LEGAL NEWS 31.07.2009


Complaints against violation of MRTP Act

14:10 IST

Lok Sabha

Government has said that during the last three years two complaints for violation of Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices (MRTP) Act, 1969 have been lodged in the MRTP Commission. The complainants in both the cases belong to Andhra Pradesh. One complaint is against the Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd, Hyderabad and the other is against Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. Alleged violation of provisions of the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices (MRTP) Act, 1969 is dealt with under the said Act through proceedings before the MRTP Commission.

This information was given today by Shri Salman Khurshid, Minister for Corporate Affairs, in the Lok Sabha in a written reply.







Kankaria entry fee challenged in HC

DNA Correspondent

Friday, July 31, 2009 9:04 IST

Ahmedabad: The entry fee to the Kankaria lakefront premises, which earlier faced protests from members of the opposition party in the municipal corporation, the Congress, as well as citizens of Ahmedabad, has been challenged in the Gujarat high court by way of public interest litigation (PIL).

On Thursday, the petition came up for hearing before a division bench comprising Chief Justice of the Gujarat high court, KS Radhakrishnan, and Justice Akil Kureshi. The bench issued an oral order to the lawyer of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) with instructions for the civic body to come with instructions regarding issues raised in the PIL, on August 10.

Lawyer Shalin Mehta appeared before the bench on behalf of concerned citizens and sought permission to appear in court in favour of the PIL.

The petitioner, Kirti Bhatt, who earlier resided near the Kankaria lake, filed the PIL through counsel Parseus Banaji after he did not receive a satisfactory answer from the AMC in response to his legal notice. Bhatt has raised questions on the legality of covering the road outside the lake and levying of the entry fee.

“The road forming the periphery around the Kankaria lake was a public road used by the common men of the city and nearby villages. This road was suddenly usurped and permanently closed to all members of the public, including all vehicular traffic, without any notice to all members of the public or permission from the state government as specified under the provisions in section 203 of the Bombay Provincial Municipal Act, and sought to be included in the park,” Bhatt alleged in the petition.

“Even the 500-year-old Naginawadi, situated in the middle of the lake, has been public place since years.”

Bhatt further said that AMC has sought to use the road, the lake and its periphery as way to make money without any thought to the poor and downtrodden ‘slumdogs’ who can ill afford to enter the area without thinking twice.

“For an average family of four, entry to the lake costs Rs40, not taking in account entry to the zoo, Bal Vatika, train ride etc. The alternate road is separated from the lakefront, so the public cannot view the Kankaria lake, by placing huge doors,” he said in his petition.

In January, Bhatt wrote to the AMC urging the withdrawal of the entry fee and asked it under which authority or law it was charging the same. In reply, the AMC said, “Pollution as well as throwing of dirt and dust in the Kankaria lake creates a problem for survival of fish [in the lake]. Therefore, for the safety of the fish, entry for the general public was required to be restricted.”

Bhatt wrote two more letters, protesting against the entry fees, the separate charges for the other facilities and the assimilation of the public road with the park. However, the AMC stuck to its opinion given in the earlier reply.





Sach Ka Samna: Now face the truth!

Posted on July 31st, 2009

ew Delhi: The Delhi High Court has refused to release the order to stop airing of the controversial reality TV show ‘Sach ka Saamna’ on the plead that no one should have any problem if people are telling the truth in open should be hailed in more than one ways.

The decision is a body blow to the so-called moral policing elements who day in and day out speak about moral policing and act against everything that has any connection with the western world, be it friendship day celebration, valentines day, or anything they think is obscene.

They will on their own decide what is good for our culture.
On the other hand, the High Court order is a stern warning to those who file public interest litigation just on the drop of a hat, as if there are no major issues concerning the people in the country. This is a classic case of misuse of PIL.

Are these people blind, as they are not seeing far more serious problems in the country? Let them file PILs on black money, misuse of official powers, implementation of government schemes, etc.

Saying that moral policing is not its function, a division bench headed by Delhi High Court Chief Justice A P Shah suggested the petitioners to approach the central government over it.

“It is for the government to decide whether the programme should be banned or not. It is not the function of the court… There are far more serious problems in this country which we have to settle,” the bench said.

Two petitioners, Deepak Maini and Prabhat Kumar, had approached the court seeking a stay on the show being telecast on Star Plus channel alleging that the programme was against the values of the Indian society.

Rejecting it, the court said, “Our culture is not so fragile that it would be affected by one TV programme.” The court has rightly said so. I fail to understand how it can be against the values of the Indian society when someone chooses to tell the truth.

If anybody act against the values, what is wrong in accepting it in public. After all, we all stand by our Father of the Nation Mahatama Gandhi who had no qualms in admitting everything in public.

After all, there is no compulsion to view the programme or to participate in it. If you do not want to tell the truth don’t go and participate. If you do not want to watch it, simply switch the TV off.

For those who want to watch it, let them do it. It is their fundamental right





Court asks civic officers to pay for illegal hoardings

Express News Service Posted: Friday , Jul 31, 2009 at 0153 hrs Mumbai:

The Bombay High Court on Thursday imposed a cost of Rs 5,000 each on Thane Municipal Commissioner Nandkumar Jantre and three other officers for their inaction and non-compliance with court orders pertaining to illegal hoardings in Thane.

The court has directed them to pay the amount from their pockets and cautioned that the amount would be increased 10 folds if such a situation arises again.

The court gave the corporation two weeks to take action against illegal hoardings. No hoardings should be allowed on roads and pavements, the court said.

Prabhakar Chaudhary, a local resident, had filed a PIL complaining about illegal hoardings. The photographs attached to the petition showed that in many cases pavements were blocked due to pillars supporting the hoardings. The court noted that some of the hoardings were actually on the road.

 “Do they know anything? They don’t know the sites, whether banners are authorised or not,” Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar remarked about the municipal officers present in court.

The court also observed that the corporation has failed to perform its statutory duties.

The court said that the Municipal Commissioner has not filed an affidavit or a reply even after court orders and even after observing that it was an urgent matter.





Challenged under PIL, HC closes case for order

Posted On Thursday, July 30, 2009

By Our Staff Reporter
Bhopal, July 30:
Madhya Pradesh High Court the other day reserved its verdict on a Public Interest Litigation petition challenging the state decision to dissolve the Bharat Bhavan, Managing Board, the world top and famous cultural and art centre at Bhopal.
A division bench comprising Justice Deepak Mishra and Justice Ram Kishore Gupta, while hearing the petition of Daya Prakash Sinha, challenging the state notification, dissolving there by the Managing Board of Trustees of the Bharat Rang Bhavan, Bhopal, an independent institution, by state legislative, reserved its verdict after hearing the contentions of the government.
The petitioner submitted that the state government has reconstituted the Managing Board by a notification issued by the government, as per the constitution approved by a legislation passed by the state assembly in 1985, and the Board is functional for its term, but the state government dissolved the Chairman, Pandit Jasraj, headed Managing Board without any reason.
The petitioner prayed to the court to quash the state notification dissolving the Governing Body and Board Trustees of Bharat Bhavan as the art and cultural activities were stand still and the state exchequer is wasted, due to such vague action.





Residents up the ante against elevated Metro

Linah Baliga / DNA

Friday, July 31, 2009 2:52 IST

Mumbai: Linking Road residents are not in a mood to soften their stand on the protection of 500 structures which will be affected due to the construction of an elevated Metro. The line will proceed from Juhu towards Santa Cruz Linking Road and end at Bandra junction near Amarsons.

Residents and shopkeepers have contributed to file a PIL against Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), as they say their properties — both residential and commercial — will be affected if MMRDA goes ahead with the original plan.

MMRDA on Wednesday awarded the contract of constructing the second line of metro to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure for the 32-km route from Charkop to Mankhurd via Bandra.

“MMRDA is adamant and principal secretary TC Benjamin is not taking into account the 2,000 families who will be affected. Seventy-three residential buildings will be affected for metro stations, corridors and staircases. The cost of the PIL is almost Rs2 lakh and the residents and shopkeepers are contributing as we know it’s worth fighting for,” said Aftab Siddique, spokesperson, Linking Road Residents’ Forum.

“It’s injustice to the 2,000 families in Bandra, Khar, Santa cruz who will be affected, if they use vibro hammer to drill. Feasibility of the project is also not explained by MMRDA till date,” said Siddique in her SMS to chief minister Ashok Chavan and chief secretary Johny Joseph.

“We will wait for a week, meet MMRDA officials again and decide on the next course of action. But we are not giving up,” said Sherley Singh, member, Juhu Metro Rail Forum.





Cop moves High Court against re-appointment of Roy as DGP

Express News Service

Posted: Jul 31, 2009 at 0144 hrs IST

Mumbai A police inspector has moved the Bombay High Court seeking that the state government be restrained from re-appointing former state DGP A N Roy to the post.

Police Inspector Sarjerao Mahadev Shinde, attached to the Local Arms division of Marol Police, has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) before the high court seeking that a new DGP be appointed after S S Virk’s term ends on July 31. He has also urged that the state government be restrained from re-appointing Roy to the post as he was in charge when 26/11 terror attacks took place.

The state government, meanwhile, told the court that DGP Virk’s term has been extended by three months. The court then sought all original records pertaining to the extension. The state submitted that the records will be produced on Friday.

Division Bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice A M Khanwilkar wanted to know if Shinde had taken his department’s permission before filing the petition. Shinde, however, stated that he is filing the PIL as an ordinary citizen.

The state government pleader also took objection to Shinde filing the petition as he was a government servant.





Civic bodies warned on tiles around trees

TNN 31 July 2009, 04:03am IST

NEW DELHI: As tiling and concretising of the immediate area around tree roots goes unchecked in the city, the environment department has written to heads of various civic agencies, asking them to take action against this practice.

In 2000, the urban development ministry had issued several guidelines for greening of urban areas, that included avoiding excessive tiling of pavements, using of porous tiles and leaving a minimum area of 6 feet by 6 feet around trees uncemented. When the guidelines were not followed, NGO Kalpvriksha filed a PIL in the high court which passed an order to the effect in 2007.

“Earlier, some civic agencies followed orders and NDMC even took corrective measures. However, we have noticed several violations of late and have written to agencies to ensure implementation of the guidelines,” said an official.

Tiling and cementing around tree roots is detrimental for the health of trees, say experts, as it completely chokes the roots. “Tar becomes extremely hot in summer. Imagine the impact of that heat on the roots. Road widening and relaying projects never seem to take trees into consideration,” said an official from the environment department.

Ravi Agarwal, director, Toxics Link, added that there was no need for concretising and many stretches of trees were left natural and `untiled’. “Concretising prevents aeration and percolation of water to the roots. The space to be left around a tree should be in proportion to its crown so that the roots get ample breathing space. Tiling too close will just kill off the trees,” he said.

The UD ministry guidelines also proposed using porous tiles where tiling was necessary and that tiling was only to be carried out on pavements with heavy pedestrian traffic. The guidelines said: “An area of 6 feet by 6 feet should be left uncemented. Widening of roads upto the trunk of trees is to be avoided as roots come under the asphalted roads and will gradually die. In case of storm(s), these trees can topple down.”

“Most trees that fall are either on roadsides or next to walls. The UD guidelines are being flouted. As far as possible, concretising has to be avoided completely,” said Ajay Mahajan, member, Kalpvriksha.





Student’s death: HC asks parents to move court against police–HC-asks-parents-to-move-court-against-police/496335/

Posted: Friday , Jul 31, 2009 at 0316 hrs

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed the parents of Iftekam Chaudhury, who died after allegedly being hit by her school teacher in November 2008, to file a petition against the police in the criminal court.

Iftekam, a student of Bidyabharati School at Ekbalpur, was admitted to a private hospital on November 27, 2008 with a head injury. She had been allegedly punished by her teacher Anita Das as she did not perform well in physical education. Das had banged Iftekam’s head against the wall. She died in the hospital the next day.

Najnin, her mother, had filed a petition in Calcutta High Court in February 2009 alleging that the police did not conduct the probe properly and tried to protect the school and the teacher. The police had filed a chargesheet which was not correct, she said in her petition.

On Thursday Justice Sanjib Banerjee directed the parents to move the criminal court against the police. The High Court also said that criminal proceedings would be initiated by September 15, 2009.





Abhaya case: HC raps CBI probe–HC-raps-CBI-probe/496383

Shaju Philip Posted: Friday , Jul 31, 2009 at 0508 hrs Thiruvananthapuram:

The Kerala High Court on Thursday expressed its displeasure over the manner in which the CBI probed the Sister Abhaya murder case and asked the investigating agency to submit a copy of the chargesheet on August 10. The CBI had furnished the chargesheet in the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court (CJMC) in Kochi on July 17, even as the narcoanalysis of three accused were pending.

Justice K Hema pulled up the CBI for its failure to stick to the directions of her Bench, which had granted bail to the accused priests and the nun. “The probe lacked transparency. The investigating officer should be keen to find out the truth,” the court said.

While giving bail to Thomas Kottor, Jose Puthrukkayil and Sister Sephy in January, the court had said the original CDs of the narcoanalysis tests of the accused should be retrieved as the ones submitted in the court were edited and tampered with. However, the CBI last week submitted a report in the CJMC saying the CDs had not been tampered with as earlier suspected.

Citing the CBI report, Abhaya’s father Thomas moved a contempt petition in the HC, which had earlier asked the CBI to find the original CDs. While hearing the petition, CBI counsel A V S Namboothiri informed the HC on Thursday that the chargesheet was submitted in the CJMC even as the probe was continuing. The court subsequently asked the agency why it had hurriedly submitted the chargesheet when narco tests of three others were yet to be conducted.





HC sets aside ADJ’s order

TNN 31 July 2009, 05:01am IST

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has allowed an appeal filed against the judgment passed by ADJ, Bijnor, convicting one Naj-e-Alam under Section 364 IPC.

The bench comprising Justice Poonam Srivastava and Justice SC Agrawal set aside the order of ADJ passed on April 3, 2006 and acquitted the appellant from the charges under Section 364 IPC, read with Section 3(2) (5) SC/ST Act. The court ordered forthwith, the release of the appellant, who was in jail. He is a resident of Najibabad in Bijnor.

An FIR was lodged on February 7, 2005 against appellant with Najibabad police. The allegation in the FIR against him was that he had kidnapped a girl, daughter of one Suresh, resident of the same area.

The court allowed the appeal and set aside the judgment of ADJ, by saying that neither the FIR nor statement of witnesses establish the ingredients of Section 364 of IPC. The court said that there was not even whisper in the entire record that victim was kidnapped with intention to murder and no motive was attributed to murder. Mukhtar Alam argued the case on behalf of appellant.





Schizophrenic moves HC to get job back

Shibu Thomas , TNN 31 July 2009, 01:01am IST

MUMBAI: A Goregaon youth who suffers from schizophrenia has moved the Bombay high court in the hope of getting back his job with the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI). Edward DCunha claims he was forced to resign in 2000. A division bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and Amjad Sayed asked SCI orally on Thursday whether it could reconsider its decision and accommodate D’Cunha.

D’Cunha had joined SCI as a trainee nautical officer in 1993. D’Cunha experienced his first episode of schizophrenia while serving on a ship in 1997. He underwent treatment thereafter and rejoined SCI. This pattern repeated itself until D’Cunha says he was forced to resign in 2000. Two years later, in 2002, D’Cunha approached the state’s disability commissioner with a plea that SCI should take him back considering it had not complied with the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act. Four years later, the disability commissioner dismissed D’Cunha’s plea.

D’Cunha’s lawyer Pradeep Havnur says the law was not followed. Under the PWD Act, mental illness is treated as a disability. “The Act has a specific provision that bars discrimination against a person employed with the government who acquires a disability during service,” said Havnur. The provision says that no establishment can sack or demote an employee who acquires a disability during service. In case the employee is found to be not suitable for the post he is holding, the authorities have to shift him to another post with the same pay scale and service benefits. If the authorities are unable to adjust the employee against any post, the Act says he should be kept on a supernumerary post until a suitable post is available or he attains the age of superannuation.

The disability commissioner, according to the petition, had rejected his application on the ground that he had voluntarily resigned. Advocate Havnur, however, contended that D’Cunha was incapable of taking a decision at that time. D’Cunha, in his petition, said he is undergoing treatment for the mental disability and urged the court to ask SCI to re-employ him as a second officer on offshore supply vessel or any suitable office job which he is fit enough to undertake.




HC seeks info on CIC appointment

TNN 31 July 2009, 03:55am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Thursday directed the state government to give details of the steps taken for filling up the post of chief information commissioner of the State Information Commission.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Shivakirti Singh and Justice Anjana Prakash issued the directive again even as the state government maintained that the former Patna HC CJ, Justice J N Bhat, had been appointed the chief information commissioner in 2008 but had not joined yet.

The order was passed on a PIL of Guddu Baba alias Vikas Chandra who said the post of chief information officer has remained vacant for about a year due to which the functioning of the State Information Commission has been hit.

A single bench presided by Justice A K Tripathi directed the state government and Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (BIADA) to file counter affidavit to a writ petition of a Kolkata-based firm, Scope Industries, alleging that the BIADA had taken back the 25 acres of plot situated in Pataliputra Industrial Area-Patna, which was allotted to it two years back for developing a multiplex.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Shivakirti Singh and Justice Anjana Prakash on Thursday directed the Banka district magistrate to inquire into the allegation made in a PIL that the construction of a bridge in the district was inordinately delayed for want of funds.





Chuda’s battle royale reaches HC

TNN 31 July 2009, 03:23am IST

AHMEDABAD: The queen claims that her son has usurped her property a luxurious palace and a farm besides jewellery and other precious articles. The prince, on the other hand, maintains that the palace and farm were bought from the mother.

The issue remains unresolved, and the descendants of erstwhile princely state of Chuda in Surendranagar have reached the Gujarat High Court.

The property and inheritance dispute had already begun when former ruler of Chuda Dharmendrasinh Jhala was alive. Out of his four sons, Puransinh had instituted a civil suit demanding 1/6th of the property. However, since these rulers had entered into Covenant of Agreement with the Government of India, the property was of their private and individual ownership and it could not be treated as ancestral property. The court refused the prince his share.

Just before Dharmendrasinh died in 1999, he declared his wife Bhartidevi the owner of the entire property. Bhartidevi later distributed various articles and properties, including jewellery, gold, silver, furniture, paintings and licenced weapons, among her four sons Krishnakumarsinh, Puransinh, Falgunsinh and Suketusinh.

Since Bhartidevi had cordial relationship with Krishna and his wife Jayakumari, she used to live with them. But in August 2008, Bhartidevi’s relationship with her eldest son became sour and she went to live with her other sons. After this, she filed a suit against Krishna and his wife claiming that the palace, farm and precious articles, which she had entrusted with them, are not being returned. She has also accused them of not returning her stridhan’.

Bhartidevi even lodged a criminal complaint against her son and daughter-in-law accusing them of committing an offence of breach of trust. The Surendranagar police began inquiry into the case. This forced Krishna and Jayakumari to approach the high court to get their mother’s complaint quashed.

Seeking a stay on the investigation, the petitioners through their advocate Tejas Barot argued that the Ratan Bhuvan Palace and Gokharwala farm were actually bought from Bhartidevi and a sale deed was registered in October 2006 in the name of her grandson Adityasinh.

The couple has contended that after purchasing the property from the mother, they have spent a huge amount on renovation. Moreover, the petitioners also denied other charges levelled by Bhartidevi. They have said that Bhartidevi is trying to harass them at the behest of other three sons.

After hearing the case, Justice HN Devani on Thursday issued notices to the state government and Bhartidevi asking them to respond by August 27, when further hearing is scheduled. The police have been asked to stay investigation till then.





HC upholds land acquisition for Kathipara flyover

TNN 31 July 2009, 02:48am IST

CHENNAI: A National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) move, acquiring two buildings at St Thomas Mount for the multi-crore grade separator project at Kathipara Junction, has been upheld by the Madras high court.

Dismissing the writ petitions filed by owner of the buildings, Justice K Suguna said the lands had been acquired in public interest and that there was no infirmity in the orders of the NHAI.

The petitioner, T Vasantha, who owned JRS Complex and JR Complex near the project area in Kathipara, challenged the acquisition proceedings on the ground that the NHAI had not communicated its remarks on her objections to the move. Since the February 4, 2008 order of the NHAI was culmination of an “empty formality,” the orders of acquisition should be quashed, the petitioner claimed.

Additional advocate-general P Wilson, representing the NHAI, submitted that Section 3-C(2) of the National Highway Act did not contemplate that remarks of the NHAI have to be forwarded to the land owner. The Kathipara grade separator was planned to ease the traffic congestion, and without these two lands the project could not be implemented, he submitted.

Concurring with his submissions, Justice Suguna referred to an apex court ruling which said the country had launched upon ambitious programme of all-round economic advancement to make the economy competitive in the world extent. “Whatever be practice in the past, a time has come where the courts should keep the larger public interest in mind while exercising their power of granting stay/injunction,” the Supreme Court had ruled.

Citing the ruling, Justice Suguna said the interests of justice and the public interest coalesce.




PIL on fate of fishermen detained in Pak, HC summons MEA official

Express News Service Posted: Friday , Jul 31, 2009 at 0247 hrs Rajkot:

The Gujarat High Court has summoned Deputy Secretary from the Union Foreign Ministry in response to a public interest litigation filed by the National Fishing Forum demanding early release of Indian fishermen from Pakistani jails and compensation for the families of the fishermen who have died during the jail term.

Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan on Wednesday ordered the Deputy Secretary to either remain present or file an affidavit on August 17. It has been more than a year since the PIL has been filed. A representative from the Foreign Ministry of the Government of India has never remained present during any hearing.

According to Manish Lodhari, Secretary, National Fishing Forum (NFF), the High Court, responding to the PIL, had last year also asked the ministry to issue a notice in this regard.

According to Lodhari, currently 550 Indian fishermen are in various jails of Pakistan. In the PIL, NFF has stated that the ministry has not done enough to get these fishermen released. NFF has also demanded compensation for the families of the fishermen who have died in Pakistan during the jail term.

 “Pakistan does release fishermen occasionally; usually once or twice in a year. But the efforts of the Indian Government are not enough and the majority of the fishermen usually serve around a two-year jail term for crossing the International Maritime Border Line,” said Lodhari.

He further said, “Fishermen should be freed soon after their arrest. However, the Indian Government has done little to ensure that fishermen do not get to serve two to three , which has actually become a norm.”

The NFF has also been demanding compensation for the families of those Indian fishermen who die in Pakistani jails. Currently, the Indian Government provides compensation of Rs 50 per day to the families of the fishermen who are arrested by Pakistan after they cross the international line. Lodhari, however, said that so far the government has not done much for those who died in Pakistani jails.





NCW seeks case details from govt


K P Sai Kiran

First Published : 31 Jul 2009 11:57:00 PM IST

Last Updated : 31 Jul 2009 01:37:32 AM IST


NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has written to the Government of Kerala seeking details of the Sr Abhaya murder case, following media reports that a virginity test was conducted on Sr Sephy, the third accused in the case.

“The Commission on Wednesday took suo-moto cognizance of the matter. The Commission will take further action against those involved, including the CBI, once the government furnishes the details of the case,” National Commission for Women member secretary S Chatterjee told Express.

“The commission has asked for the details of the case, based on media reports. We have sent the letter on Wednesday and are awaiting the report from the State Government,” he said.

“There is an allegation that a virginity test was conducted on Sr Sephy and that the language used in the CBI chargesheet was vulgar.

If true, this is a serious matter and amounts to impingement on the dignity of a woman”, the letter addressed to the State Chief Secretary stated.

The Kochi unit of the CBI on July 17 had filed a chargesheet in the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Ernakulam, against the first three accused in the case – Fr Thomas M Koottor, Fr Jose Puthrukkayil and Sr Sephy.

In the chargesheet, the CBI acknowledged that the probe was conducted using scientific methods, including polygraph test, brain mapping test, brain finger printing test and narco analysis, which pointed the needle of suspicion to the three accused.

The CBI chargesheet also stated that the two male accused were in the habit of making nocturnal visits to the convent hostel where Sr Abhaya was staying and were present there, along with the third accused, on the fateful night.

It was to substantiate this version that the agency had ‘examined’ the accused nun’s claim of virginity. According to the chargesheet, Sephy was examined at the T D Medical College, Alappuzha, to find out whether she had ‘vaginal sexual intercourse’.

“There was no necessity for a nun, who is a virgin, to undergo hymenoplasty/surgical interference.

The only reason for such corrective surgery is to conceal evidence of the rapture of hymen due to frequent vaginal sexual intercourse”, the chargesheet said, making conclusions about the virginity of the accused.






NCW seeks report on Bidisha school incident


New Delhi, July 30(PTI) The National Commission for Women (NCW) today strongly objected to the stripping incident involving girl students in a school in Bidisha in Madhya Pradesh.

“We are seeking a report from the state government as well as the education department on the incident,” said NCW chairperson Girija Vyas.

According to reports, a school teacher allegedly stripped several tribal girl students for taking measurements for school uniform.

MP government provides school uniform to girls free of cost. The teacher allegedly took this as a pretext to “misbehave” with the young girls studying in class III, IV and V in a Bidisha school.

“This is not done and it cannot be tolerated. Whether they are small children or not we must protect the dignity of our girl students,” Vyas said.




CIC slaps Rs 10,000 fine on NCW

The National Commission for Women (NCW) failed to provide information on the 2006 Nithari killings under Right to Information Act (RTI)

Published on 7/29/2009 5:52:30 PM

New Delhi: Rapping the National Commission for Women (NCW) for failing to provide information under the Right to Information Act (RTI) on the 2006 Nithari killings, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the women’s rights panel to pay Rs 10,000 to the appellant for the delay.

Commodore (retired) Lokesh K Batra had filed an application under the RTI in December 2007 about NCW members and money spent on their tours during February 2005 to Decemebr 2006 — between the phase when the first Nithari killing took place to the period when the gruesome killings surfaced.

Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah in a ruling on Tuesday found that details were not furnished to Batra as the Commission had not maintained any records, reports IANS.

“In the present circumstances, because of the incapacity of the public authority to maintain what must be regarded as basic information, like records of tours of members of the NCW at public expense and public distribution, are basic information not only required to be maintained but in fact to be maintained in a manner and the form which facilitates the right to information under this Act,” Habibullah observed.

The CIC has asked the Commission to review its record in consultation with the National Informatics Centre (NIC).

“All required basic information regarding the structure of the NCW together with details of all complaints received and acted upon, with details of action taken will be compiled and uploaded on the NCW website within 45 working days,” he said.

The CIC has also asked the NCW to pay Rs.10,000 as compensation to Batra within 15 days for the pain suffered by him because of inadequacy of record keeping by the Commission.

“There is a complete lack of functional system at the NCW and they failed to furnish basic details in the past 18 months. In an order passed in August 2008, the CIC had rapped the NCW for not maintaining their files and records properly,” Batra said.

The Commission had then asked the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry to improve the NCW’s functioning by instituting “a regular administrative structure” for it, in accordance with the RTI Act, 2005, to maintain records. The Ministry had been given 30 days to accomplish this and inform the CIC.

“To know how the order was complied with, I filed an RTI application June 12 with the WCD Ministry to ascertain the compliance details of CIC order, and found it had not taken any action for nearly ten months,” Batra said.





Murder In Plain Sight


In Manipur, death comes easy. In this damning sequence of photos, a local photographer captures the death of a young man, killed in a false encounter by the police in broad daylight, 500 metres from the state assembly. How can a State justify such a war against its own people, asks TERESA REHMAN

IF ANY picture can speak a thousand words, these photos — available exclusively to TEHELKA — could fill volumes. They capture a shootout that happened in the heart of Imphal, Manipur’s capital, barely 500 metres from the state assembly, on July 23. They show the moments before, during and after the ‘encounter killing’ of a 27-year-old Indian citizen – a young man called Chongkham Sanjit, shot dead by a heavily-armed detachment from Manipur’s Rapid Action Police Force, commonly known as the Manipur Police Commandos (MPC).

There is a grotesque and brutal history to the bullets that killed this young man. For years, decades even, security forces in Manipur have faced allegations of human rights violations and extrajudicial murders committed under cover of the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). In 2000, Irom Sharmila, stirred by the gunning down of 10 civilians, including an 18-year-old National Child Bravery Award winner, by the Assam Rifles, started a hunger fast — that lasts to this day — in protest against the AFSPA. In July 2004, the nation was rocked by the protests of a group of Manipuri women who marched to an Assam Rifles base in Imphal, stripped naked and raised a searing banner: “Indian Army Rape Us”. They were protesting the rape, torture and murder, a fortnight earlier, of Thangjam Manorama, 32, who was picked up from her home at night by the Assam Rifles.

Manipur rose up in protest that day, and in August 2004, the Centre relented, withdrawing the AFSPA from Imphal’s municipal zone. ‘Post-Manorama,’ as history is marked in Manipur, the army has taken a backseat, withdrawing outside the municipality. However, life in Manipur is still lived on the tightrope. In a seemingly new counter-insurgency strategy, the MPC has unleashed a reign of terror in the state.


Singh, 30, was allegedly killed by the Imphal West Police Commandos and 39 Assam Rifles on November 7, 2008. Singh ran a taxi service. In January 2009 his family filed a petition with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

Tasliumuddin, 20, a daily wage labourer, was allegedly killed in an ‘encounter’ by the Imphal West Police Commandos and 32 Assam Rifles on December 30, 2008. The NHRC has registered a case

Singh, 27, a brick mason was allegedly killed in an ‘encounter’ by the Imphal West Police Commandos and 12 Maratha Light Infantry on December 22, 2008 in Imphal West district. The family has filed a petition with the NHRC

Dipson, 28, was allegedly killed by the Imphal West Police Commandos and 39 Assam Rifles on January 12, 2009 at Laingam Khul. The lorry driver’s family has filed a police complaint

The 30-year-old auto rickshaw driver was allegedly killed by the Imphal West Police Commandos and 16 Assam Rifles on January 21, 2009. A complaint has been filed with the NHRC

The organisation known as the Manipur Police Commandos (MPC) was first set up in 1979 as the Quick Striking Force (QSF). Former Inspector General of Police, Thangjam Karunamaya Singh told TEHELKA, “They were trained for special operations. But the men had strict instructions. They were told to fire only when fired upon and pay special attention to the needs of women, children and the elderly. If they arrested somebody on suspicion, they had to take responsibility for their security,” stated Singh.

The MPC does not fall under the AFSPA but has now become notorious across the state. It operates only in the four districts of Manipur – Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishnupur. The MPC is housed in isolated commando barracks and has minimal contact with the general population, though its personnel are all locals.

Extra-judicial killings, and, in particular, fake encounters by the MPC have become common in Manipur. In 2008, there were 27 recorded cases of torture and killing attributed to the MPC. Where once they conducted ‘encounters’ in isolated places, they now do not think twice before operating in cities, in broad daylight, as they did on July 23. In several incidents, innocent civilians carrying money and valuables have been robbed and sometimes killed. In some cases official action has been taken against commandos for misconduct. For instance, in July 2009, five police commandos who had reportedly robbed three youths were suspended. But for the most part, their extra-judicial activity goes scot free.

According to the official version of Sanjit’s encounter death at 10:30am on July 23, a team of MPC personnel was conducting frisking operations in Imphal’s Khwairamband Keithel market. They saw a suspicious youth coming from the direction of the Uripok locality. When asked to stop, the version goes, the youth suddenly pulled out a gun and ran away, firing at the public in a bid to evade the police.

The official record states that the youth was finally cornered inside Maimu Pharmacy near Gambhir Singh Shopping Arcade. He was asked to surrender. Instead, he fired at the police. The police retaliated and the youth was killed. The account states that a 9mm Mauser pistol was “recovered”. The youth was identified from his driver’s license as Chongkham Sanjit, son of Chongkham Khelson of Kongpal Sajor Leikai, Manipur.

Usually, such official versions of encounters are difficult to disprove though everyone may know them to be false. But in an almost unprecedented coincidence, in Sanjit’s case, a local photographer rushed to the scene and managed to shoot a minute-by-minute account of the alleged ‘encounter’. The photographs (shown in preceding pages) clearly reveal that, contrary to the official version, Sanjit was, in fact, standing calmly as the police commandos frisked him and spoke to him. He was escorted inside the storeroom of the pharmacy. He was shot point blank inside and his dead body was brought out. The photographer, fearing for his safety, does not dare publish these pictures in Manipur.

The photographs clearly reveal that contrary to the official version, Sanjit was standing calmly as the MPC commandos frisked him

Eyewitness accounts partly corroborate the police version — except their account is obviously about a young man other than Sanjit. These witnesses state that a youth did escape from a police frisking party about a hundred metres away from where Sanjit was killed. The police chased this youth and opened fire, killing an innocent bystander, Rabina Devi — who was pregnant at the time — and injuring five other civilians. Afterwards, the police showed the media a 9mm Mauser pistol which they alleged was thrown away by the militant before he fled. After about half an hour, the police claimed to have killed the youth who escaped from their hands “in an encounter”; according to them, this youth was Sanjit. The photographs clearly indicate otherwise.

The police claim Sanjit was a member of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), a proscribed insurgent outfit. Chief Minster Okram Ibobi Singh also made a controversial statement in the assembly that day, asserting that there was no other alternative but to kill insurgents.

Sanjit was indeed a former PLA cadre. He was arrested in 2000 but freed. In 2006, he retired from the outfit on health grounds. In 2007, though, he was detained again under the NSA and was only released a year later. Since then, he had been staying with his family at his home at Khurai Kongpal Sajor Leikai and had been working as an attendant in a private hospital.

But even if Sanjit was a former militant, he should not have have been killed in a false encounter. The photos show him talking to his killers, calmly, without offering any resistance. He was frisked moments before the shootout. He was not an insurgent on the run. In fact, Sanjit had to make periodic appearances before the Court, a requirement that the Court later lifted. “Legally speaking, Sanjit was a free man,” says M Rakesh, a lawyer at the Gauhati High Court’s Imphal Bench. There are also significant inconsistencies in the police versions of the recovery of the weapon. First, they said it was flung away by the fleeing militant. Then they said it was recovered from Sanjit after the encounter. As the photos show, Sanjit was ushered into the pharmacy, not chased in. Also, if Sanjit was, in fact, armed with the 9mm Mauser, why wasn’t it found during the frisking? Why, as the photos show, was he taken inside the storeroom?

First the police said the pistol was flung away by the fleeing militant. Then they said it was recovered from Sanjit after the encounter

The law says if a death is caused by state forces in an encounter which cannot be justified by Section 46 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the officer causing the death would be guilty of culpable homicide. In this case, only a rigorous investigation can establish what exactly transpired. Instead of instituting a judicial enquiry, however, the state government is setting up a departmental enquiry, which is unlikely to yield any justice to the victims’ families. Sanjit’s family claims he had broken his earlier links with the militants and was leading a normal life. They say he had gone out that day to buy medicines for his uncle, who is undergoing treatment at Imphal’s JN Hospital. Says Sanjit’s mother, Inaotombi Devi, “Life is very cheap in Manipur.”

Manipur is routinely roiled by such devastating narratives. Ex-MLA 78-yearold Sarat Singh Loitongbam’s son Satish Singh was killed by the armed forces. Though a devout Hindu, he refuses to perform his son’s last rites until his name is cleared of wrongdoing. Like Satish, there is Ningombam Gopal Singh, a 39- year-old Grade-IV employee at the Imphal Bench of the Gauhati High Court, a man who was chatting over tea with women at a hotel when he was dragged off by men in plainclothes, to be shot dead in an ‘encounter’. There is 24-year-old Elangbam Johnson Singh, a student and part-time salesman, picked up by the MPC while out with a friend and killed in an encounter, his corpse at the morgue bearing signs of torture. Stories like these are a grotesque lattice in Manipur. “Life in Manipur,” as one observer puts it, “is like a lottery. You are alive because you are lucky.”



From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 31, Dated August 08, 2009


LEGAL NEWS 30.07.2009

SC green signal for C’Wealth Games village construction


New Delhi, Jul 30 (PTI)

Clearing the uncertainity over the conduct of the Commonwealth Games-2010, the Supreme Court today gave its green signal to the government to go ahead with construction of the Games village contending that it did not pose any environmental hazard.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan set aside a Delhi High Court direction for appointment of an expert committee to review the constructions as the same was being constructed on the Yamuna riverbed as alleged by certain environmentalists in a PIL.

“The observation and conclusion of the High Court that the site in question is on a “riverbed” cannot be sustained.




HC dismisses PIL seeking regulation in ‘dahi handi’–dahi-handi-


Mumbai, July 30 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today dismissed a PIL seeking regulation of children participating in ‘dahi handi’ festivities.

The Court said that formation of human pyramid which is a feature of ‘dahi handi’ in Maharashtra is “a regular sport and minors cannot be prohibited from participating in them.”

However, the Court said that the government may consider petitioners suggestion for making ‘dahi-handi’ safer and may frame guidelines.

A city-based NGO, Support India Foundation, had filed a PIL in Bombay High Court seeking a ban on participation of minors in ‘dahi handis’, a popular way of celebrating Janmashtami in Maharashtra.

The Foundation used RTI and found that children are getting injured while participating in the traditional ‘dahi handi’ celebrations where they climb on a human pyramid, which is some time as tall as a five-storeyed building, Geeta Singh, Director of the Foundation had told PTI.





Hooch tragedy: High Court seeks report on amendments in prohibition law–High-Court-seeks-report-on-amendments-in-prohibition-law/495797

Express News Service Posted: Thursday , Jul 30, 2009 at 0145 hrs Ahmedabad

Hearing on the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a women’s group, AWAG, in connection with the recent hooch tragedy in Ahmedabad and the prohibition law was adjourned today for the next two weeks

The adjournment came after the government counsel sought time to annex the recent amendment in the prohibition law passed by the Gujarat Legislative Assembly. The court has now asked the state government to file the reply along with the amendment in the form of an affidavit and submit it before the court in two weeks.

In the petition, AWAG Secretary Ila Pathak had asked for stringent implementation of the Prohibition Law in the state. Apart from the PIL, HC has also taken suo moto cognisance of a few complaint letters it received in connection with the recent hooch tragedy and prohibition law.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi had, subsequently, issued notice to the state government to explain it on how the prohibition policy is being implemented in the state.

Pathak’s counsel Amee Yajnik said, “The Additional Advocate General had sought time to annex the recent amendment made in the prohibition law. So, the court has asked the government to do the same and submit the report in the form of an affidavit by two weeks.”




PIL against Kankaria entry fee to be heard today

TNN 30 July 2009, 05:48am IST

AHMEDABAD: Nearly seven months after Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities started charging Rs 10 entry fee from visitors of Kankaria lake, a public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Gujarat High Court against the decision.

The PIL was filed by Kirti Bhatt through advocate Perseus Banaji, who refused to divulge more regarding his litigation stating that the petition was yet to come up for hearing. However, he said that entry fee to visit the 500-year-old lake is one of the issues included in the plea.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi, is scheduled to take up the PIL for hearing on Thursday morning.

Ever since the AMC decided to impose fee on Kankaria visitors last December, the decision has met with opposition from various groups, including Congress, the opposition party in the civic body. After the surrounding of the lake was renovated under the Rs 36-crore Kankaria Lake Front Development Project (KLFD), many demonstrations were held to protest imposition of the entry fee. However, Bhatt’s petition is the first to challenge the decision in a court of law.

The lake witnessed 4,457 visitors the day the entry fee was introduced. Since then, AMC has been collecting a good amount from the visitors as fees. AMC’s decision to introduce an imported toy train has also proved a hit. Buoyed by this, the civic body is now planning to introduce a tethered helium balloon ride at the lake. Moreover, the Kankaria lake is also to get a modern-day architectural landmark an 80 feet-tall moving steel tower, which will twist, change shape and colour with the help of powered sophisticated robotic motors and a software.




Is begging a crime? Court wants government’s reply

2009-07-29 21:30:00

The Delhi High Court Wednesday sought a reply from the central and city governments on a plea seeking to decriminalise begging in the capital.

A division bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Manmohan sought the response from the ministries of law and justice, social welfare and the Delhi government, and slated the next hearing for Sep 16.

The court issued a notice to the attorney general to assist the court on the public interest petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act.

The PIL was filed by noted social activist Harsh Mander who has argued that poverty can never be a crime.

‘If a person is destitute and begs for living, such a person cannot be treated as a criminal. He cannot be arrested or sentenced,’ the petitioner said while referring to the plight of a destitute who was jailed and sentenced for begging

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Drunk driving: Now, cars may be forfeited

TNN 29 July 2009, 11:44pm IST

NEW DELHI: The next time you are caught behind the wheel in ‘high spirits’, you might get your vehicle forfeited by police. That’s not all. More such stringent rules are in the offing for regular offenders of drunk driving with the Delhi High court directing the Delhi government to consider implementing the suggestions given by the amicus curiae to curb the growing number of accidents due to drunk driving.

With an aim to have more stringent punishment for those who risk their lives and that of others by driving under the influence of alcohol, a Division Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Manmohan granted two weeks’ time to Delhi government for consideration of the matter and sought a status report by September 2.

The Bench agreed with the suggestion of the amicus that the licence of the repeated offender be revoked and the vehicle forfeited. The court also agreed with the suggestions of a strict vigil at the bars, uniform checks by police and special drive during the festival season.

“Check points for breath-test should be placed at locations that are impossible to avoid. Regular checks at vulnerable places like bars and pubs would help. Refusal to take the breath-test should automatically result in cancellation of licence,” the amicus further suggested.

Though the court agreed to most of the suggestions given by the amicus curie, it rejected certain other suggestions which did not fit the feasibility bill. The court refused to accept the suggestion that managers of the restaurant/bar should provide substitute drivers to its guests who come to the bar.

Court also rejected the suggestion that guests can leave their keys with the restaurant drivers and then ensure that the guest is allowed to drive only when he is in a proper state to drive.

The Bench was hearing the suggestions referred by a single judge, after treating them as PIL. The judge had asked the counsel to give suggestions while hearing a motor accident claim matter.




 ‘Make BTC area a green zone’
URA, Karnad And 5 Others File PIL


Bangalore: Even as the tussle between Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) and the government over shifting of the race course continues, seven citizens have moved the high court, seeking directions to maintain the place as a green zone.
Jnanpith awardees U R Ananthamurthy and Girish Karnad, environmentalist Suresh Heblikar, litterateur K Marulasiddappa, theatre personality G K Govinda Rao, painter S G Vasudev and journalist Ammu Joseph have filed a PIL seeking to restrain the authorities from entering into a contract or lease for a building on the said premises.
“In Bangalore, air and sound pollution levels are high. The city needs green cover and the BTC area should be converted into a lung space. The 70-odd acres should be declared a green zone and necessary rules should be framed to safeguard Bangalore from environmental degradation,” the petition states.
The petition is likely to come up for hearing this weekend.
The 73.35-acre land on Race Course Road where the Bangalore Turf Club is situated at present is considered an important lung space in the heart of the city. The BTC had requested the state to extend the lease but the state was not inclined. They then sought for alternative land to shift the race course. The government considered this and a site measuring 152.02 acres in Jaala hobli was identified.
The government had sought modification of the August 22, 1995 interim order of the court which asked the authorities not to make any grant of lands pertaining to tank bed areas.
On July 13, the high court had given the government liberty to take appropriate action in the matter of shifting the race course from the heart of the city. A division Bench headed by chief justice P D Dinakaran told the authorities to act ‘strictly in accordance with law’ while dealing with the matter.

posted by The Bangalorean @ 7/30/2009 09:38:00 AM  





State to move SC over Hogenakkal

TNN 30 July 2009, 03:34am IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka government has decided to move the Supreme Court over the Hogenakkal drinking water project.
“We will appeal before the Supreme Court to ask the Tamil Nadu government to stop the proposed project at Hogenakkal falls,” water resources minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Wednesday.

The government has taken note of Tamil Nadu supplying drinking water to Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts by constructing a reservoir near Chamarajanagar district. If necessary, Karnataka will ask the Centre to intervene, he said.





SHRC raid in vain

TNN 30 July 2009, 03:33am IST

BANGALORE: State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) officials raided Amruthahalli police station on Wednesday afternoon after receiving information about a person being illegally detained there.

The officials suspected a man was detained there over recovery of gold in a burglary case. However, they did not find any illegal detention.




HC puts off GHMC poll

TNN 30 July 2009, 02:38am IST

HYDERABAD: The AP High Court on Wednesday stayed the ongoing process for the GHMC polls and told officials that the polls cannot be held until the objections of various sections of the society who knocked the court’s door for redressal of their grievances in this regard are heard.

The final hearing in the case is slated to begin in Aug. third week and polls will depend on the timing and the outcome of the verdict. The slew of petitions that came before the division bench comprising Chief Justice Anil Ramesh Dave and Justice Ramesh Ranganathan raised several objections, including the collection of data pertaining to Backward Classes, reservation of wards to them, extension of political reservations to Muslims under the BC quota, quota for the creamy layer, disproportionate division of wards and delimitation issues.

The Bench observed that reservations provided to Muslims in education and employment by the AP government cannot be extended to the ‘political spectrum’ in the form of reserving certain seats to Muslims in GHMC elections. Quoting the Supreme Court, the Bench said that it has become mandatory to exclude creamy layer from BC groups. Polls cannot be held on the basis of illegal determination of BC voters, the Bench said.

“As GHMC elections are long overdue, it is necessary that this batch of writ petitions is finally heard at the earliest. As pleadings are yet to be completed in some of the writ petitions which form part of this batch, let all these writ petitions be listed for final hearing in the third week of August 2009,” the Bench said.

“We make it clear that the order now passed by us will not preclude the authorities from identifying and excluding the creamy layer among the BCs, providing group-wise reservation in favour of the BCs and, thereafter, conducting elections to the GHMC in accordance with law. We also make it clear that our observations on the several issues raised in this batch of writ petitions are only for the limited purpose of deciding the interlocutory applications and shall have no bearing on the final adjudication of the writ petitions,” the Bench said.

The court however upheld the process of identification of BC voters on the basis of executive guidelines and rejected the contention of the petitioners that the BCs can be identified only by the BC commission. The GHMC had hurried in its preparation for the polls as it wanted it to be held before Ganesh Chaturthi and Ramzan. “The idea was to hold it around August 21, but now we are not sure as to when they can be held,” said one GHMC official.

As per the directive of the state election commission that everything has to be in place by July 15, the GHMC had readied the division-wise electoral rolls, identified the wards reserved for BCs, enumerated the BC voters as well as identified the quota for SCs and STs by the stipulated deadline. However, going by the court’s verdict, there appears to have been many flaws in these.





Common University law to focus on VC quality

TNN 30 July 2009, 04:27am IST

CHENNAI: The issue of appointing persons with credible credentials to the post of vice-chancellor would be addressed in the proposed common legislation for universities in Tamil Nadu, higher education minister K Ponmudy said on Wednesday.

A high-level committee comprising eminent academics M Anandakrishnan and VC Kulandaisamy and three other members would examine these provisions in the draft Common Universities Bill, he said at a press conference here.

Ponmudy’s assurance on the issue came just days after Union human resources development minister Kapil Sibal wanted states to show, as part of a vision document, as to how they proposed to improve the quality of vice-chancellors.

However, Ponmudy sought to overlook the controversy over the appointment of kith and kin of ministers and politicians as vice-chancellors in Tamil Nadu over the past year, saying “such a practice has been in vogue” for many years. The minister also acknowledged that eliminating political interference in the appointment of vice-chancellors was impractical.

The state was willing to cooperate with the Centre’s initiatives to clean up the higher education system, including reviewing the functioning of deemed universities.

As for some private colleges demanding capitation and excess fee, the minister said, “Even today I received a couple of complaints and forwarded it to the monitoring committee.”

Meanwhile, he said that the Anna University (Chennai) would on August 1 confer honorary doctorates on deputy chief minister M K Stalin, Oscar award winning musician AR Rahman and the man behind the country’s first moon mission Mylswamy Annadurai for their contributions to the society.





Raja case: HC restores gag order on Tamil mag

TNN 30 July 2009, 04:08am IST

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has restored a gag order against a Tamil magazine, Junior Vikatan, restraining the biweekly from publishing any article, news item, photograph or caricatures against Union minister A Raja. It also stayed the imposition of Rs 10,000 as case cost on the minister.

A division bench comprising Justice K Raviraja Pandian and Justice PPS Janarthana Raja, which delivered this interim ruling on Wednesday, passed similar interim orders in two other cases as well. The bench stayed a single judge order imposing Rs 25,000 as cost on industrialist and former BCCI president AC Muthiah, and issued an order of status quo with regard to the publication of Periyar EV Ramasamy’s works by the Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK). Coincidentally, all these appeals arose out of the orders delivered by Justice K Chandru.

The present gag order was first passed by a single judge in April this year, when Junior Vikatan was carrying reports about the controversy relating to spectrum allocation by the Union ministry of information technology and telecommunications.

On July 20, Justice K Chandru vacated the prior restraint against the biweekly on the ground that there was no law empowering the state or its officials to prohibit or impose a prior restraint upon the press. He had said that “any attempt to stifle or fetter criticisms will amount to political censorship and the Supreme Court has held such attempts as insidious and objectionable.” The court had also imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on Raja.

Granting interim orders against the single judge order on publications as well as the case cost, the division bench posted the matter after four weeks for further proceedings.

In his appeal, Raja and his wife MA Parameswari argued that the single judge had misdirected himself when he held that all the impugned news reports were not related to their private life. Noting that right to freedom of expression is not absolute, they said blanket approval of the right is too dangerous and will amount to violation of human rights.

“No citizen has the right to make a defamatory statement and the impugned judgment sends a clear message that there is a right to defame recklessly, commit forgery and fudging of family photograph when the respondent is part of the press,” said the appeal.

Raja said the magazine defamed him, intruded into the privacy of his family, and revealed the identity of his minor daughter, which amounted to violation of human rights.




HC stays order against ex-BCCI chief Muthiah

TNN 30 July 2009, 12:21am IST

CHENNAI: A single judge order imposing a case cost of Rs 25,000 on former Board of Control for Cricket in India president AC Muthiah, who had questioned the propriety of BCCI secretary N Srinivasan owning the Chennai franchisee of the Board, has been stayed by a division bench.

The bench comprising justice K Ravijara Pandian and justice PPS Janarthana Raja granted the interim relief to the industrialist after senior advocate Nalini Chidambaram submitted that Muthiah moved the court only to “uphold the probity in the activities of the BCCI…and to establish that the power of amendment has been abused by a public body to protect the interest of an individual.”

Muthiah had alleged that as BCCI treasurer, Srinivasan flouted rules when he bade for the Chennai team of the Board’s Indian Premier League (IPL). The board later amended rules excluding Srinivasan from the ambit of the rules and to enable him to contest for BCCI secretary post, he said. On July 13, Justice K Chandru declined to interfere with BCCI’s affairs, dismissed the application and imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on Muthiah.

Assailing that order, Muthiah said the court could not refuse to exercise the power of judicial review, and adopt a self-imposed policy of judicial restraint in the matter of management of public bodies.

Noting that amendment to Clause 6.2.4 was made with the private interest of Srinivasan in mind, he said the move suffered from the vice of malice in law. “The single judge failed to appreciate that confidence of the public will be shaken if persons who use undue influence in public bodies to bend the law to suit their private interest are allowed to hold influential positions in public bodies,” he said.

He wanted the bench to set aside the single judge order, and to stay his direction to Muthiah to pay case cost of Rs 25,000.




HC defers engg college counselling

TNN 30 July 2009, 04:58am IST

CHANDIGARH: Counselling for admission to PEC University and other engineering colleges of Chandigarh that was scheduled for Thursday, has been deferred till further orders by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. HC has also summoned records pertaining to the number of candidates who applied for admission under different categories. The matter would come up for hearing on Friday.

Justice MM Kumar passed these orders while hearing a writ petition filed by two candidates. In their petition, the petitioners had challenged the admission committee’s decision clubbing the UT pool quota and all India quota of seats reserved for the wards of military and paramilitary personnel for admission to engineering colleges.

While replying to the petitioner’s contentions, UT administration on Wednesday submitted that the clubbing of the quota was done erroneously but they cannot change it at present because it has been published in the prospectus. UT also deposed before the HC that they will separate the quota from the next academic year because the prospectus cannot be changed at this juncture.

However, contesting UT’s reply, counsel for the petitioners said that UT has committed a mistake while mentioning such rules in the prospectus and the mistake can be corrected by issuing a corrigendum. Earlier in their petition, Avneet Hira and Arshdeep Sandhu had sought the quashing of the provision in section B relating to admissions in PEC regarding defence quota and to conduct admissions in accordance with a letter issued by Chandigarh administration on July 15.




Trespassing: HC lawyers manhandle DSP

TNN 30 July 2009, 04:35am IST

CHANDIGARH: High drama was witnessed in the parking area of Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday when some lawyers manhandled a DSP of Haryana police because he had tried to get his vehicle an entry from the wrong side and allegedly abused the lawyers who had objected to it.

The matter was later resolved with the intervention of the executive body of the high court bar and challaning of the DSP’s vehicle for wrong parking by traffic police.

The incident took place in the afternoon when DSP Nathu Singh Rathi, posted in Haryana vigilance department, tried to enter the high court through the exit point. When he was stopped by the HC bar staff, he overpowered them and got his official vehicle to enter the premises through the prohibited passage. When some lawyers objected to this, the DSP allegedly started abusing them. Advocate Punit Bali had a heated argument with the DSP. Bali was joined by other lawyers. The DSP alleged that he was not only abused by the lawyers but they also thrashed him and punctured all the tyres of his vehicle.

Thereafter, the DSP was taken to the office of president of High Court bar room by the lawyers and a police team from Sector-3 Chandigarh was called in.

After arguments between the DSP and the lawyers, a compromise was arrived at between both the parties.

However, during the arguments, the DSP suffered a bout of hypertension and was taken to the dispensary located on the premises of the high court.

The DSP later alleged that he was not only beaten up but also humiliated by the lawyers, but he did not lodge any formal complaint.

Talking on the issue, High Court bar association president Sukhjinder Singh Behl said it was a minor tussle and was amicably sorted out.





Act on parole applications in 6 weeks: HC

TNN 30 July 2009, 03:42am IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa directed the inspector general of prisons to decide on applications for furlough/parole filed by prisoners in the state within six weeks.

The court passed the order after a case, where authorities took one year to decide on an application, came to light. The HC set the time frame after no time limit was prescribed under the Goa Prison Rules, 2006.

In a step towards prison reforms, Justice N A Britto said, “The IG (prisons) should ensure that all applications of the prisoners for furlough/parole, who are otherwise permanent residents of this state, should be decided within a period of six weeks and in case of others who are residents of outside the state within a period of eight weeks. These are only outer limits within which the applications are to be decided.”

The order came in the wake of a petition filed in the court this year by Francis D’Sa, a prisoner in central jail, Aguada. The high court found that his application dated July 9, 2008, was decided only on July 13, 2009, while the petition was pending before the high court.

The court was prompted to issue the directions as in a number of cases the prisoners were compelled to approach the high court because their applications were not decided within a reasonable time frame.




Moradabad court grants bail to Joshi

TNN 30 July 2009, 05:30am IST

LUCKNOW: A Moradabad court on Wednesday granted bail to Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Rita Bahuguna Joshi in connection with the alleged objectionable remarks made against chief minister Mayawati a fortnight ago.

The court accepted Joshi’s application for regular bail and granted the same against two sureties of Rs 20,000 each and a personal bond furnished by Joshi’s lawyers thereafter. Joshi was already on interim bail granted by the court on her application filed along with the application for regular bail on July 18 last.




Man accused of stealing cops’ bikes acquitted

TNN 30 July 2009, 02:47am IST

In a surprise development, a youth charged with stealing three motorbikes belonging to three policemen has been acquitted by the court. Two of the policemen were the complainants in the case.

Javed Sattar (19) of Manora in Washim district and his friends were charged with having stolen three motorcycles from the premises of the Regional Police Training School (RPTS) at Godanki in Old City area on January 24, 2009. Sattar is reported to have abandoned one of the motorcycles since it ran out of fuel just outside the RPTS premises. However, the other two motorcycles were found in Akot town in Akola district some time later.

Sattar had been booked under sections 379, 380 of IPS. The accused was provided defence lawyer K H Giri by the legal aid centre.

The prosecution examined six policemen, including head constable Dilip Vasant Tidke, constables Anil Zunz and Sunday Kshirsagar, whose motorcycles had been stolen. JMFC G K Nandanwar acquitted the accused after hearing the defence lawyer and advocate Gajanan Patil who represented the state.




Session court to hear bail plea in Simi case today

Suhas Vyas, TNN 30 July 2009, 02:43am IST

would hear the bail plea of five Simi activists, who are currently in jail, on Thursday, informed the defence lawyer Dildar Khan.

The investigating officer had made a volt face on Saturday by requesting the Murtizapur court to release the five accused under section 169 of criminal procedure code 1973 following lack of sufficient evidence against them. However, magistrate YD Gaud refused to release the accused and ordered police to reinvestigate the case.

On Monday evening, the investigating officer again produced the accused before the magistrate stating that their police custody was no more required as the case investigations were over and hence the accused be sent to jail under magisterial custody. As per the law, an accused can immediately apply for bail after being sent to magisterial custody. As expected, the accused immediately applied for bail. But the magistrate rejected the bail application despite the fact that the government pleader had given a no objection to their release on bail.

Following this development, Khan applied for bail in the sessions court on Tuesday which will be heard on Thursday. The police maintained that they had no concrete evidence against the arrested persons. The five accused were rounded up during a Muslim religious meet held at Mana village on July 19.




RTI reveals rly protects erring staff

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN 30 July 2009, 03:03am IST

NAGPUR: The question is whether to spend money on litigation after a complaint is lodged or take action against the erring employees? The railway prefers the former as an RTI query pertaining to negligent and inefficient service to passengers.

A query under RTI has revealed that the railway spent Rs 3,570 for fighting a legal battle. It also recovered a fine of Rs 6,200 from the erring contractor towards poor services. However, when it came to taking action against the erring staff, the railway says: “It’s not applicable”.

The brief history of the case refers to District Consumer Forum, Nagpur ruling in January 2009, ordering the railways to pay one of the passengers A V Prabhune, a resident of railway colony, Ranapratap Nagar, Rs 6,200 for not providing proper linen and poor condition of the AC-III compartment of 2649 Yashwantpur-Nizamuddin Sampark Kranti Express in which he was travelling with his wife to Bangalore on September 2, 2007.

Although Prabhune won the case and got compensation from the railways as per the court order, he was curious to know as to what action the railway took against the erring employees and contractor. Reply to a query under the RTI Act on July 25 has revealed that the railway protects erring employees. This is despite the fact that railway circulars clearly define the role and responsibilities of officials deputed on station and train duties.

Prabhune, who’s working to protect rights of consumers, says getting compensation is not the sole issue. “I wanted to know steps taken to avoid recurrence of such incidents, compensation and cost of litigation are paid and action is taken against the erring staff. However, the public information officer (PIO) and additional divisional railway manager (ADRM), South West Railway, Bangalore, gave incomplete and incorrect information,” Prabhune told TOI.

When Prabhune appealed to the DRM, he informed that a compensation of Rs 6,200 was recovered from the contractor but no action was taken against the erring employees. He further said that their division has not incurred any cost on litigation. Not satisfied, Prabhune filed another RTI with Central Railway, Nagpur.

Prabhune says information received from PIO, Nagpur, reveals that the Central Railway paid Rs 3,570 to its lawyer against his original bill of Rs 8,190. On action against the erring employees, the reply says not applicable’. “This clearly indicates that instead of taking action against erring employees, top officials protect them,” an aggrieved Prabhune said.

Action was not taken against the PIO of South West Railway also for providing incorrect and incomplete information. Prabhune said the cost of fine is ultimately passed on to consumers. “The key question is why consumers should suffer for failures and inefficiency of the railway administration?”

“Many times, railway officials are adamant and force passengers to go into litigation as they don’t lose money from their pockets. But it definitely matters to a common man who cannot take on the mighty administration. I had to suffer a lot of physical and mental agony while fighting the legal battle,” Prabhune said and demanded to recover money towards litigation from the erring employees.

It is clear that the railway spent Rs 3,570 as litigation cost and recovered a compensation of Rs 6,200 from the contractor. However, even if this is true, it is the duty of the rail officials to monitor contractors’ working.






