LEGAL NEWS 14.01.2009

SC seeks report from states on scheme for construction workers
New Delhi, Jan 13 (PTI) The Supreme Court today asked state governments to place before it a compliance report on the implementation of laws for constitution of welfare boards to monitor social security schemes meant for building and construction workers.A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan granted them four months to file their response and posted the matter for further hearing in May.The court was hearing a PIL filed in 2006 alleging non-implementation of the Building and other Construction Workers (Regulations of Employment and Condition of Service) Act, 1996 and the Building and other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996.The PIL filed by an NGO, National Campaign Committee for Central Legislation on Construction Labour (NCC-CL), alleged that despite the laws being there for over 10 years neither the Centre nor the state governments have implemented it.Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the NGO, said as construction is India’s second largest industry where workers are prone to accidents, the constitution of welfare boards as per the Act was mandatory for the social security and welfare of such workers.The counsel said the implementation of the laws will help collect cess and register workers for helping them.The NGO has sought a direction for constituting an expert committee to advise on matters relating to the framing of rules under the Act. PTI

Emergency at Raju’s 1-0-8 as co dragged to court
13 Jan 2009, 0700 hrs IST, Harsimran Singh, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: After Satyam and Maytas, it’s the turn of Ramalinga Raju’s acclaimed 1-0-8 emergency response service to come under the legal scanner.
The largest emergency service provider in India, Satyam-promoted Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI), a not-for-profit venture, has been sued for grabbing contracts worth up to Rs 3,800 crore via anti-competitive practices. About 11 state governments have also been sued in the Supreme Court for doling out contracts to EMRI without issuing tenders. The petitioners, Kochi-based Transparency in Contracts and Kolkata-based Ambulance Access Foundation of India, are now demanding a re-tendering for all contracts meant for running emergency response services. Like 911 in US, EMRI’s 1-0-8 emergency response service is a 24X7 free emergency service run by EMRI in eight states for medical, police and fire emergencies. The emergency response procedure involves receiving the calls, locating and identifying the caller profile, assigning a hospital and doctor to the patient and dispatching the ambulance within a short span of time. EMRI claims to have about 12,000 employees across India who handle about 7200 emergencies per month. Assorted board members of EMRI such as ICICI Bank Chairman KV Kamath, CII Chief Mentor Tarun Das and Harvard Business School Professor Krishna Palepu, and ex-Nasscom President Kiran Karnik resigned from EMRI last week post Satyam Chairman Ramalinga Raju’s confessions to an accounting fraud in Satyam. Ramalinga Raju has also put in his papers as EMRI Chairman. The PIL in the SC, however, has been filed against EMRI, its ex-Chairman Ramalinga Raju and 11 state governments. The petition alleges that: “The process of award of contracts (for running ambulances) is being effected without following the due fair process. The respondent states have either already entered into or is considering awarding the contracts or have tailor-made the EoI to suit EMRI in the name of saving lives using funds under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).”
Each ambulance is being funded to the tune of over Rs 1 lakh as running costs by the government, which the petitioners say is exorbitant. The 200 page petition seeks a writ of Mandamus from the Supreme Court, which may halt all contracts. The Supreme Court has sought replies from all respondents. The petitioners have also lodged a police complaint in Hyderabad against Ramalinga Raju, for allegedly transferring money from EMRI ‘s bank account, which is a non-profit venture into his own account. Countering the charges, Venkat Chengavalli, CEO of EMRI told ET: “The matter is subjudice and I cannot comment on it. It’s a public partnership system where we run almost 1450 ambulances across 8 states and will ramp up to over 3000 ambulances by this year end.”

“It’s unfortunate that no one is capable enough to compete in these tenders. But it’s not our fault that we are the largest. It’s a separate non-profit legal entity. But Satyam provides the technology on a charitable basis to EMRI,” he adds. Ambulance providers like Falck, Dial 1298 which provide services in Delhi and Mumbai, are also crying hoarse against EMRI for bagging the contracts. Ravi Krishna, Director, Dial 1298 for Ambulance says: “Some states which floated tenders were fixed. EMRI’s claiming to be the largest is meaningless. The claims regarding number of ambulances, number of employees, expenditure claimed from governments are inflated.” According to the PIL, “States like Punjab and Haryana tailor made the EOI to EMRI while Assam, Karnataka and Maharashtra allotted the contract to EMRI without even a tendering process.” The petitioner TIC further adds that, EMRI is all set to withdraw Rs 3800 crore from public funds and get control of 600 acres of prime government land valued at about Rs 1800 crore, if the awards are not halted. TIC is a Kochi-based lawyers association. The SC has sought a response from each of the respondents, an important step as only 3% of PILs filed in the SC are taken up for hearing.

