LEGAL NEWS 13-15/08/2009

SC to dispose of PIL on Helpline for senior citizens


New Delhi, Aug 13 (PTI) The Supreme Court today posted for final disposal a PIL seeking among other things a special grievance redressal cell to address the problems of senior citizens in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

According to the petition, there was an urgent need to set up “round-the-clock helplines which should act as a one-stop counter” for attending the various problems encountered by senior citizens.

Citing instances, the petition filed by Brig (Retd) J S Bawa through counsel Shomona Khanna complained that senior citizens in the country in a number of cases were left to fend for themselves with meagre income or left to starvation since their own children in many cases have disowned them.

Similarly, the land or properties belonging to aged persons in several cases were being grabbed by vested interest and the authorities were adopting a callous approach even after complaints.





Flu attack: PIL filed against Delhi govt for inadequate measures–PIL-filed-against-Delhi-govt-for-inadequate-measures/500898/

Express News Service Posted: Wednesday, Aug 12, 2009 at 0050 hrs New Delhi:

A Delhi resident filed a public interest litigation (PIL) on Tuesday seeking judicial intervention for directing the government to provide adequate medical assistance against the H1N1 virus in the Capital.

Filing a petition through counsel Sugriv Dubey, Anjana Jain said, “The city hospitals operating under the respondents (the Centre and the NCT government) do not have sufficient number of physicians and nurses, besides laboratory technicians.”

The disease is spreading due to a lack of effective medicines and equipment, the petitioner contended.

“Even the medical staff is not being given protective masks — there is an acute shortage in Delhi hospitals,” the petitioner added.

Jain alleged that the government has failed to take enough measures at the IGI Airport or issue guidelines to schools to tackle the spread of the infection.





MPP to file PIL against curfew

Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, August 12 2009: The Manipur People’s Party (MPP) President, Dr Nimaichand Luwang said his party will file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Gauhati High Court against the SPF government for imposing indiscreet curfew and booking democratic protestors under NSA.

Addressing reporters today at the MPP office here, Dr Nimaichand said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and AICC President Sonia Gandhi have been urged to dismiss irresponsible Chief Minister O Ibobi for disgracing democracy by giving misleading statement in the Assembly.

He said O Ibobi has created history for refusing to step down from his post.

“We are ashamed of Ibobi’s conduct,” Dr Nimaichand said.

He said, since Ibobi has no morality, the matter of his ouster will solely rest with the Congress MLAs and its partners’ MLAs in the government.

The opposition MLAs are helpless.

The AICC president as well as the MPCC president can dismiss him.

Dr Nimaichand further said there has been no greater offence than misleading the House.

He has to bear the responsibility.

He also said a public dialogue on the course of the next steps against fake encounter incidents and casting the public upheaval in the wrong light is necessary.

Speaking on the occasion, the newly re-appointed Spokesperson of MPP, RK Anand said it is a felony on the part of the government for the occurrence of fake encounter at crowded places in the heart of Imphal.

The commandos are violating the laws due to the inability of the government to control them.

He also pointed out that the government is instigating unwarranted action against those people who cried the misdeeds of the government.

He lamented that the government arrests people who protest the offenses of the government and booked them under NSA.

He wondered what will happen if the trend continues.

Condemning the action of the government, RK Anand also demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Apunba Lup leaders who were booked under NSA.

It is the duty of the government to redress the grievances of the people through dialogue, RK Anand pointed out.

He said it is unwarranted to impose curfew to respond to the public’s protests.

Stating that curfew inconveniences the people, especially those who live hand to mouth, the MPP Spokesman urged that a solution should be brought through talks.

He said all the MLAs are taking oath to safeguard the legal provisions under the Constitution.

He further said that law cannot be violated to counter the militants.

If laws are infringed, the people are bound to kill among themselves.

RK Anand also wondered in whose hand the laws are.

All the fake encounter stories are similar.

It would be right to check and verify how many unauthorised weapons are with the Police Commandos.

There have been innumerable incidents wherein a man is arrested from his house with ‘khudei’ and later found killed in fake encounter with full dress, he observed.

He also wonders where the dos and dons of the guidelines laid sown by the Supreme Court have gone.

Saying that the present issue cannot be solved alone by the Chief Minister, RK Anand also suggests that the Assembly must be dissolved.





PIL challenges Andhra govt’s decision to release lifers

TNN 13 August 2009, 03:47am IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to stay the Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to identify 1,000-odd prisoners, some of them facing life term for heinous offences, for their early release.

A PIL filed by an advocate alleged that the Y S R Reddy government has taken a decision to release prisoners flouting all rules and appeared ready to release naxalites and terrorists who have been sentenced to life imprisonment on being convicted for waging war against the state.

Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate M N Krishnamani said the SC had earlier directed the state government to prepare the list of prisoners in consultation with the Prison Board, which would take into account the antecedents of each prisoner before deciding whether he was entitled for release on commutation of sentence.

However, the government appeared to be in a hurry and its recent order conveyed that the exercise was being done at the behest of Left parties to release naxalites.

The Reddy government through senior advocate Harish Salve clarified that the government order was merely an exercise to prepare the list of prisoners who could be released. He assured that no prisoner was going to be released in a hurry until the exercise in consultation with the Prison Board was complete.

After getting a clarification on the intent behind the recent government order, a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan declined to pass any interim order. It posted the PIL for hearing on August 24.

The state had issued an order on July 24 declaring its intention to release prisoners who have been convicted by court for life on August 15 and the chief minister had told media that about 1,000 prisoners undergoing life sentence could benefit from the decision, petitioner G Sateesh alleged.

He said the order, which was issued on the representation of the political parties and family members of the life convicts, proposes to release women life convicts who have undergone actual sentence of five years and total sentence of seven years, decrepit prisoners, all life convicts aged more than 65 years who have undergone actual sentence of 5 years and total sentence of 7 years including remission, all life convicts who have undergone actual sentence of 7 years and total sentence of 10 years.





Jodhpur lawyers protest demand for HC Bench in Udaipur

TNN 15 August 2009, 12:59am IST

JODHPUR: The lawyers community here is up in the arms against the demand of their counterparts in Udaipur to set up a Bench of the Rajasthan High Court there. They have decided to go on strike leading to suspension of all activities at the court from Monday till the Udaipur demand is negated by the Centre and the state government.

There are approximately 5,000 lawyers practising in the main Bench of the Rajasthan High Court at Jodhpur.

The lawyers, under the joint banner of Rajasthan High Court Advocates’ Association and Rajasthan High Court Lawyers’ Association, took out a massive silent march on Thursday and formed a huge human chain at Nai Sarak crossing here. They also boycotted the court and abstained from work.

On Friday, the agitating lawyers barged into the judicial section of the court, where the work of the listing of the cases of Udaipur was in progress, and forced the staff there to stop work. Rathor alleged that the listing was being done in pursuance of the Udaipur lawyers’ demand.

Sandeep Shah and Nathu Singh Rathor, general secretaries of the associations, claimed that at the time of formation of state of Rajasthan, it was decided that the secretariat would go to Jaipur, education department to Bikaner, revenue board to Ajmer and the judicial capital to Jodhpur.

“It was in pursuance of this that the High Court of State of Rajasthan was established at Jodhpur. Subsequently, in an unjustified manner, a Bench was formed at Jaipur in 1977, against which, the lawyers in Jodhpur observe strike on the last working day of each month for the last 33 years,” Shah said.

They alleged that the demand for the formation of an HC Bench at Udaipur is unjustified and a “calculated move to undermine the sanctity of its principal seat” at Jodhpur. “If such a demand is acceded to than each divisional headquarters, like Ajmer, Kota, Bikaner, will also demand a Bench which by itself is not at all feasible and will lead to a chaotic situation,” Shah pointed out.

Rathor said that a committee, Rajasthan High Court Mukhya Peeth Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, has been constituted to pursue the protests which will be jointly headed by association presidents Ranjit Joshi and Anand Purohit. Under its banner, the lawyers will begin a sit-in outside the HC main gate. Joshi warned that it may be turned into a hunger strike later, if required.





HC poser on swine flu

TNN 15 August 2009, 03:27am IST

NAGPUR: The Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench on Monday took serious cognizance of deadly swine flu epidemic sweeping across India.
The court asked both Central and state governments to take effective measures to control the spread of H1N1 virus that has taken lives of 22 persons in the country and over one thousand worldwide.

A division bench comprising justices Dilip Sinha and Prasanna Varale issued notices to Union secretary of health and family welfare in Delhi, principal secretary of state health ministry, and director of medical education and drugs in Mumbai, NMC and GMC Nagpur dean.

The Union of India was not a party in the original petition, but the court asked petitioner to add it as a respondent. The court’s direction came while hearing a plea filed by mother of two school-going kids demanding registration of criminal offence against government officials concerned for their alleged negligence that resulted into several deaths in the country.

Petitioner Kirti Nipankar, who is also a lawyer, also demanded setting up of H1N1testing centres in prominent cities of Vidarbha like Nagpur, Amravati, Chandrapur, Gondia and Yavatmal as large population resides in the area. She has attached TOI reports to stress her claims.

Citing guidelines announced by the Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to tackle the deadly virus after the first death was reported in Pune, the court asked both governments as to when they are going to act on those guidelines.

The bench asked the Centre whether it had made any specific plans for Maharashtra to tackle the disease and told the state to cooperate with the Union government in its efforts.

The judges directed the Union secretary to file an affidavit on all these aspects within two weeks. Earlier, the court told Maharashtra’s chief secretary to file an affidavit in same period on arrangements made by the government to fight the epidemic, whether there is sufficient stock of required medicines and masks, and whether adequate number of medicos and hospital beds were available.

According to Nipankar who argued the case in person, swine flu had taken form of an epidemic and it was responsibility of the government and medical officers to take immediate steps to stop it from spreading. She prayed for screening facilities at public places like railway and bus stations, to keep the city clean, and to quarantine the people testing positive for H1N1 virus.

She also called on the need to take steps like free distribution of masks, checkup facilities, setting up of local testing centres and easy availability of the medicines for all patients.

Nipankar pointed out that many Vidarbha citizens residing in Pune were coming back which may spread the disease here. She stressed on urgent need to set up protection mechanisms.




HC directs education dept to consider woman’s petition



Madurai, Aug 14 (PTI) Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has directed the district education authorities to consider a woman’s petition seeking dismissal of a teacher who allegedly had an illicit relationship with her husband.

In her petition, she alleged her husband, also a teacher, had an affair with the woman teacher and he had even recorded their relationship in a CD, which was in her possession.

“She was unfit to be a teacher. Such a teacher is a disgrace to the teaching community and capable of ruining the student community also,” the woman, who has also sought a divorce said.

The petitioner said she had sent a representation to the school management and the education department officials requesting them to take action against the woman teacher. The school management had not initiated any action, forcing her to approach the court, she said.






HC gives green signal to Jaitapur nuclear power project


Mumbai, Aug 14 (PTI) The Bombay High Court has dismissed a PIL against upcoming nuclear power plant near Jaitapur in the coastal district of Ratnagiri, saying that a power project stands on a higher footing than other projects requiring land.

The High Court had earlier asked the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to maitain status quo, however, a division bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and Amjed Sayed yesterday lifted the stay to land acquisition.

Petitioner Dr Bhikaji Waghdhare and others, hailing from villages in the surrounding area, had opposed the plant, saying that ecology of the coastal area would be at risk.

But the High Court in the order said that the Supreme Court had upheld land acquisition for variety of projects, such as sewage treatment plant, public housing, IT Park, etc.





HC grants bail to Pednekars in the maid torture case

TNN 15 August 2009, 02:25am IST

PANAJI: The Pednekar duo, civil engineer Audumber Pednekar and his wife Minaxi, were granted bail by the high court of Bombay at Goa on Friday in the case of the alleged torture of their minor maid. Audumber was asked to deposit Rs 15,000 with the investigating officer at the Porvorim police station for grant of the bail, while his wife Minaxi was granted anticipatory bail.

