LEGAL NEWS 23-25.03.2009

Police officers move Supreme Court against High Court order
J. Venkatesan
It had suggested their suspension in connection with lathi charge on lawyers
SLP stated that the order had been passed in violation of natural justice
NEW DELHI: Two senior Tamil Nadu IPS officers, whose suspension was suggested by the Madras High Court in connection with the lathi charge on lawyers on February 19, moved the Supreme Court on Saturday seeking to quash the March 18 order.
The special leave petition (SLP) filed by A.K. Viswanathan, Additional Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, Chennai, and M. Ramasubramani, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Coimbatore Range (he was the Joint Commissioner of police (North), Chennai on the day of the incident), also sought interim stay of operation of the order.
The SLP stated that the order had been passed in violation of natural justice and in a manner so as to placate the striking High Court lawyers. The High Court finding about the petitioners being at the helm of affairs was without factual basis since no inquiry had been held and no material placed before it to come to such a conclusion.
The officers stated that they had been ordered to be suspended, thereby punishing them without affording an opportunity of hearing. They were not parties to the suo motu writ petition. “Moreover, it is surprising how the High Court came to the conclusion on a prima facie basis that the petitioners were at the helm of affairs, under whose direct supervision the operation was carried out, when the Justice Srikrishna Report (submitted pursuant to the orders passed by the Supreme Court) had clearly held that unless a detailed enquiry was held, it would be difficult to pinpoint the responsibility of each individual.”
The SLP stated that when the prayer for suspension had been declined by the Supreme Court, there was no occasion for the High Court to act on the same list of officers given by the lawyers and without notice to the petitioners.
“The petitioners are apprehensive of even entering the High Court premises since a large number of lawyers are always present in the court room and are in an agitated mood. They have a threat to their lives and no advocate will be willing to appear for them in the High Court,” and hence they were constrained to move the Supreme Court.
The SLP raised substantial questions of law including whether a High Court could suo motu take cognisance and order suspension of persons who were not parties before it. The High Court had failed to appreciate that the direction passed by it would cause grave prejudice since their service record would be marred and leave a stigma for all times to come. “This will be entered into the service records of the petitioners and will affect their future growth in their service which, hitherto, is unblemished,” the SLP said.

PIL in SC to purge polls of convicts
22 Mar 2009, 0318 hrs IST, Ashish Tripathi , TNN
LUCKNOW: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the Supreme Court (SC) for not allowing convicts contest the elections may spell trouble for film actor-turned-politician Sanjay Dutt and others like him who are aspiring to contest elections despite being convicted in criminal cases. Convicted for illegal possession of firearms in 1993 Mumbai blast case, Dutt has been nominated by SP for prestigious Lucknow Lok Sabha seat. The actor has filed application before SC for permission to contest elections but has started campaigning without waiting for apex court’s clearance. Similarly, Shahabuddin, mafia-turned-politician from Bihar, has also been convicted in a criminal case but is planning to contest. But now the PIL listed for hearing on March 27, is dangling on their heads. Filed by K Saran and Alok Saran, both residents of Lucknow and advocates by profession, the PIL has sought directions from the apex court that in matters related to election and Representation of People Act (RPA) 1951 suspension of conviction in a criminal case should not be permitted for contesting elections. The petitioners have also prayed that the case of former cricketer and BJP MP Navjot Singh Sindhu should not be treated as precedence in other cases as it is only an interim order and cannot be treated as law. The petitioners have cited two SC judgments to support their contention for not allowing convicts to contest elections. In BR Kapur vs state of Tamil Nadu 2001 case, a five-member constitution bench had quashed appointment of AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa as chief minister of Tamil Nadu. The Bench held that Jayalalitha was ineligible to contest assembly elections under section 8(3) of the RPA because of her conviction under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) with a punishment of imprisonment in excess of two years. Again in K Prabhakaran vs P Jayarajan 2005 case, a five-member constitution bench of the apex court had upheld that a convict awarded more than two years of imprisonment as punishment cannot contest elections as per section 8(3) of the RPA. The bench subsequently also quashed Jayarajan’s election from Kuthuparamba assembly constituency of Kerela on the appeal of K Prabhakaran. Jayarajan was convicted under Prevention of Damage to Property Act 1984 and was awarded a term of 29 months imprisonment by the trial court. Petitioner’s counsel Harjot Singh said that it has been clearly laid down in the section 8 (3) of the RPA that a convict awarded imprisonment of more than two years cannot contest elections unless an appeal against the conviction has been allowed by a superior court or has been set aside. But, both Dutt and Shahabuddin have sought permission from the SC for contesting Lok Sabha elections citing the case of Sidhu, who also was convicted in a road rage case, but allowed to contest elections by the apex court. Singh said that Sidhu’s case cannot be treated as a precedence because he was already a sitting MP at the time when the a trial court convicted him in the road rage case. “Though it was not legally binding on Sidhu, he resigned from Parliament on moral grounds and filed an appeal in the superior court against his conviction before coming to the SC for permission to contest bye election. Sidhu’s case was described as an exceptional one by the SC in its interim order while allowing him to contest bye election,” he added. Singh clarified that the PIL was not against any individual but to uphold the law which aims to check criminalisation of politics and to bar entry of convicts in Parliament. However, he said that he was sorry to see Dutt campaigning in Lucknow without even waiting for SC’s clearance. “Dutt’s case would be taken up by the apex court on March 30 but it seems that he has taken the law lightly and has launched his election campaign presuming that the court will grant him permission,” he said.

HC clears Naroda hurdle on BRTS route
22 Mar 2009, 0419 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : Finally, Gujarat high court gave a green signal on Saturday for demolition drive in order to widen roads for the ongoing BRTS project in Naroda area. Earlier, acting on a PIL filed by members of Sindhi community through A’ Ward General Panchayat-Kubernagar, a division Bench headed by Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan had on January 17 barred Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) from demolishing houses and establishment at Naroda-Patia locality. The residents had approached high court demanding to quash AMC’s order to evacuate the area and shift to the place allotted to them for rehabilitation. They had argued that the deputy estate manager of AMC had wrongly interpreted laws regarding displacement. They also claimed that the Centre has powers to form a displacement scheme, and there is one in place. Hence, AMC should adhere to that. However, after AMC filed a detailed affidavit stating that from Narol cross-roads to Naroda-Patia, the road widening process is over, no road has to be laid down from Patiya onwards, and this is an important junction which connects NH 8. AMC claimed that some 127 occupiers did not have residential premises, but they are dealing in different businesses, while original allotment was made in favour of those having residences. The court asked them to raise the issue before proper authority. The stretch between Naroda-Patia and Naroda Bethak near Dehgam Road is to be widened to 200 ft to lay down exclusive tracks for BRTS in the second phase of the project. But, local residents and businessmen in the area raised objections. Now, with the high court lifting the stay on demolition, AMC can continue with the project without any hassles.

CEC appointment solely govt’s prerogative, says SC
21 Mar 2009, 0240 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Exactly a month before Naveen Chawla takes over as chief election commissioner (CEC), the Supreme Court on Friday cleared all legal hurdles by dismissing a PIL challenging his appointment and the process adopted by the Centre to give him the top post. In a matter of minutes, the apex court snuffed out the feeble challenge posed by the PIL filed by United Communist Party questioning Chawla’s appointment as CEC, which followed after the UPA government rejected the present CEC N Gopalaswami’s recommendation for the EC’s removal on grounds of bias. A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice V S Sirpurkar spread a web of questions around counsel Sugreev Dubey, also the secretary of the petitioner organisation, a registered political party. After an initial scrutiny of the locus standi of the petitioner to file a PIL, the Bench focussed on the first prayer — seeking implementation of Gopalaswami’s recommendation. “It is infructuous since the government has already rejected it and you have not challenged the Centre’s decision,” the Bench said. The rest of relief — implementation of Veerappa Moily headed Administrative Reforms Committee’s report — sought by the petitioner could not be granted, the Bench said before dismissing the petition. Dubey contended that the government should have taken care to implement the Moily committee recommendation to follow the collegium system for selection of the CEC, an important constitutional post requiring good knowledge in law. Now, the IAS lobby has made sure that one of them gets appointed to the important post in succession which may not augur well for democracy, Dubey argued while suggesting appointment of retired judges as election commissioners. Unimpressed with this argument, the Bench said, “The Constitution already provides the procedure for appointment of the CEC and we have no intention to re-write it.” Rejecting the petitioner’s demand for implementation of the collegium system to select CEC, it said, “Moily committee has given many recommendations, apart from that on CEC selection process. This court cannot be directing the Centre to implement all those recommendations.”

Lawyer threatened for filing PIL against Sanjay Dutt
21 Mar 2009, 1939 hrs IST, PTI
AURANGABAD: A city-based lawyer, who has filed a Public Interest Litigation against actor-turned-politician Sanjay Dutt in the Supreme Court seeking a bar on him from contesting Lok Sabha elections, was today allegedly threatened by two unidentified persons. The duo allegedly warned the lawyer with dire consequences if he does not withdrew the PIL soon. Advocate Sagar Ladda has filed a complaint against the unidentified persons with the Cantonment police station. In his PIL, the petitioner sought that the Election Commission be directed by the apex court not to accept the nomination papers of Dutt. Persons convicted for more than two years under the provisions of Sections 8 (1), (2) and (3) of the Representation of the Peoples Act 1951 can’t contest elections, the lawyer said his PIL. In his complaint filed with the police, Ladda said two unidentified persons driving a bike without registration number threatened him to withdraw the PIL or he will have to face loss and that he himself will be responsible if any thing goes wrong with him or his family members. Police registered a case against the two unidentified persons and further investigations are on.

