LEGAL NEWS 31/7 – 3/8/2009

Kerala not interested in establishing new court: CJI  

http://www.asianetindia.com/news/kerala-interested-establishing-court-cji_66187.html

Thrissur, Sunday 2 August 2009: Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan today said the State Governments were not taking any interest to start new courts.

Inaugurating the concluding meeting of the 125th anniversary celebrations of the ‘Irrinjalakuda’ Courts, near here, the CJI said the State Governments were not allotting funds for the new courts.

He said the insufficiency of the courts in the country was the reason for cases to stagnate.

Pointing out the judiciary functioning in Kerala, especially the the family courts was a model to other States, he said they were a model to other state and family courts in certain other states were not functioning properly.

The Chief Justice said the Supreme Court had demanded starting 150 new courts in the State.

 

 

 

 

Ex-CJI disagrees with SC on Maya statue row

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/ExCJI-disagrees-with-SC-on-Maya-statue-row/494028/

 

Agencies

Posted: Jul 25, 2009 at 1710 hrs IST

New Delhi Former Chief Justice of India J S Verma has disagreed with the apex court’s view declining to intervene into the UP cabinet decision on installing statues including that of Chief Minister Mayawati in the state.

“If judiciary can go into the decision of cabinet pertaining to article 356 (in S R Bommai case) and judicial review is available to check the ultra vires of constitutional amendment, then I fail to understand why it cannot go into the statue issue,” he said.

He was speaking at a convention on ‘City Development: Sustainability and Legal Interface’ organised by CII and Bar Association of India.

Justice Verma referred to the order of apex court on July 10 expressing its inability to do anything as the installation of statues (of elephant and UP CM Mayawati) had the mandate of the (state) cabinet to say that the judiciary can very well review a cabinet decision.

Justice Verma also took the political leaders to task for believing that they can do whatever they wish to during their tenure in public offices.

“Policy adopted by various people to do whatever you can while in the office like installing statute in public places…, huge stretch of land is being cleared for the sake of installing statute of elephants, if it is of person it can be said okay,” he said.

To a question on allegations that a Central Minister tried to influence Madras High Court Judge Justice R Reghupathy in a marksheet scam case, Justice Balakrishnan reiterated that nobody had spoken to the judge.

“I was concerned after seeing media reports and inquired the matter. No minister called him.. nobody called him (on phone),” he said.

 

 

 

Cyber Tribunal established : CJI

http://www.newkerala.com/nkfullnews-1-84580.html

Kochi, Aug 1 : Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan today noted that a Cyber Tribunal under the IT Act has started functioning in New Delhi in the backdrop of the high incidence of cyber crimes.

Addressing a gathering after inaugurating a public awareness programme on ‘Cyber Crime Against Women’, organised here by KELSA, C-DIT and Department of Social Welfare, Kerala Government, Mr Justice Balakrishnan said the legal system and the regulatory bodies should make sure the new technologies do not become tools of exploitation and misuse.

He noted that a Cyber Tribunal had started functioning in the national capital and Cyber Appellate Tribunal would be coming up in due course.

Touching on the misuse of the internet facilities and the advances in IT, the CJI said there were certain practical difficulties in enforcing law on the culprits involved in cyber crimes.

”There are practical difficulties to enforce law against people in foreign jurisdiction and also in tracking down the culprits,” he added.

Enumerating on the measures to be taken, he said the government could impose ban on websites posting pornography but it was not right to impose a blanket ban on various websites.

In his address, Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said more teeth were needed to the law to deal with cyber crime.

Kerala High Court Chief Justice S R Bannurmath, State Health Minister P K Sreemathy among thers participated in the programme.

— UNI

 

 

 

Delhi HC stays MRTPC probe into two foreign banks

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/006200908021125.htm

New Delhi (PTI): The Delhi High Court has stayed the probe by the fair trade regulator MRTPC into excessive rates allegedly charged by ABN Amro bank and Standard Chartered Bank for foreclosing loans.

Admitting the plea of the banks, the Court has directed the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission to first decide whether it has the jurisdiction over banks for conducting such investigations.

“We are of the view that the question of maintainability and jurisdiction ought to be decided first by the MRTPC and then only the preliminary investigation be proceeded with,” said a Division Bench comprising Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Veena Birbal.

In May 2009, the MRTPC had directed its investigating unit Director General of Investigation and Registration (DGIR) to look into the “foreclosure charges” taken by the banks, suspecting them to be anti-consumer.

Initiating the probe, the DGIR wrote to ABN Amro and Standard Chartered Bank, directing them to furnish information on their customers and other details.

This was challenged by the banks before the High Court and they submitted that the MRTPC has no jurisdiction over the banking sector and even the MRTP Act, 1969, identifies the RBI as the sole regulator for the sector.

 

 

 

 

PSUs face pollution PIL
http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090802/jsp/jharkhand/story_11310967.jsp

OUR CORRESPONDENT

Ranchi, Aug. 1: Washeries of Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) in Rajrappa and Hindustan Aluminium Corporation (Hindalco) in Muri have been brought under the judicial scanner for violating norms of the state pollution control board and the Environment Protection Act.

A PIL has been filed before the Jharkhand High Court today alleging violation of the act by the two PSUs.

The petitioner, Chittaranjan Das Choudhary, said that while the CCL washeries in Rajrappa discharge waste into the Damodar and Bheda rivers, the Hindalco releases fly ash on open ground surrounding the plant in Muri. The fly ash forms a layer on the ground, which affects crops, Choudhary said in his petition.

He said the Damodar river is polluted with continuous coal discharge let into the river by the CCL.

Residents in Sondi, Buchundi, Koihara, Mile, Marangmarcha, Tebardag and several other villages in the area suffer from skin diseases and several other ailments because of consumption of the polluted river water. The CCL management is not abiding by the rules under the Hazardous Management (Management and Handling) Rules, which are mandatory for the organisation, the petitioner said.

The people of Muri and surrounding places have developed lungs and eye diseases because of the fly ash and it also has its effect on the brain of residents of the area, Choudhary said.

Agricultural lands in Muri have also lost its fertility because of steady dumping and piling of ash. Hindalco has not taken any steps to control the spread of ash unabated in the area.

 

 

 

 

From Conservative to Activist

http://pragati.nationalinterest.in/2009/08/from-conservative-to-activist/

Understanding the dynamics of the separation of powers

TCA Anant 

 

The interface between and law and economic policy in India is a fascinating exploration in the issues relating to constitutional doctrines of separation of powers and issues in development policy. The role played by the judiciary takes us into domains of policy and governance that are unique in the democratic world.

This story has a number of phases. The first phase began with independence and continued until the mid seventies. During this phase the court may be described as being conservative but essentially protective of the constitutional rights. It avoided confronting Parliament on issues of economic regulation and civil liberties, preferring to help establish the legitimacy of the Central government. However its inherent legal conservatism led it to conflicts with the executive and legislature on laws related to property. The right to property was originally included among the Fundamental Rights. It was this right that was seen by successive Congress governments as the most serious obstacle to socialism or social reform and the effort to break the power of traditional elites. The Forty Fourth Amendment to the Indian Constitution represents the culmination of this process. Apart from removing the ‘right to property’ as a fundamental right and locating it as a much weaker statutory or constitutional right, where it reads as ‘No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law’, this Amendment constitutionally precludes judicial questioning of any compensation regime put in place by the legislature.

The next phase was brief with the emergency, and the suppression of basic rights. The end of the emergency in 1977, sees the emergence of the court in a new interventionist light. This happened with the Supreme Court enlarging the  reach of law and its jurisdiction in two ways. One, by re-interpreting the constitution to expand the scope and content of various fundamental rights, and two, by moderating the ancient requirement of locus standi (standing and interest) for access to judicial remedies and redress. As a consequence, where it was felt that there had been gross violation of fundamental rights, procedural requirements were eased to enable individuals or organisations to approach the Supreme Court and High Courts on the behalf of those unable to do so themselves – “in the public interest”. Typically these cases dealt with gross violation of rights – many of them involving women as victims, in locations such as prisons and remand homes. [1]

Activism

However it was the Bhopal Gas Tragedy that changed the character of this intervention. The legal response to Bhopal was poor, and the matter was settled leaving no opportunity to develop a jurisprudence on mass torts. However the incident both raised public concern as well as highlighted the failure of the existing legal regulatory framework for taking remedial steps. This then laid the ground for a number of public interest litigations (PIL) that were filed on various environmental matters. One of the most influential PILs in this category was the one on Delhi Air Pollution. [2]

In 1985, concerned with Delhi’s growing pollution problems MC Mehta filed a writ petition to direct the Delhi Government to implement the Air Act. This petition led to a series of inquiries by the court on how this problem was being handled. In the early stages of the litigation the impact was primarily to push the executive into formulating measures for pollution control. These measures were ineffective due to poor implementation. The poor progress pushed the court into pushing the administration into creating an authority (The Bhure Lal Committee) to monitor progress and implementation. This authority was further assisted by the court in that a number of its decisions (using the tool of continuing mandamus) were made into court orders so that violation/ non-implementation of the order opened the door for a charge of contempt of court. This method of intervention was not unique and in number of cases before the courts similar solutions were adopted (Forests, Right to Food, Delhi Master Plan and etc.) A second form of judicial intervention took place where the courts felt that the existing legal regime was not adequately protective of rights. Thus in the now famous Vishaka judgement [3]  aggravated by the fact that civil and penal law in India does not protect women from sexual harassment in the work place, the Supreme Court specified a model law to prevent sexual harassment.

The benefits and achievements of this expanded role for the judiciary are undeniable, but then what are the costs?

Separation of Powers: An economic rationale

I have used the the concept of transaction costs to develop an economic rationale for describing the institutions comprising the State . The basic idea is that if no transaction costs are incurred towards establishing and maintaining the order that the State aspires towards, the institutional form of the State would not matter. The question then arises, what exactly are the types of transactions costs that different institutional mechanisms in the state seeking to mitigate?

The legislature in modern democracies is constituted through elected representatives which implies that the representatives encapsulate in their own preferences an aggregate measure of those who elect them enabling them to make decisions relating to  provision of public goods and creation or abrogation of rights. These decisions require making distributional assumptions on the preferences of the affected population. Similarly judiciaries adjudicate competing claims of parties with private information and vested interests in their disclosure through adoption of rules of procedure and decision making which are efficient and perceived to be ex-ante fair under such situations of incomplete and asymmetric information. Finally the executive can be viewed as a hierarchical body that makes technical decisions in the face of incomplete information by creating systems of incentives and structure that allow the use of scientific, epidemiological and statistical knowledge and personalised idiosyncratic skills. The significant inference could be that since the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary process uniquely distinct categories of information, the separation of powers doctrine acts to minimise transaction costs. It follows from this that allocation problems themselves should be paired up with the appropriate institution to gain an efficient solution.

