LEGAL NEWS 28.08.2009

Jaswant moves SC challenging Modi govt on book ban

Agencies Posted: Friday , Aug 28, 2009 at 1200 hrs New Delhi:

Jaswant Singh, along with the publisher of the book on Jinnah, filed a petition in the apex court against the ban.

Expelled BJP leader Jaswant Singh on Friday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Gujarat government’s ban on his book on Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

Singh, along with a representative of Rupa and Co, publisher of the book ‘Jinnah – India, Partition, Independence’, filed a petition in the apex court against the ban imposed by the Narendra Modi government on August 19, two days after the book’s launch.

The petition said that the Gujarat government notification banning his book had no mention of the content which called for action and added that the ban was imposed without anyone reading the book.

While imposing the ban, hours after Singh was expelled from the party, the state government had alleged that it had defamed the image of the country’s first Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel by “questioning his patriotic spirit”.

However, Singh maintained that the step amounted to “banning thinking” and likened it to the one taken against noted author Salman Rushdie for his controversial work ‘Satanic Verses’.





Delhi ruling class is protecting builders: SC

Submitted by admin on August 28, 2009 – 10:47 am

New Delhi:

Stalling of the demolition and sealing drive against illegal buildings and encroachments in Delhi by a Parliament enacted law came in for sharp criticism from the Supreme Court, which said the protection given to wrong doers by the ruling class has irreparably harmed planned development.

Because of the encouragement and support from the state apparatus, the powerful construction lobby has shown scant regard to repeated anti-encroachment orders of the Supreme Court and the High Courts and also to the master plans and zonal development plans, said a Bench of Justices BN Agrawal and GS Singhvi.

As when the courts have passed orders or the officers of the local and other bodies have taken action for ensuring rigorous compliance of laws relating to planned development of the cities and urban areas and issued directions for demolition of illegal/unauthorized constructions, those in power have come forward to protect the wrong doers by issuing administrative orders or enacting laws for regularization of illegal and unauthorized constructions in the name of compassion and hardship , the Bench said.

Writing for the Bench, Justice Singhvi said such protection has irreparably harmed the concept of planned development of cities and urban areas.

It is high time that the executive and political apparatus of the State take serious view of the menace of illegal and unauthorized constructions and stop their support to the lobbies of affluent builders and others, else even the rural areas of the country will soon witness similar chaotic situation, the Bench said.

The Benchs anguish brimmed over in its judgment dismissing an appeal by Shanti Sports Club, which had sought legalization of a vast expanse of government land in south Delhis posh Vasant Kunj area which it had encroached upon and set up several sports and club facilities.

The SC did not miss then urban development minister Ram Jethamalanis soft approach towards the encroachment. The then minister, who recorded a note dated June 8, 1999, was extremely magnanimous to the Shanti Sports Club when he wrote that the extensive construction must have been made with full cooperation of public servants concerned, it said. Jethamlani had advocated no demolition and favoured negotiations for regularization.

The Bench agreed with the reason behind the encroachment but refused to accept the regularization suggestion. It said: Having carefully examined the entire record, we have no hesitation to observe that the construction of this magnitude could not have been possible, but for the active connivance of the concerned public servants who turned a blind eye to the huge structure being built on the acquired land without any sanctioned plan.





Sister Abhaya: SC to consider CBI petition today

New Delhi, Friday, August 28, 2009: The petition filed by CBI against the Kerala High Court directive to grant bail to three accused in the sister Abhaya murder will be heard in the Supreme Court today.

The petition filed by CBI mainly demands scrapping of some statements made by the Kerala High Court against CBI while granting bail to the three accused in the sister Abhaya case.

The Supreme Court Division bench of DK Jain, and HL Dattu will also hear another petition moved by CBI challenging the transfer of the Abhaya murder case from CBI Delhi unit to Kerala unit.

Both the petitions were postponed for today on last Friday after the CBI’s additional solicitor general Harin P Rawal failed to turn up.






Punish errant RTO officers: HC to state

Shibu Thomas, TNN 28 August 2009, 05:27am IST MUMBAI:

The Bombay high court has initiated a suo motu Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in a multi-crore scam involving bogus registration of illegally imported superbikes.

A division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Ajay Khanwilkar has asked the state to initiate action against the RTO officers who registered the vehicles, including suspension and prosecuting them for criminal offences. This was required “to prevent further loss to the government”, said the court.
The judges have also directed the state CID, which is probing the scam, to submit a progress report in
four weeks.

The case involves 642 superbikes, each worth between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 14 lakh. The modus operandi was to illegally import spare parts, which would be assembled and sold in India. The accused would thus evade paying Customs duty. The vehicles were subsequently registered at Andheri and Pen RTOs on the basis of bogus documents and without proper verification.

Senior Bombay high court judge Justice B H Marlapalle referred to media reports in the case to the Chief Justice, who directed that it be converted to a suo motu PIL. The HC appointed senior advocate Aspi Chinoy as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the case.

A report submitted by Chinoy revealed that three RTO officers had registered all the vehicles-Bhajran Kharmate of Pen RTO had approved 442 bogus registrations, A R Shaikh had approved 124 and B G Khandale sanctioned the rest.

According to a note submitted to the court, around 18 other RTO officers were involved in the registration of these vehicles but a file seeking sanction to prosecute them was pending before chief minister Ashok Chavan.

The court has asked the government to furnish reports on the scam prepared by transport commissioner, transport secretary and Department of Revenue Intelligence.






Wrap up slum rehab cases fast: HC to panel

Mohan Kumar

Posted: Aug 28, 2009 at 0044 hrs IST

Mumbai The Bombay High Court has asked the high-power committee formed to deal with complaints of irregularities in the Slum Rehabilitation Authority projects to expedite the hearing of cases.

“Please tell them to do some work,” a Division Bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice SC Dharmadhikari told Advocate-General Ravi Kadam on Thursday.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation, filed by activist Shailesh Gandhi, which was kept pending following the constitution of a high-powered committee by a full Bench of the court in November 2007 to look into the complaints.