Fund for minorities not to be used for religious acts: Gujarat HC
Ahmedabad, March 21: Dismissing a PIL against Central government’ 15-point-programme for minorites, Gujarat High Court has directed that funds should not be used for promotion of any religious activities or advancement of religious teaching of a particular minority community. High Court chief justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi yesterday directed that state should ensure that funds are not utilised for inculcating any religion or advancement of any particular religion affecting the constitutional requirement of neutrality. The court ordered that the Centre has to ensure that the money should be utilised only for social welfare activities of minorities. The Court dismissed the petition observing that funds used to minimise inequalities among minority communities by adopting various social and welfare activities does not violate the constitutional principles. PIL filed by former BJP MP Vijay Patel had challenged the steps taken by Union government to earmark Rs 1900 crore in favour of a Muslim community by way of 15-point programme of Central government on recommendations of Sachar committee. Petitioner had in the PIL questioned the wisdom of utilisation of national resources in favour of a particular minority community, which according to the petitioner, was contrary to the constitutional mandate. Bureau Report

SC to hear PIL on criminal candidates on march 23
The Supreme Court will hear on March 23 a PIL praying not to stay the conviction of those candidates who are under trial for serious offences and have criminal antecedents.Three advocates have approached the Supreme Court in view of the large number of politicians with criminal background approaching the courts to get their conviction stayed to contest the coming Lok Sabha election.The apex court is also going to hear a similar petition filed by RJD MP from Siwan Mohamad Syed Shahabuddin, who has been convicted in a murder case and in an attempt to murder case. He has been given life imprisonment in the murder case and ten years imprisonment in the other case.The petitioners said all the criminals-turned-politicians were rushing to this court relying on the judgment in Navjot Singh Sidhu case in which his conviction was stayed by the Supreme Court in a road rage case, in which he was sentenced to three years imprisonment by Punjab and Haryana High Court.According to the petitioners, Siddu’s case cannot be treated as precedent in case of these hardened criminals who have a large number of criminal cases pending against them.Another RJD MP Pappu Yadav is also seeking similar relief from Patna High Court as he is also serving life imprisonment in a murder case.Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, who has been nominated by Samajwadi party from the Lucknow Lok Sabha seat, is also seeking stay of his conviction in the 1993 Mumbai serial Bomb Blast case in which he has been given six year imprisonment by TADA court for possessing illegal arms.The apex court has, however, rejected similar prayer by another gangster Bablu Srivastava who is serving life imprisonment in a murder case.According to the petitioners, these criminals can at least be kept away from the election arena by refusing to stay their conviction, which will be a right step to check criminalisaton of politics in the country.As per the Representation of People (RP) Act, a person who has been awarded a sentence of more then two years cannot contest election unless and until his conviction is stayed by the appellate court.UNI

Frequent stays in RTI cases prompts CIC to meet Delhi HC CJ
New Delhi, March 22: In the backdrop of some of its decisions being stayed in the court, Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah is likely to meet the Delhi High Court Chief Justice to convey that such orders were hampering citizen’s rights to seek information.The decision to undertake such a visit was taken during an internal meeting of the commissioners at the Central Information Commission where the issue of writ petitions being pending in the Delhi High Court were discussed. “Commission suggested that Habibullah may like to pay a visit to Chief Justice of Delhi High Court and present before him the concern,” minutes of the meeting said. The meeting was called after the CIC found that public authorities appeal in the High Court and get stay to certain orders passed by the Commission. The CIC said the High Court stay delays the information seeking process. “The Enforcement Directorate managed to get a stay from the Delhi High Court while the proceedings were on at CIC. This was just one of the many cases which are lingering in Courts across India,” the official said. The case relates to oil-for-food scam in which one RTI applicant sought a document in this regard, held by Enforcement Directorate – an organisation excluded from RTI Act. The ED refused to give the documents related to the inquiry even to the CIC and got a stay from the Delhi HC in this regard. The Commissioners expressed concern that the pending cases, were hampering the citizens right to get information from government and other public authorities. “In the absence of final orders in these cases citizens are not getting any information from the Public Authorities which have challenged the decisions of the Commission on their status as such,” the minutes of the meeting reveal. “Keeping this in view, mention to this effect in the form of a prayer for an early hearing be considered for submission to the High Court of Delhi,” the Information Commissioners said during the meeting. Bureau Report

Book cable operators for illegally telecasting movies: HC
New Delhi (PTI): Cable operators in the national capital are under the scanner after the Delhi High Court directed city police to deal with them strictly if they telecast movies in violation of the Copy Right Act.
Issuing notice to the Special Commissioner of Police, Justice Sunil Gaur directed the Economic Offence Wing to take action against the copy right violators. Counsels of the state submitted that police have registered FIRs against some of the operators and if more complaints come, immediate action would be taken against operators for violating the Act.
The court directive came while disposing a petition filed by Novex Communications Pvt Ltd, appointed by M/s Shemaroo Entertainment Pvt Ltd (SEPL), alleging that local cable operators in Delhi were telecasting movies of which the exclusive copy rights were with the petitioner company.
“Some cable operators in the area of Hauz Khas, Rajouri Garden, Vasant Vihar, Darya Ganj, Ashok Vihar, Rohini, Mehrauli, Green Park and other areas of Delhi, though not granted any permission/licence for exhibiting the films and programmes of SEPL”, have telecast them, the petitioner contended.

HC for action on lawyers featuring in ads
22 Mar 2009, 0204 hrs IST, A Subramani, TNN
CHENNAI: Advertisement by advocates in any form is prohibited, and State Bar Councils must take strict action against advocates who print their photographs in political hoardings, the Madras high court has said. A division bench comprising justice Elipe Dharma Rao and justice R Subbiah, passing orders on a habeas corpus petition filed by advocate S Sengkodi on behalf her imprisoned client, also said: “…It is rather painful to note that some members of the noble profession are printing their photographs in the huge hoardings of political leaders, virtually at the feet of such political leaders, thus indicating that they are associated with such leaders. It also amounts to publicity, which is prohibited under Rule 36 of the Bar Council of India (BCI) Rules.” Noting that the rule was being given a go-by day in and day out by advocates, the judges said, “this violation should be viewed seriously and the State Bar Councils should not allow such practices to be carried on. They should come out with strict action against such advocates so as to maintain the dignity and decorum of the noble profession.” Justice Dharma Rao, writing the judgment for the bench, then went on to specifically direct the chairman of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to take all steps to implement the BCI Rules strictly in their true letter and spirit. In the petition, Sengkodi’s counsel R Sankarasubbhu contended that Maoist Sundaramoorthy had been kept in unlawful detention and that mandatory provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure had been violated in his case. The additional public prosecutor N R Elango, however, questioned the very maintainability of the petition, on the ground that Sengkodi could not file the case as she was peculiarly interested’ in the detenue, and hence barred by Rule 18 from entering appearance. Concurring with his submissions, the bench said that as per Rule 9 and 18, an advocate is barred from entering appearance, act, plead or practice for persons to whom the advocate is related or peculiarly interested. Such a bar has been created to maintain the decorum of the noble profession of advocacy, justice Dharma Rao said. Pointing out that Sundaramoorthy also filed a supportive affidavit permitting Sengkodi to enter appearance for him, the judge wondered why the detenue or his blood relatives did not file the plea. If a practising advocate enters the shoes of his client it will lead to undesirable consequences, he said, adding, “if such a situation is permitted, then there may not be any client-advocate relationship, but only a client-defacto client relationship between the party and his counsel, adversely affecting the dignity and decorum of the profession, besides running contrary to the standards of professional conduct and etiquette prescribed by the BCI Rules.”

Funds for minorities not to be used for religious acts: HC
Press Trust of India
Posted: Mar 22, 2009 at 0147 hrs IST
Ahmedabad The Gujarat High Court has dismissed a Public Interest Litigation against the Central government’s 15-point-programme for minorities, and has ordered that funds should not be used for the promotion of any religious activities or the advancement of religious teaching of a particular minority community.
The PIL was filed by former BJP parliamentarian Vijay Patel, who had challenged the steps taken by the Union government to earmark Rs 1,900 crore in favour of the Muslim community by way of the 15-point programme of the Central government on the recommendations of the Sachar committee.
The petitioner had also questioned the wisdom of utilisation of national resources in favour of a particular minority community, which according to the petitioner, was contrary to the constitutional mandate.
High Court Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi on Friday ordered the Centre to ensure that the money should be utilised only for social welfare activities of the minorities.
On its part, the state should ensure that the funds are not utilised for inculcating any religion or advancement of any particular religion affecting the constitutional requirement of neutrality, they said.
The Court dismissed the petition, observing that funds used to minimise inequalities among minority communities by adopting various social and welfare activities did not violate constitutional principles.

Evidence points to corruption, says HC
22 Mar 2009, 0018 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: In a landmark ruling, the Bombay high court has upheld an order directing Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd (MSEDCL) to shell out over Rs 185 crore plus interest as compensation to private firm DSL Enterprises for breach of contract; the amount awarded by the arbitrators is one of the largest ever. More importantly, Justice Roshan Dalvi held that the responsibility for the breach of contract lay with government officers and suggested that the payout be recovered from the officials concerned (MSEDCL). “The breach has been committed by MSEDCL officers,” the judge said. “The evidence points to the dirty malaise of corruption, which has permeated every fibre of our country and corroded its character to the core.” Rejecting the plea of leniency by MSEDCL, which said the money would have to come from state coffers, Justice Dalvi said, “The public need not pay for the actions of the officers. MSEDCL would do well to recover the amount lost to the petitioner by way of damages from the officers’ earnings and benefits.” Law firm S Mohmedbhai & Co, which represented DSL, said the amount payable (along with 10% interest) on March 31 would stand at over Rs 271 crore. The court also asked MSEDCL to pay an additional Rs 1 lakh as litigation costs to DSL. “Despite the strain on public resources, the MSEDCL has challenged the award without any justifiable ground and only to delay the inevitable payment under the award,” the judge added. The case relates to a contract between MSEDCL (then MSEB) and DSL in 1997 to instal low-tension load management system for improving the rural distribution of electricity network at 47,987 locations across Maharashtra. DSL installed 17,294 panels and manufactured 14,206 more panels for further installation. It also procured raw material for the remaining panels. However, according to DSL, MSEDCL failed to provide the exact locations where the panels were to be installed despite repeated reminders. Subsequently, DSL terminated the contract in 1999. Three retired judges, V D Tulzapurkar, S C Pratap and M L Pendse, were appointed as arbitrators to mediate between the parties. The arbitrators fixed the responsibility for breach of contract on MSEDCL and, in June 2004, asked it to pay over Rs 185 crore along with 10% interest per annum. MSEDCL challenged the award. Senior advocate S Rai, counsel for MSEDCL, contended that DSL had waived the requirement of proving the list of locations and there was no breach of the contract. To this, the judge said, “Was (DSL) expected to go to the spot when the spot was not spotted?” Senior advocate Rafiq Dada, representing DSL, said MSEDCL’s failure to provide the list of locations constituted a fundamental breach without which it would not be able to perform its part of the contract. The judge agreed and pointed out that the letters by senior officers of MSEDCL to their juniors on the failure to provide the list reflected “a state of affairs that can point to nothing other than corruption”.