The formulation spelled out is schematic in nature – in practice there can be considerable overlap across different institutions of the kind of transaction cost they minimize. It must also be realised that transaction costs in themselves are not static, often changing with technological change. It is also essential not to misinterpret our formulation as saying that transaction costs can explain or justify the doctrine of separation of powers. To take such a stance, it would require us to show how the presence of transaction costs leads to the separation of powers. Instead we have used the notion of transactions costs, or more specifically the information costs of social decision-making, to deduce that problems confronting the State can be best solved by being placed in the appropriate niche carved out by the doctrine of separation of powers.

While these arguments are persuasive they do not account for the possibility of institutional failure. Economists are familiar with this concept, the concepts relating to external economies and diseconomies, public goods, indivisibilities etc have all been used to develop the ideas of market failure.  The traditional text book treatment of this issue will then argue that there is a case for a non market institution to step in. In a similar vein we can argue that corruption, electoral infirmities and imperfect access to capital markets could similarly affect each one of the institutions of the state. Further the dynamic character of transactions costs implies that the boundaries of decision making of these different institutions themselves cannot be rigid.

The framers of the Indian constitution did not formulate a strict doctrine of separation of powers but envisaged a system of checks and balances. Thus vehicle of executive action through judicial support has sought to compensate for the fact that executive decision making was being subordinated to political expediency. This solution is fraught with its own risks of legitimacy and effectiveness. To illustrate the vehicle pollution case has focused on Delhi and a few major metros. However air pollution and other forms of pollution are issues of nation wide concern, and thus effective policy requires involvement of agents at much broader levels than are currently feasible in court procedures.

Discomfort with these solutions can be seen in a variety of court judgements [5] where the court has cautioned on the tendency of judiciaries to encroach on legislative and executive powers.  Thus in the Aravali Golf Club case the court observed “Under our Constitution, the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary all have their own broad spheres of operation. Ordinarily it is not proper for any of these three organs of the State to encroach upon the domain of another, otherwise the delicate balance in the Constitution will be upset, and there will be a reaction”.  But the balance cannot be merely by a return by the court to an earlier era of conservative interpretation, in Pareen Swarup [6] the court observed  “It is necessary that the Court may draw a line which the executive may not cross in their misguided desire to take over bit by bit and judicial functions and powers of the State exercised by the duly constituted Courts. While creating new avenue of judicial forums, it is the duty of the Government to see that they are not in breach of basic constitutional scheme of separation of powers and independence of the judicial function.”  Or in the matter relating the Madras High Court decision on the Madras Bar association case the Supreme Court pointed to the need for a constitution bench to examine the domain of legislative competence in creating new judicial forums. Thus appreciating  the correct role for each constitutional institution is a challenge which we need to take up in order to develop a more sustainable model of governance. Similar words could be used for the activist Indian judiciary.

References

Anant, TCA and Jaivir Singh. (2002) ‘An Economic Analysis of Judicial Activism’ Economic and Political Weekly Vol. XXXVII No. 43 Oct 26 pp. 4433- 4439

Anant, TCA “Environment and Law” in The Oxford Companion to Economics in India General Editor: Kaushik Basu

Anant, TCA and Jaivir Singh “Structuring Regulation: The Constitutional and Legal Frame in India”

[1] Among many other cases see, for example, for under trail prisoners: Hussainara Khatoon v. Bihar 1979 SC 1360; prison inmates: Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration AIR 1982 SC 1473; remand homes: Munna v. State of U.P AIR 1982 SC 806; women in protective custody: Dr. Upendra Baxi v. U.P (1983) 2 SCC 308.

[2] MC Mehta v Union of India WP (civil) 130295 of 1985

[3] Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan (1997) 6 SCC 241

[4] The size and composition of representative processes have changed over time.  These changes have reflected both developments in technology as well as social thought. Thus we have moved from the small assemblies of adult men in ancient societies to the confused chatter of the World Wide Web. Our experiments with representation continue with our concerns for rights of the media and freedom of information.

[5] Common Cause vs Union of India (2008)5SCC511,  Divisional Manager, Aravali Golf Club 2007(14)SCALE1

[6] (2008)13 SCALE 84

 

 

 

 

SC justice asks judges to deliver judgements after proper hearing

 

http://www.punjabnewsline.com/content/view/17826/93/

Punjab Newsline Network   

Sunday, 02 August 2009
CHANDIGARH: The Judge of Supreme Court of India, Justice Tarun Chatterjee gave a clarion call to the judge fraternity that they should deliver the judgement after proper hearing of the cases so that the prompt justice could be provided to the litigants.

This was stated by  Justice Tarun Chatterjee in his inaugural address at function which was held to review Samadhan-2009 and working of Mediation and Conciliation organized by State Legal Service Authorities of Punjab, Haryana and Union Territory, Chandigarh and Punjab and Haryana High Court Mediation and Conciliation Committee in the premises of Chandigarh Judicial Academy here today.

Chatterjee stressed the need to follow the prescribed procedure while disposing off the cases. He said that they should apply their mind in question so that the cases could be disposed off speedily. While narrating an example of United States of America, he pointed out that he visited USA in 2005 and had visited the Supreme Court of America also where he was apprised that the judges of Supreme Court deals only with the Constitution matters.

He said that the Supreme Court of India was not meant for all cases including cancellation or accepting the bails rather these issues should be disposed off at lower Courts expeditiously. He said that the vacant posts of judges are being filled up and after filling these posts, the cases would be disposed off promptly. He lauded the efforts of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in disposing off the case in a competent manner as the judges of this High Court were honest to their duty and the litigants were also getting good results. He was of the view that it was very difficult to solve the matter relating to matrimonial issues.

Judge of Supreme Court of India,  Justice H.S. Bedi maintained that he had been remained Associated with Chandigarh and Punjab and Haryana High Court since so many years. He appreciated the decision of Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court,  Justice T.S. Thakur to gave direction to each Judicial Officer to dispose off 200 oldest civil and 200 oldest criminal cases in three phases under Samadhan-2009. He revealed that during the first phase, a sum of Rs. 1850 crore had been disbursed as compensation in Punjab under Samadhan-2009 and it was a remarkable achievement. He pointed out that a number of cases were also being disposed off through Lok Adalats. In disposal of cases, Punjab and Haryana High Court was second after Kerala High Court. He said, “We are proud of Punjab and Haryana High Court and ultimately public would get benefit of this.”

While presiding over the function, Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court,  Justice T.S. Thakur said that Punjab and Haryana High Court have the advantage of having proximity to Supreme Court of India. He said that Samadhan-2009 had been divided into three phases. The first phase was from February 14 to May 30. Similarly, second phase had started from June 1 to September 26 and third phase would culminate on December 20. In the first phase, 96024 cases were taken up, out of which 25710 cases had been disposed off in Haryana while the highest percentage of disposed off cases was 46.9 per cent in Fatehabad followed by Kaithal 43.22 per cent.

Justice  Thakur opined that common sense and positive approach should be utilized while disposing off cases. He also suggested that the Judicial Officers should also ascertain whether the case was fit for to send for Conciliation and Mediation centre. He stressed the need for providing training to the referral judges. He also stressed the need for setting up of more Mediation and Conciliation centres in Punjab and Haryana so that the cases were referred to them. It would also reduce their burden and there would be a win-win situation for them.

The Chief Justice said that the judges should rise according to the occasion and deliver the judgement, it would provide them peace of mind. He opined them that the judges should deliver the justice according to voice of their inner conscious. He informed that a new committee had been set up to suggest for opening of new mediation and conciliation centre so that references could be made.

Executive Chairman, Punjab State Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh,  Justice M.S. Gill, while lauding the Samadhan, said that there was a remarkable achievement during Samadhan. He said that similarly, in Lok Adalats which had been held, lakhs of cases were disposed off. He said that during the first phase of Samadhan-2009, as many as 33758 cases has been disposed off in Punjab. He revealed that Bathinda district in Punjab remained first in disposing off the cases while Gurdaspur district remained at the bottom in disposing off the cases. He further said that 1000 cases were referred in Mediation and Conciliation Centres in Punjab and out of these 250 cases had been settled.

Executive Chairman, Haryana State Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh,  Justice A.K. Goel said that the Mediation and Conciliation centres were set up in 2008 and total 18 centres were set up in Punjab and Haryana. He said that first Mediation and Conciliation centre was set up in Punjab and Haryana High Court premises in March 2008 in which 375 cases were referred, out of these, 50 cases were disposed off. Similarly, second centre was set up in Chandigarh Judicial Court where 256 cases were referred and out of these 51 cases were disposed off. He said that in Haryana, 470 cases were disposed off. He said that efforts were being made to provide training in these centres through master key trainers from United States of America as these master trainers have trained already at Delhi.

Justice Goel said that a strategy had been chalked out under which the campaign would be launched to motivate the people through seminars, print and electronic media. He revealed that there were 14 session division in Punjab while it has only eight Mediation and Conciliation Centres. Similarly, in Haryana there were 18 divisions and having only 10 centres. He further said that efforts would be made to set up the centres in the remaining session divisions so that cases could be referred to them.

Justice Mahesh Grover, while addressing the second session regarding Mediation and Conciliation-A new horizon for Dispute Resolutions, maintained that there was a need to adopt holistic approach so that mediator could success in his mission. He said that it was more important to try and fail but it was not important not to try for achieving the goal. He maintained that mediation and conciliation was a good method to resolve the cases and it would ease the tense and confrontation. He opined that a Judge-cum-Lawyer method could succeed in this process and a mechanism should be devised so that the benefit could be percolate to the masses.

In his key note address, Prof. (Dr.) G. Mohan Gopal, Director, National Judicial Academy, Bhopal through Video Conferencing, said that on an average one judge have about 2000 cases in India and in the coming years it would be challenge for us to cope up with the growing demand of the judges with the increasing population. He maintained that according to law commission, 50 judges should be required for one million population while India have only 11 to 14 judges per million. He said that by 2038, the population of India would be 1.50 billion and the total judges would be required 75,000 to dispose off the cases in the country so in this way 61,000 more judges would be required to meet the challenges.

 

 

 

 

Anti-gay law was an instrument of exploitation: Moily

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/000200908021020.htm

New Delhi (PTI): Apprehending misuse of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against homosexuals in the future, Law Minister Veerappa Moily has said the law should not become an instrument of exploitation by authorities.

Mr. Moily while admitting that the anti-gay law had been misused in the past, complimented the Delhi High Court for a “well-research, well-documented, well-argued” judgement decriminalising homosexuality.

“If it has been misused earlier, it can be misused in future as well. Any law should not be used as an instrument of exploitation, harassment or allow the authority to misuse it.

“This is one such provision that has a tendency of misuse and exploitation, and has been misused,” Mr. Moily told Karan Thapar in CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate programme.

“One thing must go to the credit of the Delhi High Court judgement — It is well-documented, well-researched, well-argued. I must tell the judges…the subject may be difficult, but at the same time this is one judgement, which has really stood out in the judicial annals of this country,” he said.

Pointing out that several laws enacted in the pre-Independence British Raj contradicted the Constitution and may not stand scrutiny, he said, adding that such laws include some sections of the IPC and the Evidence Act.

“We have a Constitution — many a times the Constitution runs parallel to many laws which were enacted earlier to the Constitution coming into force. This includes many provisions including some of the sections under the IPC or the Evidence Act,” Mr. Moily said.

