LEGAL NEWS 20-21.01.2009

Rape of British woman: Udaipur police on trail of convict
19 Jan 2009, 1544 hrs IST, Trilok Sharma, TNN
UDAIPUR: In the wake of Supreme Court cancelling the bail of Parvat Singh, who has been convicted of raping a British journalist here almost a year ago, the district police has started a manhunt for him. An apex court bench consisting Justice Markandeya Katju and Justice P S Sirpurkar had on Friday cancelled the bail granted by Rajasthan high court to Parvat Singh (35), asking him to surrender or he may be arrested. The journalist was allegedly raped in a hotel in Udaipur on December 23, 2007 by hotel owner Parvat Singh and a fast-track court in Udaipur had sentenced him for life term. However, on appeal in the Rajasthan High Court, he was granted bail which was challenged by the victim in the Supreme Court. “We are yet to receive a copy of the Supreme Court order, but following media reports, we are trying to trace Parvat Singh but it seems he has gone underground,” said B S Hingad, circle inspector of Amba Mata Police station in Udaipur on Sunday.

Poll panel can decide on exit polls:Supreme Court
New Delhi (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday clarified that it had never prevented the Election Commission from banning exit polls and opinion surveys during elections.
“The Election Commission is free to frame its guidelines to regulate publication of exit polls,” a bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam said.
The clarification came on a hearing of a lawsuit seeking a ban on such polls.
A bill to ban such polls has been passed by the Rajya Sabha and has been pending before the Lok Sabha.

Judges’ assets: HC comes to SC’s rescue
20 Jan 2009, 0604 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Faced with an unprecedented situation of the Supreme Court petitioning it against a ruling, the Delhi High Court on Monday stayed an order passed by the Central Information Commission asking the Chief Justice of India to disclose if judges of the apex court have declared their assets to him. Acting on a petition filed by the CPIO of Supreme Court challenging the January 6 order passed by the CIC, Justice S Ravindra Bhat also appointed noted jurist Fali S Nariman as the amicus curiae (friend of court) to assist the court and fixed February 12 as the next date of hearing in the case. HC also issued notice to CIC and RTI applicant Subhash Chandra Aggarwal. In the petition, SC said that information relating to declaration of assets by the apex court judges to the CJI was not a mandatory exercise under the law and it can’t be ordered to disclose it. Senior counsel K K Nigam and standing counsel for CIC, O P Saxena accepted the notice on behalf of CIC. The petition dubbed as ‘informal’ the judges conference at which a resolution was passed on May 7, 1997 requiring every judge to declare to the CJI assets including properties or any other investment in the name of their spouse and any person dependent on them. It maintained the resolution wasn’t a law and CJI being a constitutional authority wasn’t bound by the RTI Act. “Neither is the office of CJI a public authority nor does the information relating to judges’ assets come in the public domain,” SC has said. On January 6, the CIC had asked the Supreme Court’s registrar to provide information to Aggarwal, within 10 days, whether the judges of the apex court declare their assets to the CJI. Aggarwal appeared in court through his lawyer Prashant Bhushan. Meanwhile, the apex court supplied a copy of May 1997 resolution to the CIC and the registry said there is nothing under the Constitution or any law which required judges to declare their assets to CJI. Under RTI Act, Aggarwal sought to know if the SC judgesdeclare their assets to CJI

CJI considering transfers of some High Court Judges
Submitted by Tamilan on Monday, 19 January 2009
The Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan has said some judges of the Allahabad High Court are proposed to be transferred in connection with the Ghaziabad provident fund scam. In an interview with PTI, he said that the CBI has made some preliminary inquiries. So transfer of some judges is being considered. But no decision has been taken in this regards so far. The CJI also said he is awaiting further explanation from a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the cash-at-judge door scam. In the case of Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court against whom he had recommended impeachment for alleged financial misconduct before being elevated to the High Court, he said, he had taken the step after Sen refused to submit his resignation.

Need to Know Jet Airways, JetLite ink code-sharing agreement–Jet-Airways-Je.html
The agreement would result in higher revenues and synergies for both carriers, apart from better connectivity and lower fares
New Delhi:Jet Airways (India) Ltd said on Monday it has entered into a code-sharing agreement with its subsidiary JetLite that will enable it to sell the latter’s domestic tickets at foreign locations.
The code-sharing agreement will be implemented in two phases and JetLite’s domestic network will be available for sale under the Jet Airways’ code (9W) for tickets purchased at all international points across the globe, the company said in a statement.
Jet Airways chief executive officer Wolfgang Prock-Schauer said the code-sharing agreement would also result in benefits such as higher revenues and synergies for both carriers, apart from better connectivity and lower fares.

HC pulls up MMC over unclean drains
20 Jan 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: A division bench of the High Court of Bombay at Goa on Monday pulled up the Mapusa Municipal Council (MMC) for its lax attitude towards the cleaning of the nullah flowing through Mapusa market. The bench comprising justice P B Majmudar and N A Britto suggested to the MMC that it should look for a permanent solution to the problem of keeping the nullah free. The “Council has to take up the responsibility” for keeping the nullah clean, the bench pointed out. The bench was hearing a public interest litigation filed by one Cajetan Rapose complaining about the recurring garbage disposal problem in Mapusa. The nullah which is nearly 450 meters in length, extending from Khorlim to the National Highway 17 via the Bodgeshwar temple, has been allegedly used by the fish and mutton vendors in the Mapusa market for dumping fish and meat waste. MMCs advocate, senior counsel Atmaram Nadkarni, informed the court that the council has no funds at present and has sent a proposal to the Goa State Urban Development Agency (GSUDA) requesting funds to construct a new market complex. Once the market complex is completed, the nullah problem will be permanently solved by having parking over the nullah, he said. He also disclosed that the MMC request is pending and no funds have been released to the MMC.

HC directs govt to fill up GSIC post
20 Jan 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The High Court of Bombay at Goa has directed the state government to file a reply explaining the delay in filling up the vacancy for the post of commissioner of the Goa State Information Commission (GSIC) within a week.
The division bench comprising justice P B Majmudar and justice N A Britto were hearing a petition filed by one Felicia Fernandes complaining about the increasing pendency of cases before the GSIC. The petitioner, a practicing lawyer from the city, points out in her petition that a large number of complaints and appeals are pending before the Commission. The advocate general of the state, Subodh Kantak, informed the court that the government is in the process of setting up a committee to fill the vacancy by the end of February. The committee will consist of the chief minister (CM), the leader of the opposition and another cabinet minister to be appointed by the CM, he told the court. It may be recalled that the vacancy was caused due to the sudden death of the GSIC commissioner G G Kambli.

