot from the company in its East City extension in January 1998. She paid Rs.40,000 by the end of 2000 as per the initial agreement. She was asked to further pay an amount of Rs.43,750 towards development charges.Accordingly she paid the charges by February, 2003. The company refused to register the plot on her name and it offered an alternative plot, which was not acceptable to the buyer.Hence, the buyer asked for repayment of her amount. However, she could get only Rs.81,250 out of Rs.83,750.She was told that Rs.2,500 was deducted towards outstanding dues, which never existed.The company neither paid interest on the money for keeping it for three years nor compensation for going back on its promise.The annoyed buyer filed a case at Hyderabad District Forum-III seeking for Rs.3,75,000, the then market rate of the plot, with 24 per cent interest rate per annum, Rs.2,500, which was deducted illegally and Rs.50,000 towards compensation besides court costs of Rs.10,000. The company didn’t oppose the case at the Forum.Deficiency in serviceAll in all, the District Forum stated that not registering the plot after taking the entire sale consideration, amounts to deficiency in service.However, the forum awarded only a compensation of Rs.50,000 besides costs of Rs.2,000. The company contended the verdict in the State Commission. It said that the compensation of Rs.50,000 was on the higher side and it argued that it was not liable to pay either interest or compensation since it proposed to register an alternative plot.The commission pointed out, that the reasons put forth by the company for not registering the plot were inconsistent. It further stated that compensation of Rs.50,000 cannot be termed high, as the company locked up the consumer’s money for three years by which she has lost her plot at a time when land prices in the city escalated.However, Ms. Vijaya Kumari was not granted the market rate as she couldn’t submit any proof to support her argument.
Posted by harsha at 5:07 AM

Justice to go mobile in Karnataka-India-The Times of India
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Justice to go mobile in Karnataka-India-The Times of India , Nov. 20, 2008:
BANGALORE: Karnataka is all set to take justice and legal literacy to the doorsteps of its people across the state, particularly to the poor as they cannot pay for the expensive and time-consuming court battles.A specially designed bus will serve as a court room to conduct the lok adalat (people’s court).Lok adalat is a mechanism for speedy settlement of disputes through conciliation, compromise or arbitration. It is not a substitute to the courts but supplements their function. For the financially weak, it is a relief as they need not pay any court or lawyer’s fees for the lok adalats to take up their case.
Thanks: Michele Storms.
Posted by Mary Whisner at 3:22 PM

Training programme for Journalists inaugurated at IGNOU
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
New Delhi: The coverage of the recent Mumbai mayhem by some Indian electronic channels indirectly helped the terrorists who could change their guards within the Taj Hotel rooms to safely fire at the security agencies. That was not a proper coverage.Similarly, the members in the media must know that the term ‘Trial by Media’ is also not quite rational, for the right to try is only vested in the Judiciary and the media can only interpret the trial with logic and wit.In the background of this concept, a five-day residential training of journalists and legal correspondents began on Sunday at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) Convention Centre.The training programme is the brainchild of the Chief Justice of India (CJI), Dr. Justice KG Balakrishnan. Taking the cue from him, the National Legal Services Authority (NLSA) and IGNOU think-tank has jointly organized the training programme free of cost to journalists and scribes reporting on courts.The Press Council of India and Editors Guild of India were also roped in association to give the training programme a comprehensive shape, so that the GenNext journalists be able to catch the idea that the Statute-ordained Freedom of Press entails certain degree of responsibility.The training programme is part of a larger series of workshops which have been organized to stimulate a vigorous dialogue about the role of the mass media in relation to the administration of justice. A few more similar initiatives are in the pipeline soon after at Bhubaneswar, Kochi and Mumbai.Two more will be organised thereafter, one at Jammu and the other at a centre of North-Eastern part of the country, probably at Shillong or Guwahati.Inaugurating the ‘Five-day Residential Training on Reporting of Court Proceedings by Media and Administration of Justice for Legal Correspondents/Journalists’, and addressing the elite gathering of the IGNOU academics and administrators, invitees, trainee scribes and the media-persons gathered there to report the programme, the CJI said, “Often the new members in the media organizations forget this point. The framers of Indian Constitution safeguarded the press freedom mostly on account of their experience of governmental repression during the colonial rule. The importance of Press Freedom was further underscored after the Emergency. However, in the era of liberalization where private players have aggressively entered the market for seeking viewers and readers, the conceptual understanding of Freedom of Press has assumed more dimensions.”The function was presided over by Justice Arijit Pasayat, Supreme Court Judge, while the key-note address was delivered by Justice G.N. Ray, chief of the Press Council of India.Editors Guild President Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai introduced the concept of the five-day free training programme for the short-listed scribes.The CJI explained these dimensions as protecting the rights of smaller players in the media, “Especially of those who represent dissenting views”, preventing “a race to the bottom in standards of reporting in an intense scenario of competition among media organisations, coverage of sub-judice matters where reporting can be prejudicial to litigant parties, and the role of pervasive tele-cover of situations like the Mumbai mayhem”.Calling upon influential media agencies, the CJI said, “They must promote the best practices for newsgathering and emphasize the importance of maintaining ethical standards for coverage the judicial proceedings.”Congratulating the CJI and the luminaries from the Judiciary, IGNOU Vice Chancellor Professor V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai expressed desire to take this training to the grassroots scribes working in remote areas in the country so that they learn the good things about the Judiciary and media responsibilities.”This was the first of its kind of an initiative taken by any university of the nation,” he said, and explained that “it’s an opportunity to our upcoming journalists to understand the importance of proper legal reporting. The exercise can be continued in a number of educational institutions of the country. All types of media need development.”However, the media is always quizzed about various judgments of the court of the country and often wonder at which level it should tread to report a court proceeding.Explaining the media concerns in clear terms, and mentioning the recent Government expression on the Mumbai mayhem, Editors Guild Chief Rajdeep Sardesai said, “Often media find that a lower court’s death sentence for an accused is turned into life sentence in the High Court, and in such cases media would find difficulties in reporting, as that might end them up reporting sub-judice matters. We need to address these in this training programme. It is very important for us in media to understand the niceties of legal process.”Stressing that the two powerful links in Democracy – Judiciary and Media – must work naturally complementary to each other, Justice G.N. Ray mentioned what the first CJI Justice Patanjali Shashtri had observed in 1950, “Media must be allowed the freedom to write”.”Lately, certain section in the public and press started disturbing the link between the Judiciary and the Media. This training would try to address what the media need to understand about the nuances of Justice Delivery System. Students will also be taken to the corridors of Delhi High Court and be briefed about various court reports on use of freedom to know the context and consequences”, he said.’Media must show maturity at their court reports’. Stressing this theme, Justice Arijit Pasayat, cited a classic example of distorted report of a court’s justice delivery. Justice Pasayat referred to a scribe’s understanding of a case of trial of an accused.The reporter had mentioned that the accused was acquitted, when in reality the court had asked for more details about the charges against him and gave a different date. Asked why this report was published the reporter had replied that he thought of the acquittal because he found the defence lawyer, while coming out of the court, was smiling.”We expect responsibility at Court Reporting. The term ‘Trial by Media’ is a misnomer,” he said, adding, “The responsibility of trial lies only with the courts. Media can only interpret the merits of the cases and their judgments without suggesting corruption in the judgment.”Soruce:

