legal news 11.02.2009

HC reserves judgement opposing interim bail to Raj
Published: February 10,2009

Mumbai , Feb 10 The Bombay High Court today reserved its judgement on a petition filed by Maharashtra government opposing interim bail granted to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray by a court in October last year in connection with attack by MNS&aposactivists attack on North Indians appearing in railway recruitment exams.
The state government had approached the HC stating that the order passed by the Kalyan Metropolitan Magistrate&aposs court granting Raj ex-parte interim anticipatory bail was bad in law.
The Kalayn court had on October 22, 2008 granted Raj interim bail in a case registered against him by the railway police in connection with cases of assaults registered against MNS activists for attacking north Indian candidates appearing in railway recruitment exams.
The state government had argued before the high court that the orders of granting ex-parte interim anticipatory bail in another case was erroneous.”It is the right of the police to execute the warrant first after which the anticipatory bail application of the accused can be executed.
Source: PTI

SC dismisses Lanco appeal in Vizhinjam project
New Delhi (PTI): Dismissing Lanco’s appeal, the apex court on Tuesday directed the Kerala government to consider within 15 days the bids of Mumbai-based Zoom Developers for building a container trans-shipment terminal under PPP at Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram district.
The apex court has thus held valid the Kerala High Court objection to the state government’s decision to award the contract to a consortium led by Lanco Kondapalli Power for developing a container trans-shipment terminal under PPP at Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram district.
The High Court had also asked the state government to reconsider the bids of Mumbai-based Zoom Developers.
Lanco Kondapalli Power, the Kerala government and Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd, the nodal agency for developing a modern, all-weather deepwater seaport and container trans-shipment hub, had challenged the High Court’s ruling, which ordered that Zoom’s bids should also be considered by the Bid Evaluation Committee.
Zoom’s tender was rejected by the Committee citing a violation of provisions in the original bid document, and the tender was awarded to Lanco. Zoom had challenged its disqualification and the state government’s decision to award the contract to Lanco.

Ragging: SC for immediate suspension of guilty students
New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court on Thursday sent out a loud and clear message to students who rag colleagues and said that if they are prima facie found guilty they would be immediately suspended from their institution.
The apex court fastened the responsibility of acting against culprits on their respective educational institutes and said it would be “binding” on them to use an iron hand to end the menace. The court said educational institutions will have to take “urgent action” on receiving information on incidents of ragging and “if a student is prima facie found guilty of indulging in ragging he/she would be immediately suspended pending the inquiry”.
Further, it said that all educational institutions in their admission prospectus should carry instructions with regard to ragging and clearly indicate that those indulging in it could face strict action.
The directions to check ragging were based on the recommendations made by an apex court-appointed committee, headed by former CBI Director R K Raghavan, and were delivered by a Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and M K Sharma, which accepted its report.
The Bench asked state governments and Union Territories to act in terms of guidelines recommended by the committee to end the menace of ragging in educational institutions across the country.

Court asks rights panel for status report on Jamia shootout
New Delhi (IANS): The Delhi High court on Wednesday asked the National Human Rights Commission for a status report on the Jamia Nagar shootout between the police and suspected terrorists as the police told the court that they had given a detailed report on the incident to the rights panel.
The high court directed the NHRC to file its status report in the case by March 4. It also asked the rights panel what enquiry has it conducted in this case so far.
Delhi Police in an affidavit informed the court that Delhi’s lieutenant governor had refused to institute a magisterial enquiry into the shootout.
Delhi Police gunned down two suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists, Atif Ameen and Mohd Sajid, in a gun battle and arrested Mohammed Saif and Zeeshan for the Sep 13 serial bombings in the capital city.
Prashant Bhusan appearing as defence counsel said that the NHRC was concerned only to see if its guidelines were followed by the police in investigating the case.
Bhushan said the police were still not following the NHRC guidelines and the case was investigated by the same team which conducted the shootout at L-18, Batla House, in south Delhi on Sep 19 last year.
Counsel also questioned the role of police and asked why they had not made adequate arrangements when the team went to arrest suspected terrorists hiding there and how two of the accused managed to flee, if they had indeed done so.
Bhushan demanded an independent enquiry into the shootout.
During the hearing, the court slammed Delhi Police for leaking information and also a section of the media for carrying an “exclusive interview” of those arrested after the shootout.
“The media has freedom of expression but in matters like this, media has a responsibility and they should come out clean on the matter,” said Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah.
He said that the media must tell the truth as to how the reporter who interviewed three of the accused in the case managed to speak to them in custody.

BJP seeks change in laws on CBI’s constitution, working
Varanasi (PTI): Claiming the Supreme Court’s remarks on CBI’s handling of the assets case against Mulayam Singh Yadav reflected the agency’s loss of credibility, the BJP on Wednesday asked political parties to build a consensus on amending laws related to its constitution and working.
“The credibility of the CBI has suffered a serious setback with the Supreme Court’s comment and has revealed its real character,” former Union Minister Manohar Joshi told reporters here. The Supreme Court had rapped the CBI for its handling of the disproportionate assets case against SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Tuesday saying the agency was “acting at the behest” of the Central government.
“It proves that the CBI has become an agency of the Union Government. It is working on the behest of the Central Government, which is using it for its political ends,” the BJP leader alleged.
All the political parties must get together “to build consensus to amend the law dealing with the constitution and working of CBI so that its functioning could be made independent,” Joshi said, adding immediate action was needed in the interest of the people’s faith and the security of the democratic setup in our country.

CBI defends U-turn on Mulayam asset’s case
New Delhi (PTI): CBI Director Ashwini Kumar on Wednesday defended the U-turn of the agency in Mulayam Singh Yadav’s case saying the investigating agency was bound by the rules to consult the Government before going to any court.
“That is as per rules and procedures. Whenever we go to Supreme Court and High Court, we go through the government of India and through the Ministry of Law,” Kumar told reporters reacting to the apex Court’s observations.
The reaction from the CBI Director came a day after the Supreme Court rapped the CBI for “acting at the behest” of the Centre in the disproportionate assets case against Yadav and his family members. “We cannot file any affidavit without going through the Ministry…,” he said.
Ironically, during the tenure of Vijay Shankar, Kumar’s predecessor, the CBI, in its affidavit had said, it was willing to place the status report directly before the apex court, instead of submitting the same to the government.
The CBI had also said in its affidavit that it had quoted rules and submitted as per the practice, after a preliminary enquiry undertaken by it, which discloses commission of offence by the persons concerned, and a regular case is registered and investigation in accordance with law is undertaken.

Judges assets case: HC adjourns hearing till February 27
New Delhi (PTI): The Delhi High Court on Wednesdaydeferred hearing on a petition filed by the Supreme Court challenging Central Information Commission (CIC) order directing that information pertaining to assets of the judges should be revealed.
Justice S. Ravinder Bhat adjourned the matter for further hearing on February 27 after Solicitor General G E Vahanvati sought time to file the reply.
The Court had on January 19 stayed the order of the CIC that the office of Chief Justice of India comes within the ambit of the RTI Act and information given to CJI has to be revealed to the RTI appplicant.
The petition was filed by the CPIO of Supreme Court challenging the January 6 order of the CIC.
In the petition, the Supreme Court said that information relating to declaration of assets by the apex court judges to the CJI was not a mandatory exercise under the law.
However, a full court resolution of Supreme Court on May 7, 1997 required 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.

Criminal case pending? Wait for 466 years…
New Delhi (IANS): It will take 466 years to dispose all the criminal cases pending before the Delhi High Court if the present rate of disposal continues, according to a statistical analysis in the court’s annual report.
On March 31, 2008 there were 2,324 criminal appeals pending before the division benches, from which 214 appeals were disposed of, says the annual report for 2007-08, released on Tuesday.
“Whether it is acceptable or not, the statistical observation at the present rate of disposal, assuming the filing of new cases to be the same, it would take the court approximately 466 years to wipe out the pendency of the 2,324 appeals.
“Since the assumption of a constant number of filings is patently unrealistic, the time taken to clear pendency would be even more that 466 years, if ever,” says the report.
Amongst 2,324 criminal appeals three were waiting for justice since 20 years.
According to the report, amongst the pending criminal appeals 34 cases were more than 15 years old and three of them are 20 years old.
A startling revelation was that more than half of the pending appeals were over five years old.
To clear up the pending cases, the arrears committee suggested that there should be three division benches to hear criminal appeals instead of two as at present and cases should be heard on day-to-day basis.
It is also recommended that every month one Saturday be designated for hearing old criminal appeals.
The committee also suggested that realistic costs should be imposed to prevent frivolous litigation.

HC orders govt. to pay compensation to detained journalist
Bangalore (PTI): The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday ordered the state government to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation to detained journalist B V Seetharam while partly allowing a habeas corpus writ petition by his wife challenging the detention.
In her writ petition, Rohini, Managing Director of Chitra Publications, had sought release of her husband, who is the Editor of Kannada eveninger “Karavali Ale”, published from Mangalore, contending that the detention was unlawful and violative of fundamental right.
On February 3, the court had passed an interim order directing police to release Seetharam. A division bench comprising Justice S R Bannurmath and Justice A N Venugopal while partly allowing the habeas corpus petition, ordered the government to pay Rs 10,000 within four weeks to the petitioner as costs.
However, the judges held that the prayer of the petitioner for quashing of the complaints before the trial courts against the detenue could not be gone into under the provisions of Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution nor under Section 482 of the CrPC in view of the decisions by the Supreme Court.
The Sirwa police in Udupi had arrested Seetharam on January 4 following a non-bailable warrant issued by a local court in connection with a defamation suit against him.

Court adjourns hearing on damage suit against Hindu Jagaran leader
Cuttack (PTI): A local court here has adjourned the hearing of a Rs 50 crore damage suit against Hindu Jagaran Samukhya (HJS) leader and former IPS officer Ashok Sahu.
Cuttack district court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing to March 16 as the defence counsel sought more time to file the reply of the show-cause notice served by the court on the defendant last month.
The court had given four weeks’ time to reply to the notice and the deadline was to expire on Tuesday.
The Rs 50 crore suit was filed by Ajit Pradhan and seven others of Baticola Parish Church Council of Baliguda in strife-torn Kandhamal district alleging Sahu had made false imputations against them by forging their signatures.
Sahu had told a media conference in Bhubaneswar on October 6, 2008, that the decision to kill VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was taken in the Baliguda church. To substantiate his allegations, Sahu had distributed some documents among the media persons.
The documents, which had signatures of church members were all fake and doctored, the petitioners alleged.

Bihar information commission slaps Rs 25000 fine on DGP office
Patna (PTI): The public information officer (PIO) of the Bihar Director General of Police (DGP) office has been slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 for not providing proper information to a retired IAS officer.
State Information Commissioner P N Narayanan slapped the fine on public information officer of the DGP office on Tuesday after he failed to supply required information to retired IAS officer Gangadhar Jha, Commission sources said on Wednesday.
The Commission has directed the PIO to submit complete information to Jha by April 30, and fixed May 5 as the next date of hearing of the case.
In yet another hearing, the Commission also levied a fine of Rs 25,000 on Samastipur district mass education officer for violation of Right to Information Act.
The Commission, besides, slapping the fine also recommended departmental proceedings against the education officer for not providing relevant information to one Sunita Kumari.

Case against local body chief
Staff Reporter
CHENGAM: The Melchengam police on Tuesday filed a case against Elanguni village panchayat president Ramachandran for trying to misappropriate village panchayat fund.
Police said that Ramachandran tried to misappropriate Rs.87, 000 belonging to the local body. The case was registered based on a complaint given by village panchayat vice-president Dhanapal.
Dhanapal said in his complaint that Ramachandran issued a cheque without the signature of the vice-president in a bid to misappropriate the fund. Ramachandran was absconding, the sources said.

Tribunal told to resolve dispute in 6 months
Special Correspondent
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Monday directed the Industrial Tribunal, Chennai, to take up the industrial dispute at MRF’s Tiruvottiyur unit and pass orders, preferably in six months.
Disposing of two writ petitions filed by the company management, Justice R. Banumathi said that until the dispute was determined, the prosecution notice issued to the management should not be proceeded with. Any further proceedings against the management should be subject to the tribunal’s order.
The management filed two petitions—one seeking to quash a G.O. dated December 20, 2007, under which the government invoked the power under Section 10 (3) of the Industrial Disputes Act prohibiting the continuance of lockout from December 3, 2007, and the other challenging the order referring the dispute to the tribunal.
Following an industrial dispute between the management and the permanent workmen, the management declared a one-day lockout on November 30, 2007 and subsequently declared indefinite lockout from December 3. The permanent workmen resumed work on February 5, 2008.
Mrs. Justice Banumathi said that based upon the facts and material placed before it, the government made the reference. As had been consistently held by the Supreme Court, if the dispute was industrial and if it was expedient to make a reference , it was for the government to do so. It would not be competent for the court to hold that the reference was bad and quash the proceedings for want of jurisdiction. There was nothing to suggest that the government acted on irrelevant or extraneous considerations.
The judge said payment of wages to workmen for the pre-reference period (December 3 to 19) and post-reference period (December 20 to February 4, 2008) should be subject to the decision of the tribunal. As per the court’s interim order, the workmen were paid Rs.6,100 each. That payment of interim wages should also be subject to the decision of the tribunal.
In the meantime, the management should not recover the interim wages till the dispute was resolved.

Advocates renew boycott of courts
CHENNAI: A day after advocates resumed attending courts, the MHAA on Tuesday decided to boycott courts again from Wednesday till February 17. On February 18, the association would participate in the nation-wide boycott of courts to protest against amendments to the Cr.P.C.
The decision was taken at a special general body meeting of the association on Tuesday afternoon. In a press release, the association stated that the boycott was to seek the Centre’s immediate intervention to stop the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka. — Special Correspondent

Awareness of consumer rights must for overall development
Staff Reporter
Everyone is a consumer irrespective of his or her socio-economic position
MADURAI: Everyone, irrespective of his or her socio-economic position, was a consumer and must necessarily be aware of their rights as a consumer which was very vital to the overall development of society, said Collector P. Seetharaman.
Addressing a gathering, mostly of school and college students, on National Consumer Awareness Day here on Tuesday, he spoke on how latest developments in communication had created awareness among the public and the enactment of Right To Information Act could be seen as an outcome of this.
On communication
He also spoke on the various forms of communication used to express and spread the messages or any vital information and how it got transformed over a period of time. As an initiative to create and spread awareness of consumer protection, music, elocution, essay, quiz, painting and dance competitions were organised among students. Various Government and Corporation schools participated in the events with a lot of enthusiasm.
The Collector gave away prizes to winners of various competitions held to mark the day. Earlier in the day, representatives from various consumer protection fora spoke on different topics related to consumer awareness and Right to Information Act.
A. Ramachandran, District Revenue Officer, welcomed the gathering, A. Sudarmani Pandian, District Civil Supplies Officer, was present on the occasion.

Lawyers float new forum
Staff Reporter
MADURAI: Office-bearers of various Bar associations in 14 districts under the jurisdiction of the Madras High Court Bench have floated Southern Districts Advocates’ Forum to fight for the cause of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Boycott till February18
The decision was taken at a meeting held in the Madurai Bench High Court Advocates Association (MBHAA) premises here on Tuesday. MBHAA secretary M. Subash Babu said that the lawyers would boycott courts until February 18.
“We will take out a rally from the district court premises here on Monday afternoon culminating in a public meeting. Representatives of political parties, trade unions, human rights activists and other like minded persons will be invited,” he said.

Court to hear Rajus’ fresh bail plea
Special Correspondent
HYDERABAD: A fresh batch of bail petitions were filed on behalf of disgraced Satyam ex-charman B. Ramalinga Raju, his brother, B. Rama Raju, and former Chief Financial Officer Vadlamani Srinivas in a city court here on Tuesday.
The Sixth Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, D. Ramakrishna, admitted their petitions and posted them for hearing on February 12. It may be recalled that the first bail petition was rejected.
Separately, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), filed a petition seeking permission to question and record the statements of the Raju brothers and Mr. Srinivas, as also Price Waterhouse partners S. Gopalakrishnan and Talluri Srinivas, also presently in judicial custody.
“According to the Companies Act of 1956, only an inspector can question any company official. The SFIO is not legally empowered to question the accused without sending a notice first,” the defence counsel said.
SFIO’s counsel however, contended that as an investigating agency constituted by the Government of India, it was empowered to carry on a probe under the Companies Act. Meanwhile, a six-member team with SFIO’s Additional Director, K.V. Singh has been formed to investigate India’s biggest corporate fraud. He said they would need two days to question each of the five accused. The magistrate posted the case for orders on Friday, February 13. Earlier, the Court also posted the bail of auditors Mr. S. Gopalakrishnan and T. Srinivas for orders on February 16.
In another development, the Fourth Metropolitan Sessions Judge admitted a petition seeking anticipatory bail for B. Suryanarayana Raju, the third Raju brother and connected with SRSR Advisory Services and posted it for hearing on Thursday.

HMDA favoured Satyam, say RTI activists
Staff Reporter
HYDERABAD: Two Right to Information (RTI) activists who claimed to have collected official documents pertaining to land allocations by HMDA, have alleged that 17 companies promoted by the scam-tainted Ramalinga Raju and his family members, had acquired 550 acres of land on city outskirts in violation of rules.
At a press conference here on Tuesday, the activists D. Rakesh Kumar Reddy and P. Umesh Varma alleged that 14 agro farm and three IT companies were ‘favoured’ by the HMDA and the Government not only in acquisition, but also in change of land usage from ‘agriculture’ to ‘multi-purpose’ between 2004 and 2005.
Demanding a thorough probe into the whole affair, they alleged that lands were acquired against the land ceiling norms and leased out to Maytas Properties for development of IT Special Economic Zones (SEZ) at Gopanpally, Bachupally and Gundlapochampally areas.
“According to Land Ceiling Acts, a family should own not more than 54 acres.
To circumvent this rule, multiple companies were created to get the government and Chouta Inam lands,” alleged Mr. Varma.
The change of purpose of land appeared to have been expedited in the HMDA, he charged.
C. Ramachandraiah of Citizens for Better Transport in Hyderabad (CBTH), who was present at the press conference, wanted to know the source of funds for purchase of these lands.

Bill passed on ‘Abhaya Hastam’
Special Correspondent
HYDERABAD: The Assembly on Tuesday night passed a Bill to provide legislative backing to ‘Abhaya Hastam’, a new pension scheme launched on February 6 to cover women-members of the self-help groups in the State.
The Bill, which was piloted by Rural Development Minister G. Chinna Reddy, was adopted without much debate as all Opposition members were absent by then, having been suspended for the day on the issue of Satyam scam. Mr. Chinna Reddy declared that hereafter, the members of self-help groups, aged above 60 years, need not depend on their sons for sustenance as a monthly pension would accrue to them under the scheme, ranging from Rs. 500. Two other Bills were also passed by the House. One Bill, introduced by Finance Minister K. Rosaiah, seeks to facilitate appointment of dependents of the victims of extremist and communal violence in government service on compassionate grounds.
Feature films
Commercial Taxes Minister K. Ramakrishna introduced the last Bill which seeks to amend the VAT Act to facilitate collection of VAT at different percentages on some items and allow some exemptions to feature films, based on the number of prints taken, and to hotels/restaurants.

Suryanarayana’s bail plea denied
Legal Correspondent
HYDERABAD: Justice K.C. Bhanu of the A.P. High Court on Tuesday dismissed the bail petition filed by Velugubanti Suryanarayana, Executive Engineer of the Fisheries Department, now in custody in connection with the multi-crore scam.
The petitioner complained that the prosecution was not filing any chargesheet all though the investigation was through. The Judge made it clear that the petitioner could make a bail application after the statutory period is over.

Marad: pleas for CBI probe dismissed
Special Correspondent
Conspiracy angle involving external forces in the massacre
Says conspiracy angle cannot be investigated now
‘Crime Branch has already conducted a probe’
Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court, on Tuesday, dismissed pleas for an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the conspiracy angle involving external forces in the Marad massacre.
The Bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice J.B. Koshy and Justice P. Bhavadasan, while dismissing the petitions filed by the People’s Forum for Natural Justice and others, said the conspiracy angle could not be investigated now as six years had passed since the massacre.
The court said the Crime Branch had conducted a thorough investigation, resulting in the conviction of 63 people. Besides, a judicial commission had given various suggestions to prevent the occurrence of such incidents.
The petitioners had alleged that the then Inspector-General of Police (Crime Branch), Mahesh Kumar Singhla, had not conducted a proper investigation into all angles of the case. He faced allegations of dereliction of duty.
The Bench observed the government could take action against the police officer if he had not discharged his duties properly.
The Union Ministry of Personnel had earlier submitted that it decided not to entrust the investigation into the conspiracy angle with the CBI.
The Ministry had submitted that the agency would not be able to conduct a meaningful investigation as all the issues relating to the case were inextricably linked.
The State government had recommended a CBI investigation as it felt that it could not get the case reinvestigated.
The agency submitted that the investigation could not be conducted into a part of the case as it would affect the main case.

Court sends cassettes for assessment
Kochi: Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate P.D. Soman on Tuesday ordered that the three video cassettes containing the narco-analysis tests conducted on the accused, two priests and a nun, in the Sister Abhaya murder case be sent to C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing), Thiruvananthapuram, for copying in compact discs and verifying the genuineness of the cassettes.
Advocate commissioner
The court appointed Sajiv T. Prabhakar as advocate commissioner to be present during the verification and copying processes at C-DAC.
The magistrate passed the order on a petition filed by the CBI.
It had requested that the contents of the cassettes be copied to CDs in the presence of an independent witness with the aid of a computer and technical expert.
The CBI had produced the cassettes before the magistrate on a direction from the court.
The direction came on a petition filed by M. Thomas, father of Abhaya, seeking a direction to the CBI to retrieve the original cassettes and to produce them before the court.

Bench: council seeks support
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Joint Action Council for the constitution of a High Court Bench here has urged the public and political parties to extend support for the hartal and boycott of courts to mark the first anniversary of the ongoing protest on Friday.
The UDF district committee will observe Friday as ‘a day of betrayal’ in protest against the attitude of the LDF government on the issue. Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy will inaugurate a dharna on Friday. —Staff Reporter

Apex court employees held
Staff Reporter
Two registry staff, a lawyer ‘took Rs. 25,000 as bribe’
An NRI doctor wanted early listing of his appeal
NEW DELHI: Two Supreme Court registry employees and a lawyer have been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on charges of demanding and accepting Rs.25,000 as bribe from a non-resident Indian doctor to facilitate early listing of a criminal appeal.
Complainant Kunal Saha is on a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar here since February 6 seeking justice for all the victims of medical negligence including his wife Anuradha who died 11 years ago. Dr. Saha and his wife, a U.S.-based child psychologist, were on a visit to Kolkata in 1998 when she developed skin allergy. She underwent treatment under three doctors but her condition deteriorated and she died.
Dr. Saha then got a case registered against the doctors accusing them of causing death of his wife due to criminal negligence. The trial court convicted two of the doctors and sentenced each to three-month imprisonment, he said. The convicts appealed in the High Court that overturned the trial court’s order in 2004.
The complainant then moved the Supreme Court seeking a special leave to appeal against the High Court judgment and it was granted in 2005. “Several cases that came after mine got listed, but my appeal was not getting listed for hearing for the past four years,” said Dr. Saha.
A few days ago, one of the accused contacted Dr. Saha asking him to pay up Rs.75,000 to get his appeal listed. “On Friday night, two registry employees came to me and showed me a weekly list that included my appeal,” said Dr. Saha, adding that he was in contact with the CBI in the meantime. On Monday, Dr. Saha lodged a formal complaint with the CBI. The agency laid a trap and arrested lawyer K. M. Singh when he was allegedly accepting Rs.25,000 from the complainant in his hotel room.
Subsequently K. S. Badrinathan, a registry assistant, was arrested from outside the Supreme Court premises. A CBI team raided the house of C. Perumal, a lower-division clerk with the registry, and arrested him too. The agency purportedly seized Rs.1.67 lakh in cash and gold jewellery worth about Rs.6.25 lakh and other documents from his house.

Rocky Hill: No flats for babus sans court nod
10 Feb 2009, 0457 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday said in an interim order that flats cannot be allotted to IAS officers without the permission of the court in a 12-storey, under-construction residential building at Rocky Hill in the Malabar Hill area. The court passed the order while hearing a PIL filed by a group of residents from Walkeshwar against the government and the BMC, alleging violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), heritage conservation and Environmental Protection Act rules in the ongoing construction. The PIL had sought a stay on the construction of the building, which would have 35 spacious flats and would come up on a plot of land valued to be at least Rs 125 crore. The court, while admitting the PIL earlier, had not stayed the construction, now nearing completion. The building was being proposed as a residential tower to house IAS officers and high court judges even though the court said it did not require such housing “presently”. But, on Monday, the court asked the government pleader about the status of the judges’ building. The advocate said the building was still in the “planning stage” as it was part of “phase two”. Advocates Pradeep Havnur and Jamshed Mistry, representing the residents, said that the violation of environmental norms and CRZ has not been addressed yet. The petitioners are three cooperative housing societies of Doongersey Road and Walkeshwar Road in the Malabar Hill area.

HC directive in graft case
11 Feb 2009, 0302 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Delhi HC on Tuesday directed a trial court to frame charges afresh against three persons caught taking bribe 12 years ago. The accused had allegedly taken a bribe of Rs 500 for issuing a pollution check certificate to a bus. Allowing the police petition challenging the lower court’s order, Justice Kailash Gambhir directed the lower court to frame charges against Arvind Kumar Sharma, Pawan Kumar and one of their associate under the Prevention of Corruption Act. “Bribery and corruption are so rampant that people are forced to grease the palm of corrupt officials. The licensing authorities working under the transport department are no exception,” Justice Gambhir noted saying such cases needed to be dealt seriously. According to the prosecution, on December 30, 1996, Pawan Kumar was caught taking bribe of Rs 500 for service which had an official fee of Rs 50. Other accused were caught after Pawan named them as his associates. Chargesheet was filed against the accused in a special court but the court later discharged them.

Sex on promise of marriage is rape: HC
Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 10, 2009
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday observed that if a man has consensual sex with an adult girl on the promise of marriage but later retracts, it amounts to rape.
The court upheld the conviction of a tutor Ashok Rai, who had physical relations with a D Pharma student promising marriage but later backtracked, for rape. The girl had later committed suicide.
Disposing of Rai’s appeal against the lower court’s conviction, Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Aruna Suresh said: “We concur with the trial judge’s view that consent of the girl was obtained under a promise of marriage and that the intention of the accused from the beginning was not to marry her. The proposed matrimonial bond was nothing but a bait to obtain her consent to have physical relationship with him”.
Rai’s counsel had argued that keeping in mind that both were adults and in love, the sexual relation was with consent and could not be constituted as rape. However the bench commuted Rai’s life sentence, given by the trial court on May 1, 2008, to five years and six months, he has already spend this period in jail. The sentence was commuted considering the fact that “he (Rai) had redeemed himself in the jail”. He had taken the civil services examinations in jail and even qualified to be an IAS officer.
While reducing the sentence, the court also took into account the “participative act committed by the girl”.
On April 14, 2003 the girl was found vomiting by her family. She then told them that she had consumed poison due to shame.
Adding Rai had been sexually exploiting her and had threatened to defame her in case she objected. She said initially she was lured into the relationship by Rai’s promises of marriage but later resisted his moves. However, Rai continued raping her.
The court, however, set aside Rai’s conviction for abetment of suicide observing that there was no proof of “participative acts to facilitate the suicide”.

HC allows jailed RJD MP Pappu Yadav to attend Parliament

New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) Controversial RJD MP Pappu Yadav, presently lodged in Tihar jail here, was today allowed by the Delhi High Court attend the coming Parliament session.Justice S Ravinder Bhat accepted a plea of the MP from Madhepura, seeking court’s permission to participate in the proceedings which start from February 12.Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, who is undergoing life imprisonment in Tihar since February 2005 was convicted by a Trial Court in Bihar for the murder of CPI(M) legislator Ajit Sarkar on June 14, 1998. PTI

Sushmita Sen car case: HC asks police to invoke MCOCA
By February 10, 2009
The Bombay HC directed Mumbai police to consider invoking MCOCA against the dealers and beneficiaries in the Sushmita Sen car import scam case.
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Detention of witness sets murder accused free
11 Feb 2009, 0147 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: The Thane police’s action of illegally detaining a prime eyewitness in a double murder case before his statement was recorded led to the release of six persons who were accused of the brutal killing. A division bench of Justices Bilal Nazki and A R Joshi acquitted the six accused giving them the “benefit of doubt”. The six–Birju Prawala, S Chandanshive, Raju Sonawane, Laxman Kharat, Sunil Kharat and Narmada Kharat–have been lodged in jail for the last seven years since their arrest in 2002. “Detention of the witness creates suspicion about his testimony,” said the judges. “It would not be proper to rely on such evidence against six persons who have been accused of a serious offence like murder.” The court ordered the accused to be set free immediately. The case related to the murder of a Thane resident Vimal Ravindra on the night of March 6, 2002; he was brutally killed with choppers under the Teen Hat Naka flyover in Thane (West). A garage mechanic who witnessed the murder was also killed. The police picked up the six accused who were pavement dwellers residing below the flyover. A sessions court held the accused guilty of murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The accused challenged their conviction and defence lawyers Yug Chaudhary and Arfan Sait chanced upon a document that proved to be the police’s undoing. The prime witness in the case was Baramati resident Gulab Patherkar, who testified that he had seen the killings. The lawyers pointed to documents which showed that Patherkar had been detained for two days in the Naupada police station before his statement was recorded. “Patherkar’s unauthorised detention leads to the conclusion that police had forced and coerced him to implicate the accused,” said Chaudhary. Though the police claimed that the accused had been arrested after the information provided by the police, the witness–during the recording of his evidence–let it slip that the accused had already been arrested before police recorded his statement. Additional public prosecutor Pradeep Hingorani opposed the application saying there was evidence against the accused but the court was not convinced.

Youth gets seven yrs in jail for rape
11 Feb 2009, 0239 hrs IST, Kartikeya, TNN
MUMBAI: A sessions court on Tuesday sentenced 25-year-old Sandil Kumar to seven-year imprisonment for raping his neighbour. The initial complaint was lodged only for molestation but the charges were changed to rape only after the police as well as members of an NGO convinced the victim that she should not let him get away with his crime. According to the police, Kumar first accosted his neighbour (43) around 11.30 pm on May 12, 2007, when she stepped out of her house in Deonar to have an ice cream. From there, he reportedly stalked her till her residence and assaulted her with a stick in front of a neighbour who did not interfere. The victim fell unconscious, a source said. Prosecutor Usha Makasare told the court that Kumar then dragged the unconscious victim to a secluded spot and raped her. Later, passers-by found her at a public ground in Sion and took her to the police station. Four days later, on May 16, 2007, the woman agreed to lodge a complaint against Kumar under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for rape. When the matter came to court, Makasare examined several witnesses, one of them being the neighbour who had seen Kumar assault the woman. However, he turned hostile in court. The prosecution’s case, however, was bolstered by the victim, who narrated the entire incident in court. Judge Ganedivala has sentenced Kumar to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment and has also ordered him to pay Rs 15,000, which will be given to the victim as compensation.

End Sushmita probe or give it to CBI: HC
11 Feb 2009, 0156 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: Complete the investigation or give way to a CBI probe-these are the options the HC has given the Mumbai police in the import scam involving actor Sushmita Sen’s car. Angry with the police for dragging its feet on the issue, a division bench of Justices J N Patel and Vijaya Kapse-Tahilramani asked the economic offences wing to explore the possibility of invoking stringent provisions of MCOCA in the case. The HC castigated the officers for seeking more time to finish the probe and trying to pass the buck by claiming the investigation into the scam had to be carried out at the Kolkata and Chennai ports. The court said it was for the police to decide on the involvement of the actor, as she had bought the car. According to the EOW, 48 cars entered the country illegally over the last few years using the transfer of residency (TR) scheme-wherein Indians staying abroad are allowed to bring back their cars. While five cars entered India through the Mumbai port, the others were imported using TR certificates from the Kolkata and Chennai ports. The police have already arrested city-based car dealer Haren Choksi and seven others, including RTO officials. The matter came to light when Sen moved the high court against a Rs 20-lakh fine imposed by the BMC on her imported car.

Justice costs Rs 6,327/min in Delhi HC
11 Feb 2009, 0312 hrs IST, Abhinav Garg, TNN
NEW DELHI: If you just fought a case in the Delhi High Court and felt the hearings were all too brief, here is why. With a staggering number of 3,32,141 cases that came up before the High Court during 2007-08, each case barely received five minutes of hearing (4 minutes 55 seconds, to be precise), HC’s annual report released on Tuesday reveals. And, each minute of court’s time cost a staggering Rs 6,327 to the exchequer. Even an adjournment without hearing doesn’t come cheap. All listed cases cost the court an average of Rs 1,300, even if many got adjourned immediately. The report, which was released by Chief Justice A P Shah, claims it disposed of 56,612 cases, including 47,017 that were filed in that year alone while HC worked with 32 judges, much below its sanctioned strength of 48. While pointing to the “crushing load” on the courts, the Chief Justice said at present rate of disposal, it would take 466 years for the High Court to clear its backlog of cases entirely. He, however, said, “We have been able to reduce the cases of arrears from 79,818 in 2007 to 74,599 in 2008”. The report adds that the rate of disposal of criminal cases in the year worked out to be 0.5 case per day. While such “working hours” analyses are done every year for bodies like Parliament and state legislatures, this is perhaps the first time a judicial body has come up with its figure. The time and money spent have been worked out excluding “matters handled during summer vacation (June) and on three working Saturdays during 2007-08”. In order to calculate the time judges gave for each hearing, HC factored in the total number of cases dealt by judges, sitting as a single bench or division bench, in a day (64 cases on average) with the total time available for them to hold court (315 minutes). Similarly, adopting an innovative method, HC arrived at the cost of its operation by considering its budget and the time spent on hearing cases in financial year 2007-08. The total expenditure incurred by the court last year was Rs 42.45 crore for 213 working days. “The average cost of listing each case before a judge worked out to Rs 1,297 and the average court expenditure per minute by the court was Rs 6,327 or Rs 19,93,180 for each working day,” the report said. The court’s disposal rate was faster than the rate of filing of fresh petitions, due to which the number of pending cases came down in 2007-08, it added.

HC notice to Delhi govt on plastic ban
11 Feb 2009, 1722 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the Delhi government on a petition challenging the ban on plastics in the city. The petitioners, All India Plastic Association and Rainbow Polymer, have said that the court order specifies that the ban spares plastic bags of a certain thickness (40 micron), implying that it is not a blanket ban.

Nithari killings: First verdict likely on Thursday
11 Feb 2009, 1215 hrs IST, IANS
NEW DELHI: A special court is likely to pronounce its first verdict in the grisly Nithari killings on Thursday, more than two years after body parts of 19 children and young women who had been sexually abused and mutilated were found from a drain in the suburb of Noida. A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ghaziabad last month completed proceedings in the murder of 14-year-old Rimpa Haldar, who lived in Nithari village near the bungalow belonging to businessman Moninder Singh Pandher along with the other 18 victims. The court is now ready to deliver its verdict. According to the May 2007 chargesheet by the CBI, which took over the case from Noida police two years ago, Halder was allegedly raped and murdered about four years ago by Pandher’s domestic help Surender Koli at bungalow number D-5 (in sector 31) Noida. Halder was allegedly strangulated and then cut to pieces by Koli with two kitchen knives and an axe. The chargesheet states that Koli was suffering from necrophilia (urge to have sex with a corpse) and necrophagia (urge to eat the flesh of a body). Pandher and help Koli have been in jail since December 2006, when the horrific crime that stunned the nation with the grisly details came to light. And the families of the victims are desperately hoping that the duo will be brought to justice. Till then, however, they have to deal with what they say is rank injustice being meted out to them. “Our case was that Surender Koli had lured Rimpa Halder inside the bungalow on Feb 8, 2005, and then raped and killed her. According to the CBI findings and Koli’s voluntary statement before a Delhi metropolitan court in Jan 2007, he did the crimes and Pandher, who was in Australia then, was not a party to them,” CBI counsel J.P. Sharma submitted in the court. Last August, the court had suo motu summoned Pandher and asked him to depose in the case, during which the latter had claimed he was in Australia when Halder went missing. Defence counsel Khalid Khan, however, charged the CBI of fabricating documents and shielding Pandher. According to the 16 chargesheets submitted in court by the CBI, including in the Halder case, Koli was single-handedly responsible for 16 of the 19 murders (between February 2005 and November 2006) registered by the police. Pandher was away when the 16 cases of rapes and murders by Koli occurred, the chargesheet states.

Convicts in Tapasi Mallik murder case get bail
11 Feb 2009, 2001 hrs IST, PTI
KOLKATA: CPI(M) leader Suhrid Dutta and party activist Debu Malik undergoing life term for the murder of a woman during anti-farm land acquisition agitation in Singur were granted bail by the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday. A division bench comprising Justice Pranab Chattopadhyay and Justice Asim Roy granted the bail to the two convicts. Both would have to provide two sureties of Rs 10,000 each and not leave Singur police station area without permission of the court, the bench set as condition for granting bail to them. Tapasi Mallik, who was an active participant in the movement against land acquisition for the Tata Motors small car project at Singur, was raped and murdered before her body was set on fire in the fenced land for the plant on December 12, 2006. Suhrid and Debu Malik, a relative of Tapasi, were accused of conspiring and executing the murder along with four unknown persons who were also accused of raping her before killing her. The state CID first investigated the incident but after opposition parties alleged attempts to hush up the case, the CBI was called in by West Bengal government to investigate the death of Tapasi.

Court acquits former GSL employee
11 Feb 2009, 0103 hrs IST, TNN
MARGAO: Babu Thomas, former employee of Goa Shipyard Limited, accused under Sec 7 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 161 and 165 of the IPC, was acquitted by the court of the special judge, Nutan Sardessai, in Margao recently. The reason stated by the court was that Section 17 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, states that no police officer below the rank of a deputy superintendent of police (DySP) shall investigate any offence punishable under the act with out the order of a Judicial Magistrate First Class or make any arrest without a warrant, while in this case a police inspector had conducted the investigation and arrest without adhering to the provisions of the Act. The case dates back to September 14, 1994, where the accused while working as the manager (personnel and administration) of Goa Shipyard, Vasco, and being a public servant had demanded and accepted Rs 20,000 from the complainant. He was charged under Section 7 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 161 and 165 of the IPC. The court set him free of all charges giving benefit of doubt.

Sobti served HC notice
11 Feb 2009, 0319 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana High Court issued a notice to Punjab University vice-chancellor RC Sobti on Tuesday. Acting on an application submitted by Rajesh Kochhar to restrain the respondent from going ahead with an interview slated for March 4, 2009, for the selection of professor and head of Rajiv Gandhi chair for contemporary studies, PU, Justice Tej Pratap Singh Mann issued a notice for Febuarary 27.
Kochhar, former professor of Indian Institute of Science (IIS), Bangluru, and National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research (NIPER), Mohali, has claimed the post and a writ petition is already pending before the high court. The Rajiv Gandhi chair is being set up with the funding of UGC, which is establishing it in 10 universities across the country.

CBI court to MC: Protect files about Dadwal
11 Feb 2009, 0400 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Special CBI judge Jagdeep Jain on Tuesday directed UT municipal corporation commissioner to protect documents and files related to suspended sub-divisional engineer AK Dadwal’s corruption case. Dadwal had alleged that the contractor who complained against him had been trying to tamper with records lying in MC’s Sector-17 office. “The court directed the commissioner that he should keep records related to Dadwal’s case intact and no private individual should be allowed to look at them. We want to use those documents for defence in the case,” said Dadwal’s counsel NK Nanda. The SDE has been accused of seeking Rs 20,000 as bribe through another person in June 2008. Dadwal had earlier leveled allegations that he was being harassed through this case for getting his statement recorded before vigilance court in a corruption case involving some senior engineering department officials. In November, he had also moved a civil suit that sought mandatory injunction and directions for MC officials to get his subsistence allowance released.

HC upholds govt amendment in panchayat laws
11 Feb 2009, 0024 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: The high court has up held Mayawati government’s amendments brought in the UP Panchayat Laws immediately after coming into power, wherein it had removed the posts of pramukhs and upadhyakshas in panchayat institutions. The petitioners are planning to file special leave peti tion (SLP) in the Supreme Court against this order. The bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Vedpal dismissed bunch of writ petitions, which had challenged the amendments, in corporated by an Act passed in 2007. The government had abolished the above posts in kshetra pan chayat and zilla panchayat. It also ushered in an amendment by which, the time of bringing no-con fidence motion against pramukh and adhyaksha was reduced from two years to one. Besides, it was also provided that they could be re moved by a simple majority. Mamta Kanojia and scores of other affected petitioners moved petition in the HC pleading that the amendments had destroyed the de mocratic character of panchayats and permitted gross intrusion of state executive. It was said that the move was to oust all the elected pradhans, pramukhs and adhyak shas of panchayats as most of them did not belong to the ruling BSP. The judges ruled out that the amendments did not violate any constitutional provisions nor were they arbitrary.

Lucknow lawyers attack HuJI chief
11 Feb 2009, 1444 hrs IST, Pervez Siddiqui, TNN
LUCKNOW. Waliullah, the head of HuJI in India, was on Wednesday attacked in the Lucknow High Court premises by a group of about 200 advocates, and was forced to take refuge in a judge’s chamber. Police protection had been given to Waliullah while he was in the court premises. Waliullah is in jail for anti-national activities. He was acquitted by a lower court in the Varanasi court blast case but the government appealed against the lower court’s judgment.

Sending Wrong Case Diaries
10 Feb 2009, 2354 hrs IST, Ravi Dayal, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Tuesday issued a showcause notice to the Bhagalpur SP asking why not a sentence of two-day simple imprisonment be awarded to him for creating hurdles in the judicial process by supplying wrong case diaries in a criminal case. A single bench presided over by Justice D D Jha directed the district judge of Bhagalpur to communicate the high court order to the SP. Justice Jha maintained that the SP should reply to the showcause himself by being present in the court on the next date of hearing. The order was passed during the hearing of a criminal miscellaneous case filed by one Md Sajid seeking bail in a murder case lodged with Ishaqchak police station in Bhagalpur town. Earlier in November 2008, when the high court had asked for the case diary, the Bhagalpur police administration sent the diary of another criminal case registered with Bhagalpur Kotwali police station. Following this, the high court issued a directive to the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) of Bhagalpur to seek an explanation from the SP. The SP assured the CJM that a correct case diary would be sent to the high court. But surprisingly even the second time, the case diary produced before the high court related to a different criminal case registered under the Arms Act. Taking cognizance of the hindrance to the judicial process, the HC issued the showcause to the Bhagalpur SP. Justice Jha made it clear that while filing a reply to the court’s notice, the SP must not consult a government counsel, but a private one.

Supreme Court asks Kerala to accept Zoom’s Vizhinjam port tender
Feb 10th, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 10 (IANS) The Kerala government Tuesday suffered a setback as the Supreme Court upheld the Kerala High Court’s verdict asking it to consider Zoom Developers’ tender quotation for the Rs.53.48 billion Vizhinjam port project.
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government had, through a tender, awarded the port project to a consortium of the Hyderabad-based Lanco Kondapalli Power Ltd, Malaysia-based Pembinaan Redzai Sdn Bhd and Lanco Infrastructure Ltd and for technical reasons did not consider the proposal of Zoom, which then went to court.
Following the firm’s petition, a division bench of the high court last year asked the state government to consider the Zoom proposal too. The state refused to do so and challenged the ruling in the Supreme Court.
A division bench of the Supreme Court Tuesday asked the Kerala government to make all arrangements in 15 days to facilitate Zoom to submit its tender.
The Congress-led opposition in the state had raised the port tender issue in the assembly in November and demanded a a judicial inquiry.
After the Supreme Court ruling, Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy told reporter in Thiruvananthapuram that the LDF government owes an explanation why it challenged the high court ruling when it was clear that it had messed up the tendering process.
“Zoom Developers in its quotation had said it would pay the government after 10 years a sum of Rs.447 crore (Rs.4.47 billion) if they were given the contract, and instead the project was given to Lanco, which has offered just Rs.115 crore (Rs.1.15 billion). Kerala would have lost Rs.332 crore had the courts not intervened,” said Chandy.
State Ports Minister M. Vijayakumar told reporters the government would look into the verdict and decide further course of action.
“This is not a setback for the government. There is a lobby here working against the Vizhinjam port,” he said .
Chandy, however, said if there is a lobby it is in the government itself.
Senior opposition legislator P.C. George, who was the first to allege corruption in the contract, demanded the immediate resignation of Vijayakumar.
“He should resign, otherwise (Chief Minister V.S.) Achuthanandan should oust him at the earliest,” George told reporters.
The project is being developed under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme and will be handed over to the state government after 30 years.
A major advantage of the Vizhinjam port is that it needs no dredging. The natural depth is 24 meters, one of the deepest in the world.
Another advantage is that the proposed port lies very close to a busy international shipping route. It is to be built on an area of 150 acres and there will be no displacement of fishermen. The port will be able to handle 4.1 million containers annually.
The port, once ready, would create 5,000 direct and 150,000 indirect jobs.

Two get 4 years RI for dealing in fake stamps
11 Feb 2009, 0003 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: Court of Additional District and Sessions Judge VI Ashok Kumar Pathak on Tuesday sentenced four year rigorous imprisonment (RI) and Rs 1,000 penalty to two accused — Hemchandra Jha and Dinesh Kumar — both residents of Kadamkuan locality of the town, in a case of forgery. The court found the two guilty of running a racket of printing and selling fake judicial and non-judicial stamps. The two were arrested by the CBI in course of raids made on the Janata Offset Press and residences of these two persons in Kadamkuan locality on April 24, 2004. The CBI sleuths seized a huge number of fake judicial and non-judicial stamps as well as the printing machine used for printing the fake stamps.

HC refuses to stay arrest of accused
11 Feb 2009, 2012 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: A division bench of the Allahabad high court has declined to stay the arrest of Braj Mohan Garg, brother of prime accused in the Seema Chaudhari rape case, Ram Mohan Garg. Ram Mohan is the former chairman of UP fisheries development corporation. The bench comprising Justices Shiv Shankar and VK Verma dismissed the petition of Braj Mohan Garg in connection with an FIR lodged against him at a police station in Aligarh. The allegation against Braj Mohan was that he had snatched the mobile, along with Rs 10,000, from Naseem, a close friend of Seema Chaudhari. It may be recalled that Seema had lodged an FIR against RM Garg stating that she was raped by him and an obscene CD of her was prepared by the accused using her mobile. This mobile, she alleged, was later snatched from Naseem by Braj Mohan. Seema had lodged the FIR on January 1, 2009 and thereafter Ram Mohan was arrested by the police and sent to jail. The court dismissed the petition after hearing the additional government advocate for the prosecution.

Lawyers strike work to condole colleague’s death
11 Feb 2009, 0417 hrs IST, TNN
KANPUR: Men in black coat in Kanpur Nagar and dehat district court on Monday abstained themselves from judicial work to condole the death of one of their colleague. The two premier associations, Kanpur Bar Association and The Lawyers Association hung a banner about strike as soon as they come to know about the death of an advocate. Both the associations have informed the judiciary that they would observe whole-day strike in case of death of an advocate to lodge their protest against a high court order. The High Court of Allahabad in December last had issued a directive to district courts to close the courts for condolence of an advocate after 3.30 pm. On the other hand, the advocates were demanding that courts should close after lunch to condole the death of an advocate, as it was being observed earlier as customary. They had met with chief justice last month and had urged their demand and had also informed that they would observe whole day strike if old system was not implemented.

Mulayam case: SC raps CBI for being Centre’s pet
11 Feb 2009, 0403 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday came down heavily on Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for seeking to drop its probe into the corruption case against SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. “So you (CBI) were acting at the behest of law ministry. The central government was of view that you should withdraw the case and you apply for withdrawal. What you are saying is rather unusual. It is rather incomprehensible,” a Bench comprising Justices Altmas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph said in one of the sharpest-ever indictments of the country’s top probe agency which claims to be autonomous. If the remark was trenchant, the Bench twisted the knife. “If the advice of the Centre and the law ministry is the ground for CBI to seek withdawal of the application, then God help us.” The tongue lashing came after CBI’s counsel, additional solicitor general Mohan Parasaran, conceded that it was the UPA government which had goaded the agency to withdraw its application to prosecute Mulayam and his kin. The high-wattage hearing was marked by a twist introduced by Harish Salve, counsel for the Samajwadi chieftain. The senior lawyer pressed to put on record a CD of purported account by Vishwanath Chaturvedi of Congress – the petitioner against Mulayam – of how the CBI inquiry into the disproportionate assets case against the SP leader and his clan was a political plot. The Bench allowed the CD to be filed within three weeks to be played in the chambers, while it posted the matter for further hearing on March 31. The CD gambit, the latest addition to a lengthening list of ‘sting’ cases involving SP leaders, was the lastest of turns in the case of Byzantine proportions, widely considered to be revolving around the changes in Congress-SP dymamic. SP, which blamed CBI’s interest in the material possessions of the Yadav clan on its former feud with Congress, is keen on using its new leverage with the UPA government to seek closure of the case before the Lok Sabha polls. The government, it is widely felt, is also willing, leading the CBI to change its stand on the probe and align it with Congress’s fresh equations with SP. However, the SC, which ordered the inquiry in the first place, is not amused by the U-turn. The judicial spanner has resulted in frustration in the SP camp, leading to strain in its ties with Congress and speculation about the kind of fallout it may have on their alliance in UP. In the court, the reprimand from the Bench led solicitor general G E Vahanvati to swiftly seek to disengage the Centre from the case which is seen as an endorsement of the widely held view about the misuse of CBI and other agencies by the regimes of the day for partisan purposes. “The Centre is in no way concerned with which way the court decides the matter,” argued Vahanvati although he qualified that by saying that the CBI should look into the representations received from the Yadav clan that their assets were inflated to engineer a disproportionate assets case against them. “All the Centre told the CBI is to take into account the representations and make inquiry. The Centre does not want to take any decision on the matter. The CBI has to check facts and report back to the Supreme Court and not to the Centre,” said the SG. The highly complex politico-legal game began after a Bench comprising Justices A R Lakshmanan and Kabir on March 1, 2007, ordered CBI probe into the assets of Yadavs on the PIL of Congressman Chaturvedi. Surprisingly, the Bench asked the agency to submit status report to the Centre for appropriate action. Chaturvedi’s counsel K T S Tulsi criticised the CBI for throwing to the winds its independence and toeing the government line. He pleaded with the court to take a look at the status report of CBI and pass appropriate orders. Salve said he agreed with Tulsi on CBI’s role in tarnishing the image of the Yadavs and said his clients had no faith in the agency’s ability to conduct an impartial probe. “Let there be a high-level judicial probe into the matter as also scrutiny of the CBI’s role in it,” he said. Salve, supported by Akhilesh Yadav’s counsel Mukul Rohtagi, drove home to the Bench, which initially resisted the idea of bringing on record such a CD, the crucial nature of the conversation relating to the judge of the Supreme Court and its impact on the petitions filed by Yadavs seeking review of the March 1, 2007 judgment.

Chargesheet against Amarinder
11 Feb 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Ramaninder K Bhatia, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Two days after it grilled former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, the vigilance bureau on Tuesday filed a chargesheet against him and 15 others in the Amritsar land deal scam. The chargesheet says the then minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh and Amarinder gave undue favours to builders by wrongfully exempting 32 acres from the original 188 acres of the Amritsar Improvement Trust scheme. The chargesheet, a 50-page document, was filed in the court of Mohali special judge R K Garg who has summoned all the 16 accused on March 4. Indicted by an earlier nine-member House committee in the case, the Congress leader was `expelled’ from the assembly last September. The panel had directed the bureau to carry forward the case to its logical conclusion. However, Amarinder challenged his expulsion in the court and the case is now in the Supreme Court. Accused of cheating and forgery, the Congress leader has also been booked under various sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.

Union minister Mahavir Prasad booked in murder case
11 Feb 2009, 1028 hrs IST, PTI
GORAKHPUR: In a major embarrassment to the government at the Centre, Union minister Mahavir Prasad has been booked for alleged conspiracy in a murder case, a senior police officer said on Wednesday. The case was registered on the direction of the Allahabad High Court under section 120 B IPC (conspiracy) against the Union minister for micro, small and medium Industries in Gagha police station here on Tuesday night, senior superintendent of police Aditya Mishra said. Two other accused, village head of Ujjarpar, Rajesh Singh and one Gauri Shankar have been booked under sections 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of public peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) and the SC/ST Act. According to police, a woman called Subhavati of village Ujjarpar, the native village of the minister, had move a local court for lodging the cases against the accused. She had alleged that the village head and Gauri Shankar were involved in the murder of her husband on January 28 and charged the minister with helping the accused. She moved the High Court after the local CJM’s court rejected her plea. Police said the case was registered on the direction of the high court. Earlier, the police had registered the case as a road accident. No arrest has so far been made in this connection, the SSP said. In Delhi, Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said “currently, it seems as the Allahabad High Court has passed an order but we have not seen the order and if an FIR has been registered, we don’t have a copy of the FIR at the moment.” After scrutinizing the order, the FIR and talking to the minister, “we will come to an appropriate conclusion and respond to it,” he said. “It is inappropriate to come to any conclusion before scrutinizing the documents,” Tiwari said. Police said that the Union minister was among the three accused that included Gauri Shankar Gupta, a relative of Prasad. “What we plan to do is to carry out fair and completely impartial investigations so that we can ascertain whether the facts lead to the case being chargesheeted as the murder or again as that of an accident,” Mishra said. “That is our task ahead in the next few days and I am sure within 7-10 days we will be able to clear up the confusion,” he said.

SC refers Amarinder issue to Constitutional Bench
11 Feb 2009, 1145 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday referred to a Constitution Bench the issue of expulsion of former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh by the State Legislative Assembly. A three-judge bench of Justices B N Agrawal, G S Singhwi and Aftab Alam said that the issue needs to be resolved by a Constitution Bench as it involved substantive question of Constitutional law relating to expulsion of a member. In an unprecedented move on September 10 last year, the Punjab Assembly had expelled Singh from the House after holding him guilty of corrupt practices in the Amritsar land scandal. The scam relates to grant of exemption on 32.5 acres of land in a prime area by Singh as Chief Minister to certain land developers allegedly in violation of the rules.

SC notice to Centre, states on new pay panel
11 Feb 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: If the Chief Justice of India and judges of the Supreme Court and high courts got a three-fold salary hike, should the lowly paid trial court judges be left out? The Supreme Court does not think so. On Tuesday, it issued notices to the Centre and the states seeking their response on an application seeking a suitable upward revision of salaries of judges of the lower judiciary. A Bench comprising CJI K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathaisvam and J M Panchal asked the governments to respond to an application filed by All India Judges Association. The association through counsel ATM Sampath pleaded that the first judicial pay commission headed by Justice Shetty had recommended that whenever there was an upward revision of salaries of HC judges, the salaries of lower court judges should also be proportionately revised. It sought a direction from the court to the Centre to “forthwith appoint a committee of one or more persons to look into the matter” relating to the pay-scales of the presiding officers of the lower judiciary. After getting respectable salaries for himself, SC and HC judges, the CJI had on January 7 talked to TOI expressing concern over the low salaries of the lower court judges. “Their monthly take home is even lower than their counterparts in the executive,” he had said. “The only way out is appointment of a fresh National Judicial Pay Commission. It could be done through a judicial direction by the Supreme Court which got the first NJPC’s recommendations implemented through judicial fiat, though it took nearly five years,” he had said. The first NJPC headed by Justice Jagannatha Shetty was constituted on March 21, 1996, and it gave its recommendations in November 1999. It had recommended a salary hike that entitled a civil judge (junior division) a starting salary of Rs 11,775, civil judge (senior division) Rs 15,200, district judge (entry level) Rs 20,800 and district judge (super-time scale) Rs 23,850. But, this was recommended keeping in view the then salaries of the HC judges which was fixed at Rs 26,000 and that of an HC CJ Rs 30,000, SC judges Rs 30,000 and CJI Rs 33,000. The salary structure for the higher judiciary recently got changed with the government agreeing to revise the salary of HC judges to Rs 80,000, HC CJ Rs 90,000, SC judges Rs 90,000 and CJI Rs 1 lakh.

M J Antony: The judiciary’s cyber holes

Lack of coordination makes court websites less user-friendly
M J Antony / New Delhi February 11, 2009, 0:51 IST

Lack of coordination in designing and developing makes court websites less user-friendly.
It is nearly ten years since the judiciary became tech-savvy. Considering that it is a conservative institution which loves dusty paper files, and is apprehensive of change and speed, it was somewhat of a revolution. The Supreme Court has gone quite ahead in the electronic field. Its judgements are on the web usually within two days. They can be accessed by the names of the parties, the judges on the bench, the subject, the Act and part of the text. The archives are also available. Recently, summaries of its judgements have also been offered.
The status of the cases can similarly be searched from anywhere in the world. There is a provision even to file petitions sitting at home. The Supreme Court site is simple and accessible to anyone familiar with the internet. The Chief Justice has promised to complete the electronic revolution in two years.
However, the lack of coordination among the courts shows in their websites. Though the high courts have a good model like that of the Supreme Court, each follows its own whimsical style. There is no common pattern, for instance, in the search options. Even different benches of the same high court do not follow the same model. For instance, the Jodhpur bench of the Rajasthan high court has 12 search options, and is far ahead of the rest of the high courts in the country. However, the Jaipur bench has only eight options.
The Bombay High Court has still fewer options. One can search its judgements only if one knows the case number or the coram of judges. Thus its use is limited to the parties in the case. If one wants to read an important decision of the high court in a matter affecting the public, one would be helpless. The Calcutta High Court decisions can be searched by the case number, judge’s name and the date. The Allahabad and Madras high courts offer four options, but their decisions cannot be searched by date.
The Gujarat High Court website has one of the most comprehensive, and scary, disclaimer any court can devise. It says in part: “The contents in this site do not constitute advice and should not be relied upon in making any decision. Neither the high court of Gujarat nor the National Informatics Centre, is responsible for any damages arising from the use of the content of this site. No queries will be entertained regarding the validity of information by the high court staff. At present, the site is running on a test basis, where the information may not be accurate.” The Sikkim high court has not opened its innings, while the Guwahati high court has no judgement to offer though it has just concluded its diamond jubilee celebrations.
The nearly 600 district courts are also far behind schedule. Only some 12 of them maintain a useful site. Thus, their orders and other information about them are not available at all.
The progress of the tribunals is also tardy and uneven. Tribunals and regulators are playing a greater role in the economic and legal fields and one expects more promptness in assisting the public. The last reported judgement of the National Consumer Redressal Commission was of November last year.
If you look for the latest in intellectual property case law, you would be deeply disappointed. Though the board was set up in 2005, its website has apparently stopped uploading its judgements after the inaugural year. After a gap of three years, someone thought of the website and uploaded a cryptic order in January 2008. It was as short as it can be: No one appeared in the case; so the case is dismissed as abandoned.
The Central Administrative Tribunal has a site which is simple, but only the main bench at New Delhi is user-friendly. The main bench is fast in reporting its judgements, and so far it has uploaded nearly 50 judgements of the current year. But while trying to open and read the judgements of other benches like that of Allahabad, Mumbai or Kerala one meets various script problems.
There is a long way to go if the mid-2010 target is to be met. Video trial of accused persons lodged in jails is only in their preliminary stages, though Bihar has gone far ahead in this. Digitilisation of libraries is far behind, though the Bombay High Court last month achieved this stupendous task. Last Sunday, a private bank disposed of 13,000 cheque-bouncing cases in Delhi in an online Lok Adalat. The Central Information Commission, with which the Supreme Court is now in a legal battle, had asked the court to consider computerising all its records four years ago, as mandated under the Right to Information Act. One could say that the keyword in computerisation of the judiciary is transparency.

HC directs Centre to appoint chairman of green panel

New Delhi, Feb 11 (PTI) A statutory body created for deciding cases related to environment may get a chairman eight years after its creation as the Delhi High Court today rapped the Centre, slapped a cost of Rs 20,000 for not complying with its earlier order and gave it 12 weeks to appoint its head.National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) has remained headless since its creation in July 2000.A bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Muralidhar imposed a cost of Rs 20,000 for not complying with its 2005 order directing the government to appoint a chairman of the Commission which was constituted to deal with cases relating to environment.”The present case tests the limits of the scope of this court’s power in exercising its extraordinary jurisdiction. The court cannot be expected to remain a mute witness to the unfortunate rendering of a statutory body ineffective by an unwilling executive,” a bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Muralidhar said.”Union of India has not only not obeyed the mandamus issued by it by this court but continues to defy it by refusing to correct what appear to be obvious anomalies in the NEAA rules,” the court said.It pointed out that retired judges of the apex court had refused to accept the post as the chairman was not given the salary on par with sitting Supreme Court judges like heads of other tribunals. PTI

HC helps Norwegian of Indian origin enter country
11 Feb 2009, 1228 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: A Norwegian of Indian origin, who had allegedly been harassed by immigration authorities as his name was earlier in the “Look Out List”, will now have a smooth entry into the country as the Delhi High Court has directed the government to take corrective steps. Accepting the submission of the counsel appearing for the Ministry of External Affairs that the name of Gurcharan Singh, was removed from the “black list

” on January 13, Justice S Ravindra Bhat directed the authorities to allow him to enter the country. “The petitioner can henceforth be allowed entry on the basis of the latest order on January 13, 2009, removing his name from the black list,” said Justice Bhat. In his petition, Singh submitted before the court that despite being a holder of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card, every time he entered into country, the immigration authorities “invariably” detained him for several hours. Filing various supporting documents before the court, Singh submitted that the Immigration officials detained him for hours at airport for the only reason that his name was earlier in the “Look Out List”. The Court accepted the Centre’s affidavit and the letters written by the Foreigner’s Regional Registration Office (FRRO) to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) informing that he was detained at the airport as his name was figuring in the black list but was later allowed to enter on finding that he was carrying a PIO card. “Look Out List” is maintained by the MEA and is sent to all airports to control the entry of unwanted elements in the country.

HC admits petition against land acquisition by Centre for private oil company
Express News Service
Posted: Feb 11, 2009 at 0215 hrs IST
Ahmedabad The Gujarat High Court, on Tuesday, admitted a writ petition challenging the Union government’s decision to acquire the user right in land for transport of petroleum for the benefit of Bharat-Oman Refinery Limited.
A division bench comprising Justice M S Shah and Justice H N Devani, however, directed the respondents to file an affidavit dealing with the question of just compensation to be paid to the petitioners and explain why sub clause (1) of Section 10 of the Petroleum and Mineral Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, 1962, should not be declared as ultra vires.
The notices were issued on a petition by Pratapsinh Naranji Jadeja and other agriculturists of Jamnagar district. The next hearing in the case is scheduled on March 23.
The petitioners submitted that by using the provisions of the Act, the Government of India acquired user right in their land for the Bharat-Oman Refinery Limited in 1997, but they came to know about it in 2007 only.
Appearing on behalf of the petitioners, senior advocate Girish Patel contended that as the owner of the land had been paid only one-tenth of the market value of the land, it was not acquisition but really confiscation of the land without just compensation. Moreover, acquisition is not for the purpose of the government but for the benefit of a private company.
Patel contended that either the government should acquire the entire piece of land required for transport of petroleum, or should give full compensation.
Or, Patel contended, the government should ask Bharat-Oman Refinery Limited to pay annual rent for the use of the land instead of one-time payment, as the acquisition was but a lease in favour of the refinery.

Patan DIET-PTC gangrape judgement on March 6
11 Feb 2009, 0201 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad: The sensitive Patan DIET-PTC multiple gangrape case concluded on Tuesday with the final arguments being made by the prosecution and six accused teachers. The trial proceeding has continued for six months before a fast track court in Patan. The special judge SC Srivastav has reserved her judgement in this case to be pronounced on March 6, said the special public prosecutor Naina Bhatt. Twenty-five witnesses, out of total 78 shown in the chargesheet, were examined during the trial besides scrutiny of heaps of documents that include FSL analysis and daily attendance reports of the staff members and students in the Patan DIET-PTC. The proceedings had begun with a painful note for the rape victim who collapsed in the courtroom. The girl ultimately identified all six teachers Manish Parmar, Mahendra Prajapati, Ashwin Parmar, Kiran Patel, Suresh Patel and Atul Patel on July 28 last and then the trial began. In the next week, she faced nearly 2,000 questions from six defence lawyers, but stood by what she had maintained in her police complaint. The major points raised by the accused during trial began with the claim that there should be separate trial for each of the incidents alleged in the FIR. The issue even reached the high court, but they didn’t succeed. Another argument the defence put forth was the delay in filing complaint by the victim girl, as the incidents reported had occurred between November 2007 to February 2008, and the FIR was lodged on February 4 last year. Claiming innocence, all six teachers blamed the rector Bhartiben Patel for laying a trap and inciting the girl to lodge a false complaint against them. The accused also relied upon lack of medical evidence, contradictions in statements of former DIET principal KT Porania and Bhartiben. The teachers even argued that they were not public servants and the victim girl could not be treated as a student in their custody. However, the prosecutor strongly opposed these arguments and supported them with the citations from higher courts. “The examination and cross-examination by all six accused took a lot of time. The weakest point on part of the victim was the delay in registering complaint, but let’s see how the court takes the matter in this regard,” the prosecutor said.

Slums along water pipelines: Bombay HC wants status report
Mumbai, Feb 11: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to file a status report on slums along pipelines which carry water into the city. Hydraulic Engineer of the MCGM will have to file the report within four weeks, division bench of Justices J N Patel and V K Tahilramani directed. The court’s direction came in response to a PIL filed by Janhit Manch, a city-based NGO. The PIL had drawn the court’s attention to a media report which said that slums along the pipelines – in some places on the pipelines – could be a security threat, but MCGM had a very small security staff to deal with this issue. During the hearing, Justice Patel commented that government’s policies were actually encouraging increase in encroachment. “Simply announce that Mumbai is open for everybody,” court said, referring to government’s tendency to extend the deadline for rehabilitation of slums. “One of my colleagues said that instead of asking for flats for judges, one should seek a room in slums at Cuffe Parade…where builders are paying Rs one crore for a shanty,” Justice Patel said. No slums in the sensitive areas, such as pipelines, should be declared as eligible for legal protection, the judge remarked. Bureau Report

Remove banners, Bombay HC directs BMC again
Mumbai, Feb 11: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to remove illegal banners. This the fourth PIL in the last few years urging the court to direct removal of banners from city roads, according to MCGM officials. The present petition has been filed by one Rupali Jawalkar. “What is your policy on banners?” asked the court. To which MCGM’s lawyer K K Singhvi said,” Our policy is to remove them.” The division bench of Justices J N Patel and V K Tahilramani directed the MCGM to remove banners in the city “in a phased manner” asking superintendent (Licenses) to file a status report on removal efforts in six weeks. Justice Patel, before passing the order, noted that banners of political parties can be seen even in front of Mantralaya (state secretariat). “Some of these banners are dangerous, if they fall down, there would be an accident,” said Justice Patel. Bureau Report

Skeletons tumble out;CBI report flashed
Thiruvananthapuram, Wednesday, February 11, 2009: As the Kerala High Court is all set to hear the two PIL seeking a declaration on whether sanction is necessary to prosecute CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and two others arraigned as accused by the CBI in the SNC-Lavalin case. Pinarayi Vijayan is in neck-deep trouble as a private channel has flashed the investigative report of SNC Lavalin case. The report says, the Cabinet was wrongly apprised regarding the deal. Pinarayi Vijayan concealed major deal conditions from the Party. Also it says, Pinarayi Vijayan was part of criminal conspiracy. CBI also says that the CPM State Secretary gave unclear and conflicting answers to most of the queries of CBI during interrogation, it also found that the Pinarayi Vijayan had ignored the E Balanandan Committee report and expert opinions of KSEB and finance secretaries. Also the condition to fund the Malabar cancer center through a institution called Technicalia was missing from the deal.

A public interest litigation in the supreme court wants cases involving influential people to be fast-tracked so that they can be brought to book sooner. V. Kumara Swamy examines both sides of the argument
Justice delayed, it is often said, is justice denied. But while the long wait for justice is immensely frustrating — and financially taxing — for the common man, there is a general perception that the rich would rather have it that way. Many feel that wealthy and influential people accused of a crime use the system to their advantage, and that trials that go on for years allow them to enjoy their freedom when speedy justice could well have put them behind bars.
It is to counter this trend that a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Supreme Court suggests the setting up of fast track courts to decide cases involving ‘influential persons’. Recently, a Supreme Court bench, comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam, asked the central government to respond to the PIL, although it did note that it would be “very difficult” to define an “influential person”.
“Influential people in India invariably dodge the judicial system. They have mastered the art of delaying their cases. This is paralysing our system of criminal justice,” says V.K. Ohri, a Supreme Court advocate and the one who filed the PIL.
Citing the names of scores of politicians and other influential people against whom cases have been pending for decades, the PIL says that the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) should define ‘influential persons’ and lay down a procedure for speedy investigation and trial of their cases.
The PIL says that the term “influential persons” should include district level office bearers of political parties and above, persons equivalent in rank to sub-divisional magistrates and above, magistrates of the 1st class, including civil judges and above, the elected panch and sarpanch of village panchayats and office bearers of NGOs that have a turnover of more than Rs 5 crore. Although it leaves out big industrialists, the list could well be expanded, adds the petitioner.
Nor is he the only one to raise such demands. At a seminar organised by the legal and legislative cell of the BJP on August 30, 2008, L.K. Advani, leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, said, “We are willing to consider any effective mechanism for the fast track disposal of cases involving major economic offences and corruption cases against politicians and civil servants. This is necessary to strengthen the people’s faith in the political and judicial system,” he said.
The PIL in the Supreme Court calls for changes to Chapters 18 and 19 of the CrPC (these empower the high courts to set up special courts) so as to lay down rules for the trial of “influential persons”. The petition says that a court should not be adjourned for more than seven days and evidence should be recorded as far as possible on a day-to-day basis.
But many legal experts feel that the very rationale of the PIL is flawed. Jagdeep Chhokar, member of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), which works towards “strengthening democracy and governance” in the country, reasons, “A corrupt and influential person will try to buy his way out of a case even in a fast track court.” Chhokar adds that the system should not be “tweaked” to work in favour of one section of the people.
Others point out that since this “one section of the people” are in any case singled out for special treatment, fast track courts for them would be a kind of poetic justice. I.K. Chhugani, a resident of Mumbai who filed a similar petition in the Mumbai High Court last year, says wryly, “VIPs in our country get priority everywhere — from traffic signals to plot allotment. So let the cases involving them get priority too. No citizen would mind that.”
Prashant Bhushan, the Supreme Court lawyer who is arguing on behalf of Ohri, also asserts that fast track courts do not “favour” the rich. “It is the poor who gain from faster justice. An influential person, in fact, doesn’t want his case to be decided too quickly.”
Those who support the PIL point out that it would not be too much of a problem to set up these courts as fast track courts on terror, rape and serious crimes are already up and running. Says Pinky Anand, a Supreme Court advocate, “When the regular system is unable to cope with certain types of cases, I see no reason why they cannot be fast-tracked.”
Citing the recent Satyam scam, Anand says that a special court to try economic offences could have ensured a faster trial of those accused. “The world is looking at India now. If we had a faster justice mechanism, it would have improved India’s image in the eyes of the rest of the world,” she says.
Of course, fast track courts have their share of problems too. “They are not really the panacea to all the ills plaguing our system, as many people seem to think. Corruption is as rampant in fast track courts as it is in the lower judiciary,” says Chhokar.
Questions are also raised about the quality of judgements coming out of these courts. Says Nasir Ali Naqvi, chairman, Bar Council of Rajasthan, a state where fast track courts happen to be known for their quick disposal of cases, “The quality of judgement in many cases is very poor. As a result they do not stand a chance during an appeal in a higher court. Besides, higher courts function at a normal pace and the cases usually go on for ages anyway, so the purpose of quick justice is, in a way, defeated.”
But Bhushan reveals that they have taken care to address this issue. “We are asking for fast trials at all levels of our legal system when it comes to ‘influential persons’.”
Despite the many arguments in favour of constituting fast track courts for powerful people, it is not very likely that the government will adopt such a measure. If for nothing else, for the simple reason that it smacks too much of “special treatment” for the rich and famous. “I would like every trial to be completed expeditiously, irrespective of whether it belongs to a common man or an influential person,” says Congress MP Sachin Pilot.
That politically correct statement will, in all likelihood, be the government’s response to the PIL as well.

Confusion prevails on who is DG Doordarshan
Published: Wed, 11 Feb 2009 at 21:47 IST
F Prev Next L
New Delhi, Feb 11 : Twenty four hours after Doordarshan witnessed the presence of two Director Generals, confusion still prevails as to who is the DG of the public broadcaster.The Appointments Committee of Cabinet had cleared the name of Aruna Sharma, Joint Secretary in National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), for DD’s Director General post. The ministry also directed Prasar Bharati to appoint Sharma on the said post, through an order dated February 9, 2008.However, DD sources claimed that they received the order in the evening of February 9, and therefore it could only be implemented on the morning of February 10 when Sharma took charge as DG (DD).They said as Sharma had not been given the order by Prasar Bharati officials to join till the morning of February 10, her assumption of charge was not accepted and the acting DG of DD, Noreen Naqvi was asked to continue. Thus, DD for a brief period of time on February 10, had two DGs.When contacted, Sharma said she was very much with DD though certain things were being sorted out. She refused to comment further on the matter.Interestingly a deputy DG in DD, Ashok Jailkhani had earlier filed a case in CAT contending that he was not called for the interview for the post of DG even though a subordinate of his was invited for it. With the matter still subjudice, CAT directed the ministry to maintain status quo, that is let Naqvi continue as acting DG of DD.

