LEGAL NEWS 31.07.2009


Complaints against violation of MRTP Act

14:10 IST

Lok Sabha

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

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







Kankaria entry fee challenged in HC

DNA Correspondent

Friday, July 31, 2009 9:04 IST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Sach Ka Samna: Now face the truth!

Posted on July 31st, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Court asks civic officers to pay for illegal hoardings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Challenged under PIL, HC closes case for order

Posted On Thursday, July 30, 2009

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





Residents up the ante against elevated Metro

Linah Baliga / DNA

Friday, July 31, 2009 2:52 IST

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

Express News Service

Posted: Jul 31, 2009 at 0144 hrs IST

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

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

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

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

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





Civic bodies warned on tiles around trees

TNN 31 July 2009, 04:03am IST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

Posted: Friday , Jul 31, 2009 at 0316 hrs

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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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





HC sets aside ADJ’s order

TNN 31 July 2009, 05:01am IST

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

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

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

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





Schizophrenic moves HC to get job back

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

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

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

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

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




HC seeks info on CIC appointment

TNN 31 July 2009, 03:55am IST

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

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

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

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

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





Chuda’s battle royale reaches HC

TNN 31 July 2009, 03:23am IST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





HC upholds land acquisition for Kathipara flyover

TNN 31 July 2009, 02:48am IST

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





NCW seeks case details from govt


K P Sai Kiran

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






NCW seeks report on Bidisha school incident


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

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

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

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

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




CIC slaps Rs 10,000 fine on NCW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Murder In Plain Sight


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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