Quota for hiring from Bar to stay

TNN 30 July 2009, 03:58am IST

NEW DELHI: The quota for recruitment from the Bar to fill vacancies in the higher judicial service (HJS) of the states would remain intact at 25% of the total vacant positions.

But, the Supreme Court has posed a question to the HCs whether it would be prudent to reduce the fast track promotion quota for filling another 25% of the vacant posts in HJS to 10% in the absence of suitable candidates.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan said: “It is noticed that in many of the states, the HCs find it difficult to fill up 25% of the fast-track promotions as sufficient number of candidates are not available and it is pointed out that in the written test most of the candidates fail and the 25% quota remains unfilled thereby creating more vacancies in HJS.”

“We, therefore, request the various HCs to file the details of the promotions given to the HJS since 2006 after the commencement of the new rules in the HJS and also give their suggestion, if any, as to whether 25% of the vacancies is in excessive or whether it should be reduced to a reasonable percentage, say 10. All HCs are requested to file their response within four weeks,” the Bench said.

This makes it clear that the 25% recruitment quota for HJS from the Bar would remain intact while the apex court is mulling reduction in the 25% quota reserved for recruitment through fast-track promotions.





SC rejects RNRL plea for final hearing on Sept 1


2009-07-30 15:00:00
Last Updated: 2009-07-30 18:46:06
The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear Reliance Natural Resources Limited (RNRL) plea for commencing final hearing on gas dispute from September 1.

Mukesh in pursuit of corporate greed: Anil Ambani

A bench headed Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said it would decide on final hearing date on September 1.

Gas dispute case: RNRL versus Reliance

As the entire Bombay High Court record was before the apex court, the company’s counsel Mukul Rohtagi requested that final hearing be taken up on September 1.

Anil seeks probe into RIL’s ‘huge scandal’ in gas investments

Questioning the need for early final hearing, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) counsel Harish Salve said, “What public interest would this serve?”

Ambani gas war: Plan panel not worried

On Wednesday, the dispute over gas distribution between the Ambani brothers echoed in Parliament with Samajwadi Party (SP) members led by party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, demanding Petroleum Minister Murli Deora’s resignation over the Centre’s failure to ensure gas supply to the Dadri Power project in Uttar Pradesh.

Oil Ministry stand will erode investor confidence: Anil Ambani

Yadav alleged that the Centre had committed an injustice to Uttar Pradesh by denying gas to the Dadri Power plant and this in turn could cost the national exchequer Rs 30,000 crore.

Court admits petition for early end to Reliance gas dispute

The Anil Ambani owned RNRL has taken up Dadri project.

More India business stories

On Tuesday, Anil Ambani had flayed the Petroleum Ministry for colluding with his elder brother Mukesh’s RIL in blocking gas supply for its power projects despite a firm commitment, upheld thrice by the Bombay High Court

Last month, the Bombay High Court had asked Reliance Industries to supply 28 million units of gas to Reliance Natural Resources for 17 years at 2.34 dollars per unit, after assigning 12 million units to the state-run power utility NTPC. (ANI)










Setback for Anil: SC rejects RNRL plea for early final hearing

Press Trust Of India

New Delhi, July 30, 2009

The Supreme Court today refused to take up a gas dispute between Reliance Industries and RNRL for final hearing on September 1, rejecting the prayer of Anil Group company for expeditious proceedings.

A bench headed Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said it will decide on the date of final hearing on September 1 when
it will consider various petitions related to the dispute.The RNRL prayer came up for mentioning and the company’s
counsel Mukul Rohtagi requested that final hearing be taken up on September 1 as the entire Bombay High Court record was
before the apex court and nothing was left to be filed.

“All parties are here,” he said, referring to Mukesh Ambani-led RIL, the government and gas users. RIL counsel Harish Salve, however, questioned the need for early final hearing, saying “what public interest would this serve?”

The court enquired whether the petitioner wanted interim arrangement on the September 1 or the final order, Rohtagi
said that RNRL was not looking for interim arrangement. At this point Salve requested the court that there should
be complete silence from all parties as people are going to the media.

Earlier on Wednesday, in a no holds barred attack, Anil Ambani landed an emotional punch on elder brother,
saying Mukesh no longer saw a role for their mother Kokilaben in resolving their gas dispute and has traded Dhirubhai’s
vision for “corporate greed.”

Asserting that he had made sincere efforts at every stage to amicably resolve all issues, but without success, Anil told
PTI that “unfortunately, in the pursuit of corporate greed, RIL has even forgotten the vision of the founder chairman
(late Dhirubhai Ambani)!”

Expressing anguish over Mukesh’s disregard to elders in the family, he said: “My respected elder brother has already
made it amply clear both within the family and externally that he does not visualise any further role for my respected mother in resolving this (gas supply dispute) or any other matter.”

It was Kokilaben who oversaw the division of the Reliance empire in 2005, two years after the differences between the
two brothers became public.





HC drives home point: replacement drivers ‘impractical’

Utkarsh Anand Posted: Thursday , Jul 30, 2009 at 0103 hrs New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday termed as “impractical” the recommendation to make it mandatory for all bars and discotheques in the Capital to keep ‘replacement drivers’ — a suggestion that was earlier sent by a single judge Bench to the Delhi Police for consideration.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Manmohan in fact pulled up the amicus curiae A J Bhambani for giving suggestions that were imprudent and liable to be rejected. After perusing the report containing various suggestions to rein in drunken driving, the court said, “I am also surprised by your references to Wikipedia reports and about what happens in other countries like South Korea. The suggestions have to be good and not fancy,” Justice Shah said.

“The suggestion of replacement drivers is not only impractical but will also give rise to various other issues. We cannot allow this,” said Justice Shah.

Notably, a single judge Bench had in May issued a slew of directives for the Delhi Government and the Delhi Police.

While the police were asked to post personnel outside pubs, bars and restaurants which serve liquor and slap penalties on those driving out drunk, the government was directed to examine if it could be made mandatory for the bars to keep ‘replacement drivers’, as is prevalent in some foreign countries.

The logic advanced by the counsel was that since the establishment profits from the customer, it was their responsibility to ensure safety of the patron and of innocent people on the road

Striking down this suggestion, the Bench further said that another recommendation asking for installation of an ignition interlock device, which would analyse a driver’s breath and disable the ignition if he is found drunk, also defied logic and substance.

Another suggestion held “illogical” by the court included “marking licence plates to indicate that a driver’s licence is suspended or revoked for alcohol offences can also act as a deterrent in the form of a social sanction against offenders.”

“These suggestions simply cannot work,” said the Bench and asked Delhi Police counsel Mukta Gupta about what was being done to check the drunken driving.

“We have been keeping a close vigil in the areas where bars and discotheques are located. It is noteworthy that 3,872 people have been booked for drunken driving till July 15 this year while 1,203 vehicles were impounded and 1,200 driving licenses were punched as punishment,” Gupta informed the court.

The bench, however, was unhappy over the mild punishments prescribed for drunken driving under the laws and said, “A monetary penalty will not do alone. It has to be backed up by something more stringent like suspending or cancelling a licence. It is disappointing that while other countries have severe punishments for drunken driving, we lack a stern legislation.”

The court then asked the Delhi government to consider suggestions like suspension and revocation of licenses, uniform checks and creating awareness, to curb the growing number of drunken driving accidents. The next date of hearing has been fixed for September 2.





ADM Manhandling: Accused MLA moves HC against FIR

TNN 29 July 2009, 10:41pm IST

ALLAHABAD: SP MLA from Varanasi and a corporator of Nagar Nigam, Varanasi filed a writ petition in the Allahabad HC on Wednesday in connection with an FIR lodged against him for manhandling a senior PCS officer, ADM (Protocol) posted in Varanasi.

MLA Abdul Samad Ansari and a corporator of VNN Manoj Rai have filed a writ petition in the HC, challenging the validity of FIR lodged against them with police station- Cantt- Varanasi. The FIR has been lodged against the MLA and corporator under Sections 323, 504, 506, 332, 353 and 7 Criminal Law Amendment.

The allegation in the FIR was that the MLA and the corporator along with their 10 to 15 supporters approached the office of the ADM (Protocol), Varanasi, Rajendra Kumar Singh, on July 27, for issuance of a solvency certificate but after some time, they manhandled the ADM on some issue and tore his clothes.

The alleged accused SP MLA and corporator have alleged in the writ petition that they had not manhandled the ADM but had been falsely implicated in this case due to political rivalry. The case would be heard by a two judge bench of the HC.

LEGAL NEWS 28-29.07.2009

HC issues notices to Haryana Home secy, police chief on PIL

 Published: July 29,2009    
Chandigarh , July 28 The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notices to the Haryana Home Secretary and police chief on a PIL filed by an organisation which sought direction to the state government for taking action against caste-based Khaap panchayats.

The petition filed by Lawyers For Human Rights International submitted that Khap Panchayats were functioning like parallel courts in Haryana pronouncing punishment on individuals and families considered to be violating its code, especially governing marriages.

It sought directions to the state government to declare the decisions of the Khap Panchayats as illegal and initiate action against them.

Referring to the recent death of a man Vedpal, who was lynched in Jind district when he had gone to take his wife from her parent&aposs home, the petitioner prayed the probe into the incident be entrusted to a special investigation team headed by a senior IPS officer under the supervision of the court and the victim&aposs family be given compensation.

The court sought the response of the officials by September 22.

Source: PTI    





Contempt petition against state for forcing quota

TNN 29 July 2009, 06:03am IST

LUCKNOW: The high court asked the UPTU registrar and secretary, education department, to file their response on a contempt petition moved with allegation that despite stay order the state government was forcing the petitioner that is private engineering colleges to implement 50% reservation for SC/ST and OBC in admission. Justice Sanjai Mishra fixed August 4 for next hearing of the case.

Ram Swaroop and Ram Murthi Engineering Colleges moved the petition stating that division bench of the court had restrained the government from implementing 50% quota in their respect but still the government was forcing them to do so.

Bail to arson accused rejected: Bail pleas of two accused, involved in torching the house of UP Congress president, Rita Bahuguna Joshi on July 15, have been rejected here on Tuesday. SC/ST judge, Satish Chandra Singh rejected the application of accused Zamir Khan, while judge Anil Kumar turned down the plea of Inder alias Pappu.

The two were arrested along with three others on the allegation of involvement in the case lodged by complainant, B R Saroj with Hussainganj police. The accused pleaded in their bail application that they were innocent and have been falsely implicated. They are not BSP workers and just to save three culprits they have been challaned in the case. It was also said that there was no evidence against them and their names figured in the case on the statement of co-accused, which is not admissible.

Maintenance of city parks: The high court has restrained the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) from transferring 25 parks of the city to non-governmental agencies for their upkeep and maintenance. The court fixed August 3 for next hearing of the matter and directed the LDA to apprise it, in the meanwhile, of rules and regulation under which the parks are being handed over to private agencies.

The orders were passed by a division bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice R R Awasthi on a PIL filed by a local lawyer, Pankaj Srivastava. It was said in the PIL that on June 26, LDA decided to transfer 25 parks, including Begam Hazrat Mahal Park, Buddha Park, Neembu Park and Nehru Bal Vatika to NGOs. There are no rules or regulations under which LDA is transferring these parks, said the petitioner and added that LDA had handed over these parks to NGOs earlier also but they were left in a very pitiable condition. Therefore, transfer of these parks to NGOs is not in public interest, said the petitioner.




Govt trying to shield dummy writers scam accused: PIL

DNA Correspondent

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 8:26 IST

Ahmedabad: The state government has sought to file reply to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in connection with the dummy writers scam. The petitioner, Manish Doshi, executive council member of the Gujarat University, has accused the government of not taking actions against the alleged prime perpetrators of the scam by sitting on the report given by the inquiry committee. The case will come up for hearing next on August 10.

The PIL seeks strict action against the people responsible for the dummy writers scam. Doshi, through his counsel, DP Kinariwala, submitted in the court that, an inquiry committee formed by the Gujarat State Higher Secondary Board, has recommended actions against trustees of HB Kapadia high school and Swastik Shishuvihar high school and Sant Kabir school besides the then GSHSEB secretary, HN Chavda.

However, the government has not acted according to the report and is shielded the main accused by issuing petty punishments to the other accused in the case, it alleged.

The scam, unearthed during the HSC examination in 2008, caught Kamal Patel and Harsh Kotak, two students who belong to well-known families, using dummy writers faking hand fracture.





Govt pulled up over Abhishek episode

TNN 29 July 2009, 02:38am IST

BANGALORE: The high court on Tuesday asked the chief secretary to issue guidelines with respect to the representation to be filed by an NGO to prevent tragedies like the Abhishek episode. The six-year-old boy was washed away in a drain during a heavy downpour and his body was never found.

“We express our deep anguish about this tragedy. We’ve all the sympathy. But there is no use in finding fault with anybody. We all have to coordinate so that such things are not repeated. The chief secretary should give appropriate directions to PWD authorities, the DC and all local authorities so that such an incident is not repeated in any part of the state,” the division Bench headed by chief justice observed while asking the petitioner NGO to file necessary representation to the government in this regard.

Citizen Action Group in its PIL alleged that despite the Abhishek tragedy on May 31, the authorities had not taken any effective protective measures. “The Abhishek incident was not an isolated one. Ten days earlier, a security guard was washed away with his scooter. The authorities have so far shown a callous attitude. They have not issued any comprehensive guidelines with respect to covering open drains. No one has been held accountable for the tragedy,” Nalina, the petitioner’s counsel, told the court.




SC rejects PIL on EVMs manipulation

July 27th, 2009 – 6:00 pm ICT by ANI

New Delhi, July 27 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) alleging susceptibility of electronic voting machines (EVM) to manipulation.

India is using the electronic voting machine from the last five years for the elections of Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

A Bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan declined to hear the PIL, filed by V. V. Rao, of Jana Chaitanya Vedika. The Bench asked the petitioner to make a representation before the Election Commission of India in connection with the matter.

Rao, himself an engineer argued in the petition that, several experts and election watch groups have found that the EVM could be manipulated. Rao also claimed that his organization analysed the results in several constituencies, which indicate that there is something drastically wrong with the EVMs.

The existing EVMs are vulnerable and should not be used for any elections till the time the machines are made tamper proof, Rao said in the petition.

Earlier, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani also raised doubts about the functioning of the EVMs, and also demanded to reintroduction of ballet papers for elections.

The Election Commission of India rejected all such allegation claiming that all EVMs are protected against tampering. (ANI)





Govt buys time to soothe anti-gay sentiment

29 Jul 2009, 0152 hrs IST, Bharti Jain, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: The decision to ask the Union Cabinet to take a final call on the recent Delhi High Court judgement legalising adult gay sex may only help the government buy more time to soothe the angry feelings it has invoked among various religious communities.

The latest move by a three-member panel comprising home minister P Chidambaram, law minister Veerappa Moily and health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad – tasked by the prime minister to formulate a view on whether Section 377 needed to be updated/scrapped – to seek a consensus within the Cabinet comes even as their own opinion is in favour of the judgement legalising sex between consenting adult homosexuals.

At the meeting on Tuesday, there was broad agreement that HC judgement scrapping a particular provision of Section 377 regarding consensual gay sex between adults was “balanced”, as it had left the provisions criminalising non-consensual sex between homosexuals as well as sodomy intact.

In fact, according to government sources, the Centre is unlikely to fault the judgement in the Supreme Court. However, the opposition from various religious leaders — including Muslim clerics, Sikh and Christian clergy as well as right-wing Hindu groups — and the political cost it entails have made the government jittery about openly welcoming the HC order as of now.

Some ministers feel that a consensus should be built among the political class as well as within the society before publicly backing the HC verdict. This, however, needs time, which is why the Centre has sought six weeks to present its views on the matter before the court. Given the differences that may emerge within the council of ministers on Section 377, it could even take longer before the government takes a final call on enforcing the HC order.

In any case, Section 377, as interpreted by HC, is already the law of the land. So, effectively, gay sex between consulting adults is legal. As time passes — possibly six months to even an year — and not so-called “adverse” effects of legalisation of adult homosexual relations are visible, the reservations of the various communities and religious groups, MHA feels, may just wear off.






HC dismisses petitions challenging telecast of ‘Sach Ka Samna’

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 29, 2009 at 1240 hrs New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court dismissed two petitions seeking a stay on the controversial TV show ‘Sach Ka Samna’, saying that moral policing is not its function.

A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah suggested the petitioners to approach the central government over it.

“It is for the government to decide whether the programme should be banned or not. It is not the function of the court … There are far more serious problems in this country which we have to settle,” the Bench said.

Two petitioners, Deepak Maini and Prabhat Kumar, had approached the court seeking a stay on the show being telecast on Star Plus channel alleging that the programme was against the values of the Indian society.

Rejecting it, the court said, “Our culture is not so fragile that it would be affected by one TV programme.”





HC seeks info on Katihar red-light area

TNN 29 July 2009, 12:01am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Tuesday directed the Katihar DM to file a counter affidavit to a PIL seeking rehabilitation of the people living in the red-light area in Kulipara locality of Katihar town.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Shivakirti Singh and Justice Anjana Prakash issued the directive on a PIL of Naseema Khatoon who alleged police atrocities on the women residing in Kulipara.

Claiming herself to be a social activist, dancer and singer, Naseema sought a direction to police not to violate the human rights of Kulipara residents. She said she has already submitted a memorandum to the chief minister, requesting for measures for the uplift and rehabilitation of the residents of all the red-light areas in the state.

She said when the CM visited Katihar, residents of Kulipara sought rehabilitation. Thereafter, the local police gave a report that Kulipara children were being imparted education and that the situation had improved there. On July 8, however, a team of policemen reached Kulipara and molested women, Naseema added.





HC asks official liquidator not to take charge of Pyramid Saimira
TE Narasimhan / Chennai July 29, 2009, 0:24 IST

The Madras high court has asked the official liquidator (OL) not to take charge of Chennai-based Pyramid Saimira Theatre Ltd (PSTL) for the time being. The court’s direction comes after the theatre chain informed the former that it would pay its entire dues to Patni Financial Services before October 31, 2009.

 It may be recalled that on June 19, the Madras high court had appointed the OL to take charge of Pyramid Saimira’s assets. The order was passed on the basis of a petition filed by Mumbai-based Patni Financial Advisors, which had given a loan of Rs 5 crore by way of inter-corporate deposit to PSTL.

During today’s hearing, PSTL paid Rs 32.5 lakh, the interest portion, to Patni and said it would pay the entire amount before October 31. Following this, Justice P Jyothimani said the “appointment of PL stays in abeyance”.





Juvenile Act provides for adoptions: HC

TNN 29 July 2009, 05:33am IST CHENNAI: Couples intending to adopt children without being inhibited by the personal laws of their religion can do so under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, the Madras high court has ruled.

Allowing an application from a Christian couple who sought legal rights for their adopted daughter, Justice K Chandru faulted Air India, employer of the adoptive father, for refusing to recognise the adoption based on the “spurious argument” that Christian law did not recognise adoptions.

Noting that Sections 40 and 41 of the Juvenile Justice Act provided for adoption through the juvenile justice board, the court criticised Air India for failing to note the present legal position. “It shows their insensitiveness and ignorance regarding the development of law in this country,” Justice Chandru said. Besides, AI’s stand was opposed to the law of the land, he said.

The court directed AI to recognise that Gywneth Dhanya, aged two and a half, as the child of the applicants, RR George Christopher and his wife Kristy Chandra, and confer all service benefits available to a child of an AI staff.

“The Juvenile Justice Act for the first time provides adoption’ as a means to rehabilitate and socially reintegrate a child. It empowered the state government and the JJ Board to give a child for adoption. This is the first secular law in India providing for adoption. The provisions in Sections 40 and 41 are not restricted to persons belonging to a particular religion alone,” the judge said.

Even though the Christian couple in the case before the court did not utilise the JJ Act, but obtained a guardianship order from the court and followed it up with adoption as per Christian rites and customs, the judge dealt with the provisions of the juvenile justice law also to highlight the fact that regardless of personal law, there are avenues of adoption for people subscribing to any faith.

Air India’s argument was that Christian law did not recognise complete adoption, as Christians had no enabling law to adopt a child legally on the lines of Hindu law on the subject. There could only be a guardian-ward relationship, it argued. However, the judge cited judicial pronouncements on the subject to show that Canon Law applicable to Christians did not prohibit it and also provided for adoption if the relevant country’s laws permitted it.




Father of suspected IM terrorist moves HC

TNN 29 July 2009, 03:43am IST

NEW DELHI: Even as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) gave a clean chit to the Delhi police special cell in the Batla House encounter, father of a suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorist on Tuesday approached the Delhi High Court seeking its direction to initiate criminal proceeding against police officials involved in the shootout.

Ansarul Hassan, a resident of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh has written a letter to Chief Justice of Delhi High Court A P Shah, pleading that an FIR should be filed against the police personnel claiming his son Mohd Sajid, who was killed in the encounter last year, was innocent.

In a three-page letter addressed to the Chief Justice Hassan said that his son Sajid and his friend Atif had come to Delhi to pursue studies and were staying at Batla House. The police, in its encounter, killed them. He said that he had to approach the court as no FIR had been lodged in the case and the NHRC also refused to take action on his plea. He also alleged that even after the death of his son, officers of the special cell still harass them and threaten them of dire consequences.

The Court is likely to take into consideration the letter and would take cognizance on Wednesday. The letter has come a week after the NHRC submitted its report before the chief Justice of Delhi High court stating that the encounter was not fake and the police fired on the alleged terrorists in “self defence”.

Atif Amin and Mohd Sajid, the two suspected IM terrorists allegedly involved in the September serial blasts in the capital, were killed on September 19, 2008 and two other IM suspects Mohd Saif and Zeeshan were arrested from the Batla House area. The incident took place a week after serial blasts had rocked the capital killing 26 people and injuring 13 others.




HC was ‘stunned, aghast’ over VIPs on list but admitted there’s no proof

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 29, 2009 at 0329 hrs Srinagar:

After PDP leader Muzaffar Beigh alleged that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah — and his father Farooq Abdullah — figure in a “list of suspects” in the 2006 Srinagar sex abuse scandal, he claimed this list surfaced during the CBI investigation monitored by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

The fact is that this list was never made public and charges against those named in it were subsequently denied. In fact, the High Court decided not to make it public saying further investigation was needed.

In its order on October, 8, 2007, the court said that this list includes the “category of persons who have been alleged by Sabina (the woman kingpin of the sex abuse scandal) to have had illicit sex with girls procured by or known to her”.

The order, however, added: “…The concerned girls, though much after the allegations leveled by Sabina, have denied the alleged occurrences. With no other circumstance to support Sabina’s statement being on record which renders further investigation in their cases imperative”.

“Since cases of this category of persons are required to be investigated further, I would, as already said, abstain from naming them,” Justice Bashir Kirmani said in the order.

“But I am totally taken aghast to find names of some highly placed people in this list particularly from police department and political field; high ranking police officers and political functionaries including some former and sitting ministers of the Cabinet. I wish they figure wrongly in this shame list but even a mere incriminating mention of their names in a case of this type, not to say of any involvement like others, already mentioned, is simply stunning,” the judge said.

When asked why as Deputy CM, he didn’t take any action, Beigh claimed: “It was on my letter to then CM Azad that the CBI probe began. But now we think the CBI is going slow and that’s why we have raised the issue.”




HC commission visits project-affected Pahur village, rehabilitation site

T O Abraham, TNN 29 July 2009, 03:30am IST

YAVATMAL: The one-man commission appointed by the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court visited the Bembla river irrigation project-affected Pahur village to have an on-the-spot inspection of the available infrastructure and the civic amenities. Around 25 kms from the city Pahur, is a village in Babhulgaon tehsil and is proposed to be the new site for the rehabilitation of the villagers.

According to sources, the one-man commission of Advocate Narayan Fadnavis appointed by the HC visited both the affected village Pahur and the proposed sites of their rehabilitation. He interacted with the villagers and also took stock of the situation. He is expected to submit his report to the HC shortly.

Sources said, the villagers apprised Fadnavis about their hardships. They told the commission what sort of problems they would face once they shift to the new site which doesn’t have necessary civic amenities. The villagers have asked for time till May 2010 so that their houses would be completed at the new site and necessary civic amenities be provided.

A joint meeting that followed was attended by the project-affected villagers including sarpanch Gunwant Jirapure, executive engineer of Bembla project Sharad Dhoble, executive engineer of Lower Painganga Borse, district rehabilitation officer Ashok Khandare, sub-divisional engineer Nimje, tehsildar of Yavatmal Santosh Shinde and others.

It may be recalled that the district rehabilitation authorities have given an ultimatum to project-affected people (PAP) asking them to accept the possession certificate of their allotted plots at the rehabilitation site immediately failing which the land patta’ would be cancelled and their habitat in the village would be razed.

The gram panchayat then moved the high court and pleaded for granting an interim stay on the forcible shifting of their village. They have alleged that the rehabilitation site doesn’t have adequate civic amenities and pointed out that they would not able to construct the houses during the rainy season.

The counsel for district administration, however, denied the allegations and told the court that the village would submerge during the current monsoon as the project authorities have targeted 100% storage in the dam.

After hearing both the parties, the court granted status quo to the order issued by district administration and ordered them not to make any forcible rehabilitation. The court then appointed a senior lawyer Narayan Fadnavis as one-man commission who would visit both the affected village and the proposed site to ascertain the veracity of the respective claims and report within 15 days. The court has also directed the district administration to appoint a representative to assist the commission.




HC to look into Maytas’ Metro plea

TNN 29 July 2009, 03:18am IST

HYDERABAD: Justice G Rohini of the High Court on Tuesday ordered status quo on the termination of the Hyderabad metro contract awarded to Infra and allowed the authorities to continue with the ongoing Request for Qualification (RfQ) process with the rider that the bidding process would be subject to the further orders of the court.

Responding to the petition filed by Maytas Infra director Bandaru Narasimha Rao challenging the termination of the concession agreement by Hyderabad Metro Rail Corporation, Justice Rohini on Tuesday issued notices before admission to the state and the corporation and posted the matter to August 11 for further hearing.

Meanwhile, Justice G Bhavani Prasad on Tuesday directed the CBI not to conduct lie detector tests on Satyam Ramalinga Raju, his brother Rama Raju and the former CFO Vadlamani Srinivas of the scam hit Satyam computers till August 6.

While hearing a petition moved by the Raju brothers who challenged the lower court’s permission given to CBI to conduct these tests on them, the judge after hearing the arguments, posted the matter to August 6 for further hearing and directed the CBI not to conduct these tests in the meantime.

Appearing for Ramalinga Raju, senior counsel C Padmanabha Reddy told the court that narco analysis tests on human beings is a violation of rights and will have negative effects on the health of those who face them. A final order is expected from Supreme Court on this matter and now no narco tests are permitted in the country, he contended.

CBI special public prosecutor T Niranjan Reddy told the court that the polygraph tests are non invasive and are only external in nature and hence would not harm the health of those who face them. “We have got the nod from the court only for polygraph and not narco analysis,” the CBI counsel said. The judge then posted the matter to August 6.

In another Satyam-related development, Justice V V S Rao on Tuesday dismissed the petition filed by M L Sharma, a Supreme Court advocate who challenged the company law board’s order that permitted the induction of a new investor in Satyam Computers. “An appeal against the CLB’s order has to be preferred on time and this appeal is not filed within that time frame. This court is not inclined to condone the delay in this regard,” the judge said and dismissed the petition.




HC upholds rights of 1947 refugees

By | July 28, 2009

The Bombay HC recently quashed an order of the state government cancelling the allotment of additional lands made to them.

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Judges welcome proposed Bill on asset declaration, says CJI

Special Correspondent

Failure to declare, or misdeclaration, of assets would be deemed misconduct

CHENNAI: Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan on Saturday said that under the proposed Judges Assets Bill, judges of the higher judiciary failing to declare their assets or providing a false declaration would be deemed to be misconduct. Misconduct is a ground to remove a judge, he said.

The Chief Justice, who was here in connection with a High Court function and to lead an interaction at a workshop on ‘Some of the recent developments in law,’ was answering journalists’ queries. He said the judges were already declaring their assets to the Chief Justice. “We [the judges] welcome it. We only wanted it,” he said. The assets of not only judges but also their dependants would be declared.

Answering a question with regard to making the declaration public, the Chief Justice said the details would not come under the purview of the Right to Information Act. “We do not want the judges to be harassed.”

There was no proposal to further increase the judge-strength of the Madras High Court. “We have been increasing the strength of almost all the High Courts.”

To a question on the controversy over the remark made by R. Regupathi, Judge of the Madras High Court, while hearing an anticipatory bail plea, and about the follow-up action, the Chief Justice said the press had reported that a Minister contacted the judge in the matter. Because of this, the CJI said, he was worried. Then he came to know that no Minister had called the judge. “That’s the information I got,” he said.

On strike action by lawyers, he said “we discuss with members of the bar” regarding their problems. The Chief Justice would also interact and try to solve problems. That was the only way. “It is working well.” Strikes by lawyers were happening only in some places.

To another question regarding police security in the Madras High Court complex after the February 19 clash between lawyers and police, the Chief Justice said security had been restored. He said the High Court was a public place. Everyone should have a feeling that it was a place to seek justice. It should not have to look like a fortress.





DM summoned for sitting on arms licence plea

TNN 28 July 2009, 02:06am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Monday directed the Rohtas DM to appear before the court on August 3 and give reply to the allegation that an application for an arms licence has been pending for the last ten years.

In his writ petition, Ram Bharat Choudhary submitted that he submitted an application for an arms licence ten years back. But despite repeated efforts, he is yet to get the licence.





Land acquisition for BMIC: status quo ordered

TNN 28 July 2009, 04:13am IST

BANGALORE: The high court on Monday ordered status quo with respect to 3 acres at Chikkathogur village, which the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) had acquired in 2003 for the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor’s (BMIC) peripheral road.

Petitioner and land owner G Shrinivas claimed the authorities included the land in the final notification though it was not required for the project and also not part of the alignment. “The land is outside the alignment of the peripheral road project. This court has already considered the contention of a similarly placed land owner in September 2008 and issued a stay order,” counsel for the petitioner told the court.

Hotel refused interim relief

A division Bench on Monday refused to grant any interim relief on the writ appeal filed by the management of Empire Hotels, challenging the July 3 verdict of a single judge dismissing their petition. They had challenged the May 19 order issued by the police commissioner, fixing midnight as closure deadline.

The hotel’s counsel told the court that only the government has power to fix time-schedule of business establishments, and not the police. But the single Bench had observed that the order is a regulatory measure and asked the government advocate to seek further instructions in the matter.

“There is no pick-and-choose involved in this order issued in the nature of a delegatory legislation under Section 31(w) of Karnataka Police Act, 1963. It was issued as a measure for maintenance of law and order in Bangalore, which is a fast-growing metropolitan city… There are no grounds for this court to interfere,” the single Bench had observed in its order.

The state had defended the move, claiming the order was general in nature and not directed against any particular establishment. The police had directed all hotels and restaurants mentioned under the Public Entertainment Order issued in August 2007 to comply with the midnight closure deadline.

Plea against registration circular admitted

A division Bench has admitted a PIL challenging the government’s April 6, 2009 circular, asking sub-registrars not to register properties if conversion certificates and sanctioned plan from the competent authority is not enclosed with applications.

The petitioners have claimed that Section 22-A of the Registration Act, under which the circular was issued, had been declared unconstitutional both by the high court as well as the Supreme Court. “Moreover, the move will only harass the general public, causing hardship and misery,” the petition states, adding: “The settled position is clear that it is only a civil court and not a sub-registrar that has the power to decide the title, deed and other related issues.”

The government has filed a statement defending the circular, saying it is a regulatory measure taken with a view to end the harassment of public by way of specifying the documents needed for registration.

Railway ministry told to consider representation

The HC has asked the ministry of railways to consider a representation to be filed by a petitioner, seeking increase in compensation to railway accident victims, and increasing height of platforms at stations.

A Bench headed by the chief justice disposed of a PIL filed by V Padmanabha Kedilaya, a retired district and sessions judge and former member of the Railways Claims Tribunal, seeking Rs 15 lakh as compensation for accident victims.

“At present, if a person dies in a railway accident the maximum compensation payable is Rs 4 lakh, which was fixed 11 years ago. A family which gets that amount can only get an interest of Rs 24,000 per year, which is insufficient by any standard. In the last 11 years, dearness allowance of central government employees has been increased 24 times, but the compensation remains static. At least it should be increased to Rs 10 lakh immediately and to Rs 15 lakh finally,” the petitioner had stated.

The petitioner also sought directions to increase the height of platforms at railway stations across India to the level of train coaches, to make it easy for passengers to board or alight.




Sessions court public prosecutors to speed up human rights cases

Express News Service Posted: Tuesday , Jul 28, 2009 at 0054 hrs Mumbai:

The state government has issued a notification authorising all public prosecutors of sessions courts to act as special public prosecutors for the human rights courts.

The move is aimed at speeding up trials. The notice was issued in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) that had pointed out irregularities and delays in implementing notifications as well as other irregularities, illegalities and violation of law by the members and office bearers of Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC).

A PIL filed by Dombivali businessman Pushkar Damle had alleged irregularities in the MSHRC and urged the Bombay High Court to take action against erring officers. Damle has supported his PIL with information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The PIL states that although the Human Rights Act was amended by the Central government in 2006, the state government is yet to notify the amended Act. Damle also pointed out that other provision of appointing special public prosecutors for conducting the cases of violation of human rights were yet to be appointed.  

The PIL also stated that there was delay on the part of the government to set up Human Rights Courts even though the Government Resolution (GR) of declaring all the sessions court as “human rights courts” as per the provisions of the Protection of Human Right Act, 1993, was issued way back in May 2001.

According to his petition, the MSHRC received approximately 31,000 complaints of violation of human rights, out of which the action taken report was received only in eight complaints.  

Petition contended that establishment of human rights courts and its functioning was required as the victims has to come all the way from the interior parts of the state by spending money from their own pocket for registering the complaint against the public servants who have violated their rights, while the accused public Servant comes by spending public money to attend the case.

Petitioner’s advocate Ashish Chavan said that this is a welcome move and will result in speedy justice to the victims as MSHRC has got recommendatory powers whereas human rights courts have got punitive powers. The trial will be conducted on the basis of Criminal Code of procedure, he said.








PIL in high court seeks regulatory body for TV

Anshika Misra / DNA

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 2:32 IST

Mumbai: Even as the merits of reality television are being debated in Parliament, the Bombay High Court will this week hear a PIL demanding appointment of a regulatory authority to monitor television content.

The PIL filed by social activist Pratibha Naitthani has cited several examples of “absurd” television programmes currently on air “which are not only in bad taste, have foul language and no entertainment value”. The PIL also alleges that the live broadcast of the military rescue efforts during the 26/11 terror attack compromised the nation’s security by revealing confidential strategydetails. It has sought a ban on live telecast of terror attacks.

Naitthani has stated that despite having filed complaints against shows like Big Boss, Splitsvilla and Dadagiri for their “obscene and vulgar” content,neither the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry nor the police have taken any action. According to her lawyer, Mukesh Vashi there should some checks on “offensive” television programmes like, Sach ka Samna, “where bedroom talk is being discussed in public”.

Naitthani has also pointed out that in a 2005 affidavit filed by I & B ministry in another PIL filed by her, the government had stated that it was contemplating setting up a Broadcast Content Regulatory Authority. The government had stated that it was also planning to set up an exclusive facility for round-the-clock monitoring of various TV channels. However, till date no concrete steps have been taken, Naitthani alleged.

The PIL, which is likely to be heard on Thursday, has also sought framing of uplinking and downlinking guidelines for television channels.




Court makes Centre party in language row

TNN 28 July 2009, 03:13am IST

BANGALORE: The ongoing language policy issue took a turn on Monday with the Supreme Court making the Centre party to the case, and ordered notices following a PIL by 15 Kannada litterateurs.

The writers have contended that education comes under Concurrent List and the Centre, in all respects, should be a necessary party. The SC has also issued notice to the state.

HC adjourns contempt petition: A Karnataka HC division Bench on Monday adjourned the hearing on a batch of contempt petitions filed by private managements against education department officials. The court is awaiting the decision of the apex court.




Court asks Kumble’s wife to negotiate with former husband on daughter’s custody

J. Venkatesan

Bench grants three weeks to parties, asks counsel to convey outcome

“Asking the petitioner to face proceedings in family court again is harassment for child”

“The father is interested in cheap publicity, and petition was filed with oblique motive”

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked cricketer Anil Kumble’s wife and her former husband to have negotiations on sharing the custody of their 14-year-old daughter.

A Bench of Justice Tarun Chatterjee and Justice R.M. Lodha granted three weeks to the parties and asked counsel to inform the court of the outcome.

Kumar V. Jagirdar is Chetna Kumble’s first husband, and they had a daughter before they divorced in April 1999. Ms. Chetna married Anil Kumble the same year. A family court in Bangalore gave Mr. Jagirdar the custody of the girl. On Ms. Chetna’s appeal, the Karnataka High Court reversed the order and granted her the custody of the child. Mr. Kumar’s appeal in the Supreme Court was dismissed, and he was given visiting rights.

Mr. Jagirdar approached the Karnataka High Court again, contending that Ms. Chetna had given birth to two children through Anil Kumble, and considering the change in the circumstance, he should be given custody of his daughter. Since the High Court referred the matter to a family court, Ms. Chetna moved the Supreme Court again in April, and the proceedings were stayed.

When the matter was taken up on Monday, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Ms. Chetna, submitted that asking the petitioner to face the proceedings in the family court again was harassment for the child, especially when the issues had been concluded by the Supreme Court in 2004. “The girl, who will be 15 years this December, cannot be expected to go back to his father after 15 years. The father is only interested in cheap publicity, and the petition was filed with an oblique motive. It is causing immense hardship to the child and the [Kumble’s] family,” he said.

Prashant Bhushan, counsel for Kumar, said the circumstances changed since the Supreme Court disposed of the matter. The girl had now attained puberty. The growing consensus worldwide was that in such cases, the custody of children should be shared by parents.

At this juncture, Justice Lodha asked Mr. Bhushan: “Has the girl shown any inclination to stay with the father? Why should you disturb? Why should you do something which may harm the child’s interest?” Mr. Bhushan said: “I [father] will be the last person to do any harm to the child psychologically.”

The judges then asked counsel whether something could be done to sort out the issue. Since counsel agreed to consider the proposal, the Bench granted three weeks.





Water shortage: Mohali councillor to move HC

TNN 28 July 2009, 06:27am IST

MOHALI: Irked over never-ending shortage of water in the city, a councillor after writing to the local bodies department on the issue has now decided to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the issue.

Residents have been complaining that water has not been reaching first and second floors, especially in houses up to 10 marlas, due to low pressure. They further alleged that water supply hours too have been reduced, putting residents into great inconvenience.

Kuljit Bedi, councillor of Ward Number 27, who recently had written a letter to Punjab chief secretary demanding necessary directions to the authorities to start the process to installing five tubewells already approved by the municipal council, said that within a couple of days he would approach the high court as authorities have failed to do the needful.

He said that erratic water supply has made the residents life miserable while the municipal council had also failed to stop people from wasting water. ‘‘No drive was launched and not even a single person was challaned for wasting water while residents were left without water,’’ he said, adding that residents of Phase X, phase IX, Phase IIIB2, Phase V besides other areas were facing water shortage.

Bedi said that against the demand for 23 million gallon per day, the city was being provided only 12.5 million gallons of water per day. Lt Col (retd) S S Sohi, president, Ex-servicemen Grievances Cell, said that the city was facing severe water problem as demand was more than supply and authorities were yet to make arrangements to fill the gap.

Senior vice-president of municipal council Harmanpreet Singh Prince said that over one-and-half-years back a proposal to install 33 tubewells was approved in the MC and director, local bodies, had directed that money be sanctioned to the Sewerage Board for installation of tubewells, but the MC president had insisted that the civic body would itself install tubewells. The local bodies department had argued that MC did not have technical staff to install tubewells. Price claimed that confusion over who would install the tubewells was causing undue harassment to residents.




SC refuses relief to Lodha; HC to hear matter–HC-to-hear-matter/494641/

Agencies Posted: Monday , Jul 27, 2009 at 1243 hrs New Delhi:

The Supreme Court refused to offer relief to Harsh Vardhan Lodha, who had sought a stay on a Company Law Board interim order that barred him from chairing the Birla Corp annual general meeting (AGM).

The AGM was slated for Monday.

The Supreme Court also directed the Calcutta High Court to hear petition by Lodha and Birla camps on Tuesday.

Lodha had moved to the Calcutta High Court challenging the CLB interim order on the AGM of the Birla Corp, to which Harsh’s father R S Lodha had staked claim to citing the purported 1999 will of Priyamvada Birla.

Some Birla family members have contested the Lodha family claim on Rs 5,000 crore M P Birla estate.




Trinamool candidate moves HC for recounting in Balurghat

Express News Service Posted: Tuesday , Jul 28, 2009 at 0158 hrs Kolkata:

The election procedure and counting of votes in Balurghat parliamentary constituency has come under the scanner of the Calcutta High Court.

Biplab Mitra, the Trinamool Congress candidate who lost the Lok Sabha poll from Balurghat, filed a petition in the High Court last week challenging the election procedure. Mitra has sought a recounting of votes.

Mitra alleged in the petition that the electronic voting machine (EVM) had not been properly checked before counting in front of the Trinamool agents in various counting stations. The agents were not allowed to enter the counting rooms in various places, he alleged. Advocate Bimal Chatterjee on Monday pleaded that counting procedure had not been followed by the returning officer of the district.

After the hearing, Justice Anirudha Basu directed the court to serve notice to the Election Commission of India and the case will come up for hearing on Friday.

The Calcutta HC also ordered that the seal of the EVMs would not broken till disposal of the case. Normally, the EVMs are preserved for six months after declaration of the result, said Chatterjee. The EVMs should be kept in safe custody of the Election Commission, the court ruled.

Mitra was defeated by Prasanta Kumar Mazumdar of the RSP, by a margin 5,195 votes.

After the declaration of results, The Trinamool had demanded recounting and the party had protested at district headquarters many times.




HC gives relief to Bhikhi

Express News Service Posted: Tuesday , Jul 28, 2009 at 0444 hrs Ludhiana:

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the arrest of Advocate Daman Preet Singh Bhikhi of Ludhiana who was accused by Major G S Benipal (Retd) of presenting fake sale deeds before him.

Arguing the anticipatory bail filed by Daman Preet his counsel, Advocate Vivek Thakur contended that allegations leveled by Benipal in the FIR do not make out any case of cheating or forgery against Daman Preet. “Allegations against Damanpreet are that he had presented fake sale deeds before the Tehsildar. Neither it has been alleged that Daman Preet is a beneficiary to these sale deeds nor he has purchased any sale deed” averred Advocate Vivek Thakur.

Taking note of the contentions of Thakur, Justice Harbans Lal today stayed the arrest of Advocate Daman Preet and issued notices to the Punjab State and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ludhiana. It might be mentioned here that it was this FIR after which Benipal was beaten up by SAD and Akali supporters.

FIRs were registered after Benipal was thrashed. Some of the accused have been arrested and are in police custody.





Gujarat HC short by 15 judges

TNN 28 July 2009, 03:46am IST

AHMEDABAD: A statement presented in the Rajya Sabha on Monday stated that most high courts in India fall short of the approved strength of judges.

Gujarat, for instance, has 42 approved positions for judges but there are only 27. There is approved strength of 886 judges in 21 high courts of India but there are only 646, leaving shortfall of 240 judges.

Responding to an un-starred question on vacancies in high courts by Parimal Nathwani, MP from Jharkhand, union minister for law and justice Veerappa Moily said that the Gram Nyayalaya Act 2008 has been enacted to establish 5,000 gram nyayalayas (village courts) which will bring justice to the doorsteps of the people in the rural areas.

Moily informed that the government had requested all high courts to fix the vacation period in such a way that the number of working days didn’t fall below 222 days in a year.





HC suggests immediate ban on all plastic

TNN 28 July 2009, 03:31am IST

CHENNAI: Three weeks ahead of the ban on plastic coming into force on the Marina, the Madras high court on Monday suggested an immediate ban on all plastic bags and items upto 60 microns.

It has also passed severe strictures against the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) authorities for their failure to effectively enforce Central rules to regulate use of plastic in the state.

A division bench comprising justice D Murugesan and justice K Venkataraman, passing orders on a public interest writ petition said: “The state government may take into consideration the various steps taken by other states, and give its serious consideration to ban the use of plastic bag and other items upto 60 microns as an immediate step.”

The observation comes on a day when minister of state for environment Jairam Ramesh said in the Lok Sabha that the government was working on a “concrete plan to ban polythene bags” entirely, and the Chennai corporation conducted an awareness meeting on the ban for shopkeepers on the Marina.

Refraining from imposing a ban, as it would amount to legislating, the Madras high court judges said a state legislation Tamil Nadu Throwaway Plastic Articles (Prohibition of Sale, Storage, Distribution and Transport) Act 2003 was yet to be notified even six years it was announced. Noting that even this legislation is not enough to tackle the challenges posed by plastics use, they said the government must bring in stringent clauses.

Pointing out that TNPCB could not spell out any action it had taken, the bench said: “The board seeks to shirk its duty and responsibility solely on the ground of want of legislation by the state government. It cannot be accepted as the board is empowered to act in terms of the Central rules.” Except in places like Ooty, the Central rules have not been implemented, the judges said, adding that TNPCB had disregarded the rules.

The petitioner, A Narayanan had cited the secretaries of municipal and water supply, and environment and forest departments as respondents, besides the Chennai Corporation, and wanted the court to direct them to ban manufacture, distribution and usage of all types of plastic carry bags of all size and thickness. He wanted a blanket ban on all plastic items such as disposable cups, plates, buckets and vessels below the 150 micron thickness.

Though plastic poses serious hazards to environment, it is of great assistance to humanity as a whole, the bench said, adding that banishing plastic completely was not the answer to pollution. Asking TNPCB as well as the state government to look into implementing the central rules in true letter and spirit, the bench said they should undertake a campaign to spread awareness about the devastation caused by plastic to environment.

Meanwhile, Chennai corporation officials conducted a meeting with shopkeepers on the Marina to inform them about the ban on use of plastic, including as cups, carry bags or as packaging material.

The civic body has not yet fixed the fines for those found violating the ban. About 15 of its employees will patrol the Marina to enforce the regulation. “Our intention is to promote awareness about the ill-effects of the use of plastics. We will decide on the fine later,” a senior Corporation official said. The local body is also planning to put up signboards on the sands, the official added.




HC against awarding bonanza’ in accident claims

TNN 28 July 2009, 03:28am IST

CHENNAI: Frowning upon “bonanza” and “extravagant” compensation being awarded to accident victims and lack of consistency in injury assessment, the Madras high court has urged the government to form medical boards to vet injury claims.

The accident claims tribunals, on their part, should neither be niggardly in awarding compensation in deserving cases nor consider claims petitions as an occasion to award bonanza even in cases of minor fractures, the court cautioned.

A division bench comprising Justice Prabha Sridevan and Justice TS Sivagnanam, referring to a suggestion in a book A Critique on Motor Vehicles Laws said that if the guidelines evolved by the Union ministry of social justice and empowerment in June 2001 are adopted it would bring uniformity and consistency in the assessment of permanent disability.

Noting that the book had recommended formation of medical boards in every district, the judges said all the injured claimants should appear before such boards to get their injuries assessed. If that is done, motor accident claims tribunals could pass awards without further examination. “We hope Parliament will take note of this,” the judges observed.

The case relates to an accident claim by an civil engineering student, R Sivakumar, who was injured in a bike-autorickshaw smash on the Old Mahabalipuram Road here. In 2004, the tribunal awarded Rs 18 lakh to the boy, taking note of the medical opinion that the boy had suffered permanent disability of about 50 per cent.

Drastically slashing the compensation to Rs 5.5 lakh, the judges said: “The erratic manner in which disability is assessed for fractures and other injuries which are not as grievous as loss of limbs or amputation is neither fair nor just. We feel that there should be some consistency and some uniformity. It pains us to see extravagant awards for what is really not a major disability. The pain that the injured feels is not something we are ignoring, but what we have to assess is the diminishment of his capacity to work and to the loss of earning capacity.”

The judges expressed astonishment at the award and said, “claims tribunals should neither be niggardly while awarding compensation to somebody who is totally paralysed…living death position. At the same time, the accident claim petition is not an occasion to award bonanza for persons who have sustained fractures.”

Disagreeing with the tribunal’s finding, the judges fixed the disability at only 20 per cent. The judges said the book noted that expert witnesses or doctors, who appear before the tribunals are stock witnesses. “They know no standards, do not conform to any uniform practices. They do not follow any criteria. The tribunals are also under work pressure and therefore they just accept or slightly modify the disability as certified by those doctors,” the judges said.




HC bans UPTU admission process

TNN 28 July 2009, 02:34am IST LUCKNOW: The high court here on Monday imposed a ban on the admission process in engineering colleges affiliated to UP Technical University (UPTU).

The court, however, has declined to stay the ongoing counselling process. It has fixed August 4 for the next hearing.

The order was passed by a division bench comprising Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition. Earlier, in compliance of the HC’s order, the state government produced the July 22 government order (GO) whereby the government had directed private engineering colleges to ensure 50% reservation to SCs/STs and OBCs in the admission.

At the time of hearing, UPTU registrar US Tomar was present before the bench. He told the court that the counselling process for admission to the colleges affiliated and recognised by the UPTU was going on at present. He also intimated the court that admission to courses would likely be finalised in September.

Filing the PIL, retired professor Ajai Swaroop demanded quashing of all GOs of the state government having effect of interference in affairs of the private engineering colleges. His counsel, senior advocate Prashant Chandra on Monday pleaded the arbitrariness of the state government saying that despite restraint order of the high court, the government was forcing the engineering colleges to implement 50% reservation quota.




Maytas moves HC on metro

TNN 28 July 2009, 01:55am IST

HYDERABAD: Refusing to let go the Hyderabad Metro project, Maytas Infra Ltd on Monday filed a writ petition in the Andhra Pradesh High Court challenging the termination of the concession agreement by the state government that the two had entered into for executing the proposed project.

With the matter likely to be taken up for hearing on Tuesday, a high-profile legal battle is on the cards with Maytas having flown in advocates from New Delhi to argue the case. ‘‘Clearly, the Maytas-Metro saga is far from over,’’ an official said.

In its petition, Maytas Infra contended that the action of the government was unreasonable and did not take into account hindrances and hurdles which were beyond their control.

The petitioner urged the court to declare the action of the government as illegal and to stay all further proceedings pursuant to the bid notice issued by Hyderabad Metro Rail Corporation issued on July 16. The petition also mentioned that the Maytas-led consortium had submitted a bid security amount of Rs 60 crore and bid offer amount of Rs 11 crores to the Metro Rail Corporation.

The Maytas metro venture came to an end when the state cancelled the concessional agreement on July 7 on the grounds that the consortium had not achieved financial closure which it should have done by March 17 this year.





HC orders CMO to appear in person

TNN 27 July 2009, 11:06pm IST

ALLAHABAD: A division bench of the high court directed the chief medical officer of Gorakhpur on Monday to appear in person in the court on August 4. The court directed for the CMO’s personal presence as he failed to provide information sought in a case.

The bench comprising Justice Amitava Lala and Justice Shishir Kumar passed the order, when standing counsel Ramanand Pandey failed to provide information which was sought from the CMO.

It might be recalled that high court had passed an order on July 21, 2009, seeking information from the CMO whether a doctor junior to petitioner Nagendra Ram has been posted as incharge of the primary health centre (PHC), Brahmpur, Gorakhpur. The information had to be provided in the court on July 27, but it was not provided despite a faxed message sent to him.

The petitioner, Dr Nagendra Ram has filed a writ petition, seeking quashing of an order passed by CMO on June 26 through which he had directed Dr Mahendra Kumar to work as incharge of PHC, Brahmpur, Gorakhpur. The petitioner stated that Dr Mahendra Kumar is junior to him and therefore he cannot be posted as incharge of PHC. The court will hear the case on August 4.




HC orders CVC inquiry into Prasar Bharati issue

By: PTI   Date:  2009-07-27   Place: New Delhi


The Delhi High Court on Monday ordered a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) inquiry into alleged financial irregularities in Prasar Bharati Corporation and appointed a former judge to supervise board meetings of the public broadcaster.

A bench headed by Chief Justice AP Shah directed the board to convene its meeting within 15 days. The bench, also comprising Justice Manmohan, passed the order after the government failed to bring reconciliation between the chairman of the board, Arun Bhatnagar, and CEO BS Lalli, who have been at loggerheads.

The court said that day-to-day work of the Public Broadcaster would be handled by the CEO, Member (Finance) and Member (Personnel) of the board.

The court on July 24 had said that it would pass an interim order for proper functioning of Prasar Bharati.

The chairman had contended that the allegations of financial irregularities must be investigated by the CVC as no internal audit has been done in the organisation for the past several years.





Guj HC approached on whether eating ‘niaz’ is permitted

Submitted by admin3 on 27 July 2009 – 9:47pm.

By Staff Correspondent,

Ahmedabad: A debate between Ahl-e-Hadis and Barelvi sects of Muslims in the border district of Kutch over the issue of whether the eating of sacramental food(niaz) or flesh of an animal slaughtered in gratitude to anyone other than Allah, is allowed in Islam has reached the Gujarat High Court.

Though the court has no jurisdiction to decide on it as it has already told the parties verbally to settle it out of court, what the petitioner’s party has prayed is quashing of an FIR registered against Ahl-e-Hadis leaders on charges of promoting enmity between two groups under Sections 153-A and 505 of IPC.

The genesis of the dispute lies in some members of the Ahl-e-Hadis sect in Anandsar village of Nakhatrana taluka of Kutch district refusing to eat `niaz’ on the third day after `Yaum-e-Ashura’ in January this year.

Those who refused to eat `niaz’ believed in Barelvi traditions till recently. However, they gave up the Barelvi traditions after they came in contact with Ahl-e-Hadis preachers in the district.

But the majority of the villagers, who still follow the Barelvi school of thought, did not like the changed behaviour. They tried to force the neo Ahl-e-Hadis people to fall in line by organizing their boycott.

This led to a debate between the two sides. But the Ahl-e-Hadis members well-versed in Quranic knowledge put a question to other villagers: “Is it permitted in Islam to eat food consecrated to somebody other than Allah?’’

Ahl-e-Hadis members said they would have no objection to eating `niaz’ if it was allowed by the Quran and Sunnah of the Prohphet.

In support of their argument that `niaz’ was not allowed, Ahl-e-Hadis group presented translation of verse no. 173 of Surah Bakra which says: “Allah has made unlawful to you only carrion (dead animal) and blood and the flesh of swine and that over which there has been pronounced the name of some one other than Allah…’’.

Another verse quoted by them was verse no.3 of Surah Al-Maidah which translates as: “Forbidden to you are carrion, the flesh of swine, the animal slaughtered in any name other than Allah’s….’’.

Explaining the two verses, the Ahl-e-Hadis group argued that the `practice of pronouncing the name of anyone or anything other than Allah and dedicating the animal as an offering, or consecrating the food, to a holy personage, dead or alive’, is totally inappropriate and amounts to showing gratitude to some other being, instead of Allah.

As the `niaz’, a food, is dedicated to someone other than Allah, Ahl-e-Hadis members ruled that it was forbidden for eating as per instructions of the two verses of the Holy Quran.

Their arguments led to panic in Barelvi camp. They said that if it was not allowed by Quran, why should they eat it. As they had little knowledge of the Quran, 11 of the Barelvis, accompanied with an Ahle-Hadis follower, went to 85-year-old Barelvi spiritual leader Mufti Haji Saiyed Ahmed Shah Bawa and put the question to him.

Haji Juma Raima, a follower of the Barelvi sect and representative of the Mufti, told Twocircles.Net that Mufti sahib told Ahl-e-Hadis people clearly that if they did not want to eat `niaz’, they were free. But they should not disturb others.

But Ahl-e-Hadis group was not satisfied by the answers of Mufti. They wrote a letter to him saying that his interpretation of the Quranic verses were not proper and that he was misguiding Muslims with regard to worship of shrines, pirs and the dead.

In another letter, Maulana Suleman Siddiq of the Ahl-e-Hadis reportedly asked the Mufti to apologise publicly if he has justified the eating of `niaz’ by mistake and “let’s all think of what will happen to us after death’’.

The discourses between the two sides were also got published in a local Gujarati daily published from Bhuj. The Barelvis suspected another Ahl-e-Hadis religious leader Ibrahim Bachchu behind it.

Feeling that the Ahl-e-Hadis group will not restrain itself, Juma Raima lodged a criminal complaint in Bhuj Police Station against several persons belonging to Ahl-e-Hadis sect, including Maulana Siddiq and Ibrahim Bachchu, levelling charges of promoting enmity between two groups.

While Ibrahim Bachchu was arrested and kept in police lock up for more than 24 hours before being let out on bail, Maulana Siddiq is still wanted in the case by the police.

Subsequently, Ibrahim Bachchu moved the Gujarat high court seeking quashing of the the FIR.

With a total population of 14 lakhs in Kutch district, Muslims account for about 4 lakhs, 90 per cent of them Barelvis, running several schools, hospitals and other institutions as they are financially quite strong.





CJI to inaugurate seminar on construction workers

BANGALORE, JULY 28, 2009: The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India Mr Justice K. G. Balakrishnan will inaugurate a two-day Seminar on building and other construction workers ( Regulation and Employment) ACT – 1996  on August 9 in Bangalore.
The Seminar organized by the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority in association of various agencies and departments of Government will deliberate on various issues connected with construction workers. 
The Governor Mr Hans Raj Bharadwaj, the Chief Minister Mr B. S. Yeddyurappa, the Minister for Labour Mr B. N. Bache Gowda, the Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Mr S. Suresh Kumar will participate in this Seminar, for which the Union Minister for Law and Justice Mr M. Veerappa Moily and the Union Minister for Employment and Labour Mr M. Mallikarjuna Kharge  would be extended Special Invitation to attend.
This was disclosed at a High-level Meeting Chaired by the Executive Chairman of the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority Mr Justice V. Gopala Gowda, who is also Judge of the High Court of Karnataka here on Monday. Mr Justice K. L. Manjunath, Mr Ram Mohan Reddy and Mr Justice V. G. Sabhahit were present on the occasion.
Mr Justice Gopala Gowda said the meeting will throw light on many aspects of Construction Workers and suggest workable solutions to provide them a dignified life. Members from Government, Labour and Trade Unions, Advocates and Legal Luminaries will be provided a platform to give their thought and solution to the construction workers, especially migratory workers.
It is mandatory to issue Identity Cards to construction workers to get them basic amenities and benefits from Government including social welfare measures like extending insurance and pension, he said.
The Principal Secretary to Government in the Department of Public Works Mr D. Thangaraj, the Principal Secretary to Government in the Department of Infrastructure Development Mr V. Madhu, the Principal Secretary to Government in the Department of Labour Mr Ramesh Zalki, Commissioner for Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Mr Bharat Lal Meena, the Commissioner for Bangalore Development Authority Mr Siddaiah, the Managing Director for Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited Mr Siva Sailam, the Director of Information Mr N. R. Vishu Kumar and other senior officers were present at this hour-long meeting.

Our Correspondent





Pending cases a cause of concern: CJI

New Delhi, DHNS:

Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan has said that the growing number of pending cases in India is a real concern for judiciary.
 While releasing a book ‘Justice, Courts and Delays’ by senior advocate Arun Mohan, Justice Balakrishnan said a chapter on causes of pending cases would be included in the curriculum of training programme of the judges of the District courts at the National Judicial Academy in Bhopal.

 The judicial officers should be taught how to reduce the number of cases as the common people were suffering due to delay in granting justice, said the CJI while asking the author to bring out an abridged version of his book.

 Speaking on the occasion, former Chief Justice A S Anand said, “The judicial system is facing a crisis, a crisis of credibility due to pending number of cases.’’

More judges

The government should have more judges at different levels as India has one of the lowest per capita number of judicial officers in the world, he added.

 Law Minister Veerappa Moily said that the government was spending an enormous amount on the judicial system in the country.

 Former Solicitor General Hrish Salve said due to delay in the disposal of the cases the ‘rule of law is a casualty’.

Mohan has written the book after taking a break from the legal profession for the past 10 years to go to the roots of the delay in disposal of the cases in courts from district level to the Supreme Court level.

The book with full of illustrations from everyday life, is more for the common people than for the lawyers and jurists.