16 more courtrooms to come up at new HC building
Express News Service Posted: Dec 10, 2008 at 0025 hrs IST
Chandigarh: In a significant decision — which will put an end to the perennial problem of lack of infrastructure for new judges in the Punjab and Haryana High Court — the HC Building Committee has given a green signal to the construction of 16 new courtrooms in the new building. Lack of courtrooms has been stated as a major roadblock in appointment of new judges.
A feasibility report in this regard was sought by the High Court from a retired professor of the Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh. The professor submitted that 16 courtrooms can well be constructed on the High Court premises.
These courtrooms will be constructed above the first floor. The committee has directed the UT Architecture department to examine the report submitted by the professor and chalk out a plan for the construction of the courtrooms. Work on the project is expected to begin within three months and the courtrooms are likely to be inaugurated by the Chief Justice of India, Justice K G Balakrishnan.
There are a total of 52 courtrooms in the High Court building against the sanctioned number of 68. With 16 more rooms, the sanctioned target will be achieved.
In another decision, which will to put an end to parking chaos, the Building Committee is contemplating the idea of mechanical parking. To demonstrate the concept, four companies will also give a demonstration on the High Court premises on Friday.
Once operational, the mechanical parking will allow an advocate to simply park his vehicle in a multi-level parking area. The vehicle will be automatically lifted by a crane and taken to the assigned floor.

Tainted cops: HC asks Punjab govt to file affidavit, identify officers–HC-asks-Punjab-govt-to-file-affidavit–identify-officers/396445/
Express News Service Posted: Dec 10, 2008 at 0040 hrs IST
Chandigarh: Terming the issue of allowing police officers with charges pending against them to continue on their posts as serious, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Punjab Government to file a detailed affidavit specifically identifying such officers .
The directions were passed by a Division Bench headed by Justice J S Khehar in wake of a suo motu notice taken by another Division Bench recommending that a petition pending against continuation of tainted police officers should be converted into a public interest litigation (PIL).
In the last hearing, the High Court had directed the Punjab government to file an affidavit making its stand clear with regards to police officers continuing on sensitive posts despite them facing serious charges.
One such officer who had come under scanner of the High Court is Sumedh Singh Saini, Director of the Vigilance Bureau.
The High Court had directed the Punjab government to make clear as to whether provisions of the amended Punjab Police Act were applicable to Saini or not.
As per the amended Act, any Inspector General of Police (IG) officer, against whom charges have been framed, has to be either suspended or removed.
The government was to clear its stand in this regard today. Arguing on behalf of the government, Advocate General H S Mattewal submitted that the Vigilance Bureau did not come under the purview of the Punjab Police Act. The Advocate General also questioned as to whether this petition could be heard in public interest or not.
Making it clear that the case was of an extremely serious nature, Justice J S Khehar observed: “Why are corrupt people or officers, facing serious charges, continuing at senior positions? It is a serious issue but there are remedies. File a good affidavit so that there are no problems for the Bench to pass appropriate orders.” The Bench also asked the Advocate General to take remedial measures.
The High Court adjourned the case for January and directed the government to formulate a policy to be uniformly adopted in cases where serious charges were pending against officers facing departmental as well as criminal inquiries.
The Bench stated that the affidavit would disclose the nature of the chargesheets, if any, pending against the officers from the level of SHO to the rank of Director General of Police (DGP). The next hearing has been scheduled for January 16.

