LEGAL NEWS 23.05.2009

HC stays order on cricket body

23 May 2009, 0357 hrs IST, TNN

PATNA: A single bench of the Patna High Court presided by Justice R K Datta on Friday stayed the order of the member, Board of Revenue, which had set aside the order of IG (registration) cancelling the registration of Bihar Cricket Association (BCA).

The order was passed on the writ petition of Association of Bihar Cricket (ABC) headed by former India team cricketer and BJP MP Kirti Azad, who submitted that the BCA had in its petition before the member, Board of Revenue, did not make the ABC a necessary party.

ABC’s writ petition challenged the order of the member, Board of Revenue, restoring the registration and existence of BCA headed by RJD state president and MLA Abdul Bari Siddiqui.

Saran school teachers:

A division bench dismissed a bunch of LPAs filed by the state government challenging the order of a single bench to allow the continuance of the basic school teachers appointed in government high schools in Saran district in 1985 till a proper selection procedure is adopted to appoint only trained teachers.

The matter related to appointment of 264 teachers against 129 sanctioned posts in the government basic schools in Saran district by the regional deputy director of education with many appointed teachers having no requisite qualification of trained teacher.

The stand of the state government was that only trained teachers could be appointed in the basic schools and, therefore, the appointments were illegal.






Notice to BCI on age limit for LLB course

22 May 2009, 2249 hrs IST, TNN

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has issued notice to the Bar Council of India (BCI) on a writ petition challenging its resolution passed on September 14, 2008, whereby maximum age for admission in three years LLB course has been fixed as 30 years.

Justice Arun Tandon has fixed May 28 to hear the case. Allahabad University and MJP Rohilkhand University have also been made party in the petition as respondents.

The writ petition has been filed by Neelita Jauhari. The petitioner has alleged that under the Advocates Act, standards can be laid down for legal education, but the BCI has no authority to fix maximum age limit for the admission of the students in universities. The petitioner said that admission in a particular course is a sole domain of the universities.






BSNL case: Nokia Siemens to move local HCs

23 May 2009, 0200 hrs IST, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: Global networks major Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) will now approach the Chandigarh High Court (HC) and may also appeal at the high courts of Mumbai and Hyderabad next week seeking a stay on BSNL’s network contracts worth $6 billion, which were awarded to Sweden’s Ericsson and China’s Huawei. This follows Delhi HC dismissing its petition on jurisdiction grounds.

On Thursday, NSN had filed a petition in the Delhi HC challenging BSNL’s decision to disqualify the company’s bid on technical grounds. During the proceedings on Friday, senior counsel Vikas Singh, appearing for state-owned BSNL, pointed out that the tenders challenged by NSN were floated in Chandigarh, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata zones of BSNL and were outside the jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court. Following this, the division bench of the Delhi HC dismissed NSN’s petition, while adding that the company could approach the appropriate high courts, which had the jurisdiction on the issue.

BSNL also rejected Nokia Siemens’ allegations that it (BSNL) had failed to maintain transparency in the tender process: “The whole process is just to delay BSNL’s expansion process. NSN was aware that there was a shortfall in their technology. They were told by BSNL that there was a shortfall in their technology,” Mr Singh said.

The BSNL counsel also said that NSN itself admitted that they were technically not qualified for the tender. With regard to NSN’s allegations that BSNL had not informed the company of its disqualification, Mr Singh said that rules laid down by SC stated the shorlisted bidders need to be informed only in big contracts.

BSNL executives suspect that NSN is attempting to delay the telco’s expansion plans. The PSU is already facing capacity crunch across the country and any further delay in awarding the contracts will result in the company falling a long way behind private operators, as it would be unable to expand its services. BSNL executives point out that Motorola had filed a similar petition in the Delhi HC in 2006, which delayed its expansion plans by about a year. Later, Motorola withdrew the case.

Meanwhile, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for NSN, alleged that BSNL had shortlisted Huawei, despite security concerns. “Huawei is a Chinese firm and there are security concerns. Moreover, government circulars mention that you could not have an enemy power in telecom and aviation sectors,” he said.

But, BSNL executives maintain that they had opened the bids only after getting security clearance to award the contract to Huawei. Last week, security agencies had allowed BSNL to give contracts to Huawei only in the southern states, as this region does not share sensitive borders with countries, such as Pakistan, China and Bangladesh. BSNL executives also add that while Huawei was shortlisted in east and west zones, its bids for these regions were not considered due to security issues.

As reported earlier by ET, BSNL is also of the view that NSN’s allegations are baseless, especially considering that the company had refused to supply 9.63 million GSM lines in BSNL’s earlier tender, despite being given the contract. BSNL maintains that NSN’s failure to accept the orders for these 9.63 million lines had impacted its network expansion plans.







Haryana HC backs govt norms on brick-kilns

;Statesman News Service
CHANDIGARH, 22 MAY: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that norms cannot be relaxed to allow brick-kilns to come up at a distance of less than a kilometre from village abadi.
Taking up a petition filed by Arati Brick Company, chief justice Mr Tirath Singh Thakur and Mr Hemant Gupta observed: “Manufacturing, sale and storage of bricks is regulated by the control order, known as the Haryana control of bricks supplies order, 1972, as amended by the amendment order 1992″.
“The petitioner appears to have obtained a licence from the director, food and supplies, Haryana, consequently upon an exemption granted by the government in its favour from the rigours of the control order”.
“The validity of the licence was assailed by the villagers residing in the vicinity of the kiln, which was allowed by a division bench via order dated 28 February, 2005″.
“Pursuant to the direction, the government passed a fresh order dated 4 May, 2005, declining any relaxation to the petitioner from the requirements of the control order”.
“The government has taken the view, that the proposed brick-kiln would violate the sitting norms stipulated in the control order in as much as the proposed brick-kiln would be at a distance of only 300 meters from the village as against one kilometre stipulated under the control order”.
Dismissing the petition, the Bench added “There is no gain in saying that a brick-kiln is a potential source of pollution for the village abadi.
“In a number of cases that have come up to this Court, the villagers have found fault with the establishment of such kilns in their neighbourhood. In the circumstances, the decision on the part of the government to strictly adhere to the norms stipulated under the order in the general interest of the public living in the vicinity and to prevent any hardship or health hazard for the residents, cannot be said to be either unwarranted, irrational or perverse to call for interference in the exercise of our extraordinary jurisdiction”.





No HC relief for SEZ in Raigad

23 May 2009, 0205 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN

MUMBAI: The Mukesh Ambani-promoted Mumbai Special Economic Zone Ltd received no relief from the Bombay HC on its plea that the collector should expedite the land acquisition proceedings at Raigad for its project. The vacation bench of the court disposed of the petition asking Mumbai SEZ to approach the SC where a bunch of related petitions were pending.

The land acquisition officer of Raigad, in fact, opposed the petition saying the collector had to follow the process laid down by law for acquiring land. “Any interim relief would jeopardise the long-drawn legal process and the petition should be dismissed,” he said.

The court order came after the Maha Mumbai SEZ Sangharsh Samiti, an organisation opposing the SEZ, informed it on Friday that a PIL relating to the project was pending with the apex court.

Land acquisition process started in June 2007, the government said. There were 45 declarations made for land to be acquired and, till date, no person had come to the collector, saying he had agreed to the terms for the acquisition.

“Any unilateral request by the Mumbai SEZ Ltd cannot be accepted unless land owners are heard out by the collector,” the government officer said.






Bahal is HC bar association chief

23 May 2009, 0145 hrs IST, TNN

CHANDIGARH: Sukhjinder Singh Bahal was elected the new president of Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association on Friday. He defeated his rival, GS Dhuriwala, by the margin of 308 votes.

The elections, which saw 2,169 of the total 2,525 votes being polled, passed off smoothly. SS Rangi was elected the vice-president. He got 1,030 votes as against his competitor, NK Banka, who polled 829. Gaurav Chopra became the honorary secretary by grabbing 1,099 votes. Rittam Aggarwal was elected the new joint secretary, while Amit Rana bagged the post of treasurer after defeating his rival Parveen Sharma with a margin of 539 votes. Talking to TOI, Bahal said his endeavour would be to ensure that the dignity of bar was maintained.






Ramabai Nagar firing case: Manohar Kadam gets bail from HC

Mumbai (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Friday granted bail to suspended SRPF officer Manohar Kadam in the 1997 Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar firing case and suspended the life sentence awarded to him by the sessions court.

While granting cash bail of Rs 50,000 to Mr. Kadam, a vacation bench of Justices Anand Nirgude and Rajesh Ketkar also admitted mr. Kadam’s appeal and suspended his life sentence, his lawyer Raja Thakre said.

Mr. Kadam was admitted to a hospital after the sessions court convicted him for “culpable homicide not amounting to murder” earlier this month. He was later sent to jail.

“His sentence has been suspended,” Mr. Thakre said.

Mr. Kadam, then sub-inspector with the State Reserve Police Force, was held responsible by sessions court for ten deaths in police firing on Dalit mob at Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar in suburban Ghatkopar here on July 11, 1997.

The mob was protesting the desecration of statue of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Mr. Kadam headed the SRPF platoon that was sent to the spot.

A commission of inquiry as well as the sessions court held that firing was unwarranted.

Mr. Thakre argued before High Court that Mr. Kadam himself did not fire a single round and required sanctions were not taken before prosecuting him.






HC directs OPSC to conduct OAS main exam


CUTTACK: In a significant ruling, the High Court on Thursday asked Orissa Public Service Commission (OPSC) to conduct the controversial OAS main examinations-2006 once again.

The HC made it clear that the exams should be completed within next three months.

It was also clarified that all the 4,548 aspirants who have qualified in the preliminary examination, including the 3,770 aspirants who have already appeared the main examinations in May-June last year would sit for the same exam once again.

The Bench of Justice B.P. Das and Justice B.P. Ray which was adjudicating over the case since last year had reserved its judgment after completing the hearing in March this year.






HC comes to rescue of GPSC candidates

22 May 2009, 0458 hrs IST, Saeed Khan, TNN

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat High Court has come to the rescue of those lawyers whose candidatures for GPSC class-II posts for assistant public prosecutors (APP) were cancelled for committing an error in filling up forms. In a recent order the HC quashed this cancellation.

High court last year directed state government to conduct an examination for recruitment of APPs for 242 posts in courts across the state. GPSC conducted written test in January this year, and more than 5,000 lawyers took this examination.

However, after the list of candidates who cleared the test was declared, some candidates belonging to socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC) were communicated that their candidature was cancelled stopping them from appearing in the final interview. The reason for cancellation of their candidature was that they had submitted non-creamy layer’ certificate, but not in the required format.

Actually, production of such income certificate is necessary for SEBC candidate. And, there are two different formats of such certificates one is specific for Central government service, while the second is for the state government jobs. The aspirants for government pleaders’ jobs were required to attach a certificate in a format meant for state government jobs, but instead many of them annexed the format that is needed in Central government offices.

The GPSC decided that these SEBC candidates should be disqualified for interview for this blunder, and they were communicated accordingly. This led some of the lawyers move the high court claiming that it was a bona fide mistake not on their part only, but also on part of the authorities that granted the certificates to them.

After hearing the lawyers and GPSC, Justice MR Shah quashed GPSC’s decision to cancel the candidature of these lawyers. The court ordered the recruiting agency to call the petitioner lawyers for oral interview. However, the recruiting agency proposed to consider all candidates, who are similarly situated and whose non-creamy layer certificates were rejected on same ground.

The court has given one week’s time to all these SEBC candidates to submit their certificates in proper format to GPSC.






HC directs Orissa Public Service Commission to conduct OAS main exam


CUTTACK: In a significant ruling, the High Court on Thursday asked Orissa Public Service Commission (OPSC) to conduct the controversial OAS main examinations-2006 once again.

The HC made it clear that the exams should be completed within next three months.

It was also clarified that all the 4,548 aspirants who have qualified in the preliminary examination, including the 3,770 aspirants who have already appeared the main examinations in May-June last year would sit for the same exam once again.

The Bench of Justice B.P. Das and Justice B.P. Ray which was adjudicating over the case since last year had reserved its judgment after completing the hearing in March this year.

With Thursday’s HC ruling, the OAS exam-2006—for which the advertisement was made way back in August 2006 to recruit around 380 officers—would perhaps take another six months to complete.

What is more awful is that the posts were advertised taking all the vacancies created between 2000 and 2005.

That means a vacancy created in 2000 would now be fulfilled in 2010.

More shocking is the fact that an SC or ST candidate who was eligible for 2000 vacancy at the fag end of his age limit i.e. at the age of 31 and enters the government job in 2010, he would then have only 17 years of service left before he retires in 2027 at the age of 58.

In that case, the officer would not be able to receive final pension after retiring for no fault of his.

It may be mentioned here that the advertisement for the controversial exams came in August 2006 by the OPSC to fill up the vacancies created for the years 2000, 01, 02, 03, 04 and 2005.

It then took another year to conduct the preliminary examinations which were held on May 11, 2007.

And after nine months, i.e. on February 29, 2008 the preliminary results were out wherein the OPSC declared that only 3,770 candidates are eligible to sit for the main exam (written).

Alleging that the reservation ratio was not maintained and as per the norms, candidates numbering 12 times the number of posts advertised were not allowed to write the main exams, some aspirants knocked the court of law for intervention.

While the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) and the HC were hearing some petitions, the OPSC went ahead with conducting the main exams for 3,770 students from May 27 to June 24, 2008 without rectifying their mistakes.

However, following court directions, the OPSC was forced to publish the preliminary results once again allowing another 778 students qualified to write the main exams.

The second phase of the main exams was scheduled to begin from May 27, 2009 but it was cancelled after the HC stayed it just a day before the exams were to begin.

Challenging the veracity of the exam and questioning about maintainability of “difficult” level of the questions, some students moved the HC again. Disposing off these petitions, the HC on Thursday ruled that the main exams would be held again for the entire students and the same would be completed within three months.





Lawyers to suspend work on Monday to protest police atrocities  
Published: May 22,2009    
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by Anita Khandelwal, a criminal lawyer in the Rajasthan High Court, alleging the police for beating her husband and her in the compound of Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADJ)court, Sambhar.

A division bench of the Court comprising acting Chief Justice RC Gandhi and Justice GS Saraf has taken cognizance of the PIL and directed the ADJ, Sambhar to make an inquiry into the matter and file a detailed report in the court on May 29.

Police protection to the lady and her family was also ordered.

According to the petitioner, on May 18 she had gone to ADJ court to argue a case with by her businessman husband, who allegedly was mistaken by two cops as a client.

When she came out she saw Kajod Singh, Assistant Sub Inspector of Renwaal police station talking loudly to her husband. When she objected, both were allegedly roughed up by Kajod and Karan Singh, Station House Officer of Jobner police Station.

“In an emergency meeting we have decided to suspend work on May 25. We have requested the home minister for action. The culprit officers have been suspended but we are demanding their immediate arrest,” High Cout Bar Association members said.

Source: PTI







Philip Mathew gets management leadership award of KMA

Published: May 22,2009

Kochi , May 22 Philip Mathew, the Managing Editor of&apos Malayala Manorama&aposand&aposThe Week&apos, has been selected for Kerala Management Association&aposs management leadership award for this year.

The award, to be presented at a function here, is in recognition of the contributions made by Philip Mathew to the overall development of Kerala in general and to the management profession in particular, KMA president Dr K K Jayan said in a statement here.

With three decades of rich experience in the mass media, Mathew has contributed much to the development of journalism workdwide as vice chairman, International Press Institute (IPI), Vienna, and was elected twice as chairman of Press Trust of India and also the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), the release said.

Presently, he is a member of board of directors in IPI, PTI and Press Institute of India (PIL).

Mathew has been successful in bringing the problems faced by mass media organisations in the Third world to the global attention using the platform of IPI, the release added.

Source: PTI

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HC asks Mumbai SEZ to approach Apex Court

Mumbai (PTI): The Bombay High court today asked Mumbai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) company to approach the Supreme Court with regards to the land acquisition process.

Mumbai SEZ, promoted by Mukesh Ambani, had moved the High Court saying that the formalities of land acquisition are not yet complete despite the State Government initiating the process two years ago.

The SEZ is coming up in neighbouring Raigad district.

The company wanted direction from the High Court to the district collector to expedite the process.

But Maha Mumbai SEZ Sangharsh Samiti, a local organisation opposing the SEZ today told High Court that a PIL related to this project is pending before the Supreme Court.

Therefore, High Court today asked Mumbai SEZ company to approach the apex court.





Activist pleads for green belt around Victoria

22 May 2009, 0404 hrs IST, TNN

KOLKATA: The creation of a green belt around Victoria Memorial Hall is urgently required to protect the monument from environmental degradation, environmental activist Subhas Datta told Calcutta High Court on Thursday.

Citing a report of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) of July, 2007, Datta submitted before the division Bench of Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice Tapan Dutt that the institute pointed out several physical damage, such as cracks and black spots, that had developed at several spots of the monument’s external walls, which was direct evidence of harmful reaction product formation due to environmental pollution.

According to NEERI, this not only poses a threat to the aesthetics of the monument, but might also pose a serious threat to the long-term load-bearing ability of the marble blocks exposed to atmospheric pollution and rain.

Datta pointed out that NEERI had suggested the creation of green belt of 50 to 70 metre radius surrounding the structure, which could reduce pollution level and save the memorial. “On one hand, the pollution load due to some unavoidable factors has increased manifold surrounding the monument; on the other hand, the creation of a green belt around the structure has been kept unattended by the Victoria authorities. This situation might lead to irreparable loss to the monument,” Datta submitted.

Opposing NEERI’s recommendation to create a green belt around the monument, the Victoria authorities argued in the course of hearing of the PIL that creation of such a green belt around Victoria would obstruct air flow.

Being a petitioner of the PIL, Datta opposed the Victoria authorities’ plea for constructing a modern art gallery, museum and administrative buildings within the monument complex on the ground that it would create pollution and pled for shifting the administrative buildings and the new constructions elsewhere.

“If due to pollution, the structure is endangered and damaged, the question of preserving artefacts will not arise at all. So, survival and existence of the structure is more important than any other thing and must be given topmost priority by making a buffer zone surrounding the monument,” Datta said.

The matter will come up for hearing again on June 9.






Residents of suburbs to file PIL for underground Metro

22 May 2009, 0308 hrs IST, Chittaranjan Tembhekar, TNN

MUMBAI: Protests against the Metro rail’s second line between Charkop and Mankhurd via Bandra seem to have created a divide between the island city and the suburbs.

“Why is an underground route proposed only for south Mumbai and not for the equally important and densely populated western suburbs, between Bandra and Andheri?” said a resident of the suburb. Like him, many feel the elevated Metro section will result in environmental hazards, such as rise in pollution and felling of trees, besides other problems. They have decided to file a PIL against the state government.

“The MMRDA and the state have failed to respond positively to our demand. They have not even given any proper reason for not going ahead with the underground section. Now we will file a PIL,” said a member. Several citizens’ associations are involved in the protest.

However, MMRDA spokesman Dilip Kawathkar said they would not stop the ongoing tendering process and expected bidders for the Rs 7,660-crore second Metro line. “We have granted extension to bidders to submit their bids by May 31 and MMRDA will go ahead with the elevated plan, which has already been approved,” said Kawathkar.

Jayesh Thakker, a protesting resident, said principal secretary for urban development T C Benjamin had refused the underground section stating that it might affect the cost. But architect and a resident, Nitin Killawala, who offered an alternative to the MMRDA plan, said only the civic cost of constructing pillars and stations would change while the cost of rolling stock would remain the same.

A panel, comprising architects, shopkeepers, educational institutions and activists said the cost-in terms of environment hazards, widening of roads and livelihood-would be less if their proposal, rather than MMRDA’s, was taken into account.






No tree-felling without nod from authority


Bangalore: The high court on Thursday asked BMRC not to cut or remove any tree in Lalbagh area without obtaining permission from the tree officer or the tree authority under the BBMP.
A vacation division Bench headed by Justice N K Patil gave this direction before adjourning hearing on PIL related to tree-felling on R V Road stretch of the Metro project. The PIL also challenged grant of land inside Lalbagh Botanical Garden for a Metro station.
Appearing on behalf of the government and BMRC, advocate general Udaya Holla said the project belongs to the state and all required applications have been filed, seeking permission from the tree authority to cut trees wherever necessary. He said trees will be felled whenever permission is granted. “One cannot oppose every project under the notion of ‘green’. We will not cut any trees without getting permission,” he told the court.
“This is the fifth round of litigation on the same project. A division Bench of this court has already reserved its verdict on the main petition. The contention of the petitioners that KTCP Act has not been followed is inapplicable in this case. A Metro station is also a part of an alignment,” Holla told the court.

posted by The Bangalorean @ 5/23/2009 12:33:00 AM







NHRC seminar on “Right to Information, Human Rights ends

By admin on May 22nd, 2009 27 views

New Delhi, May 22 (ANI): A two day national seminar on “Right to Information, Human Rights: The Present Scenario”, organized by the National Human Rights Commission concluded in New Delhi today.


Addressing the concluding Session, the noted Hindi Litterateur Kunwar Narayan as Chief Guest observed that literature is a mirror to society and in this context it has close links with Right to Information.

He underscored the importance of Hindi in brining awareness about Right to Information.

Renowned Journalist and Special Guest, Prabhash Joshi stated, it is ironical that the country seems to be governed by the age old rules framed by the British and which have orientation for denying the information.

A change in the society cannot be effected with the introduction of a law, first the society has to accept it, he added. Recalling the efforts behind the enactment of Right to Information Act in the country, he observed that it needs to be implemented in a more transparent manner in which no institution remains beyond its purview.

During the two day seminar, several writers, academicians, Senior Government Officers, Members and Officers of the Commission participated in the discussions on the issue of Right to Information and human rights.

It was largely hailed that the Right to Information has brought in a change in the culture of the governance in the country.

However, it was also felt that unless the people in the governance and the society as a whole are sensitive about the need to be transparent, mere implementation of Right to Information will not be successful. (ANI)






26/11 trial: Court rejects Kazmi’s plea to inspect sites

Mumbai, May 21: A special court on Thursday rejected a plea of defence lawyer Abbas Kazmi seeking permission to inspect the November 26 terror attack sites and the marine vessel M V Kuber allegedly used by LeT terrorists to reach Mumbai shores from Pakistan.

Kazmi is defending prime accused Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist arrested during the attacks last year.

Judge M L Tahaliyani said that there was no provision under CrPc to allow lawyers to visit the place of offence but the defence lawyer was free to visit public places and permission in this regard was not required from the court.

However, in case of M V Kuber, permission cannot be given by the court because the boat has already been handed over to its owner on a bond executed by him, the judge said.

At this point, an inspection of Kuber was not necessary but if the court felt at a later stage that the visit was required it would give the permission to the lawyers, the judge added.

The court noted that evidence regarding murder of navigator of Kuber Amar Singh Solanki would be recorded shortly and at this stage it was not necessary for the lawyer to visit the boat.

Bureau Report


LEGAL NEWS 22-23.05.2009

HC go-ahead to PWC for entrance test

21 May 2009, 0354 hrs IST, TNN

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Wednesday allowed the plea of Patna Women’s College (PWC) to conduct the entrance test on May 21, 22 and 23 for admission to different self-financing vocational courses run by the college.

A single bench presided over by Justice Mihir Kumar Jha disposed of the writ petition of PWC and passed an order to this effect. PWC had challenged an advertisement issued by Patna University that all entrance tests for admission to different courses in the university and its colleges would be held in the month of June.

In its writ petition PWC submitted that it had issued an advertisement on April 11, 2009, for conducting the entrance test from May 21 to 23 for the self-financing vocational courses for the academic year 2009-10. But Patna University issued an advertisement on May 6 announcing that all entrance tests for admission to different courses in the university would be held in the month of June.

The plea of PWC was that after the entrance test it takes one month time to take admission and start classes, and if the entrance test is conducted in June then there would be one-month delay in starting the classes.





HC against cutting trees in Lalbagh area

Press Trust Of India / Chennai/ Bangalore May 22, 2009, 0:22 IST

The Karnataka High Court today directed Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation not to cut any trees in Lalbagh area without permission of the Tree Authority, in connection with a PIL seeking directions to change the alignment of Metro Rail, as it would pass through Lal Bagh.

Advocate general Uday Holla who appeared on behalf of the state government and BMRCL submitted that they had sought the permission of the Tree Authority to cut the trees and would continue the project after permission was given.

The petitioners, an environment support group Hasiru Usiru and others contended the ordinance promulgated by the governor on November 22, 2008 to earmark a portion of Lalbagh for metro and Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park, in Cubbon Park limits to widen the road had lapsed as the government failed to get assent to a bill to replace the ordinance.

Even as the ordinance lapsed, the government issued an order to Horticulture department to earmark 1135 square metres of Lalbagh area for the Metro rail project, they contended.

The bench, after hearing both parties, adjourned further hearing to next week.





BJP’s Kheda candidate moves HC, demands re-counting

21 May 2009, 1524 hrs IST, PTI

AHMEDABAD: BJP candidate Devusinh Chauhan, who lost the Kheda constituency in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections by a narrow margin, has moved the Gujarat High Court demanding recounting for the seat.

Chauhan has made the Election Commission of India (ECI), Chief Election officer, returning officers of Gujarat and Kheda as respondents in the case.

The BJP candidate had lost by 846 votes to Congress’ Dinsha Patel in a close contest between the two candidates.

When the counting began on May 16, Chauhan was leading against Patel. But towards the end, tables turned and Patel was up by a couple of hundred votes.

Due to a technical snag in an EVM of booth number 76 of Dholka Assembly segment, the declaration of results was stalled till late night, where Patel won by 846 votes.

Chauhan’s request for recounting was denied by the returning officer following which he filed a writ petition in the Court.

The matter came up for hearing yesterday in the court of Justice Z K Sayyed who posted it for further hearing on June 8.






HC refuses interim stay on plastic bag ban


Express News Service Posted: Thursday , May 21, 2009 at 0202 hrs IST

New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to grant an interim stay on the January 7 notification, banning plastic bags from public places in the Capital.

A Division Bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and A K Pathak, however, asked the Delhi government to consider the objections raised by plastic manufacturers. The Bench had earlier sought a response from the government on a petition filed by plastic bag manufacturers against the “blanket ban”.

The All-India Plastic Industries Association criticised the January 7 notification this year issued by the Department of Environment and Forests and Wildlife under the Delhi Degradable Plastic Bag Act, 2008, as “arbitrary”. The Association had argued that the present notification is contrary to earlier ones on June 2005 and May 2006, which allowed the use of degradable plastic bags in “certain places”.

HC seeks UGC response
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response from the University Grants Commission (UGC) on a public interest litigation against a notification allegedly granting “university” status to institutions classified as “deemed to be”. A Division Bench led by Chief Justice A P Shah ordered the UGC and the Centre to file their responses by July 29, the next date of hearing.





In HC: NHRC agrees to probe Batla encounter


Express News Service Posted: Thursday , May 21, 2009 at 0136 hrs IST

New Delhi:

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday agreed to go ahead with an independent inquiry into the September 19 police encounter at Batla House that left two alleged militants and Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma dead.

The nation’s top human rights panel told a High Court Division Bench led by Chief Justice A P Shah to open the probe into the police action regardless of objections raised by the government to a magisterial inquiry. The Bench recorded the submission from NHRC and observed that it would pass formal orders on May 21.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by an NGO — Act Now For Harmony and Democracy — that raised doubts over police’s version of the encounter and sought a judicial inquiry.

Two alleged members of the Indian Mujahideen — Atif Amin and Mohammed Sajid — and Special Cell’s Inspector Sharma were killed in the encounter, which took place days after the September 13 serial blasts in the Capital.

“Time is passing — You (NHRC) have every right to do it. I don’t see any obstacle in it,” the court had earlier told the human rights commission.





Kalyan gets breather from HC


  Posted: Thursday , May 21, 2009 at 0435 hrs IST

The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday stayed the legal proceedings against Kalyan Banerjee, an adovcate and Trinamool MP from Serampore, in a defamation suit pending against him in the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court for his alleged derogatory remarks against CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Justice Asim Roy directed that the proceedings be stayed in the defamation suit that had been filed against the Trinamool MP on May 4 by Mridul De, a CPM state committee member, who alleged that Banerjee had made derogatory remarks against Bhattacharjee in an interview to a private TV channel. After a hearing, S S Anand, the chief metropolitan magistrate, issued summons against Banerjee and the TV channel for appearance in the next hearing fixed on August 12, 2009.






Iranian moves HC against deportation

21 May 2009, 0246 hrs IST, Asseem Shaikh, TNN

PUNE: An Iranian national Mohammed Hadi Wayez Jahed Asadi, who is facing deportation for allegedly violating the visa rules and regulations, has moved the Bombay High Court in April end for stalling his deportation.

Asadi was running a hotel in partnership, which was in violation of the visa rules and regulations.

Asadi and his girl friend Nazeri Rodsari Shayad went missing from the city on April 7 after the foreigners registration office (FRO) had issued deportation notices to them.

Asadi was staying in Wadgaon Sheri and Shayad in Kalyaninagar. Both the foreigners, whose passports have been impounded, instead of complying with the notices, have managed to disappear.

The police had launched a massive hunt to trace them. Later, acting on a tip off, a police team traced the duo in Mundhwa and took them into custody on May 7 for completing the deportation process.

The Iranians were served with the restriction order under the Foreigners Act after they were nabbed in Mundhwa.

Shayad, who had taken admission to a city college on the basis of a forged bona fide certificate, was recently deported to Iran. However, Asadi moved the high court for extending his stay in Pune.

Speaking to TOI on Wednesday, senior police inspector Bhanupratap of the FRO said, “Asadi has filed a petition for seeking benefit of the Indian Constitution for extending his stay in Pune”.

According to Barge, “Asadi’s petition states that he wants to stay here till August end for completing education. Asadi has assured the court that he will go back to Iran on his own. Asadi has pleaded that he had become a partner in a hotel as he was not aware of the India law“.

After receiving the notice from the petitioner, “The FRO has filed a written statement in the high court for opposing the petition on the grounds that a foreigner cannot claim benefit of the Indian Constitution,” Barge said.

The petition will come up for admission before the high court on June 10.

The FRO had found several students overstaying in the city. Deputy commissioner of police (special branch) Ravindra Sengaonkar had launched a drive against people staying illegally in the city. The FRO has recently deported 200 such foreign students.





HC dismisses eatery’s plea against demolition

21 May 2009, 0221 hrs IST, TNN

MUMBAI: In a setback for the popular McDonald’s restaurant opposite CST station, the Bombay high court on Wednesday dismissed its application challenging a BMC order to demolish the kiosk and shelters it had put up in the compound.

A vacation bench of Justice A V Nirgude and Justice R G Ketkar, however, stayed its order for four weeks to allow Hard Castle Restaurant Private Ltd, the company running the McDonald’s chain in the city, time to file an appeal in Supreme Court.

McDonald’s is housed on the ground floor of Mahendra Chambers, a Grade II-A heritage structure. The restaurant had received a no-objection certificate from the corporation in 2005 to put up temporary shelters and a kiosk in the open space. Two years later, the BMC cancelled the NOC and ordered the restaurant to clear the area. On May 5, 2009, the assistant municipal commissioner gave the restaurant two weeks to remove the structures (PVC shelters and a kiosk).

“Under the guise of a temporary structure, the restaurant constructed permanent structures in violation of rules,” said advocate Janhvi Durve, counsel for Mahendra Builders (landlord of the property). The company on its part insisted that it had complied with all the rules.






HC for maintenance of decorum on court premises

20 May 2009, 2224 hrs IST, TNN

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has stated that under no circumstances should the decorum be overlooked in the court. This remark was made by a division bench of the Allahabad High Court comprising Justices Amitava Lala and D K Arora when some office-bearers of the High Court Bar Association (HCBA) requested the courts to retire to their chambers as the bar had decided to abstain from judicial work and hence had not put on proper uniform.

The lawyers of the high court abstained from judicial work on Wednesday in support of the call given by the UP Bar Council to all the bar associations of the state to observe protest day against police inaction in a lawyer’s death case.

The lawyers of the court under the leadership of the president of the bar VC Misra assembled on the court premises and thereafter went into the court rooms and requested the judges to retire to their chambers. The courts, accepting the request of the members of the bar, retired to their chambers.

Thereafter, HCBA held a meeting and passed a resolution stating that the protests would continue against a Supreme Court judge till he withdraws his remarks made against the lawyers. HCBA also passed a resolution that the bar would make application for intervention in all the cases filed by Dr A K Bansal either in the high court or in the apex court.






Reinstate policemen or face contempt charges: HC tells UP Govt.

Allahabad (PTI): The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday warned Uttar Pradesh government that it will face contempt proceedings if it did not reinstate by May 27 nearly 18,000 police personnel sacked by the Mayawati regime for alleged irregularities in recruitment.

Holding that non-compliance with the order was prima facie tantamount to contempt of court, Justice Vikram Nath directed the Principal Secretary (Home), the Director General of Police and other top officials to appear before the court on May 27.

The order was passed on a petition filed by Pawan Kumar Singh and others who claimed that the state government was neither allowing them to resume duty nor has it taken any step for the screening of the dismissed police personnel despite the High Court ruling in this regard.





Jaypee Hotels gets HC nod of merger

MUMBAI: Jaypee Hotels on Wednesday said it has received the approval from Allahabad High Court for the merger of the company along with some of its group firms with Jaiprakash Associates.

The Allahabad High Court has sanctioned the scheme of amalgamation of Jaypee Hotels, Jaypee Cement, Jaiprakash Associates and Gujarat Anjan Cement with Jaiprakash Associates, the company said in a filing to the BSE. – PTI





Catching them drunk: new HC mandate for pubs finds few takers


Zahid Rafiq Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 0142 hrs IST

New Delhi: The High Court’s proposal — to deploy mobile police teams at exit points of bars to check drunken driving— can hardly be washed down with drinks by customers in the city’s bars and pubs. For the owners, too, the news means a clear loss of business. While the police teams are yet to be posted, faces inside the bars have already drooped.

“We have already lost 30 per cent of our customers after the ban on smoking; now there will be more losses,” says Ajay Kaushal, manager of Qash Qai, a year-old bar at Connaught Place.

Reclining on a plush sofa, Amit Arya, employed with a multi-national company, says: “Why don’t they just as well say that only those with chauffeurs are permitted to drink? This will give the police more excuses to harass common people like us.”

While a recent Delhi Traffic police survey reveals that 80 per cent customers at high-end bars in the city drive back on their own, challans for drunken driving in 2008 show a 90 per cent increase over the figures of 2007.

At the posh Q’BA bar in Connaught Place in Central Delhi, Rajiv Sinha, a customer says, “This means I will have to pay a policeman Rs 100 or 200 to let me go. It all ends at corruption.”

Bar owners in Delhi say they usually have no means to stop people from getting drunk. “On several occasions I have asked customers that they have had enough to drink, but they usually reply that it is none of my business. This is my bread and butter and I do not want to incur losses in my business. It is the customers’ problem and they should be careful,” says Firoz Ali, manager of Q’BA.

There are others who are happy with the idea of policemen outside bars and pubs. Haresh Bhatta, manager with a multinational company, thinks this is the best way to prevent deaths due to drunken driving. “If you have to drive, do not drink. If you cannot follow that rule, someone else has to make you do it,” says Bhatta.

Gurgaon bars ‘not under Delhi HC jurisdiction’
Bar owners in Gurgaon say the proposal to have cops stationed outside bars will not affect them as Gurgaon does not fall under the Delhi High Court’s jurisdiction. “We do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Delhi HC,” S K Tyagi, manager at 32 Milestone on NH-8, said. Assistant manager of The Odyssey on MG Road Vineet Grover added: “We do not have any policemen bothering our clients.” DCP (traffic) Satbir Singh was of the same view: “A Delhi High Court order is not binding on us. However, we conduct regular checks on drunken drivers.” —ENS





Most junior lawyers in HC unhappy over working conditions


Adam Halliday Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 0336 hrs IST

Ahmedabad: A recent survey on the working conditions of junior lawyers in the Gujarat High Court has once again highlighted the pathetic state of affairs they have to put up with. Most apprentice lawyers surveyed by the Ahmedabad-based NGO, Research Foundation for Governance in India (RFGI) admitted that they were paid little, if at all.

The findings further reveal that nine of the 10 junior lawyers are of the opinion that family connections in the legal fraternity matter much in terms of developing a career.

The study, using feedback from junior lawyers, their seniors and also judges, was specifically meant to assess the working conditions of junior lawyers.

Apparently, half of the junior lawyers are dissatisfied with their working conditions.

An instance is of one of the respondents, Sunil Kotia, a young lawyer at the High Court. A gold medallist at Bhavnagar University’s Law Department three years ago, he lived on the Rs 3,000 per month that he received as stipend in Ahmedabad. But with his family in Bhavnagar, he struggled to manage his food, lodging, transportation and other needs.

Kanan Dhru of RFGI said that the meagre stipends litigation lawyers receive during their apprenticeship, coupled with the absence of a legislation concerning this, is one of the reasons why many graduates from the country’s best colleges join corporate firms or work abroad.

The Advocate Act, 1961, the main legislation concerning advocates in the country, makes no mention of apprenticeship.

Several junior lawyers acknowledged that corporate groups pay much more. Pratik Thakar, who studied at ILS Law College, Pune receives a monthly stipend of Rs 5,500 from the litigation firm he currently apprentices under, while his former classmate earns Rs 1.3 lakh per month in a corporate law firm in Mumbai.

But many senior lawyers believe the initial low pay is part of the profession. They also believe that law colleges should restructure their curriculum to accommodate more time for internships and hands-on experience. They say most law schools structure their internships to coincide with their seasonal vacations.

Dharmistha Raval, an advocate and sister of late Kirit Raval, founder of the Gujarat National Law University, said: “It’s like learning how to drive. If you come for a week, take a month off and come back for a week again, you won’t learn anything.”

Raval believes that slowly working one’s way up is the norm for any profession, including law.

“You have to remain in the queue for a few years,” she said.

But not everyone share the same sentiment. Johnsey Macwan, who graduated from Gujarat Law Society, Ahmedabad, in 2006, said he is already thinking of leaving the profession. “I’m not satisfied with the pay,” he said, though he has no idea what other profession he should take up.





For reporters, HC puts bench in parking lot


Express News Service Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 0149 hrs IST

New Delhi:

Four concrete benches on a dusty footpath in the parking lot outside the rear gate of Delhi High Court do not deserve a second glance. But a cheeky signboard recently put on to the high iron grills — declaring this to be space “for accredited journalists only” — has raised some eyebrows.

After “much consideration, a three-member judicial panel has reportedly decided to allot a temporary lounge for journalists in this parking lot.

“There is an acute shortage of space inside the High Court and we are finding it difficult to provide space even for court staff,” an HC official told the media on Tuesday. “That is why we had to put four seats outside — this is only a temporary arrangement.”

In contrast, the Supreme Court has a separate lounge for both accredited and non-accredited journalists, complete with telephone facilities.






ED seeks HC nod to quiz Rajus

20 May 2009, 0431 hrs IST, TNN

HYDERABAD: Aggrieved by the delay in granting permission for recording the statements of the accused in the Satyam scam, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a petition in the A P High Court seeking its intervention in the matter.

“The lower court is delaying its permission and hampering our investigation which is at a crucial stage now,” the ED’s assistant director L V Rao said in the petition filed on Monday. The investigation is under progress in accordance with the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, he said. Several properties worth hundreds of crores of rupees are liable to be confiscated from the possession of the accused as they were bought with scam money and this cannot be done without interrogating the accused and recording their statements, he said.

“We filed a petition in the fourteenth additional chief metropolitan magistrate court on April 2 this year and though some of the accused have no objection, the court below has been delaying the matter just because some of the accused are raising needless objections. In fact, the consent of the accused is not necessary here and in matters such as these, the court can straight away accord us permission because we only record the statements of the accused in jail,” the petition said.

According to the petition, section 50 of the Money Laundering act empowers court to grant permission even without seeking any objections from the accused. The petitioner found fault with the lower court which has posted the matter to June 1 for further hearing just because some of the accused have raised objections.

Taking advantage of this delay, the accused can direct their men to change the ownership of the properties, which could result in more third party tussles, the ED’s assistant director contended and urged the HC to accord it the permission to question the Raju brothers, former Satyam CFO Vadlamani Srinivas and the two PwC auditors. The matter is likely to come up before a vacation bench of the high court on Wednesday.

In fact, the CBI’s petition seeking the lower court’s nod for conducting polygraph tests on the accused is also getting delayed due to various reasons. One reason could be the the transfer of the magistrate concerned and the resultant administrative delay in paving the way for the new magistrate to take over etc, a legal source said.

Meanwhile, the bail petitions of the auditors will come up for hearing on Wednesday in the lower court.






HC to set up museum in its golden jubilee year

 Syed Khalique Ahmed

Posted: May 20, 2009 at 0339 hrs IST

Ahmedabad During its golden jubilee year that began on May 1, the Gujarat high court has planned to set up a full-fledged museum depicting judicial history of the state and aims to make at least one village in the state litigation free.

One of the most significant contributions of the Gujarat high court in its 50 years of existence has been introduction of judicial ombudsman concept in the country by the then high court chief justice D M Dharmadhikari which resulted into solving of 48,000 cases of earthquake in 2001.

Among various things planned to be preserved in the museum is the original copy of the first vakalatnama of the first case filed in the high court on May 1, 1960, when it became functional after its separation from the Bombay High court. The history of the Saurashtra high court before the region was merged with Gujarat would also be exhibited in the museum.

The museum will also have historical documents, old furniture and artefacts relating to judiciary. The high court authorities have set up different committees for the purpose, with senior most advocate K G Vakharia having been given the responsibility to provide historical background of the Gujarat high court and development of judiciary in the state since its inception.

Intending to conserve every minute detail of judicial progress in the state and maintain a record for the posterity, the high court authorities have planned a year-long programme including holding of seminars, symposia, workshops, lectures and felicitation of former judges and senior legal luminaries.

Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan said he intended to make at least one village litigation free during the Golden Jubilee year of the high court.

Stating that the number of litigations indicated the degree of comparative peace so vital for the growth of any society, he said he did not want to stop at making only one village litigation free but take the task further and make at least a cluster of villages or a whole taluka litigation free.

In fact, he has already initiated a novel project of classifying cases for quick judicial delivery and bringing down the pending number of cases after he took over in September 2008. He said his aim was to reduce the pendency of the cases to the minimum in the state’s courts and bring it to a level where a case was disposed of within a year of filing it.

The growth
The Gujarat high court which went operational in its old building in Navrangpura on May 1, 1960, with mere four permanent judges and one additional judge has now a total sanctioned and working strength of 42 judges – 28 permanent and 14 additional judges.

The number of judicial districts, which was 15 in 1960, has now increased to 26.

The high court shifted to its new building spread over 34 acres in Sola village on Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway in 1998. Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan also served as a judge in the Gujarat high court in 1997 before he was appointed as its chief justice in July 1998.





Mumbai SEZ moves HC over Raigad land buy

20 May 2009, 0514 hrs IST, ET Bureau

MUMBAI: Mumbai SEZ, promoted by RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani and his associate Anand Jain, on Tuesday moved the vacation bench of the Bombay High Court seeking a direction to the state government to quickly complete the process of land acquisition in Raigad district. The court, in turn, has called for a reply from the district collector’s office by May 22.

Janak Dwarkadas, the lawyer for the SEZ argued that two years after the state issued a declaration of “intention to acquire the land” for the company, the collector has not issued a final award.

The company intending to set up the SEZ, had already paid Rs 600 crore, apart from signing agreements with the land owners. “If the final consent award is not made before June 6, the whole process would lapse in line with the Land Acquisition Act,” he contended.