DDA scam: Whistleblower in the dock
13 Jan 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Manoj Mitta, TNN
NEW DELHI: The transformation of Deepak Kumar in the DDA scam from the complainant to an accused has exposed popular misconceptions about a whistleblower. By remanding him on Monday to eight days of police custody, the court showed no latitude to Kumar for having exposed the scam. This is broadly for two reasons. One, as magistrate Digvinay Singh said, “the accused cannot claim amnesty merely because he made complaints.” The law recognizes the possibility of somebody trying to escape the consequences of his own complicity in a crime by turning into a complainant. There are indeed several cases in which somebody who had been questioned as a witness was subsequently made an accused. In order to be treated even as an approver, Kumar would first have to be listed as an accused. Another major reason why Kumar finds himself behind bars is that, for all his claims to have snitched on his accomplices in public interest, he does not qualify as a whistleblower. This concept, which originated in the UK, applies essentially to an employee and not to an outsider. Therefore, if the fake allotments had been made with the complicity of DDA officials, one of them could have blown the whistle and then got the protection of law. The rationale behind it is that a conscientious objector within a department is in danger of being persecuted. The protection that is given to such an insider is meant to serve the larger interest of exposing wrongdoing or corruption. Though Kumar too claims to have exposed a wrongdoing, he is not entitled to that protection because he is self-employed and there is little that DDA officials, if any, can do to harass him. Similarly, journalists, lawyers, social activists or aggrieved applicants cannot claim to be whistleblowers simply because they happened to have a hand in exposing malfeasance. In any event, the whistleblower protection that is given to an employee does not extend to criminal immunity. All it means is that his identity would be kept confidential even as some authority pursues delinquents on the basis of his disclosures. But, if in the course of the investigation, the police discover evidence against the whistleblower, he too could land in the dock. The whistleblower law is most advanced in the US where it applies not only to government servants but also to corporate employees in publicly traded companies. The importance of whistleblowers in the private sector became evident in 2002 when the US was rocked by two Satyam-like scandals, Enron and WorldCom, thanks to the revelations made by an employee in each of those companies. This led to a major legal reform, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which put in place a framework to protect corporate whistleblowers. Though India adopted the whistleblower concept two years later, the protection, such as it is, has been limited to public servants, and that too those working for or connected with the central government. Even this, the government did rather reluctantly because of a PIL filed before the Supreme Court following the murder of IIT graduate Satyendra Dubey, who as an engineer employed with National Highway Authority of India, had in a letter to the PMO blown the whistle on bribes paid by contractors to get away with shoddy construction in the Golden Quadrilateral project. The Central Vigilance Commission administers what is known as “resolution on public interest disclosures and protection of informer”. Much as he is an informer in the DDA case, Kumar cannot avail himself of this rather limited protection.

Small investors to file PIL for independent probe into Satyam
12 Jan 2009, 2213 hrs IST, IANS
MUMBAI: The Small Investors Grievances Forum, headed by former MP Kirit Somaya, on Monday said it would file a public interest litigation in the

Bombay High Court on Tuesday demanding an independent investigation into Satyam scam. “The regulatory mechanism has failed entirely (in Satyam scam). We are demanding an independent investigation in the case,” Small Investors Grievances Forum’s President and a former member of Parliament Kirit Somaya told media here. The respondents of the PIL would be market regulator SEBI, auditor PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the Union Government, the ICAI amongst others. Other demands of the investors include inspection of Satyam share transactions in the past three months, blacklisting of PwC and immediate steps to compensate retail investors. India’s fourth largest IT company Satyam Computers plunged into a crisis following the revelations of its former Chairman B Ramalinga Raju that the company’s accounts were manipulated for seven years, resulting in a scam of Rs 7,800 crore. The Government scrapped Satyam’s board and appointed three new members in the reconstituted board to salvage the company.