Thane: HC seeks solution from state on encroachment issue–HC-seeks-solution-from-state-on-encroachment-issue/396316/
N Ganesh Posted: Dec 10, 2008 at 2238 hrs IST
Mumbai: Not satisfied with the action taken by the civic bodies and local-self governments against unauthorised constructions in Thane district, the Bombay High Court has sought a solution from the Urban Development department.
While hearing public interest litigations (PIL) against encroachments in Thane, the division bench of Justice J N Patel and S J Kathawala asked the principal secretary of the Urban Development department on “how the state proposes to deal with the problem of encroachment and unauthorised construction on Government and municipal lands.”
The court said that issuing directions and orders time and again has not solved any purpose and they need to seek a solution from the state for a problem of such magnitude and gravity.
“The court has observed that these pockets in the jurisdiction of various local bodies and statutory bodies are encroached, patronised and protected by slumlords. They also cater as vote banks and unless there is a political will on the part of the state the problem will remain unsolved,” the bench stated.
Meanwhile, the Thane district collectorate has directed the chiefs of the civic bodies in the district to take disciplinary action against the officers and staff who hesitate in demolishing unauthorised constructions. The directives are in confirmation with an interim order by the Bombay High Court dated October 15, 2008.
The collector had directed the civic bodies and local-self government to remove the unauthorised construction and furnish a progress report on the same to the court. The civic bodies and local-self governments have also been asked to document the removal of unauthorised construction with photographs.
The collector had highlighted the observations of the High Court that the state administration has sufficient manpower, machinery and authority to take action against unauthorised construction.
In its interim order dated October 15, 2008, the bench of Justice J N Patel and Justice S J Kathawala made stringent observation against the authorities. They said, “It appears that the authorities have slept over their statutory powers and allowed the problem to go beyond their control.” They added that how in the first place these encroachments on municipal and private lands have been permitted and tolerated by the authorities who have sufficient infrastructure and staff to deal with it.

HC issues notices to Haryana govt, police–police/396429/
Express News Service Posted: Dec 10, 2008 at 0029 hrs IST
Panchkula/ Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notices to the Haryana Government and directed the Haryana Police to come up with the evidence collected so far against Kushal Kaushal, accused in the Panchkula gangrape case. Hearing the case on Tuesday, Justice M M S Bedi also directed the Haryana government to file the current status of the case.
The notices were issued on a petition filed by Kaushal, owner of the Swift car in which the victim was allegedly kidnapped before being raped. Kaushal, a national-level judo player, has demanded a CBI probe into the case.
The petition said Kaushal was being falsely implicated in the case, and that he was at the Sector 42 stadium in Chandigarh for practice when the alleged rape took place.
The victim had identified Kaushal’s Swift as the car that was used in the crime, and even testified this in her statements recorded before a magistrate. Her mother has already moved the High Court, demanding an independent probe into the case. Hearing her petition, the court had issued notices to the Haryana government and the director general of police, the Panchkula superintendent of police and the station house officer of the Sector 14 police station. The case comes up for hearing on December 16.
The victim was allegedly gangraped and tortured by a group of four people on September 16, at the garage of a Haryana government office in Sector 4, Panchkula.
Plea seeking cancellation of Ahuja’s bail dismissedA local court has dismissed the application filed by the gangrape victim’s family, seeking cancellation of bail to Aman Ahuja, one of the accused in the case. Additional Sessions Judge Sanjeev Jindal dismissed the application on Tuesday on the plea that the accused had not violated any guidelines of the bail application.
“The application was dismissed as the judge said the ground on which the cancellation of the bail was being demanded was not enough to cancel the bail,” said the public prosecutor. The rape victim had named Aman Ahuja, a resident of Sector 10, Panchkula, as one of the accused who raped her and made a pornographic CD.
He allegedly used the CD later to blackmail her.
Ahuja was arrested a few days after the case was registered by the police on September 16 and was later granted bail by the court. Ahuja is the son of an additional district transport officer in Haryana.

HC directs wildlife body to decide chemical company’s plea on salt plant
Express News Service Posted: Dec 09, 2008 at 0226 hrs IST
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court, on Monday, directed the National Board for Wildlife to decide on the representation made by Kanoria Chemicals about incorporating 300 acres of the latter’s salt manufacturing unit in the proposed wild ass sanctuary in Jungi village of Kutch district.
Directing the Central wildlife authorities to decide on the representation within four weeks from the date of receipt of the order, Justice Anant S Dave asked both parties to maintain the status quo. Wildlife officials have to ensure that coercive measures are not taken against the company, while the company should also not cause any damage to the land till a final decision is taken.
This is the second time that the High Court has asked wildlife authorities to decide on the representation of the company, which has sought permission to continue its activities. The company had the leasehold right for 20 years, which is due to expire in mid-2009. Wildlife authorities, however, failed to take any decision on the court order that expired on November 21, 2008.
The company had moved the court after the Wildlife Department issued a communication, stating that Kanoria Chemicals had no right over the land in question, falling in survey number 1,039 of Jungi village, as the area had been declared a part of the wildlife sanctuary to protect wild asses.
The state government, had in January, 1973, issued a notification declaring certain areas of Kutch district as part of the Ghudkar Wildlife Sanctuary. In December 2006, the Additional Collector in charge of the sanctuary had also rejected the company’s claim over the land in Jungi village beyond mid-2009.

