LEGAL NEWS 24.08.2009

Online admission: Another ‘hacked’ victim moves HC

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/online-admission-another-hacked-victim-moves-hc/506081/

Express News Service Posted: Monday , Aug 24, 2009 at 0032 hrs Ahmedabad:

In Yet another grievance related to the online admission procedure for professional courses, a student from Nirma University of Science and Technology, Ahmedabad has approached the Gujarat High Court.

The student wants the HC quash the action of the Admission Commission for Professional Courses (ACPC) to arbitrarily transfer him from Nirma University to an engineering college in Vasad, Anand district.

The petitioner, identified as Akash Gamdha from Ahmedabad, had passed the Class XII board examination with 95 per cent. After undergoing the online admission procedure, he secured admission at Nirma University’s Information Technology faculty as per his choice in July.

After having been allotted a roll number and attending

a few classes, Gamdha came to know on July 31 that he had been transferred to a Vasad college. On approaching the ACPC authorities, he was told that his password was hacked and that his admission was shifted to Vasad.

In the petition filed through his counsel, S K Patel, Gamdha has contended that since he had secured admission at the reputed Nirma University, there is no question of him opting for a college in Vasad.

He also stated that out of the total 12 alternate choices, he never mentioned the name of the Vasad

college, so his admission to Nirma University should continue.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi has ordered to let the student study at the Nirma University till the final verdict on the petition.

Intimidated, animal lovers approach HC for protection

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/intimidated-animal-lovers-approach-hc-for-protection/506138/0

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Neha Sinha Posted: Monday , Aug 24, 2009 at 0121 hrs New Delhi:

Animal lovers who feed stray dogs have approached the High Court for protection through as many as seven different petitions.

Last week, the first hearings were held on these petitions; all are related to the same issue — dog lovers being harassed, and in the case of some women, molested, for feeding and taking care of stray dogs.

The High Court has now served a notice to the government.

Before approaching the High Court, these animal lovers shared their experiences with each other. It emerged that the number of people who had problems with neighbours was very high. Some women have complained of molestation, and many say RWAs and the local police have actually become part of the problem. Feeding dogs has set off a trend of criminal intimidation, they say.

“We wanted to know if these problems existed on a larger scale. Most of the responses we got confirmed that they do, and everyone who wrote in urged us to go to court,” says Geeta Seshamani, co-founder of Friendicoes animal shelter, one of the petitioners.

“The dogs are aggressive and they bite” is the commonest complaint dog lovers get. “It’s absolutely untrue,” writes in a dog lover from Vasant Kunj. “People make these stories up to discredit dogs, even those that have been de-wormed and vaccinated,” she says.

“People have thrown stones at me and used foul language. On one occasion, pups were smeared with white paint and thrown into a dump full of broken glass. Once the paint hardened the puppies could not move their limbs,” says the woman who feeds dogs in D-block, Vasant Kunj.

A 66-year-old woman from Golf Links writes in that despite being a senior citizen, she has had stones hurled at her for feeding dogs. She says she considers dogs on the road “homeless” dogs, not strays. But despite having a letter from the Ministry of Environment and Forests authorising her to feed dogs, police complaints have been filed against her.

A resident of Chittaranjan Park complains that stray dogs are not allowed inside public parks. “Only expensive pedigrees like Beagles are let in. Residents have also resorted to throwing boiling water on any stray animal, dogs or cats.” She also says that “whether the dogs bark or not” she and her family have been threatened and told that the MCD will be called in to “take care” of the dogs.

A woman who writes in from South Extension says “people want that stray dogs should be invisible, forage from dustbins, and lie dead on the road”, while a Mehrauli resident adds that people in his colony hit dogs but want to make sure “they don’t die in front of their houses”.

A resident of Panchsheel Park, who has been feeding dogs there for 15 years, says her RWA has been harassing her. “I have to face my cruel neighbours for dogs who have done nothing to endanger anyone else’s life.”

Such is the level of intimidation that many do not want to be named. “We have put in this case to protest against what is going on. Many of those who are suffering are too frightened to be named. We hope the case sets a precedent,” Seshamani says.

HC judge who declared assets could be first and only judge-blogger

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/hc-judge-who-declared-assets-could-be-first-and-only-judgeblogger/506194/0

Maneesh Chhibber Posted: Monday , Aug 24, 2009 at 0203 hrs New Delhi:

Punjab and Haryana High Court judge K Kannan, who has become the first sitting judge to make public his assets, is possibly also India’s first and only sitting judge who airs his views on court judgments and other issues on his personal blog.

From lawyers’ strikes to lawyers failing to switch off their mobile phones inside the courtroom, from abortions to homosexuality, from unregulated fertility clinics to a court judgment that held unshorn facial hair to be an essential condition for securing admission in a Sikh educational institute — the views of Justice Kannan on all these and more can be read on his blog, ‘Justice Kannan, Being Non-Judgmental’, at http://mnkkannan.blogspot.com

In a letter to Supreme Court lawyer and accountability activist Prashant Bhushan, Kannan has put down the details of assets owned by him and his wife, Rajeshwari Kannan — together, they amount to Rs 59.66 lakh.

On Sunday, the judge clarified to The Indian Express that by doing so he did not intend to defy the Chief Justice of India on the issue of judges declaring their assets.

“I am not taking on the Chief Justice of India and nor are my views different from his (on the subject of declaration of assets by the Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts). I have been misunderstood,” he said.

A post on his blog on the subject says: “Ask this question, what do you do after getting the details? Should a judge be answering everyone how he has got the wealth that he has declared? Imagine a judge enquiring into allegations of disproportionate wealth case of a bureaucrat. In the course of the proceedings, what if the litigant asks the judge, ‘how did you obtain your wealth, before asking me to explain my riches?’

“It may not be a daily occurrence, but consider the mischief that the right to demand the assets statement of a judge could entail. Again, judges are not in the same league as politicians. It is precisely for this reason that the judge, who granted an order of stay of the CIC order, said that judges could not be treated like politicians and ordinary government servants. Politicians are elected by people; they have a right to know the financial antecedents. A corrupt politician may not be re-elected again, if the voter believes that the politician has been corrupt.”

On strikes by lawyers, Justice Kannan writes, “Bandh, as a desi form, is gift of Bharath to the world… We are master craftsmen in perverting or perfecting (depending on what your perceptions are) the tools of protest… Lawyers have different motivations for the boycotts… As Boycott gave his own name to the form of practice against him, a lawyer will one day give this word a new identity and on that day, lawyering would mean boycotting!”

His comment on the Delhi High Court judgment decriminalising same-gender, consensual sex: “Surprisingly, the judgment that runs into 105 pages written with remarkable lucidity, verve and logical persuasiveness does not examine religious objections or what are perceived as against Indian culture. One may suspect that the omission is deliberate.”

On G 8: “G8 is some kind of a big brother… an assemblage of self styled mighty eight that condescends to set the agenda for governance for the rest of the world…”

On land acquisition: “Could there at least be attempts to ensure some statutory changes to placate the righteous indignation against the systematic deprivation of property from farmers for establishing industries…?”

On the subject of controversies like those around painter M F Husain and actor Shilpa Shetty — involving alleged cases of hurting religious sentiments — the Judge writes, “There is a mutual distrust among the various communities and we have to evolve a new ethos and a holistic approach to understanding art in all its diverse facets. The time has just not arrived. Read the provisions of Indian Penal Code on offences against hurting religious sentiments, obscenity and homo-sexuality. You cannot have the provisions in the statute book and still say that certain sections of the public, the police or the magistrates are wrong, can you?”

The judge has been posting since 2007 — this year, broadly at the rate of once every month. His profile says his interests are reading and writing, he enjoys Mani Ratnam’s films, and that his favourite music is Carnatic.

MP HC rejects reservation procedure
http://www.indlawnews.com/Newsdisplay.aspx?0fc883c5-de33-43f9-bce6-144d1e576dbf

8/22/2009

The Madhya Pradesh High Court rejected the plea for staying Bhopal civic bodies elections and issued an order that ward-wise women reservation process should not be completed without the court’s permission.

The joint bench comprising Chief Justice A K Patnaik and Justice Ajit Singh gave the verdict during the hearing of a petition which challenged the women’s reservation for the civic bodies polls. The next hearing would be held after 15 days.

In their petition, Bhopal-based Ashok Malpani and Krishna Ghatge pleaded to stay the polls citing that instead of fifty per cent reservation for women, seventy five per cent was being done, which was a violation of High Court’s directive.