NHRC asks Orissa to pay to victim of medical negligence
Published: February 11,2009

New Delhi, Feb 11 National Human Rights Commission has recommended that the Orissa government should pay a monetary relief of Rs 5 lakh to a victim of medical negligence four years ago which made her unable to bear children.
The Commission has also asked the state government to submit a report on the action taken.
NHRC has recommended a monitory relief of Rs 5 lakh to Binapani Khatua in Orissa in a case of medical negligence due to which she suffered physical pain for four years and now cannot bear children,”a NHRC release said.
The Commission had started the proceeding in the case relating to the victim in June last year acting on a complaint of an NGO — Director Collective Initiative for Social Solidarity (CISS).
The victim from Radharampur village of Cuttack district was admitted in Attagarh hospital four years ago for delivery of her first issue. After an operation, a male child was born to her but he died after four days.
The complainant later alleged that a scissor was left inside the abdomen of Khatua during the operation by the surgeon concerned due to which the victim suffered terrible abdomen pain. It finally led to removal of her uterus.
An x-ray of the victim had found a surgical scissor was lodged in her belly.
Source: PTI


LEGAL NEWS 9-10.02.2009

Criminal Law : Indian convicted in US can be tried again in country: SCPosted on : 05 February 2009 by Y.Prakash
New Delhi, Feb 5 (PTI) An Indian citizen convicted in the US for a crime can again be subjected to trial in India if any of his alleged criminal acts is triable under the local laws, the Supreme Court has ruled.The apex court rejected Jitendra Panchal’s plea that since he was already convicted and sentenced to imprisonment by a US Court for being in possession and distribution of “hashish”, the Indian courts cannot try him under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.”A person liable by any Indian law to be tried for any offence committed beyond India is to be dealt with under the provisions of the code (IPC 3 &4), having regard to the fact that the provisions of the code would also apply to any offence committed by any citizen of India in any place within and beyond India,” a bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and Markandeya Katju observed.The bench passed the ruling while dismissing Panchal’s plea that such a trial would amount to “double jeopardy” and was violative of Article 20 (2) of the Constitution and Section 300(1) of the CrPC.The term “double jeopardy” as provided under Article 20 (2) implies that a person cannot be convicted twice for the same offence. The same provision is also provided under Section 300(1) of the CrPC.

Criminal Law : CBI submits 2nd status report on UP PF scamPosted on : 05 February 2009 by Y.Prakash
New Delhi, Feb 4 (PTI) The CBI today submitted its second status report on its investigations into the Rs 23 crore Uttar Pradesh Provident Fund(PF) scam.This report details the agency’s examination of over 10 High Court judges and nearly two dozen district judges, official sources said today.The report which was submitted to the Supreme Court claims to have found some alleged misappropriation of funds by a few judges.The report stated that further detailed examination is needed, sources said.Earlier, in its first status report, CBI alleged that the provident fund savings of Ghaziabad courts employees were illegally used to buy certain household and electronic items for higher and district judiciary.On September 23, 2008, the Supreme Court had transferred the investigations into the UP provident fund scam to the CBI after the Ghaziabad SP probing the case expressed his inability in carrying out the investigations into the scam involving judicial officers.The 34 members of judiciary whose names have cropped up in the scam include an apex court judge, seven Allahabad High Court judges, six retired High Court judges and 12 judges from subordinate judiciary in Uttar Pradesh.

Criminal Law : Delhi HC directs lower judiciary to follow procedure of CrpCPosted on : 05 February 2009 by
The Delhi High Court has expressed its concern over the functioning of trial courts and observed that there were several instances where wrongs were being committed in the trial procedure.A bench comprising Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Aruna Suresh pulled up the presiding officer of the lower judiciary for not observing procedures in a case of rape-cum-murder and asked the Judge to conduct the trial afresh and pronounce the order again.The High Court observed that the trial court had made liberal use of information received by police control room van from a witness, who named Prakash as the culprit whereas it was not permissible under the law.It said the trial courts were regularly committing wrongs, which were not acceptable by the law and was against the criminal jurisprudence.Referring to another instance of flouting rules of the criminal trial system, the bench observed that a child witness was examined without any court question being put to him to ascertain whether he understood the questions pertaining to the case. He was not examined properly; hence the case could not be concluded with fairness.Similarly, giving another example, it held that there were number of cases where incriminating documents were not put to the accused and the witness was not being properly cross-examined.The High Court directed the Registry to direct all the judges to follow procedures of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) while conducting trial of criminal cases. It also held to circulate the copy of the order to all judges, particularly Judges of the Sessions Courts so that proper procedures were followed.

STATE COMMISSION ORDER AIR INDIA TO PAY 1.4 LAKHS COMPENSATIONPosted on : 07 February 2009 by m. piravi perumal
Air India asked to pay Rs 1.4 lakh to woman for denying her seatAir India has been directed by the State Consumer Commission to pay Rs 1.4 lakh to a passenger for refusing to let her board a flight despite a confirmed ticket. Penalising the airlines for a “deficiency in service”, the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has asked Air India to not only refund Rs 40,000 towards the cost of the ticket, but also to pay Rs one lakh as compensation to the complainant Geetika Sachdeva, for not letting her board the plane and for delayed baggage delivery.In September 2002, Sachdeva had bought an open ticket through a travel agency on Air India’s Delhi-London-Toronto-London-Delhi flight. Two months later, when she informed Air India of her intention to travel from London to Delhi, she was told that her ticket was confirmed for London to Delhi.She then boarded an Air Canada flight from Toronto and reached London. But at the airport she was told that the validity of her ticket had expired and she could not board the plane. Sachdeva was travelling alone and did not have money to buy another ticket. After waiting for several hours at the airport, she met another Indian passenger, who had come from Chicago and had also been denied boarding on the same grounds. With his help, she purchased a ticket of Virgin Atlantic Airways and came to Delhi. Her baggage, however, was transported a week later by Air India, for which she was charged an additional sum of Rs 650.Air India, in its defence contended that the passenger had booked an open ticket for the Toronto-Delhi sector, which required prior confirmation before the commencement of journey and since she failed to do, so she could not be accommodated.The court observed that the consumer had intimated Air India’s counterpart at Toronto in advance about her plan to travel from London to Delhi and therefore the argument that there was no confirmation, did not hold.”The passenger was a young lady and travelled alone and therefore must have faced immense hardship when she was denied a seat,” Justice J D Kapoor, Commission President, said, adding that it was the “duty of the airline to make all possible arrangements” to accommodate Sachdeva on its flight leaving for London.Justice Kapoor further ruled that “no airline has the right to refuse boarding to a person with a confirmed status ticket even if he has not re-confirmed the same 72 hours before, particularly when seats are available.”

Gujarat HC to be first to implement model e-court in countryPosted on : 08 February 2009 by Y.Prakash
Gujarat High Court is set to become the first court in the country to implement the model e-court project, synergising technology with the judicial process to reduce bottlenecks in the system.The project, which will be implemented on a pilot basis from Sunday, will provide tamperproof, authenticated audio-video recording of courtroom proceedings along with multipoint video conferencing facilities between the courtroom, central jail, police commissioner’s office and the forensic science laboratory.The project will be first to put into practice at the City Civil and Sessions Court at Ahmedabad.Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan will inaugurate the project on Sunday.”This is a unique project in the country and is being implemented for the first time by the Gujarat High Court,” Gujarat H C Registrar General P P Bhatt told media persons at Ahmedabad on Saturday.”This is an initiative by the Central government to make the judicial process more transparent, remove the bottlenecks and making the justice delivery speedier,” Bhatt said.He said that the uniqueness of this project is that besides video conferencing with various agencies, the entire proceedings will be recorded and will be available for the judges to review the process in case of doubts.”This will not only help the judiciary, but the police and the jail authorities who spent a considerable amount of time and manpower to transport under trials between court and central jail,” Bhatt said.Principal Sessions Judge G B Shah, who was present during the briefing, said that this would help in case when a witness turns hostile during the course of trial or review the statements of the lawyers, prosecution as well as defence.He said that this will help the judicial system to streamline and expedite their operations.Talking about the benefits of e-court, Inspector General (Prisons) Keshav Kumar said that now there won’t be need to physically transport any under trial from central jail to court.”Since 2004, over 23,000 prisoners have been presented before the court, which has led to an expenditure of over Rs 89 lakh on escort and fuel expenses, besides the numerous manhours lost in the process,” Kumar said, adding that with e-courts lot many manhours will be saved which could be utilised elsewhere.The e-court project is being set up with financial support from Central government and technical support of Technology, Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), Centre for Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and National Informatic Centre (NIC).The initial cost for the pilot project is about Rs 82.50 lakh, with an estimated recurring cost of Rs 5.30 lakh per annum. The cost of replicating the project comes to around Rs 24 lakh.The Gujarat H C Registrar General P P Bhatt said that after a year, the results of the e-court will be analysed and based on its conclusions, the project will be implemented in other districts of the state.The project is likely to be implemented in three big districts of Rajkot, Vadodara and Surat during the second phase, he added.

No extension in DTC drivers’ retirement age: HC
Published: February 8,2009

New Delhi, Feb 8 DTC drivers who suffer from disability while in service cannot seek extension of their retirement age from 55 to 60 years under the Disabilities Act, the Delhi High Court has ruled.
The court set aside a single judge&aposs order on petitions by a group of DTC drivers, who suffered disability during their service, to extend their service at the lower posts till the age of 60, the retirement age fixed for those posts.
“We hold that the age of superannuation of a driver under the management (DTC) is 55 years.The benefits granted to such drivers despite incurring disability during the tenure of his service, that is up to 55 years, would not be extended beyond 55 years so as to enable him to continue in service, may be at a lower post for which the normal age of retirement is 60,”observed a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Mool Chand Garg.
The Court was hearing a petition filed by DTC seeking Division Bench&aposs intervention following a single judge&aposs order on the plea of driver Dalel Singh, who suffered disability in an accident in 1996 and sought service extension under the Disability Act.
Citing the single judge&aposs findings, a group of disabled drivers filed a batch of applications for extension of their service.
Source: PTI

HC quashes DDA to recover 89K
8 Feb 2009, 1125 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: Coming to the rescue of a disabled contractor, the Delhi High Court has quashed a notice served on him by DDA for recovery of Rs 89,000 claiming that it paid him excess money for the construction of a community hall here 18 years ago. Justice S Muralidhar allowed a petition filed by Suraj Verma, who suffered locomotor disability (paralysis neck down), and set aside an order passed by the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) asking Verma to repay the excess payment of Rs 89,000. Verma was assigned with the work of construction of a DDA’s community hall and shopping centre in 1991. In a recent order, the court accepted the submissions and counter claim made by Verma’s counsel Kailash Pandey that after completion of the construction in 1994, the DDA withheld his due money of more than Rs one lakh. According to Verma, he had accepted the tender at total cost of about Rs 10 lakh but till the time of completion of work the cost escalated to Rs 19 lakh due to increasing prices of construction materials.

Reduce drinking age to control drunken driving: Delhi students
Feb 8th, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) Asked to take a pledge against drunken driving and underage drinking, Delhi University students are all for the first but uncomfortable with the second. The legal age of drinking in the capital should be reduced from 25, they feel.
As part of the Underage Drinking Awareness Week scheduled between Feb 8 and Feb 14 by NGO Campaign Against Drunken Driving (CADD), students will be asked to take a pledge against underage drinking and drunken driving.
However, students are in two minds over taking a pledge to abide by the Delhi Excise Act 2008, under which the legal drinking age is 25 years. Those who don’t follow the law face a Rs.10,000 fine.
“I may or may not pledge – I don’t know…But I think the legal age for drinking should be decreased but those who drink and drive must be severely punished,” said Arushi Singh, a student of economics honours at St. Stephen’s College.
Singh’s friend and classmate Natasha Godinho also feels that the drinking age limit is rather high but she is sure of her stand about taking the pledge.
“I will pledge because it’s not safe. But I don’t believe in the 25 year age limit,” Godinho said.
Some others like Ramjas College student Amulya Nidhi also feel it’s necessary to take a responsible stand.
“Taking a responsible stand is important. At the same time I must add that 25 years as the legal age for drinking is too high – it should be 21 maybe. I mean it’s difficult for pub and bar owners and even customers to comply with such laws,” said Nidhi, who is in the political science department of the college.
“I will be taking the pledge – I strongly feel that the legal sanctions must be abided by,” Nidhi added.
Students participating in the pledge-taking exercise include those from various colleges in Delhi University – St.Stephens, Sri Ram College of Commerce, Kirori Mal, Hansraj, Ramjas, Venkateswara, Jesus & Mary, Gargi, Maitreyi, Kamla Nehru, College of Vocational Studies, Atma Ram Sanatan Dharm, Motilal, and Delhi College of Arts and Commerce.
The awareness drive would involve a series of activities at various Delhi University colleges including a Pledge and Signature campaign and street plays. Stickers and other literature will also be distributed throughout the week.
The Delhi Excise Act states that officials can visit bars and pubs to enforce the law, including the one on underage drinking.
However, a recent survey by CADD found nearly 80 percent the pub going population was underage; 67 percent of those surveyed were below 21.
“Underage drinking has become a serious issue in our city today with average age of consumption of alcohol going down from 25 to 15 in the last decade,” said Prince Singhal, CADD founder and activist.
The reason CADD has chosen this week to raise awareness on the issue is the finding that an alarming number of people were prosecuted for drunken driving during the same time last year.
“In the year 2008 more than 135 people were prosecuted for drunken driving in the first two weeks of February till Feb 15. This period also witnessed a series of accidents involving drunk drivers, most of whom were 18-24 years,” said Singhal.
“In recent years Valentine’s Day has assumed great significance in our social calendars, especially amongst youth. A lot of the celebrations centre on drinking. This campaign will send out a special message to our youth to drink safe and drive sober.”
(Shweta Srinivasan can be contacted at

Right and wrong-The Times of India
February 8, 2009 by Anuraag Sanghi
Those who support the change on the ground that the amendment merely puts in the statute what is already a requirement of arrest and part of police practice ignore the fact that the amendment alters the emphasis significantly, and mandatorily provides that the accused “shall not be arrested in respect of the offence referred to in the notice unless, for reasons to be recorded, the police is of the opinion that he ought to be arrested”. The sad truth is that India has a surplus of legislations but a poor record in enforcement.
By contrast, due to a combination of emotional reactions coupled with some jingoistic formulations, the lawyers have clearly got it wrong in their criticism of the LLP Act. The Act seeks to provide for the creation and regulation of LLPs essentially as hybrid entities which retain the partnership model but are closer to corporations in design and function. (via Right and wrong-The Times of India, By Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Minister in GOI).

Holy cow! It’s on again
7 Feb 2009, 2326 hrs IST, Binay Singh, TNN
VARANASI: Is the meat lobby mightier than the government machinery that fails to stop the operation of slaughter houses in the densely populated localities of the city? Or, is there any political pressure to decide the course of action of the enforcement agencies? The answer to these questions can be understood with past developments. The three slaughter houses, running in different localities of Orderly Bazaar, Kamalgadha and Beniabagh, were closed and reopened three times. The latest episode of closure and reopening took place on Wednesday and Thursday. The regional office of the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) withdrew its closure order within 24 hours and all the slaughter houses were reopened on Thursday. “Those slaughter houses were closed on the orders of the UPPCB headquarters in view of the water supply pollution and pollution to the Ganga,” regional officer of UPPCB Ghanshyam told TOI, when contacted on Friday. Then, what is the logic for their reopening? “The reopening order for the next six months was also given by the headquarters with certain conditions,” claimed Ghanshyam. It may be mentioned here that the first action against slaughter houses was taken on June 10, 2006, with the closure orders by the then municipal commissioner. But, succumbing to political pressures, the authorities had to give opening order within 24 hours. Later, the UPPCB authorities sealed the three slaughter houses on November 24, 2006. But, they were reopened within 12 days- on December 5, 2006. At that time the UPPCB authorities had claimed that all the slaughter houses would be shifted from the city within six months and they were granted permission on certain conditions, like installation of effluent treatment plants (ETP), proper disposal of solid waste without polluting the water resources and upgradation of existing facilities. “The slaughter houses would have to go from the city at any cost within six months,” they had reiterated. But, over two years have passed and the slaughter houses are yet to be shifted from the population, despite of the ruling of the court that the slaughter houses must not be situated on the ‘abadi’ land. According to Asim Zafar, a senior member of the Income Tax Bar Association Varanasi, following the directives of the SC in its interim orders dated 12.07.2005 in Laxmi Narain Modi Vs Union of India and others, writ petition (civil) No 309 of 2003, the Central Pollution Control Board, New Delhi, issued strict direction (on 18.07.2005) to state pollution control boards of various states to immediately take action against the slaughter houses and meat processing industries under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974. After the SC order, the Allahanad High Court also maintained that the slaughter houses must not be situated within the abadi area in a case decided on December 22, 2005. The former secretary of ITBA, Gyan Prakash Shukla, also filed a public interest litigation (PIL) writ petition (civil) to the Apex Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India in 2006 in the matter of environmental pollution, sanitation, health-hazard, public sentiments and prevention of epidemics. Faulty tactics: “It was not a wise decision to close the slaughter houses without making any alternate arrangement. They were reopened in view of public convenience,” said Dr RP Singh, the veterinary officer of the Varanasi Nagar Nigam (VNN). The slaughter houses are run under the jurisdiction of the VNN. The closure of slaughter houses might cause serious problem for VNN because it might lead to butchering of animals in an unplanned way, confided the VNN sources, adding that a population of about eight lakh was dependent on the slaughter houses. According to the reports of regional office of UPPCB, around 160-180 big animals and 90-100 small animals are butchered every day in these slaughter houses. For alternate arrangement, there is a plan to establish modern slaughter houses in the outskirts, under the private public partnership (PPP) project. “The detailed project report (DPR) for the construction of a modern slaughter house was prepared and tenders also floated. But, some of them (slaughter house owners) went to the court,” said Singh. It may be mentioned here that the slaughter house operators went to the Allahabad High Court to seek relief. In its ruling (dated April 23,2008) the court directed that the writ petition would come up before the appropriate bench on May 19,2008 for admission/final disposal. However, as an interim measure, the court directed the petitioner to operate the slaughter house, but keep in mind the hygiene factor and take other necessary steps to preventing pollution. The court also directed the ACM (III) to depute one person as his emissary to look into the hygiene and other problem and the petitioner was directed to intimate the said person before carrying out the business at slaughter house.

Executive taking over judicial work’
Special Correspondent
Dispensation of justice by people without trained judicial minds: judge
HYDERABAD: Supreme Court judge S.B. Sinha has said that dispensation of justice which was the sole prerogative of the judiciary was taken away by those who did not have trained judicial minds.
Such people even adjudicated disputes, he said delivering the valedictory address of the three-day regional workshop on ‘Planning and management for timely justice’ organised by the National Judicial Academy (NJA).
Expresses anguish
Justice Sinha expressed anguish that a large chunk of judicial work was going into the hands of the executive, which ensured ‘tribunalisation’ of not only civil but criminal cases.
He advocated a multi-pronged approach to revamp the judicial system which, he felt, was mismanaged.
“Not only outsiders but insiders in the system feel we are not able to manage ourselves. It is imperative we put our house in order for better judicial governance,” he remarked.
The judge of the apex court felt that judicial reform was a potent drug to cure many diseases that affected the system in the country.
“A judiciary which should be healthy is suffering from many diseases.”
The solution was in enhancing the quality and responsiveness of judiciary to the needs of the litigant public.
After all, the judiciary was the last repository of trust of common public.
Positive side
On the positive side, he said of 1.7 crore cases, 1.6 crore were disposed of by courts throughout the country in 2007.
The rate of disposal was 1,400 cases a year by subordinate courts and 2,200 cases an year by High Court judges. Nowhere else in the world were so many cases instituted and disposed.
Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court Anil R. Dave stressed the need for strengthening of cases in subordinate courts which were the foundation for litigation where evidence and facts were recorded.

Special courts for cyber crime sought
Thiruvananthapuram, Monday 09 Feb 2009: Justice V.S. Sirpurkar of the Supreme Court has emphasised the need to create special courts to tackle cases relating to e-commerce and cyber crime.He was inaugurating a national seminar on ‘cyber crimes, cyber laws and cyber security’ organised by the Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT) in the city on Sunday.
“We need courts manned by trained judges to dispose of the cases in a time-bound manner,” said Mr. Sirpurkar. The Supreme Court Justice said that the Information Technology Act should be made powerful enough to dissuade potential criminals. Mr. Sirpurkar sought to play down any distinction in the nature of crimes.
“A crime is a crime. There should not be any distinction between a white collar and blue collar crime. The differentiation is a relic of the British jurisprudence,” the judge said.

Cong using CBI as a sword against SP: Amar
New Delhi (PTI): The Congress-Samajwadi Party tie on Monday hit a low with Amar Singh accusing the Congress of using the CBI as a “sword” against his party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav during the current seat-sharing talks.
“We supported the Congress-led government which has crossed all limits to fix its opponents,” he said at a hurriedly-called press conference here.
Reacting to media reports that CBI had gone by the allegations made in a PIL against Yadav without verifying them with members of Mulayam Singh’s family, Singh said on Tuesday “our lawyers will demand the Supreme Court to get the CBI’s lies in the case investigated by a court-appointed charted accountant (CA) in the presence of the Registrar in the court premises itself”.
Complaining that the CBI had got registered a case on the basis of a PIL without verifying it, he said “if I claim that Taj Mahal belongs to Manmohan Singh and India Gate belongs to Rahul Gandhi, will a disproportionate assets case will be registered”?
Singh demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, AICC chief Sonia Gandhi, Congress and the CBI should prove that the alleged assets, including a cinema hall and a hotel, belong to Mulayam Singh.
Reacting to his charge, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said the CBI is an autonomous organization reporting directly to the Supreme Court and Congress had no hand in it.
Digiviay Singh asked Amar Singh not to drag the names of the Prime Minister and the Congress President into the issue.
Amar Singh said SP would not have supported Congress in July had the facts come to light earlier.

HC dismisses petition against Kerala Home Minister
Kochi (PTI): The Kerala High Court on Monday dismissed a PIL against state Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan for allegedly violating the oath of office.
The petitioner had demanded that the court issue a Quo Warranto against the minister as he had leaked the official secret by divulging that a petition seeking to prosecute CPI(M) state secretary, Pinarayi Vijayan, was pending before the government.
A Division Bench, comprising acting Chief Justice J B Koshy and Justice B Bhavadasan, dismissed the petition finding that prima facie there was no violation of oath by the minister.
Even if there was violation of oath, Quo Warranto cannot be issued. If there was any violation of oath, it is for the appointing authority to take action, the bench held.

Deve Gowda’s plea for changing judge leaves Supreme Court sore
New Delhi, Feb 09: The Supreme Court on Monday expressed its unhappiness over former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda’s plea seeking the recusal of a judge hearing a petition relating to the Bangalore-Mysore Express Highway project, which has come under a shadow due to allegations of corruption. Gowda through senior advocate Shanti Bhushan had moved an application seeking recusal (withdrawal) of Justice Arijit Pasayat from the matter on the ground that the judge was going to retire in three months. Though a bench headed by Justice Pasayat allowed the plea, it said that the filing of such an application was “unfortunate”. “With a heavy heart, we direct the matter to be listed before any other bench which does not have Justice Pasayat,” the Bench, also comprising Justice AK Ganguly, said. It is unfortunate that such an application has been filed. There is no ground to show that it has any concern with the issue. The reason indicated why one of us will not hear the matter is baffling, the Bench said. It was surprised that such an application has been filed by a senior advocate. The Bench was hearing a petition filed by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises, the contractor of the project, challenging a decision of the Karnataka High Court to treat a letter written by Gowda, to judges of the High Court, as a PIL on the issue of alleged corruption in the project. Bureau Report

CBI may admit Mulayam was framed
9 Feb 2009, 0055 hrs IST, Manoj Mitta, TNN
NEW DELHI: While the Supreme Court is yet to permit CBI to review its report accusing Mulayam Singh Yadav and his family of owning disproportionate assets, the agency has in an internal note already prepared the ground for burying this politically sensitive matter by admitting in effect that it was a frame-up. In a 17-page review done on February 2, CBI’s DIG Tillottama Varma disclosed that, while submitting its October 2007 report to SC, the agency had gone by the allegations made in a PIL without verifying any of those with Mulayam and his family members. The representations made subsequently by Mulayam’s family countering the PIL’s allegations has put CBI in a quandary ever since Samajwadi Party bailed out UPA over the nuclear deal issue. “All the facts if taken into account in the representations will make out no case of disproportionate assets,” Varma said, while expressing anguish over the fact that CBI’s report placed before SC in a sealed cover in October 2007 stated just the opposite. Finding herself in a catch-22 situation, Varma said: “The image and the reputation of the organization will be in jeopardy if the representations are considered.” Since CBI is likely to get into further trouble if it takes any corrective action at this stage, Varma’s note, a copy of which is with TOI, suggests that the representations made by Mulayam’s family may be considered “only after getting permission” from SC. As the officer in charge of the preliminary enquiry (PE) into the allegations against the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Varma echoed the request that solicitor general G E Vahanvati had already made at the last hearing of the PIL on January 28 asking SC for permission to take a fresh look at the allegations in the light of the representations. SC had however adjourned the PIL to February 10 saying it would not give any direction without hearing all parties on the issue. In her February 2 note, Varma said: “If one considers the entirety of facts (brought out by the representations), the correct position will be that there is no question of any disproportionate assets at all.” This is in line with the legal opinion given by Vahanvati in November advising CBI to seek SC’s permission to withdraw its 2007 status report. In a bid to substantiate her clean chit to Mulayam and family on the charge of disproportionate assets, Varma admitted a whole lot of mistakes made by CBI in its status report on the check period from 1993 to 2005. Excerpts from her review note: “Several amounts were alleged to be expenditure while in fact these were amounts of loans given and which been received back by cheque.” On the status report’s finding that Mulayam’s daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav had given somebody an advance of Rs 10 lakhs, Varma wrote: “On a careful and detailed enquiry, it is found that the correct advance is only Rs 1 lakh.” In a party account, “an amount of Rs 9,81,420 has been shown as an expenditure being payment made to the President, Samajwadi Party… It is important to note that no such payment was ever made by Mulayam Singh Yadav from the bank account as alleged.”

Telcos settling scores with rivals through PILs’
Posted by Kristin L. Thorne on Monday, February 9, 2009, 3:00
The Delhi High Court has accused telecom companies of using the court as a platform for settling scores against rivals by prompting others to file Public Interest Litigations (PILs), challenging the government’s spectrum allocation and auctioning policy before it.
“These are frivolous litigations. Private parties are behind theses litigations. Nothing is coming out from such PILs. It’s a waste of time,” a bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah said, dismissing a PIL filed by an NGO, Society for Awareness and Development, challenging the auctioning policy.
The Delhi High Court, which has been hearing various matters over allotment of 2G and auction of 3G spectrum by the Department of Telecom (DoT), said that such petitions are filed by business rivals in the telecom sector. Readily agreeing, Sanjay Hegde, counsel appearing for the government, submitted, “We do not even know who is behind these PILs. Pendency of these matters gives different kind of impression on the sector.”
The court also said that similar litigations with almost same issues are also going to the telecom tribunal TDSAT. The court’s observation came during hearing over a petition filed by the NGO, which has challenged 3G allocation policy of DoT and its pricing. It said the DoT’s decision not to auction the whole spectrum in one go was arbitrary and it was done to benefit some companies.
The court, however, dismissed the petition after DoT’s counsel submitted that issues involved in the petition is under the consideration of Group of Ministers, which is yet to take a decision. “Aspect of pricing as well as putting all available spectrum was put” before the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) and it forwarded it before the group of ministers, said government in its affidavit submitted before the court. “The entire matter has been referred to a group of ministers and there is no fresh decision as of now on the issue,” DoT submitted.
Earlier, the court had directed the government to file an affidavit before it disclosing the total 3G spectrum available in the country and the amount that DoT was going to auction. The government refuted NGO’s allegations that DoT had tried to create monopoly in 3G services by creating five pan-India blocks and auctioning their licences and said that it was based on sectoral regulator TRAI’s recommendation.
“There are not more than five takers of 3G spectrum… it’s not a cartelisation,” submitted DoT, adding allocation of radio frequency was done on TRAI’s recommendation. Presently, Delhi High is also hearing two petitions on 2G spectrum allocation — one by Telecom Watchdog and other by one self-proclaimed economist Arvind Gupta.
(With inputs from agencies)

Anti-Sikh riot case: HC sets free 5 implicated by police
9 Feb 2009, 2009 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: Terming the police investigation as “inefficient” and “inadequate” in a case pertaining to 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the Delhi High Court today slammed the city police for implicating five “innocent” men and allowing the real culprits to flee. “Serious crimes were committed in the wake of riot but, inadequate and insufficient investigations have enabled the actual perpetrators of the crimes to slip through the net of justice,” noted a Division Bench of Justice B D Ahmed and Justice V B Gupta in a judgement and upheld the trial court’s order acquitting the five accused. “This is a classic example of state roping in innocent persons to solve a riot case…the arrest of respondents (accused persons) were made in a premeditate and designed manner aimed only at working out the present case with scant regard for actual culpability or involvement of arrested persons,” the Bench said. The court acquitted Ravinder Singh, Daya Shankar, Raghbir Singh, Ram Avtar and Ramesh, who were accused of looting the Coca-Cola factory at Okhla on November1, 1984. The riots followed the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh security guards at her resident. Delhi was among the worst affected places in the nation-wide riots.

Court order violation : HC directs DYFI to file affidavit
Kolkata, Feb 9 : The Calcutta High Court today said CPI-M’s youth wing Democratic Youth Federation of India had prima facie violated its order on maintaining environment on the Maidan here.The court asked the DYFI to file an affidavit within four weeks explaining why contempt proceedings would not be initiated for violating the court’s order.A division bench of Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice R N Banerjee, responding to a writ petition filed by environmentalist Subhas Dutta, observed the court’s September 28 order directing that the environment in the Maidan be maintained had been prima facie violated by DYFI during its December 20 rally at the Brigade Parade Ground in Maidan area.The Bench asked DYFI state president Pritam Ghosh to file an affidavit within four weeks.Dutta filed the petition on December 22 showing photos and newspaper clippings to state that the court’s ban on using fire within three kms of the Victoria Memorial had been violated during the December 20 rally when open ovens were used and vehicles parked.Dutta, who informed the court of the violation of the court’s order again during yesterday’s Left Front rally at Brigade Parade Ground, was asked to file an affidavit on his latest allegation too.He also sought a court direction to the army and police to conduct a joint inspection of the law and order on the Maidan area during a rally.

Adnan Sami’s wife moves HC, seeks restraining order
Published: February 10,2009

Pakistani singer Adnan Sami’s wife has filed a petition in the Bombay High Court, seeking an order restraining him from entering the flats she claims to own.
Saba Adnan Sami Khan also mentions in the petition that the couple’s marriage is in trouble, and a divorce petition has been filed in the family court here. As per Saba’s petition in the High Court – yet to come up for hearing – Adnan gifted her five flats at Oberoi Sky Garden in suburban Andheri after they got married in April 2007.
Besides, two other flats in the same building were mortgaged to her by Adnan, she claims. Her case is that Adnan has been treating her with?”cruelty”, and therefore she wants a directive from the court restraining Adnan and his parents from entering the five flats which (she claims) she owns. Adnan can shift to his own residence in Ankita Apartments in Lokhandwala in Andheri, she states.
Saba also wants a declaration from the court that these flats belong to her. As per the petition, Adnan drinks heavily, plays music loudly, there is no?”communication”?between the couple, and he has?”made her life miserable”.
Source: PTI

Bombay HC stays warrant against Lalit Modi
9 Feb 2009, 1703 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: The Bombay High court today stayed a warrant issued by a court in Rajasthan in connection with a criminal case filed against IPL

commissioner Lalit Modi there. The High Court directed that Modi should not be arrested for next three weeks beginning today and he can seek legal assistance from an appropriate court in Rajasthan for further relief.

Warrant against Lalit Modi stayed by Bombay HC

Top of Form
Bottom of Form
By Khabrein.Info Correspondent,Mumbai, Feb 9, 2009: Warrant against IPL commissioner Lalit Modi has been stayed by Bombay High Court (HC). This saves Lalit Modi from embarrassment of being arrested just before the launch of IPL tournament.
The court has reportedly stayed the warrant for three weeks.Lalit Modi is the high profile commissioner of Indian Premier League. The IPL is a professional Twenty20 cricket league created and promoted by the BCCI and backed by the ICC. The Twenty20 league is set to debut in April 2008, with eight teams comprising a minimum of 16 players each. The league will last for 44 days and will involve 59 matches.The IPL works on a franchise-system based on the American style of hiring players and transfers. These franchises were put for auction, where the highest bidder won the rights to own the team, representing each city.

Cops exposed: HC acquits murder convict who was implicated

Published: February 9,2009

New Delhi, Feb 9 In a shocking case of manipulation by the men in khaki, a man serving life term for killing a woman has been set free by the Delhi High Court on finding that the police had planted evidence to implicate him.
Aslam was sentenced to life imprisonment by a trial court on being convinced by the police claim that he strangled the woman when she demanded money from him after having sex. The police had alleged that the victim was a prostitute.
A bench comprising Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Aruna Suresh after going through the records found that the police had fabricated evidence to implicate Aslam.
This is a case of false implication. The police has contrived to fabricate evidence and unfortunately had succeeded in pulling wool over the eyes of the trial judge, who has chosen to proceed on the assumption that the police officers always tell the truth and they never manipulate witnesses,”the court said.
“The false implication of the appellant is writ large. The planting of the ear top of the deceased and the pieces of broken bangle in the house of Aslam is writ large,”the court said while setting aside the order of the trial court and directing to release Aslam.
Source: PTI

Reprieve to Modi: HC stays arrest warrant
Press Trust Of India
Posted on Feb 09, 2009 at 17:30
Mumbai: The Bombay High court on Monday stayed a warrant issued by a court in Rajasthan in connection with a criminal case filed against IPL commissioner Lalit Modi there.
The High Court directed that Modi should not be arrested for next three weeks beginning Monday and he can seek legal assistance from an appropriate court in Rajasthan for further relief.

Bombay HC stays warrant against Lalit Modi

Published: February 9,2009

Mumbai , Feb 9 The Bombay High court today stayed a warrant issued by a court in Rajasthan in connection with a criminal case filed against IPL commissioner Lalit Modi there.
The High Court directed that Modi should not be arrested for next three weeks beginning today and he can seek legal assistance from an appropriate court in Rajasthan for further relief.
Source: PTI

Writ Petition filed by Adhyaksha
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Imphal, February 09 2009: The Imphal bench of Guwahati High Court issued a notice of motion which is returnable within three weeks calling upon the respondents (state chief secretary, DGP, SP Imphal East and DC Porompat Police Station) to show cause as to why a Rule as prayed for should not be issued; or why such further or other orders as to this court may deem fit and proper should not be passed, following a writ petition filed by Adhyaksha, Imphal East Zilla Parishad, P Bimola.The petitioner also petitioned against the Ex-Adhyaksha N Basanti who was voted out from the Office of the Adhyaksha, Imphal East Zilla Paishad, that she had already encased a sum of Rs 43, 51,500 which was given by way of award by the State Finance Commission for distribution to the beneficiaries but the respondent had kept the same in her custody without any distribution to the beneficiaries.The petitioner also said that she had not yet surrendered the gypsy vehicle (MN-01W-3218) which was allotted to the respondent during her tenure as Adhyaksha.Accordingly, the bench has directed the Additional Government Advocate to obtain up-to-date instruction from the office of the SP Imphal East which would indicate the steps taken in connection with the e investigation of the FIR put up by the petitioner and place the same before the court on the next date of listing.

Writ petitioner fined Rs 30,000
10 Feb 2009, 0126 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Monday imposed a cost of Rs 30,000 on a petitioner, Bhagwan Buddha Primary Teachers Training College, for filing a writ petition challenging the National Council of Teachers Education (NCTE) Act, 1993, passed by Parliament, claiming it is not in consonance with a legislation enacted by the Bihar legislative assembly in 1983. A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad and Justice Mandhata Singh dismissed the writ petition which said that the NCTE Act mandating teacher’s training certificate for appointment of teachers ran contrary to the state’s legislation to allow intermediate passouts to apply for the post of primary teachers.

High court declines CBI probe into Marad massacre
Feb 10th, 2009 By Sindh Today
Kochi (Kerala), Feb 10 (IANS) The Kerala High Court Tuesday dismissed a bunch of petitions that seek a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into a 2003 massacre of eight people in the coastal village of Marad.
A division bench headed by acting Chief Justice J.B. Koshy said a CBI probe was no longer relevant as 62 people were last month awarded life terms for the violent Marad incident.
It added that, six years after the incident, it is not feasible to have a probe into the conspiracy angle as suggested in the petitions.
Moreover, it noted the CBI was not keen for a part probe into the episode.
Additional Sessions Judge (Special Court) Babu Mathew P. Joseph last month delivered the judgment, sentencing 62 people to life and acquitting 76.
Marad, near Kozhikode, had seen communal tension before the killing of eight fisherfolk on May 2, 2003. Six people were killed there in an attack in 2002.
Following the high court ruling, it remains to be seen what action the central government would take on the Kerala government’s request for a CBI probe into the two massacres.

288 mistakes in CBI’s report on Mulayam: Amar Singh
10 Feb 2009, 1507 hrs IST, IANS
NEW DELHI: Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh on Tuesday criticized the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and said its report to the Supreme Court in a disproportionate assets case filed against party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had “288 mistakes”. He also said the probe agency was acting at the behest of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. Singh told reporters here: “The CBI’s status report to the Supreme Court in the case has 288 mistakes. Not one, two or three, it has 288 mistakes.” “And what are the mistakes?” he asked, adding: “It is just an addition of 288 zeroes. The value of a car worth Rs 7.5 lakh (Rs.750,000) increased to Rs15 lakh (Rs.1.5 million).” Singh was referring to a Nov 2005 public interest litigation pending in the Supreme Court charging Mulayam Singh Yadav and his family with acquiring assets disproportionate to their known sources of income. The petition was filed by Vishwanath Chaturvedi, a former Congress worker and a Lucknow-based lawyer. “I ask Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi to send Mulayam Singh to jail if he is guilty,” Amar Singh said. He went on, “There is no deal within a deal and we did not support the government in the trust vote (in parliament on July 22 last year) over the (India-US) nuclear deal in return for withdrawal of the case against Mulayam Singh. We supported them to ensure that a secular government does not fall.” Earlier, the Supreme Court severely criticized the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for seeking to withdraw its earlier decision to proceed against Mulayam Singh Yadav and his relatives in the case.

SC pulls up CBI for dillydallying in Mulayam assets case
10 Feb 2009, 1203 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court severely criticized the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday for seeking to withdraw its earlier decision to proceed against former UP chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and his relatives in the case relating to their alleged disproportionate assets. The court rebuked the CBI for approaching the central government for advice on the matter and asked the investigating agency’s counsel, additional solicitor general Mohan Parasaran: “Since when has the CBI started taking advice from the government? Why didn’t you come to the court for clarifications?” On March 1, 2007, the Supreme Court had ordered a CBI investigation into the alleged disproportionate assets of Yadav and his relatives. The case was adjourned till March 31 to allow Yadav and his relatives to file a DVD in the court. The DVD purportedly contains allegations against the Supreme Court judge who headed the bench in March 2007 and ordered a CBI inquiry. The allegations are said to have been made by Vishwantath Chaturvedi, who had filed the PIL that led to the CBI inquiry being ordered.

New trend? Lawyers pick Bench
10 Feb 2009, 1000 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN

NEW DELHI: On Monday, former law minister and senior counsel Shanti Bhushan got Justice Arijit Pasayat to recuse himself from hearing a case
concerning former PM H D Deve Gowda, leading many to wonder whether his success marked the beginning of a trend which can have serious consequences for the judicial administration system. Just a fortnight ago, on January 23, Ram Jethmalani, another former law minister, while appearing for the Ansals who wanted bail in the Uphaar fire case, got Justice B N Agrawal to recuse himself from hearing the bail petition of real estate magnates, Gopal Ansal and Sushil Ansal. But their success has left many to wonder about implications for the judiciary. Jethmalani got Justice Agrawal to quit the case of bail for Ansal brothers by recalling his criticism of the judge for the verdict that he gave in another case argued by him. The veteran lawyer said that he would feel awkward presenting the case of his clients before a Bench headed by Justice Agrawal. Soon after his blunt comment, a visibly anguished Justice Agrawal recused himself from hearing the Ansals’ bail plea. It was a Bench headed by Justice Agrawal, which in September last year, had cancelled the Ansals’ bail. After his withdrawal, the matter got listed before another Bench in due course and Ansals got bail. In the matter relating to the Bangalore-Mysore expressway, Shanti Bhushan on Monday virtually did a Jethmalani before a Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat, which during the hearing last week had severely criticised Gowda for writing letters to judges of the Karnataka High Court and even to one in the Supreme Court alleging massive fraud in the expressway project. More fireworks were expected on Monday as the Bench had a prima facie view that Gowda had been running a feud, contrary to the apex court’s earlier order clearing the project, with the contractor Nandi Infrastructure and had made it clear that writing letters to judges in a pending matter was unacceptable. But, before the expected could happen, Bhushan stood up and sought recusal of Justice Pasayat from the Bench on the ground that Gowda had “reasonable apprehension regarding likelihood of bias and want of impartiality on the basis of relevant material in his possession and having regard to the antecedent events”. Gowda’s application gave extensive details of how Bhushan’s lawyer son — Prashant Bhushan — appearing for one PIL petitioner, U R Ananthamurthy, had during the last hearing tried to apprise the Bench headed by Justice Pasayat of the fraud that had been continuously perpetuated by Nandi and how the junior Bhushan had got a deaf ear. With the Bhushans making allegations on behalf of their clients, an embarrassed Justice Pasayat decided to quit the Bench and acceded to the former PM’s request by recusing himself from the hearing. Though he ordered listing of the matter before another Bench, Justice Pasayat could not hide his disappointment and agony at the allegation of lack of impartiality, coming at the fag end of his unblemished judicial career — he has just three months to retire from the SC. “It is unfortunate such a petition has been filed. There is no reason to show it has any concern with the issues involved. The reason indicated why one of us will not hear the matter is baffling. In any event, because the application is filed and presented by a senior advocate, with a heavy heart we direct this matter be listed before another Bench,” the Bench also comprising Justice A K Ganguly ordered. After dictating the order, Justice Pasayat said, “I am at the fag end of my career and I cannot hear it, to say the least is shocking.” Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Nandi, objected to the manner in which things were brought to this pass and said, “It is unfortunate that such arguments are being made by a senior advocate, that too Mr Shanti Bhushan. This is the saddest day in my 30-year-long career.”

Andhra CM seeks CBI probe into Satyam scam
10 Feb 2009, 0628 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: Giving in to opposition criticism that undue favours were being extended to the promoter of Satyam computers, chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy late on Monday evening dashed off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking a CBI probe into the fraud committed by the company. Reddy in his letter said that Satyam attracted global attention because of fudged accounts, financial imprudence and the accounting scam it had created. He said the incident had come to his notice on January 7 and immediately, the government had ordered CB-CID investigation. Company chairman Ramalinga Raju, his brother Rama Raju and the chief financial officer were arrested. He said the investigation was still on and had revealed embellishment of bank accounts by the company for last many years. The inflation of current account balance is testified by the bank officials concerned. In addition, the company has raised money from NBFCs by pledging shares. More than 300 companies were reportedly raised by Ramalinga Raju and his close relatives as directors and promoters which facilitated insider trading of shares. Reddy said the CB-CID has been in regular touch with the other investigating agencies but there were several issues which need to be looked into deeply by central government organisations like Sebi, Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate, Registrar of Companies, ministry of company affairs and Serious Fraud Investigation Office. Besides, irregularities have been reported in its overseas operations also, he added. In view of this, the CM said that it would be appropriate if CBI takes over the investigation into Satyam scam so that coordination with various investigation agencies, including Satyam’s overseas operations can be better achieved.

`Sadhvi was illegally detained’
10 Feb 2009, 0357 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: A special MCOCA court on Monday heard arguments on the bail plea of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon blast case. Her advocate, Mahesh Jethmalani, argued that Thakur had been in illegal detention of the anti-terrorism squad for 13 days till October 23, 2008, when she was shown as arrested. Jethmalani said Thakur was detained by ATS on October 10, 2008. The ATS has opposed the bail plea, saying Thakur’s release from jail could affect investigations. One of the accused, Ramji Kalsangra, was still absconding and Thakur’s release could compromise the police hunt for him, the ATS said, denying that Thakur was ever kept in illegal detention.

Adnan’s wife moves HC, wants him out of house
10 Feb 2009, 0442 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN
MUMBAI: Days after she lodged a complaint with the police about her husband playing loud music at home, singer Adnan Sami’s wife Sabah Galadri has now approached the high court to keep him and his ailing mother out of all his houses. In a 15-page suit, the 34-year-old citizen of Dubai, who is being represented by former HC judge S U Kamdar, accused the 39-year-old Pakistani crooner of mentally and physically harassing her. She said he “punched her and threw articles at her” and that she was “traumatised by his alcoholism and illicit relationships”. Sabah said she has also initiated divorce proceedings. Claiming a stake on all his flats at Lokhandwala’s Oberoi Sky Garden Building based on “five gift deeds executed by Adnan in May 2008” she said since she was not on talking terms with her in-laws, they should be housed in a hotel at “her cost”. The five flats are inter-connected and serve as one sprawling 6,000 sq ft residence for the couple and their dog. In the same building, Adnan has three more flats to which Sabah has also staked her claim. Sabah doesn’t want Adnan in the house, “or his agents or anyone else close” but she wants their dog `Rock’. She is relying on a January 21, 2009, agreement to show that she would have absolute ownership of the flats and the dog. In the agreement, she said, Adnan acknowledged that he was her husband and was “living with her as one” and that in case of “any breach” she was entitled to exclusive possessions of the house they lived in. Adnan too has roped in a legal heavyweight to fight his cause. Advocate general Ravi Kadam, who is appearing as his counsel along with advocate Vibhav Krishna, said that the HC has no jurisdiction to hear the matrimonial dispute over husband’s property which falls in the domain of the family court. He also said that the gift deed had been “obtained by undue influence and blackmail” and will be challenged. The matter, scheduled for a hearing on Monday, was deferred to Tuesday since Sabah’s lawyer was busy with another matter.

HC offers relief to Pereirawadi residents
10 Feb 2009, 0450 hrs IST, SUKHADA TATKE, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday provided temporary relief
to Pereirawadi residents who had been living under the shadow of fear after being served fresh eviction notices. A division bench of justices J N Patel and V K Tahilramani said the petitioners’ homes could not be demolished. The court has also given them six weeks to challenge the recent order of a government committee. Last year, in response to the public interest litigation filed by former bureaucrat Steven D’Souza, the court directed the aggrieved residents to pursue their petition pending before the committee and had directed the committee to decide the matter in six weeks. The committee, headed by housing secretary Sitaram Kunte, delivered a ruling last month after several hearings and directed the state government to implement the SRA scheme “within the legal framework”. The court on Monday heard the petition, which was filed by residents days after the demolition took place last June. “We have been given six weeks to amend our present petition in a way that will enable us to challenge the committee’s order,” the residents’ lawyer, B Unnikrishnan, said. “That means homes of 56 families will not be touched as they are the petitioners in the case,” he added. The housing department last week issued fresh 17 eviction notices to the same people who had been served notices last August. “You had been told to vacate your homes but you have still not done so. We request you to shift within seven days from receipt of the notice, hope that you would lose no time in shifting and make available to us your present premises for being demolished, failing which we will be forced to take appropriate action under Section 33/38 of the Maharashtra Slum Areas Act,” the notice stated. So the court order comes as a relief for residents. “The committee ruling states 53 are eligible for rehabilitation. However, there are still 24 people who have proof and are actually entitled to rehabilitation but have not even been considered,” Ashwin Parmar, a resident, said. Residents were shocked when they received the eviction notices. “Despite having genuine evidence of the fraud in the scheme, it seemed that it was not going to help. We gave the committee all kinds of evidence with bogus ration cards and the like. But the order was still against us,” resident Ramesh Macwan said.

Six new judges in Bombay HC
10 Feb 2009, 2026 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: Six new judges, five from the sessions court and one registrar general of the High Court, were sworn in today to the Bombay High Court. The five sessions court judges, who were sworn in by Cheif Justice Swatanter Kumar, are Pramod Kode, U D Salvi, A R Joshi, S P Daware and Anand Potdar, and the registrar general of the Bombay HC is Mridula Bhatkar. With the new appointments, the strength of the high court bench has increased from 58 to 63. Judge Kode is known for having presided over the special TADA court that conducted the longest trial in Asia, the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case. There were 123 accused in the case out of which 23 were acquitted and 100, including actor Sanjay Dutt, were convicted. Salvi conducted the trial in the Bilkis Bano rape and murder case and sentenced 11 of the accused to life imprisonment. Judge Daware conducted the trial of slain BJP leader Pramod Mahajan’s brother Pravin and sentenced him to life imprisonment. Bhatkar, the second woman registrar general of the HC, was also a sessions court judge earlier. She presided over the special MCOCA court and conducted trials in the Sara Sahara illegal shopping complex case in which gangster Dawood Ibrahim’s brother Iqbal Kaskar was acquitted.

HC raps cops for failure to tackle ’84 riots
10 Feb 2009, 0222 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Slamming the Delhi Police for its failure to control riots of 1984 which followed the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi, the Delhi High Court has upheld acquittal of five innocent men who were arraigned before it as anti-Sikh rioters. A division bench comprising justice B D Ahmed and justice V B Gupta said it was a “classic example of state roping in innocent persons to solve a riot case.” “When police failed to control the riots in November 1984, in order to overcome its inefficiency and incompetency and to save face in view of severe criticism, it roped in these five innocent men.” HC noted while agreeing with a sessions court order acquitting Ravinder Singh, Daya Shanker, Raghbir Singh, Ram Avtar and Ramesh. The judges were aghast that all five had to face criminal charges for almost 25 years due to “inadequate and inefficient probe” by the police which also “enabled actual perpetrators of the the crimes to slip through the net of justice.” The five were picked up on a complaint lodged by a security guard employed at Mohan Machine Factory in Okhla industrial Area Phase 1. According to the prosecution, the accused arrived at the factory on November 1, 1984 around 2.30pm in a crowd of rioters and were armed with `lathis, saria’ etc. On reaching the factory premises they shouted anti Sikh slogans, damaged the property and set the factory ablaze as the complainant and his companions hid nearby. HC noted how the police relied on statement of witnesses recorded almost eight months after the incident making it unreliable. “From material available on record the prosecution has miserably failed to link the accused with the commission of the alleged offences and trial court rightly acquitted them,” HC concluded. The judges further blasted the police for making “pre-mediated arrests in a designed manner.” “Police in their overzealousness to solve this case, made unbelievable recoveries of articles from jhuggi dwellers and made them face trial for about quarter century, an anguished HC added.

HC pulls up DDA on allotment
10 Feb 2009, 0219 hrs IST, TNN
NE DELHI: The controversial flat allotment process of DDA on Monday, drew criticism from the Delhi High Court which sought an explanation from the housing body for allotting flats, meant for city residents belonging to reserved category, to SC/ST applicants from other states. “The Supreme Court judgment says that SC/STs from one state cannot take the benefit of reservation given by other states even in case where person has migrated. Here the persons (who have been allotted flats) are not even migrated from Delhi,” a bench comprising chief justice A P Shah and justice Sanjiv Khanna noted, directing DDA to furnish the break-up on how many SC/ST applicants belonging to Delhi and other states were allotted flats in the draw. HC sought the details after it was alleged by an applicant, who could not get flat in the recent draw, that the flat meant for the residents belonging to reserved categories were allotted to SC/ST applicants of other states. “When you are offering houses for SC/STs it has to be SC/STs of this state. If a person is not a resident of the city he cannot be considered for the benefits of reservation,” HC said, grilling the DDA counsel. Opposing DDA’s plea that winners of the housing scheme be also impleaded as a party, advocate K V Dhananjay, appearing for Prem Chand argued that the DDA Housing Scheme 2008 was a sheer lottery. “If agency which formulated the lottery itself fails to justify it, participants of that lottery cannot be heard to justify or support it,” he contended. HC then declined this request of DDA. The DDA’s draw for allotment of 5,000 flats had run into a controversy as a complaint was registered alleging irregularities in the draw. The Economic Offence Wing of Delhi Police’s crime branch is investigating the matter. Seven persons, including Laxmi Narayan Meena, a former SBI employee, have been booked by the police.

Dropping of criminal case on former IAS irks HC
10 Feb 2009, 0335 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: Observing that the secretariat of the home department is more busy in performing the role of the judiciary rather than preventing things like blasts at Gokul chat, Justice Goda Raghuram of the A P High Court on Monday directed the authorities to produce before him the note file pertaining to the G O that was issued to withdraw criminal case against former IAS officer, DS Murthy. The judge was responding to a petition filed by Dr D Bharathi, an 80-year-old step-mother of the former bureaucrat which charged him with cheating her by fraudulently transferring her house plot in Hyderabad to his daughter. During the hearing of this case, the judge wondered as to where from the state government derived its power to close criminal cases on people whom it considers as VIPs. Everyone who is above poverty line in this country is a VIP unto himself, he said. And every information, including seniority lists and statutory rules, lying with the government is confidential, he said. When access to the information that is available even in public domain is denied, then the citizen has no other option than to steal it, the judge said. The judge posted the matter to Monday.

HC admits Sebi petition
10 Feb 2009, 0325 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: Justice N V Ramana of the AP High Court on Monday admitted the petition filed by market regulator Sebi and posted the matter to two weeks for further hearing. Sebi, it can be recalled, filed this petition earlier seeking the court’s permission to interrogate Raju brothers in the Satyam scam. When the court declined to hear them without putting the Raju brothers on notice, the market regulator approached apex court, obtained permission and recorded the statements of the duo in Chenchalguda. On Monday, when this petition came up for hearing, it was informed to the court that the notices sent to Raju brothers have not yet reached them, the court posted the matter to two weeks. Reponding to a query as to what remained in this petition after the apex court’s permission, the counsel for Sebi, M S Ramachandra Rao told TOI that the petition of the Sebi has to be heard in the A P High Court and they cannot go to the apex court each time they want to question the accused in this case. Meanwhile the market regulator filed another petition in the criminal court on Monday seeking its permission to question the CFO of Satyam Vadlamani Srinivas and the two arrested PriceWater auditors. This petition is likely to come up for hearing on Tuesday.

Three Lankans get 11 years RI for drug trafficking
10 Feb 2009, 0400 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: Three Sri Lankan nationals, arrested in 2005 with 20.1 kg of heroin, were found guilty of the offence and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 11 years each. While the principal special judge for Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act court A J Muruganandam directed the first two accused Riyaz Farooq and Suber Mubarak to pay a fine of Rs 2 lakh each, the third accused, Sujith Nishantha, was asked to pay Rs 3 lakhas fine. According to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Farooq and Mubarak were arrested by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence sleuths in May 2005 at a hotel in Kilpauk. A total of 20.1 kg of heroin was recovered from them.
Based on their statements, DRI sleuths arrested Nishantha at Chennai airport when he was about to board a plane. The case was later handed over to the NCB for further proceedings. The accused persons told the sleuths that they planned to smuggle the contraband to Sri Lanka via Thiruvananthapuram. Judge Murugnanatham, finding the prosecution case coherent and beyond reasonable doubt, sentenced them to RI for 11 years each.

Wife comes to rescue of man covicted for dowry harassment
10 Feb 2009, 0421 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: Karunakaran of Vaniyampadi in Vellore district was arrested, tried and sentenced to three-year rigorous imprisonment on charges of harassing his wife Shobha for dowry and was even accused of trying to set her ablaze. But, today, he has none but his wife to thank for his freedom. Shobha appeared before Justice R Regupathi and pleaded for his release, stating that he had rejoined her and their three children and that there was no problem now. A rather surprised Justice Regupathi, not ready to leave things to chance, held separate inquiries with the couple and their counsel. After all of them confirmed that they did not foresee any further disquiet in the couple’s marital life, he invoked the inherent powers of the high court and set Karunakaran free. Though the judge upheld Karunakaran’s conviction for dowry harassment, he said the imprisonment of 19 days which Karunakaran had already undergone would suffice. Karunakaran and Shobha were married in 1996. Frequent quarrels and misunderstanding arose between them and soon Shobha filed a complaint alleging that Karunakaran harassed her for dowry and even attempted to set her ablaze, which resulted in a criminal case being registered against him. In November 2008, the additional district court at Tirupattur found him guilty of dowry harassment and sentenced him to three-year rigorous imprisonment, besides a fine of Rs 5,000. A change of heart took place later, and Karunakaran, Shobha and their three children reunited. When his appeal against the conviction came up for hearing before Justice Regupathi, both sides informed the judge about the latest development. Karunakaran, a painter by profession, also offered to put Rs 60,000 in fixed deposit in his wife’s name. Justice Regupathi said dowry harassment was not a compoundable offence and the Supreme Court too had said that high courts had inherent powers to quash criminal proceedings, FIRs and complaints. Keeping the interests of children in mind, besides the possibility of a genuine amicable settlement, the judge said such compromise could be permitted.

HC quashes custody death case
10 Feb 2009, 0343 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: In a judgment having widespread ramifications, Calcutta High Court held on Monday that criminal proceedings cannot be drawn up against police officers of the rank of deputy superintendent or above without the state government’s consent if it can be established that alleged excesses committed by him were in the course of his official duty. Justice Arunava Basu quashed criminal proceedings initiated by the CBI against Jayanta Mukherjee in a custody death case when he was the subdivisional police officer of Kharagpur in 2004. The judge granted permission to the CBI though to initiate fresh proceedings against Mukherjee after receiving sanction from the government. On July 7, 2004, Kharagpur police picked up Soumendu Mondal, a small-time trader, while he was travelling with his wife. Next day, he was found dead inside the police lock-up. Officers claimed that Mondal had died of injuries sustained while trying to escape from a police vehicle. Mondal’s mother refused to believe that and moved high court, seeking a CBI inquiry into her son’s death. On February 24, 2005, the court directed CBI to take up the matter. The central agency went through the post-mortem report, which revealed that Mondal’s body bore 22 injury marks. The injuries may have possibly been caused by leather belts, iron rods and lathis. The report clearly stated that Mondal’s death was homicidal in nature. The CBI, in its report, stated that Mondal was assaulted in the lock-up and the three cases of dacoity against him had also been cooked up. The CBI sleuths also established that the case diaries against Mondal had been manipulated to suit the police. CBI filed chargesheets on June 7, 2006. On June 15, the West Midnapore chief judicial magistrate issued warrants of arrest against 13 accused, including Mukherjee, seven of his colleagues and a doctor. Mukherjee challenged that order in the high court, pleading that he enjoyed a certain amount of immunity under Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It states that criminal proceedings cannot be initiated against officers of the rank of DSP or above without sanction from the state government.

HC asks army for Maidan report
10 Feb 2009, 0336 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court on Monday wanted to know from the army the extent of the damage caused to the Maidan during Left Front’s rally on Sunday and the one by CPM’s youth wing, DYFI, on December 20 last year. This, while taking cognizance of an appeal filed by environment activist Subhas Datta on the violation of the court directive towards protecting the greenery. Holding that it is prima facie convinced that the court’s orders had been violated, the division Bench of Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice R N Bandyopadhyay sought to know from DYFI president Pratim Ghosh why his organization’s right to hold rallies on the Maidan should not be curbed. He will have to reply within four weeks. Datta’s petition against damage to the Maidan caused during the DYFI’s December rally was already pending before the division Bench. On Monday, Datta approached the court with photographs published in various newspapers, showing evidence of garbage strewn on the Brigade Parade Grounds, and how the Maidan was dug up on Sunday for makeshift ovens.
The court, in its earlier orders, had prohibited digging up of the Maidan and also made it clear that no open fires could be lit within a three-kilometre radius of Victoria Memorial. Expressing displeasure with the manner in which the court’s directions were being regularly flouted, the court added the army the custodians of the Maidan as a party to the matter. The army will have to file a report in court stating the extent of damage. Datta was directed to file an affidavit, signed by photojournalists whose published photographs he had submitted in court. Datta also submitted to the court that police had failed in their duty to prevent violation of the court’s orders regarding protection of the Maidan from environmental degradation. “The army is the custodian of the Maidan. In the past, they have been called in to maintain law and order in Kolkata. I pray that the army should also be involved in maintaining law and order at the Maidan, along with police, during such rallies,” Datta said. The court asked him to file a separate affidavit on the issue. The court, from time to time, has passed orders forbidding activities on the Maidan that result in environmental degradation. It has forbidden fairs on the greenery and the setting up of any structure either temporary or permanent there. It has also made it clear that any event on the Maidan can be held only after permission has been granted by the army and other authorities. While fairs have moved out of the Maidan, political rallies continue to be held there. Before such rallies, organizers give an undertaking to the army that the Maidan would be restored to its former state after the rally.

Case filed in PMC tender cell incident
10 Feb 2009, 0257 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: A private criminal case was filed against the Pune municipal commissioner, police commissioner and others before additional chief judicial magistrate S T Dhawale on Monday. The case was filed by activist Vivek Chavan for not taking action against the contractors who had allegedly interrupted the tendering process at the PMC office recently. The others include inspector in-charge of Shivajinagar police station, PMC security officer and around 200 unknown persons. Chavan’s lawyer Milind Pawar said that the commissioners have been made a party because they had failed to take action against those involved in the incident. He added that he will seek permission of the state government for prosecuting the public servants. The case, filed under sections 143, 147, 148, 149, 120 (b), 119,353, 221, 166 and 217 of the Indian Penal Code and 3(25) of the Arms Act, will come up for hearing on February 11. On February 2, ‘armed’ men with ‘criminal intent’ allegedly barged into the PMC tender cell and blocked the tendering process of major projects. The PMC and the police continue to pass the buck over filing a complaint. Municipal commissioner Pravinsinh Pardeshi had told TOI that there was no specific complaint from the contractors, who were allegedly threatened. As per the security department report, there was a definite case of intimidation but no use of arms was seen. Hence the PMC refused to file police complain. Deputy commissioner of police R S Khaire (Zone I) had said that, as a public office the PMC authorities should file a complaint and then only the police can take action in the case.

SC gives time for Kalka structures
10 Feb 2009, 0401 hrs IST, Rajinder Nagarkoti, TNN
PANCHKULA: People owning buildings adjacent to national highway 22 in Kalka received another breather from Supreme Court, which ordered on Monday that status quo should be maintained with regard to demolition of alleged illegal constructions there. SC told Haryana government to file its reply to the special leave petition by members of Kalka Bachao Sangarsh Samiti (KBSS). Haryana government counsel sought a week’s time for the purpose. SC division bench fixed February 16 as the date of next hearing. KBSS chairman Bhagat Singh told TOI they had supported their petition with proof of land’s ownership. SC had passed the status quo orders on February 2 after Punjab and Haryana High Court set a 24-hour deadline for demolishing encroachments adjacent to NH-22’s Parwanoo-Kalka stretch on January 31. Around 250 families depend on these buildings for livelihood or shelter. Some of the buildings’ owners have already demolished the structures while others await SC’s final orders. Punjab and Haryana High Court had also deferred the hearing in this matter till February 12.Panchkula deputy commissioner Rajender Kataria said, “I haven’t got the copy of the order. As the matter is sub judice, it will not be right to say anything on the issue. I am trying to contact the Haryana government counsel to get a clearer picture on this.” Kalka-based shopkeeper Shamsher Singh said, “KBSS members still believe that SC can provide permanent relief to them. They pray all day for a positive outcome.” Sunita, another resident of Kalka, said, “We just want our houses and shops to be safe. Though only a small part of my building is in the marked area, I am still united with the other residents against this move of the government.”

Seminar on women’s rights
10 Feb 2009, 0251 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: People in the city will get an opportunity to listen to several prominent social scientists and women’s rights activists of the country in the three-day seminar from February 10 to 12 on “Transforming Gender Relations, redefining masculinity, education and agriculture interventions” to be held at Regional Science Centre in Aliganj. Organized by Saajhi Dunia and sponsored by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, the seminar will also host a exhibition on “masculinity” conceived and produced by film maker Rahul Roy and a photo exhibition on women by Sarvesh will. Apart from academic events, SCIMAX show will narrate story of amazing achievements of those who climbed Mt Everest. Ravi Nagar will be the attraction of the musical evening on February 10.

Apex court should clear jurisdiction of Vikas Yadav’s plea
8 Feb 2009, 1707 hrs IST, IANS
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has asked the city police to get the Supreme Court to clear the confusion over who should be the prosecuting agency to oppose the bail plea of Vikas Yadav, convicted in the murder of Nitish Katara in 2002. A division bench comprising Justice BD Ahmed and Justice VB Gupta had earlier this week asked Delhi Police to get within four weeks the necessary directions from the apex court as to who will oppose the bail plea in the court. It slated the matter for hearing March 3 when the court will start hearing arguments over Vikas Yadav’s bail plea. Vikas had last year moved the High Court challenging his conviction by a Delhi trial court after the Supreme Court rejected his petition seeking permission to file an appeal in any high court barring the Delhi High Court. Vikas’s appeal in the trial court was opposed by Delhi Police as well as Uttar Pradesh police so the Delhi High Court this time wanted it to clear the confusion over jurisdiction. Vikas Yadav, son of former lawmaker DP Yadav, and his cousin Vishal Yadav were convicted by the Patiala House court for Nitish Katara’s murder and were sentenced to life imprisonment. Vikas and Vishal resented Nitish’s relationship with their sister Bharti. Katara was kidnapped and murdered after he attended a wedding in Ghaziabad Feb 16, 2002. His half burnt body was found in a village in Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh. On a plea by Katara’s mother Neelam Katara, who apprehended that Vikas’ father was interfering with the probe and trial in Ghaziabad, the Supreme Court had shifted the trial to the Patiala House court. Vikas had moved the Allahabad High Court challenging his conviction and sentence. But the court had refused to hear it, saying it was not entitled to hear the appeal against a judgement delivered by a trial court in Delhi. The Allahabad High Court said the right forum to challenge a Delhi trial court’s ruling is the Delhi High Court itself.

JPC directs freeing encroached wakf
10 Feb 2009, 0256 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: Expressing concern over encroachment of wakf properties in the state, a joint parliamentary committee on wakf led by deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha KK Rahman has directed the office-bearers of both Shia and Sunni Wakf Boards to take effective measures for freeing the wakf properties from encroachments. He said that they (office-bearers) should use all rights provided in the Wakf Act for taking action against encroachers of wakf lands. The joint parliamentary team, which visited the city on Monday, held discussions with Muslim leaders and government officers about the difficulties being faced in implementing the Wakf Act in the state. The team also inspected several wakf properties in the city, which come under Husainabad trust.

NGEs’ strike called off after HC order
10 Feb 2009, 0219 hrs IST, Ravi Dayal, TNN
PATNA: The 34-day-long strike of non-gazetted employees (NGEs) of the state government ended on Monday after a Patna High Court order to various staff associations to this effect. The state government gave an assurance that no disciplinary action would be taken against the striking employees and their demands would be considered. The order was pronounced in the court packed with the striking staff. The NGEs were on strike since January 7 demanding implementation of the Central government’s Sixth Pay Commission recommendations. Soon after, various trade unions, including Bihar State Non-Gazetted Employees Federation (BSNGEF), Gope faction, BSNGEF and Bihar Secretariat Service Association, called off the strike and asked their members to join duty from Tuesday. “Apart from our members at the state headquarters, we also informed our district units about the HC directive,” said Ram Narayan Rai, president of the BSNGEF, Gope faction, a part of a joint front of several staff unions. Earlier, a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice (ACJ) Chandramauli Kumar Prasad and Justice Shyam Kishore Sharma directed various staff associations to submit their grievances and demands on February 16 before a committee specially formed by the state government. The committee would take a final decision regarding demands of the employees by March 31. The court fixed April 6 as the next date of hearing. The order was passed on a PIL of Jan Chowkidar whose lawyer Arvind Kumar submitted that the striking employees should not bargain with the state government as the per capita income in Bihar is just Rs 300. A salary hike would put an extra burden of Rs 16,000 crore annually, he said. Advocate general P K Shahi submitted that the government would consider “reasonable demands” of the employees. “Once they call off the strike, there would be no disciplinary action against them,” he said. Incidentally, the ACJ had asked the advocate general to tell the state government not to sack any striking employee. The lawyers representing the employees, including Indu Shekhar Prasad Sinha, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Binod Kumar Kanth and Chitranjan Sinha, made a plea for considerate hearing of the grievances and demands of the employees by the state government without any coercive measure or victimization. “There cannot be an indefinite strike but there are involved freedom of speech and expression of the striking employees who must get a favorable atmosphere so that there is peace in society,” Mukherjee submitted. Meanwhile, members of Bihar Agriculture Service, who were on strike since January 18 in support of their demand for declaring their service as a premier service, too called off their strike.

Writ petitioner fined Rs 30,000
10 Feb 2009, 0126 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Monday imposed a cost of Rs 30,000 on a petitioner, Bhagwan Buddha Primary Teachers Training College, for filing a writ petition challenging the National Council of Teachers Education (NCTE) Act, 1993, passed by Parliament, claiming it is not in consonance with a legislation enacted by the Bihar legislative assembly in 1983. A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad and Justice Mandhata Singh dismissed the writ petition which said that the NCTE Act mandating teacher’s training certificate for appointment of teachers ran contrary to the state’s legislation to allow intermediate passouts to apply for the post of primary teachers.

Babus implicate men in false cases
10 Feb 2009, 0135 hrs IST, Faizan Ahmad, TNN
PATNA: Bihar has emerged a model state as far as right to information is concerned and has bagged a award for its model, Jankari Call Centre, but it also remains a fact that many people have been harassed and even jailed for seeking information, courtesy the high-handedness of the public information officers (PIOs) concerned who filed cases against them. This only shows that the government servants still do not feel comfortable in providing the information and try to hide the facts, particularly when it can expose the wrongdoings and corrupt practices of the Babus. According to a rough estimate, about 20 people have been tormented and slapped criminal cases as a result of which they are making rounds of courts, seeking bail or absconding for fear of being arrested. When poor Pinki Devi, a Dalit of Sammanchak village in Patna, dared to seek information from the BDO of Punpun regarding alleged irregularities and embezzlement of funds by the mukhiya, the PIO filed two cases against her and she is appearing for hearing in the court. Kunal Mochi of the same village is a harassed man as he is also facing a series of cases. “The case was followed by an attack on my house by the mukhiya, PDS dealer and supply inspector and I had to flee fearing dire consequences,” said Mochi. A retired Army havildar, Chandradip Singh, was put behind the bars for 20 days last year when he sought information on the police investigation into the murder of his son and daughter and attempt to usurp his property. The police implicated the sexagenarian, ex-Army man of Maner, in a rape case. Satyendra Narayan Yadav of Khajauli in Madhubani had sought information about BPL beneficiaries, Indira Awas and Antyodya scheme from the BDO of Khajauli. The PIO called him in his office on the pretext of providing the information, but only a day before a case was filed by the PIO against him. “A few days later, the police arrested me and I remained in jail for about four months,” he told TOI. Yadav said he also met CM Nitish Kumar in April last at the Janata Durbar. “He assured me that the case will be withdrawn and action be taken against the erring officials, but even after 10 months nothing happened and I am appearing in district court,” he said. Rambalak Sharma of Suryagarha in Lakhisarai district was mentally tormented and sent to jail on charges of obscene behaviour with health and Anganbari workers and snatching their jewellery. Sharma had sought information regarding the alleged irregularities in health services and the doctor filed a case against him. “It has become a common practice to implicate the information seekers in false cases and harass them so that they do not press for information under RTI,” said Shiv Prakash Rai of Buxar who too spent one month in jail after a case was filed against him.

Court refuses stay on shooting of Veer
10 Feb 2009, 0048 hrs IST, TNN
JAIPUR: The district court on Monday refused a stay on the shooting of film Veer’ scheduled to be held at the historical Amber Fort here.
The district court dismissed the request, asking the complainant to approach the city civil court which is the competent court to look into the issue. The Amber Fort falls in Ward No. 53 which is under the jurisdiction of the city civil court. The film featuring Salman Khan is having a budget of Rs 70 crore and has a five-day shooting schedule starting February 10. The complainant has alleged that the state government is making huge revenue loss as only five days’ rent has been taken whereas the unit started putting the sets a month ago. Further, the shooting and setting up of the set of the film has affected the tourism sector.

Court against demolition of houses
10 Feb 2009, 0052 hrs IST, TNN
JAIPUR: The division bench of Rajasthan high court, comprising acting chief justice R C Gandhi and justice M N Bhandari, on Monday expressly told the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) and the state government that demolition of the illegally constructed houses of lakhs of inhabitants of the Prithviraj Nagar Scheme will be a national wastage of public money. The court remarked that the people must not suffer for the inaction and corrupt practice of state officials. Court gave government two weeks time to file its reply. The court made these observation on two applications moved by the JDA and the state government respectively. The JDA has sought permission to build roads in the area and the state requested for the construction of police quarters. The division bench dismissed the application of the JDA, observing that the JDA is doing an eyewash activity by putting up vague applications. It also deferred consideration of the application of the state government seeking permission to construct police quarters. The court again directed the JDA to submit a detailed scheme made under court’s earlier direction for the development of the area. Counsel for JDA A K Gupta told the court that it is ready with the scheme for development of the Prithviraj Nagar Scheme. However, due to change of government after the elections the policy decision is yet to be taken. The court granted two weeks to JDA to file the decision of the government regarding the proposed scheme. Coming down heavily on the vague stand of the JDA in September last year, the bench, headed by justice Gandhi, had called upon the JDA to file a detailed scheme of the development of Prithviraj Nagar, including all minute details of the scheme as well as the names of all the enforcement officers who were required to prevent government land from being encroached upon during the acquisition proceedings in the area. It is noteworthy that the division bench of high court had on April 4, 2003 stayed all construction and building work in the locality that affected lakhs of inhabitants. The stay was vacated in August this year. The court in 2003 took suo motu cognizance of the fact that the state government has decided to “deacquire” the land for which the acquisition proceedings were initiated way back in 1989 and for which a huge amount of compensation was paid to the original landholders. The matter had then travelled to the Supreme Court against the acquisition proceedings and the state government had tried to justify its stand for acquiring the land for residential and other purposes. The Supreme Court had then allowed the state government to go ahead with the development activities. The matter was in litigation for more than 22 years for one or the other reason. In the meantime thousands of houses have illegally come up in the locality and the sate governments was then blamed for having supported land mafias active in the area. The area at present lacks drinking water facilities and has no roads, public facility area, park, hospital etc. A chunk of land measuring 11,677 bighas was acquired by the government to develop Prithviraj Nagar Scheme out of which 7,393 bighas was illegally occupied by encroachers and thousands of residential and commercial buildings have been built by now. The court in its earlier orders passed last year had directed the JDA to file the details of the scheme stating the total area reserved for residential, commercial and institutional purposes. JDA was also ordered to state exact number of houses that will be demolished to lay roads etc. and what will be the steps taken for rehabilitation of the residents. The court further asked the specific area of the land that still lay vacant in the locality and the area which has not yet been acquired and is still under acquisition proceeding and further what steps are being taken by the JDA to acquire the same. The court was also anxious to know what the government will do if the landholder farmers reject the proposal of awarding 25% developed land in lieu of their total land acquired.

