LEGAL NEWS 14.04.2009

Bangalore: No Bar on Display of Religious Flags, Banners – HC
Tuesday, April 14, 2009 1:48:42 PM (IST)

Daijiworld Media Network – Bangalore (SP)
Bangalore, Apr 14: The High Court has nullified a notification issued by Puttur sub-divisional officer against the display of religious flags, banners and posters in view of the election code of conduct in force, during the annual festivals of temples.
Puttur Sri Mahalingeshwar and Sri Durga Parameshwari temple annual festivals are due to be held in April. On March 26, the sub-divisional officer through a notification had banned the display of religious banners, flags and posters relating to the annual festival.
Festival Committee convener Radhakrishna Bhat had questioned this action in the High Court. Justice N K Patil, who heard the petition, held that there is no relationship between religious programmes and election code of conduct. He has asked the sub-divisional officer to take action only if he finds banners, posters and flags connected with political parties.

Submit a/cs to provisional liquidator: HC to Subhiksha

T E Narasimhan / Chennai April 14, 2009, 0:14 IST
Subhiksha Trading Services has been told to present its trial balance accounts to a provisional liquidator (PL) appointed by the high court here and to certify the accounts before doing so.
Subhiksha has contested the appointment of a PL. It today asked the court to also stay an order to publish the institution of the PL in newspapers. The arguments on this are on. The company is to file a further reply on Wednesday.
The PL was appointed on March 31 on an application by Kotak Mahindra Bank. The order was issued by the court without hearing Subhiksha, which is another argument being used by the retailer to get it reversed. Kotak has lent Rs 40 crore to Subhiksha, which has no money now. The bank has filed a petition for the appointent a PL to terminate the firm.
Kotak said it welcomed the development and added the court and everyone else were entitled to know the details of the retail chain’s accounts, which haven’t been audited for 24 months. A PL, it noted, would take control and also audit the books.
In an e-mail response, Subhiksha’s promoter and Managing Director, R Subramanian, declined comment on the details. He said the company would consult other lenders and return with a suggestion on the way forward. The appointment of a PL, he added, would not affect the rights of the company management vis-a-vis the company except in respect of assets.

HC notice to Gehlot on Mathur panel
14 Apr 2009, 0409 hrs IST, TNN
JAIPUR: Rajasthan HC on Monday issued a notice to the state government on a petition seeking quashing of Justice N N Mathur commission which is probing allegations of corruption against the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government. The notice has been issued to the CM, chief secretary and principal secretary, personnel, besides Justice N N Mathur (retd) and two members of the commission — Inderjeet Khanna and HN Meena. The petition was filed by Kashi Purohit and Krishnamurarilal Asthana, challenging constitutional validity of the inquiry ordered by the Ashok Gehlot government.

BJP Kandhamal LS candidate Ashok Sahu moves HC for bail
Monday, April 13, 2009

Report by Orissadiary correspondent; Bhubaneswar: BJP’s Kandhamal Lok Sabha candidate Ashok Sahu moved the Orissa High Court seeking anticipatory bail on Monday. It should be noted that Sahu faces arrest for his alleged hate speech during a recent campaign in Kandhamal. This came close on the heels of the reports that Sahu was detained by Nayagarh police on Sunday night. However police let off Sahu following the absence of arrest warrant near the cops.Sahu, a retired IPS officer, ran into trouble after delivering alleged inflammatory speech before a huge audience at Raikia in the riot-hit Kandhamal on April 5. The administration had slapped a case against Sahu under section 125 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 (promoting enmity between classes in connection with elections) and section 153 (A) of IPC (promoting enmity between classes). Meanwhile the Election Commission on Saturday directed the district magistrate of Kandhamal to add two more sections – Section 505 and Section 295 – under IPC in the criminal case against Sahu.

HC issues contempt notices to Sakshi
Tuesday, April 14th, 2009
The AP High Court on Monday issued suo motu contempt notices to Sakshi newspaper, Sakshi TV channel and Ahobila Rao (Billy Rao) of IMGBharata for dragging the name of the A P High Court into a sting episode.A division bench comprising Justice Goda Raghuram and Justice P V Sanjay Kumar, which had earlier reserved its order on the IMG land case and is yet to deliver its order, specially sat on Monday though it was a holiday, in view of the latest developments.
Billy Rao, whose organisation IMG Bharata was allotted 850 acres of land on the outskirts of Hyderabad by the previous TDP regime at a nominal cost, had approached the court challenging the order of the present state government which cancelled the allotment.While the TDP regime allotted the land for developing sports and games infrastructure, the Congress regime cancelled it saying that IMG Bharata has nothing to do with sports and that it is a bogus outfit created only for the purpose of cornering valuable lands.
In the alleged sting operation carried out by Sakshi, Billy Rao was heard making many claims that he would succeed in this litigation.
The bench also ordered the DGP of the state to conduct an inquiry into the whole episode and submit a report. Contempt notices were issued to chief minister’s son and the chief of Sakshi Media Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, his news directors S Ramakrishna Reddy and Priyadarshini Ram as well. They have been ordered to respond to the notices and the matter was posted to June 2 for hearing.


The system of appointment to the higher judiciary in India needs a change, writes Sankar Sen, and alternatives have long been proposed
Recently, the Union law minister, H.R. Bhardwaj, while criticizing the present collegium system of judicial appointments, said that the judiciary, in its bid to retain its supremacy, tried to rewrite the law through the Supreme Court judgment in 1993. That had given them powers to appoint and transfer judges. According to him, merit has been ignored under the collegium system.
Article 124 of the Constitution vests the power of appointment of the Chief Justice of India and the judges of the Supreme Court in the president. The president shall make the appointment after consultation with the judges of the Supreme Court and of the high courts in the states that she deems necessary. The provision speaks of “after consultation” and not “in consultation”. In the case of the appointment of a judge other than the CJI, the chief justice will always be consulted. The appointment of high court judges is also made by the president after consultation with the CJI and the governor of the state.
From 1950, appointments of judges by governments have been broadly based on the recommendations of chief justices of the Supreme Court and the high courts, although in law, as then understood, power lay with the government in matters of appointment, except during the Emergency. It was rare for any appointment to be made without the chief justice’s concurrence.
S.P. Gupta’s case (known as the ‘First Judges’ Case’) dealt with the appointment of high court judges. The court by majority ruled that Article 217(1) of the Constitution places all the three constitutional functionaries on the same pedestal and there was no primacy given to the CJI. But this did not deal with the appointment of Supreme Court judges. In the ‘Second Judges’ Case’, in 1993, the Supreme Court ruled that the recommendation of the CJI, along with four of his seniormost colleagues, is final and the executive is bound to accept it. The court further held that the opinion of the chief justice (which means the opinion of the collegium) is determinative and binding of the president. According to one former CJI, the new meaning given by the Supreme Court amounts to virtually rewriting the relevant constitutional provisions. The new construction makes the Supreme Court and the high courts undemocratic. Even some of the former CJIs, who believed in giving power exclusively to judges, have revised their opinion in favour of the national judicial council.
In Britain, appointments of judges are made by the Lord Chancellor, who is the head of the judiciary and also a cabinet member. Nobody had questioned the independence of the British judiciary. But now voices expressing apprehension have been raised and an inquiry by the Bar Council of England headed by Iain Glidewell, a former Lord Chief Justice of Appeals, concluded that “it was politically unacceptable for a member of the government to continue to appoint high ranking judges” and recommended that an independent appointment board take over that role. In Great Britain now, the chairman of the judicial appointment commission, which selects candidates for judicial office, is headed by a layperson, according to British law.
In South Africa, under the new constitution, there is a judicial commission for the appointment of judges. The law minister is formally consulted and he does make comments on the appointees and recommendees of the judiciary that are considered with due respect and attention. In the United States of America, candidates aspiring to be judges of the federal court are grilled by the senate committee. The judiciary has no role in this. In Canada, the prime minister, in consultation with the justice minister, selects the federal court chief justice, and an independent judicial advisory committee selects the other judges.
A transparent procedure of selection has to be devised so that selected judges can command public confidence. The Malimath committee recommended that a set of guidelines be evolved regarding the relevant qualifications and attributes of character necessary to be a good judge, and also indicated the material from which this can be inferred. This may ensure that favouritism does not influence the selection. The committee said that it is more concerned about ensuring quality in appointment rather than who makes the appointment.
There is need for a national judicial commission. Matters connected with the appointments and misdemeanors of the higher judiciary should be dealt with by an independent body using transparent means instead of an unsatisfactory mechanism shrouded in secrecy. The national commission to review the Constitution strongly advised that a national judicial council be established. It proposed a national judicial commission comprising the CJI, the seniormost judge of the Supreme Court, the Union minister for law and justice and one eminent person nominated by the president after consulting the chief justice.
But the judges (inquiry) bill, introduced by the law minister two years ago, provides statutory teeth to the judiciary’s controversial in-house procedure. By proposing a national judicial commission consisting of only serving judges, he has acceded to the judiciary’s claim that processes ensuring accountability would compromise judicial independence. The fact remains that many of the corruption scandals in the judiciary can be traced to the secretive process of appointing judges. It is wrong to infer that the independence of judges requires that none but judges should deal with appointments, removal and so on.
The prime minister has said that the time has come for introspection regarding judges’ appointments for there is no doubt that the reputation of those who sit in judgment does shape our view of the judicial system. It is necessary to rethink the creation of the all India judicial service. In 1958, the first law commission suggested the constitution of an all India judicial service. The idea was that bright young law graduates successful in an all-India competitive examination should constitute the cadre and, after the prescribed training, would be posted in different states. This all-India service would then be the source of appointments to the higher judiciary on the basis of proven merit.
The author is a former member of the IPS and was director-general, National Human Rights Commission

