LEGAL NEWS 01.02.2009

Hearing on baby food research
Cuttack, Jan. 30: Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will hear a petition seeking ban on “pro-biotic” food supplement to infants in Khurda and Sundargarh districts for research purposes.
ICMR’s advisory committee has scheduled the hearing on February 11 in pursuance of an Orissa High Court order on a PIL petition.
Committee for Legal Aid to Poor, a Cuttack-based legal support advocacy outfit, had filed the petition. “We will present our grievances to ICMR in New Delhi on that day,” CLAP executive president Bikash Das said.
An American company had engaged Global Network for Women and Children’s Health Research Association to conduct research on newborn in the two districts by giving “pro-biotic”, a liquid baby food. The research could play a key role in checking neo-natal deaths.
CLAP had sought judicial intervention through the PIL alleging that the supplement violated the Infant Milk Substitute and Infant Foods Supply Act, 2003.

Govt college teachers may have to submit property details
31 Jan 2009, 0105 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: Following a recent order of the Bombay High Court, the state department for higher and technical education will draft a code of conduct restraining teachers of government-run and aided colleges from engaging in any other vocation or source of earning while in service. “The draft code will be ready in the next three months,” said J S Saharia, principal secretary to the department of higher and technical education, while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the sixth convocation ceremony of Deccan College here on Friday. Among other things, the teachers at all government-run and aided colleges in Maharashtra will have to follow steps on par with other government employees such as submitting details of movable and immovable properties every year and furnishing a written undertaking at the time of joining the service that they will devote full-time to teaching, training, research and not engage in any other business or income-earning activity. The move has been spurred by instances wherein teachers at the state universities and the affiliated colleges have been found engaging in other vocational activities like private coaching, building construction contracts and travel tour operation, a senior official at the University of Pune (UoP) told TOI. The issue figured in the hearing on a suomotu public interest litigation (PIL 2216/2006) initiated by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court regarding appointment of full-time principals at educational institutions. “The state government as well as the university should consider some disciplinary measures in respect of the teaching faculty in the government-run as well as government-aided colleges/institutes in Maharashtra so as to ensure that they devote their full time for education, research and training,” stated the order passed by the division bench of Justices B H Marlapalle and A H Joshi on December 8, 2008. The court’s order goes on the elaborate a few measures like submission of property details and written undertaking. Asked about the state’s response, Saharia said, “We have no option but to draft the code as sought by the high court. We are talking to all stakeholders in this matter for the purpose of finalising the code.” Members from the teaching community have, however, raised fears that the move may end up putting an excessive clamp on their bonafide activities like writing a book or contribution to journals. “Unless it is clearly defined as to what constitutes the income earning activity that should attract disciplinary action, the code can be misused for settling scores,” the UoP official said. According to Saharia, the state department would take this concern into account while drafting the code. “We will define what exactly constitutes the kind of non-academic commercial activity which the court wants to prevent,” he said.

Fidelity raises stake in Satyam to 6.79%
BS Reporters / Hyderabad/ Mumbai January 31, 2009, 0:43 IST
Scandal-hit Satyam Computer Services today said Fidelity International (FIL Asia Services Pty Ltd) has purchased 3.62 per cent shares, raising its stake in the company to 6.79 per cent.
The open market purchase was done by FIL and its direct and indirect subsidiaries, Satyam said in a filing to the stock exchanges. Satyam shares surged by 8.43 per cent to close at Rs 54.05 on BSE. This move makes FIL, which earlier held 3.17 per cent stake, the second-largest stakeholder in Satyam after Larsen & Toubro (L&T), which currently has a 12.04 per cent stake in the IT company.
R Shankar Raman, executive vice-president (finance), L&T, told analysts in Mumbai today that the company has invested a total of Rs 650-670 crore in Satyam till date. Around 4.48 per cent stake in the company was acquired through L&T Capital. Later, L&T directly acquired below 8 per cent stake. The company had begun purchasing Satyam stock since December 2008.
“The company has a pool to make investments and will make investments depending on both organic and inorganic opportunities. However, we have neither allocated nor earmarked any specific amount for Satyam,” clarified Raman. The company has an outstanding cash and cash equivalent worth Rs 4,500 crore in books.
J P Nayak, president (machinery & industrial products), L&T, explained, “What happens in the case of Satyam will be decided by the Satyam board and not by L&T. Since we don’t know the Satyam board’s decision, we cannot comment on increasing stake or further investments in the company.”
This paper has reported that in the first official acknowledgment of L&T’s interest in taking over Satyam, the Department of Corporate Affairs (DCA) said in a note, written in the last week of January, to the finance ministry that L&T Chairman A M Naik has expressed interest in acquiring a sufficient stake in Satyam to take management control.
Maytas Infra board meets
Earlier in the day, there were confirmed reports that Maytas Infra’s wholetime director and President (transportation, oil and gas) Chander Sheel Bansal has resigned from the company. However, the company issued a statement later that he would continue on the board in the same position. The company management met today at a short notice and appointed B Narasimha Rao as additional director with effect from today. It also accepted the resignation of independent director and Chairman R C Sinha and wholetime director and CEO P K Madhav.
HC defers hearing of Sebi plea
Incidentally, hearing on the writ petition filed by Sebi in the Andhra Pradesh High Court seeking to record the statements of Satyam founder B Ramalinga Raju and his brother Rama Raju, has been postponed to February 9. The high court, though, has said it would issue a notice to the superintendent of Chanchalguda jail, where the Raju brothers are lodged, to ask both of them to respond to the Sebi plea.
The Nampally court has returned the application filed by Serious Fraud Investigation Office seeking permission to record the statements of Raju brothers and former Chief Financial Officer Srinivas Vadlamani citing non-maintainability of the plea.
Meanwhile, V S Raju, director on the board of Hyderabad-based Nagarjuna Construction, announced his resignation.
Two PILs were also filed in the high court in the day in connection with the fraud. An advocate, Soubhagya Lakshmi, filed a PIL, seeking judicial Inquiry into the activities of the beleaguered IT company and the two Maytas firms promoted by the Raju family. Another PIL was filed by P Narayana Reddy of Kadapa district challenging the allotment of Rs 121 crore of road works to Maytas.
Infra by the state government on a nomination basis.
The government pleader told the court that this decision was being reconsidered. The high court bench comprising justices A R Dave and Ranganathan said the case would be taken up for hearing two weeks later if the government did not withdrew its order by then.
Also, V S Raju, director on the board of Hyderabad-based Nagarjuna Construction, announced his resignation. He was a former director of IIT Delhi and also one of the directors of Satyam when it made an abortive bid to acquire the two Maytas firms. Along with former Cabinet Secretary TR Prasad, he remained with the company till the Centre superseded the Satyam board and inducted new members.
FIRM continues to be Bombardier’s vendor
Amid reports that big clients of scam-tainted Satyam Computer may move work to other vendors, Bombardier, one of the top 30 clients of the IT major, today said it is continuing the existing contracts with the firm. In a letter to Satyam’s Board member Tarun Das, Canada-based Bombardier said, “The company has always been very satisfied with the work of Satyam’s 285 associates.”
We look forward to maintaining relationship with Satyam.” The letter further added, “In these times of uncertainty, we strongly support the Indian government’s measure to provide continuity and stability to Satyam. We hope that the government will make sure that the human capital and assets involved in the engineering centre will be preserved.”
IOB HAS around Rs 92-cr exposure to Maytas
Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) has said its exposure to Maytas Infrastructure, the subsidiary of IT major Satyam, is around Rs 92 crore as on January 2009. IOB will be the first Chennai-based bank to report this. Bank’s Chairman and Managing Director on Friday said the bank is dealing with the infrastructure company for the last four years and the lending started from Rs 50 crore and as on January 30, 2009 it is around Rs 90 crore. He did not comment anything further.

MMRDA trims skywalks on public demand
31 Jan 2009, 0217 hrs IST, Chittaranjan Tembhekar, TNN
MUMBAI: Bowing to public demand, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has altered the routes and narrowed the widths of at least a dozen skywalks planned at Mulund East and West, Virar (E), Wadala (W), Vile Parle (E), Sewri (E), Kurla (E), two skywalks at Dadar (E), Bhandup (W) and the one at Naigaon. The width of all skywalks has now been reduced to four metres. According to the MMRDA sources, the width of few of these skywalks could be trimmed further to keep `reasonable and adequate’ distance from the residential buildings close to them, especially in crowded narrow lanes like in Dadar (East). MMRDA decision comes following the Bombay high court directive not to allow hawkers on the skywalks. The directives were issued by the court after shopkeepers and residents in Dadar (W) and Grant Road filed a PIL challenging MMRDA’s skywalk plans. According to Additional Chief Engineer Anand Kumar Pahal, Naigaon skywalk would be converted into a road bridge as demanded by the citizens there. Of the total 61 skywalks, MMRDA is constructing 49 skywalks while 13 skywalks are being implemented by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC).

Gaya DM, others told to appear in Bodhi tree case
31 Jan 2009, 0104 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: Patna High Court on Friday issued directives to the Gaya DM and senior officers of the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, to appear in the court on February 9 in connection with a PIL filed by one Arup Brahmachari.
He has challenged the current practice of tying cloth pieces around the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya by devotees. He has claimed that this practice causes damage to the tree as termites and other insects grow on the cloth pieces.

