LEGAL NEWS 19.04.2009

Judiciary failed to protect rights, punish culprits’

Wasim KhalidSrinagar, April 18: Depicting the helplessness of judiciary in protecting the human rights in the conflict torn State, legal and human rights experts on Saturday deliberated on the various shortcomings of the constitutional and legal redresss mechanism.They were speaking at the release function of a study “In Search of Vanished Blood” published by South Asia Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR) with ground work done by a team of young lawyers from Centre for Law and Development (CLD), a Srinagar based advocacy group.The main thrust of the study is based on an examination of 88 petitions of alleged enforced disappearances filed before the Srinagar Bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court during the period of 1990 2004.Speaking on the occasion, President High Court Bar Association Mian Abdul Qayoom said gross human rights violations have been committed by armed forces in the state, but they have been never held accountable.“High Court has not done anything. Even no contempt has been initiated as troops have refused to implement many court orders,” he added.He said around 60,000 habeas corpus petitions have been filed in Jammu and Kashmir High Court challenging detention, custodial killings and other cases of human rights abuses.“Rule of jungle is prevailing in Kashmir. Troops can open fire on a person on mere suspicion since they are vested with unbridled powers,” Qayoom said.He said just as AFSPA gives impunity to troopers to kill any person, Disturbed Areas Act also gives the same power to police.Noted journalist, Ved Bhasin said the victims of HR violations have been denied justice.“It is a job of legal luminaries and HR activists to document cases about failures of Indian democracy,” Bhasin said.He added that India media has also failed to report the suffering of Kashmiris.Noted lawyer, Zaffar Shah said law has reached a vanishing state in Jammu and Kashmir.“At many instances, habeas corpus petitions have failed since people were physically eliminated over the years,” Shah said.Speaking on the occasion, editor of the report, Ashok Agarwal said, “The book has shown how High Court has not been able to deliver justice. We have also shown callous attitude of troopers towards the court orders.”The book was released by former justice of Calcutta High Court D K Basu, who was also the chief guest on the occasion.“The book is commendable,” Basu said. “I did not know Kashmiris have suffered so much. The report has opened my eyes.”Commenting on the report, noted human rights activist and Secretary General SAFHR, Tapan Bose said, “The book shows how victims turned towards law, and what law did for them.”In his presidential address, former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, B A Kirmani while defending the judiciary said when whole off the state machinery was paralysed, the courts were at the disposal of common man. “JK High Court has reviewed large number of habeas corpus cases and disposed them,” Kirmani claimed.

Disabled teacher moves court for civic amenities
Mohan Kumar Posted: Sunday , Apr 19, 2009 at 0314 hrs IST
Mumbai: Constant load-shedding and irregular functioning of amenities in a CIDCO-constructed building has forced a permanently disabled woman to move the Bombay High Court after failing to get any relief from the authorities concerned.
For Vijaya Kalan, whose one half of the body is paralysed due to a permanent disability known as Hemiplegia, life is a struggle to get to her seventh floor apartment, as the elevators do not function most of the times due to shortage and irregular supply of electricity in the area. Kalan, who teaches at a BMC-run school, also suffers from cardiac problems, due to which she is facing tremendous difficulties while climbing and alighting the staircase.
Kalan had purchased the flat in July 2004, after requesting CIDCO to consider allotting a flat to her on sympathetic grounds. As she was in need of immediate residential premises, she bought the last vacant flat measuring 700 square feet on the seventh floor of Parijat Co-operative Housing Society in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai. Kalan, along with her husband, had pointed out these difficulties to the society members in April 2005, when it was decided that the generator would be replenished with diesel and operated at the earliest. “However, that still remains to be done,” petition states. Kalan then approached the Managing Director of CIDCO to sort the issue.
She received a reply from the Executive Engineer (Electric) stating that there was sufficient diesel in the generator and instructed the society to keep the generator in the auto mode. Subsequently, the July 26 deluge added to her woes as the elevator remained shut for 15 days. She again raised the issue with the society members during their general body meeting, but in vain.
She later received a letter from the chairman of the society stating that CIDCO has provided the amenities but the society could not afford to maintain the generator. Kalam also alleges that she and her husband were mistreated in the society’s office, following which she lodged a complaint with the Kalamboli police.
As things were getting impossible, she requested CIDCO to allot her a flat on the ground floor in any of the buildings in the complex. CIDCO, however, replied that she cannot be allotted a ground floor flat. “Through RTI we also learned that since 1995, CIDCO has not allotted any flats under the handicapped category,” said her husband. She then moved the Lok Ayukta and India Centre for Human Rights, where notices were issued and replies were filed by the various authorities.
After having failed in her consistent efforts and attempts to persuade the authorities to take adequate steps, she wrote a letter to the Chief Minister apprising him about the problem and the apathy faced by her. She requested for allotment of a flat of an equivalent area in the same complex for which she was willing to pay.
According to the petition, during these times she had suffered a stroke and also fractured her arm once due to absence of railings on the staircase.
She has now urged the court to direct CIDCO to allot her the flat and also for action against the parties for unjust treatment meted out to her. “The court has issued notices to all the respondents and the case will come up for hearing in due course,” said lawyer Jamshed Mistry.

No medical aid to wife amounts to neglect: HC
19 Apr 2009, 0008 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: Refusal to provide medical treatment to a wife amounts to “neglect” by the husband and entitles her to maintenance, the Bombay high court has ruled. Hearing a petition filed by Seema Gaikwad, a 26-year-old woman from Nandurbar, Justice S S Shinde asked her husband Manish Gaikwad to pay Rs 500 per month as maintenance. The judge also allowed the woman to move the magistrate’s court to seek enhancement of the maintenance amount. “During the ailment of the wife, refusal to give (her) medical treatment/aid amounts to refusal and neglecting the wife,” said the judge while quashing an order of a subordinate court denying her maintenance. Seema-who has two daughters and a son with Manish-had filed the petition in 2004, when, at the time of her third pregnancy, her husband failed to provide her with the necessary treatment. Seema’s plea was filed under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which states that if a man “neglects or refuses to maintain” his wife or minor or physically/mentally challenged child or his parents, then the court can order such a person to shell out maintenance. For a wife, the crucial ingredients she has to prove is that her husband neglected her and refused to maintain her, she is unable to maintain herself and that she has enough reason to live separately. In the present case, the couple had been married for seven years when Seema became pregnant with her third child and fell ill. She claimed that despite repeated pleas, her husband did not make arrangements for her treatment. After she delivered her daughter, she went to stay with her parents. Seema alleged that subsequently, her husband threatened her and refused to let her return to her matrimonial
home. In court, Manish produced a deed of 1999 and claimed that his land had been mortgaged for Rs 20,000 to finance Seema’s medical expenses. The magistrate, however, pointed out that Seema had fallen ill only in 2003. Further, the court noted that the sentence “the amount was borrowed for the purpose of medical treatment of Seema” was in another ink and appeared to have been inserted at a later date. The magistrate directed Manish to pay Seema maintenance, but a sessions court set aside the order in 2007 saying she had refused to go back to her husband. That court also held that “whatever was possible for the husband to give medical treatment has been done by (him).” The high court quashed the 2007 order and called the sessions court verdict “cryptic” and unsustainable in law”. The court said Seema had reason to stay separately as her husband had threatened her and asked him to pay the maintenance amount.

