LEGAL NEWS 12.01.2009

Legal knots: Law of the land takes its course
11 Jan 2009, 0536 hrs IST, Rajesh Chandramouli , TNN
NEW DELHI: Registrar of Companies, Sebi, Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), Criminal Laws and Civil Laws, Class Action Suits are chasing Ramalinga Raju, the beleaguered former chairman of Satyam Computer Services. “RoC officials have seized all records so that they are not tampered with. Sebi officials, too, have access to the same and they have also seized them,” a Satyam source told TOI. What next? Well, RoC will have to wait for instruction or arrival of crack team either from Chennai (which is the southern headquarters of department of company affairs) or from Delhi, while Sebi will wait for specialists from Mumbai. The issue gets knotty here. While DCA is under the purview of ministry of corporate affairs, Sebi, on the other hand, comes under the finance ministry. Adding twist is the third agency SFIO, which comes under corporate affairs ministry. According to company law practioners, the first step has been taken by the police who will follow the Indian Penal Code. The next would be what Sebi finds out in the probe as also the DCA through RoC. “After their findings they will have to charge him and as they say, law will take its course. In the interim, if any investor files cases in any of the several thousand courts across the country, the issue gets that much complicated and therefore delayed. Since this is the first major case coming after SFIO has been constituted, let’s see how government moves around the circles the legal set-up has created,” V Vaitheeswaran, a corporate lawyer, told TOI. Going by the sheer multiplicity of agencies and ministries involved in the investigation, it looks like Ramalinga Raju is clearly headed for a long-drawn legal battle before arriving at any conviction.

“Pakistan can provide legal help to Ajmal”
Berhampore (West Bengal): India will allow Pakistan to provide legal assistance to Ajmal Amir, the only survivor among the terrorists who struck in Mumbai, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday.
“We will allow Pakistan if that country is willing to provide legal assistance to Ajmal Kasab,” he told journalists here.
Asked about the BJP’s allegation that the Congress was silent on taking anti-terror measures, he said: “People are daily watching my statements on this. If this is silence, what will you call being vocal?”— PTI

HC grants bail to 52 AIADMK men
12 Jan 2009, 1910 hrs IST, PTI
MADURAI: The Madurai bench of Madras High Court on Monday granted conditional bail to 52 AIADMK men, including Melur MLA R Samy, who were arrested for allegedly assaulting the police and issuing murder threats to them at Perungudi during the bypoll to Tirumangalam assembly constituency. Justice P R Sivakumar directed the AIADMK men to sign before their respective Magistrates daily. Earlier, the Tirumangalam Magistrate had rejected them bail, forcing them to approach the High Court.

SC gives Mayawati four weeks to reply in assets case
12 Jan 2009, 1716 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Monday got four weeks’ time from the Supreme Court to respond to the CBI claim that there was ample evidence to prosecute her in a disproportionate assets case registered against her five years ago. Mayawati has filed a petition seeking quashing of the criminal proceedings against her in the case alleging it was registered against her due to political reasons. Uttar Pradesh’s Additional Advocate General Shail Kumar Dwivedi told a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan that the matter should be deferred for hearing for four weeks so that he could file a counter to the affidavit filed by the CBI. The investigating agency in July last had responded to the apex court notice stating that there was sufficient evidence to show that Mayawati amassed wealth disproportionate to her known sources of income. The CBI, which had registered a DA case against the BSP chief in 2003, alleged the assets shown by her in the Akbarpur parliamentary constituency were worth over Rs one crore whereas the assets increased to over Rs 50 crore in her declaration papers submitted during the 2007 assembly polls. The agency had said the she had been questioned about the wealth over a period of three years to which she has said that it was due to the party worker’s donations, which included meagre sums of Rs five and Rs 10, on her birthday. However, it contended that the reasoning by Mayawati was not plausible and that it was likely to file a chargesheet against her in the disproportionate assets case soon. The agency refuted Mayawati’s allegation that the UPA government was using the probe to serve its political interests and it was aimed at “character assassination.”

Now, private firms can use CISF cover
12 Jan 2009, 1543 hrs IST, TIMESOFINDIA.COM
NEW DELHI: The ordinance allowing Central Industrial Security Force to cover to private installations run by leading corporate houses has come into force with effect from Sunday night. Corporate houses including Tata, Infosys, Oberoi and Reliance Industries have sought CISF cover for their offices and factories. The companies would have to pay for getting the security cover. “The Tatas, the Oberois, Infosys and the Jamnagar Refineries (Reliance) have approached me (for CISF cover),” home minister P Chidambaram had said last Wednesday. The ordinance has been necessitated following the Mumbai terror attacks, where hotels and other places of importance were targeted. Till now, CISF cover was available only to public sector units and installations like airports. The government has already introduced a bill in Rajya Sabha to amend the CISF Act. However, it could not be passed as it was referred to the departmental standing committee. The 1.05 lakh-strong force is protecting over 250 undertakings and has been under tremendous pressure due to the shortage of manpower and equipment. CISF is currently manning the security at airports, railway stations and Delhi Metro. The CISF chief in March last year had even spoken about the pressure the force was under. In October 2008, the Cabinet Committee on Security gave its nod to augment the force’s strength by 40,000 personnel over the next few years. However, sources said the demand from private entrepreneurs is likely to increase the pressure.

Chargesheet against Kasab by Jan 24
12 Jan 2009, 0424 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The chargesheet against the lone terrorist arrested for the 26/11 Mumbai carnage will be ready by January 24. Mumbai Police is keen not to go beyond the 60-day deadline set under the IPC and will file the chargesheet against Ajmal Amir Kasab and perhaps even two key Lashkar-e-Taiba handlers — Mohammed Yousuf Muzammil and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi — in Pakistan. Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said the dozen different cases against Kasab would be merged together for one comprehensive trial, which would be held at a special high security court.

SC ruling bars Soren from becoming CM again without getting elected
12 Jan 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: Few politicians have frequented courts like Jharkhand chief minister Shibu Soren aka Guruji whose trail can be tracked through JMM MPs bribery case that saved the beleaguered Congress government headed by P V Narasimha Rao in 1993, Chirudih massacre case of 1975 and the Shashinath Jha murder case of 1993. A constitution Bench of the Supreme Court bailed him out along with other MPs in the bribery scandal by ruling that those who had voted after taking bribe could not be prosecuted as they enjoyed immunity under Article 105(2) of the Constitution. He was acquitted. For allegedly persisting with the demand for a share in the booty received by him for supporting the Rao government, Guruji’s secretary Shashinath Jha paid with his life. The trial court convicted Soren and four others. But, the Delhi High Court gave him a clean chit and acquitted him. The Chirudih massacre may have had cost him his position in the Union Cabinet as coal minister but he bounced back into the political field riding on an acquittal from a Jamtara court, which was affirmed by the HC. The courts had always helped Guruji to stay afloat in turbulent political waters. But, turbulence continues in Guruji’s life. If he thought he had outsmarted independent MLA Madhu Koda to wrest the chief minister’s post, then it was not to last long. Last week, he met his Waterloo at Tamar, the constituency from where he was seeking election to the Assembly. It was crucial because Article 164(4) of the Constitution mandates: “A minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the legislature of the state shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a minister.” So, can Soren, after his loss from Tamar, resign from the CM’s post and again be made chief minister after a few days? This route was tried earlier by a Punjab minister, Tej Parkash Singh, in 1996 and the Supreme Court came down heavily on him for committing constitutional impropriety. The same bitter legal medicine was later administered to AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa. It would be futile for Guruji to attempt this illegal route as a three-judge Bench in its August 17, 2001 judgment in the case S R Chaudhuri vs State of Punjab clearly stated that appointing a person as a minister or CM, without he having been elected to the Assembly for six months in his prior stint in a similar post, would be subversion of Constitution. The apex court said: “It would be subverting the Constitution to permit an individual, who is not a member of the legislature, to be appointed a minister repeatedly for a term of `six consecutive months’ without him getting elected meanwhile.” Article 164(4) was at best an exception to the normal rule of only members of legislature being ministers, that too restricted to a period of six months. “The clear mandate of Article 164(4) that `if an individual concerned is not able to get elected to the legislature within the grace period of six consecutive months, he shall cease to be a minister’ cannot be allowed to be frustrated by giving a gap of a few days and reappointing the individual as a minister,” the SC had ruled, which would squarely apply to Soren. But, the courts have not yet written the conclusion in cases pending against him. The CBI has re-opened JMM MPs bribery case and has filed chargesheet against him and other former JMM colleagues regarding the unexplained Rs 3.5 crore deposited in their accounts in 1993. It is pending in the trial court. Jha’s widow and children have moved the SC challenging the HC order acquitting Soren, even though CBI strangely omitted Guruji’s name from its appeal memo against four other accused who were acquitted along with him by the same judgment. The case is pending in SC, which had sought Soren’s reply. Only time will tell how lucky Soren has been in courts.