SC panel seeks three-fold pay hike for trial court judges

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN 28 July 2009, 01:40am IST

NEW DELHI: In what could be the biggest ever salary hike for lowly-paid trial court judges, the Supreme Court-appointed National Judicial Pay Commission (NJPC) has proposed more than three-fold jump in their pay that translates to a monthly increase of Rs 20,000 at the entry level.

Less than three months after being appointed head of the second NJPC, Justice E Padmanabhan, a former judge of the Madras HC, submitted his report to the SC proposing an average 3.07-fold hike in the existing salaries that was recommended by the first NJPC in 1999. The recommendations of the first NJPC headed by Justice Jagannatha Shetty had entitled civil judge (junior division) starting salary of Rs 11,775, civil judge (senior division) Rs 15,200, district judge (entry level) Rs 20,800 and district judge (super time scale) Rs 23,850.

With the increase proposed by the second NJPC, the starting salary of a civil judge (junior division) is expected to be around Rs 35,000, a hike of nearly Rs 24,000. As per Justice Padmanabhan’s recommendations, salary of civil judge (senior division) would be around Rs 45,000, which means a hike of around Rs 30,000. Similarly, the salary of district judge (entry level) would be around Rs 60,000 and that of DJ (super time scale) Rs 70,000.

The logic given by Justice Padmanabhan, after extensive research and hearing of parties almost on a daily basis, was that the first NJPC had recommended salaries of the lower judiciary keeping in view the then salaries of HC judges which was fixed at Rs 26,000 and that of HC CJ at Rs 30,000, SC judges at Rs 30,000 and CJI at Rs 33,000. However, with the CJI and SC and HC judges getting more than three-fold hike in their salaries, the second NJPC thought of applying the same logic for trial court judges.

The salary structure for the higher judiciary got changed with retrospective effect, as the government in January this year agreed to revise the salary of HC judges to Rs 80,000, HC Chief Justices Rs 90,000, SC judges Rs 90,000 and CJI Rs 1 lakh.

The appointment of the second judicial pay commission had come through a judicial order of the apex court on April 30 in an application filed by the All India Judges Association.




Protest rally denounces NHRC report, Muslim leaders give memorandum to Home Minister

Submitted by admin3 on 28 July 2009 – 10:58pm.

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi,,

New Delhi: Mounting pressure on the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre for a judicial probe into the Batla House encounter, the Coordiantion Committee of Indian Muslims (CCIM), an umbrella body of leading Muslim organizations, held a protest demonstration today at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. CCIM was formed last year in the wake of rising incidence of minority witchhunting following terror strikes in the country.

Addressing the protest rally, CCIM leaders denounced the National Human Rights Commission report on the September 19, 2008 encounter as, they said, it is just a copy of the police version of the encounter. They rejected it saying it one-sided as the apex human rights body did not bother to talk to families of the victims, neighbors and civil and human rights groups who had exposed loopholes in the police story about the encounter.

Two Azamgarh youths, whom police described as terror suspects, were killed by the police in the shootout. Delhi police inspector M C Sharma had also sustained bullet injuries which he succumbed to in the evening on the same day.
NHRC in its report submitted to the Delhi High Court last week said the police did not violate any human right in this case. It opened fire in its self defence, said the report.

Addressing the protest rally Dr S Q R Ilyas, executive committee member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, termed the NHRC report a blot and a question mark on its credibility. He described the report as shameful because it just toed the line of the police.

Abdur Rasheed Agwan, executive committee member, All India Muslim Majlise Mushawarat, said there should be a judicial enquiry for every encounter, not only for Batla House encounter. He refuted the government’s argument for not allowing probe that this will demoralize the police force. “Police can commit mistakes in executing its duty and so if it is found guilty in some case this will not demoralize them. But no enquiry in the Batla encounter will certainly demoralize the minority community,” he said.

Addressing the protestors Maulana Nizamuddin, leader of Ulema Council which has now become part of CCIM, said time has come for the people to rise against the opressive government. There is a need to change the power system so that the marginalized and minorities could get their rights, he maintained. We won’t sit unless our demand of judicial probe is accepted, he announced. Ulema Council had brought its supporters in three buses from Azamgarh.
Shia leader Maulana Zeeshan Hidayati also lambasted the NHRC for the report. “It is shameful that protector of human rights could not protect the rights of the innocents,” he said.


At the end of the protest rally, a delegation of the CCIM in the leadership of its convenor Mujtaba Farooq, who is political affairs secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, went to meet Home Minister P Chidambaram and demand judicial probe into the encounter. As the minister was not in the office, the delegation submitted a memorandum to his office.

Text of the memorandum:

A demonstration by citizens of Delhi was organized on July 28, 2009, under the auspices of the “Coordination Committee of Indian Muslims”. The gathering demanded the following from the Government of India.

1) To ensure justice and transparency, all riots and disruptive acts of the last decade, should be probed into; by an independent high powered commission. The commission, should, is a time bound frame, identify the real culprits; the report of the commission should be made public.

2) The Batla House encounter 2008 should be enquired into, by a high powered judicial probe, to ascertain the truth. The gathering rejects all attempts to justify the police version; without conducting an independent inquiry based on independent accounts, by reliable witnesses.

3) Reforms should be initiated in the Police and Law Enforcement machinery and the recommendations of National Police Commission should be immediately implemented.

4) Effective legal mechanism should be evolved to check and curb police atrocities, illegal detentions, fake encounters, tortures, custodial deaths and fabricated accusations.

5) Harassment of relatives and well wishers of the detainees should be stopped and a whole locality should not be targeted or victimized.

6) Confidential reports and confessions extracted under duress must not be leaked to the media. Effective regulations and legal mechanism should be enacted to ensure fair and unbiased reporting in media.

7) All initiatives for undemocratic and unjust legislation should be stopped and all those legislations in various states should be cancelled wherein confessions in police custody are made admissible in courts or which allow police to keep persons arrested without filing charge sheets or which violate human rights in anyway.

8) Measures should be adopted to promote human values, respect for human life, tolerance and co-operation so that we can build a hatred free and peaceful India.

9) Justice should not be delayed. Comprehensive reforms in the judicial system should be initiated to ensure speedy delivery of justice. All those residing in jails for more than five years, pending a judgment in their case; should be immediately released. All those who are eligible for bail, but lack financial resources, should be granted bail and released from custody.

10) The horrible conditions in jails should be changed through comprehensive measures of j ail reform.

11) Those arrested in the aftermath of the deplorable Batla House episode are on police remand, even now after a passage often months. Under some pretext or other, they are being continuously harassed and tortured. This cruel process should immediately stop; their cases should be speedily brought to trial and decided, as per law.

Signed by:

Mr. Mujtaba Farooq, Secretary, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind,

Ml. Abdul Hamid Naumani, Secretary Jamiat Ulema Hind

Ml. Muqeem Faizi, General Secretary Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith,

Ml. Abdul Wahab Khilji, President Indian Islahi Movement

Ml. Ameeduzzama Keranvi, President Tanzim Abna-e-Qadeem Darul Uloom Deoband

Mr. A. R. Agwan, AIIMM

Dr. Tasleem Rahmani, President Muslim Political Council

Mr. Suhail K.K. President Students Islamic Organisation of India

Ml. Aamir Rashadi, President Ulema Council, Azamgarh

Ml. Zeeshan Hidayati, President Majlis-e-Fikro Amal

Dr. S.Q. R. Ilyas, All India Muslim Personal Law Board

Member Organisations:

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Jamiat Ulema Hind, Jamiat Ahle Hadees, All India Muslim Majlis Mushawarat, Muslim Political Council of India, Ulema Council Azamgarh, Students Islamic Organisation of India, Majlis Fikr o Amal, Majlis Ulema Hind




Ulema Council to protest at Jantar Mantar today

TNN 27 July 2009, 10:18pm IST

VARANASI: Questioning the report of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Batla House encounter, the Muslim clergy and other members of community left for New Delhi from Azangarh, Jaunpur and Bhadohi in several buses on Monday. They will stage a dharna at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Tuesday.

It will be the third such show of Ulema Council after holding dharna at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on January 29 and at Teele Wali Masjid in Lucknow on February 20.

Describing the NHRC report giving clean chit to Delhi police in Batla House encounter as the biggest lie of the century, president of Rashtriya Ulema Council Maulana Aamir Rashadi Madni alleged that it was not an impartial report, but aiming to save the skin of the then Union home minister and some officials. “We reject this report of NHRC and demand a CBI probe under the guidance of a judge of the Supreme Court,” Madni told TOI over phone on Monday.

He said it was a symbolic programme to express protest against the biased attitude of the institutions like NHRC. “Several other organisations including Jamait-e-Islami Hind, Jamiyat-ul-Ulema Hind, Markazi Jamiyat-ul-Hind and Jamiyat Ahal-e-Hadeesh are taking part in the dharna,” he said and added members of the community and other supporters left for Delhi on five buses and many other small vehicles. The dharna would begin at the Jantar Mantar at 11am on Tuesday.

It may be mentioned here that two youth, Atif and Sajid, killed in the shootout with police at Batala House in Jamiya Nagar area in Delhi, were the natives of Sanjarpur village of Azamgarh district. The arrested suspect Saif is also a native of the same village. Saif was also interrogated for his involvement in March 7, 2006 serial blasts in Varanasi.




NHRC awards Rs 3 lakh to false encounter victim’s kin in UP

Agencies Posted: Tuesday , Jul 28, 2009 at 1915 hrs New Delhi:

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the UP government to pay Rs three lakh to the next of the kin of a woman who was killed by two police constables in a fake encounter in Agra in 2000.

The Commission also directed the UP Chief Secretary to submit the compliance report, along with proof of the payment of the monetary relief, within eight weeks from the receipt of its recommendation in the case.

Two constables of UP police — Netrapal and Vijendra — gunned down Manisha, 40, under Tajgang Police station area of Agra district in Uttar Pradesh on September 8, 2000 and cooked up a false story of encounter, the rights body said.

According to police, the NHRC noted, Manisha had an “illicit” relationship with one Shiv Narayan and on the night of occurrence she had gone with him inside a shed near a tubewell when the owner of the well Champa Ram, felt that some criminals were hiding inside and raised an alarm.

Police claimed that constables Netrapal and Vijendra who were passing by asked Narayan and Manisha to surrender but Narayan fired at them. The two constables retaliated and Manisha was killed, they claimed.

Dissatisfied with the police version, the rights panel directed the state government to order a CB-CID inquiry into the incident on July 18, 2001. NHRC 2 LAST

“CB-CID found that Manisha and Shiv Narayan had no arms with them and the police had made a false story of an encounter,” the Commission noted.

The investigation by CB-CID also revealed that the seizure memos and other police records had been “fabricated”, the Commission said.

CB-CID recommended prosecution of the two constables under Section 304 (culpable homicide) Indian Penal Code (IPC), it added.

The Commission took cognizance of the case on the basis of a complaint filed by Shir Gafoor, son of Manisha, in connection with the incident.





Bharti-MTN merger awaits nod from competition authorities

29 Jul 2009, 0115 hrs IST, Joji Thomas Philip, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: The proposed $23-billion strategic equity alliance between Bharti Airtel and South Africa’s MTN will require clearance from the competition authorities of both countries, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told ET.

According to South African laws, its government must be notified of any deal on mergers before the proposed transaction is implemented. Then, if the deal creates an equity, whose combined annual turnover or assets are more than 560 million rand ($67.97 million), it will have to be investigated and cleared by the competition authorities, this executive added.

A Bharti-MTN merger will lead to the creation of one of the top five telcos globally with over 200 million customers and combined revenues of about $20 billion. The combined net worth of both companies will exceed the $60-billion mark.

The proposed $23-billion transaction between the largest mobile phone operators in India and Africa involves a complex structure through which both entities would pay cash and equity to each other for stakes in the two companies. The formula, if it works out, will result in Bharti Airtel getting a 49% stake in MTN and the South African telco a 36% “economic interest” in Bharti Airtel.

South African laws also state that large deals must also be cleared by the Competition Tribunal, which is part of the country’s Competition Commission. Any deal where the annual turnover or assets of the combined entity is more than 6.6 billion rand ($1.1 billion) is referred to the Competition Tribunal and the latter has 40 days to clear it, the executive explained. The Competition Tribunal can extend its 40-day tenure by a maximum of an additional 15 days.

“The Tribunal’s main functions are to grant exemptions, authorise or prohibit large mergers (with or without conditions) or prohibit a merger….,” according to the website of the Competition Commission of South Africa.
With regard to clearances from the Competition Commission in India, two executives aware of this development said it would be a mere formality as the deal did not have any bearing on the domestic telecom market here.

“Only provisions related to abuse of dominance or anti-competitive agreements are notified under the Competitions Law in India — the Bharti-MTN deal relates to neither of these,” the executive pointed out. He also added that Competition Law provisions relating to combinations (M&As) are yet to be notified by the Indian government, and therefore, the commission currently cannot investigate the deal even if were to receive complaints against it.”

Last week, an executive familiar with the discussions had told ET that both Bharti Airtel and MTN are likely to extend the July 31 deadline to finalise the deal.





NCW not satisfied with M.P. report on ‘virginity tests’

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Tuesday described as “unsatisfactory” the report of the Madhya Pradesh government on alleged virginity tests conducted on brides during a State-sponsored mass marriage and decided to probe the matter on its own.

A five-member team of the Commission led by NCW member Yasmin Abrar will visit Shahdol in the State to study the execution of the scheme. The team will also have two experts, including a lawyer and a member of the Madhya Pradesh Women’s Commission.

“The report submitted to us by the Shahdol district administration of the State in this matter is not satisfactory,” said NCW Chairperson Girija Vyas.

Taking a suo motu cognisance of the matter, the NCW sought an interim report from the State government after the incident evoked a strong condemnation.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan denied such tests, saying only “procedural medical examination” were carried out on June 26.





Resident doc gets bail in rape case

Kartikeya , TNN 29 July 2009, 02:25am IST

MUMBAI: Grant Medical College resident doctor Rahul Deshwal, charged by one of his juniors of raping her, has been granted bail by a court. Deshwal, an MS (orthopaedic) student who came to the city from Haryana, was arrested on July 7 after the 21-year-old MBBS student alleged that he repeatedly raped and assaulted her. He was in judicial custody at Arthur Road jail.

Deshwal’s advocate, Niteen Pradhan, argued that he had been falsely implicated in the case, saying Deshwal was a “victim of circumstances”. Pradhan also said the doctor had not administered any birth-control pills to the victim as had been alleged by the police.

According to the police, Deshwal had first proposed to the victim some time ago and then, after promising to marry her, raped her. It was also alleged that he even physically tortured and raped her eight to 10 times in the past one year on the pretext of marrying her.

However, Pradhan said all charges were a “figment of the victim’s imagination”. He also said Deshwal came from a respectable background and had no criminal antecedent. Moreover, it was argued that police had already collected evidence from his laptop and no further recovery was to be made from him. Deshwal said he was ready to abide by any condition that the court imposed on him at the time of granting him bail.




BMW case: SC upholds R K Anand’s conviction, clears I U Khan

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN 29 July 2009, 10:51am IST

NEW DELHI: In an important judgment, the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the conviction of high-profile criminal lawyer R K Anand for contempt of court in the BMW hit-and-run expose and issued notice for enhancement of punishment. The apex court found special public prosecutor I U Khan’s conduct inappropriate but set aside his conviction and cleared him of contempt charges.

A three-judge Bench comprising Justices B N Agrawal, G S Singhvi and Aftab Alam, pronounced the verdict on Wednesday after watching original footage of the sting operation provided by the TV channel.

The court said that sting operation by the TV channel was in public interest. It was not trial by media and served a public purpose.

R K Anand and I U Khan had been stripped of their senior advocate designation by the Delhi High Court. The HC had found both culpable of influencing controversial prosecution witness Sunil Kulkarni in the infamous BMW hit-and-run case involving Sanjeev Nanda.

Both had appealed in the SC and pleaded that the HC had exceeded its jurisdiction by stripping them of the senior advocate designation, a decision which the regulatory body, Bar Council of India, alone could take.

They had also questioned the authenticity of the tapes relating to the sting operation on their alleged dealing with Kulkarni, which was broadcast by a TV channel, saying the HC had repelled their repeated plea for a forensic examination of the tapes.

The HC, in an unprecedented order, had convicted the two prominent lawyers, debarred them from practising in Delhi for four months and also imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 each for obstructing the course of justice by trying to influence the star witness.



Notice to ACP for wrongly jailing woman

TNN 29 July 2009, 03:33am IST

AHMEDABAD: A sessions court has issued show-cause notice to city crime branch sleuths to explain why a woman should not be compensated because they had wrongfully confined her for more than a year in a narcotics case.

Additional sessions judge RH Sharma has sought an explanation from assistant commissioner of police Usha Rada and police inspector DH Waghela in connection with the drug peddling case.

Rada lodged a complaint with the DCB police station against a Karnataka-based couple, Allasha Mastabnsha Durvesh and his wife Shahin, on June 25 last year. They were allegedly found in possession of 12.3 kg cannabis worth Rs 1.23 lakh from Chandola locality. The crime branch filed a charge sheet against them stating that the duo had come to the city to deliver narcotics to two persons — Ramdas and Khalil — and they were caught on their way.

During the trial, the crime branch could not establish its case and it transpired that Shahin did not have any of the drug on her. And she had to go to jail merely because she was implicated in the case after her husband was made accused. However, the court found loopholes not only in the chain of events presented by the investigating officer Waghela, but certain legal aspects could not be explained by the prosecution.

Ultimately, Durvesh was acquitted by the court by giving a benefit of doubt, but the judge gave an honourable exoneration to Shahin and pulled up the crime branch for unjust action against the woman. Along with the order of acquittal, the court served show-cause notices on Rada and Waghela.

The judge has categorically asked the two police officers regarding “heavy compensation” that could be given to Shahin for her wrongful confinement of 13 months in the central jail.




SIT records Rahul Sharma’s evidence

TNN 29 July 2009, 03:33am IST AHMEDABAD: The Supreme Court is likely to decide on the extension to be given to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Godhra riots by end of this week. Sources told TOI that SIT had also recorded statement of IPS officer Rahul Sharma who has submitted critical evidence on the calls made during the riots, thus establishing political leaders’ association with riots accused.

Before this, SIT had already used Sharma’s phone call records as evidence to establish the culpability of former minister Dr Maya Kodnani and to arrest her.

Reacting to a TOI report published on Tuesday, retired director general of police RB Sreekumar said that his statements were recorded by Gujarat officers, one of a superintendent of police rank, VV Chaudhary who is posted in CID (Intelligence) and another deputy SP in the presence of retired CBI officers A K Malhotra and Paramveer Singh.




Lok adalats lower court load

TNN 29 July 2009, 01:29am IST

CHANDIGARH: From minuscule 97 in 1999 to massive 4,678 by June-end, the beneficiaries of the State Legal Services Authority continue to swell. Playing the role of a quasi-judicial adjudicator-cum-mediator, the authority has been successful in settling disputes between parties amicably and expeditiously at pre-litigation stage, thereby reducing the workload of courts.

Its most popular modus operandi remains lok adalat, an innovative mechanism evolved for resolving disputes in a spirit of conciliation outside courts and without delay and recrimination. The number of beneficiaries bears testimony to effectiveness of this tool. The authority had been constituted in 1998 under the State Service Authority Act, 1987, with the objective of providing legal aid to the poor, downtrodden and weaker sections of the society to secure their legal rights.

With pendency of the motor challan cases touching a record 30,000, the authority decided to hold mega lok adalats to dispose them of. In 2007-08, it held three mega lok adalats where 13,024 summary cases pertaining to Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act and traffic challans were disposed of. And in 2008-09, it held three mega lok adalats and disposed of as many as 14,340 cases and recovered fine to the tune of Rs 13,33,850.

The authority also organized Samadhan-2008 where cases pertaining to execution, the Hindu Marriage Act, civil suits, rent cases, criminal appeals, revision succession, MACT, labour cases, cases under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, Section 125 CrPC were taken up. A total of 34,446 cases were settled and an amount of Rs 7.78 crore was awarded as compensation.

It also arranged 19 special lok adalats in 2007 to settle cases of bank recovery, financial institutions, and matrimonial disputes in 2007 and decided 256 cases at pre-litigation stage. In 2008, the authority disposed off 804 cases at 35 special lok adalats.




Court clears air on security cheque bounces

Supriya Bhardwaj29 July 2009, 02:02am IST

CHANDIGARH: When the court acquitted Kuldip Kaur recently, it also cleared the air on security cheque bounce cases to provide relief to many harassed litigants facing trials for allegedly dishonouring bank documents.

Even as Negotiable Instrument Act (NIA) clearly stated that a person was liable to face criminal proceedings only if a cheque issued for discharge of a legal liability bounced, legal experts were wary about the rise in unwarranted cases related to those concerning security cheques. Thankfully, that has now been taken care of.

The court of judicial magistrate, while acquitting Kaur, held that if a cheque issued as security bounced, then one was not guilty as provisions of NIA could not be applied to such a case. Dismissing the criminal complaint filed under various sections, including 138, of NIA against Kaur and her husband by an immigration consultancy company, the court held, “The cheque was issued undated at the time of execution of contract, when there was no liability of the accused to pay balance fee. It was only to be paid on receipt of visa or in case of a breach of contract, but none of these conditions was fulfilled… it does not entitle the company to present the cheque to recover balance fee which was issued as security.”

According to the complaint, in January 2003, the Sangrur couple had approached the immigration company in Sector 8, seeking assistance to get permanent residency in Canada. The amount settled between them was Rs 64,000, of which Rs 10,000 was paid and a cheque of Rs 54,000 issued to the company, with an instruction that it should be encashed whenever professional fee became payable.

The company claimed that they had asked for some documents to process the visas, but the couple didn’t provide the same. But even as the company claimed the couple might have become disinterested in emigrating, it nonetheless presented the security cheque in a bank.

Advocate Ravinder Sharma said, “This order will impact 150 such cases filed by the same immigration company…. In case someone misuses cheque issued as security, under Section 406 (criminal breach of trust) of IPC, an FIR can be lodged.”

While 55,000 cheque bounce cases of varwere pending in district courts, advocate Sandeep Suri, representing various financial institutes, said, “This verdict will be applicable to all cases where post-dated cheques were received as security….”




2 acquitted of murder charge

TNN 29 July 2009, 01:48am IST

CHANDIGARH: The court of additional district and sessions judge Raj Rahul Garg acquitted Uma Shanker and Ram Pratap in a murder trial wherein it was alleged that these brothers had killed Abhay Tiwari just for Rs 3,200.

Allegations levelled were that the accused had borrowed Rs 3,200 from Baddi resident and had called him to town to return the amount to him. Allegedly, instead of making payment, the duo killed Tiwari near the drain in Sector 52 on the intervening night of June 10 and 11, 2008.

An FIR was registered in the year 2008 on the complaint filed by Tiwaris nephews and a local court had framed murdered charges against the two in March 2009.

Though prosecution had produced 18 witnesses to prove its allegations, the court didn’t find evidence to convict them.

LEGAL NEWS 19-21.07.2009


Time to rethink on EVMs

Finally, the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) controversy has reached the apex court.

It is not surprising considering the plethora of doubts expressed by almost all political parties and many highly-placed social activists and experts on the reliability of this wonder machine.

Experts are unanimous that it is not tamper-proof. It is not only the losers in the 2009 general election who have questioned the reliability of EVMs. The Congress leaders in Orissa too have joined hands with the BJP to file a petition in the court and take up a mass awareness campaign to protest the alleged large-scale tampering of the instrument in the state during election. Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is on record alleging that manipulation of voting machines had led to the Congress defeat in Orissa. Azad is the party in-charge in the state. The Leader of Opposition LK Advani has demanded the replacing of EVMs with ballot papers. His view was supported by almost all parties including the CPI(M), AIADMK, TDP and Janata Dal(U). Such wide-spread doubts about the EVM is not good for the health of Indian democracy. The RSS former Sarsanghachalak KS Sudarshan, questioning the credibility of EVMs, in Cuttack, the other day, said, the general elections have become a contempt of democracy, as machines are playing a greater role than the voters. He pointed out that EVMs are not being used in developed countries like Germany and the USA. It is time to replace it with ballot paper, he said. It is not that the people’s verdict in the poll-2009 is being questioned. That, so many well-founded arguments have come up about the possibility of tampering with the EVM to manipulate the electoral outcome is a good enough reason to rethink on it.

Election Commission of India has received a number of complaints about EVM malpractices from all over the country. The recent spate of articles published in reputed computer engineering magazines and the international press has raised doubts about the integrity of EVMs. Each step in the life cycle of a voting machine—from the time it is developed and installed to when the votes are recorded and the data transferred to a central repository for tallying—involves different people gaining access to the machine, often installing a new software. It will not be hard, according to experts, to plant a parallel programme under another password on one or many voting machines that would, before voters arrived at the polling stations, ensure a pre-determined outcome. The Election Commission was aware of the fundamental flaws in the EVMs since 2000. But no effort was made to correct them. Nor were precautions taken. The debate now has come not only because the Lok Sabha results surprised many, but also because of the unexpected number of seats won or lost by some parties. Of course, the AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa and the TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu have taken up the anti-EVM campaign in a big way because of the stunning performance of the ruling party in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh respectively. Even neutral agencies and individuals have pointed to the chance of rigging in these elections.

Experts say that the fundamental flaws in the EVM, which were pointed out to the EC by experts, have not so far been rectified. In 2004, a Supreme Court bench comprising the then Chief Justice VN Khare and two other judges directed the EC to consider the technical flaws in the EVM. This directive came as a result of a PIL filed by Satinath Choudhary, a US-based software engineer. But the EC did not budge. Now several High Courts in the country are hearing PILs on EVMs. And a PIL has reached the Supreme Court also. What is now proved convincingly is that EVMs are not protected against rigging and the EC has not made it tamper-proof in spite of clinching evidence to that effect. It is not a bad-idea for the EC to call an all-party meeting on the subject and review suggestions for restoring the credibility of the electoral system.





SC to hear Shopian policemen petitions on July 20

The Supreme Court would hear on Monday petitions filed by four senior police officers who have been arrested for allegedly destroying evidence in the Shopian rape and murder case.

The petitioners, who include suspended SP Javed Iqbal Mattoo, DSP Rohit Baskotra, ex-SHO Shafiq Ahmed and ex-SI Gazi Abdul Rahman, have prayed to the apex court to set aside the order of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

Two women, Neelofar Jan and Aasiya Jan, were allegedly raped and murdered by the security personnel in Shopian.

The High Court had directed the state police to arrest all the four police officers and also to collect their blood samples and prepare their DNA profile.

The four senior police officers have since been arrested and suspended and are presently lodged in jail.

Senior counsel P H Parekh yesterday mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan for urgent hearing.

Mr Parekh contended that the matter required urgent hearing as the J&K High Court has said, It is with special investigating team (SIT) and with the people of the state.’ According to Mr Parekh who appeared for ex-SP and ex-DSP, the order dated July 15 was passed by the High Court on a PIL filed by J&K High Court Bar Association and the petitioners were not made a party to the PIL.





‘Multiple wins will continue in Mhada lottery’

Bella Jaisinghani, TNN 20 July 2009, 01:06am IST

MUMBAI: Despite the doubts that arose after 55 individuals won multiple flats through serial application numbers in the recent Mhada housing lottery and the PIL filed against the “faulty software”, officials say a similar pattern could emerge in the upcoming lottery in November.

Weeding out multiple winners will have to wait until Nandan Nilekani devises a unique identification card for every Indian, laughed a top-ranking consultant of the firm that attested the lottery.

On condition of anonymity, the consultant explained the loopholes in the system and the measures taken to plug them. “Few lottery softwares, including this one, are foolproof. We are doing our best to seal the gaps by getting applicants to provide their PAN card number, date of birth and bank account number, but the fact remains that there is a way to get around each one of these,” he said.

For instance, while the software is capable of detecting an applicant who may have put in several forms under a single name, an individual could use a combination of `part-name part-initials’ to escape the net. “We will also compare the bank account numbers submitted by an applicant but if he has provided two different ones, he may go undetected. Moreover, PAN card numbers can only be applied to the high income group (HIG) category and we do not want the masses, who bid for Mhada flats, to be left out,” the expert said.

Claiming that 55 people winning multiple times from among 4.33 lakh applicants is well within the realm of statistical probability, he denied that application numbers were manipulated to gain multiple allotments. “Mhada naturally gives out applications in serial order. It is just that some people got lucky by winning in different categories,” he said.

Mhada spokesperson Vaishali Wagh agreed. “There is logic and mathematics to the lottery software. Multiple wins will always occur,” she said. “That is, after all, the luck factor. But we are cautious not to allot more than one flat to a single winner. In fact, this time too, we have ensured that such people surrendered their claim to the extra wins before allotting them one flat of their choice.”

While a bidder is allowed to apply in different categories, he is debarred from putting in several forms in one category. “This makes him happy as it increases his chances of winning, and it is also good for Mhada,” laughed Wagh. To reiterate transparency, she cited the case of an MSEB employee who put in 13 applications in her own name and for relatives but failed to win a single flat.

However, before the May 19 draw, a few members of Mhada’s Mumbai Board had expressed reservations about continuing with the “faulty” software, a fact they say is documented in the minutes of that committee meeting. “This software had given way and crashed under the weight of applications during the previous lottery, which was far smaller. So we asked if it was capable of handling the 4.33 lakh applications we received during this mega lottery,” one of them said.

The consultant responded, “But it did hold up this time. The software code is a simple half-page, really. In fact, some people had even suggested a NASSCOM audit but we did not feel that was necessary.”

Members of the board have alleged that the scrolling procedure, which is an essential element of a fair lottery, was not conducted in each category. “It was not possible for us to scroll the entire list of 400 categories in public view and still complete the lottery in a day,” the expert said. “In fact, we did do so for the first two lots and flashed the results on screen, but it took so long that the waiting applicants began to get restless. So the bigger lots were scrolled very fast. We only showed the names of the first five and the last five winners eschewing the ones in between, and this could have given rise to confusion. The full results were pasted on the announcement board later, but there was not enough time to display each one on the giant screen as the lottery progressed.”

Many bidders, who were present in the mandap, had failed to see the logic behind the computerised lottery and demanded that the housing board put all the application numbers in a glass bowl and ask a child to pick the winners in the manner of a simplistic lotto. “We calculated that option as well,” laughs the Mhada consultant. “It would take three minutes to allot a single flat, and approximately 13 months to complete a mega lottery for 3,863 apartments.”

Interestingly, he added, “Moreover, how do you know that the lotto is fair? In the Manipur fraud, for instance, all you had to do was tweak the application numbers and buy several forms all ending in `9′. These were all put into one bowl so you got lucky.” Of course, as the consultant himself said, individuals can tweak Mhada applications, too.





Nanda’s family members express relief over judgement

PTI 20 July 2009, 04:18pm IST

NEW DELHI: Family members of Sanjeev Nanda, convicted in the BMW hit-and-run case, on Monday expressed relief over the Delhi High Court judgement reducing his jail term from five to two years.

Renu Nanda, mother of the convict started crying in the courtroom with the pronouncement of the judgement.

“God is kind,” she said, on being asked for her reaction.

Sanjeev’s father, Suresh Nanda, an arms dealer was rather happy and forthright in his reaction.

“We have suffered already for nearly 10-and-half-year and finally, justice has been done to my son,” he said.

On a question whether he would go for an appeal against the judgement, he said. “We want him to serve the remaining period. Moreover, we will decide after consulting our lawyers“.

Nanda’s brother-in-law Peter Punj, a socialite said, “It is better late than never. This judgement should have come from the lower court itself. Anyway, justice has finally been done.”

Rajeev Gupta, a Delhi based businessman convicted in the same high profile case was present in the court but refused to comment on the judgement.





Supreme Court refuses to stay gay sex verdict

20 Jul 2009, 1401 hrs IST, IANS

NEW DELHI: Maintaining that the recent Delhi High Court verdict decriminalising homosexuality does not permit incestuous relations or adultery, the Supreme Court on Monday said it will wait for the central government’s formal stand on the issue before forming its opinion.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathashivam made the observation while hearing a bunch of petition opposing and supporting the high court judgement.

The Delhi High Court July 2 decriminalised sex between two consenting adults of the same gender. Defined as unnatural sex under section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, homosexuality was earlier punishable with imprisonment up to life.






SC declines to stay HC verdict on homosexuality


Posted: Monday , Jul 20, 2009 at 1520 hrs New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to pass an interim order to stay the Delhi High Court verdict legalising gay sex among consenting adults.

The apex Court said it would wait for the government to come out with a definite stand on the issue.

“We are not for stay as there is no threat of any consequences. We will hear the government, what is their stand,” a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam said.

“Why not wait till government takes a definite stand,” the Bench said before posting the matter for September 14.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati said that the government has taken a stand and it will reconsider it again as three ministries are involved.

He said that it was not in favour of the stay of the High Court order.

Vahanvati said that the government has taken a stand in the High Court and the judgement was of limited nature concerning gay sex between consenting adults.

The apex Court refused to make any observation relating to the legitimacy of the gay marriages when a submission was made about it. The counsel opposing the High Court verdict wanted the court to say that such a marriage was not legitimate.

When a reference was made about Section 377 of the IPC, the Bench said, “Cases under Section 377 are registered only with regard to pedophiles. People are being convicted but it has nothing to do with gay marriages.”

The apex court had earlier issued notice to the Centre seeking its response on the petition filed by a Delhi astrologer challenging the High Court verdict.

Notices were also issued to Naz Foundation, the NGO, and other respondents who were parties before the High Court.

Astrologer Suresh Kumar Kaushal has sought quashing of the July two High Court judgment legalising gay sex between consenting adults in private, which was earlier a criminal offence punishable with up to life imprisonment.





Indias Supreme Court seeks explanation on gas deal

By Krittivas Mukherjee and Devidutta Tripathy

NEW DELHI, July 20 – India’s highest court asked Reliance Industries and Reliance Natural Resources to explain why a gas supply deal between the two should not be cancelled and cleared the way for the government to be a party in the court battle, lawyers for both sides said .
Shares in Reliance Industries, which challenged a lower court ruling to supply gas to Reliance Natural at below-market price, were 4.3 percent higher amid a broad market rally on Monday, while Reliance Natural shares were down by 3 percent .
The court set a Sept .
1 date for the next hearing in the nearly three-year battle, which has raised questions over the role of powerful business families in India’s economy .
Top Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries , headed by Mukesh Ambani, and Reliance Natural, led by estranged brother Anil, have been fighting over terms of a gas-supply agreement struck when the Reliance empire was split in 2005 .
The Indian government made a petition over the weekend to intervene in the case, arguing that the gas is its property and that the private pact between the Ambanis over the gas is not valid .
The court on Monday set the stage for the government to participate in the court proceeding, which is what Reliance Industries had sought .
‘That’s water under the bridge .
The government is already there .
We have been asking for that,’ said Harish Salve, a lawyer for Reliance Industries .
The Bombay High Court ruled last month that Reliance Industries should supply gas to Reliance Natural at $2.34 per million metric British thermal unit nearly half the $4.20 price in an interim court order in January .
Maulik Patel, head of research at K.R .
Choksey Shares&Securities, said nothing fundamental in the dispute had changed .
If the court voids the agreement between the parties, which had been approved by the high court, it will be good for Reliance Industries but quite negative for Reliance Natural .
‘The likely scenario could be the government may fix $4.2 per mBtu as the price for supply, and then allow Reliance Natural to further sell it to fertiliser and power companies,’ he said .
NEXT HEARING ON SEPT 1 India’s Supreme Court on Monday said it would club all petitions and applications in the case together, according to Ram Jethmalani, a lawyer for Reliance Natural .
‘The court said it wants to hear the case with three judges so it set Sept .
1 as the next date .
There were no observations, no directions,’ Jethmalani said after the hearing .
The gas in dispute comes from the vast Krishna Godavari basin, and the feud had led to calls for the government to intervene given the importance of the resource to India’s energy-starved economy .
Mukesh Ambani, 52, was ranked 7th by Forbes in its list of global billionaires in March, with a net worth of $19.5 billion .
Anil, 50, was at No .
34 on the list, with a net worth of $10.1 billion .
The two brothers have battled before .
Reliance Industries last year cited a first right of refusal clause to sink a bid by Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications for a merger with South Africa’s MTN .
The details of the family settlement, which was brokered by the Ambanis’ mother, Kokilaben, have not been made public, and at least a dozen issues still need resolution, analysts say, ranging from properties to shares in companies .





Hearing on Reliance gas dispute adjourned to Sep 1 (Lead)

New Delhi, July 20

The Supreme Court Monday adjourned till Sep 1 its hearing on a row between Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries and his brother Anil’s Reliance Natural Resources over natural gas supplies and asked the two parties to reply to the government stand on the matter.

Commencing the hearing on the petition filed by Reliance Industries that challenges the verdict of the Bombay High Court last month on gas supplies from Krishna-Godavari Basin, off the Andhra Pradesh coast, the apex court declined to pass any interim order.

Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan issued notices to power firms such as GMR, GVK and Gautami Power that sought to intervene in the matter on concerns over the impact on the supplies if the fuel is diverted to Reliance Natural Resources at lower rates.

The Bombay High Court had asked Reliance Industries to supply 28 million units of gas to Reliance Natural Resources for 17 years at $2.34 per unit, after assigning 12 million units to the state-run National Thermal Power Corp.

It was also decided during Monday’s hearing to club all petitions in this regard when the case comes up before a three-member bench to be set up. The government has sought to join the case as an intervener, amid opposition by Anil Ambani’s firm.

“The court said it wants to hear the case with three judges. So it set Sep 1 as the next date. There were no observations, no directions,” said Ram Jethmalani, who is appearing as a lawyer on behalf of Reliance Natural Resources.

“One thing is very clear — the Supreme Court is concerned by the importance of this case,” said Harish Salve who appeared on behalf of Reliance Industries and maintained that the court had not stopped Reliance Industries from selling gas to other parties.

“The interpretation doesn’t change after the hearing. In fact, let’s be clear. I told the court that the arrangements in place would continue. The court said we have not stopped you,” Salve said.

He said the crux of the case was whether a family arrangement that was meant to bring parity between two brothers should override sovereign policies when natural gas is now being sold for $4.20 per unit and one party still wants it for $2.34 per unit.

The senior counsel also maintained that the pact between the two brothers could not be broken into bits and pieces. “The agreement said it is subject to company approval, it is subject to government approval. It expressly said so.”

But in the reply to the law suit filed by Reliance Industries, the Anil Ambani-led firm has said the petroleum ministry has no role to play in the private gas sharing dispute, certainly not as a party to the row, and that the government will not lose any revenue.

“The petroleum ministry filed the affidavit blatantly and openly in support of Reliance Industries. This affidavit should, therefore, be struck off the records of the Supreme Court,” the company said.

Last updated on Jul 20th, 2009 at 16:25 pm IST–IANS





SC seeks UT’s reply on abortion

TNN 21 July 2009, 01:04am IST

CHANDIGARH: The Supreme Court of India issued a notice to Chandigarh administration on Monday after hearing the special leave petition (SLP) filed against orders of Punjab and Haryana High court passed on Friday, allowing termination of pregnancy of a mentally challenged rape victim. The division bench headed by Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishanan and justice P Sathasivam asked the UT administration to file their reply on the matter on Tuesday.

However, SC declined the petitioners’ request for immediate stay on the HC verdict.

The SLP was filed by Delhi-based lawyer Suchita Srivastava and others.

A special division bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court had allowed terminating the pregnancy of the 19-year-old victim, who was allegedly raped during her stay at Nari Niketan in Sector 26. Her pregnancy was detected at home for the mentally challenged – Aashreya – where she had been shifted.

The Chandigarh administration had sought that order as the victim has no guardian and she had got pregnant during her stay at a UT-run institute.

After HC’s orders on Friday, some Delhi-based lawyers had met CJI at his residence in the evening, seeking his immediate intervention in the matter. Then, the CJI had listed the matter for hearing before his bench for Monday.

Appellant had contended that HC could not pass orders that were contrary to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act. Petitioners had also cited various international conventions and papers in support of their plea for rejecting the grounds of termination of pregnancy given by the HC in its July 17 verdict.

Meanwhile, Chandigarh administration has decided that it will not terminate the pregnancy of the victim till the matter is pending with SC.

Pregnancy of the victim will enter its 20th week on Tuesday. MTP Act prohibits terminating a pregnancy that has continued for more than 20 weeks.

UT senior standing counsel, Anupam Gupta will plead the matter in SC on behalf of the administration.




‘Sir, mujhe mera gunaah kabool hai’

Kartikeya, TNN 21 July 2009, 04:00am IST

Mujhe gunah kabool hai (I admit my crime). We fired on the public at CST — Abu Ismail and I. Ismail lobbed grenades and I fired with the gun. We went a little ahead and entered a hall where we had a skirmish with the police. After another exchange of fire, all was quiet. The photographs shown of us at CST are genuine. We went back towards the platform, crossed an iron footbridge and descended into an alley. I checked vehicles parked there so that we could drive off in one. The CCTV footage shown of us around those cars is correct. However, none of the cars could be opened and we proceeded on foot. Ismail and I loaded our AK-47s. On walking a little ahead, we saw a man running. I fired at him and Ismail fired inside a house.

When we reached the gate of Cama Hospital, we saw that the wall was not too high and jumped over it. Ismail told me to wait while he checked the premises. I heard the sound of gunfire. Ismail returned and asked me to follow him. A man dressed in white was lying dead. I did not see his face. Another man was lying on a stretcher in a pool of blood. We went up a flight of stairs to the fifth floor. We stopped three persons in the ward, including a witness in the present case, and asked him to lie down so that we could frisk him. We then locked up five others, one of whom was lying in a pool of blood, in a bathroom, warning them not to make any noise. We went up to the terrace. As soon as we entered, we saw a man. I asked him to show us the way out. He indicated that policemen were around — when we went down the staircase, we saw them for ourselves. I ran back and told Ismail.

He asked me where they were, but by then we could hear a commotion that the police had arrived. Ismail was near the door. He asked me to keep a watch on the terrace and asked for a grenade. I removed all the weapons from my bag and put them in Ismail’s bag. Firing started. I kept a watch on the terrace. Then we started running downstairs and someone fired upon us. I returned fire and came down. Ismail went out first. We could see policemen near the gate, but they didn’t notice us. Ismail said we should hide. There was a door near the wall, and a person was sitting outside the hall of the hospital. I warned him to keep mum, and we managed to get out of the hospital.

On the road, we saw a big blue vehicle coming towards us. We hid behind a small stall. The blue vehicle came nearer and Ismail lobbed a grenade at it. We then walked up to a bank and hid in some bushes. We saw the headlights of a vehicle, and as it came nearer to us there was firing from it. Ismail started firing back. I was injured on my right forearm, left wrist and right elbow. (Shows his injuries in court). My gun fell out of my hand and I also fell down. The firing continued, and Ismail walked towards the vehicle. He went to check it and kept firing on it. By then I got up and took my gun in my hand. I opened the doors of the police vehicle and found its occupants dead. We removed their bodies. Ismail started the jeep and I sat next to him. In the meantime there was firing on the vehicle but none of the bullets hit us. Ismail started driving with his left hand and firing with the other one. We took a right turn. Maine kaha main chal nahin sakta (I said I wouldn’t be able to walk). Ismail said ‘ Tu hausla mat haar. Mujhe bhi goli lagi hai ’ (Don’t lose courage. I have also been shot). He said he had been shot in the knee. I could tell from the noise of the wheel that it had been punctured. We did not know the roads. We saw policemen in a motor vehicle, and on seeing weapons in our hands they started firing at us. We fired in retaliation and the cops left the spot to hide. We decided to stop a vehicle. A Skoda car, with two men and a woman in it, was passing, and we stopped it and made the occupants get out. I told Ismail that we should conceal our weapons somewhere so that nobody would be able to recognise us. We continued to drive on the same road and reached the same spot where we had hijacked the car. We saw the owner telling the police that it was his car. We started following a white car. A little ahead we could see barriers on the road. The white car went past them but policemen directed us to stop. I asked Ismail to slow down. A policeman came in front of the car. Ismail tried taking a U-turn. We could not understand anything and suddenly the wipers also started. Policemen came to the car, and one of them caught me by the collar. He pulled me out of the car. I was surrounded by policemen and one of them snatched my AK-47, which was in my hand. They started hitting me in my stomach and also with the butt of my gun. I did not fire. When I regained consciousness I was in hospital. I had not fired because I could not hold my gun.


We travelled from Karachi in a small boat. Four persons came to see us off — Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, Abu Hamza, Abu Kafa and Abu Jundala. I did not know the others personally but I can tell their names. Abu Ismail (he was our boss), Abu Akasha, Abu Umer, Abu Shoaib, Abu Ali, Abdul Rehman Chhota, Abdul Rehman Bada, Hafiz Arshad and Abu Fadaullah, who had a finger missing. A small boat from Karachi transported us to a big boat, which we used to get on to the high seas. There were three people on the small boat. I only remember the name of Hakib. On the big boat called ‘Al Huseini’ we slept and said our namaaz. When it sailed there were seven people on it — Murshad, Aqib, Usman… I don’t remember the other names. Murshad was the boss.

We were looking for another boat and spotted one. At 4 pm, it was brought to ‘Al Huseini’ and we started loading it with oil, blankets, rations and other things. The remaining articles were thrown into the sea. Murshad asked the five crew members of the other boat who their ‘naqva’ (navigator) was, and Amarjit Singh Solanki said it was him. The other four were taken to ‘Al Huseini’ and Singh remained on board. Murshad told us to take blankets and go to sleep. He told Ismail to take Solanki’s help in case of difficulty. A big GPS set was also given to Ismail, which we threw into the sea when we reached India.


Last year, when I was working as a decorator in Jhelum city, my colleague, Muzaffar, suggested that we turn to dacoity for better money. I left the job, went to Rawalpindi with him and took a room on rent. We decided to commit dacoity at a certain bungalow. I was roaming alone at Rawalpindi’s Raza market when I saw some Mujahideens buying animal skins. From my childhood, I had been hearing of these Mujahideens. They are known by their long hair and beards. A few days later, Muzaffar returned and we both visited the same market and were discussing our plans to rob the bungalow. I repeatedly asked him where we would get the weapons and how would we pull it off. I told him then that I had seen Mujahideens at the market, and that we could get weapons training from them, to which he agreed. We found out where their office was, and went there. A man asked me what I had come for. I told him we had come for Jihad, so he let us in. One person asked me my name, address and asked me to return next morning with extra clothes.
We returned with our baggage and we were given a chit on which was written the address of a training camp in Muridke. Three weeks later, I was sent from there to another camp. In the evening we went to Buttal jungle, where I met Muzaffar. We were given 21 days of training. After his training was over, Muzaffar’s brother took him back home but I was told that I was going for bigger training.

Here, I was taught exercises, operating weapons like AK-47, guns and pistols. Three months went by like this. My trainer Abu Abdul Rehman asked me to bring my identity card from my native Okara district. I visited an office in Model Town there and was asked to go to Muzaffarabad in Azad Kashmir. Once in Muzaffarabad, I was asked to look for Saeed Bhai’s office. I told them that I had come for Daura-E-Khaas (special training), and filled up a form. The next morning, we reached a training camp, where Abu Maaviya was our trainer and trained me for three months in operating rocket launchers, grenades, AK-47s and other sophisticated weapons. Then I was sent to my Faridkot home. I was told to return to Saeed Bhai’s office after a week, which I did.

Ten days later, Saeed bhai, Abu Kafa and Abu Hamza came there and selected 15 of us. We were taken to Muzaffarabad and then to Muridke. Kafa was with me and we were trained to swim. A month later, we were taken to Karachi’s seashore from where we were taken in small boats to big ones. The idea was to check if we could adjust to the sea’s rough weather or not, and to see if we suffered from sea-sickness. We were then brought back to the same place and then two days later, we were again taken to Muzaffarabad where we met Hamza.

Of the 15 of us, two had run away, while six were sent to Kashmir. So seven of us were left, to which three other boys were added, making us ten in all. Hamza had a separate room, to which he would call us in pairs. On two occasions, he showed Ismail and me movies and pictures of CST station on his laptop. We were then taken to forests, trained further in firing, and were brought back. Two days later, we were given trousers and T-shirts, and our photographs were taken and our fake ID-cards made. Kafa took us to Karachi and gave us small bomb kits. We were asked to note down the time when the bomb kit’s battery would turn on.

We stayed there for more than 90 days. We were trained to use an inflatable boat. It is the same boat produced in court. In Karachi we stayed in the same house that was shown on Geo TV. Two or three days before November 22, 2008, Hamza again came and played the same CST video to us. We were given arms and ammunition. Those bags were transported to Al-Huseini.

Kafa took us to the Karachi shore where Al-Huseini was anchored. Lakhwi, Hamza and Abu Jundal joined Kafa on the shore, while we were to leave for Mumbai. Jundal Hindustani hai, unhonein hi humein Hindi sikhaaein . My wish is that you should end this trial and punish me.

I wanted to confess much earlier but could not do so as Pakistan had disowned me. Now Pakistan is saying that I am a Pakistani.

They are also going to prosecute the offenders. Don’t ask me how I know all this. I just do. You
should accept my confession and punish me.





US `gets’ right to inspect defence equipment, tech sold to India

TNN 21 July 2009, 03:02am IST

NEW DELHI: India and US on Monday finalised the End-Use Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) to govern arms supplies to Indian armed forces amid concerns that New Delhi may have yielded a bit too much under Washington’s pressure.

The EUMA text agreed to by the two nations apparently upholds the right of US to physically inspect defence equipment and technology sold to India. India, in turn, got the concession that the time and place of such verification would be decided by New Delhi, as also that the standardised text cannot be altered without joint consultations if there is any change in US laws in the future.

With eyes firmly on the lucrative Indian defence market, the US had been pushing India to ink the EUMA, which is required under its domestic laws, as soon as possible to smoothen New Delhi’s acquisition of military hardware and software from Washington.

The American EUMA basically governs sensitive technology control requirements to prevent its leaking to other countries and `minimize’ security risks to US and its allies.

While acknowledging this, India wanted `mutuality’ to underscore EUMA instead of `intrusive’ clauses in the pact and its `enhanced version’ which relate to `onsite physical verification’ by US inspectors.

After several drafts were exchanged by the two sides, officials said the final text incorporates acceptable legal language factoring in concerns of both sides.

Till now, like for the three VVIP Boeing Business Jets and their self-protection suites inducted by IAF to ferry around the President and PM, India has signed stand-alone end-use pacts with US.

The overarching EUMA now finalised will pave the way for high-end sensors, radars and weapon systems to be fitted on the aircraft being purchased under the already-inked $2.1 billion contract for eight Boeing P-8I maritime reconnaissance planes and the $962 million one for six C-130J `Super Hercules’ planes.

It will, of course, also govern all future deals, including the hotly-contested race to bag the `mother of all defence deals’: the $10.4-billion project to acquire 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft for the IAF.

In the fray are American F/A-18 `Super Hornet’ (Boeing) and F-16 `Falcon’ (Lockheed Martin), French Rafale (Dassault), Russian MiG-35 (United Aircraft Corporation), Swedish Gripen (Saab) and Eurofighter Typhoon (consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian companies).




BMW case: Court raps key witness

IANS 21 July 2009, 04:08am IST

NEW DELHI: Delhi High Court on Monday came down heavily on Mumbai resident Sunil Kulkarni, a key witness in the BMW hit-and-run case, terming him as “the most dishonest, unreliable, untrustworthy and untruthful witness”.

“His entry in the case is as dramatic as could happen only in our Bollywood movies,” Justice Kailash Gambhir said in his 274-page order.

The court ordered initiation of criminal proceedings for perjury against Kulkarni, who was relied on heavily by the trial court to hold Sanjeev Nanda and three others guilty in the 10-year-old case.

“The deposition of court witness (Kulkarni) is thrown out lock, stock and barrel,” the High Court said.

Initially, Kulkarni had introduced himself as a witness without any extraneous reason.

“An accident which was the result of a rash and negligent act was turned into a sinister game with ulterior design to defeat the justice delivery system. Not only we saw a wily witness in Sunil Kulkarni but also found that the prosecution was no less slippery,” the court said.

“It is time to think and ponder how fast and to what extent we can take corrective measures to ensure that the justice delivery system does not become a laughing stock and is not reduced to a mockery by persons like Sunil Kulkarni and police officials of doubtful integrity. It also calls for introspection on the part of legal fraternity so as to ensure that the fair name of legal profession does not in any way come into disrepute,” the court said.




Shopian rape & murder: SC stays narco-analysis of cops

TIMESOFINDIA.COM 20 July 2009, 02:02pm IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the narco-analysis of the police officers involved in the rape and murder of two women in Shopian town in Jammu & Kashmir.

The bail of these officers will be considered on Friday.

The state has witnessed angry protests over the rape and murder of two women, 17-year-old Asiya Jan and her 22-year-old pregnant sister in-law Neelofar, in May. The protests left two people dead and around 400 injured. The government’s initial insistence that the two had drowned further fuelled the protests.

Earlier this month, the J&K government finally admitted that certain police officers were involved in the rape and murder of the two women.

Blood samples of four policemen arrested for alleged destruction, dissipation and suppression of evidence were collected over the weekend.

Official sources said the samples were taken from the then Shopian police superintendent Javed Iqbal, deputy superintendent of police Rohit Baskotra, station house officer Shafeeq Ahmad and sub-inspector Qazi Abdul Karim.

The blood samples of the policemen, currently under police custody, were taken on the directions of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court which earlier this week had ordered the arrest, preparation of DNA profiles and narco-analysis of the four suspended police officers.





High court dismisses plea in illegal plot sale

Shibu Thomas, TNN 21 July 2009, 12:30am IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday dismissed an application challenging the demolition of the office of a security agency located on the Irla nullah, which was the cause of regular flooding at the Juhu Vile Parle Development Scheme.

A division bench of Justice D K Deshmukh and Justice Rajesh Ketkar refused to entertain the plea of the slumdweller who had reportedly sold off his premises to the security agency for Rs 45 lakh.

The court accepted the state government’s contention that a slum photo pass issued to pre-1995 structures cannot be assigned to another person.

“The government has laid down strict rules that the slum photo pass cannot be sold. The premises cannot be sublet or alienated in any way,” said assistant government pleader Milind More, who added that breach of any of the conditions could result in cancellation of the photo pass.

The case concerned a 845 sq-ft garage-cum-residence on a culvert of the Irla nullah, which belonged to Raman Panikar. According to the state, Panikar sold his space to a security company for Rs 45 lakh in 1997. The company, in turn, built a sprawling 4,428 sq-ft office space. The authorities issued a notice to the company in 2007 and demolished the structure in July 2008.

The state also held that the company was not eligible for any protection or rehabilitation as it was not the original occupant of the land. Panikar, then moved the HC, saying that he had only issued a power-of-attorney to his chartered accountant, who had set up the security company. He urged the court to direct the authorities to restore the demolished structure to his possession as the power-of-attorney document was not registered. The court rejected the application.




91 motorists sent to jail for driving drunk

TNN 21 July 2009, 12:36am IST

MUMBAI: Ninety-one people were sent to jail for driving drunk on Monday.
The traffic police caught a total of 174 drunk motorists late on Sunday. Of these, 144 appeared before various local courts,of which 53 cases were adjourned. Summons or warrants were issued against 30 accused, who did not turn up for their hearing.

Driving licences of 82 motorists were suspended by the court for a period of six months to two years. Of the convicted, three were sent to five days in jail, five to three days in jail, 39 to two days in jail and 44 to one day in jail.

This year, 8,507 drunk driving cases were registered.





BMW hit-and-run: HC reduces Nanda’s jail term

Smriti Singh, TIMES NEWS NETWORK & AGENCIES 20 July 2009, 02:34pm IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday reduced the sentence of Sanjeev Nanda, convicted in the infamous BMW hit-and-run case, from five years to two years.
The court also changed the section under which Nanda was convicted, from the earlier section 304 Part II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) to section 304 A of the IPC.

The HC also instructed police to initiate proceedings against controversial key witness Sunil Kulkarni, on whose testimony trial court convicted Sanjeev Nanda and others. The court also reduced the sentence of Rajiv Gupta from one year to six months, and of the two servants to three months.

A trial court had earlier convicted and sentenced Sanjeev Nanda, grandson of former Naval Chief S M Nanda, to five years imprisonment for mowing down six persons with his car in 1999.

Justice Kailash Gambhir, who had reserved the judgement in May, passed the verdict on petitions filed by three convicts, including Nanda, challenging the trial court order.

Besides Nanda, the court had also convicted Rajiv Gupta and Bhola Nath and sentenced them to one year and six months in jail, respectively.

Challenging his conviction in the case, Nanda argued that the trial court had convicted him under “media pressure” and on presumption devoid of evidence, PTI reported.

He submitted that the trial court had erred in believing the controversial eyewitness to the accident, Sunil Kulkarni, who, he argued, was not present in the capital on the day of incident.





Missing files no ground to reject RTI plea

Ambika Pandit, TNN 21 July 2009, 04:06am IST

NEW DELHI: Refusal to provide information under the Right to Information Act citing missing files can now evoke punishment. The Central Information Commission (CIC) has reprimanded the Delhi government’s department of women and children for allowing a critical file linked to the purchase scam to go missing and ordered that the appellant seeking the file as part of a reply to an RTI be compensated with Rs 10,000.

The CIC also directed that appellant Raj Mangal Prasad be compensated before August 31, failing which a penal interest of 12% will be applicable.

The CIC noted that the appellant had asked for the status of action taken by the department in the matter of the purchase scam which involved essential items bought for inmates of state run homes. The government replied and indicated the action taken based on available records.

“In so far as the second query for allowing inspection of the file concerned, the government expressed its inability on the ground that the file in question was missing, which reflects mismanagement in maintenance of records. The alleged offenders and officials of the department thus attempted to escape the penal action against them. It is the department of women and child development which is held responsible for suppression of facts and inefficient management of records,” the CIC order stated.

In his observations, central information commissioner professor M M Ansari said: “A major objective of the RTI is to contain corruption through promotion of transparency in functioning of public authorities. In the instant case a major corruption of the purchases scam has been exposed and at least two officials of the respondent (department of women and child) have been arrested. It is probable that many more officials of the department could be associated with the matter.”

Ansari added that the appellant was deprived of the opportunity to access the information contained in the file to expose the malpractices in the purchases scam. “The unsuccessful efforts made by the department to search and trace the file early show that the appellant’s right to seek information has not been duly honoured in the letter and spirit of the Act, for which he needs to be compensated under section 19 (8)(b) of the Act for all kinds of losses and detriment suffered by him,” the order added.




HC clears decks for ZP polls

TNN 21 July 2009, 04:29am IST

Bangalore : The high court on Monday cleared decks for zilla panchayat elections. It dismissed the petitions challenging the notification regarding roster for posts of presidents and vice-presidents in 27 ZPs across the state.

Justice Rammohan Reddy upheld the May 4 notification and asked the authorities to notify the roster six months in advance to avoid legal hassles. On May 15, the court had stayed the election process in all ZPs, except Kolar and Chikballapur, where elections were already over. K H Krishna Reddy, ZP member from Tumkur, and others from Dharwad, Haveri and Karwar had challenged the notification citing that the rotation norms were not adhered to while fixing the roster as per the 2005 rules. In the case of Dharwad ZP, the petitioners contended that ST reservation was not provided since 1995 and Karwar petitioners said the Siddi tribe, which was given an ST status by a presidential notification in 2003, was not recognised so far.

As per the rotation rules in the 60-month term of the ZP, if SC candidates held the president’s or vice-president’s posts in the first 20 months, the next term should be given to BC candidates and then to GM candidate, completing the five-year terms. This has been designed to accommodate all the castes and tribes and categories.





PIL contests property circular

TNN 21 July 2009, 04:31am IST Bangalore : A division Bench of the high court has asked the government advocate to seek instructions by next week on PIL challenging the April 6, 2009, circular asking sub-registrars not to register properties if conversion certificates and sanctioned plan from the competent authority are not enclosed with the applications.

The petitioners claimed that Sec 22 A of Registration Act, under which the said circular was issued, had been declared unconstitutional both by the high court and Supreme Court. Moreover, the said move would only harass people, they claimed.

The government issued the circular when the settled position was clear that it’s only a civil court and not sub-registrar who has power to decide the title, deed and other related issues, the petitioners said.