“Many of these things (laws), if put to acid test of the Constitution, they may not stand up to the scrutiny. This is the apprehension,” he added.

The Law Minister said either the Constitution makers did not anticipate this situation or a review of the laws or the Constitution should have taken place for properly synchronising the two.

On reasons for the government not asking for a stay of the Delhi HC judgement before the Supreme Court, Mr. Moily said it would have been “preposterous”, as it was an important question of law relation to Constitutional rights of liberty and privacy.

“They (HC) have given a judgement. As against that, obtaining a stay may be sometimes preposterous, unless we have a final verdict from the Supreme Court,” he said.

There would occasions when the government would not seek to reverse a judgement, he said, adding that the Supreme Court or the Judiciary have rights to lay down the law.

 

 

 

 

HC directs Jamia to hold re-examination for student

http://www.ptinews.com/news/207783_HC-directs-Jamia-to-hold-re-examination-for-student

STAFF WRITER 11:9 HRS IST

New Delhi, Aug 2 (PTI) An aspiring business management student will be able to reappear for the Jamia Millia Islamia BBS entrance examination 2009-10 after the Delhi High Court came to her rescue.

The court directed the university to conduct re-examination of the Bachelors in Business Studies (BBS) on August 4 for the student after the same roll number of the June 16 test was found alloted to two candidates.

It asked Mahira Khan, whose roll number was also alloted to another candidate, to complete formalities by July 31 for the re-examination.

The university’s Registrar, Z H Khan, admitted through an affidavit before Justice Anil Kumar that due to clerical error another candidate was issued the roll number-BBS 2082 and agreed to conduct re-examination, the court informed.

 

 

 

 

Girl’s consent to have physical relations invalid before 18: HC

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/City/Lucknow/Girls-consent-to-have-physical-relations-invalid-before-18-HC/articleshow/4846794.cms

TNN 2 August 2009, 02:20am IST

LUCKNOW: Can a 16-year-old girl’s consent to have sexual intercourse be considered valid? The colonial legislation of British period, Indian Penal Code, 1860 speaks in affirmative but the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad high court has said that since a girl is not considered mentally and physically fit to give her consent to any person to have sexual intercourse at this age, her consent cannot be supposed to be made out of free will and hence it is taken that she cannot give her consent.

Justice VD Chaturvedi, while issuing notices to Attorney General of India and UP Advocate General to have their response whether Central and state governments intended to raise the 16 years age parameter to 18 for the purpose of Section 375 IPC or not and if not, for what reasons, hauled up the said existing provision. He commented, “Indian Penal Code was enacted by the Britishers in 1860. It was enacted keeping in view the interest of the Britishers, who came to rule India.”

The judge added, “The large number of Britishers did not bring their families with them. The consent of a girl of 16 years, for sexual intercourse was made a `valid consent’ under 375 IPC probably to protect such Britishers, if any of them had sex with a girl below 18 years.”

Holding the age of 16 as premature to provide consent for intercourse, the judge derived clues from different enactments passed by Parliament in Independent India including Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, Child Marriage Restraint Act, Indian Majority Act, Contract Act, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, Children Act, Indian Christian Marriage Act, Excise Act and Indian Citizenship Act. The court discovered that under these enactments, the age of a girl has been determined either 18 or 21 for any purpose the Acts are framed for, but the age old IPC in sections 375 and 361 mentioned 16 years for the purpose of legalising rape or kidnapping of male child, respectively. These provisions are in breach of the Directive Principles of State Policy contained in article 39 of the Constitution of India, said the court.

The statutes of Independent India indicate that a person attains the age of matured understanding or rational understanding only after he or she completes 21 years of age and in some statutes 18. This distinction in age suggests that the age between 18 to 21 is such an age when immaturity of mind diminishes gradually and the maturity of mind (thought) and the capability of taking rational decisions develops gradually in a normal person. A child below 18 is not expected to take a sound decision hence the consent of a female below 18 is of no avail to an accused, said the court.

The court said that a girl below 21 is not normally fit to think good or bad of her own and therefore, if any decision taken between 18 to 21 is injurious to her welfare or interest, it must be deemed that such a decision was taken under inducement.

“It is irony of law that, on one hand a person below 18 is treated as a child or a minor and is considered incapable to take care of his or her own person, is not considered fit for marriage but on the other hand a female child of 16 years is considered mentally and physically fit to give consent to any person to have sexual intercourse with her (under section 375 IPC) and a male child of 16 is deemed mentally matured to give consent to go with another (under section 361 IPC).” commented the court.

The court pondered the alleged irrational provisions in course of hearing of a criminal appeal filed by a rape convict sentenced with seven years of rigorous imprisonment. In the appeal, the convict had pleaded that the girl was 17 years of age at the time of rape. She had given her consent for making bodily relations. Therefore, his conviction was not proper under section 376 for rape as section 375 IPC provided that the prosecutrix could give consent for sexual intercourse after attaining the age of 16. Looking to the circumstances of the case, the court dismissed the appeal upholding the conviction, also holding that the consent was not voluntary.

The court directed its registrar to list the case as criminal miscellaneous case and sought response from Central and state governments to raise the age limit of 16 to 18 for the purpose of sections 375 and 361 IPC. The court directed to list the case on August 31 for hearing.

 

 

 

HC seeks info on bridge delay

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/City/Patna/HC-seeks-info-on-bridge-delay/articleshow/4843198.cms

TNN 1 August 2009, 03:24am IST

Patna: The Patna High Court on Friday directed the state government to file a counter affidavit to a PIL of Sudhir Kumar Ojha, stating inordinate delay in construction of a rail overbridge near Motijheel in Muzaffarpur town.

In its counter affidavit, the Indian Railway Construction Corporation (IRCON) submitted that the Muzaffarpur district administration was not cooperating with it for freeing the encroached piece of land acquired for the overbridge.

 

 

 

 

Living together for long is like marriage: SC

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/Living-together-for-long-is-like-marriage-SC/articleshow/4850038.cms

PTI 3 August 2009, 01:52am IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has held that if a man and a woman are residing together for a long time and have been accepted by the society as husband and wife, a presumption of a valid marriage can be drawn.

“A long cohabitation and acceptance of society of a man and woman as husband and wife goes a long way in establishing a valid marriage,” a Bench of Justices S B Sinha and Cyriac Joseph observed. The Bench said when disputes of valid marriages come into question, courts can draw a presumption on the basis of the conduct between the two parties. In arriving at a finding of fact, the trial judge was not only entitled to analyse the evidences brought on record by the parties so as to come to a conclusion as to whether all the ingredients of a valid marriage as contained in Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 stand established or not.

The Bench passed the ruling while dismissing an appeal of one Challamma, who questioned the claim of a woman’s marriage to her deceased son.

 

 

 

Just 45 women as HC judges, not one in SC

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/Just-45-women-as-HC-judges-not-one-in-SC/articleshow/4849980.cms

Kartikeya, TNN 3 August 2009, 01:20am IST

MUMBAI: The Supreme Court and various high courts regularly hear petitions lamenting that a particular section of society is inadequately represented in service or in education. Ironically, one field in which women are grossly under-represented in India is the higher judiciary itself — of 617 high court judges in the country, only 45 are women. And currently, there isn’t a single woman judge in the Supreme Court.

The strongest contingent of women judges in India is in the Bombay High Court, which has seven of them on the bench (roughly a tenth of the total number of judges).

In contrast, six of the country’s 21 high courts — Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Uttarakhand — have no women judges at all.

‘‘The statistics don’t surprise me. Women face gender discrimination in all walks of society,’’ said Neelima Chandiramani, principal of K C Law College. ‘‘Mumbai, though, has always been better than other parts of the country for women in the legal profession. Here you see more women practising at the Bar than anywhere else. Thus it has a pool from which women are elevated to the high court.’’

The Supreme Court itself has seen only three women justices in the 59 years since it was set up. The last woman judge in the Supreme Court, Ruma Pal, retired in 2006.

A parliamentary committee report tabled in October 2008 said that women, among other weaker sections of society, were ‘‘inadequately represented’’ in high courts and the Supreme Court. However, the government also says its hands are tied by the Constitution on the issue.

Appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and high courts is made under Article 124 and 217 of the Constitution of India, respectively, which do not provide for reservation for any caste or class of persons.

 

 

 

Creamy layer surfaces in GHMC legal battle

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4849789.cms

TNN 3 August 2009, 12:15am IST

HYDERABAD: Creamy layer among the backward classes, one of the contentious issues surrounding BC reservations, came up during the arguments over the GHMC election tussle in the AP High Court.

State government, as seen from the advocate general D V Sitarama Murthy’s arguments, is of the view that creamy layer norm for BCs is applicable to only educational and employment spheres and cannot be extended to the political spectrum.

A person, in the list of socially and educationally backward classes, continues to remain in the said list and even if he becomes part of the creamy layer, he will still be a member of the BC community, the AG said. The creamy among the BCs are not entitled to avail the benefits of reservation for admissions into educational institutions and public employment, he said.

The bench comprising Chief Justice Anil Ramesh Dave and Justice Ramesh Ranganathan said the AG’s submission may have merited acceptance had it not been for the fact that the explanation the government gave to Section 5 of the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Act (HMC Act) which defined BCs as any socially and educationally backward class of citizens recognised by the government for the purpose of extending the constitutional benefits in education and employment spheres.

Further, the bench said, the GO Ms No 3 issued on April 4, 2006 requires creamy layer to be excluded from the list of backward classes enlisted through a GO in 1970. A literal interpretation of the explanation the government offered to Section 5 of the GHMC Act requires the BCs to be those socially and educationally backward recognised by the government of Andhra Pradesh for the purpose of providing admissions into educational institutions as per the Constitution excluding the creamy layer, the bench said.

This would equally apply to the reservation of seats in favour of the BCs in GHMC, the bench said. More over, it said, the backward status vanishes once someone becomes part of the creamy layer.

Following AG’s argument, the bench agreed with the state’s view with regard to the share (33 per cent) the BCs should be entitled and rejected the petitioners’ argument that BC population in GHMC is less than 33 per cent.

It also said that the GHMC can enlist the BC voters and not the BC Commission as was sought by the petitioners. The bench also upheld the contention of the state government that seats to SCs and STs would be allotted on the basis of their population and not on the basis of their presence in the voters’ list. The petitioners demand for the latter was also rejected. One more area where the bench agreed with the AG was that the division of wards in GHMC was by and large scientific and the 10 per cent variance allowed in terms of per centage of population was adhered to in majority of the wards.

 

 

 

 

Pension windfall for retired judge

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4849998.cms

Shailvee Sharda, TNN 3 August 2009, 01:27am IST

LUCKNOW: “You must be joking…” is how retired Justice, RN Sharma reacted when his family members broke news that he would be getting over a lakh rupees per month as pension. Interestingly, Justice Sharma retired from the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad high court in 1966 with a monthly pension of around Rs 700 a month. He joined the Indian Judicial Services as a munsif in 1931 and rose to the level of a high court judge.

Few months short of touching his 105th birthday, Justice Sharma is believed to be the oldest pensioner in Uttar Pradesh. The fact has been acknowledged by authorities at Lucknow district treasury office from where the pension is disbursed.