The petitioners counsel Pankaj Dikshit argued that provision of 33 per cent reservation had already existed which included reservations for ST and SC candidates. But the government had amended the provision to provide 50 per cent reservation which was more than the existing provision.

The court also sought reply from the principal secretary,(Urban Administration), Bhopal collector and Bhopal municipal corporation commission with the prescribed time frame.

UNI

Allahabad HC issues notices to CEO, Noida 2 others
http://www.indlawnews.com/Newsdisplay.aspx?bac8c1fa-0265-485a-95f3-390e7de0aa3f

8/22/2009

Hearing a contempt petition, the Allahabad High Court issued notices to Mohinder Singh, the chief executive officer of NOIDA and two others asking them to appear in person before the Court on September 15, and show cause as to why the charges for willful disobedience of the order dated January 29, 2009 passed by this Court in first appeal may not be framed for punishing them under the provisions of Contempt of Court Act.

Passing this order, Justice Sabhajeet Yadav directed to fix September 15, 2009 as the next date of hearing. The Court passed this order on a contempt petition filed by Kendreeya Karmchari Sahkari Grih Nirman Samiti Ltd, NOIDA, through its secretary.

It is stated that on August 12, 1994, the NOIDA authority had made an allotment of residential plots in favour of 1,754 members of applicant society. After that, individual members of the applicant society were given letter of allotment. The aforesaid allotment of applicant’s society was however cancelled by NOIDA on May 5, 1998.

UNI

Educational institutes should be provided tax benefits, says HC
Press Trust Of India / New Delhi August 24, 2009, 0:04 IST
http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/educational-institutes-should-be-provided-tax-benefits-says-hc/367893/

Educational institutes having multiple objectives, including imparting education, cannot be denied the benefit of income tax exemption, the Delhi High Court has ruled.

Allowing a petition of Jaypee Institute of Information Technology Society (JIITS), a division Bench headed by Justice A K Sikri asked the Director General of Income Tax to register the deemed university under the Income Tax Act and provide tax benefits.

The Bench rejected the arguments of the IT department that Jaypee Institute could not be registered under the Act as it was also providing extramural studies, extension programme and field outreach activities, besides imparting education.

Extramural studies are provided by a university or an institution for students who are away from the campus or those who are unable to attend the classes.

“Real education is one that makes a student socially relevant. For this purpose, his greater interface with society is required. The UGC perceives this can be achieved through extramural, extension and field action related programmes. If pure learning, which is one of the purposes of the university, is to survive it will have to be brought into relation with the life of the community as a whole, not only with the refined delights of a few gentlemen of leisure,” the court observed.

Allahabad HC: Ex minister Anand Sen released on bail in Shashi Murder case
http://www.indlawnews.com/Newsdisplay.aspx?39bd8c2e-4de2-41ac-96b6-8c27111f6bee

8/22/2009

Former Uttar Pradesh food processing minister and ruling BSP MLA Anand Sen Yadav, accused in the infamous Shashi murder case, was released from jail on conditional bail granted by the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court.

The HC had granted him conditional bail for two months on August 12. He was in Faizabad jail since June 15, 2008.

The counsel for Anand Sen Yadav said he was released today and not earlier due to some holidays and other technicalities.

On October 22, 2007, a law student Shashi was found missing under mysterious circumstances from Faizabad. Later, she was found dead.

The deceased’s father had alleged the role of the ruling party’s MLA in the crime.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati had then removed Yadav from the Cabinet and had sought CBI probe into the case, which was, however, turned down by the agency.

The former state minister had later surrendered before the Ghazipur police in Lucknow.

Police had already nabbed two co-accused into the abduction and killing case, which included Anand Sen’s driver Vijay Yadav and Seema Azad.

Seema had already got bail from the court, while Vijay is incarcerated in jail.

UNI

Karnataka judge publicity crazy, says an upset CJI

http://birlaa.com/news/karnataka-judge-publicity-crazy-says-an-upset-cji/356814

August 23, 2009 By: admin Category: News

Joining issue with Justice D.V. Shylendra Kumar of the Karnataka HC, Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan on Sunday accused him of being “publicity crazy” for going to the press in support of declaration of assets by judges.

Judges free to declare assets: CJI

http://www.theindiapost.com/featured/judges-free-to-declare-assets-cji/

24 August 2009

23 Aug : Seeking to dispel the impression that he was against disclosure of assets by judges, Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan has said the members of higher judiciary are free to do so and attacked Karnataka High Court Judge D V Shylendra Kumar as being “publicity-crazy”.

He also said he has the right to speak on behalf of all judges as head of judiciary and this is the practice in judicial systems in other countries too.

“The public has a right to know what is happening in judiciary and I am telling and I stand by what I have said on disclosure of assets by judges,” Balakrishnan told a news agency.

He said, “If the judges want to declare their assets, no one can prevent (them). How can I prevent. If the law comes everybody has to declare.”

The CJI said Justice Kumar, who had said that the CJI had no authority to speak on behalf of other judges, wants publicity and that is why he has written on the issue, which is not good for a judge.

“He wants publicity and such a thing is not good for a judge. Judges should not be publicity-crazy,” he added.

Balakrishnan said he has spoken about the declaration of assets by Supreme Court judges which they are doing.

In the absence of law to make public the disclosure of assets, there is no agreement among the judges in this regard and a consensus has to be developed, he said.

Senior advocate and Constitutional expert K K Venugopal said, “I agree with the judge of the Karnataka High Court that all judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts should make complete disclosure of assets.

“This will only enhance the prestige of the Supreme Court and High Courts and also enhance the confidence that public have in administration of justice,” he said.

While former Law Minister and senior advocate Shanti Bhushan was in agreement with the views of Justice D V Shylendra Kumar of the high court, noted jurist P P Rao said being the head of the judiciary as an institution; the CJI was entitled to speak on the contentious issue.

“The CJI can certainly speak on behalf of the judiciary as he is the head of the institution,” Rao said.

Govt may monitor phone calls to counter terror threat

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/Govt-may-monitor-phone-calls-to-counter-terror-threat/articleshow/4929109.cms

PTI 24 August 2009, 05:41pm IST

NEW DELHI: The government, in the wake terror threats, is planning to set up a centralised system to monitor communications on mobile phones, landlines and the internet.

The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT), a telecom research and development organisation, is working on the Telecom Security project, which will help the government to monitor both calls in the country through a centralised system.

Talking about the project, C-DoT Executive Director P V Acharya said: “It is viewed as a national project … Basically, it is about monitoring certain messages or conversations so that we can ensure security of the country.

Essentially, our technology would provide an interface to operator of any service or technology and it will give them access to the messages traversing through their network,” he said.

The present system of surveillance is managed by individual operators, and a phone is tapped and call details are given when law enforcement agencies ask for them.

The government has a Signal Intelligence Agency, a joint service organisation manned by personnel from the army, navy and airforce, which monitors military links (wireless) of other countries.

However, it does not have a centralised monitoring system for voice calls on the mobile, landlines and internet.

The government has not yet decided on how the surveillance system will work.

“We will just provide an opportunity to this … but how this would be done depends on the agreement between the operators and the government,” Acharya said.

Declining to share technical details of the project, Acharya said the first phase of the project will cost Rs 400 crore. It will end next year.

The need for lawful intervention is being felt more after the terror attacks in November last year, when the terrorists were in contact with their instructors on the phone.

Lawyers for national judicial commission

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4925512.cms

TNN 23 August 2009, 10:21pm IST

KANPUR: The state unit of All India Lawyer’s Union (AILU) on Sunday demanded the constitution of a national judicial commission and decided to send a proposal to this effect to the law ministry.

In a meeting held under the chairmanship of its state president Balwant Singh, the union discussed the issue and said judicial commission was a need of the hour in order to completely abolish corruption prevalent in judiciary.

The members unanimously condemned the efforts of the Central government to give special status to judicial officials. Saeed Naqvi, advocate and general secretary of the union, said: “Judges (declaration of assets and liabilities) Bill 2009 was presented in Rajya Sabha by the Central government on August 3, 2009. Section 6 of the bill had given a special status to judicial officers. According to the provision, nobody could ask them to disclose their assets except for the chief justice.” He said it was wrong as they were no different from any other person and hence in the purview of right to information. The members also condemned efforts to exclude judges from the Right To Information Act.

CBI closes probe into Nobel theft

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4926081.cms

TNN 24 August 2009, 02:19am IST

SANTINIKETAN: All hopes of recovery of Rabindranath Tagore’s stolen Nobel medallion have been dashed with CBI appealing to the court to declare the case closed for want of any significant clue into the crime.