Lagaan chinkara case: HC moved to quash stay order
Express News Service Posted: Sunday , Apr 19, 2009 at 0055 hrs IST
Rajkot: The Gir Nature Club, a Saurashtra-based NGO working in the area of wildlife protection, has moved the Gujarat High Court, seeking to quash a stay order by it on the proceedings of a Bhuj court against actor-producer Aamir Khan and other team members of the Oscar nominated movie Lagaan, allegedly for cruelty to a chinkara during filming in 2000. The hearing is slated for April 23.
In 2006, the GRC had raised allegations that the Schedule-I animal was illegally filmed and kept captive, which led to its death. Khan, his former wife and co-producer Reena Dutta, director Ashutosh Gowariker, along with other two unit members, Belle Shirnivas Rao and Anil Mehta were booked for violation of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
After the issue was raised by the GNC in 2006, assistant conservator of forest J V Vyas filed a police complaint in 2008, following an inquiry. This led to the issue of bailable warrants against the five accused by the Bhuj court in April 2008.
Khan and the team got a respite from the Gujarat High Court by getting a stay on the Bhuj court proceedings, in April 2008.
GNC president Amit Jethva said: “We have moved the HC, seeking to quash the stay on proceedings by the Bhuj court.”
Jethva also filed another plea seeking to make him an applicant in the case. So far the applicant is the Gujarat State Forest Department.
Jethva added: “As it was GNC which had raised the issue that led to the investigation, the filing of the complaint and the issue of the warrants, we would like to become an applicant in the case.”
At the time of getting the stay in his favour, Khan had told the high court that they did not use a real chinkara. The scene was created using computer graphics.
The forest department, however, has alleged that the chinkara footage was taken without its permission. The filming of the animal is prohibited without the permission of the forest department.

Aggrieved sopo contractor’s petition dismissed by HC
18 Apr 2009, 0511 hrs IST, TNN
MARGAO: Attempts by an aggrieved sopo contractor, alleged to have been acting as a “dummy” for previous defaulters, to engage the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) in a legal tangle, miserably failed with the high court of Bombay at Goa dismissing the petition on Friday. The petitioner, Samir Chari, had filed the petition before the court challenging the decision of the civic body to withdraw its letter of acceptance acknowledging him as the highest bidder. Chari had participated in the auction bid for sopo collection on behalf of the MMC from April 09 to March 2010. It may be recalled that though Chari emerged as the highest bidder, MMC chairperson Savio Coutinho accused him of being a dummy of previous sopo contractors who had defaulted in sopo collection payments to the MMC. Coutinho’s contention was that it was the same person who participated in the auction under proxy names every year and subsequently defaulted in payments thus putting the MMC in the red. Upon Coutinho’s insistence, the MMC withdrew the letter of acceptance given to Chari for the bid on the grounds that he didn’t furnish the bank guarantee thus failing to meet the criterion for awarding the contract. Chari, on the other claimed that he had already deposited an EMD of Rs 1,97,083 and security deposit of Rs 3,94,167 in lieu of bank guarantee. Apparently aggrieved by the decision, Chari moved the court. It was Chari’s contention that the withdrawal of the acceptance letter by the MMC was “illegal, arbitrary and unreasonable” and “violative of the petitioner’s fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14 of the constitution of India.” The court dismissed the petition on the grounds that the petitioner failed to furnish the bank guarantee within the stipulated time frame. Speaking to TOI, MMC chairperson Savio Coutinho, said that the dismissal of the petition by the court has only helped in strengthening his resolve to act tough against perpetrators of malpractices. The MMC, sources informed, will now hold a fresh auction for sopo collection.

Explosives at Dry Port in city: Importers plead against slapping of penalty
Chandigarh: During the resumed hearing of a PIL highlighting the ‘illegal’ destruction of stock of explosives lying at Dry Port in Ludhiana, the importers have requested for the non-imposition of heavy penalty as slapped on them by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
On the last date of hearing on March 24, Talkeshwar Singh, Commissioner of Customs, Amritsar, had filed an affidavit stating therein that the Army has informed the District Magistrate (MA Branch) in Ludhiana and the Custom authorities that the approximate cost of destroying the stock of explosives lying at Dry Port would be Rs.1.35 crore. The affidavit further revealed that the Army will have to use “explosives and accessories” worth Rs 1.17 crore for destroying the stock of explosives.
The high court had given two weeks time to all the nine importers to submit response to the affidavit filed by the Customer Commissioner, and to show cause as to why they should not be directed to pay the above said amounts towards expenses for destruction of the explosives. On the other hand, the Custom authorities had also been directed to complete the process of issuing orders imposing custom duty, fine and penalty on all these importers
During the resumed hearing today, some of the importers of scrap pleaded for lenient view. Some of the importers said that penalty has already imposed on them and the war material (which was mostly the used war material, and not live one) had been confiscated by the authorities. They also pleaded that there is no further provision for making them pay expenses for removal of war material to some other place. Alternately, they pleaded that expenses, if any, may be recovered from the Overseas Suppliers, who had issued pre-inspection certificates from inspection and certifying agencies that material did not contain any material. Still further, they have pleaded that the expenses proposed to be charged from them are excessive.
The HC today gave last opportunity to the remaining importers to file their reply to the proposal to burden them with expenses for shifting of stocks of explosives.

PIL filed against parties using Lankan issue as poll plank
Press Trust of India
Saturday, April 18, 2009, (Madurai)
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) protesting against using the ‘sensitive Sri Lankan Tamils’ issue’ as a poll plank has been filed in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court in Madurai.A Division Bench of Justice S K Krishnan and Justice T Raja posted the case for hearing after 10 days.The petitioner Kannan, an advocate, said majority of the political parties in the country were using caste and religion as political issue to gain advantage during the polls.”Now various political parties were using the Sri Lankan Tamils issue in a big way. They are using a sad issue to gain votes. This is condemnable,” he said.”It is wrong to politicise the issue to gain votes,” he said and sought a directive from the court to direct the Election Commission to ask political parties not to use Tamils issue as an election plank.

Contempt notice served to secretary social welfare
Published: April 18,2009

Mumbai , Apr 18 The Bombay High Court has issued a contempt notice to the Secretary, Social Welfare department, for not complying with the court&aposs orders regarding giving jobs to the disabled.
ILS legal aid centre along with two other organisations had filed a PIL, seeking implementation of the three per cent job quota for the disabled in government sector as provided by Persons With Disability Act that came into force in 1995.
At the hearing on April 16, petitioners&aposlawyer Uday Warunjikar contended that despite court&aposs orders to identify the posts which can be reserved for the disabled, it has not yet been completed.
Also some 1500 posts in the disabled quota are still vacant,”he added.
Therefore, the division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S C Dharmadhikari issued a notice to secretary, social welfare department, seeking reply as to why no action should be taken for committing court&aposs contempt.
The court fixed April 21 for the next hearing.
Source: PTI

HC orders notice to CBI: Disproportionate wealth case against TNCC President K V Thangkabalu
Publication Date 18/4/2009 2:27:24 PM(IST)

Chennai: The Madras High Court today ordered notice to CBI on a writ petition, seeking a direction to it to register a disproportionate wealth case against TNCC President K V Thangkabalu, MP.
Admitting the petition, filed by former Salem District Congress President P Palanivel, Justice K Suguna directed the CBI Joint Director and Thangkabalu to file their counter within one-week.

Mr Palanivel had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Madras High Court seeking a CBI probe into alleged amassment of wealth by TNCC President, disproportionate to his known sources of income while serving as Member of Parliament from 1985 to 1993.
In his petition, Palanivel submitted as a Member of Parliament between 1985-93, Mr Thangkabalu had amassed wealth, including purchase of lands at 30 places in Chennai, at suburban Gummidipoondi and in Salem to the tune of several crore in his name and in the name of his family members.
He said he had preferred a complaint with the CBI seeking a probe on February 13 this year. However, the Central Investigating Agency, without verifying the facts, refused to entertain the complaint stating that TNCC Chief had acquired the properties before 1985.
Mr Palanivel contended that he filed yet another complaint with the CBI with evidence to substantiate his claim. However, with a view to shield Mr Thangkabalu, the CBI did not act on the complaint.
Hence, he filed the PIL, seeking a direction to the CBI to conduct a thorough probe into the amassment of wealth by the TNCC Chief and register a case against him, the petitioner contended.
It may be noted that Mr Palanivel, who was the Salem District President of the Congress, was sacked from the post recently. Mr Thangkabalu was elected to Lok Sabha in 2004 from Salem and is to contest again from the same constituency in the May 13 polls.
© 2008

