Indian activist wins Stockholm Water Prize
March 25th, 2009
STOCKHOLM – Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of the Sulabh Sanitation Movement and inventor of a toilet system credited with improving sanitation across India was Wednesday named the winner of the 2009 Stockholm Water Prize.
The award, worth $150,000, was created in 1990 to recognize achievements in water science, water management, water action or awareness building.
Pathak, born in 1943 in the state of Bihar, is credited with developing a simple twin pit, pour-flush toilet system used in more than 1.2 million residences and buildings.
The facilities, which are pay-per-use, offer ‘an economically sustainable, ecological, and culturally acceptable solution to hygiene problems in crowded slum communities and public places.’
Waste from these toilets is converted into bio-gas for heating, cooking, and generating electricity.
The technology has since been recommended by the United Nations HABITAT and Centre for Human Settlements, as well as the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP.
‘The results of Dr Pathak’s endeavours constitute one of the most amazing examples of how one person can impact the well-being of millions,’ the jury said in its citation.
The award is to be presented at a ceremony in Stockholm during the World Water Festival in August.
Sulabh International Social Service Organization has also launched operations in Bhutan and Afghanistan. Sulabh has, together with UN-HABITAT, trained engineers, architects and others from 14 countries in Africa.
Sulabh is planning to work in Ethiopia, Cambodia, Laos, Angola, Madagascar, Dominican Republic, and Tajikistan.
Pathak has also written and lectured on public health and hygiene.
Last year, Professor John Anthony Allan of King’s College London and the School of Oriental and African Studies was awarded for launching the concept of ‘virtual water’ that ‘measures how water is embedded in the production and trade of food and consumer products.’
Recent winners include: Indian-born Asit K. Biswas, for contributions to global water resource issues; US researcher Perry L. McCarty, for developing water and wastewater systems; and the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), an Indian non-governmental organization, that campaigns for better water management by using traditional rainwater harvesting.

Eight firms allowed to make bids for Andhra road project
The Supreme Court in its judgement on Tuesday directed NHAI to provide equest for proposal documents to all the eight candidates
Posted: Wed, Mar 25 2009. 11:41 PM IST
Rahul Chandran
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked the National Highways Authority of India, or NHAI, to allow two consortia it had removed from the shortlist of a Rs1,460 crore highway project in Andhra Pradesh to make price bids for the project, people close to the matter said.
According to lawyer Anupam Lal Das, who represented the consortium led by Soma Enterprise Ltd, which had filed a special leave petition contesting its removal from the final shortlist, the court suggested that top eight contenders be allowed to submit price bids for the highway between Hyderabad and Vijayawada.
“The Supreme Court in its judgement on Tuesday directed NHAI to provide RFP (request for proposal) documents to all the eight candidates,” Das said. “The financial bids of the eight parties will have to be considered by NHAI.”
Besides Soma Enterprise, the companies/consortia that will be on the new shortlist are GMR Infrastructures Ltd, GVK Industries Ltd, Madhucon Projects Ltd, Shapoorji Pallonji and Co. Ltd, Larsen and Toubro Ltd, Hindustan Construction Co. Ltd and Maytas Infra Ltd.
The apex court is yet to publish its judgement, but a senior NHAI official said he had been told by the authority’s lawyers that the court had suggested extending the shortlist. “That is our understanding, but without seeing the judgement, it is very hard to say anything.” He declined to be identified.
Interestingly, one of the companies in the shortlist—Madhucon Projects—has been debarred by NHAI for non-performance on another highway stretch, but it was not immediately clear whether they would be allowed to bid for this project.
“Since it is only a qualification stage and not the final bidding, they have increased the size of the list (allowing all eight bidders to put in final bid documents),” said an official with Soma Enterprise on condition of anonymity.
The government’s earlier shortlisting criteria allowed bids from only five-seven top bidders based on prior experience. The criteria, first introduced in May 2007, were removed in September 2008 following legal challenges from bidders and a trade body representing highway contractors. NHAI continued using the criteria for some 60 projects that were already being evaluated.
(Malathi Nayak contributed to this story.)

CBI may oppose Sanjay Dutt’s plea in Supreme Court
25 Mar 2009, 2137 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: CBI is likely to oppose in Supreme Court the petition of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, who is seeking suspension of his conviction in connection with 1993 Mumbai serial blasts to contest coming Lok Sabha polls. The petition will come up for hearing in the apex court on March 30 as a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan issued notice to the CBI and sought its reply on the plea of Dutt. Dutt is the Samajwadi Party candidate from the Lucknow parliamentary seat. CBI sources said the prosecution department of the agency was in favour of opposing the plea as it did not want to set any precedence. Dutt was held guilty under the Arms Act by a Mumbai TADA Court which has sentenced him to six years of imprisonment in July 2007. The Bollywood star has spent 18 months in jail during the pendency of the trial. The actor sought suspension of the conviction on the grounds which were considered by the apex court while staying the conviction of BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu in a road rage death case. Dutt, 50, has pleaded with the apex court to consider the fact that he was absolved of the serious offence under TADA and there was not a single case registered against him before the Mumbai blasts.

Submit details of DA case to govt, HC tells I-T dept
25 Mar 2009, 2208 hrs IST, TNN
RANCHI: The Jharkhand High Court on Wednesday directed the income-tax department to provide details of investigation that it had carried out against seven former ministers of the state in a disproportionate assets (DA) case to the government. A division bench of Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice D K Sinha directed the I-T department to provide details of the former ministers’ assets before adjourning the hearing of the public interest litigation (PIL) to April 16. The PIL filed by one Durga Oraon last year demanded CBI inquiry against the seven former ministers who had allegedly amassed wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income. The court issued the directive after the I-T department refused to hand over the investigation report of the assets of the seven ministers Dulal Bhuiyan, Bandhu Tirkey, Chandra Prakash Choudhary, Kamlesh Singh, Bhanu Pratap Sahi, Enos Ekka and Harinarayan Rai during the last hearing of the case on March 18. Advocates of Bhuiyan and Tirkey, who were present during the hearing, however, were not allowed to take part in the proceedings. According to the advocate of the petitioner, Ritu Kumar, the division bench turned down the request of Bhuiyan and Tirkey to put forward their argument, saying that since the court has not issued any notice to their client, they cannot intervene in the proceedings. “The Chief Justice turned down their request, saying that only after the court is satisfied that a clear-cut case stands against them, they would be allowed to take part in the proceedings,” Kumar said.

Station fire tender at Sonsoddo, HC tells MMC
26 Mar 2009, 0454 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa has directed the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) to keep a fire tender at their Sonsoddo garbage disposal site from Thursday onwards to prevent recurring fire incidents at the site. The division Bench comprising Justices P B Majmudar and U D Salvi were hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Goa Foundation praying for directions to be issued to the MMC to treat the piling garbage at Sonsoddo. When the PIL came up for hearing on Wednesday, advocate Norma Alvares appearing for the NGO, informed the Bench that the recent fire incidents at the site were a serious matter. She pointed out that there is a likelihood of the garbage dump at Sonsoddo catching fire again as the garbage is still smouldering underneath. The MMC should be directed to take appropriate steps for preventing recurring fire incidents at the site, she argued. At this juncture, advocate S D Padiyar appearing for the MMC told the court that the council would make necessary arrangements for the dumping site, including providing a fire tender for extinguishing any fires at Sonsoddo. The Bench thereafter directed the MMC to provide a fire tender at the site immediately from March 26 onwards. The council has also been directed to maintain this arrangement until the monsoons set in. The court has also directed the MMC to file their reply explaining the council’s stand on the treatment of the huge dump of untreated waste lying at the site. The court will hear the matter further after two weeks.