Court pulls up Railways
12 Jan 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: Get real. That was the blunt message of the Bombay High Court to the authorities regarding railway accident compensation cases. In two separate instances involving deaths in 2001 and 2002, Justice A B Chaudhari asked the railways to be alive to the reality of how railway passengers commute daily. The judge was not impressed with attempts to stymie compensation claims on the grounds that the victims were allegedly negligent for running and boarding trains or getting into crowded coaches. He said that such reasons for denying compensation were “ridiculous” and did not show any regard for the fact that “in the local railway trains in Mumbai, people are required to travel and board the train despite (the) heavy rush”. The judge asked the railways to shell out Rs 4 lakh as `no fault liability’ to each of the two victims’ families. The compensation rules specify that the railways have to pay Rs 4 lakh as ‘no fault liability’ to families of victims of rail accidents subject to the condition that they were bona fide passengers. In the Mumbai region alone, over 8,000 people met with accidents on the Central and Western railways in 2007, with 3,937 being fatalities. Around 20% of the victims died while crossing tracks, but the remaining 80% comprised commuters who slipped into the gaps between trains and platforms or fell from packed coaches. Though the carrying capacity of a nine-car rake is 1,700, more than 4,700 people travel in a train during peak hours. While 1,101 claims were filed before the Mumbai railway claims tribunal in 2007-08, only 215 have been decided so far and 57 have been dismissed. The two cases that came up before the court had actually been decided by the Nagpur railway claims tribunal. The first case related to the death of Gokul Jadhav on March 29, 2002. He fell from a moving train near Diva railway station. The tribunal refused compensation on the grounds that since no railway ticket was found on Jadhav, he was not a bona fide passenger.
More importantly, it held that Jadhav was standing at the door of the local train, thereby indulging in a rash and negligent act, which supposedly disallowed his family from making any claim for compensation. The tribunal further said that the railways prominently display the maximum number of passengers a coach can carry, and Jadhav did not bother to check this when he boarded the crowded coach during rush hour. In response, the high court remarked that the railway claims tribunal comprised judicial and technical members and its conclusion was “ridiculous”. The second case involved a claim for compensation by the family of Abdul Kadir, who died after he fell while trying to board a running train. In this case, the tribunal awarded the Rs 4 lakh, but the railways challenged the decision in the HC, saying it was a self-inflicted injury because Kadir had attempted to board a running train.
Again, the high court did not agree and referred to a Supreme Court judgment which said that applying such a restrictive and narrow meaning would deprive a large number of people, particularly from the poor and middle class, from getting compensation. The apex court had ruled that the expression “accidental falling of a passenger from a train carrying passengers”-which entitled a victim’s family to `no fault liability’ compensation-included “accidents when a bona fide passenger is trying to enter a railway train and falls down during the process”. The HC also held that it could not be concluded that a person was not a bona fide passenger merely because a ticket or railway pass was not found on the body of the victim. The court accepted the evidence of fellow passengers who had seen the two victims buying tickets and asked the railways to shell out the compensation. Activist Samir Jhaveri, who met with an accident 20 years ago and lost both legs, said the railways habitually make it difficult for victims to get compensation. “My family didn’t even know there was a provision for compensation,” he said. Today, he devotes considerable time as an activist raising the issue of passenger safety and has also filed a public interest litigation on the issue of deaths on the railway tracks. “The railways are not passenger friendly, which results in victims and their families having to go from pillar to post for the purpose of compensation,” he said.
According to Jhaveri, a solution could be that every station prominently displays the location of the nearest railway claims tribunal.

NGOs’ role in creating legal awareness vital: judge
Special Correspondent
PUDUKOTTAI: The Principal District and Sessions Judge, K. Jeyasankaran called upon the non-governmental organisations to play a vital role in creating legal awareness among the rural masses, particularly women.
Delivering his presidential address at a legal awareness camp conducted jointly by the Pudukottai District Legal Services Authority and the Alangudi Taluk Legal Services Committee at rural town of Keeramangalam recently, Mr. Jeyasankaran underlined the importance of motor vehicle insurance for claiming sufficient compensation in case of fatal accidents. He commended the services rendered by the district and taluk level Legal Services Committees in offering free legal services to the deprived and downtrodden in general and the rural masses in particular.
The Chairman of the Taluk Legal Services Committee and Judicial Magistrate, Alangudi, A. Karnan, the District Fast Tract Court Judge, P. Ayyasamy, secretary of the District Legal Services Authority and Subordinate Judge, M. Kuppusamy, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Pudukottai, N. Rajasekar, Pudukottai Bar president, A. Chandrasekaran and its secretary, S. Raja Athimoolam also spoke.
Mr. Jeyasankaran received petitions containing grievances of the local people on the occasion. Women self-help group members, members of the NGOs and the local people participated in large number in the day long camp.

High Court orders notice to Chief Secretary on petition filed by suspended employee
Special Correspondent
CHENNAI: Justice V. Ramasubramanian of the Madras High Court has ordered notice of motion to the Chief Secretary, returnable in two weeks, on a petition filed by a suspended employee of the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC).
The petitioner has challenged the acceptance of the findings of the Justice P.Shanmugham Commission of Inquiry and sought to forbear authorities from commencing and/or continuing any departmental or criminal action against him pursuant to a G.O.
The Commission of Inquiry went into the alleged leakage of a telephonic conversation between the then Chief Secretary, L.K.Tripathi, and Additional Director-General of Police, DVAC, S.K.Upadhyay, to an English daily.
In his petition, A.Shankar, Special Assistant, DVAC, under suspension, submitted that the Tamil Nadu government issued a G.O. in September last year accepting the findings of the Commission of Inquiry.
The Commission recommended that a criminal case and departmental proceedings may be initiated against him. He alone had been chosen for both criminal and departmental action. Acceptance of the recommendation suffered from malice in law. He said only when the conversation between the Chief Secretary and the police officer was official, there could be a recommendation to take criminal or departmental action against the officials of the department. Accepting the recommendations of the Commission against the petitioner suffered from arbitrariness and unfairness, he said.

Court notice to DDA over flat allotment quota
12 Jan 2009, 1949 hrs IST, IANS
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on a petition challenging the policy of reserving flats for Scheduled Caste applicants from across the country. Justice Hima Kohli asked DDA to file its reply within four weeks and slated the matter for March 23. The DDA had invited applications for 5,238 flats in August-September under the DDA Housing Scheme 2008. Of the available number of flats, 17.5 percent were reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the applicants did not need to be a Delhi resident. Prem Chand, a 42-year-old resident of Dilshad Garden, has questioned the legality of this provision and sought the court’s intervention. Giving prima facie observation on the petitioner’s plea, the judge noted: “DDA is not a local authority and cannot stick to one particular state.” The petition says the government agency had surpassed its jurisdiction by inviting applications from Scheduled Caste applicants outside the National Capital Territory, without a thought for members of the same category living in Delhi. Rajeev Bansal, appearing for DDA, said the petition was not maintainable and should be dismissed. “The procedure of allotment of flats had begun in August. If the petitioner had any problems, he should have challenged the process then. But he participated in the draw and his name did not figure in the list, and now he has challenged the procedure. That’s not relevant,” he said.

Tandoor murder: SC to hear Sharma petition in April
12 Jan 2009, 1513 hrs IST, TIMESOFINDIA.COM
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will hear the death sentence of former Youth Congress president Sushil Sharma’s petition in April. Former Youth Congress leader Sushil Sharma has been sentenced for the murder of his wife Naina Sahni and later disposing off her body in a tandoor (clay oven) in a restaurant on July 2, 1995. Sharma was first awarded death sentence by Additional Sessions Judge G P Thareja on Nov 7, 2003. Later in 2007, the Delhi High Court upheld the lower court’s decision. Sharma then filed a petition in the Supreme Court. Sharma killed his wife Naina, suspecting her of infidelity. In a fit of rage, Sharma shot her during an argument at their residence in Gole Market, central Delhi and then burnt her body in a tandoor.