MP HC issues notice to Election Commission on restraining the use of EVM
The Madhya Pradesh High Court has issued notice to the Election Commission on a PIL challenging to restrains the use of defective Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the Lok Sabha polls and further elections.Admitting the petition of Bhopal-based social activist and former legislator Shailendra Pradhan on April 15, a division bench comprising Chief Justice A K Patnaik and Justice Ajeet Singh directed to issue notice to the EC, State EC and the government to file their reply within six weeks. The petitioner submitted that the defective EVMs did not print vote recorded by the electorate.He pointed out that in developed countries, EVMs printed votes casted by voter and was a valid process. The petitioner prayed the court to issue directives to the EC to restrain the use of defective and invalid EVMs in the Lok Sabha polls.UNI

HC turns down plea seeking ban on Videsh
Express News Service Posted: Saturday , Apr 18, 2009 at 0438 hrs IST
A public interest litigation (PIL) demanding a ban on the screening of the recently released film, “Videsh”, came up for hearing in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday.
Archit Watts, the petitioner who is a student of Panjab University, alleged that the movie had certain objectionable scenes and dialogues which hurt the religious sentiments of the people.
Showing no interest in the averments raised, the Division Bench, however, dismissed the petition, which was later withdrawn by Watts. The petitioner had referred to a scene in the Preity Zinta-starrer where an elderly woman had been shown expressing her desire to eat chicken while watching Gurbani.
The petitioner had termed it a disrespect to Gurbani and demanded the scene be deleted from the film directed by Deepa Mehta.
The averments failed to find favour with the court, which flatly refused to entertain the petition.

Telephone Exchange in ResidenceCourt imposes Rs 50,000 fine on Airtel
Saurabh MalikTribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 18Bharti Airtel has set trouble bells ringing for itself. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has not only dismissed its petition with Rs 50,000 costs, but has also made it clear that misconceived notion of being immune to state laws cannot be allowed to be entertained.
No one, howsoever mighty he may be, is above law, Justice Surya Kant observed in the open courtroom. The company had moved the high court against the Haryana Urban Planning and Development Authority’s (HUDA) action of sealing residential premises in Karnal from where it was running a telephone exchange.
During the course of hearing it transpired that the company, even before purchasing the house, had taken it on lease and had opened a telephone exchange “Bharti Tele Limited”.
The State of Haryana and other respondents, on the other hand, had asserted commercial activities could not be allowed from residential premises. As such, HUDA initiated proceedings under the provisions of the relevant Act for resumption of the site, to prevent its future misuse by the owner.
After hearing the rival contentions and going through the documents, Justice Surya Kant observed in the open courtroom that the petitioner was a public service provider with network across the country. As such, its management and authorised representatives were expected to know the regulatory laws, wherever applicable, and ensure strict adherence.
Justice Kant added the petitioner ought not to have abused the residential premises by converting it into a telephone exchange in a manner like a bull in a china shop.
Rather, the manner in which the petition was filed, and the pleas taken, was merely to suggest statutory authority like HUDA had no existence before it, and as if the petitioner held a position, which made it immune to state laws.
Imposing the costs on the company, Justice Kant summed up the controversy by observing the petitioner firstly acted in an unauthorised manner, then violated the laws and misused its position.
It, thereafter, took the courts for a ride.

Revised PayJustice Garg seeks HC’s intervention
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 18Justice TP Garg has sought the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s intervention for drawing revised pay and allowances. Heading the Dabwali Commission, Justice Garg has asserted that recently the salaries of the high court judges were revised by the Central Government with effect from January 1, 2006.
Accordingly, he made a request to the Financial Commissioner and the Principal Secretary to the Government of Haryana for the initiation of necessary steps for enabling him to draw the revised pay and allowances.
The status report, seeking intervention of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur for directions to the state for granting the necessary sanction, was today placed before the Bench of Justice JS Khehar and Justice Uma Nath Singh.
Justice Garg added that the necessary budgetary allotment had already been made by the state government under the head “TP Garg salary”, but there was no response with regard to the sanction from the state government.
Going into the background, he said the state of Haryana was required to pay remuneration admissible to a judge of a high court, in terms of the high court order on the judicial side.
Justice Garg said directions were required to be issued urgently so that he could draw the requisite amount of arrears of pay and allowances at the revised rates well before April 30, the date on which the commission’s term expired.
The one-man commission, headed by Justice Garg, has submitted its report on what was the worst fire tragedy the country has seen. Thirteen years ago, a devastating fire during an annual school function at a marriage palace at Dabwali town in Sirsa district of Haryana had killed as many as 442 people, many of them children.

HC reprieve for guest teachers
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 18Nearly 15,000 guest teachers serving in state-run schools in Haryana on period-basis payments will not lose their jobs after all from May 15. Justice Ajay Tewari of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has recalled his order of April 1, whereby directions to the authorities concerned was issued to terminate the service of the guest teachers.
The process was to be followed by fresh appointments through a proper selection criteria and process. The recall orders came on a review petition filed by the guest teachers federation against the April 1 orders. It was pointed out that the orders of termination had passed without giving them an opportunity of hearing. Justice Tewari has now fixed May 4 as the next date of hearing.

Man gets life term
Our Correspondent
Kurukshetra, April 18RC Bansal, District and Sessions Judge, Kurukshetra, in a judgment announced here today, has sentenced Mukesh Kumar (27), a resident of Mor Majra village under the Assandh police station in Karnal district, to rigorous imprisonment for life and has imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 for setting his wife Kamini (26) on fire after pouring kerosene on her on August 10, 2007, in the area under the Kurukshetra University police station. She had succumbed to her injuries on August 28, 2007.
In default of the payment of the fine, he shall further undergo rigorous imprisonment for three months.

Memorials of LeadersCIC notice to Delhi chief secy, 4 others
Girja Shankar KauraTribune News Service
New Delhi, April 18The Central Information Commission (CIC) has issued show-cause notices to five government offices, including the Directorate of Estates and the Chief Secretary of Delhi, for not being able to furnish information on the government policy to set up memorial and allow cremation of leaders for converting specially developed cremation sites into their respective samadhis (memorials) later on.
The show-cause notices, seeking to know why penalty should not be imposed, were issued earlier this month to a total of five government departments for not supplying information on the application of one Subash Chandra Aggarwal of Dariba, Delhi, despite repeated reminders and expiry of the stipulated time frame.
Besides the Directorate of Estates and the Chief Secretary of Delhi, the show-cause notices have also been issued to of DG (Works), secretary, NDMC and MCD commissioner.
Incidentally, none of the government departments had any clue as to who was responsible in the first place to take a decision on setting up of the samadhis of leaders and in the second place who maintained them. The application was transferred from the office of the Chief Secretary, Delhi, to Joint Secretary Planning, Urban Development, Delhi Secretariat to DG (Works) government of NCT of Delhi, to executive engineer, PWD Maintenance Zone (M-3), with none having the answer.
The application had initially been moved in March, 2008, seeking information on samadhis from Manish Baijal, Under Secretary, (W-II). He transferred the application to the Ministry of Urban Development from it was then sent forward to the five departments listed above.
Following repeated transfers, executive engineer, PWD, replied on July 22 last that no record in this regard was available in his office and the matter pertains to Ministry of Urban Development, Central Government. Finally, with no information forthcoming, information commissioner Sailesh Gandhi announced the decision to issue the show-cause notices to the five departments.
“From the facts before the Commission, it is apparent that the PIOs are guilty of not furnishing information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of Section 7 by not replying within 30 days, as per the requirement of the RTI Act. A show-cause notice is being issued to them, and they are directed to give their reasons to the Commission why penalty should not be levied on them,” he said.
The five departments have been asked to present themselves before the Commission May 4 with their written submissions showing the reason why penalty should not be imposed on them as mandated under Section 20 (1). They have also been asked to submit proof of having given the information to the appellant by then.