HC hold BMC about abduction of newborn infants
20 Jan 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday asked the BMC what steps it had taken to prevent abduction of newborn infants from civic hospitals. Hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by a Chembur resident whose newborn son was kidnapped from Sion Hospital, a division bench of Justices Bilal Nazki and Anoop Mohta directed the state and BMC to file an action taken report on the incident before the next date of hearing on January 28. “Have you taken any action against staff members for their negligence?” asked the judges, who were not satisfied with the BMC’s statement that a committee had been formed to probe the incident and recommend preventive measures. A woman had kidnapped Chembur residents Mohan and Mohini Nerurkar’s four-day- old baby from Sion Hospital’s maternity ward on January 1, 2009. Mohan Nerurkar in his petition claimed that his family was the victim of carelessness and lack of management by BMC and Sion Hospital. “The fact that (Nerurkar’s) child is not the first child stolen from the Sion Hospital itself is a (reflection of the) deplorable and pathetic state of affairs,” said the petition. The Nerurkars also charged the senior inspector of Mahim police station with improper investigation in the matter. Nerurkar claimed in his petition that he had “reason to believe that there exists a well-planned and co-ordinated gang of thieves who are indulging in the stealing of newborn babies in connivance with the hospital staff and hence, it is necessary that thorough investigation be conducted in the running of the hospital and other government institutions.” The petitioner has urged the court to “appoint a high level committee of experts to investigate the role of the dean of Sion Hospital and its staff in the incident of stealing of the baby and after arriving at a conclusion, take necessary steps to furnish the culprit”. The petition further said that it was the dean’s responsibility to ensure that “every patient who is admitted in the said hospital is secured and safe”. Nerurkar has asked the court to direct the authorities to trace and produce his baby in court. “The child is a new born. Every passing day may amount to grave risk to his health,” Nerurkar added.

File report on Sushmita Sen car import scam: HC
20 Jan 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday directed the economic offences wing of the Mumbai police and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence to file a report on the status of investigations in the Sushmita Sen car import scam case. A division bench of Justice J N Patel and Justice K K Tated also questioned the clean chit given by the police to the actor in the case. The matter had come to light when Sushmita challenged a Rs 20-lakh penalty imposed on her by the BMC for evading octroi on her imported Toyota Landcruiser. The HC set aside the penalty, but asked the police to investigate the case. Investigations by the EOW led to the arrest of seven persons, including car dealer Haren Choksi and officials of the RTO. According to the police, there was a cartel operating in the city, which used fake passports and imported vehicles under the transfer of residence (TR) facility to evade high import duty. The kingpin of the cartel was, Dubai-based car dealer Rajesh Jethani, who would allegedly send cars to India with fake invoices and tampered chassis numbers. Last November, the high court had revoked the showcause notice it had issued to Sushmita Sen, following a clean chit by the EOW.

Parties’ support sought to impeach HC judge
Legal Correspondent
New Delhi: The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) has sought the support of political parties for the impeachment of Justice Soumitra Sen, judge of the Calcutta High Court, as recommended by the Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, in his letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan of CJAR, addressing a press conference here, said: “The inaction of the government in Justice Sen’s matter after the CJI sent his recommendation displays complete lack of seriousness on the part of the government in enforcing judicial accountability.”
He said in these circumstances, the CJAR has prepared an impeachment motion against Justice Sen and is sending it to all the political parties with a request that they should have it signed by their MPs so that it could be presented to the chairman of the Rajya Sabha. He said signature of 50 MPs of the Rajya Sabha was necessary to proceed with the motion.
Mr. Bhushan said that when the CJAR came to know about the proposed appointment of advocate Ashwini Kumar Mata as a judge of the Delhi High Court, it had written to the High Court and Supreme Court collegium about his alleged involvement in a forgery case and to stop his appointment.
Citing the case of Justice Ashok Kumar, judge of the Andhra Pradesh, he said the CJAR wanted to prevent the appointment at the initial stage itself.
Admiral (retired) R.H. Tahilani, Chairman, Transparency International India, who too addressed the press meet, found fault with the Supreme Court for refusing to comply with the order passed by the Central Information Commission on disclosure of assets by the judges.
Pointing out that the CIC’s order had been challenged in the Delhi High Court, he said: “All this could have been avoided if the CJI had chosen to disclose information about which judges were complying with their own Code of Conduct. It is inexplicable as to why the CJI or other judges of the Supreme Court are unwilling to disclose their assets, particularly when they had themselves directed even candidates contesting elections to publicly declare their assets.”

HC stops felling of trees
20 Jan 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court on Monday barred the authorities from felling trees on Bopal-Ghuma road and asked various government departments, as well as Ghuma Grampanchayat, to explain the issue on Tuesday. Acting on a PIL by a resident of Ghuma Shivlal Purohit, moved through advocate Amit Panchal, a division bench of Justices RR Tripathi and RH Shukla asked the state government, AMC, AUDA and city police commissioner to immediately stop tree felling activity. However, by then nearly 370 trees had already been cut. Despite repeated efforts, the tree felling activity, which was being done to widen the road, didn’t stop and the PIL had to be moved, said the advocate. The PIL also questioned on why the various authorities, who are responsible to protect green cover in the city, didn’t interfere in this activity. Complaining about lack of policy in tree felling, the petitioner stated, “It is true that in the given situation, it would be imperative for a tree to be felled for public convenience. However, there cannot be a situation where that is a rule and not an exception, as trees are being felled incessantly and contrary to the Felling of Trees Act.” The PIL has urged the court to direct the government to form a permanent policy about felling of trees for the purpose of widening of roads.

HC orders to check pollution in Ganga
19 Jan 2009, 2018 hrs IST, RN Pandey, TNN
ALLAHABAD: Advocate general Jyotindra Misra on Monday, held a meeting with the senior officers, including the DM and the nagar ayukt concerning Ganga pollution and instructed all the officers present in the meeting to comply with the orders of High Court in letter and spirit passed by a division bench on a PIL. He asked the officers to make all possible efforts to check pollution in the Ganga in the interest of the pilgrims. The meeting of the officers was convened at the advocate general’s office in the HC premises to comply with the orders passed by the HC in a PIL filed by Harichaitanya Brahmachari. The officers present in the meeting assured the advocate general and also the chairman of the committee, MC Chaturvedi, chief standing counsel and DR Chaudhary, government advocate, HC and other appointed members of the committee that quantity and quality in the Ganga would be maintained and effective steps would be taken to make the river free from pollution as per the direction of the HC so that pilgrims might take holy dip in a clean river during the ongoing Magh Mela. The members of the committee, AK Gupta, HN Tripathi, SP Kesharwani and others discussed about the quality and quantity of water in the Ganga and asked the officers to comply with the HC orders and to stop discharge of dirty water in the river. Executive engineer, Flood Works Division, Allahabad, produced a report of the water-level before the committee. According to the report, water level, as had been directed by the HC, was being regularly maintained. He said that 2,500 cusec water was regularly being released from Narora Barrage in the Ganga in the interest of the pilgrims and also in compliance of the HC orders. Advocate General, presiding over the meeting of the committee, also directed the DM and nagar ayukt and the officers of the pollution control board, Jal Nigam and others that the water-level in the Ganga may not go down and instructed the UP Pollution Control Board to make regular inspection and take sample of the water of the river for regular testing of it. He said that steps to check pollution in the river be made regularly by the pollution control board. The committee also issued direction to the officers about the cleanliness and throwing of polythene bags in the Magh Mela area in garbage bin and not in the river or mela area. The committee instructed the officers concerned that a team be deployed to motivate the pilgrims and other people in mela area against throwing polythene bags and garbage in the river or in the mela area. Chief Medical Officer, Allahabad, pointed out to the committee that he had posted some officers in the mela area to maintain cleanliness there for all time, particularly during the Magh Mela.

