LEGAL NEWS & JUDGMENT 28/29.04.2009

GHCL bars Pramod Jain from board meet; director contests
http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/ghcl-bars-pramod-jainboard-meet-director-contests/59648/on

Press Trust Of India / New Delhi April 28, 2009, 16:28 IST
Soda ash maker GHCL Ltd has barred its additional director Pramod Jain from attending a board meeting on April 30 saying he ceases to be a member on that day, a claim contested by the official
Jain, who also claims to hold about six per cent equity in GHCL and was appointed to the board on January 30, said that he had submitted to the chairman a post-dated resignation to be effective on April 30, but withdrew it later after finding financial mis-management in the company.
But, GHCL, which has received an adverse interim order from market regulator SEBI last week on discrepancies in promoter shareholding, said the withdrawal of the resignation was not acceptable and the company has acquired a legal opinion on the issue.
When contacted, a GHCL spokesperson said that Jain had resigned “irrevocably” and it could not be withdrawn as per the legal opinion obtained by them from former Chief Justice of India V N Khare.
Jain, on the other hand, said that he has also obtained legal opinion from former CJI R C Lahoti, as per which his resignation could be withdrawn.
The director-shareholder also said that GHCL did not accept the withdrawal of his resignation as he wanted to raise certain issues with the board regarding the irregularities at the company.
Jain further said that GHCL promoters should come out with an open offer to repurchase share from the public shareholders at the same price — Rs 100-125 a share — at which they offloaded their shares last year and brought down their holding from 47-48 % to about 18 %. Shares are currently trading at below Rs 30 a share at BSE.
Jain said that he has also written to market authorities — SEBI, BSE and NSE — about the issue and alleged irregularities in the company.
GHCL is holding probably its first board meeting after the SEBI order on April 30, wherein it would consider the company’s quarterly results.

SC constitutes new pay commission for 14,000 trial court judges
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/SC-constitutes-new-pay-commission-for-14000-trial-court-judges/articleshow/4460533.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0139 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: If the Chief Justice of India and judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts got a three-fold salary hike, should the lowly paid trial court judges be left out? The Supreme Court doesn’t think so. On Tuesday, a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal constituted a new pay commission headed by retired Madras High Court judge, Justice E Padmanabhan, to recommend a suitable upward revision of the salaries of 14,000-odd judges of the subordinate judiciary. The Bench requested Justice Padmanabhan to give a report, if possible, suggeting increased pay-scales for the trial court judges by July 28, when the matter would be taken up again. The process of appointment of the Padmanabhan Commission was speeded up thanks to the undiluted support from amicus curiae and senior advocate Fali S Nariman to the cause of the lower judiciary, which received support from additional solicitor general Mohan Parasaran. This order from the SC came on a petition by All India Judges Association, which said the first judicial pay commission headed by Justice Jagannatha Shetty had said that whenever there was an upward revision of salaries of HC judges, the salaries of lower court judges should also be proportionately revised. It has sought a direction from the court to the Centre to “forthwith appoint a committee of one or more persons to look into the matter” relating to the pay-scales of the presiding officers of the lower judiciary. After getting respectable salaries for himself, SC and HC judges, the CJI had on January 7 talked to TOI expressing concern over the low salaries of the lower court judges. “Their monthly take home is even lower than their counterparts in the executive,” he had said. The first National Judicial Pay Commission (NJPC) headed by Justice Shetty was constituted on March 21, 1996, and it gave its recommendations in November 1999. It had recommended a salary hike that entitled civil judge (junior division) a starting monthly salary of Rs 11,775, civil judge (senior division) Rs 15,200, District Judge (entry level) Rs 20,800 and District Judge (supertime scale) Rs 23,850. But, this was recommended keeping in view the then salaries of HC judges which was fixed at Rs 26,000 a month and that of an HC CJ Rs 30,000, SC judges Rs 30,000 and CJI Rs 33,000. The salary structure for the higher judiciary recently got changed with the government agreeing to revise the salary of HC judges to Rs 80,000, HC CJ Rs 90,000, SC judges Rs 90,000 and CJI Rs 1 lakh. dhananjay.mahapatra@timesgroup.com

PIL filed over Board’s paper assessment issue
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/PIL-filed-over-Boards-paper-assessment-issue/articleshow/4461199.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0301 hrs IST, TNN
AHMEDABAD: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in Gujarat High Court, expressing reservations against the practice of employing Gujarati medium teachers to assess answer papers of English medium students in boards. On basis of newspaper’s reports, Praful Desai of Senior Citizen Service Trust has filed a PIL that claims that due to shortage of teachers in English medium, the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) assigns task of assessment of copies written by English medium students to teachers who teach in Gujarati medium. In his PIL, Desai has claimed that the Gujarati medium teachers cannot do justice to English medium students, and the students suffer in their ranking. He has argued that because of defective assessment those students who manage to score high rank in entrance exams for medical and engineering courses, actually score lower than the Gujarati medium students. The petitioner has also informed the court that he sought information in this regard under the RTI laws, and despite a favourable order by a deputy secretary of the education department, the staffers didn’t provide any data. When Desai complained in this regard before the information commission, the department forwarded an excuse that the staff was over-burdened with exam work. In his PIL, Desai has urged the court to direct the education department to explain what measures it has taken to resolve this issue, so that the English medium students get fair treatment in assessment of their copies of Class X and XII. A report from the education department in this regard has also been sought by the petitioner. When the petition came up for hearing, a division bench of Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi asked the public prosecutor to take necessary instructions from the education department. The court has kept May 13 for further hearing in this case.

PIL against Akhilesh Das
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Lucknow/PIL-against-Akhilesh-Das/articleshow/4461439.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0523 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: The High Court has directed the state counsel to obtain instructions from the state government on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) alleging that BSP candidate from Lucknow Parliamentary constituency Akhilesh Das has acquired 76 acre land from Dalit farmers of Barabanki against rules and used it for commercial purpose. Advocate GC Joshi in his PIL has alleged that Das acquired over 76 acre of agriculture land in Sarswa Simra Saraishekh village in low prices from Dalit farmers by violating Lucknow’s master plan rules and UP Zamindari Abolition and Land Development Act 1950 and got the land transferred to a company owned by his son. Demanding high-level probe into the matter, the petitioner also alleged that Das also violated rules by levelling a pond and constructing his group of educational institutes over it. However, no action has been taken against Das because he is well connected in the government. Joshi also claimed that senior government officers were also involved in the scam, which had resulted in huge revenue losses to the government. The division bench comprising Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Sayyed Nazim Hussain Jaidi after hearing the petition instructed the government counsel to obtain instructions from the state government on the matter. The case has been listed for May 12 for hearing.

Apply Gujarat riot case principle to Sikh riots case: PIL in SC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Apply-Gujarat-riot-case-principle-to-Sikh-riots-case-PIL-in-SC/articleshow/4460532.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0138 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: A day after Supreme Court directed a Special Investigation Team probe into the alleged role of chief minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 post-Godhra communal carnage, a PIL sought to draw a parallel between the Gujarat riots and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots seeking parallel treatment by the judiciary. The petition filed by advocate M S Butalia said the Supreme Court has handled the Gujarat riot cases with singular motive to bring to book the alleged perpetrators of the mayhem and requested it to take up the hundreds of anti-Sikh riots cases pending in various courts for 25 years without there being any justice to the victims and their families. The PIL, filed through advocate Harshvir Pratap Singh, was also categoric that pendency of the anti-Sikh riot cases for 25 years made a mockery of the criminal justice system that should equally protect the victims and the right of the accused for a speedy trial. If the accused are guilty, they should be punished or else they be let off, the PIL said while seeking an independent probe into the anti-Sikh riot cases on the line similar to one being conducted by SIT under ex-CBI director R K Raghavan into the Gujarat riot cases. Referring to the infamous Best Bakery case and the judgment in it, the PIL petitioner said the SC had laid down several guidelines regarding the trial, which was transferred to Mumbai, to be conducted in a free and fair manner. Butalia in his petition pleaded that after a free and fair investigation into the anti-Sikh riot cases, the trial should be conducted by public prosecutors appointed in consultation with the families of the victims. The Supreme Court had on Monday ordered a SIT probe into the alleged role of chief minister Narendra Modi, his cabinet colleagues, BJP MLAs, VHP leaders including Praveen Togadia, and top police officials and bureaucrats on the basis of a complaint filed by Jakia Nasim Ahesan Jaffri, widow of ex-Congress MP Ehsan Jaffri who was killed by a rampaging mob at Gulbarg Society in 2002.

CBI’s decision to withdraw red corner notice against Q challenged in SC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/CBIs-decision-to-withdraw-red-corner-notice-against-Q-challenged-in-SC/articleshow/4459847.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0233 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The CBI’s decision to withdraw the Red Corner Notice against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in the Rs 64 crore Bofors payoff case was challenged in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The challenge came through a hurriedly drafted 18-page application by advocate Ajay Agrawal that was filed in the SC Registry minutes before the court closed for the day. Agrawal moved the application in his PIL, pending since 2006, challenging CBI’s lackadaisical approach in getting Quattrocchi extradited from Argentina, where Interpol authorities had arrested him on the basis of the Red Corner Notice issued at the request of CBI. The PIL has also questioned the manner in which the UPA government had given consent in 2006 to the Crown Prosecution of UK to defreeze Quattrocchi’s bank account, which was lying frozen since 2003 on the allegation that part of Bofors payoff money was deposited there. In his application in the pending PIL, Agrawal requested the apex court to set aside the CBI’s decision to withdraw the Red Corner Notice against Quattrocchi. He has also pleaded that the Red Corner Notice be reissued against the Italian businessman, who should be arrested and produced before the concerned court in India for trial. He said the CBI and the government have done enough “flip flops” on the issue and alleged that both have shown disrespect to the apex court’s orders. Giving an instance, he said despite the January 16, 2006, order directing status quo in the defreezing of Quattrocchi’s London bank account, the government and CBI did nothing to prevent the money from being withdrawn immediately by Quattrocchi. “It is clear from the conduct of the CBI top officials and the government of India that they wanted Quattrocchi to get the frozen money and for that purpose the government sent its law officer to London to facilitate the release,” Agrawal alleged. He also cited the October 7, 2005, unsolicted opinion of additional solicitor general, Kalyan Pathak, who was asked to give an opinion whether or not CBI should appeal against the May 31, 2005, judgment of the Delhi High Court giving a clean chit to the Hinduja brothers. But, he went on to opine that Quattrocchi was not a fugitive and no case against him would stand in the Indian court.

SC asks Centre to appoint committee to solve water crisis
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/SC-asks-Centre-to-appoint-committee-to-solve-water-crisis/articleshow/4460574.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0218 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Observing that those in power had no right to rule if they could not provide things as basic to life as water, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Centre to set up a high-level committee within two months to carry out research on a war footing to solve the problem of water shortage in the country. “We direct the central government to forthwith constitute a committee which shall do scientific research on a war footing for solving the water shortage in most parts of our country because of which our people are suffering terribly,” ordered a Bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and H L Dattu. The order came on a PIL filed by advocate M K Balakrishnan, whose concern was limited to the vanishing wetlands in the country. However, the Bench on March 26 had expanded the scope of the PIL and made it into one dealing with the water crisis in several parts of the country. Quoting poet Rahim on the vital connection between life and water, the Bench said, “The central government is directed to form this committee to address the water shortage problem at the earliest, latest within two months from today. This committee shall have the secretary, ministry of science and technology, as its chairman.” Allowing it freedom to take help of foreign scientists if needed, the Bench said the scientific research should focus on finding out inexpensive methods of converting saline water into fresh water. It should also explore means to harness and manage rain water and “also to manage flood water and research in rain water harvesting, treatment of waste water so that it may be recycled and available as potable water”. It asked the chairman of the committee to give first progress report by August 11 detailing the activities on solving the water crisis.

HC prod for rail bridge
http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090429/jsp/jharkhand/story_10890898.jsp
OUR CORRESPONDENT
Ranchi, April 28: Unhappy with the tardy progress of construction of a bridge over Namkum railway crossing, Jharkhand High Court today asked Governor Syed Sibtey Razi to depute one of his three advisers to look into the matter.
The bench also said that the adviser should furnish a report, identifying which agency is responsible for the delay in construction work. The adviser will have to furnish the report on May 15.
The high court had earlier directed a host of senior government officials, including the Union surface transport secretary, liasoning officer, state road construction secretary and the Ranchi divisional railway manager, to appear in person in this regard. While all the summoned officials, except the road construction secretary, were present today, the court again asked them to appear on the next date when the adviser’s report will be tabled.
The court passed the order while hearing a PIL filed by one Dhananjay Dubey. Dubey had said in the PIL that despite tall claims and assurances of the government, the bridge had not been completed, which was a defiance of the court orders. The court observed that though the money had already been sanctioned and released by the Union government, work had not progressed satisfactorily and there was unnecessary delay.
The railway crossing at Namkum is strategically located and is an important link between the Tata and Purulia roads on national highway.
Heavy traffic plies down the road with army vehicles from the cantonement at Namkum. The road being narrow gets congested and results in long traffic jams affecting commuters, the petitioner said.

Arthur Road closure: HC tells state to have a normal trial and not panic
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/arthur-road-closure-hc-tells-state-to-have-a-normal-trial-and-not-panic/452403/
Express News Service
Posted: Apr 29, 2009 at 0051 hrs IST
Mumbai While hearing a PIL opposing the closure of Arthur Road in the wake Ajmal Amir Kasab’s trial, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday told the authorities that though they should be prepared to deal with terror attacks, they should not panic.
The division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice V K Tahilramani had earlier asked special Judge M L Tahaliyani (who is presiding over Kasab’s trial) to file a report in this matter. The confidential report was handed to High Court on Tuesday. Though the court would pass order on Wednesday, judges underlined that authorities must not go overboard in securing the trial premises.
“Reduce inconvenience (to local people) or shift the trial. Go to some jungle and set up court there,” Justice Nazki said. He added, “We must not give a message that we are frightened. We must have a normal life and a normal trial. There is thin line between preparation and panic. This shows panic.”
“Militants do not strike where you expect them to strike,” the judge said.
PIL was filed by residents and business establishments opposing the closure of Arthur Road to traffic. Petitioners’ lawyer pointed out that though road is closed for traffic, TV channel vans are allowed to park there.The judges then orally said that the vans and platform should be removed although an order to this effect has not been passed.
One half of Sane Guruji road along the jail wall has been closed by police, citing imminent and potential threat to the life of Kasab from terrorist organizations. Also, a platform has been erected for the media near the jail.
The police last week had said that the “underlying motive of contemplated attack is not only aimed to kill accused Kasab but also to scuttle judicial process and to send the signal of insecurity in the country.”
The case will be heard on Wednesday.

Probe anti-Sikh riots a la Best Bakery case: PIL
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/29/stories/2009042955681300.htm
Legal Correspondent
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has been moved for a further probe into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, in which about 3,000 people were killed, on the lines of the directions issued in the Best Bakery case (during the 2002 riots in Gujarat), and for its monitoring the investigation.
The public interest litigation petition filed through advocate Harsh V. Pratap Sharma, sought a direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation to submit a report on the status of the probe so far; and a further investigation after taking suggestions from the victims and their families.
The advocate-petitioner, Manjit Singh Butalia, said that on March 29 information was leaked to the media that the CBI had given a clean chit to certain accused. It appeared that the CBI had not conducted the investigation freely and fairly, he said.
In the Best Bakery case in Vadodara, the petitioner pointed out, the Supreme Court clearly said, “If the state’s machinery fails to protect citizen’s life, liberties and property and the investigation is conducted in a manner to help the accused persons, it is miscarriage of justice that is perpetrated upon the victims and their family members.”
As per the directions issued in the Vineet Narain case, the filing of every charge sheet should be reviewed by the CBI Director but it was not done in the present case, Mr. Butalia said.
The State government should have taken the same measure as had been adopted in the Gujarat riots case for granting proper relief to the victims.

HC suspends Jerath’s sentence
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chandigarh/HC-suspends-Jeraths-sentence/articleshow/4461118.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0440 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Justice Rajive Bhalla of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Tuesday, suspended the sentence of three-year rigorous imprisonment handed down by the special judge, CBI, Chandigarh, to former UT chief engineer KK Jerath on April 10 in a corruption case dating back to January 1998. The orders came in the wake of an appeal filed by Jerath against the CBI court’s order on the grounds that it erred in ignoring independent sources of income of some of the defence witnesses, including his relatives BK Khanna, Kapil Jerath and Savita Jerath, and in adding their income and assets to that of the petitioner. The CBI judge had sentenced Jerath to three-year RI for possessing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income, and directed confiscating of the former CE’s property since his assets, including fixed deposits and jewellery, had come to less than the disproportionate assets amounting to Rs 57 lakh. The court had also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on the convict. However, the court granted bail to Jerath after he furnished bail bonds of Rs 50,000. Jerath?s jewellery had been assessed to be worth Rs 13 lakh and fixed deposits pegged at Rs 12 lakh. The CBI court had observed: Since these assets – fixed deposits, bank accounts and jewellery – were not sufficient, the plot of the convict (Jerath) in Panchkula also stands confiscated and forfeited. The corruption case had been registered against the former chief engineer following a raid by the income-tax department on November 20, 1997, which lead to the recovery of Rs 6.29 lakh from Jerath’s residence and Rs 5 lakh from his locker. Besides, the I-T department also detected property in the name of his wife and his sons. He had documents showing that his wife took music classes from which his earning had increased. The investigating officer had given some benefit to the accused, mentioning that Jerath had received Rs 2.45 lakh from his father-in-law.

Goshalas must give away cattle to women SHGs: HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/Goshalas-must-give-away-cattle-to-women-SHGs-HC/articleshow/4461220.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0337 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the state government to issue a circular to all goshalas in Tamil Nadu, making it clear that instead of auctioning cattle under their care, they should hand them over to women self-help groups (SHGs). The first bench comprising Chief Justice H L Gokhale and Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla, passing orders on a public interest writ petition filed by advocate Elephant G Rajendran, also stipulated that the circular should be sent by the authorities within four weeks. The bench, taking into account the apprehensions expressed by the petitioner, referred to a January 6, 2009 report of the government, and pointed out that the government had taken several decisions to accord best possible care to the animals in goshalas. According to the decision, heads of cattle sent to goshalas would not exceed the latter’s capacity, and that the district collectors would identity religious institutions and recognised women self-help groups to maintain the animals. Another decision talked about handing over these animals to temple priests, who could use the milk for religious purposes. The government had also decided to establish integrated cattle farms in temple lands at Palani, Tiruchendur, Rameswaram, Tiruchi, Salem, Madurai and Thanjavur. In his petition, Rajendran contended that despite several court directions and government decisions, the practice of sending animals to dubious goshalas and slaughterhouses continued in Tamil Nadu. Claiming that starvation deaths of animals occurred at Sri Ranganathan Temple at Srirangam and Ramanathar Temple at Rameswaram, he wanted the court to call for a detailed report from the commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department.

HC refers back death sentence case to lower court
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/HC-refers-back-death-sentence-case-to-lower-court/articleshow/4461089.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0139 hrs IST, Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN
NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Tuesday referred back a petition of death sentence to the lower court citing that the “convict failed to get enough chances to prove his credentials.” Shatrughan Nimbalkar was accused of kidnapping and killing a two-year-old boy in Khamgaon. A division bench comprising justices A P Lavande and P B Varale directed the Khamgaon sessions court to decide the case before August 30. The case pertained to Shubham, son of Shrikrishna Fundkar, a relative of leader of opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Pandurang Fundkar. The child was found brutally murdered under mysterious circumstances on August 28, 2004. A court of additional sessions judge A Z Telgote pronounced capital punishment to Nimbalkar on May 12 last year. Looking into seriousness of the case, the government had even appointed renowned lawyer Ujjwal Nikam as special public prosecutor. Shubham’s killing was earlier believed to be a result of witchcraft as coconut and some other material related to worship was found near the body, but later on it came to light that the murder took place for ransom. After the Khamgaon sessions court’s verdict, the case came before the Nagpur bench for confirmation of death sentence. The bench, while referring back the case, cited three discrepancies in the lower court’s ruling. The high court bench observed that accused Nimbalkar’s statement and documents as well as witnesses testimony based on Code of Ciminal Procedure (CrPC) were not taken into account while giving a ruling. Moreover, out of 14 witnesses, the accused was allowed to cross check only one. Additionally, the death penalty was not based on earlier charges of kidnapping under Indian Penal Code (IPC) which is mandatory as per CrPC. The bench also observed that the accused had full rights to cross check witnesses and examines proofs, but he was not allowed to do so.

HC directs Bar to inspect premises for law
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/HC-directs-Bar-to-inspect-premises-for-law/articleshow/4461219.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0336 hrs IST, TNN

CHENNAI: Clearing the decks for the entry of another private law college in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court has directed the Bar Council of India (BCI) to inspect the premises owned by a Vellore-based trust without insisting on a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the state government. The first bench comprising the chief justice H L Gokhale and justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla, passing orders on an appeal filed by the BCI, however, said the BCI inspection would be subject to the NOC to be issued by the state government and the affiliation to be granted by the law university. The Vellore-based Shri Swarnavinayakar Educational Charitable and Rural Welfare Trust applied for a law college, and later filed a writ petition seeking a direction to the BCI to inspect the premises without an NOC from the state government and affiliation from the law university. After a single judge ruled in favour of the trust, the BCI filed the present appeal. The government, on its part, contended that under Rule 16 of the BCI Rules, an NOC from the government and the law university’s affiliation were mandatory requirements for the BCI inspection. The judges, however, directed the BCI to conduct the inspection within six weeks, and said such an inspection would save time. Clarifying that the order was applicable to this case alone they said otherwise Rule 16 is the procedure to be followed by the authorities concerned.

HC asks for PWD report in sewer case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/HC-asks-for-PWD-report-in-sewer-case/articleshow/4460714.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0355 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: After a TOI report last week that highlighted deaths of sewerage workers due to lack of facilities, the Delhi High Court has demanded a report from PWD in this regard. It has asked PWD that why despite HC orders to provide safety equipment to sewerage workers the situation has not improved. A division bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah took suo moto cognizance of the news report and issued notice to PWD, giving it a month’s time to respond. HC has already issued contempt notices against the top officials of Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Development Authority and Delhi Small Industries Development Corporation on death of their sewerage workers in March. On Tuesday, HC asked the PWD to respond within a month. HC was referring to an incident that took place last week in blocks 59 and 60 at Police Colony when three sewerage workers allegedly fell unconscious due to the toxic gases inside a sewer in the locality. One of them, 25-year-old Vijlesh, regained consciousness and managed to climb out of the sewer. The other two, 30-year-old Vinod and 32-year-old Ajit, eventually drowned. According to the police, despite a 45 minute rescue operation they were not able to save the duo, who were declared brought dead at the Hindu Rao Hospital. The cases of sewer deaths are becoming common. Even after repeated warnings by HC, which had issued a detailed directive asking all government agencies like DJB to provide basic safety equipment to their workers, such mishaps are still taking place. The court had made it clear in its directions that it expects civic agencies not to differentiate between its workers and those sourced in on contract, so that the protective cover against toxic deaths is extended to all. The court also hiked the compensation amount to Rs 2.5 lakhs for every death. When despite these steps deaths occurred, HC issued contempt.

Shirgao mining operation: Environment ministry gets HC notice
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Goa/Shirgao-mining-operation-Environment-ministry-gets-HC-notice/articleshow/4457096.cms
28 Apr 2009, 0234 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Monday issued notice to the Union ministry of environment and forests after making it party to a public interest litigation filed by the villagers of Shirgao who complained of extensive mining operations in the village. A division bench comprising Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice U D Salvi passed the order while hearing an application filed by the villagers of Shirgao complaining of acute water shortage during the summer. The villagers claimed that the reason for shortage of water was the ground water pollution caused by the proximity of mines owned by three companies. It may be recalled that the court had on April 17, 2009, had directed the state government to provide additional water supply to the villagers of Shirgao during the Larai zatra at the cost of the three erring companies — Bandekar Company Pvt Ltd, Chowgule Co Pvt Ltd, and Dempo Mining Co Pvt Ltd. However when the application came up for hearing, amicus curiae Norma Alvares pointed out that though the government was providing additional water supply to the area, it was insufficient to cater to the needs of all the villagers. Advocate general Subodh Kantak replied that the government would take steps to provide additional water supply to the area as directed by the court so that the requirements of the villagers are sufficiently met. The matter will be heard further on June 15.

No HC relief on age bar for LLB course
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1251348
Anshika Misra
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 2:17 IST
Mumbai: Admissions to the three-year LLB course this year may be out of reach for those over 30 years of age. The Bombay High Court on Tuesday refused to grant any relief in a PIL challenging the 30-year age bar introduced by the Bar Council of India (BCI) for the course.
The BCI, which governs standards of legal education in India, introduced a 20 years age limit for the five-year LLB course and a 30 years age bar for the three-year LLB course from this year.
Yasmin Tavaria, a city lawyer and law teacher, filed a PIL challenging the new rule. Tavaria sought a stay on the new rule stating that the BCI had not followed the mandatory condition of consulting the university. However, BCI lawyer Nitin Jamdar told the court that the move was a quality control measure to regulate the entry of persons in the legal profession.
Critics have panned BCIs move stating that there cannot be a bar on education and that several professionals enroll into a LLB course to garner legal knowledge. Tavaria sought a stay on the rule stating that colleges had to start printing their admission prospectus and if a stay was not granted then it would lead to chaos during admissions. Refusing interim relief, the HC clubbed Tavaria’s petition along with another petition filed by a lady constable challenging the same rule. Both petitions will be heard in June.

New court complex: HC to decide on GMADA, state row
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/new-court-complex-hc-to-decide-on-gmada-state-row/452425/2
RAGHAV OHRI
Posted: Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 at 0108 hrs IST
Chandigarh:
The ongoing dispute between the Punjab government and the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) over the construction of new district courts complex in Mohali will now be decided by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Despite sanction and clearance of land for the judicial and administrative complex in Sector 76, no construction has been started till date. It has been over six months since nod to the construction was given by the authorities concerned, including GMADA Chief Administrator and Mohali Deputy Commissioner, but no development has taken place on ground.
The GMADA blames the delay on the state government claiming the government has not even submitted a written proposal demanding transfer of land. On its part, the Punjab government says they have already sent the proposal to the departments concerned after which they will be sent to GMADA.
The issue was brought before the Building Committee, which comprises of High Court judges. Representatives from both the sides were called by the members of the committee to resolve the dispute.
Keeping in view the ongoing tussle, the committee has reportedly referred the case to the judicial side for settlement. The case will now be listed before an appropriate Bench with the Punjab government and GMADA opposite parties in the case.
Available information suggests the dispute had also arisen since GMADA officials had demanded market price for the land earmarked for the court complex. The Punjab government had, however, expressed its inability to pay the market price for the land.
Denying, Vivek Pratap Singh, Chief Administrator, GMADA stated: “We have never made any such demand. We are charging the institutional price which is barely ten per cent of the market price. Moreover, there is no delay on our part. We are ready to transfer the land to the Punjab government the moment they deposit the money for the land. But the Punjab government has not even submitted a proposal before us demanding transfer of the land.”
On the behalf of the Punjab government, P S Mand, Deputy Commissioner, Mohali said: “Proposals for the transfer of land have already been sent to the Financial Commissioner and Home Department. We got a little busy with the elections but the needful will be done within a short while.”

Allahabad High Court to decide NSA charge on Varun Gandhi
http://www.headlinesindia.com/politics-news/celebrities/allahabad-high-court-to-decide-nsa-charge-on-varun-gandhi-9786.html

Lucknow: The judicial fate of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Varun Gandhi will be determined by the Allahabad High Court today afternoon when the state advisory board takes a final call on the National Security Act (NSA) that was slapped on him by the Uttar Pradesh government earlier this month.
The meeting of the board is slated to be absolutely confidential. Sources, however, confirmed that Gandhi would appear before the board at 3.30 p.m.
The three-member board is headed by Justice Pradeep Kant, senior judge of the Lucknow bench of the high court, and includes two retired high court judges.
As the ultimate statutory authority on the NSA, the advisory board has the right to approve or revoke the government order invoking the act against Gandhi, the BJP candidate from the Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
The verdict of the advisory board is final and if it chooses to revoke the NSA, Gandhi would be set free with immediate effect. The law does not permit any NSA detenu to be accompanied by a lawyer before the advisory board. However, one person is free to join him.
Gandhi was charged for making highly inflammatory anti-Muslim utterances during his poll campaign in Pilibhit. (IANS)

Trace missing child, HC tells crime branch
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Trace-missing-child-HC-tells-crime-branch/articleshow/4456950.cms
28 Apr 2009, 0410 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday asked the crime branch to trace the four-year old son of an Ulhasnagar resident, who was allegedly kidnapped by her husband.
“We have to verify if the child is all right,” said a division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Rajesh Ketkar while hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Priti Chhug (26). Priti approached the HC after her husband Bunty Chhug absconded with their son Sujal on November 14, 2008, after a family court awarded her custody of the child. Bunty’s father and brother, who are in the powerloom business, were present in court and said they didn’t have any knowledge of his whereabouts. “Our police will find him (Bunty) wherever he flees,” the judges warned. “We will not hesitate to even order the CBI to trace him.” Additional public prosecutor Vithal Konde-Deshmukh said the Ulhasnagar police had handed over the probe papers to the crime branch.

Gradmom’s drive to get girls back gets HC pat
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1251048
Anshika Misra
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 3:30 IST
Mumbai: Kisabai Lokhande’s desperate fight to bring back her two granddaughters who went “missing” from a children’s remand home in Satara got support from the Bombay High Court on Monday.
Lokhande, a 66-yer-old illiterate vegetable vendor from Karad, had filed a petition in the HC seeking the court’s intervention to get back her granddaughters, aged 14 and nine, who now reportedly stay with their adoptive parents in Spain. Lokhande has sought a probe against the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), the Central Adoption Resource Centre (CARA), a Spanish NGO and Preet Mandir, a Pune-based private adoption agency, for illegally declaring the two girls “destitute” and executing the inter-country adoption without their guardian’s consent. “This is nothing short than kidnapping,” Lokhande’s lawyer Pradeep Havnur told the court.
“We are worried about such adoptions. There are allegations of malpractice. Such cases are on the rise,” observed Justice Ranjana Desai, who heard the matter along with Justice RG Ketkar. The court has issued a notice to CARA,the central agency for inter-country adoptions and summoned a senior cop to the court on May 6.
The petition hints at a global adoption racket where agencies connive to get children declared as destitute, and adoption agencies receive money in the guise of donations for processing international adoptions. Lokhande has alleged that her granddaughters were declared “destitute” without her consent or knowledge.

Madras HC stays order on Subhiksha liquidation
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1251074
Sreejiraj Eluvangal
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 3:48 IST
Mumbai: Embattled retail chain Subhiksha said the Madras High Court has granted its appeal for staying an earlier order appointing a provisional liquidator in a winding-up petition filed by Kotak Mahindra Bank.
The bank, one of the 13 financial institutions which have exposure to the 12-year-old retail chain, had broken ranks with others and filed a winding up petition against Subhiksha in the Madras High Court four weeks ago.
The banks are negotiating with Subhiksha to explore the possibility of an easier repayment schedule on the Rs 800 crore worth of loans they have advanced to the company.
Kotak Mahindra, which is estimated to have an exposure of Rs 40 crore to the chain, alleged that Subhiksha’s case was not of normal bankruptcy but one of siphoning off of funds by the promoter, R Subramanian. The single judge had appointed the provisional liquidator before Subhiksha presented its arguments in court.
Subramanian, who is trying to resuscitate the closed down discount store, pointed to the stay on operations of the liquidator as vindication of his argument for more time. “It is pertinent to note that this stay has been granted only after hearing the counsel representing Kotak Mahindra Bank and after considering their representations,” he said on the stay order.
Kotak Mahindra Bank did not confirm whether the earlier order had been stayed or not.
The court had earlier asked Subhiksha to submit all its accounts for the last three years for scrutiny by the liquidator by April 27. It was not clear whether that order was also stayed.
Subramanian has maintained that he is trying to raise around Rs 300 crore to restart the operations and it was premature to wind up the company now.

HC wants probe into Gehlot land transfer
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/HC-wants-probe-into-Gehlot-land-transfer/articleshow/4453333.cms
28 Apr 2009, 0748 hrs IST, TNN
JAIPUR: With just over a week to go before the May 7 polls in the state, Rajasthan High Court on Monday directed a city court to start proceedings in a case of land allotment involving chief minister Ashok Gehlot. The high court also quashed the order of the trial court passed in February this year whereby it had refused to order a police investigation into the alleged land scam and had taken unto itself the work of investigation under Section 200 of the CrPC. Though Justice R S Rathore of the high court did not explicitly direct the trial court to order a police investigation in the case, it has asked the court to follow the direction given by the high court itself in the case of one Babulal last week in which the court had made it clear that in cases of a private complaint being filed by an individual under Section 156(3) of the code of criminal procedure, the trial court has no other option but to refer the matter for police investigation. The police, in turn, has to file an FIR before the investigation. An inference is now being drawn that an FIR shall be ordered to be registered against Ashok Gehlot and four others. The high court was hearing a criminal revision petition filed by Krishan Kumar Bharadwaj, a local resident, against a previous order of the additional chief judicial magistrate No 2 of the city.

Maidan: HC rejects DYFI plea
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Maidan-HC-rejects-DYFI-plea/articleshow/4457199.cms
28 Apr 2009, 0238 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court, on Monday, refused to buy the DYFI (CPM’s youth wing) plea that it had no role to play in the damage done to the Maidan during its rally on December 20, 2008. Reacting to a submission that the damage had been done by caterers and hawkers, the division Bench of Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice T K Dutt observed that if an organisation brings out a rally and there is a violation of court orders by others, it does not have the right to hold any such programme in future. The court was hearing an appeal filed by environment activist Subhas Datta against violation of the court orders on protection of the Maidan by DYFI during its rally. In its report to the court, submitted on April 2, the army claimed that DYFI had violated the court orders and that it was not in favour of such programmes being held at the Maidan. DYFI, on the other hand, in its affidavit submitted on April 9, claimed that the army’s allegations were baseless as there had been no violation of the court orders. The outfit referred to a Kolkata Police report, which stated that the violation had been committed by caterers and hawkers. The court expressed displeasure at the police’s inability to enforce its orders of September 28, 2007, and May 8, 2008. Through those orders, the court had restricted activities within a three-kilometre radius of the Victoria Memorial Hall. One of the strictures was against lighting of open fires at the Maidan. The court had also forbidden digging up of the Maidan for any purpose. “We had fixed responsibility and had confidence but police failed. They simply expressed helplessness,” the judges said regarding the police reaction. “You had organised the rally. If you had no control over the goings-on there, you should not hold such programmes. If any violation takes place, you are responsible. You cannot avoid it. You ought to have detected that cooking and other violations are taking place. For such offences, those responsible should have been handed over to police. That you did not do. Now, you take the plea that outsiders violated the court orders during the rally. For, the caterers did not come on their own. They must have been there at the behest of the organizers,” the Bench told DYFI. Datta submitted that violations were taking place on a regular basis and reports and photographs were appearing in newspapers. He prayed to the court to set up a watchdog committee, comprising officers of the army

and police. The court reserved its order on the matter.

File SEZ pleas by May 7, HC directs petitioners
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/File-SEZ-pleas-by-May-7-HC-directs-petitioners/articleshow/4457127.cms
28 Apr 2009, 0242 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Monday directed all advocates appearing in petitions relating to special economic zones (SEZs) in the state to finish filing and exchanging their pleadings by May 7, 2009. A division bench of Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice U D Salvi made it clear that “no further adjournments would be granted”. They further suggested that the petitions could be taken up for final disposal in June this year. The court was hearing petitions filed by six SEZ promoters who have challenged the show cause notices issued by the Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC). The notices direct the promoters to stop work and revert the land allotted to them by the state government, in view of a change in the state’s SEZ policy. The promoters Meditab Specialities Pvt Ltd, Peninsular Pharma Research Centre Pvt Ltd, Paradigm Logistic & Distribution Private Ltd, Planetview Mercantile Company Pvt Ltd, Inox Mercentile Company Pvt Ltd and Maxgrow Finlease Pvt Ltdhave pleaded in their petitions that as they have invested heavily in the SEZ projects, they suffered huge losses due to the stop work orders issued by the state government. They prayed that the notices be quashed. Goa Industrial Development Corporation had acquired about 3.8 million sq m of land across the state to set up SEZs. Following large scale opposition from locals to the special economic zones in 2007-08, the state was forced to rethink its policy and subsequently issued show cause notices through the GIDC. Meanwhile, the court will, on May 7, also hear various public interest litigations filed by the villagers of Keri, Sancoale and Verna challenging the GIDC’s decision to allot land in their respective villages on lease agreements for SEZs. The villagers have complained that the land was allotted fraudulently and without public involvement in the land allotment process.

Cover Sonsoddo site with tarpaulin, HC directs MMC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Cover-Sonsoddo-site-with-tarpaulin-HC-directs-MMC/articleshow/4457128.cms
28 Apr 2009, 0242 hrs IST, TNN

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PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Monday directed the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) to cover the Sonsoddo garbage site immediately with tarpaulin before the commencement of the monsoon, to prevent leachate from flowing out. A division bench of Justice B P Dharmadhikari and U D Salvi was hearing the public interest litigation filed by NGO Goa Foundation, who prayed that the court direct the MMC to treat the piling garbage at Sonsoddo. Advocate for the petitioner, Norma Alvares, pointed out that the government had allotted Rs 3 crore to the MMC to set up the landfill site at Sonsoddo. However, the money was lying unutilized, she told the court and pleaded that the MMC be directed to ensure that the site is covered with tarpaulin before the monsoon to prevent the garbage from being washed away. “The leachate would ultimately result in groundwater contamination,” she argued. Advocate S D Padiyar, appearing for the MMC, told the court that the monitoring committee appointed by the government to ensure proper utilization of funds to manage the site, had still not taken a decision on the matter. He further informed the court that the MMC chief officer, who is also the convenor of the committee, will have to convene a meeting on the issue. The bench subsequently, directed the MMC to immediately cover the site with tarpaulin and also directed the chief officer to convene a meeting to decide the allotment of funds to purchase the tarpaulin. The court further ordered the MMC to submit a report of the meeting on May 5.

Settle I-T dispute out of court: HC tells Jet, Sahara
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/News-By-Industry/Transportation/Settle-I-T-dispute-out-of-court-HC-tells-Jet-Sahara/articleshow/4457272.cms
28 Apr 2009, 0139 hrs IST, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Monday advised Jet Airways and Sahara India Commercial Corporation to resolve their dispute over an income tax liability out of court. Justice DY Chandrachud expressed hope, while hearing a separate application by Jet, that both the parties would sit together to sort out their differences over the issue. Jet and Sahara are fighting a legal battle over an income tax payment. The origin of the dispute dates back to April 2007. Jet had agreed to buy Sahara Airlines for Rs 1,450 crore, but paid about Rs 900 crore. The remaining amount of Rs 550 crore was to be paid in four equal installments. One of the clauses in the agreement between the parties stated that if there was a tax liability of over Rs 50 crore for the period before the filing of consent terms, the same would have to be borne by Sahara. When a tax liability of Rs 107 crore arose, the Jet paid only Rs 100.50 crore as the first installment after deducting the tax liability in March last year, to which Sahara did not raise any objections. However, when Jet did the same in March this year, Sahara claimed a default of Rs 37 crore. The High Court
will hear the case on Wednesday.

State healthcare system: Submit fresh report by May 4, HC tells panel
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/State-healthcare-system-Submit-fresh-report-by-May-4-HC-tells-panel/articleshow/4457097.cms
28 Apr 2009, 0237 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa has directed the panel of comissioners appointed to study the state’s healthcare system, to submit a fresh inspection report by May 4 with regards the availability of infrastructure in government hospitals and primary health centres (PHCs). The order was passed on Monday after amicus curiae, senior counsel Saresh Lotlikar, pleaded for extra time for the commissioners to file the report. The division bench of Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice U D Salvi were hearing a public interest litigation filed by Prakash Sardessai last year. The petitioner has complained that the state’s healthcare system is below the prescribed standards. He has alleged that the hospitals are understaffed and that some departments function in an inappropriate manner. Subsequently, the court appointed a team of commissioners to visit the state’s healthcare facilities to examine the allegations made. On July 4, 2008, the commissioners submitted a detailed report highlighting the pathetic health facilities in the state. During the hearing of the matter on December 15, advocate general Subodh Kantak filed a chart detailing the infrastructure available in government hospitals and PHCs. The government also submitted the various steps it proposed to remove the defects and deficiencies in the system. On January 20, the court directed the commissioners to verify whether the steps proposed by the government had been put into action.

HC relief for real estate group Lok in IT issue

http://www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/559812/National/1/20/1
Published: April 28,2009

Mumbai , Apr 27 The Income Tax department has decided not to continue the attachment of 20 properties of city-based real estate company Lok Housing and Construction Ltd, the Bombay High Court has been told.
Lok had challenged the attachment, but following the department&aposs statement, High Court disposed of the case.
The I-T department had attached Lok properties and seized its bank accounts for non-payment of tax dues to the tune of Rs 98.42 crore
But as per the Income Tax Act, if such attachment is not extended, it ceases to have effect after six months. Last week, department&aposs lawyer told the court that attachment would not be extended.
The attached properties included Lok&aposs upcoming projects in Mumbai suburbs and lands. The property seized was valued at about Rs 210.67 crore
Lok had disputed the assessment done by IT department, saying that recession had hit it hard and taxable income was much less than the department&aposs calculation.
Several deals for sale of under-construction flats could not materialize because of recession, Lok said.
In view of its cancelled deals, tax liability for 2007-08 and 2008-09 would be around Rs six crore as against IT department&aposs demand of Rs 98.42 crore, it had said.
Source: PTI

Media should not interpret judgements: CJI
http://cricket.expressindia.com/news/Media-should-not-interpret-judgements–CJI/451382/
Agencies
Posted: Apr 26, 2009 at 1942 hrs IST

Guwahati: Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan asked the media not to interpret courts’ judgements, observing it leads to ‘distortion’ of facts.
“Very often it has been observed that media reports project a distorted version of the facts and the judgements delivered by the courts,” Balakrishnan said.
Addressing a workshop on “Reporting on court proceeding on media and administration of justice” and “Implementation of national rural employment guarantee scheme”, he asked the media to report court proceedings ‘correctly’ so that common people are not deprived of justice.
Urging the ‘senior editors’ to intervene and ensure that “wrong versions of judgements” are not reported, the CJI said there should be some “moral bindings” on journalists while reporting court proceedings.
“The media is the Fourth Estate of democracy and so they have to behave responsibly and work for the development of the society and the people,” Balakrishnan said.
The CJI had a word of praise for the NREGA and said the scheme has been an instant success and helped in a big way in employment generation.

NREGA implementation Onus on Govt, NGOs, says CJI
http://newsonnortheast.blogspot.com/2009/04/nrega-implementation-onus-on-govt-ngos.html
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Staff ReporterGUWAHATI, April 26 – Chief Justice of India Justice KG Balakrishnan today said that onus is on the Government, administration, volunteers and the non-government organisations (NGOs) to effectively implement the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), 2005 in the North-east, which would go a long way in improving the condition of the rural population in the region. “If these forces work sincerely to ensure proper implementation of the Act, it would give a new boost to the rural employment scenario of the region,” he stated. Justice Balakrishnan also stated that proper implementation of NREGA in States like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala are showing good results and there is no reason why the same cannot be replicated in other parts of the country, including the NE.Balakrishnan was speaking during the inaugural session of a workshop on ‘Reporting of Court Proceeding by Media and Administration of Justice’ and an interactive programme on ‘Implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme’ here at the Administrative Staff College, Khanapara.“There are still some minor problems cropping up like delayed payment of wages which need to be sorted out but the good thing is that the women population of the country are availing the benefits of the scheme, which strives to ensure employed to rural unemployment youths for at least 100 days,” he pointed out. Dwelling on the issue of media reporting on court proceedings, the senior justice urged the mediapersons to be responsible, fair and accurate while reporting on legal affairs.“The mediapersons do enjoy special rights but they at the same time need to draw a line while dealing with sub judice and confidential matters,” he stressed, adding that the media, especially the visual media, by resorting to ‘sensationalisation’, at times knowingly and unknowingly, deprives the accused of a fair trial.“There are also chances of the judges, especially those with comparatively lesser experience, getting influenced by the media reports, which would not be right. Media should work with the judiciary to protect rights of both the victim and the accused,” the Chief Justice of India opined.“The Press Council of India also has a role to play in this regard and the media in the present scenario must work to empower the rural people,” he added. The seminars were also attended by Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court Justice J Chelameswar, Justice GN Ray, chairman, Press Council of India, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, judge, Gauhati High Court, besides several noted personalities. ASSAM TRIBUNE

Verdict in Ramabai Nagar firing case adjourned to May 5
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Ramabai-firing-case-Verdict-on-May-5/articleshow/4454755.cms
27 Apr 2009, 1458 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: The judgement in the 1997 Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar firing case has been adjourned till May 5 after the main accused filed an application seeking adjournment on health grounds. Advocate for prime accused State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) officer Manohar Kadam, M Pawar, today filed an application on behalf of the police officer seeking an exemption from appearing in the court since he was not well. Kadam is accused of having ordered indiscriminate firing on a Dalit mob in north east Mumbai on July 11, 1997 in which 10 persons were killed and 25 injured. The mob was protesting against the desecration of an Ambedkar statue. The prosecution argued that considering the gravity and sensitivity of the case the judgement should be delivered today and the accused should be summoned to court through a non-bailable warrant. However, additional sessions judge S Y Kulkarni said considering the accused’s regular attendance in the past he can be exempted and the judgement will be delivered on May 5.

Court quashes appointment of JSEB chairman
http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090428/jsp/jharkhand/story_10884947.jsp
CHANDRAJIT MUKHERJEE
Ranchi, April 27: Jharkhand High Court today quashed the appointment of H.B. Lal as the chairman of the Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB).
Declaring it illegal, the court in its order also questioned the role of the state in selecting Lal, who is 90 years old, for a second term as the JSEB head, ignoring rules for appointment to government posts.
A division bench of Justices M.Y. Eqbal and Jaya Roy said that the state should constitute a committee of JSEB officials to select the most suitable candidate.
It said government posts should be filled after inviting applications in general and then selecting the most eligible candidate on the basis of merit alone. However, in case of Lal, the state was rather hasty and did not follow the rulebook, it added.
Talking to The Telegraph, Lal said the judgment was not proper. “I will appeal to the Supreme Court against the order. I have been appointed again on the basis of merit and there is nothing wrong with it,” he said.
Lal’s appointment came under scanner after one Sahodar Lal Mahto filed a public interest litigation (PIL) stating that the nonagenarian was incapacitated by age and was not the fittest candidate to head the organisation. Moreover, the PIL said that Lal had already retired from active service and could not take the post.
The division bench in its 22-page judgment said that the high court had on earlier occasions, too, observed that retired persons should not be re-appointed to the state power board.
Instead of appointing those superannuated, opportunity should be given to others to prove their mettle, the court had said.
Flouting the order, the state not only appointed Lal, who retired in 1978, as the chairman for the first time in 2004, but several other retired persons in different capacities in the JSEB.
The petitioner also pointed out that Lal was notified of his second tenure on September 17, 2008, the same day the appointment order was issued. This is against the rule. The usual procedure is to notify a person at least a week after the order is issued.
Defending its stand, the state said that Lal had been appointed for a second time because there was no other candidate to match his qualification and experience. It maintained that no rule had been violated.
Besides quashing Lal’s appointment, the court also directed the state to implement the Electricity Act, 2003, by June 15. The act warrants division of the power board.

SC dismisses PIL on Sidhu case

http://www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/559605/Delhi/1/20/Z
Published: April 27,2009

New Delhi, Apr 27 The Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL challenging the suspension of conviction of BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu in a road rage death case to contest Lok Sabha election.
The court also pulled up the petitioner for filing a”frivolous”PIL and said it was not maintenable.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan was so anguished with the conduct of the petitioner Hanuman Tripathi that it even had imposed the cost of Rs 10,000 on him.
However, later it withdrew the cost after his lawyer S K Tripathi repeatedly pleaded that the court should not be that harsh on him.
Before withdrawing the order of cost, the Bench reminded him that in the past also, he had been filing frivolous PILs and wasting the time of the court.
“You have been repeatedly filing such frivolous petitions,”the Bench said.
Source: PTI

Injuring woman in cops firing HC asks State to reply within 6 weekshttp://www.e-pao.net/GP.asp?src=7..280409.apr09
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, April 27 2009: In connection with a police firing incident at Imphal last year which left a woman injured, Gauhati High Court today issued notices to the State respondents asking them to reply within six weeks.The notices of the Court followed a writ petition filed by one Kumudini Devi, a vegetable vendor who sustained bullet injury on her right foot after State police commandos resorted to indiscriminate firing while she was doing business at the crowded Keishampat junction on July 20 last year.Kumudini had filed the writ petition under the initiative of Imphal unit of the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) .In her writ petition, Kumudini said two unknown youths were killed in the said incident.However, the police commandos while submitting report on the incident to the Officer-in-Charge of Imphal Police Station did not mention anything about causing injuries to her.The petitioner further said that she had spent over Rs one lakh while undergoing treatment of the bullet injuries on her right leg at hospitals in Imphal for over 45 days but her right foot has become permanently disabled.On October 10, 208 Kumudini had submitted a representation to the Deputy Commissioner of Imphal West claiming compensation/ex-gratia and demanding punishment of the police commandos responsible for causing injuries to her.Three days later she submitted a similar representation to the Principal Secretary (Home) claiming Rs two lakh as compensation.But she had not received any response to her representations.After hearing the writ petition today, the Court headed by Justice UB Saha issued the notice of motion to the State respondents asking them to reply within six weeks.The listed State respondents include Principal Secretary (Home), Director General of Police and Superintendent of Police ( Imphal West) .

Rights activists rope in NHRC, NCW
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chandigarh/Rights-activists-rope-in-NHRC-NCW/articleshow/4411926.cms
17 Apr 2009, 0009 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Alleging that police is not performing its duties well, a battery of local human rights activists moved the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Commission for Women (NCW) and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in the Pushpa death case. The 14-year-old domestic help was found dead under mysterious circumstances at her employer’s Fair Deal Housing Society flat in Panchkula on Tuesday. The pleas were filed against state government, Haryana DGP and SP under provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act. Claiming that police was not ready to take action against the culprits, the petition stated, “The police station is just 100 yards away from the place of incident, still cops reached the spot after 45 minutes.” Regarding the protest, the petition said, “The public reaction was a result of police’s callous attitude. Cops mounted pressure in order to sweep the issue under the carpet.” Advocate Arvind Thakur, one of the complainants, said, “The state and police authorities are violating public?s human rights at large. They are taking advantage of non-existence of human rights commission in Haryana.”

CIC issues show cause notice to NCW
http://indiarti.blogspot.com/2009/04/cic-issues-show-cause-notice-to-ncw.html
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The CIC has issued a show cause notice to the National Commission for Women for not providing information to an RTI applicant within the mandatory period stipulated under the RTI Act. “The NCW is in the habit of delaying furnishing of information and also not responding at all to RTI requests,” Information Commissioner Annapurna Dixit said in her order. Asking the Chief Public Information Officer of NCW to explain why a penalty of Rs 250 per day should not be imposed on him for not replying to an application, Ms. Dixit said there was an urgent need to streamline the functioning of the organisation.

NGOs posing as rights groups flayed
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/NGOs-posing-as-rights-groups-flayed/articleshow/4452498.cms
27 Apr 2009, 0202 hrs IST, Julie Mariappan, TNN
CHENNAI: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has come down heavily on non-government organisations (NGOs) for using the words ‘human rights’ in their names in a manner that would suggest that they represent the commission, thus misleading the public. In its order last week, the SHRC recommended that the state government make it mandatory for all societies (registered as well as unregistered) to mention clearly in English and in Tamil that they are private organisations’ and not to use human rights’ on their signboard, letterheads, visiting cards or in any correspondence. The SHRC direction comes in the wake of a complaint filed by R Karthikeyan of Vadapalani. The complainant alleged that many organisations used the phrase human rights commission/organisation’ as a prefix or suffix to their names and thus cheated innocent people and collected money. Also, members of the organisations used the phrase to coerce government officials to act on illegal demands. Taking serious note of the violations, SHRC’s chairperson, justice A S Venkatachalamoorthy, directed the director general of police, inspector general of registration and all district collectors to take action against societies or body of persons posing as representatives of SHRC or the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). SHRC also recalled similar complaints received in the past, which pointed to human rights activists or organisations indulging in unscrupulous activity. Recently, three real estate brokers had posed as SHRC members and tried to extort Rs 3 lakh from an export firm owner. They were, however, arrested. Following discussions with the inspector general of registration, joint secretary of the public department and additional director general of police, SHRC directed the state government to ensure that the names or emblems of either NHRC or SHRC were not used by NGOs on name boards, signboards, letterheads, visiting cards or in any other from of communication. According to SHRC, necessary provisions must be made in the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975, to deal with cases where registered or unregistered societies carry the words human rights’ along with their names. Many such organisations operate from other states but open branches in Tamil Nadu and include the words human rights’ in their names to circumvent the provisions of government rules and regulations. Against SHRC’s recommendations, the TN government has now to submit an action taken report within three months.

SIT report leak, betrayal of trust: Supreme Court
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/22/stories/2009042260801100.htm
Legal Correspondent
“In a way, report is charge sheet; copies not given to all”
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed concern at selective leakage of the Special Investigation Team’s report on the Gujarat riot cases in the media, while reserving verdict on a batch of petitions filed by the National Human Rights Commission and others.
A Bench consisting of Justices Arijit Pasayat, P. Sathasivam and Aftab Alam took on record the suggestions given by the amicus curiae, the NHRC, the Gujarat government and Citizens for Justice and Peace. The court had stayed the trial of over a dozen cases following the demand for a CBI probe. The SIT was appointed by the court to probe afresh 10 relatively gruesome incidents that occurred during the 2002 pogrom.
When senior counsel Indra Jaising complained about a news item (relating to social activist Teesta Setalvad) in an English daily, quoting excerpts from the SIT report, Justice Pasayat said: “The SIT report is in a way a charge sheet given to the Supreme Court. That is why we have not given copies to all. We gave copies only to the State of Gujarat and the amicus curiae.”
Justice Pasayat showed counsel copies of the SIT report given to the court still in sealed covers. “If anybody has given a copy or access of the report [to the newspaper] he has betrayed the trust of this court. We don’t approve of this. We deplore this…”
“Irresponsible”
Justice Alam said: “Whoever did it, this is grossly unjustifiable. It should not have been done. It is a grossly irresponsible act and we feel ashamed.”
Ms. Jaising accused the Gujarat government’s senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi of divulging the contents of the SIT report to the electronic media. “I am entitled to speak to television channels,” Mr. Rohatgi retorted. However, Justice Pasayat cautioned him not to mention anything selectively about the report.
Earlier, Harish Salve, amicus curiae, stressed the importance of continuing with the SIT and taking directions from the Supreme Court from time to time. Justice Pasayat indicated that the SIT would continue to function.
Mr. Salve pleaded for vacating the stay on trial in these cases and establishment of fast track courts in Gujarat to conduct the trial on a day-to-day basis.
His submission said supplementary charge sheets would have to be filed in each of the cases as the SIT had found further material. A team of prosecutors must be appointed to conduct the trial, for which senior judicial officers should be appointed. It would be helpful if some of the SIT officers were available to assist the public prosecutor.
Witness protection
Mr. Salve said there must be a programme to ensure safe passage for witnesses to and from the court precincts, provide security to them in their residences and relocate them in another State wherever the need arose.
The SIT “would continue to function and carry out any investigations that are yet to be completed, or any further investigation that may arise in the course of the trials. The SIT would also discharge such functions as have been cast upon them by the order as may be made by the Supreme Court,” Mr. Salve said.

NHRC seeks status report of probe into Anara case
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=HomePage&id=3fb320ba-fd69-4a00-a561-2b8342ef21b4&Headline=Anara+case%3a+NHRC+seeks+status+report+of+probe
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, April 19, 2009
First Published: 12:30 IST(19/4/2009)
Last Updated: 13:34 IST(19/4/2009)
NHRC has directed Jammu and Kashmir police to submit status report of the investigation in the sensational porn-video case of 2004 allegedly involving former Miss Jammu Anara Gupta.
The Commission also asked the state police chief to submit, by middle of May, a copy of the order of the Jammu Chief Judicial Magistrate which had rejected the final investigation report submitted by the Crime Branch in the matter and had directed for “further investigation” of the case by a SIT.
The rights panel directed the state police to “transmit” a copy of the final investigation report of the Crime Branch along with annexures which it had submitted in the CJM court.
“Before proceeding further in the matter, the Commission would like to see the final report submitted by the Crime Branch… And the order passed by the CJM, Jammu, thereon,” the NHRC order said.
“The Commission would also like to know about the status of investigation being made by SIT,” it said while hearing the sensational case that came to light in 2004.
The case registered against Anara and some others for making of a pornographic film was investigated by the Crime Branch and the final report was submitted in the court.
Another case was registered in 2007 against some police officers on complaint of Anara, who alleged illegal detention. In this case, J&K Police have informed NHRC that the case registered in 2004 has been “closed as challan”.
NHRC was not satisfied and had sought clarifications, saying the state police had not indicated the circumstances leading to the constitution of the SIT.
Responding to this, J&K Director General of Police Kuldip Khoda said final report submitted by the Crime Branch in the 2004 case had not been accepted by the Jammu CJM and the SIT had been constituted in compliance of directions given by the court.

SC order Cong conspiracy, claims Modihttp://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090429/main3.htm
Dinesh Kumar writes from Ahmedabad
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi used the CBI decision to withdraw the red corner notice against Ottavio Quattrocchi to break his silence on the Supreme Court’s order for a probe into the BJP leader’s alleged role in the 2002 post-Godhra riots by painting himself as a victim of political vendetta alleging that the apex court’s verdict was “a Congress conspiracy”.
“The Supreme Court has remembered me. The Congress wants to send me to jail. What should I do?” Modi asked the public. He then went on to say, “About 15 days ago (Congress Union Minister) Kapil Sibal said that Modi should be prepared to go to jail. The Supreme Court has now tightened the noose on me. What does it mean? Has the Congress conspired against me?” He raised these doubts while addressing an election rally in the milk town of Anand.
In an attempt to whip up emotions, Modi then went on to declare “Italy’s brother is being released whereas the country’s son is being jailed”.
Modi tried to portray that his arrest would weaken the fight against terrorism. “The Congress is trying to put me behind bars. But this will not stop me from fighting terrorism. I am not worried about my future but I will not bow down to terrorism,” he said.
Interestingly, by afternoon, BJP workers and sympathisers had begun trying to whip up sympathy for the BJP leader by making it look like a son-of-the-soil Indian versus Sonia Gandhi’s Italian origin. A bulk SMSes sent out at 4.21 pm by Parag Seth of the BJP read “Gujarat ke bete ko jail aur Italy ke bhai ko bail” (Gujarat’s son is being jailed while Italy’s brother is being given bail).
But whether or not such measures will translate into votes for the BJP in Gujarat will only be known when the election results are announced.

Illegal abortion: 10-year jail for doctor couple http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090429/punjab.htm#12
Rajneesh Lakhanpal
Ludhiana, April 28Dr Sharan Kaur and her husband Dr Avtar Singh of Guru Ram Dass Hospital, Field Ganj, Ludhiana were sentenced to 10 years in jail by Additional Sessions Judge Kishore Kumar . The court also ordered them to pay fine of Rs 1,000 each.
The couple was caught while conducting illegal abortion of Baljinder Kaur of Ashok Nagar, near Jallandhar bypass. The prosecution had also claimed to have recovered the 12 to 14- week foetus from their possession, allegedly aborted by the doctor couple. The police had raided premises of the couple on a complaint of then Family Welfare Officer Dr Manorma Avasthi.
The woman had changed her previous statement recorded with the police. She had stated in her statement before court the accused did not conducted her abortion. Actually, she had gone to Field Ganj for buying some clothes. There she had pain in the abdomen. Then she went to the hospital of the accused for getting treatment. When she was entering the hospital of the accused, she aborted and there was no fault of the doctor couple.
The accused had pleaded innocence,accusing Dr Manorma Avasthi of implicating them as they failed to bribe her. It was alleged the complainant used to demand money but they did not pay and faced harassment.

Amritsar Sex ScamFormer mayor seeks quashing of FIR http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090429/punjab.htm#18
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 28Amritsar’s former mayor wants the first information report (FIR) in Amritsar sex scam to be quashed. He has claimed political malafides as the grounds for the same. The FIR was registered initially under Sections 406, 420, 506, 386 and 120-B of the IPC. The offence of rape under Section 376 was added later.
In his petition placed before Justice Rajan Gupta, Subhash Chander Sharma claimed his name did not figure in the FIR. It was only mentioned that the city’s mayor was caught with a girl. During investigation of the case, however, no evidence was found against him. He added the implication in the case due to political considerations had ruined his political career.
As the petition came up for hearing, Justice Gupta recused himself as he was the CBI’s standing counsel prior to his elevation as a high court judge. The petition has now been forwarded to the Chief Justice for placing it before some other Bench.
The FIR was registered on June 3, 2006, after Justice Ajit Singh Bains of Punjab Human Rights Organisation, and his team, carried out investigations in the matter. They had come to the conclusion that the representatives of a cable firm were paying money to the police, the political leaders and other, besides supplying girls. In lieu, the powers that be were helping them in their illegal work.

Plots in GurgaonHUDA asked to hold mini draw of lotshttp://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090429/haryana.htm#25
Saurabh MalikTribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 28The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to hold a mini draw of lots for providing alternative sites to allottees not delivered possession of plots in Gurgaon.
Taking up a bunch of eight petitions by Air Marshal Loreto P Pereira (retd) and others, Justice Surya Kant observed: “The petitioners are successful allottees/re-allottees of plots in different Sectors of HUDA at Gurgaon. The possession of the allotted plots could not be delivered to them for one or the other reasons.
“Some of them have been offered alternative plots, which due to their disadvantageous locations are not acceptable to them. Their grievance is alternative plots ought to have been allotted by holding a limited draw of lots in terms of the policy decisions taken by the HUDA on September 15, 2004, and February 15, 2007.
“Some of the petitioners have also challenged the re-allotment of alternative plots to the private respondents by alleging various irregularities…. During the course of hearing, standing counsel for the HUDA states in order to obviate the hardship of those allottees/re-allottees, who are clamouring for allotment of alternative plots, the HUDA authorities have no objection in holding a limited draw of lots for re-allotment of the available plots.
“The stand taken on behalf of the HUDA is acceptable to counsel for the petitioners. Counsel for the private respondents also has no serious objection provided that the mini-draw of lots is held without loss of time”.
Justice Kant added: “These writ petitions are disposed of with a direction to the HUDA authorities that all available plots, including those already been allotted to the private respondents, be pooled together and put to a limited draw of lots, which shall be confined to all those allottees/re-allottees, who are eligible for allotment of alternative plots in their respective categories.
“The previous allotments made in favour of the private respondents are accordingly set aside, as they will be entitled to fresh allotments in the manner, directed above. The mini-draw of lots shall be held under the supervision and control of Dipti Umashankar, IAS, DC, Gurgaon, who is requested to donate some time for this public cause. The mini-draw of lots shall be held as early as possible but not later than two months.
HUDA counsel states this is a one-time concession and may not be taken as a binding precedent.”

HC rejects plea of dismissed BSF jawan http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090429/j&k.htm#13
DS Chauhan
Jammu, April 28Declining to interfere with the verdict of Summary Security Force Court (SSFC) directing dismissal of petitioner from service, Justice JP Singh of the J&K High Court at Jammu, dismissed his petition seeking quashing of findings and verdict of the SSFC on a charge under Section 21 (1) of the BSF Act, 1968.
Raj Kamal Sudan, a BSF jawan, was dismissed from his service on August 31, 2001, pursuant to the verdict of the SSFC on a charge that he had shown wilful defiance of authority and lawful command given by his superior, sub-inspector Darshan Lal, to proceed to post at FDL Jungle.
The petitioner questioned the findings and verdict of the SSFC on grounds that he was unaware about the nature of the proceedings being not conversant with English language. Neither the petitioner was not given any opportunity of hearing before amendment of charge nor was informed about the plea of guilt or its effect as contemplated by the BSF Rules.
Justice JP Singh while declining to interfere with the verdict of the SSFC observed: “Records demonstrate compliance of all rules which respondents were required to follow while proceeding against the petitioner. There is no material on records in support of petitioner’s plea that he was not made to understand the nature of proceedings that had been held against him.
On the other hand, the records reveal that petitioner pleaded guilty where after the Commandant directed recording of evidence which was attended by petitioner saying that he would not cross-examine the witnesses or make his statement when provided opportunity in this behalf by the officer recording the evidence.
The court observed: “The petitioner has signed a certificate appended to the proceedings which negates his plea that he was unaware about the nature of the proceedings. Proceedings held by Commandant 59 Bn. of the BSF specifically record that officer holding trial has been duly affirmed in terms of rules and the trial has been attended both by witnesses as well as by BK Mohanty, Deputy Commandant, friend of the accused.
Justice JP Singh: “After going through records of the SSFC, trial proceedings, which carries the records of the recording of evidence and hearing of the petitioner on the Offence Report, I do not find any infirmity in the trial of the petitioner and pleas raised by the petitioner in the writ petition are not found substantiated.”

Ragging DeathJudicial custody of accused extended http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090429/himachal.htm#14
Our Correspondent
Kangra, April 28Judicial Magistrate (First Class) Avinash Chander Sharma at Kangra today extended the judicial custody of four students of Dr RP Government Medical College, Tanda, who were involved in the ragging incident that allegedly led to the death of first-year student Aman Kachroo, for three days. They would be produced in the court on April 30.
The four accused, Ajay Verma, Naveen Verma, Abhinav Verma and Mukul Sharma, facing the murder charge under Section 302 of the IPC were presented in the court.
Public prosecutor Pankaj Dhiman said copies of the 194-page charge sheet prepared by the police were today handed over to the accused in compliance of Section 207 of the CrPC.
The charge sheet names 37 witnesses, including faculty members, police officers and relatives of Aman.
The final post-mortem report, which is in conformity with the preliminary autopsy report that Aman died due to head injury, is also annexed with the charge sheet.

CCI to be functional soon http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090429/nation.htm#8
Yoginder GuptaTribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 28The newly-constituted Competition Commission of India (CCI), which will ultimately take over some of the functions currently being looked after by the Monopoly and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission, will start functioning in full earnest within a fortnight.
Stating this here today its chairman Dhanendra Kumar, a former Haryana cadre IAS officer of the 1968 batch, said the appellate tribunal, which was essential under the Competition Act, would be shortly set up. The union department of company affairs would also soon notify relevant sections of the Act, after which the commission would start its job.
Dhanendra Kumar, who took over as CCI chairman after the completion of his term as executive director of the World Bank, said post-liberalisation after 1991, it was felt that the objective of the MRTP Act, 1969, to curb monopolies had become obsolete. Pursuant to the recommendations of the high-level Raghavan Committee, the Competition Act was enacted to align the Indian with the market-based economy.
He said the commission would prevent practices adversely affecting competition. It would promote and sustain competition in the Indian markets and ensure freedom of trade to protect the interests of the consumers and enterprises. The commission, the role of which was primarily semi-judicial, would have an overarching influence on all sectors of the Indian markets.
Kumar said the Competition Act was an improvement over the MRTP Commission, which remained a paper tiger as it had insufficient penal powers. Unlike the MRTP Act, the Competition Act was a comprehensive legislation bestowing sufficient powers for investigation of cases contravening the Act and impose penalty on the lawbreaker. He said the commission would have a director-general to investigate the cases of cartelisation. The commission had the power to initiate action against any violator suo motu.