A Tribune SpecialVoting for democracyLet’s elect educated and upright candidates to Parliament,says Ram Jethmalani
THE current elections are important. The country is facing international and domestic terrorism, economic depression, price inflation and total collapse of the moral backbone of most politicians.
If we don’t choose the right candidates, the nation will disintegrate. The folly of the next few days will invite severe punishment for many decades.
The parliamentary system of government unfortunately means the party system. But parties are dangerous too. Parties are to be tolerated only if they live up to the twin dreams of Mahatma Gandhi: Wipe the tears of sorrow from the eyes of the poor, and in the comity of nations act as the conscience of the world.
Sadly, most political parties are involved in an unseemly scramble for power, its perks and avenues of amassing illegitimate wealth. Nearly three years ago, the Swiss Banks disclosed that Indians have concealed wealth to the tune of $1500 billion in their banks. It is 13 times our total national debt.
If this wealth is seized and repatriated to India, from where it has been stolen, India will be debt-free and the interest on the balance can give us a tax-free budget for the next quarter century.
Distributed amongst the people, every family can get Rs 2 lakh. What has the government done? This is just one example of failure of governance.
Externally we do not have the courage to tick off governments which foster and finance dangerous terrorists.
China is not only in occupation of large chunks of Indian territory but has an evil eye on Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and other parts of Bharat Mata.
The ruling coalition has cohabited with traitors who are in constant collaboration with our enemies and act as their agents inside the national borders.
Parties are not an end in themselves but are only a means. We have first to decide the qualifications of a candidate.
Ultimately, it is the elected representatives who collectively make the face of the party in action. A candidate for Parliament must have the highest educational and intellectual qualifications.
He must be economically independent so that he has no motive to make politics his source of livelihood or to steal the poor man’s property.
He must be able to stand up in Parliament and speak to the nation about his party’s promises and personal pledges to the people.
Above all, he must be able to stand up to his own party if it deviates from the path of public rectitude or national good. He should be ready to give up political office rather than be a party to betrayal of the nation.
Then comes the selection of the party. Every party must be able to declare who will lead it if and when it comes to power.
Those who cannot do this cannot be trusted. We cannot take the risk of a rich criminal or a dumb entertainer occupying the serious and responsible position of controlling the destiny of a billion citizens.
In addition, the party must have a consistent and conspicuous record of public probity and fulfillment of its pledges.
No political party has during the recent confabulations displayed attachment to any sensible ideology or a set of political principles.
Nor has any one even formulated and published a minimum programme of action for the next five years which will be immune from any deviation or dilution just to conjure up a coalition.
Every declared manifesto seems subordinated to the paramount need to create a parliamentary majority.
No firm agreement on measures of rescuing the country from the current mess is thus in sight. The search for a stable party is futile.
The concentration must essentially be on selecting good candidates in the hope that they will not break the pledges made to the people.
There is need for a common minimum programme. It should consist broadly of the following agenda:
We should make it clear to the whole world that India is committed to constitutional democracy, inalienable human rights and independent judiciary to uphold the country’s basic law.
The superior court judges will be selected not according to the existing procedures but by a broad-based National Judicial Commission. Their rights and obligations should be that of other judges and public servants.
The process of selection must be transparent and periodic disclosure of assetswill be vigorously enforced. Adequate number of judges should be appointed toput an end to laws and proverbial delays which have created contempt for courtsand their procedures.
All vestiges of political non-alignment must disappear from the conduct of ourforeign policy. Democracies and governments based on the rule of law must pooltheir material and moral resources in the interest of the underprivileged andunhappy sections of humanity. Only democratic nations can unitedly face theterrorist menace.
A bold and forthright effort must be made to destroy their doctrinal base. Jihad which involves murder of innocent men, women and children to achieve some political or social objective is opposed to the Holy Quran and every other scripture.
Its practitioners ought to be told that God is not maintaining a whore-house for their benefit. The reward of a Jihadi is not paradise but eternal damnation.
Since most Jihadis profess Islam, Muslim intellectuals should cleanse the brains of the Jihadis of the gibberish filled into them by scheming politicians and clerics.
Harsh laws are just not the solution. If rational persuasion does not change theterrorists’ mindset, democratic and peace-loving nations must unitedly move toexterminate them.
Corruption must be treated on par with terrorism. Much of terrorism flourishes because of it. Corruption also leads to poverty and unemployment which, in turn, become a fertile recruiting ground for terrorists and suicide bombers.
Urgent attention must be given to environment. Let’s stop pumping excessive dozes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and switch over to cleaner and safer techniques for production of electricity.
Every year we destroy 44 million acres of forest, lose 100 million acres of farm land and 24 billion tones of top soil.
Similarly, we are creating 15 million acres of desert around the world. We are using more water each year than is being replenished by rain.
Global warming will bring hurricanes, lower crop yields in the world’s poorest countries and the misery caused may even generate religious belligerence and suicidal terrorism.
The most frightful scenario is that a nuclear bomb may get into the hands of aterrorist gang.
In short, we must speedily institute actions recommended by the Earth Charter Commission (ECC) and observe its principles of sustainable development.
Every political party must unhesitatingly and honestly dedicate itself to the creation of a truly secular society.
Our secularism has been as counterfeit and insincere as political non-alignment. The true secularism of the Indian Constitution means the subordination of all religious faith and practice to the rule of reason.
Freedom of religion has been expressly subordinated by our Constitution to the needs of public order, health and morality. Secularism, without intense secular education is limitless deception.
Imparting of any education, inconsistent with true secularism should be prohibited and punished by law.
Public pressure must be built up to compel the government to take immediate steps to freeze the stolen wealth lying in foreign banks and to take every diplomatic and legal action to repatriate the money to India along with the names of the criminals so that Indian legal processes can begin to operate and inflict on them the maximum punishment which they justly deserve.
The writer is a jurist and Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha)

Of moderation, tolerance and human rights
by Shelley Walia
WITH the collapse of the Soviet Union, a new enemy had to be invented. For the West, Islam fitted the inevitable need to have an antagonist. In such circumstances we find ourselves at a historical moment in the process of major change.
In the regime of right-wing politicians like George Bush and Tony Blair, a democratisation of violence had become the rule of social behaviour with the mistaken impression that the old imperial order had passed and that we were embarking on a ‘New World Order’.
What they did not foresee is the economic and political instability as well as the racial and ethnic discord that raged around the globe.
In a post-modern climate, Fukuyama’s universalism, his interpretation of the end of history, along with his assertion of progress within the renaissance of liberal democracy, had never seemed more incongruous and inordinately optimistic.
Within such a context, Samuel Huntington’s thesis on the clash of civilisation made the intellectual world sit up and take notice.
Huntington, who died a few months ago, received world-wide attention with his bestseller The Clash of Civilsations and the Remaking of World Order that was translated into over 30 languages.
Though he had already written his first book in 1957, The Soldier and the State: the Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations, his voice began to be heard only in 1993 after writing an article in Foreign Affairs predicting that the only natural course of history would have to be the conflict between Islam and the West.
Clearly, 9/11 corroborated what Huntington had propounded. No longer would there be wars between political systems, ideologies or nation states.
History had arrived at a juncture when culture of religious difference would bethe cause of international conflict. This scenario fits in well with the Bush doctrineof ‘us against them’.
Western triumphalism and predominance would adversely affect the politics of identity and provoke a racial resentment towards the ideologies of the West.
Since the 7th century, Islam had been trying to make inroads into the Westand succeeded in shaking the Mediterranean culture which formed the fulcrumof European civilisation.
To counter this invasion, European or Christian discourse strategically initiatedthe creation of the ‘other’ as licentious, passive and uncivilised, as seen in Dante’sDivine Comedy.
Islam has always been an enemy in the European psyche and it would become all the more brutal as years went by.
Huntington’s prediction caused many to accept a thesis that had a readymade historical background and a legitimacy that went unquestioned.
He emphasised that conflict is not only limited between Islam and the West: “Violence also occurs between Muslims, on the one hand, and Orthodox Serbs in the Balkans, Jews in Israel, Hindus in India, Buddhists in Burma and Catholics in the Philippines. Islam has bloody borders.”
It became clear to the intellectuals on the Left that Huntington had been a strong supporter of American foreign policy of intervention and preemptive action but in a remarkable volte face he began to see the dangers of intervention: “Western intervention in the affairs of other civilisations is probably the single most dangerous source of instability and potential global conflict in a multi-civilisational world.”
Undoubtedly, the clash of civilisations is born of a burning resentment of injustice or an overpowering vision of an independent and more prosperous future. The religious and social contexts largely differ, yet the premises are more or less similar.
Though the nature of violence may vary from country to country, it findscommon ground in religion and the rigidity of the concept of the infallibilityof any interpretation coming from the religious authority which is at the headof any extremist movement.
Paradoxically, the notion of tolerance which all religions preach is turned into intolerance within the confines of identity politics.
Ultimately, the objective in these cases is that of gaining power and theestablishment of a religious nation-state that would not hesitate to resortto even dogmatic violence to impose an orthodoxy to control the socio-political life of the people.
Any opposition to this would be considered with utmost intolerance as an act of blasphemy, only to be castigated and brutally punished.
The important question that one must ask is: why do people feel threatened, and in the face of what kind of opposition to their identity do they take steps which are defensive and compulsively fundamental?
Are the Christians not accountable for the escalation of Muslim fundamentalismin Western Europe?
The issue, as this writer sees it, is not that of merely putting down the threat issuing from a minority of Muslims but of understanding the attitude of the majority of the white population which is indirectly responsible for the rise of terrorism.
It could, in fact, be argued that there is a legitimacy of all such protests, and to understand them it becomes vital to go into the socio-politico-economic causes.
As witness to the recent Mumbai terrorist attacks, any solution to contemporary crises must take recourse to fighting the feelings of fear and hatred and encouraging the opposing forces to adhere to values of moderation, religious tolerance and sanctity of human rights.
Unless dialogue prevails, the current conflagration has every chance of endingin nuclear terrorism.
The writer is Professor of English, Panjab University, Chandigarh