The case had shocked Goa and even rocked the state’s legislative assembly after photographs showing the torture wounds on the victim’s back, thighs were published in the TOI edition of July 27. A single bench of Justice N A Britto pronounced the judgement on Friday morning after hearing petitions filed by the husband-wife duo challenging the Children’s Court order of denying them bail.

The 13-year-old girl had narrated to the police that Audumber, Meenaxi and her sister Tina had brutally assaulted her with cable wires and burnt her skin with hot steel spoons. As per the victim’s statement, the torture continued for a period of six months at Audumber’s residence where the minor was employed as domestic help.

After the incident came to light, on August 1 the Children’s Court had cancelled the bail granted to Audumber and had also rejected the separate anticipatory bail application of Minaxi. Both were directed to surrender to Porvorim police. But the accused did not report to Porvorim police, who then declared the duo as absconding.

The police have booked Audumber and Minaxi under Section 324 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code and Sections 7 (c), 8 (2) and (9) of Goa Children’s Act. They are also charged under Section 3 (1) (xi) of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989 as the child belongs to the scheduled tribe community.

Arguing on the matter on Thursday, advocate Arun Bras D’Sa, appearing for the Pednekars, argued that the police have already recorded a detailed statement of the minor girl. Thereafter, no such cogent and overwhelming circumstance had arisen for cancellation of the bail granted earlier to Audumber, he said.

At this point, special public prosecutor Carlos Ferriera had pointed out that the crime is a heinous one and involves a minor victim. He had also brought to the notice of the court that the police did not get sufficient time to complete investigations in the matter and therefore require custody of the accused.





Bar assn against quota in HC for junior judges

A Subramani, TNN 15 August 2009, 02:25am IST

CHENNAI: The higher judiciary’s proposal to reserve 50% of judge vacancies in high courts for subordinate judicial officers has triggered unrest among senior advocates.

At present, the vacancies are filled with eligble lawyers and senior district judges in the ratio of 2:1. On the agenda of the two-day all-India chief justices’ conference in New Delhi is a plea to modify this ratio to 1:1.

After an extraordinary general body meeting on Friday, the Madras Bar Association (MBA) unanimously decided to request the Centre and the Supreme Court to give up any ratio’ for the elevation of subordinate judicial officers to high courts.

MBA president and senior advocate R Krishnamoorthy said it was alarming news and that the move had to be nipped in the bud. The former president of the Madras High Court Advocates Association, R Gandhi, said a similar attempt had been foiled in 1927.

Senior advocate and former MBA president TV Ramanujun said subordinate judicial officers could not treat a high court position as an avenue of promotion.

Advocate NGR Prasad said there should not be any quota at all if there were no competent candidates in the subordinate judiciary. Senior counsel R Shanmugasundaram felt the MBA must mobilise national opinion against the agenda. Satish Parasaran said advocates should not recognise the ratio, be it 2:1 or 1:1, lest it was accorded constitutional sanctity.

In its resolution, the MBA said lawyer-turned-judges had experience in different types of litigation involving writ, intellectual property, patent law and taxation issues. “Any ratio in the appointment of High Court judges would be one not sanctioned by the Constitution, and even the present practice (2:1 ratio) has to be given up.”

Tamil Nadu Advocates Association (TNAA) president S Prabakaran sent a representation to Chief Justice of India, justice KG Balakrishnan, urging him to scrap the move.




HC rejects Jet’s plea over Indland Air Travel Tax

14 Aug 2009, 1814 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has rejected a petition by Jet Airways challenging a penalty of close to Rs 44 lakhs imposed on the airline by the government for a delay in submission of Indland Air Travel Tax (IATT) collected from passengers.

A division bench comprising Justice A K Sikri and Justice Valmiki J Mehta dismissed Jet’s submission that IATT collected from passengers in January, 2002 was not deposited on time due to some financial difficulties.

“We do not have any discretion to waive it,” the bench said.

The court also rejected the carrier’s submission that the officials imposed the penalty of Rs 43.50 lakh wrongfully saying, IATT rules do not have such provisions.

Jet Airways had challenged imposition of a little more than Rs 3.33 lakh as interest and Rs 43.50 lakh as penalty by the Ministry of Finance over late payment of IATT collected from its passengers for the month of January 2002.

Jet Airways had collected Rs 26.70 crore as IATT for the said period. However, it deposited only Rs 24.53 crore in the government’s account within the stipulated period of 15 days, mentioned in the Finance Act.

As per the sectoral regulations, a carrier is required to collect 15 per cent of the fair paid by the passenger as IATT and deposit it in the government exchequer within 15 days.






Chief Justice’s ‘ration card’ is fake, say Mumbai cops

Swati Deshpande, TNN 15 August 2009, 01:07am IST

MUMBAI: The ration card “issued” in the name of `Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar’ on a Dadar address was totally fake and not issued by an authorised rationing officer, states a report submitted by the Mumbai police to the Bombay high court. Senior IPS officer K L Prasad submitted the report on Friday based on investigations done by the Shivaji Park police station into the sting operation executed by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) to get a ration card in the Chief Justice’s name.

The MNS had filed a petition challenging the use of ration cards as proof of residence and identity by the Election Commission for the forthcoming state elections. The matter is pending in the high court with the EC looking into the issue. The MNS, however, had produced the CJ’s `ration card’ and the court had ordered an inquiry into it.

According to the report, the rationing officer who is supposed to have visited the CJ’s residence is not even an officer at the Dadar office. The Joglekar building mentioned as CJ’s address exists, but has only 10 flats and none numbered 55 as the card stated. Significantly, the report said that the ration card number on CJ’s card corresponded with that of Mira Road resident.

Government pleader D Nalawade submitted the affidavit of the deputy secretary food and civil supplies stating that the card was “totally false” and an FIR has been lodged against unknown persons for fabrication. The court will hear the matter after two weeks now.





New Act to protect rights of fishermen is likely soon

Ashley D’Mello, TNN 15 August 2009, 01:11am IST

MUMBAI: The central government plans to frame an Act to protect the rights of fishing communities across the country on the lines of the Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, notified in December 2007.

Stating this, Jairam Ramesh, Central minister for Environment and Forests, said the discussions being held seek an Act which will recognise and protect the livelihood and housing of fishing communities. A draft bill will be ready shortly, he said.

Ramesh was speaking at a consultation on the CRZ regulations being conducted by his ministry. Fishing communities present at the meeting welcomed the move, saying there was a dire need to protect the several million fishermen and their families along the country’s vast coastline. Development activities and the rampant pollution were rendering their fishing grounds unproductive, they said. The meeting saw several NGOs and fishermen ccooperatives point out that the traditional koliwadas they lived in were in a state of neglect. Environment activist Debi Goenka bemoaned that while the CRZ rules were in force, no action was taken against the violators. “No punishment has been drafted into the notification,” he said.

Rambhau Patil and Ramesh Dhuri, representing fishermen’s organisations, pointed out that projects continue to come up along the states coastline, but there is no proper assessment of the violations and fishermen who are displaced.




Lawyer, aide held for surety fraud

Vijay V Singh , TNN 15 August 2009, 01:15am IST

MUMBAI: An advocate and her aide have been arrested for faking identity to stand surety in court in lieu of money.
Sadhana Varsine and her associate, Bandu Korde, were exposed when the latter stood surety in two different cases within a few days before the same magistrate. The court asked the Andheri police to investigate the matter.

Korde stood surety before the Andheri magistrate last month in a cheating case, when the court noticed that he had done the same in another case registered at Sahar police station a few days ago. The magistrate asked court staff to verify the surety-related documents of both the cases and learnt that Korde had given different names and submitted forged documents. Advocate Varsine was representing the accused in both cases.

The court first asked Andheri police station to register a case against Korde. Sub inspector Sanjay Pawar said, “He told us that he had come to the Andheri court for personal work when he overheard a few people discuss that they were in urgent need of someone to stand surety. They offered Korde money and he agreed.”

Korde told the officers that he was persuaded to do so by two persons known to Varsine. Investigators, after verifying what they learnt from him, arrested Varsine on August 11. Both Varsine and Korde have been remanded in judicial custody. Pointing out that it was Varsine’s responsibility to verify surety-related documents before producing them in court, police officers said that they arrested her only after ascertaining her involvement in the case. Cops are now on the look out for two more accused, who forged surety documents.

A resident of Nalasopara, Korde is unemployed. He used to charge Rs 3,000 for every case in which he stood surety.






DF to appeal against dropping of MCOCA

S Balakrishnan, TNN 15 August 2009, 01:29am IST

MUMBAI: The DF government will file an appeal in the Bombay high court next week against the order of a special court that MCOCA cannot be applied against sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Purohit and other accused in the blasts at Malegaon and other places.

Minister of state for home (urban) Arif Naseem Khan on Friday said a panel of four lawyers, Harish Salve, Rohini Salian, Ashutosh Kumbhakoni and Amit Desai, will appear for the state. He said the special court had earlier said there was a prima facie case.

Khan added that the ATS was on the lookout for three more persons, who could throw light on the plots for the blasts at Malegaon, Nanded, Parbhani and other places. “ATS teams had raided several places in MP, Karnataka and HP, but could not nab the accused. The BJP governments in these states are sheltering them,” Khan said.

Salian said only HC could exercise the power to quash MCOCA proceedings.






Duped by kin, she will get Rs 9L back

TNN 14 August 2009, 11:47pm IST

NEW DELHI: Defeated by age, 61-year-old Madhu Bala Guptrup had no option but to rely on her relatives to take care of her. Reality dawned on the single lady and her hopes were shattered when she realized her cousins had duped her.

In a major relief, Guptrup’s long battle to get justice has finally ended with a trial court asking her two accused cousins to refund Rs 9 lakh withdrawn fraudulently from two joint accounts at a post office.

“Unfortunately, we do not have a place in our security laws for senior citizens in our country. The court cannot be a mute spectator till the legislators decide to act. Senior citizens cannot be allowed to be exploited at the fag end of their life by their own near and dear ones,” Additional District Judge Kamini Lau said.

Guptrup had filed a petition against her cousins Satyender Nath Singhal, Shail Kumari and the post master, alleging that Rs 9 lakh, deposited by her in two joint accounts with them, had been withdrawn and misappropriated in 2007. “The plaintiff an old, single and illiterate lady who is totally dependent upon her first cousins, each of whom is accusing the other of financially exploiting the plaintiff on pretext of taking care of her interest by claiming that she is unable to take care of herself has been a person of weak and unsound mind,” the court said.

Unaware of her money having been withdrawn from the joint accounts, Guptrup sought help under the RTI Act to seek details of her accounts. Singhal and Kumari, who got the accounts closed without intimating their senior cousin and co-depositor Guptrup, took the plea that they could withdraw the money without her consent as per the terms and conditions of the accounts.

“Despite the fact that not a single penny was deposited by the defendants (cousins) in the said accounts, the said amount was prematurely withdrawn after statutory deductions by prematurely closing the accounts,” the court said.

It also directed the district magistrate, Nainital, to ask its welfare officer to ensure Guptrup was not subjected to any financial exploitation by her relatives with whom she was staying there.






Batla case: Medals for cops

TNN 14 August 2009, 11:52pm IST

NEW DELHI: Four officers of special cell who took part in Batla House encounter are among 30 personnel of Delhi Police, who have been awarded police medals on the occasion of Independence Day.

Joint Commissioner (Traffic) S N Srivastava and Deputy Commissioner (New Delhi) Shankar Dash have been conferred police medal for distinguished service while 15 are selected for police medal for gallantry. Thirteen others have been rewarded with police medal for meritorious service.

Those who have selected for police medal for gallantry include deputy commissioner (south) H G S Dhaliwal and assistant commissioner of police (special cell) Sanjeev Kumar Yadav. ACP Yadav has been given another gallantry award along with sub inspector Chandrika Prasad and head constable Dev Dutt for an operation in 2006 at Haridwar in which Mohammad Tariq, a sharp-shooter linked with Chhota Shakil, was killed.

