LEGAL NEWS 10-11/03/09

Uphold values of judiciary:Vayalar Ravi

Kollam, Monday 9 March 2009: People will lose confidence in the system if lawyers defy the judiciary, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Vayalar Ravi has said.
He was inaugurating the third State conference of the Indian Lawyers Congress (ILC) here on Sunday. Mr. Ravi was referring to the clash between lawyers and the police on the premises of the Madras High Court on February 19.
“If we defy the court, it creates an impression that the respectability of the judicial system is eroded,” he said. Lawyers are part and parcel of the judicial system. They are in fact officers of the court. The judicial system cannot function without lawyers. But lawyers are duty bound to obey the laws and the directions of the court. Being court officers they are expected to respond in a responsible manner, the Minister said.

Rs 10,000 fine imposed on MSEDCL
9 Mar 2009, 2319 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: In a landmark judgment the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (Merc) has imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) for disconnecting the power supply of a consumer without prior notice. The fine is also for non-compliance of an order given by the consumer grievance redressal forum (CGRF) of the MSEDCL itself, about reconnecting the power supply. The judgment should comfort consumers across the state who have similar complaints. The order was delivered in connection with a petition filed by Aurangabad-based hotel Sangam on November 19, 2008, against MSEDCL. The complainant is a proprietor of the restaurant and has occupied the property since 2000. The electric connection (consumer no 49001106111-4) is in the name of P J Tamkhane, who expired in 2004. The property was initially taken on lease and subsequently the father of the complainant and original owner of the premises entered an agreement to sale. The complainant is in possession of the said property and paying regular bills issued by the MSEDCL. The complainant stated that the MSEDCL issued a letter dated March 26, 2007, and legal notice dated April 9, 2008 to him and asked for documents regarding ownership of property. The complainant replied to the said communication and also explained the fact that his litigation regarding the property was pending before the civil court in Aurangabad against the legal heirs of the deceased owner of the premises. The complainant stated in the petition that the electric supply to the hotel was disconnected by MSEDCL on June 20, 2007, for non-payment of arrears of Rs 30,320 towards electricity bill. He said that he approached the MSEDCL and paid the corrected bill amount of Rs 21,130 along with reconnection charges of Rs 50 on June 23, 2007. However after receipt of the charges, the MSEDCL issued a letter dated June 30, 2007, to the complainant and said that the supply could not be reconnected following an objection raised by the power of attorney holder for the legal heirs of the property. The hotel owner filed a complaint before the CGRF which held that disconnection of electric supply without prior notice contravenes the provisions of section 56(1) of the Electricity Act (EA) 2003, and directed the MSEDCL to reconnect the supply within seven days. However, the order has not been complied with by the power utility. The hotel owner approached Merc and the commission observed that the action of not reconnecting the supply, even after receipt of payment of bills and reconnection charges, was not correct. The electricity supply of the consumer shall not be disconnected without prior notice as per provisions under section 56(1) of the Electricity Act 2003 and also till the dispute regarding property pending before the civil court is decided, the commission observed. In its order Merc directed MSEDCL to reconnect the electricity supply of the consumer within seven days and report compliance to the CGRF. MSEDCL has been held guilty of non-compliance of the CGRF’s order and a penalty of Rs 10,000 has been imposed on it which has to be paid within two weeks. In case of failure to comply, Merc has ordered an additional penalty of Rs 1,000 for every day during which the failure continues.

CBI court drops charges in Taj Corridor case
10 Mar 2009, 0007 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: Following pursuit of dropping of prosecution care against Mayawati and her deputy Nasimuddin Siddiqui in the multi-crore Taj Corridor case, the CBI court here on Monday dropped case against two other associates also in the case – RK Sharma and Rajendra Prasad. Sharma is presently posted in the Mayawati government as principal secretary, panchayati raj while Prasad is placed under suspension. Sharma’s counsel Nandit Srivastava pleaded before CBI judge Rekha Dixit that the state and Central governments refused CBI to grant sanction for proceeding ahead in the case, respectively on January 12, 2009 and May 26, 2008. Since the offences alleged were said to have been committed in official capacity, the court did not have right to proceed further for want of sanction, the counsel argued adding that earlier also the court dropped proceedings against Mayawati and Siddiqui on the same ground. On the orders of the SC, registrar general of PIL cell, SC, Indrapal had lodged FIR on October 10, 2003 in the Rs 175 crore scam. After thorough investigation, the CBI filed police report against the high profile accused in the court, which dropped the case against Mayawati and Siddiqui on June 5, 2007. The governments refused prosecution sanction as the solicitor general of India and UP advocate general opined that on perusal and consideration of material collected by the CBI in its probe, there was no sufficient evidence on which the case should be pursued any further.

PIL seeking closure of hazardous industries
9 Mar 2009, 1851 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has sought response from the Centre, city government and MCD on a PIL seeking a direction to close illegal and polluting industries in some villages on Delhi-Haryana border. The Court also issued notice to Haryana government besides Delhi and Haryana State Pollution Control Boards. A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice asked them to file their response by March 18 on a PIL filed by one Mahavir Singh through counsel Sumeet Sharma alleging that illegal industries are running in the villages of Nangloi, Ghewara, Neelwal, Mundka, Kamrruddin Nagar, Tikri Kalan and Ranhaula. “The villagers are made to bear with the pollution caused by these industries. Mundka village has become toxic dumping yard and a final destination of all plastic wastes churned out in Delhi’s homes,” the petitioner said. “Some of the industrial activities which are being carried on in these areas are that of melting and shredding of rubber and plastic items, burning of used motor engine oil for the purpose of cleaning and reselling it to oil vendors, manufacturing of plastic items from recycles plastic and saw mills etc,” the petitioner’s counsel said and sought immediate direction to both the Centre and the two state governments to stop the industries. Citing the Supreme court ruling banning hazardous industries, the counsel said “burning of plastics, especially PVC, releases harmful gases like dioxide which are found to cause caner.” The court would hear the PIL again on March 18.

Court orders notices on a PIL over illegal mining
Published: March 9,2009
Bangalore , Mar 9 Karnataka High Court today issued notice to the state government on a PIL to implement the Lokayukta report in order to check illegal mining activity.
The Lokayukta in its interim report, submitted to the government on December 12 last, had named several persons including politicians and officials for illegal mining in Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts and called for action against them.
The report had recommended recovery of losses caused by them to the state exchequer.
Petitioner S Vasudeva in his submission before the court claimed that inaction on the part of authorities enabled mine owners to plunder the mineral wealth of the state.
Source: PTI

Riot compensation stalled because of elections
10 Mar 2009, 0006 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : Riot victims have claimed that the state government had stopped payment of relief funds to 2002 riot victims. Apparently, district collectorates have cited the model code of election conduct for general elections in stopping disbursement of Rs 50 crore, which has been released by the Centre to compensate riot victims against damage to residential property. When the Gujarat High Court was hearing the issue of delay in payment of ex-gratia amount, it was revealed that the various district collectorates didn’t complete distributing the 19.05 per cent of total amount, that is Rs 262.43 crore within a month, as was directed by the state government through a circular issued on January 19. The state revenue department had asked collectorates to finish distribution of Rs 50 crore among 29,467 household – 11,237 in urban area while 18,230 in rural areas by February 20. However, only a few affected families in Patan, Mehsana and Sabarkantha districts were given this amount, said an activist Yusuf Shaikh. He is also a petitioner in the PIL filed in the high court demanding quick release of funds. Now, riot-affected victims have dashed off a complaint to chief election commissioner, asking how this could come in the way of disbursement which was announced before elections were declared. “The implementation of model code of conduct cannot act as a hindrance in making payment. The government is just forwarding a wrong pretext in delaying the procedure,” Shaikh said adding that they would once again write letters to district collectors in this regard. Patan collector Bharat Rawal said he took charge recently and was not aware of that the distribution was stalled on this ground. “I will look into the matter, because the code is not applicable in this case,” he told TOI. “We will seek explanation in writing so that we can make proper representation before the election commission,” Shaikh said.