SC to hear another PIL relating to Mumbai terror attacks
Published: January 30,2009
New Delhi, Jan 30 The Supreme Court today agreed to hear a PIL seeking strengthening of the coastal security of the country in the wake of Mumbai attacks in which the terrorists used the sea route to reach the metropolis.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan did not issue notice but decided to tag it with the PIL filed by former Attorney General Soli J Sorabjee in which directions have been sought for equipping the police and the security forces with modern weapons.
The petition filed by a Mumbai-based scribe Ramesh Kantilal Shah drew the attention of the court about the coastal route used by the terrorists to strike hotel Taj which is very near to the sea.
The PIL filed by Sorabjee has alleged that the terrorist attacks in Mumbai have exposed that weapons used by police are no match to the arms and ammunition carried by terrorists.
The court on December 12 last had issued notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Sorabjee, had narrated incidents of the November 26 Mumbai terror attacks, particularly with reference to shooting at Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus, where the ill-equipped police failed to counter the offensive of the terrorists.
The Bench is likely to hear Sorabjee&aposs PIL in February.
Sorabjee, who was the AG during the previous NDA government, pointed to 18 major terrorist incidents since the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts to support his contention for arming the police force with modern weapons to thwart any attack while creating an atmosphere where citizens&aposright to life is protected.
Source: PTI

File plea on release of life convicts before HCs, says SC
Published: January 30,2009

New Delhi, Jan 30 The Supreme Court today asked a petitioner to approach different High Courts with his plea for releasing on bail life convicts who have served more than 14 years in different jails in the country.
“It is difficult for us to go into your prayer. If it was relating to a particular state we could have seen,”a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said and asked the petitioner to approach different High Courts having jurisdictions over the states where these jails are situated.
“You can make representation before the High Courts,”the Bench said after which advocate M K Balakrishnan, who had filed the PIL decided to withdraw it.
The advocate said he filed the PIL for release on bail of the life convicts who have served more than 14 years as such step would help in easing the already crowded jails where inmates are staying in pitiable condition.
The Bench, also comprising Justice P Sathasivam, said the plea can be consider by the respective state governments after receiving reports from the jail committee.
Source: PTI

CJI Balakrishnan admits to misuse of dowry laws
1 Feb 2009, 0323 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Dealing a blow to women’s rights activists who have been stringently defending the Section 498A provision of the Indian Penal Code, Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on Saturday said that in some cases this section — that deals with matrimonial cruelty — was being `grossly misused’. Elaborating on false cases being filed in recent times, the CJI said that relatives not involved with a matrimonial dispute were unfairly implicated. “In some cases, 498A is grossly misused,” he said. Balakrishnan was speaking at a seminar, `Marriage laws — issues and challenges’, organised by the National Commission for Women. The IPC section allows for immediate arrest of the husband and in-laws by the police on the basis of a woman’s complaint and has been controversial. Several pro-male organisations have been protesting against the section saying that the law is being misused by women for selfish gains and should include a penalty provision against its misuse. But women activists have been lobbying for no change in the law. Faced with adverse comments from the CJI, National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Girija Vyas said that it was lack of awareness that led to false cases under 498A. “I would not like to use the term misuse. There is lack of awareness amongst people that is exploited by lawyers and police. We feel there is no need to review the law,” Vyas said. CJI Balakrishnan added that it was because of cases of misuse that the recent amendments in the Criminal Procedure Code had been enacted by Parliament. He, however, added that while the amendments were acceptable they should have been discussed threadbare in Parliament before being passed. “The amendments are good. They have given relief to those arrested on false accusations. The police has to give reasons before they arrest anyone. Unfortunately, Parliament passed the legislation without discussion,” Balakrishnan added. Commenting on the CrPC amendments, Vyas said that there had been demands from NGOs that the law be reviewed and the Commission was examining the matter.

High court relief for Prez’s husband
1 Feb 2009, 0229 hrs IST, Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN
NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court has dismissed criminal proceedings started by Jalgaon-Jamod district court against Devisingh Shekhawat, husband of President Pratibha Patil, related to abetment of a school teacher’s suicide. The court, however, gave its nod to continue proceedings against Pralhad Jadhav, principal of a school run by Vidya Bharati Shikshan Prasarak Mandal at Gunghad in Jalgaon district. A single-judge bench of Justice Arun Chaudhari has also set aside court proceedings against three others including school secretary Genda Singh Chitthore, school panel chairman Darya Singh Rajput and Suresh Singh Shekhawat in the same case stating that “there was no proof of direct involvement of the petitioners” in the case. Shriram Palshikar was the counsel for petitioner Shekhawat. According to advocate Palshikar, the case pertained to alleged suicide by Kisan Dhage, an assistant teacher in a school run by Vidya Bharati Mandal of which Shekhawat was president. Dhage had joined the school in 1977. On November 15, 1998, he ended his life. In his suicide note, Dhage blamed Shekhawat and four others for harassment. The police then registered the case against Shekhawat only after the Dhage’s widow, Mangala, approached a court of judicial magistrate first class at Jalgaon-Jamod

Drug accused acquitted after sleuths goof up
1 Feb 2009, 0247 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
Mumbai: Failure to read an accused his rights at the time of arrest proved dear for the police. Seventeen years after a Pune resident was arrested for allegedly selling brown sugar and sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment, the Bombay high court recently acquitted him. The reason: The police forgot to inform the accused, Abdul Qureshi, that he had a right to be searched before a magistrate or a gazetted officer. “(Qureshi’s) conviction is bad and deserves to be set aside,” said Justice Vijaya Kapse-Tahilramani. “The prosecution has failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he was informed of his `right’ of being searched before a gazetted officer or a magistrate.” Qureshi was arrested on June 9, 1991, from Taj Bakery Lane in Pune while allegedly trying to sell brown sugar. The police recovered seven paper packets containing 2.4 gm of brown sugar. Six months later, a sessions court held him guilty under the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and sentenced him to 10-year rigorous imprisonment. The court also slapeed a Rs 1-lakh fine on him. Qureshi challenged the verdict in the high court. Claiming that Qureshi was falsely implicated in the case, his lawyer Sharmila Kaushik argued that was not informed of his “right” during the search. Under Section 50 of the NDPS Act, if a person has to be physically searched, on prior information that he may be in possession of some narcotic or psychotropic substance, then he has to be told that he had a right to be searched in the presence of a gazetted officer or a magistrate. The law further states that if the officer or magistrate feels he can order immediate discharge of the suspect. In NDPS cases, the onus is on the accused to prove his innocence if drugs are found in his possession. Additional public prosecutor Vithal Konde-Deshmukh told the court that the police had asked Qureshi whether he wanted to be taken to a gazetted officer or magistrate, but he had declined. The court, however, was not convinced. The judge pointed out that the recovery panchnama as well as the statements of the complainant and recovery panchas (witnesses) were silent on whether Qureshi was informed of his right or not. `Merely asking an accused whether he wanted to be searched in presence of a gazetted officer of a Magistrate cannot be treated as communicating to him that he had a “right” under the law to be searched in presence of a gazetted officer or a Magistrate,” said the judge. Agreeing with the defence that the police’s conduct had prejudiced the rights of the accused, the court ruled that the conviction could not be upheld.

Court extends JC of 4 in DDA flat scam till February 14
1 Feb 2009, 0650 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: A trial court on Saturday extended the judicial custody of four persons, allegedly involved in the DDA flat allotment scam, to 14 days. Additional chief metropolitan magistrate Digvinay Singh sent Deepak Kumar, the whistleblower of the scam, DDA ex-official M L Gautam, Laxmi Narayan Meena and Raju Ram to JC till February 14. The court also denied bail to Dinesh Drall, who had allegedly opened a forged band account from which two cheques were issued by Deepak to fill the application forms. Rejecting the bail plea of Dinesh, the court said the investigations were at initial stage and granting bail would hamper the investigations. Seeking his bail, the counsel for Dinesh had said he had been questioned by the police and the police had recovered all the evidence so his custody was no longer required. The court also fixed the hearing of the bail matter of Raju Ram for February 4. Earlier, the court had sent Satbir Singh, who allegedly forged the election card to open a bank account from where cheques were issued by the whistleblower in the DDA flat allotment scam, to judicial custody till February 6. The court had also sent Dinesh Drall to 14 days judical custody.

Lady constable dismissed for bribe gets no relief from CAT
1 Feb 2009, 0914 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: A lady constable, who was caught on camera while taking bribe, has got no relief from the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) which upheld her dismissal from service. Rajni, 33, was sacked after being caught red-handed in a sting operation carried out by a news channel in which she was shown accepting money for lodging a report of a missing mobile phone of a person. The tribunal, also comprising member N D Dayal, after going through the visuals concluded that there was no inconsistency in the video footage while making it clear that it had no doubt about its genuineness. The tribunal announced the verdict while disapproving the suspicions raised by Rajni over the veracity of the CD alleging that the footage had been tampered with using “camera tricks”. “To say that all such CDs have necessarily been changed by editing with a view to falsely trap people, concoct events and mislead viewers and cannot be believed without comparison with the original, would be too sweeping a principle to be acceptable,” CAT Vice Chairman M Ramachandran said. Rajni was appointed as a constable in Delhi Police in 2002 on compassionate grounds. Both the enquiry officer and the disciplinary authority found her guilty after departmental proceedings were initiated against her. While rejecting her plea, the appellate authority said that it was proved “beyond any reasonable doubt” that Rajni accepted bribe and said that there was no reason to have any apprehension about the genuineness of the video.

CIC makes it easier to access court records
1 Feb 2009, 0652 hrs IST, Abhinav Garg, TNN
NEW DELHI: In a ruling that promises to make it easier for litigants to access judicial files/records from courts, the Central Information Commission has made it clear that courts can’t rebuff RTI pleas on the ground that the information asked should be asked for via Evidence Act. The Act requires a person to apply for “file inspection” and leaves it to the discretion of courts to approve the plea. If allowed, a litigant is granted certified copies of a case document, having legal sanctity. The Central Information Commission’s ruling takes out this discretion of courts and says under RTI Act, court administration will have to provide the information demanded, unless it is exempted from disclosure under RTI itself. With a section of Evidence Act overlapping with provisions of RTI the newer act Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi decided in favour of the information seeker, holding that the RTI Act will have an over-riding effect on any other law, in this case the Evidence Act, for instance, when there is an obligation on a public agency to disclose information. “If a public authority has a process of disclosing certain information which can also be accessed by a citizen using RTI, it is the citizen’s right to decide which route he wishes to use. The existence of another method for accessing information can’t be used to deny a citizen the right to information.. it is a citizen’s right to use the most convenient and efficacious means available to him,” Gandhi observed in a recent order, asking the PIO of Tis Hazari Courts in the Capital to supply information to one Vinay Kumar in 15 days time. Kumar had moved CIC in appeal after his plea under RTI for judicial files from a particular court in Tis Hazari complex was shot down by court administration. A lawyer by profession, he had asked for copies of “suit files and suit disposal records” of a judge from the period 26.2.93 to 31.3.93. The PIO declined Kumar’s request saying he should apply under Evidence Act and ask for a certified copy from the copying agency, a reasoning upheld by the first appellate authority, forcing Kumar to approach CIC. The PIO claimed before CIC that no information was “held” by court yet maintained a copy of old record could be furnished only after court’s permission, otherwise his disclosing would invite contempt action. But CIC countered, pointing out “there is no specific order of a court expressly forbidding the information from being published. PIO’s plea it would constitute contempt of court is without any basis.”