Madras HC to get 14 new judges
10 Dec 2008, 0344 hrs IST, A Subramani, TNN
CHENNAI: The Supreme Court has given its nod for the appointment of 14 new judges in the Madras High Court, but not without a rider. At least five of the 14 candidates, who met chief justice A K Ganguly on Tuesday, were informed that they may have to volunteer for a transfer outside Tamil Nadu or their immediate family members practising law in the state may have to suspend their practice. Though the Bar Council Rules do stipulate that an advocate shall not practice before a judge if he/she happens to be a close relative, this is the first time that prospective judges are being formally asked to clarify their stand on this question ahead of their appointment. Speaking about professional conduct and etiquette, Rule 6 of the Bar Council Rules excludes almost all relatives from practising in a court where the judge concerned is appointed. It includes husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, grandfather, grandson, uncle, brother, sister, nephew, first cousin, aunt, niece, father-in-law, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law and son-in-law. In the nine-judge bench order on S P Gupta Vs Union of India (First Judges Case), a judge observed that transfer is a sound policy, if a judge cannot curtail his relatives from practising in the same court. The Madras High Court, which has a sanctioned strength of 59 judges, has 44 judges at present. Candidates who are to be appointed judges of the Madras High Court are: R S Ramanathan, B Rajendran, Raja Ilango, D Hariparanthaman, C T Selvam, C S Karnan, N G Kirubakaran, M M Sundresh, T S Sivagnanam, M Duraiswamy, T Raja, R Mala, Aruna Jagadeesan and G M Akbar Ali. While the legal fraternity in Chennai is gleeful over the appointments, authorities managing the day-to-day affairs of the higher judiciary are worried at the prospect of having to provide matching infrastructure, given the prevailing severe crunch. The lack of adequate court halls and chambers for judges is the most serious issue, a court official said, adding that they were drawing up a contingency plan to tide over the problem. Of the 14 new judges, at least four will be sent to the Madurai Bench of the court, which has 10 judges now. The number of division benches in the principal seat here as well as the Madurai Bench would be increased, he said. While the move would take care of the shortage of court halls, finding chambers would be a real challenge, he said. Already, some of the 34 judges here are using the chambers of others posted in Madurai at present. “It is not nice to see constitutional functionaries occupying the chambers of other judges,” a senior advocate said, adding, “the concept of twin-sharing basis cannot work here, as judges need absolute privacy to read or dictate judgments.” More judges will mean more personal staff, including stenographers, an official said. The court needs many more qualified stenographers and shuffling the available staff cannot be continued for long, he added. While the government is yet to get new cars to replace vehicles that are either five years old or have logged over one lakh kilometre, at least five judges are yet to get official bungalows on Greenways Road. “The waiting list will just get longer shortly,” the official noted. Creating one or two court halls in the Tamil Nadu Legal Services Authority complex in the High Court premises or taking over the Small Causes Court complex are some of the options being considered by the authorities.

‘Illegitimate’ children also have right to property: HC–children-also-have-right-to-property–HC/396572
Express news service Posted: Dec 10, 2008 at 0222 hrs IST
KOCHI: The Kerala HC on Tuesday said illegitimate children too have rights in the property of their parents and asked the Centre to make necessary legislation, or otherwise amend Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
The HC Division Bench, comprising C N Ramachandran Nair and Haroon Al Rasheed, said both the legitimate and the illegitimate children of a parent should have equal rights over the property. That a man and woman had not been legally married should not be raised as an excuse to deny the succession of property for their children. The court observed that the legislation should be encompassing all religions. If that was not possible, separate rules should be implemented for each religion.
The court gave the verdict, while hearing an appeal filed by the wife of a doctor who was killed in a road accident. She challenged the verdict of a motor accident tribunal in Kottayam which said the doctor’s illegitimate wife and their children also had the right to get a share of the compensation. The HC upheld the decision of the accident tribunal.

HC dismisses lawyer’s petition demanding suspension of sentence…/396449/
Express News Service Posted: Dec 10, 2008 at 0043 hrs IST
Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by advocate Balbir Singh wherein he had demanded suspension of sentence awarded to him by a trial court in Punjab.
Balbir was booked under the Arms Act by a lower court in a case of murder. He was accused of handing over his licenced gun to his son, Hardeshwar Singh, and exhorting him to fire at one Gulshan, who died of the gunshot.
While his son was booked on charges of murder, Balbir was charged under Section 27 of the Arms Act. A case was registered against the two on October 27, 2004. Balbir was an officebearer of the District Bar Association, Gurdaspur. It has been over a year since Balbir has been behind bars.
Refusing to allow the petition filed by Balbir, a Division Bench comprising Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Daya Chaudhary held: “We are not inclined to accept this application for suspension of sentence at this stage.”
The Division Bench held that it appears Balbir has not served a substantial part of the life imprisonment sentence as not even a year has passed.
“Without expressing any opinion of merit in the case, we need to ponder on a question that how can a senior lawyer of a district court, who is said to have been officerbearer of the District Bar Association, hand over his licenced gun to his teenaged son to be used in a heinous crime like murder, knowing well the consequences which would follow,” remarked the Division Bench.
However, the Bench has given the petitioner the liberty to file an appeal to revive his demand of suspension of his sentence after one year.