Polls: It is wiser for judges to defer cases with political overtoneshttp://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090429/edit.htm#4
by Fali S. Nariman
THE TRIBUNE’s front page report (April 28) saying that under directions of the Supreme Court (April 27) the Special Investigation Team (already appointed by it) has been now directed to investigate a complaint against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his Cabinet colleagues that they had aided and abetted mob violence in the Godhra Riots of 2002 is certainly delayed justice. Chief Minister Modi has much to answer for what happened in those tragic times. But I am extremely disturbed at the impression the order gives of the image of our Supreme Court as an independent arbiter of disputes.
If the order had come one month before or one month after April 27, 2009, I would have loudly applauded. But why now? Are our judges playing politics? The answer is: No, they are not. But in a country governed by the rule of law, reasonable people must never be left under the misguided impression that they are trying to!
Gujarat will go to the polls in a couple of days, and what two judges of the country’s highest court have said in the April 27 order will certainly influence people as to how they will cast their vote.
Public memory is short but just two years ago, in March 2007, another Bench of two Judges of the Supreme Court had directed a CBI inquiry against the Chief Minister of another state (UP), Mulayam Singh Yadav. This was in a PIL filed by a Congress party sympathiser. That order, too, was singularly ill-timed because the UP Assembly elections had just been announced — to be held in May 2007. The presiding Judge retired a few days later and was appointed by the government of the day as Chairman of the Law Commission. He deserved to be so appointed but bloody-minded people wagged their malicious tongues.
All this does little credit to the Supreme Court of India as an institution.
As a lawyer I recommend a precedent worthy of emulation by all the judges of our highest court. When a contempt petition had been filed against Prime Minister Narasimha Rao in respect of the Babri Masjid case, and the matter came up for hearing, many years later before a Bench presided over by Justice S.P. Bharucha (not yet Chief Justice), it was pointed out to the Court that the case was motivated only in order to embarrass Narasimha Rao at a time when elections were round the corner.
It was also suggested that many years had elapsed since the demolition of the Babri Masjid, and, therefore, whether a contempt case should be proceeded with or not raised serious questions of law and propriety. However, counsel for the petitioner — my distinguished friend Rajeev Dhawan — told the judges that he was prepared to answer all legal questions immediately, and the court must deal with the case. But the presiding judge on the Bench, imbued with much wisdom, merely said in a speaking order that “in the light of all the circumstances” (a beautifully evasive phrase frequently used by courts when they want to be imprecise) “it will be more appropriate to adjourn the case beyond the elections.”
Justice Bharucha made it plain that he did not want the Court to be dragged into any political controversy. The right approach. As Shakespeare would have said: “A Daniel come to judgement.”
The writer is a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India.

Varun deposes before HC
http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=2&theme=&usrsess=1&id=252661
LUCKNOW, April 28: Mr Varun Gandhi today appeared before the Advisory Board of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court in connection with the state government slapping the National Security Act on him. Mr Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party nominee from the Pilibhit Lok Sabha seat, is out on parole for 15 days, granted by the Supreme Court, to allow him to campaign before election in held in Pilibhit on 13 May. The Uttar Pradesh government had invoked the NSA against Mr Gandhi because of his alleged “hate” speeches delivered in Pilibhit on 7 and 8 March. He came to court today around 4 p.m. for an in-camera proceeding. Earlier, BJP supporters gave a rousing welcome to Mr Gandhi on his arrival in the city by helicopter. He was escorted to the party headquarters where he addressed the gathering. n SNS

‘Will go to jail if found guilty’
http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=2&theme=&usrsess=1&id=252662
PTI & SNSAnand, April 28: A belligerent Gujarat chief minister Mr Narendra Modi today said he was ready to go to jail if he was found to be involved in the 2002 riots in the state and accused Congress of hatching a conspiracy to put him behind bars.In his first public response to the Supreme Court order yesterday directing the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe his alleged role and also of his administration in aiding and abetting the riots, Modi said he was not afraid of going behind bars for the people of the land.“After three months I might be in jail. But people of Gujarat should remember one thing, that Modi will live for Gujarat and die for Gujarat,” he said at a poll rally here. The Supreme Court had ordered the SIT probe “within three months” into a fresh complaint regarding the post-Godhra riots.“If people ask me if you want to go to jail or gallows, then I will say I want to be hanged so that I can be reborn again to serve my Gujarat,” Mr Modi said, adding, “there are conspiracies against me to send me to jail.”Mr Modi said: “Union minister Kapil Sibal had given a threat that if I did not stop talking against Congress I would end up in jail.”“Just after 15 days the order has come from the Supreme Court. What does this mean?. This is a Congress conspiracy to send me behind bars,” Mr Modi said. “On the one hand a foreign relative of Sonia (Gandhi), Quattrocchi has been given a clean chit by CBI. Everybody knows who controls CBI. On the other hand conspiracy is formed to sent me, who is the son of Bharat Mata, to jail,” he added.“To my Congress friends, I want to say that you have dialled the wrong number. You can scare the world not me. It has been seven years and everytime there is election, games are played to target Modi,” the chief minister said.“Inspite of all this, I will not stop my fight against terrorism. Delhi Sultanat can keep me any jail but nobody will be able to stop me,” Mr Modi added.Taunting Mr Sibal, the BJP leader said if there is no space in the existing jails in the country “create a new one for Modi.”“Modi is ready to spend his life in jail, But I am strong in my decisions,” he added.In New Delhi, the CPI-M has welcomed the Supreme Court’s directive to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the role of the Mr Modi, and his Cabinet ministers and top officials, in the 2002 riots in the state. Calling the directive a “welcome step, though a belated one,” the CPI-M said it was now imperative that the SIT investigate the complaint and submit their conclusions within the three-month timeframe set by the court. “It is shameful that the BJP continues to defend those responsible for the carnage in Gujarat,” the party said. Talking about the Sri Lanka situation, the CPI-M said the Sri Lankan government’s decision to halt combat operations using heavy weapons and airplanes was welcome. “This should open the way for the rescue of the tens of thousands of the Tamil civilian population who are still in the war zone. The LTTE has to stop holding the people by force and facilitate their safe passage,” the party Politburo said.

Kasab not a juvenile
http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=2&theme=&usrsess=1&id=252652
Statesman News Service MUMBAI, April 28: A panel of four doctors with government-run Sir JJ Hospital today submitted their medical test report of captured terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab in the special court of judge Mr ML Tahilyani suggesting that the main accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack is not minor and should be above 20 years of age. At the previous hearing, the judge had ordered necessary medical tests like ossification and dental to determine whether or not Kasab was a juvenile as was argued by the defence lawyer Mr Abbas Kazmi. Mr Kazmi wants the case to be tried under Juvenile Justice Act in a juvenile court as he claimed the Pakistan-trained terrorist was minor as on 26/11. The medical team headed by Dr Nandgaonkar of Sir JJ Hospital had done bone-marrow and dental tests on Kasab and inferred that the results suggested his age above 20. Dental test determined growth of “wisdom tooth” which was positive in this case. Bone marrow test (marrow is a soft fatty substance inside human or animal bones) further reinforced the already drawn conclusion. Chief prosecutor Mr Ujwal Nikam examined two witnesses to buttress his contention that Kasab was above 20 years of age. First, he questioned Dr Venkataraman Murthy of the Nair Hospital where Kasab was taken after his arrest on the midnight of 26-27 November. Dr Murthy said that the accused told him his age as 21. Next, Ms Swati Sathe, superintendent of the Arthur Road Jail deposed before the court that when Kasab was brought to the jail he gave his date of birth 13 September 1987 and confirmed he was a native of Pakistan. Ms Sathe also told the court that the accused asked her permission to make a call back home to Faridkot which she rejected since it was against the jail manual. Two more witnesses, CMO of Nair Hospital and medical record controller are likely to appear in the court. The defence lawyer, Mr Kazmi, however, insisted that Kasab should be re-examined by doctors from private hospital. He argued the report by Sir JJ Hospital’s department of forensic sciences could not be accepted at its face value and was not foolproof. The next hearing in the case is due on 2 May.Smiles the accusedMUMBAI, April 28: Showing no sign of tension, prime accused in Mumbai terror attack case Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab smiled throughout the court proceedings today as two witnesses testified that the terrorist was 21-years-old and not a juvenile as claimed by him. As the jail superintendent showed records to point out that Kasab had given his age as 21 years when he was brought to the Arthur Road prison, the accused gave a broad smile and did not show any signs of discomfort or tension. n PTI

Undertrial attempts suicide in Alipore Court
http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=22&theme=&usrsess=1&id=252729
KOLKATA, April 28: A 29-year-old undertrial prisoner, who was arrested on charge of possessing banned narcotic substance in 2007, attempted suicide by slitting his throat with a blade inside the Alipore Court this afternoon.The undertrial, Mr Budhiya Das, a resident of Kedarnath Chatterjee Road in Behala, took out a blade from his mouth and injured himself when on trial in the court room of the fourth additional district judge of Alipore Session Court around 3.15 p.m., said a police officer. Mr Das was arrested in Thakurpukur on 28 June, 2007 for allegedly carrying banned narcotic substances. He was booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act. He has been languishing behind the bars in Alipore Central Correctional Home since the trial began. The police officer said that Mr Das was produced before a judge around 3.15 p.m. today. He took a blade from his mouth and injured himself in front of the judge who was hearing the case. Some of those present in the courtroom quickly overpowered Mr Das and handed him over to police. He was immediately taken to SSKM Hospital with minor injuries in the throat and chest, said the officer. Following treatment, he was taken back to Alipore Correctional Home. n SNS

Court directive in favour of Raju’s family
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/29/stories/2009042958750100.htm
Legal Correspondent
HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh High Court Judge Justice L. Narasimha Reddy on Tuesday directed the officers of Sub Registrar not to interfere with the lawful transactions pertaining to the properties of the family members of Satyam Computers former chairman Ramalinga Raju.
These interim orders were passed while hearing a writ petition filed by Raju’s family members. The petitioners said that the higher officers of Stamps and Registration Department have issued a memo asking the local Sub Registrars not to entertain any documents pertaining to properties of Raju’s family members. The petitioners said there is no power under the relevant statute to issue such sweeping orders.

Subscribers welcome TRAI direction on Value Added Services
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/29/stories/2009042960880700.htm
M. Dinesh Varma
Telecom operators instructed to maintain transparency and clean up their VAS portfolios within 45 days
Move in response to user complaints of inadvertently subscribing to services
For VAS offers, service provider should obtain consent of subscriber before activating service
CHENNAI: Mobile subscribers and consumer rights campaigners on Tuesday welcomed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) order directing all telecom operators to maintain transparency in Value Added Service offerings.
TRAI’s instruction to service providers, including BSNL and MTNL, to clean up their VAS portfolios within 45 days of its order comes in response to large-scale user complaints about inadvertently subscribing to services they did not need in the blitz of hello tune, outbound dialler call (an automated call from the operators during which different tunes are played to attract the user) and other special offers.
The direction states that in all cases of subscription to VAS offers through “pressing of star key or other keys,” the service provider shall, subsequent to the pressing of the key by an interested user, convey to the subscriber in writing or through SMS/fax/email details of the VAS scheme.
The information should include terms and conditions and applicable charges as well to obtain explicit consent of the customer through telephone/SMS/fax or email prior to activation of the service.
TRAI has also directed service providers not to activate chargeable services during a customer-initiated call to a third party unless the subscriber’s consent had been obtained. The order also states: “Music or video related value added services such as caller ring back tune, background music, wallpaper etc; shall not be provided, even if it is free of charge, without taking explicit consent of the consumer in the above manner.”
The order follows a survey of 22,009 subscribers, which found that 24 per cent of respondents had stated that they had not given explicit consent for activating VAS offers. “These practices need to be streamlined with proper opt-in approach…” the order said.
Welcoming the order, consumer activist T. Sadagopan said its implementation would provide immense relief to mobile subscribers.
“However, we need to see how effectively operators implement these instructions.” He also suggested that TRAI’s contact details be displayed in monthly bill statements and at customer service centres.
The order has also been hailed by a cross section of subscribers, who had complained about unauthorised activation of a paid service – some were even aggrieved that the tunes were inappropriate with their social stature.
TRAI’s move is to eliminate user complaints claiming accidental activation of caller ring back tunes through the facility of “Press star to copy hello tunes” without their explicit consent.
The regulatory body’s assessment showed that almost all operators offered this service where a pre-recorded song plays out before the called party answers.
TRAI noted that most service providers induced users while dialling numbers of those who already use hello tunes by resorting to “pre-call” announcements. It is also possible that a customer may not have listened to the announcements fully or understood them before pressing the activation key.
Such examination of complaints revealed that there was a likelihood of consumers accidentally or unintentionally subscribing to such services by pressing the star button.
The body also noted that the process of customer consent vide an earlier order of October 30, 2007 had not been complied with.
A BSNL official said the move was welcome even from a service provider’s perspective as it removed room for users to activate a service and then claim that it was accidental.

PIL plea dismissed
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/29/stories/2009042960960800.htm
MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here on Tuesday dismissed a public interest litigation petition filed by an advocate to restrain political parties from canvassing votes in the ongoing Parliamentary election campaign by highlighting the tribulations faced by Tamils in Sri Lanka.
A Division Bench, comprising Justice S.K.Krishnan and Justice M.Venugopal, declined to entertain the case stating it did not find any merits in the petition. The judges said it was open to the petitioner to approach the Election Commission of India. — Staff Reporter

Judge transferred
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/29/stories/2009042950400200.htm
Rajampet III Additional District Judge K. Manjusri has been transferred as the Judge of SC/ST Court in Vizianagaram, according to Rajampet Bar Association

High Court summons SVU registrar
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/29/stories/2009042951510300.htm
Special Correspondent
TIRUPATI: Andhra Pradesh High Court has issued orders directing Registrar of Sri Venkateswara University, here to appear before the court immediately in connection with a contempt case.
The High Court order comes in the wake of a contempt of court case which it admitted on Monday. The SVU’s deputy executive engineer in his petition has inter alia alleged that the university had failed to implement the High Court orders directing it to relieve the executive engineer (in-charge) of the post on the ground that he was not ‘competent’ to hold the same. Following the High Court orders, Registrar Y. Venkatrami Reddy on Tuesday rushed to Hyderabad with all the relevant papers.

We will hear urgent matters, says SHRC
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/29/stories/2009042960370400.htm
Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: The Karnataka State Human Rights Commission has said the commission will not be closed during the vacation period but hear all urgent cases.
In response to a report that appeared in these columns on April 28, SHRC public relations officer M.C. Poonacha said during the vacation between April 28 and May 22, the commission will hear urgent matters on the notified dates.
The commission will not remain closed and there will not be any temporary break from its duties, he has said.

Ousted math head back with court order
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/29/stories/2009042953080300.htm
Staff Correspondent
Devotees feel he has tarnished the institution’s image
They staged a dharna seeking his removal
Vow to fight against him through the courts
BELLARY: Kampli town in Hospet taluk was tense on Tuesday when devotees of the Kal Math opposed Gurusidda Swami, the religious head, from re-assuming charge of his duties.
According to sources in the district administration, the devotees and the executive committee members of the math were opposed to the swami continuing as the religious head as his image had been “tarnished”. The swami, armed with a court directive, sought to enter the math premises, but many devotees and members of the executive committee stood outside opposing his entry.
The Kampli police, along with the Hospet tahsildar, intervened and tried their best to prevent the situation from getting out of hand. The officials told the devotees that the swami had obtained a court order and could go inside the math to perform his religious duties. The devotees and committee members dispersed when the authorities urged them not to create a law and order problem. They were told to approach the court instead and get the injunction stayed.
Arvi Basavanagouda, chairman of the executive committee, told The Hindu that Gurusidda Swami was anointed in 2004 by his senior.
After the latter’s death, the swami allegedly behaved in a manner that brought disrepute to the math. The devotees asked him to leave the premises. He left the math, but came back with a court injunction.
Mr. Basavanagouda, while stating that he would not be allowed to continue as the religious head, made it clear that the committee would fight the case in court.

Kerala policemen released on bail
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/29/stories/2009042959640300.htm
Staff Correspondent
MANGALORE: All the eleven reserve policemen of Kerala, who had been arrested on Saturday at Panambur beach, have been released on bail here on Tuesday.
The reserve policemen from Kerala had been arrested on charges of misbehaving with women and the locals at Panambur beach. The Panambur police personnel confirmed the release of 10 constables and one head constable by the JMFC second court.

Court tells police to file affidavit
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/29/stories/2009042955120600.htm
Kidnap of panchayat member
Abducted panchayat vice-president produced in court
Court seeks steps taken to trace him
Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court, on Tuesday, suo motu impleaded the Circle Inspector (CI), Pullpally, Wayanad, as a respondent and directed him to file an affidavit regarding the steps taken to investigate the complaint lodged by the wife of the abducted vice-president of the Poothadi grama panchayat, V.N. Saseendran.
The Bench passed the directive when Mr. Saseendran was produced before the Bench comprising Justice P.N. Ravindran and Justice P.R. Ramachandra Menon. The court also directed the CI to state the steps taken by him to trace Mr. Saseendran. The Bench directed the police to produce Mr. Saseendran before the magistrate court concerned. The CI was directed to file the affidavit before May 5.
The court had earlier directed the Superintendent of Police, Wayanad, to trace and produce Mr. Saseendran on a habeas corpus petition filed by his wife, Vijayamma.
When produced in court, Mr. Saseendran told the Bench that he was forcibly taken away by A.V. Jayan, T.B. Sureshkumar and P.S. Janardhanan, all CPI(M) activists. He was kidnapped from the panchayat in a van and beaten up. He lost his mobile phone. They released him in Koduvalli town at 7 p.m. on Monday. He told his wife about his release over the phone and went with the Circle Inspector of Police, Pulpally, who reached there. He was not produced before the magistrate court concerned as the High Court had already issued a directive to trace and produce him before it.
The Bench recorded the statement of Mr. Saseendran.
He was allegedly abducted a few days before the Left Democratic Front-ruled Poothadi grama panchayat was to take up a no-confidence motion against its president. Mr. Saseendran who was elected to the panchayat on LDF ticket had joined the Congress recently. In the 21-member panchayat, the LDF’s strength was reduced to 10 after Mr. Sasi joined the Congress two months ago. The 11-member Congress-led United Democratic Front then moved a no-confidence motion.
The motion was adjourned for lack of quorum when it was taken up for discussion on April 27.

Writ against order on retirement
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/29/stories/2009042954730500.htm
Kochi: A writ petition has been filed before the High Court challenging the government order on extending the service of the government employees and teachers who retire during the course of the final year till the end of the financial year.
The petition was filed by Kunjachan, Section Officer, General Administrative Department and another person. According to them, the government order modified the statutory rule prescribed in Part-I Rule 60(a) of the Kerala Service Rules. As per the rule, the date of retirement should take effect from the afternoon of the last day of the month in which a government servant attained the age of 55 years.
Thus, the statutory rule was now sought to be modified by an executive order. The order also referred to the budget speech for 2009-10 in which it was stated that effecting promotion and transfer at the beginning of the financial year contributed to efficiency but the existing retirement system stood in the way of such reform. The budget had not been debated in the Assembly. The legislature would express its will to alter a statutory rule only when it was discussed. The statutory rules could not be overridden by executive order or practices. The petitioners said that the government had decided to amend the rules did not mean that the rules had been modified. Besides, the executive order did not have any reason for modifying the rules.

Bail for 12 policemen
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/29/stories/2009042953980400.htm
Mangalore: Twelve police personnel from Kerala who were arrested on the charge of attacking tourists on the Panambur Beach in an inebriated state, were granted bail by a local court on Tuesday. Magistrate Manjunath granted bail to the accused. — PTI

High Court stay on phone towers
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/29/stories/2009042958040400.htm
Staff Reporter
Petition by residents of Nehru Enclave
“Poses a health hazard to people living in its vicinity”
“Causes noise and environmental pollution as well”
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed further installation of cellular phone towers at Nehru Enclave in South Delhi on a petition by a group of local residents arguing that it would pose a health hazard to people living in its vicinity.
The petitioners through their counsel Manjit Singh Ahluwalia submitted that electro-magnetic waves emitted and vibrations caused by the tower led to diseases like cancer and hypertension and health problems like dizziness and nausea.
Mr. Ahluwalia submitted that children and pregnant women were particularly susceptible to the health hazard.
“The electro-magnetic waves and vibrations have detrimental and irreversible effects, particularly on pregnant women and children,” the petitioners submitted.
The petitioners further stated that since the tower was run on diesel, it caused noise and environmental pollution as well.
There was also risk of damage to life and property from the tower in case it fell, the petitioners submitted.
Besides seeking a stay on further installation of towers, the petitioners also sought removal of the installed towers in the colony.
Justice S. Ravindra Bhat also issued notices to the Delhi Government, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and cellular phone operators asking them to file replies to the petition by July 20.

NDPL settles cases in Lok Adalat
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/29/stories/2009042958080400.htm
NEW DELHI: Power distribution company North Delhi Power Limited settled over 900 cases at the one-day “Lok Adalat” held over the weekend at the Delhi High Court premises.
The Lok Adalat was organised jointly by NDPL and Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee for settlement of pending cases, disputes or grievances pertaining to power thefts, misuse charges, dues against disconnected electricity connection and restoration of disconnected connection.

Lawyers to boycott work
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/29/stories/2009042958120400.htm
NEW DELHI: Lawyers of district courts here decided to abstain from work on Wednesday in protest against alleged “arrogant and unwarranted” action of a judicial officer who ordered police to take their two colleagues into custody.

HC respite for Ghatkopar hospital in Metro project
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/HC-respite-for-Ghatkopar-hospital-in-Metro-project/articleshow/4461284.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0701 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court offered relief to a hospital trust against acquisition proceedings by the MMRDA for the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro Rail project and the Andheri-Ghatkopar Link Road projects. Sarvodaya Hospital, situated on an eight-acre plot in Ghatkopar, came under a demolition and relocation threat when the MMRDA began acquiring land for the Metro rail project. In response to a petition filed by the hospital trust, a bench comprising Justices P B Majmudar and R M Sawant asked the MMRDA to maintain a status quo and to consider the representations made by the trust, which is seeking compensation of Rs 2,000 per sq ft or alternate land and transferable development rights (TDR) for loss of land and hospital building. Milind Sathe, H Ganatra and Meenaz Mechant, advocates for the hospital, said the MMRDA had issued notice last year to acquire 9,000 sq metre of land and 87,000 sq ft of the existing hospital building. “The hospital caters to thousands, mainly those suffering from tuberculosis. Despite several representations to the MMRDA and the state to provide alternate land or TDR or to realign the metro-rail route, there was no response. The only alternate was to move court for relief,” the lawyers said. The matter will now be heard on May 5. The MMRDA and the state government will have to inform the court if it is possible to accept the hospital trust’s suggestions.

Give number of flats, HC tells Parsi Panchayat
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/Give-number-of-flats-HC-tells-Parsi-Panchayat/articleshow/4461276.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0653 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande , TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Tuesday directed the Bombay Parsi Panchayat (BPP) to state the number of flats it has in Mumbai that are available for allotment to needy persons in the community. The court also directed the Panchayat to file an affidavit stating the number of such flats that had been allotted since December 2006 and those that the body could not allot for “whatever reasons”. The court also said no further action can take place on the issue of allotments. The next hearing is on June 19. These queries were posed by a bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Amjad Sayed after intense arguments on a petition centred around allotment of flats to a list of 104 poor members of the Parsi-Irani community in Mumbai by the erstwhile BPP trustees last year. However, the present trustees wanted to review these 104 cases. In January, the charity commissioner had ordered the BPP to give away at least 74 out of the 104 flats. According to Rafiq Dada, counsel for BPP chairman Dinshaw Mehta, and a few of his co-trustees who had moved the court, they had cleared the application of 64 people from the 104 list. Besides, 10 other families__”overwhelmingly deserving” candidates__have been shortlisted subsequently by the new board of trustees in a sense of “fair play.” He said they had been taken on merit__some are those who sleep on the fire temple floors or are “recently engaged.” But Iqbal Chagla, representing the 40 members whose flat allotments have still not been cleared by the current BPP board, said, “It is not open for a new board to now come up and open the decision taken by the earlier trustees, who had followed the proper process. Besides, they can’t show scant respect for court orders, which had restrained further steps on the issue.” Meanwhile, advocate Nilima Dutta, representing two members, questioned the “merit-based rating system” of the BPP. She said the panchayat had 5,000 flats, which were mainly allotted to the rich.

‘Pvt divorce’ needs proof: HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/Pvt-divorce-needs-proof-HC/articleshow/4461355.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0754 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: Does theJain Marwari community have a custom of “private divorce”? Not persuaded by the argument put forward by a twice-married woman, the Bombay high court recently allowed her second husband’s plea to annul their marriage as her first marriage was still subsisting. “Custom is a long-standing practice followed and recognised by particular community,” said Justice P R Borkar. “In the circumstances, it will have to be stated as to which persons from the same community had obtained divorce as per the custom, what was the custom and since when such custom was being followed.” With no such details mentioned or proved, the court refused to believe the claim of a Parbhani-based woman, Seema, that she had divorced her first husband, Vijay, according to the practice of “private divorce” through mutual consent prevailing in her community. Seema told the court that she belonged to the Jain Marwari community. Explaining the custom of “private divorce”, she said in her community, relatives of both sides of an estranged couple hold a meeting, discuss and the divorce is given and accepted through mutual consent. The court pointed out that no divorce deed was produced to substantiate this. Seema has a daughter from her first marriage. She claimed she had obtained a divorce and subsequently married Nitesh in 2001. Nitesh, however, realised that she was still keeping in touch with her first husband and also found that the divorce was not valid. Nitesh filed an application for annulment of his marriage to Seema. While a trial court allowed the annulment, an appeal court quashed the order and restored the conjugal rights. Nitesh then moved the high court to declare that his marriage with Seema was null and void and restrain her from claiming to be his wife. With no proof about the supposed custom or documents to show that Seema was a divorcee at the time of her second marriage, the high court declared the marriage void. The judge also dismissed an application by Seema for restoration of conjugal rights. (Names have been changed to protect identity)

HC asks for PWD report in sewer case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/HC-asks-for-PWD-report-in-sewer-case/articleshow/4460714.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0355 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: After a TOI report last week that highlighted deaths of sewerage workers due to lack of facilities, the Delhi High Court has demanded a report from PWD in this regard. It has asked PWD that why despite HC orders to provide safety equipment to sewerage workers the situation has not improved. A division bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah took suo moto cognizance of the news report and issued notice to PWD, giving it a month’s time to respond. HC has already issued contempt notices against the top officials of Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Development Authority and Delhi Small Industries Development Corporation on death of their sewerage workers in March. On Tuesday, HC asked the PWD to respond within a month. HC was referring to an incident that took place last week in blocks 59 and 60 at Police Colony when three sewerage workers allegedly fell unconscious due to the toxic gases inside a sewer in the locality. One of them, 25-year-old Vijlesh, regained consciousness and managed to climb out of the sewer. The other two, 30-year-old Vinod and 32-year-old Ajit, eventually drowned. According to the police, despite a 45 minute rescue operation they were not able to save the duo, who were declared brought dead at the Hindu Rao Hospital. The cases of sewer deaths are becoming common. Even after repeated warnings by HC, which had issued a detailed directive asking all government agencies like DJB to provide basic safety equipment to their workers, such mishaps are still taking place. The court had made it clear in its directions that it expects civic agencies not to differentiate between its workers and those sourced in on contract, so that the protective cover against toxic deaths is extended to all. The court also hiked the compensation amount to Rs 2.5 lakhs for every death. When despite these steps deaths occurred, HC issued contempt.

Tytler clean chit: Hearing put off
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/Tytler-clean-chit-Hearing-put-off/articleshow/4460761.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0354 hrs IST
NEW DELHI: Deliberating on the authority of a trial court to take cognizance of the closure report filed by the CBI giving a clean chit to former Union minister Jagdish Tytler, additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) Rakesh Pandit deferred the argument for May 23. ACMM posted the matter for hearing on May 23 on a plea of the riot victims as well as Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) that the court should decide that they had the right to be heard in the matter. November ’84 Carnage Justice Committee and DSGMC, the organizations representing the victims, moved an application before the court pleading with it to decide their locus standi in the case and allow them to make submission. Senior Counsel H S Phoolka sought the court summon for CBI’s DIG and joint director following media reports that they had argued against the closure report. CBI counsel A K Srivastava, meanwhile, sought time to file their reply to the application after which the court adjourned the matter. During the proceedings, the court was repeatedly disturbed by one “self proclaimed” witness. The court refused to entertain the plea of Man Mohan Singh who tried to move a protest petition on CBI’s clean chit to Tytler, claiming himself to be a witness.

Sagar: Send info on steps initiated to prevent future calamities in KG Basin: HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Hyderabad/Sagar-Send-info-on-steps-initiated-to-prevent-future-calamities-in-KG-Basin-HC/articleshow/4461490.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0422 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: The AP High Court on Tuesday sought to know from the Central government as to what steps it has initiated to monitor the process of oil and gas extraction in Krishna-Godavari basin to avoid any kind of calamities in future on account of this exploration. The division bench comprising Chief Justice Anil Ramesh Dave and justice Ramesh Ranganathan was hearing a petition filed by Krishna Godavari Deltala Parirakshana Samithi seeking a direction to take appropriate steps to protect the region from land subsidence and environmental hazards due to exploration. A Rajasekhar Reddy, assistant-solicitor-general told the court that the directorate general of hydrocarbons, which is an authorised body to monitor the oil and gas exploration across the country has been monitoring the activities in the basin at regular intervals. The court directed the Centre to submit a report on steps being taken to monitior the exploration activity.

High court turns stage for kidnap drama
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/High-court-turns-stage-for-kidnap-drama/articleshow/4461145.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0319 hrs IST, A Selvaraj, TNN
CHENNAI: If the abduction of K Younis Khan, son of north Chennai-based businessman Kalandhar Nainar Mohammed on Saturday was dramatic, the arrest of his three abductors was equally dramatic, marked as it was by some mute tactics by the police. Though the police had knowledge about their movements from the city to Pondicherry, Cuddalore and back in two days, they waited till Khan was released before pouncing on the abductors. Twenty four-year-old Khan, whose marriage was slated for May 10, was abducted by his tenant Moideen (25), his brother Latif and friend Chakravarthi. Moideen was living in a rented portion of Kalandhar’s (Khan’s father) house in Washermanpet. On Saturday, Moideen took Khan in a Tata Indica to Royapettah and Tiruvanmiyur, promising him a wedding gift. Later, he took Khan to Cuddalore, where Chakravarthi joined them. Khan was told that he was being abducted for money, since Kalandhar owed money to some people. Midway, Moideen forced Khan to travel by a two-wheeler, seated between him and Chakravarthi. That night, they stayed in a teak plantation in Panruti, where Moideen and Chakaravarthi took turns to keep a watch on Khan. “Kalandhar received the first call for ransom at 10pm. The abductors told Kalandhar that his son would be killed if he failed to pay a ransom of Rs 1.5 crore. Kalandhar informed the police, but was asked to keep the channel of communication open. He kept negotiating the ransom amount, which was finally fixed at Rs 90 lakh. Kalandhar said he would pay the money only if he got his son back alive. Khan said he was kept in a room in Cuddalore and later in a lodge in Chennai, before being shifted to a lawyer’s chamber on the Madras high court premises. He was kept there for a few hours before the exchange was to happen around 5pm on Monday. Meanwhile, a team of armed police in mufti was ready. “We suspected that a leading gangster from Dindigul was behind the abduction. We had other plans if that was the case. The gang turned out to be a new one and we decided to trail and nab them,” said joint commissioner of police (north Chennai) M Ravi. After the ransom was finalised, Moideen and Chakaravrthy took the victim back to Chennai and stayed in a lodge in Parrys on Sunday. Moideen met a lawyer, Mani, of Kasimedu on Monday morning and informed him about the abduction,” a police officer said. “We were tracking the gang by monitoring communication signals from the mobile tower. On Monday, the location was found to be near the Madras high court. Special teams silently searched the whole area but could not find anyone. Finally, we realised that the accused could be inside the court. Meanwhile, Kalandhar received a call from the abductor to come to the judge’s gate with the ransom.” When Kalandhar came with the ransom along with three of his friends, two other associates of the abductors, Santhosh Kumar, an autorickshaw driver, and Srinivasan, a fishcart driver, were waiting in an autorickshaw. They threatened Kalandhar’s friends to flee and collected the ransom. They then told Kalandhar that he would find Khan near the judge’s gate. Kalandhar found his son there. A police team was watching all this from inside a car parked at a distance. They trailed the gang to Tondiarpet, where Moideen and Latif were arrested from Latif’s mobile phone shop. Chakravarthy, who had got down midway from the autorickshaw as Moideen and Latif proceeded towards Tondiarpet, was later picked up from his brother’s house in Kottivakkam. The police recovered Rs 7.1 lakh from Chakravarthy and Rs 79.9 lakh from the brothers. The balance amount of Rs 3 lakh is yet to be recovered. Special teams have been formed to track down lawyer Mani who helped the gang hide in the chamber, and a few more involved in the crime.

HC orders Rs 5 lakh relief to wife of man who went missing in custody
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/HC-orders-Rs-5-lakh-relief-to-wife-of-man-who-went-missing-in-custody/articleshow/4461214.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0331 hrs IST, A Subramani , TNN
CHENNAI: S Vanitha’s legal battle to find out her husband’s whereabouts, and ascertain whether he is still alive or dead, is 22 months old. After being whisked away by two policemen in June 2007, her husband Sathyaseelan is yet to return. The 27-year-old, who had petitioned various authorities, was so frustrated by the lack of response that she flung her thaali (mangalsutra) at judges a few months ago crying for justice. On Monday, a division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice C T Selvam lambasted the state police and awarded Rs 5 lakh as interim compensation to Vanitha and her three minor daughters, holding the government responsible for the misdeeds of its officers. In her habeas corpus petition, Vanitha said her husband, a farm labourer, was picked up by sub-inspector Nagaraj and head constable Uthirapathy at Ezhumahalur village in Nagapattinam on June 21, 2007. Though the bike-borne cops made Sathiyaseelan sit between them while taking him to the police station, later they told Vanitha and her relatives that he had jumped off the vehicle and fled. Disbelieving conflicting claims by the police, Vanitha filed a petition seeking a direction to the authorities to produce her husband in court. When even a judicial order and several interim directions and adjournments did not help, the court handed over the investigation to the CB-CID. But even the agency could not unearth the truth one official filed an affidavit stating that a fleeing Sathiyaseelan might have got electrocuted accidentally and his body might have been disposed of by local farmers. Justice Elipe Dharma Rao dismissed these claims and described the police version of Sathiyaseelan’s escape as a “cock-and-bull story”, cinematic” and an attempt at “make-belief”. Flaying the state police as well as the CB-CID to whom the probe had been entrusted, the judges said: “We are of the considered opinion that there is something fishy in the matter…The snail-paced investigation being conducted even by much-trusted CB-CID does not seem to reach the goal…” Applying the last-seen theory’, the bench said the burden of explaining the whereabouts of Sathiyaseelan lay with the cops who had taken him with them. “They are answerable for the missing of Sathyaseelan,” they said. Also, the liability for the deeds and misdeeds committed by its officers and employees lies with the state, the judges ruled. Awarding interim compensation, the judges expressed faith in the CB-CID III superintendent of police A Arun, who has been asked to personally supervise the investigation and trace Sathyaseelan within 12 weeks. The matter has been adjourned to July 22.

PIL filed over Board’s paper assessment issue
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/PIL-filed-over-Boards-paper-assessment-issue/articleshow/4461199.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0301 hrs IST, TNN
AHMEDABAD: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in Gujarat High Court, expressing reservations against the practice of employing Gujarati medium teachers to assess answer papers of English medium students in boards. On basis of newspaper’s reports, Praful Desai of Senior Citizen Service Trust has filed a PIL that claims that due to shortage of teachers in English medium, the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) assigns task of assessment of copies written by English medium students to teachers who teach in Gujarati medium. In his PIL, Desai has claimed that the Gujarati medium teachers cannot do justice to English medium students, and the students suffer in their ranking. He has argued that because of defective assessment those students who manage to score high rank in entrance exams for medical and engineering courses, actually score lower than the Gujarati medium students. The petitioner has also informed the court that he sought information in this regard under the RTI laws, and despite a favourable order by a deputy secretary of the education department, the staffers didn’t provide any data. When Desai complained in this regard before the information commission, the department forwarded an excuse that the staff was over-burdened with exam work. In his PIL, Desai has urged the court to direct the education department to explain what measures it has taken to resolve this issue, so that the English medium students get fair treatment in assessment of their copies of Class X and XII. A report from the education department in this regard has also been sought by the petitioner. When the petition came up for hearing, a division bench of Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi asked the public prosecutor to take necessary instructions from the education department. The court has kept May 13 for further hearing in this case.

Will SIT probe its own member?
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/Will-SIT-probe-its-own-member/articleshow/4461201.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0302 hrs IST, TNN
AHMEDABAD: The Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court to probe 2002 riots could find itself in a spot. Going by the SC’s order of Monday to probe all 63 persons including the chief minister Narendra Modi’s role in the Gulbarg Society massacre case, one of the SIT’s members is an accused! The FIR filed by wife of slain ex-MP Ahsan Jafri, Zakia, before the Supreme Court, mentions IPS officer Shivanand Jha as one of the accused, charged of “providing false information on the offence”. Jha happens to be one of the key members of the SIT headed by former CBI director RK Raghavan, constituted on March 26 last year. Jha heads the probes in the Godhra carnage case where 59 lives were lost and the Ode massacre of Anand district where some NRIs are involved. At least 33 persons died in this massacre. The two other Gujarat officers in SIT are, Geetha Johri who heads the probe in the Sardarpura, Dipda darwaja and the Prantij case of killing of British nationals, and Ashish Bhatia who heads the Naroda Patia, Naroda Gam and Gulbarg Society massacres. Jha was recently promoted as additional director general of police. However, the SIT has probed the Gulbarg massacre case for almost a year and nabbed some 31 accused that were not arrested earlier by the Gujarat police. The local police had arrested 46 persons in this case, but most of them are out on bail. In fact, the issue for SIT is how to go ahead on recent directions particularly after six chargesheets including one by SIT have been filed in this case in last seven years. Retired DGP PC Pande, who is also named as one of the prime accused in the case has reportedly been given a clean chit by SIT, going by contents of its report to the SC, which was leaked to the press recently. When the Gulbarg massacre happened on February 28, 2002, killing 68 persons, Jha was holding charge as additional commissioner of police – Sector 1, while this massacre happened in sector 2. When contacted, Raghavan told TOI, “I haven’t got a copy of the order, it will take at least 3-4 days, till then I cannot comment”. JM Suthar, the investigating officer in the Gulbarg massacre case told TOI, “When we are asked to probe the case from a particular angle, we will do it”.

Khadim case verdict on May 20
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Kolkata-/Khadim-case-verdict-on-May-20/articleshow/4461394.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0436 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: The second additional district judge, Alipore, Biswarup Mukherjee, concluded the hearing on the Khadim abduction case on Tuesday. The verdict will be pronounced on May 20. Partha Pratim Roy Burman, the owner of Khadim, was abducted on his way to the factory on July 25, 2001, from C N Roy Road in Tiljala. He was released on August 2. A special court was set up to hear the case and the trial was held under camera surveillance at the Alipore central jail. There are 22 accused in the case, including Aftab Ansari, Happy Singh and Jamil Uddin Nasir. Both Aftab Ansari and Jamil were also convicted in the American Center shootout case. Ansari had been awarded the death sentence in the American Center case. HuJI activist Jalaluddin is another accused in the case. The court examined 139 witnesses. Public prosecutor Nabakumar Ghosh said the CID had stated in the chargesheet that the ransom was fixed at Rs 5 crore and initially, Rs 3.75 crore was sent to Ansari in Dubai through the hawala racket. Several hawala operators of Hyderabad were also arrested.

Rani gets respite in Shirdi land case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Pune/Rani-gets-respite-in-Shirdi-land-case/articleshow/4461264.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0400 hrs IST, Syed Rizwanullah, TNN
AURANGABAD: Bollywood actress Rani Mukherjee got some respite on Tuesday in the case related to her land in Shirdi when Justice Naresh Patil of the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court directed the authorities to take mutation entries of Rani Mukherjee’s ownership on the 7/12 documents, subject to the final decision of the HC bench in the case. The HC bench is hearing a petition filed by Mukherjee challenging the Shrirampur sub-divisional officer’s (SDO) order scrapping her right on the property. The court also directed the actress to provide a bank guarantee of Rs 30 lakh subject to the decision on the petition. The SDO had imposed a fine of Rs 66 lakh on Mukherjee, said government pleader Umakant Patil, who had opposed the relief saying that it may amount to clearing the land for the actress. Lawyer Shashikumar Chowdhary, who represented the actress, said “Following the high court directives in June 2008, we had applied to the authorities for processing our application regarding inclusion of her name on the 7/12 documents. But the officials had rejected our plea.” In June 2008, too, the court had prima facie agreed with the argument of Rani’s lawyer that the SDO had no jurisdiction to pass a diktat rejecting Mukherjee’s application for inclusion of her name in the 7/12 documents and to impose a fine of Rs 66 lakh, if she wanted to own the property. On April 9, 2008, too, the court had ordered a status quo in the case and questioned the government as to why only the petitioner has been fined by the official concerned, when she happened to be the last person to buy the piece of land from the total property of 58 gunthas’ (12,000 square feet) in question, occupied and possessed by 16 people or organisations. Rani had purchased an open space measuring 11 gunthas’) closer to the pilgrim town of Shirdi.

Ashwin Naik acquitted in estate agent’s murder case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Pune/Ashwin-Naik-acquitted-in-estate-agents-murder-case/articleshow/4461644.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0430 hrs IST, Asseem Shaikh, TNN
PUNE: Almost 12 years after real estate agent Deepak Deo of Shivajinagar was kidnapped and murdered, the district and sessions court here on Tuesday acquitted alleged gangster Ashwin Maruti Naik (49) of Mumbai and seven others in the case. It was the 17th and last case pending against Naik, defence lawyer Arun Dhamale told TOI soon after the verdict. “Naik was brought to the Yerawada central prison after he was acquitted in the murder case of his wife, Neeta, about three months ago,” he said. “As per my information, there is no other case pending against Naik,” Dhamale added. The others who were acquitted along with Naik on Tuesday are: Pimpri-Chinchwad corporator Rajesh Govind Swamy Pillay, Babasaheb Sadashiv Bhosale of Yerawada and Mumbai residents Sandeep Dicholkar, Amar Pawale, Rajesh Pimpale, Abdul Inamdar and Dabbu alias Krishna Devendra. Naik was produced before the court on a wheelchair amidst tight security around 3 pm. Pronouncing the judgement, additional sessions judge H S Mahajan said, “The case is based on circumstantial evidence, but the prosecution has not established any link to complete the chain of circumstances. Hence, I cannot conclude that the suspects are offenders in the case.” The judge held, “There was no evidence to prove that Deo was kidnapped in the two vehicles recovered by the police from the suspects. Neither blood stains nor hair of the deceased was found in the vehicles”. The judge said, “There is no other evidence showing the suspects’ involvement in the commission of crime. One of the suspects had stayed in a hotel at Pimpri, but he cannot be connected with the crime”. Citing a Supreme Court ruling in the famous case of Sharad Sharda versus State of Maharashtra, the judge concluded: “That I cannot hold the suspects guilty merely on emotions that they might have committed the offence”. Additional public prosecutor Subhash Kalbhor said, “The Pune police had properly investigated the case. They had exhumed Deo’s body from Satara after interrogating the suspects.” The prosecutor said, “The prosecution had examined 26 witnesses, but 18 of them turned hostile. Eight others, including the investigating officer, various experts, magistrates and a ‘panch’ witness, supported the prosecution’s case, but its evidence was not enough for completing the chain of circumstances for proving the suspects guilty”. Kalbhor said, “After receiving a certified copy of the judgement, I will decide whether to appeal before the Bombay high court.” Naik was arrested by the West Bengal police on the Indo-Bangladesh border on August 1, 1999. He was brought to Pune two months later and formally shown arrested in the Deo murder case. Deo was kidnapped from his residence at Shivajinagar in Pune on October 1, 1997. His body was later found at a secluded spot in the hilly areas of Wai taluka of Satara district. During the trial, the prosecution had argued that Deo was eliminated by Naik’s associates over suspicion that he had links with Naik’s rival, Arun Gawli. In April 1998, three associates of Naik — Sandeep Dicholkar, Abdul Inamdar and Krishna Devendra — were arrested by the Mumbai police for their alleged involvement in the murder of Ramdas Ambavkar, a leader of Gawli’s Akhil Bharatiya Sena. Later, they were handed over to the Pune police, who re-arrested them in the Deo murder case. Within a few months, six more people, including city hotelier Anil Bhide, were arrested for their alleged involvement in Deo’s murder. Bhide was, however, discharged from the case later. One of the suspects, Vilas Kakade of Mumbai, was killed in an encounter with the Mumbai police in 2001. According to defence lawyer Dhamale, the vigilance branch of the Pune police had filed a supplementary chargesheet against Naik after he was brought to Pune for interrogation in Deo’s murder case.

Candolim assault: Bail plea of accused rejected
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Goa/Candolim-assault-Bail-plea-of-accused-rejected/articleshow/4461379.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0312 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The sessions court, Panaji, on Tuesday rejected the bail application filed by one Salvador Fernandes, who was arrested by the Crime branch in connection with an alleged attempt to murder Reis Magos-Verem panchayat member Francisco Serrao at Candolim. Opposing the bail application, the investigation agency pointed out that the applicant faked illness and got himself admitted in a hospital under the pretext of availing medical treatment, and instead supervised the attack on Serrao with the help of a mobile phone. The prosecution also told the court that the motive behind the assault was to force Serrao to leave the ruling faction in the panchayat. While dismissing the application, judge U V Bakre held that the case appears to be very complicated and would require time to be given to the investigation officer to conduct a proper inquiry. “Public interest of society at large is jeopardized by such acts. The complainant is seriously assaulted and bedridden,” the judge observed. It may be recalled that in Febrauary 2009, the victim was restrained by masked accused and attacked with iron rods causing injuries to his legs and hands.

Maintain status quo over grant of NOCs for plots in Bethora: HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Goa/Maintain-status-quo-over-grant-of-NOCs-for-plots-in-Bethora-HC/articleshow/4461225.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0255 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Tuesday directed the Department of Forests (DoF) to maintain status quo over granting of no objection certificates (NOCs) for development of plots in Bethora village until demarcation of the forest area is completed. A division bench comprising Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice U D Salvi passed the order while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Nisarg and Goa Foundation. The petitioners have challenged the NOC granted by the forest department to Goodluck Developers for survey no 156/1/B in Bethora. During the hearing, the petitioners’ advocate Norma Alvares pointed out to the court that the DoF had issued NOCs to the developers despite the fact that offences had been registered against them for the illegal felling of 120 trees in the area. She further told the court that, according to DoF standards, for an area to qualify as a forest its canopy area has to be 0.4%, but in case of Bethora village it is only 0.3%. Alvares argued that the canopy of the area in question has been reduced because the developer had allegedly felled 120 trees. Alvares prayed that the forest department should be restrained from issuing any fresh NoC until demarcation of the area is complete. It has also been stated in the petition that the Sawant and Karapurkar committees appointed by the government could not assess the forest area in Bethora village as the construction of the new Ponda bypass in 1994 had rendered the area inaccessible. This led to the illegal felling of trees in the forest area, the NGOs has alleged. At this point, senior counsel Atmaram Nadkarni, appearing on behalf of the developers, filed a affidavit and argued that the developers have obtained all necessary permissions. Around 90 plots have been developed in the survey no 156/1/B, out of which 60 plots have been already sold, Nadkarni said. Subsequently, the Bench ordered status quo on issuance of further NOCs. The next hearing has been fixed on June 15.

Dust pollution: Build shed at Curchorem rly yard by 31 Dec, says HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Goa/Dust-pollution-Build-shed-at-Curchorem-rly-yard-by-31-Dec-says-HC/articleshow/4461240.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0257 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Tuesday directed the Ministry of Railways to construct and commission a temporary shed at the Curchorem railway yard by December 31, 2009, inorder to control pollution caused by handling of mineral ore. A division bench comprising Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice U D Salvi passed the order while hearing a petition filed by Goa Foundation, John Pereira and others. The petitioners had complained that people residing in Curchorem were affected by dust pollution due to loading and unloading of ore at the railway yard. When the public interest litigation (PIL) came up for hearing on Monday, advocate Norma Alvares appearing on behalf of Goa Foundation told the court that the pollution in the area affects the health of the people living there. She pointed out that the only way to combat the serious levels of dust pollution in Curchorem is for the railway authorities to construct an enclosed shed, so that the dust will not spread in the air. At this point, the Bench asked the Central government counsel, Joseph Vaz, as to how much time the Ministry of Railways would require to finish constructing the temporary shed. Vaz informed the court that according to an inspection carried out by the railway administration, the temporary shed for enclosing the railway yard at Curchorem could be constructed within a period of nine months. Subsequent to this statement, the court issued directions for completing the construction and commissioning of the temporary shed by December 31. The court has also directed the Ministry of Railways to file a status report in the court on June 26, 2009, informing the court about the progress made in the construction of the shed. It may be recalled that on March 26 the court had directed the Ministry of Railways to conduct a survey of the yard and submit a report to the court.

Policeman tricked seniors, judges
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chandigarh/Policeman-tricked-seniors-judges/articleshow/4461301.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0504 hrs IST, Saurabh Prashar, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Not only did he manage to deceive three seniors, a suspended cop also successfully tricked judges. During his four-year tenure as incharge of Sector 17 police station malkhana (storeroom), head constable Balbir Singh made wrong entries in files regarding weapons, but the three former SHOs Satbir Singh, Vijay Kumar and BS Negi never got a whiff of the deceit. To top it all, Balbir also managed to fox the judges in granting him permission to destroy the weapons, which were firearms and not knives as shown on the papers, the investigating officers said on Tuesday. Now, a departmental inquiry will be initiated against Balbir. Though the accused was sent to one-day police custody on Tuesday, cops would seek an extension on Wednesday. Police said the firearms recovered from the suspended head constable’s house included six pistols and 66 cartridges. While some of these were reportedly seized during 1990s in cases related to murder Arms Act and TADA, others were recovered from militant hideouts. However, officers said the cartridges were police property. The investigating agency has not ruled out the possibility of more bungling by Balbir during his tenure as the malkhana incharge. Interestingly, sources said the accused enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. His son is reportedly in Australia on study visa. However, he is fighting a legal battle with his wife, who has slapped a dowry case against him.

HC notice to govt on pharmacist posts
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Patna/HC-notice-to-govt-on-pharmacist-posts/articleshow/4460681.cms
29 Apr 2009, 0559 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Tuesday issued a show-cause notice to the state government asking it to explain why the court’s order for filling up 700 posts of pharmacists was not complied with. A single bench presided by Justice Shailesh Kumar Sinha issued the directive while hearing a contempt petition of Pramod Kumar who submitted that the process for the 700 appointments started in 1999 through an advertisement but it was not completed despite the high court verdict passed in November 2006.

Judgment
REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (C) NO. 196 OF 2001
People’s Union for Civil Liberties …Appellant
Versus
Union of India & Ors. ….Respondents
JUDGMENT
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
1. Heard learned counsel for the parties. It has been submitted by learned counsel for the Union of India that keeping in view the orders passed by this Court on several dates, several actions have been taken, which substantially comply with the directions given by this Court.
2. Colin Gonsalves, Sr. counsel on the other hand stated that though there has been substantial compliance of the directions given by this court yet there is some reservation about the revised nutritional and feeding norms for supplementary nutrition in ICDS Scheme. It is submitted that there is scope of involving contractors in the supplies which was prohibited by that Court.
3. By affidavit dated 2nd March, 2009, the Union of India has highlighted several factors which create serious dent against malnutrition. It is stated that same can be made to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of malnutrition. The said affidavit
clarifies that these interventions include universalization of ICDS (by sanctioning 13.80 lakh Anganwadi/ Mini Anganwadi Centres and20,000 Anganwadis-on-Demand making a total of 14 lakh Anganwadis/Mini Anganwadi Centres as mandated by this Court) and, most importantly, reduction in the gap between Recommended Dietary Allowance (hereinafter referred to as “RDA”) and Actual Dietary Intake (hereinafter referred to as “ADI”). On a careful consideration of the matter, the Central Government has revised both the nutritional and feeding norms as well as thee financial norms of supplementary nutrition under the ICDS Scheme.
4. It is noted that the nutritional norms have remain unchanged since inception of the Scheme (in 1975) until a recent comprehensive review by a Task Force constituted by the Central Government. On the basis of the recommendations of this Task Force, the calorific and feeding norms for supplementary nutrition in ICDS Scheme in respect of children of all categories below 6 years of age and pregnant women and nursing mothers have been revised. The Table below shows the old and revised norms:
Old Norms Revised Norms
Category Rate Calories Protein Rate Calories Protein
Rs./ per (Cal) (g) Rs./ per (Cal) (g),
benefici- benefici
ary per ary per
day
(i) Children below 2.00 300 day
8-10 4.00 500 12-15
3 years
(ii)Children 3-6 2.00 300 8-10 4.00 500 12-15
years
(iii)Severely 2.70 600 20 6.00 800 20-25
malnourished
children
(iv)Pregnant & 2.30 500 20-25 5.00 600 18-20
Lactating (P&L) mothers
The above revised norms are incorporated in para 8.2(b) of the affidavit.
5. The Revised Nutritional and Feeding Norms for SNP in ICDS Scheme circulated vide letter no.5-9/2005/ND/Tech (Vol. II) dated24.02.2009 states that children in the age group of 6 months to 3 years must be entitled to food supplement of 500 calorie of energy and 12-15 gm of protein per child per day in the form of take home ration (THR). For the age group of 3-6 years, food supplement of 500 calories of energy and 12-15 gm of protein per child must be made available at the Anganwadi Centres in the form of a hot cooked meal and a morning snack. For severely underweight children in the age group of 6 months to 6 years, an additional 300 calories of energy and 8-10 gm of protein would be given as THR. For pregnant and lactating mothers, a food supplement of 600 calories of energy and 18-20 gm of protein per beneficiary per day would be provided as THR.
6. The letter dated 24.02.2009 No.5-9/2005/ND/Tech (Vol.II) has been annexed to the affidavit dated 2nd March 2009 filed by the Union of India. It is directed that norms indicated in the said letter addressed to all the State Governments and Union Territories have to be implemented forthwith and the respective States/UTs would make requisite financial allocation and undertake necessary arrangements to comply with the stipulations contained in the said letter.
7. It is further stated by the Ld. Additional Solicitor General that Supplementary Nutrition Food (SNP) in the form of THR shall be provided to all children in the age group of 6 months to 3 years, an additional 300 calories to severely underweight children in the age group of 3 to 6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers as per paras 5(c), 5(d) and 5(e) of the letter dated 24th February 2009. Accordingly all Union Territories and State Governments are directed to ensure compliance with the aforementioned stipulations without fail.
8. Further, all the States and Union Territories are directed to provide supplementary nutrition- in the form of a morning snack and a hot cooked meal to the children in the age group of 3 to 6 years as per Para 5(d) of the guidelines contained in the letter dated 24th February 2009 preferably by31st December 2009.
9. As far as adolescent girls are concerned, they would continue to be covered by the entitlements of the Nutritional Programme for Adolescent Girls (hereinafter referred to as `NPAG’) and Kishori Shakti Yojana(hereinafter referred to as `KSY’) till such time as a comprehensive universal scheme for the empowerment of adolescent girls called `The Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for the Empowerment of Adolescent girls’ is implemented within six months from the date of the order.
10. It shall however be ensured that the following direction by order dated 7th October, 2006 which was reiterated by order dated 13.6.2006 shall continue to be operative.
11. It is pointed out that several States like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Nagaland have not met the requisite norms. These States are directed to take steps as required to be taken.
12. Compliance reports filed by all the States and Union Territories by15th January, 2010.
13. Put up thereafter.
…………………J. (Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)
……………….J. (S.H. KAPADIA)
New Delhi
April 22, 2009

LEGAL NEWS 27.04.2009 & JUDGMENT

BMC Declares New IIT Hostel Bldgs Unathorised
http://www.planetpowai.com/news/2604200906.htm
By: Staff Reporter
Powai – 26 April 09 : Two hostel buildings of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay – Hostel No B-12 and Hostel No B-13 which stand majestically yonder the Powai Lake next to Renaissance Hotel have been declared illegal by BMC. These have been built with IIT alumni fund and designed by Hafeez Contractor at a cost of RS 35 crores.
They have been standing illegally on the institute’s campus without necessary permissions from the civic corporation. BMC Commissioner Jairaj Phatak stated this in an affidavit dated April 13 filed in the High Court, in response to a court order directing the civic body to clarify the status of the buildings.
In 2004, a PIL was filed by the Bhrashtachar Nirmulan Sanghatan on preserving the Chandivali and Powai lakes, which alleged that the hostels adjoining the Powai Lake had been built without the necessary civic permissions. After the BMC agreed, IIT was included as a party in the case.
“For a long time, both the IIT and BMC kept mum on the regularisation of these two buildings. The BMC said IIT had applied for regularisation under Section 58 of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act.
“During a hearing of the case, Justice Bilal Nazki remarked that he would pass an order for demolition of the buildings unless he got accurate information on their status,” said advocate Shakuntala Joshi, lawyer for the petitioners.
So far, architect V S Vaidya has submitted most of the required no-objection certificates/details for regularisation of the two buildings, except a no objection certificate from the Civil Aviation Department, the affidavit added.
Speaking to media, IIT director Devang Khakhar said the Civil Aviation Department NOC is a mere formality. “We don’t need it as the buildings are not high enough. We had applied for permission for all the buildings on the IIT campus together. That’s probably why they took so long. Now, I believe, we have all the permissions,” he said.

‘Illegal’ appointments: HC notices to Punjabi University, V-C
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/illegal-appointments-hc-notices-to-punjabi-university-vc/451655/
RAGHAV OHRI
Posted: Apr 27, 2009 at 0429 hrs IST
Chandigarh The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notices to the Punjabi University, Patiala, and its former vice-chancellor in a matter pertaining to the 431 allegedly illegal appointments made to non-teaching posts on a contract basis from 2002 to 2007. The appointments were made during the tenure of former V-C Swaran Singh Boparai.
The notices were issued in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Harsharan Kaur and others, seeking a vigilance probe into what they claim were “illegal” appointments.
The petitioners have filed two applications — the first seeks vigilance inquiry into the appointments made by the former V-C, while the second seeks directions to the University to adjust the application fee paid earlier by 868 candidates of the SC category for posts of clerks, with the latest fees to be announced by the University.
Interestingly, in the first application, the petitioners have stated that an inquiry marked by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau against Boparai in 2007 remains pending. Adding to it the present appointment issue, contended the petitioners, it is now a fit case for issuing notices to Punjab Vigilance Bureau and to the former vice-chancellor SS Boparai.

Charitable hospital notification soon: state
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/charitable-hospital-notification-soon-state/451602/
Mohan Kumar
Posted: Apr 27, 2009 at 0314 hrs IST
Mumbai The state government has informed the Bombay High Court that a scheme for treating needy patients at charitable hospitals will soon be notified as per the Bombay Public Trust Act.
The court has also granted liberty to hospitals to apply to the government for restoration of concessions should the need arise. Advocate General Ravi Kadam said the legislature is also free to modify the scheme.
In October 2005, the court had constituted an expert committee headed by the joint charity commissioner to give recommendations under the BPT Act. The committee filed a report in April 2006, which the court accepted with some modifications.
The scheme obliges charitable hospitals to reserve beds for needy patients, treat them in an emergency and have a dedicated fund for them.
As per the court order, these hospitals should reserve 10 per cent of beds free for patients who earn less than Rs 25,000 a year, and provide treatment at concession for another 10 per cent, selected from patients who earn less than Rs 50,000 a year. The court had also suggested a helpline for complaints against charitable hospitals.
The issue was taken up following a PIL by city advocate Sanjeev Punalekar who alleged that these hospitals, despite getting concessions, were not providing free or concessional treatment to the needy. Following the PIL, a scheme was framed and implemented by hospitals.
Recently the Association of Hospitals has also agreed to treat rail accident victims in charitable hospitals regardless of their financial status.
A division Bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice V K Tahilramani disposed of the petition after observing that the scheme was by and large was acceptable to all parties.
“The monitoring mechanism as laid down in the scheme will remain in place,” Mistry said. “There are 70 charitable hospitals in the city and over 400 in the state.”

Indecent representation of women: govt’s 22-yr slumber ends
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/indecent-representation-of-women-govts-22yr-slumber-ends/451549/
Post Comment
Express News Service Posted: Monday , Apr 27, 2009 at 0108 hrs IST
Ahmedabad:
After 22 years of the enactment of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, the Gujarat government has recently authorised inspectors of every police station to take steps for implementation of the Act through a notification.
The notification has been issued on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a Vadodara-based organisation.
Mahila Punaruthan Sangh had filed the PIL seeking court’s directive to the state authorities to take effective steps to prohibit publication or circulation of any book, pamphlet, paper, writing, photograph and the like representing women in an indecent manner by enforcing the Act.
It may be mentioned that the PIL was filed in 2001, but came before hearing after eight long years. A division bench of the Gujarat High Court headed by Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan asked the government to submit a status report of the implementation of this Act. After this, the government earlier this month, issued the notification appointing police inspectors to implement the Act.

HC refuses stay on Haldia dock issue
http://steelguru.com/news/index/2009/04/26/OTE3MzU=/HC_refuses_stay_on_Haldia_dock_issue.html
Sunday, 26 Apr 2009
It is reported that a PIL moved by some members of Haldia Dock Bachao Committee came up for hearing before Chief Justice Mr SS Nijjar and Mr Justice B Somaddar of Calcutta High Court on Friday.An order of injunction was prayed for on holding the board meeting on April 25, and on the tender for equipping two berths of the dock.The court refused to grant stay and asked Kolkata Port Trust and others to file affidavit by four weeks, reply by the Bachao Committee by two weeks, and the matter to appear eight weeks hence.(Sourced from Business Line)

A court for environment
http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090426/jsp/calcutta/story_10877677.jsp

Do we need an international court of environment? Stephen Hockman QC (Queen’s Counsel), a former chairman of Bar Council in the UK, thinks so. The eminent lawyer, whose areas of speciality include environment, health and safety and regulatory law, was recently in town. He was delivering this year’s Sarkar Lecture, instituted by senior advocate Sudipto Sarkar in memory of his parents Prabhas Chandra Sarkar and Sunity Sarkar, at the British Council on April 13.
Hockman spoke about the politics of global warming and climate crimes, the reason the world needs such a court. He pointed out that China is held responsible for an enormous amount of carbon emission. But it has been found that a substantial part of these emissions are caused by the manufacture of goods for the US market or export to other countries. This would be the US’s off-shore emission: a matter the court, presumably, could look into.
So who can be hauled up before the court, which would incorporate the work of other global institutions like the Kyoto Protocol?
The court would provide resolution between states and would also be useful for multinational businesses in ensuring environmental laws are kept to in every country.
The court has the right backing. Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, has said the idea of the international court will be taken into account at the Copenhagen climate conference in December, when the Kyoto Protocol will be looked at again. The concept is supported by public figures abroad, including actress Judi Dench.
Someone from Calcutta can seek redress too, Hockman reassured.
He said this despite being in the city for three days and having, perhaps, seen the garbage and the plastic piling up, the autorickshaws running amok. Though the heat is obviously a concern to everyone, environment doesn’t figure anywhere on the politicians’ agenda. How relevant is the idea of an international court in such a city?
There are other problems with such a court in a developing country. Professor Jayanta Bandyopadhyay of IIM Calcutta said that at the Copenhagen summit, a World Bank report is likely to point at India and China as important producers of fossil fuel-based carbon-dioxide — the bad CO2 — and there may be a pressure on these two countries to agree to legally binding emission control. But half the population of these countries, especially in the rural areas, does not belong to that carbon category — they do not burn petrol but use firewood or bio-mass.
Why should half of a country suffer because of the other half? How would the court address that?
Hockman agreed that it was an important issue. As for Calcutta, he felt that the city was made of survivors, who seemed to escape a terminal collision with a vehicle every second. There was no reason to believe that Calcutta wouldn’t realise its own good one day. One has to be optimistic.
But, he reminded, one deserves the politicians one gets.
Adda for Earth
The Green Adda on Earth Day (April 22) at Saturday Club, organised by India Trees Foundation, discussed the topic: Is the Earth getting warmer and how to combat it. “The answer to that question is obviously yes,” agreed a member of the group.
Yes, Calcutta certainly is getting warmer. There was further proof as the adda progressed. The hall was plunged into darkness just as the first speaker got up to speak.
Ravi Menon, the president of the group, stressed that the shrinking greens is a real problem. The most interesting insight came from chief guest Tapas Ghatak. During his many years at the urban development department of the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority, Ghatak amassed a wealth of information on the changing city.
“In satellite pictures, Calcutta looks like a white patch,” he said, because of the missing greens. Comparing the data of 1980-86 and of 2005, he showed how the urban areas have come up at the cost of the rural and wetland areas.
Ghatak said the ground water is drying up and is interrupted by unplanned withdrawals at too many points. “I can only share this information. I have no remedy. The remedy must come from everyone,” he signed off.
Green quiz
The katatel users may not have cared but Calcutta’s corporates didn’t forget to commemorate Earth Day. Case in point was the Green Biz Quiz 2009, in its fifth edition this year, organised by Environment Management Centre, Indian Chamber of Commerce, in association with The American Center.
The quiz saw eight teams, from companies including Damodar Valley Corporation, NTPC, CESC, SAIL, MN Dastur and Tata Steel.
The participants were stumped by the very first question. “Which country has the highest CO2 emission per capita?” asked Suman K. Mukherjee, the quizmaster and director of JD Birla Institute.
The answer, which at least three teams thought was the US, turned out to be the UAE. “What is the meaning of the Japanese term Tsunami?” This time the answers ranged from tidal wave to big wave, huge wave to earthquake under water (yes really!), but the correct one “harbour wave”. With six rounds of more green thought and an address by US consul-general Beth A. Payne, one of the hottest afternoons in recent times was well spent.
Chandrima S. Bhattacharya, Poulomi Banerjee and Malini Banerjee

Court orders fresh probe into 2002 Gujarat riots
http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/idINIndia-39278520090427?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0
Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:19pm IST
By R. Venkatraman
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The Supreme Court ordered a fresh probe on Monday into the Gujarat riots of 2002 that killed thousands, including the role of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, court officials said.
Modi is accused of turning a blind eye to the riots in which some 2,500 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.
The probe against Modi, a bearded and bespectacled star of right-wing politics, comes in the middle of a general election and could hurt the chances of his Bharatiya Janata Party, India’s main opposition, analysts say.
The court ordered a special team to investigate the killings, particularly the murder of a Muslim federal lawmaker. Modi is among 50 Hindu-nationalist politicians named as accused.
“We hereby direct the special probe team to look into all allegations, particularly in the killing of an MP (member of parliament),” judges Arijit Pasayat and A.K Ganguly said.
The Supreme Court had earlier slammed the Gujarat government for failing to protect Muslims and compared Modi to Roman Emperor Nero, who legend has it “fiddled” on his lyre while Rome burned.
Washington denied Modi a visa in 2005 on the ground of severe violations of religious freedom.
The Gujarat riots are seen as testing of whether minority Muslims can get justice in officially secular but Hindu-majority India. The violence also became a rallying point for radical Muslims and an effective recruitment tool for Islamist militants.
Following the court order, India’s ruling Congress party sought Modi’s resignation as chief minister.
“He must step down for justice to be delivered,” Veerappa Moily, a senior Congress party leader said.
The riots broke out after a suspected Muslim mob burnt alive 59 Hindus, mostly religious activists, in a train in Gujarat in February 2002.