The government’s lawyer maintained that before the award is made, the persons “interested in the land” — this refers to the original land owners — must appear before the collector. This is to enable the administration to verify whether the land acquisition has been carried out properly. This logic was countered by Mr Dwarkadas who said Mumbai SEZ had, in place registered agreements for the sale of the land which, therefore, made any further verification unnecessary.






GU tribunal revokes transfer, suspension of clerk

 22 May 2009, 0500 hrs IST, TNN

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat University Service Tribunal has pulled up university authorities for transferring a clerk to another department following his union activities. The tribunal has also quashed university’s decision to transfer and suspend the employee.

As per case details, a senior clerk with the Physical Education Department at GU-Bhavin Dave was transferred to Saraspur Reading Centre last year by an official order. However, the director of the department didn’t relieve him claiming that he was not taken into confidence by the authorities before transferring Dave along with 10 other employees.

Since Dave was not relieved by the department, he could not resume service at the reading centre. The university in September last year suspended him for not following the order issued by the registrar and vice-chancellor.

Dave approached the tribunal against the suspension order alleging that he was removed from the service with malafide intentions only because he was active in union activity. Dave is the honorary secretary of Anyay Pratikarak Binshikshak Karmachari Sangh that is operative in Gujarat University.

Tribunal judge RA Patel commenced hearing in November and asked the university to show why Dave was transferred. But the university could not answer this, as the transfer order itself didn’t mention a reason. Authorities could not place the file on record which they claimed was the base of their decision to transfer 11 employees.

The tribunal took note of inadequate reasons forwarded by the university and also observed that the officials had provided factually wrong information during proceedings. Judge RA Patel set the university’s decision to transfer and suspend Dave aside and termed it “malafide”.

Moreover, when the university’s lawyer sought stay on this order for sometime so that university can approach higher forum, the tribunal rejected the demand stating that the judgement is on merit and doesn’t required to be stayed.





Regional language writers on human rights issues to be awarded

Published: May 21,2009

New Delhi, May 21 In a bid to spread awareness about human rights, the National Human Rights Commission has decided to give awards to deserving writers on the issue in 22 official languages.

The NHRC was so far giving awards only to Hindi language writers for their outstanding books and original manuscripts written on human rights issues under one of the schemes run by it for last 11-years.

“Henceforth, we have decided to give awards to the outstanding writers of human rights issues for their books and original manuscripts written in any of those languages enshrined in the Eighth Scheduled of the Constitution,” NHRC Secretary General Akhil Kumar Jain said during the inaugural session of the two-day seminar on” Right to Information, Human Rights: The Present Scenario”which began today.

This will help spread human rights awareness among the users of all these languages either, he added.

Source: PTI






Batla: NHRC gets 60 days

22 May 2009, 0508 hrs IST, TNN

new delhi : Delhi High Court on Thursday gave two months time to National Human Rights Commission to complete its inquiry into the controversial Batla House encounter case in which two suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists and a police officer were killed.

“The NHRC is requested to complete the inquiry and file the report by July 22,” HC said, admitting the plea of the commission which had agreed to conduct the probe despite the government’s reluctance to conduct a magisterial inquiry into the case which is mandatory before initiating its own investigation.

“Having regard for the fact that nearly nine months have already passed since the incident and that any further delay would prejudice the inquiry, the commission is of the view that it would proceed with the inquiry into the case without insisting on a magisterial inquiry,” the commission pleaded.

LEGAL NEWS 18-20.05.2009

Varsity confers honorary doctorate on CJI, Yesudas Kottayam, May 19 : Kerala Governor and Mahatma Gandhi University Chancellor R S Gavai today conferred honorary doctorates on Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, famous playback singer K J Yesudas and eminent Ayurvedic physician P K Warrier for their outstanding contribution to their respective fields. The Governor conferred LLD on the CJI, D Lit on Mr Yesudas and DSc on Dr Warrier at the university convocation held here. Mr Justice Balakrishnan, hailing from Kerala, was appointed as the Chief Justice of India in 2007. ‘Padmabhooshan’ K J Yesudas had recorded over 40,000 songs in different languages, since crooning for the first time on November 14, 1961. ‘Padmashri’ Warrier, as the managing trustee and chief physician of over a century-old Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala, had rendered yeoman service to the growth of Ayurveda by modernising its clinical, pharmaceutical, educational and research domains. — UNI Need to develop infrastructure in higher eductation: CJI Kottayam | Tuesday, May 19 2009 IST Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan today said there was need for developing infrastructure in higher education sector as in an increasingly competitive economy, the quality of education, especially the professional courses, depends on it. Delivering his acceptance speech after receiving the honorary degree of LLD from M G University Chancellor and Kerala Governor R S Gawai, he said thousands of government-run colleges across the country fared very poorly in this regard and similar problems had been seen in numerous private institutions as well. While it was not correct to make generalisations, there were legitimate concerns about the mushrooming of private educational institutions which charged considerably higher fees but did not provide facilities required for a sound academic learning, he said. Stating that there was need for some innovative practices to provide incentives to teaching career, he said teaching staff should also be actively involved in research activities. Eventhough educational institutions must be given a certain degree of autonomy with respect to curriculum setting and designing of courses, there was a clear governmental interest in making interventions against such profit-seeking behaviour, he said. It must be kept in mind that eventhough the Constitution mandates reservations for the some of the socially and educationally backward classes in private institutions as well, the overpricing of education could frustrate the objective of this affirmative policy, he said, adding if there were no controls over profit-seeking behaviour, candidates from the disadvantaged sections would be increasingly deterred from even applying to colleges and would face immense hardship. Underlining the need to rationalise fee structures in public institutions, wherein government subsidises education to a large extent eventhough students are capable of paying higher fees, he said the foremost objectives of higher education should be absorption of liberal values, capacity for critical inquiry and skills necessary for competing with the best in the world. — (UNI) — 19MS29.xml SC stays HC order on new polytechnics 20 May 2009, 0335 hrs IST, Vishwas Kothari , TNN PUNE: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the Bombay high court order of May 7 that had restrained the state government from allowing any new polytechnic institution to go functional from 2009-10 without prior approval of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). The fate of 32 proposed polytechnics in Pune region comprising Solapur, Sangli, Satara, Pune and Kolhapur districts hangs in the balance in the wake of a PIL (No.80/2009) filed in the high court by the Teachers Association for Non-Aided Polytechnics (TAFNAP). When contacted, secretary to state department of higher and technical education J S Saharia said, “We will take a final call on this issue after a due consultation process with our legal counsel.” Saharia said, “I have been informed by my colleagues about the development in the Supreme Court. However, I am yet to receive a copy of the court’s order. We will weigh the pros and cons with the authorities concerned before deciding on going ahead with the new polytechnics process.” Among other things, TAFNAP had argued in the PIL that the state government had no authority to sanction new polytechnics because it was the prerogative of the AICTE. Besides, it contended that the new polytechnics were being cleared without proper survey and development plan for technical education. After a couple of hearings on March 19 and April 9, the high court division bench of chief justice Swatanter Kumar and justice S C Dharmadhikari issued an order on May 7 restraining the government from going ahead with the process of sanctioning new polytechnics without the AICTE approval. The high court, while posting the matter for next hearing to June 18, passed strictures against the government. “It is surprising that the state is willing to play with the career of thousands of students in granting admission to the courses irrespective of the fact whether such additional courses/additional seats have received approval of the AICTE or not,” the high court order states. The state government moved the apex court by filing a special leave petition (No.12368/2009) against the high court order, before the vacation bench of justices Markandey Katju and Deepak Verma. Following a brief hearing on Monday, the vacation bench granted a stay on the high court order and directed notices to TAFNAP, which has been given four weeks to furnish its written submission. The apex court directed the state government to file a counter-affidavit on TAFNAP’s submission, in the four weeks thereafter. The matter is likely to be heard by the Supreme Court in the third week of July. Now, the question remains as to whether the government will go ahead with the process of allowing new polytechnics to start from 2009-10. HC seeks details of chopper expenses CHANDRAJIT MUKHERJEE Ranchi, May 19: Jharkhand High Court today once again directed the administration to furnish all details of flights made on the state’s lone chopper to the accountant-general so that auditing of expenditure incurred due to flying can be done. A division bench of the high court directed advocate-general P.K. Prasad to ensure that details of as many as 894 flights on the state helicopter be submitted to the office of the accountant-general to estimate the financial expense of the state exchequer. The bench comprising Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice D.K. Sinha also ordered that a break-up of the expenditure, estimated to be about Rs 35 crore between April 2005 and November 2008, should be calculated and the accounts be produced before the court. The court gave the order while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) that exposed the unauthorised use of the chopper by politicians, bureaucrats and their relatives, and other VIPs by flouting protocol and other rules restricting the use of the helicopter. Petitioner Bindu Bhushan Dubey had alleged that the state had given a free hand to the ministers and their families to use the chopper in complete disregard of regulations. Dubey, in his petition, has said that the official chopper was used for pleasure trips by the former ministers of the state. For even small distances in the capital, the helicopter was pressed into service while cars could have easily travelled to the destinations. The chopper, which is at disposal for official purposes, has been hired from a private company, which is paid a hefty amount. According to the PIL, the expenses of using the chopper come to about Rs 35 crore. Earlier, while hearing the petition, the court was apprised by the office of the accountant-general that there seemed to be some discrepancy in the record of flights made on the chopper. The civil aviation department had been requested to furnish details as mentioned in the flight logbook. However, it is yet to give the details. The court had earlier directed the state to table all necessary documents and cooperate with the accountant-general, but no data has been provided yet. The matter will again be taken up for hearing again on May 26. Notice to BMRC, BDA, state govt, Centre 20 May 2009, 0418 hrs IST, TNN BANGALORE : The high court on Tuesday sent notices to BMRC, BDA, KIADB, state government, Centre and others on PIL challenging land allotment in Lalbagh for building a Metro Rail station. A vacation division Bench headed by Justice N K Patil posted the matter to Thursday; it asked the state government and BMRC to file affidavits explaining their activities in Lalbagh. In their PIL, Environmental Support Group and Hasiru-Usiru challenged an ordinance passed on November 22, 2008, seeking to amend the Karnataka Government Parks (Preservation) Act. They also challenged an order passed on February 25, 2009, which allowed BMRC to take over 1,135.18 square metre inside Lalbagh. According to the petitioners, the land in question was handed over without complying with provisions of the Karanataka Town and Country Planning Act, and also without bringing a suitable amendment to CDP-2015. “There is no proposal in CDP-2015 for alignment of Namma Metro within Lalbagh,” petitioners’ counsel said. “The November 22, 2008, ordinance has lapsed since it wasn’t placed before the January assembly session held in Belgaum. Also, the authorities issued land acquisition notification for that area on November 20 __ two days before the ordinance. Hence, they did not look into alternatives,” the counsel explained. According to the petitioners, 293 trees will be affected in the East-West corridor, 501 in the North-South corridor, and 412 trees in the 33-km project. BMRC: No commercial exploitation in Lalbagh area In a statement to the court related to another PIL, BMRC said it will not create parking zones and malls at Lalbagh Metro station or at any other station on this stretch. “There is private land acquisition on RV Road and Jayanagar Metro station areas,” BMRC said in reply to PIL by Mahaveer Ranka, who challenged tree-felling in Lalbagh. “Till March 31 this year, work on 75 milestones out of 151 have been completed and Rs 1,305,47 crore spent on the project. Also, 1,135.18 square metre is equivalent to 123 guntas and it amounts to just 0.12% of the 243-acre-large Lalbagh area,” BMRC stated. “The project was executed after taking into account relevant and detailed reports. It will provide a benefit of Rs 1,155 crore to the public. A total of 188 trees will be felled and 202 pruned,” BMRC explained. School order stayed The high court has stayed an order passed by the block education officer on April 8, asking authorities to closed down Infant Jesus Cottage School and transfer its students to another school. The school replied that it had obtained a no-objection certificate from the authorities to start a school based on ICSE. “There is no truth in the contention of authorities that we’re running 6th and 7th standards without approval,” the school claimed. HC to freedom fighter’s rescue 20 May 2009, 0150 hrs IST, TNN CHANDIGARH: PGI’s alleged refusal of free medical treatment to 85-year-old freedom fighter Joginder Singh, resident of Manimajra, came under the HC scanner on Tuesday following a PIL filed by lawyer HC Arora. A division bench comprising CJ Tirath Singh Thakur and justice Hemant Gupta, expressing complete sympathy with the freedom fighter, observed that HC would be too willing to issue directions to UT administration to release payment. The bench also asked petitioner Arora to arrange payment of all materials to the PGI and bring all the relevant bills before the HC on the next date of hearing so that appropriate directions for releasing payment of all those bills may be issued to the administration. Arora referred to various notifications issued by UT finance secretary (in pursuance to an earlier PIL filed by Arora himself) extending free medical treatment to freedom fighters and their spouses by hospitals, dispensaries under control of the Chandigarh administration. Arora asserted that the PGI, despite requests by UT administration, had not extended similar facility to freedom fighters. BMRC, others told to explain Lalbagh work WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 2009 NGOs Still Pursue Tree-Felling Debate TIMES NEWS NETWORK Bangalore: The high court on Tuesday sent notices to BMRC, BDA, KIADB, state government, Centre and others on PIL challenging land allotment in Lalbagh for building a Metro Rail station. A vacation division Bench headed by Justice N K Patil posted the matter to Thursday; it asked the state government and BMRC to file affidavits explaining their activities in Lalbagh. In their PIL, Environmental Support Group and Hasiru-Usiru challenged an ordinance passed on November 22, 2008, seeking to amend the Karnataka Government Parks (Preservation) Act. They also challenged an order passed on February 25, 2009, which allowed BMRC to take over 1,135.18 square metre inside Lalbagh. According to the petitioners, the land in question was handed over without complying with provisions of the Karanataka Town and Country Planning Act, and also without bringing a suitable amendment to CDP-2015. “There is no proposal in CDP-2015 for alignment of Namma Metro within Lalbagh,” the petitioners’ counsel said. “The November 22, 2008, ordinance has lapsed since it wasn’t placed before the January assembly session held in Belgaum. Also, the authorities issued land acquisition notification for that area on November 20 — two days before the ordinance. Hence, they did not look into alternatives,” the counsel explained. According to the petitioners, 293 trees will be affected in the East-West corridor, 501 in the North-South corridor, and 412 trees in the 33-km project. SCHOOL ORDER STAYED: The HC stayed an order passed by the block education officer on April 8, asking authorities to closed down Infant Jesus Cottage School and transfer its students to another school. The school replied that it had obtained a no-objection certificate from the authorities to start a school based on ICSE. Won’t commercially exploit Lalbagh: BMRC In a statement to the court related to another PIL, BMRC said it will not create parking zones and malls at Lalbagh Metro station or at any other station on this stretch. “There is private land acquisition on RV Road and Jayanagar Metro station areas,” BMRC said in reply to PIL by Mahaveer Ranka, who challenged treefelling in Lalbagh. “Till March 31 this year, work on 75 milestones out of 151 have been completed and Rs 1,305,47 crore spent on the project. Also, 1,135.18 square metre is equivalent to 123 guntas and it amounts to just 0.12% of the 243-acre-large Lalbagh area,” BMRC said. “The project was executed after taking into account relevant and detailed reports. It will provide a benefit of Rs 1,155 crore to the public. A total of 188 trees will be felled and 202 pruned,” BMRC explained. TNN Patna HC allows BPSC to conduct its mains 19 May 2009, 2056 hrs IST, PTI PATNA: In a relief to students who qualified the Bihar Public Service Commission’s (BPSC) PT examination for 48th to 52nd combined competitive examination, Patna High Court on Tuesday allowed the Commission’s plea to hold the mains examination. BPSC’s mains examination is scheduled to begin from May 25. After hearing the arguments of both sides and going through the records, a division bench comprising Justice Sudhir Kumar Katriar and Justice K K Mandal observed that BPSC had acted in a fair manner and ensured all fairness in the process of examination. The bench on March 6 had stayed the single bench order which quashed the PT examination conducted by the BPSC and had directed it to hold the examination afresh. The single bench order of January 30 was challenged by the successful candidates of the PT examination and BPSC. The court today also allowed the commission to hold a separate preliminary test (PT) examination for 94 candidates who had first complained about the anomalies in the question paper before the publication of the PT results. BPSC had conducted the PT examination on May 25, 2008 and out of 1,76,984 candidates who appeared for it, 19318 were declared successful on September 18, 2008. About 150 unsuccessful ones who alleged irregularities in the examination and took the matter to the court. HC allows Jet Airways to lease out Boeing aircraft MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday allowed Jet Airways to lease out one Boeing aircraft to Turkish Airlines, in addition to three already leased. Justice Anand Nirude granted permission to Jet to give the aircraft on a dry lease for 25 months. Jet needed court’s permission as earlier High Court had barred the airlines from creating third party rights in its moveable assets, including 40 aircraft, until its dispute with Sahara India Commercial Corporation Ltd (SICCL) was settled. Last month also Jet had moved the court seeking permission to send three Boeing-777 aircraft to Turkish Airlines on a dry lease. SICCL had in March filed a petition, claiming that the Naresh Goyal-owned airline had defaulted on the installment amount du e as payment for acquisition of Sahara Airlines, now JetLite, hence it was liable to pay original deal amount of Rs 2,000-crore and not re-negotiated amount of Rs 1450 crore. High Court, at the last hearing, asked both the parties to seek out-of-court settlement. Court is expected to give ruling on the Sahara’s petition on June 12. – PTI Mumbai SEZ moves HC for speedy completion of land acquisition MUMBAI: Mukesh Ambani-promoted Mumbai SEZ, coming up in the neighbouring Raigad district, on Tuesday moved the Bombay High Court seeking speedy completion of land acquisition process by the district administration. The Court has sought reply from the collector’s office by May 22. SEZ’s lawyer senior advocate Mr Janak Dwarkadas said that two years after state issued declaration of intention of acquire the land” for the company, final award has not been made by the collector. If the final consent award is not made before June 6, the whole process would lapse as per the Land Acquisition Act, Mr Dwarkadas said. However, government’s lawyer said that before award is made, the persons “interested in the land”, i.e. the original land owners, must appear before the collector so that he could verify whether acquisition has been made properly. Mr Dwarkadas contended that Mumbai SEZ had registered agreements of land sale, and no further verification was necessary. “We have paid out some Rs 600 crore. We have paid consideration ten times the market prices,” he said. The vacation bench of Justices Anand Nirgude and Rajesh Ketkar however adjourned the hearing till May 22, asking government to file affidavit stating its stand. – PTI HC judge’s car burnt in suspected sabotage–s-car-burnt-in-suspected-sabotage/462482 Posted: Tuesday , May 19, 2009 at 1637 hrs IST Madurai: In a case of “suspected sabotage” by supporters of LTTE, car of Madras High Court Judge M Chockalingam was today found burnt inside the court complex in Karaikudi town of Sivaganga district, police said. Chockalingam’s driver Stephen, who went to collect the car from the court’s guest house where it was parked last night, found the vehicle burning and informed police. Stephen has parked the vehicle there on the orders of the judge, after dropping him home, they said. A case of suspected sabotage has been registered, they added. Meanwhile, DIG Ashok Kumar Dass and District Superintendent of Police Rajendran visited the spot and ordered formation of a special team to investigate the incident. HC to govt: Appoint info officials 19 May 2009, 0335 hrs IST, TNN PATNA: The Patna High Court on Monday directed the Bihar government to fill up the posts of chief information commissioner and two information commissioners of the State Information Commission within a month. A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Shivakirti Singh and Justice Mihir Kumar Jha passed the order on a PIL of Vikas Chandra alias Guddu Baba who submitted that the posts were lying vacant for several months. Additional advocate general N K Sinha submitted the state government appointed former Patna High Court Chief Justice J N Bhat as the chief information commissioner in October 2008, but he had not yet joined. HC directive on case against Lalu 19 May 2009, 0335 hrs IST, TNN PATNA: The Patna High Court on Monday issued a directive to a Muzaffarpur court to proceed in accordance with law in a case in which RJD chief Lalu Prasad has been charged with forcing the pilot of a helicopter to land on the national highway near Maniari in Muzaffarpur district during the 2007 floods. A single bench presided by Justice Jaya Nandan Singh issued the directive while hearing a criminal writ petition of a Muzaffarpur lawyer, S K Ojha. Petitioner’s counsel V K Singh submitted the pilot has given the statement that Lalu asked him to land on the highway. The reports of the DIG and SP also corroborated this fact, he said. Private, unaided schools to stick by HC verdict Bangalore, May 19: Several private and unaided schools management associations have decided to stand by the High Court ruling on medium of instruction. At a meeting convened by Karnataka State Private Schools Management Association, the different associations decided to fight it out with the government in unison. The meeting was presided over by H V Suresh, the secretary of the Association. Other organisations that participated in the meeting included Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association (KUSMA), Karnataka Unaided Minorities Schools Association and Karnataka Association of Managements of Private Schools (KAMPS). H V Suresh said, “We will stand by the High Court ruling until the Supreme Court grants a stay on the order. The ruling of the High Court is law until there is an intervention by the Supreme Court and the law states that parents have a fundamental right to choose the medium of instruction.” He added that they will also file for contempt against the State government in the next few days for its failure to implement the HC ruling that gave it four weeks to sanction English as a medium for schools that had applied. The organisations present vowed to fight it out in the Supreme Court if it granted a stay. Although the government had sought a stay, the apex court had deferred the issue until the end of summer vacation. The organisations also decided to submit a memorandum to the Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri protesting against the government’s insistence on imparting primary education in the mother tongue. The representatives also unanimously agreed that Kannada must be taught as first language even if the medium of instruction was English. The Deputy Chairman of the legislative council A Puttanna of the Janata Dal (Secular) was also present at the meeting and endorsed the stand of the associations. He blasted the government for its hypocrisy and said that the government had no right to interfere with the medium of instruction. “If we do a study of where the children and grandchildren of Kageri and all these ministers and bureaucrats study, then the hypocrisy of these so called guardians of Kannada will be out,” he said. He urged the different bodies to stay united and said that there is nothing to fear. “Every government has to stay within the bounds of the constitution,” Puttanna said. Meanwhile, an individual by the name of M S Khan representing Modern High School, Ejipura has already filed a petition for contempt in the High Court against the State government. Contempt case against Kageri A contempt of court case was filed in the High Court on Monday by a private school management against Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri. The case follows the Minister’s statement on Thursday that the government was firm on pursuing the policy of providing primary education in Kannada medium and would not under any condition allow the schools to teach in English medium. M S Khan of Modern English School of Ejipura has sought the Advocate General’s permission to file a contempt case against Kageri. It may be recalled that the state government had filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court questioning the High Court’s decision to disallow the mandatory imposition of Kannada as a medium of instruction. The Supreme Court ordered a stay on the SLP. The applicant has argued that the government does not have the authority to deny them permission to use English as a medium, when the Supreme Court has granted a stay. DHNS HC raps govt for stalling recruitment 19 May 2009, 0427 hrs IST, TNN BANGALORE: The high court has pulled up the government for stalling recruitments to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board. Justice B Abdul Nazeer, while quashing government directions to stall the process, noted that the state has no jurisdiction to stay appointments initiated by a statutory board. In July 2008, KSPCB initiated recruitment for vacant posts in the board. Some persons who were working on a contract basis for more than nine years also applied. The chief minister’s office issued orders to the KSPCB to stop the process. Four of the contract employees approached the court against the stay. The court has directed the government to complete the recruitment process within three months. HC seeks clarification on law varsity issue 19 May 2009, 0350 hrs IST, TNN JODHPUR: The Rajasthan High Court has issued notices to the secretaries of Ministry of Human Resources, Bar Council of India, Ministry of Higher Education, University Grants Commission (UGC), Convener of Common Law Entrance Test (CLAT) and to the Registrars of all 11 National Law Universities (NLU) across the nation seeking reply on the reservation given by the six NLUs for students belonging to their respective states. The court has sought replies with May 28 deadline from all the respondents in pursuance of the petition filed by Sagar Joshi of Law Prep Tutorial, an institute coaching students for the CLAT in Jodhpur. Joshi, challenging the provision of the reservation in the joint entrance test, CLAT, conducted by these six law schools, has demanded abolition of this provision. The first NLU was established in Bangalore in 1987 by the joint efforts of the Bar Council of India, UGC and Karnataka government with a view to launch five-year integrated law course of national standard. Encouraged by the overwhelming success of this initiative, Bar Council of India decided to launch more such universities across the country with the assistance of the state governments to elevate the standard of the law education in the country and prepare more qualified lawyers. These initiatives resulted in setting up of 11 NLUs across the country in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andra Pradesh, Kolkata, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Kerala besides Karnataka. Out of these 11 NLUs, six kept the provision of giving reservation to the students of their respective states, which ranged from 20% to 50%. According to the petitioner’s counsel, P S Bhati, reservation so given is in violation of the Section 16 of the Indian Constitution, which forbids reservation to any student in any educational institution of national level on the basis of the birthplace. On the basis of this argument, the single bench of Justice H R Panwar of the Rajasthan High Court accepted the petition and issued notices to all the concerned respondents to give reply by 28 May. According to the petitioner Sagar Joshi, there are 1,500 seats across these 11 NLUs and after the reservation by the six NLUs of Bhopal (MP), Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Gandhinagar (Gujarat), Patiala (Punjab), Patna (Bihar) and Luknow (UP), only 1,100 seats are left for the students of other states, which is an injustice to them. He said that these are best law schools, which are known for imparting the best education. But provision of reservation in these schools is detrimental to the image and objective behind setting up of these schools, Joshi added terming it unconstitutional. HC summons senior health officials 18 May 2009, 2328 hrs IST, TNN times news network Allahabad: Taking serious note of the pathetic condition of Swaroop Rani Nehru (SRN) Hospital, the Allahabad High Court has directed principal secretary, medical education and director general medical health , Uttar Pradesh to appear in person before it on May 22 to explain why appropriate measures were not taken to improve the condition despite repeated court orders. The order was passed by a division bench comprising Justices Sunil Ambwani and Dilip Gupta on a PIL filed by advocate Satish Chaturvedi. The court also directed the medical authorities to allow advocate Akhilesh Kumar Pandey to visit the hospital and the offices of SRN Hospital, Children Hospital and MD eye hospital. New govt to continue offshore wealth recovery 19 May 2009, 1007 hrs IST, M Padmakshan , ET Bureau MUMBAI: In all likelihood, the new regime in power will follow up the work it has initiated in its last term to recover Indian wealth taken away to various offshore banking destinations. Quite a few reasons are there to presume so. First, the public interest litigation (PIL) being heard by the Supreme Court on this issue. Sources close to jurist Ram Jethmalani, who filed the PIL, said the legal pursuit will carry on irrespective of the governments. Also, more PILs on this issue may come up soon, as NGOs and other interested parties have decided to file PILs after the formation of the new government. The second reason for a continuance in the efforts will be the moral support from several international experts on Asian economies. Then, there is also the international consensus on the need to rein in tax havens, which can bolster India’s efforts to renegotiate tax treaties signed with other countries, including Switzerland and other offshore destinations. The UPA government’s view on this matter could be inferred from the affidavit filed before the Supreme Court. It said it had secured from the German government, details of Indians having deposits with LGT Bank, Liechtenstein, a well-known tax haven bordering Germany. It said the government received this information from Germany after a systematic and sustained pursuit. This was a reply to the charges in the PIL in which it was alleged that the government was not committed to secure information offered by Germany. The affidavit also answered charges levelled by BJP and CPM that the ruling party was indifferent to the German government’s offer. The Union government’s affidavit in the PIL has given details of the steps initiated, including telephone calls and emails sent to the concerned authorities in Germany. The government also told the Supreme Court that it had approached the government of Switzerland for a relook into the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) so that the Indian tax regime gets an easier access to information regarding Indian deposits in Swiss banks. Therefore, the government is under obligation to continue with the exercise of renegotiating the DTAA with Swiss authorities and also with several countries known to be having strict banking secrecy laws that prevent access to information on deposit holders, according to legal experts. Additionally, there is also moral support in favour of the government, coming from international experts and economists specialising in Asia’s economies. Joseph Tan, chief economist at Credit Suisse, the second largest Swiss bank, was quoted by international media recently as saying that India has to claw back every cent it can get. The prospect of revenue is the impetus to crack down on tax evasion and tax havens. The $85 billion stimulus package underway requires mobilisation of such resources, the report added. Indian initiative in this direction also coincides with international consensus on reining in on tax havens that reportedly conceal over $11 trillion stashed away from developing as well as developed countries. The G20 meet held in London last month too voiced its concern over continuing existence of banking secrecy laws that block any information on deposits held in these banks. HC restrains govt from allowing wine shop in residential area 19 May 2009, 0244 hrs IST, TNN LUCKNOW: The high court has restrained the government from allowing the opening of the new model wine shop at a residence in Indira Nagar locality. The order came from the bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice SNH Zaidi. A high court lawyer, Sanjai Kumar and ten senior residents of the area had filed a PIL petition in the court submitting that a new model wine shop was being opened in the midst of the residential colony at house number D-2045 in Indira Nagar. The petitioners were residents of the adjacent houses to the proposed shop. It was pleaded in the PIL that UP Number and Location of Excise Shop Rules 1968 prohibits specifically the opening of a new shop in close proximity to a place of public resort, school, hospital, place of warship or factory or to the entrance to a bazar or a residential colony. The shop was being opened in violation of the said rules, argued the counsel for the petitioners, Sandeep Dixit, adding that even the apex court is of the view that no such shop should be opened in 100 metre radius of the aforesaid places. The state government has, however, reduced this 100 metre to 50 metre. The bench heard the matter at length and observed, prima facie, ‘we are satisfied that no such shop can be opened in terms of the aforesaid rules.’ However, the court allowed the shop owners to get their shop opened at a place, where the prohibition as stated is not applicable. Model jail shift need of the hour, pleads govt with HC 19 May 2009, 0245 hrs IST, TNN LUCKNOW: The government has filed short counter affidavit in the model jail demolition case. The bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice SNH Zaidi posted the matter for Tuesday for next hearing. On behalf of the state government, chief standing counsel Devendra Upadhyay has pleaded in the affidavit that the decision to shift the model jail to Gosainganj-Mohanlalganj Road has been taken in public interest. He stated that against the present capacity of 2,010 prisoners at model jail, Nari Bandi Niketan and district jail, the present population is 3,632. The proposed capacity in the jail is to house 4,660 prisoners. The new jails would have better facilities for jail reforms and for welfare of the inmates. Upadhyay stated that the new jails would have high security barracks, a hospital of high efficiency, court rooms, video conferencing rooms, central watch towers, high mask light, modern common kitchen, better and more secure place for inmates, sewage treatment plants etc. Upadhyay further stated in the affidavit that the decision to shift the model jail has been taken considering the fact that jails in Lucknow have now come to a congested area and also the requirement of security of jail inmates as jails presently are not only housing under trials and convicts of various offences but also the persons accused of terror activities. He informed that the state government considered for the first time in 1995 to transfer the jail situated in congested areas of various districts and also the disposal of land and other assets of jails in case of their transfer. As on April 30, 2009, at least 78,806 prisoners against the existing capacity of 43,411 prisoners were housed in 61 prisons in the state. The physical infrastructure of jails has not kept pace with the changing requirement and heightened expectation and need of better prison management. This situation has necessasitated construction of new jails, pleaded Upadhyay. A local lawyer SL Pandey had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition against demolition of model jail. The court had restrained the government from demolishing the said jail premises and felling of trees as also shifting of jail inmates to other places. The PIL came up for hearing on Monday again. The bench asked how long it would take for the state government to complete the construction of new jails. Independent inquiry sought into state of affairs in Prasar Bharati Posted: Monday , May 18, 2009 at 1729 hrs IST New Delhi: The Chairman of Prasar Bharati Board on Monday sought before the Delhi High Court an independent, comprehensive and time bound inquiry into the “deplorable” state of affairs in the public broadcaster. In his affidavit, Chairman Arun Bhatnagar said the functioning of the Prasar Bharati has, “for quite some time now, been a matter of the gravest concern” for the members of the board. The affidavit was filed in response to a notice by the Court on a PIL which alleged financial irregularities in Prasar Bharati. Appearing for the government, Additional Solicitor General Parag Tripathi informed the Court that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has been asked to undertake an internal audit of the broadcaster. J &K HC to hear PIL on polythene ban on June 2 5/17/2009 The Jammu and Kashmir High court will hear on June 2 the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the Valley Citizen Council (VCC) seeking the Court’s intervention to ban the import and use of polythene in Kashmir, alleging that some polythene-friendly lobby was preventing the state government from banning the major threat to environment. VCC general secretary Imdad Saqi, in the six-page PIL, has sought immediate intervention on the issue, alleging the state government has failed to ban the import and use of polythene which was a major threat to environment. He said two years ago the state government issued a SRO banning the use of non-biodegradable material. However, till date its implementation was awaited as the file is still pending before the concerned department, who show no interest because of reasons best known to them. Mr Saqi demanded action against the officers and officials responsible for keeping the file in the cold storage. He said as the implementation of the SRO needs a rule book for framing of procedures with regard to issues like imposition of fine and prosecution, the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) after completing the formalities, sent the file to state forest department two years ago for administrative wetting. However, till date it has not been done and the file is pending with forest department. He further said that the Housing and Urban Development Department was also responsible for not implementing the ban. He said three years before the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) had sent a resolution to the department to get the approval from the government, banning the use of the polythene. But, he said, till date there was no response from the department. Mr Saqi said every environmental problem in Kashmir is related to plastic and polythene. Even this has badly affected the famous Dal Lake and other bodies. UNI HC sets deadline for shifting steel market from Parrys Monday, 18 May 2009 TOI reported that cracking the whip on civic authorities for the delay in shifting of the iron and steel market from the residential areas of George Town to Sathangadu, the Madras high court on last Friday directed the agencies involved to complete the project by June 15th or face contempt of court proceedings. Mr PK Misra a division bench comprising Justice and Justice Mr Hariparanthaman said the market gave sleepless nights to residents of George Town area and that the court had to take an activist approach to issue several directions which it would not do in normal conditions. The bench was passing orders on public interest writ petitions filed by Mr KR Ramaswamy and Mr C Vadivelu seeking to implement the February 23rd 1999 order of the Housing and Urban Development Department to shift the market to Sathangadu. When the matter was taken up for disposal, the additional law secretary, who was present in the court, wanted six more months to issue final notifications pertaining to infrastructural facilities such as roads, electrical works, administrative and amenity buildings, auto workshops, lorry parking, telephone exchange, police station, petrol bunk, water supply, storm water drains, sewerage connections, public convenience and weigh bridge. The petitioners, however, opposed the plea, stating that no further extension of deadline need to be granted to complete these technicalities. Rejecting the officials’ plea for extension of deadline, the bench observed that “This court was pained to note that the order dated July 18th 2008 was observed more in breach as the process of shifting the wholesale trade in iron and steel to Sathangadu was to be completed at least before March 31st 2009. It was not complied with. However, the matter was adjourned giving a last chance to officials to furnish a status report relating to further action” The judges said that the case clearly indicated the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities in implementing the 1999 GO, adding that unfortunately, things moved at a snail’s pace forcing this court to issue several directions from time to time for the personal appearance of officials concerned for filing of the status report. (Sourced from TOI) HC stays order of disclosing answersheet to CA students New Delhi (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Monday stayed its order directing Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to provide certified copy of answersheet to its students under the Right to Information Act. A Division Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice N K Kaul stayed the operation of the order passed by a single judge bench on April 30. Senior Advocate Soli Sorabjee, appearing for the Institute, contended that students have no right to seek disclosure of their answer sheet and it does not come under the purview of the RTI Act. The single bench had directed the Institute to provide a copy of the answersheet to its students under the RTI Act saying it could not be excluded from the purview of the Right to Information Act and examination authority cannot deny answersheet to students. Observing that the Act confers positive power to a citizen which should not be hindered by authorities, the court dismissed the plea of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India challenging the CIC’s order to provide a certified copy of the answer sheet to a student who could not clear the exam. MP HC to observe vacation from May 18 5/17/2009 The Madhya Pradesh High Court will observe a month-long summer vacation from May 18. According to Registry source, Chief Justice Anang Kumar Patnaik has consented to cut down the summer vacation by seven days. The summer vacation at the principal seat of the High Court in Jabalpur and its benches at Gwalior and Indore would be observed from May 18 to June 13. The High Court Registry will function during the summer vacation and will accept cases of urgent nature for filing. Special vacation benches will sit on Monday and Thursday to hear urgent matters and matters of public importance, the Registry source said. The High court will again open and will start normal functioning from June 15. UNI SC upholds Delhi HC judgement on school bus tragedy 5/16/2009 The Supreme Court has upheld the Delhi High Court judgment enhancing the compensation to be given to families of 29 children, who were drowned in Yamuna river on the fateful morning of November 18, 1997, when their school bus fell into the river after jumping the railings of the bridge near Wazirabad. The tribunal had awarded a compensation of Rs 1.55 lakh each for the children in the age group of 10 to 15 years, Rs 1.65 lakh each for the age group of 15 to 18 years while for the children below 10 years of age, a compensation of Rs 1.05 lakh was awarded. The High Court, however, awarded an additional compensation of Rs 75,000 each for the families of the victim of the tragedy. A bench comprising Justices S B Sinha and M K Sharma refused to interfere with the judgment of the High Court holding that it des not suffer from any legal infirmities. The tragedy had allegedly taken place due to the criminal negligence of the driver of the school bus, who was driving the bus at a very high speed while crossing the Wazirabad bridge and lost control as a result of which the bus jumped the railings of the bridge and fell into the river. UNI HC slams MCD for delaying probe against councillor Express News Service Posted: Monday , May 18, 2009 at 0015 hrs IST New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has slammed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for not cooperating with the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), which is investigating a case against a municipal councillor. In a recent order, Justice Kailash Gambhir asked the MCD to explain the over six-month delay in providing vital documents sought by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (EOW). “It is quite a shocking state of affairs that for the last more than six months the department concerned of the MCD has not been able to supply the requisite documents to enable the EOW to proceed with the inquiry,” Justice Kailash Gambhir said. The High Court has now directed the Director of the MCD’s Vigilance Branch to appear before it in person. “The Deputy Commissioner (Shahdara-South Zone) shall also remain present on May 25,” the court ordered. Justice Gambhir passed the order in connection with the anti-forgery section of the EOW’s inquiry, following a complaint by Harish Beniwal, a safai karmachari, against Praveen Massy, councillor from Trilokpuri, on recruitment to the MCD. Projects must pass green test: HC 18 May 2009, 0625 hrs IST, Vishal Sharma, TNN CHANDIGARH: Distressed by the shocking findings of enquiry reports on illegal mining in ecologically fragile lower Shivalik hill areas falling in districts of Yamunanagar, Ambala and Panchkula, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the state government to lay out an environmental impact assessment blueprint before pushing ahead with its “commercial enthusiasm” over mining in the region. Asserting that Haryana is a public trustee of natural resources and legally bound to protect the same from private encroachments and “commercial enthusiasm”, the HC has banned all non-forest activity, including the mining of major and minor minerals, in the lower Shivalik ranges duly notified as “forests” by the state government under sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA). In their 26-page order on May 15, chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur and justice Surya Kant advised the government to think beyond “commercial gains” and clarified that the Central notification of September 14, 2006, requiring “prior environmental clearance” for mining was not restricted to new projects alone but covered even those afoot. The court’s observation annihilated the argument put forth by Chandi Mandir Stone Crushers Consumers Company, one of the petitioners, that the 2006 notification was applicable only in cases where new mining activity was to be undertaken and that projects already underway were out of its ambit. Pointing out that even the existing mining activity in lower Shivaliks “cannot continue without environmental clearance”, the bench set a February 28, 2010, deadline for miners and government to get their act together. Next year onwards, Central clearance would be mandatory even for existing mining projects. Brushing aside the state government’s argument that the onus for getting environmental clearance for to-be auctioned mining sites lay on mining contractors, the judges drafted do’s and don’ts for it, listing preparation of environmental impact assessment report and appraisal of mining projects by environmental panel among others in it. The bench also called the government’s bluff of granting short-term permits by dividing the mining area into small zones so as to side-step environmental norms, saying even those could not be granted without due clearance. Under Central norms, environmental clearance is mandatory in cases where mining area is 50 hectares or more. Incidentally, the green order on Shivalik mining has come days before Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan reached in Chandigarh to attend a seminar on `Law and Environment’ being organized by Asia Pacific Jurist Association whose patron-in-chief and president are CJ Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Surya Kant respectively. CJI for justice to poor CHANDRAJIT MUKHERJEE Ranchi, May 17: Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan said that 80 per cent of criminal cases in Jharkhand were lodged against the poor. Justice Balakrishnan, while laying the foundation stone for the state judicial academy at Dhurwa today, said: “The rich people know how to defend themselves, but it is the underprivileged ones who are trapped and languish in custody.” He added that the judiciary had to be more sensitised and should come forward to help the poor by imparting quick and proper justice. Among those who are in custody, the majority are those who are involved in petty criminal cases and are rotting there. The prosecution as well as the judiciary ought to be trained and equipped to handle and dispose such cases within a short span of time, Justice Balakrishnan said. Citing various odds against which the judiciary is functioning, he added: “The number of cases pending in the subordinate judiciary is 87 per cent as per the national data. There is an acute shortage of judges and infrastructure, which have crippled the pace of disposal of cases. Training of judges is imperative for delivery of justice. The judicial academy as a centre of learning is ideal for thought provoking and learning for the judges and new entrants in the judicial services.” “The judicial academy should, other than teaching laws, should also strive towards sensitising trainees to deal with situations in courts. Reaction of a judge towards a woman, juvenile, HIV patient should all be under the scanner in the academy. Moreover, a judge has to be trained to rise above his personal prejudices when it comes to delivering justice,” he added. A host of Supreme Court judges, including Justices S.B. Sinha, Mukundkam Sharma, V.S. Shirpurkar, Markandey Katju, Altamas Kabir and other dignitaries were present. Former Supreme Court and high court judges of Guwahati, Kerala, Patna and Rajasthan were also present for the function along with Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice M.Y. Eqbal of the Jharkhand HIgh Court. Supreme Court judge Mukundkam Sharma said that the importance of a training centre was essential to maintain the stock of judicial officers. The proposed judicial academy will be built over six acres near Dhurwa dam side, about 7km from the high court. The academy will have class rooms, libraries, hostels and a guesthouse for trainees. The judicial academy, at present, functions in an annexe building of the Administrative Training Institute.

LEGAL NEWS 16-17.05.2009

HC seeks MCD explanation for not supplying documents to police

Published: May 17,2009

New Delhi, May 17 The Delhi High Court has sought an explanation from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for its failure to supply to Delhi Police documents related to probe into an alleged corruption case against a sitting councillor.

“It is quite shocking state of affairs that for the last about more than six months the concerned department of the MCD has not been able to supply the requisite documents to enable the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) to proceed with the enquiry,” Justice Kailash Gambhir said in an order.

The HC sought the Director of Vigilance Branch of MCD to appear before it in person and explain as to why the relevant documents have not been supplied by the Corporation to the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, EOW, till now.

Director Vigilance MCD shall remain present in the court. The Deputy Commissioner ( Shahadara-South Zone) shall also remain present on May 25,”the court said.

Justice Gambhir passed the order in connection with the anti-forgery section of EOW&aposs enquiry following a complaint of a&apossafai karmachari&apos Harish Beniwal against Praveen Massy, Councillor from Trilokpuri, on some recruitments in the MCD.

Beniwal alleged that the Councillor managed to appoint 21 of his relatives as sweepers in the MCD&aposs sanitary department by influencing officers of the civic body.

Police initiated an enquiry into the case but for further investigation they needed to go through some MCD documents.