Nepean Sea Rd residents sign up against BMC plan
14 Apr 2009, 0310 hrs IST, Sukhada Tatke, TNN
MUMBAI: Nepean Sea Road residents have undertaken a massive signature campaign to protest against the BMC’s road-widening project and supporting architect Rahul Kadri’s plan. The residents will submit the petition in the high court, which is hearing a PIL filed by them. The movement began last month and, in a door-to-door campaign, about 1,100 signatures were collected supporting Kadri’s plan. Among those who have signed the petition are actor Rahul Khanna, former sheriff Nana Chudasama and designer Sangita Kathiawad. Last month, when the BMC started felling trees to widen the road, it met with largescale protests. The civic body said widening the road had become inevitable as about a 500-m stretch of the road was a mere 40 ft in width though the rest was about 90 ft wide. “We are writing to ask that our priorities be addressed while developing the new 90-ft road from Asian Court to Embassy Apartments. The plan drafted by Kadri provides a better alternative with four lanes dedicated exclusively for uninterrupted , smooth-moving traffic,” said a resident. The plan also calls for reserving the two outer lanes of the proposed six-lane road for bus and taxi stands as well as for car parks. However, a BMC report said Kadri’s plan restricted the flow of traffic to a meagre 42 ft as compared to the 68 ft in the civic plan. “The remaining road width, therefore, becomes dead space. The presence of trees will make vehicles from this dead lane intrude into the lane reserved for traffic,” read the report. A BMC official pointed out that work would go on as directed by the court.

High Court observation stayed
J. Venkatesan
New Delhi: The Supreme Court, on Monday, stayed the critical observations of Justice V. Premkumar of the Kerala High Court that the law-and-order situation in Kerala is in a shambles.
A Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam stayed the observations of the judge contained in paragraph 4 of the order dated March 24.
The High Court had said, “law and order in the State is in a shambles; but this is least felt in the corridors of power where the current sport is electioneering. Women are afraid of walking even along busy highways and busy streets because it is there that erotic adventurers and chain snatchers operate with impunity. Highway robbery is also on the increase.”
The Bench granted stay on a special leave petition filed by the State government.
The State submitted that the Opposition parties had already started using the court’s comments to their advantage in their election.

SC asks T. Nadu govt. to reply on police officers’ plea
New Delhi (PTI):The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Tamil Nadu government to file its response to the petition of two top IPS officers seeking a stay of the Madras High Court order on their suspension for the February 19 clash between lawyers and police.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivan granted two weeks to the state government to file its response as the officers have not yet been placed under suspension.
The court on March 25 had issued notices to the Tamil Nadu government seeking their reaction to the High Court decision as the police officers have alleged that the order was passed under the threat of the lawyers’ association.
It had said the order for maintaining status quo as sought by police officers cannot be passed without knowing the stand of the state government.
Earlier, the High Court had ordered suspension of Additional Commissioner of Police A K Vishwanathan and then Joint Commissioner of Police (North) M Ramasubramani holding that prima facie a case had been made out to initiate disciplinary proceedings against them.
The two officers have challenged the order of the three-judge Bench of the High Court.

Apex court moots fast-track courts to try riot cases
Apr 13th, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday suggested that special fast-track courts should be set up to try communal riot cases to ensure victims’ confidence in the rule of law.
A bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat made the suggestion while indicating that it would ask the Gujarat High Court to designate special fast track courts in various districts of the state, which was ravaged by the 2002 communal riots.
The bench, which also included Justice Aftab Alam and Justice P. Sathasivam, mooted the idea while hearing lawsuits by the National Human Rights Commission and several other civil societies, demanding a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into 10 crucial riot cases.
The lawsuit had also demanded shifting of the trial of those cases outside Gujarat.
Rejecting the NHRC’s plea for a CBI probe into the cases, the apex court had last year formed a panel, headed by former CBI director R.K. Raghavan, to probe the cases.
After forming the Special Investigation Team (SIT), the court had also suspended the ongoing trial into the cases, which included those at Godhra, Gulbarg Society, Naroda Patiya, Best Bakery, Baranpura, Machipith, Tarsali, Raghovpura and Pandarwada.
With SIT completing a major chunk of its investigation and submitting its probe report to the apex court last month, the bench was considering the issue of trying those cases.
By indicating that it would ask the state high court to constitute fast-track courts to try the cases, the bench virtually rejected the plea of transferring their trial outside the state.
The bench had earlier asked the state government to appoint a public prosecutor to try the riot cases in consultation with SIT.
It Monday sought further suggestions from various counsel, including senior counsel Harish Salve, who was appointed by the court to assist it in adjudication of lawsuits filed by the NHRC and other civil societies.
The bench also sought suggestions on the issue of protecting witnesses and constituting a body, which could be headed by a retired high court judge, to monitor the trial of the cases. The demand was raised by senior counsel Indira Jaisingh, who appeared for a civil society.
Seeking suggestions from various parties by next Monday, the bench adjourned the matter.
Readily accepting suggestions made by the court, Gujarat government counsel Mukul Rohtagi pointed out that the probe panel headed by Rahghvan in its report has rubbished allegations made by various civil societies against the state government in their lawsuit.
The panel has noted that most of the allegations were stereotyped, without any substance, said Rohtagi, seeking the court’s permission to read excerpts of the reports.
But the court did not allow this as it had last month declared the report “confidential” and out of bound for petitioners, including the NHRC.

Godhra: SIT ‘deems Setalvad charges against Gujarat govt false’
Press Trust of IndiaNEW DELHI, April 13: The Gujarat government today told the Supreme Court that the special investigating team (SIT) probing the 2002 post-Godhra instances of rioting had deemed “false” all major charges levelled against it by an NGO headed by social activist Ms Teesta Setalvad. “Reading of the report shows that all major allegations made by the NGO (Citizens for Justice and Peace) for last five years have been found to be false by the SIT (special investigating team),” senior advocate Mr Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Gujarat government, told a Bench headed by Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat.The report of the SC-appointed SIT, placed before the Bench last month in a sealed cover, was handed over only to the state government and senior advocate Mr Harish Salve who is assisting the court as amicus curiae in the matter. Mr Rohatgi and advocate Mr Sourav Kripal said that among others, the allegation that a pregnant woman Kausar Bano’s fetus had been extracted and killed in Naroda Patiya had been found false.They said questions had been raised about the role of Ms Setalvad and the NGO’s advocate Mohammed Suhail Muhammed Husain Tirmizi who helped the witnesses file their affidavits relating to the riot cases. Rohatgi said the report of the SIT headed by former CBI director Mr RK Raghavan clearly said that the NGO, which had made the allegations against the BJP government, had given stereotype affidavits in almost all instances of rioting.The Gujarat government said affidavits had been cyclostyled and witnesses differed in their deposition before the SIT, which was apparent in the report.Advocate Ms Aparna Bhat, who was appearing for Citizens for Justice and Peace, raised objections to the state government making allegations against the two members of the NGO. However, the Bench, also comprising Justices Mr P Sathasivam and Mr Aftab Alam said it was not going into the allegations. “Justice must prevail. Truth can be arrived only if the atmosphere is there,” the Bench observed.At this point, senior advocate Ms Indra Jaising, appearing for some victims, said: “How can there be a conducive atmosphere when the government is the same?” Her plea that victims should also be provided with a copy of the SIT report was not accepted by the Bench.The SC favoured setting up of designated courts for holding trial of post-Godhra riot cases on a day-to-day basis as delay would only lead to more allegations and counter-allegations. The Bench reserved its order in this regard asking the state government, Mr Salve and Additional Solicitor General Mr Gopal Subramanium to place before it their suggestions by next Monday.At the outset, Mr Salve said the Gujarat government had accepted the report of the SIT and had filed an affidavit in its response. “By and large, there is consensus on the report,” he said, and added the “report of the SIT suggests that time has come to lift the stay on the trial as even the state government has no objection.” The SC, in its order, will also decide the issue of appointment of public prosecutor and whether there was any need to shift the trial of the cases outside Gujarat. “Riot cases as such have to be given priority in all states. It should be taken on a priority basis,” the Bench said. The Bench said it will ask Gujarat High Court to set up designated courts for trying riot cases in all districts where such cases had been registered. The Gujarat government assured the SC that it will. The SIT, which has investigated 10 cases, including the Godhra train burning, had submitted its report to the SC in March. The SC, in the last hearing, had said the confidential report would not be given to any party involved in the matter and only allowed that the copies of the main report to be given to the Gujarat government and the amicus curea. On March 26, 2008 the SC constituted the SIT to probe all cases emanating from and including the Godhra carnage.