Patronage in universities A worrisome development
by Rajesh Kochhar
INDIA is perpetually fighting a civil war within itself. While a part of it strives to build institutions, the other part — bigger, more powerful and adamant — tries even harder to subvert them. If India has survived as a state, it is because of the innate strength of institutions such as the military, higher judiciary, Election Commission, RBI and the like.
Some time ago, at a conference in Malaysia, I met a retired Pakistani science administrator who had spent some time in Indian labs using his pre-Partition connections. He felt that unlike the Pakistanis who subordinated their institutions to their personal egos, Indians tended to place theirs above themselves.
This observation describes the situation as it obtained in the years immediately after Independence. At the time Indian institutions were still influenced by traditions established during the colonial period.
The new helmsmen, guided by a spirit of nation building, saw the institutions under their charge as powerful instruments of change.
The phenomenon, however, was short-lived. Like most others, academic institutions were also made part of the patronage system.
Earlier, students sitting in the cafeteria and teachers in their tea clubs speculated on whether on the coming Republic Day, their Vice-Chancellor would receive a Padma Shri or a Padma Bhushan.
The Vice-Chancellor still remains the main topic of conversation, but very often the speculation is whether on coming Monday he would get anticipatory bail from the High Court or not.
Earlier, there were court pronouncements that the state Governor served as the Chancellor of the universities in his individual capacity, meaning thereby that he was not bound by the Cabinet advice while appointing Vice-Chancellors.
Reacting with promptitude, the state legislatures amended the laws to make the Vice-Chancellor’s appointment a political prerogative.
Recently, a chief minister magnanimously allocated the vice-chancellorship of a state university to his coalition partner. The media blandly reported the development without any sense of shock or outrage.
And now even Central and semi-central academic institutions have been made part of patronage system.
A Governor may be legally bound to act on the Cabinet advice, but there is a willing surrender of moral and legal authority even in cases where the appointing authority is the President or the Vice-President of India.
The bulk establishment of a dozen new Central universities has largely been seen as politically motivated. To compound matters further, the Vice-Chancellors’ appointment was rushed through to beat the model code of conduct.
The whole exercise, which bordered on the farcical, has predictably been challenged before the Supreme Court.
One of the new universities remains headless. In this case, the selectedcandidate very cleverly used the letter of appointment for bargaining for abetter deal elsewhere.
While the Visitor of the Central Universities was at least mindful of the impending clamping of the election code, the Chancellor of a semi-Central university has decided to respect it selectively.
He has postponed the interviews for the posts of professor and reader on the ground that the election code has come into operation.
At the same time, the code notwithstanding, he has gone ahead and offered a full-term extension, amounting to a fresh appointment, to the present incumbent
Disrespect for the election code becomes more noticeable when it is realised that there was no urgency.
The vacancy is non-existent! It would arise only in July by which time the elections would be over and a new government installed.
The matter is now before the Election Commission which has reportedly issued notices to parties concerned.
One would have thought that purely academic appointments should be made, elections or no elections, while executive appointments would be subject to the election code. That the reverse has happened is significant.
May be, the university authorities felt that before they appoint/promote professors, it would be advantageous to know who the new political bosses are.
British Prime Minister Harold Wilson aptly said that a week is a long time in politics. India has extended the dictum to education as well.
The methods and the vocabulary being employed in defining and describingevents and developments in academic institutions now increasingly resemblethose of the political street.
There is a fundamental difference in the case of powers of the President and the Vice-President as appointing authorities of Vice-Chancellors.
A clear-cut procedure exists in the case of Central Universities where the President makes the final appointment.
Unlike the Governor, the President is within her rights to return the panel submitted to her. This has happened in the past.
In the solitary case where the Vice-President is the appointing authority, the power to appoint the Vice-Chancellor and extend his term any number of times vests in the Chancellor. No procedure is manifestly laid down.
However, this does not mean that the Chancellor cannot lay down a suitable procedure on his own and follow it as a matter of convention.
Indeed, some procedure has been followed in the past whenever a fresh appointment was made.
If a position is taken that no procedure needs to be followed for the grant of subsequent terms, it can only be called disingenuous.
The executive heads of academic institutions should be appointed in a manner that commands universal respect.
A Vice-Chancellor exercises more powers than any functionary in the government in a similar or higher pay-scale.
He has to make important appointments under his charge and provide leadership to academics and students.
While first-rate persons appoint first-rate ones, second-raters appoint third-raters. Also, if a person obtains an appointment by belittling himself, his only revenge can be the humiliation of those under him.
If the President and the Vice-President do not exercise moral authority, who would? Is it appropriate for the highest functionaries of the country to take morally indefensible decisions and then dare bodies like the higher courts and the Election Commission to annul them?
Is it the responsibility of only such bodies to uphold the rule of law? If these bodies buckle under pressure, are we ready to go the Pakistan way?
The writer is CSIR Emeritus Scientist, Indian Institute of Science Educationand Research, Mohali

CIC asks CSIR to make NET exam papers public
New Delhi (PTI): The Central Information Commission has directed the CSIR to bring NET examination papers of previous years, kept under wraps till now, in public domain to improve the overall “processes” of administering and undertaking of exams in the country.
Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi in his hard hitting order had asked CSIR to provide the information free of cost to the appellant before April 25.
Refuting the CSIR’s contention that “if question papers are in public domain the scientific interest of the State will be affected”, the CIC said, “transparency will only improve all institution and processes”.
Disallowing the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) contention that disclosing the examination papers would “expose the CSIR examinations system”, the CIC in its order said, “if a student can really master all fundamentals of the Science and Technology portion, no exam system can really want to test anything else”.
The CIC also dismissed CSIR’s stand that “there is a limited scope of framing questions as the basic concept and their interpretation are established facts”.