Posted on January 12, 2009 by Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Kandhamal of Orissa is in hot headlines for enmity between the followers of two religions: Hindu and Christian. The politico executive and judicial administration wants us to believe that it is a case of communality. But in reality it is a case of religious nationality.
The peoples of India have suffered the separation of precious parts from the body of their motherland in 1947 as it was a prerequisite for independence on August 15 on the ground of religious nationality when the Muslims, multiplied on this soil through conversions claimed to be a separate nation as against the nation of the Hindus.
With formation of Pakistan, Hindustan lost a great portion of its national asset and has been in constant loss due to the terrorism practiced by Muslim converts at the border.
So rise of another religious nationhood through multiplication of Christians by conversions has become the crux of alarm for the Hindus as the Christians, by concept and in practice belong to a religious nationality, as they themselves want others to know by projecting their religious head, the Pope, as a Sovereign Head of State.
It is politically significant that the Pope, because of being the Pope, is being projected and treated as a Sovereign Head of State.
This understood, there is no difficulty in understanding why everywhere in India Hindu activists are trying to bring prodigal children back to their homes through counter-conversions.
Every Hindu may act as a counter-conversionist if thereby his motherland could be saved from another division on religious nationality.
Laxmananand was such a counter-conversionist who had concentrated in Kandhamal.
Unknown assailants, who, in local perception, are Christians, have killed him
So attack on Christians by Hindus in that district is a counter-attack.
A man, face wrapped, projected as a Maoist, has told a private TV channel that members of his organization have killed Laxmanananda to obstruct religious revivalism. This assertion is being read as a Christian mischief to hoodwink the general public. This is simply because, peoples know, the Maoists cannot find any difference between a conversionist and a counter-conversionist as both of them are religious revivalists. So killing of Lamananand alone on reason of religious revivalism cannot be accepted as an act of the Maoists.
In the circumstances, it is easily inferred that the Christians of Kandhamal received the counter-impact of their own mischief after the cold-blooded murder of Laxmananand.
The assassinated Hindu activist was unambiguously the strongest obstacle that the Christian missionaries were facing in converting Hindus to Christian religion in the region. And he was killed.
The Hindu agony is increasing beyond tolerance as the Governments, both in the State and at the Center, have failed to find out the assassin of the man who had sacrificed his worldly comforts to conduct counter-conversion to obstruct the rise of a rival religious nationality again on the soil that has already suffered the disadvantage of division of the motherland by converted Muslims at the time of independence.
The Christians have gone to the Supreme Court of India through a PIL seeking orders for inquiry into the assault on them by the CBI.
Suppose the CBI takes over the case, should that automatically end the unrest?
What is the crux of their allegation that they need the CBI to inquire into? As they say it is the assault on Christians. But in reality the issue is not the assault on the Christians; the issue is counter-assault on the Christians.
It would therefore be wrong to inquire into the counter-attack before the attack is inquired into. Therefore the ghastly murder of Laxmananand should first be inquired into before any inquiry is ordered into assault on Christians.
And the assault on Christians being a counter-assault, should, instead of expenditure of so much official energy on it, be left to be settled by the Christians themselves through credible pledges that they would do everything to wipe out the feeling that they are building up a Christian nationhood like the Muslims of pre-independence era.
As long as this feeling is not wiped out, the Hindus of Hindustan cannot be, even at gun point of Police, obstructed from taking any step, including violent steps, to preempt any possibility of a fresh division of their motherland on the ground of religion.
It is absolutely wrong to say that the majority (Hindu) community has assaulted the minority (Christian) community in Kandhamal. The concept of community is a wrong concept. The correct phenomenon is that a portion of the citizenry has assaulted another portion of the citizenry and the later portion has mounted a counter assault on the former. And in this specific instance, minority amongst the citizens (Christians) assaulted majority amongst the citizens (Hindus) by killing Laxmananand and by building up a minority religious nationhood, in retaliation to which the Hindus, being the majority of the citizenry, have, if at all, mounted their counter-assault.
This had to happen. Majority citizens cannot sit mum when motherland is infested with the viruses of minority nationality.
This scenario is really painful. It would never have happened had all the religions been banned after adoption of the Constitution of India.
Every religion was a societal code that was controlling man’s behaviors vis-à-vis the Society. With framing of the Constitution these codes called religions should have been stored for sociological study only. But shortsighted politicians have played the nastiest of mischief by allowing them to control human behavior in free India. So these religions have become rivals to our Constitution and their followers have linked these codes to their respective religious nationalities.
This being the fact, Christians constitute a rival nation vis-à-vis the Hindus. Hindus form the majority. India is a democracy. Democracy is run by majority. So India as a democracy belongs to the Hindus. But Hindus have never misappropriated India for themselves. Though they were the majority in the Constituent Assembly they framed a Constitution that resolved to build up the country as a secular democracy. They gave full freedom to practitioners of their rival religions to treat India as their home and to practice their religion without obstruction. But nowhere they had said that the practitioners of their rival religions should be allowed to expand their religious nation by dragging away members of Hindu religion to their own.
In view of this every conversion since framing of our Constitution is absolutely unauthorized and blatantly illegal.
The Cuttack Archbishop’s PIL has given the Supreme Court a great chance to dive deep into this matter. The active practice of religion should be seen as active denigration of the Constitution inasmuch as the Constitution being the supreme code of conduct, parallel or rival codes of conduct cannot be countenanced.
It should be made clear that by secularism the framers of the Constitution had only meant that there should be no bar in practice of the religions by their respective followers’ families. But they had never meant for keeping the State mum when certain religions would try to encroach upon others.
If the Supreme Court gives real serious attention to the issue, it should nullify all conversions with retrospective effect from the day of the adoption of our Constitution. And put a blatant ban on emergence of religion as nation.
Words like protection to minority may look magnanimous, but if minority religions take turn towards becoming minority nations, the majority of the country’s citizenry will never sit silent. They must fight that design come what may. Because, to the Hindus of Hindustan, any possibility of further division of their motherland on basis of minorities’ religion-nation can never be acceptable.
So, let us be very clear that Kandhamal is not a case of communality as is being projected; it is a case of religious nationality.

