LEGAL NEWS 17.04.2009

HC asks Porur panchayat to remove garbage near schools
17 Apr 2009, 0430 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: The Madras high court has directed the Porur town panchayat to remove garbage being dumped in the vicinity of two girls’ schools on School Street in Porur, posing a health hazard to students. A division bench, comprising Chief Justice H L Gokhale and Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla, took note of photographs submitted by a petitioner, who had approached the court in public interest, and passed the order. “We are of the view that this garbage ought to be shifted forthwith from the particular place. It is quite hazardous for children studying in the two schools,” the court said. Noting that students were likely to fall sick if the garbage was allowed to remain on the spot, the court directed the Porur town panchayat authorities to remove the garbage to some other appropriate place at the earliest. The matter was posted for April 27, on which day, the authorities were asked to file an affidavit reporting compliance, along with photographs showing the cleared area. In his PIL, K Subramanian of Ramapuram, sought to prohibit the town panchayat from depositing or burning garbage in close proximity to the Government Girls’ Higher Secondary School and Porur Town Panchayat Primary School. He had alleged the town panchayat was continuously dumping garbage in the spot without caring for the health of many students, including his own children, studying in the schools in the neighbourhood. He had given a representation to the chairman, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) in this regard on September 13, 2008. He sought a direction prohibiting the town panchayat from depositing the garbage or burning it in the area.

Notice to Jalgaon MLA
Friday, April 17, 2009 3:57 IST
Mumbai: Irked at the Maharashtra government’s inaction against Jalgaon MLA Rameh Choudhary, who owes the government over Rs20 lakh in fake medical bill claims, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the legislator to be made a party to the PIL.
Justice Bilal Nazki and justice VK Tahilramani asked the government why no action had been taken against Choudhary for submitting false medical bills and abusing the medical reimbursement scheme for MLAs and MLCs.
“The report filed by a high-powered committee formed by the state has said that Choudhary submitted 41 invalid medical bills and has received over Rs20 lakh from the state exchequer. This amounts to cheating and misuse of government money and is a cognisable offence,” the court noted.
Advocate general Ravi Kadam informed the court that the medical officer who had prepared the bills for Choudhary has been dismissed. Regarding action against the lawmaker, the Public Health Department would have to approach the Law and Judiciary Department.Justice Nazki said if the medical officer, who could not have refused the MLA, has been dismissed then why no action has been taken against the erring MLA. The court posted the matter for hearing on May 6. NGO Janhit Manch had filed the PIL alleging irregularities in reimbursement of medical bills of MLAs, MLCs and their family members.

Silence zone turns noisy after a month of calm, Chembur locals to move HC
Dhanya Nair
Posted: Apr 17, 2009 at 0122 hrs IST
Mumbai Somaiya Trust flouted silence zone rules, say residents
Barely a month after the Pestom Sagar Residents Association in Chembur fought tooth and nail to ensure that a barren ground near their residential complex becomes a silence zone, the residents were in for a rude shock. On April 11 the law was blatantly flouted. The residents’ association is now contemplating moving the High court with the help of Awaaz Foundation. The problem started when loudspeakers were used on ground numbers 4 and 5 of the land. “The Somaiya College premises are around 100 metres from Pestom Sagar area and whole of the ground, including ground numbers 4 and 5, come under silence zone. However, we were told that the ground does not come under the ambit,” said Sheetal Sangole, who spearheaded the campaign to bring the ground under silence zone.
“It is a blatant contempt of court and nothing else. The area has clearly been demarcated as a silence zone. There are even signs which show the same but still the law was violated. When we approached the police, they did not help us. We are planning to file another PIL in the High Court,” said Dr Vijay Sangole, President, Pestom Sagar Residents’ Association.
“The ground has been divided into five parts. And then they have stated that only parts 1, 2 and 3 come under silence zone whereas 4 and 5 are not under the ambit. How can that be when the whole area is 100 metres from an educational institute,” added Dr Sangole.
As the area is largely inhabited by senior citizens and students, they are not happy with the progress. “This place is exploited commercially throughout the year. It hosts navratri parties, marriages, private parties, where apart from using loudspeakers, even high decibel sound crackers are used. This is why we wanted to make it a silence zone. But now our efforts have been wasted as we can see that law can be easily violated,” said resident, G R Gaonkar.
“Saturday’s episode created a major havoc because it was exam time. “The entire ground, including the peripheries, comes under the silence zone. We don’t know how such things happen. Rule is rule and no one can escape it,” said Umesh Sathye, another resident.
However, when contacted, Zafar Iqbal, chief advisor to the Somaiya Trust said no rule was flouted. “We had the permission to carry on activities. In any case, the silence zone rule is for us because we are an educational trust and not for the residents or general public. When we carry out the functions, we make sure that it is within the decibel limits,” said Iqbal. When quizzed about the signs on ground number 4 and 5 he said, “As part of a trust, we can carry out certain functions for generating funds. If it irks residents they should move to court,” stated Iqbal.
The civic body’s environment officials maintained that the whole ground comes under silence zone. “Anything within 100 metres of an educational institute, hospital and court comes under silence zone. Regarding violations, the residents should approach the police,” said GH Mulik, environment officer of N-ward. “Use of any kind of loudspeakers is not allowed in silence zone. If this is a case of violation, we will look into the matter,” said DCP from Tilak Nagar, Dilip Sawant.
Sumaira Abdulali, convener of Awaaz Foundation said, “The whole of Somaiya College area was notified as silence zone. But there appears to be a lack of co-ordination between the BMC and police in implementing the law. As an NGO we will definitely help the residents take up the matter in court,” said Abdulali.

Notice to attorney general in LLB age bar case
Published: April 16,2009

Mumbai , Apr 16 The Bombay High Court today issued notice to attorney general in a PIL challenging age limit for admission to law courses (LLB).
There are two petitions in the High Court, challenging the age bar.
Bar Council of India had passed a resolution in September 2008, which said that a person above the age of 30 will not get admission to three-year LLB courses, while person above 20 will not get admission for the five-year LLB courses.
A Mumbai -based lawyer Yasmin Tavaria had filed a petition challenging the Bar&aposs resolution. Another petition was filed by Shabnam Mulani, a lady police constable who want herself to enroll for LLB.
Both the petitions maintain that age limit is not necessary, and it violates fundamental rights.
The next hearing has been adjourned till April 28.
Source: PTI

Should right to property return
Should right to property be made a fundamental right? The Supreme
Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre on a PIL, which said that the purpose for which right to property was relegated to a mere statutory right in the late 1970s is no longer relevant.
The PIL seeking restoration of the right to property in the third chapter of the Constitution, which enumerates the fundamental rights enjoyed by every citizen, argued that it was made a statutory right in 1978 to abolish large land holdings with zamindars and rich and their distribution among landless peasants.
Having achieved the purpose behind the legislative action in the late 1970s, the government should now initiate fresh measures to put `right to property back in the fundamental right basket, argued senior advocate Harish Salve on behalf of petitioner Sanjiv Kumar Agarwal of NGO `Good Governance India Foundation.
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BJP opposes move to return property in J-K
BJP today vehemently opposed any move to return property in Jammu and Kashmir to visitors from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), who have claimed back their ancestral holdings.
“We strongly oppose any move to return the property under the Jammu and Kashmir Resettlement Act. Many of them had taken part in terrorism or fought wars against India as part of the Pakistani Army,” BJP Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha V K Malhotra told reporters here.
There was neither any such provision in other parts of the country nor any “reciprocal” facilities for Hindus and Sikhs who had migrated to India from Pakistan, he said.
Malhotra regretted that while on the one hand moves were on to return property to the migrants to Pakistan, no resolution has been found to bring back the Kashmiri Pandits and even Muslims who had left the valley due to terrorism.

BJP opposes returning property to Pakistani Kashmiris
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday opposed any move to return property in Jammu and Kashmir to inhabitants of Pakistan-held Kashmir who have staked claims to ancestral assets in the state.
“We strongly oppose any move to return property under the Jammu and Kashmir Resettlement Act,” BJP MP V.K. Malhotra said here.
“Many of (the claimants) have taken part in terrorism or fought wars against India as part of the Pakistani army.”
Malhotra pointed out that there was no such provision in other parts of the country.
“Even Hindus and Sikhs who migrated from Pakistan to India do not enjoy such reciprocal facilities,” he said.
Malhotra regretted that while moves were on to return property to those who had migrated to Pakistan, there was no attempt to bring back Kashmiri Pandits and even Muslims who had left the Kashmir valley due to terrorism.