14 years on, HC commutes drunk man’s sentence
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/14-years-on-HC-commutes-drunk-mans-sentence/articleshow/4452462.cms
27 Apr 2009, 0541 hrs IST, Saeed Khan, TNN
AHMEDABAD: Manu Suthar fought a legal battle for 14 years after being caught drunk, and ultimately got respite from Gujarat High Court recently. The court reduced his three-month jail sentence to just a day of compulsory sitting in the courtroom. Suthar was nabbed in an inebriated state in December 1995 from the state transport bus depot at Kheralu town in north Gujarat. Suthar’s medical report showed that his blood contained a high level of alchohol. A complaint was lodged against him, and a chargesheet filed. But Suthar did not accept he was drunk, leading to a trial. Six years later in 2001, a magisterial court in Kheralu found Suthar guilty and punished him with three months imprisonment and a fine of Rs 500. Suthar did not accept the verdict and challenged it before a fast track court judge in Mehsana. In 2004, the additional judge also declared Suthar an offender, but suspended his jail term. Instead, Suthar was asked to render community service for three months at the Mehsana Civil Hospital. This too was not acceptable to Suthar, because he was busy with his diamond polishing unit, employing 200 workers. He moved the high court in 2005 requesting reduction in punishment. The state government too was not ready to give in and filed an appeal against the fast track court’s order, demanding that the Kheralu court’s order be maintained. Four years on, when the high court took up the case, Suthar’s situation has changed. His counsel PK Jani informed the court that in this time of recession, Suthar’s diamond business had closed down and he had returned to farming. The advocate said Suthar’s condition was such that his family would be ruined if he didn’t work for three months. Justice MD Shah, who heard the case, quashed the Mehsana court’s order on technical grounds, but took into consideration Suthar’s economic condition and reduced his punishment from three months jail to TRC (till the rising of court), which means he would have to sit before a judge in Kheralu during working hours for a day.

Start criminal proceedings against directors of Veraval bank: HC
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/start-criminal-proceedings-against-directors-of-veraval-bank-hc/451410/
Express News Service
Posted: Apr 26, 2009 at 2239 hrs IST
Ahmedabad In a significant judgment with statewide ramifications, the Gujarat High Court on Friday ordered the state government to initiate criminal proceedings against directors of the Veraval People’s Cooperative Bank. A division bench comprising Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi ordered against the bank for making investment in the Ketan Parekh-scam tainted Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank (MMCB) without permission of the registrar of cooperative societies (RoCS).
The order was issued on a public interest litigation filed by Narandas Chandani, one of the investors with the bank who lost his savings after the bank was not returned its investment due to huge losses suffered by the MMCB. The latter had invested a huge amount in stocks, which collapsed in March 2001.
The bench directed the state government to initiate action against the bank directors within a period of six months. The court did not allow the defendants time to seek relief from the apex court. It also turned down their plea to restrain the media from reporting the matter.
Significantly, AD Gidwani, secretary of the Gujarat State Cooperative Bank Federation, said the judgment applied on all cooperative banks in the state equally and this meant prosecution of the chairmen and directors of all these banks during whose term the investment was made in MMCB in violation of the investment rules.
The bench had relied on the Supreme Court judgment in Mahesana District Cooperative Bank case in which the apex court had ordered prosecution of the directors as they had invested Rs 95 crore in CR Bhansali’s firm without prior permission of RoCS. The money was lost after the firm went bust.
Advocate Anand Yagnik representing the complainant contended before court that the bank had not followed the investment rules under Section 71(1) (f) of the Gujarat Cooperative Societies Act.
He pointed out that a prior permission from RoCS was a must for a cooperative bank to invest in another such bank. He brought to the notice of the bench that investment was made despite RoCS refusing to grant permission.
According to the PIL, Veraval bank was among 238 cooperative banks from the state that had together invested a sum of Rs 784 crore in the MMCB in violation of the investment rules and transgressing the RoCS directives. Veraval bank’s share in the investment was Rs 14.5 crore. All of this happened before March 9, 2001, when the MMCB collapsed.
After the collapse, RoCS informed the state government of the cooperative banks investing in MMCB in violation of the investment rules, but the state government did not allow action against the bank directors. A total of 37 lakh depositors of cooperative banks all over the state had suffered after 62 banks went bust and others could not repay the depositors due to failure of MMCB to pay back.
Yagnik further argued that the state government, meanwhile, directed the 238 cooperative banks to deposit another 25 per cent of their total investments in MMCB with a view to raise over Rs 800 crore as part of a revival package.
However, only Rs 325 crore could be collected and the revival effort did not materialise. Ultimately, the amount was returned to the respective banks on directions of the central registrar of cooperative societies (CRoCS) and RBI in 2007.

Hippo death: PETA threatens to move HC
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1250693
PTI
Sunday, April 26, 2009 16:09 IST
Mumbai:
The death of a five-year-old hippopotamus at the Byculla zoo recently has agitated a key animal rights body which has threatened to move the Bombay High Court if the conditions in the cages did not improve.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said it is taking up the matter with the Central Zoo Authority, Delhi, asking the nodal body to explain why the High Court order for improving the conditions of animals in the zoo has not been implemented.
“We will send a letter to the Central Zoo Authority inquiring the reason behind the animal’s death and also ask as to why the conditions in the zoo have not improved,” said Anuradha Sawhney, chief functionary, PETA.
“We will await for a response from them. If they do not take the matter seriously then we will move the High Court,” Sawhney warned.
The activists across the city are agitated over the condition of the zoo animals in the city and plan to protest against the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
The civic body has chalked out a Rs-430 crore modernisation plan to improve the conditions in the zoo, official sources said.
The hippopotamus, Shakti, was found dead in the pool of the zoo at Byculla on April 24.
Human rights activist Fiza Shah alleged “Shakti died due to negligence. People who are responsible for this must be made answerable”.
In 2005, PETA had filed a case against the Veer Jeejamata Zoo in south Mumbai’s Byculla for its alleged failure to provide basic facilities to the caged inmates.
Following this, the Bombay High Court asked the civic body and the State Secretary of Forests to provide clean food and water to the animals and maintain hygienic conditions in the enclosure.
The order also said to relocate the aged and sick animals to rescue centres and to appoint a panel of experts on the housing, upkeep and behaviour of the animals.
“There has been no proper implementation of the High Court’s order. It’s four years and still there is no improvement,” Sawhney claimed.
“The death of the hippo was an unfortunate incident. Earlier also a large number of blackbucks died at the zoo in 2006,” said another animal rights activist Bittu Sahgal.
At that time, the High Court had sacked some officials and even issued some directives, but complacency appears to have crept in again, she said.
“The Byculla zoo has one of the finest specimens of trees in Asia and should be protected as a Botanical Park and Nature Interpretation Centre,” Sahgal said.
“The death of the hippo was an unfortunate incident. This is not the first time, earlier also a large number of blackbucks died at the zoo in 2006,” said Animal rights activist Bittu Sahgal.
At that time, the High Court had sacked some officials and even issued some directives, but complacency appears to have crept in again, he said.
“The zoo at Byculla has the finest specimens of trees in Asia and should be protected as a Botanical Park and Nature Interpretation Centre,” Sahgal said.

Renting DVDs bought in US illegal: HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Renting-DVDs-bought-in-US-illegal-HC/articleshow/4452584.cms
27 Apr 2009, 0105 hrs IST, Abhinav Garg, TNN
NEW DELHI: The next time you rent an ‘original’ DVD to enjoy a Hollywood blockbuster at home, beware, it may be illegal. The Delhi high court has held that importing original DVDs and renting them out in India constitutes copyright infringement. This means that if your neighbourhood rental outlet has bought CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray discs off the shelf in the US and is circulating these here, it’s violating the law. Justice S Ravindra Bhat in a recent order made it clear that such original DVDs, or its copies, cannot be made available to public in India as they are not censored in accordance with Indian laws. However, purchasing a DVD or Blu-ray from abroad for personal viewing remains permissible. HC was hearing a suit filed by Hollywood company, Warner Bros, seeking to curb the practice of renting out its movies in India with DVDs bought in the US. The lawyer for Warner Bros, C M Lall, said that film production was a complex, time-consuming and costly process, needing a well-defined distribution strategy for its commercial success. Lall said it’s entirely possible that by the time a Hollywood movie reaches Indian theatres, it might already be available in home video format in US stores. Which is why DVDs in the US are not licensed to be broadcast outside the country. “Giving a film on hire without the copyright owner’s license is an act of infringement,” he argued. The defendant in this case, a company named ‘Paradiso’, argued that its policy of giving out imported DVDs on hire was part of the fundamental right to freedom of speech. The lawyer for the company claimed his clients organized seminars critiquing foreign language movies, and so fulfilled societal needs. He said award-winning foreign films were not usually screened in theatres and were too expensive to purchase for lover of cinema. That’s why the company had decided to make these films available on rent. Justice Bhat, however, interpreted the law to conclude that screening rights of films can be territorial and when rental rights are given in the US, it does not that these movies can be commercially exploited worldwide.

Media can report company’s confidential information: HC
http://www.ptinews.com/pti/ptisite.nsf/0/074ABE80D1F44A9E652575A400200A8C?OpenDocument

New Delhi, Apr 26 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has held that the media cannot be restrained from reporting confidential information of a company pertaining to its up coming projects and dealings with other companies.”In the case of a corporate entity, unless the news presented is of such a sensitive nature that its business or very existence is threatened or would gravely jeopardise a commercial venture, the courts would be slow in interdicting such publication,” Justice S Ravindra Bhat said.The Court passed the order while dismissing a plea of petroleum company Petronet LNG seeking to restrain a website from publishing information which is confidential and not in public domain.”Some may argue that the press could sensationalise the facts in presentation of such information, yet the right to disseminate these views is at the core of freedom of speech and expression and any restrain would have a chilling effect on its exercise,” the court said while imposing a cost of Rs one lakh to the public sector unit to be paid to the proprietor of the website http://www.Indianpetro.Com.The company approached the High Court after it found that the website was disseminating confidential information which it alleged was affecting its business prospects. PTI

HC upholds life term awarded to four in gang rape case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Pune/HC-upholds-life-term-awarded-to-four-in-gang-rape-case/articleshow/4449516.cms
26 Apr 2009, 0517 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: In its judgment delivered on April 16, the Bombay high court confirmed the lower court’s order of sentencing four youths to life imprisonment in an eight-year-old case of gang rape that took place in Lonavla. The judgment was delivered by a division bench of chief justice Swatanteer Kumar and justice D Y Chandrachud on April 16. The accused Umesh Patil, Sachin Rao, Amit Rao and Prashant Koli are all residents of Thane. The prosecution’s case was that an 18-year-old girl was gang raped in a bungalow at Karla in Lonavla on the intervening night of May 5-6, 2001. The girl had come to Khopoli with Umesh Patil, an acquaintance, to attend a marriage. Patil took the girl to Lonavla, saying that the marriage hall was not big enough to accommodate all the guests for the night. Patil and his friends raped the girl in Lonavla and later sent her to her parent’s place with threats of dire consequences if she reported the incident. After the incident, the girl developed severe complications and was in hospital for several days. She revealed the names of the accused while she was in hospital. The girl lodged a complaint against the accused after she was released from the hospital and the Pune rural police arrested four on charges of gang rape. The trial court in Pune had sentenced the youths to life imprisonment on September 17, 2002. The accused then filed a criminal appeal before the high court to set aside the conviction awarded to them. However, the HC dismissed their plea as the prosecution had established its case beyond reasonable doubt.

HC raps Chavan, Deshmukh over hotel FSI row
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/HC-raps-Chavan-Deshmukh-over-hotel-FSI-row/articleshow/4446829.cms
25 Apr 2009, 0611 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN
MUMBAI: Censuring the former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and the present one Ashok Chavan for a prima facie breach of its orders, the Bombay high court has warned both of likely contempt action in a case involving the five-star Hotel
Sahara Star. Justice D Y Chandrachud this week gave the CM last chance to expeditiously pass fresh orders on the issue of permissible additional floor space index (FSI) that the hotel—earlier the Airport Centaur—is entitled to. Sahara Star had filed a contempt petition against Deshmukh and others alleging violation of the high court’s order dated July 2008, which directed the CM to pass fresh order on permissible FSI for the hotel. The HC had set aside the state’s order of June 2007 and remanded the matter back to the government for fresh orders to be passed within six weeks. Nine months later, with no order in sight despite detailed hearing by both the CMs, Sahara, citing undue delay, sought contempt of court action against them and the urban development secretary. Its counsel K K Singhvi said the delay smacked of a political agenda. He said the state’s earlier objection to extra FSI on grounds that it would cause traffic congestion near the airport has become redundant with the opening of the new flyover. When government lawyer Niranjan Pandit informed the court that the state would pass its order on June 16, 2009, even the judge got testy. “It doesn’t reflect a serious attempt to rectify the prima facie breach of court directions. The state was under a duty to adhere to the time schedule. The state didn’t consider it appropriate to do so…The extension now sought is of two months. In these circumstances, a case has been made out for issuing a showcause notice for contempt of court.’’ The judge gave the CMs “one further opportunity’’ to inform the court when it would decide the hotel FSI before issuing any contempt notice. “Recourse to contempt jurisdiction (to main dignity of court) is taken sparingly, as a last recourse in the face of continued recalcitrance,’’ the judge said as he adjourned the matter by a week.

Service tax on renting of immovable property
http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/service-taxrentingimmovable-property/356332/
S Madhavan / New Delhi April 27, 2009, 0:23 IST
In a recent landmark judgement, in Home Solution Retail India Ltd. & Others vs. UOI & Others, the Delhi High Court has pronounced its judgement with regard to several writ petitions which had challenged the applicability of the levy of service tax on renting of immovable property.
The High Court has held that the taxable service in respect of renting of immovable property, as defined under the relevant Section 65(105)(zzzz) of the Finance Act 1994 thereof, was with regard to any service in relation to renting of property and was not on the renting of immovable property as such.
Consequently, the High Court has held that the levy of service tax on the renting of immovable property itself, in terms of the relevant notification issued consequent to the introduction of the taxable service, was ultra vires the provisions of the Act.
In arriving at its decision, the court has relied on the wordings of the particular taxable service in order to hold that since the activity of renting of immovable property was itself not a service, the expression ‘service in relation to renting of immovable property’, occurring in the definition of the taxable service, can only extend to services which are provided in relation to the renting of immovable property.
Accordingly, the Court distinguished the particular definition of service in relation to renting of immovable property from several other definitions in service tax law which were similarly worded and held that in those other definitions, the expression ‘in relation to’ itself referred to a service and consequently not only was the core service taxable but also the allied and ancillary services in relation thereto were also taxable.
The court illustrated this distinction by referring to the taxable service of dry cleaning where the expression was a service in relation to dry cleaning and held the activity of dry cleaning was itself also a service which was taxable therein. As opposed to this situation, the taxable service provided by a real estate agent, for instance, was a service in relation to real estate and since real estate was not a service, the definition could only extend to services in relation thereto.
On a similar analogy, the court came to the conclusion that in the present case, the renting of immovable property could not be construed as a service by itself and hence the taxable service in question could only extend to services in relation to renting of immovable property and not to the activity of renting itself.
In arriving at the aforesaid finding, the court has relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in T N Kalyana Mandapam Association Vs. UOI (2004) 5 SCC 632) which, interestingly enough, was relied upon both by the appellants, who had challenged the legality of the levy, as well as by the respondents i.e. Government of India. Based on a detailed consideration of the aforesaid judgement, the Delhi High Court has come to a determination that the decision of the Supreme Court supported the argument of the appellants and not that of the respondents.
With regard to the nature of the service tax itself, the High Court has held that it is a value added tax and the tax is a tax on value addition done by the service provider and it must have a connection with the service. Consequently, since the mere renting of immovable property does not entail any value addition, it could not be regarded as a service for that reason as well.
Here again, the High Court has relied upon another decision of the Supreme Court, in All India Federation of Chartered Accountants Vs. UOI (2007) 7 SCC 527), which had held that just as excise duty was a tax on value addition in regard to goods, the service tax was a tax on value addition by rendition of services.
Accordingly, the Supreme Court, in that case, had distinguished property-based services and performance-based services and had arrived at a conclusion that the expression ‘in relation’, occurring in the various relevant definitions, needed to be construed in accordance with this principle of value addition.
The High Court h as, relying on the above decision, consequently come to the conclusion that the levy of service tax on the activity of renting of immovable property was ultra vires the relevant definition of the taxable service, as contained in the Finance Act, 1994.
While upholding the arguments contained in the writ petitions in regard to the above points, the High Court has held that it has therefore not been required to examine the alternate argument as contained in the petitions that the relevant definition, should it be construed as applicable to the activity of renting of immovable property as well, would be violative of the Constitution of India in that the Central Government could not, in terms thereof, impose a tax on land, as it was a State subject.
Hence, the decision is limited to the point that the taxable service as understood and interpreted through the relevant impugned notification and hence the tax so collected, was not in accordance with the statute and hence without basis in law and the decision is not with regard to whether or not the definition of taxable service itself is unconstitutional.
This judgement is applicable on an all India basis, as it is on a point of legality, and would have far reaching consequences for all and in particular for those who carry on business in rented premises and who do not have an output excise or a service tax liability so as to be able to offset this tax on rentals. The Retail Sector is thus a very major beneficiary, as the service tax on rentals is a very significant unrecovered tax cost for the sector. Further, the judgement has ramifications with regard to other taxable services as well since these are also similarly worded.
The Central Government is almost certain to file an appeal against the aforesaid judgement with the Supreme Court. It remains to be seen whether it will request a stay of the judgment in the interim and whether such a request would be granted. It is also possible that the Government may consider amending the provisions of the Finance Act, 1994, possibly with retrospective effect, in order to overcome the above judgement of the Delhi High Court. The picture will become clear in this regard in the near future.
However, until such time as these eventualities do not occur, taxpayers can take effective steps to avail the benefit of non payment of service tax on renting of immovable property. Several issues such as discontinuance of payment of tax for future period, filing of refund claims for past taxes paid on such rentals, for the period of one year and beyond, availment of CENVAT credits on such taxes, payment of such taxes to the Government, if already collected as such, the person entitled to file such claims will need to be addressed in detail, in order for the benefits to flow to tax payers.
The author is leader, indirect tax practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Expedite trial of pending cases: High Court judge
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/expedite-trial-of-pending-cases-high-court-judge/451431/
Express News Service Posted: Sunday , Apr 26, 2009 at 2300 hrs IST
Chandigarh:
The Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge K S Garewal has urged judicial officers to expedite the trial of pending cases and insisted that lawyers should help courts in reducing pendency so that speedy justice can be delivered. He was speaking in the district courts after his day-long inspection of the court today.
Around 80,000 cases are pending in the district courts. Of which, 55,000 cases are cheque-bounce cases that come under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act (cheque bounce), 2,500 are related to the Rent Act and 650 are matrimonial dispute battles.
District and Sessions Judge KK Garg said: “We have identified 200 civil and 200 criminal cases that will be heard on priority basis. During January, February and March, we have disposed of 25 per cent of the cases. Meanwhile, we intend to dispose of the rest of the cases before the end of this year.”
While the justice was inspecting the courts, lawyers entered into an altercation with the police over the issue of frisking. The altercation took place around 11 when advocate Bhag Singh Sihag, while entering into the courts complex, was stopped by a security personnel. When the lawyer protested, an assistant sub-inspector came and insisted on frisking . The lawyer entered into an altercation which turned nasty after the fellow lawyers too joined him.
The lawyers said the cops were misbehaving with them and one of them was in an inebriated state.

SC: Govt cannot take over functions of industrial tribunal
http://www.indlawnews.com/Newsdisplay.aspx?e00f2488-4c71-4ea6-a9cc-e6e8601ad950

4/26/2009
The Supreme Court has ruled that government can not take over the functions of an Industrial Tribunal and is bound to make a reference to the Tribunal in case a dispute exists between employee and employer.A bench, comprising Justices R V Raveendran and Lokeshwar Singh Panta, while allowing an appeal of Sarva Shramik Sangh representing the canteen workers of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOC) said, ‘While exercising power under Section 10 (1) of the Industrial Dispute Acts, the function of the appropriate government is an administrative function and not a judicial or quasi-judicial function.’ In performing this administrative function, the government can not delve into the merits of the dispute and take upon itself the determination of the Lis, which would certainly be in excess of the power conferred on it by Section 10 of the Act, the bench observed.However, there may be exceptions in which the state government may, on proper examination of the demand, come to a conclusion that the demands are either perverse or frivolous and do not merit a reference, they said, adding, ‘But the government should be slow to attempt an examination of the demand with a view to declining reference.’ Courts will always be vigilant whenever the government attempts to usurp the powers of the Tribunal for adjudication of valid disputes and to allow it to do so would be to render Sections 10 and 12(5) of the act nugatory, they said.Justice Raveendran, writing the 24-page judgment for the bench, directed the Centre to reconsider the matter and take an appropriate decision on the request for the reference of dispute to the industrial adjudicator which will decide the dispute on merits uninfluenced by the observations of the High Court or this Court.IOC had contended that the canteen workers of its western region marketing division, Mumbai were the employees of the canteen contractor and not of company. The workers, however, contended that the contract was a sham and they were the employees of IOC. UNI

‘CBI chief ignored reports against Tytler, Sajjan’ http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090427/punjab.htm#2
Tribune News Service
Patiala, April 26Anti-Sikh riot victims’ lawyer TPS Phoolka today claimed that a new evidence had come to light which showed that the central government was shielding both Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, who allegedly led the rioters in 1984 in Delhi after the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
Phoolka claimed that he had enough evidence to prove that the DIG of the CBI, who was in charge of the case, had recommended that since there was a strong case against both Tytler and Sajjan, a charge sheet should be filed against both accused.
Phoolka added that even Joint Director of the CBI Arun Kumar, after going through the facts of the case and also the recommendations of the DIG, had urged his superiors to file a charge sheet in the court.
However, Director of the CBI Ashawni Kumar and the CBI chief of prosecution overruled the recommendations of the DIG and the Joint Director.
Phoolka added that the government had pressurised the top brass of the CBI to give a clean chit to Tytler.
Phoolka said two charge sheets were ready against Sajjan but the CBI was not filing them in the court in order to delay the arrest of Sajjan.
The charge sheet against Sajjan pertained to murder cases registered against him at Delhi Cantonment and Sultanpuri police stations.
Phoolka said on April 28, when the case comes up in the court of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi, he would ask for the report of both the DIG and the Joint Director.

Proxy voting for armed forces http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090427/haryana.htm#8
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 26The Election Commission has made arrangements for proxy voting to ensure maximum participation of members of the armed forces and members of other forces covered under the Army Act 1950 under Section 46.
Besides, members of the State Armed Forces, who are working out of the state, have been given the right to cast their vote by post. They can also exercise their franchise through proxy voting.
State Chief Electoral Officer Sajjan Singh said a person who would be appointed for the proxy voting should be a resident of the constituency concerned, not less than 18 years of age and must have basic qualification to be inducted into the list of electorate.
He maintained that the appointment of proxy electorate could be made through Form 13F.
To use the facility, the service voters will have to identity the persons (who were authorised to caste proxy votes) and intimation in the regard should be sent to the returning officer in a prescribed format. The ink mark would be made on the proxy voter’s second finger.
Besides, the EC will set up mobile polling stations in Jaisalmer and Barmer areas of Rajasthan and in Jharkhand’s Palamu district.

Hit-and-run caseWidow awaits justice http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090427/j&k.htm#12
Tribune News Service
Jammu, April 26In the absence of at least two witnesses, a young woman, who lost her husband in a hit-and-run case in the Ban Talab area of Chinore on April 4, continues to move from the pillar to post in search of justice.
Sunil Bhan (42), who was on his scooter, was hit by a car outside the CRPF camp in Ban Talab and he died on April 9 at Batra Hospital here.
Rajni Bhan said though the Chinore police had registered a case under Section 304 of the RPC, the accused had not been arrested so far.
Chinore police post in charge ASI Nassibullah said: “We have traced the car and its owner, a woman, who lived in the Talab Tillo area. However, every time we went to the house we found it locked ”, adding that at the same time the family of the deceased should produce at least two witnesses.
“Without witnesses we can’t present the chargesheet in the court of law,” said Nassibullah.
However, Rajni Bhan, who has two children, said her husband was alone at the time of mishap and she had been finding it very hard to produce the witnesses.
“My husband was the sole earner of the family and after his death our lives have been shattered,” she said, adding that unless the case was heard by the court of law she can’t get any compensation.

NHRC to brief Malaysia rights panel on strategies
http://www.samaylive.com/news/nhrc-to-brief-malaysia-rights-panel-on-strategies/621082.html
Published by: Noor KhanNew Delhi, Apr 27 : A seven-member delegation from the human rights commission of Malaysia today visited National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to share experiences on human rights issues, and learn strategies and methodologies adopted by the Indian body to tackle the cases.The delegation, led by chairperson of Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (SUHAKAM) Tansriabu Talib Othman, held interactive sessions with the NHRC officials including its chairperson Justice S Rajendra Babu.The Malaysian team, which also comprised SUHAKAM’s commissioners and secretaries besides other senior officials, is in India on a three-day interactive programme with NHRC.During the programme, NHRC will be giving a presentation before the Malaysian team on its functioning including the panel’s system of complaint management and investigation.Recently, human rights bodies from across South Asia took part in a two-day conference organised by NHRC in Delhi to deliberate on “Human Right Awareness and National Capacity Building”.The participants include national human rights institutions in the countries of South-Asian region which have set up such statutory human rights institutions with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India.

special article
JUDICIAL GRIDLOCK~I http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=3&theme=&usrsess=1&id=252269
The Executive And Legislature Must First Clear The Backyard By ASHOK KAPURIT is a strange paradox. India boasts what is arguably the finest Constitution and an increasingly assertive judiciary. There is a plethora of laws covering every conceivable subject under the sun and an alert watchdog of freedom and liberty in the form of an independent media. And yet, timely justice somehow eludes the common man. This has widened the disconnect between law and justice. The problem of mounting court arrears defies a solution. The litigants are helpless and the main casualty is prompt justice. The maxim ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ is a painful reality. Indeed, the judicial gridlock has jammed twenty five million cases in the lower courts and three and a half million in the higher courts. A Constitution works efficaciously once the three coordinate branches of the State ~ the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, operate harmoniously and within the bounds defined for each. If any one branch is out of step, the repercussion inevitably impinges on the other two. It would, therefore, be unfair to single out the judiciary for the sorry state of affairs without the executive first clearing up its own backyard. A huge responsibility devolves on the legislature as well. Blaming the judiciary would be to confront the problem at the wrong end. The legislature urgently needs to introduce the concept of “sunset legislation”, as suggested by Nani Palkhiwala. The existing laws, as well as those enacted regularly by Parliament and the assemblies, ought to be reviewed. The laws that have outlived their utility or relevance can be repealed. The growing tendency to legislate on purely fiscal matters or to set up committees through law needs to be curbed. This can be replaced by suitable executive instructions. After all, every legislation placed in the statute book has a potential for litigation by interested parties. Matters within the executive’s exclusive domain need not be legislated upon. The Central Vigilance Commission was set up by the executive to check corruption within its ranks. It had no jurisdiction over the judiciary. By a judicial order, it has been converted into a statute. This has led to endless litigation by delinquent government servants and others, taking advantage of the law’s technicalities and delays. There has been no worthwhile impact on the extent of corruption. On the contrary, it has merely lengthened the delay in the disposal of vigilance cases, further jamming the courts. The tendency on the part of the executive to amend the Constitution to serve the interests of politicians needs firmly to be curbed. More than a hundred amendments have been effected since the introduction of the Constitution. The political class has been aptly described as “sovereignty mongers” by Arun Shourie. In their reckoning, Parliament is “supreme” and can legislate on any issue without check or hindrance. The executive bears a major responsibility for the pile-up of cases. It must begin by simplifying the laws and rules so that the potential for misuse of a benefit is minimized. As an illustration, the leave travel rules entitle a public servant whether a peon or a secretary, a janitor or a chairman of a PSU to travel anywhere in India. If the facility is not availed of in time, it lapses. The social responsibilities and commitments vary from category to category of public servants. A peon may not be interested to travel the length and breadth of the country periodically because of other pressing social commitments. All too often, the social commitment is met by concocting documentary evidence of a journey undertaken. Hundreds of public servants are thus willy-nilly tempted to make false claims. They get entangled in criminal cases both under the Union and state governments. A much simpler and neater alternative would be to grant, say, an extra month’s salary every year to all public servants and let them decide their own priorities. The criminal courts are clogged with more cases relating to deviant social behaviour rather than conventional crime. The first category includes gambling, prostitution, drinking etc. These deviants need psychiatric treatment and behaviour therapy rather than criminal prosecution and incarceration. Authoritative studies recently carried out in India reveal that the police make 80 per cent of the arrests “unnecessarily.” For every conventional crime such as rape and murder filed in the criminal courts, approximately eight times that number are filed for deviant social behaviour. This is done to bolster the performance index of the police. As regards conventional crime, the criminal code prescribes summary trial for petty offences such as concealment of stolen property, insult, house trespass etc. The maximum punishment is three months’ imprisonment. The objective is substantive and not procedural justice. There is no formal chargesheet. Such summary cases can be withdrawn from the courts of judicial magistrates and transferred to executive magistrates. The latter are also trained and experienced magistrates who routinely exercise quasi-judicial authority under various laws. This will free the judicial magistrates to deal with serious conventional crime. At present, the labour courts are manned exclusively by members of the subordinate judiciary. These cases involve civil disputes between labour and management, covering service and disciplinary matters. These disputes are also clogging the labour courts. Such disputes can be transferred to executive magistrates, freeing the judicial magistrates to deal with serious civil disputes such as the right to title, challenged wills etc. The position is analogous to family courts which cover civil disputes like divorce and separation. The disputes are generally settled by judicial magistrates either through conciliation or annulment, with or without monetary compensation. There is no punishment or sentence. All such disputes can be settled much more expeditiously by executive magistrates without the aid of lawyers. Both labour and family courts act essentially as mediation and conciliation fora and less as conventional judicial tribunals. Such functions can be more speedily performed by the executive magistrates. To bring up a matter before a court of law, one needs the services of a lawyer. To bring up a matter before an executive magistrate, one does not need the services of an interlocutor. Nani Palkhiwala had calculated the average time of disposal of a civil dispute as almost a decade. This was in the eighties. Today, it could be much longer. The problem has another dimension that is often overlooked. There is urgent need for police reforms, specifically a review of the unfettered powers of the police to arrest without warrant. It has been established by the Constitution Review Commission, headed by a former Chief Justice of India, that the police all over the country are grossly misusing these powers. The police derives its powers of arrest from the criminal code. In cases of serious offences, the police are empowered to arrest without a magistrate’s warrant. In cases of less serious offences, they first have to obtain a warrant. Obviously, there is a strong case for curtailing the powers of the police to arrest without warrant. Once a person is arrested without warrant, even for minor misdemeanours, he has to approach a court of law for redress. This results in avoidable congestion in the criminal courts. Sections of the legal fraternity often develop a vested interest in prolonging the litigation. The lawyers charge fees for every appearance. A workable remedy is obvious ~ to curtail the powers of the police to arrest without warrant. (To be concluded)The writer is a retired IAS officer

Muluk murder case: Families of those convicted to get cash & rice
http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=22&theme=&usrsess=1&id=252412
Snehamoy ChakrabortyBOLPUR, April 26: Following the conviction of 46 CPI-M cadres in the Muluk murder case, the district CPI-M leadership, wary of losing its vote bank, has decided to provide financial help to the families of the convicted unable to meet essential expenses. Forty six CPI-M cadres were sentenced to life imprisonment in the Muluk murder case in Suri court barely a month ago. Party insiders say that the apprehension that the family members of those convicted may cast their votes in favour of the Opposition, holding CPI-M responsible for the fate of their kin, has led the Bolpur zonal committee of the CPI-M to provide financial assistance to the families. The CPI-ML leadership alleged that all the families of the convicted cadres had started to shift allegiance to the Opposition, before the CPI-M proposed to support them financially, collecting rice and money from various areas in Bolpur sub-division to assist the cadres’ kin. The CPI-M cadres have already collected two quintals of rice and Rs 500 in cash from 125 booths under Bolpur zone. “The CPI-M cadres of Bolpur area are offering rice and cash to 19 families who were leaning towards the Opposition. We have been informed that those families of the convicted who have not been provided financial assistance are furious,” said Mr Sailen Mishra, district president, CPI-ML. However, the families of the convicted deemed too wealthy to receive the monetary assistance are not openly disclosing their grief. “We have nothing to say, until a direction comes from senior leaders,” said Mr Bulbul Sheikh, son of a convicted cadre.The CPI-M leadership said that they assisted those people who were poor, and the rest of the families have no issues regarding this.

Language row: State to seek stay on High Court verdict
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/27/stories/2009042754460500.htm
B.S. Ramesh
State not to give in to private school managements’ demands
A senior advocate to be asked to handle
State’s case in Supreme Court
1,365 schools want permission to start
English medium schools
Bangalore: The State Government held a meeting under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Sudhakar Rao, to discuss the issue of medium of instruction in schools.
The meeting discussed the July 2, 2008 order of the Full Bench of Karnataka High Court which upheld the right of children and their parents to choose the medium of instruction. The Full Bench had struck down the contention of the State that it had the right to prescribe the medium of instruction.
So far, 1365 schools from Bangalore, Mysore, Gulbarga and Dharwad have sought permission to start English medium schools.
The jurisdictional Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) had given endorsements to 1,362 schools refusing permission.
The meeting was told that contempt proceedings could be filed against officials of the Education Department if they continued to issue endorsements refusing permission to start English medium schools.
The meeting resolved to request the Karnataka’s advocate in the Supreme Court, Sanjay Hedge, to file an application in the Apex Court seeking a stay on the High Court judgment.
The meeting decided against giving in to the demands of private school managements.
It also decided to ask a senior advocate to handle the State’s case in the Supreme Court.

Sentenced
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/27/stories/2009042752740300.htm
HASSAN: The Principal District and Sessions Judge on Saturday sentenced Srinivasa, Danesha, Manjunatha, Govinda and Siddesha to life imprisonment and Venkatesh and Girish Babu to 10 years’ imprisonment and ordered them to pay a fine of Rs. 10,000. According to prosecution, the seven-member gang entered the farm house of Bale Gowda in Bendekere near Banavara in Arasikere taluk in 2003 and assaulted its inmates, snatched their gold ornaments and also took away Rs. 1.2 lakh.

Even a child can depose as a witness”
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/27/stories/2009042750910200.htm
The Supreme Court has held that courts can rely on a child witness’ deposition for convicting an accused if he has the capacity to understand questions and respond rationally.

Media should not interpret court judgments: CJI
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/27/stories/2009042757080500.htm
Guwahati: Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan on Sunday asked the media not to interpret courts’ judgments, observing that it leads to “distortion” of facts.
“Very often it has been observed that media reports project a distorted version of the facts and the judgments delivered by the courts,” Mr. Justice Balakrishnan said.
Addressing a workshop on “Reporting on court proceeding on media and administration of justice” and “Implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme”, he asked the media to report court proceedings “correctly” so that common people are not deprived of justice.
Urging the “senior editors” to intervene and ensure that “wrong versions of judgments” are not reported, the CJI said there should be some “moral bindings” on journalists while reporting court proceedings.
“The media is the Fourth Estate of democracy and so they have to behave responsibly and work for the development of the society and the people,” he said.
The Chief Justice had a word of praise for the NREGA and said the scheme had been an instant success and helped in a big way in employment generation. — PTI

Delhi blasts: Court issues notice to police
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/Delhi_blasts_Court_issues_notice_to_police/articleshow/4455748.cms
27 Apr 2009, 1816 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Monday issued notice to the police on a plea of a suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorist and a serial blasts accused seeking a copy of the alleged electronic evidence collected against him in cases relating to the synchronised explosions that had rocked the national capital on September 13 last year. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja asked the police to file their reply to the application of accused Zia-ur Rehman and fixed the matter for May 12 for arguments. Rehman, through the application filed by counsel M S Khan, sought a copy of the compact disc containing the images allegedly retrieved from the mobile phone of Indian Mujahideen operative Atif Ameen who was killed during the Batla House encounter here on September 19, last year. He also sought a copy of compact disc containing alleged call details of the accused running into 1074 pages, besides the images of the data allegedly retrieved from the lap-top of Ameen. “The accused is entitled to get copies of documents which are not even mentioned in the list of documents of the chargesheet but were being relied upon by the prosecution in the chargesheet,” Khan argued. Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan, on his part, opposed the plea, saying the documents contained objectionable material which could lead to communal disharmony if released at this stage.

Milk vendor sentenced after 22 years
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Kanpur/Milk_vendor_sentenced_after_22_years/articleshow/4456253.cms
27 Apr 2009, 2157 hrs IST, TNN
KANPUR: Ram Prasad, a milk vendor was punished on Monday after 22 years of offence when metropolitan magistrate first of Kanpur Nagar sentenced him under prevention of Adulteration Act to six months imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 5,000. According to the case file, Ram Prasad of Shivrajpur town was checked by a food inspector RD Sharma when he was selling milk in Pandu Nagar area of the city on November 14, 1986. The sample collected by the food inspector was sent for chemical analysis. The lab report depicted that milk was adulterated as the fat content in it was less than prescribed limits. The presiding officer observed in his order that less fat content clearly depicted that the milk was substandard or it was adulterated, which was not fit for human consumption. Hence the accused was liable to be punished.

Fodder scam convicts awarded six-year RI
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ranchi/Fodder_scam_convicts_awarded_six-year_RI/articleshow/4456175.cms
27 Apr 2009, 2138 hrs IST, TNN
RANCHI: The special CBI court on Monday sentenced 26 convicts, including 11 former animal husbandry department officials, to a maximum of six-year rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine up to Rs 10 lakh in the infamous multi-crore fodder scam case. All the accused were sentenced in case no. RC 57A/ 96 which pertains to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 9.89 crore from the Gumla treasury between 1990 and 1995. Among the convicts are two former regional directors of the animal husbandry department Junul Bhengraj and K N Jha and an assistant director, Ram Raj Ram. Special CBI judge A H Ansari sentenced suppliers Tripurari Mohan Prasad and Sharad Kumar to six years’ RI and imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh. The court sentenced supplier R K Harit to three-year rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh. All the accused were earlier held guilty on April 21. Out of the total 55 accused in the case, 14 convicts were sentenced on April 24 while two were acquitted of the charges. Eight accused had died during the period of the trial, while two were declared absconding. Lawyers of most of the convicts pleaded for a lesser quantum of punishment for their clients on health ground. The court was jampacked when the judge pronounced the sentence. Special prosecutor S K Lal said this was the 30th fodder scam case to be disposed of by the court out of the total 53 fodder scam cases being tried in Ranchi.

SC reverses acquittal, restores life imprisoment for 12
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/SC_reverses_acquittal_restores_life_imprisoment_for_12/articleshow/4455585.cms
27 Apr 2009, 1737 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has reversed the acquittal and restored the life sentence for 12 persons in a murder case. “It was not open to the high court to discard the evidence by observing in very generalized terms that the evidence lacks credibility and cogency,” the apex court said. A bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Asok Kumar Ganguly said the trial court had analyzed the evidence of the injured eye witnesses in great detail and had come to the conclusion about its acceptability. “Without indicating any basis as to how the conclusion of the trial court was in any manner erroneous, the high court should not have interfered with those conclusions,” the bench observed while setting aside a Orissa High Court judgement acquitting the accused Promod Kodam Singh and others. Thirteen accused persons were sentenced to life imprisonment by the sessions court in a murder case in which explosives were used by the accused. However, the high court acquitted all the accused in a terse judgement on the ground that the eye witness account could not be relied on as they were related to the deceased and their statements were “parrot-like.” Aggrieved by the acquittal, the Orissa government had filed the appeal in the apex court. During the pendency of the appeal, one of the accused Kalpataru Paikray died and hence, the case against him abated.

No relaxation in work experience for reserved candidates: HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/No_relaxation_in_work_experience_for_reserved_candidates_HC_/articleshow/4456125.cms
27 Apr 2009, 1948 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday ruled that candidates belonging to the reserved category cannot be given relaxation in the mandatory work experience required for a government job. A Bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Suresh Kait held that the apex court ruling pertaining to giving relaxation in the minimum marks required for government jobs do not extend to work experience. “It is totally different from the problem at hand where eligibility condition of specified number of years of service is imposed for becoming eligible for promotion to a next higher post. “This has to be fulfilled, which is essential condition and not capable of relaxation,” the Court said. It turned down a plea of a group of police personnel, belonging to SC category who had sought relaxation in work experience for being promoted. “The Supreme Court judgement cannot be stretched to relax the condition of five years service described in the rules for becoming eligible for next higher post,” said the court while accepting the stand of Delhi Police which had refused to promote the Head Constables for not fulfilling the criterion of five years service.

SC order a normal procedure: Gujarat govt
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/SC_order_a_normal_procedure_Gujarat_govt/articleshow/4456251.cms
27 Apr 2009, 2023 hrs IST, PTI
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat government on Monday described “as a routine procedure” Supreme Court’s order to probe the role of chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the Gulbarg society massacre. “Special Investigation Team (SIT) has already given its report on the Gulbarg society massacre. Now the court has directed it to have a relook at it and see that nothing is left out. It seems to be a normal procedure,” Gujarat government spokesperson Jaynarayan Vyas said. The Supreme Court on Monday asked the SIT to look into the allegation that the Narendra Modi government did not allow an FIR to be registered into the killing of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri. The apex court, which gave its direction on a complaint filed by Jafri’s wife, directed the SIT to submit its report within three months. However, Vyas hit out at the Congress for demanding resignation of chief minister Narendra Modi. “Congress has no moral right or authority to demand resignation of Chief Minister Modi,” he said, adding, “It is well known what the Congress-led UPA government has done to shield Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, who are accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.”

JUDGMENT
Ram Narayan versus State of U.P.

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICITON

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1339 OF 2005

Ram Narayan …Appellant

Versus

State of U.P. …Respondent

JUDGMENT

Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.

1. Challenge in this appeal is to the judgment of a Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court setting aside the judgment of acquittal recorded by the then III Additional Sessions Judge, Deoria in Sessions Trial No.347 of 1978. The accused persons faced trial for alleged commission of offences punishable under Sections 147, 148, 307 read with Section 149, Section 436 read with Section 149 and Section 302 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the `IPC’). Nine persons faced trial. All of them were charged under Section 307 read with section 149,436 read with section 149 and 302 read with section 149 I.P.C. Indra Jeet, Awadh Narain and Raj Banshi Tiwari were charged for rioting under section 147. I.P.C. whereas the rest under section 148 I.P.C. The incident occurred on 7.7.1978 at about 7.30 P.M. at three places within Police Station Kotwali, District Deoria. The F.I.R. was lodged the same night at 8.20 P.M. by Brij Raj Tiwari (PW-1). One Gunj Prasad Tiwari (hereinafter referred to as the `deceased’) was murdered in the incident whereas Subhash (PW 2), Devi Prasad Pandey (PW 5) and Virendra Kumar sustained injuries.

3. The case of the prosecution as unfolded during trial through F.I.R. and the evidence may be related thus. Brij Raj Tiwari (PW 1) resided in village Deoria Ram Nath, Police Station Kotwali, District Deoria. The accused were also the residents of the same place. Sarvajeet, Indrajeet and Jagdish accused were real brothers. Om Prakash was the nephew of Sarvjeet and other. Durga Prasad was the son of accused Awadh Narain. The accused
Rajbanshi Tiwari and Raj Kishore were Patidars of accused Awadh Narain and the Accused Awadh Narain and accused-appellant belonged to the group of the remaining accused. Enmity on account of litigation was going on between the family of the informant Brij Raj Tiwari PW 1 on the one hand and the accused Sarvjeet and Raj Kishore on the other. Earlier to the present incident, on the eve of Holi some one had inflicted a knife blow on the accused Sarvjeet in which Subhash Tiwari PW 2 (brother of the informant) was implicated as accused. Sometime thereafter, Hari Ram first cousin of
accused Durga was also inflicted knife blow by someone in which the informant, his father Guru Prasad the deceased, Mahasarey, Subhash Tiwari (PW-2) and Jai Shankar were implicated as accused. Proceedings under sections 107/117 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in short the`Code’) had also been drawn between the informant and others on one side and the accused Durga and Hari Ram on the other. In front of the door of the house of the informant there was a flour mill adjacent to which on the northern side the house of the accused Durga Prasad and Hari Ram was situated and on the eastern side thereof the house of the accused Sarvjeet was situated at a distance of about 10 paces from the flour mill. During the thrashing season, dust and sound came to be produced because of generation of the flour mill to the disliking of the accused. The accused Sarvjeet, Durga Prasad and Hari Ram had applied for electric disconnection of the informant before the Electricity Department prior to the present incident in which , the accused Raj Kishore was cited as a witness. A case under Section 133 of Code was instituted against the informant by the police which came to be decided in favour of the informant. So, there was a long string of enmity between the two sides.

The present incident occurred in three parts. At about 7.30 P.M. on 7th July, 1978 Subhash- the younger brother of the informant was sitting at his grocer’s shop on the crossing in front of the house of Sri Vishwa Nath Pandey, Advocate. All the accused with 2 or 3 other companions reached there. Sarvjeet and Om Prakash had bombs in their hands; Jagdish had a gun; Ram Narain had country made pistol; Raj Kishore had a spear. Durga Prasad had a Pharsa and the remaining accused had lathis. As soon as they
reached the shop of Subhash, accused Sarvjeet and Om Prakash attacked Subhash by means of bombs, Ram Narain by means of country made pistol and Jagdish by means of gun. Subhash ran for his life and anyhow savedhimself but was hurt in his leg in this process. This occurrence was witnessed by Jagdish Mani, Chandbali Pasi, Brijesh Tiwari and others.

The second part of the incident was that the accused came running to the grocer’s shop of the informant at Bhatwalia Crossing in search of Subhash and not finding him there, threw bombs and also fired. The accused Indrajeet set fire to the shop of the informant which was reduced to ashes. Mahasarey- brother of the informant, Devi Prasad Pandey, Surendra Prasad, Rajesh Singh and others witnessed this incident. Then the accused came running to the door of the house of the informant where Guru Prasad
the deceased was present. They inquired from him about Subhash saying that he would not be left alive that day. Guru Prasad wanted to know as to what the matter was. But the accused Sarvjeet instigated the remaining accused saying that if Subhash was not available, he (Guru Prasad) should be killed. Instantaneously, Sarvjeet attacked Guru Prasad Tiwari throwing a bomb and Ram Narain by means of the country made pistol. Guru Prasad died on the spot. The incident was witnessed by the informant, Ram Darash
Tiwari, Bhagirathi Yadav, Nand Kishore, Hari Prasad and Munni-sister of the informant. The accused persons then ran away. At the time of the incident electric light was available at the door of the informant. This was the third part of the incident.

Leaving the dead body of his father at the door, the informant went to the Police Station, and lodged the F.I.R. resulting in registering of the case. Investigation was taken up by Tota Ram Gupta (PW-13). It may also be related here that the injuries of Subhash Tiwari (PW 2), Virendra and Devi Pandey (PW-5) were examined on 7.7.1978 at 10.45 P.M., 10.55 P.M. and 11.05 P.M. respectively by Dr. J.N. Thakur (PW 8).

After completion of investigation charge sheet was filed and the accused persons faced trial as they denied accusations.

Thirteen witnesses were examined to further prosecution version. The trial Court held that the accused persons were entitled to acquittal as the witnesses examined did not establish the accusations. An appeal was filed questioning the acquittal.

The High Court found that PWs 1, 4 and 6 who are eye witnesses clearly established the accusations. It also found that the source of light was mentioned in the FIR. Accordingly, the acquittal was set aside and appeal was allowed qua the present appellant.

It was noted that the appeal had abated in respect of accused Sarvjeet, Om Prakash, Raj Kishore and Awadh Narain who died during the pendency of the appeal. The acquittal recorded for the remaining accused persons namely, Indrajeet, Jagdish, Ram Narain, Durga Prasad and Raj Banshi Tewari was maintained.

4. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the aspects highlighted by the trial Court to record acquittal should not have been upset by the High Court when the view taken by the trial Court was not perverse and was a possible view.

5. Learned counsel for the respondent -State on the other hand supported the judgment of the High Court.
6. The various aspects which weighed with the trial Court to record acquittal and which weighed with the High Court to record conviction need to be noted.

7. The first circumstance highlighted by the trial Court related to the written report i.e. FIR. It noted as follow:

An FIR has been lodged at the P.S. after deliberation and consultation including that of police and does not appear to have been prepared by the informant only, on his own showing and showing and contained twisted and false version of occurrence and was also ante timed.

That incident took place about 7.30 p.m. on 7.7.1978 and the written report was prepared and lodged at P.S. at 8.20 p.m. even when the occurrence itself had taken place at three different places in quick succession of each other and had taken about half an hour or so in all even when the P.S. was 1= k.m. far from the place of occurrence.

That the informant (PW-1) had not even witnessed the occurrence at first two places but the written report shows as itself that PW-1 had witnessed the entire occurrence from start to end at all the three places as because it was written in that very fashion.

That in evidence the informant (PW-1) admitted that neither PW-2 nor PW-3 or any one else as a matter of fact had told him the names of the witnesses of the first and second incidents yet their names do find place in the written report which PW-1 was not able to explain at all.

All the PWs examined including informant PW-1 Brij Raj Tiwari started changing the time of occurrence at the stage of evidence as in the FIR the gap was only 50 minutes.
PW-1 says he reached his house at 7.00 p.m. and G.P. Tiwari was shot dead within 4-5 minutes showing that the first two incidents did not take place at 7.30 p.m. Injury to Subhash Tiwari is not mentioned in the GD, Ka-11. Subhash (PW-2) says that occurrence took place at 7.15 p.m. at his grocery shop. Kumari Munni (PW-4) and Nand Kishore (PW-6) had not told any time to IO. In exhibit ka-6 copy of the FIR time of occurrence is mentioned as 7.45 p.m. In exhibit Ka-14 challan of dead body, the time is 7.45 p.m. In the inquest report there is overwriting about time. In exhibit ka-6 to ka-9 the letters
written for medical examination of injured there is no crime number or sections of crime mentioned. This shows ante timing.

On the other hand the High Court noted as follows:

The Trial judge had on justification to criticize the F.I.R as being too prompt.

FIR was lodged by PW-1 on getting information of the first two parts of the incident from his brothers Subhash (PW-2) and Mahasarey (PW-3) and there was nothing wrong in including full particulars of those two parts of the incidents. Rather by giving details of earlier parts in the FIR it appears to be a genuine document ringing of spontaneity. Cloud could not be imported on the 3rd part of the incident.

8. The second circumstance relates to the medical evidence qua the food contents. The trial court found as follows:

That semi digested food (rice, dal, mango) were found in the stomach of Guru Prasad which showed and suggested that at least 2 to 2 = hours prior to his death, the deceased must have taken the meals and if occurrence had taken place at 7.30 p.m. the deceased must have died at about 5.30 which was no body case.

According to the post mortem examination report the injury No.1 could be caused by a bomb which appears to be wrong because the doctor had also mentioned in the report as well as stated in evidence that the wound showed blacking and tattooing, which was not possible in case it was caused by bomb.

That the doctor also admitted when cross examined that he had not consulted any ballistic expert and deceased could be injured in a sleeping condition also and wads are generally found in gun.

That he did not find any pieces of glass, nails or metallic in the injury No.1 of the deceased and he could not give any definite opinion as to whether injury No.1 could be caused by gun shot on the head from a close range nor he could give definite opinion if it caused by bomb blast.

9. The High Court’s findings relating to medical evidence are as follows:

High Court did not agree with the trial Judge that the time of the incident was rendered doubtful because of the stomach contents of the deceased.

That the gist is that the state of stomach found at the time of medical examination is not a safe guide for determining the time of occurrence because that would be a matter of speculation.

That the trial court was not justified in doubting the time of incident on the basis of stomach contents of the deceased.

That the trial Judge wrongly held that the ante mortem injury No.1 of the deceased was not caused by bomb instead it was caused by gunshot.

That the blackening and tattooing around the skin did not mean that it was not a blast injury nor did the recovery of two wadding places from the lacerated brain tissues negate it to be a bomb blast injury.

However, under the stress of cross examination doctor (PW-7) stated that he had not taken the opinion of Ballistic Expert and could not definitely say whether ante mortem injury No.1 was caused by bomb blast or gunshot.

10. The third aspect related to the presence of source of light. The trial court noted as follows:

That according to the written report the only source of light present at the scene of occurrence was that of bulb lighted at the door of the house of informant which was claimed by the prosecution and report was obtained from the Electricity department but even that report was not on record nor any one examined from the Electricity Department to prove the case.

11. On the other hand the High Court’ s finding are as follows:

For no good reason the trial Judge doubted the presence of light at the spot where the third part of the incident took place.

In view of the overwhelming evidence on the point of light on the spot though the bulb glowing at point “F” shown in the site plan by the I.O. it hardly affected the prosecution case that the bulb was not produced by the prosecution at the trial.

12. One of the aspects which weighed with the trial Court related to the ineffective investigation, if any. The same reads as follows:

That even the investigation of this case was tainted from start to end on their own showing of the prosecution.

That alleged enmity and fired cartridge recovered from the road after the occurrence was `Gevelot’ but according to the recovery memo it was `Elly’.

That not a single line in the case diary was written by I.O. himself.

The articles recovered from the scene of the occurrence were not sent to the police station even next day of occurrence and were deposited on 9.7.1978 and all parchas were sent to the police office as late as on 2.8.1978 excepting two but why they were sent so late was not explained either by prosecution or any body examined in this case including I.O.

13. So far as the analysis of the evidence is concerned the trial court referred to various aspects:

The very fact that the first two incidents are found to be not proved and concocted, the 3rd incident could hardly be true, especially when FIR is lodged after deliberation and is ante time.

Brij Raj Tiwari (PW-1) wrote the FIR as if he had seen the first two parts of the incidents though he had not witnessed the same. This shows the extent to which he can go to tell lies. He states that Kumari Munni (PW-4) came out to give clothes to him when the father was killed but PW-4 contradicts him by saying that she came out after hearing the alarms. He mentioned in FIR that Raj Kishore had spear but in deposition he assigned a gun to him and does not say that anyone else had a spear injury to the deceased was not caused by bomb at all. PW-1 admits he was ex convict and involved in lot of litigations. He says he cannot tell the name of person who told him about the first two incident. He had not seen the clothes of Subhash Tiwari (PW-2) nor did he know of the injury of D.P. Pandey (PW-5) yet he mentions these facts in the written report. He says that accused came looking for Subhash and not finding him killed the father but none of them tried to harm him or other members of family. This is strange.

Kumari Munni (PW-4) changes her story about coming out of the house on alarm being raised. She admits that her mother and other ladies did not come out of the house which is strange. She claims that witnesses had come before the arrival of the accused which is against prosecution story.

Nand Kishore (PW-6) is a neighbour. He claims he was at his door when he heard alarms and on reaching the scene he saw the accused were inquiring Subhash and then hurled bomb and then fired on the deceased. This is contrary to the versions of PW-1 and PW-4 according to whom witnesses were already there. He has his own enmity with the accused. He says that he stood at north western side of the house but did not go to the door of Brij Raj Tiwari but in his statement he says he went to the door of Brij Raj Tiwari. He says that deceased went a little on the western side after being injured and fell down there near the road. This is nobody’s case. He says that he did not talk with the informant nor did he see him doing anything.

14. The analysis made by the High Court does not suffer from any infirmity. On the contrary, the trial Court’s judgment proceeded on surmises and conjectures and was based on totally inappropriate appreciation of the evidence. Relevant aspects were not considered and irrelevant aspects were taken into account. Therefore, the High Court was justified in recording conviction.

15. The appeal is without merit and is dismissed.

………………………………….J.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)

………………………………….J.

(ASOK KUMAR GANGULY)

New Delhi,
April 22, 2009

LEGAL NEWS & JUDGMENT 26.04.2009

HC pulls up Centre for gender inequality in armed forces
http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/002200904241814.htm
New Delhi (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Friday pulled up the Centre for not being serious about bringing gender equality in the armed forces and sought explanation for not granting permanent commission to serving woman officers in defence forces.
“On the one hand, the government talks about women empowerment and reservation and on the other hand it expresses reservation in giving equal opportuinity in the armed forces.
The government’s response does not gel with its policy,” Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said while asking the Additional Solicitor General to appear in the case to respond on the issue.
“We do consider it a matter of importance and find that the government has prima facie failed to do anything despite the court’s order. We would like the assistance of ASG in the case,” the court said adding “the matter has to be put on a different level so that it is taken seriously.”
The court made the remarks on a bunch of petitions filed by women officers of defence forces who, unlike their male counterparts, were not granted permanent commission and forced to retire after 10 years of service despite being fit for the job.

Patna HC rejects PIL against Lalu
http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/patna-hc-rejects-pil-against-lalu/59267/on

Press Trust of India / Patna April 24, 2009, 14:47 IST
The Patna High court today rejected a PIL against RJD supremo and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad seeking his removal from the Union cabinet for his ‘crush Varun under the roller’ comment against Varun Gandhi. Rejecting the PIL filed by a lawyer S N Pathak, a division bench comprising Chief Justice J B Koshy and Justice Ravi Ranjan said the petition was not maintainable. Prasad had violated the oath of office and secrecy by the comment, the PIL said. Lalu had earlier said he would have crushed Varun under a roller had he been the Home Minister.

Patna HC rejects PIL against Lalu
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Patna-HC-rejects-PIL-against-Lalu/articleshow/4444084.cms
24 Apr 2009, 1453 hrs IST, PTI
PATNA: The Patna High court on Friday rejected a PIL against RJD supremo and railway minister Lalu Prasad seeking his removal from the union cabinet for his ‘crush Varun under the roller’ comment. Rejecting the PIL filed by a lawyer S N Pathak, a division bench comprising Chief Justice J B Koshy and Justice Ravi Ranjan said the petition was not maintainable. Prasad had violated the oath of office and secrecy by the comment, the PIL said.

Custody row: HC wants to hear 3-yr-old’s side
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Custody-row-HC-wants-to-hear-3-yr-olds-side/articleshow/4442395.cms
24 Apr 2009, 0503 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday directed a Bandra resident, who is involved in a dispute with his former Australian wife for the custody of their three-year-son, to bring the child to court on April 27. A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Rajesh Ketkar said they would interview the child. Australian Meryl had claimed that her former husband

Salim had retained their son in violation of an Australian court order that had allowed the father to take the child on a 10-day holiday to India. The judge expressed displeasure at the attempts by Salim’s advocate to question Meryl’s character. “Even a prostitute will love her child,’’ the judges said, adding that they were forced to use such harsh language during the hearing. At the last hearing, the judges had asked the counsel to refrain from making remarks on Meryl’s character at this stage. “We are not concerned with her personal life right now. Please do not ridicule a woman,’’ the judges had cautioned. The court added that the conduct of Salim who had retained the child’s custody was not above blame. Meryl’s lawyer J Sen argued that Salim had agreed to shared custody arrangements before the Australian court and made a strong pitch for returning the child to Meryl. He further said that if Salim wished to modify the order, he should have approached the Australian court. Salim has filed an application before the family court for their son’s custody after he returned to India in September 2008. Salim’s lawyer Mukesh Vashi said his client was a Shia Muslim and in his community, the natural guardian of a male child over two years old was the father. Salim had met Meryl in 2004 while studying for his masters from Charles Sturt University. They married in July 2005. In December 2007, they divorced by mutual consent. (The names of the couple ave been changed to protect their identities)

Ghajini producer gets reprieve from HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Ghajini-producer-gets-reprieve-from-HC/articleshow/4441787.cms
24 Apr 2009, 0448 hrs IST, TNN
Hennai: The Madras high court on Thursday permitted film producer Salem A Chandrasekaran who produced Tamil movie Ghajini to withdraw a deposit of Rs five crore made by Allu Arvind, producer of the Hindi version of the film. A division bench, comprising Justice D Murugesan and Justice C S Karnan, which gave the interim order, however, directed Chandrasekaran to submit a bank guarantee in lieu of the deposit. Chandrasekaran filed a civil suit last year alleging copy right violation by Allu Arvind, and had sought the court to restrain him from producing or releasing the Hindi version of the movie. In December, 2008, a single judge bench granted a stay restraining Arvind from releasing the movie. Arvind then filed an appeal on which the high court suspended the operation of the single judge order. The court allowed the release of the Hindi version on the condition that Arvind deposit Rs five crore with the court, pending disposal of the dispute between the two parties. Accordingly he deposited the amount and the movie was released on December 25, 2008. Allu Arvind later filed an application seeking permission to withdraw the deposit made by him by accepting an equivalent bank guarantee. Chandrasekaran too filed a similar petition, saying that he had prima facie satisfied the single judge to obtain a stay order in his favour last year and the stay was suspended by the court only to balance the situation so that there should not be any hardship to Arvind due to non-release of the film. After hearing both sides, the bench allowed Chandrasekaran to withdraw the amount in lieu of a bank guarantee. “We are forced to take this view having regard to the fact that at least by virtue of the suspension of the stay, Allu Arvind had transacted nearly Rs 100 crore (by being able to release the movie).,” the bench observed.

HC rejects bail plea of accused in Shashi murder case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/HC-rejects-bail-plea-of-accused-in-Shashi-murder-case/articleshow/4441957.cms
24 Apr 2009, 0326 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: The high court has rejected bail plea of former minister in the ruling BSP government, Anand Sen in the sensational Shashi murder case. Sen is in jail in connection with the murder of Shashi, who was graduating in law from Faizabad. The order was passed by Justice, Alok Kumar Singh. Shashi’s father, Yogendra Prasad lodged an FIR on October 22, 2007 with Kotwali Ayodhya against Sen, his driver, Vijay Sen and one Seema Azad. In narcoanalysis test, Sen admitted that he had illicit relation with Shashi and she had become pregnant. That is why she was strangulated and her dead body was disposed off. During investigation her wrist watch was recovered. It was recognised by her father. Sen’s counsel, Nandita Bharti argued that the case was based on circumstantial evidence and therefore, he was entitled for bail. But the government counsel, Umesh Verma argued that there was solid evidence against Sen in the case and if he is granted bail, there is a great chance that being a former minister, he would influence the trial.

HC seeks fresh probe on MP in murder case
http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090424/jsp/bengal/story_10868567.jsp
OUR LEGAL REPORTER
Calcutta, April 23: Calcutta High Court today set aside the judgment of a Suri court that had cleared the name of a CPM MP in a murder case.
The court’s order followed a petition by Shibu Mistry of of Mohammedpur, Birbhum , who had accused MP Ramchandra Dom of killing his father.
In his petition, Mistry alleged that Dom, the Birbhum MP, along with 250 CPM cadres had attacked his home and “mercilessly beaten up” his 70-year-old father Bandhu Mistry, who succumbed to injuries.
“My father was murdered and Dom, the local MP, was involved in it,” he said in the petition.
On the basis of the complaint lodged in April 2007, the Mohammedpur police started a murder case against Dom and 34 others.
In the trial at the chief judicial magistrate’s court in Suri, Birbhum, Dom’s name was removed from the list of the accused.
On August 13 last year, the magistrate acquitted all the 34 other accused from the charge of murder.
Against this judgement, Mistry moved a revision petition before Calcutta High court in the first week of this month.
The petitioner’s lawyer claimed that the magistrate had passed the verdict without hearing his client.
In the wake of the high court’s order, Dom, who has now shifted to the Bolpur (SC) seat, will have to face criminal proceedings on the charge of murder.
Today, Justice Partha Sakha Dutta of the high court asked the chief judicial magistrate of the Suri court to hold a fresh trial, this time with Dom’s name among the accused.
Dom was elected from the Birbhum (SC) seat in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls when the constituency was reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates.
For the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the adjoining Bolpur seat has been reserved for SC candidates after delimitation.
In Birbhum, the legislator said: “I am not aware of the court’s order but the law should take its own course.”

HC directive to registrar general in false affidavit case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/HC-directive-to-registrar-general-in-false-affidavit-case/articleshow/4441923.cmshttp://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/HC-directive-to-registrar-general-in-false-affidavit-case/articleshow/4441923.cms
24 Apr 2009, 0221 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court (HC) on Thursday directed its registrar general to inform the court whether criminal case has been lodged against former deputy secretary of Bihar legislative assembly Braj Kishore Singh Prabhat for filing false affidavit before the court. A division bench, comprising Justice S K Katriar and Justice K K Mandal, also asked Bihar legislative assembly counsel M P Gupta to apprise the court as to how the assembly had appointed Prabhat as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) after the HC had issued a directive for filing a criminal case against him. The court added that Prabhat should be removed forthwith from the post of OSD. Shatrughan appeals: BJP candidate from Patna Sahib parliamentary constituency Shatrughan Sinha on Thursday met the lawyers on HC premises and sought their support.

No service tax on rented space: HC
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Personal-Finance/No-service-tax-on-rented-space-HC/articleshow/4442232.cms
24 Apr 2009, 0301 hrs IST, Deepshikha Sikarwar, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: Retailers, realtors and companies operating their businesses from rented space can now breathe easy. The Delhi High Court has ruled that commercial renting of premises will not attract service tax. It would also mean a major revenue loss to the government. It collects over Rs 8,000 crore annually from renting service. In 2009-10, it expects to collect Rs 68,900 crore through service tax levied at the rate of 10%. The court held that renting of immovable property for use in the course or furtherance of business could not be regarded as a service, and, therefore, can’t be taxed. It gave this ruling while disposing of petitions by retailers such as Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop Home Solution and Barista Coffee. “The high court order is a welcome one for the business and shall reduce the input costs in these tough times,” Ernst & Young associate director Bipin Sapra said. The Centre will appeal against the ruling in the Supreme Court as the decision could have serious ramifications for service tax collections, an official in the government, who didn’t wish to be identified, said. “If the government appeals to the Supreme Court, there may be some time before the issue is resolved fully,” Mr Sapra said. The Centre had brought “service provided in relation to renting of immovable property other than residential properties and vacant land for use in the course or furtherance of business or commerce” under the tax net through the Finance Act, 2007. Subsequently, a detailed notification and a circular were issued on May 22, 2007, and January 4, 2008, referring to ‘renting as a taxable service’, a move contested by the petitioners. They had taken the line that since the Act provided for levy of service tax on service provided in relation to renting of immovable property, it could not be construed as levy of tax on renting. The court upheld the view and ruled that the interpretation in the notification and the circular was not correct and ultra vires to the Act and set aside both of them. Service tax is a tax on value addition provided by some service providers and renting of immovable property for use in the course or furtherance of business did not involve any value addition and could not be regarded as a service, the court observed. An alternate plea was also taken up by the petitioners that the levy of service tax on renting of immovable property would amount to tax on land and therefore, fall outside the legislative competence of Parliament as it is a state subject. The court, however, did not examine the alternative plea.

Rajasthan HC issues notice to Lalit Modi
http://www.geo.tv/4-24-2009/40581.htm

Updated at: 1351 PST, Friday, April 24, 2009 NEW DELHI: Indian Premier League (IPL) Chairman Lalit Modi was issued a notice on Friday by the Rajasthan High Court asking him to explain why his bail in a cheating case should not be cancelled for leaving the country without its permission. The order was passed by Justice S P Pathak, who asked Modi, who is currently in South Africa in connection with the second edition of IPL, to explain the reason for not taking the court’s permission.A case was filed against Modi by a local NGO for allegedly not giving money to victims of last year’s Jaipur blasts as promised. The case was registered against Modi under section 420 (cheating) and 467 (forgery) of IPC.According to the FIR, Modi had presented a cheque of Rs 6 crore to then Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje for the blast victims but the entire amount was never deposited. It was then argued on behalf of Modi that the amount was to be paid by the five franchises. He had submitted that an amount of Rs. 5.2 crore had already been deposited by the franchisees.The court had granted bail to Modi on the specific condition that he shall not leave India without prior permission.

