LEGAL NEWS 08.03.2009

Fresh warrant against Raj Thackeray
7 Mar 2009, 2111 hrs IST, PTI
BOKARO (Jharkhand): A Bokaro court issued a non-bailable warrant against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, accused of fomenting enmity among classes through his anti-North Indian campaign, and asked the Maharastra police to arrest and produce him at the earliest. Judicial magistrate, B K Tiwari, issued the order after Thackeray failed to appear before the court despite issuance of notices following a complaint case against him. This was the fifth arrest warrant against Raj Thackeray, who is facing eight complaint cases in five Jharkhand districts, almost all the cases of the same nature. An advocate Ranjit Giri lodged the complaint with the police against him on February one, 2008, in a Bokaro court, accusing him of promoting enmity between classes (153A IPC) and imputations and assertions prejudicial to national integration (153B). The case was lodged when the MNS chief had launched diatribes against Hindi-speaking people.

26/11 accused want chargesheet translated into Urdu
8 Mar 2009, 1501 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin, the two accused in the November 26 terror strikes here, have requested a local court to translate the 11,000-page chargesheet file into Urdu. The duo made this request before a metropolitan magistrate on March 6 stating that the chargesheet filed by the Mumbai crime branch is in English and Marathi, which the two do not understand. The magistrate will pass an order on the request tomorrow. Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist caught alive in the 26/11 attack, is also likely to make a similar request, sources said. If the court accepts the request then the crime branch will have to first comply with the order after which the case will be committed to the special court set up inside the high security Arthur Road prison. “If the magistrate directs the prosecution to translate the chargesheet in Urdu, then that will have to be complied with before the case is committed to the sessions court,” special public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam said. The crime branch had on February 25 filed a 11,000-page chargesheet against 38 accused in connection with the audacious terror strikes that killed over 170 persons.

Court grants anticipatory bail to homosexual businessman
7 Mar 2009, 2154 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: A businessman, whose wife lodged a complaint against him for having a homosexual relationship, was granted anticipatory bail by a sessions court here. Sessions judge D U Mulla granted anticipatory bail to Ratan Shrivastava on a bond of Rs 50,000 and asked him to appear before the Gamdevi police station twice a month, where the case was lodged. Shrivastav’s wife Pooja had on February 16 filed the complaint against her husband under Section 377 of IPC for allegedly having a homosexual relationship with a man, whom he met on the internet. Earlier, on Thursday the court had granted anticipatory bail to the man, an officer in the merchant navy, with whom Shrivastav was allegedly involved. Shrivastav and Pooja have been married for the last 15 years and have a son. In her complaint, Pooja had stated that she became aware of her husband’s homosexuality in 1998 and had tried hard to rid him of his ways. Shrivastav’s lawyer, Vivek Kantawala argued before the court that the businessman and his wife had been living together and the complaint was made only to harass his client.

New CJ invites Bar assn leaders for talks
8 Mar 2009, 0316 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: Censure by the apex court and the Justice B N Srikrishna committee notwithstanding, lawyers of Tamil Nadu have decided to continue their indefinite court boycott. A decision to this effect was taken at the state-level Joint Action Committee (JAC) of various bar associations, which met on the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry premises here on Saturday. “We have resolved to continue to abstain from all court and tribunal works throughout the State till our demands are met,” said R C Paul Kanagaraj, JAC convener and president of the Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA). The meeting, which discussed the Srikrishna report and the apex court’s order on March 6, also decided to reject Srikrishna’s interim report. “The report is wholly without basis,” a resolution said, adding it had, “unwarranted comments against advocates and judges.” The meeting also resolved to publish point-by-point rebuttal for the interim report. The meet also constituted a team of senior lawyers who would initiate and conduct legal proceedings against policemen involved in the February 19 violence. The panel of senior advocates included R Gandhi,T V Ramanujun, V Gopinath, M Venkataraman, A Natarjan, Sriram Panchu,S Duraisamy, R Vaigai and Sankarasubbu. The meet permitted office-bearers of various associations to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the newly-appointed chief justice of the Madras high court, Justice Hemant Laxman Gokhale, at the Raj Bhavan on Monday “to maintain the healthy tradition of the legal fraternity of Tamil Nadu.” Meanwhile, the new chief justice has invited all association leaders for a meeting at Raj Bhavan 10 am on Sunday to tide over the impasse. The JAC also condemned the state government “for protecting and shielding the director-general of police, the Chennai city commissioner of police and other police officers” involved in the February 19 violence on court campus.

Lawyers turn down plea to suspend strike
8 Mar 2009, 1813 hrs IST, PTI
CHENNAI: Remaining defiant, lawyers today turned down the Madras High Court Chief Justice designate Justice H L Gokhale’s plea to end their strike, which has brought judiciary to a standstill. As the lawyers continued their strike in an aggressive posture, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi also asked them to accept the report of the Sri Krishna Commission, which had probed the February 19 clash between police and agitating lawyers and indicted both in its report. The Sri Krishna Commission was appointed by the Supreme Court to facilitate a solution to the strike which followed the clash in the Madras High Court premises in which several lawyers and a judge were injured, besides damaging property. After meeting Gokhale, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of lawyers said they would continue to protest until there demands for transfer of senior police officials including the DGP and the City Police Commissioner were met. Seeking to do a balancing act, Karunanidhi said both lawyers and police were like his two eyes and sought to ease tension between them. Presiding over the wedding of his grand daughter here, he said the Sri Krishna Commission report has come out with an observation after inquiring into the attack on Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy in the Madras High Court premises. “And the lawyers should accept the report.” “Police and lawyers are like my two eyes. And I always stand by law and justice”, he said.

Rapist thrashed outside court
8 Mar 2009, 0459 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: A youth, who was absconding since Wednesday night after raping an eight-year-old girl at Howrah’s Dasnagar, was arrested late on Friday night. When Mukul Sheikh was taken to Howrah court on Saturday, he was beaten up by around 150 women from the girl’s locality. He was later remanded in five days’ police custody. Police said Sheikh had raped the girl to take revenge against one of her elder sisters, who had turned down his proposal. The victim, a mason’s daughter, is the youngest of five sisters. On Wednesday, the girl was visiting one of her elder sisters in Dasnagar when Sheikh picked her up from the house. He told her elder sister that he would take her home. Instead, he took her somewhere else and raped her. As the girl screamed for help, a local resident rushed to her help. But Sheikh managed to flee. Police finally arrested Sheikh from his ancestral house at Amta’s Narit area in Howrah on Friday. As police were taking him to the courtroom on Saturday, around 150 women almost snatched him from them and started beating him up. A large police force finally arrived at the spot and controlled the situation.