The CBI authorities had informed Visva Bharati University that they have stopped their investigation their second attempt at recovering the medallion and 49 other priceless artefacts as they had not found any significant clues. The agency’s original letter was submitted with the Bolpur court and the university authority was forwarded a copy. The letter was written on August 20 and signed by the SP, special crime branch, CBI, Kolkata.

Manimukut Mitra, the registrar of Visva Bharati, said: “We received the letter on August 21. It is not clear whether this closure of investigation is final or temporary.” Mitra said the matter would be placed before the executive committee at its next meeting to decide on their next action.

The priceless medallion and 49 other artefacts were stolen from Rabindra Bhavan on March 25, 2004. CBI took up the case five days later on March 30. After three years during which time several arrests were made and hundreds of Visva Bharati employees interrogated CBI declared the case closed on August 30, 2007 with none of the artefacts having been recovered.

CBI asked for permission to reopen the case again on September 18, 2008, following some developments in Bangladesh. The probe was taken over by P S Bose, the then DSP, CBI Kolkata. However, Bose himself was charged with corruption, arrested by CBI and suspended. Later, CBI engaged a new officer to probe the case.

Land acquisition fire smouldered at wellness hub for years

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4926104.cms

TNN 24 August 2009, 02:28am IST

KOLKATA: It might seem that bungalows inside Vedic Village the five-star spa resort in Rajarhat were set on fire by an angry mob on the spur of the moment after a football match turned sour. But the sequence of events that led to the clearly points to simmering tension and growing discontent over land acquisition for the resort.

Villagers of the area have had a long-standing grouse against the Vedic Village authorities. Former Trinamool Congress MLA Tanmoy Mandal said many among the mob who damaged houses in the

resort were “victims of land acquisition”. “Many local farmers have complained that they were cheated by the authorities. They were asked to hand over their land to Vedic Village for which they got a very nominal compensation. The promoters, on the other hand, got a 70-acre plot on lease from the government for just Rs 1 crore,” Mandal said.Going by current market rates, a cottah of land in the area sells for anything between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 3 lakh, depending on how close the plot is to the main road.

Several villagers had earlier complained that they were cheated when they handed over their land for the project. They alleged that they were not given the promised amount. Time and again, they had protested against the project.

The villagers have also been agitating against the proposed IT hub project in Jagadishpur mouza. The project was put on hold after the state government decided not to acquire farmland. According to a section of the locals, the Vedic Village authorities had acquired land without permission over the years. They apparently had sanction to acquire 70 acres and the government had placed a cap on this limit. However, they continued to acquire land and, by 2006, about 150 acres were taken up without permission from either the local panchayat or government authorities, according to a version.

The Vedic Village promoters refuted the allegations. Raj K Modi, managing director of Sanjeevani Projects Private Limited the developers of Vedic Village said they had all the required sanctions.

“All these allegations of illegal land acquisition and extension without government permission are cooked-up stories. The earmarked land was much more than 70 acres from the very beginning. Besides, this incident has no connection with either the Akash Nirman project or with land acquisition for Vedic Village,” he said.

Land and land reforms minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah said there were no irregularities as far as the land purchased from the state government was concerned. “I am not sure if there has been any dispute over the land acquired from local farmers,” said Mollah.

Rajarhat’s CPM MLA Rabin Mandal refused to comment on the previous disputes. “I have no idea about any previous long-standing dispute. This particular incident should not be seen as a fallout of any political controversy. What happened was very unfortunate,” he said.

IT minister Debesh Das said he was not in a position to comment on the matter. However, he said the IT hub project for which Akash Nirman Private Limited was acquiring land was still on. According to IT officials, the company that owns the land already has 400 acres in its possession, while it is yet to buy the remaining 200 acres from farmers.

SCIC to directly hear RTI appeals concerning commission

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4926095.cms

TNN 24 August 2009, 02:05am IST

LUCKNOW: The RTI complaints and appeals dealing with the State Information Commission and its nodal department — administrative reforms department — will be heard by the state chief information commissioner (SCIC) Ranjeet Singh Pankaj himself. The new SCIC, who was appointed on June 27 this year, has re-allocated the government departments and districts among the 10 information commissioners, including himself.

Not only the information commission but other prominent offices and departments too have been put under the SCIC’s jurisdiction. In fact, there are 21 such offices and departments which are under SCIC’s authority. The appeals and complaints of RTI applicants regarding these 21 offices and departments will be heard by him.

The offices of the governor and chief minister along with the lower and upper houses of state legislature too are in the list. The other offices which figure in the allocation are that of the cabinet secretary, chief secretary and director general of police. Before the new SCIC, these offices and departments were looked after by the acting SCIC Gyanendra Sharma.

The prominent government offices and departments have traditionally been under SCIC’s authority. Prior to Sharma, these offices and departments were under the authority of MA Khan, the then state chief information commissioner.

The new SCIC will hear cases concerning home and related departments, police, appointments and personnel, estate, housing and development, public service commission, medical and health, medical education, environment, vigilance, food and civil supplies, UP freedom fighters welfare corporation and secretariat administration and local administration.

The official order issued by the commission on August 13, also mentions that the SCIC will also take care of all other work which has been allocated to the information commissioners (ICs). The districts too have been allocated among the ICs. The SCIC, under the new order, will hear the matters concerning the districts of Ghaziabad, Hamirpur, Jhansi, Lakhimpur kheri and Mahoba.

The other ICs have got between 7 and 12 departments dealing with urban development, basic and higher education, aviation, industrial development, irrigation, Lokayukta office, bridge corporation, power corporation, finance and secretariat, forest, agriculture, high court and others.

The ICs will also look after the work allocated to them by the SCIC. Further, they will also hear the cases regarding the state directorates of the departments allocated to them. Besides, matters pertaining to the local bodies in the districts allocated to the ICs will be heard by the IC concerned.

Property owners may soon have guaranteed title deeds

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4925502.cms

Mahendra Kumar Singh, TNN 24 August 2009, 02:23am IST

NEW DELHI: In a move to promote efficient land markets and enhance the capitalisation potential of property, urban development ministry has asked state governments and local bodies to speed up the property title certification system (PTCS) to grant conclusive title guarantee, as part of the reforms agenda under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

In what may revolutionise the land market, the government guaranteed title will ensure easy transfer of property, raise its value and its securitisation. The ambitious plan assumes significance given rampant title frauds and growing number of identity frauds on mortgages that have afflicted the property market.

To start with, the ministry has suggested that city authorities maintain three sets of registers — register of titles, register for disputes and register for charges and covenants — which together would constitute complete record of title of all properties.

In a letter to all chief secretaries, urban development secretary M Ramachandran said, “The objective of reforms is to enable cities to move towards guaranteed title systems. It seeks to create a public record of titles which truly describe the property as well as the title and has a system to reflect any transaction in real time.”

The ministry, which feels that the current revenue records are at best presumptive and do not covey title, has directed city agencies to designate title registration officer, who could be collector or any such other authority.

To fasten the grant of conclusive title guarantees, the ministry wants cities to establish land titling tribunal and land titling appellate tribunal.

“Under JNNURM, all the states have committed to introduce reforms. We want them to expedite the process,” said an official, pointing out that states like Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan were already working on schemes to guarantee land titles.

Under the existing system, property experts said, fragmented land holdings had not been covered by surveys since independence. Also, mutations had piled up and land records had not been updated for decades.

An official pointed out that the present system of recording of rights was only presumptive, meaning the person paying property or revenue tax shown in the land or property record was just presumed to be the owner of the property.

“In case of a dispute, it still requires courts to establish ownership,” said an official. The ministry’s move takes a comprehensive approach to land titling. “It is not merely for better management of land records but we have asked states to make legal changes to end the presumptive character of the record of property rights and grant guaranteed titles to the owners,” the official said.

“Once the titles are determined and guaranteed by the government, it will not be necessary to refer to past records to verify ownership for any future transaction on that property,” he added.

It’s time to make swap organ donation legal

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4925619.cms

Kounteya Sinha, TNN 24 August 2009, 02:31am IST

NEW DELHI: Dike and Priya were among a lucky few. The Nigerian boy and the Mumbai housewife last week became India’s first patients to successfully undergo a swap liver transplant surgery. Priya’s husband donated 20% of his liver to Dike while the child’s mother donated 50% of her liver to save Priya.

This was because both donors’ blood groups did not match their own recipients’ but were suitable for the other.