High fees: HC seeks response from govt
Express News Service
Posted: Mar 26, 2009 at 0202 hrs IST
New Delhi The Delhi High Court on Wednesday called the recent decision by private city schools to hike fees “highly objectionable” and asked the government to examine whether the institutions followed “mandatory provisions of law” while increasing fees.
In a PIL challenging the recent fee hike by private, unaided schools in the city, the Bench led by Chief Justice A P Shah issued notice to the Delhi government through its Education Department to look into the conduct of the schools. The court sought the government’s reply on April 29, when the case will be heard next.
“Have the schools followed the mandatory provisions of law with regard to their account?” the Bench asked. “This action is highly objectionable. Let there be some examination of the whole aspect.”
The court’s poser was prompted by a submission by advocate Ashok Agarwal, representing the parents’ association that filed the PIL, that the hike violated recommendations of the government-constituted S L Bansal committee that examined implications, including fee hikes, of the Sixth Pay Commission for recognised unaided schools.
The court has asked the government to place on record the committee’s report before it by the next date of hearing.
Filed on March 20, the PIL seeks judicial intervention to quash the Education Department’s February 11 notification permitting schools to raise tuition and development fees with retrospective effect from January 1, 2006.
The government contended before the Bench that the Bansal panel recommendations formed the bulwark of the February 11 notification.

We are in no way secure
Vijay Mukhi / March 26, 2009, 0:34 IST
Two events have changed India in the last four months — 26/11 and Satyam. Our response to both these major events has been the same. We, as a country, have done absolutely nothing. The 26/11 episode affected our life, Satyam our wallets. It’s been four months after 26/11 and I am yet to meet a policeman on the roads of Mumbai who is carrying a gun that can take on the might of a terrorist. I am yet to meet a policeman who has gone through a rigorous training programme that will prevent another hostage attack. I am yet to see a boat that would protect the coasts of Maharashtra. I could go on and on. Why have we failed to come together?
Let’s start with the judiciary. A spate of PIL(s) were filed in the Mumbai High Court in the chambers of the Chief Justice, which heard them immediately. I was present in the court that fateful day as I had also filed a PIL. Most of us wanted some mechanism to be created by the courts that would monitor the security systems in place for our safety and security. The state and Centre vehemently opposed the creation of any such body on various grounds, but to the credit of the high court, they could sense the anger and frustration of people and went ahead and created a citizens’ committee, headed by Justice Srikrishna. This committee met twice and debated a large number of security issues, but as the Centre and state have gone to the Supreme Court against the High Court’s decision, things are in a state of limbo. Score 1 for the judiciary.
The industry reaction to 26/11 has been to say the least a big joke. They have gone ahead and tried to spend their way out of the problem. They have not thought precisely what they should be doing in this space. For example, most five-star hotels in the city check your car for explosive devices by looking at three places, underneath your car, in the bonnet or the boot. They believe that no terrorist will carry bombs in the back seat of the car. They, along with the malls, have installed what we call Door Frame Metal Detectors (DFMDs in industry jargon) at all entry points. These can check for the minutest traces of explosives. Unfortunately, in our country, most of the DFMDs do not work when one passes through them, and now someone has to physically check you again. One five-star hotel actually checks you twice.
We believe, if we have physical frisking, for some reason, it is better than a machine checking you, which is not what the world thinks. They want to remove people from the security process. The world uses technology to remove people from the process of security.Doing the same job over and over again leads to fatigue and tiredness, and this is where a security breach happens. For some reason, the industry wants to take the role of a policeman, which is not their job. The industry has also not been proactive in lobbying governments. Score 0 for industry’s response.
The security business is booming in India and we see a large number of business delegations coming to India to source our security. We are seen as the fastest-growing country in security spending. There is a new security company formed in India every two days. Companies are spending a lot of money on physical security, but very little is being done as far as e-security is concerned.
Industry associations and the society at large initially make all the right noises and then fatigue creeps in. I see no more meetings being held or press releases from associations or citizen groups. It seems the flame has died out, as if 26/11 never happened. The frustration and anger among the people still remains. In the last month, the Indian Merchants Chamber hosted two delegations from Israel and the UK. These days, it is difficult to get people to attend a seminar, but both these security seminars were full of people and the question and answer sessions were very emotional and aggressive. People did not really ask the foreigners questions, they were more interested in talking about 26/11 and its aftermath. People are scared and worried as they do not see any movement on the ground, but lack a way of getting their point across to the powers that be. The problem with citizen groups is that very rarely do we see them come out with actual workable suggestions. State bashing is a good thing up to a point. Score ½ for the response of citizens groups and Industry Associations.
The politicians have realised and felt the anger of people and are willing to discuss security at the drop off a hat. As they are close to people, they understand their feelings and anxieties. The IAS officers at the very top are also willing to talk about security. This group is at least willing to talk about security. The only problem is that they do not control the bureaucracy today. Score ½ for the response of the politicians and senior IAS officers.
So far, all the sections of society we have spoken about, judiciary, citizens, industry, citizens groups , politicians, etc are sincere in their approach and are thinking towards security. Then where is the bottleneck?
There is a huge mass of bureaucracy that is answerable to no one and all and this is the stumbling block that is making things happen. They do not believe that anything different has happened at all after 26/11 and, for some reason, no one wants to tame them.
The only way out for the civil society is to get together and make the courts hold the government accountable for security on a day-to-day basis. The courts or the state must set actual deadlines for action to take place on the ground. US President Barack Obama has come out with a site that says Do Not Trust Us, Track Us. We must have a similar system in India, using a technology called xBRL, where we can use software to track what the state is doing. This way they cannot make promises and get away with it. They have to be held accountable.
The author is a security practitioner, a member of the 66-member Maharashtra State Security Council and chairs the sub-group on Cyber Security and Communications.

Maintain updated records of encroachments: HC tells MCGM

Published: March 25,2009

Mumbai, Mar 25 The Bombay High Court today told the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to maintain a “contemporaneous” record of unauthorised constructions in all the wards. The division bench of Justices J N Patel and V K Tahilramani was dealing with the PIL filed by NGO Janhit Manch against encroachments along water pipelines across the city. To the court’s shock, the MCGM’s latest report on anti-encroachment drive revealed that a 2000 sq ft bungalow had come up along the pipeline in suburban Bhandup (S ward). The bungalow, wholely illegal, was demolished. The court said that MCGM must have an updated record of unauthorised constructions in each ward, and must take steps to remove them from time to time. “You should not act only on the receipt of complaints or on the court orders,” Justice Patel said. The judges also asked whether any disciplinary action was taken against the ward officers who allowed encroaches to settle on municipal land. Tell your ward officers that here onwards action shall be taken against them,” Justice Patel said. According to MCGM, some 2,240 illegal structures along with the water pipelines have been removed so far.
Source: PTI

PIL against violation of human rights in Gujarat jail
25 Mar 2009, 2100 hrs IST, PTI
AHMEDABAD: A public interest litigation (PIL), in connection with the alleged violation of human rights of prisoners of the Central jail in Sabarmati here, has been filed in the Gujarat High Court. In the PIL, the petitioner — Jan Sagharsh Manch (JSM) — has contended that it has received complaints from relatives of certain jail inmates, that prisoners of the jail were subjected to severe torture and inhumane treatment by IPS official V Chandrashekhar, who is a jail superintendent. During the visit of the petitioner’s representative, it was found that the official concerned had created an atmosphere of terror in the jail premises, the PIL stated. JSM, which works for the protection of human rights of marginalised communities, also gave examples of several prisoners who were being meted out severe and harsh treatment by the jail authorities, in the PIL.