Terror posing challenges to rights promotion: CJI
Published on April 17, 2009 by admin
News4u-News Desk-New Delhi, Apr 17- Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said terror attacks and violence on basis of religion, caste and gender are posing “considerable challenges” to promotion of human rights but expressed satisfaction that safeguards are provided under the Constitution to meet these.
Addressing a South Asian human rights conference, he observed that in “an environment of insecurity and distrust” there is a tendency for “clamour for diluting safeguards such as the ‘right to fair trial’.” He underlined the need for constant vigilance over the actions of state agencies as also pro-active approach of institutions in responding to instances of exploitation by private parties.
“In south Asian region, the agenda for promotion of human rights faces considerable challenges on account of frequent terrorist attacks, communal violence, and perversive exploitation on account of caste and gender differences, Justice Balakrishnan said.
He noted that there has been “considerable debate” about aspects such as longer detention periods and the demands for custodial confessions to be considered as evidence.
“Our respective constitutions contain safeguards that have been evolved over the centuries of the common-law tradition and have been further refined by the ideas of political liberalism,” he told the gathering of human rights activists from South Asian countries.
The CJI noted that there were persistent criticism about the “lack of independence and initiative and effective powers” for National Human Rights Institutions. The public places “high expectations” on these institutions with the increasing awareness about constitutional rights, he added.
The CJI held that personnel of rights bodies should uphold a high standard of integrity in their work, saying “The public’s expectations from the human rights bodies largely depend on the participatory complaint redressal system.” He said while many nations have become parties to various treaties and conventions evolved through the UN system, there is much to be desired in the domestic implementation of various substantive rights.
“While legislative incorporation and judicial creativity lead to the absorption of some human rights norms in domestic legal systems, there was a clear need for specialised institutions to internalise the same,” he added.
“There is a special responsibility upon human rights bodies to actively confront social evils such as immoral trafficking and forced prostitution, a practice that has been described as the most prominent form of slavery in the 21st century,” he added.
Addressing the conference, NHRC Chairperson Justice S Rajendra Babu said National Human Rights Institutions have been increasingly becoming “significant players” on both international and national fronts. He, however, viewed that “effective enjoyment” of human rights calls for the establishment of national infrastructure for their protection and promotion.
The NHRC chairperson advised the rights bodies to seek amicable settlement of complaints concerning individual situation and said such disputes should be resolved through conciliation within the limits prescribed by the law.
He urged the South Asian rights bodies to consider on the possibility of meeting in every two years for “greater” cooperation and coordination of efforts towards protection and promotion of human rights and to share “best practices”.
Besides Ambassadors from South Asian countries, members and senior officers of Human Rights Commissions of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka participated in the conference along with other distinguished dignitaries.

HC rejects MP bail plea
16 Apr 2009, 2238 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Thursday rejected the bail petition of Siwan MP Mohd Shahabuddin in a case of recovery of prohibited arms and ammunitions for which he has been awarded 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment by a special sessions court in Siwan. A single bench presided by Justice K K Mandal rejected the bail when additional public prosecutor Shyameshwar Dayal submitted that this bail petition was premature as it has been filed within four months of the rejection of his bail petition by this court earlier.

Child custody: HC to hear Aussie woman
17 Apr 2009, 0338 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The HC on Thursday said that it will hear a petition filed by an Australian woman seeking custody of her child. She had claimed that her former husband-a resident of Bandra-had retained their son in violation of an Australian court order that allowed the father to take the child on a 10-day holiday. Salim’s lawyer had raised a preliminary objection to the maintainability of the petition but the judges overruled it. The judges also 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,” cautioned the judges. The court questioned the conduct of Salim who had retained the custody of the child. Salim’s lawyer Mukesh Vashi claimed that his client was a Shia Muslim and in his community, the natural guardian of a male child over two years old, was the father. The court said the points should ideally have been protested before the Australian court.

HC turns down former SP MLA’s plea
16 Apr 2009, 2316 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has refused to grant parole
to former Samajwadi Party MLA Kamlesh Pathak, who had been detained under the National Security Act (NSA) in PWD engineer Manor Kumar Gupta murder case of Auraiya. Pathak is the SP candidate from Akbarpur parliamentary seat in Kanpur Dehat. He was detained under the NSA by the order of the district magistrate, Auraiya on January 28 this year for damaging public property and committing other offences after the death of PWD engineer Manoj Kumar Gupta. Pathak approached the high court to seek his release from jail on parol for campaigning in the election. The bench comprising Justice RK Rastogi and Justice AK Roopanwal dismissed the application, saying that it was not a rare case where parole should be granted. Through a habeas corpus petition, Pathak has also challenged his detention under the NSA. Government lawyer DR Chaudhary had opposed the application of the petitioner.

Club pleas on two fake encounter cases: HC
17 Apr 2009, 0010 hrs IST, TNN
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat High Court on Thursday ordered to club two petitions regarding fake encounters Sadiq Jamal and Ishrat Jahan, and both cases will be heard together on April 23. In both cases, demands are similar as petitioners have sought independent inquiry alleging Gujarat police of killing innocent people and dubbing them as terrorist to favour a section of politicians. In January 2003, a youth from Bhavnagar was killed in an alleged encounter in Naroda in the morning while in June 2004, Ishrat, a 19-year-old girl from Mumbai was gunned down near Kotarpur water works along with three other youths in a late night operation by city crime branch. Sadiq’s brother Shabbir approached high court in 2007 and Ishrat’s mother Kausar Raza had filed a petition in 2004. Both petitions have been admitted by court and Justice KS Jhaveri has kept hearing in these cases next week.

Don’t take age bar issue lightly, HC tells govt
17 Apr 2009, 0356 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN
MUMBAI: With admissions to law colleges barely a month away, the Bombay high court on Thursday told the government of India counsel that the issue of age bar for law students was “not something to be taken lightly”. A bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S C Dharmadhikari, while issuing a notice to the attorney-general and warning the centre and Bar Council of India (BCI) to have their lawyers

present and prepared, adjourned the matter to April 28. The court was hearing a PIL filed by city advocate Yasmin Tavaria, challenging an age bar introduced by the BCI for law students from this academic year. The new rules made 30 years the maximum eligible age for the three-year LLB course and 20 years for the five-year LLB course.

Undertrial at large, HC slams Tihar, DRI for lapse…/447919/
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Express News Service Posted: Friday , Apr 17, 2009 at 0055 hrs IST
New Delhi:
The Delhi High Court has slammed the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Tihar Jail authorities for a lack of co-ordination, due to which they are yet to arrest an undertrial in a drug seizure case more than a month after his interim bail expired.
The court sought an explanation from the Director General of Tihar Jail as well as from DRI officials for not arresting Satpal Juneja, facing trial under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act for possessing more than 4 kg heroin, after his interim bail expired on February 28.
Justice S Muralidhar also issued a contempt notice to Juneja for flouting the court order issued for his surrender after it refused to extend his bail on February 25.
Directing the DRI to initiate an inquiry, Justice Muralidhar said: “It seems there is lack of co-ordination between the DRI and Tihar Jail.”
The court told Tihar officials and the DRI to file a detailed affidavit within two weeks explaining their lapses.
Juneja was arrested by the DRI in January 2001 for possessing 4.74 kg of heroin. The accused was granted interim bail in May last year by the HC on the ground of health issues. The interim bail was extended for another four months in October and expired on February 28 this year. Juneja has been at large since.