Member of Jalandhar consumer forum held for ‘harassing’ wife
Anju Agnihotri Chaba
Posted: Jan 11, 2009 at 0025 hrs IST
Phagwara Surinder Mittal, a member of District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Jalandhar, was arrested by Phagwara police last night on the complaint of his wife for allegedly harassing and hurting her. He was sent to a day’s police remand today.
Mittal had been booked in September on the complaint of his wife Pooja Mittal. She had alleged that she was beaten by her husband, and her dowry including 50 tola gold was misappropriated. The enquiry was marked to the Women’s Cell.
Mittal’s counsel Vijay Sharma said the couple had got married 17 years ago. He claimed that Pooja had taken all her articles from Mittal’s house last year, and a false case had been registered.
The counsel added that Mittal had filed an application with Jalandhar Range DIG Narinderpal Singh in December regarding the transfer of his case to another official. Mittal had alleged that the SSP of Kapurthala district was his relative, but the two had strained relations due to a family dispute. Mittal feared that he may not get justice. Kapurthala SSP Rakesh Aggarwal said these apprehensions were baseless, as the case was registered on the complaint of Mittal’s wife.

Quota applies to entry level recruitment of judges: SC
14 Jan 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: If you thought merit alone matters in the selection of judges
, you may not be correct if it relates to recruitment at the entry level for the subordinate judiciary. The Supreme Court on Tuesday made this clear to all high courts, some of which like the Patna HC, have been consistently blocking the repeated attempts of state governments to apply OBC quota in the recruitment of trial court judges. A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal was dismayed to hear the Nitish Kumar government’s complaint that the HC has refused to allow carving out OBC quota in the recruitment of 217 civil judges (junior division), for which advertisements have been published recently. It said the HC was refusing the state’s proposal to amend the judges’ recruitment rules to accommodate OBC reservation on the ground that sufficient members from the OBC community were already represented in the judicial services. Disapproving of the HC stand, the CJI said: “The state policy for reservation in recruitment has to be applied in selection of judges at the entry level. The HCs cannot have a separate reservation policy for recruitment of judges. They have to follow whatever reservation rules are framed by the state governments.” The Bench clarified that the judges’ recruitment rules, incorporating the state policy on reservation, had to be framed in consultation with the concerned High Court and its Chief Justice, but this did not mean that the HC could veto the reservation-laced recruitment rules proposed by the state. After expressing its dismay over the manner in which the HC had repeatedly refused to give concurrence to a state government proposal, it turned its ire on the way judicial officers were made to stagnate in one grade for years together. It was informed that a civil judge takes nearly 15 to 18 years to get his first promotion from junior division to senior division and another seven to eight years to get elevated to the post of district judge. A distressed CJI said normally a junior judge should take 15 to 16 years to make it to the district judge’s post and “if he takes 22 to 26 years instead, then there are bound to be a large number of vacancies at the top level which would affect trial in heinous crimes”. The Bench asked the HCs to fast track promotions in the judiciary.