Probe Chawla land case, says court
10 Feb 2009, 0225 hrs IST, TNN
JAIPUR: The district and sessions court on Monday ordered an inquiry into the issue of land allotment to election commissioner Navin Chawla. The court, hearing a petition filed by a BJP leader, directed that the investigation to be conducted by a senior police officer, shall be completed by March 16. \ “The court has discovered relevance in our charges and has directed the police to get the issue investigated by a senior police officer and submit the report by March 16, 2009,” said advocate Yogendra Tanwar, who had filed the petition claiming a series of irregularities in the land allotment procedure. The BJP accused that JDA had allotted land to election commissioner Navin Chawla’s trusts in 2001 in violation of norms. Accusing that The Lala Chaman Lal Educational Trust for Boys and Smt Bhagwan Devi Educational Trust for Girls, promoted by Chawla, were registered under the Societies’ Registration Act XXI of 1860, New Delhi, the petitioner’s advocates submitted documents to support their charges and recorded their statements in the court. The trust was allotted 22,054 sq meters of land in Bambala industrial area, during the previous tenure of Ashok Gehlot goverment, at a discounted rate of Rs100 per sq meter — against the reserved price of Rs 1,000 per sq meter. While the petition mentions the JDA, the BJP has been putting the blame on Congress. The petitioner said that the matter was not a mere land scam, but part of a bigger conspiracy by Congress to manipulate the administrative machinery. The Congress, on the other hand, has said that the BJP’s allegations were a conspiracy to influence the LS polls. Meanwhile, a memorandum has also been given to President Pratibha Patil, requesting her to relieve Navin Chawla from the post of election commissioner.

Cigarette butt DNA nails discharged accused
10 Feb 2009, 0101 hrs IST, Soumittra S Bose, TNN
NAGPUR: A technological intervention again helped Lakadganj police nail an accused in the murder of Lakhotia brothers months after the cops had let him go. The cops had earlier cracked the case by tracing movement of culprits from the mobile tower data. In the latest turn to the case, they re-arrested one of the accused five months after he was discharged from the case following DNA fingerprinting on some of the materials at the scene. It established presence of Pradhan alias Chunbath Kunhar, (48), at the scene of crime and proved his alibis false. Pradhan was re-arrested on Saturday. He was was earlier discharged from the case on August 23 last year after he pleaded he was not at the scene. On Monday, Lakadganj police submitted a supplementary chargesheet against Kunhar at JMFC court no 3 citing his direct involvement in the case. Pradhan was among the eight arrested from Uttar Pradesh in May last year.

HC questions BJP hoardings
10 Feb 2009, 0104 hrs IST, Proshun Chakraborty & Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN
NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Monday asked the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) whether the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had taken permission to erect decorative arches, hoardings and glittering festoons on roads across the city, which disrupted the smooth functioning of traffic. The party’s move of erecting decorative arches, hoardings and banners right from the airport, railway station, bus stop, etc, has also evoked protests from the general public. “Is this a common practice in all major cities?” the bench asked. The NMC counsel replied that the civic body had permitted the party to erect hoardings at some selected places only. The bench then asked the corporation whether a blanket permission was given for erecting the structures. The next hearing on the issue will be held on February 25. Deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Harish Chavan admitted that the BJP had not taken any permission from the police department. He, however, clarified that they may have taken permission from the NMC. Additional deputy municipal commissioner Ajay Ramteke said: “We had given permission to erect the arches subject to permission from the traffic police.”

Couple sent to judicial custody for burying newborn alive
10 Feb 2009, 1620 hrs IST, PTI
VADODARA: A couple, along with their son, has been remanded to judicial custody for burying alive their fourteenth child, a newborn girl, in Jalodra village in the district. The trio, Goham Muliya Rathwa (45), his wife Shanta (40) and son Suniya, told a local court in the Chotaudepur taluka on Monday that they buried the child in the crematorium because they thought she was dead as she had not shown any signs of movement after birth on Saturday, police said. All three were remanded to judicial custody. The couple have had thirteen children before, of which four are dead. The remaining include four boys and five girls, police said. The cries of the child, who survived because the pit was not covered completely, were heard by a passerby who immediately called for an ambulance. She was bitten badly by insects but is recuperating in the hospital, doctors said.

Punjabi singers press govt for Anti-Piracy Act
9 Feb 2009, 2207 hrs IST, Manmeet Singh, TNN
LUDHIANA: The voters may not be able to see their favourite Punjabi singers acting as crowd pullers for political rallies, if the state government fails to issue an ordinance for the Anti-Piracy Act, before the enforcement of the code of conduct for the coming Lok Sabha elections. ‘’We would only provide support to the party which helps in getting the ordinance passed or no party should expect support from us,’’ commented Gaurav Trehan, owner of Chandigarh based music studio and director of a Punjabi film. He stressed that if the ordinance is not issued, singers would boycott all political rallies. The Punjabi music industry gathered at Punjabi Bhawan to devise an action plan to pressurize the government to implement Anti-Piracy Act at the earliest. Gaurav said they had given two representations to the state government but nothing has come out of it so far. This community of Punjabi singers, composers and music directors seems to be relying on the old tactic of pressing the government for its demands just before the elections. Trehan said, ‘’We have come up with a new 12-member ‘Punjabi Front’ including members from all spheres of the Punjabi entertainment industry. The front would look into all aspects of the problem.’’ The local markets especially suburban areas are flooded with pirated CDs of music and movies. People are seen selling pirated CDs openly near Clock Tower. Trehan stated that Punjabi music industry is not earning its due owing to the people involved in piracy. ‘’The government needs to act strictly with piracy to keep the industry running,’’ he asserted. Sardul Sikander, Babbu Mann, Shamsher Sandhu, Mohammed Siddique, Nachhatar Gill, Inderjit Nikku and Sabarkoti among others were present on the occasion.

Court remands accused till today
9 Feb 2009, 2247 hrs IST, TNN
MANGALORE: The second additional chief judicial magistrate court here has remanded five persons accused of assaulting and kidnapping Manjeshwaram MLA C H Kunjambu’s daughter Shruthi in police custody till February 10. While the police sought a two-day custody of the accused – Raju alias Rajesh, Ranjith, Aravind Das, Satish and Prakash – the court granted them one-day custody. In a related development, P P Hegde, advocate appearing for all the five accused, has taken umbrage to a reported statement by Union minister for women and child development Renuka Chowdhury describing his clients as Talibanis and Mangalore as a Talibanized place. “This is violative of their (my clients) human rights and is a highly defamatory statement,” Hegde told reporters after the custodial hearing on Monday. Terming Chowdhury’s statement as highly reprehensible given her stature and position in society, Hegde demanded that the minister should retract her statement and apologize to the citizens of Mangalore in general and clients in particular for her outburst. Hegde said various organizations and individuals, whom he did not wish to name citing client confidentiality, have asked him to file a criminal case against her if she did not do so. Hegde also added that the parents of all the five accused, especially the main accused Satish, and Aravind have filed separate affidavits before the court that they have no allegiance or affiliation to either the Bajrang Dal or the Sri Rama Sene. “Both Kariappa Shetty, father of Satish, and Narayana Maniyani, father of Aravind, have mentioned in their affidavits that they are members of the CPI,” he noted.

SHRC begins inquiry into pub attack
9 Feb 2009, 2252 hrs IST, TNN
MANGALORE: State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has begun inquiry into the recent incidents in Mangalore, including the attack on women in a pub, here on Monday. SHRC chairman S R Nayak, during his two-day inquiry, will also take up the incidents relating to death of a criminal in an exchange of fire with the police at Gurupur and the case pertaining to abduction of Manjeshwaram MLA C H Kunhambu’s daughter Shruthi. The deputy superintendent of police, SHRC, Shivamurthy is assisting him in the inquiry. On his first day, Nayak visited the pub in which Sri Ram Sene activists attacked girls in January. Nayak who did not wish to interact with the media refrained from making any comments regarding the happenings in the district. During his visit to the pub, he ensured that no mediaperson was present on the pub premises. As soon as the photographers took snaps of Nayak inside the pub he requested the media members to leave the place and instructed the police to ensure that no persons other than the authorities concerned were inside the pub. He said he would first complete the inquiry and later talk to the media on Tuesday. At one point, he took exception to electronic media people trying to get sound bites from him and said: “Do not do it. We are not politicians. We are here to conduct inquiry. Let me finish inquiry and I will talk to you tomorrow”. After his brief visit to the pub, Nayak went to the deputy commissioner’s office where he held interactions with the DC V Ponnuraj and later conducted the inquiry proceedings. Nayak heard the versions of nine persons, including the pub staff and the eyewitnesses. Superintendent of police N Sathish Kumar said the commission heard as many as nine persons but no one among the girls assaulted at the pub turned up. Nayak is expected to look in to the remaining two incidents on Tuesday, police said.

CJ to lawyers: ensure speedy justice
10 Feb 2009, 0536 hrs IST, TNN
DHARWAD: Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, Justice P D Dinakaran, called upon the lawyers to dispense speedy justice to the poor and uphold the dignity of the judiciary in the democratic set-up. Addressing the advocates at the Dharwad Circuit Bench here on Monday during his maiden visit to the campus, Justice Dinakaran recalled the decades-long struggle waged by the advocates in north Karnataka for the establishment of the Bench in the region. He urged the men in black to do justice to the litigant public, now that the Bench had been established. The Chief Justice also presided over the court proceedings along with Justices N K Patil, Mohan Shantanagoudar, Ramesh, Nagaraj Arali and Bopanna. The CJ was given a warm reception by the lawyers of Hubli at Hubli airport upon his arrival from Bangalore on Monday. Hubli Bar Association president C R Patil and others were present.

Class III staff of HC strike work
10 Feb 2009, 2131 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: A one-day token strike by class III employees of the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday paralysed the judicial work. The strike was held on a call given by the High Court Ministerial Officers Association, demanding implementation of employees service rules-2007. The employees assembled at the main gate of the high court, boycotting the court functioning and held a meeting. They demanded implementation of High Court Employees Service Rules-2007. The employees also demanded transfer of an officer on special duty in the high court on the charge that he used to take work from the employees till late night without any over-time payment. The striking employees also demanded parity in the pay-scale of bench secretaries and personnel secretaries as per promotion. The association submitted a copy of the demands to the chief justice. The bench presided over by the Chief Justice and Justice Amitava Lala, and Justice Rajesh Kumar decided the cases, ignoring the strike of the employees.

SC seeks custodial death details from states
10 Feb 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The unabated rise in custodial deaths in the states, brought to focus with statistics from Punjab, made the Supreme Court on Monday seek data-based response from the state governments on this issue. In a PIL filed by D K Basu, pending since 1986 and in which the apex court has given many directions to protect the innocent from police harassment, amicus curiae Abhishek Manu Singhvi expressed his disappointment at the continuing breach of the mandate to treat accused, undertrials and convicts humanely in police and judicial custody. Giving statistics relating to Punjab in the year 2006 when it was ruled by the Congress government headed by Amarinder Singh, Singhvi told a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam that 73 deaths occurred in judicial custody and another seven in police custody. “There is no registration of case against police officials and jail officials despite this huge dramatic rise in the custodial deaths,” Singhvi complained and requested the Bench to seek up-to-date data on custodial deaths from the state governments, who, he said, have been watching from the sidelines without providing the data despite being repeatedly asked to do so by the SC. Though the Bench acceded to the counsel’s request, it turned down the request for monitoring the release of undertrial prisoners languishing in jail as it felt that the recent amendment in the Criminal Procedure Code has taken care of the situation by allowing police to release accused on notice for offences punishable with a maximum imprisonment of seven years.

HC spends Rs 6,000 per minute on hearing cases
10 Feb 2009, 1753 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: Time is money, we all know. But when it comes to court proceedings it is really very precious as a Delhi High Court audit has revealed that every minute that it spends on a hearing costs more than Rs 6,000. And all matters that are listed for hearing cost the court, on an average, Rs 1,300, even if they gets adjourned without any argument. In first of its kind report, the Court has tried to arrive at the cost of its operation by considering its budget and the time spent on hearing cases in financial year 2007-08. In the last year, the total expenditure incurred by the court was Rs 42.45 crore for 213 working days. “The average cost of listing each case before a judge worked out to Rs 1,297 and the average court expenditure per minute by the court was Rs 6,327 or Rs 19,93,180 for each working day,” the report prepared after doing cost analysis by the High Court for the year 2007-08 said. “This expenditure excluded the time spent by the judges dictating reserved judgements in the chambers and preparing the cases for the next day as well as the time spent for correcting and signing the order in those 64 odd cases listed each day,” the report said. The report said the Court’s disposal rate was more than the rate of filing of fresh petition due to which number of pending cases has come down in 2007-08.

Vigilance bureau files chargesheet against Amarinder, others
10 Feb 2009, 1721 hrs IST, PTI
CHANDIGARH: The Vigilance Bureau filed a chargesheet against senior Congress leader and former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh and 15 others in connection with the Amritsar Imrpovement Trust scandal which saw him being expelled from the State Assembly earlier. The chargesheet was filed in the court of Mohali Special Judge R K Garg who summoned all the 16 accused in the case, including Amarinder on March four. Vigilance bureau sleuths quizzed Singh at his private residence Moti Bagh Palace in Patiala on Sunday last. The case was registered against Singh and others after he was indicted by a Punjab Assembly panel and expelled from the house. The case pertains to alleged irregularities in exempting about 32 acres of total land acquired by Amritsar Improvement Trust for private development near new Amritsar during his tenure as Chief Minister from 2002 to 2007. In an unprecedented action, the Punjab Assembly had, in September last year, expelled 66-year-old Singh, who represented Patiala, from the house after a nine-member house committee indicted him in the case.

Mulayam assets case: SC reserves order on interim pleas
10 Feb 2009, 1439 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order on various interim applications filed in the matter relating to the disproportionate assets case against former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. The apex court will now pass its order on the application moved by the CBI as well as on the application filed by Vishwanath Chaturvedi, on whose petition the court had ordered a CBI probe into the allegations of disproportionate assets against Yadav and his family members. While the CBI has sought the withdrawal of its earlier application in which it has sought permission to file the report on the enquiry before the court and not to the Centre, Chaturvedi has opposed the CBI plea. Meanwhile, a Bench comprising Justices Altmas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph issued notice to the CBI and Chaturvedi on the review petitions filed by Yadav against the verdict ordering CBI probe into the allegations. The Bench fixed March 31 to hear the review petitions. The Court allowed Yadav’s plea to file an application for other relevant material for considering the review petitions. The Bench also directed the UP government to provide protection to Chaturvedi who alleged that his life was in danger as he has been receiving threats to life ever since the matter has been pending in court.

Babri demolition unpardonable: Mulayam to SC in 2003
10 Feb 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Mulayam Singh Yadav’s new-found love for his erstwhile bete noir Kalyan Singh may have made him hold Congress responsible for Babri Masjid demolition by accusing it of opening the locks, but his government in 2003 had sung a very different tune before the Supreme Court. Shortly after coming to power, the SP government had filed an affidavit in the apex court in the writ petition filed by Wajahat Ansari, boldly stating that it was against the trial in Lucknow as trial courts had been constituted at Rae Bareli. The trial in the Ayodhya demolition case had been stalled by the High Court quashing the notification establishing courts at Lucknow. The resultant uproar caused by the politically incorrect affidavit made the Mulayam government take a u-turn within a month and file a fresh affidavit in November 2003. In the later affidavit, it first roundly condemned demolition of the Babri Masjid using extreme adjectives. “The act of those persons who have demolished Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992 was most barbaric, shameful, condemnable, unpardonable and was an act against national interest and the integrity of the nation,” the UP government had stated. In its first affidavit, it had refused to agree with Ansari’s charge that the CBI investigation was marred by political pressure brought on the agency. However, it made a subtle change in the second affidavit stating that it was for the apex court to judge whether or not political pressure was brought on the CBI. On whether or not trial should go on at Lucknow, the Mulayam government had said, “Whether CBI would have the power to further investigate the matter after submission of the chargesheet and cognisance thereof by the special judge, Lucknow, is to be decided by the apex court.”

Tribunal for private educational institutions
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The government plans a National Teachers Tribunal (NTT) to look into grievances of teachers and students at private educational institutions, Outlook reports. The ministry has set up a committee headed by higher education secretary R.P. Agrawal to finalise the blueprint for the project that officials admit is likely to meet opposition from private educational institutions, who could see it as government intervention in what they consider their internal affairs. According to sources, the tribunal is expected to adjudicate in cases involving employment and selection of teachers and admission malpractices and unfair labour practices.This is a welcome move. But much depends, as Prashant Bhushan points out, on the quality of people appointed to it. Malpractices abound in private educational institutions and teachers and students alike are at the receiving end. For instance, teachers are forced to sign pay slips for amounts in excess of what they get; they are often not paid on time; and capitation fee is a thriving cottage industry. Part of the reason these issues have not been addressed is that many of the institutions, especially professional colleges, are run by politicians themselves, so there is no serious interest in reform.I am not sure, though, that such an authority should be only for private institutions. Public institutions too could be covered by them- it is not as if all is hunky-dory there and there are appropriate grievance redressal mechanisms. For the central educational institutions, such as IITs and IIMs, it may be a good idea to mandate the setting up of CAT (central administrative tribunal)- like bodies with a defined composition and clearly specified powers.However, such an authority cannot mix teacher and student issues- that would be too much to handle. Let us have the NTT for teachers and a regulator for education as the NKC has recommended, which can look into admissions, fees and other issues.

LEGAL NEWS 08.02.2009

Court disallows NPA transfers!
Published on Sat, Feb 07, 2009 at 15:55 , Updated at Sat, Feb 07, 2009 at 16:04 Source : CNBC-TV18

A recent judgment by the Gujarat High Court says that banks cannot trade transfer or purchase a pool of non-performing assets or bad debts. This case is this – ICICI Bank transferred a basket of NPAs to Kotak Mahindra Bank along with underlying security interest. One borrower that is APS Star Industries objected to that transfer and the matter ended up in court. The division bench of the Gujarat High Court held that the Banking Regulation Act did not allow for trading in debt. That’s how the court interpreted it and that debt cannot be transferred without the borrower being party to the transaction.

Now this judgement could have a severe adverse impact on the nascent business of NPA transfer and could even have far reaching implications on the buying and selling of good loans or a process that is generally speaking called securitisation. To better understand the judgement and its implications, I have with me – MR Umarji, Chief Advisor – Legal, IBA and Ashvin Parekh, National Leader – Financial Services, E&Y.

Here is a verbatim transcript of the show The Firm on CNBC-TV18. Also watch the accompanying video.

Q: What did you make your make of this judgement? What impact does that have on the very nascent business of securitisation of NPAs or transfer of NPA baskets?

Parekh: To begin with, in the normal course of a banking activity, one thought one had from the Banking Regulation Act point of view or even from the business point of view, the impression that trading in assets and in transferring assets, would be a part of a banking company’s normal activity. That is getting challenged over here to begin with. The mention is towards debt, which is both, debt whether it is good or doubtful form basically, so that is the first major implication on the banking business as such.

Q: The court has held that the transfer of debt itself between two banks is not allowed under either the Banking Regulation Act or the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interests (SARFAESI) is that correct?

Parekh: That’s right. The court has gone in and examined let us say the provisions of the Banking Act and also the additional activities that an organisation can carry out – a banking company can carry out under Section 6. They also ruled out that trading in debts is not an activity which is within the view of a banking company or purview of a banking company. So that looks to me to be having a farfetched implication or an impact basically.

Q: Do you think that it has legal grounds, the way they have interpreted bad loans as debt and then they have said trading in debt between two banks is not allowed under the Banking Regulation Act?

Parekh: I would say when you read the order, the first impression that you get is that the term debt seems to have got both from the legal point of view and from the accounting point of view wrongly utilized in the sense the loan item or the borrower is an asset of a bank and not a debt and what is being traded over, what is being perpetrated to trade let us is the loan asset and not the debt to begin with. So I suppose when the order has gone and examined whether debt can be traded, that in itself, is a first major point which needs to be examined I would say.

Q: What is your opinion on how severely this will hit and I agree it is nascent but this will hit the whole business of transferring NPAs between banks and then bring out the distinguish of what it means for transferring NPA to an asset reconstruction company that has been set up under this SARFAESI Act?
Umarji: As far as the transfer of NPA between the banks is concerned, this judgement affects it, almost until that judgement is set aside by the Supreme Court and law is laid down, it may be difficult for the banks to sell the assets to other banks.

But as far as the sale of assets to the asset reconstruction company is concerned the judgment doesn’t affect that much.

Q: The problem here is that this is a sale of non-performing assets between two banks and that is the technicality that the court has objected against, saying that is not allowed, it allows you to transfer Non-Performing Assets (NPA) to an asset reconstruction company but not between two banks?

Umarji: That’s right.

Q: What is your interpretation of the RBI allows for it, then why should the court have any objection?

Umarji: I think it is necessary to consider that the court has gone on one technical issue of the Banking Regulation Act not specifically providing that one bank can sell its loans to another bank. That is the ground; there is no specific provision in the banking regulation act in so many words.

Q: So, do you think it is just a technicality that because the Banking Regulation Act misses out on that specific language and that it can be easily corrected when this goes to the Supreme Court. Do you think this is likely to become a big stumbling block for the NPA transfer business?

Parekh: Till the final decision, till the final order from the Supreme Court comes out it will be a stumbling block. But I suppose, when the Supreme Court will consider, and I hope they will consider, this aspect of the practices prevalent everywhere else, and on the premise on which the Basel-II regulations have been or the Basel-II recommendations have been worked out by the banking companies worldwide- I am very confident they will examine this aspect as well.

Q: Till then since the court- the High Court of Gujarat has taken the interpretation of loans to be debt will this affect the transfer of good loans as well- I mean the securitization of loans is now a prevalent practice in India, will this judgment impact that as well?

Parekh: The first reading of the order does suggest that it does impact those transfers as well.

Q: That is not good news at all because that far more prevalent than even the NPA securitization?

Parekh: That is true.

Q: How is the banking industry reacting to that because this is now a spade for both the transfer of NPAs and as Mr.Parekh pointed out a potential spade for the transfer of good loans, securitization of good loans which is a prevalent practice across the world?

Umarji: That is right because it says that there is no power to transfer loans as it applies to both good and bad and therefore securitization will be affected. Further the court is not very clear as to what happens to the transactions which have already taken place.

Q: You mean this could have retrospect effect as well?

Umarji: The transaction is declared to be illegal, so everything that is done will become illegal.

Q: So, it gives all kind of debtors an opportunity to go back and bring these cases back to court?

Umarji: Back to the court and say that you have no right to recover because you are not entitled to transfer in your favour is not valid and therefore I am not liable to pay you back- pay the loan. All sorts of pleas can be taken by the borrowers and it can create a complication.

Q: You worry that the implications of this goes beyond the good loan, bad loan concept and it can even impacts some of the previous things that have taken place in this space?

Parekh: Absolutely, if I go and look at some of the mergers, which took place either through the regulators intervention or in a normal course, then in that case the transfer of property or title that took place on account of such a merger itself gets challenged. If the borrowers of Global Trust Bank (GTB) are now making a plea against the Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) to suggest that for instance the rights, which was earlier enjoyed by the GTB and are not necessarily passed on to OBC, so it has grave implications.

Q: So, what is the IBA doing with this regard because this as I mentioned earlier as a spade, in this manner it works for both good loans and bad loans?

Umarji: The concerned banks have already filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court and it is going to come up for hearing on 9, IBA will also be intervening in that petition.

HC tells FMC to hear NCDEX plea in 2 weeks
Saturday, 07 February , 2009, 11:05
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has directed the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange Ltd (NCDEX) to settle its issue over reducing transaction fee with the commodity market regulator Forward Markets Commission.
‘neither just nor fair’
Dismissing a writ petition filed by NCDEX against FMC, the Chief Justice, Dr D.Y. Chandrachud, said in his judgement that these were important and larger issues (reduction in transaction fee and its implication) “relatable to the economy and commercial principles which should be examined properly by an expert body and judicial interference preventing such a process would neither be just nor fair”.
“We do not find any merit in this writ petition and dispose of the same at the admission stage itself, however, with a direction to respondent No. 2 (FMC) to deal with the matter expeditiously and in any case not later than two weeks from the date of pronouncement of this judgment. No order as to costs,” the Chief Justice said.
NCDEX moved the Bombay High Court against FMC decision to scuttle its move to reduce transaction fee.
“Matters of policy and matters which squarely fall within the domain of expert bodies are normally beyond judicial review unless they are arbitrary or discriminatory or the power has been exercised contrary to the law or in a colourable manner,” the judge said.
SC judgements
Referring to the Supreme Court judgement in the cases of Chairman, J&K State Board of Education versus Feyaz Ahmed Malik; Federation of Railway Officers Association versus Union of India and Greater Kailash Part II Welfare Association versus DLF Universal, he said decisions of an expert body would not be interfered by the Court unless such decisions are in error in compliance with the rules, regulations and manifest injustice is perpetrated on the parties.
“In the present case, we have already dealt with the contention that FMC is vested with the power of grant of recognition and withdrawal thereof. It has power to impose conditions and one of the mandatory conditions is that the petitioner (NCDEX) should obey and carry out the directives issued by FMC from time to time. Thus, the query raised by the said respondents cannot be termed in law as no nest without jurisdiction,” it said.
It was also argued on behalf of NCDEX that they were examining the effect of resolution passed by the petitioner (NCDEX) as it may lead to unhealthy or unfair competition as other registered associations may get affected and this may also have effect on the entire business transacted through different associations.
‘Not commercial move’
The decision of the petitioner (NCDEX) is not a mere commercial decision in regard to internal management but is likely to have large ramifications on the economy and the circular will lead to excessive speculation of agricultural commodities.
These are matters, which are not to be examined by this Court in exercise of its jurisdiction vested under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the judgement said. These are matters to be examined by experts and specialised bodies. It is always better to leave such matters to be determined by the expert bodies at least at the first instance and the facts and circumstances of the present case do not justify interference by this Court and in any case at this stage of the proceedings.
Satisfying respondents
Nothing prevents the petitioners (NCDEX) from satisfying the respondents (FMC) that the circular issued by it is valid and that the apprehensions expressed by are ill founded. We also have no doubt that the authorities (FMC) concerned shall consider all such objections objectively, in the larger public interest and with due regard to commercial principles put forth by the petitioners (NCDEX) in the explanation dated January 28.

No tax on imported services before Apr ’06
7 Feb 2009, 0211 hrs IST, Ram Narsinghdev Sahgal, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: In what could well be a first definitive judgement by a high court on the issue of service tax on imported services, the Bombay High Court has held that service recipients residing in India were not liable to pay service tax on services rendered by a non-resident service provider prior to April 18, 2006. The ruling was recently delivered in a dispute between the Indian National Shipowners’ Association (INSA) and Union of India. INSA’s claim hinged on the fact that up to April 2006, the government had not extended the service tax legislation beyond the jurisdiction of India despite frequent amendments to the Finance Act, 1994, which provides for the levy of service tax. INSA was represented by tax law firm Economic Laws Practice (ELP). The INSA members, who are owners of Indian vessels, were asked to pay service tax from March 2002, when the reverse charge mechanism for collecting service tax from residents was introduced. INSA contended that services to member vessels were rendered outside India and thus fell beyond the jurisdiction of the Finance Act. In April 2006, the government amended the Finance Act to extend the service tax to anyone receiving services from outside the country. As per the new provision, Section 66-A, services provided by anyone from outside to an individual in India would be deemed as services provided by the recipient in India in case the service qualifies as being imported into India. And the service recipients were liable to pay service tax on such services. Further, the Taxation of Services (provided from outside India and received in India) Rules, 2006 (Import Rules), were introduced with effect from April 19, 2006, to determine whether a service qualified as being imported into India based on the prescribed criteria for taxable service categories. The HC observed that before the enactment of Section 66-A, there was no authority vested by law in the respondents — including the Union of India and Central Board of Excise & Customs — to levy service tax on a person residing in India, but receiving services outside. “In other words, it is only after the enactment of Section 66-A that taxable services received from abroad by a person belonging to India are taxed in the hands of the Indian residents. In such cases, the Indian recipient of the taxable services is deemed to be a service provider,” the HC noted in its judgement. The court restrained the respondents from levying service tax on INSA members from March 1, 2002, to April 17, 2006, “in relation to services received by vessels and ships belonging to the members of the petitioners association (INSA) outside India, from persons who are non-resident.” The services received by shipowners outside India include custom house agents services, steamer agents services, cargo-handling services, maintenance and repair services, banking and other financial services, and telegraph services. “The INSA judgement puts to rest the old controversy in relation to applicability of tax on services rendered outside India by a foreign resident to an Indian resident prior to April 2006. After April 2006, the Indian service recipients would have to pay service tax on the services provided by foreign residents on services received in India,” said Uday Pimprikar of Ernst & Young. “The detailed HC judgement will lead to a positive resolution of pending disputes involving substantial tax amounts in relation to imported services,” said Rohit Jain of ELP.

State govt set to regularise 100,000 hutments

BS Reporter / Mumbai February 07, 2009, 0:56 IST
The Congress-NCP government in the state is set to fulfil a major promise it had made before the 2004 Assembly polls — regularising more than 100,000 illegal hutments that came up between 1995 and 2000.
The decision was taken yesterday at a Congress-NCP meeting that was attended by MLAs, MPs, corporators in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, said Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) chief Kripa Shankar Singh.
The alliance had made this promise before the 2004 elections. However, the state government restrained itself from taking any decision as it had wide ramifications. Besides, a public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Bombay High Court on this issue.
But as the Lok Sabha polls approached, the Shiv Sena and the BJP started targeting the government on the issue. Singh today said Chavan and Bhujbal assured that an ordinance to regularise the slums would be passed within seven days.
Replying to a question, Singh said although a PIL had been filed, the court had not prohibited the state government from bringing an ordinance or amending the law giving protection to slums up to 1995.
Though Labour Minister and MLA from Mumbai, Nawab Malik, confirmed that Chavan and Bhujbal gave such an assurance, the chief minister’s office and officials of the housing and urban development ministry refused to confirm or deny this.

HC serves notice to MP govt on eviction drive in Singrauli
Published: February 7,2009

Jabalpur , Feb 6 Madhya Pradesh High Court today served notice to the state government asking it to clarify on the alleged eviction of farmers from their land in Singrauli district to give way to an upcoming thermal plant.
Hearing a PIL on the matter, a division Bench of Chief Justice A K Patnaik and Justice Ajeet Singh directed the state government and others concerned to file their replies in four weeks&apostime regarding the land acquisition for the upcoming Essar group thermal power station.
Petitioners Vansmani Prasad Verma, former MP Minister and Congress leader, and Upendra Pandey had filed the PIL alleging that the state government had forcibly acquired the land of the farmers last month without proper compensation and demanded a judicial probe into the incident.
The PIL also demanded withdrawal of forces from the villages, including Bandhoura and withdrawal of criminal cases against 204 ousted farmers, and bring an end to the alleged torture and harassment of the farmers.
State government counsel Vijay Shukla told the court that the state had acquired 79 hectares of land belonging to it and was demolishing illegal structures on it. He denied charges that the farmers had been forcibly driven out of their land.
Source: PTI

Dying for a living

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara
In most developed countries, manhole workers are provided bunny suits and respiratory apparatus. In Hong Kong, a sewer worker needs to have 15 licences in order to enter a manhole. In India, conservancy workers – mostly from the balmiki subcaste of dalits — go in almost naked. The mortality rate amongst them is appallingly high
Every morning in newspapers all across the country, a small news item routinely appears: ‘Sweeper dies in manhole’, or ‘Sewerage worker drowns in septic tank’. The story is given a different headline every day, as the journalists play with words. Most readers do not bother to read the item, which is often just an official report stating the bald facts. I too was guilty of skimming over the items for many years of my life.
Then, in 1998, whilst writing the book Endless Filth, on manual scavenging, the news items came to life when I visited the home of one such casualty, a young Gujarati boy called Hasmukhbhai, in Wadhwan, Gujarat. Barely 19 years of age, Hasmukh died in a manhole. He had recently celebrated the fact that he’d bagged his first contract — to clean a septic tank for the princely sum of Rs 300. He bought breakfast for friends who were helping him, for Rs 50. He would have to pay them Rs 50 each for the work he’d done. That left Rs 100 for him. He hoped to wheedle an extra Rs 100 from the owner, if the job went smoothly.
The day started well. At 19, Hasmukh was the oldest and in charge. His 16-year-old helpers stood aside as he opened up the manhole cover and waited for the gas to escape. Then the bucket slipped out of his hand and disappeared into the hole. Cursing, Hasmukh bent down, groping about for the bucket. The gas rushed up and he fell inside, unconscious. He never even knew what hit him. It was half-an-hour before he was hauled out with a rope. It was too late. Hasmukh was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. His family will never know if he died choking on the gas, or drowned in liquid shit.
Hasmukh’s story made me think about the issue seriously, for the first time. Drowning in liquid shit is what happens to at least 22,327 sanitation workers every year. All belong to the balmiki community.
Human beings shrink from any contact with faecal matter. We are paranoid about stepping on shit even accidentally, with our shoes on. If it does happen, we rush to wash the offending substance off the soles of our shoes. Can we even begin to comprehend the experience that thousands of balmiki men go through every day of their lives?
According to a 2002 report prepared by the International Dalit Solidarity Network — which includes Human Rights Watch (United States), Navsarjan Trust (Ahmedabad, Gujarat), and the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, the government estimates that there are 1 million dalit manual scavengers in India.
I was sensitised to a degree, and began seeing sanitation workers more clearly, observing them closely and talking to them. Yet, even after interviewing Hasmukh’s family, the full impact of the daily grind of the sanitation worker — the full horror of his existence — did not strike me. It took a gut-wrenching interview by S Anand in the magazine Tehelka to graphically bring home the reality. Anand explains: “Entering the narrow, dark drain, the worker pushes his only weapon, the khapchi — a spliced bamboo stick — to dislodge the block. This exercise could take hours. ‘Holding our breath, closing our eyes, we plunge headlong. We feel our way, poking with the khapchi,’ says Sateesh. It is then that a sudden blast of putrid sludge — besides methane, hydrogen sulphide, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide — assaults the person. ‘Even if we manage not to swallow the toxic muck, it manages to enter our bodies.’ Odourless and colourless, the carbon gases can cause suffocation. The scene is documented in the Drishti film Lesser Humans. The film makes the viewer recoil in horror and was considered too horrible for American audiences to watch.”
If the worker survives the initial ordeal, he crouches inside and loads the sludge into a leaky metal bucket or wicker basket for his team to haul out. Depending on the clog, the entire operation could take up to 48 hours. “We often work after midnight. When people sleep, the flow in the sewers is less, and our work does not disturb road-users,” says Sateesh.
Among sewer workers, there’s a category called ‘divers’, whose brief is to ‘swim’ through the large pipelines, find the blocks, and clear them.
Ashish Mittal, an occupational health physician who co-authored ‘Hole to Hell’, a 2005 study of sewer workers by the Centre for Education and Communication (CEC), New Delhi, says: “A manhole is a confined, oxygen-deficient space where the presence of noxious gases can cause syncope — a sudden and transient loss of consciousness owing to brief cessation of cerebral blood flow. The brain cannot tolerate even a brief deprivation of oxygen. The long-term neurological effects of syncope can be debilitating.”
In most developed countries, manhole workers are protected by bunny suits to avoid contact with the contaminated water. They also sport respiratory apparatus. The sewers are well lit, mechanically aerated with huge fans and therefore not so oxygen-deficient. In Hong Kong, a sewer worker, after adequate training, needs to have at least 15 licences and permits in order to enter a manhole. In India, our sanitation workers go in almost naked, wearing just a lungot (loincloth) or briefs. In Delhi, in accordance with the directives of the National Human Rights Commission in October 2002, most permanent workers of the DJB wear a ‘safety belt’. This belt that connects workers in the manhole, via thick ropes, to men standing outside offers no protection against the gases and sharp objects that assault them. It’s a cruel joke; at best it helps haul them out should they lose consciousness or die inside the hole. The CEC study of 200 DJB manhole workers found that 92.5% of workers wore the safety belt. But this did not prevent 91.5% of them suffering injuries, and 80% suffering eye infections.
Manual scavengers are exposed to the most virulent forms of viral and bacterial infections that affect the skin, eyes, limbs, respiratory and gastro-intestinal systems. Reports show that tuberculosis is rife among the community.
The CEC survey found that diseases like leptospirosis, viral hepatitis and typhoid are common. “During the course of our six-month study, three of the 200 workers died,” recalls Mittal.
Alcoholism takes its toll on more than just the health of the sanitation worker. Apart from bringing on an early death, it wreaks havoc on his family. Every balmiki basti witnesses the inevitable spiral of alcohol-related violence and poverty as a sizeable part of the men’s income disappears into the liquor shops.
Sanitation workers are at the very bottom of the social pyramid; even other dalits consider them untouchable. The only people on whom they can vent their frustration and generations of pent-up anger are women and children.
Most men in the community die young; indeed, the average lifespan of a sanitation worker is 45 years. The civic body does not offer any monetary compensation to these workers for illness or death due to occupational risks, unless the worker actually dies inside a manhole, In Delhi, permanent workers get a monthly ‘risk allowance’ of Rs 50. In some states, the figure rises to Rs 200.
In a tragic farce, sanitation workers often unionise to fight for the right to keep their jobs. With privatisation, they could lose the little security that government employment offers. So they fight for the right to die in their manholes, for this privilege to be theirs alone. They demand reservation for their sub-caste to keep these jobs. It would be interesting to find out if the men who drive the little floor-cleaning vehicles at the Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore airports are from the balmiki community. I doubt it: once jobs are upgraded they are passed on to people from the dominant castes.
In every balmiki basti, there is a recurring story. The story of the man who dies on duty, drowned in liquid shit or asphyxiated as he opens up a manhole cover. The family is desolate. The municipal corporation or civic body responsible for employing the dead sanitation worker offers, by way of solace and in a gesture of enormous magnanimity, the ultimate consolation prize — the dead man’s job. A few days after the funeral, the son proceeds to take his father’s place. He knows that the smallest slip could land him in the same hellhole that swallowed up his father. But it’s all part of the life of the sanitation worker.

Death rate for conservancy workers
Ahmedabad NGO Kamdar Swasthya Suraksha Mandal believes that at a conservative estimate, there could be over 1,000 manhole worker deaths per year across India. Santosh Choudhary, chairperson of the National Commission of Safai Karamcharis (NCSK), told Tehelka that at least “two to three workers must be dying every day inside manholes across India.” Another Ahmedabad NGO, Manav Garima, led by balmiki activist Parshottam Vaghela, has documented the deaths of 145 manhole workers in seven years in the municipalities of Vadodara, Surat and Ahmedabad.
According to data obtained in Mumbai under the RTI Act, 2,039 safai karamcharis (SKs) died between 1996 and 2006 in 14 of the city’s 24 civic wards. Projected to all 24 wards in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the figure stands at 3,495 deaths over 10 years in the city with a population of 13 million. At 350 deaths per year from among 22,000 permanent sanitation workers in the BMC, the mortality rate (MR) is 16 for every 1,000 SKs. Says demographer Leela Visaria, former director of the Gujarat Institute of Development Research, “The death rate for urban Indians aged 15-59 years is 3 per 1,000 population. This gives you an indication about the deplorable health status of the Safai Karamcharis.”
In neighbouring Pune, there were 227 deaths between October 2005 and September 2007 for a population of 4.4 million. In the four metros, there are 1,07,400 SKs serving a population of 36 million. At an MR of 16, at least 1,718 of these workers are dying every year. For the urban population of 286 million, assuming there are 2,000 SKs per million, conservatively there must be 5,72,000 SKs servicing urban India. At an MR of 16, a minimum of 9,152 of them must be dying in our cities every year. Officially, India has 6.76 lakh manual scavengers — those who dispose human excreta with their bare hands — working in 96 lakh dry latrines. The Planning Commission sub-group on SKs says, “Independent estimates indicate that there could be about 12 lakh manual scavengers.” For these 12 lakh manual scavengers, if we assume a reduced, conservative MR of 8 per 1,000 workers, we arrive at 9,600 deaths per year.
With 5,500 permanent and 1,500 temporary beldars engaged in sewer work for Delhi’s 14 million population, there are 500 sewer workers per million general population. India’s 286 million urban population must be served by at least 1,43,000 sewer workers. Assuming a higher MR of 25 among this group, since their job is most hazardous, 3,575 sewer workers must be dying every year.
All this adds up to 22,327 deaths every year among a cross-section of sanitation workers. Visaria, who is on the advisory council of the Population Foundation of India, says Tehelka’s projections are “very conservative”.
–S Anand, with inputs from Shalini Singh in Mumbai
Reprinted from Tehelka Magazine, Vol 4, Issue 47, Dated Dec 08 , 2007

The beginnings of change
Occasionally, something happens to lift the gloom. Ananth Narayanan, an ordinary citizen (well, extraordinary really because he is not a professional social worker but a businessman with a physics background and a management degree from LIBA, Chennai) has moved a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Madras High Court against the Chennai Corporation that employs people to clean sewage drains manually without protective equipment. The PIL demands that the practice of human beings diving into sewers to manually clean them should be banned, and that machines should instead be employed to do the work.
When I asked Narayanan what motivated him, he replied: “I’ve reached the age of 44. I’m ashamed that I didn’t do something like this earlier. It is a disgrace to my state and my country that human beings have to suffer in this day and age when so much technology is available.”
Narayanan’s actions have had some effect in Chennai. He writes: “Based on the court order, I sent a letter and a reminder to the Secretary, Municipal Administration and Water Supply (MAWS), requesting strict enforcement and also seeking an appointment. I did not receive a reply. Obviously, the bureaucrats as well as the political powers have not taken kindly to my court case.
“I also organised a public demonstration in front of the authorities recently against the court violation. As such, on the ground, I can assure you there is visible compliance of the court order to a large extent, except for a few violations. But, attitudes are not going to change easily.
“But I want to tell you about a few initiatives I am taking. I wish likeminded friends would join these initiatives so that we bring about total, real and fundamental change. Unless we network and push for change, the powers-that-be will be content with only superficial work.
“I am, incidentally, filing a ‘contempt of court petition’ today in the Madras High Court for violation of the court order, making the secretary, MAWS and MD, Metrowater, respondents. The case may come up for hearing next week. This is just to keep up the pressure and keep the issue alive.
“IIT-Chennai had developed a machine for mechanised cleaning of sewer lines. I came to know that the government had not responded positively to this, so the project has been rusting for a long time. Probably they can make more money if they import these machines… Let us see if (the machine) can be made on a commercial scale suitable for the peculiar, poorly designed and hopeless sewerage lines in Indian cities and towns.”
“We can try to push some of the political parties to include total eradication of scavenging and also environmental methods of sewerage disposal as one of their common minimum programmes for the coming Lok Sabha elections. At the Tamil Nadu level, I am working to ensure that at least a few of the parties include this issue in their election manifesto.”
It’s heartening to see that persistence pays. The change may be slow and incremental, but when it comes it will make a huge difference to the lives of these people.
InfoChange News & Features, February 2009

Bihar :Striking employees could get the boot now.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
The Bihar government, toughening its stand against the striking state government employees, announced to terminate services of about 3.5 lakh employees.
“We have decided in principle to initiate the process of terminating the services of striking employee,” Amir Subhani, Secretary, Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department, said.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, refusing strikers’ demands had said, “Do we first work towards attending to the people’s suffering or pay attention to enhancing the facilities of government employees?”
Nearly, 3.5 lakh government employees are on an indefinite strike since January seven demanding the implementation of the sixth pay commission’s recommendations including allowances.
Court intervention
Earlier, in the day, the state government submited before the Patna High Court that it will not hold negotiations with the associations of the striking employees until the stir is withdrawn.
“There will not be any negotiation with representatives of the employees until the strike is called off,” Advocate General P K Shahi told a division bench of the court comprising acting chief Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad and Justice Shyam Kishore Sharma which is hearing a PIL seeking termination of services of the agitating employees.
The court had on January 30 issued notices to the Bihar government and the three associations of employees, who are on an indefinite strike since January seven to demand in toto implementation of the 6th Pay Commission recommendations on the PIL filed by NGO ‘Jan Chowkidar’ that had termed the strike not only “illegal, but criminal activity”.
Source : Local Sources from Bihar at 12:33 PM

Gujarat HC to be first to implement model e-court in country
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat High Court is set to become the first court in the country to implement the model e-court project, synergising technology with the judicial process to reduce bottlenecks in the system.
The project, which will be implemented on a pilot basis from tomorrow, will provide tamperproof, authenticated audio-video recording of courtroom proceedings along with multipoint video conferencing facilities between the courtroom, central jail, police commissioner’s office and the forensic science laboratory.
The project will be first to put into practice at the City Civil and Sessions Court here. The Chief Justice of India Mr K G Balakrishnan will inaugurate the project tomorrow. “This is a unique project in the country and is being implemented for the fir st time by the Gujarat High Court,” Gujarat H C Registrar General Mr P P Bhatt said on Saturday.
“This is an initiative by the Central government to make the judicial process more transparent, remove the bottlenecks and making the justice delivery speedier,” Mr Bhatt said. – PTI

HC okays land acquisition for railway bridge
7 Feb 2009, 0127 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: Giving a green signal to the acquisition of residential lands for the construction of an overbridge and subway at Korukkupet in North Chennai, the Madras high court has dismissed the writ appeals filed by three residents whose lands had been identified for takeover. The first bench comprising acting Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice V Dhanapalan, while rejecting the appeals of K Rajesh, N Abdul Bakhid and K Jayaprakash on Thursday, said the railway bridge was for a public purpose and that the court could not sit on appeal over expert opinions. The administrative sanction for the project was granted by the government in December 2007 and the authorities had asked the residents whose lands were being acquired to appear in person in May 2008 with land and building details. The government had also invoked the emergency provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, and dispensed with the requirement of inviting objections. Assailing the move, the residents said there was no need to invoke the emergency clause. They wanted the project’s alignment altered. Rejecting the pleas, the judges said the project had been taken up to ease congestion and pollution in the area. They said there was no infirmity on the part of the authorities and added that the lands were being acquired for a public purpose, that too after obtaining expert opinions. “The appellants (residents) have no right to to ask for a diverted route, when the acquisition is meant for a particular public purpose. This court cannot sit on appeal over the expert opinion and the appellants have no manner of right also to question as to what would be the appropriate line of project,” said the bench.

Shiv Vada Pav: BMC law panel clears scheme
8 Feb 2009, 0337 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The BMC law committee on Saturday passed the Shiv Vada Pav scheme, putting to rest doubts that the proposal was in violation of Supreme Court orders. Civic chief Jairaj Phatak had said on Friday that the handcarts that would be provided to vendors to sell vada pav would not obstruct movement on footpaths and roads. The scheme, on the lines of Zunka Bhakar kendras, was conceptualised by the Shiv Sena. The Zunka Bhakar kendras ran into trouble as they were obstructing people’s movement. This would be taken care of in the new scheme, Phatak said. The BMC has proposed to set up 215 Annadatta Aahar kendras and give out 125 handcarts under the scheme.

Saji Mohan sent to judicial custody
8 Feb 2009, 0332 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: A magistrate’s court on Saturday sent arrested IPS officer Saji Mohan to judicial custody until February 20. Mohan was picked up by the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) on January 24 allegedly in possession of 12 kg of heroin. The police say that Mohan had siphoned off the contraband from the narcotics that were seized during his tenure as the zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) at Chandigarh. Mohan has already spent two weeks in police custody and will now be kept at the city’s Arthur Road jail which plays host to scores of drug dealers arrested by law enforcement agencies. He finds himself at the receiving end of the stringent Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act under which it is difficult to get bail. The other two accused in the case-Vicky Oberoi and police constable Rajesh Kumar-are also in judicial custody. They were arrested on January 17 and it was based on their information that Mohan was caught.

Hijack scare: Court rejects bail application of accused
8 Feb 2009, 0142 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: A city court rejected the bail plea of a chartered accountant arrested for allegedly creating a hijack scare onboard an Indigo aircraft on Saturday. Additional chief metropolitan magistrate Rajesh Kumar Goel dismissed the bail application of Jitendra Kumar Mohla on the ground that the offence committed by him was serious. Also, the investigation into the case was at an initial stage. “So no case for bail is made out.” Senior advocate H S Phoolka on Friday had appeared for the CA and sought his release claiming that he was being made a scapegoat by the police. Mohla, 42, has been booked under Section 3(1)(d) of the Suppression of Unlawful Act Against Safety Of Civil Aviation Act, which concerns communicating information knowing to be false so as to endanger the safety of an aircraft in flight, carrying life term as the maximum sentence, besides being slapped with various provisions of the IPC. The prosecution had opposed the bail application saying Mohla had created a situation of havoc by his unruly behaviour by giving threatening information to the crew members. “At this stage, it can’t be held that there are reasonable grounds that the accused has not committed which has been alleged by the offence,” the ACMM then concluded in his order, rejecting his bail plea. The court then remanded the case to a sessions court for trial purpose. Earlier, Phoolka had argued it was the “immature behaviour” of the cabin crew that turned a simple altercation into a fake hijack story, saying his client was not to be blamed. Seeking bail for Mohla, who was arrested by the police on February 2 from the IGI airport for causing panic in a flight by allegedly calling himself a hijacker, his lawyer claimed the accused had been falsely implicated in the case and it was the airline which cooked up the whole hijack story to cover up their lapses. The cops maintained that investigations of the case were at initial stage and the accused might influence the witnesses once he is out of jail.

Lawyers create ruckus at bank, thrash guard
8 Feb 2009, 0139 hrs IST, TNN
GHAZIABAD: Around 6 locals, including lawyers, on Saturday afternoon, forced their way into a State Bank of India extension counter, situated in the district collectorate premises, and injured its guard before firing in the air with his gun, and smashing it. They also damaged the bank’s furniture before leaving. According to a police official, “Some people, including lawyers, had come to the SBI extension counter at 1.15 pm after it had closed for the day. When the bank guard, Jagat, objected to their entry, they forced their way in. They snatched his gun, fired into the bank’s ceiling, and then beat the guard with it. They also beat him with the legs of some chairs they had smashed. They left the guard unconscious and profusely bleeding.” As the counter is located in the collectorate, the police arrived very soon. The guard was rushed to a hospital and was admitted in the intensive care unit. Even as the city police chief, Anant Dev, confirmed that some lawyers were involved in the violence, an official of the bar claimed that “lawyers could never be involved in such an incident.” The matter is being investigated.

Apex court should clear jurisdiction of Vikas Yadav’s plea
8 Feb 2009, 1707 hrs IST, IANS
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has asked the city police to get the Supreme Court to clear the confusion over who should be the prosecuting agency to oppose the bail plea of Vikas Yadav, convicted in the murder of Nitish Katara in 2002. A division bench comprising Justice BD Ahmed and Justice VB Gupta had earlier this week asked Delhi Police to get within four weeks the necessary directions from the apex court as to who will oppose the bail plea in the court. It slated the matter for hearing March 3 when the court will start hearing arguments over Vikas Yadav’s bail plea. Vikas had last year moved the High Court challenging his conviction by a Delhi trial court after the Supreme Court rejected his petition seeking permission to file an appeal in any high court barring the Delhi High Court. Vikas’s appeal in the trial court was opposed by Delhi Police as well as Uttar Pradesh police so the Delhi High Court this time wanted it to clear the confusion over jurisdiction. Vikas Yadav, son of former lawmaker DP Yadav, and his cousin Vishal Yadav were convicted by the Patiala House court for Nitish Katara’s murder and were sentenced to life imprisonment. Vikas and Vishal resented Nitish’s relationship with their sister Bharti. Katara was kidnapped and murdered after he attended a wedding in Ghaziabad Feb 16, 2002. His half burnt body was found in a village in Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh. On a plea by Katara’s mother Neelam Katara, who apprehended that Vikas’ father was interfering with the probe and trial in Ghaziabad, the Supreme Court had shifted the trial to the Patiala House court. Vikas had moved the Allahabad High Court challenging his conviction and sentence. But the court had refused to hear it, saying it was not entitled to hear the appeal against a judgement delivered by a trial court in Delhi. The Allahabad High Court said the right forum to challenge a Delhi trial court’s ruling is the Delhi High Court itself.

HC quashes DDA to recover 89K
8 Feb 2009, 1125 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: Coming to the rescue of a disabled contractor, the Delhi High Court has quashed a notice served on him by DDA for recovery of Rs 89,000 claiming that it paid him excess money for the construction of a community hall here 18 years ago. Justice S Muralidhar allowed a petition filed by Suraj Verma, who suffered locomotor disability (paralysis neck down), and set aside an order passed by the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) asking Verma to repay the excess payment of Rs 89,000. Verma was assigned with the work of construction of a DDA’s community hall and shopping centre in 1991. In a recent order, the court accepted the submissions and counter claim made by Verma’s counsel Kailash Pandey that after completion of the construction in 1994, the DDA withheld his due money of more than Rs one lakh. According to Verma, he had accepted the tender at total cost of about Rs 10 lakh but till the time of completion of work the cost escalated to Rs 19 lakh due to increasing prices of construction materials.

Lawyers come to lovers’ aid
8 Feb 2009, 0257 hrs IST, TNN
Chitradurga : While Pramod Mutalik and his SRS brigade are working overtime to stifle expressions of love, a group of young lawyers plans to launch a forum to provide institutional support to lovers abandoned by their families. It’ll be inaugurated, quite appropriately, on Valentine’s Day. The love marriage bureau, perhaps the first in the country, will launch its website. Young men and women who want to marry can register there, and lawyers will help them get married. Many young lovers don’t get family support, especially if they choose partners from a different caste. “We want to intervene in such cases,” said bureau coordinator Gounalli Govindaiah. His friends, mostly lawyers and writers, will help them get married and set up home. They don’t plan to collect service fee. A discussion on love and marriage will be organized on Valentines’ Day in Chitradurga. Writer Banjagere Jayaprakash will inaugurate the bureau and speak on moral policing.

Chennai gets first lesbian helpline
8 Feb 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: Chennai, and the rest of India, got its first dedicated lesbian helpline (044-65515742) on Saturday.
The service was born out of a growing need to address issues related to lesbians who face tremendous social stigma, the Indian Community Welfare Organisation (ICWO), which launched the service said. ActionAid, a service organisation, will provide technical expertise by training the counsellors in counselling. The case of Radha (28), who was present at the launch, and her lesbian partner, demonstrates the need for such a helpline. They wanted to end their lives because they couldn’t live together. “We suffered a lot as we didn’t get support or counselling 10 years ago. Today’s lesbians will benefit from the helpline,” says Radha, who ran away from her home in Kerala 13 years ago because her parents wanted to get her married. ICWO is a service organisation working in the field of STD/HIV/AIDS prevention among high-risk groups. “We have been working with homosexual men for 10 years. During this period, we have often got queries from lesbians. The helpline has been started to register their queries and provide guidance and support. And when we received news about a lesbian couple committing suicide last year, we thought it was time to act,” said ICWO founder secretary A J Hariharan. The helpline is aimed at stopping violence, ill-treatment and stigma of and discrimination against lesbians, identify and refer need-based referral services, provide counselling services, deal with suicide tendency among members of the community and refer livelihood opportunities to them. Two counsellors are available at the helpline now. ICWO expects to get lesbians as volunteers to handle the helpline and also form support groups. ICWO is also planning advocacy and capacity building for the lesbian community by identifying collaborating agencies. The service can be accessed by dialling 044-65515742 between 9 am and 6 pm on all working days. Posters and stickers providing information about the helpline were released on the occasion. ActionAid India regional manager Amar Jyoti Nayak said, “The lesbian movement is big in many countries, but here the community is still stigmatised. We want to highlight the issue of sexual minorities because they often suffer from violation of rights in society.”

Jurists rue incidents of lawyers assaulting litigants, cops
8 Feb 2009, 0000 hrs IST, A Subramani, TNN
CHENNAI: The sharp rise in campus excesses by lawyers, who take law in their own hands and assault litigants and police personnel, has worried judges and jurists alike. Friday’s assault on 25-year-old Gayathri, who had come to the Madras high court premises in connection with a family court proceeding but embroiled in a quarrel with her husband’s lawyer and hit him with her slippers, is the latest in a series of such incidents. “Whatever be the provocation, if Gayathri was wrong in slapping the lawyer with her slippers, the group of advocates who bashed her up in public and dragged her to the nearby police station by her hair too are equally guilty,” said a woman advocate who was witness to the episode. Advocate and rights activist Sudha Ramalingam said: “Advocates are becoming restless. First we should realise that there are no winners or losers in a family court case. It is a loss for a family once a couple, which had lived together, approach the court for separation. Unlike adversarial litigation in other courts, passion and emotions run high here. Therefore, advocates need to handle litigants with care and caution.” Sudha Ramalingam also blamed the ineffective legal aid system for such behaviour on the part of advocates. “Advocates want to be seen, and they think participating in such incidents or being part of a forum would ensure their visibility. The attitude will change for the better if our legal aid system entrusts cases to lawyers for decent emoluments,” she said. Geetha Ramaseshan, advocate and former special public prosecutor for CBI cases, said a minuscule group of lawyers alone indulge in such “disgusting and most unfortunate” activities. “The campus has witnessed similar incidents in the past. Incidents like this, however, do not reflect the conduct of a majority of advocates,” she said. “I do not want to justify Gayathri’s action. But, given the position we occupy, advocates could use the system in a much better way than merely retaliating physically,” Geetha Ramaseshan added. R C Paul Kanagaraj, president of the Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA), said litigants are not aware of the consequences of their belligerent behaviour in courts. “Litigants treat advocates appearing for their opponents as rivals, without realising the fact that we are merely doing our duty. Better police vigil and a dose of counselling can avoid such incidents,” he said. It, certainly, is not a one-off incident. A few weeks ago, a head constable who attempted to nab a white collar offender was thrashed by lawyers, who thought an advocate was being arrested. Not long ago, a youth who had come to attend a family court case was thrashed black and blue by a group of advocates. The well-built youth all along tried to run towards the police station, but collapsed a few metres away, even as his mother kept wailing for help. Ironically, the youth and his mother were later booked for “assaulting” a lawyer, arrested and remanded in judicial custody. Last year, an inspector of police, who was involved in a fracas with advocates in Mettur, was attacked right inside the public prosecutor’s office in the high court premises. Even last week, policemen on duty at a court entrance were manhandled by advocates who were boycotting courts. Police personnel walked off security duty, only to return after the acting chief justice and other senior judges met the commissioner and additional commissioner of Chennai. A string of similar excesses, including an attack on a magistrate, climaxed with the murder of a practising advocate at Egmore magistrate court complex. The George Town magistrate complex too saw an attack on a woman magistrate recently.

Edu loans not to based on parents’ capacity to repay: HC
8 Feb 2009, 0002 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: If banks insist on the repayment capacity of parents and deny educational loans to students, it would defeat the very object of the government’s welfare scheme, the Madras high court has said. Directing the Tirupattur branch of the State Bank of India to extend an educational loan to M Rajeswari, who scored 1,075 marks in the Plus Two examination and got admission in an engineering college in Chennai, Justice K Suguna said that the government had taken a policy decision to extend loans up to Rs 4 lakh without any security. “This is the policy of the government…it will mean that the government is willing to advance loans to poor students with an intention that they should not be denied their higher education on the ground of lack of finance…” Rajeswari filed the writ petition, stating that she required Rs 3.3 lakh towards tuition fees and hostel fees for the entire course period. When she approached the bank, it rejected her plea in November 2008 stating that her grandfather had defaulted on a tractor loan taken from the bank for which her father stood surety. Hence, it said, Rajeswarai was not eligible for the loan. Justice Suguna, not convinced with the bank’s stand, said the object of the educational loan scheme was to ensure that poor students pursued higher education without any financial hindrance. Wondering as to how Rajeswari could be penalised for the default of her grandfather, the judge said the unpaid balance of her grandfather’s loan was only Rs 80,000, which amounted to about Rs 2 lakh now. The bank was in possession of a two-ground land furnished as surety for the earlier loan, she said. However, as a measure of protection for the educational loan, she asked Rajeswari to furnish an affidavit stating that she would clear the loan within three years from the date of securing a job. Till then, the bank could retain the land document. The loan should be sanctioned within two weeks of Rajeswari giving the undertaking, the judge ruled.

HC issues notice to UP govt
8 Feb 2009, 0301 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : Gujarat High Court has issued notice to Uttar Pradesh state government, asking it to explain the issue of non-payment of Rs 17 crore to the Kandla Port Trust. The KPT trustees board moved HC after the Pradeshiya Industrial and Investment Corporation of UP Ltd (PIICUP), an agency for financing industries in UP, failed to repay the value of bonds worth Rs 7 crore as well as interest amount of Rs 9 crore. Justice KA Puj has asked the corporation and the government to file their reply by February 27, when further hearing in the case is scheduled. In 2001, PIICUP, which is also assisting the UP state in divestment process, raised Rs 75 crore for the purpose of financing the corporations on the ongoing lending operations and retiring high cost debts. The coupon rate was offered at 13.75 per cent per annum. Bonds in the nature of promissory notes were offered for tenure of seven years, and all the bonds were issued at a face value of Rs 1 lakh. PIICUP approached KPT, and the latter applied for 700 bonds for a total value of Rs 7 crore. They invested this amount from the provident fund account. KPT in its petition has claimed that the bonds were issued by PIICUP with call and put option at the end of four years and 11 months. After end of this time limit, KPT sought the amount back with interest of 13.75 per cent as guaranteed by UP agency in 2004. However, the PIICUP didn’t pay the money back till 2008, and ultimately expressed inability to furnish the amount of Rs 16 crore as claimed by KPT on pretext of heavy losses to the tune of SR 407 crore. This led KPT to move the High Court through advocate DD Vyas seeking direction to the UP government and the finance agency to repay the money with due interest.

E-courts will chain prisoners more tightly
8 Feb 2009, 0300 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : Setting up of the model e-court by Gujarat judiciary for the first time in India will prevent undertrials from stepping out of jail to be produced before the court. After curbing prisoners’ trips to Civil Hospital, the beginning of e-court in the city through advanced video conferencing (VC) facility in different city courts connected with Sabarmati Central Jail will take off the police’s burden to bring the prisoners in court for regular production and trial. Till date, the VC facility used to connect the Bhadra court with the Central jail only and there was just one unit functioning. But now, three studios are being created in jail, and three courts are to be equipped with VC facility. Out of them, one is ready and the Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan will inaugurate it on Sunday. This court has multi-point VC facility, connecting it to the jail, the police commissioner office, the district collectorate as well as the Forensic Science Laboratory. Moreover, this court will soon be connected with other centres as well as other states, curtailing the elaborate and time consuming exercise of serving summons and bringing witnesses to courtroom. Talking to media persons on Saturday, joint commissioner of police HP Singh said that with the execution of VC facility, 300 policemen will be spared everyday. “We have to engage a huge force in ferrying prisoners between jail and court everyday. With this e-court facility, we will be saving 2,400 man-hours daily. This would result in an increased strength for us,” the cop said. The IG prison Keshav Kumar termed it an important advancement from the view of security. “Everyday, nearly 200 to 250 prisoners are taken to court daily from the Sabarmati jail only. If this practice is stopped by the VC facility, it would enhance the security of the jail premise too,” he said.

SIT to move HC against Maya, Jaideep bail
8 Feb 2009, 0302 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the post-Godhra riots will move Gujarat High Court against the sessions court’s decision of granting bail to minister of state for women, child welfare and higher education, Mayaben Kodnani and Jaideep Patel in Naroda riots case. Senior officials some of the paperwork was overlooked while granting the bail. According to sources, the SIT had appeared before the sessions court on Friday where, on the basis of their track record, the sessions judge granted bail to state minister and former VHP leader in the case. “However, we believe that the case is strong against them. We wanted to question the duo on certain aspects of the case. Moreover, their statements have been recorded earlier. We want to bring these facts to the court in the case. We are preparing groundwork for it,” said a source in SIT. Witnesses in Naroda gaam as well as Naroda Patia massacre cases have named the minister and the senior VHP functionary in their statements last year. However, SIT did not name these two as accused in the supplementary chargesheet filed in December last year and investigation against them began a day after filing of the report.

Setalvad to move SC next week
7 Feb 2009, 2353 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: Noted human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, on Saturday, announced her decision to approach the Supreme Court (SC) to fight on behalf of the victims’ of violence against Christians in Orissa last year. “We will move the Apex Court for the victims of the Orissa violence sometime next week,” said Setalvad, speaking to reporters on sidelines of the 20th foundation day of Milun Saryajani’, a magazine devoted to women’s issues. “I have come here to stand in solidarity with regional magazines like Milun Saryajani’ as they represent the alternative media in India, which gives space to serious, issue-based journalism,” she said. The magazine, Setalvad felt was very much a part of alternative media in the country. She spoke about the coverage of the Mumbai terror attacks last November and several other problems the society has been fighting for decades in search of answers and solutions. Besides fighting for the rights of the oppressed and the wrongly-convicted, Setalvad has also been running her own magazine for the last 15 years. She has attempetd to to give a platform to serious socio-political issues through this initiative. “Our magazine fights fascist groups, and our approach towards covering these issues has matured over the years,” said Setalvad. Vidya Bal, editor Milun Saryajani’, said, ” Milun Saryajani’ started as a magazine for women to voice their concerns and problems. But over the years, we have expanded the scope of the magazine and today, it raises environmental issues, talks about nuclear weapons and various community-based problems.” Therefore, magazines like these have emerged to give a voice to serious issues that couldn’t find their rightful place in the mainstream media, feels Setalvad. “Magazines like these are emerging in all corners of the country, and they should. People should feel confident enough to write their own stories and convey them to the masses,” Setalvad said.

Citizens plead for pedestrians’ rights
8 Feb 2009, 0002 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: Roads are first for pedestrians and then for vehicles. If the very idea sounds alien, then it’s time to rethink the attitude towards pedestrians in the city. For nowhere else in the world is the traffic system so disdainful of those trying to cross the road. To that end, various citizen groups took out a protest march from the Pune Central mall on Ganeshkhind Road to University Chowk on Saturday. Participating groups included the Mohalla committees of ICS colony-Bhosalenagar and Model Colony, Pune Traffic and Transportation Forum, Janwani, Lokayat and Pedestrians First, among others. Explaining the backdrop of the protest march, Jayawantrao Mohite, president of the Model Colony Parisar Samiti underlined the chaos caused by the reconstruction of the much-touted Raj Bhavan Road under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Development Scheme, as a prime instance. “The traffic on this road has become an absolute nightmare. There are residential colonies on both sides of the Raj Bhavan and Ganeshkhind roads, but there is no overbridge or subway, or even a zebra crossing for people to cross from one side to another. What becomes of these people? Why was no thought given to this problem?” he questioned. “We have written to the ACP (traffic), and various ward officers several times, but they have not responded even once. There are two major malls and a theatre in the vicinity, this has worsened matters. We had suggested that the traffic opening at the corner of the Pune Central mall, on the Hare Krishna Mandir road, should be closed. This will smoothen the flow of traffic. Apart from this we need encroachment-free footpaths,” he said, adding, “Not to forget a system of road crossing either an overhead bridge or a subway or a zebra crossing.” Prashant Inamdar, another activist, added, “Our mission is to plead the case of pedestrians all over the city.” According to Satish Khot, president of the National Society for Clean Cities, “Across the world pedestrians are a priority, but that’s not the case here. Our argument is that citizens need to be involved in the planning process the BRTS scheme for instance, is a classic example of a good idea not working precisely because citizens weren’t involved.” Watching the proceedings keenly was Sharda Padwal, a resident of the Chapekharnagar basti in the vicinity. Pointing to the chaos in front of the Pune Central mall she said, “Matters have gone from bad to worse since the road work started. Accidents have increased, vehicles don’t allow us to cross, no matter what time of the day it is. Why, just a month ago, a woman from my basti lost the use of her legs trying to cross the road at 6 am. Is anybody listening to us?” Nilesh Kale, another activist, said that he had written to the PMC commissioner suggesting that it be made incumbent upon major malls and other commercial constructions to partly fund the infrastructural development in the area. “That’s how it’s done in the West,” he said.

Court show cause notice to DM, SSP
7 Feb 2009, 2200 hrs IST, TNN
KANPUR: Granting bail to an alleged accused of Gangster Act, the designated Gangster court of Kanpur nagar on Saturday issued notices to the district magistrate Etawah, SSP Etawah and in-charge Kotwali police Etawah and asked why a case of preparing a forged documents be not registered against them. The presiding judge DK Tewari in his notice said Etawah police had produced a gang chart of one Ram Gresh but produced one Pappu alias Ram Naresh, who after proper scrutiny of paper found fabricated. Pappu in his application urged that in the gang chart a criminal case was depicted in his name which was wrongly mentioned. The true facts was that he was a complainant in that case and he had lodged a complaint against Ram Gresh. The police after making an investigation filed a charge sheet in the name of Ram Naresh while name of accused was clearly mentioned in charge sheet as Ram Gresh. The presiding judge DK Tewari in his order observed that making a wrong entry in the gang chart. The entry was showing complainant as an accused. It appears that station officer Kotwali Etawah, SS and D M Etawah were ready to book the accused under Gangster Act. They even did not bother to check the cases mentioned in gangster chart whether they were true or false. The way accused was being depicted as criminal was wrong the truth was that he was not accused of that crime. The fabricated gang chart was before the court. Therefore a show cause notice to station officer Kotwali , SSP and DM Etawah was being issued that why action be not taken against them for preparing a forged documents.

Fudging marksheet? You are not a ‘420’: HC
8 Feb 2009, 0356 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: Persons caught fudging marksheets need not fear being branded a “420” any more. The Bombay HC ruled that the harsh provisions of Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code wouldn’t stick on anyone booked for altering the numbers on a marksheet. Section 420 deals with cheating and deceiving a person of property and is punishable with a maximum imprisonment of seven years. “420” has become synonymous with conmen in popular lexicon and has found its way to Bollywood movies and lyrics. The verdict came when Justice R C Chavan, at the Nagpur bench of the High Court, delved into the legality of booking a person caught for fudging the marksheet under Section 420. Additional public prosecutor P D Kothari cited Supreme Court judgments that said “property” in cheating cases meant both movable and immovable property and, in the case under discussion, the marksheet should be treated as “property” under law. The court didn’t agree and pointed out that the judgment concerned only shares, which was immovable property. “It (the definition of property under the Act) will have to be either movable or immovable property or property which is transferable, consumable or capable of being spent and not a marksheet which is non-transferable or non-expendable,” ruled Justice Chavan.

Unruly flyers may be handcuffed
8 Feb 2009, 0407 hrs IST, Saurabh Sinha, TNN
NEW DELHI: Unruly passengers on Indian flights might soon be handcuffed to their seats or tied up, if the government decides to adopt worldwide practices. After the February 1 hijack scare exposed the lack of stipulated measures to tackle such a situation, the government is laying down a stiff protocol to handle difficult flyers. “We all learn from experience. India will adopt the best practices in vogue in airline industry to ensure flight safety, including steps for controlling unruly passengers,” civil aviation minister Praful Patel said. Crew in foreign carriers are known to use plastic handcuffs and other devices to confine inebriated or violent passengers to their seats but it is not clear if India is ready for similar measures. “The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is framing guidelines for handling disruptive passengers. We will look at this framework along with other best practices abroad,” Nasim Zaidi, chief of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, said. The need for guidelines figured prominently at a review meeting called by cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar on Saturday to discuss last Sunday’s IndiGo hijack drama. The suspicious behaviour and alleged verbal threats of a passenger had led to fears that the IndiGo flight, 6E 334, was facing a hijack situation. “Air India routinely has passengers getting dead drunk on sectors such as Bangkok. Usually, the senior cabin crew tackle such passengers — in some cases, a couple of slaps help to get them under control. But now, the airhostesses and otherwise cabin crew need to be trained to handle such situations,” said a senior aviation ministry official. While the hijack scare was an extreme case, even in the recent past, planes have been forced to make emergency landings in order to offload disruptive passengers. Foreign airlines tie up such passengers so that they don’t endanger flight safety. “On an American Air flight some time back, a Sikh gentleman gave his turban to tie such a passenger as the airline was not carrying any handcuffs and the crew was looking for something,” said an airline official. Sources said the meeting, attended by secretaries in the ministries of home, defence, civil aviation and external affairs, saw emphasis on two factors — faster decision-making, a lapse highlighted during the hijack scare, as the plane’s doors opened over two hours after it made a safe landing; and training for crew to tackle difficult passengers. At present, three committees — one each at the affected airport, ministry headquarters and Cabinet Secretariat — are in place to take decisions in such situations. As evident last week, this leads to delays as the first step after any hijack alert is to gather officials to their respective committees.

SC raps Railways for hooliganism
8 Feb 2009, 1106 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: Rail passengers cannot be left at the mercy of burglars and hooligan; the Supreme Court has said rapping the Railways for its failure to protect the luggage of passengers, including those travelling in reserved air conditioned compartments which have attendants, from getting stolen. “We cannot leave the passengers at the mercy of hooligans who enter reserved compartments. We know how unauthorised passengers enter even reserved compartments in your trains,” a bench of Justices B N Aggrawal and G S Singhvi snapped at the Railways counsel Annapurnia. The counsel had taken the stand that theft of luggage as alleged by the woman passenger Pinki Gupta cannot be countenanced on the ground that unauthorised persons cannot enter a reserved compartment. She had contended that the passenger was apparently lying. However, the bench was not impressed with the argument and after making the stinging observation, dismissed the special leave petition filed by the South Western Railway officials challenging the compensation awarded by the district consumer forum, Bangalore, to the woman. Pinki, a resident of Bangalore had boarded the Bangalore Rajdhani Express on October 24, 2005 at Nizamuddin along with her two children aged six and three-and-half years respectively.

Telcom companies settling scores with rivals through PILs, says HC
8 Feb 2009, 2020 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has accused telecom companies of using the court as a platform for settling scores against rivals by prompting others to file PILs, challenging the government’s spectrum allocation and auctioning policy before it. “These are frivolous litigations. Private parties are behind theses litigations… Nothing (is going) to come out from such PILs. It’s a waste of time,” a bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah said, dismissing a PIL filed by an NGO, Society for Awareness and Development, challenging the auctioning policy. The Delhi High Court, which has been hearing various matters over allotment of 2G and auction of 3G spectrum by the Department of Telecom (DoT), said that such petitions are filed by business rivals in the telecom sector. Readily agreeing, Sanjay Hegde, counsel appearing for the government, submitted, “We do not even know who is behind these PILs. Pendency of these matters gives different kind of impression on the sector.” The court also said that similar litigations with almost same issues are also going to the telecom tribunal TDSAT. The court’s observation came during hearing over a petition filed by the NGO, which has challenged 3G allocation policy of DoT and its pricing. It said the DoT’s decision not to auction the whole spectrum in one go was arbitrary and it was done to benefit some companies.