HC grants bail to Seeman, two others
Chennai (PTI): Film director Seeman and two others, arrested in December for speaking in favour of the banned LTTE at a public meeting, were on Monday granted conditional bail by the Madras High Court.
Granting the bail, Justice T Sudanthiram directed Seeman, President of Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam T S Mani and President of Tamil Desiya Pothuudamai Katchi (TDPK) Maniyarasan to furnish personal bonds for Rs 10,000 each with two sureities for like sums and to report before the Erode police as and when required.
Earlier, the judge recorded an undertaking by their counsel that they would “restrain themselves from making such speeches.”
Seeman and Mani were arrested on December 19 last and Maniyarasan the next day for supporting the LTTE at a public meeting organised by the TDPK on December 14 in Erode district. They were denied bail by an Erode sessions court on January 9.
This was the second time Seeman had been arrested for supporting LTTE. He was arrested earlier on October 24 along with another film director Ameer by the ‘Q’ branch police on sedition charges for making “inflammatory” speeches during the October 19 Tamil film industry rally at Rameswaram in support of Sri Lankan Tamils.

Don’t let Brits acquitted of child abuse flee: SC to cops
20 Jan 2009, 0408 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Mumbai police to ensure that the two Britons along with their Indian accomplice, acquitted by the Bombay High Court from a case of alleged sexual abuse of boys in shelter homes, do not flee India as had happened in a similar case involving a Swiss couple. This additional measure was ordered by a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam despite it having already directed the police not to give back the passports to the acquitted accused Allan John Waters and Duncan Grant. Joining senior advocate Fali Nariman, who argued for petitioner NGO `Childline India Foundation’, Maharashtra’s counsel Ravindra Adsure expressed apprehension that mere denial of passport to the acquitted accused was no guarantee against their fleeing the country, as had happened earlier in a similar case. The Bench, while asking the police to ensure that the accused do not flee the country, directed Waters and Grant to mark their appearance before the SHO of Colaba police station in Mumbai twice every month. Nariman said the act of the accused, who were in charge of the child shelter home, was serious since they abused the very children whom they were supposed to take care of. “Such relationship between consenting adults is a different thing, but people in supervisory position could not be allowed to go scot free for their act on the ground that it was an act under consent,” he said faulting the HC judgment. The NGO had stated that the trial court had on March 18, 2005, convicted the accused in the child abuse case for allegedly sexually assaulting the minors at the `Anchorage’ shelter home set up by Grant, who had surrendered in June 2005. Waters was arrested by the US police and deported to India in September 2004 to face trial. While Grant and Waters were sentenced to 6 years imprisonment, their accomplice was sentenced to three years in prison. The HC had allowed their appeals and acquitted them. It had also rejected an appeal filed by the NGO seeking enhancement of the sentence.

Orissa HC quashes land lease agreement
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
By our correspondent; Sundargarh: The Orissa High Court has quashed the land lease agreement between the Orissa State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) and a private party of the Bus Stand area here.
A division bench of the court comprising Chief Justice BS Chauhan and Justice BN Mohapatra in a recently judgement observed that the conduct of the OSRTC authorities has been reprehensible and the entire exercise made by them is unwarranted, uncalled for and a farce.
It decreed further that it shall be open to the OSRTC to initiate the proceeding for alienation of its property in accordance with law.
The Sundargarh Citizens’ Forum (SCF) had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution challenging the lease executed by the OSRTC in favour of one Deokaran Prasad Jaiswal in April 2007 for a period of 15 years at a monthly rent of Rs 51,000.
On March 24, 2007, sealed tenders had been invited for lease of the land, following which Jaiswal had negotiated with the OSRTC and got the agreement executed on April 13, 2007.
The OSRTC, in its April 16, 2007 letter, had intimated Jaiswal to take possession of the land, which was later handed over to him on April 21, 2007.
Earlier, a local youth, Kausal Sahu, had filed a PIL for cancelling this agreement, but it was dismissed on September 13, 2007.
However, the High Court later admitted the Citizens’ Forum’s PIL seeking similar relief on the ground that no procedure of law had been followed while granting contract of a public property to a private party.
The SCF counsel submitted that the land still belongs to the State as the title has never been transferred in favour of the OSRTC.
The agreement had been in contravention of the policy decision taken by the OSRTC and the contract, being a single instance, has not been executed anywhere else.
The SCF argued that while granting the licence, the OSRTC had not advertised widely giving an opportunity to the people at large to participate in the bid or submit tenders, let alone colossal loss to the state exchequer and thus the grant of lease had been totally illegal, invalid and arbitrary hit by Article 14 of the Constitution.

Gauhati HC admits PIL on restriction of vehicles on Governor’s road
A division bench of Gauhati High Court has directed the Manipur government advocate to take necessary instructions from the government in connection with a PIL filed against the imposition of curfew-like situation along the Governor’s Road in the capital.Further, the division bench, comprising Justices T Nandakumar Singh and Mutum Binoy Kumar Singh, directed to list the matter after two weeks at motion stage for further consideration. The above direction was passed in regard to the PIL filed on January 14 by three individuals — Narengbam Inaocha Singh, Beishamayum Rohinikumar Singh and Shri Saikhom Jugol Singh. They alleged that the Manipur police personnel had imposed a ban on parking of vehicles along the Governor’s road from 1600 hours till early morning of the next day, without issuing any public notification or order. Even pedestrians were not allowed on Governor’s road during this time of the day. The petitioners challenged the ban on parking of vehicles and imposition of curfew-like situation saying it was illegal and also caused hardship to civilians. The ban was imposed following a grenade attack at Raj Bhavan on December 21 last.UNI