Man demands cut in maintenance pay
10 Mar 2009, 2355 hrs IST, TNN
Bangalore: Here’s a somewhat different perspective on the recession blues. A man filed a plea in the high court recently, asking for reduction of the maintenance payable to his separated wife. Reason: recession and cut in pay. Srinivas and Sapna (name changed) tied the knot when there was a boom in the market and the BSE was soaring skywards. But within two years, things went wrong not only in their married life, but also with the economy. They opted to separate a year before the recession hit. A family court had then ordered the husband to pay Rs 15,000 a month as maintenance. Now with the economy in doldrums, Srinivas, a software engineer settled in Pune, approached the Karnataka High Court seeking reduction of maintenance amount. He cited the recession and pay cut. However, the single Bench refused to interfere. He then approached a division Bench. His counsel also told the court Sapna had finished her MA in English, besides possessing a computer studies diploma and other qualifications. So, she can fend for herself by getting a suitable job, he submitted. This did not convince the judges. They read out reasons for the separation — mental cruelty. The woman also submitted that she couldn’t hold on to jobs because of mental agony and the stigma of being deserted by her husband. “She lives with her brothers and needs maintenance,” the Bench remarked and dismissed the appeal on grounds of non-maintainability. The couple married in 2005. They were together till 2007 when Sapna came back to Bangalore to live with her brothers. A family court in the city awarded her Rs 15,000 per month maintenance in June, 2008.

Bar association seeks cordial ties with bench
10 Mar 2009, 2338 hrs IST, TNN
Bangalore: The federation of Bar Association in Karnataka is seeking for the cordial relationship between Bar and bench to work together for the benefits of Advocates in the state. The association is working in the field of welfare of the lawyers and stepped forward for conducting the election on March 22. K N Subba Reddy, president of the association said on Tuesday, “I have time and again fought against the discourtues treatment met out to Lawyers by some judges. I want to bring this into the notice of the chief justice and other judges and request them to maintain a cordial relationship with us”. According to Subba Reddy, The Advocate Associations has failed to prevent shifting of family court to Nyaya Degula. Since large number of Lawyers and litigants find it very difficult to attend the family disputes in Nyaya Degula, so it is necessary to shift the family court from there to city civil court complex immediately. The Advocate Association should act powerfully and meanwhile also maintain a good relationship with Judges, Police and other Lawyers to avoid the unnecessary cause of disputes among them. “Not only this, on behalf of the association I also request that the welfare of Lawyers has to be amended for the provision of the enhancement of death and retirement benefits of Rs 1,50,000 to Rs 5,00,000. And the state government being persuaded to acquire land in the city for purpose of establishing Lawyers Colony on the lines of Judical Colony”, Subba Reddy added.

Assault case booked against school principal, staffer
11 Mar 2009, 0553 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: Cases were registered against a private school principal and a staff member for allegedly assaulting a Class IX student of the school. The 13-year-old boy, a resident of Sainikpuri, is a student of Sri Chaitanya Techno School at ECIL crossroads. According to Kushaiguda inspector K Venkata Reddy, on Monday morning, the transport in-charge of the school, Suresh, repeatedly slapped and punched the boy in the stomach for picking up a fight with a fellow student in the school bus on March 5. “According to the student’s family, soon after the morning school assembly on Monday, Suresh hit the boy leading to internal injuries,” Venkata Reddy said. After he returned home on Monday evening, the boy complained of stomach pain and told his parents about the incident at school. He was admitted to a private hospital in ECIL. On Tuesday morning, the student’s father Nagarjuna Chakravarthi approached school principal Vanaja and complained about the incident. Claiming that the school authorities did not respond to his complaint, Nagarjuna along with the student union representatives staged a protest in front of the school on Tuesday afternoon and later lodged a complaint at the Kushaiguda police station. Police registered a case under section 324 r/w 34 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the IPC against Suresh and Vanaja. The case is under investigation.

HC refuses to hear Raju plea
11 Mar 2009, 0548 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: Justice K C Bhanu of the A P High Court on Tuesday declined to hear a house motion moved by B Ramalinga Raju and four others, challenging the decision of the designated court which granted CBI seven-day custody of the accused in the Satyam scam. Their main contention was that there should be no police custody after the first 15 days of the judicial remand. The accused will have to now file a petition or move a lunch motion on Thursday during the normal working hours of the court

Lawyers move bail applications for clients without appearing in court
11 Mar 2009, 0427 hrs IST, A Selvaraj, TNN
CHENNAI: Following the clash between lawyers and police at the Madras high court on February 19, lawyers are hesitating to appear before magistrates in court, fearing that they would be barred by the bar associations in Tamil Nadu from doing so.
Citing violation of court instructions, the associations had earlier taken steps against some lawyers who appeared on behalf of their clients. However, lawyers have found an easy way out – they now arrange bail for clients after getting approval from magistrates over the telephone. This is how it works. A prison inmate who wants to submit a bail petition approaches the defence counsel. The latter contacts the concerned magistrate over telephone to get the go-ahead to allow the person out on bail. Once the green signal is received from the magistrate, the lawyer gets in touch with the inmate’s family and presents the bail petition drafted by him. Then, the family, with the lawyer’s assistance, meets the concerned magistrate at his residence to get the bail petition granted. On average, 25-30 prisoners are let out on bail daily from the Chennai prison. The number has reduced slightly after the lawyer-police standoff. Nevertheless, prisoners are getting their bail applications granted. According to sources, an assistant director of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) arrested for accepting a bribe was released from prison on February 20, a day after the high court violence. “Normally, we receive the bail bond signed by the magistrate for a person remanded by police on various charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Prison officials verify the signature in the bail bond and the magistrate’s signature in the remand report. The prisoner is then released as per the order,” R Duraisamy, deputy inspector general of police (DIG-prisons) told The Times Of India. Duraisamy said that it was wrong information that prisons in the state were getting overcrowded because inmates overstayed. “We have a sanctioned strength – more than 20,000 persons can be accomodated in eight major prisons and 134 sub-jails across the state. But we have only 18,000 inmates in all the prisons. Every day, officials inspect the prisons and take a fresh admission list from the prison headquarters in Chennai. There is no specific rise in the number of prison inmates. When we received information that there were surplus inmates at the Saidapet sub-jail, we shifted some of them to the Puzhal prison,” he explained.

TN lawyers strike: Litigants fight own cases, get bail on phone
11 Mar 2009, 0350 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: Do-it-yourself has become the catch phrase among scores of litigants, who have been queueing up before various courts in Tamil Nadu to argue their own cases. As judicial work in the Madras high court remains hit for many weeks now — due to court boycott by advocates, first over Sri Lankan issue and CrPC amendments and now in connection with the February 19 violence – bail applications are also being moved telephonically. On Monday, the first bench of Chief Justice Hemant Laxman Gokhale and Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla had a stream of petitioners, who managed to put across the sum and substance of their litigation and walk away with a smile – and a favourable interim ruling. A farmer from Tirupur stood close to the dais with folded hands, and told the judges that the Debts Recovery Tribunal had permitted a public sector bank to take over and auction his agricultural land. Though the youth could not cite any legal provision exempting farm lands from auctions, the judges pored over law books and then stayed the impending auction by two weeks. “It is a relief for the farmer, and he would not have minded paying a decent sum to his counsel for this interim relief,” said an advocate watching the proceedings. Similarly, an army officer, who retired on February 28, managed to obtain an order, which in effect would permit him to stay at his official residence for a few more weeks. The officer, who was bypassed for promotion as he was facing charges, had come to court demanding cadre parity with another senior officer. “Though I am retired now, I want to wear the uniform of a senior officer at least for a day,” he told the judge. In another court hall, an executive employed with an auto major in Chennai pleaded before Justice Elipe Dharma Rao that his wife had left his house, taking away their child with her. Moved by his plight, the bench directed the Bangalore city police commissioner to issue a non-bailable arrest warrant against the petitioner’s wife. “She and the child will be produced before the court during the next hearing,” said a government advocate. Some magistrates order release of undertrial and remand prisoners after permitting their family members to present bail petitions, for which advocates obtain prior permission from magistrates over telephone. Though the advocate concerned would draft the bail applications, only family members or friends of the detenu would appear in court for remedy. This system is working well, and about 20 prisoners are able to walk free daily.

