LEGAL NEWS 19.03.2009

Allahabad HC serves notice as defence land sold at low price
The Allahabad High Court issued notices to the Centre, the Uttar Pradesh government and the Defence Ministry for selling at a very low price a piece of land belonging to the ministry in industrial city of Kanpur and sought their replies within three weeks. A bench comprising Justices S R Alam and Sudhir Agarwal passed the order, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by one Awadhnarayan Singh.The court has asked Principal Director of the Defence Property Department and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Cantonment Board to file an affidavit.The prosecution has alleged that the officials of the Central government, the Defence department and the Registration department conspired to sell the land at a much lower price.A notice has also been served on the purchaser of the land.The court has fixed April 10 for the next hearing.UNI

HC to take up record number of bail pleas today
17 Mar 2009, 0425 hrs IST, TNN
Bangalore : To speedily dispose of pending criminal cases, the High Court will take up a record number of petitions on Tuesday, especially bail matters. Six judges, including Chief Justice P D Dinakaran and other senior judges, will take up 50-70 cases each from 4 pm to 4.45 pm. This is a first such instance in the High Court. Gutkha ban hearing A division Bench directed impleading of the Central Food Laboratory, Pune, in a PIL seeking a ban on manufacturing and sale of RMD gutkha by Dhariwal Industries. The court was not happy with the lab report wordings, particularly when, under Rule 62, the very presence of any harmful substance is not permitted. Channel asked to give cassettes A division Bench directed a Kannada TV channel beaming the teleserial `Muktha Muktha’ to furnish cassettes/CDs containing sequences relating to the judiciary. City advocate G R Mohan filed a criminal contempt petition against the channel owner and director T N Seetharam. Stay on resort continued While continuing the earlier stay order on cutting of trees and defacing land leased out to a private party to develop a resort in Chikmagalur, a division Bench directed the principal secretary to file a report on the status of 34 acres of land. On April 24, 2008, the HC had directed the forest department and Chikmagalur DC to ensure there was no further construction on the 34 acres of gomal land in Arishinakuppe village, close to Bhadra Tiger Reserve area, in the Western Ghat belt. The court also directed them to ensure that no trees were cut and land was not dug up. The land was allegedly leased out for 30-year period to Brigade Hospitality Pvt Limited to form a hill resort and spa. Counsel for petitioner D V Girish and other petitioners told the court the lease was clandestinely given on January 1, 2004, and the company had started digging, and felled around 250 trees, in violation of the conditions of the lease agreement. PIL admitted The High Court admitted a PIL filed by advocate S Vasudeva, seeking action based on the report given by the Lok Ayukta on illegal mining. Meanwhile, the Green bench hearing mining cases fixed March 30 as the date to continue day-to-day hearings, to speedily dispose of the cases. Injunction order A division bench issued an injunction order in respect of laying a railway track by a mining company in reserve forest areas in Challakere, in Chitradurga district. The court ordered notices to KSPCB and others on a PIL filed by Animal and Environmental Welfare Association, which claimed that the 7-km railway track would be laid between Bedarabommanahalli Amruthapura station, of which 1 km passes through reserve forest, and permission was not obtained for this.

‘Allow traffic on overbridge at Helmet Circle’
17 Mar 2009, 0352 hrs IST, TNN
AHMEDABAD: An NGO called Vikalp has filed a PIL in the Gujarat High Court seeking directions to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and concerned departments to open the overbridge near Helmet Circle at Memnagar. The petitioner has urged the HC to get it opened for traffic because in wake of general elections and when the model code of conduct is implemented, the authorities might wait to get it inaugurated by a political leader. The petitioner has sought to involve civic body, state government and Election Commission to open the projects — which are completed but yet to be inaugurated — to the public, since the inaugurations will not be possible before the Lok Sabha elections are over. The PIL will come up for hearing before a division bench headed by Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan on Tuesday morning.

HC go-ahead on road widening
17 Mar 2009, 0424 hrs IST, TNN
Bangalore : The Karnataka High Court on Monday asked BBMP to proceed with road-widening works as per the stipulations of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act and Karnataka Preservation of Trees rules. The division Bench headed by Chief Justice P D Dinakaran gave this clarification on a PIL filed by Environmental Support Group and Civic, Bangalore. The petitioners claimed the authorities only wanted to cut trees while widening roads and no tree officers supervised this exercise. The division Bench had earlier issued notices to the Union forest, roadways, and urban development ministries as well as state forest, home, urban development departments apart from BBMP, BDA, BMLTA and BMRCL in this matter. “Road-widening programme, being undertaken in some city roads like Bellary Road, M G Road, Palace Road and Race Course Road, are not following legal norms as required under the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act as well as Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act. Only widening of roads would not decongest traffic as such. The tree patta scheme should be extended to urban areas and necessary guidelines for greening urban space and landscape is necessary,” the petitioners said. The issue was referred to Lok Adalat which formed an expert committee and directed authorities to take the permission of its committee before cutting trees. But this is delaying work, Government and BBMP told the court. The issue was returned to the Chief Justice.

Maya target of political game, lawyer tells Gujarat High Court
Ahmedabad (PTI): Lawyer of state minister Maya Kodnani, accused in the 2002 riot cases, on Tuesday told the Gujarat High Court that his client was target of a political game initiated with vested interest.
Ms. Kodnani’s lawyer S V Raju made the statement before Justice D H Waghela during the hearing on cancellation of anticipatory bail given to state minister of higher education Ms. Kodnani in post-Godhra riot cases, by a lower court.
He further submitted that the statements of witnesses stating Ms. Kodnani had instigated the mob during 2002 riots, were concocted and should not be considered while hearing her anticipatory bail cancellation plea. The matter has been adjourned for Wednesday.
The Supreme Court appointed SIT, investigating some of the post-Godhra cases, had appealed against a lower court order granting anticipatory bail to Ms. Kodnani and former VHP leader Jaydeep Patel in connection with 2002 riot cases.
Mr. Raju in his argument said that Ms. Kodnani is the target of a political game involving some with vested interest in putting her behind bars. Submitting that the statement of witnesses, on which the prosecution has built its case, were concocted, he said that the delay in recording the statements and filing of complaint against Ms. Kodnani itself raises doubt.

E-Judiciary In India: E-Court Committee
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Disputes are not welcomed anywhere. This is more so if they result into court cases in India. The time taken by Indian courts to dispose of cases is a discouraging factor for people to litigate. We cannot blame the Judiciary for the heaping backlog of cases as in the absence of adequate infrastructure and sufficient manpower the courts cannot do much. We can hold the Judiciary responsible for its lapses and inactions only. These hurdles for Judiciary were there and are going to be there for some more years in the absence of political will and insight. A viable solution to the problem is the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for judicial functioning in India. In short, we must establish and manage E-Courts in India.To meet this laudable objective we must have both accountability and transparency in the e-courts project in India. There is a need to systematic analyse and monitor the progress and development of e-courts in India. We are providing a regular update of e-courts projects in India. The First Update and Second Update have already been provided. This is the Third Update covering the issue of “Management of E-Courts” in India. The Project Monitoring website managed by NIC is far from satisfactory. Not only there is an absence of guidelines and applicable model but also there is no information about the composition of e-court committee. The situation is so absurd that we are even not aware who is managing e-courts project in India and what is the progress so far. A big project like this should not be managed in a casual and non-transparent manner. Of course, this is the point where Judiciary has fallen well short of its commitments and efforts. After all, e-court committee is neither affected by political blockage nor infected by bureaucratic hurdles. E-court committee is a judicial commitment and only judiciary can be held liable for its failures.There is an emergent need for the government to bring some transparency and accountability in the e-governance projects of India. This is the main reason why e-governance projects in India are failing to materialise. We would be back with our latest update on e-courts project very soon.
Posted by Gunjan at 4:09 AM

Why Shiv Sena Hindustan can’t be registered as party: HC to EC
17 Mar 2009, 1823 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Election Commission on why a political party naming ‘Shiv Sena Hindustan’ cannot be registered with it. Justice S Ravindra Bhat asked the Commission to file its affidavit explaning why it refused to register the Punjab-based political party. The court passed the order on a petition filed by the party alleging the Commission had rejected it’s plea for registration in gross violation of its discretionary powers. “The non-registration of the party name is arbitrary, capricious, gross violation of discretionary powers granted to the Commission,” advocate Ajit Nair, appearing for the party, contended. The Commission, however, defended its action saying the party name cannot be registered as it is similar to Shiv Sena which is already a recognized and registered political party. The petitioner objected to the Commission’s stand saying numerous political parties carrying similar names have been registered in the past by the EC. “The Commission has been registering parties in similar name of an existing party like Janata Dal and subsequent registration of Janata Dal Secular, Janata Dal United,” Nair said. The Court, after hearing both sides, asked the EC to file its response.

Lahore HC postpones hearing in Akhtar case

Karachi, Mar 17 (PTI) A busy schedule today forced the Lahore High Court to postpone the hearing on fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar’s 18-month ban, imposed by an appellate tribunal of the Pakistan Cricket Board, by a fortnight.PCB’s legal advisor Tafazzul Rizvi told PTI that due to busy engagements of the court, the Chief Justice could not hear and the case will come up for hearing after a fortnight.”Normally when a hearing is adjourned without being heard the court office sets a new date in two to three weeks’ time,” he said.The Court has to give a ruling on a petition filed by Shoaib against the ban and a seven million rupees fine that was imposed on him by the tribunal last year in June.The tribunal has set aside a five-year ban by a PCB disciplinary committee which had found him guilty of several violations of the players code of conduct including violating terms of a two-year probation period for behaviour.The tribunal then reduced the ban to 18-months but imposed the fine of seven million which the fast bowler has still not deposited with the PCB.Shoaib was allowed to return to the national team after filing a petition in the Lahore High Court, which suspended the 18-month ban until a final decision is reached but also asked the PCB to submit necessary evidence confirming the disciplinary record of the bowler. PTI

IPL: HC reserves order in BCCI-Sony case–HC-reserves-order-in-BCCI-Sony-case/435654/
Posted: Mar 17, 2009 at 1536 hrs IST
Mumbai: After having directed BCCI not to enter into any fresh deal on IPL telecast rights, the Bombay High Court today reserved its order on a petition filed by broadcasting major Sony, challenging termination of its contract for T-20 broadcast with the cricket board.
Justice S J Kathawala made it clear that till the order is pronounced, BCCI shall not enter into any new agreements on broadcast rights.
BCCI, on March 15, had concluded a new contract for broadcast and other rights for the coming IPL season with World Sports Group (Mauritius), and terminated its earlier contract with Sony.
Sony obtained injunction from High Court the same afternoon, restraining BCCI from entering into contracts with third parties. However, the cricket body says that it concluded the contract with WSG before the injunction came.
Sony’s lawyer Iqbal Chhagla refuted this claim, arguing that the notice of termination, given on Saturday, a non-working day, would have come into effect only on March 16 (Monday).
BCCI lawyer V Tulzapurkar contended that BCCI was earning much more because of the new agreement with WSG. He also said that the contract was terminated because of “quality of broadcasting” by Sony was “bad”.
BCCI also alleged that insertion of graphics and advertisements by Sony led to blocking of view of play during telecast.

Derabassi toll plaza: HC issues show cause notice
17 Mar 2009, 0454 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: The issue of heavy toll tax collection at Derabassi flyover on Zirakpur-Ambala national highway by a private company weighed heavily on the mind of justices Uma Nath Singh and AN Jindal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday when they issued a showcause notice for contempt to RK Sondhi, ADJ, Chandigarh. While sitting in an arbitration tribunal, Sondhi had given a seven-month extension till October 2009 to the company to collect toll. The HC wanted to know reasons for giving extension even as the Union counsel had informed the court early this year that there would be no extension beyond March 14, 2009. When the division bench was told that Sondhi was duly apprised of the Centre’s stand before the HC, judges took serious note of the situation seeking an immediate explanation from Sondhi. On January 22, the judges had perused an affidavit filed by Brahm Dutt, secretary, department of road transport and highway, Union of India, and directed him to clarify as to whether the escalation in cost of project was included in the toll fee being collected from road-users.

CJ gives in to Bar, changes HC roster
17 Mar 2009, 0600 hrs IST, Vishal Sharma, TNN
CHANDIGARH: In an apparent fallout of the face-off between justice Uma Nath Singh and High Court Bar Association over his “indecent behaviour towards lawyers“, chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur is said to have ordered a change in the HC roster on Monday. Though no official word was available, sources said the change in roster would be effective from Wednesday and that justice Uma Nath Singh is likely to sit with a senior judge, in all likelihood justice J S Khehar, in a division bench. “I’ve heard the news but have not been able to confirm it as I’m in the USA and will return by tomorrow evening only,” Bar association president Rupinder Khosla told TOI on Monday. There will be more changes in the roster. While justice S K Mittal will sit in a single bench (civil), justice Daya Chaudhary is likely to join justice Mehtab Singh Gill in division bench. The chief justice will remain with justice Hemant Gupta in the first division bench. At present, justice Uma Nath Singh sits as a senior judge with justice A N Jindal in a division bench and managed smooth business despite the near month-long boycott by lawyers. The Bar had refused to relent till “an acceptable solution” was found.