Court nod to narco test on ‘tainted’ cops, with a rider
1 Feb 2009, 0644 hrs IST, Smriti Singh, TNN
NEW DELHI: A trial court has allowed narco-analysis test of four accused in kidney racket case. The four, including three Delhi Police officers, allegedly took Rs 19.85 lakh from Dr Amit Kumar to turn a blind eye to his activities. Dr Kumar is prime accused in the multi-crore kidney racket. Allowing the narco-analysis of suspended Delhi Police inspector Rameshwar Khatri, ASI Ravinder Kumar, head-constable Devender and Shahid, the court said that even though chargesheet has been filed in the case, the test would be of “large aid in furtherance of the investigation”. But additional chief metropolitan magistrate Ajay Pandey also warned the prosecution not to make its case on basis of the statement given by the accused during the test. “The narco-analysis test in the present case would by a step in the aid of investigation and any self-incriminatory statement if made by the accused, shall not be used by the prosecution,” ACMM Pandey said. He relied on an order of the High court, which gives provision for scientific tests, including Narco-analysis, subject to the condition that the accused are not being compelled to be a witness against themselves. Seeking the permission for narco-analysis, the police had said the bribe amount and other articles, including Dr Upender Kumar’s computer, CCTV removed from his house and his Santro car used by the accused, had not been recovered. The prosecution also said the accused were giving contradictory statements. The defence, however, argued that narco-analysis would be an infringement of the fundamental rights of the accused. P N Verma, counsel for ASI Yadav said the accused had earlier refused to undergo the test. Manoj Taneja, counsel for Devender, too opposed the narco-analysis for his client. Giving time to the defence to challenge the order, the court said: “This order shall be operative after the expiry of three weeks from today (January 29). It is, however, clarified that the investigating agency may take tentative arrangements for the dates of narco-analysis test subject to further orders from this court or any other superior court.”

‘Only life imprisonment can be a deterrent’
1 Feb 2009, 0631 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE : Post-mortem reports of the four men who were killed in an accident on Indiranagar 100-Feet Road on January 24 reveals severe injuries above the waist. This clearly indiactes Karthik Somiah, the killer-driver, was driving at breakneck speed. Sundar Raman Ramanathan, son of Ramnath Panathur (one of the victims) and a medical doctor, told TOI he examined the bodies and the post-mortem reports closely. “All of them have suffered very serious chest injuries. My father’s chest was crushed. All the injuries were above the waist. There were severe fractures on the skull, ribs, shoulder bones and spinal chrd. This means the driver was literally flying, not just over-speeding. The car has taken off the road and hit them high up. For that to happen on 100-Feet Road, he must have been driving at 120-130 km per hour on a stretch where you’re not supposed to.” Ramanathan said he and his sister Bhuvaneshwari spent some time in the morgue the past few days. “It has been a horrific time for us. When we examined our father’s body, we were aghast at the scale of injuries. None of the walkers had a chance, or even a second to react.” “As a doctor, I can say the driver must have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs. I have driven in the US at speeds of 100 km an hour and I understand reflexes well. If you’re normal, you can bring the vehicle under control even at high speeds. The driver here obviously could not and did not. Not only was he driving abnormally fast, but possibly under the influence of alcohol.” He added that punishment should be so severe as to prevent such incidents in future. “We want Karthik to be sentenced for life. Anything less will not teach him a lesson. He has done this in the past and got away. We don’t want him to get away again. He has shattered our lives. He should ask himself whether he wants to live after what he has done.” The brother and sister said they were shocked Somiah has shown no remorse so far. “He seems to have no empathy, grief or remorse. We would have felt he was human if we had at least said sorry. It’s as though we are the sinners. He is a rich brat. Is he useful to his own family? He has killed four persons who served society well.” Ramanathan also suggested that laws be changed. “You can’t have a fast car without the right road. Change roads to accomodate speed. With faster cars, sentences handed out too have to be more harsh. If there is no severe punishment for overspeeding, nothing will change.”

Court orders fresh probe into death of Yeddyurappa’s wife
1 Feb 2009, 0639 hrs IST, TNN
SHIMOGA: A court in Shimoga has ordered the Doddapet police to reinvestigate the case of death of chief minister B S Yeddyurappa’s wife and submit a detailed report by March 31. The court of the second JMFC passed the order on a petition filed by lawyer Sheshadri, who had named seven persons – Yeddyurappa, his two sons, daughter Aruna Devi and three servants – as being responsible for Mythra Devi’s death on October 16, 2004. The lawyer had claimed that there was a conspiracy to murder Mythra Devi, that the parties involved had fabricated evidence, and that they were trying to get the police to file a B-report. Mythra Devi was believed to have drowned and died in a water tank in front of their house in Vinoba Nagar here. A post-mortem report said she had died due to drowning. However, the police mahazar had noted that the water tank was 8 feet deep, with an opening of 1×1 foot. The water level was 4 feet at the time of the incident, and Mytra Devi’s height was 5 feet and 5 inches. A tap just below the chamber cover would have made it difficult for anyone to fall into the tank.

SC judge flays protectionism
1 Feb 2009, 0409 hrs IST
HYDERABAD: Justice B Sudarsan Reddy of the Supreme Court criticised the “brazen attitude” of free market ecolytes in seeking protection of life and property as necessary for business to flourish while ripping apart the protective functions of the state.
Addressing a seminar on IT, cyber crimes & terrorism, organised here on Saturday by Law Asia International, the judge said that this elite with the prime actors of the establishment deprived the country of the necessary resources to perform its protective role in the last two decades. “What is spent on law courts is pittance. Police are underequipped and none of the state’s other protective fields, from environment to sanitation, have been allowed to be developed appropriately”, the judge said. “Terrorism undoubtedly poses grave threat to the welfare of the people, and needs to be dealt with an iron hand. But at the same time we must not give in to knee jerk reactions and change the laws and the basic form of our constitutional structure,” he said. The judge also ridiculed the demand for separate protection to IT and technology centres and said that the state should protect them as part of its broader responsibility towards all. “Protection and security of citizens is a non negotiable function of the state and it has to be done with minimal damage to liberty,” he said. “Civil society will emerge the ultimate victor in its fight against terror forces,” he said. AP High Court chief justice Anil Ramesh Dave, Gauhati CJ J Chelameshwar, Assembly speaker K R Suresh Reddy and others also spoke. T Sri Ranga Rao, president, city criminal courts Bar association, proposed a vote of thanks. He also brought to the notice of the audience the first action of the US president Barack Obama after assuming office is in respect of Guantanamo prisoners and through this he sent a clear signal that the knee jerk reactions and the consequent abuse of constitutional democracies have been over done and it is not necessary to protect ourselves. We need not decimate the broader values that have arisen out of long human struggle to curb power and constrain it for protective and empowering functions of the state, he said. We cherish those values, he said.

PIL alleges flaws in TNEB tender
1 Feb 2009, 0403 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: A petition filed in the high court has sought an order restraining the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) from processing the tender documents of a foreign company which has bid for the supply of five lakh tonnes of steaming coal. The petition, filed by Indiran Nanchil of Chennai, also wanted the court to direct the government to constitute a high-level experts committee to monitor the award of contract in tender specifications. According to the petitioner, the TNEB invited tenders for supply of five lakh tonnes of importer non-coking coal on October 25, 2008. The tender document prescribed that bidders from India must deposit Rs 3 crore as earnest money deposit, whereas bidders outside India must remit 7.5 lakh US dollars. However, the Dubai-based Coal and Oil Company LLC, deposited the earnest money deposit in Indian rupees. The variation of dollar exchange ratio has inflicted monetary loss on the TNEB, Nanchil said, adding that in spite of this lapse the Board authorities were processing the tenders of the Dubai company instead of rejecting the papers. Charging the TNEB officials with succumbing to extraneous considerations, the petitioner said interests of the public as well as the Board had not been ensured in the deal.

ASI demoted to constable moves HC
1 Feb 2009, 0001 hrs IST, TNN
AHMEDABAD : Mumtaz Ajmeri, an assistant sub-inspector till Thursday, was preparing for the GPSC examination to be held for selection of PSI. Since she does not have adequate educational qualification, she became eligible to take the exam after putting in 10 years as a constable, head constable and now an ASI. After applying for the post, she got the shock of her life this week when she came to know than she, along with nine others, was demoted to the post of constable, the post she began with, 10 years ago. With this demotion, she is automatically disqualified for the PSI post through competitive examination. Out of these 10 police personnel, seven had applied for the GPSC test on January 21, but now they have once again become constables. ASI till a few days ago at Sarkhej police station, Ajmeri began her job in 1999 as a constable. She was promoted in 2004 to the post of head constable, and in April 2008 she got another promotion as an ASI. In both instances, she stood first in the tests for promotion in the entire range. However, the letter she got intimating her of the demotion stated that the department had cancelled all promotions given on seniority basis, and henceforth the people will be promoted on basis of merit only. After becoming a constable once again, Ajmeri will not be able to take GPSC test and cannot become a PSI right now. For this, she will have to once again wait to become a head constable. Aggrieved with the department’s action, Ajmeri has moved Gujarat High Court claiming that the promotion she got was in accordance with the rules of the police manual. Her counsel argued before the court that the department’s act was in violation of the rule 70(8) and 70 (11) as well as of the department’s circular issued in 1997. Justice KS Jhaveri has issued notices to the concerned authorities including the range IG and sought explanation in this regard before February 5.

‘Arbitration need of the hour’
1 Feb 2009, 0505 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: Kiran Bedi, India’s first woman IPS officer and Magsaysay Award winner, wants to help people with her advice and arbitration skills through her popular TV show that follows a courtroom drama model. Bedi, who was in Kolkata to visit the Institute of Neurosciences, Kolkata, highly appreciated its founder Dr R P Sengupta’s efforts to set up the neuro hospital through donations. She even advised Dr Sengupta to approach the central government for funds. Money, she said, should not be a bottleneck for such a project. Bedi said that she wants to popularise the concept of arbitration so that disputes can be easily resolved out of court. She said that the cases that are telecast are regularly being followed up by NGOs and have changed many lives.

