LEGAL NEWS 10.07.2009

The elephants were installed as traditional signs of welcome and not as BSP symbols

‘The Money Spent On The Statues Is Miniscule’

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 28, Dated July 18, 2009

Friday, 10 July 2009

Mayawati’s right-hand man, SC Mishra tells SRAWAN SHUKLA why spending Rs 1,000 crore on statues of his boss is justified

The Mayawati government is accused of splurging public money on installing her own statues.
There is not an iota of truth in accusations from the Congress. They should look into their own history. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others. The Congress has spent crores on installing statues of Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi all over the country. There is not a single tehsil in the country where something is not named or erected after these leaders. The BJP has also installed statues and made parks in the name of Pt Deen Dayal Updhyaya. How can they single out the BSP for installing statues of its leaders? The BSP has every right to pay respect to its iconic leaders. Moreover, Mayawatiji’s statues were installed as per the wish of Manyawar Kanshi Ramji.

What about statues of elephants, BSP’s political symbol?
Elephants are revered as a sign of welcome all over the country as per Indian traditions. The same can be seen at Rashtrapati Bhawan and Raj Bhawan. The elephants were installed as ‘welcome mudra’, not as BSP symbols.

How does the ideology of the BSP, which is a party of poor dalits, gel with memorials, statues and monuments?
Memorials and monuments pay respect to those who have made a significant contribution to our society and the nation. Can the Congress belittle contributions made by Dr Ambedkar, who drafted the Indian Constitution? Both Kanshi Ramji and Mayawatiji fulfilled the dream of Dr Ambedkar by working for dalits. The BSP ideology is to take this dream forward and march to the Centre to get them their due and make them feel equal citizens.

Wouldn’t it have been better to spend this money on the welfare of your people and the dalits you want to help?
It is a matter of perception. People are prejudiced against our government. No one talks of the development schemes launched by our government in Uttar Pradesh. We have earmarked Rs 19,000 crore for education, Rs 11,064 crore for agriculture and Rs 6,503 crore for medical and health services. The amount spent on the construction of the statues is a miniscule part of the budgetary provisions made for overall development of the state.

The Supreme Court seemed unimpressed by your arguments during the hearing of the PIL.
I should not and will not make any comments on whether my arguments were well taken during the hearing of the PIL, which is politically-motivated. Why are people not raising objections to prime landmarks like Delhi’s Teen Murti Bhawan, which has Congress statues? And why is the Mumbai Sea Link named after Rajiv Gandhi? After hearing the arguments, the Supreme Court has not yet admitted the writ petition, and has only issued a notice to show cause to decide whether to admit the writ petition or not.


What is your reply to the notices issued by the SC?
We are drafting a thorough reply and I am confident that the Supreme Court will be satisfied with our answers. I can’t divulge anything further at this stage.

The Mayawati government talks of Sarva Samaj but there are no statues of any leaders of any other castes?
Not one but several new schemes for the benefit of upper caste have been launched, which none of the previous governments had even thought of. She is not only speaking of Sarva Samaj, she is also actually working towards it.

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 28, Dated July 18, 2009






Punjab breached domain by exempting MLAs of tax: Centre to HC

10 Jul 2009, 0449 hrs IST, TNN

CHANDIGARH: Disapproving of the Punjab government’s ham-handed ways and objecting to its decision regarding tax exemption to MLAs, the Union government on Thursday accused it of overstepping its jurisdiction.

In its reply filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court by P K Chopra, chief commissioner, income tax, north-west region, the Centre stated: “…the legislature, in all its knowledge, has trespassed its jurisdiction as income tax, which is a central tax, comes under the Union government.”

The reply, filed before the division bench headed by justice M M Kumar, further stated that the state government’s legislation was unconstitutional and lacked the Centre’s approval.

Manmohan Singh, a resident of Punjab, had challenged the state government’s decision by filing a PIL before the high court.

The court has now ordered 40 Punjab MLAs to file a reply on behalf of all others.





Is Mayawati running away from her Brahmin shadow?

Sanjay Singh

Posted: Jul 10, 2009 at 0240 hrs IST

Lucknow With Mayawati asking Satish Chandra Mishra — the BSP’s Brahmin face and believed to be the architect of the famed Sarvajan formula — to focus on legal matters and bail out the beleaguered state government embroiled in a string of PILs in various courts, speculation is rife in the party ranks about his future.

While some say it will ground Mishra’s political aspirations, the fact is that the chief minister has not disturbed his supporters ensconced in various ministries and the bureaucracy. But most of Mishra’s supporters feel his fortunes in the party now hinge on his performance in the legal arena.

On July 4, Mayawati announced at a party gathering that Mishra would now dedicate 80 per cent of his time to the legal matters relating to her government and the organisation. She also made it clear she would herself handle the task of getting upper castes into her party fold which, until then, was Mishra’s responsibility.

Before this happened, Mishra was the most important man in the BSP after party president Mayawati. In the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, he had dealt with the Left parties on her behalf, attended the Third Front meeting at Tumkur and, within the state, he had a helicopter at his disposal for campaigning.

As chairman of the state advisory council, he enjoyed the status of a cabinet minister. The council is empowered to review all development programmes and law and order.

The chief secretary, the principal secretaries of home and law, principal secretary (planning) and the principal secretary (finance) are its members. It is anybody’s guess how much time Mishra can now spare for the council.

The shrinking of Mishra’s role came after adverse court judgments in some important cases, like the Supreme Court refusing to stay the high court judgment that quashed the government’s decision to cancel police recruitment made during the previous Samajwadi Party regime, and the apex court admitting a PIL against the installation of Mayawati statues.

Party sources said most of the advocates who represent the state government in the High Court and the Supreme Court were selected by Mishra. On Wednesday, Mishra scored a victory for the UP government when the Supreme Court gave its go-ahead for the demolition of the Lucknow jail to pave the way for an ecological park. But there is long list of politically important cases pending, both in the Supreme Court and the Allahabad High Court, including the case of disproportionate assets against Mayawati.

Mishra’s supporters have not taken kindly to Mayawati’s public announcement over the new role for the man who was till the other day her most trusted political emissary when the CM was busy pursuing her avowed prime ministerial ambitions.

“Mayawati could have avoided making a public announcement about the new role of Mishra. After all, Mishraji is considered to be the chief architect of the Brahmin participation in the BSP after the Assembly elections in 2007,” said a supporter of Mishra. The development has almost coincided with the induction of former advocate general S M A Kazmi in the BSP and his appointment as the chairman of the state Minority Commission. Kazmi was earlier in the Samajwadi Party. Now, Mayawati has two advisers in legal matters — Mishra and Kazmi.





Land owner’s PIL


Cuttack, July 9: A fresh petition challenging the land acquisition for Vedanta’s proposed Rs 15,000-crore international university in Puri has been filed in Orissa High Court.

Bhitaracha Madhusudam Mohapatra has filed the petition seeking judicial intervention against a notice issued to him by the state government under Section 9 of the Land Acquisition Act pertaining to his land measuring 17.74 acres.

The government had allotted the land to Vedanta Resources Corporation under its land acquiring process in Chaitana Mauza under Puri Sadar Tehsil.

London-based Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Resources Corporation wants to acquire 8000 acres for its proposed university.

The AAF had already announced an endowment of $1 billion for the university.

The state government is committed to provide 8,000 acres on the Puri-Konark marine drive, 60km from Bhubaneswar, as part of an MoU it had signed with the Anil Agarwal Foundation (AAF) in July 2006.

So far, the government has acquired less than 1000 acres.

The petitioner has questioned the rationale behind the requirement of 8000 acres as put forth by the company. Alleging it to be “far in excess of the purpose sought to be served”, the petition cites that the quantum of land on which leading universities in India had come up.

“This leads to the conclusion that the real purpose sought has been masked. The foundation appears to have a hidden agenda, which has not been disclosed,” alleges the petition.