Our honourable law makers
We feel excited about the days when we will elect representatives ~ the honourable members of the 15th Lok Sabha ~ who will look after our wellbeing for the next five years. They have been empowered to frame appropriate rules for the purpose which, we presume, they have been doing so far in right earnest. Understandably, it is not quite easy to ensure peace and prosperity for a population of over a billion. That they have so far been quite serious, at least for a few, is evident from the fact that in the count of millionaires and billionaires of the world, India holds an enviable position. They were not unkind towards themselves too. During the term just ending, they have hiked their monthly salary from Rs 12,000 to Rs 16,000, constituency allowance from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 and office expenditure from Rs 14,000 to Rs 20,000 per month. Other amenities enjoyed include accommodation, free air and railway travel, free supply of 40 lakh litres of water, 50,000 units of electricity and 150,000 units of local telephone calls per annum. An MP is entitled, even if the House works for a day after election, to a pension, along with the provision for family pension, of Rs 8,000 per month. According to an estimate, the amount paid from the public exchequer to each of the 790 honourable members of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha is around Rs 32 lakh per year. Despite all efforts by political parties of all shades, the order of the Supreme Court to declare the educational background, assets and other details, including criminal background, if any, of an intending candidate for an Assembly or parliamentary election, could not be suppressed. Such a declaration has become mandatory after March 2003. Affidavits submitted in 2004 by those elected to the 14th Lok Sabha revealed that 125 of the 538 MPs had criminal charges, including murder, rape, extortion, dacoity, kidnapping and corruption, against them. Ten such “pearls” adorned the Central Council of Ministers as well. The Union government, in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, asserted in December 2004 that there was no constitutional bar on inclusion of tainted persons in the Council of Ministers! Out of these great 125, at least 96 could have been sentenced to a minimum of two years’ imprisonment ~ a disqualification sufficient for contesting elections under the Representation of the People Act. Further, assets of those elected MPs were not quite meagre either. Over half of them had a declared asset value of Rs 50 lakh each. The Public Affairs Centre (PAC) of Bangalore made a comprehensive analysis of the affidavits. They observed that a Lok Sabha MP had an asset of Rs 1.66 crore on an average. While MPs with graduate and post-graduate qualifications had assets valued at Rs 1.37 crore, those with lower qualifications Rs 1.93 crore. Twenty-one percent of the former and 30 percent of the latter group of MPs have criminal antecedents There is no reason to believe that the candidates did not undervalue their assets. In fact, such instances are galore. Somnath Chatterjee, Speaker of the 14th Lok Sabha, reportedly said: “Who is going to check? The affidavit is nothing but useless labour.” Pranab Mukherjee, for example, declared the asset value of his flats and residential houses ~ two in Delhi and two in Kolkata ~ to be below Rs 1 crore. The real value at that time was estimated at nearly Rs 2.5 crore. For Mr Chatterjee himself, the immovable asset value of Rs 67.30 lakh shown in the affidavit has been estimated to be over Rs 7 crore! Let us recount a few incidents during the 14th Lok Sabha. Babubhai Katara, a BJP MP, was arrested by the Delhi police in April, 2007 on charges of trafficking. On the basis of a diplomatic passport of his family, he was trying to take along a woman and a minor boy passing them off as his wife and son. It came out afterwards that four more MPs were allegedly involved in human trafficking. Ten members from the Lower House as also one from the Upper were expelled in 2005 for accepting money for raising questions in respective Houses. Parliamentary history was created when the two Houses expelled them for the “cash-for-query-scam”. There was only one case of such expulsion in 1951 when the Provincial Parliament removed HG Mudgal for accepting money from Bombay bullion traders. Seats in Parliament and Assemblies could not be reserved for women during all these years. Education for children as a fundamental right could not be enacted, the Supreme Court’s instruction notwithstanding. Welfare schemes, especially those meant for the under-privileged section of society, do not reach them. Corruption is growing at all levels. India tops the list in deposit of black money with Swiss banks by politicians, bureaucrats, industrialists and others. A few months back, as a solution to the long standing problem of a large number of government bungalows being occupied unauthorisedly for long, a two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court asked for amendment of Section 441 of the Indian Penal Code to make it an unbailable offence. But our law makers refused to oblige. Condemning this attitude, the Bench observed that the government has no accountability and no respect for law. Quite dejected, one of the judges commented that “God alone can help the country”, which the other contested, saying: “Even God will not be able to help this country.” (The writer is a retired teacher of Applied Physics, Calcutta University)

Nangal MC PollsNotification on wards illegal: HC
Saurabh MalikTribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 13The Punjab and Haryana High Court found faults with a notification issued by the state of Punjab, creating different wards and fixing the number of persons to be elected from there, for elections to Nangal Municipal Council.
The Bench of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Hemant Gupta has ruled the notification, under the Delimitation of Wards of Municipalities Rules, 1972, “suffers from patent illegality and irregularity and therefore, cannot be sustained in law”.
The Bench has asked the state to finalise the delimitation of wards in accordance with law, and to conduct the election as expeditiously as possible, preferably before June.
The directions follow a bunch of two petitions filed in 2005 by Rakesh Sharma and another. In one of the petitions, the notification dated September 1, 2005, was challenged.
The petitioner had contended the elections to Municipal Council, Nangal, were due in November, 2005, but the state decided to increase the number of wards from 17 to 19.
It was claimed as many as 21 objections were received after the delimitation board’s proposal was notified by the state government, “but no weightage was found”.
On August 8, 2005, an additional secretary in the department of the local self government observed the numbering of the wards had been done from north-east and it was decided to change it from north-west.
The petitioner contended such change was contrary to the delimitation board’s recommendations. It was made effective at the instance of local member of legislative assembly belonging to the then ruling party, whereas the petitioner was a member of BJP, then in Opposition.
It was pleaded the change was effected so as to reserve the ward for women from which the petitioner was to contest the election.
The Bench ruled: The stand of the respondents that ward number was assigned starting from north-west boundary of the city is not correct….”
“If the state government was of the opinion that numbering of wards is not proper, it was expected to invite objections and suggestions again.
Having not done so, we are of the opinion that the procedure adopted by the state government violates the principles of natural justice as none of the affected persons, objectors and the voters, were made aware of the change of ward numbers.
Thus, we are of the opinion that notification suffers from patent illegality and irregularity.

HC orders reinstatement of surgeon Holds termination contrary to law
D S Chauhan
Jammu, April 13The High Court has quashed the order of termination of Dr. Suresh Bhagat, whose services were terminated for remaining on unauthorised absence from his duty and directed the state government to reinstate the petitioner forthwith.
Dr. Suresh Bhagat, an assistant surgeon in District Hospital, Poonch, applied for 90 days earned leave as his mother was admitted to the hospital.
His application was rejected on August 24, 2002, when he was directed to join his duties at the District Hospital, Poonch.
He represented against the rejection of his leave by submitting his version. The said communication received did not yield any results.
Ultimately, a notice was published in a local English daily on April 24, 2003, directing him to appear before the deputy secretary, Health and Medical Education Department, for recording of his statement. The petitioner filed representation against the said notice reiterating his family compulsions and showed his desire to rejoin his duties in case leave is not sanctioned.
The government appointed Dr S C Raina, malaria specialist, Jammu, to examine unauthorised absence from duties, who submitted his report on May 13, 2003, and recommended termination of services of petitioner with effect from date the petitioner remained on unauthorised absence, which was accepted and services of petitioner were terminated on December 9, 2003.
Justice Sunil Hali, while allowing the petition observed: “Unauthorised absence from duties does not mean automatic dismissal from service. The department should conduct an inquiry in this regard. The inquiry envisages framing of chargesheet and its service on delinquent official, to be followed by recording of evidence to prove charges as also any defence witnesses, which delinquent official likes to examine.
Thereafter, the enquiry officer makes its recommendations to the appointing authority. The official facing inquiry is required to be provided with the copy of inquiry report if it seeks to recommend punishment against the official.”
The High Court observed: “In the present case, no procedure has been followed. Even the report of the enquiry officer has not been provided to the petitioner. The mandate of serving the second show cause notice indicating proposed punishment has also not been complied with.”