‘Faster disposal of RTI cases is the challenge’
7 Mar 2009, 2327 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: State information commissioner for Pune division Vijay Kuvalekar said that faster disposal of cases under the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005 is the challenge ahead. He also said that the Act should benefit the common man, while steps should be taken to make people aware about the Act. Kuvalekar was speaking at an interview organised by the Surajya Sangharsha Samiti and the Sajag Nagrik Manch to mark two years since the Pune bench for RTI was established. He was interviewed by RTI activists Vivek Velankar and Vijay Kumbhar and shared his experiences with the audience. “The RTI Act has strong social implications. Therefore, on some occasions, decisions were taken considering the social implications, said Kuvalekar. “It is also important that government departments provide due seriousness while dealing with RTI cases.” “The case of the university examination answer sheet, taken up under the RTI, witnessed a significant response from the education field,” Kumbhar added. “The number of cases under the Act that are pending is a matter of concern and debate. Various steps have been initiated to reduce this, including district-wise hearing and a special hearing programme.” While stressing the need to bring down the pendency, Kuvalekar said, “Offices are facing a staff crunch and infrastructure problems. The offices also witness a delay in sanctioning from the government. “The pendency has also gone up because some people file too many cases. The Act is for public interest and not for personal gain. For example, an applicant asked for information about land dealings which took place in a village in the last 100 years. This is an instance of misuse of the RTI Act.”

Trafficking: Lens on women’s role
8 Mar 2009, 0505 hrs IST, Ratnottama Sengupta, TNN
KOLKATA: In Bappaditya Bandopadhyay’s Kaal, a male actor inducts four helpless young females into the flesh trade. In Hollywood films Human Trafficking and Trade, again, it’s men Russians, Mexicans, Poles, Czechs, Filipinos who steal, trick, lure, lock up, brutalize, and repeatedly sell women mothers, daughters, sisters, even wives. Typically, organized crime is a male activity, right? Not really, says United Nation’s Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, released to mark International Women’s Day. Men make up over 90% of the prison populations of most countries. They are perpetrators of the most violent crimes, terror acts, drug-related horrors. Surprisingly, data from 46 countries suggest for the first time that women play key roles in human trafficking, a trade where two-thirds of the victims are women, and about 13% are girls. Estimates suggest that close to 8 million women and children are trafficked around the world, and two-thirds of these are in the sex trade. The term sex worker’ hides the fact that few choose it as a career option where legislations regarding minimum standards of wages don’t apply. A woman’s price varies with age, and there are no retirement benefits. Instead, they face brutalities, forced penetration, repeated abortion, insomnia, even AIDS. The worst part is that the victims’ are apprehended as criminals, while the traffickers and buyers of sex get away scot-free. Sexual exploitation is by far the most common form 79% of trafficking, the third most lucrative after trade in arms and drugs. It’s the most visible in city centres and along highways, be it in Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangkok, Berlin, London or New York. But by no means is it the only form of forced labour. We know of slumdogs forced to beg on Indian streets, or of bonded labour. How many know about those used in warfare, or for organ removal? “We are unable to segment today’s slave market’,” says Antonio Maria Costa, ED, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Break-ups say little about demand and supply, or about relative prices of children used for begging or for rag-tag armies of killers. What pushes illegal immigrants into American sweatshops? “It is unclear whether the enterprises’ are driven by compulsions in source countries or demands in destinations,” says Costa. However, the report as much as the films in the festival, that was hosted by Apne Aap, American Center and ICCR, reveals that in source countries, locals win the trust and acquire victims, then control them by threatening retaliation against kids and aged parents. In high-income destinations, though, the offenders are more likely to be foreigners. “Diaspora population from source regions is often the conduit for moving victims,” Costa said. Care for some more revelations? Many African countries have no law against trafficking, or criminalize only child trafficking. In India, while sex with a minor is punished as rape, women victims are penalized for soliciting’. Not all high-income countries have comprehensive legislation, either. So, “the fight against the lucrative exploitation of fellow humans essentially remains an individual national initiative,” said Costa.

Permitting shutters for sopo payers is illegal’
8 Mar 2009, 0400 hrs IST, TNN
MARGAO: The issue of permitting eight sopo payers in the Gandhi market to fit rolling shutters to their units has turned out to be a bone of contention between the ruling group and the opposition in the Margao Municipal Council (MMC). Councillor Narayan Fondekar, while terming the decision as illegal’ and malafide,’ has alleged a fraud in the civic body’s move to convert sopo-paying units into permanent shops. Speaking to TOI on Wednesday, a day after the seven member opposition group staged a walk-out at the outset of the council meeting, raising objections to the holding of the meeting when the model code of conduct was in force, Fondekar said that the issue was not a part of the agenda. “At the council meeting held on Tuesday, they confirmed the minutes of the last meeting that resolved to provide permissions for erecting rolling shutters to eight sopo payers. At the last meeting, the issue was taken up for discussion under the any other business’ subject, when the opposition councillors were not present. “As this is a major policy decision of the council, the confirmation of the resolution at Tuesday’s meeting goes against the election code of conduct,” Fondekar said, adding that a complaint in this regard has already been lodged with the election commission. At the last meeting, the issue was deliberated at length, following which the council had adopted a resolution in favour of granting rolling shutters to eight sopo payers on the condition that they pay rent in place of sopo. The council had, in the past, granted similar permission to several vendors in the Gandhi market. Incidentally, the municipal retainer too had not found anything amiss in the proposal when the council had turned to him for legal advice. The MMC relied on the reasoning advanced by the municipal retainer Vikas Thali that, “if the council is not in a position to take any action against those who were permitted to put up rolling shutters, it might be difficult for the council to deny the same benefit to others similarly placed.” Surprisingly, the observations of the municipal retainer are at odds with the arguments he had advanced while pleading a case in the court on behalf of Lok Andolan, a public organization. Lok Andolan had, in 1998, moved court over illegal constructions and encroachments in open spaces and parking lots in the Gandhi market complex (Thali was not a municipal retainer at that time). The petition was withdrawn after the MMC filed an affidavit assuring that no permanent structures will be allowed to come up at the site. Incidentally, the current resolution of the council to grant permissions to eight sopo payers goes against the affidavit. “The structures to which the council has decided to grant permissions are located on open spaces and setback areas of the Gandhi market complex and their status is illegal. The council is trying to regularize these illegal units by granting permissions to them for erecting rolling shutters and providing electricity connections,” Fondekar alleged. MMC chairperson Savio Coutinho, refused to comment on the legality of the decision. “If the opposition councillors say that the decision is illegal, then I say that they are also a party to the illegality. As councillors of the MMC, they ought to have brought to the notice of the council their viewpoint, instead of boycotting council meetings,” Coutinho said.

Drunk driving gets a new meaning
8 Mar 2009, 0532 hrs IST, Proshun Chakraborty, TNN
NAGPUR: With city cops going into top gear to put the brakes on drunken driving, tipplers and bars are finding clever ways to beat the law. Full of Dutch courage, it’s the tipplers who are having the last laugh. By shelling out a mere Rs 20, tipplers are having a few one-for-the-road. The money is paid to more-than-willing youngsters who keep a vigil outside bars and turn into temporary drivers for the bar customers. They motor the vehicle to a short distance away from the bar. The tippler follows on foot before taking charge of his vehicle. Cops keep track of drunkards outside bars and pass information on wireless sets to their colleagues who then nab the suspects after the customary test for drunken driving. Now, with help at hand, tipplers are brazenly going the extra mile with a few glasses too many. Interestingly, the cops are aware of this ingenuity. Senior inspector (traffic) Jameel Ahmed said, “Many bar owners have started deploying more than one guard. They have been given the responsibility to tip-off customers about cops. Guards even park vehicles a short distance away so that customers can evade the cops.”