Bombay HC verdict on Parliamentary Secretaries case on Jan 22
A division bench of the Bombay High Court at Goa will on January 22 deliver its verdict on the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by social activist Adv Aires Rodriges, challenging the government appointments of parliamentary secretaries and others with cabinet status.The PIL challenged the appointment of Nilkanth Harlankar (NCP) and Francisco Silveira (Congress) as parliamentary secretaries and conferring of cabinet status on Economic Development Corporation (EDC) chairman Agnelo Fernandes, Deputy Chairman of Goa Planning Board Dr Wilfred De Souza (NCP chief) and Commissioner of NRI affairs Eduardo Faleiro.In his petition, Adv Rodriges has submitted that the appointment of parliamentary secretaries and conferment of rank/status of a Cabinet Minister on others was a ‘fraud on the Constitution of India and violation of the 91st Amendment, which was meant to restrict the size of the Cabinet and to prevent Jumbo size cabinets with a huge financial burden to the State Exchequer.’ It may be recalled that in 2005, the Himachal Pradesh High Court had set aside the appointments of Parliamentary Secretaries as unconstitutional.As directed by Bombay High Court Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Nelson. A Britto on November 21 last year, Adv Rodriges, the Goa Government, the two parliamentary secretaries and the three other respondents — whose cabinet status has been challenged — had already filed their written arguments in the matter.If the appointments are held to be unconstitutional it could set off more political trouble for Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who has been doing a balancing act holding the coalition government together.In his application dated October 7 last year, Adv Rodriges had urged the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court for expeditious delivery of the judgement owing to the urgency in the matter as the appointments that were challenged were ‘a huge unnecessary burden on the state exchequer and were done for political expediency.’ Bombay High Court Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Nelson A Britto had on March 19 last year, after hearing the final arguments in the matter, had reserved the judgment.The arguments on the PIL filed by Adv Rodriges on July 17, 2007 were initially heard by the High Court comprising Justice R M S Khandeparkar and Justice R S Mohite on August 22, 2007, and the matter was reserved for judgement. However, on August 24, 2007, the court did not pass any orders and adjourned the matter stating that it would not be appropriate to deal with it as a similar case relating to the validity of the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries and conferment of status of Cabinet Ministers in Assam was pending before the Supreme Court. Adv Rodriges then moved the Supreme Court through a petition under Article 139-A (1) of the Constitution of India seeking transfer of the PIL for hearing along with the Assam case on appointment of parliamentary secretaries pending before the Supreme Court, as both the cases involved the same questions of law and of general public importance. However, on October 12, 2007, a division bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice S H Kapadia and Justice B Sudershan Reddy directed that it was the Bombay High Court at Goa that should hear and decide the PIL. UNI

U-turn: 2 yrs on, SC says no to guidelines for encounters
20 Jan 2009, 0412 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court, which two years ago had entertained a PIL seeking a national policy against fake encounters increasingly resorted to by police and armed personnel for accelerated promotion, on Monday found it to be ridiculous to say the least. “How can there be a framework for fake encounters, which are illegal and constitute an offence,” said an amused Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam signalling a clear change of heart since 2007. At that time, charges of fake encounters were flying thick and fast against police and armed personnel — from Gujarat to those posted in naxalite-infested areas or militancy-affected states. The apex court had entertained the PIL filed by R Chandrasekhar Reddy, who had requested a Bench headed by then Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal to give effect to the guidelines formulated by the National Human Rights Commission to check misuse of power by armed forces personnel. However, the Bench headed by CJI Balakrishnan had a fundamentally different perception of the petition and its prayers. “Encounter killing is illegal. We cannot be seen to be laying down guidelines for this,” the Bench said. Petitioner’s counsel P V Yogishwaran attempted to take the Bench to the other prayer — lack of will among state governments to set up State Human Rights Commissions (SHRCs). He said of the 35 states and UTs, only 16 have set up SHRCs, of which only 11 have chairpersons. The counsel said when human rights violations take place, the victim and his relatives have nowhere to go when the SHRCs were not functional. He requested the court to await the response of the Centre, to which the SC had issued notice earlier. But this did not impress the Bench, which wondered as to what the central government could say on the framing of guidelines on fake encounters. On setting up of SHRCs and making them functional, the Bench said the petitioner should be moving the respective high courts.

Shelter slur on road officials
Jamshedpur, Jan. 19: Jharkhand High Court has instructed the road construction department to initiate a criminal case against 18 engineers for misappropriation of government funds but the officials say they are trying to find out a way out of the mess.
The road construction department is trying to find out a way to save the accused officials. They say they are contemplating to knock on the door of the apex court.
K.K. Khandalwal, the secretary of road construction department, said he is yet to decide on initiating a criminal case against the engineers.
In response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an NGO Jan Kalyan Morcha (JKM), Jharkhand High Court served a notice to road construction officials to initiate a criminal case against 18 engineers of the department for road construction and repair of Adityapur-Kandra and Kandra-Seraikela roads.
The then superintending engineer Vijay Kumar, chief engineer R.S. Dubey (retired), T.S. Prasad, Binod Kumar and Vijay Kumar Mishra were accused in the PIL that was first heard in November 2008.
In the PIL, JKM alleged that the department promised to turn Adityapur-Kandra road into a four-lane one against a cost of Rs 23 crore while strengthening of Kandra-Seraikela road was pegged at Rs 10.5 crore in 2005. Within one year of the work, the roads developed cracks.
The strengthening was not of grade I quality as was written on papers. Instead of a thickness of 4 inch, the Kandra-Seraikela road got a repair of 2 inch thickness.
The Adityapur-Kandra road, which was 12ft wide, was turned into 60ft stretch but the construction was of poor quality.
Engineer in chief Vijay Kumar: “Let me see what can be done to evade the axe.”

‘Ghajini should be an Adults Only film’
Soumyadipta Banerjee
Monday, January 19, 2009 23:59 IST
Mumbai: Even as the Bombay High Court last Friday asked the Central Government and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to file replies to a petition filed by a city-based activist who had sought a stay on the release of Ghajini, the Censor Board chairman Sharmila Tagore has lashed out against her own officers for releasing the film with a U/A certificate.
“The U/A tag means that kids can see the film with the consent of their parents. I have already spoken to my regional officers and told them that I am very upset with them for releasing such a violent and gory film for kids. I told them that they should have released it only for adult audiences,” says Tagore.
The Censor Board has sought a week’s time to reply to the PIL filed at the Bombay High Court by college lecturer Pratibha Naithani that the movie contains excessive gore and should, therefore, be allotted an ‘A’ certification.
By the way, Tagore has not watched the film herself. “I have not watched the film myself but I have been flooded with complaints. Till now, I have not found a single person who thought that kids should be allowed to see Ghajini.”
She is annoyed with producers who start doling out posters and ‘first look’ of their films even before they are cleared by the Board. “The posters have stopped carrying the tags. In most cases, the posters are out on the billboards even before a movie is cleared by us. This is absolutely not done,” adds Tagore, who is working on an ambitious plan to formulate a uniform certification system for films released in India. “The ratings may vary from state to state depending on the sensibilities of the local audience. But there needs to be a uniform rating system across the country and we are working towards putting a more transparent system in place.”

Court rejects plea to shift 128-year-old mosque
Jan 20th, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Tuesday rejected a plea of a group of residents from south Delhi seeking direction to the Wakf Board to shift a 128-year-old mosque elsewhere though it asked devotees not to crowd the area.
Hearing the petition from the residents of the Aravali Apartments from Alaknanda area, a division bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul asked police to ensure that the rights of the devotees who come there to perform Namaz are protected.
Wakf Board counsel Nazmi Waziri told the court that the mosque was 128 years old and was the property of the board. He said the mosque could not be shifted elsewhere as it existed there before the area was developed.
The residents had urged the court to direct the board to shift the mosque, saying that the neighbourhood was facing security threats as a large number of people gather there for Friday prayers.
The court asked police to maintain law and order in the area as well as to ensure smooth conduct of prayers.