The hike in pension has come due to the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Condition of Services) Amendment Act, 2009. This amendment has enhanced age-related quantum of pension or family pension being awarded to retired judges of the two courts.

A government order in this regard issued by department of justice, ministry of law and justice (dated May 11, 2009 no: L-11017/1/2008-Jus) says that the enhanced pension is to be given from January 1, 2006. To fix the additional quantum of pension/family pension, the government has categorised pensioners in certain age-slabs. Under this, the additional quantum being awarded to retired judges who are 100 or more is 100 per cent.

As on date, the pension of a retired judge is about Rs 40,000 a month. The amount does not include 22% dearness allowance and certain other allowances (eg: Like servant allowance of Rs 3,000 a month) given to a retired judge.

A cent per cent increase in the pension makes it Rs 80,000 per month. Adding 22% DA would make the amount Rs 97,600 per month. On adding allowances in the other categories, the amount totals to Rs 1.06 lakh a month.

 

 

 

UP govt implements quota for SCs in tenders

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4848608.cms

PTI 2 August 2009, 05:00pm IST

LUCKNOW: The Uttar Pradesh government has implemented a provision of 21 per cent reservation to Scheduled Caste contractors in tenders upto rupees five lakh in all departments, a senior official said here.

“As decided by the state cabinet, reservation would be implemented in all tenders upto rupees five lakh in all departments, corporations, enterprises, authorities, boards and local bodies,” he said.

An order to this effect was issued by state chief secretary Atul Kumar Gupta yesterday, he said.

Under the new system while 21 per cent reservation will be given to Scheduled Caste contractors, the limit will be two per cent for ST candidates, the official said.

 

 

 

Cyber Appellate Tribunal coming up in due course: CJI

http://www.samaylive.com/news/cyber-appellate-tribunal-coming-up-in-due-course-cji/642165.html
Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2009 at 20:02 IST

F Prev Next L

Kochi, Aug 1 As part of efforts to check cyber
crimes, Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan today said a
Cyber Appellate Tribunal and other courts will be coming up in
due course in different parts of the country. A Cyber tribunal has already been set up in New Delhi
as per section 40 of the IT Act, the CJI said addressing a
Public awareness meeting on ‘Cyber Crimes Against Women’ here. Balakrishnan said there are practical difficulties in
dealing with Cyber crime cases since the locality is not
defined and hence it is difficult to identify perpetrators of
such crimes. Many website with obscene contents are registered
abroad. Government can ban such websites, but it would not be
right to clamp a blanket ban on all websites, he said. He said many job and matrimonial websites are misused.There are multifarious ways in which cyber crimes are being
committed, he added stressing the need for creating awareness
about it. Also present at the function, Kerala Chief Minister V
S Achuthanandan said judges and law makers should formulate
action plans to deal with cyber crimes and related issues.”There is need to create more awareness among women
about cyber crimes as it is the fairer sex who mostly become
its victims, he said.

 

 

 

 

More courts needed to clear backlog of cases: CJI  
http://www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/639099/National/1/20/1

Published: August 1,2009

   

 

Thrissur , Aug 1 Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan today said to clear the backlog of cases more courts should be set up and regretted lack of co-operation from states in this regard.

“It is impossible to clear the pending cases without setting up sufficient number of new courts in different parts of the country,”he said, inaugurating year-long valedictory of the 125 anniversary celebrations of Irinjalakuda law court.

The Chief Justice said cooperation from Kerala government in this regard was also not enough.

He said several CBI cases, in which eminent personalities were implicated, were pending for the last 15 years.

While stressing the need for delivering speedy justice, he sought the co-operation of state governments for setting up new courts to avoid undue delay in disposing of pending cases.

Balakrishnan said 70 per cent of the cases filed in various courts of the country were settled in a”reasonable”period, but 30 per cent remained pending and the pendency could be removed only after setting up of new courts wherever they were essential, he said.

He said his best efforts to clear the backlog of cases since his assumption of office of CJI in January 2007, had not yielded desired results.

The Supreme court had requested the Union Government to set up 4000 more courts in the country. A request had also been made to the appropriate authority to set up 80 more CBI special courts, he added.

Source: PTI

 

 

 

 

Judicial system in many States not proper: CJI

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/02/stories/2009080254650900.htm

Staff Reporter

Thrissur: Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan has said the judicial system in many States is not proper.

He was addressing the valedictory function of the 125th anniversary celebrations of the Irinjalakuda Courts on Saturday.

“Facilities are few in many States for people to approach courts, file cases and engage lawyers. Systems are not in place. When visitors to the National Judicial Academy in Bhopal want to know how the Indian judiciary functions, they cannot be taken to courts in the region because the judicial system there leaves much to be desired. A film on proper functioning of courts is being made as a guide,” he observed. He said the State governments were not allotting adequate funds to start new courts.

“A huge backlog of cases is the main problem of Indian judiciary. Most of these cases are not too old. About 70 per cent of cases are generally disposed of within a reasonable period. Without new courts, the backlog cannot be cleared. For long, I have been exerting pressure on authorities to set up new courts, but to no avail.”

He said that steps were on to start 60 CBI special courts. “Letters regarding this have been issued to all Chief Ministers. The Centre will provide funds. The State government should extend help for setting up the courts. Over 15 years, many cases investigated by the CBI, including corruption cases involving the high and the mighty, are pending settlement. The country has very few CBI special courts. Kerala has only one. Legisl0ation and procedures are complete to start 4,000 new courts in the country.”

He noted that people in many parts of the country were being excluded from the judicial system. “Compare Kerala with Chhattisgarh. In Kerala, 28 out of 1,000 people approach courts for justice, whereas in Chhattisgarh, only four persons out of 1,000 people do this. It does not mean offences, including human rights violations, are not perpetrated in Chhattisgarh. A team appointed by the Supreme Court visited Chhattisgarh and discovered that only 80 to 85 out of 200 murder cases were being registered. Such a condition is undesirable. People should approach and have access to courts.”

 

 

 

 

Scrap MRTPC, asap

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Opinion/Scrap-MRTPC-asap/articleshow/4843863.cms

1 Aug 2009, 0029 hrs IST, ET Bureau

Now that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been functional with a full time chairman and several members for about five months, there is little sense to keep the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) alive.

The Centre must repeal the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 (MRTP Act) at the earliest. What we now have is a dual mechanism to deal with competition issues and trade practices. This defeats the very purpose of enacting a modern competition law and putting in place a new mechanism to deal with anti-competitive and restrictive trade practices.

Indeed, anecdotal evidence suggests as much. The MRTPC continues to receive new cases, as much as 30 every month, adding to the backlog of some 2,000 cases. The relative ease to file a complaint before the MRTPC, in addition to the greater familiarity with that mechanism, is said to be the reason why complaints of monopolistic and restrictive trade practices continue to be filed before the MRTPC. Conversely, a fee of Rs 50,000 charged by the CCI to accept complaints of trade practices prejudicial to free play in the market helps keep out frivolous cases.

The government’s lethargic movement on repealing the MRTP Act perhaps has more to do with protecting the interest of those holding office at the MRTPC and others working there. The Competition Act (Section 66) provides for repeal of the MRTP Act and transfer of all undecided cases, other than those pertaining to unfair trade practices, to the CCI.

Cases pertaining to unfair trade practices are to be transferred to the National Commission constituted under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. It also dealt with severance and settlement of employees of the MRTPC — some are to be repatriated back to their cadre or department. The chairman and members are entitled to three months pay and allowances for premature termination. It is important the Centre moves quickly so as not to undermine the effectiveness of the CCI. Further, the role of the CCI needs to be widely publicised so that aggrieved parties move it for adjudication in contentious cases.

     

 

 

 

 

Delhi HC stays MRTPC probe into two foreign banks

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/006200908021125.htm

New Delhi (PTI): The Delhi High Court has stayed the probe by the fair trade regulator MRTPC into excessive rates allegedly charged by ABN Amro bank and Standard Chartered Bank for foreclosing loans.

Admitting the plea of the banks, the Court has directed the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission to first decide whether it has the jurisdiction over banks for conducting such investigations.

“We are of the view that the question of maintainability and jurisdiction ought to be decided first by the MRTPC and then only the preliminary investigation be proceeded with,” said a Division Bench comprising Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Veena Birbal.

In May 2009, the MRTPC had directed its investigating unit Director General of Investigation and Registration (DGIR) to look into the “foreclosure charges” taken by the banks, suspecting them to be anti-consumer.

Initiating the probe, the DGIR wrote to ABN Amro and Standard Chartered Bank, directing them to furnish information on their customers and other details.

This was challenged by the banks before the High Court and they submitted that the MRTPC has no jurisdiction over the banking sector and even the MRTP Act, 1969, identifies the RBI as the sole regulator for the sector.

 

 

 

 

In 2011, trial to take three years not 15?

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/India/In-2011-trial-to-take-three-years-not-15/articleshow/4846350.cms

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN 2 August 2009, 08:02am IST

NEW DELHI: In a move to end the “once a litigant always a litigant” curse, the Centre is examining the first draft of a blueprint that promises to reduce the average pendency of a case from 15 years at present to a mere three years over the next two years.

The ambitious legal reforms will look to setting a certain time-frame for a trial court to deal with a case and could also look at streamlining the appeals process. The reforms are expected to significantly change the lives of nearly 10 crore litigants involved one way or another in 2.6 crore cases some of which can drag on for decades.

With trials often being a labyrinthine process with numerous adjournments, law minister M Veerappa Moily had asked Attorney General G E Vahanvati and Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam to use their experience in judiciary to suggest a practical ready-to-use plan of action to help the common litigant who is often deterred from approaching the courts for fear of long pendency.

The first draft of the blueprint for shrinking the litigation time to just three years, prepared by the two top law officers, was recently handed over to the law minister. This draft is expected to form the agenda of national consulation on judicial reforms, scheduled for end-August.

An overall improvement of the justice delivery mechanism would follow if the suggested reform is implemented, official sources said. They explained that once the drastic reduction in the life of a trial court docket happens, it would unburden 16,000-odd judges of a huge pendency allowing them to give more meaning to the term “justice”.

In addition, it would relieve the pressure on jails, overcrowded with lakhs of undertrials, to help improve facilities as they would have to cater to a lesser number of inmates, official sources said.

The Manmohan Singh government, in its second term, has stressed judicial reforms as a focal point. Even in the past, reforms have often been a talking point with previous regimes which seldom had the desire or the willingness to prod the judiciary into accepting reforms given the fact that courts are seen to be armed with public trust.

With cases of jusicial misconduct also emerging, the law ministry has moved to including the judiciary within the ambit of a law requiring judges to declare their assets.

After the Judges Assets Bill, Moily further opened the reform bag and intiated the groundwork for the Judicial Accountability Bill, which could provide a mechanism to rein in errant judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court.