For Batla House encounter, Yadav along with sub inspector Dharmender Kumar, head constables Balwant Singh and Rajbir Singh have been awarded gallantry award. Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma died in the operation and his wife Maya Sharma was awarded Ashok Chakra on January 26 this year. Those who got the police medal for meritorious services include an assistant commissioner, three inspectors, two sub inspectors, one woman assistant sub inspector and two head constables.

Dhaliwal has been awarded for his leadership role in the encounter in which Omprakash alias Bunty, a notorious criminal who was heading a bikers’ gang, was killed. Besides Dhaliwal, other officers who have been awarded with police medal for gallantry for their role in encounter of Bunty and his accomplices are ACP (Mehrauli) Bhisham Singh and inspector (special staff) Vijay Singh.




7 cops ‘covered up’ Ghaziabad murder trail

Dwaipayan Ghosh, TNN 15 August 2009, 12:16am IST

NEW DELHI/GHAZIABAD: It’s an incredible story of alleged criminal-cop nexus. Ghaziabad police has claimed that, in true Bollywood style, seven bad cops from Delhi and Haryana provided alibi to a gang that executed the murder of a realtor and his security guard in a daring shootout on November 29 last year. They were shown to be in custody when the murders were executed.

These men sprung an ambush on property dealer Satish Yadav and his guard, Dharmendra, when their car reached the Sadarpur crossing and slowed down. They had taken position near a canal and opened fire from their automatic weapons. A service revolver was also allegedly used.

And according to the Ghaziabad Police sleuths, the assailants quietly sneaked back into police lock-ups only to be produced later that day in court for petty offences for which they had been booked a day earlier.

A Ghaziabad court has now issued arrest warrants against the seven policemen. The court has directed the police to arrest assistant sub-inspector Dinesh, posted in north-east district, constables Govind Sahay and Shiv Kumar, stationed at Pandav Nagar police station in east Delhi, and constables Samarjeet, Naveen Kumar, Naurang Singh and Dayanand, who are all posted in Faridabad, Haryana. According to Ghaziabad Police sources, two more policemen from Delhi Police might also be arrested in the case.

“The arrest warrants are being executed. We will be asking the district police in east and north-east Delhi and the Faridabad superintendent of police to arrest the policemen. If they don’t do so, we will arrest them,” said Ghaziabad SSP Akhil Kumar.

Senior officials in both districts in Delhi denied having received any communication in this regard. However, joint commissioner (New Delhi Range) Dharmendra Kumar said the process might take a couple of days because of the long weekend. “We will go through the warrant and decide our course of action. No one, if found guilty, will be spared. However, it is inappropriate to hazard a guess on a court warrant. We will comment only when we go through the entire order,” said Kumar.

Satish and Dharmendra were shot dead when they were returning from a wedding in Sadarpur village in an Innova. Another person, Hari Om, who was in the car, was also injured.

Satish’s family registered an FIR against local Bahujan Samaj Party leader Rakesh Pahalwan, Ashok Yadav, Shobha Ram, Rukam Kesh, Yogesh, Vishal Ranga and Harsh at the Kavi Nagar police station in Ghaziabad. “As our investigations progressed, we found that the accused had a feud with the victim’s family. The family in fact alleged that the same men had killed three other family members and a servant. It was after we arrested them that the accused claimed they were not on the spot as all of them were in police custody. This set us thinking and investigations into the police role began,” said a UP cop.

Investigations carried out by the special investigation squad after it was handed over the case by the Kavi Nagar police station allegedly revealed that a day before Satish and Dharmendra were murdered, ASI Dinesh of the proclaimed offenders department had arrested two of the seven accused for smuggling liquor. The same day, constables Govind and Shiv had arrested a couple of other accused while Haryana Police constables Samarjeet, Naveen, Naurang and Dayanand had allegedly arrested the remaining in Faridabad.

As the accused were arrested on November 28, they had to be produced in the respective courts the next day, the day of the murders.

It is being alleged that the policemen freed the accused who went and executed the killings. They later returned to their respective police stations.





DVAC turns on heat, but corrupt officials find ways to avoid traps

K Praveen Kumar, TNN 15 August 2009, 02:22am IST

CHENNAI: While the revenue department, TNEB and police top the department-wise list of corruption cases this year, officials working in other government departments, such as transport which includes the regional transport offices, highways, commercial taxes, PWD and registration departments, all of which are known for deep-rooted corruption, are said to be finding ingenious ways to keep DVAC officials at bay, said sources.

DVAC has found it difficult to get breakthroughs and book corrupt officials in these departments, officials told TOI. RTOs across the state are riddled with corruption but DVAC managed to register only two cases against the department in 2009, sources added. The registration department, also infamous for money changing hands illegally, had only six cases registered against it this year; the PWD had only one case against it.

“It is very difficult to get complaints against these departments. Those who pay bribes, as well as officials, stand to gain, so no one comes forward to lodge a complaint. Moreover, officials have become smart in finding ways to avoid arrest. Even if we conduct a raid, we hardly get any material to register a case,” a DVAC official said.

Corrupt officials in some of the departments do not accept money inside offices. Their agents collect the money from beneficiaries and pass it on to officials once a month or when an opportunity presents itself. The transactions are conducted outside offices, sources said. They added that some officials operated exclusive bank accounts to enable people to deposit bribes. “In a case in Tiruchi, we found an engineer attached to the agriculture department had an account exclusively for depositing bribes. We seized Rs 8 lakh from it,” an official pointed out.

“If there is factionalism in a department, we get easy information. The police, TNEB and forest departments are examples. As far as the revenue department is concerned, affected parties are the common folk who even take loans to pay bribes. So, we receive several complaints against the department. On the contrary, in the transport, highways and PWD departments, favours are made to big contractors and dealers and they never lodge a complaint,” the official added.

Also, corrupt officials are now wary of DVAC raids as several were carried out this year. According to DVAC sources, after the raid on the office of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation MD this year, and seizures, officials decided not to accept money inside offices.




Freedom fighter’s 10-yr battle for pension ends on I-Day eve

A Subramani, TNN 15 August 2009, 02:24am IST

CHENNAI: When the nation celebrates 62nd Independence Day on Saturday, freedom fighter KS Varatharasan will have something to cheer about. His decade-long legal battle for the much-delayed freedom fighter’s pension came to an end on Friday with the Madras high court asking the government to consider his claim favourably.

Ever since his application for the pension was rejected by the Coimbatore district administration in 1999, Varatharasan has been pursuing his case in the Madras high court.

On Friday, Justice M Dhanapalan rapped bureaucrats who had denied pension for Varatharasan citing unsustainable grounds, and said: “The object of providing pension under the Freedom Fighter Pension Scheme is to honour and mitigate the sufferings of those who had given their all for the country. Once the country has decided to honour such freedom fighters, the bureaucrats entrusted with the job of examining the cases of such freedom fighters are expected to keep in mind the purpose and object of the scheme.”

Varatharasan participated in the Quit India movement and was imprisoned for seven months between August 1942 and March 1943. He was again jailed between September and December 1947 for participating in the Mysore State Freedom Movement for merger of Mysore state with the Indian union.

But, in spite of a certificate of proof from the senior superintendent of the Central Jail in Bangalore as well as letters of support from three other co-prisoners, the freedom fighter was asked to come up with some other certificate’ by the officials.

Justice Dhanapalan, ruling that the government was not justified in rejecting the certificates of proof submitted by Varatharasan, said his due claims had been erroneously rejected by the authorities, who did not even consider a favourable recommendation from the district collector on two occasions.

Noting that there was no reason for the the government to take an adverse view than the one taken by the collector, the judge set aside the rejection order and directed the authorities to consider the pension claim of Varatharasan favourably.

In the last two weeks, the Madras high court has come to the rescue of three octogenarian freedom fighters who were denied their pension and were made to run from pillar to post for relief.

On July 31, Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar flayed officials for adopting hyper-technical’ approach while processing the pension claims of freedom fighters and ordered them to extend pension to 82-year-old A Francis, after a 14-year-long legal battle.

On August 11, the same judge again criticised officials when a similar case, of 86-year-old freedom fighter HR Balaraman, came up. He was denied pension for seven years owing to a minor difference in his date of birth.




Insurance firm, automaker, told to pay up

TNN 15 August 2009, 02:15am IST

CHANDIGARH: UT consumer forum has directed ICICI Lombard Motor Insurance Company, Skoda Auto India, and Sidak Automobile to pay Rs 2.23 lakh for an irreparably damaged vehicle, Rs 50,000 as compensation for adopting unfair trade practices and Rs 500 as counsel fee to Panchkula-resident Deepak Narang, 34.

Narang had purchased a Skoda car in April 2007, which was fitted with airbags. He paid Rs 11.72 lakh for it and got the car insured. He had stated in his complaint that the car met with an accident in February 2008, when he was trying to avoid hitting a stray animal.

Narang said he and his son were injured, while the airbags of the car failed to function.

He had claimed that the insurance company paid him just Rs 5.20 lakh against the insured value of Rs 11.13 lakh, that was to be paid when the car was irreparably damaged.

In its written reply, ICICI Lombard pleaded that Narang opted for settlement in net salvage basis (i.e. payment for repairs) in his insurance claim. He accepted the claim amount as full and final without raising any dispute, the company had stated.

Skoda Auto India Private Limited and Sidak Automobile Private Limited had filed separate written replies wherein they pleaded that the accident was caused due to Narang’s rash and negligent driving for which they were not responsible.

The forum accepted Narang’s complaint and told the firms to pay up.





Parag murder case: Panel seeks CM help for justice

TNN 15 August 2009, 03:07am IST

GUWAHATI: A steering committee formed against the murder of journalist and human rights activist Parag Kumar Das on Friday requested chief minister Tarun Gogoi to ask the CBI to make an appeal in Guwahati High Court and furnish evidence.

On July 28, the Kamrup district and sessions judge acquitted Mridul Phukan, the lone surviving accused in the case, due to lack of sufficient evidences. The CBI, probing the case, drew flak from many quarters for poor investigation. Phukan is a surrendered Ulfa militant.

Four unidentified gunmen had killed Parag Das on May 17, 1996, at the city’s Rajgarh Road while he was taking his son back from school. In a memorandum submitted to the chief minister, the committee said Das’s family was eager to move the high court. But, it couldn’t do so as the CBI was yet to file an appeal petition at the HC which is a must.

“CBI’s failure in furnishing evidence against Mridul Phukan was evident in the judgment of the sessions court. Now, the family of Das is eager to move the high court. But for that, the CBI must file an appeal petition within 60-days from the day of judgement,” read the memorandum.

Journalist Action Committee (JAC), an umbrella organization of scribes in the state, has also sought Gogoi help for justice in the Parag Das murder case. The JAC, in a memorandum submitted to the chief minister, urged him to take steps for probing the murder of 22 journalists in the state in the last 18 years.




Court breather for Bengali film

TNN 15 August 2009, 03:16am IST

KOLKATA: There was some respite for Sri Venkatesh Films producers of the Bengali film Poran Jay Joliya Re on Friday, with the high court staying a ban on its screening till Monday.

The producers, however, cannot create third party rights or release the film abroad in the meantime. The film can’t be shown on cable channels or satellite television till the issue is sorted out by the court.

Box office collections of the film will also have to be deposited with special officers. These special officers are the advocates for Sri Venkatesh Films and Bollywood producer Vipul Shah who had moved the court accusing the production house from Bengal of copyright infringement.

Shah had claimed that the makers of Poran Jay Joliya Re had plagiarised his Bollywood flick Namastey London.

Justice Nadira Patherya who watched both films before arriving at the conclusion that Sri Venkatesh Films was guilty. The production house later appealed against this order.





Now, pay less for court documents

Vaivasvat Venkat, TNN 14 August 2009, 10:06pm IST

LUDHIANA: In a decision that will lessen the burden on the pocket of advocates and litigants, lawyers will be able to get uncertified copies of all documents on record, as per the orders and rules of the high court, at Rs 1 per page.