Phaseout deadline for taxis stays, says HC
Express News Service
Posted: Apr 17, 2009 at 0109 hrs IST
Mumbai The Bombay High Court has dismissed a petition filed by taxi drivers/owners, seeking extension of deadline for phasing out of taxis that are more than 25 years old.
A division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice DY Chandrachud dismissed the plea, holding that the petitioners were fully aware that they had to take such steps and they have been granted more than sufficient time for the same.
The court upheld the government move and observed that they “do not find any infirmity or illegality in the government resolution.”
“In cases of vehicles whose permits had expired and completed their span, the imposition of restriction on permit cannot be termed unreasonable and as affecting fundamental rights,” the judgment said. It further observed that the government and court have to examine the rights of an individual vis-à-vis larger public interest.
The court had earlier appointed a committee, and sought recommendations as to what relief can be granted to taxi owners/drivers who will be affected by the phase-out. The government had informed the court on Wednesday that 7,051 taxis in Mumbai are over 25 years old.
The committee said vehicle manufacturers are offering discounts up to Rs 40,000 on new vehicles. But the petitioners’ lawyers had said they expected some relief regarding warranty for CNG-fitted taxis and insurance premiums.
According to taxi unions, vehicle manufacturers do not offer warranty if a petrol-run vehicle is later modified for using CNG. It was further pointed out that the insurance premium for a petrol-engine taxi is just 0.5 per cent, while it is 4 per cent for CNG taxis.
However, the Bombay Environmental Action Group, an NGO pressing for phasing out of old taxis, had contended that Tata Motors was offering CNG-fitted taxis with warranty.

HC imposes Rs 2 lakh fine for ‘frivolous’ complaint
Express News Service
Posted: Apr 17, 2009 at 0100 hrs IST
Chandigarh In an assertive action against “frivolous” petitions, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday imposed a penalty of Rs 2 lakh on Alka Ghai, Secretary, District Red Cross Society, Ambala.
The Division Bench also set aside her appointment terming it as “fraudulent” and a case of “backdoor entry”. Ghai has been asked to pay the penalty within one month to the Haryana Legal Services Authority.
Ghai had filed a petition with the court challenging an order passed by a single judge Bench on January 25, 2008, whereby her appointment as Secretary, District Red Cross Society, Ambala, was ordered to be set aside.
The directions were passed on two petitions filed by Neelam Mohan and J R Verma, both employees with the District Red Cross Society, Ambala. The duo had alleged that Ghai’s political affiliations landed her to the secretary’s post even when she was initially appointed on contract basis on June 20, 2000.
The petitioners alleged that neither was an advertisement for the post issued nor were the employees of the society informed about the same.
In December 2000, Ghai was granted a six-month extension by the Society and was later promoted as a regular employee on February 16, 2001. The petitioners had alleged that Ghai was made a regular employee of the society in complete contravention to rules.
It was after the two challenged her appointment in the High Court that the single judge Bench set aside her appointment on January 25, 2008, terming it as illegal.
Ghai, thereafter, filed an appeal before a Division Bench which stayed the orders of the single judge bench. When the matter, however, came up for resumed hearing today, the Bench held the appeal as “frivolous” and ruled that it had “wasted the time” of the court.

HC asks ICAI to give fair hearing to PwC officials–Audit/HC-asks-ICAI-to-give-fair-hearing-to-PwC-officials/articleshow/4412119.cms
17 Apr 2009, 0058 hrs IST, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Thursday ordered the disciplinary committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to provide a fair hearing to Partha Ghosh, a Price Waterhouse (PWC) partner and a senior manager, DVP Rao, in connection with a case of alleged professional misconduct. The duo, both chartered accountants, had audited the accounts of Global Trust Bank in 2003. ICAI had, based on news reports, alleged that the external auditors had approved suspect accounts and data in RBI’s annual financial inspection (AFI) report, ordered that an inquiry be conducted by the disciplinary committee for alleged professional misconduct. “We have no hesitation in holding that the disciplinary committee has failed to act in conformity with the provision… and settled cannons of natural justice and fair play,” division bench of chief justice Swatanter Kumar and justice SC Dharmadhikari observed. The court also held that Mr Ghosh and Mr Rao had “not been given a fair deal” and their rights stand violated. Mr Ghosh and Mr Rao contended that there was significant divergence in the report of the special auditor M Bhaskar Rao, appointed by RBI for the financial year ending March 31, 2002, and the 2002 AFI report. RBI had recommended additional provision to the extent of Rs 596.3 crore, while according to the special auditor, the provision was only for Rs 373.43 crore. For the year ending March 31, 2003, the non-performing assets were shown in the notes at Rs 915.8 crore and accounts were qualified to the extent of Rs 311.61 crore, they added. However, in AFI 2003 report, RBI had recommended provisioning requirements far in excess of those contained in the report of the special auditor as well as those contained in the accounts for March 31, 2003, which had been audited by Mr Ghosh and Mr Rao. When the inquiry was being conducted by the disciplinary committee, in October, last year, the petitioners sought to cross-examine RBI’s witnesses who had knowledge of the facts stated in the chargesheet against them. But the officer did not attend the hearing and no documents were submitted. Also, attempts were made to deviate from the set procedure, the PwC officials alleged. In March this year, the members of the committee were changed and the new members did not clarify the procedure to be adopted. The order rejecting their application seeking adjournment was also not provided to Mr Ghosh and Mr Rao. The court held that a copy of the order be provided to the petitioners and until the directions are complied with, the committee should not submit its report to the Council of ICAI.

Mumbai terror: Population register in anvil, Centre tells SC
By : PIRAVI PERUMAL. M on 15 April 2009
The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks it would create the National Population Register (NPR) for nine maritime (coastal) states and four union territories by the end of 2010.”The NPR would become the master database of all usual residents, which would include citizens as well as non-citizens.”The determination of citizenship could then follow by a process of verification based on proof to be provided by each individual,” the Centre said in a status report submitted a bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishna, Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal.While listing the steps taken to check infiltration, the Centre said it is working on creating the Unique Identification (UID) and the NPR for the entire country, a process which was to be completed towards 2011.”However, following the recent attack on Mumbai on 26/11/2008, the government has decided that the National Population Register for 9 maritime states and 4 union territories in coastal areas would be created ahead of 2011 Census and identity cards issued to all the ‘usual’ residents of the coastal areas.”This would be implemented in 20098-10,” the Centre said.

Allahabad High court Additional Judges appointed
By : jyoti on 15 April 2009
Allahabad High court Additional Judges appointedIn exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 224 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint (i) Shri Ashwani Kumar Singh (ii) Shri Devendra Kumar Arora, (iii) Shri Anil Kumar, (iv) Shri Dasu Ram Azad, (v) Kumari Naheed Ara Moonis, (vi) Shri Ritu Raj Awasthi, (vii) Shri Rajesh Chandra, (viii) Shri Shyam Shankar Tiwari, (ix) Shri Yogendra Kumar Sangal, (x) Shri Kashi Nath Pandey, (xi) Shri Virendra Singh, (xii) Shri Ram Autar Singh, (xiii) Smt.jayashree Tiwari, (xiv) Shri Subhash Chandra Agarwal, (xv) Shri Yogesh Chandra Gupta, (xvi) Shri Shri Kant Tripathi, (xvii) Shri Ashok Srivastava and (xviii) Shri Virendra Kumar Dixit, to be Additional Judges of the Allahabad High Court, in that order of seniority, for a period of two years with effect from the dates they assume charge of their respective offices.

Bombay High Court Judges appointed
By : jyoti on 15 April 2009
Bombay High Court Judges appointedIn exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 217 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint (i) Shri Justice Chandrakant Laxman Pangarkar and (ii) Shri JusticeAmjad Ahtesham Sayed, Additional Judges of the Bombay High Court, to be Judges of the Bombay High Court, in that order of seniority, with effect from the dates they assume charge of their respective offices.

Delhi High Court Additional Judges appointed
By : jyoti on 15 April 2009
Delhi High Court Additional Judges appointedIn exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 224 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint (i) Shri Valmiki J.Mehta and (ii) Shri Neeraj Kishan Kaul to be Additional Judges of the Delhi High Court, in that order of seniority, for a period of two years with effect from the dates they assume charge of their respective offices.