HC stays probe into number plate tender
17 Mar 2009, 0050 hrs IST, TNN
JAIPUR: The Rajasthan High Court on Monday stayed the order of an ACB court directing the DGP to order a probe into the alleged corruption in the Rs 400-crore tender for high security registration plates given to one Shimnit Utsch Inida Pvt. Ltd. Justice Raghuvendra Singh Rathore’s order came on a petition filed by the company challenging the ACB court order saying that it has been passed without looking into the fact that the validity of the tender procedure has been upheld by the high court and that a special court appointed under a particular Act of the legislature has no authority to ask for investigation in any case on an application made under Section 156 (3) of the CrPC. Senior advocate from the Supreme Court, Rajeev Dhawan argued the case on behalf of the company. The ACB court had directed the DGP to ask an officer of the rank of SP to investigate the corruption charges and role of the persons named in the complaint. A complaint was filed by one Chandrabihari Sharma on Feburary 10 alleging that there has been a huge scam in the allotment of tender to the Shinnit Utsch company by the state government and for which a huge gratification has been given to the various officials at different levels. The complaint named former transport minister Yunus Khan, personal secretary of BJP leader LK Advani, Deepak Chopra, director Manoj Patel and 10 others including former director of the company Nitin Shah who resigned from the company in 2005. It was alleged by the complainant that the number plates for the vehicles that were being provided by the company were exorbitantly priced whereas the number plates of the same specifications are available at a very low price in the market. “We will file an appeal in the Supreme Court. The court passed the order without hearing the complainant. The court was not apprised of the proper facts of the case and there is no such fetters on the power of a special judge in ordering a probe into such corruption issued,” said Ajay Kumar Jain, counsel for the complainant. The state government, meanwhile, has suspended the work licence granted to the company and the same has been challenged by the company before a single judge of the high court but no stay was granted by it.

HC issues notices to defence estate dept, others
16 Mar 2009, 2239 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has taken a serious note that property worth crores of rupees, belonging to the defence estate department (DED) in Kanpur, was sold away at throwaway prices in connivance with the officials. The court has asked the Union of India, DED and the state government to file replies within three weeks and fixed April 14 to hear the case. The order was passed by a bench comprising Justice SR Alam and Justice Sudhir Agarwal, on a petition filed by Awadh Narain Singh of Kanpur. Defence estate officer, Circle at Lucknow, has been impleaded as respondent in the petition. CB Yadav, appearing for the petitioner, had contended that the government land has been sold in connivance of the authorities of the defence estate department and the local administration, including the registration department. The court, in its order, has clarified that the counter-affidavit on behalf of the defence estate department, shall be sworn by the principal director himself and for the Cantonment Board, it shall be sworn by the chief executive officer. The court has directed to produce all the records related to the property in question. The court has also issued notices to the purchasers through chief metropolitan magistrate, Kanpur Nagar.

HC upholds life for man who got wife killed
16 Mar 2009, 2317 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Upholding the verdict of a trial court, the Delhi HC on Monday awarded life sentence to a south Delhi property dealer for getting his wife murdered eight years ago. The court also convicted the hired shooter and awarded him life sentence. A division Bench of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Aruna Suresh awarded life sentence to Vijay Pal who had hired Vinod Kumar to murder his wife in 2001. The Bench relied upon the statement given by the brother of deceased, Rajni, in which he stated that he had heard Vijay speaking with the killer over phone, plotting the murder. The brother claimed to have heard Vijay telling someone that he would start from his in-laws’ house within an hour and asked the caller to be ready. He also expected the caller to complete the work “today itself.” It was alleged by the prosecution that Vijay wanted to get rid of his wife as she was suffering from some health problems. Rajni died after being shot twice in her head and chest by Vinod on the night of August 13, 2001 when she was coming from her parents’ place in Ashok Vihar to her matrimonial home in south Delhi.

New deal with WSG already done: BCCI tells HC
Press Trust Of India
Posted on Mar 17, 2009 at 09:22
Mumbai: The BCCI on Monday told the Bombay High Court that it has already approved the terms on which WSG can enter into contract with a TV channel for IPL telecast after the court restrained the board from entering into any contract on telecast rights following an appeal by Sony Entertainment.
The board on Sunday concluded a new contract with World Sports Group (WSG) for broadcast and other rights for the second season of IPL after terminating its earlier agreement with Sony.
Justice S J Kathawala will continue hearing of the case on Tuesday.
BCCI lawyer V Tulzapurkar contended in the High Court that the board terminated the contract with Sony for two “violations” on the latter’s part.
He alleged that as per the contract, Sony was supposed to offer the ‘broadcast sponsorship’ to the official sponsor of IPL, which was Reliance Big TV. Sony, instead, gave the rights to Bharti Airtel, he alleged.
Secondly, Sony introduced “commercial elements” which was against the contract.
However, Sony’s lawyer Iqbal Chhagla denied the arguments and claimed that Reliance Big TV was never the official sponsor for IPL.
Sony moved the Court on Sunday and obtained an injunction restraining BCCI from entering into contract with third party. But the country’s top cricket governing body claimed it had already concluded contract with WSG by then.
As WSG doesn’t have its own channel, it will have to tie-up with outside company, the BCCI lawyer said, adding the cricket body has already approved the terms on which WSG may enter into contract with a channel. According to one of the terms, the channel must have 60 per cent or above reach in the Indian market.
Chhagla, Sony’s lawyer, said the contract with WSG was inked giving very short notice to Sony.
“Dark deeds were done in the dark,” he said, apparently referring to the fact that the agreement with WSG was concluded in the early hours of Sunday (March 15).
This was done keeping in mind that it would be difficult for Sony to get any relief from the courts on Sunday, a holiday, he said.
BCCI, however, maintained that notice had been given to Sony as per the terms of the contract between the two.
Last year, Sony-WSG (India) combine won the broadcast rights of the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament for over USD 1.3 billion. Sony was given rights for Indian territory, and WSG (India) the overseas rights.
By the March 15 agreement, Sony has been completely pushed out, and WSG (Mauritius) has replaced it.
The second season of IPL is scheduled to start from April 10, but the Centre has requested the BCCI-backed league to work out new dates in view of security concerns as general elections are also being held in April-May.

Madras HC resumes without lawyers
Posted by Nagpal Jee on Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 7:58
With lawyers refusing to resume work, the common man in Chennai has been been forced to bear the brunt,and now, with the Madras High Court returning to work without the protesting lawyers pending cases continue to pile.
Madras High Court has seen just ten working days in the past month. And, as cases continue to pile up, and advocates stay away from the court, the chief justice has taken a stand that judges will dispense cases purely on merit.
67-year-old Jyotindra K Gandhi has been trying to get an injunction on the demolition of his shop.
He said, “My lawyer has made his papers but he is not filing it, not letting me file it also. What will I do?”
Elizabeth John another victim of this stalemate said, “Me and my husband are old, still we are coming to the court everyday.”
It’s not just the litigants, but is another disturbing fallout of the stalemate. The number of inmates lodged in prisons across Tamil Nadu has increased by at least 10 per cent and the criminal justice system of the state is in tatters.
The lawyers have refused to return to work demanding action against top police officers for this bloody faceoff nearly a month back.
But, with both the Supreme Court and the Madras High court chief justice taking a dim view of their request, the conflict has just deepened.
S Prabhakaran, President, TN Lawyers Assocation, said, “The chief justice has no business issuing orders to other judges to dispose matters.”
R Vaigeyi, Senior Counsel, reacted, “Lawyers are very clear, as long as the court is under the control of the government, we will not go back.”
The High Court is trying to finish off as many cases as possible of the 4,30,000 pending cases, tackling the issue head on appearing to be the only solution out of the deadlock for the judiciary.

Judgement day for ‘guilty’ Shahabuddin
3/17/2009 9:19:30 AM
The Patna High Court is expected to announce its verdict on two interlocutory applications of Mohammad Shahabuddin today (March 17). The controversial MP from Siwan, who is currently serving life term for kidnapping and murder has sought bail and suspension of a lower court order in a kidnap and murder case.A division bench of the High court had reserved its order on the high-profile MP’s pleas on Monday after hearing the arguments of both sides. All eyes will be on the Court’s verdict because if Shahabuddin’s sentence is suspended, then it would pave the way for several other convicted politicials to walk freely in society.To add to his Shahabuddin’s woes, he now faces another case regarding violation of prison laws, three days after Rs 13,000 were found on him during a raid on Siwan jail.A case has been filed against Shahabuddin under section 616(1) (a) of the jail manual by Siwan jail Superintendent Ansar Ahmed against Shahabuddin in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, B D Pandey following seizure of the money. Shahabuddin was sentenced to life imprisonment on May 8, 2007 for kidnapping and murder of CPI(ML) activist Chote Lal Gupta on February 7, 1999.

Supreme Court judges ready to declare assets, but with riders
Mar 17th, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi, March 17 (IANS) Judges of the Supreme Court are not opposed to declaring their assets but the information should not be misused and should be kept out of the ambit of the Right to Information Act (RTI) act, Additional Solicitor General G.E. Vahanvati told the Delhi High Court Tuesday.
The high court was hearing a petition filed by the apex court challenging a Central Information Commission (CIC) order directing that the assets of the judges be made public.
Vahanvati argued the matter before Justice S. Ravinder Bhat, who slated the matter for further arguments March 24.
Vahanvati said: “Declaration of assets by judges to the CJI are personal information which cannot be revealed under the present RTI and the same should be amended accordingly.”
He, however, had made it clear that the judges are not opposed to declaring their assets but there is no legal obligation to do so.
“It is submitted that the information which is sought (pertaining to judges assets) is purely and simply personal information, the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity,” he said.
The voluntary declaration given by the judges cannot be said to be information in public domain, he added.
The seven-page affidavit was filed in response to a reply of an RTI applicant who said that all information given to the CJI comes within the public domain and he cannot be denied such information.
The apex court had said that the resolution passed by its judges pertaining to declaration of assets is not binding by law.
“The said resolution dated May 7, 1997, does not have force of law. In these circumstances, the RTI applicant has no right to access information as such information is not held by any public authority under any law,” the affidavit said.
“It is submitted that the voluntary declaration made are outside the purview of the RTI Act.
The Delhi High Court had Jan 19 stayed the order of the CIC that the office of the CJI comes within the ambit of the RTI Act and information given to the chief justice has to be revealed to the RTI applicant.
The petition was filed by the chief public information officer of the Supreme Court challenging the Jan 6 order of the CIC.

PR withdraws petition for common symbol
Legal Correspondent
Party leadership exploring, with renewed vigour, several options available
PR in search of a party that would allow use of its symbol: Mitra
Praja Rajyam challenged constitutional validity of the rules
HYDERABAD: In a surprise development, the Praja Rajyam withdrew the case it filed in the A.P. High Court seeking a common symbol for its candidates for the ensuing Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
Vedula Venkata Ramana, counsel for the petitioner, informed a bench comprising Justice B. Prakasha Rao and Justice Bhavani Prasad on Tuesday that his client had asked not to press the writ petition.
The Praja Rajyam had challenged the constitutional validity of the rules stipulating that only those political parties which contest in one general election and get six per cent of the votes polled and, in addition, win at least two Assembly seats will be eligible for allotment of an exclusive common symbol in the next elections.
The Election Commission had rejected the PR’s application seeking allotment of a common symbol for its candidates.
Following this, the party approached the High Court which sent the matter back to the EC asking to reconsider the issue. As the Commission rejected the plea, the party filed the present writ petition.
Any party can get itself registered and its candidates be allotted symbol from among the free symbols available.
As per the provisions of the symbols order, the candidates of the recognized parties will get exclusive symbol. The PR wanted this status which the Commission was not willing to confer.
Special Correspondent adds: After withdrawing its case, the Praja Rajyam leadership began exploring with renewed vigour several options available for it, in its quest for a common symbol. These include moving the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the EC and sharing a symbol with a recognised party outside the State.
Divergent views
Party general secretary Parakala Prabhakar described the decision as “a strategic withdrawal”.
He said “we are fully confident that our candidates will contest the elections on a common symbol and are hopeful that justice will be delivered to us”.
Another general secretary P. Mitra admitted that the party was in search of a recognised party that would allow its symbol to be used by the Praja Rajyam.