Man who lifted lid off DDA scam arrested
12 Jan 2009, 0146 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) made their second arrest in the DDA scam – shockingly, the “whistle blower” of the scam, 30-year-old law graduate and property dealer Deepak Kumar. “We have incriminating evidence against him and his name cropped up during the interrogation of Lakshmi Narayan Meena, the prime accused in the scam. We recorded his statement on Saturday and will further question him now,” said a police officer. Additional CP (EOW) S B K Singh refused to comment about the arrest. The development however has caused outrage in some circles with complainant Udit Raj questioning the need to arrest Deepak when policemen knew all along that he had been a part of the racket and that’s where his information came from. “This is a bid to punish him for speaking up. Deepak is a property dealer who was initially involved in the scam, but then he switched sides. Neither Deepak, nor me ever kept this information from police. In fact, we reported to Malviya Nagar police station on October 31 last year, more than a month and a half before the draw, telling them about everything. They ignored the complaint and took no action. On November 10 again, we filed a complaint at the Pashchim Vihar police station and named Rakesh Agarwal, Bhaskar, Suresh Kumar and Vijay Kumar along with LN Meena, but they took no action. It is their inefficiency that the draw was allowed to happen on December 16. After this no citizen will ever come forward to confess something he has done in the past and thus help unravel rackets,” said Raj. In fact, while speaking to TOI earlier on Sunday, Deepak had expressed fear that he would be framed. “My conscience just wouldn’t allow me to go on with the scam and so, I informed the police much in advance of the draw, but I fear that i will still be framed in this,” he said. Raj said that Deepak would be produced in the court on Monday and they would try to get his bail done. He added that after police took his statement on Saturday, Deepak was called for some more “questioning” on Sunday and was instead arrested. Deepak is a law graduate and first met the scamsters back in July 2008 when he was approached by fellow property agents to participate in the scam. It was in beginning October that he decided to blow the lid off the scam and filed a complaint along with Raj, a former Revenue services officer and an active RTI activist.

Cops make money protecting illegal Bangladeshis
12 Jan 2009, 0158 hrs IST, Dwaipayan Ghosh, TNN
NEW DELHI: Delhi Police has specialised Bangladeshi cells in every district who are set “quarterly” targets for deportation. The allegations of these cells charging “protection money” from migrant Muslims especially those who speak Bengali have surfaced time and again, sometimes raised by senior officers within the force. Home minister P Chidambaram’s statement about Bangladeshis having “no business being here” will no doubt give a fillip to the drive against migrants but the lack of adequate safeguards is causing some apprehension within the force. “On the one hand there is a chance that it is simply an extortion racker where people are taken away by policemen and then asked to pay money for their release. On the other, the practice of `protection money’ can actually end up legitimising an illegal migrant,” said a source. When asked about these allegations all district DCPs said no complaint had ever come to them about this. Police officers themselves point out that the 3.5 lakh Bangladeshis in Delhi, some of them with valid documents, are easy prey left to the mercy of law enforcement agencies. “Many carry ration cards issued from districts like Nadia and Murshidabad in West Bengal near the Bangladesh border, making it difficult to push them back. Once in Delhi, some of them even manage to procure PAN cards,” said a senior police officer. Some 36,522 Bangladeshis have been deported through the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) between 1991 and October, 2008. According to FRRO figures, the northeast, east, south and southeast districts have the highest concentration of Bangladeshis. Out of 23,291 Bangladeshis deported from the city since 2004, a whopping 11,620 (almost 50%) were from the trans-Yamuna region. A senior Delhi Police officer admits, even `genuine’ citizens are harassed whenever there are instructions to step up the drive against illegal migrants. “The problem lies in the verification process. The district officers at Dinajpur, Malda, Nadia or Murshidabad in West Bengal or those at Dhubri, Goalpara and Kokrajhar in Assam do not pay much importance to most of our verification requests. The immigrants bring papers signed and stamped by tehsildars which are very difficult to cross-check. There are also racketeers who buy fake IDs for them. As a result, every Bengali-speaking Muslim becomes a suspect for many policemen posted in the trans-Yamuna region,” said the source. The Delhi High Court had also expressed alarm over the situation recently and said this trend has “serious implications for internal security”.

Law will take its course: Baalu
12 Jan 2009, 0342 hrs IST, TNN
KARUR(TN): Union shipping and road transport minister T R Baalu on Sunday said the law would take its own course in the issue concerning the arrest of All India Motor Transport Congress leaders in the wake of the continuing truckers’ strike, which will enter its eighth day on Monday. In a brief chat with reporters at Lalapet in Karur district, where he inaugurated a rail overbridge, Baalu said the government was open to talks to end the strike in the larger interest of the public. Adequate measures had been taken to transport essential commodities across the country. He said the conference of State Transport Ministers in New Delhi on Monday would deliberate on all the issues arising out of the strike.

Paldi accident: Accused released on bail
12 Jan 2009, 0234 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad: A string of road accidents that took place on Saturday morning was triggered by a scooterist who was busy talking on his mobile phone while driving. This fact has come to light in the interrogation of the accused — Mruga Pandya, 20, a resident of Naranpura. Mruga, daughter of a businessman, was on her way home when she hit six vehicles in a row. According to Ellisbridge police officials, Pandya was released on bail on Saturday evening. She was also injured in the incident and was given primary treatment in VS Hospital. “According to her statement, while passing by Mahalaxmi crossroads, a scooterist ahead of her was talking on mobile phone while driving. He was driving slow and was blocking her way. She accidently pressed the accelerator instead of the brakes. After this, the four-wheeler went out of control. It first hit the scooter, that in turn, hit another scooter coming out of a bylane,” said AD Makwana, sub-inspector of Ellisbridge police station. The girl then tried to take a right turn, to get out of trouble’s way. But in her haste, she hit two parked scooters. As the car sped ahead, it rammed two more parked scooters. The injured in the incident, Hemenda Bhatt, has not been discharged from the hospital. Others injured have been administered first aid and allowed to go home. Bhatt later lodged a complaint against the Santro driver.

Court drama after kidnap charge
12 Jan 2009, 0447 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: An elopement, a kidnap charge, high drama in court it had all the elements of a melodrama. But it turned out to be a bittersweet love story. A young woman sent her father weeping from a Howrah court on Sunday, when she refused to accompany him back to his home, choosing to stay with the man of her choice instead. Shahid Imam of Howrah, a contractual employee with Reserve Bank of India, used to visit his native place in Bihar’s Bhaktiarpur, where Sufia Parvin stayed with her family. The two met and fell in love and decided to marry. On December 25, the two eloped to Howrah. The next day, they became man and wife under the Muslim Marriage Act, the proceedings solemnized by a marriage registrar in Alipore. On December 26, Sufia’s father Pervez Akhtar, a renowned physician in the locality, filed a diary with police. When he found out that she had gone away with Shahid, he levelled a charge of kidnapping, as Sufia was a few days short of attaining majority. A team of police from Bihar reached Howrah and got in touch with the Golabari police on Saturday night. A combined team then raided Imam’s home in Pilkhana in the wee hours on Sunday and picked up Imam, Sufia and her brother-in-law, Mohammed Khalid. The trio was produced in Howrah court during the day. Imam’s lawyer Sukanta Ghosh argued that though the marriage took place when the girl was five days short of attaining majority, a girl can get married after attaining 15 years of age under the Muslim Marriage Act. Therefore, there was no question of kidnapping. “The police team did not have any proper documents, such as an FIR record. They just had a forwarding letter, that also a photocopy. How could they also arrest Imam’s brother, when there was no complaint against him?” Ghosh asked. When the court asked Sufia, she clearly said that she had come of her own will and that she did not want to go back to her father, but stay with her husband and in-laws. Shocked that his daughter no longer wanted to stay with him, a tearful Pervez left the court weeping. The court granted Sufia’s prayer, but also granted the transit remand of Imam and his brother, who were taken to Bhaktiarpur.

Bus driver gets one month in jail for knocking down cop
12 Jan 2009, 0333 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: Judicial magistrate first class Umeshchandra More on Friday sentenced state transport bus driver Ramesh Bhagyawant (51) of Navpada in Thane to one month’s simple imprisonment and fined him Rs 800 for injuring traffic policemen Sakharam Salunkhe (52) at Swargate chowk in 2008. Assistant public prosecutor Ashok Khamkar said that Salunkhe was on duty at the busy chowk when the bus hit him on August 10, 2008. Salunkhe was severely injured was admitted to a private hospital for treatment. After Salunkhe regained consciousness, he registered a case against Bhagyawant under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. Khamkar said that all five witnesses supported the prosecution’s case, and the medical officer who was examined, deposed that the injuries found on the policemen were received in an accident. Khamkar asked that the maximum punishment be given to the driver because he was driving recklessly.