Chief Justice Kumar said the court was getting petitions related to slum rehab schemes every day. “Make some schedule so that for at least 1-2 hours every day the committee can hear cases,” the court said.

It noted that the committee was adjourning a case for six months at the first hearing itself.

The Advocate-General defended the committee by submitting that it was working properly. Yet, he admitted, “They don’t have the grip of how to tackle it.”

He pointed out that the public interest litigation was based on 86 complaints moved by various people on irregularities in SRA schemes. Of these, 11 complaints have been disposed of, he said.

The petitioner’s lawyer. Jamshed Mistry, said that the court has reserved its order on the case.





Temple demolition: HC seeks explanation for inaction

TNN 28 August 2009, 04:03am IST

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat High Court, on Thursday, sought explanation from AMC and city police commissioner about non-implementation of court order to remove a temple illegally constructed near Bhuyangdev Crossroads.

A division Bench of Justice AL Dave and Justice KA Puj kept further hearing in September on this contempt petition filed by Jagdish Patel. Earlier in May, high court had asked corporation to remove the illegal structure within six weeks. Police was also asked to provide protection to Patel in case the issue flared up.

Authorities, however, did not act upon the court order and last month Patel’s house was attacked by a mob. Following this, Patel filed a petition in high court demanding action against the officers concerned for not implementing court order which amounted to the contempt of court.







HC bans non-LPG autos in Kolkata, just kits won’t do

Express News Service

Posted: Aug 28, 2009 at 0305 hrs IST

Kolkata The Calcutta High Court on Thursday ruled that all old auto-rickshaws would have to be replaced by four-stroke, LPG single-mode ones for plying in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA).

Meanwhile, a Division Bench of Chief Justice S S Nijjar and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose rejected the plea to allow old vehicles to ply in the city till the pujas.

Hearing the petitions filed by various auto-owners, the Bench said that old autos with valid registrations would be allowed to ply in the KMA only after they are fitted with four-stroke LPG-mode engines.

In an order on July 18, 2008, the Calcutta High Court had directed that old autos be converted into four-stroke LPG mode for plying in the city. On Thursday, the Division Bench made it clear that conversion of old autos should be treated as replacement of old autos by new four-stroke LPG mode ones.

A counsel of auto-owners brought to the court’s notice that the state transport department had issued a notification on August 13, 2009, allowing the two-stroke autos manufactured after August 1, 2000 for conversion to LPG mode by fitting “retrofitment” (LPG KIT). After hearing the plea, the Bench said old autos would not be allowed to be converted to LPG mode by “Retrofitment”.

The transport department had not issued the notification according to the order of the court, said the Bench, adding that the state government should not do so in future against the court’s order.

Advocate General Bolai Roy pleaded that about 1,300 autos have been converted to LPG mode by “retrofitment” and are already plying on roads. The court, however, said those autos would not be allowed to ply.

Counsels of bus owners and autos pleaded that the High Court could allow old public vehicles to ply on roads till puja festival, saying a lot of people, including drivers and conductors, have been starving after implementation of the ban on 15-year-old vehicles from August 1.

The court was, however, not impressed. “People are starving for ban. On the other hand, people will die of pollution in the air. So how can the High Court allow old vehicles to ply in the city?” the Bench said.

In a related development, the HC directed the Chief Controller of Explosives of the Central government to give its sanction within two weeks for setting up LPG outlets in KMA against the pending application of the oil companies. The HC struck down a circular issued by Chief Controller of Explosives issued on December 12, 2006 which imposed condition for setting up LPG outlets and said such sanctions should be issued according to legal provisions of the Explosives rule.

Advocate General Bolai Roy pleaded that at least 50 LPG outlets would be required by December this year to maintain normal fuel supply to autos in KMA instead of the existing 15 outlets. It was not possible for the state government to maintain the court’s order due to the shortage of LPG outlets, he said.

The HC also directed nationalised banks to dispose of loan applications of auto-owners within two weeks for replacing their old vehicles. Roy informed the court that banks took at least two to three months to clear loan applications. The case will come up for hearing in the first week of November.






Will HC judges follow the example set by seniors?

TNN 28 August 2009, 02:17am IST

NEW DELHI: Having forced Supreme Court judges to yield to its demand, the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform (CJAR) has called for a law to make public declarations of assets by all public servants compulsory.

Hailing the decision of judges to put their asset declarations on the apex court’s website as a “welcome first step, CJAR’s convenor Prashant Bhushan expressed the hope that it would “encourage and spur” high court judges to do likewise.

In a statement on Thursday, CJAR said that the proposed law should provide for an public declaration of assets and liabilities as well as income tax returns of all public servants, including judges.

“It is only when people can compare the assets of public servants with their legal sources of income that one can catch public servants who have acquired assets disproportionate to their legal income,” CJAR said.

The argument that IT returns or asset disclosures of public servants would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy was “specious”, it said, since the people are entitled to know whether their public servants are paying their taxes and whether they have acquired disproportionate or unexplained assets.

Much as the public disclosure of assets by judges was a step forward, CJAR said that it was “certainly not the end all of the serious problem of judicial accountability or the lack of it.” Underlining the need for creating an independent institution to deal with complaints against judges, CJAR said that such a body should be independent of both government and judiciary.

CJAR said that there was similarly a need for a full-time independent institution to deal with appointments to superior courts. It said the existing selection system under the control of judges lacked transparency and was often arbitrary and ad hoc.

Referring to an impediment to cases against judges, CJAR said that the Veeraswami judgment need to be overturned as it retrained criminal investigation of judges without the prior written permission of the Chief Justice of India. This has tied the hands of investigating agencies from dealing with complaints against higher judiciary.