Notice to KPTC on interrupted power
17 Mar 2009, 2357 hrs IST
Bangalore: A division Bench has ordered notice to KPTC and the government on PIL filed by a city advocate, seeking a direction to the authorities to ensure uninterrupted power supply this summer. “Children have to face examinations in March and April, but unscheduled load shedding is continuing. The authorities are not adhering to the principles laid down in the Electricity Act, 2003 and Rules, 2005,” G R Mohan stated in his petition. “While the power availability is 110 mu, the power minister is giving false information to the public by saying the shortfall is just 9 mu,” he said.

CJ leads speedy disposal of bail
17 Mar 2009, 2358 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE : In a special drive to prevent pendency of cases, the high court on Tuesday disposed of numerous bail applications out of around 300 petitions in a record time. Each bail plea was dealt with in about 30 seconds. Chief Justice P D Dinakaran himself disposed of 46 cases in 20 minutes by granting bail (some conditional) in all of them. The rapid-fire sequence went something like this: What is the charge (section)? What stage is the trial? Completed or not? Chargesheet has been filed? Final report submitted. Bail granted. The cases were marginal and some pertained to charges of rape, theft, murder and dacoity, including Vasanth Salian, accused in the Chemmanur Jewellers dacoity case. The chief justice and five judges heard these cases between 4 and 4.45 pm. No loudspeakers in parks, playgrounds The high court passed an injunction order related to giving permission for using sound systems, loudspeakers and playing music in public parks and playgrounds maintained by the BBMP. The division Bench headed by Chief Justice P D Dinakaran passed this order after hearing PIL filed by former city police commissioner and ex-MP P Kodandaramaiah and JP Nagar Nagarika Vedike secretary B S Kumaraswamy. The court also ordered notices to BBMP commissioner, Bescom and city police commissioner. Contempt plea filed over BBMP polls Former city mayor P R Ramesh once again moved the high court by filing a contempt petition seeking action against chief secretary Sudhakar Rao and state election commissioner M R Hegde. “The high court had given three months on the first occasion by its order on July 2, 2008. But the authorities violated it and sought 144 days. Then the court gave further four months as last chance by its order November 10 order. “That deadline has expired and the authorities are in no mood to hold the BBMP elections. The administrator appointed on November 23 is still continuing although there is no provision to continue the administrator for this long. “The authorities have wilfully disobeyed the court’s directive and are indulging in pushing through projects worth Rs 1,000 crores without having an elected BBMP,” the former mayor stated in his petition. Ramesh also sent a letter to the President seeking President’s Rule in the state, citing flouting of court orders by the B S Yeddyurappa-led government. BBMP commissioner summoned The high court has told the BBMP commissioner to appear in court on Wednesday with documents related to the tender process for gantries and structured signboards in the city. The court pulled up the BBMP, saying that neither in the Act nor in the by-laws is there any provision for erecting gantries. Messrs Greenline, which has invested in the pilot project for gantries, challenged the tender notification of February 27. Action ordered over gutkha A division Bench directed the authorities concerned to take action against Messrs Dhariwal Industries under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and the Tobacco Products Act. Tested samples of RMD Gutkha contained more than the specified amount of magnesium carbonate. Notice to state and Centre A division Bench ordered notices to the state government and the Centre on petition filed by the Coorg Wildlife Society and Kaveri Sene, challenging felling of 144 trees for undertaking a 10-MW mini hydel power project in forest area.

Housing scam: Deepak Kumar to file PIL against DDA, Delhi Police
Neeraj Chauhan
Posted: Mar 18, 2009 at 0025 hrs IST
New Delhi Deepak Kumar, the whistleblower in the multi-crore DDA Housing Scheme 2008 scam who later turned out to be one of the main accused in the case, is going to file a PIL in the Delhi High Court on Wednesday seeking action against the Delhi Police and the DDA.
Jinendra Jain, Kumar’s counsel, said they will demand action against those who did not act on Kumar’s complaints before the DDA announced the result of the draw for 5,238 flats.
Kumar filed the first complaint with the police commissioner, DDA Commissioner (Housing) and the Paschim Vihar police station on October 31, informing them of the fraud. “We are not saying that any benefit should be given to Deepak but when he had filed a complaint, the draw could have been stopped if the DDA and the Delhi Police had acted earlier. It would not have led to the loss of crores for several lakh applicants,” Jain said.
Kumar was arrested by the Economic Offences Wing on January 11 for helping the other accused, Laxmi Narain Meena, Vijay Kumar and M L Gautam, a former DDA employee, in the fraud.
Jain alleged that if the authorities had acted on time the scam would not have taken place. “Deepak was arrested because somebody wanted to halt the investigations,” he alleged.
“Before the whole scam came to notice in December, Deepak had already filed complaints on October 31, November 5, November 10 and two more in December. But the police and DDA officials were not keen to take up his complaints. Now, we want action against those seven to eight officers who did not want this fraud to be investigated. We want to know why any action was not taken against the real beneficiaries,” Jain said.
Kumar had also complained that he was receiving threatening calls from two property dealers. Jain said he would be attaching all the complaints filed by Kumar to the PIL.

Obscene SMS Case Court pulls up police, VC
Lalit MohanTribune News Service
Dharamsala, March 17Taking suo motu notice of a report published in these columns on February 25 regarding the SMS case in Palampur Agriculture University, the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Kangra, at Dharamsala JK Sharma has pulled up the police and university authorities.
In a judgment passed today the CJM has decided to monitor the investigation in the case. He has directed the investigating officer concerned to file a weekly report of investigation in the court till challan is filed before the judicial magistrate at Palampur.
Serving a reprimand on the vice-chancellor of the university the CJM has held that record shows that certain girl students made a written complaint that was received by the vice-chancellor on November 18, 2008. Subsequent complaint was made on February 3, 2009. However, no action was taken by the VC that shows indifferent attitude on his part towards the problem being faced by girl students.
The vice-chancellor should have acted in a fair manner and tried to see that girl students are not harassed in any manner. The VC should have reported the matter against the head of the department to the police, instead of trying to shield him. Therefore, inaction on the part of the VC has to be depreciated in strongest words.
The court has also pulled up the police authorities for not registering the FIR in a cognizable offence (allegedly sending obscene SMS to girl students). As per the order in Lalita Kumari Vs Govt. of UP case, the Supreme Court on July 14, 2008 has given clear directions to all states and union territories that a CJM or metropolitan magistrate will initiate action against the police officers who fail to register FIR in such cases.
The court has also observed that the FIR in matter was registered under Section 354 of IPC after the court sought information from the VC and the SHO on the basis of this newspaper report. Both the above authorities tried to hush up the matter as FIR was registered just under Section 354 of the IPC and accused was bailed out. The court later asked the investigating officer why action was not taken under Section 67 of the IT act to which state had no answer. Today the SHO who was present in the court stated that action under the said IT act was being taken.
The VC through the registrar has also been directed to circulate the copies of judgment among the girl students and hostel wardens. The girl students, including day scholars, will also be intimated by the registrar that if they have any complaint of criminal misbehavior they will be free to report the matter directly to police or to the court.
The matter pertains to alleged sending of an obscene SMS by a head of the department of Palampur Agriculture University. He is now under suspension.

Ragging case: Cong seeks judicial probe
Tribune News Service
Shimla, March 17Building further pressure on the government on the Aman Kachru ragging murder issue, the state Congress today asserted that the magisterial inquiry will not serve the purpose and demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident.
General Secretary of the party Sukhwinder Singh said that as per available information the victim had informed the college principal and the local administration that he was being harassed 12 days before the incident but no action was taken in the matter. The authorities woke up only after Aman died after being beaten up by the seniors. It was a case of “administrative breakdown” for which the government was equally responsible.
The unfortunate incident, which prompted the Supreme Court to intervene, had lowered the image of the peaceful hill state and dealt a serious blow to the plan of the government to make the state an education hub of the country.
He said good governance had been the main casualty under Chief Minister PK Dhumal who had failed to provide clean, transparent and performing government. It was functioning only in the media and had nothing to show on the ground to back its claims on the development front. He said the popularity graph of the BJP had nose-dived rather fast and it would reflect in the ensuing Lok Sabha poll.
Regarding the delay in finalisation of party nominee form Hamirpur seat he said that there was no controversy and all the party men would strive for the victory of whosever was given ticket by the high command. He said anyone who was a member of the party had the right to seek ticket but the final decision rested with the high command.
Replying to a question he said no one was invincible and P.K.Dhumal himself lost the 1996 Lok Sabha polls from the seat. His son would meet the same fate in the ensuing election as people wanted to teach a lesson to the BJP.

Law alone may not help end ragging, say academics
Rakesh LohumiTribune News Service
Shimla, March 17Enacting an anti-ragging law will not help put an end to the menace of ragging in educational institutions unless other factors responsible for vitiating the academic atmosphere are taken care of.
There are several other aspects of the problem which create ideal environs for seniors to torment the juniors. The use of drugs and liquor has become common and there is no effective check on such undesirable activities within the campuses. Almost all serious incidents of ragging and violence on the campus involve students who were in the state of intoxication.
The secluded locations away form the main towns, where most of the institutions have come up in recent years provide conducive environment for drug peddlers and liquor smugglers who are on the look out for young boys and girls. The fact that as most of the institutions lack basic facilities like eating joints and shopping complexes make the students dependent on dhabas and tea shops which come up in the periphery within no time.
Liquor and drugs are freely available at such dhabhas and the management could not do anything as they are located outside the campus, laments director of a well-established professional institution in Solan district. As anti-social elements also converge on such joints it becomes more of a law and order problem the impact of which is felt inside the campus. Once under the influence of drugs or liquor the students could do anything. Proper policing around the instutions is the only solution but the responsibility rests with the administration, he points out.
Such problems emerge as the safety and security of students is not taken into consideration while setting up institutions and it is hardly surprising that most of the new institutions are coming up at most inconvenient and unsafe location from the students’ point of view. Even the police and administration is not in position to keep a regular watch on the happening around the campuses.
A senior professor of the local Indira Gandhi Medical College, however, maintains that the main reason behind the failure to curb ragging is that the managements usually succumb to pressure from various quarters, particularly politicians, and show leniency. The offenders are more often than not let off with light punishment. It only emboldens the wrong doers who know that they could get away with anything. The woes of the new entrants could be mitigated if the freshers’ party is held within the first week and they were introduced to seniors in the presence of the faculty, he suggests.

Magisterial probe to be over by March 26
Our Correspondent
Kangra, March 17Additional District Magistrate Sandeep Kumar, who is the inquiry officer in the Aman Kachroo alleged ragging murder case, today assured that as on now the magisterial inquiry would be completed within the stipulated time frame and the report may submitted to the government by March 25 or 26 if there was no delay in deposition by some important witness in this case.
He was talking to the mediapersons at Tanda today. He said former principal of the college Dr Suresh Sankiyian, present prinicpal Dr Anil Chouhan, suspended hostel warden Dr Bansal, the doctor who conducted the postmortem and the SHO deposed before him. He said Dr Rajinder Kachroo, father of the victim Aman Kachroo, has been asked to depose before him in person or through mail on March 20.
Meanwhile, the students and the faculty members of Dr RP Government Medical College (DRPGMC), Tanda, today took a pledge to make the college ragging free and paid tributes to Aman Staya Kachroo, 1st year student who died allegedly of ragging on March 8.
Rajesh Sharma, president, Teachers Association, TMC, read out the pledge which was followed by the students and the faculty members. Earlier Dr. Parveen Sharma delivered speech on the concept of ‘ ‘Sankalapa’ and its implementation for the betterment of the self and society as per the guidelines of Bhagwat Geeta. Prinicpal Dr Anil Chouhan and medical superintendent Dr Bhano Awasthi headed the faculty members while taking the pledge. They took the pledge to make the DRPGMC to ‘Zero Ragging Campus’.