Govt data on forest land encroachment rattles pro-FRA lobby
10 Dec 2008, 0407 hrs IST, Nitin Sethi, TNN
NEW DELHI: UPA’s attempts to derive political mileage from the Forest Rights Act could face another stumbling block with the environment ministry releasing data of encroachment on forest land harking back to the pre-Act days, threatening to stall the implementation of the pro-tribal legislation. Coming at a time when Congress has failed to squeeze any advantage out of the much-publicised measure in the just-concluded assembly elections, the environment ministry’s step, insiders said, would make it difficult for the party to seek political dividends even in the general elections. Rahul Gandhi may have tried to pitch-fork the issue up in his election rallies for Congress in the tribal belts of Chhattisgarh but the forest bureaucracy’s insistence on continuing to call tribals and other forest dwellers as `encroachers’ has rattled the pro-Act lobby in the government. The environment ministry claimed in the latest release that 16.20 lakh hectares of land was under encroachment with Assam having 3.5 lakh hectares under encroachment, Andhra Pradesh 2.93 lakh hectares and Madhya Pradesh 2.40 lakh hectares illegally occupied. Government officials pointed out that FRA had come about as a reaction to the forest bureaucracy’s trenchant stance of labelling even traditional and tribal forest-dwelling people as encroachers ever since the forest laws were enacted and evicting them forcefully. States like Orissa have recently admitted that more than 40% of its forest areas were never surveyed for rights before being turned into forest lands taking away the rights of those living on these green patches. Similar problems of ascertaining land status continue to plague all the states of North-East, 1.2 million hectares of land in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh besides several other regions. FRA was meant to restore the rights to those who have been incorrectly termed encroachers but the environment ministry’s step to release the data collected against old parameters indicated that a section of the forest bureaucracy continued to work against the implementation of the Act. While FRA does not prescribe a role for the forest department in limiting the number or area that can be claimed for rights in states like Chhattisgarh, the department had taken on such a role frustrating even the BJP government’s plans to distribute the rights in time to gain advantage during the assembly elections.

SMSs during trial: Officer moves SC
10 Dec 2008, 0358 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: A naval officer, dismissed on corruption charges, has moved the Supreme Court pointing out that scores of SMSes were sent by the presiding officer during the court martial. This misdemeanour not only breached the Navy Act but also snuffed out prospects of a fair trial, he alleged. Challenging a Delhi High Court order upholding the court martial verdict, petitioner M P Verma in his appeal said the HC lightly brushed aside the misdemeanour charge against the presiding officer and overlooked illegalities in constituting the court martial board. Petitioner’s counsel senior advocate Parminder Singh Patwalia questioned the legality of the composition of the court martial body alleging that drafting of members, who were originally not in the panel, fly in the face of the guidelines set under Section 97 of the Navy Act. A Bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and Markandey Katju, while commenting adversely on corruption in public life, agreed to examine the issue in view of the serious infraction of the Navy Act alleged by the petitioner. It issued notice to the Centre and posted the matter for final hearing on January 9, 2009. The petitioner based his allegation on the phone record of the presiding officer. Annexing the mobile phone record of the presiding officer during the days when the court martial proceedings were held, he said: “The president had been sending SMSes almost on every day of the trial.” From the MTNL records, “it can be safely said that the president was either sending or receiving 40-50 messages on some days, 10-20 on the others”, he said and accused the president of breaching section 116(2) of the Navy Act, 1957. As per Section 116(2) of the Act, “No person shall speak to or hold any communication with the court while the court is considering the finding”. If the president was sending and receiving so many SMSes, then “the possibility of president establishing communication with concerned outside authorities cannot be ruled out”, the petitioner alleged. The question that emerged from the petition was that `even if there was overwhelming evidence against an accused, can a judge be said to have done complete justice if he was found to be sending SMSes during the hearing of arguments in the case’? The HC had brushed aside the allegations of the petitioner and upheld his conviction saying, “The allegation that the president of the court martial had not applied his mind while holding the trial has not been substantiated.” “Merely because some SMSes were sent by the president on a particular day or two would not reflect the non-application of mind by the president of the court martial, more so when the accused was duly represented by defence counsel who has cross-examined each and every witness throughout the trial and has made all objections whatever available to him while recording of the evidence of those witnesses,” it had said.

Govt looking to courts to turn CBI into federal agency
10 Dec 2008, 0400 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: In the midst of drafting modalities for a federal agency against terror, the Centre has given loud hints that it favoured making CBI the federal crime investigation bureau, which should not be prevented from probing an offence merely because a state has not consented to it. But, it did not want to go the whole hog on the issue and wanted to take one step at a time. So, the Centre has decided to ride piggyback on the judiciary to achieve its objective of making CBI a federal crime investigating agency. Solicitor General G E Vahanvati has told the Supreme Court that a high court or the apex court, to do complete justice, should be free to order a CBI probe into a case without seeking the prior consent of the state government. He was replying to West Bengal’s vehement opposition to the Calcutta HC order asking CBI to investigate the death of 11 Trinamool Congress workers at Gabreta in Midnapore district allegedly at the hands of ruling party members. Appearing for West Bengal, senior advocate K K Venugopal cited the provisions of the Delhi Police Special Establishment Act, under which CBI had been set up, and said it did not permit the agency from probing incidents in a state without the latter’s prior consent. This statutory provision could not be sidestepped by the courts, he said on Thursday before a five-judge constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan. West Bengal has been supported by few other states, which also hold identical views on the CBI’s investigation jurisdiction. Vahanvati nuanced his arguments on a different aspect — the fundamental right of a victim to get complete and fair justice. “A restriction, if any, placed on the Centre to extend powers to the CBI to investigate incidents in states cannot possibly be read as a limitation on the powers of the HCs or the SC to enforce fundamental rights,” he said. “When a citizen approaches a court seeking protection of his human rights under Article 21 of the Constitution and submits that he is being subjected to an unfair investigation, the courts are not helpless but on the contrary duty bound to grant him full relief and for this purpose, are entitled to call on any authority, civil or judicial, to grant full and effective justice to the citizen,” he said. Vahanvati, who would continue his arguments on Wednesday, said: “Fundamental rights occupy a unique position in the Constitution and there can be no fetter put on the court’s powers and jurisdiction to enforce fundamental rights much less fetters by implications and strained feelings.”