But, the pendency of 2.6 crore cases in the trial courts directly affecting 10 crore people and their family members, virtually egged the law minister to give priority to ground level reforms in the judiciary.

dhananjay.mahapatra@timesgroup.com

 

 

 

 

Punjab Senior citizens tribunal orders son to pay maintenance to mother

http://www.punjabnewsline.com/content/view/17819/38/

 

 

Punjab Newsline Network   
Sunday, 02 August 2009
CHANDIGARH: The maintenance of Parents and Senior citizens Welfare Act 2007  adopted by Punjab Government in July 2008, the court of Tribunal under Maintenance & welfare of parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 (Sub Divisional Magistrate) Jalandhar-I has pronounced a land mark judgment.

H.S.Mattewal Advocate General Punjab Sunday informed that the the Judge of the tribunal has ordered  Kamaljeet Singh s/o Sukhinder Singh r/o Jalandhar to deposit Rs. 10,000/- per month as maintenance allowance in the account of his mother  Gurcharn Kaur through Cheque/Demand Draft.

The court also directed  kanwaljeet Singh to allow his parents to reside in their residential house at Jalandhar and not restrain their entry. It may be recalled that Kanwaljeet Singh had ousted his parents from the house and they were forced to stay with their daughter at Amritsar.

Mattewal informed that this historic act adopted by the state Government would proved to be a boon for such parents who were rendered shelter less in the old age. This act would also safe guard the interest of such hapless old parents in providing them security in the evening of their life to live with honour and dignity.

 

 

 

 

NRI groom must add wife’s name to passport: NCW

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/India/NRI-groom-must-add-wifes-name-to-passport-NCW/articleshow/4847028.cms

Seethalakshmi S, TNN 2 August 2009, 03:53am IST

BANGALORE: If you’re actively engaged in arranging your daughter’s marriage to an NRI, the NCW’s proposals should give you some peace of mind. Your prospective son-in-law may have to compulsorily include her name in his passport.

This is one of the NCW’s proposed guidelines following the increasing number of fraudulent marriages in which NRI men overseas have duped families and left girls in the lurch. The NCW has noticed a disturbing trend: easy dissolution of such marriages by courts abroad even though the wedlock was solemnized in India as per Indian laws.

“Currently, there is no comprehensive and special law to govern this issue, specially due to jurisdictional issues to decide matrimonial cases. The girl’s family has nowhere to go when things go wrong. It’s time we put a law in place,” sources said.

 

 

 

MRTP Commission getting more complains then CCI

http://www.taxguru.in/government-policy/mrtp-commission-getting-more-complains-then-cci.html

Jul 31, 2009 Government Policy

Even after three months of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) coming into force, its predecessor, the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) is continuing to accept fresh cases on a daily basis.  Complainants are continuing to show a preference for MRTPC to the CCI, which is a costlier option for the common man and follows a detailed process of accepting complaints.  In two months, MRTPC may stop accepting new complaints, but will adjudicate on all petitions received till then, senior government officials told. MRTPC was supposed to stop accepting fresh complaints once the CCI is operationalised, but has not turned a blind eye to new complaints.

This has been possible as the government has not notified a provision in the Competition Act which will outrightly restrict MRTPC from registering new cases coming before it, a government official said on the condition of anonymity.  The ministry of corporate affairs, which is the administrative ministry for the functioning of both the CCI and MRTPC, is likely to restrict the latter from taking fresh matters in a couple of months, the official added. Till then, citizens willing to register their complaints for anti-competitive activities in companies can approach any of these two forums, he said.

As the procedural formalities in CCI are more detailed and involves a cost for filing a complaint, the influx of fresh complaints in MRTPC is continuing. According to the official, the MRTPC is adding over 30 cases every month over its overall pendency of over 2,000 cases. The number of cases in CCI, on the other hand, has been quite low with only two cases being taken up for further investigations till date.

CCI charges Rs 50,000 as a fee while accepting a petition. Experts say this is particularly because CCI is a platform where big corporate houses can file complaints against the behaviour of their rivals. Also, it is not prudent to over burden the new regulator with frivolous cases.

The lack of staff and resources at MRTPC is affecting its investigation and adjudication in many cases that are already pending before it. While the MRTPC is investigating many cases of alleged anti-competitive practices in sectors like aviation, telecom and cement, what the forum lacks is the regulatory teeth to impose a heavy fine. While the functional ambit of the CCI is much wider than that of the MRTPC, they share common area of operation in matters of monopolistic activities indulged into by companies.

India’s anti-trust body CCI will look into all competition related aspects affecting mergers, market share and presence of dominant entities and regulation of firms. The government has not yet empowered CCI to take up cases of merger, and is by far looking into cases against companies indulging in anti-competitive practices and abusing their dominance in the market.

 

 

 

 

HC gets SC flak for green signal to Jaya statues

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/HC-gets-SC-flak-for-green-signal-to-Jaya-statues/496791

Tannu Sharma Posted: Saturday , Aug 01, 2009 at 0231 hrs New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Friday set aside a Madras High Court verdict approving the state’s decision to put up statutes and arches dedicated to then chief minister J Jayalalithaa on some state highways in 2005. Slamming the decision, the Bench of Justices S B Sinha and Deepak Verma said, “The state being the principal protector of the rights of its citizens…should not have granted such permission. What is important is public interest and not any private interest or interest of a political party.”

Setting aside the judgment dated March 21, 2005, wherein Section 26 of the TN Highways Act, 2001, was questioned, the apex court said, “We, with respect, are not in a position to persuade ourselves to agree with the opinion of the HC.” The Bench also opined that HC committed “a manifest error” in holding that power to grant permission for erecting constructions strictly lies with the highway authority and not with the state.

 

 

 

 

Health spa services by opp sex can’t be prevented:HC

http://ptinews.com/news/206392_Health-spa-services-by-opp-sex-can-t-be-prevented-HC

STAFF WRITER 9:57 HRS IST

Chennai, Aug 1 (PTI) The Madras High Court has held that the city police has no legal right to prevent a health spa from being run by any citizen of the country even if the services were offered by members of opposite sex.

Granting an interim injunction on a application by M/s Influence Lifestyle Stores Private Ltd seeking to restrain police from interfering with the “peaceful conduct” of the business offering various spa therapies for both sexes by members belonging to both sexes, Justice K Chandru said “there is no law regulating the field”.

The Judge, in his order yesterday, cited judgements of the Supreme Court to show that “a majoritarian impulse rooted in moralistic tradition cannot impinge upon individual autonomy”.

At the same time, the Judge said, the police were entitled to inspect such premises and take appropriate action according to law in cases of any criminal activities prohibited by law.

 

 

 

 

SC to hear plea against HC order for phasing out of Kolkata old vehicles

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4843175.cms

TNN 1 August 2009, 02:15am IST

NEW DELHI: With the Calcutta High Court refusing to extend the July 31 deadline for phasing out of old and polluting commercial vehicles and the Supreme Court declining to pass any interim order on Friday, the West Bengal government could face a catch 22 situation.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathaisvam refused to pass any interim order but posted the appeal filed by the Bengal Bus Syndicate for hearing on Tuesday.

This means, if the state does not implement the HC order for phasing out 15-year-old commercial vehicles from the Calcutta Metropolitan Area awaiting an outcome on the appeal before the SC, it could make itself liable for contempt before the HC.

The HC had last week refused to extend the July 31 deadline saying it had not passed the order to serve the interests of the advocates or politicians or industrialists but for the sake of the general public, who had a fundamental right to get fresh air. The HC had given a year’s time for the phasing out.

The state government, facing the ire of the public transport associations which appeared to be hit by the HC order, had done precious little to implement the July 18, 2008 order. With the HC firm on not hearing a plea on the phase-out matter till August 21, the bus syndicate moved an appeal before the SC challenging the directive.

 

 

 

 

HC stays NIT notice to vacate Gharkul flats

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/City/Nagpur/HC-stays-NIT-notice-to-vacate-Gharkul-flats/articleshow/4844014.cms

TNN 1 August 2009, 05:54am IST

NAGPUR: In a major respite to flat owners of Gharkul Scheme at Nandanvan, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has granted a status quo on the notice issued by Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) for cancellation of allotment of the blocks in the scheme.

A division bench comprising justices AP Lavande and Pramod Kode also issued show cause notice to the respondent NIT asking them file a reply within three weeks. The court’s orders came while hearing a petition filed by Sharda Padole and three others. A battery of lawyers including SP Kshirsagar, PK Dhomne, SD Khati and SG Ramteke represented the petitioners before the court.

According to the petitioners, the civic body issued an advertisement offering small blocks of 300 sq ft on March 15, 1999, in the said scheme. The flats were offered to buyers having income less than Rs 54,000 per annum. However, it was not mentioned that if the income goes above the prescribed level, the allotment would be cancelled, the petitioners contended.

The petitioners furthered contended that in 1998 and 1999, they were not earning more than Rs 54,000 as salary per year. Hence, as per the terms of the scheme, NIT was supposed to arrange a loan of Rs 1 lakh for the petitioners. NIT failed to arrange for the loan and granted a no-objection certificate to the petitioners to obtain the same from outside. Then 800 such blocks were allotted to various persons, including the petitioners, for 30 years. In 2007-08, NIT issued notices to the respondents to furnish heir income certificates but they failed to do so.

Then on July 13, the civic body suddenly issued notices to 204 allottees, including the petitioners, for cancellation of allotment of their blocks for generating income beyond the prescribed limits. The notice mentioned that they had to vacate their blocks before the month end. The petitioners challenged this notice in the court, claiming it was arbitrary and against land disposal rules. Padole and others had prayed for setting aside NIT’s notice.

 

 

 

 

HC tells cops to record rallies

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/City/Kolkata-/HC-tells-cops-to-record-rallies/articleshow/4844047.cms

TNN 1 August 2009, 01:45am IST

KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court on Friday asked police to preserve video footage of events like rallies, starting from the day preceding those. The cost of such recordings will be borne by the organisers of such events, the court ruled. The order is an attempt to to retain the evidence of activities on the Maidan during events like rallies.

Delivering the judgment on a prayer by environmentalist Subhas Datta alleging that DYFI, the CPM’s youth wing, had violated the high court order during its Maidan rally on December 20, 2008, a division Bench, comprising Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice Tapan Dutt, expressed the inability to fix responsibility for violation of the court order owing to lack of sufficient evidence.

“For want of sufficient evidence, we cannot take steps against violators,” the court said. The army had submitted some photographs of vehicles illegally parked near the rally ground. But the registration numbers could not be deciphered, the judges observed.

Coming down heavily on police for their inability to enforce the court orders dated September 28, 2007, and May 8, 2008, the court observed that police could not avoid responsibility. “Police have registered cases against five persons but no steps were taken against erroneous drivers and police have no explanation about illegal parking during the rally,” the court held.

The court criticized the police’s plea that they would be more vigilant in future. There was no reason why police were not very vigilant on that day, the court observed. However, it felt that there was no bar on police reinvestigating the matter.

The court, in its earlier order, had restricted activities within a three kilometre radius of the Victoria Memorial. One of the strictures was against lighting open fires at the Maidan. The court had also forbidden the parking of vehicles in the vicinity of the monument.

DYFI, in its affidavit submitted in court, claimed that the army’s allegations were baseless as there was no violation of the court order. They referred to the Kolkata Police report, which stated that caterers and hawkers, and not DYFI supporters, had violated the court order.