Terror cases should be put on fast track: Former CJI
12 Jan 2009, 0341 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: In the back drop of Mumbai terror attacks last year, P N Bhagwati, former chief justice of India, on Saturday said that it is high-time the judiciary gives a serious consideration to terrorism cases by deciding it on a top priority. Bhagwati said terrorist strikes have a severe bearing on public life because it creates a fear psychosis in their minds whenever such incident occur either in India or any other place in the world. He felt the judiciary should dispose off terrorism cases within six months of filing the chargesheet. “These incidents have an effect on the entire population and the judiciary instead of taking several years should give priority to such cases in larger public interest,” Bhagwati stated. The icon of Indian judiciary’ was responding to questions raised by the students of the New Law College in Kothrud after he spoke on Human Rights and Terrorism’. Bhagwati stressed the need to have a stringent law to tackle terrorism menace on par with foreign countries while responding to a query by a student who argued that the terrorists were not afraid of any consequences because of the delay in conducting trial. “He (Kasab) should be entitled for legal aid. You cannot condemn him unless his guilt is established. He is a human being first. The court will establish his guilt. You cannot condemn him without a trial,” Bhagwati stated. After some members of the audience described the issue of representing Kasab as a waste of time, Bhagwati reminded them by saying “the people should have a sense of duty and that they should come forward to give evidence against the suspect involved in a serious crime.” When a student asked how can he protect himself from a terrorist attack, Bhagwati apprised him of his right to self-defence, but cautioned him by saying that the right should be exercised only in extreme situations. The public should co-operate with the law enforcing agencies while dealing with terrorism, he said. Mukund Sarda, principal of New Law College, welcomed the guests and lawyer A U Pathan, member of the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa proposed a vote of thanks.

‘Company cannot be held responsible’
11 Jan 2009, 0248 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: QuestNet Enterprises India Pvt Ltd, through a mail issued by its PR consultant, has said that the company cannot be held responsible for acts committed by errant Independent Representatives’ (IRs) since they are independent contractors. Referring to the article published by The Times of India on January 7, titled, “Cops probe complaints of fraud in investment scheme”, the company has asserted that this was neither an investment scheme nor a pyramid scheme. “This is a direct selling model to sell high-quality products and services that typically need consultative selling,” it has stated. The company has said that it was not engaged in selling “antique” coins but one of its product lines includes commemorative gold and silver medallions. The company has admitted that most of the complaints against it have been received due to non-delivery of products. “The company acknowledges the shortcoming. Due to a strong growth in the business in India, there was an unexpected demand of the product, especially commemorative medallions in India and the supply wasn’t able to keep up. The problem was further compounded with logistic issues and the police investigations. This was in no way intentional, but amounts to a service deficiency on the part of the company,” The company said that it has corrected this by stopping taking orders for the commemorative medallions since May 2008, pending orders are being cleared and it has also given an option to customers to opt for another product of similar value. Referring to the arrest of the company’s MD by the Chennai police and the seizure of property papers and other assets of the company’s office there, the company has said ” The MD is not responsible for the acts committed by errant IR’s (if at all) since they are independent contractors,” It has also said that despite nine-month-long investigations, no chargesheet has been filed against the company as yet.

Case against former ECIL director
HYDERABAD: CBI officials on Saturday registered a case against G.N.V. Satyanarayana, retired Director of the Electronic Corporation of India Limited, and his wife, on charge of amassing wealth illegally. Searches revealed that he acquired properties worth over Rs. 48 lakh that were disproportionate to his known source of income, the officials said in a press release. The CBI officials appealed to people that they can reach them on telephone nos. 24732768 or 9441113555 to lodge complaints.
–Staff Reporter

One lakh cases pending in State: Chief Justice
Karwar: The new District Court building in Karwar was inaugurated by Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court P.D. Dinakaran on Saturday.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Dinakaran said that over one lakh cases were pending in various courts in the State. Barring petty cases, most of the others were those filed by white-collared workers or for the sake of prestige. It was time for people to think whether they should continue such legal tangles wasting precious time of the judiciary.
Another reason for pending cases was lack of infrastructure, lack of staff members and lack of lawyers’ interest on the cases.
The Chief Justice sanctioned an additional district judge for the Sessions Court in Karwar and a fast-track court for Sirsi, on the occasion.
Mr. Dinakaran urged the people to settle petty cases among themselves. They could take the help of Lok Adalats in such cases, he added.
High Court judge K. Bhaktavatsala said that the delay in delivering judgments could be attributed to several reasons. Most of the cases were pending because of lack of subordinate staff members in courts, he said. Another reason for the delay in delivering judgments was minor errors committed by lawyers in preparing documents, he said.
Minister for Primary Education and district in-charge Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri said that youth should have the knowledge of the law of the land.
The Government would consider including general law as a subject in school syllabus, he said.
Law Minister S. Suresh Kumar said that the BJP Government was according importance to develop infrastructure for the judiciary. Court buildings were being built in every district, he said.
Minister for Public Works C.M. Udasi said the Government would strive to provide infrastructure and staff members for the judiciary.
Members of the Karwar Bar Council were present.

‘Spread legal awareness in simple language’
Staff Correspondent
Hassan: Principal District & Sessions Judge K. Somasekhar inaugurated a one-day training programme for judicial officers and advocates of Hassan and Madikeri districts here on Saturday.
Speaking on the occasion, he asked the judicial officers and advocates participating in legal workshops and legal aid programmes in rural areas to create awareness about legal rights in a simple language.
He said that the language used should be the same as spoken by the village residents.
Mr. Somasekhar said Lok Adalats have come to stay and are very popular as it they settle disputes in the presence of both parties and hence there will be no ill-will and that peace will prevail in villages. He wanted them to educate people on their legal rights and on the free legal aid that is available for them.
Additional District Judge Ashok Nijagannavar advised the officers and advocates to make best use of the training programme and take the advice given by experts seriously.
Senior advocate Gundu Rao, from Mysore, delivered a lecture.
The training programme was jointly organised by the District Legal Services Authority Hassan and Madikeri, Law Association, Hassan and Bar Association, Madikeri.

Lakh cases pending in HC for want of adequate judges
12 Jan 2009, 0134 hrs IST, Ravi Dayal, TNN
PATNA: With more than a lakh cases pending in the Patna High Court (HC), it is hard-pressed to cope up with them as it has less than half the number of the sanctioned posts of judges. At present, the number of judges in HC is 21 against 43 sanctioned posts of judges. Before the winter vacation, the number of judges was 23 which came down to 21 after retirement of Justice S M Mahfooj Alam and appointment of Justice Barin Ghosh as the Chief Jus tice of Jammu and Kashmir HC. On January 27 this year, Justice Ghan shyam Prasad is to retire which will bring down the number of judges to 20. There is a possibility of further de crease in the strength of judges in HC soon with likely appointment of the Acting Chief Justice (CJ) Chandra mauli Kumar Prasad as CJ of a HC. There has been no elevation of any dis trict judge to the post of HC judge since 2007 when Justice Abhijit Sinha, a member of the superior judicial ser vice, was elevated. At least 50 per cent quota of judges of HC are to be filled by members of superior judicial ser vice, said general secretary of Advo cates’ Association of Patna HC Yo gesh Chandra Verma. He added that in the last couple of months, the names of 10 lawyers of Patna HC have been recommended by its collegium of judges, headed by the then Chief Justice R M Lodha, for ele vation as HC judge. He said, “due to dearth of judges the judicial process slows down leading to rise in pendency of cases.” He said that a large number of cases come for hear ing in Patna HC after several years and the most glaring delay is that of cases of First Appeal pending for 30 years. The cases challenging capital punishment have to be disposed of in two months as per HC rules, but it takes around a year or more for their disposal, Verma ad ded. Another lawyer, Shambhu Prasad Singh, said the appointment of more regular judges as well as ad hoc judges in Patna HC will bring down the num ber of cases pending. At present, even the bail matters are being heard in the HC after four months, he said.

‘Petty cases should be solved outside the court’
11 Jan 2009, 2234 hrs IST, TNN
KARWAR: More than one lakh cases are pending in various courts of the state. People should solve petty matters among themselves in the presence of family members, friends, or take the help of Lok Adalats, said Chief Justice of Karnataka high Court P D Dinakaran, on Saturday. He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the new district court
building at Karwar. The district got a New year gift when the Chief Justice sanctioned an additional district Judge for Karwar sessions court and a fast track court for Sirsi. He said that the fast track court would help relieve the overburdened courts by delivering judgment in a time bound period. Speaking at the function, the Chief Justice said, barring petty cases, most of the pending cases are either filed by educated people who have prestige issues, or parties involved in legal disputes. He said that another reason for pending cases in different courts, is the lack of infrastructure and staff members and the lack of interest in the cases by the lawyers. The high court Judge K Bhakthavatsal, who spoke on the occasion, said that the delay in delivering judgment is due to several reasons. “Instead of increasing the number of judges to solve the pending cases, subordinate staff like stenographers should be increased. It would give an impetus for the early delivery of judgments. Also minor errors committed by the lawyers in preparing the documents, lead to cases being shelved for sometime,” he said. Law and parliamentary minister, Suresh Kumar, said that the present state government is stressing on the development of infrastructure for the judiciary. New court buildings are built in every district by the government, he said. He said that the people repose in the judiciary more than the legislature and the bureaucracy. Once the people lose faith in the judiciary, the democracy would be in danger, he added. District in-charge minister Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri, who is also the minister for primary education, said that the younger generation should be more aware of the law. Hence, the government should think of including general law in the school syllabus, he said.