Posted on February 8, 2009 by Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Equal treatment for all in the eyes of judiciary is the cardinal rule that guides jurisprudence.
Reports from Hyderabad show that a lower court there has made a farce of this rule in dealing with prisoners under trial, B Ramalinga Raju and his brother Rama Raju, facing criminal prosecution for fraud in Satyam accounts.
The court has reportedly issued orders on February 6 asking Hyderabad’s Chanchalguda prison authorities to treat them as special class prisoners on the basis of the local Collector’s report that they were used to a high lifestyle. They should be accorded with the same during their stay in the jail, the court has ordered.
All the hooligans and economic offenders in this country are used to high lifestyle and if courts use to issue such orders then only those should repent who have not yet been able to commit such high profile offences.
The Judiciary of this country must make every Indian know as to who has equipped it to allow selected number of under trial prisoners accused of fraud and breach of trust to enjoy their lives in jail matching their private lifestyle.
If any such law is present, anywhere in the country, the Apex Court should react on that and ensure that India does not become a sanctuary of criminals with the help of law that puts poor criminals in the hell of a jail while granting luxury to moneyed criminals in the same jail in stark contravention of the laws against discrimination.

Judiciary must come under RTI
Sunday, February 8, 2009
In a country where crime rate is increasing by leaps and bounds with each passing day, judiciary is the only last hope for downtrodden classes. In India judiciary is compared with God as it seperates deeds from misdeeds, gives impartial justice to all hence playing an important role in saving human rights. But how would you feel if i say that the seeds of corruption have percolated even in our judicial system. The prestige of our judicial system, once honoured for its unbiased decisions, is at stake now. Recent corruptions exposed in our judiciary has not only tarnished its image but also shook the faith that we had in our judicial system.Why should Judiciary come under RTI ?Recently Supreme court of India challenged the High court order stating judges to make their assets public. The Supreme court said that such things are not in public domain and cant be given to applicants under RTI act. Previously the judges used to declare their assets to Chief justice of India. However it is to be noted that such declaration of assets by the judges was purely based on trust. The CJI never used to cross verify and never made these declarations public. Aslo it should be noted that such declarations are not mandatory under law so the judges are not bound by law to to so.Lets have a look on recent happenings in judiciary.* The Chief Justice of India, KG Balakrishnan has recommended the removal of Calcutta HighCourt Judge, Justice Soumitra Sen under Art 217(1) of the Constitution of India for committing impropriety bringing disrepute to the high judicial office. Sen, as an Advocate committed misappropriation of Rs 33 1akhs received as receiver on behalf of Steel Authority of India and kept it in his personal saving bank account without court authority.* The second case now known as cash-at-Judge door relate to another High Court Judge ofPunjab and Haryana High Court. In this case a packet containing Rs 15 lakh meant for Justice Nirmal Yadav was mistakenly delivered at Justice Nirmaljeet Kaur’s residence.* The third case related to a Public Interest Litigation now being heard in the Supreme Court alleging misappropriation of Rs 23 crore of provident fund money of Grade IV employeesof Ghaziabad District court over a period of time involving 34 judges out of which one isnow a Supreme Court Judge, ten High Court Judges and 23 lower court Judges. The amount was siphoned off to purchase costly electrical gadgets, air-conditioners, refrigerators and even costly liquor.* In Rajasthan, some time back, there were reports of a judge who offered judicial favour inexchange for sexual favours from a litigant.So what does these incidents say? Nothing but a sorry state of our courts and judges. Keeping all these incidents in mind how can the chief justice of India say that judiciary should be an exception to RTI. If there has to be any exception then the issues related with national security should not come under RTI. Judiciary cant be an exception. With the recent corruption in judiciary it is the moral duty of judges(if they have any) to declare their assets in public and cross verification should happen. And all such things will turn reality only if they come under RTI. Apart from this we also need to have independent constitutional bodies for appointment and investigation of judges. And of course such bodies must be free from the influence of any political class.
Posted by shashank shekhar at 2:17 AM

Air India asked to pay Rs 1.4 lakh to woman for denying her seat
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Express News ServiceNew Delhi: Air India has been directed by the State Consumer Commission to pay Rs 1.4 lakh to a passenger for refusing to let her board a flight despite a confirmed ticket. Penalising the airlines for a “deficiency in service”, the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has asked Air India to not only refund Rs 40,000 towards the cost of the ticket, but also to pay Rs one lakh as compensation to the complainant Geetika Sachdeva, for not letting her board the plane and for delayed baggage delivery.In September 2002, Sachdeva had bought an open ticket through a travel agency on Air India’s Delhi-London-Toronto-London-Delhi flight. Two months later, when she informed Air India of her intention to travel from London to Delhi, she was told that her ticket was confirmed for London to Delhi.She then boarded an Air Canada flight from Toronto and reached London. But at the airport she was told that the validity of her ticket had expired and she could not board the plane. Sachdeva was travelling alone and did not have money to buy another ticket. After waiting for several hours at the airport, she met another Indian passenger, who had come from Chicago and had also been denied boarding on the same grounds. With his help, she purchased a ticket of Virgin Atlantic Airways and came to Delhi. Her baggage, however, was transported a week later by Air India, for which she was charged an additional sum of Rs 650.Air India, in its defence contended that the passenger had booked an open ticket for the Toronto-Delhi sector, which required prior confirmation before the commencement of journey and since she failed to do, so she could not be accommodated.The court observed that the consumer had intimated Air India’s counterpart at Toronto in advance about her plan to travel from London to Delhi and therefore the argument that there was no confirmation, did not hold.”The passenger was a young lady and travelled alone and therefore must have faced immense hardship when she was denied a seat,” Justice J D Kapoor, Commission President, said, adding that it was the “duty of the airline to make all possible arrangements” to accommodate Sachdeva on its flight leaving for London.Justice Kapoor further ruled that “no airline has the right to refuse boarding to a person with a confirmed status ticket even if he has not re-confirmed the same 72 hours before, particularly when seats are available.”Courtesy_
Posted by Selvam at 7:55 PM

Legal intervention to avail right to education and right to health – A report on Mr.Ashok Aggarwal’s lecture
By Guest Blogger: Sandeep Vishnu Sunday, February 08, 2009
[Student, III Year, Campus Law Centre, Delhi University]As part of its ongoing series of guest lectures, the Seminar and Discussion Committee of Campus Law Centre, Delhi University invited advocate Mr. Ashok Aggarwal from Social Jurist on February 5. The subject of his talk was “Legal intervention to avail right to health and right to education.”Mr. Aggarwal has been practising at the bar since 1982 and has been instrumental in filing numerous PILs on rights of citizens against hospitals and schools, both government and private-run. The first part of the talk was devoted to the present status of the right to health available to the poor in India. Mr. Aggarwal talked of the effort it takes to make your voice heard when it comes to assertion of your basic rights. Giving examples of actual situations faced by poor patients who could not afford to spend any money on their medical treatment, he expressed dissatisfaction at the state of affairs in government hospitals. He stated that nothing is mandated by our law as such when it comes to free treatment of the poor and needy in government and private hospitals. He had filed a writ petition in 2002 in the Delhi High Court in this regard.Mr. Aggarwal pointed out that the law in India does not mandate anything like basic health care to every citizen, but was of the opinion that health and education must be made free at all levels as is the case in some countries such as Cuba. It would be a good futuristic investment to do that, especially when the current situation reeks of arbitrariness in policy making and failure in deliverance of promised constitutional goal of social justice. When the writ petition was filed in 2002, the data depicted a large number of hospitals run by numerous societies which were operating on subsidized government allotted land. But as a matter of social responsibility towards the poor, neither the hospital authorities nor those in the health department of the government were contributing anything. The writ petition started to yield some positive results when the Court ordered private hospitals, built on land allotted by government authorities at subsidized rates, to provide free beds and free OPD treatment for a fixed percentage of patients.Now it is possible to see the effect in private hospitals, some of whom have already fixed the number of free beds for economically weaker sections (EWS) and also give free OPD treatment as per guidelines, while more are following suit. He stated that some prominent hospitals like Gangaram, Fortis etc. have contributed a lot of money towards treating the needy. Word of mouth has been the best possible propaganda here. But the condition of government hospitals still leaves a lot to be desired.Mr. Aggarwal also briefed the audience regarding the sorry state of affairs in some of these hospitals where stray animals breed on beds or medicines are rarely available and stated that to overcome such situations, judicial orders and the media have sometimes temporarily buzzed the sleeping government machinery. Overall picture seems to show that while private health care players have realized that it is necessary to take care of the poor and the needy as a social goal, the government is yet to come to terms with the idea of being the policy maker in this regard and taking a big leap by legislating in this direction so as to motivate more private investment and more contribution in the vindication of this primary social goal.The second issue regarding the Right to education was essentially taken up on constitutional grounds of directive principles of state policy like Articles 38 , 39 & 45 which aspire for a welfare state and have been given the same weightage as fundamental rights , although the former remain non justiciable. Fundamental Rights in Article 14, 21 & Article 21-A were highlighted in due course along with Fundamental duties in Article 51-A.Mr. Aggarwal pointed out that in 1993 when the Unnikrishnan judgement was delivered by the Apex Court, it was clear that Article 45 mandates early childhood care and education for all children below 6 years of age. By 86th Amendment in 2002, Article 21-A was inserted into the Constitution mandating the state to provide free & compulsory education to all children between 6 to 14 years of age. But none of the above articles have seen the light of enforcement yet. In such a grim situation Mr. Aggarwal has himself filed over 125 cases including PILs and writs in the High Court as well as Supreme Court in this regard.According to Mr. Aggarwal, the insertion of article 21-A requires that no child should be out of school and that there is also a ban on all forms of child labour in the age group 6-14 years. He was of the view that our central legislations in this regard are not yet in tandem with the constitutional right to education. In this regard in one of the cases filed in the Supreme Court has been to declare child labour as unconstitutional and to ensure that all future legislations are in tune with our social welfare goals and aspirations. Another highlight of the talk was the prevalent discrimination in allotment of funds by the government to Kendriya Vidyalayas and other government or Municipal schools. Mr.Aggarwal was of the opinion that all government schools should be treated at par with each other, parallel schooling systems should be done away with and the current pending draft of Right to education Bill should be fast tracked to regulate schooling in the country. The Apex Court has been requested that pending the legislation, guidelines in relation to minimum and basic facilities be framed.In 1997, when the 5th Pay Commission recommendations were introduced, almost all private schools hiked their fees manifold. When a PIL was filed in the High Court of Delhi, it was felt by the Court that although free education mandate cannot strictly apply to the private schools they must not be allowed to commercialize on such a big scale and must be held accountable by charging just and reasonable fees from children. While the High Court ordered a set of guidelines to the private schools, the appeal of the latter was dismissed by Supreme Court. Another PIL discussed by him was with regard to lack of proper buildings and other basic facilities in government and MCD schools, which as a campaign, was also supported by the print media. As per the directions issued on the basis of evidence produced in the court, every school is now required to have fixed boundary walls, toilet and drinking water facilities in working condition. Mr. Aggarwal remarked that today we have come a long way, yet the only thing that is lacking in such schools is quality education.Mr. Aggarwal also highlighted the plight of the children of the jhuggiwalas, the ragpickers etc. in Delhi who want to have basic education but are denied this right and are most often discriminated against for no fault or reason. He has taken up various such matters in the High Court and it has been seen that after initial troubles, justice certainly triumphs. As was the case in health care, the government allots land at subsidised rates to various societies for setting up schools and approximately 265 such schools were listed before the High Court who were doing nothing for the sake of imparting education to the EWS, in spite of the Court’s directions in this regard in 2004.Another issue was the interviewing process of the 3-year olds by the schools in the name of assessing their values and talent as per the school’s reputation. The High Court has dealt sternly with the situation and ordered that no such school on government allotted land shall deny admission to the EWS children and that no such interviews shall be permitted any more. Even the Government schools found violating such admission orders have been warned against this practice.The message conveyed to the audience was that it is not personal grudge but honesty of purpose that is required for a sincere effort towards making of a better society where every person is healthy and educated. It is advisable to form social pressure groups for such purposes and keep litigation as the last alternative. Mr. Aggarwal felt that his efforts showed visible impact, as is evident by the 25 per cent quota for EWS in Delhi private schools or as is visible in the list of over 35 private hospitals with free beds and free OPD facilities.
Posted by V.Venkatesan at 11:11 AM

Court order ends an era in Chidambaram temple
Chidambaram (PTI): It was an end of an era in the 1500-year-old Chidambaram temple with the Madras High Court rejecting the plea that it was a private temple, paving way for direct state administrative control.
The centuries-long hold of Podhu Dikshitars on the temple, a small well-knit Brahmin community which believes that its forefathers have directly descended from Lord Shiva’s abode Mount Kailas to administer the Chidambaram temple, has finally ended last week following an order of the Madras High Court after a prolonged legal battle.
Justice R Bhanumathi’s order rejecting the plea of the 3000-strong Dikshitars community that the 5th century AD temple was a private one and they had ‘untrammelled rights’, paved the way for direct administrative control of the state government. She upheld the appointment of an executive officer to administer the temple.
The temple with its four imposing towers rising 175 feet above the ground has a unique place in Hindu mythology as it holds the key to ‘Chidambara rahasym’ (secret of Chidambram). A small corner next to the idol of Lord Nataraja has a curtain with a golden garland in the shape of ‘bilva’ leaves, which according to scholars, is an example of permeating omnipresence of God.
Dikshitars who were not willing to give up their traditional hold on the temple have gone in for an appeal to the larger bench of the High Court.
C Navathandava Dikshitar, President of Thiruchitrambalam Annathanam Arakkatali Trust, said Dikshitars have been performing poojas and selling prasadams for many centuries and blamed the politicians behind the government’s resolve to take over the temple.
The legal tussle began years ago when the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department appointed an Executive Officer (EO) to administer the temple which was challenged by the Dikshitars.
HR and CE officials said and EO had already been posted and he functioned from outside the temple and moved in, to takeover after the court’s order.
The Janata party and Hindu organisations have opposed government taking over of the temple.
The ruling comes as a shot in the arm for the state government whose EO has been functioning from outside the temple for the past 20 years, after the Dikshitars declined him entry and challenged his appointment made in 1987, claiming full rights by virtue of maintaining the temple.

One more arrested in Orissa nun rape case
Bhubaneswar (IANS): One more person has been arrested in Orissa for his alleged involvement in the rape of a nun during the communal violence last year in the state’s Kandhamal district, police said Sunday. “Jayaban Digal, a resident of Sainpada village, was arrested Saturday night. With the latest arrest, the number of people arrested in the case has gone up to 11,” investigating officer D.K. Mohanty told IANS from Kandhamal.
“We are likely to arrest about four to five more people in the near future,” he said.
The 29-year-old Catholic nun was attacked by a mob and raped Aug 24. She filed a complaint with the police two days later.
The nun was earlier reluctant to attend the identification parade of the accused in Kandhamal despite orders by a court. She submitted a petition in the Orissa High Court seeking change of the venue to Cuttack.
The high court Dec 18 asked the police to conduct the test identification parade in the Choudwar jail, some 30 km from here.
The parade was conducted Jan 5. The victim identified only two of the 10 people arrested. The crime branch police, probing the case filed a preliminary charge sheet in the local court Jan 26.
Mohanty said they will submit a final charge sheet in the case after completing the investigation.
Kandhamal, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread communal violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23.
At least 38 people were killed in the state and thousands of Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs. About 5,700 people are still living in government-run relief camps in the district.

Illegal buildings face civic heat across Lonavla
8 Feb 2009, 0351 hrs IST, Yogesh Naik, TNN
LONAVLA: After getting a rap on its knuckles from the high court in January, the Lonavla Municipal Council (LMC) has undertaken a massive demolition drive in the hill stations of Lonavla and Khandala. The drive to demolish 752 illegal structures began on Monday and will continue for a few days. Around 45 structures have been razed till now. The drive gathered momentum on Saturday. The court’s criticism came in response to a PIL filed by the Lonavla-Khandala Citizens’ Forum. LMC chief officer Sunil Lahane confirmed that it undertook the drive on the court’s directive. On Saturday, the authorities carried out partial demolition of a boutique in the Lonavla market. Its owner, I Padghawala, said, “They will not raze the whole structure. I will reconstruct it immediately”. Lahane, however, said he would file a case if the structure was reconstructed. Parts of two leading hotels were also demolished during the week. Lahane said that in case of some hotels, the owners had put up an extra floor. “Under the rules, most structures in Lonavla are supposed to be ground-plus-one. Some owners have put slopes to beat the heavy rains and also added walls, thereby adding extra floors. Also, owners of water parks have not taken permission,” he said. A water park owner has constructed several shops and gaming zones in the basement meant for cars. The list of unauthorised structures also shows that several shops have violated the rules. The LMC is a B-grade municipality and earns around Rs 20 crore annually, besides an allotted grant of Rs 16 crore. Alleging that the civic amenities were not up to the mark, the forum filed a PIL in 2007 to ensure better services and action against illegal structures. However, despite a directive from the high court in 2007, the LMC did not act and was reluctant to clear roadside encroachments. “We now have better garbage disposal services. We have also been requesting the court for a monitoring committee,” said Subodh Tiwari, secretary of the forum. Most illegal buildings came up after 1991. However, Lahane said, “I have been here for one-and-a-half years. I cannot comment on what happened in the past.” The staff said they didn’t have enough manpower, and police protection, to act against encroachments.

Angry Biman voices contempt against Mamata’s stand on Nayachar
KOLKATA, Feb. 7: Left Front chairman, Mr Biman Bose, today hit out at Trinamul Congress chief, Miss Mamata Banerjee, while speaking about the chemical hub project at Nayachar. “There are quite a few self-proclaimed environmentalists in this state and one of them understands everything”, he said. Mr Bose, however, did not name either Miss Banerjee or Mr Subhas Dutta who had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Calcutta High Court about rallyists cooking in open ovens within three kilometres of Victoria Memorial on 20 January violating a court order. He was inspecting the arrangements of tomorrow’s CPI-M rally at Brigade Parade ground. “I will take photographs of the rally site before the meeting and after it. It will show how the ground looked like before the rally and after it,” he added. Mr Bose said that a high level technical committee will see to it that there is no pollution at Nayachar. The Opposition’s claim of thousands of fishermen being displaced by the proposed Nayachar project is not as there are not so many of them there, he claimed. According to him, the Opposition has only one goal and that is to prevent industries from coming up in the state. VIP security coverThe state government has decided that in future if any VIP with Z plus security cover visits “disturbed areas” they would be informed beforehand about the government’s inability to provide security cover. This has been set as a “general rule” said the state home secretary, Mr Ardhendu Sen. The decision comes in the wake of the Trinamul chief, Miss Mamata Banerjee’s visit to Lalgarh even after the superintendent of police informed her local party members about their inability to provide security

Labour court order on dismissal of transport employee set aside
K.T. Sangameswaran
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has set aside a Labour Court order, which had held that the dismissal of a transport corporation employee, who abused and slapped his colleague, was disproportionate.
The Labour Court had said that deprivation of the employee’s backwages for a year would be sufficient punishment.
In his order allowing a writ petition filed by the transport corporation challenging the Labour Court order, Justice K.Chandru said that the worker not only had the audacity to abuse a co-worker, that too a woman employee, but also slapped her in the presence of other employees. His conduct could never be condoned.
K.Logambal, a Junior Assistant in the State Transport Corporation (Coimbatore Division-II) Ltd, Erode, preferred a complaint that C.Kulanthaivel had obstructed her passage when she went to get stationery. He had abused and slapped her.
The enquiry officer found Kulanthaivel guilty of the charges. By an order of August 1996, the management dismissed him.
Kulanthaivel raised an industrial dispute. In 1998, the Labour Court, Salem, held that the domestic enquiry was fair and proper. It also held that the charge of abuse and slapping had been proved, but dismissal for the act was disproportionate.
The Labour Court said that the management’s offer to the employee that he may be re-employed as a new entrant to the post of a Junior Clerk, if he was willing, would be a disproportionate punishment. It would deprive him of 10 years service and, therefore, was not acceptable to it.
Against this award, the management filed the writ petition.
Mr.Justice Chandru said that in the light of legal precedents and factual matrix involved in the case, the Labour Court’s award called for interference. In a light-hearted fashion it had granted the relief without even discussing the nature of the employee’s misconduct.

Legal Aid Cell building opened
Special Correspondent
VILLUPURAM: Madras High Court Judge M. Jayapal on Saturday inaugurated the Legal Aid Cell building constructed at a cost of Rs. 6 lakh at Tindivanam near here.
Tindivanam MP K. Dhanraj had allotted funds from the MP Local Area Development (MPLAD) Funds.
Mr. Justice Jayapal said that till December 31, 2008 a total of 39,019 Lok Adalats were held in the State. Through these sessions, 3,88,917 cases were adjudicated and compensation of over Rs. 1,631 crore given. As many as 34,019 legal awareness camps were held in villages and 8,02,930 applications received.
As of now, there were 26 Legal Aid Cells in Tamil Nadu. Mr. Justice Jayapal said that for want of judges, over three crore cases were pending disposal across the country.
He stressed the need for conducting more legal awareness camps.
Lok Adalats had enabled the economically weaker sections to get justice at their doorstep.
Villupuram Collector R. Palanisamy had allotted a three-acre land for setting up an integrated court complex in Tindivanam. Mr. Justice Jayapal felt that in the wake of the growing population and increasing number of litigations, there was need for more courts. Hence, an integrated court complex might need at least 10 acres, he said.
He wished that the Collector would identity the required land within a month.
Legal Aid Committee member Judge T. Madhavan said that the Legal Aid Cells were formed to enable the poor and the downtrodden get justice.
Mr. Dhanraj said that from the MPLAD funds, he had taken up 350 works. The most important works were construction of protective walls in vulnerable coastal areas and installation of lightning arrestors, because on an average, 25 persons were killed in lightning in the district.

Advocates held in Perambalur
Staff Reporter
PERAMBALUR: The police arrested a group of advocates who are said to have assembled to express their resentment over non-recognition of their newly floated association, moments before the inauguration of the Combined Court building here on Saturday.
Police said the advocates had assembled to express their dissent against the chairman of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry reportedly for not heeding to the demand for the new association’s recognition.
Police said the advocates who had come in a procession to the function spot were arrested as a preventive measure to ensure smooth conduct of the inaugural function that was addressed by the Acting Chief Justice of Madras High Court S.J. Mukhopadhaya, Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology A. Raja, V. Dhanapalan, Judge, Madras High Court, Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Chairman R.K. Chandramohen and the Collectors of Perambalur and Ariyalur districts.
The sources said all the 43 arrested advocates were later released in the evening.

Company barred from interfering with possession of flat
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has granted an interim injunction, restraining a public limited company and another person from interfering with the possession and enjoyment of a flat in T.Nagar hereby a person who has filed a suit, and also from alienating the property to third parties.
In his applications in a civil suit, R.Palanisubramanian contended that he entered into a sale agreement in September 2005 with Trans Medica (India) Ltd (earlier, Trans Plastic (India) Ltd.,), represented by its Managing Director, which was the owner of the flat on Vasan Street.
Against the sale consideration of Rs.12 lakh, Rs.10 lakh was paid as advance to enable the company obtain original title deeds of the suit property from the bank by clearing the equitable mortgage. He was also given possession. The agreement permitted Mr.Palanisubramanian either to use the property for his own purpose or to lease it out to a third party. He leased out the property in 2007.
Attempt at dispossession
He said in May 2008 there was an attempt to dispossess the tenant. Enquiries revealed that the company had sold the property to R.Ramasubramanian in April 2008, completely suppressing the subsistence of the sale agreement with him.
In its counter, the company said no agreement of sale was entered into between the applicant and the company in 2005. The advance of Rs.10 lakh was not received.
Allowing the applications, Justice M.Jeyapaul said that there was a specific clause in the sale agreement of September 2005, which referred to the equitable mortgage already created by the company.
The applicant could not have been in possession of certified copies of the title deeds relating to the suit property and the company’s Memorandum of Articles of Association unless they were handed over by the company.
Those documents were produced for the court’s perusal. The company had not explained how those documents landed in the applicant’s custody. There was also a clause that the possession had been delivered to Mr.Palanisubramanian and could be used by him or be leased out to any third party.
Mr.Justice Jeyapaul said it had also been established prima facie that the applicant was in possession of the suit property through his tenant.
No document was filed to reject the voluminous evidence produced by the applicant to establish delivery of possession and also continuous possession of the property from the date of sale agreement entered into between him and the company.

Quack, ‘lawyer’ held near Theni
Special Correspondent
MADURAI: In a case of cheating and impersonation, a 53-year-old woman homoeopathy practitioner and her accomplice, a school dropout, were arrested by the Crime Branch – Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) police at Allinagaram in Theni district on Friday.
Following a complaint from the State Human Rights Commission, the Director General of Police directed the CB-CID police to register a case. Investigation revealed that Sheela Rajendran (53) of Allinagaram, was running a private homoeopathy clinic in the town, claiming herself as the president of Theni District Consumer Grievances Redressal Forum and Theni District Consumer and Human Rights Protection Centre.
She allegedly possessed bogus letter pads and seals of many public offices such as SHRC, police said.
It was found that along with Sheela Rajendran, a ninth standard dropout, Murugan (35) of Palanichettypatti, claimed himself to be a practicing lawyer and received petitions from public as the secretary of the Theni District Consumer and Human Rights Protection Centre.
The duo received complaints and grievances from public at the dispensary at regular intervals.
In some cases, they had allegedly held ‘arbitration’ into the disputes with the counter petitioners and delivered their verdict and received money from both sides.
On July 8, 2008, Ramkumar from Bungalowmedu lodged a complaint with the duo alleging that the officials of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board levied excess amounts as tariff.
Both Sheela Rajendran and her accomplice Murugan had prepared a fake order directing the Divisional Engineer, TNEB, Theni, to pay a sum of Rs. 50,000 to the petitioner Ramkumar as compensation.
The order was issued in the name of Sankaranarayanan as the president, Theni District Consumer Grievances Redressal Forum.

Combined Court building inaugurated at Perambalur
Staff Reporter
Project completed in 14 months, a month ahead of target
PERAMBALUR: A Combined Court building within the sprawling Master plan complex here was inaugurated by the Acting Chief Justice, Madras High Court, Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya on Saturday.
Constructed at a cost of Rs.8.75 crore on a total plinth area of 7,812 square metres, the building accommodates the District and Sessions Court, Mahila Court, Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, District Munsif, Judicial Magistrate and Additional Courts with chambers.
It also houses the Bar Association, library, separate rooms for records and property besides public waiting hall, police waiting, prisoners lock up room, banking service, advocate clerk’s room and a recreation hall.
The foundation stone for the combined court building was laid in July 2007 and the project has been completed within 14 months – one month in advance of the target period. Quarters have also been constructed to house Judges and Magistrates within the Master plan complex as part of the project. Speaking on the occasion, Acting Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya said that the disposal of cases in Perambalur was more than filing of cases. The credit for this goes to the Judicial Officers, he said adding that this could not have been possible without the cooperation of the lawyers. In his special address, the Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology A. Raja said after the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam assumed power funds had been sanctioned for construction of government buildings with a view to improving infrastructure. In several districts, court buildings are coming up, he said adding that funds to the tune of Rs.300 crore had been sanctioned by the State Government for construction of various court buildings.
Over 200 Judicial Officers and 100 Assistant Public Prosecutors posts had been filled up after the DMK came to power, he said. The Union Minister donated Rs.One lakh from the Trust started in the name of his parents for purchase of books for the court library.
Justice V. Dhanapalan, Judge, Madras High Court said supremacy of the rule of law was absolutely essential for the working of democracy. The objective behind construction of any court complex or building was to ensure every person have the access to equal, prompt, effective, efficient and unimpeded process of justice.
Justice Dhanapalan said that the number of cases instituted in Perambalur during 2007 was 7,659 and the disposal for the said period was 7,942 cases. In 2008, as many as 18,881 cases were instituted and 18,983 cases were disposed.
E-governance had been introduced in the Judiciary.
The Perambalur Collector Anil Meshram, Ariyalur Collector R. Sudalai Kannan, Principal District and Sessions Judge, Perambalur R. Dakshinamurthy, Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, chairman, R.K. Chandramohen, Chief Engineer (Buildings), PWD, Chennai S. Muniyasamy and Perambalur Bar Association president E. Valluvan Nambi spoke.

‘Attack on personal liberty is human rights violation: Nayak
Staff Correspondent
KOLAR: Karnataka State Human Rights Commission chairman S.R. Nayak on Saturday expressed concern over some forces creating anarchy in the State by taking law into their hands.
Mr. Nayak was inaugurating a workshop-cum-seminar on human rights organised by Central Range Police at Devaraj Urs Medical College auditorium here on Saturday.
Apparently referring to the activities of the pro-Hindutva outfits such as Sri Rama Sene, Mr. Nayak took a dig at the Police Department and Home Minister V.S. Acharya for remaining a silent spectator in connection with all these developments.
Attacks on women at a pub in Mangalore, bid to abduct a girl in Mangalore on Friday, the custodial death in a Bangalore police station, threat to disrupt Valentine’s Day celebrations and likewise were a gross violation of human rights, Mr. Nayak said. The police in the State had failed to perform their duties in all these cases, he said.
“Although ours is a democratic country, some individuals and organisations are taking the law directly into their hands which doesn’t augur well for society,” he said. “It is the need of the hour to create awareness among police and public about the human rights,” the judge said.
Participating as chief guest, Director-General of Police (CoD) D.V. Guruprasad regretted that the frequent violation of human rights by the police had brought bad name for the country.
“It is time for introspection in this regard,” Mr. Guruprasad said.
Inspector-General of Police (Central Range) Kamalpant and Superintendent of Police K.P. Puttaswamy and were present.

‘RTI Act an effective tool to fight corruption’
Special Correspondent
GULBARGA: Judge of the Karnataka High Court D.V. Shylendra Kumar on Saturday said that the Right to Information (RTI) Act was an effective tool to fight corruption in public life.
Speaking after inaugurating a workshop on the Right to Information Act, organised by the District Legal Services Authority, Gulbarga Bar Association and Siddartha Law College, here, Mr. Kumar dwelt in detail about the Act and how effectively it could be used to ensure that welfare measures introduced by the government reached the targeted sections.
The government was not in a position to ensure food security to all citizens, he said and added that other basic requirements such as shelter, education and healthcare were still a far cry for a majority of people in the country.
Mr. Kumar said that successive governments had launched several welfare programmes directed to help the poor and underprivileged people. However, all these programmes could not change the lives of the poor mainly due to uncontrolled population growth and unresponsive bureaucracy which failed to properly implement these schemes. He said that students of law and advocates had a greater responsibility in ensuring that awareness was created among people about their rights.
High Court judge K.N. Keshava Narayan, who presided over the inaugural function, said that the authority had been doing yeoman service to people by creating awareness about the Act. Principal District and Sessions Judge H.S. Ramanna welcomed and secretary of the Bar association Raju Kadaganchi proposed a vote of thanks.

NHRC notice to Bihar
J. Balaji
NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary and Food and Consumer Protection Secretary of the Bihar government to submit a status report, within four weeks, on remedial measures taken to curb black marketing of food articles and kerosene meant for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.
The Commission acted on a complaint by Kush Kumar Singh, president of Shiv Sena, Asthawa, Nalanda district, Bihar, alleging that in a sub-division of Nalanda district the Block Development Officer and the Circle Officer had been black-marketing the articles instead of supplying them to BPL families under the Antodaya and Poshahar Yojana schemes of the government. He even alleged that a number of persons had died of starvation in 2005.
Later, the Commission issued notice to the government and Bihar denied the charges and said the persons had died of illness. However the complainant reiterated his allegations. Again the NHRC directed the Chief Secretary and the Food Secretary to inquire into the complaint and the government, after a probe held by a joint secretary, accepted that there were indeed some irregularities in the supply of food articles at a few PDS shops. It also explained the action the government intended to take against the erring employees and remedial measures it proposed to implement to prevent recurrence of such incidents.
The Commission expressed satisfaction at the action taken to curb black-marketing of the food articles and now wanted to know the present status on the issue from the Bihar government.

Poor response to ban on smoking
Serena Josephine M.
Several educational institutions are yet to put up boards
Many government offices, schools, colleges, hotels are not aware of it: official
Government offices, including the Secretariat, do not have such boards even at the entrance
PUDUCHERRY: Four months after the nationwide ban on smoking in public places came into effect, majority of educational institutions and government offices in Puducherry are yet to comply with the rules.
Except government hospitals and a few colleges, the ban has not taken off in full swing in the Union Territory.
The Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Rules, 2008 of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, came into force on October 2, 2008. However, officials of the Health Department said many were still not aware of the ban, including government officials, government and private educational institutions and hotels.
A large number of schools and colleges, both government and private, are yet to put up boards banning tobacco in the vicinity of the institution.
The Act notes that sale of tobacco products within a radius of 100 yards of educational institutions was an offence and boards notifying the same should be installed.
However, only a few institutions including Mother Theresa Post Graduate and Research Institute of Health Sciences (MTPG AND RIHS) of the government and Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) have erected such boards.
At MTPG and RIHS, the board carried the message “No smoking area. Smoking here is an offence” in English and Tamil, while JIPMER has put a board, “JIPMER is a tobacco-free institution. Sale of tobacco products is banned within 100 yards of JIPMER”.
Puducherry gazette
A senior official said, “The law has been published in the Puducherry gazette. Yet, government offices, schools, colleges and even hotels are not aware of it. Many have still not complied with the rules. The Health Department had supplied four boards each to every hospital and government hospitals have put up the no smoking signboards.”
In fact, major government offices including the Secretariat do not have such boards even at the entrance.
The State National Service Scheme (NSS) cell had sent circulars to institutions with NSS units for implementation of the ban on smoking and installation of boards by January 1. However, the initiative received poor response, said State Liaison Officer NSS E.M. Rajan.
In fact, circulars were sent to a total of 185 educational institutions including 34 colleges, four technical colleges, 12 teacher training institutes, 74 higher secondary schools and 58 high schools in all four regions of the Union Territory which had NSS units.
“Of this, only 10 institutions responded to the circular and were declared tobacco-free institutions. Even girls schools and women colleges have not come forward to be declared tobacco-free. We took the initiative to ban tobacco in all schools and colleges on voluntary basis. We could not succeed due to lack of positive response from heads of institutions,” he said.
Members of various schools said that they were not aware of such a rule and did not receive any direction from the Directorate of School Education.
Officials of the directorate said they were planning to send circulars to all schools indicating the model of boards specifying the size and contents.

Justice for poor requires bigger role of state Govts: SC

New Delhi, Feb 6 (PTI) Providing justice to poor and weaker sections requires state governments to educate them and create new courts by using central funds, the Supreme Court today said while pointing towards the problems faced by them in courts.”The Centre can only make allocation of funds. It is for the states to create infrastructure of courts,” a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said.It said backwardness in education was the main reason for the underprivileged not being properly defended in the courts.”Most important thing is the education. Unless education level is improved, i.E the primary, secondary and higher education the problem will continue,” the Bench, also comprising Justice P Sathasivam, said.It said that National Judicial Academy has made a study and found that educated people are rushing to courts for asserting their rights.It said the economic criteria was not the only reason to suggest that people cannot afford to fight their case.The bench said despite having a panel of lawyers in state legal aid, legal services authority etc, people who can’t afford advocates do not make full use of courts.”They don’t want to take service of these bodies as they want to have a lawyer of their choice,” the Bench said. PTI

Wife of CISF personnel moves NHRC
Statesman News ServiceANGUL, Feb. 6: Mrs B Maheswari, wife of a head constable in Central Industrial Security Force, has moved the National Human Rights Commission after her pleas with the local police against harassment by CISF jawans fell on deaf ears.She had pleaded for protection and against stern action against errant officials who had repeatedly entered her house in the absence of her husband and harassed her.The colliery police with whom the complaint has been filed by the distressed family a week ago is sitting silent pushing the hapless family to seek the help of NHRC. The inspector in charge Mr BS Udgata admitted to have received the complaint and said he had asked one assistant sub inspector of TTPs police station to enquire.Mrs Maheswari, the wife of the head constable serving at CISF unit at Talcher Thermal Power station in her letter to NHRC chairman on 31 January alleged that in the absence of her husband, armed CISF constables and at times officers intruded her residence, used filthy languages and made unnecessary enquiries. On 1 February a CISF officer came to her residences and passed highly objectionable remarks about her and her 10 year old son .Terrified Mrs Maheswari has said that she and her family are in a great stress and undergoing mental agony due to repeated incursions to her residential house by armed CISF staff without any reason to intimidate the helpless family. They felt unsafe and there was no remedy even by approaching the superiors, she mentioned in her letter.When contacted, the commandant of CISF Mr SK Sinha said that he had asked his officials at TTPS to check on the veracity of the allegations.

SC dismisses excise dept’s plea against Nestle India
New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court has dismissed a a petition challenging a tribunal’s verdict that quashed the penalty of more than Rs one crore imposed by the excise department on Nestle India for “suppression of facts” on its chocolate brand ‘Milky Bar Choo’.
A bench headed by Justice S.B. Sinha denied relief to the excise department, which alleged that the sectoral tribunal’s decision to set aside the penalty was contrary to the Central Excise Act, 1944.
Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran alleged that Nestle was clearing its chocolate brand at a concessional duty rate of 8 per cent by declaring it as a sugar confectionery.
The authorities had issued showcause notice to the chocolate major in April 2007 asking the firm why it should be allowed to take benefit under notification 6/2002 of March 1, 2002. It had asked the company to pay the differential duty of more than Rs one crore in September 2007 and a penalty of an equal amount for “suppressing facts”.
Aggrieved by the demand order, Nestle had moved the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal, which held that the firm was not entitled to the benefit as Milky Bar Choo attracted duty at the rate of 16 per cent ad valorem.

LEGAL NEWS 07.02.2009

SC to examine PIL on accident claim in UP district
Published: February 6,2009

New Delhi, Feb 6 Two years after the Uttar Pradesh Government failed to respond on the issue of providing compensation to around 400 accident victims in Sonbhadra district, the Supreme Court today decided to examine as to why no steps had been taken in this regard.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakriahnan decided to make the District Collector of Sonbhadra as party to the petition to consider a PIL in which the callous attitude of the state government has been highlighted.
The PIL filed in 2007 by Pankaj Kumar Mishra, through advocate D K Garg, had alleged that no action has been taken by the authorities on the pending 400 cases of accident claims.
Source: PTI

No negotiations with employees’ union before strike called off: Bihar tells Patna HC
Patna, Feb 06: The Bihar government on Friday told the Patna High Court that it would not negotiate with the associations of striking employees until the month-long stir was withdrawn. “There will not be any negotiations with the representatives of employees until the strike is called off,” Advocate General P K Sahi told the division bench of Acting Chief Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad and Justice Shyam Kishore Sharma. The bench is hearing a PIL seeking termination of the services of the agitating employees. The court had on January 30 issued notices to the Bihar government and the three associations of employees, who are on an indefinite strike since January seven to demand in toto implementation of the 6th Pay Commission recommendations on the PIL filed by NGO ‘Jan Chowkidar’ that had termed the strike not only “illegal, but criminal activity”. Appearing on behalf of the petitioner, advocate Arvind Kumar sought the court’s direction to the state government to bring an end to the strike and submitted newspaper clippings, which said the state annually spent a staggering Rs 16,000 crore on salary and pension to its employees when its development expenditure stood at around Rs 13,000 crore. The bench, however, took serious exception to a letter written to the acting chief justice by social activist and convenor of Jan Chowkidar Suman Lal accusing him of bias against the petitioner and ordered issuing of a show cause notice to her. “The content of the letter prima facie shows criminal contempt …. Show cause notice be issued to the petitioner, who is present in the court and has admitted to having written the letter,” Justice Prasad said. He directed Lal to file her reply by February ten and be present in court when hearing resumed. The court asked the representatives of the agitating employees to present their grievances before the three-member Pay Committee constituted by the state government for resolving the dispute. The bench wanted to know from the advocate general if the government would be able to issue its final order based on the report of the committee by March 31. When the advocate general replied in the affirmative the court suggested that the employees’ representatives should call off the stir. However, the counsel for the employees’ associations Shyama Prasad Mukherjee said his clients would not end their stir until the government entered into negotiations with them, to which the Advocate General said talks were not possible unless the strike was withdrawn. Nearly 3.5 lakh government employees owing allegiance to the Bihar State Non-gazetted Employees Federation, Bihar State Non-gazetted Employees Federation (Gope faction) and Bihar Secretariat Service Association are on an indefinite strike since January seven demanding total implementation of the 6th Pay Panel recommendations, including allowances. Bureau Report

PIL on Farmers suicides:Govt. failed to inform HC regarding ATR on Jadhav Committee recommendations.
NAGPUR:Feb 03, 2009Maharashtra Govt. once again failed place the copy Dr Narendra Jadhav Committee report before hon,ble high court in matter of PIL on vidarbha afrmers suicides filed by VJAS .This was third time that Govt. pleader has requested HC to grant one week time for submitting the copy of report ,having asked for four.week and two week time earlier now high court has given one week time and case has been fixed for hearing after two weeks.A division bench of Justices Dilip Sinha and A P Bhangale, while hearing a PIL of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti president Kishore Tiwari, expressed concern on the unbated farmers suicide in Vidarbha.Counsels for petitioner Firdos Mirza and Vinod Tiwari brought to the notice of court that state government had appointed Vice-Chancellor of Pune University Dr Narendra Jadhav, who had submitted his report on July 19 last year, but no action has been initiated by the respondent state government as it was expected that Maharashtra Govt. should take urgent steps to implement Dr Narendra Jadhav Committee recommendations, but most of recommendations are till unattended ,kishore tiwari , alleged in the recent application before the high court.In a plea to the Hon,blr HC, president of the Samiti Kishor Tiwari has alleged that the institutionalised corruption and redtapism in implementation of Rs 5,000 crore special package is the main cause of the government’s failure to arrest the ever growing suicides of distressed farmers in the most backward Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.Citing the efforts made by his organisation since 1999, Kishor Tiwari drew the attention of High court towards the probe report and recommendations by Dr Narendra Jadhav Committee.The Committee submitted its report to the government on July 19 ,2008 and urged Maharashtra Govt. to take immediate remedial measures to avert further suicides of the distressed farmers and their families,but after lapse of 7 months ther is relief order from Govt.A detailed survey by Government controlled Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swawlamban Mission states that the farmers ‘in extreme distress’ (Column 9 of the Survey Chart) are 4,34,291 and the farmers’ families suffering from serious illness are 92,456 in six districts of Vidarbha.The detailed survey was conducted by the Mission at Amravati under the guidance of Divisional Commissioner of Amravati in 8031 Villages of six districts of Vidarbha comprising of Yavatmal, Amravati, Akola, Buldhana, Washim and Wardha in which 17,64,438 families were surveyed by the Mission.Dr Narendra Jadhav Committee recommendations are based on this report have asked to provide subsidies food to all distressed farmers and free health care to critically ill farm family members but till ther is no action hence there is ATR.Petitioner has requested high court to arrange the implemntation of Dr Narendra Jadhav Committee recommendations but administration has not been able to give copy of report to HC ,kishor tiwari informed.

Credit Card Default attracts only 49% Interest

Supreme Court on 4th of Feb has allowed MNC banks to charge hefty penal interest up to 49% on defaulted credit card payments, ending the respiteGuard your credit card IElastic with plastic that lakhs of card holders have had since September last year when the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission capped the penalty at 30%.
The SC stayed the apex consumer forum’s directive to banks not to charge more than 30% interest on defaulted payments on credit card purchases. The SC had last year refused to heed the appeal of banks against the NCDRC’s order.
A Bench comprising Justices B N Agrawal, G S Singhvi and Aftab Alam suspended on Tuesday the relief to card holders on a plea by a coalition of foreign banks — Citibank, HSBC, American Express and Standard Chartered — that their business was suffering immensely because of the “unwarranted” cap on the quantum of penal interest.
Ironically, the plea of banks may have been allowed because of a lapse by the very same NGO `Awaz’ that was instrumental in getting the NCDRC order pegging the penal interest at 30% last year.
Though the Bench had issued notice to the NGO four months ago, it has yet not put in its response, possibly helping the court to see merit in the argument of the banks that no penal interest rate, they were only following the guidelines issued by the statutory regulator, Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
The banks teamed up to apprise the apex court of their compulsions to charge between 36% to 49% interest on defaulted payments on credit cards. “No bank as a credit card issuer would charge undue interest rate as, apart from the regulatory framework that applies, the market would not sustain the same by reason of competitive force,” Citibank said.
In its application, filed through counsel Rupinder Suri, it said facility of credit cards could be availed without any interest for a certain stipulated period and it was only after the expiry of that period that penal interest was levied on default of payments.
“The credit card holder is aware of the same at the time of applying for it. It is also relevant to note that credit card transactions de-facto constitute unsecured credit availed of,” the bank said justifying the high interest rate permitted by RBI on defaulted payments.
The July 7, 2007 order of NCDRC had ruled that “charging of interest rates in excess of 30% per annum from credit card holders by banks for the former’s failure to make full payment on the due date or paying the minimum amount due, is unfair trade practices.”
It had also said that penal interest could be levied only once for the period of default and should not be capitalised while terming the practice of computing interest on monthly basis as “unfair trade practice”.
The banks justified the high interest rate on default payments by credit card holders by listing as many as 27 factors that included even the SMS alerts it sends to the card holders.
Even the cost of acquiring a new customer, that is the cost of calls made randomly by authorised call centres urging people to take credit cards, is also taken into account for realisation through charging of penal interest from a defaulting card holder.
“The National Commission has failed to appreciate that the rate of interest on defaulted or partial payments of credit card dues is determined by taking into consideration various factors, including the risks of default, and therefore, this commission may not determine the issue as to whether the interest at the rates of 36% to 49% per annum is excessive,” the banks said.
Posted by Info Guru

SBI directed to pay a fine of Rs 3,000
By Ankit Sharma
Feb 6, 2009
The largest bank in India, State Bank of India has been directed by a consumer court in Ahmedabad to pay a fine of Rs 3,000 for insisting a credit cardholder to make payment for bills that were already cleared.
A credit cardholder named Prashant Mankad had made purchases worth Rs 37,000 in November, 2006 using his card. He had to pay 24 EMIs each of Rs 2,200 to the bank for this transaction. Makand had made the payment of his outstanding amount but was still receiving calls from the bank’s customer care that asked him to clear his dues.
He informed that frequent recovery calls were received due to the bank’s error from its headquarters in Ahmedabad as well as Delhi. Mankad said the customer care executives used harsh language despite of him informing of cleared his dues.
Mankad also explained the issue to the bank’s customer care but things were not solved. He then finally filed a complaint with Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum, Ahmedabad. Enquiring into the matter, the court found the bank guilty and released the bank statement and outstanding amount.
At the same time the court also asked the bank to pay Rs 3,000 to the complainant for harassing him by making frantic phone calls
Earlier also SBI has been charged penalty for harassing and misguiding one of its credit cardholder.

India needs 10,000 more courts: Supreme Court
7 Feb 2009, 0216 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Setting up more courts so that people have easier access to justice may be a good idea but it would be meaningless unless 80-85% of the population had at least high school level education, the Supreme Court said on Friday. A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam said establishing more courts alone would not solve the problem and cited a PIL on the death of over 4,000 tribals in road accidents in Sonebhadra district of UP where not a single victim’s family got compensation. “The Motor Accident Claims Tribunals are there but the illiterate tribals had no knowledge of how to exercise their legal rights for compensation, being ignorant about approaching the tribunals,” the Bench said responding to the suggestions on judicial reforms by counsel Prashant Bhushan on a PIL. To tackle the pendency of nearly 2.5 crore cases, there was an urgent need for an additional 10,000 courts, the CJI said. “But, establishing these courts alone will not give the desired result. To approach these courts for grievance redressal, there has to be awareness, which will come only when there is a rise in the education level among people,” he said. The CJI does not view the large number of cases in courts, popularly referred to as `docket explosion’, as a major problem before the judiciary. But he feels `docket exclusion’, meaning that needy have no knowledge of how to approach courts, could only be tackled through proper education. He agreed with Bhushan that setting up of “gram nyayalayas” (village courts) was an important step towards giving litigants easy access to courts. But, he immediately qualified this by saying, “Most important is the education level of the masses. Unless 80% to 85% of the population has high school level education, there was no hope of people coming to courts for settling their disputes.” When Bhushan said the cost of litigation had sky rocketed in recent years and suggested that legal aid committees, which give free advice to poor litigants, were not functioning properly, the Bench was quick to throw the ball back into the counsel’s court by saying that advocates like him should provide free services to litigants. However, the court sought response from the Centre within six weeks on the PIL filed by NGO `Janhit Manch’ on various suggestions for judicial reforms.

SC dismisses plea to cancel Satyam stocks transactions
Press Trust of India
Friday, February 06, 2009 (New Delhi)
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition seeking a direction to market regulator SEBI and the Bombay Stock Exchange to cancel transactions in shares of scam-tainted Satyam Computer and Chennai-based entertainment firm Pyramid Saimira.
A Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan-headed bench dismissed as withdrawn a Public Interest Litigation filed by Mohan Lal Sharma, a practising advocate, seeking cancellation of all transactions on January 6 and 7 on the ground that innocent investors were lured by these companies on buyback announcements and thus, a fraud was committed on them.
“SEBI is already investigating the matter. You can also make a complaint to the statutory authority,” the bench observed.
According to Sharma, before the decision was taken by the board, IL&FS had sold about 246.6 lakh shares in the market at Rs 176 per share. However, the Satyam shares crashed to close at Rs 30 after Satyam Chairman Ramalinga Raju resigned from the board and confessed to Rs 7,800-crore fraud, he added.
The petition further added that Pyramid Saimira, which was in the news recently for serious fraud allegations, wherein the company was sent a forged letter of SEBI asking its co-promoter P S Saminathan to make an open offer to minority shareholders to buy 20 per cent at Rs 250 a share.
Various investors, including Sharma, had bought the shares following the receipt of the letter by the company.
However, within one hour of disclosure, the shares went down to freeze at Rs 61.15 per share, he said, adding SEBI, NSE and BSE had failed to take any action to get purchased shares cancelled.

Election Commission meets State commissioners
By admin on February 6th, 2009
New Delhi, Feb. 4 (ANI): The full Election Commission on Wednesday discussed the preparations of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections with the Chief Electoral Officers of all the states and Union Territories.
Chief Election Commissioner N.Gopalaswami presided the meeting, which discussed the progress in the revision of electoral rolls, requirement of poll staff, Progress in issuance of photo identity cards and other measures for smooth conduct of elections.
The Commission already held detailed discussions with the national and regional parties on Tuesday.
The political parties had unanimously urged the Commission to take effective measures to combat surrogate advertisements and attempts to misuse print media.
They also said that the voting should be held in minimum phases to avoid the use of money and muscle power.
However, the commission had asked the parties to strictly avoid communal overtones in election campaign and observe the Model Code of Conduct.
The poll panel is expected to hold discussions with the state police chiefs tomorrow on the deployment of forces for poll duty and issues regarding law and order.
The final dates for the polls are yet to be decided, but the next Lok Sabha needs to be constituted by the May 1.
The elections to the Lok Sabha, the largest electoral exercise in the world involves 671 million voters. (ANI)

WCD issues notice to NCW member
Posted by Nagpal Jee on Friday, February 6, 2009, 5:00
National Commission for Women (NCW) member Nirmala Venkatesh was on Thursday (February 5) slapped with a show cause notice by the Ministry of Women and Child Development for not submitting her report on the Mangalore pub attack case.
In the notice, which was sent this evening, the ministry asked her to explain why she had not submitted her report and gone public with her opinion in the matter. Highly-placed sources in the ministry said that Venkatesh had in past “misbehaved” with some officials in the commission and had also publicly criticised Women and Child Development Minster Renuka Chaudhary.
Venkatesh had led a three-member team to Mangalore on a fact-finding mission after the attack on girls by Sri Ram Sene activists. The other members of the team comprised a lawyer and a local NGO representative. Venkatesh on Tuesday (February 3) had hit back at Renuka saying “the commission’s inquiry is final.
“The Constitution says the commission’s inquiry is final. I have done a very important probe in that and also I have submitted yesterday’s report with best observations and recommendations to the commission,” said Venkatesh. NCW chairperson Girija Vyas said Venkatesh had not submitted any report to her. Apparently unhappy over the conduct of NCW’s fact-finding team, the Ministry sent a fresh team for an on-the-spot assessment of the incident.
(With inputs from agencies)

Orissa-Andhra water row for Tribunal
J. Venkatesan
Supreme Court directs Centre to constitute it in six months
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Centre to set up a Tribunal under the Inter-State Water Disputes Act to resolve Orissa’s dispute with Andhra Pradesh over the latter’s construction of a canal project at Katragada on the river Vansadhara.
Allowing a petition from the Orissa government, a Bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Markandey Katju gave this direction and asked the Centre to set up the Tribunal in six months.
The court asked Andhra Pradesh to maintain the status quo on the construction of the Rs. 850 cr. project to irrigate 1.07 lakh acres through a reservoir at Heeramandalam.
Less for Orissa
According to Orissa, as per the agreement between the two States, while farmers in Andhra Pradesh would utilise 7 TMC of water from the river, the inhabitants of Orissa would utilise 12 TMC for drinking purposes and water tanks up-stream and down-stream of Katragada. The construction of the project by Andhra Pradesh would result in cutting down supplies to Orissa.
In his judgment Justice Kabir said: “A time-frame has now been fixed for the constitution of a Water Disputes Tribunal to settle the water dispute. It is now almost three years since the complaint was made by the State of Orissa but the Central government has not taken any action in the matter. In this scenario, the prayer made by the State of Orissa does not appear to be unreasonable since the dispute between the two States does not confine itself to the construction of the Side Channel Weir and the Flood Flow Canal, but primarily involves the unilateral decision taken by the State of Andhra Pradesh to divert the river waters to the State of Andhra Pradesh, which could possibly disturb the agreement [between the two States] to share the waters of the river equally.”
Holding that this was a water dispute within the meaning of the ISWD Act, the Bench granted relief to Orissa since its complaint was pending since 2006.
“Once the Tribunal is constituted the parties will be free to apply for further interim orders before the Tribunal,” it said.
In his concurring but separate judgment, Justice Katju said: “The English poet Coleridge in his poem ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ wrote: “Water, Water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.” This is precisely the situation of the people living in large parts of India. Despite having immense reservoirs of water in the form of the Himalayas in the North and the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal in the West, South and East of India, there are water shortages everywhere often leading to riots, road blocks and other disturbances and disputes for getting water.”
Stressing a scientific solution, Justice Katju recommended that the Central government immediately constitute a body of scientists to do research on a war footing. These scientists should be given all the financial, technical and administrative help by the Central and State governments. The help and advice of foreign scientific experts and/or Indian scientists settled abroad may also be taken, “since the solution to the problem will not only help India but also foreign countries which are facing the same problem.”

US lawmakers for H-1B hiring ban for bailout firms
7 Feb 2009, 0234 hrs IST, PTI
WASHINGTON: An amendment seeking to bar US companies, which receive federal bailout money, from hiring H-1B visa holders has been introduced in the Senate, a move likely to impact Indian IT professionals if it is approved. The amendment in the US legislature has been co-sponsored by the Republican Senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley and the Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont. Indian IT professionals, who have been the major beneficiaries of the American H-1B visa programme, could be adversely impacted if the amendment is approved by the Senate. Introducing the amendment in the Senate, Sanders said: “It is essentially saying that there would be a suspension of H-1B programme of any institution, which would be receiving TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Programme) funds for just one year.” “I firmly believe that companies going through layoffs that employ H-1B visas (holding workers) have a moral obligation to protect American workers by putting them first during these difficult times,” Sanders stressed while seeking bi-partisan support for his amendment. Sanders also quoted a recent media report that said that the American banking industry had requested for more than 21,000 visas for foreign guest workers over the last six years. “Hiring American workers for limited available jobs should be a top priority for businesses taking taxpayer money through the TARP programme,” Senator Grassley said, adding if banks are going to be getting American taxpayer money than they should be hiring American workers.

`Vada pav handcarts won’t violate SC order’
7 Feb 2009, 0306 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: Following the criticism that the BMC’s plan to provide handcarts to hawkers selling vada pavs has generated, municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak on Friday clarified that the proposal was not in violation of Supreme Court order. The scheme, on the lines of Zunka Bhakar kendras, was conceptualised by the ruling Shiv Sena in the BMC. “The Zunka Bhakar kendras were shut down because they were obstructing the footpaths. But this will be taken care of in the new scheme,” Phatak said. The BMC has proposed setting up 215 Annadatta Aahar kendras and give out 125 handcarts from May 1. “Our health officials will regularly inspect these centres to ensure that hygiene and cleanliness are maintained, even as the cost of the vada pavs is kept reasonably low compared to market rates,” Phatak said.

Explain deaths in tribal school: HC
7 Feb 2009, 0315 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Friday ordered the secretary of the tribal development department to be present in court – in person – to explain the deaths of five tribal children in a state-run ashram school in Dahanu. A division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud upbraided the state and asked the secretary to visit government-run residential schools in Thane and submit a report by February 27. The court also asked the chief judicial magistrate of Thane to visit the said `ashram’ schools. The court’s direction came on a PIL that referred to newspaper reports on the deaths of the school children. In an affidavit, the state claimed that the children had died due to reasons beyond the control of the ashram school administration. The government had paid a compensation of Rs 15,000 to the families of the children. With regard to the allegations of rape levelled by a female student against the ashram school superintendent Vinod Shirsath, the government, much to the court’s consternation, claimed it was the case of a “love affair” between the two. Assistant government pleader Pradip Patil told the court that an inquiry has been initiated against one of the head masters and two superintendents. The court asked the additional solicitor general to ensure that the central government conducts an enquiry into the safety of food supplies given to the tribal students.

Centre pips state in RTI disposal race
7 Feb 2009, 0335 hrs IST, Viju B, TNN
MUMBAI: An audit of the performance of the state’s six information commissioners reveals that they have been dealing with an average of just five Right to Information (RTI) appeals and complaints per day. The figures show that on an average, each of the six commissioners disposed a little less than 150 appeals and complaints every month, during 2008. “All the commissioners have abysmal disposal rates. If they do not hear more cases on a daily basis, people will lose faith in the RTI Act. Already, people have to wait for over a year for their appeals to come up for hearing,” said RTI activist Bhaskar Prabhu, who filed an RTI query on this issue. While the information commissioner of Nagpur, Vilas Patil, topped with 2,003 disposals, the state chief information commissioner, Suresh Joshi, came second with 1,983 disposals last year. At the bottom of the list were Navin Kumar, information commissioner of Navi Mumbai with 1,298 cases and V Kuvlekar, information commissioner of Pune, who dealt with 1,728 appeals. The total number of pending appeals till December 2008 was 15,026. According to activists, ideally, an information commissioner can deal with about 250-300 cases per month. The Central Information Commissioner (CIC), Shailesh Gandhi, for instance, has heard 670 appeals in January 2009, and his colleague, Annapurna Dixit, disposed of 330 appeals in the same period. “We hope that the state information commissioners take a cue from this and increase their disposal rates,” Prabhu said. Meanwhile, Joshi told TOI that the steep rise in pendency was due to the fact that for the initial period of one year and six months, the state had only one commissioner. “But now, we have improved our disposal rate and are slightly better than the CIC. We have disposed appeals and complaints that have been pending up to October last year. This year, we hope to reduce the gap even further,” Joshi said. RTI activists said the state information commissions should not include appeals that have been returned (without hearing) in the total number of appeals that have been heard. “The CIC does not include the appeals returned along with appeals heard,” a senior CIC official confirmed.

Assault in jail: Court seeks Tihar reply
6 Feb 2009, 2349 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: A trial court on Friday sought a reply from the Tihar jail superintendent on the allegations made by Irshad Ali that he was beaten up by inmates at the high security jail. Ali was picked up by the Delhi Police on charges of being a terrorist, but was later cleared by the CBI. The incident took place barely two days after Ali sought PM Manmohan Singh’s intervention for relief. In an application filed in the court of Additional Sessions Judge S K Gautam, Ali sought his medical examination as he was “thrashed” inside the Tihar jail by two inmates identified as Ashok and Sonu. He also demanded an inquiry into the matter to find out who was behind the attack which occurred in jail number three between 6-6.15 pm on Thursday. In his application, Ali said that he believes the incident may have been recorded on CCTV cameras in the prison, which should be preserved for inquiry purposes and demanded proper security arrangements. Taking note of his application, the court asked the jail superintendent to file a report on Monday. Labelled as a terrorist by Delhi Police’s special cell, Ali had requested the Prime Minister to take necessary steps as the police, accused by the CBI of falsely implicating him, was allegedly threatening him inside the prison to withdraw the case.

Siri Fort Games site: SC ropes in Correa
6 Feb 2009, 2353 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The fate of the basketball and squash courts for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, built by cutting down a large number of trees in the Siri Fort forest area, hangs in balance with the Supreme Court on Friday seeking expert view on its feasibility and environmental damage control methodology. Renowned architect Charles Correa, who had put in his papers last February as chairperson of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission refusing to be a rubber stamp for the government on clearance to various Commonwealth Games related projects, was appointed by the Superme Court to inspect the controversial sports facility for CWG in the Siri Fort forest area. A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Arijit Pasayat and S H Kapadia entrusted Correa with the task of inspecting the basketball and squash court facilities and suggest alternatives or allowing the sportsfacility to remain there with minimum damage to environment. The newly-built complex was red flagged by the apex court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC), which had termed the site unsuitable and castigated the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for cutting down as many as 891 trees without taking prior clearance from the authorities and the SC. CEC had suggested demolition of the complex, but keeping in view the constraint of time given the fact that the prestigious games are just 20 months away, it had recommended imposition of Rs 5 crore fine on DDA for utilisation in afforestation activities. On Friday, the Bench accepted amicus curiae Harish Salve’s suggestion for entrusting the inspection task to 79-year-old Correa while asking him to give his report within three weeks. Correa, who studied architecture at the University of Michigan and at MIT, is known for his splendid work in designing the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial at Sabarmati Ashram, Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur, and the Madhya Pradesh State Assembly building.

HC pulls up firm on slow pace of work
6 Feb 2009, 2342 hrs IST, Abhinav Garg, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Delhi HC stated that weather conditions can’t be made a ground by contractors for slow progress in infrastructure related work, while tossing out a petition filed by a firm, challenging NHAI’s notice to terminate a road contract with it due to delay in work. “Every contractor who enters into a contract in India knows that there are extreme weather
conditions..,” Justice S N Dhingra pointed out, refusing to stop NHAI from ending the contract with one `Progressive Constructions Ltd.’ “A contractor can’t take shelter behind these extreme weather conditions and say that in summer the temperature shot upto 48 degrees on some days of work and it hampered progress of work or during winters it fell below 14 degree Celsius,” it added. The firm had moved HC urging the court to restrain NHAI from terminating the contract and also prohibit it from revoking the bank guarantee and other advance given for the construction of a 4-lane road on NH-28. NHAI had given November 2008 as the deadline to finish the work after entering the contract in 2005. However, the firm failed to adhere to the deadline and sought an extension from NHAI, a request which was entertained through a supplementary contract with fixed monthly targets to achieve. In December itself the firm couldn’t achieve the monthly target prompting NHAI to issue a show cause notice asking why the contract shouldn’t be cancelled at once. On its part the firm cited extreme weather conditions of December to justify the delay in completion of construction on the road and meanwhile, challenged NHAI’s decision before the High Court. But Justice Dhingra clarified that it isn’t for a court to stop an autonomous body from cancelling a contract even if he disagreed with the logic of extreme weather conditions trotted out by the firm’s lawyer. “The court can’t give direction to a party of not terminating a contract or to continue with a’s the right of a party to continue or terminate,” HC noted, adding, “Court can’t rewrite contracts for parties.”

HC raps govt on release of convicts
7 Feb 2009, 0202 hrs IST, TNN
Bangalore : If you can release convicts, why can’t you release tigers from cages, asked the high court on Friday, pulling up the government for releasing life convicts without discretion. “It is nothing but lawlessness on Gandhiji’s birthday. If the government releases convicts wantonly, what are we here for? They are doing great injustice to the citizens. This trend started in 1996,” the court observed, while adjourning a petition filed by a person from Mandya, who challenged the remission of sentence to killers of his relative. Meanwhile, the government placed before the court, cabinet records pertaining to the release of 309 life convicts on the occasion of Suvarna Karnataka. As per the cabinet note and other records, it was the then CM who had instructed the officials to release male convicts who had completed eight years, and female convicts who had completed four years in jail. N B Bhat, amicus curiae appointed by the court, said that under 433A of CrPC, one should have undergone a minimum of 14 years to be eligible for remission. This interpretation has been totally misquoted in the August 14, 2006, order, he explained.

Asaram gurukul deaths: Court wants narco analysis
7 Feb 2009, 0138 hrs IST, TNN
AHMEDABAD: A city sessions court on Friday ordered CID (crime) to get narco analysis conducted at Gandhinagar FSL on two witnesses in mysterious death of two children Dipesh and Abhishek Vaghela at Asaram Gurukul in Motera. Additional sessions judge PB Desai has asked authorities to complete truth serum test on two witnesses, who are Sadhaks of the cult by March 13. Upholding chief metropolitan magistrate’s order that narco is required to crack this case, sessions court has also held that the two Gurukul officials, Pankaj Saxena and Yogesh Bhati, are not accused but witnesses. And hot debate as well as much-awaited decision by apex court is regarding whether consent of the accused’ is required to perform truth serum test. However, here lower courts in city have held that since Saxena and Bhati are not accused but mere witnesses, controversy and orders pending in higher courts don’t apply to this case. There is no accused in this case, as investigating agency has not filed a complaint against anybody even after six months of investigation. CID (crime) has been seeking narco analysis on these two after their statements in the lie detection tests differed from each other. Moreover, the investigation agency has also claimed of evidence regarding black magic being performed in the Asaram Gurukul in Motera. Advocate of Saxena and Bhati told mediapersons that they have decided to challenge order in Gujarat High Court.

PMC apathy over RTI irks activists
7 Feb 2009, 0016 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: After repeated demands by Right to Information (RTI) activists that the Pune Municipal Corporation disclose information on its own initiative, the civic body has finally displayed information about all its departments and the duties of its officers on its website. However, RTI activists like Vivek Velankar have pointed out that only a namesake’ job has been done and incomplete disclosures have been displayed. Velankar says that only that information which is of convenience to the PMC has been disclosed, whereas information which would help citizens monitor the functioning of the civic body remains undisclosed. “For example, RTI Act section 4(1) (b) (iii) talks about the procedure followed in the decision-making process, including channels of supervision and accountability’. This is a very important clause from the citizens’ point of view as they should know the procedure involved in all PMC jobs. They should also know who is in charge of supervision and what action the supervisor will take if the procedure is not followed. Unfortunately, none of the departments have felt like declaring this information,” Velankar said. The RTI Act section 4 (1) (b) (iv) talks about the norms set by the PMC for the discharge of its functions’, said Velankar. “This seeks disclosure on the timelines followed by departments of the PMC for doing a particular job. This helps citizens keep a check on civic works. Again, no department except the dept of land and estate has mentioned any norms or the time duration for the tasks.” Velankar said that it was the inaction and apathy of the civic officials which irked the activists the most. “Everything is crystal clear. The officials have attended a number of RTI workshops, but still such things happen. It only shows that they want to keep information under wraps so that they are not questioned by citizens for being inefficient,” Velankar said. He said that there was no option left but to approach the chief information commissioner with a complaint against the PMC for the discrepancies.

Bill seeks to make bullfights part of heritage
7 Feb 2009, 0336 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: Dhirio, or the traditional Goan bullfight, might go from being illegal to being protected as part of Goan heritage’. A Bill seeking an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 was introduced in the concluding session of the stateAssembly on Friday. The Bill seeks to nullify the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act under which the organization of bullfights is illegal. Guidelines are also sought to be framed by the government for the purpose of regulating the conduct of the sport in the state. Introduced by Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, it is called The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Goa Amendment) Bill, 2009. The Bill states that dhirio is a traditional sport in Goa which needs to be protected. “Dhirio (bull-butting games) has been a traditional sport in the state of Goa for many centuries. It is widely prevalent and very popular in the state. Enthusiasts specially raise prized bulls to compete in the sport,” states the Bill. It has been said in the amendment that authorities, however, have been very strict in restricting the sport on the alleged pretext of implementing the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.’ This has led to the arrest and prosecution of the owners, promoters and even the spectators of dhirios. This Bill, therefore, seeks to protect the dhirio as a part of Goan traditional heritage but mandates that the game to be organized within the framework of guidelines set by the state government. Incidentally, the amendment has been sought to be added to section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (Act no. 59 of 1960). The new provision will be included after sub-section (1). The new provision reads, “Provided nothing in this section shall apply to dhirio, which is a traditional animal sport in the state of Goa involving bulls and buffaloes, which is organized in accordance with the guidelines issued from time to time by the government of Goa,” nullifying the old Act provisions that term bullfights as being illegal. Till a decade ago, Goa’s version of a bullfight where two bulls are pitted against each other was the weekend entertainment staple for most villages. In fact, many families lived off the earnings made on appearances and bets alone. In the year 1998, animal rights’ activists succeeded in getting a Supreme Court-imposed ban on the sport they term is “cruel to animals”. Subsequently, in March, 2008, member of parliament (MP) Francisco Sardinha vowed to bring in a legislation in order to lift the ban. While no such move has been made yet, reports of bulls locking horns have become more frequent with over 120 incidents reported last year alone. Incidentally, organizers of bullfights mint anywhere from Rs five lakh to Rs 10 lakh a fight, as bull owners and spectators bet heavily on their favourite competitor.

Airlines mix-up: Lawyer gets refund for tickets 7
Feb 2009, 0300 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: UT consumer forum directed Make My to refund Rs 8,750 to Rajiv Atma Ram, a senior advocate, along with a token compensation of Rs 2,000. According to the complaint, Ram and his wife were to visit Bangalore to attend his niece’s marriage. Accordingly, they booked online air tickets through Make My for Delhi to Bangalore and return tickets in May 2007. The tickets were confirmed and their payment was made by their son through his credit card. However, when they reached Bangalore airport to catch their return flight, the airlines said no tickets were issued to them. Claiming that he had to purchase two fresh tickets, which is amounts to deficiency in services, Ram moved a complaint under Consumer Protection Act. A notice of the complaint was duly served to Make My, but it chose not to contest the complaint.

Shubham case: 12 granted bail
7 Feb 2009, 0254 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: The court of special CBI judge Jagdeep Jain granted bail to 12 accused in a multi-crore cheating and fraud case related to Shubham Hospital on Friday here. “The allegations are against Sandeep Sharma, who is the main accused in this case, that he took loan from various banks after obtaining fake certificates from the societies. The case has been fixed for framing of the charges,” said NK Nanda, one of the defense counsels. According to sources, court didn’t grant bail to two accused. Recently, the CBI had filed three separate chargesheets against 14 accused, including bank officials and lawyers, under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act along with sections related to cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code. The incident came to light last year when it was alleged that Sharma, who ran Panchkula-based Shubham Hospital and Diagnostic Centre, had fake medical certificates. It was also alleged that he had availed loans from four different banks on forged documents. It was claimed that bank officials granted loan to him without verifying the documents leading to a scam worth crores.

Molestation of German: Final hearing on Feb 16
7 Feb 2009, 0256 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Though one German woman, a rape victim, recently got justice, the other one will still have to wait. A local court has fixed February 16 as the next date to hear final arguments in the molestation case, which is pending since year 1999. “Despite availing four dates for final arguments, on Friday, too, defense counsel pleaded for next date, which was granted. Officials from German Embassy were here to hear the outcome of the trial,” advocate Terminder Singh, the victim’s counsel, said. The molestation victim, a German national has been keeping a regular tab on the court’s proceedings. She had come to the city along with her boyfriend and on August 11, 1999, the duo went to RBI’s office in Sector 17 in order to get currency exchanged. Allegedly there the then deputy manager SK Sharma passed derogatory remarks on her and later even reached her hotel in Sector 28. Following this, the woman called police and got a case for outraging modesty registered against Sharma. The maximum punishment awarded in such cases is two-year.

Show-cause notice to cop for approaching MHA
7 Feb 2009, 0003 hrs IST, Saurabh Prashar, TNN
CHANDIGARH: The inspector general (IG) blocked his way and the SSP, too, did not pay heed. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. The cop reached the country’s home department to show his bosses that he was ‘competent’ enough for it. However, senior UT police officials refused to accept the recommendation of an officer on special duty (OSD) with the minister of state for home affairs (MHA), Delhi, and have slapped a show-cause notice against inspector Kewal Krishan. An explanation has been sought from him to explain that in what capacity, did he approach a bureaucrat for securing a top post. Sources say in the communication, received a fortnight ago in favour of inspector Krishan, the OSD claimed, “The cop is competent and experienced. Please appoint him for the post (public dealing) whenever the next transfer orders are issued.” Though UT SSP SS Srivastva confirmed that he had received a letter from MHA, he refused to divulge any details. Sources further revealed that one of the pages in the communication was in Hindi and had been recommended by a political leader from Mirzapur, UP. Interestingly, even as the letter claimed that the cop was competent, inspector Krishan was facing two departmental inquiries. A senior official said inspector Krishan had filed his reply before SSP Srivastva seeking permission of personal appearance. However, it may be recalled that it’s not the first time that top UT police officials have received such recommendation letters in favour of competent officers. Earlier, UT police officials also took strict note when DSP (south), JS Khaira, was an inspector and had approached a senior politician for securing the post of SHO in the UT police.

GO declaring retd officers ‘ineligible’ opposed
7 Feb 2009, 0416 hrs IST, Ashish Tripathi, TNN
LUCKNOW: Even as various government employees and officers association in the state are gearing up to strike work from February 26 for salary revision as per sixth pay commission report, a state government order directing its departments not to negotiate or hold talks with organisations which have retired employees as office-bearers has created a flutter among employees. The order gives reference of the “service association regulations 1979” and states that officers should negotiate or hold talks with those organisations which have been duly recognised by the government. The government order also gives reference of an earlier order issued in November, 2002 and states that the department should only consider representations made by recognised employees associations and federations. The order also directs heads of government departments not to invite for talks those office-bearers of associations who have retired from the services. The order asks employees’ associations which are divided into various groups to hold a joint election and constitute a working committee as early as possible for negotiations with the government. Associations not following instructions will be de-recognised, it states. The state government’s move has come at a time when all the major employees, teachers and officers organisations/federations are gearing up for agitations for salary revisions as given by the central government to its employees. There were over 16 lakh state government employees, which includes teachers, officers, clerical staff, civic employees among others. Many leaders of these associations had retired long back but are clinging to the posts in the associations. “Associations should have a serving employee or an officer as office-bearers as only they can protect interests of members in a better way,” said an officer. Prominent associations having retired employees as office bearers include SP Tiwari, president, State Employees Joint Council; VP Mishra, president, State Employees Joint Council (second group); Lallan Pandey, president, State Employees Federation; Chandra Shekhar Pandey, president, Roadways Employees Association; Mool Chand Jaiswal, president, UP Treasury Association; Om Prakash Sharma, president, UP Secondary Teachers Association. Government officers said that these leaders have created a caucus and continue to occupy important positions in associations by some way or other and use their clout for personal benefit. A section of employees and teachers also felt that after retirement, employees leaders should act as a patron and voluntarily vacant post to give way to new leadership in the organisation. However, leaders vehemently denied all allegations and described the government’s order as a move to create confusion at a time when all the organisations are gearing up for agitation. VP Mishra, president, State Employees Joint Council (second group) said, “In a democratic set up, people decide who will be their representatives and not the government. We had raised the issue with senior government officers and they have assured us of taking back the order.” SP Tiwari, president, State Employees Joint Council, said that office-bearers are elected as per the constitution of the association and not as per the rules made by the government. RK Nigam, general secretary of the said council, said that all the major movements since last four decades have been led by leaders who had retired from their services. RP Mishra, secretary, UP Secondary Teachers Association, said that the rule which government is talking about is applicable on organisations formed after 1979.