A case against ICICI Bank for doing unfair trade practice
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Another case of unfair trade practice by ICICI bank has come into lime light. For this the bank has been directed to pay Rs 20,000 as compensation to a complainant and Rs 2,200 as litigation costs. The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum found the bank guilty of deficiency in service after a sanctioned loan of Rs 1, 02,000 was shown to the complainant against the told Rs 91,000. The bank has also been directed to restore the loan account of the complainant.
The forum in its ruling said, “It is yet another case of unfair trade practice on part of the bank in disbursing the loan to a third party instead of the complainant and thereby causing a loss of Rs 11,000 to the complainant and benefiting their stooges by giving them benefit of the aforesaid amount”. The forum also blamed the bank of teaming up with the Car Bazaar in order to serve up their vested interests.
Surjit Kumar Gupta in his complaint stated that in November 2005, an ICICI executive approached him with the offer of financing his old car at a low rate of interest. At that time he was assured a loan of Rs 1 lakh with equated monthly installments (EMI) of 36 months. He was then given a cheque of Rs 91,000 with an EMI of Rs 3,560 every month. The complainant was regularly paying the installment but he was not satisfied with the service of the bank, therefore he approached it to clear the whole amount. According to him the outstanding amount shown by the bank at Rs 46,218 in October 2008, was highly inflated.
When the complainant asked for the explanation but the bank neither returned the excessive amount nor gave any satisfactory reply.
In its reply, to the forum the bank stated that the full amount of loan sanctioned was Rs 1,02,000 as availed by the complainant. Bank denied that it made a short disbursal of Rs 91,000.
The forum, headed by president Jagrup Singh Mahal, found merit in the argument that Max Car Bazar is being supported up by the employees of the bank in order to favor them with a wrongful gain and to cause a wrongful loss of Rs 11,000 to the complainant. The forum apprehended “The payment was made to Max Car Bazar instead of making the same directly to the complainant. It is an unfair trade practice on the part of the bank.”
Posted by E. Chandra at 3:21 AM

Collegium system worked well on appointment of judges: CJI
New Delhi, Jan 21: Unfazed by the raging controversy over the recent appointment of judges to higher judiciary, Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan has said that the collegium system has worked well and the procedure laid down for it has been strictly followed. However, he said it was the government’s prerogative to make any departure from the prevalent collegium system — which involves selection of judges by a panel of judges headed by the CJI — and bring forward changes in the procedure. “We are just following the Supreme Court order which is binding on us. We strictly follow the procedure prescribed in the order. Whether this should be changed is for the government and the Parliament to decide,” the CJI said in an interview. Balakrishnan said collegium system was working well as the names recommended by it have never been turned down by the government. In the collegium (system) whatever names have so far been recommended, “I think, to my knowledge, no names have been turned down by the Executive in recent course,” he said. When asked whether the collegium’s word is the last word on judges’ appointments, Balakrishnan said “it cannot be the last word and the government can say that these names cannot be accepted”. The CJI said he had no qualms about the recent incident in which the government asked the collegium to reconsider the names recommended by it for elevation of three High Court Chief Justices to the Supreme Court. “They have got a right to say that. Government has got a right to say,” he said. Justice Balakrishnan said even as per the 1993 decision of the Supreme Court, government can seek a second opinion from the collegium and it can also say, that they can refuse to appoint a person recommended by the collegium provided they give reasons why these candidates may not be appointed. “We can accept their reasons sometimes, some matters which may not be in the knowledge of the collegium may be with the executives also,” he said. The issue of reconsideration of the names for elevation to the Supreme Court cropped up in November when the government asked the collegium to review the clearance given by it to the names of Chief Justices Asok Kumar Ganguly, RM Lodha and HL Dattu. The elevation of Ganguly, Lodha and Dattu — Chief Justices of Kerala, Madras and Patna High Courts — as judges of the Supreme Court, was mired in controversy as the Centre had asked the collegium headed by the CJI to reconsider the decision, taking into account the seniority of three other Chief Justices of High Courts. The Centre had pointed out that the collegium overlooked the case of their seniors, Delhi HC Chief Justice A P Shah, Madhya Pradesh HC Chief Justice AK Patnaik and Uttarakhand HC Chief Justice VK Gupta, for appointment to the apex court. However, the collegium, comprising five senior-most judges of the apex court, refused to reconsider the decision and persisted with the names already recommended by it. With no option left, the names were forwarded by the Centre to President Pratibha Patil who approved their appointments. The CJI had contended that seniority was only one among several criteria for promoting judges to the top court and stressed the importance of merit. Bureau Report

Handling corporate fraud not complicated: CJI
Agencies Posted: Jan 20, 2009 at 1232 hrs IST
New Delhi: Amid a rise in white collar crimes and corporate frauds such as Satyam and Nagarjuna Finance, the Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan has said that judiciary is fully equipped to tackle such cases.
Dealing with cases of corporate fraud is not complicated, though common man may find them difficult to comprehend, he said, emphasising that “now the courts are also assisted by good legally trained persons. CBI has a good team of prosecutors.”
Brushing aside apprehensions about dealing with crimes that involve complex stock market derivatives and other financial instruments, Balakrishnan said such cases boil down to handling issues concerning financial fraud and record tampering for which judiciary is equipped and can also seek assistance from experts.
“Ultimately (white collar crimes) boil down to the question of fraud… the commission of fraud, tampering with the record and the company projecting report in a different way,” the CJI said on whether the Government prosecutors face problems when pitched against best legal brains hired by the corporate.
CBI, the Chief Justice said, “is investigating so many complicated cases… Nowadays, any body can borrow help.”
The CJI’s comments assume importance as they come within weeks of unfolding of the country’s biggest corporate fraud following disclosure by the disgraced founder-chairman of Satyam Computer Services, B Ramalinga Raju, that he had cooked up the books to inflate profits.
Balakrishnan said one of the major problems being faced by the lower courts was the plethora of cases pertaining to bouncing of cheques.
“One major problem is Section 138 (of Negotiable Instruments Act dealing with dishonour of cheques) cases… large number of cases are there, mostly in city” as also other places, he said.
These have created problems of magistracy, he said, adding that “they (lower courts) are all flooded with these cases and I feel unless the regular criminal court is working, it would have serious impact on law and order situation.”
As regards the issue of handling complicated cases, involving stock markets and matters concerning corporate governance, by higher judiciary, Balakrishnan said, “Judiciary handles these things by specialised tribunals for economic matters.”
Even for SEBI matters, he said there are special courts, special judges and a tribunal and also these bodies can take assistance from experts in the field of finance.
On setting up of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), which was proposed by the government in 2002 to deal exclusively with corporate disputes, he said efforts were being made to expedite court cases concerning NCLT.
“We are trying to expedite the matter (concerning setting up of NCLT) and it would be heard by the constitutional bench”, he said.
The government had proposed to set up a National Tax Tribunal (NTT) in 2004 to clear the backlog of tax disputes, but the proposal has not yet made any progress.
The legislation to set up NCLT was challenged by some activists, mainly on the grounds of encroachment of the jurisdiction of high courts and the cases are currently pending before the Supreme Court.