Assault: lawyers take out protest march
Staff Correspondent
DHARWAD: Dharwad witnessed a protest march by lawyers and a counter protest by members of Dalit organisations on Friday in connection with developments pertaining to assault on a lawyer, in spite of prohibitory orders being in force in the city.
As the last-ditch efforts to convince lawyers and members of various organisations against taking out a protest march on Friday seeking amendment to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act failed on Thursday night, the police imposed prohibitory orders in the city. A large number of police personnel were deployed in front of the office of the Dharwad Bar Association from where the protest march was to start.
The police stopped the lawyers from taking out the march which resulted in heated arguments.
Meanwhile, some women lawyers managed to break through the police cordon and marched towards the Deputy Commissioner’s office and others followed suit.
However, the police stopped them near the City Central Library where the lawyers staged a dharna. Later, Deputy Commissioner Darpan Jain visited the spot and received a memorandum from them.
In the memorandum, lawyers and members of various organisations demanded the arrest of Dalit leader Marish Nagannavar, who had allegedly threatened lawyers, under the provisions of the Goonda Act and sought amendment to the Act to check its misuse.
It may be recalled that the issue of assault on lawyer Girish Kanasogi allegedly by a police officer took a new turn after the Dalit leader threatened lawyers of dire consequences for protesting against the incident. Meanwhile, office-bearers of various Dalit organisations, who had assembled at Kadapa Maidan, objected to the protest march taken out by lawyers despite the prohibitory orders. They staged a dharna condemning the action of the lawyers and some of the elected representatives who took part in the protest.
When contacted, Police Commissioner N. Shivakumar told The Hindu that the police had registered cases against 40 people, including several lawyers, for violating the prohibitory orders.

RTI Act will revolutionise Indian polity: Basant
Special Correspondent
THALASSERY: Kerala High Court judge R. Basant said here on Saturday that the Right to Information (RTI) Act would revolutionise the Indian polity by making people aware about their right to seek information.
“The success of democracy lies in the ability of the people to question and the quest for working democracy can be satisfied by such questions,” Mr. Basant said while inaugurating a one-day Right to Information People’s Empowerment Meet organised by the District Court Bar Association here on Saturday.
The idea that some need not know things showed a feudal mindset, he said adding that all denial of information in the social context betrayed this attitude. The notion of exclusive domain of information revealed inequality in society, he said.
Under the Constitution, there was no positive conferring of the right to know, though it upheld freedom of speech, Mr. Basant said adding that the RTI Act was the outcome of the arguments of legal luminaries that freedom of speech depended on a derived right to information. If right to speech should be effective, there should be right to information. The right to live also meant right to live in decency and this included right to know. “Equality brings an obligation to share information,” he said.
Observing that the Act empowered the people, the High Court judge said in democracy, people were the repository of all the powers. The sovereign in Indian democracy was ‘We the People.’ “We already have the powers, but we should know that we have the powers,” he said adding that the Act “tells you how you can exercise the powers.” Earlier, the judge unveiled the portraits of jurists H.R. Khanna and N.A. Palkhivala at the Bicentenary Auditorium on the District Court premises.
Describing the Bench and the Bar as partners in the struggle against injustice, he said that quality of judgment depended on quality assistance a judge was getting from the Bar. District Court Bar Association president T. Asaf Ali presided over the function. D.B. Binu delivered a speech on the practical aspects of the RTI Act.

Women’s panel settles 76 cases
Staff Reporter
‘Alcoholism a prime cause of disputes’; parents urged to play restrained role
Thiruvananthapuram: Domestic violence, alcoholism and tussle over dowry and property were the issues that dominated the mega adalat conducted by the State Women’s Commission in the city on Saturday.
Of the 303 cases that were taken up by the Commission, 76 could be closed. In six cases, both parties were asked to come for counselling. While 12 cases were referred to the family court, 16 were referred to the Jagratha Samithis in the respective localities. Police enquiry was ordered in 24 cases. About 54 cases will be taken up again at the next adalat .
In 92 cases, the Commission could only take evidence from the complainant as the opposite parties refused to present themselves.
Chairperson of the Commission D. Sreedevi and the Commission member T. Devi took up cases in two booths while in 10 booths, lawyers engaged by the Commission heard the cases.
Ms. Devi said that alcoholism seemed to be the root cause in several cases of marital disputes. Ms. Sreedevi pointed out that while parents needed to support their daughters, they also needed to exercise more emotional restraint and remain neutral when their children complained of marital disputes or personal differences with spouse.
Ms. Sreedevi said that in several cases, she had to advise parents to stand down and let their daughters decide on their future. In some cases relating to harassment of women over property, necessary steps would be taken to alert the Protection Officer so that the women are not thrown out of houses by their husbands or in-laws.
As always, several property disputes, which are not within the jurisdiction of the Commission and some complaints filed by men were also there.

CJI seeks measures to address unemployment
Staff Reporter
KOLLAM: Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan presented the V. Gangadharan Memorial Award to industrialist B. Ravi Pillai at a function here on Saturday.
Mr. Pillai was given the award after he was adjudged the outstanding modern industrialist from Kerala by a jury.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Balakrishnan said necessary measures should be taken to attract investments that provide employment to educated youth in the State. He said while Kerala was still a model to other States in the country in many respects, unemployment, especially among the educated youth, remained a problem. This was in spite of the fact that a good number of Keralites were doing extremely well outside the State.
He called upon non-resident Keralites to contribute towards solving the unemployment problem in the State. The government and the people should cooperate by extending help to expatriate Malayalis who come forward to invest in the State.
Mr. Balakrishnan congratulated the office-bearers of the Kadappakada Sports Club for instituting an award in memory of the former Speaker of the Thiru-Kochi Assembly, the late V. Gangadharan. He said Speakers were personalities who were not remembered much except when they were in office. He described Gangdharan as not only a speaker but a social leader too.
In his address after receiving the award, Mr. Pillai said he was prepared to invest in Kerala if the State government provided the required support. Mr. Pillai is a Bahrain-based industrialist who has provided employment to more than 50,000 workers from different parts of the world, the majority being from Kerala.
The function was addressed by Food Minister C. Divakaran; Labour Minister P.K. Gurudasan; Mayor N. Padmalochanan; and Industries Secretary T. Balakrishnan.
V. Gangadharan’s son, G. Rajamohan, introduced the award winner . Earlier, club secretary R.S. Babu welcomed the gathering and president Thengamam Balakrishnan presided.

NHRC awaits L-G’s decision on Batla House inquiry
J. Balaji
Delhi Police asked to apprise it of action taken within six weeks
An interim report was sent by the Delhi police on November 19
Several organisations have been making a lot of hue and cry over the incident
NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Delhi police to apprise it, within six weeks, of the decision taken by the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi on the magisterial probe report on the September 19 Batla House shootout in which two alleged terrorists involved in the Delhi serial blasts were killed.
The Commission had on October 17 sought a report from the Delhi police and an interim report was sent by the police on November 19 stating that an FIR had been registered at the Jamia Nagar police station. The case was initially investigated by the local police and later transferred to the Crime Branch. A Central Forensic Science Laboratory team also visited the scene of occurrence.
The Additional Commissioner of Police (Vigilance) further said: “The issue regarding the magisterial probe into the events relating to the incident has been referred to the L-G.”
Responding to this report, the Commission sought a further report from the Delhi police on the action taken by the L-G. The Commission had taken cognizance of the incident following a complaint lodged by an NGO, Real Cause, suspecting the police version about the incident.
In the incident that was reported at Batla House in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar, two alleged terrorists — Mohammed Atif Ameen and Mohammed Sajid – involved in the September 13 Delhi serial blasts were killed by the cops.
The police claimed that their team raided the flat following an information and the persons hiding in the flat had fired at the police party as soon as they entered the flat and then the police fired in self-defence. Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma of the Delhi Police Special Cell too died of bullet injuries sustained in the incident.
Several human rights and Muslim organisations and a few political parties have been making a lot of hue and cry over the incident claiming that the encounter was not a real one and the two young men were killed in a cold-blooded manner. But the Delhi police have been maintaining that the allegations are baseless. The NHRC had earlier also denied the Delhi police claim that it had expressed satisfaction over the version given by them on the incident. The NHRC had merely said that it had sought a report from the Delhi police, which was awaited. “A view will be taken by the NHRC after receipt of the report,” it had said then.