Contempt petition against Anjuna PI
1 Feb 2009, 0452 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: A contempt petition has been filed against Anjuna PI Ramesh Gaonkar for failing to investigate the role of Fiona Mackeown, whose negligence’ led to the death of her minor daughter Scarlett Keeling on Anjuna beach in February 2008. Scarlett was allegedly raped and killed. In a contempt petition filed before the high court of Bombay at Goa, advocate Aires Rodrigues said that despite giving an assurance to the court three-and-a-half months ago, the PI has not conducted the investigation nor informed him about the action taken. In his contempt petition filed on Friday, Rodrigues said that he withdrew his criminal application against Fiona after PI Gaonkar submitted before the high court on October 10, 2008 that an inquiry would be conducted and action in accordance with the law would be taken and the petitioner (Rodrigues) would be informed of the same.

HC slams Quepem cops for poor probe
1 Feb 2009, 0522 hrs IST, Preetu Nair, TNN
PANAJI: Eighteen months after she was allegedly murdered, officers of Quepem police station who are investigating the death of Iralina Noronha, a 61-year-old cancer and diabetes patient from Avedem, Quepem, have been asked to be present in the high court of Bombay at Goa to explain the delay in registering the offence. The court is hearing the bail application moved by Conceisao Noronha, 64, who was arrested for allegedly setting his wife on fire. While Iralina died on July 19, 2007, of burn injuries, the court observed that the Quepem police failed to register an offence for almost 40 days, despite her dying statement before the Quepem sub-divisional magistrate that she suspected some person in the house of setting her on fire. “While I was sleeping, I felt hit and I woke up. I realized that I had caught fire,” Iralina had told the SDM. A case of murder was however registered only on August 29, 2007 and Conceisao was arrested by the crime branch on December 29, 2008. While hearing the accused’s bail application on Friday, the court wanted to know why there was a delay in registering the FIR and adjourning the matter till Monday told the public prosecutor to ask the investigating officers from Quepem to be present in the court to explain the same. The records of this case reveal that it was transferred to the crime branch by the DGP on October 17, 2007. Before this, the case was registered as murder only after Iralina’s brother, in a 10-page letter to then SP (South) on August 23, 2007, asked that a “proper and speedy investigation into the murder of my only sister” be conducted and the criminals be brought to justice as per the law. The SP then instructed the Quepem PI who registered the case as murder. On the same day, the investigation was handed over to the Quepem SDPO with a note that “the family (has) alleged foul play in the death of the woman”. This delay, despite Iralina’s dying declaration where she had also said “while sleeping I never use divo (kerosene lamp) but always keep a torch with me”. However, during investigations, Conceisao told the police that he was sleeping in another room when at about 12.30 am on July 14 he heard his wife screaming and so he got up and rushed to her room where he saw that his wife had sustained burn injuries.

Petition filed against Goa cop in Scarlett case
1 Feb 2009, 1259 hrs IST, PTI
PANAJI: A social activist has filed a contempt petition against police inspector Ramesh Gaonkar for failing to investigate role of British mother Fiona Mackeown, in death of her teenage daughter, Scarlett in Goa. Aires Rodrigues, a social activist, has moved to the Goa bench of Bombay High court stating that police inspector Gaonkar, attached to Anjuna police station, did not probe Fiona despite assurance of investigations given to the court, almost three months back. Scarlett, a British teenager, was found dead on Goa’s Anjuna beach on February 18 last year. Rodrigues, who is also a social activist, had earlier moved to the state’s Child and women development department against the mother for leaving Scarlett alone in Goa on the day when her semi nude corpse was found on the shore. Rodrigues, who is a lawyer by profession, had stated that Fiona was holidaying in neighbouring Karnataka leaving Scarlett alone, which is an offence under Goa Children’s Act, 2003. The state Child and Women development department had disposed off the case as Anjuna police were investigating the angle of neglect in the sensational case. When the case was moved to the High Court, the state submitted that Anjuna police were inquiring into the neglect on part of Fiona. Moving a contempt petition on Saturday, Rodrigues has said that despite submission to the High Court, Anjuna police have not initiated inquiry against Fiona Mackeown.

Amend laws to protect coastal structures: Mickky
1 Feb 2009, 0447 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: Tourism minister Francisco Xavier Pacheco has urged Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik and his Lok Sabha colleagues to take up with the centre the possibility of amending the central law to provide relief to structures sought to be razed for alleged violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules. Stating that some structures existed several decades prior to the enforcement of CRZ regime in February 1991, he said that many of the 8,500 units comprised dwelling places of fishermen. “The MPs should use their good offices to impress upon the Union government to make some averments to the laws in force,” Pacheco said. “Most structures belong to people from lower financial strata of society and those engaging in fishing and small tourism related activities, and these people have no other source of income,” Pacheco said. The panchayat bodies in coastal areas had issued notices to 8,500 units in the wake of an order by high court of Bombay at Goa to initiate action against these structures raised in the 200-metre no development zone from the high tide line. They were also directed to file a compliance report within four weeks, which ends in third week of February. Stating that these structures along Goa’s entire coast also include dwelling houses of fishermen, the tourism minister said they had not kept a record of the house tax receipts and other documents due to their illiteracy and ignorance. Calangute MLA Agnelo Fernandes said that in the past he had taken up the matter with the government to regularise some structures unless there were blatant violations. However, the Rajya Sabha MP declined to comment on the issue. “It is a judicial pronouncement, and it is difficult for me to comment,” he said. Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Subhash Shirodkar expressed confidence that the Kamat-led Congress government would tackle the issue in an appropriate manner. “If need be, the committee will discuss and pursue the matter accordingly,” Shirodkar said.

Cow brought to court for identification parade
1 Feb 2009, 0456 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: Moo! A strange sound was heard near a court. And the sight of a cow just outside the court brought for an identification parade was stranger still. A large crowd gathered to witness a unique judicial proceeding in Valpoi, located about 70 km from state capital Panaji, where a cow made its appearance just outside a local magistrate’s court. The rusty brown bovine along with its owner was ordered to be present to complete the identification parade in a criminal case, filed at the Valpoi police station last year, where two men were accused of attempting to slaughter a cow. In 2008, the police had arrested two men for stealing the cow, which they were allegedly planning to slaughter. The cow was rescued and handed over to the owner, Mangal Desai, by the police. “As part of Saturday’s formalities, the cow was brought, so that the two witnesses could formally identify it as the same cow which was being taken to the slaughterhouse,” explained defence advocate Kala Dalal. The cow walked over a distance of 1.5 km, in a procession organized by the members of the Go Raksha Samiti (Cow Protection Committee). “We had filed the complaint last year against the illegal slaughterhouse. We have brought the cow to court in order to take the case to its logical conclusion,” Hanumant Parad, a senior member of the Samiti, said.

Manage Mapusa waste at Cunchelim: Court
1 Feb 2009, 0523 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa has dismissed a petition opposing the Mapusa Municipal Council’s (MMC) garbage dumping site at Cunchelim and has directed the authorities to “use the site only for storage, segregation and disposal of solid waste”. It may be recalled that about 32,050 sq metres of comunidade land had been acquired at Cunchelim village to dump the MMC’s garbage. The Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) had subsequently granted approval for the site. However, one Paul Souza and others had challenged the waste disposal site on grounds that the village would be affected by the plant as it is situated in close vicinity of their residential houses. The petitioner had also pointed out that the site would affect the natural streams, springs, water bodies and contaminate river and ground water in the village. While dismissing the petition for want of locus standi, the division bench comprising Justice P B Majmudar and Justice N A Britto have held that the petitioners “have no concern or interest in the subject land”. The court also opined that the fears expressed by the petitioners in the petition “appear to be unfounded as the site is at a minimum distance of 300 metres from the houses as well as water bodies”. GSPCB advocate S N Joshi earlier argued that only provisional approval had been granted for the site and assured the court that the site will be re-examined before final approval is granted. The court also observed that “although the past history of the authorities as regards the management of municipal solid waste has been rather dismal, it cannot be taken for granted that it will be so”. It further remarked, “If precautions are taken and specifications provided under the rules are followed, there will be no room for complaints from the point of view of environment or health hazards.”

Probe all judges concerned or I refuse to submit: Judge to CJI
1 Feb 2009, 0444 hrs IST, Vishal Sharma, TNN
CHANDIGARH: In her second “interim” reply to Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, justice Nirmal Yadav, a Punjab and Haryana high court judge accused in cash-in-bag scam, has stated that “unless an enquiry is ordered into all allegations against all judges concerned, I refuse to submit to such informal procedure”. Presently under the CBI scanner for Solan land deal, she has taken a rather defiant stand in the reply submitted on Friday, saying she “has the right to reject the enquiry” by the three-judge panel, headed by Allahabad high court chief justice H L Gokhale, as it has been done in a “lopsided manner”. She has further stated that “if the telephone numbers of the other judges of the high court (both official and personal) could be supplied to me, I am confident that it would reveal frequent telephonic contact between Sanjiv Bansal and other high court judges”. Bansal is one of the key accused in the scam. She also stated that the other lady judge accused in the scam was “well known to Sanjiv Bansal, his wife Renu Bansal having been her junior, and to Prakash Ram”. There was thus no question of delivery of amount to her by mistake. The very necessity of a “deeper probe” was to ascertain the truth and it was not directed against a particular judge but was required to be an enquiry against all judges concerned. She has also stressed that in-house probe was not binding upon her as is clear from the Supreme Court’s stand of May 1997 that it (in-house procedure) was only “informal and purely voluntary” in nature. Thanking the CJI for sending her the documents sought by her, justice Yadav claimed that she was sending the interim reply “because I have not yet received the copies of statements of witnesses recorded by the police”. Expressing surprise at the Gokhale committee’s failure to record the statements of Supreme Court and high court judges who were present at the other accused judge’s residence when Rs 15 lakh was delivered at her door on August 13 last year, Yadav said “they would have been the best witnesses to depose about the incident and it would not have been necessary for the committee to rely on the statements of clerks and persons of questionable antecedents”. Regarding the Solan land deal, she has stated that “the purchase of land in Himachal Pradesh by me, my family and friends was after following all laws of the land and on obtaining all requisite permissions from the state of Himachal Pradesh.” The total consideration for the land was Rs 5,52,000. The share of 18 co-purchasers amounts to Rs 30,666 each, she added. Telephonic contact In her reply to the CJI, justice Nirmal Yadav has stated: “The call records supplied to me reveal that the judge of the Supreme Court was in constant telephonic contact … both before the delivery of cash and thereafter. There are 25 calls between August 13, 2008, to August 20, 2008, from the phones of the Supreme Court judge and the other (HC) judge.”