Recent ruling brings new face to Kasab’s defence
Express News Service
Posted: Apr 17, 2009 at 0102 hrs IST
Mumbai Bombay HC judgment clears decks for private lawyer with higher fees
When special judge ML Tahilyani appointed a private lawyer, Abbas Kazmi, to defend Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone gunman captured alive for the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, he cited a recent Bombay High court judgment, by which a murder convict was set free by the court after it observed that no lawyer had represented him during the trial, not even one from the state legal aid panel.
The accused, Ramchandra Mullak (45), was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2004 and had spent over four years in prison until his appeal challenging the conviction came before the division bench of Justice FI Rebello and KU Chandiwal.
The court ruled that the sessions court order convicting Mullak was bad in law as he was unrepresented during the trial, thus denying him a right to free trial. It had conducted a trial without legal aid to the accused and flouted the basic principle of natural justice. It is the fundamental right of all accused to have access to free legal aid, the bench had said.
Mullak was sentenced by a Pune sessions court for murder charges in a case registered against him in 2003. However, during the course of the trial, a lawyer appointed by him did not turn up and the court did not appoint a legal aid panel lawyer and thus convicted him without a lawyer.
The bench, while setting aside the conviction and referring it for retrial, had observed that though it was the court’s responsibility to provide free legal aid to the accused, it failed to do so. The trial was in contravention with the rights of the accused. It further said that merely because the state had set up a legal aid cell and decided on fees, it had not discharged its duty. The fee must be reasonable to allow competent lawyers to be empaneled. Advocates not conversant with criminal procedure and various acts defeat the purpose of free legal aid, the court had said.
When an accused seeks legal aid, a senior advocate needs to be appointed as amicus curae, and most of the time senior lawyers do not work as one. It has been over a decade since fees paid to legal aid lawyers were reviewed and it is time now for the state government to do it, the bench had said.

Builders lash out at cement cartel for jacking up prices
Express News Service
Posted: Apr 16, 2009 at 0154 hrs IST
Mumbai Cement prices, which have been on the upswing despite the economic slump, have become the bone of contention between the construction industry and cement manufacturers.
On Wednesday, the Builders Association of India lashed out at the industry alleging attempts of cartelisation by the dominant players and artificial hiking of rates. Over the last four months, cement prices have gone up from Rs 230 to Rs 270 a bag. About 55% of the cement consumption is by the housing sector, another 35% by the infrastructure sector and the remaining 10% towards miscellaneous uses.
“About 49% of the cement market is controlled by four major players, including Holceim Group (ACC and Gujarat Ambuja), Kumar Birla group (Grasim and Ultratech), Jaypee Group and India Cement,” said Shankarbhai Desai of the Builders Association of India. He also said that none of the firms had taken into account the recent excise duty reduction and reduced petrol and diesel prices while pricing their product.
“It is a proven fact that there is no demand for cement and that in the last eight months not a single infrastructure tender for say the Metro, dams or concrete roads has been picked up in the market. This price rise is completely unwarranted,” said Mahesh Mudda, BAI president. He said in building construction per square feet consumes half a bag of cement and this would translate into Rs 15 per sq ft increase in the cost of the final flat.
Mudda said the landing cost of cement from Pakistan or China is much cheaper at Rs 200 and Rs 160 respectively. “Some of the border states import the cement but for us owing to the transportation costs and other taxes, it turns out to be expensive,” he said.
Terming the existing Monopoly and Restrictive Trade Practices (MRTP) Commission a toothless tiger, when it comes to controlling prices, the BAI demanded the setting up of a Cement Regulatory Authority on the lines of SEBI for stock exchange, TRAI for telecom industry and IRDA for insurance sector. Coincidentally, developers, for more than a year now, have been resisting a move by the state government to introduce a Housing Regulatory Commission to regulate the real estate sector.
Cement Manufacturers’ Association president HM Bangur maintained that the existing prices were lesser than the average prices last year. “The peak rates last year were Rs 275 a bag while now it is Rs 270 a bag. Also, the BAI’s contention that demand has fallen is wrong. It is only in metro cities like Mumbai that work has stopped as builders have lost lots of money. In secondary cities like Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Jalgaon and other places infrastructure and building work is in full swing,” said Bangur.

EC: We failed to control illegal flow of money
New Delhi, April 16The poll authority has been able to “substantially” check criminal elements entering the poll process but has failed to control illegal flow of money, Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said today.
The Commission has been able to control substantially criminal elements through various measures being implemented from time to time, he said, as the first phase of polling for 124 Lok Sabha seats spread across 17 states and UTs began.
“We believe that we have failed in doing that (curbing illegal flow of money for wooing voters). Money power is something which we have not been able to control,” he told CNN-IBN.
“Money is changing hands because it happens between givers and receivers. Only when we observe something happening through media or through complaints, we come down heavily. I do not think we have been adequately successful on this front,” he added.
Quraishi said the EC has identified 23,000 vulnerable villages and hamlets where special arrangements have been made to ensure free and fair polls. Besides, the EC has rescheduled the polling timing in the naxal-infested areas.
“The law requires that you should have eight hours of polling. Within the limits of law, we have rescheduled the poll timing so that evacuation of polling party can take place before it is dark. Our experience is that they are attacked while returning,” he said.
Regarding voters boycotting polls in certain areas, Quraishi said the EC has taken sufficient security measures to check the influence of “some forces” who prevent electors from exercising their franchise.
As a number of leaders have been issued notices for their “hate speeches”, the Commissioner said the EC has the mandate to conduct free and fair polls and it would do everything possible to give the people good election in the country. — PTI

False reply in HC costs Punjab IAS officer dear
Saurabh MalikTribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 16A false reply filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in a land acquisition matter has landed a Punjab IAS officer and several other revenue department officials in deep trouble.
Justice Ranjit Singh not only directed the imposition of Rs 50,000 costs on senior IAS officer Karan Avtar Singh, but also ordered it to be reflected in the service record. At the time of filing the reply, he was Secretary, Government of Punjab, department of public works.
This is, perhaps, the first time such heavy costs have been imposed on a bureaucrat. Justice Ranjit Singh also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on executive engineer Satish Grover for signing the false reply. A fine of Rs 20,000 each was also imposed on the revenue department officials, including a tehsildar and a kunango.
Pronouncing the orders in an open court, Justice Ranjit Singh asserted Karan Avtar Singh was the one actually responsible for ensuring the reply was proper. He apparently failed in his duty.
Justice Ranjit Singh ruled what had happened in this case had shattered the faith, which normally the court had in persons filing replies. The respondents had, initially, stated land of the petitioners Devinder Singh of Nihang Singh Wala and other similarly situated persons in Moga district had been acquired for laying Shahkot-Moga-Ramgarh road. But during the pendency of the case, they claimed land had never been acquired.
The Bench of Justice JS Khehar and Justice Nirmaljit Kaur had asserted: “This case presents an extremely deplorable state of affairs at the hands of the state government”.
As many as 76 notices were issued, requiring the petitioner and others to vacate the land in their possession within 15 days. It was alleged the land in possession of the petitioners, and others to whom notices were issued, was unauthorised.

Case against Dhoni, Bhajji
Muzaffarpur, April 16A criminal case was filed in a court here today accusing Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh of “hurting” fans by staying away from the Padma awards function.
Dhoni and Bhajji were to be honoured with the Padma Shree by President Pratibha Patil in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Senior advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha filed the case in the court of CJM Ramdarash, seeking to book the cricketers under Sections 499 (defamation), 500 (punishment for defamation), 503 (criminal intimidation) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace).
Ojha alleged that the two cricketers insulted fans and dishonoured the prestigious award by staying away from the function.
The petition is likely to come up for hearing tomorrow, he said. — PTI

Anganwari SelectionsChild development and project officer summoned
Saurabh MalikTribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 16One selection, two lists — the apparent abnormality in the selections of anganwari workers has not escaped the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s notice.
Taking a serious view of the matter, Justice Permod Kohli today directed child development and project officer, Sunam, to appear in person on May 5, the next date of hearing in the case.
Justice Kohli observed since there were two documents on record regarding the same selection, allegedly signed by the same officer, it was appropriate to find out the truth. The officer, a signatory to the two documents, shall appear in person.
Petitioner Ranjit Kaur of Sunam, in her petition against the state of Punjab and six others, had sought the quashing of an order issued by the officer, vide which less meritorious candidates had been selected for Kohrian village.
Ranjit Kaur claimed her name was recommended and approved for appointment by the officer. In an attempt to substantiate her contentions, she had annexed a list. She added a respondent approached the authorities concerned after knowing about the approval of her name. The respondent managed to get issued a new list of anganwari workers. In that list, the petitioner’s name was missing. Rather, it had been replaced by the name of one Golo.
The selection of anganwari workers had come under criticism earlier also in recent past when the Division Bench of Justice Ashutosh Mohunta and Justice Rajan Gupta had ruled the entire selection in a village in Ludhiana district was vitiated and deserved to be quashed.
Taking up a petition against the state and others respondents, the Bench had also quashed the appointment of a worker and a helper.
The petitioners had contended two respondents were selected, even though their applications were neither received by the gram panchayat, nor were their names recommended for the posts.
After perusing the entire record, the Bench ruled: We are of the considered view the entire selection deserves to be quashed. The respondents have not been able to show how the post of anganwari workers and anganwari helpers were advertised or how the same were publicised.