Petition filed for basic facilities on Delhi Metro network
NEW DELHI: A petition seeking a direction to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and the Delhi Government to provide drinking water and toilet facilities for commuters in metro stations and trains has been filed in the Delhi High Court.
The petition, filed by an NGO, Voice of India, stated that in December 2007 the organisation had sent a representation to the Delhi Government and the DMRC seeking basic facilities in the trains but got no satisfactory reply from them.
According to NGO president Dhanesh Ieshdhan, there is also lack of toilet facilities on the trains, besides no drinking water facilities for commuters.
Seeking directions to the DMRC to provide these facilities within two months, the petitioner alleged that the Corporation had failed to make special sitting arrangements for senior citizens who commute every day by the metro trains. Besides, the NGO has raised questions over the security at metro stations, stating that “there is absence of baggage screening or scanning machines, the metal detecting wooden-frames through which a traveller passes before reaching a platform are also defective”.
The petitioner also urged the Court to constitute a committee. – PTI

NCR lawyers to go on strike on Wednesday
New Delhi: Lawyers of the different bar associations of National Capital Region (NCR) are going to observe a day-long strike on January 14, demanding withdrawal of the proposed amendments in the CrPC allowing the police not to arrest an accused in offences punishable up to 7-year jail. A meeting of the Co-Ordination Committee All Bar Associations of Delhi as well as other districts of the NCR and adjoining area was organised at Tis Hazari courts here where a decision to go on strike was taken. The advocates of 24 bar associations including that of Ghaziabad, Noida, Moradabad, Bulandshahr and Alwar would abstain from court on Janaury 14, Rajiv Khosla, spokesperson of the Co-Ordination Committee told reporters.
“The proposed amendment would remove the fear from minds of criminals who will misuse the provisions under the garb of personal liberty,” the bar leaders said.

Can RTI help you know judges’ assets?
Rakesh Bhatnagar
Monday, January 12, 2009 2:52 IST
New Delhi: There seems to be a prolonged litigation on the people’s right to know about the assets of Supreme Court (SC) and high court judges under the Right to Information Act.
The Central Information Commission (CIC) last month directed the SC’s “competent authority”, the chief justice, to provide information about judges assets to an applicant. CJI KG Balakrishnan said information about judges’ assets is personally kept with the chief justice of India and (high court) chief justices.
The public will have a right to know these details if there is a legislative mandate. But at present there is no such legislation.
He also said that information relating to appointments or declaration of assets is not shared with the court registry, to maintain confidentiality. Thus, the CJI indicated, the CIC order would be challenged.
In its order, the CIC held that “The institution and its head cannot be two distinct public authorities. They are one and the same. Information, therefore, available with the CJI must be deemed to be available with the SC. The registrar, who is only a part of the SC, cannot be categorised as a public authority independent [of] and distinct from the SC itself.
A parliamentary standing committee on personnel, law and justice headed by EM Sudarsana Natchiappanan says, “Except the judicial decision making, all other activities of administration and the persons included in it (judiciary) are subject to RTI Act.” A judges’ resolution in 1997 mandates judges to file declaration of their assets to CJI.
Former CJI JS Verma says the SC’s registry is very much a part of CJI’s office. “This is clear from Article 146, which places the SC registry under the responsibility of CJI.” He also differs from Balakrishnan’s claim that CJI is beyond the RTI’s reach. “Every authority is subject to accountability in some form or the other. And all that RTI does is to operationalise a fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(1) (a)”.

Binani Industries gets HC order to abondon swap scheme
Binani Industries received a formal order to abandon its swap scheme from Kolkata High Court (HC). The company had earlier on Nov. 18, 2008 announced the scheme of arrangement for swap of part of shares of the company with the shares of Binani Cement and Binani Zinc.Shares of Binani Industries (Q, N,C,F)* remained stable, to trade at Rs 37. The total volume of shares traded was 5,176.00 at the BSE (11.24 a.m., Monday).

High Court converts Gowda’s letter as PIL, issues notice
Bangalore (PTI): The Karnataka High Court on Monday directed its registry to register as a PIL a letter written by former prime minister H D Devegowda to all the judges of the court in connection with the Bangalore-Mysore Expressway and issue notice to him.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice P D Dinakaran and Justice V G Sabhahit, while hearing writ petitions relating to the project entrusted to the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE), took note of the letter Gowda wrote to all Judges, including the Chief Justice, on January 8.
Gowda, who has been relentlessly opposing the project, released a booklet on January 5 alleging that the NICE had committed certain frauds involving thousands of crores of rupees.
While ordering issue of notice to Gowda, the bench observed that let the former prime minister not make political statement and say in the court whatever he wanted to say.
The judges adjourned the hearing to February 2.

Stay on gas sale from KG basin needs to go: Govt to HC
Mumbai (PTI): The Union Government today made a strong case for lifting the stay on the sale of gas from the KG basin by Mukesh Ambani-run RIL to benefit the power and fertiliser sectors.
“We told the Bombay High Court that in the interest of the economy, and in view of the economic downturn, the stay should be lifted…It would benefit (the) power and fertiliser sectors,” Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran told PTI.
The Government is seeking to vacate the stay, he said.
The High court, in May 2007, had stayed the sale of gas from the KG basin by Reliance Industries to third parties.
The Court was hearing today the dispute between Mukesh Ambani’s RIL and younger brother Anil’s Reliance Natural Resources Ltd over the gas sale agreement.
According to RIL lawyer Harish Salve, gas production could start in February.
The Central Government has intervened in the dispute.
Parasaran also said that government will be filing an affidavit tomorrow, stating that the price of KG basin gas, determined by the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), will be applicable to all the buyers — government companies or private.
This statement is important as government-owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) too is involved in a legal dispute with RIL over the purchase of gas from the KG basin.
In the contract with NTPC — which RIL says is not yet formalised — the price is USD 2.34 per mBTU.
But Parasaran on Monday told the Court that according to an EGoM decision — which came after the deal with NTPC — the price of KG gas could not be less than USD 4.20 for all the buyers.

Vodafone moves Supreme Court on income tax issue
12 Jan 2009, 1949 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: Telecom giant Vodafone has moved the Supreme Court
challenging the Bombay High Court judgment, which had upheld the income-tax department’s showcause notice asking it to pay income tax of about USD 2 billion over its acquisition of Hutchison. The Bombay High Court on December 3 last year dismissed a petition by Vodafone International Holdings BV challenging a showcause notice by the income-tax department. The company had bought a 67 per cent stake in Hutchison Essar from Hutchison Telecom International (HTIL) in February 2007 by paying $11.2 billion. The I-T department had asked the telecom major to pay $1.7 billion as capital gains tax for its acquisition of stake in Hutchison Essar (now Vodafone Essar) in its showcause notice on September 19, 2007. However, the court had given it eight weeks to file an appeal in the Supreme Court and had continued its earlier stay asking the department not to proceed against Vodafone. Vodafone had moved the Bombay High Court alleging that the tax department had no jurisdiction over a deal between two parties incorporated overseas. Also, Vodafone had not directly acquired the shares of the India-incorporated Hutch-Essar. The High Court had said that Vodafone’s petition totally lacked “particulars as to the nature of agreement dated on February 11, 2007, and all other agreements preceding or following the same, entered into by Hutchison Telecommunications International (HTIL) and the petitioner (Vodafone International). The essential facts, supported by the necessary documents, have been conveniently kept away from this court.”

Recovery of property abysmal Law & Order
Hyderabad police recovered 32.81 p.c. of stolen property, writes Marri Ramu
Whatever be the constraints of police, the recovery of stolen property has always been less. In 2008, Hyderabad police recovered 32.81 per cent of stolen property while their counterparts in Cyberabad performed slightly better with 48.58 per cent.
Even these figures don’t clearly reflect their performance. For example, property worth Rs. 16.63 crore was stolen in Cyberabad commissionerate area in 2008 and all that police got back from offenders is valued at Rs. 7.99 crore.
But the entire Rs. 7.99 crore worth property recovered was not stolen in that year but of burglaries and robberies committed earlier.
Under scanner
In this backdrop, the performance of central crime stations and crime parties in police stations and their ‘crime intelligence network’ naturally has come under the scanner. There are dedicated wings -headed by IGP and SP rank officers in Hyderabad and Cyberabad respectively- to focus on thefts, burglaries, robberies and dacoities. Additionally, every police station has separate crime parties hunting for offenders with specific inputs.
Some police officers feel that, of late, there is over-emphasis on analysing mobile phone calls data of the offenders and suspects at the cost of crime intelligence gathering network. Gather the offender’s mobile phone number, follow his movements, catch them and try to recover stolen property is how the crime detection work is going on now, it is said.
Keeping tab on suspect’s telephone calls surely helps but instead of solely relying on it is affecting crime detection work, senior officers observe.
Crime parties at police station level are supposed to prepare list of offenders, collect their confessional statements after arrests, gather names of their associates, follow details of persons released from jails and look out for patterns in incidence of crime.
Developing network of informants and regular interaction with them too is equally important. But these basic methods are being given a go-by since they are laborious.
Checking addresses given by the offenders at the time of remand is rarely done. Taking advantage of this, miscreants furnish false addresses and the police draw a blank later.
Database developed
The Cyberabad police have developed good database of crime related incidents including details of stolen and abandoned vehicles. They are planning to synchronise the database with the lists of jail releases to keep investigators abreast of the movements of persons involved in crimes.
If implemented in all units, such measures would decrease the burden on the police to gather information and increase percentage of property recovery.

