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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