‘For equal rights, women need to work hard’
8 Mar 2009, 0530 hrs IST, Snehlata Shrivastav, TNN
NAGPUR: Women have earned much-deserved respect in the society and proved themselves on many occasions. They have created a space for themselves in a male-dominated social order. There, however, remains a large section of women that is deprived of education and, therefore, struggling for the status they deserve in society. This was the gist of opinions expressed by city women on the eve of International Women’s Day. They said that women should command respect from their contribution at work, home and society. Corporator from Civil Lines Pragati Patil attributes the respect she gets from people to the years of sustained effort in her public work. “If we ask for equal rights, we should also be able to work equally hard and seek no favours for being a woman,” Patil said. “Whether or not a woman gets respect in society largely depends on the woman themselves.” Dr Dipti Jain, professor of paediatrics at Government Medical College and Hospital, says there is visible change in the society’s attitude towards women in the city over the last decade. She attributes this partly to the change in men’s attitude due to increased awareness, education and largely because of women’s own achievements. Iris Wilkinson, who runs a school for slum children under the banner of Navjeevan Sanstha in Godhni, feels that even educated women are unable to assert themselves. “Women have to both command and demand respect to get equal status in the society. Things are changing for the better,” she said. Senior gynaecologist Dr Rekha Bhiwapurkar was of the opinion that women too should share the blame for their status in the society. “Women do not trust each other and must come out of their shell and become more professional,” she said. Vidarbha Lady Lawyers Association president Tejaswini Khade says urban women have earned respect in the society, but the same can’t be said about the rural women. “I strongly feel that women need to be more aware of their rights and should strive to earn equal status at workplace. Law alone cannot help them,” she said. Shail Jaiminee, an activist and NCP women’s city wing president says women are still far from the respect and status they deserve in the society. “For changing the scenario, there is a need for attitudinal change in both men and women,” she said. Rubina Patel, social worker working for Muslim women’s uplift, strongly feels that women in general and Muslim women in particular, continue to fall prey to social evils like dowry. “Muslim women face a lot of harassment from both husband and religious heads who issue fatwas against women. Who gave them this right? Can men end the marriage by uttering talaq thrice?” she said.

Court grants bail to former SP MLA’s brother
7 Mar 2009, 2232 hrs IST, TNN
KANPUR: The especially constituted gangster court of Kanpur Nagar on Saturday granted bail to Santosh Pathak, younger brother of former Samajwadi party MLA, Kamlesh Pathak in a gangster case. The presiding judge in his order observed that there were sufficient grounds for bail and it was a fit case of bail hence, bail was being granted to him. He had to furnish two sureties of Rs 40,000 each and a personal bond of like amount for the satisfaction of court. Earlier, the defense battery arguing his case had said that Santosh had no criminal history and he was a peace-loving person. When he lodged protest against the killing of an engineer by ruling BSP party MLA, Shekhar Tewari at Auraiya, the police on directions of state government made him criminal. Earlier in the morning the defence battery had moved bail applications of Kamlesh Pathak and Santosh Pathak. They also argued on the bail application of former MLA but the court fixed March 18, 2009 for disposal of bail application of Kamlesh. Kamlesh Pathak, later talking to mediapersons said that state would soon get rid of Maya Raj. He alleged that state government had sent him to Pilibheet jail deliberately where terrorists were being lodged. The state government was going to kill him in encounter as Pilibheet jail was famous for encounters of terrorists.

Court seeks objection in chamber dispute case
7 Mar 2009, 2226 hrs IST, TNN
KANPUR: The additional district and sessions judge I of Kanpur Nagar, Sriniwas, on Saturday sought objection on an application filed by the plaintiff, Dinesh Shukla in chamber dispute and fixed March 21 for filing objection and disposal. Dinesh Shukla, a former Kanpur Bar Association official, in his application urged to the presiding officer to make on spot inspection of the site where chamber construction was going on. He claimed that chambers were being not constructed according to map. Moreover, the construction was not up to the mark. The material being used in construction was substandard. In his application, he also submitted that this court had passed an order on January 29, 2009 and had observed that president and general secretary both were responsible persons and they would construct the chamber according to passed map and would produce the actual accounts of construction. But they were not following the norms. A large number of advocates were present during the hearing. A group of advocates has charged the present executive body of misappropriation of KBA funds. Another group was demanding the interference of the court in allotment of chambers. They claimed that since they had deposited the money first they had a right to get the chambers allotted in their name first. The situation became more complex when former general secretary issued a list of about 40 advocates saying that the chambers had been allotted to them so they may take possession of the same.

Laws UPA promised but failed to deliver
8 Mar 2009, 0411 hrs IST, Manoj Mitta, TNN
NEW DELHI: For all its claims of having fulfilled its common minimum programme (CMP), the UPA government has, for various reasons, failed to deliver on at least seven major legislative commitments spelt out on its agenda. While it did implement the pledged National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and Right To Information (RTI) Act, the avowedly secular coalition government failed to push through its much-touted legislative response to Gujarat riots. Nor could it make the promised breakthrough to put in place statutory mechanisms for ensuring probity in the political executive and higher judiciary. The UPA also failed to bring about the laws promised on gender justice and women’s reservation in legislatures. On the agriculture front, it failed to keep its promise of coming up with a law that would make cooperatives more democratic. On the industrial front, it reneged on its commitment on the sensitive issue of labour reforms. Consider the promises published in the CMP and the abortive efforts, if any, by the government to fulfil them: * Promise: “The UPA government will enact a model comprehensive law to deal with communal violence and encourage each state to adopt that law to generate faith and confidence in minority communities.” Performance: The government dropped the idea of limiting itself to enacting a model law that each state would adopt separately. Instead, in 2005, it introduced a Bill that applied to all states as it conferred overriding powers on the Centre to declare a riot-affected area as “communally disturbed” and assume the responsibility of restoring law and order. The communal violence (prevention, control and rehabilitation of victims) Bill, however, proved to be a non-starter as the government could not hammer out a consensus on such a departure from the existing federal arrangement. * Promise: “Judicial reforms will be given a fresh momentum.” Performance: Despite the growing incidence of corruption in the higher judiciary, the government failed to convert a Bill pending since 2006 into a law providing statutory machinery for judicial accountability. The judges (inquiry) Bill carried little credibility as it retained the existing in-house procedure without allowing any outsider to have a say in the probe. * Promise: “The Lok Pal Bill will be enacted into law.” Performance: The government failed to come up with a Bill in this regard even after its Administrative Reforms Commission recommended in 2007 that the proposed ombudsman of political corruption be given a constitutional status and be called “Rashtriya Lokayukta” instead of Lok Pal. * Promise: “The UPA government will take the lead to introduce legislation for one-third reservations for women in vidhan sabhas and in the Lok Sabha.” Performance : All that the government did with this promise of reserving one-third of the seats in assemblies and Lok Sabha for women is to introduce a Bill amid much fanfare in the Rajya Sabha in May 2008. Though most of the major parties (Congress, BJP and Left) are ostensibly in favour of this legislation, the government never got around to putting it to vote in Parliament.