Source: PTI






No mining in Shivalik range without clearance, rules HC


RAGHAV OHRI Posted: Sunday , May 17, 2009 at 2343 hrs IST

Chandigarh: In a significant judgment, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered against any mining activity in the areas of Shivalik range of the Himalayas, including those falling under Panchkula, without prior environmental clearance.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Surya Kant has directed the Haryana government to implement the Central government notification dated September 14, 2006, to ensure land is protected from illegal mining.

The Bench has directed that no public auction be held and no licence/contract/lease or right for extraction of minerals from the Shivalik range be granted by the Haryana government until an ‘Environment Impact Assessment Report’ is prepared and made available as a public document to prospective bidders. The report will be prepared by an expert appraisal committee (EAC) which will look into all aspects of mining and preserving minerals. The committee will also seek suggestions from the public before preparing the report, the court has ruled.

Every successful bidder will also be required, and be under a legal obligation, to apply for prior environmental clearance and abide by the terms and conditions imposed by the EAC. Seeking prior clearance will help keep a check on illegal mining and erosion of soil, water and other resources.

The Haryana government has also been directed to refer to the EAC to get the Environment Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) prepared for the entire mining area falling within the fragile Shivalik range and then complete the process of public consultation. The state government will submit the application before August 31.

The project proponents/ successful bidders have also been asked to apply for prior environmental clearance within one month from the date of auction. The EAC has been directed to prepare the final report within six months from the date of receipt of the application. Thereafter, the clearance can be granted or rejected within two months.

Giving due consideration to the probable hardships the public can face, the Bench ruled: “Having regard to all the attending circumstances and to obviate varied hardships caused to the general public, labour and the state, we direct that mining activities may continue till February 28, 2010, however, only on the basis of the contract/licence granted to the highest bidders through a transparent ‘public auction’ held after wide publicity”.

The petition was filed by three members of the District Bar Association, Panchkula, in public interest seeking direction for investigation into the ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘callous’ mining operations in the lower Shivalik hills in the district. The petitioner had sought orders to direct the Haryana government to obtain prior environmental clearance from the Government of India as enumerated in the notification dated September 14, 2006.

The petitioners had further alleged that the entire area has become a den of the mining mafia who operate under the alleged political patronage and minerals worth crores of rupees are illegally extracted in connivance with the enforcement staff, including the district administration.





JNU student alleges Bihar Chief Minister for plagiarism

May 16, 2009 

New Delhi: Atul Kumar Singh, a Ph.D. student from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), has alleged Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for plagiarism.

Nitish Kumars’ book “Special Category Status: A Case for Bihar” has reproduced major portions from Atuls’ paper under the same name.

Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) based in Patna is publishing the 80-page book by Mr. Kumar.
Economist Lord Meghnad Desai released it on Friday.

Atul, who is doing his research on “Role of State in Economic Transformation: A Case Study of Bihar“, was initially a faculty member at the Centre for Economic Policy and Public Finance being run by ADRI.

“A PIL was filed last year in the Patna High Court, insisting for grant of special category status to Bihar. The Central and State Governments were respondents in that case. I was asked to write a document to help the State Government in preparing its response to the PIL by the Director of the Centre,” asserted Atul, who contested Bihar State Assembly elections as an Independent in 2005.

“Few days back I came to know that my work was being re-produced under the authorship of Nitish Kumar. Surprisingly my name figures in the list of acknowledgments in the book,” he added.

“Atul has sent a notice to ADRI and the Bihar Chief Minister on the same issue,” said his lawyer Sanjay Parikh on Thursday.






Gujarat HC directs Modi govt to disburse compensation to riot victims


A division bench of the Gujarat High Court asked the state government to disburse compensation amount of Rs 262 crore to about 29,000 victims of the state-wide riots following the Sabarmati train carnage at Godhra on February 28, 2002.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice C K Buch, ordered disbursal of the amount received from the Centre within eight weeks, after hearing a writ petition by an NGO.

Two social workers, Gagan Sethi of Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) and Yousuf Shaikh, had moved a petition in the High Court urging it to direct the state government to disburse the compensation among some 29,467 riots victims.

In all, 1,169 people lost their lives and 2,548 people were injured, while property worth crores of rupees was destroyed in the state-wide riots after the train carnage. Unofficial sources put the toll on higher side.

The petitioner claimed that the Central government had sanctioned Rs 50 crore as part of the compensation for the victims in 2006, but the state government did not distribute it. Instead it asked for Rs 212 crore for the compensation package from the Centre, which later released the amount commenting that how the state can ask for further installment of the package, when it had not disbursed the first installment to the victims.

The petitioner claimed that the Centre, on September 11, 2007, had announced a revised relief package for victims of the 2002 communal violence and wrote a letter to the state government on September 20, intimating it of providing ex-gratia towards relief and rehabilitation of the riots-affected people.

On September 24, the state government adopted a resolution for disbursement of the amount among the affected, a list of whom is with the state. But, Mr Sethi and his team conducted a survey and found that many victims, who suffered loss of life of kin and their residential, commercial and industrial properties, had not received this compensation.

Last year, acting on the PIL filed through advocate Amit Panchal, a division bench comprising Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi directed the government pleader to apprise the court of present status of disbursement of revised package.

Mr Sethi, along with Antarik Visthapit Hakk-Rakshak Samiti, conducted extensive studies and collected data regarding riot victims. They submitted a list of riot victims who have not received any relief from the government, requesting release of the amount.

Despite this, when nothing happened, the PIL was filed.





Parcel bomb case: HC acquits ex-armyman


Krishnadas Rajagopal Posted: Saturday , May 16, 2009 at 0108 hrs IST

New Delhi: Torn pieces of typescripts, an expert who destroyed his case notes as it was his “usual practice” and a star witness who toed the CBI line, saw the end of an almost three-decade long murder case on Friday.

Though observing that it was “unfortunate that a crime is going unpunished”, the Delhi High Court today acquitted Lieutenant Colonel (retired) S J Chaudhary for the murder of businessman Krishan Sikand with a parcel bomb on October 2, 1982.

Chaudhary was found guilty by a trial court for the murder and sentenced to life imprisonment on April 28, 2008.

According to the prosecution, Chaudhary was caught in a matrimonial dispute with his wife and disturbed over the victim’s purported plans to marry her.

He had posted the parcel bomb to Sikand’s Sunder Nagar residence in South Delhi, the prosecution alleged. The bomb exploded when Sikand opened the parcel, killing him instantly.

The 98-year-old father of the victim, H D Sikand, had also approached the High Court seeking death penalty for Chaudhary.

A Division Bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Aruna Suresh absolved the 73-year-old former Army officer for lack of “legally admissible evidence”.

The judgment blamed the prosecution for evidence that was not strong enough to stand in court. Primary among them are “mutilated” samples of typescripts lifted from a typewriter allegedly used by Chaudhary to type the addresses on the package which contained the bomb — a Pakistan-made hand-grenade.

The second is a statement made by S K Gupta, an expert witness who analysed the typescripts. Gupta failed to produce on record any of his case notes or expert observations on the probe. He, interestingly, told the court that he had destroyed all of it as it was his “usual practice”.

“Crucial evidence — the notes and observations of the expert — were not available before the court,” the Bench remarked on the insufficient prosecution evidence.

The third element which crippled the prosecution case was the “inchoate” statement given by N D Sethi, the owner of the typewriting school, where Chaudhary had allegedly gone to get his address typed out.

Sethi had testified in the trial court that Chaudhary had come with a “manuscript address” and an envelope to him. He said he had referred the man to one of his students, a beginner, who did the favour free of cost.

The Bench today dismissed Sethi’s testimony, observing that it was given under the influence of the CBI. It is difficult to believe Sethi would remember a trivial customer at the typing school, the judgment mentioned.

The Bench justified the verdict stating “we cannot hang any person for the crime unless our judicial conscience is satisfied that the evidence on record conclusively establishes the guilt of the person charged for the offence and brought before us.”

“Our decisions have to be based on legally admissible evidence properly brought before us and analysed on the known principles of law,” the Bench observed.

Sanjay Sikand, the victim’s son, said the family was shocked with the verdict.

Chaudhary’s Defence Counsel Ankur Chawla said, “If there is no evidence in law, the inference is that Chaudhary is not guilty. The court has also exposed the shoddiness of the CBI probe. It is now clear that somebody else had committed the murder.”

Chaudhary’s family, meanwhile, said they were pleased with the judgement.






Follow master plan on tricity periphery: HC to govt


Express News Service Posted: Saturday , May 16, 2009 at 0315 hrs IST

Chandigarh: To ensure that no haphazard construction is allowed in the periphery of the tricity, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Punjab government to strictly implement the Master Plan prepared for the areas under it.

The court has also directed the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) to immediately take action against those who have carried out the construction against the Master Plan notified by the Punjab government.

The directions were passed by a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Hemant Gupta on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Lawyers’ for Human Rights International (LFHRI), an NGO run by advocates.

After a fact finding inquiry, the NGO moved the High Court alleging some influential persons, including IAS and IPS officers, had grabbed the land of the poor farmers in Kansal. It was further alleged that PUDA, under the influence of the developers and influential persons, had come out with a scheme regularising unauthorised construction in the periphery of the tricity.

The petitioner stated that the land of poor farmers was first encroached upon and then through threats and influence of security personnel, the landholders were forced to stay away from their land. Subsequently, real estate developers erected barbed wires around the area of their choice and with the help of officers and politicians, farmers were forced to sell their shares. Advocate Navkiran Singh, counsel for the petitioner, had vehemently argued that the nexus between influential bureaucrats and police officers has led to encroachment on the land in the periphery of the tricity.

Showing little conviction in the averments raised, the Bench held: “Encroachment at the hands of high rank officers is alleged to be in the property of proprietors. Such proprietors do not satisfy the description of categories for which public interest litigation (PIL) can be invoked.”

Examining the question of public interest raised by the petitioner, the Bench observed that the grievance raised is not in respect of a class of persons, who by reasons of poverty, helplessness or disability or socially or economically disadvantaged position, are unable to approach the court for relief.

The Bench remarked that the proprietors of land in question are “neither poor nor economically or socially backward. Such land owners are competent to espouse their cause against any legal wrong committed by any person, howsoever high he may be, approaching the courts, which occupy unique position in our Constitution, independent of bureaucratic or political influence.

Therefore, we do not find that the petitioner has any legitimate cause to espouse the grievance of proprietors, who have their individual rights to vindicate. There is an effective remedy available under law for the affected parties”.

The court also refused to believe the allegations of forged power of attorneys and sale deeds by a few influential persons.

“The fact whether the vendors were forced to execute power of attorneys and/or the sale deeds and the power of attorneys are forged and fabricated documents, cannot be examined in the present proceedings.

The disputed questions of fact can only be examined before a proper forum. None of the vendors are party to the present proceedings. The allegation of forcible possession is again a disputed question, more so when it is not the case of the petitioner. It is not the case of the petitioner that such vendees are in possession of excess of the share purchased by them,” the court ruled.

With this, the court dismissed the PIL.






HC stays builder’s bail in fraud case


Express News Service Posted: Saturday , May 16, 2009 at 0429 hrs IST


The vacation judge of the Bombay High Court on Friday stayed the bail granted to builder Rashmikant Shah who was arrested at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport while allegedly trying to flee to Dubai on May 12.

Vacation judge A R Joshi had refused to grant any interim relief in the anticipatory bail application filed by Shah on May 12 and posted the case for hearing before the regular court on June 16. The same night, Shah was arrested by the police at the airport.

After his arrest, Shah complained of high blood pressure and was admitted to the JJ Hospital without being produced before the magistrate and was sent to police custody till May 16.

On May 14, the state government moved an application before the magistrate in Thane to convert the police custody to judicial custody as Shah was in hospital and police could not proceed with investigations. The same day, Shah filed a bail application and was granted bail of Rs 15,000. Shah is wanted in a Rs 80 crore fraud alleged in a complaint filed by another builder Mahendra Shah. Vacation judge A R Joshi said that the facts and circumstances in the case were peculiar. The court has also asked for the hospitalisation papers of Shah.





Remove encroachments in Kalka by May 22: HC

16 May 2009, 0158 hrs IST, TNN

CHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday gave two days to National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for removal of Kalka encroachments, if any, in terms of a report submitted by the authority before the high court. The division bench of justices JS Khehar and Uma Nath Singh said if any encroachments were ‘still remaining after May 17’, NHAI should make arrangements to remove the same and the entire process should be completed by May 22. Meanwhile, petitioners were given the liberty to move an application under Section 23(3) of Control of National Highways (land and traffic) Act, 2002, and NHAI was asked to consider the same in the right earnest. HC said if such an application was moved before NHAI, the encroachment should remain stayed till NHAI disposed of the same.

Importantly, the HC order came in the wake of submission by Anil Kumar Dahiya, NHAI project director, who was present in the court, that there were still some encroachments in the area even as petitioners asserted that there were none.

As for the dispute regarding encroachments beyond the drain lining Kalka-Parwanoo highway, HC said NHAI was free to demolish the same by May 29.

Supreme Court had, in its recent order, made it clear that the encroachments into the drain on both sides of the road could be removed but not the buildings till High Court’s final decision.





HC restrains TNPSC from issuing orders to candidates

16 May 2009, 0318 hrs IST, TNN

CHENNAI: A vacation bench of the Madras high court has restrained the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) from issuing appointment orders to candidates who first wrote their Group I examination in December 2007.

However, considering the importance and public interest involved in the matter, the bench comprising Justice P Jyothimani and Justice T S Sivagnanam recommended constitution of a special bench to hear the case immediately after the court reopens in June.

After a gap of about 10 years, the TNPSC invited applications for 172 Group-I posts in August 2007. A total of 85,913 candidates wrote the preliminary examination in December 2007, and 1,796 were declared eligible for the main examinations. Soon after, writ petitions were filed claiming that at least 40 out of 200 questions were wrong. After a couple of rounds of litigation and as per the court direction, the TNPSC then constituted an experts committee to verify the claims of candidates. The committee found that a total of 21 questions were wrong as incorrect answer keys had been given.

On April 30, Justice V Ramasubramanian said that in all 125 candidates came within the zone of judicial consideration and of those only 25 qualified for the main examination. Of these 25, only two candidates cleared the mains and became eligible for the interview held in December 2008.

Conceding that a lot of questions were either disputable or debatable, Justice Ramasubramanian said it was “too late in the day to cancel the entire selection process…Cancellation would be highly frustrating and demoralising for the whole lot of candidates.” He then dismissed a majority of the writ petitions.

Now, five candidates including Balasubramanian of Nagapattinam, filed a writ appeal before the vacation court, stating that the judge had failed to realise that the fraud had vitiated the entire proceedings and that striking down the entire selection process was the only solution. Challenging the “partial relief” granted by the judge, the appellants said that at least 25 out of 200 questions had wrong answer keys, and that it constituted a very significant percentage enough to vitiate the whole selection process.

Justices Jyothimani and Sivagnanam said the validity of the examination had not been gone into by the single judge while dismissing the writ petition. Referring to the TNPSC’s submission that appointment orders were ready but had not been issued to candidates, the judges said, “we are of the view that the TNPSC must be directed not to make any appointments till the disposal of the appeals.” However, the Commission can go ahead with evaluation of answer sheets as directed by the single judge.





HC slams MCD over condition of roads

16 May 2009, 0301 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: Concerned over the city’s potholed roads ahead of next year’s Commonwealth Games, the Delhi High Court has slammed MCD saying “it’s a nightmare for citizens to drive on these uneven roads”.

Directing MCD to carry out a survey of existing roads, the court suggested the civic body make plans to upgrade the roads on par with international standards and implement a scheme in a time-bound manner. “Much needs to be done so as to ensure that before the Commonwealth Games are held, the roads look better, matching international standards with proper greenery on both sides,” said Justice Kailash Gambhir.

The order came after an MCD contractor, Rakesh Tyagi, filed an application for anticipatory bail challenging a lower court’s dismissal order. Tyagi allegedly used sub-standard material in carpeting of a road in October 2003. Turning down his plea, the HC took a serious note of Tyagi’s alleged nexus with MCD officials in getting tenders worth crores.





HC tells Sabarmati jail to improve conditions


Express News Service Posted: Saturday , May 16, 2009 at 0122 hrs IST

Ahmedabad: A division bench of the Gujarat High Court comprising Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and justice C K Buch on Friday directed the Sabarmati jail authorities to implement the amicus curiae Shalin Mehta’s suggestions pertaining to health, security and other issues within six weeks and submit an action taken report on July 3.

The directions were issued in connection with a suo motu public interest litigation initiated by the high court after an undertrial Suresh Kakadia (25) was stabbed to death by a 26-year-old convict Mahendra Vala over a monetary dispute within the jail premises on March 1 this year.

After issuing notices to jail authorities, the high court had appointed advocate Shalin Mehta as amicus curiae and asked him to submit a report about the conditions in the jail.

Mehta visited the jail twice and submitted his 21-point report to the court. The amicus curiae had pointed out the provisions of the jail manual with regard to security and separation of undertrials and convicts were not followed.

The amicus curiae also brought to notice an earlier judgement of 2005 of Justice Jayant Patel with respect to security of prisoners in the Chetan Battery murder case. Justice Patel had directed to ensure separate stay arrangements for undertrials and convicts but it was not implemented.

The other flaws pointed out by Mehta include inadequate medical facilities in the jail hospital. According to Mehta’s report, even basic medicines like cough syrup were not available in the jail hospital.

A large number of prisoners, according to the report, suffered from dental problems but there was no facility to provide them dental treatment. The staff in the jail hospital was also inadequate, stated the report.

As a result, the report said, the prisoners were taken to the Civil Hospital. Mehta submitted that this practice of taking prisoners to hospitals outside the jail for minor ailments be stopped in the interest of security.

Following amicus curiae report, the high court has asked the jail authorities to submit their reply in the form of an affidavit. On Friday, the jail authorities came out with a 20-point programme, mostly covering the observations of amicus curiae on improving the conditions in the jail. The bench has also asked the authorities to implement them within six weeks and submit the report on July 3.





HC queries NGO’s need to take up case for affected villagers

16 May 2009, 0145 hrs IST, TNN

CHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday questioned the locus standi of Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI), an NGO, in seeking its intervention in a matter relating to alleged land grab by high-ranking officers in Kansal village.

It disposed of the NGO’s plea while observing that the land owners whose properties had allegedly been encroached upon were neither poor nor socially backward and were capable of approaching courts on their own.

In plain terms, the NGO’s effort to project the whole issue as a public interest matter backfired with the division bench of chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur and justice Hemant Gupta categorically stating that LHRI had no legitimate cause to take up the grievance of people ‘who had their individual rights to vindicate’. The judges also stated that the law offered an effective remedy for the affected parties, indicating that civil courts should have been moved in the case.

The order comes as a shot in the arm to many officers, including Punjab vigilance chief Sumedh Singh Saini, IPS officer CSR Reddy and IAS officers SS Brar and IS Bindra whom the NGO had accused of land grab. Interestingly, Saini and Brar were never even issued notices by HC. Saini never tried to conceal his four acres in Kansal, the ownership of which he consistently declared in his property returns over the years.

The NGO had alleged that villager Sampuran Singh’s land was grabbed by property dealers working for some influential people. Sampuran and some other villagers had contacted the NGO and told it that 377 kanals in Kansal had been ‘unauthorizedly (sic) occupied’.

The NGO also stated that Punjab Urban Development Authority was acting under the influence of colonizers and helping encroachers.

However, the division bench observed in its 14-page order that disputed questions of facts, like authenticity of sale deeds, etc, could not be allowed to be raised in writ proceedings and affected parties were expected to bring evidence for adjudication on such issues.






HC initiates suo moto proceeding with regard to hookah bars


Press Trust of India Posted: Saturday , May 16, 2009 at 0125 hrs IST


Raising concerns over the hookah bars flourishing in the city the Gujarat High Court on Friday initiated suo moto proceedings and made the state of Gujarat, AMC (Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner) and city police commissioner respondents in the case.

A division bench of Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice C K Buch which initiated the suo moto proceedings, cited some vernacular newspaper reports on the activities carried out in the hookah bars of the city. They also pointed out other reports that said that dance bars, which had closed down in Mumbai, were shifting base to Ahmedabad.

The city police commissioner said in a statement before the court that all the hookah bars in the city have been closed and strict guidelines have been issued for those wanting to continue operating them as also for those desirous of opening similar ventures.

The court put the statement of the police commissioner on record and posted further hearing in the case after four weeks that is after court vacation, which begins on May 18.

On Thursday, the police commissioner had issued an eight-point guideline for hookah bars in addition to the notification earlier issued in December 2005.





CJI appeals to PM for creation of more family courts

Published: May 15,2009

New Delhi, May 15 Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan today appealed to the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers of all states to create more family courts in the country to settle matrimonial disputes amicably.

“I would appeal to the Prime Minister and I am thinking of writing to all Chief Ministers to facilitate the creation of family courts in all districts in the country,” Justice Balakrishnan said.

Inaugurating the first family court of the capital at Dwarka district courts premises here, he stressed that marriages should be protected like an institution.

“We should work together to bring a change in society. Marriage is institution which should be protected,” Justice

Balakrishnan said.

Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Justice A P Shah, who was also present with other Judges, said that as many as 15 family courts would be set up across the capital by July.

The matter would be taken up with the Government to create a total of 35 such courts as required in the capital, he said.

Source: PTI





High court seeks reply from govt

16 May 2009, 0242 hrs IST, TNN

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Friday directed the state government to give reply to a PIL alleging embezzlement of crores of rupees meant for collecting water samples from 2.25 lakh water sources to test their purity.

A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice Ravi Ranjan passed the order on a PIL of Binod Kumar, which made principal secretary and the engineer-in-chief of the public health and engineering department (PHED) respondents for giving clean chit to M/S Environtec East Private Ltd which had allegedly not done the full survey and sample tests.

Petitioner’s counsel Anjani Kumar submitted that Environtec East Pvt Ltd was given a contract of Rs 5.80 crore to carry out sample tests of water collected from various sources and give report to the engineer-in-chief, PHED. But the latter prepared sample test reports on the basis of little work or no work in many cases, the counsel added.

The petitioner claimed that PHED engineers, including the executive engineer of Biharsharif, had reported that the sample collector had not reached by May 5, 2009, while the engineer-in-chief on May 6 recorded that water samples were collected and tests done.

He submitted that the water sample reports seemed to be fabricated as some reports said that the water content in Gaya district did not contain fluoride beyond permissible limit while the earlier reports were to the contrary. Similarly, the report regarding arsenic content in water in five districts in the state was vital but the survey report was not clear on this count.

In the absence of accurate reports of water sample tests, people affected due to the presence of arsenic, fluoride, iron etc. in water beyond permissible limits have no respite, the PIL added.

The court said that the state must give priority to safe drinking water. Government pleader Arvind Kumar submitted that the state reply would be filed.

Election petition dismissed:

A single bench of Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi on Friday dismissed the election petition of a JD(U) candidate from Patna teachers’ constituency for Bihar legislative council, Janardan Prasad Singh, who challenged the election of Nawal Kishore Yadav of RJD.

Singh had challenged the election of Yadav alleging that the electoral rolls (voters’ list) in many cases were fake and so the election of Yadav be set aside. Yadav’s counsel, S N P Sharma and Amarendra Kumar Singh, submitted that the election petition was not maintainable as any allegation regarding the electoral rolls being fake has to be heard by the Election Commission and not by the court.

Graveyard encroachment:

A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice Ravi Ranjan directed the state government to give reply to a PIL of Sabban Sah alleging encroachments of many graveyards across the state.





Plea for dual-purpose tankers dismissed


Express News Service Posted: Saturday , May 16, 2009 at 0425 hrs IST

Mumbai: Dismissing a PIL seeking portable oil tankers-which can carry both oil and other cargo thus cuting operation costs-the Bombay High Court recently pulled up petitioner Manohar Scindia for disparaging remarks against the court. He had written to the Chief Justice of India against certain judges for not entertaining his plea regarding the PIL.

Scindia, in the PIL, had said that government-run oil companies— such as BPCL, IOC and HPCL— should use portable tank system for transporting oil from refineries to retailers.

He stated that tankers are used at present carry oil one way— from the refinery to the petrol pump— but they travel empty on the way back thus wasting thousands of litres of fuel.

Scindia had proposed oil companies and the petroleum ministry to introduce portable tanks. According to him, oil can be transported from refineries to dealers, and on the way back other goods can be loaded. He said after offloading the fuel at retail shops, the portable tank would be lifted to accommodate other goods. Scindia claimed many western countries used this system.

In 2000, another bench of the High Court ordered various ministries to form a committee to study the proposal. The High Court had then asked the central government to prepare a prototype of such a tanker. Following this, the committee had sought the help of P Vasudevan, an IIT professor, to examine feasibility of the idea.

Vasudevan, in his report to the court, said Scindia’s proposal, though sound in principle, was not practicable.

Vasudevan had concluded in his report that the idea won’t help save much fuel and it would involve a lot of expenditure to alter the tankers for this purpose. After going through the report, a division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S C Dharmadhikari dismissed the PIL on May 7.

Scindia is likely to face contempt proceedings for the derogatory references and accusations he made against the High Court judges in his letter to the Chief Justice of India. The court has taken notice of Scindia’s letters that reportedly made derogatory references against certain judges for not entertaining his pleas during the PIL hearing .

The judges have now issued notice to Scindia saying that his remarks may amount to contempt of court.






Disqualify Gaikwad, demands Mohite

16 May 2009, 0434 hrs IST, TNN

PUNE: Padminiraje Mohite, who had contested the civic election against NCP corporator Surdas Gaikwad and had later filed a PIL about his illegal constructions, on Friday, demanded that the Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal commissioner should disqualify the tainted corporator.

Speaking to the TOI, Mohite said, “A corporator must for the development of the village, but instead he constructed illegal structures on the plot reserved for a primary school. As the area needed a primary school, I had to turn to the High Court for justice.”

Mohite had filed the case against Gaikwad in the Bombay high court in September 2008.

NCP corporator Surdas Gaikwad could not be contacted for comment despite repeated attempts.






PIL against civic body over misuse of public money quashed


Express News Service Posted: Saturday , May 16, 2009 at 0121 hrs IST


The Gujarat High Court on Friday quashed a PIL against the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) over the misuse of public money for a trip abroad to Leicester, UK, by its officials and office bearers.

In response to a PIL filed by Praful Desai, president of the Vadodara-based NGO, Senior Citizen Services Trust, the RMC on Friday filed an affidavit saying that the local body did not bear the tour expenses.

At present, Deputy Mayor Narendra Solanki, Standing Committee Chairman Kamlesh Mirani and Officer on Special Duty Alpna Mitra are on a 15-day tour to Leicester. Rajkot signed a twin-city agreement with Leicester in 1996 for culture and technology exchange.

So far, five delegations of the RMC have visited Leicester as part of the twin-city agreement study tour. This is the sixth delegation to UK. A delegation of the Leicester Municipal Council has visited Rajkot thrice.

Except for an energy theme park at Race Course, which according to the RMC, was based on technical expertise sharing with the twin partner, Rajkot city has not seen any other project under this agreement.

This time, the delegation is supposed to study technicalities of a flyover and slum relocation project.

In the PIL, Desai had challenged how could office-bearers like the deputy mayor and the standing committee chairman be authorised to go on a tour on public money.

According to the PIL, only experts should be allowed to go on study specific projects which can be translated into results back home. The PIL filed on May 11 came for hearing on Friday when RMC filed an affidavit.






Gutkha ads: HC seeks explanation

16 May 2009, 0411 hrs IST, TNN

Ahmedabad : Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) will have to give explanation to Gujarat High Court about why they have continued to give out advertising space on rent for gutkha and tobacco products on buses.

Acting on a PIL filed by former parliamentarian Amarsinh Chaudhary, a division Bench headed by Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan on Friday issued notices to chief secretary, state transport department, GSRTC and municipal commissioner asking them to file their replies before June 18.

The PIL has contended that despite laws formulated by government to discourage tobacco consumption, GSRTC and AMTS have continued to rent out advertisement space to gutkha manufacturing companies. The petitioner has demanded to put an end to this practice.

Arguing for petitioner, advocate VD Parghi claimed that after legislation prohibiting smoking in public places came into effect, state government in 2008 formed a high-level committee for implementation of the Act. Moreover, government is expected to take measures to discourage tobacco consumption. Instead, buses have become means for advertising tobacco products for earning profit.






Bhim not seeking change in number of seats


Delimitation case hearing deferred to May 22

Rashid Paul
Srinagar, May 15:
While rebutting the arguments of Kashmir High Court Bar Association (KHBA), Panthers Party chief, Prof Bhim Singh on Friday told the court that he was not seeking change in the number of Assembly seats in his delimitation petition, but was only asking readjustment of territories of the constituencies.
As he failed to put forth his argument in refined legalities, the court decided to hear the matter again on May 22 at Jammu.
The Panthers Party chief, who had filed a PIL in the State High Court against the 29th amendment of the state constitution by National Conference government in 2002 that bars the delimitation of assembly seats till 20026, said the amendment is ultravires (beyond the powers) of the constitution affecting the democratic rights of the people of the state.
He told the court that he was not seeking change in the number of seats for the assembly, but only re-demarcation of their boundaries.
The division bench headed by chief justice Barin Gosh initially briefed the petitioner of the arguments of the KHBA and asked him to come up with his point of view properly and assist the court in the case.
As the court felt that Singh was dragging the matter without touching the specifics of the case, the Chief Justice announced the court will hear the Panthers Party in the case again at Jammu on May 22.
Countering the contention of KHBA that his PIL is not maintainable according to rules as it has been filed by a party not an individual, Singh said his petition was accepted by Supreme Court in 1981 when the resettlement Bill passed by State Legislature was referred to the Supreme Court.
To this the Chief Justice cited the references of the Supreme Court judgments alluded by KHBA which say that Public Interest Litigations of political nature by parties cannot be entertained by courts.
Singh, pointing to the international dimension of the Kashmir raised in the context of the petition by KHBA, said United Nations resolutions have lost their relevance and the constitution of the state was a valid document. He said UN resolutions have asked for complete withdrawal of troops from Muzaffarabad (Pakistan Administered Kashmir) while as in this part of the Kashmir India has been asked to retain some troops till plebiscite is held.






NGO files PIL in JK HC seeking ban on use of polythene

Published: May 15,2009

Srinagar , May 15 An NGO today filed a PIL in the Jammu and High Court, seeking a ban on the use of polythene with immediate effect.

Petitioner&apos Valley Citizen&aposs Council&aposdemanded a complete ban on manufacturing of polythene in the state and its entry and sought a direction to the state government to enforce the ban on procurement and sale of polythene for packing and distribution of food, beverages and drugs.

The court listed the PIL for hearing on June two.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to put a partial ban on use of polythene in the state.

Initially the ban on use of polythene bags would be imposed at health resorts in the state. Rules would be modified shortly for the same,” Chief Secretary S S Kapur said at a function here.

Source: PTI






Depts told to submit reports to NHRC in time

15 May 2009, 0442 hrs IST, TNN

PATNA: The state chief secretary, in view of the directive of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has asked all government departments concerned to submit the desired departmental reports to the commission in time.

The commission, in the context of the Article 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, serves showcause on departments for giving interim relief to any person appearing before it. If the showcause is not replied to, then the commission takes the decision suo motu to award interim relief to the person concerned, the note of the chief secretary sent to the departmental heads concerned has stated.

The chief secretary has pointed out that the state government, in that situation, has no option, but to comply with the order to give interim relief to the person concerned, even if the government has any reservation with regard to the award given. Accordingly, the departmental heads have been directed to comply with the commission’s demand for its report on the showcause served.

LEGAL NEWS 14-15.05.09

Indian court orders charges dropped against Varun Gandhi


 Updated at: 1538 PST,  Thursday, May 14, 2009
 NEW DELHI: India’s top court Thursday ordered charges dropped against Varun Gandhi, an estranged member of the Nehru-Gandhi political clan, for inciting religious hatred while election campaigning.

Gandhi, 29, had been on parole for a month following his arrest under the stringent National Security Act by the Uttar Pradesh state government in March. He was taken into custody after being filmed telling supporters at an election rally that he would “cut the heads of Muslims”.

“The state government shall forthwith withdraw the detention order against Varun Gandhi under the NSA (National Security Act),” ruled a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. The court had initially ordered Gandhi’s release on April 16 on the condition he refrain from making any speeches that could inflame communal tensions in Hindu-majority India.





HC directs DTC to file report on low-floor bus accidents


Express News Service Posted: Thursday , May 14, 2009 at 2348 hrs IST

New Delhi:

Two months ago, a low-floor DTC bus caught fire. Over 70 passengers trapped inside had to break the thick glass of the bus windows and jump to safety on Mandir Marg in Central Delhi around 7.20 pm.

The passengers later complained to the police that the doors of the bus refused to budge despite several attempts by the driver, making the burning bus a veritable death trap. Fire officials said the bus was completely charred by the time they managed to douse the fire.

The incident, however, found no mention on Wednesday when the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) confidently told a High Court Bench, led by Chief Justice A P Shah, that accidents involving the new fleet of low-floor buses are almost impossible.

The DTC counsel told the court only two accidents involving these have occurred in the city, when a total of 625 low-floor buses — meant to give an image makeover to the city’s public transportation — ply the roads.

The DTC’s claim was, however, promptly challenged by amicus curiae Kailash Vasdev, who countered that a total of 14 accident cases have been reported involving these buses. The Bench then directed the DTC to file a status report on July 1.

The government has already ordered 2,500 more low-floor buses. Earlier, the court had directed the installation of GPS systems in all such buses to prevent accidents and traffic violations.




HC forms team to probe negligence case at Safdarjung Hospital


Express News Service Posted: Thursday , May 14, 2009 at 2347 hrs IST

New Delhi:

In a case of alleged medical negligence, the Delhi High Court has constituted a team of medical experts to examine a report of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate against the doctors in Safdarjung Hospital.

In the case, an 11-month-old boy’s leg was amputated due to the alleged negligence by doctors at Safdarjung Hospital in January 2007.

In a recent judgment, a Division Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Sanjiv Khanna constituted the team, which comprises the Head of the Department of Orthopaedic, AIIMS, or his nominee and surgeon J S Arora. The Bench has directed them to examine the report and the patient and submit their opinion within five weeks.

The HC order came after the ACMM submitted the report, which didn’t have any firm finding. “On one hand, it is stated that no definite finding can be given with regard to medical negligence but at the same time it is stated that there was some lack of skill or medical acumen in applying hip spice or diagnosing the condition…” the Bench observed.





HC rejects Mancic’s plea to stay in Goa

14 May 2009, 0643 hrs IST, TNN

PANAJI: With the high court of Bombay at Goa rejecting Polish national Adam Mancic’s plea that he shouldn’t be removed from the state, he will be taken to Delhi for extradition soon, crime branch sources have said.

Vacation judge U D Salvi observed on Wednesday that “the right of the petitioner to contest the request of extradition has not been taken away by the state”. “As a matter of fact, the production of the petitioner before the additional chief metropolitan magistrate, New Delhi, will enable the petitioner to effectively agitate his right to contest the extradition request,” observed the judge.

Mancic was arrested in Goa after a warrant was issued against him by the Tiergarten magistrate, Germany, for shooting dead a businessman in Germany on November 3, 2008. The arrest warrant was issued through Interpol.

Mancic had subsequently, approached the high court for interim relief with a prayer that his detention by the state government, which was beyond a period of 60 days, was in breach of Article 14 (4) of the extradition treaty between the Republic of India and the Federal Republic of Germany and was illegal and therefore, he deserved to be protected in terms of requiring an embargo on his movement in Goa.

His counsel, K Paulekar submitted that the breach of the said Article comes into being as the petitioner had been detained in custody for over a period of 60 days and the state government had not received the request for extradition and documents specified in Article 12 of the extradition treaty.

Public prosecutor C A Ferreira however, argued that the order dated May 5, 2009, passed by the Government of India, required the production of Mancic before the additional chief metropolitan magistrate, New Delhi for contesting the request made by the government under section 15 of the Extradition Act, 1962.

He also pointed to the petitioner’s criminal background and said that it is the obligation of the government to initiate action under the Extradition Act to extradite the petitioner to the country were he has to stand trial for the commission of an offence of murder.

After hearing both sides, the judge observed that it would be too hasty to conclude that the Government of India had not received a request for extradition along with the documents specified in Article 12 of the extradition treaty.





HC asks IGIMS to file reply

14 May 2009, 0431 hrs IST, TNN

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Wednesday issued a directive to the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences

(IGIMS) to give reply to a PIL which submitted that it had not provided a green cover over one acre of land on its campus to check pollution caused by its biomedical waste disposal plant.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Shivakirti Singh and Justice Ravi Ranjan issued the directive on the PIL of Chandra Bhushan Rai. IGIMS has been asked to file reply by July 6.

Petitioner’s counsel Kalyan Shankar submitted that the biomedical waste disposal plant on the IGIMS campus was causing environmental pollution in the vicinity as the green cover on the hospital campus had not yet been created to check pollution.

The PIL annexed a report of an expert which said that the environment pollution spread by the biomedical waste disposal plant may cause cancer, skin diseases, immunity deficiency and some other diseases to the people living in the adjoining areas.

Ashiana accused bail term extended:

A single bench presided over by Acting Chief Justice Shivakirti Singh on Wednesday extended by four months the provisional bail term of the former officer-in-charge of Shastrinagar police station, Patna, Samsi Alam.

Alam is an accused in a case related to the killing of three youths in a fake encounter on December 12, 2002 in a market near Ashiananagar locality under Shastrinagar police station in Patna.

Alam had been granted provisional bail for six months on January 14, 2009 by the high court.





HC directive to Pul Nirman Nigam

14 May 2009, 0433 hrs IST, TNN

PATNA: A division bench of Patna High Court on Tuesday directed the Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam to file a counter-affidavit to a PIL of Rajendra Narain Singh wherein he sought direction to the Nigam to protect the necessary utility services, including water supply lines, sewer lines and underground phone cables, that have gone underneath the 18-inch thick reinforced concrete cement (RCC) road on a stretch leading to Kurji from Polytechnic Mor in Pataliputra Colony in the city.

The petitioner’s counsel Vivek Prasad submitted that the RCC road was being constructed on the main road leading to Kurji Mor but it had also covered the road flanks under which the water supply lines, sewer lines, and phone cables run. Due to this, any defect underneath the RCC road flanks would lead to water contamination, waterlogging and delinking of the phone cables, submitted Prasad.

He added that there appeared to be no coordination among the Pul Nirman Nigam, civic agencies maintaining the water supply and sewer lines, BSNL and other phone operators whose phone cables are laid underneath the RCC road flanks.





Gujarat HC asks state govt. to pay Rs.262 crore compensation to riot victims

By admin on May 14th, 2009

Ahmedabad, May 14 (ANI): The Gujarat High Court on Thursday asked the Government of Gujarat to pay a compensation of Rs.262 crore to victims of the riots that followed the burning of the Sabarmati Express in 2002.


The High Court order said that sum was allocated for the riot victims by the Central Government in 2007, and therefore, it was only right that the state government should distribute it to the victims.

The High Court order was pronounced on the basis of a complaint filed by the riot victims against the state government.

Thursday’s order comes six days after the High Court designated nine judges for as many special fast track courts to carry out the trial in the 2002 post-Godhra riot cases being probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).

Out of the nine special courts, four will be in Ahmedabad, two each in Mehsana and Anand, and one in Himmatnagar of Sabarkantha district.

According to the court’’s order, additional sessions judge P R Patel has been designated to conduct the trial in the Godhra train carnage case that will be held in the premises of the Sabarmati Central Jail here.

Judge S H Vora and additional sessions Judge Jyotsna Yagnik will be presiding over the trial of Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya cases respectively.

Judge B U Joshi has been designated as judge for the special court dealing with the Gulberg Society massacre case, where Congress ex-MP Ehsan Jaffery was killed.

Justices B N Kariya and S C Srivastava will handle the two cases in Mehsana district.

Judges S Y Trivedi and R M Sarine will conduct the trial in two cases in Khambodaj and Ode of Anand district respectively.

Judge H P Patel will oversee the Prantij taluka riot case of of Sabarkantha district where some British nationals were also killed. The special court will be based in Himmatnagar, the district headquarters.

On May 1, the Supreme Court ordered day-to-day hearing of the Gujarat riot cases by fast track courts in the state.

While vacating its stay order of November 21, 2003, the apex court directed that witnesses be provided security for their safe passage and if necessary at their place of living during the trial.

The court said the SIT would act as a nodal agency to decide as to which witnesses in the case should be given protection and relocated. The apex court also gave liberty to the SIT to recommend cancellation of bail if it is considered necessary. (ANI)





HC for NHRC probe into Batla case

15 May 2009, 0705 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Thursday favoured a full-fledged inquiry by National Human Rights Commission into the controversial Batla House encounter while keeping the petition filed by the accused pending before it.

“Time is passing, almost eight months have passed,” a bench headed by chief justice A P Shah told the commission, asking it to respond by next hearing if NHRC would like to go ahead with its enquiry.

The court’s suggestion came after the NCT government continued to be reluctant in proceedings with its enquiry till a magisterial inquiry into the matter is first conducted.

Two alleged members of terror outfit Indian Mujahideen and Delhi Police inspector M C Sharma were killed in the encounter on September 19 last year in the aftermath of serial blasts at Batla House locality in the national capital. The court said the legal issue, whether the Commission’s guidelines of holding a magisterial inquiry is mandatory for the government or not, can be decided at a later stage.

“We would empower you (NHRC) to conduct the inquiry and we would make appropriate observation in the order so that you would be assisted by other agencies in holding inquiry. At the same time we would keep the petition open to decide legal issues,” the High Court said while adjourning the matter for May 20. The Court’s observation came while hearing a PIL filed by an NGO, Act Now For Harmony and Democracy seeking a judicial inquiry into the September 19, 2008, encounter. The incident took place a week after serial blasts had rocked the national capital killing 26 people and injuring 13.

Responding to the petition the government, however, refuted all the allegations and additional solicitor general Gopal Subramanium contended that this is not a case where a magesterial inquiry is needed. The government and the National Human Rights Commission were at loggerheads in the case as the ASG contended that the Commission can’t force the governemnt to hold a magisterial inquiry into the incident. The Commission, on the other hand, submitted it required a report of a magisterial inquiry to proceed further as it was not possible to conduct the probe all over the country in all such cases in which people are killed in encounters.





HC nod to Lokayukta probe

15 May 2009, 0704 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: The Delhi government on Thursday received a jolt after the Delhi High Court refused to restrain the Lokayukta to go ahead with his inquiry into a complaint pertaining to purchase of low-floor non-AC buses by the administration, and to summon the records.

A division bench of chief justice A P Shah and justice Neeraj Kishan Kaul set aside the single judge’s order restraining justice Manmohan Sarin, heading the anti-corruption body, from seeking documents for investigation in the deal relating to purchase of 625 non-AC buses.

HC said the office of Lokayukta is a statutory body and it has full authority to conduct the preliminary inquiry into any complaint received. Following HC’s green signal, the Lokayukta, later in the day asked the government to produce the files before him on Monday.

Giving the go-ahead to the inquiry, the Bench said the Lokayukta can call for the documents for investigation and directed the Delhi government to supply the ones sought for. HC also made it clear that the government has no locus standi to raise any objection to the act of Lokayukta. The Court was hearing an appeal filed by the Lokayukta challenging the single judge’s order restraining him from seeking documents for investigation. On March 13, the single judge had issued the Lokayukta cannot seek documents for preliminary inquiry and added he should settle the rules and procedures before going ahead with any complaint of such nature.