Case against Maytas Hill County promoters

TNN 21 July 2009, 01:52am IST HYDERABAD: Central Crime Station (CCS) police on Monday registered cases against Maytas Hill County promoters.
According to deputy commissioner of police (Detective Department), R S Praveen Kumar, a customer who had purchased an house in Maytas Hill County venture at Bachupally, approached the CCS alleging that even after the payment, the management had failed to hand over the building to him.

Based on the complaint, CCS police registered a case under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) against Maytas Hill County promoters.

Earlier on June 10, demanding an assurance from the Maytas Hill County management on completion schedule of the venture, about 200 members of Hill County Home Owners’ Welfare Association, staged a protest in front of former Satyam Chairman, Ramalingaraju’s house.




TDP MLA arrested, remanded till August 3

TNN 21 July 2009, 01:48am IST

KOVVUR (West Godavari): Telugu Desam Party MLA T V Rama Rao was arrested from his residence at Kovvur on Monday afternoon by the CB-CID police allegedly molesting some girl students of a nursing college run by him at Nidadavolu.

The police led by additional SP Gopalaraju went to the residence of the Kovvur MLA at around 2.50 pm and arrested him. The police did not allow the MLA’s supporters enter the house. His wife was also prevented from talking to the MLA as he was bundled into a waiting jeep.

Gopalaraju said the MLA was arrested under Sections 354, 509, 503, 341, 347 and 384 of IPC after the CB-CID completed a preliminary inquiry. “We will interrogate him further on the charges made by the girls from Kerala,” a police official said.

It may be recalled that the girls studying at TVR Nursing School at Nidadavolu had met home minister P Sabita Indra Reddy and complained that the MLA had molested them.

As he was being taken away by the police, the MLA alleged that a political conspiracy has been hatched by the Congress to tarnish his image. “No matter what the government and police try to prove, I am sure of getting justice from the courts,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, the MLA was remanded till August 3 by the CB-CID special court at Eluru where he was produced in the evening. Later, the MLA was admitted in hospital in Vijayawada after he complained of chest pain.





Court issues notices to Sonia, DS over party flag

TNN 21 July 2009, 01:58am IST

VIJAYAWADA: A local court on Monday issued notices to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi as well as state party president D Srinivas and city Congress president Paila Sominaidu on the charges of abusing the national flag.

The court asked the Congress leaders to explain their stand on the petition filed by a local advocate B V Rangarao. In his petition, Rangarao alleged that the Congress has been misusing and abusing the national flag by including the tricolour in the party flag. He urged the court to ban the usage of colours being used by the party.

Rangarao had filed a similar petition in last February and the court rejected it on technical grounds. Meanwhile, local Congress leaders and legal cell representatives Gurnatham and N Narasimharao filed a counter memo to the petition filed by Rangarao.

The judge posted the case to August 18.




Freed convict back in jail

TNN 21 July 2009, 02:02am IST

HYDERABAD: Hymad Pasha, a life convict from Adilabad, who was unduly set free due to a judicial faux pas, was finally brought back to Cherlapalli jail again. It can be recalled that Hymad was convicted for life for causing the death of his wife and was ordered to undergo another three years imprisonment for harassing her for dowry when she was alive by the Adilabad district court earlier.

In a strange turn of events, two appeals were filed against this order and two division benches of the AP High Court heard them simultaneously without knowing that the other bench was hearing it. While one bench confirmed the lower court judgement and asked Hymad to serve a life term in jail in March last year, the other bench acquitted him of murder charge and paved the way for his release on September 29, 2008. Two days later, on October 1 Hymad was set free from Cherlapalli jail.

TOI exposed this faux pas in its December 7, 2008 edition and within a week, the High Court declared its second judgement that set Hymad free as invalid and ordered the authorities to bring Hymad back to jail on December 15.

While nullifying the second judgment, the HC expressed its anguish over the way the internal mechanism of justice delivery system has failed it. In open court, it said: “This Hymad Pasha case has got all the trappings of a crime thriller. At no stage was it brought to our notice that a separate bench was simultaneously hearing it. The public prosecutor, who argued before both the benches, the district judge who sent the case records to High Court twice, the registry which had numbered the case and posted it before two benches and finally the jail superintendent who has two conflicting judgements on his hand when he set Hymad free. It is strange that none of them told us. Its only Times of India’s news item that told us about it. It served as an eye opener to the way the things are going around us”. So saying, the bench ordered an inquiry into this faux pas and directed the registrar general to conduct it and fix responsibility on the concerned.




TN introduces business facilitation bill

TNN 21 July 2009, 02:14am IST

CHENNAI: Deputy chief minister MK Stalin moved a bill in the Assembly on Monday to provide a single point clearance for new industries by reducing procedural requirements in an effort to improve the state’s investor-friendly environment.

Introducing the Tamil Nadu Business Facilitation Act, 2009, Stalin said the bill was aimed at promoting industrial development and facilitating new investments by simplifying the regulatory framework.

Accordingly, the government would constitute two authorities, one at the state level and the other at the district level, for the purpose of speedily giving various clearances required for setting up industrial projects in the state. The chief secretary would be the chairman of the state-level committee which would have 13 members, including the industries secretary, municipal commissioner and others.

The authority would act as a single point contact for clearance required from different authorities or departments like, for instance, power and water. It would also monitor the processing of applications by authorities concerned. Besides, the authority would carry out investment promotional activities, render necessary assistance in policy formulation, guide and assist entrepreneurs to set up their base and promote and assist in the rapid and orderly establishment, growth and development of industrial projects.

At the district level, the collector would head a 10-member team in speedily clearing applications for new investments. Setting a time limit for various agencies to give clearance, the government has made it mandatory for the entrepreneurs to furnish self-certification at the time of completed application form to enable it to grant the clearances faster, said Stalin.

However, entrepreneurs failing to comply with the undertaking in the self-certification would be punishable, on conviction, with fine extending upto Rs one lakh for the first offence and Rs two lakh for the second or subsequent offence. In respect of companies committing offences under the provisions of the proposed Act, every person, who at the time of offence was in charge of the company for the conduct of business as well as the company would be deemed guilty and liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly, the deputy chief minister said.

As for the authorities, the government intended to appoint officers for efficient performance and protect them against suits, prosecution or other legal proceedings, Stalin said.





HC vacates gag on magazine obtained by Raja

TNN 21 July 2009, 02:23am IST

CHENNAI: A blanket judicial order — passed at the height of the spectrum controversy — restraining the Tamil biweekly Junior Vikatan from publishing articles and caricatures about Union minister for telecommunications and IT A Raja was vacated by the Madras high court on Monday. The court also imposed a case cost of Rs 10,000 on Raja.

Justice K Chandru, vacating an earlier order passed in April this year, said: “…There is no law empowering the state or its officials to prohibit or to impose a prior restraint upon the Press… Any attempt to stifle or fetter the criticisms will amount to political censorship and the Supreme Court has held such attempts as insidious and objectionable.”

The judge was passing orders after hearing senior counsel R Yashod Vardhan, appearing for the publisher, and senior counsel V T Gopalan, representing Raja.

The matter relates to a civil suit filed by Raja complaining that the biweekly was publishing a series of “baseless” articles against himself and his family members. On April 28, a single judge held that there was a prima facie case to restrain the media house from carrying articles and photographs of the minister’s family members without seeking any clarification from Raja and his wife.

In its counter, the 83-year-old media organisation contended that it never resorted to any sinister method to increase its circulation and that the magazine merely stated the material facts with a bonafide intention. “The articles were guided by principles of objectivity and fairness,” it said, adding that parliamentary proceedings and information in the public domain were the basis of the articles.

Justice Chandru, convinced that the case did not call for a prior restraint of the media, said: “It is suffice to state that people of India are entitled to know the public activities of any person who holds a public office…When a person stands in election he cannot deny citizens’ right to know about several personal information which may include even antecedents of his life. Even a right to privacy of a public figure gets circumscribed when he stands in an election as a candidate.”

Citing the apex court rulings, Justice Chandru said, “At times public figures have to ignore vulgar criticisms and abuses hurled against them…The public gaze cannot be avoided, as it is a necessary corollary of a person holding public office.”

He then imposed a case cost of Rs 10,000, payable to the media organisation. Later, counsel for the minister said Raja would appeal against the order.




Lawyers ask for SC bench in South India

TNN 21 July 2009, 02:31am IST

CHENNAI: Various lawyers’ associations have urged the central government to take steps to establish a bench of the Supreme Court in South India.
In a memorandum submitted to the Union law minister, Veerappa Moily, during his visit here on Sunday, the All India Lawyers’ Union (AILU) president NGR Prasad said it was imperative to have the South India Bench of the Supreme Court as more and more ordinary people were approaching the apex court for remedy.

Pointing out that at least two standing committees of the parliament have passed resolutions recommending a South India bench, Prasad said the Supreme Court was not longer a homogenous institution as it sat in division benches to decide cases.

Raising similar demand, a group of advocates affiliated to the Congress said that there was no constitutional bar in establishing a regional bench of the apex court. The representation, submitted by advocates R Suresh Kumar, P Dharmaraj and others, said, “justice to common man must be made available with less expense. In order to achieve this goal, the successive central governments have been establishing benches of High Courts at more than one place from the respective principle seat. While so, denying endlessly the legitimate request of people, who are distantly located from the national capital, to have easy access with lesser economical commitment may not be justifiable.”

The Congress advocates also wanted the Centre to establish a National Law School in Chennai from the coming academic year. They wanted the minister to ensure that advocates’ role was formalised in judicial and quasi judicial forums. They also said that central government law officers must get a priority while names are finalised for appointment as judges of High Courts.

In a separate memorandum, the Tamil Nadu High Court Advocates’ Tamil Manram president S Muthukrishnan and S Ayyathurai said Tamil must be made the official language of the Madras High Court at the earliest. Pointing out that High Courts in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan had Hindi as court language, they thanked chief minister M Karunanidhi’s efforts in this regard. They said the Centre had not taken any action to concede this reasonable request.

The Labour Law Practitioners Association also presented a memorandum to the minister seeking various amendments in the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, Industrial Disputes Act and the Payment of Bonus Act. Besides seeking to declare strike after due notice as legal and justified action, the advocates said the salary limit in the Payment of Bonus Act should be removed.




Follow provisions of Dowry Act strictly, HC tells officials

TNN 21 July 2009, 02:15am IST

CHENNAI: In order to ensure that the provisions of the Dowry Prohibition Act are not enforced arbitrarily and people are not arrested on frivolous grounds, the Madras high court has asked the competent officials to follow the provisions of law strictly.

The first bench comprising Chief Justice HL Gokhale and Justice D Murugesan passed the order on a public interest writ petition filed by R Natarajan on behalf of N S Malini recently.

The petitioner, lamenting that police resorted to instantaneous arrests in case of dowry-related complaints, said that the force committed procedural violations in bypassing the mandatory provisions of the Act. Once a dowry complaint is received, police must communicate it to the dowry prohibition officers. As per Rule 5 of the Tamil Nadu Dowry Prohibition Rules 2004, the dowry prohibition officers themselves can receive, register and investigate complaints.

While so, the practice of police officials receiving complaints and straightaway seeking to arrest the in-laws has been continuing in the state, the petitioner said.

When the matter was taken up, the court was informed that the government had completed appointment of dowry prohibition officers in all the districts in Tamil Nadu.

Recording the statement, the judges said the officers must conduct surprise checks and discreet inquiries before taking appropriate action. Noting that the officers must ensure full compliance of the provisions of the Act.




No cover for those turning lawyers post retirement

TNN 21 July 2009, 02:30am IST

CHENNAI: Advocates, who join the profession after retiring from some other service, will not be covered by a state government scheme as per which their legal heirs would get Rs 2 lakh in the event of their death, the Madras High Court has ruled.

A division bench comprising justice P Jyothimani and justice Aruna Jagadeesan, allowing an appeal by the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Monday, said the object of conferring benefits to one group of advocates is with a reason and it cannot be branded unreasonable. Setting aside a aside a single judge order against the proposal, the division bench ruled that the amendment did not suffer from any constitutional illegality.

The matter relates to an amendment brought about by the state government to the Tamil Nadu Advocates Welfare Fund Act. Though the ex gratia amount was only Rs 1 lakh, it was enhanced to Rs 2 lakh. By the subsequent amendment to the proviso, the government kept advocates who joined the profession after retiring from a state or central government service out of its ambit.

When a batch of writ petitions was filed against the denial of benefits to a section of the advocates, a single judge struck down the amendment. The present appeals were preferred by R K Chandramohen, chairman of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, and the chairman of the trustee committee of the Tamil Nadu Advocates Welfare Fund.




CCI: 2007 TOIAC7 Khandwawala case turned down

TNN 21 July 2009, 12:12am IST

Ahmedabad: DGP SS Khandwawala got respite, when Gujarat High Court on Monday rejected an application filed by Mer Hajabhai Sutreja’s descendents.

Justice KS Jhaveri refused to entertain the application in connection with appeals filed by DGP as well as the original complainant against Junagadh fast-track court’s decisions.

Khandwawala was sentenced to five year’s jail term and asked to pay fine of Rs 2,000 in 2003 in a case of custodial torture on a detainee Sutreja in 1976.

He was posted as deputy superintendent of police in Junagadh then.

Lower court suspended his conviction following pendency of cop’s appeal in HC.




HC demands details of damage to industries

TNN 21 July 2009, 12:11am IST

Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court on Monday granted state government two weeks’ time to submit details regarding damage to commercial and industrial property during 2002 riots.


This is after petitioner Gagan Sethi claimed that commercial and industrial establishments, which were not insured, have not yet received compensation from the government.


Earlier, following Sethi’s PIL, court ordered state government to disburse Rs 262.12 crore compensation package towards damage to residential property. While disbursement was on, petitioner filed another plea complaining that compensation was not provided in certain death cases. In reply, state government stated that it had disbursed Rs 40.70 crore towards compensation for 1,169 death cases, Rs 29.63 crore for some 2,548 cases of injury and Rs 254.76 for damage to residential property.


Government mentioned that it has withheld compensation in certain cases as it needed verification while some others are disputed cases. There are 6 death cases, 35 injury cases and 435 cases of resident compensation, which have disputes regarding nomination or inheritance.





Cases bog down land brigade

TNN 20 July 2009, 10:40pm IST

BHUBANESWAR: Those opposing the proposed Rs 52,000 crore Posco steel project in Jagatsinghpur district had possibly not apprehended the barrage of criminal cases that awaited them when they launched their agitation around three years ago.

While their top leader Abhaya Sahoo, slapped with as many as 32 cases, is cooling his heels behind the bars since the last nine months, 489 others are booked under criminal charges ranging from kidnapping, rioting, attempt to murder, dacoity, robbery to causing grievous hurt, outraging modesty, preventing public servants from discharging lawful duties and et al, official sources said.

Since the anti-Posco stir took roots in 2006 till June-end, as many as 100 cases have been registered, all in Kujanga police station of Jagatsinghpur district, against the agitators, chief minister Naveen Patnaik told the Assembly here on Monday.

In a written reply to a query by Debasish Nayak (BJD), Naveen said 490 persons had been named as accused in the FIRs at the time of registration of the cases. Of the accused, 18 persons, including president of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) Abhaya Sahoo, have been arrested.

While Sahoo faces the highest of 32 cases, Akshaya Das has been named as an accused in 24 cases. General secretary, PPSS, and sarpanch of Dhinkia gram panchayat Sisir Mohapatra has been slapped with 18 cases. Among other activists against whom over a dozen cases are pending are Sura Dash (19 cases), Babaji Samantaray (18), Basanta Gochhayat (15) and Jogendra Mallick (14). Even woman activist Manorama Khatua faces criminal charges in nine cases, officials said.




Doctor gets life term for husband’s murder

Supriya Bhardwaj, TNN 21 July 2009, 01:40am IST

CHANDIGARH: Swapna Singh, a doctor, had chosen the path of murder to get out of a strained relationship with her second husband Mandiv Sapra six years ago. On Monday, she was confronted with the punishment such an act leads to. The court of additional district and sessions judge Raj Rahul Garg handed down a sentence of life imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 75,000 on her.

The court referred to 1983’s ‘Machhi Singh versus State of Punjab’ case and held, ‘Capital punishment can only be awarded in rarest of the rare cases. This case doesn’t fall in (that) category … It is also one of the cardinal principles that capital punishment should not be awarded where convict is a woman.’

Court arrived at this decision after hearing pleas of both sides. While Swapna sought leniency, public prosecutor Manu Kakkar stated, ‘The act (murder) is barbaric. Husband and wife’s relationship is intimate and (full of) trustworthiness, but she (added) deceit to it.’

The couple had got married in 2000 and were residing in Gurgaon. While 50-year-old Mandiv was executive director of Group 4 Securities Guarding Limited, Swapna, 42, was working as a dentist at Delhi’s Apollo Hospital.

Investigation had found that the couple had checked in at Mountview hotel’s room no. 344 at 4.45pm on July 10, 2003.

On July 11, Mandiv’s company’s zonal general manager went to meet him. The employees tried to call the couple in their room on the hotel’s intercom. However, Mandiv and Swapna did not reply. The staff then had to open the room’s door with a master key and found Mandiv lying on the floor and Swapna in a bath tub with a dupatta around her neck.

When the cops reached the hotel, they found Mandiv dead.

An FIR was registered at Sector-3 police station under sections 302 (murder) and 201 (destruction of evidence) of Indian Penal Code.

Later, Central Forensic Science Laboratory reports claimed that Mandiv died due to poisoning. Though defense claimed that Mandiv had committed suicide, prosecution proved that it was Swapna, who killed him. The recovery of Swapna’s vanity case, which contained surgical gloves, a blood-stained washed handkerchief and used Diazepam syringes, from her cousin played a pivotal role in getting her convicted.

The prosecuting agency claimed that the reason for the murder was the strained relationship between the couple and Swapna’s son from a previous marriage. They stated that she had also felt cheated after she learned about Mandiv’s previous marriages.





Court sends accused to judicial remand, cops recover Rs 7.4L

TNN 21 July 2009, 02:21am IST

PANCHKULA: Panchkula police has finally succeeded in recovering some money that the robbers received after selling valuables that were looted in PC Jeweller’s robbery. They are hopeful of arresting gang leader Rajesh Badri soon and recovering the rest.

Producing one of the accused before the court and filing reply regarding the recovery on Monday, Aman Kumar, SHO of Sector-14 police station said three different teams raided hideouts of accused Sunil Kumar and Sunder alias Kala at Agra, Bareily in Uttar Pradesh, Rohtak in Haryana, Delhi and Mumbai and recovered Rs 7.40 lakh.

Accused had stored the money there after selling the jewellery pieces to some jewellers in UP and Delhi.

Cops made the video and conducted test identification parade of the duo to match with the incident as captured through the CCTV footage of Rs 2.1 crore heist. They are yet to find the police uniform and handcuffs that were used in the crime.

Sources revealed that Rohtak resident Amit Yadav along with Sonepat native Sunil, Bahadurgarh resident Rajesh alias Badri, and Pawan Saini and Sunder, both residents of Rohtak, had looted PC jewellers on January 27. Yadav was wearing a turban, Sunder impersonated as a prisoner and Sunil as a policeman when they struck. Rajesh was sitting in a car parked outside the showroom.

On March 14, Yamunanagar police nabbed Amit and on May 24, Rohtak police arrested Sunil and Sunder. Meanwhile, the court send Kala to 14-day judicial custody.





HC dismisses plea for independent probe

Rajinder Nagarkoti, TNN 21 July 2009, 02:13am IST

CHANDIGARH: After the two accused in a case relating to alleged rape and torture of a minor schoolgirl of Panchkula being acquitted, the family of the victim had to go through another ordeal on Monday when Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed their petition seeking probe by an independent agency.

The court also dismissed the petition filed by an accused Kushal Kaushal seeking CBI probe in the case.

With this decision, Panchkula police officers are heaving a sigh of relief as the petition levelled allegations against them that they were not doing their best while probing the case.

On June 1, Panchkula court had acquitted two accused Aman Ahuja and Jitesh Bareja on the basis of medical and forensic reports, as prosecution had failed to produce any evidence against them.

Confirming the development, counsel of petitioner Gaurav Hooda said after the lower court order, high court dismissed their plea.

The victim’s uncle told TOI that they would await certified copy of the order and after that, they would plan their future course of action.

The victim, a student of Class XII in a local school, was allegedly raped and tortured by five persons on September 16. The girl, in her complaint lodged with police, had alleged that four youths, in connivance with a girl, had abducted her from the town and taken her to a village in Punjab.

The victim could not furnish names and addresses of the accused, except those of Jatin and Chhavi.





Court disagrees with her ‘suicide theory’

Supriya Bhardwaj, TNN 21 July 2009, 01:37am IST

CHANDIGARH: The trial court’s 80-page judgement reveals how Swapna Singh, the doctor who murdered her husband at Mountview hotel in July 2003, tried hard to sell ‘suicide theory’ in the case. Court stated on Monday, ‘Though accused (Swapna) claimed it was a case of suicide, she has failed to explain as to how, in what manner and at what point of time the deceased (Mandiv) committed the act.’

Swapna’s line of defence was based on Central Forensic Science Laboratory report that Mandiv had died of poisoning.

The copy of the judgment pronouncing life sentence for Swapna stated that she claimed Mandiv committed suicide as he felt professionally inadequate. ‘The success of his wife may have served to highlight his own perceived sense of failure. This resentment, simmering at some level, might have made him decide that if he could not live on, then neither would she. Apparently a great storm was raging inside him before their departure from Delhi,’ it said.

Stating that it couldn’t find a motive for Mandiv to plan suicide before leaving for Chandigarh, the court held, ‘Mandiv was in a good job and as such, personal dissatisfaction doesn’t appear to be a reason behind the crime. It was the accused who can be said to be annoyed at the deceased and not himself. On the other hand, there was a cause for accused to plan the murder while leaving from Delhi.’

Public prosecutor Manu Kakkar told TOI, ‘Though she claimed that it was a suicide, the plea we took was that if that was the case, being Mandiv’s wife, she was supposed to raise alarm for medical help immediately. Secondly, he had no reason to feel professionally inferior because he was holding a top post in a private security company.’





HC wants state’s stand on GSPCB guidelines

TNN 21 July 2009, 05:00am IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Monday directed the state government to file an affidavit within a week explaining its stand on adopting the guidelines framed by the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) while identifying sites for industries along riverbanks.

A division bench of Justice S B Deshmukh and Justice U D Salvi was hearing a suo motu petition regarding scarcity of drinking water in the state. The court had earlier directed the GSPCB to draft the guidelines to be adopted while identifying sites for industries on riverbanks.

On July 6, advocate general Subodh Kantak told the court that the government was following the guidelines framed by the GSPCB and would continue to do so until the Regional Plan 2011 was finalized.

On Monday, amicus curiae Norma Alvares filed a statement before the court and argued that no polluting industries should be allowed on riverbanks. She pointed out that the guidelines should be followed while identifying sites for all water-and air-polluting industries proposed to be located near riverbanks.

“The guidelines are in the nature of recommendations rather than suggestions. The intent of these guidelines is to prevent air and water pollution so as to provide safe potable water to the people,” said Alvares.

The matter will come up for hearing on August 3.




HC gives state, Jaisu 2 weeks to see if survey of vessel possible

TNN 21 July 2009, 04:48am IST

PANAJI: The high court on Monday gave the state government and Jaisu Shipping Company two weeks to examine whether a survey can be conducted of River Princess to assess the damage caused to the stranded vessel.

Justice S B Deshmukh and Justice U D Salvi were hearing a PIL filed by River Princess Hatao Manch, which had raised concerns over the environmental damage caused by the vessel to Candolim beach.

On June 30, the court had directed the government and Jaisu to conduct a survey and submit a report on July 20. Jaisu had also been asked by the court to submit a proposal with a clear time frame for towing away the vessel.

On Monday, Jaisu’s advocate Saresh Lotlikar, told the court that due to the monsoon it would not be possible to carry out a survey till the end of October. Unless the survey is conducted, it will not be possible to set a time frame to tow the vessel away, he submitted.

Advocate general Subodh Kantak told the court that state officials could not go aboard the vessel as it was highly corroded. The next hearing has been fixed for August 3.





Children’s court acquits rape accused

TNN 21 July 2009, 04:43am IST

PANAJI: The childrens’ court has acquitted Sunil Narvekar, arrested for allegedly raping a minor girl near Mapusa in 2006, as the police failed to trace the victim and bring her to depose before the court.

On January 5, 2006, police nabbed Narvekar, who at the time was with the 15-year-old girl, from the bushes along housing board colony road. The victim was sent for a medical examination and the doctors opined that she had been raped. Narvekar was charged with molestation, kidnapping and rape by Anjuna police.

During the trial, the prosecution pointed out that the medical opinion indicated there was recent, forcible sexual intercourse .The accused had taken the girl to the bushes and sexually assaulted her, the prosecution alleged.

While acquitting Narvekar, the president of the children’s court held that “the victim girl could not be brought before the court for recording her statement and hence there is no primary evidence against the accused”.

Referring to the medical opinion, the judge observed that “the opinion of only an expert is not sufficient enough to prove the charge or to consider it as primary evidence”.

The court also noted that sufficient time had been given to the prosecution to produce the victim girl along with other relevant witnesses.





`Lok Adalat to solve matters amicably’

TNN 20 July 2009, 10:10pm IST

BIJAPUR: The Constitution is our determination, it gives advocates the important responsibility which is obligatory, said Karnataka High Court and Bijapur district administrative judge, Justice H Billappa.

Participating as the chief guest in the Bruhat Lok Adalat arranged here on Saturday, organized by the District Legal Services Authority and District Bar Association, he said, advocates should know their responsibility and work sincerely. Judges are the another face of advocates. “All problems will be solved through courts and it is the need of the hour to change our traditional approach and adopt new methods,” he said.

He said, advocates are friend, philosopher and guide to clients. It is a noble profession and highly respective he felt. Inaugurating the function, Karnataka High Court judge Justice N K Patil said, the Lok Adalat brings awareness about the law to common man for the good cause. Problems will be solved amicably in the Lok Adalat, which is beneficial to both litigants.

The court’s judgment may spell victory for one and loss for another, but Lok Adalat’s decision gives equal judgment to both parties he said. The main purpose of conducting Lok Adalat was to find out the root cause of the case, he said.

Presiding over the function, Karnataka High Court judge Justice B S Patil called upon the Bar members of the Bijapur to attain the past glory of Bijapur Bar. Bijapur Bar is premier bar of the state, it has produced industrious lawyers and judges, he said.




Arguments begin in Arti case

TNN 20 July 2009, 11:36pm IST

KANPUR: The prosecution on Monday in the absence of defence counsel started arguments in much publicised Arti acid case being tried here at fast track court number two of Kanpur nagar.

The case was reopened on Tuesday last after a gap of five years and the presiding officer Pramod Kumar Srivastava had fixed July 20 for the arguments. The defence moved an application that senior defence lawyer Tikal was out of station hence the hearing should be adjourned and some other date should be fixed for arguments. But the court rejected the defence plea and asked the prosecution to start its arguments.

Amongst three accused, only one Rakesh Mallah was present in the court while two other accused Abhinav Mishra and Bipin Mishra were absent and defence had sought exemption from their personal attendance. The prosecution objected and said that Abhinav and Bipin were the main culprits and they were not appearing in the court since long. Hence, court should issue a warrant against them. But the presiding judge rejected the court’s prosecution plea.

The additional district government counsel, Uttam kumar, narrated the incident and a general description of the case. In his narration about the case, he submitted that the victim of the case was Arti Srivastava, daughter of Dr Pratap Saran, a professor of local degree college. Arti, a student of degree college, had suffered serious burn injuries on her face while her father, Pratap Saran Srivastava, too had suffered acid burn injuries in the incident.

According to the FIR, accused Abhinav Mishra and Vipin Mishra had thrown acid from a moving maruti van on Arti Srivastava while she was returning from a coaching institute along with her father on a scooter on January 27, 2001 around 4pm. She was on the pillion seat. Accused Abhinav Mishra had been chasing her in a van from the coaching institute near Krishna shop at Gooba Garden in Nawabganj area. Abhinav overtook her scooter and hurled acid on her.

During the investigation, names of the co-accused Bipin Kumar Mishra and Rakesh Mallah were cropped. They had helped Abhinav Mishra, the main accused, who was son of then trade tax commissioner, in committing crime. He also gave a description of Arti who had lost her entire beauty and now life was hell for her.

The police had filed a charge sheet in this case on February 8, 2001. Though there was a list of 18 prosecution witnesses but prosecution produced only 9 of them to prove its case and concluded its evidence on April 1, 2004. Accused in their statement under section 313 CRPC denied all the charges and submitted to produce their defence which concluded on April 17, 2004. Accused produced only two witnesses. The court had fixed July 23, 2009 as next date for hearing.




Harassment case: HC vacates stay on Brar’s repatriation

Manmeet Singh, TNN 20 July 2009, 10:36pm IST

LUDHIANA: In a major jolt to the case of director students welfare Dulcha Singh Brar at Punjab Agricultural University, the high court has vacated the previous stay on the university’s orders for his repatriation to department of entomology.

“After pronouncement of these new orders, Dulcha Singh Brar, who is facing allegations of sexual harassment levelled by a female employee, is being sent to department of entomology,” said ML Saggar, the varsity’s counsel in high court.

He added the arguments in court went on for one and a half hours, after which the court announced the decision in favour of PAU. “The university is committed to following this case until it reaches its logical conclusion,” he said.

Saggar added that the HC has stayed the inquiry proceedings with regard to the case till the next hearing, after which, the committee already pursuing the case would take a decision in consultation with HC.

On December 11, 2008, following allegations of sexual harassment by a female university employee working under him, the university had signed his suspension orders.

However, later, the university’s board of management, in its meeting on December 23, 2008, had revoked Brar’s suspension and he was repatriated to department of entomology as professor.

Later, in a major relief for him, Brar had procured stay orders from the court, paving the way for his rejoining as director students welfare.

Meanwhile, university officials are waiting for the university to resume work on Monday to decide Brar’s fate in the light of the court orders. On Monday, the university would go through the court papers and do the needful.

A committee under Pam Rajput, executive director, Women Resource and Advocacy Centre, Chandigarh, is already probing the case against Brar. Before that, a fact-finding committee of the university held Brar guilty of the charges filed by the female employee on September 14.




5 acquitted in suicide case

TNN 20 July 2009, 10:03pm IST

HASSAN: The district fast track court acquitted five persons of a family in a suicide case here on Friday.
Justice Patil acquitted Shivaram, Nataraj, Sunilkumar, Vimal Khotari and Kumar. The city police had registered a case against them based on a suicide note by Keerthy, a hardware merchant, who committed suicide by consuming poison with his wife, father, mother and three children two years ago.




HC orders probe into ‘Sevashram’ bodies in Gaya

TNN 21 July 2009, 01:41am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Monday directed the Gaya DM and SP to inquire into the allegation that some organizations have come up in Gaya under names similar to famous Bharat Sevashram Sangh and their agents dupe the pilgrims coming to Gaya to offer `pindadaan’.

Responding to a PIL filed by Shambhu Nath Dutta, a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Shivakirti Singh and Justice Anjana Prakash gave four weeks’ time to the DM and SP to submit their inquiry report.

The PIL said a number of pilgrims from across the country and abroad visit Gaya to perform rituals for salvation of their ancestors’ souls. For the purpose, they seek the services of Bharat Sevashram Sangh which has earned repute over decades.

But agents of organisations like Adi Bharat Sevashram Sangh, Jay Sevashram Sangh, Puratan Bharat Sevashram Sangh and Bikhyat Bharat Sevashram mislead the pilgrims to their respective ashrams, the petitioner alleged and sought cancellation of registration of these Bharat Sevashram Sangh’s namesakes.




Petitioner seeks time to file affidavit

TNN 21 July 2009, 05:59am IST

RANCHI: The petitioner Dr Raj Kumar on Monday sought some time to file a supplementary affidavit in a complaint case against former health minister Bhanu Pratap Sahi and 13 others lodged in the vigilance court.

The first hearing of the case was scheduled for Monday in the court of Judge Binoy Kant Khan. The hearing was, however, adjourned after the petitioner’s counsel sought time to file a supplementary affidavit related to the case.

The complaint case was filed alleging that bribes amounting to over Rs 10 crore was taken as bribe for appointment of health officials in the AYUSH section of health department.

Dr Kumar, in his petition, alleged gross irregularities in the appointment of health officials and said the candidates scoring lesser marks in the examinations were appointed while the deserving candidates were left out.

He further alleged in his petition that chairman of the AYUSH selection committee Dr Amreshwar Prasad was illegally appointed at the instance of the former health minister.

Some of the accused include Dr Pradeep Kumar, Suresh Prasad Sinha, then director AYUSH-cum-member secretary of state level selection committee Veena Sinha and energy department secretary Robert Minz.

Interestingly, in a similar case at the Jharkhand High Court, the state government filed an affidavit in which it has accepted the allegations made of discrepancies in the appointment of doctors in the AYUSH section of health department.





Ex-CJI Releases Book: Justice, Courts and Delays

New Delhi

| Monday, Jul 20 2009 IST

It is one thing to tell a hungry person to wait for the food

— quite another to say that seeds have just been sown for grain to grow.

That example was cited tonight by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan to illustrate the plight of litigants who suffer delays– years of struggling for justice.

A family which loses its sole breadwinner in a motor accident has to spend 4-5 years trying to get justice and relief. ”How can this family survive ?” Justice Balakrishnan asked.

The occasion was the release by former CJI A S Anand of a book titled Justice, Courts and Delays by senior advocate Arun Mohan aimed to educate readers on how court delays can be prevented.

Justice Balakrishnan recommended that all professionals read and re-read the book and hoped the author would put together a smaller, handier volume.

Law and Justice Minister M Veerappa Moily suggested a book dealing with the cost the nation pays for judicial delays.

The book is an attempt at analysing the causes behind court delays with a view to aiding their removal. Its approach of identifying problems and suggesting solutions is intended to help litigants understand the process, publishers say.

n        (UNI)





Supreme Court orders arrest of convicted film producer

New Delhi, July 20

The Supreme Court Monday issued a non-bailable warrant against Sameer Hingora, a Bollywood film producer who was convicted for his role in the 1993 Mumbai bombings.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan issued the arrest order for Hingora after he failed to return to India from his trip abroad.

Hingora had been allowed to travel abroad on the condition that he would return by June 3 and submit his passsport to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Last updated on Jul 20th, 2009 at 11:11 am IST–IANS





madras HC: Writ petition for alternative aite dismissed

The Madras High Court has dismissed a writ petition by the Tamil Nadu Government Office Assistant and Basic Servants Central Association seeking a direction to the authorities to allot proper alternative site to the association members before evicting them from their flats at Foreshore Estate here.

The association had also sought an interim injunction restraining the authorities from evicting the members before allotting the alternative site.

In her order, Justice K Suguna said there was no merit in the petition.

The association, represented by General Secretary M Shanmugham said the members, all government servants, have been residents of flats in Foreshore Estate for more than two decades.

As most of the flats were old and needed renovation, the government decided to demolish the flats and raise new ones.

There were several vacant flats at different places in the city which could be allotted to the members.

Alternatively, the government could construct flats temporarily or permanently on a vast stretch of vacant site at Foreshore Estate and shift the occupants there.

But, without adopting either of the methods, the authorities had taken steps to evict the residents by asking them to get interest-free loan of Rs 25,000 for any of the flats constructed at Chemmanchery (about 30 km from here) by the Slum Clearance Board.

The flats at Chemmanchery were small. Interest-free loan of Rs 25,000 could not be availed of as no flat could be taken on rent on paying that sum as advance, the association contended.

Additional Advocate-General (AAG) P Wilson submitted the flats were constructed nearly 45 years ago and were damaged in the 2004 tsunami.

The buildings had lost their stability and were in a dilapidated and dangerous condition.

The government-appointed committee submitted a report in 2007 on the damage.

Thereafter, it was decided to demolish the buildings and construct a township. Therefore, the occupants were given two options. Still, several families had not moved out, the AAG submitted.

In the order, Justice Suguna said as on date several government employees were in the waiting list for the vacant flats.

Overlooking their claim and putting them on the list for more number of years for the sake of the petitioners was not justifiable in her opinion.




Madras HC directed govt to pay compensation to woman prisoner

The Madras High Court had directed the Tamil Nadu government to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 to a victim, stating that there was gross dereliction of duty by officials with regard to the safety and security of inmates of the Special Prison for Women, Vellore, leading to an attack on a woman prisoner by convict warders.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and C T Selvam, directed the Home Secretary and the Director-General of Prison to identify the officials in-charge at the time of the incident and initiate disciplinary proceedings against them.

In his petition, P Pugalenthi, an advocate, had sought a direction to authorities to produce Saradha (55), lodged in the Special Prison for Women, Vellore, before the court, provide her treatment for injuries suffered in the prison, take disciplinary action against those responsible for her ill-treatment and award her compensation.

The petitioner submitted that he had gone to the prison for meeting his client Nalini (convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case), who had informed him that Saradha was brought to the prison in December last year. While being taken inside her cell, she clandestinely carried Rs 5,000. Fearing detection, she handed over the amount to a co-prisoner. Two days later, she demanded the prisoner return the money, but the latter refused.

When Saradha threatened the inmate that she would report to the jailor and started walking towards the official’s office, three convict warders, Kasthuri, Muneeswari and Dhanam, along with another inmate, assaulted her. The woman did not get the attention of prison officials for being provided medical treatment.

In its order allowing the petition, the Bench said from the averments made in the petition and the subsequent supporting affidavit filed by the detenu, it was seen that Saradha was attacked by the three warders in a barbaric manner. The Bench said it was disturbed as to what the prison authorities were doing when the incident took place in daylight inside the prison.

The convict warders, appointed by the jail authorities, could not take for granted that they could behave in the manner they wished to.

The Bench further said the authorities, particularly the prison Superintendent, tried to make out as if no such incident had taken place. Had the guidelines prescribed for appointing convict warders been scrupulously followed, unscrupulous persons like the convict warders in the case on hand would not have found a place in such appointments. The court directed the authorities to proceed against the three convict warders and Chinnapapa, the co-prisoner to whom Saradha had given the money.






Madras HC: BSA Regal Group can use BSA trademark in India

Madras High Court has ruled that the BSA-Regal Group Ltd, Southampton, England, which has demonstrated that it retains the original trademark BSA for motorcycles and motorcycle parts, has every right to enter India after proper registration by the trademark registry.

The process cannot be stalled by Tube Investments of India Ltd (TI), Chennai, on the ground that its name appears as the registered proprietor for the trademark BSA for motorcycles also, the court said.

Passing orders on applications filed by the foreign company and Tube Investments in a civil suit, Justice M Jeyapaul said the latter had failed to establish its source of proprietorship over the trademark whereas the former had demonstrated that it did retain its ownership over it.

Tube Investments had just started manufacturing motorised vehicles under the trade name. Inconvenience caused to the foreign company would be irreparable compared to that of TI.






MP HC issues notice to two govt officials

The Madhya Pradesh High Court issued notice of contempt of court to two state government officials in Uraon and other tribal caste Certificate matter.

A division bench while hearing the contempt petition yesterday issued notice to Chief Secretary Rakesh Sahni and Principal Secretary Sudesh Kumar.

Several organisations belonging to Scheduled Tribe (ST) category, challenged the GAD department’s inaction for not ordering the gazette notification for issuance of ST Certificate to them and the court granted two weeks time to the top officials for submitting their reply.

The petitioner submitted that about two lakh tribals belonging to Uraon, Khadia, Munda, Naveshia and Kawar communities were denied the tribal caste certificate, that was challenged as illegal and arbitrary.





HC vacates stay orders in sexual harassment case

Express News Service Posted: Monday , Jul 20, 2009 at 0235 hrs Ludhiana:

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on last Thursday vacated the stay procured by PAU Director Students’ Welfare Dr Dulcha Singh Brar against Vice-Chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang’s earlier orders of putting Dr Brar under suspension and sending him back to his parent department.

Informing this, M L Saggar, counsel for PAU, said, “The court heard the matter for nearly an hour and a half and then vacated the stay. Dr Brar has been sent back to his parent department.

The court, meanwhile, has also stayed the proceedings of the committee headed by Dr Pam Rajput who is inquiring into this case till the next hearing.” Saggar, however, could not confirm the next date of hearing.

It was in December last year that PAU V-C Dr Kang had suspended Dr Brar who is facing charges of sexual harassment by a junior staff member.

The PAU Board of Management in its meeting a few days later cancelled Dr Brar’s suspension and instead sent him back to his parent department.

However, in February this year, Dr Brar was granted relief by the Punjab and Haryana High court that ordered PAU to reinstate Dr Brar as DSW.

The official spokesperson of the university Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman, meanwhile, added: “The university informally knows about the orders. We will, however, act only when we receive the orders on paper.”





HC upholds life term for man convicted for killing wife inside court complex

Utkarsh Anand

Posted: Monday , Jul 20, 2009 at 0305 hrs New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court has upheld the life sentence for a former caretaker of the Patiala House courts complex convicted for killing his wife inside a magistrate’s chamber in December 1995.

Dismissing Jagjit Singh’s appeal, the court revoked his bail order and directed him to surrender before the authorities.

In an order last week, a Bench comprising Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Indermeet Kaur upheld the trial court verdict convicting him in 2000 and dubbed his appeal as “meritless”.

The police had arrested Singh, the then caretaker of the magisterial courts, in the early hours of December 10, 1995, for stabbing his wife to death in room no 18 of the Patiala House complex. The woman’s body was found with multiple injuries in the chamber attached to the court of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of South district.

After the murder, Singh subsequently called up the SDM and informed him of the crime as well as the reason — he suspected infidelity, the FIR stated. He also rang up the police and confessed his crime.

Reaching the spot, the police found the woman’s body. The murder weapon, a knife, was found in the office toilet at the instance of Singh.

Relying on the confessional statement made by the accused to the magistrate, coupled with medical and circumstantial evidence, the trial court sentenced Singh to rigorous imprisonment for life.

Singh, however, challenged the verdict in the High Court, claiming the lower court was wrong in relying on the “extra-judicial” confession allegedly made by him to the SDM. Moreover, it was impermissible under the law to treat him as the informant of a crime when he was being labelled as the accused and hence his call to the police could also be not read as incriminating evidence against him, he contended.

The Bench, however, refused to buy his arguments. “The place where the murder has been committed also assumes significance — how else could the wife of the appellant reach the said place, save her husband taking her there?” the Bench noted.

On the question of his informing the police, the court held it as “admissible” evidence, for it established Singh’s knowledge of his wife’s murder and the location of the body.

“His clothes being stained with the blood of his wife, and also the fact that the knife was recovered after he led the police to the toilet, are enough …to hold qua the guilt of the appellant,” the court said, upholding the sentence.





Delhi HC asks Appellate Board not to pass order on trademark dispute

New Delhi (PTI): The Delhi High Court has directed the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) not to pass a final order in the ongoing trademark dispute between mineral water maker Bisleri and Tata Group-controlled Mount Everest.

A single-member Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna has directed the IPAB that while the Board may have its scheduled hearing on July 30, it would not pass a final order.

“The proceedings and hearing fixed before IPAB may continue but no final effective order will be passed till the next date of hearing of this writ petition,” the court said.

Mount Everest and Ramesh Chauhan-promoted Bisleri are engaged in a legal dispute over the use of the word ‘Himalayan’ as trademark for mineral water.

The court also said that during their scheduled hearing, Bisleri and the Tata Group firm are “entitled to raise all issues and contentions before IPAB”.

The Court’s direction came over a petition filed by the Tata group on the dispute.

Earlier, in June 2008 Mount Everest had approached the Delhi High Court to prevent Bisleri from using the word ‘Himalaya’ as a trademark for its mineral water. Later, Bisleri had agreed before the court to stop using the domain from its bottle.

Later Chauhan’s firm moved a rectification application before the IPAB seeking to cancel the Tatas’ mineral water trademark ‘Himalayan’.

Bisleri has contended that according to regulations, geographical indications such as ‘Himalayan’ cannot be registered as trademark.

The Tata Group, through Tata Tea, controls 31.73 per cent in Mount Everest Mineral Water. It has its plant at Dhaula Kuan in Sirmour District of Himachal Pradesh. Bisleri has its manufacturing facility for natural mineral water in Uttaranchal.

The court has listed the matter for the next hearing on September 10.





J&K HC stays NBW against Armymen over land row

Updated on Sunday, July 19, 2009, 15:59 IST

New Delhi: A piece of land near the picturesque Pangong lake in Jammu and Kashmir, frequented by hundreds of foreign tourists, is at the centre of a legal battle between the police and civil administration and the Army over its ownership.

The dispute was sparked as police secured a non-bailable warrant against three Army officials including an officer of Major General rank from Chief Judicial magistrate in Leh for allegedly manhandling civilian officials, who were returning from Pangong lake after demolishing the alleged illegal structure erected by the Army in 2005.

This prompted the Army authorities to take a stay order from Jammu and Kashmir High Court besides moving an appeal for quashing of FIR.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Leh had issued non bailable warrants against Major General Manvendra Singh (the then Brigadier), Colonel M P Erray and Major S Dabbas earlier this year for allegedly man-handling the then Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Nyoma Ali Raza and two other officials.

The SDM, upon his return to Leh, had filed a complaint with the police which registered a case against the three officials under section 34 (common intention), 109 (punishment for abetment), 186 (obstructing a public officer from performing duty), 341 and 342 (wrongful restraint) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

Army spokesperson of Udhampur-based Northern Command D K Kachari said, “The land in question has been an operational location of the Army since 1962. There was a difference of opinion on the fencing of a certain portion of the land between the local civil administration and military authorities.

“Unfortunately, the issue could not be resolved despite efforts by the local military authorities with their civil counterparts and led to an impasse.”

Col Kachari said an FIR was filed by the SDM Nyoma against the Army officers for alleged intimidation…. Writ Petition 561A Cr PC No 76/2009 and Cr MP No 158/2009 has been filed at Srinagar High Court on June 18, 2009 by the Army for quashing the FIR.

“The High Court has given a stay order against further police probe and the case is presently sub-judice,” Col Kachari said in an email response to queries.

The court heard the matter on June 29 this year and stayed the arrest order.

The SDM, in his complaint, had said they had visited Pangong lake to demolish a shed erected for army officers on a land that belonged to the state tourism department. However, upon their return, the Army officials, deployed in 114 Infantry division, detained the officials for nearly 12 hours.

The SDM claimed that he was kept standing on the road along with two of his officials and the Army officials allegedly took away the debris of the demolished structure with them.

Repeated summons by the police to ensure presence of these Army officials failed to yield any results following which a non-bailable warrant was issued.

Pangong Lake is situated at a height of about 4,250 m (13,900 ft). It is 134 km long and extends from India to China. Two thirds of the length of the lake lies in China. During winter, the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water.

An Inner Line Permit is required to visit the lake as it lies on the Sino-Indian line of actual control.

Bureau Report





88 ragging cases, 12 deaths in last one year: Study

New Delhi (PTI): Despite sustained campaigns by the media and government, ragging appears to be going on unbated in India with 88 cases and 12 deaths being reported in the last one year, according to a new study.

Andhra Pradesh topped the list with 12 ragging cases, followed by West Bengal (10), Uttar Pradesh (10) and Punjab (8), the report today released by anti-ragging NGO Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURE) claimed.

“The number of ragging cases reported in the media from July 2008 to June 2009 are 88, number of ragging deaths are 12 and number of attempted suicides are five,” the study said.

During the same period last year, 89 ragging cases were reported, out of which 11 resulted in deaths. There were five attempted suicides too, said the group which regularly records and tabulates reports of ragging cases from the media.

“This clearly indicates that despite the tall claims made by the HRD Ministry, UGC and various regulatory bodies, the situation has not improved,” Harsh Aggarwal of CURE said.

“In the last academic session, Andhra Pradesh reported 12 incidents of ragging, including four cases of death and a case of attempted suicide. Punjab, even though a small state, has consistently reported high number of such incidents,” he said.

Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, which did not report any ragging cases in the past, recorded high number of incidents this year (6 and 7 respectively). Among the cases in HP was the death of medical student Aman Kachroo, which caused widespread outrage and prompted the Central and state governments to take a number of anti-ragging measures.





Arson case accused appointed chairman of UP sugar corporation

Lucknow (PTI): BSP leader Intezaar Ahmad Abdi, allegedly involved in the arson at UP Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s house here, has been appointed the chairman of state sugar corporation by the Mayawati government, a move that has invited the ire of the Congress.

Abdi’s appointment as the chairman of Ganna Sansthan, a post equivalent to the rank of Minister of State, had been cleared and an order to this effect was issued last evening, official sources said on Monday.

BSP sources, however, said Abdi’s appointment to the post was cleared by the party leadership a week back.

Reacting to the development, Congress Spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said in New Delhi that “UP Chief Minister Mayawati has no regards for the law at all and it is outrageous that somebody who is allegedly the person against whom an FIR has been filed has been rewarded. It is inexcusable”.

60-year-old Ms. Rita, who is out an interim bail after being arrested for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Ms. Mayawati, said that she was pressing for a CBI inquiry since the man allegedly responsible for burning down her house has been elevated.

SP leader Amar Singh said, “The weakness of Congress party leadership is encouraging Mayawati because Rahul Gandhi has also condemned Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s statement and the party has officially expressed regret”.

“On the one hand, Congress is accepting BSP’s support and on the other, Ms. Rita is doing something else — wants to grab the opposition’s space. Congress should take a clear stand,” Mr. Singh said.

The name of Abdi, a former student union leader, figured in the July 15 attack at the residence of Ms. Rita, wherein some alleged BSP workers set fire to her house.

The Congress had lodged a written complaint against Abdi and BSP MLA from Bikapur assembly segment in Faizabad district, Jitendra Singh Babloo, alleging that they had led the BSP workers who vandalised Ms. Rita’s house.

Abdi and Babloo’s names were later incorporated in the FIR lodged by the police at Hussainganj police station here. The Congress had already launched an agitation demanding the arrest of two BSP leaders.





High Court: bid to stifle criticism amounts to censorship

K.T. Sangameswaran

CHENNAI: The people of the country are entitled to know the public activities of any person who holds a public office. Any attempt to stifle or fetter criticism of public figures will amount to political censorship. There is no law empowering the state or its officials to prohibit or impose restraint upon the press, the Madras High Court said on Monday.

Dismissing an application in a civil suit, with costs of Rs.10,000, filed by Union Minister A. Raja and his wife, M.A. Parameswari, Justice K. Chandru said that as held by the Supreme Court, in the case of public officials even the remedy of action for damages was not available with respect of their acts and conduct relevant to the discharge of their official duties.

The Supreme Court had indicated that a news item could not be read in isolation and that the publication should be judged as a whole. Public gaze could not be avoided for a person holding a public office.

The Minister and his wife sought an interim injunction restraining the Publisher and Printer of Junior Vikatan, the Editor, Vasan Publications Pvt. Ltd., and the Chief Reporter of Junior Vikatan from publishing “defamatory news items and photographs” of them and their minor daughter in the bi-weekly magazine causing damage to their reputation.

In their counter, the respondents submitted that they had published the news based on news and proceedings in Parliament in the public domain and also on documents. The articles published constituted fair and bona fide comments on a matter of national interest.

Mr. Justice Chandru said that in the light of the factual matrix and binding legal precedents, he was allowing an application filed by the publication seeking to vacate an interim injunction. Consequently, he was dismissing the Minister’s application. The Judge said the costs were payable to the Publisher and Printer.

The publication voluntarily stated it would not publish in future the photo of the minor child. As regards the truth or otherwise of the published material, the court was not inclined to render any finding lest it should affect the outcome of the suit even before trial, the Judge said.

Counsel for the Minister said an appeal would be filed on Tuesday.





Advocates’ Welfare Fund Act proviso held as valid

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has held as valid the proviso to Explanation II (5) to Section 16 of the Tamil Nadu Advocates’ Welfare Fund Act. Allowing appeals by the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and the Tamil Nadu government challenging an order of a single Judge, a Division Bench comprising Justices P. Jyothimani and Aruna Jagadeesan said that in the absence of any legislative incompetency on the part of the State government in making the impugned amendment and on the facts and circumstances of the case, finding that the object of conferring the benefit on one group of advocates was with a reason, it was of the view that the change did not suffer from constitutional illegality or could not be declared ultra vires to the Constitution.

The State government brought an amendment to the Act by which a new scheme was introduced. The scheme stated that in the event of death of a member advocate, his nominee or legal heir would be paid Rs.1 lakh and this was incorporated in Explanation II (5) to Section 16 of the Act. The proviso denied the benefit of Rs.1 lakh to a member-advocate who was in receipt of pension or gratuity or other terminal benefits from the State or Central government. The sum had been increased to Rs.2 lakh from February 2001.





PIL alleges poor pay under NREGS

Staff Reporter

MADURAI: A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court Bench here alleging that many people working under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) were being underpaid.

A Division Bench comprising Justices V. Ramasubramanian and D. Hariparanthaman ordered notice to the Central and State governments and adjourned the matter to July 27. R. Gandhi, a practising lawyer here, had filed the PIL.

According to the petitioner, the Centre had formulated the NREGS and also enacted a legislation in 2005 to provide employment for a minimum of 100 days to one person in families below the poverty line.

A notification issued under Section 6 of the Act mandates officials to pay a daily wage of Rs.8 0 to every worker involved in works such as renovation of water bodies, planting of tree saplings and land development, among others.

In Tamil Nadu, Collectors and Block Development Officers had been directed to monitor implementation of the scheme. But “the officers are lethargic and not serious enough in implementing the scheme effectively,” the petitioner claimed.

He also referred to a news report in a Tamil daily that the villagers of Sathankudi near here had protested on July 14 against payment of Rs.32 as daily wage for having desilted a water channel under the NREGS.





APSEC seeks changes to Education Bill

Staff Reporter

HYDERABAD: The organic link of society educating an individual and the educated serving the society should thrive. If private and public schools are allowed to run alongside, quality education will suffer and the very motive of Right to Education Bill 2008 would be lost, said G. Haragopal, general secretary of AP Save Education Committee.

He was speaking at a protest organised on Monday by APSEC demanding changes to the bill before it is tabled in the Lok Sabha. While welcoming the bill , he likened reimbursement of 25 per cent fee by State to poor students in a private schools- to Arogyasri scheme. APSEC wanted the compulsory age of education to be 3 to 18 years instead of 6 to 14 years, as mentioned in the bill.





High Court nod for mini-hydel projects

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Monday gave green signal to the Perla and Shamboori mini-hydel power projects, coming up across the Netravati in Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada district.

The court’s nod comes in the wake of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition challenging the decision of the Central and State Governments to permit a private entrepreneur to go ahead with the hydel projects.

When the case came up for hearing on Monday, a Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice P.D. Dinakan and Justice A.S. Bopanna, heard the arguments by Shamboor Power Projects Santrastara Hitarakshana Trust, seeking a direction to the Central and State Governments to take over the project. The trust said that if the private entrepreneur was allowed to implement the project, it would cause untold misery to the residents of surrounding villages where the power projects were coming. Moreover, valueable flora and fauna of the Western Ghats would be lost.

Permission from various departments had not been obtained for the projects, they said and urged the court to direct the respondents to stop further work on the projects.

The State said that all mandatory permissions had been obtained and there was nothing illegal in the project.

The Bench gave the go ahead for the project saying that it would depend on the outcome of the case. It adjourned further hearing of the case.





Stay order against demolition of church continues; petition admitted

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Monday continued a stay order against the demolition of a church in Channagiri in Davangere district. It also admitted a public interest litigation (PIL) petition by Christians of Davangere district who had challenged the demolition order.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran and Justice A.S. Bopanna, passed the order on a petition by Pius G. Pais and other residents of Channagiri.

The petitioners alleged that the district administration had taken several anti-Christian measures, including ordering the church demolition. Despite an earlier High Court order, the district administration was harassing the Christian community and also deliberately targeting churches, they alleged.

They said a shrine belonging to the Indian Apostle Church in Chikkaakere in Ajjahalli Gram Panchayat limits was ordered to be demolished.

The taluk panchayat of Channagiri on June 16, 2009 decided to cancel the licence of the church granted under Section 237 of the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act 1993. Subsequently, the Ajjihalli Gram Panchayat passed an order on June 25, 2009 asking the church officials to demolish the building within seven days.

The Bench, in an interim order, continued the stay order against the demolition and adjourned the case.





HC disposes of plea on lake

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Monday disposed of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition on a city lake by directing the Lake Development Authority, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and other authorities to take action against a builder if he was found to have encroached on the lake bed.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran and Justice A.S. Bopanna passed the order on a petition by Satish B.L., and others, all of C.V. Raman Nagar. The petitioners had alleged that a private company had encroached on the tank bed of the Kelaginakere Byrasandra at C.V. Raman Nagar.

They said though they had complained to the authorities, no action had so far been taken.





Court wants cooperatives freed from State control

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday observed that cooperative societies must be freed from the control of the State government and made autonomous bodies to depoliticise the cooperative movement.

Justice S. Siri Jagan made the observation while quashing a cooperative registrar’s order superseding the managing committee of the Vallapuzha Service Cooperative Bank in Palakkad.

The court pointed out that every time the political climate in the State changed, there was a spate of litigations against proceedings initiated under Section 32 of the Kerala Cooperative Societies Act by societies under the control of the Opposition parties. [Section 32 of the Act enables the Registrar of Cooperative Societies to supersede the Committee of Management under certain circumstances.]

Officers passed orders as dictated by their political bosses without any respect for justice and fair play.

The court said that those who did their bidding were appointed administrators and they strived to control the societies. The process was reversed when the political alliance in the opposition came to power. In the process, the genuine co-operators were driven out of the scene and public money was squandered.

The court said that when frauds were detected, the secretaries concerned were made scapegoats. The court and other quasi-judicial institutions were mere onlookers since evidence was “manufactured with the help of the officers of the department who are willing to toe the line of their political masters.” In the process, the cooperative movement dies a slow death.

Parallel services

Acting on another petition, the judge directed the State government to see that effective steps were taken against those who were operating parallel services on the routes earmarked for valid stage carriage permit holders.

Disposing of a petition filed by the Kerala State Private Bus Owners Federation, the court said that operation of stage carriages could not be permitted without valid permits.





Plea for contempt case dismissed

Kochi: A CBI Special Court here on Monday dismissed a petition seeking to initiate contempt of court proceedings against 12 Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders, including party general secretary Prakash Karat and three Chief Ministers, in connection with a statement issued by the party Central Committee on the SNC-Lavalin case.

The petition was filed by T.P. Nandakumar, Editor, Crime magazine.

He sought to initiate the proceedings against V.S. Achuthanandan, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, and Manik Sarkar, Chief Ministers of Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura respectively; S. Ramachandran Pillai and Pinarayi Vijayan, Polit Bureau members; and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Paloli Mohammed Kutty, T.M. Thomas Isaac, M.A. Baby, P.K. Sreemathy, and P.K. Gurudasan, all Ministers.

The petitioner pointed out that the statement issued by the Central Committee that Mr. Vijayan was not involved in any corrupt practice in the Lavalin scam amounted to contempt of court. Mr. Vijayan was the seventh accused in the case. The petitioner said the statement meant that the Central Committee had already sat in judgment over the issue.

He said it was solely within the powers of a court of law to declare the guilt or innocence of an accused.

The statement, therefore, was “calculated to prejudice a pending trial before the court and constitutes grave contempt falling under Section 2 (C) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.”

The petitioner, therefore, pleaded that an inquiry be conducted into the matter and it be referred to the High Court under the Contempt of Courts Act to proceed against the respondents in accordance with the law.

Dismissing the petition, the court said that it was not a matter worth referring to the High Court.





Court orders prosecution of BMW case witness Sunil Kulkarni

Staff Reporter

Calls him “the most dishonest, unreliable, untrustworthy and untruthful witness”

Directs the Registrar-General to file a complaint against him under Section 340

NEW DELHI: While converting the offence of BMW hit-and-run case convict Sanjeev Nanda into a negligent and rash act, the Delhi High Court has rejected the evidence of court witness Sunil Kulkarni and ordered his prosecution for giving false evidence.

The Court said that in its “considered view, Sunil Kulkarni is the most dishonest, unreliable, untrustworthy and untruthful witness. His entry in the case is as dramatic as could happen only in our Bollywood movies”.

“It appears that he introduced himself as a witness of the scene of the crime not without any extraneous reasons. Finding involvement of an accused from a rich and affluent family, he jumped into the fray, maybe to make a fortune,” the Court stated.