Injuries not necessary for confirmation of rape: SC

10 Jul 2009, 2000 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: An accused can be convicted for rape even if there are no injuries on the private parts of the victim as the same does not amount to consensual sex, the Supreme Court has ruled.

“Corroborative evidence is not an imperative component of judicial credence in every case of rape nor the absence of injuries on the private parts of the victim can be construed as evidence of consent,” a bench of Justices V S Sirpurkar and R M Lodha said.

The bench passed the ruling while rejecting the argument of convict Rajender alias Raju who claimed that absence of any injuries on the victims’ private parts indicated that she consented to the sex and that the charge of rape was not corroborated by any other evidence except the testimony of the victim.

The apex court said that in rape cases the sole testimony of the witness without any corroboration can be relied on as rarely would a self-respecting Indian woman accuse a man of raping her.

“In the context of Indian culture, a woman victim of sexual aggression would rather suffer silently than to falsely implicate somebody. Any statement of rape is an extremely humiliating experience for a woman and until she is a victim of sex crime, she would not blame anyone but the real culprit.





No stay on installation of Mayawati, other Dalit leaders’ statues at Noida: SC

10 Jul 2009, 1203 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay installation of statues of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati and other Dalit leaders at Noida.

“If a democratically elected government decides to do something without misappropriating public money, there is little courts can do,” the apex court said, refusing to interfere in the on-going work for installation of the statues.

Not restricting statues to Lucknow only, Mayawati is constructing memorials and carving her and her mentor Kanshi Ram’s images in stones in Noida, a Delhi suburb, as well. The memorial which is being constructed in Noida is turning out to be a mammoth project.

The mega UP government project facing Sector 15A of Noida has irked residents because of its encroachment on the Yamuna riverbed and alleged destruction of green areas.

In fact, the project may even give the Kanshi Ram Smarak on the VIP Road in Lucknow a run for money with the Rajkiya Nirman Nigam (RNN) in the process of constructing a central plaza in the middle of the memorial at a whopping cost of Rs 187.20 crore.

The plaza, to be called ‘Central Park Plaza’, would have three statues — one each of Bhimrao Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and Mayawati inside its building.

The total cost of these statues, 18-feet tall and all made up of bronze, is Rs 1.5 crore, said S K Agarwal, project coordinator, in his reply to the RTI query on July 2.

All that the RNN said is ‘‘Saundaryikaran (beautification) of park in Sector-95, Noida’’.

TOI had reported in April about the construction, which has raised the hackles of the green lobby. A petition was filed with a Central Empowered Committee appointed by SC, asking the panel to recommend a stay on the construction.





Two get lifer for murdering doctor, wife

9 Jul 2009, 2002 hrs IST, PTI

MUMBAI: A sessions court has today sentenced two persons to life imprisonment for murdering a doctor and his wife in 2002.

Dr Hanif Baig and his wife Zarina Baig were beaten to death at their residence in suburban Bandra on March 21, 2002 and cash, jewelery and other valuables were missing from their house. According to the police robbery was the motive for the crime.

Three days later, police detained two persons for theft. During their interrogation, Manoj Chaudhary (26) and Riyaz Qureshi (30) confessed that they had a hand in the robbery and murder at Baigs’ residence.

When the matter came up for trial in the sessions court, the prime witness for the prosecution was the couple’s son who was only nine years old at the time of the murder. His testimony was crucial as he was present at the time of the incident and the accused had threatened him with dire consequences after killing his parents.

The prosecution examined a total of 21 witnesses to built up its case.





Seven years on, killers of Bandra doctor couple get life term

10 Jul 2009, 0201 hrs IST, Kartikeya , TNN

MUMBAI: Five years ago, a four-year-old boy sat for two horrifying days, guarding the bodies of his doctor parents, who were bludgeoned to death by unknown assailants at their Bandra residence. Justice was finally meted out on Thursday when the accused were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The incident came to light after the neighbours informed the Bandra police that though the Baig’s flat was not locked from outside, they were not responding either to the door bell or telephone calls. The police immediately rushed to the site–Al-Hilal Building near Rizvi Park, off Lilavati Hospital in Bandra–and broke open the door of the flat.

What the policemen found inside was heart-wrenching–a visibly shocked Ibrahim was sitting next to the partially decomposed bodies of his father Dr Hanif Baig (35) and mother Zareena (30). Hanif was a private medical practitioner and Zareena worked at King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital.

After an investigation, the police arrived at the conclusion that robbery must have been the primary motive for the crime as cash and valuables were missing.

The Bandra police launched a massive manhunt and soon the crime branch joined them to speed up the questioning of neighbours, watchmen and vegetable and milk vendors who frequented the building. A breakthrough came three days later, when they picked up two men in an unrelated case of theft. During interrogation, Manoj Chaudhary (26) and Riyaz Qureishi (30), confessed to the double murder and added that robbery was their motive.

The two told the police that on the night of March 21, 2002, they broke into the house, using a shovel. In fact, it was the same shovel that the two used as a weapon to kill the Baigs when they tried to resist them. They spared Ibrahim’s life, but not before threatening him with dire consequences “if he opened his mouth”, the police said.

Finally, it was the child’s testimony that sealed Choudhary and Qureishi’s fate in court. At the time of murder, said the police, the boy was the only one who could have seen the assailants.

When the case reached trial in a sessions court, Ibrahim gave a statement, detailing how his parents were killed and how Chaudhary and Qureishi threatened him just before they left him sitting beside his parents’ bodies.

The prosecution relied on 21 witnesses, including neighbours and policemen, to buid up its case. Forensic evidence also pointed to the culpability of the duo and finally after five years, the two were sentenced to life imprisonment.





School opening depends on SC

10 Jul 2009, 0310 hrs IST, TNN

MUMBAI: The Aditya Birla Group, which runs The New Era School, has said it will not reopen the old school premises till the Supreme Court decides on its petition, which it proposes to file in a few days.

“The Bombay high court has given us a seven-day window to file an appeal with the SC and we will do so. We are petitioning the SC and, till its outcome, we will not reopen on the old premises,” the statement from the group said.

Thursday’s statement from the group came a day after a section of the English and vernacular media reported school trustee Santrupt Misra announcing that the management would not reopen the school at its old premises. Thursday’s statement by the group denied Misra had taken such a stand.

The school management on Thursday also applied for an extension of the date for reopening the school. But the high court turned down its request.






Security officer from TOI deposes in 26/11 court

10 Jul 2009, 0333 hrs IST, Kartikeya , TNN

MUMBAI: A witness, who had drawn up the panchanama of things found in the bag of Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab, gave his testimony in the 26/11 court on Thursday. The black and blue bag, which Kasab was carrying with him and can be seen in various photographs taken on the day of the attack, was shown in the courtroom by special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam. Kasab watched the proceedings keenly.

Judge M L Tahaliyani also heard the testimony of security officer from TOI Prabhakar Yadav who was present when a CD containing CCTV fooatage of the terrorists was handed over to the police. Cameras installed at TOI building had captured images of two gunmen as they came out of CST station and crossed the foot-overbridge to walk into a lane adjacent to it.

Nikam is examining witnesses in connection with the attack inside Cama Hospital.





No bogus sale of diamonds: HC tells I-T

10 Jul 2009, 0344 hrs IST, Kartikeya , TNN

MUMBAI: Diamond dealer Uttamchand Jain decided to come clean in 1997 and declared under the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme (VDIS) that he had been holding on to 65.75 carats of diamond jewellery, which he had not told the authorities about. Jain’s statement was accepted by the I-T and he got a certificate, saying the diamonds were henceforth his legitimate wealth.

Two years later, Jain said he had sold the same diamonds to a person called Vishnudatt Trivedi for a little over Rs 10 lakh. Matters took a turn in March 2000 when the I-T authorities conducted a survey of Trivedi’s premises but did not find the diamonds. To complicate things, Trivedi confessed that he only gave out purchase certificates for diamonds declared under VDIS but never took their actual delivery.