Order on autos: HC notice to UT, Punjab, Haryana

TNN 28 August 2009, 02:25am IST

CHANDIGARH: Division bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur and justice KS Ahluwalia on Thursday issued notice to UT administration, state of Punjab and state transport authorities of Mohali and Chandigarh for August 31 on the PIL filed by All Mohali District Auto Rickshaw Workers Union through its secretary Sanjeev Joshi for quashing UT administration’s order whereby it had been decided that after August 31, no diesel or petrol autorickshaw would be allowed to run.

Petitioners had challenged UT’s decision stating that 500 LPG autos will be issued permits and 500 LPG auto-rickshaws will be countersigned by either state and the UT to make Chandigarh city pollution-free. Petitioners alleged that respondents had not disclosed on what basis permits would be issued to 500 out of 1,794 auto-rickshaws. The petitioners said the authorities invited applications for issuance of permits up to August 15 while the scheme had been launched on August 10, which went to prove that inviting the applications was a formality.

Petitioners further demanded that the respondents be directed to allow auto-rickshaws to run until proper arrangements for LPG stations are made in Chandigarh and in Mohali as Sector-34 LPG filling station is out of order and the one in Sector-22 has no gas.

Petitioners further alleged that respondents have been giving benefits to a particular section as they have decided to grant permits only to those who have at least 10 autorickshaws. They stated that a poor person striving to earn his livelihood would be deprived of his fundamental right and the rich who are in a position to purchase 10-20 autos would get the permits.






HC seeks copy of Justice Regupathy’s report to CJ

TNN 28 August 2009, 01:33am IST

CHENNAI: In a new twist to Justice R Regupathy’s startling revelation in an open court that a Union minister tried to contact him and influence him into passing a favourable order, a division bench of the Madras high court has asked the court registry to submit a copy of the report that Justice Regupathi had sent on the incident to the Chief Justice.

“The registrar-general (of the Madras high court) is directed to inform the court as to whether any such letter was addressed by the judge (Regupathy) to the Chief Justice of the Madras high court. If any such letter was really addressed, the same may be circulated to the court,” said the bench comprising Justice FM Ibrahim Kalifulla and Justice R Banumathi on Thursday.

The judges gave the interim direction to the registrar-general on a petition filed by advocate Elephant G Rajendran against the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry president R K Chandramohen, seeking to know as to on what capacity he was still holding the post.

On Thursday, Rajendran also filed, in a sealed cover, an affidavit filed by an advocate who was present in the court when the Justice Regupathy episode took place. The bench has posted the matter to August 31 for further proceedings.

The matter pertains to Justice Regupathy’s outburst on June 29 when the anticipatory bail pleas of a doctor-son duo involved in a marksheet scam case in Puducherry came up for hearing before the judge. Enraged at Chandramohen’s averment that the judge passed orders only on the basis of prosecution submissions, Justice Regupathy said the counsel was aware of the fact that a Union minister tried to influence him in the case.

The next day, the judge is said to have sent a report to the Chief Justice and it was later forwarded to the Chief Justice of India. The present petition was filed by Rajendran, taking exception to the fact that a person heading the statutory bar council was involved in the incident and that he still continued to hold the post.






HC tells makers of Salman-starrer to pay up dues to expedite release

TNN 28 August 2009, 01:34am IST

CHENNAI: Salman Khan-starrer Wanted has run into a legal hurdle with the Madras High Court ruling on Thursday that the film cannot be released later this month unless its producers deposited Rs 9 crore within a week for payment towards “financial assistance rendered” and raw film stock supplied by a Mumbai-based firm.

The film is directed by Prabhu Deva v:shapes=”_x0000_i1025″>

and produced by actor Sridevi Kapoor, Boney Kapoor and Surendra Kapoor. “The defendants (Kapoors) shall furnish a bank guarantee of deposit cash to the tune of Rs 3.6 crore and furnish security for another Rs 5.4 crore within a week, failing which prohibitory orders prohibiting the defendants (Kapoors) from jointly or severally releasing the film would be in force,” said justice G Rajasuriya of Madras High Court.

The interim order was passed on civil suits filed by Mumbai-based GG Photo Limited, seeking recovery of the total claim amount of Rs 9 crore from the Kapoors. According to the GG Photo director Sushil Gupta, the claims arose out of “assistance rendered and raw film stock” supplied by him to the Kapoors during the production of the film.

The Kapoors, who had filed written statements in all the three suits, have not denied their liabilities, he said, adding that he had letters, agreements and cheques to prove the claim. “All such cheques, agreements and letters were duly signed and given voluntarily by the defendants (Kapoors),” Gupta said in his petition.

“All payments were made under agreements only through demand drafts or pay orders, and all such payments have been duly acknowledged by money receipts issued by the Kapoors,” he said.

They now cannot proceed to deliver prints or release Wanted’ without settling the dues, he said, adding, “they cannot be permitted to act in breach of their negative covenant. If they are permitted to release the film without settling their dues, no sum could be realised from any of them later, and the decrees passed in these three suits would remain paper decrees.”

Pointing out that Wanted had already been certified by the Central Board of Film Certification and was ready for release, he wanted an interim order restraining the producers from delivering any print of the film or releasing the film in any manner anywhere in the world. Besides Salman Khan, the film features Vinod Khanna and Ayesha Takia.






BMRCL awaits HC decision

S Praveen Dhaneshkar, Bangalore, August 28, DH News Service:

Eager to speed up construction work in time for the December 2010 deadline of ‘Namma Metro’ project, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) now awaits the decision of the High Court, for possession of land for MG Road station, on which the erstwhile Plaza theatre stood.

Even as the announcement by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on the Independence Day that the Reach-1 of Metro will be operational in December 2010, the land on which the theatre once stood is however crucial for the project to be completed in time, say sources in BMRCL. Will this come in the way of the timely completion of Namma Metro? No, says BMRCL. It’s Managing Director, N Sivasailam is confident of completing construction of all six elevated stations on Reach-1 (Byappanahalli to Chinnaswamy Cricket stadium) in time.