HC accepts student’s plea to continue in CRPF school
New Delhi (PTI): The daughter of a CRPF constable, who took voluntary retirement, has found a well-wisher in Delhi High Court which has allowed her to continue her Class XI studies in CRPF Public School despite the fact that her father is no more in service.
Justice S Ravinder Bhat in an interim order recently, also directed the school’s governing body not to terminate Rimpy’s father-Madan Singh’s membership from the society and set aside a notice issued on December 13 seizing his membership.
Filing a petition before Justice Bhat, the petitioner stated that her father, a constable, took voluntary retirement from the job in 2007 after which the school started raising a bill towards her tuition fee. In October 2007, she was served with a fee slip amounting to Rs 50,995, she added.
In December 2007, the school society seized her father’s membership and threatened to strike off her name from the school rolls.
The court rejected the school’s submission that as per the governing body’s rules and regulations, a CRPF employee looses his membership once he leaves the job.
Justice Bhat also dismissed another submission that the school was charging higher fees from other personnel for allowing their kids to study in it.

Pkl DC in HC contempt loop
21 Jan 2009, 0545 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: The office of the Panchkula deputy commissioner-cum-chief administrator, Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board, has landed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s contempt loop for disobeying the court’s order of January 8, 2002. Justice TPS Mann, who issued contempt notice to the DC for March 17, also took note of the fact that the administration had violated the undertaking given by Haryana advocate general to the HC regarding allotment of a specifically sized residential plot to the petitioner, Shyama Bansal, resident of Maha Maya Colony of Bhainsa Tibba village near Mata Mansa Devi Temple, Panchkula. The deputy commissioner-cum chief administrator, Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board, has been asked as to why proceedings under the Contempt of Court Act be not initiated against him for violating the order of January 8, 2002, passed by the court. The order came in the wake of a petition filed by Shyama Bansal wherein she submitted that she had been allotted a plot measuring one marla though authorities had assured her that she would get the plot of the same size as was being acquired from her. In fact, the authorities had given an undertaking to this effect before the high court. Raising the plank of discrimination, the petitioner also claimed that her rights had been trampled upon by the authorities who allotted alternative plots of the same size to others as were being actually acquired from them. However, the petitioner alleged that though a larger plot had been taken from her, she was handed out a smaller one-marla plot. She had prayed that she be given the plot of the same size as was taken away from her by the administration. The HC had in 2002 directed the authorities to honour their undertaking given before the court and address the grievance of the petitioner to her satisfaction. However, for past six years, the petitioner had been toiling to get justice and was left with no choice but move the HC in contempt petition.

Malnutrition deaths invite HC ire
21 Jan 2009, 0039 hrs IST, Ramu Bhagwat, TNN
NAGPUR: The Bombay high court has come down heavily on the state government for failing to check malnutrition and infant deaths among tribals of Melghat in Amravati. “We have no hesitation in observing that the progress in preventing malnutrition and infant deaths is hardly satisfactory,” said chief justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice D Y Chandrachud while hearing a public interest petition filed by Rajendra Burma and Ravindra Kolhe, two doctors who have been striving to address the malnutrition problem in the area. “…the picture is dismal. We are afraid the state is failing in its duty to protect the life of poor residents of this state,” the court said during the hearing of the case held before the principal bench last week. The court also observed that the infant mortality rate was an alarming 74 per 1,000 in Melghat compared to the state average of 38. “This should be sufficient to wake up state authorities,” the court stated. The court has further directed tribal department secretary N Aramugham, who was present in the court, to visit the malnutrition-hit areas and examine the facts. It also directed additional chief secretary (public health) to file an affidavit on points raised by the petitioners. The petitioners’ counsel Jugal Kishore Gilda had contended that there were no anganwadi in Ghana and Makhala villages, while the one existing at Kohana catered to 114 children from a 10X18-ft room. Besides providing nutritious food to children below five years, the anganwadis are expected to provide basic education and day shelter to children. Referring to sorry state of affairs in five tribal-dominated districts of Amravati, Yavatmal, Gadchiroli Thane and Nandurbar, the court instructed the additional chief secretary to state the reasons of continued high rate of infant mortality there. It also wanted to know whether norms stated and schemes formulated by the state are actually being implemented, and if not, the action taken against the officials concerned. The court has also asked for details of the amounts received in last three years by the state government from The Central government under the integrated child development scheme (ICDS) and to what extent they were utilised. Directing that the orders be complied within a week, the court warned that in event of default, the chief secretary and the additional chief secretary shall remain present in the court. “We are compelled to pass these directions as orders passed by the division benches right from the year 2007 have failed to given any results. On the contrary, during the intervening period there was an increases in malnutrition and infant deaths and it appears that none of the competent authorities in the government are taking the above directions with seriousness,” the court said in its scathing indictment of the government.

Demolish encroachments: HC
21 Jan 2009, 0318 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: The high court has ordered the police and district administration to demolish all illegal constructions raised on the public land in Aminabad, Ganga Prasad Road, Maulviganj, Tulsidas Marg and other areas of the city. Further, the court directed the urban development authority to submit a report before it on the steps taken by the government to solve the problems of traffic congestion, parking places and civic amenities, for which the UP chief secretary, Atul Kumar Gupta, held a meeting on January 13. The division bench of Justices UK Dhaon and BA Zaidi, while hearing a PIL moved by Nishatganj Residents’ Welfare Association, took notice of the encroachments on the roads and footpaths around the office of Nagar Nigam in Aliganj. Chief secretary and top officials of police, administration and civic bodies appeared before the court in compliance of its order and submitted detailed reports on the steps taken to remove encroachments in the state capital. The court directed them to file further status report on March 17. In an affidavit filed by special secretary, urban development, in the presence of UP Advocate General, Jyotindra Mishra, it was stated that under the scheme of “Preparation of Integrated Urban Rejuvenation Plan”, the consultant is expected to submit the plan by February. The plan relates to infrastructure development, including water supply, sewage disposal, solid waste management, sanitation, drainage system, energy assessment and power generation, public convenience, transport, public health etc. The bench directed the government to proceed on the said plan.

HC to hear SEZ pleas on March 17
21 Jan 2009, 0023 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa will be hearing all petitions relating to special economic zones (SEZs) in the state on March 17. When SEZ-related matters came up for hearing on Tuesday, the division bench, comprising justice P B Majmudar and justice N A Britto, directed all the advocates appearing in the petitions to finish filing and exchanging their pleadings by March 12. The court will be hearing the petitions filed by six SEZ promoters – Meditabh Specialities Pvt Ltd, Peninsular Pharma Research Centre Pvt Ltd, Paradigm Logistic & Distribution Private Ltd, Planetview Mercantile Company Pvt Ltd, Inox Mercentile Company Pvt Ltd and Maxgrow Finlease Pvt Ltd. The promoters had approached the court after Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) served show cause notices to them for withdrawing the land allotted to them, following a change in the state government’s SEZ policy. They have pleaded in their petitions that as they have invested heavily in the SEZ projects, they suffered huge losses due to the stop work orders issued by the state government. GIDC had acquired about 3.8 million sq m of land for setting up SEZs. The court will also hear the various public interest litigations filed by the villagers of Keri, Sancoale and Verna, challenging GIDC’s decision to allot land in their respective villages on lease agreements to these SEZs. The villagers have complained that the land was allotted fraudulently and without public involvement in the land allotment process.