The I-T department said that Trivedi was a `hawala’ operator for diamonds. A man called Sanjay Saxena would visit him with cash and description of diamonds declared by traders under VDIS and he would issue purchase documents. No exchange of actual diamonds ever took place, it was alleged. Based on these revelations, I-T officials reopened Jain’s books in May 2001, saying no legitimate sale of diamonds had ever taken place. By now, Trivedi also retracted his confession and gave a clean chit to Jain. But sleuths said the diamonds were still “not traceable”.

The matter finally reached justices V C Daga and J P Devadhar of the Bombay high court. They observed that the fact that the diamonds could not be found with Trivedi could not be held against Jain. The judges also pointed out that neither had the I-T department said that the diamonds in question were still in Jain’s possession or he had sold them to a third party.

“The fact that diamonds sold by Jain are not found with Trivedi cannot be a ground to hold that the transaction was bogus,” said the HC. “Jain has shown the existence of diamonds prior to the sale, the person to whom it was sold to and also price received,” the judges said. Trivedi’s initial statement was also held to be “general”. Thus, the court ruled that even though the diamonds were not traceable, the I-T department was wrong in insisting that Jain was holding on to “undisclosed income” and that his sale to Trivedi was not a genuine transaction.





HC asks CID to probe UTI fund irregularities

10 Jul 2009, 0409 hrs IST, TNN

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday directed the state CID to investigate the misappropriation of Rs 126 crore belonging to UTI and a consortium of banks, allegedly by the city-based Auto Riders. The court has asked the CID to submit its report in six months.

A division bench of Chief Justice Swatantra Kumar and Justice S Dharmadhikari also directed UTI to make all efforts to recover the money. Civil aviation minister Praful Patel was the chairman of the company in the period 1993-1999 when the alleged misappropriation took place. Patel has maintained that he had no role to play in the alleged diversion of funds.

As many as four PILs were filed in the HC in 2006, demanding a detailed probe into the misappropriation. According to the PILs, of the amount availed as loan to buy vehicles, a substantial portion was used by the directors to buy properties. The directors, also diverted lots of funds to their sister concerns, the PILs alleged.

Patel had filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the PILs. The apex court had referred the matter back to the high court. The probe into the misappropriation of funds was initially taken up by the

CBI, which directed the UTI to investigate it and inform them. The UTI, instead of informing the CBI, filed a complaint in 2004 in the metropolitan magistrate’s court, naming nine directors of Auto Riders, including Patel, as accused.

The Azad Maidan police investigated the complaint on the orders of the magistrate and submitted a report, saying prima facie all directors, including Patel, were guilty of cheating. The police also suggested that the matter be probed by the CBI as the amount involved is huge.

Meanwhile, UTI filed another application, saying the names of Patel and two other directors be dropped as accused. The magistrate’s court accepted the contention. The PILs were filed after this development.





Mumbai serial train blast accused uses RTI to expedite trial

10 Jul 2009, 1644 hrs IST, PTI

MUMBAI: An accused in serial train blast case of 2006 has chosen the RTI in a bid to put the stalled trial in the case back on track.

Abdul Wahiuddin, an arrested accused in the case, has filed an appeal under RTI before Registrar of the Supreme Court seeking details about the pendency of terror-related cases.

According to his plea, he wants to find out how long he had to remain behind bars before facing the trial in the case since he was arrested in September 2006. This way, according a counsel in the case, the accused wanted to know as to when his number would come and may be he could get the trial expedited.

Wahiuddin wanted to visit the national capital also to pursue his RTI application and had filed an application before special MCOCA judge Y D Shinde seeking permission to go to Delhi.

The Counsel of anti-terrorist squad did not object to his application but with a rider that he will have to bear the expenses for the trip and also of the policemen who will be accompanying him. The court, however, rejected the plea.

For Wahiuddin, it has been a long wait since he was arrested in September 2006 by the ATS for allegedly harbouring Pakistani militants who carried out the attack on July 11, 2006.

Seven blasts ripped the sub-urban train system of the cosmopolitan on July 11 within the span of 11 minutes between 6.24 pm to 6.35 pm, killing 187 people and leaving more than 800 injured.





HC fines five officers for misleading court

10 Jul 2009, 0046 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas , TNN

MUMBAI: Top government officials on Thursday faced the wrath of the Bombay high court for trying to “mislead” the court. A division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S C Dharmadhikari imposed a fine on five officers which collectively amounts to Rs 35,000. The judges warned the government against helping the officers pay the fine and said that the penalty should come from the salaries of these officials within two days.

“You cannot play with the judicial system,” said the Chief Justice. “People will lose faith in governance if false affidavits are filed and lies are told to the court.” According to the judges, they would not hesitate to initiate action against officers in future if a “single word in their affidavits” was found to be incorrect. “Every officer will be held responsible for the affidavits they file in court and they will have to bear the consequences (if wrong facts are mentioned),” said the court, while asking the government to issue a circular to the effect.

The first case related to providing treatment to HIV-positive inmates in prisons across the state. Infuriated that no action was taken despite two court orders, the judges asked additional chief secretary (health), inspector general (prisons) and director-general (public health) to each shell out Rs 5,000 as fine. “Even prisoners are entitled to human dignity,” said the judges. The court found that despite an order for the three officers to meet and chalk out a plan, the government lawyer said that the minutes of the meeting were not ready. An adjournment was also sought on a “flimsy ground” (court’s words) that the state was planning to appoint a special counsel.

To the court’s query on whether the state knew how many prisoners were HIV positive or if any treatment was provided to them, the answer was “don’t know”. The court admonished the officers for their “callous attitude”.

The second case related to a PIL which claimed that in Mhada building, stilt parking space was being converted and sold as shops. Two Mhada deputy engineers, M A Bashir and N K Satle, told their counsel that Mhada buildings were ground-plus-seven storeys and had no stilts.

The petitioners, however, produced brochures in which Mhada itself had advertised stilt parking. This blatant lie raised the court’s hackles and the officers were asked to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 each within two days. The judges also asked the chief officer of Mhada to file an affidavit on the issue.

In another matter, the court came down on chief secretary Johny Joseph for an affidavit filed in the matter relating to unauthorised constructions in Lonavla. The court expressed its dissatisfaction with the affidavit.





RTI helps man win battle with MMRDA

10 Jul 2009, 0354 hrs IST, Viju B , TNN

MUMBAI: There is good news for the six information commissions which have been struggling with various government agencies that have not complied with the state information commission’s orders till date.

An RTI applicant’s battle with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for recovering compensation as specified by the SIC order has finally met with success after he filed an RTI query asking for the status of the compliance report.

The SIC had imposed a penalty of Rs 9,500 on the Public Information Officer (PIO), in this case, MMRDA executive engineer L M Bisen, for providing misleading information. The SIC had also directed the agency to recover Rs 100 as token compensation and pay the amount to RTI applicant S K Nangia.

But though the order was passed last year, the MMRDA never complied with it. Nangia then filed a fresh RTI query with MMRDA. “Within a month, I received a cheque of Rs 100 recovered from the salary of the PIO,” he said. Bisen said that it was a government directive and the order had been followed.

The case came up with SIC after Nangia, a Kandivli resident, had filed an RTI query asking for details about a huge crater in Mulund that was left open by the MMRDA. “I had asked for the major factors that led to a car falling into the pit,” Nangia said.

The PIO responded by stating that the applicant should go to the police station. Nangia then filed a first appeal with the appellate authority of the MMRDA. Though the appellate authority directed the PIO to furnish the information, Nangia did not get requisite details like the concerned official’s name. “I was shocked to get a reply from the MMRDA, which said there was already a barricade at the spot,” he said.

The SIC noted that it was wrong on the part of Bisen to direct the complainant to seek information from the police. “The commission appreciates the concern of the applicant and a token compensation will be given to him,” the SIC order said.





Committee to probe attack on ADJ

9 Jul 2009, 2339 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: A day after a trial court judge was allegedly roughed up by a group of lawyers at the Rohini court complex, the Bar Council of Delhi on Thursday constituted a three-member committee to look into the incident.