Interestingly, swapping is still not officially allowed in India. The team of doctors at Gangaram hospital who conducted the swap did take the approval from an in-house regulatory body before going ahead. “It was the only way to save Dike and Priya. Three members in the committee are from the government,” said a doctor.

The case has once again highlighted the dire need in India to make swap donations legal.

What’s interesting is that India has been planning to launch a national organ transplant programme. The health ministry had finished drafting changes in the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994 under which swapping of vital organs between willing but incompatible donors was to become legal.

The current rule restricts organ transplant to between blood relatives (father, mother, son, daughter, wife, husband, sister and brother), near and distant relatives and those having love and affection towards the patient. “The proposal has been lying around with the law ministry for many months now. The faster they clear the file, the earlier we can take it to the Cabinet and then to Parliament. Thousands of people die in India every month due to unavailability of donated organs or lack of a compatible donor within the family,” a health ministry official told TOI.

Swapping will help patients who have relatives willing to donate but are medically incompatible for the recipient.

The amendment also says when the proposed donor or recipient or both are foreigners, the ministry plans to make it mandatory for a senior embassy official of the country of origin to certify the relationship between the donor and the recipient.

The ministry plans to set up Organ Retrieval and Banking Organistions in the four metros and cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Lucknow, Ahmedabad and Guwahati where these organs will be stored. At present, there is only one national level ORBO at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

The ministry also planned sops for live cadaver donors like a 50% discount on second-class rail tickets, lifelong free medical check-up and care in the hospital where organ donation takes place, a customised life insurance policy of Rs 2 lakh for three years with one-time premium to be paid by the recipient in case of a mortality and a preferred status in organ transplantation waiting list if the next-of-kin of a brain-dead donor requires organ transplantation in future.

Blood relations will also not have to pass through a screening authority anymore and undertake several tests. Simple documents like the birth certificate will be enough.

A proposal was also there for post-mortems to be conducted round-the-clock in all government hospitals across India. This will help hospitals harvest healthy vital organs from brain dead patients, for use on others needing it to survive.

At present, most post-mortems are done during the day. This leads to loss of crucial time, which makes most organs unusable.

Contract judges to clear backlog of cases in N-E

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4926187.cms

IANS 24 August 2009, 02:18am IST

AGARTALA: The Gauhati high court has decided to appoint judges on contract to deal with the huge backlog of pending cases, an official said here Sunday.

“To dispose of thousands of long pending cases, Gauhati HC’s Chief Justice Jasti Chelameswar has approved the appointment of judges on contract for lower courts. So far, six contract judges have been selected for appointment for two-year terms. In legal terms, they are called ‘tenure judges’,” Tripura law secretary Swapan Chandra Das said.

Das said these judges are selected from lawyers who have completed three years’ law practice and are qualified to sit in the judicial service examination.

Judges free to make their assets public: CJI

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/Judges-free-to-make-their-assets-public-CJI/articleshow/4923325.cms

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN 23 August 2009, 03:10am IST

NEW DELHI: Faced with all round criticism of the higher judiciary over its reluctance to make judges assets public, Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan says if individual judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court want to make public their assets, they are free to do so.

Reacting to the criticism by a Karnataka HC judge that the CJI’s views on assets was not the view of the overwhelming majority of judges, Justice Balakrishnan said that there was no institutional deterrence against an individual judge going public with his or her assets.

“If an overwhelming majority of the judges in the High Courts and the Supreme Court are willing to declare their assets, what is stopping them? Why are they not doing it? Why is it not publicised?” he asked.

“All judges as individuals are absolutely free to make public their assets,” he said as if meeting the accusation levelled in certain quarters that though the judges are willing, it is the CJI who was stopping them from doing so.

“What I had talked before on the assets issue pertained to the Supreme Court judges, all of whom have diligently declared their assets and investments to me and have updated the list everytime they made fresh investments,” the CJI told TOI in an exclusive interview.

And he and other senior judges appear to be seriously concerned with the damage caused to the judiciary by the perception spread by vested interests that the judges are reluctant to declare their assets.

“None of it. It’s true we are concerned about frivolous litigation. But, we do declare our income and pay tax. It’s all in the records. But, the time has come to seriously think of some way to undo the damage caused to the judiciary because of misinformation,” he said.

“The Supreme Court will consider what we should do regarding the assets to be made public,” Justice Balakrishnan said. However, he asked this reporter: “Are the assets and investments of all government servants and their dependents made public every year?”

He said the SC judges have been scrupulously following the 1997 Resolution adopted at a full court meeting of the Supreme Court, which said, “Every judge should make a declaration of all his/her assets in the form of real estate or investments (held in his/her own name or in the name of his/her spouse or any person dependent on him/her) within a reasonable time of assuming office to the Chief Justice of India, who should also make a similar declaration for the purpose of record.”

Regrettably, many of the HCs do not even follow this voluntary declaration procedure, he said, adding: “The assets declared to the CJI by SC judges are held in confidence and if all the judges decide then it could be placed in a website or in any other mode by which it could be made public.”

“We should seriously think of doing something. We have not done anything wrong so why should we receive so much of rebuke,” the CJI said.

dhananjay.mahapatra@timesgroup.com

Law panel for 10 years’ imprisonment for death caused by rash driving

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082354960800.htm

J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: Expressing serious concern over the increasing number of deaths caused by road accidents due to rash and negligent driving, the Law Commission has recommended 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment for such offences, up from a two-year term provided in the Indian Penal Code.

The Commission, headed by Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, in its 234th report submitted to the government on Saturday, also recommended that causing death by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs should be punished with a minimum prison term of two years.

In its report on ‘Legal reforms to combat road accidents,’ the Commission said: “India has one of the largest road networks in the world, of 3.314 million kilometres, consisting of national highways, expressways, State highways, major district roads, other district roads and village roads. More than 1,00,000 Indians are dying every year in road accidents. More than a million are injured or maimed.”

Driving recklessly/dangerously, non-observance of traffic rules, driving without driving licence, driving by untrained/disqualified drivers/minors, driving under the influence of liquor, driving while talking on mobile phone, driving without helmet, ill-health of vehicles and bad road infrastructure are among the causes of accidents, accroding to the report.

The Commission, which took up the issue suo motu in its recommendations, said Section 304 A IPC should be suitably amended to provide for 10 years imprisonment and causing death of any person under the influence of liquor should be punishable with a minimum of sentence of two years and any second or subsequent offence punishable for one year.

For rash driving or riding on a public way in a manner as to endanger human life, the Commission suggested amending Section 279 IPC by introducing Section 279 A and providing for five years’ imprisonment, as against six months at present. Similar under Section 338 IPC for causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others, the Commission suggested five-year imprisonment as against two years at present and for reckless driving under Section 184 IPC, the Commission has recommended a punishment of five years.

“Install CCTV cameras”

The Commission asked the Centre to enact a comprehensive legislation on road traffic law to regulate all kinds of traffic. “As an important part of the enforcement measures, there should be compulsorily installed CCTV cameras at all vulnerable points, to be determined by an expert committee to curb traffic violations.”

Further all motor vehicles should be fitted with irremovable or tamperproof speed governors to regulate speed, the report said.

Law must be dynamic to fight terror: Moily

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082354890800.htm

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Pointing out that the “exact frontiers” of terrorism are still unknown, Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily on Saturday said law should be dynamic to meet the growing challenge posed by terror networks and outfits across the world.

“It is a scenario of worrying future because terrorism attacks democratic institutions, human rights and innocent people. Vigilance by jurists and dynamism by lawmakers should be wedded in the process of law-making to deal with the menace.”

Mr. Moily was speaking at a conference on the “Constitution and Anti-Terror Laws,” organised jointly here by the Rashtriya Jagriti Sansthan, South Asia Politics and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, a German organisation.

Describing terrorism as “an undeclared war” on humanity, Mr. Moily said ordinary law and encounters were not the answer to delay in delivery of justice.

Referring to the constitutional protection vis-a-vis anti-terror laws, the Minister said encounter was not an answer, though some thought it was due to the delays in the criminal justice system.

“Unless the criminal justice system is totally overhauled, which we would like to do in the future, it is necessary to build not only capacity of law enforcers, but also the judiciary. There has to be an all-out war on the root, trunk and branches of terrorism.”

Setting up of NIA

Realising the need for a federal agency to probe terror-related crimes, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was created recently. “Looking into the inter-State and international nature of terrorism, the need was felt to create the NIA and it is important to have a federal law, which is quite possible. I have recommended it in the Administrative Reforms Commission [ARC] report,” Mr. Moily said.