An order in this regard has been passed by district and sessions judge GK Rai and will be applicable from the Ludhiana district courts to the sub-division in Khanna, Jagraon and Samrala.

According to information, Rai has directed all copy clerks, attached with each additional district and sessions judge along with the copy clerk of his court, to supply unattested copies of all documents on record in schedule referred to in Rule 11 of Chapter 17 of the High Court Rules and Orders Volume 4. He has also directed the copying agencies of subordinate courts to depute at least two copyists for the purpose of supplying copies to advocates.

Hailing the move, advocate Ashok Mittal, who claims to have initiated the issue, said, “This is a fruitful step not only for advocates but also for clients. I filed a complaint with the Chief Justice, wherein I informed how private people employed by clerks in the courts illegally, were overcharging people for providing uncertified copies of documents from advocates and litigants.”

Echoing a similar view, advocate Ranjodh Singh Gill, said, “For two odd pages of an FIR, we had to spend Rs 100 to 300. Now, we will get documents at Rs 1 per page.”

Meanwhile, litigants are also happy due to the decision. “It’s not the lawyer but the client, who pays the amount. This has come as a major relief to us,” said Manpreet Singh.






Court extends remand of six accused in Sena corporator’s murder bid

Asadullah Hanfi , TNN 15 August 2009, 03:15am IST

Trouble for the six accused arrested in connection with the failed bid on the life of Rajan Kine, a Shiv Sena corporator of the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has ceased to end even after the end of their eight days of police custody. The Thane district and sessions court on Friday extended the police remand of the six accused by four days to facilitate police investigations.

The accused including Ramesh Patil were produced the court on Friday afternoon after the end of their eight days of police remand period. The prosecutions sought extension in their police remand on the grounds that three accomplices of the detained accused including an unidentified one were still at large and weapons used in botched bid were yet to be recovered. The prosecution claimed that the police custody of the accused was needed to proceed with the investigations.

The defense counsels however argued that the six had spent eight days in police custody and as such the police had sufficient time to investigate the matter. The defence prayed before the court to end the police custody of the accused. The court however ruled in favour of the prosecution and the accused were sent to police detention till Thursday.

On the other hand the Sena corporator from Mumbra has moved the court of sessions’ Thane against the six arrested accused as well as their accomplices seeking to slap charges of the deadly Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA) against them. The litigation was filed before the court on Thursday and the court has kept hearing on the petition on Monday. The litigant claimed that the accused had previous criminal records and used to function as an organized gang.

Munir Ahmed, counsel for the applicant informed Thane Plus that he has requested the court to direct the Commissioner of Police (CP), Thane to investigate the complaint as an organized crime and sanction slapping sections of MCOCA on the six accused as well as their absconding accomplices. “Under section 9 (1) of the act it is mandatory for the court to direct the case for investigation to CP, Thane”, he said. The counsel also claimed that an officer of the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) is to investigate the matter at the instance of the CP.

It may be noted that the Mumbra police had arrested the six persons on Tuesday on charges of criminal conspiracy to murder the Sena corporator. The police claimed that the accused had hatched a plot to kill Kine on July 19 when he wsas to visit the Shanker Mandir Temple in Mumbra at night for prayers. Ramesh Patil is a NCP leader and had contested the TMc polls of February 2007 on a NCP ticket against Kine from the Anand Koliwada municipal ward.

The police claimed to have recovered two firearms including a country made revolver and an imported revolver along with six live rounds of ammunitions from the possession of the accused. An air gun, a car and a motorcycle without registration number plate was also recovered from the possession of the accused. All the six accused have previous criminal records.




Cong defends brand, says Nehru, Indira, Rajiv are national icons

TNN 15 August 2009, 02:20am IST

NEW DELHI: In a strong rebuttal of the BSP accusation that Congress had projected its brand by naming hundreds of government programmes after Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, the party on Friday said that these stalwarts were national icons by their own right.

“Leaders like Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi belonged not only to the Congress party but to the entire nation; they are idolised by the people,” party general secretary Digvijay Singh said.

Reacting sharply to the BSP response to an Election Commission notice about the elephant statues — the party’s poll symbol — all around Uttar Pradesh, Singh said there was no denying the fact that the ruling party in the state had installed hundreds of the such statues to promote its election symbol.

“The two are two different things — while the elephant is the BSP poll symbol the former prime ministers are part of the nation’s portrait gallery,” he said.

“Hundreds of elephant statues in no way can be installed in parks all over the state,” Singh said.

He was critical of the fact that the statues of BSP founder Kanshi Ram and CM Mayawati were being raised at a huge cost by the UP government. “This is the first instance of the statues of a living person being installed,” Singh said.




Pak Supreme Court may remit Sarabjit’s death sentence: Lawyer

PTI 14 August 2009, 10:36pm IST

AMRITSAR: Supreme Court of Pakistan may remit the death sentence of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh to life imprisonment on humanitarian ground, advocate Owais Sheikh fighting the case of Singh on Friday said.

Talking to media persons here during his visit to the city of Golden Temple, Sheikh said that Supreme Court of Pakistan may take soft views in Sarabjit’s case, since Singh had already spent 19 years behind bars.

Sheikh said that recently Pakistan’s Supreme Court in its observation had said that prisoners, who were awarded death sentence and had already underwent more than 18 years and more, death sentence could be remitted to life imprisonment.

Singh’s lawyer said that Islam also preaches clemency rather than severe punishment and added that initially Sarabjit’s name was not mentioned in the FIR and his name was included in the FIR later on later to implicate him in a false case.





Removal of PSC members need not follow rule for govt employees: SC

TNN 15 August 2009, 02:12am IST

NEW DELHI: Applying the rule — higher the post, harsher the standards of scrutiny — the Supreme Court has okayed the suspension and removal of the chairman and eight members of the Haryana Public Service Commission and rejected their plea against it.

The main grievance of the PSC members was that the governor did not follow the established rules applicable to government servants in the matter relating to their suspension and removal.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal was unanimous in its opinion that PSCs being a creation of the Constitution, its members could not be placed on a par with government employees for following statutory rules regarding suspension and removal.

“The principles of service law that are ordinarily applicable in instances of dismissal of government employees cannot be extended to the proceedings for the removal and suspension of the members of the said Commissions,” the Bench said.

Writing the judgment for the Bench, the CJI said: “Hence, we are of the opinion that en bloc suspension of the eitht members and chairman of the Haryana PSC by the governor by an order of August 9, 2008 under Article 317(2) of the Constitution and the subsequent notification are valid and not liable to be quashed.”

The importance of the PSC to the general public and its status under the Constitution weighed heavy in the mind of the SC to treat PSC members and its chairman as a class separate from government employees.

“For the efficient functioning of a democracy, it is imperative that the PSCs are manned by people of the highest skill and irreproachable integrity, so that the selections to various public posts can be immunized from all sorts of extraneous factors like political pressure or personal favouritism and are made solely on consideration of merit,” the Bench said.




After 21 years, spoiled curd leads to acquittal in SC

TNN 15 August 2009, 02:13am IST

NEW DELHI: This Supreme Court judgment typifies the manner investigations and authorities act under an important law — Prevention of Food Aduleration (PFA) Act — enacted to protect consumers from being shortchanged by shopkeepers and restaurant owners with stale or spurious food.

It was a case of adulterated curd, samples of which were seized from an Ahmedabad shop by officers on April 8, 1988 who filed a complaint against the shop owner Girishbhai Dahyabhai Shah. Under the law, the officers were to keep two samples — one for the public analyst and the second for the accused to get it tested from an independent laboratory, if he so wished.

After the public analyst opined that the curd was adulterated, the accused sought, as per law, within 10 days a portion of the second sample for testing it in the Central Food Laboratory.

Shah applied for the second sample on May 4, 1988. But, it was made available to him only on July 17, 1989, that is after 15 months of the first sample being tested by the public analyst.

It’s well known that curd retains its properties, even under the most careful preservation formula available in India, for a very short period. Grabbing this gaping mistake on the part of the officers under PFA to supply the second sample after a yawning lapse of time, Shah moved the Gujarat High Court for quashing of the complaint.

But, the HC without taking into account the legitimate contention of the petitioner, dismissed his plea for quashing of the case against him. He moved the Supreme Court challenging the HC’s decision.

A Bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph said in this case the appellant was prevented from applying for analysis of the second sample before July 17, 1989, by which time the second sample of curd had deteriorated and was not capable of being analysed.

“In that view of the matter, we are unable to sustain the judgment of the HC and we also see no reason to continue with the proceedings which have lasted for more than 20 years in the absence of any valid and reliable report with regard to the second sample,” it said.




NTPC faces heat over RIL case delay

Sanjay Dutta, TNN 15 August 2009, 12:38am IST

NEW DELHI: Independent directors on the board of state-run generation utility NTPC have put the management on the mat over delay in moving the Supreme Court to protect future gas supplies from the Andhra offhsore field developed by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd.

Sources said at Thursday’s board meeting, questions were raised why NTPC was taking time to move the SC in relation to two separate cases to safeguard fuel supply despite advice from the attorney-general and the solicitor-general. The oil ministry’s stand on gas price has intertwined NTPC’s case with RIL with another suit between RIL and Anil Ambani’s Reliance Natural Resources Ltd.

NTPC chairman R S Sharma was unavailable for his response. A company spokesperson declined comment. The ire of independent directors stems from a sense of liability in case NTPC loses either gas or has to pay a price higher than it secured through a global bid in 2004, due to the outcomes of the cases. Both scenarios will cost NTPC dear.

NTPC’s predicament arises from the oil ministry’s stand in the RIL-RNRL case that only the Centre can decide the sale and price of gas. A ministerial panel had set the Andhra offshore gas price at $4.2 per unit, which is 44% higher than the NTPC bid price. If this is upheld in the RIL-RNRL case, government’s top law officers feel, RIL can use it to its benefit in the NTPC case.

NTPC is battling RIL in the Bombay High Court over a contract for 12 mcmd (million cubic metres per day) of gas at $2.34 per unit price to its capacity expansion projects of Kawas and Gandhar units. Broadly, the dispute is over whether a letter of intent is an agreement or not. After winning the tender, RIL had given the LoI but subsequently differences cropped over NTPC’s condition of seeking unlimited liability.

In the other case, RNRL wants RIL to supply 28 mcmd gas at the price quoted to NTPC, in line with the terms of their demerger agreement. RIL’s stand is that it cannot do so without the government approving both the sale and the price. RIL has used this argument for seeking to change its stand in the NTPC case through “chamber summons”, allowed by the high court.

Suggesting that NTPC should appeal SC against RIL’s move “without any loss of time”, attorney-general G E Vahanvati says, “It is indeed strange that RIL should place this burden (of inability to fulfil tender commitments) on the Union of India as having taken away the foundational basis of a very carefully structured bid which must have been undertaken with the concurrence of the administrative ministry…”




Court bars MS from selling ‘Word’ in US

PTI 15 August 2009, 12:30am IST

NEW YORK: An American court has asked Microsoft to pay damages worth $290 million to Canadian entity i4i for patent infringement related to Microsoft Word and has restrained the software giant from selling the product in the United States.

The litigation is related to patent infringement of Extensible Markup Language (XML) used in Microsoft Word. Canada-based technology firm i4i claimed that it had the patent for custom XML’ used in Word.

“The final judgement is an award in excess of $290 million and includes a permanent injunction against Microsoft Corporation for custom XML in Word 2003 and Word 2007,” i4i said in a statement. An XML is a mark-up language XML, which offers editing capabilities and formatting of text, among others.

The verdict on the case was given by the US district court for the eastern district of Texas. This follows a decision by the jury in May which said Microsoft infringed on the patent.

Moreover, the court has restrained Microsoft from “selling, offering to sell and/or importing in or into the US any infringing and future Word products that have the capability of opening a .XML, .DOCX or .DOCM file containing custom XML,” the statement said.

The restrain would be effective after 60 days of the verdict, which was given on August 11. Microsoft said that it was disappointed with the verdict and would appeal against the same. “We are disappointed by the court’s ruling. We believe the evidence clearly demonstrated that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid. We will appeal the verdict,” Microsoft spokesperson Kevin Kurtz said.