Taking note of the DYFI affidavit, the court said the organisers should have reported violations by those outsiders’ to the police. “Since an undertaking had been given by the organisers, it was their duty to ensure that no one violated the court order,” the court said.

 

 

 

 

Bombay HC issues showcause notice to Silvassa BJP MP on poll code violation

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/bombay-hc-issues-showcause-notice-to-silvassa-bjp-mp-on-poll-code-violation/496733/

Express News Service Posted: Saturday , Aug 01, 2009 at 0120 hrs Surat:

After Shankersinh Vaghela took up arms against the BJP following his defeat in the recent general elections, Silvassa Congress leader and muscleman Mohan Delkar has filed a petition with the Bombay High Court against BJP Parliamentarian Natu Patel alleging that the latter had violated the Model Code of Conduct during the campaigning.

A six times, winner, Delkar, who contested on a Congress ticket from the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Silvassa constituency, was defeated by a mere 600 votes.

In his petition, Delkar said that Patel had used a photograph of Pramukh Swami Maharaj with the BJP symbol on one side of the picture, giving blessing to him. This, Delkar said, played an important role in his defeat.

The incident came to light a few weeks after the results were announced. Later, Silvassa Congress president Vikram Parmar complained to the election returning officers regarding this.

The returning officer issued a notice to Patel, but he has not given an answer till date.

A few days ago, the court issued notices to Patel and the election returning officer and demanded an explanation over the matter.

Delkar said: “We got the information earlier and worked on it for getting evidences. In the petition we have attached affidavits of a few people, who have such photographs, distributed by Natu Patel’s party workers. The tribal people are innocent and have full faith in Pramukh Swami. After seeing that photograph, they elected Natu Patel.”

Parmar said: “We learnt about such activities when we were all working out on the booths to find out where we were weak. In the meantime, one of our party workers informed that Natu Patel had played dirty politics and had taken the help of religious leaders for electoral gain. We have evidences and proof of the involvement of Natu Patel in distributing the pamphlets in some areas that falls under Silvassa constituency. We were confident about the victory of Mohan Delkar but the scene looked changed after the results.”

 

 

 

 

HC notice to Maharashtra govt on Patna boy’s killing

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/India/HC-notice-to-Maharashtra-govt-on-Patna-boys-killing/articleshow/4844136.cms

1 August 2009, 03:01am IST

PATNA: In a curious twist to the infamous case of encounter of Patna boy Rahul Raj which Mumbai police have closed for all practical purposes, the Patna high court on Friday issued notices to Maharashtra government and Mumbai police commissioner and sought their reply to a writ petition that has sought a CBI or judicial probe into the encounter.

The petition has been filed by Rahul’s father Kundan Prasad Singh, alleging that police killed his son in a ‘fake encounter’ in Mumbai on October 10, 2008. Justice A K Tripathi also directed CBI and the Union government to file a counter affidavit to the writ petition.

 

 

 

 

HC moved against Munger, Patna Sahib LS poll

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/City/Patna/HC-moved-against-Munger-Patna-Sahib-LS-poll/articleshow/4843197.cms

TNN 1 August 2009, 03:24am IST

PATNA: A single bench presided by Justice V N Sinha on Friday admitted two separate election petitions against Munger JD(U) MP Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh and Patna Sahib BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha.

The court issued notices to the two MPs. In his petition challenging election of Singh, petitioner Gopal Krishna Verma has submitted that his nomination paper was rejected. In case of Sinha, petitioner Mahesh Prasad Singh has alleged that he was not allowed by election authorities to file his nomination papers.

 

 

 

 

Christian couple wins adoption case after HC rejects airline plea

http://in.christiantoday.com/articles/christian-couple-wins-adoption-case-after-hc-rejects-airline-plea/4308.htm

By: Babu Thomas

Friday, 31 July 2009, 16:07 (IST)

A Christian couple who petitioned against Air India for rejecting benefits entitled to their child on grounds that it was an adopted daughter was rendered justice by the Madras High Court.

In their petition, RR George Christopher and his wife Kristy Chandra, charged Air India for denying legal rights to their adopted daughter on the argument that Christian law does not permit adoption.

Air India in its counter petition said Christian law does not recognise complete adoption, as non-Hindus had no law to adopt a child legally. The couple only can adopt a child as a guardianship under the Guardian and Wards Act.

But Justice K Chandru was not pleased with the argument. He noted that Sections 40 and 41 of the Juvenile Justice Act provided for adoption through the juvenile justice board.

“It shows their insensitiveness and ignorance regarding the development of law in this country,” Justice Chandru was quoted saying.

The court eventually ordered Air India to recognise the two-and-a-half-year-old Gywneth Dhanya and provide all service benefits available to the child as the staff.

The court criticised Air India whose argument it said was spurious, as it did not encourage couples that were adopting and rehabilitating children.

The judge also pointed that “the Juvenile Justice Act for the first time provides adoption’ as a means to rehabilitate and socially reintegrate a child.”

“This is the first secular law in India providing for adoption. The provisions in Sections 40 and 41 are not restricted to persons belonging to a particular religion alone,” he added.

Although the JJ Act could be used, the Christian couple went with obtaining a guardianship order and also did all necessary Christian rites for adopting the child and proving the case.

 

Copyright © 2009 Christian Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior permission.

 

 

 

 

PIL to restrain Govt from reappointing Roy as DGP withdrawn

http://www.samaylive.com/news/pil-to-restrain-govt-from-reappointing-roy-as-dgp-withdrawn/642126.html

Published by: Ravish K
Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2009 at 19:15 IST

F Prev Next L

Mumbai, Aug 1 A police inspector has withdrawn a public Interest litigation filed by him in Bombay High Court praying for a direction to restrain the Maharashtra Government from appointing former Director General of Police Anami Roy to the post after the expiry of term of DGP S S Virk on July 31. The PIL was withdrawn yesterday by Sarjerao Mahadev Shinde who prayed that Roy should not be re-appointed to the post as he was in Charge when 26/11 terror attacks happened. 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 has filed the PIL as an ordinary citizen. Thereafter he said he was withdrawing the PIL. The state government had told the court that current DGP S S Virk’s term has been extended by three months. The court then sought all original records pertaining to the extension.

    

 

 

 

BMC wants noise ban to be relaxed before Ganpati

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4843941.cms

Sukhada Tatke, TNN 1 August 2009, 01:03am IST

MUMBAI: In anticipation of Ganesh festivities later this month, the BMC will request the state to relax the blanket ban on noise pollution.
Following meetings with members of the Sarvajanik Ganesh Mahotsav Committee, civic officials, in keeping with religious sentiments, would now seek guidance from the state to ensure that Ganesh mandals get exemption from silence zone rules. A letter to that effect has been drafted and addressed to home secretary Anna Dani.

“We have had several meetings with Ganesh mandals and realised that this is important. These celebrations help bring people together. We will have to request them to seek exemption from the high court during this period,” said additional municipal commissioner M Sangle.

Acting on a PIL against noise pollution, the high court, in March, ordered the civic body to demarcate silence zones-areas within 100 m of schools, colleges, hospitals, cemeteries, fire temples and courts. The BMC, on its part, demarcated 1,177 such zones across the city.

If the silence tag from these zones is not removed, some famous Ganesh mandals such as Khetwadi, Nare Park and GSB won’t be able to celebrate the festival; immersion rituals cannot be allowed at Girgaum Chowpatty as it falls under a silence zone.

Ganesh mandal officials are hopeful of getting the permission. Noise pollution activists, however, find such a request absurd. “This is a central law. The SC order can’t be bent,” said activist Sumaira Abdulali.

 

 

 

 

‘Should deemed univ status be scrapped?’

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/India/Should-deemed-univ-status-be-scrapped/articleshow/4843195.cms

TNN 1 August 2009, 02:20am IST

NEW DELHI: The controversial run of deemed universities in the recent past has not escaped the Supreme Court’s attention. On Friday, it asked the Centre to examine the necessity of having a “deemed university” provision in the University Grants Commission Act.

“Should there at all be a provision in the UGC Act for grant of deemed university status to an educational institution? Deemed university status is granted to those institutions which exhibit academic excellence,” a Bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and M K Sharma said.

Hearing a PIL filed by advocate Viplav Sharma, the Bench said: “The deemed university status was conferred on such institutions to make them eligible for financial grant from UGC and the independence to grant degrees.”

Sharma’s counsel Sanjay Hegde said grant of deemed university status has become a industry and that there was no check on the manner in which they were functioning much to the chagrin of students and parents.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam told the Bench that the matter has also engaged serious attention of the Centre and the HRD ministry has already constituted an expert panel to go into the controversy in its entirety, including the desirability of scrapping the “deemed university” provision altogether.

A recent TOI-Times Now expose on a deemed university in Tamil Nadu demanding massive capitation fee to admit students had forced the HRD ministry to appoint a committee headed by P N Tandon to look into the irregularities in the grant of recognition to deemed universities and review the entire gamut of the issue relating to it.

The SC had earlier expressed concern over the largescale corruption in grant of deemed university status to educational institutions which even lack basic infrastructure like classrooms.

In his PIL, Sharma sought a direction for conducting common entrance examinations for different professional courses offered by various universities so as to avoid clash of entrance examination dates and consequent harassment to students. SC posted the PIL for further hearing on September 29.

 

 

 

A PIL questioning largesse shown to MLAs

http://asiantribune.com/08/01/a-pil-questioning-largesse-shown-to-mlas/

Published by editor India Aug 1, 2009

By Gopal Ethiraj, Chennai

 Chennai, 01 August, (Asiantribune.com):  The recent salary hike for Tamil Nadu MLAs is being questioned by the noted social activist and Tamil Nadu MLAs‘ ‘Traffic’ Ramaswamy. The Madras High Court today granted him permission to file a Public Interest Litigation.

 Even as the advocates boycotted the courts today, against the suggestion of Law Commission on service tax for advocates,  Traffic K Ramasamy,  the famous PIL petitioner in the State, appeared before the first bench comprising Chief Justice H L Gokhale and Mr. Justice D. Murugesan and questioned   the state government’s MLAs pay hike and constituency development fund as also the MLAs being given land near their towns to construct home through state housing board.

K. Anbazhakan, the Finance Minister, on July 21  had announced in the Assembly  a hike of Rs 5000 in the MLAs pay, (earlier salary plus allowances stood  at Rs 45,000). Some months back their car allowance was hiked to Rs 20,000, Ramasamy submitted. 

The constituency development fund was also hiked from Rs 1.5 crore to 1.7 crore.  In addition to that, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi announced that the government would allot land to MLAs for constructing house, he contended.

 When the Government is facing huge fiscal deficit, these largesse to the MLAs are ultra vires of the Constitution and fiscal burden would fall on the common tax payers, he said.

 The Petition is likely to come for hearing on Monday.