Maytas fails to reach financial closure; seeks extension
Maytas Infra owns 26% in the consortium, Nava Bharat Ventures, 16%, while IL&FS and Ital-Thai hold 5% each
C. R. Sukumar
Hyderabad: Aconsortium headed by Maytas Infra Ltd has failed to achieve financial closure for the Rs12,312 crore Hyderabad Metro Rail project and has sought an extension for the same from the Andhra Pradesh (AP) government in a move that is as much a reflection of the fate of any company looking to raise money in a market strapped for cash as it is of Maytas’ provenance.
Maytas Infra is promoted and headed by B. Teja Raju, the elder son of B. Ramalinga Raju, the jailed founder of scandal-scarred software firm Satyam Computer Services Ltd, who admitted to have fudged the accounts of the software firm to the tune of Rs7,136 crore over several years.
The metro project was awarded on 8 August 2008 to the Maytas-led consortium that includes Hyderabad-based ferro alloys and power producer Nava Bharat Ventures Ltd, infrastructure lending firm Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) and Thailand’s civil infrastructure firm Italian-Thai Development Public Co. Ltd (Ital Thai). According to the original agreement, Tuesday was the last day to achieve financial closure.
C.V.S.K. Sarma, the chairman of Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd and the state’s principal secretary, municipal administration confirmed that the government has received a letter seeking an extension from Maytas and said, “We are examining it.”
According to an official of Hyderabad Metro Rail who did not want to be identified, the government will take a decision on an extension after discussing the issue with legal experts, especially because the state goes to the polls next month. Apart from not seeking to displease the electorate before the elections, governments also need to ensure they do not flout the Election Commission’s code of conduct on policy decisions. The official added that Hyderabad Metro Rail’s board would meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
This official, however, added that the original agreement provided for a 120-day extension to the consortium if it failed to achieve financial closure within the stipulated 180 days. In return, the consortium would have to pay every day after the deadline, 1% of the bank guarantee of Rs240 crore. This amount—Rs24 lakh a day—will have to be paid till financial closure is achieved. Interestingly, the consortium has not met the Tuesday deadline of furnishing the bank guarantee of Rs240 crore and has sought extension on that front as well, according to Maytas Infra spokesperson Anil Uttarwar.
“Since we were unable to achieve the financial closure within the stipulated time, we have sought an extension from the AP government for financial closure,” the Maytas Infra chief financial officer V.V. Rama Raju told Mint.
Maytas Infra owns 26% in the consortium, Nava Bharat Ventures, 16%, while IL&FS and Ital-Thai hold 5% each. The government plans to take a 11% stake in the project, while 37% will be parcelled off among financial partners expected to buy into the project.
The consortium had offered to pay around Rs30,311 crore to Andhra Pradesh as revenue over 35 years, which was one of the key reasons for the government awarding the project to it. Another factor that worked in favour of the consortium was its refusal to take the financial assistance offered by central government to the tune of around Rs1,639 crore as so-called viability gap funding.
Rama Raju said representatives of the consortium members were currently in discussions with the state government. The consortium, in a statement, blamed global recession and the credit squeeze in national and international capital markets for its troubles.
Uttarwar claimed that despite not being able to achieve financial closure, the consortium has made some progress in the project; these include completion of topographic surveys, alignment designs, architectural layouts of stations and preliminary designs for civil works, and the appointment of consultants for engineering, project management and traffic management.
Insisting that Maytas Infra was unable to achieve financial closure for the Machilipatnam port project as well, C. Ramchandriah, convener of Citizens for Better Public Transport (CBPT), a non-profit organization, asked the government to scrap the metro rail project. CBPT had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) before the Andhra Pradesh high court on 26 August last year seeking to stay the project as it did not have the required environment clearances.
While Uttarwar blamed the public interest litigation for some of the company’s ills, Ramchandriah said this was unlikely to be the case.
Uttarwar said “the ongoing PIL is having an extremely deleterious effect on our ability to achieve the financial closure.” Ramchandraiah said “It appears (to be) only a pretext since there was no stay granted by the high court, which only served notices on all the parties and there is no progress on the case. How will this deter the ability of Maytas consortium to achieve financial closure?”
Maytas Infra had come under the scanner of regulators and government departments investigating Satyam. Several of its board members resigned and the company lost a few contracts awarded to it previously. They have been cancelled by the awarding companies and local governments.
Lenders to Maytas, IL&FS, Sicom Ltd and IFCI Ltd acquired around a 30% stake in the company through invocation of shares pledged by some shareholders. These lenders subsequently approached the ministry of corporate affairs, seeking reconstitution of the infrastructure firm’s board of directors.
Following this, the ministry asked the Company Law Board (CLB) to dissolve the board of Maytas entities. Rejecting this plea, CLB allowed the government to appoint four nominees on the company’s board. The government has already appointed two of these.
Shares of Maytas Infra gained 2.41% to close at Rs33.95 each on the Bombay Stock Exchange, on a day that saw the exchange’s benchmark index losing 0.89% to end at 8,864 points. The company had reported Rs1,660.15 crore in revenue and a net profit of Rs99.99 crore for the year ended March 2008.

HC directs state to inspect Apna Ghar
19 Mar 2009, 0150 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Wednesday granted a time period of three weeks to advocate general of the state Subodh Kantak and advocate S D Padiyar to conduct an inspection of the conditions at Apna Ghar. The court was hearing a suo motu petition regarding the unhygienic conditions which children at the Apna Ghar are forced to live in. The court had taken a story published in the The Times of India’ issue dated October 22, 2008, along with a report of the principal district and sessions judge, Panaji, as a public interest litigation. The court had appointed advocate S D Padiyar as amicus curiae in the matter for assisting the court. When the petition came up for hearing on Wednesday, Padiyar told the court that he wanted to pay a visit to Apna Ghar in order to ascertain the ground reality. Subsequently a division Bench comprising Justices P B Majmudar and U D Salvi opined that the advocate general should also accompany the amicus and fixed the matter for further hearing after three weeks.

Hasten Blueline end, HC to government
19 Mar 2009, 0632 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the city government to fastrack its phasing out of Bluelines. Though, a division bench comprising Chief Justice AP Shah and Justice Sanjeev Khanna also admitted that mere shelving of Bluelines would not solve traffic ills plaguing the city unless there was strict monitoring and regulation of traffic. “Traffic problem is prevalent in every big city but seems to be most acute in Delhi,” the bench remarked while hearing the Bluelines accident case. Meanwhile, the city government urged HC to permit it to extend temporary permits of four months for Bluelines as it awaits their replacement buses to be inducted. This is the fourth time such an extension has been sought. On HC’s query about the status of new purchases, the government said about 1,500 more low-floor DTC buses would ply on the city roads by September this year to help ease public transport. Appearing for the government, counsel Mukta Gupta reeled out statistics on the government’s purchases. “The government has placed an order for 2,500 low-floor buses. Out of which about 1,500 would be supplied by the companies (875 from TATA and 625 from Ashok Leyland) before September this year, ” she said. She added that the process for installation of Global Positioning System (GPS) is also being carried out. Regarding the corporatization of state carriages, the counsel said the government has opened the tender for the first cluster and the process would be completed soon. Appearing on behalf of the Centre, lawyer P P Malhotra informed the court that government would soon complete drafting of a comprehensive scheme for disbursement of compensation money to accident victims. Taking suo motu cognizance of recurring accidents by blueline buses, the court had in October 2007 directed the government to frame new guidelines and phase out all blueline buses from city roads.

Batla House encounter: Govt under HC pressure to hold inquiry

New Delhi, Mar 18 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today indicated that it could direct the National Human Rights Commission to conduct an inquiry into the Batla House encounter if government refused to follow the commission’s guidelines of holding magisterial inquiry in such cases.A bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said that Batla House encounter case stands on different footing as compared to the Mumbai terror attacks and government’s reluctance to follow NHRC’s guidelines would undermine the commission.”No one would say that the terrorists killed in 26/11 (Mumbai terror attacks) died in an encounter. We won’t like to direct investigation in the case but we have an option to direct the commission to conduct an inquiry in the case,” the court said when the NHRC pleaded that it is mandatory to conduct magisterial inquiry when people are killed in a police encounter.”There would be a serious problem if it (following guidelines) is left to the discretion of government authority,” the court said, adding “It would undermine the role of the commission.” The court, however, did not pass any order even as the city government pleaded its ignorance about the commission’s guidelines on the inquiry aspect. PTI

Bombay HC orders demolition of all illegal Yeoor bungalows by Apr 15

, March 18: There are still 117 illegal constructions on the Yeoor hill in neighbouring Thane district, the Bombay High Court was informed on Wednesday. According to the Thane Municipal Corporation, 39 bungalows have been demolished so far. Nineteen of them were demolished after a PIL raised the issue. Division bench of Justices J N Patel and V K Tahilramani today said that corporation should cut off the power and water supply to illegal bungalows, and demolition drive must be continued. A PIL filed by four local tribals claimed that some 250 bungalows had come up on the hill, in clear violation of the law which says that tribal land cannot be purchased. According to advocate Suhas Oak, the petitioners’ lawyer, all the prominent politicians in Thane, including many corporators, and several government officials had bungalows there. Petition alleged that Land Revenue Code bars sale of tribal land, and if such a sale occurs, government has to take over the land and restore it to original tribal owner. The court has now asked Thane collector and chief conservator of forest of the concerned area to file affidavits by April 15, giving details of the lands owned by tribals and the lands under the forest cover. Bureau Report

Lawyers stir: Madras HC suspends two top police officials
Chennai (PTI): A month after violent clashes between police and lawyers inside the Madras High Court premises, a three-judge bench of the Court today ordered suspension of two top city police officials and asked the striking advocates to call off their agitation and return to courts.
The bench, comprising Justice S J Mukhopadhaya, Justice V Dhanapalan and Justice K Chandru, held that prima facie a case had been made out to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Additional Commissioner of Police A K Vishwanathan and then Joint Commissioner of Police (North) M Ramasubramani.
“They were the persons who were at the helm of affairs and under whose direct supervision the operation was carried out,” the bench said. The lawyers were demanding action against DGP and Chennai city Police Commissioner.
The Bench also came down heavily on lawyers for their state-wide boycott of courts following the February 19 clash.
“It is needless to say that the lawyers have no right to strike, ie to abstain from appearing in the courts in cases in which they hold vakalats for the parties,” the Bench said.
It was below the dignity, honour and status of the members of the noble profession of law to organise and participate in strike though, “it is open to the lawyers to adopt some other mode of protest without interrupting or disrupting the court proceedings or adversely affecting interests of litigants. We therefore ask the associations and Bar Council to recall their strike forthwith and resume work”, the Bench said.

Madras HC orders suspension of two top police officials
Chennai (PTI): The Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered suspension of two top police officials over the February 19 lawyers-police clash inside the Court premises in which several advocates and police personnel, besides a judge were injured.
The court ordered suspension of then Joint Commissioner of Police (North) M Ramasubrmani, who was transferred last month following the incident, and Additional Commissioner of Police A K Viswanathan.
A bench, comprising Justices S K Mukhopadhaya, V Dhanapalan and K Chandru, gave the order.
A bloody clash broke out between lawyers and police on February 19 inside the Madras High court premises which witnessed stone-pelting incidents and lathicharge by police.

Batla House encounter: Govt under HC pressure to hold inquiry
Published: March 18,2009

New Delhi
The Delhi High Court today indicated that it could direct the National Human Rights Commission to conduct an inquiry into the Batla House encounter if government refused to follow the commission’s guidelines of holding magisterial inquiry in such cases.
A bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said that Batla House encounter case stands on different footing as compared to the Mumbai terror attacks and government’s reluctance to follow NHRC’s guidelines would undermine the commission.
“No one would say that the terrorists killed in 26/11 ( Mumbai terror attacks) died in an encounter. We wont like to direct investigation in the case but we have an option to direct the commission to conduct an inquiry in the case,” the court said when the NHRC pleaded that it is mandatory to conduct magisterial inquiry when people are killed in a police encounter.
There would be a serious problem if it (following guidelines) is left to the discretion of government authority,” the court said, adding”It would undermine the role of the commission.”We are not shying away from holding inquiry but it is for the first time that it has come up that inquiry in such cases is mandatory,” advocate Mukta Gupta, appearing for the government, pleaded and placed before the court a letter written by the commission which said that the investigation can be conducted by any senior officer.
The bench, however, was not convinced by her reply and said that guidelines are very clear on this regard.”You are confusing us between the guidelines and letter written by the commission,” the court said, adding” There would be a serious problem if it (following guidelines) is left to the discretion of the government authority.”
The NHRC also contended that a magisterial inquiry?”must invariably”?be held in all cases of deaths which occur in the course of police action and no exception should be made in this case.
Earlier, Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor had refused to allow inquiry in the case.?
Source: PTI

Missing baby case: HC directs municipal corporation to deposit Rs 5lakh
18 Mar 2009, 1557 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to deposit Rs five lakh with the registrar general of the court in the Sion hospital
missing baby case. Court’s direction came after municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak denied the responsibility to pay compensation in affidavit. The registrar will invest the amount in fixed deposit and monthly interest will be paid to Mohan and Mohini Nerurkar, whose baby-boy was stolen from government-run Sion hospital on January 1. Nerurkars moved high court after police failed in tracing the unidentified woman, who stole the two-day-old boy. Earlier, division bench of Justices Bilal Nazki and A R Joshi had asked how much compensation the corporation was ready to pay to the parents for the lax security at hospital. Phatak has said in the affidavit filed today that corporation was not liable to pay as such a precedent will encourage bogus thefts of children. “Precedent of payment of compensation can encourage consensual temporary thefts through friends or relatives with a view to claim compensation,” affidavit said. It also said that if MCGM is liable to pay for child’s theft, then “by the same logic” it will be liable to pay for thefts of watches or cellphones too.