“The manner in which the police had been hobnobbing with this witness, even the motive of the police appears to me to be a suspect. The defence for their apparent motive also tried to fiddle with this witness. In any event of the matter, his presence at the scene of the crime is as false as the existence of a $3 bill. The deposition of court witness Sunil Kulkarni is thrown out lock, stock and barrel”, the Court stated.

“In view of the findings given by this Court, with regard to the conduct of Sunil Kulkarni holding that he has deliberately and intentionally given false evidence, I feel that it is expedient in the interest of justice where proceedings under Section 340 of Criminal Procedure Code should be initiated. Accordingly, I direct the Registrar-General of this Court to file a complaint against him under Section 340 before the court of competent jurisdiction,” the High Court ordered.





Court notices to Varun, Rajnath

Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court on Monday issued notices to five Lok Sabha members from Uttar Pradesh, including BJP MP Varun Gandhi and party’s president Rajnath Singh, on separate petitions challenging their election to Parliament.

The order to this effect was passed by Justice Sri Kant Tripathi, who directed the MPs to file their counter-affidavits within four weeks while fixing August 24 as the next date of hearing.

The election of Varun, who was detained under the stringent National Security Act for his alleged hate speech prior to the polls, has been challenged by his maternal uncle V. M. Singh, who was fielded by the Congress as its nominee from Pilibhit.

Mr. Rajnath Singh’s election has been challenged by Samar Singh who had contested from Ghaziabad as an Independent. Others who have been issued notices are BSP MPs Kapil Muni Karwaria (Phoolpur) and Gorakhnath Pandey (Bhadohi), besides Samajwadi Party’s Ramkishun (Chandauli).PTI





HC acquits man facing FERA charges after 17 years



New Delhi, July 19 (PTI) A Delhi High Court has acquitted a man facing Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) violation charge for illegally possessing foreign currencies, nearly two decades after he was booked.

Allowing Prabhat Kumar Srivastava’s petition, which challenged the FERA Appellate Tribunal’s decision dismissing his plea for quashing of the proceedings against him, Justice Anil Kumar on Friday directed Enforcement Directorate (ED) to refund all the currencies, recovered from his house during a raid in 1993.

The court also waive off a penalty of Rs five lakh imposed on Srivastava by the ED.

Slamming the ED for giving erroneous findings, the Court said, “The findings have been arrived without any basis which has been successfully rebutted by the petitioner and in the circumstances it has to be held that adjudication order is not sustainable.






2002 riots: HC hears plea to bar SIT from probing Modi’s role–HC-hears-plea-to-bar-SIT-from-probing-Modi-s-role/491168/

Express News Service Posted: Saturday , Jul 18, 2009 at 0011 hrs Ahmedabad:

A petition by former BJP legislator, Kalu Maliwad, demanding the Special Investigation Team (SIT) be stopped from investigating the role of 63 people in connection with the Gulberg Society massacre, came up for hearing in the Gujarat High Court on Friday. The matter came for hearing before Justice D H Waghela after Justice H N Devani had called it ‘Not Before Me’ earlier.

Pleadings on the petition were completed by all concerned parties, and Maliwad’s counsel, S B Vakil, started arguing on the contentions raised by him in the petition. The matter is scheduled for further hearing on Monday.

Maliwad has raised the legal issue in his petition, stating that the apex court has only asked the SIT to further investigate the registered cases. And according to criminal law, it cannot investigate into a complaint that is not registered.

Zakia Jafri, widow of late Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, had moved a petition before the Supreme Court demanding probe against 63 people in connection with the Gulberg Society massacre.

Ehsan Jafri was killed along with others in the Gulberg Society by a mob on February 28, 2002. The 63 people include Chief Minister Narendra Modi, some of his then ministers and others along with Maliwad. The apex court has ordered the SIT to inquire into the allegations made by Zakia Jafri.





Domestic Violence Act can’t be applied retrospectively: HC

TNN 19 July 2009, 01:26am IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay HC on Saturday held the Domestic Violence Act could not be applied retrospectively. Justice Abhay Oka, however, said for acts of violence occurring prior to 2005, the courts grant a restraining order. The penal provisions come into play only if order is violated.

The court was hearing a petition filed by an IFS officer, Prakash Joshi who had challenged the orders passed by two Pune courts. On an plea filed by his wife Arundhati in February 2006, the magistrate’s court permitted her to stay in his flat. The sessions court set aside this order, but upheld the decision asking Joshi to pay Arundhati more maintenance.

Advocate Nitin Deshpande, Joshi’s counsel, said the couple had separated since 2000. “The Act cannot be used against alleged acts committed prior to the enactment of the law in 2005,” he said.




HC upholds NHL fee hike

TNN 18 July 2009, 11:55pm IST

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat High Court has rejected a petition filed by NHL Medical College students, opposing the increase in their annual fee from Rs 6,000 to Rs 2,15,000, which has been implemented from the last academic year.


The division bench of Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi, who are hearing the case, have upheld the contention raised by the state government as well as NHL Medical College that the municipal corporation-run college is not an aided institute.


This is because this college doesn’t get funding from the state government or the Centre.


Accepting this argument, the court observed, “Municipal corporation cannot be equated with a state government, which has got enough resources to run and manage a medical college. Municipal corporation has got only limited financial resources. Large amount are required for running a medical college. Fees received from students may be a major source of income for running the college.”


The court rejected students’ claims that the civic body should be treated like a government. On the contrary, the court concluded that since the college is an “unaided” education institute, it has to abide by the fee structure prescribed by the Fee Regulatory Committee (FRC). which is at present Justice RJ Shah committee.


After the corporation announced huge hike in education fees for its medical college, the students moved the High Court demanding that the fee structure of the municipal college should be at par with the government medical college.


They demanded withdrawal of the fee hike terming it as violation of rules.


They claimed that the recent fee structure prescribed by FRC is applicable to self-finance and unaided colleges, while NHL Medical College is run by the aid provided by the civic body.


But, the court refused to buy the arguments put forth by the students and concluded that NHL is an unaided college within the meaning of Section 2 (m) of the Gujarat Professional Medical Educational Colleges or Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fees) Act, 2007.


And, hence, it is obligatory on part of the college to follow the fee structure prescribed by the FRC for the professional courses.




Vishram Patil murder case probe is just and fair: HC–HC


Mumbai, Jul 18 (PTI) In a reprieve for President Pratibha Patil’s brother G N Patil, the Bombay High Court today held that investigation into the murder of Congress leader Vishram Patil was just and fair.

Vishram’s wife Rajni had moved the High Court in 2007, seeking to make G N Patil an accused in the murder case.

However, during the hearing CBI had told the High Court that there was no evidence against G N Patil.

The court today said, “we are unable to hold that investigation was unjust or unfair,” the court need not interfere with it.

Vishram Patil was murdered in September 2005, his wife had alleged that it was a fallout of political rivalry with G N Patil.





HC worried over rise in HIV+ cases

TNN 18 July 2009, 06:46am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Friday directed the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) to state what steps should be taken up by the Bihar State Aids Control Society (BSACS) in view of alarming rise in the number of HIV+ cases in the state.

The order was passed on a PIL of Alok Kumar Sinha who submitted that only 27 cases of HIV positive were detected in the state in 2002 while the number of such cases has gone up to 23,000 now.

The court said NACO, BSACS and NGOs need to make joint efforts to control Aids in the state. Advocate general P K Shahi said the matter is serious and he would take instructions from the state officials concerned in this regard.

The petitioner alleged financial irregularities and lack of willpower on the part of authorities to fill up vacant posts in BSACS as the causes of rise in HIV+ cases in the state.





Nine posts of PO in Industrial Tribunals lying vacant


New Delhi, July 20 (PTI) Nine of the 22 posts of presiding officers in Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Courts were lying vacant but steps have already been initiated to fill them up, Government said today.

The courts were set up as per provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 for adjudication of industrial disputes arising in the Central sphere.

The nine courts where the posts are lying vacant are in the cities of Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mumbai, Bhubaneswar, Bangalore, Dhanbad, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Kanpur, Minister of State for Labour Harish Rawat said in a written reply to a query in Lok Sabha.

However, he did not specify the time frame for filling up the post “as there was a stipulated procedure to be followed for appointment of the presiding officers”.





UP Govt. orders CB-CID probe into Joshi’s house arson case


July 19th, 2009

LUCKNOW/GHAZIABAD – The Uttar Pradesh Government on Sunday ordered a Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) into ransacking and arson at Uttar Pradesh Congress unit chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi house.

“CB-CID would investigate the case,” said state Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh.

Meanwhile, Joshi demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe.

“I demand a CBI probe into the incident that occurred at my house in Lucknow. The party has also demanded it because it is a state-sponsored crime,” Joshi said.

“The police burned down my house. It is for sure that this involved government hand with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s consent. I have no hope of justice from the Uttar Pradesh Government,” she added.

Joshi, who is expected to meet Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi, said: “The party is extremely concerned about my safety. They were extremely agitated about the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh.”

Joshi was released from a Moradabad jail on Saturday. She had made some derogatory remarks against Mayawati at a public meeting, and was arrested in Ghaziabad on Wednesday night while she was on her way to Delhi.

She was booked under 153 A (delivering inflammatory speeches) and Section 109 of IPC (using abusive language) besides under provisions of SC/ST Atrocities Prevention Act. (ANI)





Tehsildar Assault Case

Probe ordered into docs’ recommendation
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
Taking a serious note of the recommendation of doctors at the Central Jail for the hospitalisation of accused in the Tehsildar assault case Simarjit Singh Bains and Kamaljit Singh Karwal two days ago, Jails Minister Hira Singh Gabria has ordered an inquiry into it.

Bains had complained of hypertension, vomiting and diarrhoea and Karwal of a liver problem. Though the doctors at the jail had recommended hospitalisation, doctors at the Civil Hospital said they were fit and did not require any indoor medical care.

Sources in the jail told The Tribune that Gabria had sought the details of the recommendation by the jail medical staff. While the permanent doctor at the jail was transferred some time ago, the doctors appointed at the Borstal jail had examined Bains and Karwal.

Meanwhile, Gabria said he was astonished at the news reports that doctors had contradicting versions on their health.

‘‘I have asked for reports from both doctors. I want to see what had exactly happened. Either the doctors at the Civil Hospital were wrong or the jail doctors had recommended hospitalisation wrongly. I will soon find out, ’’ said Gabria.

On the other hand, Balwinder Bains, SGPC member and elder brother of Simarjit, said Karwal had only 50 per cent functioning of his liver and it was proved well before he was sent to jail.

‘‘I am pleasantly surprised to know if the jail food has worked wonders on him,’’
said Balwinder.





Non-appearance of IOs in court

HC raps Punjab DGP
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The Punjab and Haryana High Court wants Punjab DGP to take remedial measures for preventing inconvenience to courts due to non-appearance of investigating officers.

Taking exception to the failure of a police officer to turn up in the court for assisting state counsel Gaurav Garg Dhuriwala in a bail matter, Justice LN Mittal observed: “It has to be noticed that daily problem is being faced in cases pertaining to the state of Punjab. Investigating officers or police officials do not turn to assist the state counsel or the court.”

“Even costs imposed are not deposited on time. It not only causes inconvenience and wastage of precious time of the court, but also results in longer incarceration of the accused, who might ultimately be found entitled to bail. State counsel has been requested many times to streamline the functioning, but with no result”.

The observations followed state counsel’s request for adjournment as no police official was present to assist him.

Adjourning the matter subject to the deposition of Rs 1,000 with the high court registry, Justice Mittal asserted: “I intended to summon the DGP to appear in person in view of the difficulties being faced by the court. But state counsel infoarms the court that only yesterday he has written a letter to the IG (administration) enumerating such cases. In view of this, instead of requiring the Punjab DGP to appear in person, he is directed take necessary remedial steps at the earliest, so that such difficulties are not faced in future”.

Before parting with the order, Justice Mittal also directed immediate forwarding of the order’s copy to the Punjab DGP for necessary compliance.

This is not the first time the failure of the investigating officer to turn up has not found favour with the high court.

Another Bench of the high court has already made it clear that the investigating officer’s failure to attend court proceedings with case record would lead to initiation of proceedings against him.

Justice Harbans Lal had also directed Ferozepur SSP to inform the court on the action taken after initiating the same against the erring officer.




Sukhbir confidant shielding rape accused: Victim

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Less than a fortnight before the Jalalabad byelections, a “gang-rape” victim has alleged SAD candidate Sukhbir Singh Badal’s close confidant-cum-sitting MP Sher Singh Gobaya was shielding the accused – a district panchayat officer.

The victim has alleged one of the accused, district panchayat officer Harjinder Singh, was “very close” to Gobaya, “who is a sitting MP and at present is the backbone of Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Badal is contesting election from Jalalabad in Ferozepur district; and as such fair and proper investigation could not be conducted by Ferozepur SSP and another respondent official as they were directly under his order”.

Moving the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the transfer of the probe to some independent agency or SP-level officer, the Tarn Taran-based victim alleged her requests for registration of a case against the accused, and even medical examination, were not acceded to due to Gobaya’s pressure.

Going into the background of the matter, the sixteen-and-a-half-year-old victim alleged three youngsters pushed her inside a car on June 10, gang-raped her and threw her near a canal.

After a passerby, Lakhwinder Singh, took her to the Ferozepur civil hospital for medical examination, the doctor on duty refused to admit her by saying Gobaya’s orders had to be obeyed, she alleged.

The victim further said SHO of Jalalabad police station on July 4 told her and Lakhwinder Singh that he had orders from Gobaya to book them in a criminal case so they were taught a lesson.

Her counsel added a paragraph in the petition be treated as the petitioner’s statement before the investigating officer as there was “great apprehension regarding the life and the liberty of the petitioner, since her face has been revealed to the SSP and another respondent-official”.

Taking up the matter, the high court has issued notice of motion on the petition
for August 10.





Haryana fined for failure to file affidavit

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Haryana’s failure to submit requisite information to the court in cops’ recruitment matter has cost the state dear and has led to the issuance of directions to the functionaries to be present in court on time to assist the state counsel.

Justice Ranjit Singh has directed the furnishing of necessary information to the court subject to payment of Rs 5,000 costs each in as many as 11 petitions.

Justice Ranjit Singh, on the previous date of hearing, had asked candidates aggrieved by the selections to appear before the staff selection commission on July 14. They were to be shown the results of the trials recorded on a video. The state was also asked to file the details of the results on the basis of the video recording.

As petitions filed by Sanjeev Kumar of Karnal and other petitioners came up for hearing, Justice Ranjit Singh observed despite directions, the affidavit indicating the result as depicted in the video had not been filed. “In the first round, the cases were passed over to await the person from the commission to reach. Even during the second round, no one has come to assist the state counsel (senior deputy advocate-general Harish Rathee).

“A person, who has come to assist the state counsel is required to be present in court at 10. it is not his discretion to come at leisure,” Justice Ranjit Singh added, while fixing Tuesday as the next date of hearing. 





Guesthouses in jails for inmates’ kin soon

Our correspondent

Ambala, July 20
Life-term prisoners lodged in various jails in the state will now enjoy the company of their family members for few days on the jail premises.

IG (Prison) RC Mishra, while talking to the mediapersons, said here today the jail department had planned to construct guesthouses on the jail premises, where the life term and other long term prisoners could spend a week along with his family members at least once in a year. He said this humanitarian scheme was initiated on the pattern of open jail concept.

He said the construction of district jails at Faridabad and Yamunanagar was almost completed while three new jails had been planned at Panchkula, Mewat and Rewari. He said it would reduce the load of the central jails where prisoners had been kept more than their actual capacity.

Mishra said Neem trees would be planted on all jail premises in huge number as it helped to keep the environment pollution free. Some ornamental and fruit trees would also be planted outside the jail premises. He said he wanted to make the jails environment friendly. He said in future the jails would be recognised as ‘Sudhar Greh’.

He added that all prisoners would be provided technical skills with the help of ITI so that after releasing from the jail they could earn their livelihood.

He offered certificate of technical training to 119 prisoners in the jail today. Mishra said literacy classes had also been started in the jails so that none of the prisoners could remain illiterate.

Later he visited the jail and met some of the prisoners to listen their grievance. Superintendent of jail SPS Chauhan was also present on this occasion.

LEGAL NEWS 16-19/07/2009

SC rejects petition to remove CJI 7/17/2009 The Supreme Court dismissed a petition, seeking removal of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan through impeachment. The petitioner, P V Chandran had alleged that elevation of Justice Balakrishnan as Judge of the Kerela High Court in 1985 was illegal as he was only a Munsif and did not belong to Kerala Higher Judicial Services. A bench comprising R V Raveendran and Justice B Sudershan Reddy asked the petitioner how he could challenge the elevation of Justice Balakrishnan after over 24 years. UNI PIL to quash FIR against Joshi TNN 18 July 2009, 10:10pm IST ALLAHABAD: A writ petition has been filed in the Allahabad High Court seeking quashing of an FIR lodged against UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi in Moradabad. The writ petition is likely to come up for hearing before a division bench of the High Court on Monday. The plea in the writ petition, apart from others, is that the sections under which Joshi has been booked were not made out. The plea is that Joshi had not committed any crime under the SC/ST Act and therefore imposition of the Act on her was wrong. The petition also alleged that imposition of sections 153 (A) and 109 of the IPC on her are also wrong as involvement of Joshi under these sections were not made out. Women’s group files PIL for more stringent, effective prohibition law–effective-prohibition-law/491063 Express News Service Posted: Saturday , Jul 18, 2009 at 0438 hrs Ahmedabad: Following the recent hooch tragedy in the city, which claimed over 130 lives, a women’s rights group has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Gujarat High Court with a plea to make the prohibition law more stringent and effective. The petitioner has also urged the HC to give directions to the respondents in the matter with the implementation of the Prohibition Act. Recently, a division bench of the HC has taken suo motu cognisance of certain complaints received by it in connection with the Prohibition law and the recent hooch tragedy. The PIL has been filed by the founder secretary of Ahmedabad Women’s Action Group (AWAG) — a voluntary organisation, headed by Ila Pathak. In the petition, she has raised a number of issues with reference to the Prohibition law, security of women and the police-bootleggers nexus. The petition demands to direct the respondents to initiate actions against its officials responsible for the hooch tragedy, to place a comprehensive plan for the effective implementation of the Prohibition policy in Gujarat, to form a monitoring cell to coordinate with concerned departments to supervise the implementation of the Act, and to create a suitable rehabilitation package for the family members of the victims. Pathak has also asked the court to direct the respondents to place data regarding schools premises used for consumption of illicit liquor and direct the authorities to take strict action against the responsible persons. The respondents named in the petition are the State of Gujarat, director general of police, inspector general of police and Ahmedabad commissioner of police. The court has issued notices to the respondents and asked them to reply after two weeks. Court admits PIL OUR CORRESPONDENT Cuttack, July 17: Orissa High Court today admitted a PIL challenging the election of senior BJD leader and finance minister Prafulla Ghadei from Sukinda Assembly constituency. Former minister and senior Congress leader Sarat Rout had filed the petition alleging that his rival had won because of double voting by at least 3,000 BJD supporters. “There were double entries of names of as many as 5,000 voters in the electoral roll and 3,000 votes were registered twice within the constituency in favour of the BJD in violation of Section 62 of the Representation of Peoples’ Act, 1951,” the petition alleged. Ghadei had defeated Rout by 2,403 votes in April. “The single bench of Justice R.N. Biswal after a preliminary hearing on the petition issued notices to finance minister Prafulla Ghadei and other candidates who had contested from the Sukinda seat,” petitioner counsel Advocate Bidyadhar Mishra told The Telegraph today. “The court fixed August 3 for the hearing,” Mishra added. The PIL has further alleged that the acceptance of the nomination of BJP nominee Dolagivinda Mahanta was “improper as he had not subscribed his oath.” Guj HC issues notice to state govt after PIL on hooch tragedy Updated on Friday, July 17, 2009, 22:13 IST Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court on Friday issued notices to state government, DGP and others while hearing a PIL on the recent hooch tragedy that claimed over 130 lives. The notice was issued by a division bench of Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi, while hearing a PIL filed by social and women’s rights activist Ila Pathak, in which she has contented that the government has “failed” to implement the Prohibition Law in the state. The court asked the respondents — the state government, DGP, IGP (prohibition), Police Commissioner Ahmedabad, secretaries of Home, Health and Family Welfare, Social Justice and Empowerment, and Women and Child Development departments — to file their replies within two weeks when the next hearing is scheduled. Appearing on behalf of Pathak, advocate Amee Yagnik sought appropriate direction from the court for stern action against those responsible for the hooch tragedy which has claimed over 130 lives in the city. She also demand that government should explain what it was doing to effectively implement the Prohibition Law. Yagnik submitted that the deaths due to consumption of spurious liquor in the city makes it clear that there exists an “unholy nexus” of police and bootleggers which was responsible for the tragedy. The PIL filed by Ila Pathak who runs the NGO AWAG also demanded specific answers from the government departments on the matter. The NGO wanted to know what the Home department was doing to effectively implement the Prohibition law in the state. The petition also suggested that there needs to be a separate monitoring cell to supervise the implementation of the Act. The PIL sought more stringent punishment for violators of the Prohibition Law. It wanted to know from the Social Justice and Empowerment department if it had any rehabilitation package for victims of the hooch tragedy. Stating that women are main sufferers in the aftermath of such incidents, Pathak also sought to ask the Women and Child Development department if it had any plans to counsel the victims and family members affected by the social evil. The PIL also demanded compensation for family members of the victims. Earlier, the Gujarat High Court had taken suo motu cognizance of the hooch tragedy and asked the state government to explain how its machinery was enforcing prohibition laws in the state. The court also sought explanation from the government on what steps it has taken with regard to the hooch tragedy, and how such incident occurred despite the liquor prohibition policy. Bureau Report Petition against Jharkhand police chief for secret fund withdrawal By ians on Saturday, July 18th, 2009 Ranchi, July 18, A public interest litigation (PIL) petition has been filed against the state police chief and others in connection with withdrawal of millions of rupees from the secret services (SS) fund. The PIL was filed by Om Prakash, a resident of Ranchi, in the Jharkhand High Court Friday. The PIL was filed based on the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and media reports. Jharkhand Director General of Police (DGP) Visnu Dayal Ram has been charged with withdrawing a huge amount of money from the SS fund and not submitting the utilisation certification to the concerned authorities. The DGP had withdrawn Rs.5.6 crore in a single day from SS fund in 2006. The PIL says that the CAG had sought the utilisation certificate of the SS fund between July 2005 and March 2008 during which Rs.14.5 crore was withdrawn. The PIL has sought a CBI probe into the withdrawal of the SS fund and removal of Ram from the post of DGP for a fair probe. “The CAG has pointed out that the Bihar Finance Rules and manual of the special branch were overruled while withdrawing the SS fund,” says the petition. It further said: “I am a tax payer and the fund raised through taxes are being misused. The doubt also arises regarding use of the SS fund as the Maoist incidents are rising in the state.” The SS fund is being used by police to fight Maoist rebels. The money is paid to police informers. Details are kept secret but police officials have to submit utilisation certificates to the CAG. Centre requests SC to declare Ambani family gas pact null and void July 18th, 2009 SindhToday New Delhi, July 18 (ANI): The Central Government on Saturday filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking its direction to declare the Ambani family’s agreement to distribute gas as null and void. The dispute between Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) of Mukesh Ambani and Reliance Natural Resources Limited (RNRL) of Anil Ambani to distribute the gas available in the Krishna-Godavari Basin was sorted before their mother Kokila Ben. The Petroleum Ministry asserted in the petition that it had no knowledge of the family agreement and that the memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed by the two Ambani groups was in contravention of the production-sharing contract (PSC). A day after filing an affidavit by the centre, the Ministry of Petroleum filed a special leave petition in the dispute of distribution of gas available in the Krishna-Godavari Basin in Andhra Pradesh. The centre has told the apex court that the government has sovereign ownership over natural gas and its distribution, and RIL was acting only as a contractor on behalf of the government. The centre made it clear in the petition that any agreement between the warring brothers will not be binding upon the government. The government’s petition has named both Mukesh and Anil who have separately filed cross-petitions against the ruling of the Bombay High Court, as the respondents. The Ministry has also sought a stay on the Bombay High Court judgment asking RIL to supply gas to RNRL after mutually working out the modalities. The petition also sought clarification related to gas utilization policy and PSC mentioned in the ruling of the Bombay High Court. Meanwhile, Anil Ambani led RNRL filed its second affidavit before the apex court saying the Petroleum Ministry’s affidavit filed on Friday was aimed at expanding its role and file pleadings that was not permissible to an intervener. RNRL’s petition also alleged that the Petroleum Ministry is biased towards the RIL of Mukesh Ambani.(ANI) [NF] Poll budget: HC seeks response from Maken–HC-seeks-response-from-Maken/490846/ Express News Service Posted: Saturday , Jul 18, 2009 at 0024 hrs New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday sought a response from Union Minister Ajay Maken and the returning officer of his Lok Sabha constituency over a petition seeking to declare his election null and void for over-spending during the poll campaign. Accusing the Congress leader of violating the Model Code of Conduct and provisions of the Representation of People’s Act, the petition has claimed he spent over Rs 5 crore during his campaigning, while the rules fixed Rs 25 lakh as the maximum limit. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and Ajay Digpaul, appearing for petitioner Adesh Gupta, said Maken, the Minister of State for Home, had wrongfully claimed to have spent around Rs 20 lakh in his campaign, when he issued full-page ads in various national and local dailies. He also got numerous hoardings put up and distributed calendars, diaries and pamphlets. Issuing the notice to Maken and D K Mishra, returning officer for New Delhi, the Court has fixed August 21 as the next date for hearing. Housing societies not liable to pay tax on transfer fee: HC–HC/490938/ Express News Service Posted: Saturday , Jul 18, 2009 at 0147 hrs Mumbai: In a significant order on Friday, the Bombay High Court held that cooperative housing societies are not liable to pay income tax on transfer fee. Most housing societies charge transfer fee, which is a sort of admission fee, when a flat or a plot of land in the society changes hand. The Income Tax department’s stand was that societies must pay tax on transfer fee. But the Income Tax appellate tribunal held in an order in 2004 that only when the incoming member or the buyer of the property pays the fee, it is taxable. A division bench of Justice F I Rebello and Justice J H Bhatia, however, held that whoever may pay the fee, the society is not liable to pay income tax on it. The judgment states that cooperative housing societies across the state, “which has as its predominant activity, maintenance of property” is not liable to pay tax on transfer fee “as long as there is no taint of commerciality to its operations.” HC notices to bar councils TNN 17 July 2009, 11:13pm IST ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court, on Friday, issued notices to the Bar Council of India, New Delhi and the Bar Council of UP, Allahabad, to show cause as to why the resolution passed by the Bar Council of UP, asking the lawyers to abstain from judicial work be not set aside. The court has also directed the state government to take appropriate action in the matter which had resulted into the said resolution. “Since the strike has seriously affected the work of our Court, overburdened with urgent fresh cases, unlisted and listed ones, we have taken suo-moto action in the matter and directed the registry to register the matter and place it before the Chief Justice to nominate appropriate bench to hear this case,” the bench remarked. The court passed this order, taking serious note of the call given by UP Bar Council, asking the lawyers and bar associations of all the 71 districts to abstain from judicial work on July 17. The bench consisting of Justice Sunil Ambwani and Justice Ranvijai Singh observed, “The law laid down by the Supreme Court is binding upon the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh. It has no authority to give a call for strike.” The call given by the Bar Council of UP on Friday has not only affected the functioning of the High Court at Allahabad and Lucknow but also paralyzed the work in 71 district courts, consumer courts, labour courts, revenue courts, UP Public Service Tribunal and all the income tax and sales tax authorities in the state, causing loss of crores of rupees and putting litigants to hardships.” “We are deeply concerned with this situation prevailing in UP. While we take cognizance of the resolution passed by the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh, we also express our concern on the indifference of the state government over the matters concerning advocates. The advocates were lathi-charged at Gonda about a week ago. There was lathi-charge on advocates at Kanpur and Allahabad and the senior members of the Bar at Firozabad. The resolutions of the Bar Council of Ultar Pradesh appear to be the result of the inaction of the state government in taking appropriate steps in these matters at appropriate time. The state government is under the constitutional duty to maintain law and order,” the judges maintained. The court further remarked, “If a section of society is aggrieved against the administration, which results into call for strike, the state government must take appropriate measures.” Govt formally joins Ambani brothers’ KG Basin gas feud 18 Jul 2009, 0704 hrs IST, ET Bureau NEW DELHI: The government has formally shown its hand in the ongoing battle between the two Ambani brothers over the Krishna Godavari basin gas by filing an affidavit on Friday in the Supreme Court. It has sought a stay on the Bombay High Court order that directed Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL) to supply gas to his estranged brother Anil Ambani’s firm Reliance Natural Resources (RNRL) at $2.34 per million British thermal unit (mmBtu). The government’s contention is that the agreement between RIL and RNRL violates its production sharing contract (PSC) with RIL for developing the gas field, deters fresh, particularly foreign investment, in exploration and development of hydrocarbons in India and thwarts the government’s gas utilisation policy, which privileges fertiliser as the priority customer for gas from the KG Basin field. The government has filed the affidavit as an intervenor which means that it gets to assist the court in coming to a conclusion. The govermnent wants to be impleaded in the case as a respondent, or as a party to the case, on the ground that the sovereign owns the gas. RIL supports the government’s stance. The government’s status is one of the early issues the Supreme Court will have to decide on. The government’s position, as spelt out in the affidavit, comes as no great surprise. Its stand before the Bombay HC was essentially the same. In that case, it did not succeed, with the HC ruling that RNRL has a valid contract with RIL for supply of gas from the KG basin. The government petition has claimed that its sovereign rights “cannot be subjected to private negotiations by mutual understanding”. The government further goes on to say that “a private dispute between two parties and their alleged agreement (family MoU) cannot threaten the interests of other stake holders i.e. the government in the contract. The MoU by its very nature is in contravention of the PSC which both the signatory parties were aware of before entering into this agreement (2005 agreement of RIL and RNRL)”. The matter is listed for hearing on Monday before a bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan. The government said RIL’s agreement to sell the gas to RNRL at $2.34 per mBtu is not based on an arms-length price. A sale made in 2004 would not be relevant for determining the sale price at which the gas is to be sold in 2006 or 2007, it said. The prevailing gas prices for domestic gas under the PSC are significantly higher, said the affidavit prepared by the additional solicitor general Mohan Parasaran, who is government’s counsel in the case. While RNRL’s views could not be immediately obtained, it had argued before the Bombay High Court that RIL has the freedom to price its gas and this price could be different from the one set by the government. This view was upheld by the high court. The government, for its part, has argued that the agreement between the two brothers could adversely affect the government’s policy of attracting foreign investment in oil and gas exploration and also affect the allocation of gas to the priority sectors such as fertiliser and power. It also claims that the move would harm RIL’s partner in the block Niko which has also signed the PSC. The foreign partner of RIL in the KG-D6 block has a 10% stake in the project. A foreign company should not be penalised for no fault of its own, the government said in the affidavit. “The interest of foreign investors should be protected under the PSC,” it said. In its affidavit, the government added that “any interpretation which is not in line with the PSC would severely impact the effort of the government to attract foreign investment — especially when the government is in process of attracting investments through NELP bidding rounds”. Earlier on Friday, RIL also filed an affidavit through PH Parekh and Co in the apex court opposing RNRL plea. RIL said it is a contractor under the PSC entered into with the government and “has no unfettered rights on the quantity and the price of gas and is bound by the terms of the PSC and the policies and directions issued by the government from time to time”. In the affidavit, the government said, “The whole structure of a PSC would collapse and be rendered completely unworkable in a situation such of this (RIL vs RNRL case) even the fundamental aspect of the PSC such as determination of each parties ‘take’ or ‘entitlement’ would be rendered impossible of determination.” The role of the government in fixing the sale price of a scarce resource like natural resources like natural gas ensures a level playing field among all the producers of power/fertiliser which are priority sectors, it said. HC to govt: Make books available at start of year TNN 18 July 2009, 04:53am IST PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa has directed the state government to take steps to implement the mandate of Article 21 (A) of the Constitution, which deals with the right to education as a fundamental right of children aged between 6 and 14 years. It also directed the government to ensure that textbooks are available before the beginning of the academic year. A division bench of chief justice S Kumar and justice N A Britto passed the orders in a petition filed by two book vendors. A Nadkarni, appearing for the Maharashtra State Bureau for Textbook Production and Curriculum Research, told the court that textbooks for standards 1 to 4 were available at the Goa Handicrafts Rural and Small Scale Industries Development Corporation Ltd and that textbooks for standards 5 to 7 are available with an agency in Ponda and those for standards 8 to 12 are available with all major booksellers in the state. Legal | Madras HC sets aside IPAB order on dual SIM Earlier this week, IPAB had, on an appeal filed by mobile phone importer Spice Mobile Ltd, passed an interim order on staying operation of patent No. 214388 Mumbai: The Madras high court on Friday set aside a Monday order by India’s Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) that suspended a patent for dual SIM (subscriber identity module) mobile phones granted to S. Ramkumar, a Madurai- based electronics engineer. The patent was granted in 2008 by the Chennai patent office. Earlier this week, IPAB had, on an appeal filed by mobile phone importer Spice Mobile Ltd, passed an interim order on staying operation of patent No. 214388. On the basis of his patent, Ramkumar had sought seizure of imports and local production of multiple SIM card mobile phones by companies such as Samsung India Electronics Ltd, Spice Mobile, and LG Electronics India Ltd, among others. Ramkumar’s lawyer K.M. Aasim Shehzad told Mint the Madras HC passed the order. All Muslims not terrorists: Bombay HC Shibu Thomas, TNN 18 July 2009, 03:45am IST MUMBAI: “Terrorists may have been Muslims, but all Muslims are not terrorists,” said a Bombay HC judge on Friday sending out a clear message against stereotyping on the basis of a person’s religious beliefs. Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud, who was part of the full bench, made the remark during the hearing of a petition challenging the ban on a book authored by a city lawyer. The bench also comprised Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice R S Mohite. The judges admonished a lawyer who tried to link 26/11 attacks in Mumbai to teachings in the Quran. The court pointed to statistics in US where many persons arrested for criminal offences were found to be black. “On that basis every black person cannot be said to be a criminal,” he said. The full bench of HC was set up to hear a petition filed by Mumbai-based advocate R V Bhasin against the Maharashtra government’s 2007 ban on his book ‘Islam: A concept of Political World Invasion by Muslims’. The state had banned the book on the apprehension that it may lead to communal disharmony. Bhasin claimed that his book “analyses intellectually, the background of world history in context of the effect of Islam over the world and in particular over the social, cultural and political systems in India”. An intervention application filed by a clutch of organisations — Jamat-E-Islami-E-Hind, Islamic Research Foundation, Bombay Aman Committee and the Maharashtra Muslim Lawyers Forum — said the book was intended to hold ideology of Islam in contempt and create hatred for Muslims. Terminate pregnancy of mentally challenged rape victim, orders HC Express News Service Posted: Jul 18, 2009 at 0248 hrs IST Chandigarh In a categorical and elaborate judgment, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Chandigarh Administration to “promptly and forthwith” medically terminate the pregnancy of a 19-year-old mentally challenged girl who was raped at Nari Niketan in Chandigarh a few months ago. The UT Administration has been directed to submit a compliance report on August 3. A Division Bench comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice Augustine George Masih ruled: “We firmly hold that the victim deserves to be liberated from the agonising responsibility forced upon her. Notwithstanding her physical age, she is just a child mentally.” It was a one-of-its-kind case that had reached the court, which was to take the decision on behalf of the orphan girl. The UT Administration had moved the High Court seeking termination of pregnancy of the girl who was raped inside an institute run by the government for mentally challenged women. Two security guards working at the institute are in judicial custody on charges of rape. To reach a prudent conclusion, opinions of the advocate generals of Punjab and Haryana were sought and senior advocate R S Cheema was appointed as amicus curiae. While the two advocate generals, H S Mattewal and H S Hooda, opined in favour of abortion, Cheema had objected to it, saying consent of the girl was a must. An expert panel of doctors was constituted, which said the girl had no understanding of her pregnancy. Senior Standing Counsel for UT Administration Anupam Gupta, too, had strongly advocated for a termination of the pregnancy. While Cheema argued on an emotional pitch that the girl had expressed her desire to give birth to the child, according to the medical report, Gupta highlighted that doctors felt a child was like a “toy” for the victim to play with. Taking a holistic approach and giving due emphasis to social, physical, mental capacity and financial conditions, the Division Bench directed the UT Administration to immediately carry out an abortion. Based on a psychiatry report of Prof Ajit Avasthi, the judgment reads: “We find that the victim is neither intellectually nor on social, personal, financial or family fronts able to raise a child. We are satisfied with the reports that the victim is incapable of understanding the concept of motherhood or of pregnancy or pre and post-delivery implications. Asking her to continue with the pregnancy and, thereafter, raise the child would be a travesty of justice and a permanent addition to her miseries. The ‘toy’ with which she wants to play would want her to invest hugely which she is incapable of,” the judgment reads. The Bench further ruled: “We cannot also overlook the fact that if allowed to be born, the child’s own life and future prospects may be highly disappointing. The grooming and education of the child would again be at the mercy of the government-run/aided institutions…” A Delhi-based advocate, meanwhile, filed a special leave petition challenging the orders. The petition will come up for hearing in the Supreme Court on Monday after the Chief Justice of India reportedly agreed to list the matter for urgent hearing. Chief Justices’ conference: HC will work more 7/15/2009 The Chief Justices’ Conference held on April 17, 2008 had, inter-alia, resolved that: High Courts will consider either extending working hours upto 5 ½ hours or suitably increasing the working days; High Court Judges be requested to work during vacation, on voluntary basis; and High Court Judges will not go for holidaying on working days. This Conference had also resolved that: Wherever feasible, the High Courts will take steps to set-up Courts of Special Metropolitan Magistrates/Special Judicial Magistrates presided by retired government servants and court servants, possessing a professional degree in Law, for trial of petty offences, including traffic cases and cases under Local Municipal Acts. Such Special Magistrates/Special Judicial Magistrates shall work under the control and superintendence of a senior Judicial Officer. Working hours in the Supreme Court and High Courts are regulated by the rules framed by the respective Courts. The working hours of the subordinate courts are decided by the respective High Courts. In matters of administration of subordinate courts such as appointment of judges, recruitment of persons other than judges, decision rests with the respective State Government in consultation with the concerned High Court. This information was given by Dr. M.Veerappa Moily, Minister of Law and Justice, in the Rajya Sabha in a written reply. PIB Supreme Court and CJI cannot be distinct entities: CIC Updated on Saturday, July 18, 2009, 00:01 IST New Delhi: The Chief Justice of India and the Supreme Court cannot be two distinct entities, the Central Information Commission has held directing the registry of the apex court to provide information to an RTI applicant even if it is held by the office of the Chief Justice. “The Institution and its head cannot be two distinct Public Authorities. They are one and the same. Information therefore available with Chief Justice of India must be deemed to be available with the Supreme Court of India,” Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibuallah said. The Commission was hearing the plea of RTI applicant 77-year-old P K Dalmia who sought to know the fate of his complaint, filed with the Chief Justice of India, of alleged malpractices by a designated company judge Sunil Ambwani in the liquidation of UP State Cement Corporation Limited. Dalmia has filed three complaints to the CJI last year alleging that the assets of corporation were sold for Rs 459 crore whereas certificate obtained by him from a Chartered Accountant showed that amount actually payable to banks worked out to only Rs 216.9 crore. After not getting any response, he filed RTI application to know the fate of his complaints, which was rejected by the registry of Supreme Court claiming that complaint against High Court or Supreme Court Judge are not under its control hence cannot be provided. CIC gave an out-of-turn hearing to Dalmia’s plea, considering his deteriorating health condition. Dalmia’s appeal before the registrar of Supreme Court did not yield any positive response. He then moved the Central Information Commission with his plea last year. Dalmia argued before the Commission that even if the cases had been disposed of by the Central Public Information Officer as a matter concerning the Chief Justice only in his personal capacity, he required to have been informed as much. “The issue that needs to be determined is as to whether the Chief Justice of India and the Supreme Court of India are two distinct Public Authorities (respondents of RTI applications) or one Public Authority,” Habibullah said. The Chief Information Commissioner, quoting Article 124 of the Constitution said Supreme Court of India consisting of the Chief Justice of India and such number of Judges is an institution of which CJI is head. “The registrar of the Supreme Court of India, which is only the part of the Supreme Court, cannot be categorised as a Public Authority independent and distinct from the Supreme Court itself,” Habibullah said. “The question of disclaiming information about correspondence with the Chief Justice of India by the CPIO of the Supreme Court cannot arise,” he further said. The CIC in its decision yesterday directed that the Additional Registrar will obtain the information sought, even if the complaints moved by Dalmia have been filed, and convey the same to him within 15 working days. Bureau Report Writ petition filed in HC STAFF WRITER 19:59 HRS IST Chennai, Jul 17 (PTI) A writ petition has been filed in the Madras High Court seeking action against an advocate who had allegedly tried to influence a judge of the court in a case using the name of an union minister. Seeking a writ of Quo Warranto, directing the advocate R K Chandramohan, who is also the Chairman of Bar Council for Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, to explain under what authority he continued to hold the office after all that had allegedly taken place, petitioner G Rajendran sought a direction to the High Court Registry to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Chandranmohan. The advocate also sought a direction to Chandramohan to name the minister who had allegedly wanted to talk to the Judge in connection with the case relating to anticipatory bail pleas by a student and his father which sparked a nationwide controversy. Repeal of the MRTP Act, 1969: Reducing the Twilight Period By : Nirav Pankaj Shah on 17 July 2009 Repeal of the MRTP Act, 1969: Reducing the Twilight Period T. Ramappa, ACS, Advocate, Chennai. THE BACKGROUND The MRTP Act has been the subject of repeal twice. Section 66 of the Competition Act, 2002 declared that the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 [“MRTP Act”] be repealed and the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission [“MRTPC”] be dissolved. In addition to providing for the settlement of the status of the employment of those working in the MRTPC, consequent on such dissolution, it also laid down the principle on which cases and investigations pending under the MRTP Act were to be transferred to the Competition Commission of India or the National Commission constituted under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, as indicated in the section. This section was not brought into force and as the Competition Commission was not duly constituted, the MRTPC was receiving complaints and deciding them under the MRTP Act. THE AMENDED SECTION 66 Along with a number of other amendments to the Act made by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, the date of commencement of which was October 12, 2007, a new section 66 was substituted in the place of the original section 66. Under section 66, as amended, which has not yet been notified as having been brought into force, the basic position is that the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 (54 of 1969) has been repealed and the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission established under section 5(1) of the said Act (hereinafter referred to as the repealed Act) shall stand dissolved. However, under section 66, the MRTP Commission is permitted to continue to exercise jurisdiction and power under the MRTP Act for a period of two years from the date of the commencement of the Competition [Amendment] Act of 2007, which in effect means two years from the notification of section 66 as being brought into force. But the MRTP Commission cannot decide or adjudicate any case or proceeding arising under the MRTP Act on or after the said commencement. The present section 66 also provides for the vacation of the offices of the Chairman and Members of the Commission and the officers of the Commission on its dissolution and for settlement of conditions of service of those working in the MRTP Commission. The section also provides for saving any right that may have accrued and for continuance of any liability that may have been incurred under the repealed Act. PENDING CASES All cases pertaining to monopolistic trade practices or restrictive trade practices pending (including such cases, in which any unfair trade practice has also been alleged), before the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission shall, after the expiry of the said two years, stand transferred to the Competition Appellate Tribunal and shall be adjudicated by that Appellate Tribunal in accordance with the provisions of the MRTP Act, as if that Act had not been repealed. As far as cases relating to unfair trade practices pending at the relevant time , the amendment provides that all cases under section 36A[1] of the MRTP Act, excepting those falling under The starting point of the twoyear period for the repeal of the MRTP Act and the dissolution of the MRTPC has not yet been determined. In the nature of things the Central Government will be in a position to notify section 66 as having been brought into force only on its appointing members and other officers of the Competition Commission and the Competition Appellate Tribunal. e-mail : Articles Articles clause [x] of that section* shall stand transferred to the National Commission established under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, and that those falling under section 36A[1][x] shall stand transferred to the Competition Appellate Tribunal. In both cases, they shall be disposed of as if they were cases filed under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. PENDING INVESTIGATIONS OR PROCEEDINGS Investigations or proceedings, other than those relating to unfair trade practices, pending before the Director General of Investigation and Registration on or before the commencement of the operation of section 66 shall, on such commencement, stand transferred to the Competition Commission of India, and the Competition Commission of India may conduct or order for conduct of such investigation or proceedings in the manner as it deems fit. All investigations or proceedings, relating to unfair trade practices, other than those referred to in section 36A[1][x] of the MRTP Act pending before the Director General of Investigation and Registration on or before the said commencement shall, on such commencement, stand transferred to the National Commission constituted under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (68 of 1986) and the National Commission may conduct or order for conduct of such investigation or proceedings in the manner as it deems fit. Investigations or proceedings relating to cases falling under section 36A[1][x] of the MRTP Act pending before the Director General of Investigation and Registration on or before the said commencement shall, on such commencement, stand transferred to the Competition Commission and the Competition Commission of India may conduct or order for conduct of such investigation in the manner as it deems fit. AVOIDABLE TWILIGHT PERIOD The new section 66 has so far not been notified as having brought into force. It means that the starting point of the two-year period for the repeal of the MRTP Act and the dissolution of the MRTPC has not yet commenced. In the nature of things the Central Government will be in a position to notify section 66 as having been brought into force only on its appointing members to the Competition Commission and the Competition Appellate Tribunal and the other officers. The ground on which the Government decided to repeal the MRTP Act was that it considered that the Act was enacted to contain concentration of economic power and that it was not the right mechanism suited to deal with issues relating to the preservation and protection of competition and that too in the new industrial scene. Today, seven years after the first section 66 repealed the MRTP Act, in 2002, the question whether the repeal was justified and on the grounds stated by the Government, is no longer relevant. But what should be a matter of concern is the loss of time in changing over to the full operation of the Competition Act, 2002. The delay in bringing into force of the pre-amendment Competition Act, 2002 was forced on the Government by its having to await the decision of the Supreme Court in Brahm Dutt v. Union of India, where the validity of the Competition Act, 2002 and Rule 3 of the Competition Commission of India (Selection of Chairperson and Other Members of the Commission) Rules, 2003 were challenged. But there is no justification now for the present delay after the Competition [Amendment] Act, 2007, after the proceedings before the Supreme Court, has been notified as having been brought into force. Section 66 repealing the MRTP Act and providing for the dissolution of the MRTPC and disposal of pending cases and investigations could be brought into force only after the positions in the Competition Commission and the Competition Appellate Tribunal are filled up. But the Government chose a very inappropriate method to select persons to be members of the Competition Commission. Having agreed to arrange a structure in which the Competition Commission would only function as a market regulator, an expert body performing advisory and regulatory functions, the Government resorted to the procedure of inviting applications for filling up the posts of Chairperson and other Members of the Competition and lost much time. This is done in no country and it is only here that the impression is sought to be given that in the process of appointing members to the Competition Commission, India is inventing the wheel. It is now reported in a newspaper, which has been reproduced on the website of the Competition Commission of India, that the Central Government has appointed five members, including the Chairperson of the Competition Commission. The Chairman and members of the Competition Appellate Tribunal will have to be appointed and the offices of the Director General and others will have to be filled up and then only the system will be fully operational. This should be done as expeditiously as possible so that the transition from the MRTP Act regime to the mechanism under the Competition Act is completed well in time even before the prescribed period of two years. The delay also breeds other undesirable consequences. The first is the uncertainty as to which agency will ultimately decide the case and this is no inducement for anyone to quicken the process. Added to this, handing over to newly constituted bodies, viz. the Competition Commission and the Appellate Tribunal, unfinished part-heard cases is certainly of no advantage to anybody, since the process will, in actual practice, have to be virtually started de novo. In the matter of investigations, with two successive * This is an unfair trade practice which gives false or misleading facts disparaging investigators, with different outlooks, it is certain that there will the goods, services or trade of another person. Repeal of the MRTP Act, 1969 : Reducing the Twilight Period Articles be little co-operation and coordination. What is the pace at which this vital legislation has progressed, if there is progress in any sense? The record is highly disenchanting. The High level committee on competition policy and law submitted its report to the Government of India in 2000 and the Competition Act, 2002, excepting the key sections, were notified in 2003 on different dates as having been brought into force. The challenge to the validity of the Act and the mode of selection of the Chairman and Members of the Competition Commission left it in a state of dormancy till the 2007 amendments were made. The Central Government notified 12th day of October, 2007 as the date on which section 1 of the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007 (39 of 2007), shall come into force. By a separate notification on the same day, certain other sections of the 2007 Amendment Act were brought into force with effect from 12th day of October, 2007. The key sections including the new section 66 have not yet been brought into force. By a notification dated February 27, 2008 the Competition Commission of India (Term of the Selection Committee and the Manner of Selection of Panel of Names) Rules, 2008 were issued. The Competition Appellate Tribunal [Term of the Selection Committee and the Manner of Selection of Panel of Names] Rules, 2008 were published on May 16, 2008. The appointments to the Competition Commission have been made one year after the Rules for the selection of members of the Commission were issued. It is a sad commentary on the spirit in which the mechanism for preserving competition in the market is taking shape. The number of countries that have established legal regimes for the preservation of competition in the market is very large and they are at different stages of industrial growth and India should not be seen as dragging its feet in establishing such a regime. Recognizing that in a growing economy such as ours, which seeks participation of enterprises from across the globe, the establishment of a machinery for the preservation of effective competition is crucial and urgent. Credibility will be established only when it is seen as staffed with the best that the country can obtain. Therefore, all the other positions should be filled quickly, thus reducing the twilight area of as short a duration as possible. 􀂉 Repeal of the MRTP Act, 1969 : Reducing the Twilight Period UT fined Rs 5K for failure to file reply TNN 17 July 2009, 06:30am IST CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has imposed costs of Rs 5,000 on Chandigarh administration on Thursday for its failure to file a reply within the stipulated time on a writ petition pending before it seeking removal of encroachments from the corridors of shops and office buildings in various sectors of the city. A division bench headed by chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur and justice KS Ahluwalia passed the orders on Thursday, as UT administration failed to file its reply despite giving several opportunities and warnings. The matter pertains to a PIL filed by Sector 22 Welfare Association seeking directions to ensure that SCOs, SCFs and booths in various sectors of the city are to be kept free from encroachments by way of stalling of goods by hawkers or squatters. After hearing the PIL, the high court had issued notices to MC, Chandigarh and UT administration to file their reply. While MC had filed its reply, the UT administration failed to present its position. Orissa HC reserves verdict on interim stay on Forest Dwellers Act Updated on Friday, July 17, 2009, 15:51 IST Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has reserved its verdict on a plea by the state government to vacate an interim stay imposed about a year ago on the implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act. The Act was enacted in 2006 to recognise and vest forest rights and occupation of forest land to traditional forest dwellers for generations. Accordingly, the Orissa government had identified more than 30,000 forest dwellers to be benefitted by the Act of whom about 20,000 tribals were from Kalahandi, Koraput and Kandhamal district. But the Act was challenged in the Orissa High Court through a PIL filed by the Society of Retired Forest Officers’ of Orissa stating that the new Act went against the spirit of the National Forest Policy of 1998, Indian Forest Act of 1927 and Forest Conservation Act of 1980. Adjudicating over the PIL, the High Court in an interim order passed in July last year had allowed the state government to go ahead with the process of identifying the beneficiaries, but had restricted issue of title deeds especially in sanctuaries, national parks and bio-sphere reserves. After this, the process of giving rights over forest to traditional forest dwellers slowed down, giving rise to resentment among tribals. It was also believed that the recent upsurge in Narayanpatna in Koraput district, where tribals are forcibly snatching away land of non-tribals, was an outcome of it. However, after the recent visit of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to the troubled areas of Koraput, the government took initiative to vacate the interim stay imposed by the high court and to facilitate distribution of land rights to tribals dwelling in jungles. Accordingly state Advocate General Ashok Mohanty had moved the High Court last week to vacate the July, 2008 stay. The bench of Acting Chief Justice I M Qudussi and Justice Kumari Sanju Panda after completing the hearing yesterday has reserved its verdict which is likely to be pronounced next week. Bureau Report HC stay on forest act plea OUR CORRESPONDENT Cuttack, July 16: Orissa High Court today reserved its judgment on a PIL presented by the Retired Orissa Forest Officers’ Society that challenged the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. However, before the two-judge bench of Acting Chief Justice I.M. Qudussi and Justice Sanju Panda reserved its verdict, the government presented its predicament over the distribution of land pattas to tribal citizens, because of an interim restriction imposed nearly a year ago on the implementation of the Act. Advocate-general Ashok Mohanty stated that land deeds were pending distribution though the final recognition of rights was over. In an interim order presented in July 2008 on the officers’ PIL, the court had allowed the state to continue with the implementation of the act, but had imposed restrictions on issuance of title deeds, especially in national parks and biosphere reserves. For the first time, an act was recognising and vesting forest rights and occupation over forestland to Scheduled Tribes and traditional forest dwellers residing in jungles for generations. The hold over land and forest are important issues in the state since tribal people account for more than one-fifth of the population. Nearly 40,000 tribal people are slated to benefit from the act, while 20,000 would receive forestland in southern Orissa districts such as Koraput, Kalahandi and Kandhamal. In fact, revenue minister Surya Narayan Patra had already announced that the government would grant land deeds to citizens in jungles under the Forest Rights’ Act as soon as the stay on it was vacated by the high court. NHAI asked to set up panel for grant of relief TNN 17 July 2009, 03:11am IST PATNA: The Patna High Court on Thursday directed the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to constitute a committee to work out the compensation package to be given to the people of Sangi Phulparas village in Madhubani district against use of the soil of their land for construction of an express highway. A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Shivakirti Singh and Justice Anjana Prakash issued the directive on a PIL of one Mahendra Jha who submitted that the NHAI had not yet given compensation for cutting the soil of the land of the villagers. The court adjourned the case for four weeks. Humlog Trust: The same bench directed the petitioner Humlog Trust to give details of the Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) Ltd which has been outsourced the work of cleaning the main secretariat and the new secretariat in Patna by the state government. The order was passed on the PIL of Humlog Trust which submitted that the IL&FS had been assigned the cleaning work in New Secretariat at a cost of Rs 4.35 lakh for a year in 2008. But in 2009, the cost of the cleaning work was raised manifold with the IL&FS being assigned the cleaning work of the main secretariat at Patna at Rs 11.93 lakh per month and cleaning work of New Secretariat at Rs 11.64 lakh per month. The Humlog Trust challenged the state government’s decision to assign the cleaning work to IL&FS at an exorbitant cost without issuing advertisement and tender. SC grants relief to in-laws in dowry death case By | July 16, 2009 Taking note of the dying declaration of a woman who succumbed to burn injuries in December 2007, the Supreme Court reversed a Bombay High Court and granted anticipatory bail to her in-laws, who had been accused of bride burning. The apex court observed that the HC had committed… This post is provided to you by Check encroachment outside rly station: HC TNN 17 July 2009, 04:56am IST NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Delhi Police and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to inspect the area outside the New Delhi railway station to check encroachment. Justice G S Sasthani directed the ACP traffic and MCD officials to see if people had illegally occupied space outside the Paharganj and Ajmeri Gate entrances of New Delhi railway station, leading to traffic jams and chaos. The court’s order came after a petition claimed that the area near New Delhi railway station was still congested despite the MCD claim that it had recently carried out a major anti-encroachment drive near the station to clear all illegal structures, occupants and squatters from at least two main roads in the area. The court also asked a committee to file a report after carrying out an inspection in the area. Earlier, the petitioner alleged that the encroachment was leading to a lot of chaos and the area was congested. After the complaint, the MCD claimed that its demolition squad removed encroachments. A large number of dhabas, motor mechanic shops and other small makeshift shops that have come up over the years were removed during the drive, claimed the civic agency officials. They said encroachments on footpaths that were causing difficulty to pedestrians were also removed. According to senior MCD officials, encroachment on the roads leading to New Delhi railway station was a major hurdle in allowing free flow of traffic. HC frames guidelines for withdrawal of weapons Asseem Shaikh, TNN 17 July 2009, 04:49am IST PUNE: In a major relief to firearm licence holders, the Bombay high court (HC) has framed guidelines to be observed by the district police and police commissionerates while withdrawing weapons from them during elections or other emergency situations. The guidelines, framed by a division bench of justices Ranjana Desai and R G Ketkar on July 10, come at a time when the assembly elections are round the corner. The HC has directed to set up screening committees at district and commissionerate levels to scrutinise firearm licences once the election schedule is declared. The district magistrate and the superintendent of police will preside over the committee at district level, while the commissioner of police, joint commissioner of police/additional commissioner of police will head the committee at the commissionerate level. The committee will have to scrutinise the cases as per the guidelines of the Election Commission, which has laid down three categories for surrendering of weapons. The categories have specific guidelines for people released on bail; persons having a history of criminal offences and persons involved in rioting at any time, especially during election period. The HC order says that the above categories are only illustrative and not exhaustive. According to the guidelines, the committee will have to complete the exercise of screening licences before the first date of filing nominations. After the committee submits its report, the licensing authority shall issue notice to licence holders, asking them to deposit their firearms before the last date of withdrawing the nominations. The licence holders will have to deposit their firearms within seven days of receiving the notice and obtain a receipt from the licensing authority. The licensing authority has to inform the licence holder that failure to deposit the weapons would result in prosecution, under section 188 of the IPC. The committee’s decision will be final and binding on the licence-holders. The firearms will be returned within a week of the election results being declared. The guidelines were framed following a writ petition filed by Govind alias Bhai Ganesh Tilve of Sindhudurg district. Tilve had moved the HC after he was prosecuted for not surrendering his weapon at the time of Lok Sabha elections. Tilve’s lawyer S R Chitnis contended that his client did not fall under the categories laid down by the Election Commission for surrendering of firearms. The HC has come up with the guidelines as it was of the view that the review of firearm’s policy, conducted by the review committee, was not done as per the directives of the Election Commission. Shanno died of epilepsy, cops tell HC TNN 17 July 2009, 04:56am IST NEW DELHI: Contradicting the stance of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) in Shanno death case, Delhi Police on Thursday informed the Delhi High Court that MCD schoolgirl Shanno Khan had died due to epilepsy. DCPCR, which also filed a status report, had blamed the death on negligence on the part of the school and teacher’s role. Filing a status report before Justice GS Sistani, police counsel Mukta Gupta said that the detailed medical report of Shanno indicated epilepsy as the cause of the girl’s death. However, DCPCR member Shashank Shekhar said: “We have completed our investigations after going through the reports provided by the Delhi Police, LNJP Hospital, Directorate of Education. Our report suggests that Shanno was fine at the time of going to school but her condition worsened when she returned. She was subjected to corporal punishment.” DCPCR has requested the HC to constitute an independent medical board to ascertain the facts of the case. It was alleged that Shanno died due to corporal punishment after she had failed to recite English alphabets on April 17. Manju, the school teacher, who allegedly asked the girl to stand in the sun, was suspended by the authorities. Filing a petition, Shanno’s father Ayub Khan had sought court’s direction for registration of FIR under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC. He said that he would be waiting “patiently” for a favourable judgment. “I am worried about other students. But the case is subjudice and I do not want to comment on it. However, I plan to meet the chief minister soon as she had earlier heard me out patiently and I hope she can help us. The MCD, so far, has not given any money which it had promised as compensation,” said Ayub. HC fiat to DGP over cop union TNN 17 July 2009, 02:30am IST MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday gave another ray of hope to police personnel who have been seeking to form a union to collectively air their grievances for the last 27 years. A division bench of Justices D K Deshmukh and R S Mohite asked the Director General of Police to take a decision on the application to form an association within six months. The state government had dissolved the police union in 1983, following the infamous “police mutiny” in the previous year. The strike by the police force had resulted in large-scale damage to public property. According to petitioner Sakharam Yadawade, though the IPS officers have their own association, police personnel belonging to the category of sepoys, naiks, hawaldars and assistant sub-inspectors do not have a legitimate organisation to put forth their problems. According to advocates Sanjay Udeshi and Mahesh Londhe, the police have a long list of grievances such as 12-hour shifts, nominal refreshment allowance, meagre compensation for not taking weekly offs, entitlement to only 48 days of government holidays (while state government employees have 160 days), no bonus for the lower constabulary, accommodation problems and misuse of police welfare funds. In 1997, an application to form a union was rejected by the DGP, saying that it would lead to indiscipline and would result in a repeat of the 1982 police strike. The judges said that as over two decades had passed since the incident, in the light of changed circumstances, the DCP could look at the demand for an association again. Mangalsutra not a must for Hindu marriage: HC PTI 17 July 2009, 04:41am IST MADURAI: A woman’s 21-year legal quest to prove that she was married bore fruit with a Madras High Court Bench here upholding the validity of her wedding saying it was not mandatory for the groom to tie a ‘mangalsutra’ around the bride’s neck to prove a marriage between Hindus. “It is not mandatory for the groom to tie mangalsutra around the bride’s neck to prove a marriage between Hindus. It was sufficient to prove solemnisation of marriage in any recognised form as per the Hindu Marriage Act section 7,” Justice M M Sundresh said, dismissing an appeal challenging a lower court order upholding the marriage validity. According to the woman, her marriage with Kaladhar was solemnised on December 13, 1987 at a local temple after she became pregnant. The couple exchanged garlands in the presence of a priest. She alleged that her husband harassed her for dowry and deserted her five months later. Her baby also died during delivery, she claimed. HC stays GO on school fee TNN 16 July 2009, 10:58pm IST KANPUR: Giving respite to the management of private schools, the Allahabad High Court has stayed the government order relating to determining of fees to be charged by ICSE, CBSE and other private schools. The order has been issued on a petition filed by UP Vidyalaya Prabandhak Mahasabha (UPVPM). Addressing newspersons, general secretary of UPVPM, Kanpur chapter, Abhishek Chaturvedi said, “The government order said that a committee headed by the DM should be constituted for determining the fees to be charged by the institutions and that the fees determined by the committee would remain in effect for a period of three academic sessions.” “However, we went against the government order and challenged it in the court. This type of order is a clear violation of Act 245 of the Constitution.” The stay on the GO has given a lease of life to the management of various schools who were compelled to revert back to the fees which they used to raise earlier. On HC duty, warrant officer gets a taste of Kharar police treatment Express News Service Posted: Friday , Jul 17, 2009 at 0152 hrs Chandigarh: Not just ordinary citizens, even law officers have to face the “highhandedness” of Kharar police. In a detailed report, a warrant officer appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court has highlighted the harassment meted out to him by the CIA staff when he went to locate a missing man in Kharar. The HC has issued notices to the Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police and Sub-Inspector Gurvinder Singh of the Kharar police station to explain the reason behind such “misconduct”. On July 3, Satish Kumar Wig was appointed warrant officer on a habeas corpus petition filed by Zeenth, a resident of Mohali. The woman had alleged that a few officers of the CIA Staff, Kharar, forcibly took away her husband, Harminder Kumar, from their house. Claiming that Kumar was illegally detained, Zeenth demanded that he be traced. Accompanied by Kewal Krishan, Kumar’s uncle, Wig and Zeenth went to the CIA Staff’s office in Kharar on July 7. “The sentry stopped us at the main gate and, after revealing my identity and the purpose of visit, I asked him to immediately open the gate. At this, he started talking to someone inside. When I asked again, he said they were trying to locate the key. Even after repeated knocks and requests, he did not open the door,” the report of the warrant officer reads. In the mean time, a man, escorted by four to five policemen, came in a vehicle (PNJ-6565). “The door was immediately opened but I was still not allowed in. Later, I was told by Sub-Inspector Gurvinder Singh that the said person was DSP Satinder Pal Singh. After he entered, the main gate was again locked from inside. After some time, the said officer came out and went away in the same vehicle. Only after that was I allowed to enter the premises,” Wig reported. Inside, Sub Inspector Gurvinder Singh checked Wig’s identity card and then allowed Zeenth to look for her husband. Calling out her husband’s name, Zeenth went around the premises whereupon she heard voices coming from the adjoining grounds, separated by a seven-feet-high wall (stated to be the Narcotics Cell). The petitioner stated that it was her husband calling out to her, hearing which Wig rushed outside to go to the adjoining building. But again, he found the main gate of the CIA Staff office closed. “I asked the policemen to quickly open the gate, but once again, the key was apparently missing. Finally, after around five minutes the gate was opened and I noticed that somebody had latched it from outside. We ran into the street towards the gate of the Narcotics Cell and I saw some people struggling to carry a man to a vehicle parked at the door. There was a commotion as the man seemed to be offering resistance. As the petitioner started shouting ‘save my husband, they will kill him’, the vehicle zoomed off, followed by a motorcycle. In the dim streetlight, I tried to note down the registration number of the vehicle, which I believe was HR-05-2358,” Wig stated. HC fines land corporation for denying arrears to ex-employee Express News Service Posted: Friday , Jul 17, 2009 at 0211 hrs Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has slapped a penalty of Rs 50,000 on the Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corporation for denying arrears to a former employee and unnecessarily delaying the payment by indulging in litigation for over 17 years. A Division Bench comprising Justice A K Goel and Justice Daya Chaudhary passed the orders while dismissing the Corporation’s appeal challenging an order passed by a Single Judge Bench that had directed the Corporation to pay arrears to Kanwar Singh, a resident of Sirsa. Kanwar served as a Block Officer with the Corporation from July 23, 1966 to February 18, 1969. His services were terminated in 1969 after a dispute with the Corporation, following which Kanwar challenged his removal in the High Court. In 1978, the Corporation was directed to reinstate Kanwar with continuity of service. The Corporation, however, challenged the orders and its appeal was allowed. It was finally decided that the Corporation will pay the outstanding arrears to Kanwar. A total of Rs 8,93,503 was outstanding on part of the Corporation, of which Rs 2,00,000 had been paid to Kanwar. He moved the High Court for payment of the outstanding amount and the said order was passed by the Single Bench on September 25, 2006. Rather than paying the same, the Corporation moved in an appeal. Dismissing its appeal, the Division Bench on Thursday held that the management (of the corporation) is liable to pay the due amount without taking into account the alleged income during the period of unemployment. Interestingly, this is the same case that saw a dispute arise between Advocate M K Tiwari and Justice Uma Nath Singh (now transferred to Allahabad High Court) after which the Bar had decided to boycott the Court of Justice Uma Nath Singh. Govt to file memo in HC on language row TNN 16 July 2009, 06:50am IST BANGALORE: The state government has decided to submit a memorandum before the high court on Thursday regarding the hearing of contempt of court petitions on language policy in the light of the July 14 stay granted by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has granted stay till July 24 on contempt proceedings against state government officials in HC. R G Nadadur, principal secretary to primary and secondary education department, and other officers are arrayed as parties in the contempt petitions relating to the non-implementation of full Bench verdict on language policy. Bail plea adjourned The high court has adjourned to next week the hearing on bail petition filed by S Manoj Kumar, a consultant with IBM, who is facing trial on charge of murdering his wife Lakshmi on November 11, 2008. Lakshmi was found murdered in their house in Murugeshpalya with chilly powder thrown around the body, three months after their wedding. The police rounded up Manoj Kumar on December 12 who refused to have committed the crime. Police said CCTV images showed that the petitioner had gone out of office and came back at the time of occurrence of crime. Kerala student’s plea dismissed The Karnataka High court has dismissed a petition filed by a student who did his high school and PUC in Kerala and came to court saying he was denied a professional seat even though he had studied classes I-VII in Karnataka. Justice B S Patil dismissed the petition after perusing the guidelines contained in CET brochure which stipulated that a candidate to be eligible only if he had done his SSLC or PUC in Karnataka apart from 7-year study in the state between I standard to II PUC. The petitioner B Binny had studied in Thilak Memorial School in Magadi Road in Bangalore city between 1996-2003 from I standard to VII standard. Thereafter he studied in Kerala. He appeared for the May 7-8 CET. On June 12, the Karnataka Examination Authority ruled that he is not eligible for a professional seat in Karnataka. Govt told to take action A division Bench has directed the state government to take action against the then DC, tahsildar and other revenue officials who were responsible for renewal of the mining lease for Jyothi Brothers in Theertharamapura village in Chikkanayakahalli during 1992-93. The court also pulled up the company for suppressing the fact that they were doing mining in an area where 96% falls under forest area. The court however quashed the demand notice issued by the authorities for the recovery of Rs 38.3 cr from the company and asked the government to reassess the damage. The company had claimed that it had got valid lease right from 1938 in a 100-acre area. COD asked to file report A division bench has directed the COD (Corps of Detectives) authorities to file an investigation report with regard to the allegation of ill-treatment of an under-trial prisoner in Central Prison, Bangalore. One Saira, wife of a prisoner Dinnu, had written a letter to the high court alleging the prison authorities beat up her husband and admitted him to a mental hospital saying he was mentally unsound. The court has treated the letter as a suo motu habeas corpus petition. Garbage still being burnt at Pallikaranai, says HC panel TNN 16 July 2009, 04:27am IST CHENNAI: In a damning report, an expert committee formed by the Madras high court to visit the Pallikaranai marsh and submit a report, has said burning of garbage continued unabated at the marsh and Perungudi despite several court rulings. “The fire in the dumpsite continues despite specific orders of this court,” said the report, which was tabled before the first bench comprising chief justice HL Gokhale and justice K Venkataraman. The bench has already appointed advocate V Karthik as amicus curiae, to assist the court in the matter. The report said the existing method of handling municipal solid waste at Perungudi is not scientific and it violates mandatory provisions of law. Noting that the dumping area is progressively increasing, it said that no source segregation was done. If power generation from waste is considered at the site, the air emission would adversely affect residents in the region, the report cautioned, adding, “if power generation is not considered, and if the stage is only up to manufacture of pellets, the end-use of pellets has to be established.” The available options are neither economical nor viable, it said, adding that the Chennai corporation and other civic bodies in Pallikaranai region must put a system in place to achieve zero waste management project within four years. Citing the case of West Bengal, New Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, the report also wanted the government to enact the Tamil Nadu Throwaway Plastic Articles (Prohibition of Sale, Storage, Distribution and Transport) Bill 2003. On Wednesday, the court asked the Chennai corporation to file its reply by July 29, after the Alandur Municipality stated that it had stopped indiscriminate dumping and burning of garbage at the site. Four ’93 blast convicts move HC over jail terms Shibu Thomas, TNN 16 July 2009, 07:06am IST MUMBAI: Four 1993 Mumbai serial blast convicts have moved the Bombay high court to challenge the decision of the Maharashtra government to keep them in jail for 50 years or till they turn 65. A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Rajesh Ketkar on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of the petitions by two weeks to allow the four to carry out necessary changes in their pleas. The convicts Salim Mira Shaikh alias Salim Kutta, Niyaz Shaikh, Shaikh Ali and Moin Qureshi were held guilty under the now-repealed Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act for their roles in the 1993 serial blasts. A special court sentenced them to life imprisonment. The CBI charged Salim with helping land arms and explosives at Dighi Jetty in Raigad which were later used in the blasts. Niyaz was accused of getting trained in Pakistan and also conducting a recce of the BMC building. Ali was charged with smuggling, packing arms and explosives and recruiting people to help execute the blasts. Moin, who was 17 years old in 1993, was convicted of hurling grenades at the fishermen’s colony in Mahim. They have all spent 14 years in jail. Under the law, once a life convict has completed 14 years in prison, his files are put up before the government for premature release. The state then categorises the convicts according to the gravity of their crimes and sets specific prison terms. In April, following an application by the four blast convicts, the high court asked the state to consider their cases. In June, the state set their prison terms at 50 years or till the four turned 65 years old. The government also said the benefits of remission imprisonment period credited to a prison term for good conduct would not be available to the accused. In their petition, they have said that the 1992 guidelines specify that their prison terms should not be more than 30 years. ‘HC can’t condone I-T dept’s delay in filing appeals’ Shibu Thomas, TNN 16 July 2009, 07:05am IST MUMBAI: The Bombay high court last week dismissed over 1,000 appeals filed by the Income Tax (I-T) department and ruled that it did not have power to condone delays in filing appeals. The ruling will translate into loss of revenue to the tune of hundreds of crores to the I-T department. Under section 260 A of the I-T Act, an order of the the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) should be challenged in the high court within 120 days. Delays in filing appeals within the prescribed time are rife–last Wednesday, around 518 matters were listed before the court for condoning delay, and another 500 matters were heard on Thursday. A division bench of Justices V C Daga and J P Devdhar held that the court did not have the jurisdiction to condone delays committed by the I-T department in filing appeals. Advocate J D Mistry, counsel for Grasim Industries, one of the assessees, pointed to Supreme Court judgments which had held that the HC had no power to condone delays for appeals filed under the Central Excise Act (CEA). Mistry said the provisions relating to the time limits in the CEA and The I-T Act have the same meaning. Advocate J S Saluja opposed this and contended that the provisions were different in both the Acts and the HC could condone delays. The HC, however, did not agree. Last year, the HC, while commenting on the inordinate delay in filing of appeals by the I-T department, had observed that the attitude of the officers was “I will deal with the matter at leisure and my convenience”. One of the most common reasons was that court fees stamps were not readily available, but many times, the reasons for the delay were vague, the court had then said. HC ire forces BMC to re-submit Deonar plan Clara Lewis , TNN 16 July 2009, 07:25am IST MUMBAI: In an effort to save municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak from the fury of the Bombay high court, the civic administration on Wednesday re-submitted to the standing committee the proposal for the partial closure of the Deonar dumping ground. According to the proposal, the dump will be fully closed over the next 25 years. The Rs 4,408 crore proposal had been earlier rejected by the standing committee. It had directed the BMC to re-tender it and return with a fresh proposal within 21 days. Once a proposal is recorded by the standing committee, it can only be re-opened by a standing committee member who was absent when the proposal was rejected. But with the high court breathing down its neck, the administration preferred to break the precedent and re-submit the proposal. The high court has initiated contempt proceedings against Phatak for BMC’s failure to reduce pollution in and around Deonar. In view of the serious health hazard caused by the proximity to the dumping ground, The Smoke Affected Residents’ Association had filed a public interest litigation in the high court in 1996 demanding the closure of the dump and shifting it out of Deonar. On June 7, an angry high court said the court had given numerous opportunities to the civic administration to rectify the situation but it had repeatedly failed. “Prima facie, it appears that apart from taking some superficial steps, the BMC has not made any concrete efforts. This is the last opportunity to the administration and related civic committees to bring about improvements. It is a matter of public health and we will not tolerate any further delay,” reads the high court order. The project for eventual closure of the dump over the next 25 years had been put up before the standing committee earlier but it had summarily rejected it, saying the cost was too high. It had then directed the administration to bring in a new proposal within 21 days. R A Rajeev, additional municipal commissioner, informed the committee that it was not possible to re-tender and submit a new proposal within 21 days. Re-tendering alone would take around eight months. With the proposal being scrapped, the BMC would have to appoint a consultant as the term of the present consultant (ILFS) had expired. Appointment of a consultant was necessary as the project is to be executed under the Jawaharlal National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The consultant’s report would take at least 16 months after which tenders will be invited. “We do not have the time for the procedure,” Rajeev said. The standing committee has agreed to discuss the issue on July 20. State med council polls under HC scanner Shibu Thomas, TNN 16 July 2009, 07:10am IST MUMBAI: Elections to the Maharashtra Medical Council, the watchdog body of the medical profession, that were held after a gap of 10 years have come under the scanner of the Bombay high court. Incidentally, the high court had dissolved the last elections held in 1999 because of electoral malpractice. This time too, a petition has been filed by a city-based urologist challenging the polls held in April 2009, claiming that doctors who contested the election adopted “malpractice and unfair means.” A division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S C Dharmadhikari on Tuesday declined to grant any immediate relief to the petitioner Dr Jaikrishin Lalmalani. Additional government pleader G W Mattos said that the government had already notified the MMC on June 11, 2009: “The petitioner himself had made a representation to the government `alleging’ malpractice but it did not find an iota of truth in the claims.” The court has now allowed the petitioner to make necessary changes in his plea. In 2002, the government had framed rules for conduct during the elections. Fresh elections were held on April 26, 2009. According to the petitioner, there were instances of local associations asking voters to gather at a place and arranging buses to transport them to the nearest polling booth. The petitioner claimed that the Indian Medical Association, the Association of Medical Consultants and the Maharashtra Gazetted Medical Officers Association had blatantly violated various election rules. Shopian rape case: After HC rap, SIT arrests four cops M Saleem Pandit , TNN 16 July 2009, 05:25am IST SRINAGAR: Within hours of Jammu & Kashmir High Court directing police’s Special Investigation Team to arrest four suspended cops, collect their DNA samples and subject them to the naro analysis test in connection with the alleged rape and murder of two Shopian women, the four were arrested on Wednesday. The four — then SP Shopian Javid Iqbal Mattoo, his deputy Rohit Baskot, SHO Shakil Ahmad and SI Gazi Abdul Karim — were suspended on the recommendations of an inquiry commission for destroying the evidence. An FIR was also registered against them. The bodies of the two, Neelofar Jan (22) and Asiya Jan (17), allegedly raped and murdered by security forces, were found near a canal, a day after they went missing from their orchard on May 29. The government initially maintained that the two had drowned, but the inquiry commission later confirmed they were raped and killed. Shopian town has observed a complete shutdown for more than a month now to protest the incident. A division bench of Chief Justice Barin Ghosh and Justice M Yaqub Mir directed the cops to conduct the narco analysis test on the four at the Gujarat Forensic Science Laboratory as the facility wasn’t avaliable in J&K. ‘‘The civilian witnesses, who have deposed before SIT, should also be subjected to the test,’’ the bench said. The SIT is investigating the case. The court wondered as to why the four weren’t arrested and interrogated so far even as the FIR was lodged against them. ‘‘The four should be arrested and produced before the judicial registrar to take their DNA samples. The samples should be matched with the semen found on the victim’ bodies,’’ the court said. The court asked the people of Shopian to call off the 48-day strike to help the investigations. ‘‘We assure them that like the people of the state we’re with them and it would be our collective effort to solve the case and deal with the perpetrators of the heinous crime,’’ the court said. The court had earlier this month ordered exhumation of the bodies of the victims for a fresh post-mortem and collection of DNA samples and directed the SIT to submit its progress report every week. Ensure safety, education for child workers: HC Utkarsh Anand Posted: Thursday , Jul 16, 2009 at 0113 hrs New Delhi: The Delhi High Court, on Wednesday, directed the Government of National Capital Territory and all it concerned departments to “immediately” implement the recommendations of the action plan, comprehensively drafted by the National Commission on Protection of Child Rights for protection and interim care for rescued children. Accepting the report with minor modifications, a Division Bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah noted it was high time that the mandates of a 1997 Supreme Court judgement be followed to prevent any further harm to the children. As per the court’s directive, which has come in pursuant to a PIL filed by Save the Childhood Foundation (Bachpan Bachao Andolan), every child rescued from an unsafe job will receive Rs 20,000 in compensation, which will be recovered from the employer. Removing the bar on disbursement of the compensation, the Bench, also comprising Justice Manmohan, said it was not essential to obtain a conviction order against the employer in order to make him shell out the compensation. “The said amount will be recovered as arrears of land revenue and will be utilised for the educational needs of the rescued child even if the child has subsequently crossed the age of 14 years,” held the court. Fastening several departments like the Delhi Police, Department of Labour, Women and Child Welfare Department, Education department, Health department and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, with the responsibility to prevent child labour and to put in place an effective rescue mechanism, the Bench also called for motivating NGOs to enhance their capacity to accommodate more children and to register more children’s homes in the Capital. Considering a status report submitted by the Child Welfare Department over the limited capacity of the children homes, the court has asked the Labour department to begin implementing the Delhi Action Plan by accommodating, for the time being, about 500 children every month. The Bench also realised that implementation of the action plan could encounter problems and said the departments could approach it in future for amendment or clarification in this regard. The NCT Government has been asked to file the first status report over the execution of the plan on January 13, 2010. The PIL filed through senior counsel H S Phoolka had demanded that all government departments and agencies should work in co-ordination in rescuing child labourers across the city, especially the ones engaged in zari units. The petition had alleged a lack of planning and implementation of the rehabilitation process of the government. Responsibilities under Delhi Action Plan Delhi Police The concerned Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) should participate in the raids by the Action Force. The employers of child labourers should be arrested. The police should treat the liberated children with respect and honour. Department of Labour Ensure continuous active surveillance and immediate action to rescue children. To recover the penalty from the employers. Child labour should be prevented even if it does not fall under the dangerous job category. Care for the liberated child labourers. Child Welfare Department To generate awareness against child labour. Help rescued children return to mainstream education. Education Department To initially set up 250 Alternative Innovate Education Centres in areas of high child labour concentration and/or in the areas having large number of out-of-school children. To ensure that all the children at NRBCs/RBCs are given free mid-day meals. MCD Under its Slum Development Programme, the MCD should enhance the standard of living for all children living in slums. Ensure access to free health check-up and medical care, quality education, recreation, vocational training and community life. MCD schools should provide free and compulsory education to all rescued child labourers without any discrimination. To mentor non-formal education programmes run by NGOs to bring all out-of-school children into the fold of mainstream education. Govt can cancel lease if payments not made: HC TNN 15 July 2009, 11:19pm IST ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has passed an order benefiting state government with crores of rupees by directing the lessees to pay Rs 10,000 per hectare per year for unexpired fishery lease of ponds. Passing this order, Justice S U Khan directed that in case lessees fail to offer Rs 10,000 to the state government all the continuing fishery leases or renewals would stand cancelled. The court passed the order on a bunch of writ petitions after hearing additional advocate general Zafar Naiyer who represented the state government. Disposing of the writ petitions the court directed that in those cases, where leases or renewals of lease already granted have expired, possession of the pond shall positively be taken back by the revenue authorities by August 31, 2009. NCW to probe virginity case, unconvinced by Govt’s report–unconvinced-by-Govt–s-report/489152 Agencies Posted: Tuesday , Jul 14, 2009 at 1449 hrs New Delhi: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has found “unsatisfactory” the report of Madhya Pradesh government into the alleged virginity tests conducted on brides during a state-sponsored mass marriage there and decided to probe into the matter itself. “The report submitted to us by the Shahdol district administration of the state in this matter is not satisfactory,” NCW Chairperson Girija Vyas said outside the Parliament. She said a five-member team of the Commission led by NCW member Yasmin Abrar will now thoroughly study the execution of the scheme. The team will also have two experts a lawyer and a member of Madhya Pradesh Woman Commission. The team will focus on the controversial event of virginity tests and also study the scheme execution. Earlier, NCW taking a suo motu cognizance of the matter had sought an interim report from the MP government after the incident evoked a strong condemnation from non-BJP parties. The issue also had its echo in the Rajya Sabha yesterday where the Congress and the BJP clashed. Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal described such tests as shameful, an insult to women and a throwback to the 18th century. MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, however, denied such tests were carried out saying the one carried out on June 26 was not “virginity test” but just a “procedural medical examination”. Frown for policy of rape compensation CHARU SUDAN KASTURI AND JAYANTH JACOB New Delhi, July 16: Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s alleged comments against Mayavati are unacceptable but the chief minister’s policy of financially compensating rape victims is not enough to tackle the rising crimes against women, women’s activists have said. Joshi, the Uttar Pradesh Congress chief, has been arrested on the charges of violating a woman’s modesty and under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for comments allegedly made at a public rally in Moradabad yesterday. Joshi is accused of saying: “The Dalit women should throw the money back at Mayavati’s face. The money is too little…. When Mayavati gets raped, I will pay her Rs 1 crore,” “If she has made the comments she is accused of having made, it is completely unacceptable. But it is also sad that the ensuing politics has blanketed the issue at hand —the security of women,” Ranjana Kumari of Women Power Connect (WPC) said. Kumari said her recent experiences while working with women in Uttar Pradesh had shown her that rapes and other crimes against women were increasing. “Mayavati was seen as someone who would enforce law and order. But the security situation for women is deteriorating. And compensating victims is no substitute for security,” Kumari said. Syeda Hameed, Planning Commission member in charge of women and children, agreed that compensation was no substitute for security. But the former National Commission for Women (NCW) member, who has campaigned on women’s issues for decades, argued that financial compensation was, however, useful. “Under the 11th Five Year Plan, we have allocated funds for a scheme for compensation to rape victims. The scheme is yet to be launched but I believe financial assistance helps a victim’s rehabilitation process,” Hameed said. The scheme, initially drafted by the NCW in 2005, has been under the government’s consideration for over three years now. Hameed also said it was “not done” to suggest that Mayavati was favouring any community while awarding compensation. “To say that compensation is being given only to Dalit women or Muslim women is not done. One of the things I recall from my experiences at the NCW is the wide abuse of Dalit women… the massive number of rape cases against Dalit women,” Hameed said. CPM leader Brinda Karat too said Joshi’s (alleged) remark was unfortunate. “A woman has made such a comment on a women-sensitive issue. Women leaders should not be making such comments and should be sensitive to the issue of rape,” Karat said. She said “it’s good that Rita” had apologised. “We condemn Joshi’s statement. What happened after that also should not have happened,” CPI leader D. Raja said. Over 50% of crimes against women reported from UP: NCW Himanshi Dhawan, TNN 17 July 2009, 04:04am IST NEW DELHI: UPCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s statement on the dismal state of law and order in Uttar Pradesh may have been in poor taste but it has a ring of truth. According to data, 50% of the complaints registered with the National Commission for Women (NCW) are from UP. Between January 2009 to date, NCW received 8,179 complaints of atrocities against women. Of these, 4,601 complaints are from UP. The commission receives complaints of rape, dowry harassment, sexual harassment, molestation and domestic violence amongst other gender-related crimes. UP tops the list with 4,601 complaints while Delhi is a distant second with 1,100 complaints followed by Rajasthan at 534. Incidentally, the number of complaints in UP has been steadily increasing. In January 2009, the number of cases registered was 572 which nearly doubled to 1,012 in June 2009. July has already recorded 564 cases. According to the ministry of women and child development, crime against women is up by 31%. AIDWA’s Sudha Sundharaman condemned Joshi’s statement and the political sparring between Congress and BSP saying that it trivialised the trauma of a rape victim. “This political upmanship underestimates the trauma that rape victims go through. Instead of these tiffs, the powers that be should address the issue of rehabilitation of rape victims,” she said. Centre for Social Research director Ranjana Kumari said, “The real issue of security and safety of women has got lost. Instead of tightening the law and order machinery and enforcing law effectively, the UP CM is compensating with money. That cannot restore dignity of women. The discourse has become extremely indecent in UP.” The National Crime Records Bureau supports UP’s lawless tag to some extent. Its 2007 report ranked the state second, after Andhra Pradesh in crimes against women. NCW and the WCD ministry have been mulling over a scheme to provide compensation and relief to rape victims. In fact NCW had recently written to the PM asking for the scheme to be looked at as a priority. NHRC issues show cause notice to J&K govt in Anara case STAFF WRITER 14:13 HRS IST New Delhi, July 15 (PTI) Noting that the allegation against former Miss Jammu Anara Gupta of indulging in prostitution was not substantiated during investigation in Jammu and Kashmir, the NHRC has sought the state government to show cause within six weeks why a monetary relief should not be recommended for the “humiliation heaped on her”. “It appears to be a case of persecution…..the allegation (against Anara Gupta) of indulging in prostitution has not been substantiated during investigation by SIT (special investigation team). Even the alleged recovery of porn CD from Anara Gupta is doubtful,” National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) observed.