The committee comprising additional solicitor general A S Chandhiok, president of Delhi High Court Bar Association K C Mittal and advocate S K Mittal has been asked to submit its report within a week. Expressing concern over the incident, Council chairman Ved Prakash Sharma said in a press release that appropriate action will be taken in the case after going through the committee report.

Wednesday’s incident has sparked strong protests from the judicial officers’ association, which demanded action against the culprits. Additional district judge Pankaj Gupta, who presides over the court dealing with cases under the Hindu Marriage Act at Rohini district courts, was allegedly slapped and manhandled by a group of lawyers, Delhi Judicial Officers Association had said in a release. The Bar leaders, however, denied the allegations saying it was just a “verbal duel between the lawyers and the judge”.

Meanwhile, two lawyers who were arrested in connection with the alleged manhandling of the judge have been denied bail by a trial court. The court said that the matter was grave in nature and the probe into charges against the duo was still at the initial stage.

Vikas Gupta and Rekha Sharma, who allegedly slapped ADJ Pankaj Gupta, were produced before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Amit Bansal who sent them to judicial custody. Arguing for bail plea of Sharma, president of New Rohini Courts Bar Association B S Rana contended that she had intervened in the matter just to save the judge from being assaulted and advised him to go to his chamber during the incident.

As far as Gupta was concerned, Rana said there was no specific allegation against him as he was not even named in the FIR. Rana, who was accompanied by several office-bearers of different bar associations of district courts, also submitted that both the accused were members of their association and there was no chance of their running away from the trial.

Both lawyers were arrested following registration of the FIR under various provisions of the IPC relating to assault, rioting and obstructing a public servant from discharging his duty.





2 HC benches to clear pending criminal cases

9 Jul 2009, 2317 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: A month after official data pointed out that the Delhi HC is under the burden of thousands of pending criminal appeals, some of them as old as 1994, the court has taken special steps to ensure speedy justice.

Two special (criminal) benches have been set up by a committee to hear criminal appeals, which have been pending since 1994, on a daily basis. The first division bench, comprising of Justice S K Kaul and Justice Ajit Bharioke, will hear old appeals filed between 1994 to 2000. The second Bench, comprising of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Indermeet Kaur Kochhar, will deal with cases pending from 2001.

The HC has also engaged Delhi Legal Services Authority to ensure the presence of the parties in the case. DLSA will contact the parties and their lawyers, including legal aid lawyers, for effective representation of their cases before the HC, if the appeal had been filed long ago. The HC has also warned that absence of the parties would entail adverse orders including dismissal of appeals.

Presently, as parties are not appearing in the HC, the bench is left with no choice but to issue bailable and non-bailable warrants against the appellants, who are all on bail, said Sanjay Sharma, project officer DLSA.





HC for transfer of ACP to non-focal post

10 Jul 2009, 0521 hrs IST, TNN

HYDERABAD: Justice C V Nagarjuna Reddy of the AP High Court on Thursday asked the city police commissioner to consider shifting of assistant commissioner of police of Banjara Hills division to a non-focal post because of his frequent interventions in civil disputes.

The judge was dealing with a petition filed by Mohammed Junaid Hussain and others who complained that the ACP was interfering in civil disputes. Prior to this petition, the judge dealt with another plea in which the same complaint was made against the ACP.

W Rachana, assistant government pleader for home department, told the court that there are cases and counter cases launched against each other by both the petitioners and respondents in civil disputes connected to this case.

The judge observed that the involvement of the ACP was noticed by the court in more than one case. Keeping in view the adverse complaints against the ACP, the commissioner should consider shifting him to a non-focal post.





Court allows narco on Jadeja after his consent

10 Jul 2009, 0328 hrs IST, TNN

AHMEDABAD: A lower court on Thursday granted permission to CID (crime) to perform narco test on Ashok Jadeja, main accused in the multi-crore scam.

The court’s sanction came after Jadeja himself gave consent to the investigating agency’s demand for need of the test in order to know further details of Jadeja’s scam.

Jadeja’s counsel, MJ Dagli said that the accused with his relatives and other acquaintances has been under police remand since nearly a month and it seems that custodial interrogation will continue and Jadeja has been cooperating with the investigation. “We have revealed whatever we had to say and there is nothing to hide. If the government wants to know something by this scientific method, we are open to it,” Dagli told the court during a proceeding.

CID (crime) had moved an application demanding the court’s permission to conduct narco analysis on Jadeja earlier this month. It had claimed that Jadeja didn’t cooperate during interrogation and it was necessary to know about other transactions, which the accused did not reveal during remand. In its application, police argued that performing narco test on an the accused is not a violation of his constitutional rights because it is not torture. It also cited Gujarat High Court’s order, by which Justice MR Shah permitted police to perform narco test on godmother Santokben Jadeja even though she didn’t give her consent. The Supreme Court later stayed the order.

As Jadeja consented to the test nothing remained for police to argue and magistrate RM Parikh directed the investigating office to apprise Jadeja of the implication of the test. HC has also asked cops to produce Jadeja’s fitness certificate after the narco test.





HC pulls up govt for making changes in admission

10 Jul 2009, 0324 hrs IST, TNN

The HC has pulled up the state government for making last minute changes in its policy for admission to professional courses and directed it not to do so to avoid unnecessary confusion. However, a division Bench has dismissed petitions challenging government’s decisions making changes in method of calculating marks for admission to professional medical courses.

It upheld the decision of giving 60% weightage to HSC exam results and 40% to GujCET for admission to medical and para-medical courses. Students claimed that earlier government gave 70% weightage to HSC exams and 21% to GUJCET. But with the new method, importance of scoring in exams in the academic year would become less.





Dry laws to get drier

10 Jul 2009, 0327 hrs IST, | tnn, TNN

GANDHINAGAR: The Modi government has decided to add more teeth to the prohibition law, making punishment more stringent for offenders, a move contradictory to its earlier stand of relaxing the law to attract more investment and tourists to Gujarat and make the state more amenable to the cosmopolitan culture.

Well-placed sources in the chief minister’s office said that the tragedy has made the government believe that “the current provisions in the state Prohibition Act as well as the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act (PASA) are not tough to deal with the violators of the state’s liquor laws, one reason why such tragedies happen.”

After the hooch tragedy the government has also decided to ignore all previous hooch probe commissions which recommended that dry laws be relaxed.

Vibrant Gujarat investors’ summits had provoked the state to issue liquor permits to anyone who is a resident of special economic zones (SEZs).

The government also allowed liquor to be served in hotels hosting business conferences and amended the prohibition law, focusing on rehabilitating the first time violators instead of imprisoning them.

State minister for prohibition, Amit Shah said, “While it is for the inquiry commission to suggest what to do, there is no denying that the current law allows a culprit to serve just a six-month sentence.”

Relaxing dry laws, he said, would not serve any purpose. “Hooch tragedies are not unique to Gujarat. They have happened in non-prohibition states as well,” he said.

And, this is one decision which the Congress is not going to oppose.

Involved one-upmanship in defending the dry laws in “Bapu’s Gujarat”, Congress legislature party chief Shaktisinh Gohil, a High Court lawyer, said, “We believe stricter laws are an answer to fight hooch tragedies. Under the current law, those found guilty are easily set free, hence people just don’t care.”

He added, “Hooch tragedy in Ahmedabad indirectly resulted from relaxation policies adopted by the state, making the law enforcing agencies complacent.”





Religious groups oppose Delhi HC’s 377 verdict

10 Jul 2009, 0045 hrs IST, Syed Rizwanullah, TNN

AURANGABAD: Various religious groups in Aurangabad have joined hands to oppose the Delhi High Court verdict decriminalising homosexual relationships among consenting adults.

Addressing a news conference here on Thursday Mujtaba Farooq, the all India secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Charan Singh Garanthi, head of the local gurudwaras and James Ambildhage, representative of organisation of various churches in the city said, “India is a religious country where people believe deeply in religions they profess and we are united in opposing the unnatural act that the court has now legalised.”