HC seeks explanation on terrorist threats
7 Feb 2009, 0017 hrs IST, Abhinav Sharma, TNN
JAIPUR: A division bench of Rajasthan High Court comprising of Justice R C Gandhi and Justice M N Bhandari on Friday issued show cause notices to the state and the centre seeking an explanation as to why timely action was not taken on the alleged information available in regard with the May 13 serial blasts in Jaipur. The show cause notices were issued on a PIL filed by an NGO named Rasthriya Samta Manch that is headed by Mahaveer Prasad Todi. According to the counsel of the petitioner, Munish Kumar Sharma, it was given in the PIL that the NGO had received a CD some days before the May 13 blasts, last year that contained a scanned letter of a terrorist outfit. It was stated in the letter that they wanted certain terrorists to be released from jail and had demanded Rs 50 crore as ransom for keeping peace or else face consequences. Later, on May 12, two women and two men claiming themselves to be associates of a women terrorist outfit of India went to NGO’s office and asked for the CD to be returned. “Subsequently, the NGO representatives lodged a complaint with the police on May 12, but police did not act promptly on the information after which the May 13 bomb blasts took place last year, ” the counsel said before the court. It was further stated in the petition that recently on December 5, the NGO again received a threat letter written in Tamil posted from Perambadur, Chennai. The letter, written by one Abdul Kayyum Rangrez, secretary of Forum of Active Terrorist Organizations of India comprising of 11 terrorist outfits named in the letter, had threatened of fresh terrorist attacks using suicide bombers. The letter also said that all the terrorists active in country were asked to kill Mahaveer Prasad Todi, chairman of the NGO through a suicide bomber. The PIL has sought a direction from the court to order a CBI probe on the inaction and failure of the state police in the May 13 attacks despite having information. Further, it has been requested that the state and Central government be directed to relocate Bangladeshis and other nation’s refugees and to install close circuit cameras at religious, tourist and crowded places as well as in Vidhan Sabha and other sensitive places. The division bench has issued show cause notice to Central and state government’s home secretary, DGP Rajasthan, superintendent of police-Jaipur South, and station house officers of Shyam Nagar and Murlipura police stations of the city to file a reply within two weeks from now.

HC holds Mishra, students guilty of cheating
7 Feb 2009, 0445 hrs IST, Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN
NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court has held Sunil Mishra, one of the prime accused in Nagpur University’s infamous fake marksheet and revaluation scam and two other beneficiary students guilty of cheating. However, it acquitted kingpin Yadav Kohchade and his accomplice Ashok Jawlekar from all the cases. Scrutinier Madhukar Smarth was acquitted in one case and convicted in another. A single-judge bench of justice Ravindra Chavan quashed all the charges levelled against Mishra, Mahendra Gote and Parag Fadnavis for which they were convicted by the special court of second additional chief judicial magistrate Ashok Gattani last year. The bench provided them further respite by stating that the sentences these accused had undergone so far were sufficient and hence should be set free. While pronouncing verdict in Gote’s case, the court observed that his conviction would eclipse his career as a lawyer. The judge directed the university to return his degree and also asked Nagpur University and Bar Council of Maharashtra to take appropriate steps stating that “cancelling degrees is beyond scope of powers of learned magistrate.” In case of Gote, he failed in seven subjects while appearing in his final year law examination in 1996. He applied for revaluation and managed to pass the examination allegedly in connivance with Kohchade and Smarth using fraudulent means. In case of Fadnavis, a first year engineering student, failed in mathematics during winter 1996 exam. However allegedly conniving with Kohchade and Jawlekar, he managed to clear the subject by tampering marks. According to Kohchade’s counsel Prakash Naidu, this is third acquittal for his client in a week. On Tuesday, the high court had acquitted Kohchade in the case of beneficiary student Anil Gupta, while he was convicted in the case of Laxmikant Zade along with scrutinier Prabhakar Hejib. Their sentences were also reduced from twelve and half years to five and half years. Moreover, former dean of engineering Hemant Thakre, scrutiniers Smarth and Shyam Kalamkar along with beneficiary students Rajendra Yadav, Mohammed Ishaq and Shailesh Tupkari were absolved of all charges by the court. Kohchade would be moving to the Supreme Court against high court verdict.

HC seeks status of airport transfer
7 Feb 2009, 0232 hrs IST, TNN
NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Friday asked the Centre and state government if the airport would be transferred before February 28 after an announcement to this effect was made by Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel on Thursday. A division bench comprising justices Dilip Sinha and Ashok Bhangale asked this question to assistant solicitor general of India SK Mishra who was appearing for the civil aviation ministry and the state government. While referring to the news report published in TOI’s Friday edition, the bench directed advocate Mishra to seek instructions from the aviation ministry on Patel’s announcement and file an affidavit. The bench also asked the state government on the status of the joint venture company (JVC) to which the Dr Ambedkar International Airport will be transferred. Earlier, Mishra informed the court that he had filed an affidavit based on information provided by civil aviation ministry’s under-secretary Oma Nand. The affidavit reiterated the ministry’s stand that though steps were being taken to transfer the airport and it was difficult to set a specific time-frame for it. Mishra, however, informed that he had not received any fresh instructions from the aviation ministry regarding Patel’s statement in the media. During the last hearing on January 14, the court had asked the state chief secretary to file an affidavit on whether the JVC had been formed and if not then by what time was it was likely to be formed. The petition was filed by Vidarbha Economic Development (VED) Council charging the Union aviation ministry of ‘deliberately delaying’ the process of airport transfer. The petitioner contended that neither had the JVC been formed nor was any progress made in this regard. The decision on the much-awaited transfer was actually taken during a meeting of the Union cabinet on January 17 last year and no progress had been made since then.

Cheque bounce: 2 traders get 2-yr jail term
7 Feb 2009, 0436 hrs IST, TNN
SURAT: Two traders were sentenced to one year of imprisonment on Friday and slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 for issuing cheques, which were not honoured. The court also ordered the traders to pay the amount of the cheques to the party concerned. According to case details, Pradeep Sharma and Dilip Sharma were arrested on a complaint of Kirit Shah, who had given a loan of Rs 4.75 lakh to three persons, Pradeep, Dilip and Mahendra Sharma. The trio had returned the money through cheques to Shah, but the cheques bounced. Following this, Shah sent court notices to the three. Mahendra opted out of court settlement by clearing his debt, but cases were registered against Pradeep and Dilip as they did not respond. Source: Sandesh

Delivery of child on road: HC notices to Govt, doctors, others
7 Feb 2009, 0447 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has issued notices to the doctors of Fatehpur and asked the government to file reply over the issue of delivery of child on the road by a poor woman. Hearing a PIL filed by Padma Singh, secretary of Stree Adhikar Sangathan, over the issue, a division bench comprising Chief Justice HL Gokhale and Justice Dilip Gupta has issued notices to respondents, the Union of India, principal secretary health, director health, district magistrate, Fatehpur, chief medical officer, Fatehpur and the Superintendent, District Mahila Hospital, Fatehpur. The court has also issued notice to Priti Sachan, Vineeta Sachan (senior staff nurses of Hardo community centre and Dr Upendra Kaur of District Mahila Hospital, Fatehpur. According to the petitioner, on getting information from various newspapers, the organisation and Human Rights Law Network had constituted a team of lawyers and social workers and sent them to gather facts regarding the incident. According to the fact-finding report, Geeta Devi, a resident of Dhankamai under Sultanpur Ghosh police station in Fatehpur and her husband Hori Lal had gone to community health centre, Hardo on January 17, 2009 for delivery. Geeta Devi sought the help of the medical staff of the Hardo community centre, but the lady doctor and staff nurses Vineeta Sachan and Priti Sachan made certain demands from the family members. When the demands were not fulfilled, they denied to provide help and turned out the woman from the health centre. Geeta and Hori Lal reached the District Women’s Hospital, Fatehpur and met doctor Upendra Kaur and requested her to provide medical aid and admit the patient. But Kaur also denied to admit her. The disappointed couple then tried to approach the Mission Hospital, but before reaching there, Geeta gave birth to a male child on the road. The newly born child died within a few minutes due to unsafe delivery and the chilly cold.

Judge stops salary of a cop
7 Feb 2009, 0432 hrs IST, TNN
KANPUR: Additional district and session judge XIII of Kanpur nagar on Thursday took the non-compliance of court order by a Sub Inspector RP Singh seriously, and ordered to SSP to stop the payment of his salary till next order. Issuing a notice under section 350 cr.p.c against the S I, the presiding judge Ghan Shaym Pathak said that S I presently posted at office of S P, Kanpur rural had been summoned several times to adduce his evidence in a case of prevention of Immoral Traffic Act (Pita) styled as State v/s Madhu Agarwal but he did not appear before the court. Warrants were also served but he did not paid any heed .Due to his act the court proceedings in the case could not be taken . Today he had to appear before the court but like previous occasions he was absent. It appears that he was overlooking the court orders. Therefore, stop the payment of his salary till further order and serve the notice issued against him and ensure his presence in the court on next date i.e February 20,2009. The annoyed judge also issued a notice under section 350 cr.p.c against Sub Inspector Amarish K Tewari for same reasons. S I Tewari had to appear before the court in a NDPs case of Sachendi police circle to adduce evidence for prosecution. The judge asked the senior police officials that it appears that police inspectors were taking the court orders lightly and they did not inclined to follow the court orders. Ensure the service of notice and his appearance in the court on February 25,2009.

Bihar RTI-on-phone project earns it top e-governance prize
7 Feb 2009, 0227 hrs IST, Vishwa Mohan, TNN
NEW DELHI: Bihar’s unique attempt to accept Right to Information (RTI) applications through phone calls — Jaankari — has been selected by the Centre for the first prize (gold) for “outstanding performance in citizen centric service delivery” under its e-Governance project for the year 2008-09. Incidentally, 11 of the total 18 National Awards for e-Governance under different categories this year have gone to NDA-ruled states with Gujarat taking the lead with five prizes, including one gold, one silver and three bronze. Announcing the annual awards, minister of state for personnel Prithviraj Chavan said: “These awards are given to recognize and promote excellence in implementation of e-governance initiatives.” Under the category of citizen-centric service delivery in which Bihar won the gold for Jaankari, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh were selected got the bronze for their e-krishi-kisan (Agricultural University, Anand) and HIMPOL (state police website), respectively. Praising the Bihar government’s citizen-centric service delivery project “Jaankari — RTI facilitation on phone”, Chavan said: “In this, you can make a phone call and the call centre person will keep all the details. The cost of the RTI application will be deducted by adding it to the phone call charges.” He said the Delhi government had also shown an interest in implementing the project. The awards to these states will be given away during the 12th National Conference on e-Governance in Goa on February 12-13. On excellence in government process re-engineering, Chhattisgarh’s department of food and civil supplies bagged the first prize while in the exemplary horizontal transfer of best practice the first prize went to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. Nagpur Municipal Corporation, the national panchayat portal of the ministry of panchayati raj and the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, Hyderabad, won awards in the category of best government websites. Tripura, Karnataka and Haryana were the other states which won awards in different categories for their efforts towards promoting e-governmence for the benefit of citizens. Chavan said as part of Centre’s initiative to streamline the official websites, the government has issued guidelines for all official portals which will help people to get required information easily. As part of the government’s e-governance plan, 27 mission mode projects would be rolled out across the country with an outlay of Rs 20,175 crore. Out of this, 16 projects have already been cleared by the Union Cabinet with an outlay of Rs 10,626 crore.

FIR mandatory in encounter cases: HC
7 Feb 2009, 0453 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: In a landmark judgment in a state where naxal activities and encounter deaths are rampant, a larger bench of the A P High Court on Friday ruled that it is mandatory for the police to register an FIR under the relevant sections of the law whenever an encounter death takes place. Thereafter, it is the magistrate, and not the police, who has to decide whether to continue the trial or to close the case after hearing the police argument. Delivered after much deliberation, the judgment was welcomed by several human rights organisations who claimed that this would put an end to the practice of the police closing encounter cases on the plea of self defence. Police officials, however, termed the verdict as disturbing as in the days of terrorism, policemen would be more worried about legal consequences of their actions rather than tackle the threat. The five-judge bench comprising Justices Goda Raghuram, V V S Rao, R Subhash Reddy, Ramesh Ranganathan and G Bhavani Prasad, pronounced the verdict after hearing a petition filed by the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee which sought the names of the police personnel who participated in an encounter on July 23, 2006, in which 8 Maoists were killed. The petitioners had sought the information in order to file a case against the police officers who were involved in the incident. “It is necessary to examine the larger issue of the powers of the police and the rights of the civilians in such cases,” the bench said in its 150-page order. The bench made it clear that the magisterial enquiry (inquest), generally done by a revenue authority immediately after such deaths, is not an alternative to the obligation to record the information in the FIR and to conduct investigation and arrest the offenders, if necessary. “The opinion on such deaths recorded by an investigation officer (IO) and forwarded to a magistrate is only an opinion of the IO and such an opinion shall be considered by the magistrate in the context of the record of the investigation together with the material and evidence collected during the course of investigation,” the bench said. The magistrate, it said, shall critically examine the entire evidence to ascertain whether the opinion of the IO is borne out by the investigation. The magistrate has the discretion to disregard the opinion and take cognizance under section 190 of CrPC, it said. On the issue of the investigating officer’s role, whether or not he should reveal to the complainants the names of the police personnel who participated in such encounters, the bench said it is not an issue before them. The bench, however, made it clear that the identity of such personnel should be disclosed to the investigation officer. This is absolute and there is no immunity whatsoever from this obligation, it said.

Raju brothers get VIP status, privacy in jail
7 Feb 2009, 0127 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: Disgraced Satyam boss B Ramalinga Raju may not be able to access his wardrobe full of designer suits and shoes, but from Saturday his stay at Hyderabad’s Chanchalguda prison will get a little better.
Raju and his brother, Rama Raju, have been living the life of ordinary inmates since their arrest on January 9 — sleeping on cold mattresses on the ground, eating watery daal and rice and sharing toilets with other prisoners. Granted special class prisoner status on Friday, the brothers will now get cots, pillows, mattresses, sheets, mosquito nets, a separate kitchen and toilet, jail sources said. The facilities go beyond bare necessities. ‘‘They can get newspapers and can smoke cigarettes or cigars if they wish to. They can also eat meat and fish everyday provided it is brought by their family members,’’ the source said. Apart from separate cots, pillows, mattresses, toilet, kitchen, there are other privileges that the Rajus can ask for. ‘‘Like if they ask for a colour TV, it is the duty of the state government to provide it,’’ one official said. The only facility they are denied is access to a telephone. A Hyderabad lower court granted special class prisoner status to the Rajus few days ago. However, the order asked the Hyderabad collector, under whose jurisdiction Chanchalguda falls, to certify that the Rajus were used to a high lifestyle and should be accorded the same while in jail. After the collector certified the lifestyle, the court issued the orders which reached the jail on Friday afternoon.

Mumbai terror ‘a crime against humanity, totally unacceptable’
N. Ram
UN Secretary-General on India-Pakistan, Sri Lanka, climate change
New Delhi: “I would not pre-judge what the Pakistan government will say. But I am convinced that the Pakistani government is also committed to addressing terrorism,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told The Hindu in an interview in New Delhi on Thursday. He was asked whether he was confident that Pakistan would heed his appeal to “fully cooperate” with the Indian government in getting to the bottom of the Mumbai terror attacks.
Mr. Ban, who was in New Delhi for a day, revealed that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had informed him the Pakistan government “was going to enact the legislation to allow them to punish those Pakistani people who engage in terrorist acts outside Pakistan.”
Condemning the Mumbai terror attacks as “totally unacceptable,” Mr. Ban underscored the importance of “addressing and eradicating terrorism…in the name of humanity.” Noting that an opportunity had been missed in the wake of 9/11, he said what happened in Mumbai should strengthen the international community’s resolve to work on “a comprehensive international convention on terrorism.”
Asked for his thoughts on what more could be done by way of international pressure or persuasion to ensure that Pakistan did the right thing, Mr. Ban responded: “In investigating and addressing terrorism, that should be done voluntarily by any member state [of the UN] even before any pressure, so-called pressure, comes. This is, after all, a crime against humanity…There should be active efforts by the whole international community regardless of where it happened.”
The UN Secretary-General reiterated his view that all issues between India and Pakistan, including Kashmir, should be “resolved harmoniously through dialogue.” He added that while the terrorist attack in Mumbai was “a very serious crime which must be punished,” it must not be allowed to become “an obstacle” to strengthening the bilateral relationship “in a comprehensive dimension between the two countries.”
Asked how much of a priority the issue of climate change was for him and the UN, Mr. Ban, who received the Sustainable Development Leadership Award 2009 at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, responded that his “top priority and target” as UN Secretary-General was to have “a balanced, comprehensive, and effective” international agreement by the end of December this year in Copenhagen. As a regime, it must also be “ratifiable” as a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.
Emphasising that “India can play a very important, crucially important role,” Mr. Ban said “that’s why I am here…Everybody is looking at India, what India will do.” With President Barack Obama and his administration “very positively engaged, unlike the previous, Bush administration,” the time was propitious. Saying that he “fully understand the challenges of India,” and specifically that when it came to greenhouse emissions in per capita terms India was not at all at the level of industrialised countries, he made this appeal: “But at this time, when this is by far the most urgent and serious existential threat for all humanity and planet Earth, the whole international community must act together. Now is the time to act. Therefore I would sincerely urge and appeal to the Indian government to really engage in in-depth negotiations.”
Asked for his reading of what was happening in the north of Sri Lanka, where the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which is banned or designated as terrorist in 31 countries, is boxed in a very narrow territory with about 120,000 civilians, Mr. Ban expressed concern over the humanitarian situation and mentioned his discussions with the Sri Lankan leadership. He had asked President Mahinda Rajapaksa to ensure that there were no civilian casualties and also the security and safety of United Nations staff and humanitarian workers and had received assurances. The UN Secretary-General revealed that he was now “considering dispatching a humanitarian assessment team” to Sri Lanka.
Asked whether the failure of the UN to get Israel to stop its brutal aggression in Gaza did not demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the world body, Mr. Ban spiritedly contested the view that the UN had failed in the Middle East. He asserted that “it was the United Nations together with major leaders, powers, in the region and elsewhere that has brought this ceasefire” in Gaza. Now it was urgently mobilising humanitarian assistance. He himself had made an urgent appeal for $613 million to help people in Gaza to recover and was co-sponsoring an international donors conference.
Responding to a question on Iran, the UN Secretary-General expressed the hope that “with a new administration in the United States…the dynamics of negotiation may change.” However, “before everything, it is important for Iran to fully comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions.” He looked forward to “in-depth negotiations” on the Iran nuclear issue given the “change in the political dynamics.”

Investigating and addressing terrorism should be done voluntarily: Ban Ki-moon
N. Ram
`If India and Pakistan cooperate fully, there can be much greater synergy.’
Ban Ki-moon responds to questions on the Mumbai terror attacks, India-Pakistan relations, Afghanistan, Gaza, Iran, and climate change. The United Nations Secretary-General, who was in New Delhi for a day on Thursday following his visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan, gave this half-an-hour interview to The Hindu in his suite at the Ashok Hotel.
You have just had discussions with the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan. You have called on Pakistan to have a “full investigation” into the Mumbai terror attacks and to “fully cooperate” with the Indian government in this matter. “Fully cooperate,” I take it, means two things: bringing those responsible [for the Mumbai attacks] to justice; and eliminating the terror infrastructure in Pakistan so that future attacks can be ruled out. Are you confident that both will happen given what has happened?
I would not pre-judge at this time what the Pakistani government will say. But I am convinced that the Pakistani government is also committed to addressing terrorism. Prime Minister [Yousuf Raza] Gilani told me that his government was going to enact the legislation to allow them to punish those Pakistani people who engage in terrorist acts outside Pakistan. It seems that there is no such law by which they can punish those people, as we have seen in the Mumbai terrorist attack.
The United Nations Security Council has adopted a battery of resolutions against terrorism, requiring a number of actions by state parties. Are you satisfied with the response of the concerned state parties to the terror attacks in Mumbai? And have you had a chance to look at the evidence provided by the Indian and other governments [that the Mumbai terror attacks originated in Pakistan]?
First of all, it was just totally unacceptable — the terrorist attack [in Mumbai] on the citizens of India and foreigners. Terrorism under whatever reasons and grievances cannot be justified. That should be addressed in the name of humanity and eradicated in the name of humanity. The United Nations has been leading this effort to address and eradicate and fight against international terrorism. Since the early 1960s, member states have had 13 international conventions on different aspects of terrorism. Now they have been discussing the way to adopt a comprehensive convention against international terrorism. Unfortunately, we have not been able to reach there because of some technical — but it seems to be a very sensitive — issue on the definition of terrorism and the scope of terrorism. But I think at this time the political will among the international community is important. When I was working in the office of the President of the [UN] General Assembly eight years ago, 2001-2002 — that was the year 9/11 happened — that was the most appropriate time for the international community to reach a deal on this issue. But we missed the opportunity. Now, as we have seen in Mumbai, this really gives us some resolve, strengthens our resolve to work on this comprehensive international convention against terrorism. I would once again urge this and I will work towards that end.
The question is being asked here — and let me mention that our newspaper has taken a sober stand in this crisis and said, ‘don’t be hawkish, this issue has to be resolved through dialogue’ and so on — but there are many voices in India which raise the following question. Why should an aggrieved India, not just the government but also the people of India, have faith in Pakistan’s investigative and judicial systems when Pakistan itself is expressing its lack of confidence in these systems by asking the UN to inquire into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto? You made an announcement in Islamabad that there would be a three-member inquiry commission and Dawn newspaper has speculated that it will be headed by the Chilean Ambassador to the UN, Heraldo Munoz. But the point is their systems are very fragile.
We’ve been discussing the terms of reference and the scope and nature of this Bhutto assassination inquiry commission. This is not going to be the same commission as was established by the mandate [Resolution 1595] of the Security Council on the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister [Rafik] Hariri. This is a fact-finding commission, it’s not a criminal investigation. That was the understanding between the United Nations and the Pakistani government after extensive consultation on this matter. I have written to the President of the Security Council who has taken note of my intention to establish this one. I will not at this time say anything about the exact composition but it will be made known very shortly. He [Ambassador Munoz] is one of the candidates.
The Indian government has made it clear that it relies a good deal on what the Indian press calls “international pressure” to ensure that Pakistan does the right thing to get to the bottom of the Mumbai terror. What are the instruments available in this regard? Diplomats will talk about “persuasion” but whatever it is, there is an international factor here, including the United Nations. Do you think something more could be done? Some people even talked about smart sanctions like a travel ban, freezing of assets and so on. What’s your thinking on this?
In investigating and addressing terrorism, that should be done voluntarily by any member state [of the UN] even before any pressure, so-called pressure, comes. This is, after all, a crime against humanity. It is not some small crime, which may happen anywhere around the world. Terrorism, terrorist activities should be addressed in the name of humanity and there should be active efforts by the whole international community regardless of where it happened. The whole international community should fully cooperate.
During your visit to Pakistan, you called on Pakistan and India to address and resolve longstanding issues, including Kashmir, peacefully through dialogue. You expressed hope that the composite dialogue will be resumed.
There is some disquiet in India — I’m not referring to your statement in Pakistan — about this tendency on the part of some western leaders to bring in Kashmir in the context of resolving the issue of cross-border terrorism between Pakistan and India. There is sensitivity here about speaking about cross-border terrorism and Kashmir as proximate issues.
I’m aware of all the historical and political background of the Kashmir issue. That’s one of the longstanding issues in the world. Therefore what I can tell you at this time is that this issue should also be resolved harmoniously through dialogue. Now it was very encouraging that India and Pakistan have initiated a composite dialogue. There were many high-profile exchanges between the two countries. That I hope will continue and proceed. When you are having such serious problems in addressing the terrorist attack in Mumbai, that is a particular case, though it is a very serious crime which must be punished. But that should not be an obstacle in strengthening your [relationship] in a comprehensive dimension between the two countries. India, Pakistan — they are the largest countries, democratic countries, and countries of great potentialities. If the two countries have full cooperation, there can be much greater synergy.
You have just made what the press calls a “surprise visit” to Afghanistan where you declared that Afghanistan would be a priority area for the UN in 2009 and pledged strong UN support to help deliver peace and stabilise democracy, especially in the context of the elections due in August 2009. But everyone knows the security situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating in the face of a resurgent Taliban. So how do you propose to go about helping deliver peace, democracy, and development in what looks like a very grim situation?
That is exactly the source of deep concern for me as a Secretary-General and for the international community. That with such massive support — political, economic, and military support — the security situation has been deteriorating. Now there should be a political consensus, a political process. This is exactly what I urged President [Hamid] Karzai, to further engage in inclusive political dialogue. The military option can be a very effective tool. But that cannot be the sole option. A military option should always be complemented by a political solution. Afghanistan is going through a very crucial period this year. Now depending upon how they, and how the international community, do, it may be very crucial. They may be standing at a crossroads. They are going to have a presidential election this year, on August 20. That can be a very important occasion to bring Afghanistan into a fuller democracy and a participatory democracy. The United Nations stands ready to provide technical assistance to make this election a fair and democratic and objective one.
UN reports have noted the high number of civilian casualties caused by the U.S. and allied international forces in Afghanistan. But now President [Barack] Obama is promising a surge of new troops. The military compone nt seems to be getting greater weightage in Afghanistan. Doesn’t that concern you?
Civilian casualties have been a concern for me for long, particularly since 2007 when I became the Secretary-General. I have raised this issue with the ISAF [International Security Assistance Forces] commander and also the Secretary-General of NATO and I have of course discussed it with senior American authorities — not to have any civilian casualties. In the course of military operations, it may be the case that civilians become victimised. But what we have seen has been very tragic and therefore it is absolutely necessary that the military commanders, when engaging in military operations, must ensure that they avoid civilian casualties. For that I have urged the strengthening of these civil-military coordination systems. My Special Representative [for Afghanistan], Mr. Kai Eide, is now coordinating with all international actors, including ISAF.
Sri Lanka
Closer home (to where our newspaper is based), in Sri Lanka, you have one combatant, which is banned or designated as terrorist in 31 countries, boxed in a very narrow territory with about 120,000 civilians. What is your reading of this? You must have got many reports.
Again, the situation in Sri Lanka has been a source of concern and I discussed this recently with Sri Lankan leaders. Even today I am going to speak with President [Mahinda] Rajapaksa [They spoke over the telephone and the Sri Lankan President assured Mr. Ban that “military operations to defeat terrorism in Sri Lanka would be carried out without harassment to the civilian population” in the north]. First of all, evaluating this situation and expressing my concern about the humanitarian situation, the civilian casualties. About ten days ago, before my departure, I received the Special Envoy of President Rajapaksa in New York and we discussed this issue. I have asked, through our Special Envoy to President Rajapaksa and his government to ensure that there should be no civilian casualties. There should be full guarantee of the security and safety of United Nations staff and humanitarian workers. And I was assured by President Rajapaksa that he would ensure this. There are very serious humanitarian concerns. I am considering dispatching a humanitarian assessment team.
What do you say to a young Palestinian in Gaza who feels the failure of the United Nations to get the Israelis to stop their aggression proves the ineffectiveness of the world body? Or is it expecting too much of the U.N.?
I won’t agree to the so-called failure of the United Nations. This Middle East situation has been there for six decades. It is the United Nations that has been leading this Middle East peace process during the last six decades. Largely because of the lack of political will on the part of the parties concerned, peace has not been established. Genuine peace. During the last six decades, we have seen many wars. It is almost unprecedented in history. So that’s very tragic and unfortunate.
Now, if we talk about this Gazan situation, it was the United Nations together with major leaders, powers, in the region and elsewhere that has brought this ceasefire. And I travelled to many countries, I met so many leaders in the region and outside the region to bring about this ceasefire. I think the United Nations played a pivotal role this time, a key role. Now Egypt has also been playing a key role and there are many other leaders (I don’t mention their names because there are so many). It is not one country or individual leaders. It has been a joint diplomatic effort.
This ceasefire is very fragile, as we have already seen through several cases of exchanging rockets and bombings. This ceasefire must be turned into a durable and sustainable one. That’s what I am doing. The United Nations is now mobilising humanitarian assistance, immediate and only recovery assistance. I have appealed Monday last week for urgent humanitarian assistance, made an urgent appeal for $ 613 million [to help people affected by Israel’s three-week military offensive in the Gaza Strip], and there is going to be an international donors conference in the first week of March in Cairo. I am going to be the co-sponsor of this international conference. Now I know the frustrations and challenges to the pride of Palestinian people in Gaza, particularly young people who have been victimised, women and children. I’d like to give them some hope, a sense of hope. They have the full support of the international community, the United Nations. We are working very hard to help them overcome this humanitarian suffering and also meet their long-term socio-economic rehabilitation.
President Obama has promised a new approach to Iran but the clock of UNSC sanctions continues to tick. Do you think suspending or holding sanctions in abeyance till Washington and Tehran get a chance to have a better relationship and resume a bilateral dialogue could be one way to proceed?
With a new administration in the United States, there is hope that the dynamics of negotiation may change. That is what I would also hope and expect. Before everything, it is important for Iran to fully comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions. That is, first and foremost, important. [As for] the rest of the issues, I hope with the change of administration and change in the political dynamics, there will be very in-depth negotiations so that we can be free from those nuclear concerns.
Climate Change
On climate change. First, congratulations on your award [the Sustainable Development Leadership Award 2009, presented at the Delhi Sustainable Summit on February 5]. You’ve said climate change was a priority for the United Nations. There are many priorities. How high, how important a priority is this?
My top priority and target is to have an international agreement by the end of December this year in Copenhagen. An international agreement that is comprehensive and balanced and effective. A ratifiable one that will be a successor regime of the Kyoto Protocol. India can play a very important, crucially important role. That’s why I am here. I am going to meet with senior Indian government officials. Everybody is looking at India, what India will do. Now President Obama and his administration are very positively engaged, unlike the previous, Bush administration. This is a very good sign. While I fully understand the challenges of India, when it comes to greenhouse emissions in per capita terms the level of these greenhouse gas emissions by India, Indian industry is far less than those [the levels] of industrialised countries. But at this time, when this is by far the most urgent and serious existential threat for all humanity and planet Earth, the whole international community must act together. Now is the time to act. Therefore I would sincerely urge and appeal to the Indian government to really engage in in-depth negotiations. This year we have only ten months left.

Anjuman for public hanging of Ajmal
Vidya Subrahmaniam
NEW DELHI: The Anjuman Minhaj-e-Rasool has passed a resolution demanding the public hanging of Mohammad Ajmal ‘Kasab,’ the Pakistani national caught alive during the November 26 Mumbai terror attacks.
The resolution was passed at a meeting of the Anjuman’s National Council of Advisers on February 4 and 5 in Ajmer.
At a press conference in Ajmer on Thursday, Anjuman chairman Maulana Syed Athar Hussain Dehlavi said there was no place for terrorism in Islam and in the teachings of the Holy Prophet. The Anjuman strongly condemned terrorism and wanted Ajmal hanged in full view of the public. There was no sanction in Islam for the activities of groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
“Muslims are patriotic”
The Maulana described the Indian Muslim as a patriotic citizen, who was ready to lay down his life for the country. He appealed to Muslim youth not to be swayed by emotion, and affirmed that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India. Reading out from the resolution, the Maulana demanded that the government immediately withdraw its affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, which described the keeping of beard as a non-obligatory practice in Islam.
Key issues
He said the meeting discussed three specific issues related to Indian Muslims — identity, security and equity — and noted that the Indian Muslims were not a minority but formed the second largest majority in India.
The Maulana regretted that despite this, political parties were treating the community casually. He was also critical of the Muslim leadership, blaming it for the current plight of the community.

Court upholds land acquisition for subway
Special Correspondent
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed appeals against an order of a single judge, who dismissed writ petitions challenging acquisition of lands for construction of a subway near the Korukkupet level crossing on Thyagappa Chetty Street and Kannan Street.
In its judgment on three appeals, the First Bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice S.J.Mukhopadhaya and Justice V.Dhanapalan, said that it found no infirmity in the single Judge’s order.
The acquisition was for a public purpose. Considering the objective of the project – avoid traffic congestion – the authorities had invoked the urgency clause under Section 17 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act, which was pursuant to compliance of the procedure contemplated under Section 4 (1).
K.Rajesh and two others questioned the invoking of the urgency provision under the Act to acquire the lands. Another contention was that in view of the construction of railway overbridge at Meenambal Nagar gate, traffic had to be diverted through the level-crossing on Thyagappa Chetty Street, which was more than five km. Therefore, the authorities should not have invoked the urgency clause.
The single Judge dismissed the petitions holding that the petitioners had not made out any case for quashing Section 4 (1) notification and also notices under Sections 9 (1) and 10. Challenging this, the appeals were filed.
The Bench said the competent authority could invoke the urgency provision under Section 17 on the land in question, whereupon an enquiry under Section 5 A, inviting objections, was not necessary.
What was required under the provision was that the competent authority make a declaration under Section 6 in respect of the land any time after the date of publication of the notification.

Petition challenging CPI (M) candidate’s election dismissed
Special Correspondent
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by the MDMK candidate, challenging the election of CPI (M) nominee N. Nanmaran from the Madurai East Assembly constituency in the May 2006 election. The petition had alleged non-compliance with Rule 54-A of the Conduct of Election Rules (Counting of votes received by post).
M. Boominathan contended that even before the counting of votes polled through postal ballot, votes polled through electronic voting machines were counted and announcement was made regarding the number of votes secured by each candidate. His election agent objected, but the Returning Officer went ahead.
He prayed for a direction to order recounting of the postal ballots, declare the election of Mr.Nanmaran null and void and declare him the returned candidate.
Mr. Nanmaran denied the averments made by Mr. Boominathan.
Burden of proof
Justice D. Murugesan said as the burden of proof lay on the election petitioner, without there being any substantial evidence in the form of written objection either to the Returning Officer or to the Election Commission, he was not inclined to interfere with the election solely on the ground of averments made in the petition as well as the oral evidence.

Free legal service for HIV positive people
Staff Reporter
COIMBATORE: Free legal service will be provided to people living with HIV/AIDS in the district.
M.Somesh, president of the Coimbatore Network for Positive People (CNP+), told The Hindu that seeking legal help was one of the greatest challenges faced by people living with HIV/AIDS.
The Human Rights Law Network, Chennai, along with CNP+ and a few lawyers from Coimbatore, will organise a meeting on February 8 at the Divyodaya Hall to discuss the legal issues concerning HIV positive people. Stigma and discrimination in society especially at the workplace, family, and health sector would be emphasised.
“Free legal service would be offered to all HIV positive people in the district on a continuous basis through this initiative,” Mr.Somesh added.
There had been a lot of positive changes in the medical sector in their attitude towards treating people living with HIV/AIDS owing to consistent advocacy programmes undertaken by the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS) and other non-governmental organisations.
However, the public health centres (PHC) and the taluk hospitals did not undertake delivery of women with HIV/AIDS. Though TANSACS had appointed voluntary testing and counselling centres and laboratory technicians in all the 38 PHCs, the institutions still referred the delivery cases to the Government Hospital.
“For an HIV positive person in Valparai, it would take at least five hours to travel to Coimbatore, which is extremely difficult and unsafe for a pregnant woman. In order to avoid this difficulty, the PHCs and taluk hospitals should undertake delivery cases of HIV positive people too,” Mr.Somesh said. For details, contact Mr. Somesh at 9443281947 or 0422-2596855.

Lawyers’ misbehaviour will undermine public faith in judiciary: HC
Mohamed Imranullah S.
MADURAI: Any conscious misbehaviour on the part of lawyers would create havoc in the society besides undermining the faith of people in the judiciary to a great extent, the Madras High Court has said.
Justice R. Regupathi made the observations while quashing two cases registered against 11 lawyers for hurling egg shells filled with acid inside the court hall of a sub-judge at Kuzhithurai in Kanyakumari district on April 1, 2003.
“Be it inside the court halls or outside thereof, either in relation with the clients or even with any member of the public, the approach of a lawyer should disseminate the refined qualities embedded in him,” the Judge said.
Members of the Bar were torchbearers of law wedded to the “honourable” profession with a vast reservoir of wisdom, strength and courage. The pivotal function of the legal profession was to promote administration of justice.
The objective could be fulfilled only when advocates “obligate themselves to observe scrupulously those norms which make them worthy of confidence of the community in them as a vehicle of social justice,” he added.
Pointing out that the 2003 incident had taken place due to a clash between two groups of lawyers who disputed the integrity of the sub-judge, Mr. Justice Regupathy said that he was much chagrined over the “sad” event.
“People indulging in such unwanted activities must understand that they are putting spokes in the wheels of administration of justice at the cost of majesty of justice, leading to erosion of well cherished values of legal profession,” he said.
The Judge also recorded the submission made by Tamil Nadu Advocates Association president S. Prabhakaran that the lawyers concerned would unconditionally withdraw all allegations and derogatory averments made against the sub-judge. “Considering the fact that the cases have been pending for long and because harmony is restored between two groups of advocates… I am of the considered view that the FIRs may be quashed treating them as exceptional cases,” he said.

Additional Labour Court inaugurated
Special Correspondent
VELLORE: The Judge, Fast Track Court and Principal District Judge, Vellore (in-charge), S. Panneerselvam, inaugurated the Additional Labour Court at the court hall of the Principal Labour Court in the Integrated Courts Complex here on Friday.

Making parties think about child rights
P. Sujatha Varma
Activists working overtime to ensure children’s issues figure in political manifestos
Over 150 NGOs discuss ways at State-level workshop held recently
Members plan to kick off letters’ campaign to manifesto panellists
VIJAYAWADA: Drafters of political manifestos have a tough task ahead if forces advocating child rights have their way.
With elections round the corner, parties are busy drafting their political manifestos oblivious of the emergence of a breed working at a frenzied pace to ensure that issues related to child rights get adequate representation in declaration of party principles and policies.
Sizable population
“Children comprise 40 per cent of the population and there is no reason why their issues should not be recognised by representatives of people,” says Prasad Gode, executive secretary of the Child Rights Advocacy Foundation (CRAF), an independent resource support organisation spurring action in favour of children in need of help. A State-level workshop held a couple of days ago and attended by representatives of close to 150 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working directly or indirectly for child rights, adopted a decisive stand on the children’s issue.
Even while recalling the manifestos of major political parties in the last elections, the members explored various means to lobby with the political manifesto committees the inclusion of child rights.
Their demands include allocation of a day in Assembly sessions for discussing issues related to children, constitution of a children’s cell by every party in addition to a separate ministry for children’s welfare. “The existing Women and Child Welfare Department focuses mostly on women’s issues, leaving the younger segment high and dry. We need an exclusive wing to tackle issues of children,” Mr. Prasad averred.
He said though Shanta Sinha, chairperson of the National Commission for Child Rights, hailed from Andhra Pradesh, there was no State-level commission for children on the lines of Delhi and Karnataka. The meeting also mooted implementation of the State action plan for children, drafted a couple of years back. The other demands include allotment of a five-acre land in every major panchayat for children’s playground, effective implementation of ‘Sanchayika’, a Central Government scheme introduced to inculcate the habit of saving among children and expansion of the Childline facility across the State. The meeting was organised in coordination with the Central Government’s Waada na todo abhiyan, a national campaign for reaching the millennium goal and the Indian Alliance for Child Rights with the support of organisations like Help, Ankuram, Seeds and Sanghamitra. The members also plan to kick off a ‘letters’ campaign’ under which the manifesto committee members of political parties will be flooded with letters seeking inclusion of child-related issues in the declaration of policies. “We will also sensitise the public on the need to vote for candidates who are willing to take up children’s cause,” says Mr. Prasad.

Court reserves orders on NICE road
Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Friday reserved for orders a batch of petitions challenging the alignment of a peripheral road near Gottigere lake near Bannerghatta, Bangalore.
The peripheral road is part of the Bangalore-Mysore Expressway project being undertaken by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE). The project envisages construction of an elevated expressway apart from several townships, link and peripheral roads.
One of the peripheral roads connects the Expressway from Gottigere side. Residents of Gottigere had challenged the change in the alignment and moved the High Court against what they claimed was violation in the frame work agreement (FWA) by NICE.
The petitioners had contended that Gottigere never figured in the original FWA and that the alignment was on a different route. They alleged that NICE had “superimposed” its peripheral road on the one being constructed by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA).
A Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice, P.D. Dinakaran, and Justice V. G. Sabbahit reserved orders on the petition.

Court suspends order on gutka
Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Friday suspended an earlier order it had issued on January 22 directing Dhariwal Industries Ltd. from “producing, selling, distributing or marketing gutka manufactured by it”.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran and Justice V.G. Sabhahit passed the order after Dhariwal Industries filed an interlocutory application (IA) urging the court to vacate the stay it had granted on the production, manufacture, sale and distribution of gutka.
The Bench on January 22 accepted the arguments of Raju Lakman Pachapure of Kolhapur, Maharashtra, and asked the gutka company to cease production.

Court reserves order
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Friday reserved for orders a habeas corpus petition challenging the illegal detention of B.V. Seetaram, chairman and managing director of Chitra Publications Limited, Mangalore.
Seetaram’s wife, S. Rohini, had filed the habeas corpus petition claiming that her husband was being kept in illegal detention even after he was granted bail. — Staff Report

Court seeks to ensure benefits for workers
Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Friday stressed the need for tapering off the outstanding amounts due to creditors of companies which are in liquidation to ensure better financial package for their employees.
Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan while dealing with a company case said that stupendous accounts due to secured creditors should not lead to penury of employees. After the secured creditors were ensured their payment, what the workers got was only mere pittance. So the secured creditors had to trim down the total accruals due to them, if labour, industries, banking, financial and others institutions were to meaningfully and congenially coexist.
The government should take note of the case. The workers of every company which came to the court following the proceedings initiated by the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) had to take whatever was left over after spreading out the amounts in favour of the creditors, the court observed.
Though the company law provided protective measures for wages and other dues, the unfortunate thing was that unless there was a meaningful resolution of the total outstanding dues to secured creditors, the financial benefits for workers would remain meagre.
The court directed the Labour secretary to hold a highest level conference for tapering off the amount of the creditors of the Alappuzha- based Pearlite Wire Products (P) Ltd which was into a liquidation process. The court asked the government to inform it about the decisions arrived at the conference within three months.
Petition filed
A petition was filed in the High Court contending that it was not essential to hear the contentions of Communist Party of India (Marxist) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and two other accused in the SNC Lavalin case on the question whether sanction was needed for their prosecution. The petition filed by Shaijan C. George, a High Court lawyer, said that by making the accused as respondents in the case, they were being compelled to make appearance and answer the question raised by the petitioner. This amounted to “testimonial compulsion”.
He said that the question to be decided included whether a court could declare that no sanction was required when the investigation agency opted for sanction; whether it was just and proper to drag the accused in a criminal charge to some other proceedings by a third party, etc.

Court declines to stay convictions
Special Correspondent
Kochi: The Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court on Friday declined to stay the convictions awarded to K.G. Prem Shanker, Additional Director-General of Police (Human Rights), and three other police officers in the case relating to assaulting a Kannur-based journalist, late Maniyeri Madhavan, in 1988.
The court, however, stayed the Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate Court’s order sentencing them to six months simple imprisonment.
The prosecution charges were that the police personnel had registered a case against Madhavan who was the editor, printer and publisher of Sudinam, an evening daily published from Kannur, to take revenge on him for publishing news stories against the police, particularly Prem Shanker, the then Kannur Superintendent of Police.
The CBI further charged that the accused hatched a criminal conspiracy and took Madhavan and his trainee-reporter into custody and physically assaulted them and damaged the Madhavan’s printing press on the night of February 12, 1988.

New judges sworn in
Special Correspondent
Kochi: Newly appointed High Court judges P. Bhavadasan, S.S. Satheesachandran, M.L. Joseph Francis and P.S. Gopinathan were sworn in on Friday.
Acting Chief Justice J.B. Koshy administered the oath of office to the new judges.
Advocate-General C.P. Sudhakara Prasad and Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association president M.P. Ashok Kumar spoke.
The association accorded a reception to the new judges in the evening.

Petitioner fined for “legal misadventure”
Staff Reporter
High Court dismisses plea against eviction
Imposes a cost of Rs.1 lakh on the petitioner
Gross abuse of the process of law: court
NEW DELHI: Dismissing a petition against eviction from a residential premises in the Capital ordered by a local court, the Delhi High Court has imposed a cost of Rs.1 lakh on the petitioner saying that he was guilty of a gross abuse of the process of law.
Dismissing the petition, Justice Manmohan directed the petitioner to pay the cost to the respondent in the matter.
“It was not only gross abuse of the process of law but also legal misadventure embarked upon by the petitioner to somehow retain possession of the premises even after competent courts had passed a decree of possession and damages, that too after a bitterly contested litigation spanning nearly 50 years,” the Court observed.
The lower court had passed the judgment in 2007.
The petitioner had challenged the lower court order on the ground that the decree and judgment sought to be enforced was a nullity and it was without jurisdiction by virtue of Sections 14 and 15 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958. However, Mr. Justice Manmohan ruled that since the petitioner had not claimed a tenancy right over the premises in the civil suit for possession filed by the respondent, she was barred from contending that she was a tenant on the premises.
“The entire edifice of the petitioner’s argument was built on the foundation that she was a tenant in the premises, and once I have reached the conclusion that she was not a tenant, the entire edifice built by her collapses….” the Court said.
As it happens, the petitioner (Nirmala Devi) as well as the respondent (Mohini Devi) died during the long drawn out legal proceedings over the years. Since there are other persons who were parties to the matter from both sides, the judgment will apply to them.

High Court notice to DPS Rohini
Staff Reporter
“Not following Ganguly panel guidelines approved by the court for admissions”
School adopted different criteria: petitioner
School directed to file reply by February 24
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday issued a notice to Delhi Public School, Rohini, here alleging that it was not following the Ganguly Committee guidelines approved by the Court for admission to pre-nursery and nursery classes in the Capital’s public schools.
Issuing the notice, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat directed the school to file a reply to the petition by February 24.
The petitioner, Tarun Diwan, submitted that he had applied for his daughter’s admission to nursery class for the next academic session.
He alleged that his daughter, who stays just 500 metres from the school premises, was treated at par with applicants who stay about 20 km away from the institution.
The petitioner further alleged that the school authorities had adopted quite a different criterion for awarding marks for location of the children’s residence from school. He submitted that the school authorities had no power to go against the Court guidelines on any count.
The petitioner also submitted that the school authorities did not publish the break-up of marks obtained by his daughter or by the successful kids, which was arbitrary.
He urged the Court to summon records of admissions granted by the school to the nursery section.

Supreme Court stays order
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Karnataka High Court judgment that quashed Bangalore International Airport Limited’s decision to award duty-free shops contract to Nuance Group AG of Switzerland and Shopper’s Stop.
A bench headed by Justice K.G. Balakrishnan asked the parties to maintain status quo till February 16, the notified date of hearing.

LEGAL NEWS 06.02.2009

State assures Supreme Court that it will implement BMIC project
J. Venkatesan
Justice Pasayat terms Deve Gowda’s letter to High Court judges ‘unfortunate’
New Delhi: The Karnataka Government on Wednesday assured the Supreme Court that it was fully committed to implementing the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project and would abide by the decisions of the Karnataka High Court and the apex court.
Following this assurance from Solicitor General G.E. Vahanvati, appearing for the State of Karnataka, a three-judge Bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat, Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and Justice A.K. Ganguly posted for hearing in the third week of April a batch of petitions filed by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises and others.
Mr. Vahanvati submitted that the government would implement the 2006 apex court judgment but would restrict the total area of the project to 20,193 acres, of which 7,084 acres had already been handed over to NICE. He said acquisition proceedings for 13,109 acres pending before various courts would be expedited. Recording this undertaking, the Bench adjourned the hearing in the contempt proceedings.
Senior counsel Dushyant Dave, appearing for NICE, submitted that the Karnataka High Court had treated as a public interest litigation (PIL) a letter written by the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda to all the High Court judges. He said the letter had enclosed a book titled “BMIC project: A case study in Fraud and Collusion to Defeat Ends of Justice” published by Mr. Gowda’s party, the Janata Dal (S).
Counsel said the letter was a clear case of substantial interference with due course of justice and was, therefore, criminal contempt. He found fault with the High Court for treating the letter as a PIL.
Justice Pasayat observed, “It is unfortunate that such a letter has been written. We have not read the book, we have better things to do. We can commit mistakes, our judgments may be wrong and there can be constructive criticism. But to say that the judgment is outcome of influence or power is really unfortunate and is itself contemptuous.”
Justice Sirpurkar said, “You [Mr. Gowda] may head a political party. You write, publish book, hold seminars but don’t send them to judges.”

A ‘special jail’ for terror suspects?
Express News Service Posted: Feb 05, 2009 at 1312 hrs IST
New Delhi: Supreme Court on Thursday suggested the state Government to have a “special jail” for Terror suspects.
The bench of Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam, while hearing a PIL that sought measures to prevent rising instances of jailbreaks, asked “where should be a special jail for terrorist with extra security in places like Maharashtra and Delhi?
The PIL filed by Mazoor Ali Khan, through advocate D K Garg, highlighted increasing number of incidents of jailbreaks due to inadequate security measures.

Violating Allahabad High Court ban, parties put up hoardings in public places
Vijay Pratap Singh Posted: Feb 05, 2009 at 0116 hrs IST
Related Stories:
Allahabad: In a blatant violation of the Allahabad High Court order banning the use of posters, banners, hoardings and other advertisement material on roads, several political parties have put up such material all over the city.
The leaders violating the order include BSP Lok Sabha candidate from Phoolpur Kapil Muni Karvariya, Cabinet minister Nand Gopal Gupta, BSP candidate from Allahabad Lok Sabha seat Ashok Bajpai, SP members Shyma Charan Gupta and Pervej Ahmad. The list of violators even includes the district information office.
Hoardings have come up at public places like the Civil Lines crossing, district collectorate campus, Kotha Parcha, George Town, Mumfordganj and Lucknow Road.
A hoarding of Chief Minister Mayawati stands at the Civil Lines crossing. Assistant Director of Information R P Dwivedi, however, claimed that the hoarding, which lists several schemes of the BSP government, have been put up by the ruling party.
Anand Mohan, a social activist, said: “While the High Court order acts as a deterrent to commercial advertisements, the political parties have created a mess by fixing hoardings.” He added: “Even the district administration flouted the order and put up two hoardings of Chief Minister Mayawati at the district collectorate campus. I am going to file a contempt case against these leaders and parties.”
Municipal Commissioner Ashok Kumar, while expressing his ignorance about the High Court order, said: “If there is any High Court order on the issue, I will initiate action against the leaders and advertisers who had put up hoardings in public places.”
BSP leader Ashok Bajpai said: “I am not aware of any hoarding featuring me in Civil Lines. But if this is the case, I will ask my supporters to remove it.”
Pervez Ahmad, an SP leader, had a different reason to cite: “After seeing so many hoardings of the ruling party leaders in the Civil Lines, I have also put up my hoarding.”
On March 15, 2005, the High Court had passed an order on a PIL filed by Anand Mohan, prohibiting “posters, banners, hoardings, arcades, gates and barricading fixed by pitching poles on the metal roads, causing traffic obstructions and encroachment”. It also disallowed “defacement of public buildings and boundary walls”.The court had directed the Allahabad municipal commissioner to ensure that “no hoarding or advertisement material should be fixed in public places even if the roads are not disturbed. This implies a complete prohibition of ad materials in all forms”.
The Division Bench, comprising Justices A K Yog and B B Agrawal, had ruled: “It should be the liability of the Allahabad Municipal Commissioner and the senior superintendent of police to ensure compliance with the order and submit report of actions taken against the erring officials.”
The state Government and Allahabad Municipal Corporation had filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) against this order at the Supreme Court. On October 24, 2005, the court had dismissed the SLP after hearing the petitioners and respondent Anand Mohan.

Cong, NCP mum on Roy judgement; say upto Govt to decide
Published: February 5,2009

Mumbai , Feb 5 Congress and NCP, the ruling coalition partners in Maharashtra today declined to comment on Bombay High Court&aposs judgement setting aside the appointment of DGP A N Roy.
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee vice-president Hussain Dalwai said government will take an appropriate decision in this regard.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has already began the process of overhauling of the police force, he said.
“He has begun series of meetings as part of the process,” Dalwai said.
NCP spokesman Madan Bafna said the party did not wish to comment on the High Court judgement.
To a question on the HC&aposs adverse comments against the Government, Bafna said he has not seen the copy of the judgement.
Source: PTI

Apex court sends back Sahara petition to Bombay High Court
New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court has remanded back to the Bombay High Court a Sahara Group company’s petition challenging the latter’s order that had earlier stalled its plan to build 200 bungalows and a golf course on a 600-acre plot, worth Rs 50,000 crore, on Mumbai’s outskirts.
However, it has asked developer B Jeejeebhoy Vakharia and Associates not to create third-party rights while dealing with the plot in Aarei Colony in Goregaon.
B Jeejeebhoy Vakharia had enetered into an agreement with Sahara in 2001 for constructing residential premises but terminated the deal in 2005 on the grounds that the latter had ‘failed to start’ work.
A bench headed by Arjit Pasayat also directed the High Court to dispose of the matter preferably within three months.

Environment (Protection) Third Amendment Rules, 2002
New Delhi, the 9th July, 2002
Environment (Protection) Third Amendment Rules, 2002.
G.S.R- 489(E).–In exercise of the powers conferred by sections 6 and 25 of the Environment (Protection).Act, 1986 (29 of 1986), the Central Government hereby makes the following rules further to amend the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986, namely:-
1. (1) These rules may be called the Environment (Protection) Third Amendment Rules, 2002.
(2) They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.
2. In the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986, in Schedule 1, after serial number 95 relating to Emission Limits for New Diesel Engines (up to 800 KW) for Generator Sets (Gensets) Applications and the entries relating thereto, the following serial number and entries shall be inserted, namely :
Parameter Area Category Total engine rating of the plant (includes existing as well as new generators sets)t Generator sets commissioning date
Before 1.7.2003 Between 1.7.2003 and 1.7.2005 On or after 1.7.2005NOX (as NO2)(AT 15% O2), dry basis, in
ppmvA Upto 75 MW 1100 970 710B Upto 50 MWA More than 75 MW 1100 710 360B More than 150 MW
NMHC (as C) (at 15% O2), mg/Nm3 Both A and B 150 100
PM (at 15% O2), mg/NM3. Diesel
Fuels –
HSD & LDOBoth A and B 75 75
Furnace Oils-LSHS & FO Both A and B 150 100
CO (at 15% O2, mg/Nm3 Both A and B 150 150
Sulphur content in fuel A <2%B <4%Fuel specification For A only Up to 5MW Only Diesel Fuels (HSD, LDO) shall be used.
Stack height (for generator sets commissioned after 1.7.2003) Stack height shall be maximum of the following, in meter :
(i) 14 Q0.3., Q = Total SO2 emission from the plant in kg/hr.
(ii) Minimum 6 m. above the building where generator set is installed.
(iii) 30 m.

MW : Mega (106) WattNOx : Oxides of NitrogenNO2 : Nitrogen DioxideO2 : OxygenNMHC : Non-Methane HydrocarbonC : CarbonPM : Particulate MatterCO : Carbon MonoxideSO2 : Sulphur Dioxideppmv : Part per million (106) by volumeFO : Furnace OilHSD : High Speed DieselLDO : Light Diesel OilLSHS : Low Sulphur Heavy StockkPa : Kilo Pascalmm : Milli (10-3) metrekg/hr : Kilo (103) gram per hourmg/Nm3 : Milli (10-3) gram per Normal metre cubic2. Area categories A and B are defined as follows :
Category A: Areas within the municipal limits of towns/cities having population more than 10 lakhs and also upto 5 km beyond the municipal limits of such towns/cities.
Category B: Areas not covered by category A.
3. The standards shall be regulated by the State Pollution Control Boards or Pollution Control Committees, as the case may be.
4. Individual units with engine ratings less than or equal to 800 KW are not covered by this notification.
5. Only following liquid fuels viz. High Speed Diesel, Light Diesel oil, Low Sulphur Heavy Stock and Furnace Oil or liquid fuels with equivalent specifications shall be used in these power plants and generator sets.
6. For expansion project, stack height of new generator sets shall be as per total Sulphur Dioxide emission (including existing as well as additional load).
7. For multi engine plants, fuels shall be grouped in cluster to get better plume rise and dispersion. Provision for any future expansion should be made in planning stage itself.
8. Particulate Matter, Non-Methane Hydrocarbon and Carbon Monoxide results are to be normalized to 25? C, 1.01 Kilo Pascal (760 mm of mercury) pressure and zero percent moisture (dry basis).
9. Measurement shall be performed at steady load conditions of more than 85% of the rated load.
10. Continuous monitoring of Oxides of Nitrogen shall be done by the plants whose total engine capacity is more than 50 Mega Watt. However, minimum once in six month monitoring for other parameters shall be adopted by the plants.
11. Following methods may be adopted for the measurement of emission parameters,-
Sl. No. Emission Parameters Measurement Methods1. Particulates Gravimetric2. SO2 Barium Perchlorate-Thorin indicator method3. NOx Chemiluminescence, Non Dispersive Infra Red, Non Dispersive Ultra-violet (for continuous measurement), Phenol disulphonic method4. CO Non Dispersive Infra Red5. O2 Paramagnetic, Electrochemical sensor6. NHMC Gas Chromatograph – Flame Ionisation Detector
[F. No. Q-15017/24/2002-CPW]C. VISWANATH, Jt. Secy.
Note :- The principal rules were published in the Gazette. of India vide number S.O. 844(E) 19th November, 1986 and subsequently amended vide S.O. 433(E) dated 18th April, 1987, S.O. 64(E) dated 18th January, 1988, S.0.3(E) dated 3rd January. 1989. S.O. 190(E) dated 15th March, 1989, G.S.R. 913(E) the 24th October, 1989, S.O. 12(E) dated the 8th January, 1990, G.S.R. 742(E) dated the 30th August, 1990, S.O. 23(E) dated the 16th January, 1991, G.S.R. 93(E) dated the 21st February, 1991, G.S.R. 95(E) dated the 12th February, 1992, G.S.R. 329(E) dated the 13th March, 1992, G.S.R. 475(E) dated the 5th May, 1992, G.S.R. 797(E) dated the 1st October, 1992, G.S.R. 386(E) dated the 28th April, 1993, G.S.R. 422(E) dated the 19th May, 1993, G.S.R. 801(E) dated the 31st December, 1993, G.S.R. 176(E) dated the 3rd April 1996, G.S.R. 631(E) dated the 31st October, 1997, G.S.R. 504(E) dated the 20th August, 1998, G.S.R. 7(E) dated the 25th September, 2000, G.S.R. 72(E) dated 6th February, 2001, G.S.R. 54(E) dated 22.1.2002 and G.S.R. No. 371(E) dated 17.5.2002.
Wednesday, February 4th, 2009, by Legal India

Tata Power hid vital info in case against RPower: govt

Press Trust of India / New Delhi February 05, 2009, 17:36 IST
The government today said Tatas have suppressed vital information in their petition before the Delhi High Court challenging permission to Anil Ambani-led Reliance Power to use captive coal from Sasan Ultra Mega Power project for other projects.
“The petition has been filed on a totally false basis and gives a totally misleading and erroneous impression,” said the Ministry of Power in its affidavit filed before the court.
The government submitted that Tata Power “deliberately” did not append the letter written by the Ministry of Coal clarifying that the allocation of Chhatrasal block would also apply to all other blocks of Sasan UMPP and the same was communicated to all the bidders including Tata Power.
“Petitioner (Tata) has deliberately not annexed the aforesaid letter dated November 20, 2006 and the said email communication to the writ petitioner and has deliberately failed to make note of the same in the averments of the writ petition,” the government submitted.
Moreover, the government said, Tata Power was allotted two coal blocks -Tubed and Mandakani, which also have the condition that coal from these blocks could be used for other purposes but with the approval of the Centre.

Salwa Judum disappearing: Chhattisgarh
Legal Correspondent
You cannot encourage common man by arming him to fight naxals, says CJI
We have taken action on NHRC recommendations: Chhattisgarh
State government fully backing the movement: petitioner’s counsel
New Delhi: The Chhattisgarh government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the Salwa Judum (people’s army) was slowly disappearing in the State. It submitted that it had taken firm action on the findings of the National Human Rights Commission on the allegations of atrocities committed by the Salwa Judum against innocent people.
Senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the State government, made this submission before a Bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam that was hearing a petition filed by Nandini Sundar and others highlighting the Salwa Judum’s atrocities.
On the directions of the apex court, the NHRC had probed the allegations and submitted its report making various recommendations to the State government. In its response, the Chhattisgarh government said it had ordered payment of compensation and undertaken rehabilitation measures. Residents of camps would be given rations and health protection.
Mr. Venugopal said FIRs (first information report) were registered wherever recommended. “The Salwa Judum is slowly disappearing and doesn’t exist.”
Senior counsel T.R. Andhyarujina, appearing for the petitioner, disagreed and pointed out that the Chief Minister recently justified the existence of the Salwa Judum and the State was fully supporting the movement.
When Mr. Venugopal said the naxal problem in the State was alarming and killings were taking place regularly, the CJI said “the State is bound to protect the citizens.” Counsel said “this is not a mere law and order problem.” He denied the charge that the Salwa Judum members were being given arms by the government.
However, the CJI asked counsel: “What then is the concept of Salwa Judum. How are they getting arms? Once you give arms it will be difficult to retrieve them and we are going to get disastrous consequences. If you continue with the arms, we may have to take a drastic position. We do not underestimate the enormity of the problem. But you cannot encourage common man by arming them to fight naxalites.”
The CJI said, “You [government] are getting enough funds from the Centre. You create employment opportunities in the naxal areas under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, provide infrastructure and education facilities in the area.”
The Bench granted four weeks to the petitioners to respond to the action-taken report and the State government to file additional affidavit on the extent of the naxal problem.

Babu faces jail for misleading judiciary
6 Feb 2009, 0002 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: Upset with the way the state administration is choosing to mislead the judiciary, Justice Goda Raghuram of the A P High Court on Thursday declared that he would sentence the principal secretary of the social welfare department and the RDO of Chevella in Ranga Reddy district for filing a false affidavit in the court in respect of compensation to be paid to some farmers in Attapur area under Chevella division. The judge was dealing with a contempt petition filed by K Chandra Reddy and others of Attapur who brought to the notice of the court that the compensation was not paid to them so far despite the acquisition of their two acre land in 1981. Though there was a clear order from the court earlier to pay half of the decretal amount to the farmers before coming to the court, the authorities had in 2007 filed a false affidavit claiming to have paid that amount already to the farmers. Counsel for the petitioner, P Prabhakar Reddy told the court that this did not happen at all. The principal secretary of the social welfare department has not even filed his reply affidavit so far. The judge ordered both the principal secretary and the RDO to be present before the court on February 19 for deciding the exact term of the sentence to be slapped on them.

I have no intention to influencing judiciary : Gowda
By chennaivision at 5 February, 2009, 7:32 pm
Gulbarga, Pulled up by the apex as well as Karnataka High Court for sending letters and booklets on alleged corruption in express way project, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda today said he had no intention of influencing the judiciary with his letters.
Addressing a press conference here he, however, defended his actions to explain the large scale irregularities that had taken place in the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project. He did everything only to safeguard the interests of the poor and the who lost their affected land.
”In 50 years of my political life, I have never shown disrespect to the judiciary,” he stated.
He said he had brought to the notice of all the Chief Ministers who had ruled the state since the project was launched, the irregularities to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore. The state government had not responded to his, charged.
”It is unfortunate that the state government is extending patronage to the private promoters of the project. Several government officials are involved in the mega fraud”, he alleged.
Supreme court yesterday had expressed displeasure over the letters written by Mr Gowda.

Sex workers get insurance
6 Feb 2009, 0211 hrs IST, TNN
The Sangini Mahila Sewa Co-operative Society, in collaboration with Population Services International India and the LIC of India, gave out insurance policies to over 200 commercial sex-workers at Kamathipura on Thursday.
This insurance has the lowest premium and exempts policy-holders from medical examination.

Parents move HC against shift of school’s SSC section
6 Feb 2009, 0236 hrs IST, Anahita Mukherji, TNN
MUMBAI: The Forum for Fairness in Education (FFE), an NGO that works against commercialisation of education, and a few parents of The New Era School at Hughes Road jointly filed a case in the high court against the school management’s decision to shift its SSC section to D N Road. The New Era School — set up more than 70 years ago by M T Vyas, a staunch supporter of the country’s independence movement — offered only the SSC curriculum until it was taken over by the Aditya Birla Group over a year ago. The school now offers the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) curriculum as well as SSC. A few months ago, the Birlas announced plans to shift the entire SSC section to a seven-storeyed building near CST station. “We have objected to the management’s decision to shift the SSC schoolchildren over 4.5 km from where they were studying earlier. The new school building has no compound and opens directly on to a footpath. Where will the children play?,” said Jayant Jain, former president of FFE. The petition states that the school management is commercialising education and has attempted to clear SSC students out of the building to make way for IGCSE students. While SSC students pay a fee of around Rs 20,000 a year, for IGCSE students the figure crosses Rs 4 lakh. The management told parents at a PTA meeting that The New Era School building was unsafe and needed repair. The petition countered that the building was renovated a year ago at a cost of Rs 7.5 crore. “The school’s own architect has certified the building as safe,” added Jain. While IGCSE students will be shifted temporarily to a new location, in case of SSC students, the move will be permanent. In its reply to an RTI application filed by FFE, the BMC’s D ward office said the New Era School building was not on its list of unsafe, dangerous or dilapidated structures. The management refused to comment on the subject.

Borivli bar unites to bail out accused
6 Feb 2009, 0241 hrs IST, Ambarish Mishra, TNN
MUMBAI: The Borivli metropolitan court on Thursday granted bail to 32 railway commuters who were arrested in connection with a rail roko on Wednesday. The stir, which took Western Railway by surprise, was sparked by the cancellation of a Churchgate-bound train from Borivli during the morning rush hour following a snag in the traffic signal. The accused, who were booked under Section 143, 144 and 329 of the IPC, were produced before the metropolitan court amidst tight security. Magistrate Gautam Shirsat released them on a personal bond of Rs 5,000 each. In an unprecedented move, the Borivli Bar Association extended support to the arrested commuters. “We told the honourable magistrate that we all are with the commuters. We requested him to grant them bail as none had a criminal record,” said advocate Vijay Singh. Stating that he represented four of the 32 accused in the case, Singh added, “As the opening arguments were being made, all lawyers present in court stood up and expressed solidarity with the commuters. I must say that was a moment of pride”. Advocate Ashok Sutrale added, “What happened on Wednesday was commuters giving vent to their ire against Western Railway authorities. Those who took part in the rail roko were not hardened criminals or goons. They acted not out of any personal motive, but to highlight a public grievance. We are happy that the honourable magistrate respected the lawyers’ sentiments.” After they were released around noon, the commuters and their relatives profusely thanked the lawyers. A tight security ring was thrown around the Borivli court, a stone structure situated in the heart of the market. Citizens who turned up in large numbers were kept at bay by the police. Ramesh Patel, a local resident summed it up, “The police act with amazing speed when it comes to cracking down on citizens. But the wheels of justice turn at a snail’s pace in the case of criminals and underworld elements.”

State failed to follow SC directive in DGP selection process
6 Feb 2009, 0253 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande , TNN
MUMBAI: In 2005, the Supreme Court (SC), in a landmark judgment in a PIL filed by an IPS officer, Prakash Singh – on the failure of the government to implement the police reforms recommended by various committees – had laid down certain guidelines to be followed by the Centre and states for the appointment of DGP and IGP. l There were two important conditions laid down by SC. It stated that the DGP and the Inspector General of police, two key posts, have to be chosen from among three senior-most officers of the state empanelled by the Union Public Service Commission, and that the officer selected must have a tenure of two years irrespective of his date of superannuation. But such empanelment has not been done by the state.

Do not use PILs for pvt woes: HC
6 Feb 2009, 0301 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: Public interest litigations cannot be used to redress private grievances, the Bombay high court ruled in an important judgment on Thursday. A division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud made the observations, while declining to grant any relief to a former Navy officer who had filed a PIL alleging irregularities by his wife’s boss at the Kakrapur Atomic Power Station. “PILs would be maintainable only to remedy a public wrong and not for redressal of private and other disputes not genuinely concerned with public interest,” said the judges, adding, “Matters covered under the private field would hardly be subject matter of a PIL.” The court’s remarks echoes views expressed earlier by the Supreme Court that some times PILs had become “publicity interest litigation”, “private interest litigation”, “politics interest litigation”, and even “paisa income litigation”. The case before the high court was filed by Dr Arvind Kumar Sharma, a former Surgeon Lieutenant Commander of the Indian Navy, who had served on Short Service Commission with the Armed Forces Medical Corps. Dr Sharma’s complaint was directed at his wife’s boss Dr N K Ajmera, medical superintendent at the atomic power station in Gujarat. According to Dr Sharma the Chief Vigilance officer of the power station had submitted a report alleging irregularities by Dr Ajmera in connection with the purchase of medicines on the verge of expiry. No action was however taken and Dr Ajmera had resorted to harassing his juniors, including the petitioner’s wife, Dr Sharma claimed. The authorities however pointed out that a departmental inquiry as well as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner had not found any evidence against Dr Ajmera. “Though some suspicion was caused by the CVO’s report, the matter has been put to rest by the disciplinary authority,” said the judges.

Cops seek court nod for lie-detector test
6 Feb 2009, 0226 hrs IST, S Ahmed Ali, TNN
MUMBAI: The MRA Marg police investigating the alleged framing of an estate agent by the Dongri police at the behest of a builder in 2004 have now appealed in a metropolitan court, seeking permission to conduct lie-detection tests on the three accused in the case. The MRA Marg police sought permission as the three accused — sub inspector Rajendra Bhosle, builder Ravi Shelatkar and his associate P R Sundaram, were misleading the investigations. So they wanted to conduct lie detection and polygraph tests on the trio. The court has asked the defence to file its say and the matter has been adjourned for hearing until February 9. But sources said that the MRA Marg police have been dithering on this case for some time now. Despite a strong recommendation for Bhosle’s dismissal, a former police commissioner managed to reinstate him in the local arms department last year, sources claimed. Investigating officer Ravindra Doiphude said that since the time they have registered the case, the trio are not cooperating and misleading them. During the two years of investigation, the police found out that estate agent Rajesh Solanki was framed in the NDPS and Arms Acts by sub inspector Bhosle. However, they are yet to collect evidence and establish that Bhosle framed Solanki at the behest of Shelatkar who allegedly owed a huge amount of money to Solanki. DCP Naval Bajaj had interrogated Solanki. Solanki narrated his plight to Bajaj who, after an investigation, confirmed that Solanki was framed. He took the case from the Dongri police and gave it to the MRA Marg police. Bajaj also initiated a probe into Solanki’s allegations. After investigations, the police quashed the case filed against Solanki and registered an FIR against Bhosle as well as 9 others, including two builders. Out of the nine indicted policemen, four have given statements before the magistrate under Section 164 of the CRPC.

Jinnah’s seek fresh amendment to petition
6 Feb 2009, 0235 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: As her legal fight to claim her father’s property will continue in the Bombay high court on Friday, Dina Wadia, the only daughter of Mohammed Ali Jinnah is now seeking a fresh amendment to her two-year-old petition. On Thursday, Wadia moved a fresh application saying that Jinnah’s “will” which the Centre is now relying on is not legally valid. She is seeking a declaration from the high court that the “alleged will dated May 30, 1939 and the codicil dated October 23, 1940 of her father produced for the first time by the external affairs ministry in April 2008 have no legal force.” She claimed that no Indian court had granted probate or a letter of administration for the will and neither have the documents been attested by any witnesses as required under the Indian Succession Act, 1926 and Indian Evidence Act 1872. Even if Muslim law is said to govern Jinnah’s succession, Wadia is now saying that the Centre had at no stage established that the documents were within the testamentary powers of Jinnah or that she being his “sole legal heir consented to it.” She also cited the recent disclosure by MEA to boost her claim for the return of Jinnah House. Wadia said the Centre’s affidavit quoted the Attorney General of India suggesting the return of Jinnah house to Wadia.

Truth has prevailed and we have won: S Chakravary
6 Feb 2009, 0251 hrs IST, S Ahmed Ali, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court’s order setting aside the appointment of A N Roy as state director general of police has been well received by Suprahash Chakravarty, DG, Anti Corruption Bureau. He talks to TOI about his “victory” How did you react to Thursday’s court order? A: I am happy that the truth has finally prevailed. I believe in God, and God is great. It is a landmark judgement that will not only help Maharashtra, but other states as well, in the selection process of our top policemen. Did the order come as a surprise to you? A: I was expecting such an order as the contention of my petition against the appointment of Roy was very clear. The fact that he had engaged so many top lawyers did not deter me. I was fighting for my beliefs, my principles, and my prestige. And as I had nothing to loose, I fought the system. Were you demoralised by the fact that the case was pending in court for so long? A: My family and close friends gave me moral support. I could have easily made a hue and cry of the situation by going to the media. Instead, I crossed my fingers and put my faith in the judiciary system. Are you still trying for the DG’s post? A: This wasn’t just my fight – I fought for all the contenders who were superseded to keep the political gods happy. It will bring in more transparancy to the selection process.