Tourism association moves HC over garbage issue
18 Mar 2009, 0518 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The Travel and Tourism Association (TTAG) of Goa has now approached the high court of Bombay at Goa complaining that the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) has not been collecting the garbage generated by the various hotels in the capital city. Senior advocate Atmaram Nadkarni appearing for the petitioners told the court that the garbage is not being collected by the CCP and is posing a potential health hazard for the residents of Panaji. When the petition came up for hearing on Tuesday, advocate Agnelo Diniz appearing for the CCP told the court that he had not received any instructions from his clients regarding the matter and prayed that the matter may be kept on March 19. Subsequently the court has adjourned the matter to March 19 for further hearing.

Justice Bannurmath sworn in as Kerala HC CJ
Thiruvananthapuram, Wednesday, March 18, 2009: Justice SR Banoormath, senior most judge of Karnataka High Court was sworn in as the new Kerala High Court Chief Justice today by Governor RS Gavai.
Born on January 23rd 1948, Justice Bannurmath was enrolled as an advocate on July 28th 1973. He practiced in the Karnataka High Court and Supreme Court before he was appointed as an additional judge of Karnataka High Court on June 11, 1977, and permanent on June 3 1999.

Mizoram CM ready to accept judgement on corruption cases
Published by: Noor KhanPublished: Thu, 19 Mar 2009 at 02:20 IST
F Prev Next L
Aizawl, Mar 18 : Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla today told the state assembly that he would accept the judgement on the corruption cases pending against him.While reacting to Opposition member’s allegations, Lal Thanhawla said, “I accept that the law should take its own course.” However, he said the graft charges initiated by a church leader and senior politician, who submitted Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against him in the Supreme Court, has never been a matter of concern.”I am ready to accept any kind of orders the presiding judge on the case may pass,” Thanhawla said.In his supplementary question, former minister and Opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) member B Lalthlengliana asked whether the public prosecutor and five assistant public prosecutors were sacked to ensure that the graft case against chief minister was tried in the absence of government advocates appointed by previous MNF government.”Is it legal to dismiss the case even before hearing in the court of law?” Lalthlengliana asked.State Law Minister Lalsawta, however, replied that the public prosecutors and government advocates were not government servants and it is mandatory that they should resign if there is a change of government.

Two top Chennai policemen suspended over attack on lawyers (Lead)
Mar 18th, 2009 By Sindh Today
Chennai, March 18 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu government Wednesday suspended two senior police officials for their role in the clashes with lawyers a month ago, but some advocates expressed dissatisfaction over the move terming it as “too little, too late”, while a lawyers’ association said they were happy and would attend the courts from Monday.
The bench comprising former chief justice S. Mukhopadhyay, V. Dhanapalan and K. Chandru also asked the agitating advocates to return to work immediately.
A government source said police officials A.K. Vishwanathan (additional commissioner of police) and J. Rama Subramani (former joint commissioner since transferred to Coimbatore) were being placed under suspension.
T. Mohan, an activist lawyer spearheading the movement against policemen, said they were unhappy with the action.
“Is this not too little too late? The Home Secretary (S. Malathy) admitted on record that Vishwanathan was in charge until Commissioner (K.) Radhakrishnan arrived on the scene Feb 19.
“Not only Vishwanathan but Director General of Police (K.P.) Jain, Additional DGP (Law and Order) T. Rajendran and Radhakrishnan ought to have been suspended and arrested for masterminding the predetermined attack on lawyers,” Mohan told IANS.
“The lawyers’ struggle for justice will not yield or lie dormant until all the guilty police officers are brought to book and pay the penalty for the assault on the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law,” Mohan added.
Many lawyers expressed happiness with the move and said their protest rally Thursday would turn into one of celebrating “a well-earned triumph of law and justice”.
“It is a well-earned triumph for justice, law and democracy. From now on police officials will think twice before breaking the law anywhere – especially within the precincts of the Madras High Court. Heeding the judges’ request to return to work, most of us would be attending courts from Monday,” S. Prabhakaran, former president of the Madras High Court Advocates’ Association, told reporters.
“Our rally tomorrow (Thursday) will be peaceful,” Prabhakaran told IANS.
Meanwhile, sources in the Central Bureau of Investigation probing the clashes told IANS on condition of anonymity that First Information Reports accusing at least 30 advocates and over 11 police officials are “almost ready”.
“Though the court has slammed policemen, the fact remains that lawyers too were at fault. After all, many were seen on television vandalising vehicles and many took part in the burning down of the police station. The FIR is almost ready,” the source told IANS.
Commissioner of Police K. Radhakrishnan told the court in an affidavit that Vishwanathan and Subramani were responsible for ordering baton charge on lawyers twice in the high court premises without proper authorisation Feb 19.
The violence had resulted in injuries to over 50 lawyers and a judge and led to destruction of public property, including government and private vehicles, and the burning of a police station within the precincts of the Madras High Court.
Retired Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna had blamed the lawyers and police officials in his interim report submitted to the apex court. But advocates in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry rejected the report. Work in courts has come to a halt since February.

Truth as defence
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
FRONTLINE – Article on the story on Ex CJI Y K Sabharwal
Volume 24 – Issue 20 :: Oct. 06-19, 2007
Truth as defenceV. VENKATESAN in New Delhi
IN 2006, Parliament amended the Contempt of Courts Act (CCA) to introduce Section 13(b), which states: “The courts may permit, in any proceedings for contempt of court, justification by truth as a valid defence if it is satisfied that it is in public interest and the request for invoking the said defence is bona fide.” The object of this amendment was to introduce fairness in procedure and meet the requirements of Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.The amendment failed to achieve its object when the Delhi High Court Bench comprising Justices R.S. Sodhi and B.N. Chaturvedi found three journalists and the publisher of Mid-Day, Delhi’s afternoon daily, guilty of contempt of court, and sentenced them to four months’ imprisonment on September 21.The Bench found journalists M.K. Tayal and Vitusha Oberoi, cartoonist Md. Irfaan Khan, and publisher S.K. Akhtar guilty of contempt. In its view, they, in the garb of “scandalising” a retired Chief Justice of India through their publications, have, in fact, attacked the very institution of judiciary. The Bench arrived at this conclusion through convoluted reasoning and a procedure that is glaringly flawed.Mid-Day published on May 18 a story hinting that the sons of the former Chief Justice of India, Y.K. Sabharwal, benefited by the Judge’s orders directing the sealing of commercial properties in the residential areas of Delhi, and that the sons were operating their businesses from the Judge’s official residence. Irfaan Khan’s cartoon, which was carried in the daily on May 19, depicted Justice Sabharwal in his robes holding a bag bursting with currency. It also depicted a man sitting on the sidewalk saying, “Help! The mall is in your court.”In response to the notices issued to them by the Bench, the accused journalists claimed in their affidavits that whatever was published in Mid-Day about Justice Sabharwal was the truth, which is a permissible defence. They also contended that the stories carried in the daily focussed on the life of the former Chief Justice of India after he had left office and, therefore, could not be termed as denigrating the authority of the Supreme Court. They also argued, through their counsel Shanti Bhushan, that the Chief Justice ought not to have been on the Bench that passed orders concerning the sealing of properties in Delhi where non-conforming activities were going on and further that it was the duty of a journalist to expose corruption in the judiciary at the highest level. Shanti Bhushan also told the Bench that the material on record was ample proof that the sons of the former Chief Justice were beneficiaries of the sealings.Shanti Bhushan clarified to the Bench that he was not challenging the correctness of the order of the Supreme Court but the order of the former Chief Justice, who was the presiding member of the Bench and who, by his impropriety, passed orders sealing premises in which commercial activities were being conducted, in order to benefit his sons’ business.But these arguments failed to convince the High Court Bench. It appeared to the Bench, from the manner in which the entire incident has been projected, that the Supreme Court was portrayed by Mid-Day as having permitted itself to be led into fulfilling an ulterior motive of one of its members. “The nature of the revelations and the context in which they appear, though purporting to single out a former Chief Justice of India, tarnishes the image of the Supreme Court. It tends to erode the confidence of the general public in the institution itself. The Supreme Court sits in divisions and every order is that of a Bench. Imputing motive to its presiding member automatically sends a signal that the other members were dummies or were party to fulfil the ulterior design. This we find most disturbing,” the Bench said. Observers note that by no stretch of imagination can it be held that the Mid-Day stories on Justice Sabharwal suggested that other members of the Bench had connived at his “impropriety”.The Bench, as is clear from this order, did not find it necessary to consider truth as a defence while holding the journalists guilty of contempt. It may be of interest to point out that the amendment to the CCA providing for truth as a defence is by way of addition to Section 13, which says that contempt is not punishable in certain cases. In other words, the CCA envisages two types of offences of contempt of court: those which are punishable and those which are not. Section 13(a) says that no court shall impose a sentence under this Act for contempt of court unless it is satisfied that contempt is of such a nature that it substantially interferes or tends substantially to interfere with the due course of justice.During the arguments over the sentencing of the contemners on September 21, the counsel for the journalists again raised the plea of truth as a defence under Section 13(b) of the Act. The Bench, however, brushed aside the plea, asking “truth of what?” It is clear, therefore, that the Bench considered the case as one of punishable contempt. The Bench, however, failed to ensure that the requirements of the Act were met in letter and spirit.
The Bench obviously found the journalists guilty of contempt under Section 2c (i) of the Act. Under this section, “criminal contempt” is defined as the publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which scandalises or tends to scandalise or lowers or tends to lower the authority of any court. Observers have pointed out that law has implicitly provided for truth as a defence under this section as it is only falsehood that can scandalise or lower the authority of any court.The procedural flaws in the case were substantial. One is about the High Court’s jurisdiction to entertain the case suo motu. It has exercised its jurisdiction under Article 215 of the Constitution. This Article says that every High Court shall be a court of record and shall have all the powers of such a court, including the power to punish for contempt of itself.Section 11 of the CCA says: “A High Court shall have jurisdiction to inquire into or try a contempt of itself or of any court subordinate to it, whether the contempt is alleged to have been committed within or outside the local limits of its jurisdiction, and whether the person alleged to be guilty of contempt is within or outside such limits.” Going by this provision, it is not clear how the High Court Bench considered the matter as falling within its jurisdiction, even though the contempt alleged is of the Supreme Court, which is not subordinate to it. Under Article 129, only the Supreme Court has the power to punish for contempt of itself.On September 28, the Supreme Court Bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice P. Sathasivam admitted the appeals of the journalists concerned and stayed their sentence until the disposal of the case. On the directions of the Supreme Court, the High Court granted them bail on September 21. The Bench appointed senior counsel T.R. Andhyarujina amicus curiae and directed that the appeals be listed for hearing on January 16, 2008.The case has brought to the fore the effectiveness of the amendment incorporated in the CCA. The Bill on this amendment was cleared by a Parliamentary Standing Committee (12th Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice) in August 2005.In its report, the Committee hoped that the higher judiciary would give due regard to this statutory provision (guaranteeing truth as defence), maintaining the principles of fairness and reasonableness it was known for. The Committee also believed that such procedure would give the contemner full opportunity to make his defence and ensure that the principle of natural justice was not violated.
More important, the Committee had recommended that the defence of truth be inserted as one of the exemptions or defences under Section 8 of CCA rather than under Section 13 because it felt it would give the contemner additional help in that he could defend himself on the grounds of truth. But the government did not accept this recommendation while enacting the Bill.The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) recommended in 2002 an amendment of Article 19(2) of the Constitution to provide for defence of truth in contempt proceedings. The Commission took this view, considering the inherent powers derived by the Supreme Court and High Courts from Articles 129 and 215. The Commission had reasoned that a total embargo on truth as justification would be an unreasonable restriction on the freedom of speech and expression, which is guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a). The government, however, felt that a constitutional amendment for this purpose would be a time-consuming process, and thus opted to amend the Act.The question raised in legal circles is whether the journalists held guilty of contempt would have succeeded in establishing the truth of their allegations against Justice Sabharwal, even if the Delhi High Court had allowed truth as a defence during the proceedings against them.As Prashant Bhushan of the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) told the Standing Committee: “If anybody does a story and even if he says it is bona fide, he may not be able to prove the truth of what he is saying. He may legitimately believe as true what he is saying. But he may not be able to prove in a court of law unless statutory investigation is made by the police agency and documents are seized.”The pressure mounting on the Chief Justice of India, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, to constitute an inquiry into Mid-Day’s allegations against Justice Sabharwal – later authenticated by the CJAR’s painstaking documentation available on its website – thus makes sense.
Posted by Capt M K Tayal at 10:51 PM