JSM files PIL to voice grievances of prisoners
By chennaivision at 26 March, 2009, 10:38 am
JSM member Shamshad Pathan filed the PIL through his Advocate S H Iyer to draw the attention of the Court on gross violation of human rights, statutory rules, orders and directions by the Jail Superintendent.
The petitioner prayed the High Court to direct the respondents — State of Gujarat and Jail Superindent — to strictly comply with the earlier court directions dated May 7, 2004, in this regard.
He also prayed that court be pleased to direct the state to forthwith remove/transfer respondent number 2 — Jail Superintendent V Chandrashekhar, IPS officer, and to inquire into the allegations made against him and take appropriate departmental action.
Pending admission and final disposal of this petition, the Court be pleased to appoint a Court Commission to inquire into the allegations of atrocities committed by respondent number 2 and submit its report to the Court for further action. It also appealed to the court to issue necessary direction to the State to send the prisoners who have suffered assault in jail to the Civil Surgeon for immediate medical treatment.
The petitioner informed the court that he had acted following the complaints received from the relatives of certain prisoners of the Central Jail at Sabarmati Jail, that they were subjected to severe torture and inhumane treatment by respondent No 2.
The petitioner visited the Central Jail on March 14 to ascertain true facts. The petitioner met several prisoners and to utter shock and surprise, the petitioner came to know that the respondent No 2 in violation of all the norms of civilized society and humanity, had in fact created an atmosphere of terror in the jail.

Court-appointed committee to study basketball stadium proposal
Mar 26th, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Thursday set up a committee to study the ecological effect if construction of a proposed indoor basketball stadium at Ajmal Khan Park in west Delhi for the 2010 Commonwealth Games is allowed.
The committee will be headed by the chairman of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). He and four others members will study the ecological effect the construction would have on the area.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Sanjeev Khanna asked the committee to submit a detailed report within six months.
The court had last month stayed construction of the stadium.
The court acted on a public interest petition filed by voluntary organisation Paryavaran Evam Jan Uthan, which challenged the construction on the ground that it was not environment-friendly.
The NGO alleged that a 100-tonne AC would be installed at the stadium, which is very hazardous for the environment.
The proposed stadium, being constructed by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi at a cost of Rs.60 million, would be world-class with 3,000-seat capacity. It would have 10 rooms for players and an ultra-modern gym.

HC asks IGIMS to pay fine of Rs 50K to doc
27 Mar 2009, 0256 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Thursday imposed a cost of Rs 50,000 on the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS) for causing loss to a writ petitioner, Dr Sunil Kumar, by “awarding” him the MD degree in community medicine, which was not recognised by the Medical Council of India (MCI). The petitioner’s plea was that he had invested three years in completing MD in community medicine at IGIMS which did not select him for the post of assistant professor, community medicine, on the ground that MCI did not recognise its degree. The court maintained that the fine of Rs 50,000 imposed on IGIMS is payable to the petitioner. A single bench presided over by Justice Navin Sinha dismissed the writ petition of Dr Sunil who had challenged the IGIMS decision not to appoint him. The petitioner’s counsel, Umakant Shukla, submitted that the petitioner had spent three years in getting the degree and still found himself nowhere when IGIMS did not select him. IGIMS’s plea was that it had started the course in anticipation that MCI would give recognition to it but that did not happen. The court said the IGIMS board of governors should hold an inquiry and fix responsibility on the persons responsible for conducting the MD course in community medicine without MCI recognition. It also gave liberty to the board to recover the cost paid to the petitioner from the persons found responsible for this lapse.

PIL filed against shifting IPL to South Africa

Press Trust of India / Jaipur March 26, 2009, 20:46 IST
A public interest litigation (PIL) petition against the holding of Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 tournament in South Africa has been filed in Rajasthan High Court which will hear it on Monday.
The petition filed by President of All India Karate Federation Rameshwar Nirvan before a Division Bench comprising Justice R C Gandhi and Justice Mahesh Bhagwati claims that the shifting of the venue will cost huge revenue loss to the nation besides depriving entertainment to cricket fans.
The petition also said that it was a national shame to shift the tournament which gave a message that the government was incompetent in fighting terrorist threats.
It has been contended in the writ that general elections does not mean that the entire public life should come to a standstill.
The petition demands that the IPL matches should be held in the country and the Central government should be directed to provide the necessary security, if necessary by providing para-military and armed forces to assist the police.

HC cancels Maya Kodnani’s bail in Gujarat riot case
NDTV Correspondent
Friday, March 27, 2009, (Ahmadabad)
The Gujarat High Court has cancelled the anticipatory bail of Gujarat Child Welfare Minister Maya Kodnani.The High Court rejected the defence counsel’s plea to stay the judgement for a period of six weeks. Now decks are clear for the arrest of Kodnani.The Supreme Court had appointed a special investigation team that is reinvestigating nine riot cases in the state.The special investigation team wants to arrest Kodnani in connection with the Naroda Patiya case in which about 100 people were killed.

Poll code hit couples get HC respite
27 Mar 2009, 0218 hrs IST, Vaibhav Ganjapure & Diwakar Phatak, TNN
NAGPUR/GONDIA: The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has stayed a government order of March 21, and allowed funds to be released for mass marriage programmes under the Shubhmangal Samuhik Vivah Yojana even while the code of conduct is in force for the general elections. A social organisation had petitioned the HC against the order on behalf of 43 couples who were denied funds to hold a mass marriage programme on March 29 at Sangrampur in Buldhana district. These 43 couples had planned their weddings for an auspicious time that day, after getting all the requisite permissions, and expected to get a fixed amount and household utensils etc from the government at the ceremony. However, officials of the women and child development department cited the circular and refused government aid. A division bench comprising justices Dilip Sinha and Ashok Bhangale stayed the effect and operation of the government circular thus paving the way for mass marriages to take place anywhere in Maharashtra until further orders are passed. The bench has issued notices to all respondents and will hear the case four weeks later. Leaders of various communities, which organise the popular mass marriage programmes across the region, had protested the government circular.

HC wants Dadar med-aid project in 14 days
27 Mar 2009, 0338 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: Giving relief
to victims of railway accidents, the Bombay high court in an important order, on Thursday told the railways to implement a pilot medical-aid project at Dadar station. The project has to be set up in two weeks and if successful, would be replicated at all stations across Maharashtra, said a division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud. The court has appointed a committee to be headed by divisional regional managers of Central Railway and Western Railway, J N Lal and C P Sharma who would oversee the implementation of the project. Dadar railway station has witnessed around 34 accidents in the past six months, according to the railways. One of the first things that the court has asked the railways to set up is a well-equipped emergency medical room on the platform so that victims of an accident can be provided with first aid. A doctor will be on call for any emergency and the medical room would have a round-the-clock attendant. The court also told the railways to upgrade the first-aid boxes at railway stations, which at present, have “various types of ointments and bandages.” The judges said that medical experts should recommend appropriate things in the first-aid kit “keeping in view fatal accidents as well as medical emergencies” that take place at a railway station. The authorities will have to make arrangements for oxygen cylinders. Another major requirement, that of a well-equipped ambulance at the railway station, has been met with the authorities tying up with a private NGO, which will provide a vehicle at the station. The court directed the officer concerned to ensure that the ambulance is given parking space and also has an unobstructed right-of-way near the station. The railways will put up the names of the injured, nature of accident, hospital admitted to and if necessary, even photographs on its website. The court’s orders came after a public interest litigation was filed on the rising number of deaths on the tracks and the inadequate medical aid provided by the railways to victims. “Life is valuable,” the judges said, asking the railways to ensure that the project was set up for the “safety and welfare of passengers and victims of railway accidents.”