In an order on January 28, Lokayukta justice Manmohan Sarin had served an ultimatum to the state’s transport secretary to personally produce documents relating to purchase of buses. The anti-corruption body presided by justice Sarin warned the government of action under IPC, which prescribes imprisonment of six months or fine. Justice Sarin, a former judge of Delhi HC, passed the order while hearing a complaint filed by former BJP MLA Vijay Jolly in October last year. Jolly has alleged the Congress government has purchased 625 low-floor non-AC and CNG buses at an inflated price and cited that Tamil Nadu government had purchased the same buses for Rs 24 lakh less on each for the state. On Delhi government’s appeal against Lokayukta’s order, the single judge had passed the order, which was challenged by the office of Lokayuta before this division bench.





It’s better late than never, say riot victims on HC order–say-riot-victims-on-HC-order/459749


Express News Service Posted: Friday , May 15, 2009 at 0134 hrs IST


Petitioners and victims of the 2002 statewide riots welcomed the interim order of the Gujarat High Court directing payment of compensation to the victims within eight months from the date of order.

“Better late than never,” was what Gagan Sethi of the Centre for Social Justice, said after Thursday’s order on his joint petition with Yusuf Sheikh of the Anatanrik Visthapit Hak Rakshak Samiti (AVHRS). They had sought compensation for the properties damaged during the riots.

Sethi, who is also a member of the monitoring committee on compensation to the victims set up by the National Human Rights Commission, said the good part was that he was able to bring to fore the human rights issues involved in the whole episode. “To get compensation for the hapless victims is my biggest achievement,” he said.

Sheikh said the victims could now hope to get the full compensation in one go, thus helping them to make better use of the money. He said that if they got the compensation in instalments as was being done earlier by the Central and state governments, it would have been meaningless because the small sum could not be used for buying properties.

Razzaq Khatri, a riot victim whose house was destroyed completely at Noorani Mohalla in Vadodara and now lives in an one-room apartment in KGN Nagar, said he could now hope to buy a small house of his own.

“I am happy that the court ordered early payment of compensation,” said Muzaffar Makrani, another riot displaced, living at Rajgarh in Panchmahals district.






Mulayam moves HC for stay on arrest

Vijay Pratap Singh

Posted: May 15, 2009 at 0217 hrs IST

Allahabad Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav filed a writ petition in the Allahabad High Court on Thursday, seeking a stay order against his possible arrest in connection with an FIR against him in Mainpuri constituency.

The FIR was lodged under Sections 147, 332, 353 and 131 of the Representation of People Act on May 11. Among them, Sections 332 and 353 are non-bailable offences. Yadav has challenged its validity in the High Court, claiming it was politically motivated. He is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Mainpuri.

On May 11, the SP chief had allegedly tried to enter the prohibited area of a booth during re-polling and manhandled security personnel. He allegedly entered into an altercation with an Election Commission (EC) observer. The incident took place at booth numbers 227 and 228 of Parsana centre after villagers complained to Yadav that the EC observer was not allowing them to vote. The observer had detected three voters with fake ration cards. A furious Yadav took up the issue with the observer and argued that the ration cards were genuine and duly signed by the district supply officer of Etawah, parts of which are included in the Mainpuri constituency.





Clear position on half-way home, HC tells UT

15 May 2009, 0409 hrs IST, Ajay Sura, TNN

CHANDIGARH: Conversion of a Sector 47-based half-way home (centre for rehabilitation of mentally-challenged persons) into Aashreya by UT administration has come under judicial scanner as Punjab and Haryana High Court issued a notice to UT on Thursday. The HC has reportedly urged secretary, medical education and research, to clear UT’s position on the issue.

Headed by chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur, HC division bench issued the notice after taking cognizance of a writ petition filed by parents and guardians of some mentally-ill persons, who demanded that the half-way home should also provide residential facility and retain its original purpose to serve only mentally-ill people. During the resumed hearing, the bench also expressed concern over replacing the foundation plate of half-way home with another one, in which ‘Aashreya’ was inscribed by UT administration.

Importantly, in their writ petition, the petitioners had urged the HC to restrain UT administration from changing the original purpose and functional intent of the half-way home at Sector 47D (behind Ram Mandir), Chandigarh. Besides this, the petitioners also urged HC to discontinue the practice of rehabilitating persons other than the mentally-challenged as the facility was especially meant for the mentally-ill under the Mental Health Act, 1987. Counsel RS Bains stated that UT administration had opened the half-way home exclusively for mentally-ill persons under the District Mental Health Programme in April 2002.

While the first inauguration was done by the then UT administrator JFR Jacob (Retd), another formal opening ceremony was held in December 2008, when the centre was re-named as Aashreya. The counsel further argued that petitioners, 68-year-old OP Asija, and his wife, who is suffering from cancer, have two mentally-ill sons, who are admitted in psychiatry department of GMCH-32. He stated that the future of patients like these will face grave uncertainty if the centre did not take up their responsibility.

Citing various SC rulings, counsel urged HC to issue directions to UT administration for a residential facility for the mentally-ill, as was originally conceived. The bench has fixed UT to file its reply by July 30, which is also the next date of hearing.





HC stays demolition of Model Jail in city

15 May 2009, 0524 hrs IST, Pervez Iqbal Siddiqui, TNN

LUCKNOW: A division bench of the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court on Thursday stayed the demolition of Model Jail and also the felling of trees on the jail campus. The court pronounced these orders after hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a local lawyer on Thursday.

The bench has also directed the government not to shift the inmates of the jail anywhere else and also ordered the government to put before it details of what it proposes to bring up at the site. The court fixed May 18, 2009 as the next date for of the case.

The Times of India, in its edition dated May 7, 2009, had carried a front-page story highlighting how the government was planning to vacate the premises of Model and Women Jail so that 80 acres of land occupied by it could be vacated for extension of Kanshi Ram Sthal and construction of a research centre in the name of Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar at the site. A photocopy of the news report has been used as the basis of the PIL.

The PIL was taken up by the division bench comprising Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice SNH Zaidi and filed by Sangam Lal Pandey, a lawyer residing in Azad Nagar area of Alambagh in the vicinity of the said site.
The petitioner has drawn the attention of the court towards its historical importance submitting that the premises to be demolished is over 100 years old and was occupied by a number of freedom fighters during the freedom struggle.

In 1985, a minister in the state government Raghuveer Singh Yadav even inaugurated a memorial on the jail campus in the memory of the freedom fighters.

On behalf of the state government, chief standing counsel Devendra Upadhyay argued that the decision to demolish the model hail and shift it was a policy decision and hence the High Court should not intervene in such matters. Explaining the sequence of events on the basis of which the policy decision was taken, Upadhyay said that a special committee headed by chief secretary recommended on October 10, 2007 shifting of the inmates of nine jails in the state including the model jail.





HC poser on keeping non-Victorian art pieces at Victoria


Express News Service Posted: Friday , May 15, 2009 at 0337 hrs IST


The Calcutta High Court on Thursday questioned the authorities of Victoria Memorial on keeping articles and paintings that are not related to Queen Victoria in its museum.

A Division Bench of Justices Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Tapan Kumar Dutta asked the counsel of Victoria Memorial to explain whether those articles could be kept in the Memorial in accordance with the provisions of the Victoria Memorial Act.

Last year, the memorial authorities had filed a petition seeking court’s permission to construct a building for setting up a museum as they required additional space to keep the valuable articles.

This was, however, opposed by environmentalist Subhas Dutta whose counsel argued that a lot of articles like paintings, photographs that have nothing to do with Queen Victoria have been kept in the museum.

He cited the example of a Jamini Roy painting and photographs of Rabindranath Tagore to make his point and added that such articles should be shifted to some other place.

Dutta pleaded that no more construction be allowed inside the premises of Victoria Memorial due to environmental hazards. The next hearing is due for Tuesday.






HC sets aside termination of health dept staff

15 May 2009, 0447 hrs IST, TNN

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Thursday set aside the termination of five health department employees.

The court also took exception to the wavering attitude of the authorities concerned as regards the appointments.

A single bench presided over by Justice Navin Sinha said that an earlier order of a single bench of the high court presided over by Justice Narayan Roy setting aside the termination of irregularly appointed health employees Shree Narayan Singh and others is still valid.

The order was passed on five writ petitions. Earlier in June 2006, a division bench of the high court had modified the order of Justice Roy with a direction to the state government to constitute a three-member committee to examine whether the appointments of around a hundred health employees made during the period 1976 to 1982 were “irregular or illegal”.

Justice Sinha on Thursday remarked that it appeared that the state health officials had unfortunately created an industry for appointment and termination of employees. He expressed surprise why no action was taken against the appointing authorities under provisions of the Indian Penal Code, Bihar Service Rules and Bihar Pension Code.






II PU students can change college: HC

15 May 2009, 0726 hrs IST, TNN

BANGALORE: Thousands of students who have been promoted to II PUC this year and want to change their college can heave a big sigh of relief. The Karnataka high court on Thursday stayed the application of the circular issued by the Pre-University Education department as far as students who have joined I PUC in 2008-09 are concerned.

However, any affidavit filed by parents and students who have joined I PUC in 2009-10 will be subject to the final decision of the court, vacation judge A N Venugopala Gowda said.

The circular prohibits a student who joined PUC in 2009-2010 academic year from shifting from one college to another when they move into second year in 2010-2011. But it doesn’t cover students who joined PUC in 2008-09 and go to II PUC this year.

When the PU department officials admitted in the court that they were implementing the circular from this academic year itself and that there were about 10,000 applications seeking change of college, the HC didn’t appreciate their contention.

“How can you prohibit like that? If a college has zero result, how can you prevent a student from seeking change of college to get better results?” the judge asked the PU officials.

Apart from prohibiting change of college for II PUC, the circular also insists the educational institutions obtain an affidavit from parents and students who are admitted for first year PUC in 2009-2010 that they will not seek change of college in the second year.

“In the absence of any notice to the members of the petitioner association and in total disregard to the rule of law and principles of natural justice, this circular has been brought out,” G R Mohan, counsel for the petitioner Karnataka state minorities’ educational institutions managements federation, told the court.

The PU department officials say that due to computerization of records of every student at the time of admission to I PU by way of OMR sheets, change of colleges in II PU will add problems to the educational, examination and administrative business of the department.






Advocate withholds information on appeal from client, to pay Rs 50,000 compensation for service deficiency–to-pay-Rs-50-000-compensation-for-service-deficiency/459669


Express News Service Posted: Friday , May 15, 2009 at 0030 hrs IST


The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed an advocate to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation to a Hoshiarpur-based resident for failing to render proper service.

Advocate Suraj Mal Bhatia has also been directed to pay Rs 1,18,916 for losses incurred by the complainant, Sunil Kumar, in addition to Rs 11,500 charged as fees and Rs 2,000 for other expenses. The total amount has to be paid within 30 days of the announcing of the order, said the forum.

In his complaint, Kumar said he had purchased property on Jalandhar Road, Hoshiarpur, but the sale deed was disputed. It was alleged that the tehsildar had imposed a stamp duty of Rs 1,18,906 in addition to Rs 10, which was against law.

With an aim to move the court, Kumar met advocate Bhatia who assured him that the filing of a writ petition was not required, and suggested to file a revision in the court of Financial Commissioner Revenue (FCR), Punjab.






Police need autonomy to fight terror: J S Verma

15 May 2009, 0357 hrs IST, TNN

PUNE: There should be a strong political will and complete autonomy on par with independence of judiciary for the police force if terrorism is to be eliminated from India, said former chief justice J S Verma on Thursday.

Verma, who is also the former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, was speaking at a seminar Terrorism and its challenges to Indian society’, which was organised by the Pune police, at Ganesh Kala Kreeda Rangmanch in Swargate.

Verma said, “We need to have a proactive and holistic approach while dealing with terrorism. We need to have a credible law enforcing agency. And if the police force is to be given autonomy, corruption must be rooted out.”

He said that the root causes of terrorism must be identified, resources used for its funding must be dried up and the police force’s infrastructure should be strengthened to obtain optimum results.

The former CJI said that unaccounted money worth $ 476 million was lying in Swiss banks, this money should be retrieved by India or it may be used for funding terror activities.

Terrorism is an international problem. The state and Union governments should work together to end this menace. But they have not done much even after the 26/11 attacks. States are also not sharing intelligence information. The problem is compounded due to the lack of political will and weakening infrastructure, Verma said.

Criticising the states for not implementing the police reforms, he asked the state/Union governments to understand the practical difficulties faced by the policemen. He said that the state governments must utilise the services of retired police officers who have a vast experience in the field of counter-terrorism.

The former CJI felt that there was no need for a stringent law to deal with terrorism as there were enough provisions in the Indian Constitution and ordinary laws to tackle this menace. Make stringent laws if necessary, but use the existing laws faithfully and amend them if there are any deficiencies, he added.

The seminar was also attended by state director general of police (DGP) S S Virk, police commissioner Satya Pal Singh, retired DGP K P S Gill, leading lawyer Ram Jethmalani and retired Lt Gen D B Shekatkar.





Numbers game: President bones up on precedents

15 May 2009, 0455 hrs IST, Himanshi Dhawan, TNN

NEW DELHI: President Pratibha Patil may insist on proof of support in case of a neck-and-neck contest between political parties post-May 16. With Rashtrapati Bhawan set to be called upon to play arbiter, Patil is busy examining the advice followed by past presidents in forming the government.

Pollsters have so far given Congress an edge over its rivals in government formation but have also been quick to point out that numbers between the two national parties may be too close for comfort. In a scenario where the Congress is willing to stake claim to form the government but does not have the requisite numbers, the President may see it fit to ask for letters of support from allies to shield the highest office from any criticism of favouritism.

The President, sources said, was weighing all options and would take a decision after consulting several independent legal experts. Officer on special duty (public relations) Archana Dutta said, “The President is studying previous practices and precedents and will be guided by accepted convention and constitutional provisions. As the situation unravels, the President will consult legal experts.”

It is reliably learnt that the President’s office has lined up names of legal luminaries and would give preference an independent opinion rather than one from within the government. Highly placed sources said names of former attorney general Soli Sorabjee and former CJI J S Verma were being considered.

A source said, “Past experiences are being looked at and the President would like to stay clear of any controversy. Her responsibility is to invite the leader who has majority support.”

Sources also said that legal opinion on past precedents was under scrutiny. While President R Venkatraman favoured the rule of inviting political parties according to strength, the same yardstick did not hold true when President Shankar Dayal Sharma invited A B Vajpayee to form the government in 1996. Within 13 days, the Vajpayee government — faced with a lack of numbers — had to step down.

President K R Narayanan handled the exercise of a hung Parliament very differently in 1998, insisting that only the leader of a political party or a combination of parties that could command majority support for a stipulated time had the right to form government.





HC dismisses PIL against Yogi

14 May 2009, 2249 hrs IST, TNN

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking registration of an FIR against Yogi Adityanath and Ramakant Yadav, BJP candidate in Azamgarh byelection, for delivering inflammatory and communal speeches in Azamgarh last year.

The petitioner, Rajiv Kumar Yadav, in the PIL had requested the court to direct the Election Commission of India to decide his application, seeking action against Yogi Adityanath and Ramakant Yadav.

The order was passed by a bench comprising Chief Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad and Justice Dilip Gupta. The counsel for the petitioner, SFA Naqvi had contended in the court that both the leaders had made inflammatory speeches against a particular community.

The counsel appearing for the Election Commission of India had opposed the PIL saying that both the leaders were not made party in the PIL. The bench dismissed the PIL after hearing the counsels of both sides.





HC orders Guj to disburse Centre’s riot package in 8 weeks


Agencies Posted: Thursday , May 14, 2009 at 1624 hrs IST

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court ordered the state government to disburse within eight weeks the Rs 262.44 crore it received from the Centre as relief package for 2002 post-Godhra riot victims.

The order was passed by division bench of Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice C K Buch while hearing a PIL. The PIL was filed by Gangan Sethi, a member of Special Monitoring Group appointed by the National Human Rights Commission, and Yusuf Shaikh, convener of Vadodara-based NGO Antarik Visthapit Hakk-Rakshak Samiti.

The PIL filed in December last year had contended that Gujarat government has failed to disburse the Centre’s relief package to family of over 1,169 people who died during the riots and over 2,549 victims who were injured in post-Godhra violence.

During an earlier hearing the state government had submitted before the court that it has got instructions from the Election Commission not to disburse the amount among riot victims till the elections was over.

The Centre had released 19.05 per cent (Rs 50 crore) of the total amount at the end of 2008, following which the state government had ordered all district collectorates in January 2009 to disburse the amount within a month to the victims.

During the hearing the Centre had maintained that it had withheld Rs 212.44 crore because the Gujarat government had not reported utilisation of the first installment of Rs 50 crore that were released in 2008.

The Centre had announced to provide additional ex-gratia towards relief and rehabilitation to victims of 2002 communal riots in Gujarat on September 11, 2007.

According to the state government, as many as 29,467 families were affected and 11,237 houses got damaged in urban area while 18,230 residential properties were either demolished or damaged in rural areas across the state during the post-Godhra riots.





PIL filed against politicians’ visit to UK

14 May 2009, 0017 hrs IST, TNN

Ahmedabad : A public interest litigation has been filed in Gujarat High Court requesting the court to restrain elected members of Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) from flying to UK for the purpose of study, if they are visiting Britain at the cost of public money.

Based on an article published in TOI, an NGO Senior Citizens’ Service Trust has filed this PIL urging the court to cancel the visit of mayor, deputy mayor and chairman of the standing council to Leicester. The delegation from RMC is scheduled to visit UK to study flyovers and relocation of slums in Leicester as part of a sister city pact inked in 1996.

The NGO has raised objection to this visit because the RMC delegation has already visited Leicester at least thrice, and similarly delegations from Leicester have come to Rajkot equal number of times. The petitioner’s objection is that the elected members, who are politicians, should not be allowed to fly to foreign countries when they are doing so at the cost of money raised by the civic body through taxation.

The petitioner, Praful Desai, secretary of the NGO, who appeared party-in-person, has contended that if experts go abroad for such purpose and public money is spent for enrichment of their knowledge, it should be encouraged. But, there is no point in politicians flying to foreign country for such a study, and that too repeatedly to the same destination.

Upon this PIL demanding cancellation of RMC delegation’s visit to Leicester, scheduled next week, a division bench of Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi on Wednesday issued notice to the municipal commissioner asking him to explain the issue within two days. The court has ordered the notice to be sent through speed post, and kept further hearing on Friday.





HC poser on airport user fee

14 May 2009, 0637 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: The Airport Development Fee (ADF) levied at IGI Aiport on departing passengers was challenged before the Delhi High Court in a PIL on Wednesday. ADF consists of Rs 200 cess on all outgoing domestic passengers and Rs 1300 on international ones since March 1 2009.

Acting on the PIL, a division bench headed by the chief justice asked the centre, Airports Authorty of India (AAI) and DIAL to file their responses on the allegation that the fee was being charged without any legal basis. The court however, refused to grant any stay on the fee charged by DIAL nor did it issue notice.

Apart from alleging that the money being charged for airport development work was “placing undue burden on travelling public” the PIL also argues that in return for the payment the passenger is not being offered any extra facility or value by DIAL. “There should be some co-relation with the value being offered to public in return for ADF” the petitioners contended.

Praying for an immediate stay, the PIL also urged HC to create a separate account of the fee collected till now and freeze it so that in case this PIL succeeds in having that levy termed illegal, it can then be refunded to those who have paid up the money.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had said the fee, which came into effect on March 1, 2009, would be collected for 36 months. On their part the respondents defended the fee being charged before HC, saying it had been duly cleared by the ministry of civil aviation that had permitted DIAL to levy the money for modernization of the airport in the capital. HC will now take up the matter on July 8.





CJI administer oath to two new judges
Chief Justice (CJ) K G Balakrishnan today administered oath of office to two new judges of the Supreme Court.

Justice Deepak Verma has been elevated from Rajasthan High Court to the Supreme Court while Justice B S Chauhan has been promoted from Orissa High Court.

Justice Verma was the Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High court while Justice Chauhan was the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court.

The Union Government had recently increased sanctioned strength of the Supreme Court from 26 to 31 judges including CJ.

The decision is yet to be notified despite the fact that it has been approved of by the President Pratibha Patil.

The present sanctioned strength of the Supreme Court is 26.






HC declines to hear PIL against 19 RAW officials

Press Trust Of India

New Delhi, May 13, 2009

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to hear a PIL seeking action against 19 senior officials of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency, for allegedly leaking confidential information which was subsequently passed on to the United States.

The Court refused to pass any order after the petitioner R K Yadav, an ex-employee of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), failed to produce any evidence to substantiate his allegations against the senior officials.

“Your complete petition is nothing but hearsay. You have no authenticity and without any evidence you are asking us to initiate action against the officers,” a two-member Bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah said.

Yadav pleaded in his petition that 20 RAW employees were involved in leaking the information but CBI filed a complaint only against Ravinder Singh, a senior officer of the RAW, who was declared as proclaimed offender(PO) by a court here.

The Court, however, was not satisfied with his contention and said “if you have prima-facie evidence against the officers, we will issue notice or else we can ask them (Centre) to look into the matter.”

Giving a list of 19 senior RAW officers, Yadav in his petition alleged five senior officers had helped Singh to flee from the country and rest had supplied classified information to him, who in turn had allegedly passed on the confidential documents to the United States.

HC orders promotions of employees in subordinate courts


Rising Kashmir News
Srinagar, May 14:
Jammu and Kashmir High Court has ordered promotions of Assistants, Senior Assistants and Junior Assistants working in the Subordinate Courts of Kashmir Division.
Hafizullah Najar, Head Assistant is temporarily promoted as Section Officer in the grade of Rs 7450-11500.
Jawad-ul-Malik and Abdul Aziz Dar Senior Assistants are temporarily promoted as Head Assistants in the grade of Rs 5000-8000.
Saba Qazi, Fatima Syed Nazki, Surya Jan, Pervaiz Ahmad Bhat, Bilala Bano, GuIzar Ahmad Shah, Muzaffar Ahmad Malik, Ruksana Habib, Noor Muhammad Ahangar, Khalid Shahnaz Mir, Shazia Ahmad Munshi, Pir Faiz Mohammad, Shazia Hamid, Wajahat I
Hussain, Iftikhar Hussain Dar, Trilok Nath Pandita, Wilayat Hussain Khan, Shagufta
Habib, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Farooq Ahmad Wani, Muhammad Yousuf Bhathangi, Mehraj-ud-Din Rather, Mubashir Hussain Dar and Muhammad Abas Mir all Junior Assistants are temporarily promoted as Senior Assistants in the grade Rs 4000-6000.
Consequent upon such promotions Section Officers, Senior Assistants and Junior Assistant Kashmir Division have also been ordered.
Nasir Hussain Khan, Section Officer Principal District and Sessions Judge Court
Pulwama has been transferred and posted as Section Officer, Records, Principal District and Sessions Judge Court, Srinagar against an available vacancy.
Hafizullah Najar, Head Assistant (Nazir), Principal District and Sessions Judge
Court Budgam, upon his promotion as Section Officer has been transferred and posted as Section Officer Principal District and Sessions Judge Court Pulwama vice Nasir Hussain Khan.
Showkat Mehmood Makdoomi, Head Assistant, Munsiff Court Bandipora has been transferred and posted as Head Assistant (Records) Principal District and Sessions Judge Court, Srinagar against an available vacancy.
Muhammad Sharief Beig, Head Assistant (Nazir), Munsiff Court, Ganderbal, has been transferred and posted as Head Assistant (Nazir), Munsiff Court, Bandipora vice Showkat Mehmood Makdoomi.
Azad Ahmad Makhdoomi, Head Assistant (Nazir), CJM Court, Handwara, has been transferred and posted as Head Assistant (Nazir) Munsiff Court, Ganderbal vice Mohammad Sharief Beig.
Jawad-ul-Malik Mir, Civil Clerk, Additional District Judge Court, Pulwama, upon his promotion as Head Assistant has been transferred and posted as Head Assistant (Nazir), CJM Court, Handwara vice Azad Ahmad Makhdoomi.
Abdul Aziz Dar, Senior Assistant, lncharge Library, Principal District and Sessions Judge
Court, Pulwama, upon his promotion as Head Assistant has been transferred and posted as Head Assistant (Nazir) Principal District and Sessions Judge Court, Budgam vice Hafizullah Najar.
Bashir Ahmad Wagay, Head Record Keeper, Principal District and Sessions Judge Court, Baramulla has been transferred and posted as Head Record Keeper, Principal District and Sessions Judge Court Islamabad vice Mohammad Akbar Magray.
Bashir Ahmad Shah (Nazir) Head Assistant Munsiff Court, Dooru has been transferred and posted as Head Record Keeper, Principal District and Sessions Judge Court, Baramulla vice Bashir Ahmad Wagay.
Muhammad Akbar Magray, Head Record Keeper, Principal District and Sessions Judge
Court, Islamabad has been transferred and posted as (Nazir) Head Assistant, Munsiff Court Dooru vice Bashir Ahmad Shah.
Manzoor Ahmad Bhat, Head Record Keeper (Head Assistant) Principal District Judge Court, Kupwara and Ghulam Hassan Akhoon Head Assistant (Records) Principal District Judge Court Budgam shall swap their place of postings.
Farooq Ahmad Shah, Head Record Keeper, Principal District Judge Court, Baramulla has been transferred and posted as Accountant, Principal District Judge Court, Budgam vice Mushtaq Ahmad Shat.
Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat, Accountant, Principal District Judge Court, Budgam has been transferred and posted as Head Assistant Records, Principal District Judges Court, Kupwara vice Abdul Hamid Shah.
Abdul Hamid Shah, Head Assistant Records, Principal District Judges Court, Kupwara has been transferred and posted as Head Assistant Records, Principal District and Sessions Court, Baramulla.
Saba Qazi, Copyist, Sub Registrar Court, Srinagar upon her promotion as Senior Assistant has been transferred and posted as Civil Clerk, Principal District and Sessions
Court, Ganderbal against an available vacancy.
Fatima Syed Nazki, Copyist, Additional District Judge’s Court, Srinagar upon her promotion as Senior Assistant is transferred and posted as Civil Clerk, CJM Court, Gandcrbal against an available vacancy.
Suraya Jan, Assistant Keeper, Record Principal District and Sessions Court, Srinagar upon her promotion has been transferred and posted as Reader, Munsiff
Court, Chadoora vice Muhammad Shafi Pandit.
Parvez Ahmad Bhat, Civil Clerk 3rd Additional Munsiff, Srinagar upon his promotion as Senior Assistant has been transferred and posted as Civil Clerk, Principal District and Sessions Court, Bandipora.
Bilalo Bano, Copyist, 2nd Additional Munsiff Court, Srinagar, upon her promotion as Senior Assistant is transferred and posted as Rent Clerk, Judicial Court, Chief Magistrate Canderbal vice Peer OH Rasool.
 GuIzar Ahmad Shah, Civil/Criminal Clerk Munsiff Court, Shopian upon his promotion as Senior Assistant has been transferred and posted as Civil Clerk, Additional District Court, Islamabad against available vacancy.
Muzaffar Ahmad Malik, Civil Clerk, Munsiff Court, Kangan upon his promotion as Senior Assistant has been transferred and posted as Civil Clerk, Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Sopore against available vacancy.
Rukhsana Habib, Assistant Record Keeper, Principal Srinagar, District Sessions &
Judge Court, senior, her promotion upon as Assistant has been transferred and posted as Misc, clerk Principal District and Sessions Court, Budgam vice Imtiyaz Ali.
Noor Mohammad Ahangar, Civil Clerk, 1st.Additional Munsiff Court, Srinagar upon his prornotion as Senior Assistant has been transferred and posted Nazir (Sr.Asstt) District as Mobile Magistrate (Traffic) Court, Islamabad vice Shabir Ahmad Nengroo.
Shabir Hussain Nengroo Nazir (Senior Assistant) District Mobile Magistrate (Traffic) Court)
Islamabad has been transferred and is posted Misc. Ahlimad, Principal District & Sessions Court, Pulwama vice Mehraj-ud-Din Lone.
Mehraj-ud-Din Lone, Misc. Ahlimad (Senior Assistant) Principal District & Sessions Court, Pulwama has been transferred and posted as Reader-cun1-Nc.1zir, Addl. District Judge’s Court, Islamabad against available vacancy
Khalid Shahnawaz Mir, Civ H/ Criminal Clerk, Sub Registrar Court) Srinagar, upon his promotion as Senior Assistant, has been transferred and posted as Criminal Clerk, Additional District Judge Court, Islamabad against available vacancy.
Shazia Ali Munshi, Junior Assistant, 3rd  Addition District Judge (TADA), Srinagar upon her promotion as Senior Assistant has been transferred and posted as MACT Clerk, Principal District & Sessions Court, Budgam vice Syed Aijaz Hussain  Rizvi.
Peer Fayaz Ahmad, civil clerk Assistant is transferred and posted as Reader CJM Court, Shopian against available vacancy.
Shazia Hamid, Copyist, Special Judge (Anticorruption Court, Srinagar, upon her promotion as Senior Assistant is transferred and posted as Reader, Munsiff Court, Budgamn vice  Ghulam Mohammad Ganai.
Syed Wajahat Hussain, Copyist, CJM Court Srinagar, upon his promotion as Seniol
Assistant has been transferred and posted as Nazir, CJM Court, Budgam vice  Abdul Rashid Wani.
Iftikhar Hussain Dar, Civil Clerk, Forest Magistrate Court, Srinagar upon his promotion as Senior Assistant has been transferred and posted as Civil Clerk, 1st. Additional District Judge Court, Bararn ulla, against available vacancy.
Wilayat Hussain Khan, Civil Clerk, Munsif Court, Qazigund upon his promotion as Senior Assistant has been transferred and posted as Criminal Clerk, 1st. Additional District Judge’s Court, Baramulla against available vacancy.
Shagufta, Copyist, Special Anticorruption Court, Srinagar, upon her promotion as Senior Assistant has been transferred and posted as Reader, Munsiff Court, Sumbal vice Muhammad Ashraf Shah-II.
Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Civil Clerk, Munsiff Court, Shangas, upon his promotion as Senior Assistant has been transferred and posted as Reader Court-cum-Nazir, Additional District Judge Baramulla against available vacancy.
Farooq Ahmad Wani, Criminal Clerk, Munsiff Court, D. H. Para, upon his promotion as Senior Assistant has been transferred and posted as Civil Clerk, Additional District Judge Baran1ulla against available vacancy.
Muhamma Yousuf Bathangi, Typist, Principal District and Sessions Judge Court,
Pulwama upon his promotion as senior assistant is transferred and posted as Criminal Clerk Addl. District Judge Court, Baramulla against available vacancy.
Mehraj-ud-Din Rather Copyist, Sub Judge Court, Kulgam upon his promotion as Senior Assistant has been transferred and posted as Reader, Munsiff Court Qazigund against available vacancy.
Mubashir Hussain Dar, Copyist, Sub Judge Court, Bijbehara upon his promotion as Senior Assistant has been transferred and posted as Reader, Munsiff Court, Shangas, against available vacancy.
Abbas Ahmad Mir, Criminal Clerk, Sub Judge-J Court, Kulgam upon his promotion as Senior Assistant has been transferred and posted as District Record Keeper, Principal District and Sessions Court, Baramulla against available vacancy.
Peer Ghulam Rasool has been transferred and posted as Civil clerk, City .Judge court, Srinagar vice Shamima Akther.
Ghulam Nabi Sofi, Nazir, (Senior Assistant) Passenger Tax Magistrate Court, Srinagar and  Reyaz Ahmed Rather, Civil Clerk (Senior Assistant) CJM Court, Islamabad Shall swap of their place of postings.
Mohammad Ashraf Shah-II, Reader Munsiff Court, Sumbal has been transferred and posted as Misc. Clerk Principal District & Sessions Judge Court, Baramulla against available vacancy.
Latifa Jan, Additional Reader, Additional District Judge (Bank Cases) Court, Srinagar has been transferred and posted as Reader, Sub Judge Court, Pulwama against available vacancy.
Muhammad Shafi Wani, (Senior Assistant) Civil Clerk, Principal District & Sessions Judge Court, Shopian is traIlsferred and posted as Reader, Sub Judge Court, Bijbehara vice Afroza Sultan.
Bilal Ahmad Bhat Bhat (Senior Assistant) Judicial Clerk, District Magistrate Srinagar has been transferred and posted as MACT Ahlimad PR. District Judge Court Pulwan1a vice Haider Ganai.
Haider Ganai MACT Ahlimad, District Judge Court, Pulwama is transferred and posted as Nazir Reader, 1st Additional District Judge’s Court, Baramulla vice Abdul Rashid Bhat.
Abdul Rashid Bhat Nazir, Reader, 1st. Addl. District Judge’s Court, Baramulla has been transferred and posted as Nazir, Spl. Mobile Magistrate (Reaffic) court, Srinagar vice Rouful Mushtaq.
Shamima Akhter, (Senior Assistant) Civil Clerk, City, Judge’s Srinagar has been transferred and posted as Nazir, Munsiff Court Chari-i- Sharief against available vacancy.
GuIzar Ahmad Paray, (Senior Assistant) Cr Clerk, PR. Distt & Sessions Court, Islamabad is transferred and posted as Addl. Reader, Addl. District ,-Judge Court (Bank Cases), Srinagar vice Latifa-Jan.
Muhammad Sultan Ganai, (Senior Assistant) Nazir / Reader, Munsiff Court Kupwara has been transferred and posted as Rent Ahlimad, Chief Judicial magistrate Court, Bandipora against available vacancy.
Abdul Rashid War, (Senior Assistant) Cr Clerk, Principal District & Sessions Court, Kupwara has been transferred and posted as Reader, CJM Court Bandipora against available vacancy.
Bashir-ud-Din (Senior Assistant) MACT Ahlimad, Principal District & Sessions Court, Kupwara has been transferred and posted as Nazir, Mobile Magistrate (Traffic) Sopore, against an available vacancy.
Muhammad Shafi Pandit, (Senior Assistant) Reader, Munsiff Court, Chadura has been transferred and posted as MACT Clerk, Principal District and Sessions Judge Court, Rashid War, Kupwara.
Syed Aijaz Hussain Rizvi (Senior Assistant) Budgarn has been transferred and posted as Accounts Clerk, Principal District & Sessions Judge Court, Srinagar against available vacancy.
Abdul Rashid Wani, (Senior Assistant) Nazir, CJM Court, Budgam has been transferred and posted as Cr. Clerk, Pr. District Judge Court, Islamabad vice GuIzar Ahmad Parray.
Ali Mohammad Malla, (Senior Assistant) Reader, Addl. District Judge Court, Srinagar and Syed Abid Hussain, Civil Clerk, CJM, Budgam shall swap their place of postings.
Bashir Ahmad Malik, (Senior Assistant) Civil Clerk, Addl. District Judge Court Srinagar and Bashir Ahmad Pujoo (Senior Assistant) Civil Clerk, Principal District & Sessions Judge Court, Baramulla shall swap their place of postings.
Showkat Ali Khan, Nazir (Senior Assistant) Sub Registrar Court, Srinagar and Raja Mohamnlad Ali (Senior Assistant) MACT Ahlimad Principal District & Sessions Judge Court, Islamabad shall swap their place of postings.
Rouful Mushtaq (Senior Assistant) Nazir, Spl Mobile Magistrate (Traffic) Court, Srinagar has been transferred and posted as Reader/Nazir Munsiff. Court, Baramulla against available vacancy.
Javaid Ahmad Dar (Senior Assistant) Munsiff Court Dangiwacha (Rafiabad) and  Ali Mohammad Kumar (Senior Assistant) Nazir Munsiff Court, Boniyar shall swap their place of posting.
Ghulam Mohammad Dar (Senior Assistant) MACT Ahlimad, Pr District Judge Court, Baramulla and Manzoor-ul-Hassan (Senior Assistant) Nazir, Sub Judge Court, Kupwara shall swap their places of posting.
Asiya Sami Andrabi, (Junior Assistant) Civil Clerk, Passenger Tax Magistrate Court, Srinagar and Syed Muhammad Shah, Copyist, CJM Court, Budgam shall swap their place of postings.
Syed Mumtaz Ahmad, Registration Clerk, (Junior Assistant) Sub Registrar Court, Srinagar is transferred and posted as Criminal Clerk Munsiff Court, Chadoora vice Syed Mehdi Shah.
Ghulam Qadir Ganai, Cr. Clerk, Munsiff Court Char-i-Sharief has been transferred and posted as Registratlon Clerk, Sub Registrar Court, Srinagar  vice Syed Mumtaz Ahmad.
Syed Mehdi Shah, Criminal Clerk, Munsiff Court, Chadoora has been transferred and posted as Criminal Clerk, Munsiff Court ,Char-i-sharief vice  Ghulam Qadir Ganai.
Manzoor Ahmad Najar, Judl. Clerk Executive Magistrate Court Cantonment, Srinagar has been transferred and posted as Civil Clerk, Munsiff Court, Bandipora vice Ovais Ahmad Shah.
Ovais Ahmad Shah, Civil Clerk Munsiff Court, Bandipora has been transferred and posted as Criminal Clerk, Munsiff Court, Budgam vice S Satnam SinGhulam
S Satnam Singh, Cr. Clerk, Munsiff Court, Budgam has been transferred and posted as Copyist, Addl District Judge court, Srinagar vice Fatima Nazki.
Naseerna Akhter, Judl. Clerk, Tehsil Court, Chacloora has been transferred and posted as Copyist, Special Judge Anticorruption Court, Srinagar vice Shagufta Habib.
Bilal Ahmad Bhat, Typist (Junior Assistant) Principal District & Sessions Court, Kupwara
Has been transferred and posted as Criminal Clerk, 2nd Addl. Munsiff Court, Srinagar against available vacancy.
Bashir Ahmad Lone, Judicial Clerk, District magistrate Court, Budgam has been transferred and posted as Civil Clerk, Forest Magistrate Court, Srinagar vice  Iftikhar Hussain Dar.
Showkat Ahmad Mohjoo (Junior Assistant) Cr. Clerk, Sub Judge Court, Pattan has been transferred and posted as Cr. Clerk, Munsiff Court, Dangivacha Rafiabad vice Aftab Ahmad Naikoo.
Aftab Ahlnad Naikoo, Cr. Clerk Munsiff Court Dangiwahca Rafiabad has been transferred and posted as Cr. Clerk M unsiff Court, Boniyar vice Tysar Jan.
Tysar Jan, Criminal Clerk, Munsiff Court, Boniyar has been transferred and posted as Copyist, Principal District Judge Court, Baramulla vice Masarat Jan.
Masarat Jan, Copyist Principal District Judge Court Baramulla has been transferred and posted as Copyist, CJM Court, Sopore vice Aatif Hussain Bhat.
Aatif Hussain Bhat copyist, CJM court, Sopore has been and posted as Cr. Clerk,
Mobile Magistrate (Traffic) Court, Sopore vice Mubashir Hussain Kirmani.
Mubashir Hussain Cr. Clerk, Kirrnani, mobile (Traffic) Court, Sopore has been transferred and posted as Criminal Clerk) Sub Judge Court, Pattan vice  Showkat Ahmad Mohjoo.
Abdul Rashid Pala, Copyist (Junior Assistant.), Munsiff Court, Sumbal has been transferred and posted as Civil Clerk, Munsiff Court, Magarn vice Muzaffar Ahmad Khan.
Muzaffar Ahmad Khan, Civil Clerk, Munsif Court, Magam has been transferred and posted as Civil Clerk, 1st. Addl. Munsiff Court, Srinagar vice Noor Mohammad Ahangar.
Hamidullah Wani, Criminal Clerk (Jr Asst) Munsif Court, Pulwama and  Bashir Ahrnad Kumar, Civil/Criminal Clerk (,Junior Assistant) l\JIunsiff Court, Kulgam shall swap their place of postings.
Maqsaood Ahmad Wani, Copyist (Junior Assistant) Munsiff Court, D.H.Pora and Nazir Ahmad
Rather, Crimnal Clerk, Sub Judge Court, Vailoo shall swap their place of postings.
Mehraj-ud-Din, Copyist, Sub Judge Court, Kulgam and  Fayaz Ahmad Shiekh, R&D Clerk, Principal District & Sessions Judge Court, Pulwama shall swap their place of posting.
Mohammad Amin mir, Copyist (Junior Assistant) Mobile Magistrate (Traffic) Court, Islamabad has been transferred and posted as Copyist, Munsiff Court, Sumbal vice  Abdul Rashid Pala.
S Pupinder Singh, Cr    Clerk    (Junior Assistant) Sub Judge Court, Uri has been transferred and posted as Copyist, Munsiff Court, Tangmarg    Vice Showkat Ahmad Malik
Showkat Ahmad Malik, Copyist, Munsiff Court, Tangmarg has been transferred and posted as Cr. Clerk, Sub Judge Court, Baramulla vice  Mubashir Hussain.
Mubashir Hussain, Cr. Clerk, Sub Judge Court, Baramulla has been transferred and posted as Criminal Clerk, Sub Judge Court Uri vice S. Pupinder SinGhulam
Manzoor Ahmad Khan, Judicial Clerk, (Junior Assistant) Tehsil Court, Pattan has been transferred and posted as Criminal Clerk, Sub Judge Court, Kupwara against available vacancy.
These promotions are made temporarily in officiating capacity subject to reservation quota and representations, if any, to the seniority list and shall not create any vested right in favour of any individual employee. It is made explicitly clear that if the posts do not make themselves available after assigning of categories to these posts, the individual promoted employees shall have to revert to the previous substantive post.
The case of Mohammad Saleem Bhat, Junior Assistant (Under suspension) ‘.for promotion was considered. His promotion is directed to be kept in abeyance till outcome of contemplated regular enquiry against him.  
The promotion of Iftikhar Hussain Dar, Junior Assistant is directed to be subject to the outcome of enquiry presently being conducted by Registrar Vigilance.
All the Presiding Officers have been asked to implement the order with reasonable dispatch and in any case relieve the transferees latest by 27 May 2009. In no case shall transferees be retained beyond the said date. Any violation shall indicate lack of control over office and viewed seriously.




25 bonded labourers rescued from Uttar Pradesh brick kiln

By ians on Thursday, May 14th, 2009

New Delhi, May 13, Twenty-five bonded labourers, including 12 children, have been rescued from a brick kiln in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budh Nagar district, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said Wednesday.

While the brick kiln owner had earlier been given a clean chit by the district administration, an enquiry by the human rights commission finally helped in nailing the guilty and rescuing the labourers.

An NHRC official said: “With the assistance of an investigation team sent by the NHRC, the sub divisional magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar district identified 25 bonded labourers at the Raja Brick Kiln in the area. Incidentally, twice on earlier occasions, the district administration, on the basis of an inquiry by officials of the Labour Commissioner’s office, had given a clean chit to the brick kiln owner.”

“However, investigations by NHRC finally located the two complainants – Bhagwan Das and Kartar Singh – along with their families confirming their status as bonded labourers in the brick kiln,” the official said.

The labourers, who hail from Aligarh district, were issued their release certificates and sent back home earlier this month. The district administration has assured them of rehabilitation.





Summer vacations in state tribunals


 2009-05-13 20:58:00

Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad

The Gujarat state co-operative tribunal and Gujarat Value Added Tax tribunal will have summer vacations from May 18 to June 14. During this period the registrar office of both the tribunals would function normally.

According to a government release the registrar office of co-operative tribunal would accept applications and would admit new matter. Besides, there is vacation in Gujarat Revenue Tribunal from May 11 to June 9 and its office would also remain open. Except reference cases of Gujarat High Court and applications for early hearing no other case would be taken up.