The verdict amounted to promoting homosexuality and this is not acceptable to common citizens, they said. “It is just unnatural and might lead to end of family life. Family means man and wife and when we do not approve an alliance out of wedlock, how could we approve of such an unnatural act,” the religious heads asked.

The High Court, in a recent verdict, decriminalised gay sex among consenting adults, which was earlier an offence under section 377 of the India Penal Code (IPC). Section 377, a law from the British Raj era, says homosexuality and unnatural sex’ is a criminal act.

“On one hand the government speaks of controlling the spread of diseases like AIDS and on the other hand, it seemed inclined toward promoting it by approving the HC verdict that may result in spread of evil in the society,” Farooq said. “No religion has a place for gay people. Even in West, where it has gained ground, the Church has strongly opposed it,” he remarked.

Charan Singh termed homosexuality and lesbianism as dangerous for future generations and dubbed the gay movement as anti-national. “Those who do not want India to progress are promoting such movements to divert the country’s attention,” he alleged. Shamsher Singh, of Osmanpura Gurudwara and Fayyaz Qureshi were present during the briefing.

As a part of agitation against the verdict, the Jamat would stage demonstrations in front of the divisional commissionerate, said Qurram Ali Hashmi, a Jamaat activist.





Bar association felicitates city’s longest-practising lawyer

10 Jul 2009, 0102 hrs IST, TNN

PUNE: “The lawyers practising in the olden days used to study hard, did not go after money and were dedicated,” said lawyer Shivram Abhyankar on Thursday.

Abhyankar, Pune’s and probably the country’s longest-practising lawyer, who turned 99 on Thursday was felicitated by the principal district and sessions judge Vijay Achliya at the Ashoka hall of the district and sessions court. The function was organised by the Pune Bar Association (PBA) on Thursday.

Addressing a gathering of lawyers, Abhyankar who spoke for a minute from a chair said that the lawyers of his time were so dutiful that they used to pursue the cases to its logical end.

He suggested that lawyers should be honest with their clients and that they should not harass them for money.

“I have lived a happy life for so many years with a kind of principle. I have not done anything extraordinary in life, but I have served the society with full devotion,” he added.

Judge Achliya advised the lawyers to take necessary steps for protecting their image so that there is no degradation caused to the profession.

Among the others who spoke on the occasion include PBA president Ram Patole, vice president Shekar Jagtap, secretary Kishore Patil, lawyer K.R. Shaha and others.

“I am proud of my father and his achievements. He has sincerely handled his clients and he fought several cases free of cost if the litigant was poor. He felt that the client who had a good case should not suffer if he is not in a position to engage the services of a lawyer,” said Abhyanar’s son Ravindra after the function.





NHRC inquiry into dumped man

10 Jul 2009, 0310 hrs IST, TNN

PANAJI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has launched an inquiry into the incident in June where police personnel dumped a beggar into a garbage dump at the Campal parade ground.

The NHRC has asked the Goa police to submit a report within four weeks, or in default the commission may proceed to take action.

The complaint was lodged at the NHRC by Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) president Joseph Vaz, who also attached newspaper clippings bringing to the notice of the commission, the plight of the destitute Shelton Fernando Vaz Missier.

The NHRC has written to the IGP that the complaint was placed before the commission on June 26, and after perusal, it was found that the police have to submit a requisite report within four weeks.

“Now, therefore, take notice that you are required to submit the requisite information/report within four weeks from the date of receipt of this notice. Take further notice that in default, the commission may proceed to take such action as is deemed proper,” the NHRC letter states.

When contacted, A V Deshpande, PRO, Goa Police, couldn’t confirm if the NHRC letter had been received, but said it would be looked into.

TOI reported on June 4 how Missier was picked up by a police control room (PCR) van from the Panaji market and thrown into the garbage dumped at the Campal parade ground on the night of June 3. The man was told that he was being taken to the Mother Teresa’s home to be rehabilitated.

After the report appeared, the police initiated disciplinary action against three police personnelhead constable P Mhamal, constable S Kudnekar and driver R R Tamsefor callous and inhumane conduct. It was found that the PCR personnel had registered the duty call as Missier dropped at the KTC bus stand.

Incidentally, Missier found his proverbial silver lining in the dark cloud when in an ironic development, Mother Teresa’s home for destitutes in Quepem took him into their care and he is currently housed there.





Nari niketan rape case: Amicus curiae opposes UT plea

10 Jul 2009, 0151 hrs IST, TNN

CHANDIGARH: In the matter of Nari Niketan rape victim’s termination of pregnancy, amicus curiae RS Cheema on Thursday reiterated his objection to


the petition filed by UT administration in this regard. Cheema said the pregnancy should not be terminated as it is clearly spelled out in the legislation that mentally-challenged girl couldn’t be made to undergo abortion without her consent.

Reading out the reports given by the expert panel of doctors, Cheema said the girl has expressed her willingness to keep the child. The division bench comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice Augustine George Masih questioned Cheema on the evidence available to show that the girl was suffering from anguish of rape.

In response, Cheema referred to the report of the expert panel of doctors and psychiatry, saying “She knows she has been ravished. She stoutly protested the rape.” Picking holes in the petition filed by UT, Cheema submitted that the administration has already presumed that the victim’s consent is not relevant.

Cheema also raised eyebrows at the psychiatry report submitted by Ajit Avasthi, department of psychiatry, PGI, saying it is a matter of common observation that the girl failed to strike a rapport with a male doctor.





Shubham case: Bank staffer discharged

10 Jul 2009, 0142 hrs IST, Rajinder Nagarkoti, TNN

PANCHKULA: In the Shubham Hospital case, in which Sandeep Sharma, the clinic owner was booked by Panchkula police and which led to subsequent revelations of fake doctor’s involvement in loan frauds, court of additional district and session judge Sanjeev Jindal, on Thursday, dismissed the revision petition of three accused, including a lawyer and two bank officials. The court, however, allowed the application of another bank employee Surinder Gupta and discharged him from the case; it reserved its order on the plea of owner of Shubham hospital, who had filed a revision petition.

Public prosecutor NK Goyal said Ashwini Gupta and Vinod Thakur, employees of Bank of India, Sector 16, Panchkula, and SK Gilhotra, advocate empanelled by Bank of India and Punjab and Sindh Bank, were accused of helping Sharma in getting loan from banks. “After the lower court framed charges of cheating against them, they had moved the higher court,” Goyal added.

The allegation against the lawyer was that he verified properties pledged by Sharma for availing a loan worth Rs one crore from the bank. Gilhotra denied this, stating that he had asked the bank officials to collect the original documents from Sharma and had no role to play in the fraud committed by Sharma.

According to investigating officials, Sharma had taken a loan of Rs two crore from Punjab National Bank, Sector 16, Chandigarh; Rs one crore from Bank of India, Sector 16, Panchkula; Rs one crore from Punjab and Sind Bank; Rs 40 lakh from Oriental Bank, Manimajra; and Rs one crore from Corporation Bank of Chandigarh.

Sharma had done this by using fake certificates and documents, and Gilhotra had verified some documents. Shubham Hospital and Diagnostic Centre in Sector 20, Panchkula, was raided and sealed by Panchkula police in January 2008 after various certificates and documents of the owner Sandeep Sharma, who claimed to be an eye surgeon were found to be fake.





HC: Is Guv’s sanction to prosecute Maya necessary?

10 Jul 2009, 0347 hrs IST, TNN

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday fixed July 29 for next hearing of the multi-crore Taj Heritage Corridor case haunting chief minister Mayawati and her cabinet minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui.

The division bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Shahibul Hasnain wanted to know from solicitor general of Central government, Gopal Subramanium firstly as to whether there was any necessity for CBI to obtain prosecution sanction from the governor to prosecute Mayawati and other accused in the multi-crore scam. The second query of the bench was as to who was the authority or the court to decide that sanction was mandatory or not. Thirdly, the judges wanted to know whether an order sanctioning or not sanctioning prosecution against a public servant could be subjected to judicial review.