SC takes a dig at govt
Questions its sincerity in checking smokingR SedhuramanLegal Correspondent
New Delhi, April 13The Supreme Court today took a dig at the Centre by asking whether it was diluting the legal provisions relating to pictorial warnings on cigarette packets and other tobacco products as part of its measures to check the burgeoning population.
Justice GS Singhvi, who was part of a Bench headed by Justice BN Agarwal, put this question to Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium while hearing a PIL which has sought a direction to the Centre to implement the relevant laws without any delay and dilution.
Unperturbed, the ASG indirectly admitted that the government had changed the pictorial warning from that of a “skull and crossed bones” to a “lung x-ray,” but maintained that the new image “is sufficiently strong” to deter tobacco users.
The ASG also made it clear that the government was determined to implement the provisions from May 31 this year despite postponing the step several times in the past. Senior counsel Indira Jaisingh, appearing for the NGO petitioner, Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), said the government was dithering on the issue and had kept diluting the pictorial warning under pressure from the manufacturers of tobacco products, putting at peril the health of the public at large.
While the picture of skull and crossed bones was internationally recognised as a warning signal, x-rays, lungs or scorpions would not have the same deterrent effect on those hooked to the cancerous habit that led to slow and painful death.

Guidelines for prevention of fire in schools

The Supreme Court today issued stringent guidelines for all government and private schools across the country to prevent accidents, similar to the July 2004 fire in a Tamil Nadu school in which 93 children were killed.
“It is the fundamental right of each and every child to receive education free from fear of security and safety. The children cannot be compelled to receive education from an unsound and unsafe building,” a Bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari said.
Observing that since the fire at the Lord Krishna Middle School in Kumbakonam some states had “moved slowly” and that safety standards varied in quality in different states, the Bench, which included Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta, said it had become imperative to direct authorities to ensure safety measures. The measures were based on the National Building Code of India, 2005.
“These delays and variations have subjected millions (of) more schoolchildren to danger from fire, earthquakes and other causes, when simple enhancements could offer much greater protection. Articles 21 and 21-A of the Constitution require that India’s school children receive education in safe schools,” the Bench said.
Under the five-point directives, aimed at giving “effect to the provisions of the Constitution,” the state and UT governments could grant recognition or affiliation to schools only after ensuring that the buildings were safe and secure from “every angle” and were constructed as per the code.

Remembering AmbedkarHe contributed significantly to making of Constitution
by P. P. Rao
ON April 14, 1891, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was born in a poor and socially disadvantaged family in Maharashtra. He became one of the outstanding leaders of his time championing the cause of the downtrodden people with great courage of conviction.
He piloted the Constitution through the Constituent Assembly with extraordinary ability. His speeches in the Assembly reflect his vast learning, depth of understanding and the ability to expound the principles underlying the provisions.
His last speech delivered on November 25, 1949, was prophetic as he voiced his apprehensions and concerns about the future of our independence and democracy. He asked: “On 26th January 1950, India will be an independent country. What would happen to her independence?”
He said: “What perturbs me greatly is the fact that not only India has once before lost her independence, but she lost it by the infidelity and treachery of some of her own people.” His anxiety was deepened by the fact that “in addition to our old enemies in the form of castes and creeds we are going to have many political parties with diverse and opposing political creeds.”
He queried: “Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above country” and answered: “This much is certain that if the parties place creed above country, our independence will be put in jeopardy a second time and probably be lost for ever. This eventuality we must all resolutely guard against. We must be determined to defend our independence with the last drop of our blood.”
His second thought was about the future of democracy. “There was a time when India was studded with republics, and even where there were monarchies, they were either elected or limited. They were never absolute.”
He cautioned against the path of devotion or hero-worship. According to him, “Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.”
He was emphatic that “We must make our political democracy a social democracy as well. Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it social democracy.” He asserted that “liberty cannot be divorced from equality, equality cannot be divorced from liberty. Nor can liberty and equality be divorced from fraternity. Without equality, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many. Equality without liberty would kill individual initiative. Without fraternity, liberty and equality could not become a natural course of things.”
Emphasising the need for promoting fraternity – a sense of common brotherhood of all the Indians – which gives unity and solidarity to social life, he said that it was going to be a very difficult task than it had been in the United States and elaborated it: “The United States has no caste problem. In India there are castes. The castes are anti-national. In the first place because they bring about separation in social life. They are anti-national also because they generate jealousy and antipathy between caste and caste. But we must overcome all these difficulties if we wish to become a nation in reality. For fraternity can be a fact only when there is a nation. Without fraternity equality and liberty will be no deeper than coats of paint.”
He pointed out the complete absence of two things in Indian society. “One of these is equality. On the social plane, we have in India a society based on the principle of graded inequality which means elevation for some and degradation for others. On the economic plane, we have a society in which there are some who have immense wealth as against many who live in abject poverty. …. In politics, we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value.”
He warned that if we continued to deny equality in our social and economic life for long, political democracy would be in peril. If this contradiction was not removed at the earliest possible moment, “those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy.”
Pointing out that power in our country had for too long been the monopoly of a few and the many are “not only beasts of burden, but also beasts of prey”, he exhorted: “these down-trodden classes are tired of being governed. They are impatient to govern themselves. This urge for self-realization in the down-trodden classes must not be allowed to devolve into a class struggle or class war. It would lead to a division ……… That would indeed be a day of disaster.”
He suggested that “the sooner room is made for the realization of their aspiration, the better for the few, the better for the country, the better for the maintenance of its independence and the better for the continuance of its democratic structure. This can only be done by the establishment of equality and fraternity in all spheres of life.”
In the words of P.B. Gajendragadkar, former Chief Justice of India, “he was a man of outstanding intelligence, who was not appreciated fully in his life time.” Contemporary writers viewed him mostly as a leader of the untouchables. Louis Fischer, American J
journalist, referred to him as “the gifted and ambitious representative” of the Dalits.
In the words of Durga Das, Chief Editor of Hindustan Times, he was “a powerful spokesman of the depressed classes who walked the stage as a latter day Moses striving to free his people from bondage.” M. Chalapathi Rau, Editor of National Herald, was impressed by Dr. Ambedkar’s “passionate attachment to social justice, his alert mind, a sharp tongue and Johnsonian look and manner”.
In the words of M.C. Chagla, former Chief Justice of Bombay High Court, Dr. Ambedkar “was an extremely able man, deeply read in politics and political science and knew the principles of Constitution-making and also of good government.”
Dr. Ambedkar did not receive his due during his life time. His portrait came to be unveiled in Parliament over three decades after his death in 1956 and ‘Bharat Ratna’, the country’s highest honour, was posthumously awarded in the year of his birth centenary.
The passage of time, far from dimming his memory, has made him more relevant. His stature has increased immensely after his death. Dr. Ambedkar’s life has a lasting meaning and a message to successive generations of our youth, in particular to the members of the weaker sections, that given the opportunities and encouragement, one can realise the fullest potential of his personality and rise to become a statesman.
The writer is a Senior Advocate, Supreme Court

Supreme Court rules in favour of PR symbol
J. Venkatesan
NEW DELHI: Even as the State goes to the first phase of the polls on April 16, the Supreme Court on Monday declined to modify its order directing the Election Commission to allot ‘rail engine’ symbol to actor Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam.
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam disposed of an application filed by the Rashtriya Krantikari Samajwadi Party (RKSP) which questioned the allotment of free symbol ‘rail engine’ to actor Chiranjeevi’s party by the court on March 27.
The counsel appearing for the RKSP said that it was a registered national-level political party and it was deprived of ‘rail engine’ symbol in Andhra Pradesh. CJI said that it had already been made clear that no special privilege would be shown to Praja Rajyam at the time of regular allotment of reserved symbol and it was purely a temporary arrangement.
After this clarification, the Bench disposed of the application without modifying its earlier order.