HC wants an Indian encore to Slumdog Millionare
22 Mar 2009, 0419 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire has not only swept the Oscar jury off its feet, but also charmed chief justice of Gujarat high court, K S Radhakrishnan. Enamored with the characters of the film, a bench of chief justice Radhakrishan and justice Akil Kureshi stated that a situation should be created wherein more kids from slums get opportunity like little stars of Slumdog Millionaire’, who hail from Dharavi. In a judgment over the issue of the central government earmarking an amount of Rs 1,900 for development of minorities, the division bench has observed, “Right to live in a clean, hygienic and safe environment is a right flowing from Article 21. Recently two slum-kids Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail, members of minority community, depicted their talents in an OSCAR (sic) award winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. Efforts must be made to bring out such talents to the mainstream of our society”. “Every child has the right to reap whatever benefits he can drive from his nature and capabilities, but state is bound to give a platform to him to come up in life.” Earlier too, this division bench had praised the film for highlighting the reality of our society in beautiful manner. “Film has furnished us with tools and inspiration needed to cope with momentous problems faced by slum dwellers, poverty, police excess, blinding of boys and so on,” the court had said.

HC irked over booster pump use
22 Mar 2009, 0405 hrs IST, Abhinav Garg, TNN
NEW DELHI: Taking serious note of a complaint that usage of booster pumps is rampant in a Dwarka locality hindering supply of water to its inhabitants, the Delhi High Court has asked Delhi Jal Board and DDA to remove these. Justice Kailash Gambhir has granted two days time to both the civic agencies to remove all booster pumps from a locality in Sector-6 in Dwarka phase 1. HC’s order came while it was hearing the petition filed last year by a senior citizen. In it he had drawn HC’s attention to violation of court’s previous order asking DDA and DJB to ensure proper supply of water to Dwarka residents. Though Nawal Singh, 69, assured HC that now water supply to his flat was adequate and regular ever since court’s intervention, he claimed no steps had yet been taken to redress the grievance of residents of that colony. He alleged a lot many were brazenly using booster pumps, including 8-10 DDA officials who lived there due to which water supply got affected. Asking both agencies to act within two days, HC also said they should submit a comprehensive status report on steps taken to ensure proper water supply so that “residents of Dwarka do not face any kind of hardship due to onset of summer very soon.” Singh had last year stated in court that as per norms of Public Health Engineering and Environmental Organisation, 270 litres of water is required per person per day but lack of supply to his flat has meant that he has to fetch water from outside. `The petitioner has been suffering great hardship as daily he has to fetch water from a distance of about 50 metres and then carry the same to his first floor flat to meet basic needs for himself and family members. It is humanly impossible on daily basis,” Singh pleaded before HC. The DJB on its part claimed Singh’s area had not yet been transferred to it by DDA and it was the latter which was responsible for interim arrangements on water supply. Unhappy with such passing of buck HC has ordered DDA to supply portable water to him daily as an interim measure till further directions in the matter.

Court order not binding on me: Meghalaya Speaker
Special Correspondent
Guwahati: Meghalaya Assembly Speaker Bindo M. Lanong on Saturday said the Gauhati High Court order staying his interim order for suspension of two legislators was not binding on him.
Mr. Lanong told Hindu The that he had passed the interim order of suspension of the five legislators under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, which gives full power to the Speaker.
“Moreover, Article 212 of the Constitution clearly states that the judiciary is barred from interfering with the proceedings of the House. So how can I accept the court order on my interim order,” he asked.
The Shillong Bench of the High Court on Friday stayed the interim suspension of Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) legislator Paul Lyngdoh and independent legislator Limison D. Sangma.
The court has fixed Monday for hearing the petitions of the other three suspended legislators — Advior Pariong of the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), Deputy Speaker Sanbor Shullai belonging to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and independent legislator Ismail R. Marak.

Competition Commission to start operations in 3 months
Sreejiraj Eluvangal
Sunday, March 22, 2009 23:49 IST
Mumbai: Even as a section of corporate India has apprehensions over its possible misuse and corruption, the central government is all set to enforce the five-year-old Competition Act.
According to a source close to the development, two new members, Geeta Gauri, an economist with the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission, and Prem Parashar, a lawyer, will join the existing three-member Competition Commission of India (CCI).
The selection for the Competition Appellate Tribunal is also going on.
“The government has sanctioned the staff requirement a few days ago and the Commission is expected to start recruitment of economists, lawyers and analysts anytime now,” said an official connected with the setting up of Commission.
With the two new members, the apparatus will now have five members, including the chairman Dhanendra Kumar, former executive director of the World Bank, who was appointed three weeks ago. With this, the Commission is likely to start its enforcement work in three months, according to the official.
The CCI was set up in 2003 and has powers to penalise companies for price fixing and cartelisation, besides reviewing mergers and acquisitions to check whether they would adversely affect competition in the sector.
After the watering down of the MRTP (the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices) Act in 1991, the Indian corporate sector has functioned without any competition regulator.
While any consumer organisation or company can lodge complaints related to price-fixing, all mergers and takeovers will have to be referred to the Commission for approval if both companies individually have turnovers in excess of Rs 600 crore in India.
The Act, which has seen considerable amendments since it was passed in 2003, has been stiffly opposed by a large part of corporate India. “The law, if implemented in the current form, will cause immense damage to the Indian industry,” Bharat Vasani, general counsel for the Tata group, said.
Vasani, speaking on the sidelines of a conference, felt that the new mechanism will push India back to the pre-liberalisation, licence quota raj, giving an edge to unscrupulous companies. “The MRTP Act successfully kept India growing at 3%. Companies that cannot ‘manage’ clearances in Delhi will have a tough time under the new set-up,” he said.

Clean canal order
Cuttack, March 22: When Supreme Court lawyer and environment activist M.C. Mehta raised the pollution issue in context of the Taladanda canal in April 1992, Orissa High Court had reprimanded authorities, stating a possibility of an “apocalypse in the future”.
After 16 years, the high court has advanced a step further. It has constituted a high-level committee to make a field study on alleged contamination of the waterway by untreated water sewage generated in Cuttack and submit a report by April 8.
While issuing the orders on Friday, the court has warned that legal proceedings would be initiated against committee members if the report is not submitted by that day.
Taladanda, the state’s longest canal, starts at Jobra (Cuttack) and links the Mahanadi with the Bay of Bengal at Paradip. Parts of the 83km canal were dug up in 1862 by the East India Company as a waterway. It was taken over by the British government that completed it in 1869.
This time the high court is taking cognisance of a PIL, filed by Maitree Sansad, seeking a survey of the canal pollution problem according to a parliamentary standing committee survey conducted in 2005.
A two-judge bench, of Justice Laxmikanta Mohapatra and Justice Indrajit Mohanty, has constituted a committee. The committee includes health secretary, urban development secretary, Cuttack collector, Cuttack Municipal Corporation mayor, CMC commissioner, CMC executive engineer, superintendent of SCB Medical College Hospital, director of Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Research Centre and executive engineer PHED, Cuttack.

PIL questions human rights body’s inaction
Mayura Janwalkar
Monday, March 23, 2009 2:58 IST
Mumbai: Answer this: If the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) has received over 28,000 cases of human rights violations, how many would it have recommended for action? If the reply is a few thousands, or even hundreds, you have got it wrong.The correct answer is 39. And, of them, action against the erring public servants was taken in only eight cases.
These amazing statistics are mentioned in a public interest litigation (PIL), filed by Dombivili businessman Pushkar Damle, in the Bombay High Court. Damle’s PIL, which is supported by information sought under the Right to Information Act, has urged the court to take action against the erring officers, saying the figure for action recommended and taken are improbably low.
As admitted by MSHRC, it had 28,083 complaints as on June 30, 2008, of which 24,032 were summarily dismissed while 39 complaints were recommended for action and of them, in only eight were action taken against the public servants. The PIL, which also lists other irregularities at the MSHRC, has been filed and is likely to be heard in the first week of April. As per the HR Act, the Centre issued a notification to Maharashtra government to appoint special public prosecutors in the human rights courts. The PIL says that even after eight years, that has not been done.