HC orders merger of market yards
31 Jan 2009, 2050 hrs IST, TNN
RAJKOT: In a politically significant verdict, Gujarat High Court directed on Saturday that the Rajkot Marketing Yard (RMY) should to be merged with its segregated Padghari yard. Following the verdict, the ruling bodies of both yards will be dissolved and the panel in power at the time of split will resume charge. In July 2006, the Padghari yard, a state government-backed faction, had been created out of the Rajkot Krishi Utpadan Bazaar Samiti, also known as RMY, citing facilitation of administration of an expanding market base. The then Congress ruling panel with MLA Vitthal Radariya as the chairman was dethroned from power. Hardevsinh Jadeja, who was vice-chairman (currently in the BJP), had subsequently snatched away the chairmanship from Radadiya after a rebellion in February 15, 2008. Turning the tables though, Radadiya’s RMY panel will resume power for the remaining tenure of the old term i.e. two and a half years, and Jadeja will have to become the vice-chairman again. At a time when parliamentary elections are round the corner, this could create new equations in local level co-operative sector politics, experts indicated. Before the actual merger takes place, BJP has 12 members and the Congress has five, which is likely to change, giving back the hold to the Congress. The HC issued the directive on Saturday on a civil application that had been submitted by RMY Rajkot Jilla Panchayat member Purshottam Sawaliya. Soon after the split, Sawalya made the plea, demanding the remerger of the Padghari and RMY boards.

HC rejects Cong MLA’s petition
31 Jan 2009, 2059 hrs IST, TNN
RAJKOT: Congress MLA Kunwarji Bawaliya’s writ petition, challenging the handing over of Rahim Lohia murder case in which he is the prime accusedto police inspector Sukhdevsinh Jhala of Jamnagar CID (crime) was rejected by Gujarat High Court on Saturday. In his application, Bawaliya had expressed doubts over unbiased handling of the case by Jhala, who he alleged was a close friend of the deceased, Lohia. The case, which was being investigated by CID (crime) DySP GS Muniya was, after Bawaliya’s release on bail in a land scam case, handed over to Jhala by the home ministry. According to Bawaliya, in 1993 when Jhala was posted in Jasdan, he was involved in a custodial death. Bawaliya had agitated against him and got him transferred, which Jhala may avenge. In addition to that, Lohia was Jhala’s friend cum informer and on the day of Lohia’s murder, Jhala was on duty in Jamnagar but had come to attend his funeral here. HC, however, rejected the plea stating, at present, these were only speculations, on which the transfer decision could not be taken. If the investigation does not proceed, and doubtful evidences are gathered, then the applicant can admit another a petition, seeking the transfer. Lohia, 41, Jasdan taluka vice-president, was shot at on July 23, 2007 and succumbed to his injuries on August 4. Lohia, in his dying declaration, had accused Bawaliya of plotting the attack on him. Bawaliya has already applied for an anticipatory bail in this case, the hearing of which will take place on February 4.

File murder case against cops: HC
31 Jan 2009, 2057 hrs IST, TNN
KALOL: Gujarat High Court has ordered to register a murder case against a police personnel on duty at Kalol police station on the intervening night of July 2-3, 2003 for custodial death of a thief. Sources in the court said that Balwant alias Bhaga Solanki was put in the lock-up for an umbrella theft in Moti Pingali village after people thrashed him before handing him over to police. The accused died in the early hours of July 3, 2003 in the police lock-up, following which his brother Kiran Solanki moved sessions court. Three persons Natwar Solanki, Upendra Solanki and Lakshman Solanki were named as accused who had allegedly thrashed Balwant. The sessions court in its verdict pronounced the trio as not guilty. Solanki then filed a writ petition in the high court. During the investigation and arguments, the court cross-checked the panchanama and inquest of the case. To its surprise, it found injury marks on the body of the deceased, which were not notified in any of the documents, proving that the man was beaten up in the police custody as well. The court also noted that after beating him, the police did not take the accused for medical treatment that led to his death. After this observation, it passed an order to file a complaint against all the police officials on duty that night. Kalol police have registered a case and started investigation. “We will investigate and find out who were the persons on duty and include their names in the complaint,” said a police official.

Visually handicapped shows way by using RTI
31 Jan 2009, 2004 hrs IST, Vijaysinh Parmar, TNN
AHMEDABAD: Today, Rangpar villagers are happy to see that there is a two km road connecting their village to the highway. The Gando Baval (babool) shrubs along the roadside have been cleared by the gram panchayat authorities. But, it was not all that simple to get these basics to this small village of Wankaner taluka in Rajkot district. It took a visually challenged Ratna Ala, 26, to open the eyes of the authorities through the Right to Information Act. Earlier, TOI had reported the dilapidated condition of this village and the struggle of this man to get the system to work. “At last some development work has been started by gram panchayat.
Since last two years, I have been using RTI to get information regarding how many schemes panchayat implemented and how much money they spent on each work. Although I did not get accurate information throughout, it helped them realize that their incapabilities could stand exposed,” he told TOI. Ala’s struggle is on, but he is happy that the road has been constructed and the dense shrubs which were a hindrance to passers-by, is cleared. I can’t see, but I can feel the joy of villagers,” says Ratna Ala, who is a farmer and a Class X graduate. Rangpar is a small village with population of around 750 people, 25 km from Wankaner in Rajkot district. When he first confronted the panchayat, it humiliated him. Ala has met several officials with the documents but no one has taken note so far. But, he was determined to carry on till the village gets justice and all facilities it’s entitled to under different government schemes. “Ratna’s work is really praiseworthy. Because people support him but not openly as no one wants to confront local authorities. But, Ratna stood firm and results are there,” says villager Bhurabhai Barot.

Woman’s body exhumed after court’s order
31 Jan 2009, 1925 hrs IST, TNN
VARANASI: Body of a woman, Reshma, buried at Fatman graveyard on December 3, was exhumed for postmortem on Saturday by the police after a court order. According to reports, Reshma, daughter of Kabir Hassan of Jaunpur district was married to Irshad of Pitarkunda area under Sigra police station on December 1, 2004. She died mysteriously on December 2, 2008 at her husband’s place. Her husband and in-laws buried her body at Fatman graveyard on the next day. Hassan made a complaint to Sigra police that his daughter was killed for dowry but no FIR was lodged in this connection by the police. Finally Hassan took shelter of court in Jaunpur district. On the directive of court an FIR was lodged in this connection two days back. As per the directive, the district magistrate, Jaunpur sent a team of officials to the graveyard where the body of Rehsma was buried. Amidst tight security arrangements, the body was exhumed. Some local residents tried to protest the police action but the cops sent the body for postmortem. Girl dies: Poonam Yadav (17), daughter of a PAC commander RB Yadav deployed at 34th battalion Bhullanpur was killed in a road mishap in Lehartara area on Saturday morning. Reports stated that Poonam was going for her coaching classes on her bicycle when she came under the wheels of a speeding bus. She died on the spot. Bus was caught in Sigra area after sometime. Body found: Body of an unidentified youth was found in Satyam Colony under Lanka police station on Saturday morning. It was suspected that the youth was hacked to death. Police were trying to ascertain his identity.

CEC ruling binding on govt: BJP
1 Feb 2009, 0337 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: BJP has rejected the contention that Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami’s recommendation that election commissioner Navin Chawla be removed is non-binding, arguing that the government cannot adjudicate a case where it was the alleged beneficiary of Chawla’s actions. BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley said that a reading of Article 324(5) of the Constitution showed only the CEC had the power to recommend removal of an errant commissioner. “How can the government claim to have a role in a matter where it is an interested party, where the commissioner has acted to favour it,” he asked. The matter can be settled by an independent authority which the Constitution said was the CEC. Jaitley said the literal provisions of the article had been backed by the ruling of the Supreme Court in 1995 during the tenure of T N Seshan as CEC. The procedure for the removal of a CEC was the same as for a judge of the Supreme Court through a process of impeachment. “In the case of an election commissioner, the CEC’s recommendation is what matters and the government must act on it,” he said. The BJP leader, who has campaigned for Chawla’s removal, said that there is ample evidence of the commissioner’s bias in favour of the ruling party starting with his association with the notorious Emergency of 1975-77. “I am sure the CEC has attached evidence,” Jaitley said which reflected on Chawla’s functioning within the poll panel. On the possibility of Chawla becoming CEC after Gopalaswami’s tenure ends on April 20, Jaitley said, “India cannot risk a rigged election under Chawla.” Though about half of the general election would be over by the time Chawla becomes CEC, the main Opposition fears that a lot of close calls that the panel has to take will go Congress’s way. “Even now, we are told of instances where EC’s confidential consultations have been leaked. The EC will cease to be a neutral umpire under Chawla,” said BJP sources. The party also countered the argument that Gopalaswami’s recommendation did not reflect the opinion of the EC as a whole with Jaitley saying that Chawla was hardly expected to sign on a recommendation which indicted him. “If a commissioner is repeatedly found to be in error, that too in a deliberate manner, it is left to the CEC to act against the person concerned. How can the errant commissioner be part of this process?” he asked. Jaitley said the SC had expressed no opinion on a petition filed by leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh which had been signed by 205 MPs. “When the petitioner asked for directions to the government to send the proposal seeking Chawla’s removal to the CEC, the court noted that this could be done directly. There was no need to ask the government to do so, the EC could be approached by the petitioner,” he said. The BJP asked the government to explain what it intended to do on the CEC’s recommendation. “The government must understand that media leaks are no substitute for transparency. Earlier a petition against Chawla submitted to the former President A P J Kalam was sent to the Prime Minister who did nothing. Now the CEC himself has recommended Chawla’s removal. Not acting will only strengthen the suspicion that Congress has a vested interest in Chawla continuing in the EC. Jaitley said NDA will discuss the development as will the BJP. Aware that the government had stoutly defended Chawla so far, BJP intends to keep up an embarrassing torrent on criticism in order to deepen the controversy surrounding Chawla. This would be aimed at putting Congress on the defensive having to bat for Chawla just as elections are round the corner.