25 years after 1984 riots, victims’ lawyer soldiers on
New Delhi (IANS): Harvinder Singh Phoolka’s odyssey for justice to 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims started when he himself faced the riots in which nearly 3,000 Sikhs were killed in the capital in the wake of Indira Gandhi’s assassination.
“I was with my pregnant wife on a bike when my friend informed me about the attacks on Sikhs. I avoided the main roads of Delhi and somehow managed to reach my rented accommodation in south Delhi,” Phoolka, a Sikh himself, told IANS.
Recently, the lawyer was in the news again when he objected to riot accused politician Jagdish Tytler being given a clean chit by the Central Bureau of Investigation. As the issue snowballed, Phoolka said he had been heckled by Tytler’s supporters in the court premises.
Speaking a few days after the ordeal that has failed to dampen his zeal in any way, Phoolka recalled how in 1984 his landlord drove a mob away and he and his wife had to live in a storeroom for two days and then fly to the safer environs of Chandigarh.
But he returned to the capital after a few days when he learnt that lawyers were needed to draft affidavits on behalf of the victims, and went to the Farsh Vihar relief camp in east Delhi to help.
“The sight of orphans, bereaved mothers and wives in the relief camp was heart-rending. It forced me to stay here and fight for them,” Phoolka said.
Since then Phoolka has spearheaded a long-drawn-out campaign for justice to the victims of the 1984 carnage. He mobilised their testimonies and represented them before successive enquiries.
Despite the various hurdles and the setting up of nine commissions by various governments, his attention remains focused.
“If we get justice now, it will just be a symbolic one, but the message will be clear that no one can walk scot free and one day the law will catch the guilty and they will be punished sooner or later,” Phoolka said.
On the loopholes in most cases resulting in easy acquittal of the accused, Phoolka said: “The basic problem is the faulty registration of First Information Reports (FIRs) by police.
“All FIRs were registered clearly to shield the guilty in the best possible manner. After that investigation was conducted in such a poor manner that lead to many acquittals.”
More than 150 FIRs were registered across the capital amongst which under six FIRs, 16 people have been convicted while some appeals are pending.
“The basic reason for acquittals is the defective investigation which cannot be improved when police work hand in glove with the accused – that makes the case weak in the court,” Phoolka said.
He said all these years they have got the support of different governments but not in the way survivors of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots would want.
Phoolka is co-author of the book “When a Tree Shook Delhi”, that presents an unsparing account of the 1984 carnage and its aftermath, abounding with insights and revelations.
The 1984 anti-Sikh violence took place in the capital following the assassination of Indira Gandhi on Oct 31 and resulted in the killing of around 3,000 Sikhs within two days.

No service tax on renting premises for business: HC
New Delhi (PTI): Companies cannot be subjected to service tax for renting premises to run their businesses, the Delhi High Court has ruled while disposing of petitions filed by some retailers against a government directive.
The court struck down Centre’s notification, by which renting of immovable property for use in the course of business was brought within the ambit of service tax.
“We hold that law does not in terms entail that renting out of immovable property for use in the course of furtherance of business or commerce would by itself constitute a taxable service and be eligible to service tax,” Justice B D Ahmed said.
The court passed the order on a number of petitions filed by corporate houses in retails sector, including Shopper’s Stop, Lifestyle International and Fun Multiplex, challenging Finance Ministry’s notification issued in 2007 by which rent was made taxable.
“The interpretation placed by the impugned notification and circular on the said provision is not correct.
Consequently, the same is ultra vires the said Act and to the extent that they authorised the levy of service tax on renting of immovable property per se, they are set aside,” the court said.

No detention without supplying adequate grounds: SC
New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court has held that it would be unconstitutional to detain a person under preventive custody without providing him/her with the grounds for the said detention.
A Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Asok Kumar Ganguly said it was mandatory for the authorities to supply the detainee the material relied upon for the said detention as otherwise it would be violative of the safeguards provided in Article 22(5)(6) of the Constitution.
The said provision mandates that any person who is to be detained under a preventive detention order has to be necessarily supplied with copies of all documents, statements and other material relied upon by the authorities for passing the detention order.
“He has right to be supplied copies of all documents, statements and other material relied upon in the grounds of detention without any delay. The predominant object of communicating the grounds of the detention is to enable the detenu at the earliest opportunity to make effective and meaningful representation against his detention,” the Bench said.

Krishna Iyer’s plea on behalf of Binayak Sen
The text of a letter written by Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, former Supreme Court Judge, to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, dated April 17, 2009:
I would like to bring to your attention a case of grave injustice which is a cause of much shame to Indian democracy: that of Dr. Binayak Sen, the well known paediatrician and defender of human rights.
This good doctor has been incarcerated in a Raipur jail for nearly two years now under the Chhattisgarh State Public Security Act, 2005. Among the charges against Dr. Sen, who is renowned worldwide for his public health work among the rural poor, are “treason and waging war against the state.”
Chhattisgarh State prosecutors claim that Binayak, as part of an unproven conspiracy, passed on a set of letters from Narayan Sanyal, a senior Maoist leader who is in the Raipur jail, to Piyush Guha, a local businessman with allegedly close links to the left-wing extremists. He was supposed to have done this while visiting Sanyal in prison both in his capacity as a human rights activist and as a doctor treating him for various medical ailments.
The trial of Dr. Sen, which began in a Raipur Sessions Court late April 2008, has, however, not thrown up even a shred of evidence to justify any of these charges against him. By March 2009, of the 83 witnesses listed for deposition by the prosecution as part of the original charge-sheet, 16 were dropped by the prosecutors themselves and six declared ‘hostile’, while 61 others have deposed without corroborating any of the accusations against Dr. Sen. Irrespective of the merits of the case against Dr. Sen, there are very disturbing aspects to the way the trial process has been carried out so far.
As if all this were not enough, Dr. Sen has also been repeatedly denied bail by the Bilaspur High Court (in September 2007 and December 2008). And the Supreme Court of India rejected his special leave petition to have the bail application heard before it (in December 2007).
Given the paucity of evidence in the trial of Dr. Sen so far, in all fairness the Raipur court should have dismissed the case against him altogether by now. Certainly the weakness of the prosecution’s position should entitle him to at least grant of bail. Dr. Sen is a person of international standing and reputation, with a record of impeccable behaviour throughout his distinguished career. In May 2008, in an unprecedented move 22 Nobel Prize winners even signed a public statement calling him a ‘professional colleague’ and asking for his release.
Normally bail is refused only in cases where courts believe an accused can tamper with evidence, prejudice witnesses or run away. In Dr. Sen’s case none of these apply, as shown by the simple fact that at the time of his arrest he chose to come to the Chhattisgarh police voluntarily and made no attempt to abscond despite knowing about his possible detention.
Today Dr. Sen, a diabetic who is also hypertensive, is himself in urgent need of medical treatment for his deteriorating heart condition. In recent weeks his health has worsened and a doctor appointed by the court to examine him recommended that he be transferred to Vellore for an angiography and perhaps, if needed, an angioplasty or coronary artery bypass graft without further delay.
Instead of recognising their social contributions, the Indian state, by wrongly branding Dr. Sen and many other human rights defenders like him as ‘terrorists’, is making a complete mockery of not just democratic norms and fair governance but its entire anti-terrorist strategy and operations.
The repeated denial of bail which results in ‘punishment by trial’ constitutes an even graver threat to Indian society. The sheer injustice involved will only breed cynicism among ordinary citizens about the credibility and efficacy of Indian democracy itself.

Tytler gets bail
New Delhi: Congress leader Jagdish Tytler got bail on Saturday from a Delhi court in a defamation case filed by the lawyer of the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

London Court of Arbitration now in India
J. Venkatesan
NEW DELHI: The Indian branch of London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) was inaugurated here on Saturday. It will benefit the legal community vexed in attempts to obtain effective dispute resolution and importantly trans-national commercial disputes.
The alternative modes of dispute resolution are not new and international commercial arbitration is extensively used by the commercial community worldwide.
The LCIA is the longest existing institution that administers arbitration services and is based in London.
Realising the importance of India as an emerging economy and its strategic geographical location of immense convenience, LCIA decided to set up office in India in the form of a new entity controlled and regulated by Indians entitled as LCIA India. Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan expressed confidence in the organisation and its ability to help India in effective resolution of commercial disputes. He wished good luck to the venture.
“Will benefit India”
President of LCIA Jan Paulsson, a world renowned arbitration, expert said that the organisation would benefit India and its commercial community and, in the process, lawyers as well.
He said LCIA had already registered 100 cases till March this year and would perform equally well in India.
Union Law Minister H. R. Bhardwaj strongly emphasised the strong ties of India and the United Kingdom in terms of the legal system and exchange of ideas and expressed the hope that establishment of LCIA would take this process further.
“Speedier justice”
Dushyant Dave, Senior Advocate and President of Asia Pacific User’s Council of LCIA, felt that the burden on courts “needs to be reduced. This can be achieved by effective administration of arbitration. There is a huge market in India and use of this new institution will make justice faster for Indian Industry.”
British High Commissioner Richard Stag, Attorney General of India Milon Banerjee, Fali Nariman and other eminent lawyers and jurists and representatives of leading commercial houses of the country attended the function.