Om Prakash most favorite for Mahanga MLA seat
By Anurjay Dhal
Bhubaneswar ( Orissa) : Lawyer turned social activist OM Prakash would easily win the Mahanga Assembly seat if BJD give him a ticket, said locals. Prakash, a former student of Delhi University, has been active in the undivided Cuttack district and serving people without hoping any return. Born to AC Nayak of Dharpur in Mahanga under Cuttack district on January 3, 1977, Prakash has been outstanding and completed his B.A.LLB from Utkal University and PGHR from Delhi University. “In fact, right from childhood, I was interested in politics to serve people. If people of Mahanga voted me to power, I would devote my entire life for them,” Prakash, who fights cases in Supreme Court and High Courts, added. The Mahanga Press Club and civil societies have unanimously resolved to nominate the name of Om Prakash to contest the ensuing Assembly Election from Mahanga Assembly constituency as a BJD nominee. They have requested BJD chief Naveen Pattnaik and senior leader Pyarimohan Mohapatra to recommendation of the name of Prakash.. The local BJD leaders have strongly recommended the candidature of Prakash failing which all the BJD grass root level workers including PRI functionaries will be forced to resign from the party en-mass. Prakash is an expert on Civil, Labour and Industrial Laws, Consumer Laws, Criminal Laws, Service Laws, Constitutional Laws like Writ, PIL Habeas Corpus. According to locals, Prakash tried hard from the younger days to champion the cause of the common man in the society. The voice of the people undergoing pitiable predicament was highlighted by him to mitigate the menace. Prakash as a columnist in the National and vernacular dailies reflect a critical analysis of various issues affecting the sustenance of the people at the grass root level. These include developmental paradigms as well as Administrative Reform initiatives like Right to Information Act and e-Governance. Awakening the masses on aforementioned issues continue to receive priority in the agenda of Prakash. He has been successful in launching RTI campaign in the State of Orissa. Apart from legal profession, Prakash is also working as visiting faculty of Gopabandhu Academy of Administration, Biju Patnaik State Police Academy and faculty to RTI for training to APIO, PIO and 1st Appellate Authority on Govt. of India Project ‘Capacity Building for Access to Information’ funded by UNDP. Prakash is also a life member of National Book Trust, All India Equality forum and Indian Society of Criminology, All India Human Rights Association, People’s Union for Civil Liberty.

JD(S) not to contest polls:VeerendraKumar
Kozhikode, Sunday 22 March 2009: The Janata Dal (S) has decided not to field any of its candidates in the coming Lok Sabha polls, said party state chief M P Veerendra Kumar. Talking to reporters after the party state council meet, he said the LDF as well as the CPM had cheated them.
The CPM kicked the party, who were with the Front for the past forty years, without any reason, he said. The party has decided to convene political briefing meets on March 26 in all constituencies to expose the approach of the CPM. A resolution has been passed by the party to vote against the CPM in the polls, he said.
Asked whether they are leaving the LDF after the formation of a third front, he said CPM general secretary Prakash Karat should reply for it.Some heated exchanges were witnessed in the meet held in Kozhikode today. Mathew John was asked to leave the party meet by the chief.

SC grants bail to accused who threw slipper at judge
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to the four who were sent to judicial custody for hurling a slipper at an apex court judge while hearing a contempt charge against them.
A three-judge Bench of Justices B N Agrawal, G S Singhvi, H L Dattu posted the matter relating to the contempt charge against the four to April 14.
On Friday, one of the accused had hurled a slipper at Justice Arijit Pasayat, who was heading a Bench, while hearing the contempt charge against them. Those sentenced to custody on Friday were Leela David, Annette Kotian, Pavitra Murli and Sarita Parekh. – PTI

SC asks Shahabuddin to approach Patna HC
New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court on Monday asked the jailed RJD MP Mohammed Shahabuddin to approach the Patna High Court with his plea, seeking stay on his conviction in an attempt to murder case to contest the coming Lok Sabha polls.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan asked the High Court to hear his petition expeditiously keeping in view the fact that the last date of nomination for Siwan constituency is March 30.

SC quashes law on unregistered partnership
ON : 23 March 2009 at 16:40 The Supreme Court has quashed the law which debarred a partner of an unregistered firm in Maharashtra from filing a suit for dissolution of such a firm. The apex court also held as illegal the law prohibiting the partner to sue for accounts of the dissolved firm or realise properties of such dissolved firm, unless the duration of the firm was only six months or its capital was up to Rs 2,000. “In our opinion sub-section 2A of section 69 (of the Indian Partnership Act, 1932) inserted by the Maharashtra Amendment violates Articles 14, 19(1)(g) and 300A of the Constitution of India,” said a bench comprising Justice Markandey Katju and Justice GS Singhvi. The court said, “a partnership firm, whether registered or unregistered, is not a distinct legal entity, and hence the property of the firm really belongs to the partners of the firm. Sub-section 2A virtually deprives a partner in an unregistered firm from recovery of his share in the property of the firm or from seeking dissolution of the firm.” “Sub-section 2A virtually deprives a partner of a firm from his share in the property of the firm without any compensation. Also, it prohibits him from seeking dissolution of the firm although he may want it dissolved,” court said. The court further said that the law was clearly unreasonable and arbitrary since by prohibiting suits for dissolution of an unregistered firm, for accounts and for realisation of the properties of the firm, it creates a situation where businessmen will be very reluctant to enter into an unregistered partnership out of fear that they will not be able to recover the money they have invested in the firm or to get out of the firm if they wish to do so. There is no legal requirement, unlike in England, which makes registration of a firm compulsory, rather in India it is voluntary. Both registered and unregistered are legal though of course registration and non registration have different legal consequences, court noted in its judgment. The bench set aside Bombay High Court order. It said, “The high court was of the view that the object of the Maharashtra Amendment was to induce partners to register and it was intended to protect third party members of the public. We cannot see how sub-section 2A of section 69 in any way protects the third party members of the public. It makes it virtually impossible for partners in an unregistered firm to dissolve the firm or recover their share in the property of the firm. Hence it is totally arbitrary.” The apex court said that the primary object of registration of a firm is protection of third parties who were subjected to hardship and difficulties in the matter of proving as to who were the partners. Under the earlier law, a third party obtaining a decree was often put to expenses and delay in proving that a particular person was a partner of that firm. The registration of a firm provides protection to the third parties against false denials of partnership and the evasion of liability. Once a firm is registered under the Act the statements recorded in the register regarding the constitution of the firm are conclusive proof of the fact contained therein as against the partner. –

Gujarat HC order on SIT plea against Maya’s bail on Mar 27
Published by: Noor KhanPublished: Mon, 23 Mar 2009 at 20:35 IST
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Ahmedabad, Mar 23 : The Gujarat High Court today fixed March 27 for giving its ruling on Special Investigation Team’s (SIT) plea for cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to State Minister Maya Kodnani in connection with the 2002 riot cases.The Supreme Court-appointed agency, investigating some of the post-Godhra riot cases afresh, had challenged a lower court order allowing bail to Kodnani and former VHP leader Jaydeep Patel, both accused in the riot cases.Justice D H Waghela, after hearing arguments of the prosecution and the respondents, scheduled pronouncement of the order on the matter for March 27.Kodnani is accused in Naroda Patiya and Naorda Gam riots, while Patel is wanted in the Naroda Gam case. Over 106 people of the minority community were killed in the riots at Naroda Patiya and Naorda Gam areas here on February 28, 2002, a day after the torching of the Sabarmati Express near Godhra.Among other charges, the two had been accused of instigating the rioting mob.Summarising the arguments, Kodnani’s lawyers said their client was not present in the spot at the time of the incidents. They refuted the SIT’s charges of mob instigation and unlawful assembly against the BJP leader.They said the statements of the prosecution witnesses were inconsistent and do not corroborate with the mobile phone records placed before the court by the SIT. (More)

Dyeing units anticipating favourable HC orders
22 Mar 2009, 2159 hrs IST, TNN
LUDHIANA: Dyeing units that are in the dock for polluting Buddha Nullah are hopeful of getting relaxation in time for constructing a Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) as they have made a plea in the high court. Court had asked these units to install online monitoring system and upgrade ETP before March 31, but then as the deadline drew closer, units decided upon the option of a CETP. To project its seriousness, the Tajpur Dyeing Units’ Association has already started pooling in money that it would be spending as its share for the project. “There was a misperception that dyeing units were trying to buy some more time with talks of CETP, instead of individual online monitoring systems and upgradation of ETPs in units,” commented Bobby Jindal, general secretary of the association. He informed units have to spend Rs 3.5 crore on the project. We have already collected Rs one crore and rest we would be able to do before March 30, said Bobby, informing that the court has announced to hold another hearing in the case on March 30. He said the court had asked the public prosecutor to confirm whether the subsidies claimed by the association were available to CETPs. Recently, the association had requested state government to provide five acres land for the plant. We have made a project of 20 MLD at this stage and the state government has assured to provide us the land, said Ashok Makkar, president of the association claiming that they were serious to control pollution. He added that in order to assure whether they were serious or not regarding the CETP, court had asked for the association’s bank statement. “We have started regular meetings and members have been asked to deposit their share,” he added. According to the policy statement for Abatement of Pollution 1992, by ministry for environment and forests, state and Central government have to contribute 25% each for CETP in addition to providing 30% loan, so practically, the units would have to contribute only 20%, informed Iqbal Singh Ratta, advocate, on behalf of the association.

Bombay HC rejects MSM’s interim relief–Entertainment-/Media/Bombay-HC-rejects-MSMs-interim-relief/articleshow/4306466.cms
23 Mar 2009, 1924 hrs IST, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Monday rejected interim relief to Multi Screen Media (formerly known as Sony Entertainment Television), which sought to restrain Board of Cricket Control for India (BCCI) from implementing its obligation under the agreement transferring telecast rights of Indian Premier League Season 2 to World Sports Group-Mauritius. Justice SJ Kathawala held that the court could not grant relief to MSM as the same would impact WSGM, which had not been made a party to the litigation. MSM had dragged BCCI to court after the latter had terminated its 5-year agreement of media rights for IPL a week ago. While MSM wanted to restrain BCCI from discussing the same with any other party, BCCI already entered into another agreement for the telecast rights with WSGM. The court has asked MSM to alter its application and make WSGM a party if it wanted relief that will effect the rights of WSGM. The next hearing is scheduled for March 30.