Meanwhile, Michel Vulpe who is the founder of i4i said the company was “very pleased with the terms of the final judgment”.

“The financial award due to i4i is now over $290 million and a permanent injunction has also been issued against Microsoft… We feel vindicated with the result,” i4i founder Vulpe noted.




Wanted, prisoners for Cherlapally jail

SUSHIL RAO, TNN 15 August 2009, 01:40am IST

HYDERABAD: The open air jail at Cherlapally is breathing easy, now that the state government has decided to postpone the release, on August 15, of life convicts in the state.

If the state government had not done so, the prison faced hard times with 130 out of its 195 prisoners set to be released. More than the prisoners who need the freedom of the open air jail, it is the 120-acre jail premises which needs men to take care of it!

Incidentally, the government has deferred its decision to grant special remission to life convicts in the light of a petition pending in the Supreme Court (SC). A PIL had been filed in the SC against the release of dangerous criminals. The SC had put off a hearing on the matter to August 24, so convicted prisoners in the state are likely to be released only after that.

Earlier, Cherlapally prison authorities had shortlisted 130 convicts from the prison, who met the criteria as per a GO, for release. The problem for the open jail is that if a majority of prisoners are released, the jail will fall short of hands to work in its vegetable garden which is spread over nearly 15-20 acres. In addition, a mango orchard on another 20 acres has to be maintained. Men are also needed to work in the dairy farm.

Vegetables and milk from the jail meets not only its own requirements, but are also supplied to other jails in the city.

Often prisoners with good behaviour are transferred to the open air jail when the authorities are sure that they will not escape. Since the open air jail would need men for various prison duties, officials began the process of selecting some from among prisoners to be sent to Cherlapally. Yet, though the open air jail provides freedom and little supervision, not every prisoner who is offered the option of going there takes it up, mostly because one would have to work hard there.

Though 130 ‘vacancies’ would have arisen had the lifers been released, so far only 79 names have been shortlisted to be transferred to the open air jail, prison sources said.

Meanwhile prisoners of both the open air jail and also the central prison at Cherlapally were disappointed on learning about the postponement of their release. At the Central Prison, the deferment of the release has cast a shadow on the games and sport competitions that have got underway in connection with the Independence Day celebrations.
Competitions in volleyball, shuttle, shuttle badminton, chess and running are being organised. “This was the fifth time that the prisoners release has been postponed, so they are dejected,” one jail official said.

Now, given that there is no strict supervision or security at the jail, the ‘open’ inmates will not find it difficult to make their escape, if they want to.




Citizens’second freedom struggle

Vaivasvat Venkat, TNN 14 August 2009, 10:03pm IST

LUDHIANA: Some enlightened citizens are fighting a ‘second freedom struggle’- one which gives them an opportunity to celebrate their relentless fight against corrupt systems and practices, hindering the country’s growth and development.

The city has some valiant fighters, who have not bowed down before negative forces. Using tools like the Right to Information Act (RTI) or Public Interest Litigations (PIL), these residents keep the spirit of freedom alive.

One among them is 40-year-old Hitender Jain. An architect by profession, he is part of an NGO — Resurgence India – and has challenged the rampant corrupt and unconstitutional practices for the welfare of people using RTI Act and PIL.

Jain says, “My efforts exposed how the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund was being misused for other purposes other than the designated ones. I have finally got a guideline for the same from the court.”

Jain also took up the issue of misuse of funds of the Red Cross by the bureaucracy. His efforts bore fruit and the Rs 1.94 crore, that included funds collected for Kargil and tsunami victims, which was not sent, has finally been deposited with the government.

Jatinder Modgil, the country’s first transporter to start a CNG bus, has opposed the alleged diesel mafias’ threats in Delhi. Modgil, who is in his late fifties, recently got the interim court orders for starting CNG services in the state. Modgil collected the entire data of air pollution caused from transport vehicles in the city, state and Delhi. Following this, he approached the court, which passed the interim order and gave directions that no new vehicles, running on diesel, should be registered at Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar and Chandigarh.

Likewise, retired IFS officer SS Channa, another citizen has done the city proud. After retiring in 1990, Channa settled in Sarabha Nagar, where he found that the park in front of his house was in a shambles despite the area being a posh locality.

After the authorities failed to act, he moved the high court and got suitable directions. Though his battle is still on, it would not be an aberration to say that most of the beautiful parks in the city, revived by the park management committees, are a result of Channa’s endeavour.





Govt treating our suggestions casually, says judiciary–says-judiciary


New Delhi, Aug 14 (PTI) The judiciary has expressed concern over the “casual manner” in which successive Governments had dealt with various recommendations made by it for streamlining justice delivery system in the country.

At a two-day conference of Chief Justices of High Courts, inaugurated by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan here today, judicial officers regretted that the annual event has become a “mere ritual as no concrete follow-up efforts for complying with the recommendations are being made by the Government”.

“The decisions taken by the Heads of Judiciary should not be dealt with in a casual manner and needs to be considered at the highest level.





PM set to raise assets law, corruption in judiciary

Maneesh Chhibber Posted: Saturday , Aug 15, 2009 at 0412 hrs New Delhi:

On Sunday, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addresses a conference of chief ministers and chief justices at Vigyan Bhawan, he is expected to praise the judiciary for performing its job credibly. However, and more importantly, in line with his government’s avowed policy to reform the judiciary amid growing public concern, the Prime Minister is also set to raise the issue of corruption in judiciary.

Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan and Law Minister Veerappa Moily too will be present at the conference.

Sources told The Indian Express that the PM’s speech is also expected to refer to his government’s proposal to bring a law to make it mandatory for judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts to declare their assets along with those of their kin on a yearly basis.

“While the Prime Minister is a firm believer in the independence of the judiciary, he feels that growing reports in the media about instances of corruption in the higher judiciary only tarnish its image,” said a source.

It is learnt that the PM would also inform the judiciary about the consensus among all political parties that judicial reforms be effected in a substantial way. On this, he could also refer to the address of President Pratibha Patil to the joint session of Parliament on June 4, in which she said a roadmap for judicial reforms would be finalised in six months’ time.

Meanwhile, while there was no official information about what happened at the first day’s session of the two-day conference of chief justices of high courts on Friday, which remained out of bounds for the media, it is learnt that the general feeling was that many state governments had failed to initiate any proper follow-up action to implement the recommendations made at previous conferences of chief justices.

Referring to a large number of vacancies in subordinate judiciary — as against a sanctioned strength of 16,685 judges (subordinate judiciary), there were only 13,556 judicial officers, with 3,129 posts unfulfilled as on December 31, 2008 — the conference felt state governments should not allow their financial constraints to come in the way of increaseing the number of judges.

Steps should be taken to ensure all vacancies are filled at the earliest, it was said. The judiciary expressed concern over the “meagre” financial allocation for development of the infrastructure, with some CJs also saying that many proposals were rejected only due to lack of adequate funds.





CJI to discuss resolution of pending cases

ANI Posted: Friday , Aug 14, 2009 at 1100 hrs New Delhi:

A two-day annual conference of Chief Justices of various High Courts will begin in Delhi from Friday.

The meeting will be presided over by Supreme Court Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan. Justice B.N. Agrawal and Justice S.H. Kapadia, the other two senior-most apex court judges will also attend.

Issues like expediting the disposal of cases, to improve the justice delivery system and demand for more budgetary allocation for the judiciary will figure prominently at the meet.

According to an agenda note, at the end of 2008, the arrears of civil and criminal cases pending disposal in the various High Courts were 38,74,090. Out of which, 31,03,352 are civil and 7,70,738 criminal cases.

In subordinate courts, the total pendency at the end of 2008 was 2,64,09011. Out of which, 1,88,69,163 are criminal and 75,39,848 civil cases.

Other issues like the progress made in setting up of evening/morning courts, strengthening of vigilance cells; computerisation of courts, holding of courts in jail by every Chief Metropolitan Magistrate or Chief Judicial Magistrate or Metropolitan Magistrate of the area on regular basis to take up cases of undertrial prisoners and to consider increasing the ratio of appointments to High Courts from among judicial officers to 50 per cent of the Judges” strength of the High Court concerned instead of the present one third are expected to be discussed.

The conference will culminate with a meeting of chief justices and chief ministers.






Lay pipeline from Kajauli to Mohali, councillor files PIL–councillor-files-PIL/501946

Express News Service Posted: Friday , Aug 14, 2009 at 0322 hrs Chandigarh:

With an aim to save Mohali from water scarcity in the coming days, municipal councillor Kuljeet Singh Bedi filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday. He is demanding the execution of the fifth and sixth phase pipeline from Kajauli water works (near Morinda), installation of adequate number of tubewells and providing hotlines to various water works at Mohali on a priority basis.

After the preliminary hearing, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia, issued notices to the Union government through Secretary Urban Development, Punjab, for October 8. The petitioner submitted that about 13 Million Gallon Water per day (MGD) is being supplied to Mohali — 10 MGD from the Kajauli canal and 3 MGD from tubewells. The actual requirement, however, is about 28 MGD for which execution of the fifth pipeline from Kajauli is essential. The project was initiated by the UT Administration under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission.

The PIL stressed on the immediate installation of about 40 tubewells in Mohali as per the requisition submitted by Water Supply and Sanitation Department to the Mohali Municipal Council. The petitioner further sought directions to the Punjab State Electricity Board to provide hotlines to the water works pumping system in Sector 57 and Phase 10 to ensure uninterrupted water supply.





3 IAS officers, 12 others face charges in land allotment case


August 13th, 2009

NOIDA – A first information report was lodged against 15 officials of the Noida administration, including three Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers, in a land allotment case, police said Thursday.

The complaint was lodged by Mukesh Srivastava, manager of industrial development, in the Noida authority late Wednesday.

In the complaint, Srivastava said that the IAS officers – Rakesh Bahadur, Sanjiv Saran, K. Ravendra Naik, Deo Dutt (retired) allotted 25 commercial plots to hotels at rates lower than the market rates. Srivastava alleged that because of the deals, the Noida authority incurred a loss of about Rs.4721 crore in 2006.

The other officers who have been named in the FIR are C.P. Singh, S.C. Sangal, V.K. Jain, V. Kumar, L.K. Gupta, D.V. Malik and L.K. Jha, B.A. Dev, S.K. Jaman, S.K. Kulshreshtha and Jaiprakash.

A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed against these allotments in the Allahabad High Court.

After the PIL, the state government set up a departmental inquiry and ordered the registration of a criminal case.

“The officers have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. The investigation is on in the crime committed between March 5, 2006, to Nov 10, 2006,” Additional Director General (Western Zone) A.K. Jain said.





HC lifts stay on n-plant land: power for millions–power-for-millions/502032

Mohan Kumar Posted: Friday , Aug 14, 2009 at 0447 hrs Mumbai:

Agreeing with the government that a new nuclear power plant in the Konkan region is in public interest as it would supply electricity to millions, the Bombay High Court today lifted its stay on land acquisition for the project and dismissed a petition opposing it.

The court had stopped land acquisition for the NPCIL project in Jaitapur — the first to be built after the India-US nuclear deal — in the last week of June on a petition by Bhikaji Waghdhare and four others who said the plant would harm the Konkan ecology and could lead to accidents as the area falls under seismic zone 4.

But the bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and Amjad Sayed ruled: “The Jaitapur nuclear power project cannot be stalled on any grounds… the present nuclear power project stands on the same footing or perhaps on a higher footing as it is going to supply power to millions of people. The project brooks no further delay.”





Probe `staged’ encounter case: HC to Prasanna

S Ahmed Ali, TNN 14 August 2009, 01:49am IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday directed deputy commissioner of police KMM Prasanna to probe the allegations that Navi Mumbai resident Ramnarayan Gupta was shot dead by cops in a fake encounter. The court has directed Prasanna to submit his first report in four weeks.