Terror suspect gets HC nod to appear for exams
6 Feb 2009, 0517 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: In prison for his alleged role in the serial blasts in Delhi, suspected terrorist Saquib Nisar has got his wish to take a shot at earning an MBA degree. The Delhi High Court on Thursday allowed him to appear for his MBA examination, though with a condition that the venue of the examination will be prison. Justice Reva Khetrapal asked the jail authorities and Sikkim Manipal University to make necessary arrangement so that Nisar could appear in the MBA third semester examinations this week. HC however, refused to grant him interim bail, as sought by him in his petition before court. After hearing his plea, HC had sought the opinion of Delhi Police and jail administration. On Thursday, the university authorities informed HC they could arrange for a provisional facility inside Tihar prison in co-ordination with jail administration, after which HC gave the go ahead. Nisar, in judicial custody since September 20, had approached the court as his examinations were scheduled to start on February 7. His lawyer pleaded before HC that the gravity of the allegations should not bar the right of any accused to pursue higher studies, invoking it as a fundamental right to education. The court had earlier issued notice to city police on Saquib’s plea filed on January 30. The police have already filed chargesheet against Saquib Nissar and other accused Mohd Saif, Zeeshan Ahmed, Zia-ur Rehman and Mohd Shakeel in the September 13 serial blasts. All have been accused of murder, attempt to murder and waging war against the nation amongst other offences under the Indian Penal Code, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Explosive Substances Act. According to the police, they were also involved in the serial blasts in Jaipur and Ahmedabad. They had visited Ahmedabad before the July 26 serial blasts under fake names which came to light during the investigation and was later confirmed from railway tickets and reservation charts, the police had alleged in the chargesheet.

SC panel wants buses for Delhi choking with cars
6 Feb 2009, 0532 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: A Supreme Court panel on environment has suggested tax measures and integration of public transport systems of satellite townships to decongest the NCR and reduce vehicular pollution, even as it noted that cars have taken up most of the public space in the national capital. In a meeting with the administrators and regulators from eight cities on Thursday, the Environment Pollution (Control and Prevention) Authority, set up by the SC, said cars and two-wheelers are responsible for congestion in Delhi and warned that the speed of this increase is “scary”. In contrast to the national trend, cars are increasing at a faster rate than two-wheelers in Delhi. Cars have grown at 10% annually since 1995 as opposed to 7% for two-wheelers. “On the whole, the growth rate in the personal vehicle sector is the highest. This is worsening the air quality, increasing energy use, and the city is actually grinding to a stop due to congestion. Direct exposure of traffic fumes is among the deadliest of the health threats,” the panel noted. As a solution, it said the Delhi government should build and expand expand public transport and integrate all modes of transport to maximise access to public transport systems and its usage. “Integrate Delhi with the surrounding towns with public transport to reduce the pressure of the incoming traffic. Introduce uniform emissions standards across NCR to bring the entire motorised fleet in the region at par.” Key arteries like the Nizamuddin bridge bears the brunt of the incoming traffic from outside. Nearly 80% of the traffic in the morning peak hour is from outside the city. “There is barely any space left for more cars in the city,” the panel noted and said the peak hour traffic has slowed considerably in Delhi. “On an average, it is estimated that to provide a congestion-free drive, traffic speed should be close to 40 kmph. But studies carried out by different agencies in Delhi show that peak hour speed has dwindled quite drastically.” The panel said tax measures must be taken to make buses cheaper and create a separate fund to make up revenue loss. Noting that Delhi and some other cities have made a move in this direction, the panel said simultaneously steps must also be taken on parking fees to make travel by personal vehicle unattractive due to prohibitive parking levies. The panel stressed the need to increase the fleet of buses.

Cars choke city, SC panel for buses
6 Feb 2009, 0523 hrs IST, TNN
new delhi : A Supreme Court panel on environment has suggested tax measures and integration of public transport systems of satellite townships to decongest the NCR and reduce vehicular pollution, even as it noted that cars have taken up most of the public space in the Capital. In a meeting with the administrators and regulators from eight cities on Thursday, the Environment Pollution (Control and Prevention) Authority, set up by the SC, said cars and two-wheelers are responsible for congestion in Delhi and warned that the speed of this increase is “scary”. In contrast to the national trend, cars are increasing at a faster rate than two-wheelers in Delhi. Cars have grown at 10% annually since 1995 as opposed to 7% for two-wheelers. “On the whole, the growth rate in the personal vehicle sector is the highest. This is worsening the air quality, increasing energy usage, and the city is actually grinding to a stop due to congestion. Direct exposure to traffic fumes is among the deadliest of the health threats,” the panel noted. As a solution, it said the Delhi government should build and expand public transport and integrate all modes of transport to maximise access to public transport systems and its usage. “Integrate Delhi with the surrounding towns with public transport to reduce the pressure of the incoming traffic. Introduce uniform emission standards across NCR to bring the entire motorised fleet in the region at par,” added the panel. Key arteries like the Nizamuddin bridge bear the brunt of the incoming traffic. Nearly 80% of the traffic in the morning peak hour is from outside the city. “There is barely any space left for more cars in the city,” the panel noted and said the peak hour traffic has slowed considerably in Delhi. “On an average, it is estimated that to provide a congestion-free drive, traffic speed should be close to 40 kmph. But studies carried out by different agencies in Delhi show that peak hour speed has dwindled quite drastically.” The panel said tax measures must be taken to make buses cheaper and create a separate fund to make up for revenue loss. Noting that Delhi and some other cities have made a move in this direction, the panel said that simultaneous steps must also be taken on parking fees to make travel by personal vehicle unattractive due to prohibitive parking levies. The panel stressed the need to increase the fleet of buses.

After bail, Sampangi gets well
6 Feb 2009, 0510 hrs IST, TNN
Bangalore : KGF MLA Y Sampangi, who was trapped by the Lok Ayukta last Thursday, while taking a bribe from a businessman to settle a land dispute, was discharged from Nimhans on Thursday afternoon. Last Thursday, Sampangi was remanded to judicial custody after he was produced before the magistrate in the evening. He was shifted to Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology the same evening, after he complained of chest pain. After keeping him under observation for two days, doctors in Jayadeva discharged him. Sampangi complained of headache and was shifted to Nimhans. Sampangi got bail on Tuesday.

Council passes resolution for SC bench
6 Feb 2009, 0125 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council on Thursday passed an unanimous resolution urging the Union government to establish a Supreme Court bench in Hyderabad. Congress member in the Council B Kamalakar Rao moved a non official resolution which was supported by members from all parties. Moving the motion, Kamalakar said the people in South India have trouble conducting litigation in the apex court in New Delhi as they need to travel all the way to the national capital for the purpose. Law minister R Chenga Reddy, however, said that there was no need for a new resolution as the state assembly had already adopted one. However, council deputy chairman Mohammed Jani said there was nothing wrong in another resolution being passed. After concurrence from the ruling party and the TDP, the resolution was passed unanimously.

HC reserves orders on Kampani plea
6 Feb 2009, 0126 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: Justice K C Bhanu of the AP High Court on Thursday reserved his orders on the petitions filed by Nimesh N Kampani, former non executive director of Nagarjuna Finance Ltd (NFL), who sought quashing of the criminal proceedings against him in a lower court and grant him anticipatory bail. The CCS police in Hyderabad had booked a case against promoter directors of NFL and Kampani for committing a fraud on the public to a tune of nearly Rs 100 crore and had arrested several of the accused. The police had also issued a look out notice for Kampani and got the same distributed to several airports all over the world for his arrest. The management of the NFL was also accused of ignoring a judgment given by Company Law Board in this regard which had asked them to clear off all the dues to be paid to the company’s depositors. Appearing on behalf of Kampani, senior counsel Abhishek Singhvi told the court that since his client left NFL on April 28, 1999 and the issue of first default by the management occurred only in July 1999, he cannot be held responsible for the default. Moreover, the counsel said, citing several verdicts of the apex court, the vicarious responsibility for such offences lies squarely on the company, its MD and its promoter directors and not on persons like his client. The Public prosecutor C Nageswara Rao maintained that since Kampani was there in an important position when these deposits were collected, he is also responsible and opposed the idea of providing any relief to Kampani, who is reportedly hiding in Dubai now.

Hold GHMC polls by Aug.: HC
6 Feb 2009, 0002 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: A two-member bench of the AP High Court comprising Justice V Eswaraiah and Justice Vilas V Afzulpurkar on Thursday directed that elections to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) be held not later than August, 2009. The bench made it clear that no further extension will be granted.
The bench passed the order in a writ petition filed by Lok Satta Party complaining of violation of Fundamental Rights and also provisions of the GHMC Act. The Election Commission had stated in its counter affidavit that meetings would be held with all the political parties before finalising the schedule and after giving the notification. The Commission stated that at least two weeks’ time will be available for political parties for selecting its candidates after notification of the reserved constituencies.

Case against 54 lawyers for damaging public property
6 Feb 2009, 0419 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: City police on Thursday booked cases against 54 lawyers under nine sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including damaging public property, in connection with the violence at Saidapet on late Wednesday evening when 23 other lawyers arrested earlier in the day were taken to a magistrate’s house there. Police said one sub-inspector and a head constable were injured in the incident. Police had arrested 23 advocates for ransacking several shops in Parrys during the bandh in support of Lankan Tamils. The arrested lawyers were taken to the magistrate’s house in Saidapet, where they and another group of lawyers had a tussle with police personnel. Police said the group of lawyers assaulted sub-inspector Mani and head constable Devarajan of Esplanade police station. Police said the lawyers damaged the windshields of the police vehicle and gheraoed the personnel. The police resorted to lathicharge, injuring two lawyers.

Dikshithars challenge HC order
6 Feb 2009, 0445 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: The Podhu Dikshidhars of Lord Natarajar Temple in Chidambaram have challenged a single judge order of the Madras High Court upholding the appointment of an executive officer to administer the temple. A writ appeal, against the judgment of justice R Banumathi’s February 2 order, has been filed by the Podhu Dikshidhars, on the ground that the judge had relied on a book which had no authenticity. Describing as erroneous and wholly unsustainable the finding that income from offerings had not been accounted properly by Dikshidhars, they said the judge had erred in stating that the income of the temple would be much more. “Such an observation has arisen out of very many mistaken facts and arguments advanced without any basis,” they said. As for Justice Banumathi’s observations relating to the mismanagement of the temple by Dikshidhars, the appellants said, “whether there are acts of mismanagement (or not)…is a jurisdiction vested only with the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment commissioner alone. No principle will permit such a finding to be rendered by the court.” The allegations of the management are pending inquiry before various authorities of the department, they said. Reiterating that they had been recognised as a different religious denomination, they said administration of the temple should not be vested with someone not belonging to the denomination. Referring to a 1957 judgment of the High Court, an SLP against which was withdrawn from the Supreme Court later, the Dikshidhars said the question over their right to administer the temple had been settled, and the issue was not open for debate any more. On Thursday, a delegation of Dikshidhars met former chief minister Jayalalithaa at her residence here, and briefed her about various developments, including the filing of a writ appeal in the Madras High Court.

PAU sexual harassment case: Students’ welfare director submits reply to VC
5 Feb 2009, 2116 hrs IST, Manmeet Singh, TNN
LUDHIANA: Finally the man in the eye of storm with a sexual harassment complaint against him has submitted his reply on Wednesday evening to the chargesheet, served on him by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), with the vice-chancellor office. Vice-chancellor Manjit Singh Kang confirmed that he had received the reply submitted by Students’ Welfare director Dulcha Singh Brar but refused to divulge any more details claiming that he has still to peruse it. Later, when Brar was contacted in his office, he informed, “I have submitted my reply according to the charges framed.” However, he also refused to elaborate stating the matter was subjudice but hinted that he had not admitted to the charges levelled against him. In view of this development and as informed by the VC earlier, the university would have to constitute a single-person inquiry committee to further probe the facts submitted by complaints committee. Meanwhile, talking about the case for the first time ever since the charges were made, Brar justified the instances when he had not appeared before the standing committee saying, “It was only on January 6 that the university had provided me with the documents concerning the case,” further claiming that he was not in a position to submit a reply without having a look at the papers. “Even now I have not been given the audio compact disc that is said to be the prime evidence,” he alleged. Earlier, the VC had informed that a transcript of the conversation recorded in a CD had been provided to him. Brar also admitted having received the transcript but does not seem satisfied with it. He insisted, “I have not even listened to it. The committee had offered to play it but they had insisted that I should reply to the questions immediately therafter and I was demanding a day’s time.” On the other hand, the high court too while staying the Board of Management’s orders directing Brar’s repatriation to his parent department had asked the parties involved to appear before it on January 20.

Don’t abolish courts following transfers: HC
5 Feb 2009, 2122 hrs IST, Vaivasvat Venkat, TNN
LUDHIANA: If you are a litigant and have been troubled by frequent movements of your case files from one judicial officer to another following abolition of courts after transfer of judicial officers, there is finally some relief as the high court has issued directions for allocation of a permanent number to the courts in the hierarchy of lower judiciary in the district courts. The decision follows a demand in this regard by District Bar Association in a recent meeting at Punjab and Haryana High Court. “We had put forth the demand before the High Court that the numbers of the courts be fixed so that they are not abolished once a judicial officer is transferred. After abolition of the courts, files of the cases are transferred to different courts and this spells burden on the administrative staff. This also leads to files being misplaced, causing trouble to advocates and litigants. I am thankful to justice Mehtab Singh Gill, who accepted our demand in totality,” said Parupkar Singh Ghuman, president, District Bar Association (DBA). Ghuman said Ludhiana is the first city in the state to have such a system in place. He added that it has been directed, on their demand, that once new judicial officers come or are transferred to the courts here, they would be adjusted as per their seniority decided by high court. Advocates are hailing the decision, saying it would help put an end to their troubles. “On an average, there are over 10,000 cases in a court here and what has been happening in the past is that if the judge is transferred, the court is abolished and the files are sent to other courts. You can understand the kind of pressure that is created in dealing with such a huge number of files and if the same thing is repeated. At times, files relating to cases are lost and it sometimes takes almost a year or more to trace them. Justice is then delayed and thus denied to litigants, who then have to put up with harassment. This is a very good decision and would help enhance work efficiency in the courts here,” said advocate Ajay Sharma. “My case has been transferred almost four times from one court to another following transfer of judicial officers and their promotions. This is a wonderful decision and would be of great help in increasing efficiency of working of courts here,” said litigant Dharam Puri. The decision followed a meeting of DBA president Parupkar Singh Ghuman, advocate AK Jindal, SK Singhal, some other lawyers and justice Mehtab Singh Gill in the High Court on Tuesday.

Muslim law board panel to meet on Feb 7
5 Feb 2009, 2224 hrs IST, TNN
MANGALORE: Working committee of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) will meet at Bhaktal in Uttara Kannada district on February 7 to discuss among other things the probable fall out of Allahabad High Court’s verdict on the Babri Masjid issue. The board will deal with a 11-point agenda as part of its day-long deliberation. It will also examine the case of a PIL before Supreme Court in respect of Islamic Sharia court. Yahya Damudi, member of reception committee, told reporters here on Wednesday that despite Parliament passing a Bill in respect of maintenance allowance for Muslim women, some courts have given judgment contrary to the Bill and Islamic Sharia. The board will consider steps to check wrong interpretation of Sharia and ways and means to see that courts follow Sharia laws as rule in all disputes related to Muslim family matters. More than 100 dignitaries, including Rabey Hassani Nadvi, president of AIMPLB, Nizamuddin, general secretary, Ameer Sharia Board, Bihar and Orissa, Mohammed Saalim Qasimi, principal, Darul Uloom Deoband and others are expected to take part in the meet. The board normally meets either in Delhi or Patna and Karnataka is hosting this important meet for the first time under the aegis of local Muslim community, he said. Damudi said Bhatkal unit of All India Message of Humanity Movement has arranged for a communal harmony meeting at Raees Villa at Shamshuddin Circle on February 6. Nadvi will preside over the meeting. V S Acharya, Vishveshwar Hegde Kageri, ministers, and local elected representatives are scheduled to take part in the meet. Board members will also address a public meeting in Bhatkal on February 7 after their meeting, he said.

6 Feb 2009, 0000 hrs IST
The Supreme Court’s reversal of earlier judgments, which had seen bandhs called by political parties as interfering with citizens’ rights, comes as a victory for sections of the political class. The apex court refused to restrain a clutch of political outfits protesting the killing of civilians in Sri Lanka’s civil war by attempting to shut Tamil Nadu down. It has ruled that bandhs are kosher as they merely constitute expressions of feeling, to which everyone is entitled in a democracy. Ironically, Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, who was also part of the Kerala high court bench that passed a landmark judgment against bandhs in 1997, headed the SC bench that has come up with the latest order. The case against bandhs has nothing to do with the worthiness, or otherwise, of the cause in whose name bandhs are being resorted to. No matter what the intensity of feeling political outfits might harbour on certain issues, the political class shouldn’t have the right to bring to a halt activities of ordinary citizens, whether it be someone trying to earn his daily living, appear for an entrance exam or get a sick relative to hospital. Bandhs, as we all know, are anything but voluntary protests for the vast majority of the citizenry. A bandh, or general strike, is distinct from strikes at individual factories or commercial establishments which may be brought on by disputes between labour and management. A general strike is a political move intended to paralyse all activity with an aim to topple the government of the day. Such a revolutionary step may be justified in a dictatorship, where no other means of self-expression is available. Gandhi resorted to general strikes as a means of driving the British out of India, while ensuring that strikes remained peaceful and voluntary. A general strike that overthrows an elected government, however, would amount to a coup against the people. It’s not surprising that bandhs and general strikes called by contemporary political outfits are seldom peaceful. Sometimes, it’s not an opposition grouping but a party in government which organises a general strike, a common happening in Left-ruled Bengal. That amounts to a government passing a no-confidence motion against itself. The Tamil Nadu bandh did not address anything the state or central government did; the state was sought to be shut down to protest government actions in neighbouring Sri Lanka. Given the enormous economic and political damage inflicted by bandhs, can we afford this sort of action at a distance? The Supreme Court should take another hard look at its latest opinion on bandhs.

Right and wrong
5 Feb 2009, 0013 hrs IST, Abhishek Singhvi
Two recent legal enactments the amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code stipulating stringent grounds of arrest and the Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) Act have lawyers up in arms. They have got it right in one case and not quite right in the other. The criminal law amendment requires recording of reasons in writing before a police officer effects arrests. The reasons must show that there is good basis to believe that absence of arrest will lead to the likelihood of commission of further offences, or is necessary for the safety of the accused, or to prevent tampering with evidence, or to prevent threat, inducement or promise to any potential witness, or to ensure the future presence of the accused in court. Otherwise, the police can only issue a notice of appearance. Unless there is breach of the conditions of such a notice by the accused or new facts emerge (necessitating a recording of reasons), the police cannot effect arrest. This applies to offences punishable up to 7 years. Two salutary and bona fide elements clearly discernible in the legislation to ensure safeguards against police excesses and to minimise the needless filling up of our jails by undertrials may well lead to increased arbitrariness and nepotism in the police forces. At a time when lack of fear of authority and an ambience of recklessness is prevalent in Indian society, the amendment sends a wrong message. Importantly, the amendment vests much discretion with the police, to subject one person to a notice of appearance while subjecting another identically situated person to actual or threatened arrest. Those who support the change on the ground that the amendment merely puts in the statute what is already a requirement of arrest and part of police practice ignore the fact that the amendment alters the emphasis significantly, and mandatorily provides that the accused “shall not be arrested in respect of the offence referred to in the notice unless, for reasons to be recorded, the police is of the opinion that he ought to be arrested”. The sad truth is that India has a surplus of legislations but a poor record in enforcement. By contrast, due to a combination of emotional reactions coupled with some jingoistic formulations, the lawyers have clearly got it wrong in their criticism of the LLP Act. The Act seeks to provide for the creation and regulation of LLPs essentially as hybrid entities which retain the partnership model but are closer to corporations in design and function. Based on the Naresh Chandra committee report, the Act seeks to create an institutional vehicle under which different actors can operate. The key innovation is that those who aggregate as an LLP can do business where, in the event of claims, the liability will be limited as in a company (and not unlimited as in partnerships) and yet the venture will retain a partnership flavour. Critics of the Act fail to realise that it is consistent with a growing international trend: the UK and the US, and a host of other countries, have enacted similar legislations. It is not intended to be specific to the legal profession and hence the criticism that it would facilitate the back-door entry of foreign law firms with a right of audience in Indian courts is misplaced. The enactment is merely enabling. No one is compelled to register as an LLP. An amendment can clarify what is implicit in the Act i.e. aggregations cannot be multi-activity or multi-sectoral. The Act is in addition to, and does not undermine, existing legislation. It does not seek to repeal the Advocates Act or affect the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Bar Council principal apprehensions in some sections of the legal community. It surely needs to be ironed out but to reject it wholesale would be worse than throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

HC sets aside EC order on PRP’s poll symbol
Hyderabad (PTI): Setting aside the Election Commission’s order rejecting a plea of actor Chiranjeevi’s party for a uniform election symbol, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday directed the poll panel to consider the matter afresh and cited the case of TRS.
The court directed that the exercise be completed within three weeks and observed that the principles which were adopted while granting a common election symbol to Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) “may have to be kept in mind” while taking a decision on the plea of Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) for a common poll symbol. The petition was filed by Praja Rajyam’s General Secretary and Chiranjeevi’s brother-in-law Allu Aravind.
The Election Commission had reportedly told PRP recently that only recognised political parties are eligible for a permanent election symbol while “registered” parties will have to choose from the ‘free symbols’ available.
Telugu actor Chiranjeevi had floated PRP amid much fanfare in August last year.

HC dismiss plea against Chouhan’s victory
Jabalpur(PTI): Madhya Pradesh High Court has dismissed an election petition, challenging Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s ‘win’ from Budhni constituency in the 2006 by-poll, after the petitioner did not turn up to record his evidence.
The Congress leader Raj Kumar Patel, who was defeated by Chouhan in the by-election, had alleged, that he had indulged in corrupt practises to win the by-poll.
While dismissing the election petition, Justice R C Mishra, yesterday observed that no more adjournment could be given as it seems Patel was not bothered in further hearing of his petition.
Patel had moved an application seeking adjournment on the hearing citing he was unable to appear in the court due to health problem.
To this, the CM’s counsels senior advocate Ravish Agrawal and Arpan Pawar, objected saying that Patel was not entitled to seek futher adjournments as he had alreay been granted such adjournments four times in the past. Justice Mishra rejected the adjournment application and dissmissed the election petition of Patel.

HC dismisses petitions over delimitation
Friday, February 6, 2009
The Orissa High Court dismissed the six writ petitions challenging the delimitation and reservation of various words within Cuttack Municipal Corporation limits on Friday.The petition were filed by Dayanidhi Lenka and five others. The bench comprising Justices IM Quddusi and Kumari Sanju Panda also went on to impose a fine of Rs 10,000 on each and directed them to deposit the amount with the Orissa State Legal Services Authority, according to media reports.
Considering the reports submitted by the Collector of Cuttack and the Secretary of State Election Commission ruling out anomalies in the delimitation exercise, the court delivered judgement.
posted by P. Neelakantha Achary @ 10:14 AM

Notice to Centre, Rajasthan govt. on Jaipur blasts
Jaipur (PTI): The Rajasthan High Court on Friday issued show cause notices to the Centre and state government for allegedly not taking any action on the information available in relation to the May 13 serial bomb blasts here last year.
A division bench, comprising Justices R C Gandhi and M N Bhandari, served the notices on the state and the central authorities seeking explanation on the same.
The show cause notices were issued on a PIL filed by an NGO — Rasthriya Samta Manch — which had filed an FIR on May 2008, disclosing the terrorists’ intentions of executing serial bomb blasts in the capital.
It was mentioned in the PIL that the NGO had got a CD in May 2008, containing a scanned letter of some terrorist outfits stating that they wanted certain terrorists to be released as also demanded Rs 50 crore ransom for keeping peace or else to face the consequences.
Later on May 12, two men and two women claiming themselves to be associates of a terrorist outfit moved in the office of the NGO and asked to return the CD.
“The NGO filed the FIR in this relation on May 12, but the police did not acted promptly on the information of the NGO and this resulted in the May 13 bomb blasts,” alleged counsel for the NGO Munish Gupta.
The show cause notices have been issued to central and state government’s Home Secretary, among others.

Give no sympathy for adulterators, says Supreme Court
New Delhi (PTI): Adulterators are a threat to national security and no misplaced sympathy should be shown to them as they endanger lives of numerous people, the Supreme Court has said.
“No chance can be taken by society with a man whose anti-social operations disguised as a respectable trade, imperil numerous innocents. He is a security risk. The kindly application of the probation principles is negatived by the imperatives of social defence and the improbabilities of moral proselytisation.
“Secondly, these economic offences committed by white collar criminals are unlikely to be dissuaded by the gentle probationary process,” a three judge bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam observed in a judgement.
The bench passed the observations while dismissing an appeal filed by officials of Assam-based Precious Oil Corporation who were convicted and sentenced under the Essential Commodities Act for indulging in adulteration and selling of unlicensed re-refined lubricating oil.
They were convicted and sentenced to one month simple imprisonment and fined Rs 3,000 each by a sessions court. The Guwahati High Court confirmed the sentence, upon which the accused appealed in the apex court.

Supreme Court dismisses plea to cancel Satyam stocks transactions
New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition seeking a direction to market regulator SEBI and the Bombay Stock Exchange to cancel transactions in shares of scam-tainted Satyam Computer and Chennai-based entertainment firm Pyramid Saimira.
A Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan-headed bench dismissed as withdrawn a Public Interest Litigation filed by Mohan Lal Sharma, a practising advocate, seeking cancellation of all transactions on January 6 and 7 on the ground that innocent investors were lured by these companies on buyback announcements and thus, a fraud was committed on them.
“SEBI is already investigating the matter. You can also make a complaint to the statutory authority,” the bench observed.
According to Sharma, before the decision was taken by the board, IL&FS had sold about 246.6 lakh shares in the market at Rs 176 per share. However, the Satyam shares crashed to close at Rs 30 after Satyam Chairman Ramalinga Raju resigned from the board and confessed to Rs 7,800-crore fraud, he added.
The petition further added that Pyramid Saimira, which was in the news recently for serious fraud allegations, wherein the company was sent a forged letter of SEBI asking its co-promoter P S Saminathan to make an open offer to minority shareholders to buy 20 per cent at Rs 250 a share.
Various investors, including Sharma, had bought the shares following the receipt of the letter by the company. However, within one hour of disclosure, the shares went down to freeze at Rs 61.15 per share, he said, adding SEBI, NSE and BSE had failed to take any action to get purchased shares cancelled.

Separate jail for terrorists can be considered: Supreme Court
Legal Correspondent
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday suggested the setting up of a separate jail for terrorists, militants and those involved in federal crimes.
It could be located in Maharashtra or Delhi, said Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, heading a Bench, the hearing of a petition filed by Manzoor Ali Khan on prison reforms.
The petitioner said dreaded terrorists and secessionists were being allowed to escape by jail staff in connivance with criminals.
The escape of terrorists, at the instance of politicians and bureaucrats, not only affected the rule of law but also caused grave concern over the security, sovereignty and integrity of the country. People would lose faith in the rule of law if terrorists were allowed to escape from jails, he said.
Counsel D.K. Garg, appearing for the petitioner, suggested that hardcore criminals be segregated so that jailbreaks would not occur. Citing the recent Mumbai terror attack, he said prisons should be guarded by central forces. The Chief Justice told counsel that States might not agree to this proposal. However, he said, “a separate jail can be considered for terrorists, militants or those involved in federal crimes as they are not in large numbers and such a jail can be in Maharashtra or Delhi with additional security.”
On problems in prisons, the Chief Justice said the prisons in the States were overcrowded. Unless their capacity was increased or new jails were constructed, the problem could not be solved. To improve conditions, jail committees were necessary but in most of the States these were either not in existence or did not function.
The Chief Justice said wherever children were staying with their mother in prison educational facilities must be provided, and prisoners completing their term would have to be released after proper review by the committees concerned.
The Bench, which included Justice P. Sathasivam, asked the petitioner to give his suggestions on various aspects of jail reform in two weeks and adjourned the hearing till then.

Theft case against child dropped
Etawah: The theft case with the Jaswantnagar police against a 6-year-old girl, who was beaten up by the police, has been dropped and a case under Cr.PC 182 for registering a fake complaint has been lodged against Anju Katheria.
Katheria had alleged that the girl stole Rs. 280 from her wallet at a market in Jaswantpur area. TV footage showed the child being lifted by the hair by policemen and thrashed, while some others stood by. Following national outrage, senior sub-inspector Shyamlal Yadav was sacked and SHO Chandrabhan Singh suspended. In all, six policemen were booked under various sections of the IPC and the SC/S (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The girl’s family has been provided security. — PTI

Acting CJ to inaugurate additional subordinate judge court in Tirupur
Staff Reporter
Tirupur: The long-pending demand of the legal fraternity to have an additional subordinate judge court in Tirupur to ease the load on the existing single subordinate judge court and expedite clearance of backlog cases is all set to get materialised on February 8.
M. Sathianarayanan, secretary, Tirupur Bar Association, told reporters that the acting Chief Justice of Madras High Court, Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya, would inaugurate the court in the presence of high court judges Justice M. Sathyanarayanan and Justice M. Jaichandren.
Backlog cases
He said that the appointment of an additional subordinate judge would be beneficial to clear the backlog of cases totalling about 10,000.
The pending cases are pertaining to matrimonial disputes, title suits, money claims in the range of Rs. one lakh and Rs. five lakh, insolvency proceedings and land acquisition original petitions, he added.
He said that for the time being, the additional subordinate would function from a temporary location identified on the existing court complex until a new building was constructed on an adjacent plot.

Lawyers intensify protest seeking ceasefire
Madurai Bureau
Advocates attempt to block train at Tuticorin
TIRUNELVELI: A group of advocates burnt the Sri Lankan national flag here on Thursday in protest against the ongoing attack on Tamils of the island nation by the Sri Lankan armed forces.
Raising slogans against the Sri Lankan Government, the advocates burned the national flag of that country.
Some of them also raised slogans against the Central Government for extending military assistance to Sri Lanka.
After the police doused the flames, the advocates, who came to know that a group of Congress cadres was observing fast at Jawahar Grounds in Palayamkottai for the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils, raised slogans against the Congress.
“At a time when the Congress Government at the Centre, which is assisting the Sri Lankan Government in wiping out the Tamils, the party has no moral right to observe fast for the Tamils,” they shouted and said the organiser of the fast, who was projecting himself as an advocate had not received the degree in Bachelor of Law, should be arrested. Since the lawyers geared up to move towards Jawahar Grounds where the Congress functionaries, led by Tirunelveli district president of traders’ wing of the party N.K.V. Sivakumar, were observing fast, additional police personnel were deployed at the protest venue to protect the agitators. However, they took a bus to reach the Office of Commissioner of Police where they submitted a petition, seeking action against the “fake advocate”.
As many as twenty three members of Bar Association, five members of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and four from the Communist Party of India were arrested here on Thursday when they tried to block trains at Melur railway station here to protest against the killings of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Despite agitations by various sections of people across the State, the Lankan Government has not stopped its offensive against the Tamils, said T. M. Prabu, President, Tuticorin Bar Association, who led the agitation.
The Central and State Governments must make efforts to convince Lanka to declare ceasefire immediately to save innocent Tamils. However, due to the protest, rail traffic was not affected.

Utilise legal services, rural workers told
Special Correspondent
Awareness programmes planned in villages
ONGOLE: District Judge B. Sivasankara Rao has appealed to rural workers to utilise the services of the legal services authority at mandal and district levels to protect their rights and avail the benefits under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), 2005.
Speaking to newspersons here on Thursday, Mr. Sivasankara Rao said that National Legal Services Authority directed the legal services authorities at the district and mandal levels to conduct legal awareness programmes in villages to educate people on their rights and resolve any disputes arising between workers and officials. The mandal level authorities are working at Addanki, Chirala, Kandukur, Markapur, Parchur and Giddalur while the district authority is located in the district court complex at Ongole.
The legal services authorities propose to conduct Lok Adalats to solve disputes relating to registration of workers, allocation of work, custody of job cards, wages, unemployment allowance, work site facilities, measurement of work, bank and post office accounts and muster roles.
The rural workers need to file any complaints regarding implementation of works and payment of wages in the prescribed form to legal service authorities at district and mandal levels.
The prescribed forms are available free of cost at the centres concerned.
Lok Adalats
Lok Adalats would be conducted in the blocks or gram panchayats to hear disputes and resolve them by mediation or conciliation. The adalats would be held either in the morning or in the evening depending on the number of disputes pending in the particular area.

Ombudsman seeks High Court’s orders
Staff Reporter
KOCHI: The Ombudsman for Devaswoms, R. Bhaskaran, has submitted a report to the Kerala High Court seeking orders regarding the construction of an ornamental gate by the Thrissur Corporation at Thekkinkadu maidan.
It was on a petition filed by Sreedharan Therambil that the Ombudsman submitted the report.
The Ombudsman stated that the question before him was whether the action of the corporation was in violation of the order of the High Court which said that the Cochin Devaswom Board should ensure that no persons erected any permanent or semi-permanent structure in Thekkinkadu maidan.
The Ombudsman had also stated that “whether the gate itself is in the land leased to the corporation can be decided only if proper measurement is made. But whether such constructions were also intended by the order of the High Court, only the High Court can take a decision.”

Lawyers’ body challenges constitution of Armed Forces Tribunal
Published: February 5,2009

New Delhi, Feb 5 The Delhi High Court today issued notice to the Central government on a petition filed by High Court Bar Association challenging the constitution of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) under the AFT Act.
A Division Bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur sought the government&aposs response by March 20 on the lawyers&aposplea that the Tribunal would take away the statutory power to hear the first appeal of cases pertaining to armed personnel.
Recently, the government constituted the Tribunal and a retired judge of Supreme Court has been appointed as the Chairperson of the Tribunal.
The cases pertaining to services of armed forces, court martials would be decided by the Tribunal. To challenge the Tribunal order one need not approach the High Court. He or she can directly go to the apex court against the Tribunal&aposs order.
Filing the petition, the Bar members argued that constitution of such Tribunal was violation of Supreme Court ruling saying that the High Court is the first court of appeal and any aggrieved party can not by-pass the High Court and approach the Supreme Court.
The Court now fixed March 20 as the date for further hearing of the matter.
Source: PTI

SC seeks report on child labour from NHRC

Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, February 07, 2009
First Published: 09:25 IST(7/2/2009)
Last Updated: 09:27 IST(7/2/2009)
The Supreme Court on Friday sought a comprehensive report from the NHRC on steps taken by the state governments to eradicate bonded and child labour.
A bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam asked NHRC to assist in the matter after it was informed that the rights body in 2004 was asked to monitor the development in this regard.
Senior advocate A K Ganguly, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae (friend of court) in the matter, said the PIL on the issue was disposed of on May 5, 2005 with a direction that the NHRC would monitor steps taken by the state government.
He informed the court about the history of litigation on the matter and said earlier the Labour Ministry had identified 14 states as vulnerable to the problem and the figure has now increased to 16.
The Bench initially was of the opinion that the issue could be brought before the concerned High Courts if effective measures were not undertaken by the state government.
However, when Ganguly said he could not do much in this regard as he was only assisting the apex court on the issue, the Bench asked the NHRC to file a comprehensive report.

Tibetan girl freed, to move NHRC
Bokaro, Feb. 5: Bokaro police tried to salvage its tarnished reputation by ensuring that Penba Lahmo was released from Chas jail today, but the tearful 26-year-old Tibetan student wrongly arrested and imprisoned in a mobile theft case, said she was thinking of complaining to the National Human Rights Commission.
Lahmo broke down on the shoulders of her mother, Dolam Tso, soon after coming out of the jail in the afternoon. Later, speaking through an interpreter, she alleged she was severely ill-treated by women prisoners at New Delhi’s Tihar jail where she was kept for four days after her January 28 arrest. “I was beaten up by prisoners who made filthy gestures. They said I was a ‘veteran’ criminal with innocent looks,” she said. “At one point of time, I even thought of committing suicide.”
The Bokaro police, investigating the theft of over 200 cellphones from Sector IV last year in February, arrested her in New Delhi on January 28 after she was tracked using one of those phones.
But even though she willingly met the police and claimed she had bought the phone from a reputed shop in Kathmandu, the men in uniform refused to believe her.
Soon after the arrest of Lahmo, who had enrolled herself at the Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in New Delhi, a wave of protest messages from various Tibetan organisations reached the police protesting against her detention.
Yesterday, deputy inspector-general (coal belt) Anurag Gupta admitted his men had erred in arresting Lahmo without proper verification and suspended the investigating officer and ordered a departmental inquiry against two others.
Gupta also promised to have Lahmo released from Chas jail as soon as possible.
He kept his promise today. The Bokaro police submitted its final report to the chief judicial magistrate of Bokaro, Shiv Pujan Tewary, today saying they did not have any evidence against Lahmo. The judge released her on the basis of that report.

LEGAL NEWS 05.02.2009

Mergers & Acquisition should contribute to bottom line
By Raghunath Ravi on February 4th, 2009With the current depressed global economic condition, business enterprises have been seriously considering various innovative measures to mitigate the negative effect on the profitability as well as for improving their ability to survive. In India, even before the effect of global meltdown was beginning to be felt, few corporate entities had announced certain proposals which were radical and incredible. The announcement that – Jet Airways and Kingfisher would bring together their resources to maximize their bottomline – while retaining their identity as separate entities is one such move. This has become a necessity or a compulsion without options or choice. While the exact details of the arrangement are not publicized – there are certain questions that need to be addressed on the effects of such arrangement on consumers. For, it is the consumer who will ultimately be affected or stand to benefit as a result of the arrangement between the two airline companies. The lack of vision and commercial sense on the part of the said two private airlines have led them to the decision to combine their resources – a solution for the survival of both the airlines – While business cycle may have adverse effects – most of the problems are ‘man made’ – uneconomic sectors with flight schedules of both the airlines within a short gap of the other airlines for the same sector, high levels of remuneration for the executives and disproportionate ad-spend – all contributed for the truncated bottomline.Perhaps the sharing of the resources practiced by the banks for their ATMs and the telecom companies – which proved to be very effective in cost cutting – considering the capital required for these facilities – are prohibitively expensive for any bank/telecom provider to incur on its own, has made the airline companies to consider ‘pooling together’ of their resources However, in the case of airline companies it is not just their infrastructure facilities which may be pooled together – the human resources engaged in ground-support services, manning the booking /reservation and the security checking services which will have a greater role in determining the level of satisfaction for the passenger, will be deciding factors in ultimately gauging the effectiveness of the arrangement. Another question is whether the arrangement will come under scanner by MRTP/Competition Commission of India in ensuring that the rules of the game are not flouted and the poor consumer is not taken for a ride by these airlines with the monolith their business together would grow into!

E-ticket error costs tour operator Rs 20,000

Wednesday, February 04, 2009New Delhi: Planning to book electronic tickets through a tour operator? Think again as a small mistake in the spelling of a name can give you a nightmare.This is what happened to Delhi-resident Shubh Chand Jain. On reaching the Palam Domestic Airport he had to face undue delay as tour operator Trip Travel Pvt Ltd had spelt his daughter’s name incorrectly while booking for him five Jet Airways tickets for to and fro air journey from New Delhi to Raipur.Consequently, when Jain went to board the flight, the airline’s ground officials refused his daughter permission to board till National Airport Authority of India officials intervened to resolve the matter.While returning, the same problem surfaced and as a result his flight got delayed.On filing a complaint, a two member bench of the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered the tour operator to pay him Rs 10,000 compensation for deficiency in service.

SC permits banks to charge up to 49% interest on card payment defaults
Tuesday, February 3, 2009New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed MNC banks to charge hefty interest up to 49% on defaulted credit card payments, ending the respite that lakhs of card holders have had since September last year when the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission capped the penalty at 30%.The SC stayed the apex consumer forum’s directive to banks not to charge more than 30% interest on defaulted payments on credit card purchases. The SC had last year refused to heed the appeal of banks against the NCDRC’s order. A Bench comprising Justices B N Agrawal, G S Singhvi and Aftab Alam on Tuesday suspended the relief to card holders on a plea by a coalition of foreign banks — Citibank, HSBC, American Express and Standard Chartered — that their business was suffering immensely because of the “unwarranted’’ cap on the quantum of penal interest.Ironically, the plea of banks may have been allowed because of a lapse by the very same NGO ‘Awaz’ that was instrumental in getting the NCDRC order pegging the penal interest at 30% last year.Though the bench had issued notice to the NGO four months ago, it has yet not put in its response, possibly helping the court to see merit in the argument of the banks that no penal interest rate, they were only following the guidelines issued by the RBI.The banks teamed up to apprise the apex court of their compulsions to charge between 36% to 49% interest on defaulted payments on credit cards. “No bank as a credit card issuer would charge undue interest rate as, apart from the regulatory framework that applies, the market would not sustain the same by reason of competitive force,’’ Citibank said. In its application, filed through counsel Rupinder Suri, it said facility of credit cards could be availed of without any interest for a certain stipulated period and it was only after the expiry of that period that penal interest was levied on default of payments.“The credit card holder is aware of the same at the time of applying for it. It is also relevant to note that credit card transactions de facto constitute unsecured credit availed of,’’ the bank said justifying the high interest rate permitted by RBI on defaulted payments.The July 7, 2007 order of NCDRC had ruled that “charging of interest rates in excess of 30% per annum from credit card holders by banks for the former’s failure to make full payment on the due date or paying the minimum amount due, is unfair trade practices.’’It had also said that penal interest could be levied only once for the period of default and should not be capitalised while terming the practice of computing interest on monthly basis as “unfair trade practice’’.The banks justified the high interest rate on default payments by credit card holders by listing as many as 27 factors that included even the SMS alerts it sends to the card holders.Even the cost of acquiring a new customer, that is the cost of calls made randomly by authorised call centres urging people to take credit cards, is also taken into account for realisation through charging of penal interest from an defaulting card holder.“The National Commission has failed to appreciate that the rate of interest on defaulted or partial payments of credit card dues is determined by taking into consideration various factors, including the risks of default, and therefore, this commission may not determine the issue as to whether the interest at the rates of 36% to 49% per annum is excessive,’’ the banks said. Higher charge despite lower cost of fundPrabhakar Sinha TNNNew Delhi: Though cost of fund is falling, banks continue to charge very high interest rates—up to 51% per annum – on outstanding credit card amount. At present, banks are charging interest on outstanding amount at the range of Rs 2.5%-3.5% per month, which works out to be 34.5%-51% per annum.In 2008, when interest rates were firming up, banks had increased the rate by around half a percentage point per month or by around 10 percentage point per annum.In the last couple of months, cost of fund has declined. At present, banks are raising funds at around 8% from depositors. Even if the default rate of around 15% in the credit card segment is taken into account, the present interest rate (35% to 51%) is very high. In the developed market interest rate burden is around 15%-20%.However, banks claim that cost of servicing a customer is high, as they don’t charge the interest rate during the first 50 days of a credit card purchase. But industry watchers say this is not correct. If you have even Re 1 outstanding left on the card in the previous payment cycle, the interest will be charged from the day one on the entire amount. So, you end up paying the high interest rate on the amount spent by the card from the day one.CMD of a public sector bank said if RBI can ask banks to reduce lending rate, it can also tell them to lower the interest rates on credit card. Posted by Sandeep Bhavsar at 6:30 PM

MOU signed for BHEL- KEL joint venture
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 05:03 NewsKEL, a fully owned undertaking of the Government of Kerala, has four production units spread across the State.Power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals on 03-02-2009 signed an MOU with Kerala Electrical & Allied Engineering Company Ltd for forming a joint venture which will focus on core sectors and supply products to engineering giants — Siemens and General Electric.The MoU was signed here by KEL MD B Jyothikumar and BHEL MD K Ravi Kumar in the presence of Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Santosh Mohan Dev and Minister of State for Power Jairam Ramesh.The MoU envisages delinking of the Kasaragod unit of KEL to form a separate company.BHEL is expected to invest about Rs 25 crore in this JV company, KEL said in a statement.After the MoU, the valuation of the assets of KEL, Kasargod will be done by a reputed financial institution to be selected by mutual agreeent between KEL and BHEL.KEL’s product includes high frequency alternators, frequency convertors, special alternators and power packs for missile projects.” BHEL will provide necessary technical and managerial support to the joint venture,” BHEL CMD K Ravi Kumar told reporters here after signing a memorandum of understanding with Kerala government-run KEL in the presence of Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Santosh Mohan Dev. The JV will cater to core sectors such as transportation, renewable energy and some other industries by manufacturing a specific range of products, Ravi said, ading it would also manufacture products for railways and other industries.” This 50:50 joint venture company with KEL would supply wind electricity generators to General Electric and Siemens,” Ravi said. Some of the equipment for this JV company would be manufactured at our unit in Bhopal, he said without divulging further details regarding the joint venture.Oil rigs and locomotives are likely to be manufactured at KEL Kasaragod unit in Kerala. The turnover of this JV company is expected to touch Rs 60 crore by the end of next financial year. “I am sure that the alliance between BHEL and KEL will bring out the best products which can help Indian Railways and Industry and be a vehicle of growth for both organisations,”Dev said.

Defaulting credit cards will attract 49% interest now

Wednesday, February 4, 2009NEW DELHI: Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed MNC banks to charge hefty penal interest up to 49% on defaulted credit card payments, ending the respite that lakhs of card holders have had since September last year when the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission capped the penalty at 30%.The SC stayed the apex consumer forum’s directive to banks not to charge more than 30% interest on defaulted payments on credit card purchases. The SC had last year refused to heed the appeal of banks against the NCDRC’s order.A Bench comprising Justices B N Agrawal, G S Singhvi and Aftab Alam suspended on Tuesday the relief to card holders on a plea by a coalition of foreign banks — Citibank, HSBC, American Express and Standard Chartered — that their business was suffering immensely because of the “unwarranted” cap on the quantum of penal interest.Ironically, the plea of banks may have been allowed because of a lapse by the very same NGO `Awaz’ that was instrumental in getting the NCDRC order pegging the penal interest at 30% last year.Though the Bench had issued notice to the NGO four months ago, it has yet not put in its response, possibly helping the court to see merit in the argument of the banks that no penal interest rate, they were only following the guidelines issued by the statutory regulator, Reserve Bank of India (RBI).The banks teamed up to apprise the apex court of their compulsions to charge between 36% to 49% interest on defaulted payments on credit cards. “No bank as a credit card issuer would charge undue interest rate as, apart from the regulatory framework that applies, the market would not sustain the same by reason of competitive force,” Citibank said.In its application, filed through counsel Rupinder Suri, it said facility of credit cards could be availed without any interest for a certain stipulated period and it was only after the expiry of that period that penal interest was levied on default of payments.“The credit card holder is aware of the same at the time of applying for it. It is also relevant to note that credit card transactions de-facto constitute unsecured credit availed of,” the bank said justifying the high interest rate permitted by RBI on defaulted payments.The July 7, 2007 order of NCDRC had ruled that “charging of interest rates in excess of 30% per annum from credit card holders by banks for the former’s failure to make full payment on the due date or paying the minimum amount due, is unfair trade practices.”It had also said that penal interest could be levied only once for the period of default and should not be capitalised while terming the practice of computing interest on monthly basis as “unfair trade practice”.The banks justified the high interest rate on default payments by credit card holders by listing as many as 27 factors that included even the SMS alerts it sends to the card holders.Even the cost of acquiring a new customer, that is the cost of calls made randomly by authorised call centres urging people to take credit cards, is also taken into account for realisation through charging of penal interest from a defaulting card holder.“The National Commission has failed to appreciate that the rate of interest on defaulted or partial payments of credit card dues is determined by taking into consideration various factors, including the risks of default, and therefore, this commission may not determine the issue as to whether the interest at the rates of 36% to 49% per annum is excessive,” the banks said.Source:
Posted by Mahendra Mahara at 2:32 AM

Citifinancial pulled up for unfair trade practices –

News Updates:A consumer court Tuesday criticised Citifinancial Consumer Finance for adopting “highly unfair trade practices” as it had recovered double the loan amount from a consumer.The Delhi State Consumer Redressal Commission headed by Justice J.D. Kapoor found Citifinancial Consumer Finance guilty of extracting exactly double the loan amount the company had given to the consumer.Sandeep Kumar Sharma, a resident of the IGNOU Housing Complex in Maidangarhi, applied for a personal loan of Rs.22,000 and Citifinancial sanctioned it in January 2007. He was assured that he will pay a monthly installment of Rs.1,125 for 24 months.However, Sharma later realised he had been asked to pay 36 monthly installments. He filed a complaint in a district consumer court which asked the financial company to take monthly installments of Rs.1,125 for only 24 months and compensate the consumer for Rs.8,000.The company appealed against the order in the state consumer court that found it guilty of adopting unfair trade practice.“The financial company had wanted to recover Rs.40,500 against the loan of Rs.22,000. There cannot be any worse kind of exploitation of a poor man who is in need of money,” it said.“We do not find any merit in the appeal and dismiss the same. The order shall be complied with within one month from the date of receipt of this order,” Justice Kapoor said.

PIL okay if public money involved: SC

R. SedhuramanLegal Correspondent
New Delhi, February 4The Supreme Court today made it clear that every citizen had the right to file a PIL in corruption cases if public money was involved and no locus standi was required. A Bench comprising Justices RV Raveendran and Markandey Katju made the observation while disposing of a petition by Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, challenging an order of Bombay High Court which had asked a trial court to take into account the police investigation report also. A metropolitan magistrate in Mumbai had dropped Praful Patel from trial after he pleaded that he had disassociated himself in 1999 from Auto Ridders Finance Ltd, accused of diverting funds worth Rs 50 crore that had been invested in the company by UTI. M Furuquan and others had filed a PIL in Bombay High Court, challenging the trial court dropping the name of Patel, who was director of the company. The apex court said since Patel was neither tried nor acquitted in the case, he should not have come to it. It directed him to go back to the High Court and make his contentions. Rejecting the contention of Patel’s counsel Ashok Desai that the PIL petitioner had no locus standi and that PIL provision was being misused for publicity, vendetta and vengeance, the Bench asked if his client was innocent why was he afraid of facing the judiciary. If the public can’t raise its voice against corruption, who else would fight the menace, the judges wondered. Just because Patel had subsequently become a minister, he could not try to avoid judicial proceedings, they said.

Ashram deaths case: Petitioner protests against father joining as party

5 Feb 2009, 0354 hrs IST, TNNAhmedabad : Praful Vaghela’s plea to become a party in the petition going on in Gujarat High Court met with strong objection from original petitioner, PH Parmar. Vaghela has applied for joining him as a party in this application claiming that investigating agency has failed to make any breakthrough in the case, hence probe be handed over to CBI.Parmar (7 expressed reservation against Vaghela’s move to join case alleging that deceased kids’ parents had succumbed to political pressure after launching a protest fast against tardy pace of investigations, in July.“I have full sympathy for Vaghela family, but when they were getting support from all corners of society, they withdrew from struggle and made peace with political leaders. It was under political pressure, Vaghelas had agreed to the decision of handing over investigation to CID (crime),” Parmar argued before a division Bench hearing PIL seeking thorough investigation in to mysterious deaths of Dipesh and Abhishek, who were studying at the Asaram Gurukul in Motera.“I will contest this case alone come what may, and not allow anybody to weaken it,” Parmar claimed. “I don’t mind him filing a separate application, but I have an objection to join anybody else in this application,” he added.Parmar had also vehemently opposed constitution of Justice DK Trivedi commission to probe the case. Earlier, an NGO Jan Sangharsh Manch had joined in this case as a party and sought compensation for damage caused during rioting on the day of protest. JSM had also sought court’s direction to police to lodge criminal complaints against followers of Asaram Bapu that were involved in rioting.Division Bench of Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi kept further hearing on the issue on February 10, and directed investigating agency to apprise court about recent status of investigation.

HC seeks report from MCD on PIL against misuse of farm houses

Published: February 4,2009New Delhi, Feb 4 The Delhi High Court today sought a detailed report from the city government and MCD on a petition alleging that farm houses in the city have been misused and the civic agency failed to comply with the court&aposs previous order.A Division Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked the MCD to file a status report on a PIL seeking direction for compliance with the court&aposs 2007 direction. Earlier, the court had directed that farm houses would not be utilised for commercial activities like holding marriages. The Court sought a detailed report from MCD by March 18 on a PIL filed by one Kailash Sharma, a resident of Chhattarpur area, who alleged that due to misuse of the farm houses several villagers were affected. Filing a petition, he alleged several farm houses in Chhattarpur area were violating the directions issued by the court and most of the times the farm houses were being utilised for commercial activities. Now, the court fixed March 18 as the date for further hearing of the matter.Source: PTI

HC slams NDMC for banning cycle rickshaws in parts of capital

Delhi New Delhi, Feb 04: Taking exception to the “unrealistic” approach taken by the New Delhi Municipal Council in banning cycle rickshaws in parts of the city, the Delhi High Court slammed the civic body for not fixing any limit as to the number of cars a person can possess.“We find the guidelines are unrealistic. Why are you so enthusiastic in banning cycle rickshaws? Why do not you issue guidelines limiting the number of cars a person can have in the city?” observed a Division Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Sanjiv Khanna on a PIL filed by ‘Manushi’, an NGO.The NGO submitted that the measure has taken away the livelihood of poor people.“It seems the total number of cars in Delhi are more than the combined number of cars in three metros- Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata,” noted the Bench and said that in view of the increasing pollution in the world, people in several countries including China and Holland have adopted bicycles and cycle rickshaws as a mode of transport as they are pollution free.Appearing for the petitioner NGO, counsel Prashant Bhushan submitted that the guidelines issued by NDMC were violative of Fundamental Rights under Article 14 (Right to livelihood) of the rickshaw pullers in the city.Bureau Report

PIL objects to land allotment to ex-CM Deshmukh’s institute

Published: February 4,2009Mumbai , Feb 4 The Bombay High Court today issued a notice to an educational institute seeking clarification about a plot acquired by it near Pune in 2006 during the regime of Vilasrao Deshmukh.Significantly, as per a PIL filed by one Pramod Ghadge, Deshmukh himself was the institute&aposs chairman then. The land at Thergaon – measuring 12,073 sq metre — was originally acquired by Pimpri-Chinchwad New Town Planning Development Authority (PCNTPDA). It was allotted to the institute in February 2006 by PCNTPDA for Rs 89,88,795, for building a school. According to Ghadge, the land is worth Rs 5 crore, but it was allotted without calling for tenders, at below the market price. “All members of PCNTPDA are government appointees and Vilasrao Deshmukh (who was then chief minister) exerted political pressure on them,”the PIL says. It also says there are 12 schools in the area, and a new school was not needed.Source: PTI

Hiranandiani faces 2,000cr penalty

By: Our CorrespondentHranandani faces a penalty of Rs 2,000 crore recommended by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for its alleged violations in an old agreement pertaining to the Powai Area Development Scheme. A division bench of the Bombay High Court is currently hearing a PIL filed by aggrieved citizens against the developer. According to sources, MMRDA commissioner has submitted a detailed report to the state urban development department last week. The penalty of Rs 1, 993 crore was arrived at by taking into consideration three kinds of alleged violations by the Hiranandanis. The first, according to the MMRDA report, was the differential areas of the flats. While permission was granted for only 40 to 80 sq m flats, the developer built sprawling apartments of 200 to 400 sq m. The penalty proposed on this has been pegged at Rs 946 crore by the MMRDA. Secondly, the authority has recommended a further penalty of Rs 597 crore on the developer for building commercial complexes when no such permission was granted under the agreement. This figure was calculated by taking 1.5 times the current ready reckoner rate and multiplying it by the total commercial built-up area of 1.19 lakh sq m. Thirdly, the MMRDA also wants to levy a ‘penal premium’ of Rs 448 crore on the builder for using transfer of development rights (TDR). Moreover, an inquiry revealed that instead of the specific 50%, just 15% of the built-up area was used for low-income housing. It is learnt that Hiranandani will challenge all the three charges. The builder is believed to have produced a housing department circular allowing 10% commercial space on this land. Hiranandani also said TDR can be used on Urban Land Ceiling (Regulation) Act (Ulcra) land and rules can be relaxed to build larger sized flats. He is also expected to challenge MMRDA’s decision to levy penalty based on current ready reckoner rates. Last year, Hiranandani paid penalty of Rs 3 crore. The MMRDA chief has also recommended that all concessions extended to the builder and the complex be withdrawn and the land be taken back as is where is. In December, the HC gave an interim order restraining the builder from selling or creating third-party rights in amalgamated flats in Powai. In order to develop a 230-acre chunk of real estate at Powai, builder Niranjan Hiranandani had got an exemption under the now-abolished (Ulcra). Half the flats were to measure 40 sq m (430 sq ft) in size, and the remainder, 80 sq m (860 sq ft). Hiranandani had entered a tripartite agreement with the MMRDA and the state government to develop the property. An inquiry initiated by the MMRDA commissioner with the help of the civic administration last year revealed that out of the 5.74 lakh sq m of built-up area that was allowed on this land, the developer had used just 76,120 sq m or 15% for low-income housing. A large majority of apartments was amalgamated and sold as luxury pads of 2,000 to 4,000 sq ft. During the inquiry, the developer had stated that he had got permission from the MMRDA in 1989 to amalgamate some flats. However, Hiranandani’s counsel said in the Bombay HC that the flats were sold as units of 40 and 80 sq m, but were later amalgamated to form larger apartments.

BMIC project:SC expresses displeasure over Deve Gowda’s letter

Published: Wed, 04 Feb 2009 at 17:18 ISTNew Delhi, Feb 4 : The Supreme Court today expressed displeasure over a letter sent by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda to the judges of the Karnataka High Court alleging corruption in the Bangalore-Mysore highway project and called as contemptuous a book on the subject circulated along with it.“It is unfortunate that such a letter has been written,” a three-judge Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat said.The Bench was unhappy that Deve Gowda’s letter also accompanied a book titled “Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) Project: A Case Study in Fraud and Collusion to Defeat Ends of Justice”, published by his party Janata Dal(S).“We have not read the book but this itself is contemptuous,” the Bench, also comprising Justices V S Sirpurkar and A K Ganguly said.“Our judgements may be wrong and may be criticised but cannot be influenced,” it said.The Bench was hearing a bunch of petitions relating to the BMIC project including the petition filed by NICE challenging the High Court order to treat Deve Gowda’s letter as PIL.After treating the letter as PIL, the High Court on Monday referred to Lokayukta to probe allegations of corruption levelled by Deve Gowda in connection with the BMIC project.

Now, tiger outwits wildlife team

Wednesday, February 04, 2009Now, tiger outwits wildlife team3 Feb 2009, 2051 hrs IST, TNNLUCKNOW: The clever tiger has managed to hoodwink even the expert team from the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). So much so that the WTI team which was assisting the operation at Faizabad has been called back only to be replaced with a much-experienced cadre from the agency.In fact, there might be an even more experienced team coming in if this one fails too. “It is a difficult operation to trap the tiger but we are not willing to allow ourselves more time now since this is a clever tiger,” said Ashok Kumar, vice-president, WTI.The biggest impediment in the operation is tracking the tiger and the major technical difficulty is the continuous human interference in the area. Even the officials from the spot shared that cordoning off the forest area was not possible.The tiger has currently been located at Kumarganj tehsil of Faizabad. It is hiding in the forest near Kamakhya temple along the banks of Gomti. The efforts are still directed towards trapping the tiger alive but the final call will be of the department.Shooting down the tiger is not easy for the forest department after the high court intervened in the matter. The PIL was filed by three NGOs of Lakhimpur Kheri requesting the court to save the tiger after the department trained its guns at the feline branding it a man-eater.“To shoot it down, the department will have to specifically show that it is a man-eater,” said the counsel Anurag Narain. The tiger has killed three men in its two-month stay in the state. The hearing into the PIL will come up again on Wednesday.It was mentioned in the PIL that the encroachment on the forest land is huge and that massive afforestation has to be carried out to make the forests suitable for wildlife.
Posted by TigerAngel at 7:10

AMPF scam: CBI files fresh report

5 Feb 2009, 0411 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNNNEW DELHI: The CBI on Wednesday submitted a fresh status report to the Supreme Court detailing the prima facie evidence it has gathered to indicate the key role played by a few among the 35 judicial officers and High Court judges in the Rs 23 crore Ghaziabad PF scam.The report, submitted in a sealed cover by solicitor general G E Vahanvati to a three-judge Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat, comes soon after the CBI’s first status report which detailed the manner in which the PF money of class III and IV employees of the Ghaziabad judiciary was siphoned off and splurged by judicial officers.Tasked with the onerous job of investigating 35 judicial officers and judges in the higher judiciary, including one in the apex court, CBI has been proceeding systematically, yet cautiously, so as not to hook any judge who was not a willing participant in the scam.In its last report, it had mentioned that it had questioned the SC judge after obtaining permission from the Chief Justice of India. The CBI feels that though the SC judge denied any wrongdoing, the `folly’ could be categorised as “an indiscretion” without criminal intent.The status report submitted to the court on Wednesday said several HC judges and judicial officers were probed. The agency also detailed the manner in which it had proceeded with the investigation so far.In the first status report, the CBI had found details of how the hard-earned provident fund money of class III and IV employees of Ghaziabad courts was siphoned off and spent on furniture, crockery, mobiles, electronic gadgets and appliances, laptops, rail tickets and taxi fares for judges.District judges heading the Ghaziabad judiciary during the scam period had made it a `way of life’ to pilfer money from the PF accounts to fund their extravagant needs and even for photography and video-recording of their family functions.

SC rejects Praful plea in UTI scam

5 Feb 2009, 0215 hrs IST, TNNNEW DELHI: Civil aviation minister Praful Patel faces possible CBI probe as SC on Wednesday dismissed his plea for a clean chit in the Rs 50 crore loan irregularity related to the 1993-95 UTI scam.A Bench comprising Justices R V Raveendran and Markandey Katju said all those who are in public life must come clean, even if the allegations according to them were baseless.Appearing for Patel, senior advocate Ashok Desai said a PIL had sought probe against Patel just because he was a public figure, despite it being clear that he was not on the board of directors of the firm Autorider when the loan irregularities happened in 2004. He said the minister had resigned from the board in 1999. But, Justice Katju said, “If he is honest then why is he afraid of a probe? In matters of corruption, locus standi of PIL petitioners is immaterial. And if he has done something before becoming minister, it should be investigated.”The Bench dismissed Patel’s petition, on which it had in September 2006 granted stay on the Bombay HC and a trial court order allowing CBI to probe the case on the basis of the PIL filed by M Furuquan, who had challenged deletion of the minister’s name from the list of accused.The scam involves a loan of Rs 50 crore from UTI to Autorider Finance Pvt Ltd. Patel was the chairman of the company at the time, but had resigned before UTI filed the complaint alleging that the money was used by the directors.

CJI suggests separate jails for terrorists

Thursday,5 February 2009 14:11 hrs IST New Delhi: Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan Thursday suggested that there should be separate jails for terrorists with additional security. Justice Balakrishnan made this suggestion while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) for jail reforms, in view of the increasing incidents of jail-breaks by terrorists and gangsters involved in heinous crimes.The petition also prayed to the Court to implement the recommendation of jail reform to improve the living conditions in jails and also to provide vocational training to prisoners in order to improve their lot, besides bringing them in mainstream of society.The apex court later adjourned the hearing telling counsel for petitioner D.K. Garg to make suitable amendment in the petition

In a first, SC judge grilled in graft case
Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan TimesEmail AuthorNew Delhi, February 05, 2009For the first time, a sitting Supreme Court judge has been questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the multi-crore Ghaziabad provident fund scam. The agency has also examined four high court judges alleged to have benefited from the scandal.The CBI questioned Justice Tarun Chatterjee recently after it got permission from the Chief Justice of India (CJI) KG Balakrishnan to put its queries to the Supreme Court judge in January.No case has been registered against him and the questioning was on the basis of a confessional statement by the prime accused in the case, said a CBI official, not willing to be named.Justice Chatterjee could not be reached for his comments. Staff at his Delhi residence said the judge had gone to Kolkata. His family members in Kolkata said: “He would not speak on this matter.”Sources close to Justice Chatterjee said: “There is no irregularity on his part. If he had ordered anything to be purchased from the Ghaziabad treasury, he paid for all the purchases and he has documentary evidence to prove this.” The CBI has also grilled Justices Sushil Harkoli, Tarun Aggarwal and R.N. Mishra of the Allahabad High Court and justice J.C.S. Rawat of the Uttarakhand High Court. The CJI has already cleared the transfer of these four judges, and a final decision from the government is expected soon. The CBI, in its confidential status report filed in the Supreme Court, is understood to have stressed on “solid positive evidence” against the judges allegedly named in the scam.The case came to light in June last year with the confessional statement of Ashutosh Asthana, the chief administrative officer of Ghaziabad district court.

Dogs having a field day at SC!

04 February, 2009New Delhi, February 3 2009From stray dogs to pedigree varieties that sashay at dog shows, the canine family seems to be having a field day of late, that too at the Supreme Court.Within days of an NGO obtaining an SC stay on the Mumbai civic body chasing and killing stray dogs that are a nuisance, a dog farm today approached the apex court and obtained permission for fielding its dogs at the prestigious shows conducted by the Kennel Club of India.A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan today allowed the petitioners, KS Nagaraj Shetty and N Kaplana Shetty of Karnataka, to exhibit their dogs till February 16 at the dog shows of Kennel Club.One R Gopinath, claiming to be a dog lover who attends the club’s dog shows, had secured an interim injunction from a Chennai court against the petitioners, expressing the fear that the appellants’ dogs might cause “irreparable injury”.The Shettys, owners of Agrani Kennels, obtained a stay from the Madras High Court, which however vacated it later. The Shettys then came to the apex court.When senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi made a mention about the petition, the CJI, perhaps with the street dogs case fresh in his mind, made a remark: “I thought, we deal with law here,” prompting the courtroom to burst into laughter.According to the petition, the dogs of Agrani Kennels have won the “Dog of the Year” award for three consecutive years, from 2004-2007.Source:- Posted by Deepak Miglani at 23:38

Why didn’t any Satyam staff resign in anger or shame?

Thursday, February 05, 2009I have not bothered to blog on Satyam fiasco. Corporate India is the favourite child of our media, when the favourite child misbehaves our media can celebrate that too. Corporate Ethics and Governance issues have been forever written about ever since this news broke in the last week of December. For a moment forgetting the one person being fraud, why haven’t any of the 40,000 odd employees quit in anger or disgust. How can they continue to work for a company whose faith has been destroyed beyond repair? Does the ethics of a company mean anything to the employees at all? I know it must be difficult to quit if you have post dated cheques with different agencies and if there is no immediate chances of employment, but, can people working for this company absolve themselves of the fraud? I don’t know whether there were reports on this that I have missed out on. Everyone from the state government to the new directors are asking the employees to not lose heart, but, has anyone done so and actually made a statement by quitting the firm?Would these people, 40 years from now be proud to tell their grand children that they actually worked for Satyam when this fiasco happened and continued to work despite knowing they have been cheated.Some Andhra based employees actually see in Raju’s admission a silver lining, we read that some of them held placards to greet him on Sankaranthi outside the jail where he is lodged. Their feudal loyalty is very sincere and needs to be appreciated. But, what about the rest of their employees? Tried google with ‘i am ashamed to work for Satyam’ or ‘I quit satyam’ and all you get is the quitting of Independent directors at the early stages of this fiasco. Many employees have been applying elsewhere due to the insecurity they feel in this company now, that too has become difficult after rival companies denied to take them, we read. Our society consists of youth who commit suicide for failure of love affair every other day, a youth immolated himself recently in Chennai to show solidarity with the Sri Lankan tamils, we have people inflicting different forms of physical and mental pains on themselves for various causes all over the country, how come none of the 40,000+ was willing to cause the pain of joblessness than continue working for such a corporate? or are they willing inflicting the pain of working there as living out their shame? Doesn’t our sense of being wronged against any longer evince any action from us? Do we as a society accept fraud so much that even when it is committed in our name, we do not want to stand up and say we will not accept it? I am sure Satyam employees are wonderful human beings with high ethical and moral lives, but, the fact that 40,000 of them can subsume it for the sake of continued monetary security / gains does show our society in a very poor light.

Bombay HC quashes A N Roy’s appointment as Maharashtra DGP

5 Feb 2009, 1202 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNNMUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday upheld the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal, which had last October quashed the appointment of IPS officer A N Roy as Maharashtra’s director general of police.The high court held that the Supreme Court’s judgment in Prakash Singh’s case, which laid down the guidelines for such appointments, had been violated.The court said that the state had not applied its mind and given no cogent reasons for Roy’s appointment last February.S Chakravarty, a DGP-rank officer in the state, had challenged Roy’s appointment on the grounds that the state had violated Supreme Court guidelines on selecting the DGP for the state from among the three seniormost officers, in which Roy’s name did not figure.The high court, on the state’s request, has stayed its judgment for two weeks to enable an appeal in the Supreme Court.

Spell out stand on mangroves in two weeks, HC tells state

5 Feb 2009, 0059 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNNMUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the state government to spell out its stand on the issue of notifying around 25,000 hectares of mangrove land on Maharashtra’s coastline as “forests”. A division bench of Justices J N Patel and Rajendra Savant directed the additional chief secretary (forests) and secretary (environment) to file an affidavit in the matter within two weeks.The court was hearing a PIL filed by the NGO Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG), seeking the conservation of mangrove plots in the state. The court in October 2005 had ordered the state to ban dumping in mangrove plots and cutting of mangrove trees.According to the court’s directions, the state conducted a satellite mapping of the coastline to identify mangrove land. Around 5,557 hectares of mangrove plots in and around Mumbai was notified as “protected forests”. At present, the court is hearing the issue of 550 hectares of mangrove land in the city, that the government and various public agencies have sought for development works.During the hearing, advocate Gautam Patel, counsel for BEAG, complained that the government was yet to act on notifying mangrove areas in the rest of Maharashtra. Those constitute a substantial chunk–around 25,000 hectares. Assistant government pleader Niranjan Pandit told the court that the state had to first identify mangrove plots which are owned by the government and those that are private property. The court, however, sought a time frame for completing the exercise.In a related development, the court issued notice to the Konkan divisional commissioner after BEAG counsel drew the attention about the alleged destruction of mangroves on a 50-acre plot in Malvani. The advocate said the mangroves were destroyed on November 27, 2008, when the authorities were battling terrorists in the city.The court also issued a notice to the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) on an application by the NGO. BEAG claimed that mangroves were being destroyed near Jesal Park, RNP Park and other areas in Bhayander (East). The MBMC too was dumping garbage in mangrove rich areas, they added.

Former I-T commissioner acquitted in graft case

5 Feb 2009, 0203 hrs IST, TNNMUMBAI: A special court has acquitted former income tax commissioner Ashok Purwar in a sensational corruption case for lack of sufficient evidence against him. Purwar was charged with taking money from a government contractor in 2001 to pass an order in his favour.According to the CBI, the complainant Kripashankar Chaturvedi’s chartered accountant, Pradeep Banka, demanded money on Purwar’s behalf in 2001 to get favourable orders passed. The initial demand was alleged to be Rs 20 lakh but after negotiations it was reduced to Rs 8,50,000.The chargesheet against Purwar said that he called Chaturvedi and said that Banka had given him only Rs 6,50,000 and if the remaining amount was not coughed up he would “spoil his case”.Chaturvedi complained to the CBI that he went to Purwar’s office at Piramal Chambers with Rs 50,000 on June 22, 2001. Purwar was then allegedly caught in a trap laid by CBI while accepting the bribe amount.At that time the CBI said that Purwar had even tried throwing the graft money out of the window to escape arrest when the raid took place.Purwar was booked under Prevention of Corruption Act and the prosecution examined several witnesses, including the complainant, Chaturvedi, to build up its case. However, Purwar maintained in court that he was innocent and had not taken any bribe from him.The telephonic conversation between Purwar and Chaturvedi where the alleged dealing for bribe took place had also been produced as evidence by the CBI. When the trial before special judge Vijay Sikchi was to begin, Purwar had moved the Bombay high court against the admissibility of telephonic conversation as evidence.

Junking taxis: HC reserves judgment

5 Feb 2009, 0208 hrs IST, TNNMUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Wednesday reserved its judgment on a petition challenging a government notification to phase out taxis that were more than 25 years old.A division bench of the high court asked the government to submit letters from car manufacturers on the issue of warranty of CNG-fitted vehicles by February 9.Taxi unions say the government order is a violation of their fundamental right to livelihood under the Constitution.

Lavasa case: HC tells govt to reply
5 Feb 2009, 0302 hrs IST, TNNMUMBAI: The Bombay high court has asked the state government to respond to allegations that the Lavasa Corporation was allotted 10,000 acres by the Krishna Valley Development Corporation instead of being routed through the Maharashtra Water Conservation Corporation.The court has asked the government to file an affidavit in two weeks. The court is hearing a petition alleging irregularities.

Why pick only on rickshaws? HC asks MCD

5 Feb 2009, 0225 hrs IST, TNNNEW DELHI: No restriction on number of cars plying on Delhi roads but strict regulation of rickshaws? The Delhi High Court on Wednesday frowned upon this policy of the government, pointing out it is the private car/SUV which cause pollution not the rickshaw often the sole means of survival for poor migrants.“Why shouldn’t cars be regulated too?” a division bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Sanjeev Khanna demanded to know while hearing a PIL filed on behalf of rickshaw-pullers challenging MCD’s decision to ban rickshaws in parts of the city.HC slammed MCD for adopting such a policy where rickshaws are restricted but private vehicles aren’t. “We find the guidelines are unrealistic. Why are you so enthusiastic in banning cycle rickshaws? Why don’t you issue guidelines limiting the number of cars a person can have in the city?” HC wondered on a PIL filed by `Manushi’, an NGO. The NGO submitted that the ban has taken away the livelihood of poor people. The PIL also alleged banning rickshaws gave greater discretionary powers to the traffic police to extort money in the name of issuing licences.While hearing the NGO, HC noted, “It seems the total number of cars in Delhi is more than the combined number of cars in three metros Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.”It court added that in view of the rising pollution level in the world, several countries are encouraging bicycles and rickshaws as a mode of transport as they are pollution-free.The NGO submitted that the guidelines issued by MCD were violative of Fundamental Rights under Article 14 (Right to livelihood) of the rickshaw pullers in the city. Alleging that government policy was unconstitutional and arbitrary, it said a ceiling of 99,000 licences compels most of the six lakh rickshaw-pullers to ply illegally and makes them vulnerable to exploitation.Taking serious view of such a policy, HC has decided to hear the PIL at length and has posted the matter for February 19.

Court seeks response on Saquib exam plea

5 Feb 2009, 0224 hrs IST, TNNNEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the city police to explore the possibility if a suspected terrorist allegedly involved in the latest Delhi serial blasts could be allowed to write his examination paper from jail premises itself.Justice Reva Khetrapal sought the opinion of cops while hearing a plea of Saquib Nisar, who claims to be a second year MBA student of the Sikkim Manipal University, requesting that he should be granted interim bail to appear in the examination to be held this month.The Court asked the police to file its response on Thursday when the matter will be taken up for further hearing. Saquib Nisar, who has been in custody since he was arrested on September 20, 2008, pleaded in his petition filed last week that he should be granted bail to appear in MBA third semester examination which is to begin from February 7 in Delhi.“The gravity of the allegations cannot and should not bar the right of any accused to pursue his studies,” Saquib’s counsel pleaded before the Court, saying his client had a fundamental right to higher education and achieve his dream of attaining an MBA degree.Earlier HC had issued notice to city police on Saquib’s plea on January 30. The police have already filed chargesheet against Saquib Nissar and other accused – Mohd Saif, Zeeshan Ahmed, Zia-ur Rehman and Mohd Shakeel in the September 13 serial blasts. They have been accused of waging war against the nation under the Indian Penal Code.According to the police, all the accused who have been named in the chargesheet were also involved in the serial blasts in Jaipur and Ahmedabad. They had visited Ahmedabad before the July 26 serial blasts under fake names which came to light during the investigations and was later confirmed by examining the railway tickets and reservation chart, the police said in the chargesheet.