Bombay HC refuses interim relief to Sony TV in IPL case
Published on Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 18:50 , Updated at Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 10:14 Source : CNBC-TV18
The Bombay High Court has refused interim relief to Sony TV in its ongoing legal tussle over telecast rights with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the Indian Premier League (IPL). It is a minor setback for Sony TV in this hugely controversial case and a green signal for BCCI. CNBC-TV18’s Legal Correspondent Ashwin Mohan reports.
It was a setback for Sony TV today at the Bombay High Court in the tussle over the telecast rights for the Indian Premier League, which it has with the BCCI.
The much-anticipated order has been reserved for almost a week by the Bombay High Court. There are two things which Sony TV had contested against BCCI––Sony TV has challenged the termination of contract by BCCI and Sony wanted relieve which would restrain BCCI from entering into any third party agreement for IPL telecast rights.
The court clearly, and categorically, said that there will be no ad interim relief for Sony TV. This implies that right now any restrain on BCCI, which existed earlier in terms of entering into contracts with a third party does not exist. There has been no relief for Sony BCCI though.
However, other details are expected a little later in the day when the detailed judgement will come out from the Bombay High Court. But prima-facie there is a minor setback for Sony TV in this hugely controversial case and a green signal for the BCCI from the Bombay High Court.
Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court has said that Sony will amend its petition within two days. The court added that the case will come up for admission on March 30.

SC reverts back BPCL’s security threat issue to Bombay HC
New Delhi, March 23: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Bombay High Court to decide within three months the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd’s plea alleging a security threat from nearby high-rise residential buildings to its refinery, Tata Electricity Company’s plant and Bhaba Atomic Research Centre. However, without refusing to stay construction of high-rise residential buildings overlooking the BPCL and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd’s refineries, Tata plant and the BARC located in Mahul, Chembur and Mumbai, respectively, the apex court restrained the private developers from giving occupancy of the flats. A bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat, while disposing of the PSU’s plea, said the Bombay High Court should decide the matter within three months. While stating that any construction activity within these three months would be subject to final outcome of the petition, Justice Pasayat said “no occupations are permitted to be be made.” Earlier, the court had issued notice to the Centre and Maharashtra government. BPCL had challenged the High Court’s interim order admiting its petition but refused to restrain the state government from going ahead with the construction work. “It is prudent that no new residential accommodation is allowed to be constructed and/or occupied near the refinery and the land be reserved and designated as a ‘No Development Zone’ by modifying the Development Control Plan of the state government,” the PSU stated. Bureau Report

IPL can go to other broadcasters for TV rights: HC Team
(23 March 2009 4:30 pm)
MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has put Sony Entertainment Television India (now known as Multi Screen Media) on the back foot, allowing the BCCI today to renegotiate the IPL television rights with other broadcasters.
In an afternoon verdict, the court lifted the injunction imposed on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on 15 March. Justice S J Kathawalla said that Sony can’t be given interim relief, as it had not made World Sports Group (Mauritius) a party.
It may be recalled that BCCI had entered into a new contract with WSGM on 15 March, after terminating the contract with Sony the earlier evening.

Fitness firms must live up to advertised claims
MS Kamath
Monday, March 23, 2009 2:33 IST
Mumbai: Increase in height, improving colour of skin, weight loss, beautiful hair in days, and the list goes on. Promises like these abound in the market. There is, however, an implicit contract between the statements made in an advertisement and the advertiser is bound to deliver the services or goods advertised, says a judgment of the Union Territory of Chandigarh Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission in Shipra Sachdeva vs VLCC Health Care Ltd. and another.
Shipra read an advertisement from the companythat announced a package in which one could reduce 20 kgs within 5 to 8 months. Shipra paid Rs 33,060 and joined. She was given a set of exercises and diet regime. However, the desired result was not achieved at the end of 8 months. When she talked to the management, she was told that she would have to join an additional package for Rs 6,480. Shipra paid the amount and underwent extra nine months of treatment, but to no avail. When she complained, she was told that the results vary. She asked for a refund but the request was turned down.
Shipra took the matter to the District Forum at Chandigarh alleging deficiency in service. She demanded Rs 15 lakh in compensation. In response, the company replied that the consumer had given an undertaking at the time of joining that she was aware that results could vary. They further stated that the consumer weighed 92.30 kgs at the time of joining the programme and weighed 75.90 kgs at the time of the last session. They stated that the consumer had taken breaks in the programme in which she gained weight. Based on this, the District Forum dismissed the complaint.
The consumer then took the matter to the State Commission. The commission noted that the consumer had lost only 18.1 kgs in total. The commission found that there was no mention of which part of the programme was missed out by the customer.
Since she had taken a package in which there was a stipulation of loss of 20 kgs for the amount paid, this was clear deficiency of service, the commission held. The consumer was awarded Rs 25,000 as compensation.

State orders cancellation of pvt forest land use rights
Shalini Nair
Posted: Mar 24, 2009 at 0328 hrs IST
Mumbai Asks district collectors to revoke permissions, inform civic body to cancel rights on such land
In a bid to preempt any more construction on private forest land, the state government has ordered all non-agriculture permissions issued on such lands to be revoked.
The state Revenue and Forest Department issued orders last week to all district collectors asking them to not only revoke non-agriculture (NA) permissions granted on private forest lands, but also inform the concerned civic body to cancel any building permissions issued on such land. NA permission is the basic permission that allows developers to exploit such a land commercially for residential, commercial or industrial purpose. The move is bound to deal a severe blow to several powerful landowners which includes some of the state’s political heavyweights also.
More than three decades ago, about 2.58 lakh hectare of forest land was acquired by the state under the Private Forest (Acquisition) Act 1975. Of this, 87,000-odd hectares of private forest land was soon restored to the land owners with the rider that non-forest activities would not be permitted.
However, the land records failed to reflect the status of these tracts of lands as private forest land as the Revenue Department never made the entries. As a result, the respective district collectors issued NA permissions for carrying out construction on thousands of hectares of private forest land.
“We have issued the orders after the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) brought to our notice that district collectors are still issuing these permissions,” said joint revenue secretary Ramakant Asmar, whose department issued the circular on March 18.
In Mumbai and Thane, several ongoing and existing residential projects spread over 1,200 hectares were declared as illegal after a PIL, by the Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG), brought to the Bombay High Court’s notice the state government’s failure to protect the designated forest land. While the case is currently being heard in the Supreme Court, the Forest Department officials state that they want to prevent any further cases by canceling the NA permission itself.
“We have asked for all NA permissions on private forest land in Maharashtra to be cancelled after a recent incident in Pune where in about four to five cases, the collector has issued NA permission on private forest land,” said an official from the PCCF’s office.
BEAG’s Debi Goenka terms the move as a “long overdue step”. “This is something they should have done three years ago and not when they know that the case is slated for hearing in the Supreme Court on March 23. Since the time the PIL was filed, action was taken against construction projects in Mumbai, but in Pune and elsewhere in the state there was no such attempt,” Goenka said.

Religion in poll symbols? We can do nothing: SC
24 Mar 2009, 0108 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: Many an election symbol in India, where religion is intrinsic to the way of life, can be associated either with God or his elements. Can these symbols be used by political parties without being accused of wooing voters in the name of religion, which is a grave electoral malpractice? This question came up before the Supreme Court on Monday as a PIL filed by ‘Youthmen Hindu Association’ questioned the use of the `rising sun’ symbol used by DMK in Tamil Nadu. Though ironically DMK did not believe in the existence of God, it was accused by PIL petitioner’s counsel K Biju of falling foul of Section 123(3) of the Representation of People Act which prohibited wooing of voters by means of religion or religious symbols. He argued that sun, right from the vedic age, has been worshipped by Hindus as a God and the DMK’s election symbol could “exploit sentiments of illiterate and poor people”. He demanded an immediate freeze of the symbol. Far from being impressed with this argument, a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam chided the petitioner for coming to the court 57 years after the `rising sun’ was allotted to DMK as its election symbol. Before the threat of dismissal forced the counsel to withdraw the petition, the Bench said there are at least 15 to 20 election symbols like tree, cow, moon etc, which could be classified as having some link or the other to the religion. “Does this mean every such symbol needs to be banned,” the Bench asked. The symbols which have some religious connotation are — elephant which is the election symbol of BSP, lotus (BJP), bow and arrow (JMM), conch (BJD). Apart from the national and state parties, there are 1,000 registered unrecognised parties in India, the latter being asked to choose from 59 free symbols. Though the counsel repeated his arguments basing it on Section 123(3) of RP Act, he did not mention the proviso to the section, which read: “Provided that no symbol allotted under this Act to a candidate shall be deemed to be a religious symbol or a national symbol for the purpose of this clause.” A similar unsuccessful attempt was made by one Shaheen Parvez last week before a Bench headed by CJI to challenge the `lotus’ symbol allotted to BJP. Her contention was that lotus was a national symbol and no political party could make use of it.