HC suspends Garbeta judge
11 Mar 2009, 0523 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: A judge of Garbeta court, R P Ghosh, has been suspended for being engaged in activities outside his jurisdiction from within the court premises. Calcutta High Court’s administrative committee, headed by Chief Justice SS Nijjar, passed the order on Tuesday. The judge, a former serviceman, would travel about 172 km from Bandel to Garbeta court and return home daily. On some days, he would allegedly stay back in court and even spent the night there. He would allegedly use the court’s furniture unethically, sleep on a table, bathe in toilets in the court building and put up his clothes outside for drying. But more serious allegations started pouring in against him. Though court starts at 10.30 am, Ghosh would reach around 1.30 pm. However, he would continue hearings beyond the closing time. It was alleged that he would even hear cases outside his jurisdiction. Ghosh allegedly took up four cases that was within the jurisdiction of Kolkata courts and conducted hearings on them. All this agitated lawyers and members of the Garbeta Court Bar Association. They prepared a report on him and submitted it to Calcutta HC’s chief justice and West Bengal Bar Council. A complaint also went to West Midnapore district judge Ganesh Sarkar, who sent a 50-page report to the chief justice against Ghosh. After receiving all the allegations, the HC administrative committee, comprising five judges, including Justice Sadhan Gupta, who is in-charge of West Midnapore, decided to suspend Ghosh on Friday. The decision was then approved at a full court meeting of high court judges. Saradindu Biswas, former chairman of the West Bengal Bar Council, said this was a rare case in the judiciary. “Suspension of a judge is rare. He was engaged in many activities outside his jurisdiction.”

Magisterial probe ordered into custodial death
11 Mar 2009, 0424 hrs IST, Asseem Shaikh, TNN
PUNE: Four days after Amol Raghunath Kuchekar (28) died in the custody of Warje Malwadi police, district collector Chandrakant Dalvi on Tuesday ordered a magisterial probe into the incident. Kuchekar’s death sparked off protests from Dalit organisations in the city who have been demanding that a murder case be registered against the policemen and members of the public involved in his death. Dalvi said after perusing the FIR and other papers sent by the city police commissioner late on Monday night, “I came to the conclusion that Kuchekar’s death took place while he was in custody and hence, I have ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident”. “I have directed sub-divisional magistrate Jayashree Katare to conduct an inquiry and submit a report at the earliest,” Dalvi told TOI. Dalvi said in his capacity as district magistrate, he was empowered to order an inquiry under the relevant sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In the meantime, the state CID has taken over investigations into the death, following directions from the National Human Rights Commission. The CID has seized the lock-up register, station diary and case papers from the police station. The post-mortem report has stated that the death took place due to traumatic shock and multiple blunt injuries, Ajay Tawre, in charge, forensic science department of Sassoon hospital, said. The viscera has been preserved for further investigation, he added. Kuchekar of Surbhi colony in Warje was allegedly caught red-handed by people while attempting to commit a theft in Tejowalay society, Warje, late on Friday night. Deputy commissioner of police Raghunath Khaire (zone I) told TOI that Kuchekar was beaten up by members of the public before his arrest. “The suspect was taken to his residence for a search. Later, when he was brought to the police station, he started vomiting. He was immediately taken to the Sassoon hospital where he was declared dead on arrival,” he said.

Wait on for judicial complex
11 Mar 2009, 0117 hrs IST, TNN
MOHALI: It seems that Mohali residents would have to wait for some more time to witness the allocation of land for the proposed administrative-cum-judicial complex in Sector-76 as concerned departments have not been able to complete the formalities during the current financial year. According to senior officials, now the allotment could be done in April only. While the issue of administrative complex rests with the financial commissioner revenue (Punjab), the judicial complex is the responsibility of the home department. After the 15-acre site was selected by the committee appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, both the financial commissioner revenue and home department approached Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) for the allocation of land. To this, GMADA authorities responded that instead of coming up with separate proposals, there should be a single department taking up the issue, senior officials informed, adding that now the allotment formalities would be completed in next month. Mohali deputy commissioner Parbhjot Singh Mand said that district administration was in constant touch with the financial commissioner revenue and home department to ensure early allotment of site so that construction work is started at the earliest. As Punjab and Haryana High Court was keen to start the construction without any further delay, efforts are on that GMADA allocates the selected site next month, he said. After the site was approved by the high court committee, senior architect from town and country planning (west) Punjab, wrote a letter to GMADA on the issue after which GMADA officials sent a query regarding exact amount of land required for the project. In absence of its own complex, district administration offices at present are being run from the rented accommodation in phase-I Mohali while the court complex is located in phase 3B1. Once the project is completed, Mohali will have administrative and judicial complex at one place. In Sector 76 around 34 acre land was available but the administration has decided to ask GMADA only for 15 acres land required for the complex project. According to GMADA sources, state government would have to pay 50% of the total land cost two months before taking possession. At present GMADA has fixed around Rs 10,000 per square yard for the land to be allocated to government, sources said.

Lawyers, traders say it for elderly
11 Mar 2009, 0128 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: To realize their happiness by spreading the colour of joy on wizened faces, a group of young lawyers of the Punjab and Haryana High Court reached the Old-age Home in Sector 15 on Tuesday even as city traders were charting out a plan to celebrate Holi with inmates the next day. Kickstarting celebrations, the legal eagles mingled around with the elderly, some of whom had none to call their own, in the hope of snatching away their loneliness, even though momentarily. Leading the pack was advocate Saurav Khurana who, along with Anandeshwar Gautam, Ajay Saini and others, carried with them refreshments which inmates relished with deep gratitude. Touched by the gesture, an appreciative Bahadur Singh, resident manager of the Home, said, Wrinkled faces shone up as lawyers made all-out efforts to make inmates happy. In another part of the city, preparation was on in full swing as about a dozen leading traders from the markets of sectors 7, 17, 22 and 26 planned to dedicate Wednesday to the Home and give a patient hearing to grievances of those abandoned by their own or just victims of circumstances. Last year, we had gone to Mother Teresa Institute in Sector 23 with fruits, sweets and clothes. This time, we thought, why not here, said Jagdish Singh Kalra of Sector 17. Talking about their annual attempt every Holi to sprinkle cheer around society’s disadvantaged lot, trader Kanwaljit Singh Panchhi said, Being a little privileged in terms of family and financial status, we must come forward to shower some moments of joy in the dull lives of these special people. Looking forward to their visit, Vijay Singla, on behalf of members Subhash Sethi and Baldev Aggarwal also, said, It’s like celebrating the festival with family. The experience is great and satisfying for both sides

HC pulls up government for not taking up action
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Imphal, March 09 2009: The Gauhati High Court issued a ruling today against the authorities of the state government on the non-taking up of positive action for granting compensation to a student of Manipur University for causing bodily injury in the action of the Manipur police commando personnel.The court ordered the state home department, police department and the superintendent of police, Imphal east district to reply to its rule nisi asking to submit a reply within six week on why necessary actions are not taken up to the application submitted by the students for appropriate action to the police commando personnel and compensate him for causing bodily injury.The ruling of the High Court was related with causing bodily injury to an M Sc (Chemistry) student of the MU, Yaithengbam Lamyanba in a shoot out by the personnel of the police commando on duty at Kongba road on May 14, 2008. On that faithful day, Lamyanba in his petition to the court stated that police commando stopped him while he was moving with one of his friends in a motorcycle near the Standard College gate along the Kongba at around 4.30 pm and was shot at the right thigh in an unjustified manner.Immediately, he was evacuated at JN Hospital from where he was referred to the Shija Hospital, Porompat for treatment.He was again brought up to the Raj Polyclinic in June of the same year after discharged from the Shija Hospital on May 16 of the same year.The incident was condemned by various civil and student bodies based in the state and memorandums were submitted to the chief minister demanding befitting punishment to the erring commando personnel.LamyanbA? in his petition also allege that the OC of the Irilbung police station where the place of occurrence cover was reported a false report with regard to the shooting incident by the one commando personnel named L Budhagopal.The then OC in-charge registered an FIR case.In the follow up of the case, one commando personnel named Khumukcham Oken was arrested by the Irilbung police and produced in the court on May 17 and 19, 2008, which remanded him to the judicial custody.As result of the incident, Lamyanba could not appeared in the second semester examination of the M Sc which was commenced from May 23, 2008. Regarding the matter, the victim Lamyanba submitted an application to the principal secretary (home) requesting him for granting compensation for causing bodily injury to him and also demanding punishment to the police commando personnel for his unjustified action but no action was initiated.A HC bench of justices Asok Potsangbam gave the order based on the petition lodged by Lamyanba.Advocate Meihoubam Rakesh appeared for the petitioner which the petitioner filed the case with the initiative of the Human Law Network (Manipur), a statement of the body said today.