HC & Sc judgment prevail over excise department circulars & Instructions: SC
http://www.taxguru.in/excise-duty/hc-sc-judgment-prevail-over-excise-department-circulars-instructions-sc.html
Apr 24, 2009 Excise Duty
The Supreme Court last week emphasised that circulars and instructions issued by the customs and excise boards are no doubt binding on the authorities but when the Supreme Court or a high court declares the law on a disputed question, the courts’ view shall prevail.
The court reiterated the view last week in the case, Commissioner of Central Excise vs Hindoostan Spinning & Weaving Mills Ltd. The authorities had sought clarifications in some earlier judgments. Therefore, the Supreme Court once again asserted that the circulars represented only the understanding of the law by the officials. But they are not binding on the courts.

PIL on Haldia port: Court asks KoPT to file affidavit
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Kolkata-/PIL-on-Haldia-port-Court-asks-KoPT-to-file-affidavit/articleshow/4446431.cms
25 Apr 2009, 0414 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court on Friday asked Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) to file an affidavit within four weeks on a public interest litigation, which alleged that Haldia port is being converted from a ship port to a barge port due to the lack of regular dredging and desiltation. Members of the Haldia Dock Banchao Committee filed the public interest litigation before the division Bench of Chief Justice S S Nijjar and Justice Biswanath Somadder, complaining that inadequate desiltation had reduced the navigability of the port and the authorities had made little or no effort to develop the navigability of the Haldia port which has been preventing the smooth sailing of big vessels from the port. It was pointed out by the petitioner that for the revival of the port, a tender was floated in August 2007. The purpose was to increase the handling capacity of the port from 5,000 mt to 10,000 mt. Petitioners sought an injunction on the tender, alleging that the move was uneconomical and unviable as the tender mentions that silt deposits would be removed up to a depth of 7.5 metre, which should have been 12 metre. So, the tender process was not for the benefit of the port. The court refused to grant a stay and directed the KoPT authorities to file an affidavit-in-opposition. The case will be heard again after eight weeks.

HC asks govt to explain dummy writer case closure
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/HC-asks-govt-to-explain-dummy-writer-case-closure-/articleshow/4449551.cms
26 Apr 2009, 0431 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court on Friday asked the state government to file a reply in connection with the dummy writer case. Besides this, the division bench hearing the public interest litigation (PIL) in this regard has also directed the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) to submit further report on what steps it has taken against the schools that were involved in the scam. Two students, Harsh Kotak and Komal Patel, were caught in March last year, faking fractures to avail services of bright writers to write their board answer sheets. A criminal complaint was lodged against the erring students and departmental proceedings were initiated against the school authorities. But looking at the slow pace of inquiry, National Students Union India (NSUI) leader Manish Doshi filed a PIL demanding action in this alleged fraud. However, the Navrangpura police have recently sent a request to metropolitan court to grant C summary in this case, and court has summoned the complainant for clarification. As the High Court has asked the government to submit a report on this issue, information regarding criminal investigation might also be revealed in it when further hearing is kept on May 11, said petitioner’s lawyer DP Kinariwala.

PCB told to file report on Swabhumi building nod
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Kolkata-/PCB-told-to-file-report-on-Swabhumi-building-nod/articleshow/4446430.cms
25 Apr 2009, 0413 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court on Friday wanted to know from the West Bengal Pollution Control Board why it had granted NOC (no objection certificate) to a private firm to build hotels and guest houses on land meant for a heritage plaza at Swabhumi off E M Bypass. The court has asked PCB to file an affidavit by May 15. The order was passed after a PIL was filed by the Forum for Human Legal and Ecological Rights, alleging that KMC and PCB had granted NOC illegally to build hotels and guest houses on a 13-acre plot at Swabhumi that was leased out to Green Parks, a private firm, in 1994 for construction of a heritage plaza. It was alleged that after the heritage park came up in 2001, a private company started felling trees there, albeit with the permission of KMC, to build hotels, guest houses and a shopping mall. Petitioners lodged a complaint at Phoolbagan police station, against tree felling. When none heeded their complaint, they filed the PIL before the green Bench of Chief Justice S S Nijjar and Justice Biswanath Somadder.

HC directs govt to ensure better amenities
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Lucknow/HC-directs-govt-to-ensure-better-amenities/articleshow/4446380.cms
25 Apr 2009, 0357 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: The High Court has directed the government to provide basic amenities to the inmates of protective homes in the capital. The bench of Justices Pradeep Kant and SNH Zaidi passed detailed instructions to the government for betterment of inmates. The order came on a PIL filed by Anoop Gupta. The court has directed the officials to provide clean habitat, food, medical facilities and drinking water to the inmates. The court also expected the government to appoint specialised doctors for treatment of mentally challenged children of the homes. There are two protective homes in the capital. One is Rajkiya Balgrah (Mahila) at Moti Nagar and the other is at Prag Narayan Road. Earlier the court had founded a panel of advocate commissioners to have a visit to these homes and submit the condition report in the court. The report was submitted in the court pointing out various shortcomings and irregularities in the homes. The panel also suggested certain measures for bettering conditions of the inmates.

Govt asked to ‘punish’ directors of co-op bank
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1250504
Saturday, April 25, 2009 12:26 IST
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court has directed the state government to take immediate action against the then directors of the Veraval People’s Co-operative Bankduring whose tenure the bank invested Rs15 crore in the Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank, violating the norms of the Gujarat State Co-operative Societies Act.
The direction comes in the wake of a PIL filed in the high court by one Narandas Chandrani in 2007. The PIL raised the issue of investment of Rs15 crore by the Veravel bank in Madhavpura bank between 1993 and 2001 by violating Section 71 of the Gujarat State Co-operative Societies Act.
Chandrani stated in his petition that under Section 71 of the said act, Madhavpura bank was not included in the list of banks or financial institutions in which co-operative banks in the state could have invested their funds without prior permission of the registrar of the Gujarat Co-operative Society. The bank deposited funds even though permission was refused by the registrar, the petition said.
The petition, filed on behalf of more than 20,000 members and shareholders of the Veraval People’s Co-op Bank, also said that the deposited amountwas lost with the collapse of the Madhavpura bank in 2000-01. The latter could not be revived despite serious efforts spread over more than five years.
Chandrani further stated in the petition that many other co-operative banks of the state, too, had lost their deposits made with the Madhavpura bank illegally. “Under the revival package, some amount has been received back by the co-operative banks,” including the Veraval People’s Co-operative Bank. “However, illegal deposit has nothing to do with whether the amount is received back or not,” the petition stated.
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Anand Yagnik had submitted in the court that individual liability should be established in the matter and the lost amount should be recovered from the guilty. He also submitted that action should be taken against those officers of the state who were responsible for the aforesaid investment.

Jet to file response in Mumbai HC to Sahara’s claim on Monday
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/News-By-Industry/Transportation/Jet-to-file-response-in-Mumbai-HC-to-Saharas-claim-on-Monday/articleshow/4449047.cms
25 Apr 2009, 2036 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: Private domestic airline Jet Airways would file its response in the Bombay High Court on Monday to Sahara India’s enhanced claim of Rs 2000 crore for the buyout of erstwhile Sahara airline, now Jetlite. “We will file on Monday a rejoinder to application moved by Sahara India Commercial Corporation Ltd in this regard”, Jet Airways counsel Janak Dwarkadas told PTI here. Sahara has contended before the High Court that Jet was liable to pay Rs 2000 crore instead of the renegotiated amount of Rs 1450 crore for the takeover as it had defaulted on payment of instalments. The Court has fixed April 29 as the date of hearing of the dispute between the two parties. Jets counsel had on April 19 sought time from the Court to file a rejoinder to Sahara’s application seeking Rs 2,000 crore from it as the buyout price on the ground that the agreement was allegedly been violated. Sahara claims the takeover price had been brought down to Rs 1,450 crore from Rs 2,000 crore provided Jet Airways would not default on payment. But Sahara said there was default in payment and, therefore, concession on the takeover deal was not tenable.

Delhi HC dismisses Roche plea on cancer drug patent
http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/delhi-hc-dismisses-roche-pleacancer-drug-patent/356217/

BS Reporter / Mumbai April 25, 2009, 0:18 IST
The Delhi High Court today allowed domestic drug major Cipla to sell its generic version of lung cancer drug, Erlotinib, vacating an earlier interim order restraining it from selling the drug. The earlier order was based on an appeal by Swiss multinational Hoffman Laa Roche.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice AP Shah today dismissed the plea of the Swiss company saying that Cipla should be restrained from manufacturing and selling the generic drug till the issue of patent rights was decided through litigation.
“We are yet to get a copy of the order. We will soon decide whether to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court”, said Girish Telang, managing director of Roche India Scientific Company, the Indian arm of Roche.
Meanwhile, Amar Lulla, joint managing director of Cipla, said the court decision would help numerous lung cancer patients access the drug. “This is a victory for the cause of patients, than our business interests,” he said.
Roche was awarded a product patent for the drug, which it has been selling as Tarceva in India since 2006. Cipla launched its generic version, Erlocip, in India in January last year, challenging the monopoly rights of Roche. Separately, Hyderabad-based company Natco Pharma approached the patent office in New Delhi a few months ago to allow it to export its generic version of Tarceva to Nepal.
Roche filed an infringement lawsuit at the Delhi High Court immediately after Cipla launched its generic version. In March, the high court allowed Cipla to sell its version of the Roche drug. However, Roche challenged the decision with the Division Bench of the same court and obtained a decision restraining Cipla from selling the drug.
The case is being keenly watched by patent experts, global and Indian drug firms and consumer interest groups, as it is one among the first test cases of India’s product patent regime since January 2005.
Nearly 1,60,000 people in the country are estimated to be suffering from the disease, which has a high fatality rate, according to sources with patient groups.
Both Amar Lulla and Girish Telang declined to reveal the size of their business from Erlocip in India. Sources said Cipla’s generic version costs about Rs 1,600 a tablet, one-third the price of Roche, which charges over Rs 4,500 a tablet.

Criminal contempt petition against Mayawati in HC
http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/criminal-contempt-petition-against-mayawati-in-hc/59334/on

Press Trust of India / Allahabad April 25, 2009, 12:23 IST
A criminal contempt petition has been filed against UP Chief Minister Mayawati in the Allahabad High Court for allegedly giving a ‘political clean chit’ to controversial BSP candidate from Varanasi, Mukhtar Ansari, facing trial in a number of criminal cases.The petition has been filed by a former BJP MLA and the wife of slain legislator Krishnanand Rai, in whose murder case Ansari has been named as an accused.Adjourning hearing in the case till May 18, a division bench comprising justices Vinod Prasad and Y C Gupta yesterday asked the petitioner, Alka Rai, to approach the state’s Advocate General and seek his consent for filing the criminal contempt.The petitioner had alleged that while campaigning for Ansari, who is also the sitting MLA from Mau, Mayawati had given speeches whereby she had virtually given a ‘political clean chit’ to her party’s Varanasi nominee against whom seven criminal cases are pending in various courts.Hence the BSP supremo’s statements amounted to criminal contempt, the petitioner contended.

Games Village construction: Apex court stay on HC order continues
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/games-village-construction-apex-court-stay-on-hc-order-continues/451036/
Press Trust of India Posted: Saturday , Apr 25, 2009 at 0206 hrs IST

New Delhi:
The stay on the Delhi High Court order appointing an expert committee to assess any ecological damage caused by construction of the 2010 Commonwealth Games Village on the Yamuna riverbed is slated to continue, with Supreme Court refusing to pass an interim direction against the project on Friday.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan deferred the hearing till July as the responses were not filed by parties concerned on the petition against the HC order, passed on November 3.
The apex court had stayed the order on December 5 last year after the Delhi Development Authority had said it would seriously “jeopardise” plans for the Games on which crores of rupees had already been invested.
Advocates M L Lahoty and Sanjay Parikh, appearing for those opposing the construction of 1,100 flats, said the riverbed was being exploited by a real estate company involved in the project. They submitted that if the matter was not heard on an urgent basis, it would become infructuous. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the organising committee of the Commonwealth Games, however, sought adjournment on the ground that pleadings in the matter were not completed.
Some NGOs have filed petitions contending that the issue was not restricted to Games-related construction activities, but other alleged illegal construction that was being permitted by the authorities on the riverbed.
The Games committee had earlier argued that restriction on the construction would lead to over 71 countries claiming damages from the NCT government and the panel. The ASG had submitted that the government had already spent Rs 30,000 crore on building infrastructure for the Games. The High Court had refused to approve the construction and appointed a four member committee headed by environmental scientist R K Pachauri to assess the perceived damage.

HC reserves order on plea to free Nalini, 6 others
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/HC-reserves-order-on-plea-to-free-Nalini-6-others/articleshow/4446225.cms
25 Apr 2009, 0547 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: The Madras high court on Friday reserved orders on a plea to release Nalini and six others convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The division bench comprising Justice E Dharma Rao and Justice R Subbiah reserved the orders on a habeas corpus

petition filed by E Veluchamy of Trichy who claimed to be a member of the Congress. The petitioner’s main contention was that the version of the special investigation team (SIT) of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was in conflict with that of the Jain Commission which had also probed the assassination of the former prime minister. The commission had in its final report raised a serious doubt’ regarding the alleged involvement of Chandraswami in the crime and recommended the case for further investigation. However, the apex court had not considered the recommendation while upholding the convictions, the petitioner said. When the matter came up for hearing on Friday, the CBI filed an additional affidavit stating that the recommendations of the commission could not be enforced in a court of law. Pointing out that the question of submitting the Jain Commission’s report before the Supreme Court did not arise, the CBI said that the apex court had never directed the Union government or the CBI to produce the commission’s report. Moreover, further investigation was still pending, it added. The Jain Commission had submitted its final report in March 1998. The Union government accepted the report and set up a multi-disciplinary monitoring agency to conduct further investigation. A senior superintendent of police was conducting the investigation and submitting periodical status reports to the designated TADA Court in Poonamallee, the CBI said, and sought dismissal of the petition by the court. The state government has already submitted its counter stating that no habeas corpus petition could be filed in the case and, that too, after ten years of the Supreme Court judgement. Hence, the petition was not maintainable, it contended. Four of the convicted – Nalini, Robert Payas, Jeyakumar and Ravichandran – are undergoing life sentences while the remaining three – Santhan, Murugan and Arivu – are facing death sentences.

Court orders inquiry into attachment of Azamgarh property
http://www.sindhtoday.net/south-asia/91286.htm
Apr 25th, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) A city court Saturday ordered an inquiry after two residents of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh said that property Delhi Police were seeking to attach belonged to them and not to the two alleged terrorists who escaped a gun battle in south Delhi last year.
Niyaz Ahmed and Anjum Sehar said the property sought to be attached was not of alleged absconding terrorists Ariz Khan and Shahjad Ahmed. The accused have no concern with the property, the applicants said.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Navin Arora asked the investigating officer to probe the matter and submit a report by June 4, the next date of hearing.
The court had earlier given a go-ahead to Delhi Police to attach the houses, which according to police belonged to the accused.
Delhi Police officer Mohan Chand Sharma, Atif Ameen, the prime accused of the Sep 13, 2008 Delhi serial bombings and co-accused Sajid were killed in the gun battle at the L-18 Batla House flat in Jamia Nagar here Sep 19 last year.
The two Indian Mujahideen suspects had managed to give police a slip, while Mohammed Saif was the sole IM suspect caught alive, police said.
[LM1]

Sleuths to re-probe engineer’s death: HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Sleuths-to-re-probe-engineers-death-HC-/articleshow/4445983.cms
25 Apr 2009, 0639 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: The suspicious death of a young engineer four years ago, who was working for a private firm in Peenya, will be probed afresh, the high court said on Friday. “The investigating authorities suppressed material facts at important stages of the probe, and entire case has some loose ends,” the high court observed. Then it directed authorities to let the Corps of Detectives (CoD) handle the investigation into the death of engineer Ramakrishna. The petition was filed by K Rangaswamy, an office superintendent working for the I-T department, who sought re-investigation into the death of his only son. Justice A S Pachchapure observed that the authorities have not cared to examine statements of any independent witness except officials of the company where Ramakrishna worked. “The investigators also failed to examine persons against whom the petitioner made direct allegations that they were involved in Ramakrishna’s death,” the court observed. According to the petitioner’s counsel C N Raju, the argument that six-foot-tall Ramakrishna committed suicide by jumping into a small tank is suspicious and even unbelievable. “How can a person commit suicide in a tank that has just four feet of water? Why didn’t the investigators use modern methods like narco-analysis and brain-mapping on the suspects? “The company’s managing director Vijayaraghavan and police inspector T Siddappa had met Victoria Hospital officials who conducted the post-mortem. This raises suspicion,” the court observed. Ramakrishna was working as design engineer with Integrated Electricals Company in Peenya. He was thinking about leaving the job after he got better offers. On August 26, 2005, when he didn’t return home, his parents filed a complaint with the police. Some days later, police found his body in a tank near his office. Meanwhile, his parents found a diary written by Ramakrishna, detailing how his superiors were not letting him quit the job. He even mentioned their names. His parents then approached the police commissioner and the chief minister. In a curious turn of events, Ramakrishna received an offer letter from Isro on December 8, 2005, nearly four months after his death.

26/11 judge to look into woes of Arthur Road residents
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/26-11-judge-to-look-into-woes-of-arthur-road-residents/450538/
Express News Service
Posted: Apr 24, 2009 at 2328 hrs IST
Mumbai Local people and businessmen had moved court against closure of road

The Special Judge of the Bombay High Court, M L Tahilyani, who is conducting trial of 26/11 terror accused Ajmal Amir Kasab, now has the additional job of looking into the grievances of the residents and business establishments at Arthur Road.
The court on Thursday appointed Judge Tahilyani as the court commissioner, following a PIL opposing the closure of a part of the Arthur Road for traffic in the wake of the ongoing Kasab trial inside the heavily-guarded Arthur Road Jail premises.
The petition was filed by Gujarat Service Centre along with other business establishments and residents, saying their business and daily lives have been affected due to the closure of the road.
Judge Tahilyani has been asked to meet the aggrieved people and submit a report on Monday. The Division Bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice V K Tahilramani also ordered a sum of Rs 10,000 to be paid to the judge for this purpose.
Meanwhile, state government pleader D A Nalawade on Thursday contended that there is no inconvenience to the residents.
The court, however, held that the plight of the residents has to be considered and cannot be ignored. The court has directed Judge Tahilyani to find out whether the security to Kasab can be provided without causing inconvenience to the residents.
The state government has to file an affidavit by Friday stating the security threat perceptions on the gravity of information received by the government.
The petitioners had argued that the trial might take months and even years to conclude as there are hundreds of witnesses to be examined and a chargesheet that’s over 11,000 pages. There might be a good chance that the trial will prolong like the 1993 serial blasts case that dragged on for 13 years, the petition says.
It is further stated that the jail and court premises are already heavily guarded and are bullet and bomb proof, so there is no need for security arrangements outside the jail premises. The state had submitted that due procedure was followed while closing one half of the road for traffic, and security was the reason.

SC on ragging: Booze, demanding parents to blame
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=HomePage&id=622776d8-b848-42bd-a0b1-c24a03469fbd&Headline=SC+on+ragging%3a+Booze%2c+demanding+parents+to+blame
Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 24, 2009
First Published: 01:25 IST(24/4/2009)
Last Updated: 01:30 IST(24/4/2009)
Expressing shock over rampant alcoholism on educational campuses, the Supreme Court on Thursday said it reflected the degradation of the value system.
“It is more than ragging,” the court said on seeing the report that established a link between ragging and alcoholism in Amann Kachroo’s death at a medical college in Himachal Pradesh.
“Regular and rampant alcoholism on college campuses… the entire value system has gone,” a bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat said while hearing a PIL to devise institutional mechanism to deal with ragging.
Attributing the rising incidents of ragging to the “loss of childhood” due to parents’ unrealistic expectations, the court said the psychological factors behind ragging must be understood and addressed. “Is it because of total parental control or total absence of guidance to children?” the bench said, adding, “during the impressionable age, children need counseling”.
Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae said the court-appointed committee, too, has highlighted the need to address the psychological aspects of the problem.
“There is a dire need to examine the psychological aspects of ragging, including its impact on young students and rational behind seniors urge to rag and torment their juniors,” said Subramaniam.
However, senior counsel Harish Salve, on behalf of the Medical Council of India, said derecognising a medical college for ragging could prove counter productive and jeopardise the careers of students. The bench reserved its verdict on the issue.

SC not in favour of 24-hr medical facility at Railway stations
http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/001200904241951.htm
New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court on Friday virtually rejected the idea of making it mandatory for the Railways to provide round-the-clock medical facilities, including a doctor, para-medical staff and an ambulance, at railway stations.
“It is not possible to provide doctors at all railway stations,” a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said.
The Court was hearing an appeal filed by the Railways against the order of the Bombay High Court which had asked it to start the project on an experimental basis at Dadar Railway Station in Mumbai.
The High Court had asked the Railways to treat it as a pilot project which could be extended throughout Maharashtra.
The apex court issued notice to a Maharashtra resident Sameer Zaveri on whose PIL the High Court had passed the direction.
Advocate Wasim S Ahmed Qadri, appearing for the Railways, said the apex had on a similar matter relating to Northern Railway stayed the Delhi High Court order.
The Centre has maintained that providing such facility would be a problem.
The Delhi High Court had earlier asked the government to ensure availability of a doctor, an ambulance and three para-medics at all railway stations in the city.

SC allows withdrawal of London Hotel case against Jayalalithaa
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/SC-allows-withdrawal-of-London-Hotel-case-against-Jayalalithaa/articleshow/4444633.cms
24 Apr 2009, 1747 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa got a major relief from the Supreme Court which allowed withdrawal of the ‘London Hotel case’ against her in which she was accused of illegally acquiring property abroad. The apex court order came on an application filed by the Tamil Nadu government after it received an opinion from the Special Public Prosecutor that the charges against the former CM were likely to fall for paucity of evidence and it would be proper to withdraw the prosecution case. The trial of the case, which was transfered to Bangalore along with the ‘wealth case” against Jayalalitha, was stayed by the Supreme Court. Allowing the application of the state government, a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrihanan said, “Interim stay would not stand in the way of considering the application on merit”. Senior advocate B V Acharya, who was appointed as a Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) by Karnataka Government after the trial of case was shifted from Chennai to Bangalore on Supreme Court’s order, had sent a communication to the Tamil Nadu government asking it to seek permission of the apex court to withdraw the London Hotel case. He had said that on perusal of the statement of the investigating officer in the case and statements recorded during the investigation, the involvement of Jayalalithaa was “ruled out” in the case.

Ramabai firing case judgement likely tomorrow
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Ramabai-firing-Verdict-likely-on-Mon/articleshow/4450902.cms
26 Apr 2009, 1303 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: A sessions court on Monday is likely to deliver the judgment in the infamous Ramabai firing case, which left 10 persons dead and over 25 injured. The accused, State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) officer Manohar Kadam, who is alleged to have ordered indiscriminate firing on a Dalit mob, has been charged for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The judgment in the case was delayed for a month after the court clubbed two encounter cases filed after the firing. The second case was filed against 11 persons for rioting, assault and attempt to murder. Additional sessions judge S Y Kulkarni however held that the verdict against Kadam should not be stayed as the trial in this case is over. The trial against the 11 persons is yet to begin. The mob was protesting against the desecration of an Ambedkar statue on July 11, 1997 after which the Maharashtra government had appointed a commission under Justice S D Gundewar in November 1997 to investigate the firing. However, it completed its enquiry by August 1998. The report indicted Kadam for firing indiscriminately at the mob. Based on the report, the state sanctioned Kadam’s prosecution in August 2001 and an FIR was lodged against him.

Shifting of Gir lions hangs in balance
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1249958
Thursday, April 23, 2009 10:28 IST
Ahmedabad: The plan to shift Asiatic lions to Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh continues to hang in balance. The Supreme Court on Wednesday referred the points of contention submitted by the Gujarat government to the Indian Board for Wildlife, seeking its recommendations on the issue. Experts associated with the case believe that Gujarat wants to buy time in the case so as to avoid any confrontation ahead of the elections next week.
Wildlife activist Faiyaz Khudsar had filed a PIL requesting the translocation of Asiatic lions from their only abode, Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, to Kuno-Palpur Sanctuary. But, on several earlier occasions, the Gujarat government has refused to part with even a single lion.
Based on the recommendations of the wildlife board and environmentalists, the MP government has spent Rs18 crore in rehabilitating 24 villages surrounding Kuno sanctuary and developing it to receive the lions.
Sources claimed Gujarat accused the board of not taking into account some points presented by it. On Wednesday, the apex court referred the matter to the board to consider the points put forth by Gujarat and file a reply by August 11.
Khudsar contended in the PIL that a single epidemic can wipe out the entire population of around 400 lions. Moreover, the area in the Gir sanctuary is not enough for the animals and they are pouring out of the sanctuary area.
“That tigers and lions cannot co-habit in an area, MP is not prepared to take care of lions, and there is no previous success story of such translocation are some of the 12 points of contention that we have submitted to the Supreme Court,” principle chief conservator of forest (wildlife) Pradip Khanna said.
“The wildlife board had earlier unanimously agreed that 2+2 pairs of lions must be moved to MP to protect them. The scientific rationale was the island biology theory that if an epidemic strikes, the entire population is wiped out. Moreover, the carrying capacity of Gir has been exhausted,” said the source.

Locals move court against Arthur Road closure for Kasab trial
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/locals-move-court-against-arthur-road-closure-for-kasab-trial/450101/
Express News Service
Posted: Apr 23, 2009 at 2329 hrs IST
Mumbai A PIL has been filed against the closure of Arthur Road to traffic in the wake of the trial of lone arrested 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab inside the heavily-guarded Arthur Road Jail premises.
The petition has been filed by Gujarat Service Centre along with other local business establishments and residents, who have contended that their business and daily lives have been affected due to the closure of the road, named Sane Guruji Marg. They further argued that the trial might take months or even years to conclude as there are hundreds of witnesses to be examined and a charge sheet which is over 11,000 pages. The petitioners’ state that there might be a good chance that the trail will prolong like the 1993 serial blasts case that dragged on for 13 years. They further state that since the jail and court premises are already heavily-guarded and are bullet and bomb proof, there is not need for security arrangements outside the jail premises.
However, government pleader Dhairyasheel Nalavade said that due procedure was followed while closing one side of the road for traffic, and security was the reason. The Division Bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice V K Tahilramani would hear the case tomorrow.

HC notice over CNG fuel stations
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1249897
Rakesh Bhatnagar
Thursday, April 23, 2009 3:10 IST
New Delhi: The setting up of CNG depots in different cities is under legal threat.
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Union government and the high-powered Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board headed by L Mansingh on a petition levelling serious charges of arbitrariness in allotting contracts for the fuel stations.
Voice of India, a non-governmental organisation, said PNGRB did not have the authority to issue licenses to begin CNG retailing in cities yet, as the body was doing the job of allotting pipelines.
A bench headed by Chief Justice AP Shah also issued notices to PNGRB chairman L Mansingh and its member-infrastructure, BS Negi.
The PIL said Mansingh issued letters of intent (LoIs) for city gas distribution network in Kakinada, Devas and Kota “on the very day the bids were open”.
It said that the bids were opened at 10:30 in the morning and LoIs were awarded by 3 pm in the evening.
“The haste with which the LoIs were issued on the very day on which the bids were opened, especially CGD (city gas distribution) authorisation for a period of 25 years, points to a certain degree of desperation on the part of the chairman,” Voice of India said in its petition.
It said PNGRB issued the LoIs despite the opinion of its member-legal that the body has no power to authorise CNG depots, as Section 16 has not come into force. Section 16 of the PNGRB Act, 2007, allows the board to authorise gas distribution network. The section hasn’t been notified by the central government, thus the board can’t allot CNG gas lines, the petition said.
The PIL also raised question about the internal functions of the board, saying its chairman is “arbitrarily” taking all decisions.
“Section 16… was specifically excluded from the notification dated October 1, 2007, and has till date not notified,” the NGO submitted, adding that without Section 16 being notified, PNGRB’ s LoIs are “redundant”.
There is also a conflict of interest as Bhagwant Singh Negi, the member-infrastructure, is running a consultancy in the name of his son Akhilesh Negi that “provides consultancy to entities who apply to the board for getting authorisation to lay, build, operate or expand city gas pipelines”, the petition said.
VoI also urged the court to direct the government to conduct an enquiry against Mansingh and Negi and remove them if found guilty.
The PIL also raised question about the internal functions of the board, saying its chairman is “arbitrarily” taking all decisions. “He has illegally appropriated the core powers of the members of the board to himself in order to get a free hand in taking all important decisions on matters of crores of rupees,” the NGO said in its petition.
“… The chairman has now illegally delegated onto himself the power of the board to authorise the entities to lay, build, operate and expand city or local natural gas distribution network — the core power and functions of the board,” it added.
The court will hear the PIL on May 13 after getting the responses of the respondents.

174 manual scavengers in TN await rehabilitation, says NGO
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/174-manual-scavengers-in-TN-await-rehabilitation-says-NGO/articleshow/4437221.cms
23 Apr 2009, 0316 hrs IST, Vivek Narayanan, TNN
CHENNAI: Pain and a sense of unease are writ large on the face of 53-year-old Venkatamma, a manual scavenger, as she cleans a public toilet that stinks. Venkatamma wants to set up an idli shop and settle down but she has no money. According to V Samuel, state convenor of the Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA), an NGO, there are 174 scavengers like Venkatamma in Tamil Nadu waiting to be rehabilitated. The organisation has identified two manual scavengers working in Chennai corporation’s division 80, unit 6. “Manual scavenging is constitutionally banned under the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines Act 1993. In 2003, when SKA filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court, the court directed all states to eradicate the practice, imposing a slew of measures and directing them to file replies. In 2005, the Tamil Nadu Government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that manual scavenging did not exist in the state,” says Samuel. Samuel points out that under the National Scheme for Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers (NSLRS) and the Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS), manual scavengers have to be rehabilitated so that they can choose some other profession. “We filed an RTI with the Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar Housing Development Corporation (TAHDCO) to find out how many manual scavengers were rehabilitated and how many still exist. They said that there were no manual scavengers in Tamil Nadu. We conducted a survey on our own and found 174 of them. When we showed the results of our survey to TAHDCO, they said the scavengers would be rehabilitated by December 2008. Then, citing various reasons, they postponed rehabilitation till March 2009. Now they say they will do it after the elections,” says Samuel. According to Samuel, manual scavenging is also practised in Madurai, Pudukkottai, Tiruvarur and Dindigul. “The DMK in its election manifesto had promised to abolish the abhorrent practice of manual scavenging by providing alternative jobs. In the 2006-07 budget, Rs 50 crore was allotted by the government to provide vocational training and rehabilitate 11,961 manual scavengers; in the following budget (2007-08), Rs 58.4 crore was allotted. The budget release mentioned that 3,199 scavengers were provided alternative jobs in 2006-07. We would be grateful if the government rehabilitates the 174 scavengers in the state,” says Samuel.

Bhatia files Public Interest Litigation PIL on Metro Rail
http://www.uwidonews.com/News/Bhatia-files-Public-Interest-Litigation-PIL-on-Metro-Rail
Independent Lok Sabha candidate from Pune city Arun Bhatia has filed a public interest litigation in the Bombay High Court requesting transparency in the implementation of the proposed metro rail project. He also suggested broad-gauge with wide coaches for the ambitious plan.

Profits from sale of jaggery to be taxed, says tax tribunal

http://www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/558826/Delhi/4/20/Z
Published: April 26,2009

New Delhi, Apr 26 Profits earned from the sale of jaggery will be taxed as converting sugarcane into a saleable commodity like jaggery or gur is not an agricultural operation, a tax tribunal has ruled.
Profit from the sale of jaggery falls beyond the ken of agriculture income,”the Chennai bench of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) said, adding there is no nexus between jaggery and agricultural operations.
The issue whether jaggery production is an agricultural activity becomes important as income from farm operations is exempted from payment of taxes.
When sugarcane was converted into jaggery it resulted in the production of a different commodity. Conversion of sugarcane into jaggery is not a necessary process performed by the cultivator to render sugarcane fit for being taken to the market,”the ITAT said in its order dated March 18, 2008.
The tribunal rejected the contention of the assessee that conversion of sugarcane into jaggery was a”process essential to make sugarcane marketable and to preserve the agricultural produce grown by an agriculturist from deterioration”.
Source: PTI

Woman prisoner who lost her child to be compensated
http://www.sindhtoday.net/south-asia/90859.htm
Apr 24th, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to compensate a woman prisoner who lost her new born baby girl because of inadequate medical facilities in the jail.
Boby, a woman prisoner, was lodged in the Agra district jail on June 20, 2006 and gave birth to a baby on August 23, 2006. On September 16, however, the child fell ill and died while being taken to hospital.
A magisterial enquiry into the matter, ordered by the NHRC, revealed that no arrangement was made in the jail for child birth as a result of which the baby was born in the prison toilet.
Even after that, neither the baby nor the mother were taken care of or given any nutritious diet. The result was that the child was very weak. According to the post-mortem report, the death of the child occurred due to intra-cerebral haemorrhage.
“The commission has, therefore, directed the UP government to pay Rs.100,000 as compensation to the bereaved mother earlier this week. It has also asked for compliance report along with proof of payment within eight weeks from the date of receipt of the recommendations,” an NHRC official said.
[LM1]

Nagaland seeks NCW intervention into child murder http://www.e-pao.net/GP.asp?src=29..240409.apr09
Source: Hueiyen News Service / Agencies
Kohima, April 23 2009: Seeking intervention of National Commission for Women on the recent alleged rape and murder of a six-year-old Naga girl in New Delhi, the State Women Commission (NSWC) has expressed grave concern over insecurity of Naga girls and women in the national capital.”The atrocities and crimes, particularly rape and molestation of Naga and north-eastern girls and women, has turned out to be a daily occurrence in New Delhi,” NSWC Chairperson Sano Vamuzo said yesterday in a letter to National Commission for Women (NCW) .Terming last week&aposs incident as the”most shocking and atrocious”one, she pointed out that “justice was a far cry and many cases of atrocities against women reported were not properly investigated”.

Probe Batla House shootout for ‘transparency’: High Court
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=HomePage&id=86e3b6f6-e4a5-43b7-bf80-0c56a90a60a9&Headline=Probe+Batla+House+shootout+for+’transparency’%3a+HC

Indo-Asian News Service
Delhi, April 23, 2009
First Published: 21:55 IST(23/4/2009)
Suggesting a magisterial inquiry into the controversial Batla House shootout last year, the Delhi High Court on Thursday said the government’s reluctance in conducting the probe “might create suspicion” over the police version in the case.
“The more the government hardens its stand, the more suspicion it might create,” a bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Neeraj Kishan Kaul said.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the government, vehemently opposed the idea of conducting the magisterial probe, prompting the court to say it was to bring in transparency.
“It is to bring transparency by conducting such an inquiry… This is the minimum protection (against human rights violations),” the court said and asked the solicitor to take instruction from the government on the issue.
Two suspected terrorists and a police inspector were killed September 18, 2008 last year – a week after serial bombings rocked the capital killing 26 people.
The court, however, made it clear that the report of the inquiry, if conducted, would not be used for any other proceeding and would be submitted before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which would decide on further course of action on the basis of finding.
“Take instruction from the government. The inquiry is only a fact-finding exercise and its report would not be used by any other body. The NHRC will look into the report and would decide what is to be done,” the court said while adjourning the matter for May 4.
The remark came on a petition by an NGO, Act Now For Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), which has demanded a judicial probe into the shootout.
Delhi Police counsel Mukta Gupta had told the court in the last hearing that a magisterial probe would have “demoralising impact” on the police force.

JUDGMENTS

State of Orissa and Ors. Versus Harapriya Bisoi

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2656 OF 2009
(Arising out of S.L.P. (C) No. 10223 of 2007)

State of Orissa and Ors. …..Appellants

Versus

Harapriya Bisoi ….Respondent

(With Civil Appeal 2657/2009 @ SLP (C) No.11960/2007)

JUDGMENT

Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT.

1. Leave granted.

2. Challenge in these appeals is to the order passed by a Division Bench of the

Orissa High Court allowing the writ petition filed by the respondent in Writ Petition (C)

No.8282/2004 dated 27.10.2005 and the order dated 10.1.2007 passed in the Review

Petition No.13/2006 arising out of said writ petition.

2. The background facts as highlighted by the appellants are as follows:

The dispute relates to an alleged lease of 53.95 acres of land executed by

Hatapatta dated 25.1.1933 by erstwhile intermediaries i.e. Chakradhar Mohapatra and
Ramakrushna Mohapatra in favour of one Kamala Devi. The respondent Harapriya

Bishoi claimed to be the successor in interest of Kamala Devi. Undisputedly, the alleged

Hatapatta is an unregistered document. The land is presently situated in the capital city

of Bhubaneswar in the State of Orissa. The purported Hatapatta described the land as

being for permanent cultivation but as per records or rights published in 1930-31 the

land is classified as “uncultivable” within Anabadi Land. The land is further described

as Jhudi jungle i.e. bushy forest. The estate of intermediaries Chakradhar Mohapatra

and Ramakrushna Mohapatra is vested in the State by virtue of a Notification dated

1.5.1954 issued under Section 3 of the Orissa Estate Abolition Act, 1951 (in short the

`Act’). In respect of the land in question the Orissa Estate Abolition Case 4 of 1970 was

registered. Originally the case was registered as OEA 18 of 1967 with OEA Collector,

Cuttack. On transfer of certain villages from Cuttack district to Puri District, the case

was transferred to OEA Collector, Bhubneshwar and was re-numbered as OEA Case

No.4 of 1970.

By order dated 6.1.1971 in the said OEA case the OEA Collector set aside the

disputed lease deed on the ground of not being genuine. The Collector found that since

the lands were lying fallow, the rent receipts were not genuine. The Ekpadia or

Zamabandi Register in the Tahsil Officer had no mention of Kamala Devi as a lessee.

The lease was unregistered even though vast tracts of land were transferred. It was thus

held that the lease deed was back dated and was created with the object of defeating the

purpose of the Act. The said order dated 6.1.1971 was upheld by Additional District

Magistrate, Puri by order dated 28.5.1974.

Between the period 1962 to 1973 settlement proceedings were carried out under

the Orissa Survey and Settlement Act, 1958 (in short the `Settlement Act’). By publication dated 6.12.1973, the State was recorded as the owner/title holder of the

entire land of 1056.8 acres under Khatian No.1076 of village Gadakana of which the

disputed land is a part. Further, by Revenue Department Notification No.13699-EA-1-

ND-1/74/R published in the Extraordinary Gazette No.371 dated 18.3.1974, the

Government of Orissa notified that the intermediaries interest of all intermediaries in

respect of all estates other than those which have vested in the State have passed to and

became vested in the State free from all encumbrances.

The order dated 28.5.1974 was challenged before the Orissa High Court by filing

OJC No.882 of 1974. The High Court by order dated 29.10.1976 directed the OEA Collector, Bhubneshwar to examine the matter afresh by issuing notice to the lessor andthe lessee and also to ensure that the interest of the State was protected. Pursuant to the order of the High Court dated 29.10.1976 remanding the matter to the OEA Collector,

the Collector heard the matter afresh and by order dated 24.4.1989 held that the lease

was entered into prior to 1.1.1946. But he found that the claimant was only in possession

of 7 acres of land and hence recommendation was made only for registering a settlement

in respect of such 7 acres of land. Significantly, the General Administration Department

(in short GA Department) was not brought on record in the proceedings. The record

was then submitted to the Board of Revenue. By order dated 27.4.1991, the Board of

Revenue held that due enquiry had not been made as per the orders of the High Court in

the earlier writ petition and the matter was returned to the Collector for fresh enquiry.

Interestingly, the order of OEA Collector dated 24.4.1989 was challenged in OJC 2063 of

1992 in the High Court. There was, however, no challenge to the order passed by the

Board of Revenue dated 27.4.1991. By order dated 2.11.1992 the High Court allowed the

writ petition being of the view that the finding of the Collector was to the effect that the

lease was not executed after 1.1.1946, so as to defeat the provisions of the Act. Therefore,

the OEA Collector had no jurisdiction to proceed further in the matter. Thus (a) the

determination of the extent of possession of the parties and (b) referral of the matter to

the Board of Revenue was beyond jurisdiction of the Collector. The High Court quashed

the order of the Collector directing settlement of portion of the leased property and

declared the proceedings before the Board of Revenue to be non est.

The High Court confined its order only to issue of jurisdiction and the scope of

power under Section 5(i) and there was no finding recorded regarding the genuineness

of the lease dated 25.1.1933. Additionally, the GA Department of the State which is the

relevant Department under the Orissa Government Rules of Business was not a party in

the writ petition.

After the death of Kamala Devi, her purported successor Kishore Chandra

Pattnaik filed a writ petition bearing No.OJC 15984 of 1997 praying for a direction to

the State to accept rent in respect of the disputed property. Again, the GA Department

was not arrayed as a party in the case at the time of filing of the writ petition. The GA

Department was later arrayed as a party pursuant to the order dated 3.8.2000 passed in

said OJC. One Anup Kumar Dhirsamant who was the Power of Attorney holder of

Kishore Chandra Pattnaik executed a sale deed dated 6.3.2000 covering 23.30 acres of

land on behalf of the latter in favour of the present respondent who is also the mother of

Dhirsamant. Thus, the respondent came into the picture as a vendee of Kishore

Chandra Pattnaik who in turn is the son of Kamala Devi. Kishore Chandra Pattnaik

claimed that the original power of attorney did not empower the holder to sell the land.

His plea was that the aforesaid sale was in pursuance of a forged and interpolated

document. The sale deed dated 6.3.2000 was an impounded document for evasion of

stamp duty. On 8.4.2002, a Settlement Rent Objection case under the Settlement Act
bearing case No.4013 of 2002 was instituted by the Assistant Settlement Officer,

Gadakna on the strength of the petition filed by GA Department for recording the case

land in favour of GA Department. The petition was allowed on 30.12.2002 in favour of

the GA Department. Against the said order, Settlement Appeal cases were preferred by

Kishore Chandra Pattnaik and present respondent Harapriya Bisoi. The appeals were

disposed of by order dated 7.10.2004 and the record of rights in favour of GA

Department was directed not to be interfered with. The respondent also filed a Civil Suit

bearing No.2/12 of 2004 before learned Civil Judge, Senior Division, Bhubaneswar, for a

declaration of right, title and interest in respect of disputed land. The IAs were

dismissed and the Civil Court held that the right, title and interest of the present

respondent had not been determined finally by OJC 2063 of 1992. It was held that the

findings of the High Court related only to the power and jurisdiction of the Collector

and the Board of Revenue. Respondent filed OJC 8282 of 2004 seeking a direction to the

State to accept rent from her in respect of the case land, for a declaration of tenancy in

her favour and for an injunction against the State restraining them from interfering

with her possession. By order dated 27.10.2005 the High Court allowed the writ petition

and that is the subject matter of challenge in one of the present appeals.

It is to be noted that in its order dated 27.10.2005 the High Court relied upon the

earlier judgment in OJC 2063 of 1992 and held that in view of the finding in that case

Kamala Devi and Kishore Chandra Pattnaik were deemed to be tenants under the State

government under Section 8(1) of the Act and the present respondent being successor in

interest of Kamala Devi was to step into her shoes and has to be treated as a tenant

under the Act. The relevant findings of the High Court in the judgment are as follows:

“(i) In paras 10 and 11 of the judgement of the High Court in OJC No.
2063/1992 it was held that the lease deed having been executed prior to 1.1.1946
and the same have been found to be a genuine document, the OEA Collector could
not have proceeded with the case any further and he should have dropped the
proceeding.

(ii) In the subsequent paras in the judgment in OJC No. 2063/1992, the Court
held that the OEA Collector had no jurisdiction to decide the question of actual
possession and make a recommendation to the Board of Revenue for concurrence.
“The orders passed by the Board of Revenue in pursuance of the references of the
case by the OEA Collector shall be taken to be non-est. The proceedings initiated
under S. 5 (i) of the OEA Act shall be taken to have been dropped.”

(iii) This Court while disposing of the earlier writ application taking note of S. 5
(i) has held that Late Kamla Devi was a tenant under the ex-intermediaries before
the vesting and on the date of vesting and was in possession of the entire disputed
property – hence Late Kamla Devi was a deemed tenant under S. 8 (1) of the OEA
Act.

(iv) In view of the decision of the High Court in OJC No. 2063/1992, late Kamla
Devi and thereafter her successor Kishore Chandra Pattnaik are deemed to be
tenants under the State Government and therefore the Tahasildar, Bhubaneswar
was duty bound to collect rent from them.

(v) Kishore Chandra Pattaik being deemed to be a tenant under the State
Government, the, Petitioner, Harpriya Bishoi, has stepped into his shoes after
purchasing the land from him and, consequently, the Petitioner is to be treated as
a tenant under the State and rent is to be collected from her.”

4. In support of the appeals, learned counsel for the State submitted that the High

Court has completely mis-construed the decision in OJC 2063 of 1992. In the said

judgment the High Court had not returned any finding or expressed any observation

with regard to the genuineness of the lease deed of 1933. The only issue before the High

Court was whether the OEA Collector had exercised its powers correctly under Section

5(i) of the Act. No further issue was under consideration of the High Court. Only the

scope and jurisdiction of the Collector and the Board of Revenue was decided. In the

said decision the High Court had not returned any finding that late Kamala Devi was a

tenant under the ex-intermediaries before the vesting and on the date of vesting and

was in possession of the entire disputed property. The High Court has erroneously

recorded the said finding in the impugned judgment. Therefore, the High Court was in

error by holding that Kamala Devi and thereafter her successor Kishore Chandra

Pattnaik were deemed to be tenants under Section 8(1) of the Act. It is pointed out that

the proceedings in OEA Case No.4 of 1970 were under Section 5(i) of the Act and not

under Section 8(1) of the Act. Neither the order of OEA Collector in OEA Case No.4 of

1970 dated 24.4.1989 nor the High Court’s order in OJC 2063 of 1992 recognizes the

predecessors in interest of the respondent as tenants under Section 8(1) of the Act. The

OEA Collector had categorically held in the order dated 24.4.1989 that the plea of the

claimants that the proceedings to be treated as one under Section 8(1) does not hold

water. The OEA Collector was therefore conscious of the fact that there was no

exercise of power under Section 8(1) of the Act, but only under Section 5(i) of the Act.

Further, the High Court was in error in its interpretation of Section 5(i) of the Act. The

settlement of the lease in favour of the lessee under the first proviso of Section 5(i) has

to be necessarily confirmed by a member, Board of Revenue.

5. It has also been highlighted that a decision of this Court in State of Orissa v.

Brundaban Sharma (1995 Supp (3) SCC 249) has been completely lost sight of. The

conceptual different between Section 5(i) of the Act and Section 8 has been lost sight of.

It was clearly observed in Brundaban’s case (supra) that the order of the Collector

under Section 5(i) of the Act is required to be confirmed by Board of Revenue even if

Collector upholds genuineness of the lease. Several gross acts of fraud have been

committed by the respondent and/or others involved. This clearly invalidates every

action. The vendor’s claims are pending adjudication before various courts. The record

of rights has attained finality in the settlement proceedings and the High Court should

not have unsettled them in the manner done. Therefore, it is submitted that the

impugned judgment of the High Court cannot be maintained.

6. On the other hand, learned counsel for the respondent submitted that

consequences of vesting and the finding of the Collector that the lease was prior to

1.1.1946 and is a genuine one has been confirmed in the earlier judgment. The same has

attained finality. The State of Orissa was represented by the Secretary to Government,

Revenue Department, Bhubneshwar and the Member, Board of Revenue was also a

party. It is submitted that the decision in Brundaban’s case (supra) was rendered in a

different set up and has no application to the facts of the present case.

7. Certain factors need to be noted in the present case.

8. In Brundaban’s case (supra) this Court held that even in a case where the OEA

Collector “decides not to set aside the lease, he should have referred the case to the

Board of Revenue. The object of conferment of such power on the Board of Revenue

appears to be to prevent collusive or fraudulent acts or actions on the part of the

intermediaries and lower level officers to defeat the object of the Act.” This Court

further held that even if the OEA Collector decides that a lease was purported to have

been granted before 1.1.1946 and is not liable to be set aside, without reference or

confirmation by the Board of Revenue, such lease would not attain finality The

judgment finally concludes that, “the’ order passed by the Tehsildar (exercising powers

as the OEA Collector) without confirmation by the Board is non est. A non est order is

a void order and it confers no title and its validity can be questioned or invalidity be set

up in any proceeding or at any stage.”

9. It is important to note, that in the facts of the present case, the Member, Board

of Revenue in its order dated 27.4.1991 while considering the decision of the OEA

Collector in OEA Case No. 4 of 1970, had observed that a detailed enquiry had not been

made by the OEA Collector “to ascertain who was in possession of the case land prior

to 1.1.1946 and from 1.1.1946 to 1.5.1954 (date of vesting of estate) and thereafter”. The

Member, Board of Revenue, had further stated that, “the OEA Collector should have

verified the records to ascertain who were the ex-intermediaries (lessors) and if they

had right to alienate the land and if they have got compensation u/ s 28 of the OEA

Act”. Further, “the O.Ps did not press their claim for a considerable period of time”

and “after notice was published in the newspaper ‘Prajatantra’ dated 22.7.87, a number

of interveners have preferred their claims before the OEA Collector”, who have not

been examined.

10. The Member, Board of Revenue in its order had concluded that, “the case land

are within Bhubaneswar Municipality where the capital of state has been established

and a number of Government institutions have developed.. In view of the above points it

is necessary on the part of the OEA Collector to conduct a detailed enquiry”.

11. Without such confirmation by Member, Board of Revenue, the order of the OEA

Collector had not attained finality, and hence, the lease deed in favour of Kamala Devi

did not attain finality.

12. Certain provisions of the Act need to be noted.

13. Section 2(h) defines an `intermediary’ as follows:

“Intermediary’ with reference to any estate means a proprietor, sub-proprietor,
landlord, land holder, malguzar, thikadar, gaontia, tenure-holder, under-tenure
holder and includes an inamdar, a jagirdar, Zamindar, Illaquedar, Khorposhdar,
Parganadar, Sarbarakar and Maufidar including the ruler of an Indian State
merged with the State of Orissa and all other holders or owners of interest in land
between the raiyat and the State.”

14. Section 2(hh) defines as `intermediary interest’ as an estate or any rights or

interest therein held or owned by or vested in an Intermediary.

15. Significantly, as the above definitions would show, an `intermediary’ and an

`intermediary interest’ cover all the holders or owners of interest in land between the

State and the ‘Raiyat’ i.e. the actual cultivator or tiller of the soil. This is in line with the

object and purpose of the 1951 Act i.e. to establish a direct relationship between the tiller

and the State, and to abolish all intermediary interests, by whatever name called.

16. `Raiyat’ is the actual tiller of the soil, and is defined in section 2(n) as:

‘Raiyat’ means any person holding the land for the purpose of cultivation
and who has acquired the right of occupancy according to the tenancy law
or rules for the time being in force in that area or in the absence of such
law or rules, the custom prevalent in that area.

17. Section 3 of the Act empowers the State to declare,, by notification, that the estate

specified in the notification has passed to and become vested in the State free from all

encumbrances. In similar vein, Section 3A empowers the State to declare by notification that

the intermediary interests of all intermediaries or a class of intermediaries in the whole or

part of the estate have passed to and become vested in the State free from all encumbrances.

18. Upon a notification being issued under the provisions of Sections 3, 3A or 4 of the Act,

the entire estate vests in the State free from encumbrances and the intermediary ceases to

have any interest in such estate other than the interests expressly saved under the Act.

Where a lease or transfer has been made prior to 1.1.1946, solely with the object of defeating the provisions of the Act or to claim higher compensation, Section 5(i) empowers the collector to set aside such lease, settlement or transfer and take possession of the land from such person.

19. By virtue of Section 8, any person who immediately before the vesting of an estate in the State government was in possession of any holding as a tenant under an intermediary, would on the from the date of the vesting, be deemed to be a tenant of the State government.

The words ‘holding as a tenant’ mean the `Raiyat’ and not any other class of tenant:

Reference in this regard may be drawn to the definition of `holding’ in the Orissa Tenancy

Act, 1913. `Holding’ means a parcel or parcels of land held by a raiyat and forming the

subject of a separate tenancy”.

20. Section 8 thus confers protection only on the `Raiyat’ i.e. the actual tiller of the soil.

21. Significantly, a `lease’ and `lessee’ on the one hand are defined separately from

the ‘Raiyat’ under the Act. Thus, the mere execution of a lease by the intermediary in

favour of a person would not confer the status of a ‘raiyat’ on the lessee nor would

protect the possession of such lessee under Section 8. In fact, a `lease’ would amount to a

transfer of an interest of the intermediary in the land to the lessee. In such a situation,

far from being a tenant protected under Section 8, the lessee would in fact step into the

shoes of the intermediary with his interest being liable for confiscation and his

entitlement limited to compensation from the State. On the other hand, for protection

under Section 8, one has to be a Raiyat cultivating the land directly and having the rights

of occupancy under the tenancy laws of the State. Thus, a `lessee’ who is not actually

cultivating the land i.e. who is not a ‘raiyat’, would not be within the protection of

Section 8 of the Act. Section 2(h) of the Act in its residuary part states that

`intermediary’ would cover all owners or holders of interest in land between the raiyat

and the State. In Kumar Bimal Chandra Sinha V. State of Orissa, (1963) 2 SCR 552, this

Court while considering the scope of the Act has held as follows:

“the position in law is that `estate” includes the interest, by whatever’ name called,
of all persons, who hold some right in land between the State at the apex and the
raiyat at the base. That is to say, the Act is intended to abolish all intermediaries
and rent receivers and to establish direct relationship between the State, in which
all such interests vest, after abolition under the Act, and the tillers of the soil.”

22. On the facts of the present case, it is clear that the land was not under cultivation

by Kamala Devi. As per the record of rights published in 1930-31, the disputed land is

classified as Anabadi Land i.e. uncultivable. The land is further described in the records

as Jhudi jungle, i.e. bush forest. In addition, by order dated 6.1.1971 in OEA Case 4 of

1970, the OEA Collector, Bhubaneshwar had found that the lands were lying fallow and

were not in physical possession of any person. The land thus not being cultivated, Kamala

Devi cannot prima facie be considered as a ‘Raiyat’ under the Act.

23. It is the stand of the appellant-State that the ‘Hatapatta’ on the basis of which

Kamala Devi has claimed her title is an unregistered document. Section 107 of the

Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (in short the `T.P. Act’) read with Section 17 of the India

Registration Act, (in short the `Registration Act’) mandates that the conveyance of title

through a written instrument of any immovable property worth more than Rs.100 for a

period of one year or more must be registered. If such an instrument is not registered

then Section 49 of the Registration Act read with Section 91 of the Indian Evidence Act,

1872 (in short the `Evidence Act’) precludes the adducing of any further evidence of the

terms and contents of such a document. [See Sri Sita Maharani v. Chhedi Mahto (AIR

1955 SC 328). There is a further requirement of registration of the instrument of

conveyance/agricultural lease under Sections 15 and 16 of the Orissa Tenancy Act, 1913

(in short the `Tenancy Act’).

24. It is further submitted that even presuming that the ‘Hatapatta’ is legal and valid,

it would, make Kamla Devi a ‘tenure-holder’ as opposed to a ‘raiyat’. Section 2(h) of the

Act defines `intermediary’ to include ‘tenure-holder’. Thus, a “tenure holder” being an

“intermediary” under the Act- the rights and liabilities of such tenure holder would

stand extinguished under the Act.

25. According to the proviso to Section 5(5) of Tenancy Act where the area held by the

tenant exceeds 33 acres the tenant shall be presumed to be a `tenure-holder’ (which

includes her successors-in-interest) until the contrary is proved. As under the

`Hatapatta’, purportedly more than 53.95 acres of land has been given by way of lease by

the ex-intermediary to Kamala Devi, she or her successor-in-interest is presumed to be a

`tenure-holder’ and, therefore, an `intermediary’ under the Act.

26. It is highlighted by learned counsel for the appellant, as various claims on prime

government land in the city of Bhubaneswar have been surfacing on the basis of

fraudulent title papers (called ‘Hatapattas’) allegedly to have been issued by ex–

intermediaries, the State Government in the General Administration Department, has

handed over the issue of fraudulent ‘Hatapattas’ to the Crime Branch, CID, Cuttack for

inquiry and necessary legal action vide Capital Police Station Case No.178/2005 dated

20.5.2005. An interim report of the Inspector/CID-Crime Branch dated 31.8.2007 with

respect to the suit land has been submitted.

27. The Crime Branch Report states that the Power of Attorney through which the

suit land has been sought to be alienated in favour of the Respondent herein has been

tampered and manipulated by the Power of Attorney holder, Anup Kumar Dhirsamant,

Managing Director, M/s Milan Developers & Builders (P) Ltd. The vendor, Kishore

Chandra Pattnaik had not given any powers of alienation to his Power of Attorney holder

Anup Kumar Dhirsamant. The respondent Harapriya Bisoi is the mother of the Power of

Attorney holder. The Crime Branch also states that Anup Kumar Dhirsamant had

interpolated the deed of Power of Attorney giving himself powers to enter into a sale deed

so as to be able to alienate the property in favour of his mother, Harapriya Bisoi, the

respondent herein. The report concludes that prima facie offences u/s

420/468/471/477A/167/120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short `IPC’), inter-alia,

have been made out against respondent Harapriya Bisoi and Anup Kumar Dhirsamant.

28. It has also come to light that the Sale Deed (RSD) No.1196/2000 dated 6.3.2000

executed in favour of Harapriya Bisoi, the Respondent herein, has been impounded for

non-payment of adequate stamp duty with the deficit stamp duty and registration fee

amounting to about Rs.1.03 crores.

29. In Settlement Rent Objection Case No. 4013/2002 under the Settlement Act, the

Asst. Settlement Officer by its order dated 10.3.2003 had recorded the suit land in favour

of the G.A. Department.

30. Thereafter, the Respondent filed Settlement Appeal Case, being Suit No. 205 of

2003, to set aside the above order. The Settlement Officer by its order dated 7.10.2004

had dismissed the appeal holding that the draft. Record of Rights in respect of the suit

land shall not be interfered with. The officer returned the following findings:

(1) On perusal of the impugned order passed by the Asst. Settlement

Officer in the said objection case it is revealed that necessary field

enquiry was made in presence of the parties.

(2) It is observed that there exists no such field/plot as found in the not final

map in respect of suit land relating to Hal Plot Nos. 7590 Ac 3.000, 7592

Ac.3.400, 7626 Ac 1.940 and 7646 Ac.5.000 – the map in respect of those

plots are imaginary.

(3) The land relating to Hal Plot No. 7646 Ac 5.000 have been allotted to

Sainik School since the year 1962-63 and comes under the premises of

Sainik School.

(4)The alleged possession of suit land by the appellant is found to be

disputed with others like Dijabar Behera S/o Bhima Behera and Golakh

Behera S/o Kesab Behera.

(5) Besides, an area of Ac 2.300 dec. out of the suit land i.e. Sabik Plot No.

4706 along with its adjoining land to the extent of Ac. 39.399 dec. have

been leased to the Government of India, Ministry of Railways, for the

purpose of construction of office and residential complex of East Coast

Railway, Bhubaneswar. It is also observed by the Asst. Settlement

Officer that no jamabandi in respect of the suit land has been opened in

the Tahsil records.

(6) The Appellant adduced no evidence as regards to acquiring of right,

title, interest and possession over the suit land which is Government

land as per the finally published ROR of the year 1973-74.

(7) Creation of tenancy right in favour of the Appellant by way of deeming

provision u/ s 8 (1) of the Act has also not been recognized by the Tahasildar, Cuttack/Bhubaneswar; the claim of possession by the appellant over the suit land is not confirmed.

31. In course of hearing of the appeals, a query was made as to what is the effect of

the order of the High Court in OJC 2063 of 1992 i.e. whether it covers the area of 7 acres

or the whole area of 53.95 acres of land. Learned counsel for the respondent submitted

that in view of the finding that the order of the Collector was indefensible, obviously the

right, title and interest of the respondent extended to the whole area. This stand is clearly

unsustainable. The Collector’s order only referred to certain enquires made to confirm

possession of only 7 acres of land. The High Court apparently has not considered this

aspect. The High Court has also not considered the effect of alleged fraud and the fact

that the relevant department was not a party in the proceedings before the High Court in

OJC 2063 of 1992.

32. It is necessary to consider the effect of fraud.

33. By “fraud” is meant an intention to deceive; whether it is from any expectation of

advantage to the party himself or from the ill will towards the other is immaterial. The

expression “fraud” involves two elements, deceit and injury to the person deceived.

Injury is something other than economic loss, that is, deprivation of property, whether

movable or immovable or of money and it will include and any harm whatever caused to

any person in body, mind, reputation or such others. In short, it is a non-economic or

non-pecuniary loss. A benefit or advantage to the deceiver, will almost always cause loss

or detriment to the deceived. Even in those rare cases where there is a benefit or

advantage to the deceiver, but no corresponding loss to the deceived, the second

condition is satisfied. (See Dr. Vimla v. Delhi Administration (1963 Supp. 2 SCR 585)

and Indian Bank v. Satyam Febres (India) Pvt. Ltd. (1996 (5) SCC 550).

34. A “fraud” is an act of deliberate deception with the design of securing something

by taking unfair advantage of another. It is a deception in order to gain by another’s

loss. It is a cheating intended to get an advantage. (See S.P. Changalvaraya Naidu v.

Jagannath (1994 (1) SCC 1).

35. “Fraud” as is well known vitiates every solemn act. Fraud and justice never dwell

together. Fraud is a conduct either by letter or words, which includes the other person

or authority to take a definite determinative stand as a response to the conduct of the

former either by words or letter. It is also well settled that misrepresentation itself

amounts to fraud. Indeed, innocent misrepresentation may also give reason to claim

relief against fraud. A fraudulent misrepresentation is called deceit and consists in

leading a man into damage by willfully or recklessly causing him to believe and act on

falsehood. It is a fraud in law if a party makes representations, which he knows to be

false, and injury enures therefrom although the motive from which the representations

proceeded may not have been bad. An act of fraud on court is always viewed seriously.

A collusion or conspiracy with a view to deprive the rights of the others in relation to a

property would render the transaction void ab initio. Fraud and deception are

synonymous. Although in a given case a deception may not amount to fraud, fraud is

anathema to all equitable principles and any affair tainted with fraud cannot be

perpetuated or saved by the application of any equitable doctrine including res judicata.

(See Ram Chandra Singh v. Savitri Devi and Ors. (2003 (8) SCC 319).

36. “Fraud” and collusion vitiate even the most solemn proceedings in any civilized

system of jurisprudence. It is a concept descriptive of human conduct. Michael Levi

likens a fraudster to Milton’s sorcerer, Comus, who exulted in his ability to, `wing me

into the easy hearted man and trap him into snares’. It has been defined as an act of

trickery or deceit. In Webster’s Third New International Dictionary “fraud” in equity

has been defined as an act or omission to act or concealment by which one person

obtains an advantage against conscience over another or which equity or public policy

forbids as being prejudicial to another. In Black’s Legal Dictionary, “fraud” is defined

as an intentional perversion of truth for the purpose of inducing another in reliance

upon it to part with some valuable thing belonging to him or surrender a legal right; a

false representation of a matter of fact whether by words or by conduct, by false or

misleading allegations, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed,

which deceives and is intended to deceive another so that he shall act upon it to his legal

injury. In Concise Oxford Dictionary, it has been defined as criminal deception, use of

false representation to gain unjust advantage; dishonest artifice or trick. According to

Halsbury’s Laws of England, a representation is deemed to have been false, and

therefore a misrepresentation, if it was at the material date false in substance and in fact.

Section 17 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 defines “fraud” as act committed by a party

to a contract with intent to deceive another. From dictionary meaning or even otherwise

fraud arises out of deliberate active role of representator about a fact, which he knows to

be untrue yet he succeeds in misleading the representee by making him believe it to be

true. The representation to become fraudulent must be of fact with knowledge that it

was false. In a leading English case i.e. Derry and Ors. v. Peek (1886-90) All ER 1 what

constitutes “fraud” was described thus: (All ER p. 22 B-C) “fraud” is proved when it is

shown that a false representation has been made (i) knowingly, or (ii) without belief in its

truth, or (iii) recklessly, careless whether it be true or false”. But “fraud” in public law

is not the same as “fraud” in private law. Nor can the ingredients, which establish

“fraud” in commercial transaction, be of assistance in determining fraud in

Administrative Law. It has been aptly observed by Lord Bridge in Khawaja v. Secretary

of State for Home Deptt. (1983) 1 All ER 765, that it is dangerous to introduce maxims of common law as to effect of fraud while determining fraud in relation of statutory law.

“Fraud” in relation to statute must be a colourable transaction to evade the provisions of

a statute. “If a statute has been passed for some one particular purpose, a court of law

will not countenance any attempt which may be made to extend the operation of the Act

to something else which is quite foreign to its object and beyond its scope. Present day

concept of fraud on statute has veered round abuse of power or mala fide exercise of

power. It may arise due to overstepping the limits of power or defeating the provision of

statute by adopting subterfuge or the power may be exercised for extraneous or

irrelevant considerations. The colour of fraud in public law or administration law, as it

is developing, is assuming different shades. It arises from a deception committed by

disclosure of incorrect facts knowingly and deliberately to invoke exercise of power and

procure an order from an authority or tribunal. It must result in exercise of jurisdiction

which otherwise would not have been exercised. The misrepresentation must be in

relation to the conditions provided in a section on existence or non-existence of which the

power can be exercised. But non-disclosure of a fact not required by a statute to be

disclosed may not amount to fraud. Even in commercial transactions non-disclosure of

every fact does not vitiate the agreement. “In a contract every person must look for

himself and ensures that he acquires the information necessary to avoid bad bargain. In

public law the duty is not to deceive. (See Shrisht Dhawan (Smt.) v. M/s. Shaw Brothers

(1992 (1) SCC 534).

37. In that case it was observed as follows:

“Fraud and collusion vitiate even the most solemn proceedings in any civilized
system of jurisprudence. It is a concept descriptive of human conduct. Michael
levi likens a fraudster to Milton’s sorcerer, Comus, who exulted in his ability to,
‘wing me into the easy-hearted man and trap him into snares'”. It has been
defined as an act of trickery or deceit. In Webster’s Third New International
Dictionary fraud in equity has been defined as an act or omission to act or
concealment by which one person obtains an advantage against conscience over
another or which equity or public policy forbids as being prejudicial to another.
In Black’s Legal Dictionary, fraud is defined as an intentional perversion of truth
for the purpose of inducing another in reliance upon it to part with some valuable
thing belonging to him or surrender a legal right; a false representation of a
matter of fact whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations,
or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed, which deceives and is
intended to deceive another so that he shall act upon it to his legal injury. In
Concise Oxford Dictionary, it has been defined as criminal deception, use of false
representation to gain unjust advantage; dishonest artifice or trick. According to
Halsbury’s Laws of England, a representation is deemed to have been false, and
therefore a misrepresentation, if it was at the material date false in substance and
in fact. Section 17 of the Contract Act defines fraud as act committed by a party
to a contract with intent to deceive another. From dictionary meaning or even
otherwise fraud arises out of deliberate active role of representator about a fact
which he knows to be untrue yet he succeeds in misleading the representee by
making him believe it to be true. The representation to become fraudulent must
be of the fact with knowledge that it was false. In a leading English case Derry v.
Peek [(1886-90) ALL ER Rep 1: (1889) 14 AC 337 (HL)] what constitutes fraud
was described thus : (All Er p. 22 B-C)

`Fraud is proved when it is shown that a false representation
has been made (i) knowingly, or (ii) without belief in its truth, or (iii)
recklessly, careless whether it be true or false’.”

38. This aspect of the matter has been considered by this Court in Roshan Deen v.

Preeti Lal (2002 (1) SCC 100) Ram Preeti Yadav v. U.P. Board of High School and

Intermediate Education (2003 (8) SCC 311), Ram Chandra Singh’s case (supra) and

Ashok Leyland Ltd. v. State of T.N. and Another (2004 (3) SCC 1).