The high court has asked Prasanna to form a team of officers of his choice for the investigation. Stating that Ramnarayan’s brother Ramprasad Gupta’s statement should be treated as an FIR, the court has also suggested that, if required, Prasanna should conduct a lie-detector test and brain mapping of the accused policemen.

Prasanna is currently waiting a posting.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Ramprasad against what he alleged was a staged killing and not a genuine encounter. Gupta said he had sent a telegram to former police commissioner A N Roy soon after the police picked up his brother. The police had claimed that Ramnarayan was a Chhota Rajan gang member and on 11 November, 2006, when they had ordered him to surrender, he fired at them. The police shot back in retaliation, killing Ramnarayan on the spot. The encounter took place at Versova, under the supervision of Pradeep Suryavanshi, currently senior inspector at MIDC police station.

A division bench, headed by Justice B H Marlapalle, has directed the Mumbai Police to register a fresh FIR against the officers responsible for the incident. The court directed a fresh probe based on the findings of magistrate RAK Shaikh who had submitted a report in 2007, saying the encounter appeared to be fake.

Ramprasad said, “We know that no one can bring my dead brother back. But I want to take the police to task for killing him.”

Gupta’s lawyer, Shyam Marwadi, said, “As of now, we have given a list of policemen involved. We will soon provide the names of three more policemen, including an encounter specialist and a controversial inspector, who is now attached with the Navi Mumbai police.”




No fresh case to be registered against Gupta till Aug 24: HC

Express News Service

Posted: Aug 14, 2009 at 0430 hrs IST

Ludhiana In a temporary sigh of relief for Chetan Gupta, co-accused in the multi-crore Ludhiana City Centre scam, the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the Punjab Police not to arrest him in any fresh case till August 24.

In the eventuality of any fresh case being registered against Gupta before August 24, the wing concerned of the Punjab Police will issue a prior notice of three days before arresting him to enable him to seek legal recourse.

Meanwhile, the High Court also directed Gupta to co-operate in the investigations in the Ludhiana City Centre scam case. Passing the orders, a Division Bench comprising Justice M M Kumar and Justice Jaswant Singh asked Gupta to appear before Investigating Officer Shiv Kumar, who is the senior superintendent of police, Patiala Vigilance Bureau, from August 17 to August 21. Gupta will remain present from 9 am to 5 pm, the court ordered.

The orders were passed during the hearing of a petition filed by Gupta, who had raised apprehensions over his arrest and implication in false cases by the Punjab Police owing to his close association with former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

Gupta had alleged that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Captain Amarinder Singh had an old political rivalry due to which he was being targeted. On the other hand, the counsel for the Punjab Vigilance Bureau countered Gupta’s claim, submitting that the Ludhiana City Centre scam was pending since June 2008 and Gupta was trying to escape from investigations. The counsel also stated that despite several notices and directions of the High Court to co-operate in the investigations, Gupta had refused to do so. The case will come up for hearing again on August 24.







HC reserves order on firm’s bidding

TNN 14 August 2009, 01:45am IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday heard a petition filed by IL&FS, one of the private developers whose bid for the Rs 813-crore Mantralaya redevelopment plan was rejected as “late”.

A bench, headed by the Chief Justice, while reserving its judgment on the petition seeking directions to the state to treat the bid on merit, wondered why every developer always submitted their tender documents at the last minute. “Why don’t you do something about it?” the CJ asked the state in general.

The ambitious Mantralaya project aims at building five 30-storeyed skyscrapers in the vicinity and a multi-storeyed underground parking, which has only two bids so far, both of which were submitted barely five minutes before the deadline. The IL&FS bid was said to be two minutes late and rejected but the real estate firm said it was submitted three minutes before the deadline.

D B Realty counsel Iqbal Chagla submitted that his client had not objected to the other bidder, Indiabulls, as it was on time and so IL&FS’s rejection was only on the grounds of delay and there was no enmity involved.




Identify, prosecute quacks, HC tells UT, states–prosecute-quacks–HC-tells-UT–states/501934

Express News Service Posted: Friday , Aug 14, 2009 at 0312 hrs Chandigarh:

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the states of Punjab, Haryana and Union Territory (UT) Chandigarh to identify and prosecute quacks.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Kanwaljit Singh passed the directions asking the officials concerned to issue either a special or general order for authorising civil surgeons to file a complaint against quacks, who “take innocent and gullible people for a ride”.

The governments have also been directed to authorise drug inspectors or other gazetted officers in their respective districts to file complaints against quacks for offences punishable under Section 15(3) of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.

The HC has also asked the governments to ensure that civil surgeons verify the registration details and qualification of medical practitioners in their respective districts.

The orders were passed in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Dr Barinder Singh.

The petitioner had brought into focus the menace of self-styled doctors and quacks practising in the region. Quoting the petition, the court remarked that these self-styled doctors are neither registered as medical

|practitioners under the Indian Medical Act 1956, nor do they possess a recognised degree.





For non-compliance of orders, HC issues bailable warrant against PEC professor

Express News Service Posted: Friday , Aug 14, 2009 at 0316 hrs chandigarh:

Calling it a case of defying court orders, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued bailable warrant against Siby John, Head of the Civil department of Punjab Engineering College (PEC), Chandigarh, on account of his not filing an affidavit despite repeated court directions.

The professor had initially been directed to file an affidavit on account of allegedly denying permission to a student from appearing in the mid-semester exams. After the professor refused to file the affidavit, the court had asked him to appear in person, an order he failed to comply with.

The court has now directed the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Chandigarh, to ensure the execution of the warrant, failing which the SSP has been directed to appear in court on August 18.

The directions were passed on a petition filed by Sekhar Sharma, a student of PEC.

In his petition, Sharma demanded quashing of the PEC Senate’s decision that prohibits any student caught using unfair means in exams from completing the course during the regular semester.

The Senate had also decided not to allow the student to register for the same course during the summer term. The petitioner had sought directions to PEC authorities to register him for the summer term session 2009 in the subject of environment engineering.

The petitioner averred that during an examination on December 2, 2008, John forced him to write on the answer-sheet that some incriminating material was found written on his left palm. He was later given Grade F (fail) and debarred from joining the summer session. In a similar case, alleged the petitioner, two other students were not allowed to join the summer session.

During the last hearing, the High Court had asked PEC authorities to file their reply but on Thursday, the UT counsel informed the court that John has refused to file his affidavit and instead placed a note.

“Since the petitioner (Sharma) has not leveled any personal allegations against me and the issues which are required to be placed before the court are not related to me, the institute may file an affidavit, as desired by the court, as per bylaws of PEC (deemed university) under which I am officiating as Head (Civil Engineering),” reads the note written by John.





Water scarcity: HC issues motion notice to Centre, UT, Punjab

TNN 14 August 2009, 02:36am IST

CHANDIGARH: In the matter pertaining to water scarcity in Mohali, the divison bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia issued a notice of motion to the Union of India, the state of Punjab and Chandigarh administration for October 8 on the public interest litigation filed by Mohali councillor Kuljeet Singh Bedi.

The petitioner had sought execution of 5th and 6th phase pipeline from Kajauli water works (near Morinda) and installation of adequate number of tubewells in Mohali.

Contending that presently about 13 million gallon water per day (MGD) – 10 MGD from Kajauli canal and 3 MGD from tubewells – is being supplied to Mohali, Bedi said the actual requirement is about 28 MGD.

To bridge this gap between demand and supply, he revealed that the execution of 5th pipeline from Kajauli is essential, from where an additional 40 MGD water would be fetched.

Out of this, 10 MGD will go to Mohali on the basis of water sharing formula between UT and Mohali.

The project has to be initiated by the UT Administration under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission – a venture of the Centre.

Petitition stated that about 40 tubewells are required to be installed in Mohali immediately based on the requisition submitted by the Punjab government’s water supply and sanitation department to the municipal council.

In another development, Bedi had sought directions to the Punjab State Electricity board to provide hotlines to the water works pumping system situated in sector-57 and phase 10 so as to ensure uninterrupted water supply in the eventuality of power cuts in the state.




HC slams ESIC officials for carelessness


New Delhi, Aug 13 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today slammed the Employees State Insurance Corporation(ESIC) for the “careless attitude” of its officials for not verifying the documents properly before filing appeal in courts relating to insurance claim cases.

Slapping a cost of Rs 25,000 on ESIC, a Public Sector Undertaking, Justice V B Gupta directed the Chairman of the Corporation to issue guidelines to its legal officials for proper scrutiny of the documents in this regard.

“The officials work in a mechanical manner and give their opinion as fit for appeal in every matter. These officials have scant regard for the public exchequer as well as the court’s time,” Justice Gupta observed in a judgment.





HC notice on Bihar’s AIIMS

News Desk – August 14, 2009

PATNA — A division bench of the Patna High Court comprising Justice SK Katriar and Justice Jyoti Saran on Wednesday asked the Central government counsel to submit a report regarding tenders for construction of the super speciality hospital, Jai Prakash Narayan All India Institute of Medical Sciences (JPNAIIMS).

The court adjourned the hearing of the PIL of Council for Protection of Public Rights Welfare (CPPRW) to September 4.

Complaining about the dilly-dallying attitude of the centre, the petitioner CPPRW, referred to earlier records which revealed that on May 15, 2006 the estimated expenditure was Rs 332 crore, which was hiked to Rs 533.15 crore on February 25, 2009, but till date the actual construction work had not commenced.

Blaming the Union as well as the Bihar government for non-commencement of the construction work even five years after the foundation stone for the project was laid, the counsel for CPPRW, said the estimate for the construction had been hiked by over 200 crore in last three years. It was pleaded that accountability should be fixed on the officials responsible for the delay and loss of public money.

The then Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat had laid the foundation stone of the prestigious medical institute at Phulwari Sharif in Bihar on Jan 3, 2004 and Rs 300 crore was allotted for the speedy completion of the project.

The proposed AIIMS in Patna was part of the central government project envisaging setting up AIIMS-like institutes in Patna (Bihar), Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Bhubaneswar (Orissa), Jodhpur (Rajasthan) and Rishikesh (Uttarakhand).






BCCI asks former CJI’s opinion

Mumbai: The BCCI has approached Adarsh Sein Anand, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India and Goolam Vahanvaty, Attorney General of India on issues it has raised with ICC with regard to the ICC Anti-Dope Code 2009.

The BCCI has asked their opinion on (1) whether the obligations to disclose whereabouts in the ICC Anti-Doping Code (2009) would violate fundamental rights under the Indian Constitution if they were obligations imposed by the Indian State and (2) if the said whereabouts clause were part of a contract between two contracting parties in India, would it be unreasonable or bad as being against the public policy of India?





&K High Court confirms manipulation

Shujaat Bukhari

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday confirmed that the DNA samples of the two Shopian women, who were allegedly raped and murdered, appeared to have been manipulated.

During a scheduled hearing of a public interest litigation petition filed by the Kashmir Bar Association, Chief Justice Barin Ghosh and Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir were briefed on the findings of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) by Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Kashmir zone Farooq Ahmad.

After studying the CFSL report, the Chief Justice said the DNA makeup of the vaginal swabs did not match with that extracted from the blood and viscera of the victims. He appealed to the parties to the case to “show light” on the way forward. The case will now be heard on August 18.





High court stays conviction of former NALCO boss


Cuttack, Aug 12 (PTI) The Orissa High Court has stayed the conviction and sentence of former chairman and managing director of the public sector aluminium giant NALCO S K Tamotia in a disproportionate assets case.

A special CBI court in February this year had awarded the technocrat three years simple imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 in a disproportionate assets case under Prevention of Corruption Act.

Terming the lower court’s verdict as “erroneous”, Justice Indrajit Mohanty in his order observed, “I am of the considered view that this is an exceptional case in which order of stay of conviction should be passed taking into consideration the ramification of the facts.”

Justice Mohanty also justified the exercise of authority vested under Section 389 (1) of the CrPC.