Sports czars must quit after 8 years, says HC
10 Mar 2009, 0104 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra & Abhinav Garg, TNN
NEW DELHI: Most of them do not believe in handing over the baton. Perched securely as heads of various sporting federations, sports bosses have been virtually unmovable. But maybe not for long. The Delhi High Court has now ruled that the Centre’s guidelines on restricting the tenure of office-bearers in sports bodies to two terms should be strictly enforced. Many sporting chiefs, includes several politicians, may have to rework their plans as the HC ruling means that the government funds to these organizations may dry up if they cling to office for more than eight years. The ruling could lead to changes in the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) as well as other sports bodies. Disposing a writ petition filed by Narinder Batra challenging the long stint of K P S Gill as president of Indian Hockey Federation, Justice Gita Mittal, in her 157-page judgment, ordered the Centre to look into fund utilization by IHF. Gill was removed as IHF chief almost a year back by IOA which formed an ad hoc body to run the sport in the country. Though the petition focussed on IHF’s functioning, the HC did not forget to look into similar stories in other sports bodies including the apex IOA, which the court said were quite aware of central government guidelines. Justice Mittal said the associations could not term guidelines as interference in their autonomous functioning. She clarified that guidelines laid down criteria to give wide representation to states in sports administration panels. “It will therefore be apparent that the sports bodies have accepted the authority and competence of the government to lay down conditions and guidelines for eligibility, recognition of a federation or an association as a national level body as well as the manner in which dispensation of funds and state largesse would be effected,” she said. Ruling against a single individual staying as president or secretary of a sports body for years, Justice Mittal said there was every possibility that vested regional biases and interests could influence decision-making, especially selection of teams. “If such a tenure clause is not enforced, office-bearers could be repeatedly elected from a particular region and continue to dominate the affairs of the association/federation after having created a monopoly over the sport,” the HC said. Justice Mittal added, “Vesting the control (of sports bodies) in authorities from a particular region may result in diversion of funds, selection of players from and development of a sport from only a particular region. The national federation would not then remain representative of the hopes and aspirations of sportspersons of the entire nation.” The only panacea for this was a limited tenure of two terms as prescribed in the government guidelines. “A limited office tenure will have the impact of minimizing, if not eliminating, allegations, criticism and elements of nepotism, favouritism and bias of any kind,” Justice Mittal said.

HC defers hearing over bail to Kodnani
Press Trust of India
Monday, March 09, 2009, (Ahmedabad)
The Gujarat High Court on Monday adjourned the hearing on the appeal seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to state minister Maya Kodnani, in 2002 post-Godhra riots cases, till March 12.Justice D H Waghela hearing the case adjourned the matter till March 12 after listening to the arguments by the special public prosecutor (SPP) J M Panchal, on why the anticipatory bail granted to the Kodnani should be canceled.The court rejected the plea of Kodnani’s lawyers who sought more time to study the bulky documents pertaining to the cases, saying that in its previous order it had clearly mentioned that there would not be any adjournments in the case.

Bihar court tells police to file case against Lalu over bridge collapse
10 Mar 2009, 1403 hrs IST, IANS
PATNA: A Bihar court has ordered that the police file a case against Railway minister Lalu Prasad for the collapse of a railway overbridge under construction in Muzaffarpur district in February. The collapse left four people dead. The chief judicial magistrate in Muzaffarpur, around 70 km from here, on Monday asked the police to register a case against Gunshekharan, general manager of Indian Railway Construction Corporation (IRCON), deputy project manager of the firm AK Singh and another company official Rakesh Roshan apart from Lalu Prasad. The court also directed the police to complete their investigation at the earliest. Four people were killed on February 16 when the bridge under construction collapsed at Amgola in the district. Ashok Kumar Singh, who lost his wife in the incident, had filed a lawsuit February 17 against the railway minister and IRCON officials.

SHRC chief inspects thermal power plant site
10 Mar 2009, 2153 hrs IST, TNN
KARWAR: The chairman of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) S R Nayak visited Hanakon village near Karwar on Monday and inspected the site of the proposed thermal power plant and interacted with villagers opposing the project. People in the area expressed their opposition to the plant saying it would affect the environment in the region. The proposed project will destroy the ecological balance in the area, since the project would use the water from the Kali river for cooling the turbines and thermal plants and leave hot water into the river, they said. The Kali river has many species of rare fish and shells belonging to the Mollusc kingdom, which would be extinguished if the temperature of the river is altered, they added. The people also objected to the storing of steel materials in the proposed plant area without the permission from the authorities. To this, Nayak said that he would ask the district administration if the company violated any guideline issued by the district administration. Later, while speaking to reporters, Nayak said, “The state is going through an acute shortage of electricity, so we need to generate electricity. But the company dealing with the thermal project should obtain the permission from all departments concerned and fulfil all legal requirements before commencing construction work.” Nayak said that the SHRC would not allow the company to destroy the ecological balance in the region, because, when the SHRC had asked for details from the company about the project after his last visit, the organization had furnished all the necessary details, he added. The deputy commissioner of Uttara Kannada Channappa Gowda and superintendent of police Raman Gupta were also present during the visit.

Under draft J&K RTI law, Indians outside state can’t access info
11 Mar 2009, 0252 hrs IST, Himanshi Dhawan, TNN
NEW DELHI: The draft Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information bill, likely to be tabled in the state legislative council this week, has some key anomalies, say RTI activists. The bill was cleared by the legislative assembly on Monday. According to the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), the draft bill does not allow Indian citizens living outside J&K access to information on public agencies within the state. Incidentally, J&K residents can use the central Act to get information on central ministries but the central legislation is not applicable in the state. Another issue that CHRI has raised but was ignored by the state government was the schedule for operationalisation of the Act. Under the present rules, the law will come into effect at once and this is likely to cause chaos, the NGO said. The opinion was echoed by chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah. He said, “I have suggested to J&K CM Omar Abdullah that there should be staggered implementation of the legislation for smooth changeover to the new system.” The NGO had also suggested that application fee be removed and applications be allowed in Ladakhi and Kashmiri. Under the draft bill, English, Urdu and Hindi are the languages in which an applicant can file his or her appeal. Activists have asked for strengthening of the information commissioner’s position. “The bill should be amended so that information commissioners have powers to take suo moto cognisance of non-compliance of any public authority and initiate inquiry,” Venkatesh Nayak of CHRI said. RTI activists, however, said that though the government had done the laudable task of putting the draft bill on the website and asking for public suggestions, their views had been ignored. J&K RTI movement convener Muzaffar Bhat said, “We appreciate the law made by the state government but none of the suggestions that we gave were accepted. In fact, even typographic errors have been retained.” Bhat hopes that the bill will be amended before it is cleared by the legislative council. The new RTI bill — that replaces the old legislation that was considered archaic and weak — is derived to a large extent from the central RTI Act. The move comes after years of struggle by activists on the outdated legislation that was not considered to be citizen-friendly.