Subramanium submitted to length that since the governor did not give sanction to prosecute Mayawati and Naseemuddin, the special CBI court did not have any other option than to drop proceedings against them for want of necessary action. The court’s query remained unanswered on Thursday as to whether the prosecution sanction was mandatory in the offences levelled against the duo. Senior lawyer and BSP leader SC Mishra, UP advocate general Jyotindra Mishra and chief standing counsel Devendra Upadhyay remained in the court at the time of arguments.

Three different PILs filed by Kamlesh Verma, Mohd Katil Ahmad and Anupama Singh have challenged dropping Mayawati and Naseemuddin in the Taj case. Their counsel, Kamini Jaiswal and CB Pandey had argued that there was no necessity to obtain sanction for concluding trial against the duo. It was also said that CBI was not fair in the matter.

Therefore, it did not appeal against the June 5, 2007 order of special CBI Judge Rekha Dixit by which she dropped the case against Mayawati and Siddiqui. The counsel had demanded a full fledged trial of the case to determine the guilt of both. They submitted that if the court did not interfere in the matter, it would shake the faith of common people in the judicial system of the country.





State rights’ panel chief offers tips to law students

10 Jul 2009, 0512 hrs IST, TNN

PATNA: The three-day centenary celebrations of Patna Law College started here on Thursday on the college campus with the inauguration of the All India Pt Vasudeo Narain Mishra Memorial Moot Court competition by the chairman of the State Human Rights Commission, Justice S N Jha.

Justice Jha gave important tips to the 10 participating teams from different law colleges of the country and stressed on the importance of moot court for training law students in placing their arguments in courts and contesting cases.

Acting Chief Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, who was the chief guest on the occasion, recalled the history of Patna Law College which produced innumerable jurists, legal luminaries and Supreme Court and high court judges. “The notable alumni of the college include two CJIs Justice (late) B P Sinha and Justice (late L M Sharma) and attorney general (late) Lal Narain Sinha,” he said.

Justice Jaya Nandan Singh released the Mooting Manual while introducing the rules of the moot court competition. Justice Mihir Kumar Jha narrated the history of Pt Vasudeo Narain Mishra Memorial Moot Court competition in which a running shield is awarded to law students participating in the competition every year.

Justice (retired) P S Mishra had started the running shield for this moot court competition in 1976 as a member of the Bihar State Bar Council. This year, this competition got a national status with participation of teams from other states, said Manu Shankar Mishra and Amar Nath Dev, who is the convener of this competition.

Chairman of the Bar Council of India S N P Sinha gave important tips to the participating law students. At the two-day moot court competition, the participating teams were given a hypothetical situation for filing of a PIL in the Supreme Court by a professor of Delhi University alleging violation of his fundamental right due to increasing terrorist activities.

On Friday, the semi-finals and final of the moot court competition would be held on the Law College campus.





CBI busy collecting more evidences

10 Jul 2009, 0455 hrs IST, TNN

PATNA: The CBI is busy gathering more material evidence to prove in the court the complicity of the accused in the CRPF constable recruitment scam.

A CBI official said that the CRPF recruitment scam was a complex case involving over a dozen people and the investigating agency was working hard to collect material evidences against each accused. However, some of the evidences based on facts sought from banking institutions or other offices to substantiate their guilt in the court could not be supplied to it in time, he said. But the grant of bail would not prove innocence of the accused in the case, he said.

Regarding the grant of bail to nine accused of the scam by the CBI court on Tuesday, a CBI official told TOI that the investigating agency could not file chargesheet against them within the stipulated 60 days in the court due to some technical reasons.

The CBI court on Tuesday granted bail to nine accused, including IG, CRPF, Pushkar Singh, DIG , Muzaffarpur centre P S Baxla, two commandants of the 134 battalion B S Sidhu and Yadvendra Singh on the ground that the apex investigating agency failed to file the chargesheet against the accused people in time. The accused people were enlarged on bail under Section 167 (2) of the IPC, sources said.

A CBI official maintained that these accused people were arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act and under Section 420 of the IPC for their alleged involvement in the recruitment scam in Bihar and Jharkhand states. The investigating sleuths seized various incriminating papers, documents and Rs 23 lakh in cash during raids carried out in and outside the state.

The kingpin of the scam, Mukesh Bhardwaj, and his wife Swati, who played an active role in running the racket, were also granted bail, the sources said.





HC confirms stay on RAS to IAS jump

10 Jul 2009, 0559 hrs IST, Abhinav Sharma, TNN

jaipur: A single-judge bench of Justice R S Chauhan has confirmed a ban on allowing RAS cadre officers to be promoted to IAS rank.

The stay order granted on August 28, 2008, was confirmed by the high court on Thursday after the petitioners informed the court that despite the stay order the state government has prepared a seniority list of the RAS candidates ignoring the settled procedure and denying the general category candidates their proper merit in the seniority list. There are 58 posts in IAS cadre to be filled by promotion from RAS cadre of Rajasthan.

“We have brought to the notice of the court that despite the stay order granted in our favour in year 2008 the state government on June 5, 2009, prepared a fresh seniority list sidelining the general category candidates. This was challenged again and the stay order was sought to be confirmed, restraining the state government and the UPSC from considering any seniority list made by the state government after August 2008,” said S P Sharma, counsel for the petitioners.

After hearing the detailed argument, Justice Chauhan confirmed the earlier stay order and further directed the state and the UPSC not to consider any such merit list prepared after the initial stay order was granted.

The state government has decided to appeal against the verdict, said sources.





HC allows Chanda ZP chief to continue

10 Jul 2009, 0212 hrs IST, Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN

NAGPUR: In a respite for Chandrapur Zilla Parishad president Santosh Rawat, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Thursday granted a stay on the Nagpur divisional commissioner’s order disqualifying him from holding the post.

A single-judge bench of justice Vasanti Naik has stayed Rawat’s exclusion from the post of councillor and president of Chandrapur ZP after a petition was filed by him challenging the divisional commissioner’s directives. Senior counsel Subodh Dharmadhikari and Anil Kilor represented the petitioner while PC Madkholkar appeared for the respondent.

According to advocate Kilor , respondent in the case Jagannath Sherki had filed a complaint before the divisional commissioner against Rawat alleging that the petitioner had misused his authority after becoming president of ZP.

The complaint, filed under Section 16(1)(I) of the Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti Act, stated that Rawat used to work as a contractor before becoming councillor and subsequently the ZP head. His firm had been awarded a contract to construct roads, however, he had not received payment for it, like many other contractors. However, after Rawat became a councillor he allegedly used his influence to get his payment sanctioned from government funds.

The divisional commissioner had first rejected Sherki’s application, which had been challenged in the high court. The court had dismissed the appeal however it granted him liberty to file a fresh application if he wanted. Sherki then again approached the divisional commissioner with a new set of complaints coupled with the old complaint under Section 40 of the Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti Act. The commissioner then allowed his appeal and subsequently disqualified Rawat from holding the post of councillor on July 1 as per a order of the high court.





MRTP ammendment leaves TMC in dilemma

10 Jul 2009, 0537 hrs IST, Asadullah Hanfi, TNN

THANE: The General Body House of the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) came into a serious dilemma over its attitude towards a proposed amendment in the Maharastra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act 1966. The General Body, however, criticised the designated officer for not reaching out to the public in a proper manner on the subject.

The subject came up for discussion before the General Body House of June 23. The civic administration placed a resolution before the House seeking its reaction to the proposed changes in the act. The administration sought suggestions and objections from the House to send it to the state government for its final decision.

The members alleged that the civic administration had placed the same resolution before the House of February 16 this year and valuable suggestions and objections were given on it. The subject however remained incomplete on the day. Subsequently, the Model Code of Conduct guidelines in the wake of the recently concluded parliamentary elections prevented the TMC from holding General Body meeting till recently.