HC pulls up LMC
24 Mar 2009, 0149 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: Taking cognizance of the TOI report highlighting the plight of an eleven-year-old boy who was attacked by a group of stray dogs on March 16, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court pulled up the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) on Monday. The court has asked the government and municipal corporation, Lucknow (LMC) as to what steps they are taking to curb nuisance being caused by stray or/and ownerless dogs and other stray animals in the capital. The order came from the bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Shabihul Husnain on a public interest litigation in this context. The court fixed April 8 as the date of next hearing of the PIL filed by a local lawyer Manoj Dubey. To recall, eleven-year-old Zaid was attacked by a group of some 10-12 dogs near Jaipuria school of the posh Gomtinagar area. The boy had gone to attend nature’s call at a patch of land marked with heavy vegetation. A rickshaw-puller, who was passing by, heard the cries of the boy and saved him after rigorous efforts. Zaid suffered scratch and bite injuries at 18 different places on his body. Doctors had to put 40 stitches to seal the wounds, which were bleeding profusely. The TOI report published on March 17 also swung the LMC into action. The dog squad of LMC caught some 22 dogs besides issuing directions to area authorities to sustain the drive against stray dogs for several days. The PIL sought directions so that no such incidents could be repeated. Citing section 115 of the UP Municipal Corporation Act, litigant Dubey maintains that municipal corporations have ample powers to take action against such stray animals and dogs. In view of the same, he demanded killing of animals causing nuisance and stray or ownerless dogs in the city. Residents of Gomtinagar — where the incident came to light — claim that stray dogs were a menace for not only the inhabitants but also animals. “Who does not know about dogs chasing your two or four-wheeler at night… if you are not careful, you are sure to lose control of your vehicle,” claims Mohan Chandra of Vinay Khand-3, where the injured Zaid lives. Guess estimates made by various agencies show that the population of stray dogs in the city stands at 50,000. This may also be an indicator of the problem being quite explicit in other parts of the city as well. No wonder, the incident caught the LMC on a wrong foot. It also exposed the reality of the extensive birth control drive initiated by LMC to check population of dogs in the city. Nonetheless, the agency offered its set to reasons to hide its ineptitude. “What can we do? There is only one vehicle to catch the stray dogs in the city,” cribbed an officer. “Then catching stray dogs is just a temporary measure. We cannot kill them as animal activists start making a hue and cry. All that we can do is re-locate them somewhere outside the city limits,” he said.

CJI for more courts in country
Panaji, Monday 23 March 2009: Chief Justice of India Justice K G Balakrishnan has stressed on the need to improve the justice delivery system in the country by establishing more courts for speedy disposal of pending cases.
Speaking at the concluding function of the Silver Jubilee Celebration of High Court of Bombay at Goa, held at Kala Academy, the CJI said there was a need to improve the judicial infrastructure in order to bring in effectiveness in the functioning of the judiciary, an official release said on Monday.
“A system has been evolved for disposal of pending cases through Lok Adalat, Evening Courts and Mediation Centres, Balakrishnan said. This has significantly helped to reduce the number of cases and give speedy justice,” he said.
He called for the need of proper training to judges and prosecutors to improve their efficiency. “Police officials should also investigate the cases properly and help the judiciary to avoid undue delay in dispensation of justice,” he added.
“There are instances of laboratories not giving reports in time,” Balkrishnan said, stressing the need to have a complete prosecution system.

Chandigarh, March 24: HC issues directions against dengue
by Maria S – March 24, 2009 – 0 comments
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued instructions to the concerned authorities in Punjab regarding effective steps to fight dengue on long-term basis. The directions were issued by Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Hemant Gupta.
These directions by the high court include proper drainage and increased awareness for controlling the malady in the state of Punjab, especially Ludhiana, which incidentally has the largest number of dengue cases.
The high court ruling said, “A reading of it shows a number of steps have indeed been taken which would hopefully eliminate the menace of the dengue.
“All the same, we need to emphasise that the problem of dengue arises almost every year on account of numerous factors like stagnated water, lack of awareness amongst the citizens and lack of fumigation etc.”

HC orders security for Matua Mahamela
24 Mar 2009, 0353 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court, on Monday, directed the North 24-Parganas superintendent of police and officer-in-charge of Gaighata police station to provide sufficient police protection for the Matua Mahamela at Thakurnagar. The fair will commence on March 24 and continue till April 4. Matua community members, Subir Maitra, Anup Bain and Sanjay Biswas, filed a writ contending that in view of the threat of terrorism across the country, they felt insecure, especially considering the huge gathering at the fair. They claimed about 2-2.5 million people come to the fair from various parts of the country and even from neighbouring Bangladesh. But the police arrangement is not enough to prevent a law and order problem, if any, the petition said. Appearing for the petitioners, advocates Tapas Ghosh and Liton Maitra contended before Justice Sanjib Banerji that goons have committed offences at previous fairs, taking advantage of the huge gathering. In view of the ensuing Lok Sabha election, the Matua Mahamela, popularly known as Thakurnagar Mela, has come to the limelight after leaders of various political parties held meetings there to bag the votes of the Matua community members. Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee reached the Mandirpukur area in Gaighata on Monday on the eve of the Matua Mela. “We have released our election manifesto on an auspicious day when the Baruni Utsav of the Matuas is about to begin,” she said to win the hearts of the Matuas that constitute a majority in Gaighata. The Trinamool chief also took a dig at the ruling CPM. “They had promised a special train for Matuas. Where is that train? Our Matua brothers and sisters are coming from far-off places without proper arrangement. The CPM does not bother about it,” Mamata said after paying her respects to Barama, the Matua guru. The organisers have often requested the administration to take steps but to no avail. On February 27 and again on March 16, the organisers made representations before the local police and the district police superintendent, seeking deployment of sufficient force during the fair. But as the representations did not yield any result, their clients moved court, the counsels submitted.

HC judge seeks CJ role on murderous khaps
24 Mar 2009, 0407 hrs IST, Ajay Sura, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Concerned over an increasing number of cases pertaining to diktats issued to runaway couples by khap (caste) panchayats of Haryana, justice Rajan Gupta of Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday sought special intervention of the chief justice on the issue. Observing that an issue of larger public interest had arisen before the court, he said, “It would be appropriate if the matter is put before the chief justice for necessary action.” This comes merely two days after TOI ran a story on panchayat ordering death for a couple, which, unable to bear separation forced on them by an angry 14-village committee for having broken the “brotherhood” rule, decided to elope. Gupta sought the CJ’s intervention while hearing the petition of the same couple even as he directed the UT administration and Haryana government to protect the married couple and their parents.

Shahabuddin’s poll hopes dashed by Patna High Court
Patna (IANS): In a final blow to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Mohammed Shahabuddin’s election hopes, the Patna High Court on Tuesday dismissed his plea to suspend his conviction in a criminal case so that he can contest the Lok Sabha election.
A division bench of the court dismissed Mr. Shahabuddin’s plea after hearing the case. The Supreme Court had on Monday directed the Patna High Court to hear the case before March 30, the last date for filing nomination for the Siwan Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar.
The RJD had already nominated his wife Hina Sahab to contest from Siwan.
A Siwan court had convicted Mr. Shahabuddin on May 5, 2007, for kidnapping and trying to kill a Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) activist, Chote Lal, in 1999. The court in August 2007 sentenced him to 10 years in jail.
Under India’s electoral laws, anyone convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to jail for more than two years is barred from contesting the polls.
Mr. Shahabuddin was convicted in 2006 in another case and sentenced to a two-year jail term for carrying out an armed raid on the CPI-ML office in 1998. However, his conviction in this case does not jeopardise his right to contest an election.

High Court advocates resume work after more than a month
Special Correspondent
CHENNAI: Advocates resumed work on Monday ending their boycott of courts, which lasted more than a month, bringing relief to the litigant public.
However, the High Court complex was sans police personnel and the recently introduced security system.
But in a sign of return of normality, the High Court gate on Esplanade Road, by the side of the police station, which remained locked for the past several days, was opened on Monday.
The boycott of courts by advocates started on January 30 to protest the killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka and to demand a ceasefire in the island nation. Lawyers resumed attending courts on February 10 but on the same day they decided to boycott courts again till February 17 seeking the Union Government’s intervention to immediately stop the killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka. They participated in a nation-wide boycott of courts to protest the amendments to Cr.P.C. on February 18.
On February 19, there was a clash between the police and the advocates on the High Court premises, resulting in injuries to several persons. The attack on lawyers provoked them to boycott courts again. Following an order of a Full Bench suggesting that the Chennai Additional Commissioner of Police and the then Joint Commissioner of Police be suspended, advocates decided to return to court work from Monday.
The boycott affected the litigant public greatly, particularly those whose cases were pending in lower courts. After the Madras High Court issued a notification that it would take up matters and decide them on merits from March 16, parties argued their cases in person and some of them obtained orders.
On Monday, uniformed police personnel, who had manned the High Court gates in the past to regulate entry, were conspicuous by their absence.
The State-level joint action committee of lawyers, after due deliberations, has unanimously decided not to participate in the inquiry by Mr.Sundaradevan, according to committee convenor R.C.Paul Kanagaraj.
Tamil Nadu Advocates Association president S. Prabakaran also said advocates would not appear before the Sundaradevan Committee, appointed by the State government, to inquire into the police action and fix responsibility for the alleged excesses committed during the incident in the High Court premises on February 19. Mr.Prabakaran said the inquiry would be an “eyewash”. Also, the High Court was seized of the matter. The CBI was probing the incident.

Taj Corridor ghost returns to haunt Maya
25 Mar 2009, 0333 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: The ghost of Taj Corridor case seems to have returned to haunt UP chief minister Mayawati on Lok Sabha poll eve. The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has proceeded to hear certain public interest litigations (PILs) challenging dropping of the case against the BSP supremo and her cabinet colleague Naseemuddin Siddiqui in the multi-crore scam. Simultaneously, the HC has also cast aspersions on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for its failure in challenging the special judge’s order that relieved the accused named in its report submitted on Supreme Court directions. The high court on Tuesday directed the Central government to produce the UP governor’s order refusing sanction to CBI to prosecute Mayawati and Siddiqui and also the special court’s order passed on June 5, 2007, whereby it dropped the case against them. The bench also directed the Central government to produce the entire order-sheet of the special CBI court relating with the case. The court posted in a bunch the three PILs filed by Kamlesh Verma, Anupama Singh and Atiq Ahmad individually for April 16. The division bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Shabihul Hasnain, however, made it clear that at this stage the court was not making any comment on merit of the case by calling the records. Appearing for the petitioners, senior Supreme Court lawyer Siddhartha Luthra argued that the CBI undermined the faith of public in this most capable investigating agency as it seemed to be playing in the hands of politicians.