“All stations on this Reach will be completed on schedule. Works at Byappanahalli station have been completed to the tune of 15 per cent. The Halasoor station is also progressing well. Piling works are on here and the remaining four stations where the construction is progressing between 5 to 15 per cent. The metro stations, being open structures, 50 per cent of works are actually taken up in the finishing stages. Barring one station, where part possession of land is yet to be taken, the construction work at all five stations are on track,” he said.

Sivasailam further said that the first set of trains (rolling stock) will arrive on schedule in October 2010 from Korea, as completely built units and put on trial runs.

The BMRCL engineers say the completion stage of all stations is the key in final integration of the project as signalling, train control, telecommunications, traction, testing of tracks, trial run and finally commissioning of the project will take place.

‘No delay’

Added B L Yashavanth Chavan, Deputy Chief Engineer and PRO of BMRCL, “There is no question of any delay in completion of the stations. While our priority is Reach 1, we are also on schedule on other three Reaches. By end of September, groundwork on the underground stations will actually commence. It is a huge process involving earth excavation to construct tunnels. To facilitate pre-construction work, road diversions have to be first done, properties acquired and demolished. This process has already begun two months ago on Dr B R Ambedkar Veedhi, near Vidhana Soudha.” Once complete, the 42 km phase 1 of Bangalore Metro aims to provide point-to-point connectivity across East West and North South Corridor.

posted by The Bangalorean @ 8/28/2009 08:23:00 AM






The Brethren

Rajeev Dhavan Posted: Friday , Aug 28, 2009 at 0259 hrs

There is a myth about the brotherhood of judges. In India, the higher brotherhood consists of high court and Supreme Court judges. Although the Supreme Court is supreme, it is self-confessedly not infallible. Justice Reddy’s account of Keshvananda’s case is hilariously disturbing. The “right” and the “left” judges opened up in acerbic dispute. If words could wound, they did. Way back in the ‘60s, a Gujarat judge judicially declared that he was duty bound to follow the Constitution not the Supreme Court. The high court judges are bound to follow the law laid down by the Supreme Court (Article 141). But the brethren do not have to like each other. The pretence of doing so increases when high court judges have to be on their best behaviour if they want to be chief justices of high courts or on the Supreme Court. Chief justices are first amongst equals.

Public disagreement began when Justice D.V. Shylendra Kumar declared that the Chief Justice of India (CJI) could not speak for all the judges. Frankly, he was right. The judges were not individually consulted. There is no law that assets cannot be declared. The CJI probably does not even know the names of all the high court judges. True, as former CJI Verma put it, the CJI must lead, but he must lead by example. Perhaps, initially this is a case where the CJI should not have gone to the press at all especially as the issue was before Parliament and the Supreme Court itself was in litigation in respect of the Right to Information application before the courts. But the CJI is a public person and he is constantly asked questions by the press. So he answers their queries. Thus, without being controversial, he gets involved in a controversy.

But for the CJI to say of a brother judge that he was “publicity crazy” on August 23 seems embarrassing not just for the judge but also for the brethren. The CJI’s view that the declaration of assets should not be made public was defensive — seeking to avoid embarrassment for the brethren. But it so happened that the brethren were more embarrassed by the “half secret” strategy of declaration without publication. Some judges felt they had nothing to hide. In fact, this was the view of many Supreme Court judges — made clear in the conclave meeting of the Supreme brethren on August 26. The question in the public mind on merits was: which was more embarrassing, the half secret policy or the full disclosure policy? The judiciary has a lot of power which it exercises with both courage and craft as well as to ambitiously enlarge the judicial power. This has already made the Indian judiciary the most powerful in the world. But, in a democratic set-up in an open society, confidence for the judges and the judiciary has to be won. It does not fall like constitutional manna from heaven. The more ambitious an institution and the more broad-based its popular appeal, all the more essential that the confidence of the people be ignited and continued.

A small needle of suspicion in the minds of the people about hidden assets and the last bastion of the rule of law would collapse. It cannot be overlooked that there are already allegations of corruption against the judiciary. Enter the famous 1 in 5 (20 per cent) of judges are corrupt; former CJI Bharucha’s deprecatory, but flamboyant, estimate. From the Bombay crisis of the early ’90s to the Delhi crisis of the early 2000s and the recent lingering crises in Allahabad and Chandigarh, many controversies have surfaced. But what is worse is not the controversies that attracted publicity, but the rumours; and they are many. The worst way to quell these rumours is to have a half secret policy whereby the judges reveal assets to the CJI, who will keep it under lock and key.

The public are as curious about their judges as they are about parliamentarians. It is the Supreme Court in the Common Cause and Association of Democratic Reforms cases which set the norm for public disclosure. Why should judges not be part of this open policy? In fact, judges who collectively decide lakhs of cases every year have greater reason to declare that their income has not gone up during their tenure. Many judges were successful at the bar. Some were not. Marketplace selection does not always choose ability best. Judges sacrifice a lot to become judges. Earlier high court judges were often appointed in their 30s, now they are usually appointed in their 40s — some in their 50s. The sacrifice is immense — the life of cloistered virtue they have to lead. But the brethren, like Caesar’s wife, have to be above suspicion. In these troubled times, it is essential.

In my view, Justices D.V. Shylendra Kumar, K. Kannan, Chandru and B.H. Marlapalle led the way in stating their intention to declare their assets. We can cavil that they are “publicity seekers”. But, in this case, they have been rebels. They have, in fact, cut the Gordian knot of this long lingering controversy which has engaged the RTI authorities, the Delhi high court and the Supreme Court.

It is to the credit of the CJI that, even though he adopted a variant “half secret” view or “hidden-from-the-public” approach, he was amenable to listening to his colleagues and changing his mind to adopt the “full disclosure” approach. The Supreme Court’s conclave discussion of August 26 also shows the openness and balance that we expect from the judiciary. This is, in fact, the governing principle of judicial decision-making: firmness in decision-making but always with an open mind.