Punjab police head constablesTerminate ad hoc promotions, says court
Saurabh MalikTribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 16If Punjab wanted to withhold information for protecting cops holding current duty charge of head constables, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has negated its efforts.
Justice Permod Kohli directed the state of Punjab and other respondents to terminate all ad hoc promotions to the post of head constables against 10 per cent quota meant for constables of the C-II list.
The constables are promoted to the post of head constables after competing lower school course and are brought on the C-I list. Those not qualifying the course are brought on the C-II list.
The petitioners falling in C-II category had alleged that since 1992, regular promotions were not made to the posts of head constables in Amritsar district from their list maintained by the police.
During the hearing of the matter, the court directed the counsel for the respondents to inform the Bench whether the directions of the state Director-General of Police, on the withdrawal of ad hoc ranks granted to the police officials in the category, had been complied with.
Appearing on behalf of the state, senior deputy advocate-general Charu Tuli said information was being ascertained from Amritsar district. Taking note of the submission, Justice Kohli asserted: It appears the respondents are withholding the necessary information from the court with a view to continue the benefit to such persons who are holding current duty charge as head constables in contravention of rule 13.8 of the Punjab Police rules, by ignoring persons senior on the C-II list.
Disposing of the petition, Justice Kohli also directed the respondents to make promotions on regular/substantive basis, taking into consideration the seniority in the C-II list within two months commencing from June 1. The compliance report has to be submitted by August 10.
The directions follow a petition by Vijay Kumar and others against the state, 18 ad hoc head constables and other respondents.
They were seeking directions for promotions on regular basis with effect from dates cops junior to them were promoted as head constables under the C-II list.

Capt seeks exemption
Ludhiana, April 16Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has moved the Sessions Court, Ludhiana, seeking exemption from personal appearance in the City Centre Scam case due to the elections. Sessions Judge GK Rai has issued notice to the Vigilance Bureau for April 17. — OC

Notice to Haryana on marriage loan
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 16Haryana employees seeking loan from the state government for celebrating their own marriage have little to cheer.
The rules governing financial concession do not favour such loans from the state exchequer. Aggrieved by such provisions, Karnal-based Sonu Verma has moved the high court to quash rules and instructions denying facility of loan to state government employees for self-marriage.
Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice Uma Nath Singh issued notice for July 6 to the state of Haryana.

Supplementary chargesheet filed in Sarita case
Our Correspondent
Ambala, April 16The CBI filed a supplementary chargesheet in the Sarita suicide case in the court of Special Magistrate, CBI, Abdul Mazid here today.
The CBI has filed the chargesheet against five police officials of the CIA staff, Rohtak, for keeping the husband of Sarita in illegal detention and forging documents. The police officials, who have been made accused in the chargesheet are Silak Ram, Balraj, Ramphal, Ram Dhari and Randhir Singh. She committed suicide in front of the police headquarters in Panchkula on June 9 last year.

Ragging DeathCharge sheet against 4 students
Our Correspondent
Kangra, April 16The police today put in the charge sheet prepared by the police against four accused medical college students in the Aman Kachroo death case before the court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) here.
Public prosecutor Pankaj Dhiman said the charge sheet prepared by the police was presented before Judicial Magistrate (First Class) Avinash Chander Sharma by Kangra SHO Partap Thakur.
The JMIC, Kangra, would refer it to the trial court of the District and Sessions Judge, Dharamsala, for further trial proceedings.
According to the police, there are 37 witnesses, including 24 medical college students, who figure in the 194-page charge sheet against four accused—Dr Ajay Verma, Naveen Verma, Abhinav Verma and Mukul Sharma. The accused have been facing a murder charge under Section 302 of the IPC.
The final report of the post-mortem examination confirmed the preliminary autopsy report that the death of Aman was due to head injury, the police said.
The police further said it was within the purview of the District and Sessions Court whether to retain the case with itself for the trial or send it to the fast track court.
Dr Ajay and Naveen were arrested by the Kangra police following a ragging complaint lodged by principal of the college Dr Suresh Sankhyan on March 8.
The other two accused — Mukul Sharma and Abinav Verma — surrendered before the District and Sessions Judge at Dharamsala on March 10.

HIMUDA directed to pay Rs 10,000 to plot allottee
Legal Correspondent
Shimla, April 16The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has imposed costs of Rs 10,000 on the HP Housing Board and Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA) for unnecessarily harassing a plot allottee.
The commission, headed by Justice Arun Kumar Goel (retd), Passed this order on an appeal filed by Vinod Prakash Gupta wherein he had challenged the order of the Shimla Consumer Forum dismissing his compliant.
According to the complainant, he had booked a plot under the self-financing scheme floated by HIMUDA for a residential complex at New Shimla. He was registered under the scheme in December, 1990. The tentative cost of the plot was Rs 96,000.
The board revised the rate to Rs 2,84,427 and the possession of the plot was also not given in time. The complainant was informed that he had failed to deposit monthly instalments and hence he would have to pay interest at the rate of 18 per cent per annum.
According to the complainant, he had informed the board that he was ready to pay the balance amount along with interest. However, he demanded interest at the same rate on the sum deposited by him as the board had not given the plot to him within the stipulated period of time.
He filed a compliant before the consumer forum, but it was dismissed. Setting aside the order of the forum, the commission observed that the respondent was liable to pay interest on the amount deposited by the complainant at the same rate from January, 1991, till October, 1996, the date when possession was given to him.
Taking a serious note of the attitude of the board, the commission imposed costs and directed it to pay interest to the complainant from 1991 to 1996.

Court: make leaders accountable for destruction of public property
J. Venkatesan
Suggests amendments to PDPP Act
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday suggested amendments to the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act to make political parties and their leaders accountable for damage to and destruction of public property during agitations and demonstrations.
A three-judge Bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat, Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta and Justice P. Sathasivam gave this suggestion to the Union government disposing of petitions relating to the Gujjar agitation in Rajasthan and others.
The Bench accepted the recommendations of the Justice K.T. Thomas committee and senior advocate Fali Nariman on this issue and suggested stringent punishment for destruction of public property and harsh provisions for grant of bail in such cases.
Taking suo motu cognisance of the vandalism and destruction of property during the Gujjar agitation, the court had constituted committees by Justice Thomas, a former Supreme Court judge and Mr. Nariman to suggest measures to tighten the law and make political parties accountable for such damage.
The Bench quoted the Justice Thomas Committee’s report which said: “In many such cases, the leaders would really be the main offenders being the abettors of the crime. If they were allowed to be immune from prosecution proceedings, such actions would continue unabated and remain a constant or recurring affair.”
Writing the judgment, Justice Pasayat said: “The PDPP Act needs to contain [a] provision to make the leaders of the organisation, which calls for the direct action, guilty of abetment of the offence.” The Bench suggested that the police officers should be enabled “to arrange videography of the activities damaging public property.”“We are of the view that in situations where the prosecution succeeds in proving that public property has been damaged in direct actions in which accused also participated, the court should be given the power to draw a presumption that the accused is guilty of destroying public property and that it is open to the accused to rebut such presumption,” it said.
“The PDPP Act may be amended to contain provisions to that effect.”
On making leaders liable, the Bench said: “It is normally difficult to prove abetment of the offence with the help of direct evidence. This flaw can be remedied to a great extent by making an additional provision in the PDPP Act to the effect that specified categories of leaders of the organisation which make the call for direct actions resulting in damage to public property, shall be deemed to be guilty of abetment of the offence. At the same time, no innocent person, in spite of his being a leader of the organisation shall be made to suffer for the actions done by others. This requires the inclusion of a safeguard to protect such innocent leaders.”
Claims Commissioner
On payment of damages, the Bench said: “Wherever a mass destruction to property takes place due to protests or thereof, the High Court may issue suo motu action and set up machinery to investigate the damage caused and to award compensation related thereto. Where there is more than one State involved, such action may be taken by the Supreme Court. In each case, the High Court or Supreme Court, as the case may be, must appoint a sitting or retired High Court judge or a sitting or retired District judge as a Claims Commissioner to estimate the damages and investigate liability.”