Rs 1.35 cr required to destroy explosives found
Express News Service
Posted: Mar 25, 2009 at 0418 hrs IST
Chandigarh Three city dealers summoned by HC
Commissioner of Customs Talkeshwar Singh today filed an affidavit in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the issue of the tentative cost involved to destroy a stock of explosives lying at the Dry Port near Ludhiana.
The commissioner said after consultations with the Army, it was assessed it would cost Rs 1.35 crore to destroy explosives, which pose a danger to the life of people. The Commissioner stated that that the Army has informed the District Magistrate (MA Branch) Ludhiana regarding the issue in which three importers from the city are also involved.
The information has been supplied in the wake of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Advocate H C Arora. On the last date of hearing, the court had directed the Custom Commissioner to state the tentative cost of destroying these explosives and to apportion the expenses amongst nine importing companies, which had imported the scrap, from which the explosives were found. Chandigarh-based Bhushan Steels, Upper India Steels Ltd, Raghav Industries and Sharu Steels, all Ludhiana Based industries, are the parties in the case. The HC had also directed to issue notices to the nine importers. An analysis of the statement submitted by the Custom Commissioner today along with his affidavit reveals that the Army Authorities will have to use “explosives and accessories” worth Rs 1.17 crore.
Besides, it would cost Rs.15 lakh on the pay and allowances of officers and persons below officers’ rank (PBOR); fuel, oil and lubricants will cost Rs 80,000 and Rs 68,000 rations, and the operation may also involve the payment of Rs 2 lakh for incidental damage, if any, to the Army property.
Amongst the importers, Bhushan Steels is liable to pay Rs.1.19 crore; Upper India Steels Rs.7.87 lakh; Raghav Industries Rs.3.44 lakh and Sharu Steels, Rs.1.70 lakh.
The High Court has given two-week time to all the importers, 8 out of which were represented today through counsels, to submit response to the affidavit filed by the Customer Commissioner as to why they should not be penalised.

Signboard PIL man to fight Mumbai North
Express News Service
Posted: Mar 25, 2009 at 2315 hrs IST
Mumbai Secretary of the Mumbai Mahanagar Vyapari Parishad, who has filed a lot of PILs, including that against mandatory Marathi signboards, Rajendra Thacker, is the Professionals Party of India (PPI) candidate for the Lok Sabha in Mumbai North.
The PPI formed by professionals from across the country, announced its second candidate in Mumbai, Dr Mona Shah, for Mumbai South. She has an ophthalmology surgery practice in South Mumbai and is consulting surgeon at three of the city’s eye hospitals. Thacker, who has filed several PILs had filed one against the compulsory rule of displaying names of shops in Marathi when BMC amended the Act. A resident of Borivali, Thacker was born in Bihar.
In 2002, he became the secretary of the Mumbai Mahanagar Vyapari Parishad. He has contested the civic elections as an Independent from Borivili, and in 2004 was an Independent assembly candidate from Mumbadevi.
“We are in process of reviewing candidates for other constituencies. We have not finalised them yet,” said R V Krishnan, president, PPI.

A gesture of charity for rail mishap victims
Mohan Kumar
Posted: Mar 25, 2009 at 2310 hrs IST
Mumbai Rail accident victims may now have no worries about getting to a hospital and footing the treatment bills.
Charitable hospitals in the city have sent out a positive signal for treating victims, where money will take the backseat and the victim’s recovery would be of prime concern. The suggestions will soon be communicated to the Bombay High Court, which is hearing a PIL on treatment of rail accident victims. Another case on charitable hospitals where guidelines were formulated last year for the treatment of poor patients too is pending disposal.
Amicus Curie (friend of the court) Jamshed Mistry, who appears in the charitable hospital case, came up with the idea which he shared with the president of the Association of Hospitals Colonel M Masand who agreed to the cause.
Masand said that every charitable hospital closest to the victim will extend its full cooperation irrespective of the victim’s financial status.
“We won’t charge anything. We will give treatment and admit the victim if necessary,” Masand stated.
Masand said that matters of money will come later and if the victim cannot afford it he won’t be charged. “Saving life will be the priority,” Masand said.
Mistry, who also appears in the railway case, feels it would be helpful to rail accident victims if charitable hospitals extend their services to such victims. “I spoke to the association president and he has agreed to this. Now, we will inform the court about this when the case comes up for hearing this week,” Mistry said.
In the railways case, the court had last month asked Mistry and others to make surprise visits to small and big stations to verify claims made by the railways including number of ambulances kept ready.
The court had said that the case has been pending for long and so far the railways had not even provided a well-equipped ambulance.
“You are not even concerned about a person who is dying,” Chief Justice Kumar had remarked while passing the order.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by Samir Zaveri who himself had lost his legs in a rail accident 20 years back. Zaveri had told this newspaper how a passenger had taken him to a hospital as there was no help from the railways.
Following the PIL, a committee was constituted in 2004 which recommended upgradation of railway facilities.
As for charitable hospitals, in October 2005, the HC had constituted an expert committee headed by the joint charity commissioner to give recommendations under the BPT Act. The panel filed its report in April 2006 following which the court accepted the recommendations with modifications.
The scheme obliges the charitable hospitals to reserve beds for poor patients, give emergency treatment to poor patients and have a fund for poor patients.
As per the HC order, these hospitals are expected to reserve 10 per cent of beds free for poor patients (annual income less than Rs 25,000) and provide treatment at concessional rates for 10 per cent patients from economically weaker sections (annual income less than Rs 50,000).

High Court serves notice of motion
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Imphal, March 23 2009: The Gauhati High Court, Imphal Bench has on Monday issued a notice of motion, returnable within six weeks against the state Government authorities following a Writ petition filed by Ningthoujam Devdas Singh of Keirenphabi village, Bishnupur district, an unsuccessful candidate of the recruitment of Sub-Inspector of the police Department held in 2006. The Imphal Bench of the High Court headed Justice Mutum Binoykumar Singh had issued the notice of motion to the respondents listed as the State of Manipur through Principal Secretary (Home) to the Government of Manipur; the Joint Secretary (Home) to the Government of Manipur; and the Director General of Police, Manipur and 54 selected candidates of the recruitment, according to a release issued by the Director of the Human Rights Law Network, Meihoubam Rakesh.The Petitioner stated that he participated in the recruitment of SI in Police (male) in 2006 in response to a requisition for recruitment for certain number for the same post.He said that he had undergone all required tests conducted by the Selection Committee.The petitioner has stated that his Answer Sheet of the written test (for 60 marks) was not properly evaluated and said that there were various forms of manipulations, malpractices and tampering of marks in the Answer Sheet.He also said that his total would be higher than the last selected candidate if his answer sheet had been evaluated correctly.As such, the Petitioner has challenged the validity of the selection of candidates by filing the Writ Petition, it said.

HC asks SEBI to probe Bhushan Group’s stake purchase in OSIL
CUTTAK/NEW DELHI: The Orissa High Court has directed the Securities and Exchange Board of India to investigate Neeraj Singhal-led Bhushan Group’s stake purchase in Orissa Sponge Iron & Steel Ltd and has suspended its voting right in the secondary steel p roducer.
“It is directed that the regional manager of the SEBI, Kolkata, shall investigate into the affairs of opposite parties No 7-24 (Bhushan Group) regarding acquisition of/ dealing in their shares in the OSIL,” the division bench comprising Justice I M Reddy and Justice S Panda said.
The court further directed the market regulator to investigate “whether there was any violation of SEBI (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeover) regulations 1997” in buying stake of the Orissa Sponge Iron & Steel Ltd (OSIL).
The division bench also directed SEBI to submit its investigation report by next hearing on June 22. The court also held that Bhushan Steel and other respondents which are alleged to be its affiliates “shall not acquire, alienate, transfer, and sell any of their shares in OSIL to any third party”.
Meanwhile, the bench also suspended the voting rights of the Bhushan Steel till its further order. “… their voting rights which represent the Bhushan Steel Group as regards their acquisition of any share in OSIL shall remain suspended until furthe r orders of the court,” the court ordered further. – PTI

HC rejects plea on FIR, Varun to move SC
Agencies Posted: Mar 25, 2009 at 1605 hrs IST
Allahabad: In a setback to BJP Lok Sabha candidate Varun Gandhi, Allahabad High Court turned down the plea for quashing an FIR against him for his alleged anti-Muslim speeches even as his counsel indicated that he is likely to challenge the order in the Supreme Court.
“The petition stands dismissed,” a division bench comprising justices Imtiyaz Murtaza and S C Nigam said in its order pronounced in a packed court room.
29-year-old Gandhi had challenged the FIR filed on March 17 at Pilibhit’s 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 charges entail a maximum punishment of three years jail term or fine or both.
On whether the order will be challenged in the apex court, Varun’s counsel Gopal Chaturvedi said outside the court, “I am sure they will, although it may not be necessary as far as the proceedings are concerned.”
“But I am sure when a petition is being filed, then everything that has been said against Mr Gandhi will be questioned before the Supreme Court,” he said.
Asked if Gandhi could be taken into custody, Chaturvedi said that ‘arrest is a matter of satisfaction of the investigating officer’.