Guantanamo detainees say they planned 9/11: Report
10 Mar 2009, 1111 hrs IST, REUTERS
WASHINGTON: The five detainees at the US Guantanamo Bay prison camp charged with plotting the September 11 attacks have filed a document expressing pride at their accomplishment and accepting responsibility for the deaths of nearly 3,000 people, The New York Times reported on Monday. The document, which the newspaper said may be released publicly on Tuesday, describes the five men as the “9/11 Shura Council,” and says their actions were an offering to God, according to excerpts of the document read to a reporter by an unidentified government official, the report said. “‘To us,’ the official read, ‘they are not accusations. To us they are a badge of honour, which we carry with honour,'” the paper said. The document is titled “The Islamic Response to the Government’s Nine Accusations,” the military judge at the US Naval base said in a separate filing, obtained by the Times, that described the detainees’ document. The document was filed on behalf of the five men, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who has called himself the mastermind of the attacks. Some of the men had said earlier that they planned the 2001 attacks and that they wanted to be martyrs. The reason for the new filing, which the report said reached the military court on March 5, was not clear. The brief court order describing the filing said the men sought no legal action.

Saudi court sentences 75-year-old woman to 40 lashes
10 Mar 2009, 0902 hrs IST, AP
CAIRO: The sentencing of a 75-year-old widow to 40 lashes and four months in prison for mingling with two young men who were reportedly bringing her bread has sparked new criticism of Saudi Arabia’s ultra-conservative religious police and judiciary. Khamisa Sawadi, who is Syrian but was married to a Saudi, was convicted and sentenced last week for meeting with men who were not her immediate relatives. The two men, including one who was Sawadi’s late husband’s nephew, were also found guilty and sentenced to prison terms and lashes. The woman’s lawyer, Abdel Rahman al-Lahem, said that he plans to appeal the verdict, which also demands that Sawadi be deported after serving her prison term. He declined to provide more details and said his client, who is not serving her sentence yet, was not speaking with the media. Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of Islam prohibits men and women who are not immediate relatives from mingling and women from driving. The playing of music, dancing and many movies also are a concern for hard-liners who believe they violate religious and moral values. A special police unit called the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice enforces these laws, patrolling public places to make sure women are covered and not wearing make up, sexes don’t mix, shops close five times a day for Muslim prayers and men go to the mosque to worship.

Satyam’s valuation may be hit
11 Mar 2009, 0046 hrs IST, Pankaj Doval, TNN
NEW DELHI: BK Modi’s Spice Group has estimated that the liabilities from the dozen-odd class-action lawsuits against Satyam in the US could range between $440-840 million, which could discourage aggressive bidding for the company, by lowering valuation. Spice, one of the early birds to have evinced interest in the scam-hit IT company, said this estimate has been given by its legal advisors. “We have received a report from our legal advisors Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and they have said that the liabilities could range between $440-840 million. We have to factor this in,” Modi told TOI. Spice Group plans to file expression of interest (EOI) for Satyam on March 12, the last day stipulated for registration for bidding. A series of class action lawsuits on behalf of thousands of investors in the American Depositary Shares (ADS) of Satyam have been filed for violation of US securities laws after Satyam’s disgraced founder B Ramalinga Raju confessed to having cooked up the company’s financials for the last many years. The lawsuits alleged that the misleading statements and inaccurate financial information artificially inflated the value of the ADSs, thus duping American investors billions of dollars. A class action or a representative action is a form of lawsuit where a large group of people collectively bring a claim to court. Huge liabilities arising out of lawsuits in US could mean lower bids by suitors, that include Larsen and Toubro, Hinduja group, Tech Mahindra and possibly IBM. This theory gains ground in the absence of a fair assessment of Satyam’s valuation as the restatement of accounts would still take some more time and may not be available before bidding. Modi, who has appointed Enam Securities as investment banker, refused to disclose the war chest earmarked for the bidding. “All I can say is that we will meet the stipulation of showing proof of availability of funds of at least Rs 1500 crore,” he said. Satyam would provide the shortlisted bidders with certain business, financial and legal diligence materials with a non-disclosure agreement. However, Modi emphasised on the need for transparency in the entire process and said all such details should be put on the internet and company’s website so that all stakeholders, including the company’s ordinary shareholders, could access them. “We want all the documents to be made public as there is no reason to hide them. This should include details regarding company’s clients and loss of clients or staff, if any,” he said. Also, he said that a process of e-auction should be followed for the bidding.

Satyam scam: CBI takes Raju brothers into custody for interrogation
10 Mar 2009, 1414 hrs IST, PTI
HYDERABAD: Investigating agency CBI on Tuesday took into custody Satyam’s former chairman B Ramalinga Raju and four others for interrogation in connection with the country’s biggest corporate
scam, from the Chanchalguda Jail in Hyderabad. “They (Satyam accused) were picked up from the jail at 9.30 am today after a CBI team submitted the court order copy in this regard,” a senior official of the Chanchalguda jail told PTI. The XIV additional chief metropolitan magistrate — the designated court hearing the case of the Rs 7,800 crore financial fraud in Satyam Computer — had on Monday given the accused custody of the CBI, which took up investigations from the Andhra Pradesh CID last month. Satyam’s founder Ramalinga Raju, his brother Rama Raju, Satyam’s former CFO Vadlamani Srinivas, besides suspended partners of Price Waterhouse S Gopalakrishnan and Talluri Srinivas, would be in CBI custody till March 17. A senior CBI official said that interrogation has been started, but declined to comment on if the SRSR Advisory Services director Suryanaryana Raju, another brother of Ramalinga Raju, was also present during their questioning. All the five accused are lodged in the Chanchalguda Central Prison since January this year and were also grilled by SEBI and the SFIO, besides interrogation by the Andhra Pradesh CID.

CBI questions Raju, ex-CFO, others
11 Mar 2009, 0149 hrs IST, IANS
HYDERABAD: The investigations into Rs 7800 crore scam in Satyam Computer Services picked up momentum as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday questioned the IT firm’s disgraced former chairman B Ramalinga Raju and four other accused. The CBI’s multi-disciplinary investigation team (MDIT) headed by the agency’s DIG V V Lakshmi Narayana is quizzing the accused at the state-owned Dilkusha Guest House near the Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the governor. The questioning began immediately after CBI officials took custody of the accused following a court order. A team of CBI officials went to Chanchalguda Central Jail and brought the accused to the guest house, which is serving as the camp office of the investigating team. A court had on Monday allowed the CBI to take custody of Ramalinga Raju, his brother and former managing director B. Rama Raju, ex-chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas and sacked PriceWaterhouse partners S Gopalakrishnan and Talluri Srinivas. The CBI hopes to gather vital information from the accused during the week-long questioning, the first since the federal agency took up investigation last month.

UN to terminate contract with Satyam: Report
10 Mar 2009, 1700 hrs IST, PTI
WASHINGTON: The United Nations is to snap a direct contract with the scam-hit Indian software exporter Satyam Computer Services, a media report has said. The Fox News in an online report quoted a spokesman for the UN Secretariat as saying that “one direct contract it (UN Secretariat) had with Satyam is to be terminated”. However, the report did not have details of the particular contract. Satyam has been in the doldrums following its founder B Ramalinga Raju’s confession in January that he cooked company’s account books and inflated profits for many years. “… in light of the developments with Satyam, the UN has also asked a little-known UN agency called the International Computer Centre, which has served as an intermediary in hiring Satyam indirectly, replace its contract with Satyam as soon as possible,” the report published on Monday said. Earlier in January, the UN had suspended Satyam from the the Secretariat’s vendor database and placed all ongoing contracts with the company under review. “Satyam has been suspended from the UN Secretariat vendor database. The information has been communicated to the UN procurement system and the UN Global Marketplace. “Ongoing contracts with Satyam are currently under assessment,” UN Procurement Division’s Integrated Support Service Chief Kiyohiro Mitsui had said.