The Supreme Court has also made it clear that judges will not entertain queries from the disclosure made on the website. This stresses that the disclosure is for the public interest and not to enable litigants, lawyers and the media to harass judges.

The Supreme Court and the rest of the higher judiciary have still a long way to go in the matter of judicial appointments and oversight over judicial indiscipline (including corruption). Our present methods to deal with these issues are weak. We need a National Judicial Commission.

The writer is a senior advocate at the Supreme Court






SC assets resolution for High Courts

Maneesh Chhibber Posted: Friday , Aug 28, 2009 at 1025 hrs New Delhi:

Govt is set to to push a law to make it mandatory for judges and their kin to declare their assets.

A day after judges of the Supreme Court passed a resolution deciding to declare their assets and make them public, it was learnt that copies of the resolution would be sent to Chief Justices of all High Courts.

Sources told The Indian Express that Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan could personally write to all Chief Justices, urging them to place the matter before their respective full courts so that similar resolutions are passed.

“Under the present system, the CJI has no administrative control of the HCs and the resolution of the judges of the SC is not binding on the judges of the HCs. The CJI can only suggest to them to follow suit,” sources said.

As for the case filed by the SC Registry in the Delhi HC, challenging an order of the Central Information Commission on the issue of assets of judges, sources said a final decision was still to be taken. “We need to understand that the larger issue before Delhi HC is whether details of assets of judges of the SC and HCs are within the purview of the RTI Act or not. The resolution passed yesterday doesn’t say anything on this issue. It is for the CJI to decide the future course of action,” the sources pointed out. On May 4, the HC had reserved its order on the apex court’s plea.

Meanwhile, sources in the Law Ministry on Thursday asserted that despite the resolution of SC judges, the government was committed to push the proposed law to make it mandatory for judges and their kin to declare their assets. “A meeting will be held next week to decide whether the law should be a stand-alone legislation like the Judges (Assets and Liabilities) Bill, 2009 or if there should be clause to this effect as was contained in the now-defunct Judges (Inquiry) Bill, 2008. Since the resolution has no legal standing like an earlier one passed in 1997, the Government is keen to bring in the legislation,” said a senior Ministry officer.

Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily has welcomed the decision of SC judges saying, “It is for the judges to decide how it should be done because they know best what is best for the judiciary.”






Supreme Court to get five new judges

J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will soon get five new judges. The collegium headed by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan has recommended the elevation of the Chief Justices of five High Courts. However, even this time, no recommendation has been made for appointing a woman judge to the Supreme Court.

At its meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, the collegium cleared the elevation of the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Ananga Kumar Patnaik; the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Tirath Singh Thakur; the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, Surinder Singh Nijjar; the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, P.D. Dinakaran; and the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court, K.S. Radhakrishnan.

With the elevation of Justice Dinakaran, Tamil Nadu will have a representation of two judges, including Justice P. Sathasivam, and Kerala will have three judges, including the CJI and Justice Cyriac Joseph. Karnataka has two judges, while Andhra Pradesh has only one.

Justice Ruma Pal retired in June 2006 and since then there has been no representation for woman. It was widely expected that at least one woman judge would be appointed now.

Strength goes up to 28

The present strength of judges is 23 including the CJI. Now the strength will go up to 28. There was delay in filling the posts owing to non-availability of residential bungalows for Supreme Court judges, consequent to the increase in the sanctioned strength from 26 to 31.

The Centre has now allotted to the ‘Supreme Court pool’ the house used by the former President, K.R. Narayanan, on Prithiviraj Road here. It is to be converted into a guest house for judges and the present guest house on Rajaji Marg is also to be allotted to the Supreme Court pool.

As a result, 27 of the 28 judges can now get residential accommodation and one will remain in the guest house until a vacancy arises in the Supreme Court pool.







Use Nehru stadium only for sports: HC

TNN 28 August 2009, 01:31am IST

PUNE: The Bombay High Court (HC) has directed the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to use the land on which the Nehru stadium and the Ganesh Kala Krida Manch stand for sports purposes only.

Justices RM Savant and SB Mhase issued the order on Friday while hearing a writ petition filed by the Club of Maharashtra (CoM), co-owners of the land along with the Town Hall Commitee. The land has been leased to the PMC on the condition that it would be used only for sports purposes.

After the Nehru stadium was rented for a stage show and other activities earlier this year, the CoM filed a writ petition alleging breach of the original tri-party agreement between the CoM, the Town Hall Commitee and the PMC.

Hearing the writ petition, Justices Savant and Mhase stated: “After going through the record and the reply affidavit filed by the Respondent No. 1 (PMC), it is clear that the land in question is reserved for a playground and the petitioners and other owners of the property have handed over the possession of the said property on lease basis to the Respondent No. 1 for the purposes of being utilised as a playground. It is also an undisputed fact that the said premises are being used for other purposes, though occasionally the same is used for playground activities.”

“….We cannot lose sight of the fact that in urban areas there is already a paucity of playgrounds. We, therefore, direct the Respondent No. 1 that they (PMC) shall not utilise the said land except as a playground and for sports activities either indoor or outdoor. All other activities would be expressly prohibited.”

The order also states that it’s the responsibility of the PMC commissioner to follow this order. “We make it clear that violation of this order would be viewed seriously and would make said person/persons liable for action for violation and breach of this order. The petition is allowed by making the Rule absolute to the above extent.”

The HC also dismissed the technical defence of the PMC. The latter had argued that as the petitioners (Club of Maharashtra) are owners of only part of the property and can’t maintain petition for the entire property.

Quality sports events still not ensured

The court case was initiated after the Nehru stadium was rented for a stage show and other activities earlier this year. However, stopping non-sports activities does not necessarily mean an increase in meaningful sports activities at the Nehru stadium. It entirely depends upon the priorities and will power of the PMC vis-?-vis the use of the stadium.

There is no chance of any major cricketing activity returning at the stadium. For, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has recently passed a resolution which allots international matches to only those grounds owned’ by their affiliated units. Nehru stadium is not owned by the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA).