Varun moves HC challenging FIR, alleges political conspiracy

Allahabad, Mar 19 (PTI) BJP leader Varun Gandhi, against whom a criminal case has been filed on the directive of the Election Commission over his anti-Muslim speeches, today moved the Allahabad High Court seeking quashing of the FIR which, he claimed, was a result of “a political conspiracy”.In his petition, 29-year-old Varun has challenged the FIR filed on March 17 at Barkheda Police Station under Sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act.The grandson of former prime minister Indira Gandhi who is planning to make his electoral debut in the upcoming general elections as BJP candidate from Pilibhit alleged in his petition that the FIR, which was lodged nine days after he made the speeches, was “a part of a political conspiracy” to spoil his political career and tarnish his “secular image”.He has also alleged that the video footage of a public meeting, on the basis of which the Election Commission has taken the action, “has been tampered with” and did not contain his voice. PTI

Delhi HC: Desi viagra gets nod

The Delhi High Court allowed Kamagra, the desi version of the American-based anti-impotency drug, Viagra to continue sale of its products but with a changed colour and packaging.American multinational drug company Pfizer, which claimed to have spent millions of dollars on research and development of Viagra, approached the high court complaining that its brand name was being used by Ajanta Pharma and they were selling Kamagra, which is confusingly similar to Viagra.A division bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S K Mishra allowed the settlement reached between both the pharma giants before Mr Amarjit Singh, appointed as mediator by the court. The counsel for Pfizer disputed this settlement but the court allowed the agreement reached between both the pharma giants thereby allowing Ajanta Pharma to continue to sell its products by changing the colour and packaging of Kamagra. The Court allowed the Pfizer to withdraw its suit, which was filed in 2001 against the Indian company, with a liberty to file a case if any fresh dispute arises.According to the agreement, the Indian version, which is about eight times cheaper than the American version, will now come in a green colour instead of the blue tablets earlier and with green outer packaging.Pfizer did not challenge the formulation of the Indian tablet as the active ingredient bulk drug, Sildenafil Citrate, is common in both the tablets and is easily available in India without violation of any law.The American company had challenged the trademark Kamagra, stating that it is phonetically similar to Viagra but Mr Y N Bhardwaj, lawyer for Ajanta Pharma, argued that Kamagra is Kama+gra.Kama, which is a Sanskrit word, and Agra also a Sanskrit word and is a suffix common to the pharma trade, thus Kamagra denotes the product.He further contended that ‘via’ is an English word and ‘gra’ is common to Pharma trade, thus no exclusivity can be associated with the trademark Viagra.A battery of lawyers, including Mr Bhardwaj, Mr Kamdar and Mr Rakesh Khanna appeared for the Indian company, while the American company was represented by lawyer Chander Lal. Similar suits are pending in the Delhi High Court.An interim injunction sought by Pfizer to restrain Indian companies from making their products was refused by the court on April 10, 2002.Earlier Pfizer took up the issue with Cadila in court on the basis of the trademark for the brand name Penegra. Penegra, as is clear, is deceptive and anyone will relate it to Viagra. Moreover, the Cadila product is reported to have a shape and look similar to Viagra.Since the Drugs Controller General Of India approved sildenafil citrate, many other Indian companies have brought out related versions. Anjanta Pharma has marketed Kamagra, Cipla has marketed Silagra and Sun Pharma has brought out Edegra. Other Indian brands with the gra suffix are Erix from Unichem, Androz from Torrent, and Caverta from Ranbaxy.UNI

HC notice on bad road
19 Mar 2009, 0440 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Following a plea highlighting the dismal condition of 17.5 km stretch of road from Pinjore to Maranwala near Baddi, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday issued notices to Haryana government and engineer-in-chief, PWD, for April 24. The petitioners, BBN Industries Association and Laghu Udyog Bharati (Himachal chapter), Baddi, had prayed for directions to repair, recarpet and widen the stretch from Pinjore to Maranwala, NH-21-A. The petitioner’s counsel Chetan Mittal said that dismal state of the stretch was causing massive traffic congestion and public inconvenience.

HC cancels admission of 150 MBBS students
19 Mar 2009, 0338 hrs IST, Abhinav Sharma, TNN
JAIPUR: The Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday cancelled the admission of nearly 150 MBBS students
of Geetanjali Medical College, Udaipur and directed fresh counselling for the seats. It was found that all the seats of the private college were filled through management quota and no candidate who cleared the Rajasthan Pre-Medical Test-2008 managed to get admission, making the whole process illegal. The case was filed by Abhishek Saini, one of the successful RPMT candidates and 16 others. Justice Prem Shanker Asopa held that the counselling was unlawful as the same was not in consonance with the directives of the Supreme Court and guidelines of the Medical Council of India, which say that all the private medical colleges in the country are required to maintain a ratio of 85:15 for merit seats and management quota respectively. Delivering the judgment, Justice Asopa made it clear that no educational institution or a student can seek mercy from the court if they break the law. The court maintained that the students who knowingly took admission in such an illegal manner are themselves guilty for ruining their future. Geetanjali Medical College is a new 150-seat private medical college that got the Union government’s recognition on September 16 last year. Instead of admitting meritorious candidates in general seats, the college administration floated advertisements in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and admitted 150 students after taking donations in the range of Rs 40 lakh to 60 lakh, alleged Rajendra Soni, counsel for the petitioners. The court directed the Rajasthan Medical Health University to conduct fresh counselling for the successful candidates of RPMT-2008 for their admission in the current session. The court, however, clarified that the counselling shall be done for only 85% of the seats of the total 150, leaving apart the management quota, which the college claimed to have filled by way of Private College Pre-Medical Test held in 2008. “The college admitted all the students taking huge amount to the tune of Rs 8 crore as fee. None of the eligible candidates from the selection list prepared by the RPMT merit list were admitted by the college. This is violation of rules,” Soni told the court. The Rajasthan Medical Health University, the state government and the Medical Council of India also told the court that the admissions were illegal. Besides, the University refused to register the students admitted by the college, the court was informed. The order, meanwhile, is a relief to nearly 150 successful candidates of RPMT-2008, who will now be considered for admission.

Traffic snarls in city irk HC
19 Mar 2009, 0233 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Wednesday took a dim view of the lack of political will on the part of the government to keep the city roads free for smooth traffic. A division bench comprising Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice Sheema Ali Khan made such a remark while hearing a PIL filed by one Ravindra Kumar Rai who has alleged that PRDA lapses have led to irregular construction of multistoried apartments in the city. Petitioner’s counsel Basant Kumar Chaudhary submitted vehicular traffic has been badly affected due to the construction of multistoried apartments on narrow roads with no parking facilities. The judges remarked encroachment on road flanks was rampant on Boring Road and Bailey Road near the secretariat with vendors selling vegetables and fruits. Traffic policemen are nowhere in sight to clear the roads. Additional advocate general Lalit Kishore agreed that things need to be improved.

HC allows Parsi punchayat to sell Andheri flats
Wed, Mar 18, 2009
Mumbai Property
Mumbai: The Bombay high court on We d n e s d ay stayed the charity commissioner’s order, revoking permission to the Bombay Parsi Punchayat (BPP) to sell 108 flats in Panthaky Baug in Andheri.The charity commissioner had stalled the BPP’s move to sell these flats to community members on ownership basis. On Wednesday, a division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Dhanajay Chandrachud gave the green signal to the punchayat, but asked it and other parties to come up with an eligibility criteria for the sale of these flats. The next date of hearing has been posted on March 24.Nine years ago, the BPP had decided to sell around 108 flats measuring around 800 sq ft each in Panthaky Baug on ownership basis to Parsi families for Rs 20 lakh each. The monthly outgoing for these flats would be around Rs 4,000, according to the BPP. The charity commissioner in 2002 permitted the sale, but revoked it two years later following protests from members of the community. BPP chairman Dinshaw Mehta and four trustees moved the HC challenging this order.“The project envisages some 300 flats for Parsi families,’’ said Mehta. “The money raised from the sale of the flats would be used to construct 80 flats of 400-500 sq ft each for poor Parsi families. The monthly out going for these flats would not be more than Rs 1,500 a month,’’ Mehta added.The chairman said the BPP may urge the court to allow it to raise the selling price of the flats. The norms that will be agreed upon by the parties may be vetted by the retired Supreme Court judge, who is to be appointed in another case concerning the allotment of flats in Parsi colonies in the city. The BPP is in charge of over 4,500 flats located in Parsi enclaves of Cusrow Baug in Colaba, Rustom Baug in Byculla, Godrej Baug in Nepean Sea Road among other locations.In the case of Panthaky Baug, some community activists had maintained that all the flats proposed by the BPP in this Parsi enclave be allotted to poor members.
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HC for amendment to marriage reg rules
Kochi, Thursday 19 March 2009: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court has observed that the government should seriously think of amending the Kerala Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules 2008 to prohibit registration of agreements styled as marriage agreements.
The Bench of Acting Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice K.T. Sankaran made the observation while disposing of a habeas corpus petition recently.
The court said it had seen many instances of marriage agreements executed by man and woman for living together and the plight of woman who had been thrown away like ‘squeezed lemon.’ The court noted that by the time the woman realised that she could not claim any marital right against her so-called husband, it would be too late. The plight of the children born in that relationship would be more heart-rending.
The court observed that as far as the registration of an agreement was concerned, the sub-registrar could not go into the legal or otherwise of an agreement. The High Court had already held that such marriages were not valid.
Therefore, the only way out was to introduce an amendment to the marriage registration rules for safeguarding the plight of the unfortunate girls who were misled and unaware of the gravity of the consequence of such agreements.
The court observed that with effect from February 19, 2008, the Kerala Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules, 2008 had come into force. As per Rule 6, marriages should be compulsorily registered, irrespective of the religion of the parties, before the secretary of the local body unless the registration had been made under the Special Marriage Act.

Fake stamp paper scam: Telgi gets 7-year jail term
19 Mar 2009, 1414 hrs IST, PTI
AHMEDABAD: Fake stamp paper scam kingpin Abdul Karim Telgi was on Thursday sentenced to seven years imprisonment by a special CBI court in Ahmedabad. Judicial magistrate A P Gohil, who presided over the special court, also sent Telgi’s aide Sadik Ibrahim to seven years in jail. His another aide Siddarth alias Peter Fernendes was awarded five years’ imprisonment. While Telgi and Sadik have been fined Rs 35,000, Siddarth has been fined Rs 30,000 by the court. All the three had yesterday pleaded guilty before the special court in a fake stamp papers case filed in Gujarat. The multi-crore fake stamp paper scam was first unearthed in Maharashtra. Telgi and his Gujarat based aides were also running the racket in the state.

Chargesheet filed in Sucheta Anand case
19 Mar 2009, 0114 hrs IST, Vijay V Singh, TNN
MUMBAI: The Mumbai police recently filed a chargesheet in the sensational case involving the suicide of Indigo airhostess Sucheta Anand. The chargesheet was filed in January against co-pilot Arjun Menon, who the police arrested last year on charges of abetting Anand’s suicide. However, Menon’s lawyer A Pargaonkar has stated that the Mumbai police’s evidence is insufficient to prove the abetment charge. Anand was 25 years old when she committed suicide by hanging herself in a room at Palm Grove hotel, Juhu, on June 7, 2008. Menon, then 28, had spent most of the day with her and she killed herself after he left the room to have dinner with another woman. When Anand did not respond to Menon’s call later, he requested the hotel’s management to open her room, which was when her body was discovered. The city police have alleged that the suicide occurred after Anand and Menon had a fight. Anand was a resident of Delhi who had separated from her husband. She had also filed harassment charges against her husband. Menon too had separated from his wife in February 2008. In the charge sheet, the police rely on statements given by common friends to show a close relationship between Anand and Menon. They also rely on SMSes exchanged between Menon and Anand. A police officer said the evidence shows that the two were close to each other. However, Menon’s advocate said, “An exchange of friendly SMSes is not strong enough evidence to prove abetment to suicide charges. She was emotionally dependent on him and they were good friends, it does not mean that he was responsible for her suicide.” Turbulent End February 14, 2009 Anushree Dutta, 24, ground staffer for Kingfisher Airlines, hangs herself from a fan at her Andheri (East) residence after a fight with her boyfriend, who too was working for an airline. The two had been staying together for a year. February 14, 2007 Marliyn Dunston, a US national, is found dead in the bathroom of her hotel room at the Taj, Colaba. The police claim that it is a case of suicide, while Dunston’s family members disagree. She had been an airhostess for Delta Airlines.