Church comes out in support of Sister Ahaya case accused
10 Dec 2008, 0345 hrs IST, TNN
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the Sister Abhaya murder case turning out to be an embarrassment, the Church has come out in support of the accused, two priests and a nun — claiming they were innocent and accusing the CBI of trying to implicate them. “Some magic seems to be at work that a case which was not proved for 16 years is depicted to have been solved in just 16 minutes,” Syro Malabar Church spokesperson Paul Thelakkat told a congregation of believers in Kottayam district conveying the clergy’s displeasure over the developments. The meeting called to convey the Church’s support for the accused claimed that even basic human rights are being denied to them. The CBI told the Kerala High Court, which is monitoring the case, that there seemed to be a deliberate move from “interested corners” to derail the case. The agency said this while replying to a plea of torture filed by some nuns who were questioned by CBI. Denying the charge, the agency said questioning was part of investigation and denied it had physically harassed anyone. The case of death of Sister Abhaya in the St Piuos Convent Hostel in Kottayam on March 27, 1992 has continued to haunt the Church with allegations of involvement of some brethren. The arrest of the accused Father Thomas M Kottur, Father Joseph Poothikkayil and Sister Sephy only confirmed the doubts. According to investigators, Abhaya had woken up early in the morning and come down to the kitchen to drink water when she saw Sister Sephy and the two priests in an objectionable situation. They said the trio hit her on the head with an axe and then dumped her body in the Convent well. It is learnt that CBI is now on the look out for all those who allegedly tried to hush up the case including the former crime branch SP, who had ruled it as a suicide case.

Burail custodial death: NHRC rejects report
10 Dec 2008, 1019 hrs IST, Saurabh Prashar, TNN
CHANDIGARH: The two-year old custodial death of a 30-year-old undertrial in model jail, Burail, is still haunting jail officials. The National Human Right Commission (NHRC) rejected the probe report of UT administration and marked a fresh inquiry into the entire incident. Harnek Singh, 30, resident of Bapu Dham colony, Sector 26, died in Burail jail on May 23, 2006, and during postmortem, doctors detected more than 15 external contusions on his body, said to have occurred in 24 hours before his death. Sources say the probe team ended the inquiry, claiming that all the contusions were self-inflected by Harnek Singh inside the jail premises. Harnek was arrested under Section 109 of CrPC, as he failed to reveal his exact identity to a raiding party of Bapu Dham police post on May 20, 2006. The major blunder on part of police officials was detected when the fact came to light that Harnek Singh was sent to judicial custody without any medical examination. Meanwhile, the postmortem was conducted by a special panel of doctors and the inquiry was conducted under the supervision of several senior officials, including the then IG (prison) Dinesh Bhatt and others. Sources in the police headquarters, Sector 9, revealed that even as the jail official closed the file of Harnek Singh, his family members challenged the NHRC report, pointing out that there were more then 15 contusions on the body of their relative. The NHRC directed UT administration to hold an independent inquiry, to be conducted by a gazetted officer. The inquiry was marked to DSP (crime) KIP Singh, but according to sources, it is being conducted by a sub-inspector level official of UT police. After the death of Harnek, police department has made it mandatory that medical examination of all suspects, arrested under 109 of CrPC be conducted before putting them behind bars. Sources say statements of jail officials are being recorded and a reply would be filed within a fortnight.

People’s Tribunal releases final report
10 Dec 2008, 0059 hrs IST, TNN
Bangalore : While a policeman’s role is to maintain law and order and ensure security, human rights activists stress that cases of torture meted out by men in khakhi are on the rise. The People’s Tribunal on Torture released its final jury report on Tuesday, detailing 800 cases of alleged violence by police personnel. The South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) had identified these cases in six districts and presented them before the jury. Nearly 100 of these cases were heard by the tribunal, chaired by Justice Suresh, on August 12-13. The final report contains recommendations to the government and case-by-case analysis. “In just two and a half years, SICHREM found 800 cases of torture by police. You can imagine how many have not come under the public eye. Despite public hearings and awareness building initiatives, torture by the police is a reality. Even women and children are not spared,” human rights activist and researcher Asha Ramesh said. “Women are beaten and abused. There was even a case of rape. The violence in many cases is caste-based. The SC/ST Act is such a strong tool, but it is not implemented properly,” she added. The report makes specific demands of the state police — abiding by mandatory procedures and reporting guidelines, public display of D K Basu Commission guidelines on arrest, and all police personnel to undergo human rights training. The project’s aim is to urge the Centre to ratify the UN Convention against Torture, and enact a domestic legislation in accordance with it. “The government signed the convention in 1997 but is yet to ratify it. This report is proof of torture going unnoticed. It focusses on police violence. We will document other areas too in a similar way,” R Manohar, state coordinator, National Project on Preventing Torture, said. SICHREM’s study was conducted in Kolar, Haveri, Mandya, Kodagu, Mysore and Chamarajnagar. The organization is also helping victims of torture file cases so that the issue gains importance. Twelve cases have been filed so far.