The Nehru stadium last hosted an ODI in 2005. Subsequently, the MCA had expressed their helplessness to host an ODI there and started their own stadium project at Gahunje village, near the Pune-Mumbai Expressway.

Nehru stadium has hosted 96 first-class matches, 11 ODIs, 26 domestic one-dayers and four women’s one-dayers apart from the youth games from 1949 to 1995. And it can continue to host non-international matches. But the MCA hasn’t hosted any matches there since December 2005 due to lack of proper maintenance of the ground and for issues relating to its availability.

The recent court order could go a long way in stopping non-sports activities at the stadium. But there is no blueprint to ensure that it becomes a proper sports centre.






Reprieve for heritage monument

TNN 27 August 2009, 03:36am IST

HYDERABAD: There is now hope for the crumbling Koti Women’s College building, a heritage monument, with the government now deciding to take up repair work of some portions of the building.

This decision came a day after the High Court directed the state archaeology department and Osmania University to submit a detailed report on how the amount allotted for the maintenance of Koti Women’s College building has been used so far and what action the state has taken to maintain and protect the heritage monument. The directive was issued by the court on Tuesday after hearing a writ petition filed last month regarding the poor maintenance of building, which is over 200-years-old.The writ petition was filed by conservation architect Vasanta Shobha Turaga.

“We met the officials from the university and those involved in the project on Wednesday and have decided to repair portions of the building that need immediate attention, like the roof area that has caved in and some part of the walls,” said Jayesh Ranjan, principal secretary for tourism, archaeology and museums. He added that expenses of the work would be partly borne by the university management and partly by the state government. “Even the World Monuments Fund (WMF) has promised some grant for the same,” he said.

On Wednesday, OU vice-chancellor T Tirupati Rao, principal secretary Jayesh Ranjan and director of state archaeology department P Channa Reddy visited the building to review the extent of work needed to restore it. The authorities were given a week’s time to submit their report. Heritage lovers who have been alleging that the concerned authorities have shown “little or no interest” in protecting the monument and have been hiding behind reasons like the “lack of funds” to execute the project, say that they finally see some ray of hope, with the court’s intervention in the matter.






Hearing on Lavalin to commence on Monday

New Delhi, Thursday, August 27, 2009: The writ petition of CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan is all set for hearing. The first hearing will be on Monday. A Supreme Court Division Bench constituting Justice RV Raveendran, Justice B Sudarshan Reddy will hear the plea.

Along with the writ petition the Court will also consider the caveat moved by crime magazine editor TP Nandakumar.

Earlier, 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 transferred back to Criminal Writ section from Public Litigation.






NCW sets up NRI cell to address plight of abandoned wives

TNN 28 August 2009, 01:34am IST

NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has launched a mediation cell for women deserted by `honeymoon husbands’. The Commission has been receiving an increasing number of complaints from women married to NRI husbands who abandon them shortly after marriage. The cell is expected to work as a coordinating agency that will receive complaints and mediate between the couple.

NCW chairperson Girija Vyas said the NRI cell would render all possible assistance to the complainants including conciliation, mediation between the parties and advising the complainant on related issues. It would also work towards associating, networking with NGOs, community organisations in India and abroad and state women commissions for wider area coverage so as to facilitate easy reach and provide support services.

The Commission has roped in counsellors and lawyers to offer consultation to women who are often left pregnant and shunned by her own parents.

Vyas said out of 10 NRI marriages, two result in the wife being abandoned after honeymoon. “Through the cell, we would also speak to all Indian missions abroad so that they maintain a register of Indian married couples in their country and check on them from time to time.”

NCW was nominated the coordinating agency at the national level for dealing with issues pertaining NRI marriages by the ministry of overseas Indian affairs based on the recommendation of the parliamentary committee on empowerment of women.

The special NRI cell would also encourage, support research and study in related fields like issues of grievances associated with dual citizenship, enactment of new legislation or signing of international treaties and marriage laws of other countries.






Women to get 50 pc quota in panchayat

New Delhi, Aug 28, DHNS and Agencies:

In one of its biggest steps yet to empower women in public life, the government has decided to reserve 50 per cent of seats in 2,52,000 panchayats or village councils across the country for the fair sex.

The decision, to be effected through a Constitutional amendment, means women will occupy 1.4 million of the close to 3 million panchayat seats. The National Commission for Women (NCW) and prominent women parliamentarians have welcomed the measure.
“The Cabinet today (Thursday) approved the proposal for moving a bill to amend Article 243 D of the Constitution for enhancing reservation for women in panchayats in all tiers from one-third to at least 50 per cent,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said.

“This provision will apply to the total number of seats filled by direct election, offices of chairpersons and seats and offices of chairpersons reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes,” she added.

The decision comes even as the government is yet to evolve a consensus on a bill reserving 33 per cent of seats in Parliament and state Assemblies for women. It was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 1996. The Centre reintroduced the bill in the Rajya Sabha in May last to ensure that it did not lapse.

The Constitutional amendment, which is likely to be moved during the winter session of Parliament beginning mid-November, will not apply to local bodies in urban areas. “Urban and local bodies may be covered later,” Soni said.






‘Peoples watch’ moves NHRC over scribe arrest issue

By Akhand

Last updated: 08/27/2009 07:57:50

Bhubaneswar ( Orissa ) : The Arrest of a Bhubaneswar based scribe issue took a new turn when a human rights group approach National Human rights commission alleging serious human right violation.

Peoples watch, an organization working for the protection of civil rights of the citizen, approached both NHRC and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) to intervene in the whole case.

The organisation has also appealed to take stringent action against the erring police officials. In a petition to NHRC the organisation alleged that the police officials had misbehaved , beaten and dragged the Journalist to the police vehicle during the arrest in a in a local market.