* Promise: “Complete legal equality for women in all spheres will be made a practical reality, especially by removing discriminatory

legislation and by enacting new legislation that gives women, for instance, equal rights of ownership of assets like houses and land.” Performance: Other than enacting the domestic violence law, which was promised separately in the CMP, the government did not come up with any Bill related to this long-winded commitment of moving towards gender equality in all respects. * Promise: “The UPA government will bring forward a Constitutional Amendment to ensure the democratic, autonomous and professional functioning of cooperatives.” Performance: Despite holding elaborate consultations on this proposal, the government failed to reach the stage of introducing a Bill to amend the Constitution. * Promise: “Labour laws other than the Industrial Disputes Act that create an Inspector Raj will be re-examined and procedures harmonized and streamlined.” Performance: Thanks to pressure from the Left for most part of its tenure, the government did not dare tinker with the inspector raj prevailing in labour laws.

Haryana shuts out builders from Aravali
8 Mar 2009, 0142 hrs IST, Manveer Saini, TNN
CHANDIGARH: It’s another small win for the Aravalis. In keeping with the CEC’s recommendations, Haryana’s town and country planning department on Friday denied permission to two housing giants who had applied for licence to carve out projects in 600 acres falling in the fragile hill zone. Turning down the applications moved by Karamyogi Shelters Pvt Ltd and Kenwood Mercantile for licence for a housing project on 178 and 346 acres respectively, special secretary S S Dhillon, said, “We will not encourage any such activity which has potential of disturbing the ecological balance. We are very clear on this and, hence, the rejection of licences to the builders.” The decision will impact the proposals and licences under consideration with the Faridabad municipal commissioner, who also exercises powers to grant change of land use in areas falling under jurisdiction of the civic body. Enquiries revealed that while the promoters of Karamyogi Shelters had been trying to procure a licence since 1994, Kenwood Mercentiles moved an application in 2001. Though the town and country planning department issued a letter of intent (LOI) in 2004, it kept a formal permission pending. Speaking to TOI on Saturday, Dhillon said the move is accordance with the sanctions of Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) and the recommendations of Central Empowerment Committee (CEC), a body constituted by the Supreme Court to monitor activities in the Aravalis. Regarding future course of action, he said amnesty request for 30-odd constructions falling in the area developed by Kant Enclave could be considered. “As far as Kant Enclave is concerned, there are very few built houses and we would certainly plead for an exemption. We’ll put our point of view before the court,” he said. The department plans to start the demolition of illegal structures soon, he added.

Lawyers to continue agitation
K.T. Sangameswaran
CHENNAI: Rejecting the interim report of Justice B.N. Srikrishna, who probed the February 19 incidents at the Madras High Court, the State-level joint action committee of advocates on Saturday resolved to continue their agitation and abstain from courts and tribunals.
The committee, which met under the chairmanship of R.C. Paul Kanagaraj, said the report was “wholly without basis.” It criticised the “unwarranted comments made against the advocates and judges” in the report and condemned the Tamil Nadu government for “protecting and shielding the DGP, the Commissioner of Police and other police officers who indulged in the brutal attack on judiciary and lawyers.” The lawyers will hold a demonstration on March 9.
The committee also resolved not to attend the welcome address to the new Chief Justice of the High Court, Justice Hemant Laxman Gokhale. However, it permitted the office-bearers to attend Monday’s swearing-in to “maintain the healthy traditions of the legal fraternity of Tamil Nadu.”
Justice Gokhale has called the representatives of advocates associations for a meeting at the Raj Bhavan on Sunday.
A panel of nine senior lawyers, including R.Gandhi, was formed to conduct a legal course against the police officers who indulged in the February 19 attack. The committee thanked the Bar Council for appointing an enquiry commission headed by A. Natarajan to go into the incidents.
The High Court has written to the State government asking it to provide security to the court as it existed prior to February 17.
The Supreme Court had ordered police protection to the judges. For the smooth functioning of the High Court, policemen should be deployed as per the order of the Chief Justice of the High Court; but no armed force should enter without the CJ’s permission.

Suryanarayana Raju gives himself up in court
N. Rahul
HYDERABAD: Abiding by a condition imposed by court when he was granted anticipatory bail on Thursday, B. Suryanarayana Raju, brother of the former Satyam Computers chairman Ramalinga Raju, presented himself before the Fourteenth Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate here on Saturday.
As part of the bail conditions, Mr. Suryanarayana Raju also surrendered his passport and executed a personal bond for Rs. 10,000, besides furnishing two sureties for a like sum each.
CBI informed
The court later informed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) public prosecutor of his giving himself up and fulfilling the conditions.
The CBI is now preparing to issue notices to him to appear before it for interrogation in the Satyam fraud case.
The court had authorised the CBI to summon Mr. Raju as and when required for investigation.
Remand extended
Meanwhile, the court extended up to March 20 the judicial remand for Ramalinga Raju, another brother Rama Raju, the former chief financial officer of Satyam Srinivas Vadlamani, and Price Waterhouse auditors S. Gopalakrishnan and Talluri Srinivas. Their previsous spell of remand expired on Saturday.

“UPA not serious on Women’s Bill”
Special Correspondent
Consensus is a pretext used by political parties: MP
NEW DELHI: Several parliamentarians on Saturday expressed unhappiness over the failure of successive governments in ensuring the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill.
Speaking at a discussion on “Election 2009 and Beyond: Women’s Agenda,” organised by the Indian Women’s Press Corps, they said despite the three major political parties supporting the Bill, the proposed legislation was not put to vote in Parliament on the pretext of seeking a consensus.
No will, no way
Najma Heptullah, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajya Sabha member, said though all political parties and governments have committed to pass the Bill, it was yet to be done, though the first steps towards women’s empowerment by introducing it in the Rajya Sabha was achieved.
“If there is no will, there will be no way,” she said while suggesting that the Bill should be put to vote.
Little representation
Ms. Heptullah said she was ‘sad’ that the first woman President of the country had made no mention of the Bill in her address. This showed that the United Progressive Alliance was not serious about it.
“India is the only country where women are at the helm of the decision-making process but find little representation in legislatures,” she added.
Criticising the successive governments, Hannan Mollah, Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP said there were innumerable legislation and decisions, including the one pertaining to the nuclear deal with the United States, passed or made without consensus.
“Consensus is a pretext being used by the political parties,” he said, while calling upon the women to continue with their struggle.
“There’s lack of will”
D. Raja of the Communist Party of India said it was time to end symbolism and shift to systemic change for women’s rights.
“We have had a woman as Prime Minister and several Chief Ministers but when it comes to giving reservation, opportunities are missed,” he said.
Long struggle
Charging that consensus was just being used as a ploy, Mr. Raja said the National Democratic Alliance and the UPA could have done it with the support of the Left parties but there was lack of will. “This is a long drawn struggle for women,” he added.
Women’s activist Suman Krishna Kant said reservation would secure the right to equality for women granted in the Constitution.