LEGAL NEWS 15.07.2005

Nari Niketan: HC reserves verdict on abortion

TNN 15 July 2009, 03:39am IST

CHANDIGARH: After consultations and deliberations lasting many weeks, the Punjab and Haryana High Court reserved its verdict regarding the controversial issue of terminating the pregnancy of Nari Niketan rape victim on Tuesday.

Before reserving the order, a special division bench of justices Surya Kant and Augustine Masih heard the arguments forwarded by UT counsel Anupam Gupta and amicus curiae RS Cheema.

Gupta, in his two-hour long concluding submission, said that treating the (mentally-challenged) victim’s opinion as consent for childbirth would just be a travesty, as she did not understand the concept of pregnancy or sexual union. Cheema had stated in his earlier submissions that the victim desired giving birth.

Gupta also said the plea of the amicus curiae that the mentally challenged victim had parenting skills as good as normal was an absolute myth, belied by scientific research.

He presented a Norwegian research paper and asserted that it had been established that serious complications could occur with children, when one of the parents was mentally challenged.

He also said that the victim’s ignorance on vital issues could be understood through the fact that she never said she was raped. Tanu Bedi, who is assisting Cheema in the case, said whatever be the conclusions of scientific research, the victim could not be denied her natural right to motherhood.

As per the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, an abortion can only be allowed till the 20th week of pregnancy. The rape victim?s pregnancy is already in its 19th week. Verdict in the case is likely to come by Monday.





HC puts the ball back in govt’s court

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

HC puts the ball back in govt’s court
Racing Groups Seek Dialogue With CM Over Shifting

Bangalore: The high court ruling that the government is at liberty to take appropriate action on the 95.32 acres of land in Chikkajala in accordance with the law, put the government on the high road.
It may be recalled that following identification of the land, which the government proposed to give to the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) in its effort to shift BTC out of its
present location, the land needed court clearence since it was a tank bed area and was in the transport zone. The state law clearly states that no land in the transport zone can be allotted for any commercial activity.
Now that the court has put the ball back in the government court, directing that it is at liberty to take action in accordance with the law, the government, it is learnt, will need to do re-zoning of the marked area before it allots the land to BTC.
The land at Chikkajala measures 152.02 acres and 56.10 acres of this contains the water body. The government, in its interim application, had made it clear that necessary steps would be taken to protect the water body.
The state had sought a modification of the court’s interim order of August 22, 1995, which directs the authorities not to make any grant of land in tank bed areas, following a PIL filed by Padmashree Zaffer Fatehully. He had sought a direction against the illegal grant of any tank bed lands within the Bangalore Metropolitan Area, in a bid to preserve them, based on recommendations of the N Lakshmana Rau Committee report.
Now that the government is in a position to allot the land to BTC, the racing club is pleased with the progress.
“We will be pleased if it is allotted to us after lifting the restrictions. But we do need time to construct a new course and we will persuade the government to give us at least a three-year extension on the December 31, 2009 deadline,” said Harimohan, steward of the Club.
Meanwhile, it is also learnt that the Karnataka Racehorse Owners’ Association (KROA), Karnataka Trainers’ Association (KTA) and Jockeys’ Association of India (JAI) will submit a memorandum and seek dialogue with the chief minister in their effort to impress upon the CM the problems they face if forced to function out of the Mysore Race Club.
The BTC is not resisting the move to shift out but seeking a three-year extension, the time required to build a new course after allotment of land. But if the government is firm on not providing an extension, the BTC, in a last-ditch effort, will move court for a stay.
The land at Chikkajala contains water body Government will need to do re-zoning of marked area BTC not resisting move to shift out but is seeking a

posted by The Bangalorean @ 7/14/2009 09:58:00 PM







HC stays land acquisition for Vanpic project

TNN 15 July 2009, 03:55am IST

HYDERABAD: Justice N V Ramana of the A P High Court on Tuesday stayed the land acquisition

process pertaining to 24 acres of land in Chinaganjam of Prakasam district.

This acquisition was being taken up for Vanpic port project as part of huge extents of land being allotted and acquired. Responding to two writ petitions which were filed challenging an order issued by the government facilitating the land acquisition for the proposed Vadarevu and Nizampatnam Ports Industrial Corridor Prjoect (VANPIC), the judge made this interim order.

G V Ramana and his wife Padma from Guntur filed these petitions telling the court that their objections to this acquisition were unilaterally rejected by the authorities on June 26, 2009.





HC shows govt contempt stick

TNN 15 July 2009, 03:45am IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka government will face contempt-of-court proceedings if it tries to further postpone elections to the BBMP. Taking serious note of the government’s attempts to delaying tactics under the guise of technical reasons, the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday warned the authorities it would initiate suo motu contempt proceedings if there is any ‘deliberate, violation’ resulting in postponement of BBMP elections.

The two-month deadline given by the court expires on July 31. Elections to the body, are already 33 months behind schedule. The court was unsparing: “You have been seeking time, and we have been granting it. You are using court orders as a shield. On the last occasion, you sought time on account of parliamentary elections. But those elections got over in April. What were you doing since then? You could have issued a notification regarding delimitation of wards with clear 30 days time for filing objections. But you issued the notification with only 10 days time. Apart from this, if wards are redistributed with uneven population — with political motives or with an eye on vote banks — it is a serious lapse.’’ “Why you do this deliberately? What is the use if the revenue spent on this exercise is going waste…? If there is any deliberate… violation, then we would view it seriously and initiate suo motu contempt proceedings against officers responsible,’’ a division Bench headed by Chief Justice P D Dinakaran said.

The Bench posted all BBMP poll-related matters for hearing on July 24.

S Vasudeva, counsel for petitioner B K Venkatesh, said that some of the wards have 40,000 people; others just 19,000. This is beyond 20% prescribed deviation limit. The June 17 notification gave public 12 days to file objections as against 30 days enunciated in the KMC Act. The petitioner had prayed for quashing the June 17 ordinance by which the number of seats in the BBMP had been increased from 150 to 200.




HC dismisses CBI plea in Scarlett case

TNN 15 July 2009, 03:57am IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Tuesday dismissed an appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation against a children’s court order that rejected the CBI’s request to issue a Letter Rogatory for further investigations into the Scarlett Keeling murder case in the UK.

A single

bench of Justice N A Britto however granted the CBI three more months to complete investigations into the British teenager’s murder case.

The CBI had sought a letter of request for investigation/collection of evidence under Section 166-A of the CrPC as the victim’s mother, Fiona Mackeown, and British national Charles Carter were required to be examined following new evidence. Charles Carter is said to have been present at Lui’s shack on the intervening night of February 17 and 18, 2008.

During Tuesday’s hearing, special public prosecutor Carlos Ferreira, appearing on behalf of the CBI, said that both the witnesses have to be examined as they have no plans to return to India. He pointed out that the investigation had reached a crucial stage and that the victim’s mother should be examined in the light of new evidence collected.

Objecting to the application, advocate Ryan Menezes, appearing for alleged accused Samson D’Souza, said that the police had already recorded detailed statements of both the witnesses and that the CBI was only trying to further delay the probe.

It may be recalled that on March 6 this year the children’s court had dismissed the CBI’s application observing that “it is not a fit case to exercise the somewhat extraordinary and discretionary powers of this court to issue the letter of request for carrying 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”.




CM can’t allot sites or houses: HC

TNN 15 July 2009, 03:34am IST

BANGALORE: In a significant verdict, the high court has observed that a chief minister mustn’t issue directions for allotment of sites or houses for those who approach him, are close to him or are his close political supporters.

“Any such effort will lead to misuse of power by a public authority. It is not the chief minister but the cabinet alone which is the state government, and it should deal with such discretionary exercises,” Justice Rammohan Reddy observed in his order. The petition filed by Deepa Sri Tantri and others was dismissed.

The petitioners had challenged the November 18, 2008, beneficiaries list of KHB house allottees. They first moved the then CM H D Kumaraswamy for allotment of sites/houses in Bandemutt and Suryanagar colonies.

But after the HDK government collapsed, the petitioners once again approached him and he issued another letter, which was endorsed by the current CM on September 23, 2008. But the KHA authorities replied there were no vacant houses or sites.

Raj statue PIL adjourned

A division Bench has adjourned a PIL on erecting a statue of Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar near Town Hall on JC Road. The court recorded the BBMP council’s statement that the spot where a pedestal has been put up is not the one that was decided upon to erect the statue. This, as per the April 15, 2006, resolution passed by the erstwhile BMP during a special condolence meeting, two days after Rajkumar’s death.

“Why do you want to create unnecessary controversy? Choose some other place as intended in the resolution,” the Bench observed.

Former mayor B V Putte Gowda, in his PIL, sought a direction to authorities to place the statue beside that of Kittor Rani Chennamma, as per the BBMP council’s decision of April 15, 2006.

“Instead of putting the statue beside Chennamma’s statue, they have erected a pedestal opposite to it on the busy JC Road. This will obscure Rani Chennamma’s statue. Many intellectuals have opposed this. There is a likelihood of an agitation. Even Rajkumar would have said no to such a decision,” he told the court.

The BBMP had passed a resolution in April 2006 for erecting Rajkumar’s statue at a total cost of Rs 27.6 lakh.

Pleas disposed of

The high court has disposed of petitions filed by Ansar Higher Primary School and nearly hundred schools challenging the endorsement issued by authorities rejecting their request to register as English-medium schools.

The court quashed the endorsements and asked them to file fresh applications within a week, and the authorities have been asked to consider them within a four-week period.

The authorities had rejected those applications citing pendency of the special leave petition filed by the state before the apex court over the language issue.




Assets slur on Munda


Ranchi, July 14: Jamshedpur MP Arjun Munda is the latest entrant to the list of former ministers accused of possessing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income.

A petition filed in Jharkhand High Court accuses Munda of amassing wealth in the name of wife Meera Munda and by investing in private companies and acquiring landed property.

Petitioner Rakesh Tiwary, a resident of Ranchi’s Ashok Nagar, has filed an application to include Munda in his PIL already pending before the high court.

Tiwary, while highlighting the disproportionate assets acquired by Munda and wife, demanded a CBI inquiry into the same. The PIL is expected to be taken up for hearing tomorrow.

He added that Munda had suppressed details of his assets and wealth while filing nomination paper to contest for the 2004 and 2009 elections. Munda, while filing for his nomination in 2004 had shown property, cash and bank deposits worth Rs 3,40,595, while in 2009 his deposits were pegged at Rs 78,11,4764, 20 times more than what has been shown in 2004, Tiwary said.

Meanwhile, with both Anosh Ekka and Harinaryan Rai, former ministers in three successive governments between 2005 and 2008, still untraceable, the vigilance department has begun to take steps to declare the duo as “absconders” and move the court for attachment of their moveable and immovable properties under the Criminal Procedure Code.

The move comes after the two did a disappearing act after warrants were issued for their arrest by the vigilance court on June 27. Till date, the duo, accused of owning assets disproportionate to their known sources of incomes, has remained untraceable. Even vigilance raids at Ranchi, Simdega and Deoghar, to track down the two have proved abortive. A bail petition moved by Ekka was rejected by the vigilance court.

Sources, however, hoped that the two missing ministers would soon give themselves up. In addition, work is on to assess the net worth of the ministers.

Sources revealed that a vigilance technical evaluation wing has been deployed to assess the value of their homes at Hinoo and Harmu, Ranchi. Vigilance DIG V.K. Pandey declined to comment though he stressed that they were proceeding with due caution and according to a well laid plan.





‘HC order will delay tree-cutting permissions’

Snehal Sonawane Sawant, TNN 15 July 2009, 02:26am IST

PUNE: The Bombay high court order putting restrictions on the permissions given by the Pune Tree Authority (PTA) to cut trees has evoked a strong reaction from members of the PTA. The members were of the view that the intentions of the court were good, but the new procedure would only delay the process. Moreover, the members have raised doubts over the order as the PTA has statutory powers to give tree-cutting permissions, which can be taken away only after amending the law.

The HC on July 8 issued an order stating that the tree committee should first carry out a survey with the assistance of an expert body and submit its report to the court after which only those trees which were posing danger to the life and property of citizens were to be cut.

“If at all the municipal corporation wants to have a public hearing, it should first publish the report of experts recommending cutting and plantation of trees and thereafter, invite members of the public to have their say in the matter and apply to this court for necessary orders”.

Speaking to TOI, PTA members said they have no objection if the HC wanted external experts to give their views, but the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Preservation of Trees Act, 1975, according to which the PTA is governed, already states that the tree authority should have expert members.

Tasneem Balasinorwala, who is an expert member on the PTA, said that it was good if the HC has asked to form a panel of experts, but it has led to confusion as the PTA itself is supposed to have experts.

“The PTA is governed by the Tree Act, which is applicable to all municipal bodies in the state. So, how can the procedure for Pune be different from other cities since it’s a body formed by law. The procedure should be uniform for all cities. Moreover, we have been demanding to make the system clean and transparent so that citizens don’t feel harassed, but this order will only add to chaos as there will be more levels of communication in the procedure now. It takes us at least one hour to visit a site and we receive 100 applications every month. Will the expert body have time to conduct visits? Moreover, illegal cutting of trees may also increase due to the delay,” Balasinorwala said.

Balasinorwala questioned whether the Tree Authority would remain just for the sake of signatures. “Rather, they should just disband it and form an expert body and this should be done for the entire state. I think the PMC has not put forth its case very well because we have also managed to save trees by working with the administration,” Balasinorwala said.

Another member, Vinayak Tharkude, said the PTA is a statutory body. So, if it does not have a final say in granting of permissions, then the Tree Act needs to be amended. “We follow all procedures laid down by the Act and we are here to take decisions for the benefit of the city and the environment as a whole. In fact, recently, when the University of Pune sought approval for cutting nearly 400 trees, we did not allow that to happen. This shows our concern towards environment,” Tharkude said.

PTA members Medha Kulkarni and Sunita More questioned the need of PTA when another panel and the HC would have a final say in giving permissions for cutting trees. “We conduct surveys and site inspections and seek reports to ensure what really the existing condition was where a tree-cutting permission has been sought. If another panel is going to do the same work again, then what is the need for us to be there,” Kulkarni said.

The court order needs to be challenged as it would hamper the process of granting permissions, said another member Datta Dhankawde.

Similarly, builders, too, are expecting delays in seeking tree-cutting permissions. “It will only mean more bureaucratic hurdles, more paper work, increased delays, more chaos and subsequently an increase in cost of projects. And, ultimately, we will have to pass on the cost to our customers,” Rohit Gera, vice-president, Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India, said.




Green belt constructions: Court summons LDA V-C

Express News Service

Posted: Jul 15, 2009 at 0538 hrs IST

Lucknow The Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court on Tuesday summoned LDA vice-chairman and managing director of UP State Bridge Corporation in a case related to constructions in Lucknow’s green belt area. Hearing a PIL filed by Gomti Nagar Jan Kalyan Samiti, the Bench comprising Justices Pradeep Kant and R R Awasthi issued instructions to both the officials to appear on July 16, the next date of hearing. The PIL accuses the government of laying kharanja road and constructing railway overbridge in Gomti Nagar’s Ujjriaon area. “The said constructions are in violation of High Court order which bars construction activities in the green belt,” said B K Singh, Counsel for the petitioner.

Three held, cops claim they have cracked June 22 theft
With the arrest of three persons, the Lucknow police claimed to have solved a theft case which took place on June 22 in the Bazaar Khala area. Following a tip-off, the police arrested the miscreants from the Kareemganj crossing in Saahadatganj. Three firearms and Rs 1.05 lakh in cash were recovered from their possession. The accused have been identified as Anuj Shukla, Chand and Prashant Awasthi, all residents of Lucknow.





EVMs row: PIL in SC seeks to quash Lok Sabha poll results–PIL-in-SC-seeks-to-quash-Lok-Sabha-poll-results/489211

Posted: Tuesday , Jul 14, 2009 at 2028 hrs New Delhi:

Alleging that electronic voting machines (EVMs) were tampered with, a senior Member of Parliament from Shiv Sena on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court for setting aside the just concluded 15th Lok Sabha elections. In a PIL filed through counsel Nawal K Jha, the five-time Shiv Sena MP Mohan Rawle, who himself lost the polls to Congress candidate Milind Deora from Mumbai south, claimed that the election process in the entire country was vitiated and pleaded that the ballot box system be restored. “It is also prayed that the 15th General Elections of Lok Sabha, specifically the election of south Mumbai Parliamentary constituency, may be set aside as the same have been held through defective, incredible, untrustworthy and unreliable electronic voting machines,” the petition stated.

In support of his plea, Rawle cited statements from various political parties like BJP, CPM, TDP, Samajwadi Party, RJD and LJP who expressed their view for reviving the ballot box systems as the EVMs were vulnerable to “tampering.” Quoting extensively various research papers and media reports from across the world, the former MP submitted that even in advanced countries like the US, authorites there have discarded EVMs as they were vulnerable for tampering and reverted to the traditional ballot box system.





Charges filed against Varun for anti-Muslim speeches


July 15th, 2009

LUCKNOW – The Uttar Pradesh police Wednesday filed charges against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Varun Gandhi for the alleged hate speeches he made in Pilibhit during the Lok Sabha poll campaign.

Gandhi has been asked to appear before Pilibhit’s chief judicial magistrate Aug 17.

Three criminal cases are registered against Gandhi for making anti-Muslim remarks during the election campaign in Pilibhit in March.

“A charge sheet of nearly 175 pages was prepared after taking statements of nearly three dozen eyewitnesses,” additional superintendent of police M.L. Verma told IANS.

“It (the charge sheet) was submitted in the court of Pilibhit’s chief judicial magistrate,” Verma said.

The first criminal case was registered March 17 after he allegedly made anti-Muslim speech at a public rally in Barkhera village of Pilibhit district March 8.

The second case was registered over the same incident after the Election Commission took serious note of the speech and even suggested to the BJP to reconsider Gandhi’s candidature.

Another speech by Gandhi at Desh Nagar town March 7, which was reported later, prompted police to file a third case against the BJP leader March 19.

A total of six FIRs have been filed against Gandhi, including one under section 307 (attempt to murder) for the violence outside the Pilibhit jail during his surrender.

The Uttar Pradesh government had even slapped the stringent National Security Act (NSA) against Gandhi. But it was later revoked.




Madras HC halts Daiichi’s open offer for Zenotech


Press Trust of India / Mumbai July 15, 2009, 12:26 IST

Zenotech Laboratories today said the Madras High Court has ordered Japanese drug firm Daiichi Sankyo not to go ahead with the planned open offer for an additional 20 per cent stake in the pharma firm.     

 “By its order, the Hon’ble Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) has granted an interim injunction in connection with the offer (for an additional 20 per cent),” following complaints received from its minority stakeholders, Zenotech said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.     

Earlier in February, Daiichi Sankyo had announced it would launch an open offer for Zenotech to acquire 68.85 lakh shares or a 20 per cent stake.     

Daiichi had said it would pay up to Rs 78.23 crore, at Rs 113.62 a share, to Zenotech shareholders for the stake in the open offer, which was scheduled to begin on July 15 and close on August 3.     

However, the offer ran into controversy as the pharma firm complained to SEBI against Daiichi for allegedly not honouring a commitment to make the offer at Rs 160 per share.     

“In view of the receipt of the order before July 15, 2009, the shareholders of the Target Company (Zenotech) are requested to note that the Offer will not open as on July 15, 2009,” the filing added.

The shareholders are hereby advised not to tender any shares held by them and no shares will be accepted until an announcement is made in respect of the revised schedule of activities for the offer, the filing added.     

Ranbaxy picked up a 38 per cent stake in Zenotech, an affiliate of Ranbaxy, taking its shareholding in the Hyderabad-based firm to 45 per cent.     

Post the share purchase agreement between Daiichi and Ranbaxy in June 2008, it was mandatory for the Japanese firm to make an open offer to Zenotech.     

Shares of Zenotech were trading at Rs 107.10, up 1.61 per cent on the BSE today.





HC stays investigation against financier

TNN 15 July 2009, 12:54am IST

Ahmedabad : Gujarat high court on Monday ordered a stay on the investigation against money lender Ramesh Desai, who is accused of abetting the suicide of Avnish Patel last month. Patel had killed his mother, wife and a son before committing suicide in his house in Pritamnagar. He left behind a note naming his persecutors, including Desai.

The city police booked Desai, accusing him of pressurizing Patel. He has been booked under Section 306, 107 and 114 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Desai has remained at large evading police, and approached HC to get the police complaint against him quashed.

During the hearing, Desai’s counsel Krishnakant Vakharia argued that there is prima facie no case against the accused and the investigating agency had booked him only to harass him. Justice H N Devani sought explanation from state government asking for a reply by August 4. Till then, she has stayed police investigation into the case.




HC directive on encroachments at Ambwara village

TNN 15 July 2009, 05:29am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Tuesday directed the district magistrate and deputy collector of land reforms, Muzaffarpur, and circle officers of Saraiya and Sahebganj circles to look into the grievances made in a PIL regarding encroachments at the birth place of Amrapali, the classical dancer of ancient Licchvi republic, in accordance with law.

A division bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Shivakirti Singh and Justice Anjana Prakash, added that in case there is encroachment in the alleged areas, the encroachment should be removed within six months.

In his PIL, Upendra Kumar Chaudhary submitted that there is encroachment at Ambwara village in Saraiya circle, the birth place of Amrapali, which should be removed and an international Buddhist tourist centre be developed there. He also sought removal of encroachments from a highway, which should be developed as a Buddha Road in Sahebganj circle.

Boundary wall: The same bench directed the railways and state government to construct boundary wall around Bhagalpur Junction premises from where encroachments had recently been removed. The order was passed on a PIL.




No need for everyone to deposit arms before polls: HC

The Bombay High Court has made it clear that authorities cannot issue a blanket order asking every citizen to deposit his/her licensed weapon with the police prior to the elections. The order, asking a person to deposit arms, can be issued by the licensing authority (police in most cases) only after examining the case individually by a screening committee, court has said in its order.

The petitions filed by Govind Tilve had taken exception to Sindhudurg district magistrate’s general order asking all licence-holders to deposit their arms in April this year, before the Lok Sabha elections.

Division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Rajesh Ketkar however held that such an order is not proper. “A law-abiding citizen to whom licence is issued for his safety may take an order to surrender as an affront to his dignity and status,” the judges said in their judgment.

The election commission, in 1996, had issued a circular to government authorities, asking them to collect arms prior to election. But as the High Court noted, this order required district magistrates/police officers to first check every weapon holder’s antecedents. The notice to surrender arms till the elections get over was to be issued only if found necessary in an individual case. 

The High Court noted that in an earlier case, government had been asked to form a screening committee for this purpose.

The court has now framed guidelines, which say that a screening committee “should be in place” prior to every election. In districts, the District magistrate and superintendent of police would be its members.

In cities, police commissioner and joint police commissioners would be its members.

The committee will shortlist the licence-holders who have criminal antecedents, or who have been convicted, or who are out on bail. The screening committee will examine such persons before filing of nominations for the elections begins. Once police receive report of such screenings, they have to issue notice to the concerned person, asking him to deposit his weapon.

The person must deposit the weapon within seven days, failing which he could be prosecuted under section 188 of IPC (disobeying public servant’s order).

The authorities must take good care of the weapons deposited and should return it to the owner within one week of declaration of results.





Try tainted armymen in criminal court: HC

PTI 15 July 2009, 06:00pm IST

MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench has held that the armed forces personnel accused of committing murder, rape and other such crimes could be tried in a criminal court and not necessarily through court martial.

The court’s observation came while dismissing a revision petition filed by a Lance Havildar accused of killing his wife while on leave, challenging the order of a Magistrate who refused to transfer the case to an Army court.

Justice A Selvam in his order said both the criminal court as well as the Army courts enjoyed concurrent jurisdiction to try criminal offences.

The petitioner was accused of killing his wife on Aug 25 last year during his visit to Usilampatti near here on leave.

The judge said that as per Section 70 of the Army Act, a person accused of murder, culpable homicide or rape should not be tried through court martial unless the offence had been committed while he was in active service or at any place outside the country or at a frontier post.

The petitioner had claimed that he should be tried only through a court martial because casual leave comes within the purview of “active service” as held by the Supreme Court in 1995.

Justice Selvam agreed that a soldier on casual leave could be considered to be in active service. However, he said that neither Army act nor the code of criminal procedure prevented a criminal court from conducting trial against servicemen.




Shopian case: HC asks SIT to arrest 4 suspended cops

PTI 15 July 2009, 03:35pm IST

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday directed the special investigating team probing the alleged rape and murder of two women in Shopian to arrest and produce the four suspended police officers in the court and get their blood samples.

The division bench of the court comprising Chief Justice Barin Gosh and Justice Mohammad Yaqub Mir gave the direction on a PIL filed by Kashmir High Court Bar Association.

Besides directing the SIT to get the blood samples of the four officers in presence of the court registrar, it ordered that no relief including bail should be granted by any court to these four suspended police officers and all such requests be sent to the high court.

It was not immediately clear why the court had asked for the blood samples. The detailed order was yet to be made available.

The court also requested the Central government to provide facilities for narco analysis of the four police officers.

Justice Gosh also appealed to the people of Shopian to end the strike and cooperate with the investigating team.

The four police officers including the then SP Shopian Javid Iqbal Mattoo and his deputy Rohit Baskotra were suspended on June 22, a day after the one-man judicial commission that probed the case submitted an interim report to the government.





Kasab says he wants CD of terror footage

Kartikeya, TNN 15 July 2009, 02:53am IST

MUMBAI: As the 26/11 court’s proceedings were drawing to a close on Tuesday, Pakistani gunman Ajmal Amir Kasab said that he wanted a CD of CCTV footage that is being used as evidence against him in the trial.

His demand made the judge wonder how he would ever see the footage since he is currently in custody at Arthur Road jail.

Copies of CCTV footage, which shows gunmen going on rampage in various parts of the city, have been given to Kasab’s lawyer Abbas Kazmi. The footage has also been played in court during the proceedings when Kasab had an opportunity to see it.

Earlier in the day, special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam examined six witnesses and the court functioned despite the heavy downpour.




Court reserves Padamsinh bail plea

TNN 15 July 2009, 02:58am IST

Additional sessions judge of Alibaug sessions court, Arvind Kale, has reserved the order on the bail application of NCP MP Padamsinh Patil, an accused in the Pawanraje Nimbalkar murder case.

The court will deliver the order on July 18. The defence argued that the evidence against Patil is weak while the prosecution contended that they have enough material against Patil.





Haryana babus apologise to SC, release water

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN 15 July 2009, 04:47am IST

NEW DELHI: Two Haryana senior bureaucrats on Tuesday tendered an unconditional apology to the Supreme Court after being summoned to explain why they dithered in implementing its nine-year-old order directing release of 125 cusecs of water to Delhi from the Bhakra dam.

Though the water had been released as per the SC’s order, the two officials — principal irrigation secretary R N Parashar and member of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) — through senior advocate Vinod Bobde tendered unqualified apology to the court. The court accepted their apology and closed the matter.

SC had earlier threatened the Haryana government with contempt action for not implementing its May 10, 2000, directive to forthwith release 125 cusecs of water to the Nangloi treatment plant.

The Delhi Jal Board had moved a contempt plea saying: “Subterfuge adopted by the Haryana government unmistakably establishes that it has committed a serious fraud on the court itself thereby obstructing the course of justice and bringing judicial institution into disrepute.”

It had said that right from May 18, 2000, BBMB had been releasing 125 cusecs of water meant for Delhi. “However, Haryana did not carry the same in the canal despite repeated requests and as a result Delhi’s Nangloi Water Treatment Plant failed to get the requisite water,” it had alleged.





HC upholds plastic bag ban

TNN 15 July 2009, 04:48am IST

NEW DELHI: Making it clear that banning the use of plastic bags in certain locations of capital does not prohibit the manufacturer to produce plastic bags, the High Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea of plastic manufacturers challenging the Delhi government’s notification on the ban.

Upholding the government notification banning use of plastic bags in specified areas of the capital, a division bench of justice Madan B Lokur and justice A K Pathak observed: “Merely because some commercial interests of the petitioners are diluted does not mean that there is no public interest in issuing the impugned notification. We find no good reason to strike down the notification.”

The All India Plastic Manufacturers’ Association had approached the HC, seeking its direction to quash the notification on the ground that they were not consulted before issuing it and the ban would hamper their business interest.

The counsel for the petitioners had contended that the business of the petitioners had come to a standstill because of the notification and termed it an arbitrary measure, violating their fundamental right to trade and business.

Not agreeing with the petitioners contention, the HC bench noted: “We are unable to understand how this is possible. The manufacturing of plastic bags has not been prohibited by the respondents. At best, the manufacturing activity of the petitioners would have been reduced or their quantum of sales would have decreased but that is not sufficient to invalidate the impugned notification.”

The HC said all that the ban sought to achieve was a prohibition on the use, sale and storage of plastic bags in certain locations within Delhi. Again, it was not as if there was a blanket ban on the use, sale or storage of all kinds of plastic bags, it stated.

“It is clear that the limitation on the sale, use and storage of plastic bags in certain areas in Delhi has been laid down keeping in view the problem of solid waste management, particularly of plastic bags, which choke drains and enter the food chain thereby potentially causing health risks,” the HC bench noted.

The Delhi government, on January 7, had banned the use of plastic bags in shopping malls, five star hotels, restaurants, dairies, fruits and vegetable outlets under the Environment Protection Act. The ban had followed the Delhi High Court’s August 7, 2008 order based on the Justice Chopra committee report.





SHRC raids police station, ‘frees’ women, children

TNN 15 July 2009, 03:39am IST

BANGALORE: A team from the the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) raided Varthur police station on Tuesday morning and freed five women and 10 children who had been picked up in connection with a dacoity case.

Following a complaint by the South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM), the SHRC team comprising member Parthasarathy and Justice Raddi visited the police station, where four men were supposed to have been detained for interrogation in connection with a dacoity. The team found five women and 10 children in a room on the first floor.

The police said the women and children had come to visit their relatives, the four persons they were interrogating. The SHRC team asked for the women and children to be sent home. The police had neither registered a case nor made any diary entry.

The four men, from Bihar and West Bengal, are said to be part of a nine-member gang. They work as construction labourers near Whitefield.




State gets SC reprieve

TNN 15 July 2009, 03:37am IST

BANGALORE: The state government, which was facing contempt proceedings on the medium of instruction issue in primary schools, heaved a sigh of relief on Tuesday when it got temporary relief after the Supreme Court stayed further proceedings on contempt proceedings.

The Bench, headed by the Chief Justice of India Justice K G Balakrishnan stayed the nine contempt petitions pending before the Karnataka High Court.

The high court had refused to consider the state government’s plea challenging the July 2, 2008 verdict of the full Bench. The government had sought time till July 21, when the Special Leave Petition was expected to come up for hearing before the apex court.

The principal secretary, primary and secondary education, R G Nadadur, said the SLP was filed against the full Bench verdict of July 2008, which will come for hearing on July 21. The second SLP, filed against the order of July 3, 2009, in the contempt petition. This was mentioned in the Supreme Court and a stay was granted till July 24. “We’ll have to see what will be the verdict for the first as well as second SLP,” he added.


July 2, 2008: The full Bench of the Karnataka High Court headed by Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph and comprising Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N Kumar termed the Karnataka government’s 1994 order making Kannada the compulsory medium of instruction in primary schools as unconstitutional and ruled that parents had the freedom to choose the language for their wards. “If parents want their children to have primary education in English, they are not committing any crime. It’s not illegal or opposed to public policy. The choice of medium of instruction is left to parents and children,” the order said.

July 3, 2009: The high court came down heavily on the state government for not complying with the full Bench order. The court also warned of contempt proceedings if it doesn’t comply within the stipulated time. The Bench warned that it would initiate contempt proceedings against the officials named by the petitioners – KUSMA, Rajajinagar Education Society and others – in their contempt petitions. The government filed another SLP which was to be heard on July 14. The Supreme Court stayed the order.

July 13: On Monday, the Karnataka government got two days breathing space with the Karnataka High Court adjourning the hearing on a batch of contempt petitions. The managements had referred to the non-compliance of orders emanating from the July 2, 2008 verdict of full Bench on language policy.





High court stays CAT order reinstating IPS officer

TNN 14 July 2009, 10:59pm IST

ALLAHABAD: A division bench of the Allahabad High Court, on Tuesday, stayed the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Allahabad reinstating a senior IPS officer of the state, Ramendra Vikram Singh. The state government had challenged the CAT order which had set aside the suspension of Singh, passed by the state government, and directed for his reinstatement in service.

The bench comprising Justices Amitava Lala and Shishir Kumar while passing the stay order asked the counsel appearing for the IPS officer to file a reply in this case. The court fixed July 23 for next hearing. The court passed the order on a writ filed by the UP government challenging the CAT order.

The state government on April 4, 2008 had suspended senior IPS officer Ramendra Vikram Singh on the grounds that he was not cooperating with the investigating officer in connection with a case registered against the former in the police recruitment scam case. Delaying investigations and disobedience were other charges levelled against Singh for suspension.