 –         Asian Tribune –

 

 

 

 

Power of Public Interest Litigation (PIL)? Ask ‘Traffic Ramaswamy’…

http://elavambedu.blogspot.com/2009/08/what-is-power-of-public-interest.html

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Chennai’s notable social worker, public interest litigant, whistle-blower, arbitrator — all put into one is Traffic K.R. Ramaswamy. When the city’s problems and administration of social rules go unwieldy, the services of such a person are need of the hour.

Traffic Ramaswamy has hit more than a century with his brow-raising, controversial, yet pointed and sharp, trend-setting Public Interest Litigation petitions in Madras High Court as well as Supreme Court. For some ‘Traffic’ might be terrific; he is a ‘do-better’ for the society, in that he is a go-getter. Heaped with bouquets and brick-bats, undaunted 76-year-old Ramaswamy goes on with his tireless social commitment. He argues his own case as ‘party in person’.
Ramaswamy has single-handedly brought many public interest law suits in the Madras High Court. In one recent case, he was attacked by his opponents’ lawyers on the steps of the courthouse. This was not the first time, in 2002, he was assaulted after he obtained a ban on the use of motorized fish carts, damaging his sight. He has also recently had his office ransacked and papers were stolen; his family has disowned him. However, helped by donations from friends, he continues his fight to make Chennai the most livable and lovable city.
‘PIL king’s first public interest litigation was in 1998 when he filed one questioning the NSC Bose road in front of the Madras High Court being kept as one way, although it was a broad road. The result, it went two way. From then on Ramaswamy went on non stop, his almost all PILs going sure success. Even when PILs were viewed critically by the High court at a point of time, and those that were publicity-oriented and wasting courts valuable time and fined, that did not deter Traffic Ramaswamy. “I went ahead, mine were justifiable,” he says. His PIL to cleanse the city of roadside hawkers, and make the pedestrian pathway free of congestion, found about 5000 hawkers getting covered shops at T. Nagar, Moore Market and elsewhere.
His PIL to ban the fish-cart vehicle (tri-wheeler motorized rickshaws) in September 2002 earned the wrath of the fish-cart drivers and he was attacked right in front of the L & O Inspector. Ramaswamy’s PIL was to find a way to end the fish-cart connected accident that was growing in the city and many two-wheeler riders became victims. When the attack was reported to the Court, he was provided with armed police guard. Since 2002 he is with an escort police.
If T.Nagar’s Usman Road and Ranganthan street, which were bursting in seams with shopping crowds, it is because Traffic’s PILs that pulled down high raise buildings (Chennai silks, Saravana Stores, Jayachandra Textiles to name a few), removed the hawkers, regulated unauthorized constructions.
In 2007, Ramaswamy’s PIL made Motor Vehicles Act section 129 enforceable with wearing helmet made compulsory throughout the country. He brought out the dormant rule to the light that motor vehicle sellers’ package should include an helmet also. This gave way to a Government Order (G.O.) that directed RTO to register a vehicle with an helmet, like insurance papers, road tax, pollution check certificates, although ‘helmet-rule’ is followed in breach today, due to political ‘go slow, go soft’ direction.
If the city’s water bodies like Porur lake is glistening with sheet of water, again it is because of his PIL, the encroached huts and colonies were cleared, and Cooun river in front of MGR university at Maduravoyal is back to its full breadth. In 2004 when advocates were boycotting courts in Tamil Nadu, his PIL in the Supreme Court, upheld his contention and 160 advocates were arrested. Again when the lawyers were on strike on Sri Lankan Tamils issue and on subsequent attack by police on them, with shamiana spread on full length of the road, blocking one-way traffic for more than 35 days, this ‘Traffic’ could not keep quite, he was out with his weapon—PIL. That’s all some lawyers went to ’kill’ him. There is a case against 10 lawyers, FIR filed and pending. His PILs after Chennai Corporation polling brought re-election at 100 booths, minimum of auto fares raised from Rs.7 to Rs.14.
By another PIL he sought to restrain the authorities from collecting road toll at 15th kilometre on NH-5 Chennai-Kolkatta highway. Pointing out that the four-lane was not constructed by L&T, Ramaswamy said toilets, rooms, pedestrian underpass, service roads and bylanes too had not been completed before the toll collection was started. The toll gate near Karanodai did not have a canopy and lacked light, he said, adding that there was no uniform fee collections too. Describing it as a scandalous activity, Ramaswamy said that instead of the original 27th kilometre toll was being collected at 15th km on the highway.
Despite all these services for Chennai, Ramaswamy recently unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections from South Chennai constituency!!!

Posted by Guna at 12:37 AM

 

 

 

 

Keep shrines off public places, SC tells govt

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/India/Keep-shrines-off-public-places-SC-tells-govt/articleshow/4844063.cms

TNN 1 August 2009, 03:39am IST

NEW DELHI: Treading a cautious path on places of worship springing up unauthorizedly in public places — including roads — the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that while existing structures may remain, the government must prevent such encroachment in the future.

While acknowledging the difficulty in demolishing existing shrines even if they caused serious traffic bottlenecks, given the sensitivity attached to religious places, a Bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and M K Sharma found nothing holy about them and stressed to solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam the need for framing guidelines to strictly prohibit religious places from occupying public land unauthorizedly in the future.

Subramaniam assured the Bench that the Centre would take up the issue with the states. The Bench asked the Centre to file an affidavit by September 29 intimating the progress made on the contentious issue.

Interestingly, the proposal for framing guidelines came on an appeal filed by the Centre in 2006, challenging a Gujarat High Court order directing the Modi government to remove all religious structures, without any discrimination, that were encroaching on public land across the state. The SC had stayed the HC directive on May 4, 2006.

When the authorities took steps pursuant to the HC order in Vadodara and started demolishing a dargah right in the middle of a road, violence and riots broke out and the Army had to stage a flag march to bring the situation under control. According to a PIL before the HC, a survey by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation threw up 1,200 temples and 260 Islamic shrines encroaching on public spaces.

 

 

 

Park rape verdict on August 17

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4843576.cms

TNN 31 July 2009, 11:49pm IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court deferred the pronouncement of verdict in the six-year-old Buddha Jayanti Park gangrape case on Friday. Four members of the President’s Bodyguards (PBG) were accused in the case.

Additional Sessions Judge S K Sarvaria, who earlier had fixed the pronouncement of verdict for Friday, said the case is adjourned to August 7.

The four accused Harpreet Singh, Satyender Singh, Kuldeep Singh and Manish Kumar of the elite PBG were booked under various provisions of IPC, dealing with gangrape, abduction and attempt to commit robbery.

The 17-year-old victim, a student of Delhi University, had gone with her boyfriend Ashish to the park near Rashtrapati Bhavan on October 6, 2003. She was allegedly raped by Harpreet and Satyender while the other two accused Kuldeep and Manish kept guard, the prosecution said.

The public prosecutor, concluding final arguments had said, the accused ravished the victim in the backyard of the presidential palace. The prosecution had examined 25 witnesses, including the victim and her boyfriend.

Ranbir Sharma, counsel for key accused Harpreet, had alleged frame-up in the case and rubbished the recovery of various articles such as the victim’s handkerchief and a doll, that too, two days after the incident.

 

 

 

 

SC begins hearing on minor mineral mining in Aravalis

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4843568.cms

TNN 31 July 2009, 11:18pm IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court, after suspending all mining operations in the ecologically sensitive Aravali Hills, on Friday began hearing on the issue relating to permissibility of mining for minor minerals and the fate of the colonies constructed in the environmentally threatened area in Faridabad district.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices S H Kapadia and Aftab Alam was told by amicus curiae Ranjit Kumar that the court in its recent judgment banned all mining activity being appalled by the degradation caused by the mine lease owners who carried out no reclamation of the mining pits.

Kumar said the process of mining for both major and minor minerals was the same and if the apex court was so convinced by the danger to ecology because of mining of major minerals, it would be futile to grant permission for mining of minor minerals. The arguments remained inconclusive and would be taken up again on October 8.

After dealing with a part of the central empowered committee (CEC) report, the apex court would now consider arguments of all parties on the issue relating to the recommendations of the high-powered-court-appointed panel on Aravali Hills.

CEC had recommended demolition of encroached constructions in Kant Enclave, Lake Wood View and many owned by Karmyogi Shelter Pvt Ltd. The CEC had said that regularising these buildings would fatally damage the eco-fragile Aravali Hills area in Faridabad district.

 

 

 

 

HC orders notice to Nitte University

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4843777.cms

TNN 1 August 2009, 07:07am IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka high court on Friday ordered issuance of notice to Nitte University, which has been conferred with a deemed university status recently, the Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA) and the state government on two sets of petitions regarding allotment of MBBS seats in K S Hegde Medical Academy.

While in one of the petition, 12 students have challenged the allotment made by KEA in selecting 24 students for admission under government quota. They claim that they were selected on the basis of All India Entrance Test results and the state government has no power to direct a deemed university to admit students.

“In fact, the college was not notified by KEA for allotment of seats in their list pertaining to counselling,” counsel for petitioners told the court. However, Deepika, a student who was refused admission by Nitte University has also filed a petition challenging the refusal. She claimed that KEA allotted a seat for her under government quota and she is entitled for a seat.

Advocate General Ashok Haranahalli told the Bench that the government issued an NoC in favour of Nitte University after they voluntarily offered to surrender 25% of the intake in both UG and PG courses to the government as part of their social obligation.

The next hearing of the case is fixed for August 10.

 

 

 

 

Ex CJI Disagrees With SC Refusing To Intervene In Statue Row

   http://www.indiajournal.com/pages/event.php?id=7857

   Date Submitted: Thu Jul 30, 2009

NEW DELHI – Former Chief Justice of India J S Verma has disagreed with the apex court’s view declining to intervene into the Uttar Pradesh cabinet decision on installing statues including that of state Chief Minister Mayawati in the state.

“If judiciary can go into the decision of cabinet pertaining to article 356 (in S R Bommai case) and judicial review is available to check the ultra vires of constitutional amendment, then I fail to understand why it cannot go into the statue issue,” he said.

He was speaking at a convention on ‘City Development:

Sustainability and Legal Interface’ organized by CII and Bar Association of India.

Justice Verma referred to the order of apex court on July 10 expressing its inability to do anything as the installation of statues (of elephant and UP CM Mayawati) had the mandate of the (state) cabinet to say that the judiciary can very well review a cabinet decision.

Justice Verma also took the political leaders to task for believing that they can do whatever they wish to during their tenure in public offices.

“Policy adopted by various people to do whatever you can while in the office like installing statute in public places.

…, huge stretch of land is being cleared for the sake of installing statute of elephants, if it is of person it can be said okay,” he said.

 

 

 

 

MRTP Commission getting more complains then CCI

http://www.taxguru.in/government-policy/mrtp-commission-getting-more-complains-then-cci.html

Jul 31, 2009

Even after three months of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) coming into force, its predecessor, the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) is continuing to accept fresh cases on a daily basis.  Complainants are continuing to show a preference for MRTPC to the CCI, which is a costlier option for the common man and follows a detailed process of accepting complaints.  In two months, MRTPC may stop accepting new complaints, but will adjudicate on all petitions received till then, senior government officials told. MRTPC was supposed to stop accepting fresh complaints once the CCI is operationalised, but has not turned a blind eye to new complaints.