Fresh cases against ‘Karavali Ale’
Staff Correspondent
One case filed in Karkala and another in Manipal
Paper accused of stoking communal passions
Udupi: A new case has been filed against the editor and publisher and the reporter of the Kannada daily “Karavali Ale,” and the director and chairman and managing director of Chitra Publications Pvt. Ltd. at the Karkala Town Police Station in Udupi district on Sunday.
According to Karkala Town Police, Sunil K.R. from Pulkeri in Karkala had filed a complaint at the police station on Sunday stating that some reports which had appeared in “Karavali Ale” were stoking communal passions.
In his complaint, he had sought action against the editor and publisher of the newspaper B.S. Shivaprasad and its reporter Naveen, the chairman and director of Chitra Publications Pvt. Ltd. B.V. Seetaram, and its managing director and Mr. Seetaram’s wife Rohini.
A case has been registered under Sections 153 (A), 153 (B), 295 (A) read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code, the police said.
Another case
A case has been filed against the publisher and editor of the Kannada daily and the director and managing Director of Chitra Publications Pvt. Ltd. at the Manipal Police Station here.
The Manipal police said here on Sunday that Mahesh, son of Janardhan, residing in Dashrath Nagar, Manipal, had filed a complaint against Mr. Shivaprasad, Mr. Seetaram and Ms. Rohini.
In his complaint, Mr. Mahesh stated that the accused had published many reports which made derogatory remarks against Hindu religion and Hindu beliefs in “Karavali Ale”.
The accused were constantly trying to stoke communal passions and create disharmony in the district.
A case had been filed under Sections 153 (A), 295 (A), read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code.
The case was filed on January 9, the police said.

Settle disputes through mediation: judge
Staff Reporter
KOTTAYAM: The Acting Chief Justice of Kerala High Court J.B. Koshy has stressed the need to find solution to disputes through arbitration, adalats and mediation instead of litigation.
Inaugurating the Mediation and Conciliation Centre of the District Legal Services Authority here on Saturday, Justice Koshy pointed out that the State could follow the example set by the West in this regard.
In many of the western societies, 90 per cent of the disputes were settled out of court through mediation.
The government and the Supreme Court have decided to follow this example which would eventually create a situation where neither of the party would feel defeated, he said.
The Mega Lok adalat organised at the premises of the District Court Complex was inaugurated by Justice A.K. Basheer of Kerala High Court.
Speaking on the occasion, he said all long pending cases would be disposed of by December 2009. The cheques for the cases which were disposed of during the adalats held during November and December were distributed on the occasion by Justice J.B. Koshy.
District Judge and chairman of the District Legal Services Authority R. Jyothindranathan presided over the function. V.N. Vasavan MLA, D. Sreevallabhan, Registrar (Administration), Kerala High Court, P. Venugopal, District Collector and others spoke on the occasion.

GA dept. receives highest number of RTI applications
Staff Reporter
State Information Commission’s annual report released
GA department receives 1,272 applications
186 applicants denied access to info by Home dept.
BHUBANESWAR: The General Administration (GA) department that deals with land related matters in the capital city and regulates service nitty-gritty of senior bureaucracy has received highest number of applications from information seekers under Right To Information (RTI) during last financial year.
1272 applications
According to the State Information Commission’s (SIC) latest annual report, GA department received 1272 applications during the year 2007-2008 fiscal leaving behind forest and environment department with 1105 cases and health and family welfare department with 1064 cases.
Of 1272 applications, GA department has been able to dispose of 1071 cases.
“Since land disputes regularly keep surfacing and government employees also seek information about their service matters, GA department tops the list as recipient of highest number of cases,” Pradip Pradhan, an RTI activist, said.
He said with mineral-based industrialistion moving to higher growth trajectory in Orissa at the same time inviting controversies over environment, door of forest and environment department was often knocked during last fiscal.
186 denied access
What was interesting that of 350 cases received by the Home department during this time, 186 applicants were denied access to information, which was more than 50 per cent.
“Home department often takes general and vague plea such as disclosure of information would affect the security and prosecution and apprehension of offenders which is not true.
It shows that the department is adverse to transparency and accountability,” said Biswapriya Kanungo, another RTI activist who had sought information from home department.
Interestingly, science and technology department received a total three cases during the whole year and of which one applicant was denied access to information.
Energy department, which should have received higher number of RTI applications due to alleged discrepancies in billing as well as electricity connections, received only 15 applications. The main reason cited for the strange trend was that the electricity distribution companies were still out of RTI purview.
Although the rate of disposal of applications at department level paints a rosy picture, at SIC level the performance seems to be dismal. By the end of last fiscal, the SIC had received 3305 complaint cases, of which 629 cases were disposed of. The success at disposing of cases was estimated at 19.03 per cent.
Activists demand that the State Government look at the affairs of SIC afresh and find out way out to improve case disposal rate.

Rights panel seeks report on ‘stripping’ case
He was allegedly beaten also for not cooperating in a case
Suitable compensation to the victim sought
CUTTACK: Taking suo motu cognizance of alleged human rights violations, the Orissa Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has asked Cuttack (rural) SP to submit a detailed report on last month’s alleged stripping, beating and illegal detention of a government employee inside Athagarh police station.
Akshaya Kumar Mohanty, an employee of soil conservation department and a native of the locality was picked up by Athagarh police on December 23.
He was detained in police lockup where he was allegedly stripped naked and beaten.
Mr. Mohanty’s only fault was that he did not cooperate with police to locate the house of a chowkidar of the same office against whom a complaint was pending in police station, it was said.
Mass resentment
Police however, realizing their fault had released Mohanty from detention after profusely apologizing. The incident however, had aroused a mass resentment following which the local police station in-charge officer was suspended and the second officer was transferred.
Civil Right activist Prabir Das, a practising advocate of Orissa High Court had also appealed to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking a suitable compensation to the victim and stringent action against the erring police officials.
Taking cognizance on the basis of media reports, Orissa Human Rights Commission chairman Justice R K Patra last week directed the Cuttack (rural) SP to submit a report on the whole issue within three weeks.

PIL on truckers’ strike: Supreme Court to wait for outcome of talks
New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Courton Monday said it will wait and watch the outcome of the negotiations between the government and truckers on the ongoing nation-wide strike which has entered its eighth day.
The apex court noted that there have been reports that the government has taken some steps for resolving the deadlock and already there are signs that trucks are back on road in some states like Maharashtra.
“We have come to know that the Transport Ministry has summoned leaders of the transport associations to discuss the issue,” a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said when a petition relating to the truckers’ strike came for hearing before it.
“The government is also contemplating some action,” the Bench, also comprising Justices P Sathasivam and R M Lodha, observed and added that it was “not undermining” the issues raised in the petition. The Bench asked advocate Sunder Khatri, who has filed the PIL against the strike by the truckers, to wait till January 16.
The advocate was told by the Bench that the transporters have called off their strike in Maharashtra and reports suggested that in some more states the truckers will follow suit. Khatri said immediate action was needed against the striking transporters as the common citizens have been the worst sufferers due to the cut in supply of essential commodities. The advocate sought a direction to declare the strike as “illegal” and for cancelling the permit of the striking transporters. The PIL contended that the strike by the transporters was illegal under the Essential Commodities Act.