HC orders fresh survey of state’s health infrastructure
21 Jan 2009, 0021 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa has on Tuesday directed the panel of commissioners appointed by the court to carry out a fresh inspection of the infrastructure in government hospitals and primary health centres (PHCs) in the state within a month’s time. The commisioners have been directed to verify whether steps proposed by the government for rectifying the state’s health care system have been put into action. The division bench, comprising justice P B Majmudar and justice N A Britto, was hearing a public interest litigation filed by one Prakash Sardesai. The petitioner had complained that health care system in the state was below the prescribed standards. Sardessai had alleged that the hospitals were understaffed and that some departments were not functioning in an appropriate manner. Subsequently, the court had appointed a team of commissioners to visit the health care facilities to examine the allegations made by the petitioners. At the last hearing of the matter on December 15, the government had filed a chart indicating the infrastructure available in government hospitals and PHCs, and also stated the various steps it proposes for removing the defects and deficiencies in the state’s system. The matter will come up for hearing in the last week of February.

Query in HC on Jaya’s Siruthavoor
21 Jan 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: Where are the revenue records pertaining to the 53-acre Siruthavoor village bungalow, where former chief minister Jayalalithaa stays often? A query to this effect has been raised by T Chitra, who is none other than the present owner of the luxury bungalow. Chitra, in her capacity as Bharani Beach Resorts Limited, wanted the Justice K P Sivasubramanian Commission of Inquiry to first call for four crucial revenue documents before rendering a finding on the alleged encroachments and unlawful purchase from Dalit beneficiaries. The panel, however, dismissed the request on January 2. Assailing the panel’s decision, Chitra has filed a writ petition in the Madras high court, stating that the commission had rejected her plea without even issuing notice to her. When the matter came up for admission before the first bench comprising justice S K Mukhopadhaya and justice V Dhanapalan on Tuesday, they gave the government a week’s time to inform the court whether the documents were available and had been brought before the commission. Making it clear that the matter could be disposed of at the admission stage itself, the bench has adjourned the matter to January 29 for further proceedings. In her petition, Chitra said Bharani Resorts could not have grabbed the lands of Dalits as it had purchased the lands from a patta-holder in 2005. Noting that four revenue records Adangal of Siruthavoor village, chitta, patta transfer files and the patta transfer register maintained by the village administrative officer and tahsildar were crucial to decide the nature of the lands, Chitra said truth would be out if the records were brought before the commission. She wanted the court to direct the authorities, including the revenue secretary and Kancheepuram district collector, to furnish these documents before the commission. In the meanwhile, the commission shall not be permitted to proceed with the hearing, she said.

AP HC dismiised revision petition on Satyam trio police custody
The Andhra Pradesh High Court dismissed the revision petition filed by Counsel for Satyam Computers Services Ltd (SATYAM) Ex-Chairman B Ramalinga Raju, his brother and Managing Director B Rama Raju and Ex-CFO Srinivas Vadlamani challenging the local court order granting police custody.Raju’s Counsel Bharath Kumar moved the revision petition before the High Court against the order of Hyderabad VI Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate B Ramakrishna who granted four-day police custody for the trio.Justice P Swaroop Reddy upheld the local Court order on police custody while dismissing the petition, according to Counsel Bharath Kumar.UNI

Eunuchs demand reservation on medical grounds
Sonam, a eunuch filed a PIL in SC demanding setting up of a commission to determine the legislative corrective measures needed for the upliftment of eunuchs and blamed the governments for traditionally closing its eyes to their pitiable plight.
CJ: B K Upmanyu ,
SONAM SINGH, a eunuch termed his tribe as `medically unfit to lead normal life’ and in a PIL before the Supreme Court, demanded a constitutional compensation package, akin to that for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, to end the centuries-old gender discrimination against them.
The PIL of Sonam who hails from Ajmer in Rajasthan demanded setting up of a commission to determine the legislative corrective measures needed for the upliftment of this forgotten branch of society and blamed the governments for traditionally closing their eyes to the pitiable plight of the eunuchs.
While criticising the step motherly treatment, the eunuchs said that they have reduced to begging in the streets, have never got the fruits of constitutional mandate of democratic socialism, which in the broader sense attempted to bring an end to poverty, illiteracy and inequality of opportunity, said the PIL prepared by advocate Vishwanath Chaturvedi.
The PIL petitioner also had a grievance against the Election Commission for not providing for a gender category in the nomination forms for candidates from the eunuch society. “The EC had always treated `kinnars’ arbitrarily as male or female without having any reasonable classification or medical certificate from the candidates,” the petition stated and demanded that constituencies be reserved exclusively for them to contest. “The EC should determine and declare the sex category of kinnars and reserve the constituency for their representation in local bodies, legislative assemblies and Parliament,” it said. Lastly, it sought a direction to the human resource development ministry to conduct a special education programme for eunuchs and the government to announce special rehabilitation packages for them.

PIL filed against killing order of Uttar Pradesh tiger
January 21st, 2009 – 8:08 pm ICT by IANS
Lucknow, Jan 21 (IANS) A wildlife activist Wednesday moved a PIL (public interest litigation) here against the government decision to kill a tiger that had strayed out of its habitat in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit region two months ago.Wildlife enthusiast and member of the Uttarakhand State Wildlife Board, Kaushlendra Singh, filed the case before the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court headed by Justice U.K. Dhaon.
The judge, meanwhile, directed the state government counsel to seek instructions from the chief wildlife warden and return to the court Thursday.
Justice Dhaon expressed concern over the petitioner’s claim that as against nearly 30,000 to 40,000 tigers that roamed the Indian sub-continent few decades ago, there were just around 1,500 tigers left today.
Singh blamed the state wildlife authorities for “allowing the genocide of tigers over the years”.
The tiger had sneaked out of its habitat in the Pilibhit area some two months ago. It had also killed a person few days ago. Authorities had initially tried to capture the animal alive but later ordered that it be killed when repeated attempts to capture it failed.
The big cat has been prowling in the forest areas in various districts, including Shahjahanpur, Bahraich, Sultanpur, Faizabad and some parts of Lucknow.
Currently, it was reported to be hiding in a forest area near Kumarganj in Sultanpur district, some 130 km from here.
Singh pointed out that the declaration of the stray tiger as a “man-eater” by the state authorities was in violation of the established norms.
“Uttar Pradesh’s chief wildlife warden had declared the two-and-a-half-year-old tiger as man-eater after it killed a human some days ago. The victim had gone to a field where the tiger was hiding,” he said.
He added that: “I seek the court’s intervention simply because the wildlife department has authorized the shooters to kill the animal. Instead of doing that, they could have tried to capture the animal alive and transport it back to its natural habitat.”
Singh said: “Since the tiger is young, the animal is capable of producing at least 30-40 cubs during her life time.”

Lottery agents fight their battle in court
21 Jan 2009, 0031 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN
MUMBAI: A few years ago, the state began to crack down on online lottery centres starting with Buldana and other small cities and districts, but lottery agents moved court to challenge the raids conducted by the police. At present, there are nearly 15 such petitions pending in the Bombay High Court, where the state’s action has been challenged. The menace of online lotteries was also raised in a public interest litigation in 2004. These lotteries, the PIL said, were usually under the guise of state-held on-line lotteries in total violation of the Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998, which bans single-digit lottery and pre-announced number lotteries. Last year, the Supreme court, offering some reprieve to agents of state-run lotteries had said that agents have an independent right, apart from that of the state, to move high courts challenging government actions that ban the trade.