The government had served a chargesheet on Singh in June 2008. The suspension was challenged in CAT by Singh and a bench presided over by Justice AK Yog had set aside the suspension order at the initial stage, without calling for the counter-affidavit from the state.

Challenging the CAT order, it was argued by additional advocate general SG Hasnain that CAT had committed gross illegality while deciding the case and setting aside the suspension order, without calling for the counter-affidavit from the state, merely on the concession given by the counsel appearing for the state.





HC to hear Nithari case on July 21

TNN 14 July 2009, 10:58pm IST

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court will hear the Nithari case on July 21 next. The court is hearing an appeal filed by the two accused, Maninder Singh Pandher and Surendra Koli, who have been awarded capital punishment by the special judge (anti-corruption) Ghaziabad.

The appeals against conviction had been filed by both the accused seeking their acquittal in the sensational Nithari case. This order was passed by Justices Imtiyaz Murtaza and K N Pandey.




Life sentence to three for committing murder

TNN 15 July 2009, 05:51am IST

KANPUR: Additional district and sessions judge, Kanpur Dehat, Badam Singh convicted three persons on Tuesday for committing a murder and sentenced them for life imprisonment and fined Rs 5,000 on each.

The sentenced persons were identified as Ganga Ram, Nanhu and Suraj Nai, all residents of Makarandpur village under Shivali police circle. Land dispute was stated to be the reason behind the murder.

One of the accused Nanhu is the brother of Charan Singh, who was murdered. On September 27, 2006, Nanhu took Charan Singh at Suraj Nai’s house on the pretext of a party. There they consumed liquor. When Charan Singh lost his senses, Ganga Ram strangulated him while Nanhu hit several blows with the help of a sharp-edged weapon. Charan Singh died on the spot.

In another judgment, additional district and sessions judge Ghanshyam Pathak convicted one Brij Lal, a resident of Khyora in Nawabganj, for an attempt to commit murder and sentenced him for seven years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 14,000.

Thrashed: A lawyer thrashed a accused named as Manoj in the court of chief metropolitan magistrate in the afternoon when he was standing in the box and waiting for the presiding officer. The lawyer hurled a shoe to hit Manoj, who responded in same way. The annoyed lawyer slapped Manoj’s sister who was there as pairokar.

The cops took the undertrial in their custody and sent him to the lock-up. The incident took place when police produced Manoj in the court. Manoj was facing charges of theft.




Lawyers on strike put in the dock by Judge

TNN 15 July 2009, 05:50am IST

KANPUR: Lawyers had to face an awkward situation on Tuesday in SC/ST court when the presiding Judge caught them on the wrong foot. The presiding Judge, S K Pandey asked the advocates present in his court that if they were willing to argue their bail application then they had to appear in routine legal proceedings in his court otherwise he would not hear the bails as there was a call of strike by advocates.

The lawyers association had given a call of strike to lodge the protest against the cane-charge on advocates in Gonda recently. Kanpur Bar Association had supported the call. Generally, advocates appear in hearing of bail applications which are heard in the morning and thereafter, they stop work saying that they are on strike. Hearing of session bails were fixed today in the court of SC/ST Act therefore, the advocates had assembled on the spot.

The presiding Judge’s condition put them in a fix. Later, they submitted that Wednesday be fixed as the next date for hearing of their bail applications.




5-yr course in PU’s law college soon

B K Mishra, TNN 15 July 2009, 05:18am IST

PATNA: Patna University (PU) has decided to introduce a five-year integrated law course soon. Patna Law College, which celebrated its centenary recently, will conduct the course.

PU, at its academic council meeting held on Tuesday under the chairmanship of VC Shyam Lal, also decided to constitute a new `courses committee’ for screening the proposals for new courses. The demand for new courses would be placed before the academic council only after their clearance from the courses committee.

The academic council approved the new guidelines for paid research scholars of the university which stipulate daily attendance and a minimum of five hours’ stay in their respective departments. It further decided to introduce MA course in women’s studies. Presently the history department conducts a PG diploma course in women’s studies.

A resolution moved by Rajiv Ranjan Prasad for providing for a scheme of result improvement in post-graduation Part I examination was also accepted in principle by the academic council. Presently, this facility is available only for Part II students. B N College was allowed to introduce six-month certificate course in functional English. The academic council also gave its nod to the government proposal for training school teachers in functional English at B N College.





2 sentenced to 4 years RI

TNN 15 July 2009, 01:38am IST

PUNE: Additional sessions judge P R Bora on Tuesday sentenced two men to four years’ rigorous imprisonment for causing the death of Bhika Mukane of Khed.

The men are Gautam Ganpat Mukane and Jaitu Chindu alias Dunda Borkar, both residents of Parsul village in Khed.

The duo were further sentenced to six months’ rigorous imprisonment for causing grievous hurt to Bhika.

A third suspect, Dunda alias Chindu Eknath, was acquitted for lack of evidence.

According to the prosecution, Mukane and Bokar had severely beaten up Bhika for eating an eaglet bird caught by them at Bothawadi river on November 19, 2007.

The accused dragged Bhika upto a distance of 20 feet from his house after he refused to compensate them. Bhika succumbed to his injuries.

The Khed police had arrested the trio on charges of murder on a complaint registered by Bhika’s wife Laxmi.

The trio were arrested on March 10, 2008.

Additional public prosecutor D Y Jadhav examined seven witnesses in order to prove the guilt of the accused. However, at the time of judgement, Borkar claimed the benefit of the Juvenile Justice Act as he was a minor at the time of incident.

The Sassoon general hospital conducted an ossification test on Borkar to determine his age and submitted a report to the court saying that his age was between 25 and 40 years.

The court found the accused guilty of committing an offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under section 304 part II of the Indian Penal Code.




Sagar Sahani murder case: Court rejects Modha’s bail plea

TNN 15 July 2009, 02:17am IST

PUNE: Special judge S S Ghadge on Tuesday rejected the bail application of Jitendra Modha of Pimpri in the sensational murder case of Sagar Satinder Sahani.

The Crime Branch, Pune, had arrested Modha for kidnapping Sagar, son of a businessman in Pimpri.

On August 14, 2005, Sagar visited Hotel Prachi near his father’s car accessories shop at Nashik Phata, for getting some food packed. After he left the hotel, Modha, who owns the hotel, signalled his brother to kidnap Sagar. Nitin and three others then intercepted Sagar’s car (a Santro) and kidnapped him on the night of August 14, 2005.

Sagar was murdered on August 24, a day after the family paid the Rs 15 lakh as ransom money in Mumbai, through hawala channels after negotiating with Dubai-based gangster Aabid Ali.

On receiving the money, Modha and others left for Nashik on August 24 morning. As per the original plan, Sagar was to be released, but Nitin decided to kill Sagar fearing he would identify him. The gang Sagar’s mutilated body near Nana Punda village on the outskirts of Vapi.

The gang then returned to Vadodara, where Nitin received the ransom money and paid Rs 50,000 to each of the gang members, who dispersed to different parts of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Sagar’s body was found by the police on August 26.

When the bail application came up for hearing, special public prosecutor Vikas Shah had placed his reliance on the statements given by seven witnesses who had described how Modha and others had kidnapped Sagar. Shah argued that there was direct evidence against Modha and prayed to reject his bail application as he was involved in a serious crime.




HC paves way for a greener Pune

Snehal Sonawane Sawant, TNN 15 July 2009, 02:17am IST

PUNE: In a ruling which will have far-reaching impact on protecting Pune’s green cover, the Bombay High Court has recently imposed a series of restrictions to prevent indiscriminate chopping of trees in the city. The court has also directed the Pune Tree Authority (PTA) to seek its clearance to the report on the tree cutting permissions’ issued by the PTA and an expert body.

“We are required to pass these directions in the interest of maintaining the ecological balance and taking into consideration the impact it will have on the environment within and beyond Pune urban agglomeration if trees are allowed to be felled indiscriminately,” a two-member bench comprising justice J N Patel and justice Mridula Bhatkar observed on July 8.

On July 9, the TOI had published an exclusive report on the HC’s order which makes it mandatory for the PTA to seek the recommendation of an expert body’ before clearing applications for cutting trees. The HC order added that, after seeking recommendation of the experts, a public hearing must be invited and the court must be applied to for necessary orders.

The HC order says: “This court had already passed a blanket order injuncting the municipal commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation, from felling any tree except with the permission of this court. In the said order we have made it clear that the tree authority should first carry out a survey with the assistance of an expert body and submit its report to this court and then only those trees (which are dangerous for the life and property and causing obstruction to the traffic, sewage, service line drains) are to be cut. We make it clear that the PMC would not give permission to any private builder/charitable trust/institution or body of persons/individuals for cutting trees on the recommendation of tree authority if the trees otherwise do not fall in any category under the tree act and as specified by us.”

The court further states that it expects the municipal corporation to abide by its orders passed from time to time if it decides to fell trees. “If at all they want to have a public hearing in the matter, they should first publish the report of the experts recommending cutting and plantation of trees and thereafter invite the public to have their say in the matter and apply to this court for necessary orders”.

On May 6, the high court had passed an interim order restraining the PMC from cutting trees without its permission. The order had come during the hearing of a public interest litigation filed by Pune-based environmentalist Deepak Balkrishna Vahikar regarding felling of 1,522 trees by the civic body. The court then said: “It is the primary duty of the municipal corporation to protect the environmental and ecological balance by planting more trees rather than cutting them, which has adversely affected the climate of the city of Pune.”

Following the order, the PMC had filed an civil application (CA) before the HC requesting it to allow cutting of dangerous trees in view of the monsoon. In response to the CA, the court said in its July 8 order that the PMC must abide by the orders passed by it from time to time to maintain the ecological balance of Pune.




Court approves narco test on Chandni killers

14 July 2009, 10:49pm IST

JUNAGADH: Senior civil judge and third judicial magistrate (class I) R G Vekariya granted permission for narco test on Mohan Hamir Gohil and Mahesh alias Bhado Chauhan accused in the sensational Datar Hill rape-cum-murder case of 2007.

Mohan and Mahesh were caught from Borivali in Mumbai on May 30, two years after they raped and murdered Chandni Vadia and also raped her friend at the foothills of Datar Hills in 2007. They are presently lodged in Porbandar jail. The duo will be taken for narco analysis test as soon as doctors at Gandhinagar Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) allot dates for their examination, official sources said.

Police inspector B G Limbasiya, who is investigating the case said, “The duo has confessed to the crimes. However, we still have to take possession of the murder weapon. We also need clothes that they had worn on the day of the incident for possible blood stains. Police need to know where the duo was during the two-year period from the day of the crime on May 13, 2007 and May 30, 2009, till they were caught. We need answers to questions like, “who sheltered them”, “who aided them financially” and “which other crimes they committed when they were on-the-run.”

“These were the grounds on which the permission for narco analysis test was sought,” he added.

Incidentally, according to a source in the court, Judge Vekariya is the same judge who had for the first time in the history of Indian judiciary given permission for narco test of a woman gangster Santokben Jadeja alias Godmother. There were reports that Santokben had allegedly sheltered the duo in the initial period of their run.

Source: Sandesh




CVC complaint against ex-CJI

There seems to be a contradiction in the reply of the Union law minister to the Central Vigilance Commission’s complaint against a former Chief Justice of India..


Tue, Jul 14, 2009 10:29:10 IST

HERE SEEMS to be a contradiction in the reply of the Union law minister to the Central Vigilance Commission’s complaint against a former Chief Justice of India. On the one hand, he stated that there is no mechanism in the Constitution for taking action against a retired judge of the Supreme Court. On the other hand, it stated that the complaint against the retired Chief Justice of India was being looked into by concerned agencies. In response to an RTI petition, the department of justice has stated that judges do not enjoy immunity after retirement.

Interestingly, the department of justice has not been able to respond to a nine-month-old RTI petition seeking information on the pensions of retired judges during the enquiry being conducted into cases of corruption and misconduct of government employees. After all, judges are also human beings, and are picked from the same society which has both honest and dishonest persons.

The department of justice could not reveal whether any action had been taken on my submissions addressed to the then President of India on comments made about a case involving my family in the retirement-eve press conference addressed by the outgoing Chief Justice of India. The citizens of India should no longer be made to put up with the misconduct and corruption of those seated in the higher judiciary.





Right to intimidate?

Posted by lawreports on July 14, 2009

By Ashok Kapur in The Statesman ,New Delhi

Parliament some time ago enacted the Right To Information (RTI) Act, 2005. The express objective is to ensure greater transparency in the functioning of the government and to make it “accountable to the governed”. The Act empowers the citizen to obtain information from public authorities under the control of the executive so that he can be better equipped to assess their functioning and safeguard his interests. This was eminently desirable. Those who scripted the world’s first written Constitution – that of the USA ~ had stipulated that a well-informed citizenry is the foundation of democracy.

There can be no quarrel with such a piece of legislation. The Supreme Court had laid its foundation in 1995 when it observed that there can be no meaningful democracy until all citizens have a right to participate in the affairs of the polity. And they can do so once they are well informed about all sides of the various issues in the public domain. The court had declared the right to information as a fundamental right, as if to set its seal on the issue in advance.

The statute, as framed and enacted by Parliament, suffers from a serious drawback. Under the guise of making the government accountable to the citizens at large, Parliament has overreached itself by extending the Act to cover the judiciary as well, including the Supreme Court. This will seriously undermine the functioning of the independent judiciary, which, ironically enough, is the last resort of a citizen whose rights may be threatened by the executive. Indeed, the Right To Information Act has the potential of intimidating the venerated judiciary.

Trinity of democracy

Modern Constitutions are framed on the fundamental premise that the state is run by three co-equal wings ~ the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. In the actual working of the state, the three wings ~ the holy trinity of democracy ~ are independent of one another. Such a scheme was implicit in our Constitution. In 1973, it was made explicit by the Supreme Court in the celebrated case of Keshvananda Bharati. The separation of powers was declared to be a ‘basic feature’ of the Constitution. Hence immutable, even beyond the reach of the seemingly ‘omnipotent’ Parliament.

The Act is enforced through a Central Information Commission covering the Union government and its counterparts in the states. The commissions are constituted by the executive both at the Centre and in the states. These comprise the members of the executive as well as private citizens who may or may not have any knowledge or experience of the actual working of the state under the Constitution and the delicate balance between its various organs. One of the main qualifications prescribed for the members of these Commissions is “eminence in public life… and experience in social service.”

The main qualification prescribed is conveniently, if not dubiously, vague. “Eminence” cannot be defined in law. Similar is the case with “social service.” Crucial legislation impinging on the hallowed institution of the judiciary ought not to have been drafted in such a cavalier fashion. Such omnibus and ambiguous expressions have the potential of endless mischief in the hands of a venal executive. Theoretically, all and sundry can be appointed to these commissions, which could, in effect, slip in the notorious ‘spoils system’ through the backdoor.

The commissions, both Central and state, have been empowered to direct disclosure of information by designated officers of various authorities. In case the information is found to be, in the opinion of the Information Commissioners, either “incorrect, incomplete or misleading”, they can impose a daily penalty on the designated officers. As the Act covers the judiciary, its designated members will be subject to the disciplinary control of a body set up by the executive.

Taking advantage of the ambiguous provisions like “eminence and… social service”, the executive has appointed some retired police officers as Information Commissioners. This is fraught with latent mischief. A police officer throughout his service career is answerable to the judiciary. The Indian police is not exactly a model of rectitude and probity. Hardly a day passes when the national media do not report judicial censure of widespread abuse of authority by the police.

Commissions are “binding”, the scales are somewhat tilted against the judiciary even to begin with. Admittedly, the Commissions will be independent in their functioning. Also, the maximum penalty they can impose is a fine. In case the fine is not paid on time, the Commissions cannot punish the delinquent designated officers but only recommend disciplinary action against them. But the fact remains that Commissions will be constituted by the executive from amongst its members and will have jurisdiction over the designated officers of the judiciary. This will compromise the independence of the judiciary. Somewhat disturbingly, there is no provision for appeal against the Commissions’ orders.

A poisonous weed

THE argument is sometimes advanced that the Act will bring about transparency in the functioning of the judiciary. In principle, there can be no quarrel with this concept. But this is not the proper constitutional way of going about it. The express objective of the legislation is to enable the citizens to participate in the affairs of the government and to bring about greater transparency in its functioning. It is not the objective to enforce accountability of the judiciary through the legislation.

The seeds of conflict sown by the legislature between a body constituted by the executive and the independent judiciary have started sprouting into a poisonous weed. Taking advantage of the law, someone has already moved the Central Information Commission for declaration of assets by members of the higher judiciary. The Supreme Court has very rightly questioned the authority of the Commission to issue such orders under the Act. The matter has been referred to the High Court for a detailed examination of the issues involved. It is an embarrassing anomaly where a superior court has sought the intervention of an inferior court.

After the judgment of the Supreme Court in the Keshvananda Bharati case, Parliament is barred from enacting any law which violates the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution. And independence of the judiciary is a basic feature. Just as well, for the judiciary is the weakest wing of the trinity that comprises the state. In the memorable words of the founding fathers of the US Constitution: “The judiciary is the weakest of the three co-equals….it can never attack with success the other two (legislature and executive)… all possible care is requisite to enable it to defend itself against the other two.”

In sum, the overall objective of the legislation to ensure greater transparency in the functioning of the government is unexceptionable. But the overreaching provision in the Right To Information Act to cover the judiciary is ultra vires the Constitution. It will seriously undermine ~ if not intimidate ~ its independence.







The government wants to bring in a law to make it mandatory for judges to declare their assets. Will it help root out corruption in the judiciary, asks Avijit Chatterjee
The recent spate of judicial scandals and the growing clamour for probity in public life have prompted the Centre to frame a law to make it mandatory for judges to declare their assets.

Union law minister Veerappa Moily has said that the government will soon bring legislation to make it mandatory for judges to disclose their assets. Such a law would put the judiciary on the same footing as bureaucrats and politicians.

However, the judiciary is not too keen on the idea. Chief Justice of India (CJI) K.G. Balakrishnan recently expressed his fears that judges would be subjected to “vexatious litigations and harassment” if their assets were made public.

At present, judges voluntarily declare their assets when taking their oath and the information is kept with the respective high court or the Supreme Court. The CJI has so far refused to place these declarations in the public domain, insisting that a law be enacted first to prevent the misuse of such information.

Prashant Bhushan, senior Supreme Court lawyer and convenor, Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform, however, scoffs at the idea that judges will be unduly harassed if people have access to information regarding their assets. “There is no legitimate reason for such fear unless they have something to hide. It only shows that the judges don’t want to declare their assets,” he says.

Bhushan adds that since they are public servants, judges should declare their assets to the public and not to the government. “Moreover, judges should not get away with a one-time declaration. They need to file their statements annually,” he says.

In January this year the Central Information Commission directed the Supreme Court to disclose information to one S.C. Agarwal, who had filed an application under the Right to Information Act, on whether or not Supreme Court judges declare their assets to the Chief Justice as required by their Code of Conduct.

But in its petition filed before the Delhi High Court, the apex court said, “The Code of Conduct is informal and purely voluntary and there is nothing under the Constitution or any law which requires the judges to declare their assets to the CJI.”

The Code of Conduct, passed in a full court meeting in May, 1997, and chaired by then Chief Justice of India, J.S. Verma, requires judges to declare to the Chief Justice their assets, including property or any other investment in the name of their spouse and dependents, if any. This was reiterated in 1999 at a conference of the chief justices.

“However, this rule is followed more in its breach than in practice as only a handful of judges declare their assets,” says former Supreme Court judge V. Krishna Iyer.

Former Union law minister and senior Supreme Court lawyer Shanti Bhushan says it is inexplicable that the judges of the Supreme Court are unwilling to declare their assets, particularly when they had directed candidates contesting elections to publicly declare their assets. “Should people not have the right to know the antecedents of judges who decide their fate every day,” he asks.

Though India is yet to frame a law that requires judges to declare their assets, many countries in the West do have such laws. For example, in the US, under the Ethics in Government Act, 1978, judges of the US Supreme Court and all other judicial officers are required to disclose their assets and income every year.

In the UK judges declare their assets to the Lord Chancellor’s department when taking their oath. But the information is protected under the Data Protection Act. “These personal details are not revealed to the public. In fact, there would be a huge uproar if such a demand is ever made,” says barrister and senior counsel Vijay S.T. Shankardass.

The demand for the declaration of judges’ assets gathered momentum in India after a series of scams involving the judiciary erupted last year. It started with the Justice Sabharwal case where former CJI Y.K. Sabharwal was charged by the Central Vigilance Commision in January 2008 with misusing his official position to promote the business interests of his sons. Though the Supreme Court refused to order any inquiry against Justice Sabharwal, the government belatedly started a probe after receiving petitions from eminent citizens.

The Ghaziabad provident fund scam dented the image of the judiciary further. In July 2008 the Uttar Pradesh police disclosed evidence on the alleged involvement of 34 judges in the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 23 crore from the provident fund of class III and IV employees in the Ghaziabad judiciary. Those accused included one Supreme Court judge, eight judges of the Allahabad High Court, one each from the Uttarakhand and Calcutta High Courts and 23 lower court judges. The matter was referred to the CBI after the UP police expressed its inability to investigate high court judges in various states.

Another instance of corruption in the judiciary came to light in August, 2008 when a clerk of a senior Haryana law officer allegedly delivered Rs 15 lakh at the residence of Punjab and Haryana High Court judge Nirmaljit Singh Kaur. Later, it turned out that the money was meant for another judge, Nirmal Yadav, of the same court. Justice Yadav was recently given a clean chit by the attorney general of India.

In yet another sensational development, CJI Balakrishnan recommended the removal of Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court after he was allegedly found to have indulged in financial misconduct prior to his elevation as a judge in December, 2003. In a lawsuit between Steel Authority of India Ltd and Shipping Corporation of India, Sen is said to have received Rs 32 lakh in his capacity as the court appointed receiver and deposited the amount in his personal account. The government has constituted a three- member panel for Justice Sen’s impeachment.

Experts point out that given the extent of corruption in the judiciary, a mandatory declaration of assets alone may not be enough. “All these cases indicate a deep-rooted malaise in the judiciary which has enabled corrupt judges to function with impunity. The need of the hour is to set up an independent National Judicial Commission empowered to examine complaints against judges and take action against them,” says former Supreme Court judge P.B. Sawant.

Krishna Iyer feels an appointment commission, rather than the present system of a collegium of sitting judges choosing new judges, would make the selection of judges transparent. The commission should verify information relating to antecedents, family background, assets and business relations of the judges before their appointment, he adds.

That said, a law to ensure that judges declare their assets would be an encouraging start to efforts to clean up the judiciary. But will the government fly in the face of judicial disapproval and force the judges to divulge information about their assets?

Time, as they say, will tell.





Who threatened HC judge? Opposition steps up pressure

Pallavi Ghosh / CNN-IBN

Published on Tue, Jul 14, 2009 at 15:30, Updated on Tue, Jul 14, 2009 at 17:50 in India section

New Delhi: There has been an increasing pressure from people on those claiming to know who was the minister who tried pressurising the Madras High Court Judge.

Who is the Union Minister who put pressure on a Madras High Court judge? That’s the question an array of opposition parties are asking and they want the Prime Minister himself to answer. The matter has been gaining momentum even though the Chief Justice of India dismissed the matter.

Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan may have issued a clarification denying any pressure from any Union Minister on Justice Reghupathy of the Madras High Court but the opposition has not given up pursuing the matter.

BJP, AIADMK, CPI(M) MPs have begun a signature campaign demanding that the Prime Minister should intervene and make a statement on the issue as to whether anyone from his cabinet had threatened the judge.

A week ago, AIADMK and BJP had joined hands in Parliament alleging that Telecom minister A Raja had threatened Justice R Reghupathy to give anticipatory bail to father-son duo reportedly known to the minister.

Rajya Sabha MP of AIADMK, Dr V Mythreyan said, “Everyone in Chennai is fully aware of who is the king of this mischief. It is very sad that the king continues to hold the important portfolio.”

In fact, Chief Justice of India himself seemed reluctant to find out the details of the charges.

“I am of the view that nobody should interfere with the judicial system,” said the CJI.

But now the opposition in a bid to corner the Government, wants the PM to step in.

However, CNN-IBN learns that the Government has rejected this demand, saying that with the CJI’s clarification in place there was no need for the PM to make a statement.

This is certain to agitate the opposition further and strengthen their resolve to embarrass the PM who always has placed a premium on clean image and politics.





Supreme Court as a Protector of Fundamental Rights::

Under Article 32 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has the power to issue writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo-warranto and certiorary. It is important to note that the Supreme Court issues these writs for the enforcement of fundamental rights. The cases related to the violation of fundamental right may be brought before the court both under original and appellate jurisdiction. Again, the power of High Courts to issue above writs is more wide in comparison to Supreme Court as the High Court can issue such writs to enforce all rights including the fundamental rights, whereas, the Supreme Court can issue these writs only for the enforcement of fundamental rights.

The writ of habeas corpus literally means to have the body. This writ is issued by the court to free a person who has been illegally detained by any authority or private person. The detained person is produced before the court and if the grounds of detention are not legal such person is made free. The writ of Habeas corpus is the only writ which can be issued against a private person as well as a public authority.

The writ of mandamus literally means ‘we command’. This writ is issued by the court against a public authority, who has not performed his public or legal duty assigned to him. By the writ of mandamus, such public authority is forced to perform his official duty.
The writ of prohibition is issued by the Supreme Court against a judicial or Quasi-judicial authority, which has violated its jurisdiction. By the writ of prohibition, the action of such authority is stopped in a matter which is beyond its jurisdiction.

The writ of certiorary has the effect of quashing the decision of a judicial or Quasi-judicial authority in a matter which is beyond the jurisdiction of such authority.
The similarity between the writs of prohibition and certiorary is that both are issued by the Supreme Court against a subordinate court or Quasi-judicial authority on the ground of violation of its jurisdiction. However, the major difference between the two is that the writ of prohibition is issued when the subordinate authority has not passed any order and matter is still pending before such authority, whereas the writ of certiorary is passed when the final order has been passed by the subordinate authority to quash such final order. In both situations, the matter is referred to the authority which has the legal jurisdiction in such case.

The writ of Quo warranto is issued by the Supreme Court against persons who holds a public office to know the legal entitlement of such person to such public office. If the person is not legally entitled to hold such a public office, he is removed from such office by the final of this writ. However, certain conditions must be satisfied before the issue of writ of mandamus. First, the office must be of public character, created by a statute or Constitution itself. Secondly, the office shall be substantive one and not merely the function or employment of a servant. Thirdly, there must be a contravention of a statute or provision of Constitution when person is appointed to or holding such office.

Supreme Court as a Protector of Constitution or Power of Judicial Review::

In India, the principle of Supremacy of the Constitution is implemented. This denotes that all public authorities, their orders or law must be in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Such orders and laws should not violate the provisions of the Constitution. The Supreme Court of India acts as the protector of the Constitution by exercising the power of Judicial Review.

The power of judicial review denotes such power of the court by which it can declare null and void those orders of the executive and those laws passed by the legislatures, which violate any provision of the Constitution because, the Constitution is the fundamental law of land.

It should be pointed out that the power of judicial review is not gran¬ted to the Supreme Court, explicitly by the Constitution. However, the court has derived this power from Article 13(2) through gradual enlargement under theory of implied powers. Article 13(2) provides that the state shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this part (Fundamental Rights) and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of contravention, shall be null and void.

Thus, the Article 13(2) provides the power of judicial review with respect to the provisions related to the Fundamental Rights. However, the courts have enlarged the mandate of this article to cover the entire provisions of the Constitution under the power of judicial review by applying the theory of implied powers. This theory indicates that certain powers, are not explicit but implied in other powers.

Only the Supreme Court and the High Courts enjoy the power of judicial review in India. Again the power of judicial review cannot be exercised on its own until a case has not been brought before the court by the affected party.

The Supreme Court of the U.S. also enjoys the power of judicial review, which is wider in comparison to The Supreme Court of India. The American political system is based on the principle of judicial supremacy. It is remarked that in America Constitution is what judges say. Thus, the American Supreme Court can declare a law of legislature or an order of the executive as null and void, if it finds that such order or law is not just, even if it does not violate the provisions of the Constitution. On the other hand the Indian Supreme Court functions, on the basis of the principle of ‘the procedure established by law’, a phrase borrowed from the Japanese Constitution. Thus, Indian Supreme Court does not have the power to decide the ‘justness’ of a law or order of the government. It can declare such order or law null and void only if it explicitly violates some provisions of the Constitution.

In the UK, the political system is based on the principle of Supremacy of Parliament, which denotes that the Parliament is Supreme and it can pass any law, which cannot be questioned in any court. The courts in UK do not enjoy the power of judicial review. Thus, in India, a mid-path is adopted between the Supremacy of Parliament and the principles of judicial Supremacy by adopting the principle of Supremacy of Constitution and limited power of judicial review given to the courts.

Important Facts::

–> As amended in January 2009, the Chief Justice of India is paid a salary of Rs. 1 lakh/month, other judges are paid a monthly salary of Rs. 90,000.

–> The salary and other allowances of judges cannot be reduced to their disadvantage during their term of office; except during the enforcement of the financial emergency under Article 360.

–> The President of India administers the oath of office to the judges of Supreme Court. The format of oath is given in the third schedule of the Constitution.

–> If the post of both the President and the Vice-President falls vacant, the Chief Justice of India discharges the functions of the President till new incumbent is elected to the office of the President. M. Hidaytulla is the only Chief Justice who acted as President in 1969.

–> Ordinarily the seat of the Supreme Court shall be at Delhi. However, with the approval of the President, under Article 130, the Chief Justice of India may allow the sittings of the courts in other places.

–> According to Article 129, the Supreme Court shall be a court of Record and shall have all the powers of such courts including the power to punish for contempt of itself.

–> In the absence of the Chief Justice, the President has the power to appoint an Acting Chief Justice from among the Judges of Supreme Court (Article 126).

–> If there is a lack of quorum required to a session of the court, the Chief Justice of India, with the prior consent of the President, may appoint ad hoc judges from amongst the judges of High Courts, who have qualifications to become judge of Supreme Court.

–> Similarly, the Chief Justice of India with the prior consent of the President may request a retired judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court to sit and act as a judge of Supreme Court.

–> The interpretation of the Constitution falls within the domain of the Constitutional Bench which must consist of at least 5 judges.

–> The decisions of the Supreme Courts are taken by majority. However, minority opinion may be recorded in the judgment.





Tehsildar Assault Case

Now, Bains allowed personal security
Against jail rules, say legal experts
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Jail rules were given a go by for yet another day today with Jails Minister Hira Singh Gabria ordering security guards for SAD councillor and accused in the tehsildar assault case Simarjit Singh Bains on the jail premises.

Two personal security guards were provided to him inside the jail this morning even though the rules do not permit special security for anybody inside a jail.

Gabria said following the claims of Bains’ brother that there was a threat to his life, he ordered the jail authorities to provide him personal security guards. He said though Bains was sending such SOS calls to hog headlines, he did not want to take any chances.

Legal experts said rules as per the jail manual did not permit security guards for anybody inside the jail. If there was a threat to an inmate’s life, he should have been shifted to a special cell. There is a provision of segregation for such inmates, said the experts.

This was not the first time that jail rules were thrown to the winds in this case. Three days ago, Bikram Singh Majithia, former minister and brother-in-law of Sukhbir Badal was allowed to take his vehicle inside the jail premises when he came to meet Bains.

Gabria had sought a report from the jail authorities. The report said Majithia came in a vehicle with a red beacon atop and they thought some senior official was visiting them. Hence, the gates were opened as it was raining.

Interestingly, Majithia visited the jail in a vehicle without a red beacon. A Tribune team was witness to his visit. Photographs in the possession of the Tribune prove there was no red beacon atop his car at that time.

Moreover, his car remained parked on the premises for 15 minutes. However, the report states it was sent outside as soon as the former minister came out of it.

SGPC member Balwinder Singh Bains, an elder brother of Simarjit, has claimed his brother had a risk to his life on the jail premises. He said several persons, who were on parole, had told him about the lurking danger to his life.





3 get life term for murder

Tribune News Service

Fatehabad, July 14
Additional District and Sessions Judge Jagbir Singh Dahiya today sentenced three persons, father and his two sons, to life imprisonment in a murder case.

Kanshi Ram, a resident of Dhani Dulet village was beaten with lathis, allegedly by the accused, who were his brothers, nephews and a sister-in-law, after a dispute over the turn to irrigate their agricultural land on the night of November 20, 2005. Kanshi succumbed to his injuries on the next day in community health centre, Bhuna.

Deceased’s son Zile Singh lodged an FIR against his three uncles, Ram Kumar, Dharmavir and Balbir, an aunt Krishna and two cousins Balwan and Inder, both sons of Ram Kumar for beating his father to death. He alleged that Ram Kumar, Balwan and Inder had an altercation with his father on the fields on the fateful day on the issue of irrigation water and when his father went to counsel his brother in the evening, he was allegedly dragged inside the house by Ram Kumar and his sons and then beaten up with lathis.

The police has registered a case under Sections 342, 302 and 34 against the six accused. The court found the evidence against Krishna, Dharmvir and Balbir not sufficient to convict them and hence acquitted them of the charge, while Ram Kumar and his sons Balwan Singh and Inder Singh were convicted of the murder and were sentenced to imprisonment for life.





Man gets 5-yr RI for using fake currency

Tribune News Service

Fatehabad, July 14
Convicting a youth for allegedly keeping and using fake currency notes, a local court today sentenced him to five years of rigorous imprisonment. Kapil (20), a resident of Khairampur in Hisar, was arrested by the police on June 12, 2007, from Bhattu Kalan mandi with fake currency notes.

The police recovered 16 fake currency notes of Rs 100 denomination each from his possession. The police sent those notes to the Forensic Science Laboratory, Madhuban, where it was confirmed that the currency notes were counterfeit.

Additional District and Sessions Judge JS Dahiya, who tried the accused, found him guilty of the offence under Sections 489-B and 489-C of the IPC and sentenced him to imprisonment for five years.





Murder and acquittal

It is brazen derailing of justice

A case is shifted out of a state in rare cases, only when there is very little chance of justice being meted out to the accused in that particular state. That this was done in the case of the murder of H. S. Sabharwal, the Ujjain Professor who was done to death in his college in August, 2006, itself is a sad commentary on the functioning of the BJP Government in Madhya Pradesh. But even a Nagpur court has now acquitted the six students owing allegiance to the ABVP accused of killing him, citing lack of evidence.

That leads one to the unfortunate apprehension that the ends of justice just cannot be met if a state government has decided to side with the suspects. Pliable prosecution can then make the case so weak that it would not hold in any court, be it within the state or outside it. Now that the prosecution has “miserably failed” to prove the case, even a higher court may be hamstrung by a deliberately weak prosecution.

Professor Sabharwal, head of the political science department of Madhav College, Ujjain, had died after fracas in the college over student union elections when he was allegedly beaten up by the ABVP activists. His only fault was that he had cancelled elections to the students’ council on account of some irregularities. He paid with his life for the ugly politicisation of educational institutions which is the order of the day all over the country. Political parties have vitiated the atmosphere of colleges and universities for their narrow gains.

What has happened in the Sabharwal case is not much different from the Best Bakery case in Gujarat where too justice was derailed by a partisan state government. The country should seriously mull over the issue of this fascist tendency. Ways must be found to ensure that nobody can escape the hands of law, howsoever well-connected he may be.



Modi on the mat

Bring the hooch culprits to justice

Monday’s uproar in the Gujarat Assembly over the hooch tragedy in Ahmedabad underlines the members’ concern over the government’s failure to tackle the menace. Surprisingly, though 140 people have lost their lives so far, the highest in the state’s history, Chief Minister Narendra Modi has decided to keep mum on the issue until the inquiry commission submits its report on November 30.

His silence is a tacit admission of his failure to check the sale of illicit liquor. The situation is grave with hundreds still fighting for life in various hospitals. The root cause of the tragedy is the close nexus between the hooch mafia, the politicians and the police. As hooch kingpins, brokers and other bootleggers enjoy the political patronage of the government and the BJP leaders, the police and other officials look the other way.

The arrest of some bootleggers and suspension of police officials does not inspire much confidence. Nor does the appointment of an inquiry commission headed by a former high court judge. This is just the government’s attempt to buy time. In 1960, when Gujarat became a state, prohibition was introduced in homage to Mahatma Gandhi. However, as successive governments failed to enforce it strictly, adulterated liquor became a thriving business in the state. On their part, the hooch manufacturers regularly grease the palms of the politicians and babus of the excise, prohibition and police departments.

Over the years, while illegal liquor dens have proliferated in the state, the poor have been falling victim to the deadly brew because of official apathy. The Forensic Science Laboratory report reveals that the country-made liquor, consumed by many in Ahmedabad, had a large dose of methyl alcohol — four times the permissible dose — making it lethal. While a strong political will is needed to tackle the menace, whoever is involved in it must be exposed and punished in accordance with the law.





Court orders transfer of case of missing boy to CB-CID

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Coming down heavily on the police for the casual and callous manner in which they have dealt with a case relating to the disappearance of a 10-year-old mentally retarded boy with defective vision, the Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered the transfer of the investigation of the case from the local police to the CB-CID.

In its interim order on a habeas corpus petition filed by the boy’s mother, a Division Bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and R. Subbiah ordered an interim compensation of Rs.50,000 to be paid by the school under whose care and custody the boy was when he was reported missing.

Manimala of Anmaruthai in Tiruvannamalai district submitted that her son, Rajesh, was admitted to the Blind School, Amala Raghini, Soosai Nagar, Chethupattu, in June last year. No admission receipt was given. A month later, the school informed the parents over phone that the boy was missing. In spite of searching in nearby villages, he could not be traced. A complaint was lodged with the Chethupattu police, but to date there was no fruitful result.

In his counter, the Police Inspector submitted that based on a complaint lodged by the school, a case was registered and steps were taken. Special teams were formed to trace the boy.

The school denied that the boy was partially visually handicapped, that he was 5 per cent mentally retarded or that he was even admitted by it. The boy was under the care of the institution till his admission which did not materialise because of want of certain documents. The mother was duly informed about the disappearance of the boy and a complaint was lodged with the police. The institution had extended full cooperation to the police in trying to trace the boy.

The Bench said there was no doubt that the boy was mentally retarded and had defective vision, whatever may be the percentage of defect. At the time of his going missing, the boy was in the care and custody of the school and hence it was answerable for the disappearance.

“We are totally dissatisfied with the manner in which the investigation is conducted in this case.” The police had said in the “very usual manner that they had formed special teams, without even naming as to how many teams they have formed and who are all heading those teams and what has been achieved by the so-called special teams till date.” The Judges said the casual manner in which the matter had been dealt with had disturbed them. No status report had ever been submitted even though the case had seen several adjournments.





Court declines to interfere with order

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Monday declined to interfere with an interim order passed by a single Judge directing the Customs authorities to issue necessary sail order to a vessel, m.v. Asean Express, carrying river sand, to leave Karaikal port to the Republic of Maldives.

When an appeal preferred by the Nagapattinam Collector came up for hearing before the First Bench comprising Chief Justice H.L. Gokhale and Justice K. Venkataraman, S. Sundara Krishnan, a partner of Krishna and Company, an authorised export house inter alia dealing in export of river sand to the Maldives, gave an undertaking that he would not procure river sand from Tamil Nadu or river sand which had been moved from Tamil Nadu for any further export.

The Bench said that in view of the undertaking in these facts and circumstances, it was leaving undisturbed the interim order.

The Bench specified that the bank guarantee, for the value of the sand (3,750 tonnes), would be Rs.16 lakh.

The guarantee would be of a nationalised bank, which would be kept alive throughout the pendency of the proceedings.

The guarantee would clearly state that in the event of the writ petition being dismissed, the State government would be entitled to encash the guarantee with interest.





Court orders on bail plea on July 21

Special Correspondent

In the CBI case relating to alleged manipulation of an answer sheet

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court will pass orders on July 21 on the anticipatory bail plea by a doctor and his son in the CBI case relating to alleged manipulation of an answer sheet in the MBBS examination of Pondicherry University.

Justice M. Jeyapaul fixed the date for orders after hearing B. Kumar, senior counsel, appearing for the petitioners, Krishnamurthy and his son, Kiruba Sridhar, and N. Chandrasekharan, appearing for the CBI.

The prosecution case was that the doctor, and his son, studying in a private medical college, were wanted in connection with the manipulation of the answer sheet of Kiruba Sridhar in the ophthalmology examination in the III-year MBBS course to ensure his success in the exam. Earlier, the anticipatory bail plea came up before Justice R. Regupathi. His remark in the open court created a controversy.

Later, the Judge wrote to the Registry to place the matter before the Chief Justice for posting before another Judge.

When the matter came up before Mr. Justice Jeyapaul, Mr. Kumar argued that crucial documents, including the original answer sheet and the substituted answer sheet, were in the custody of the prosecution.

The CBI had never stated that the two persons were needed for custodial interrogation. Nor it had stated that it wanted to recover some more documents from the petitioners. The petitioners had no role in the manipulation of marks, he said, and sought anticipatory bail for the two.

Opposing the plea, Mr. Chandrasekharan said investigation in the case was on. A big fraud had been played on the system and all those involved should be found out. A big racket had been going on and a larger investigation had to be conducted.

Already, the High Court had ordered that investigation into the death of V. Jayaraman, a data entry operator of the university, should be done by the Central agency. Mr. Chandrasekharan said that it is suspected that Jayaraman had also been involved in the racket.





Court orders notice of motion to EC

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered notice of motion to the Election Commission (EC) on a petition seeking a direction to the EC to consider and dispose of a representation on merits to remove ‘koodai’ (basket) symbol from the list.

In her order, Justice K.Suguna said the notice was returnable in four weeks. The petitioner, Pollachi J.B.Jacob alias J.Benjamin Jacob submitted that he was a member of DMDK and contested the 2006 Assembly elections from the Udhagamandalam constituency.

The party was allotted ‘drum’ symbol. The EC had allotted ‘basket’ symbol to an independent candidate in the same constituency. As the symbols appeared similar, there was confusion among voters.

He wrote to the EC in May this year to remove the symbol from the symbols’ list wherever the DMDK contested in the Assembly or general election.

But the Commission had not considered the representation.





Supreme Court stays contempt proceedings against officials

Staff Reporter

State wins time to get stay on Full Bench order on language policy

Officials were on tenterhooks as HC had warned that they would have to obey Full Bench order

All-out effort by State to get stay on Full Bench order

BANGALORE: Officials of the Department of Education heaved a sigh of relief when the Supreme Court on Tuesday afternoon stayed till July 24 contempt proceedings initiated by the High Court of Karnataka against them for not complying with court orders on the language issue.

A Full Bench of the Karnataka High Court comprising the then Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph, Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N. Kumar had on July 2, 2008, upheld the right of a child and its parent to choose the medium of instruction at the primary school. The Full Bench had said the State does not have any say in deciding on the medium of instruction at the primary school level — from the first to the fourth standard — in private unaided minority institutions.

Though more than a year had elapsed, the State Government was not able to obtain a stay against the Full Bench order in the Supreme Court. Several schools had filed a contempt petition against the Principal Secretary of Department of Primary and Secondary Education, R.G. Nadadur; the then Commissioner for Public Instruction, Kumara Nayak; Commissioner for Primary Education Mir Obeidulla; and Deputy Director of Public Instruction, Bangalore North, Chandraiah.


A Division Bench comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice A.N. Venugopala Gowda had castigated the Government and the officials for failing to implement the Full Bench judgement and it had warned them of initiating contempt proceedings if they continued to further defy the High Court diktat.

Today, when the matter came up before the Supreme Court, the State placed the July 3, 2009, order of the High Court initiating contempt proceedings against the officials and sought a stay. The State contended that as the Supreme Court had advanced hearing on its appeal against the Full Bench judgment on July 21, the High Court should have restrained from initiating any proceedings. The stay by the Supreme Court has come as a relief to the officials who were on tenterhooks as the High Court had repeatedly made it clear that they would have to obey the Full Bench order. The State now gets time till July 24 to get a stay in the Supreme Court against the Full Bench order.

Sources in the Government told The Hindu that all efforts would be made by the State on July 21 to ensure that a stay was secured against the Full Bench judgment. In case the Supreme Court refused a stay and also decided against continuing the interim order, the State, they said, would be left with no option but to reverse its stand on the language policy and permit English-medium schools.




Three found guilty

Kozhikode: The Special Additional District Sessions Court (Marad cases) here on Tuesday found three persons guilty of setting fire to a house during the communal conflagration at the coastal village of Marad here on January 3 and 4, 2002. Special Court Judge K.P. Prasannakumari found Choichendakathu Soman, Choichendakathu Tampi and Choichendakathu Velayudan guilty of trespassing on to the house of Seemamudakathu Asainar and setting it on fire on January 3. The accused were also found guilty of rioting and promoting hostility between different religions. The punishment will be awarded on Wednesday.





Supreme Court fiat to police officers

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed two Chennai police officers to approach the High Court for revocation of their suspension ordered in the wake of the February clashes between lawyers and police.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan passed the directions after A.K. Vishwanathan and Rama Subramanian contended that their suspension was illegal as no opportunity was given to them before the action was taken.

The bench said they could approach the High Court by filing appropriate applications with their plea. —PTI





Court restrains publishing of book

Staff Reporter

BHOPAL: A Jabalpur trial court has effectively banned the book, “It Was Five Past Midnight in Bhopal” with an interim order passed to this effect on Monday.

The book, written by Dominique Lapierre and Javier Moro, is a dramatised account of the Bhopal gas tragedy. The order restrains the authors, both French nationals, and the publishers, Full Circle Publication Private Limited, New Delhi from printing, publishing, selling and distributing the book across the country.

Defamation suit

The order passed by the 14th Additional District Judge, Rajeev Singh, comes in response to a defamation suit filed by former Madhya Pradesh DGP Swaraj Puri, against the authors and the publishers for carrying defamatory remarks attributed to him in it. “It Was Five Past Midnight in Bhopal”, based on events that led to the fateful night of December 2nd, 1984, was first published in 1997.

LEGAL NEWS 14.07.2009

NHRC glare on Seraikela jail


Jamshedpur, July 12: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken cognisance of a complaint filed by People’s Union for Civil Liberty (PUCL) on “adverse conditions” in Seraikela sub-divisional jail.

PUCL’s Jharkhand president Subrato Bhattacharjee had lodged a complaint following a clash between two groups of undertrial prisoners over drinking water in June. In the clash, 17 people, including 15 prisoners, were injured and were admitted to the Seraikela Referral Hospital. The clash took place on June 6 while the PUCL filed the PIL on June 8 seeking the commission’s intervention in the matter, a probe into the shortcomings of the sub-divisional jail and to take steps to address the problems.

Jail sources said that in the morning of June 6 a section of undertrial prisoners had queued up before the prison’s only functioning tube-well.

During the waiting period for water, trouble erupted as two criminals, Sagar Lohar and Dilip Singh, who had their own legion of supporters among the inmates, began an argument. A physical altercation followed in which 15 undertrail prisoners and two constables were injured. The clash could be stopped only after Seraikela-Kharsawan police intervened.

The PUCL sent a team to the jail on a fact-finding mission on the very next day.

During inspection, the human rights team found that only one of the two tube-wells in the overcrowded jail was fully operational, as a result of which inmates often failed to get enough drinking water and often went without a bath for days.

“There were about 330 inmates against the accommodating capacity of 80 and despite repeated complaints and requests made by the inmates to mend the damaged tube-well, the jail administration did not repair the other tube-well. Ultimately, the clashed that happened was inevitable as water had become a scarce commodity,” said the PUCL state president while talking to The Telegraph.

Bhattacharjee said that the NHRC has instructed director-general (prisons) to probe into the matter at the earliest and take appropriate action before submitting an action report to the commission.

During his visit to the jail, the team found that basic facilities, such as nutritious food, clean environment and adequate space were also lacking in the prison. “The jail administration should ideally improve conditions to ensure that such incidents do not happen again,” said Bhattacharya.

The NHRC had held a meeting at New Delhi on June 24 to discuss the issue before taking cognisance and delivered a letter to the concerned authority on July 10.





NHRC condemns killing of policemen in Chhattisgarh


July 13th, 2009

NEW DELHI – National Human Rights Commission has condemned killing of 30 police personnel including a Superintendent of Police by Naxalites in Chhattisgarh while discharging their duties, demanding prompt legal action against the killers.

“It cannot be denied that police is the long arm of the law available to the State to enforce rule of law and thus protect human rights of its citizens. Engaged in the task of enforcing rule of law and thus protecting the lives and properties of citizens the police personnel are often themselves exposed to high risks to their own life and as well as their families,” the NHRC said in a statement released today.

The NHRC acknowledges the vital role being played by the police, and paramilitary forces, in maintaining the security of the State.

The number of police personnel who have been killed by the terrorists/Naxalites is a grim reminder of the need for taking immediate and suitable measures for adequate compensation for the families of these victims, the statement said.

“The families of the police personnel killed by Naxalites deserve sympathy of all countrymen and the NHRC hopes that they would be suitably compensated and those seriously injured would be given adequate financial aid,” it added.

Over 30 policemen were killed and a dozen injured in two separate Maoist attacks in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon District on Sunday. (ANI)





Army working to fill vacancies in Armed Forces Tribunal

Updated on Monday, July 13, 2009, 12:10 IST

New Delhi, July 13: Faced with an over 50 percent shortage of middle-rank officers in its Judge Advocate General branch, Army is seeking officers with law degrees from other arms to fulfill vacancies in the newly-created Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT).

“There is a largescale deficiency of officers in the rank of Lieutenant Colonels and Majors. Only 43 officers are available against 91 vacancies in the branch. So, we are looking to get officers from other arms and services to fulfill vacancies in 15 benches of the AFT,” Army sources told a news agency here.

“There are 24 retired senior officers in the AFT other than eight judges. To help out these retired service officers with law matters, we have to send over 50 law-qualified officers to the AFT. They would be used in Army’s legal cells and our JAG branch also,” they added.

However, taking officers from other branches in the law stream is only an “interim” measure and they would be sent back to their respective units once the JAG branch gets its own law-qualified officers.s

“These officers would be sent back to their units but no time-frame has been decided yet as it may take many years for us to induct the required number of officers in the branch,” the sources said.

The number of officers in the branch, they said, will be reduced further as over 10 women officers in the ranks of Lt Col and Major will also retire in the near future.

“These women officers had joined the Army as Short Service Commission (SSC) officers. Though the Defence Ministry has given nod for permanent commission to women in three branches including the JAG but that will apply only for females joining in future,” sources said.

“If the rule is applied in retrospective, we would not be losing them,” they added.

Bureau Report

In other arms also, the Army is facing shortage of around 25 percent officers and has initiated various measures to attract the youth in larger numbers to join the Army.

Bureau Report





Modi never told police to “allow” Hindus to vent anger, says AG

Manas Dasgupta

AHMEDABAD: Advocate General (AG) of the Gujarat government Kamal Trivedi on Saturday denied that there was any “instruction” issued by Chief Minister Narendra Modi to the police to “allow” the Hindus to vent their anger against the minorities in the aftermath of the Godhra train carnage on February 27, 2002.

Opposing the Jansangharsh Manch application before the G.T. Nanavati-Akshay Mehta judicial enquiry commission to summon Mr. Modi and some others to examine their “role and conduct” during the post-Godhra riots, Mr. Trivedi said the evidence available with the Commission suggests that the police were told to take every possible step to maintain law and order and to contain violence.

In his over three-hour long presentation before the commission here, Mr. Trivedi also denied that Mr. Modi had “entered” the burnt S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express at the Godhra railway yard “with an entourage” and in the process destroyed some important evidence. He said Mr. Modi had only climbed up the steps of the burnt coach and peeped inside but never entered the compartment and there was no question of his destroying evidence. He was accompanied by some government officials and not by an “entourage” of the party workers as the Manch application suggested.

Referring to the meeting of the top officers convened by the Chief Minister on the night of the train carnage to review the situation in view of the protest “bandh” call given by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad the next day, Mr. Trivedi said the Manch heavily relied on the third affidavit of the former Additional Director General of Police, R.B. Sreekumar, in which he quoted the then DGP, K. Chakravarthy, having told him that Mr. Modi wanted the police to “allow” the Hindus to vent their anger.

But the affidavits filed by Mr. Chakravarthy himself, the then Additional Home Secretary Ashok Narayan, and the then Ahmedabad Police Commissioner P.C. Pande, who were actually present at the meeting, categorically stated that instructions were given by the Chief Minister to “do everything possible to prevent any upsurge of violence and further to take all lawful and necessary steps to ensure arrest of such violence.

Mr. Trivedi said that even Mr. Sreekumar in his first two affidavits as well as during his oral deposition before the commission made no insinuation but made such “blatant and untrue allegation” only on being denied promotion later to embarrass the government. The AG also questioned the authenticity of the two compact discs containing the list of mobile phone numbers which formed the major part of argument of the Manch to summon Mr. Modi and others. Quoting from the affidavit filed by Rahul Sharma, the then Superintendent of Police assisting the crime branch in the riot investigation, who had arranged for the CDs from the then two mobile service providers, Mr. Trivedi said Mr. Sharma himself admitted that he had taken the CDs home, copied them on the hard disc, analysed, zipped and made two new CDs.

He had claimed that the original CDs received from the mobile companies were handed back to the then Crime Branch chief, P. P. Pande, but the official denied having received them. Other affidavits of the crime branch officials also made it clear that there was no trace of the original CDs while the originals copied into Mr Sharma’s hard disc had also been erased.

Time granted

Manch advocate Mukul Sinha, who disputed Mr. Trivedi’s contentions on the authenticity of the CDs, pointed out that the government in its case in the Gujarat High Court on the arrest by the Special Investigation Team of the former Minister of State for Women’s Welfare, Mayaben Kodnani, had used the same CDs as authentic and used the information they contained to file the charge sheet against her.

On his request, the Commission gave Dr. Sinha time on July 15 to argue on the authenticity of the CDs.




Gujarat tops complaint list on oppression of women in jails

Updated on Sunday, July 12, 2009, 14:39 IST

New Delhi, July 12: Gujarat has topped the list of states with maximum number of complaints about “oppression” of women prisoners in its jails, according to a latest statistics of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

The statistics reveal that out of a total 103 complaints received by the NHRC during 2008-09 in connection with oppression of women prisoners across the country, 23 are from the jails of Gujarat alone.

This accounts for about 22.33 per cent of the total number of complaints received by the rights body from various jails across the country.

The NHRC statistics show that Gujarat has witnessed a sudden surge in the number of such complaints in past three years.

During 2007-08 and 2006-07, the commission had received only one such complaint each.

Uttar Pradesh comes a close second with a total of 21 such complaints filed with NHRC since 2008.

The state had accounted for 26 such complaints in 2007-08 and 16 in 2006-07.

Maharashtra, which stands third in the list, has accounted for a total of 11 complaints during 2008-09. Last year also, NHRC had received 11 such complaints from the state.

NHRC, during 2008-09, has received eight such complaints from Tamil Nadu, seven from West Bengal, six from Delhi, five from Bihar and three each from Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.

The Commission has also received two complaints each from Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan during the period.

Bureau Report





Retired airman’s family gets Rs 18 lakh in accident case

TNN 22 June 2009, 03:28am IST

NEW DELHI: The family of an Indian Air Force official has been awarded compensation of Rs 18 lakh by a Motor Accident Claim Tribunal after the retired sergeant died in a road accident two years ago.

The MACT judge has asked for disbursement of the award to the family of Bijender within a month after holding the driver, owner and insurer of the offending vehicle jointly liable for the accident. It directed Oriental Insurance Co Ltd, with which the bus was insured, to pay Rs 18 lakh to Bijender’s family along with an interest of 7.5%. Out of this sum, the victim’s parents have been awarded compensation of Rs 1 lakh each while the rest of the money will go to Bijender’s wife and two minor children.

Forty two-year-old Bijender was travelling in a three-wheeler on November 11, 2006 when a private bus being driven in a rash and reckless manner hit his vehicle on Loni Road in Ghaziabad. He suffered grave injuries and passed away while being taken to a hospital.

Bijender’s wife Babli and his parents subsequently filed motor accident claim petitions seeking damages on account of his death owing to irresponsible and rash driving of the bus. During the hearing, the owner of the bus denied any negligence on the part of the driver and said in fact the three-wheeler was being driven carelessly. The tribunal, however, after scrutiny of the evidence on record and affidavits submitted by witnesses in the case, held that the petitioners were successful in establishing that the offending bus was driven in a thoughtless and rash manner resulting in Bijender’s death. While computing the loss of the financial dependency, the tribunal took into account the fact that Bijender was a retired sergeant from the IAF and received a fixed pension. Besides, after his retirement he had taken up a job as a facility engineer with a private company in Okhla, it noted.




Centre nod for Mhadei tribunal

TNN 12 July 2009, 01:57am IST

PANAJI: The union water resources ministry has accepted Goa’s request to constitute a tribunal to resolve the dispute which has arisen over Karnataka’s move to divert water from the river Mhadei in ghat areas.

A high-level delegation led by chief minister Digambar Kamat met union water resources minister, Pawankumar Bansal and presented a memorandum to him with details of the whole issue. “The minister has accepted Goa’s suggestion to constitute the tribunal and also put up the matter before the central cabinet,” sources said.

The delegation which also discussed the issue of Karnataka’s diversion projects, comprised water resources minister Felipe Neri Rodrigues, chief engineer of water resources department Sandeep Nadkarni, Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik and South Goa MP Francisco Sardinha.

Karnataka had initiated preliminary projects to construct dams to divert the waters of Mhadei to water scarce areas such as Hubli and Bailhongal around a decade ago.





Rai files counter-affidavit in DA case

TNN 13 July 2009, 11:22pm IST

RANCHI: Former minister Harinaryan Rai, an accused in the disproportionate assets case, has filed a counter-affidavit in the Jharkhand High Court saying that the allegations against him are politically motivated.

According to the affidavit filed by Rai, the allegations levelled against him are baseless and based purely on newspaper reports. He said first a PIL had been filed against him. Subsequently, a case was filed against him at vigilance court by one Kumar Vinod which, he said, was a political conspiracy.

He alleged that Kumar Vinod had a criminal case pending against him and investigations in the case were in progress. Rai said he lives in a joint family and had ancestral immovable property measuring 50.18 acres of land.
Specifying about the house made at Harmu area besides the under-construction house of cricketer M S Dhoni was purchased for Rs 14.31 lakh and the building was constructed at the cost of Rs 26.45 lakh.

The affidavit further says that a loan amounting to Rs 15 lakh against the name of his wife was taken for the purpose of building construction and thus the allegations of disproportionate assets are baseless.

The PIL alleging disproportionate assets by seven former ministers had been filed by one Durga Oraon and is scheduled to come up for hearing in the Jharkhand High court on Tuesday.





Harried father files PIL in HC

TNN 14 July 2009, 02:56am IST

CHANDIGARH: The strike by school bus operators came under the scanner of Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday as a city resident filed a PIL seeking directions for ending the strike and issuing directions to Chandigarh administration to install speed governors in all CTU buses.

After hearing the PIL, a division bench headed by chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur and justice KS Ahluwalia issued notice to UT administration and the bus operators? association asking them to file their replies on the matter on July 20.

The PIL was filed by sector-27 resident Vikash Kuthiala, who as a father of two kids claimed to be facing problem to drop them to school due to the strike that began on July 10. The petitioner stated that the basis of strike by bus operators was UT administration?s decision that school buses should be fitted with speed governors, whereas UT has not fitted speed governor in its own fleet of buses despite the fact that large number of students travel in CTU buses. He further said that thousands of students and their parents have been affected by this illegal, uncalled and arbitrary strike by bus operators.

“Now instead of having 300 school buses ferrying 80,000 children, every day nearly 5,000 cars or private vehicles are on roads ferrying school children in the morning and afternoon, thereby substantially increasing pollution level besides creating traffic snarls and jams,” he said. Ahluwalia sought summoning the decision passed by bus operators, restraining them from strike in future and directing UT administration to install speed governors in UT buses as well.





That Constitution Thingy

Ravi Mundoli – Sunday, July 12, 2009 10:27 PM

It’s been a remarkable couple of weeks for the country. On July 2nd, the Delhi High Court struck down sections of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalised certain consensual sexual acts between adults by stating that they were “against the order of nature”. This must be a truly remarkable event in the history of Indian jurisprudence. On the personal front, I was living in Cambridge, Massachusetts when the state legalized same-sex marriages and can remember May 17, 2004 when there was a crowd (by US standards!) outside City Hall. Some of them were people applying for licenses, some were from the press, and some were merely there to celebrate a rare and precious civil liberties victory. July 2nd, 2009 in Chennai felt very similar, inside my head, even if there wasn’t a crowd dancing on the streets.