HC stays order on closure of computer centres

Press Trust of India , Express News Service Posted: Thursday , Aug 13, 2009 at 0331 hrs Kolkata:

A division Bench headed by Chief Justice S S Nijjar on Wednesday passed an order staying the order of a single bench which stopped functioning of the computer training centres affiliated to the state Youth Welfare Department.

Now, about 200 computer centres would function normally, according to an order passed by the division bench on Wednesday.

Ranjit Nandi and 17 others, owners of computer centres in various districts, filed a writ petition on Tuesday, challenging the order passed on August 4. Justice Sanjib Banerjee of the Calcutta High Court had directed that Youth Computer Training Centres and Youth Vocational Training Centres set up since 2004 after obtaining affiliation from the Youth Affairs Department would not function. Justice Banerjee had directed the department not to give any approval or financial assistance for opening new computer centres in the state.

Advocate Kalyan Banerjee, counsel of the owners of the computer centres, moved the plea saying thousands of students have been affected following the order passed by the single bench. The bench had passed the interim order before hearing arguments of both sides, he pleaded.

Namaste London vs Poran Jay Joliya Re
A Division Bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and I P Mukerji of the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday did not pass any formal order on lifting the ban on the screening of Bengali film Poran Jay Joliya Re — alleged to be a plagiarised version of a Hindi film. The Bench asked the counsels of both the producers — Bipul Shah of Namaste London and Venkatesh Film of Poran Jay Joliya Re — to submit the respective scripts as well as the screenplays on Friday. The Bench said that it would be easy to compare the two films once they go through the scripts.

IT order on Suchitra Sen’s wealth set aside
The Calcutta High Court On Wednesday set aside an order of the Income Tax authority on wealth tax of noted actress Suchitra Sen over her flat in a posh south Kolkata locality. Justice Indira Banerjee ordered that Sen must be heard by the IT authority before passing any order over her appeal.

Sen, who owned property at Ballygunge had given it to a developer and received nine flats in exchange. She sold six of them and turned the remaining three situated on one floor into a single one. Served with a demand of Rs 30,57,930 on March 30, 2006, she appealed to the assistant commissioner of wealth tax seeking lowering of the amount. When she did not receive a reply, her tax consultant Sibendu Basu made a representation to the commissioner of wealth tax, who in his order on March 31, 2008, said that the tax demand would not be lowered.





Provide data on undertrials lodged in jails, HC tells state–HC-tells-state/501415/

Express News Service Posted: Thursday , Aug 13, 2009 at 0154 hrs Mumbai:

In view of undertrials languishing in jail for years without trial, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the state government to provide data regarding undertrials lodged in jails as on July 31, 2009.

The court has sought details of those who are in jail for three, five, seven and 10 years. For each category, the state shall also submit the offences prisoners are facing and reason for delay in adjudicating the cases.

A division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice A R Joshi observed that most cases are not brought before court because of escort problems.

The judges further observed that most of these prisoners will be eligible for bail as they have already spent considerable amount of time in jail.

The bench had earlier remarked that the state cannot keep someone in jail without trial for 10 years. The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by undertrial Shailesh Gandhi.

Based on earlier court direction last year, a report has been filed by TADA court and Principal Judge of the sessions court regarding details of undertrials who are in jail since 1993 for offences under TADA.

Others include undertrials facing charges for offences under NDPS as well as Indian Penal Code.





HC seeks fresh status report from MCD

TNN 13 August 2009, 06:22am IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought a fresh status report from MCD on a PIL seeking direction to take steps for closure of illegal slaughterhouses in the city.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice of Delhi HC A P Shah and Justice Manmohan sought the report with details on the number of slaughterhouses in the city, after the construction of modern Ghazipur slaughterhouse, within a week and directed a senior officer to be present on August 19, the next date of hearing, to explain the situation. “Make a statement before the court and tell us what is possible,” the court said.

The court’s direction came on a PIL filed by one Mohamed Amjad Thakur alleging the civic agency’s failure to control the illegal slaughterhouses in the city.





Shopian case: J-K to seek HC nod for CBI probe

Express news service Posted: Thursday , Aug 13, 2009 at 0530 hrs Srinagar:

Following reports that samples taken from the Shopian rape and murder victims had been tampered with, the J-K government on Wednesday decided to hand over the controversial case to the CBI after seeking permission from the High Court.

“The government has decided that it will refer the case to the CBI,” Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather said in the Assembly after the opposition PDP raised the issue. “We will bring this to the notice of the High Court in the next hearing. We will have to follow the High Court’s directions then,” the minister added.

Meanwhile, attesting that fact that the vaginal swabs sent for DNA analysis to the Central Forensic Laboratory do not match with those of Aasiya and Neelofer, the High Court said it would constitute a more empowered Special Investigation Team to probe the case if it was not satisfied with the work of the present SIT. This SIT, the court observed, would be on the pattern of the one formed by the Supreme Court to investigate the Godhra riots.

 “It is no longer a case of either Bar or Shakeel (husband of one of the murdered women). It is now the case of the people of Kashmir. We will pursue this case,” said Chief Justice Barin Ghosh after Advocate General Ishaq Qadiri presented the status report of the SIT and a sealed envelope containing the CFSL report.

“We seek suggestions form the Bar and the Advocate General in their individual capacities, not as parties to this case, to give a proper direction to the investigations,” he said, also seeking suggestions of the Shopian Majlis Mashawarat which has been leading a campaign for justice.

When Bar president Mian Qayoom expressed fears that the case may go the same way as the sex scandal, the Chief Justice said: “We will not permit this. It is better, you talk to Shakeel and the Shopian Majlis and come up with suggestions to give the case a proper direction,” Chief Justice Ghosh said.

At this, Shakeel told the court that he has been receiving constant threats from the police to shut up. “All through the investigation I have been receiving threats from the police. This matter can be solved within no time but I doubt the sincerity of the investigation team,” he said.

Earlier the Speaker had to cancel Zero Hour after the PDP, joined by some members of the ruling NC and Communist leader M Y Tarigami, raised the issue. “Pathribal is being repeated… Again, attempts are being made to shield the culprits. The government should set a timeframe to complete the investigations,” Mehbooba Mufti said.





HC to rescue of stray dog lovers

12 August 2009, 11:58pm IST

NEW DELHI: The next time you think of feeding stray dogs in your locality, take care. Some irate residents have now taken upon themselves to assault and abuse neighbours who feed stray canines.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday came across seven such complaints, including one filed by a lawyer, from different parts of the capital. They all sought protection from neighbours who allegedly abused and assaulted them.

Coming to the rescue of the complainants, Justice Rajiv Shakdher directed the police to ensure the safety of the women who had taken up the task of tending to stray dogs. The HC also directed the SHOs of the concerned areas to “act upon the complaints”.

Filing a petition through counsel Kanchan Singh, petitioner Namrata Chanda sought a direction for security to her as some of her neighbours had allegedly assaulted her for feeding dogs.

She claimed that being an animal rights activist, she also regularly insured vaccination and sterilization of stray dogs as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

The petitioner brought to the court’s notice that the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pension commission had issued circulars clearly indicating that tending to community animals must not be objected to.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher directed the SHO of Freedom Fighters colony in Kalkaji area of South Delhi to protect Chanda.

The high court, which is also hearing the main petition filed by NGO Citizens for the Welfare and Protection of Animals on the issue, delivered a verbal order just a week after disposing of a similar petition in which protection was sought. The court on August 4 was then assured by the additional standing counsel of the government that the safety of petitioner Jasmine Damkewala, a practising lawyer, would be ensured and the complaint would be passed on to the SHO for “appropriate action”.

Talking about the incident, Jasmine said, “Many dog loving citizens have come forward to file their complaints as we face resentment from every quarter for feeding dogs. Even the NGO Frendicoes has filed a petition before the court. We don’t want people with such mentality to hamper our task.”





HC appointments under challenge

TNN 13 August 2009, 03:01am IST

BANGALORE: Appointments by the high court, by way of a notification in 2008, to the posts of second division assistants have been challenged.

Ramesha had filed an application pursuant to the June 23, 2008, notification. He has, however, claimed in his petition that persons who have not filed the applications as specified under the rules were selected. “A candidate with just PUC qualification has been appointed, though the minimum qualification prescribed is a degree,” he has stated.

“Persons who have not made any applications pursuant to the notification have been appointed. And the person with PUC qualification has been given appointment with a rider that he should complete the degree in 5 years. The petitioner, who has got 62% marks in degree, is sidelined without reason,” M S Padmarajaiah, the petitioner’s counsel, said.

“We are suffering because of a dearth of staff. No candidates are available. Some of those who have been selected cannot draft legal papers. Some persons, when asked to write `high court’, will write `I court’. What to do? Some of them have good marks but they studied in Kannada… Because of all these practical difficulties, we have promoted office assistants to higher posts, giving them 2-3 years to complete necessary minimum educational qualification,” a division Bench headed by the chief justice observed before asking the HC registry to find out why the petitioner’s case was left out.

`Complete hearing case by month-end’

A division Bench has directed a single Bench to complete the hearing in a disqualification matter pertaining to 13 councilors from Mandya, by the end of the month. Byrappa and others have moved the court, challenging the disqualification as well as the rider put by the single Bench taking away their voting rights.

Land near BMIC peripheral road: status quo ordered

The high court has ordered status quo in relation to some agricultural lands in Chikkathoguru village in Bangalore South. The court had ordered a notice to NICE, undertaking the BMIC peripheral road project, KIADB and the government on a petition by Ramayya and others. The petitioners have claimed that their lands were unnecessarily and illegally acquired for the project.




Justice Misra is Patna HC CJ

TNN 13 August 2009, 05:37am IST

PATNA: Governor Debanand Konwar on Wednesday administered oath of office to the new Chief Justice of Patna High Court, Justice Prafulla Kumar Misra, at a simple function at the Rajbhawan here.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar, Bihar Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary, Legislative Council chairman Tarakant Jha, Justice Shivakirti Singh and other present and former judges of the high court, Bar Council of India chairman S N P Sinha, advocate general P K Shahi and many lawyers were present on the occasion.

Chief secretary Anup Mukherjee read out the Presidential warrant of appointment of Justice Misra as the Chief Justice of Patna HC. Law minister Ramnath Thakur, DGP Anand Shankar and senior IAS and IPS officers of the state were also present on the occasion.

Justice Misra would be the Chief Justice for a little more than a month as he is to retire on September 17, 2009. It was in 1996 that he was elevated from the bar as a judge of the Orissa High Court. Before being appointed the Patna HC Chief Justice, he was a judge in the Madras HC.

He hails from a reputed family of jurists. His father late Jaikant Misra was a judge while his uncle Gatikant Misra was the Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court. His elder sister, Justice A K Padhi, was also a judge of the Orissa High Court.





Govt in fix over HC query on cop

Ajanta Chakraborty, TNN 13 August 2009, 04:59am IST

KOLKATA: Who was responsible for initiating an “illegal” vigilance inquiry against IPS officer Nazrul Islam in 2006? This question by Calcutta High Court has put the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government in a fix.

Islam, who has apparently been asked by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee to join her ministry as a senior officer, has been in news for the “step-motherly” treatment meted out to him by the state government. He also got into a controversy last year for writing an article against the state government’s ways.

In 2006, Islam, now the additional director general of police (traffic), had filed a case against the state government because the state vigilance commission had initiated an inquiry against him, based on an anonymous letter. The letter had alleged that the IPS officer had amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Islam filed a petition in Calcutta HC, challenging the inquiry. He also alleged that the inquiry had caused him harassment and humiliation.

On June 25, 2008, Justice S P Talukdar directed the state government to pay Re 1 as compensation to Islam for initiating an “illegal” vigilance inquiry against him. It also asked the government to hold the officer responsible for initiating the “illegal” case against Nazrul, then IG (welfare). During the hearings, the state home secretary had conceded that the vigilance inquiry had not been initiated as per law making the court dub the inquiry as “inherently illegal”.