Terrorist acts were aimed at destabilising nations and citizens. “It is an attack on our institutions of democracy, symbols of national pride, security and strategic infrastructure and on civilians. Terrorism is a reminder for the global community to stop the rhetoric and perform to effectively fight the menace.”

The Minister said terrorism posed a new challenge to law enforcers and lawmakers alike, and new approaches, techniques, weapons, expertise and laws were required to fight it. “The lawmakers and enforcers need to change their mindset and will have to attune themselves to these new challenges posed by terror.”

Thorat apologises for violating Wildlife Act

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082356700100.htm

MUMBAI: Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Balasaheb Thorat on Saturday apologised for violating the Wildlife Protection Act by entering the cage of a tiger cub at Nagpur. “I met the Union Environment Minister and explained my side,” Mr. Thorat said.

CJI constitutes committee of judges to simplify laws

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082354950800.htm

J. Venkatesan

It will identify subjects for preparation of Restatements of Law

New Delhi: Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan has constituted a Committee of Judges to bring out an authoritative series of ‘Restatements of Law’ on about 100 topics to remove ambiguities surrounding the legal principles and their applicability; clarification and simplification of laws for their better adaptation to social needs.

In the first stage the committee will identify the subjects suitable for preparation of Restatements of Law (RoL). It is proposed to have two parallel projects — long-term and short-term, having regard to the nature of topic, current relevance and need for re-statement.

The objective of the project undertaken in association with the Indian Law Institute is to identify uncertainties in law in basic legal subjects; extensive examination and analysis of legal areas requiring reform and statement of current law of the land by considering both statutory provisions and judicial interpretations.

The committee, comprising a few Supreme Court and High Court judges, eminent jurists, academicians, and scholars, has initially embarked upon a pilot project (to create standards as models) in three areas: legislative privileges, contempt of court and public interest litigation. The other short-term subjects are: corrupt practices in elections; treaty-making power of the state; preventive detention and adoption.

The long-term projects would be in administrative law; arbitration; partnership; succession; damages and compensation; interpretation of statutes and deeds and consumer protection. There will be periodical addition of subjects, revisions and updates of existing re-instatements.

Reinstatements unlike text books and treaties are not opinion-based; they are authoritative pronouncements of the law on a subject at a particular time exploring principles, interpretations, practices and impact. It avoids ambiguities and complexities as far as practicable by simple language, illustrations, comparative insights and incisive probes on fundamentals. They can be selective on issues and topics and need not be comprehensive on all aspects of a given theme.

The CJI is of the view that an authoritative series of RoL will be of enormous help to lawyers, judges, academicians, civil servants and general public as it is formulated with extensive inputs from various sources. When properly drafted RoL would reflect the consensus of the legal community as to what the law is and what it should become.

RoL on a subject will also restrict the practice of citing a string of old cases, every time a principle had to be stated.

For the three areas already selected, the committee will invite academicians, lawyers, judges and other scholars to act as authors, editors, advisers/consultants. They will prepare a draft report in each topic by the end of December this year. It will be considered by a sub-committee and after revision, wherever necessary, will be published by the ILI in a month’s time inviting comments, debate and discussions from the legal world.

Thereafter the relevant suggestions and comments received from the public would be placed before a full committee of judges for incorporating them in the draft report and the final report is expected to be published as a book before the retirement of Mr. Balakrishnan in May 2010.

Prosecute all culprits in J&K torture case: ACHR

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082354800700.htm

J. Balaji

NEW DELHI: The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) has urged the National Human Rights Commission to prosecute all the culprits in the Jammu & Kashmir police torture case of 2003 in which a rickshaw puller, Mohan Lal, of Amritsar was tortured to death.

Welcoming the award of Rs. 5 lakh compensation ordered by the Commission to the poor man’s family, ACHR director Subhas Chakma, who took up the matter first with the Commission, said it should also direct the Punjab government to inform it about the investigation of FIR No.228/2003 registered with the Sadar police station in Amritsar pertaining to the death of Mohan Lal and the follow-up action on the prosecution of all the culprits including those who fudged the first post-mortem report in Jammu.

“The Commission should put an end to the menace of torture in India,” he said.

While the first port-mortem report said Mohan Lal’s body had 16 external injuries and the cause of death was “septicaemia,” a magisterial enquiry conducted by the Tehsildar (Settlement) concluded that Mohan Lal had died due to a blood infection and there was no foul play in his death. However, a second post-mortem conducted by a medical board at the Amritsar Medical College revealed 41 injuries including incised wounds, blisters and also six marks of injuries caused by passing electric current. The blisters and electric current marks which were observed in the second post-mortem were not mentioned in the first post-mortem report.

NCTE decision can’t be overruled: High Court

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082360370900.htm

Special Correspondent

‘Not an absolute fundamental right of colleges to run institutions’

‘Mere creation of infrastructure did not guarantee recognition’

‘Policy decision not to grant recognitions aims at achieving the objectives of the NCTE Act’


JAIPUR: In a landmark judgment, the Rajasthan High Court has held that the policy decision of the National Council for Teachers’ Education (NCTE) to control “mushroom growth” of teachers’ training colleges in the country cannot be put to judicial review even if the colleges have created a huge infrastructure and employed a big staff.

Disposing of a bunch of more than 100 writ petitions moved by private colleges running teachers’ training courses such as B.Ed. and B.S.T.C., Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari said the NCTE was entitled to refuse recognition to them for running the courses for the academic year 2009-10 under its policy decision to check the increase in the number of such institutions.

The Court, in its verdict delivered at the Jaipur Bench here over the weekend, took a serious note of the fact that in Rajasthan alone the number of trained teachers coming out of these colleges was around 1.20 lakh every year against the number of jobs limited to 20,000 a year.

The State Government submitted before the Court that there were only 5,593 vacancies for trained teachers during 2008-09, while about 4 lakh candidates applied for them.

About 110 colleges in the State were denied recognition with the intention to regulate the availability of jobs vis-À-vis the number of eligible trained candidates.

The Court was also informed that the NCTE was conducting a national survey in which many of the recognised institutions had been de-recognised for various reasons.

Counsels for the petitioner colleges contended that they had put in huge amounts for creating infrastructure and employing the staff, but they were denied recognition for 2008-09 and a lot many might have been deprived in 2009-10.

College inspection

The NCTE took applications from all the colleges and also inspected their sites and facilities.

Looking to the fact that the NCTE has taken a decision to regulate the number of colleges running in each State, Mr. Justice Bhandari observed that the NCTE had decided not to grant recognitions to achieve the objectives of the NCTE Act, 1993: “The requirements of manpower and other aspects are said to be under survey. The information supplied by the State Government, taken as an input to decide the issue as to whether the institutions should be given recognition or not, is correct.”

“Since it is a decision in respect of all institutions in the country, the policy decision of the NCTE cannot be held to be overruled by the Court in a casual manner,” ruled the High Court.

The Judge also observed that it was not an absolute fundamental right of colleges to run the institutions, subject as it was to reasonable restrictions.

Holding that the national council had met all requirements of reasonableness, the Court said the institutions were fully aware that the mere creation of infrastructure did not guarantee recognition.

The Court clarified that the colleges which had removed deficiencies indicated to them alone had been given recognition for 2008-09 and this act could not be claimed to be arbitrary.

NCTE decision cannot be overruled: Rajasthan court

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082354810700.htm

Special Correspondent

Plea filed by colleges running teachers’ training courses

JAIPUR: In a landmark judgment, the Rajasthan High Court has held that the policy decision of the National Council for Teachers’ Education (NCTE) to control “mushroom growth” of teachers’ training colleges in the country cannot be put to judicial review even if the colleges have created a huge infrastructure and employed a big staff.

Disposing of a bunch of more than 100 writ petitions moved by private colleges running teachers’ training courses such as B. Ed. and B.S.T.C., Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari said the NCTE was entitled to refuse recognition to them for running the courses for the academic year 2009-10 under its policy decision to check the increase in the number of such institutions.

Serious view

The Court, in its verdict delivered at the Jaipur Bench here over the weekend, took a serious note of the fact that in Rajasthan alone the number of trained teachers coming out of these colleges was around 1.20 lakh every year against the number of jobs limited to 20,000 a year.

The State government submitted before the Court that there were only 5,593 vacancies for trained teachers during 2008-09, while about 4 lakh candidates applied for them. About 110 colleges in the State were denied recognition with the intention to regulate the availability of jobs vis-À-vis the number of eligible trained candidates.