Lawyers body move court seeking suspension of police officials
Chennai (PTI): A lawyers’ body here has filed a petition in the Madras High Court seeking suspension of 15 police personnel, including city Police Commissioner K. Radhakrishnan, for the alleged attack on advocates, judges, court staff and litigants on its premises on February 19.
The petition, filed by Madras High Court Advocates’ Association (MHAA) President R.C. Paul Kanakaraj on Monday, also sought criminal contempt proceedings against Chief Secretary K.S. Sripathi and Home Secretary S. Malathi, DGP K.P. Jain, additional DGP Intelligence Anup Jaiswal and 18 State government officials in connection with the incident. It also sought transfer of the DGP.
The petition also wanted police to deposit its entire log of internal communication from February 17 to 19 with the court and “withdrawal of shoot-at-sight orders given on February 20”.
On February 19, police entered the Madras High Court premises and resorted to lathi charge on lawyers agitating on the Sri Lankan Tamils and Chidambaram Temple issues. The police action left many advocates injured and court property damaged.
Ever since the incident, the lawyers have been boycotting work demanding action against the police officers responsible for entering the court premises without permission.
In a bid to end the stalemate, the Supreme Court had appointed the Justice B.N. Srikrishna Commission to look into the issue and fix responsibility for the events of February 19.
In its report to the apex court, the panel slammed the lawyers calling them as “hooligans” and “miscreants”. However, it did not spare the police either and said that they had gone “berserk” and resorted to force “beyond what was permissible.”
The committee also held the judges of the Madras High Court responsible for the present “piquant situation” by following a “soft-pedalling policy” in the context of the protests by lawyers sympathising with the LTTE cause.
The provocation for the violence in the High Court premises on February 19 was started by the “unruly mob of lawyers” but “once the police got into action, there was no stopping them” and they went “berserk” and damaged the court properties, Justice Srikrishna, a retired apex court judge, said in his interim report.
The State level Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Bar Associations has, however, rejected the Justice Srikrishna interim report. In a press release here, it alleged that the report “is riddled with factual contradictions and inconsistencies”.

Q&A ‘Respect the peaceful movements of tribals’
11 Mar 2009, 0000 hrs IST
Ghanshyam, executive director of Juraav, a voluntary organisation involved in efforts for reducing displacement of people due to various projects in Jharkhand, speaks to Bharat Dogra about the need for an alternative pattern of development that can address the issue: Is displacement becoming a major issue in the villages, particularly tribal villages, of Jharkhand? Earlier, there were long struggles in Jharkhand to prevent or reduce displacement related to the Koel Karo and Suvarnarekha projects. These struggles could reduce displacement to a significant extent, which creates a certain confidence that people’s voice will be heard. However, now the scale of displacement is so high and it is threatening people at so many places simultaneously that it has become more difficult to protect people’s land and livelihood. Our estimate based on a review of existing projects which involve displacement is that 15 lakh people will be displaced and over one lakh acres of farm land will be lost. The tribal population will be very badly affected. So you can see displacement is a very major concern for Jharkhand. If displacement can become a major cause of rural unrest, what can be done to prevent this? Recently people in Amgachi Pokharia village in Kathikund block of Dumka district were involved in peaceful mobilisation to resist displacement. Tribals in scheduled areas have special constitutional rights such as under the PESA Act. But when they followed constitutional, peaceful methods of mobilisation, FIRs were filed against many villagers and there were arbitrary arrests. On December 6, 80 rounds were fired on protesting villagers, killing three and injuring 15 people. It is this kind of repression which leads to rural unrest and tribal unrest. Please respect the peaceful movements of tribals. Listen carefully to what they have to say. What exactly are your recommendations for reducing tensions related to displacement? Large dam projects and canals linked to them are not suitable for irrigation in large parts of Jharkhand. As many villages here are full of natural springs and nullahs there is no need to take water to remote places. Moreover, various villages and their fields exist at uneven heights. So huge funds have to be wasted and the natural landscape seriously disturbed for canals. It is not surprising that in such conditions water never reaches many villages shown to be in the command area frequently. On the other hand, traditional irrigation systems such as ahaar-pynes can be useful and these do not involve any displacement. We need to save tanks which have played a very useful role in many villages and also to check the shocking levels of pollution in many villages. By combining these initiatives we can meet irrigation and water needs without dams. Of course, now displacement is being caused by many projects and not just dams. The government should work with people to find ways of reducing displacement and saving their livelihood, instead of unleashing repression whenever people oppose displacement.

Swamy terms advocates’ move ‘ridiculous’
Special Correspondent
CHENNAI: Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday described the move by the Madras High Court Advocates Association to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against civil servants as “ridiculous and a complete lack of knowledge of law.”
In a statement, Dr. Swamy said that according to the Contempt of Court Act, the law will come into operation if the administration of justice is threatened by failure to comply with judicial orders. By this standard, the strike of the advocates since January 29 was a “gross contempt of court” and a breach of the Act which entailed disbarment from the profession for misconduct.
He dismissed the criticism of some advocates that the interim report of Justice B.N. Srikrishna who probed the February 19 incidents at the High Court was biased.
Dr. Swamy said the real question was now the breakdown of the Constitution in the State due to the “paralysis in all the courts.”
He alleged that there appeared to be a “foreign hand” funding some advocates to drag the strike into the general elections. He demanded that Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi act to restore normality.

ASG to move Supreme Court
New Delhi: Outraged by the death of 19-year-old medico Aman Kachroo because of ragging, Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam on Tuesday announced he would move the Supreme Court seeking exemplary action against those involved in the heinous offence.
Mr. Subramaniam, who was earlier appointed as amicus curiae (friend of the court) by the Supreme Court which had passed a series of directions to curb the menace, said he would move a special application pressing for the constitution of a fast track court to speed up the trial in the case and bring to book the culprits responsible for Kachroo’s death.
He told PTI that the application would be moved on March 16, immediately after the Supreme Court reopens after the Holi vacation. Mr. Subramaniam said he would ensure that the “conduct of the State government would be called into question. It would include the role of the students, the Principal and the Vice-Chancellor.”
“I will be seeking action for contempt, inaction, negligence and failure of all those responsible for preventing such an incident. I will ask for a fast track court to decide the case in an expeditious way,” Mr. Subramaniam said. Stern action should be taken against those responsible for Kachroo’s death. – PTI

Sangh parivar activist granted bail
Special Correspondent
AHMEDABAD: Sangh parivar activist Atul Vaidya, who had surrendered before the Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court, was granted conditional bail by the Ahmedabad sessions court on Tuesday. He was wanted in connection with the Gulberg Society massacre.
Co-accused Bipin Patel was granted bail on Monday.

Insurance firm’s appeal against tribunal order dismissed
The risks of the occupants carried in the vehicle are automatically covered
Insurance companies will consider publishing instructions in the language of the State: court
CHENNAI: Under a package policy or a comprehensive policy of motor insurance, gratuitous passengers travelling in a private car or pillion riders carried on two-wheelers are automatically covered, the Madras High Court has ruled.
In its judgment dismissing an appeal filed by an insurance company, a Division Bench comprising Justices Prabha Sridevan and K.K.Sasidharan said that except occupants who were carried for hire and reward, and in the case of death of and injury to a person in the course of employment of such person by the insured to the extent necessary to meet the requirements of Workmen’s Compensation Act, the insurer should indemnify the insured against all sums he is legally liable to pay.
The appeal by Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Co.Ltd, Coimbatore, challenged an order of March 2008 of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Fast Track Court No.2, Coimbatore. The deceased was a passenger in an insured vehicle. Due to the negligence of the driver, who was also the owner of the vehicle, an accident occurred in July 2004 resulting in the death of the driver and three passengers.
While the driver and two persons died in hospital, one passenger died on the spot. The claimants, A.Meenakshi and four others, were the legal heirs of the passenger who died on the spot.
The tribunal awarded Rs.19.10 lakh. Hence, the present appeal by the insurance company.
The Bench said the present policy and the terms contained therein were in accordance with the Standard Forms and therefore, the risks of the occupants carried in the motor vehicle so long as they were not carried for hire or reward were automatically covered when a comprehensive policy was taken.
A comprehensive policy covered the liability of pillion riders.
It was clear from the law itself, the words of the policy and a Supreme Court decision that a comprehensive policy covered the risk of gratuitous passenger to the extent of the liability incurred.
The Bench said the Tariff Advisory Committee explicitly came out with a clarificatory circular in 1978.
“We cannot forget that the words used are ‘third party’ and ‘comprehensive,’ so we cannot deny this relief to the third party occupant in a car covered by a comprehensive policy.”
It said the policy holder should know as to whose risk was being covered. It should be brought to his knowledge that even his family members would be gratuitous passengers travelling in his car. “
We also hope that in addition to English and Hindi, the insurance companies, both public sector as well as private sector undertakings, would consider publishing the instructions and guidelines in the language of the State.”
Terms of contract
So both parties should understand exactly the terms of the contract and for exactly what extent and what type of coverage the policy holder was paying premium.
The Bench decided the issue relating to coverage of risk to a gratuitous passenger travelling in a private car in favour of the third party and against the insurer.