Notice ordered on petition against Thangkabalu
Special Correspondent
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Saturday ordered private notice on a petition seeking a direction to the CBI to register a complaint dated March this year regarding alleged “accumulation of huge wealth” by State Congress president K.V.Thangkabalu when he was MP and Union Minister.
Justice K.Suguna has posted the matter for April 24.
In his petition, V.K.Palanivelu, an advocate of Salem district, said that while Mr.Thangkabalu was a Rajya Sabha Member between 1984-1990, he was president of the Youth Congress in Tamil Nadu.
He was also Union Minister of State for Social Welfare between January 1993 and May 1996. During his tenure as MP, he was a member of several committees under different Union Ministries.
Neither Mr.Thangkabalu nor his close relatives, including his in-laws, had sound financial background and they had no source of huge income till he became an MP after the 1985 election. This being so, he and his family members had “accumulated huge wealth, disproportionate to their known source of income.”
The petitioner said he made a representation in April 22, 2004 to CBI giving all particulars and documents followed by another letter in May 2005.
Again, he made a representation dated March 6 this year to take his complaint on file and enquire into the matter. There was no response.

High Court notice to Delhi Government
Staff Reporter
On appeal by Lok Ayukta challenging an order about summoning of low-floor bus tender documents
Delhi Government directed to file reply by May 12
“Lok Ayukta can’t conduct inquiry into a complaint”
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the Delhi Government on an appeal by the Delhi Lok Ayukta challenging an order by a Single Bench of the Court quashing an order by the Lok Ayukta. The order pertained to summoning of documents about floating of tenders and details about the decision-making process for purchase of 625 non-air-conditioned low-floor uses by the Delhi Government.
Issuing the notice, a Division Bench of the Court directed the Government to file a reply to the appeal by May 12.
Order quashed
The Single Bench of the Court had last month quashed the order by the Lok Ayukta who had summoned the records on a complaint filed by former BJP MLA from Saket Vijay Jolly alleging that each bus had been purchased at an inflated price of over Rs.25 lakh and this had caused a collective loss of Rs.153.36 crore to the exchequer.
Challenging the Single Bench order, the Lok Ayukta submitted that the order undermined the power and faith vested in it.
It further submitted that the Single Bench had failed to appreciate its (Lok Ayukta’s) order summoning the documents as it was a preliminary query to ascertain whether a case was made out against the Government or not.
The Lok Ayukta also termed the order contrary to the Delhi Lok Ayukta Act.
Setting aside the order, the Court had said the complaint was not technically sound and rules and procedures were not framed before taking up the matter for hearing.
The Lok Ayukta had summoned the records saying it wanted to make a preliminary inquiry into the complaint.
The High Court said the Lok Ayukta could not conduct an inquiry into a complaint as that was beyond its mandate.
The complaint was based on details regarding the purchase of these buses provide by the Delhi Government’s Transport Department on a Right to Information application filed by advocate Vivek Garg.
Mr. Jolly had alleged that the Government functionaries concerned had failed to act in accordance with the norms of integrity and conduct which should have been followed by such public functionaries in purchase of these buses.

Constant vigil needed to ensure human rights: CJI
J. Balaji
NEW DELHI: The Chief Justice of India, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, has said terror attacks and violence on the basis of religion, caste and gender are posing a challenge to promotion of human rights but expressed satisfaction that safeguards are provided under the Constitution to tackle them.
In an environment of “insecurity and distrust” there is a tendency to “clamour for diluting safeguards such as the right to fair trial”, he said addressing an international conference of national human rights institutions on “human rights awareness and national capacity building” here earlier this week.
Mr. Justice Balakrishnan emphasised the need for constant vigilance over the actions of State agencies as also for a pro-active approach of institutions in responding to instances of exploitation by private parties. “In the South Asian region, human rights face considerable challenges on account of frequent terrorist attacks, communal violence, and pervasive exploitation on account of caste and gender differences,” he said.
There had been a “considerable debate” on aspects such as longer detention periods and the demands for custodial confessions to be considered as evidence, he said.
National Human Rights Commission Chairman Justice S. Rajendra Babu said the national human rights institutions had been increasingly becoming “significant players” on both international and national fronts but effective enjoyment of human rights calls for establishment of a national infrastructure for their protection and promotion.

Prosecution lines up bank of forensic evidence
19 Apr 2009, 0009 hrs IST, Kartikeya, TNN
MUMBAI: The prosecution will bank on a large amount of forensic evidence to establish the role of Ajmal Amir Kasab, as also that of his nine accomplices and their masters in Pakistan, in 26/11. This includes a fingerprint from Kasab’s left hand found on the glass door of MV Kuber. DNA profiles of all the attackers have been collected from clothes, handkerchiefs, jackets etc found on the Kuber. Also, a diary written by Kasab’s partner Abu Ismail gave details of the gunmen’s daily routine, the ammunition they were carrying and maps. Investigators also found six pieces of pink foam that were used to wrap the RDX bombs used in the attack. Evidence from the GPS systems was analysed at an FBI laboratory. It showed the route taken from Karachi to Badhwar Park and then to Leopold Cafe. The FBI also helped determine that the speedboat’s engine was shipped by its manufacturers to Pakistan. Experts also analysed five mobile phones the terrorists were carrying.

Two acquitted in extortion case
19 Apr 2009, 0010 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The MCOCA court on Saturday acquitted Lukman Kamal Shah and Santosh Waghmare, both alleged Chhota Shakeel aides, in an extortion case after the defence argued that the case was concocted by the police to implicate the accused. According to the prosecution, in 2006, suburban builder Mulji Ansari received extortion calls to cough up Rs 25 lakh. Ansari filed a case with the Mumbai police’s anti-extortion cell. A trap was laid and Shah was arrested when he came to Ansari’s office to allegedly collect the amount. Advocate Abdul Wahab Khan said, “The evidence that the prosecution were relying upon to prove their case proved beneficial to us.”

HC orders DU to allow woman to appear in law exam
18 Apr 2009, 2353 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has ordered Delhi University (DU) to permit a woman to appear in her law examination after she complained to court she has been barred owing to attendance shortage in one semester due to pregnancy and childbirth. Vandana Kandari will now get her admit card and sit for her sixth semester papers after justice Sanjiv Khanna on Saturday asked the university officials to let her appear for the examinations. HC’s order came on Kandari’s petition pointing out she had duly informed DU officials of her condition due to which there was no way she could have honoured attendance required for that particular semester. In her petition, Kandari further told HC that her attendance record in other semesters has been above 80%. According to the petition, Kandari informed DU’s law faculty professor incharge in November last year that since she is pregnant and the due date of delivery has been given in January 2009, she might fall short of attendance in the sixth attendance. Kandari sought in such an eventuality she should be allowed to appear for the examinations. Kandari said in her petition that her professor said since the case was a genuine one there should be no problem in condoning this shortfall in her attendance. After she gave birth to a boy in January, Kandari resumed her lectures from March onwards but was shocked to see her name missing from the list of candidates eligible for the examinations. Frantic inquiries from the professor revealed that the dean of the department had refused to release the admit card owing to shortage in attendance, forcing her to approach HC for legal remedy. Arguing how law students could be excluded when other educational courses in DU have this provision of absence on medical grounds, Kandari has sought parity for her course. HC, while making it clear that her result should not be declared till this petition is disposed of, has sought a reply from DU by July 29 this year.