Judges shouldn’t judge judgments: CJI
Thiruvananthapuram, Wednesday, January 14, 2009: Talking to a private channel in New Delhi Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan said that, after pronouncing judgment in court the judges should refrain themselves from making judgments on it. Chief Justice added that various judges having different opinions on same topic under the same court is not a serious matter and that need not necessarily lead to losing credibility of law. But judges should maintain a certain jurisdiction before speaking on a particular topic. The statements from Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan comes at a time when judgments pronounced by Justice K Hema and Justice R Basant in connection with Sister abhaya case turned into a war of words between various benches of Kerala High Court. Yersterday, Justice K Hema of the Kerala High Court today had observed that no judge in the High Court could clarify her observations in the order granting bail to the three accused in the Sister Abhaya murder case. She also observed that every Bench in the HC could invoke jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution and this was applicable to the bail court also. If the CBI had any complaints about her order it could have appealed in the Supreme Court and only the apex court could clarify her order. Justice Hema said she delivered the judgment on the basis of records and case diary and she was not worried about media reports. She made the obsevations while considering another anticipatory bail petition, which was unconnected with the Sister Abhaya case. The CBI had also filed a statement telling that the present investigation team would continue to probe the case. In an another report filed by the CBI states that the accused and their counsels did not meet in the presence of CBI officers. Justice Hema had rapped the CBI while granting conditional bail to the three accused, Father Thomas Kottur, Father Jose Poothrukkayil and Sister Sephi, following which the investigating agency filed a petition seeking to clarify whether it had to continue with the investigation or not. While hearing the CBI petition, Justice R Basant had observed that the bail Bench cannot and did not take over the burden of monitoring the investigation. The question before the bail Bench was whether the bail should be granted to the three accused or not.

HC asks DoT to file affidavit on 3G auction

Press Trust of India / New Delhi January 14, 2009, 14:53 IST
The Delhi High Court today asked the Centre to keep it posted on the latest developments on auctioning of 3G spectrum (radio frequency) for next generation mobile services.
A bench headed by the Chief Justice A P Shah asked Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to file an “affidavit” by January 24 when the matter would be taken up for further hearing.
The court passed the order on a PIL filed by an NGO seeking direction to the government to also auction spectrum that DoT expects the defence ministry to vacate. At present, the DoT proposes to auction only the frequency that is readily available with it now.
The NGO, Society for Awareness and Development, said that the decision of the DoT not to auction the whole spectrum at one go is arbitrary and it was done to benefit some companies.
“The auction is being conducted in a completely non-transparent and an unfair manner only with a view to favouring certain identified parties,” the petition said.
“The information memorandum on auction suppresses the total available spectrum and only gives the figures of the spectrum proposed to be alloted,” the petition said, adding that “the decision is unfair, arbitrary and against public interest”.
The petitioner also pointed out the government’s decision is contrary to the Trai recommendation that on December 8 had suggested that the spectrum should be auctioned at one go.
“The government should be directed to disclose the availability of present and future 3G spectrum and auction the entire spectrum available at one go,” the petitioner said.
The Ministry of Communications, however, opposed the petition and advocate Sanjay Hegde argued that the plea should be dismissed. The Court will hear the matter on January 24.

HC hearing on Satyam PIL adjourned

Press Trust of India / Mumbai January 14, 2009, 14:35 IST
The Bombay High Court today adjourned till January 22 the hearing on PIL seeking measures for protecting small investors in the wake of the Satyam scam, filed by the Investors’ Grievances Forum (IGF).
BJP leader and a former MP Kirit Somaiya, president of the forum, told reporters that the matter was mentioned before the court today and the counsels for the forum argued the urgency of the case before Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice D Y Chandrachud.
The petitioners have been allowed to serve the notices on the respondents, which include the Institute of Chartered Accounts of India, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the two stock exchanges, Sebi, besides Satyam promoters and former directors.
Advocates Darshan Mehta and Nishant Shashidharan appeared for the petitioners.