How EC came to have 3 members
1 Feb 2009, 0347 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Election Commission as a three member body — two election commissioners under the chairmanship of a chief election commissioner — has been the centre of controversy, both on account of the peculiar egoistic personal traits of the CEC or government interference. Tasked constitutional to prepare electoral rolls and conduct elections, the EC was a single member body till October 15, 1989, since it was first set up in 1950. Controversy flirted with the EC, till then viewed as a pliant body, for the first time when on October 16, 1989, the President through a notification appointed S S Dhanoa and V S Seigell as Election Commissioners under CEC R V S Peri Sashtri. But, the two new ECs had hardly settled down with their constitutional work, that the President on January 1, 1990, issued a notification abolishing the post of ECs. It was challenged in the Supreme Court by Dhanoa saying once the ECs were appointed, they could not be removed without a recommendation to that effect from the CEC. SC in its judgment in the S S Dhanoa Vs Union of India [1991 SCC (3) 567] saw merit in the axed EC’s plea, but upheld the abolition of the post of two ECs saying the President, being the appointing authority, had the power to do so. If the malafide alleged against the CEC by the petitioner was disbelieved by SC, it came to the fore when the government again made the Election Commission a 3-member body on October 1, 1993, by appointing two ECs — M S Gill and G V G Krishnamurthy — to subdue a CEC in T N Seshan, who knew and asserted the constitutional authority of the Commission making politicians see red. This change was challenged by none other than Seshan in the SC, which in its 1995 decision upheld the ordinance appointing Gill and Krishnamurthy and expressed its deep anguish over the manner in which constitutional post holders in EC behaved. “We have deliberately avoided going into the unpleasant exchanges that took place in the chamber of the CEC on October 11, 1993, to which reference has been made by the CEC in his petition… We do not think any useful purpose will be served by washing dirty linen in public except showing both the CEC and the ECs in poor light. The CEC and the ECs are high level functionaries. …It is a pity that they did not work as a team,” it had said. Even after this authoritative judgment, murmurs about the `partisan’ attitude of ECs and CECs kept surfacing from time to time. If the NDA government was discomfited by then CEC J M Lyngdoh’s public statements over the post-Godhra riots related issues, the UPA government faced some embarassment on the appointment of Navin Chawla as an EC. If Chawla was drafted into the EC by the government in May 2005 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of B B Tandon, then the opposition NDA saw a sinister move in it and dug up the past of the career bureaucrat, mainly in the Emergency period of 1975-77. The opposition also alleged his acceptance of MPLADS fund for his private trust. With Chawla slated to become the CEC sooner than later, the controversy is likely to widen as CEC N Gopalaswami, in his recommendation to the President, has pin-pointed specific misconduct on his part while functioning as an EC.

Collectors are not judges, liable for criminal prosecution: SC
1 Feb 2009, 1130 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has held that a district collector is not a judge and as such cannot seek immunity from prosecution in criminal cases. A bench of Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal ruled that the immunity granted to judges under Section 77 IPC would not be available to district collectors or the land acquisition officers who acquire private lands and award compensation. “The Collector is neither a Judge as defined under Section 19 nor does he act judicially, when discharging any of the functions under the (Land Acquisition) Act. Therefore he is not entitled to protection under Section 77 IPC,” the apex court observed. The apex court passed the ruling while setting aside a Rajasthan High Court order wherein the latter had quashed the FIR registered against the Jaipur district collector in a land acquisition case. The FIR alleges that the Collector while acquiring certain private lands had grabbed lands belonging to the Rajasthan Housing Board in collusion with some having vested interest. The local police had registered a case of cheating and fraud against the district collector but the High Court quashed the FIR on the ground that the official had acted in his official capacity as a “judge” and as such was entitled to the immunity granted under Section 77 IPC. The High Court, in its order, has said that “Once an agreed award is passed by the competent authority and that award acquires the status of an executable decree under the law, the evidence, which came before the competent authority on the basis of which such award is passed, cannot be subjected to investigation by the police authorities.” Aggrieved by the ruling, the land holders Surendra Kumar Bhatia and others filed a special leave petition in the apex court. Upholding the appeal, the apex court said that only Judges (as defined in section 19 IPC) acting judicially are entitled to the protection under Section 77 IPC. “The decision of the High Court that the FIR is to be quashed as the subject matter of the complaint related to the action taken by the Collector/Special Officer in his capacity as a ‘Judge’ is opposed to law and, therefore, liable to be set aside,” the bench observed. The apex court held that it was well settled that the Collector/Land Acquisition Officer while making an enquiry and award under the Act, acts only in his administrative capacity and does not in any manner exercise any judicial powers. “In making an award or making a reference or serving a notice, the Collector neither acts in judicial nor quasi judicial capacity but purely in an administrative capacity, exercising statutory powers as an agent and representative of the Government/Acquiring Authority,” the bench added.

How legal is CEC’s googly?
1 Feb 2009, 0403 hrs IST, Manoj Mitta , TNN
NEW DELHI: The timing of CEC N Gopalaswami’s recommendation for the removal of his likely successor Navin Chawla is no doubt suspicious as it has been made barely three months before the general election and his own retirement. But the legal controversy over whether Gopalaswami was empowered to propose an EC’s removal without any reference from the government seems misplaced. For, all that Article 324(5) of the Constitution stipulates is that the EC “shall not be removed from office except on the recommendation of the CEC.” There is no stipulation that the CEC’s recommendation can come only upon a reference made by the government. If anything, the provision is meant to insulate the EC from governmental pressure by placing him, as the Supreme Court put it in a landmark verdict in 1995, “under the protective umbrella of an independent CEC.” This flies in the face of Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi’s attempt on Saturday to undermine the legality of Gopalaswami’s recommendation to the President to remove Chawla. “There are several intricate issues of law involved including the very jurisdiction of the CEC to exercise such powers on a colleague,” Singhvi said. Not only is there no question about the CEC’s jurisdiction over his colleague, the government may also be bound by his recommendation, going by SC’s explanation of why the Constitution discriminates between the CEC and EC while providing safeguards to preserve their independence. According to the Constitution, while the EC can be removed on the CEC’s recommendation, the CEC himself cannot be touched unless he is impeached by Parliament like a Supreme Court judge. In another glaring instance of discrimination, the Constitution ignores the ECs while stipulating that the CEC’s service conditions “shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.” In its 1991 judgment in S S Dhanoa vs Union of India, SC said that CEC had to be provided a higher degree of protection because he alone was intended by the founding fathers to be “a permanent incumbent” of the Election Commission. It said that “the same type of irremovability” could not be bestowed on the ECs because the Constitution gives the discretion to the government to increase or reduce their number depending on the workload. “Having insulated the CEC from external political or executive pressure, confidence was reposed in this independent functionary to safeguard the independence of his ECs by enjoining that they cannot be removed except on the recommendation of the CEC,” SC declared in 1991. This interpretation was broadly upheld in 1995 by a larger bench even as it rejected the attempt of the then CEC T N Seshan to make out that the ECs were either his subordinates or meant only to advise him. Though it otherwise upheld the Narasimha Rao government’s bid to clip Seshan’s wings, the 1995 verdict reiterated, “Since the other ECs were not intended to be permanent appointees they could not be granted the irremovability protection of the CEC, a permanent incumbent, and, therefore, they were placed under the protective umbrella of an independent CEC.” The implication of these judgments is that the CEC alone can be trusted to take a call on whether a certain EC is being independent enough from the government.

India to sign IAEA safeguards agreement tomorrow
1 Feb 2009, 1903 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: India will on Monday sign a crucial safeguards agreement with the IAEA to allow supply of atomic fuel and technology to the country moving a step closer to operationalising its international civil nuclear cooperation after the 34-year-old nuke trade embargo was lifted. “We will sign the India specific safeguards agreement (ISSA), a key inspection agreement in the afternoon of Monday in Vienna. The ISSA was approved by the 35-member Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on August 1 last year and now it will get ready for operationalisation of the civil cooperation,” Indian Ambassador in Vienna Saurab Kumar told PTI over telephone. Nuclear Power corporation which is operating its reactors at less than 40 per cent capacity may soon benefit in the form of fuel import once the ISSA is ratified by the Indian Government. India has already signed agreements with the US, France, Russia and Kazakhstan and is planning to sign with Canada for resumption of nuclear commerce. Kumar will be assisted by the chief negotiator Ravi B Grover and Gitesh Sarma, Joint secretary, External affairs of the Department of Atomic Energy who are already in Vienna. The agreement with IAEA is a pre-condition for the implementation of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal and allow the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) to supply material and technology for India’s ambitious nuclear power programme. Asked about when India will be signing the Additional Protocol which is a mandatory step as per the nuclear deal between India and the US, Ambassador Kumar said, ” it is under discussion with IAEA. It takes time to evolve a draft. But once it is ready, it will be signed.” Chairman, Atomic Energy commission Dr Anil Kakodkar said here that once the ISSA is signed tomorrow, the next immediate step would be to work for the process of ratification by Indian Government. The second step the department will be taking up was to file a declaration to the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA on which facilities will be placed under safeguards and their time frame (it is like filling up the annexure to the agreement), Kakodkar said. “Since the DAE has signed a contract (order) with French nuclear supplier AREVA for getting 300 tonnes of the yellow cake (Uranium), we will also be working out on which part of the Hyderabad-based Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC) will be placed under safeguards for processing and fabricating the fuel. “One part of the NFC is already listed in the Separation Plan which was made public in March 2006,” Kakodkar said. Some part of NFC has been under ‘Campaign mode’ of safeguards for fabrication of imported fuel from different countries for the US-supplied Tarapur atomic power stations units one and two, he added. In campaign mode safeguards, inspection is valid only for the period under which the imported fuel is processed or fabricated. Rest of the period the plant will not be under international safeguards. The AREVA fuel will be used in Rajasthan Unit two which is already under safeguards for the last three decades. On August one last year, the Board of Governors of the IAEA authorised Director General Mohammed ElBaradei to conclude with India an India-specific safeguards agreement (ISSA) and subsequently implement the ISSA. A month later, the NSG agreed to lift the ban on nuclear trade with India. Under the Separation Plan, India has to place 14 civilian reactors under IAEA safeguards. India has already placed six of its reactors under various safeguards agreements which include units one and two of Tarapur in Maharashtra, units one and two of Kota (RAPS), Rajasthan and two units at Koodankulam, Tamil Nadu which will be brought under the umbrella of ISSA after the ratification of the inspection agreement by India. Under the same plan, the civilian plants — RAPS units five and six — will be placed under IAEA inspection in 2009 and RAPS units three and four in 2010. In 2012, units one and two of Kakrapara atomic power stations in Gujarat and in 2014, units one and two of Narora atomic power plants in Uttar Pradesh would be brought under international inspection, DAE sources said. Regarding the fuel for the new waiting reactors RAPS five and six, they can be commissioned only after India fills up the annexure of ISSA to IAEA and the ground work like installation of cameras and other required facilities for monitoring and inspection is completed by IAEA, the sources said.