HC draws up schedule for mining truck
27 Mar 2009, 0244 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: In a significant order granting relief to the residents of Curchorem, the high court of Bombay at Goa on Thursday drew up a schedule for truck owners to operate their vehicles in the area. The court directed truck owners to begin their operations only after 8 am in the morning and stop their movement by 8 pm in the evening, with an added interval from 1 pm to 2 pm. A division Bench comprising Justice P B Majmudar and Justice U D Salvi passed the order following a petition filed by Goa Foundation, John Pereira and others. The petitioners had complained that people living in Curchorem were affected by uncontrolled dust pollution due to loading and unloading of ore in the vicinity of residential areas. Advocate Norma Alvares appearing on behalf of Goa Foundation told the court that dust pollution in Curchorem had reached serious levels. “Activity at the Curchorem railway yard begins at 4.30 am and goes on all through the day, sometimes even up to 9 pm,” she pointed out. Subsequently, Alvares submitted a list of suggestions for regulating the truck owners’ activities and prayed that the court pass orders by way of interim relief in view of the seriousness of the problem. At this point, the Bench granted three of the five suggestions put forth by Alvares. Besides regulating the truck timings, the court also directed the mining truck owners to cover their wagons with tarpaulin before leaving the yard. The court also dealt with the problem of ore stacks at the yard and directed that the stacks be covered and their height be limited to 5 m. Alvares had also suggested that the Curchorem railway yard be fully enclosed within a shed to control dust pollution. On this count, the court directed the Ministry of railways to conduct a survey of the yard and file its report in the court within two weeks. Another suggestion for tarring of a 200 m stretch of road frequented by mining trucks was ruled out as advocate general Subodh Kantak pointed out that the code of conduct was in force. The petition will now come up for hearing after two weeks.

BMC wants HC nod to hack mangroves for dump site
27 Mar 2009, 0319 hrs IST, SUKHADA TATKE, TNN
MUMBAI: The BMC has prepared a fresh affidavit, requesting the Bombay high court to allow hacking of 11.6 hectares of mangroves, as it fears a delay in getting court permission for one of the most important projects dealing with scientific disposal of garbage. The BMC got the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance from the Centre for the Kanjurmarg dumping site last week. But there is one more hurdle to overcome before the site can be used for dumping; environmentalists have filed a petition in court against the felling of mangroves on 80 hectares of the 141-hectare plot. “We are requesting the court to allow us to remove these mangroves so that we get an additional 20.76 hectares which will be useful for processing increased generation of waste upto 2030. We hope the court will give permission in the larger interest of the city and its waste management,” said additional municipal commissioner R A Rajeev. The BMC is also currently facing a contempt petition regarding the Deonar dumping ground. “If the BMC implements its plan of scientific management of waste and sanitary landfill and also closes the present dumpsite at Deonar, it only requires Kanjurmarg landfill permissions from court. The sooner we get the premission, the better it will be for us. This is critical as citizens are also protesting against the Mulund dumping gorund,” he added. Currently, 2,000 tonnes of waste are being dumped daily at Mulund and 4,000 tonnes are going to Deonar. Civic officials say Deonar will take only 2,000 tonnes a day and Mulund will only 500 tonnes once the projects are implemented. “Kanjurmarg will then require to take in 4,000 tonnes daily,” a civic official said.

State to HC: Panel to probe poor construction of roads
26 Mar 2009, 2151 hrs IST, TNN
RANCHI: The state government has set up a committee to probe the alleged irregularities in the way a few roads were built some time ago, Jharkhand High Court was told on Thursday. A division bench, comprising chief justice Gyan Sudha Misra and justice D K Sinha, heard a PIL filed by an NGO called Jan Kalyan Morcha, which had alleged poor quality in the construction of Adityapur-Kandra and Kandra-Saraikela roads in Saraikela-Kharsawan district. The PIL, which demanded action under Bihar Prevention of Corrupt Practices Act, stated that sub-standard materials were supplied for the 38-km stretch even Rs 32.06 crore was spent on it. The NGO said patches and potholes surfaced a few months after the work was over. On March 5, the high court asked the state to lodge an FIR against the contractor and engineers and also sought details of bank accounts and the mode of payment. The court has been adjourned till April 16 for the next hearing. Another petition, filed by Mohammad Tahir alleging multi-crore bitumen scam, has demanded a vigilance probe. It said the comptroller and accountant General (CAG) of India and accountant general (AG) found irregularities in bitumen procurement worth Rs 100 crore. The PIL mentioned a number of roads like Godda- Panjwara, Ason Bani-Patamda, Ranchi Ring Road, Adityapur-Kandra, Ranchi-Daltonganj, Chandarpura-Bokaro, Hatia-Chaibasa Road which suffered because of “corrupt practices”. The division bench asked the state to file a counter affidavit by April 16.

HC reserves order on Pappu’s plea
27 Mar 2009, 0255 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Thursday reserved order on a petition of the controversial RJD MP from Madhepura Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, seeking suspension of the life sentence given to him in the CPM MLA Ajit Sarkar murder case. Pappu was recently granted bail in the case by the high court. Sarkar had been shot dead in Purnia in 1998. A division bench comprising Justice Shivakirti Singh and Justice D D Jha reserved the order after hearing arguments of Pappu’s counsel R K Anand. As his criminal appeal challenging the order of a special CBI court sentencing him to life imprisonment in the Sarkar murder case is pending in the high court, Pappu filed an interlocutory petition seeking suspension of the sentence so that he could file nomination for the upcoming parliamentary elections

SC stays HC order on suspension of 2 Megahalaya MLAs
The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the interim order of the Gauhati High Court which had put on hold the decision of the Meghalaya Assembly Speaker to suspend two legislators during the controversial trust vote.
“The Speaker can go ahead with the disqualification process,” a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said when a petition against the High Court order was mentioned.
The NCP-led Meghalaya Progressive Alliance has challenged the March 20 order of the High Court staying Speaker B M Lanong’s ruling placing two MLAs Paul Lyngdoh of KHNAM and Limison Sangma (independent) under interim suspension.
The petition in the apex court was filed by MPA spokesman Conrad Sangma.
The alliance has also challenged the Centre’s decision to put the state under President’s rule and accused the Governor of acting in biased manner.
The Meghalaya government headed by Chief Minister Donkupar Roy was formed on 19th March 2008.
After formation of the government, two independent MLAs had joined the coalition taking its strength to 33 in the 60-member House.
On 9th March, the two independent MLAs withdrew the support to the MPA government and later a member each of NCP, HSPDP and KHANAM defected which, the petitioners alleged, was engineered by Congress, reducing the government to a minority
This entry was posted on Friday, March 27th, 2009 at 5:22 am and is filed under India.

I-T department moved SC challenging relief given by Bombay HC seven and half year back to Amitabh Bachchan in a case related to KBC
In what may strain the already troubled relations between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress, the Income Tax (I-T) department on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court challenging a seven-month-old order of the Bombay high court, which gave relief to superstar Amitabh Bachchan in a case related to Kaun Banega Crorepati.
The move to appeal against the old order, given the closeness of the Bachchan family to SP leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh, may have its political fallout.
The I-T department assailed the HC order saying Bachchan could not have claimed benefit under Section 80RR of the Income Tax Act which provides 30% tax relief on income of artistes from outside India.
Bachchan had contended that as per Section 80RR, 30% of the earnings that accrued to him were not taxable since he was an artist and the remaining 70%, which went to the account of Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd (ABCL), could be taxed.
However, the I-T department was of the view that Bachchan was an anchor and not an artist in the popular television show. Moreover, the income to be categorised under Section 80RR must have either come from abroad or the artist must have performed outside India.
According to the I-T department, the entire show was shot in a Mumbai studio provided by Star India Pvt Ltd and, hence, no tax relief should be granted. The dispute over taxation is on a total earning of Rs 13 crore which Bachchan earned from the mega show.
Bachchan’s spouse, Jaya, is a SP member of Rajya Sabha. SP leaders have in the past linked the actor’s troubles with the taxman to their opposition to Congress.
In the earlier round of litigation, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal had asked the department to reconsider the assessment. Later, the Bombay high court upheld Bachchan’s contention and dismissed the IT department’s plea.