2009 – Freedom From Fear
January 11, 2009
Nitin Karani
Last year began on a very sour note for some of us. Barely had we said goodbye to January than the Maharashtra Police orchestrated the drama of busting a gay party, before it could commence, just outside Bombay (in Thane) for the benefit of the TV media. The police officials got their 15 seconds of fame and managed to curry favour with the voyeuristic channels, who in turn got their ‘exclusives’ and grabbed some filthy and some even self-righteous viewers by their eyeballs.
Privacy has traditionally been at a discount in Indian society, with its joint families, and gossipy maids and neighbours. So it is okay for you to party and be featured in full colour, but those of us at society’s margins should get used to the police barging in, breaking up our parties, forcibly outing us and parading us on national television like criminals and freaks? The tamasha sent forth a wave of great fright among closeted gay people around India.
Fear is what we, the people of India, gave ourselves on Independence. Fear of the unknown, fear of the other. Fear that fed on ignorance of the other. Fear of the majority, a majority that is itself fearful of what it chooses to neither understand nor recognise. Fear of a shameful, relic of the British, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a law that makes an adult like me criminal for life if the police can prove I made love with another adult male. This fear nourishes the HIV epidemic among us.
Fear has caused us to forget that we also gave ourselves a constitution that enshrines some human rights and enjoins each one of us to uphold them. So the police can abdicate its duties to protect and fearlessly abuse its powers. And the government can, through its infamous ex Home Minister and his former minions, make perversions of these rights in writing to the Delhi High Court, which is charged with public interest litigation (PIL) to read down the shameful section that strikes fear in closeted hearts.
Freedom from fear should be the theme in 2009, continuing from Mumbai’s grand, cosmopolitan-as-a-rainbow march for Queer Azaadi on 16 August, and the June-end debut Pride parades of Delhi and Bangalore (Kolkata’s annual march against homophobia started nine years earlier when just 13 men mapped the city, with the rest of the queer community staying in the shadows).
Freedom to question the assumption of being heterosexual without fear, the man-woman definition of marriage, and the very importance of such a marriage for a queer person. Freedom to love and live with a person of the same sex without fear. Freedom to educate oneself about safer sex and use the services of a health professional as a queer person, without the fear of stigma, neglect and ‘treatment for homosexuality’ that occurs despite prescribed Good Medical Practice and ethics. Freedom to be out at work without fear of harassment or discrimination. Freedom from the fear of being entrapped and blackmailed by a police stooge simply for being gay and closeted. Freedom from hiding in the closet, wearing a mask, using an alias. Freedom from the insecurities that come from being closeted. Freedom to live without fear of losing one’s dignity. Freedom from the fear of being treated as less than equal by the law.
The march towards Freedom from fear will receive a boost if the Delhi High Court makes the bigots in the government apparatus swallow a bitter PIL and champions the human rights in the Indian Constitution. We will cover the rest of the way forward with a little help from each other and each of our families. Waiting for the dawn of a real Happy New Year. Meanwhile, here’s wishing you one!
Nitin Karani is a part-time blogger and is involved with advocacy around gay and HIV/AIDS issues.

PIL against relief camp eviction
Cuttack, Jan. 11: A PIL has been filed in Orissa High Court, seeking intervention against “forced” evacuation of Kandhamal clash victims from relief camps “without adequate life protection measures, relief and compensation”.
The PIL assumes significance in view of the strongly worded January 5 Supreme Court direction to the Orissa government to ensure protection for the minority community in the state, while hearing a petition filed by archbishop Raphael Cheenath.
Kesamati Pradhan, the wife of Baleswar Pradhan of Kajuri under Raikia police station of Kandhamal district, filed the PIL supported by affidavits of victims.
The 45-year-old woman has alleged that there are nearly 26,000 people at different relief camps in Kandhamal district. Many of the relief camps have been closed and the victims have been forced to leave those by handing a cheque of Rs 10,000, 50kg of rice and polythene against destruction of their homes.

Public servants can be prosecuted without prior sanction: SC
10 Jan 2009, 0149 hrs IST, Sanjay K Singh, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has said that the public servants can face prosecution without prior sanction of the appropriate authorities as all their acts in the purported discharge of the official duties cannot be brought under the protective umbrella of section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code. On the other hand, there can be cases of misuse and abuse of power vested in a public servant which can never be a part of their official duties, said apex court. A bench comprising Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Markandey Katju said, “all acts done by a public servant in the purported discharge of his official duties cannot as a matter of course be brought under the protective umbrella of section 197 CrPC. On the other hand, there can be cases of misuse and/or abuse of powers vested in a public servant which can never be said to be a part of the official duties required to be performed by him”. Justice Kabir perusing an earlier ruling of the apex court said, the underlying object of section 197 CrPC is to enable the authorities to scrutinise the allegations made against a public servant to shield him/her against frivolous, vexatious or false prosecution initiated with the main object of causing embarrassment and harassment to the concerned official. However, if the authority vested in a public servant is misused for doing things which are not otherwise permitted under the law, such acts cannot claim the protection of section 197 CrPC and have to be considered de hors the duties which a public servant is required to discharge or perform. “Hence, in respect of prosecution for such excesses or misuse of authority, no protection can be demanded by the public servant concerned” court said. In order to apply the bar of section 197 CrPC each case has to be considered in its own fact situation in order to arrive at a finding as to whether the protection of section 197 CrPC could be given to the public servant, said bench setting aside an order of the Calcutta HC. The HC had said that the previous sanction of the state government was necessary for prosecuting Sahabul Hussain as he was a public servant and belonged to the West Bengal Police Service. He was posted as Deputy Superintendent of Police in the state who alleged to have threatened to the husband of the appellant to give tutored statement in a criminal case. On a complaint, the trial court, however had initiated proceedings without taking sanction of the concerned state official. It was set aside by the high court. Against high court order, the appellant had came to the apex court. The bench rejected the plea of state government as well. It had said that the acts complained of was performed by the Hussain during the course of investigation, which was part of the official duties required to be discharged by him and hence his case came squarely within the protective umbrella of section 197 CrPC.

Tribunal dismisses RCom plea for GSM spectrum
NEW DELHI: The telecom tribunal TDSAT on Friday dismissed Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communication’s petition seeking start up spectrum in six circles where its subsidiary company Reliance Telecom was already providing GSM services.
The Telecom Disputes and Settlement and Appellate Tribunal bench headed by Justice Arun Kumar dismissed RCom’s plea after observing that the company had already accepted the money refunded by the government ‘without demur’ (any objection).
During the proceedings, commenting on RCom’s petition the tribunal observed, “you (RCom) seem to be greedy. Your acceptance of money returned by the government means you have lost the ground… the issue is closed.
You have accepted the money”. Dismissing the petition, TDSAT said in the order, “Petitioner has accepted the amount returned toward six circles without demur. The ground of denial of start up spectrum regarding six circles by respondent (DoT) seems just ified.
Therefore we find no merit.” Sanjay Hegde, the counsel appearing for the DoT submitted that in those six circles — Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Kolkata and West Bengal — RCom’s subsidiary, Reliance Telecom Ltd, was already operatin g GSM services under UAS licence given to it.
RCom’s counsel R S Prabhu submitted that the DoT’s policy did not mention anything about it and based on it the company had submitted the money. – PTI

Force abuse cases rise
New Delhi, Jan. 11: Cases alleging human rights abuse by India’s paramilitary forces have almost tripled over the past three years, data compiled by the home ministry show.
The number of rights abuse-related cases against paramilitary personnel rose from 61 in 2004-05 to 180 in 2007-08.
The data, shared by the home ministry with the National Human Rights Commission in response to queries, lend credibility to repeated claims of such abuses by activist groups.
Paramilitary forces are deployed to curb rebel activities in vast swathes of insurgency-stricken areas across the country — from states in the Northeast to Chhattisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir.
In the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir, the forces are mainly battling separatists, while in states like Chhattisgarh, their challenge is to contain Naxalites.
Civil rights activists have long accused security forces — including paramilitary personnel — of frequent abuse while conducting anti-rebel operations in these areas.
International groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also repeatedly alleged rights abuse by Indian security forces. Over the past two years, they have hinted that such cases were on the rise.
But government officials, though not denying the possibility of rights abuse, have tended to dismiss the claims as exaggerations.
The latest home ministry data, however, suggest a substantial rise in perceptions of rights abuse by paramilitary forces that is unlikely to prove helpful in tackling extremism.
Cases against the forces had declined in 2004-05 from 95 the previous year.
But a surge in the cases, particularly related to allegations of fake encounters, death in arbitrary firing and abuse of power by the forces, has since taken the tally upwards.
The year 2007-08 saw 10 cases of alleged fake encounters against just one, two or none at all in previous years. Cases of alleged abuse of power in 2007-08 numbered 33 compared with 13 in 2004-05.
The home ministry has listed 21 cases of death by arbitrary firing in 2007-08 compared with six in 2004-05.


3 Responses

  1. […] legal news 12.01.2009 Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Union Cabinet to consider Kochi Metro project todayKochi Int. airport annual meet todayChandrika to address meet in Kochi todayVolvo finally keeps its date with Kochi […]

  2. Dear Sir,
    with regard I am from Jodhpur working in Halchal Cable.
    one of our case in 2005-2006
    Sir I wan the order kcopy of this case

    Petition No. 46 (c) of 2005
    Halchul TV Vs Niraj And Company

    Sine-die by order on 23. 3 .06

    Please send this

    with regard


    Pradeep Joshi

  3. What is the reference of the SC case “Public servants can be prosecuted without prior sanction: SC” Who had filed the petition and when the ruling was passed.
    kindly inform.

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