Malaysian Airlines told to pay for mishandling luggage
Saturday, January 31, 2009
New Delhi: Holding Malaysian Airlines responsible for mishandling a passenger’s baggage, a consumer court here has asked it to pay Rs.315,000 – the price of the damaged luggage – alongwith with the cost of litigation.The Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission headed by Justice J.D. Kapoor earlier this week upheld a District Consumer Forum order asking the airlines to compensate Rakesh Bawa, a resident of Gurgaon, for his damaged baggage.The airlines had filed an appeal in the state consumer commission, challenging the 2007 district forum order.The district forum had held the airlines deficient in service in not handing over the wheel chair purchased by Rakesh from the US, which was a check-in luggage upto New Delhi, in perfect condition.As the electronic controller of the wheel chair was found missing, the consumer forum had directed the airlines to refund the full value of the wheel chair amounting to $6,668 (Rs.315,000) with additional compensation of Rs.20,000 and Rs.2,500 as cost of litigation.Rakesh had booked four pieces of baggage from the US to be delivered at New Delhi but only three pieces were delivered. Two pieces of baggage were damaged, the cost of one of the bag was claimed in the Property Irregularity Report to be equivalent of Rs.2,000 and the bag was stated to be two years old.Initially, Rakesh had claimed award of $1,500 as compensation for loss of the electronic controller of the wheel chair. He later amended the amount to $6,668 on the plea that the supplier of the wheel chair in the US had informed him that he would be required to take the chair to the US to programme it and its controller together since there was no authorised dealer for the product in India.31/01/09, Thailand

NCDEX files writ petition against FMC
30 Jan 2009, 1423 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: Leading commodity bourse, National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX), has filed a writ petition against the Forward Markets Commission (FMC) for not allowing a reduction in the levy of transaction charges. The Forward Markets Commission is the regulator for the commodities market. “NCDEX has gone against our order and filed a writ petition in the High Court. The hearing is on Monday and FMC will give a suitable legal response,” FMC Member, Rajeev Agarwal, told PTI here today. On January 28, the FMC passed an order to put the NCDEX notification to cut transaction charges in abeyance as the issue has wider implications, Agarwal said. NCDEX’s CEO and Managing Director, R Ramaseshan, also confirmed filing of the writ petition on Thursday, but refused to provide further details. NCDEX on Wednesday announced a drastic cut in transaction charges for commodities traded on its platform. In a circular, NCDEX said it would levy uniform charges of five paise per Rs 1 lakh as transaction fee on commodities traded after 5 pm, effective from Wednesday. Transaction fee for commodities traded between 10 am and 5 pm was fixed at Rs 3 per Rs 1 lakh. FMC stopped NCDEX from implementing the revised transaction fee.

Satyam saga: Court extends judicial custody of Raju, others, to Feb 7
Jan 31st, 2009 By Sindh Today
Hyderabad, Jan 31 (IANS) A city court Saturday extended the judicial custody of disgraced founder and former chairman of Satyam Computer Services B. Ramalinga Raju and three other accused in the firm’s massive scam to Feb 7.
Sixth additional chief metropolitan magistrate D. Ramakrishna extended the custody of Ramalinga Raju, his brother and former managing director B. Rama Raju and former chief financial officer (CFO) Vadlamani Srinivas by a week.
The accused, lodged at Chanchalguda central jail, were not physically produced before the magistrate, who conducted the proceedings through video linkage between the court and the jail.
All the four are facing charges of cheating, criminal conspiracy, falsification of records and forgery in Rs.70 billion (Rs.7,000 crore/$1.43 billion) Satyam fraud case.
The magistrate also extended the judicial custody of D. Gopalakrishnam Raju, general manager of SRSR Advisory Services, a company promoted by Ramalinga Raju to manage his stakes in Satyam.
Crime Investigation Department (CID), which is probing the massive fraud, produced Gopalakrishnam Raju before the magistrate as his two-day police custody came to an end Saturday.
He was sent back to jail after the court extended his judicial custody.
CID grilled Gopalakrishnam Raju for two days and reportedly obtained vital information with regard to the property and land dealings of Ramalinga Raju and his family. The police also claimed that he had tried to destroy documentary evidence after the arrest of Raju brothers.
Meanwhile, Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has once again approached the magistrate for permission to record statements of Ramalinga Raju and Srinivas. SFIO filed a fresh petition as its earlier petition was not admitted by the court for not filing it under relevant provisions.
The matter will come up for hearing Monday, the day on which the magistrate will pronounce orders on the bail petition of two former partners of Price Waterhouse, the firm which audited the accounts of Satyam.

Men In Terror Of Wives: Telkha News
Saturday, January 31, 2009
The law that protects women from dowry harassment and domestic violence is often being abused by them, reports SHOBHITA NAITHANIVictimised men? Save Family Foundation protests the misuse of dowry harassment lawsAT A POPULAR Delhi park, a gathering of men swells as the sun is about to set. Brochures and banners are everywhere; the air is filled with slogans and a certain steadfast earnestness that at first brings to mind the words ‘male ego’. Claiming that they are tired of being at the receiving end of marital oppression, this flock of ‘harassed’ husbands is planning their next protest. Their demand: revise Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which relates to dowry harassment. “There are many women who are harassed and are being killed for dowry. But there are an equal number of men who are beleaguered by their wives and in-laws,” says Swarup Sarkar of the Save Family Foundation, an NGO working for the cause of men. “We have had our family members, women included, arrested on false charges. The law has to be made gender-neutral.”According to Section 498A, “Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. The offence is cognisable, non-compoundable and non-bailable.”WHAT IS THE LAWSection 498A of the Indian Penal Code defines the offence of matrimonial crueltyOffenders are liable for imprisonment and a fineThe offence is non bailable, non-compoundable and cognisable on a complaint made to the police officer by the victim or by relativesOfficial allegation of‘misuse’ of the section were made by the Malimath Committee and the Shinghal ReportMost in the gathering are reticent but the stories gradually tumble out. A Delhi police officer plays a mobile phone video recording of his wife — also a cop, assigned to the Crimes Against Women Cell (CAWC), which has charge of dowry cases — threatening to make him “dance in and around court”. Today, the man does precisely that as he fights a dowry harassment case. A father narrates how arguments with his wife over the health of their ailing son landed him on a charge. Another man explains how his wife’s family accused him of demanding dowry two years after he and his wife had split.The case, however, of Amit Kumar (names changed) holds hope for the falsely implicated. Three-and-a-half years into their marriage, as Amit and his wife Sapna sat at a relative’s house to take a last shot at mending their damaged relationship, three armed policemen walked in and whisked Amit and his 68-year-old father off to the lockup. Sapna had alleged that Kumar and his parents had demanded Rs 5 lakh from her. “In the First Information Report (FIR), Sapna also alleged that when she didn’t comply with our demands, we went on February 14, 2001, to her parents’ house in Jhansi and browbeat them into giving us the money,” recalls Amit. At court hearings, Amit, who at that time was on deputation to the US from his Kuwait-based chemical company, was able to pick out the holes in Sapna’s claim. On February 14, the couple was at the American Embassy in New Delhi, being interviewed for Sapna’s US visa and Amit’s father had gone to the bank to get a draft made for the same. “How could we have then reached Jhansi (about eight hours from Delhi) the same day?” he asks.The stress of the legal proceedings led Amit’s work performance to plummet; he lost his job and returned to India to hop jobs for the next three years. He continued, though, to fight to prove that the charge against him and his parents was bogus. In January 2007, the lower court in Uttar Pradesh quashed all charges. But deliverance came only after Amit, now 39, had paid Rs 3 lakh to the girl’s family as a settlement amount.Thirty-five-year-old Raj Kaushal had a similar experience. Raj, a senior manager with a telecom company, married his colleague Neelam in 2000. The couple left for Germany soon after their wedding. Almost immediately, spats over a common income savings account became frequent. Things stabilised after an independent account was made for Neelam, but soured again when Raj decided to return to India in November 2002. Neelam was reluctant; the arguments returned. “She clearly didn’t want to live with my parents but I couldn’t have deserted them,” says Raj. Neelam finally walked out on the marriage. Shortly thereafter, a CAWC notice landed on Raj’s doorstep and in August 2004, the Kaushals were charged under Section 498A. “In hindsight,” Raj says, “she must have gone through as much pain or maybe even more pain than I did, but she could have ended this cordially. Slapping a false case, from which there is no way out for at least the next five years, was totally uncalled for.” In April 2006, his brother-in-law and parents were acquitted for lack of evidence. Relief for Raj came in April 2008, after the couple’s divorce came through.Not guilty Relief came to Raj Kaushal in April 2008 after he won a four-year-long legal battlePhoto: TRILOCHAN S KALRAThe clamour for the amendment of Section 498A began in May 2003, after a judgment of the Delhi High Court made note of the abuse of the law and suggested that offences under it be made bailable. Supreme Court lawyer Pinky Anand concurs, observing how, in our enthusiasm to correct an antiwoman bias, we brought in a law slanted against husbands and their families.Taking a cue from the Delhi HC judgement, YS Dadwal, the Chief Police Commissioner of Delhi, issued a circular in June 2008 stating that no arrests would be made in cases of alleged dowry harassment without prior investigation. According to the circular, only the main accused would be arrested, instead of the earlier practice of booking all the kin of the accused.HOWEVER, SUDHA Sundararaman, General Secretary of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, believes the problem is not with the law but its implementation. “This is a question of power. Any person, it can be the man or the woman, who has access to power and money can twist the law in their favour. And the police functions on behalf of the better party,” she says, pointing out that a large number of women, who are actually victims, are still not able to access justice.Women’s organisations take issue with the very premises on which NGOs such as the Save Family Foundation advocate the cause of men. “The way they operate is highly patriarchal and conservative,” points out Sundararaman, “Action should be taken on a case-tocase basis rather than doing away with a law that has some teeth.”As tempers flare for and against amending the law, the only immediateterm solution to this complicated concern seems to lie in the fact that, for now, all parties agree in blaming the lawyers, the administration and the police for advising them wrongly. Let’s begin from there.WRITER’S EMAILshobhita@tehelka.comThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 5, Dated Feb 07, 2009We wonder whose life is in More Danger in India: Men or Women.· Crime Bure data 2005 : Married Men Sucide : 52k vs Married Women Sucide 28K.Still there is no LAW to Protect Men why?· 2006 Crime Bure Data : Married Men Sucide:55452 vs. Married Women Sucide:29869.Review Gender Biased LAW to Promote Family Harmony and Stop Legal TerrorismReview of the Domestic Violence Act and other related laws Proposed Domestic Harmony Act , 2005 ( For review) NCW’s recommendations to address “unnatural deaths” of married women are Unreasonable Maintenance for live-in partner? or Legal Extrotion? Woman throws acid on husband-Kolkata -Cities-The Times of India NCW’S False/fabricated Claim exposed regarding 70% women denied maintance on alleged adultrity ground in CRPc125. STOP Women Sexual Harassment!! Recommendations on Modifications to the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
posted by Swarup @ 9:04 PM