Disposes Of PIL Seeking Court Intervention To Tackle Crunch Causing Problems
27 Mar 2009, 0417 hrs IST, Ajay Sura, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday directed PGI and Union ministry of health and family welfare to fill up all posts of technical staff lying vacant in the hospital’s department of radiology within a period of three months. At present, there are 12 posts of supervisor and senior and junior technicians that are lying vacant. A division bench headed by chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur and justice Hemant Gupta passed these orders while disposing of a public interest litigation filed by Mohali-resident Ishwar Singh. In his petition, Singh had asked the court to intervene as shortage of staff was causing huge backlog of cases leading to harassment of patients, apart from non-utilization of equipment worth crores. Ishwar had further stated that PGI provided medical facilities to many poor patients from the northern part of the country. He added that the staff crunch at the hospital was leading to harassment for patients. The petition mentioned that around 200-250 X-ray images were processed daily in the PGI’s emergency section. It stated that MRI, dexa scans were conducted at PGI three-four months after they were prescribed, which was quite late. PGI authorities pleaded that the institute’s governing body, after restructuring the selection procedure, had decided to fill these vacancies through promotions. The institute’s counsel informed the court that decision of the PGI governing council had been communicated to the Union ministry of health on January 30 for its approval, based upon which the final decision regarding filling the vacancies would be taken. After hearing both the parties, the bench asked the ministry to decide on the submitted proposal within three months. HC has also directed that if the ministry failed to decide on their representation within the stipulated period, the PGI director should immediately fill these posts according to the existing policy of direct recruitment.

SC notice to govt on water crisis
27 Mar 2009, 0257 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday suo motu enlarged the scope of an eight-year-old PIL seeking protection of vanishing wetlands in the country and asked the Centre to detail within four weeks the steps it has taken to solve the growing water crisis faced by the people. A Bench headed by Justice Markandey Katju, who is known for his strict approach towards PILs and his conviction that administration cannot be run by the courts through such litigation, issued notice to the ministry of science and technology to tell the court about the follow-up action it has taken since his recommendations on February 6 in an inter-state water dispute case. The reaction of the Bench, also comprising Justice V Sudershan Reddy, may have surprised counsel Gopal Shankaranarayan, who appearing for petitioner M K Balakrishnan had been toiling for the past couple of years to convince the apex court for some urgent action to protect the disappearing wetlands vitally affecting the water table, flora and fauna. But, he would not complain for the Bench while expanding the scope of the PIL said that the prayers would include all methods needed to solve water shortage problems, including converting sea water into fresh water and water in snow cap peaks. “The present case relating to conservation of wetlands, in our opinion, would include ponds, tanks, lagoons, creeks, water channels, reservoirs, rivers, lakes, etc,” observed Justice Katju. “There is an acute water shortage in our country and one main reason is that all water resource bodies have been built up in recent times by commercially minded greedy persons and such persons have filled up water resources and constructed buildings and shops. Our ancestors were wise people who realized there may be droughts. Hence, as water harvesting method they constructed ponds, tanks attached to temples so that people do not suffer,” he said. “Unfortunately, people have forgotten the wisdom of our ancestors by making constructions. As a result, there is a severe water shortage and people suffer terribly during summer months. There is road block, chakka jam and traffic blocks due to water shortage. This court has already directed the Centre to constitute a committee of experts to solve the water shortage problem. Let notice be issued to ministry of science and technology which should file counter giving details of what steps have been taken to solve the water shortage problem. List the matter on April 28,” the Bench said. When Shankaranarayan suggested that notice should also be issued to the water resources ministry in addition to the ministry of science and technology, Justice Katju remarked: “They won’t do anything. We know. Water resources ministry has only PWD engineers.”

Court shows concern over child exploitation
26 Mar 2009, 0307 hrs IST, Abhinav Garg, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday expressed serious concern over the condition of children exploited by placement agencies or as child labourers. Advocating strict regulation and punishment of errant placement agencies in the capital, HC said it was receiving a rising number of complaints of trafficking and exploitation against such agencies. A division bench of HC observed that regulation was but the first step to reign in agencies indulging in exploitation of minors, adding that there must be a specific scheme to punish the guilty ones. HC pointed out how only a census by way of regulation was not going to be helpful and observed, “If agencies enroll themselves under the Shops and Establishment Act, you will merely know how many agencies exist. There should be some penal provision wherein errant agencies can be punished once a complaint against them is proved. The court said it was necessary to involve the Child Welfare Committee with assistance from government so that both can think of some policy to monitor these agencies. Citing an example the judges said their records can be periodically called for to gauge the exact number of children enrolled by them. It also said the government and petitioner NGO Shamjeevi Mahila Samithi ought to come up with suggestions by the next date of hearing when HC might come out with certain guidelines aimed at regulating placement agencies. In a similar vein, HC stressed while hearing another PIL on child labour, the need for rehabilitation of rescued victims. Asking that a “holistic approach” be adopted by the Central and Delhi governments, HC pointed out only rescue was not enough, ticking off the state labour department for its tardy effort in this regard. The judges made it clear that the responsibility of the state also included educating the rescued children and rehabilitating them.

SC to hear petition against courts’ power to suspend convictions
Posted: Fri, Mar 27 2009. 12:56 AM IST
The apex court will hear SP candidate Sanjay Dutt’s plea to suspend conviction in the 1993 blasts on 30 March
Malathi Nayak
New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan will hear on Friday a petition that questions the power of courts to suspend convictions of politicians found guilty of criminal acts.
A public interest litigation (PIL) filed by three Lucknow-based lawyers—Hanuman Tripathi, Krishna Saran and Alok Saran—has expressed concern that “hard core criminals found guilty of abductions, murders, extortions and even terrorism are getting suspension of their convictions from courts”, based on a 2007 judgement of the apex court that suspended a criminal conviction of former cricket player Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is now a member of Parliament representing the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Indian law places restrictions on persons with criminal convictions who want to contest polls.
Section 8 of the Representation of People’s Act bars individuals convicted for crimes that attract sentences more than two years from contesting elections.
Its sub-section 4, however, says that for incumbent members of Parliament the disqualification starts three months from the date of conviction to allow them to file an appeal.
“I had argued then (in 2007) that this (Sidhu’s case) would set a wrong precedent,” said senior counsel Sushil Kumar Jain, who represented the Union government in the lawsuit and opposed his petition.
Section 389 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, allows appellate courts discretion to suspend sentences of convicted individuals.
In the case of Sidhu’s appeal, the apex court interpreted this section to conclude that courts could not only suspend sentences but also expanded its scope to suspend convictions.
“The Criminal Procedure Code only allows for suspension of sentences with a view to preserve a person’s liberty, pending appeal. The Sidhu judgment was an expansion or bending of the Representation of People’s Act to that extent,” said advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan.
She added that the PIL raises a relevant question. “I am not of the opinion that merely because a person is convicted, he should not contest elections. But there have to be some clear legislative guidelines on this. What are the parameters? What categories of convictions can be suspended?” she asked.
A recent survey by non-profit group National Election Watch has found that, as on 18 March, out of about 500 candidates for the Lok Sabha election announced by the BJP, Congress party, Bahujan Samaj Party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India, and the Samajwadi Party, there are at least 42 candidates with criminal convictions that range from offences such as holding unlawful assemblies to murder.
Actor and Samajwadi Party candidate Sanjay Dutt’s petition seeking a suspension of his conviction in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case by a special court will come up for hearing before the Supreme Court on 30 March.
“We have finalized his (Dutt’s) name as our candidate for the Lucknow Lok Sabha seat and there is no alternative candidate for him. It is Sanjay Dutt for Lucknow and no one else for us,” the party’s general secretary Amar Singh said.
On Monday, senior counsel and Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi represented Rashtriya Janata Dal member of Parliament Mohammad Shahabuddin and secured an order from the apex court directing the Patna high court to take up Shahabuddin’s case on the suspension of his conviction promptly before the phase for filing of elections in his constituency in Bihar would end on 30 March.
The Patna high court on Tuesday dismissed Shahabuddin’s plea.
PTI contributed to this story.