HC sees red over babu’s touch to minister verdict
25 Mar 2009, 0452 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: The high court on Tuesday came down on the practice of government babus drafting the verdicts that state ministers pass after hearing cases in quasi-judicial matters. Criticising the practice, the court also fined energy minister Sunil Tatkare for two contradictory orders in a case related to the allotment of a ration shop in Malad in 2006 (Tatkare was the food and civil supplies minister then). “(It is) a very sorry state of affairs prevailing in Mantralaya with regard to the decision-making process adopted by various departments,” Justice Vijay Daga said, framing guidelines on the procedure to be adopted while granting orders in quasi-judicial matters. Ministers are the appellate authorities in matters concerning the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, Bombay Tenancy Laws and the Agricultural Land Act among others. One of the important guidelines the court laid out for ministers was that they should not entertain requests from political leaders in such cases. “No application or request or prayer from a political worker, MLA, MP or a third party shall be entertained unless such a person is a party to the proceedings,” said the judge. The case concerned the allotment of a ration shop at Pimpripada in Malad. A plea was filed with the minister by local resident Savitri Pal after she was denied the allotment. Advocate Poonam Bhosale, counsel for Pal, said there were two contradictory orders: a draft order allotting the shop to Pal and a signed one that dismissed her plea. The HC ordered the chief secretary to conduct an inquiry when it came to light that Tatkare had not dictated the order, which was prepared by a desk officer who had not even attended the hearing. Tatkare admitted as much in his affidavit. “After hearing the parties I did not dictate the order. Neither is it possible for me to dictate each and every order considering the voluminous work of my ministry,” Tatkare said, adding, “After hearing the application, I ask my officers to go through the merits of the case and submit a note accordingly for approval.” The court directed the state to issue fresh advertisements for allotment of the shop.

Law and order has ‘collapsed’ in Kerala: HC
25 Mar 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In stinging remarks ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday observed that the law and order had “collapsed” in the state, but those wielding power were sitting pretty oblivious of the situation. The comments came from a single bench of Justice V Ram Kumar, while hearing a bail plea by three men accused in the case of attempted murder of self-styled spiritual leader Rahim Pookkudasseri. The police had filed a preliminary report in the First Class Judicial Magistrate Court in Aluva near Kochi. The report had indicated possible terrorist links of the accused. But due to prevailing election scene, authorities were not concentrating on this, the bench observed. The source of the weapons or explosives recovered from the scene have also not been traced, it added. Contract gangs were roaming the streets and attacks had become common on the highways, it said adding offences against women were also on the rise. But the police have failed to take any action against the culprits, the court added. The high court also took to task the state home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan saying there were many criminal gangs in his constituency Thalassery and that they were roaming free. A visibly shaken Balakrishnan reacted that the government would approach the Supreme Court against the court’s observations.

HC raps govt for influencing appointment of bank officials
25 Mar 2009, 0149 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court has come down heavily on the state government and political leaders for influencing nationalised banks into appointing party loyalists as non-official directors’ instead of experts. Acting on a PIL filed by an NGO, Senior Citizens Service Trust, against appointment of 37 non-official directors in a dozen nationalised banks, a division Bench of Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi has taken serious notice of political interference in banking affairs. The court scrutinised files and complaints filed by bank chairman where these directors were accused of pressurising them to settle non performing assets cheaply. Court then observed, “All these factors will give wrong signal to public and do no good for public sector banks, many of them are reeling under tremendous economic crisis. Government should show serious attention while exercising their statutory powers.” “We have no hesitation to state that in many cases, appointments of above non-official directors are made not on merit or following statutory requirement or on recommendation of Reserve Bank of India,” the court observed, adding that public money is being spent for their upkeep so politicians should give proper assistance in policy formulation rather than interfering and projecting their political views for ulterior motives. It directed government, “Primary consideration of the government should be interest of public sector banks, its depositors and not that of nominees or driven by any other vested interest.” Interestingly, Union government also agreed to the complaint that the administration had bowed to political pressure and some people having clear party leanings were appointed in covetous positions in country’s important banks. However, for others, the government obtained clearance from required departments. Division Bench disposed of the PIL with a clear observation that most board of directors in nationalised banks, who are appointed as non-official directors, are political workers and in several cases, guidelines have been given a go-by. “There are instances where the opinion of RBI was also ignored,” the court concluded.

HC permits casinos to get food from outside
5 Mar 2009, 0436 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Tuesday permitted three floating casinos operating in the Mandovi to make alternative food arrangements for their guests in view of their onboard restaurants being sealed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A division bench, comprising Justices P B Majmudar and U D Salvi, was hearing separate petitions filed by Goa Coastal Resorts and Recreation Private Limited operators of Pride of Goa, High Street Cruises and Entertainment who operate Casino Royale and Victor Hotels and Motels operators of Arabian Sea King. The three casinos said they were facing difficulties in conducting business due to their onboard restaurants being sealed by the FDA. The FDA had raided the onboard restaurants and sealed them for operating without licenses on March 17. Mahesh Sonak appearing for the casinos informed the court that applications for licenses filed by the three casinos were pending before the FDA and that the casinos should be permitted to obtain food from other restaurants until the license was granted. The bench then disposed off the petitions directing the casinos to make other arrangements provided they first intimate the FDA from where they will be procuring the food.

School fee hike ‘highly objectionable’: Delhi HC
25 Mar 2009, 1753 hrs IST, IANS
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said the fee hike by private unaided schools in the capital was “highly objectionable”, and sought a response from the city government on the issue. A division bench headed Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Sanjeev Khanna asked the government to file its reply by April 29. “This (hike in fees) is highly objectionable. Let there be some examination on the whole aspect,” observed the bench hearing a public interest petition. The court asked the government if the schools were following the mandatory provision of law with regard to their accounts. Appearing for a parents’ association, counsel Ashok Aggarwal told the court that the government had gone contrary to the recommendation given by the S.L. Bansal Committee, constituted to look into the fee hike of schools. The court asked the government to place on record before it the entire report of the committee on the next date of hearing. The Delhi Abhibhavak Mahasangh, aided by NGO Social Jurist, had challenged the Directorate of Education’s (DoE) notification on the grounds that it violates the orders of the high court and the Supreme Court that the accounts of each school be examined before they are allowed to hike fee. The schools have been demanding up to 50 percent tuition fee hike in order to implement the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations on teachers’ salaries and arrears. The DoE has created five slabs on the basis of the existing tuition fee in schools, allowing them a maximum fee hike of Rs.500.

Panchayat can appoint commissioner to inspect illegal constructions: HC
25 Mar 2009, 0434 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: In a significant judgement, the high court of Bombay at Goa has held that panchayat authorities can appoint a commissioner to inspect illegal constructions and verify their factual positions. The court was hearing a matter questioning the powers of the deputy director of panchayats to appoint a commissioner and determine the validity of a structure. Gabriel Fernandes from Calangute had challenged the demolition of a construction by a deputy director after receiving a report from the commissioner. The order had been confirmed by director of panchayats in appeal and Ferndandes had approached the high court. Fernandes’ lawyer argued that the deputy director had acted illegally in appointing the commissioner to inspect the property. He submitted that there is no such power to appoint a commissioner under the Goa Panchayat Raj Act. “Even section 239 (C) of the Panchayat Raj Act says that the proceedings before the authority shall be judicial proceedings. It is therefore obvious that the inquiry that is conducted is in fact a judicial inquiry. There is therefore nothing wrong in the appointment of the commissioner, to have a factual position before him,” justice C L Pangarkar observed. Though the power to appoint a commissioner is not specifically conferred on the panchayat officer by the Act, the fact that the same provisions of the civil procedure code are made applicable suggests that the proceedings before the authority are quasi-judicial in nature, the judge further held. While dismissing the petition, the court said that the deputy director has rightly taken into consideration the report of the commissioner particularly when the petitioner failed to produce any document showing permission to build such a construction.

District court, HC lawyers hold protest
25 Mar 2009, 0632 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: The lawyers of the district court and Allahabad High Court took to streets on Tuesday in protest against the murderous assault on two lawyers near the Indian Press crossing on Monday evening while the two were returning home. The Lawyers of the district court assembled outside the court premises and marched in a procession towards the district collectorate where they blocked the road near the crossing and raised slogans against the district authorities for their failure to protect the interest of lawyers. Thereafter, they left for the high court where lawyers were already agitating to express solidarity with their district court brethren. A group of lawyers set afire the effigy of state government and raised anti-administration slogans. The high court lawyers abstained from judicial work in protest against Monday’s incident. During the course of a meeting earlier in the day in front of gate No 3 of the high court, the lawyers condemned the dastardly act and observed that criminals were having a free run under the present political dispensation. President of the Allahabad High Court Bar Association VC Mishra pointed out that chief minister Mayawati was encouraging goons and anti-social elements by giving them tickets to contest the Lok Sabha elections. The office-bearers of UP Bar Council would be requested to call for a day-long statewide strike in protest against the assault on the lawyers. Litigants were seen running here and there at the district court as well as high court as they were unaware about the sudden strike. Litigants at the district court were critical of the strike as the lawyers were abstaining from judicial work on one pretext or the other after Holi, causing hardships to the them.

State govt a dodger: HC
25 Mar 2009, 0349 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: Describing the governance in the state as a fine art of dodging, Justice Goda Raghuram on Tuesday sarcastically advised the state government to abolish judiciary so that it can free itself from the inconvenience of violating court orders repeatedly and then to answer the courts for the same. The judge was hearing a contempt petition filed by one K Trinadh Reddy who told the court that its 2005 order regarding an application he made for grant of an iron ore mine in Tummuluru of Kadapa district was still not being implemented. J Sudhir, special government pleader, appeared for the state and told the court that they have filed an affidavit duly admitting that there was an inordinate delay in disposing of the application of the petitioner and sought time till Thursday for arguing the case. In the event of a `no judiciary’ scene, the judge warned, that the “seven crore people of AP would throng Secretariat for the redressal of their grievances and let us see then which army will save you. The citizen will try to express his anger through contempt petitions and if he loses his faith here (judiciary), in the next nano second he will lose faith in the government also,” justice Raghuram said. When the counsel for the petitioner told the court that the government was trying to mislead the court, the judge told him: “These authorities will apologise to you. They will acknowledge the fact that as a citizen you are sovereign and that they are your subordinates. With this, you have to feel satisfied.”


One Response

  1. OIPA in India wants Advocate Shaheen Pervez of Meerut contact numbers to support her case in Elephant Shera of Meerut…..09813010595

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