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.


4 Responses

  1. Madam/Sir,

    It was upheld by the Bombay High Court, that Terrace of a Co-operative Housing Society are a place of refuge and it should be kept open at all times, and should not be locked

    Please mail me the copy of the said Judgement for which I shall be highly obliged.

    Fakhri Dean

  2. Interesting Read! Very detailed blog.
    Thanks for sharing

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