Amend the Registration Act: HC
14 Jan 2009, 0535 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: Vexed with the unending saga of litigation emanating from bogus registrations of properties, Justice N V Ramana of the AP High Court
has said that it is the bounden duty of the state government to amend the Registration Act, 1908, to protect the interests of the purchasers from the evil intention of the sellers who are resorting to multi sale and registrations. The Judge while dismissing a petition filed by two minors, Tirumala Venkata Reddaiah Chowdary and another who sought the prevention of their father’s property being transferred to a third person, however, made it clear in his recent judgment that under the present scheme of things, he cannot direct the sub registrar (of Gunadala in Vijayawada) not to register the property because there is no such provision in the Act that empowers a sub registrar to refuse to register a title when documents are produced before him for registration. The drafters of this law did not foresee the kind of disputes that are now arising while drafting this law 100 years ago, Justice Ramana said. “This court is not a law making institution and hence cannot make a law curbing such frauds”, he said. It is the legislature that has to make laws and is also vested with the power of amending the same laws in tune with the changing needs of the people. The judge also directed the HC registry to mark a copy of this order to the state’s chief secretary for taking appropriate steps in the matter. Since the government collects registration fee and stamp duty, the government should protect the purchasers of properties who are paying huge amounts to the government, Justice Ramana said. The misdeeds of the owners of the properties who sell the same property to several people fall under the category of cheating, the judge said and suggested to the government that such actions should be made punishable. The loopholes and the silence of the law in such cases is resulting in culprits going scotfree, he said. Highlighting the gravity of the situation, Justice Ramana said in his order that the spiraling rise in value of real estate has added a new class of disputes to the court docket which is a signal for the government to move towards amending the law to plug the loopholes in this regard.

HC comes to firm’s help, protects patent rights
14 Jan 2009, 0351 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: In a country where improvisation is the middle name of many an ingenious entrepreneur, patent laws are often violated. Striking a blow to companies, which invest in research and development , the Bombay high court recently upheld the patent of an Indian firm that had invented a crucial system to protect railway lines passing though hilly regions from landslides. A contractor was using the system for winning bids from other agencies without paying any royalty to the original company on the grounds that it was using it for the government and consequently patent-free . Justice A B Chaudhari restrained the contractor, A I Chopra, Engineers & Contractors from using the patented tools without licence from the patent owner, Garware Wall Ropes Ltd. “GWR (cannot) be deprived of the fruits of its patent by unauthorisedly allowing (the contractor) to drain out its commercial profits,” said Justice Chaudhari. “( By allowing another party to use a patented system for free), the net result would be that a patentee inventing a patent by the utilisation of huge money and manpower involving scientists, technocrats and technicians would be left high and dry and this would definitely be detrimental to the encouragement of scientific and technical advances in the country.” The patent related to Pune-based Garware Wall Ropes Ltd’s invention of two mechanisms-wire steel ropes and spiral lock system. The inventions were of tremendous benefit to the Konkan Railway Corporation, which had tracks passing through rocky terrain and the soft soil in the region had caused landslides, especially during monsoon. Over 60 people had been killed in two separate incidents caused by rockfall on the tracks. The Garware Wire Steel Ropes were used in “mountainous terrains for protection against boulder rockfall, mud slides and avalanche” , while the spiral lock system was for binding “two adjacent panels of boulder nets with each other to prevent boulders/rocks from escaping from the junction of two net sections” . GWR, along with Konkan Railway Corporation, filed for patent in 2001 before the controller of patent, and it was sealed between 2005 and 2006. In December 2005, GWR found out a railway contractor, Nagpur-based A I Chopra, Engineers & Contractors , was using its system to bid for various contracts of the Indian Railways without its permission. Despite repeated notices, AICEC continued to use the tools, which led GWR to move court. GWR’s lawyers argued that the entire manpower of the scientists and the huge money invested by the company in its research and development for the systems would be in vain, if the contractor was not restrained from commercially exploiting its inventions without permission . AICEC denied any patent infringement and said the system claimed to be invented by GWR has been in use for decades. Its main grounds, however, was that it was using the product for the work of railways , which is a central department and such contracts are signed by the President.Consequently, under the Patents Act, it was protected from legal action and the products will automatically become patent free.