Constitution gives women right to choose surname: Chowdhry
Published: January 19,2009

New Delhi, Jan 19 Terming actor Sanjay Dutt&aposs comments on his sister using her maiden name as”very very sad”, Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhry today said the Constitution has given the right to any woman to choose her surname.
“It is very very sad. The Constitution has given a right to women. They can choose any name they want,” Chowdhry told reporters here.
Chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW) Girija Vyas was, however, a little careful while commenting on the issue saying,”we have to also understand the context in which he (Dutt) has said it”.
Media should not interfere in their private life. But in modern times as well as ancient times, a woman has a right to take whichever surname she wants,”she added.
Dutt has said yesterday that his sister Priya was no longer a part of the family. He also said girls should retain their husband&aposs surname after marriage, thus Priya is no longer a Dutt.
Priya, who is a Congress MP from her late father Sunil Dutt&aposs constituency, had expressed her discontent a few days back over Sanjay&aposs decision to contest from Lucknow on a Samajwadi Party ticket.
Source: PTI

Ansari seeks legislation for minorities
Published: January 20,2009
New Delhi, Jan 20 Concerned over attacks on minorities, Vice President Hamid Ansari today suggested to government enactment of a law on the lines of an SC/ST Act to prevent atrocities on them.
“The option of a legislation similar to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes ( Prevention of Atrocities) Act can be explored for the minorities,”he told an annual conference of state minorities commissions here.
Expressing concern over the incidents of violence against minorities, Ansari said”security concerns continue.A disturbing aspect of it is the failure of the state to provide security.”
Maintaining that procedures to redress grievances of minorities”remain somewhat ineffective”, Ansari said the Government could consider giving powers to National Minority Commission to take up investigation as in the case of NHRC and SC/ST Commissions.
He asked the state minority commissions to muster support for setting up of Diversity Commission, Diversity Implementation Boards and Equal Opportunity Commission as institutional mechanisms for affirmative action and policy targeting.
Source: PTI

SC questions NHRC recommendation for clemency to death row convict
20 Jan 2009, 0406 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday saw red over the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) recommending clemency to a condemned prisoner, whose appeal as well as a review petition against death penalty in a murder case was turned down by it terming it not a fit case for life sentence. One Ramdeo Chauhan was convicted in a murder case and was awarded death penalty by an Assam trial court and the conviction as well as sentence was upheld by the high court. When the appeal before the apex court was dismissed, Chauhan preferred a review petition, which was dismissed by a three-judge Bench of the apex court, though one of the judges felt that he should be awarded life sentence. Though it dismissed his appeal, it said the Assam government was at liberty to consider clemency if such a petition was made by the convict. Interestingly, a newspaper article on juvenile convicts mentioned that Chauhan at the time of committing the crime was a juvenile. Taking suo motu notice of this, the NHRC looked into the case and recommended to the Assam government that it could remit the sentence to life imprisonment instead of death penalty. Acting on this, the Assam cabinet in 2002 recommended to the governor to exercise his constitutional power and convert the death penalty awarded to Chauhan to life sentence. This was objected to by the relative of the person, who was murdered by Chauhan. The relative, Bani Kant Das, moved a writ petition before the apex court questioning the decision of the Assam government and demanded that death penalty for Chauhan be restored. A Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and A K Ganguly took serious objection to NHRC’s meddling into the matter and wanted to know from the apex human right body’s counsel Shobha how the Commission could exercise jurisdiction over the decisions of the apex court. The Bench reserved orders on the petition suggesting that the matter was sensitive as similar instances were bound to occur in future. “As for the present case,” the Bench said, “we would direct the governor to pass a fresh order without being influenced by any previous order whatsoever.” Putting the case in a larger canvas, Shobha said NHRC was simply dealing with a complaint based on an article written by a professor of law who had taken exception to SC’s decision to hang a juvenile as being contrary to law. Unimpressed, the Bench pointed towards the lurking danger to the justice delivery system if the sentencing system gets intervened in similar manner from multiple authorities. “This will give rise to flooding of frivolous petitions (before the Commission) where Supreme Court decisions will be challenged as violative of human rights,” it said. “If NHRC acts without authority in this manner, it is our duty to tell them what to do. They are headed by such high persons acting in public probity and they must know their limits,” it added.

VP seeks legislation for minorities
Press Trust of India
Tuesday, January 20, 2009, (New Delhi)
Concerned over attacks on minorities, Vice President Hamid Ansari has suggested the government to enact of a law on the lines of an SC/ST Act, which can prevent atrocities on them.”The option of a legislation similar to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act can be explored for the minorities,” he told an annual conference of state minorities commissions in New Delhi.Maintaining that procedures to redress grievances of minorities “remain somewhat ineffective”, Ansari said the government could consider giving powers to National Minority Commission to take up investigation as in the case of NHRC and SC/ST Commissions.He asked the state minority commissions to muster support for setting up of Diversity Commission, Diversity Implementation Boards and Equal Opportunity Commission as institutional mechanisms for affirmative action and policy targeting.

NHRC asks Delhi to pay compensation for custodial death
Published: Wed, 21 Jan 2009 at 15:31 IST
Samay Vote
New Delhi, Jan 21 : The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Delhi government to pay a compensation of Rs three lakh to the next of kin of a “custodial death” victim.The Commission also directed the Delhi government to submit compliance report with a proof of payment to the dead man’s next of kin within eight weeks.Pappan, an undertrial prisoner at Tihar Jail in the national capital, had died in police custody on May 4, 2003.The NHRC, in course of proceedings during the case, noted that Pappan had been beaten by one Sewadar-cum-convict Rajesh behind the prison walls on the night of May 2, 2003.It also observed that Pappan not only fell victim to assault in jail but also to the negligence on the part of doctors who treated him after the incident.”He (Pappan) was never treated for cranial injury sustained by him as a result of assault by Sewadar-cum-convict Rajesh,” NHRC observed.According to NHRC, the then Superintendent of the jail communicated through documents in course of the proceedings that the likely cause of Pappan’s death was “natural”.However, the Commission noted, the post-mortem report revealed that Pappan had sustained eight ante-mortem injuries including sign of bruise at a small area on his “contused eye”.Subsequently, the opinion of the post-mortem surgeon was that cranial cerebral damage consequent upon blunt force impact over the right eye and adjoining area was the cause of Pappan’s death, the Commission observed. The then SDM, Rajouri Garden, Delhi, who too conducted an enquiry into the incident, concluded in his report that Pappan’s death was “unnatural due to violence sustained on the prisoner”. The SDM in his report also indicated that there was negligence in the treatment of injured Pappan by doctors, NHRC noted.This apart, one report of Additional DCP (Vigilance) also revealed that Pappan was beaten by Rajesh and two others behind the prison walls on the night of May 2, 2003.


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