BMC gets HC nod to cut mangroves for sewage plants
19 Mar 2009, 0147 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Wednesday allowed the BMC to go ahead with its plans to set up sewage treatment plants and lay pipelines on coastal areas in the city, which house mangroves. A division bench of Justices J N Patel and Vijaya Kapse-Tahilramani asked the municipal corporation to ensure “minimal intervention” so that mangroves are cut only if absolutely necessary. Emphasising the concept of “sustainable development’, the judges justified the modification of the high court’s 2005 order banning destruction of mangroves, saying the sewerage treatment plants were “essential services and basic civic amenities”. The plants and pipelines form part of phase II of the Mumbai Sewerage Disposal Project that will cover Versova, Erangal, Dharavli, Malad, Bhandup, Ghatkopar, Dharavi and Gorai. Permission was also granted to drill bore holes at these locations for soil testing. The projects are spread over an area of around 100 hectares, with a substantial mangrove cover. City NGO BEAG, which had filed a PIL to protect mangroves in the city, did not oppose the BMC’s plea. “The city cannot do without these sewerage disposal projects,” said BEAG counsel Gautam Patel. The NGO, however, opposed another application by the BMC seeking permission to carry out land fill activities in mangrove areas at the Kanjurmarg dumping ground. Spread over 141 hectares, the dumping ground includes 20.76 hectares of mangroves. The judges asked the corporation to furnish more details, saying while the project was important, it “cannot be at the cost of the ecology”. The case will now be heard on April 8. In 2007, the high court had allowed the BMC to widen the Mahul creek near Chembur by cutting down mangroves. It had also permitted Navi Mumbai authorities to construct two road bridges and a stormwater drain project.

Court asks parents to produce son
19 Mar 2009, 0143 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has directed a city resident to produce his three-and-a-half-year-old son in court on Friday.
The court’s directions came on an application filed by the child’s mother who is an Australian resident. She had claimed that her estranged husband, who is an Indian citizen, had violated an Australian court’s order which had permitted him to take the child on a 10-day holiday.
The man has filed an application before the Bandra family court for the child’s custody.

Flouting of NHRC norms in Batla probe irks HC
19 Mar 2009, 0632 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday expressed its unhappiness with the stand of the Delhi government that there was no need for a magisterial inquiry into the Batla House encounter. A bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Sanjeev Khanna demanded to know from the government why it didn’t adhere to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) guidelines of holding magisterial inquiry in every encounter, saying adherence to NHRC guidelines shouldn’t be left to “discretion of government.” The query came on an NHRC status report to HC where the commission said its probe into the encounter was being hampered due to absence of a magisterial inquiry report. Besides postmortem and inquest report, an inquiry report is the third pre-requisite for NHRC to proceed, it told HC, while urging it to issue directions. The bench also cut short attempts by counsel of the Delhi Police to compare the Batla House encounter with earlier terror attacks like the Parliament attack case and to argue that a probe wasn’t possible in every case. HC made it clear the Batla House encounter case stood on a different footing as compared to say, the Mumbai terror attacks, adding that the government’s failure to follow NHRC’s guidelines would undermine the commission. “No one would say that the terrorists killed in 26/11 (Mumbai terror attacks) died in an encounter. We won’t like to direct investigation in the case but we have an option to direct the commission to conduct an inquiry in this case,” HC said when NHRC pleaded that it is mandatory to conduct magisterial inquiry when people are killed in a police encounter. The court, however, did not pass any order even as the city government pleaded its ignorance about the commission’s guidelines on the inquiry aspect. “We are not shying away from holding inquiry but it is for the first time that it has come up that inquiry in such cases is mandatory,” advocate Mukta Gupta, appearing for the government, pleaded and placed before the court a letter written by the commission which said that the investigation can be conducted by any senior officer. But HC pointed out there were clear guidelines in this regard. “You are confused between the NHRC guidelines and letter written by the commission,” the court said, adding “there would be a serious problem if it (following guidelines) is left to the discretion of the government authority.” The NHRC in its report had contended that a magisterial inquiry “must invariably” be held in all cases of deaths which occur in the course of police action and no exception should be made in this case. Earlier, Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor had refused to allow inquiry in the case and had intimated his decision to HC. The court was hearing a PIL filed by an NGO, Act Now For Harmony and Democracy, seeking a judicial inquiry into the September 19, 2008 encounter, in which two suspected terrorists, allegedly involved in the Delhi serial blasts, and police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma were killed. Two suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists, who were killed were identified as Atif Amin and Mohd Sajid. Two other, IM suspects, Mohd Saif and Zeeshan, were arrested from the Batla House area. The incident took place a week after the serial blasts rocked the capital killing 26 people and injuring 13 others.

Haryana vows to save Aravalis. But will it?
19 Mar 2009, 0106 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: Haryana has finally come forward to undo some of the damage to the ravaged Aravalis. On Wednesday, it undertook before the Supreme Court that it will follow every recommendation of the Central Empowered Committee. This means all mining leases will be permanently revoked in Faridabad and Gurgaon districts and a proper survey will be conducted for identifying 600 acres which will be auctioned and mined for stones in small patches. The upshot is that there will be no further mining in the ravaged mines of Khori Jamalpur and Sirohi which the state had planned to flog for another two years when it held an auction of March 3, despite the CEC’s recommendation to stop mining here altogether. The SC-appointed Monitoring Committee had earlier observed that these mines should be kept as an exhibition to show what not to do while mining. The state of these mines and the fallout of reckless mining has been highlighted by TOI for the past six months with reports and pictures. This newspaper also carried front page pictures of popular lakes going stone dry. The special SC bench, headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, referred to the dried up lakes. When amicus curiae A D N Rao showed the satellite image of Badkhal Lake and said that the lake was once full of water and now totally dry because of mining has disturbed the hydrology of the area, the Bench said: “Now you can probably play cricket on it.” At the end of the day-long hearing that spilled over to Thursday, the special Bench referred to the Haryana chief secretary’s affidavit, saying: “If the state wants to take action as per the CEC recommendations, we cannot say this should not be done. If they want to work out a total ban, let them work it out. The CEC has given the recommendation and the state is in concurrence. Let it go ahead.”

FIR a must, insist on it
18 Mar 2009, 2342 hrs IST, Jayashree Nandi , TNN
BANGALORE: An acknowledgement slip is not equivalent to a registered FIR. Increasingly, citizens are growing desperate as in most cases their trouble is not treated serious enough to register an FIR – which can then spur action. The police officers scribble the report in their diary and forget about it. More than half of the complaints are dismissed in this way. Senior officials acknowledge that `burking’ or putting it in the police diary is the only way to get rid of the headache of regular investigations, to show that the crime rate is under control and to finish work smoothly with whatever manpower they have. Lacreu Stephany, a French national working in Bangalore, was recently chased by two youths and her passport snatched, but the Koramangala police refused to register an FIR till the media wrote about it. Lakshmi (name changed) was chased, slapped by men in Indiranagar and the police just gave her an acknowledgement token to say her complaint was taken. Parents whose 12-year-old child was missing and was later found working in a bar were refused by the police in Kolar when they wanted to register an FIR. The unrecorded list goes on, a trend rampant more in rural areas where people hardly know what an FIR means. Police commissioner Shankar Bidari is confident his staff register FIRs. “They are supposed to register all cognizable offences. If they don’t, then please bring it to my notice. It only depends on whether the offence is cognizable or not,” he says. Former IPS K S Suresh Babu said: “In some cases the police officers do not understand the plight of the victim, and, in some, they want to avoid the extra work of investigations. But if you look at it from the policemen’s point of view, then each FIR requires enough investigations, manpower, manhours and facilities which the department does not have,” he adds. But former police commissioner L Revannasiddiah observes: “The writing of the complaint is an eye-wash. It is to avoid investigations and work. But the counterfoil or acknowledgement is a record. You can take the issue to the police commissioner and report it. Even if it is not a cognizable offence but is being repeated and is affecting your peace of mind then you can file an FIR.”

Activists assert their right to rally
18 Mar 2009, 2345 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: Traffic jams, specially of the sorts created by Kumaraswamy’s rally last November which left hundreds of children and citizens stranded, has pushed the government to file a draft law on regulating rallies. But has the law been taken a bit too far? Being one of the oldest modes of protest and expression, this regulation will be a violation of democratic spirit for many civil society members. Hundreds of activists and individuals will submit an objection petition to the draft law at police commissioner Shankar Bidari’s office by the end of this week. Public can file objections till March 24. The draft law, Regulation of Public Processions and Assemblies (Bangalore City) Order, 2009, makes it mandatory for people to seek licences for processions and public assemblies. The objection petition raises many questions on issues covered in this notification. “Public assemblies by themselves do not impede traffic flow, so we do not see why they comes within the ambit of Rule 3 of the order,” the petition states. It also points out: “The idea of obtaining licences strikes at the root of the freedom under article 19(1).” “Any expression critical of the government can be denied permission using the wide power given to the licensing authority. Hence, it has no place in a democratic setup. Regulation 3(4) requires that a seven-day notice be given before holding any procession or assembly. In a democracy, spontaneous expression can’t be suspended for a moment, leave alone seven long days as required by the rule,” says B N Jagdeesh, advocate and campaigner, Fearless Karnataka. President of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Professor Hasan Mansoor also said the Constitution assures the right to assembly. According to the notification, if a procession is to be conducted on a route within the jurisdiction of one zone, apply to deputy commissioner of police of the zone concerned. If procession moves from one zone to another, seek permission of additional commissioner of police, law and order.
Each application should include a demand draft of Rs 100, payable in favour of the Commissioner of Police, Bangalore City. This also applies to assembly. Make an application for procession or assembly at least seven days in advance. In exceptional cases, the licensing authority may entertain an application within short notice.

Saravana Bhavan founder gets life term for murder
19 Mar 2009, 1313 hrs IST, IANS
CHENNAI: Founder of the popular Saravana Bhavan hotel chain, Rajagopal, was on Thursday sentenced to life in a murder case by the Madras High Court that enhanced his 10-year rigorous imprisonment awarded by a trial court. The verdict was announced by a division bench comprising Justices P K Mishra and R Banumathi, who convicted Rajagopal and six others for the 2001 murder. The court also increased his conviction from culpable homicide not amounting to murder, to culpable homicide amounting to murder. Rajagopal, 59, who had founded the Saravana Bhavan chain of hotels worldwide in 1981, had been found guilty of murdering an employee Prince Shantakumar in 2001. A fast track court had in 2004 sentenced him to 10 years rigorous imprisonment and fined him Rs5.5 million. Rajagopal had also been accused of sexually harassing Shantakumar’s widow, Jeevajothi, and the daughter of another employee Ramaswamy. Of the fine, Rs5 million was to be handed over to Jeevajothi, the court had ruled. Rajagopal, who was rearrested for violating bail conditions during his trial after allegedly attempting to threaten Jeevajothi, had appealed to the high court. The Saravana Bhavan chain of hotels and restaurants, popular for their range of idlis, dosas and the like, gained further notoriety in November 2008 after Rajagopal’s son P Shiva Kumar was arrested on a charge of forging documents to smuggle people into the US. The charges were based on the findings of the US consulate. The arrest also resulted in the cancellation of several lucrative contracts of the hotel chain to supply food to American diplomatic missions. According to the hotel group’s website, its outlets are located “across 22 outlets in South India, three in the North and seven countries with 22 outlets across the globe”.

First RTI on wheels’ completes one year
18 Mar 2009, 2311 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : The country’s first RTI on wheels’, a mobile multi-media van for creating mass awareness on the Right to Information (RTI) Act in far flung areas completed a year on Tuesday. In the past one year, RTI on wheels’ has reached about 80,000 people in 450 villages and 13 cities. Launched by Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP), contribution from Association for India Development (AID), USA covered the alteration and retro-fitment cost of the vehicle. RTI on wheels’ visited neighbouring states of Maharashtra and Rajasthan in the last year. In Mumbai and Pune it was invited by Public Concern or Governance Trust and Bombay Chartered Accountant’s Association, and in Rajasthan Majdoor Kissan Shakti Sangathan invited it for conducting awareness campaigns in Bhilwada, Udaipur and Alwar districts.

HC directs state to inspect Apna Ghar
19 Mar 2009, 0150 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Wednesday granted a time period of three weeks to advocate general of the state Subodh Kantak and advocate S D Padiyar to conduct an inspection of the conditions at Apna Ghar. The court was hearing a suo motu petition regarding the unhygienic conditions which children at the Apna Ghar are forced to live in. The court had taken a story published in the The Times of India’ issue dated October 22, 2008, along with a report of the principal district and sessions judge, Panaji, as a public interest litigation. The court had appointed advocate S D Padiyar as amicus curiae in the matter for assisting the court. When the petition came up for hearing on Wednesday, Padiyar told the court that he wanted to pay a visit to Apna Ghar in order to ascertain the ground reality. Subsequently a division Bench comprising Justices P B Majmudar and U D Salvi opined that the advocate general should also accompany the amicus and fixed the matter for further hearing after three weeks.