Bilal’s endless wait for ‘disappeared’ brother
News Agency of Kashmir

5/12/2009 10:21:13 PM


Tawqeer Hussain/Doru (Anantnag), May 12(NAK): Still waiting for justice to prevail, Bilal Ahmad brother of Fayaz who is missing since August 1994 wish to have a glimpse of his brother who according to him was picked up by troopers from his residence in Zamalgam village of Doru Shahabad.

Fifteen years after his arrest, the whereabouts of Doru youth is still unknown. The agency which affected the arrest has denied any knowledge about him and the National human rights commission when approached by the family members believed that the youth might have joined the militant ranks.

According to the family sources, Fayaz Ahmad Sheikh son of Late Mohammad Yasin Sheikh resident of Zamalgam Doru was picked up by the 1 Rashtriya Rifles(RR) during the intervening night of August 29/30 1994.

Narrating the woeful tale, the mother of the missing youth said, that night he was sleeping at his grand father’s house close to them, the soldiers of the RR1 came at about 10:30 PM and picked him up on the pretext that he will show them the house of Namberdar.

Next day he was brought to the village, he was in bad shape. They searched the house but could not find anything, he was taken back and this was the last time when I saw him’’ she added with tears roll down her face, narrated his brother.

Due to this trauma we lost our father also in 1996, added Bilal Ahmad, the younger brother of the missing.

“We rushed to the camp and requested the troops for the release of Fayaz, but the soldiers denied his arrest”, he added and said even police refused to register the case.

It was only due to the intervention of court that police registered a case. “We approached the court to seek its judicial intervention in 1995”. Bilal said adding the high court directed the concerned SSP to ensure the registration of the case and an investigation into the disappearance.

Accordingly FIR NO.62/99 under section 364RPC was registered in police station Doru.

A petition was also filled in the State Human Rights Commission. The commission issued notice to the state police. In its communication no., GB/EG/2001/7083; DATED March 27, 2001 addressed to DC Anantnag, the SSP said, “the report sought from the concerned SDPO reveals that there is nothing adverse against the subject’’. The SHRC recommended the ex-gratia to the next kith and kins of the missing.

Meanwhile the disappearance also filled in National Human Rights Commission. The NHRC in postal letter to the family members informed them that the commission sought a report from the Defence Ministry. The Defence ministry in its report admitted the arrest however it reads he was then released. The letter further stated that the subject might have joined the militant ranks.

“I have been appointed at the sheep husbandry department under SRO 143, but I don’t need the job I only want to see my brother’’ said Bilal Ahmad. (NAK)





K’taka asked to pay Rs 3 lakh to wife of custody death victim

New Delhi, May 12: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Karnataka government to pay a monetary relief of Rs three lakh to the wife of a person who allegedly was beaten to death by police while in their custody in Bangalore in 2005.

The Commission also directed Karnataka Chief Secretary to submit a compliance report along with proof of payment of the monetary relief by May 26.

Abdul Rauf died in police custody on May 9, 2005 at Jayanagar police station in Bangalore. Police had arrested him in connection with a murder case.

NHRC noted that a magisterial enquiry into the circumstances of Rauf’s death concluded that he had died due to beating by police.

The post-mortem report revealed 41 external injuries on the body of the deceased and the autopsy doctor opined that Rauf died due to “shock and haemorrhage as a result of multiple injuries”, rights panel observed.

A criminal case was registered against three policemen and later a charge sheet was submitted against them in the court.

“Abdul Rauf may have been suspected of murder but that could be no justification for inflicting as many as 41 injuries on him. The circumstances of the case indicate that the police acted in flagrant breech of the Constitutional guarantee to life,” the Commission noted.

Bureau Report





Tribunal upholds TRAI order to scrap access deficit charge


Quashes appeals filed by BSNL against the regulator.

Our Bureau

New Delhi, May 12 The Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has rejected petitions by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd challenging abolition of the access deficit charge (ADC) by the telecom regulator.

ADC was a levy imposed by the TRAI on private telecom operators for funding rural telephone connections. Since BSNL operates more than 95 per cent of the rural phones, almost all the money collected through this levy was being pocketed by the PSU. The levy was introduced in 2003 and removed in 2008 by TRAI.

Social obligation

BSNL had challenged the decision to do away with the levy on grounds that it had to fulfil social obligation and, therefore, continue to need subsidy support.

Dismissing petitions, the TDSAT bench headed by Mr Justice Arun Kumar said: “As regards ADC, we hold that the appellant (BSNL) has no legal right to ADC; that the ADC has rightly been designed as a depleting regime; that the ADC was rightly terminated in the year 2008-09 and that the manner of calculating ADC each year was fair and reasonable, given the facts available with TRAI.

Contention rejected

“We do not find any basis to support the contention of the appellant that the mobile termination charges have been wrongly fixed by the authority.”

The tribunal also rejected BSNL’s contention that TRAI was wrong while calculating ADC and relied on faulty data.

It further said that BSNL did not have any reliable data over the quantum of loss suffered by it for its rural obligations.

“We find no impropriety or irrationality in the authority in not having entered into detailed calculations regarding ADC. The counsel for respondent (TRAI) pointed out that the total amount of ADC received by BSNL all these years far exceeds the costs incurred by it. There is reason to believe that this could be so.

“Without determining this specific aspect, we hold that the authority was right in the manner of arriving at the quantum of ADC each year,” TDSAT said.





Court transfers engineer’s murder case to Lucknow

May 11th, 2009 – 2:02 pm EST By Sindh Today

Lucknow, May 11 (IANS) The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court Monday transferred engineer Manoj Gupta’s murder case from the Auraiya trial court to Lucknow on the pleas of the alleged killer’s wife, as well as the government’s counsel.

A single judge bench of Justice Saroj Bala also directed the Lucknow sessions judge to ensure that the trial is concluded within six months.

Gupta, an executive engineer with the Public Works Department (PWD), was allegedly brutally killed by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislator Shekhar Tiwari December 24, 2008 in a government guest house in Auraiya. Gupta had reportedly refused to shell out a huge donation demanded by the legislator for Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s birthday celebrations January 15.

Interestingly, the request for transferring the case was made by the legislator’s wife Vibha Tiwari, who is a co-accused in the case as she is believed to have erased vital evidence related to the murder. However, while she had sought the shifting of the case from Auraiya to Kanpur, the high court decided to transfer it to Lucknow following a supplementary request made by the state’s special counsel, I.B.Singh.






SC flak for NHRC interference in Human Rights violation of murder convict
The Supreme Court has strongly disapproved of the action of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the name of so-called violation of human rights of a man convicted for murder in Assam.

The apex court disapproval was expressed in a case where the Assam Governor had commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence of a man convicted for murder.

The Assam Cabinet in 2002 had asked the then Governor of Assam, Lt Gen (Retd) Srinivas Kumar Sinha to commute the death sentence of Rajnath Chauhan alias Ramdeo Chauhan, a man convicted for murder to life imprisonment on the interference of NHRC.

The death sentence of Rajnath Chauhan was confirmed both by the Gauhati High Court as well as by the apex court.

A bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and A K Ganguly put a pertinent question to the NHRC, ‘who has violated the human rights of Chauhan?’ The apex court, while setting aside the order of the Governor, yesterday noted, ‘The recommendation of NHRC is without sanction of law.

‘The proceedings initiated by the apex Human Rights body were not in line with the procedure prescribed in the NHRC Act. That being so, the recommendation, if any, by the NHRC are non est.’ The decision of the Governor was challenged in the apex court by the family members of the victim.

The apex court directed the state Governor to reconsider his decision in the light of an earlier judgment of the Supreme Court relating to exercise of constitutional power on clemency.

The Court, in its earlier judgment had laid down that arbitrary and illegal use of power of clemency either by a state Governor or by the President is subject to judicial review.

The court termed the response of the NHRC, as evasive, which had said, ‘when any action violated the human rights, there can be violation of the human rights,’ The apex court concluded by holding, ‘such a situation is not conceivable and the cause of the alleged violation of the human rights was the Supreme Court judgment awarding him death penalty.’ The apex court also pulled up the NHRC for unnecessarily interfering in the judicial sentencing system by making uncalled for recommendations to the Assam Governor.







Probe ordered into Madhya Pradesh’s poor high school results


May 11th, 2009

BHOPAL – Shocked by the declining pass percentage in Madhya Pradesh’s high school examinations, state Education Minister Archana Chitnis has ordered a high-level probe to find out the reasons for the poor results, official sources said.

After reaching a record high of 57.88 pass percentage last year, only 35.33 percent of regular students passed the 2009 examination, conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education (MPBSE).

The performance by private students was even more dismal, with only 8.9 percent of them passing, compared to 25.07 percent last year.

The probe committee has been asked to submit its report within a fortnight.

Soon after the declaration of results Saturday, Chitnis chaired a departmental meeting to find out the reasons for the poor show and even directed officials to initiate a process to exclude teachers engaged in board classes from election duty, an official present at the meeting told IANS on condition of anonymity.

‘The minister held election duty of teachers in both assembly (in 2008) and the current parliamentary elections responsible for the poor results. She said for the next year books had been made available in all government schools before the commencement of the session from April 1, and thus the results are expected to improve,’ the official said.

Chitnis is also said to have apprised Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of her decision.

MPBSE secretary in charge Snehlata Srivastava straight away blamed the prolonged election process and insufficient training for teachers in accordance with the changed syllabi for the decline in the pass percentage.

‘Teachers were asked to appear in different kinds of election-related training which largely affected regular studies in schools during the academic year when the course curriculum was changed and it seemed that teachers were not trained enough for dealing with these changes,’ she said.

However, a large number of school principals claimed the fall in pass percentage was due to the board’s decision to permit students having less than 65 percent attendance to appear in exams.

Others like Nandkishore, a parent, attributed the interrupted power supply and lack of adequate number of teachers in schools for the poor show by students.

‘Also, the session was curtailed so that fresh academic session could be started from April 1 (which did not happen) and this left little time to conduct regular classes which had already got disturbed due to assembly elections,’ he said.





NHRC asks for appropriate action in overcrowded Orissa jail

Published: May 10,2009

New Delhi, May 10 The National Human Rights Commission has asked the IG (prison) of Orissa to take appropriate action on a complaint which alleges that more than 250 inmates are lodged against its capacity of 34 at the Kendrapada district sub-jail in gross human rights violations.

The rights panel has issued the directive to the state prison official acting on a complaint filed by a Supreme Court lawyer here.

Seeking intervention from the human rights watchdog, lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy had claimed that inmates at the”over populated”sub-jail in Kendrapada district of Orissa had also been fighting to get basic amenities.

More than 250 inmates are packed like sardines in the Kendrapada sub-jail that has a capacity of only 34,” Tripathy claimed in his petition.

“The inmates are served with poor and unhygienic meals. They have to queue up before the unclean toilets for long or attend to nature&aposs call in open air inside the jail campus that further worsen the environment,” Tripathy claimed.

The only well available in the Kendrapada sub-jail has dried since a couple of weeks.” Inmates have been fighting for drops of water. They are tortured by jail officials in case they protest to get adequate water at least to satisfy their thirst. Many of the inmates have fallen sick,”the lawyer claimed.

Source: PTI

LEGAL NEWS 13-9.05.2009

CJ Koshy inaugurates HC Museum

13 May 2009, 0610 hrs IST, Ravi Dayal, TNN

PATNA: The Patna High Court (HC) Chief Justice (CJ) J B Koshy on Tuesday inaugurated the HC Museum on its premises witnessing some rarest court documents and photographs neatly arranged there.

Other judges of the HC and a galaxy of lawyers visited the museum for taking a glimpse of court documents that have become rare because of their historicity.

The rarest of them all is the document relating to the death reference of the freedom fighter Khudiram Bose, DR no. 14/1908, Emperor Vs Khudiram Bose, made by the then sessions judge of Muzaffarpur who had awarded capital punishment to Bose. Along with the death reference document is kept in a large frame, the document of criminal appeal filed by Bose in his own hand writing challenging the capital punishment awarded to him.

The charges recorded against Bose was that he had hurled a bomb on a carriage of a judge of Muzaffarpur Kingsford and the bomb blast led to death of two woman.

Within the frames is placed another rare document of death reference, DR no. 07/1934, the King Emperor Vs Baikunth Shukul, made by a sessions court which had awarded capital punishment to freedom fighter Shukul.

Portraits of Patna HC judges, whose names had been recorded in the annals of its judgeship for historicity, including the portraits of the first Indian judge of HC, Justice S Sharfuddin, Justice Jwala Prasad, Justice Ali Imam, and others have been kept in the museum.

There is also a rare photograph of Lord Hardinge laying the foundation stone of the HC on December 1, 1913.

The rarest sketch hanged on the wall of the museum is the one bearing the south-west view of the Patna Provincial Court of Appeal at Bankipore (in Patna) sketched by Sir Charles D’Oyly on April 30, 1827.





Plea in HC seeks to stop Indian govt’s military aid to Sri Lanka

13 May 2009, 0500 hrs IST, TNN

CHENNAI: Yet another public interest writ petition has been filed in the Madras high court, seeking a direction to the government of India not to extend military

aid to Sri Lanka.

A vacation bench comprising justice P Jyothimani and justice T S Sivagnanam adjourned the matter by two weeks after counsel for the Centre took notice. The court also permitted issuance of notice to the Election Commission.

The petition, filed by the All India Ambedkar People’s Movement president V Balasundaram, cited Article 51 of the Constitution, and said India was duty-bound to settle the ethnic issue in Sri Lanka, as the provision mandates the Centre to “encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.”

He said Tamils in Sri Lanka were a marginalised lot, and that the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had been “inhumanly violated” by the Lankan government with the help of the Government of India. According to Balasundaram, Tamils had long been denied equal rights and treatment in the island-nation, and that Indian government had extended support to Sri Lanka, as acknowledged by its defence minister Gothabaye Rajabaksa.

He wanted the court to restrain the government from supplying military aid to Sri Lanka, and wanted the court to direct the Centre to constitute a high-level committee to bring peace in the island-nation, as per Article 51 of the Constitution.





Librarian bids Tihar adieu: Found juvenile at time of crime, HC releases convict

Krishnadas Rajagopal

Posted: May 13, 2009 at 0227 hrs IST

New Delhi Central Jail 5 in Tihar will lose its librarian “immediately”, as per a High Court order.

Having served eight years, three months and 26 days of a life term in prison for murder, Lal Mohammed will now leave his ‘job’-he is the jail librarian and teacher, as per the Tihar counsel. A Division Bench led by Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed on Tuesday found Lal Mohammed was a juvenile when he and three others allegedly poisoned a 15-year-old boy on November 13, 2000.

An AIIMS medical board report on record states Lal Mohammed was “over 17 years” at the time. A person is termed “juvenile” under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, if he or she is below 18 years of age at the time the offence is committed (see box).

The law bans imprisonment of a juvenile, and prescribes only “protective custody” at a special home — that, too, for a maximum of three years.

The court wanted Lal Mohammed out of jail so fast that it did not even want him to wait till the judicial order of his release was typed out. The court sent a note to the jail superintendent asking him to release the convict “forthwith”. The prosecutor was also directed to urgently convey the order over phone to jail authorities.

“Lal Mohammed was a juvenile on November 13, 2000. That is the only fact to be considered now,” the Bench observed. It said it was not concerned whether he was guilty, as he had already served a jail term in excess of the stipulated three years. “He cannot be detained any further,” the court ruled.

Incidentally, the court discovered Lal Mohammed’s age at the time the crime was committed when he applied for bail through Tihar’s visiting counsel B C Kapur.

The case dates back to November 14, 2000 when Vijay Kumar Bhandari of Yojna Vihar lodged a complaint with Anand Vihar Police stating that that his son Vikas was missing. The boy’s body was found near Link Road in Ghaziabad the following day.

A neighbour had last seen the deceased on the evening of November 13 in the company of Lal Mohammed and three others — Rakesh, Rajneesh and Romil Sharma. All four were arrested. Last May, a Sessions Court sentenced Lal Mohammed to life in prison and also slapped a fine of Rs 3,000 on him.

All four convicts had appealed to the High Court.

“I just visited Lal Mohammed in jail,” Kapur told Newsline on Tuesday evening. “He is happy and is distributing sweets among his students. His brother is waiting outside the prison gate for him.”

Juvenile: 18 years as per Act
The Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 said a male is a juvenile if he is below 16 years, and a female, if she is under 18. The 1986 Act was amended to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, which extended the definition of “juvenile” to persons (both male and female) below 18 years.

A Supreme Court Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph on May 5 this year confirmed the objective of the 2000 Act in a case titled “Hari Ram Vs State of Rajasthan and Another”. The Bench ordered the immediate release of Hari Ram, charged for a murder he committed in Ajmer district when he was 16 years and 13 days old in 1998.

Justice Kabir, who penned the judgment, wrote that the implementation of the law requires a complete change in the mind-set of the courts.





K R Ramasamy moves HC for action against state BJP chief

13 May 2009, 0429 hrs IST, TNN

CHENNAI: Social activist Traffic’ K R Ramasamy, who is contesting as an independent candidate in the Chennai (South) constituency, has moved the Madras High Court to direct the city police and election officials to take action against the state BJP chief L Ganesan for poll-related violence.

Ramasamy claimed that while he was campaigning in the MGR Nagar market area in KK Nagar, a group of BJP cadres instigated by Ganesan attacked him, damaged his vehicle and snatched away a five-sovereign gold chain of his jeep driver. He said his audio equipment too were damaged in the brutal attack.

Despite a complaint to the MGR Nagar police no first information report has been filed so far, he said, adding that representations to the central election observer too has not evoked any response. He wanted the court to direct the authorities to take appropriate action against the BJP leader and his party colleagues based on the police complaint.





HC directs pollution board to give report on waste burning

13 May 2009, 0427 hrs IST, TNN

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has asked the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to file a report on the illegal dumping and burning of garbage and other toxic materials around residential areas near Pallikaranai marshland.

A vacation bench comprising justice P Jyothimani and justice T S Sivagnanam gave the interim direction to the TNPCB on Tuesday, on a public interest writ petition filed by the Ram Nagar South Residents’ Welfare Association.

The petition, filed by the association secretary S Narayanan, accused the Madipakkam town panchayat authorities of illegally dumping solid wastes and toxic materials in private open lands near 9th, 10th and 11th main roads in Ram Nagar South. The garbage consists primarily of plastics, metal, glass, construction debris, biomedical waste and slaughterhouse waste, he said, adding that these chemicals could damage environment and community health severely.

Maintaining that the residents in these areas were forced inhale toxic materials, the petitioner said the groundwater and air in the areas surrounding the dumping yards are heavily polluted.

Citing the provisions of the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, the petitioner said that as per the rules the authorities must earmark and prepare proper landfill sites away from residential areas, forests, waterbodies, monuments, national parks and places of important cultural, religious and historical interests.

He sought an interim injunction restraining the Madipakkam local body authorities from dumping and burning garbage in the Ram Nagar South Layout or areas adjoining the Tambaram-Velacherry main road.





HC issues notice to seven former ministers in DA case

13 May 2009, 0005 hrs IST, Manohar Lal, TNN

RANCHI: Taking strong stance in a disproportionate asset case Jharkhand High Court on Tuesday issued notice to seven former ministers of the state.

The court asked the seven former ministers to reply as to why CBI inquiry should not be initiated against them for allegedly amassing asset disproportionate to their known sources of income.

Division bench of chief justice Gyan Sudha Mishra and Justice DK Sinha was hearing a PIL filed by one Durga Oraon in which he has demanded CBI inquiry.

The petitioner had named seven former ministers in his PIL which include Chander Prakash Choudhary, Dulal Bhuiyan, Bhanu Pratap Sahi, Bandhu Tirkey, Kamlesh Singh, Enos Ekka and Harinaryan Rai.

The state counsel on Tuesday informed the court that they have received the details of copy submitted by the Income Tax department but prima facie the details are not sufficient to order for the CBI inquiry against the respondent former ministers.

The counsel informed the court that vigilance inquiry has been initiated against two former ministers named in the PIL and it is likely that the chargesheet will be framed soon.

Income Tax counsel informed the court that notice has been issued to all the respondents to reply about their assets but none of them are complying with it and no information has been received from their side.

Senior advocate and former advocate general SB Gadodia interrupted in between on behalf of former minister Dulal Bhuiyan and argued that his client has replied to all the notice issued by IT department and is complying with all the directions.

After hearing the arguments the court asked the respondents former ministers to file a reply by May 21 and state as why CBI inquiry should not be ordered against them.

During the hearing of the interlocutory petition advocate Ritu Kumar for the petitioner argued that former chief minister Madhu Koda and his aides Vinod Sinha and Sanjay Chaudhary have made several memorandum of understanding and has bank accounts in several countries.

Court asked the state and IT department to file a reply by May 26 on the disproportionate assets acquired by the trio and why the CBI inquiry should not be ordered against them.





Sale, purchase of vote amounts to corruption: HC

12 May 2009, 2358 hrs IST, TNN

Bangalore: Vote is not a commodity available for sale. Purchase or sale of voter or vote amounts to corruption, the high court has said.

“Ballot is the instrument by which the voter expresses his/her choice in an election. Vote is his/her choice or preference, as expressed by the ballot. The right to vote for the candidate of one’s choice is the essence of democratic polity. Casting vote in favor of one or the other candidate tantamounts to expression of his/her opinion and preference, and the final stage in the exercise of voting rights marks the accomplishment,” the court said.

“Freedom of voting as distinct from right to vote is thus a species of the voter’s freedom of expression… It is unbecoming of an advocate to trade in votes. It reflects his character and conduct. Spending huge amounts of money do not speak well of candidates contesting election nor advocates who are beneficiaries of such extravaganza. They forfeit their right to be members of the noble profession…,” Justice N Kumar observed in his order.

He described the events on March 22 (when election to Advocates’ Association of Bangalore was stopped) as the blackest day.

New entrants to the profession should come out of the atmosphere prevailing on the college campus. They must try to adopt the requirements of professional conduct. They have to work overtime. They have to sacrifice childish and rowdy behaviour. They should discipline themselves. They should know they are officers of the court. The need of the hour is to prevent recurrence of events that happened during the March 22 election, the judge observed.

The new election date has been fixed on July 12.





Police produce criminal case diary of Bansal in HC

12 May 2009, 2227 hrs IST, TNN

ALLAHABAD: The police produced the diary of all the criminal cases lodged against Dr AK Bansal, director of Jeevan Jyoti Nursing Home, in the high court on Tuesday. The district magistrate, IG and DIG also filed affidavits in the court in compliance of the earlier order passed by the bench, while hearing a writ petition filed for the arrest of Bansal, in the death case of high court lawyer Laxmi Kant Misra.

The bench comprising Justice Ravindra Singh and Justice NA Moonis passed the order on a writ petition filed by SN Misra, brother of Laxmi Kant Misra. He has also prayed for an impartial probe into his brother’s death. The court deferred the hearing till Wednesday (May 13) to peruse the case diary.

Senior lawyer JS Sengar appeared on behalf of Dr Bansal, but the court did not hear him in the absence of impleadment application. The HCBA held a meeting and decided that it will not put restrictions on any of its member to appear or arguing the case for Bansal.





Buck stops at magistrate’s table: HC


As reported by Shibu Thomas at on 12 May 2009

MUMBAI: The buck will stop at the magistrate’s table if those arrested for petty offences, which are bailable, continue to languish in jails beyond seven days.

After 780 people-who were “illegally incarcerated”-were released from jail over the last few months, the Bombay High court said that if magistrates failed to obey directives to release such people on a personal bond, it would be treated as a “serious lapse”.

A division bench of Justice P B Majumdar and Justice R M Savant recently asked principal sessions judges in Maharashtra to look into the issue and order magistrates to comply with the guidelines.

The law says that a person charged with a bailable offence has to be released immediately if he furnishes the bail amount to the police. A special provision added to the CrPC states that in case the person is unable to cough up the bail amount within seven days, the court can order his/her release on a personal bond or an undertaking that he/she will show up for the investigation and trial.

An RTI application had last year revealed that of the 2,296 inmates in Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail, around 1,660 were undertrials who were charged with bailable offences and could have been released, freeing up space in the prison that is bursting at its seams.

Following HC orders to release such inmates, around 780 prisoners were freed from jails in Maharashtra. But advocate Yug Chaudhary, appointed as amicus curiae, said the problem continued despite the court orders. As of February 2009, 56 prisoners were still incarcerated despite being charged with bailable offences, including 18 in Mumbai. The average period people spent behind bars on bailable offences was 30 days.






CJI, eight SC judges coming to city

12 May 2009, 0522 hrs IST, TNN

CHANDIGARH: The Asia Pacific Jurist Association (APJA), an elite body of judges, noted lawyers and public spirited persons, is all poised to add another feather to its cap when the chief justice of India, KG Balakrishnan, comes calling to the city on May 23 to attend a seminar on intellectual property rights (IPR) being organised by it. As many as eight seniormost apex court judges are expected to come along with the CJI who would also inaugurate judicial academy complex in the UT.

A high-profile meeting, under the guidance of president of APJA’s Punjab and Haryana chapter, justice Surya Kant, was held in the high court on Monday wherein details of the programme were chalked out. There were some valuable suggestions by justice Rajesh Bindal, who is the senior vice-president of the regional chapter of APJA, even as nearly 50 lawyers too contributed with their inputs.

Lawyers Atul Lakhanpal and Vikas Chatrath, both senior office-bearers of APJA, too evinced enthusiasm about the CJI’s visit even as they appreciated the support lent by chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur, patron-in-chief of APJA, in propagating the mission and objectives of the organization.

The IPR event comes closely on the heels of a cycle rally organised by the APJA to spread the green message in a city reeling under the impact of automobile explosion, resulting in serious damage to its verdant beauty. The rally was attended by many judges of the high court and was a grand success.

Importantly, the APJA’s leitmotif remains drive against pollution, stress on water conservation and water resource management, renewable energy even as it also works for growth of nascent legal fields like IPR, ADR etc. APJA was formed in 2004 and boasts of more than 200 members, including judges, advocates and educationists.





Swiss Government Accuses India of Submitting Forged Documents in Black Money Case

May 12, 2009: The Swiss government accused India of submitting forged documents in the Hassan Ali case.

Hassan Ali, a stud farm owner, is accused of illegally stashing Rs 40,000 crore in Swiss bank. The case dates back to January 2007.

Falco Galli, spokesperson of Switzerland’s Ministry of Justice said Indian government was not cooperating on the matter and had failed to answer queries raised in April 2007.

The government recently filed an affidavit filed in Supreme Court on the issue of money stashed in Swiss bank and had named Hassan Ali as one of the offenders in the case.

The affidavit was filed in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).





HC rejects PIL against Nano land allotment

DNA Correspondent

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 13:01 IST

Ahmedabad: A division bench of the Gujarat high court headed by chief justice KS Radhakrishnan has rejected a public interest litigation (PIL) filed against the allocation of land to Tata Motors’s Nano project near Sanand. The court observed that the state government had not violated any norms as alleged by the petitioner, the Rashtriya Kisan Dal. The high court also questioned the standing of the petitioner organisation. “This PIL has been filed by an organisation styled as Rashtriya Kisan Dal, represented by its chairman.

There is nothing to show as to whether this organisation is a registered organisation, representing the cause of farmers in the state of Gujarat,” the bench observed while delivering its order on Monday.

It is pertinent to note that HK Thaker, chairman of the Rashtriya Kisan Dal, appeared in court party in person. He had filed the petition seeking that the state government be directed to not allot land to Tata Motors for the project.

Thaker submitted that by allotting the land in question to Tata Motors, the state would in no way benefit, and that the interests of farmers and agriculturists would be compromised, thereby leading to a shortage of agricultural products.

The petitioner further submitted that the project would require a substantial amount of electricity and if such projects were encouraged, people waiting in queue for power connections would be affected. If the state were to part with property reserved for cattle farms and educational purposes, milk production will be hit, leading the state to lag behind in the field of education, the petition stated.

Rejecting the allegations made by the petitioner, the high court bench observed that “the petitioner has not succeeded in establishing that the decision taken by the government in allotting the land to Tata Motors has in any way violated any statutory provision or statutory rules or regulations.”





Panel orders inspection of ashram in kids’ death case

DNA Correspondent

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 13:05 IST

Ahmedabad: Justice DK Trivedi Commission, constituted to probe the mysterious deaths of two children of Asaram ashram, on Monday directed lawyers SH Iyer, Shamshad Pathan and Mukul Sinha to carry out an inspection of the ashram. The dead bodies of Dipesh and Abhishek were found on the Sabarmati riverbed. The commission has also directed that the inspection be done in the presence of fathers of the victims; Kanjivan Parmar, the man who filed a PIL seeking a thorough investigation into the matter, and lawyer Mitesh Amin representing the state government.

The date of inspection will be fixed by the commission on May 14. The commission also issued summons to Pankajbhai, a sadhak and the administrator of the ashram, Ketanbhai who is in-charge of overall administrator, Vikasbhai, one of the key administrators, and Uday Sanghani, the PRO of the ashram, so that details of how the children may have got out of the ashram and when it happened can be enquired into.

The commission has also directed that statements of all those people, including children, who had taken dinner along with the deceased on the fateful night be taken.

The direction came in the wake of an application filed by defence lawyer in the case on Monday praying that the aforesaid factors be taken into consideration for investigation into the deaths of the children.





Panel seeks united Tricity development

12 May 2009, 0530 hrs IST, TNN

CHANDIGARH: It took 10 years and some nudging from Punjab and Haryana High Court to get this coordination committee set up by Union government to meet. The panel was created in 1975 with the objective of charting a roadmap for the City Beautiful and its periphery’s planned development


The committee met on March 16 after HC chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur and justice Hemant Gupta pulled up Centre for sleeping over such a vital issue and directed it to swiftly convene a meeting of the panel on February 16. The HC order had come following a PIL seeking curbs on haphazard development in Chandigarh’s surroundings.

Centre’s counsel Omkar Singh Batalvi told HC on Monday that the committee had asserted in the meeting that UT’s growth could not be viewed in isolation and there was an urgent need to create an integrated City Development Plan (CDP) to cater to the needs of Panchkula, Mohali and Chandigarh. It has also decided that a committee, comprising chief town planners of Punjab and Haryana and UT chief architect ‘shall review the existing scenario in and around Chandigarh’ and submit a status report after ascertaining ground realities.

Since its creation, the panel had never really taken off.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Union urban development secretary and the panel discussed threadbare various issues relating to haphazard urban growth around the UT, said Batalvi.

The Union urban development secretary, according to a report submitted before the HC by the Centre, had emphasized in the meeting that the coordination panel would endeavour to play a ‘facilitative role’ in view of the mandate under Jawahar Lal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). He categorically asserted that the Tricity had to be treated as a single urban entity. Importantly, the secretary also noted in the meeting that while the CDP for Panchkula had been ‘received and apprised’, the one for Mohali was yet to arrive. Also, a feasibility report for Chandigarh metro rail has been prepared, which would connect the Tricity.

Batalvi informed the HC that the next meeting of the panel would be convened in June after Lok Sabha polls. HC told the panel to prepare a status report in the meantime.






HC glare on Giridih plant


Ranchi, May 11: Jharkhand High Court directed the state and a private steel company today to explain how permission was granted to set up its plant by allegedly flouting rules and norms.

A division bench of Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice D.K. Sinha ordered the state to file an affidavit to explain how M/s Sun Flower Steel Industry was continuing with its plant at Isri Bazaar, Dumri in Giridih without proper authorisation from the departments concerned.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Citizens’ Forum, a social organisation, which has stated that the steel company is setting up its plant without sanction and a no-objection certificate from the state pollution control board.

The court was also informed that operation of the steel plant would lead to sound, air and water pollution. Moreover, there are two schools — Jain Middle School and Bhagat School — and a temple in the vicinity, the PIL pointed out.





A change in Metro route plan to save Sarvodaya Hospital

Express News Service

Posted: May 12, 2009 at 0015 hrs IST

Mumbai The 50-year-old Sarvodaya Hospital in Ghatkopar, which falls partially on the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro corridor route, will not be demolished, as the nodal agency is considering realignment of the route. “We’re working on the realignment of that portion,” said a senior MMRDA official requesting anonymity. According to the official, the MMRDA decided to realign the route due to the high compensation demanded by the trust. This rethink comes after the completion of the corridor is 18 months away from its desired commissioning.

Earlier the hospital trust had filed a PIL in Bombay High Court against the State’s move to acquire around 80,000 square feet of its hospital land to let the Metro line pass through. The trust that was established in 1954 has eight acres of land where affordable medical treatment is provided.





Bhim’s petition on delimitation malafide: Bar tells Court



Rashid Paul
Srinagar, May 12:
Terming the intent of the petition of the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh of increasing the number of assembly seats for Jammu as malafide, Kashmir High Court Bar Association Monday told the Court that the petitioner wants to accumulate political power in Jammu by harping on the fabricated discrimination issue.

A battery of lawyers representing the Kashmir High Court Bar Association told the division comprising of Chief Justice Barin Ghosh and Justice Mansoor Ahmed Mir that the petitioner had ulterior motives by raising an issue which the State legislature had put on hold for maintaining the integrity of J&K.
Noted lawyer Zafar Ahmed Shah, representing the Bar said that the petitioner Bhim Singh wanted to rake up a political issue through judiciary to accumulate power for Jammu region.
He said Article 253 of the Indian constitution says that application of laws of Government of India to J&K for changing the final disposition of the State could not be extended without the consent of the State government.
“The petitioner wants to accumulate power for Jammu region and effect total merger of the State with the Indian union under constitutionalism after having failed in the legislature.”
He said the 1954 order had come in the wake of the UN resolutions that were coming during the period calling for resolution of K dispute.
The order in other words recognizes the commitments made by the United Nations.
“J&K has the unique position of having its own constitution and legislature that differs with Indian states. The State legislature fixes or freezes the number of seats because of a peculiar situation of the State. The legislature also fixed the number of seats keeping in view the geography of the State.”
He said the State constitution was brought into fill a vacuum as New Delhi could not make laws for the State at that point of time. “It enacted Article 370 to act as abridge between the State and Union of India. The article can be done away with if the constituent assembly of the State recommends. The State constitution stresses political justice not political equality. Any application of laws of the Union of India to J&K has to be routed through Article 370,” he said.
The Chief Justice intervened and said: “To me Article 370 was to run the State until its own constitution came into being. It is a temporary provision and certain provisions were made applicable through it. Indian parliament has not been empowered to make laws for you.”
However Shah argued the entry 97 in the State constitution had made Union of India laws applicable to the State.
He said the State’s freedom to make its own laws for governance had been eroded largely and by raking up inter-regional problems, the petitioner wants total merger of the State with Indian Union under constitutionalism.
He said the Indian parliament had frozen the number of seats to six decades ago when the population of the State was estimated to be 63 lakh and the State government had followed suit.
“The court needs to keep the historical perspective of the current situation in mind. It is a conflict zone and we find attempt through the application to concentrate political power in a particular region.”
Accepting that the courts can not go in to the wisdom of the legislature in withholding delimitation commission up till 2026, the chief justice said: “We need to ascertain whether the basic purpose of the democracy is not infringed up on by the amendment.”  Earlier senior advocate Syed Tasaduq Hussain in a crisp argument citing various United States rulings said that the PIL was not maintainable as it had been filed by a political party and not an individual.
Citing a Supreme Court judgment of the current year he said right to vote was a statutory right, not fundamental or constitutional right.
“PIL comes under the statutory category and has no locus standi. Under the doctrine of separation of powers the state high court is a coordinate of state legislature and can not go against its own laws,” he said.
Earlier Advocate Altaf Ahmed Naikoo and G M Lone also argued the case.





Muslims have right to establish Shariah Courts: Govt. to Supreme Court

By Mohamed Iqbal Pallipurath

Muslims have right to establish Shariah Courts: Govt. to Supreme Court |

Muslims have right to establish Shariah Courts: Govt. to Supreme Court
Submitted by mumtaz on 11 May 2009 – 11:07pm.


New Delhi: Responding to public interest litigation (PIL), additional solicitor general Gopal Subramaniyam submitted before Supreme Court bench comprising Justice A. R. Laxamanan and Justice Altumash Kabir, “Muslims have the right to establish Shari’ah Panchayats under their personal law.” Next hearing has been postponed for 12 weeks.

Earlier, advocate Vishwa Lochan Madan had filed a PIL requesting the court to instruct people to refrain from establishing ‘parallel’ judicial system, namely Qazi system. Government attorney today rejected the plea and said, “Neither the Fatwas issued by Shari’ah courts clash with Indian judicial system nor these courts are deemed a parallel system of justice.”

In support of his PIL, advocate Madan had cited Imrana case in which her father-in-law had allegedly raped her but village Panchayat asked the lady to take him as her husband. Later, Darul Uloom Deoband ruled that presently she cannot live with her former husband and this was confirmed by All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

Advocate Madan requested the court to declare that Fatwas issued by various authorities cannot be put in practice and direct union and state governments to take immediate steps to dissolve all Darul Quzat (Sharia Court).

Referring to article 26 of Indian Constitution, the union government pleaded in it reply to the court that religious freedom has been guaranteed for all religions and all communities, under which they can establish and run their charitable institutions including Darul Quzat or Shariah system and manage their religious affairs on their own.

The union government submitted, ‘these institutions are not a parallel system. Moreover, Darul Quzat do not stop Muslims from going to civil courts. So, the people not satisfied with Darul Quzat verdict or do not want to solve their tangle through them are totally free to a court of law.’





Polo club controversy: Writ filed to stop AGM on May 14

13 May 2009, 0647 hrs IST, TNN

JAIPUR: The controversy going on in Rajasthan Polo Club (RPC) has landed in the district court and a club member, Pankaj Madhok, has filed a writ to stop the AGM convened by working

president and UDH secretary on May 14. The hearing of the matter will be held on Wednesday.

Madhok argued that the UDH secretary and the working president of the RPC had no constitutional right to convene the AGM. The president of the RPC, secretary, UDH secretary and working president, JDA commissioner and secretary of RPC polo ground have been made party by Madhok. He requested the court to stop the AGM that was slated for May 14 and also to ensure that the AGM convened by president Maharaja Bhawani Singh on May 13 is held without any interference.

Secretary of the RPC, Digvijay Singh said that it was a case filed by an individual member and the club has nothing to do with it. He said, “We are going ahead with our AGM slated for May 13 which was called by our president Bhawani Singh ji under section 19 (b) of our constitution.”

When asked whether the registrar of co-operative societies and other competent authorities have been informed to send observers, he replied that the club used to have elections on its own. “There has been no practice to have observers from registrar or some other sports body for club elections. I am not sure whether they have been informed,” he said.

On the other hand, the UDH secretary and working president of the club G S Sandhu has written to the club to abstain from making new members. Reportedly the club has made about 54 new members and their cheques amounting to Rs 28 lakh approximately have been tendered in the bank. The UDH secretary has also written to the bank to not to entertain these cheques and reportedly the accounts have been frozen.

But the secretary of the RPC has emphasized that the new members would be allowed to participate in the AGM on May 13. “We have deducted money from their accounts as membership fee, so they too are our members and would be allowed to participate in the AGM.” said Digvijay Singh.

The registrar of co-operative societies also had summoned the RPC authorities to check the records. The rival group alleged that the RPC, on one hand, says that the records were taken away by former secretary Vikram Rathore and on the other hand, comes out with only favourable documents.





Varun issue: U.P. moves Supreme Court

J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday challenged in the Supreme Court the recommendation of the State Advisory Board of the Allahabad High Court to revoke the slapping of the National Security Act on the BJP’s Pilibhit candidate, Varun Gandhi, for his alleged hate speeches.

Acting on Mr. Gandhi’s writ petition that challenged his preventive detention, the Supreme Court granted him parole till May 14, when the case comes up for further hearing. The State government has filed the present application in the same writ petition.

By its May 8 order, the Board held that it neither found plausible and convincing the grounds for invoking the NSA against Mr. Gandhi, nor was it satisfied with the explanation given by the District Magistrate (DM) for passing the detention order dated March 29.

It said: “The detention order stands vitiated by the failure to place the CD for consideration of the detaining authority and to furnish the same to the detenu for making an effective representation. The detention order stands vitiated by non-application of mind and breach of rules of natural justice and fair play.”

Assailing the order, the State said the Board’s recommendation was against the provisions of law. It said the finding that the DM had not recorded in his grounds for detention that the same kind of speech would continue to be made by the detenu was against the provisions of law and facts. The Board failed to appreciate the fact that the DM had not based his subjective satisfaction on a perusal of the CD and, therefore, non-supply of the CD would not affect the case in any way, the State said.

Also, the Board wrongly dealt with the merits of the criminal cases instituted against Mr. Gandhi. It was not competent to go through the merits of a criminal case on the basis of which the detention order was passed, the application said.

The Board’s finding that the DM failed to substantiate the charge that Mr. Gandhi had violated the ban order under Section 144 of the Cr.PC was perverse in law. The Board had not applied its mind to the documents and submissions of the DM justifying the detention order.






MF Global fraud: NRI trader gets 20 mn pounds compensation

11 May 2009, 2050 hrs IST, Sudeshna Sen, ET Bureau

Rajesh Gill, the NRI day trader who sued MF Global for fraud in a highly publicized case in London, has received an unprecedented GBP 19.7 million provisionally for damages, lost profits and interest. Mr Gill, who fought 7 years to bring his broker, Matthew Bomford, to book for lying to him about his account and wiping it out, has become a test case for financial fraud cases.

Speaking to ET, he said “I don’t want anyone else to go through what I did. I can only talk about my case, but I hope this sends a shockwave to the City and signals a change in culture. Man’s continued protection of a fraudster for over 7 years is indefensible, deplorable and deeply unethical.”

Mr Gill’s sensational battle with MF Global (earlier Man Financial), caught the attention of the UK media as details of sordid and sleazy dealings tumbling out in court exposed the dark underbelly of the slick world of high finance, at a time when public outrage against the bonus driven culture and high-handed ways of financial institutions is at a peak.

Mr Gill’s has become a landmark judgement for an individual taking on fraud at the biggies, and indicates UK courts are getting tough on financial fraudsters. An award for lost profits is highly unusual in the UK, and is expected to change the way other civil fraud cases are dealt with in the UK.

Justice Flaux has also considered referring Mr Bomford to the Public Prosecutor for consistently lying to the court, moving the case from the civil to the criminal arena, another highly unusual precedent. It has also highlighted the role of the FSA, which despite complaints in 2004, did not investigate the case.

MF Global (then Man Financial) received got GBP 2.5 million in commission from Mr Gill, and Mr Bomford received over 500,000 in personal bonuses, while lying to his client that he was making profits when he was actually making huge losses. Mr Bomford has since left the company.

MF Global denied any wrongdoing for years, but half way through the case it admitted vicarious liability to fraudulent activities, after what the judge described as a ‘disastrous’ cross examination of Mr Bomford. MF Global is a leading provider of exchange listed futures and options. It is present in India through a joint venture with Sify, MF Global Sify Securities Pvt Ltd, based in Mumbai, and employing about 400 people, according to its website. According to reports, MF Global is considering an appeal on the amount awarded before a final judgement.

In his judgement, Mr Justice Flaux ruled that Mr Gill’s losses in 2001-2002 were directly as a result of deception by his broker, Matthew Bomford. Mr Justice Flaux also said that Mr Bomford seemed to be a ‘stranger’ to the truth.

Mr Gill, who has been a prolific day trader for 11 years, was also able to prove that the only time he lost money was during his time with MF Global, and his trading record in complex derivatives is otherwise impeccable. Expert witnesses in court described him as the 7 to 7 man, who turned GBP 7000 to GBP 7 million in two years. Mr Gill now intends to start his own fund and continues to trade.







HC raps trial judge for ‘suspicion’ judgment


Krishnadas Rajagopal

Posted: May 12, 2009 at 0106 hrs IST

New Delhi Seven years after the death of a young woman, the Delhi High Court on Monday acquitted her husband and three of his family, who were earlier found guilty by a trial court.