HC stays declaration of CSI Madras Diocesan Council elections
14 Jan 2009, 0333 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: The Madras high court has stayed the declaration of results of the Church of South India’s Madras Diocesan Council elections, being held from January 13 to 16. Justice M Jeyapaul granted the interim order on Monday, restraining the Council from declaring the results without the court’s permission, on a civil suit filed by J Victor, general secretary of the Laity Association of CSI-Madras Diocese. The court, however, declined to appoint an advocate-commissioner to monitor the conduct of polling and counting of votes. In his affidavit, the 76-year-old Victor, besides seeking policeprotection to the court’s nominee, said past diocesan elections had been manipulated by persons in power and courts had appointed commissioners to curb the menace. He claimed that the present Bishop had appointed his own men as tellers and chief teller, who are supposed to conduct and complete the polling process. Apprehending malpractices, Victor said the process would not be fair unless the court appointed a representative to ensure conduct of the poll in a democratic manner. As an interim relief, Victor also wanted an interim injunction restraining the authorities from declaring results of polls to various offices and committees.

Bardez village p’yats gear up to face HC on CRZ issue
14 Jan 2009, 0025 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: Faced with directions from the high court to act against Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) violations, village panchayats have been accused of dragging their heels in the matter. But a few coastal panchayats in Bardez on Tuesday told TOI they were acting on the violations. Sandeep Chimulkar, sarpanch of Anjuna-Caisua said that the panchayat has already issued 427 show cause notices to structures within the 200 m NDZ. He said that it will now move to issue demolition notices to violators whose replies are unsatisfactory. Chimulkar said the panchayat began issuing notices since July 24, 2008 and has received 222 replies since then. Where the replies are not satisfactory, demolition notices will be issued, Chimulkar said. But the Anjuna panchayat has identified only 175 structures in the area between 200 m and 500 m that have come up after 1991. The panchayat will soon send show cause notices to owners of these structures. Panchayat sources said some of these structures even have house numbers and pay tax. On its part, the Calangute panchayat has issued show cause notices to 684 structures in the 200 m NDZ, sarpanch Joseph Sequeira told TOI on Tuesday. He said the survey of the NDZ is complete and accordingly the panchayat has issued the show cause notices to the 486 structures. “The panchayat’s survey of the 200 m to 500 m zone is still ongoing and was delayed as the surveyor that the panchayat engaged, met with an accident. But the Calangute panchayat has finished the survey of the two vaddos of Khobravaddo and Sauntavaddo and found 160 illegal structures,” Sequeira said. The Calangute panchayat has now called a meeting on Friday, January 16, to discuss the issue of CRZ violations. Members will scrutinize the replies received to the show cause notices, and decide on the future course of action. The illegal structures will be served demolition notices, Sequeira said. The Calangute panchayat will also file an updated affidavit before the high court on January 21. The Candolim village panchayat is still in the process of conducting its survey of the 200 m to 500 m area. Panchayat sources were not available when TOI contacted them. However, it is estimated that around 1200 structures have already been identified in the 200m500m area. Of these, around 600 structures have been served with show cause notices. The file has been handed to the panchayat’s legal counsel who is preparing the affidavit to be submitted to the High Court on January 21, 2009. It was the two village panchayats of Candolim and Calangute that were dragged to court when the Goa Foundation filed writ petitions against them; writ petition 422 of 1998 against Candolim and writ petition 99 of 1999 against Calangute. The Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority, the chief town planner and others were named as respondents. On October 2006, the high court, in a common order, issued several directions. It directed the respondents to conduct a survey and inquiry with regard to the number of dwelling units and other structures and constructions which were existing in the CRZ-III in Goa, village-wise as on February 19, 1991, as well as the datewise increase in number thereafter. It also directed identification on the basis of permission granted for construction of dwelling units which are in excess of those which had been existing on February 19, 1991. The court directed the panchayats to identify all types of structures and constructions set up in the CRZ-III, except the dwelling units, after February 19, 1991, in the locality comprising dwelling units. It also directed that action be taken against the same for purpose of their demolition in accordance with the provisions of the law. The court also directed, “Till and until the survey and inquiry is completed, as directed above, no new licence for any type of construction in CRZ-III shall be issued or granted, and no new structure of whatsoever nature shall be allowed to be constructed in CRZ-III zone, except repairs and renovation of the existing houses which shall be subject to the appropriate order on completion and result of the survey and inquiry to be held as directed above.”