Illegal sand mining: Cops earn Rs 1,000 per load

5 Feb 2009, 0517 hrs IST, TNNBangalore : Guess how much mamool illegal sand mining fetches the police? Rs 1,000 per load! This is how the inferior quality sand is mined and transported without any hitch. This was admitted to the Lok Ayukta by the people who were arrested for illegal sand mining on Wednesday. After raiding houses of the corrupt, the Lok Ayukta has now cracked the whip on illegal sand mining. The Lok Ayukta police raided eight places in revenue lands near Devanahalli on Nandi Hills Road.As many as 50 officers who had formed seven teams raided Cikkagollahalli, Gollahalli, Karehalli, Mayasandra, Miskanahalli, Thailagiri, Byadarahalli and Goodrich and found sand mining in about 5-6 sq km of the area. The police have seized 18 loaded sand lorries, five tractors, five earth movers, 34 hi-power motor pumps and arrested a tractor owner, lorry owner and a driver.According to Lok Ayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde, illegal sand mining is rampant in places like Haveri, Talakad and Maddur. “These lands were given by the government to the farmers who in turn have leased it out to sand mining which is illegal. The sand is also of inferior quality. Since the demand for sand is higher now, the low quality sand from these areas priced at Rs 5,000 per load is being transported,” Hegde explained.He cited last year’s instance where two boys died in the pits created for sand mining. After the sand filtering, the land becomes muddy and becomes a virtual quicksand __ the two boys slipped into the pits and died.Shockingly, the arrested have admitted to the Lok Ayukta that the police get Rs 1,000 per load and Rs 1,000 is given to the land owner. They end up selling the sand Rs 5,000 per load.“Mining was going on in 5-6 sq km and it is not possible that the departments concerned like police, mining and geology, revenue department and Bescom do not know about it. We are interrogating the officers and if we find evidence of dereliction of duty, we will take action against them,” Hegde said.The city requires about 500 to 600 loads of sand per day. Hegde has also written to the mines and geology department secretary a year ago to legalize certain eco-friendly places for sand mining to curb the illegal mining.Hegde said: “Not much has been done in this regard. In places like Talakad where we raided, the mining is shut for a few days but starts after 10 days.”

Court comes down heavily on Gowda & family

5 Feb 2009, 0514 hrs IST, TNNBangalore : With the Supreme Court making strong observations against former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda on Wednesday in regard to the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project, it seems it’s time for Gowda and his family to keep off this subject forever.Agitated over the fact that he’d sent a letter and book on BMIC to Karnataka High Court judges, the SC observed that Gowda was free to write any number of letters, books and could also hold seminars on BMIC, but should not question the court’s integrity on the issue.The rap from SC follows a stricture passed by the Karnataka HC a couple of days ago in regard to BMIC. Ever since the state government started taking head-on the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE), promoters of BMIC, Gowda and family have been rapped on five occasions by Karnataka HC and Supreme Court on this issue. It was either former CM H D Kumaraswamy or the JD(S) partnered coalition governments which were at the receiving end.

SC lets govt proceed with BMIC

5 Feb 2009, 0506 hrs IST, TNNNew Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday was at a loss to understand the element of public interest involved in the letters based on a book published by JD(S). When in power, the JD(S)-led coalition government had tried its best to stall the BMIC project even after its clearance by the apex court.Now, the HC has posted hearing on JD(S) chief Deve Gowda’s letter to Monday while allowing the government to carry on with the project. The court posted other related matters for the second week of April.The court also refused to issue notice on petition filed by writer U R Ananthamurthy, who alleged a fraud in land allotment to NICE much in excess of its need. “This was to help the private party to commercially exploit the land and gain massive profit,” he had alleged.Soon after coming to power, the BJP government distanced itself from the controversy. Appearing for the state, solicitor-general G E Vahanvati informed the Bench that the government was all for implementation of the project.

PRP moves HC for common symbol

5 Feb 2009, 0314 hrs IST, TNNHYDERABAD: The Prajarajyam Party filed a petition in the A P High Court on Wednesday seeking a direction to the Election Commission of India to allot Rail Engine as party’s common symbol for the purpose of contesting in the ensuing general elections in the state.Allu Aravind, the party’s general secretary filed this petition finding fault with the decision of the commission which rejected its plea to allot a common symbol earlier. He cited the example of TRS political party which was given a common symbol by the elction commission in 2004 and sought a similar treatment for PRP also.In a country where majority of the voters are either illiterate or semi-literate, the essentiality of a common symbol to all the candidates of a political party irrespective of whether it is recognised or registered, is indispensable, Aravind said in his petition.In fact the number of members who joined our party within a short span of time ever since its launch is more than 50 lakh and the cream of leadership from various political parties too have joined us and this is definitely more than the 6 per cent votes required for allotting a common symbol, he said. Maintaining that there is no rationale in the stand taken by the EC, the PRP general secretary wanted the court to declare the rejection order of EC as illegal because it is vitiated by patent errors of law and jurisdiction.

Petition filed by student to reopen colleges

4 Feb 2009, 2352 hrs IST, TNNCHENNAI: A law student has moved the Madras high court for a direction to the state government to immediately reopen all colleges and educational institutions which were ordered to be indefinitely closed since January 31.The petition, filed by advocates S Duraisamy and V Elangovan on behalf of K A Prabakaran, a fourth-year degree student at the Government Dr Ambedkar Law College here, said the government issued a notification on January 31, stating that it had been decided to close all colleges for an indefinite period due to “student unrest” on campuses.Pointing out that the authorities had not given any details about the unrest, the student said that instead of initiating measures to tackle campus problems, if any, the authorities chose to close down institutions.Law colleges in the state had been reopened after Pongal vacation, he said, adding that portions were yet to be completed in many colleges. “As hostels too have been closed, students who had just come after the vacation was finding it difficult to travel back again to their hometowns,” he said.The petitioner also contended that when authorities of educational institutions had not lodged any complaint about student unrest, the government should not have decided to close down all colleges. Pointing out that no untoward incident had occurred in the state warranting closure of colleges, Prabakaran said the decision had put the student community to hardship.

Muslim Coop Bank gets stay from HC

5 Feb 2009, 0321 hrs IST, TNNPUNE: The appointment of an administrator on city-based Muslim co-operative bank (MCB) by the state co-operation commissionerate would bring no change in the bank’s day-to-day functioning, as the board of directors of the MCB have already received a stay order on the appointment from the Bombay High court.State co-operation commissioner Krishna Lavekar said, “The board of directors have already secured a stay order hence for one month they will be at the helm of affairs. The board has one month to appeal against the decision.”When asked if the administrator was appointed following any financial irregularities, Lavekar maintained that the decision was merely based on technical grounds.The state co-operation commissioner had appointed an administrator on the MCB on February 2 because the bond submitted by the board accepting responsibility for every decision taken by it was not as per provisions in the law. The commissionerate has asked every member of the board to submit the bond individually instead of the collective bond submitted by them.P A Inamdar, director and former chairman of the bank said, “The appointment of the administrator is on technical grounds. The MCB had got the stay order in December anticipating the decision of the co-operation department may go against them. The stay-order will be effective for one month.”Inamdar wondered why a collective bond was not acceptable when the decisions are taken collectively by the board. He further said, “We will appeal first to the state co-operation minister Harshvardhan Patil and if required approach the Bombay high court to challenge the order to submit the bond individually.”The bank has 20 branches in the state with deposits of Rs 300 crore and 25,000 members.

HC orders sealing of records before JRCS

5 Feb 2009, 0338 hrs IST, TNNCHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana High Court, entertaining a writ petition filed by Private Teachers Cooperative Group Housing Society, Chandigarh, on Wednesday directed sealing of records of appeals filed by its 5 defaulter members, pending before joint registrar, cooperative societies, UT, Chandigarh, to be produced in the court on the next date of hearing.After hearing the counsel for petitioner-society, justice Ajai Lamba directed Anupam Gupta, senior standing counsel, Chandigarh Administration, to seal records of pending appeals before the JRCS and produce them in the court on the next date.The HC also directed maintenance of status quo regarding possession of flats, while issuing notice of motion for March 6. The petitioner, having 28 members, had challenged an ex-parte stay order on the expulsion of its five defaulter members, Ranju Singh and others, granted by JRCS, Chandigarh.The grievance of the petitioner before the high court was that stay orders dated December 10, 2008 by JRCS was granted during the pendency of appeals of the five defaulters before him. Further, the JRCS had first passed ex-parte stay orders on December 10, 2008 even while the appeals were to come up before him on December 16, 2008.But the shocking and surprising aspect of the matter was that there was no order of stay in the appeal files of JRCS, nor any application for grant of stay was furnished to the society till date, nor any proceedings had been drawn for grant of stay. Thereafter, when the society appeared before him on December 16, 2008 and learnt about the stay, it moved an application for vacation of stay, which was simply adjourned by him, without adjudicating the same.The petitioner contended that the JRCS, being appellate authority, had no power to grant stay to thedefaulter members, in proceedings whose details were not even known to the society and thus denyingthe opportunity of hearing to the society.The society on its part had duly followed all rules and had issued a number of notices to the defaulter members to pay dues, including a giving a final opportunity, by which time also the payment was not made.

HC directs varsity, board to show evaluated answer scripts

Kolkata, Feb 5 (PTI) In a significant decision, the Calcutta High Court today directed that all examinees, including those of the CBSE and the Calcutta University, be allowed access to their evaluated answer sheets.A division bench comprising Chief Justice S S Nijjar and Justice Dipankar Dutta dismissed an appeal by the University and four other writ petitions that pleaded against showing evaluated answer scripts, citing several constraints.The bench upheld Justice Sanjib Banerjee’s order of March 2008 that an examinee was entitled to see his evaluated answer sheet under Article 19 of Constitution that guarantees Right to Expression and the Right to Information Act.Justice Banerjee had observed that denial of inspection of answer scripts to an examinee would mean denial of their constitutional rights and the consequence of giving such information was immaterial.The Information Act also provides a right to receive information, he had observed.The division bench, while upholding the order, directed authorities of various boards to give access of their evaluated answer sheets to those students, whose applications were pending, within four weeks. PTI

HC rejects NCDEX petition on reducing charges

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed the petition filed by National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange Ltd (NCDEX) over slashing of transaction rates by the exchange. Faced with a sharp drop in turnover since July, NCDEX last month created two slabs for exchange rates — before 5 pm and after 5 pm. But Forward Market Commission (FMC) had taken exception to the new rate regime. “High Court today dismissed the NCDEX petition, so it will have to keep the new rates in abeyance. But FMC has been asked to dispose of NCDEX’s application within two weeks,” said Avinash Rana, who represented the government in the case. NCDEX had announced uniform charges of Rs 3 for every lakh of the total value of all trades in all commodities from 10 am to 5 pm and five paise in the second session from 5 pm to 11 pm. The rates in the second slab were reduced drastically, in an attempt to attract trade in the metals. But the Forward Market Commission took exception to this reduction, saying it might affect the business of two other commodity exchanges adversely. FMC last month also ordered NCDEX to keep the new structure in abeyance, following which NCDEX had moved the High Court against the market commission. – PTI

HC notice to TRAI on spectrum allocation policy

New Delhi, Feb 5 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today issued notice to telecom regulator TRAI seeking its response on a petition challenging government’s recent policy on spectrum allocation, including the first-come-first-serve norm.A Bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Sanjeev Khanna expressed objections over the recent allocation of spectrum to non-telecom companies.“We have read that the companies (non-telecom) were sold for thousands of crores after they were allocated spectrum by the government,” the court said.The court made the observation while hearing two PILs challenging the policy followed by the government for allocating spectrum in 1996, including the recent first-come-first-serve policy. PTI

Bombay HC orders removal of Maharashtra DGP

Thursday, 05 February , 2009, 13:42Last Updated: Thursday, 05 February , 2009, 14:03 Mumbai: In a major embarrassment for the state government, the Bombay High Court on Thursday ordered the removal of Maharashtra Director General of Police (DGP) A N Roy and said that a police chief must be appointed within four weeks. A division bench consisting of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice A S Bobde also came down heavily on the government over Roy’s appointment. The judges observed that there should be “objectivity and transparency’ to the appointments in such important posts and ordered Roy’s removal. Mumbai Police file case against terror ‘witness’ The high court order came almost four months after the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had nullified Roy’s appointment following a complaint that he had superseded three other officers for the post. Roy’s appointment (on February 29, 200 was challenged in September 2008 by his colleague S Chakraborthy, the DGP-Home Guards & Civil Defence. The CAT ruling by Jog Singh and Sudhakar Mishra had directed the state government to appoint a new DGP within a month’s time. The order was challenged by the state government in the Bombay High Court, which upheld the CAT order.

Police not forwarding Accident information reports : HC

Madurai, Feb 3 : Madurai bench of Madras High Court today said the police is not forwarding the Accident Information Reports (AIR) to the accident tribunals within the stipulated 30 days period.Disposing a writ petition filed by a motor accident victim from Tiruchirapalli, lawyers M Vallinayagam and S Srinivasaraghavan, who were appointed by Justice K Venkataraman, as amici curiae to assist him, said “the Judicial Magistrate court receives the documents only after the charge sheet is laid in the criminal case against the vehicle driver.” Justice Venkataraman directed the Tiruchirapalli police commissioner to be present in the court on February nine.Police officials were obligated to furnish AIR copies to the injured, legal heirs (if the victim died), insurance company, motor vehicles accident claim tribunal, President of the legal services authority and to the vehicle owner.Motor Vehicles Act Sec 158(6) and 160 of 1989, and rule 150 of the Central Motor Vehicles rules and rule 4A of the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles Accident Claims Tribunal rules mandated police officers to make available the AIR containing particulars of victims, legal heirs, injuries and other details.Even the Supreme Court had directed to strictly comply with the legal provisions regarding submission of AIR, which would help to restrict false insurance claims.Appropriate directions to the authorities for strict adherence of the statutory mandate would enable the victims of road accidents as well as legal heirs to seek justice.The case had been posted to February nine for futher hearing. – Agencies Feb 04, 2009

HC summons senior official on PIL over children homes issue

Published on February 5, 2009 by admin News4u-News Desk,New Delhi, Expressing anguish over the city government’s failure to take proper care of children who stay in children’s homes run by it in the capital, the Delhi High Court today summoned the Women and Child Development Secretary.Asking the Secretary for an explanation, a Division Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Sanjiv Khanna also directed the Director of Nirmal Chhaya, the children’s home run by government to be personally present in court.Coming down heavily on the NCT government counsel, the court said, “One should be ashamed of such a system and you are defending the officers”.“It is shocking. Any home in other states function in a better way than yours. Your Secretary is answerable if the children are in such a state,” the Bench noted.The Bench was hearing PIL filed by Harsh Vimani seeking direction to the government for proper management of homes meant for children.The petitioner alleged that in August 2007 four children died in different homes run by the government due to malnutrition.

Harbhajan, Mona Singh summoned by Chandigarh court

5 Feb 2009, 1455 hrs IST, Supriya Bhardwaj, TNNCHANDIGARH: A local court issued summons to Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh and television actress Mona Singh on Thursday after hearing the arguments on a petition filed for hurting religious sentiments. ( Watch )“After hearing the arguments on the petition, the magistrate issued summons of Harbhajan, Mona and authorities of channel, on which the program was aired, for April 27,” informed advocate Arvind Thakur, whohad moved the complaint along with members from the local unit of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).The complaint was filed in October 2008 under sections 298 (uttering words etc with a deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code.The entire controversy started after the duo performed on a popular Hindi flick song dressed as Ravana and Sita in the show-Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena. Besides criminal case, the civil suit seeking permanent injunction to restrain Harbhajan, Mona and Colors from showing, acting, directing any such kind of show is still pending in the city’s district courts.To finish the row the spin-bowler Harbhajan met with the complainants and had tendered apology when he was in town in connection with a cricket match with Australia in October 2008. When asked that the cricketer had already apologized for his act, Thakur replied, “Harbhajan was asked to submit a written apology in the court.But he failed to do so and that’s why we didn’t withdraw our complaint against him.”

Law students gherao vice chancellor

4 Feb 2009, 2226 hrs IST, TNNLUCKNOW: The second campus of the Lucknow University (LU) on Sitapur Road witnessed unruly behaviour by students on Wednesday. The law students who had flunked the examination gheraoed vice-chancellor (V-C) AS Brar, who visited the campus.The agitating students from LLB 3-year and 5-year courses were not satisfied with the results of the fifth semester which were declared on the day. The V-C, in order to quell the agitation, sought the attendance of the agitating students who had failed the examinations.None of the students had more than 30% attendance for the year. In the LLB exams, the examination centres were swapped. The law examinations have been hailed as a fair deal this time as swapping of centres had put a check on unscrupulous practices during the examination. “The results show that students have got the marks according to the effort that they had put in,” said the V-C.

Haryana: Headmaster charged with sexual assault

The chief secretary, government of Haryana, has granted a payment of rupees one lakh to a girl student of VIII standard, whose human rights were violated. It has been alleged that the school headmaster tried to outrage her modesty..CJ: Ashok Shankaram , 1 day ago THE RECOMMENDATION of payment of rupees one lakh to a girl student of VIII standard, whose human rights were violated in her school, was granted by the chief secretary, government of Haryana, and an acknowledgment of payment also was sent to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on January 19, 2009. Feeds from NHRC further revealed that the girl in question was studying in class VIII in a government middle school (co-education), Anandpur, district Rewari, Haryana, where the headmaster, Samay Singh, tried to outrage her modesty. Sube Singh, son of Surjan Singh, a resident of Anandpur, Haryana, wrote a letter to the NHRC alleging sexual abuse of his grand daughter. In the complaint, Singh also alleged that the police of Bawal had registered an FIR No 23/07 on February 14, 2007, U/s 294/506 IPC, but these section were not appropriate in this criminal case, hence no action were taken against the culprit. Promptly acting on the complaint, the commission then directed DG (investigation), NHRC, to get the matter investigated by a team of NHRC investigation division and submit a report within two weeks.The superintendent of police, Rewari, then directed deputy SP to closely monitor the investigation and also asked for a report from the Director of School Education whether any departmental action could be initiated. Following the directions, the superintendent of police, Rewari, intimated filing of charge sheet in the court U/s 354/506 IPC (assault or force a woman with the intent to outrage her modesty and criminal intimidation) on March 19, 2007. A departmental inquiry was also carried on, as prima facie, violation of human rights of the victim girl was established. While considering the case in its totality during the proceeding, the NHRC issued a show-cause notice to the chief secretary, government of Haryana, as to why the interim relief be not paid to the victim girl for violation of her human rights. Apathetic approach of machinery meant to serve the people was reflected in the reply by the authorities to the commission stating that as Samay Singh is facing trial in the court for allegedly committing criminal offence and therefore, an award of interim relief before the completion of the trail might create awkward situation. Authorities prayed for adjournment sine-die. Feeds from NHRC revealed that denial of their request resulted in a compelling situation and payment of interim relief on January 19, 2009, to the girl. Thanks to the NHRC, which has given a new ray of hope to the victims of sexual abuse.

CEC Gopalaswamy And Allegation Against Navin Chawla

Wednesday, February 4, 2009From the allegation of Gopalaswamy against Navin Chawla, one could assume whatever, but one fact would remain in head of people and that is that Gopalaswamy questioned the integrity of would be Chief Election Commissioner. Gopalaswamy as a person has always commanded a great respect among administrative officer for his integrity and efficiency. He has held various positions such as Union Home Secretary, Culture Secretary, Secretary General in the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). His honesty could be understood from the fact that once in the mid-1970’s he was a municipal Commissioner of Surat, at that time a Congress leader had approached him with a bribe of Rs 5,000 and he rang up chief minister to complain against his party leader and police to arrest him for an attempt to bribe.Now his allegations against his colleague Navin Chawla have dented the credibility of the Election Commission but he is not responsible for that. If something is wrong in some institution that should be pointed out at right time. Strangely enough, the Election Commission has been working efficiently and has been respected for its dynamism and its commissioners have been bestowed with great respect. Gopalaswamy has sited several instances of wrongdoing on the part of Chawla in his 90-page recommendation to the president seeking the sacking of Chawla. This includes regular leaking of election dates and showing partiality to the Congress. However, it could not be denied that these may be mere allegations or contain some truth. But, the question mark put on would be CEC has tarnished the reputation of the Election Commission at a time when the country is getting ready for Lok Sabha polls. All indications from government side show that there would not be any change in the policy of maintaining waiting EC to become CEC, and Chawla again is meant to become next CEC on April 20. This would be a mistake. With serious allegations against him, appointing Chawla would erode the impartiality of the EC. The best course of action would possibly be to appoint the other election commissioner who has a clean image and honest record. Analysts are of the opinion that these kind shifting and maneuvering could be used only for short span and should be avoided as much it is possible.Possible SolutionVoices have come for the reformation of Election Commission. One report says that the Administrative Reforms Commission, headed by Congress leader Veerappa Moily, has suggested that the CEC and his colleagues be selected by a collegium. The collegium would comprise five members, including the leader of the opposition. Currently, the president appoints the CEC on the advice of the council of ministers giving scope for appointing persons who are biased towards the ruling party, and here is a major drawback in appointment system of ECs. But in statutory bodies, such as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), the appointment of chairpersons and members are made by broad-based committees. Using a system where a bipartisan body selects the election commissioners, it would reduce the chances of a politically-biased appointment.Also, if the selection criterion is widened up and people from law and academics are asked to become Election Commissioner then a large of choices would be available for appointment. In fact, appointment of lawyers and academicians would have a huge benefit in terms of knowledge and technical know-how. These people are suitable for these kinds of jobs. The Administrative Reforms Committee (ARC), however, said: “A collegium headed by the PM with Speaker of Lok Sabha, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Law Minister and Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha as members should make recommendations for the consideration of the President for appointment of the CEC and Election Commissioners. In its concluding remarks the ARC headed by Veerappa Moily said that given the far reaching importance and critical role of the EC in the working of our democracy, it would certainly be appropriate if a similar collegium is constituted for selection of the CEC and the Election Commissioners. Posted by lawyerjourno at 4:26

AMHC to hear PIL opposing NGEs’ strike tomorrow

5 Feb 2009, 0440 hrs IST, TNNPATNA: The PIL of Jan Chowkidar challenging the ongoing strike of non-gazetted employees in Bihar would be taken up for hearing by the Patna High Court on Friday. The PIL is being heard by the division bench of Acting Chief Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad and Shyam Kishore Sharma.Earlier, appearing on behalf of the state government, advocate general P K Shahi informed the court that the state government had already announced implementation of recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission for its employees and had also set up a pay committee to address anomalies.Petitioner’s counsel Arvind Kumar pleaded against the strike. The court, however, refused to issue any directive to the striking employees and just observed that if they call off the strike on their own people of the state would be happy.The unions of striking employees was represented by senior advocates Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Vinod Kumar Kanth. They asked the court to give some time as the notices to their clients were served on Tuesday only

HC orders FIR against RPF men
4 Feb 2009, 2007 hrs IST, TNNALLAHABAD: A division bench of the high court on Wednesday directed for the registration of an FIR against inspector-incharge and a constable of Railway Protection Police (RPF), city station, Rambagh, who had allegedly beaten up high court lawyers on Tuesday.The bench comprising Chief Justice HL Gokhale and Justice Dilip Gupta passed the order on a PIL filed by Digvijai Tiwari, an advocate of the high court, who was allegedly handcuffed by the RPF personnel at the Rambagh station on Tuesday.The court after hearing the petitioner’s counsel, CL Pandey, directed for the medical examination of lawyers, who were injured by the RPF personnel. The bench also directed for the production of the medical examination report in the court on February 6 next.Digvijai had filed a PIL seeking immediate lodging of an FIR against RPF inspector MK Singh and constable PS Maurya, who allegedly handcuffed him.The allegation against the RPF men were that they had handcuffed a high court lawyer when the latter went to protect his client, who had been detained at the station by the RPF. When other lawyers came to rescue Digvijai, they too were allegedly beaten up at the station.

Two-year-old girl raped in Mumbai’s suburb

Press Trust of India Wednesday, February 04, 2009, (Mumbai)A two-year-old girl was raped and later dumped in a gutter in a north-west suburb here, police said on Wednesday.The incident took place on Monday night.The girl along with her family members was sleeping on a pavement near the suburban Vile Parle railway station when she was taken away by some unknown person, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone IX) Niket Kaushik said adding, late in the night the kid’s mother noticed that she was missing.A few hours later, the girl was spotted in a gutter near the highway and after being rescued by the fire-brigade was taken to a local hospital, Kaushik said.The girl’s parents were then called to the hospital, he said.“On medical examination it was learnt that the child had been raped,” the DCP said, adding further investigations were on in the case.

Techies denied permission to hold rally protesting pub attacks

Published: Wed, 04 Feb 2009 at 20:37 IST New Delhi, Feb 4 : In what could create a fresh controversy, a group of young IT professionals in Karnataka, who wanted to hold a rally protesting the Mangalore pub attacks, has been refused permission by authorities prompting them to take up the matter with the Women and Child Development Ministry (WCD).The software professionals wanted to hold a rally on February 7, highly-placed sources in the ministry told PTI.After they were denied permission, they approached the WCD Ministry, which has taken note of the matter and asked them to file a written complaint with the central as well as the state Governments, the sources said.Separate probes by the Union government and the National Commission for Women (NCW) into the Mangalore pub case, in which girls were assaulted, have yielded contradictory findings over the security provided at the premises.Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has struck to his stand ruling out a ban on the Shri Ram Sene whose activists were behind the attack that sparked a national outrage.Giving a clean chit to the pub owners, an independent team of WCD Ministry in its report submitted to the government said it was only Shri Ram Sene which was responsible for the “heinous” incident.An NCW team led by one of its members Nirmala Venkatesh had earlier blamed the pub owners for not ensuring enough security for girls that resulted in the attack.

“Let us remain within the Constitution”

New Delhi: Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee joined the debate on the Election Commission on Wednesday, virtually criticising Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami’s recommendation to remove Election Commissioner Navin Chawla.“Every institution today is trying to sort of either create problems for itself or denigrate itself. Instead of doing our respective work, we are trying to find out how to score points over each other,” he told reporters. Mr. Chatterjee said he had been of the view always that there was a ‘Laxman Rekha’ (delineating line) for every institution. “Let us remain within that as the Constitution provides. Let us all try to do our work honestly and sincerely. Let us get rid of corruption first. These are issues to be tackled, not fight among ourselves,” he said. Did he disapprove of Mr. Gopalaswami’s action? Such things cannot be sorted out through the media, he said — PTI

Special teams to be formed to eradicate child labour

Staff Reporter Tirupur: The National Child Labour Project (NCLP) will constitute special teams in each of the 21 village panchayats under Tirupur block and in (Tirupur) Corporation to eradicate child labour in the region before 2010 end, according to D. Vijayakumar, project director, NCLP.He told this to The Hindu after conducting a child labour monitoring system organised by NCLP here recently. Mr Vijayakumar said that the special teams would comprise representatives of NCLP, Continuing Education Programme and self-help groups, government officials, presidents of respective village panchayats. The teams would carry out door-to-door campaign to enthuse the non-school going and drop out children to enroll themselves in mainstream education.Mr. Vijayakumar said that steps were being taken to rehabilitate the 600 child workers enumerated recently.

Court makes injunction absolute in hockey association case

Special Correspondent Justice P.R. Shivakumar passes the order on TNHA pleas CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has made absolute till disposal of the suit, an injunction restraining A. Chelladurai Abdulla from interfering in the affairs of the Tamil Nadu Hockey Association (TNHA). The court also made another interim injunction that restrained Mr. Abdulla from holding the improperly convened meeting of the dubiously claimed executive committee of the association in October last year at Coimbatore and from making any claims interfering in the affairs of the TNHA to any authorities, absolute.Justice P.R. Shivakumar passed the order on applications filed by the TNHA, represented by its honorary secretary, K. Jothi Kumaran, in a civil suit against Mr. Abdulla. No material The Judge said since no order had been passed so far by the Registrar of Societies to remove the name of the applicant association from the list of registered societies, Mr. Abdulla’s contention that the TNHA (applicant association) had become defunct and hence the applications as well as the suit in the name of the association were not maintainable, could not be accepted. No material had been placed for the court’s perusal that the applicant association had become defunct. The Judge agreed with the applicant’s counsel that Mr.Abdulla should not be allowed to contend that he was the secretary of the association while at the same time taking a plea that the said association was defunct.Mr. Justice Shivakumar said that the defendant could not have any right to pose himself to be the secretary of the applicant association and claim a right to represent it before sports authorities of State and Central governments, the Indian Olympic Association and the Indian Hockey Federation.As regards the applications alleging disobedience of the ad-injunction order, the court ordered the personal appearance of Mr.Abdulla on February 19.

Social workers to be in juvenile board

Staff Reporter TIRUNELVELI: The Department of Social Defence has planned to appoint two social worker members in the Juvenile Justice Board in the district.According to Collector G. Prakash two members are to be appointed in the Board on honorarium basis from this category of whom, one should be a woman. Applicants should have been actively involved in health, education or welfare activities pertaining to children for at least seven years. The age of the applicant should not be less than 35 years and not completed 65 years. The existing social worker members are also eligible for appointment for the second term.Any person to be appointed as social worker member of the Board should possess a Bachelor’s degree of a recognised university and preference will be given to persons having a degree in any one of the branches of Social Sciences such as Criminology, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, Economics, Home Science, Education, Political Science, studies pertaining to women, Rural Development, Law or Medicine.Application forms can be downloaded from and the filled-in applications should be sent to The Commissionerate of Social Defence, 300, Purasaiwalkam High Road, Kellys, Chennai – 600 010 on or before February 25. For more information, aspirants may contact the Field Officer in the Department of Social Defence, Chennai at 044 – 26426421 Extn. – 116.

Case against actress

Staff Reporter HYDERABAD: The S.R. Nagar police on Wednesday registered a case against film actress and Telugu Desam Party leader, Kavitha, under the Prevention of Atrocities against SC/ST Act following a complaint lodged by her maids. Baby and Durga, working as domestic helps in her house, approached the police on Thursday and alleged that the actress had abused them in the name of their caste. The two women hail from West Godavari district. Cases registered under this Act are investigated by an officer of the rank of DSP in the districts or ACP in the city. Punjagutta ACP Subbarami Reddy, said it was too early to make any arrests. Statements of the two women would be recorded and evidence gathered before arresting any person.

CITU alleges violation of labour laws by Brandix

Staff Reporter VISAKHAPATNAM: The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), affiliated to Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Wednesday alleged violation of labour laws and sexual harassment of women workers at Brandix India Apparel City, Achyutapuram.CITU district vice-president Dhanalaxmi and district secretary P. Mani told reporters that they had also lodged a complaint at Achyutapuram police station listing out specific cases of sexual harassment. They said the management, which got 1,000 acres on lease at Re. 1 per year with a promise to provide 60,000 jobs in three years, had been exploiting the women workers by not giving them minimum wages and fringe benefits.Ms. Dhanalaxmi and Ms. Mani alleged that they employed only 3,500 instead of the promised 60,000 women and due to heavy work pressure, 700 workers were quitting every year. They said instead of one hour break for lunch, the workers were being forced to take just 20 minutes break and asked to work for an extra two hours if they failed to meet the hourly targets set for them without payment of overtime charges.The CITU leaders said the company, which was accorded Special Economic Zone status, was also not giving minimum wages of Rs.4,600 for skilled and Rs.3,800 per month for unskilled workers. The jobless women, who underwent training by Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation and other agencies on fashion technology were not being offered jobs. They were being asked to undergo fresh training at Pendurthy by the management on payment of a stipend of Rs.1200 a month and later taken on payrolls.

RTI Act not implemented by most civic bodies: study

Staff Reporter They are also not giving mandatory information free of cost Information disclosed by the CMCs is sketchyStaff are trained for preparing the manualsBangalore: A majority of the City Municipal Councils (CMCs) in the State have not effectively implemented the provision of the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005 dealing with mandatory disclosure of information to be made by public authorities on their own.A study conducted by the Consumer Rights Education and Awareness Trust (CREAT) found that the information disclosed by the CMCs was sketchy and did not serve the intention of the legislation.Categories Public authorities, including the CMCs, are required to disclose information, which is broadly classified into 17 categories under Section 4(1) (b) of the RTI Act, to the public through notice boards, newspapers, announcements, media broadcasts, the Internet or any other means, including inspection of their offices. The study pointed out that none of the CMCs have given proactive disclosures the seriousness they deserve. Mandatory disclosures Some of the 17 mandatory disclosures to be made by the public authorities include powers and duties of its officers and employees; procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability; norms set by it for the discharge of its functions; rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging functions; the budget allocated to each of its agencies, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditure and reports on disbursement made; particulars of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it; among others.No training The study found that none of the staff or officers are trained for preparing the manuals. Pointing out that many employees are not even aware of the RTI Act in general and the manual in particular, the study has suggested the need to educate the staff by including the RTI Act, particularly Section 4(1) (b), in their training curriculum. The CREST report also stated that the mandatory information was not made available free of cost by many CMCs as per the Act.

High Court quashes APMC notices to traders on land

Staff Reporter BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday quashed notices issued by the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees in Hassan and Chitradurga to traders saying that the plot of land allotted to them to construct shops would stand forfeited as they had not constructed them within the stipulated time.The traders had moved the court after the APMC issued notices to them saying that they had forfeited the right to the plot allotted to them on the APMC premises. The APMC noted that though the sites had been allotted several years ago, the traders had not constructed the buildings.On their part, the traders contended that they had not been heard by the APMC before the notices were issued and urged the court to stay the notices.Justice N.K. Patil quashed the notices and directed the APMC to give them an opportunity of being heard before passing orders.Jamma Malai Justice Anand Byrareddy of the High Court on Wednesday adjourned further hearing of a petition by former Minister T. John and others challenging the orders of the Deputy Commissioner of Kodagu district.The Deputy Commissioner had passed the orders cancelling the entry of names in the RTC (revenue record) after the High Court had called for a report on the alleged irregularities relating to lease of Jamma Malai lands.When the matter came up, the court was told that the Advocate-General would like to submit the State’s stance in court. The court adjourned further hearing of the petition.

Abhaya murder case: CBI submits report high court round-up

Special Correspondent Says steps taken to expedite investigation process Court refuses to accept plea against churches Says the church is not a party to the caseKochi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday submitted a report in a sealed cover before a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on the progress of the investigation into the Sister Abhaya murder case.The CBI filed the report before the bench comprising Justice K. Balakrishnan Nair and Justice K. Surendra Mohan when the case relating to the monitoring of the investigation was taken up.The counsel for the CBI submitted that the investigation was progressing and steps had been taken to expedite it. The court did not accept the plea of the counsel for Thomas, father of Sister Abhaya, for a direction to the churches to desist from making comments on the investigation. The court said the churches had not been parties to the case. The court adjourned to March 31 the case.Contempt petition Meanwhile, the Bench has initiated suo motu criminal contempt of court proceedings against M.S. Ravi, printer and publisher, M.S. Mani, Editor-in-chief, Deepu Ravi, Managing Director, and M.S. Madhusoodanan, Editor, of Kerala Kaumudi daily for publishing a front-page editorial regarding the conduct of Justice K. Hema who heard the bail application of the accused in the Sister Abhaya murder case.The editorial was published on December 18, 2008. The court, while initiating the proceedings, issued notice to all the respondents. The newspaper had been charged with making contumacious, baseless and denigrating statements against the functioning of a Single Judge and the Acting Chief Justice of the court. The editorial had interfered with the due course of justice. It was alleged that the editorial gave an impression that Justice Hema was being influenced by a retired judge of the Supreme Court to help the accused in Abhaya case and it conveyed the impression that Acting Chief Justice J.B. Koshy had rejected the CBI’s application to transfer the bail application to another bench on communal grounds.The bench had dropped a contempt of court proceedings initiated earlier against the newspaper on the ground that the full court consisting of all judges had not given their consent for initiating the proceedings. The full court, which met last week, decided to initiate the proceedings against the newspaper afresh.

Court sets deadline for tendering process

Staff Reporter New buses to phase out Bluelines from the Capital’s roads NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Delhi Government to complete within four months the tendering process for selection of transport entities for operating private buses in the Capital under the new policy for phasing out Blueline buses from the city roads.A Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice A. P. Shah and Justice Sanjiv Khanna gave the direction while hearing a two-year-old matter pertaining to accidents caused by Blueline buses in the Capital.Earlier, Delhi Government Standing Counsel Mukta Gupta submitted that the tendering process was on for awarding contracts to private transport companies to run buses on the city roads.She said as of now there were 3,800 Blueline buses, 1,400 mini buses and 3,100 DTC buses plying in the Capital.She submitted that 650 low-floor buses fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) were already in operation and 2,500 more would be added to the fleet within one year.The Bench also pulled up the Government for no let-up in accidents involving the killer Blueline buses, asking when it would take appropriate action to check it.On a direction by the Court, the Government had in 2007 submitted to it a plan to phase out the Blueline buses by June 2009 and bring in their place a new-look passenger-friendly public transport system with all the buses fitted with electronic gadgets for safe driving and tracking devices. Under the new transport policy, private buses will be operated by corporate and cooperative bodies under the integrated management of a Delhi Government company. The two entities will run buses on all existing routes that will be grouped in different clusters, and each operator will not be allotted more than one cluster.The performance of these buses will be measured on the parameters of rates and types of accidents, adherence to the speed limit measured by the location data, halts at specified stops and their time to be monitored by the location control system. Violation of any of the parameters will attract a financial penalty on the operating company and the fine will be deducted from the payments due to them.

Blow to Salwa Judum; SC says Govt can’t arm people in Naxal-hit areas

New Delhi, Feb 05: The government cannot arm common men or those associated with Salwa Judum, a people’s movement to combat Naxalism in Chhatisgarh, to curb the unlawful activities of Naxalites, the Supreme Court said on Thursday.“We do not underestimate the enormity of the problem (Naxalism). But state should not encourage the common man by arming them to fight Naxalites,” a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam observed.The Bench said that “arming common men will create a dangerous situation…unless legal powers are vested, you can’t arm people.”The Bench expressed its concern that such has been the law and order situation in the Naxal affected areas that the common people are virtually in a dilemma on how to tackle the problem facing them.“Common men are under dilemma whether to support the government or Naxalites,” the Bench observed when senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for Chhatisgarh, said that “Naxalites are running a government within the government”.The court made the observations while perusing the action taken report (ATR) filed by the Chhatisgarh government on the recommendations made by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in its report.The NHRC had probed the alleged human rights violation by Salwa Judum in Chhatisgarh and had pointed to incidents of burning and killing on which FIRs were not registered and cases of high-handedness of the Special Police Officers, civilians armed with weapons to fight Naxals.The Bench was of the view that instead of arming common men, the state governments should properly utilise the funds granted to them under schemes sponsored by the Centre for the economic upliftment of the villagers and tribals.“Huge amounts are being allocated under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). The state governments should utilise it properly to economically empower them (villagers and tribals) and to improve the infrastructure,” it said, adding that “arming common men was not a remedy to counter Naxalism”.Senior advocate T R Andhyarujina, appearing for those on whose petition the apex court had ordered an NHRC probe, said the “state is not permitted to create a private body”.Denying that common people were armed to counter outlaws in Chhatisgarh, another senior advocate Ranjit Kumar appearing for it, said “that is not happening”.He said “Salwa Judum is dying out. We are strengthening our police force”. Kumar said Salwa Judum came into existence as a means to counter the activities of Naxalites.His submission was supported by his senior colleague Venugopal who said “Salwa Judum has practically disappeared” but the activities of outlaws are alarming and continuing uninterrupted and was evident with the recent incident in Maharashtra where 15 policemen became their victims.He said the law and order situation in Naxal affected areas cannot be treated in a simple way.“The law and order situation is not normal. It is an extreme situation (in Naxal infested areas),” the senior advocate said.However, the court repeatedly reminded the Chhatisgarh government that Salwa Judum was getting its support and this fact has found mention in the NHRC report.This was refuted by Venugopal who said arms like country made weapons were procured by Salwa Judum in illegal manner like Naxalites.The Bench, however, said it was difficult to accept that logic. “It is difficult to accept your submission. Our view was that Salwa Judum was getting arms from the state government,” it said.Meanwhile, the court adjourned the matter for four weeks asking the petitioners to file their reply to the ATR placed by the Chhatisgarh government in which it elaborated on steps taken on the recommendation of the NHRC.The court asked the state government to supply the copies of the FIR annexed by it in the ATR to the petitioners.The Chhatisgarh government in its report said pursuant to the NHRC recommendation it has registered FIRs against the Special Police Officers who have been found guilty of misconduct. Schools which were used for stationing the security forces have also been vacated.Further, relief work has been undertaken in 206 villages and now around 35,000 people are in relief camps.The state government had assured the Supreme Court that further action would be taken on the recommendation of the NHRC.In an exhaustive report supported by documents, NHRC had inquired into alleged human rights violations by activists of Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh even as the Centre had approved the state government’s stand.Bureau Report

A thousand Nitharis?
So where have all the children gone? Akash Bisht, Hardnews Sunita and her husband, Gangaram, live in a one-room thatched house with their two children in the slums of Neb Sarai in south Delhi. Life used to be abjectly poor; still, it was a happy family with three children. Until one of them, 14-year-old Rajesh, went missing in June 2007. Since then, the parents have searched every possible corner of the city and knocked on every possible door that gave them any hope. Says Sunita: “Raju comes in my dreams. I see him crying, yearning to be with us. I always assure him that we will find him soon. And I wake up with horror and despair.” She works as a housemaid in the nearby kothis while Gangaram is jobless. He used to sell vegetables – the police took away his cart after the Delhi bomb blasts. Her son, who had a speaking disability, delivered water bottles at the cinema complex of PVR Saket on his rickshaw. On June 14, 2007, as usual, Rajesh went to deliver the water bottles. He never returned. “Earlier, I used to work in five houses but ever since my son went missing I work in only two. Most of my time goes in search of my son. I will find him soon, one baba told me so.” She has moved from one corner to another, police stations, NGOs, local leaders. Nothing has moved. A baba told her that Rajesh is alive. Sunita visits the baba frequently; she pays Rs 2,000 of her hard-earned savings to this fake godman. She had also served him chicken and liquor on numerous occasions to please the gods. “Baba once asked me to go to Kolkata in search of Rajesh. I searched all over, but no miracle occurred.” She says the ‘hawaldar’ at the Neb Sarai police station abused her. “He refused to lodge a complaint and threatened to put me and my husband in jail. He hit me with his lathi.” Rajesh’s is not an isolated case. Delhi is full of such tragic tales. Between December 2007 and 2008, 12,206 children went missing in Delhi. After the Nithari mass murders and rapes of children, a report by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Action Research on Trafficking has shown that in any given year, on an average 44,000 children are reported missing all over India. Of them, 11,000 children remain untraced. The NHRC report mentions that studies conducted by official agencies and NGOs prove that several girls and boys run away from home attracted by the lure of big cities. Vulnerable, they fall prey to false promises and eventually end up as sex workers or bonded labourers/domestic help at dhabas, hotels, restaurants, tea shops and the unorganised sector, many of them hazardous, badly paid, in sub-human conditions, and without any social or physical protection. “Many of these children become victims of the organised begging/pick-pocketing/drug peddling racket. Most are trafficked and trapped in a vicious circle, and further abused, physically or sexually. Many of these children come from indigent families who either do not have access to authorities or whose complaints are not treated with due diligence,” the report notes. “My son Vikas went missing in 2001. We searched for years with no help from the police. Now I have lost all hope. I don’t believe I will find him ever again,” says Kamli, also living in the Neb Sarai slums. Various NGOs claim that there is an organised trafficking network in Sangam Vihar in south Delhi and Ghaziabad in UP. Two missing children came back to their house in Sangam Vihar and informed their parents that they were forcibly kept at a house in Ghaziabad. They gave the details of the location; the police claimed that they have rescued seven more children from there. “This is not an isolated incident. Several such stories have been narrated by the children who escaped from these places but no action has been taken on their tip off. Parents of missing children have sometimes identified ‘dubious’ individuals, but nothing tangible has been done,” points out Krinna Shah, employed with Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) in Delhi, which works for children rights. “Everyone knows how the police treat the poor. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. There are many cases that are not even reported even when parents have given the names of the suspect. The police attitude is that of laxity and indifference. For them, missing children are not a priority,” says Reena Banerjee, secretary, Nav Shristi, an NGO. She says that the police are always reluctant to share information on the number and status of missing children. She filed an RTI application seeking information on missing children in 10 districts of Delhi. Only seven police stations replied while the rest kept delaying it; one of them demanded Rs 12,565 for the information. “After all, we are asking for routine information under the RTI Act – not something related to national security,” quips Banerjee. This cold blooded insensitivity is entrenched in the establishment. Activists claim that the figures on missing children are not comprehensive and numerous such cases go unreported. However, it is hoped, that a serious guideline by the Allahabad High Court might help. A historic judgement by Justice Amar Saran came after Vishnu Dayal Sharma moved the court after his son Krishna Gopal went missing on February 22, 2005. The court noted: “There are so many poor and resourceless persons who are not politically important (since they may not be a vote bank, disunited migrants as they are), they lack the wherewithal to approach the high court and have been routinely visiting police stations when their son, daughter or near and dear ones go missing. They are cruelly rebuffed by the police which are engaged in other important matters and do not want to inflate their crime record. They unfortunately lack the wealth to set the police machinery in motion in matters which was the foremost duty of the police to investigate.” The court, after hearing Sharma’s plea, sought crucial details from the UP government on the number of missing children. The UP report disclosed that from 2000 to April 2008, there were 7,659 cases. The police claimed that 5,965 children have either been found; but the fate of the rest remains in the dark. The court asked both the state and central government to work in tandem to solve the cases of missing children. After this direction, the police and judiciary have begun to act. The UP police claimed that they have pasted two sets of posters of missing children, as per the court order. One has phone numbers of an authorised body and other with contact information of the parents. How this has helped remains a conjecture. In this historic judgement, the court directed the state to set up a computerised data bank of all school-going children in the age group of 6-14 years, which could include: the digitalised photographs of the child (for which purpose a budget of Rs 12.7 crore has been earmarked for 2007-2008 and a budget of Rs 5 crore for 2008-2009); the class in which the child is studying; the name of his school; the place of schooling. This information could further be updated every year to indicate: whether the child was promoted at the end of the year; whether he/she has dropped out from the school and in the event of change of school or location; what is the new school and location. The principals or other authorities can be asked to ensure that data with respect to each child were loaded on the computer. However, there are major loopholes. Says PC Sharma, member, NHRC, and chairman of the committee that brought out the report on missing children: “There is no coordinated effort from the police as no FIR is filed and only an entry is made in the general diary which is routinely ignored. There is no central coordination agency; how many children go missing and are traced back remains a mystery. The system is yet to evolve to meet the challenges. At present, the issue remains a neglected, low-priority intervention area for everyone other than those who have lost their children.” He feels that missing children should be a top priority because the majority are condemned to end up being trafficked for sexual abuse, as bonded labour, or among other sub-human and degrading ‘occupations’. Krinna says: “I remember the incident when a Bangalore couple saw the picture of their missing son in a TV programme which mentioned that the concerned people should contact the police at the earliest. When these parents went to meet the authorities they said that they had no clue of where the picture came from. This is like the same story repeated ad nauseum. This is pathetic.” After the sinister blood-letting and sexual perversion inside that rich man’s house in Nithari, one had thought missing children will become a national issue. Perhaps it’s because most of them are stunningly poor. So no one cares. Neither the governments, nor the police, nor the courts. Except the mother and the father, who wait, with despair and – no hope. BOX; Slaves of the Ringmaster The circus is a rage among children in India. Even adults go for it in small towns. Hundreds of people throng the visiting circus oblivious of the fact that many underage children who are performing (or women) are reportedly kept in abysmal circumstances, brutally beaten, sexually assaulted, kept like slaves and underpaid. Most, especially girls, are trafficked from the poorest areas of Nepal by agents of circus owners with the temptation of a better life. In some cases, children are sold by their poor parents on training contracts at a stipend of Rs 100 per month for 10 years. Once trafficked, they are sent to different circus outfits across the country so that they remain untraced. Hundreds of children are trafficked every year by a nexus of circus owners, traffickers, police and local politicians. In a rescue operation in June 2008, Childline with the Esther Benjamin Memorial Foundation (EBMF), Nepal, and other NGOs, successfully rescued 20 children from the Rajmahal Circus in Akola, Maharashtra. “The team met six girls rescued by EBMF and Childline from the Rajmahal Circus in Raipur in August last year. The girls said that there were more children below 18 years in the circus and the work conditions were exploitative. During their training they are beaten with wet ropes. These children reach the circus via agents. Sometimes, there are training bonds signed between the parents and the circus owner wherein the circus owner pays Rs 5000 – 7000 to the parents,” informs Komal Ganotra of Childline. Childline activists revealed that children, especially girls, reported cases of sexual abuse and rape. Some children who tried to run away were stripped and beaten on their private parts. On the role of the police, Philip Homes, Founder/Director of EBMF, said in an email interview with Hardnews, “While rescuing children in January last year from the New Raj Kamal Circus at Hatta near Gorakhpur, the local head of the police was uncooperative and acted illegally. I witnessed circus personnel being transported up and down the road on the back of police motor bikes and meetings between the circus staff and police within the police compound that we were excluded from. You can see the film of that rescue – including of the uncooperative police officer – on YouTube (” Since 2004, EBMF has rescued 350 children and women. “Our survey of 2002 found 230 children under the age of 14 in 30 circuses. The data was collected through ‘undercover research’. We need to repeat our research; but I guess the figure now could be 50-100. That still leaves the issue of older girls – over 14 – who were trafficked as children and are still working as bondedlabour. Some of these are technically children if you accept the UN classification of a child under the age of 18,” said Homes.

NHRC team to look into pollution caused by slaughter house

New Delhi (PTI): The National Human Rights Commission will send a team to Meerut for an on-the-spot inquiry about allegations that over 15 lakh people are facing serious health hazards due to stench and pollution created by an illegally-run slaughter house there. Acting on a complaint filed by lawyer Ajay K Agrawal in this regard, the Commission has directed its Director General (Investigation) Sunil Krishna to depute a team of NHRC officers for the enquiry and collection of the facts related to this issue within two week. The NHRC has also asked for the comments of Magistrate, Meerut, on the matter within two weeks. Agrawal has alleged that people are suffering from serious skin diseases, lungs infection and heart ailments by inhaling the polluted air in and around the city stemming from the slaughter house where thousands of buffaloes are butchered and their meat further processed. Agrawal has alleged that there are around 500 unlicensed Bhattis (ovens) at this slaughter house in which bones of animals are boiled and processed to obtain fat. The fat is used for making of ghee, he alleged.

NHRC questioned Delhi police on Batla House shootout

The NHRC called for the ATR on the magisterial probe decision by Lt. Governor, within six weeks of its order of December 22, 2008. It took cognizance and raised doubts about the police version in the Batla House encounter of September 19, 2008..CJ: Ashok Shankaram THE NATIONAL Human Rights Commission (NHRC) called for the action taken report (ATR) on the magisterial probe decision by Lt. Governor, within six weeks of its order of December 22, 2008. Thanks to the NHRC for taking cognizance on a real cause, raising doubts about the police version in well-known Batla House encounter of September 19, 2008, in Jamia Nagar, New Delhi, in which two persons identified as Mohd. Atif Ameen and Mohd Sajid were killed. After the Batla House shootout, NHRC asked for the fact finding feedback from Delhi Police followed by an interim report by additional commissioner of police [ACP] (vigilance), on November 19, 2008. The report of ACP (vigilance) Delhi reveals that FIR No.208/2008 was registered at police station, Jamia Nagar, regarding the incident.The case was initially investigated by the local police and on December 1, 2008, the investigation was transferred to the crime branch, which is a specialised and an independent agency. It has been further explained in the report, that on the request of the crime branch, a team of CSFL had inspected the place of occurrence, on December 13, 2008. The ACP (vigilance), Delhi further communicated, “…the issue regarding the magisterial probe in the events relating to the incident dated 19.09.2008 has been referred to Lt. Governor, Delhi”. Repeating that, on September 19, 2008, both of the above men killed in a shootout at Flat No.108 of L-18, Batla House, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi. The police authorities claimed that both killed were involved in the serial bomb blasts, which had taken place a few days earlier in Delhi. It is also claimed that police has raided the questioned flat, the place of shootout, on secret information and the persons hiding in the flat had fired at the police party, as soon as it entered the flat, and thus compelled the police for firing in self defence. One police officer Mohan Chand Sharma succumbed to his injuries during the shootout. It was a well-debated shootout case that lined up in a queue almost all political parties, except the Samajvadi Party (SP), that came forward demanding investigation in the shootout case. It would not be out of place to inform the readers that months later SP also withdrew its proposed demand for investigation in Batla House shootout case.‘

A change in the selection procedure for the appointment of CEC and ECs is necessary’

Posted: Feb 05, 2009 at 0221 hrs IST The second letter to the President of India by CEC N. Gopalaswami on January 16th 2009, deals with the selection procedure of the CEC and ECs. The text of the letter is reproduced below: The appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners is governed by the provisions of Article 324 of the Constitution. As there is no separate law nor any prescribed procedure, in the scheme of things currently in force, the CEC and ECs are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. I have given my anxious thought to this issue of the procedure of selection of CECs and ECs. I have carefully perused debates in the Constituent Assembly where Pandit Hirday Nath Kunzru and Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena spoke eloquently on the need to appoint a person as CEC or EC who commands confidence of a majority of both Houses of Parliament. In principle, one could say that the person appointed should be such as to be acceptable and should have the confidence of a cross section of the Parliament or the political spectrum. In the last 60 years after independence, our polity has undergone a lot of changes and from the days of one party dominance we are passing through an era of coalition governments. Any alternative arrangement has to keep this fact in view. Presently, the appointments to the post of the Central Vigilance Commissioner and that of the chairman and the member of the National Human Rights Commission are made by constituting a committee which is bipartisan. In the case of appointment of the CVC, the leader of the opposition in the House of the People is a member of the selection committee. In the case of the appointment to the NHRC, the leader of the opposition of both Houses of Parliament are members of the selection committee with the committee being presided over by the prime minister. The following is the composition of the committee for the appointment of the Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Vigilance Commissioner : (i) The Prime Minister – chairperson, (ii) The Minister of Home Affairs – member, (iii) The Leader of the Opposition in the House of the People – member. The committee for the appointment of chairman and members of NHRC consists of the following: (i) The Prime Minister – chairperson (ii) Speaker of the House of the People – member (iii) Minister in-charge of the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Government of India – member (iv) Leader of the opposition in the House of People – member (v) Leader of the opposition in the Council of States – member (vi) Deputy chairman of the Council of States – member. Based on the recommendation of the committee, the appointments are then made by the President by warrant under her hand and seal. It would be in the fitness of things to incorporate a similar procedure in respect of the appointment of the CEC and ECs where the credibility and independence of the Commission is of paramount importance and the body is entrusted with the responsibility to deliver free and fair elections which is the very bedrock of democracy. Over the years the Commission has been able to win the confidence of the political parties and the voters with its impartiality and neutrality and has come to be recognised as one of the most successful election management bodies in the world. It appears that in order to nurture and strengthen this confidence of the public and the political parties, a change in the selection procedure for the appointment of CEC and ECs is necessary keeping in view the changed political scenario in the country with its multiparty focus. It would add prestige to the Commission if the Commissioners are chosen through a procedure in which the President has the benefit of getting a recommendation from a committee that will reflect a bipartisan consensus. Therefore, it is suggested for your kind consideration that a committee having the following composition could be entrusted the responsibility of making this selection : (a) The Prime Minister – chairperson, (b) Speaker of the House of the People – member, (c) Deputy Chairman of the Council of States – member, (d) Leaders of the opposition in two Houses – members, (e) Minister in-charge in the Ministry of Law & Justice – member Based on the recommendations of this committee, the appointment of the CEC and Election Commissioner could be made by warrant under the hand and seal of the Hon’ble President. Such a broad-based Committee in my considered view will greatly add to the perceived sense of impartiality, neutrality and credibility thereby further strengthening the faith of the public in the institutional framework of the Election Commission. I am therefore, submitting this proposal seeking your Excellency’s invaluable guidance to the government on the above lines


Thursday, February 5, 2009The row in Election Commission of India (ECI) has taken a political tune as all the major political parties are playing their own lyrics orchestrated by political music. The inside bickering in ECI is not new and has been occurring time and again. The first major controversy arose during T.N. Seshan’s regime when Seshan and Krishnamurti, one of the then EC locked their horns in order to establish their own hegemony and run their own writs.The present row originated owing to the letter which the CEC, has written to the President of India recommending the removal of Navin Chawala, the EC for his alleged acts of commission and omission under article 324 (5) of Indian Constitution. This letter sparked off a major political controversy because the BJP has come openly in rescue of N. Gopalswami, whereas; Congress and other UPA constituents have pledged their support to Navin Chawala. This controversy has incited a debate also in legal luminaries and judicial domain. The issue which has again come to fore is that whether or not the CEC can suo motto initiate inquiry and recommend the removal of the other ECs? The question has become vexed also because the provisions of the Constitution in this regard are somewhat translucent on this issue. Article 324 of the Indian constitution provides for the superintendence, direction and control of election to be vested in the Election commission. Clause 5 of this Article provides for ‘the Subject to the provisions of any law made by the Parliament, the conditions of service and tenure of office of the Election Commissioners and the Regional Commissioners shall be such as the President may by rule determine:Provided that the Chief Election Commissioner shall not be removed from his office except in like manner and on the like grounds as a Judge of the Supreme Court and the conditions of service of the Chief Election Commissioner shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment:Provided further that any other Election Commissioner or a Regional Commissioner shall not be removed from office except on the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner.The above provision makes it amply clear that the ECs can be removed by the President, the appointing authority, but the CEC can only be removed by a process of impeachment similar to that of a Supreme Court Judge. The message is clear; the father of constitution has conferred on adequate amount of independence on the ECI and also has guaranteed protection to it against any undue political and executive interference. It is also a fact that the CEC and ECs are equal, CEC being the first among the equals, this however do not bring all the ECs at par with the CEC.It seems that the principle of check and balance as well as superiority and subordination blended with administrative hierarchical concept has been enshrined in the above provisions of the constitution. The Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.) of 1973 can be taken into account to explain above principle. Section 20 of this code provides for appointment of Executive Magistrates and the District Magistrates. It speaks of the principle that District Magistrate is also an executive magistrate and all executive magistrates are equal, but the district magistrate is first among the equals. Further section 21, 22 and 23 make it clear that the executive magistrates,including the SDM, who is also an executive magistrate are subordinate to the district magistrate. Some may take it as an absurd comparison, but the principle of the same administrative hierarchical concept has been applied in the Election Commission also.Now coming to the question which remained unanswered is that whether the CEC can recommend suo-motu to the President the removal of ECs without the Presidential Reference? The Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court has ruled in the famous T.N. Seshan Vs Union of India in 1995 {5 SC, 337;(1995)4 SCC 611} that if power were to be exercisable by the CEC as per his whim and caprice, the CEC himself would become an instrument of oppression and would destroy the independence of the ECs if they are required to function under the threat of the CEC recommending their removal. This judgment is said to be landmark vis-a-vis the functioning of the ECI. The Supreme Court was of the opinion that the in-dependence of ECI is more important than the supremacy of CEC. In fact the fathers of our Constitution had rightly infused a large amount of independence and sanctity in the ECI which is also a custodian of the Constitution. Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the father of Indian Constitution, had said in the constituent assembly that the removal of CEC should be done only through a process of impeachment. The idea was the same, to confer independence to the Commission. But unfortunately over a period of time certain amount of aberration has crept into this constitutional body and has turned it into a hub of hobnobbing and bickering.So far as the grounds for inquiry against Navin Chawla and subsequent recommendation to his removal is concerned, the matter goes back to 2006 when L.K.Advani along with 204 other MPs submitted a petition to the President of India seeking removal of Navin Chawla for his alleged acts of commission and omission during emergency and his alleged proximity to the ruling Congress Party. The same petition was forwarded to the CEC for necessary action. It is in this context the CEC asked explanation from Navin Chawla and after being ‘unsatisfied’ from the Chawla’s answer, CEC made this recommendation to the President. The entire legal fraternity divided over this issue. One school of opinion says that the CEC can recommend removal of any EC suo-motu, whereas other opines that the CEC can only act when he is sought to do so by the president. Coming to the issue of taking action on the recommendation, some stalwarts say that the recommendation is binding on the government, whereas many other do not subscribe to this view and suggest that the government has every right to reject the recommendation.But it seems that if the CEC is not empowered to make a suo-motu recommendation, and can act only on the presidential reference, then how can the independence of Election Commission and its insulation from government’s interference be kept intact? It appears that misreading in between the lines is being done by many of us. If the CEC is supposed to act only when he is asked to do so, then why is this provision made in the constitution stating therein that the ECs can be removed only the recommendation of the CEC?We are non-deliberately skipping the core issue that, why after all such bickering and quarrelling are taking place in this august institution of sublime importance? The very practice of appointing very senior bureaucrats to the post CEC and EC just after their retirement is the crux of all the problems. The senior most bubus sitting at the helm of affairs can hardly remain apolitical and in a bid to get some post retirement placement, they start lobbying in the power lobby. Many of them get reward and those who are left start criticising the government in hope of winning over the sympathy of parties in apposition so that they can be compensated when these parties return to power. N. Gopalswamy had served as home secretary under Advani, similarly Chawla had been secretary to Lt. Governor during emergency. Gopalswamy was made EC just after his retirement by the NDA government, whereas Chawla was handpicked and rewarded by the Congress. Naturally their loyalties shall be put to a litmus test.M.S.Gill has been made Rajya Sabha MP after his retirement as CEC, he was subsequently made a state minister in the union cabinet. This step is going to have profound impact on the functioning of EC, as every outgoing EC or CEC would be lured by such rewards which they may get if they pursue the interest of parties in power.Remedies: – Mr. B.B. Tandon the then CEC had made certain recommendations with regard to the long overdue reforms in the EC. These recommendations are eating dust in the labyrinth of power and politics. Here are some suggestions which can be incorporated while taking steps in cleansing and reforming the commission.1. Rules can be framed that no bureaucrat shall be appointed, nominated or given any office within three years after their retirement. 2. Bureaucrats and judges should not be allowed to join any political party or fight election within three years after th.eir retirement. 3. The selection and appointment procedures for the high offices like EC, NHRC, CIC, other commissions etc. should be made transparent and institutionalised so that the possibility of hand picking is diminished to a zero level4. A national panel may be prepared for such appointment so that principle of equality and openness is followed. 5. Law can also be framed so that no one is appointed to any constitutional post twice. This would help minimise the chances of doing favour of disfavour by these persons Posted by Om Prakash Yadav at 1:38 AM

LEGAL NEWS 03-04.01.2009

Court notice to Pinarayi as CPM march begins
2 Feb 2009, 1836 hrs IST, Joe A Scaria , ET Bureau
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The pre-election script for Kerala CPM went awry on Monday, with its state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan being issued a notice by the Kerala High Court regarding a corruption case pertaining to the days when he was the state power minister.

The court decision to send him a notice could have hardly been more ill-timed for the CPM strongman in Kerala, coming as it did on the day he was setting off on the `Nava Kerala March’ from Kasaragod in the north to the state capital in the south.

The development comes at a time when state chief minister V S Achuthanandan and Vijayan are seen to be in a war of wits within the party, and cadres supporting either camp are engaged in putting up or pulling down posters of the two leaders along the route of the march. The chief minister has hinted that he may not participate in the march.

Mr Vijayan is embroiled in what is termed as the Lavalin scam being investigated by the CBI. The case pertains to a contract worth Rs 374 crore given to the Canadian company SNC Lavalin when Vijayan was the power minister, which, reportedly did not lead not much benefit for the hydro-electric projects concerned as per the comptroller and auditor general’s report.

When a public interest litigation petition was filed seeking to declare that previous sanction was not required to launch proceedings against Vijayan and others, the court decided to issue notice to those accused to hear their part.

While Vijayan begins his march in the backdrop of the court notice that in turn pertains to a corruption case, political focus in Kerala is riveted on the intra-party equations within the state CPM. In a larger context, the development is also considered to have a significant impact on the forthcoming Lok Sabha election polls, in which the ruling Left Democratic Front led by the CPM will be striving to match its score of 18 seats out of 20 that it won in the last Lok Sabha poll.

RNRL may appeal against High Court order on RIL gas sale
Published: February 2,2009

Mumbai , Feb 2 Anil Ambani group firm RNRL is likely to move the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court&aposs interim order that allowed Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries to sell gas to third parties.
According to sources in the legal circle, RNRL may very soon file a petition with the Supreme Court.
When contacted, RNRL spokesperson told PTI,”We are considering all options.”
The High Court, while reserving judgment on a case brought by RNRL, on Friday last allowed RIL to sell gas produced from its KG basin fields to third parties subject to the utilisation list finalised by the government.
RNRL&aposs main contention was that RIL should supply gas to it on the terms that the Mukesh Ambani-run firm had agreed with NTPC – at USD 2.34 per mmBtu
Although there was no indication from the court when the final judgment would be pronounced, RIL counsel Harish Salve had said the verdict could come by March-end.
The court allowed RIL to sell gas”at a uniform price of USD 4.20 to all parties including Public Sector Undertakings and to others in the order of priority as stipulated by the government in the approved gas utilisation policy.”
RIL can enter into contracts with other parties for a term of up to five years.

Source: PTI

Sri Lankan Tamils issue: Lawyers burn effigies of Rajapaksa
Chennai (PTI): A group of advocates today burnt effigies of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa here, protesting the “killings” of civilian Tamils in the ongoing war in the island nation.
The advocates raised slogans against the Sri Lankan Government near the Egmore Metropolitan Court premises here, and demanded an end to the conflict between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE to save the Tamils, police said.
Lawyers affiliated to the Madras High Court Advocates Association and Tamil Nadu Advocates Association are on a boycott of the courts since January 30 over the Sri Lankan issue.
Some students of the Dr B R Ambedkar Government Law College, located in the Madras High Court premises, were taken into custody when they tried to stage a demonstration in front of the college premises and later released.
The students urged the Sri Lankan Government to bring an immediate ceasefire to protect the lives of civilian Tamils. They observed one-day fast after they were released, police said.
Meanwhile, All College Students Federation urged the Tamil Nadu Government to reopen colleges as it would help students to appear for their examinations.
The government on Saturday ordered indefinite closure of colleges and student hostels in the state in the wake of students’ unrest on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue.
In a release, the federation also urged the students to participate in the strike on February 4 called by Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Movement protesting “killings of Tamils”.

Apex court to hear SEBI plea to quiz Satyam chief
The Supreme Court will Tuesday hear the market regulator’s plea to allow it to interrogate Satyam Computer Services’ tainted chief B. Ramalinga Raju about the Rs.70-billion accounting fraud in the firm.
New Delhi, Delhi, India, 2009-02-02 21:45:02

The Supreme Court will Tuesday hear the market regulator’s plea to allow it to interrogate Satyam Computer Services’ tainted chief B. Ramalinga Raju about the Rs.70-billion accounting fraud in the firm.
Appearing for the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Solicitor General Goolam E. Vahanvati apprised a bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan of the market regulator’s lawsuit filed in the apex court registry and sought an early and urgent hearing on it.
The bench, which also included Justice P. Satahsivam, acceded to the request to hear the lawsuit Tuesday.
The SEBI has moved the Supreme Court against a lower court order, which on Jan 23 dismissed its plea to help it access Satyam founder and former chief B. Ramalinga Raju and his brother B. Rama Raju in Hyderabad jail.
The two are in judicial custody since Jan 9 following their surrender to the Andhra Pradesh police for their alleged role in the accounting fraud of the firm that led to devaluation of its market capital from Rs.15 billion to Rs.2 billion in less than a month.
The Hyderabad magisterial court dismissed SEBI’s plea, saying that the market regulator was not an investigative agency empowered to interrogate suspects in criminal cases.
Against the magisterial court’s order, the SEBI approached the Andhra Pradesh High Court, which, however, has slated the plea for hearing on Feb 9, frustrating the SEBI that wants to conduct a quick probe into the scam.
Suspecting that the Raju brothers might be misusing their custody with the police to obfuscate their role in the crime, the SEBI’s lawsuit said, ‘It appears that while being in custody, the Raju brothers are organising tampering with documents and destruction of firm’s records.’
The SEBI has sought the Supreme Court’s direction to the jail superintendent to allow its investigators to interrogate the Raju brothers, pointing out: ‘SEBI is a statutory body, constituted under the SEBI Act, 1992, to regulate the securities market and protect investors.’
Terming the Satyam fraud as ‘most serious financial scam in the country’s corporate history and having large-scale national and international ramifications’, the SEBI lawsuit said: ‘It is a specialised agency having necessary competence and expertise to probe frauds in securities transactions.’
Submitting that ‘a case of this magnitude has not arisen in the Indian corporate history till now’, it said: ‘As an expert body, it is the SEBI’s statutory duty to conduct a comprehensive and meaningful probe into the scam.’
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HC ropes in Censor board to sort out ‘Slumdog’ row
3 Feb 2009, 0631 hrs IST, TNN
AHMEDABAD : Controversy over the title of Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire’ ultimately roped in the Central Board of Film Certification (DBFC), the censor board of India.

Gujarat High Court on Monday allowed the petitioner NGO Dastak to make the censor board a respondent in its PIL against the film.

However, the High Court didn’t initiate any process in the case and just asked the petitioner to serve an advance copy of the petition to the censor board, if the petitioner has an objection to the film’s title. A division bench of Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi kept February 9 as the date for further hearing in this case.

The NGO filed the PIL on the day the film’s released claiming the title was “offensive” to Indians. “We Indians are not slumdogs,” stated its member Meena Jagtap in the petition adding that the organisation doesn’t have objection towards the content of the film.

The PIL has been filed against the Hollywood film company Fox Searchlight and the music company T-series. Earlier, a similar PIL raising same contention was filed by a Patna resident.

Dastak has urged the court to restrain the film’s exhibition in cinema halls, television and CDs. Besides this, a stay has also been sought on the marketing and advertising of the film in Indian market. Dastak has requested HC to direct the film company to get certification once again after changing the film’s name.

HC allows telecast of Oscar nominated films’ clippings
Published: February 2,2009

Mumbai , Feb 2 The Bombay High Court today allowed Star TV to telecast Oscars awards distribution ceremony even though the clippings of the nominated films might contain some&aposA category&aposcontent.
The High Court, in response to a PIL, had banned broadcasting of the films which have A (only for adults) certificate, or no certification at all, from the censor board two years ago.
Star TV, that will be telecasting the Oscars awards distribution ceremony on February 22, feared that it might run afoul of this ban as during the ceremony uncensored clippings of nominated films are shown.
Some of the clippings might have&aposadult&aposcontent, Star feared; and hence moved High Court today.
Advocate M M Vashi, who had argued for Pratibha Naithani, the original PIL petitioner, stated that he had no objection to Star&aposs plea.
“The court then allowed Star to telecast the clippings of the nominated films,” Vashi told PTI.
Naithani, a city-based activist and professor at St Xavier&aposs College here, had filed a PIL alleging that cable operators as well as TV channels were showing films that did not have certification from Central Board for Film Certification and very often had sexual content.

Source: PTI

Fresh probe into Yeddyurappa’s wife’s death
Maya Sharma
Monday, February 02, 2009, (Bangalore)
There is fresh tension for Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa as a Shimoga court on Monday asked police to look once again at the circumstances surrounding the death of his wife in 2004. This follows a PIL filed in the court by a Shimoga-based lawyer.

Mythra Devi, the wife of Yeddyurappa, was found dead in a water tank at the family home in Shimoga district back in 2004. The unnatural death was investigated and the case was closed.

A Shimoga lawyer, R Sheshadri, has called it a murder. “According to me, this is a clear case of murder and suppression of the facts, fabrication of evidence, misleading the police by giving the false information, not only by Yeddyurappa himself but also by his daughter, two sons and servants,” said R Sheshadri.

“It is a conspiracy to wash the evidence available to find out the cause of the death,” he added.

The court felt that there was enough reason for the police to look at the issue once again.

“I don’t want to react for anything,” said B S Yeddyurappa, Chief Minister, Karnataka.

It has been a difficult time for Yeddyurappa with criticism of the government’s handling of the attack on women in Mangalore. This allegation of violence against a woman in her own home will be personally difficult to handle as well.

PF scam: CBI questions judges
4 Feb 2009, 1326 hrs IST, TIMESOFINDIA.COM

NEW DELHI: A Supreme Court judge, three Allahabad High Court judges and one Uttarakhand High Court judge have been questioned by CBI in connection with the Ghaziabad PF scam.

The investigating agency asked them if they had any links with Ashutosh Asthana, the main accused in the scam. The judges denied even knowing Asthana.

Asthana during his interrogation had named 36 judges, who he claimed were beneficiaries of the scam.

Earlier this year, the CBI had unearthed shocking details of how hard-earned provident fund savings of class III and IV employees of Ghaziabad courts were illegally spent on furniture, crockery, mobiles, gadgets, laptops, rail tickets, taxi fares and other luxury items for judges.

These details figured in CBI’s status report compiled after preliminary investigations into the Rs 23-crore PF scam, which involved questioning of a Supreme Court judge named by the prime accused, Ashutosh Asthana.

The report shows that the district judges, who were heading the Ghaziabad judiciary during the scam period, not only made expensive purchases from the scam money, they also spent it on photography and video-recording of family functions and marriages.

“About 500 strips of negatives of the photographs, one CD and two mini-video cassettes said to be related to functions of various members of the judiciary were recovered,” CBI sources told TOI quoting from the status report, which is being compiled on the basis of the SC’s September 23, 2008, order.

It is not that these judges could not have afforded a mobile phone. But, as it came free, seldom did they flinch in accepting freebies provided by Asthana, courtesy the PF money of unsuspecting employees, the CBI found. “As per Asthana, he had provided about 60-70 mobile handsets to various members of judiciary,” the agency said.

The prime accused, who as the treasury officer was responsible for safeguarding the PF funds of employees, allegedly did not think twice about using that money to procure expensive furniture, crockery and utensils. Asthana also used the money to pay for transporting these goods to the residences of the judges.

“Several invoices containing entries on trucks/vehicles provided in the last six years have about 35 entries related to Asthana, in which goods were sent to various judges of higher and subordinate judiciary,” the CBI claimed. The trucks had an unbelievably smooth passage through states before reaching their destinations mainly because they carried judicial certificates.