A bench led by Justice Pradeep Nandrajog blamed the trial judge for an unreasonable guilty verdict — a decision based on “suspicions and not evidence” — in 2005 against the woman’s husband, Balbir Singh, his father, Randhir, and two others. All four were sentenced to life in prison.

The bench began its judgment with a preface on how “at a trial, when the heart and mind of a judge turns cold, the first casualty is Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution and the second casualty is the oath taken by the judge”.

“A reasoned decision is not one which spans pages and pages of paper. A judgment at the end of a criminal trial that ignores the evidence that has been brought on record, and without application of mind, is a serious violation of the rights of the accused,” the court noted about the findings of the trial judge . “It is settled law that howsoever strong a suspicion may be, it cannot take the place of proof.”

The HC ruling on an appeal filed by the four accused dismissed an eyewitness’ account as “concocted”. The eyewitness, victim Laxmi’s sister Rajo, was married into the same family when the incident took place.

During the trail, Rajo had testified that on July 20, 2002, she saw the accused administer a poisonous injection to Laxmi. They, she had said, then dragged her upstairs and strangled her.

The bench found her testimony “weak” on the ground that she did not tell a single woman in the neighbourhood that her sister was “murdered”. Their neighbours had visited their house when the news of Laxmi’s death spread.

“The conduct of Rajo in not telling a single (neighbourhood) lady that her sister has been murdered, is also indicative of the fact that with the passage of time, Rajo spun out a concocted version,” the bench remarked.

The court also saw the conduct of Laxmi’s in-laws in cremating her without informing the police as merely an “ill-advised” step.

The judges went on to reason that Balbir Singh and his family had “prima facie” opted to cremate the body without informing the police only due to their “fear” of the police and not because they were guilty of any crime.

Though the court noted that Laxmi’s father had indeed reported to the police about the accused abusing her, the bench dismissed his version on the ground that he did not promptly notify the police of what Rajo saw on the night of the alleged crime.

The bench also gave credence to the fact that the prosecution had failed to produce the syringe used to inject the poison or details of the purchase of the toxin, aluminium phosphide, allegedly used on the victim.





Custodial deaths: HC awards compensation

 GUWAHATI, May 11 – The Division Bench of the Gauhati High Court comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Hrishikesh Roy today by a judgment and order directed the Union of India to pay an amount of Rs 4 lakh each to the family members of late Pratul Daimary and his namesake Pratul Daimary of village Naoherua, Mazbat. Two writ petition were filed vide WP(C) No. 2154/04 and 2155/04 by the father and wife of late Pratul Daimary and Pratul Daimary claiming judicial enquiry into the death of both the Daimarys and demanded exemplary punishment to the guilty.

The allegation of the petitioners was that both the detainees were picked up by Army personnel on several occasions and finally both of them were killed on March 7, 2004.

The contention of the Army authorities was that both the detainees had link with the banned NDFB organisation and were killed in an encounter while Army personnel retaliated in self-defence.

The District and Sessions Judge, Darrang was earlier directed to make an enquiry into the aforementioned incident. The enquiry report was submitted by the District and Sessions Judge accepting the version of the Army authority.

The High Court after hearing both the writ petitions at length and also after going through the enquiry report, depositions of all witnesses came to a finding that both the detainees were killed while they were in the custody of Army and accordingly directed the Army to pay Rs 4 lakh each to family members of those killed.

The court further directed Union authorities to register a case under Section 302 IPC against the then lieutenant, Sartaj Mehta along with the provisions of Army Act.

The court directed payment of compensation amount within a period of eight weeks from the date of receipt of the judgment.

Bijan Mahajan, Arshad Choudhury, PK Das and NJ Das advocates appeared for the petitioners. R Bora, Central Government Counsel appeared for the Union of India.





Advocates up in arms against Allahabad HC order

12 May 2009, 0648 hrs IST, TNN

KANPUR: The advocates of Kanpur Nagar and Dehat courts have locked horns with the judiciary in the matter of condolence of an advocate and it appears that they are not willing to let the matters rest.

Just 11 days have passed to the month of May and the men-in-black have observed strike three times to condole the death of their colleague. The sufferer of their strike have been litigants who could not say anything to their counsel nor plead in their absence before the court.

On December 21, 2008, the Allahabad High Court issued a directive to all sub-ordinate district courts to stop the working of courts after 3.30 pm in case any advocate passed away. The advocates strongly opposed the order, saying closure of courts after 3.30 pm would not suit them as by that time the last ritual of their colleague would be over. They could easily attend the last rites and condole the death of an advocate if the courts were closed by 1.30 pm.

In a meeting with the Chief Justice of Allahabad HC in the month of February, a delegation of advocates not only presented him with their memorandum, but also informed him that they would abstain from judicial work for the whole day. Since then, they have been abstaining from judicial work since the morning.

Manharan Gopal Awasthi, former president of Kanpur Bar Association, reacting on the issue said closure of courts after pre-lunch hearing was customary and quite convenient. The new directives were against the wishes of the advocates, therefore they would not comply with it.

Meanwhile, district judge, Kanpur Nagar, Subhash Chandra said there was no custom to abstain from work for the whole day. Earlier, the advocates used to go to courts till 1.30 pm. A little adjustment would make things easier and for that the office-bearers of KBA had been invited for talks. He hoped that the issue would soon be resolved.





Trained guides’ shortage: HC rejects central govt’s stand

12 May 2009, 0248 hrs IST, Abhinav Garg, TNN

NEW DELHI: While the State government plans to train cab drivers to double up as guides to meet the high demand during the Commonwealth Games, the Central government has all these years refused to train and issue licenses to qualified guides who have cleared an entrance examination thereby contributing to this shortage.

This stand of the government that has led to lack of expert guides in the run up to the 2010 Games has now been rejected by Delhi High Court. Acting on a petition filed by such qualified guides who have not been granted licenses, justice Ravindra S Bhat recently cleared the decks for their training, asking the department of tourism to induct the selected candidates and impart training, followed by licenses.

HC disagreed with the government’s decision to abdicate its duty of selection and training of qualified guides. The central government had cited a Rajasthan HC ruling saying recruitment was job of the state government but justice Bhat differed, holding “government is bound to proceed and forward names of those candidates who qualified according to the criteria spelt out” under the examination scheme.

Challenging the government’s recruitment process for intake of guides, a tourist guides organization had, through its lawyer Anjana Gosain, moved HC against the tourism department and ASI, alleging gross mismanagement in the recruitment process.

Complaining that they were being denied licenses and barred from working at a time when there was a demand for guides, the petitioners said an examination process initiated in 2007 for guides has suddenly been scrapped even though it was set in motion under HC orders. Moreover, even those who were selected under the half-baked scheme have not begun getting training yet, leaving them in the lurch because they can’t work till they finish training under official auspices.

“More than 3000 applicants appeared for the examination and only 300 have been selected for training who have then been left in the lurch. There cannot be any limit on the number of guides as tourism has grown by leaps and bounds. The scheme is not for recruitment but for self employment hence restriction on number ought to be lifted especially because government doesn’t have to spend any money on these candidates who have to generate work after clearing the examination,” Gosain had earlier argued before HC.






SC stays HC’s suspension of relief for Narmada oustees

Rakesh Bhatnagar

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 1:27 IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday stayed a Madhya Pradesh high court (HC) order suspending disbursal of compensation to those affected by the Sardar Sarovar project, after Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar levelled serious charges of corruption against the relief managers.

“Why should the HC stop disbursement of compensation?” wondered a Bench headed by chief justice KG Balakrishnan.

The SC allowed the Madhya Pradesh government to proceed with disbursement of compensation through cheques, subject to scrutiny by the commission headed by Justice SS Jha.

The HC had set up the commission last year to inquire into allegations of forged registration of land and corruption in relief and rehabilitation for the people displaced from their land and hearth for the sake of the dam.

MP government lawyer Harish Salve said the high court order was coming in the way of the relief and rehabilitation process initiated after the apex court’s direction.

The high court had on April 24 stayed disbursement of money for oustees after NBA alleged siphoning of money meant for their relief and rehabilitation.

Salve also said the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) was trying to discredit the relief and rehabilitation package offered by the state government and its sole intention was to stop, anyhow, raising of the dam’s level.

NBA’s counsel Sanjay Parikh objected to Salve’s contentions. Judges asked Parikh about his objection to vacating the HC’s order. Parikh reiterated the charge that there was rampant corruption in the disbursement of money and the Jha Commission was set up to look into this aspect too.

“We are asking you a specific question: do you have any objection that we are staying the HC order?” judges asked the NBA counsel.




HC moved against CPI North Chennai candidate

Published: May 12,2009


Chennai , May 11 DMK today filed a petition in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to EC to remove CPI&aposs candidate D Pandian from the list of contestants for the North Chennai Lok Sabha seat alleging that he had not furnished full details of his assets and those of his spouse.

The North Chennai constituency is going to poll on May 13.

DMK&aposs candidate for North Chennai T K S Elangovan claimed that the nomination papers of Pandian were liable to be rejected as he had submitted”an inchoate and invalid nomination paper with no proper particulars”.

The petitioner alleged that Pandian had not furnished any detail of the assets owned by his wife, a retired teacher, while filing his nomination papers.

Even as for as Pandian&aposs assets were concerned no declaration had been made about the survey number and extent of property owned by him, the petition said.

Stating that he had sent a representation to the EC but no action had been taken so far and hence he was moving the high Court, Elangovan claimed that the EC by treating Pandian as a candidate despite his failure to declare all details about his assets and those of his wife had”abdicated”its responsibility and orders of the Supreme Court.

Source: PTI






Petrol from polythene: Court rules on fraud but not on claim

May 10th, 2009 – 11:05 pm EST By Sindh Today

New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) Have two Indians actually discovered a way to make petrol out of polythene waste? In an unusual ruling, the Supreme Court, while ordering trial of two Madhya Pradesh men for allegedly defrauding two Dalits of their “invention” to make petrol from polythene bags, has kept quiet on the authenticity of their claim.

A bench of Justice Tarun Chatterjee and Justice H.L. Dattu restored the prosecution of the two men – Sanjay Singh and Jayendra Singh – on grounds of having hurled casteist insults on the two Dalits after cheating them of their “discovery”.

The prosecution of the two Singhs, begun at a magisterial court in Gohad, had been stalled by the Gwalior bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

The apex court ruling – delivered Friday – while ordering restoration of trial of the two on charges of defrauding the Dalits of their discovery, strangely kept mum on its authenticity.

The Gohad magisterial court began the prosecution on a private complaint of Ram Babu, who alleged that the two Singhs had defrauded his sons Devendra Pratap and Munendra Pratap of a scientific process invented by them to make petrol out of polythene bags.

Reproducing Ram Babu’s allegation at the magisterial court, made on April 25, 2006, the apex court said in its ruling: “His (Ram Babu’s) sons produced petroleum products from polythene and they demonstrated their invention at different levels by participating in various science competitions and also received recognition and reward from various organisations.”

The apex court further quoted Ram Babu as saying in his allegation that “On Dec 5, 2005, Sanjay and Jayendra requested his sons to hand over the photos of the model for production of petrol from polythene to them so that they can get it published in newspapers.

“Ram Babu’s sons conceded to the request but, to their surprise, accused Sanjay and Jayendra got the invention published in their own name and affixed their own photographs, for taking direct or indirect benefits, by committing forgery,” said the apex court. In his complaint, Ram Babu named two local newspaper reporters as plotting with the Singhs and getting the news of the discovery published.

As per Ram Babu’s complaint, noted the apex court, the two Singhs also won a reward of Rs.10,000 from the state government, but when his sons demanded their model be returned, the Singhs made casteist remarks like ‘chamar’ etc to them and threatened to kill them.

After producing Ram Babu’s complaint in detail, the apex court ruling proceeds to examine the legality of the high court order that stopped the magisterial court from prosecuting the Singhs and the journalists. But in the process, the court forgot all about the “invention”.

The Gwalior bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court had stopped the Singhs’ prosecution saying, in a brief order, that it amounted to “the abuse of the process of law”. But the apex court set aside the high court order saying that the reason given by it for stopping the trial was too cryptic.

The apex court eventually ordered resumption of trial at the magisterial court and sought its completion within nine months. But not a word was uttered about the “invention”.

Engrossed in the legality of the case, the apex court even said, “The question at this stage is not whether there was any truth in the allegations (made by Ram Babu), but the question is whether on the basis of the allegations, a cognizable offence or offences had been alleged to have been committed by the accused persons.”

So, was the invention real? One will have to wait till the lower court decides.

(Rana Ajit can be contacted at





SNC prosecution: SC rejects plea

New Delhi, Monday 11 May 2009: The Apex Court today rejected the plea moved by Crime magazine editor Nandakumar citing that prior sanction is not needed for prosecuting CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan. Court said that the PIL could not considered by SC because the case was considered by High Court.

SC bench presided by Justice KG Balakrishnan said, “Petitioner can approach High Court to consider the PIL.”

In the PIL, it was urged that sanction was not required to prosecute Pinarayi, who had been power minister of Kerala when the Lavalin deal was inked, and the Chief Secretary’s nod for prosecuting two other retired bureaucrats.

The petitioner argued that the Supreme Court had made clear in several verdicts that Government sanction wasn’t necessary for prosecuting a person for the charges referring to acts during his stint as a public servant. The Division Bench headed by justice KG Balakrishnan will hear the plea, which was earlier given three months time by state government.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had earlier sought permission from the Governor for the prosecution of Mr. Vijayan. After vetting the request and accompanying evidence, the Governor wrote to the Chief Minister for advice. The CBI had also written to the government seeking permission to prosecute two officials — the former Principal Secretary (Power) and chairman of the State Electricity Board, K. Mohanachandran, and the former Joint Secretary (Power), A. Francis, in the case. The Cabinet referred the request to the Law Department for its opinion at its last meeting. Pinarayi Vijayan has been accused of wrongly awarding contracts to Canadian company SNC Lavalin for renovating two hydro-power projects when he was power minister of the state 12 years ago.





Human Rights activist lawyer Girish Patel felicitated


2009-05-11 09:26:16

Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad

Noted Human Rights activist advocate Girish Patel was felicitated for his contribution towards the movement of human rights and civil liberty in Gujarat. A number of public figures like Raman Magsaysay Award winner Aruna Roy and retired high court justices A P Ravani and R A Mehta were present at the function, which was organised under the banner of Girishbhai Patel Sanman Samiti (GPSS).

“Successful people know when to withdraw and this award may mean that I should take the cue. But I promise you that I will fight till the end. I had a dream to see my state and country move into the 21st century with greater voice for the meek, the marginalised and the oppressed, in governance. But I sadly admit that everybody except the marginalised are enjoying the fruits of the 21st century,” said Patel.

“I have been part of many movements small and big. Though these movements manage to amend existing laws, not many who participate in them are able to enjoy their fruits. The reason is that the movement fizzles out in the end and the new law is lost in government files. Movements need to be sustained till the end,” added Patel.

Felicitating Patel with a memento and a cheque of Rs 3 lakh, the GPSS also released three books on him. First book contains Patel’s letters to the editors written to various newspapers, the second contains his experiences related to the PILs filed in the Gujarat High Court, and the third contains articles written by various people on him.

Patel is known for his efforts to safeguard the human rights of the marginalised by utilising the tool of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) ever since it came into practice. Patel has filed more than 200 PILs in the Gujarat High Court touching varied subjects like education, shelter, water, livelihood, health, atrocities against Dalits, tribals and women, and civil and political rights. Most of these PILs were filed in the 1980s.






Environmentalists to file PIL against ropeway project at Girnar

Express News Service

Posted: May 11, 2009 at 0015 hrs IST

Rajkot Environmentalists fear that the proposed aerial ropeway project at Mount Girnar can pose a big threat to ecology in the area.

Girnar is home to nearly 10 Asiatic lions and is also an important roosting and nesting site for vultures.

While public hearing for clearance of the project is scheduled on June 6, Gujarat Nature Club (GNC), an environmental NGO is set to protest against the project. GNC has also planned to file a public interest litigation in the High court.

The fact that over 7 hectares of forest area costing around

Rs 89.31 crore has been diverted for the project has raised many eyebrows. Ropeway service cabins, each having a capacity to accommodate 8 passengers, will pass through over 1,700 meters of forest area.

According to project details, 1,000 passengers will be carried in ropeway cabins in an hour. The service will start from Girnar foothills and end near Ambaji Temple at the top of the mountain.

While the service providing company along with the forest department has agreed for compensatory afforestation in over 7 hectares of land in Toraniya plot, the damage to the ecology in the area cannot be ruled out, said environmentalists.

“The area surrounding the project site is home to at least 10 Asiatic lions. The project will disturb their normal life,” said Amit Jethva, the president of GNC.

He said, “Girnar is also an important rooting and nesting site for Schedule-I vultures. The project can pose a big threat to the site.” He said that as per the last census, there were 79 vultures at Girnar.

The GNC said that besides opposing the project during the public hearing, they will also take legal routes.





DDA fails, HC gives private body a chance

Geeta Gupta

Posted: May 11, 2009 at 0218 hrs IST

New Delhi Garbage strewn all over, sewage water flowing around, mosquitoes and a stomach churning stench of dead fish — the state of affairs at a historical pond in Mehrauli has made the Delhi High Court sit up and take notice.

Covered with dense trees on all sides, the water body (johar) is adjacent to the famous Yog Maya temple, an integral part of the annual flower festival, Phool Waalon Ki Sair. Slamming the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for its failure in maintaining the water body, the HC has ordered a private party — the Yog Maya Mandir Welfare and Management Society — to maintain the johar.

After acquiring the ‘land’ in 1971, the government had put up fences to deny access to devotees, who earlier bathed in the water and lit lamps there. With no government department showing any concern, the johar soon became a pool of dirty water and some people started illegal pig farming in the area.

“We are very happy with the court’s order. When we filed a PIL in 2007, we had thought the DDA would do the initial cleaning of the johar and we would then take over its maintenance. Since the DDA has been falsely submitting that the water body was being maintained, we decided to take over the matter through the management of this temple,” said petitioner Rajesh Sharma, who is the general secretary of the temple society. In a recent order, Justice Sanjiv Khanna accepted the petition that said the pond was part of the age-old temple premises but was acquired by the DDA for its preservation.

The court rejected the DDA’s argument that the water body falls in the ridge area and cannot be given to a private party. It said: “There should not be any objection if the petitioner helps the DDA in maintaining the johar… some private parties have connected sewer lines to the water body. DDA is directed to take necessary action and remedial steps…”

The devotees and the society now want the DDA to first demarcate the johar area as per the revenue records and revive the water body. They also wish to develop the surroundings as a bio-diversity park. “The temple management will pool resources, but the maintenance may run into crores. We plan to approach the local politicians for funds,” said Sharma.

With the DDA and the MCD passing the buck on each other with regard to the maintenance of the water body, the court sought a status report from the DDA and fixed August 11 as the next date of hearing.





Appointment of Judges of the Supreme Court of India

By : jyoti on 10 May 2009


Press Communique Appoint Judges of the Supreme Court of India

In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of article 124 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint (i) Shri Justice Deepak Verma, Chief Justice, Rajasthan High Court and (ii) Dr. Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan, Chief Justice, Orissa, High Court to be Judges of the Supreme Court of India, in that order of seniority with effect from the dates they assume charge of their respective offices.





Press Communique Appoint Judges of the Delhi High Court

By : jyoti on 10 May 2009 Email this | Print this

Press Communique Appoint Judges of the Delhi High Court

In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of article 224 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint (i) Shri Ajit Bharihoke (ii) Shri Vinay Kumar Jain (iii) Smt. Indermeet Kaur Kochhar and (iv) Shri Anil Kumar Pathak, Judicial Officers of the Delhi High Court, as 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.

Source : , 






By : PIRAVI PERUMAL. M on 10 May 2009

THE Supreme Court has ruled that the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has no discretionary power to interfere with orders passed by capital market regulator Securities & Exchange Board of India (Sebi). Allowing Sebis plea, the court said the tribunal has to do what is prescribed under the statute.


“When something is to be done statutorily in a particular way, it can only be done that way. There is no scope for taking shelter under a discretionary power,” said a bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice LS Panta. The court also turned down the plea that the tribunal is empowered to pass orders on an appeal as it thinks fit, confirming, modifying or setting aside the order of Sebi. Sebi had filed two appeals against the order passed by the tribunal. In one case, Saikala Associates acted as a sub-broker at the National Stock Exchange with 2 NSE Members  PCS Securities and Zen Securities  without being registered as a sub-broker with Sebi between 2000 and May 2002. It had created a value of Rs 403.29 crore in breach of section 12(1) of the Sebi Act, 1992. In the second case, Shilpa Stock, registered as a Sebi broker while executing trades on behalf of its client Kamlesh Shroff, had dealt with Jairam Enterprises, an unregistered sub-broker. Again, it was in violation of Sebi rule. The tribunal had said the proved charges were not serious enough to warrant suspension of certificate of registration and had set aside the Sebi order. Sebi challenged this in the apex court. Indeed, this is not the first time that Sebi and SAT have been at loggerheads. Only last year, Sebi filed 250 appeals with the tribunal, of which, 73 were dismissed. Sebi’s directives on Sasken Communication Technologies public notice for buyback of shares and Heidelberg Cement AG’s payment of non-compete fees to the minority shareholders of Mysore Cements were overruled by the tribunal. And thats not all. The regulator has also been hauled up by SAT for legal lapses. There have been many instances where SAT pulled up Sebi on the ground that it did not hear the involved entities in a dispute. The provisions of section 12(3) of the 1992 Act confer power on Sebi to suspend or cancel a certificate of registration in such manner as may be determined by regulations, provided that no order under the said section will be made unless the person concerned has been given a reasonable opportunity of being heard, the appellant had said. It had further said as per Rule 3 of the Sebi (stock brokers & sub-brokers) Rules, 1992, existing brokers & sub-brokers were allowed to continue business pending registration but no new person commencing the business of the broker or sub-broker after August 20, 1992 could do the business pending registration and could commence only after being registered. Allowing the plea, the apex court said, In the instant case, the position of broker/sub-broker in case of violation is statutorily provided under Section 12 of the Act, which has to be read along with Rule 3 of the Rules. No power is conferred on the tribunal to travel beyond the areas covered by section 12 and Rule 3.”





Service tax is not a value-added tax


Sukumar Mukhopadhyay / New Delhi May 11, 2009, 0:26 IST

Service tax is not a value added tax. It is just a tax on the act of providing service. VAT is just a mechanism or design for imposing an indirect tax in a particular manner. Service tax can be a value-added tax and it can as well be a turnover tax. Similarly, excise is also not a value added tax by itself. It can be designed as a value-added tax or as a turnover tax. It depends on whether the credit for the input duty is allowed or not.

The issue has now come to the fore because of the latest landmark judgement by the Delhi High Court in the case of Home Solution Retail India Ltd vs UOI. This has held that the service of renting of immovable property for commercial use is not service under Section 65(105)(zzzz) of the Finance Act 2007 though any service connected with such immovable property is service.

This judgement has heavily depended on the proposition that service tax is a value added tax and if there is no value addition, then there is no service. The High Court has relied upon the judgement of the Supreme Court in the case of the All India Federation of Tax Practitioners vs UOI, which held that “………………. service tax is VAT. Just as excise duty is a tax on value addition on goods, service tax is on value addition by rendition of service.” Really this portion is not a part of the Supreme Court judgement but only a statement of economic background of indirect taxes. Judgement is only that profession tax is not service tax and it is not ased on service tax is VAT or not. So we cannot say that the Supreme Court has held that service tax is a VAT.

Legally, it all depends on what is written in the Constitution. The Constitution in the List 1— Union List Entry 84 is “duty of excise on goods manufactured or produced”. Similarly at Entry 92C is “taxes on services”. In the List II — state list entry 54 is “taxes on the sale or purchase of goods”. So they are not duties on the value addition but on manufacture, service, sale, etc., They become value added tax only when by a design (which is a matter of policy), the mechanism of VAT is introduced by allowing the credit of the duty paid on the inputs in respect of manufacture, providing service, or sale, etc., This was precisely what was held by a full bench of the Supreme Court on a reference made by the President of India to the Supreme Court (Special Reference No.1 of 1962) in Re: Sea Customs Act, 1878 reported in 1964(3) SCR 787. The judgement held that “……… taxable event in the case of duties of excise is the manufacture of goods and the duty is not directly on the goods but on the manufacture thereof. Wemay in this connection contrast sales tax which is also imposed with reference to goods sold where the taxable event is the act of sale.”

The principle enunciated by the Full Bench of the Supreme Court is binding even now. I may also point out that before 1986 there was excise duty which was not VAT. Even now all items which pay excise don’t follow the VAT design. And State Excise is not VAT at all.

The conclusion is that only when input duty credit is allowed that Service Tax or

Excise or Sales Tax becomes a value added tax. If it is not allowed, it is a turnover tax.

By themselves, they are just tax on the act of manufacture, act of providing service or the act of sale.






Fastest murder judgement: All over in 10 days

10 May 2009, 0049 hrs IST, Ajay Sura, TNN

CHANDIGARH: There’s after all some glimmer of hope for India’s judicial system, pilloried for endless delays and sluggish hearings. A district court made legal history on Saturday by convicting a man with murdering his wife within 10 days of framing charges, and in just three hearings.

On Saturday, Chandigarh additional district and sessions judge Raj Rahul Garg found Sunil Kumar guilty of brutally killing his wife, Kiran, on February 17, 2009. The accused was convicted solely on the basis of his eight-year-old son’s statement. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on Monday.

Charges were framed within 70 days of the crime and the verdict came 10 days after the chargesheet was filed.
“It is a ray of hope for thousands of victims and a warning for those who exploit the loopholes in criminal justice system,” said criminal lawyer N K Nanda.

Sunil killed Kiran during the intervening night of February 17-18 by hitting her with a rod after she refused to give him money for liquor. Their son witnessed the murder, as did Sunil’s sister-in-law. In his deposition, the child said that he saw his father hit Kiran on the head with a log. Their neighbour, Kanta, had testified that the boy had run up to her immediately after that and that she had seen Sunil leave the house in a huff.

Though the defence counsel argued that the boy had been tutored by Kiran’s parents as he was in their custody, the prosecution argued that he had recorded the same statement with the cops after the crime.

A matter of days

Feb 17, 2009: Accused murders wife

April 29: Charges framed

May 7: Evidence recorded

May 8: Arguments completed

May 9: Accused held guilty





CJI releases book of Kalam’s former secretary

New Delhi (PTI) Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on Saturday released a book ‘Memory Bytes A Bureaucrat Remembers’ written by P M Nair, a former IAS officer who had worked as secretary to former President A P J Abdul Kalam for five years.

Justice Balakrishnan said the book containing interesting anecdotes relating to the experiences of Nair as civil servant for 40 years gave an insight to the life of the bureaucracy.

Comptroller and Auditor General of Indian Vinod Rai, who was Guest of Honour on the occasion, said the book explained the personal experiences of an officer as he goes through the rigours of the job.

He appreciated Mr. Nair as a writer for his “racy” style of writings and narrated some parts of the book, which detailed the author’s experiences of working in different capacity as Chief Secretary to Pondicherry, Arunachal Pradesh governments and also as Secretary to the government of India in the department of defence production.

The function was attended by large number of former civil servants including the former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy.

The forward of the book has been written by Mr. Kalam.




British Hindu vows fight for open-air cremation

10 May 2009, 0412 hrs IST, IANS

NEW DELHI: Davinder Kumar Ghai, a devout British Hindu whose plea to be cremated in the open was turned down by Britain’s high court, has vowed to continue his fight, saying the final rites of Hindus “must be done with dignity”.

The high court on Friday ruled that open-air funeral pyres are illegal in Britain.

“It looks like a conspiracy that the judgement is given when I am in India for medical treatment. But I will not give up. I will ensure that Hindus are given a good death that is fundamental to their beliefs,” Ghai, 70, said.

“I don’t want Hindus to be burnt in a crematorium at the Thames or at a football field. The final rites of Hindus must be done with dignity. They cannot be bundled in a box,” said Ghai, who is also the founder of the Anglo-Asian Friendship Society (AAFS).

In his ruling, Justice Ross Cranston said The Cremation Act 1902 and its attendant regulations were clear in their effect: the burning of human remains, other than in a crematorium, is a criminal offence.

However, Justice Cranston gave Ghai permission to appeal against the ruling.

“I will take the case to the Court of Appeal and also to the European Court of Human Rights. This is a fight to the end,” said Ghai, who heads back to Newcastle late Saturday after a month-long stay in India.

“I want my son to light my pyre in open air – my 16 samskaras (sacraments) to be fulfilled – this is my religious right,” Ghai said.

According to Ghai, Britain’s Hindu national umbrella organisations, collectively representing over 560,000 Hindus, were supporting his review.

Ghai, who is the father of three children, had moved the high court to challenge a decision by Newcastle City Council in 2006 which said the traditional religious practice was impractical.

“Natural cremations will save grieving families from the spiralling expense of gas cremations as funeral directors are pledging to provide natural cremation services for a maximum of 500 pounds,” he said.

“What happened when 200,000 cattle were burnt some years back because of the foot and mouth disease? Did that not cause pollution?” he asked.

Ghai said that at least 200 green woodland burial sites now operate in Britain and approved natural cremation sites in rural pastures would offer privacy to mourning families.

Ghai, who is also known as Babaji among his followers, said his body is weakened due to health problems like high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes, but his resolve is strong.

“These are pertinent issues. For instance, on the weekend Hindus cannot cremate a dead body because Jews and Muslims are given those days for burial. They question why we didn’t raise this when the regulations were imposed – the fact is we are peace-loving people, but our religious sentiments matter,” he said.







HC helps civil services aspirant to take exam on May 17


 Publication Date  10/5/2009 10:25:51 AM(IST) 

Chennai: The Madras High Court has come to the rescue of a 32-year-old man of Villupuram District who said that his application for the civil service examination was received late by the UPSC due to postal delay. In his order, Justice V.Ramasubramanian, has directed the UPSC to issue hall ticket to the candidate and permit him to write the preliminary examination scheduled to commence on May 17.

For N Kolanchi (32) of Kallkurichi this was his last attempt. This was the seventh time he had applied for the examination. He submitted that the last date for receipt of application was January five this year and the examination is scheduled for May 17.

He sent his application to the UPSC by “Speed Post” through the post office at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel National Police Academy, since he was there at that time, on January three at 1100 hrs.

He said that his application had been received only on January six due to postal delay. His application was rejected for the reason “application received late” and the same was intimated to him. He sent a letter on April 21 to the UPSC appealing against the rejection, but so far he had not received any response.

Mr Kolanchi said he had prepared well and was confident of succeeding in the examination. He prayed the court for a direction to the service commission to issue the hall ticket and permit him to attend the examination. In his order, Mr Justice Ramasubramanian ordered notice of motion returnable by June 10.

The petitioner should take private notice to the respondents — UPSC and the Chief Postmaster. In the meantime, he directed the service commission to issue the hall ticket to the petitioner and permit him to write the examination without prejudice to the merits and demerits of the claim in the writ petition.





HC directs Tata Steel to deposit Rs 50k in PM Relief Fund

10 May 2009, 1335 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has asked Tata Steel to deposit Rs 50,000 in the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for delay in challenging a decision of the Chhattisgarh government, which rejected its claim (Tatas) on iron ore mines in Rawghat.

The court’s direction came on a petition filed by the steel giant challenging the order of the Mines tribunal, which had rejected the company’s appeal on the grounds that the Tatas had delayed in approaching the tribunal.

Justice S Ravindra Bhat, after hearing all the parties, including the Centre, said that the appeal deserved to be heard on merit and asked the company to deposit Rs 50,000 for the delay in approaching the tribunal.

“Since the petitioner (Tata Steel) did file a belated appeal, this court is of (the) opinion that it would be appropriate that it is put to terms accordingly, it shall deposit Rs 50,000 with the PM’s Relief Fund within four weeks,” the court said, adding that “its appeal shall be heard and (disposed of) on its merits”.

The Tatas are building a steel plant in Rawghat. The court also directed the tribunal to hear the contention of Jayaswal Neco Industries Ltd (JNIL), which has a dispute with the state government regarding the mines in Rawghat and Bailedila. JNIL is also setting up a steel plant in the area and was promised around 1,600 hectares by the state government.





Promotion of STF men was one stage: HC–one-stage-HC/articleshow/4504052.cms

10 May 2009, 0052 hrs IST, TNN

CHENNAI: The accelerated promotion given to 748 Special Task Force (STF) personnel for their successful operation against forest brigand Veerappan in 2004, is only one-stage promotion’ and the beneficiaries cannot claim consequential seniority for further promotions, the Madras high court has said.

Justice K Venkataraman, declining to stay a government order issued in 2007, said, “it is perfectly valid and within the purview of the decision of the government.” Though he declined to stay the clarification, the judge said the earlier stay orders on the reversion of some of the beneficiaries to lesser ranks would continue to be valid.

The erstwhile AIADMK government awarded accelerated promotion to 748 personnel to various ranks by an order dated October 29, 2004. The order stated that the names of the beneficiaries would be placed at the bottom of the seniority list of the respective rank.

Following representations from other police personnel, who apprehended loss of seniority and promotions, the DMK government issued an order on October 3, 2007 amending the earlier order. As per the modified order, the accelerated promotion was one-stage’ in nature and that the beneficiaries would not get consequential seniority. That is, the seniority between the accelerated promotees and the general promotees in the promoted category would continue to be governed by their panel position.

While several writ petitions challenged the 2007 GO, many other officials who were reverted to lesser ranks too filed separate writ petitions.

Justice Venkataraman, pointing out that the government had created 748 supernumerary posts to accommodate the beneficiaries without affecting their seniors, said these sanctioned posts were person-oriented and would lapse whenever the incumbents vacate the posts. This would show that the promotions were outside the rules.

Making it clear that the validity of the orders would be decided only at the time of final orders, Justice Venkataraman said: “I am of the considered view that the GO is valid.” He also added that if the order is given effect to, then again, the consequences would be subject to the result of the petitions.





HC directs DTC to promote staffers

10 May 2009, 0433 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: A decade after two Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) staffers saved more than 50 people from armed robbers, the Delhi High Court has directed the corporation to give them out-of-turn promotion within three months.

HC has expressed displeasure over the way their meritorious service was ignored by DTC and ordered the conductor and driver, be promoted to the ranks they are suitable for.

Budh Prakash, the conductor, had moved HC and pointed out how he and Mahipal, the driver, have been denied promotions. “We are shocked to know that the manner in which the corporation has handled their cases and deprived them from the promotions,” HC said while citing a previous case in which a driver was given out-of-turn promotion for a similar feat in 1988.

Filing a petition, conductor Budh Prakash said that additional superintendent of police Saharanpur, UP, where the incident happened, had recommended on November 5, 1998 that they should be suitably rewarded for the bravery shown. Acting on it, DTC had hiked their salary from Rs 4,800 to Rs 5,000 per month, saying this was “advance increment” but after that no promotion has come for them so far.

Budh Prakash said they were entitled to the hike two years after as the same was due for them. According to him, on September 8, 1998 the DTC bus was going to Saharanpur and on the way he, along with the driver, resisted four armed robbers who accosted them. Despite being injured by bullets fired by the robbers, he and the driver had snatched pistols from them and forced them to flee.





Delhi HC comes down heavily on police for lodging false case

The Delhi High Court came down heavily on three police officials for conniving with the prosecutrix and lodging a false case of gang rape against four people, who went through the legal battle for 12 long years.

Justice S Murlidhar expressed his shock at the manner police conducted the cases and mislead the court and directed the DCP to not only take departmental action against the three officials, but also initiate a case for perjury, which draws a minimum sentence of seven years imprisonment.

The Court directed the registrar of the Delhi High Court to direct the concerned court to initiate action against the officials as well as the Prosecutrix, on whose behest the police lodged a false case.

A false criminal case was instituted in connivance with police officials that virtually ruined the lives of four innocent people, the Court said.

Acquitting the four accused, the Court directed the state to pay Rs 25,000 to each of them as cost of litigation and adequate monetary as well as other compensation to them.

The Court remarked there is a need to remind ourself that there has to be accountability for the abuse of statutory powers, particularly where it pertains to the life and liberty of a person.

On July 28, 1997, an FIR was lodged in the police control room (PCR) about a quarrel at the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Jhuggi, following which four people were arrested for gang rape of one Munni Bai(name changed).

Mr Dharmendra Arya, Mr Sunil Bainsala and Mr Sunil Kumar, appearing for the four accused, stated that they have been falsely implicated as they were picked up by police for having a fight with the sex workers and were in police custody when the prosecutrix claimed that rape was committed on her.

The Court observed that the boys were falsely implicated and directed the DCP to ensure transparent and fair trial.






HC orders BSE to compensate students

9 May 2009, 2304 hrs IST, Binita Jaiswal, TNN

CUTTACK: Orissa High Court has directed the Board of Secondary Education to pay a compensation of Rs 10,000 each to two students for the mental agony caused by faulty evaluation of marksheets.

The order came following petitions by two students who appeared for their matriculation examinations in 2008. One of them, Nibedita Mandal of Mayurbhanj district passed the examination in first division. While she scored over 90 per cent in all subjects, she surprisingly secured only 30 in Mathematics. She then applied for revaluation. But as the board does not have the provision for re-evaluation, her marks were only added again and Nibedita was informed that there was no improvement. Then she sought photostat copies of her Mathematics and another paper under RTI Act but the board did not respond. Finding no other alternative, Nibedita moved the HC praying that her Mathematics paper be evaluated again by a set of experts. Then it was found that she has secured 96 in mathematics instead of 30. Similar was the case of Pabitra Routray of Jajpur district. He secured 35 marks in Hindi but after the court’s interference the mark was corrected to 85.

Faulty evaluation is not the plight of only these two students, thousands of others face the same trauma. “The careers of students is at stake due to the faulty evaluation process. Many students fail to get admission in good college and suffer throughout life. Even all cannot afford to move court for faulty marksheets. So steps should be taken to check such practices,” a guardian Debi Prasad Satapathy said.

The BSE has taken adequate steps to stop repeat of these mistakes. “The board is earning a bad name due to the faults of examiners and scrutinizers. We have issued strict instructions that examiners will be punished under Orissa Conduct of Examination Act 1988 if they are found neglecting their duties or not doing it properly,” BSE secretary Nihar Mohapatra said.

Under this act, an erring examiner might face at least three months of imprisonment and fined around Rs 3,000 if any fault is detected in the answer sheet evaluated by him, Mohapatra said, adding that the board has engaged senior teachers to correct the answersheets this time.

“Less experienced teachers make lot of mistakes. So we have roped in senior teachers for flawless evaluation of answersheets,” Mohapatra said.

According to board officials, lack of proper infrastructure is hampering the process of re-evaluation. “We do not have rooms to store the answersheets. After receiving applications, maximum of the time is consumed in searching for these answersheets. We have requested the state government Rs 17 crore to develop the infrastructure of the board,’ Mohapatra said.

In 2008, the board received over 13,000 applications for re-checking and re-addition of answer sheets but even after an year 6,400 applications are yet to be disbursed.





HC seeks lawyer’s help to get verses translated

The aayats (verses) from Quran, to be explained in English now, were referred to in a book on Islam whose author has challenged a government resolution to ban it


By Hetal Vyas

Posted On Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 03:38:42 AM


To take an informed decision on the legality of a Maharashtra government ban on advocate RV Bhasin’s book Islam – A Concept of Political World Invasion by Muslims, Bombay High Court judges have called for an English translation of certain aayats (verses) from the Quran referred to in the book.

For this, the three-judge bench of Justice Ranjana Desai, Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice R S Mohite have sought the help of senior counsel Yusuf Muchchala. They have directed him to simplify and explain in English what the particular verses mean, and submit the translation in court by June 19.

“Please explain just what they (aayats) mean. We do not want you to go into the background of the aayats or their merits,” remarked Justice Desai.

The issue reached the High Court after Bhasin challenged a government resolution (GR) issued on March 9, 2007, banning his book and its Hindi translation by Dr Anil Misr, a Sanskrit scholar from Allahabad. The GR says the book has several derogatory remarks about jihad, the Quran, Prophet Mohammed, Indian Muslims and conversion, which “pose a danger to social harmony”.

“The book outrages the feelings of Muslim section of society, maliciously insulting the religion and religious beliefs of Muslims and is likely to lead to acts of violence and disharmony,” the GR adds.

However, Bhasin in his petition claims that more than 10,000 copies of the book have been sold worldwide since its publication in 2003, and it is not likely to cause any trouble. He also says that on April 5, 2007, the police raided his Nariman Point office and seized 982 copies of his book and terms this a violation of his right to speech and liberty. Bhasin has also alleged that the government banned the book for political reasons to win Muslim votes.

Bouquets and brickbats

Lashkar-e-Hind, a Hindu organisation, has filed an intervening application through its president I G Khandelwal supporting Bhasin’s book.

“The contentions of the book are on the basis of truth and world history, nothing is false, baseless and self-motivated. The book describes the misinterpretation to the Muslim community by their spiritual leaders,” says the application.

Four Muslim organisations – the Bombay Aman Committee, Islamic Research Foundation, Maharashtra Muslim Lawyers’ Forum and Jamat-e-Islami-e-Hind, Maharashtra – have also approached the HC against
the book.

“This book contains several insulting remarks about the religious belief of the Muslim community and it contains discouraging passages about Islam and remarks vilifying the holy character of Prophet Mohammad.

It could provoke unnecessary communal disharmony. Therefore, we should be heard before the matter is decided,” said advocate Mubin Solkar, who is representing Bombay Aman Committee and the IRS.





Assets notice to ex-ministers


Ranchi, May 12: Jharkhand High Court today slapped showcause notices on five former ministers in the disproportionate assets case registered against them.

A division bench of Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice D.K. Sinha directed former ministers Dulal Bhuiyan, Bhanu Pratap Sahi, Kamlesh Singh, Bandhu Tirkey and Chandra Prakash Choudhary to explain why a CBI probe should not be ordered into their assets, alleged to be more than their known sources of income.

The sudden decision of the court was sparked off by a state report, which revealed that their assets were not disproportionate to their known sources of income. The state, in its affidavit, told the court that it had not received any information or data from the income-tax department that could indicate that the ministers had amassed disproportionate assets.

The court has given a 10-day deadline to the former ministers to file their reply.

The affidavit of the state was, however, thwarted by the income-tax department, which refuted the stand.

The counsel for the state income-tax chief commissioner told the court that despite several applications and notices, none of the former ministers had filed any reply or furnished details of their assets and income to work out their individual assets profile and to check whether those were more than their revealed sources of income.

The I-T department has to follow the statute, which makes it mandatory for the office to issue notices to income-tax assessees and allow them an opportunity to explain acquisition of their assets with regards to their incomes.

“The ministers have been sent notices more than once and no one has bothered to come out with data. In the absence of details, the department cannot work out an assets sheet of individual ministers,” the counsel said.

The matter had come up in a PIL filed by one Durga Oraon who has alleged amassing of enormous assets by the ministers through illegal means.

The PIL filed in September 2008 had opened a can of worms for the then government, which has had a rather difficult time trying to safeguard the former ministers.

The petitioner has sought a CBI inquiry into the matter for impartial investigation before which the court had directed the state and the income-tax department to inquire independently and inform the bench whether the former ministers were actually guilty of amassing assets more than their incomes.




Jethmalani: PIL on black money not politically motivated

J. Venkatesan

Supreme Court grants time for filing reply and rejoinder

New Delhi: The former Union Law Minister, Ram Jethmalani, who, along with five others, had filed a public interest litigation petition in the Supreme Court on black money, on Monday objected to the Centre’s insinuations questioning their bona fides and describing the PIL as politically motivated.