The judge directed that the compensation (Re 1) be deducted from the salary of the errant officer and be paid to Islam in four weeks. Following the order, the state government issued a cheque of Re 1 to Islam in July. The amount had come from the state treasury and the government chose not to identify the individual responsible for Islam’s harassment.

Even as it paid Islam the cheque, the state government chose to file an appeal before the division Bench against the order. In November last year, a division Bench upheld the order passed by the single Bench. The Bench comprising Chief Justice S S Njjar and Justice Sanjib Banerjee also directed the government to ascertain the responsibility of the state government official who had caused the harassment to Islam. As per the court’s directive, the amount should have been detected from this official’s salary.

But months have passed and the state government has remained mum on the second part of the court order. Islam has been writing several letters to chief secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti, home secretary Ardhendu Sen and even to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. Not receiving any response, the IPS officer finally sought the explanation through the Right to Information Act.

“We have received the complaint. But I cannot comment any further than this,” state chief information commissioner Arun Bhattacharya told TOI.




SNC Lavalin scam: SC returns Pinarayi Vijayan’s writ


Thiruvananthapuram, Wednesday 12 August 2009: The writ petition filed by CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan challenging the Kerala Governor RS Gavai’s decision to prosecute him in the sensational 300 billion crores SNC Lavalin scam was returned by the Apex Court today.

Pinarayi Vijayan filed the writ petition at the Apex Court on Monday through senior lawyer PH Parekh.

The petition was filed in the wake of increasing speculation on the delay of filing petition by the comrade who is accused of wrongfully awarding a contract to Canadian company SNC Lavalin for of two power plants when he was the state power minister in 1997. Pinarayi Vijayan is the seventh accused in the case. Among the accused is an official of SNC Lavalin and also the Canadian company itself.

The other six are all former officials of the Kerala State Electricity Board.

According to reports, Pinarayi expects to get a stay as he is supposed to appear before the trial court on 24th next month. In his petition Pinarayi vijayan has alleged that, the Governor cannot over rule the decision of state cabinet and while giving consent the Governor has not abided the guidelines of Supreme Court.

In the progress report filed by the CBI Chennai unit DYSP, V Ashok Kumar, before the CBI Special court, here, it has been stated that Vijayan, a former Power minister, should be arraigned as the seventh accused as while serving as Electricity Minister between May 1996 and October 1998 he colluded with K Mohanachandran, Principal Secretary (Power) and joined criminal conspiracy which was already hatched in 1995 by R Sivadasan, former KSEB chairman and others in the matter of awarding supply contracts of the projects to Lavalin.

Vijayan had led a high level delegation to Canada in October 1996 and held discussions with SNC Lavalin and Export Development Corporation International Development agency regarding the contract and took a decision in awarding the supply contracts to Lavalin at a fixed rate basis, the investigating agency said.

The main consideration in the award of the contract, which was signed by KSEB on February 10, 1997 without government approval, was the grant offered for establishment of Malabar Cancer Centre (MCC) at Thalassery in Kannur district.

The E Balanandan committee, appointed by the Kerala government, in its report had opined that the complete replacement of the machinery need not be carried out for the hydel projects and essential parts alone need to be replaced for which the estimated cost will be around Rs 100.5 crore.

CBI said Vijayan along with then Chief Minister, late E K Nayanar and late Dr V Rajagopal, then KSEB chairman, again visited Canada during June 1997 where the grant amount to establish the MCC was decided at Rs 100 crore.

The CBI stated that Vijayan along with other accused had ‘fraudulently with dishonest intention’ of showing undue favour to SNC Lavalin entered into only a ‘non binding’ memorandum of understanding on April 25, 1998 for MCC instead of a legally valid MOA which facilitated Lavlin to back out from the commitment later, thereby ‘cheating the government.’ Lavlin, taking advantage of the non binding agreement, backed out of the commitment after spending only about Rs 12 crore through its consultants, thus not financing MCC to the tune of Rs 86.25 crore.

As part of the criminal conspiracy Vijayan, Mohanachandran and A Francis and others placed a crucial note for approval before the council of ministers on Mar 3, 1998, after suppressing various facts, including the fact that MOU route was dispensed with the Union government, full report of the National Hydel Electric power corporation was not highlighted and concurrence of Central Electrical Authority, and obtained cabinet approval, CBI stated.

Vijayan also had close contacts with SNC Lavalin officials and by abusing his official position had exerted ‘high pressure’ on the staff of KSEB and thereby favoured Lavalin in their official dealings with KSEB, CBI said.

The investigations revealed that supply contract for renovation and modernisation of the Panniyar, Shengulam and Pallivasal hydel projects was given to SNC Lavalin at an exorbitant rate and the per MW cost for the same was the highest. This caused a loss to the Kerala government with corresponding wrongful gain to Lavalin, CBI said.





Prisoner murdered in jail, claim rights activist,+claim+rights+activist&artid=/H8d7cES8mw=&SectionID=vBlkz7JCFvA=&MainSectionID=fyV9T2jIa4A=&SectionName=EL7znOtxBM3qzgMyXZKtxw==&SEO=

C Shivakumar

First Published : 15 Aug 2009 04:28:00 AM IST

Last Updated :


CHENNAI: Mystery shrouds the death of a prisoner in the Cuddalore Central Prison recently with prison officials alleging it to be a suicide and rights group claiming it to be a murder.

Amul Babu died on August 3, 2009, of head injuries. News reports quoting prison officials said Babu committed suicide by dashing his head against the prison wall. But a petition filed by a rights group Prisoners Rights Forum with the NHRC on Friday alleged that Babu did not commit suicide but was allegedly murdered by about 10 prison warders in the Cuddalore prison.

The death of a prisoner in Cuddalore Central Prison recently “was not suicide but murder”, claims the petition.

The petition says that, “Babu was kept in the quarantine block of Cuddalore prison on August 3. He was removed from the quarantine block by a group of prison warders forcibly and was taken to an unknown place at about 11 pm.” “About 10 prison warders joined together and beat Amul Babu severely and caused serious bleeding injuries on his body and threw him back into his cell in the quarantine block. After some time, the prison warders again entered his cell and took him away and had brutally beaten him to death,” the petition alleged. The petition alleged that, “no enquiry worth the name was ever conducted either by the state government or by any prison authorities into the alleged suicide.” “These warders have always been at the command of deputy jailor Sekar and they have been doing whatever he commands them to do. They are called commando party in the prison,” the petition alleged.

A senior police officer told Express, “He was found in possession of ganja.

An enquiry is going on. It is an unnatural death. Only an enquiry can reveal whether it is a homicide or suicide.” A prison official in Cuddalore claims the allegations of murder is false. When questioned on how Amul Babu could cause such fatal injuries by banging his head on the wall, a Cuddalore Central Jail official said, “May be after banging his head on the wall he would have fallen and have hit his head on the ground affecting his brain. Let us wait for the RDO enquiry and the post mortem report.” The prison official said, “Amul Babu was an AIDS patient. We recovered some drugs from him. It may be drugs or may be herbs which he may be taking as a medicine. We have taken the samples for a chemical analysis.”




NHRC officer selected for police medal


New Delhi, Aug 14 (PTI) Inspector Rajvir Singh of the Investigation Division of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has been chosen for police medal on the occasion of Independence Day for meritorious service.

According to NHRC, Singh has been part of several spot inquiries conducted by the Commission which included Nandigram violence in West Bengal, Kandhamal violence in Orissa and naxal violence and Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh.

Singh had joined Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) in 1982 as assistant sub-inspector and later moved to the NHRC in 2006.

He will be the sixth officer posted with the Investigation Division of the NHRC who have been honoured with the prestigious award in the last three years





Nightmare In Free India

Chhattisgarh hounds rape victims who dare to raise their voice


LAST MONTH, TEHELKA published a report on how India’s apex statutory human rights watchdog, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has virtually connived with the Chhattisgarh police to deny justice to that state’s poor tribal women – women who were raped by Special Police Officers (SPOs) from a tribal militia paid by the state police. Ever since these women moved a judicial court in the southern Chhattisgarh district of Dantewada two months ago, police and SPOs have been terrorising them to take back their case, forcing them to run from their ‘protectors’.

This militia, the Salwa Judum (literally: peace march), has wreaked havoc on the poor and defenseless tribals of Chhattisgarh for four years, burning entire villages, beating men and women and forcing thousands into government-sponsored and -protected camps. From these forced migrants, the state police have enrolled over a thousand people and has had them turn guns and brutalities on other tribals.

In June 2008, on orders from the Supreme Court, an allpolice team from the NHRC met several women who accused SPOs of raping them – but rejected their testimonies. Even as copies of the TEHELKA issue which carried the horrifying rape testimonies were being distributed, SPOs began swooping down on the villages of these women, threatening them openly. In one such village, Shamshetty, a dozen SPOs rode in on motorcycles, claiming they wanted to meet the women “to pay them money.”

One rape victim who lives in a village close to the border with Andhra Pradesh had the AP police arrive at her door, threatening to take her and her husband to AP – unjustifiable because she has no criminal or civil case, against her or filed by her, in AP. In a third village, the SPOs were actually accompanied by the police. They asked for the rape victim by name.

On August 2, these rape victims turned up at the makeshift office of the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (VCA), a Gandhian NGO run by activist Himanshu Kumar, at Dantewada town. Angry over Kumar’s fearless and resolute campaign against the Salwa Judum atrocities, the police had illegally demolished his 17- year-old sprawling ashram three months ago. On August 11, Kumar took the victims to meet the city’s district magistrate (DM), IAS officer RB Kangaley. “Police goons are threatening to kill these women on Independence Day, August 15th,” he told her. Is this freedom? Is this Gandhi’s free India? Kumar says Kangaley has promised them protection. Will she succeed?

A word here about the judge hearing the rape victims’ testimonies in Konta, a sub-district of Dantewada. For the last two hearing dates – July 17 and August 12 – the judge has been “called away to headquarters”. The victims’ lawyer says they have no formal explanation why he is unable to come to court when the victims are to be heard.

Is it just the State that is callous and brutal towards hapless, defenseless victims of rape? Or are we as a class complicit in refusing to accept these rape victims as full citizens of independent India? Nine years of pioneering journalism has made TEHELKA a household name across India, with wide acceptability overseas. Last week, one of India’s most prestigious journalism awards, instituted by the Rajasthan Patrika newspaper, was awarded to my colleague, Harinder Baweja, for her stunning exclusive reportage from the headquarters of the Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan. On the other hand, India’s top media organizations – from newspapers to TV channels – have ignored the heartrending testimonies of these six women from Chhattisgarh. It is a pity that sixty-two years after India earned independence, promising justice and liberty for its sons and daughters, tribals in our forest lands find no support from India’s social and political elite in their fight for justice.

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 33, Dated August 22, 2009





‘Sold’ kid takes parents to NHRC, NCW

Chandigarh, Aug 12 : She was just 13 when she was sold off to a 30-year-old man for Rs 50,000 after a small bidding. Two years later she escaped her captor but was sold off again, this time for Rs 100,000.

Now 15-year-old Netra (name changed), who managed to give her second ‘husband’ the slip on Aug 5, has decided her parents cannot get away with it and that ‘victimized minors like me’ need to send a strong message to society against sexual exploitation of helpless young girls.

‘The excuse was that my father was poor, so even those who knew about it kept quiet,’ said Netra, tears welling up in her swollen eyes. ‘But I have now decided to take up my case with the NHRC and the National Commission for Women. Maybe there will be some justice for me.’

Narrating her horrifying story on Tuesday, she said, ‘I was sold by my father for Rs 50,000 to a man in Pinjore. The other one in Kurukshetra, a mill owner, bought me for Rs one lakh. My family was in dire need of money and my father’s vegetables shop wasn’t doing well. And I ended up getting sold.’

The girl from Rajpura added she was ‘physically, mentally and sexually’ abused by both men for two years.

‘I still remember the date when I was put up for sale. January 17, 2007. I was just 13. My family had then asked me to accompany them to Pinjore. But when we reached there, I was informed about my marriage. Later, he told me that he had purchased me for Rs 50,000 and that I should do as he wished.’



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