“Forty one years old Biswambar Baliarsingh, editor of a weekly newspaper was continuously writing about the common man’s problem and police atrocity. So Orissa police has arbitrary and intentionally arrested the Journalist, said Manoj Jena, Co-coordinator of peoples watch, who recently headed a fact finding team and met the arrested journalist in the Bhubaneswar Jarpada Jail.

In its petition the organisation alleged that Doleswar Nayak, the Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) of Balipatana Police station, came with four constables to near by Adalabad Market when the scribe was busy for marketing. The ASI dragged the journalist into police vehicle without informing the cause of arrest, abused slang languages and beaten ruthlessly. Even the police didn’t allow him to inform his family members about this arrest, it alleged.

Describing his apathy before the fact finding team the arrested journalist alleged that in police custody neither he was served any dinner nor allowed to urinate outside.

Based upon a FIR filed by a branch manager of a rural bank the police had made arrest. However when the Journalist had also filed a FIR against the manager who allegedly taking bribe for granting loans and some other irregularities in the bank, no action is being taken by the police. On the other hand police has arrested Mr. Baliarsing without any investigation, alleged Manoj.

Meanwhile the Peoples watch warn to intensify its agitation police and administration fails to punish the erring officials.





Lawyers burn Dhuri SDM’s effigy

Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 27
Members of the Dhuri Bar Association led by president of the association Sukhvinder Singh Meemsa today burnt an effigy of the Dhuri SDM. Earlier they also held a march, carrying the effigy, through the Dhuri town, 14 km from here, and raised slogans against the SDM, accusing him of “misbehaving” with the lawyers.

They also staged a dharna near the SDM’s office, which was attended among others by lawyers, including Sukhvinder Singh Meemsa, president of the Dhuri municipal council, Raghbir Chand Thanedar and some municipal councillors.

The speakers condemned the SDM for allegedly “misbehaving” with lawyers and others. The president of the Bar Association demanded transfer of the SDM from Dhuri.

Dhuri SDM Rajesh Tripathi refuted the allegations levelled against him. He said he had neither misbehaved with any lawyer nor any such incident had occurred in his office. He also said that even the president of the Bar Association had never brought any incident of misbehaviour with any lawyer to his notice. He said he could not understand why the lawyers were adopting a path of agitation against him.






‘Dead’ woman comes alive to rescue husband

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Dead men do tell tales of conspiracies and intrigues. Less than a fortnight after her husband was booked for her murder, “deceased” Charanjit Kaur of Jalalabad appeared before the Punjab and Haryana High Court this morning to tell how the police connived to first pocket Rs 4 lakh from his parents, and then to book him for her murder to save their skin.

And for adding a touch of authenticity to the production, how the cops planted a body and even sent it for post-mortem examination.

As the petition came up before Justice L.N. Mittal, Charanjit Kaur’s counsel Gurjit Singh Khaura stood along with her to say she was very much alive, while her husband Chamkaur Singh was in judicial custody for a murder that was never committed.

Charanjit Kaur and her father-in-law Jora Singh said Chamkaur Singh was “badly tortured” after being picked up by the police a day before the Independence Day. SHO Bhupinder Kaur and DSP Gurdarshan Singh demanded Rs 4 lakh for his release, before the warrant officer appointed by the high court found him detained illegally on August 20.

After being discovered, Bhupinder Kaur claimed an FIR for murder had been registered under Section 302 of the IPC against Chamkaur Singh for his wife’s murder.

“Even the body of a woman was planted upon Chamkaur Singh by Bhupinder Kaur and Gurdarshan Singh just to save their skin. The body was sent for postmortem to Jira civil hospital and was then referred to Faridkot medical college,” the petitioners asserted.

The two said the story was concocted after Charanjit Kaur’s father and the two police officials connived following a minor matrimonial altercation between Chamkaur Singh and his daughter.

Building up a case for CBI probe, they concluded, “Keeping in view the peculiar facts and circumstances of the matter, particularly the fact that police officials, including the top brass, are involved, minute consideration is necessary.

Hence, the investigation of the case must be handed over to the CBI”. Taking up the matter, Justice Mittal has put the state and other respondents on notice for September 9.





Declaration of assets by information commissioners sought

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The convener of RTI Users Association, HC Arora, has written to Wajahat Habibullah, Chief of the Central Information Commission, asking the information commissioners in Punjab to make their assets public.

“The act of the Supreme Court judges to make their assets public is a revolutionary step that would definitely enhance the prestige of the judicial system, and introduce transparency in the judicial system. The HC judges are expected to follow suit,” he wrote.

“Through this letter, therefore, I appeal to all the information commissioners to make their assets public by putting those on the official website of the State Information Commission, by following the example set up by the Supreme Court Judges ,” he added.





Immoral Trafficking Act
Magistrate booked

Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Samalkha, August 27
A metropolitan magistrate, who was allegedly enjoying the hospitality of a call girl (alleged to be a minor) in a small rented room here last night, was rounded up by the police after neighbours informed it about the suspicious activities going on there.

After receiving a call from residents of the Punjabi Colony, the police raided the room that had been rented by Subhash Duhan and caught three persons and a girl there.

All accused were taken to the local police station. These included the metropolitan magistrate, a resident of Delhi; Subhash Duhan, son of Jeet Ram and resident of Sonepat; and Shamsher Singh, son of Surat Singh and resident of Bhiwani.

The police also rounded up the girl, who was alleged to be a minor and belonged to West Bengal.

It is learnt that the metropolitan magistrate was posted at the Tis Hazari Court complex in Delhi. He had come here in his Santro car that even had a name-plate highlighting his designation.

The Samalkha police registered an FIR against all accused, including the magistrate.

However, keeping in view the privileges enjoyed by a magistrate, he was not placed under arrest by the police. Samalkha DSP Wazir Singh Sheoran said the police had sought permission from the Delhi High Court to proceed against the magistrate.

He, however, refused to reveal whether the magistrate was being kept in police custody or had been let off.

Meanwhile, rumours were doing the rounds that the girl, along with whom the three persons had been rounded up, had been brought here by paying her Rs 20,000 a week and that she was a minor.