39. Suppression of a material document would also amount to a fraud on the court.

(see Gowrishankar v. Joshi Amba Shankar Family Trust (1996 (3) SCC 310) and S.P.

Chengalvaraya Naidu’s case (supra).

40. “Fraud” is a conduct either by letter or words, which induces the other person or

authority to take a definite determinative stand as a response to the conduct of the

former either by words or letter. Although negligence is not fraud but it can be

evidence on fraud; as observed in Ram Preeti Yadav’s case (supra).

41. In Lazarus Estate Ltd. v. Beasley (1956) 1 QB 702, Lord Denning observed at

pages 712 & 713, “No judgment of a Court, no order of a Minister can be allowed to

stand if it has been obtained by fraud. Fraud unravels everything.” In the same

judgment Lord Parker LJ observed that fraud vitiates all transactions known to the law

of however high a degree of solemnity.

42. There is another statute which has great relevance to the present dispute, i.e. The

Orissa Communal Forest and Private Lands (Prohibitions of Alienation) Act, 1948 (in

short `Communal Forest Land’).

43. In Maganti Subrahmanyam (dead) by his Legal Representative v. The State of

Andhra Pradesh (AIR 1970 SC 403) it was observed as follows:

“4. The purpose of the Act was to prohibit the alienation of communal,
forest and private lands in estates in the Province of Madras and the
preamble to the Act shows that it was enacted to prevent indiscriminate
alienation of communal, forest and private lands in estates in the Province
of Madras pending the enactment of legislation for acquiring the interests
of landholders in such estates and introducing ryotwari settlement therein.
No fixed duration of the Act was specified and it is impossible to hold that
merely because of the above preamble the Act became a temporary Act.
The definition of `forest land’ is given in Section 2(b) of the Act reading:
`forest land’ includes any waste land containing trees and shrubs, pasture
land and any other class of land declared by the State Government to be
forest land by notification in the Fort St. George Gazette”.

Sub-section (1) of Section 3 prohibited landholders from selling,
mortgaging, converting into ryoti land, leasing or otherwise assigning or
alienating any communal or forest land in an estate without the previous
sanction of the District Collector, on or after the date on which the
ordinance which preceded the Act came into force, namely, 27th June,
1947. Section 4(1) provided that:
“Any transaction of the nature prohibited by Section 3 which took place, in
the case of any communal or forest land, on or after the 31st day of
October, 1939 … shall be void and inoperative and shall not confer or take
away, or be deemed to have conferred or taken away, any right whatever
on or from any party to the transaction:
* * *”
This sub-section had a proviso with several clauses. Our attention was
drawn to clauses (iii), (iv) and (v) of the proviso but in our opinion none of
these provisos was applicable to the facts of the case so as to exclude the
operation of sub-section (1) of Section 4. Under sub-section (3) of Section 4:
“If any dispute arises as to the validity of the claim of any person to any
land under clauses (i) to (v) of the proviso to sub-section (1), it shall be open
to such person or to any other person interested in the transaction or to the
State Government, to apply to the District Judge of the district in which
the land is situated, for a decision as to the validity of such claim.”
Under sub-section (4) the District Judge to whom such application is made
was to decide whether the claim to the land was valid or not after giving
notice to all persons concerned and where the application was not made by
the State Government, to the Government itself, and his decision was to be
final. Madras Act 26 of 1948, was passed on April 19, 1949, being an Act to
provide for the repeal of the Permanent Settlement, the acquisition of the
rights of landholders in permanently settled and certain other estates in the
Province of Madras, and the introduction of ryotwari settlement in such
estates. Apparently because of the preamble to the Act it was contended
that with the enactment of the repeal of the Permanent Settlement by the
Act of 1948, which also provided for the acquisition of the rights of
landholders in permanently settled estates, the Act stood repealed. We fail
to see how because of the preamble to the Act it can be said that it stood
repealed by the enactment of the later Act unless there were express words
to that effect or unless there was a necessary implication. It does not stand
to reason to hold that the alienation of large blocks of land which were
rendered void under the Act became good by reason of the passing of the
later Act. Our attention was drawn to Section 63 of the later Act which
provided that:

“If any question arises whether any land in an estate is a forest or is
situated in a forest, or as to the limits of a forest, it shall be determined by
the Settlement Officer, subject to an appeal to the Director within such time
as may be prescribed and also to revision by the Board of Revenue.”

In terms the section was only prospective and it did not seek to impeach
any transaction which was effected before the Act and was not applicable
to transactions anterior to the Act. In our opinion Section 56(1) of the later Act to which our attention was drawn by the learned counsel does not fall for consideration in this case and the disputes covered by that section do not embrace the question before us.

5, Madras General Clauses Act 1 of 1891, deals with the effect of
repeals off statutes. Section 8, sub-section (f) thereof provides that:
“Where any Act, to which this Chapter applies, repeals any other
enactment, then the repeal shall not–
(a)-(e) * * *
(f) affect any investigation, legal proceeding or remedy in respect of any
such right, privilege, obligation, liability, fine, penalty, forfeiture or
punishment as aforesaid; and any such investigation, legal proceeding or
remedy may be instituted, continued or enforced, and any such fine,
penalty, forfeiture or punishment may be imposed, as if the repealing Act
had not been passed.”
This shows that even if there was a repeal any investigation started before
the repeal would have to be continued and legal proceedings under the Act
could be prosecuted as if the repealing Act had not been passed.

6. There is also no force in the contention that unless there was a
notification under Section 2(b) of the Act declaring a particular land to be
forest land, the applicability of the Act would be excluded. The definition of
`forest land’ in that section is an inclusive one and shows that `forest land’
would include not only waste land containing trees, shrubs and pasture
lands but also any other class of lands declared by Government to be forest
land. This does not mean that before a piece of land could be said to be
forest land there would have to be a notification by the Government under
the Act.”

44. In view of the aforesaid conclusions we are of the considered view that the matter

needs to be re-considered by the High Court.

45. The High Court while re-hearing the matter shall also consider the effect of the

aforesaid observations of this Court, and various aspects highlighted above.

46. In the background of the massiveness of apparent fraud involved, effective and

participative role of officials of the State cannot be lost sight of. Without their active and

effective participation manipulation of records, tampering with documents could not

have been possible. The State would do well to persue the matter with seriousness to

unravel the truth and punish the erring officials and take all permissible actions

(including criminal action) against every one involved.

47. The appeals are allowed to the aforesaid extent.

………………………………….J.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)

……………………………………J.
(LOKESHWAR SINGH PANTA)
New Delhi,
April 20, 2009

LEGAL NEWS 23.04.2009

Probe Batla House shootout for ‘transparency’: high court
http://www.sindhtoday.net/south-asia/90510.htm
Apr 23rd, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) Suggesting a magisterial inquiry into the controversial Batla House shootout last year, the Delhi High Court Thursday said the government’s reluctance in conducting the probe “might create suspicion” over the police version in the case.
“The more the government hardens its stand, the more suspicion it might create,” a bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Neeraj Kishan Kaul said.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the government, vehemently opposed the idea of conducting the magisterial probe, prompting the court to say it was to bring in transparency.
“It is to bring transparency by conducting such an inquiry… This is the minimum protection (against human rights violations),” the court said and asked the solicitor to take instruction from the government on the issue.
Two suspected terrorists and a police inspector were killed Sep 18, 2008 last year – a week after serial bombings rocked the capital killing 26 people.
The court, however, made it clear that the report of the inquiry, if conducted, would not be used for any other proceeding and would be submitted before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which would decide on further course of action on the basis of finding.
“Take instruction from the government. The inquiry is only a fact-finding exercise and its report would not be used by any other body. The NHRC will look into the report and would decide what is to be done,” the court said while adjourning the matter for May 4.
The remark came on a petition by an NGO, Act Now For Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), which has demanded a judicial probe into the shootout.
Delhi Police counsel Mukta Gupta had told the court in the last hearing that a magisterial probe would have “demoralising impact” on the police force.

Salary cut for paternity leave: teacher moves court
http://www.sindhtoday.net/south-asia/90156.htm
Apr 23rd, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) The Delhi High Court will Friday hear a petition by a private school teacher challenging the deduction in his salary while he was on paternity leave.
The teacher, Chandramohan, had challenged the rejection of his paternity leave application and deduction of his salary by N.K. Bagrodia Public School at Rohini in West Delhi here.
He had stayed away from work to take care of his wife after she gave birth to their child in December 2008. The school deducted his salary on the ground that it had no provision for paternity leave.
In his petition filed through his lawyer Ashok Aggarwal, Chandramohan said that every unaided school in the capital was bound to provide paternity leave for a fortnight within 60 days before or after delivery.
He submitted that the Delhi Education Act and Rules say that the staff of un-aided public schools shall be given salary, allowances, leave and other benefits equivalent to their counterparts in government schools.
The centre had in 1999 notified that all its employees would get paternity leave for a fortnight. Following that, the Delhi government also notified the same for its employees as well as for the staff of un-aided public schools.
The petitioner urged the court to issue a declaration that the facility of paternity leave also applied to the staff of un-aided public schools. He also sought his salary that had been deducted.
Chandramohan may be distressed but there are others who think he is lucky. One of them is Rohit Sharma, who was not granted paternity leave by his company and couldn’t challenge this because private sector companies are under no compulsion to have this provision.
“I was helpless and had no option but to leave my wife and daughter in the hands of a maid as I could not devote time to them. I asked my company for leave but they said they didn’t have any provision like this so I had no option but to stick to my job,” Sharma said.
“At least Chandramohan has some grounds to fight in court,” he added.

Salary cut for paternity leave: Teacher moves Delhi HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Wage-cut-for-paternity-leave-challenged/articleshow/4438548.cms
23 Apr 2009, 1118 hrs IST, IANS
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court will on Friday hear a petition by a private school teacher challenging the deduction in his salary while he was on paternity leave
. The teacher, Chandramohan, had challenged the rejection of his paternity leave application and deduction of his salary by N K Bagrodia Public School at Rohini in West Delhi here. He had stayed away from work to take care of his wife after she gave birth to their child in December 2008. The school deducted his salary on the ground that it had no provision for paternity leave. In his petition filed through his lawyer Ashok Aggarwal, Chandramohan said that every unaided school in the capital was bound to provide paternity leave for a fortnight within 60 days before or after delivery. He submitted that the Delhi Education Act and Rules say that the staff of un-aided public schools shall be given salary, allowances, leave and other benefits equivalent to their counterparts in government schools. The centre had in 1999 notified that all its employees would get paternity leave for a fortnight. Following that, the Delhi government also notified the same for its employees as well as for the staff of un-aided public schools. The petitioner urged the court to issue a declaration that the facility of paternity leave also applied to the staff of un-aided public schools. He also sought his salary that had been deducted. Chandramohan may be distressed but there are others who think he is lucky. One of them is Rohit Sharma, who was not granted paternity leave by his company and couldn’t challenge this because private sector companies are under no compulsion to have this provision. “I was helpless and had no option but to leave my wife and daughter in the hands of a maid as I could not devote time to them. I asked my company for leave but they said they didn’t have any provision like this so I had no option but to stick to my job,” Sharma said. “At least Chandramohan has some grounds to fight in court,” he added.

Tahilyani appointed Commissioner to visit Arthur road area: HC
http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/tahilyani-appointed-commissioner-to-visit-arthur-road-area-hc/59120/on

Press Trust of India / Mumbai April 23, 2009, 12:01 IST
The Bombay High Court today appointed special judge M M Tahilyani, who is presently conducting the 26/11 trial, as a Commissioner to visit the area around the Arthur Road premises.A PIL was filed yesterday that had taken exception to partial closure of the road along Aurthur Road jail in central Mumbai, where the trial of Ajmal Kasab, the lone arrested terrorist of 26/11 terror attack, is going on.The Court has asked Tahilyani to file a report by Monday stating whether there is a possiblility of maintaining a balance of providing security to the accused Kasab without causing inconvenience to the residents living in the vicinity.The matter will come up for hearing on Tuesday.

HC allows RIL to amend plea in case with NTPC
http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/hc-allows-ril-to-amend-plea-in-casentpc/356026/

Press Trust Of India / Mumbai April 23, 2009, 0:49 IST
The Bombay High Court today allowed Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries (RIL) to amend its written submissions in its case with NTPC, to take into account the government’s stand regarding allocation and pricing of gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin.
However, Justice Anup Mohta at the request of NTPC lawyer allowed NTPC six weeks to file an appeal if the power major wants to.
RIL, which won the bid to supply NTPC with 12 mmscmd gas in 2003, is now locked in a court battle with the power major as to whether contract between the two parties has been concluded or not. Seeking to amend its submissions, RIL had said last month that it wanted to incorporate the Union Government’s stand on pricing and allocation of gas, as made clear by the government’s affidavit in RIL and RNRL (Reliance Natural Resources Ltd) case. (RIL-RNRL dispute was heard by another bench of High Court, and judgement is awaited.)
RIL contends that even if NTPC won the case, the supply of gas would be subject to the government policy, as finalised by an Empowered Group of Ministers.

Kissing row: HC raps cops
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Kissing-row-HC-raps-cops/articleshow/4436893.cms
23 Apr 2009, 0148 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Angry with the Delhi Police for conducting a shoddy in-house enquiry into allegations by a couple that they were harassed by the police after being arrested for kissing in public, the Delhi High Court has asked the police commissioner to take charge. “This court is unable to understand why the police hasn’t been able to conduct a responsible enquiry into the matter in the face of specific allegations made. Therefore, this court requires the commissioner of police to examine the matter concerning the conduct of the police officials and lawyer in the episode,” Justice S Muralidhar noted in his order on Wednesday, asking the top cop to probe deeper and submit a proper enquiry report. HC was hearing the case of a couple that had approached it seeking relief after the police registered an FIR against them for allegedly kissing each other near Dwarka Metro station. HC had then quashed the FIR and wondered how it could be construed as indecency. When it was further alleged by the couple that they were duped by a lawyer, on Shilpi Saini, who promised to get their marriage registered, HC asked the DCP of the area to investigate her role as also that of the concerned officers of Dwarka police station. However, the HC was clearly unimpressed by the enquiry conducted, noting the inconsistencies in the statements of the lawyer and that alleged by the victims.

Failed NIFT student moves HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Failed-NIFT-student-moves-HC/articleshow/4437161.cms
23 Apr 2009, 0403 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday raised several questions on the exam evaluation system of National Institute of Fashion Technology, Gandhinagar (NIFT). During a hearing of a writ petition by a 3rd semester student of NIFT, Garima Tiwari, Justice RR Tripathi raised questions since the institute’s authorities had failed to satisfy the court on the issue of assessment of students’ assignments. Tiwari has been failed in her third semester on various grounds by the institute. She has been accused of copying her two-volume assignment named Fashion studies scrap book’ from another student, Jivan Upadhyay. However, this assignment had a weightage of only 10 marks. Besides this, the authorities have said that Tiwari had little attendance in classroom. After the results were declared, Tiwari protested against the evaluation before the management and even took up the issue to the head office at New Delhi. But when she did not get a satisfactory response, she approached the high court and argued before the court as party-in-person. She claimed that she had submitted two assignments, while other students made only one submission. But the institute didn’t take this into consideration. Tiwari also objected to the institute’s ground that she was not regular in classroom. After she argued before Justice Tripathi on April 17, the court summoned the competent authority of NIFT and inquired into the mode of evaluation. The deputy registrar of NIFT told the court that there is no system in the institute to verify whether the student has submitted an assignment, as the copies are not countersigned. When asked about evaluation of these assignment, the court was told that Tiwari’s assignment was assessed by a visiting faculty. Moreover, records reveal that the girl has got more than 90 per cent attendance in classroom. Tiwari has also secured first class during first two semesters at NIFT. After hearing the institute, the court asked it to supply a copy of its affidavit to the girl and the hearing was adjourned till Friday.

Don’t arrest Karanam, HC tells police
http://latestnews.stanzooblogs.com/?p=5899
Thursday, April 23, 2009, 12:26
Hyderabad: Justice G V Seethapathy of the A P High Court on Wednesday directed the police authorities not to arrest Ongole TDP leader Karanam Balaram and two others till the elections are over.
The police authorities had earlier registered a criminal case against these leaders for disturbing public life and caused traffic jam by organising a road show in Podili area of the district by actor Balakrishna without obtaining any prior permission from the authorities.
A non bailable warrant was issued by a local court which is pending against them.
Responding to another petition filed by Telugu Desam Party leader Kodela Siva Prasad’s election agent, the court directed the election commission to install CCTVs and deploy police force in nine sensitive villages of Narasaraopet constituency of Guntur district.

HC directive to APSC on ACS examhttp://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/details.asp?id=apr2309/at06
Law Reporter GUWAHATI, April 22 – The Division Bench of the Gauhati High Court, comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice BK Sharma, after hearing the writ petition filed by Pranab Kumar Das and others, today directed the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) to produce the answer scripts of the sons and daughters and near relatives of the members and officers of the APSC along with the answer scripts of the writ petitioners who appeared in the written Combined Competitive Civil Services Examination 2006 held in July 2008. The writ petition was filed challenging the entire process of selection of last ACS examination interalia on the ground that some of the close relatives of the members and officers of APSC have been called for interview without considering their merit. The court after hearing the writ petition directed the APSC to file an affidavit stating the marks obtained by the sons, daughters and near relatives of the members and officers of the Commission who appeared in the said examination. The court also directed to provide the marks obtained by the last candidates of different categories of the said examination and also to produce the answer scripts of the sons and daughters and near relatives of the APSC members and officers along with the answer scripts of the petitioners.Further hearing of the case is fixed on April 28.

No relief to NRI housing group
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/No-relief-to-NRI-housing-group-/articleshow/4437077.cms
22 Apr 2009, 2353 hrs IST
BANGALORE: The high court on Wednesday stayed the single judge Bench directive asking the BDA to consider the case of Messrs Bangalore Villas Pvt Limited, an NRI housing concern, for allotment of 50 acres of land anywhere in the city as promised by the government and BDA in 1986-87. The division bench headed by the Chief Justice stayed the operation of the Jan. 9, 2009 order upon a writ appeal filed by the BDA which claimed that there was no contract in operation between the parties. The petitioners had claimed before the single judge Bench that they came to India on the basis of promises made by the then Ramakrishna Hegde government and the BDA. They claimed that instead of 50 acres
, 18 acres were offered in H B Road Layout.

Action taken on money stashed in foreign banks: Govt tells SC
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=HomePage&id=2233e5c6-391c-4132-9b66-bd5f490adfaf&Headline=Action+taken+on+money+stashed+in+foreign+banks%3a+Govt+tells+SC
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, April 22, 2009
First Published: 19:02 IST(22/4/2009)
Last Updated: 19:07 IST(22/4/2009)
The government on Wednesday questioned in the Supreme Court the filing of a petition during election time on the issue of black money stashed in foreign banks and said action has already been taken in this regard.
“We will file an affidavit within 48 hours even though we have taken action,” Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan which posted the mattter for hearing on May 4.
Government questioned the timing of filing of the PIL by former Law Minister and eminent jurist Ram Jethmalani and five others including former Punjab DGP K P S Gill and former Secretary General of Lok Sabha Subhash Kashyap.
“Government is acting on the matter and to receive the petition during the election time leaves ground for mystification,” the ASG said when the PIL seeking a direction to take action to bring back money to the tune of Rs 70 lakh crore stashed in foreign banks was mentioned by senior advocate Anil Divan.
Subramanium refuted the allegation that government was not taking action on the issue and pointed out that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his opening speech at the recent G-20 submit in London, had said that “there should be an absolute transparency and banking secrecy should be over”.
“We are the leaders in seeking transparency in these types of matters,” the ASG said and had a dig at the petitioners by saying that they have not noted the speech of the Prime Minister at the G-20 submit.

PIL against black money.
http://iyerdeepak.wordpress.com/2009/04/21/pil-against-black-money/
If there is one thing I have learnt in life, it is that you don’t snatch a toy from a small child and an election issue from an old man (okay two, in case you are a snob).
So a wag of my finger (© The Colbert Report) to lawyer Ram Jethmalani for taking up this issue in a recent PIL :
The heated political debate over recovery of money siphoned out of India and allegedly stashed in foreign banks reached the Supreme Court on Tuesday with eminent lawyer and former law minister Ram Jethmalani along with prominent personalities filing a PIL seeking urgent remedial measures to bring back the black money estimated at Rs 70 lakh crore.
Evidently, we don’t really need an NDA government to get back the black money. It is a pity that Shri L.K. Advani doesn’t hold the copyrights of the issue. He raised the issue as recently as a second ago (and is going to talk about it a second from now too).
Having said the NDA would take action to bring back in 100 days, crores of rupees in black money hidden away in Swiss accounts and tax havens if voted to power, senior BJP leader L K Advani on Saturday it was people’s money.
Claiming that the money was ‘hidden treasure’ and ‘the people’s money’, Advani told an election meeting here all villages across the country could be developed with the money.
Now this is quite innovative. The BJP stands for development and Hindutva; something this solution magically addresses. We all know that a majority of our cows live in villages and that the cow is a sacred Hindu animal, so this would be a ‘one bird with two stones’ attack.
So a double wag of my finger (or more optimally, the wag of two of my fingers) to Mr. Jethmalani for being the sole cause of under-development of our villages and cows.

Public Interest Litigation filed for Swiss Accounts!
http://www.mifindia.org/2009/04/public-interest-litigation-filed-for.html
The black money or illegal money that is sitting in Swiss accounts has become a hot topic these days. It is to the tune of 71 lakh crores rupees (somewhere I read that if distributed evenly, every Indian family will get 2 Lakh rupees!). I am waiting for it for sure! All political parties know it, respective governments in last several decades have been sitting on it! It is of vital importance that this money should come back to India. Now a PIL has been filed in Supreme Court of India by emeinent citizens.The Tribune (april 21, 09) reports: Now, PIL in SC over black money ( R Sedhuraman Legal Correspondent)● Former Law Minister Ram Jethmalani, former Punjab police chief KPS Gill and four other prominent citizens have filed a PIL in the Supreme Court, seeking a direction to the Centre to bring back black money running into thousands of crores stashed away in tax havens overseas.● A three-Judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, agreed to hear the petition tomorrow after senior counsel Anil Diwan sought an urgent hearing. Former Lok Sabha Secretary General Subhash Kashyap is also a party to the PIL, which has named the Centre and five others – RBI, SEBI, Enforcement Directorate and CBDT (Finance Ministry) – as respondents.● Quoting media reports, the PIL placed the black money at Rs 70 lakh crore or 1.4 billion dollars. The amounts given in rupees and in dollars vary as Rs 70 lakh crore works out to 1.4 trillion dollars, while 1.4 billion dollars is equivalent to Rs 7,000 crore. The confusion was compounded as counsel Diwan, while mentioning the matter, gave a third figure – Rs 70,000 crore.● The PIL said the issue had been raised by BJP leader LK Advani while former Finance Minister P Chidambaram had “publicly acknowledged” that he was in the know of all these facts.● Citing actions taken by the US and other developed countries to bring back such money to their respective countries from Swiss and other secret bank accounts and the success achieved therein, the PIL said the Centre should take similar measures.● According to the petition, the Income Tax Department had served notices on one Hasan Ali Khan of Pune and his co-conspirators, demanding a tax of Rs 40,000 crore and Rs 20,580 crore, respectively.● The petitioners said the black money was siphoned off between 2002 and 2006. Half of this period pertained to the NDA rule and the remaining part to the present UPA government.
Author: Dr. Munish Raizada on Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Recovery of black money from foreign shoresCentre assures SC of details in 48 hourshttp://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090423/main4.htm
R SedhuramanLegal Correspondent
New Delhi, April 22The Centre today assured the Supreme Court that it would provide “within 48 hours” the details of the steps it had taken to bring back the black money stashed away in secret bank accounts oversees.
Questioning the timing of a PIL that had sought the court’s direction to the Centre to unearth unaccounted funds running into thousands of crores, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium said the government had swung into action within 24 hours of the first media report in this connection.
Arguing before a Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, the ASG said the PIL had quoted a media report that had appeared on August 18, 2008, but the government had initiated action on February 28 last year, just a day after the publication of a similar news item.
The reports had talked about Germany willing to share information it had secured from a bank that offered anonymity to its clients. The government approached Germany immediately, seeking details of accounts held by Indian citizens, he said.
Former Law Minister Ram Jethmalani, former Punjab Police chief KPS Gill and Constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap are among the six “super senior citizens” who have filed the PIL.
In his strong defence, obviously aimed at taking the sting out of the charge that the Centre had virtually done precious little to deal with parallel economy, the ASG said the timing of the PIL in the midst of the 15th Lok Sabha poll was mystifying.
He said the PM had taken up the issue with the G20, comprising advanced nations, at the recent summit at London. Singh had raised the subject of ending the secrecy in banking operations in some countries both in his speech and at the interactions he had with G20 leaders. This resulted in the summit declaration acknowledging the need for coordinated efforts, the ASG contended.
Further, India was the torchbearer of the issue at the 30-member Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), taking it up under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) mechanism.
The ASG, however, refused to disclose whether the government had succeeded in unearthing black money, stating “I can’t make further disclosure.”
The Bench posted the next hearing for May 4.

Sukh Ram gets bail in assets case
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090423/main5.htm
New Delhi, April 22The Delhi High Court today granted interim bail to former Union Communications Minister Sukhram, who was sentenced to three years imprisonment in a disproportionate assets case by a lower court.
Justice S Muralidhar suspended the operation of sentence till May 14 and issued notice to the CBI to file its reply on his petition challenging his conviction and sentence in the assets case.
The octogenarian Congress leader was sentenced in a 13-year-old corruption case by the lower court on February 24.
The court had also ordered forfeiture of Rs 4.25 crore disproportionate assets amassed during his tenure in the PV Narasimha Rao government.
The court had then suspended his sentence for two months giving an opportunity for him to appeal in the High Court against his conviction in the case in which the CBI had seized a whopping Rs 3.61 crore in cash from his houses in Delhi and other places.
He was also slapped with a Rs 2 lakh fine by the court which did not award him the maximum imprisonment of seven years under the Prevention of Corruption Act. — PTI

Notice of motion Tribune News Service
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090423/punjab.htm#22
Chandigarh, April 22The Bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice Uma Nath Singh today issued notice of motion for May 15 to the state of Punjab on plea for appointing a retired high court judge as the state’s chief information commissioner. The post has been lying vacant since incumbent Rajan Kashyap’s term came to an end in August last year.
The application has been moved by advocate HC Arora in a public interest litigation seeking directions to fill the vacant posts without further delay have been sought. Arora in his latest plea submitted that the state never considered appointing a retired judge of the high court as the Chief Information Commissioner or Information Commissioner, though he did write to the Chief Minister, state assembly speaker and the leader of the opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Charges Against Suspended HPSC MembersFile affidavit by July 15, SC asks state http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090423/haryana.htm#1
R SedhuramanLegal Correspondent
New Delhi, April 22The Supreme Court today accepted the state government’s draft charges against nine suspended Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) members, including chairman MS Saini, and directed the state to file an affidavit by July 15, listing all witnesses and producing material that would serve as evidence.
The suspended members would be at liberty to raise their objections at the time of final hearing of the case that had arisen from a presidential reference to the court, a three-Judge Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan said.
The Bench, which also included Justices Lokeshwar Singh Panta and P Sathasivam, posted the next hearing for July 21. President Pratibha Patil had, on July 31, 2008, referred the charges against the nine to the SC “for inquiry and report” whether they could be removed from the office.
Under the draft charges, explained to the court by senior counsel Harish Salve, Saini faces the maximum number of nine allegations, followed Dungar Ram, Chattar Singh and Om Prakash Bishnoi (six each). The remaining five members face five charges each. They are Yudhvir Singh, Satbir Singh, Ranbir Singh Hooda, Santosh Singh and Ram Kumar Kashyap.
The presidential reference had listed three charges–lack of qualification for occupying their respective position and serious irregularities, non-cooperation in the investigation and misbehaviour.
The charges, however, talked about additional lapses, to which senior counsel Shanti Bhushan, appearing for the accused, took exception, stating that the state could not go beyond the presidential reference. Salve, however, said the new charges were an offshoot of the primary allegations.
Saini’s appointment, after obtaining the resignation of the then chairman, was aimed at ensuring that he would “further the objectives of the political party then in power. By, thus, conniving in the subversion of the Constitution, he is guilty of misbehaviour under the Article 317 (1) of the Constitution, the draft charges said.
Shanti, however, argued that the Article 317(1) had not properly defined misbehaviour. Salve maintained that the charges of misbehaviour, favouritism and nepotism had been framed in order to protect the integrity of the institution.
Another main charge against Saini pertained to recommending one Pradeep Sangwan for the post of drug inspector on the basis of a bogus certificate. In this case, Saini was arrested and released on bail. The final investigation report has been placed before the trial court.

Sarita CaseCops’ bail plea dismissed http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090423/haryana.htm#17
Our Correspondent
Ambala, April 22The anticipatory bail application of two police officers of Rohtak, who have been made accused in the Sarita suicide case under Section 120-B read with Sections 306 and 506 of the IPC, was dismissed by special judge of the CBI court, Haryana, AK Verma here today.
The CBI had filed an additional chargesheet in the Sarita suicide case last month in the CBI court in which it allegedly held responsible five police officials, including then DSP Dheerj Setia and CIA inspector Pawan Kumar for the suicide of Sarita. Sarita, a resident of Rohtak, had committed suicide outside the Police Headquarters in Panchkula on June 9 last year

Murder of Kashmir varsity VC Acquittal of 7 accused shocks Kheras http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090423/j&k.htm#12
Ravi Krishnan KhajuriaTribune News Service
Jammu, April 22The clean chit to seven accused by a TADA court in a case of kidnapping and then murdering former Kashmir University VC Mushir-ul-Haq, his secretary Abdul Gani and HMT General Manager HL Khera in April 1990 has come as a rude shock to the Khera family.
Reacting to the TADA court judgment, Bharat Khera (an IAS officer presently posted as secretary to the Himachal Pradesh Governor) and Manish Khera (marketing manager with GAIL in Delhi) – the two sons of deceased HL Khera – described the judgment as denial of justice to the family.
“Firstly, the trial took 19 long years and now it has culminated in the acquittal of seven accused for such a heinous crime,” Bharat said today.
He said their mother Sushma Khera was also anguished on learning about the judgment. Kheras observed that there had been instances in the past when people booked under the TADA Act for less heinous offences had been convicted.
However, in this particular case, the accused, despite being known terrorists and despite their confession, had been allowed to go scot-free, he said.
If terrorists were acquitted like this under the TADA Act, then very purpose of the Act was defeated. The judgment has delivered another blow to our family, he said.
Kheras hoped that the government while using its wisdom files an appeal against the TADA court judgement. The CBI had investigated the high-profile case.
However, CBI officials in New Delhi refused to share further course of action. ADG (CBI), Media and Communication, Harsh Bhal said there were certain strategic points, which could not be discussed with the media without taking consent of the higher authorities.
Meanwhile, special public prosecutor PS Bhardwaj, a former district and sessions judge, who appeared for the CBI had reportedly said the investigating agency would file an appeal in the Supreme Court within 30 days.

HC quashes Centre’s decision http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090423/himachal.htm#14
Legal Correspondent
Shimla, April 22The Himachal Pradesh High Court has held that the condition of fixing income criterion for granting special family pension to parents of the deceased is unreasonable and it quashed the decision of the Central government in this regard.
The order came on a petition filed by Savitri Devi challenging the action of the Defence Ministry whereby it had rejected the claim of the petitioner for grant of the special family pension on the ground that the income of the petitioner and her husband is more than Rs 2,550 per month. The respondent stated that the Central government vide its decision dated August 26, 1998, and November 24, 1999, had decided to grant the special family pension to those families of deceased soldiers, whose family income is less than 2,550 per month.
While passing this direction, Justice Rajeev Sharma observed that the very purpose of granting pension to the parents, who were dependent on the Armed Forces personnel when he was alive, had been rendered otiose and nugatory by imposing the income criteria of Rs 2,550 per month. The court observed that pension is a fundamental right and condition imposed for restriction in grant of pension must have reasonable rational with the object sought to be achieved.
The court observed that the respondent Central government had committed illegality by dividing a homogeneous class by imposing the income criteria without having any intangible differentia or rational nexus. It said the objective of including parents in the family for the purpose of special pension would be defeated by applying the restriction of income.
The court said no reasons have been assigned as to why this criterion had been fixed therefore it is unreasonable and is quashed. It directed the respondents to consider the case for grant of pension to the petitioner.

Four sentenced in cheque-bounce case http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090423/himachal.htm#20
Our Correspondent
Sundernagar, April 22In a recent order passed in a cheque-bounce case, Sundernagar Judicial Magistrate Subash Chand has sentenced Managing Director (MD) of Himachal Gramin Sanchayka Ltd (Sanchyaka Bhawan, Upper Kaithu, Shimla) SP Saklani to undergo imprisonment for two years.
The other accused Director Indra Thakur, Manager (Personnel) Vinod Thakur and Sundernagar Branch Manager of Himachal Gramin Sanchayka Ltd Mahesh Chandel were also sentenced to one-year imprisonment each.
The court further directed all convicts to pay Rs 1.6 lakh to complainant Khem Raj, a resident of Dhonutu, as compensation under Section 357(3) of the CrPC.
The complainant has opened two RD accounts with daily deposit of Rs 50 in the Sundernagar branch of Himachal Gramin Sanchyaka Ltd (a banking company) and the company had issued two cheques (Rs 73,350 each) dated September 9, 1998. The complainant deposited the cheques on February 2, 1999, but they bounced. Afterwards the complainant filed a complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act on March 9, 1999.
During the pendancy of the complaint the complainant died and his son Lalit Raj further perused it. Though the convict argued that they were not liable to pay anything, the court turned down the plea.
The court held that they were guilty of offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act. The court passed the sentence order after hearing the convicts on quantum of sentence. It also directed all convicts to pay Rs 1.6 lakh as compensation.

Court rejects Ajmal’s plea
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/23/stories/2009042360960100.htm
Mumbai: A special court on Wednesday rejected the plea of Mumbai terror attack case prime accused Mohammed Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab’ for Urdu translation of the 11,000-page charge sheet. It, however, granted his lawyer time till May 2 to argue on charges proposed by prosecution. — PTI

26/11 case: Antulay, Narayan Rane to be asked to depose
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/23/stories/2009042360481300.htm
Staff Reporter
Mumbai: Union Minority Affairs Minister A.R. Antulay and Maharashtra Industries Minister Narayan Rane have been proposed as defence witnesses in the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks case.
Defence lawyer Ejaz Naqvi, who represents the accused Mohammad Sabahuddin Ahmed, told the special sessions court here on Wednesday that the Ministers had raised questions about the death of senior officers in the attacks. Judge M.L. Tahaliyani then asked Mr. Naqvi if he would want them as defence witnesses. Mr. Naqvi agreed.
Counsel told the media that both Ministers had said the investigation was suspect. They would be called to depose. “I have told the court and will make an application. The court will then issue them summons,” he said.
Last December, Mr. Antulay was in the eye of the storm for his statement to a television news channel raising doubts on the circumstances leading to the death of Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare and two other senior officers. He had linked Karkare’s death to the Malegaon blast investigation.
Mr. Rane had said that some leaders had provided financial and logistical support to the terrorists.
Question of prejudice
The court rejected the plea seeking Urdu translation of the charge sheet by Mohammad Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab,’ the lone surviving gunman of the attacks. Mr. Tahaliyani noted that the issue was of prejudice, not of legal technicality. He said the court had to examine whether prejudice was caused to the accused if the translation was not provided. He referred to the judgments of the Calcutta High Court and the Supreme Court, according to which no prejudice was caused if the pleader understood the language of the court.
Ajmal’s lawyer Abbas Kazmi had been practising for 16 years in Mumbai, where the language of lower courts was Marathi, the judge observed. And, it was for the advocate to understand the contents of the charge sheet and the client’s instructions need not always be based on the charge sheet.
The voluminous document of 11,000 pages had a large number of reports on panchnama, post-mortem, and similar such investigation records. Their reading was irrelevant to Ajmal’s understanding, Mr. Tahaliyani stated.
The court had granted Mr. Kazmi and Saba Qureshi, newly appointed lawyer of another accused Fahim Ansari, time till May 2 to prepare their case. Mr. Tahaliyani felt that Mr. Kazmi’s demand for four weeks was not reasonable; eight working days were sufficient to study the charge sheet.
Probe demand
The order on the demand for a probe into Ajmal’s age is pending. The court will decide on Friday.
On Wednesday, Mr. Kazmi demanded that the inquiry be conducted in accordance with the procedure stipulated in the Maharashtra Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules 2002, before a competent authority like the Juvenile Justice Board.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told the media later that the prosecution had asked for dental examination, which included examination of the wisdom tooth, and an ossification test (bone age) as medical procedures, to determine if Ajmal was a major or a minor.
He said the prosecution also had statements of the doctor who examined Ajmal immediately after the incident, the jailer at the Arthur Road jail and the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.
Mr. Naqvi said K.B.N. Lam would be fighting Sabahuddin’s case hereafter while he would assist Mr. Lam.

Court asks SHRC to look into a case of rights violation
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/23/stories/2009042359530400.htm
Special Correspondent
It was reported that some policemen beat up a passenger of the Kanyakumari Express
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has requested the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) to look into an incident of alleged human rights violation of a train passenger at the Nagercoil Railway Station last month.
Disposing of a writ petition, the First Bench consisting of the Chief Justice H.L.Gokhale and Justice F.M.Ibrahim Kalifulla said the Commission had got sufficient powers to call the persons concerned, record their evidence and arrive at a conclusion after conducting a proper enquiry.
The petitioner, the Madras High Court Practising Advocates’ Association, filed the petition, drawing the court’s attention to a news item in an English daily on March 7 wherein it was reported that some policemen beat up a passenger of the Kanyakumari Express at the Nagercoil Railway Station. It was reported that the passenger had told “the wife of a police officer that he had the right to stay put on his side seat till 9 p.m. during the train journey the previous evening.” The report said the man had entered into an altercation with the woman, who was allotted a side seat after she wanted to pull the bed down and sleep soon after the train left Egmore around 5.30 p.m.
The Bench said “This appears to be a serious incident of violation of human rights of a passenger travelling by train.” Following the petitioner’s plea that the matter be heard early, the Bench requested the Commission to take up the matter on April 27 and directed the petitioner to appear before the rights body on that date.

Court order on PIL petition
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/23/stories/2009042359560400.htm
Special Correspondent
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Wednesday said the counsel for Chennai Port Trust (CPT) would file a comprehensive affidavit as to how the port is implementing the suggestions given by a committee to control pollution arising out of coal and iron ore handling at the port.
The First Bench comprising Chief Justice H. L. Gokhale and Justice F. M. Ibrahim Kalifulla passed the interim order on a public interest litigation petition seeking a direction to restrain the CPT from dumping chemicals in the port area and to shift the chemicals to Ennore Port immediately.
In its petition, the Madras High Court Practising Advocates Association said that near the northern end of the harbour, the port authorities dumped chemicals dangerous to animals and human beings. The chemicals posed a health hazard. Apart from this, the chemicals also damaged the High Court building, built by the British nearly 150 years ago. The chemical particles settled on the building, corridor and court halls. If the grime was allowed to increase, the monument would lose its importance in a short period.
The petitioner submitted that the chemicals may be shifted to Ennore Port. The Pollution Control Board may be directed to inspect the chemicals and file a report about the real character of the harmful substances present in them.
The matter was later posted for June 17.

Anticipatory bail plea of ragging accused dismissed
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/23/stories/2009042355050500.htm
Staff Reporter
Coimbatore: The Principal District Sessions Judge, G. Chockalingam, on Wednesday dismissed the anticipatory bail applications of the two of the five students accused of ragging one of their college mates here.
On April 10, Akhil Dev, a student from Kerala, studying in PSG College of Arts and Science here preferred a complaint with the Police Commissioner, K.C. Mahali, that he was ragged and physically assaulted by five of his seniors at a private hostel on March 7. He also alleged that the assault on his eyes resulted in injury. Based on the complaint the city police on April 11 registered a case against five students – Ajmal, Ashwin, Arjun, Mihshail and Shameer invoking sections 147 (unlawful assembly), 323 (causing hurt), 355 (use of criminal force with an intent to dishonour a person otherwise than on a grave provocation) and Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Ragging Act. Police also constituted special teams in search of the five accused all hailing from Kerala.
Nature of injury
Meanwhile, the anticipatory bail applications of two of the accused students – Ashwin and Arjun – came up for hearing before the Principal District Sessions Judge.
According to prosecution, the Judge dismissed the anticipatory bail applications of the two students considering the nature of the crime, nature of the injury sustained by the victim, the impact of the incident on the society and the conduct of the student community.

HC Bench quashes detention order of 19-year-old accused
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/23/stories/2009042360010600.htm
Staff Reporter
He was detained under Goondas Act for attempting to murder a woman SI
MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here has quashed a preventive order passed under the Goondas Act against a 19-year-old accused of murdering a youngster and assaulting a woman sub-inspector of police in public view.
Allowing a habeas corpus petition, a Division Bench of Justice M. Chockalingam and Justice R. Mala held that the detention order passed by G. Srinivasan, Collector (in-charge) of Tirunelveli on July 23, 2008 suffered from various infirmities.
The Judges said that the detaining authority’s observation that there was possibility of the detainee being enlarged on bail in the criminal cases pending against him was not substantiated with necessary documents such as bail applications.
Further, there was a delay of one month in submitting the file before the Under Secretary to the Government, the Bench pointed out and said that the delay was unreasonable and detrimental to the interest of the detainee.
According to the prosecution, A. Ramar alias Ramachandran of Kammalankulam of Sethurayanpudur in Tirunelveli was an accused in the murder of a youngster in a case registered by the Manoor police station in June last year.
The Gangaikondan police station had also registered a case against him under Sections 294 (b) and 506 (ii) of the Indian Penal Code for threatening a person with deadly weapons and abusing him in filthy language near a liquor shop.
Similarly, on June 23, a woman sub-inspector of police spotted him quarrelling with a passerby near Seevalaperi bus stop. When she attempted to catch him, he attempted to assault her with a bayonet. But she escaped by rolling down the floor.
The detention order also stated that the accused made belittling remarks against the woman police officer and his associates too attempted to assault her.
On seeing this, people ran helter skelter and the nearby shopkeepers pulled down the shutters.
A case under various Sections, including 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC, was registered against him on the basis of a complaint given by the sub-inspector. He was also branded as a goonda for acting in a manner prejudicial to maintenance of public order.

Bench restrains ACP from conducting ‘kangaroo’ court
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/23/stories/2009042359150300.htm
Staff Reporter
MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here has restrained Assistant Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), Anna Nagar sub-division and a sub-inspector attached to K. Pudur police station here from conducting ‘kangaroo’ court in a civil dispute.
An order passed by Justice K.K. Sasidharan read: “There will be an order of interim injunction restraining the respondents 2 and 3 from conducting ‘katta panchayat’ in respect of the subject matter of the civil suit on the file of Principal Sub court, Madurai.”
In his petition, M. Kamal, president of Maattuthavani Sunnath Val Jamath Mosque here, said that the Jamath was managing a mosque opposite to the integrated bus terminus here. It also recently purchased 4,160 sq.ft., of land near the mosque.
The property was purchased from a couple, K.S. M. Mohamed Ali and his wife, for constructing a community hall for Muslims. It was registered in the office of Tallakulam sub-registrar in the name of the Jamath.
“When the matter stood thus, M. Boominathan, Disrict Secretary of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, made an attempt to encroach upon the land with the assistance of goondas on March 12,” the petitioner alleged.
Stating that the politician claimed to be the power agent of the vendor couple, Mr. Kamal said: “The power document was cancelled by our vendors in 1999 itself. However, Mr. Boominathan using his influence dragged us for police enquiry.”
Further, the Principal Sub-Judge here on April 6 refused to grant interim orders on a civil suit filed by the politician. Despite this, the two police officials continued to harass members of the jamath to part with the land, the petitioner said.

Court stays proceedings against murder accused
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/23/stories/2009042359080300.htm
Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday stayed proceedings by a Bangalore court against Shubha, an advocate, who is one of the accused in the B.V. Girish murder.
The Additional Sessions Judge and Fast Track Court-10 of Bangalore Court had on March 2, 2009 framed charges against Arun Verma, A. Venkatesha, Dinesh and Shubha for the murder of B.V. Girish, a software engineer in Bangalore on December 3, 2003.
Girish and Shubha were standing on the pavement of Ring Road in Viveknagar when Girish came to be assaulted. Shubha shifted Girish to a nearby hospital where he died. Shubha was later arrested for conspiring with others to get rid of Girish.
Application rejected
Shubha, in her petition, said she had filed an application for amendment of the charge against her in the lower court. She said the Bangalore court had dismissed the application. She then moved the High Court saying that the question of framing charge against her under Section 120 B read with Section 302 did not arise.
She had petitioned the court to call for records and to set aside the March 2, 2009 proceedings of the FTC.
Justice K. Ramanna stayed proceedings in the lower court against Shubha. He gave liberty to the State to file application for vacating the stay during the High Court vacation.

High Court directs BDA to allot site to former MLA
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/23/stories/2009042359070300.htm
Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to allot a site under the Chief Minister’s discretionary quota to a former MLA.
Justice Mohan Shantangouder passed the order on a petition by former Dharwad Rural MLA Shivanand who had represented the constituency between 1999 and 2004.
Mr. Shivanand said he had neither a house nor a site in Bangalore.
He said in 2004 he had given a representation to the Chief Minister seeking a site in Bangalore. The Chief Minister, he said, had marked his approval on the representation and sent it to the BDA for further action.
When the BDA did not allot any site to him, Mr. Shivanand once again met the Chief Minister and sought allotment of a site.
This time too the Chief Minister approved the request again and sent it to the BDA which did not allot any site.
Mr. Shivanand said people who had approached the BDA after him were allotted sites. Justice Mohan Shantangouder allowed the petition and directed the BDA to allot a site to Mr. Shivanand.

VCK moves Supreme Court for ‘star’ symbol
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/23/stories/2009042360351000.htm
J. Venkatesan
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday will hear a writ petition filed by the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), for a direction to the Election Commission to allot the party the ‘star’ symbol in the Lok Sabha elections, scheduled to be held in Tamil Nadu on May 13.
A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice L.S. Panta and Justice P. Sathasivam posted the petition for hearing on Friday when senior counsel Rajiv Dutta sought early listing, pointing out that April 27 was the last date for withdrawal of nominations.
The VCK, represented by its treasurer Mohmed Yousef, submitted that it was part of the alliance with the Indian National Congress and the DMK for the elections and was contesting from Chidambaram and Villupuram constituencies.

Ganjam lawyers boycott court
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/23/stories/2009042351690300.htm
Staff Reporter
Protest against last year’s lathicharge
BERHAMPUR: Lawyers of the Ganjam Bar Association boycotted court and observed black day on Wednesday. They were protesting against the lathicharge against their members on the Berhampur court premises on the date, a year ago.
Long agitation of lawyers of Ganjam Bar Association, demanding establishment of a permanent bench of the Orissa High Court in the city, had led to unruly situation and police lathicharge. The members of the association alleged that at least four of their members were seriously injured by the police action. Police had also arrested 30 lawyers of the Bar.
On Wednesday, the lawyers of the city wore black badges and boycotted court proceedings. They held demonstration in front of the Berhampur court demanding establishment of High Court bench in the city.
The general secretary of the Ganjam Bar Association, Pradeep Panda, said they decided to hold a general body meeting of the association after the declaration of election results. At the meeting, they would decide their future course of action regarding their long-standing demand and the modes to take it up with the new government in the State. Till date, lawyers of the city have been continuing their token strike for the demand of High Court bench. They have been boycotting court on last four days of every month for their demand. It may be noted that the members of the Ganjam Bar Association had resorted to strike of over five months on the issue. They called off their strike in May 2008. The long agitation had totally disrupted legal process in Berhampur court and at several other courts of south Orissa.
During their demonstration, Mr. Panda and other lawyers of the association criticised Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for sidelining the issue by forming a commission to enquire into it. “The commission that had been formed to enquire into the matter is yet to furnish its report even after a year,” alleged the senior lawyers of the association. They also pointed out that even the police had failed to submit charge-sheet against the 30 lawyers it had arrested on April 22, 2008.

Judge to study way out of traffic woes due to Kasab security
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/_Judge_to_study_way_out_of_traffic_woes_due_to_Kasab_security/articleshow/4439213.cms
23 Apr 2009, 1340 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: Special Judge M L Tahilyani, who is conducting the 26/11 trial, was on Thursday appointed as Commissioner by the Bombay High Court to look into the inconvenience caused to persons residing near the Arthur Road court premises in view of the security provided to Mohammad Ajmal Kasab. The appointment was made following a PIL filed by people living near the Arthur Road jail premises, where the trial is being conducted, objecting to the partial closure of the road along the jail. A division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice V K Tahilramani directed Tahilyani to visit the area and hold meetings with the residents and shopkeepers and then file a detailed report by April 27. Government pleader Dhairyasheel Nalavade told the court that the police has received reports that there is a threat perception to main accused Kasab. “Persons living in the vicinity had been consulted before the commencement of the trial. The road adjacent is still functional,” Nalavade told the court. Justice Nazki, however, questioned how the police can stop traffic on a road. “You have the power to only regulate traffic and not stop it completely. We will not allow any inconvenience to citizens,” Justice Nazki said.

Prone missing cases, HC tells child rights panel
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/Prone_missing_cases_HC_tells_child_rights_panel/articleshow/4436894.cms
23 Apr 2009, 0149 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Clearing the confusion arising out of too many bodies taking suo motu cognizance of missing children in the capital, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) to take charge and probe the issue of missing children in the city and file a report within three months. Appearing before the division bench of chief justice A P Shah and justice Neeraj Kishan Kaul, the Chairman of DCPCR Amod Kanth told the bench that the commission has already taken suo motu cognizance over the alarming issue soon after media reports. The commissioner of police has sought more time to complete the preliminary inquiry and register the cases of kidnapping, abduction or trafficking under IPC, Kanth said. The commission has also sought reports from the Ministry of Women and Child Development and state and national level agencies taking care of the children, he added. To the chairman’s submissions, the bench said the commission should be a “social investigator” and go into the reasons why children run away from home. “This is a social problem. Why do kids run away? The reasons can vary from poverty to search for a job to separation of parents,” HC remarked, asking the commission should look into all these angles. In early March, HC had taken a suo motu cognizance and sought the police report after the police failed to check the growing number of missing children from the capital. According to media reports, 2,210 children went missing in the national capital between June 1, 2008 and January 12, 2009. On its part, however, the Delhi Police maintained before HC that a majority of minors had either eloped or left their parents to live with friends and relatives.

Kissing row: HC raps cops
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/Kissing_row_HC_raps_cops/articleshow/4436893.cms
23 Apr 2009, 0148 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Angry with the Delhi Police for conducting a shoddy in-house enquiry into allegations by a couple that they were harassed by the police after being arrested for kissing in public, the Delhi High Court has asked the police commissioner to take charge. “This court is unable to understand why the police hasn’t been able to conduct a responsible enquiry into the matter in the face of specific allegations made. Therefore, this court requires the commissioner of police to examine the matter concerning the conduct of the police officials and lawyer in the episode,” Justice S Muralidhar noted in his order on Wednesday, asking the top cop to probe deeper and submit a proper enquiry report. HC was hearing the case of a couple that had approached it seeking relief after the police registered an FIR against them for allegedly kissing each other near Dwarka Metro station. HC had then quashed the FIR and wondered how it could be construed as indecency. When it was further alleged by the couple that they were duped by a lawyer, on Shilpi Saini, who promised to get their marriage registered, HC asked the DCP of the area to investigate her role as also that of the concerned officers of Dwarka police station. However, the HC was clearly unimpressed by the enquiry conducted, noting the inconsistencies in the statements of the lawyer and that alleged by the victims.

SHRC seeks probe into Chennai man’s kidnap
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bangalore/SHRC_seeks_probe_into_Chennai_mans_kidnap/articleshow/4437067.cms
23 Apr 2009, 0207 hrs IST
The State Human Rights Commission has sought a report from the additional chief secretary on the city police `allegedly’ kidnapping and illegally confining a businessman from Chennai at Bowring Institute. SHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of the case. A notice has been issued to the DCP (South).

Panel to probe assault on train
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/Panel_to_probe_assault_on_train/articleshow/4437219.cms
23 Apr 2009, 0314 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: The Madras high court has asked the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) to probe into the police assault on a train passenger at Nagercoil railway station on March 6, 2009. The petitioner, Madras High Court Practising Advocates Association president Elephant G Rajendran, quoting a newspaper report said an innocent passenger of the Kanyakumari Express was brutally beaten up by an assistant superintendent of police and 20 other police personnel because the man had an altercation with the police official’s wife travelling on the same train. The passenger, in his late 30s, was travelling in an a/c coach with his two children and aged parents. He entered into an altercation with a co-passenger, the wife of a police officer in Kanyakumari district, after she wanted to pull down the beds and sleep as soon as the train chugged out of Egmore around 5.30pm on March 5. On getting the news from his wife on the mobile, the police officer along with his colleagues came to the Nagercoil railway station the next morning, barged into the coach, punched the man on the face and head and dragged him away while his family members watched, the petitioner said. The first bench, comprising Chief Justice H L Gokhale and Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifullah, asked the SHRC to take up the matter on April 27 and take necessary action if found that any employees of the State police or the railway police were responsible for the incident. As per the court’s earlier directive, the journalist who reported the incident and an eye witness to the incident had filed affidavits, the Bench said and observed: “In view of the seriousness and gravity of the alleged incident, we are of the view that it will be better if the SHRC looks into the matter.”

Court issues summons against complainant
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/Court_issues_summons_against_complainant/articleshow/4437180.cms
23 Apr 2009, 0404 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad: The metropolitan court on Wednesday issued summons for Kirti Thakar, the complainant in dummy writers’ scam. Thakar, former principal of AG high school, had filed a complaint at the Gujarat University police station against Komal Patel and Harsh Kotak, two students of XII (Science), and their dummy writers – Dharmik Patel and Kevin Desai, on March 14, 2008. Komal and Harsh had faked fractures in their right hands and were caught using dummy writers to answer the exams on their behalf. After more than a year of investigation, the Gujarat University police station gave a clean chit to all the accused, including students, school authorities and officials of Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB). In this regard, Thakar has been summoned by the court to be present during a hearing on May 2. With the police’s C Summary report – where police claims to have no evidence against the accused – in the back drop, Thakar’s statement becomes critical. If Thakar maintains what he had mentioned in the complaint, city police’s C Summary report would come under fire. There are other loose ends in the case too. Like, the then secretary of GSHSEB, HN Chavda, had been found guilty in the investigation conducted by the board’s examination committee. Chavda had been transferred to district institute of education and training (DIET), Anand. The then board chairman, Rohit Pathak, had sent a report to the state government for departmental enquiry and suspension of Chavda. This is the pre-requisite norm for disciplinary action against a class I government officer like Chavda. But, till date, punitive action has not been initiated even after a year. The file, said sources, is still lying with the education department.

Failed NIFT student moves HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/Failed_NIFT_student_moves_HC/articleshow/4437161.cms
23 Apr 2009, 0403 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday raised several questions on the exam evaluation system of National Institute of Fashion Technology, Gandhinagar (NIFT). During a hearing of a writ petition by a 3rd semester student of NIFT, Garima Tiwari, Justice RR Tripathi raised questions since the institute’s authorities had failed to satisfy the court on the issue of assessment of students’ assignments. Tiwari has been failed in her third semester on various grounds by the institute. She has been accused of copying her two-volume assignment named Fashion studies scrap book’ from another student, Jivan Upadhyay. However, this assignment had a weightage of only 10 marks. Besides this, the authorities have said that Tiwari had little attendance in classroom. After the results were declared, Tiwari protested against the evaluation before the management and even took up the issue to the head office at New Delhi. But when she did not get a satisfactory response, she approached the high court and argued before the court as party-in-person. She claimed that she had submitted two assignments, while other students made only one submission. But the institute didn’t take this into consideration. Tiwari also objected to the institute’s ground that she was not regular in classroom. After she argued before Justice Tripathi on April 17, the court summoned the competent authority of NIFT and inquired into the mode of evaluation. The deputy registrar of NIFT told the court that there is no system in the institute to verify whether the student has submitted an assignment, as the copies are not countersigned. When asked about evaluation of these assignment, the court was told that Tiwari’s assignment was assessed by a visiting faculty. Moreover, records reveal that the girl has got more than 90 per cent attendance in classroom. Tiwari has also secured first class during first two semesters at NIFT. After hearing the institute, the court asked it to supply a copy of its affidavit to the girl and the hearing was adjourned till Friday.

Man gets 10-yr term for raping niece
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chandigarh/Man_gets_10-yr_term_for_raping_niece/articleshow/4437251.cms
23 Apr 2009, 0415 hrs IST
Stating that the accused did not deserve leniency, the court of additional district and sessions judge Ravi Kumar Sondhi handed down 10 years rigorous imprisonment to city’s Ram Karan for raping his seven-year-old niece. A fine of Rs 6,000 was also imposed on the guilty.

HC to hear plea against Lalu for Varun remark today
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Patna/HC_to_hear_plea_against_Lalu_for_Varun_remark_today/articleshow/4436694.cms
23 Apr 2009, 0416 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court will on Thursday hear the maintainability of a PIL of lawyer S N Pathak, seeking removal of Lalu Prasad from the Union cabinet for betraying oath of office by stating that he would have let a roller over the chest of BJP leader Varun Gandhi for delivering a hate speech. On Wednesday, the matter was listed under the heading `For Orders’ before a division bench comprising Chief Justice J B Koshy and Justice Ravi Ranjan. The bench was not convinced with the plea of Pathak that the writ of quo warranto could apply in this case. Pathak argued the matter should be heard at admission stage as Lalu had flouted the Constitutional provision under which he had taken the oath that he would conscientiously discharge his duties as the Union minister and that he would do right to all people without fear or favour, affection or ill will. He alleged Lalu violated provisions of Section 153 of IPC by making a provocative speech with an intent to cause riot; of Section 153A of IPC by promoting enmity between classes and of Section 153B of IPC for making assertions to affect national integration.

HC denies bail to Shahabu in arms case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Patna/HC_denies_bail_to_Shahabu_in_arms_case/articleshow/4436585.cms
23 Apr 2009, 0415 hrs IST, Ravi Dayal, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Wednesday refused to grant bail to Siwan MP Mohd Shahabuddin in a case relating to alleged recovery of arms and ammunitions, including prohibited cartridges, from his home at Pratappur village under Hussainganj police station in Siwan district. The high court, however, granted bail to Shahabuddin in another case in which he has been accused of having threatened the jailor of Siwan. A single bench presided by Justice Navin Sinha rejected Shahabuddin’s bail plea when state counsel Shyameshwar Dayal submitted an affidavit stating that recovery of the prohibited cartridges could invite up to 10 years’ imprisonment under Section 26(3) of the Arms Act. He said the state government has taken steps to move a special leave petition in the Supreme Court against the high court verdict dismissing its criminal revision petition challenging the order of Siwan judicial magistrate M V Gupta. The magistrate has not allowed prosecution’s plea to add charges of recovery of prohibited cartridges to the other charges framed against him. Shahabuddin’s counsel Kanhaiya Prasad Singh sought grant of bail under Section 436(A) of CrPC which provides that if the accused is in jail for half of the period of the maximum punishment for which he is being prosecuted, bail should be granted to him. As the maximum punishment for the charges Shahabuddin is facing in this case is three years and he had been in jail in this case for more than half of this period, he should be granted bail, Singh submitted. Dayal countered this plea, submitting that under Section 437 CrPC if the maximum punishment for the charges against an accused is 10 years, he should not be granted bail. Justice Sinha held that the charge being levelled against Shahabuddin under Section 26(3) for possessing prohibited ammunitions is a grave one, for which the state government is to move the Supreme Court. Also, keeping in view the criminal antecedents of Shahabuddin, his bail petition is liable to be dismissed.

Four get life-term for murdering Dalit woman
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Jaipur/Four_get_life-term_for_murdering_Dalit_woman/articleshow/4437165.cms
23 Apr 2009, 0446 hrs IST, TNN
AJMER: Four men were sentenced to life imprisonment by a court here on Wednesday for murdering a Dalit woman in 2004. The special court of K K Bagadia, hearing offences under SC/ST Act, also imposed a fine on them, failing which they have to undergo further imprisonment. According to the prosecution, Tikam Chand, Mahfooz, Chandar Parkash alias Chandia and Subhash, all residents of Ajmer, murdered a woman, Puja, on November 6, 2004. “Chandia was forcing Puja to marry his brother Subhash and when she refused, they threatened to kill her. On the day of the incident, Tikam and Mahfooz attacked Puja with knives and sharp-edged weapons,” said Bhawani Singh, special public prosecutor. Puja died on January 13, 2005 and gave a dying declaration to the police. Police also found a note written by Tikam intimating Chandia about killing Puja. “They were booked under Section 304 and 120B of IPC for murder and conspiracy,” said Bhawani Singh. According to police, Puja said in her dying declaration that she had registered a rape case against Subhash and his father and they were taking revenge for it. The court then sentenced them to life imprisonment and also convicted Tikam Chand with Mahfooz under Arms Act and SC/ ST Act.

Kerala court orders case against Chandy
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Thirupuram/Kerala_court_orders_case_against_Chandy/articleshow/4437616.cms
23 Apr 2009, 0415 hrs IST, TNN
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A court in Kerala’s Kannur district ordered filing of an FIR against senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy over a complaint of breaching election code. According to the petition, Chandy tried to influence voters by visiting Kannur, the scene of a series of political violence in the past, on April 16, the day of polling, with the help of Congress candidate K Sudhakaran, who arranged the visit. The chief electoral officer also issued a notice to Chandy seeking explanation. Chandy defended his visit saying there was nothing secretive about it and that he had told the police about it.

Panels formed by SC under RTI ambit, rules CIC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Panels_formed_by_SC_under_RTI_ambit_rules_CIC/articleshow/4436567.cms
23 Apr 2009, 0346 hrs IST, Nitin Sethi, TNN
NEW DELHI: In a far-reaching order, the Central Information Commission has ruled that any specialized committee formed by the Supreme Court is also a public authority and therefore falls under the purview of the Right To Information Act. The order came in the specific case before the CIC about the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) created under the orders of the apex court. The CEC, initially a five-member body and later enlarged after a long-running controversy about its original members, was set up by the court to handle all the forest-related matters before it. The CEC had contended that it was not a `public’ authority under the RTI Act as it was not created or funded by the government but formed by the court. But the commission disagreed with the contention pointing out that any body created under the Constitution is an agency that is answerable under the information Act. The order has come as a reaction to a controversial case that TOI had first reported. A forest official was persecuted by the Haryana government for booking culprits pointing out violations of the Wildlife Protection Act and the Forest Conservation Act in a wildlife sanctuary in the state. While he was shunted out and discriminated against, the case was taken up in the apex court. The case went before the CEC. It ruled that there had been clear violations of not only the Forest Conservation Act, the Wildlife Protection Act, which attract penalties including jail, but also of earlier apex court orders. But the CEC then went on to condone the acts and give a reprieve to officials and others involved with a mere warning. It asked for a compensatory amount of Rs 1 crore against the crimes committed. The applicants asked the CEC under what powers granted by which rule or regulation had it condoned the acts as the acts violated did not provide for such authority to any agency. The CEC did not reply to the applicants and instead claimed that it was not answerable under the RTI and the information asked pertained to one of its report that was in public domain. Now, the Central Information Commission has ordered that not only should the CEC reply to the queries as they are not part of the report it had put out but also set up adequate offices under the RTI Act to answer all future applicants.