Probe panel can’t go into incidents inside court: HC
14 Jan 2009, 0000 hrs IST, A Subramani, TNN
CHENNAI: Can an inquiry commission probing a law and order issue seek details of incidents that occurred inside a court? Or, can the commission direct a judicial officer to submit records in his custody for the panel’s review? No, says the Madras High Court. Taking exception to a letter sent by Justice K Govindarajan Commission of Inquiry, which is probing the December 19 police protest on the Puducherry district court premises, a division bench has restrained the commission from seeking a letter and a report sent by the chief judge of Puducherry to High Court authorities. On December 19 a group of policemen went on a rampage on the Puducherry court premises after the court denied bail to a police inspector arrested in a graft case. Taking up a letter sent by the chief judge of Puducherry as writ petition, a bench comprising Justice Prabha Sridevan and Justice K Chandru issued notices to the Puducherry chief secretary, home secretary, inspector-general of police and others. Based on their reply, the court has issued show-cause notice to initiate contempt proceedings against 75 police personnel, ranging from constables to senior superintendents of police. Meanwhile, the Puducherry government constituted an inquiry commission, the terms of reference of which included going into the incidents that occurred “both inside and outside the court.” Justice K Govindarajan Commission then sent a letter to the chief judge of Puducherry directing the latter to furnish two documents – a letter and a report submitted to the High Court. When the chief judge wrote to the high court seeking permission to furnish the documents, the division bench made it clear that judicial officers could not be made answerable to executive diktats. Seeking to insulate judicial officers from such interference, the bench also stayed a portion of the terms of reference which empowered the panel to probe the incidents occurred inside the court. As per Article 235 of the Constitution, control over the subordinate judiciary is vested only with the high court, sources said, adding that Article 50 of the Constitution insisted on separation of power between the judiciary and the executive. On Monday, the bench also issued show-cause notices to 17 more police personnel, taking the total number of policemen and officials under judicial scanner to 92. If found guilty they are likely to get punishments ranging from admonition to fine up to Rs 2,000 to imprisonment for six months.

Live-in relationship unacceptable: NCW Chairperson Girija Vyas
Indore, Jan 13 (PTI) The National Commission for Women today described live-in relationship as “unacceptable” to Indian society and asked Maharashtra government to drop its move to give legal sanctity to such relationships.Neither the live-in relationship is acceptable nor it is needed in India, NCW Chairperson Girija Vyas told reporters here.She alleged the live-in relationship of the West was against human values and the country does not need it.According to her, the NCW has asked Maharashtra government to stop its move to give legal sanctity to live-in relationship.Showing concern over the rise in rape cases in the country, she said there was a 30 per cent rise in such cases in the last two years.Madhya Pradesh tops the rape cases list in the country and the state government should take up some stern measures to protect women, she added. PTI

Fake arms case: No bail for Lt Col Purohit
Wed, Jan 14 04:18 AM
Pune district sessions court on Tuesday rejected the bail application of Malegaon blast accused Lt Col Prasad Purohit in the fake arms licence case. The case was heard by sessions court judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi.
Purohit’s advocate Shrikant Shivade argued that Purohit was falsely implicated in the case, to invoke MCOCA, and that his client was not connected with Hindu organisation Abhinav Bharat. Additional public prosecutor Shashikant Jagtap said that Purohit had paid and procured the gun licence from an arms dealer. The hearing was earlier deferred after Jagtap sought time from the court in order to produce certain documents from Jammu and Kashmir, pertaining to the firearms licence.
The state anti-terrorism squad was given two weeks’ time to investigate the details. Pune ATS team under Inspector Peter Lobo conducted the investigations. The fake arms licence case was registered against Purohit following a complaint registered by his family friend Date. The complaint stated that Purohit had prepared fake documents to provide Date with the arms licence. The prosecution found clues of Lt Col Purohit’s links with Hindu outfits. The prosecution’s case is that Purohit had helped Date obtain the firearms licence from Anantnag district in Jammu and Kashmir in 2005.
Date had returned the licence to Purohit in 2006 because he was erroneously identified as a major in the Indian Army, and secondly, the competent authority had issued the licence for a rifle and not a revolver.
After Purohit was arrested in the Malegaon bomb blast case, Date had registered a case against him with the ATS, Pune, for allegedly issuing him a fake firearms licence. Purohit is the prime accused in the Malegaon blast case.


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