High Court observation stayed
J. Venkatesan
New Delhi: The Supreme Court, on Monday, stayed the critical observations of Justice V. Premkumar of the Kerala High Court that the law-and-order situation in Kerala is in a shambles.
A Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam stayed the observations of the judge contained in paragraph 4 of the order dated March 24.
The High Court had said, “law and order in the State is in a shambles; but this is least felt in the corridors of power where the current sport is electioneering. Women are afraid of walking even along busy highways and busy streets because it is there that erotic adventurers and chain snatchers operate with impunity. Highway robbery is also on the increase.”
The Bench granted stay on a special leave petition filed by the State government.
The State submitted that the Opposition parties had already started using the court’s comments to their advantage in their election.

Satyam: bail pleas withdrawn
Special Correspondent
As CBI had filed a charge sheet against the firm’s ex-bosses
Lower courts had rejected the bail pleas thrice earlier
Final hearing on CBI’s plea adjourned to April 20
HYDERABAD: The bail applications filed on behalf of the ex-bosses of Satyam Computers in a court here were withdrawn on Monday in the backdrop of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filing a charge sheet against them last week.
The defence counsels for former Satyam chairman B. Ramalinga Raju, his brother Rama Raju and former Chief Financial Officer of the company Srinivas Vadlamani filed a memo in the court of Fourth Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge T. Easwara Rao stating that they did not wish to press the bail petitions moved earlier as the CBI had filed the charge sheet. The sessions court was supposed to take up their bail pleas for the first time on Monday. The same were rejected by the lower courts thrice earlier.
ED seeks permission
Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate sought the permission of the Fourteenth Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate to interrogate in jail the Raju brothers, Mr. Srinivas Vadlamani and Price Waterhouse auditors S. Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Counsel for the directorate P. Prasad argued that the agency wanted to examine the accused to know how the money was generated from the Satyam fraud and how it was routed. Magistrate N. Victor Immanuel posted the case for hearing on April 20.
Mr. Immanuel also allowed an adjournment petition on behalf of the Rajus and Mr. Vadlamani against the plea of the CBI to subject them to lie detection and brain mapping. The final hearing on CBI’s pleawas also adjourned to April 20. The defence counsels moved the adjournment application under provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code on the ground that they were yet to secure the certified copy of the charge sheet filed by the CBI.

Case registered against KCR
Staff Reporter
HYDERABAD: The Banjara Hills police on Monday registered a case against Telangana Rashtra Samiti president K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Monday under the Prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Tribes Act following a complaint lodged by his party leader, K.P. Rambabu, alleging abuse in the name of his caste a month ago.
In his complaint, Mr. Rambabu stated that he had gone to Mr. Rao’s residence in Nandinagar of Banjara Hills on March 28 seeking party ticket from the Andhol Assembly constituency of Medak district.
Mr. Rambabu alleged that he was abused in the name of his caste and was pushed out of the room when he resisted, Banjara Hills Inspector Mohd. Iqbal Siddiqui said.

Cases being foisted against Lokayukta staff’
Staff Reporter
We will not be disturbed by this: Santosh Hegde
BANGALORE: Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde said some of the IAS officers accused of possessing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income were foisting cases and intimidating the Lokayukta police officers. “We will not be disturbed by this. They (IAS officers) want our men to move to courts,” Mr. Hegde told presspersons on Monday.
Mr. Hegde said a woman, who was questioned for possessing assets of an IAS officer, has filed a complaint against Lokayukta police inspector, the Superintendent of Police and the Additional Director-General of Police in Belgaum. “They have been booked for violation of the provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,” he said.
Forged document
The wife and father-in-law of an IAS officer in Bangalore have filed a case private complaint under Section 340 of the Criminal Procedure Code questioning the First Information Report filed by Lokayukta police against the officer. “Such a case is usually filed when the court comes to an opinion that the investigating agency has filed a case based on a forged document. But in this case the case has been filed even before a charge sheet is filed against the IAS officer,” he said.
Stating that such a conduct would not distract the Lokayukta police officers, Mr. Hegde said, “I want the people to know the atmosphere in which our officers are working. A parallel proceeding is being initiated against our officers,” he pointed out.
Mr. Hegde pointed to the way Suresh, the complainant in the case where Upparpet police inspector M.R. Mudavi was trapped, was being intimidated to withdraw the complaint filed before Lokayukta police. “His friend Ramachandrappa was abducted by some city policemen. Ramachandrappa was asked to reveal the place Suresh is living. When he refused, Ramachandrappa was threatened with a case under Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Act, where you do not get bail,” Mr. Hegde said. Suresh has put this out in writing to the Lokayukta police. Additional Director-General of Police (Lokayukta) Rupak Kumar Dutta said: “We are taking action to move the jurisdictional court for cancellation of bail granted to Mudavi. I am also writing about the incident to the Police Commissioner.”

Firm allowed to mine in undisputed area
Staff Reporter
Bangalore: A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran and Justice V.G. Sabhahit on Monday permitted a private firm at Sandur in Bellary district to resume mining in undisputed area but refused to quash an FIR registered by the State against it.
The firm, V.S. Lad, moved the court after the Government issued a notice asking it to halt mining. The Government had also seized material and equipment of the firm following a Lokayukta report.
The Lokayukta had conducted a detailed investigation into incidents of illegal mining in Bellary and he had submitted a report to the Government. Soon after receiving the report, the Government decided to suspend mining licences of some firms and also seize machinery. Advocate-General Uday Holla said all actions against the firm were taken after the Lokayukta report.
The Bench, however, ordered joint survey of the mining area leased to the firm by officials of the Survey of India, Bureau of Indian Mines and Deputy Conservator of Forests to establish if the firm had mined outside the leased area.

Metro: HC seeks suggestions
Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday asked the traders and residents of Chinmaya Mission Road in Indiranagar to place before it suggestions regarding the places where the Bangalore Metro project could go underground. A Special Bench comprising Justice V. Gopala Gowda and Justice N. Ananda made this suggestion when it was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition by the CMH Shops and Establishments and Residents’ Association and several others.
The petitioners were seeking a stay of all further proceedings by the Government in taking up the metro project in the city. Assailing the project, they said it was taken up without obtaining environmental clearance. Moreover, there was a need now to change the alignment of the metro from CMH Road to Old Madras Road. The Bench asked the petitioners to give pinpoint places where the metro could go underground and adjourned further hearing of the case.

Salem produced in Lucknow court
Lucknow: Mafia don Abu Salem was on Monday produced before the special CBI court here in connection with a fake passport case.
Special Judicial Magistrate (CBI) Saif Ahmed fixed May 5 as the next date of hearing in the case.

Petition against Waghmare may delay trial in Mumbai attack
14 Apr 2009, 1604 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: The much awaited trial in the 26/11 terror attack case may not begin on Wednesday as the special court has to first decide a petition seeking to debar lawyer Anjali Waghmare from defending the lone surviving gunman, Mohammed Amir Ajmal Kasab, on grounds of “professional misconduct”. Waghmare, appointed by the court to defend Kasab, is mired in a controversy which seems to put her in a tight spot in the wake of allegations that she had first accepted brief of a witness in this case before deciding to defend Kasab. Citing public interest, Advocate K B N Lam has moved an application before the court alleging that Waghmare had accepted the brief from Harishchandra Shrivardhankar, who was victim of attack by Kasab and his team members at Cama hospital in Mumbai on November 26 last year. He is a prime witness in the case and was seeking compensation from the government for injuries sustained in his neck during the attack. According to Lam, Waghmare had sought instructions from this witness and even signed a Vakalatnama to help him seek compensation. She had kept the court in dark about this development, Lam alleged. He contended that Waghmare cannot accept brief of accused Kasab if she had decided to appear for a witness in the same case.

Advocate held for demanding Rs 8 cr in settlement
14 Apr 2009, 0423 hrs IST, TNN
The Versova police on Monday arrested Mumbra-based advocate Wajid Syed, who demanded Rs 8 crore from Munir Khan, a self-proclaimed scientist, to make an out-of-court settlement.