Appearing for the petitioners, senior counsel Anil Divan submitted before a Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Mukundakam Sharma that the attempt to give a political colour to the PIL and linking them with the BJP was unfortunate.

Mr. Divan said “each of the petitioners is independent and has no contact with the BJP or any other political party but are distinguished citizens in their own field of activity. Reading out the submissions, Mr. Divan said, “Illicit funds from India parked in foreign banks and foreign tax havens could be used for funding terrorists and subversive activities.”

Mr. Divan pointed out that the court on April 22 did not issue notice on the assurance that the Union of India would file its affidavit within 48 hours, but the affidavit was filed only on May 2.

In the affidavit, the Centre refuted allegations that it was slack in its efforts to bring back into India the funds stashed by Indian citizens in foreign banks, especially the Swiss banks. It said that it was the Swiss authorities, citing DTAA provisions, who “consistently refused to share bank information” and that the Centre acted with “utmost expedition” in the matter.

It said the Swiss authorities took a stance that the information on bank deposits of Indian residents was not necessary for the application of the double taxation avoidance agreement. The Swiss authorities felt that such information was required only for the enforcement of Indian internal tax laws and that it was not at their disposal under Swiss laws in the normal course of tax administration. But now steps were being taken for renegotiation.

Mr. Divan referred to the speech of National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan at a conference on security in Munich, Germany on February 11, 2008: “Isolated instances of terrorist outfits manipulating the stock markets to raise funds for their operations have been reported. Stock exchanges in Mumbai and Chennai have on occasions reported that fictious or notional companies were engaging in stock market operations.”

The petitioners — Gopal Sharman, Jalbala Vaidya, K.P.S. Gill, Prof. B.B. Dutt and Subhash Kashyap, besides Mr. Jethmalani — submitted that according to reports, between 2002 and 2006 an estimated Rs.70 lakh crore was siphoned off from India and parked in foreign bank accounts. The Indian government had not taken any steps to seize such funds and to prosecute and punish the guilty persons, they said.

The Bench, without issuing notice, asked the petitioners to file a detailed reply to the Centre’s affidavit and rejoinder by the Centre and posted the matter for further hearing on July 20.

Corrections and Clarifications

The seventh paragraph of a report “Jethmalani: PIL on black money not politically motivated” (May 5, 2009) said “Mr. Divan referred to the speech of National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan at a conference on security in Munich, Germany on February 11, 2008: ‘Isolated instances of terrorist outfits manipulating the stock markets to raise funds for their operations have been reported ..'” The speech was delivered at the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy, on November 2, 2007.





HC restricts PMC from cutting trees

10 May 2009, 0223 hrs IST, TNN

PUNE: The Bombay high court, in an interim stay order on May 6, has restricted the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) from issuing tree-cutting permissions without obtaining approval from the court.

The order came during the hearing of a PIL filed by Pune-based environmentalist Deepak Balkrishna Vahikar, challenging the felling of 1,522 trees by the civic body.

The HC bench, including Justice J N Patel and Justice Mridula Bhatkar, has banned cutting of trees in the city till June 17. “It’s the primary duty of the municipal corporation to protect the environment and maintain ecological balance by planting trees rather than cutting them,” it said.

“Taking into consideration the reason placed before us for felling the trees, we are of the view that the justification given for cutting the 1,522 trees cannot be accepted,” the order said.

After the rap from the court, the civic officials are a worried lot as the monsoon is round the corner. Pune Tree Authority officer Balasaheb Jhagzap said that the PMC has decided to file an additional application in the HC to reconsider its order. The civic body will have to urgently cut dangerous trees which are likely to cause accidents during the monsoon.

Tree activist Vinod Jain, who welcomed the order, said it was high time that such an action was taken against the PMC.





Madras HC notice to TN govt on illegal granite quarrying


The Madras High Court has issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government and the Geology and Mining Department Commissioner on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a CBI probe into the illegal granite quarrying in the state.

When the PIL, filed by one M Ramesh Kumar of Madurai, came up for hearing, a division bench comprising Justices P Jyothimani and T S Sivagnanam ordered notice, returnable by four weeks, and directed the government to file its counter by that time.

In his petition, Mr Kumar said illegal granite mining was rampant in the State leading to huge loss of revenue to the Government.

He said unless an inquiry by the CBI was ordered, the illegal quarrying would be carried on without any inhibition and prayed for action against all the Deputy Directors, Assistant Directors of the Geology and Mining Departments of all the districts by ordering a CBI probe into it.

He said the officials of the Geology and Mining Departments have failed to perform their duties by abetting the lessees of granite quarries to misappropriate the government’s property and also assess the actual misappropriation and loss caused due to the failure of the departmental staff in enforcing the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and the Granite Conservation and Development Rules, 1999.

The PIL also sought a direction to the State Government and the Geology and Mines Department to take the measurement of length and breadth and height of the granite quarries, the granite stock in the quarrying area and the granite waste lying there and the number of cubic metres of excavated stones dispatched after paying the payment to the government.

Stating that the Department was not having any basic data on the stock of granite in each quarry, the PIL said the income from granite during 2007-08 was a mere Rs 351.20 lakh, which was very low when compared to previous years.

‘There is a revenue loss to the tune of 92.4 per cent, besides disparities in the amount of granite quarried and granite exported, which clearly highlights the fact that the miners are blatantly carrying illegal mining,’ it said.

‘This sudden revenue loss confirms the fraud committed in this industry and it cannot be attributed to global recession as the industry is not affected by it,’ the PIL added.





Govt contemplating to file

9 May 2009, 0516 hrs IST, TNN

LUCKNOW: The Allahabad high court order staying the quota system in unaided colleges of the state may virtually open the flood gates of seats for the general category students. But the officials in the education department were yet to interpret the order: as to whether it applied for the Bachelor of Education (BEd) courses, or will have its impact across the board on all professional courses offered by the unaided institutions, principally the private ones (The order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a BPEd aspirant).

Officials in the education department said that the order has virtually hit the policy of the state government which was now contemplating to file a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against the order.

A division bench of the HC had stayed application of quota in the unaided colleges two days back following a PIL filed by one BPEd aspirant, Sudha Tewari after she was denied a counselling session even though she qualified the entrance exam held in 2008. The petitioner said that she was first kept in the waiting list and later told that the seats in the general category have been filled and the remaining seats were meant for the reserved category.

But now, the High Court order opens up more opportunities for the general category students aspiring to get a BEd degree for which entrance was held in 2008 by Agra University. Already the second session for counselling for the course is underway at various counselling centres.

Authorities associated with the admission process said that the order does away with the quota system from nearly 45,000 BEd seats in some 475 unaided colleges in the state. A senior official in the department said: “As of now the order is interpreted as the one meant for some half-a-dozen colleges which have been covered in the PIL. We are still to look into it.”

“But if the order comes into force, it is going to affect some 80,000 seats in the private colleges,” the official said. In all there are close to 90,000 seats available in various colleges offering BEd degree. Of these 10,000 were in the government colleges/universities while the rest were in the private colleges. With 50% reservation, the seats which remain for the general category were close to 45,000, while the rest half was to be filled by the students from the reserved category. It is these seats where the competition opens up for all categories.

Officials in the UP Technical University (UPTU) too said that they were studying the order to understand if it has shaken up the existing seat arrangement. A senior official in UPTU said that there are some 434 professional colleges associated with the university. Of these, 427 were unaided ones, while seven had a government backing.





Blood, stool sampling on at Byculla zoo

Ashwin Aghor & Pandurang Mhaske

Saturday, May 9, 2009 3:20 IST

Mumbai: After the death of five-year-old hippopotamus Shakti on April 24, authorities at the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo have started vaccinating all animals and birds under their care. Blood and stool examinations are also being carried out.

However, Vikram Pawar, deputy municipal commissioner (gardens) claimed that the healthcare system is on schedule and in place at the zoo.

Meanwhile, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) has alleged that the staff is yet to implement all orders of the Bombay High Court, even ones like stopping harassment by visitors, keeping the zoo clean and providing enrichment to animals stuck in barren cages.

Civic authorities claimed on Friday that all was well at Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo, and that the directives of the Bombay High Court had been complied with.
The HC, hearing a PIL filed by Peta, had directed zoo authorities on July 18, 2005, to improve living conditions of animals.

Pawar said that as per HC directives, no new animals would be acquired by the zoo till execution of the master plan, which is under process to control the breeding of antelope — e and female antelope have been segregated and vasectomies performed on them.

Pawar also said that as per HC directives, three hippos — one solitary male and a pair — have been shifted to Surat Nature Park and Alipur Zoo, Kolkata, respectively, four pythons have been released at Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, four porcupines released in Sanjay Gandhi National Park and a male elephant shifted to Thiruvananthapuram Zoo on April 7, 2007.

“The zoo animals are given adequate and varied food as per the feed chart prepared in consultation with Bombay Veterinary College’s nutrition department,” Pawar said.

All animals are provided fresh drinking water and the water containers are thoroughly cleaned every day, he added. “We follow a disinfection schedule to maintain hygienic conditions in animal enclosures and feeding cubicles.”




Riz chargesheet: NGO moves court

9 May 2009, 0249 hrs IST, TNN

KOLKATA: An NGO moved Calcutta High Court on Friday, seeking a review of the court’s earlier order dismissing a public interest litigation filed by it against CBI.

The NGO, Empathy 05, contended that the chargesheet filed by the investigating agency in Rizwanur Rahman’s unnatural death case omitted names of Trinamool Congress MLA Javed Khan, Rizwan’s uncle Shahidur Rahaman and former DC (HQ) Gyanwant Singh by slapping non-cognizable and bailable charges on them though the names of the trio were mentioned in Rizwan’s suicide note. The PIL demanded that the charges of abetting suicide should have been brought against them.

On February 20, the division Bench of Chief Justice S S Nijjar and Justice Biswanath Somadder had dismissed the PIL on grounds of locus standi of the petitioner and that the contentions of the PIL were based on newspaper clippings.

Seeking a review of the dismissal order, the NGO cited a motion in the state Assembly moved by CPM MLA Rabin Mondal on November 27, 2008. While disposing of the motion, the Speaker had remarked that not filing a chargesheet against the trio was tragic and unfortunate, the petitioner argued. The case will be heard again next Friday.





A vote for nobody!

9 May 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Manigandan K R, TNN

Call it a law of power, a weapon of democracy or simply a gift from God.

Whatever you choose to call it, this is one rule that is sure to delight desperate voters across the country who claim that they are often forced to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Rule 49(O), as it is known, provides the voter the right to go to a polling booth and exercise his franchise without having to vote for anybody. In simple terms, if a voter is dissatisfied with all the contestants in his constituency, he can simply say that he wishes to vote for none of them.
Venkatasubramanian of Catalyst Trust, an NGO which is a part of Citizen’s Alliance for Good Governance, says, “Everybody should vote and when you do, vote wisely. Judge a candidate’s worthiness. First look at the candidate’s character and then at his ideologies. If you find that none deserve your vote, don’t sit at home. Use the provision of Rule 49(O).”

Throwing light on the rule, former chief election commissioner T S Krishnamurthy says, “49(O) is a rule under the Conduct of Election Rules – 1961, by which a voter is enabled to register his vote without voting for anybody. By opting for 49(O), a voter only indicates that he is not happy with any of the candidates contesting the elections. It is a kind of a protest vote but at the same time, it ensures that there is no impersonation.”

The rule has existed for long but not many are aware of its existence. It will come in handy to a large number of people who wish to vote but who claim that they do not do so as they do not find worthy contestants.

The seasoned bureaucrat explains how this rule helps the system. “If the number of such votes increase, political parties will know that certain candidates are not being approved. So, they may put up better candidates. Secondly, it prevents impersonation of a voter.”

The only issue as far as 49(O) is concerned is secrecy. “There is no secrecy in this matter as a voter has to openly announce to the presiding officer that he does not wish to vote for anybody. However, in my opinion, there should be no cause for worry as only statistics of those opting for 49(O) will be revealed to political parties,” he says.
“To remove any concerns that voters may have, we had suggested that the option ‘none of the above’ be made available in the voting machine itself. But unfortunately that required an amendment in the notification to be issued by the Ministry of Law. We wrote to them, asking them to approve this because the ballot paper is approved under the rules. However, they did not do anything. A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking the availability of such an option in the voting machine. It was heard by a two-member bench and they have referred the issue to a constitutional bench,” he adds.

The good news is that this time, many people are aware of this provision. Says Venkatasubramanian, “This time, as compared to 2004, there is a keenness to use 49(O). Many NGOs are printing pamphlets and creating awareness about the rule.”

He has a few words of advice for those who are scared to use 49(O).  Says he, “If you want, look for others in your locality who want to opt for 49(O) and go to the polling station together. Find strength in numbers.”





Scarlett case: CBI moves HC

9 May 2009, 0345 hrs IST, TNN

PANAJI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has approached the high court of Bombay at Goa against an order of the children’s court rejecting its prayer to issue a letter rogatory’ for further investigations in UK in the Scarlett Keeling murder case.

The CBI had sought the letter of request for investigation/collection of evidence under Section 166-A of CrPC, as the victim’s mother Fiona Mackeown and British national Charles Carter were required to be examined following new evidence. Charles Carter, a British national, was present at Lui’s shack on the intervening night of February 17, 2008.

“Both the witnesses need to be examined as they have no plans to return to India,” the CBI had submitted. The agency had further submitted that as the investigations had reached a crucial stage, the victim’s mother should be examined in the light of evidence collected.

Taking objection to the application, the accused, Samson D’Souza, had argued that the Code of Criminal Procedure did not provide for recording of fresh statements of witnesses whose statements had already been recorded. He contended that the CBI could not be allowed to embark on a de novo (new) investigation.

While dismissing the application on March 6, president of the children’s court Desmond D’Costa had observed that both the witnesses had already given detailed statements to the police that formed part of the records. “It would have been a different case if the witnesses’ statements had not been recorded at all,” the court observed.

He further said that while the CBI claims to have collected additional evidence and recorded the statements of over 200 witnesses “none of the statements have been produced before his court making out any new angle on which both the witnesses need to be re-examined”.

“This is not a fit case to exercise the somewhat extraordinary and discretionary powers of this court to issue the letter of request to carry out further investigations in the UK. The exercise of these powers is not called for in the facts and circumstances of this case and in the interest of justice,” the judge had noted.

It may be recalled that 15-year-old Scarlett Kealing’s body was found on Anjuna beach in February last year.





HC allows ECR appeal

9 May 2009, 0456 hrs IST, TNN

PATNA: A division bench of Patna High Court on Friday allowed the Letters Patent Appeal (LPA) of the East Central Railway (ECR) setting aside the verdict of a single bench which had held that the railways should give the benefit of the “general condition of price variation” to a private firm, M/S Interlink Coal Pvt Ltd, which had been given the contract of Railway Staff Quarters Housing Project in Sonepur/Hajipur.

A division bench cmprising Chief Justice J B Koshy and Justice Ravi Ranjan said that the petitioner-contractor was not able to convince the court that there was any discrimination by ECR in not giving him the benefit of the “general condition of price variation” and ECR did not violate any constitutional provisions in this regard.





After 12 yrs, HC acquits four of rape

Express News Service

Posted: May 09, 2009 at 0122 hrs IST

New Delhi The Delhi High Court on Friday acquitted four men implicated for gangrape after 12 years of trial and conviction by a trial court.

“This case is an instance of how a false criminal case, instituted in connivance with obliging police officers, can virtually ruin the lives of innocent persons,” Justice S Muralidhar observed in his judgment.

A case registered in 1997 at Haus Khas police station accuses Pankaj Chaudhary and three of his friends — Gunjesh, Qaslm and Jail Lal — of raping a woman at the Shaheed Bhagat Singh slum camp in Katwaria Sarai on the night of July 28, 1997. The FIR claims the men raped the woman, a sex worker, after she refused to give them a beedi.

In 2000, the sessions court found the men guilty and sentenced them to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 each despite the fact that medical reports failed to confirm her rape allegations.

But appeal hearings in the High Court threw up evidence that the “victim” was in custody at the police station in another criminal case at the alleged time of the rape. Defence lawyers also said the four accused had filed several complaints against a prostitution racket flourishing in the area.

An ongoing vigilance inquiry in 2001 initially unearthed “negligence on the part of Sub-Inspector Jai Bhagwan, ASI Prem Chand and Inspector H M Bakshi, the then SHO of PS Hauz Khas”.

The woman is also in trouble as the judge initiated steps for her prosecution under Section 211 of IPC for instituting a false criminal proceeding. Maximum punishment for this offence is seven years.

The court today ordered a complete inquiry report to be placed on record before the Police Commissioner within the next eight weeks.




HC to Jet, Sahara: Settle dispute over dues out of court


BS Reporters / Mumbai May 09, 2009, 0:33 IST

The Bombay High Court has asked Jet Airways and Sahara India Commercial Corporation Ltd (SICCL) to discuss and settle their dispute over payment of dues related to the former’s purchase of Sahara Airlines during the summer holidays. The court today adjourned the case to June 12.

“Based on the submissions filed with this court on May 7, 2009, and hearing on May 8, the case has now been posted to June 12, 2009,” said Justice DY Chandrachud. The court closed for summer vacation today.

The judge suggested that “the parties make an earnest effort to attain a resolution …during the summer recess” and inform the court when it resumes hearing on June 12. The companies’ efforts for an out-of-the-court settlement had come to nought on Wednesday.

“In case of the parties not reaching a settlement by that date, the court will proceed with the matter according to the submissions and the ongoing arguments,” he added.

“The court is making an endeavour to make sure that the parties resolve the case outside the court,” said Jet Airways counsel Janak Dwarakadas said.

The counsels for both Jet Airways and Sahara told the court that they would meet on May 12 to iron out the issues. The companies would move the holiday court if they arrived at a conclusion, they added.

Jet bought Sahara Airlines from the Sahara group in April 2007 for Rs 1,450 crore. It paid Rs 900 crore and agreed to pay the balance in four installments.




After HC direction, junior doctors submit list of shortcomings

9 May 2009, 0425 hrs IST, TNN

Bangalore : Instead of patients, it’s hospitals that junior doctors in the state have diagnosed. The report was submitted to the high court on Thursday.

After a strike earlier this week, the high court had directed the protesters to file a detailed affidavit on facilities at government hospitals. Lack of proper facilities and drugs not only makes life hard for patients, but also renders our training ineffective, the junior doctors submitted.

In the affidavit, they have recorded shortcomings in government-run medical colleges attached to hospitals. The grievances are listed out hospital-wise and department-wise. Shortage of gloves, mouth masks, injections, poor X-ray machines and non-availability of ventilators are common observations for almost all the hospitals, including Bangalore’s Bowring and Lady Cirzon Hospital, Victoria Hospital and Vani Vilas Hospital.

“Life-saving injections for those who have consumed poison or have been bitten by a snake are also lacking. Patients coming after a severe asthmatic attack suffer because of non-availability of drugs. Emergency cases like a cardiac arrest, breathlessness and accidents are referred to private hospitals or NIHMANS because of lack of equipment or drugs.. The golden hour is thus wasted in shifting… Some hospitals don’t even have sufficient suture material,” the affidavit states.





HC goes beyond doc testimony in 1987 rape case

9 May 2009, 0116 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN

MUMBAI: The high court has gone beyond a doctor’s statement to deliver its judgment in a 1987 rape case.

The doctor’s testimony that the hymen was intact is not the ultimate evidence to disprove rape, the Bombay HC ruled in an important judgment. Twenty-two years after a Satara resident allegedly raped an 11-year-old girl, a division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S C Dharmadhikari has held him guilty of the crime.

The HC overturned a trial court verdict acquitting Suresh Jadhav (who was 18 years old at the time of the incident), and said the victim’s allegation of rape had been corroborated by statements of other witnesses and the chemical analysis report.

The HC sentenced Jadhav to a jail term of three years and asked him to pay the victim compensation of Rs 50,000.

“It is difficult for the court to lose sight of the fact that here is a girl victim, of the age of 11 to 13 years, who has been subjected to such sexual assault by the accused,” said the judges. The trial court had disbelieved the girl based on the statement of the doctor who said the victim’s hymen was intact and there were no bodily injuries.

The HC judges said it would be a “grave miscarriage of justice” if the accused, who has committed a rape on a minor girl, “is permitted to go scot-free just because some part of the doctors statement does not support the case of the prosecution”.

The HC questioned the doctor’s evidence. “The doctor has nowhere stated that upon examination, he was of the opinion that there was no penetration of any nature whatsoever in relation to the victim,” said the judges, adding, “Merely because (the) hymen was not torn and there was no bodily injury by itself (there) would be no ground to reject the case of the prosecution.”

Additional public prosecutor Pradeep Hingorani pointed to other evidence- the victim’s statement, testimonies of other witnesses and the chemical analysis report of the semen stains that matched the blood group of the accused. “There is no reason as to why the victim should come out with (a) false story at this tender age and suffer the pain and agony of being subjected to such a heinous offence,” said the judges.

The case dates back to August 1987. The victim was returning home with her brother, who asked Jadhav-a resident of the same village who was riding a cycle when the duo met him-to take her home. The accused, instead, took the girl to his house and allegedly raped her.

A trial court acquitted Jadhav in 1990. In 2007, the HC held Jadhav guilty, but on an appeal filed by him, the Supreme Court sent the matter back to the HC.

The HC said the trial court should have examined the cumulative effect of the entire evidence, but had instead disregarded the statements of the victim, witnesses as well as the blood-semen report without giving any reason.





If ailment’s curable, you can’t be denied job: HC

9 May 2009, 0102 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN

MUMBAI: “A person who suffers from an ailment that medical treatment can cure, and is otherwise fit to discharge the duties and responsibilities of the post to which he applies for, cannot be denied the right to lead a productive life, to maintain himself and his family with dignity, and strive towards excellence,” said the Bombay high court on Friday. In a landmark ruling, the HC overturned a decision taken by the State Bank of India (SBI) in Mumbai and directed it to employ a man who, in 2004, had undergone a kidney transplant.

Ranjit Rajak, a 32-year-old from Ghaziabad, UP, had taken SBI to court last year for having been refused a job on the grounds that he was “medically unfit”. Though the bank had first found him suitable as a probation officer after interviewing him in January 2007, six months later, after his medical test, he was declared “ineligible” because of his kidney transplant.

Rajak said it was not his first rejection; even the IDBI, another public sector bank, had denied him a job despite Apollo Hospital certifying him as “fit enough to perform tasks appropriate to the job” in January 2008.

Ironically, the SBI, too, relied on a separate report from the same hospital that found him “unfit” as he would “require continuous care”. The bank also relied on the 1979 guidelines that called for “special medical assessment while recruiting, to rule out kidney ailments, congenital heart disease, diabetes and rheumatic heart”.

Mihir Desai, Rajak’s lawyer, challenged the SBI decision saying it was not only discriminatory and violated the fundamental right to life and equality, but was also against a citizen’s right to public sector employment.

A division bench of Justices Ferdino Rebello and R S Mohite expressed concern at the discriminatory policy adopted by the public sector undertaking. The HC relied on several judgments from the US and other courts as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol, which India had signed in 2007.

The HC said the “the state as an employer does not have unfettered freedom as to who he chooses as his employee. If a person, who at one point suffered an ailment, is denied a job in the public sector, his chances in the private sector would be nil.

“Do we, as a state, condemn all such citizens to be dependent on their families? Do we strip them off their dignity to live a full life? The theory of reasonable accommodation flows from the right to a life of dignity,” said the court. The judges dismissed the bank’s stand as “unreasonable”, that it would have to bear the employee’s medical cost and that his work capability was irrelevant due to his medical condition. The court directed the bank to appoint Rajak in 60 days.






HC talks tough with BMC on Deonar dump

9 May 2009, 0122 hrs IST, Sukhada Tatke, TNN

MUMBAI: The BMC’s action plan to curb the Deonar dumping ground menace falls short of the requirement, observed the Bombay high court on Friday. Municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak, who visited the dumping ground on Wednesday on the court’s directives, presented his report to justice D Y Chandrachud, along with a short-term plan to reduce inconvenience to the residents of the area.

In what comes as a strong order and a relief to the residents, the high court has given one last chance to the BMC to pull up its socks, or officials in charge would have to face “coercive proceedings”.

The action plan suggests doubling the existing machinery like security guards, lighting, bulldozers, JCBs and dumpers. Further, in addition to the 20 trips of water tankers for fire control, a combination unit from the sewerage operation department will be used for lifting treated sewage water from the Deonar abattoir and the Ghatkopar waste water treatment plant. This water, around 1 lakh litre, would be sprayed on the burning garbage heaps.

The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by the Smoke Affected Residents’ Forum (SARF) in April last year. SARF had first moved court a decade ago, but last year, it filed a contempt case against the civic chief, calling the dumping ground’s continued existence a violation of human rights.

Even as the petitioner’s counsel Minoo Siodia and the BMC’s counsel A Y Sakhare argued vehemently, the judge maintained that “the problem of dumping at the Deonar dumping ground has assumed serious proportions. Pollution caused by the dumping ground poses danger to public health and welfare of residents in the vicinity,” said the judge. He quoted the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) report, which stated that large amounts of respirable particulate matter and the carcinogenic gas formaldehyde were found in the air around the dump.

“Unregulated dumping continues despite directives of this court from time to time. The BMC has shown apathy in dealing with the problems and has made no serious attempts to alleviate them, despite several assurances,” the judge added. The petitioner’s counsel handed over copies of videos and photographs highlighting the abysmal conditions at the dumping ground.

The judge, however, said Phatak’s report “speaks for itself and is indicative of the actual position of the ground in a fair way”. In his report, Phatak admitted that a lot of smoke emanates from the dumping ground. Letting go of his usual stand that rag-pickers set fire to the garbage, he admitted that the frequent fires were caused by “methane in the garbage”. Among other things, Phatak admitted that the number of water tankers and sprinklers was inadequate, lighting was not good enough, garbage was being dumped in a manner that made it inaccessible to tractors and cattle intruded into the dumping ground.

The judge has directed the BMC to file an affidavit on June 8 indicating the civic body’s efforts in abiding by the HC orders and the time schedule it has stuck to.




HC gets conflicting reports on med facilities in jail

9 May 2009, 0446 hrs IST, TNN

Ahmedabad : Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court KS Radhakrishnan must be in a dilemma after receiving the report of amicus curiae which contains detailed description of lack of medical facilities in Sabarmati Central Jail.

Just three days ago, a division Bench headed by chief justice dismissed a PIL alleging absence of medical facilities for inmates. The PIL was not carried forward after jail authorities and additional principal sessions judge PB Desai denied the allegations. High court accepted the judicial officer’s report and dismissed the PIL on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, advocate Shalin Mehta appointed by the same Bench to assist the court in a suo motu case on a murder in Sabarmati jail, reported that jail dispensary urgently required fresh stock of medicine. He highlighted the fact that jail authorities have requested state government to depute staff of Red Cross Society there. They have sought medical assistance from the international organisation as medical requirement in the prison remains unfulfilled.

In his report, advocate Mehta has mentioned the number of posts in the jail dispensary that are lying vacant. Lack of medical facilities within jail premises has forced authorities to send the inmates to Civil Hospital, a practice that is being discouraged at present.

Proper medical facility is not available to prisoners because authorities do not have requisite medicines. Even a cough syrup was not found in jail dispensary. In our view, it ought to have state-of-the-art equipment at least, if not the most expensive,” reads the report.

It also states that more than 40 prisoners have been suffering from heart aliments and have not been getting proper treatment inside jail. Moreover, high TDS in drinking water is also an issue, and prisoners as well as jail staff have complained about inaction of municipal corporation to resolve the problem.

Incidentally, judge PB Desai had observed in a case last year that jail inmates can’t have facilities of a five-star hotel, when a fake encounter case accused had raised a similar issue in his complaint.

Court has scheduled hearing in suo motu case on May 12. Moreover, during these two months, state government has not been able to tell court about the compensation scheme for death of jail inmate Suresh Kukadia.





CJI,Yesudas to be conferred doctorates

By , Written on May 8, 2009

Kottayam, Friday 8 May 2009: The Mahatma Gandhi University has decided to confer honorary doctorates on Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan, noted singer ‘Padmasree’ K J Yesudas and eminent Ayurveda doctor ‘Padmasree’ P K Warrier for their immense contribution to their respective fields.

Governor and Chancellor of the university R S Gavai would confer the doctorate at a function, to be held at the university assembly hall here on May 19.

Justice Balakrishnan would receive Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree, Yesudas Doctor of Letters (D Lit) and Dr Warrier Doctor of Science (D Sc) degree, a university release here said.





Contempt plea against Modi deferred

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has deferred till July hearing on the contempt petition against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged remarks that its April 27 order asking the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into a complaint against him and others was passed mala fide in conspiracy with the Congress.

Prashant Bhushan, amicus curiae in the petition filed by Jakia Nasim Ahesan, wife of the former Congress MP, Ehsan Jafri (who was killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots), filed the contempt petition.

When it came up for hearing before a Bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices Arijit Pasayat and P. Sathasivam on Friday, the CJI told Mr. Bhushan that the matter would be heard after the summer vacation.

LEGAL NEWS 09.05.2009

AXE EFFECT: HC says stop
Court orders stay on tree-cutting at Lalbagh, wants BMRCL to explain

Srikanth Hunasavadi, Bangalore
FRIDAY, MAY 08, 2009
Just when the Lalbagh campaigners thought it was all over, the Karnataka High Court stepped in on Thursday and gave them a reason to cheer. A vacation bench comprising Justice N Kumar and Justice Keshav Narayan ordered a stay on tree felling in the area and asked the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) to explain the action at Lalbagh and RV Road.
The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Mahavir Ranka, a businessman and an RV Road resident, challenging the ordinance issued by the state government allocating 1135 sq metres of land in Lalbagh for a Metro station.
The stay has brought the smiles back in the green camp which had almost given up after CM BS Yeddyurappa gave a green signal to the BMRCL for tree felling despite protests.
Arguing for the petitioner, advocate Vardhaman Gunjal on Thursday said that the BMRCL engaged in tree felling without seeking proper permission of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) tree officer.
It was submitted that even though the trees felled presently in Lalbagh are eucalyptus, which do not require prior permission of the tree officer as per the Tree Protection Act, the fact that such trees are in Lalbagh Botanical Gardens constitute an important collection of the park’s biodiversity.
The counsel gave the court a copy of the 2009 government order that involved a sale at a price fixed by the deputy commissioner of Bangalore. osted by The Bangalorean @ 5/08/2009 09:32:00 AM

Sandvik Asia gets HC nod for delisting
8 May 2009, 0252 hrs IST, Apurv Gupta & M Padmakshan, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: Reversing an earlier single-bench order, a division bench of the Bombay High Court has approved Sandvik Asia’s proposed resolution to reduce the share capital of the company by buying out minority shareholders at Rs 850 per share. In effect, the company can delist itself from the bourses, once the minority shareholders have been bought out.

“In our opinion, once it is established that non-promoter shareholders are being paid fair value of their shares, at no point of time it is even suggested by them that the amount that is being paid is anyway less and that even overwhelming majority of the non-promoter shareholders having voted in favour of the resolution shows that the court will not be justified in withholding its sanction to the resolution,” the division bench comprising Justice DK Deshmukh and Justice AA Sayed observed.

Legal experts say the verdict could have a bearing on the cases involving companies that want to delist from the bourses. Senior counsel Janak Dwarkadas, who appeared for Bharat Kumar Padamsi and others (minority shareholders), said they will move the Supreme Court against the division bench’s order.

Sandvik Asia’s lawyers argued that “a minuscule number of equity shareholders should not be permitted to override the vote or wish of the overwhelming majority of the equity shareholders of the company.”

It pointed out that the special resolution was passed by an overwhelming 99.95% of the shareholders. The promoters own 95.54% in Sandvik Asia.

“It means that only 0.05% of the votes polled by the equity shareholders present and voting were against and opposed the special resolution,” the company’s counsel said.

According to shareholders, who were against the resolution, their first objection to the share capital reduction scheme was that a public company that has invited participation from the public and wishes to retain its character as a public limited company cannot be permitted in law to extinguish the entire class of public shareholders by mooting a scheme for reduction of capital under Section 100-105 of the Act, so as to facilitate the real object of the scheme, that being to make the company a 100% subsidiary of promoters.

Transfer ban: HC notice to PU dept
Srikanth Hunasavadi
Friday, May 8, 2009 14:11 IST
Bangalore: The vacation bench of the High Court of Karnataka on Thursday issued a notice to the Pre-University department with regard to an order banning students from shifting from one college to another during second year of the PU course.
Justice BV Nagarathna heard the petition filed by the Karnataka State Minorities Educational Institutions Managements’ Federation and directed the government advocate to clarify whether this rule is also applicable to students from the CBSE and ICSE boards. The case has been adjourned to next Thursday.
The petitioner challenged the new circular issued by the commissioner of PU dept on April 21 that prohibits second year PU students from shifting to another college to pursue the course, starting from the academic year 2009-10.
Petitioner’s advocate GR Mohan submitted that the circular is illegal and arbitrary and sought stay on it.
Apart from prohibiting students from changing their college to pursue the II PU course, the circular also insisted that institutions obtain an affidavit from the students who have gained admission in the IPUcourse, as well as their parents, for the year 2009-10, that they will not seek a change of college for the PU II course after passing the I year.

Guj HC designates nine judges for trial in 2002 riot cases

Press Trust of India / Ahmedabad May 8, 2009, 13:02 IST
The Gujarat High Court has designated nine judges for as many special court to carry out the trial in the 2002 post-Godhra riot cases being probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), High Court officials said here today.
The High Court, in an order issued in this regard as per the SC judgement delivered early this month, has designated nine special courts, one for each case, which will become operational soon, they said.
Out of the nine special courts four will be in Ahmedabad, two each in Mehsana and Anand, and one in Himmatnagar of Sabarkantha district. According to the Court’s order, additional sessions judge P R Patel has been designated to conduct the trial in the Godhra train carnage case which will be held in the premises of the Sabarmati Central Jail here.
Judge S H Vora and additional sessions Judge Jyotsna Yagnik will be presiding over the trial of Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya cases respectively.
For the Gulburg society case, where Congress ex-MP Ehsan Jaffery was killed during the riots, Judge B U Joshi has been designated as judge for the special court.
For the two cases in Mehsana district — Dipda Darwaja and Sardarpura — the Court has designated Judge B N Kariya and Judge S C Srivastava respectively.
Judges S Y Trivedi and R M Sarine have been deignated to conduct trial in two riot cases in Khambodaj and Ode of Anand distict respectively. While for the riot case in Prantij taluka of Sabarkantha district where some British nationals were killed, Judge H P Patel has been deignated as judge of the special court which will be based in district headquarters Himmatnagar.
The Supreme Court on May 1 lifted stay on trial of nine cases including Godhra train carnage and post-Godhra riot cases and ordered day-to-day hearing by fast track courts in Gujarat.
It also took into consideration the report filed by Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former CBI director R K Raghavan which probed the cases. While vacating its stay order of November 21, 2003, the court had directed that witnesses be provided security for their safe passage and if necessary at their place of living during the trial.
The Court said that the SIT will act as a nodal agency to decide as to which witnesses in the case should be given protection and relocated. It also armed SIT with sweeping powers and said that it would be open to the SIT chairman to seek change of public prosecutors if any deficiency was found during trial.
The apex court also gave liberty to the SIT to recommend cancellation of bail if it is considered necessary.

HC holds hope for parents
Friday, May 08th, 2009 AT 11:05 AM
PUNE: Reeling from a steep fee hike, parents of students in private schools were in for a great relief as the state government on Wednesday clarified before the Bombay High Court that unaided schools will not be allowed to hike fees without the approval of the proposed school fee fixation committee.
The high court has set a deadline of eight weeks, i.e. June 30 for formation of the committee. School Education minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had already announced setting up of such a committee, but the high court’s intervention will ensure its quick implementation, bringing the already announced fee hike by various schools under purview of the proposed committee.
School education department secretary Sanjay Kumar, in his submission before the court, clarified that such schools would have to restore fees to the previous level and seek fresh approval from the proposed committee. Circulars would be issued to all schools in this regard within a couple of days, he informed the court.
The government has not yet formulated the structure of the fee committee, said Vikhe Patil on Thursday. He told Sakal Times, “The committee will have quasi-judicial powers and hence has to be set up by legislation. We might take the course of ordinance as the monsoon session of assembly will not be convened before the deadline of June 30.”
The state government proposes to bring even schools of other boards like Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Indian Council for Secondary Education (ICSE) and International Baccalaureate (IB) schools under jurisdiction of the committee. This is good news for parents, as the state education department did not have control over these schools until now.
The city has 313 while Pune district has 220 private schools. Many of them have hiked fees from the next academic year, to the extent of 35 to 40 per cent. Some schools have cut back the fee hike following opposition from parents.
If the experience of the fee committee for higher education is any indication, the proposed committee for private schools has a voluminous task in store. The state has 1,451 primary schools and 3,396 secondary private schools, which follow the state board syllabus. The number of schools with CBSE, ICSE and IB boards runs into a few hundred. The government will have to provide sufficient manpower and infrastructure to the proposed committee, else delayed proposals of fee hikes might snowball into controversies as presently seen in professional colleges, authorities fear.

P&H HC agrees to refer probe into PPSC irregularities to CBI
Punjab and Haryana High Court agreed to refer to CBI the inquiry into the irregularities allegedly committed in the selection of candidates for the coveted Haryana Civil Services and Allied Services in 2002 written examination and the interview conducted by the Punjab Public Service Commission.

For this, notice for May 12 has been issued to the CBI as the bench directed the concerned parties to spell out the points on which the reference is to be made to the CBI.

The Division bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice Hemant Gupta gave the order during resumed hearing on the joint writ petition of former Haryana minister Karan Singh Dala MLA and present chairman of Haryana Administrative Reforms Commission, and two unsuccessful candidates.

The bench also had a look at the answer sheet of a selected candidate Kuldhir Singh, who had attempted four questions but was given marks for five while he had neither written the note about a compulsory question nor drawn the mandatory map as required.

The selection, it was argued by Mohan Jain former Haryana Advocate General, was manipulated to benefit close associates and relatives of those in power.

It was pointed out that Kuldhir Singh is the son of Sher Singh Badshami, political advisor to the then Chief Minister O P Chautala.


MP HC directs issuing of notice to medical college

The Madhya Pradesh High Court issued notice to the respondents of a Medical College for not allotting PG seat to a handicapped girl despite her merit.

The Court also issued directives to the State Medical Education Department (MED) Director to be present in person in the court to give clarification.

Joint bench justices A K Patnaik and P K Jaiswal had accepted the petition of Dr Rakhi Mangal and issued directives to serve MED Director V K Saini and handicapped student Rajesh Tiwari with urgent notices.

The next date of hearing was fixed on May 13.

Petitioner’s Counsel Aditya Sanghi told the court that the seat was not allotted to Dr Mangal but was given to another handicapped student Dr Rajesh Tripathi, who had lesser marks.

The petition alleged that the discriminatory action was taken against Dr Mangal as she moved to the court last year alleging irregularities and the verdict went against the Director.

She said that the rest of the seats, if available, would be allotted to her after allotting seats to the students who had passed the 2009 examinations.


Put reservation provision on hold: HC to UP govt
Published: May 8,2009
Allahabad , May 7 The Allahabad High Court today directed the Uttar Pradesh government not to implement the provision of reservation in admission to private unaided colleges in the state till further order.
The order was passed by a Division Bench comprising Justice Sunil Ambawani and Justice Virendra Singh on a petition filed by one Sudha Tiwari.
The petition challenged the provision of reservation in admission to private unaided colleges in the state.
The Bench also directed the Centre and the state to file counter affidavits and fixed July nine for further hearing.

HC stays earlier ruling in PAL land case
Published: May 8,2009
Mumbai , May 7 A Division Bench of Bombay High Court today stayed an earlier order by the Court in favour of Maharashtra Government in the Premier Automobile Land auction case.
Banking major ICICI is seeking to auction a land belonging to Premier Automobile Ltd (PAL) – Peaugeot near Dombivali after the latter went into liquidation.
But last year, the state government claimed that the land originally belongs to them, which was given to local gram panchayant.
Panchayat had transferred the land to PAL for a factory.
Therefore, the state said, that it would also have a share of the auction&aposs proceedings.
Justice R S Dalvi of the High Court had then upheld the government&aposs claim.
ICICI and other lenders, who are seeking to recover their loans to PAL through auction, later moved to the Division Bench against Justice Dalvi&aposs order.
Division Bench of Justices D K Deshmukh and R S Mohite today put a temporary stay to Justice Dalvi&aposs order and asked the government to file its affidavit within six weeks.
Land was auctioned last year.
Citra, a subsidiary to Indiabulls, had won the auction, But since its bid of over Rs 670 crore was below the reserve price, so it backed out. Fresh auction is yet to take place.

Source: PTI

Bombay HC to hear Anil Ambani’s yacht smuggling case
Posted by admin on 5/08/09
Mumbai, May 8 (ANI): The Bombay High Court will today hear a petition filed by the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) Company Ammolite Holdings challenging the seizure of the luxurious yacht ‘Tian’, which was chartered by the Reliance Transport and Travels Ltd, another ADAG company.
Division Bench of Justices F I Rebello and J H Bhatia will hear the matter.
The yacht was seized in February by the Customs Department for alleged tax evasion.
The Customs Department alleged that Ammolite Holdings had violated the Customs Act by “smuggling in” a luxurious yacht, which is believed to be a gift from Anil to his wife Tina Ambani.
The ADAG has denied that it “smuggled” a luxurious yacht into Indian waters. It claims that the yacht is having a foreign flag was not imported. It can sail in international as well as Indian waters. (ANI)

Court notice on granite quarrying after PIL alleges scam
8 May 2009, 0459 hrs IST, TNN

CHENNAI: Indicating a multi-crore granite quarrying and royalty evasion scam in Tamil Nadu, a public interest writ petition has sought CBI probe into the matter and stringent action against deputy/assistant directors of geology in all districts for collusion.

A vacation bench comprising justice P Jyothimani and justice T S Sivagnanam ordered notices to the Departments of Industries and Geology and Mining, asking them to file their replies in four weeks.

The petition, filed by advocate Muthuraj on behalf of M Ramesh Kumar of Madurai, said royalty collected from quarries inexplicably fell by over 92 per cent in 2007-08 though the export figures revealed only a 11 per cent fall.

In other words, as against the royalty collection of Rs 3,200 crore in 2005-06 and Rs 4,641 crore in 2006-07, the government received only Rs 351 crore as royalty in 2007-08. During the corresponding period, the export revenue of granite dropped by only 11 per cent, indicating misappropriation on a massive scale.

Siva Kumar said the glaring disparity between the granite quarried and the granite exported highlighted the fact that miners, in collusion with officials, were blatantly carrying on illegal mining in Tamil Nadu.

When the petitioner sent separate questionnaire under the Right To Information (RTI) Act to various district authorities, either they said they did not have any mines in their jurisdiction or said they had no details pertaining to the width, length and deputy of granite pits, besides waste in the quarries.

Describing it as perpetration of annihilation of nature’s beauty, the petitioner accused the government of permitting indiscriminate quarrying of sand, stone and valuable minerals in its eagerness to fill up the coffers. Authorities vested with the duty of protecting the nature’s bounty, colluded with the perpetrators and caused loss of revenue to the tune of several thousand crores to the government, he said.

He wanted the High Court to order CBI probe into the issue and direct the government to take measurement of length, breadth and height of granite quarries besides taking stock of granites in quarrying area and waste lying therein. He also demanded action against all deputy directors and assistant directors of geology and mining departments in all districts for their failure to perform duty or abetment of the crime.