CBCA voting issue: Apex court extends stay on HC’s ruling
AHMEDABAD: As the issue of legality of voting rights of 50 individual members in the Central Board of Cricket Ahmedabad (CBCA) has reached Supreme Court, the Apex Court on Thursday extended the stay on Gujarat High Court’s ruling till April 2.The high court last month had held that these 50 members cannot vote during elections, and with this decision, Narhari Amin’s group was to lose its grip over Gujarat Cricket Association also. However, this group challenged the decision in the Apex court and a Bench headed by the Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan heard the case.Appearing for CBCA, senior advocate Rohington Nariman urged to extend the stay order of the high court, which actually ends on March 27. Senior counsel Soli Sorabjee is arguing for the Amit Shah group, which has already won the legal battle in the city civil court as well as the high court.The apex court has kept April 2 for further hearing in this case. Source: timesofindia

No marriage is th only solution to avoid 498a, domestic violance law. maintenance is powerful than Pension Scheme. Marriage is the short term pension plan to young Girl. Today Girl as soon as get the title of wife,she get the money automatically.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I strongly oppose to give the power of court to NCW no more stupid Law(No maintenance to qualified wife like MSc BE, and professional qualification)( NCW is gender biased and male hater society and congress is the only supporting party to them.)NCW is already had drafted and law like 498a, domestic violence. The result of the law as per the data NCRB mentioned is 98% false cases. it is not figure. I want to elaborate the figure.98% Husband harassed for 4 to 5 years continuously. Congress support such law98% sister suffered due to trauma of lengthy cases. Congress supports such law98% husband jobs and carrier are at danger. Congress supports such law.98% Mother had seen the loosing health’s and tension bearing son’s in spite of she had taken care of that son from the childhood, she had given polio doses regularly to him at childhood so that in future he should stand on his own legs and give support to older parents. but she don’t know NCW\ with congress effort will remove her older age support from the parents. Now she is afraid why I give birth to son and why till time keep him alive.?98% police investigation was wrong as per the NCRB data, it is the misuse of police infrastructure. just to harassed the husband and to show how to dominate men’s’.98% court time was wasted due to such useless law.98% child become father less. It is all because of stupid Law maker(congress)98% father are childless. It is all because of stupid law maker(congress)You k now who had paid the money to government infrastructure they are income tax payer. Payment of the taxpayer you are using to satisfy the ego of charterless women I.e. NCW. Head of today’s NCW leader are either divorced or unmarried. The leader of NCW should be such lady who had seen complete cycle of family, she should successful grandmother. Her family matter had not come to court that can be the good women for such post. analyse yourself how many such member present in NCW. Think again NCW cannot maintain the data of what they claimed.I am pasting the same example which has given front page of application.“Claim NCW went ahead and published that in 70 % of cases women are denied maintenance on grounds of adultery. SIFF activists when filed for data to support the claim made by NCW, through an application under Rights to Information Act, 2005, NCW in its reply categorically denied maintaining any such data. It was a white lie published by NCW and a delirious attempt by NCW to fudge statistics and present an otherwise picture to realize vendetta best known to it. Such a body severely lacking integrity and accountability does not deserve such a position.Simple data they cannot maintain and asking for power.No maintenance to educated wife. Why the government consider that educated wife like MSc, BE, computer science, teacher professional courses, medical professional courses, most of them donot want to work for the betterment of there own life, discord in married relation it is doesnot means she should seat ideal at home . Even if they had qualification they seat at home so that they can get husband hard earned money. Allowing maintenance for such women is injustice to nation , your multiple law created Lazy people. Then what is the use of there education you had wasted one seat of university on which wo was needy may get education and can use it in there life.All marriage related law should be in the syallabus of 10 the onward every branch of education so that before husband enter into married relation he should know each and every clause of Law. Let they should know each and every law.NCW is till time misguided government. How you can believe on such organization.?NCW are creating more & more law so that Indian joint family system should be break. They want to create more fatherless child, childless father. Giving power to NCW means CALLING GOD TO YOUR HOME FROM TEMPLE AND GIVE BRIBE. NO ONE SHOULD MARRY TO INDIAN GIRL BECAUSE OF NCW LIKE NATIONAL CRIMINAL WIVES (NCW) WAS PRESENT IN INDIA AND GOVERNMENT IS ENTERTAINING THEM. Husband suicide is not considered as husband harassment even after the suicide note mentioned the harassment.I strongly oppose to give the power of court to NCW and review the Law like Domestic Violance and 498a. Maintenance given to post graduate and graduate wife, which court consider they are unable to earn.PROPOSALS TO AMEND WOMENS PROTECTION LAWS1. Section 498A of IPC should be made Non-Cognizable and Bailable. Marriage is not a crime and marital disputes are not crimes either. Where there is no evidence of physical harm to limbs, the police should not be allowed to arrest anyone. The police should not be allowed to randomly summon a husband and his family members to the police station in the name of counseling or questioning in case of marital disputes. We propose that the IPC section 498A be made non-cognizable and Bailable.Misuser of the Law should be heavily punished.2. Government to pay maintenance to destitute and vagrant women A plethora of laws providing for maintenance is creating confusion and leading to undue delay in matrimonial proceedings. The recently enacted PWDV Act has self contained provisions for interim maintenance as well final maintenance to every woman. Hence provision made in other acts have become redundant and must be repelled. The execution of interim maintenance through court proceedings are cumbersome and orders become unenforceable. It is the bounden duty of the government to protect the woman We propose the government pay the ordered interim maintenance amount forthwith and when husband is proved to be wrong may recover from Husband as arrears of Land Revenue.3. Section IPC 304B : Should be made applicable to all Women instead of wife only Most tyrannical provision among all Indian statutes and unconstitutional. Very highly age biased. Women do commit suicide or die under unnatural circumstances irrespective of age and maritalstatus. We believe that the protection available to a wife for seven years immediately after marriage should also be available to every woman. It is again tyrannical, illogical and absurd besides being unconstitutional only to protect a wife that too for seven years from her marriage. The death under suspicious circumstances of every woman irrespective of age, marital status should be brought under this section. The Siblings and parents of the women should indeed to be made responsible for her death. We propose amending Sec 304B IPC so as to bring in every women dying under suspicious circumstances Even Afsal Guru or Godse who committed the gravest of crimes were not asked to prove their innocence to escape punishment. The law require that the offence under this section is deemed to have been committed by husband.Then asking him to prove his innocence is unheard of anywhere in the world. Even worst of the ruler had hanged Subjects without trial only. We propose the provisions in Evidence Act regarding onus of proof be repealed4. Domestic Violence Law should be renamed Domestic Harmony ActA CRIME IS A CRIME whether committed by man or women. Excluding women from punishment is atrocious and mockery of Governance. Even minor physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, and financial abuses which are always sought be projected as Violence, War, Battle Terror would always lead to terrorising Families. Minor skirmishes happening within the four walls of the home is sought to be projected as violence, battle, war, arson, terror etc.,We proposea) The name of the legislation be changed to Domestic Harmony Act.b) The word `woman’ in the definition of aggrieved person shall be replaced with the word `person’.c) The word `any adult male person’ in the definition of respondent shall be replaced with `any adult person’d) The words `Provided that an aggrieved wife or female living in a relationship in the nature of a marriage may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner’ in thedefinition of respondent shall be deleted.e) The word `violence’ wherever appears shall be replaced with `discord’.f) The jurisdiction for proceedings under this Act shall be the District Munsif Courts or Court of Small Causes as the case may be and trial may be conducted according to Civil Procedure Code.g) The words in section 28 “Code of Criminal Procedure,” be replaced with “Civil Procedure Code”h) Section 31 should be deleted and Section 31A may be inserted as below Section 31A – Penalty for breach of protection order by respondent. A breach of protection order, or of an interim protection order, by the respondent shall be shall be punishable with a fine which mayextend to twenty thousand rupees.g) Section 32 should be deleted.5. Perjury and False Complaint be made punishable. Misuse of the process of law not only costs the public exchequer dearly, but also destroys the personal lives of many innocent citizens. Misuse of law should be treated as a serious crime, and persons who use should be severely punished (at least to the maximum cumulative terms of the misused provisions). We propose the bar under section 195 of Cr P C be removed and perjury and false complaint be made a cognizable offence.6. Section 9 and 10 of Hindu Marriages Act be repealed The provision for Restitution of Conjugal Rights in Marriage laws are redundant and unenforceable on human beings women protection laws as weapons for settling personal scores in marital disputes. A woman cannot be ordered to live with an unwilling husband by a court order and vice-versa, as emotional involvement is required. Ordering human beings to live together is barbaric and against nature which may even results in crimes being committed. The order on judicial separation is equal to divorce for a limited time. In fact if the order is not enforced it a ground for Divorce only.We propose the provisions in Hindu Marriage Act for Restitution of Conjugal Rights and Judicial Separation be repealed.7. Irretrievable breakdown of marriage be made as grounds for divorce No state or court can saddle a woman or a man to live with a practically Dead marriage or a marriage that has broken down beyond repair. The Supreme Court of India had held breakdown of marriages as a ground for divorce and infact recommended to the government to enact the same. We propose including breakdown of marriages as a ground for divorce.8. Make the Provision under Section 21 B of Hindu Marriage Act Mandatory The statue provides for completion of proceedings under Hindu Marriage be completed within Six Months on proceedings be held on a day to day basis. Even the Supreme Court directed framing of rules to fi time frame in this regard. Courts take years, in fact decades to render decisions. Right to life includes “Right to Speedy trial. Youth and Vigour lost due to delay by women and Men can never be restored. We propose the closure of Family Courts and establishment of Family Tribunals through the Country similar to Debt Tribunal or Tax Tribunal to render speedy disposal of Cases9. Ensure the provisions of Family Court Act be followed in its Spirit The mandatory provisions in Family Court Act with regard to Method of recording of evidence, Exclusion of Advocates, Admissibility of Evidence etc are totally breached with impunity. But the provision with regard to “in Camera” proceedings are taken as umbrage and only chamber hearings conducted keeping general public out. The Act provides for speedy for disposal and informal enquiry and trial. TheJudiciary all over the Country abuse these provisions more in breach creating hell for the women and man. None of the Courts High Courts have framed and implemented Rules under the Act even after the NCW has framed a draft rules in this regard. Neither requirements of laware followed nor the recommendations of the NCW implemented and the Judiciary has failed thoroughly. We propose that the Government should establish Family Tribunal and appoint efficient and qualified Members from all walks of life and who can respect emotional equirements of Men and Women in Matrimonial conflictI strongly oppose to give the power of court to NCW and review the Law like Domestic Violance and 498a. Maintenance given to post graduate and graduate wife, which court consider they are unable to earn.
Posted by Ganesh at 11:59 AM