AIIMS staffer granted bail
14 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: An AIIMS employee who allegedly provided fake medical certificates to Sharafat Sheikh, an alleged drug lord currently in Tihar Jail, has been granted bail by a sessions court. The police had arrested Arjun Singh (34), a lower division clerk in the skin department of AIIMS on January 29 for allegedly providing fabricated medical certificates and helping Sheikh to get parole during which he planned and committed more crimes. Additional sessions judge P S Teji accepted his bail plea on the grounds that the chargesheet in the case was already filed and there was no need for the accused to be in judicial custody. In his bail application, it was stated that the investigations were done and he had been in judicial custody for more than two months. The prosecution, however, said that his offence was grave in nature and hence should not be granted bail. “Singh made at least two medical certificates in the name of Sheikh’s child and his mother’s. Satte’s associate Sonu contacted Singh to make fake medical certificates for Sharafat. Singh got his relative Omwati Devi treated for cancer by making a fake certificate. In the certificate, he wrote Devi was Sheikh’s mother and so Sheikh was able to secure parole as well,” the prosecution had alleged. According to senior officials at AIIMS, there were several complaints against Singh and they were planning to transfer him. Earlier, Sheikh’s name came up after the January 19 Green Park encounter in which Satya Prakash alias Satte and his three associates, who were involved in several robberies, were nabbed. The police said Sheikh planned the robberies orchestrated by the gang. Police zeroed in on Singh after they found fake medical certificates in the Honda Accord car in which the gangsters were travelling at the time of the shootout. The police said during interrogation, Singh confessed that Sonu paid him Rs 30,000 for each certificate.

DVB official gets three-and-half-year jail term for bribery
13 Apr 2009, 2058 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Monday sentenced a former Delhi Vidyut Board official to three-and-half-year rigorous imprisonment for taking bribe from a businessman. Special Judge A S Yadav also imposed a fine of Rs 40,000 along with the jail term on Ashok Kumar Sehgal, then junior engineer, after holding him guilty under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Sehgal, 57, was apprehended by officials of Delhi Government’s Anti Corruption Branch on July 8, 2000 while taking a bribe of Rs 5,000 from complainant Surender Malik, who used to run a factory of dyeing clothes at Okhla Industrial Area here. According to the prosecution, the convict engineer had threatened to disconnect electric supply to the complainant’s factory in disregard to an order of the Delhi High Court, granting stay on the bill of over Rs 6.25 lakh from the Delhi Vidyut Board. The official, who was taking advantage of a typographical error with regard to complainant’s consumer number in the High Court’s order, demanded the bribe from Malik for not disconnecting the electricity. The court, following the examination of a number of witnesses including the complainant, convicted Sehgal and awarded him the prison term along with the fine.

NDPS accused moves court to go behind bars
14 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Abhinav Garg, TNN
NEW DELHI: “Muddai sust, Gawah Chust” (the prosecution isn’t interested, the witness is active). The Delhi High Court on Monday came across a case typifying this adage, albeit it is the accused, not a witness who is active here, urging he be sent to jail as his interim bail has ended, while the authorities refuse to arrest him. Justice S Muralidhar has summoned a senior official from the directorate of revenue intelligence and demanded an explanation from Tihar jail officials after his attention was drawn towards the curious case of Satpal Juneja. Juneja, an undertrial languishing in Tihar under the stringent NDPS Act for past eight years, is recuperating in a city hospital and is on an interim bail that ended earlier this month. He is accused of ferrying drugs concealed in women’s sandals and was arrested in late 2001 from IGI airport. Now, though Juneja has surrendered before a lower court on expiry of his bail, neither the DRI nor Tihar administration has yet taken any steps to arrest and bring him back to jail even though he also surrendered while still in hospital. HC has given two days to both DRI and Tihar administration to explain why despite the expiry of Juneja’s bail period, his request for extension of bail being cancelled and his having surrendered, his plea to arrest him are falling on deaf ears. “Superintendent of jail should explain why consequential steps were not taken when the petitioner didn’t report to jail on the date of expiry of the interim bail granted to him,” HC said in its order. Juneja had to move HC through his lawyer S N Gupta after jail authorities refused to take him despite his surrender, says his petition. According to Gupta, during his stint in jail, Juneja developed serious diabetes and had to be shifted for treatment to a hospital after AIIMS gave a report saying dialysis is required for him. However, last year, Tihar authorities claimed this treatment could be provided to Juneja within the jail itself and sought his transfer, due to which his interim bail wasn’t extended. In the meantime his two fingers had to be amputated because of the worsening condition. his lawyer told HC, urging it to direct Tihar to take him in so that Juneja can apply For regular bail and avail of better treatment. The DRI has chargesheeted him for trafficking heroin worth Rs 5 crore in the international market. A resident of Paharganj, he was caught during the immigration check at the airport as he was scheduled to board a British Airways flight to London, the DRI claims, adding that 10 pairs of women sandals were found in his luggage. The officials became suspicious when they discovered that the sandals appeared heavier than what they should have been. The officer cut open the soles and found the contraband packed in transparent polythene packets.

Major relief to builders
13 Apr 2009, 2359 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: The high court on Monday struck down the retrospective liability of section 15(5)(e) of the Karnataka VAT Act related to construction industry and builders.

Disposing of nearly a hundred petitions filed by builders and persons engaged in construction activity, Justice D V Shylendra Kumar quashed the notification of March 30, 2007, seeking to apply the liability of VAT from April 1, 2006. This verdict helps those involved in PWD projects, construction activity and builders as it erases varying rates of VAT on various construction materials. Narayana Chowgule and other petitioners had challenged the imposition of VAT for 2006-07 assessment year over and above the 4% composition tax already in force as unreasonable and unconstitutional. Daily Metro hearing begins A division Bench headed by Justice V Gopalagowda on Monday commenced day-to-day hearing of petitions on Namma Metro project. The hearing will continue on Wednesday. CMH Road Shopkeepers and Residents Association and others have challenged the implementation of Namma Metro project under Mysore Tramways Act, 1906. In another petition, the petitioners have prayed for taking up the project below the land to minimize land acquisitions. Action against ARO The high court has directed for suitable action against the ARO of Gandhinagar in a matter relating to goof up in registering of khatas on two big sites in Ramachandrapuram. Petitioner B R Ravi claimed that the ARO refused to consider his plea that the two sites were his ancestral property, and issued `mutation entry’ in the name of another person, K Sathyanarayana. AC order quashed The high court has quashed the March 26 order issued by Puttur AC banning buntings, banners and flags during the 11-day fair at Mahalingeswara temple in Puttur, citing code of conduct of LS polls. Sarvajanika Dharmika Uthsava Samithi filed a petition contending that the Prevention of Disfigurement rules doesn’t apply there.

Lokayukta’s Lokayukta strike rate: 105 traps in 100 days
14 Apr 2009, 0005 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: More than a trap a day. In fact, 105 in 100 days. That’s what the Lokayukta’s 2009 report card reads. As on April 9, 2009, the Lokayukta had registered 105 trap cases this year, and arrested 132 government officials for receiving bribe for an `official favour’. The revenue department tops the list of cases against its officers with 31 cases, followed by the police, and rural development and panchayati raj departments. Speaking to reporters, Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde on Monday said charge sheets have been filed in 46 cases of officials with assets disproportionate to their known sources of income, in the past four months. Sanction from the government is awaited in another 98 cases. “In most cases, the government gives sanction within three months. However, there are some exceptions in one or two cases,” he said. In 2009 so far, Lokayukta has received 924 complaints, of which 98 have been disposed of. During the same period, 1,652 old cases have been cleared, bringing down the number of pending cases to 18,744, he said. Justice Hegde rued the fact that despite repeated requests, the government has not provided more personnel to the short-staffed authority. “They gave us some police officers, but less than the number we asked for.” Justice Hegde said two senior KAS officers, whom he did not name, have filed cases against the Lokayukta police, including one against ADGP R K Dutta. One officer is said to have got his servant to lodge a `dalit atrocity’ case, while the other has lodged a complaint under Section 340 (false cases) through his wife and father-in-law. Justice Hegde added that investigation is on in some prominent cases such as the raid on IPS officer Hemanth Nimbalkar, the sand mining scam and sub-registrar offices scam. HEMANTH NIMBALKAR CASE During investigation following its raid on IPS officer Hemanth Nimbalkar, the Lokayukta sleuths have learned his wife Roopa Nimbalkar was the main financier. “Crores have been transacted through her account. Some investments have been made in the name of Milan Sellar, who has no source of income. Money was invested from Roopa’s account to purchase 6.6 acres on the Dharwad-Belgaum highway. Another investment of Rs 5 lakh has been made in his name at Jadhavnagar. Though Sellar has a PAN card, no income tax returns are filed,” Justice Hegde said. The sleuths also found two drafts of Rs 10 lakh each in Roopa’s name, issued by Gem Carriers company. There are more persons too, like Sellar, who have received money from Roopa’s account, he added. BELLARY GYMKHANA The Bellary police gymkhana, one of Nimbalkar’s initiatives, is now under the Lokayukta scanner. It was `allegedly’ started on three acres of police land without permission either from the department or the government. The chief minister, home minister, Bellary DC and others are patrons of the gymkhana. While the department has paid Rs 19 lakh, Rs 1.81 crore has been contributed by the public. The entire investment amounts to Rs 4.3 crore. “Surprisingly, there are no policemen as its members. The charge for corporate membership is Rs 1 lakh. Many politicians and mining company owners are members. We are checking all aspects as to how a police officer can build a gymkhana saying it is for better police-public relationship,” Justice Hegde said. SAND MINING Recalling the sand mining scam, which Lokayukta sleuths uncovered a few months ago, Justice Hegde said the government had sanctioned 75 acres at Talakad for sand mining. Some individuals raised an objection with regard to 40 acres and approached the high court. But, miners have realized the potential in that area and are mining illegally next to the land under litigation. “Our officers visited the area on Sunday and the mining is still on. They have placed a pipe — with a filter — extending to the middle of the Cauvery to extract sand. We will approach the HC to implead ourselves as a party and file an affidavit,” he added. REPORT ON SUB-REGISTRARS Answering a question on the investigation into dealings at sub-registrar offices, Justice Hedge said the report is almost complete and will be submitted to the government with recommendations. “How can these people register residential sites as revenue or agriculture land? If we ask, they show us a Supreme Court order that asks them to register any land coming to them. How can anyone carry out agricultural activity in 30X40 or 60X40 feet area?” The Lokayukta will give one last chance for an explanation and has summoned the inspector general of stamps and registrars, and the revenue secretary. “We will recommend action against the sub-registrars,” Justice Hegde said.