National survey

The Court was also informed that the NCTE was conducting a national survey in which many of the recognised institutions had been de-recognised for various reasons.

Counsels for the petitioner colleges contended that they had put in huge amounts for creating infrastructure and employing the staff, but they were denied recognition for 2008-09 and a lot many might have been deprived in 2009-10.

The NCTE took applications from all the colleges and also inspected their sites and facilities.

Looking to the fact that the NCTE has taken a decision to regulate the number of colleges running in each State, Mr. Justice Bhandari observed that the NCTE had decided not to grant recognitions to achieve the objectives of the NCTE Act, 1993.

“The requirements of manpower and other aspects are said to be under survey. The information supplied by the State government, taken as an input to decide the issue as to whether the institutions should be given recognition or not, is correct.”

“Since it is a decision in respect of all institutions in the country, the policy decision of the NCTE cannot be held to be overruled by the Court in a casual manner,” ruled the Court.

“Not absolute right”

The Judge also observed that it was not an absolute fundamental right of colleges to run the institutions, subject as it was to reasonable restrictions.

Life term for one in Syed Modi murder case

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082356321800.htm

Atiq Khan

Second accused acquitted

LUCKNOW: The prime accused in the Syed Modi murder case, Bhagwati Singh, was on Saturday sentenced to life imprisonment by Additional Sessions Judge of Lucknow Shashank Shekhar, 21 years after the badminton player was shot dead at the rear gate of the K.D. Singh “Babu” stadium here.

The 27-year-old eight-time national badminton champion was killed on July 28, 1988 when he was riding home on his scooter from practice. The killers, who were waiting for him, sped towards Rae Bareli in a Maruti van after executing the crime.

Bhagwati Singh was held guilty on two counts under Section 302 (murder) and Section 27 (possession of illegal arms) of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The prime accused had been convicted by the Additional Sessions Judge on Friday and the quantum of punishment was pronounced on Saturday. The second accused, Jitendra Singh, was cleared of the charges for want of evidence.

The murder sent shock waves in sporting circles. The case soon assumed political overtones after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) charge sheeted Jan Morcha leader Sanjay Singh and Modi’s wife Amita on grounds of conspiracy.

Mr. Sanjay Singh, who was a senior Minister in the Uttar Pradesh government headed by the then Chief Minister, Bir Bahadur Singh, left the Congress and joined the former Prime Minister V.P. Singh. The CBI probe was recommended by Mr. Bir Bahadur Singh in August 1988, even as the local police investigating the case claimed to have zeroed in on the killers. The investigating agency stepped in only in September 1988.

Apart from Mr. Sanjay Singh and Ms. Modi, the CBI charge sheet also named Akhilesh Kumar Singh, sitting MLA from Rae Bareli Sadar, Amar Bahadur Singh, Bhagwati Singh, Jitendra Singh and Balai Singh.

The CBI alleged that the contract to kill Modi was given to Akhilesh Singh by Mr. Sanjay Singh. The CBI cited an alleged affair between Mr. Sanjay Singh and Ms. Modi as the cause for giving the alleged killing contract.

While the CBI was accused of moving on a political trail, Mr. Sanjay Singh and Ms. Modi were discharged in 1990 by a trial court, a year after the CBI filed the charge sheet. Mr. Sanjay Singh and Ms. Modi later married.

Charges against Mr. Akhilesh Singh were also dropped. While Amar Bahadur Singh was murdered, Balai Singh died during the course of the trial. Jitendra Singh has been cleared of the charges.

Mayawati statues to fulfil Kanshi Ram’s wishes: U.P.

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082355070900.htm

Legal Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Uttar Pradesh government has justified in the Supreme Court the installation of statues of Chief Minister Mayawati and Bahujan Samaj Party leader Kanshi Ram at various places, contending that a budgetary allocation had been made for this purpose. In its affidavit in response to a public interest litigation petition alleging that crores of public money were being spent for her personal glorification, the government said it was wrong to suggest that only statues of dead persons could be erected.

The petition sought a direction to restrain the government from installing statues of Ms. Mayawati and elephants (BSP symbol) with public money and demanded a CBI probe into the alleged misuse of state funds.

The affidavit said the statues of living personalities such as film star Amitabh Bachchan and the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had been erected. There was no dearth of statues of living persons, whether in the country or abroad. “Abroad we have wax statues of film stars, cricketers and other living personalities finding a place in Madame Tussauds,” a wax museum in London. The affidavit said Ms. Mayawati’s statues were erected to fulfil the wishes of Kanshi Ram, who willed that wherever his statues were put up, the statues of Ms. Mayawati, “his only heir, must also be installed.”

It said a budgetary allocation of Rs. 294 crore and Rs. 203 crore had been made for works in parks in Lucknow and Noida, where the statues were being installed. “Money has been sanctioned by the State government through a budgetary allocation approved by the Assembly; every expenditure was authorised by the State legislature. The Department of Culture made provisions for Rs.194.2 crore in 2008-09 and Rs. 100 crore in 2009-10.”

Denying that a stupa was being built at a cost of Rs.500 crore, the State said: “It was a wrong notion that the stupa, being built with other statues, will cost Rs. 500 crore. The cost of the stupa is Rs. 203 crore, and not Rs. 500 crore as stated in newspaper reports.” The State said: “The judiciary must exercise self-restraint and eschew the temptation to encroach upon the domain of the legislature or the administrative or statutory authorities,” and sought the dismissal of the petition.

3 convicted in anti-Sikh riots case

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082361032000.htm

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Saturday convicted three persons for attempting to murder members of a Sikh family during the 1984 riots. Additional Sessions Judge held Mangal Sen, Brij Mohan Verma and Bhagat Singh guilty of attempt to murder, rioting and dacoity in Shastri Nagar in north Delhi. While deciding the case, the judge made a strong indictment of the manner in which the Delhi police and the state machinery had acted during the riots.

The anti-riots cell of the Delhi police had probed the incident in which Joginder Singh and his two sons were seriously injured, while their house was burned down by a mob led by the convicts on November 1, 1984. — PTI

PIL plea against additional entrance for temple in Srirangam dismissed

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082360440900.htm

Staff Reporter

MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here has dismissed a public interest litigation petition filed against the construction of an additional entrance by demolishing a wall near the Maha Dwaram (main entrance) to the Goddess Renganayaki Sannidhi at the Sri Aranganathaswamy temple at Srirangam.

A Division Bench of Justice Chitra Venkataraman and Justice M. Duraiswamy said that petitioner N. Mohanram, a devotee, had not placed any material either from Agama Sastras (ancient procedures on temple management) or otherwise, which would stand in the way of providing the additional entrance or widening the existing entrance.

The court said that they did not find anything wrong in providing an additional entrance or widening the existing entrance from four to six feet. This was being done after obtaining expert opinion, to ease congestion caused by the narrow passage, especially during festive occasions.

The Bench pointed out that M. Muthiah stapathi, temple architect, who is the president of the Stapathi Advisory Committee of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, had inspected the temple on March 20 and gave the opinion that the existing entrance could be widened and an additional entrance provided in the second ring of the compound wall.

Writing the judgment, Ms. Justice Venkataraman said that the officials had rightly gone ahead with the work after taking the assistance of the stapathi. It was not as though they had embarked on widening and providing an additional entrance as a fanciful exercise.

Stating that the temple officials had proceeded in the right direction to provide better facilities for devotees who throng the temple in large numbers, the judge said any remedial measure taken in the interest of the devotees and for facilitating easy flow of huge gatherings on festival days needed to be appreciated.

Earlier, petitioner’s counsel argued that the temple authorities had an obligation to maintain the properties of religious institutions in their pristine character. Architectural, sculptural and archaeological features of every structure in the temple should be maintained with utmost care.

The Bench said that it did not agree with his submissions based on Management and Preservation of Properties of Religious Institutions Rules.

Court grants anticipatory bail for two, including advocate

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082360040700.htm

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Friday granted anticipatory bail for two persons, including an advocate, in a case registered against them by the Ammapet police station in Salem district.

In their petition, Rajmohan, the advocate, and his relative Ramalingam, both of Salem, stated that on August 14 when the lawyer’s six-year-old son was returning from tuition, six persons kidnapped him. When the petitioners went to the scene of the abduction, members of the public caught hold of the alleged kidnappers and attacked them. Mr. Rajmohan preferred a police complaint.

Based on a complaint from Ashokan, the police registered a case in which the petitioners apprehended arrest.