Cop slaps woman, govt to pay
Monetary relief to a
Jamshedpur, Dec. 9: After being humiliated and thrashed by the police two years ago, Geeta Devi, a slum dweller near New Baradwari, finally got justice.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) directed the state government to pay a monetary compensation of Rs 10,000 to Geeta today. It also reprimanded sub-inspector Satish Kumar Sinha of Sitaramdera police station for the cruelty meted out to the woman.
Acting on an FIR lodged by one Rajinder Singh with the Sitaramdera police station, a police party led by sub-inspector Satish Kumar Sinha on February 5, 2006, raided the residence of one Umesh Prasad Singh, accused in a criminal case.
At the time of the raid, Singh’s wife was present in the house. His daughter Geeta Devi, who lived in the neighbourhood protested and urged the police team to bring lady constables if they wanted to search the house. But the sub-inspector tried to enter forcibly and in the spur of the moment caught hold of Geeta and thrashed her in front of her neighbours.
Geeta sustained injuries on her hands and shoulders and was admitted to the MGM Medical College and Hospital for treatment.
The People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), a human rights organisation, took up the case of alleged brutality. After a preliminary probe, PUCL’s Jharkhand unit sent a petition to NHRC, demanding a probe and strict action against the erring police officer.
The NHRC started proceedings and in April 2006 and instructed the East Singhbhum SP to submit a report. The East Singhbhum district police probed the matter and on June 1, 2006 submitted a report.
It said that the sub-inspector wanted to arrest Singh, who was wanted in a criminal case, but the daughter of the accused, Geeta protested. In her statement, Geeta said, there was no male member in the house when the police arrived. Also, the police did not bring any lady officer with them to search the house.
As there was an injury report and statements of eyewitnesses, the commission held the sub-inspector guilty and also directed the state government to pay Rs 10,000 as monetary relief to Geeta.
“I was confident of getting justice. I am thankful to the commission,” Geeta said.

NHRC opposes any state regulation on media, advocates self-restraint
New Delhi, Dec 09: Holding that there can be no rights without responsibilities, NHRC on Tuesday disfavoured imposition of any state regulation on the media and said that self-restraint instead should be exercised by the fourth estate.
“We feel that there should be no regulation or prohibition and self-restraint is the best restraint for the media,” National Human Rights Commission Chairperson S Rajendra Babu told a seminar on “Human Rights and Role of Media” organised here to mark 60th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. His comments assume significance in the backdrop of allegations against the electronic media that during the Mumbai terror attack coverage, certain operational details of action undertaken by NSG and other security forces were broadcast endangering the lives of the soldiers. The government has taken exception to such coverage and issued advisories to some TV channels. To the criticism that the panel was merely a ‘paper tiger’ with none of its suggestions being implemented by the authorities, Rajendra Babu said that while Commission wants to see total transparency in the government, the pronouncements of the panel were not enforceable but recommendatory in nature. “No government can refuse that human right is not part of good governance although the Commission does not have power to make observance of human rights enforceable,” he said. While the Commission wanted no confrontation with the government, Babu said that the NHRC has to function in a totally independent manner. Rajendra Babu stressed that the NHRC was keeping track on cases of human rights violations by the state authorities and said quoting an Israeli judge that “if the terrorism is bad, state terrorism is worse.” Emphasising that much needs to be done at the ground level to ensure human rights in the states, Babu noted that Chief Ministers should take appropriate steps to strengthen the State Human Rights Commissions. The panel chairperson also expressed the Commission’s inability to keep a tab on each and every human rights violation cases in the states on the basis of media reports and said it has failed to get adequate support from the authors of the articles alleging abuses. On a demand for NHRC’s intervention on the issue of detention of Binayak Sen, a physician and a human rights activist who is in jail for his alleged nexus with the Naxalites, he said, “it is a subject matter before the courts and since the Supreme Court is already seized of the matter, there is nothing the NHRC can do in the matter.” Rajendra Babu also dismissed allegations that the rights body was working under the influence of the Central Government. “NHRC is not working at the behest of anybody and it is an independent body,” he asserted. Bureau Report

NHRC seek views of J-K Govt on allegations of mass burials
Tuesday, December 09th, 2008 AT 7:12 PM
NEW DELHI: Taking suo motu cognisance of media and human rights bodies’ reports, National Human Right Commission (NHRC) has asked Jammu and Kashmir government to give its views on allegations contained in them, that certain mass burials had been carried out by the security forces.
The Commission has also sought a report from the state government, on alleged disappearance of people including Kashmiri Pandits, NHRC chairman Justice S Rajendra Babu told here today.
He was speaking on the sidelines of an interactive session organised by the Commission, with senior media professionals on the issue of “Human Rights and Role of Media” here.
“The Commission sought a report from the state government two months back. The report is still awaited, and NHRC would proceed on the next course of action after getting the report,” Justice Rajendra Babu said.
On being asked how the Commission proposes to probe the issue, he referred to the NHRC investigation into incidents of mass burial in Punjab during the terrorism years there.
“Of 2,000 such bodies buried in Punjab, we identified 1,000 and even solved 200 cases. In a similar way, we will handle the cases relating to Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
He, however, said he may not be personally visiting the state.
“What will I do by going there?” he asked.
On being asked about NHRC response to an NGO’s claims, that around 18,000 people from the state are reported missing, the NHRC chairman said, “We are verifying it.”
While admitting that the response from the state to the NHRC missives has been slow, the chairman said that the Commission receives complaints of different nature from the state.
The Commission has also with it complaints regarding disappearance and killings of Kashmiri Pandits, NHRC officials said.
Amnesty International had earlier urged the Indian government, to carry out investigation into the issue of mass graves, which are suspected to have victims of unlawful killings.
According to a report, the graves are located in areas bordering Pakistan.