Case against KCR stayed
19 Apr 2009, 0410 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: Justice G V Seethapathi of the AP High Court on Saturday stayed the criminal case filed against Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K Chandrasekhara Rao and two others under the provisions of the SC ST (prevention of atrocities) Act. This case was filed by one of the TRS secretaries K P Rambabu in Banjara Hills police station on April 13 alleging that he was insulted in the name of his caste by the accused. Appearing for KCR, his counsel S Satyam Reddy raised a question as to why the complainant had waited for 15 days to make a complaint when he himself was claiming that the alleged insult took place on March 28. Citing that this delay remained inexplicable, the counsel charged the complainant with malafide intentions. He lodged this complaint with a vengeance as his plea for an assembly ticket could not be accommodated by the TRS chief, Satyam Reddy said.

Mediation better than litigation in biz: Judges
19 Apr 2009, 0640 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : Judges on Saturday listed out disadvantages of litigation in courts and tried to persuade Gujarati business fraternity to take help of mediation centres to resolve commercial disputes. Addressing members of Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industries (GCCI) during a seminar on Mediation makes business sense’, the judges from Supreme Court as well as high court together took a dig at the judicial system for the manner in which proceedings are prolonged for years. The apex court’s sitting judge, RV Raveendran highlighted the prolonged process of litigation in courts and requested businessmen to resort to mediation technique as alternate dispute redressal system. “There is more interest for you than for the judiciary in mediation. It is advantageous to both. It is interest based dispute resolution system, wherein the intention is to maintain relationship,” the judge said. Justice Raveendran emphasised that 2.6 crore cases are pending in the country against 15,000 judges. Therefore, if Gujarati businessmen incorporate mediation to GCCI, the time of disputing parties will be saved. And, this will also benefit courts. Talking on the issue, Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court, KS Radhakrishnan hailed Gujarat for its advancement in business and economy. “Gujarat is a leader in investment with Rs 94,500 crore in last five years, and in such booming economy business dispute is very common,” he said adding that mediation is preferred system than moving various courts, wherein backlog is a real issue. However, he also highlighted limitations of mediation technique. A senior judge of high court, Justice MS Shah said that the judges in India are overburdened. “The adversary system (of our courts) turns friends into enemies. And, bitterness prevails even after dispute is resolved,” he said describing the manner in which the cases are handled and court proceeding is perceived among people. Advocate general, Kamal Trivedi said that courts have always been plagued by lengthy proceedings and cited various documents showing historians narrating similar problem. Talking on the occasion, GCCI president Rupesh Shah said that element of confidentiality, and provision of refund of certain court fees could be the main attractions for mediation for traders community.

Man jailed for life in murder case
19 Apr 2009, 0603 hrs IST, TNN
MARGAO: Additional sessions Judge P Savoikar on Saturday sentenced one Rajesh Marathe to undergo rigorous life imprisonment and directed him to pay a fine of Rs 5,000 for committing murder of Sana Shaikh at the Margao fish market in the year 2005. The accused, a native of Sameerwadi-Sangli, was held guilty for the murder by the court on April 6. The sentence was pronounced on Saturday. Marathe was charge-sheeted by police inspector Santosh Dessai under Section 302 of IPC for killing the victim at the wholesale fish market at Margao on the night of November 1, 2005. According to the charge-sheet, the deceased, who resided at Talsam Zhor in Aquem, had verbally accused the mother and sister of the accused on an earlier occasion, under the influence of alcohol. On the fateful night, the accused arrived at the wholesale fish market, where Sana, a fish loader, was sleeping. The accused dragged the victim outside on a pavement and stabbed him several times with a broken soft drink bottle. Police also stated that the death occurred subsequently on account of profuse bleeding due to the grave injuries on the neck. Marathe, who was in an intoxicated state, was later nabbed by the security personnel at the market and handed over to the police. The prosecution had examined 19 witnesses in the case, and had stated that the motive behind the murder was previous enmity and vengeance.

HC directs officials to return
18 Apr 2009, 2246 hrs IST, TNN
MADIKERI: The high court has directed the Kodagu district administration to hand over to respective owners, all the licensed guns which had been seized within seven days of the order date, which was passed on Friday. S P Mahadevappa, district Veerashaiva community organisation president, had filed a writ petition in court questioning the district administration’s decision. In his petition, he had stated that the district administration had withdrawn the order in favour of one community after they appealed that the guns were used for their pooja ceremonies. Shridar and S B Shankar, advocates for Mahadevappa, had argued that members of other communities in Kodagu, also had licensed gun holders who used their guns during pooja. Hearing their argument, HC judge Patil ordered the district administration return the guns within seven days from the order date to gun owners. Kodagu district administration had earlier passed an order to confiscate the guns as a precautionary measure during parliamentary elections

NHRC seeks status report of probe into Anara case
19 Apr 2009, 1304 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: NHRC has directed Jammu and Kashmir police to submit status report of the investigation in the sensational porn-video case of 2004 allegedly involving former Miss Jammu Anara Gupta. The commission also asked the state police chief to submit, by middle of May, a copy of the order of the Jammu chief judicial magistrate which had rejected the final investigation report submitted by the Crime Branch in the matter and had directed for “further investigation” of the case by a SIT. The rights panel directed the state police to “transmit” a copy of the final investigation report of the crime branch along with annexures which it had submitted in the CJM court. “Before proceeding further in the matter, the commission would like to see the final report submitted by the Crime Branch… and the order passed by the CJM, Jammu, thereon,” the NHRC order said. “The commission would also like to know about the status of investigation being made by SIT,” it said while hearing the sensational case that came to light in 2004.

Court can’t impose values on society: SC
19 Apr 2009, 1237 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has held that courts cannot impose their values on society in the name of promoting public interest while dealing with administrative orders. “We are not exercising our will. We cannot impose our own values on society. Any such effort would mean to make value judgements,” a Bench of Justices Lokeshwar Singh Panta and B Sudershan Reddy observed. The bench passed the observations while setting aside a judgement of the Allahabad High Court which had directed allotment of a certain plot in Meerut to an educational institution — Association of Management Studies (AMS). The High Court ordered allotment of the land to AMS on ground that it was carrying out a noble task of imparting education which was in “public interest”. The direction was passed despite the fact that there were other higher bidders for the plot and that the AMS was willing to pay only Rs 560 per sq yard and not even the reserve price of Rs 690 per sq yard fixed by the Meerut Development Authority (MDA). Aggrieved by the direction, the MDA and the successful bidder Pawan Kumar filed the SLPs in the apex court challenging the high court’s direction.

CRIME & PUNISHMENT Spare The Girl–PUNISHMENT–Spare-The-Girl/articleshow/4420716.cms
20 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Aneesh A
‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ may be nothing more than an outdated aphorism to most of us. But in the Swat valley region of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province, there are men who swear by that adage. Well, they follow a slightly altered version of the proverb which goes: Spare the rod and spoil the girl child. A 17-year-old girl, Chand Bibi, was publicly flogged 34 times by representatives of the Taliban with prompt assistance from her concerned brother. Two men held her face down, pinning her legs and shoulders, rendering her immobile as the whipping transpired. And while your sister may have committed the same unpardonable crime the act of walking with a man who isn’t her husband a million times, without rousing ire for being such a splotch on the family name, women in the Swat valley clearly don’t get away that easily. The flogging, caught on video and leaked out via an anonymous mobile phone camera, has sparked off protests all over the world. Familiar words like human rights, women’s rights et al are being thrown around. The Taliban, too, has been angered by the leak of this video, but for altogether different reasons. Perhaps they wanted to wait until the official DVD release of the bash up, with some exclusive behind-the-scenes footage. One can imagine an irate Taliban chief, much like a tantrum-prone rock star, complaining that a foreign hand was involved in leaking the video a piece of violence so exquisite, it deserved a worldwide launch, media blitzkrieg and all. Several onlookers, like kids watching a big bully in school beat up a puny child, are visible huddling around the scene. It’s hard to gauge if it’s fear, shock or concurrence that’s preventing them from raising their voice. The 17-year-old offender, however, is now denying being flogged at all. Perhaps it’s a case of temporary amnesia. More likely, her concerned brother had another ‘talk’ with her. Either way, the flogging case, now pending in the Pakistan supreme court, looks as though it’s going to go six feet under. It seems that women all over the world, and not just Pakistani women, will have to take a cue from this episode and do the one thing they can do to avoid having such universal infamy, in addition to severe bruises, forced upon them: Stay home.


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