It was alleged that Prabhuraj Nimbargi, the civic secretary, deliberately withheld the discussions of the February meeting and placed the same resolution as it is on the floor of the June 23 House. Mayor Smita Indulkar also came under fire for overlooking the blunder while allowing the subjects on the agenda to be finalised.

Nandkumar Jantre, the Municipal Commissioner, sought to explain the situation and informed the House that the state had already decided to amend sections 65 and 68 of the Act. It had also appointed Deputy Director of Town Planning, Konkan Division, to give a hearing on the subject. The appointed official issued an advertisement in a section of the media to invite suggestions and objections from the masses.

The official also sought the reaction from the TMC House and the current resolution was to get its reaction. Jantre also stressed that if the House does not give its reaction then the official would deem that the TMC has nothing to say in this regard and would proceed with the subject on the grounds that the TMC has nothing to say in this regard. The reply, however, did not deter the members from their earlier stand.

It may be noted that the state had offered to amend the two sections of the act. The amendment is to allow the use of plot of land reserved for a specified purpose under a Draft Development Plan (DDP) to be used for other purposes. The step is needed to make proper use of the reserved plots of land.

The TMC will also be positively affected by the changes. The corporation had reserved around 44 hectares plot of land at Majiwada for a town center. The reservation included reservations for MRTS depot along with other allied facilities. A reservation on around 14 hectares of land at Dhokali was also made for the setting up of district center.

The corporation was unable to use the land for the purpose for which they wee declared reserved under the civic DDP of 1999 and amended DDP of 2003. the TMC had sought the state government to allow it to change the civic Development Control Rules (DCR) 1996 to allow the use of reserved land for other public purposes.





HC orders revaluation of I PU answerscripts

9 Jul 2009, 2240 hrs IST, TNN

MYSORE: As directed by the high court, the education department has ordered reevaluation of answer scripts of the students who failed to clear I PUexams at Mahajana’s PU College.

The students of the college had moved HC, alleging irregularities in valuation. The revaluation will be completed before July 15.

The court has asked the deputy director of pre university, Mysore, to appoint examiners and conduct reevaluation. The official has been told to report to the court irregularities, if any, in valuation of papers by the college management and principal K Shankar.

The college management and the principal have been directed to provide all subject answer papers of the main exams to DDPU.

DDPU Chandramma told The Times of India that a team of evaluators has been appointed from outside the institution.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (Praveen Shetty faction) city president K Madesh told reporters that over 116 students have moved the high court seeking justice. However, the court passed the order for the first batch of 40 students on July 7.

Responding to a query, he stated that the orders for other two petitions of students group have been reserved for July 15.

Madesh said in all, 400 PU students who wrote exams failed to clear them in March. Then over 100 students passed in the supplementary exams conducted recently.





SC rejects plea for CBI probe into Pandarwada massacre during Guj riots

10 Jul 2009, 0219 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking a CBI probe into the Pandarwada massacre during the post-Godhra communal riots in 2002. The bodies of the victims were exhumed from a ravine off the Godhra-Lunavada state highway in 2005.

A Bench comprising Justices B N Agrawal and J M Panchal told petitioners Ameenabibi Habib Rasool and others that it did not want to interfere in the matter as more than seven years have passed since the incident. However, it gave them liberty to move appropriate forums under the Criminal Procedure Code in Gujarat for further probe into the incident.

On August 31, 2007, a Bench headed by Justice Agrawal had issued notices to the Centre and the CBI on the plea of the petitioners, who were relatives of the persons killed during the massacre on March 1, 2002.

Accusing the state police of laxity in probe, the petitioners had argued that the state police was not even willing to do proper identification of the bodies exhumed by villagers on December 27, 2005 from a ravine along the Panam river-bed off the highway.

They said the DNA tests conducted with the help of CBI had established the identity of six of the 22 bodies exhumed from the ravine, but the police did not show any enthusiasm to speed up the identification process and to bring to book the perpetrators.





Judicial reforms will be carried out soon: Moily

10 Jul 2009, 0217 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: Law minister Veerappa Moily on Thursday reiterated that judicial reforms were on the anvil and would be done as quickly as in two months time, calling it a long-awaited decision.

The minister said reforms would be done without confronting the judiciary but added that a study had shown that pre-1993 system of appointment of judges was better on merit. He said quality of judges was of paramount importance.

Speaking on the contentious issue which saw vociferous demands from Lok Sabha MPs for bringing accountability in judiciary, Moily said it could be done either by the Supreme Court itself or by a law in Parliament. “We have an open mind. We are working on that,” he said.

He added that creation of national judicial service was under consideration. But to another issue of reservation in judiciary, raised by more than one MP, Moily said while social engineering issue had to be addressed in every field, quota in High Courts and Supreme Court was not on the table.

Answering a spate of questions triggered by Vilasrao Muttemwar’s query, Moily said, “It will not take much time. It will definitely take a couple of months but not a couple of years. We have already spent a couple of years on this. After all, the letter and spirit of provisions of the Constitution will have to be upheld. Parliament has paramount powers over all the other wings. Whether it is the judiciary or the executive or any other wing.”

It was a heated debate on the sensitive issue, as questions led to strong statements being made by members. Sharad Yadav of JD(U) said it was only in India that judges were appointing their colleagues. He said the situation was grim and sought restoration of the old system of appointment.

Paramjit Kaur Gulshan of Akali Dal and Shailendra Kumar of SP demanded that there be reservation in higher judiciary.





Two killed in bomb blast in Bihar court

10 Jul 2009, 1641 hrs IST, AGENCIES

ARA, BIHAR: Two people, including a lawyer, were killed and half a dozen injured in a bomb blast inside an advocate’s chamber in a Bihar court on Friday, police said.

Bhojpur police superintendent Sunil Kumar said the crude bomb was tied to the waist of a man and exploded when he entered the chamber and was about to take a seat.

The six — four lawyers and two clients — present in the chamber were injured in the blast, he said.

The police captain said the condition of the advocate, one of the injured, is serious and he has been rushed to Patna Medical College and Hospital for further treatment.

The security of the court premises has been beefed up in view of the blast, the SP said, adding investigation is on.

District magistrate Safina A N visited the hospital where the injured were admitted and instructed the authorities to provide prompt treatment to those injured in the blast.





Bombay High Court relief to Praful Patel

Mumbai, July 10, 2009

First Published: 17:21 IST(10/7/2009)

Last Updated: 17:25 IST(10/7/2009)

In a relief to the Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, the Bombay High Court has disposed of a bunch of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) challenging deletion of his name as an accused in an old case involving a company dealing in automobiles.

The PILs had sought quashing of a magistrate’s order which had deleted Patel’s name as an accused in a complaint filed by Unit Trust of India (UTI) against the company Auto Riders, alleging misuse of funds disbursed to finance auto loans.

Patel was a former non executive director in Auto Riders and had laid down office in 1999.

The High court also did not accept the prayer made in PILs that the case be transferred to CBI, a plea opposed by the state government counsel.

A bench of Chief Justice Swantanter Kumar and Justice S C Dharmadhikari, however, directed CID to complete the pending investigations in the alleged irregularities within six months.

By a common order the court disposed of four PILs and a petition filed by UTI.

The bench rejected the prayer made in PILs that Patel’s name had been wrongly deleted in the list of accused and should be included.

Patel’s counsel Milind Sathe argued that he had ceased to be director of Auto Riders in 1999. In 2000, loans were restructured and the new Board was responsible.





HC pulls up govt for making changes in admission

10 Jul 2009, 0324 hrs IST, TNN

The HC has pulled up the state government for making last minute changes in its policy for admission to professional courses and directed it not to do so to avoid unnecessary confusion. However, a division Bench has dismissed petitions challenging government’s decisions making changes in method of calculating marks for admission to professional medical courses.

It upheld the decision of giving 60% weightage to HSC exam results and 40% to GujCET for admission to medical and para-medical courses. Students claimed that earlier government gave 70% weightage to HSC exams and 21% to GUJCET. But with the new method, importance of scoring in exams in the academic year would become less.