LEGAL NEWS 22.04.2009

List of Backward Classes
http://www.lawyersclubindia.com/share_files/
1. G.O.Ms.No. 28 BC & MBCW Department, dated 19.7.94
2. G.O.Ms.No.100 BC & MBCW (BCC)Department ,Dated 24.11.97
1.
Agamudayar including Thozhu or Thuluva Vellala
2.
Agaram Vellan Chettiar
3.
Alwar, Azhavar and Alavar (in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District.)
4.
Servai(except Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts.)
5.
Ansar
6.
Arayar, Nulayar(in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District)
7.
Archakarai Vellala
8.
Aryavathi(in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District)
9.
Ayira Vaisyar
10.
Badagar
11.
Billava
12.
Bondil
13.
Boyas (except Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur, Pudukottai, The Nilgiris, Salem , Namakkal and Dharmapuri Districts).
Pedda Boyar (except Tiruchirapalli, Karur , Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts)Oddars (except Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur, Pudukottai, Madurai,Theni and Dindigul Districts)
Kaloddars (except Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Madurai, Theni, Dindigul, Pudukottai, Tiruchirapalli, Karur Perambalur, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Salem and Namakkal Districts)
Nellorepet oddars (except Vellore and Tiruvannamalai Districts)
Sooramari oddars( except Salem and Namakkal Districts)
14.
Chakkala (except Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur ,
Nagapattinam,Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur, Madurai, Theni, Dindigul and the Nilgiris Districts)
15.
Chavalakarar (in Kanniyakumari District and
Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District)
16.
Chettu or Chetty (including Kottar Chetty, Elur Chetty, Pathira Chetty,
Valayal Chetty,Pudukadai Chetty ) ( in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District)
17.
Chowdry
18.
Converts to Christianity from Scheduled Castes
irrespective of the generation of conversion for the
purpose of reservation of seats in Educational Insti-
tuitions and for seats in Public Services
19.
C.S.I formerly S.I.U.C (in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District)
20.
Donga Dasaris (except Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Tiruchirapalli,Karur, Perambalur, Pudukottai, Chennai ,Salem and Namakkal Districts)
21.
Dekkani Muslims
22.
Devangar, Sedar
23.
Dombs (except Pudukottai, Tiruchirapalli ,Karur and Perambalur Districts)
Dommars (except Thanjavur, Nagapattinam,Tiruvarur, Pudukottai,Vellore and Thiruvannamalai Districts)
24.
Dudekula
25.
Enadi
26.
Ezhavathy(in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District)
27.
Ezhuthachar (in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District)
28.
Ezhuva(in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District)
29.
Gangavar
30.
Gavara, Gavarai and Vadugar(Vaduvar)(other than Kamma, Kapu, Balija and Reddi)
31.
Gounder
32.
Gowda (including Gammala, Kalali and Anuppa Gounder)
33.
Hegde
34.
Idiga
35.
IllathuPillaimar, Illuvar, Ezhuvar and Illathar
36.
Jhetty
37.
Jogis (Except Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Madurai, Theni, Dindigul
Cuddalore, Villupuram, Vellore and Tiruvannamalai Districts)
38.
Kabbera
39.
Kaikolar, Sengunthar
40.
Kaladi (except Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Madurai,
Theni,Dindigul,Thanjavur, Nagapattinam,Tiruvarur, Pudukottai,
Tiruchirapalli, Karur and Perambalur Districts)
41.
Kalari Kurup including Kalari Panicker (in Kanniyakumari District and
Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District)
42.
Kalingi
43.
Kallar
Easanattu kallar
Gandharva Kottai Kallars(except Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur and Pudukottai Districts)
Kootappal Kallars-(except Pudukottai, Tiruchirapalli, Karur and Perambalur Districts)
Piramalai Kallars- (except Sivaganga,Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram. Madurai. Theni, Dindigul, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur Districts)
Periyasooriyur Kallars- (except Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts)
44.
Kallar Kula Thondaman
45.
Kalveli Gounder
46.
Kambar
47.
Kammalar or Viswakarma , Viswakarmala (including Thattar, Porkollar, Kannar, Karumar, Kollar, Thacher, Kal Thacher, Kamsala and Viswa brahmin.
48.
Kani, Kanisu, Kaniyar Panicker
49.
Kaniyala Vellalar
50.
Kannada Saineegar ,Kannadiyar (Throughout the State) and Dasapalanjika (Coimbatore, Erode and the Nilgiris Districts)
51.
Kannadiya Naidu
52.
Karpoora Chettiar
53.
Karuneegar (Seer Karuneegar, Sri Karuneegar, Sarattu Karuneegar, Kaikatti Karuneegar, Mathuvazhi Kanakkar, Sozhi Kanakkar, and Sunnambu Karuneegar)
54.
Kasukkara Chettiar
55.
Katesar, Pattamkatti
56.
Kavuthiyar
57.
Kerala Mudali
58.
Kharvi
59.
Khatri
60.
Kongu Vaishnava
61.
Kongu Vellalars( including Vellala Gounder, Nattu Gounder, Narambukkatti Gounder, Tirumudi Vellalar, Thondu Vellalar, Pala Gounder, Poosari Gounder, Anuppa Vellala Gounder, Kurumba Gounder, Padaithalai Gounder, Chendalai Gounder, Pavalankatti Vellala Gounder, Palavellala GounderSanku Vellala Gounder and Rathinagiri Gounder).
62.
KoppalaVelama
63.
Koteyar
64.
Krishnanvaka (in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District)
65.
Kudikara Vellalar
66.
Kudumbi ( in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District)
67.
Kuga Vellalar
68.
Kunchidigar
69.
Labbais including Rowthar and Marakayar (whether their spoken language is Tamil or Urdu)
70.
Lambadi
71.
Latin Catholics (in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District)
72.
Lingayat (Jangama)
73.
Mahratta (Non-Brahmin) (including Namdev Mahratta)
74.
Malayar
75.
Male
76.
Maniagar
77.
Mapilla
78.
Maravars (except Thanjavur, Nagapattinum , Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Tirunelveli and Toothukudi Districts) including Karumaravars Appanad Kondayam kottai Maravar –(except Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Madurai, Theni and Dindigul Districts.) and Sembanad Maravars- (except Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, and Ramanathapuram Districts)
79.
Moondrumandai Enbathunalu (84) Ur. Sozhia Vellalar
80.
Mooppan
81.
Muthuraja, Muthuracha, Muttiriyar, Mutharaiyar
82.
Nadar, Shanar and Gramani ( including Christian Nadar, Christian Nadar, Christian Shanar and Christian Gramani )
83.
Nagaram
84.
Naikkar (in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District)
85.
Nangudi Vellalar
86.
Nanjil Mudali ( in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District )
87.
Odar ( in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District )
88.
Odiya
89.
Oottruvalanattu Vellalar
90.
O.P.S. Vellalar
91.
Ovachar
92.
Paiyur Kotta Vellalar
93.
Pamulu
94.
Panar ( except in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District where the community is a Scheduled Caste )
95.
Panisaivan ( including Virakodi Vellala )
96.
Kathikarar in Kanniyakumari District
97.
Pannirandam Chettiar or Uthama Chettiar
98.
Parkavakulam ( including Surithimar, Nathamar, Malayamar, Moopanar and Nainar )
99.
Perike ( including Perike Balija )
100.
Perumkollar ( in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District )
101.
Podikara Vellalar
102.
Pooluva Gounder
103.
Poraya
104.
Pulavar ( in Coimbatore and Erode Districts )
105.
Pulluvar or Pooluvar
106.
Pusala
107.
Reddy ( Ganjam )
108.
Sadhu Chetty ( including Telugu Chetty, Twenty four Manai Telugu Chetty)
109.
Sakkaravar or Kavathi ( in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District )
110.
Salivagana
111.
Saliyar, Padmasaliyar, Pattusaliyar, Pattariyar, and Adhaviyar
112.
Savalakkarar
113.
Senaithalaivar, Senaikudiyar and Illaivaniar
114.
Sheik
115.
Sourashtra ( Patnulkarar )
116.
Sozhiavellalar ( including Sozha Vellalar, Vetrilaikarar, Kodikalkarar and Keeraikarar )
117.
Srisayar
118.
Sundaram Chetty
119.
Syed
120.
Thogatta Veerakshatriya
121.
Tholkollar ( in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District )
122.
Tholuva Naicker and Vetalakara Naicker
123.
Thoraiyar
124.
Thoriyar
125.
Ukkirakula Kshatriya Naicker
126.
Uppara, Uppillia and Sagara
127.
Urali Gounder ( except Tiruchirapalli, Karur , Perambalur and Pudukottai District) and Orudaya Gounder or Oorudaya Gounder ( in Madurai ,Theni, Dindigul, Coimbatore, Erode, Tiruchirapalli, Karur , Perambalur, Pudukottai, Salem and Namakkal Districts )
128.
Urikkara Nayakkar
129.
Vallambar
130.
Valmiki
131.
Vaniyar, Vania Chettiar ( including Gandla, Ganika, Telikula and Chekkalar)
132.
Veduvar and Vedar ( except in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District where the community is a Scheduled Castes)
133.
Veerasaiva ( in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District )
134.
Velar
135.
Vellan Chettiar
136.
Veluthodathu Nair ( in Kanniyakumari District and Shencottah Taluk of Tirunelveli District )
137.
Vokkaligar ( including Vakkaligar, Okkaligar, Kappiliyar, Kappiliya, Okkaliga Gowda, Okkaliya- Gowda, Okkaliya- Gowder, Okkaliya Gowda )
138.
Wynad Chetty ( The Nilgiris District )
139.
Yadhava ( including Idaiyar, Telugu Speaking Idaiyar known as Vaduga Ayar or Vaduga Idaiyar or Golla and Asthanthra Golla )
140.
Yavana
141.
Yerukula
142.
Converts to Chritianity from any Hindu Backward Classes Community or Most Backward Classes Community or Denotified Communities except the Converts to Christianity from Meenavar, Parvatharajakulam, Pattanavar, Sembadavar, Mukkuvar or Mukayar and Paravar

Candidates need not submit poll agents’ list in advance: HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Candidates-need-not-submit-poll-agents-list-in-advance-HC/articleshow/4432032.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0510 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: The High Court on Tuesday made it clear that the candidates contesting the current general elections need not furnish the list of their polling agents in advance to the local police officials. A division bench comprising justices V Eswaraiah and P V Sanjay Kumar, while allowing a petition filed by Guntur TDP leaders Kodela Sivaprasad Rao and Pathipati Pulla Rao, said that the candidates have to obey only those orders and instructions issued by the chief election commissioner, chief electoral officer and other key election authorities. The TDP leaders have questioned the public statements made by the district collector of Guntur, who, according to the petitioners, had barred those whose names figure in bind over cases and criminal cases from acting as polling agents. The collector also allegedly asked the contesting candidates to furnish in advance a list of their poll agents to the local police. According to Posani Venkateswarlu, the counsel for TDP leaders, this approach of the collector was aimed at helping the ruling party.

Vibrant Gujarat’s flip side: HC directives go in the sewer
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/vibrant-gujarats-flip-side-hc-directives-go-in-the-sewer/449675/
Ujjwala Nayudu
Posted: Apr 22, 2009 at 2347 hrs IST
Ahmedabad Despite govt resolution to stop it, local bodies continue with manual scavenging
Following a Gujarat High Court order on a writ petition in 2006, the Urban Development Department of the Gujarat government had drawn up a GR (Government Resolution) that strictly prohibited manual sewer cleaning and declared manual scavenging illegal in the state. Nevertheless, the GR does not seem to affect the local bodies and municipalities, which continue to send workers down the sewers.
Altogether 24 manual scavengers have perished on the job ever since the HC directive, while 10 have died after the GR came into force. Ratilal Vora’s death in Gandhinagar on Sunday once again indicated the tardy attitude of the government in enforcing the GR.
According to the GR, the local bodies shall not use manual labour but make compulsory use of only sewer cleaning equipment. It clearly states that anyone involved in violation of the guidelines will be subject to penalty. Yet not only the local bodies have escaped punishment, the state government has also turned a blind eye to all past cases.
A question that arises here is why the government is not punishing the violators as claimed. “In most cases, the manhole workers enter the sewers themselves, despite our instruction against it. The workers are unaware of the dangers that their work entails. Our work of buying more machines is going on. As regards this case, we have asked for a report and will act accordingly,” said Minister for Urban Development Nitin Patel.
The government, according to the HC judgment, had spent over Rs 1.06 crore in buying 568 sewer cleaning machines between 1984 and 2004. Yet the actual use of the machines is abysmal.
H P Mishra from the Kamdar Swasthya Suraksha Mandal (KSSM) said: “The deaths are an outcome of the violation of the HC order. In fact, the local bodies have taken the GR lightly. The HC had asked the government to book offending officers, but there has not been a single case against anybody when 24 people have died. A solution can only be expected if a higher officer is suspended for the crime.”
KSSM workers also stated that the absence of fixed guidelines for compensation of a worker’s death (unlike in other occupational death cases) has worsened the situation.
“The workers kin have not been given any compensation. Sometimes, some are given Rs 1 lakh while some others get only Rs 50,000. The HC had ordered civic bodies to pay premiums and insure every worker. It had also instructed the government to give employment to dependants on compassionate grounds. But not a single order has been followed,” added Mishra.
Manhole deaths’ ripple effect
* The frequent manhole deaths in Ahmedabad and notified areas of Gandhinagar has given a platform to the workers across the country to file petitions and fight for their cause. Supreme Court advocate Jai Singh said, “The impact of manhole deaths in Gujarat have thrown light on manual scavenging and manhole worker issues in India.”
* In Delhi, the Supreme Court, in its verdict on a petition has declared Rs 2.5 lakh compensation for the family of the deceased, legal action against the officer and his suspension, and coverage under medical and other schemes. The SC’s decision on Tuesday led to a legal case against the CEO of Delhi Jal Board.

HC calls for guidelines for security at hospitals
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/hc-calls-for-guidelines-for-security-at-hospitals/449735/
Express News Service
Posted: Apr 22, 2009 at 0051 hrs IST
Mumbai The Bombay High Court has called for concrete suggestions for formulating guidelines concerning security in government and municipal hospitals in the wake of the baby who went missing from Sion Hospital in January this year.
The court, during the last hearing, had directed advocate general Ravi Kadam and other seniors counsels like Rafiq Dada (who has been appointed amicus curie) and BMC counsel K K Singhvi to chalk out suggestions for formulating the guidelines.
The AG and senior counsels, however, were not present in court on Tuesday and the judges have now said that they should come with the suggestions before the court closes for vacation in May.
Counsel for the corporation Anil Sakhare submitted that they have their own guidelines in place now like cameras, locking systems, sealing of entry exits and issuing of passes. As for the police investigation to trace the kidnapper and the baby, Public Prosecutor Satish Borulkar told the court that they are chasing every lead.
“You cannot deny that they are making efforts,” Justice Desai observed about the investigation. Petitioner’s advocate Amit Kharkanis urged the court to formulate the guidelines before the vacation begins.
He also pointed out that hospitals in the district and taluka levels too should be considered for implementation of the guidelines. The court agreed and observed that the guidelines should be for all the hospitals otherwise it would not serve the purpose.
Borulkar submitted that such cases are happening in private hospitals also after citing the case of baby swapping in a hospital recently.
The court expressed unhappiness that the senior counsels are yet to meet in spite of having sufficient time. The court has adjourned the hearing till May 4.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Mohan and Mohini Nerulkar whose baby was stolen from Sion Hospital earlier this year.

HC asks police to return seized arms to petitioners

http://www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/554582/National/1/20/1
Published: April 21,2009

Mumbai , Apr 21 The Bombay High Court today asked the Maharashtra police to return arms to two persons, who had filed petitions challenging additional collector&aposs order to take in possession the arms of private individuals ahead of the elections.
Election Commission had issued a directive to local authorities to seize arms possessed by citizens before the polls.
Division bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and Rajesh Ketkar ordered that arms be returned as the government had not formed a screening committee to examine records of arms owners.
Having such a committee is mandatory as per High Court&aposs 2000 order. But, state government today told the court that screening committee was formed only yesterday.
There are four petitions before the court, two of the petitioners, namely, Vikas Shukla and Merwan Irani, had already deposited their arms which will now be returned.
As for the petitioners, who are yet to deposit their arms, the court has said that the Election Commission should file an affidavit by April 21 stating weather it is necessary to have a screening committee in place before it could order police to seize arms.
Source: PTI

ABN Amro moves HC challenging MRTPC probe
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/blnus/17211765.htm
New DELHI: ABN Amro Bank (now Royal Bank of Scotland) facing a probe by investigative unit of MRTPC over interest rate charged on prepayment on loans and credit cards has approached the Delhi High Court contending that the fair trade regulator has no jur isdiction for conducting such probe.
Arguing before a division bench comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice M B Lokur, the bank has submitted that the investigation by the Director General of Investigation and Registration (DGIR) was “beyond the jurisdiction of MRTPC.”
The bank further submitted in its petition that matters pertaining to charging interest from customers and levying charges for prepayment of loans are “matters of agreement and contract” between the banks and customers and are not violative of any provi sions of MRTP Act.
On May 31, 2007 after getting complains from various section of customers, MRTPC had directed DGIR to look into the issue and submit a detailed investigation report on the conduct of various banks.
Requesting the court to quash the commission’s enquiry order, the MNC bank submitted the order was in conformity with the provisions of the Banking Regulation Act 1949 and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. The Bench has directed that the matter be li sted on July 3 for next hearing. – PTI

PIL against working of shrine board
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/PIL-against-working-of-shrine-board/articleshow/4432478.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0338 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Raising a question mark against the activities undertaken by Shri Mansa Devi Shrine Board, an RTI application threatens to land not only the religious body, but also the state of Haryana and Panchkula DC in a distasteful situation. Acting on a PIL filed by RK Garg, a division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday issued notices for July 13 to state of Haryana, Panchkula DC and the shrine board. The petitioner’s counsel, HC Arora, submitted that under Haryana Shri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Act, 1991, nine members had to be appointed from amongst public/devotees, in addition to four official members, including CM, local government minister, financial commissioner and Panchkula DC. However, information obtained under RTI states Haryana failed to appoint the nine nominated members, with the result that all activities of the board were illegal and void ab-initio as the Act mentioned that a minimum five members were required to complete the quorum. With four official members insufficient to complete the quorum, the plea stated, some government members were allowed to participate in board meetings as special invitees, thereby misleading devotees. To drive home the point, the petitioner also brought up the issue of sale of gold items, including coins and pendants, by the board, emphasizing the absence of nominated members had led to public interest getting sidelined. Under a specially devised scheme in 2003, the board reportedly minted gold ornaments into 4g gold coins and 8g pendants (Mangalsutras), and priced them at Rs 5,100 and Rs 2,600 per piece, respectively. It was then decided to sell these at the rates fixed, irrespective of the rise or fall in market price of the metal. Stressing on the sorry state of affairs, the petitioner alleged from December 2005 to January 2006, when gold rate had gone up, the shrine board ‘‘clandestinely’’ sold coins and pendants in bulk, causing a huge loss to the exchequer. Garg sought directions to the state of Haryana to nominate nine ‘‘public’’ members or devotees and also called for a vigilance inquiry into the alleged irregularities.

‘Arcon is our life support, save it’
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1249648
Mayura Janwalkar
Wednesday, April 22, 2009 3:24 IST
Mumbai: The closure of the Aids Research and Control Centre (Arcon) is not merely a treatment centre closing down. For the patients of Arcon, it is the end of a place they knew as their own.
With just eight days to go for April 30, the day this centre is scheduled to shut down, its patients filed a PIL in Bombay High Court on Tuesday. They fear that the social acceptance they found at Arcon, would not be matched anywhere else.
The PIL, filed by some of the patients (names withheld) and their family members, states that in 2004, Arcon, which was started with the help of University of Texas in 1994, received funds from the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) for a period of five years.
Advertisements for availing the “sixth round” of GFATM funding were issued in 2006. Had Arcon applied in time to the central government, this situation would not have cropped up, claim the petitioners.
The PIL states that Arcon director Abhay Choudhary “callously and casually” handled the issue of submitting its report to the Centre by June 2006. This finally resulted in the funding for the centre not being renewed.
When contacted, Choudhary told DNA, “I am not aware about what is in the PIL. However, global funds are announced for a specific objective. They are not continuous. In 2003, Arcon had applied for the second round of funding, and it came through. But it was only for a five-year period, ending in April 2009.”
Arcon, Mumbai’s first HIV and Aids research body, provides free of cost medicines and counselling to Aids patients. Some of them have undergone treatment at the centre for over a decade. Patients say that most of them experience social stigma owing to their illness and have faced humiliation in other government hospitals. Moreover, most of them are poor, and cannot afford private hospitals. So, if Arcon is shut down, they will be deprived of their “life-support”.
“Nearly 10,000 patients are registered with Arcon and all of them will stand to lose on quality treatment,” the PIL states. The petitioners urge the court to direct the Centre and the state to provide funds to keep Arcon going.
Petitioners’ advocate Amit Karkhanis told DNA, “We will mention the case before the court on Wednesday and seek a date for hearing.”

Mayawati’s mega project irks Noida
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Mayawatis-mega-project-irks-Noida/articleshow/4432392.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0244 hrs IST, Megha Suri & Neha Lalchandani, TNN
NOIDA: When the Mayawati government started building a wall along four adjacent parks next to the Yamuna riverbed opposite Sectors 14-A and 15-A early last year, residents had thought it was just meant to protect the area. The parks, however, were soon made out of bounds for the people. It now transpires that site is being secretly turned into a grandiose Dalit memorial, the likes of which have dotted the state capital, Lucknow, during successive Mayawati regimes. The Yamuna Parks Users Association (YPUA) has filed a PIL with the Supreme Court-appointed CEC, seeking a stay on the construction which they allege is posing a huge danger to the adjacent Okhla Bird Sanctuary. The petition filed on March 5 claims that no environment impact assessment (EIA) was carried out for the project which is in clear violation of a 2006 ministry of environment and forest notification. The notification makes an EIA compulsory for all projects located within 10km of a protected area notified under the Wildlife (Protection ) Act — in this case, Okhla Bird Sanctuary — critically polluted areas notified by the CPCB — river Yamuna — or interstate boundaries —Delhi and UP. Extreme secrecy surrounds the project. Though no Noida officials is willing to talk about it, the project is rumoured to be “grander than the Akshardham temple” being built at a cost of around Rs 300 crore. All construction activity is hidden from view by large tin sheets. Nobody is permitted to enter the premises —when TOI attempted to enter the area, security guards said they have been instructed to allow only those with government-issued identity cards. A worker at the site claimed that the complex, spread across 8km from the Noida SP office to Amity University crossing, will house a museum, 11 statues of Dalit icons, including one each of Mayawati, Kanshi Ram and Ambedkar, crafted by BSP’s favourite sculptor Anil Ramsutar. Residents say work on the project started in January last year and Noida officials had told them that it was only a wall to protect and beautify the parks. “Initially, we thought that only a wall was being built to enclose the parks. But about seven months later, two parks were completely shut off for morning walkers and massive excavation work started inside with great secrecy and speed. Despite repeated attempts, and even an RTI petition, the government is not divulging any details about the project even as our parks have been eaten away,” said Kanan V Jaswal, president of the YPUA. Work is happening at a frenetic pace, round the clock. “There is massive noise and air pollution due to the large scale construction. Earlier, we could not see anything inside but now columns, about 30 feet high, have emerged from behind the tin sheets. Work goes on through the night. Since the CEC is yet to hear our PIL due to some internal issues, we are planning to file another petition directly before the Supreme Court, seeking an immediate stay on the work,” said Anand Arya, an avid birder and resident of Sector 15-A. Not only is the project coming up on the Yamuna riverbed, say residents, it has also sprung up at the cost of roughly 3,000 trees. “The concretization in such close proximity of the bird sanctuary has already resulted in a fall in population of some important migratory birds. The nesting pattern of the Indian Golden Oriole has also been affected. The noise and light pollution caused by the construction would be a serious disturbance in their natural habitat,” said Arya. Despite repeated attempts, nobody from the government was ready to comment on the project. TOI tried getting in touch with Noida CEO Mohinder Singh, senior BSP leader and cabinet minister Nasimuddin Siddique and the chief minister’s office in Lucknow. However, TOI was told that most people were out on election campaigning and there was nobody to respond to questions.

PIL filed against KoPT
http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=10&theme=&usrsess=1&id=251845
KOLKATA, April 21: The Haldia Dock Bachao Committee has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) at Calcutta High Court against the Kolkata Port Trust authorities. The matter is expected to come up for hearing on 24 April. It has been mentioned in the petition that the present draught at Haldia river channel varies between 5.5 and 7 metres against the designated draught of 12.2 metres. The authorities though fully aware did not do much to resolve the matter, the petitioner alleged. This has resulted in a fall in the parcel size vessels visiting the port. With more small vessels visiting the port, a large number of them are waiting near the Sandheads. The other points raised in the PIL relate to, non-deployment of sufficient number of good dredgers and non-implementation of river regulatory scheme pending for a long time. The chairman of Kolkata Port Trust, the board of trustees of the port, the shipping ministry, chief vigilance commissioner, among others, have been made party to the case, it was learnt. n SNS

Now, PIL in SC over black moneyhttp://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090422/main6.htm
R SedhuramanLegal Correspondent
New Delhi, April 21Former Law Minister Ram Jethmalani, former Punjab police chief KPS Gill and four other prominent citizens have filed a PIL in the Supreme Court, seeking a direction to the Centre to bring back black money running into thousands of crores stashed away in tax havens overseas.
A three-Judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, agreed to hear the petition tomorrow after senior counsel Anil Diwan sought an urgent hearing. Former Lok Sabha Secretary General Subhash Kashyap is also a party to the PIL, which has named the Centre and five others – RBI, SEBI, Enforcement Directorate and CBDT (Finance Ministry) – as respondents.
Quoting media reports, the PIL placed the black money at Rs 70 lakh crore or 1.4 billion dollars. The amounts given in rupees and in dollars vary as Rs 70 lakh crore works out to 1.4 trillion dollars, while 1.4 billion dollars is equivalent to Rs 7,000 crore. The confusion was compounded as counsel Diwan, while mentioning the matter, gave a third figure – Rs 70,000 crore.
The PIL said the issue had been raised by BJP leader LK Advani while former Finance Minister P Chidambaram had “publicly acknowledged” that he was in the know of all these facts.
Citing actions taken by the US and other developed countries to bring back such money to their respective countries from Swiss and other secret bank accounts and the success achieved therein, the PIL said the Centre should take similar measures.
According to the petition, the Income Tax Department had served notices on one Hasan Ali Khan of Pune and his co-conspirators, demanding a tax of Rs 40,000 crore and Rs 20,580 crore, respectively.
The petitioners said the black money was siphoned off between 2002 and 2006. Half of this period pertained to the NDA rule and the remaining part to the present UPA government.

HC notice to Adani Group for mining land near Tiger Reserve
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/News-By-Industry/Indl-Goods–Svs/Metals–Mining/HC-notice-to-Adani-Group-for-mining-land-near-Tiger-Reserve/articleshow/4430187.cms
21 Apr 2009, 1618 hrs IST, PTI
NAGPUR: The Bombay High Court has issued a notice to Adani Group for mining coal in 1,750 hectares of land at Lohara village in Chandrapur district closely located to buffer zone of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. Adani has been alloted coal blocks there for its Tiroda (Bhandara) power plant. A division bench of Bombay High Court here comprising of Justice Dilip Sinha and Justice Ashok Bhangale, yesterday decided to treat a letter it received from an environmental group as Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and directed the authorities to submit actual position. The consul for petitioner Neeraj Khandewale contended that the 1,750 hectares of land situated at Lohara village, alloted for mining to Adani Group, was posing danger to the Tiger Reserve as the area has been declared as “critical tiger habitat” by the concerned authorities. Tiger population is already dwindling and the mining project will further restrict free movement of wild animals in the tiger corridor across Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, the petition alleged. The mining activities will not only pose threat to the tiger population but also to the flora and fauna and would adversely affect free movement of wild animals in the area. The High Court bench was informed that Chandrapur district was already facing air pollution from Cement factories and Thermal power plants.

Delhi rape lends voice against prejudice to NE people
http://www.northeastdaily.com/delhi-rape-lends-voice-against-prejudice-to-ne-people
21 April 2009
Kohima: Nagaland Women Commission (NWC) has expressed “grave concern” over the insecurity of Naga girls and women in Delhi.
NWC chairperson, Sano Vamuzo in a letter addressed to National Commission for Women (NCW) said the atrocities and crimes particularly rape and molestation of Northeast/Naga girls and women has turned out to be daily occurrence, especially with the “most shocking and atrocious” rape and murder of six-year-old girl.
However, she felt that justice was a far cry, as so many cases reported were not given proper investigation nor proper trials pronounced.
“It seems to us that the authorities are less concerned for such atrocities being committed against our Naga citizens,” state women commission president bewailed.
NWC further pleaded National Commission for Women to intervene and take up issue with the responsible authorities to bring the culprits to book while ensure harshest punishment be awarded to the culprits.It expressed confidence that NCW would take up its grievances with earnest and deliver justice in particular to recent case.
In another statement Peren Town Women Welfare Organisation (PTWWO) “in the strongest term” has condemned the rape and murder of Gaipuilu Gangmei.
PTWWO president, Apeuna and secretary, Hailamrang asserted that the incident signified women and children of Northeast were not secure in National capital. The women leaders also implored upon the authorities to take appropriate action and bring the culprits to book and award befitting punishment.Further conveying condolences to the bereaved family, PTWWO has prayed for departed soul rest in peace.Naga National Council (NNC) has “vehemently” condemned all the rape cases in the Naga “country” which occurred recently.
Asserting that all those occurrences were despicable acts against human decency and civilised world, NNC information and publicity wing in a press note said these are totally against the rich culture and tradition of the Naga people and totally against Christianity which is our main religion in the Homeland.”Urging Naga people not to allow such act of despicable and inhuman behaviour in the Naga society, NNC insisted that rapists should be punished severely so that they become handicapped.
It particularly condemned “most inhuman and devilish act” of rape and murder of a six-year-old Naga girl in Delhi.
NCC said Delhi has become the main centre of inhuman and gruesome action of rape and murder in the world today.
“The Capital City (Powered Centre) of India called the largest democracy and champion of non-violence country in the World is the main centre of inhuman and gruesome action of rape and murder in the World now,” NNC charged.
Asserting that because of such action of cruelty, atrocities, killing, the Naga people do not like to live with Indians, NNC maintained that generally the North East people also do not like to live with Indians because of their nature of racial discrimination, hate, cruelty, killing, etc.
“The North East people have to unite and separate themselves with Indians now,” NNC advocated.

Apex court gives statutory shield to Sebi from tribunal
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Market-News/SC-gives-statutory-shield-to-SEBI/articleshow/4432102.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0027 hrs IST, Sanjay K Singh, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has no discretionary power to interfere with orders passed by market regulator Securities & Exchange Board of India (Sebi). Allowing Sebi’s plea, the court said the tribunal has to do what is prescribed under the statute. “When something is to be done statutorily in a particular way, it can only be done that way. There is no scope for taking shelter under a discretionary power,” said a bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice LS Panta. The court rejected the plea that the tribunal can interfere with the order passed by Sebi. The court also turned down the plea that under section 15 T (4) of the Act, the tribunal is empowered to pass such orders on the appeal as it thinks fit, confirming, modifying or setting aside the order of Sebi. Sebi had filed two appeals against order passed by the tribunal. In one case, Saikala Associates acted as a sub-broker at the National Stock Exchange with 2 NSE Members — MIS PCS Securities and M/S Zen Securities — without being registered as a sub-broker with Sebi between 2000 and May 2002. It had created the value of Rs 403.29 crore in breach of section 12(1) of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 (read with Rule 3 of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Stock Brokers & Sub Brokers) Rules, 1992.) In the second case, Shilpa Stock, registered as a Sebi broker while executing trades on behalf of its client Kamlesh Shroff, had dealt with Jairam Enterprises, an unregistered sub-broker. Again, it was in violation of Sebi rule. The tribunal had said the proved charges were not serious enough to warrant suspension of certificate of registration and had set aside the Sebi order. Sebi challenged this in the apex court. The regulator had said in terms of Regulation 25 of the Sebi regulations & circulars, (stock brokers and sub-brokers), which was applicable prior to the amendment with effect from November 2, 2003, it was provided that any contravention of any provisions of the Act, rules and regulations is to be dealt with in the manner provided in Regulations 26 to 32 of the Regulation prior to the amendment with effect from September 27, 2002. The provisions of section 12(3) of the 1992 Act confer power on Sebi, by an order, to suspend or cancel a certificate of registration in such manner as may be determined by regulations, provided that no order under the said section will be made unless the person concerned has been given a reasonable opportunity of being heard, the appellant had said.
It had further said as per Rule 3 of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Stock Brokers & Sub Brokers) Rules, 1992, the existing brokers & sub-brokers were allowed to continue business pending registration but no new person commencing the business of the broker or sub-broker after August 20, 1992 could do the business pending registration and could commence only after being registered. The court said, “In the instant case, the position of broker/sub-broker in case of violation is statutorily provided under Section 12 of the Act, which has to be read along with Rule 3 of the Rules. No power is conferred on the tribunal to travel beyond the areas covered by section 12 and Rule 3.”

Prosecution urges inquiry to determine if Kasab is juvenile
http://www.ptinews.com/pti/ptisite.nsf/0/8813CADFECD951BF6525759F0048C4CC?OpenDocument

Mumbai, April 21 (PTI) Ujjwal Nikam, special public prosecutor in the November 26 Mumbai terror attack case, today urged the trial court to order an inquiry to determine whether prime accused Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab was a juvenile when he allegedly committed crime.The prosecution asking for an inquiry before the start of the trial is considered significant in legal circles as it does want the accused to plead later that the trial had been vitiated as he was a juvenile.The court has already rejected Kasab’s plea that he was a juvenile at the time of commission of offence (November 26, 2008) when he and others had struck terror in Mumbai by firing at people, killing 166, in important public places.However, judge M L Tahilyani had kept the issue open and observed that at any time during trial if the court feels that the age of the accused be determined it may order an inquiry.Kasab’s lawyer Abbas Kazmi said he had no objection to the court holding an inquiry to determine the age of the accused. The inquiry would include scientific tests, he said.The judge heard Nikam and Kazmi on the issue and reserved the order until tomorrow.Nikam pleaded he should be allowed to lead evidence in the inquiry. There was sufficient evidence to prove that Kasab was not a juvenile, he said. PTI

HC notice on Olympian’s plea http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090422/haryana.htm#12
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 21Taking up a petition by Olympian judo player Divya of Panchkula against her non-selection as sub-inspector, Justice Ajay Tewari today issued notice of motion for May 29 to the state of Haryana, the state police chief and the chairman of the selection committee for special recruitment of sub inspectors in the police, and others.
The petitioner contended she had represented India in Beijing Olympics last year, though she did not get a medal. She applied for recruitment as a sub inspector in the Haryana police under the quota of 10 posts reserved for outstanding sportspersons. To her surprise, those participating in national level games were selected, ignoring her claims

Chawla-Gopalaswami ControversyBJP to consider legal course to seek info http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090422/nation.htm#2
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 21Navin Chawla took over as the new Chief Election Commissioner succeeding N Gopalaswami, who relinquished charge yesterday. Chawla, 64, who was the senior-most election commissioner after Gopalaswami in the three-member panel, will remain in office till June 29 next year when he turns 65.
He will over see four phases of the polls. Today he called upon youth and rural voters to come out to vote to strengthen the democracy.
Within hours of assuming charge, Chawla faced flak from the BJP. “We have already seen the Chawla effect on the ongoing Lok Sabha polls,” BJP spokesmen Yashwant Sinha and Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters here while claiming that no police personnel were present at many booths when polling was on in the first phase in their respective parliamentary constituencies of Hazaribagh and Saran.
In the past, the BJP leadership has made no bones about its opposition to Chawla, claiming that he was biased in favour of the Congress party.
Both Sinha and Rudy claimed that they had complained to the EC about the non-deployment of security personnel in their constituencies and sought repoll in certain booths. Even five days after polling, the commission had not communicated to them its decision on repoll.
Their comments came a day after another senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley stated that his party would consider what future course of legal action was available to it after the government rejected his plea seeking details under the RTI of the recommendation made by Chawla’s predecessor N Gopalaswami seeking the latter’s removal as election commissioner.

Gujarat riots: SC for fast, fair trial http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090422/nation.htm#12
R SedhuramanLegal Correspondent
New Delhi, April 21The Supreme Court today said it would “intervene” wherever necessary to ensure that fast track courts (FTCs) conduct a “fair trial” in cases relating to the 2002 Gujarat riots.
A three-Judge Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat said the special investigation team (SIT) that was monitoring the probe would also keep a watch on the trial and submit quarterly reports to the apex court.
The Bench, which also included Justices P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, made the assurance on the suggestions made by senior counsel Harish Salve, assisting the court as amicus curiae, and the apprehensions raised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and some of the NGOs.
Senior counsel Indira Jaisingh, appearing for some of the NGOs that are helping the victims and the witnesses, said it was possible that the supporters of the accused would enter the FTCs and threaten the witnesses. The Bench expressed the hope that the FTCs, with the help of the public prosecutors concerned and the SIT, would be able to ensure a fair trial. In case, it was still not possible, “we are here,” the Judges clarified.
The SIT, headed by former CBI Director RK Raghavan, had submitted its status report to the court in a sealed cover last week. Copies of the report were given to Salve and senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, who represents the Gujarat government. The contents of the report were, however, carried by some newspapers in Gujarat. When Indira Jaisingh wanted to know how the report found its way to the media, the Bench said copies were given to the amicus and the state counsel in good faith and “whoever leaked it to the press had betrayed our trust. This is deplorable”.
While the court accepted a proposal for giving protection to the victims and witnesses and their families, it said another suggestion for giving a “subsistence allowance” to them was not possible as it would give rise to the allegation that they had been bought.
The Bench said the Gujarat High Court Chief Justice would appoint the PPs in consultation with the SIT chief. The SIT would suggest replacement of PPs or appointment of additional PPs wherever necessary.
Salve said the SIT had suggested the setting up of six FTCs to conduct the trial on a daily basis in the nine highly sensitive cases. The courts would be set up in five districts, including Ahmedabad, Mehsana, Saabarkantha and Anand. The trial in the Godhra train fire case would be held at Sabarmati Jail, Ahmedabad.

Focus on Article 370Fresh debate on special status to J and Khttp://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090422/edit.htm#6
by Balraj Puri
BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley has reiterated, during his election campaign in Jammu, that the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, which guarantees special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was the key issue for his party. He has invited Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to debate with him on it.
Whether or not it remains the key issue of the party in the rest of the country, it promises to remain a perpetual controversy within the state where the coalition partner, the National Conference, had contested the election on the slogan of restoration of autonomy of the state. It is, therefore, necessary to seek an end to this controversy.
Omar had maintained that any change in the statues of the state would have to be done only by its constituent assembly, which ceased to exist in 1956. The constitutional validity of this stand was never tested by a judicial court. Never were series of measures for the erosion of autonomy of the state challenged in the court on this ground. Likewise Parliament has inherited all the powers of the Constituent Assembly of India.
Intriguingly, the Congress, which is locked in a contest with the BJP and not the National Conference, in two Lok Sabha seats in Jammu, has not joined issue with its rival. That tends to make it a Jammu-versus-Kashmir issue.
As for actual possibility of the abrogation of the Article is concerned, the BJP does not have the support of its own allies in the NDA.
Moreover, the Law Minister in the government led by it had declared that Parliament had no power to abrogate the Article unless the state assembly recommended it.
Not that the Article has entirely been used in the interest of the people of the state. For instance 73rd and 74th amendments to the Indian Constitution, which ushered in Panchayati Raj and local self government in urban areas, were not applicable to the state.
The most diversified state of the country, consequently, has been administered by a most centralised government, which is the root cause of most of the internal tensions within the state.
Similarly, autonomous institutions like the National Human Rights Commission and the National Women Commission have no jurisdiction in the state. Obviously, people of the state do not get any benefit for being out of the jurisdiction of these national institutions, which are autonomous of executive authority.
It was under the pressure of public opinion generated by some enlightened citizens that the state has just adopted the Central Right to Information Act.
If Article 370 is restored to its original position, central autonomous institutions like the Supreme Court, the Auditor General and the Election Commission would not have any jurisdiction over the state. These would be appointed and managed by the state government.
It would also facilitate the Union Government to manipulate affairs of the state. If the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction had extended to the state in 1953, Sheikh Abdullah could not be arrested under any law then in force in India.
It is the manner in which ruthless integration was imposed on the state by the post-Nehru leadership in Delhi and the manner the issue was posed as Kashmir versus Jammu and Kashmir versus India that provoked the people of Kashmir and alienated them.
It was the agitated mood of the people in 1965 over such measures of forced integration that might have tempted President Ayub of Pakistan to send its army men in the form of infiltrators to the state that led to the 1965 war.
National interest, in no way, is linked with the degree of integration of the state. Nor Jammu’s grievances have any thing to do with Article 370. Let people of Kashmir be free to discuss and decide — in consultations with people of other regions — the type of Centre-state relations that serve their interest.
Much damage was done to Kashmir’s emotional relations with India by the agitation for “Ek vidhan, ek pradhan and ek nishan” (one constitution, one head of the state and one flag) launched by Praja Parishad, Jammu affiliate of the Jana Sangh, in 1953 ostensibly to safeguard Jammu’s interest and the national interest.
Dr Shyama Prasad Mukerjee, the founder president of the Jana Sangh, came to lend his support to the agitation.
Jawaharlal Nehru, in a letter to Jayaprakash Narayan on July 29, 1953, observes: “Reactions in the Kashmir to the situation have weakened our position terribly and for the first time I feel very doubtful about the future.”
Dr Mukerjee had also entered into a prolonged correspondence with Pandit Nehru. Nehru had warned him also about the dangerous repercussions of the Jammu agitation on the Kashmir problem.
Eventually, Mukerjee in his letter dated February 17, 1953, agreed to support the Delhi Agreement that had conceded special status to the state provided the “principle of autonomy will apply to the province of Jammu as also to Ladakh and Kashmir valley.”
This was precisely what I was campaigning for and had succeeded in getting Nehru and Abdullah to declare at a joint press conference on July 24, 1952, that “when the constitution of the state is framed, it will provide for regional autonomies.”
The Praja Parishad agitation was finally withdrawn on July 3, after a meeting of its leaders with Nehru on this very formula.
Meanwhile, Dr Mukerjee’s death in Srinagar jail had created sharp reactions in Jammu and many parts of India with counter reactions in Kashmir. This had caused further tensions and complications in the situation which were a major cause of the August 1953 crisis when Sheikh Abdullah was dismissed from power and put under detention. From the Indian point of view, it was the beginning of the Kashmir problem.
After some months, according to Balraj Madhok, who became the president of the Jana Sangh after some years, the party withdrew its support to the formula Mukerjee had agreed viz autonomy of the state within India and of the regions within the state on directions from Nagpur (the RSS headquarters).
If the successors of Nehru, Abdullah and Mukerjee had stood by their joint agreement, on the issue of status of the state, alienation of the people of Kashmir would not have gone to the extent it exists today and the Kashmir problem would have been resolved long ago. Let their respective commitment be recalled and debated to find an end to the Kashmir imbroglio.

Judge hurt in acid attack
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/22/stories/2009042254570700.htm
Staff Reporter
KAKINADA: In a shocking incident, Additional District and Sessions Judge B. Nagamaruti Sarma came under acid attack by a litigant Aake Suryanarayana on the court premises here on Tuesday.
Mr. Sarma was hearing a case in the morning when Suryanarayana threw acid on him from a window, causing minor burns to the judge. The court staff and others quickly overpowered Suryanarayana and handed him over to One-Town police. Mr. Sarma was given first-aid at the Government General Hospital.
An independent
More than the attack, the fact that Suryanarayana was contesting as Independent candidate for the Kakinada Lok Sabha seat and the Peddapuram Assembly constituency in the ensuing elections, took everyone by surprise. A small-scale businessman, he belongs to Venkata Krishnarayapuram village in Samalkot mandal.
Kakinada Bar Association (KBA) secretary M. Ravi Krishna told media persons that Suryanarayana had a history of putting several people in trouble by filing petitions on frivolous grounds. There were instances when he was reprimanded by Mr. Sarma for creating problems for others, but the former did not mend his ways. He seemed to have a grudge against Mr. Sarma for not getting a favourable verdict in a case.
Suryanarayana had created a flutter at the Collector’s office in July 2004 by trying to consume pesticide due to the alleged failure of the district officials in redressing his grievance related to a land dispute. KBA and A.P Judicial Employees’ Association have condemned the attack.

Nanjil Sampath’s detention under NSA quashed
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/22/stories/2009042253950400.htm
Special Correspondent
“Detaining authority had not applied his mind”
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Tuesday quashed the order of detention under the National Security Act against Nanjil Sampath, propaganda secretary of the MDMK.
A Division Bench, comprising Justices D. Murugesan and C.S. Karnan, passed the order after hearing the submissions made by Vaiko (MDMK general secretary), counsel for Mr.Sampath, and Additional Advocate-General, S.Ramasamy.
The Bench said the detaining authority (DA) had not applied his mind to the contents of the bail order. The written submissions made by the detenu in support of his application for bail were neither placed before the detaining authority nor relied upon. The only document relied upon was the bail order.
Mr.Sampath’s wife Sasikala had filed a habeas corpus petition challenging the detention of her husband.
She submitted that he was arrested by the Tirupur North police on March 7 in connection with a speech made by him on Eelam Tamils at a hall meeting at Tirupur on March 1. He was later released on bail by the judicial magistrate with stringent conditions. By an order dated March 14, Mr.Sampath was detained under the NSA by the District Collector, Tirupur. She said the detention was arbitrary and illegal.
The Bench said it was well settled in law that if the detention order was questioned on more than one ground and the court accepted one ground of challenge made, irrespective of failure to satisfy the other ground, the order was liable to be quashed. There was non-application of mind.
Also mere awareness as to the material was not sufficient, but satisfaction on the basis of those material was relevant. On both the grounds the detention order was likely to be quashed.

Woman moves Bench seeking compensation
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/22/stories/2009042258370300.htm
Staff Reporter
For being summoned to police station
MADURAI: A forty-year-old woman from Govindapuram in Dindigul has moved the Madras High Court Bench here seeking compensation for having been summoned to a police station in connection with an enquiry.
Justice K.K. Sasidharan on Tuesday directed a Special Government Pleader to take notice on behalf of the Home Secretary, Superintendent of Police, Inspector of Dindigul Taluk police station and other police personnel.
The petitioner, N. Kathija Beevi, pointed out that Section 160(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr. P. C.) states that an investigating officer could require the attendance of any person under his jurisdiction for an enquiry with regard to a case.
However, a proviso to the Section stipulates that no male person below the age of 15 or a woman shall be required to attend the enquiry as a witness at any place other than the place in which the boy or woman resides. Further, sub clause (2) of the Section read that the State Government could provide for the payment, by the police officer, of the reasonable expenses of every person, attending the enquiry at any place other than his residence.
Pointing out that she and her physically challenged husband were summoned to the police station on many occasions to enquire about the whereabouts of their son-in-law, the petitioner claimed that it was done in violation of the Cr. P. C.
“I submit that the police officers had not provided expenses to me or my husband as per Section 160 (2) of Cr. P. C.,” Ms. Beevi, a flower vendor, said and sought a direction to the Government to initiate legal action against the personnel concerned.
Delving into the background of the case, she said that her son-in-law Mohamed Ilyas was arrested following a clash during Vinayagar Chathurthi procession and later released on bail with a condition to sign before the Dindigul South police station daily. When he went to the police station on December 8, one of the inspectors forced him to submit his photograph and finger prints. But he refused and lodged a complaint.
Irked over such behaviour, the police began to implicate him in several other cases. In view of continuous harassment, he left home by leaving his pregnant wife and his whereabouts were not known, the petitioner claimed.

Bagepalli MLA surrenders in court
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/22/stories/2009042253920400.htm
Special Correspondent
CHICKABALLAPUR: Congress MLA for Bagepalli in Chickaballapur district N. Sampangi, against whom the police recently registered a criminal case, surrendered in a court in Gauribidanur on Tuesday.
Chickaballapur Superintendent of Police Ravindra Prasad said the Manchenahalli police in Gauribidanur taluk on Sunday registered a case against Mr. Sampangi for “assaulting or using criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty”, under Section 353 of the Indian Penal Code.
Mr. Sampangi, who was likely to have been arrested on Tuesday, surrendered in the Judicial Magistrate First Class court in Gauribidanur.
Released on bail
The magistrate released him on bail, Mr. Prasad said.
Probationary Assistant Commissioner Rangappa, who heads the model code of conduct enforcement team in the area, had lodged a police complaint against Mr. Sampangi.
According to official sources, during a rally addressed by Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee working president D.K. Shivakumar at Manchenahalli on Sunday, Mr. Sampangi allegedly prevented Mr. Rangappa from checking his vehicle, which reportedly did not have a permit from the Election Commission. Following a heated argument, the MLA allegedly pushed the official when he tried to check the vehicle.

Court expresses concern over leakage of Gujarat SIT report
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/22/stories/2009042262650100.htm
Legal Correspondent
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed concern over selective leakage of the Special Investigation Team’s report on the Gujarat riots cases in the media, while reserving its verdict on a batch of petitions filed by the National Human Rights Commission and others.
A three-judge Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat, P. Sathasivam and Aftab Alam took on record suggestions given by the amicus curiae, the NHRC, the Gujarat government and Citizens for Justice and Peace. The Supreme Court had stayed the trial of over a dozen cases following a demand for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
When senior counsel Indira Jaising complained to the court about a report (relating to Teesta Setalvad) in an English daily, quoting excerpts from the SIT report, Justice Pasayat said: “The SIT report is in a way a charge sheet given to the Supreme Court. That is why we have not given copies to all. We gave copies only to the State of Gujarat and amicus curiae.”
Justice Pasayat showed counsel copies of the SIT report given to the Court still in sealed covers. “If anybody has given a copy or access of the report [to the newspaper] he has betrayed the trust of this Court. We don’t approve of this. We deplore this…”
Justice Alam said: “Whoever did it, this is grossly unjustifiable. It should not have been done. It is a grossly irresponsible act and we feel ashamed.”
Ms. Jaising accused the Gujarat government’s senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi of divulging the contents of the SIT report to the electronic media. “I am entitled to speak to television channel,” Mr. Rohatgi retorted. However, Justice Pasayat cautioned Mr. Rohatgi not to mention anything selectively about the report.
Earlier, senior counsel Harish Salve, amicus curiae, in his suggestions underlined the importance of continuing with the SIT and taking directions from the Supreme Court from time to time. Justice Pasayat indicated that the SIT would continue to function. Mr. Salve pleaded for vacating the stay of trial in these cases.

312 charges proposed in 26/11 attack case
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/22/stories/2009042257570300.htm
Staff Reporter
Against Kasab, Fahim Ansari, Mohammad Sabahuddin Ahmed, 35 others
Draft charges filed before the special sessions court at Arthur Road jail
Charges of criminal conspiracy are applicable to all the accused
MUMBAI: The prosecution has proposed 312 charges against the accused in the November 26, 2008, Mumbai attack case. The charges are against Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, Fahim Ansari, Mohammad Sabahuddin Ahmed and 35 wanted accused.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam filed the draft charges before the special sessions court at the Arthur Road jail. This step comes before framing of the charges. The charges of criminal conspiracy are applicable to all the accused.
The charges
It includes: committing terrorist acts with an intent to overawe the government, striking terror, waging war, organising and imparting training in Pakistan with the object of attacking major cities of India, destabilising the Indian government by engineering violence and through subversive activities, weakening India’s economic might, killing foreign nationals, adversely affecting Hindu-Muslim harmony, attacking territorial integrity by planning to capture Kashmir, smuggling firearms and explosives, exchanging maps of locations, aiding, abetting and facilitating terrorist acts, assisting criminal conspiracy and committing acts to further the objectives of criminal conspiracy.
Sections of the Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosive Substances Act, Explosives Act, Passport Act (Entry into India), Foreigners Act, Indian Railways Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984, Bombay Police Act and Customs Act apply.
In the draft charges, each individual murder and act of infringement is listed separately with a corresponding section.
Mr. Nikam, on Monday, presented evidence against Ansari and Sabahuddin. He said the writing on the map found on the person of deceased accused, Abu Ismail, and that of Ansari was found matching by experts. The map showed the position of the Chowpatty and Malabar Hill. It had a mention of the Raj Bhavan.
Mr. Nikam said Ansari attempted to hire a room at Badhwar Park in Cuffe Parade where the terrorists docked. He found accommodation at Patthe Bapurao Marg up to 5 km from Badhwar Park. From there, Fahim allegedly made detailed maps of locations. He also bought a mobile phone in the fictitious name of Sahil Pawaskar. He got himself admitted to SoftPro computer institute opposite the Bombay Stock exchange, Mr. Nikam said.
Ajmal’s confession
In his confession, Ajmal has stated that Lashkar commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi asked the terrorists to destroy the maps on reaching target locations. The statement mentions the names of Ansari and Sabahuddin. Ajmal even inquires with Lakhvi about the two.
Of the maps given out to the attackers, Ismail took the one for Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Malabar Hill. This is the only map the investigators recovered. The others were presumably destroyed, said Mr. Nikam.
The prosecution has no direct evidence against Sabahuddin except for a witness statement and Ajmal’s confession. As per the witness statement, Sabahuddin allegedly met Ansari in Kathmandu, Nepal, and asked him about the maps commissioned by Lakhvi. Fahim is believed to have handed over the maps to Sabahuddin, who in turn passed them on to Lashkar.
When Mr. Nikam was making his case for Sabahuddin, the accused appeared to be amused. Sabahuddin who understands English asked the court in English for a pen and paper to jot down court proceedings in the absence of his lawyer, Ejaz Naqvi.
CallPhonex numbers
Mr. Nikam also gave details about the CallPhonex numbers used by the terrorists and their handlers, and details of Internet communication. (The Hindu, March 1, 2009). As per the probe conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the email id kharak_telco@yahoo.com, used to open CallPhonex account, was accessed from 10 Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Five of these were in Pakistan and one was accessed by Col. R. Sadat Ullah of the Special Communication Organisation, Mr. Nikam said.
Mr. Nikam said that the Organisation was headed by senior Army officers of Pakistan. It operated from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). The FBI is still investigating two proxy numbers.
Mr. Nikam also referred to the terror e-mail in the name of Deccan Mujahideen, sent to TV channels minutes after the attacks.
It was sent from the IP address of the above-stated address. It warned that the attacks would continue till certain regions were captured.
One of the numbers used by the terrorists belonged to Nariman Houses resident Holtzberg. Mr. Nikam said he was killed brutally and mercilessly.
I don’t get anything
Midway in the prosecutions address, Mr. Tahaliyani, perceiving Ajmal’s discomfort, asked him if he wanted to go back to his cell.
Ajmal promptly stood up and said, “I don’t understand anything.”
Mr. Nikam then duly interposed asking why one should presume Ajmal was uncomfortable. “Now he is smiling,” he remarked, and Ajmal was smiling indeed.

HC relief for petty offenders
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/HC_relief_for_petty_offenders/articleshow/4432103.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0439 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The high court on Tuesday directed the principal sessions judges in the state to oversee guidelines for releasing accused charged for bailable offences. The HC asked the judges to verify if the magistrates are ordering their release in seven days, if they are not able to come up with the bail amount. An RTI application revealed that of the 2,296 inmates in the Arthur Road jail, around 1,660 were charged with bailable offences.

Sewer case: DDA, DJB bosses face contempt
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/Sewer_case_DDA_DJB_bosses_face_contempt/articleshow/4431509.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0240 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued contempt notices to the vice chairman of Delhi Development Authority (DDA), CEO of Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and MD of Delhi Small Industries Development Corporation (DSIDC) for failing to adopt safety and health measures for sewerage workers. A division bench comprising chief justice A P Shah and justice Neeraj Kaul decided to issue the notice after it was pointed out that despite HC’s detailed directives to the agencies in August last year, six workers died in March 2009. Unhappy that the DDA, DJB and (DSIDC) failed to comply with its orders on safety of contract labourers engaged in sewer-cleaning from falling prey to toxic gases, HC has asked the top honchos to explain by May 28 why they shouldn’t be punished. At the same time, HC hiked the compensation amount from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh to sewerage workers in case of fatal injury and Rs 50,000 for those who receive injuries during their duty hours. In March last week, six sewerage workers had died allegedly after inhaling poisonous gases in areas ranging from Narela to Bawana to Sunder Nagar. Initial reports indicted DJB for not following requisite safety precautions and issuing poor quality equipment to the workers, in clear violation of HC ruling of last year. The HC directive included providing protective equipments to the sewer workers and extending statutory benefits like provident fund, gratuity and bonus. The bench had added in its order, free medical treatment to sewer workers to be provided by DJB and other authorities and during their illness, neither DJB nor any contractor who engaged them would terminate their services. HC had taken a dim view of the manner in which agencies had tried to wriggle out of paying any money or taking care of the workers because technically they weren’t employees of DJB or DDA but on contract. It had made it clear its safety cover would be applicable to all sewerage workers and had asked DJB and civic agencies to pay compensation or ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh to workers in case they fall prey to work-related ailments and later recover the amount from contractors. It also constituted a committee under a retired chief secretary of the Tripura government to ensure compliance of the court directions. The DJB in one of its report to the court had informed that as many as 36 sewerage workers had died due to work-related diseases and injuries between 2002 and July 2008. The Bench was hearing a PIL filed by the National Campaign for Dignity and Rights of Sewerage and Allied Workers, an NGO, through their counsels Colin Gonzalvis and Jai Singh alleging DJB for the same.

Court orders property attachment of absconding IM men
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/Court_orders_property_attachment_of_absconding_IM_men/articleshow/4431689.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0241 hrs IST
NEW DELHI: A city court has ordered the initiation of attachment of property of two alleged Indian Mujahideen terrorists who managed to escape after a controversial encounter which claimed life of decorated Delhi Police officer Mohan Chand Sharma last September.
“Let the process under section 83 (attachment of property of person absconding) of the CrPC be issued against both accused Ariz Khan and Shahjad Ahmed,” ACMM Navin Arora of Patiala House Courts said. Ariz Khan and Shahjad Khan, both hailing from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, first entered into a gunbattle with Delhi Police on September 19 last year at L-18 Batla House flat in Jamia Nagar locality and later gave them the slip, police alleged.
Besides police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, Atif Ameen, the prime accused of Delhi serial blasts and co-accused Sajid, were also killed in the encounter. Mohd Saif was the sole Indian Mujahideen suspect who was caught alive, the crime branch of Delhi Police said.
The police, which has so far failed to nab the two alleged terrorists carrying Rs one lakh each as reward on their heads, recently got the proclamation order from the court against them.

Why security to Aravali miners, wonders HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/Why_security_to_Aravali_miners_wonders_HC/articleshow/4431925.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0152 hrs IST, Vishal Sharma, TNN
chandigarh : Punjab and Haryana High Court was on Tuesday taken aback by the Haryana counsel’s disclosure that 13 persons, including big names involved in mining in the Aravali region, were getting paid security while 35 others had been given security cover following court orders. The court wondered at the state largesse to miners like Aman Sethi, Som Sethi etc., who were pitted against the government in the apex court. The HC made its displeasure quite clear when it almost chided the state for providing security to big industrialists and mining sharks even as the ordinary man was crying for safety. The court wanted to know what the threat perception of these moneybags was it said they could easily afford private security and what was the method of assessing the threat perception. Dumbfounded by the caustic observations, the state counsel had no replies and the matter had to be adjourned for Wednesday. The scathing remarks by the court came in the wake of a plea by a Panchkula-based father-son duo, Sandeep Singla and Montey Singla, that they apprehended elimination by former Punjab DGP NPS Aulakh’s brother and land mafia and were hence seeking police protection. The HC had already issued notices to various respondents, including Harinderpal Singh Aulakh (real brother of DGP NPS Aulakh) and Mohali SSP and also directed Haryana cops to provide security cover to the petitioners. Interestingly, even as the duo got protection, the Panchkula police came up with a bill of Rs 40,000 as a fee for providing cover. The police demand irked the court no end and it wondered how cops could claim money for security provided on the orders of the court. The petitioners had moved HC on the ground that they were facing a threat from the land mafia that included Harinderpal Singh Aulakh and various anti-social elements. The petitioners submitted that the mafia did not want them to execute a sale deed related to a land measuring 8 kanal and 16 marla located at Bhabat Village within the municipal limits of Zirakpur.

Gymkhana gets HC relief on MRP
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/Gymkhana_gets_HC_relief_on_MRP/articleshow/4431508.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0240 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has granted relief to Delhi Gymkhana Club by holding that it can sell beverages and refreshment to customers at a price higher than the MRP. Allowing the Club’s petition, Justice Geeta Mittal said “Consumption of any refreshment or beverage by a member or a guest at a club would not bring him within the definition of the consumer” and quashed the proceedings before the consumer court and its notice against the club in 2006. By extension, HC clarified that the Standard of Weight and Measures(SWM) Act do not apply to the Club as it is neither a ‘hotel’ nor a restaurant. In its petition the club challenged the Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum’s notice on a complaint filed by one of the club members Harish Tripathy alleging the club was charging more than MRP for a bottle of water or cold drink even though the members paid a monthly sum as fee. “The service rendered by the club in making available to its members/guests food items and beverages, packaged or in any other form for their convenience and consumption in a comfortable atmosphere provided at the premises of the club cannot be treated as a `sale’,” the court concluded agreeing with the club that a customer was not just consuming a drink but also availing the facilities like air conditioning, interior decoration etc. The club argued that it needed to levy extra charges to hire a staff and train them, pointing out that the sale of commodity is just incidental to the real service rendered.

Acid attack on judge, CJ seeks report
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Hyderabad/Acid_attack_on_judge_CJ_seeks_report/articleshow/4432030.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0509 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: Expressing serious concern over the lack of security for the lower-level judicial officials, several judges of the AP High Court on Tuesday conveyed their apprehensions to the Chief Justice Anil Ramesh Dave after the Tuesday’s acid attack on one of the district judges in East Godavari district. The chief justice has called for a report on the alleged incident from the district and sessions judge of East Godavari. A litigant, R K Satyanarayana, threw acid on Nagamaruthi Sarma, an additional district judge in Kakinada. Sarma, who is also acting as chairman of the district legal services committee, reportedly refused to entertain a frivolous petition from Satyanarayana. The litigant bore a grudge and attacked the judge. He threw acid on the judge through a window when the judge was sitting on the bench. However, nothing happened to the judge. Justice A Gopal Reddy, portfolio judge of the district, ascertained the details and passed them on to the chief justice.

Bijal gangrape case: HC rules out bail to 5 convicts
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/Bijal_gangrape_case_HC_rules_out_bail_to_5_convicts/articleshow/4431904.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0617 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : Gujarat high court on Monday rejected bail applications of Delhi-based businessman Sajal Jain and four others convicted for the gangrape of 24-year-old Bijal Joshi on the New Year’s Eve in 2003. Along with Sajal, Chandan and Ashok alias Mandan Jaiswal, Sugam Jaiswal and Dharmendra alias Karan Jain were sentenced to life imprisonment by a city sessions court last year for torturing and gangraping the girl and driving her to suicide. A division Bench of Justices Jayant Patel and RH Shukla heard detailed arguments of senior defence lawyers from the high court as well as the Supreme Court, on behalf of the five guilty and highlighted infirmities in this case. They claimed that it was not a case of gang rape and evidence were not properly accepted by the lower court. However, the judges held that the appreciation of evidence would be done during the hearing of the appeals against the lower court’s judgment. They also observed that the doctor, who examined Bijal, had stated that it was shocking to see the injuries on the victims body. The doctor also observed that the girl was extremely frustrated and withdrawn. The high court too described Bijal’s injury marks and observed, “This leads to a strong circumstances of the manner in which the gang rape was committed and in such cases, the gravity of offence is very high…keeping in view the seriousness of the offence, the normal approach of the court would be not to release the accused on bail.” The lower court had acquitted seven granting them the benefit of doubt, but convicted the five. The trial in this case witnessed many ups and downs running in-camera for some four years. Coming from influential business families based in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Ajmer, the case nearly collapsed on several occasions with questions raised on the DNA matching, handwriting in Bijal’s suicide note, and cell phone records.

Stringent laws invoked against truck owner, driver, cleaner
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Pune/Stringent_laws_invoked_against_truck_owner_driver_cleaner/articleshow/4431860.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0544 hrs IST, Asseem Shaikh, TNN
PUNE/YEVAT: The Yevat police on Tuesday invoked stringent provision of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the owner, driver and cleaner of the truck involved in the death of 19 people on the Pune-Solapur road near Yevat, about 40 km from here, on Sunday night. The identities of the suspects are not known as they had gone absconding after the incident. “Investigations revealed that the owner was not present at the time of the incident, but he was booked under section 304 of the Indian Penal Code because he had permitted the driver and cleaner to overload the vehicle with iron bars and illegally ferry passengers,” said sub-inspector Shashikant Khot. According to Khot, “The passengers, who were labourers, sat on the iron rods and they were crushed to death when the bars rolled on them after the truck overturned at Bhand village.” Khot said, “In usual cases of mishaps, the driver is booked for rash and negligent driving under section 304 (a) of the IPC, but in this case the owner was booked under stringent provisions as he had intentionally permitted the driver and cleaner to ferry passengers despite been aware of the fact that there was a severe threat to their lives”. A police team will leave for Andhra Pradesh for tracing the suspects after the Lok Sabha elections are held on April 23, he added. The police have also booked the suspects under sections 184, 66 (1), 192,134 (a) (b), 113 read with 119 of the Motor Vehicles Act. The Andhra Pradesh registered (AP13/W6527) truck had left Kalyan for Hubli late on Sunday evening. On the way, the driver had picked up 34 people from places like Kalyan, Dehu Road, Phugewadi and Kasarwadi, offering them cheap transport. The truck driver lost control over the vehicle near Bhand village at 12.30 am and it landed in a field along the highway. As many as 19 people, including eight children, died on the spot after being trapped under the iron bars, each weighing about 600 kg. Fifteen others were injured in the incident.

Ply ore-laden trucks only after donating Rs 3L: HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Goa/Ply_ore-laden_trucks_only_after_donating_Rs_3L_HC/articleshow/4432162.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0444 hrs IST, TNN

PANAJI : The high court of Bombay at Goa on Tuesday allowed a mining company, Rajaram Bandekar (Sirigao) Mines Pvt Ltd, to ply its ore-laden trucks through the Shirgao village on April 23 and 24. The court also ordered the company to donate Rs 3 lakh to the Larai Saunsthan, Shirgao. The court pointed out that plying of the ore-laden trucks was subject to the company donating the prescribed amount. A bench comprising Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice U D Salvi passed the orders after hearing an application filed by the mining company seeking modification of the court’s earlier directives. It may be recalled that on April 17, the court had directed the mining companies operating in the area to stop plying their ore-laden trucks through the village from April 23 to May 3 in view of the famed ten-day Larai zatra being celebrated in Shirgao. When the application came up for hearing on Tuesday, the mining company’s counsel Agnelo Diniz told the court that his client would face huge losses daily if transportation of iron ore was stopped. “The company requires an additional five days for transporting the ore to its destination,” he told the court. At this point, amicus curiae Norma Alvares while pointing out that the festivities would begin from April 23 onwards, argued that constant plying of trucks though the village would raise clouds of dust and would disturb the festivities. Subsequently, the court suggested that the mining company should make a small donation to Goddess Lairai of Shirgao in view of the upcoming zatra. “Goddess Lairai would be pleased with the donation and would bless the mining company for its generosity,” the Bench remarked. The court also made it clear that the concession given to the mining company would be applicable only for April 23 and 24 and not for five days as demanded.

Fiza moves court
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chandigarh/Fiza_moves_court/articleshow/4432448.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0318 hrs IST, TNN
MOHALI: Fiza Mohammad, ex-wife of former Haryana deputy chief minister Chander Mohan, filed a case against him in Mohali district court on Tuesday. Talking to mediapersons at her residence here, Fiza said she was driven to take the step as Punjab police were not able to get her justice. Sources said that the Mohali chief judicial magistrate issued a notice to police seeking a status report in the case by May 11. Fiza told mediapersons that she would be campaigning against Bhajan Lal in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Accused of raping teen, man let off
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chandigarh/Accused_of_raping_teen_man_let_off/articleshow/4432474.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0335 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Accused of repeatedly raping a girl since she was 13 years old, Balbir Rahi walked free on Tuesday when a local court held that prosecution had failed to prove the charges. The prosecution had claimed the victim got in touch with the accused in 1998. He reportedly used to frequent her friend’s place, and it was here that they had met. Her ‘‘ordeal’’ began in 1999, when Rahi allegedly became intimate with her and forced her into a physical relationship with the promise of marriage. He then allegedly threatened the girl of dire consequences and continued violating her, claiming they would marry once she attained suitable age. In 2003, after the girl reportedly took her parents into confidence, it was claimed both the families decided to get the two married once the girl was no longer a minor. The prosecution stated though the youth continued to sexually exploit the girl through 2006, he kept delaying marriage. The girl moved a complaint to top cops, following which an FIR was registered in 2007 under Sections 376 (rape), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 420 (cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation) IPC. The court framed rape charges in December 2008, and in February 2009, the ‘victim’ recorded her statement in court. Eight witnesses were produced by prosecution. However, defense counsel AS Chahal said Rahi was falsely implicated and that it was a case of consensual physical relationship. ‘‘Not only was the victim’s statement conflicting, but the claims could not be supported either by witness account or medical evidence,’’ he said.

PIL against working of shrine board
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chandigarh/PIL_against_working_of_shrine_board/articleshow/4432478.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0338 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Raising a question mark against the activities undertaken by Shri Mansa Devi Shrine Board, an RTI application threatens to land not only the religious body, but also the state of Haryana and Panchkula DC in a distasteful situation. Acting on a PIL filed by RK Garg, a division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday issued notices for July 13 to state of Haryana, Panchkula DC and the shrine board. The petitioner’s counsel, HC Arora, submitted that under Haryana Shri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Act, 1991, nine members had to be appointed from amongst public/devotees, in addition to four official members, including CM, local government minister, financial commissioner and Panchkula DC. However, information obtained under RTI states Haryana failed to appoint the nine nominated members, with the result that all activities of the board were illegal and void ab-initio as the Act mentioned that a minimum five members were required to complete the quorum. With four official members insufficient to complete the quorum, the plea stated, some government members were allowed to participate in board meetings as special invitees, thereby misleading devotees. To drive home the point, the petitioner also brought up the issue of sale of gold items, including coins and pendants, by the board, emphasizing the absence of nominated members had led to public interest getting sidelined. Under a specially devised scheme in 2003, the board reportedly minted gold ornaments into 4g gold coins and 8g pendants (Mangalsutras), and priced them at Rs 5,100 and Rs 2,600 per piece, respectively. It was then decided to sell these at the rates fixed, irrespective of the rise or fall in market price of the metal. Stressing on the sorry state of affairs, the petitioner alleged from December 2005 to January 2006, when gold rate had gone up, the shrine board ‘‘clandestinely’’ sold coins and pendants in bulk, causing a huge loss to the exchequer. Garg sought directions to the state of Haryana to nominate nine ‘‘public’’ members or devotees and also called for a vigilance inquiry into the alleged irregularities.

If law opposes dhirios, we are against them: BJP
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Goa/If_law_opposes_dhirios_we_are_against_them_BJP/articleshow/4432163.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0445 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: At a press conference on Monday, BJP spokespersons Govind Parvatkar and Rajendra Arlekar were asked about the BJP’s stance on cow protection as it was not mentioned in the party’s manifesto. “Of course, we are for it,” Parvatkar said. However, both BJP members seemed all at sea when asked about the party’s stance on dhirios’ (bull fights). Incidentally, Congress candidate Francisco Sardinha has made a promise that he will set up a bull fight arena for the sport. “If the law is against dhirios’, then we are against it,” Arlekar replied. It may be recalled that the state assembly had adopted a private member’s bill to regularize dhirio as a traditional sport. Introduced by Curtorim MLA, Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Goa Amendment) Bill, 2009 was almost unanimously passed by the House, but for speaker Pratapsingh Rane who voiced a different opinion. State opposition leader Manohar Parrikar and Lourenco quipped that Goa’s gambling Act was meant to prevent gambling, but said casinos had been allowed through an amendment. Meanwhile, tongues have not stopped wagging after the MGP left out the Marathi language issue from its manifesto. “It has to be solved at the state level first, before being taken up in parliament. It is number one on our manifesto during the assembly elections,” MGP candidate Pandurang Raut said.