Lawyers union slams Srikrishna report
Special Correspondent
Chennai: The All India Lawyers Union on Saturday said that lawyers viewed with extreme anguish Justice Srikrishna’s report on the February 19 incidents on the High Court premises not because it was “against the lawyers, but because no action has even been suggested against the police, despite several findings against them.”
In a statement, union president N.G.R.Prasad said at least the senior police officers should have been kept off duty till further enquiry was conducted by the High Court. Acting Chief Justice S.J.Mukhopadhaya would have handled the situation had the police not entered the scene. The report, without a logical follow-up of immediate action against erring police personnel, would lead to the establishment of a ‘police raj.’

Municipality resolution favours shifting courts to Kancheepuram
Staff Reporter
Council urged the State to shift the session and district- level courts from Chengalpattu
KANCHEEPURAM: The Kancheepuram Municipal Council passed a resolution urging the State Government to shift district-level courts from Chengalpattu to the district headquarters town – Kancheepuram.
In a resolution moved by the DMK floor leader C.V.M.A. Sekar and passed unanimously at the recent Council meeting chaired by the Vice-Chairman, G.Sambandam, it was stated that all most all District-level offices except District Sessions and other district-level judicial offices and some other offices such as District Rehabilitation Office, District Library Office and Office of Assistant Director (Environment), have been shifted to the district headquarters town – Kancheepuram when the District Collector office was shifted from Panagal Building, Saidapet during late 1960’s.
Pointing out that District-level judicial offices were functioning at the District headquarters town in all other Districts, the Council urged the State Government to shift the Kancheepuram District Sessions and other District-level courts hitherto functioning at Chengalpattu to Kancheepuram at least on the occasion of C.N.Annadurai’s birth centenary.

Woman aspirant for ‘lineman’ job moves High Court International Women’s Day
Chitra V. Ramani
She says she has the qualifications prescribed by KPTCL
Bangalore: Women have scaled great heights in various fields. But a job that requires scaling heights, literally, continues to be out of reach, even as we celebrate yet another International Women’s Day.
A resident of Bangalore has moved the High Court asking why women should be barred from being employed as “linemen” in KPTCL and Escoms. The petitioner, Jayanti R. of Viveknagar, Bangalore, said she had passed SSLC and had also completed ITI course in electronics.
She said she had all the qualifications prescribed by KPTCL for employment as a “lineman”. She said the KPTCL had on February 4, 2007 called for applications for the posts of lineman. The KPTCL had not made any reservation for women, though it was bound to follow the government roster on reservation. She said reservation of posts for women was mandatory and all agencies of the State were mandated by law to follow it.
Ms. Jayanti said that in 2005 when the KPTCL advertised for the posts of linesman, there was reservation for women. She urged the court to direct KPTCL to once again reserve posts for women, as excluding them was nothing short of gender discrimination.
KPTCL, on its part, said it had obtained permission from the Government to exclude women from being called for posts of lineman.
Bescom does have women linemen, says Tushar Giri Nath, managing director of Bescom. “Though there is no reservation for women, we do ensure that all applicants clear the physical test. Only those who qualify are appointed as linemen,” he added. However, sources in Bescom claimed that even though women had been appointed as “linemen”, they were given “desk jobs”. “Some women were appointed some five years ago. However, women applicants were not considered during the recent recruitment drive.”
About their “desk jobs”, the official said that the linewomen’s technical skills were made use of. “They ably assist the executive engineers and assistant executive engineers. The pay is the same for both linemen and linewomen,” he added. Meanwhile, Justice S. Abdul Nazir has directed KPTCL to file its statement of objections and adjourned further hearing of Ms. Jayanti’s the case.

Law students urged to imbibe real spirit of secularism
Special Correspondent
Justice Cyriac Joseph was speaking at NUALS convocation
Kochi: Supreme Court Judge, Justice Cyriac Joseph, on Saturday said that it was the duty of every citizen to imbibe the real spirit of secularism and to work for religious harmony and national unity.
Delivering the convocation address at the National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), Justice Cyriac Joseph said that secularism prohibited any official religion for the State but guaranteed full freedom for all religions. While being a true follower of one’s own religion, one could also be secular by recognising the right of others to profess, practise and propagate religions of their choice. Thus, secularism was ‘not necessarily being irreligious.’
He said that the entire citizenry should get justice-social, economic and political- in the socialist republic of India. Justice implied an egalitarian society where everyone got ‘what he needs and no one takes more than what he deserves.’ The government should ensure that there was sufficient scope and opportunity for individual initiative and personal development and growth without permitting social or economic or political exploitation of any section or individual.
Justice Cyriac Joseph called upon the students who passed out of the university to use law as an effective instrument or weapon to do good to others, particularly the weak and the poor. He said that the basic principle that ‘law is for man and not man for law’ should be followed for securing justice to all citizens.
In his welcome address, N.K. Jayakumar, Vice-Chancellor, said that the university had approached the centre and state governments for financial support for the development of infrastructure at its Kalamassery campus. The University had been making every endeavour to improve the facilities in its campus.
The Chancellor of the University and Acting Chief Justice J. B. Koshy presided.

Apex court wants mediation centres in all districts
Staff Reporter
Second mediation centre in the State inaugurated
Thrissur: Supreme Court judge Justice Cyriac Joseph has said the Supreme Court would like to see mediation centres started in all districts of Kerala. He was addressing a meeting held on the premises of the Civil Station here on Saturday to inaugurate a mediation centre in Thrissur, the second in the State.
He said that mediation was the most effective Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) method.
“ADR methods include arbitration, judicial settlement and mediation. Settlement through mediation is voluntary unlike in arbitration at Lok Adalats. People complain that arbitration is expensive and time-consuming,” he said.
He stated that the Indian judiciary was perhaps the most efficient and fiercely independent judicial system in the world.
“But its biggest handicap is undue delay in administration of justice. Protracted litigations erode public faith in the system. Herein lies the relevance of ADR methods. Provisions for ADR have been introduced by adding Section 89 to the Code of Civil Procedure. About 30 years, California State battled a heavy backlog of cases. After introducing mediation, only five per cent cases are pending settlement there.”
He said the judiciary and the fourth estate, pillars of democracy, should work in tandem. “Both systems may have a few flaws. But their role cannot be understated. They are like comrades-in-arms. They are working for a common mission. Judiciary has played a major role in preserving democracy in the country. Its role has often been disregarded.”
He called upon lawyers to make mediation centres a success. “Apprehensions about lawyers losing work are misplaced. Mediation centres would make the judicial system more effective, establish better relations between the public and the judiciary and bring more opportunities to lawyers.”
Justice Pius Kuriakose, High Court judge, presided over the function. High Court judges Justice A.K. Basheer, S. Siri Jagan, District Judge B. Kemal Pasha, Chief Judicial Magistrate T.K. Madhu, Therambil Ramakrishnan, MLA, District Government Pleader P.K. Pushpangadan, Bar Association president C.K. Saji Narayanan and Advocate Clerks’ Association president K.R. Soman were among those present on the occasion. An orientation programme for prospective mediators was held at the Collectorate conference hall on Saturday. A panel of 50 mediators would be formed in the district. Judicial officers above the rank of District and Sessions Judge and lawyers with a minimum experience of 15 years will be trained to be mediators.