Petitioners’ counsel S. Prabakaran submitted that the petitioners were victims, but had been falsely implicated by the complainant with a view to escaping from the clutches of law.

Justice K.N. Basha said it was a very unfortunate case wherein a practising advocate along with his relative had been implicated in a case for the alleged offence under Sections 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 307 (attempt to murder) Indian Penal Code on the admitted case of the prosecution that when the de facto complainant attempted to kidnap the son of the advocate, the petitioners intervened and, at that time, the incident is said to have taken place.

It was curious to note that in the FIR and the statement recorded by police, Mr. Ashokan had categorically stated that he had conspired along with his brother and others to kidnap the boy.

Mr. Justice Basha said in the event of their arrest, the petitioners should be released on bail on their executing a bond for Rs.10,000 with one surety.

They should also appear before the police concerned for interrogation as and when required.

Legal literacy

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082358200300.htm

Avinashilingam University for Women is organising a short term course on ‘Legal Literacy’ for tribal women from August 24 to 29.

For details, call 0422-2433408.

Grasp spirit of anti-ragging laws, students told

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082358620300.htm

Staff Reporter

‘Ignorance of the laws is no excuse’

VIJAYAWADA: Anti-ragging laws, which came into effect following instructions from the Supreme Court, are made to be stringent and severe to the extent of disqualifying a guilty student from pursuing his studies forever.

It is there in the law that once a student if found guilty of a severe form of ragging, the authorities concerned can write down in his or her all available certificates about the offence committed.

The attestation of the fact that one has violated anti-ragging law will serve to permanently close a student’s study prospects, not to talk of their future careers.

“So, students should be very careful in this. Do not hurt anybody.

Ignorance of law is no excuse from punishment and the courts will not accept such defence,” said P.V. Ramana Rayalu, Principal Senior Civil Judge, Vijayawada. He appealed to the students to understand the spirit of and abide by the Prohibition of Ragging in Educational Institutions Act, 1997.

Students cautioned

Mr. Rayalu delivered the keynote address at an awareness meeting on the Prohibition of Ragging Act organised on the premises of the VR Siddhartha Engineering College at Kanuru on the outskirts of the city on Saturday. He cautioned the students against taking a casual stance of the anti-ragging law, saying that those violating the act would get caught ultimately to face the consequences. He explained to the students that every citizen, young and old, was supposed to be well-versed with the laws that were being made to protect the best interests of our society. These days, a lot of publicity was being given about the evil of ragging and the punishments that would be passed on to the guilty students based on the severity of their offences.

Mr. Rayalu explained to the students that being judges, they would not usually come out in the midst of the public nor would they allow any outside interaction, but the necessity arose considering the need for creating more awareness among the people about their laws and rights.

In notice boards and hoardings, the VR SEC authorities put on display information about the nature of ragging and the consequent punishments.

The imprisonments ranged from six months to 10 years while the fines could be slapped from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 50,000.

Schools’ closure: State likely to move court

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082359110300.htm

Special Correspondent

‘Future of 2 lakh children, 30,000 teachers is in jeopardy’

VISAKHAPATNAM: The State government is likely to move court seeking modification of its order directing closure of private schools which did not conform to norms in the wake of its inability to relocate students. The parents will join hands with it to protect their children’s education in the current academic year.

Expressing this view and endorsing it fully, MLC M.V.S. Sarma told mediapersons here on Saturday that as many as 530 schools in Visakhapatnam were asked to close for their failure to obtain recognition or register the schools, which meant the future of two lakh children and about 30,000 staff was in jeopardy. Though the High Court wanted an alternative to be provided, it would be difficult to relocate the children in the current academic year, he pointed out.

“Nobody questions the corporate educational institutions whether they are complying with the norms and providing basic facilities despite collecting heavy fee. But small educational institutions which cater to the poor and middle class children are pulled up. These small schools are, in fact, run by self-employed youth groups which charge reasonable fee since most of the children cannot afford to join corporate schools nor are there enough government schools to accommodate them,” he stated.

Mr. Sarma said that practically no school would be able to provide playground and other facilities prescribed by the authorities. The issue would also come up for discussion in the Legislative Council shortly, he said.

Railway zone

On the demand of creating a separate railway zone for Visakhapatnam, he said though all the MPs made it a pre-poll promise, it was a pity that only one MP attended the recent meeting addressed by the Union Minister of State for Railways.

“Neither the Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development and Visakhapatnam MP D. Purandeswari, nor Rajya Sabha member T. Subbarami Reddy, who had time and again promised to take up the issue, attended. Even other MPs from north Andhra also abstained. There is need to launch a people’s movement for achieving separate railway zone for Vizag,” he opined.

Buyer can cancel deal if builder delays project: consumer court

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082354320600.htm

Staff Reporter

‘The company cannot retain any portion of the booking amount’

BANGALORE: The developer is duty-bound to return the amount paid by buyer when there is delay in execution of the housing project and the buyer is well within his rights to cancel the agreement with the developer when he sees no progress in the project.

This was observed by the 3rd Additional Bangalore District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum in the two cases against Ittina Properties Limited.

‘Failure’

“It’s the failure of the company to materialise with the project that has compelled the complainants to move for cancellation of the agreements of sale,” the forum observed.

It further said the company was not in a position to sell and deliver the possession of flats in the near future.

“Therefore in the fitness of things, the company should have refunded the amount paid by the complainants at the time of booking,” the forum said.

This observation has been made in the complaints filed by Nilanjan Chakraborti and Dharmesh S. Rao. Mr. Chakraborti and Mr. Rao wanted to buy flats in the proposed Ittina Arni apartments of the Ittina Properties coming up in Hoodi village in K.R. Puram.

The two paid Rs. 2.66 lakh and Rs. 2.92 lakh of the total sale consideration of Rs. 26.6 lakh and Rs. 29.19 lakh for booking the flats.

Agreements

The two signed agreements of sale with the company in January 2007.

On its part, the company had agreed to deliver possession of the flats on or before October 2007. Mr. Chakraborti and Mr. Rao had agreed to pay the remaining amount in equitable instalments.

Progress

When they did not see any material progress in the project, they stopped paying any further amount to the company and sought cancellation of the sale and demanded refund of the booking amount. When the company refused, the two approached the forum.

The company contended before the forum that it could not complete the project as the State Government’s “Akrama/Sakrama” scheme came in the way. The company also said that disputes had arisen between the landowners and private parties over the title of land on which the apartments were to come up.

The company said that as complainants had voluntarily terminated the agreements and it could refund by deducting 30 per cent of booking amount.

‘No justification’

In the order on August 14, the forum members Subhashini, H.M. Shivalingappa and Srivathasa Kelilaya said that there was no justification by the company to retain any portion of the booking amount.

They directed the company to refund Rs. 2.66 lakh and Rs. 2.92 lakh respectively with 18 per cent interest from January 20, 2007.

They have also asked the company to pay Rs. 10,000 each to the two complainants and to comply with the order within 30 days.

Judge orders status quo in land case

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082351810300.htm

Staff Correspondent

Agriculturist accused

of land encroachment

Record of rights examined, objections awaited

HASSAN: Civil Judge Junior Division (Sakleshpur) Moinuddin has directed the parties in a land encroachment case to maintain status quo till the defendants file objections to the interim application.

The case relates to alleged encroachment of forest land by agriculturist U.P. Verghese (plaintiff) in Aluvalli village of Sakleshpur taluk, as claimed by village residents who are the defendants.

The judge said, “I have verified the schedule of the plaint and the record of rights (RoR) produced by the plaintiff. At this stage, in the interest of justice, it is necessary to direct both parties to maintain status quo with regard to the suit schedule properties.” The orders were passed on August 20 while counsel for the plaintiff obtained a copy of the order the next day.

The residents of Aluvalli staged a dharna in front of the Assistant Commissioner’s office in July demanding action against Mr. Verghese for allegedly encroaching upon more than 150 acres of forest and revenue land in a bid to set up a rubber plantation. They also alleged that since the land fell in the Western Ghats, it might affect the ecosystem. The Malnad Janapara Horata Samiti has rendered support to the residents’ protest.

N.S. Gopal, counsel for Mr. Verghese, here on Saturday said his client was a resident of Aluvalli village. The 24.17 acres of land under survey number 24, which was also alleged to have been encroached upon, had actually been in Mr. Verghese’s possession for the past 30 years. He said his client grew coffee, rubber, arecanut and cardamom on the property.