Samples match in Mittal case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chandigarh/Samples_match_in_Mittal_case/articleshow/4432494.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0342 hrs IST, Rajinder Nagarkoti, TNN
PANCHKULA: More than two months after alleged Panchkula-based financier Vinod Mittal and his four-year-old son Yashan went missing, hope went out for Mittal family on Tuesday when a forensic report confirmed that blood samples taken from his car matched those of Vinod’s father Ved Prakash Mittal. The report was sent by the forensic lab in Madhuban in Karnal to Panchkula police on Tuesday. The police had taken blood and hair samples from the car, which police had recovered from Hanumangarh in Rajasthan. The accused had confessed during their interrogation that they had murdered Vinod inside the car and later dumped his body in Rajpura canal. Despite the confession, the Mittal family were hoping Vinod and Yashan could be alive and were awaiting forensic test report, for which they had personally met the Panchkula SP. Mittal senior had gone to Madhuban lab to give his blood sample for the test. Though Panchkula police had managed to arrest six persons, including the prime accused Raju’s mother-in-law, Raju and his wife Shilpa were still evading police dragnet. In the case, the Panchkula police took help of Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra police. At present, the police have stopped the search operation to locate the bodies in the canal but are checking from different police station alongside the canal to know about recovery of any bodies, sources added. Cash award Panchkula police on Tuesday announced a cash award of Rs 25,000 to anyone who provides information on the whereabouts of accused Raju and his wife Shilpa. The couple is still at large and despite raids conducted in various parts of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, police have failed to nab them.

Woman files writ seeking probe in her son’s death
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Allahabad/Woman_files_writ_seeking_probe_in_her_sons_death/articleshow/4436627.cms
22 Apr 2009, 2114 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: A woman has filed a writ petition in the high court seeking investigation of her son’s death. Her son had died in a swimming pool on August 29, last year, during the inter-school Basketball competition held in Bishop Johnson School here. The bench comprising Justices Amar Saran and SK Tripathi asked the state government to file its affidavit in the case within a month. The writ petition has been filed by Vandana Arya. An FIR in the incident was lodged at the Civil Lines police station. She has alleged that her son died due to the negligence of the college administration. In the petition, principal and teacher of Spring Dale college, Lucknow and principal of Bishop Johnson, Allahabad have been made party.

HC adjourns hearing in UPPSC exam case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Allahabad/HC_adjourns_hearing_in_UPPSC_exam_case/articleshow/4436626.cms
22 Apr 2009, 2114 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has adjourned hearing of a writ petition till April 27, wherein reservation provided in the preliminary examination of combined state/upper subordinate examination-2007, conducted by UP Public Service Commission (UPPSC) was challenged. The order was passed by a bench comprising Justices Janardan Sahai and Yogeshwar Kumar Singh on a writ petition filed by Dharam Singh, a PCS aspirant. It might be recalled that UPPSC on March 3, 2007 had published an advertisement for the state service examination for the posts of SDM, DySP, etc. The preliminary examination was held on September 30, 2007 and the results were declared on February 1, 2009. The writ petition alleged that the reservation provided to SC/ST and OBC candidates in the preliminary examination was illegal.

Court summons superintendent for non-compliance
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Kanpur/Court_summons_superintendent_for_non-compliance/articleshow/4436525.cms
22 Apr 2009, 2132 hrs IST, TNN
KANPUR: The additional district and sessions Judge II of Kanpur Dehat, C M Dixit, on Wednesday, took the non-compliance of court order seriously and summoned the superintendent, Women Rehabilitation Centre and asked her to appear before the court and explain why a case be not registered against her and a warrant of arrest be not issued against her. The presiding judge in his order asked the superintendent to appear in person before the court along with Sweta, daughter of Satyaveer Yadav on April 24. The judge observed that prima facie it appears that the superintendent had not taken the court order seriously and thus the court presumed that she had neglected the court order. The judge passed the order in a criminal revision in which complainant, Sudha Yadav had claimed that the superintendent had not responded to the court order and as a result not appeared before the court. The Judge had summoned the superintendent on a previous date and had asked her to produce the girl before the court today. According to prosecution story complainant, Sudha Yadav employed in Jaipur had came to Shivali town to attend a marriage on February 20. Her daughter, Sweta was with her. One Pankaj Yadav enticed the girl and the two ran away from the Shivali town. The police nabbed the boy, Pankaj and recovered the girl on March 12. Later, police produced both the boy and the girl before the judicial magistrate . The presiding magistrate sent the girl, Sweta, who was a minor at that time to Women Rehabilitation Centre instead of giving her in custody of her parents. Aggrieved by that order mother, Sudha Yadav filed a criminal revision before the court. The court summoned the superintendent and had asked to produce the girl also before the court. The superintendent overlooked the court order and did not appear in the court.

EDITORIAL COMMENT Misplaced Morality
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Editorial/EDITORIAL_COMMENT__Misplaced_Morality/articleshow/4430713.cms
22 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST
Why are we so squeamish about sex education? Some time ago, a bunch of state governments across the country opposed the inclusion of sex education in school curricula. Now a parliamentary committee on petitions headed by the BJP’s Venkaiah Naidu has recommended that there be no sex education in schools as it “promotes promiscuity”. The committee was addressing a petition filed in 2007, which called for a debate on the implementation of sex education in schools. This is as regressive as it can get. One wonders which world these politicians live in, if they believe that children between 14 and 18 years do not need to be introduced to issues of sexual health. At 18, you have the right to vote in India but please do not expect to have access to credible information about reproductive health through your school. The rationale behind the committee’s wisdom is similar to the warped logic given by the state governments earlier: sex education is against ‘Indian culture’. The committee says, “Our country’s cultural and social ethos are such that sex education has absolutely no place in it.” May we remind these interpreters and custodians of ‘Indian culture’ that getting children in this very same age group in question married off had social sanction till not very long ago? Indeed, it is the case in many parts of our country even today. If sex is a reality in our society, why is talk about sex taboo? In fact, what these advocates of the ‘Indian tradition’ are trying to impose is a set of Victorian mores. Now, that is what is really alien to our way of life. At a time when telecommunications has made it possible to access almost any information with the click of a mouse or by switching on the telly, it simply does not make sense to adopt an ostrich-like attitude and pretend that our youth live in an asexual world. It’s all the more important, therefore, to ensure that they can get reliable information about safe sexual behaviour and related issues through the right channels. Schools have a vital role to play in ensuring this, as do parents. Unfortunately, as a society, we choose to play morality games instead of growing up. Let’s face it: our youth are sexually aware and active at a younger age today than before. It is in the interests of their health physical and emotional that we need to talk to them sensibly about sex.

LEGAL NEWS 21.04.2009

Can marry without prior notice sent to parents, rules HC
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/can-marry-without-prior-notice-sent-to-parents-rules-hc/449221/
Express News Service
Posted: Apr 21, 2009 at 2334 hrs IST
New Delhi Comes to aid of man who wants to marry ‘manglik’
Young couples planning to get married under “special” circumstances may avoid including the names of their parents and relatives on the guests’ list, the Delhi High Court has ruled.
The court has directed marriage officers to not “jeopardise” plans of couples entering the wedlock “quietly” under the Special Marriage Act of 1954 by sending prior notices of the wedding to their residences.
“It is to be kept in mind that the Special Marriage Act was enacted to enable a special form of marriage for any Indian national, professing different faiths or desiring a civil form of marriage,” Justice S Ravindra Bhat observed in a recent verdict. “The unwarranted disclosure of matrimonial plans by two adults may in many situations jeopardise the marriage itself. In certain instances, it may even endanger the life and limb of one or the other party due to parental interference.”
The court also observed that neither the Act nor the website of the Delhi government require marriage officers to send advance notices to the couples’ residences, or to the local police stations. “The procedure is completely whimsical and without any authority of law… All marriage officers are hereby directed to not dispatch notices to residences of applicants who seek to solemnise their marriages,” the court directed.
The court was deciding on an urgent petition filed by a 24-year-old engineer (name withheld) employed in a public sector corporation, who decided to marry his companion under the Special Marriage Act without the knowledge of their parents. He opted for the special law because he “knew” his parents would be sorely against their son for marrying a “manglik” woman.
The district marriage officer, however, proved a dampener for the wedding plans of the young couple when he informed them that a “notice of intended marriage” would be sent to both parents. The petitioner describes his father as being “very emotionally attached” to him. “He (the father) has his own dreams and plans about my marriage,” the young man has pleaded. “He would get the shock of his life (to know he is marrying a ‘manglik’ woman).”

HC Bench hauls police inspector
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/21/stories/2009042155080100.htm
Staff Reporter
MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here on Monday ordered departmental action against a police Inspector for allegedly facilitating the escape of a person from a preventive detention order passed against him by the Dindigul Collector on November 22.
Allowing a habeas corpus petition filed by the mother of the accused, a Division Bench comprising Justice M. Chockalingam and Justice R. Mala quashed the detention order on the basis of various discrepancies in the documents prepared by the Inspector in connection with the detention.
The Division Bench pointed out that the detention order number had been mentioned wrongly in different documents. Further, one of the documents stated that the consignment seized from the accused was sent to a godown in Dindigul though it had been actually sent to a warehouse in Karur.
The Judges said that the discrepancies seemed to have been committed deliberately and not inadvertently as claimed by the then Collector R. Vasuki in her counter affidavit. “It casts a doubt in the mind of the court that it was done in order to help the detainee,” the Bench observed in its orders.
Seeks report from IG
“A responsible police officer is not expected to do so,” the Judges said and directed the Inspector General of Police concerned to initiate necessary action. They made it clear that the IG should submit a report before the High Court Registry within two months and adjourned the matter thereafter.

MP HC PIL against Advocate General quashedhttp://www.indlawnews.com/Newsdisplay.aspx?38218dda-c5ae-4aeb-99de-9f46b062a9ff
4/19/2009
The Madhya Pradesh High Court has quashed a PIL challenging misuse of post by state Advocate General R N Singh, encroachment of kabristan land and other allegations.Hearing a petition filed by sarpanch Devendra Tiwari and social activist Shailendra Raikwar, a Division Bench comprising Justices Deepak Mishra and Ramkishan Gupta quashed charges against Mr Singh and his advocate son.The petition stated that Mr Singh and his family members had encroached on a kabristan land at Barha village in Jabalpur division. The court found that false allegations had been levelled due to political and personal enmity that could not be proved. The court acquitted petitioners warning them to not waste the time of court in future by leveling false allegations.UNI

No notice to parents under Special Marriage Act:HC to SDMs

http://www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/553407/National/1/20/1
Published: April 20,2009

New Delhi, Apr 20 Young couples wishing to tie nuptial knot without family sanction can do so without hassle as the Delhi High Court has ruled that the Marriage Officers are not required to dispatch notices to the parents under the Special Marriage Act.
The Court, however, directed the officers to display the notice on the notice board of the Marriage Officers(Sub Divisional Magistrate).
“All Marriage Officers are hereby directed not to dispatch notices to the residence of the applicants who seek solemnisation of their marriage under the Special Marriage Act. It is, however, open to the officers to display the notice on the office notice board in accordance with law,”said Justice S Ravindra Bhat in a judgement recently.
“The unwarranted disclosure of the matrimonial plans by two adults entitled to solemnise, it may in certain situations, jeopardise the marriage itself”, the court said adding”in certain circumstances, it may even endanger the life or limb of one or the other party due to parental interference”.
The court order came on a petition by two lovers in their early twenties and keen to marry with the plea that prior notice sent to parents in court marriages should not be served as it would spoil their dream.
Source: PTI

HC stays deportation of 13-year-old Tibetan boy

http://www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/553431/National/1/20/1
Published: April 20,2009

New Delhi, Apr 20 The Delhi High Court today stayed the deportation of 13-year old Tibetan boy who is regarded as 4th incarnation of an ancient revered monk and whom the government considered as a security threat to India.
“No coercive steps to be taken to deport the petitioner,” Justice S Ravinder Bhat said on a petition filed by Lodro Chokyi Nyima, regarded as the incarnation of Jamgon Kongtiul Rinpoche, seeking to quash the deportation order passed by the Centre in March this year.
Justifying the government&aposs action, Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra contended that the child did not have valid passport and he was to be deported as he was a security threat to the country.
The court, however, was not satisfied with the explanation and restrained the government from taking any coercive action him.
Even the Dalai Lama din&apost have the passport. It is all about how you see it. The person is facing threat to his life and such a circumstance has to be considered,”the court said.
Nyima was born in Lhasa on November 26, 1995. His parents brought him to India in 1997 when he was two year old.
Source: PTI

Parents of dead police office move HC seeking CBI probe

http://www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/553443/National/1/20/1
Published: April 20,2009

Kolkata , Apr 20 The parents of Arindam Manna, a former investigation officer in Rizwanur Rahman case who was found dead under mysterious circumstances in February, today moved the Calcutta High Court seeking a CBI probe into the incident.
Ashok and Malati Manna moved an application before Justice Sanjib Banerjee seeking transfer of the investigation from the CID to CBI claiming that an investigation by the central agency would ensure impartiality.
Justice Banerjee directed the state to file an affidavit within six weeks stating the progress in investigation, while the parents would file a counter affidavit within two weeks after that. The matter would come up for hearing in June.
Arindam was a sub-inspector at the Dum Dum government railway police station. His body was found near the rail tracks at Mankundu station on February 11. He was the investigating officer for just a day before the CID had taken over the probe into the death of computer graphics teacher Rizwanur Rahman.
Source: PTI

Calcutta HC hands it to institutes
http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=2&theme=&usrsess=1&id=251686
Tirthankar MitraKOLKATA, April 20: Dismissing a writ petition recently, Mr Justice Soumitra Pal of Calcutta High Court held that an authority has the power to prescribe qualification and courts cannot decide whether a particular educational qualification should or should not be accepted as equivalent to the qualification prescribed by the authority. The writ petition prayed for a declaration of the West Bengal School Service Commission rules for selection of teachers as ultra vires the provisions of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. The petitioners, possessing certificates awarded by the directorate of school education for the three year needlework tailoring course at the Lady Brabourne College, prayed for a direction to permit the petitioners to appear in the eighth Regional Level Selection Test. The petitioners are not eligible for the posts concerned, it was held as they did not have any certificate in tailoring and needle work of at least a two year course from any institution duly recognised by a UGC approved university. Nor did the petitioners have any degree or diploma in “work education” of the state government, it was further held. The petitioners have questioned the change in qualification, but the change of policy in such circumstances cannot be questioned, it was held. Mr Justice Pal upheld the submission of the respondents that change in qualification for attracting better talent has been brought about by experts. The respondent authorities have sought application from candidates having degree and diploma in “work education” and not diploma in tailoring and needle work, the court pointed out. Thereby it set aside the submission of the petitioners’ counsel that tailoring and needle work was part of work education under a memo of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. There were elaborate submissions regarding challenge to the vires of the rules, the court noted. But either there were no formal pleadings or pleadings were inadequate, it was held.

Slum it out, first
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=HomePage&id=73bdc90b-45b5-464d-b20b-c615cce5c2e9&Headline=Slum+it+out%2c+first
Amrit Dhillon
April 20, 2009
First Published: 22:48 IST(20/4/2009)
Last Updated: 22:52 IST(20/4/2009)
Slumdog Millionaire star Rubina Ali’s father may well be a moral reprobate, a callous father, and a greedy opportunist with his eye to the main chance.
Rafiq Qureshi might well have been deeply misguided in thinking, if the News of the World story is true, that if he put Rubina up for adoption for 200,000 pounds, he could use the money to whisk his family out of the torture of Indian slum life while giving her a new start with a loving and wealthy couple.
No one likes the idea of a father selling off his daughter but it was nevertheless a cheap, vulgar, contemptible stunt by the tabloid to entrap Qureshi.
A privileged reporter from a wealthy country flies into a Mumbai slum to trick or persuade an impoverished and illiterate man to trade in his daughter for a better life for her and his whole family. It is the abyss between the two that is troubling. If the paper had picked on someone who could defend himself, the sting operation would have been less repugnant.
When the News of World exposes the moral frailties of celebrities or powerful personalities in the West, no unpleasant taste lingers in the mouth. These are people who can look after themselves.
But for a foreigner who has probably never experienced the inconvenience of a 30-minute power cut to swan in and pass moral judgement on an impoverished, vulnerable, slum-dweller is sickening.
Obviously, it never occurred to him that poverty can disfigure morality. When all you have known is squalor, hunger, no running water, no shred of comfort at home after a day’s work, panic at the thought of your children falling ill and not having enough money for medicines, and feeling degraded to the core by living conditions that would be deemed unfit for animals in the West, it can affect your moral sensibility. This is not to say that the poor are less moral than the rich. But verily it is generally easier for the rich to enjoy a higher level of moral hygiene than the poor.
Some areas of morality are contingent upon a level of material comfort and consequently are luxuries enjoyed by the well-to-do. Material security usually eliminates the need to make extreme choices or resolve horrible dilemmas.
The News of the World reporter will never (fortunately) have to make painful choices such as, out of four children, which one do you educate and which one do you put out to work?
Or, with no dowry to offer, do you marry your daughter off to a man twice her

No sympathy for rapists, murderers, says apex court
http://www.ptinews.com/pti/ptisite.nsf/0/8DC74A79CFF719C16525759E004C0BE9?OpenDocument

New Delhi, Apr 20 (PTI) The Supreme Court has said no sympathy should be shown to criminals involved in heinous offences like rape and murder as otherwise it would destroy the people’s confidence in the justice delivery system.”The social impact of the crime where it relates to offences against women, dacoity, kidnapping, misappropriation of public money, treason and other offences involving moral turpitude or moral delinquency, which have great impact on social order and public interest, cannot be lost sight of and per se require exemplary treatment,” the apex court said.The apex court made the remarks while setting aside a Madhya Pradesh High Court judgement which had reduced the seven years rigorous imprisonment imposed on a rapist Sheikh Shahid to a mere six months on the specious reasoning that he hailed from a rural background.A three-member bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat, Lokeshwar Singh Panta and P Sathasivam said punishment should be imposed depending upon the nature of the crime and not on the basis of the criminal’s background.”It is the nature and gravity of the crime and not the criminal which are germane for consideration of appropriate punishment in a criminal trial, ” the bench said in its judgement while referring to an earlier 1996 ruling in the Ravji Vs State of Rajasthan case. PTI

Marathis see red over Hindutva’s saffron
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1249237
Nistula Hebbar
Tuesday, April 21, 2009 1:04 IST
Belgaum: The month of May will not only see a new government at the Centre, but also the ‘rightful owner’ of the colour saffron in Belgaum.
One of the northernmost districts of Karnataka, Belgaum, has over two lakh Marathis. The Marathi population has been defiantly hoisting a saffron flag on the district municipal building since the 1950s.
The flag, they say, is a symbol of Maratha pride. But now the saffron colour and its symbolic connotations have become a major campaign issue. A fight is on between the Hindutva brigade and the Marathis over who ‘owns’ the colour.
Things turned awry on March 17 this year when the Marathis were not allowed to hoist the flag at the new municipal corporation building as a PIL had been filed in a local court against the practice. The court took the view that only the Indian national flag could be hoisted on the building. So far, so good. But matters became complicated when BJP MP Suresh Angadi decided to intervene. Swearing on Kannada pride, he fought with Marathi leaders and hoisted the flag.
This resulted in a clash betweenAngadi’s men and Kannada Rakshana Vedike activists, who accused the BJP MP of being anti-Kannada for letting the Marathis usurp the saffron colour.
In the melee, it dawned on Angadi that Maratha pride was all very well, but it would scupper his chances with the rest of the populace, including the 4.7 lakh Kannada-speaking lingayats in the area whotraditionally supported the BJP due to chief minister BS Yeddyurappa.
With opponents like Amar Singh Patil of the Congress and AB Patil of the Janata Dal (S), both lingyats, Angadi realised that the general elections would not be a cakewalk.
To make matters worse, the Akhil Bharatiya Veera Shaiva Mahasabha (ABVSM), which decides on lingayat support to candidates, has not given its blessings to any party. When DNA spoke to Angadi, he appeared upset at suggestions that he had taken a partisan stand on the flag issue. “The colour saffron stands for Hindu pride. Hindu warriors have fought under the saffron flag for centuries. What Varun Gandhi has done for Hindus in the north, I have done for Hindus in Belgaum,” he said. When asked if that meant he was not interested in votes from Marathi-speaking residents of the district, he hastened to add, “Marathi and Kannada are like my two eyes. In Belgaum, one cannot see without both of them.”
When AB Patil was asked to comment on the war over saffron ownership, he preferred to remain quiet. Saffron, it seems, has managed to make peoplein Belgaum see red.

State poll watch body to move court over growth in MPs’ assetshttp://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/details.asp?id=apr2109/at07
Staff Reporter GUWAHATI, April 20 – The election for the 15th Lok Sabha in Assam is being contested by six candidates with an average increase of more than Rs 1,00,000 per month in their total assets, in the past five years. All of them had contested the last parliamentary polls in 2004 and a comparison of court affidavits declaring movable and immovable assets shows a vast difference then and now. The richest contestant this time, Moni Kumar Subba’s assets growth rate is also the highest in past five years. Since 2004, there has been a growth to the tune of Rs 65, 74, 168.32 per month in Subba’s assets. The sitting Tezpur MP of the Congress is contesting from the same constituency. His assets are worth more than Rs 57 crores now whereas it was around Rs 18 crore as declared in 2004. Subba also tops the list of candidates with highest liabilities of around Rs 74 lakhs. Congress MP and a union minister Santosh Mohan Dev’s assets have increased at an average of Rs 14 lakh 79 thousand per month since last parliamentary polls. The value of his total asset is more than Rs 10 crore as declared this time. Congress MP and Lakhimpur contestant Ranee Narah’s affidavit shows an increase of more than Rs 8,00,000 per month, whereas autonomous district’s Biren Singh Engti has recorded an average asset growth of around Rs 3,00,000 per month. Another Congressman Bijoy Krishna Handique contesting from Jorhat is adding more than Rs 2,00,000 to his assets every month since 2004, as per his affidavit. Breaking the Congress monopoly, Rajen Gohain of the BJP, contesting from Nagaon is having a growth of Rs 1, 00, 000 every month in his total asset. Bringing out the finding of their survey on the background of Lok Sabha candidates contesting this time, the volunteers associated with the Assam Election Watch (AEW) campaign said that they are soon going to file a PIL in the court asking the candidates to declare the source of their money. “The EW is a national campaign launched to create awareness among the voters. At least 1,200 NGOs and groups are associated with it across the country. The PIL would be filed shortly, with an aim to bring more transparency in electioneering,” Tasaduk Ariful Hussain stated at a press conference today. The findings of the AEW include the educational background, liabilities, criminal records and other information about the candidates. The asset growth survey has not included second and third richest contestants from Assam, Sirajuddin Ajmal and Badaruddin Ajmal, as they hadn’t contested in Lok Sabha elections last time.

Encroachment in mining area: HC orders joint survey at Borders
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Encroachment-in-mining-area-HC-orders-joint-survey-at-Borders/articleshow/4427244.cms
20 Apr 2009, 2343 hrs IST, TNN
Bangalore: The high court on Monday ordered for a joint survey to be conducted by Indian Bureau of Mines and Surveyor of India officials from both Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh over allegations of encroachment of the state’s territory. A division Bench headed by the chief justice sought a detailed report by June 8. The court also permitted the petitioner to undertake mining as well transportation of extracted ore in the undisputed area, which will be identified by authorities one week after the Lok Sabha election process is over on May 16. Petitioner T Narayana Reddy claimed that Obalapuram Mines Ltd, owned by BJP minister G Janardhana Reddy, got a mining licence in Andhra Pradesh and had encroached upon his mining area at Tumti village in Sandur taluk of Karnataka’s Bellary district by removing the border pillar. The petitioner said he couldn’t attend the earlier joint surveys because of imposition of section 144 there.

Apex court to hear graft case against Vijayan in May
http://news.smashits.com/374849/Apex-court-to-hear-graft-case-against-Vijayan-in-May.htm
Posted: 9:9p.m IST, April 20, 2009
New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday decided it will hear in May a lawsuit that alleges delay in sanction by the Kerala government to prosecute former state power minister and Communist Party of India-Marxist state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in a corruption case.
The aex court had initially declined to hear the public interest lawsuit and dismissed it.
But on MOnday, a bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam decided to hear it in May after counsel for K.B. Suresh, who brought the PIL, insisted it has merit.
Kerala-based scribe T.P. Nandkumar has approached the apex court against a Kerala High Court order of Feb 12, 2009, that dismissed his contention that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was delaying the trial of Pinarayi Vijayan and two state bureaucrats on the pretext that the government has not given permission to prosecute them.
The other two accused in the case, besides Vijayan, are former power secretary K. Mohana Chandran and former joint secretary (power) A Francis.
Nandkmar had contended before the high court that the CBI, which probed the graft case, did not need any government approval to prosecute them as they were not entitled to legal protection from trial for corrupt acts.
Vjayan faced a CBI probe for his alleged role in awarding a contract in 1997 for renovation and modernisation of two hydro-power plants in the state to Canadian firm SNC Lavalin without any competitive bidding.
The government’s official auditor later found that the award of the contract by the Kerala State Electricity Board to the Canadian firm at the behest of the minister had resulted in a loss of Rs.3.5 billion to the state exchequer.
The contract had allegedly been given to the Canadian firm ignoring a Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited report, which had said that the renovation of three power plants could have been achieved at a cost of less than Rs.1 billion.
Nandkumar had approached the high court alleging that the state government was not keen to prosecute Vijayan and two bureaucrats though a corruption case against them was lodged in February 2005.
He also contended that that there has been no progress in the investigation.
But the high court disposed of scribe’s plea after the state government said that the CBI has approached it for approval for trial of the former minister and the bureaucrats, and that it was examining the plea.

No corporal punishment: India needs social movement
http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=15766429
Following a PIL, Delhi High Court had directed the state government to ban corporal punishment in schools and ensure that children receive education in an environment of protection and dignity, free from fear. But the reality is far from being true.
CJ: Anil Gulati ,
THE NATIONAL Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) will take up the case of an 11-year-old girl of a Muncipal Corporation School, in North Delhi, who died after being in coma due to corporal punishment inflicted on her at school, a place where she had been to receive education of her life. She was alleged hit by her teacher and was made to stand in the sun for over two hours, resultant of which she slipped into a coma and then later on died. Her case will be taken as a suo moto complaint by the National Commission and an inquiry will be taken up immediately. But her case is not the only one. The reality is that in India two out of three school children are physically abused according to the National Report on child abuse by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, in the year 2007.

Dreams of many children get shattered due to this kind abuse in schools. And this is not limited to any geographic area or state. It happens in every district of India, in government as well as private schools. Most children do not report or confide about the matter to anyone. They suffer silently except in case where we see extreme forms like this one and are picked up by the media. Death of this little soul in Delhi was most unfortunate incident and could have been avoided.

Anyone who had seen or read in media have expressed shock and called for strictest possible action. Though Indian law will take its own course but is weak in this case and has many loop holes. Indian laws need immediate amendments to ensure that they are not used by perpetrators of corporal punishment to go scot-free. The Indian Penal Code Section 88, for example, protects an act, which is not intended to cause death, done by consent in good faith for person’s benefit.

A teacher/guardian who administers in good faith a moderate and reasonable corporal punishment to a pupil to enforce discipline in school is protected by this section and such an act is not even a crime under Section 323. Section 89 of Indian Penal Code protects an act by guardian or by consent of guardian done in good faith for benefit of child under 12 years, unless it causes death or grievous injury.
These provisions extend to teachers having quasi-parental authority i.e., consent or delegation of authority from parents. These sections therefore need to be amended. Working Group of National Commission of Protection of Child Rights, which comprises of educationists, lawyers, social activists, doctors, bureaucrats, representatives of non-governmental organisations and teacher’s union’s have recommended law reform to remove any existing defences of corporal punishment.
In December 2000, following a PIL, the Delhi High Court had directed the state government to ban corporal punishment in schools and ensure that children receive education in an environment of protection and dignity, free from fear. But the reality is far from being true.

In India we not only need stricter laws, which are implemented, but also (and more importantly so) a social movement that brings together teachers, care givers, parents and communities to strongly ’say no to corporal punishment’ in all institutions.

SNC prosecution: SC to consider plea
http://keralaonline.com/news/snc-prosecution-sc-plea_34561.html
New Delhi, Monday, April 20, 2009: The Apex Court will today mull over the plea moved by Crime magazine editor citing that prior sanction is not needed for prosecuting CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan. In the PIL moved by Crime Editor Nandakumar, it was urged that sanction was not required to prosecute Pinarayi, who had been power minister of Kerala when the Lavalin deal was inked, and the Chief Secretary’s nod for prosecuting two other retired bureaucrats. The petitioner argued that the Supreme Court had made clear in several verdicts that Government sanction wasn’t necessary for prosecuting a person for the charges referring to acts during his stint as a public servant. The Division Bench headed by justice KG Balakrishnan will hear the plea, which was earlier given three months time by state government. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had earlier sought permission from the Governor for the prosecution of Mr. Vijayan. After vetting the request and accompanying evidence, the Governor wrote to the Chief Minister for advice. The CBI had also written to the government seeking permission to prosecute two officials — the former Principal Secretary (Power) and chairman of the State Electricity Board, K. Mohanachandran, and the former Joint Secretary (Power), A. Francis, in the case. The Cabinet referred the request to the Law Department for its opinion at its last meeting. Pinarayi Vijayan has been accused of wrongly awarding contracts to Canadian company SNC Lavalin for renovating two hydro-power projects when he was power minister of the state 12 years ago.

Assam poll watch body to move court over growth in MPs’ assets
http://newsonnortheast.blogspot.com/2009/04/assam-poll-watch-body-to-move-court.html
Monday, April 20, 2009
Staff ReporterGUWAHATI, April 20 – The election for the 15th Lok Sabha in Assam is being contested by six candidates with an average increase of more than Rs 1,00,000 per month in their total assets, in the past five years. All of them had contested the last parliamentary polls in 2004 and a comparison of court affidavits declaring movable and immovable assets shows a vast difference then and now.The richest contestant this time, Moni Kumar Subba’s assets growth rate is also the highest in past five years. Since 2004, there has been a growth to the tune of Rs 65, 74, 168.32 per month in Subba’s assets. The sitting Tezpur MP of the Congress is contesting from the same constituency. His assets are worth more than Rs 57 crores now whereas it was around Rs 18 crore as declared in 2004. Subba also tops the list of candidates with highest liabilities of around Rs 74 lakhs.Congress MP and a union minister Santosh Mohan Dev’s assets have increased at an average of Rs 14 lakh 79 thousand per month since last parliamentary polls. The value of his total asset is more than Rs 10 crore as declared this time. Congress MP and Lakhimpur contestant Ranee Narah’s affidavit shows an increase of more than Rs 8,00,000 per month, whereas autonomous district’s Biren Singh Engti has recorded an average asset growth of around Rs 3,00,000 per month. Another Congressman Bijoy Krishna Handique contesting from Jorhat is adding more than Rs 2,00,000 to his assets every month since 2004, as per his affidavit.Breaking the Congress monopoly, Rajen Gohain of the BJP, contesting from Nagaon is having a growth of Rs 1, 00, 000 every month in his total asset.Bringing out the finding of their survey on the background of Lok Sabha candidates contesting this time, the volunteers associated with the Assam Election Watch (AEW) campaign said that they are soon going to file a PIL in the court asking the candidates to declare the source of their money.“The EW is a national campaign launched to create awareness among the voters. At least 1,200 NGOs and groups are associated with it across the country. The PIL would be filed shortly, with an aim to bring more transparency in electioneering,” Tasaduk Ariful Hussain stated at a press conference today.The findings of the AEW include the educational background, liabilities, criminal records and other information about the candidates.The asset growth survey has not included second and third richest contestants from Assam, Sirajuddin Ajmal and Badaruddin Ajmal, as they hadn’t contested in Lok Sabha elections last time. ASSAM TRIBUNE
Posted by India Blogs at 12:14 PM

Debt recovery tribunals see NPA surge due to slowdown
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/Economy/Indicators/Debt-recovery-tribunals-see-NPA-surge-due-to-slowdown/articleshow/4427729.cms
21 Apr 2009, 0109 hrs IST, M V Ramsurya, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: The debt recovery tribunals (DRTs), set up by the government to help financial institutions recover bad debts efficiently, expect the number of non-performing assets (NPAs) for most lenders to increase due to the economic slowdown. The increase in workload has prompted the government to hire additional valuers and receivers to cope with the higher number of cases. There are three DRTs in Mumbai, with about 2,000 proceedings recorded in DRT-II alone, indicating that high interest rates toward the end of last year and a slow demand may have taken a toll on most industrial units, said a person familiar with the development. “While most proceedings don’t result in recovery cases, it is expected that of the 5,000 proceedings, about 500 to 600 will be converted into NPAs,” said people close to the development. The current trend shows a marked increase of cases over the previous year, when about 193 cases were filed before the debt recovery tribunal in Mumbai, till March 2008, for public auction of assets and properties due to non payment of dues to banks. Mumbai’s tribunals are currently looking at about 5,000 cases, spread over the three tribunals earmarked for Mumbai and the adjoining district of Thane. While small and midsized textile and auto component companies figure prominently in the list of NPAs put out by the DRTs regularly as an initial part of the recovery proceedings, the number of non-banking financial companies are also increasing. DRTs account for only about 10-15% of the total number of recovery cases remaining with the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR). Typically, recoveries valued below Rs 10 lakh are sent to civil courts, while those above Rs 10 lakh can be referred to the DRTs. The BIFR sees cases pertaining to the medium to large scale companies. Most cities have one DRT, while Mumbai and Delhi have three tribunals each. Chennai and Kolkata have two DRTs each. There are 29 DRTs and five Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunals across the country, with the number of cases deciding the formation of a tribunal. The sharp increase in workload has also forced the government to scout for valuers and receivers as the two-year term of the existing staff has got over. There were 28 valuers last year who would typically look at movable and immovable properties, jewellery, shares and debentures and other such assets. “The government is also looking at appointing three receivers in place of the existing two due to the higher number of cases anticipated,” he said. A receiver attaches the property after all negotiations with the defaulting unit fails. “The meltdown in the economy will lead to increased cases of NPAs,” said DRT consultant Ram Kishen. “Also the current process of debt recovery proceedings are old and hence inefficient. We need better management of the court for speedy disposals,” he added.
The DRTs are governed by provisions of the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993, popularly called as the RDB Act. After the enactment of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interests Act (SARFAESI Act) borrowers could become first applicants before the DRTs. Earlier only lenders could be applicants. Each DRT is presided over by a presiding officer with two recovery officers. The presiding officer is typically a judge of the rank of district and sessions judge. The presiding officer is the sole judicial authority to hear and pass any judicial order. The recovery officer’s work is allocated by the presiding officer. Though a recovery officer need not be a judicial officer, the orders passed by a recovery officer are judicial in nature, and are appealable before the presiding officer of the tribunal. The DRTs are fully empowered to pass comprehensive orders like the civil courts. The tribunals can hear cross suits, counter claims and allow set-offs.

Govt. extends centre-state relations commission’s term
http://www.sindhtoday.net/business/88999.htm
Apr 20th, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi, Apr. 20 (ANI): Union Government has extended the term of a Commission, which was set up to analyze the centre-state relations in the backdrop of the changes in the polity and the economy.
According to the sources, a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday decided to extend the term of the Commission till June 30.
The Commission headed by Justice M M Punchhi was set up in 2007 to look into the new issues of centre-state relations in view of the sea changes that have been taken place in the polity and economy since the Sarkaria Commission had last looked into these issues.
The Commission was to examine and review, among other things, the working of the existing arrangements between the Centre and the States as per the Constitution, the healthy precedents being followed, various pronouncements of the courts with regard to powers, functions and responsibilities in all spheres.
The Commission was to submit its report within two years. (ANI)
[NF]

Aman Kachroo CaseAlcoholism behind ragging: SC panelhttp://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090421/main4.htm
R SedhuramanLegal Correspondent
New Delhi, April 20“The demon of ragging haunted the juniors persistently in classes, college premises as they were under the continuous wicked vigil of senior students.” This summarises the findings of a Supreme Court appointed inquiry committee that went into the death of Aman Satya Kachroo, a first year student of Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College, Tanda, in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, on March 8 this year.
“Alcoholism on the college campus is the main reason that generated violence leading to the serious form of ragging that was seen in the Aman episode.” This was the near unanimous response from all quarters (college administration, teachers, non-teaching employees, students, civil authorities, police authorities and the public), the committee said in its report.
The report, read out before a Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat, has held a whole lot of people responsible for not checking ragging — right from the Chancellor (Governor), down to the level of the Vice-Chancellor, the Principal, the district administration, police and students, both seniors and juniors. Even the security guard at the hostel was found wanting in his duty.
The voluminous report, the operative part of which runs into 22 pages, has suggested appointment of full-time wardens at college hostels with appropriate communication facilities. The apex court Bench, which also included AK Ganguly, posted the next hearing for April 23.
The inquiry committee, which comprised Dr AK Agarwal, Dean, Maulana Azad Medical College, and Dr Rajendra Prasad, Principal, Ramjas College (both in Delhi), had associated Tanvir Aeijaz, Assistant Professor of Ramjas College with it.
Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, who is amicus curiae in the case, apprised the court of the report, while senior counsel Altaf Ahmed and Bimal Roy Jad represented the HP government and Aman’s father, Prof Raj Kachroo.
The Governor being the Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh, to which RPGMC was affiliated, and the Vice-Chancellor were responsible for monitoring incidents of ragging in the colleges, but there was no monitoring cell at these levels.
“Had the activities of RPGMC, Tanda, or other institutions in the state been monitored at the Chancellor’s level, the scenario would have been completely different. The VC was expected to seek weekly reports from its affiliated institutions/colleges, which was also not being done.”
The attitude and role at the university and state levels towards the issue of curbing the menace of ragging was “rather casual”. Also, the role of the Medical Council of India (MCI) was rather “strange and irresponsible as is evident from the fact that the guidelines framed by them were made available to RPGMC, Tanda, after the sad demise of Aman Kachroo.”

Another case of ‘illegal detention’ surfaces http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090421/haryana.htm#12
HC issues notice to state, ASI Saurabh MalikTribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 20Haryana has learnt no lessons from Sarita suicide case, apparently.
Even as the state has initiated action against the cops allegedly responsible for her agony and subsequent suicide, a case of “minor’s alleged illegal detention” and torture by the Haryana police has surfaced.
In a habeas corpus petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, it was today alleged that assistant sub-inspector-cum-chowki in charge of Bilaspur police station in Yamunanagar district Yashpal Singh had taken the girl in custody in violation of the court orders, and was subjecting her to physical torture.
She was, rather, being forced to sever ties with her husband.
As the matter came up for hearing before Justice Rajan Gupta of the high court, counsel for the alleged detainee’s relative Islan alleged that the protection orders passed by the court were brought to the cop’s notice. Yet, she was taken away.
Taking up the matter, Justice Rajan Gupta issued notice of motion to the state of Haryana and other respondents, including the ASI. Accepting the state counsel’s request for time to seek instructions from the Yamunanagar superintendent of police, Justice Gupta fixed April 22 as the next date of hearing in the case.
“In case proper instructions are not furnished to the state counsel, Yamunanagar superintendent of police shall remain present in the court,” Justice Gupta added before parting with the orders.
In the petition, Islan of Bilaspur had earlier asserted that the parents of the detainee, who was her sister-in-law, were against her marriage. But it was solemnised on March 21 at Yamunanagar against their wishes.
Apprehending danger to their lives, the girl and her husband Naib Ahmed moved to Chandigarh and moved the high court, following which the protection orders were passed on April 18 by Justice Rajan Gupta.
It was added the girl was now under illegal detention and in illegal confinement. Her life and liberty were in danger.

Gapalaswami-Chawla ControversyJaitley’s plea seeking details turned down http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090421/nation.htm#2
Ashok TutejaTribune News Service
New Delhi, April 20The government has rejected senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley request seeking information under the RTI about the recommendation made by chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami to the President for the removal of election commissioner Navin Chawla.
“The recommendation sent by the CEC to the President has been classified as ‘confidential’ and of ‘fiduciary’ nature and, therefore, exempt from disclosure,’’ the President’s Secretariat and the Law and Justice Ministry said in separate but identical letters to Jaitley.
The development coincides with Chawla taking over as CEC from Gopalaswami on the latter’s superannuation today.
Releasing the letters to the media at the BJP press briefing here today, Jaitley said he had sent his letter to the Law and Justice Ministry, which, needlessly forwarded it to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. “There was no need to involve the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the issue.’’
The BJP leader, himself a senior advocate, was quite critical of the government for rejecting his plea. He wondered how a government ‘which prides itself for its openness’ could take such a position.
Jaitley argued that the people had the right to know what the CEC thought of Chawla. “This is an issue which falls in public domain. People have the right to know the actual reason why the CEC recommended the EC’s removal and not go by newspaper leaks.”
He said the BJP would now consider the next course of legal action available to it in the issue.
The BJP, meanwhile, alleged that the Election Commission had disallowed the party to show a short film on money belonging to Indians stashed in foreign banks. Some of the contests of the film, like one person giving a brief case to another, were found objectionable by the commission on the ground that they were against the spirit of the model code of conduct.
Jaitley said the commission must realise the political parties’ right to campaign instead of applying the decency and obscenity provision in this particular issue.

Telgi convicted in fake stamp paper scam
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090421/nation.htm#14
New Delhi, April 20A Delhi court today convicted the kingpin of multi-crore fake stamp paper scam Abdul Karim Telgi and six others after they admitted their guilt in the case relating to recovery of counterfeit stamp papers of the face value Rs 2.5 crore from the capital.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Bansal held Telgi, lodged in a Bangalore jail, guilty of criminal conspiracy and cheating.
Telgi and his co-accused Deepak Kudale, Mansoor Ahmed, Laxman, Pramod and Khatan Shah were produced before the court through video-conferencing from the Bangalore jail.
Another accused Sohail Khan appeared before the court through video-conferencing from a Pune jail.
RM Tufail and Anwar Khan, counsel for the accused, said they wanted to plead guilty in the case as they have already completed about seven years of prison-term during their judicial custody. All the accused also made their oral submissions, admitting their guilt in the case.
The court, taking their plea into consideration, fixed the matter for April 23 for pronouncing the order on sentence against them.
The Delhi police had arrested Sohail and Mansoor in August 2001, following the recovery fake stamp papers of the face value of Rs 2.5 crore. The matter was later handed over to CBI for probe in view of its enromity. — PTI

Forensic test report confirms baby swap
http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=22&theme=&usrsess=1&id=251764
Statesman News Service BURDWAN, April 20: Six months after an allegation of baby swap at Burdwan Medical College and Hospital was made, a Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) test report has confirmed the charge. The Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court, Burdwan on 10 October, 2008 ordered a CFSL test after one of the labour patients Mrs Ayesha Sheikh had accused another patient Mrs Tapasi Kshetrapal, who gave birth to a girl, of swapping her baby boy in connivance with a section of hospital staff. Trouble broke out at the BMCH when Mrs Sheikh, a resident of Alampur area in Burdwan town, was allegedly handed over a girl child of Mrs Kshetrapal, a resident of Chak Azhapur in Jamalpur PS area, Burdwan on 8 October, the day the babies were born. Mrs Sheikh refused to accept the boy and complained to senior officials against alleged baby swap. Her baby boy was allegedly found with Mrs Kshetrapal who also had refused to accept the girl child.The Sheikh family had lodged a complaint of baby swap with the Burdwan PS on 9 October. The BMCH, headed by Dr Dilip Jha, deputy CMOH, set up a five-member inquiry committee to probe the charge. The girl child, meanwhile, continues to be in hospital custody as both the mothers had refused to accept her.The CFSL, in its report submitted to the court today, stated: “The female baby is the biological child of Mrs Tapasi Kshetrapal and Mr Shyama Kshetrapal. The male baby is the biological child of Mrs Ayesha Sheikh and Mr Babulal Sheikh.” On 23 October the blood samples of the Kshetrapal and Sheikh couples were collected for forensic tests on filter paper and liquid solvents between 5 November, 2008 and 7 January, 2009.Mr Moloy Kumar Dhar, counsel for Mrs Sheikh, today said the boy would be immediately handed over to his client as the test report has confirmed the case of baby swap in the BMCH. Mr SM Tripathy, CJM, Burdwan court, reserved orders today. Mrs Kshetrapal surrendered to the court, fearing arrest.

Petition seeking release of Nalini not maintainable: State
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/21/stories/2009042158010100.htm
Special Correspondent
“Supreme Court had confirmed conviction of the accused”

Petition seeks release of six others too
“Petitioner had no locus standi to file petition”
CHENNAI: A prayer seeking the release of seven persons imprisoned in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case cannot be made at this juncture, as the Supreme Court, in a detailed judgment, had found them guilty and confirmed the conviction, the Tamil Nadu Government has said.
In its counter to a petition, filed in Madras High Court, which prayed for the release of Nalini, Santhan, Murugan, Robert Payas, Jeyakumar, Ravi and Arivu, the government said the petition was not maintainable.
In his petition, E.Veluchamy of Tiruchirappalli said the detenus were liable to be released as their arrest was grossly illegal and untenable.
They were “not guilty of the alleged offence of assassination and the prosecution story of SIT was found to be conflicting with that of the report of the Jain Commission.”
Opposing the prayer, the Additional Secretary, Home, A. Mani, submitted that when the Supreme Court had confirmed the convictions of the accused in the appeals filed by them, it was not open for the petitioner to challenge their imprisonment by way of filing the present petition.
When the detenus were undergoing imprisonment on the Supreme Court’s order, no habeas corpus petition was maintainable at the instance of a third party, that too after a lapse of 10 years from the date of the Supreme Court judgment.
In his counter, C. Easwaramoorthy, Superintendent of Police, CBI, Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA), said the petitioner had no locus standi to file the petition.
Referring to the averments in the petition with regard to the Jain Commission’s report, he said they were a subject matter of further investigation, taken up by the MDMA/CBI, which was still in progress. The progress of investigation was being monitored by Designated Court No.1 under TADA, Chennai.
The last status report was submitted on February 20 this year.

PIL petition filed against advertisements on buses
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/21/stories/2009042156210400.htm
Special Correspondent
CHENNAI: A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the official authorities to take action against violation of the motor vehicles rule which prohibited advertisements on buses in the State, within a time limit.
In its petition, the Coimbatore Consumer Cause, represented by its secretary, K.Kathirmathiyon, said there had been a growing tendency by bus operators, both public and private, to sport advertisements on buses.
However, when it came to display of advertisements on the exterior of buses, it severely affected the safety of the public on roads as the advertisements tended to distract road users and also drivers of vehicles. Violating the rule, many motor vehicles, including buses of State transport undertakings displayed catchy and attractive advertisements on the exterior body and also rear windscreen. Such a display affected visual transmission of light prescribed under the rules, thereby posing a danger to road users.
When the matter came up, the First Bench comprising the Chief Justice H.L.Gokhale and Justice F.M.Ibrahim Kalifulla, asked the Government Pleader to take instructions and if necessary file a counter. The matter has been posted for June 19.

HC directive
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/21/stories/2009042156200400.htm
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has asked the Vellore Corporation Commissioner to be present in the court and file an affidavit on April 22 with regard to a contempt petition. The First Bench comprising Chief Justice H.L. Gokhale and Justice F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla, passed the order on a petition filed by Tass Women Federation.
The federation represented by its secretary, N. Selvi, said the petitioner had earlier approached the court to quash the civic body’s decision to conduct public auction for collecting maintenance and usage charges of toilets and for collecting entry fee for buses in the New Bus Stand at Vellore and to allow the petitioner to maintain the bus stand in the present manner at least for a year from October last year.
The petitioner submitted that the Corporation Commissioner was wilfully disobeying the court order and denying the petitioner the fruits of the order. The disobedience was a clear contempt of court and the Commissioner should be severely dealt with, he said. — Special Correspondent

Case against advocates
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/21/stories/2009042159350400.htm
Special Correspondent
CHENNAI: The Esplanade police have registered a case against some advocates on charges of circulating a compact disc (CD) criticising Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi.
According to police sources, R. Kumaresan (58) of Kamarajar Road in Annai Sathya Nagar had lodged a complaint that some advocates came to his shop in Parry’s Corner and gave the CD that contained material holding the two leaders responsible for the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Legal cell in-charges appointed
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/21/stories/2009042158460300.htm
AP Legislative Council chairman Chakrapani handed over appointment letters to in-charges of legal cells in Assembly segments falling under Vijayawada Parliamentary constituency here on Monday. PCC legal cell vice chairman Matta Jayakar released the list of in-charges. As many as 24 in-charges were appointed for Vijayawada (East, West, and Central), Tiruvur, Jaggayyapeta, Nandigama, Mylavaram segments. Uppuluri Mallikarjuana Sarma of Rashtra Madyapana Nisheda Committee and others were present.

Court directs police to register FIR against PR candidate
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/21/stories/2009042156370500.htm
Special Correspondent
VISAKHAPATNAM: Third Additional Metropolitan Magistrate Sikander Basha on Monday ordered the Pendurthi police to register an FIR against Chanumolu Rajiv under Sections 417 and 420 of IPC, in a cheating case and submit a report to the court after conducting an inquiry.
Mr. Rajiv is Praja Rajyam’s candidate for the Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency.
The city court’s order was in response to a petition filed by a resident of Pendurthi Kamireddy Ramesh who alleged that he had been cheated by Mr. Rajiv in a land sale deed.
Mr. Ramesh alleged in his petition to the court that Mr. Rajiv had offered him to sell 24 cents land in Chintagatla village in Pendurthi mandal for Rs.6.5 lakhs and agreement was made in November 2008 with him paying an advance of Rs.4.5 lakhs. Mr. Rajiv claimed that he had purchased the land from one Bhupathiraju Lakshmi of Seetammadhara in October.
But when Mr. Rajiv was not ready to complete the deal with him and postponing registration of the sale, Mr. Ramesh approached Ms. Lakshmi and came to know that she had not sold the land to Mr. Rajiv. Then he lodged a complaint with the Pendurthi police station in March this year but the police did not investigate the case. Mr. Ramesh then filed a private complaint with the court and the Metropolitan Magistrate directed the police to register an FIR against Mr. Rajiv and investigate the case.

Petrol scam: Lokayukta appeals against single judge order
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/21/stories/2009042161670300.htm
Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: The Lokayukta on Monday filed an appeal before the Karnataka High Court against a single judge order quashing its direction recommending disciplinary action against eight employees of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for their alleged complicity in petrol and diesel scams involving petrol stations belonging to the palike.
The Lokayukta said its police wing had on May 29, 2002 taken up investigation into theft of petrol and diesel from petrol stations belonging to the BBMP.
On September 6, 2002, the Lokayukta preferred a report under Section 12 (3) of the Lokayukta Act against the employees.
The report asked the authorities to keep the employees under suspension. One of the employees moved the High Court against the recommendation of disciplinary action.
Technicality
A single judge, the Lokayukta said, had quashed the report on a mere technicality.
The Lokayukta had filed an appeal against the order of the single judge of August 7, 2008.
A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran and Justice V.G. Sabhahit adjourned further hearing of the case.
Stayed
The court on Monday stayed all further proceedings against four IAS and IPS officials accused of having acted merely on the basis of a letter from the office of the Chief Minister while extending the time of a permit of a transport vehicle.
A single judge had last week passed strictures against the officials for having acted merely on the basis of a letter. The single judge had asked the officials to file affidavits before the Chief Secretary explaining the rationale behind their conduct.
The Chief Secretary, in turn, was asked to file the affidavits along with a report to the court.
The State had appealed against the single judge order, saying that it was illogical and that the officers had acted within the framework of the law.
A Division Bench comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice A.S. Pachhapure stayed all further proceedings against the officers and also the single judge order.

Marriage made easy for young Delhi couple
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/21/stories/2009042154930100.htm
Staff Reporter
NEW DELHI: Marriage has become a lot easier for young couples in the Capital who want to keep it a secret from their parents. The Delhi High Court on Monday struck down the procedure of sending marriage notices to the parents of the bride and the groom saying “it is without the authority of any law as well as invasion of their privacy”.
The judgment came on a petition by a young man and his fiancée who had approached the Court seeking quashing of the long-established procedure submitting that they did want their marriage plans to be leaked out to their parents.
They had approached the Registrar of Marriages on Shamnath Marg here for permission to tie the knot under the Special Marriages Act, 1954, but when they came to know about the procedure of sending a “notice of intended marriage” to the addresses of their parents, they preferred to challenge it in the Court.
In their submission, they said the procedure the authorities were following in respect of a marriage to be solemnised was actually for registration of a wedding which had already been solemnised.
Procedure
For a marriage to be solemnised, the procedure was to paste a notice on the notice board of the Registrar of Marriages, the petitioners submitted.
Allowing the petitioners’ plea for quashing the procedure, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat said: “The unwanted disclosure of matrimonial plans by two adults entitled to solemnise it may in certain situations jeopardize the marriage itself. In certain circumstances it may even endanger the life or limb of one or the other due to parental interference.”
“In such circumstances if such a procedure is being adopted by the authorities, it is completely whimsical and without the authority of law. It is to be kept in mind that the Special Marriages Act was enacted to enable a special form of marriage for any Indian nationals professing different faiths or desiring a civil form of marriage,” the Court observed.
The Court directed the Registrar of Marriages to process the request for solemnisation of the petitioners’ marriage without sending notices to their residences.
The Court also made the judgment applicable to all future marriages under the Special Marriages Act, saying that “all marriage officers are directed not to despatch notices to the residences of the applicants”.

“Treat corporal punishment as criminal offence”
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/21/stories/2009042156930300.htm
Staff Reporter
NEW DELHI: Centre for Social Research Director Ranjana Dr. Kumari has stressed the need to treat corporal punishment as a criminal offence with severe punishment for the teacher as well as the school. Referring to 11-year-old Shanno Khan’s death in the Capital this past week after a teacher allegedly forced her to stand in a crouching position in the hot sun, Dr. Kumari said the incident was a wake-up call for policymakers to introduce a strong legislation that protects children from all sorts of violence.
Shocked over the brutality, Dr. Kumari said: “It is hard to believe that we have a law to prevent different types of cruelty against animals, but still don’t have any legislation to protect our children whom we call our future. A young girl dying after being punished in a school is a national shame.”
Judgment
To stress her point further, Dr. Kumari explained: “The Delhi High Court delivered a judgement in 2000 when it directed the States to ensure that children are not subjected to corporal punishment in schools and they receive education in an environment of freedom and dignity, free from fear. In 2007, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) directed the State Governments to take effective steps to check incidents of corporal punishment in school.”
Pointing out that this was not the first time that an incident of this kind had taken place, Dr. Kumari said children in our country were often disciplined with the rod. “Children are now becoming used to it and are accepting it as a normal way of life. Do we want them to become silent recipients of violence in their tender years that may hamper their physical and mental wellbeing in future?” said Dr. Kumari.

Accused in TISS girl’s rape denied bail, arrested
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/Accused_in_TISS_girls_rape_denied_bail_arrested/articleshow/4430440.cms
21 Apr 2009, 1706 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: A sessions court on Tuesday rejected the anticipatory bail petition of Vinamra Soni, accused of raping a 23-year-old US national along with five others, on the ground that there was prima facie sufficient evidence to nail him in the case. Soon after the court rejected his bail, Soni was arrested and taken into custody by police. The court observed that police had made out a case against the accused for custodial interrogation and hence it was not inclined to grant him anticipatory bail. The charges against the accused were serious and police needed his custody to carry forward the investigations, the court observed. Soni and five others are accused of raping a US student studying at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. The victim alleged that she was gangraped in a flat at suburban Andheri on April 11. While five accused were arrested after the victim complained to police, Soni was declared absconding as the police could not find him. Soni had moved the court on Monday seeking anticipatory bail as he feared arrest by police.

Law faculty dean removed over lapses
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/Law_faculty_dean_removed_over_lapses/articleshow/4427032.cms
20 Apr 2009, 2351 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The executive council (EC) of Delhi University decided to remove the dean of the Faculty of Law from his post on Monday. Following an inquiry committee report, the EC decided to debar Professor S N Singh from any administrative work in the Campus Law Centre, Law Centre I and Law Centre II. A member of the EC said, “Prof Singh has been disrobed of his deanship on account of administrative lapses. There were many complaints against him which were being looked into by the inquiry committee. Its report was presented in the EC meeting on Monday.” The member added that there were complaints regarding his alleged misbehaviour with the staff and not being on the department research committee. “He did not follow ordnance VI B of the university related to the PhD degree. He had forwarded the thesis of a research scholar without the signature of the supervisor,” the member said. As the EC meeting lasted till late Monday evening, Singh said he was unaware of the decision. “I have no idea about this sudden decision. I am happy if I am being relieved. But let them convey the decision to me and then I may go to court,” he said. An apparent tussle between Singh and the university has been going on for long over issues like the release of funds to the faculty and the integration of the three law centres. Singh has been the dean of the faculty of law since 2007 and his term would have ended in June next year. Though the DU vice-chancellor Deepak Pental could not be contacted as his phone was switched off, dean of colleges, Nayanjyot Lahiri, said, “I won’t comment on the EC proceedings till the notification on the decisions is given out.”

HC seeks reply on cop’s death
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/HC_seeks_reply_on_cops_death/articleshow/4427516.cms
21 Apr 2009, 0250 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has expressed its displeasure over the city police for failing to trace a serving constable who had gone missing since March, and whose body was cremated as unclaimed by Uttar Pradesh Police. Seeking a report from the police commissioner as to what action has been taken and the steps which are required to streamline the procedure, the court directed the senior most officer to personally look into the death of constable Vijay Kumar. “We feel that there should be a better system and procedure, particularly when a person has been reported missing, ” said a division bench of justice B D Ahmed and justice P K Bhasin. The court order came following a habeas corpus petition filed by Kumar’s brother after his brother went missing since March 2 and an FIR was lodged on March 9. The family members came to know about his death after a daily newspaper reported the incident and the status report filed by the police stating that the Sahibabad (UP) police had cremated Kumar’s body as unclaimed in March this year.

HC medicine to state govt, withdraws GOTrial against Kaikalur Cong MLA to resume
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Hyderabad/HC_medicine_to_state_govt_withdraws_GOTrial_against_Kaikalur_Cong_MLA_to_resume/articleshow/4427705.cms
21 Apr 2009, 0358 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: In yet another blow to the state government, the A P High Court on Monday set aside GO No 407 that withdrew the criminal case against Congress legislator from Kaikalur of Krishna district, Yerneni Rajaramchandar. Responding to a petition filed by M Satyanarayana Raju, a resident of Kaikalur, the division bench comprising justice V Eswaraiah and justice P V Sanjay Kumar dismissed the review petition filed by the legislator and directed the trial court to complete the trial in this case within three months. The legislator was accused of drawing Rs 4 lakh from the assembly accounts through production of fake medical bills. The bench found fault with both the legislator and the state government for trying to subvert the legal process through issuance of GOs such as the one in this case. When a similar GO was stayed by the court earlier, the government went to the extent of issuing another GO during the pendency of this case. The bench imposed a cost of Rs 20,000 on the legislator and the authorities concerned for their actions in this regard. It may be recalled that the HC had set aside another prosecution withdrawal GO issued in favour of a retired IAS officer D S Murthy a few days ago.

Motors told to pay Rs 6.15L compensation to consumer
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Hyderabad/Motors_told_to_pay_Rs_615L_compensation_to_consumer/articleshow/4427695.cms
21 Apr 2009, 0354 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-III has directed Acer Motors, an authorised dealer of Maruti, to pay Rs 6.15 lakh compensation for not delivering Maruti Swift
car to a consumer, Kareena Begum. Kareema Begum wanted to buy a Swift for which she paid Rs 50,000 cash and took a loan from State Bank of Hyderabad for the remaining amount. Accordingly, she received invoice and booking order form from the dealer on February 18, 2008. Though Acer Motors received the loan amount from the bank, they did not deliver the vehicle in spite of several visits to the showroom by the consumer. Vexed with the attitude of the dealer, she approached the consumer forum besides lodging a complaint at the Trimulgherry police station. However, the dealer disputed the claims made by Kareema Begum and alleged that the latter colluded with a former employee of Acer Motors, Phani Choudary, and paid Rs 5.35 lakhs to him and not to Acer Motors. “The documents filed by Kareema Begum were forged and fabricated to suit her claim. She has no proof to show that the banker’s cheque (616305) for Rs 5.35 lakh was handed over to us,” Acer Motors said in its petition. The company also claimed that they terminated the services of Phani Choudary for allegedly indulging in fraud practices. However, Forum president L Kedara Chary in his observations said that Kareema Begum produced the receipt, invoice and order form given by the dealer besides proof of SBH issuing a banker’s cheque and forwarding letter given to dealer. “From the evidence produced, it is proved that the payment of consideration for the purchase of the car was paid to Acer Motors only,” he said. In the affidavit, Acer Motors said Phani Choudary after the termination of his service approached the dealer as an agent of a customer P Jayawanth Rao for purchasing the vehicle. Phani Choudary submitted the banker’s cheque bearing 616305 on February 22, 2008, for an amount of Rs 5,35,178. He also took delivery of the car. “In view of the sequence of events, that the Acer Motors has learnt that Phani Choudary has used the banker’s cheque (issued for the loan of Kareema Begum) and got the delivery of the vehicle for another person,” Acer Motors said. The Forum also observed that Acer Motors did not do proper verification before submitting the cheque. Besides, the forum questioned how Phani Choudary was allowed into the premises of Acer Motors even though he misappropriated company funds. “The material on record clearly clinched the issue that the Acer Motors did not act in a way they should have acted. On the other hand, it acted in fact with gross negligence without verifying the contents of the cheque,” said Kedara Chary. The forum has directed Acer Motors to refund Rs 5.85 lakh with 12 per cent interest to the consumer. Besides, it asked the dealer to pay a compensation of Rs 30,000 as the complainant was put to harassment and loss of enjoyment of the car.

CAT calls for records of IFS selection
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Hyderabad/CAT_calls_for_records_of_IFS_selection/articleshow/4427702.cms
21 Apr 2009, 0357 hrs IST
HYDERABAD: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Monday directed the authorities to furnish it the records pertaining to the selection of forest officials for the purpose of conferrring IFS status on eligible officials for the year 2006. The CAT Bench comprising its vice chairman Justice P Lakshmana Reddy and Hriday Narayan, member (administration) was responding to a petition filed by ALN Prasad, a divisional forest officer from Khammam district. The petitioner alleged that even though he is the senior among all the contenders and was also given an integrity certificate by the authorities, his name was not included in the selection list and the name of another junior DFO from Visakhapatnam – K Lohitasyudu was included in the selection list though Lohit was not given an integrity certificate. Counsel for the petitioner, K Sudhakar Reddy also brought to the notice of the bench that one vacancy pertaining to the year 2003 for which another officer, M A Waheed was already provisionally selected but could not be given selection letter due to certain pending disciplinary proceedings against him, was also unlawfully added to the vacancies of 2005. And for the lone vacancy of 2006, Prasad alone is fully eligible because he is senior and is not facing any disciplinary proceedings and was also given an integrity certificate, the counsel said. The bench said it would verify the concerned records, called for the same and posted the matter to two weeks.

HC summons Vellore corporation commissioner
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/HC_summons_Vellore_corporation_commissioner/articleshow/4427477.cms
21 Apr 2009, 0400 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: The Madras high court on Monday directed the Vellore Corporation Commissioner to appear in court on April 22 and file an affidavit in a contempt of court case against him. Tass Women Federation, a self-help group in Vellore, had alleged that the commissioner had wilfully disobeyed an order of the court given in favour of the SHG on December 11, 2008 in connection with the maintenance of the Vellore bus stand. According to the petitioner and SHG secretary, N Selvi, she approached the high court last year seeking to quash the corporation’s decision to conduct a public auction for collecting maintenance and usage charges of toilets and for collecting entry fee for buses at the new bus stand at Vellore and, to allow the SHG to maintain the bus stand in the present manner at least for one year. The high court, realising that the beneficiaries would be physically-challenged persons, widows and destitutes and that the civic body wouldn’t incur a loss on accepting the petitioner’s prayer, passed an order in favour of the SHG. But the corporation commissioner did not allow the petitioner to maintain the bus stand and collect the usage charges and entry fee, Selvi said. Alleging that the commissioner had wilfully disobeyed the court order, she prayed that he be punished for contempt of court. The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice H L Gokhale and Justice Ibrahim Kalifullah, directed the commissioner to appear in court in person and file an affidavit.

Court scanner on Dhapa power plant
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Kolkata_/Court_scanner_on_Dhapa_power_plant/articleshow/4427709.cms
21 Apr 2009, 0320 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: The controversial Rs 100-crore water treatment plant at Dhapa has again come under the legal scanner. The Supreme Court on Monday admitted the matter filed by Kolkata’s non-government action group PUBLIC (People United for Better Living in Calcutta), objecting to Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s (KMC) plan to locate the facility inside East Kolkata Wetlands, a Ramsar site. The state will have to respond at the next hearing on May 8. Counsel for PUBLIC, Harish Salve, along with Joydeep Gupta and Vikramjeet Banerjee, said though the East Kolkata Wetlands Authority had given permission to the project, it was diluting the East Kolkata Wetlands Management and Conservation Act, 2006, that was meant to protect and conserve the wetlands. He argued that Calcutta High Court, in giving conditional approval, did not consider the absence of a management plan when the project was sanctioned.
For, a draft plan is in place even now, he pointed out. Salve further argued that the state government seemed more interested in real estate than conservation as KMC and KMDA had sold land in the area to realtors at astronomical prices and then relocated the 30 million gallon per day water plant to a construction-free site.

HC asks govt to file affidavit in Arindam Manna case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Kolkata_/HC_asks_govt_to_file_affidavit_in_Arindam_Manna_case/articleshow/4427691.cms
21 Apr 2009, 0318 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court on Monday directed the state government to file an affidavit-in-opposition within six weeks on a writ petition seeking a CBI investigation into Dum Dum GRPS sub-inspector Arindam Manna’s unnatural death. Justice Sanjib Banerji passed the order after additional advocate general Nishith Ranjan Adhikari opposed the plea for a CBI probe by Manna’s parents Ashok and Malati Manna and submitted that the CID investigation on Manna’s death was on the verge of completion. The government wanted to furnish all details of the probe conducted by CID for the consideration of the court before it decides on the issue, Adhikari submitted. Seeking to hand over the case from CID to the CBI, petitioners’ advocate Chaitali Bhattacharya submitted that CID was very reluctant to take effective steps against the accused persons because they were police personnel. Though a murder case under Section 302 of IPC was initiated at Seoraphuly police station, police did nothing except transferring some officers, Bhattacharya alleged.

Man convicted of raping minor niece
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chandigarh/Man_convicted_of_raping_minor_niece/articleshow/4427635.cms
21 Apr 2009, 0506 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Providing relief to a little girl who was violated by her uncle in 2003, a local court convicted her exploiter on Monday. The court of additional district and sessions judge Ravi Kumar Sondhi held Ram Karan guilty of raping his seven-year-old niece. The vegetable vendor was booked on August 31, 2003 under various sections of IPC on the complaint of girl’s mother. It was alleged the accused had visited the victim?s house on the fateful day. On the pretext of watching a religious movie at his place, he asked the victim’s mother to send the girl with him. However, there, he violated the minor. The incident came to light when the complainant found her daughter crying, following which she approached the cops and a medical examination was conducted. Refuting charges, Ram Karan pleaded he was being falsely implicated over a property dispute. The quantum of punishment would be decided on Wednesday.