HC seeks DM’s report on

Express News Service

Posted: Friday , Jul 10, 2009 at 0329 hrs Kolkata:

The Calcutta High Court has asked the district magistrate of West Midnapore to submit a report within two weeks on the July 3 incident in which social activist Medha Patkar and 13 others had been stopped at Debra on their way to Lalgarh by the police.

Patkar and the others had filed a petition in the court two days ago alleging that they had been illegally arrested by the police on the National Highway last Friday. The case came up for hearing on Thursday. They also filed petitions seeking a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each for illegal arrest by the police.

Patkar challenged the imposition of Section 144 of the CrPC in Lalgarh.

Other than Patkar, Sujato Bhadra, a member of the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights was also a part of the group.

Advocate General Bolai Roy pleaded that the police had requested Patkar not to go to Lalgarh as Section 144 of CrPC had been imposed there. Following this nearly 200 people led by Patkar protested against the police action and held a road blockade there. They also obstructed the police from doing its duty. The police, then, lodged an FIR against Patkar and the others. They were arrested, later released on personal bond, said Roy.





HC admits CBI plea to enhance life sentence in Khairlanji case

By | July 9, 2009

The prosecution has moved the High Court for confirmation of death sentence, while the defence has moved for its rejection.

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PIL against SAIL chairman, BSL MD

9 Jul 2009, 0507 hrs IST, TNN

RANCHI: A PIL was filed by one Surendra Sao of Bokaro in Jharkhand High Court demanding a CBI inquiry against SAIL chairman, BSL MD and former Union steel minister Ram Vilas Paswan in connection with the expenses incurred during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the state last year. The PM had come to lay the foundation stone of BSL’s modernization and expansion programme.

Sao has challenged the Rs 1.92 crore expenditure incurred by BSL during the visit of the Prime Minister on April 22, 2008. The estimated expense to be incurred by BSL in this programme was around Rs 11,000 crore.

The petition was filed on basis of information collected through RTI from SAIL. The report of alleged misuse of money during the Prime Minister’s visit to the state was first published in TOI.





PIL challenges nuclear power plant in Ratnagiri


Mumbai, July 8: A public interest lititation (PIL) filed in the Bombay High Court has challenged upcoming Indo-French nuclear power project at Jaitapur, in Ratnagiri district, on the environmental grounds.

The Court is slated to hear the case on July 10. Division bench of Justices J N Patel and Mrudula Bhatkar last week asked government to maintain “status quo” till further order, said petitioners’ lawyer Mahesh Londe.

The Nuclear Power Corporation Of India has proposed to build a nuclear power plant complex near Jaitapur, coastal Maharashtra, in collaboration with the French company Areva.

Total capacity of the power plants would be around 10,000 MW. But petitioners Dr B Waghdhare and others, who hail from surrounding villages, contend that nuclear power plant will hit the fragile ecology of the Konkan.





Desperate voices to save Bachpan

9 Jul 2009, 0310 hrs IST, Ashish Tripathi, TNN

LUCKNOW: “Madam chief minister. Our heart bleeds. We are unable to understand that a government which can spend more than Rs 2,500 crore on parks and memorials, does not has even Rs one crore for disabled children. Behenji, it seems that either you are not being informed by your administration about how disabled children are suffering after closure of the Bachpan Day Care Centres or your officers, particularly those responsible for finance, need lessons on sensitivity”.

This is an excerpt from the letter written to chief minister, Mayawati by the harried parents of the disabled children who were undergoing training at the Bachpan Day Care Centres before disabled welfare department ordered their closure. Parents hope that the letter would at least make Mayawati and her officers do some soul-searching. These parents are also planning to file a public interest litigation (PIL) in the high court against the order to close down the centres.

The Bachpan Day Care Centres were set up in eight districts in 2004 providing free rehabilitative interventions to visually challenged, hearing impaired, multi-disabled, mentally retarded, autistic and cerebral palsy children through technology and experts to improve their intellectual and cognitive skills and to prepare the child and his/her family to manage their handicap with a positive attitude. Many children trained here have also joined mainstream schools.

The centres were started with the funds given under Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan but the education department scrapped the provision last year. The disabled welfare department made some arrangements of funds and somehow and the schools were run for a year. But in May this year, the centres were directed to close down till further orders, leaving over 450 children enrolled in a lurch. Parents made several representations but every time they were only given assurances.

Last week, when contacted, officers in chief minister’s office had assured that centres would reopen in July. They had told TOI that the money left in the account meant for funding non-government organisations would be diverted to run these eight centres till a permanent allocation was made in the state budget. However, sources said that the finance department has put yet another objection for using the fund lying unutilised for running the these centres for disabled.

The officers in the disabled welfare department denied that any order to close down the centres permanently has been issued but parents said that every year the centres used to open after summer vacation on June 25. But this year the directions have been issued for them to remain closed till further orders. “If officers are really serious about running the centres, why don’t they open them now and do the formalities of allocation of funds later,” said an angry parent.

“Shame on these officers. God forbid, had their children been disabled then they would have understood our plight better,” said Fatima, whose seven-year- old deaf and dumb child was undergoing training in the centre. These people, she said, don’t know how it felt when my son for the first time spelled “Maa” after being trained here. “I am sure that these officers have not told chief minister about the problem, otherwise she would have surely taken action,” she said with tears in her eyes.

“Kya Behenji meri andhi beti ko jeevan jeene ka ek mauka dengi, pyar se nahi toh taras kha kar hee sahi (Will chief minister show way to visually challenged daughter at least out of pity, if not love),” said Lakshmi, whose six-year-old daughter had shown tremendous improvement while in `Bachpan’ for six months. “With a woman at the helms of affair, I always expected that she will do something for disabled out of affection, but have been proved wrong,” said another parent.





HC to hear Pak national’s plea on July 22

Published: July 8,2009

Appearing for the Pak nationals, the counsel submitted before the court of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Manmohan that the court should ask the Centre to hand over the nationals to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to resolve their issues.

In November last year, the government had moved an application before a city court seeking its permission to withdraw all cases registered against them under the Passport Act and Registration of Foreigners Act and to deport them to Pakistan.

However, challenging the government&aposs decision, one of the Pakistani national filed a petition seeking court&aposs intervention restraining the government from deporting them.

Filing a PIL, through counsel Meenakshi Arora, one Saifullah Bajwa said all these people are facing charges of blasphemy and the Pakistani law prescribes life sentence or death penalty in such a case.

In April 2007, these people had fled Pakistan due to fear of prosecution on the charges of blasphemy as they belonged to Mehdi Foundation, a multi-faith spiritual organisation that promoted the doctrine of divine love since 1980.

Source: PTI




Millions spent for one-hour visit by PM


July 9th, 2009

RANCHI – A sum of Rs.1.92 crore (Rs.19.2 million) was spent for a one-hour visit to Jharkhand’s Bokaro Steel Plant (BSP) by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in April last year. Now, some officials of the plant are under the scanner for this, as a public interest litigation (PIL) plea was filed on the subject here Thursday.

In his petition filed in Jharkhand High Court, Surendra Sao has sought an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation and action against the officials involved in managing the event.

On April 22 last year, the prime minister had visited Bokaro to inaugurate the expansion of the steel plant. He was accompanied by then steel minister Ram Vilas Paswan.

Sao, a resident of Bokaro and a civil services aspirant, had earlier sought details of the expenditure for the visit under the Right to Information Act. In his petition, he said that the details provided to him “exposed the financial mismanagement by the officials”.

He had found that Rs.1.41 crore was paid to a company for managing the programme. Besides this, Rs.9.27 lakh was spent on stage preparation, Rs.1.04 lakh on purchasing caps for children who attended the programme, Rs.18.05 lakh was paid to a tent house and the remaining amount was spent on other things including buying snacks worth Rs.4.08 lakh.

On Thursday, BSL authorities were tight-lipped over the issue.


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