Mangalore: Hospital asked to pay Rs. 3-lakh compensation
MANGALORE March 8: The Dakshina Kannada District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum recently directed the management and a doctor of A.J. Shetty Hospital and Research Centre here to pay Rs. 3,00,000 as compensation for their negligence in handling a case that had been brought to them seven years ago.
According to the judgement, Hasnabba Beary (56) had approached B.V Manjunath, a doctor at the A.J Heart Institute in Kuntikana with a complaint of frequent giddiness. Dr. Manjunath told Mr. Beary that he was afflicted with “Sinus Bradycardia, IHD, sick sinus Syndrome. good LV function, diabetes mellitus, old lacunar infarct, Vestibular Labirynthitis” and advised him to undergo permanent pace maker to survive.
Accordingly, Mr. Beary implanted the pace making device. But, when he returned to the hospital for review after a month, he complained that there was no improvement in his condition. In addition, Mr. Beary had “pain in the region of insertion of the pace maker device.”
Mr. Beary’s condition deteriorated further and was re-admitted to the same hospital on October 13, 2003 for five days.
With his condition not improving, he admitted himself at the Jayapadma Hospital at Bhadravati. But on the advice of authorities there, Mr. Beary got admitted to A.J. Hospital again on December 6, 2003. This time, Dr. Manjunath diagnosed Mr. Beary of having “abscess in the implant region”. By that time, the patient had started complaining of insomnia and rising chest pain.On December 10, 2003, the pace maker was removed from Mr. Beary’s body, even as his condition failed to improve. In March 2005 it was found that while removing the pace maker Dr. Manjunath had left the PPI wire in the patient’s body. Once this wire was surgically removed, Mr. Beary’s condition began improving drastically.In his complaint to the consumer forum Mr. Beary said that his sufferings were caused by “unwarranted treatment of engrafting pace maker into his system”. Based on the evidence provided, the forum said Dr. Manjunath and the hospital management were “jointly and severally liable to pay Rs. 3,00,000 to Mr. Beary as compensation and Rs.1,000 as cost of litigation.”
The guilty parties would be liable to pay interest at 6 per cent a year if they failed to pay the amount within 30 days of the judgement, the forum added.
Reacting to the judgement, director of the hospital Prashanth Marla said they had preferred an appeal before a higher court.

Bangalore, Mar. 8 (TRR)- Making it clear that places of worship cannot be constructed at places which are meant for public use under the law, the Karnataka High Court has sought the administrative opinion of the State Government on this issue.
A Division Bench led by Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran has directed the State Government to spell out its stand on overnight construction of Temples, Mosques and Churches at places which are meant for public use.
The Court has sought this clarification while hearing a petition related to the building of a temple encroaching upon a part of Lakshmana Rao park at Okalipuram, Bangalore. The Court has also expressed its displeasure over allowing such constructions.
“If any individual constructs a building at places meant for public use, you call him as a land grabber and evict the building. If land is encroached in the name of God, you treat it as a blessing,” the Court criticised the Govt.
A temple was constructed at Lakshman Rao Park encroaching upon some portion of the park. A single Judge Bench which heard the petition directed the Government to reserve the encroached land for public use.
With BBMP not taking action to evict the temple, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the HC seeking directive to BBMP to evict the encroachment.

HC sentences private institute owner to jail term for contempt
Author: Noor KhanPublished: Sun, 08 Mar 2009 at 12:33 IST
New Delhi, Mar 8 : The Delhi High Court has sentenced the owner of a private educational institute to one month jail term for committing contempt of court after he failed to vacate the premises, which belonged to a company, by April 30, 2008.Imposing a fine of Rs 2,000 on Professor J D Aggarwal, who runs the Indian Institute of Finance in Ashok Vihar, Justice Manmohan Singh directed him to pay the agreed rent of Rs three lakh per month from April 2008 till the date he hands over the premises to Shakti Towers Private Ltd, which owns the building.”In my opinion, the conduct of respondent (Aggarwal) interfered with the due course of justice and he is held guilty of contempt of court,” the court said in a judgement.Allowing a contempt petition filed by the company, the Court observed “It is necessary to do so, to uphold the majesty of law and dignity of courts as well as the sanctity of undertakings furnished before the courts”.Aggarwal had given an undertaking to the court in October 2007 that he would hand over possession of the rented property to Shakti Tower by April last year in a property dispute with his landlord company.”It is apparent that he has committed a wilful and deliberate breach of his undertaking in October 2007…He tried to obstruct the course of justice and tried to bring the institute of judiciary into disrepute by filing multifarious proceedings,” the judgement also said. (MORE)

TDS Provisions not applicable to Hotel Rent: Mumbai HC
Providing respite to city hotels, especially fivestars and business hotels, the B o m b ay high court, in a landmark judgment, has ruled that Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) would not be applicable to the services they provide. The verdict, by a division bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and J P Devadhar, quashed a circular issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and set to rest a 15-year-old controversy.
“The verdict will provide a huge relief to hotels,” Hotel Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) secretary S M Korde told to a leading newspaper.
The 1994 circular said customers (usually corporates), while paying hotels for rooms and availing of facilities and amenities, would have to deduct tax at source under the Income Tax (I-T) Act. The TDS required to be cut was around 10%. Corporates form around two-thirds of the business of five-star hotels.
“The rule ensured that the daily cash flow was blocked and the hotels could claim any refunds only later,” Korde said. The HRAWI said the Bombay high court judgment would help hotels across India. A petition filed by the association’ s parent body is pending in the Delhi high court. Korde added that the judgment would be cited as a precedent to get a favourable order. The petition challenging the circular was filed by East India Hotels Ltd. It runs the Oberoi and the Trident on Marine Drive and has a chain of five-star hotels in other parts of the country. Besides rooms, the company said it provided a range of amenities to its clients, including highly trained and experienced multi-lingual staff, 24-hour service for reception, information and telephones, house-keeping, select restaurants, bank counters, beauty salons, barber shops, car rental services, shopping centres, health clubs and business centres. The issue was whether these services came under the definition of “carrying out work” under Section 194 C of the IT Act, which the CBDT insisted it did.
But the high court did not agree. “Services rendered by a hotel to its customers by providing certain facilities and amenities do not constitute work (as defined by the Act),” the judges said.
The controversy over the provision has a long history. Initially, the contracts for rendering professional services by lawyers, physicians, surgeons, engineers, accountants, architects and consultants were kept out of the ambit of the Act. In 1994, the CBDT said all types of contracts, including transport, service, advertisement, broadcasting, telecasting, labour, material and work contracts, would be liable to pay TDS.
When the courts held that such an interpretation was illegal, in 1995, the law was changed to to include four types of service contracts within the purview of Section 194 C: advertising, broadcast, transport and catering contracts. The court held that the service provided by hotels did not fall under any of these categories.
Posted by Sandeep Kanoi