Justice Uma Nath requests CJI for transfer
19 Mar 2009, 0337 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: In a standoff between Bench and Bar, two important cogs of justice delivery system, a judge seldom wins. This frustrating realization dawned on Justice Uma Nath, who has requested Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan for a transfer. The Punjab and Haryana High Court judge, facing prolonged boycott by the HC Bar over issues he terms trivial, wrote to the CJI last month explaining his deep anguish over the manner in which the Bar was targeting him by refusing to appear before the Bench headed by him. The lawyers’ unanimity in shunning him completed his isolation as he was an outsider at Chandigarh – having done his legal practice in Madhya Pradesh – before being elevated to the Bench and later transferred to Punjab and Haryana HC. The letter requesting a transfer to another HC, sources said, reflected his agony of being constantly put under pressure by the Bar. The feeling was reflected in the March 16 order passed by a Bench comprising Justices Singh and A G Masih. The Bench said, ‘‘Learned advocates of Punjab and Haryana HC Bar Association are boycotting this court since February 19, 2009. Even the law officers deputed to this court are abstaining from appearance. Needless to say that the expenses on government litigation and the payment of fee and retainer to government advocates are made from public exchequer, and any adjournment in the government cases on the ground of boycott/strike would amount to legalise such boycott which would be contrary to the mandate of the judgment of the Supreme Court.’’ Justice Singh, presiding over Benches, had passed several orders facilitating speedy work on flyovers on GT Road linking Chandigarh to Delhi in addition to ordering removal of encroachments from public land. In his letter to the CJI, he mentioned that vested interests had influenced the Bar to boycott his court and it had become difficult for him to function as a judge being constantly under pressure from the Bar association.

Seminar on law against piracy
19 Mar 2009, 0028 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: One time petty criminals if left unchecked end up becoming undisputed dons. This is a basic principal of crime and criminals and applicable on the Rs 1,000 crore strong piracy industry in India. Hence, checking the small timers involved in piracy was as important as netting the big fishes said Julio Rebero, retired chief of Maharashtra Police.
Speaking at a seminar on `Piracy, legal provisions to check the menace and powers of the police in such crimes’ organised jointly by the UP Police Training Directorate and Indian Music Industry (IMI) at the Radio headquarters in Mahanagar, Rebero said that Dawood Ibrahim too was a petty criminal in Mumbai before he jumped into the big league only to rule the underworld at the international level in the present times. In his introductory address, director, police training, additional director general (ADG) D P Sinha highlighted the need for such training programmes to create awareness among the investigating agencies about their role in checking the menace.

HC stamp on Patel as CVM chief
18 Mar 2009, 2202 hrs IST, TNN
VADODARA: Gujarat High Court on Wednesday cleared way for Dr CL Patel to function as full-fledged chairman of Vallabh Vidyanagar-based Charutar Vidya Mandal (CVM). It was on February 28 that elections for the 11 posts of Central Gujarat’s richest educational trust were held at New Vallabh Vidyanagar under observation of a high court representative. On March 8, after counting of the votes, Dr Patel was declared winner by a narrow margin over his rival Bhikhubhai Patel. The results enabled Patel, who had held the post since 1994, to retain it for a term of another three years. “Earlier, pending declaration of results, pursuant to interim order passed by high court, Patel was permitted to remain as chairman of CVM but restricted in his functioning by a rider that he should not transact any business. This embargo has been lifted now,” CVM’s advocate Dhaval Dave told TOI. Dave, who appeared on behalf of CVM office-bearers in the court of Justice CK Buch, submitted that in view of the declaration of the election results in which Patel was elected as chairman, there should not be any restrictions on his functioning. The high court has fixed further hearing of the case on March 24. Reacting to the judgment, Patel told TOI that the decision will help him to function without caps. “For this year alone, we have chalked out four new projects apart from small ones in our various educational institutes. We are setting up a fourth engineering college and coming up with a third pharmacy college. With these steps, we will take both our trust and Vallabh Vidyanagar forward,” he added.

Demand for judicial probe in Batla House encounter
18 Mar 2009, 2207 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: National president of All India Muslim Majlis, UP, Manzarul Islam has demanded a judicial probe in the Batla House encounter. In a press statement issued, Islam said that only the people of Azamgarh but all the justice loving people of the country seek a fair probe into the encounter. He said that it is shocking that despite vigorous public demand and protest rallies at Delhi and Lucknow, the Union government has not yet ordered a judicial probe in the encounter. Islam added that the Centre has adopted an indifferent approach on the issue because it pertains to the minority community, which is always relegated to the receiving end. Else, there is no just reason to deny a demand for a judicial probe, which will serve the ends of justice, and also of just governance, Islam said. It may be recalled that in the Batla House encounter, which took place in the Jamia Nagar area of New Delhi last year, police claimed to have killed the terrorists who were behind the Delhi serial blasts. Further, Manzarul exhorted Muslims to endeavour for a political change to achieve the goal of good governance in the country by taking active and effective part in the coming Lok Sabha elections under the banner of Muslim Majlis.

CAT abolishes 90 ex-cadre posts
19 Mar 2009, 0437 hrs IST, M Sagar Kumar, TNN
HYDERABAD: In an order that is likely to revamp the whole administrative machinery in the state and have far reaching consequences for the IAS community, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Wednesday held that a state government has got no unbridled power to create ex-cadre posts and ordered the abolition of all ex-cadre posts that are in existence for more than five years in the state. In practical terms, it would mean abolition of nearly 90 IAS posts in the state. There are 135 ex-cadre posts in the state now while its permissible level is only 47. The CAT also ordered the abolition of all those ex-cadre posts in the state which are existing without any approval from the central government for more than two years.

Court prohibits media from publicising Kasab evidence
19 Mar 2009, 1139 hrs IST, IANS
MUMBAI: The media has been prohibited from telecasting or publishing any material that may be used as evidence against Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only terrorist caught alive after the Mumbai terror attack. Special Judge M.L. Tahilyani passed his order in response to an application filed Wednesday by Special Public Prosecutor Ujwal Nikam, who expressed the fear that the evidence published by the media was acting as a deterrent to the Nov 26-29 terror attack case. “The investigating officer and special PP have got serious apprehension that the witnesses pertaining to that part of the evidence will be scared and the publication will endanger their lives,” Tahilyani noted in his order Wednesday evening. As the allegations were of a serious nature, he felt the court’s intervention was necessary in the public interest and passed the order prohibiting the publishing of the case proceedings. Nikam said in his application that certain print and electronic media had started publicising proceedings pending before the court. This resulted in part of the evidence being disclosed on TV before it was produced in court. It could result in prejudicing the interests of the court, prosecution and the accused, he pointed out. Nikam also argued that the telecasting of certain recording clips seized by the investigation officer as part of the probe raised serious doubts about how they were leaked to the media. Kasab and two others, alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, will face trial for their involvement in the terror strikes, which claimed over 170 lives.

Haryana to prosecute cops in Sarita case
19 Mar 2009, 0421 hrs IST, Sukhbir Siwach, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Haryana government prepared the sanction draft on Wednesday to prosecute around six Rohtak cops in the infamous Sarita rape case. The action follows CBI recommendations after probe into circumstances leading to Sarita’s suicide at police headquarters in Panchkula on June 9, 2008. The CBI has sought prosecution of DSP Dhiraj Setia, inspectors Pawan Kumar, Ramphal, Balraj and Silak Ram under 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with 306 (abetment to suicide) and 506 (criminal intimidation). Two more cops — Randhir Singh and Ramdhari — are facing allegations of criminal conspiracy. A senior Haryana officer told TOI, “We would soon be issuing sanction orders for the prosecution of accused cops.”

Reliance Energy moves SC against tribunal’s tariff order

Press Trust of India / New Delhi March 17, 2009, 19:41 IST
Anil Ambani-run Reliance Energy Ltd today moved the Supreme Court challenging the sectoral tribunal’s ruling that asked the firm to refund additional electricity tariffs of more than Rs 250 crore collected from multiplexes and shopping-malls in Mumbai. A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, however, today refused to give interim relief and directed that the matter will be heard on March 27, the notified date. Reliance Energy has filed two appeals challenging the tribunal’s order of January 19 setting aside the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission’s tariff order that classified multiplexes and shopping-malls under a new category, LT-9, and brought them under the ambit of high tariffs on the grounds of their higher capacity to pay. The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL), while quashing the MERC order, had also directed REL and Tata Power Company to refund the additional amounts collected from the multiplexes and shopping-malls after they were placed under the LT-9 category. It further directed these distribution companies to adjust the amounts in future bills over the next one year.

Batla House fit case for magisterial probe: NHRC
Mar 18th, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that a magisterial inquiry is mandatory in every case of death due to police action and the Batla House shootout was no exception.
It also said the Delhi Police was dragging its feet over conducting a probe into the Sep 19, 2008, gunbattle in which two alleged terrorists were killed.
The court was hearing NHRC’s view on whether a magisterial inquiry can be held into the Batla House shootout.
Counsel for NHRC submitted before a division bench headed by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Sanjeev Khanna that the commission relies on three basic criteria to conduct an inquiry like a post mortem report, inquest report and magisterial inquiry.
“And if these criteria are not there then permission from the court is sought,” the counsel for NHRC told the court, adding that a magisterial inquiry is a mandatory guideline and it should have been done in the Batla House case.
On this, the court pulled up Delhi Police on why the probe was not conducted even after six months of the incident, and said: “We have no option left but to ask the NHRC to conduct a magisterial inquiry so that no one can undermine the commission.”
Counsel for Delhi Police Mukta Gupta told the court that the entire study material of the case will be given to the commission in two weeks’ time.
The court, after giving time to Delhi Police, slated the matter for Apr 8.
The court was hearing a public interest petition filed by an NGO – Act Now For Harmony and Democracy – seeking a judicial inquiry into the Sep 19, 2008 firefight in which two suspected terrorists, allegedly involved in the Sep 13 Delhi serial bombings, were killed.
The two were suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists, Atif Ameen and Mohammed Sajid. The police also arrested Mohammed Saif and Zeeshan for the serial bombings in the capital.
The Batla House shootout took place a week after serial bombings rocked the capital killing 26 people and injuring 13 others.


4 Responses

  1. This is a great WordPress Blog. What theme are you using?

  2. The citizens of Gardner, KS are currently working to recall two members of their City Council. The recall is tied up in the courts at the moment, but it should go to a vote in March of 2010.

  3. Respected sir,

    Am the dealer development manager and we r planning to build a mobile retrofitment van so wat have to do to get permission and whome need to be contacted…

  4. To
    The Hon’ble Director General and Inspector General of Police
    In Karnataka

    Respected Sir,

    Sub: Request for immediate suspension of Mr. Ratnakar Shetty, Inspector of Police, attached to Sampige Halli Police Station, for mis-behaviour by means of using Volgar language an telephone conversation towards an Woman Lady Advocate.

    The undersigned most respectfuly beg to submit as follows:-

    01. I am an Lady Advocate alleged allegations against Mr. Ratnakar Shetty, Inspector of Police, attached to Sampige Halli, Police Station, with regards to Mental Torture, Corruption, Unlawful activities i.e. illegal detention of my brother S.Sayeed Iqbal, in CR-11/2009, and also involvement in a big Insurance SCAM of KSTRC while he was a Inspector of Police at Nelmangala Police Station, and more allegations published in Weekly news Paper (HAI BANGALORE) dated on 06-03-2009 and also mi-appropriation of siezed properties of my brother S.Sayeed Iqbal, in CR-11/2009.

    I approached through my representation along with documentary evidence to the Hon’ble Chairman, State Human Rights Commission, Bangalore.

    UPA Lokayuktha, State Vigiliance and also to Inspector General of Police (Griveances and Human Rights).

    02. As per the facts highlighter the authorities whom I had approached has taken prompt action by investigating the alleged charges against Mr. Ratnakar Shetty, Inspector of Police, though DCP – North-East Division, Bangalore, ordering for a detail report in this matter.
    03. On the guise by this action og higher authorities, he called me through my brother’rs S.Sayeed Iqbal’s mobile phone used volgar words which is recorded in the instrument supplied by the vigiliance for recording the conversation is translated and same is enclosed here with for kind perusa due to his unlawful activites towards my self and my family members are in danger and apprehension to our life and properties in the hands of Mr. Ratnakar Shetty, Inspector of Police, Sampige Halli, Bangalore.

    Under the above circumstances I request your good self to kindly take prompt action for suspension of Mr. Ratnakar Shetty, who is a law breaker involved in all Criminal activities, Cases are pending before the Court, he is not supposed to work as an independent Investigation Officer (I.O.) he him self a law breaker.

    I request you to kinly consider my request by protecting my self and my family members through police protecion when ever is required.

    Please note : All the supported documents has already submited to your good office 09 March 2009.

    Yours faithfully

    S.Shazama Tabassum

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