NHRC waiting reply from Maha govt on north Indians issue
Tuesday, December 09th, 2008 AT 7:12 PM
New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seems to have lost all hope of getting a reply from Maharashtra government, on its notice on alleged attack on north Indians by supporters of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) led by Raj Thackeray.
“The state government is looking into the matter and we are yet to get a reply,” NHRC chairperson Rajendra Babu told, on the sidelines of a function here.
Taking suo motu cognisance of the media reports on incidents of attacks by MNS on north Indian aspirants for railway jobs, the Commission in October had issued notices to the Chief Secretary and DGP of Maharashtra government for their comments on the issue.
However, the Commission, which had given two weeks to the state to file its reply in the matter, is still waiting for the report even though the campaign against north Indians had led to violence and damage to property.
Interestingly, this is not the first time that the state has “ignored” the NHRC’s directives.
In February too, it was asked by the Commission to reply on a report alleging that a person had fled from Nashik with his family, after they were allegedly beaten up by MNS activists.
The NHRC, while seeking a reply from the state government within four weeks, had described the attacks on north Indians in the state, as a serious issue of human rights violation, and had sought the views of the Maharashtra authorities.
Quoting the reports, the panel had said, “These people were threatened by MNS workers to leave Maharashtra or face consequences.”
The reports had quoted a victim Rehman Bhai, who had also alleged that MNS activists had threatened him.


4 Responses


  2. I understand there is stay order against Neelkanth Heights in Thane(Upvan) & they can not proceed with balance completion work .

    I shall appreciate to know what exactly is the problem,ban is by Court or Government or is it a forest land ? WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF RESOLVING THE ISSUE &IN WHOSE FAVOUR.

  3. Please ask those appointing the Judges to Go thro. this.

    Mine is a love marriage. I got married in 11th feb’1987. She is a BDS by qualification and that time i was only DME, worked for a very good TVS company known for its auto electricals. I ave taken a money back policy in her name for Rs.100000 by preponing one year.Inthe mean time her younger brother had gone to the US.In 1990, I got my first daughter.

    In 1991 Jan, I have shifted my job to a useless company making Heavy Vehicles in ennore, who is not practising any good systems left by the Europeans and most of executives spend 90% of time there. I have got my 2nd daughter in 1992.

    In the mean time i got money from my father by selling my ancestral property to get a Plot. I have bought the plot by paying Rs.92,000/- to one Mr.Padmanabhan, Manager of SBI as instructed by my estranged wife. I have paid a cheque for Rs.47,000 in her father’s name to pay thecash to the Padmanabhan. My estranged wife has forced me to buy the plot in her name and i have also bought it to avoid her torture in day today life and she convinced me that it is easier for her to get a VISA to go to US for higher studies, if it is in her Name. I have paid Rs.50,000/- from my chit amount to aquire a place for her clinic.

    I have taken Housing loans from HDFC & LICHF by inflating her income to Rs.7,500/- per month although she is not earning even Rs.1200/ per month.

    In 1995 Dec. she ran away with all documents of the house, My&her belongings and with my children.
    As the above lady tried to sell the property instead of registering in my children’s name, by giving ads thro another broker advocate, we have filed the cases.
    Two Cases, A suit for the property & Restitution of Conjugal Rights has been handed over to one R.S.Ramanathan and his wife UMA Ramanathan. We filed the house suit for only 50% of partition of property as advised by the above Ramanathan. A seperate case for Guardians right to get the children was also filed in High Court. The lawer has forced us to pay Rs.15,000/- the next day informing us that he has to pay the amount to High Court. and he he has taken another Rs.8,500/-afterwards.

    But to our surprise, the above two advocates
    1. have not filed the suit in the High Court.
    2. have not Paid any amount back.
    3. have not even paid the Bata for the childrens custody case in High court.
    4. have asked for adjournment even when there is no representation from the opposite side and failed to give petition to the Judge as he has promised in the court.Hence the Judge dismissed the case.
    5. Due to the above the opposite party has sold the property within a month.
    6. Never tried to even file a petition for even visiting rights & whenever asked the judge of family court even never allowing me to see the children.
    7. Now my estranged wife is roaming around all and sundries and especially with a muslim boy who is a relative of a petrol bunk owner.
    8. Now she is not practicing and leading a wayward life with all & sundries. My children had been not send to school from 20th Dec’2000 to April’2002, becuse she was hiding during that period. She had given a false certificate to the court after 6months that the Children has been studying in St.Patricks Convent, Gandhinagar, Adyar,Chennai. When I have checked up with the School the principal has informed myself & My friend Dr.M.S.Rajan that the lady has cheated by taking a certificate.
    9. She had been arrested twice on IPC 406&420 and has been in Saidapet Sub-jail for more than 30 days as she had cheated many people by borrowing money. The children were left with strangers that time. I fear that my children may also be introduced to Prostitution.
    10. Now she had given a certificate that the children are studying in KUMARA RANI MEENA MUTHIAH MATRICULATION SCHOOL, Adyar.
    10. I have informed the Learned Family Court Judge about everything but in vain.
    11. My latest advocate was a scecretary in Women Lawers association who is also supporting the opposite indirectly.
    12. Her Husband is also not acting in the suit and indirectly supporting the Opposite.
    13. My latest lawers also has taken a sum of Rs.15,000/ as fees.
    14. Lawers are the only community who doesnot accept the fees thro cheque and never give a receipt.

    Kindly Advise me the further course of action that i have to take.

    Dear Friend

    Frankly you have gone through a long ordeal and you feel sullen, bruised and hurt.

    Natural that is but at this point you wont be able to do much in the most corrupt justice system of the world that is India. India justice system is the worst of the worst one can ever think of – even worse than Russia, African countries and Latin America.

    The circumstances you mention you should let her go with whatever she took and start a new life.
    It is never late.

    You will never ever be able to get anything out of this whole dispute. She is gone and you should not force.

    Protect what you have and start a new life possibly in a new environment.
    That is the best you can do.

    You may report to the police but they will also extort funds out of you.

    Best of luck.

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