“Four original certificates, said to be issued by the chief judicial magistrate, Ghaziabad, certifying that the truck numbers mentioned in the certificate were carrying articles of members of judiciary, which were given to the truck driver for smooth passage of goods through several states, have also been recovered,” it said.

CBI also claimed to have recovered 28 bills of sale of crockery to Asthana and monogram of the District Judge, Ghaziabad, for the year 2006-07. It has also found that Asthana allegedly picked up 43 taxi bills of judges and paid it from the PF money.

“About 540 assorted slips, bills, pieces of papers, sketches etc have been recovered from a carpenter. These relate to purchase of various raw materials for furniture items during last seven years,” CBI said. The carpenter who made the furniture appears to have impressed the judges with his skill, for he was called to residences of judges with fresh orders and he answered these calls travelling with rail tickets purchased from the PF money.

The agency suspects this carpenter was summoned to judges’ residences far away from Ghaziabad -in Lucknow and Allahabad – as many as 17 times and his train tickets were allegedly bought from the PF money.

The preliminary findings reflect the judges’ weakness for electronic goods, especially mobile phones. “As many as 45 original bills have been seized from a Ghaziabad showroom denoting sale of many expensive electronic gadgets and appliances to various members of judiciary,” the status report reveals.

After a preliminary probe that tracked Asthana’s mobile call details, the CBI chanced upon purchase of four laptops, miscellaneous computer peripherals including monitors, CPUs, cameras and printers.

The probe was entrusted to CBI by the apex court after the UP police, which first investigated the matter, chickened out terming the task of investigating 35 judges as daunting.

SC does a U-turn, says bandhs OK in democracy
4 Feb 2009, 0825 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: Supreme Court on Tuesday termed bandhs as legitimate means of expressing people’s feelings in a democracy, reversing a trend judiciary has followed since 1997 when it had come down hard upon political parties for causing inconvenience to the public by forcing shutdowns.

The volte face, which will be celebrated by a political class which had chaffed at judiciary’s opposition to chakka jams, came when the court refused to ban the Chennai bandh called for Wednesday to protest against the killings of civilians in Sri Lanka’s military campaign against LTTE.

The stark change of stand looked even more so because of the fact that the fresh position was outlined by a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan. In 1997, the CJI was part of the Kerala High Court Bench which gave the landmark anti-bandh judgment. The judgment was upheld by the Supreme Court, setting the stage for similar rulings from other HCs.

The court scheduled a hearing on the petition against the bandh only for February 16.

On Tuesday, the Bench headed by CJI and comprising Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal observed that in a democratic country, everyone had the right to express their feelings: a remark that would be lapped up by political parties who never acquiesced to judiciary’s stand against bandhs.

The Bench was unmoved when Ajit Puduserry, appearing for petitioner J Satish Kumar, invoked the 1997 verdict of the Supreme Court.

Pudussery argued that the bandh call given by an umbrella organisation of political parties — Sri Lankan Tamils’ Protection Movement — was a violation of the order that the apex court gave upholding the Kerala HC’s slamming of bandhs.

The line did not work. “What has this court to do with stopping strikes? India is a democratic state where everyone has a right to express their feelings,” retorted the Bench.

The clock, clearly, has come full circle. In the 1997 judgment, the HC had said, “No political party or organisation can claim that it is entitled to paralyse industry and commerce in the entire state or nation and is entitled to prevent the citizens not in sympathy with its viewpoint from exercising their fundamental right or from performing their duties for their own benefits or for the benefit of the state or the nation.”

It added, “Such a claim would be unreasonable and could not be accepted as a legitimate exercise of a fundamental right by a political party or those comprising it.” The order had met with thunderous applause from millions across the country.

CJI part of bench that barred bandhs in 1997

NEW DELHI: Reversing a trend judiciary has followed since 1997 when it had come down hard on forced shutdowns, the Supreme Court on Tuesday termed bandhs as a legitimate means of expressing people’s feelings in a democracy.

In 1997, the CJI was part of the Kerala HC bench which gave the landmark anti-bandh judgment. The judgment was upheld by the Supreme Court, setting the stage for similar rulings from other HCs. The court scheduled a hearing on the petition against the bandh only for February 16.

On Tuesday, the bench headed by CJI and comprising Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal observed that in a democratic country, everyone had the right to express their feelings: a remark that would be lapped up by political parties who never acquiesced to judiciary’s stand against bandhs.

The bench was unmoved when Ajit Puduserry, appearing for petitioner J Satish Kumar, invoked the 1997 verdict of the Supreme Court.

MMS probe leads cops to Malwani lodge
4 Feb 2009, 0521 hrs IST, Nitasha Natu , TNN
MUMBAI: The Kandivli police, probing the obscene MMS case, will question employees of the Malwani lodge where the video clip has been shot.

As reported earlier, two 19-year-old college students were arrested on January 24, a month after they kidnapped a classmate, spiked her drink and took her to a lodge where she was stripped and shot on video. They then circulated the clip among friends.

“The two have been booked under stringent provisions of the IT Act. We are trying to ascertain the purpose of the filming-whether the clip was meant for sale or not,” said an officer. “During interrogation, the boys claimed they shot the video `for fun’ and were not aware as to how it got circulated.”

When the girl’s sister learnt about the clip, she was shocked because the accused were well-acquainted with the victim and her family.

“The boys are residents of Borsapada in Kandivli. One of them recently got a Class-IV job in the BMC and shifted to Dahisar. They don’t have a criminal record,” said an officer.

When the cops checked the boys’ mobiles, they found the clips deleted. An assistant commissioner has been asked to further probe the case. The boys are currently in judicial custody.

FBI’s probe right is questioned
4 Feb 2009, 0421 hrs IST, TNN
Alleged LeT operative Faheem Ansari has questioned the right of America’s FBI to interrogate him while he is in the custody of the Mumbai police’s crime branch. Ansari’s lawyer Ejaz Naqvi said nowhere in CrPC or any other Indian law, FBI is mentioned as an agency that could interrogate suspects. The court issued a notice to the crime branch and asked it to file a reply by February 9.

Gangster sent back to UP jail

A special Tada court sent gangster Babloo Srivastava back to a jail in UP after a remand application
submitted by the police failed to mention the grounds on which it was seeking his custody. Srivastava, who has been sentenced to life in a murder case in Kanpur, was wanted in the city in connection with the kidnapping of a builder in 1994.

Senior education official may face criminal action
4 Feb 2009, 0511 hrs IST, Prafulla Marpakwar , TNN
MUMBAI: After a delay of over three months, the school education department on Monday sought the permission of the general administration department headed by chief minister Ashok Chavan to initiate criminal proceedings against deputy director (education) Sheila Tiwari and her subordinates.

Though school education secretary Sanjay Kumar declined to comment, a senior education department official on Tuesday confirmed that the department had sought permission from the GAD to launch criminal proceedings against Tiwari.

“We require the permission of the GAD to initiate criminal proceedings against an official. We have invoked the provisions of law to launch the same against Tiwari,” the official said.

The main charge against Tiwari is that in her capacity as deputy director, she approved the appointment of 13 teachers, belonging to the open category, in an aided college.

She did this despite the fact that the posts were reserved for backward class candidates. Under the reservation rules for SCs, STs and nomadic tribes, if open category candidates are appointed against reserved posts, then it’s an offence. “If a competent authority violates the rules, then the official is liable for punishment, which may extend to 90 days or a fine of Rs 5,000,” the official said.

Following a complaint by the Backward Class Teachers’ Association, then education minister Vasant Purke appointed Mumbai education board chairman Shridhar Salunke to probe the appointments approved by Tiwari for Raigad’s Sudhagad Education Society.

In his report submitted on November 1, 2008, Salunke confirmed that Tiwari had approved the appointment of teachers belonging to the open category even though the posts were for backward class candidates.

Salunke held three officials-Sheila Tiwari, assistant director Waman Mhatre and education officer S K Rathod-responsible. On November 7, Purke urged then CM Vilasrao Deshmukh to shunt her out.

While no action was taken against Tiwari, Rathod was suspended and Mhatre moved out. Even as the education department waited for approval from the CM, it moved two proposals-one for Tiwari’s transfer and the other for cancellation of the appointments.

There has been no response from Tiwari so far. Earlier, she had said she was not directly responsible for the appointment of teachers in aided institutions and was not guilty of approving illegal appointments.

BMC moves to punish officer for RTI delay
4 Feb 2009, 0544 hrs IST, Viju B, TNN
MUMBAI: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s city engineer has issued a show cause notice to a public information officer – in this case, the deputy chief engineer (planning and development) – asking why his increment for next year should not be withheld.
The order comes after state information commissioner Suresh Joshi levied a fine Rs 25,000 on the officer for not despatching a Right To Information (RTI) application to the department concerned in time. The state information commissioner had also urged the municipal commissioner to investigate the delay and to take action as necessary.

The case came up for hearing at the state information commission after RTI applicant S K Nangia complained that both the urban development department and the BMC denied him a copy of the report on a state committee’s investigation into the collapse of Laxmi Chhaya building in Borivli.

“I had wanted details of this report as it was of immense public interest. Thirty people lost their lives, and there was extensive damage to the property due to the building collapse,’’ Nangia said.

The public information officer of the city engineer’s office told Nangia his application had been forwarded to the urban development department, since the latter had the report. The urban development department in turn told him that the files had been forwarded to the municipal commissioner’s office, which in turn had forwarded them to the city engineer’s office.

“The shuttling of files went on for quite some time. So, I had to file a complaint with the state information commission,’’ Nangia said. Six months went by before he received the information he had sought. The state information commission has noted that this was in violation of the norms of the RTI Act.

“The manner in which the UD department dealt with the application was appalling. Since the department had received the report, its public information officer should clearly have provided the information. Also, even if the public information officer of the city engineer’s office didn’t have the information, he should have sent the application to the department concerned within five days. The public information officer of the city engineer’s office has therefore failed to discharge his responsibility and is liable for action,’’ Joshi said.

Joshi has also ordered a similar inquiry by the commissioner of industries, as that department’s public information officer and appellate authority have also violated RTI norms. RTI activists have welcomed both orders. “We hope that the babus will now be more careful about denying information to RTI applicants,’’ said RTI activist Bhaskar Prabhu.

Lawyers’ stir puts brakes on traffic
4 Feb 2009, 0200 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: As over 700 lawyers of the five district courts in the Capital hit the streets with a car rally on Tuesday to protest the proposed CrPC ammendments, all work in the courts came to a halt. The rally also affected lives of people outside the courts as movement of traffic was thrown completely out of gear at India Gate as the lawyers took one round after another of the rotary to register their protest.

The car rally started from Tis Hazari courts around 2 pm and lasted nearly three hours. As they started taking rounds in cars, two wheelers and on foot, the traffic police diverted vehicles from all radial roads leading to India Gate. This led to massive jams on all sides, as the rotary serves as a major throughfare in the city.

“I was stuck near Pandara Park for almost an hour. The road leading to India Gate was blocked. One would expect more responsible behaviour from educated people like lawyers,” said Sushil Gupta, a businessman headed for ITO. The traffic police said the situation normalised by evening, as the rally finished around 5 pm.

Inside the courts, all listed matters were adjourned as lawyers did not appear before the presiding officers, the bar leaders said, adding that they were also getting large-scale support from litigants.

The lawyers were prostesting against the proposed CrPC amendments, which allow police not to arrest accused in offences punishable up to seven years in jail. The rally was a part of the nationwide strike held for the day in all the district courts. “Lawyers from Kashmir to Kanyakumari have abstained from appearing in the courts. We will intensify our agitation until the revocation of the amendments,” said Rajiv Khosla, spokesperson od the coordination committee of the bar assoication.

A Federation of Bar Associations had also been formed to spearhead the “unified protest.” Khosla said they would repeat the strike on February 18. “We plan to take our protest to parliament. Representatives from other bar associations across the country have also sent their particiaption in the next strike. We are also in talks with UPA and NDA leaders for a reasonable solution to the problem,” he said.

FIR not essential to claim insurance
4 Feb 2009, 0205 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Insurance companies can’t reject claims of those insured only because an FIR is not lodged in cases of theft or fire. With this hard-hitting decision, the state consumer commission came down on insurance companies and said even a report with the police is enough for companies to honour claims.

The commission gave the judgment while asking the New India Assurance Company to pay a consumer Rs 27 lakh who lost goods in a fire and had simply informed the police about it.

Commission president Justice J D Kapoor observed that “A report with the police, without being it converted into an FIR, is sufficient for getting the insurance claim. It is a misconceived notion that unless the insured files an FIR, he is not entitled to any claim.”

In the case at hand, a handloom unit owned by one Rinku Sharma was destroyed in a fire in 2003. The unit, located in the industrial area of Panipat in Haryana, was covered under a fire insurance policy of Rs 50 lakh from New India Insurance Company.

Along with the fire brigade, the local police was informed of the incident. A claim was filed with the insurance company and a surveyor even inspected the premises and took photographs. As many as three surveyors were appointed one after the other. But the insurance company rejected the plea claiming that no FIR was filed in the incident and a report was not sufficient. It further claimed that no clear cut cause of the fire could be established.

While questioning the grounds of rejection, Justice Kapoor said that in the case, the report was lodged on the day the fire broke out, but the police did not convert it into an FIR. But this did not mean that the insurance company could reject the claim of the consumer.

Lokayukta order on bus purchase stayed by HC
4 Feb 2009, 0205 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed an order of Lokayukta, in which it had summoned records related to purchase of 625 low floor buses by the city government. The records had been sought on a complaint filed by BJP leader Vijay Jolly alleging misuse of funds in the purchase process.

Justice Ravindra S Bhat stayed the Lokayukta order on an application moved by the Delhi government. In its submission, the government questioned the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta to entertain the petition and alleged Jolly of hiding facts in his complaint.

Jolly, in his complaint filed last year had claimed that the city government spent Rs 25 lakhs extra on each of the 625 low floor buses. He had cited the purchase of similar vehicles by Chennai administration. Drawing comparisons, Jolly had alleged that the city administration had siphoned off funds, urging Lokayukta to initiate inquiry. Seeing merit in his allegations, Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin had asked Delhi’s transport secretary to produce records related to the purchase.

Appearing for the government, advocate Najmi Waziri argued before HC that the facts presented by Jolly before Lokayukta were not complete. “Chennai government had actually purchased `semi low floor buses’ and not, as Jolly had claimed, low floor buses, ” Waziri submitted.

“Since both vehicles were of a different nature so there was disparity in amount spent by respective administrations. This fact was presented before Lokayukta, despite that it had proceeded with summoning orders. Low floor buses bought by Delhi administration is one of the best buses in the world,” Waziri contended before HC, seeking stay on the order and an action against Jolly for “filing a false and frivolous case.”

HC, while staying the Lokayukta order, also asked it to explain how it deemed it fit to exercise jurisdiction in the matter and sought its response by February 11. The matter is slated to come up for hearing before the Lokayukta on February 16.

Lok Ayukta hadicapped by few powers and fewer personnel
4 Feb 2009, 0033 hrs IST, A T Subrahmanya, TNN
BANGALORE: It’s a riot, no less, everyday at the Lok Ayukta’s office — they are the raiders of the corrupt, trapping greasy officials, conducting inquiries and giving a ear to people’s grievances. People come to the office, located next to MS Building, from all corners of the state.

With just 724 personnel across the state and 23,000 cases of maladministration pending before the Lok Ayukta, the task of curbing corruption is, indeed, tough.

The Lok Ayukta has four wings — police wing headed by an officer of the ADGP rank, technical audit cell headed by a chief engineer, inquiry wing with an additional registrar-inquiry and several judges of the rank of deputy registrar-inquiry, and finally, administrative wing with additional registrar-administration.

“Lok Ayukta already has about 16 inquiries, apart from the regular work of ensuring good governance and redressing grievances by the people. Besides, the Lok Ayukta also conducts raids and lays traps to catch corrupt officials red-handed,” Lok Ayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde told The Times of India.

In 2008 alone, 94 raids were conducted and 266 traps laid. “But each case consumes a lot of time for investigation, before filing charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act and disproportionate assets. By the time the officers prepare the chargesheet, more cases get piled up,” Hegde explained.

On his part, the Lok Ayukta made a request for 290 additional personnel for the police wing two years ago. But the state government chose to sanction only 114 till date.

Lok Ayukta ADGP Roop Kumar Dutta said most of the cases registered during the last year are either waiting for government sanction or have been charged.


The police wing has about 190 personnel in total, headed by ADGP Roop Kumar Dutta, while the administration wing has about 350 personnel working throughout the state.

Around 250 personnel from the administration wing are stationed in Bangalore, while around 100 staff are stationed throughout the state. Each district has a Lok Ayukta SP, while Bangalore alone has about 60 personnel. Apart from administration, the other three wings have people on deputation.

“We need 20 per cent more for better functioning,” Hegde said.


In 1966, the Morarji Desai Commission recommended an ombudsman-like agency in the state and central governments for grievance redressal. While states would have Lok Ayukta, the central government would have Lok Pal. But nowhere was it implemented, as the recommendations had no backing by politicians or bureaucrats.

But in 1983, Ramakrishna Hegde, who came to the power in Karnataka, was the first chief minister to press for an institution like Lok Ayukta in the state. Though it took about two years, the Bill was passed on January 16, 1986.

Though the Lok Ayukta had suo motu powers when established, the power was withdrawn within six months. The institution has two separate heads — Lok Ayukta for the class-I officers and Upa Lok Ayukta for officers below class-I.

For about 15 years, people knew little about the Lok Ayukta. It was only in 2001 that the Lok Ayukta came to the fore as an anti-corruption institution, when Justice N Venkatachala took up a campaign against the corrupt.


The Lok Ayukta helpline 1800-42-55-320, which was opened in February 2008, is now flooded with 25-30 calls daily, with complaints ranging from no admission to hospitals to complaints not being lodged in police stations. The Lok Ayukta personnel at the helpline, who has access to phone numbers and other details, then intervenes to solve the problem.

Hegde said earlier, people would come to see him from all corners of the state and wait outside his office to speak to him. “Then I began to tour districts and gave them my number to contact me. The whole day I was flooded with calls,” he added.

The helpline was then set up to address the grievances of people who are either ignorant or afraid to approach the right authority for their problems.

Quote unquote

Exasperated over repeated pleas before the state government to give it suo motu powers, Justice Hegde said: “I have stopped asking for suo motu powers. Even when I was a lawyer, I did not repeat arguments twice.”

Sampangi gets bail
4 Feb 2009, 0102 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE : KGF MLA Y Sampangi, who was trapped on Jan. 29 by Lok Ayukta Justice Santosh Hegde while taking a bribe for settling a land dispute in his constituency, was granted bail on Tuesday.

The sessions special court judge R M Shettar, while granting bail on Rs 25,000 surety, directed Sampangi to appear before the investigating officer every Friday for the next four weeks. The judge also said there should be no attempt to tamper with the evidence.

Justice Santhosh Hegde said he was waiting for the order copy. “Once we go through the order copy, we will decide if we have to go for an appeal against the order,” he added.

Govt gives undertaking in HC on Kodanadu estate
4 Feb 2009, 0322 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government, which renewed its attempts to take over a portion of the Kodanad tea estate associated with former chief minister Jayalalithaa, has told the Madras High Court that it would not go ahead with the acquisition works till February 12.

An undertaking to this effect was given by government pleader J Raja Kalifulla before Justice K Suguna, who is hearing a writ petition filed by the Kodanad estate management against a government order dated January 10 to acquire about two acres of the estate land for a public road.

The January 10 order invoked the urgency clause and sought to acquire .87.5 hectares of land for providing a public road to the residents of Anna Nagar, Kothagiri and Kodanadu villages. The Kothagiri tahsildar first informed the management that revenue officials would visit the estate for survey on January 20, and later said the land measurements would be taken on February 3.

Advocate A Navaneethakrishnan submitted that the order was not sustainable as it was not traceable to any of the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act. As the estate had been permitting the villagers to use the pathway, as per the directions of the Supreme Court, there was no urgency or compelling necessity for the state government to resort to the acquisition proceedings, Navaneethakrishnan said.

The government pleader, however, said only a preliminary step was contemplated and that it should not be allowed to be scuttled.

Justice Suguna, pointing out that the public notification of acquisition proceedings under Section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act was the first step before the authorities embarked on the acquisition proceedings, said the action of the authorities was not backed by any express legal provision.

Accepting the undertaking of the government pleader, the judge then adjourned the matter to February 12 for further hearing.

Paint Fading in one year is manufacturing defect
02 FEB
If the paint starts peeling off an expensive car within a short time, it would be deemed as a manufacturing defect, National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission decided.

Consumer court slaps Rs 3K fine on SBI
3 Feb 2009, 0629 hrs IST, TNN
AHMEDABAD : A consumer court in the city has slapped fine of Rs 3,000 on State Bank of India for making frantic calls to a credit card holder. Credit card holder Prashant Mankad, who is a lawyer had made purchases worth Rs 37,000 in November, 2006. Mankad had to make payment in 24 equal monthly instalments each of Rs 2,200.

However, despite paying the outstanding amount, he got frequent recovery calls due to bank’s error from its headquarters in city as well as Delhi. Customer care executives used harsh language over phone. He brought the issue to the notice of bank’s customer care, but things were not sorted out.

Finally, he filed a complaint before Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum, Ahmedabad, and court quashed and set aside bank’s statement as well as outstanding amount after holding that Mankad’s calculation was correct. Bank was also asked to pay Rs 3,000 to Mankad for causing mental harassment that led him to file the complaint.

Lawyer briefs Raju ahead of Sebi interrogation
4 Feb 2009, 0114 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: The ex-chairman of Satyam Computers, B Ramalinga Raju, had a briefing from his advocates in the Chanchalguda jail on Tuesday ahead of his forthcoming interrogation by Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) officials.

Raju, who is learnt to have been given cryptic answers to his interrogators from the CID when he was given to police custody for five days, will face the investigators of Sebi for three days from February 4.

According to prison sources, Ramalinga Raju was visited by his advocate S Bharat Kumar in the morning and by another colleague of his in the afternoon on Tuesday after news trickled in that the Supreme Court had allowed a Sebi petition to question Ramalinga Raju and his brother B Rama Raju, ex-managing director of Satyam, in the fraud.

Bharat Kumar told TOI that he had no permission to be present during the Sebi questioning unlike during the CID interrogation of Ramalinga Raju.

According to Chanchalguda jail superintendent M Chandrashekar, the jail manual has laid down a procedure only for the questioning of an accused by the police in the jail. In Ramalinga Raju’s case, his interrogators will come from Sebi and not the police.

If the police were interrogating him, according to the jail manual, it would have to be done in the presence of a prison officer. That would mean he would have to be questioned in the jail officer’s cabin.

But now that Ramalinga Raju’s interrogation by the Sebi was permitted by the Supreme Court, jail officials said it would be done as per the court’s orders.

“We will facilitate the questioning in whatever manner we are asked to do,” Chandrasekhar said. He said if a separate room has to be provided for the purpose, it will be done so.

“No third party will be allowed into the barrack where the accused has been lodged during questioning,” he said. Though in prison for last several days, Ramalinga Raju still preferred to confine himself to his barrack and is not mingling with other prisoners, sources said.

Clear Ranganathan St encroachments: HC
4 Feb 2009, 0326 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: Ranganathan Street is once again in news for the wrong reasons. Taking upon itself the task of clearing encroachments on the street, the Madras high court has directed the Chennai corporation and the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), the regulatory bodies, to nominate officials to carry out the task and file a joint report in the court before March 2.

Passing further orders on a public interest writ petition filed by social activist Traffic K R Ramasamy on Tuesday, the first bench asked the corporation commissioner and CMDA member-secretary to nominate officials by February 10, so as to execute the removals. The authorities should make an on-the-spot inspection of Ranganathan Street, Madley Road and Natesan Street from February 17 and submit a joint report in the court by March 2.

The bench, comprising the Acting Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice V Dhanapalan, also stipulated that Ramasamy should also accompany and assist the members. The matter has now been adjourned to March 3.

Ramasamy filed the petition in the wake of a fire accident at Saravana Stores on September last, stating that fire and rescue services could not reach the building in time, due to the encroachments on the street.

As per the Corporation records, Ranganathan Street should be 31-feet wide. However, the road space has shrunk over the years, with the traders encroaching indiscriminately.

Extension of frontage of buildings by traders and signboards protruding into the street poses problem for the free flow of pedestrians. A few days ago, civic authorities started demolishing unauthorised structures on the street as per a high court order.

But, on Tuesday, Ramasamy told the judges that officials had left much of the encroachments on the street untouched. Obstructions on Ranganathan Street were caused not by hawkers, but by traders, he said.

In a counter affidavit, Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni stated that two officials in the engineering department were suspended following the irregularities, pending disciplinary proceedings. He said D D Anand, junior engineer and V Mani, assistant executive engineer, were facing disciplinary action for their failure to prevent the unauthorised construction of Saravana Stores on Ranganathan Street.

Ahmedabad serial blasts: Five more chargesheets filed
4 Feb 2009, 1225 hrs IST, PTI
AHMEDABAD: The city police have filed five more chargesheets in connection with last year’s serial blasts here, which claimed the lives of 57 people.

All the chargesheets have more than 1,000 pages each and blame Indian Mujahideen (IM) and SIMI operatives for the explosions, Crime branch officials said.

The documents give details of how the different IM modules worked in coordination to successfully execute the terror attack.

“Roles of Gujarat, Mumbai, Delhi and Karnataka IM modules, who worked in tandem to carry out the attack, as well as that of each individual in the modules have been described in detail in the documents,” the officials said.

The chargesheets filed in the designated court here related to blasts at Sarkhej, Maninagar (two cases), Kalupur and Vatva areas, the officials said.

“There were 21 blasts in different parts of the city on July 26, 2008. The Crime branch has treated each blast as a separate case and has been filing chargesheets in each case,” they said, adding chargesheets in the remaining cases would be filed soon.

The documents have named 54 accused and 47 absconders in the Sarkhej case, including alleged masterminds of the blasts Amir Raza Khan, Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal, 44 accused and 48 absconders in the Maninagar case and 43 accused and 45 absconders in the Vatva and Kalupur cases.

Microsoft centre for IIT law school
4 Feb 2009, 0350 hrs IST, Pallavi Guha, TNN
KHARAGPUR: The Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur launched the Microsoft centre of excellence in intellectual property (IP) law on Tuesday. While IIT-Kharagpur is the only such institute to offer legal studies, its law school is the only one to provide a dedicated course on IP laws.

Microsoft director (public policy) Ankhi Das said: “IITKharagpur is possibly the sole institution in India having the unique convergence of both technological and legal aspects of IP. So, we have decided to associate with them.”

IIT-Kharagpur dean of sponsored research and industrial consultancy PP Chakrabarti said: “Most research scholars are too busy to apply for patenting . This is where IP law professionals come in. This school is committed to promoting techno-legal education and this partnership with Microsoft will help us take it forward.”

The partnership, initially for three years, will involve a funding of Rs 66 lakh and cover areas of outstanding research.

“This centre of excellence will initiate more research work apart from foundation courses on IP laws,” said S Tripathy, head of the law school.

“After completing engineering , I decided to study IP law to understand the legal language of technical issues. This centre will help take our projects ahead,” said Priyanshu Rajiv, a student.

Parents of dead student move court
4 Feb 2009, 0349 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: Parents of Iftesham Chowdhury, who died last November, allegedly after being slapped by a teacher, moved Calcutta High Court, demanding Rs 50 lakh as compensation from the school.

Iftesham’s father Masiar Rahaman Chowdhury and mother Najneen also sought a CBI probe into how and why the teacher was granted bail on the day she was arrested.

The eight-year-old girl was a Class-II student of Vidyabharati School, Mominpur. On November 27, yoga teacher Anita Das slapped her in the class. Iftesham fell down and her head hit the wall.

In the next class, she complained of headache and collapsed. She was admitted to Calcutta Hospital. Next day, the girl died. The postmortem report said cerebral hematoma was the cause of her death.

Police charged the teacher under Section 304 IPC for causing death by rash and negligent act. On December 6, 2008, Das surrendered before the Alipur chief judicial magistrate and was granted bail. Lawyer Tapas Bhanja pleaded for Iftesham’s parents.

Seat-belt drive: 2,249 cases registered in two days
4 Feb 2009, 0350 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: The city traffic police have initiated a massive drive to make seat-belts compulsory while driving four-wheelers from February 1. In just first two days of the drive, the traffic police have registered 2,249 cases and have collected Rs 2.29 lakh as fine. An offender is charged Rs 100 as fine for not following the seat-belt rule.

Inspector Vijaykumar Palsule of the traffic branch said, as per the supreme court guidelines, four-wheel light motor vehicles, manufactured after 1994, need seat-belts for drivers. However, very few people in the city are in the habit of wearing seat-belts while driving. “On the third day after we initiated the action, however, we have observed that 70 per cent commuters have started wearing seat-belts,” Palsule said. The drive will continue, he added.

All 28 traffic police divisions in the city are instructed to take action against offenders of the seat-belt rule. In the last two days, most cases were registered in the jurisdiction of Vishrambaug, Deccan Gymkhana, Shivajinagar, Pune Cantonment and Hinjewadi divisions, Palsule said.

Seafaring community hopes for action as SC raps Centre
4 Feb 2009, 0022 hrs IST, KALYANI SARDESAI, TNN
PUNE: Even as the Supreme Court raps the Centre for its inaction to put in place a set of guidelines for safeguarding the interests of the Indian seafarers aboard foreign vessels, especially against the spurt of highjacks by the Somalian pirates, the city’s seafaring community which consists of over 500 families is hopeful of change.

The court had said that it had received no satisfactory report on the steps taken to streamline the recruitment system of seamen and investigation into hijacking incidents, despite its September 24, 2008 directive at the height of the drama over the hijacking of MV Stolt Valor.

The remarks from the bench of Justices R V Raveendran and Aftab Alam was the result of a petition filed by the relatives of Indian seafarers who had been serving on ships Jupiter 6′, MV Rezzak’ and Stolt Valor’. Their counsel pointed out that laxity on the part of the government in taking prompt action in such incidents could endanger many more lives.

The bench told the Centre: “You have not taken enough action. Why are you not participating in investigations properly? What action has been taken against manning agents? Why do they not report such cases in time? You should voluntarily do something. You are carrying out an order casually. Do lives of Indians have no value?”

Speaking to TOI, Commodore Rajan Vir, president of the Indian Maritime Foundation, said: “Well, it’s a fact that the government does not care much for the safety of seafarers. Matters are not helped by the fact that our capital is in Delhi far away from the sea. Indians are not a sea-minded people, despite being a major maritime country with a coastline spanning 7,500 kms. For the authorities based in Delhi, the sea is a distant entity,” he said, adding, “In fact, I would liken this attitude with that of the Mughals, who believed that the sea frontier would take care of itself. Foreign traders came in, invaded the country and yet the lesson went unlearnt.”

Vikram Sangra, a chief officer with a container outfit, emphasises the need for well-defined regulations. “There are a lot of provisions for Indian registered ships but not the foreign registered ones. But, the fact is there are lots of Indians on-board foreign ships as well. Shipping laws need to elaborate on this score. But it will happen only when the directorate general of shipping proposes the change,” he said. Sangra has been on as many as three ships in the Somalian waters. “I still remember August 19, 2008. I was on the bridge, keeping watch. In those few hours, as many as two ships were hijacked. And there was only one coalition warship in the vicinity,” he recounts the scary episode.

Sagar Kurelkar, a captain with a tanker outfit, said oil tankers primarily take two routes both equally vulnerable to pirate attacks in order to carry oil from the Gulf countries to America. “The first is via the Cape of Good Hope, the other is through the Strait of Babel-mandap (which leads to the Red Sea and the Suez). On both routes, you have to pass the Somalian coast. Despite keeping several hundred nautical miles off the coast, the attacks continue,” he says. He suggests that merchant vessels are provided escort ships by the countries importing and exporting the cargo.

Homeopaths want govt to amend Act
4 Feb 2009, 0602 hrs IST, Preetu Nair , TNN
PANAJI: Faced with frequent criticism of cross practice, homeopaths and ayurveds in the state are now demanding that the state government amend the Goa Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy Council Act, 2001 and grant them permission to practice allopathy.

It may be recalled that the National Integrated Medical Association (Goa state) had written a letter to health minister Vishwajit Rane to “protect the rights of Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM) graduates to practice modern medicine”. The letter read, “The definition mentioned in the Goa Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy Council Act, 2001 is to be replaced by the definition of ISM which is notified by the Central Council of Indian Medicine. Section 39 of the said Act should be amended to protect the right of ISM graduates to practice modern medicine”. The letter was sent on January 1 this year.

Referring to a Supreme Court order in 1998 which said, “The position with regard to medical practitioners of Indian medicine holding a degree in integrated courses is on the same plane in as much as if any state Act recognizes their qualification as sufficient for registration in the state medical register, the prohibition contained in section 15 (2) of the 1956 Act will not apply”, the ISM graduates have demanded that the state government amend the Goa Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy Council Act, 2001.

Signed by NIMA chairman Vinayak Prabhudessai, the letter also reads that the state has got a right to have a notification of its own concerning the rights of ISM practitioners. It also says that in Maharashtra, the government has allowed ayurvedic practitioners enrolled in the state registrar of practitioners of Indian medicine to practice the allopathic system of medicine.

However, government sources said that no decision regard has been taken yet.

HC will decide Rohit’s bail status on March 2
4 Feb 2009, 0611 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: On March 2 the high court of Bombay at Goa will hear the arguments of the accused and the prosecution in the alleged rape of a German minor girl by education minister Atanasio “Babush” Monserrate’s son Rohit, and take a final decision on whether the bail issued to the accused by the children’s court should be cancelled and if the case should be handed over to the CBI.

Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar had taken suo motu cognizance of the complaint filed by the German girl’s mother in October, 2008 accusing Rohit of raping her daughter.

On Monday, the division bench adjourned the case to the first Monday in March after advocate general Subodh Kantak told the court that the police have filed a chargesheet against Rohit under IPC sections 376, 354 and 293 and Section 8 of the Goa Children’s Act and the police submitted the same to
the court.

Lawyers to lose Rs 1.5cr per month
4 Feb 2009, 0011 hrs IST, Ajay Sura, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Even as the Centre is yet to notify the Criminal Procedure Code (amendment) Act, 2008, lawyers in the Tricity are already feeling the heat. Opposed to the change that empowers the police to grant bail to an accused, throwing out the age-old practice of people hiring counsels to fight their cases, the legal fraternity is already counting its losses.

When the law is implemented, criminal lawyers will be the most affected, losing out hefty amounts in the form of fees they charge to bail out their clients. With a majority of cases pertaining to theft, hurt, cheating, snatching, forgery, harassment for dowry etc being heard for granting of bail, a district court lawyer – who normally charges anything between Rs 2,000 and 20,000 depending on the case and expertise, now stands to lose all.

“Lawyers of Tricity’s district courts will suffer a loss of almost Rs 1.5 crore every month,” said an advocate. The figure is arrived at considering that in Chandigarh, there are around 800 practitioners, Panchkula – some 500, and 200 in Mohali.

Voicing his dissent, president, District Bar Association (DBA), Chandigarh, NK Nanda said, “The amendment will support criminals and increase corruption in the police system.” Echoing the thought, Manjeet Singh Chauhan, president, DBA Mohali, said, “Apart from our monetary loss, society will be the worst sufferer, particularly the poor.”

Warning of a loss of judicial sanctity, Panchkula DBA president Ajay Chaudhary said, “You can expect criminals to hold society to ransom.”

Meanwhile, bar associations of north India have announced a complete strike and protest march to oppose the move on February 18.

Lawyers strike work in Tricity district courts
4 Feb 2009, 0010 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Protesting against provisions of sections 41 and 309 of the Criminal Procedure Code (amendment) Act, 2008, which give police discretionary rights in arresting the accused in an offence punishable up to seven years in prison, lawyers in Tricity’s district courts struck work on Tuesday.

The daylong agitation – in continuation of nationwide protests by district court lawyers across the country warning of a law and order problem due to the amendment – was complete in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, with not a single legal adviser appearing in court. Even as work in the Punjab and Haryana High Court was not affected, advocates wore red badges to express their solidarity.

In Chandigarh, lawyers spent the entire day inside a tent installed in the court complex. With resentment also rising among a majority of new entrants in the legal world who aspire to be criminal lawyers, young Mohit Sareen said, “The amendment is not in public interest and the police system that is already corrupt will become more corrupt.”

CJM turns down plea against narco test
3 Feb 2009, 2115 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: Chief judicial magistrate (CJM), Suresh Chandra on Monday turned down the demand of the accused MLA, Abhai Singh, to not conduct his narco analysis/brain mapping test in a double murder case. The court directed him to appear before the medical board on February 5 for the said purpose.

The judge ordered him to co-operate in the matter or be ready to face legal action. The judge passed the order keeping in view the fact that the high court had already rejected Singh’s plea for not forcing him for narco test.

On Monday, Singh filed an application before the court saying that he has already been granted bail in the murder case. He is in jail in connection with another case. So he cannot be put in police custody in the instant case. The court rejected the application and said that the investigation was still on in the case.

Petition for election symbol: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL), seeking elephant as election symbol for BSP in the states of Assam and Sikkim also, has been moved in the high court on Monday. The PIL will come up for hearing in the court on February 4.

The petitioner, Vinod Shanker Mishra, has pleaded that before gaining national party status, the BSP had elected elephant as election symbol in Uttar Pradesh. The Election Commission of India (ECI) allotted the same symbol to Assam Gana Parishad in Assam and Sikkim Sangram Parishad in Sikkim. According to the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968, the ECI can allot the same symbol to different parties having state status. The national party is allotted a symbol which is used across the nation.

The petitioner’s lawyer, Ashok Pandey argued that since BSP has been granted status of a national party and granted elephant as its election symbol, the Assam Gana Parishad and Sikkim Sangram Parishad should be allotted different symbols.

Court order to implement retirement schemes: The high court has directed the UP Avas Evam Vikas Parishad to implement pension, family pension and gratuity schemes for its employees. The order was passed by the bench of Justice UK Dhaon and Justice BA Zaidi on the writ petition of Preetam Singh.

The petitioner’s lawyer, UN Mishra submitted that the financial status of the parishad is excellent and it is capable of paying pension to its employees.

Chawla to be next poll panel head: Centre
– Law minister says chief election commissioner first among equals, enjoys no primacy
New Delhi, Feb. 2: Navin Chawla will be the next chief election commissioner in keeping with the long-established convention of “appointing the senior-most election commissioner as the CEC”, the government said today.
Chawla will be at the helm of the Election Commission, overseeing the 2009 general elections, as soon as outgoing CEC N. Gopalaswami retires on April 20 despite the latter’s recommendation that Chawla be sacked over his alleged “partisan” conduct as election commissioner.
Law minister H.R. Bharadwaj said so in as many words on the sidelines of a conference of law secretaries and state registrar generals at the Vigyan Bhavan here. “I will advise the President (through the Council of Ministers) to appoint the senior-most election commissioner as the chief election commissioner,” Bharadwaj said.
His ministry, which forwards proposals for appointing and dismissing election commissioners, will process Chawla’s appointment papers soon, he said. The government will also begin the process of appointing a third election commissioner to fill the vacancy that will be created by Gopalaswami’s retirement, he said.
“The government will not hesitate in processing papers for appointment of the next CEC and as per convention the senior-most gets it,” Bharadwaj said.
Bharadwaj added that the government would stick by the affidavit given to the Supreme Court in which it had shrugged off allegations against Chawla.
Replying to a court notice on an NDA petition seeking Chawla’s removal, the government had told the court on July 24, 2006: “The allegations do not make out any case of illegality and/or impropriety which would warrant the initiation of further steps by the government to seek the removal of Chawla.”
Today, the law minister said: “As you know, once an affidavit is filed in court, it cannot be withdrawn. I have personally found nothing against him. What is the relevance of the Emergency now?” The minister was referring to allegations that Chawla was party to misdeeds committed during the Emergency.
Bharadwaj, however, said his ministry was “examining” Gopalaswami’s recommendation and would send a “reply” to the Election Commission in a “day or two”. “Chawla is the senior-most member of the Election Commission. We have received a letter from his colleague against him. The law ministry is examining it and will send a reply to the EC in a day or two.”
Article 324, which was cited by Gopalaswami in an earlier affidavit to assert his power to seek the removal of a colleague, only offers constitutional protection to the CEC against arbitrary removal by the government of the day, the minister said. It confines itself to stating that he can be removed by “impeachment”, Bharadwaj said.
“It is intended to protect the independence of the Election Commission. It does not give the CEC the power to punish other election commissioners,” he said. “The CEC has no primacy. All are equals. Like the CJI (Chief Justice of India), the CEC is the first among equals.”
He can write to the law ministry but his recommendation is not binding on the government, Bharadwaj said. “Even Soli Sorabjee, who was attorney-general during the NDA regime has said so,” Bharadwaj pointed out.
He said the process of removal of any election commissioner would have to be first initiated by the government. “Even in such a case where the government has sought the CEC’s opinion on removal of the election commissioner, his opinion is not binding.”

Minister slams bribery in judiciary
Legal Correspondent
Nobody has power to get case registered against a sitting judge, he says
New Delhi: Union Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj on Monday asserted that the in-house procedure evolved in 1997 to probe cases of judicial misconduct and corruption had failed to yield the desired results, and sought a review of the mechanism.
Mr. Bhardwaj told journalists that corruption in judiciary was a serious disease, which the in-house mechanism had failed to cure.
Asked to comment on Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan’s nod for interrogation by the CBI of judicial officers and certain High Court judges allegedly involved in the Ghaziabad Provident Fund scam, he said, “nobody, including the CJI, has the power to get a case registered against a sitting judge for a CBI or police probe in a misconduct matter.”
On the CBI’s move to question a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High court in the cash-on-door scam, he said: “I have no hesitation to say that police is not an answer to investigate the judiciary. Unless you denude a judge of his office of judge, you cannot prosecute him. Do you want a High Court judge to appear before a magistrate? Ordering police investigation against a sitting judge was bad in law. The judiciary should do serious thinking on how to remedy its own disease. It is one of the finest pillars of the government and the state and on it depends the rule of law.”
Mr. Bhardwaj said: “The CBI and the police have no power to prosecute a sitting judge. The Constitution has a provision that a judge’s misconduct has to be inquired into under the provisions of the Judges Inquiry Act. You must amend the Constitution, if you want to bring in a change in the system. Nobody has the power to register a case against a judge. You first impeach the judge and then prosecute him as a normal person.”
To a query whether the government proposed to pass the Judges Inquiry Bill, he said as the coming Parliament session would be a brief one it would not be possible to pass the Bill now. It could be passed in the next session. “The government cannot thrust anything on the judiciary as we firmly believe that the judiciary should remain independent.”
Asking the judiciary to ponder itself over the ills it was facing, he said: “How can the judiciary be protected from the serious disease, which is slowly eating into the vitals of the institution. It is for them to give a serious thought. Let there be a collective decision that insulates judiciary from all types of corruption. It is a new problem which needs to be examined.
“I wanted to give the in-house mechanism a statutory backing by which there is a permanent administrative headquarters in the Supreme Court and the aggrieved party can lodge a complaint and the CJI and his colleagues will have to decide the complaint.”
On the CJI’s recommendation to impeach Calcutta High Court Judge Soumitra Sen, he said: “the CJI’s inquiry has no role in the impeachment of a judge. An impeachment move against a judge has to be initiated by MPs and then the Speaker or the presiding officer sets up a peers committee — comprising a sitting judge, a retired judge and a jurist — to re-investigate the charges again. I am examining the issue and will soon take a decision.”

HC to govt: Appoint female doctors
3 Feb 2009, 2248 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: The high court has directed the state government to take steps for appointing female doctors at primary health centres (PHCs) and community health centres (CHCs) in rural areas of the state. The court also directed the government to make fresh appointments of doctors and post them in these centres.

The order was passed by a division bench comprising Justices Pradeep Kant and Ved Pal on a public interest litigation filed by Asha Srivastava. The petition stated that women have to face serious problems in rural areas as female doctors are often not available in health centres.
As a result, women patients fall into the trap of private hospitals which charge exorbitant fees from them. Further, the petition said that, there are 3,820 government hospitals in rural areas but only 32 female doctors have been appointed in these hospitals.

Varsity scam: HC acquits key accused
4 Feb 2009, 0208 hrs IST, Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN
NAGPUR: The prosecution in the Nagpur University’s infamous marksheet and revaluation scandal suffered a huge setback when the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court set aside lower court conviction of seven in the case including three key accused.

Three key accused let off by the HC are former dean of engineering faculty Hemant Thakre, scrutiniers Madhukar Smarth and Shyam Kalamkar. Their convictions were quashed along with those of four beneficiary students. The court also directed the university to return their degrees of the students.

The court said the prosecution had failed to prove the charges. This verdict continues the trend of acquittals seen in the scam-related cases since the removal of R P Joshi as special public prosecutor. The four beneficiary students acquitted are Rajendra Yadav, Anil Gupta, Mohammed Ishaq and Shailesh Tupkari.

Additionally, the scam kingpin Yadav Kohchade and scrutinier Prabhakar Hejib were convicted in only one case and their sentences were also reduced from twelve and half years to five and half years.

The verdict from single-judge bench of Justice R C Chavan on appeals of beneficiary students and others. Only one student Laxmikant Zade, along with Kohchade and Hejib, was found guilty. The HC has absolved Ishaq of all charges but held Kohchade guilty while reducing his sentenced to five and half years.

Court rejects Mamu’s remand plea
3 Feb 2009, 2249 hrs IST, TNN
VADODARA: A city court on Tuesday rejected three-day remand application of Rafiq Pathan alias Mamu made by Raopura police station officials. Pathan is accused of stealing three vehicles from the city, which he and his associates used in the murder of a Surat-based businessman in 2004.

Sources in police said the court ordered Mamu to be sent back to Surat jail for the time being.
Mamu, who is allegedly a Dawood aide, had shot Vipul Bhalala an electronics goods showroom owner in Varachcha, Surat in 2004 had surrendered in Surat a fortnight ago.

During interrogation, he confessed to having stolen three bikes from Vadodara, following which Raopura, Fatehgunj and Sayajigunj police station officials areas from where bikes were stolen filed cases of stealing against Mamu.

Raopura police had registered a complaint of motorcycle theft. Investigations led police to associates Mehboob Pathan and Imran Sindhi, Mamu’s associates and contract killers, who were later arrested. As a chargesheet had been filed against both and they were already presented before court, the court on Tuesday rejected his remand plea. Meanwhile, Vadodara police are pinning their hopes on a transfer warrant application they have filed to interrogate Mamu.

HC rap for district courts
3 Feb 2009, 0606 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Strong words of criticism against functioning of lower judiciary in the Capital have emanated from the Delhi High Court.

A division bench comprising Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Aruna Suresh on Monday, passed scathing strictures against the way trials are being held in the district courts of Delhi, specifically, the manner in which witnesses are being examined. It has asked the district judge to circulate HC’s concern, recorded in a verdict to all sessions judges and those from Higher judicial Service.

“While hearing criminal appeals, we have noticed a good number of disturbing features pertaining to sessions trial. The instant case has compelled us to pen down our experiences which, needless to state, are not reflective of a healthy and a vibrant criminal justice delivery mechanism,” the HC bench noted while remanding the case of a man convicted by a lower court for murdering a woman, back to lower court for trial. The court granted bail to the accused while he faces a fresh trial.

A dismayed bench noted how witnesses were being declared hostile by sessions judges even with “minor decrepencies in a statement.”

“We have been noticing that a witness of the prosecution suffers a temporary memory loss and isn’t answering a question put to him by a prosecutor. The witness is immediately declared hostile.”

HC cited other cases where “witness wrongly names an accused and is immediately declared hostile even when statement is otherwise fully supportive of the prosecution.”

The bench said witnesses are not being properly cross examined and judges are not giving proper hearing to objections raised by accused. This led to the impression that “judges who recorded the evidence were not alive to what was happening in the court,” HC observed lamenting how certain instances showed a lack of understanding of “elementary law.”

In the rape trial on which HC’s observations came, the judges were astonished to see that statement of a child witness were recorded by the sessions judge without the court putting any questions to him to ascertain if he has grasped the questions being asked from him.

HC seeks expenditure details on Nilgiris elephant corridor
3 Feb 2009, 0334 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has called for the details of government expenditure on acquisition of revenue lands for creation/resumption of elephant corridor in the Nilgiris.

The first bench comprising the acting chief justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice V Dhanapalan gave the direction on a public interest writ petition filed by advocate Elephant G Rajendran, on Monday.

If the district collector of the Nilgiris fails to furnish the status report showing the steps taken to remove all encroachments from revenue land, as stipulated in the first bench order dated Septemer 30, 2008, the court would issue summons to him on February 19 when the matter comes up for hearing next.

According to Rajendran, some persons had encroached upon a land effectively obstructing the elephant corridor between Silent Valley and Bandipur. He said a revenue land mass of about 60 meter lying near Mayar Pallam and Valaithottam, leading to obstruction of passage of elephants besides man-animal conflicts. Even recently, two elephants died due to electrocution caused by illegal high-voltage wire fence erected by encroachers.

On September 30, 2008, the High Court had directed the district collector to remove all encroachments from the revenue land identified for development of elephant corridor.

On Monday, Rajendran filed a memorandum pointing out that despite the lapse of four months, no appreciable actrion had been taken by the district collector, prompting the bench to call for expenditure details by February 19.

B Chandra Kumar is new HC judge
3 Feb 2009, 0421 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: B Chandra Kumar, currently working with Hyderabad city civil court as its chief judge, has been appointed as a judge of AP High Court. The news of his appointment has reached the HC on Monday officially.

Chandra Kumar, the son of a freedom fighter, B Ramachandar of Adilabad had completed his law degree from Osmania University in 1973 and had practised law in Adilabad upto 1988. After practising in the high court from 1988 to 1993, he was appointed as district judge in 1993.

He served as principal district and sessions judge, Nellore before coming to city civil court as its chief judge.

Tenancy cases: Govt locks horns with HC
3 Feb 2009, 0452 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: The state government is at loggerheads with Calcutta High Court over ways to sort out tenancy cases, which are pending adjudication for years. And, in the process, the state is mulling an ordinance against what the high court has observed.

In a recent order, the Calcutta High Court has challenged the powers of the small causes court and the tenancy tribunal, that are empowered by the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act to hear out disputes related to tenancy cases, along with the City Civil Court.

The high court held that the tenancy tribunal and the small causes court were not the appropriate bodies to judge these cases. Instead, the City Civil Court was the right forum and parties preferring an appeal could move high court straightaway.

The state government, on the other hand, is not ready to come to terms with the high court order. For, hundreds of cases, lying in the City Civil Court for five years, are standing in the way of justice, said an official.

So, the state government is weighing the option of promulgating an ordinance reinforcing the powers of tribunal and small causes court to hear tenancy cases.

Polluting units: HC asks Board to submit report
3 Feb 2009, 0140 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Refusing to lower the ante on pollution caused by various meat-producing units in Dera Bassi, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday granted two weeks time to the Central Pollution Control Board to submit a detailed report after conducting inspection of such units, including those of Punjab Meats Limited, and disclose whether these met various anti-pollution parameters or not.

The directions by division bench of chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur and justice Hemant Gupta came in the wake of hearing on a host of petitions, including the one filed by Village Environment Bachao Welfare Committee. Incidentally, during the previous hearings also, the HC had asked the chairman of the Central pollution board to conduct an inspection of these meat producing units but it wasn’t carried out. The judges wondered if there was a motive behind non-inspection or it was a case of plain laxity.

Also, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) had told the HC during previous hearing that it had framed a draft policy introducing significant changes in its functioning but the judges were not convinced.

The said policy stipulated that instead of a year, the PPCB (while granting clearance to operate) would give units only three months to check the adequacy of their pollution control devices.

Counsel for PPCB, AR Takkar, had stated that its officers would strictly follow the instructions and if any officer was found uilty in this regard, action would be taken against him.

HC tells CBI to disclose proof in Jalgaon murder
3 Feb 2009, 0251 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court, hearing a petition seeking a fair probe into the murder of Jalgaon Congress leader Vishram Patil, was informed by the petitioner’s lawyer that there was significant evidence in the matter which the CBI ought to disclose. The court asked the CBI to disclose the additional evidence.

The case shot to prominence after the victim’s widow alleged that President Pratibha Patil’s brother, G N Patil, was linked to the conspiracy and moved the HC for a detailed CBI probe.

The widow’s lawyer, Mahesh Jethmalani, on Monday said there was “fresh evidence which the CBI had suppressed from the chargesheet and which it ought to produce before the HC”. He said there were two disclosure statements of main assailants Raju Mali and Raju Sonawane on a panchnama where they said they met three persons, including the President’s brother, before they committed the murder.

Jethmalani also asked for narco-analysis reports of Sonawane, conducted in December 2006 as well as his taped interrogation to be produced in court. He added that G N Patil was using a different mobile, not in his name, for a few days leading up to the murder. The matter will continue to be heard on February 24.

HC curbs on change in land use of DLF greens
3 Feb 2009, 0556 hrs IST, Sumi Sukanya & Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN
GURGAON: Coming to the rescue of parks and green areas in residential pockets of DLF, the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently ordered that no green area as shown in the sanction plan shall be converted for any other use.

However, the order allows director of town and country planning (DTCP), the licensing authority, to let authorities such as NHAI use the green belts and spaces along the national highways for widening of such roads.

Pronouncing the judgment on a PIL filed by DLF Qutub Enclave Colony Association, the HC said the plans, as sanctioned on December 9, 2008, shall remain frozen for the land use and no inter-change of community sites shall be permitted.

Disposing of the case on the basis of an undertaking filed by the director of DTCP on December 16, 2008, the court directed that in cases where the site originally was reserved to be a green area but was converted to another use by revision of the plan, the DTCP would consider feasibility of restoring the area as a green area. However, this would be subject to condition that no third party besides government and developer interest in respect of that area had been created by the developer.

In its order the court directed that DTCP would entertain the complaints from the petitioners or from other citizens regarding the violations of the sanctioned plans for Phases I to IV, DLF and take appropriate action for removal of such violations after proper verification.

The residents association had filed a PIL against the Haryana government and others in 2001. In its appeal, the association had sought court intervention for supervision and restraining the government and private developer from converting parks into commercial and residential development. It also pleaded with the court to direct the government to remove unauthorized structures that have come up on sites earmarked for parks in the originally approved layout plan of the colony.

Speaking to Times City, R S Rathee, president of Qutab Enclave Residents Welfare Association, said, “There is nothing to celebrate since the court did not direct DTCP to remove the violations, which have already happened on a large scale. Now almost no space is left.”

HC threatens to stay ST allotments
3 Feb 2009, 0608 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday indicated it might stay the DDA housing scheme vis-a-vis Scheduled Tribe (ST) allotments if the civic agency failed to convince why it threw open the doors of the scheme for the ST category across the country.

Though not staying the allotment of flats under the DDA’s recent draw mired in allegation of rigging, a division bench comprising Chief justice A P Shah and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said they were inclined to stay the process. And gave DDA a last chance to seek instructions from the LG on the issue and make the government’s stand clear while fixing February 9 as the next date of hearing.

The high court was hearing a petition filed last month by one Prem Chand through his lawyer K V Dhananjay questioning the logic of DDA permitting applicants under the ST category from other states to participate in the draw.

The petitioner had sought an immediate stay from the court on allotment of the flats till completion of investigation into the alleged irregularities. According to the petitioner, under the DDA Act the housing body is not entitled to accept the applications filed by the people who were residents of states other than Delhi as it itself is a `local authority.’

Dhananjay argued DDA’s stretched the law to extend the scheme to all ST’s across India and pointed out how it wouldn’t benefit even Scheduled Tribes of Delhi domicile because the number of flats available was extremely small compared to those who applied.

HC saw merit in this argument and asked DDA to seek instructions to render a satisfactory explanation or else face the possibility of seeing the draw process for ST’s stayed, as sought by Dhananjay as an interim relief.

In December last year, after DDA held the draw for allotment of 5000 flats under the housing scheme a complaint was registered claiming irregularities in the draw. The Economic Offence Wing of Delhi Police’s Crime Branch is probing the case. So far, seven persons, including Laxmi Narayan Meena a former SBI employee and a resident of Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu, have been arrested in this connection.

HC seeks details on Raj’s bail
3 Feb 2009, 0243 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday sought details of proceedings of a Kalyan court on the day MNS chief Raj Thackeray was released on temporary bail in October last year.

The court, headed by Justice R P Sondur-Baldota, was hearing an application by the state government seeking cancellation of the bail granted by the Kalyan sessions court.

On October 22, 2008, while hearing Thackeray’s anticipatory bail plea in connection with a case registered with the Kalyan Government Railway Police, the judge stayed the transfer warrant (transferring his custody to the GRP)till further hearing leading to the MNS chief’s release. The state has claimed that the judge erred in delivering the order.

The prosecution’s case was that a magistrate had already granted him bail in a rioting case at Manpada police station and ordered him to be transferred to the custody of the Kalyan GRP in another case. Subsequently, the magistrate recalled his transfer order, claiming it was a clerical mistake.

The prosecution said the anticipatory bail application had become infructuous since the magistrate had already handed over Thackeray’s custody to the GRP. The sessions court, therefore, had no jurisdiction to stay an arrest, the state said.

Court summons to city BJP corporator
3 Feb 2009, 2224 hrs IST, TNN
VADODARA: A city criminal court on Tuesday ordered police to issue summons to BJP corporator Sana Thakore of Makarpura area for threatening a labourer’s family. Thakore and his men threatened them to vacate their hutment in Makarpura GIDC.

According to sources in court, Thakore and his men have been pressurising Manish Kataria and his family to vacate their house near General Mechanical factory in Makarpura GIDC estate.

On December 26, 2008, when Kataria had gone out with his brother to bazaar, Thakore accompanied by his men allegedly barged into his house. Not finding Kataria there, he terrorised his sleeping mother and told her he would burn her alive. When the woman called city police control room, Thakore and his men fled.

However, Makarpura police station officials allegedly took no action against Thakore despite receiving a written complaint. Meanwhile, the municipal councillor allegedly continued to threaten the family. Fed up of threats, Kataria moved criminal court on Tuesday and got the summons order.

Bar members protest against amendment of CrPC
4 Feb 2009, 1741 hrs IST, TNN
BIJAPUR: The Bar Association members here on Tuesday, observed total strike protesting the amendment of Sections 41 and 309 of the CrPC and Section 2(c) of the limited liability partnership act by the Parliament.

The advocates went around the city in a bike rally and submitted the memorandum to the law and parliamentary secretary, through the deputy commissioner.

The memorandum stated, “The amendment of the Act is anti-public and anti-society and it will seriously affect the efficiency of legal administration, of which the police and the law courts are the two limbs.”

Bar president Azad Patel, office bearers D G Biradar, S S Durgad, Ashok Binjageri, senior advocates P S Tankasali, S N Math, S N Sollapatti, A B Patil, S P Dixit, Nagathan, Talikoti and many others participated in the rally.

HC tells builder to pay money to buyers
4 Feb 2009, 1845 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has started tightening the noose on the erring builder of the illegally constructed Lila Kunj apartment,

situated at Beli Road here. The bench comprising Justices Amitava Lala and Arun Tandon on Tuesday directed the builder to pay margin money to the buyers of the flats in the Lila Kunj apartment by March 2 through cheques. The court in its order said that it will pass the necessary order for the balance amount on the next hearing in the case.

The bench passed the order on a writ petition filed by Anand Kumar Pandey and several others, who have sought quashing of the notices given to them by the Allahabad Development Authority (ADA) for the demolition of the illegally constructed flats of the apartment.

The bench passed the order after hearing both the sides on the issue of compensation to the allottees of the apartment. An affidavit was filed by the residents of the apartment stating that they had vacated the flats in compliance of the high court order. ADA had also filed an affidavit and produced a joint inspection report prepared by the district administration and the ADA officers on the present position of the apartment. It was mentioned in the affidavit that residents had vacated their flats and that demolition work has been started.

The court after hearing the arguments directed the builder, RK Ojha, to pay the margin money to buyers of the flats and fixed March 2 for the next hearing in the case.

The builder’s counsel tried to convince the judges about the various problems being faced by his client but the court refused to accept the plea. The bench said the builder cannot go back on the undertaking given by him in the court on the payment of compensation.

Law and order reviewed
4 Feb 2009, 1921 hrs IST, TNN
VARANASI: Law and order in the city was reviewed by the principal secretary (home) Fatesh Bahadur and director general of police Vikram Singh, on Tuesday. This was done with the aim of the forthcoming parliamentary polls, said the DGP to reporters before leaving the city for Lucknow.

Its our duty to ensure that weaker section is not deprived of their voting rights, he said. Fielding of candidates with muscle power by political parties will not affect the morale of police. A proposal had been sought from the SSPs and SPs to ensure that permanent outposts were created at the needed places, he added.

He expressed his unawareness towards the changes made in the structure of state police by the government. He said that the decisions of government were taken in the interest of people. He said that his duty was to ensure the proper implementation of the decisions of government.

IG zone, Gurudarshan Singh, DIGs of three ranges, DMs, SSPs and SPs of 10 districts were present at the meeting.

Judiciary may crack whip on protesting advocates
3 Feb 2009, 0335 hrs IST, A Subramani, TNN
CHENNAI: The higher judiciary, miffed at Friday’s unpleasant events when protesting advocates booed judges and manhandled law officers, may crack the whip to discipline the legal fraternity.

As a prelude to its efforts, a committee of judges had a meeting with bar leaders and sought their suggestions to ensure that the court does not see such nasty scenes again. “They wanted our suggestions, in order to discuss them in the Full Court meeting of all judges on Tuesday,” said a participant, adding that some of the bar leaders expressed regret for Friday’s incidents.

It may be remembered that protesting advocates dragged out advocates and law officers on Friday, bringing the court proceedings to a halt. Advocates, who had already declared indefinite boycott of court proceedings, were taking out the rally demanding immediate halt to the war on Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Monday also witnessed rallies, fast programmes and road blockades at the High Court premises as well as near the Dr Ambedkar Government Law College nearby. The rally, however, was calm and incident-free, as most of the court halls were empty and attendance of advocates too was thin.

Earlier, an emergency meeting was held by the Madras High Court Advocates Association president R C Paul Kanagaraj, following which a relay fast, in which 50 advocates plan to take part each day, commenced. When over a dozen law students were picked up after they too sat on fast, advocates blocked road at Broadway for a while demanding the immediate release of students. Immediately after release, the students resumed their fast.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Advocates Association president S Prabakaran sent a representation to the U.S. president Barack Obama, seeking his intervention to prevention a humanitarian catastrophe in Sri Lanka. He said the island-government had been blocking humantarian and medical aid to civilians in northern Sri Lanka, and added that neutral observers and independent media had been denied entry to that region.

Sebi gets SC nod to interrogate Raju
4 Feb 2009, 0251 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court permitted the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Tuesday to interrogate former Satyam chairman B Ramalinga Raju and his brother, Rama Raju, in connection with the Rs 7,800 crore fraud. ( Watch )

Sebi’s investigator, Sunil Kumar, will interrogate the two brothers at the Hyderabad jail over the next three days.

Frustrated by the perplexing refusal of a trial court in Andhra Pradesh to let the Securities and Exchange Board of India question Raju, the stock market regulator on Monday moved the Supreme Court to gain access to the alleged mastermind of the country’s biggest-ever corporate fraud.

Appearing for Sebi on Monday, solicitor general G E Vahanvati told a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam that there was an urgent need to question Raju and his brother B Rama Raju, the former managing director of Satyam.

Significantly, while the plea was primarily against the trial court’s refusal to let Sebi interrogate Raju, it appeared to reflect widespread apprehension that the regulator might not get the required cooperation from the Andhra Pradesh police to enable it to question the politically influential promoters of Satyam.

With Sebi repeatedly being denied access to Raju, there’s a growing sense that the state government is actually seeking to protect Raju. There’s even a strong theory–reported by this paper–that Raju surrendered before the police to pre-empt prosecution by US investors and regulatory agencies as well as federal Indian authorities such as Sebi.

In its petition, Sebi recalled it had promptly appointed an investigator and had issued summons to Raju to appear before it in Hyderabad on January 9, two days after he confessed to having cooked the company’s books. “Instead of appearing before the investigator, his lawyers took an adjournment until January 10 and he curiously surrendered before the police on January 9 evening, from which date the accused has not been available for inquiry by Sebi,” it said.

TN govt takes control of Chidambaram temple

Tuesday, 03 February , 2009, 14:26
Last Updated: Tuesday, 03 February , 2009, 14:27
Chidambaram (Tamil Nadu): Within 24 hours of the Madras High Court ordering that the Tamil Nadu government takeover the management of the 1,200-year-old Nataraja temple in Chidambaram town, K. Krishna Kumar began formally administering the shrine as its new executive officer Tuesday.

“All devotees will be able to offer prayers inside the temple uninterrupted. We have served the government’s order, taken over the administration of the temple from the Dikshitars (priests) and are now in control,” Krishna Kumar told IANS.

“The Dikshitars have indicated that they will challenge the order after obtaining a copy of the judgement. We will follow the orders of the court,” added Krishna Kumar, who is also the deputy commissioner of the state government’s Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department.

C. Navathandava Dikshitar, who heads a body of the priests, said: “The government took control without the judgement copy on the basis of a faxed order. As we are law abiding citizens, officials have been allowed entry and are running the administration. However, we will be challenging the orders shortly.”

“Our control goes back over 1,000 years and was sanctioned by divinity. Politicians with ulterior motives have now managed to wrest control of our historic temple and are attempting to snatch our livelihood,” he added.

Security beefed up in major TN temples following terror alert

Security at the shrine in Chidambaram, about 250 km south of Chennai, has been tightened to provide adequate protection to the devotees.

“Some 200 personnel have been pressed into duty to prevent untoward incidents. So far everything is peaceful and there are no signs of any trouble,” said Superintendent of Police Pradeep Kumar.

The court’s pronouncement was made after a 21-year-long litigation by U. Arumughasamy, a non-Brahmin Hindu holy man seeking permission to offer worship at the temple. To facilitate it, he prayed that the temple be administered by the government to accord equality to devotees.

The government alleged that the Dikshitars were mismanaging the temple. It cited absence of proper vouchers for expenses and prevention of the usage of Tamil in the sanctum sanctorum against the tenets of natural justice.

SC puts brakes on TN bull fights

The Dikshitars had opposed the petition, claiming it to be interference into the rights of a minority sect with hereditary rights to control the temple and had obtained a stay against a government order issued in 1987 to facilitate the takeover.

Worship in the temple has been an emotional issue for centuries. Legend has it that Lord Shiva had chastised the Dikshitars for the prevention of the entry of a Hindu Dalit devotee Nandanar into the temple.

Temple ‘purified’ after Dalit minister’s visit

While temple accounts say that the devotee “merged with divinity” upon his entry into the shrine, rationalists aver that he was killed and burnt by the priests and the story of his uniting with the deity were floated to hide the fact.

In recent times, there has been a dispute following hindrance to the worship of another Hindu god Vishnu who also has a shrine inside the complex besides a fracas over recital of Tamil hymns in praise of Lord Shiva.

Kerala temple in limelight for ‘reactive’ power

A section of the Dikshitars had opposed both the attempts, citing conventional practices leading to protests and brief arrests.

While the Nataraja temple is one of the five holiest symbols of the Shaivite faith, the Vishnu shrine inside its premises is also equally revered by the followers of Lord Vishnu.

HC stays land acquisition for Annupur thermal power project
Published: February 3,2009

Madhya Pradesh High Court stayed the land acquisition for setting up a 2000 MW thermal power station in Anuppur district following a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the acquisition.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice A K Patnaik and Justice Ajeet Singh yesterday stayed the land acquisition and also served notices on the state government and Anuppur Collector, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Jaithari Janpad Panchayat President, Ramlal Gond.
In the PIL, the petitioner stated that the state government had issued notification on December 17 last year for acquiring the land but had not mentioned the area on which the 2000 MW thermal power station of Major Ware Power and Infrastructure, New Delhi, will come up in Anupur.
As the notification had not mentioned the area, the farmers will not be able to file their objections under stipulated time if their land is acquired for the project under section 5 (a) of the Land Acquisition Act, the petition said.

Source: PTI

Gowda’s BMIC letter in Lok Ayukta’s court
3 Feb 2009, 0617 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: The decade-old BMIC row took a new turn on Monday with the Karnataka high court asking the Lok Ayukta to inquire into the allegations made by former prime minister Deve Gowda in his letter and the booklet addressed to the judiciary regarding anomalies in the multi-billion-road project.

The division Bench headed by the Chief Justice also passed a gag order asking the parties not to air anything in public either in media or by writing letters to judges about the issue anymore.

“Though embarrassed to receive such a letter about a matter pending before court, we treated it as a PIL to put an end to the whole issue. We don’t allow this court to become a political platform though this letter has given a way for that. Stop politicizing the issue. Nobody is above law. This kind of writing letters to judges and going to press about the issue should stop,” the Bench observed.

Earlier, Surendra Desai, counsel for Gowda, told the court that he would like to file an affidavit to come with more details. “The January 8 letter and the booklet enclosed with it were elaborate. The timing was inappropriate. We have taken conscious decision to treat the letter as PIL — it is a positive decision. We are not an investigative agency and don’t intend to do so either. So we want to place that before an appropriate agency. We don’t believe in any commission or committee probing the matter,” the Bench said.

Opposing the move, NICE counsel Jayakumar S Patil told the court that the decision of the court to treat the letter as PIL has been challenged before the apex court and it is coming up for hearing on February 6. He then requested for 4 weeks time to file objections to the letter.

The court first thought of CoD and then suggestion came from advocate general Udaya Holla and others about Lok Ayukta. After getting consent from government and counsel representing Gowda, the court entrusted the inquiry to Lok Ayukta. The Bench dismissed the PIL filed by a state DSS leader challenging the alignment of 41-km peripheral road and the decision of the state government to permit NICE company to collect toll from vehicles from December.

Govt employees strike continues
3 Feb 2009, 0359 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: Undeterred by a PIL filed against them in Patna High Court, striking government employees continued with their indefinite strike which entered the 26th day on Monday.

“We are yet to receive the court notice but as soon as it is served, we would prepare a detailed reply for its submission before the honourable court,” said Rambali Singh, general secretary of the Gope faction of Bihar State Non-Gazetted Employees Federation (BSNGEF).

Apart from the Gope faction, BSNGEF and Bihar Secretariat Services Association are the two other prominent unions which have given the indefinite strike call over the differences with the government on the modalities of implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations in Bihar.

Singh said trade unions too had extended their support to the striking employees. “Members of the trade union sponsoring committee have written a joint letter to the chief minister urging him to look into the demands of the striking employees,” he added.

Members of the Bihar Krishi Sewa Sangh, who too are on an indefinite strike from January 17 in support of their demand for declaring the agriculture service as premier service, on Monday held a meeting here to decide their future course of action.

“We have decided to organise a Kisan Panchayat on February 17 to explain our side to the farmers who have been suffering due to the strike call given by us,” Sangh general secretary Aditya Narayan Rai said.

Members of the Bihar Krishi Snatak Sewa Sangh, who joined this strike on January 21, too were present in Monday’s meeting.

Meanwhile, CPI(ML) leaders held a meeting on Monday to assess the preparations being made by the party cadre in support of the joint Bihar Bandh call on February 4 given by the party along with the two other Left parties, CPM and CPI.

Party state secretary Nandkishore Prasad directed the party workers to work hard for making the bandh call a grand success.

Oscars to be aired despite ‘A’ content
3 Feb 2009, 0336 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday allowed Star TV to telecast the Oscar awards ceremony even if some of the clippings of the nominated films contained some ‘A’ certified content.

Star TV moved HC on Monday for its nod since there was an order passed earlier in 2004 in a PIL preventing TV broadcasters from airing adult content on their the cable channels.

The channel’s counsel, Virendra Tulzapurkar, moved court to rule out any likely contempt proceeding if some uncensored adult-rated visual clips from the award ceremony were to aired in the February 22 telecast.

Mukesh Vashi, counsel for a local city activist, whose PIL led to the ban on adult cable content in the city, didn’t object to the plea made by Star TV.

SC puts states on notice over population control
3 Feb 2009, 0250 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: Appalled by the indifference of state governments to the implementation of the national population policy to tackle the problem posed by rapid population growth that put dwindling food stocks under strain, the Supreme Court on Monday put their chief secretaries on notice.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam in a terse order asked the apex court Registry to send reminders to the chief secretaries of 15 states, including Maharashtra
, Delhi, Karnataka, Rajasthan, UP, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Andhra Pradsh and Orissa. Only Kerala and Jharkhand have responded to the SC’s earlier notice.

Appearing for petitioner NGO `Azadi Bachao Andolan’, counsel Sanjay Parekh said that even states facing an acute problem due to demographic explosion have chosen to keep silent, and termed this as “worrisome”. The court gave the chief secretaries 6 weeks to ensure responses from respective states.

The PIL, pending for the last five years, has sought implementation of the ambitious National Population Policy-2000 strategising a gradual reduction in the population growth rate.

During the hearing in SC on November 10 last year, it was pointed out that NPP implementation has taken a massive hit as India is saddled with five crore more hungry mouths than it was envisaged.

The NPP-2000, which set the national socio-demographic goals for the year 2010, said if its strategies were implemented, India’s population, which is projected to be 116 crore by 2010, could be capped at 110 crore.

However, the population in the year 2008 is already 113 crore, as per the figures given out by National Commission on Population. This is five crore more than the average projection of population figure for the year 2008.

More importantly, it means there would be five crore more mouths to feed at a time when the government has banned export of non-basmati rice to avoid a famine-like situation, as has been admitted by the Centre in the Supreme Court.

Pursuant to the framing of NPP-2000, the National Commission on Population was constituted on May 11, 2000, but strangely, it took five years to hold its first meeting in July 2005. The court on Monday also sought a response from the Commission.

The PIL informed that India became the first country in the world in 1952 to launch a National Programme on Family Planning `to stabilise the population at a level consistent with the requirement of national economy’.

In 1976, a statement on the `National Population Policy (NPP)’ was given in Parliament linking population control to poverty reduction. But, it took another 24 years for the government to formulate and announce NPP-2000, the PIL said.

Access to Justice & Emerging jurisprudence in PIL cases
Aditi Gopalakrishnan and Pranav Sachdeva

[Both our guest bloggers are students of Campus Law Centre, Delhi University. Aditi (II year)and Pranav (III year) are also members of CLC’s seminar and discussion committee. We admire their enthusiasm in reporting this important lecture for us]

Mr. Prashant Bhushan, Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India delivered a lecture on ‘Access to justice and emerging jurisprudence in PIL cases’ at the Campus Law Centre, Delhi Law Faculty on Saturday, Jan.31. During the discussion, he dealt with many pertinent questions relating to the court’s changin