He claimed the “encroached area” was not forest land and that it had been fenced to prevent wild elephants from trespassing. He said the defendants, K.P. Jagadish and 16 others were trying to damage the crops hence the request for injunction orders. Mr. Gopal said the case had been posted for hearing on Monday.

CAT chief should be sitting or former Chief Justice’

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082357950300.htm

J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI: The Law Commission has recommended that the Centre amend the Administrative Tribunals Act to provide for appointment of only a sitting or retired Chief Justice of a High Court as Chairman of the Central Administrative Tribunal.

In its latest report to the government, the Commission, headed by Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, said though a former or sitting judge of a High Court was eligible, the Supreme Court always recommended a former or sitting Chief Justice, given the importance of the post and the nationwide jurisdiction of the tribunal and also because highly complicated service disputes were to be adjudicated.

The first seven Chairmen were Chief Justices of High Courts.

For a short duration from 2002 to 2007, the post was held by former High Court judges.

‘No good results’

“It appears that this experiment, to say the least, did not yield good results. Realising the importance of the post and the nature of work transacted in the Tribunal, the Chief Justice of India, in the beginning of 2007, passed an order that only a sitting or former Chief Justice of High Court would be Chairman.”

However, under Section 6 (1) of the Administrative Tribunals (second amendment) Act, “a person shall be qualified for appointment as Chairman unless he is or has been a judge of a High Court: provided that a person appointed Vice-Chairman before the commencement of this Act shall be qualified for appointment as Chairman if such a person has held the office of Vice-Chairman at least for two years.”

The report said: “There is therefore an urgent need to amend Section 6 regarding the eligibility for the post of Chairman, who invariably needs to be a sitting or former Chief Justice of a High Court.”

Court order to Delhi varsity on professor’s petition

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082354770700.htm

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has given one last opportunity to the Delhi University to file a reply to a petition filed by an associate professor of the Jesus and Mary College here challenging rejection of her application for appointment as professor in the Department of Political Science.

Justice Siddharth Mridul issued the ultimatum when the University failed to file a reply for the second time. The Court has now asked the University to file the reply by November 5, the next date of hearing.

The petitioner, Sushila Ramaswamy, moved the Court in January this year.

In her petition, Ms. Ramawamy, through her counsel Deepak Bhattacharyya, submitted that the University had rejected her application for appointment to the post on the ground that she did not fulfil the criterion for having the experience of ten years of teaching at the university level. Challenging the University’s charge, the petitioner submitted that she fulfilled the criterion.

Court summons BSP MLA in rape case

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/23/stories/2009082358000300.htm

Badaun (UP): A local court here has summoned BSP MLA Yogendra Sagar and two others accused of raping a girl, holding them “prima facie” guilty, after it rejected a CB-CID report giving a clean chit to the legislator in the case.

Additional Judicial Magistrate Rajvir Singh directed Mr. Sagar, MLA from Bilsi, his relative Tejendra Sagar and Neeraj Sharma to appear before him on the next date of hearing on September 18.

Absconders can file appeal: HC
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090824/punjab.htm#19

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The right of a person to assail the trial court judgment by way of an appeal cannot be taken away, even if he is an absconder, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled. The ruling came in connection with an application filed by Manmohan Lal seeking the dismissal of an appeal filed by his son-in-law Vikram as he had escaped from the custody and was absconding.

Lal had contended that his son-in-law was sentenced to life imprisonment for causing “gunshot injuries” to him and his family after barging into their house in Ferozepur district. An FIR for attempt to murder and other offences was registered on June 4, 2007, he added.

But on February 25, Vikram escaped from the police custody before he could be produced in a court in Sirsa the next day.

Taking up the application, the Bench of Justice KS Garewal and Justice Nawab Singh ruled: “We fail to understand how an appellant court can dismiss an appeal without hearing the appellant or his pleader simply on the ground that the appellant is absconding.”

Referring to the legal provisions, the Bench asserted the appellant court, after perusing the record and hearing the appellant or his pleader, might, if it considered that there was no sufficient ground for interference, dismiss the appeal or pass any other order. But it could not be dismissed without being heard.

The Bench added: “If Virkam is alive, he has the right to argue that he is innocent and seek relief. Simply because he is absconding, his right cannot be taken away. As it has been brought to our notice that Vikram is in fact absconding and appears to have escaped custody, the state of Punjab is directed to step up its efforts to apprehend Vikram and proceed against him in accordance with the law.”

For taking the matter to a logical conclusion, the Bench added: Ferozepur Senior Superintendent of Police shall personally supervise the case.

Gujjar body moves court against mobile companies
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090824/j&k.htm

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, August 23
The Gujjars, through Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, have filed a case in a consumer court against eight cellular mobile companies. The firms have been accused of “consumer fraud, false advertising and deceptive trade practices by misrepresenting Gojri” – native language of Gujjars, a spokesperson for the foundation said here today. The mobile companies are BSNL, Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone, Reliance, Idea, Spice and Tata Indicom.

The spokesperson said the “ignorance and neglect” of Gojri language by these companies has compelled the body for initiating legal proceedings against them. This was stated by Javaid Rahi, national secretary of the foundation. The other reason, he said, was the almost defunct services provided by them. “One third of the consumers are Gojri speaking, but they have been ignored in providing quality service and computerised answers in Gojri.” In Jammu and Kashmir, the cellular mobile companies are providing services and ring tones in regional languages like Kashmiri, Dogri and Ladakhi while Gojri is being ignored.

HC asks NHPC to stop work at project site
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090824/himachal.htm#14

Legal Correspondent

Shimla, August 23
The Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) to stop construction work at the Parbati Stage-II site (Kullu) till further orders.

While passing this interim order, the court observed that visual impression of the photographs annexed with the petition showed that debris had been thrown in the Parbati river without proper precautions.

The court observed it was necessary for the NHPC to ensure that there was no degradation of environment and ecology in and around the project area.

The court added that the petitioner had also made various representations to the state authorities, including the Chief Minister, for stopping haphazard work undertaken by the NHPC.

In view of this, the petitioner had made out a prima facie case for suspension of construction activities undertaken by the NHPC. Consequently, the court directed stopping of construction activities being carried out by the NHPC.

The court also issued notice to the secretary MPP, HPSEB, Him Urja, NHPC and Pollution Control Board (PCB) and directed them to file reply within four weeks.

This order came on a petition filed by Narender Sharma of Manikaran and Rajesh Sharma Barisaini of Kullu district.

They alleged that the NHPC was constructing head raise tunnel (HRT) at Jagrain nullah Barsaini in Kullu district.

The NHPC had not identified any dumping site and was throwing debris in the Parbati river. The petitioner alleged that it had caused huge damage to the river and the trees around the area.

The petitioner mentioned that the PCB had also issued notice to the NHPC for its illegal activities to stop construction but the same was not adhered to by the NHPC.

They urged the court to direct the respondent to stop the unscientific dumping of the debris in the Parbati river.

Assets of judges
Public disclosure would be right

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090824/edit.htm#1

Karnataka High Court Judge Justice D.V. Shylendra Kumar deserves to be commended for having stressed the need for judges to disclose their assets in national interest. Significantly, his views are at variance with those of the Chief Justice of India, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, who had taken the position that throwing open the information to the public may lead to harassment of judges. Justifiably, Justice Shylendra Kumar has supported disclosure from the standpoint of the people’s fundamental right to know under Article 19 (i) (a) of the Constitution as also under the Right to Information Act. Interestingly, Justice Kumar dispels the CJI’s apprehensions of the judges’ “safety and security” in the event of their disclosing the assets and avers that the rule of law should operate “uniformly” — something which the Supreme Court itself had maintained in various judicial pronouncements over the years. The Tribune, too, has been commenting in these columns that judges, being constitutional functionaries, should not claim any immunity from the rule of law in the interest of transparency and accountability.

Though the Centre has deferred the introduction of the Judges (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities) Bill, 2009, in the recent session of Parliament, one cannot but recall the controversial Clause VI of this Bill which required judges to declare their assets to their superiors but spared them from being made public. Had the Bill been passed, it would have served little public interest. No wonder, many members had opposed it.

The need for asset disclosure has become far greater today because of the increasing cases of corruption involving the members of the judiciary. There is also a growing public perception that there is lack of accountability and transparency in the judiciary. Moreover, when most judges are known to be just and impartial, command people’s respect and have nothing to hide, they should not be reluctant to disclose their assets. Instead, they should come forward and support the cause of transparency as Justice Shylendra Kumar has done.

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One Response

  1. useful and infomative.

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