LEGAL NEWS 16-17.05.2009

HC seeks MCD explanation for not supplying documents to police

Published: May 17,2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: PTI






No mining in Shivalik range without clearance, rules HC


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





JNU student alleges Bihar Chief Minister for plagiarism

May 16, 2009 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






Gujarat HC directs Modi govt to disburse compensation to riot victims


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Parcel bomb case: HC acquits ex-armyman


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






Follow master plan on tricity periphery: HC to govt


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With this, the court dismissed the PIL.






HC stays builder’s bail in fraud case


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


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

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

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

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





Remove encroachments in Kalka by May 22: HC

16 May 2009, 0158 hrs IST, TNN

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

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

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

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





HC restrains TNPSC from issuing orders to candidates

16 May 2009, 0318 hrs IST, TNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





HC slams MCD over condition of roads

16 May 2009, 0301 hrs IST, TNN

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

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

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





HC tells Sabarmati jail to improve conditions


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

16 May 2009, 0145 hrs IST, TNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






HC initiates suo moto proceeding with regard to hookah bars


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


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

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

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

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

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





CJI appeals to PM for creation of more family courts

Published: May 15,2009

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

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

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

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

Balakrishnan said.

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

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

Source: PTI





High court seeks reply from govt

16 May 2009, 0242 hrs IST, TNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Election petition dismissed:

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

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

Graveyard encroachment:

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





Plea for dual-purpose tankers dismissed


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






Disqualify Gaikwad, demands Mohite

16 May 2009, 0434 hrs IST, TNN

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

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

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

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






PIL against civic body over misuse of public money quashed


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






Gutkha ads: HC seeks explanation

16 May 2009, 0411 hrs IST, TNN

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

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

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

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






Bhim not seeking change in number of seats


Delimitation case hearing deferred to May 22

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






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

Published: May 15,2009

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

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

The court listed the PIL for hearing on June two.

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

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

Source: PTI






Depts told to submit reports to NHRC in time

15 May 2009, 0442 hrs IST, TNN

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

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

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


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