Court serves notice on govt over failed Juvenile law
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Kohima, March 06 2009: A division bench of the Guwahati High Court, comprising Justice Maibam Binoykumar and Justice AC Upadhyay today issued a notice of motion returnable within four weeks to the Government of Manipur following a Public Interest Litigation(PIL) seeking appropriate directive for effective implementation of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. The notice of motion was issued following a PIL filed by Wahengbam Joykumar, a social activist at the initiative of Human Rights Law Network (Manipur).According to the PIL, the petitioner contended that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 was enacted by the Indian Parliament on December 30, 2000 by replacing the pre-existing Juvenile Justice Act, 1986. The law is further amended in 2006 which makes it more children friendly and provides proper care and protection of children.Under the new enactment, the respondents ? the secretary (Law and Legislative Affairs), Government of Manipur, the Director, Social Welfare Department, and he DGP of Manipur ? require to establish various statutory bodies and institutions for effective implementation of the Act so as to enforce the Act effectively.However, even after a lapse of more than eight years from the date of enforcement of the Act, no tangible action has been taken by the respondents for the effective implementation of the Act by making available service of Principal Magistrates of Juvenile Justice Boards, etc, the complainant said.The petitioner also contended that no response has come forward from the respondents even after a lapse of eight months after submitting a representation to the respondents for providing the required numbers of Principal Magistrates of the Juvenile Justice Boards, highlighting the shortcomings in the implementation of the Act, and urging for the constitution of Juvenile police unit and to appoint Juvenile officer.It also mentioned that there has been no Principal Magistrate in all Juvenile Justice Boards constituted for each and every district of Manipur under Section 4 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.There is also no building and support staff for all Juvenile Justice Boards and Child Welfare Committees constituted for the nine districts of Manipur.Asserting that there is no inspection committee for Children’s Homes and the Government has failed to create Juvenile Justice Fund, the petitioner also said that no district level child protection committee is constituted and there is no special police unit nor designated juvenile or child welfare officer in any police station of Manipur.

Ferozepur Consumer Forum imposes fine on postal authorities
Punjab Newsline Network
Saturday, 07 March 2009
FEROZEPUR: The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Ferozepur consisting of . Sanjay Garg, President , Tarlok Singh and Parveenjit Kaur members have imposed a fine of Rs.7000/- and Rs.2000/- as litigation expenses on the department of Post and telegraphs.

The fine was imnpsoed in a Consumer Complaint No.441 of 2008 filed by one Surjit Singh son of Suba Singh, resident of Village Nathu Wala Tehsil and District Ferozepur. The son of the complainant namely Harpreet Singh had gone to England for study in the year 2007. In England, he was in need of his original DMCs and his heavy Motor Vehicle Driving Licence and other papers and as per demand of his son, the complainant posted the above said original documents to his son Harpreet Singh through registered post through opposite party No.3.
Opposite party No.3 issued a receipt bearing No.3413 dated 23.11.2007 and took charges of Rs.104/- for the above said registered post. The complainant also informed his son Harpreet Singh about the posting of the above said registered post containing the documents. Said Harpreet Singh, after waiting for a sufficient time and even after enquiring from the postal authorities from England , informed the complainant about non-receipt of the above said registered post.
The complainant approached the opposite parties. The opposite parties assured that they will enquire the matter and inform the complainant after enquiry. It is further averred that the son of the complainant namely Harpreet Singh told the complainant that he has been facing difficulties due to non-availability of documents and he has suffered a loss of one year of study. He has also suffered a loss of Rs.5,00,000/-, which were given by the complainant to him.
Complainant has also taken the matter with the opposite party in written and the opposite parties assured the complainant that they will return back the original documents in question to the complainant and thereafter the complainant time and again visited the office of the opposite parties, but ultimately the opposite parties refused to give back the documents to the complainant and also refused to enquire about the matter. The said documents have not been received by the son of the complainant till date. With these allegations, deficiency in service and unfair trade practice have been pleaded on the part of the opposite parties. The complainant has claimed an amount of Rs.5,50,000/- as consolidated compensation for the loss of articles as well as on account of mental agony and harassment faced by the complainant. Rs.5500/- have been claimed as litigation expenses.
After hearing the version of both the parties, the Forum has held the department guilty of deficient in providing better services to the complainant and directed the opposite parties to pay compensation of Rs.7000/- to the complainant. The opposite parties are also directed to pay Rs.2000/- as litigation expenses. The opposite parties will be liable jointly and severally. The order is directed to be complied with by the opposite parties within a period of thirty days from the date of receipt of its copy.

Mortgage liability
In case of default of mortgage of immovable property if the security is enforced to recover dues, will the government dues have priority over mortgage dues? The Supreme Court has held through judicial pronouncements, particularly the Dena Bank case and the latest incident of Sicom Ltd that any dues of the Central or State government shall not have any precedence over the mortgage debts of the financial institutions. This is because such dues can not be construed to mean arrears of land revenue. Therefore the claim of unpaid property tax, lease rental arrears of the government companies may not have the precedence over the mortgage dues of the financial institutions despite the various enactments providing recovery of such dues as land revenue.
Earnest meney cannot be forfeited in fullCan a developer forfeit the earnest money in full if the buyer has stopped paying installments towards investment in the apartment? No. In a case involving DLF Universal Ltd v. Ekta Seth, there was a delay in construction and the builder demanded an additional amount on account of cost escalation, increase in area, external electrification, fire fighting system and standby generators. While the respondent did not honour the demand and stopped paying installments, the appellant cancelled the allotment and forfeited the earnest money. On representation, the MRTP commission directed the appellant to return the earnest money along with interest thereon. The apex court, considering the entire facts and circumstances of the case, directed that 50 per cent of the amount which was forfeited by the appellant be refunded to the respondent within three months. All legal heir are liable for prosecution if they do not vacate company premisesThe Supreme Court has held all those who have come in possession of the company premises with the express or implied consent of the employee and have not vacated the premises would be withholding the delivery of the property to the company and, therefore, are liable to be prosecuted under section 630 of the Act. This will include anyone else who has been inducted in possession of the property by such persons who continue to withhold the possession of the premises, as such person is equally responsible for withholding and non-delivery of the property of the company.