Prosecution against Cong MP withdrawn
14 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: The government on Monday issued an order to withdraw prosecution against Congress Member of Parliament V Hanumantha Rao in a pending case. In 2000, cases were booked against Hanumantha Rao along with 26 others for protesting shifting of the Government High School for Girls at Amberpet without prior intimation. Principal secretary Ajoyendra Pyal, in the GO, said Hanumantha Rao in a representation to police pleaded for withdrawal of case against him. Based on the representation to the director-general of police (DGP), the government has recommended for withdrawal of case. “After careful examination of the matter and material available on record, the government has decided to withdraw the prosecution against the accused persons,” the GO said. The accused were booked under sections 147, 448, 353, 427 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Judge denies plea to examine dropped witnesses
13 Apr 2009, 2356 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : Special Pota judge, Dr Jyotsna Yagnik on Monday rejected former special prosecutor’s plea against dropping certain witnesses in the sensitive ISI conspiracy case. Ex-special public prosecutor, VD Gajjar had last month filed an application that four witnesses in the ISI conspiracy case have been dropped, and they should be examined in the interest of justice. The Pota court had dropped four witnesses Mohammed Junaid, Ayyub Babamiya, Haiderkhan and Mushtaq Chandmiya. Gajjar, who moved out of this case an hour before he became the defence counsel for DSP NK Amin in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case last year, urged the court not to drop the witnesses, as they could prove to be important. But, the present prosecutor VP Atre and defence lawyer Ilyaskhan Pathan objected to the plea, claiming that Gajjar cannot interfere in the case after withdrawal. Judge Yagnik decided not to grant the former prosecutor’s plea and observed that taking these four persons up as witnesses might cause impediment in proceedings.

Naroda corporator sent to 5-day police remand
13 Apr 2009, 2355 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : A metropolitan court on Monday sent former BJP corporator from Naroda Ward, Vallabh Patel to police remand till April 18 in connection with the post-Godhra riots case at Naroda Gam. Naroda police arrested Patel on Sunday evening and handed him over to the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team, as he was declared an absconder after the term of anticipatory bail that got over on March 31. SIT had issued a summon to Patel. But, he did not turn up. Hence, an arrest warrant was issued against him. SIT was also intimated by a rights-based group that he had been campaigning for the party for general elections. When SIT sought a 10-day remand of Patel to know about details regarding other accused as he allegedly was one of those who led the mob, magistrate GC Gamit sent him to a five-day police custody. SIT has already arrested former minister of state for women development, child welfare and higher education Maya Kodnani, VHP leader Jaideep Patel and ex-corporator Ashok Patel in this case.

Bhatia files PIL on metro rail
14 Apr 2009, 0452 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: 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. Bhatia along with four other individuals have urged the court to restrain the Pune Municipal Corporation and the State government from inviting bids till the petition is heard and disposed. The petitioners said that PMC was considering the adoption of standard gauge with imported coaches at abnormally high cost. By adopting standard gauge instead of broad gauge, the project cost will increase exorbitantly. With standard gauge, the project cost would be Rs 230 crore per kilometer, as against Rs 180 crore if broad gauge is adopted, the petition states. They have asked the PMC and the state to adopt a comprehensive and informed decision-making process and that no proposals be finalised without public participation. The petitioners include Manohar Basrur, Vijay Kumar Rane, Ketan Gokhale and Narendra Chugh.

Chargesheet filed against builders
14 Apr 2009, 0442 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: The Deccan Gymkhana police recently filed a chargesheet against builder Shivkumar Tipanna Nelge and his brother Subhash of Law college road for allegedly forging documents to claim extra floor space index and transfer of development rights in respect of a plot at Senapati Bapat road. Assistant police inspector M K Kulkarni filed the chargesheet before judicial magistrate first class G G Itkalkar. The complaint against the builders was filed by Suryakant Madhav Shirole of Senapati Bapat road on September 20, 2007. The Nelges, partners of Sai Erectors, were arrested on November 18, 2007 and later released on bail. According to the chargesheet, Shirole had handed over a plot at Senapati Bapat road to the Nelges for development purposes in 2003. The builder had allegedly used a forged demarcation certificate, purportedly issued by the city survey office, to claim extra floor space index and transfer of development rights from the PMC which is not permissible under the Development Control rules and the development agreement signed between Shirole and others with the builder. The fact that the builder had a forged document came to light after Shirole obtained documents from the city survey office, the urban land ceiling department and the Pune Municipal Corporation under the Right to Information Act. Shirole had registered a case against the Nelges under sections 406, 465, 467, 471 and 420 read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code at the Deccan Gymkhana police station.

Court reframes charges against Vagal, others
14 Apr 2009, 0441 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: The special court here on Monday reframed charges against suspended joint commissioner of police Shridhar Sumant Vagal of the Mumbai police and others in the fake stamp paper scam. The others include assistant commissioners of police Gokul Bagaji Patil and Mohammed Chand Mulani, inspector Dattatraya Dal, sub-inspector Laxman Suryavanshi and retired deputy registrar of stamps Baban Tukaram Ranjane. The charges were reframed by special judge P R Bora, following directions of the Bombay high court while deciding the bail plea of dismissed assistant police inspector Dilip Pandurang Kamat in 2008. The charges against the five police officers and deputy registrar were reframed under relevant sections of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act. The charges were reframed after hearing the CBI special public prosecutor Raja Thakare and defence lawyers Vidhyadhar Koshe and J Shekhar. After the court proceedings, Thakare said the CBI will submit the list of witnesses to be examined before commencing the trial on April 19. The CBI will also file an application under section 294 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to enable the defence lawyers to admit or deny documents on the same day, Thakare added. Talking to TOI, Vagal and Dal said that their petition challenging the charges framed by former special judge Chitra Kiran Bhedi was pending before the Bombay high court. Vagal said that his lawyer had opposed the charges reframed against him. Earlier, the court had reframed charges against 13 suspects including ex-legislators Anil Gote and C B K Yadav, Azim Telgi, Shahida Telgi, lawyer Rashid Kulkarni and others during the last two hearings.

1 convicted for mentally challenged girl’s rape
14 Apr 2009, 0026 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The children’s court on Monday held guilty one Rajesh Bin for raping a mentally challenged minor girl. The judgment was passed on the basis of circumstantial evidence including medical reports. Agassaim police had arrested the accused, a labourer, following a complaint filed by victim’s mother on April 2, 2008. Significantly, the prosecution could not examine the 12-year-old girl due to her inability to depose. However, the prosecution proved the case with the deposition of witnesses, medical and forensic reports. The defence lawyer argued that there was no direct evidence on record as the victim was not examined before the court. There were also inconsistencies in the deposition of the witnesses raising a doubt about the prosecution’s case, the lawyer pointed out. The victim’s mother deposed before the court that she saw her daughter coming out from the room of the accused with blood on her hands. The victim indicated to her by signals what the accused had done to her. A GMC doctor, who examined the victim and the accused said that there was evidence of sexual intercourse. Considering the mother’s deposition, the president of the court Desmond D’Costa, held that the medical evidence also established the guilt of the accused beyond all reasonable doubt. It was the accused and non other who had sexual intercourse with the victim girl child on that afternoon, the judge said. The court observed that as per the central forensic science laboratory report, human blood was detected on the plastic sheet, long sleeved shirt, towel and handkerchief attached by the police from the room of the accused. The report also pointed out detection of human blood on the clothes of the victim, the judge said and convicted him for the offence of grave sexual assault and rape.