Gakuved to organize tribunal on land issues
1 Feb 2009, 0516 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: Alleging that Goa’s tribals, the original settlers in the land, were facing the fall-outs of the ongoing malaise of land-grabbing in the name of development, Gavada, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar Federation (Gakuved) has decided to organize a people’s tribunal on tribal land issues at Menezes Braganza hall on April 11 and 12, 2009. “The tribals were the original sons of the soil and first owners of the land, but the ground reality is different,” said Durgadas Gaonkar, president of Gakuved. “Be it the khazan, agricultural, forest, comunidade, kullagar, mining, kumeri or religious land, the tribals were either lease holders or tenants, or owners, as the case may be.” “The tribunal will have a jury headed by a retired high court judge and two other members,” Deepak Karmalkar, convenor of the people’s tribunal said. Addressing a joint press conference, both said that the hearing will afford the tribals from all over Goa an opportunity to present their cases. “They can file their affidavits by March 15,” Gaonkar said. After the hearing the jury will compile the cases and place it before the government for initiating action. Stating that they had been dispossessed of their land under the garb of development, Gaonkar pointed out that the tribals had unfortunately no records. “Legally, they are not in possession of the land,” Gaonkar said. The tribals have been requested to file their affidavits in support of their claims by March 15, 2009 so as to be taken up for the two day hearing.

Shocking constitutional overreach
The “recommendation” of Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami to the President that Election Commissioner Navin Chawla should be removed on the ground of bias is a gross constitutional overreach that is shocking to the democratic conscience. In the crucial weeks before the general election, it has provoked needless hostility and brought a political twist and divisions into the Election Commission. The Commission is a high constitutional body whose members are expected to rise above partisan sentiments and function with objectivity and distance from political players. It could certainly have done without a controversy of this sort. The recommendation itself was triggered by a petition filed by the Bharatiya Janata Party and stems from a misreading of the constitutional scheme of things. Under Article 324, the CEC is appointed by the President (that is, the political executive) and cannot be removed except by impeachment as in the case of a Supreme Court judge. The Election Commissioners too are appointed by the President and cannot be removed except on the recommendation of the CEC. Considering the scheme of Article 324 as a whole, Chief Election Commissioner B.B. Tandon and the Election Commission took the provisions to mean that since the appointing authority is the President, the CEC comes into the picture only when a proposal for the removal of an Election Commissioner comes before him from the President for his recommendation. This was, in fact, supported by the opinion former Attorney General Ashok Desai gave the Election Commission in which he was categorical that the CEC cannot initiate action against an Election Commissioner suo motu. The Law Ministry too was of the same view. Early signs that all was not well within the Election Commission came in mid-2007 when Mr. Gopalaswami filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court claiming the power to recommend an Election Commissioner’s removal even without any reference from the President. The court was hearing a petition filed by the BJP for Mr. Chawla’s removal. The claim of suo motu powers was a clear and unexplained departure from the position the Election Commission had taken all along, and the present recommendation rests on that shaky premise.
What makes the CEC’s action particularly colourable is that it meets the demand raised in the BJP’s petition — submitted first to the President, then filed in the Supreme Court, only to be withdrawn and submitted to the CEC himself in January 2008. Ostensibly, though, the CEC’s “report” rests the decision on different grounds. The BJP had asked for Mr. Chawla’s removal on the alleged ground that he was tainted by his past association with the Congress party and could not function in an unbiased manner. While ignoring his alleged past associations, the CEC has now read bias into Mr. Chawla’s specific opinions on the timing and manner of conducting elections in some States. The grounds alleged appear to be differences of opinion rather than any grave prejudice or misconduct. They have nothing to do with the standard laid down by the Supreme Court when it observed in T.N. Seshan, Chief Election Commissioner v Union of India (1995): “Of course, the recommendation for removal must be based on intelligible and cogent considerations which would have a relation to the efficient functioning of the Election Commission.” The Court also pointed out that the power was conferred on the CEC to ensure that the Election Commissioners were not at the mercy of the political executive. It was a check on the executive’s powers and a safeguard of the independence of the Election Commission as a whole. The Court went on to caution: “If therefore the power were to be exercised 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 Election Commissioners and the Regional Commissioners if they are required to function under the threat of the CEC recommending their removal.” This fear of capricious action and of the protector turning tormentor has now come to pass with Mr. Gopalaswami’s recommendation.
It needs hardly be emphasised that the Election Commissioners cannot function effectively and independently if they are to live in fear of the CEC recommending their removal for one reason or another, including merely differing with him on some issue. They cannot perform their constitutional functions if the CEC continually entertains petitions against them from political parties and other groups. Even during the later period of T.N. Seshan as Chief Election Commissioner, when bitter and open conflict raged within the Election Commission, he did not think he could invoke the power to recommend the removal of an Election Commissioner. It is indeed inexplicable that an experienced administrator like Mr. Gopalaswami should have chosen to act in a way that is neither constitutional nor fair. The saving grace is that the President is not bound to accept the recommendation, particularly as it is untenable on the face of it and unwarranted in the circumstances. Nevertheless it is bound to leave deep scars on the Election Commission’s institutional credibility and collective functioning.

‘Cash at judge’s door’: CBI wants more time for filing charge-sheet
High Court judge was allegedly sent money by a Delhi-based hotelier
Judge Nirmaljit Kaur filed a police complaint that she was delivered Rs.15 lakh cash at her residence
Probes ordered by CJI & CBI reportedly concluded that the money was meant for Justice Nirmal Yadav
Chandigarh: Seeking more time, the Central Bureau of Investigation did not file a charge-sheet in the special court here on Saturday against a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the “cash at judge’s door” scandal following which the case was adjourned to February 10.
The agency did not file the charge-sheet in the court of CBI Judge Jagdeep Jain against Justice Nirmal Yadav, who was allegedly sent money by a Delhi-based hotelier, and sought some more time.
Meanwhile, the defence counsel of two other persons named in the case, former Haryana Additional Advocate-General Sanjiv Bansal and Parkash Ram, moved an application in the court seeking release of documents and material seized at the time of their arrest last year.
The case relates to a police complaint filed by sitting Punjab and Haryana Judge Nirmaljit Kaur after Rs.15 lakh cash was delivered at her residence allegedly routed by Bansal via Parkash at the behest of Delhi hotelier Ravinder Singh.
Following the complaint, two separate investigations were instituted, one by a three-judge committee set up by the Chief Justice of India and another by the CBI. Both probes had reportedly concluded that the money was meant for Justice Yadav although delivered at Justice Kaur’s residence.
In its investigation report submitted to the Supreme Court and the Centre on January 23, the CBI had recommended prosecution of Justice Yadav. – PTI

Sentenced to life
Staff Reporter
SALEM: A Salem fast track court sentenced a man and his son to life imprisonment in a murder case on Friday.
According to the prosecution, Mohan (46) of Thangayur and his son Ashok Kumar (25) alleged beat their neighbour to death following a dispute in June 2006.

Bank official sentenced to two years’ RI
Staff Reporter
VISAKHAPATNAM: The Special Judge for CBI cases, Visakhapatnam, S. Bajrang Babu on Saturday sentenced a manager of the Kunchepalli (Prakasam district) branch of Union Bank of India to two years’ rigorous imprisonment and to pay a total fine of Rs. 50,000 for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs. 10,000.
The accused demanded Rs.10,000 from P. Nagaiah, an agriculturist of Ramapuram village of Prakasam district for sanctioning tobacco crop loan to him. The CBI, Visakhapatnam, registered a case against the accused K. Venkata Phani Kiran under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, on November 10, 2003.
On completion of the investigation, the CBI filed a chargesheet against Kiran on April, 30, 2004 for the offences . After a full trial, the court found Kiran guilty and convicted him. The case was investigated under the supervision of CBI SP G. Nageswara Rao. Senior Public Prosecutor K.V. Vidyasagar argued the case on behalf of the prosecution.

High Court to take up appeals in sexual assault case
Staff Reporter
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court is scheduled to take up for final hearing this Monday four appeals against conviction in a sexual assault case by a lower court here in which the Delhi police have on record admitted that the accused persons have been framed in the case.
The then Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime & Traffic) had in his investigation report submitted to the Police Commissioner in 2000 said: “As per police records, the lady who was sexually assaulted remained in the custody of police one hour before and after the time of alleged rape. This is the truth based on the documentary evidence and simply cannot be ignored.”
The police had investigated the matter on a complaint by social activist Amod Shastri accusing the local police officers of framing the accused persons. The social activist had taken up the task of exposing the alleged dubious role of the police officers on behalf of the accused persons out of his desire to defend them from the miscarriage of justice.
A trial court had in 2000 sentenced the accused persons–Pankaj Chaudhury, Gunjesh Chaudhury, Jailal Yadav and Kasim–to ten years’ rigorous imprisonment each.
The four are now out on bail. They were released on bail by the High Court in 2001 when the police decided not to oppose their bail applications following submission of the investigation report by the Joint Commissioner of Police to the Commissioner.
Along with the appeals against the convictions, counsel for the accused, Dharmendra Arya, had also filed an application for recording of additional evidence in the sexual assault case. Allowing the application, the High Court had directed the lower court to record the additional evidence, if any.
The lower court had recorded the additional evidence laid down before it by counsel for the accused persons. The evidence, in the form of daily diary entries and statements of accused, said that the prosecutrix along with some other women were in police custody in connection with another case at same time when she was allegedly sexually assaulted. Counsel for the accused persons said that he would file a writ in the High Court seeking action against the police officers once the appeals were decided in favour of their clients.


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