LEGAL NEWS 9-10.02.2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Warrant against Lalit Modi stayed by Bombay HC

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

Cops exposed: HC acquits murder convict who was implicated

Published: February 9,2009

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

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

Bombay HC stays warrant against Lalit Modi

Published: February 9,2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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