Anyway, that is all mostly beside the point. The Delhi HC’s judgement received pretty much the expected response from the usual suspects. The liberals loved it, the conservatives and some religious heads seem to disagree (even if it is in mostly incoherent and apoplectic ways), and it probably scarcely registered in the consciousness of the <$2 per day income aam aadmis. Much newsprint, TV and radio coverage, and internet bandwidth has been expended in the last two days on the pros on cons of this landmark, and a visit to your neighbourhood search engine should reveal all.

So for the purposes of this post, I will try and dabble in constitutional law, one of the several areas (including mathematics, music, sports, colour discrimination) in which I am equally competent (meaning zilch). For a much more comprehensive review by someone who actually knows what he is talking about, see here. Some of the more understated but perhaps most crucial aspects of the Naz Foundation vs Government of NCT of Delhi are to be found in the actual text (PDF) of the judgement. One of the most striking features is how the HC repeatedly uses the framework of the Indian Constitution to justify its position.

The defendants (i.e. the Government) argued that Section 377 “…was responding to the values and morals of the time in the Indian society…” Further, they apparently argued that “Social and sexual mores in foreign countries cannot justify de-criminalisation of homosexuality in India.” and that “…in western societies the morality standards are not as high as in India.” The judgement goes on to cite several cases from abroad pertaining to the legalisation of gay sex, and cases from India dealing with privacy as a fundamental right etc. and then makes this remarkable statement:

Thus popular morality or public disapproval of certain acts is not a valid justification for restriction of the fundamental rights under Article 21. Popular morality, as distinct from a constitutional morality derived from constitutional values, is based on shifting and subjecting notions of right and wrong. If there is any type of “morality” that can pass the test of compelling state interest, it must be “constitutional” morality and not public morality…The argument of the learned ASG that public morality of homosexual conduct might open floodgates of delinquent behaviour is not founded upon any substantive material, even from such jurisdictions where sodomy laws have been abolished. Insofar as basis of this argument is concerned, as pointed out by Wolfenden Committee, it is often no more than the expression of revulsion against what is regarded as unnatural, sinful or disgusting. Moral indignation, howsoever strong, is not a valid basis for overriding individuals’s fundamental rights of dignity and privacy.In our scheme of things, constitutional morality must outweigh the argument of public morality, even if it be the majoritarian view.

Quite apart from it’s unambiguous statement on individual rights, what is interesting is that nowhere in the judgement did the court feel the need to cite anything older than the constitution (or the Constituent Assembly) to justify its stand. There is no pleading of the inclusiveness-of-Indian-culture-for-the-last-47,000-years and depiction-of-homosexuality-in-Indian-culture-for-the-last-47,000-years variety to justify its stand. The judges seem to say, “Here is the Constitution. Here is how we interpret it, and here is why. You no likey-likey? Too bad.” Such a refreshing contrast from the Supreme Court judgement in the Afzal Guru case where it stated that the “…collective conscience of the society…” demanded the ritual murder of the accused. Ambedkar emphasized this primacy of individual rights over “collective morality” when in a Constituent Assembly debate he said:

It is said that the new Constitution should have been drafted on the ancient Hindu model of a State and that instead of incorporating Western theories the new Constitution should have been raised and built upon village Panchayats and District Panchayats. There are others who have taken a more extreme view. They do not want any Central or Provincial Governments. They just want India to contain so many village Governments. I hold that these village republics have been the ruination of India. I am therefore surprised that those who condemn Provincialism and communalism should come forward as champions of the village.What is the village but a sink of localism, a den of ignorance, narrow-mindedness and communalism? I am glad that the Draft Constitution has discarded the village and adopted the individual as its unit. 

Strong stuff, wot?

The constitution itself is a remarkable document. With 395 articles, 12 schedules and 94 amendments, it may verily be the only constitution in the world today that you can use not only to buttress your arguments, but also to physically bludgeon your opponent with if she proves to be excessively annoying. It borrows from all over the world, and yet is unique, idiosyncratic and somehow distinctly Indian. It seems to be a tricky beast at the best of times, and it’s nothing short of a wonder that for nearly 60 years the document and the republic have somehow managed to keep each other bumbling along in hopefully the right general direction.

While the Naz Foundation judgement will go down in history, there have been other cases in the past that have been equally or perhaps even more important. These are the Roe v. Wades and the Brown v. Board of Educations of Indian law. In Kesavananda Bharati vs The State of Kerala, the Supreme Court held that the judiciary could review and strike down amendments to the constitution made by Parliament which conflict with or seek to alter the basic structure of the constitution. This seems to be a bit of a 2-edged sword.

My very very very rudimentary understanding of this is that it is closely tied up with the right to property. (See here for one way of looking at things.) At its heart the conflict was about the following: One of the promises held out by an independent India was the creation of a more egalitarian society with the abolishment of feudal land ownership. To do this, the government would have to take land from the zamindars and re-distribute it. But the zamindars could use the new republic’s constitution to point out that this would violate their fundamental right to property, and the courts would agree. So something called the Ninth Schedule was created, into which were put laws that allowed the government to do this sort of land reform, without those actions being subject to judicial review. In Kesavananda Bharati, the SC tried to fight back and say that there was some stuff that could not be touched, even by Parliament.

Another landmark is Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, in which the SC “expanded the scope and content of the right to life and liberty by introducing the concept substantive due process to Indian law.”

It’s a fascinating tussle, this push-me pull-you thing that goes on between the constitution, parliament and the courts. Some “configurations” make sense, some cause a serious amount of internal conflict, and some are/were downright non-sensical. Another couple of centuries of a secular democratic republic, and we’ll probably sort it out.





Madras HC judge: ADMK starts campaign–ADMK-starts-campaign/488956

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Manoj C G Posted: Tuesday , Jul 14, 2009 at 0145 hrs New Delhi:

Even as Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan has clarified that no Union Minister from Tamil Nadu called up a Madras High Court judge to influence him in a case, the AIADMK isn’t willing to let the issue die down easily.

The party has initiated moves to petition the Prime Minister, urging him to make a statement in Parliament to clear the air on the issue, and also ascertain whether the minister in question was known to the accused and their lawyer.

A letter to enlist the signatures of MPs from all opposition parties in this regard is in circulation. It is learnt that the AIADMK has managed to get the signatures of several MPs, including Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, Left’s Brinda Karat and D Raja, JD(U)’s N K Singh, Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav and PMK’s Anbumani Ramadoss.

The controversy had erupted following a disclosure by Madras High Court judge R Reghupathy in an open court that a Union Minister had tried to influence him to grant anticipatory bail to Dr Krishnamurthy and his son Kiruba Sridhar, accused in the Pondicherry University fake marksheet case.





BJP, CPM and Jaya target PM in Madras HC judge case


Published on Tue, Jul 14, 2009 at 01:50 in Politics section

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) have come together in the case of a Union Minister’s alleged attempt to influence a Madras High Court Judge.

The three parties have started a signature campaign in Parliament seeking a statement from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue.

But the Central government has said that there was no need for a statement as Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan had already clarified that no minister had approached the judge.

AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa had then alleged that Union Telecom Minister A Raja was the minister involved.

Madras High Court judge Justice R Reghupathy had claimed a Union Minister tried to influence him to favour a father-son duo in a marksheet forgery case.

The Minister reportedly asked justice Reghupathy to grant anticipatory bail to a medical student and his doctor-father in a Central Bureau of Investigation case concerning a forged marksheet.

The judge threatened to write to the Prime Minister if the advocate appearing for the accused failed to submit a written unconditional apology.

Chief Justice of India Balakrishnan had told CNN-IBN that no Union Minister approached justice Reghupathy and suspected that it was the lawyer who tried to influence the case.






HC quizzes cops on 9.30 pm deadline for women waiters

By | July 13, 2009

The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the police to state by Thursday which rules they are planning to amend to enforce a 9.30pm deadline for women working as singers and waiters in beer bars.





State to inform HC on plans to curtail working hrs of bar waitresses, singers

Mohan Kumar

Posted: Jul 14, 2009 at 0032 hrs IST

Mumbai The state government will soon inform the Bombay High Court — which is hearing a bunch of petitions filed by the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR) and some hotel and bar owners — about the rules they plan to amend to curtail the working hours of female artistes and waitresses in bars.

While the petitions filed by AHAR did not come up for hearing, the ones moved by the bar owners was heard on Monday before a division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Rajesh Ketkar. Additional Public Prosecutor Poornima Kantharia told the court that the government is planning to amend the necessary rules under the Act. The court has kept the hearing on Thursday.

The bar owners argue that the police are harassing them even though they have licenses to operate till 1.30 am. The petitions contend that policemen force female orchestra artistes and waitresses out of the restaurants at 9.30 pm. They say this is happening in spite of an undertaking filed by the police last year assuring that they would not take any action till rules are amended.

According to the bars, they possess all licences under the Bombay Police Act, which include permission to run a place of public entertainment, serve foreign liquor and an annual renewable licence for an orchestra.

They also had approval from the BMC under the Bombay Shops and Establishment Act. Petition also claims that sometimes the artistes are slapped with “bogus charges” under Section 110 of the Bombay Police Act (for misbehaving in public) and sometimes charged under Section 294 of IPC which is for obscene acts and songs.

While responding to a bunch of petitions last year, Mumbai Police Deputy Commissioner of Police Vijaysing Jadhav had stated in his affidavit, “As regards the provisions of the Rules for Licensing and Controlling Places of Public Amusement (other than cinemas) and Performance for Public Amusement including Melas and Tamashas, 1960 are concerned, the Commissioner of Police is actively considering the amendment of the said rules thereby, imposing the condition similar to Rule 6 of Place of Public Entertainment Rules as one of the conditions of the license. “The Commissioner of Police is also actively considering the imposition of any other suitable condition upon the license holder,” the affidavit had said.

The affidavit had further assured the court that “till the amended rule comes into effect, the police officers shall not initiate any action against the holder of licenses granted under rules for Licensing and Controlling Places of Public Amusement for having committed violation of provisions of Bombay Shops and Establishments Act with regard to female artistes and not other women employees”.

“So many petitions are being filed because of harassment from police, in spite of their undertaking last year,” said advocate for AHAR Vishal Thadani.





VPs deposit cash with HC over garbage

TNN 14 July 2009, 05:44am IST

PANAJI: The 26 coastal panchayats in Goa on Monday told the high court of Bombay at Goa that they have deposited Rs 25,000 each in the court as per its directives.

On June 23, the court had directed the panchayats to deposit the amount, indicating that they were genuinely sincere in dealing with the garbage issue.

The order had come following a report filed by the Goa State Pollution Control Board, stating that not a single panchayat was sincere about abiding by the court’s directives with regard to garbage disposal.

A division bench comprising Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice U D Salvi had also directed the panchayats to make sure that their sarpanchas and secretaries were present in court to explain the reasons for not complying with its directives. The court will now hear the case on August 3.





Health staff sack: HC seeks details from govt

TNN 14 July 2009, 05:43am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Monday directed the state government to file a counter affidavit to a bunch of writ petitions that have challenged the termination of health employees appointed in the 1980s, and explain what was the basis of declaring the appointments irregular, illegal and fake by a committee constituted on the court order.

A single bench presided by Justice Mridula Mishra issued the directive when the petitioners’ lawyers alleged a committee constituted by the government on the HC order declared the appointment of 106 health employees as irregular, 62 as illegal and 120 as fake. But the committee made some incorrect observations, jeopardising the career of their clients, the lawyers added.

Justice Mishra remarked how could the services of those employees, who had worked for a considerable period, be terminated without holding departmental proceedings. Due procedure and norms should have been followed before taking any such decision, she added.

At least two writ petitions of the health employees – Arvind Kumar Singh and Gopal Prasad, moved by their lawyer Prashant Pratap, pleaded that their services were terminated holding their appointment to be illegal. But when they sought reply from the government under the Right to Information Act as to how their appointments were termed “illegal”, the state government informed them that their appointments were “irregular”.

After termination of their services during 2002-03, the health employees had moved the high court. A single bench presided by Justice Narayan Roy had set aside their termination on the ground that the principle of natural justice was not followed.

In 2006, a division bench of the Patna High Court directed the state government to constitute an inquiry committee to find out the nature of the appointments of the health employees whose service were terminated and to reinstate those whose appointments were irregular against sanctioned posts.





HC issues contempt notices to officers

TNN 13 July 2009, 09:57pm IST

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has issued contempt notices to Fateh Bahadur Singh, principal secretary (home) and GP Kanaujia, SSP, Jalaun, fixing August 19 for compliance of the court order passed on January 23. The court has said that in case the respondents failed to comply with the court’s order, they will have to appear in person on the next date.

The order was passed by Justice Sabhajeet Yadav, while hearing a contempt petition filed by Mahendra Kumar and others. The petitioner has alleged that despite directions of the court, the respondents had failed to constitute a medical board to decide on the fitness of the petitioners.




Madras HC dismisses Muthiah’s plea against Srinivasan

PTI 13 July 2009, 03:32pm IST

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court, on Monday, dismissed a suit and connected applications by former Indian Cricket Board president AC Muthiah seeking to restrain N Srinivasan from functioning as Board Secretary on the ground that he had breached the code of conduct for administrators.

Rejecting the prayers, Justice K Chandru held that Muthiah had not made out any prima facie case and the very locus standi of the plaintiff in maintaining the suits themselves was doubtful.

“The balance of convenience is not for grant of any interim order,” he observed dismissing the applications, including a prayer for interim injunction to restrain Srinivasan from functioning as Secretary till the disposal of the suits.

The judge also imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on the plaintiff and ordered it to be paid to the Tamil Nadu State Legal Aid Services Authority within four weeks.

Muthiah in the main suit filed ahead of the Annual General Meeting of the BCCI on September 28, 2008, had contended that Srinivasan had committed breach of code of conduct for administrators by bidding for the Chennai team in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

He had submitted that Srinivasan attracted disqualification under Clause 6.2.4 of the BCCI Regulations, which, he said, barred administrators from having any direct or indirect commercial interest in any of the BCCI events.

Muthiah had also sought a direction restraining Srinivasan from contesting any post of office-bearer in the then elections.

Besides, he prayed for suspension of an amendment to Clause 6.2.4 of the Regulations introduced by the BCCI at the last year AGM to the effect that the clause will not apply to the IPL and Champions T20 League.

Muthiah had also sought a direction from the court for appointing a commission to make a preliminary inquiry against Srinivasan on the complaint filed by him in his letters to the board in September last.

In his letters to the board president, Muthiah had sought action against Srinivasan, the Managing Director of India Cements, for having allegedly earned commercial interest and benefits despite being one of the IPL franchisees.





HC puts the ball back in govt’s court

TNN 14 July 2009, 07:33am IST

BANGALORE: The high court ruling that the government is at liberty to take appropriate action on the 95.32 acres of land in Chikkajala in accordance with the law, put the government on the high road.

It may be recalled that following identification of the land, which the government proposed to give to the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) in its effort to shift BTC out of its present location, the land needed court clearence since it was a tank bed area and was in the transport zone. The state law clearly states that no land in the transport zone can be allotted for any commercial activity.

Now that the court has put the ball back in the government court, directing that it is at liberty to take action in accordance with the law, the government, it is learnt, will need to do re-zoning of the marked area before it allots the land to BTC.

The land at Chikkajala measures 152.02 acres and 56.10 acres of this contains the water body. The government, in its interim application, had made it clear that necessary steps would be taken to protect the water body.

The state had sought a modification of the court’s interim order of August 22, 1995, which directs the authorities not to make any grant of land in tank bed areas, following a PIL filed by Padmashree Zaffer Fatehully. He had sought a direction against the illegal grant of any tank bed lands within the Bangalore Metropolitan Area, in a bid to preserve them, based on recommendations of the N Lakshmana Rau Committee report.

Now that the government is in a position to allot the land to BTC, the racing club is pleased with the progress.
“We will be pleased if it is allotted to us after lifting the restrictions. But we do need time to construct a new course and we will persuade the government to give us at least a three-year extension on the December 31, 2009 deadline,” said Harimohan, steward of the Club.

Meanwhile, it is also learnt that the Karnataka Racehorse Owners’ Association (KROA), Karnataka Trainers’ Association (KTA) and Jockeys’ Association of India (JAI) will submit a memorandum and seek dialogue with the chief minister in their effort to impress upon the CM the problems they face if forced to function out of the Mysore Race Club.

The BTC is not resisting the move to shift out but seeking a three-year extension, the time required to build a new course after allotment of land. But if the government is firm on not providing an extension, the BTC, in a last-ditch effort, will move court for a stay.





HC seeks explanation from govt

TNN 14 July 2009, 03:53am IST

LUCKNOW: State police has become arbitrary. It is protecting an accused, who is from among them. The police is not shying even to mislead court.

Former station officer (SO) of Dibiapur police station, Hoshiarpur Singh, who is wanted and declared absconder in executive engineer Manoj Kumar Gupta murder case is yet untraceable. Shashi Gupta, wife of the murdered engineer, knocked the doors of the high court on Monday.

A division bench of Justices KK Mishra and RM Chauhan ordered the state police to showcause why the station officer has not been arrested. The court granted two weeks time to the state government to file a counter-affidavit explaining the reason behind its inaction.

On Monday, Shashi submitted in the court that the police filed a chargesheet against eleven accused. Hoshiyar Singh was accused number 10. The police conducted sham attachment proceedings against him but it is not taking serious steps to arrest him. She said despite approaching higher police machinery many times, Hoshiyar Singh is still absconding.





HC extends stay on fee hike issue

TNN 14 July 2009, 05:43am IST

MARGAO: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Monday extended the interim stay on approval of fee hikes by government recognized private unaided schools till August 4.

Following a public interest litigation filed by All Goa Unaided Schools Parents’ Association (AGUSPA), advocate general Subodh Kantak told the bench that the government had already constituted a committee to look into the accounts of government recognized unaided schools in the state.

It may be recalled that AGUSPA had filed the PIL against regular hike in fees by managements of recognized private unaided schools.

AGUSPA chairman Nisser Dias termed such fee hikes as arbitrary. He also pointed out that since all efforts to impress the government and the Directorate of Education to curb commercialization’ of education had failed, the only option was to approach the high court.

While holding the DoE responsible for the arbitrary fee hike by such managements, Dias said that the failure of the DoE to meaningfully enforce the Goa School Education Act 1984 through Section 19, sub-section (3) and (4), that deals with fees and other charges to be collected by such schools, has led to commercialization of education in the state.

AGUSPA stated that the ongoing battle, manifested through the PIL, aims at streamlining the erring managements and trustees of recognized private unaided schools and the DoE, that has for long denied justice to exploited parents.

AGUSPA has also demanded that the DoE constitute an authority to inspect and audit the account statements of recognized private unaided schools in Goa, which is mandatory under Section 10, sub-section 7 and rules framed under the Goa School Education Act 1984.

The forum also demanded that a committee of experts be formed to handle financial matters and prepare a report on whether salaries as per the Sixth Pay recommendation can be paid to teachers within the existing fee structure.






Language policy: Hearing of contempt pleas today

TNN 13 July 2009, 01:25am IST

BANGALORE : A high court division Bench headed by Justice N Kumar will on Monday take up the hearing of a batch of contempt petitions against officials of the education department with regard to the government’s language policy. The chief secretary is likely to appear in court.

Dismissing a writ appeal and interlocutary application filed by the government on Wednesday, the court had asked the chief secretary to submit in writing what the state proposes to do in the matter.

The HC had dismissed the writ appeal challenging the April 6 order of a single Bench, asking them to consider an application filed by Rajajinagar Education Society for registration as an Englsih-medium school. The IA sought deferring of the hearing to July 21.

The government has filed nine special leave petitions before the Supreme Court, apart from the one challenging the high court’s full Bench verdict of July 2, 2008. The additional petitions are likely to come up before the apex court on Tuesday. The hearing on the main SLP is fixed for July 21.





Madras HC directive to police on mentally ill persons

The Madras High Court has directed the Director-General of Police to immediately issue instructions to officers in the districts that if the police suspect that mentally ill persons were roaming in and around the town, city or village, they should be dealt with in accordance with the Mental Health Act.

Passing orders on a writ petition seeking a direction to the official authorities to take steps to admit the mentally ill persons who were roaming in and around Vedaranyam town in Nagapattinam district to hospital, a division bench comprising Justices D Murugesan and K Venkataraman said the DGP should periodically monitor, at least once in six months, the action taken by the police.

“We are constrained to issue this order as the mentally ill persons are helpless and they do not know what is happening in and around them and it is for the authorities empowered, to give them treatment and care and they must act in time and any negligence in this regard would not be in the interest of such mentally ill person.” The bench also made it clear that under the guise of the said direction, persons who were not mentally ill should not be harassed.

The petitioner submitted that mentally ill persons were creating problems for the local public in Vedaranyam town. They did not know Tamil and they were brought by lorry drivers from some other states.

They were roaming in the town even without dress and were starving.

The bench said considering the allegation in the writ petition, the court was of the opinion that instead of considering the issue with reference to a particular place in question, the issue could be considered for the entire state.







Naxal attack: NHRC seeks compensation

J. Balaji

NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has described the landmine attack on police personnel in Chhattisgarh by naxalites on Sunday as a grim reminder of the need to immediately provide adequate compensation to the families of the deceased.

Referring to the killing of 30 police personnel, including Rajnandgaon Superintendent of Police Vinod Kumar Choubey, an NHRC release said this was a disturbing incident that called for prompt legal action against the killers.

The NHRC acknowledged the vital role played by the police and paramilitary forces in maintaining the security of the State.

In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the Commission went on record recommending suitable measures to improve the working conditions of policemen — including their working hours — to instil in them the confidence that while they were engaged in protecting the lives and human rights of citizens, their own rights would also be addressed by the State.

The Commission said the families of the deceased policemen deserved the sympathy of all countrymen, and hoped they would be suitably compensated for and those seriously injured given adequate financial aid.





NCW seeks report from MP govt on ‘virginity test’ issue

13 Jul 2009, 1920 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has sought a report from Madhya Pradesh government on the alleged virginity tests conducted on brides before a mass wedding conducted under a state government scheme.

“We have taken a suo moto cognizance of the matter and have asked the state government to submit an interim report at the earliest,” NCW chairperson Girija Vyas told PTI.

Condemning the action, she said a committee will also be constituted soon to probe into the allegations that the Madhya Pradesh government had ordered the virginity and pregnancy tests be conducted on 152 brides at a mass wedding there.

The incident allegedly occurred on June 30 when the brides had assembled for a mass marriage at Madhya Pradesh’s Shahdol district, 350 km from state capital Bhopal.

Marriages under the scheme are solemnized free of cost and all arrangements are made by the district administration. Each couple is also provided assistance in the form of household items worth Rs 5,000.






‘One rank, one pension’ for officers, too

Tribune News Service/PTI

New Delhi, July 13
Defence Minister A K Antony today clarified in the Lok Sabha that “one rank, one pension” recommendation of the Cabinet Secretary-led panel had been accepted by the government for jawans as well as officers.

The government has accepted recommendations of the panel on “one rank, one pension” and other related matters concerning the armed forces, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

The decision is now nearer to the goal of “one rank, one pension” demand of nearly 1.5 million personnel, Antony said during question hour.

The total financial implications on account of benefits to the personnel would be Rs 2,144 crore, the minister said.

The committee has recommended inclusion of Classification Allowance for the Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR) from January 1, 2006, and removal of linkage of full pensions with 33 years from the same date, he said.

The committee also recommended revision of pension of Lt Generals after carrying out a separate pay scale for them, bringing parity between pension pre and post October 10, 1997, for PBOR pensioners and further improving PBOR pensions based on award of Group of Ministers in 2006.

With regard to the separate pay commission, the minister said it had been agreed, and as and when necessary it would be set up in the future.

Antony said the government had also accepted the committee’s recommendations regarding raising the pension amount for those disabled or injured in war.

“After considering all aspects of the issue, the committee made several recommendations to substantially improve pensionary benefits of Personnel Below Officer Rank and Commissioned Officers, which have been accepted by the government,” the minister added.





Caste remarks without knowledge no offence: HC

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Mere use of offensive words will not get you in trouble under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, if you do not have the knowledge that the aggrieved party belongs to the SC/ST category.

Justice Mahesh Grover of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled a “perusal of the provisions makes it abundantly clear that intention and knowledge to commit the offence are essential ingredients of the offence”. With this, the HC has quashed a complaint against a former polytechnic principal.

Elaborating, Justice Grover has asserted it was also important that a “person who allegedly commits such an offence is attributed the knowledge of the person, so abused with offensive words, as belonging to the scheduled caste/tribe”

Justice Grover added: When a complaint is initiated against a person, these two ingredients automatically form essential bed-rock of the allegations; and if the complaint is lacking in these, prima facie, the court cannot record a conclusion that a case has been made out sufficiently so as to warrant summoning of an accused under the provisions of the law.

In his detailed order, Justice Grover asserted the court “is not expected to act mechanically and summon an accused, and it necessarily has to apply its mind to the averments made in the complaint….”

The directions follow a petition by retired principal of Mehar Chand Polytechnic College at Jalandhar ML Ohri and others. The trial court had concluded they had not been shown to have committed an offence under the provisions of the Act, as the complainant had failed to produce the certificate showing she belonged to the Scheduled Caste.

The revision petition was, however, accepted and the trial court was directed to procure the presence of the petitioners as the accused.

Quashing the complaint and the consequent summoning order, Justice Grover asserted: In the instant case, if the entire complaint is perused there is not even a single word mentioned by the complainant that she belongs to the Scheduled Caste and that the petitioners intentionally, and knowing her to be a member of the Scheduled Caste, had uttered the words so as to insult her.




Juvenile homes in state lack human touch: Reports

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Children in juvenile homes across Punjab are growing up in unhygienic conditions; even medical and other facilities are lacking, disclose reports by judicial officers, submitted after carrying out inspections on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Taking suo-motu cognisance of reports carried in these columns on “Homes without care”, Justice SD Anand had earlier asked the judicial officers to carry out surprise checks at the “children homes” and the “observation homes” in Punjab.

In his report, Ludhiana district judge held that two inmates were found cooking, as the cook was on leave. There was no regular superintendent and programme officer. The home was found to have inadequate staff.

Cases of unnatural act and drug abuse had also been reported from the home. Though a psychiatrist and a skin specialist visited the home once a week, a general physician did not visit the home. Children complained that the doctor was prescribing medicine and making entry in the register, but the medicine was not provided. Inmates were also asked to sweep the complex, as there was no sweeper.

The report on the state protective home in Jalandhar revealed a similar situation. It stated there was neither a cook nor medical officer and the medicines in first-aid box had expired. A child was found suffering from chicken pox, but arrangement for keeping him in isolation or hospital had not been made.

There was no cleanliness; and no arrangement for teaching, as the post of JBT teacher was vacant. Again, no regular superintendent was there. The children had access to a black and white TV, which only showed Doordarshan.

The conditions in the home for mentally retarded in Kapurthala too were deplorable. The kitchen was in a highly unhygienic condition. The refrigerator was broken and there was no arrangement of cold water for the inmates. Health facilities were inadequate and the inmates were in poor shape. Naked wires were found near the beds of the inmates.

The home had never been inspected by any authority. The home looked gloomy and desolate without human touch, the report stated.

The observation home in Hoshiarpur was in a dingy, poorly maintained building. Abnormal growth of bushes around the complex could be witnessed; and the toilets were stinking. It had a regular doctor and the inmates looked healthy.

In Amritsar, the observation home had no arrangement of educating the inmates. The toilets were in a bad state.

In Faridkot, children were sleeping on mattresses on the floor. There was no regular superintendent, medical facilities were poor and children had no place to play.

In the children home in Gurdaspur, insects were found in the flour for making chapattis. There were neither medical facilities, nor a playground.

The Rupnagar children home was poorly lit. Only in Patiala and Bathinda, the homes were found to be satisfactory.

After going through the reports, the Bench of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia directed the Punjab State Legal Service Authority to examine the matter.





Nayagaon Land Grab Case
42 IAS, 28 PCS officers yet to give property details

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
A status report submitted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the “Nayagaon land grab case” mentions that 42 IAS officers, 28 PCS, 10 IPS, 39 PPS, 37 MPs, ex-MPs, ex-MLAs, and eight officers of the Excise and Taxation Department are yet to give details of properties purchased or allotted by them in and around Chandigarh.

The list also includes the name of State Director-General of Police-cum-Director of Punjab Police Academy Rajdeep Singh Gill.

The report submitted by an Additional Director-General of Police says: “In spite of several requests, these officers and others, who run the affairs of the government themselves, are avoiding the supply of vital information.”

The report also mentions the names of the 10 defaulting IPS officers. Along with Gill, other officers are Anil Kumar Sharma, Barjinder Kumar Uppal, Dinkar Gupta, Gurinder Pal Singh, Hardish Singh Randhawa, SK Asthana, B. Chandra Shekhar, Naresh Kumar Arora and Amardeep Singh Rai.

Describing the response as “sluggish”, the officer said more time was required to complete the inquiry.

Taking up the matter, the Bench comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Nirmaljit Kaur granted three months’ time.

In a letter, the Bench said it had been mentioned that the Mohali Deputy Commissioner, Punjab Registrar of Co-operative Societies, and the Chief Administrator of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) were not cooperating.

The societies registrar had not supplied affidavits or declarations of the members registered with the co-operating house building societies in Mohali. As such, six months’ time was sought to complete the inquiry.

Before parting with the orders, the Bench directed the deputy commissioner, the registrar and the chief administrator to furnish the requisite information to the inquiry officer within a month from receiving the order’s copy.

Earlier, the high court had directed two task forces to report on encroachments on government land.

Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Hemant Gupta had made it clear that the two panels would submit the reports to the State Chief Secretary. The report in the matter by ADGP Chander Shekhar, too, was directed to be placed before the Chief Secretary; and the entire exercise has to be completed in three months. 





RTI law will ‘change system of governance’

Tribune News Service

Hisar, July 13
Chief Information Commissioner, Haryana, G. Madhavan today asked all public authorities to abide by the provisions of Right to Information Act and provide correct information within the stipulated period.

Delivering the keynote address at a state-level workshop on the “Right to Information Act — Experience so far and the Road Ahead” held at CCS Haryana Agricultural University here, he said the RTI law was landmark legislation which was bound to change the system of governance by bringing about transparency, efficiency and accountability apart from checking corruption.

He said merely within three years of its institution, the RTI Commission had successfully brought awareness among the masses about their basic rights thereby changing their mindset.

The workshop was organised by the Directorate of Human Resource Management of the university. It was attended by nearly 250 district-level officers and sarpanches and a host of senior government functionaries.

Madhavan urged administrators and officers of academic and administrative institutions to make available on the Internet all information pertaining to the functioning of their institutions and update it regularly. He said Sweden was the first country to implement the RTI Act and that was why it was the least corrupt country in the world.

He asked citizens to be aware of their rights and involve themselves in the functioning of schools, colleges, hospitals, post offices and other public institutions of their area.

In his presidential address, Vice-Chancellor KS Khokhar said HAU public information officers were very responsive and adhered to the time-frame while disposing of applications made under the RTI Act. He said transparency in the varsity administration was a proof of the commitment to the RTI Act.





Govt pushes for foreign varsity bill; SP opposes it

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 13
The government today got the first taste of opposition to its much-hyped foreign universities bill, with former ally Samajwadi Party (SP) being the first to criticise it. The SP said the law would make the country servile by eroding the local language and promoting the “idea of supremacy of the English language”.

“The best way to enslave a nation is by spoiling its language. That is what foreign universities will do. Moreover, how do you expect poor students to attend such universities? There are people who have not yet seen a railway line. In such a situation, we can’t allow foreign campuses in India,” SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today told The Tribune.

Earlier in the Lok Sabha, Mulayam vociferously opposed the idea after Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal argued in its favour in question hour. “It is better to allow foreign universities like Harvard, Princeton and Yale to come to India and have a law to regulate them than to not open up at all,” Sibal said, reiterating the UPA’s urge to formalise the mechanism of facilitating the entry of such reputed foreign universities accredited in the country of their origin, for improving higher education and research in India.

It appears from government talk that the quota policy in foreign universities would be implemented subject to the nature of the course under consideration. “If it is BA, we can have the quota,” Sibal said, implying that reservation may not be necessary in more specialised courses offered by foreign universities.

The government is further contemplating a law to prohibit and punish those who induce students to take admission in institutions not recognised by appropriate statutory authorities. On the foreign varsity front, the government made it clear that dubious institutes won’t be allowed and students’ interests would be guarded.

The SP, however, kept running down the idea, saying it was a route to servility and inequality. “We seek a wider debate by party leaders on this matter. It is better to get corporates to invest in setting up world-class universities in India than have foreign campuses here. We have enough of our own talent,” Mulayam said.

The government, however, had its own reasons to back the bill. At present, 1,60,000 Indian students go abroad for studies annually; and expense on the government is $ 7 billion per year.

The SP, however, was unwilling all day to lower its guard on the issue, with Mulayam even countering Sibal’s assertion that English was an international language. “You are misleading the House. English is spoken only in seven countries. Even in Italy, where I recently went, people speak their own language,” SP chief said, gesturing towards UPA chief Sonia Gandhi.





Charge sheet against Mayawati ready, CBI tells court

Legal Corespondent

NEW DELHI: The CBI on Monday told the Supreme Court that the investigation in the disproportionate assets case against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati under the Prevention of Corruption Act was complete and the charge sheet was to be filed in the trial court.

A Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J.M. Panchal granted Ms. Mayawati six weeks to file her response to the CBI’s affidavit and listed the matter for hearing thereafter.

In its response to her petition seeking to quash the proceedings, the CBI said the case was registered as per the September 18, 2003 court directions in the Taj corridor case. The court had said it was open to the agency to take whatever action it deemed fit, depending on the outcome of the investigation of the Taj corridor case. There was no need for further sanction as the investigation was part of the probe into the scam.

As for the allegation that a Bahujan Samaj Party MP was approached for support to the government during the July 22, 2008 motion of trust moved in Parliament, the counter said: “No CBI officer contacted or visited the MP, Brijesh Pathak, on or before July 22, 2008, seeking his support for the government during the trust vote, as alleged by her.”

It denied that the Union government had started a tirade against her to malign her reputation through the CBI. The competent authority took the final decision to file the charge sheet in July last year, and this was submitted in the affidavit filed on July 10, 2008, as the investigation had concluded. The CBI rejected Ms. Mayawati’s allegations that an offer was made to settle the issues pending in the Supreme Court and sought dismissal of her petition.

In her petition, Ms. Mayawati alleged that the inquiry was illegal and the case was politically motivated. She contended that the FIR filed against her was illegal, as no sanction was taken from the State.

The CBI misinterpreted the court direction in the Taj corridor case. The Centre, she alleged , was using the CBI for political ends.





Law Commission for amending Indian Stamp Act

Legal Correspondent

Mode of court fee payment needs to be drastically overhauled

It will save the huge cost required for printing court fee stamps

New Delhi: The Law Commission of India has recommended that the required fee for any transaction/court fee can be paid by demand draft/cash/postal order/banker’s cheque instead of through non-judicial stamp papers or special stamps.

In its report to be submitted to the government, the Commission headed by Justice A.R. Lakshmanan said, “Non-judicial stamps are for use in transactions between persons, where a written instrument is used in such transactions. Adhesive stamps are printed on small pieces of paper and affixed to the instrument. There are special adhesive stamps to be used in particular instruments.”

British legacy

The report said: “Our country is carrying the unbearable load under the Indian Stamp Act, 1899, which is a British legacy. The main reason for stamp paper scams is that these stamp papers are printed in bulk. Another reason is the government not being alive to the fact that this Act is a ridiculous piece of legislation. Ridiculously small amount of court fee like 50 paise is still required to be paid on some type of documents. Then there are complicated provisions for cancelling those court fee stamps.”

The report also noted that in the High Courts “where the paper books [case bundles] are very heavy, the petitioner is required to affix a court fee stamp of 65 paise on each page. Considerable amount of man hours are wasted in this useless process. These ridiculous provisions continue to remain on statute book even 56 years after the Constitution came into force. Added to all these problems is the artificial shortage of stamp papers occasionally created by agents, leading to sale of those stamp papers in black market.

Many scandals

“There have been many scandals in this country in relation to stamp papers, including the latest Telgi scam involving printing and sale of stamp papers. Some State governments in our country it appears have decided to sell stamp papers through post offices.”

The report said: “In view of more modern and convenient methods of charging court fee being available in our country, the mode of payment of court fee requires to be drastically overhauled. Court fee should be made payable for an amount in round figures, and should be payable through demand drafts or cash. In the Debts Recovery Tribunals and the Central Administrative Tribunals the system of paying court fee in lump sum on the entire petition through demand drafts or cash is working well.”

Fee payment method

The report, therefore, recommended amending the IS Act, 1899 to the effect that the required fee for any transaction should be payable through demand drafts, cash, postal order or banker’s cheque to enable the government save the huge cost required for printing court fee stamps and stamp papers and for payment of commission.

It also recommended that a similar fee payment method be introduced in all the judicial forums and all other transactions.





Illegal mining: Lokayukta slams Government

Staff Reporter

Santosh Hegde terms ATR an ‘action to be taken report’

BANGALORE: Expressing dissatisfaction with the Action Taken Report (ATR) submitted by the State Government on the findings of the Lokayukta concerning irregularities and illegalities in the mining sector, Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde said: “It’s not an action taken report, but action to be taken report.”

Mr. Hegde told presspersons on Monday that the ATR contained directions and show-cause notices that were issued in February. “It does not say anything as to whether these directions were acted upon. There is no mention as to what actions have been taken between February and July,” he said and added: “On the request of the Government, I had allowed them three extra months to file the ATR. This extension has not served any purpose.”

The State Government on July 10 submitted to the Lokayukta its action taken report (ATR) on the findings of illegalities and irregularities in the mining sector. The ATR submitted to the Lokayukta is in 11 volumes containing the responses of various departments.

Border row

Referring to his recommendation about the joint survey of the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border in Bellary and the need to stop illegal mining in that area, Mr. Hegde, quoting the ATR, said that the Chief Minister had written to the Prime Minister and Union Minister for Science and Technology on this issue but action had not been taken by the Centre.

The Lokayukta said: “The Government, instead of remaining silent, should have pursued the matter and taken action to stop illegal mining in the border areas, which is still continuing.”

In another instance, the State Government had not commented on 39 cases of “Raising Contracts” used for illegal mining.

Raising Contract is an agreement permitting a third person to carry out mining activity on behalf of the mining lease holder, which is prohibited under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957.

“The Government has commented only about the loss suffered by State-owned Mysore Minerals Ltd. about the Raising Contract entered into by it. It has not said anything about the other 38 cases,” he said. On the question of de-reservation of forest land, the Lokayukta said the State Government in the ATR had said it was waiting for the information from the State Forest Department.

“Why should the Government wait for Forest Department to submit the files when the records are already with it. How long does it take to get the relevant records from its own officers?,” he asked.

To the issue of fly ash contamination as the ore was transported, Mr. Hegde said the Government in the ATR had said it had asked lorries to spray water on the roads as they moved and cover the vehicles with tarpaulin. “What kind of response is this? Does it indicate any concern for the environment and the health of the common man?,” he asked.

On the loss suffered by the State-owned Mysore Minerals Ltd, Mr. Hegde said the Government had stated that the MML had inflated its losses in its statement to the Lokayukta, which was around Rs. 600 crore. The Government said the actual loss was around Rs. 140 crore. Mr. Hegde wondered if the MML officials had inflated the loss figures why did the Government not take action against them, instead of merely pointing it out in the ATR.





Pollution control board: orders on Chemplast plea in a week

J. Venkatesan

No impediment to board passing orders on company’s application: CJI

Company seeks consent to operate Cuddalore plant

Despite court directions, board has not passed orders on application: counsel

New Delhi: The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it would pass orders in one week on an application by Chemplast Sanmar Limited seeking consent to operate its Cuddalore plant.

In view of this submission by TNPCB counsel T. Harish Kumar, a Bench consisting of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices P. Sathasivam and J.M. Panchal adjourned the hearing by two weeks.

Earlier, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for Chemplast, said that despite the May 12 court directions, the TNPCB did not pass any order on the company’s application. In its brief order on May 12, the court said: “List in the second week of July. Respondents to file counter-affidavit in the meantime. Whatever decision taken by the TNBCB is subject to the final decision of these petitions.”

The CJI told the TNPCB counsel that the order was very clear and that there was no impediment to the board considering Chemplast’s application and passing orders on it. Mr. Harish Kumar said the board would pass orders in one week and an affidavit would be filed.

Underground pipeline

The Bench was hearing a special leave petition filed by M. Nizamudeen against an October 31, 2008 Madras High Court judgment, rejecting his writ petition challenging the clearance granted by the Public Works Department dated February 27, 2008 to Chemplast to construct a 2.5-km underground pipeline for drawing the raw material Vinyl Chloride Monomer from the jetty located at Tiyagavalli village to its plant at Semmankuppam village.

Seeking dismissal of the SLP, Chemplast, in its counter, said the only relief claimed in the writ petition (before the High Court) was an interim injunction to restrain it from laying the pipeline. As all prayers for interim relief were declined by the High Court and against which no appeals were preferred, it completed the laying of the pipeline. Such being the position, absolutely nothing survived in the present SLP and it must be dismissed as infructuous.





Court declines to interfere with order

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Monday declined to interfere with an interim order passed by a single Judge directing the Customs authorities to issue necessary sail order to a vessel, M.V. Asean Express, carrying river sand, to leave Karaikal port to the Republic of Maldives.

When an appeal preferred by the Nagapattinam Collector came up for hearing before the First Bench comprising Chief Justice H.L. Gokhale and Justice K. Venkataraman, S. Sundara Krishnan, a partner of Krishna and Company, an authorised export house inter alia dealing in export of river sand to the Maldives, gave an undertaking that he would not procure river sand from Tamil Nadu or river sand which had been moved from Tamil Nadu for any further export.

The Bench said that in view of the undertaking in these facts and circumstances, it was leaving undisturbed the interim order.





HC directs officials to crack down on theatres

Staff Reporter

Public money is swindled without providing basic amenities, alleges petitioner

MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here on Monday directed the Madurai Collector, Corporation Commissioner, Police Commissioner and Superintendent of Police to take appropriate action against alleged irregularities in cinema theatres.

Disposing of a public interest litigation petition, a Division Bench comprising Justice V. Ramasubramanian and Justice D. Hariparanthaman said that it would not be possible for the court to monitor the functioning of cinema halls.

Hence, they directed the officers to look into identical representations given to them by the petitioner S. Saravanan, a practising lawyer here, in this regard and take appropriate remedial action wherever it was warranted.

Earlier, petitioner’s counsel W. Peter Ramesh Kumar claimed that theatres charged more than government prescribed rates. They did not provide proper air-conditioning facility and failed to maintain toilets in a hygienic condition.

He claimed that public money was swindled without providing basic amenities as per the pre-conditions for grant of licence for theatres.

The violations were being perpetrated with the knowledge of the Government officials concerned, he alleged.

Bribe money

Further, the petitioner’s affidavit stated: “I am informed that the authorities deliberately refuse to discharge their statutory duties by taking illegal gratification and bribe money from the theatre owners or managers.”

Pointing out that he had sent representations to all the officials on December 11, the petitioner claimed that they failed to initiate action against the offenders. He had included managers of 15 theatre complexes in the city as respondents.





Life sentence reversed

Staff Reporter

MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here on Monday reversed the conviction and life sentence imposed by a trial court on a person accused of killing a woman in a private lodge at Srirangam in Tiruchi district on December 16, 2003. A Division Bench of Justices R. Banumathi and R. Mala said that the prosecution had failed to produce sufficient evidence. The accused argued the appeal on his own without engaging a lawyer.





Modifications in Service Tax

Kakinada: The Union Finance Minister has, in terms of Finance (No. 2) Bill tabled by him in the Parliament, proposed to levy Service Tax on transport of goods through railways (in containers or otherwise), transport of coastal goods, goods transported through inland water, legal consulting services and cosmetic and plastic surgeries.

According to a press release by the Commissioner of Central Excise and Customs (Visakhapatnam-II) P.V.R. Reddy, business auxiliary services, information technology service, works contract services and stock broking have been proposed for modification. The relevant clauses of the Finance Bill and notifications can be seen on the website

Date(s) from which the changes would come into effect are yet to be notified in the Gazette. Clarifications in this regard can be sought from the Deputy Commissioner of Central Excise, Kakinada-II division (Door No. 27-4-10 & 11, Temple Street, Phone no. 0884-2345122 or 2354335) and Deputy Commissioner of Central Excise, Rajahmundry.





Karnataka High Court disposes of plea to quash case under Domestic Violence Act

Staff Reporter

Software engineer and his father petitioned the Karnataka High Court

“The case appeared on 83 occasions in the magistrate’s court”

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court has disposed of a criminal petition filed by a software engineer and his Chennai-based father seeking to quash the proceedings initiated against them under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 by a court in Bangalore.

S. Ganesh and his father M. Sadashivam, staying at Gandhi Nagar in Chennai, petitioned the High Court against the proceedings initiated by Priya Kurien, wife of Mr. Ganesh and also a software engineer. She did this under the Domestic Violence Act before the 6th Additional City Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) and the Junior Magistrate First Class (JMFC), Bangalore.

Ms. Kurien had filed the case against Mr. Ganesh and Mr. Sadashivam under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. According to her, the case appeared on 83 occasions in the magistrate’s court. In her complaint, she alleged “emotional abuse, harassment, cruelty, etc.” She asked for a protection order and other reliefs.

Mr. Ganesh and Mr. Sadashivam moved the High Court asking that her petition before the magistrate be dismissed. They said that the dispute between them was over monetary transactions. According to them, the “prayers are civil in nature and nothing could be adjudicated by the learned Magistrate under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.” Mr. Sadashivam said he was residing in Chennai and he could not have committed any offence as alleged.

Ms. Kurien’s counsel contended that the petition should be considered in its entirety and that the magistrate was vested with powers to mould relief in terms of Sections 12, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 of the Domestic Violence Act.

In her case before the magistrate, she said she had married Mr. Ganesh in Chennai on January 20, 1997. At the time of marriage, she was working as a Systems Analyst in a company in Chennai and he was working as a Systems Engineer with a private firm in Bangalore. She said her in-laws had opposed the marriage. Ms. Kurien stated that she resigned her job and moved to Bangalore along with Mr. Ganesh. She alleged that the marriage showed signs of breaking down when her husband began taunting her and subjecting her to domestic violence.

In 2007, Ms Kurien filed for divorce before the Family Court and in 2008, filed a case of domestic violence before the ACMM.

Justice Subash B.Adi said the arguments addressed by the petitioners were “ll matters not to be appreciated at this stage. It requires consideration by the learned magistrate and the petitioners are at liberty to raise such objections as permissible in law.”





Language row: court gives State one more chance

Staff Reporter

State had filed a Special Leave Petition against Full Bench judgment of July 2, 2008

Court takes exception to State’s repeated defiance of Full Bench order

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Monday gave “one last chance” for the State Government to implement its order on the contentious language policy.

A Division Bench comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice A.N. Venugopala Gowda passed the order on a batch of contempt petitions by managements of several primary schools challenging the refusal by the Government to permit them to teach in English.

The schools contended that the jurisdictional Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) had issued endorsements, stating that they would not be permitted to teach students from the first to fourth standard in English as the matter was pending in Supreme Court.

The schools said the State was bound to implement the Full Bench judgment of the Karnataka High Court of July 2, 2008, which had upheld the right of parents and their children to choose the medium of instruction of their choice at the primary school level. The State had filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) against the Full Bench judgment.

When the matter came up on Monday, Advocate-General Ashok Harnahalli said the State had filed another SLP against an order of Justice Kumar and Justice Gowda of July 7, directing the State to comply with the Full Bench order.

He said the SLP was filed on July 10 and it is expected to come up for hearing shortly. He also said he is filing an affidavit of Chief Secretary Sudhakar Rao on the language issue.

The Bench took exception to repeated defiance of the Full Bench order and observed that “the officials are expected to look into court orders and pass orders and not vice-versa”. It said in deference to the Supreme Court, it would give some time to the State Government. Coming down heavily on those violating the court orders, the Bench said when such people lose power, they knock on the doors of court, seeking justice. When they are in power, they show scant respect to court orders. However, the Constitution has enough provisions to show such people their place.

It asked the AG to file in writing that the SLP against the July 7 order would come up in the Supreme Court. Later, the AG filed a memo seeking more time. The Bench adjourned further hearing of the case to July 16

In a related case, the same Bench ordered issue of notice to Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Visveshwar Hedge Kageri on a civil contempt petition filed by a school.

The petitioner contended that the authorities had issued endorsement to schools following remarks by the Minister that the government is bound by its language policy. He said such statements by the Minister amounted to contempt of court.





High Court disposes of IA on Turf Club

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Monday disposed of an interlocutory application (IA) by the State Government seeking modification of an earlier order on land adjoining a tank in Doddajala.

The State had asked the Bangalore Turf Club to cease operations from its present location off Race Course Road and allotted it land near a tank in Doddajala. It later found that court had in an interim order in 1995 asked the Government to maintain status quo. The State filed an IA urging the court to modify the 1995 order and permit the Turf Club to set up its new premises there. The Bench disposed of the IA, with a direction to the government to pass orders on the lease of land to the turf club.





NBW against BBMP chief

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Monday took serious exception to the failure of the BBMP to comply with court orders and directed the High Court Registry to issue non-bailable warrant against the BBMP Commissioner. Justice Rammohan Reddy passed the order after a resident of Bangalore brought to his notice that the BBMP Commissioner had not complied with court orders relating to a building in Bangalore.

Justice Reddy noted that the Commissioner should have complied with the court order, instead of sitting over it. He ordered issue of NBW and adjourned further hearing of the case.





Verdict against officer set aside

Kochi: An Additional Sessions Court here on Monday set aside the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s verdict sentencing senior IPS officer K.G. Prem Shanker, and former Mattannoor Sub Inspector R.V. Kunhikannan to six months’ simple imprisonment on charges of assaulting a journalist, the late Maniyeri Madhavan, in 1988.

The sessions court commuted the six months imprisonment awarded to Abdul Gafoor, former Sub Inspector, Kannur Town, and P. Jayaraj, former Circle Inspector. They were directed to stand in the court till it rose and pay a fine of Rs.25,000. The court ordered that the fine be paid to the heir of Madhavan, the Editor, Printer and Publisher of the Kannur-based eveninger Sudinam. The prosecution alleged that the accused had conspired to take Madhavan and his trainee-reporter into custody and assaulted them and damaged the press and allied properties. They were arrested for publishing the name of a rape victim after the accused received a complaint from the illiterate girl and her parents.





Court order on IATA agents’ plea

Special Correspondent

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday directed the Director General of Civil Aviation to consider and pass orders on a representation given by the IATA Agents’ Association of India seeking a direction to 16 airlines to comply with the rule regarding inclusion of the travel agents’ commission in the air tariff. Justice V. Giri ordered the Director General to pass the orders within four weeks.

Sixteen airlines had decided to stop including the commission in the tariff and the agents had been asked to fix commission and collect it on their own. This had caused hardships to the small travel agents. Adding commission amount in the tariff would create disaffection among the passengers, the agents said.





Case against IAS officer quashed

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has quashed the FIR against an IAS officer in a criminal case filed by his relative over a matrimonial dispute.

Quashing the FIR against bureaucrat Vineet Kumar, now posted in Kerala, Justice S. Muralidhar said “the complaint is vitiated by mala fides.” “The petitioner has been able to establish that the complaint before the Magistrate is inherently absurd, improbable and constitutes an abuse of process of law,” Justice Muralidhar said. According to Mr. Kumar’s petition, Vandana, wife of his brother-in-law, had lodged a case against her husband, parents-in-law and other family members for harassing her soon after her marriage in 2002.

In September 2003, she brought a woman SHO to raid his official residence, according to Mr. Kumar. Since they could not find any evidence to establish a case against him, she started fighting with him, he said. Vandana had lodged another complaint before the magistrate against him for physical assault at his house.

The magistrate had summoned the officer to appear in the court in connection with the fresh complaint. After this, Mr. Kumar had moved the Delhi High Court. — PTI




High court lets sand-laden foreign ship to leave Karaikal

TNN 14 July 2009, 03:06am IST

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has permitted a Maldives-bound sand-laden ship to move out of Karaikal port, but only after the ship owners gave an undertaking that they would not purchase or transport river sand from Tamil Nadu across the state border for export.

An order to this effect was passed by the first bench comprising chief justice HL Gokahale and justice K Venkataraman on Monday, after special government pleader Sankaran pointed out that the Tamil Nadu had banned transporting river sand from the state beyond its boundary.

The ship, MV Asian Express, which was to leave for the Maldives with 3,750 tonnes of sand last week, was denied customs clearance last week on the ground that the Nagapattinam district collectorate had raised an objection. The government order has since been confirmed by a division bench of the High Court.

Now, though the ship owners claimed that they had purchased river sand from Puducherry’s Karaikal region, the Nagapattinam collector said river sand from Tamil Nadu had been smuggled into Puducherry and transported to the Maldives. Vindicating the stand, the Karaikal district collector wrote a letter stating that the region did not have any sand quarry.

When the ship owners — Krishna & Company of Tuticorin — moved the High Court, a single judge had asked them to furnish bank guarantee to move out the vessel. Aggrieved, the Nagapattinam collector preferred the present appeal.

When the matter was taken up, AR L Sundaresan, senior counsel for the ship owners, gave an undertaking that they would not purchase or move river sand from Tamil Nadu for further export through Karaikal or any other port. Making it clear that it is an exemption, the judges directed the owners to give bank guarantee in a nationalised bank. If the case goes against the company, the state government to encash the guarantee with interest.




Harried father files PIL in HC

TNN 14 July 2009, 02:56am IST

CHANDIGARH: The strike by school bus operators came under the scanner of Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday as a city resident filed a seeking directions for ending the strike and issuing directions to Chandigarh administration to install speed governors in all CTU buses.

After hearing the PIL, a division bench headed by chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur and justice KS Ahluwalia issued notice to UT administration and the bus operators? association asking them to file their replies on the matter on July 20.

The PIL was filed by sector-27 resident Vikash Kuthiala, who as a father of two kids claimed to be facing problem to drop them to school due to the strike that began on July 10. The petitioner stated that the basis of strike by bus operators was UT administration?s decision that school buses should be fitted with speed governors, whereas UT has not fitted speed governor in its own fleet of buses despite the fact that large number of students travel in CTU buses. He further said that thousands of students and their parents have been affected by this illegal, uncalled and arbitrary strike by bus operators.

“Now instead of having 300 school buses ferrying 80,000 children, every day nearly 5,000 cars or private vehicles are on roads ferrying school children in the morning and afternoon, thereby substantially increasing pollution level besides creating traffic snarls and jams,” he said. Ahluwalia sought summoning the decision passed by bus operators, restraining them from strike in future and directing UT administration to install speed governors in UT buses as well.




Amicus curiae opposes UT’s plea for abortion

TNN 14 July 2009, 02:54am IST

CHANDIGARH: Strongly opposing UT’s plea for permitting termination of the pregnancy of Nari Niketan rape victim, senior advocate and Amicus curiae of the case RS Cheema on Monday submitted before the special bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court that there is no risk to the victim or her issue’s life if she delivers.

While submitting his arguments before the special bench headed by Justice Surya Kant, Cheema pleaded that presumption of a handicap child or apprehensions about the future of child after his or her birth cannot be a ground for termination of pregnancy as there are 2.19 crore handicap persons in the country who are being taken care of by the government or other organizations. Cheema informed the bench that the victim is desirous to deliver and mother the child and termination of pregnancy would aggravate her state of mind.

Countering the arguments of UT counsel that the victim is under stress and is not prepared for delivery, Cheema asserted that every woman is stressed during her pregnancy period as it is a natural phenomenon and there are some complexities in almost all deliveries.

Coming down heavily on Chandigarh administration, Cheema said rape of a woman in a UT-run institution is like custodial death and a torturous act.

Arguments by the amicus on the matter would continue on Tuesday before the special bench. UT counsel Anupam Gupta has already concluded his arguments on the issue. Meanwhile, the foetus of the victim has grown more than 17 weeks on Monday and as per the MTP Act it cannot be terminated beyond 20 week.




HC refuses stay in JEE case

TNN 14 July 2009, 06:47am IST

KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court on Monday refused to grant a stay on a single Bench order, directing the West Bengal Board of Joint Entrance Examination to produce the answer scripts of three unsuccessful JEE 2009 candidates.

Justice Dipankar Datta had, on July 3, directed the JEE board to produce the answer scripts of Subhasish Kesh, Simantini Bhattacharya and Soumya Konar on July 13 and asked the three to deposit costs with the board. They had moved court, complaining of improper assessment and sought production of their papers.

On Monday, Datta adjourned hearing till Wednesday when the board’s counsel sought adjournment, saying he had appealed against the July 3 order. Then, the board’s appeal was heard by a division Bench on Monday. Kesh’s counsel Debjit Mukherjee argued that the appeal was not maintainable as the board has already accepted Rs 5,000 from his client. The board’s counsel, Subrata Mukhopadhyay, opposed that and sought an interim stay on the trial court order which the Bench refused. The case will be heard again on Wednesday.





HC stops forcible rehab of project affected Pahur villagers

T O Abraham, TNN 14 July 2009, 03:34am IST

YAVATMAL: The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has ordered Yavatmal district administration not to forcibly rehabilitate any resident of Pahur village affected by the Bembla River Irrigation Project. A division bench comprising justice SA Bobde and justice FM Reis has appointed a commission to visit Pahur village in Babhulgaon tehsil and the proposed rehabilitation site to study civic amenities made available by the rehabilitation authority and submit a report within 15 days.

The district rehabilitation authorities had given an ultimatum to residents of Pahur, asking the residents to accept the possession certificate of their allotted plots at the rehabilitation site immediately, failing which the land patta would be cancelled and bulldozers deployed to raze down the village.

The gram panchayat and the villagers had jointly preferred a writ petition before the high court and pleaded for an interim stay on the forcible shifting of their village. They alleged that the rehabilitation site doesn’t have adequate civic amenities and pointed out that they would not able to construct their houses during the rainy season.

The counsel for the district administration, however, denied the allegations and told the court that the village would submerge during the current monsoon as the project authorities have targeted 100% storage in the dam.

After hearing both parties, the court granted status quo to the order issued by the district administration and ordered them not to force rehabilitation. The court also appointed a senior lawyer as commission, who would visit both the affected village and the proposed site to ascertain the veracity of the respective claims and report back within 15 days. The court has also directed the district administration to appoint a representative to assist the commission.

There are over 1,200 families in the village and the administration has issued pattas’ to only 700 families. The remaining 500 families are yet to receive the patta’ of their plot allotted at the rehabilitation site. Some of them have constructed their houses at the new site while a few others are busy completing the construction.

The district rehabilitation officer said, “There are a number of families who are either encroachers or not having any legal document to establish their claim over the occupied land.” He added that this was the reason for not giving patta’ to around 500 families.




Rai files counter-affidavit in DA case

TNN 13 July 2009, 11:22pm IST

RANCHI: Former minister Harinaryan Rai, an accused in the disproportionate assets case, has filed a counter-affidavit in the Jharkhand High Court saying that the allegations against him are politically motivated.

According to the affidavit filed by Rai, the allegations levelled against him are baseless and based purely on newspaper reports. He said first a PIL had been filed against him. Subsequently, a case was filed against him at vigilance court by one Kumar Vinod which, he said, was a political conspiracy.

He alleged that Kumar Vinod had a criminal case pending against him and investigations in the case were in progress. Rai said he lives in a joint family and had ancestral immovable property measuring 50.18 acres of land.
Specifying about the house made at Harmu area besides the under-construction house of cricketer M S Dhoni was purchased for Rs 14.31 lakh and the building was constructed at the cost of Rs 26.45 lakh.

The affidavit further says that a loan amounting to Rs 15 lakh against the name of his wife was taken for the purpose of building construction and thus the allegations of disproportionate assets are baseless.

The PIL alleging disproportionate assets by seven former ministers had been filed by one Durga Oraon and is scheduled to come up for hearing in the Jharkhand High court on Tuesday.

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