Justice Ashok Parihar takes over as legal services authority chairman
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Jaipur/Justice_Ashok_Parihar_takes_over_as_legal_services_authority_chairman/articleshow/4427615.cms
21 Apr 2009, 0532 hrs IST, TNN
JAIPUR: Justice Ashok Parihar on Moday took over as the new executive chairman of Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority. Earlier, on April 17, governor SK Singh through a notification under Legal Services Authority Act 1987, had appointed him as the chairman of the authority. Justice Parihar is a judge of Rajasthan High Court. Born on August 25, 1947 in Jodhpur, Justice Parihar earned his degree of law from University of Rajasthan. Enrolled as an advocate with Bar Council of Rajasthan, he practised in various courts, tribunals and high court in the state with specialisation in labour , industrial and service matters. Justice Parihar has been vice president, Rajasthan High Court Bar Association, Jaipur and also founder president of Jaipur chapter of All India Lawyers Union. Having worked as government advocate and standing counsel for Rajasthan Public Service Commission, various nationalised banks and corporations in the high court for a long time, he has been closely associated with legal aid movement right from its inception in the state.

HC declines to stay arrest
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Allahabad/HC_declines_to_stay_arrest/articleshow/4426824.cms
20 Apr 2009, 2211 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: A division bench of the Allahabad High Court
has refused to stay the arrest of persons against whom an FIR was registered for indulging in vandalism while protesting against the arrest of Varun Gandhi in Pilibhit on March 28. Varun Gandhi had surrendered in a Pilibhit court in connection with an FIR lodged against him for his alleged “hate speeches” against a community. Passing this order, a division bench comprising Justices Ravindra Singh and SC Agrawal disposed of the writ petition filed by Ashwani Kumar and three others. The court, while dismissing the writ petition, however, clarified that if the petitioners surrender in the court their bail applications will be decided expeditiously.

SC judgment refers to Prabhakaran as absconding accused
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/SC_judgment_refers_to_Prabhakaran_as_absconding_accused/articleshow/4426852.cms
21 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: Any politician who has read the Supreme Court judgment in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case would think twice before calling LTTE chief V Prabhakaran his “friend”. For, the SC refers to him as an absconding accused alleged to have masterminded the political killing. At the beginning of one of the judgments delivered separately by each of the three-judge Bench on May 11, 1999, the SC noted: “Three absconding accused are LTTE chief V Prabhakaran, LTTE intelligence wing chief Pottu Aman aka Shanmuganathan Sivasankaran and LTTE women’s wing deputy chief Akila aka Akilakka.” Prabhakaran, along with Pottu Aman, Akila and others “designed criminal conspiracy to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi and commit other offences in pursuance thereof”, the SC said in its judgment. Quoting from the chargesheet filed by the SIT, the SC said: “Prosecution case is that Prabhakaran, Pottu Aman, Akila and Sivarasan masterminded and put into operation the plan to kill Rajiv Gandhi which was executed by Sivarasan and Dhanu, one of the two assassins (other being Subha), with the back-up of other accused, who conspired and abetted them in the commission of the crime which included providing them safe haven before and after the crime.”

Phase II: Muzaffarpur tops in candidates with criminal cases
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Phase_II_Muzaffarpur_tops_in_candidates_with_criminal_cases/articleshow/4428600.cms
21 Apr 2009, 1021 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: Bihar’s Muzaffarpur constituency will go to polls with the dubious distinction of having the maximum number of candidates with criminal charges against them fighting to enter the 15th Lok Sabha. As many as 10 candidates out of the total 24 in the constituency that goes to polls in the second phase of the election on April 23 have criminal cases pending against them. Four of the 10 such candidates have been charged with serious IPC counts like murder or attempt to murder, says a report by the independent body, Association of Democratic Rights (ADR) and the National Election Watch (NEW). Former defence minister George Fernandes, who is the sitting MP from the constituency, is contesting as an independent candidate this time after his party JD(U) refused to give him ticket citing his poor health. The veteran leader has no case pending against him. Besides Muzaffarpur, out of the total 141 constituencies where ballots will be cast in the second round, as many as 45 have three or more candidates with criminal cases pending against them. Out of the total 46, Bihar accounts for 11 of these constituencies while Maharashtra and Jharkhand account for 10 and seven respectively. Uttar Pradesh has five constituencies with three or more candidates with criminal backgrounds.

26/11 trial: Kazmi seeks four weeks’ time to study case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/2611_trial_Kazmi_seeks_four_weeks_time_to_study_case/articleshow/4430153.cms
21 Apr 2009, 1635 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: Advocate for Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone gunman arrested for his involvement in the November 26 terror strikes, on Tuesday sought four weeks time to reply to the draft charges proposed by the prosecution. Abbas Kazmi, who was appointed by the court last week to represent Kasab, sought time to study the case. The prosecution had on Monday proposed 312 charges against Kasab and two others for their alleged involvement in the November 26 terror strikes which claimed over 160 lives. Kasab also asked the court on Tuesday for a copy of the chargesheet to be translated for him into Urdu since he was unable to understand the copy given to him by the police. He had earlier sought a copy of the chargesheet in Urdu saying that he would be able to understand it better. Special public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam asked the court to order an inquiry to determine the actual age of Kasab and sought that the prosecution should be allowed to submit its findings. Kasab’s lawyer said he had no objection to it. Kasab, a resident of Faridkot in Pakistan, had claimed in an application filed last week that he was a juvenile. However, the application was dismissed by special judge M L Tahilyani. The court has reserved its judgement in the applications and adjourned proceedings till Wednesday. Another accused, Sabauddin Ahmed on Tuesday pleaded through his lawyer Ejaz Naqvi that he had been subjected to third degree torture methods while in police custody and sought the dismissal of the concerned police officials. He also sought that two alleged FBI officials, identified by him only as James and Mike, who had interrogated him should be arrested. Special judge Tahilyani has asked the police to file its reply to Sabauddin’s application. Sabauddin and Faheem Ansari, two alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives, are facing trial with Kasab for allegedly providing information about locations in Mumbai which was used by the terror group to execute the November 26 attack.

LEGAL NEWS 20.04.2009

Citizen’s Report on Governance: State of the Judiciary
http://brpbhaskar.blogspot.com/2009/04/citizens-report-on-governance-state-of.html
20 April, 2009
This is the second post based on the Citizen’s Rep[ort on Governance and Development 2008-09, produced by the National Social Watch Coalition:The review of the Indian Judiciary in the Citizen’s Report on Governance and Development 2008-09 focuses on the debate of courts venturing into the domain of the legislature and the executive. Locating the debate on judicial self-restraint and judicial intervention within the framework of ‘separation of powers’, the report examines the issue in the context of Justice Katju’s and Justice Sinha’sviewpoints. The report suggests a nuanced approach is needed to examine the question of where, why and how to draw the line between legitimate and improper judicial activism.An analysis of judicial response through the court verdicts covers the whole gamut of cases on constitutional governance and political accountability. Starting with the case of ‘cash for questions’, itclosely examines the question of legal wrong vs the moral wrong.The report cites another case of great significance, from the standpoint of constitutional law, a question arose as to whether legislations can be immunized from legal challenge (on the ground offundamental rights) by Parliament as a consequence of their insertion into the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution.Cases on environment, development rights and civil liberties are also examined. The section dealing with the cases on forced land acquisition, displacement, resettlement and rehabilitation issues cites the example of Nandigram where Kolkata High Court upheld the position of law and gave a range of directions to help the situation there, on the question of safeguarding the fundamental rights of the people of Nandigarm.A verdict of the Supreme Court last year on a petition filed by the Supreme Court Bar Association raised points of considerable importance. The Bar Association pointed out that appointment of a retired judge as chairman of the State Legal Service Authority in different States has the effect of inhibiting the effectiveness of the State Legal Service Authorities.The report calls for reforms that will reduce the numbers of pending cases. At present more than 40,000 cases are pending in the Supreme Court and 3.30,689 cases in high courts for more than ten years.
Posted by B.R.P.Bhaskar at 9:51 AM

School gets huge bill for banning Sikh bracelet
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/News-By-Industry/ET-Cetera/School-gets-huge-bill-for-banning-Sikh-bracelet/articleshow/4424287.cms
20 Apr 2009, 1302 hrs IST, IANS
LONDON: A school in Wales that had banned a Sikh student from wearing a kara (bracelet) has lost a high court battle over the issue and has been asked to pay 2000,000 pounds ($293,000) in legal costs. Aberdare Girls School
had banned 15-year-old Sarika Watkins-Singh from wearing the bracelet that is one of the five symbols of the Sikh religion. Not only was the ban overturned in court, the school has now been landed with a huge legal bill, the Daily Express reported Monday. The school is reeling from the bill, which includes an invoice from human rights group Liberty, who brought the case on behalf of the student. The school’s own legal fees are 76,000 pounds. Early last year, Sarika was excluded from school for refusing to stop wearing the bangle, which she stated was fundamental to her religious belief. The school denied any racial discrimination. But the student spent nine weeks being taught in isolation because the bangle was against the school’s uniform policy. The school was originally given legal help from the local authority, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, but when it refused to back down and instead opted to fight the case in the High Court, the free advice was withdrawn. Now campaigners say the school should never have taken the battle to the High Court. Sarika won the case after a three-day hearing last June, in which her exclusion was ruled to be ‘unlawful’. The school, with an annual budget of around 2.2 million pounds, has already paid 60,000 pounds to Liberty but disputes an extra bill of 80,000 pounds. on Sunday, critics slammed the massive cost of the case as “a waste of taxpayers’ money” and claimed pupils will “suffer” as a result. TaxPayers Alliance spokesman Mark Wallace said: “This case means a headache for the taxpayer who will ultimately be forced to stump up. This just emphasises the need for schools to be given full control of their rules and regimes without the risk of politically correct enforcement. The problem in this case arose because of interference from other parties.” Sarika’s case caused controversy last year when it emerged that she had been excluded from school. Last November, it was thought that the school would have to pay 76,000 pounds in legal costs. Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, Nick Seaton, said: “This is 200,000 pounds which is likely to come out of the school’s budget
. It means that the students will suffer.”

Bare feet stand between favourites and Maval seat
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/bare-feet-stand-between-favourites-and-maval-seat/448977/
MANOJ MORE
Posted: Apr 20, 2009 at 0219 hrs IST
Pune Maruti bhapkar : Acknowledged as potential giant-killer by NCP and Sena candidates, never spends a paisa, campaigns on donations
Independent candidate Maruti Bhapkar has made both the NCP’s Azam Pansare and the Shiv Sena’s Gajanan Babar sit up and take notice. Neither of the leading contenders in Maval seat is taking Bhapkar lightly: each says the other will suffer because of the presence of the barefoot activist-turned-politician.
“I think Bhapkar will eat into Babar’s votes. I will gain,” says Pansare. Babar has a different take: “Bhapkar is campaigning against NCP’s wrong policies; I stand to gain.”
Bhapkar is a proven giant-killer, having defeated political giants in the 2007 Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal polls, which he contested as an Independent. And in the Lok Sabha polls, he says, neither Pansare nor Babar will be a match for him.
“What do they know about the Reliance SEZ? What have they done for farmers? Have they ever visited those evicted for the Pavana and Tata dams? I have relentlessly campaigned for all of these with hundreds of tireless activists,” says the diminutive, bearded politician.
In Pimpri-Chinchwad too, claims Bhapkar, he has fought for workers, including those of Garware Nylons and Bajaj Auto. “Be it workers, farmers, dam-evicted, SEZ hit or civic-conscious citizens, the support for me is wide,” says Bhapkar, contesting on behalf of the Lok Rajniti Manch.
Medha Patkar, Justice Rajendra Sacchar and Prof N D Patil of the Peasants and Workers Party have held huge public rallies for Bhapkar. Bhapkar also claims the support of social crusader Anna Hazare, actor Shriram Lagoo and other prominent activists.
Bhapkar says he is an activist first, then a politician. He is possibly the only candidate in the country contesting without spending money. “I am not spending a single paisa. I am fighting for citizens and they are funding my election.”
At every public rally, an appeal is made to citizens to donate money. “Every paisa taken from citizens is being accounted for. We give a receipt for donations taken. Medha Patkar donated Rs 501, crusader Baba Adhav Rs 1,001,” he says. So far, the Bhapkar camp has collected Rs 3 lakh and spent Rs 2 lakh on travel, food and campaign material.
Bhapkar walks barefoot in the scorching sun, unmindful of the blisters on his feet. “I walk 25 kilometres a day. So what if I blister my feet? I am ready to suffer the pain for citizens’ sake,” he says.
Bhapkar gave up wearing shoes as a mark of protest against eviction of slum-dwellers, farmer suicides and malnutrition deaths in 2003. He came into the limelight six years ago when he filed a PIL against corruption in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation.
Ulka Mahajan, an anti-SEZ actvist from Panvel, says Bhapkar is getting support from farmers affected by Reliance SEZ, farm labourers, workers, dam-evicted people and several other organisations in Panvel, Uran and Karjat. “Bhapkar will put up a tough fight against Pansare and Babar. He might cause an upset,” says Domnic Lobo, campaign manager for Bhapkar.

‘Bring back money kept in Swiss banks’
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Pune/Bring-back-money-kept-in-Swiss-banks/articleshow/4418998.cms
19 Apr 2009, 0012 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: independent candidate Arun Bhatia, who is contesting for the Pune Lok Sabha seat on Saturday said that Indian money deposited in Swiss banks should be brought back to the country. However, he also criticised the BJP’s stand on the issue, asking why the party had not taken action on the matter when it was in power. Addressing a press conference, Bhatia said a detailed investigation must be carried out about the entire episode of Indian money in Swiss banks. Also, the information gathered during the investigation should be revealed to the general public. The money should be brought back to the country on a priority basis and used for public works, he said. Asking why the BJP was speaking of the issue at the time of elections he said, “Why did the BJP fail to initiate action in this regard when the party was ruling at the centre? This is a serious issue for the country, and should not be taken up only on the political front.” Speaking on local issues, Bhatia said a public interest litigation (PIL) had been filed at the high court over the city’s metro project. “It is possible to make use of Indian material in the construction of the metro project. It is not required that material be imported for the metro. This would save a large amount of money. The savings would help bring down the cost and the project will be available to the general public at cheaper fares.” He also stressed that the project be made underground.

People’s power saves a park
http://bangalorebuzz.blogspot.com/2009/04/peoples-power-saves-park.html
BBMP stops work on building a bangaloreone centre in high street parkSunitha Rao R. Bangalore.Protagonists out to save Lalbagh can take a leaf out of the successful struggle waged by residents of Milton Road in Sarvajnanagar to save the High Street Park in their locality. Faced with the might of people’s power, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has recently stopped the construction of a proposed BangaloreOne centre inside the park.The residents of the area were waging a relentless battle against the BBMP decision to build the BangaloreOne centre inside the park. They mounted a signature campaign and lobbied hard with the BBMP to get the civic body abort its plans.As the civic body refused to budge, they filed a Public Interest Litigation in the High Court of Karnataka and obtained a stay order on the BBMP construction work inside the park.Spread over an area of 12,000 square feet, the High Street Park is used by more than 600-700 people everyday. The users come from areas like Cooke Town, Hutchinson Road, Jaibharat Nagar, and Lloyd’s Road.Mary Chitra Matthew, a resident, said the BBMP never took the residents into confidence when taking up developmental activities inside the park.In January last, the BBMP began work on the centre in the park on the High Street Road entrance side. “Residents staged protest marches and met BBMP officials. The work was stopped forthwith,” a resident of Prestige Milton Garden apartments recalled.But in March, the BBMP workers were back in the park redoing the lawn and taking up other development work. The residents were under the impression that the BBMP was up to some routine maintenance work. But the BBMPworkers soon started digging up the park and even laid the foundation. The aghast residents were on the warpath again.”We approached the BBMP officials about the inconvenience the BangaloreOne centre would cause to regular park users. But they did not listen to our pleas and the construction work continued. We got together and filed a PIL petition in High Court of Karnataka. The petition was signed by 200 residents of the area,” said the resident of Prestige Milton Garden apartments.The PIL was filed on behalf of the Prestige Milton Garden apartment residents’ association.On April 6, a division bench comprising Chief Justice PD Dinakaran and Justice VG Sabahit issued a stay order directing the BBMP to stop forthwith the construction of any help centre inside the park.According to the residents, Sarvajnanagar MLA KJ George too came out in support of their campaign.George said, “Some residents wanted a helpline in their area. But when the construction began for the BangaloreOne centre, there were many others who were against this. If the construction causes disturbance to residents, then there is no point in building anything.”According to the residents who filed the PIL, the BBMP took a unilateral and arbitrary decision to build the help centre inside the park.”The BBMP said that some residents had asked that the help centre be built here. But the civic body should have consulted other residents, at least those who stay immediately next to the park. Nothing of this kind was done,” another angry resident said.”Once any commercial activity starts inside the park, we have no control over the inflow of people. This will gradually affect the ambience of the park and eventually ruin it,” said another resident of Prestige Milton Garden apartments.”BangaloreOne is really helpful, but that can be built at any other convenient place and not inside the park. The BBMP too did not help by not being open on the issue,” said Shiv Rao, a resident of the area.When DNA spoke to BBMP officials, Nanjaiah, Assistant Executive Engineer of Sarvajnanagar, said, “A set of residents wanted the helpline and we started construction, but when the other residents went to the High Court we stopped the construction work on a temporary basis. At the next hearing in the court, we will produce records to justify why we started the construction and on the plea from locals for a BangaloreOne centre in the locality.”
posted by The Bangalorean @ 4/20/2009 09:25:00 AM

PIL filed against parties using Lankan issue as poll plank
http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/Sections/frmNewsDetailView.aspx?ARTID=46531

Madurai, April 18. A petition, seeking direction to various political parties against use of “sensitive Sri Lankan Tamils issue” as a poll plank, has been filed in the Madurai bench of Madras High Court.
The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by advocate Kannan and a division bench, comprising Justices S.K.Krishnan and T.Raja, posted the case for hearing after 10 days.
The petitioner argued that the majority of the political parties were using caste and religion as a political issue to gain advantage during the polls.
“Now various political parties are using the Sri Lankan Tamils issue in a big way. They are using a sad issue to gain votes. This is condemnable,” he said.
“It is wrong to politicise the issue to gain votes,” he said and sought a court directive to the Election Commission to ask political parties not to use the Tamils issue as an election plank.
(PTI)

SC admits I-T dept appeal against HC’s relief to SET
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/News-By-Industry/Media–Entertainment-/SC-admits-I-T-dept-appeal–against-HCs-relief-to-SET/articleshow/4422360.cms
20 Apr 2009, 0133 hrs IST, M Padmakshan, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: The Supreme Court on Friday admitted an appeal by the Income Tax department against the relief given to Sony Entertainment Television by the Bombay High Court. The apex court’s move keeps alive the debate on taxing profits from Indian operations of a foreign entity which does business in India through a dependent agent. The Supreme Court’s final decision on this issue will have a bearing on similar cases pending at various stages of litigation — the total disputed tax liability in such cases could be over Rs 5,000 crore. The division bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice SH Kapadia and Justice Aftab Alam observed that the Income Tax department’s appeal raises significant legal questions which need to be answered by the Supreme Court. The department was represented by lawyers Parag Tripathi and Persi Pardiwala, while lawyers Harish Salve and Beni Chatterjee appeared for Sony Entertainment Television. The origin of the debate was with a ruling by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), Mumbai. The ITAT bench comprising Pramod Kumar and Madhavi Devi held that revenue generated in India by the foreign company is taxable in India even if they operate through an agent. The question before the tribunal was this: When a foreign company operates in India through a dependent agent and when the agent is paid for the services at fair market value, can further profits of the foreign company be taxed in India. Sony Entertainment Television did not dispute that they had a ‘dependent agent’ in India and that the business was carried out through this agent. But, it contended that once an agent has been paid an arm’s length price, no further profits can be taxed in India. The ITAT rejected this plea and held that whether the foreign company operates in India or not, the fee earned by the agent in India has to be subjected to taxation in India. The ITAT further held that the payment made to the company’s agent in India, SET India, can at best be described as the expenditure incurred by the foreign company and this amount may be deducted for the purpose of taxing Sony Entertainment Television. However, the Bombay High Court reversed the ITAT order. The order by division bench comprising Justice FI Rebello and Justice RS Mohite virtually set aside the rationale of the ITAT on the ground that the apellate tribunal did not consider the impact of a circular issued by CBDT.

Man in custody battle lands in contempt case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/Man-in-custody-battle-lands-in-contempt-case/articleshow/4418827.cms
19 Apr 2009, 0005 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : If you suggest judicial authorities are likely to be influenced by anybody, you’re courting disaster. Sujit Munshi of Vadodara is facing the music for doing just this. Gujarat High Court has initiated contempt proceedings against him. HC is hearing a case on custody issues related to his daughter. Munshi, now remarried, has alleged that his second wife’s father, an IAS officer of Gujarat cadre, is influencing the custody proceedings. When Munshi and his first wife Shilpa Shinde got divorced, as per the decree their eight-year-old daughter Akshada would stay with her father for five days and spend weekends with her mother. But, when Shilpa went to Tanzania on a visit, Munshi admitted their daughter to a boarding school near Bharuch. When she returned, the school forbade her from meeting Akshada. She moved HC claiming that admitting the girl in boarding school was a breach of the decree. Shilpa also urged the court to direct the school to allow her to meet her daughter. This was permitted, but she was not content with the duration of the meeting. The court asked the school to arrange another meeting. Meanwhile, Shilpa wrote a letter to the court. In February, Justice CK Buch warned the parties not to do this. Despite this, Munshi also wrote to the court on February 12 and complained against his father-in-law. Munshi didn’t even intimate his lawyer Shalin Mehta about the letter and the latter withdrew from the case. Justice Buch observed that the letters were an attempt to hamper proceedings and all accusations were indirect allegations at the court. The court also noted that Munshi shifted the child to boarding school to prevent her from meeting her mother. Justice Buch observed that the court could ask Munshi to shift Akshada to Vadodara which would make it easier for mother and daughter to meet. Contempt proceedings against Munshi have been initiated in a division bench of Justices RP Dholakia and HB Antani. Munshi is permitted to defend himself. Further hearing on Shilpa’s application is scheduled for April 24.

Judgments prevail over excise department circulars: SC
http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/judgments-prevail-over-excise-department-circulars-sc/355616/
BS Reporter / New Delhi April 20, 2009, 0:40 IST
The Supreme Court last week emphasised that circulars and instructions issued by the customs and excise boards are no doubt binding on the authorities but when the Supreme Court or a high court declares the law on a disputed question, the courts’ view shall prevail.
The court reiterated the view last week in the case, Commissioner of Central Excise vs Hindoostan Spinning & Weaving Mills Ltd. The authorities had sought clarifications in some earlier judgments. Therefore, the Supreme Court once again asserted that the circulars represented only the understanding of the law by the officials. But they are not binding on the courts.
Baidyanath plea on toothpaste rejected
The SC last week dismissed the appeal of Baidyanath Ayurvedic Bhawan Ltd, maker of ‘Dant Manjan Lal’, rejecting its contention the product was a medicament according to the Central Excise Tariff Act, and not a cosmetic/toiletry preparation/tooth powder.
The classification of the product had created some difference of opinion in the excise tribunals. Baidyanath resisted show cause notices on diverse grounds; that the product is an Ayurvedic Medicine, that it manufactures it under a drug licence, that its ingredients are mentioned in the authoritative book of Ayurved System of Medicine, and that the product is an Ayurvedic medicine in the trade and common parlance. Baidyanath, thus, claimed it was eligible for the benefit in excise. The SC stated that what is important to be seen is how the consumer looks at a product. Higher damages than in the schedule can be awarded
The SC ruled last week in the case, Rani Gupta vs United India Insurance Co Ltd, that motor accident claims tribunals can award compensation which are higher than those prescribed in the second schedule to the Motor Vehicles Act. Parliament had thought Rs 50,000 should be the minimum compensation payable to legal representatives of persons whose annual income is Rs 3,000 per month.
In the present case, the businessman earning Rs 2 lakh a year was awarded Rs 17.4 lakh by the tribunal, which was reduced by the Delhi high court to Rs 12.5 lakh. The SC stated in view of the age of the businessman (46) he would have earned for ten more years and therefore the compensation was fair. SC not bound to hear international arbitration appeals bypassing HCs: The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of Shin-Etsu Chemical Co Ltd in its dispute with Vindhya Telelinks Ltd and stated that the foreign company could move the Madhya Pradesh high court for international arbitration.
The district judge in Rewa had rejected the foreign company’s plea for referring the dispute to arbitration under Section 45 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. The company directly approached the Supreme Court in appeal. The Indian company opposed the appeal, arguing that the foreign company could not approach the Supreme Court, bypassing the high court.
This argument was accepted by the Supreme Court. It emphasised that no one had a right to appeal to the apex court, and the latter will grant special leave to hear appeals only if the parties had exhausted all other remedies available to them. Power tariff dispute remitted to tribunal: In the dispute between DLF Power Ltd and Central Coalfields, the Supreme Court has asked the parties to approach the appellate tribunal for electricity in New Delhi again to determine the tariff. In 2007 the court had directed M/s Ernst & Young to determine the actual capital cost for Rajrappa and Giddi plants based on the formula in the power purchase agreement between CCL and DLF.
It had also directed that the copy of the report of the cost accounts be given to the parties and to the Jharkhand State Electricity Regulatory Commission. CCL’s complaint is that the report was made only on the basis of the documents submitted by DLF. Accepting this complaint, the court stated that as the process of evaluation involved in fixing the tariff is complex, the tribunal shall hear CCL view on tariff if it raises the issue before it. Cheque bounce punishment diluted : The Supreme Court has ruled that a person cannot be sentenced for each dishonoured cheque he had sent in the same transaction. In this case, State of Punjab vs Madan Lal, three cheques were issued by the accused person which were dishonoured.
The sessions court convicted him under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act and sentenced him to jail. The sentence for all the cheques was to run concurrently, not consecutively. The Punjab and Haryana high court upheld the sentence. But the state government appealed to the Supreme Court arguing that the accused should suffer sentence for each cheque one after the other, and not together, as ordered by the courts below. The Supreme Court dismissed the government’s appeal.

EC rejects plea on Sonia’s disqualification
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090420/main6.htm
New Delhi, April 19The Election Commission by a majority opinion has rejected the demand for disqualification of Sonia Gandhi as a Member of Parliament for receiving a foreign award.
By a 2-1 vote, the Election Commissioners, Navin Chawla, who would succeed N Gopalaswami on Tuesday, and SY Quraishi have overturned the incumbent CEC’s view that an enquiry was necessary to go into the complaint against Gandhi receiving the ‘Order of Leopold’, the second highest civilian honour in Belgium, given to her during a visit to that country in November 2006, highly placed sources said today.
The Commission’s view has been sent to President Pratibha Patil for her final decision. The controversy arose out of a petition from a Kerala advocate who had sought the disqualification of Gandhi for accepting the Belgian honour.
Under the conduct of business rules in the Election Commission, in case of difference of opinion among the three commissioners, the majority view will prevail. In this Belgian honour case, the view of the two Election Commissioners may prevail over the CEC’s view.
Gopalaswami is believed to have taken the view that there was need for further inquiry into Gandhi receiving the award, the sources said. Chawla and Quraishi are understood to have recommended that the enquiry was complete and no further action was called for, they said.
Gopalaswami refused to divulge the stand taken by him or the two Commissioners but confirmed the issue was before the President.
“I do not want to say anything on this because this is a case on which the decision will be taken by the President. So until the decision is taken, there can be no discussion on this,” he said.
Asked as to at what stage the case was now, the CEC said, “The point is that the President has not taken a decision yet. The matter will be finally decided at the appropriate time.”
The petition cited Article 102(1)(d) of the Constitution, which states that anybody who owes allegiance to the Constitution of another country should be disqualified from the membership of Parliament.
The petitioner alleged that accepting the award amounted to owing allegiance to the Constitution of that country.
Acting on a reference from the then President, APJ Abdul Kalam, the Commission had earlier issued a notice to Gandhi and also sought details from the Ministry of External Affairs. The Commission was split 2:1 even at the time of issuing notice to Gandhi. — PTI

Another child diesImplement ban on corporal punishment
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090420/edit.htm#2
YET another student has succumbed to ill-treatment by a teacher. This time it is in Delhi, which is supposed to have implemented the Supreme Court ban on corporal punishment. The death of 11-year-old Shanno Khan has understandably outraged society. Like ragging in the recent past, corporal punishment too should be viewed as barbaric and banished from every educational institution, and not just on paper. If it is medically established that the child died due to the harrowing experience she had in school, the teacher must be booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
A strong message needs to be sent across the country that the abuse of a child’s rights and dignity cannot be tolerated, least of all in a school where he or she is expected to be in safe hands. What is particularly disturbing is that this is not an isolated incident. Last month a six-year-old girl in Tiruchi died after she was hit by a teacher, locked up in a steel cupboard and later thrown into a water tank. A teacher in a village near Lucknow tied five-year-old Alok Gupta with a rope and dragged him 50 metres for not attending school regularly. If such criminals are let off lightly only because they are teachers, parents would no longer think it safe to send their tiny tots to school.
Teachers have their own reasons for meting our corporal punishment. These include securing a student’s presence for private tuition. Some perverts actually think thrashing is for the good of a child, believing in the outdated saying: “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. There are black sheep in every profession and they need to be weeded out. Children already study under tremendous pressure, including high parental expectations. Poor eating habits and mental stress do not let them fully experience the joys of childhood. They need love and tender care, not indiscriminate use of the rod.

SC directive
http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=2&theme=&usrsess=1&id=251575
New Delhi, April 19: The Supreme Court has ruled that custody of a minor can be given even to a maternal grandmother if the father, who is a natural guardian, is incapable of taking adequate care of the child.The Supreme Court said though the law mandates that the father is the natural guardian of a child, the right at the same time is not absolute.“Ordinarily, under the Guardian and Wards Act, the natural guardians of the child have the right to the custody of the child, but that right is not absolute and the courts are expected to give paramount consideration to the welfare of the minor child,” a bench of Justices Mr Tarun Chatterjee and Mr H L Dattu said. n PTI

Study to find out reasons for police-lawyer rift
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/20/stories/2009042059030800.htm
Special Correspondent
Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education to sponsor research
Researchers will be asked to make an in-depth study on court boycotts in the past 10 years
Study will be done across in several districts by analysing different incidents
MADURAI: A study on the reasons for ‘continuing conflict’ between police and lawyers in the State will be sponsored by the Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education (TANSCHE).
Candidates selected for the study would ascertain “where the fault lies” and come out with suggestions for a permanent solution to the problem, A. Ramasamy, Vice-Chairman, TANSCHE said here on Sunday.
Speaking to The Hindu, he said that 15 applications had been received by the Council and the study would be done across the State in several districts including Madurai and Tiruchi by analysing different incidents.
He said that the researchers would be asked to make an in-depth study on the court boycotts in the past 10 years and especially focus on instances where lawyers boycotted because of police-related issues.
“The recent attack in Madras High Court premises had particularly created bad blood between lawyers and police. Research must find a solution for the benefit of public who are affected by frequent boycott of courts by lawyers,” Dr. Ramasamy said. Researchers selected for the purpose would have to study the past incidents, meet people from top to bottom in both police department and courts, interact with the Chief Justice and others, he said.
“In the West, there will be academic committees to look into socio-economic problems. So, we thought that such a thing could be tried in the case of police-lawyer friction in Tamil Nadu also,” Dr. Ramasamy added.
While the objective was to find ways for bringing about a good relationship between police and lawyers, the proposed study will be done like the usual Ph.D.
About five candidates would be selected to undertake this research which should be completed within a stipulated timeframe. Interested persons can contact the Council office at Chennai, he said.
Dr. Ramasamy was in the city to attend various meetings convened in the Madurai Kamaraj University by its Vice-Chancellor R. Karpaga Kumaravel.

Law to protect trees being considered: Forest department
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/20/stories/2009042059810300.htm
Staff Reporter
Preparation of people’s biodiversity registry mooted
Plea to undertake tree census in State
Landowners should be encouraged to protect mangroves
KOCHI: The Forest department is exploring the possibility of bringing in a legislation for the protection of trees located in public places in urban areas, said T.M. Manoharan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest.
Mr. Manoharan was replying to a discussion organised by the State Forest Department in Mangalavanam on Sunday.
A tree protection Act is in force in Maharashtra and an authority has been formed under the act. Any cutting of trees in public places needs to get the approval of the Authority, pointed out C.M. Joy of the Aluva Paristhithi Samrakshna Samity.
Taking part in the discussion, E. M. Sunilkumar, chairman of the Town Planning Committee of the Kochi Corporation said that the civic bodies could not intervene effectively in cases of cutting of trees in the absence of a law for the protection of trees.
A provision should be made in the law making the planting of saplings mandatory while constructing buildings. Presently, most of the civic bodies in the State do not have any statistics regarding trees in their area. A tree census should be undertaken in all the civic bodies of the State, Mr. Sunilkumar suggested.
In his reply, Mr. Manoharan said that the preparation of the people’s biodiversity registry in each panchayat will help in generating a database of trees. The Kerala State Biodiversity Board will be approached with this proposal, he said.
The onus of implementing the tree protection act would be on civic bodies. The provisions of the Tree Protection Act would be studied and the scope of bringing in such a legislation in the State would be explored, he said.
U.K. Gopalan, noted environmentalist, suggested that steps for the protection of tidal forest ecosystem should be undertaken.
Valanthakaad Island in Kochi backwaters is home to over 16 varieties of mangroves and it is one of the few surviving mangrove areas in Kochi, pointed out delegates.
On a suggestion regarding the protection of Ramsar sites, Mr. Manoharan explained that the management of the sites was the mandate of the Irrigation and Water Resources Ministry. The exploitation of sand that has accumulated in the dams has not come as financially feasible proposal before the government, he said.
The government is in the process of charting out a programme for the protection of mangroves and sacred groves in the State. Most of the mangroves and sacred groves are located in private holdings. The government is of the view that incentives should be given to the landowners for protecting them, he said.

“Treat corporal punishment as criminal offence”
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/20/stories/2009042060240300.htm
Staff Reporter
NEW DELHI: Centre for Social Research Director Ranjana Dr. Kumari has stressed the need to treat corporal punishment as a criminal offence with severe punishment for the teacher as well as the school.
Referring to 11-year-old Shanno Khan’s death in the Capital this past week after a teacher allegedly forced her to stand in a crouching position in the hot sun, Dr. Kumari said the incident was a wake-up call for policymakers to introduce a strong legislation that protects children from all sorts of violence.
Shocked over the brutality, Dr. Kumari said: “It is hard to believe that we have a law to prevent different types of cruelty against animals, but still don’t have any legislation to protect our children whom we call our future. A young girl dying after being punished in a school is a national shame.”
Judgment
To stress her point further, Dr. Kumari explained: “The Delhi High Court delivered a judgement in 2000 when it directed the States to ensure that children are not subjected to corporal punishment in schools and they receive education in an environment of freedom and dignity, free from fear. In 2007, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) directed the State Governments to take effective steps to check incidents of corporal punishment in school.”
Pointing out that this was not the first time that an incident of this kind had taken place, Dr. Kumari said children in our country were often disciplined with the rod. “Children are now becoming used to it and are accepting it as a normal way of life. Do we want them to become silent recipients of violence in their tender years that may hamper their physical and mental wellbeing in future? Should we wait for some more incidents like these to finally wake up to a realisation?” said Dr. Kumari, adding that there was a need for a proper law on corporal punishment to be strictly followed by all schools, parents, and caregivers across the country.

Notices issued under Defacement Act
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/20/stories/2009042055860500.htm
Special Correspondent
CHANDIGARH: Some political parties and 21 people have been issued notice by District Electoral Officer, Bhiwani under the Defacement of Property Act, 1989.
Bhiwani District Electoral Officer Vikas Gupta said that these notices have been issued following a survey conducted by Tehsildar and Executive Officer, Municipal Council, Bhiwani to check defacement of public property by displaying political messages, hoardings, wall paintings and posters.

The torturers’ manifesto
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/20/stories/2009042051680900.htm
It was written to provide legal immunity for acts that are clearly illegal and immoral.
To read the four newly released memos on prisoner interrogation written by George W. Bush’s Justice Department is to take a journey into depravity.
Their language is the precise bureaucratese favoured by dungeon masters throughout history. They detail how to fashion a collar for slamming a prisoner against a wall, exactly how many days he can be kept without sleep (11), and what, specifically, he should be told before being locked in a box with an insect — all to stop just short of having a jury decide that these acts violate the laws against torture and abusive treatment of prisoners.
In one of the more nauseating passages, Jay Bybee, then an assistant attorney general and now a federal judge, wrote admiringly about a contraption for waterboarding that would lurch a prisoner upright if he stopped breathing while water was poured over his face. He praised the CIA for having doctors ready to perform an emergency tracheotomy if necessary.
These memos are not an honest attempt to set the legal limits on interrogations, which was the authors’ statutory obligation. They were written to provide legal immunity for acts that are clearly illegal, immoral and a violation of this country’s most basic values.
It sounds like the plot of a mob film, except the lawyers asking how much their clients can get away with are from the CIA and the lawyers coaching them on how to commit the abuses are from the Justice Department. And it all played out with the blessing of the Defence Secretary, the Attorney-General, the Intelligence Director and, most likely, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
The American Civil Liberties Union deserves credit for suing for the memos’ release. And President Barack Obama deserves credit for overruling his own CIA director and ordering that the memos be made public. It is hard to think of another case in which documents stamped “Top Secret” were released with hardly any deletions. But this cannot be the end of the scrutiny for these and other decisions by the Bush administration.
Until Americans and their leaders fully understand the rules the Bush administration concocted to justify such abuses — and who set the rules and who approved them — there is no hope of fixing a profoundly broken system of justice and ensuring that that these acts are never repeated.
The abuses and the dangers do not end with the torture memos. Americans still know far too little about Bush’s decision to illegally eavesdrop on Americans — a program that has since been given legal cover by Congress.
Recently, The Times reported that the nation’s intelligence agencies have been collecting private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans on a scale that went beyond the broad limits established in legislation last year. The article quoted the Justice Department as saying there had been problems in the surveillance programme that had been resolved. But Justice did not say what those problems were or what the resolution was.
That is the heart of the matter: Nobody really knows what any of the rules were. Mr. Bush never offered the slightest explanation of what he found lacking in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act when he decided to ignore the law after 9/11 and ordered the warrantless wiretapping of Americans’ overseas calls and e-mail. He said he was president and could do what he wanted.
The Bush administration also never explained how it interpreted laws that were later passed to expand the government’s powers to eavesdrop. And the Obama administration argued in a recent court filing that everything associated with electronic eavesdropping, including what is allowed and what is not, is a state secret.
We do not think Mr. Obama will violate Americans’ rights as Mr. Bush did. But if Americans do not know the rules, they cannot judge whether this government or any one that follows is abiding by the rules. In the case of detainee abuse, Mr. Obama assured CIA operatives that they would not be prosecuted for actions that their superiors told them were legal. We have never been comfortable with the “only following orders” excuse, especially because Americans still do not know what was actually done or who was giving the orders. After all, as far as Bush’s lawyers were concerned, it was not really torture unless it involved breaking bones, burning flesh or pulling teeth. That, Mr. Bybee kept noting, was what the Libyan secret police did to one prisoner. The standard for American behaviour should be a lot higher than that of the Libyan secret police.
At least Mr. Obama is not following Mr. Bush’s example of showy trials for the small fry — like Lynndie England of Abu Ghraib notoriety. But he has an obligation to pursue what is clear evidence of a government policy sanctioning the torture and abuse of prisoners — in violation of international law and the Constitution.
That investigation should start with the lawyers who wrote these sickening memos, including John Yoo, who now teaches law in California; Steven Bradbury, who was job-hunting when we last heard; and Mr. Bybee, who holds the lifetime seat on the federal appeals court that Bush rewarded him with.
These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it. After eight years without transparency or accountability, Mr. Obama promised the American people both. His decision to release these memos was another sign of his commitment to transparency. We are waiting to see an equal commitment to accountability. — © 2009 The New York Times News Service

Teaching without torture
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/20/stories/2009042051640800.htm
It is now widely accepted round the world that the deliberate humiliation of children, either through corporal punishment or otherwise, is antithetical to learning as well as the well-being of children. The heart-rending death of 11-year-old Delhi schoolgirl Shanno Khan following brutal punishment by her teacher for failing to recite the full English alphabet string is a stark reminder of the torture that sometimes goes on in the name of pedagogy in several Indian schools. Shanno, according to her older sister, was made to stand in a murga position [a common form of punishment where the victim is forced to hold her or his ears with hands passed under the legs] for over two hours in the hot sun and even placed seven bricks on her back. When the girl asked for water, the teacher kicked her and her head hit a wall and she began to bleed from the nose. Shanno lost consciousness on returning home, and died two days later in hospital after slipping into a coma. This may seem an extreme case of punishment gone horribly wrong but it does highlight a fairly widespread practice in Indian schools.
In 2000 the Supreme Court of India banned corporal punishment for children and directed the state to ensure that they received education in an environment of freedom and dignity, free from fear. In the same year, the Delhi High Court struck down the provision for corporal punishment in the Delhi School Education Rules, noting that such punishment went against a child’s dignity and was not in tune with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which India was a signatory. The National Policy on Education states that corporal punishment would be firmly excluded from the educational systems. Following incidents of suicide by students terrorised by teachers, States such as Goa and Tamil Nadu outlawed corporal punishment. The rule providing for such punishment in Tamil Nadu was replaced by a section that recommended that children should be given an opportunity to learn from their errors through corrective measures such as imposition and suspension from class. However, enforcement is weak and instances of corporal punishment continue to be reported from across India. In fact, many schools practise a variety of methods of physical and emotional punishment. Occasionally, when teachers find mild forms of punishment ineffective, they resort to third degree methods of the kind that caused Shanno’s death. It is time authorities as well as parents and the public mobilised to make it absolutely clear that corporal punishment or any form of deliberate infliction of pain and humiliation on schoolchildren, supposedly for their own good, would not be tolerated any longer.

SC asks IT dept why Bachchan was allowed to withdraw claim
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Why_was_Bachchan_given_tax_rebate_asks_SC/articleshow/4426669.cms
20 Apr 2009, 2048 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Income-Tax department to explain why actor Amitabh Bachchan was allowed to withdraw his security expense claim amounting to 30% of around Rs 6.90 crore, the actor’s income from popular TV game show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ in 2001-02. A bench headed by Justice S H Kapadia pulled up the tax authorities for allowing Bachchan to withdraw his security expense claim saying that it has happened for the first time in his experience. It gave two weeks to the department to clarify the matter. The I-T department alleged that Bachchan’s representative before the authorities had earlier claimed having incurred 30 per cent estimated expenses on security to protect the assessee from extortion, something the actor had himself later withdrawn. Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium said that he will clarify the point within two weeks after taking instructions. The question arose in an appeal filed by the Income-Tax department challenging a Bombay High Court judgment of August 7, 2008, which dismissed its plea and upheld the sectoral tribunal order that quashed the Commissioner of Income-Tax’s order. The department said while Bachchan had in his original income tax return for 2001-02 declared total income of around Rs 4.61 crore, he had filed revised returns on October 31, 2002, declaring total income of around Rs 6.08 crore. In his second revised returns on March 31, 2003, he declared total income of Rs 3.23 crore approximately while his receipts from KBC were at Rs 6.90 crore and an additional expenditure of Rs 3.17 crore (30 per cent of professional receipts) was shown. According to the department, after the second revised returns, the authorities had issued showcause notice to the actor on November 7, 2005, under Section 263 of the Income-Tax Act on the grounds that the returns were erroneous and prejudicial to the interests of the revenue. However, the department said the actor had withdrawn its re-revised returns that had 30% estimated expenses claim, on March 13, 2004. Bachchan had subsequently retracted by stating that the earlier explanation was given by his representative without cross-checking facts with him, the department added. It said that Bachchan had submitted before the authorities that the 30% expenses claim was made under the mistaken belief that it was available as a standard deduction and thus had withdrawn it later. The Commissioner of Income Tax, while setting aside the assessment, had held that despite the withdrawal of the claim the assessing officer was under duty to make further enquiries about whether these security expenses were made from any undisclosed income. However, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal on May 18, 2005, while allowing Bachchan to withdraw the claim had quashed the CIT’s order saying that the Commissioner’s order travelled beyond the grounds in the show cause notice and thus was violative of natural justice.

PW auditors knowingly falsified Satyam data: CBI report
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/PW_auditors_knowingly_falsified_Satyam_data_CBI_report/articleshow/4421827.cms
20 Apr 2009, 0341 hrs IST, Kingshuk Nag, TNN
HYDERABAD: Contrary to earlier perceptions that the Price Waterhouse auditors were taken in by the false fixed deposit receipts (FDRs) shown to them by Satyam’s accountants, the detailed chargesheet filed by the CBI says that both S Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri had obtained independent confirmations from banks about the balances in the books of the IT company.
But when they were at great variance with the data provided by Satyam, both Gopalakrishnan and Talluri at different points of time chose to ignore the bank data and “knowingly certified the inflated and forged balance sheets prepared based on forged FDRs and other data..” The CBI chargesheet says that both the auditors after facilitating projection of falsified data made “misleading” presentations to the audit commmittee of Satyam about the financial health of the company. As consideration for this act of “accomodation” they received exorbitant audit fees from Satyam over and above the market rate “which reflects a quid-pro-quo arrangement,” the CBI has charged. What is more interesting is that these two auditors ignored the findings of even their internal checking team. The Head of Information Systems Audit of Price Waterhouse in the course of an ‘information technology general check’ found a staggering 180 deficiencies. This was communicated to the audit team who were told that the IT systems in existence in Satyam were “not fully integrated and subject to manipulation,” the chargesheet says.
Gopalakrishnan and Talluri were told that “in the light of the above deficiencies substantial and elaborate examinations of the financials should be conducted.” But the two at different points of time did not make any change in their audit plans. The CBI has also charged that the two had wrongly signed the balance sheets of Satyam as partners of Price Waterhouse, though they were not partners in this audit firm. As per records of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAI), the two were partners of Price Waterhouse, Bangalore which is a separate entity.
The statutory audit had been given to Price Waterhouse and not Price Waterhouse, Bangalore. This act of the two chartered accountants were violative of the Auditing and Assurance Standards (AAS) 28 and invalidates the annual financial statement of the company. Curiously enough the two auditors had letters generated on the pads of Price Waterhouse from the computer systems of Satyam. These letters were addressed to the banks and directed them ( the banks) to directly inform the auditors about the bank balances. About Gopalakrishna who signed the audit report of Satyam from 2001 to 2007, the CBI chargesheet says that “but for his active cooperation and disregarding the crucial evidence available with him, this fraud would not have taken for so many years.”
Similarly Talluri is charged for allowing this fraud from 2007 onwards, the year from which he started signing the audit report. Both of have been charged for violation of various sections of the IPC. Both are in judicial custody for long and inspite of lawyers flying in from Chennai have not been able to secure bail.

Undertrial killed in Bhondsi Jail
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/Undertrial_killed_in_Bhondsi_Jail/articleshow/4421864.cms
20 Apr 2009, 0700 hrs IST, TNN
GURGAON: An undertrial lodged in Bhondsi Jail in Haryana was allegedly stabbed to death by a murder convict. The incident comes close on heels of a bloody brawl in Tihar that left several inmates injured. The accused, Harjeet, has a couple of murder cases lodged against him. The victim, Ali Bashir, was an undertrial in a theft case. In another incident at Paharganj in central Delhi, an Australian tourist was found dead inside his hotel room. The deceased was unwell for the past two days and had not left his room in Express Hotel. The police have ruled out foul play. The Australian Embassy has been contacted in this regard.

GIC hears Samirkhan encounter case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/GIC_hears_Samirkhan_encounter_case/articleshow/4422000.cms
20 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : On October 22, 2002, city crime branch gunned down his son claiming that he was a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative on a mission to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi. But, he believes this was a fake encounter. Sarfarazkhan Pathan’s attempt to get to the bottom of son Samirkhan’s encounter through Right To Information (RTI), hit a roadblock when he was told that CID was exempted from disclosing information under this act. However, putting the ball squarely in the court of Gujarat Information Commission (GIC), Pathan has not only sought access to information, he wants blanket exemption being enjoyed by CID to be removed. Moreover, Pathan has reminded GIC of its statutory obligation of guaranteeing constitutional right of information and preventing frustration of this fundamental right by misuse of power. Pathan had sought the report made by state to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Samirkhan’s death, and video recording of his postmortem under RTI besides investigation papers by crime branch (DCB), Gaekwad Haveli, Ahmedabad. He also asked for the report prepared by the then human rights and social justice IG, Tirth Raj inquiring into the alleged misconduct of deputy superintendent of police IK Yadav, the first investigation officer (IO). Pathan argued before GIC that only intelligence and security organisations’ have been exempted under RTI. And as CID (criminal investigation department) can’t be termed as either, it cant be exempted. If CID were involved in intelligence and security gathering, then upto that extent it can be exempted, but not when it comes to criminal investigation. Also, when local police investigate an offence they are not exempt from RTI, but if the same offence once transferred for further investigation, then investigation stands to be exempt from RTI. This Pathan argued violated Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Pathan argued further that even in case of exempt organisations under RTI, information pertaining to human rights violations had to be provided. Hence Samirkhan’s encounter being fake was a case of human rights violation of the worst kind and information needs to be provided. CASES PENDING * Information pertaining to 2002 riots from Nanavati-Shah Commission * Sohrabuddin encounter issue * Patan gangrape case

Repeal amendments of TCP Act: Orlim villagers
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Goa/Repeal_amendments_of_TCP_Act_Orlim_villagers/articleshow/4422066.cms
20 Apr 2009, 0607 hrs IST, TNN
MARGAO: The resolute determination of the villagers to assert their rights in the participatory planning process was manifested at the gram sabha of the Orlim village panchayat held on Sunday. Demand to repeal the amendments 16 and 16A of the town and country planning (TCP) Act was one of the major resolutions adopted by the gram sabha after a lengthy debate over the issue. Expressing apprehension that the amendments would allow the government to override the regional plan as and when it fancies, the gram sabha members demanded that the government withdraw the amendments forthwith. The gram sabha also adopted a resolution demanding that the 73rd and 74th amendments to the constitution be implemented by the government in letter and spirit. “The participatory planning process of the regional plan 2021 would have no legal standing unless necessary powers are devolved to the local self government bodies like the panchayat, as envisaged in the 73rd and 74th amendments to the constitution,” a gram sabha member pointed out. The villagers expressed their disapproval over the fact that over 60% of the village was classified as settlement zone. Charging the authorities with drafting the plan in an arbitrary manner, the gram sabha demanded that a fresh survey be undertaken to determine the actual land use pattern of the village. The villagers adopted a stand that under no circumstances should the original land use pattern be altered. The gram sabha further also adopted a resolution demanding that the proposed bill seeking to grant overriding powers to the director of panchayats be withdrawn forthwith.

Saji case: NCB allowed re-sampling of seized heroin
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chandigarh/Saji_case_NCB_allowed_re-sampling_of_seized_heroin/articleshow/4422169.cms
20 Apr 2009, 0356 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: In a significant development, the special NDPS court has allowed Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) re-sampling of seized heroin, which was seized during tenure of Saji Mohan, in another chemical examination. The agency has again taken 13 samples and sent these to Central Revenue Central Laboratory (CRCL), Delhi, for chemical examination. Notably, before Chandigarh, NCB officials had taken re-samples of heroin in Jammu and Ludhiana for a chemical examination. Sources said while the court has not fixed any timeframe for conducting the examination, the result would be sent by CRCL within a month. Re-sampling of heroin is part of an internal probe, which was initiated by NCB after arrest of ex-NCB zonal director Saji Mohan in Mumbai on January 27. It may be recalled that after Saji Mohan?s arrest in Mumbai, relatives of several drug-peddlers, arrested during the Saji’s tenure, started filing applications alleging they were implicated by NCB and demanded re-examination of seized contraband. Sources in NCB said a case under various sections of NDPS Act, in which superintendent Balwinder Kumar and two gunmen were arrested, was registered after an internal probe and Saji is an accused in this case.

HC dismisses doctor’s plea
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Allahabad/HC_dismisses_doctors_plea/articleshow/4426823.cms
20 Apr 2009, 2209 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: A division bench of the Allahabad High Court, on Monday, dismissed a writ petition of a doctor with costs. He had failed to join at the transferred place despite court order . The order was passed by the bench comprising Justice Amitava Lala and Justice DK Arora, on a writ petition filed by Dr Ram Singhasan Singh Yadav, who had been posted as surgeon at upgraded primary health Centre, Bilariyaganj, Azamgarh. The petitioner had challenged an order passed by the state government on February 2, 2009, whereby it had directed the petitioner to join at district hospital, Bhadohi as senior consultant with immediate effect. The petitioner had stated in the petition that since he was not relieved by the officer concerned of Azamgarh, therefore, he failed to join the transferred place. The court dismissed the petition of the doctor with cost, as he failed to obey the command of the court. It might be recalled that the high court, on the earlier writ petition filed by the petitioner against the transfer order, had passed an order on September 8, 2008 that subject to joining of the petitioner at the transferred place, the authorities concerned shall consider the representation of the petitioner sympathetically and take a decision within two months by passing a reasoned order. The court dismissed the petition and imposed a cost of Rs 1,020 on the doctor as he did not join at the transferred place and again had filed a writ petition for the same cause.

7/11 case: ATS wants Indian Mujahideen man released
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/711_case_ATS_wants_Indian_Mujahideen_man_released/articleshow/4421451.cms
20 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Mateen Hafeez, TNN
MUMBAI: This may come as a jolt for the Mumbai crime branch. The anti-terrorism squad (ATS) will be filing an application next week in the court, seeking the release of Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Sadiq Shaikh from the 7/11 Mumbai train bombing case. The ATS has arrested Sadiq (32), in the blast case on February 28. ATS officials said that they questioned Sadiq thoroughly and even subjected him to brain mapping and polygraph tests but did not find his involvement in the train blast case. “We will be filing the application in the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act court to discharge Sadiq from the train blast case. This application will be filed before April 28,” said ATS additional commissioner of police, Param Bir Singh. The ATS statement comes a week after Sadiq’s confessional statement (given in a crime branch case) was opened in the court in an another case. Sadiq, a Trombay resident, along with 20 others was caught by the city crime branch last year for sending email threats to news channels and claiming responsibility for a series of blasts across the country. The crime branch had said that IM had engineered the 7/11 train blasts and Sadiq had helped in assembling and planting the bombs in the trains. However, Sadiq told the ATS that he was in Azamgarh at the time of 7/11 train blast case which his family members had also confirmed earlier. The crime branch probe indicating IM’s hand in the train blasts had come as a shock to the ATS since it had already arrested 13 suspected SIMI members in the case and filed a 11,000-page chargesheet against them. “We had interrogated Sadiq from all angles and found that he was not involved in the 7/11. Even the forensic test reports including brain mapping test, which is an admissible evidence in the court, did not suggest Sadiq’s involvement in the train blast case,” said an ATS officer. The crime branch had claimed that the bombs for the blasts were manufactured in a Sewree flat and the RDX was procured by a wanted accused, Riyaz Bhatkal. On the other hand, the ATS is sticking to its old theory that the bombs were assembled at Govandi and not at Sewree. Moreover, the ATS said that the RDX was procured by a Pakistani, Ehsanullah, who had illegally entered India along with 10 other Pakistani accomplices.

12 cops quizzed for 26/11 info leak
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/12_cops_quizzed_for_2611_info_leak/articleshow/4421391.cms
20 Apr 2009, 0103 hrs IST, Mateen Hafeez , TNN
MUMBAI: Twelve cops, including two IPS officers, were questioned for the leakage of details of police control room conversation and a log book on the night of 26/11. The questioning is being done by the crime branch under the Official Secrets Act (OSA). Three private news channels had aired the conversation between the police officers on the field and those monitoring the main control room activities in the midnight of November 26, 2008. A group of 10 Pakistani terrorists killed over 170 people, including anti-terrorism squad chief Hemant Karkare, in the attack. Inspector Dattatrey Bhargude of the city crime branch on March 2 lodged an FIR with the Azad Maidan police station against unidentified persons for stealing the details of the conversation and the log book. The case was registered under sections 3 (penalties for spying), 5 (wrongful communication, etc., of information) and 7 (interfering with officers of the police or members of the Armed Forces of Union) of the Official Secrets Act, 1923. The Official Secrets Act is India’s anti-espionage act held over from British colonisation. “The process of questioning is still on. So far we have questioned 12 police personnel, including two IPS officers, and trying to establish the source of leaked information. We are nearing the person who could be responsible for leakage of such a sensitive information,” said ATS chief Rakesh Maria who is supervising the investigation. It is learnt that one more IPS officer is likely to be questioned in the case. Some of the statements were recorded by additional commissioner of police (detection), Deven Bharti. Besides, 15 correspondents and four heads of the departments in different news channels were also called in for questioning. “We have recorded their statement and the matter is subject to verification and corroboration. Once the motive is ascertained, the reason for leaking this information will also come to light. We are sure to reach to the source which has leaked these details,” said Maria. The log book contained details of senior policemen’s movements on 26/11. When asked if there was any chance of some cops themselves being responsible for leaking the information, Maria said, “We will arrest the culprit irrespective of who they are. You will see the result soon.”

26/11, Naxal attack: Is there a difference?
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/2611_Naxal_attack_Is_there_a_difference/articleshow/4421516.cms
20 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: On 26/11 evening, fidayeen fired their way into Mumbai before entrenching themselves in some of Mumbai’s landmark buildings. Black Cat commandos, despite outnumbering the ultras and trained to neutralise such elements, found the going tough against a band of 10 terrorists. After the last ultra was flushed out and the tired Black Cats trooped out after a three-day-long operation, people stood up to salute them. They had saved Mumbai of major casualties and the country of blushes. Every Indian had caught a choking patriotic feeling. Just a week back, on 9/4 evening, 200 armed naxalites stormed Asia’s biggest bauxite mine in Damanjodi, Orissa. They wanted to plunder explosives stacked at the mining centre. They had taken 150 hostages. A posse of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) jawans, who neither had the weaponry nor the training of the Black Cats, stood between the naxals and the explosive depot. A gun battle ensued in the dark night, which was illuminated by the never say die attitude of the small band of CISF jawans. They lost 10 of their men but ensured the safety of hostages. They grieved over their felled colleagues but did not let the naxals run away with the explosives, which, they knew, would have been used to bleed the country. There was no 24×7 coverage of this brave saga. No cheers and no salutes for the bravehearts, who like their colleagues wage a daily battle to keep the marauding naxals at bay. Not a word from politicians, who are too busy in the electoral battlefield worrying for their seats, returning fire at opponents, making opportunistic alliances and dishing out promises to poor voters. But have the establishment, opposition and human rights activists ever bothered about the lives of men in uniform and their rights? Police reforms ordered by the Supreme Court three years ago (September 22, 2006, Prakash Singh vs Union of India) have stayed on paper in many states. The police continue to remain ill-trained, ill-equipped, ill-paid and ill-treated, yet we expect them to risk their lives every time in the line of duty. Human rights activists cry foul when a ‘Salwa Judum’ or a village defence force is set up to aid the beleaguered and outnumbered police force against naxals, who showed their prowess on April 16 through strikes orchestrated over a vast stretch of land. There is no condoning the excesses committed by Salwa Judum activists, errant among whom have to be dealt with. But at the same time, would there ever be a word of praise, or much less comfort, for the families of policemen killed in cold blood by naxals? The Supreme Court, in D K Basu vs State of West Bengal [1997 (1) SCC 416], had said, “We are conscious of the fact that police in India have to perform a difficult and delicate task, particularly in view of the deteriorating law and order situation, communal riots, political turmoil, student unrest, terrorist activities and among other things the increasing number of underworld and armed gangs and criminals.” Referring to a section of society approving third-degree methods against hardened criminals, the apex court had said, “It is felt in those quarters that if we lay too much emphasis on protection of their fundamental rights and human rights, such criminals may go scot free without exposing any element or iota of criminality, with the result, the crime would go unpunished and in the ultimate analysis, society would suffer. The concern is genuine and the problem is real.” The SC could not have been swayed by a fundamentalist approach towards criminals, howsoever hardened they might be. It had said, “To deal with such a situation, a balanced approach is needed to meet the ends of justice. This is all the more so, in view of the expectation of society that police must deal with the criminals in an efficient and effective manner and bring to book those who are involved in the crime. The cure cannot, however, be worse than the disease itself.” But, the moot question is — does it mean the disease should continue to get the better of the cure? dhananjay.mahapatra@timesgroup.com

Out of jail, BJP candidate Sahu says Chawla biased
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Out_of_jail_BJP_candidate_Sahu_says_Chawla_biased/articleshow/4422541.cms
20 Apr 2009, 0316 hrs IST, Sandeep Mishra, TNN
BHUBANESWAR: After his release from jail, Kandhmal BJP candidate Ashok Sahu on Sunday spewed venom on Naveen Chawla, who takes over as the Chief Election Commissioner on Monday, saying that he would move Supreme Court against Chawla for behaving in a “partisan manner”. “Chawla behaved as a party to the partisan manner in which the EC acted against me,” Sahu alleged. Sahu alleged that the EC’s instructions to state election officials to book him under two additional sections — 295 and 505 of IPC, which are cognizable and non-bailable — were in contravention of law. “It is the job of the officer in-charge of the concerned police station to decide under what section a case is to be registered. The EC has no business to decide the sections,” Sahu, a retired additional DGP, said. “I’m an educated person and have an understanding of law. I was an IPS officer. I know the consequences of making such charges against the EC. But I won’t budge from speaking the truth,” he said, adding, “The EC is not above the law. He derives his powers from the law and should function within its ambit.” Sahu, who was jailed on charges of delivering a speech inciting communal hatred in riot-hit Kandhmal, said the EC show-cause notice was served on him only after he was arrested and jailed. “I should have been served a showcause before the case was registered and not after being incarcerated,” he said.

TOP ARTICLE It’s Short On Quality
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Editorial/TOP_ARTICLE__Its_Short_On_Quality/articleshow/4420713.cms
20 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Ronojoy Sen
Indian elections are rightly seen as a one-of-a-kind carnival of democracy. With 4,617 candidates competing for the attention of 714 million voters casting their votes in over eight lakh polling stations, this is the world’s largest democratic exercise. Few countries in the developing world can match India’s record of holding regular and largely fair elections over a sustained period of nearly six decades. But this must not blind us to the many imperfections of our electoral system. Over the years, the reputation of India’s political parties and MPs has taken a battering. Politicians and political parties generally rank low in terms of trust in most countries. But it seems that this distrust has hit a worrying low in India. In a survey conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in 2004, of the 10 institutions polled, political parties scored the lowest with only 45.8 per cent of the respondents saying they trusted them. This was even lower than the police. A more recent survey on the state of democracy in South Asia puts the citizen’s faith in political parties at 48 per cent compared to 78 for the Election Commission (EC), 72 for the courts and 56 for the bureaucracy. Lack of trust is reflected in India’s ratings in democracy surveys. In the Democracy Index 2008, compiled by The Economist, India was ranked at a fairly respectable 35th position, but was categorised as a “flawed democracy”. This was primarily because it scored poorly on “political participation”, which must not be confused with merely showing up to vote, and “political culture”. MPs’ profile gives a clue to the reasons behind popular disenchantment with political culture. Until recently, the personal wealth of elected representatives could only be guessed at. Following a Supreme Court judgment in 2002, it is mandatory for candidates contesting elections in both Lok Sabha and state legislatures to declare information about themselves, including their financial assets. While there are no institutional mechanisms to cross-check the declarations, the information available is revealing. A study of the affidavits filed by MPs elected to the last Lok Sabha revealed that on an average an MP had assets worth Rs 1.6 crore. Over 50 per cent of the MPs had assets of Rs 50 lakh or more and 27 per cent were worth Rs 1 crore or more. While wealthy MPs are by themselves not a problem, it reflects the barriers to running for elections and getting elected. Another startling feature of the last Lok Sabha was the number of MPs with criminal charges against them. Nearly a quarter had criminal cases registered against them or pending in court. Over half the MPs charged with criminal cases were accused of crimes that could attract imprisonment of five years or more. This has led to cynicism about politicians. The high cost of campaigning and the opaque system of election finance in India have meant that only the very rich or the corrupt can win elections. Though the EC caps expenditure on each Lok Sabha seat at Rs 25 lakh, candidates spend way more than the mandated limit. Election candidates dole out cash and other sops to woo voters. A 2008 study says that over the last decade at least one-fifth of India’s electorate was paid cash for votes. One reason why this is possible is a section in the Representation of the People Act, which states that expenditure by a candidate’s political party, friends or relatives will not be considered a part of a candidate’s election spending. Then there is the way candidates are selected by parties. It is a paradox that while Indian democracy has deepened and the electoral process has become more free and fair, there has been a decline in inner-party democracy. No party none more so than the Congress has a transparent system of choosing candidates. While for the Congress it’s still a coterie around the Gandhi family that has the final say, for other parties it’s a small group of central leaders who wield power. Most of the regional parties revolve around one personality. The quality of India’s elected representatives has deeply undermined democratic norms. This is visible in the functioning of Parliament, no longer a forum for debating legislation and public policy. The number of Lok Sabha sittings has come down from an annual average of 124.2 in 1952-61 to 81 in 1992-2001. The annual average number of Bills passed by Parliament has come down in the same period from 68 to 49.9. In the last Lok Sabha, 21 per cent of the time was lost due to disruptions. And last year, we had the unseemly spectacle of MPs waving wads of cash inside the House. It’s not all doom and gloom however. There have been some encouraging trends in the current elections. One, the emergence of new outfits and a handful of successful professionals and entrepreneurs running for elections. Two, interest among the youth and first-time voters to make their vote count. It is unlikely that any of the new organisations like Loksatta or Jago are going to win seats. It is also likely that political mobilisation among urban youth, using platforms like Facebook and YouTube, might peter out. But even if these nascent movements lead to some introspection and a debate over political culture and democratic norms in India, it would have served some purpose. The writer is currently a visiting fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, Washington, DC

EDITORIAL COMMENT Watch The Watchmen
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Editorial/EDITORIAL_COMMENT__Watch_The_Watchmen/articleshow/4426115.cms
21 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST
The Satyam saga continues with the Pricewaterhouse (PW) auditors’ claim of being taken in by the false records shown to them coming under attack in the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) chargesheet. The auditors’ defence, always on shaky ground, has become even more so with the CBI’s list of charges. It is, if not entirely unexpected, an unwelcome reminder of just how far the ripple effect of the Satyam fraud has spread. But it is also an opportunity for us to examine the system’s shortcomings. Increasingly these days, the leaders of India Inc are lionised and called the architects of India’s rising global profile. But the Satyam debacle has revealed how shaky the foundation of the corporate governance structure is. The problems of transparency, accountability and governing culture that allowed the Satyam fraud to happen are endemic to large sections of India’s private sector. This has been mostly overlooked so far with the corporate governance model being held up as an example to be emulated in even public administration. But as N R Narayana Murthy of Infosys puts it in an interview with our sister daily, The Economic Times, the current corporate management paradigm is a form of feudalism, with opacity and centralised authority creating an environment where best practices are subordinated to quick profits and dissent becomes an impossibility. At a time when the Indian economy is hard-pressed to attract investment, this model is unsustainable. For Brand India to retain value, there must be seen to be checks and balances. This is where auditing firms form an integral part of the system. When a corporate entity falls foul of these, there must be a transparent process of accountability. No system is without flaws witness Enron but it is only when transgressors are seen to be the exception and punitive action meticulously taken against them that credibility can be retained. Resolving this issue must go beyond subjecting those directors suspected to be involved in the Satyam fraud to the due process of law. Auditing firms are the watchmen of the entire system, and must in turn be watched. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India’s move to have all companies audited only by peer review certified firms is a good step in this regard. Further, an auditor’s association with a particular company must be for a limited period of time, reducing opportunities for long-term mutually beneficial relationships. Uncomfortable questions should also be asked of PW regarding the lack of follow-up when their auditors ignored recommendations regarding Satyam made by other PW teams. The current situation has handed the Indian corporate structure a reason to clean up its act. The opportunity must be seized.

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