Court ruling on motor insurance policy
In a package policy or a comprehensive policy of motor insurance, gratuitous passengers travelling in private car or pillion riders carried on two-wheelers are automatically covered, the Madras HC has ruled.

Case booked against actor Balakrishna
Staff Reporter
Unlawful assembly and violation of model code of conduct
NELLORE: Police registered a case against actor Nandamuri Balakrishna, former Minister and TDP district president Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy and six others on Tuesday on charges of unlawful assembly and violation of the model code of conduct.
It is alleged that Balayya who was campaigning in the district spoke at a road show on National Highway 5 under Venkatachalam police station limits on Monday evening causing inconvenience to the public.
“Following a representation from TDP leaders, the police gave permission for organising road shows at various places from March 8 to 12 in the district.
Orders violated
But the actor stopped his convoy on the highway and addressed the public for some time violating the police orders,” said Superintendent of Police B.Malla Reddy.
In another incident, the Kavali police slapped a case against former legislator Vonteru Venugopala Reddy and seven other TDP leaders for holding a meeting at a public place.
Police said that Mr.Rao addressed a meeting at the Mathamma temple located on the Municipal Elementary School premises in the town on March 7 evening.
No arrests
Seven others involved in the case are TDP Kavali town president Malisetty Venkateswarlu, aspirant Beeda Mastan Rao, Jaladanki ZPTC Vonteru Jayachandra Reddy, municipal councillors Potluri Srinivasulu and Sahul Hameed and local leader Bomma Kodandam.
No arrests were made in the case so far, said the police.

Action against illegal abattoirs
Special Correspondent
Corporation’s health wing sets up special squad to carry out raids
A Vigilance raid had exposed unhygienic conditions at unauthorised slaughterhouses
Corporation’s abattoir functioning without a veterinary doctor
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The City Corporation is preparing a crackdown on unauthorised slaughterhouses and meat shops. The Health Department of the civic body has set up a special squad to carry out raids on illegal abattoirs.
The move follows a recent raid carried out by the Vigilance Department that exposed unhygienic conditions at unauthorised slaughterhouses at Attakulangara, Bismi Nagar and Kunjalamoodu.
Vigilance officials also detected lapses in the functioning of the Corporation’s abattoir at Kunnukuzhy. The team found that the abattoir had been functioning without a veterinary doctor and the animals were slaughtered without being examined.
Health officer Dr. D.Sreekumar said the Corporation was awaiting the government’s response to its request to post veterinary surgeons on deputation from the Animal Husbandry Department.
There are more than 200 licensed meat stalls in the 86 wards of the Corporation. However, not even 10 percent of the meat sold through these stalls is slaughtered at the abattoir.
Last December, the High Court had ordered local bodies across the State to close down illegal slaughterhouses and meat shops. The Corporation’s abattoir at Kunnukuzhy is hamstrung by the absence of a full-time veterinary surgeon.
The veterinary surgeon is responsible for ante-mortem examination of the animal and post-mortem inspection of the meat to eliminate the risk of bacterial infection, zoonotic diseases and food poisoning. “Some of the animals brought for slaughter are diseased. Mastitis is a commonly observed disease,” says a civic official.
The ante-mortem examination involves a visual inspection to detect pregnancy, wounds or diseases. Abnormal respiration, behaviour, gait, posture, discharges, colour or odour can be a giveaway. During the post-mortem examination, the veterinary surgeon inspects the muscles, lungs and liver. Samples are subjected to detailed tests for diseases, such as anthrax and tuberculosis.
Diseased animals and contaminated meat are eliminated from public meat supply.
Corporation officials admitted that ante-mortem examination of the animals was being bypassed in the absence of a veterinary surgeon. Only 30 animals are slaughtered at the Kunnukuzhy abattoir, against a capacity of 60.
In the absence of service abattoirs in close proximity, unauthorised killing of animals for meat is prevalent all over the city.
The major portion of the daily demand for meat is met by unhygienic slaughter sheds attached to the city markets.
Animals are butchered on the premises of hotels and houses in brazen violation of public health safeguards. Civic officials involved in previous operations to curb illegal slaughter have often had to retreat in the face of stiff resistance.

Convict set free on ‘tainted evidence’
Staff Reporter
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has set free an accused in a robbery case because of non-observance of rules for holding a test identification parade by the investigating officer in the case.
The trial court had sentenced Zafar Malik and two others to four years’ rigorous imprisonment, holding them guilty of robbing two persons of Rs.1.90 lakh when they were returning home after withdrawing the money from ICICI Bank at Green Park in the Capital in 2005.
The High Court quashed the trial court judgment, saying that the investigating officer had failed to observe the rules for the identification parade, and an accused could not be punished on the basis of tainted evidence.
The witnesses, who had identified the accused in Tihar Cental Jail here in the Capital, had later in their evidence told the trial court that the investigating officer had shown Zafar Malik and the two other accused and mentioned their names to them in advance at the police station.

Police give clean chit to Chand
Fiza to move court; a case of strained relationship: Police
Mohali: The Punjab police have closed the case filed by Fiza aka Anuradha Bali against her estranged husband and former Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan alias Chand Mohammad, terming it a fallout of a “strained relationship”. But Fiza, a former law official, said she would now move the court.
Fiza had filed a complaint February 16 asking the police to register charges of rape, criminal intimidation, cheating, hurting religious sentiments and defamation against Chand.
“During investigation we sought legal opinion but nothing offensive came out of the complaint. It seems to be a case of a strained relationship between the couple. We cannot take any permissible action”, Senior Superintendent of Police Jatinder Singh Aulakh told IANS here on Tuesday.
After filing her complaint, Fiza – who has been assistant advocate-general for the Punjab and Haryana governments – had submitted her Muslim marriage certificate and recorded her statement before the police.
She alleged that Chand’s conversion to Islam was a farce and he had hatched a conspiracy against her in connivance with his family members.
The police summoned Fiza and Chand for their statements. While she went to the police, her husband sent a fax. Chand has gone missing since January 28 after he left Fiza’s house here, less than two months after their marriage.
Chand’s message from London denied all the allegations and said he had not deserted Fiza and would return to India in April. He also denied that he converted to Islam only to get married a second time.
After the police clean chit to Chand late Monday, Fiza said: “The police are working under the influence of Chand’s family. Now I will move the court in the coming days to get justice. Chand’s family members are threatening me through letters and mail but the police are not doing anything.”
Chand, the elder son of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, is a Haryana Congress legislator.
He lost his job as Haryana’s high-profile Deputy Chief Minister in December after he emerged from a 40-day hiding with a new name, religion and wife.-IANS

Action plan needed for preventing child marriages
Special Correspondent
‘This is infringement of children’s rights’
Active participation of parents needed
Poverty, lack of education cited as main reasons
JAIPUR: Social activists, experts and academicians here on Tuesday discussed the scope for evolving an action plan for prevention of child marriages in Rajasthan with emphasis on generating awareness among the rural populace and providing better education, health care and social security to the girl child in villages.
The dialogue was organised by the Rajasthan Government’s Women and Child Development Department in association with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW).
Shiela Dasgupta of ICRW said the researchers should be allowed to find out the social factors responsible for early marriages rather than the government trying to forcibly stop these marriages. “Lack of women’s empowerment in the rural areas is the main reason for young girls being forced into nuptial ties,” she added.
The participants in the dialogue felt that representatives of government agencies and non-government organisations working in the rural areas should have a “wider vision” and insight into ground realities to help remove the factors responsible for child marriages.
Samriddhi of UNICEF, Delhi, described the child marriages as “nothing short of infringement of children’s rights” and said a transformation in the rural way of life could be brought about only with active participation of children’s parents and influential local people.
Mukta of the State Women and Child Development Department pointed out that though the villagers knew of the adverse fall-out of child marriages, the rural communities lacked an atmosphere conducive to stopping of social evils.
Other speakers linked child marriages with factors such as poverty, lack of education and discrimination between young boys and girls in the rural families. They said any action plan on the issue should focus on the relevant aspects of local culture, traditions, beliefs and religious practices.
The representatives of the Women and Child Development Department provided the figures of child marriages, held especially on the Akha Teej festival, in each district of the State during the dialogue.
Among others, the Project Director of Mahila Vikas Abhikaran, Jodhpur, Indu Chopra, Child Development Officers and representatives of the Mamta Sansthan, Samagra Vikas Sansthan, Vatsalya Sansthan and Gram Vikas Navyuvak Mandal took part in the dialogue.