Women’s groups demand action
Anil Anand & Vineeta Pandey
Thursday, March 26, 2009 2:44 IST
New Delhi: Women’s organisations in the country are up in arms against Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for making disparaging comments against Mainpuri district magistrate Ministhy S.
“We don’t take such remarks kindly, whether they are passed by a political leader or a common man. Yadav should have chosen his words carefully. He should be more gender sensitive. The election commission should take strong action against such leaders,” Sudha Sundaram, secretary All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), said.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) said the EC should take immediate action against Singh and stop politicians from making comments or gestures that reflect gender bias. “Singh’s remarks against a woman poll officer were shameful. Since the code of conduct is in place, we expect the EC to take strong action against the SP leader,” NCW member Manju Hembrom said.
In a similar incident last November, Madhya Pradesh tourism minister Tukoji Rao and BJP candidate from Dewas Phool Chand Verma were arrested and jailed for misbehaving with a woman returning officer before the state assembly polls.
Sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Sanjana Jain lodged a complaint against them for obstructing official work and threatening her following a dispute over a poll-related issue. Both were booked under sections 353 and 504 of the Indian Penal Code.

Indian Court Opens Trial on Terror Attacks on Mumbai (Update1)
By Jay Shankar
March 23 (Bloomberg) — An Indian court began the trial of three people charged over last year’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which killed 164 people, as the lone surviving gunman told the court that he’s a Pakistani national.
Mohammed Ajmal Kasab spoke before Judge M.L. Tahiliyani today via a video link from his cell in a Mumbai jail and said he would accept a lawyer appointed by the government to defend him, public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said in a telephone interview from Mumbai.
Kasab is charged with “waging a war against India and murder,” Nikam said. Two alleged accomplices, Sabahuddin Mohammad and Fahim Ansari, who face more than a dozen charges, also appeared via video link. The next hearing will be held on March 30 to examine the appointment of a lawyer.
India has charged 47 people, including 45 Pakistani nationals, with planning and executing the Nov. 26-29 assault. The government in New Delhi has blamed the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba for the attacks and is demanding the extradition of suspects.
The attacks interrupted a five-year peace process between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947.
The trial will shift from the Mumbai court to a courtroom inside the prison where Kasab is held within three weeks, Nikam said. “We have serious apprehension about the security provided to him,” he said.
Public Pressure
“The court must come out with a verdict as soon as possible,” Suba Chandran, deputy director of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, said in a telephone interview from New Delhi. Public pressure for a verdict means the case “should not drag on.”
The trial is expected to be completed in six months, Nikam said.
India alleges that 10 gunmen entered Mumbai on speedboats. Armed with guns, grenades and explosives, they attacked 13 sites across the city, including two luxury hotel complexes, a Jewish center, a cafe and a railway station. Prosecutors filed an 11,280-page charge-sheet last month.
Pakistan last month acknowledged for the first time that its territory was used to plot the attacks and said eight suspects have been charged.
A legal team from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is scheduled to arrive in India within the next two days to hold discussions with Law Ministry officials and will frame its own charges, the Press Trust of India reported. Six U.S. nationals were killed in the assault.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jay Shankar in Bangalore at jshankar1@bloomberg.net.
Last Updated: March 23, 2009 07:33 EDT

Rights group hails upcoming polls as disabled friendly
March 24th, 2009
NEW DELHI – Pleased with the special provisions for handicapped to vote in the upcoming general elections , rights groups Monday said the 2009 Lok Sabha polls have been made disabled friendly.
In a Public Interest Litigation before the polls in 2004, Javed Abidi, convenor of the Disabled Rights Group (DRG) wrote to the Chief Justice of India to make the polling process more disabled friendly.
‘Four years later, I am very happy that the Election Commission has taken steps to make polling booths more accessible to a disabled person, keeping in mind the Supreme Court guidelines,’ Abidi said.
‘One of the important steps taken was the introduction of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) with Braille numerals by the side of the ballot buttons to assist the visually impaired,’ Abidi said.
The Election Commission has also ordered that polling booths will have different queues for handicapped people, and proper ramps to be constructed for easy accessibility. Poll personnel are being sensitised to handle the special needs of handicapped.
‘The Election Commission, in an affidavit, assured us that all these provisions will be put in place,’ Abidi said.
Ravi Verma, who works with an NGO for the visually impaired, added: ‘These provisions will be a big boost to the seven percent disabled population of our country to come out and vote.’