This has been possible as the government has not notified a provision in the Competition Act which will outrightly restrict MRTPC from registering new cases coming before it, a government official said on the condition of anonymity.  The ministry of corporate affairs, which is the administrative ministry for the functioning of both the CCI and MRTPC, is likely to restrict the latter from taking fresh matters in a couple of months, the official added. Till then, citizens willing to register their complaints for anti-competitive activities in companies can approach any of these two forums, he said.

As the procedural formalities in CCI are more detailed and involves a cost for filing a complaint, the influx of fresh complaints in MRTPC is continuing. According to the official, the MRTPC is adding over 30 cases every month over its overall pendency of over 2,000 cases. The number of cases in CCI, on the other hand, has been quite low with only two cases being taken up for further investigations till date.

CCI charges Rs 50,000 as a fee while accepting a petition. Experts say this is particularly because CCI is a platform where big corporate houses can file complaints against the behaviour of their rivals. Also, it is not prudent to over burden the new regulator with frivolous cases.

The lack of staff and resources at MRTPC is affecting its investigation and adjudication in many cases that are already pending before it. While the MRTPC is investigating many cases of alleged anti-competitive practices in sectors like aviation, telecom and cement, what the forum lacks is the regulatory teeth to impose a heavy fine. While the functional ambit of the CCI is much wider than that of the MRTPC, they share common area of operation in matters of monopolistic activities indulged into by companies.

India’s anti-trust body CCI will look into all competition related aspects affecting mergers, market share and presence of dominant entities and regulation of firms. The government has not yet empowered CCI to take up cases of merger, and is by far looking into cases against companies indulging in anti-competitive practices and abusing their dominance in the market.

 

 

 

 

NHRC seeks report from Har govt over lynching incident

http://ptinews.com/news/205805_NHRC-seeks-report-from-Har-govt-over-lynching-incident

STAFF WRITER 19:56 HRS IST

New Delhi, Jul 31 (PTI)Taking suo motu cognisance of two incidents in Haryana involving diktats of caste panchayats, including lynching of a youth for marrying in same sub-caste, the NHRC has issued a notice to the state government seeking a “factual report” within four weeks on the events.

Villagers allegedly lynched Ved Pal Mor, who had married a girl belonging to a sub-caste after eloping with her, at Singhwal village of Jind district of Haryana on July 22, the National Human Rights Commission noted.

Mor, who was a Matour village of Kaithal District, had gone to Singhwal village with police to take custody of his wife after obtaining a court order when he was allegedly beaten to death.

Khap (community) panchayat of the village allegedly had disapproved of Mor’s marriage, the rights body noted quoting media reports.

 

 

 

 

Bill in LS for setting up of National Green Tribunal

http://www.ptinews.com/news/205316_Bill-in-LS-for-for-setting-up-of-National-Green-Tribunal

STAFF WRITER 17:40 HRS IST

New Delhi, July 31 (PTI) A bill seeking to provide for setting up of a tribunal with powers of a civil court for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection, and conservation of forests and natural resources, was today introduced in the Lok Sabha.

The National Green Tribunal Bill, 2009,introduced by Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh, aims at establishing a National Green Tribunal which will also ensure enforcement of any legal right relating to environment.

The bill would also provide for relief and compensation to persons for environmental damage, Ramesh said.

The Tribunal shall consist of a full-time chairperson, full-time judicial members as well as a number of experts.

It shall have jurisdiction over all civil cases relating to environment and have powers to order relief and compensation to victims of pollution and other environmental damage, including accidents occurring while handling hazardous substances.

 

 

 

Lathi-charge in Amethi: NCW member accuses DM of misrepresenting facts

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/City/Lucknow/Lathi-charge-in-Amethi-NCW-member-accuses-DM-of-misrepresenting-facts/articleshow/4843860.cms

TNN 1 August 2009, 12:30am IST

LUCKNOW: Lathi-charge in Rahul Gandhi’s constituency has National Commission for Women up in arms. Member of the body, Neena Konwar made a visit to Amethi on Thursday to probe the incident and claimed that the brutal act by the Sultanpur police on July 13 led to grievous injuries to over a dozen women. Konwar also accused the district magistrate, Sultanpur, Santosh Kumar Shrivastava of sweeping the episode under the carpet and misrepresenting the facts to the government.

Talking to the media on Friday, Konwar said that the Commission had sought a report over the alleged incident from the DM and had, in response, received a written reply. Shrivastava categorically dismissed the allegations and wrote that no atrocities were committed against women protesters on the day… neither they were harassed nor beaten up as the protesters had charged, she told the media

“However going by the reports and taking cognizance of the electronic media’s clipping, we decided to investigate the matter, said Konwar, who was appointed to the one-member committee set up for the purpose.

Konwar met the aggrieved women and listened to their versions. She even claims to have seen the doctors’ reports certifying that the women were subjected to a lathi-charge and had received multiple injuries on their body, later treated by them. She claims to have examined them personally to confirm the reports. “It is extremely sad that the administration meted out such harsh treatment to females in Amethi and then lied about it, she told the reporters. She would be sending a report about the incident in a week’s time and forward it to the Centre and the state both, she said.

Konwar, who also happens to be the wife of governor of Bihar, also complained of having a taste of official non-cooperation from UP government. Though she had intimated the government in advance, she was neither given any vehicle to visit Amethi nor accommodation. There was no one to receive her at the airport and she was not allowed to use the VVIP guest house for the purpose of holding a press conference, she charged.

However, Konwar, had no answer where scribes questioned the motive behind the commission’s decision to zero in on Amethi. Visibly uncomfortable, she promptly denied any political linkage to the visit not before going a little beyond her mandate and slamming the state government “for not supplying adequate power to Rahul’s constituency”.

 

 

 

Iskcon tussle: Judges receive another mysterious letter

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4843801.cms

TNN 1 August 2009, 12:15am IST

BANGALORE: The ongoing tussle regarding the identity of Iskcon took an interesting turn on Friday with the two officiating judges receiving one more letter.

The letter was shown to advocates representing both the parties. However, the contents were not disclosed and kept strictly confidential. The division Bench headed by Justice K L Manjunath adjourned to next Friday, hearing of the appeal filed by Iskcon, Mumbai, challenging the April 17 verdict of a city civil court that Iskcon, Bangalore, is a separate entity and that Radhakrishna temple in West of Chord Road belongs to it.

Iskcon, Mumbai, has filed another affidavit seeking a probe by a premier investigation agency like the CBI into the happenings of the last few weeks, including a mysterious courier.

The appellant has argued that there is only one Iskcon and that the Bangalore unit is a branch.

Mysore violence: magistrate told to reply

A division Bench has directed the executive magistrate of Mysore to file a counter affidavit by Monday to allegations made in a habeas corpus petition filed by residents of the city.

“How can he send them to judicial custody for 20-odd days without any authority?” the Bench asked the government advocate. Noor Jaan and others have filed a petition alleging that despite the court granting bail, 113 of the 160-odd accused of communal violence in Mysore on July 2 are yet to be released by the authorities. The judicial custody, which was from July 10 to 24, was extended to August 6.

Public prosecutors to be appointed

The government on Friday told the court that public prosecutors and additional prosecutors will be appointed on a priority basis once the district judges select advocates with `outstanding record from the local pool’.

Advocate general Ashok Haranahalli filed a memo to this effect and said that assistant public prosecutors will be appointed on a temporary basis to augment the situation.

Sanjeev Angadi, counsel for KPSC, told the court that the commission had sent a selection list of 411 SDAs and 275 FDAs to the government for further action, as against the vacancy of 711 SDAs and 326 FDAs.

The court had on Thursday come down heavily on the government for the increasing number of cases pending due to lack of prosecutors.

14-year battle over BMS Trust ends

A 14-year-old legal battle with regard to the BMS Trust ended on Friday when a city court ruled in favour of Ragini Narayan, declaring her the rightful successor of late B S Narayan, the founder trustee of B M Sreenivasaiah Trust.

The trust runs five educational institutions including an engineering college, a women’s college and a law college. City civil judge Ramachandra Huddar ruled that takeover of the trust by the government is `bad in law’ and the alleged will executed in favour of the government is not proved.

Ragini, wife of B S Narayan, had challenged the November 7, 1995 takeover claiming that she was the successor as donor trustee. Narayan died on Ausgut 23, 1995. The high court has appointed former judge R Gururajan to look after the day-to-day affairs of the trust till resolution of the dispute.

 

 

 

 

Lorry drivers allege police harassment, want amendment repealed

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4843787.cms

TNN 1 August 2009, 07:04am IST

BANGALORE: The Federation of Karnataka State Lorry Owner’s and Agents’ Association on Friday demanded that the amendment to Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) which seeks to ban transport sector strikes be repealed.

They emphasized that a permit system for sand mining and transporting should be introduced in order to stop harassement by police. “We have had cases when the police demanded a fine of Rs 1 lakh from sand lorries in Kolar, Mandya, Ramanagaram and Chamrajnagar districts. This is when the lorries were empty. There should be an end to this,” said association president G R Shanmugappa. He also demanded an effective insurance policy for lorry drivers, like in Andhra Pradesh. Drivers training centres should be set up in at least five districts, he added.

The association condemned the local administration for stopping quarries in Bidadi region, including at Kenchanakoppe and Kallugopanahalli. “Every day, tonnes of sand and jelly stones come in from neighbouring states. This creates a huge loss for crusher owners and other labourers,” he said.

 

 

 

 

HC upholds life term in human sacrifice case

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4843824.cms

TNN 1 August 2009, 12:19am IST

CHENNAI: The life imprisonment imposed on an alleged sorcerer and his devotee’, who were convicted on charges of sacrificing a six-and-half-year-old boy in Cuddalore district in 2006, has been confirmed by the Madras high court.

While expressing concern at the heinous crime, a division bench comprising Justice M Chockalingam and Justice CS Karnan, however, did not agree with the prosecution’s plea for death sentence to the devotee, Krishnaraj. “The court is of the opinion that it is not a fit case where capital punishment or death sentence could be awarded,” the bench said.

Pointing out that he had murdered the boy at the instigation of Kathiresan Samiyar, the judges said that while imposing the capital punishment the court must see if the survival of the accused would be a menace to the society. “In the instant case, there is no material placed before the court to show that he actually involved in any other crime in the past. There is no bad antecedents,” the bench said.

According to the Nellikuppam police, as per the advice of the Samiyar, Krishnaraj had “sacrificed” Sathishkumar, who was the first child of one Sakthivel. Krishnaraj strangled the boy after the self-styled godman told him that he should sacrifice the eldest son of a family aged between six and 10.

The Fast Track Court-II at Cuddalore found the Samiyar and Krishnaraj guilty of murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment, besides a total fine of Rs 2.2 lakh. The state appeal sought capital punishment for Krishnaraj.

The bench said Krishnaraj had committed a heinous crime of murdering a boy by way of human sacrifice. Though the prosecution had proved the case beyond all reasonable doubt and the trial court was perfectly right in its order, the sentence could not be enhanced as Krishnaraj was not a habitual offender.

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