HC prod for clean fuel status
Ranchi, May 7: Jharkhand high court today questioned the Centre on its proposal to provide “clean fuel” to check pollution in the state capital.
The court, while hearing a PIL on vehicular pollution, directed the Centre to furnish an affidavit and explain what measures had been taken to ensure availability of clean fuel in Ranchi.
The petitioner, Rajnish Mishra, said that the city was reeling from pollution caused by commercial and private vehicles. Mishra alleged that the state pollution control board was not doing its duties and vehicles polluting the environment were still plying on city streets.
He said that the fuel used by commercial vehicles was not proper and its combustion caused more pollution. The Union government and the Gas Authority of India were responsible for providing clean fuel, he said, as per directions passed by the Supreme Court. Mishra also sought a ban on thousands of diesel autorickshaws running in the city.
“The diesel autos are manufactured in Lucknow and Pune, but are not allowed to run in those cities. These vehicles are known to be heavy pollution contributors,” the counsel for the petitioner said.
Clean fuel is basically liquified gas manufactured by Indian Oil Corporation for vehicles and the emission is negligible, he added.
The pollution control board filed an affidavit in the case and informed the court that it was running periodical checks of all vehicles in the city to check the level of pollution.
The board also stated that it does not have the authority to make available cleaner fuel as that was the prerogative of the Union and state governments.

350 posts for physically disabled lying vacant in UT’
Express News Service
Posted: May 08, 2009 at 0038 hrs IST
Chandigarh Nearly 350 posts meant for the physically challenged people are lying vacant in various departments of the UT Administration. Among these, 228 are waiting for direct recruitment since January 1, 1996 while 122 are lying vacant on account of non-promotion since January 1, 1986.
The data was furnished by the UT Administration in the Punjab and Haryana High Court during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by All India Blind Employees Association.
Since January 1, 1996, only 203 physically disabled persons have been recruited. Of the 228 posts lying vacant, 68 have been advertised for but not filled till date due to the election code of conduct.
The data furnished by the Administration also reveals that 11,979 recruitments in all categories (Class A,B,C,D) have been made till date. Moreover, since 1989, only 39 physically disabled persons have been promoted.
The petitioner has sought instructions to fill up the vacant posts of physically handicapped persons in various departments of the Chandigarh Administration.
In February, the High Court had taken the issue seriously and warned the Administration to immediately fill up the vacant posts. The court had also reprimanded the Administration for not filling up the posts.
In February, the Bench had ruled: “We have made it clear that in case the requisite information is not made available to the court on the next date of hearing, we will be left with no alternative but to stay further appointments in all the departments till vacancies are set apart and handicapped candidates appointed against the same in terms of the Act.”

Bidari promises to produce missing girls before next week
8 May 2009, 0005 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE : Police commissioner Shankar Bidari promised to produce missing girls before the court within a week while a high court division Bench asked the police to treat kidnapping and abduction of women, especially minor girls, as special cases. It also asked the police to depute elite officers to investigate those cases.

The Bench headed by Justice N Kumar made this observation when Bidari appeared before the court. “Every time I come across such cases I feel bad as I do have daughters. A day’s delay in such cases can prove costly as it may result in the death of the girl or they may abuse her. Don’t mix up these cases with others. Today’s teenagers are more intelligent than the police. You need to carefully handle them. Make them separate, special cases and entrust the investigation to elite among you,” said the judge.

Shankar Bidari explained to the court the various measures initiated by the police including a janata darshan programme to receive complaints.

“The abduction cases, which were 25 in 2005, 29 in 2006, 36 in 2007, 32 in 2008, have come down to just three in 2009. We have been impressing upon the DG & IG to treat these cases under the heinous crime category so as to depute personnel above the rank of police inspector to investigate them. For this, an amendment to the Karnataka police manual is needed,” he said.

He also told the court that a sub-inspector from Indiranagar police station has been kept under suspension, and a message has been sent to Mysore SP to take action against the probationary SI of Nanjanagud for dereliction of duty.

As for the words in his statement which irked the court, Bidari clarified it was meant for his subordinates.

Indiranagar SI suspended: After the high court rapped the city police for the delay in tracing a 17-year-old girl who has gone missing for two months, Indiranagar sub-inspector Rangappa was suspended on Thursday for dereliction of duty. The suspension came after Rangappa failed to trace the girl who went missing on March 3 in Indiranagar police limits, while returning from college. A senior police officer stated that Rangappa’s suspension came after he reportedly showed apathy in finding the girl. Later, the girl’s parents approached the high court seeking intervention in the matter.

Doctors’ strike case adjourned

The high court has adjourned the hearing of a suo moto PIL regarding the junior doctors’ strike after the state government’s statement that all doctors have resumed work.

Meanwhile, the Junior Doctors’ Association filed an affidavit listing certain deficiencies in hospitals attached to four government medical colleges.

Co-op elections to resume

A division Bench has clarified that the election process to the hundreds of co-op bodies across the state can resume after May 16 when the model code of conduct relating to Lok Sabha polls comes to an end. It said there’s no need to use any fresh notification.

KMF appeal dismissed

A division Bench has dismissed an appeal filed by KMF challenging the single Bench order facilitating the continuance of re-verification and re-examination of audited accounts from 2001-08.

To sit or not to sit: HC notice out
NEW DELHI: Caught napping by a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that exposed how even after more than 20 years of a Supreme Court directive, Delhi High Court has failed to change its rules that could have allowed accused to sit, rather than stand in trial courts, HC on Wednesday issued the notification.

In 1981, SC had directed all HC’s across the country to change the criminal manuals so that accused can sit while attending trial in courts. But it took a PIL by one Awadh Bihari Kaushik, filed earlier this week through lawyer R K Saini, to get HC administration moving. Interestingly, the PIL relies on an RTI plea filed in HC that revealed that no steps were taken all these years by HC to implement the SC order.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice was informed by the HC administration that a notification has been issued while the bench was hearing the PIL. HC then directed the city government to publish the notification in the gazette as early as possible. It will however, come to force after it is published in the official gazette.

The notification says that all judges should permit an accused to sit down during trial proceedings, making an exception only when a judge approaches his seat to start proceedings.

In his PIL Kaushik complained that despite an order from the apex court, the fundamental right of the accused person is being violated when they stand in the court room for several hours if the trial proceeding stretches for hours. Citing a trial going on at a district in the capital, Kaushik, a lawyer himself informed HC that the accused collapsed in court as he had to stand continuously. “This incident shook my conscience and made me do something for the sitting rights of an accused during the course of trial,” the PIL says.

Court orders temple eviction
Ranchi, May 6: Jharkhand High Court today direc- ted the East Singhbhum district administration to take immediate steps to free the premises of two ancient temples in Adityapur of encroachers.
A division bench of Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra and Justice D.K. Sinha also directed the state to construct a boundary wall around the temple, if required, to keep encroachers away.
In a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Mahesh Khariwal, it was said that encroachment and unwanted constructions on the premises of the two anci- ent temples of Sitala and Hanuman in Adityapur had become a common scene, which was affecting the environment of the place.
Khariwal in his petition had said that the temples were occupied by Bangladeshi immigrants, who were living on the premises.
The petitioner also said that the place had become dirty and the people, mostly illegal immigrants, were polluting the environment. They drank and littered the area, the PIL said.
The temple is thronged by a large number of pilgrims and devotees, who come from far-off places, and they have to go through a harrowing time due to these illegal immigrants, Khariwal said in the litigation.
They consume alcohol and other intoxicants inside the temple premises, the PIL said. The encroachers also consumed meat and fish and littered the temple premises which made the place stink, the petitioner said.
The court had earlier directed the state to enquire into the matter and furnish an affidavit with regards to the current status of encroachment on the temple premises.
The bench today obser-ved that the encroachers should be removed at the earliest and the premises made free of any unwanted constructions for the benefit of devotees.

Auto strike off, Rs 10 for 1st km, Rs 7 thereon
Express News Service
Posted: May 07, 2009 at 0304 hrs IST
Pune From Thursday, Puneites will be paying a fare of Rs 10 for the first kilometer and Rs 7 for every subsequent kilometer, as all rickshaw unions called off the autorickshaw strike at around 9.30 pm on Wednesday.
The settlement was reached after the RTA and the rickshaw unions held talks, led by Ajit Pawar, Wedneday afternoon, in Mantralaya, Mumbai.
“Across the state, it is Rs 7 for every subsequent kilometer after the first slab. The RTA told us that if a commuter files a PIL, they would be helpless, which is why we have withdrawn the strike,” said Bapu Bhave, secretary, Pune City Autorickshaw Federation.
Not too many autorickshaw drivers were happy with this decision. “What were we doing all these days then? This is a breach of faith by the union leaders. They have been compromised,” said an autorickshaw driver. “We are not satisfied. It feels like we have just about passed in an examination, not secured a distinction,” admitted Baba Adhav, president of the Rickshaw Panchayat, speaking to the media after he broke his fast late in the evening.
Earlier in the day, RTA officials said that the Rs 10 per km offer for the first kilometer had been made as a compromise. “It was the guardian minister Ajit Pawar who put forth the idea,” said Dilip Band, RTA chairperson.
“We proposed Rs 10 to settle the matter. The strike has been going on for so many days and we felt even the unions should feel like they have gained,” said RTO Chandrakant Kharatmal, who is the secretary of the RTA.
However, till evening, talks had proved inconclusive as the autorickshaw unions and the RTA left Mumbai without reaching a conclusion. The unions had been pushing for Rs 7.50 per extra kilometer 50 paise more than what the RTA was willing to offer. But pressure had been building on the striking autorickshaw drivers, as the RTA had managed to drive a wedge between the unions on Tuesday. The Pimpri Chinchwad unions had called off the strike after the RTA agreed not to enforce its “ply by meter” notification.
Nana Kshirsagar, of the Maharashtra Rickshaw Sena, said his union had withdrawn from the strike. On Wednesday early morning, his office was ransacked, allegedly in retaliation to this move. “More than five days of strike have passed, the auto drivers are poor, they need to earn their living. We withdrew because we couldn’t continue this way,” said Kshirsagar.
As Tuesday drew to an end, helplessness and strain had set in among many autorickshaw drivers as well, who were spending the hours counting their losses. “We do not have any other means of livelihood; it is a loss of around Rs 500 a day. We obviously want it to end as soon as possible, many of us are fed up but raising voice against this is impossible,” an auto driver had said earlier on Wednesday.
One driver said his union leader had refused to give the approval letter to ferry his sick child in his own autorickshaw to the hospital. “They told me to call for an ambulance. It was beyond what I could afford,” he said. Auto rickshaw drivers said they were scared to move out in their autos for fear of attack. “Not only were we losing money, we had to travel everywhere by bus,” said another driver.

The Capitalist | RCom thrives in adverse global meltdown–RCom-thrives.html
Overall, RCom earned a PBT of 8% on capital employed. Finally, in terms of return on net worth, RCom earned a respectable 21%
Inconvenient Questions. Relevant Answers | RN Bhaskar
Despite a slowdown in the economy, Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) appears to have thrived. If one takes its recently announced results into account, some very interesting facts come to light.
Also See Big Gains (Graphic)
First, while the entire corporate world was burdened by financial charges, RCom managed to recover not only the Rs938 crore it paid out during the nine months to December, but also managed to end the year to 31 March with a surplus of Rs787 crore. In other words, just between January and March 2009, RCom managed to earn over Rs1,724 crore as finance charges. It made money on money at a time most fund managers thought that it was the most difficult thing to do.
This translates into a 6.46% return on gross debt, which when annualized works out to a whopping 25.8%. While talking to financial analysts at an earnings conference call in January, group managing director Satish Seth had said: “Finance charges comprise of interest income and expense, foreign exchange gains and losses, including foreign exchange gains on bank balances and financial investments and amounts receivable from foreign subsidiaries. A composition of this is giving a net result of income.”
Also Read R N Bhaskar’s earlier columns
Also, look at the profit for ordinary activities before tax (PBT). During the nine months ended 31 December, PBT stood at Rs1,224 crore. The three months to March saw it soar to Rs6,135 crore. This means that in just three months RCom earned a PBT of Rs4,911 crore. While this represents just 6.4% on its capital employed, when annualized it works out to an impressive 25.7%.
Overall, RCom earned a PBT of 8% on capital employed. Finally, in terms of return on net worth, RCom earned a respectable 21%.
It just goes to show that when it comes to making money on money, global meltdowns mean little for adroit players such as RCom.
Power breakdown
An unexpected consequence of the economic downturn is that—more than ever before—state electricity boards are likely to show up some of the largest deficits in history. While the figures are not out as yet, bureaucrats and legislators are still fumbling for an escape route to hide the losses that have mounted.
The reason for their discomfiture is not hard to find. The downturn has caused many companies to cut back on production. That has meant poorer offtake of electricity. While it may be good news for urban and rural households, which have faced fewer power cuts in this sweltering summer, it has also meant lower offtake by the best paying sector of the economy—the corporate sector.
As may be known, the corporate sector actually subsidises power supply to farmers and rural folk, many of whom get electricity virtually free of cost, either because they steal power or because of populism, which has been fed and encouraged by politicians.
Politicians promise free power hoping it will bring in votes. And the corporate sector, followed by the urban household sector, pays high tariffs instead, as they must compensate for the dispensation of free or subsidised power.
How high are power tariffs for the corporate sector? Well, take one good example. Reliance Energy Ltd—which does not have to subsidise the dispensation of cheap power to the agricultural sector—is already the provider of the most expensive power to the corporate sector in Mumbai, for which it has a distribution licence. It sells power to business at a minimum cost of Rs10.41 per kWh. In many cases, the costs can be a lot higher. All of a sudden, with significantly lower cross subsidies available from the corporate sector, the cost of offering cheap or free power to the masses has begun to pinch.
Add this to India’s fiscal deficit and the number will be even more horrifying.
Slush funds
India’s bureaucrats must actually think that the country’s judges are dumb! How else can one explain their belated efforts to write to the Swiss banks asking for names of Indians who have accounts with them? Does any businessman or politician keep money in his own name? Were any of the Quattrocchi funds traced to any account held in the name of Ottavio Quattrocchi?
All these funds are normally kept in the names of companies which are listed in tax havens, which protect the name of the actual shareholder or operator.
What Indian bureaucrats and legislators should be doing is to join the global demand for more disclosure of shareholders of companies listed in these tax havens—St Kitts, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, et al. Merely writing to the Swiss banks will not be enough.
In fact, it is only after the Supreme Court took cognizance of the public interest litigation (PIL), asking for the government to begin tracing the list of people with accounts overseas, that the courts began asking the question this column asked almost four months ago.
How is it that a man (Pune-based stud-farm owner Hassan Ali Khan) who had four passports (some of them were obviously forged) was not kept behind bars? And how is it that in spite of the enforcement directorate producing details of bank accounts which showed laundering and transfer of funds worth $8 billion (Rs39,600 crore), not a single property of the person and his family was seized nor any application made to the banks overseas to freeze the funds?
Here’s hoping that some good will finally come out of these disclosures.
R.N. Bhaskar runs a company with significant interests in distance learning and examination certification and writes on corporate and business policy issues. Comments on this column are welcome at
Graphics by Ahmed Raza Khan / Mint

(Rpting after correcting a word in 4th line) HC restrains farmhouses on farm land from allowing function
Published: May 6,2009

New Delhi, May 6 The Delhi High Court today restrained the farmhouses constructed on agricultural land in the national capital from allowing marriage or any other function in their premises and asked court rpt court officers to conduct surprise checks to ensure misuse of farmhouses.
The orders were passed by a bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah which also the registrar general to appoint two officers to conduct surprise visits and submit a report to the court.
The Bench was hearing a PIL alleging MCD officials were not taking action against farmhouses accused of violating the guidelines and misusing the properties.
In November 2007, following a direction from the Court, MCD had issued guidelines asking all farmhouses to make the public roads free for traffic movement and farmhouse owners were asked to have sufficient space for parking of vehicles belonging to guests within the premises.
Source: PTI

HC wants govt to fast-track SAT appointments
Published on Wed, May 06, 2009 at 16:31 , Updated at Wed, May 06, 2009 at 18:36
Source : CNBC-TV18
A public interest litigation (PIL) filed against the government at the Bombay High Court has sought attention to the backlogs at the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT). The tribunal needs two more members to pass final orders, who, it is believed, have already been selected in November but haven’t been appointed yet. The Bombay High Court observed today that these appointments should be made without any further delay.
Somasekhar Sundaresan, the SAT PIL Petitioner Partner, J Sagar Associates, said, “The court has asked the government to make the appointments. The government said that it is pending with the Cabinet Committee for Appointments. The court has fixed a date of six weeks within which the government believes it would make the appointments and take the matter forward.”
“We did point out that in the last 30 days, the Air India Chairman has been replaced twice and the Appointments Committee of Cabinet seems to be quite actively dealing with other matters but not the judicial appointments. So one can only hope that the government acts quickly. However, they will have to be put back to the court in six weeks,” he added.
Sundaresan further spoke about the effect this has had on the SAT tribunal machinery and how has the delay in appointment affected the day-to-day work.
“This is denial to statutory right to appeal. The SEBI Act enables appeals against all action and decisions of SEBI, it’s a statutory rights that’s available and because judges are not there that statutory rights have been denied. Hence, a tribunal, which has brought pendency down to 90-80, the backlog has now gone up to 140-150. So this is one of the best performing tribunals in the country but the government seems to be apathetic towards it,” Sundaresan concluded.

Swiss bank: The Big Lie!

Swiss authorities claim that the Indian government submitted “forged” documents in the $8 billion Hassan Ali case. Has finance ministry lied to the Supreme Court?
Exclusive report By Sanjay Kapoor Berne/New Delhi
Someone is not telling the truth. Is it the Union finance ministry of the UPA government in Delhi, performing its last tango, caught in what is clearly a ‘Swiss Bank Tangle’?
Last week in the Supreme Court, the central government’s solicitor, responding to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that demanded government’s action on retrieving Indian black money stashed in Swiss banks, had given the names of three Indians and how the agencies were following up on their case.
In a 29-page affidavit, the government had detailed the action it had taken against Pune-based stud farm owner, Hassan Ali Khan, his wife Rheema and Kolkata-based businessman, Kashi Nath Tapuria, who allegedly were holding $8 billion in an UBS account in Switzerland.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), on its part, has issued a show cause notice to Khan for contravention of Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 after it found out during a raid in January 2007 that Khan had deposited around 8 billion dollars at the UBS Bank. The Income Tax department has raised a total demand of Rs 71,848.59 crore against Khan, his wife Rheema and other associates. Investigations so far have revealed overseas bank accounts of Kashi Nath Tapuria and his wife. The ED has seized their passports.
Hardnews travelled to Switzerland to chase a story on the Indian black money and Swiss Bank transparency issue, and learnt to its surprise that there was a manifest truth deficit on this issue. The most scandalous was the assertion by the Swiss justice ministry on the celebrated case of the mysterious Hassan Ali Khan and his account in Switzerland. In a communication from Folco Galli, Information chief of Eidgenössisches Justiz-und Polizeidepartement (EJPD) Bundesamt für Justiz (Swiss Department of Justice and Police) BJ, Berne, Hardnews was informed that the Indian authorities submitted “forged” documents to seek assistance on the Hassan Ali Khan case. Galli’s reply to Hardnews on this case is precise and direct and does not need any interpretation. Galli talks about $ 6 billion and not $ 8 billion as it is made out to be. Here is his categorical reply:
“In January 2007, Indian authorities have submitted in the case of Hassan Ali Khan a request for legal assistance to the Federal Office of Justice (FoJ)… In the same month, the FoJ informed the Indian authorities as follows: Concerning the presumed transfer of 6 billion USD, domestic inquiry has revealed that the banking information provided with the request for legal assistance are forged documents. Accordingly, the supposed transfer to UBS accounts has no reality.
Concerning the request Swiss authorities need some specification in order to be able to examine and possibly to accept and execute it:
– a confirmation that the Indian investigation is a criminal one (no tax or related investigation)
– a better description of the predicate offences which are object of the Indian money laundering investigation
– to show the relation between the predicate offences and the accounts in Switzerland… In March 2007, the Indian Embassy submitted some complements to the FoJ.
In April 2007, the FoJ informed the Embassy that the complements don’t include the necessary specification. Without these information, Swiss authorities can’t examine whether the conditions to grant legal assistance are fulfilled or not. Indian authorities haven’t submitted the necessary specification so far.”

To reiterate, Galli says the following: first, the documents that were given by Indian authorities were forged and, therefore, the transfer of Indian funds to UBS accounts “has no reality”. Swiss authorities want to provide further assistance in that case if the Indian authorities could satisfy the Swiss government’s demand to establish dual criminality – what is crime in India is a crime in Switzerland. The Swiss also wanted to know whether Khan’s offence was an object of Indian money laundering. Since April 2007, Indian government has not responded to Swiss authorities on this issue.
Interestingly, Supreme Court, too, had asked why the Indian government had not slapped money laundering charges against Khan and Tapuria.
Galli, in his communication, also informs that most requests for legal assistance come from neighbouring and other European states. “The Indian authorities submit only a few requests per year to Switzerland.” Galli did not elaborate on the quality of these requests and what came of them.
This is not the first time that the Swiss had problems with Indian documentation. Even in the Bofors case, Swiss courts had refused to entertain some of the documents as they were illegible. The moot question is: were forged documents created deliberately to prevent transfer of funds to India or the account does not exist at all?
Galli’s answer does not preclude the possibility of such an account as he expects the Indian government to furnish more authentic details to take the probe further. Evidence that the account may exist lies in the huge fine that has been imposed by income tax authorities on Khan and his associates. The question is: who are behind this charade?
It seems that the UBS managed to convince the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) of their integrity, which had put their license on hold for retail banking in India claiming lack of cooperation in tracking Hassan Ali Khan’s money trail. The ED that looks into foreign exchange related crimes gave the clearance seemingly after giving credibility to Swiss government claims. It is reasonable to infer that both the ED and Swiss Bank were on the same page on the quality of evidence against Khan. Earlier, Swiss Bankers’ Association president Pierre G Mirabaud, during a visit to India last year, had put the onus of getting to the truth on Khan’s money trail on New Delhi.
Another aspect investigated by Hardnews was how much of Indian funds are stashed in the Swiss banks. Is it really Rs 70 lakh crore as claimed by BJP’s prime ministerial candidate or is it less? It was important to get an official view from the Swiss Bankers’ Association and square it with all the figures bandied around in India.
The Swiss Bankers’ Association Communication Director, James Nason, told Hardnews in Berne about the money held in their accounts. The Swiss National Bank, Nason stated, comes out with details of bonds and securities held in custody account in Switzerland. At the end of 2008, the total was 3,822 billion CHF (Swiss Frank = Rs 43). Out of this, 2,190 billion CHF was of foreign entities that included the government, institutional and private etc. Indians had 4,306 million CHF liabilities; this includes both the custody and fiduciary accounts. China, on the other hand, had 15,650 CHF alone in custody account. Nason reiterates that all of this is not “private money”, it could be government, institutional or whatever.
Those who know the ways of Swiss banking like the author of the celebrated book on Swiss banking, (Switzerland – a rogue state?) Viktor Parma, claims that the banks in his country do not give information readily and are good at buying time. They were forced to yield to US demands under President Barack Obama as it enjoys a privileged position. The big question is: will the Swiss treat India, even if LK Advani becomes the prime minister and chases these funds, with some amount of respect?
Sanjay Kapoor is the Editor of Hardnews monthly magazine and the author of Bad Money Bad Politics – The untold Hawala story.

HC notice to Nandi
7 May 2009, 0722 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has issued notice to Nand Gopal Gupta alias Nandi, cabinet minister for institutional finance stamp and registration, UP to file a counter affidavit in a writ petition filed by a state government employee.

Issuing notice to the minister, the court observed that notice will indicate that the counter affidavit is to be filed by the minister within eight weeks. Justice Rakesh Tiwari, passed this order on a writ petition, filed by Raj Narain Singh Yadav, who has challenged his transfer made by the government on the instance of the minister.

The petitioner was transferred from the office of Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Allahabad to the CMO office, Pratapgarh on the post of junior engineer (Civil) on March 2, 2009. The counsel, appearing for the petitioner, CB Yadav contended in the court that the petitioner was transferred from Allahabad to district Pratapgarh under the influence of the cabinet minister in UP. The counsel had also appended the letter of the minister in this regard and also made the minister party in the writ petition.

The standing counsel opposed the writ petition and argued that there can be no hard and fast rule that every transfer made on the instance of an MP or MLA would be vitiated. It all depends on the facts and circumstances of an individual case. In support of his argument, the state counsel relied upon a case law reported in 2007 (8) SCC, 150 (Mohd Masood Ahmad Vs State of UP and others).

The court after hearing the parties directed to hear this case after expiry of eight weeks. The fact of the case was that the petitioner was working in the office of CMO, Allahabad from 2005 and was transferred to CMO office in district Pratapgarh, allegedly on the instance of the minister.

Tag newborns and parents, HC tells civic hospitals
7 May 2009, 0327 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: In a bid to end the rising number of thefts of newborns, the Bombay high court on Wednesday framed guidelines for civic hospitals, including round-the-clock security and biometric identification systems for infants.

Following suggestions drawn up by a committee of lawyers, a division bench of justices Ranjana Desai and Rajesh Ketkar asked the BMC, government and semi-government hospitals across Maharashtra to implement it. “These are remedial measures to prevent theft of babies from hospitals,” said the judges asking the corporation and state to inform the court of progress in implementing the guidelines by August 6.

The measures suggested include security guards equipped with walky talkies and restricted visitor entry to wards housing children. Within two hours of a baby being born, the hospital will have to record the child’s biometric footprints as well as birth marks in the infant register. The baby as well as its parents will be tagged with matching identifications bands during their stay in the hospital.

Hospitals will also have to install CCTVs for monitoring the premises and LCD TVs at strategic locations to disseminate information. The staff will be provided with identification badges and no baby will be allowed to be taken out of the ward without the permission of the sister-in-charge. Hospitals which do not have the biometric system will have to install the facility within six months, the court said.

The HC’s orders came on a petition filed by Chembur couple Mohan and Mohini Nerurkar whose new born son was kidnapped from Sion hospital in January 2009. The court had earlier asked the BMC to deposit Rs 5 lakh towards compensation to the Nerurkars. Subsequently, the high court set up a committee comprising advocate general Ravi Kadam, and senior advocates K K Singhvi and Rafique Dada to draw up guidelines to increase security at hospitals.

Public prosecutor Satish Borulkar submitted a fresh report on the police probe. The baby and the woman who is suspected to have kidnapped the child are yet to be traced, he stated in his report. The court admitted the petition and also asked the Mumbai police to double its efforts to locate the missing baby.

HC seeks ADAG reply on yacht’s `duty evasion’
7 May 2009, 0345 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN
MUMBAI: The five-cabin Rs 100 crore Yacht Tian that Anil Ambani bought from Italy is still out of bounds for him. On Wednesday, the Bombay high court gave the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) time till Friday to file its reply to the customs’ claim that the company was avoiding payment of Rs 28 crore as duty.

The customs authorities had seized the yacht in February that was imported in November last year. By then, it had already sailed to Goa on December 27, 2008, carrying on board “14 prominent passengers, including Anil Ambani and his family”.

The yacht is at present locked and docked off the Gateway of India. The customs authorities say that the foreign-flag yacht was brought in as cargo and hence, attracts import duty and a guarantee of Rs 15 crore. The Anil Ambani group of companies, through their solicitor Shrikant Doijode, said it was brought in as cargo only for convenience and could easily have sailed. “We were forced to deposit Rs 25 crore, but the yacht was still seized,” said ADAG.

The customs department told the court that the yacht is built to sail within harbour and coastal area or lakes and not meant for sailing to Colombo. But ADAG said the vessel had got permission to sail to Colombo and then to the Maldives.

“The company has used the imported luxury yacht without completing its duty liability and intended to evade duty,” said S R Vichare, assistant customs commissioner.

HC stays school fee hike
7 May 2009, 0419 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: In a huge, albeit interim, relief to parents across the state, the Bombay high court on Wednesday restrained schools in the state from hiking their fees. A division bench of Justice J N Patel and Justice Mridula Bhatkar granted the order following an assurance from the Maharashtra government that it would indeed set up a committee to monitor and regulate school fees (reported in TOI on May 2).

“Schools that have already hiked their fees for the new academic year will have to restore them to the pre-hike level,” Sanjay Kumar, principal secretary (school education), told TOI. “Schools that wish to hike their fees will have to file an application before the proposed fee fixation committee. This committee will take the final decision on the matter,” he said, adding that the committee would be set up in about eight weeks.

Wednesday’s court order came in the wake of a petition filed by around 160 parents of students studying in the Bal Bharati Public School in Kharghar. Around 1,800 students study in the school which follows the CBSE syllabus. The parents complained that the school, which was charging around Rs 1,400 per month as fees, had hiked them by 50% for the next academic year which commences in June.

Kumar told the high court that the circulars would be issued to all schools in the state in this regard within a couple of days.

There are around 775 aided schools in Mumbai which charge nominal fees. In addition, there are close to 600 unaided schools, which follow various syllabi, including CBSE, ICSE and IB. Many of these schools have hiked their fees steeply this year, evoking howls of protest from parents already hit hard by the economic slump. What’s more, there was no corresponding improvement in the teaching or facilities offered, they complained.

Last week, state education minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had said that the new proposed body, to be set up on the lines of the Shikshan Shulka Committee that regulates fees for higher and technical education , would monitor the fees of SSC, ICSE, CBSE and IB schools.

Parents, while welcoming the order, were however waiting for clarifications. “In recessionary times such an order is welcome. But, what about parents who have already paid the fees for the next academic year?” asked Sarita Deshpande of Borivli.

CBI draws HC flak for delayed trial in graft case
Posted: May 07, 2009 at 0123 hrs IST
Chandigarh With a case pending for the last 18 years, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has pulled up the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for its “lapses”.
After registering a corruption case against five residents of Ambala in 1991, the agency is yet to complete evidence in the case. In January 2008, a lower court in Ambala refused to entertain the CBI’s pleas seeking adjournments on the ground that it had to examine witnesses and “closed evidence” in the case. While there were a total of 29 witnesses in the case, 10 of them died during the course of the trial, while only 12 were examined.
The five accused in the case had allegedly forged liquor permits issued by the Haryana government to illegally supply liquor in Mizoram.
Passing strictures against the agency, Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia partly allowed its appeal that challenged three orders passed by the Ambala court. “In the present case, the CBI has not acted with due diligence. There are many lapses. They have been casual in their approach,” the judge held. While the CBI’s counsel said only two witnesses remained to be examined, the defence counsel said the two did not even figure in the list of witnesses and that a subsequent application had been given that these two were required to be examined. The High Court also took strong exception to the fact that only one revision petition was filed for challenging three separate orders of the trial court.
“It was expected that orders in two revision petitions should have been separately challenged before this court. All three orders passed by the trial court should have been assailed by filing different petitions. Since the CBI has wasted a lot of time by repeating the same demand before the trial court and then approaching the revision court, which had no jurisdiction, I am of the view that if this petition is thrown on this technicality, again a lot of time will be wasted,” the court observed.
The HC held that the trial court had rightly exercised discretion and “closed the evidence” on the ground that the CBI had availed itself of countless opportunities, but failed to examine witnesses. It was also concerned that the present case was the oldest in the trial court, the judge said.
“This court is of the opinion that a balanced view is to be formulated — neither the prosecution should be put to disadvantage, nor the accused should suffer agony. A protracted trial of 18 years will not disentitle the CBI from one effective opportunity,” Justice Ahluwalia added.
The petition was disposed of with the direction that on the next date of hearing, May 26, the CBI would be at its own risk and should endeavour to examine the two witnesses. The entire deposition of the two witnesses will conclude on May 26.
The counsel for the accused demanded that heavy cost should be imposed in case the CBI’s plea was accepted. The court, however, did not entertain this, “taking into consideration that CBI is a government organisation and the cost awarded will burden the public exchequer”.

State may go to SC over HC fiat on English
7 May 2009, 0315 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: The language issue in schools is coming to a head again. The Karnataka High Court had directed the state government to permit English medium schools. Now, the state government may approach the Supreme Court for stay on the order.

Primary and secondary education minister Visvesvara Hegde Kageri told reporters here on Wednesday that on April 6, the high court set a deadline of four weeks for the order to be implemented.

The court had given its verdict on this issue in July 2008. After consulting educationists, the government filed an appeal before the SC. Since the apex court hadn’t taken up the case so far, the high court on April 6 set a four-week deadline for the government to allow English medium schools.

“We don’t want to face contempt the court charges. Therefore, the government decided to approach the SC for a stay on the high court’s order,’’ Kageri said.

The 1994 language policy was challenged by the Association of Management of English Medium of Karnataka (KAMS). K S Krishna Iyer, general secretary, KAMS, said this was quashed by a full Bench of the high court in 2008.

“The judgment clearly states that every citizen has the right to select the medium of their choice. Judgment of the full Bench was challenged by the government in the Supreme Court,” he said.

The government filed a Special Leave Petition in the apex court challenging the full Bench judgment. “As the SLP is yet to come for hearing, the government filed an interim prayer to stay the full bench judgment,” he said.

Many schools have applied to the government seeking permission for English-medium schools. “But the government refused, stating that the case is pending before the SC,” he said. Later, the schools went to the high court stating the government is not giving permission to start English-medium school.

HC redifines extra commission retained by travel agents

Anindita Dey / Mumbai May 7, 2009, 1:05 IST
In a ruling that could severely hit the revenues of international airlines, the Delhi High Court has said that supplementary commission retained by the travel agent is not commission within the meaning of section 194H and is liable for tax to be deducted at source (TDS).
The judgment delivered last month was in response to the appeals filed by 12 airlines — Singapore Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch, Pakistan International Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Air France, Thai Airways International Public Co Ltd, British Airways, Air India, Belair Travels and Cargo and United Airlines. Both Kuwait Airways and Air France had filed two appeals on a similar issue.
Supplementary commission is paid when the airline supplies blank tickets to travel agents in bulk for on-selling to customers. This is different from the standard commission received by travel agents from an airline, which is on the basis of the total volume of business.
Section 194H, which deals with commission or brokerage, and states that any person, who is responsible for paying, on or after the 1st day of June, 2001, to a resident, any income by way of commission (not being insurance commission referred to in section 194D) or brokerage, shall, at the time of credit of such income to the account of the payee or at the time of payment of such income in cash or by the issue of a cheque or draft or by any other mode, deduct income-tax thereon at the rate of ten per cent.
Commission or brokerage for this section includes any payment received or receivable, directly or indirectly, by a person acting on behalf of another person for services in the course of buying or selling of goods or in relation to any transaction relating to any asset, valuable article or thing, not being securities. Securities for this section means shares and bonds which are tradable.
The twelve airline assessees argued that since the money realised by travel agents, over and above the net fare to the airlines, was solely on account of their efforts, the same cannot be considered as commission within the meaning of section 194 H of the Income Tax Act.
This is because, these airlines were not the source of money received by travel agents over and above the net fare, stated the airline assessees. In addition, they said that neither the difference between the published and the net fare was credited to the accounts of the travel agents, nor was the payment of difference between the two paid by the airline to its travel agents.
However, the court said that travel agents act on the behalf of airlines and established a relationship between the airline and a third party — the passenger. By entering into such a legal relationship on behalf of the airlines, the principal-agent relationship was confirmed, which was one of the basic requirements for attracting the provisions of section 194H, it said.
A similar petition was also filed by Lufthansa German Airlines but the airlines offered tickets to the travel agents at a concessional price. “The difference in real price and the concessional price of the tickets cannot be termed as commission since they are offered for personal use of travel agents and are non transferable,” the high court said.
Lufthansa was the only airline to have got a relief in the case. All others will have to pay tax in response to the notice sent to them for assessment years 2001-2, along with the interest due.

Delhi HC pulls up Prasar Bharati CEO
New Delhi (PTI): The Delhi High Court on Wednesday pulled up Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer B S Lalli for bypassing the public broadcaster’s Board and making it “virtually redundant”.
“We will not let the CEO to work in this manner. Some eminent persons are on the board and he cannot bypass the board,” a bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice N K Kaul said while asking Prasar Bharati to file a response on the allegation.
“The Board has become virtualy redundant because of the conduct of the CEO. There has to be some accountability and you file a detailed affidavit by the next date of hearing,” the bench said.
The court’s observations came while hearing a PIL seeking its direction to the Centre to remove the CEO whose tenure has been extended by the government.
The petitioner, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, an NGO, also sought an independent investigation into the allegations of financial irregularities by the CEO.
“He is acting with complete impunity and disregard for the directions and concerns raised by the Board regarding the instances of financial irregularity and his autocratic functioning,” advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner. said.
“The CEO is holding the office illegaly, despite the expiry of his term on April 21 on the basis of clarificatory note issued by the government which is against the statutory provisions of the Prasar Bharati Act,” the petitioner said.
The broadcaster, however, refuted all the allegations and said the CEO’s tenure is protected under the old law.
“There is no ambiguity and misrepresentation of the Act,” Additional Solicitor General Parag Tripathi appearing for the public broadcaster said.
The court, however, was not satisfied by his response and asked him to file an affidavit.
“You cannot go beyond the statute with regards to continuance of his tenure,” the court said adding “the Board is the supreme authority and it should not be sidelined.”
Then petitioner pointed out that the government had in 2008 amended the Act under which age of superannuation for the CEO was increased from 62 to 65 years.
It was alleged that Lalli, who was appointed in 2006, was to retire in April this year after attaining 62 years but his tenure was extended after the government applied the amendement with retrospective effect.

Tata Power gets favorable judgement from Supreme Court

Tata Power Company Ltd has announced that the Hon’ble Supreme Court, on May 06, 2009 pronounced a landmark judgement approving the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) signed by Tata Power with BEST for 800 MW and with Tata Power (Distribution) for 477 MW. These were earlier approved by Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC).

The Supreme Court has also held that Section 23 of the Electricity Act, 2003 does not give any jurisdiction to MERC to allocate any power to a non-contracting discom.

The Tata Power stock was trading at Rs.910.80, up by Rs.9.35 or 1.04%. The stock hit an intraday high of Rs.923.50 and low of Rs.900.

The total traded quantity was 111116 compared to 2 week average of 133003.
Source: Equity Bulls
Posted On: 5/6/2009 2:59:09 AM

Gujarat HC dismisses petition in Sabarmati jail case

2009-05-06 09:41:18
Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad
The Gujarat High Court has dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking the transfer of Sabarmati Central Jail Superintendent V Chandrashekhar. The petition was filed by the Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM) in view of the beating up of inmates in the prison.
A bench comprising Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Akil Kureshi observed that the inmates had already been provided treatment for the injuries they suffered in the beating inside the jail. A report on the beating up of the inmates was submitted to the bench by Ahmedabad Sessions Judge P B Desai on April 29.
Twenty-two Inmates, mostly the accused involved in the July 26 serial bomb blast cases, were allegedly beaten up by jail authorities on March 26 and 27 after they went on a mass hunger strike to protest the conditions inside the prison.

PIL against PDS, killings
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Imphal, May 05 2009: With reference to the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by social activists Nepram Anita and Moirangthem Sanatomba both residents of Langathel on behalf of the villagers of Langathel and Phundrei under the initiative of Human Right Initiative (HRI), a Division Bench of Guwahati High Court, Imphal comprising Justice Maibam Binoykumar and Justice AC Upadhyay today has issued notice to the respondents which is returnable within four weeks time.

HRI recalled that N Anita was conferred with the Youth Award in the year 2007 and stated that Targeted Public Distribution System is a food secure scheme launched throughout the nation in the year 1997 but most of the really poor families of the villages have not been getting the benefits of this scheme as the deputy commissioner of Thoubal District and his subordinate officers and District Supply Officer failed to issue PDS ration cards to 938 applicants of Langathel and Phundrei villages stated the HRI press release.

Following another PIL against killing, a bench of the same high court has also issued notice of motion returnable within four weeks time in other two cases of custodial death in the hand of Manipur Police Commandos on arrest of Asem Bikram of Khumbong and Thangboi Kipgen of New Keithelmanbi on May 24, 2008 last and later killed at New Keithelmanbi area long with another youth named Bisharup.

HRI stated that Kipgen Haokip was arrested in front of his mother (petitioner) on that day by a team of commandos coming in civil dress and was taken away in a Maruti Car.

Ashem Ibempishak, the mother of Ashem Bikram who was also a victim lodged a written complaint with the OC Patsoi but her complaint was denied and then she approached the SP Imphal West but no action has been taken up till date.

Hence the mother of late Bikram and mother of Thangboi Kipgen, Henei Kipgen have filed separate cases of unjustified killing of their sons.

The respondents listed in the case included the State of Manipur through the Principal Secretary (Home) to the Government of Manipur, DGP Manipur and SP Imphal West District.

Advocate legal council of HRI, M Paikhomba will appear the above cases on behalf of the petitioners.

HC stays SP press not on helmet
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Imphal, May 05 2009: In an interim judgment, a division bench comprising Justice M Binoykumar and Justice AB Upadhyay of the Gauhati High Court, Imphal Bench has issued a notice of motion returnable within two weeks staying the Press Note issued by the Imphal West district senior SP, L Kailun on April 29 necessitating the wearing of helmet/protective head gear by two-wheeler riders and pillion riders.

The verdict was pronounced by the Court as per a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed before the Court against the Chief Secretary, Commissioner (Home), DGP and Imphal West district senior SP (listed as the respondents) by the Centre for Legal Advancement, Manipur represented by its vice-president Akham Kom as the petitioner.

The Petitioner prayed to quash the Press Note issued by the Senior SP of Imphal West district or to provide at least 60 days forprocuring helmets to the public and to pass an appropriate interim order in this regard.

The Petitioner was heard through his Counsel, Advocate K Pradeep.

Hearing the petition, the Court stayed the operation of the Press Note issued on April 29 by the Imphal west district senior SP and no action is to be taken in pursuance of the impugned Press Note till the returnable date.

Advocate Th Ibohal appeared on behalf of the state respondents and also accepts notice on behalf of all the state respondents.

It is pertinent to mention that the SP of Imphal West district, in a press note on April 29, said that the Imphal West district police will be conducting a special drive to enforce wearing of helmets in the city while expressing concern over the fatality of accidents occurring without helmets.

It also said that two wheeler rider/pillion rider found not wearing helmet/head gear will be fined and challan will be issued as per existing rate with immediate effect.

SC poser to govt over black money
5 May 2009, 0605 hrs IST, Sanjay K Singh, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked Centre to look into the feasibility of registering criminal cases under provisions of the Money Laundering Act to get information from the Swiss government on the unaccounted money parked in banks and financial institutions there.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justice P Sathasivam and Justice M K Sharma sought explanation from the government as to why not even a single individual has been interrogated in the last five years in connection under Money Laundering Act and illicit money parked abroad.

Senior Counsel Anil Diwan appearing for petitioners Ram Jethmalani and others in his written submissions said: “The most important factor is that not even a single individual has been apprehended/interrogated by the government or UOI in the last five years in relation to money laundering and slush funds from illicit funds parked abroad.”

Alleging blatant inaction in Hassan Ali’s case, Mr Diwan said: “Why has the source of money of such large amounts not being investigated under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002?” “Prima facie this (Ali’s case) is a clear case which can be brought under the Money Laundering Act.

It is clear that the Swiss authorities would be bound to disclose information, if criminal cases were initiated against him apart from tax evasion,” said Mr Diwan.

Mr Diwan alleged: “It is not unreasonable to infer that UOI is interested in protecting powerful individuals who may be using Hassan Ali and his wife as nominee/benamindar.” When additional solicitor-general Gopal Subramanium objected to the plea, Justice Sharma said: “Money Laundering Act could be applied to try such cases.”

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