UN High Commissioner visits NHRC
Posted on March 23rd, 2009 in Latest India News
New Delhi, Mar.23 (ANI): The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navanethem Pillay, today visited the National Human Rights Commission of India.
She was welcomed by the NHRC Chairperson, Mr. Justice S. Rajendra Babu.
During her about half an hour stay in the Commission, Pillay held discussions with the NHRC Chairperson, Members and Senior Officers on Human Rights related issues.
She showed keen interest in Commission’s activities in its effort to promoting and protecting human rights.
Pillay appreciated that the National Human Rights Commission of India is paying close attention to Economic, Social and Cultural rights of the people.
Later talking to media persons, she said that the National Human Rights Commission of India is very important Commission for the entire region and not just for India.
She said it should work with other National Human Rights Commissions to form a strong body to protect and promote the human rights of the people.
She also appreciated the fact that the National Human Rights Commission of India asserts its independence from the Government and the NGOs while protecting and promoting the human rights. (ANI)

Highlights of the Election Commission order indicting Varun Gandhi
Mar 22nd, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) The Election Commission Sunday found Varun Gandhi, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee for the Lok Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh, guilty of violating the model code of conduct by creating “feelings of enmity and hatred” between different communities.
Indira Gandhi’s grandson and the late Sanjay Gandhi’s son, Varun Gandhi has been at the centre of a raging storm since Tuesday with a criminal case filed against him for his alleged anti-Muslim inflammatory remarks.
Following are the highlights of the Election Commission order asking the BJP to drop him from the list of candidates:
– The commission considered the speeches (by Varun Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit constituency) as a grave violation of the provisions model code of conduct
– The commission strongly condemns and censures Feroze Varun Gandhi.
– Varun does not deserve to be a candidate at the present general elections.
– The commission cannot impose disqualification on Varun Gandhui and debar him from contesting elections unless he is convicted or held guilty by a competent court of law.
– The commission would be keeping a close watch on the progress in the investigation and would also be taking all legally permissible steps for the expeditious trial of the matter till it reaches its logical conclusion.
– The commission expects that the BJP will deny the party nomination to Varun Gandhi as its candidate
– Any sponsorship of his candidature by the BJP, or any other political party at this election would be perceived as endorsing his unpardonable acts of inciting violence and creating feelings of enmity and hatred between different classes of citizens of India.

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.

Andhra Pradesh Court ruling : Police must file FIR after encounter
By Suresh Kumar
Over the last four decades, the Andhra Pradesh police have killed 6,000 people in fake encounters. Some 2,000 were killed in just the last decade. Yet, no policeman was prosecuted. The reason: the police never book the policemen involved in the encounter. Every time an inquiry by an executive magistrate accepted the police version that the police returned fire after being shot at. Case closed.
Not any more. In a historic judgment on February 6, on a petition filed by the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC), the Andhra Pradesh High Court ruled that the police must file a First Information Report (FIR) every time a death occurs at their hands, and bring the case before a judge. The court said the local police officer’s report would only be an “opinion” and not a conclusive finding. Importantly, the court ruled an executive inquiry won’t be the final word on such deaths.
This ruling is a sterling blow in favour of India’s human rights movement. It is important to quote the five Justices: G Raghuram, VVS Rao, R Subhash Reddy, Ramesh Ranganathan, and G Bhawani Prasad.
“Where a police officer causes death of a person acting or purporting to act in discharge of official duties in self-defence as the case may be, the first information relating to such circumstances shall be recorded and registered as FIR, enumerating the relevant provision of the law, and shall be investigated.
“The existence of circumstances bringing the case within any of the exceptions in IPC [Indian Penal Code], including the exercise of the right of private defence, cannot be conclusively determined during investigation. The opinion recorded by investigating officer in the final report to the magistrate is only an opinion. Such opinion shall be considered by the [judicial] magistrate in the context of record of investigation together with the material and evidence collected during the course of the investigation. The [judicial] magistrate shall critically examine the entirety of the evidence collected during investigation to ascertain whether the opinion of the IO [Investigating Officer] is borne out by the record of investigation. The [judicial] magistrate has the discretion to disregard the opinion and take cognisance of the offence.
“A magisterial inquiry [inquest] is neither a substitute nor an alternative to the obligation to record the information as FIR and to conduct investigation into the facts and circumstances of the case, if necessary to take measures for the discovery and arrest of offenders.”
APCLC filed the case before the High Court after the police killed eight people, including Communist Party of India (Maoist) leader Madhav, in a fake encounter on July 22, 2006, in the Naramalla forests of Prakasam district. Those killed included five women.
The judges, however, said it was “not necessary” to rule on our plea that the policemen who took part in the encounter be named. The Andhra Pradesh police do not mention their names even in the post-encounter reports.
This judgment will change the face of the encounter business in Andhra Pradesh. So far there has been no punishment for the police. In 1996, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) probed six encounter cases brought by the APCLC and ordered that FIRs be registered in five of them. At the time of the NHRC inquiry, police officers would threaten witnesses to discourage them from testifying.
In June 2006, a CrPC amendment said judicial and not executive magistrates shall probe deaths caused by the police. But police all over India refused to put this into practice. The latest judgment will hopefully trigger a nationwide movement to deter the police from killing innocent people.
Kumar is a civil rights lawyer with APCLC. This article appeared in Tehelka, Feb 2009
Conviction is possible even if proof deficient: SC
The Statesman, March 9 2009
The Supreme Court today ruled that conviction of an accused was possible even if evidence though not sufficient was credible and cogent. “It would be open to the court to convict an accused notwithstanding the fact that evidence has been found to be deficient, or to be not wholly credible,” a Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Mukundakam Sharma observed. They said it was the duty of the justice delivering body to separate grain from chaff where it can be separated.
The SC passed the ruling while dismissing the appeal of a person, who along with six others was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a sessions court in Tamil Nadu for the murder of a woman, Prabha. The sessions court had convicted the accused on the basis of the eyewitness account of Murugammal, mother of the deceased who was hacked to death by the accused.The accused came in appeal to the SC after Madras High Court confirmed the sentence for the seven but acquitted one of them. In the appeal before the apex court, the accused took the plea that as seven of the witnesses failed to give sufficient evidence to prove the involvement of the accused and one of the accused had been acquitted, they too were entitled to acquittal under the maxim “falsus in uno falsus in omnibus” (if part of the evidence is unbelievable then the rest should also be discarded).”
The SC, however, rejected their appeal and said the maxim had neither general acceptance nor has occupied the status of rule of law in the country.

Court rejects Ansals’ Uphaar plea
New Delhi, Saturday 21 March 2009: The Delhi High Court has rejected the plea of Uphaar Cinema owners and real estate tycoons the Ansal brothers for handing over to them the cinema hall, which was sealed after a fire tragedy that killed 59 people in 1997.
In their plea, the Ansals stated that they wanted the cinema hall for its productive use.
Rejecting the petition seeking the court’s order on an application they had filed before their appeal was heard by him last year and was tagged along with the appeal, Justice S Ravinder Bhat on Friday said when he pronounced his verdict on their appeal in December last year, neither the accused nor their counsel pointed out to him about this application.
The court asked Ansals to move their application before the apex court for consideration as the matter is pending before it.
Sushil and Gopal Ansal, sentenced to two years in jail by the trial court which was later reduced to one year by the high court, said in their application that the property should be handed over to them as the trial in the fire tragedy case was over. The Ansal brothers are on bail now.(Agency)


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