Lawyers’ groups clash in district court
14 Apr 2009, 0230 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: Groups of two lawyers entered into a scuffle with each other here inside the district court premises on Monday. The incident was reported from Wazirganj police circle. According to the police, a lawyer who identified himself as Awdhesh Singh had gone inside the court premises to submit the bail bond of his client, another lawyer, booked under charges of fraud and cheating a few days ago. The man against whom the case is lodged is Arvind Singh, charged under sections 420/467/468 of Indian Penal Code (IPC). According to Awdhesh’s complaint, when he entered the premises to submit the bail bond of his client, another lawyer Anurag Awasthi along with around half-a-dozen other lawyers tried to stop him. This led to an argument between the two parties and things turned even worse later when Anurag’s group assaulted the other party who also retaliated in a similar fashion. It was only when the Wazirganj police came to know about the incident and intervened in the matter that things came under control. Later both the parties got their complaint registered against each other and a case in the connection was lodged. Till the time of going to press, however, nobody was arrested in connection with the incident.

Murder accused sent to jail
14 Apr 2009, 0509 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The Patna police on Sunday arrested and forwarded a cloth merchant, Guru Kumar, to jail in connection with the cold-blooded murder of a BSEB retired engineer, Mithilesh Kumar Sinha (72), on Thakurbari Road under Kadamkuan police station on March 20 morning. The deceased’s family members had apprehended the alleged involvement of Kumar, with whom Sinha was having land-related dispute, said DSP (Town) Sanjay Singh. The bullet-riddled body of Sinha, who retired as BSEB joint secretary in 1996, was found close to his ancestral house on Thakurbari Road on March 20 morning. He used to live with his family members in a flat at Deo Apartment on Jagat Narayan Road in Kadamkuan locality and owed an ancestral house on Thakurbari Road. After Sinha’s killing, Kumar was traceless for some days and his shop also remained closed, Singh said, adding that recently Kumar started opening his shop for some hours. As the Kadamkuan police came to know about it, a police team raided his shop and arrested him, the DSP said, adding that he was later forwarded to jail.

Lawyers demand CBI probe, threaten stir
13 Apr 2009, 2321 hrs IST, TNN
MANGALORE: Members of the Mangalore and Udupi Bar Associations organised a protest rally condemning the murder of advocate Naushad Khasimji and submitted a memorandum demanding CBI probe into the incident here on Monday. The lawyers led by Bar Association president S P Chengappa, general secretary Ishwar N Kottari, senior member K Purushothama Poojary and others took out a protest march to the deputy commissioner’s office to submit the memorandum to the deputy commissioner V Ponnuraj. In the memorandum Chengappa urged the state government to hand over the case to CBI. Expressing distrust over the police department, he said the Bar Council is not happy with the way in which the police has investigated the case. He said police had totally tainted the process of inquiry and no justice could be expected from them. Pointing out to the increased number of untoward incidents in the region he said Dakshina Kannada district, which was once known for peaceful coexistence and harmony had turned into a sensitive district due to communal violence, terrorist and underworld activities. Consequently, there has been a rise in the number of criminal cases filed in the local courts. At the same time, there have been several incidents of assault and attempt to murder the lawyers and this has culminated in the murder of Khasimji, he said. Chengappa who was critical about the role of the police said they have totally failed to provide protection to lawyers of the district. Police did not initiate action to nab culprits in cases related to attempts by them to collect hafta by forcefully entering a lawyer’s office and attempt to murder against another lawyer. The police have not taken Khasimji’s murder also seriously, he alleged. Accusing the police of spoiling the inquiry related to the murder of Khasimji, he said the Bar Council had no faith in the police and the state government should hand over the case to CBI for inquiry failing which the lawyers’ fraternity will organise statewide protest. The Udupi Bar Association members were led by advocate Mattar Ratnakar Hegde.

HC reserves order in fee hike case
13 Apr 2009, 2142 hrs IST, TNN
KANPUR: The civil judge senior division of Kanpur nagar on Monday heard the arguments in fee hike at Santan Dharm School case and reserved the order till next date. The judge amidst lot of noise heard the arguments and fixed April 16 as the date for order. The hearing started in the post lunch session in presence of several parents of students and school management. The parents had filed a case in district court and had sought order to restrain the school management from realising the enhanced fee and one other relief. The court had granted partial injunction in favour of parents on last date restraining the college management from pressing the guardians to purchase school dress or stationary or books from a particular shop. During the arguments on Monday some parents insisted that arguments should be made in Hindi, while others protested. In between, the presiding judge stopped the arguments and retired to his chamber. He again heard the arguments after half-an-hour when there was silence. Appearing on behalf of the school Yateendra Shukla, advocate, pleaded that under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India, fundamental rights had been described and quoting them the apex court had laid down that supreme autonomy be granted to the schools and colleges and other professionals. Moreover, there was no contract between school and parents as the latter had not deposited any fee, hence their case was liable to be rejected. Naresh Tewari and one more advocate appeared for parents and they argued their point. The arguments took place in post lunch session and it lasted around one hour.

Advocates clash over chambers
13 Apr 2009, 2142 hrs IST, TNN
KANPUR: Chamber dispute took a new turn on Monday when advocates clashed with one another over possession of chambers. they broke the locks of other advocates’ rooms and ransacked them. Utter chaos prevailed on the court campus the entire day. The fighting advocates not only broke the name-plates of other advocates, but also painted the names of rival advocates and wrote their own names over them. Meanwhile, an incident of stabbing was also reported on Sunday evening when an advocate had used sharp-edged weapon against another advocate, Amresh Rai, who was treated at UHM Hospital. Advocates, who had received letters or keys of chambers, said they had applied for the rooms and paid the sum in full and final settlement. Allotment of the room to other advocates was illegal and they would not leave the chamber, but take every strep to prevent it, they warned. The latest dispute arose when general secretary of Kanpur Bar Association Indeevar Bajpai allotted chambers that were still under construction to some advocates on April 10 when the parapet of the under-construction building had collapsed. Issuing the letters and passing the keys to the allottees, he asked them to take possession of their rooms. Kanpur Bar Association (KBA) president Ganesh Dixit, when contacted, said he was not aware of allotments. The allotments should be made after drawing and discussing a policy or by lottery system. Anil Kumar Tewari, senior vice-president informed TOI that allotments were made by the general secretary. He did not know the procedure of allotment. He himself was trying to contact the general secretary, but was unable to trace him. Meanwhile, sensing trouble, the library of KBA was closed on Monday. The employees were tight-lipped about the whole incident. However, several advocates strongly criticised the act and said the entire allotment procedure was illegal. Senior advocate Awadh Kishore Tripathi alleged the general secretary had allotted chambers to his near and dear ones. Those who had deposited money were sidelined. The allotment was made in a whimsical manner. He claimed that the allotment should be made on the basis of first come first serve not to those who came late. Former president and general secretary Rama Gupta and Manju Pandey said the general secretary’s act had divided the advocates. He had allotted the chambers to those who were not practising in Kanpur court. Few income and sales tax advocates had also been obliged. The allotment were made without making and discussing any policy. They demanded a thorough inquiry into the matter and said till then, the allotment orders should be cancelled. Another advocate claimed on April 10, the district judge had asked for the collection of sample of construction material. The general secretary was not available for comment.

Court summons to Anil Ambani
14 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: The 14th additional chief metropolitan magistrate, N Victor Immanuel on Monday issued summons to Anil Dhirubhai Ambani, CMD of M/s Reliance Communications Ltd and two other officials of his company asking them to appear in person in the court on May 26 in a criminal case filed against them. P Damodar Reddy of M/s Vikas Ads filed a complaint against them saying that they did not pay him the amount for the work relating to making of sign boards.
Not only this, the Reliance company has caused him some financial loss also by claiming that it had paid him his bills before income tax authorities who had imposed fresh tax on this non-existant income, he said in his complaint.


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