Court tells panchayat to remove garbage dumped between schools
Special Correspondent
Order passed on a public interest litigation petition
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the Porur town panchayat to remove the garbage dumped between two schools at Porur, on the city’s outskirts, and dump it at some other appropriate place at the earliest.
In its order on a public interest litigation petition, the First Bench comprising the Chief Justice H.L.Gokhale and Justice F.M.Ibrahim Kalifulla, said that after seeing photographs (regarding dumping of garbage), it was clearly of the view that the garbage should be shifted forthwith. Garbage was quite hazardous to the pupils who were studying in the two institutions.
In his petition, K.Subramanian of Ambal Nagar, Ramapuram, said the Porur Town Panchayat was dumping and burning garbage between the Government Girls Higher Secondary School and Porur Town Panchayat Primary School on Porur School Street. The civic body’s action affected severely the students of two institutions. The smoke caused breathing problems.
The children of the two schools were not able to take their meal at noon because of the problem.
If dumping and burning of garbage and waste material was not stopped, it would lead to major diseases among the school children.
The authorities turned a deaf ear to all his requests, he said.
He prayed to the court to issue a direction prohibiting the town panchayat from dumping and burning of garbage and waste material in between the two schools based upon his representation in September 2008 to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.
The Bench said the town panchayat should file an affidavit reporting compliance of the court order on April 27.
It said it expected photographs of the two schools and a clean passage to be annexed with the affidavit.

Justice Adityan retires
CHENNAI: Justice A.C. Arumugaperumal Adityan, retired as a Judge of the Madras High Court on Thursday, after nearly 33 years of judicial service.
He was accorded a farewell by the Bench and the Bar at a brief function here. It was attended, among others, by Chief Justice H.L.Gokhale, other Judges and advocates. Advocate-General G. Masilamani recalled Mr. Justice Adityan’s noteworthy and unblemished record. Justice in his hands was tempered with mercy. His judgments had a touch of humane consideration and compassion. In a short span of nearly four years as a High Court Judge, he disposed of over 7600 cases both at the Principal Seat and the Madurai Bench.
Mr. Masilamani said the Bar would, for ever, remember Mr. Justice Adityan for his act of going to the rescue of advocates during the violent incidents on the High Court premises on February 19. In his response, the Judge, who was injured in the incident, said everyone should take a vow not to allow the “unfortunate incidents” to recur. — Special Correspondent

Mining in forests: HC reserves verdict
Staff Reporter
Firms have challenged single judge order
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Thursday reserved for orders appeals by several mining companies challenging a single judge order of August 7, 2008 directing the State Government “to put a hold on all mining activities in forest areas” in Karnataka.
The single judge had also called upon the State to carry out a scientific study of the effects and consequences of continued mining in forest areas, the impact of mining on the entire forest areas and also on the need to conserve forest wealth.
He had said mining (in forests) are capable of causing immense pollution, ecological imbalance and may even led to environmental disasters. The State, therefore, should undertake a scientific study of the area and avoid any such possibility.
The single judge had allowed petitions by MSPL which had challenged the grant of mining lease in Block No. 1 in Sandur in Bellary district to another private company. He said if an area had been declared as a forest, it should normally be retained without being disturbed. The area should be de-reserved only if the State Government feels that there is an inevitable need to permit non-forest activity there.
Appealing against this judgment, several mining firms said their leases came to be terminated by the Government though there were not a party to the petition. They said it is unfortunate that they were not given an opportunity of hearing. Moreover, the single judge should have confined himself to grant of mining lease and not other aspects. If the single judge so wanted, he could have posted the matter before a Division Bench instead of looking into aspects which are not part of the case.
On its part, the Government defended the notification, saying that it was issued to plug some loopholes.
A Division bench comprising the Chief Justice, P.D. Dinakaran, and Justice V.G. Sabhahit reserved the appeal for orders.

Interest waiver: banks move HC
Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: Several primary cooperative agriculture and rural development banks in the State on Wednesday petitioned the High Court against a notification by the Government withdrawing the waiver of interest on loans granted by the institutions between 2001 and 2004. The banks waived off the interest and the Government reimbursed Rs. 51.78 crore due as interest to the banks. However, on January 10, 2008, the Government issued a notification, saying that the waiver would apply only to certain categories of customers and that the banks now would have to repay Rs. 51.78 crore.

HC fiat on land records
Staff Reporter
Bangalore: A Division Bench comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice A.S. Pachhapure on Wednesday directed the State to procure records of land granted by the Bidar Land Grant Tribunal. The Bench passed the order on an appeal by ASI against a single judge order. The single judge had dismissed the ASI petition, saying that it had no locus standi in the case in which the tribunal had granted land near some historical monuments in Bidar. The single judge had partly allowed the State appeal.

Vacation judges notified
Special Correspondent
Thiruvananthapuram: The vacation judges and Division Benches of the Kerala High Court have been notified.
The judges and their sitting dates are as follows: V. Ramkumar, April 30, May 5; S. Siri Jagan, April 15, 21; Antony Dominic, April 15, 21; V.K. Mohanan, April 21, 24; V. Giri, May 8, 12, 15, 19; P.N. Ravindran, April 24, 28, 30; Thomas P. Joseph, April 15, 21; K. Surendramohan, May 15, 19; P.R. Ramachandra Menon, April 28, 30, May 5; C.K. Abdul Rahim, May 5, 8, 12; C.T. Ravikumar, May 5, 8; P. Bhavadasan, April 15, 24, 28, 30; S.S. Satheesachandran, April 24, 28; M.L. Joseph Francis, May 8, 12, 15, 19; and P.S. Gopinathan, May 15, 19.
The dates of sittings: S. Siri Jagan and Antony Dominic, April 15, 21; V.K. Mohanan and P.N. Ravindran, April 24; P.N. Ravindran and P.R. Ramachandra Menon, April 28, 30; P.R. Ramachandra Menon and C.K. Abdul Rahim, May 5; V. Giri and C.K. Abdul Rahim, May 8, 12; and V. Giri and K. Surendramohan, May 15, 19.

Kasab alleges torture, retracts confession
17 Apr 2009, 1627 hrs IST, AFP
MUMBAI: Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the terrorist on trial for last year’s Mumbai attacks, wants to retract his confession, claiming it was extracted by torture, his defence lawyer, Abbas Kazmi, told reporters on Friday. On his instruction, a retraction application has been filed, retracting the so-called alleged confession,” said the lawyer, who is defending Pakistani national Kasab. “He’s going to plead not guilty,” he added. Kazmi told reporters that Kasab claimed the confession, made to a local magistrate while he was in police custody, was “extracted out of coercion and force and it was not a voluntary confession.” He quoted Kasab as claiming he had been “physically tortured.” Earlier in court, Kasab’s lawyer said his client had told him that he “had not even reached the age of 17” when the attacks took place last November. “He is still under 18. In such circumstances he is deemed to be a juvenile and this court has no jurisdiction to try this case,” Abbas Kazmi told the trial court. The court, however, dismissed the accused application that claimed he was a ‘juvenile’. Public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam rejected the Pakistani national’s submission, saying that in both Kasab’s “confession statement” to the police and on transfer to jail, he had said he was 21″. “On the day of the incident, November 26, 2008, he had completed 21 years, two months and some 13 days,” Nikam said. Judge M L Tahiliyani asked Kasab to stand in the dock and then commented: “As one looks at accused No 1, it does not appear that he is below 17 years.” Rejecting the application, the judge added, “In my considered opinion, the plea is frivolous and intended to delay the trial.” Kasab faces a string of charges including “waging war” on India, murder, attempted murder and kidnapping. He faces the death penalty if convicted of taking part in the attacks, which left more than 160 dead and hundreds more wounded.