NGO claims Kenyan patient detained in CMCH, hospital denies charge
Express News Service
Posted: Mar 09, 2009 at 0312 hrs IST
Ludhiana A city-based NGO has written to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) complaining that a patient from Kenya, who was admitted to Chrisitian Medical College and Hospital, has been detained by the hospital.
The CMCH authorities, however, stated that the patient was staying in the hospital at his own will while the hospital has discharged him.
The NGO, Universal Human Rights Commission, has alleged that CMCH authorities have detained one Antony for his failure to clear the dues of the hospital. It is claiming that the patient was detained for non-payment of dues to the tune of Rs 6.5 lakh.
The letter written to the NHRC chairman claims that the patient who is a citizen of Kenya, studies at a college in Indore, and was in the city to visit a friend when he had a stomach problem for which he was admitted to the Civil Hospital first. He was later referred to CMCH where he was operated upon twice. Medical superintendent of CMCH, Dr Kanwal Masih, termed the allegations as “totally baseless” as the hospital has discharged the patient. “We have discharged him. But he is staying in the hospital out his own will. We are not forcing him to do so,” said Dr Masih.

Posted on March 9, 2009.
Praveen K Singh
Should the right to property be restored to the status of a fundamental right so that citizens are able to challenge state acquisition of land? This has been the subject of a long-standing debate. The right to property was a fundamental right till 1978 when it was repealed through the Constitution Amendment Act. Thereafter, the acquisition of private property by the government could not be challenged in the courts on the basis of constitutional law.
On February 27, 2009, the Supreme Court of India, reacting to a petition, asked the government why the right to property should not be allowed as a fundamental right. As a result, the issue whether governments should have the right to acquire private property has once again come to the fore. The government is already facing a number of PILs on land acquisition, including one on the SEZ policy.In this case, Sanjiv Agarwal, founder of a Kolkata-based NGO, has stated in his petition that the downgrading of the right to property has granted the government the licence to abuse its power of eminent domain by taking over private property for purported public use.
GOVERNMENT’S SUPREMACYEminent domain is a provision used by governments to acquire land from private citizens for public utilities, highways, rail roads and other infrastructure development and public works. Agarwal says in his petition that over the last decade various governments have been misusing their power to spread private industry, private housing, private cooperative societies, private recreational projects, private residential development and even golf courses. Most of these projects, he says, cater to private and vested interests, who are sometimes the decision-makers themselves. “At stake in each of these instances is the fundamental right to property of the owners of these lands,” he says.
Agarwal has cited in his petition that such acquisitions have given rise to controversies like Singur and Nandigram in West Bengal. “The government’s formation of SEZ (special economic zones) is an instance where properties of individuals are acquired under the Land Acquisition Act to serve the new-founded idea that public purpose is best served by private interests.” Agarwal says that acquisitions have also been carried out to serve the interests of foreign companies, as in the case of projects by Indonesia’s Salim Group in West Bengal, South Korea’s Posco in Orissa, and the Samsung group in Tamil Nadu.
THE LEGAL TANGLEAgarwal has submitted that such measures violate the unity and integrity of the nation. “The right to property under Article 19(1)(f) used to be available to every citizen. But now Article 300A offers a much diluted right to every person, thereby allowing foreign entities an equal right to Indian property.” The petition has challenged Section 2(a)(ii) of the Constitution (44th Amendment) Act, which had deleted the fundamental right to property by omitting Article 19(1)(f) and repealing Article 31 of the constitution, which provided for compensation in instances of compulsory acquisitions.
Anurag Singh, an advocate at the Supreme Court, says that the amendment was done without eliciting public opinion and without submitting the changes to the scrutiny of a select committee followed by a debate in both the Houses on its report. “It is imperative to understand that the amendment was carried out without appreciation of the correlation of fundamental rights as a whole with the right to property propounded by the constitution framers,” he says.
After the amendment there is no express provision in the constitution outside the two cases specified in Article 30(1A) and Second Proviso to Article 31 A(1)requiring the state to pay to the expropriated owner. “The objective of the 44th Amendment was to take away the right of compensation on the alleged violation of which a law of acquisition could be nullified by the court. The fact remains that the legislature did not leave scope for property owners to get compensation. Though not the primary aim of any property holder, it certainly was a consolation. That was undone by the 44th amendment,” says Singh.
THE CONFRONTATIONThe state’s right to land acquisition was put in place to ensure that proper town planning and infrastructure development can take place in a developing economy. Sanjay Dutt, CEO-Business, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, says that in all democracies the state retains the right to take over private property in public interest. “All over the world, the state retains the right to acquire land for its own purposes. It must be understood that the government is not interested in land-banking, and that Indian citizens have the constitutional right to property ownership.” He adds that even as things stand today, property owners can challenge a notification for acquisition of their property by the government, and the government is legally bound to prove that the property is indeed required for purposes related to national interest.
Asserting that the government took the right decision in 1978, Navin M Raheja, MD, Raheja Developers, says, “If the government turns the right to property into a fundamental right, the country will come to a standstill. There will be no planned and organised infrastructure development. People will defend their land and will make acquisition very difficult. Instead the government should think pragmatically and take the necessary steps to rehabilitate and compensate people so that the benefits of economic development are shared by stakeholders as well as by those whose land has been acquired.”
However, Lakshmi Narayan, CEO of Real Estate Bank of India, a real-estate solution provider, believes that the recent move by the judiciary is very encouraging and was long overdue: “Though this right has since then been available as a statutory right, it has a different hue from a fundamental right. We now need to see how quickly the government responds to this notice.” He says, “Even China has made it a fundamental right in its constitution. A democratic country like ours should address this anomaly without further delay.”
RIGHT OR WRONG?In his petition Agarwal has cited that the deletion of Articles 19(1)(f) and 31 of the Constitution by the 44th Amendment amounts to a complete repeal of two very vital fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. He states that by allowing the government of the day to decide on its own which properties ought to be acquired for any purported ‘public purpose,’ without having to assuredly award any compensation, affects the equality code. The arbitrary selection of individuals whose properties are acquired amounts to an illogical implementation of legislative power which can stay almost uncontested. He appeals that the time has come for the Constitution of India to be given a fair trial, and that the right to property should be reinstated.
As the matter is sub-judice and the Centre is yet to file its response, the issue remains unresolved. But the Supreme Court’s notice has certainly given rise to the hope that the common man’s concerns will be given greater consideration while formulating the law of the land.

Tribunal stays SEBI order against Shankar Sharma
3/10/2009 4:40 AM ET
(RTTNews) – The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) on Monday stayed the market regulator SEBI’s order against Shankar Sharma, director of brokerage firm First Global, till final disposal of appeal on April 13, media said. Shankar Sharma also has a 100 percent stake in Vrudhi Confinvest India.On February 13, SEBI had issued an order banning Sharma from taking part in trading activities for one year for allegedly indulging in fictitious trading in 10 securities ((Global Telesystems, HFCL, DSQ Software, Zee Telefilms, Wipro, Satyam Computers, MTL, SBI, Infosys Technologies and Sterlite Opticals) that led to a crash in 2001 on the Bombay Stock Exchange. The SEBI order said that Sharma had made a concerted attempt to interfere with the smooth functioning of the market and had acted in a manner, which erodes the confidence of investors, adversely affecting the integrity and the healthy growth of the market. The SEBI order was to come into effect on March 17. by RTT Staff Writer


2 Responses

  1. I really enjoy following your blog as the articles are so simple to read and follow. Outstanding. Keep up the great work. Ciao.

  2. OP: I could be slow (lord knows I have been told lol) but that made totally no sense…

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