Women seeking a level playing field
8 Mar 2009, 0107 hrs IST, John Sarkar, ET Bureau
The nights may be balmy in Gujarat. But in a nondescript little hut, sweat takes centrestage, as a woman stokes the flames from an indigenous mud stove. In her mid-twenties, Konikaben is tired and sleepy. Bending over for 8 hours in the fields takes its toll. But yet, for the mother of two and the sole bread earner of the family, it’s a long road to respite. After all, she has a whole country to feed. Sample this: The contribution of rural women in overall farm production in India is estimated to be in the range of 55-66% thanks to their roles as managers and landless labourers, according to a study by National Commission For Women (NCW). What’s more, the study further reveals that in the Indian Himalayas, a pair of bullocks works 1064 hours, a man 1212 hours and a woman 3485 hours in a year on a one-hectare farm, a figure that illustrates women’s significant contribution to agricultural production in the country (Shiva FAO, 1991). So, if you thought that a woman in rural India is only good for gathering firewood and cooking, think again. It’s perhaps time to bust a few notions. Says Ranjani Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research (CSR), an NGO working women’s rights issues: “India has more working women than any other country in the world. And women, especially in rural India, generate income in various ways.” For instance, out of the total 397 million workers in India, 123.9 million are women. Of these, roughly 106 million women work in rural areas and the remaining 18 million work in urban areas, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO). So now, the new rural Indian woman is a homemaker, cultivator, artisan, and part-time worker, and in some cases, even an entrepreneur, as Hindustan Unilever’s (HUL) Project Shakti has shown. The Shakti Entrepreneur programme contributes by creating profitable micro-enterprise opportunities for rural women. Armed with micro-credit, rural women become Shakti entrepreneurs: direct-to-home distributors of HUL’s FMCG products in rural markets. Today there are over 45,000 Shakti entrepreneurs covering over 135,000 villages across 15 states. Says an HUL spokesperson; “Shakti entrepreneurs typically earn between Rs 600-800 per month.” And the number is rising. In rural areas, the number of working women has increased from 23.1% to 31% from 1981, compared to 8.3% to 11.6% for urban women, according to the Census 2001. Of this though, around 74% of the entire female working force is engaged in agriculture operations. And here is more good news: According to 1991 census, the number of male cultivators has increased in the country by 11.67% from 76.7 in 1981 to 85.6 million in 1991. The female cultivators however have increased at much faster rate of 45.23% from 14.8 million in 1981 to 21.5 million in 1991.

“But other than farming, women are also highly involved in small-scale enterprises,” emphasises Kumari. For instance, in rural India, women have
extensive workloads with dual responsibility for farm and household production. Other agricultural work includes women involved with livestock, forestry, fishing and hunting, plantations, orchards, and related activities. In a nutshell, women in animal husbandry and livestock sector constitute 69% of the labour force and 35% of crop farming (Economic Survey 2002-03). But rise in numbers do not necessarily mean a healthy situation. And not surprisingly, this silver lining too, is not without a dark cloud. And here’s why: Women agricultural workers, although they represent a big proportion of all women workers, continue to receive lower wages than men. The ministry of labour puts the difference at 60% of men’s wages, while the Indian Labour journal showed that women received 75% of men’s earnings. Furthermore, for rural working women here are some major problems that Ela Ramesh Bhatt, founder of Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), highlights. Says Bhatt, “Though better infrastructure and education have motivated a majority of rural women to work, for women farmers plots are getting smaller, for women artisans raw material is getting more expensive, and the number of workdays are also getting cropped due to lack of water in some places.” And Bhatt further mentions that in the face of globalisation, investment in skill-development schools is a must if the country’s rural women have to reach the next level. “Also social security of women is a factor that needs to be looked at. The Social Security Bill for unorganized labour has been passed by both the houses and now the President has to just sign it,” she says. This will help a lot of women, as statistics show that there are about 30 million home workers in India of which 80% are women. Says Sushma Kapoor, deputy regional programme director, United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM): “The eleventh plan focuses on various excluded segments of women workers in India including home-based workers. We are lobbying with the government for policy level intervention for them. In 2007, Homenet South Asia was launched and it helps formulate national policies for home based workers. Social recognition and protection is needed for these workers who are invisible in statistics. We have also been working with the census to engender the process so that the contribution of these workers are recognized as production. Our efforts are towards helping various segments of these workers move up the value-chain. We have also taken up the issue of gender-based budgeting with the central and state governments.”

Godhra case transferred from POTA Court to Sessions Court
Express News Service
Posted: Mar 07, 2009 at 0048 hrs IST
Amedabad In an important development, Special POTA judge Jyotsna Yagnik, on Friday, ordered the transfer of the Godhra train carnage case to the Godhra Sessions Court, with immediate effect.
Simultaneously, she also directed the state government to shift all the 79 accused in the case from the Sabarmati Central Jail to the Godhra district jail by revoking the orders under Section 268 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which prevented shifting them from the Sabarmati jail.
With this development, the trial will now commence in the Godhra Sessions Court under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Once the trial starts, the accused can apply for bail, which was earlier denied to them under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA).
Advocate Ilyas Khan, representing the accused, said, all records and proceedings of the case will now be transferred to Godhra for initiating the trial.
With Friday’s orders, the accused will now have to be shifted to the Godhra district jail, bringing much relief to their relatives, who earlier had to send meals for the accused daily from Godhra to Ahmedabad.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court also ordered that the Special POTA Court in Ahmedabad must implement the apex court’s order of December 1, 2008, upholding the constitutional validity of the Central POTA Review Committee (CPRC).
The CPRC had recommended that POTA did not apply to the accused in the Godhra train case as there was no evidence of terror conspiracy. It also recommended the trial of the accused under the IPC.
The recommendations were made binding on the court and the state government. Its implementation was, however, delayed due to a case filed by a relative of the Godhra train carnage, challenging the findings of the CPRC.
On Friday, the Supreme Court also refused to grant a stay on the Gujarat High Court judgment dismissing POTA charges against the accused.
The apex court’s directions came on Sardarsinh Maganji Vaghela’s petition that had demanded a stay on the High Court’s orders.
The High Court had, in its February 12 order, observed that there was no evidence to suggest that the accused had entered a conspiracy and had committed the offence, though it was without doubt, a serious and shocking incident. The bench had ordered the shifting of the case from the POTA Court to the trial court.
Sayeed Umarjee, the son of 72-year-old Maulana Hussain Umarjee, who is lodged in the Sabarmati Central Jail, welcomed the ruling to shift the trial to the Godhra Sessions Court.
He demanded an apology from the state government for “maligning the Muslims of Godhra by portraying them as terrorists”, and also sought action against the policemen “for framing the accused under POTA without evidence”.
Sayeed also welcomed the Supreme Court order to refuse a stay on the Gujarat High Court order repealing POTA against the Godhra accused. Senior advocate Mukul Sinha, who had defended the POTA victims, said: “It is a victory of seven years of struggle and vindication of the innocence of the minority community.”
He added: “We have been saying from the beginning that POTA was invoked in the Godhra case by the Gujarat government and investigating officer Noel Parmar, with mala fide political intentions to malign the Muslim community and portray them as terrorists. What they wanted was mass reaction from the Hindu community to carry out genocide on Muslims.”
Noel Parmar and all supervisory officers should be immediately prosecuted under Section 58 of POTA for misusing the provisions of the law, he further said.


2 Responses

  1. Here is one Yohannan. I need your email address to send a message
    to seek your advice. Shall I waite ? Thank you for your Hon. reply.

  2. This is Proshun Chakraborty working with Times of India, Nagpur. My mobile number is 9850017804.

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