Kasab should be tried in juvenile court: Kazmi
17 Apr 2009, 1407 hrs IST, TIMESOFINDIA.COM
MUMBAI: A special court on Friday dismissed Mumbai terror attack accused Mohammed Ajmal Kasab’s application claiming that he is a “juvenile”. Lawyer Abbas Kazmi, who is defending Pakistani national Kasab, said his client had told him that he “had not even reached the age of 17” when the attacks took place last November. “He is still under 18. In such circumstances he is deemed to be a juvenile and this court has no jurisdiction to try this case,” Kazmi told the trial court. “The case should be transferred to the appropriate competent juvenile court. As a juvenile he should be treated as such… we cannot proceed further”. But public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam rejected the submission, saying that in both Kasab’s “confession statement” to the police and on transfer to jail, he had said he was 21″. “On the day of the incident, November 26, 2008, he had completed 21 years, two months and some 13 days,” Nikam said. Judge ML Tahiliyani asked Kasab to stand in the dock and then commented: “As one looks at accused No 1, it does not appear that he is below 17 years.” Rejecting the application, the judge added: “In my considered opinion, the plea is frivolous and intended to delay the trial.” Tahiliyani however did not rule out examining the matter again in the future. Kasab faces a string of charges including “waging war” on India, murder, attempted murder and kidnapping. He faces the death penalty if convicted of taking part in the attacks, which left more than 160 dead and hundreds more wounded.

Judge delivers verdict over video-conference
17 Apr 2009, 0343 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: Bombay high court is getting tech-savvy. Justice Nirgude delivered a judgment on Thursday via video-conferencing. He had finished hearing the matter on April 4, but was posted to the Nagpur bench as a visiting judge. Advocate Sanjay Jain, who was a lawyer for one of the parties in a flat purchasers-versus-builder fight that went in favour of the builder temporarily, said: “To my mind, this could well be among the first verdicts read out here from a judge sitting in another bench.” “It does not disrupt the court working and saves expenses,” said Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud.

Child custody: HC to hear Aussie woman
17 Apr 2009, 0338 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The HC on Thursday said that it will hear a petition filed by an Australian woman seeking custody of her child. She had claimed that her former husband-a resident of Bandra-had retained their son in violation of an Australian court order that allowed the father to take the child on a 10-day holiday. Salim’s lawyer had raised a preliminary objection to the maintainability of the petition but the judges overruled it. The judges also 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,” cautioned the judges. The court questioned the conduct of Salim who had retained the custody of the child. Salim’s lawyer Mukesh Vashi claimed that his client was a Shia Muslim and in his community, the natural guardian of a male child over two years old, was the father. The court said the points should ideally have been protested before the Australian court.

Apparel brand owner to move court against cops
17 Apr 2009, 0353 hrs IST, S Ahmed Ali, TNN
MUMBAI: Provogue owner Salil Chaturvedi, who was acquitted of storing 3 gm cocaine in the bathroom of his house, will move the Bombay high court against the police officers for “framing a false case against him”. Chaturvedi’s advocate Rizwan Merchant said, “Where did this drugs come from? The police owe us an explanation.” According to Merchant, on August 3, 2005, when the Airport police arrested Chaturvedi, he had moved an application saying he was framed by the policemen. Later, he went to the high court, after the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) failed to investigation despite directions from the NDPS court. On Wednesday, Merchant sent a letter to NCB, reminding about the probe. “We will wait for a week and then move the court,” added Merchant. NCB officials were not available for comments. The special court, while acquitting Chaturvedi in the narcotics case recently, had found several loopholes in the police report and had referred to the investigating officers as “unreliable and untrustworthy”. IPS officer Parambir Singh, who was then the additional commissioner of police supervising the probe, declined comment when asked about filing an appeal against the order. The case dates back to 2005, when the Sahar police first arrested two Provogue employees, Vishal Maghnani and Allwyn Sequira. The police claimed that Chaturvedi was “a bigtime drug supplier in the city”. Chaturvedi regularly bought drugs from three Tanzanians nationals, who were also arrested in the case, the police added. Two policemen, Sanjay Shinde and Shantilal Jadhav, who went to help Maghnani, were arrested.

25-year-old taxis must go off roads: High court
17 Apr 2009, 0151 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: Taxis that are 25 years old will have to go off the city roads, the Bombay high court ruled on Thursday. Citing the Latin legal maxim, Salus populi suprema lex (Let the good of the people be the supreme law), a division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Dhanajay Chandrachud dismissed the applications filed by taxi unions challenging a Maharashtra government notification banning 25-year-old taxis from plying the city roads. “The government and the courts have to examine the rights of individuals vis-a-vis the larger public interest. Once the larger public interest demands equity of law, both favour the notification,” said the judges. The government had banned all 25-year-old taxis from plying the city streets from December 2008, and had asked the owners to replace their vehicles. Of the 55,000 taxis in the city, around 7,051 are over 25 years old. A majority of the taxi owners-6,585- have applied for replacing their permits. In fact, 3,819 owners have already replaced their vehicles. Only 466 taxi owners have not applied for replacements.

MCOCA invoked against arrested hood
17 Apr 2009, 0601 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Delhi Police on Thursday invoked MCOCA against a “bad character” allegedly involved in at least 24 cases. The accused was arrested on Wednesday by a crime branch team after evading arrest for past four years. Jai Chand, declared a bad character by Daryaganj police station, was absconding since 2005 and was allegedly involved in at least 24 cases of murder, attempt to murder and extortion, the police said. “We have invoked the provisions of MCOCA against the accused,” said a senior police officer. He added that invoking MCOCA against the accused would help police getting confessions made before an officer not below the rank of deputy commissioner of police (DCP) and it would be admissible before the court. In another case, a crime branch team arrested four persons allegedly involved in the murder of a youth in Saraswati Vihar. Victim Vijay (26), a pickpocket in Nangloi area, was stabbed to death in March. The accused were identified as Sanjay (28), Sachin (24), Sunny (21) and Sandeep (22).

Uphaar case: CBI gives clean chit to Amod Kanth
17 Apr 2009, 1346 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The CBI has given a clean chit to former Delhi Police officer Amod Kanth, accused of illegally allowing retention of 37 extra seats in Uphaar theatre, where a fire claimed 59 lives 12 years ago. In an investigation report filed in a Delhi court, the probe agency said no criminal acts were found against any of the officials of any department other than the 16 persons chargesheeted by it in the Uphaar fire tragedy case. District and sessions Judge I K Kochhar, after perusing the report, on Friday fixed the matter for consideration for May 13. The trial court on November 28, 2007 had directed the CBI to investigate the role of Kanth, the then Deputy Commissioner of Police (licensing), who had allegedly allowed Uphaar theatre owners Sushil and Gopal Ansal to retain 37 extra seats in the balcony which had led to the closure of an exit gate. The Association of Victms of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) had sought prosecution of Kanth and other officers concerned for their negligent acts. “The due duty was not discharged even by DCP (licensing),” the then trial court had observed, while awarding varying jail terms to 12 accused including theatre owners and real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal.

National Law School legal symposium
17 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
The National Law School of India Review, a journal of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore, will host its second annual symposium on April 18-19. The event will be based on the theme `Towards unification: perspectives on investment and commercial arbitration’. It aims to act as a platform for exchange of views on the issue, with contributions from legal luminaries. The symposium will also feature critical discussions on domestic arbitration as an alluring vehicle for commercial impetus, and evaluate the Indian judiciary’s role in this context.

HC ruling on judicial exam
17 Apr 2009, 0429 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: A person who enrolls as an advocate with the state Bar Council but then goes on to take up a full-time job, including one in the judiciary, is not eligible to be a candidate for the judicial service examination, Calcutta High Court ruled on Thursday. Allowing two appeals moved by the Calcutta High Court administration against the judgment of a single bench of the court, a division Bench of Justice Pratap Ray and Justice Sadhan Gupta held that since the writ petitioners had full-time jobs, their names could no longer be on the list of advocates. And since their names were struck off the advocates’ rolls, they became ineligible to be candidates for the judicial service. An LLB degree is a must to be a candidate for the judicial service. Under the statutory provision, the moment an LLB who enrolled as an advocate takes up full-time employment, he/she is required to surrender his certificate of enrollment before the state Bar Council and can’t be considered an advocate any longer. The high court made it clear that an advocate’s job is deemed as a full-time one. Consequently, an advocate who takes up any other full-time job ceases to be an advocate, the court ruled and said an advocate can’t have any other designation unless permitted under the law. Shubhasish Muhuri, a Calcutta High Court employee and Shankar Das, additional public prosecutor of Bankura Court, moved the HC challenging the decision of its administration to cancel their candidatures for the posts of civil judges (junior division). Petitioners contended before a single Bench of Justice S P Talukdar that after obtaining an LLB degree, they were enrolled in Calcutta High Court’s Bar Council. Subsequently, they obtained full-time employment and seized to practice. They argued that despite having full-time employment, they still remained advocates and were eligible to sit for the judicial service examination. Justice Talukdar upheld their prayers. High Court administration moved appeals against the judgment. Aloke Ghosh, counsel for the administration, argued that the it was very much involved in the process of recruitment for the subordinate judiciary and the High Court possessed all powers of control and superintendence over the subordinate judiciary. Refusing to accept the view of the single judge, the division bench interpreted the statutory provisions and held that Das and Muhuri were totally misconceived.

Rights activists rope in NHRC, NCW
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.”

Untraced reports hold up cases
17 Apr 2009, 0010 hrs IST, Supriya Bhardwaj, TNN
CHANDIGARH: The system of justice delivery is a long and tortuous one, not just because courts fail to deliver in time but also when investigating agencies, an integral part of the set up, lose track somewhere down the line. Citing the reason for some 548 trials pending in city?s district courts, a source blamed it on ‘untraced’ reports filed against these. “Each month, around 50 such reports are filed by investigating agencies when they fail to track down a criminal or case property,” said a court official. While it’s mainly cases of theft of bikes, laptops and mobile phones, snatchings and burglaries that are marked untraced, noted criminal lawyer Rabindra Pandit said, “The pendency of such trials shows the incompetence of investigating agencies.” Despite the said status, it may not mean the end of an ongoing trial. “In the event of new leads, these cases are reopened, investigations completed and trials started accordingly,” said a public prosecutor. Explaining their part of the story, ASP Madhur Verma said, “It’s mainly in theft cases that we file such reports. After registration of an FIR, it is marked untraced and submitted within two months to enable the complainant claim insurance amount. But investigation goes on and the moment a gang is busted, we renew trials.” The procedures followed after submission of such reports are again time consuming. A notice is issued to the complainant to acquaint her with the status of her case. Her observation is recorded before the trial court. If she is satisfied with the probe, the untraced report is accepted by court and the case is closed. In case a complainant disagrees, a reinvestigation is ordered.

Bail application of undertrial rejected for fleeing jail twice
17 Apr 2009, 2209 hrs IST
SURAT: District and sessions court of the city rejected the bail application of a man on Thursday for escaping from police custody and having physical relations with a minor girl. Ruling it an offence prima facie, the court said that as the accused had fled police custody earlier, he could not be granted bail. Court sources said that Rameshgiri Goswami, resident of Kubernagar in Varaccha, wanted to marry off his 15-year-old daughter Vandana to a boy she didn’t like. So she eloped with Kanu Gohil, a resident of Varsha Society, on July 1,2006. Gohil was a major at the time of the incident. Since the girl was a minor then, an offence of abduction and rape was registered against Gohil. The couple was caught on July 22, 2006, from Nadrakh village of Una taluka in Junagadh district which is near to Gohil’s native place. The court then sent Gohil to judicial custody and the girl to Nari Sarakshan Gruh. The former’s bail application was rejected on September 22 that year, but he fled from custody on December 7. He picked up the girl and went to Kutwada village of Bhavnagar district, his native. Both got married in a temple. Vandana gave birth to a baby girl named Darshita on October 9, 2007. A few days later, she attained the age of 18, so the couple returned to Surat. Here, Gohil was caught by police on March 15, 2009. He was held for abduction of a minor girl and for fleeing police custody. At present, he is in judicial custody. District and sessions judge RV Dave, who rejected his bail plea, has noted in his order that the latter might flee again if given bail. source: sandesh

Bail of 2 accused in drug case rejected
17 Apr 2009, 2208 hrs IST
SURAT: A court on Thursday rejected the anticipatory bail application of Gadhesariya brothers two accused caught with a consignment of ketamine drug in Vapi. According to the case details, director of revenue intelligence (DRI) officials had nabbed Jayesh Vadaliya, who had come to collect a parcel of a chemical consignment from Chaudhary Roadways, a firm in Vapi GIDC on March 6, 2009. “The chemical was detected as contraband ketamine after its forensic test. There was 25kg of ketamine worth Rs 2.50 crore in international market. Ketamine is taken as alternative of brown sugar, heroin, marijuana and other narcotics. Its abuse is witnessed mostly in rave parties,” said a DRI official. “In his interrogation, Jayesh said that the consignment was sought by Sanjay Gadhesariya and his brother Kishan Gadhesariya,” the official said. “Following this, raids were conducted at offices of both brothers. However, the duo had fled and had applied for anticipatory bail,” he added. Meanwhile, the court rejected their bail application, stating that the DRI’s proceedings were proper and that the accused were absconding even after being issued with summons. The court also observed while rejecting the bail that one of the accused, Sanjay, had sought ketamine consignment from Aurangabad in Maharashtra eight times in the past. Source: Sandesh

Notice issued to Mangalore Refinieries
17 Apr 2009, 2236 hrs IST, TNN
MANGALORE: Deputy commissoner and head of District Disaster Management Authority V Ponnuraj has issued a notice to Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals Limited for not informing the authority about a ‘minor’ fire that broke out in the cooling tower of phase I of the refinery on Friday. “The company is mandated under the Disaster Management Act to inform the authority immediately and they have failed to do so,” he told TOI. Ponnuraj said, according to preliminary reports received by him, the fire was a “small fire” and was immediately controlled. The deputy director of factories, division I, department of factories and boilers, M N Jakkannavar, personnel of fire and emergency services, and the local police too visited the accident site to ascertain the veracity and the scale and magnitude of the incident, and its impact, if any, Ponnuraj added. Lekshmi M Kumaran, DGM, Corporate Communications MRPL stated, contrary to wild reports reaching the media, there has been no raging fire incident and damage worth crores at MRPL Refinery. “There was a minor fire in cooling tower of phase I of the refinery in the forenoon which was put out by the fire tender at MRPL. The refinery operations continue unaffected and the fire is not a reportable fire. Jakkannavar could not be reached for comment.

17 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST
Millions of Indians have begun to exercise their right to vote in order to elect a new Parliament. The exercise, which began on Thursday, is a celebration and an affirmation of the idea of India as a democratic republic. The size of the electorate 714 million and the complexity of issues which influence the electoral process have made Indian elections a unique phenomenon in the democratic world. It is only natural that groups opposed to the idea of a democratic India choose this occasion to advertise their extremist views. The Maoist violence that disrupted the polling process in pockets of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa was expected. Even though 18 people including unarmed civilians authorized to conduct polls and security personnel were killed in the attacks, the violence was random and sporadic. Since Maoist groups lack a mass base to enforce a poll boycott, they use hit-and-run tactics to scare voters. Maoists perceive electoral democracy as an ideological counterpoint to their politics of capturing the state with arms and the threat of violence. Elections, naturally, are a red rag for them. Sure, security forces are responsible primarily for handling the Maoist threat, but elected representatives must ensure the effective delivery of public services to reinforce the trust of people in democracy and marginalise violent opponents. We hope these elections will throw up responsible representatives so that extremism is eclipsed by democracy. The decision of moderate groups in the Hurriyat Conference not to issue a poll boycott in Jammu & Kashmir is a welcome development in this context. Voters in the Valley rebuffed the boycott call issued by militant groups and the Hurriyat during the assembly elections in 2008 because they saw polls as an opportunity to participate in state affairs and influence public policies. The Hurriyat seems to have accepted the popular will. In any case, poll boycott calls have rarely succeeded in India. Exceptions were elections in J&K, Punjab and Assam when they were held under extraordinary situations. Maoists have threatened voters to stay home during elections in the past as well but rarely have they succeeded. Not surprisingly, polling has been reasonably high despite a climate of fear. Poll violence, like boycott exhortations, is not a new phenomenon in India, but its roots and pattern have changed over the years. In the past, poll violence originated in the caste structure of society and manifested itself as denial of voting rights of oppressed communities by the higher castes. Social churning since independence an outcome of electoral democracy has democratized society and deepened the electoral process. Advances in technology and an assertive Election Commission have also helped. The threat to elections is largely from external players, like the Maoists, who see a successful electoral democracy as a negation of their political beliefs. Hopefully, they too will see reason someday.


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