The police later took the girl along with the accused for medical examination to the Civil Hospital at the district headquarters to confirm whether she was a minor.

The report is yet to be received. She was at present putting up at Noida.

According to information gathered by The Tribune, the metropolitan magistrate was a friend of Subhash Duhan, who runs an NGO by the name of Lok Kalayan Foundation. Shamsher was said to a distant relative of Subhash. The NGO of Subhash runs computer centres and sewing training centres in the region.

The case against the accused was registered under Sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the Immoral Trafficking Act of 1956.

Later, Subhash, Shamsher and the girl were produced before a local court, which sent them to 14-day judicial custody.





HC transfers murder case to CBI

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
When it comes to investigation of criminal cases, the prosecution in Haryana can show different limbs as amputated in the photographs and medico legal report (MLR) of a murdered man.

Taking on record the snapshots and the report, and satisfied that the murder case of Palwal resident Mohit Manchanda requires probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation, Justice Augustine George Masih of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has transferred the investigations to the premier investigating agency with the state of Haryana’s consent.

Manchanda’s body was found in Faridabad and a first information report was registered in the matter on May 1, 2006, under Section 302, 201 and 34 of the IPC at the GRP police station in Faridabad.

As the matter came up for hearing, petitioner’s counsel contended the bare perusal of the MLR would show how “scantly the case has been dealt with by the prosecution”. He added the “photographs which have been attached with the petition clearly indicate that the amputations as shown in the MLR of the limbs are diametrically different from what is apparent from the photographs that have been taken by the prosecution itself during the investigation”.

Counsel Dr Surya Parkash added the real culprits were not being brought to book, and the investigation in the case had been handled without any care and caution. Elaborating, he said the police had left out the accused named in the FIR during the investigations; and no result was forthcoming.

As the case came up for hearing before Justice Masih, state counsel said Haryana “consents to and does not have any objection, if the matter is referred to the CBI for proper investigation.

“In the light of this, the court is satisfied that the matter requires to be investigated by the CBI, and since the state of Haryana has also consented thereto, a direction is issued to the state of Haryana to take necessary steps in accordance with the law.”

Justice Masih directed an officer not below the rank of a DSP would conduct the investigation. The case will now come up for further hearing on November 10.






High Court acquits militant

Jammu, August 27
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court today quashed a lower court’s judgement awarding life imprisonment to a suspected militant, ordering his immediate release.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain and J P Singh, acquitted Bashir Ahmed, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Principal Sessions Judge, Kathua, for allegedly being instrumental in the murder of a policeman, Parshotam Singh, on October 13, 2007.

After hearing counsel for the appellant and the Additional Advocate-General (AAG) for the state, the Bench observed that there was no sufficient evidence against Ahmed, who was also booked under the Arms Act.

The Bench said it stood established that militants, who were present at Khandara Top hiding in a ‘dhok’ (high-altitude mud house), fired upon a police party which reached there, killing Parshotam Singh. But it could not be proved that there was a conspiracy between the militants and Ahmed in the cop’s killing.

Justice Hussain observed that it was difficult to believe the prosecution version that it was at the instance of Ahmed that militants opened fire on the police party.

It was also alleged that RDX was seized from Ahmed’s house, but the prosecution had not produced any evidence in this regard, the Bench said and directed that the appellant shall be set free forthwith if not required in any other case. — PTI






Bails rejected; cops disappear from court

Our Correspondent

Sundernagar, August 27
Sessions Judge DK Sharma today rejected bail applications of 11 policemen who had wrongly withdrawn travel allowance (TA) while on government duty in 2003-2004. Though the order was announced in the presence of the investigation officer, all accused disappeared from the court following the order and could not be arrested so far.

According to sources, 25 police officials of the 3rd Battalion, Pandoh, had wrongly claimed the TA and the total sum amounted to Rs 8.2 lakh. The anomaly was noticed in 2006 during a routine audit of the department and soon after the police registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 120B of the IPC against these officials.

The police had asked the accused to join the investigation of the case, but instead they filed applications for pre-arrest bails before the Sessions Judge, Mandi.

While rejecting the bail applications, the court held since the police officials were involved in the corruption case, hence custodial interrogation was needed for further investigation.

According to Mandi DSP Narinder Kumar, who is investigating the case, none of the police officials surrendered following the rejection of bail applications and that he had sent his teams to nab the accused.






SC reserves judgement on quota row in UPSC

New Delhi, August 27
The SC today reserved its judgement on the contentious issue whether candidates belonging to reserved categories selected for union civil services on merit should be appointed against reserved posts or under the general quota.

The hearing before a five-judge Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justices SH Kapadia, RV Raveendran, P Sudershan Reddy and P Sathasivam, which ended after six days of marathon arguments, assumes significance as it would have bearing upon the procedure for allotment of posts adopted by UPSC as well as aggrieved candidates.

While referring the matter, the SC had said “an authoritative pronouncement was needed on the issue”. Among the various contentious issues, the Bench was to decide whether reserved category candidates who are selected on merit and placed in list of general or unreserved category candidates could be considered as reserved category candidates at the time of service allocation. — PTI






Monthly HC aid for parents


Cuttack, Aug. 27: In an unprecedented ruling, Orissa High Court today directed the government to pay a monthly relief of Rs 1,500 to both the father and the mother of a convict, who died while serving a sentence at Choudwar circle jail, for the rest of their lives.

A small-time farmer Chaityana Behera, 71, and Labani, 60, have been living in penury since their son died. Chaitanya’s right hand, right from the shoulder, was amputated after a malignant tumour spread.

Krushna Chandra Behera, 43, of Nurukesabarini village in Badamba area of Cuttack, was sentenced for life in a case of dowry death in 2003. He died on June 10, 2008, after another jail convict stabbed him. His parents demanded social security of Rs 10 lakh. A two-judge bench said the government should pay Rs 1,500 each to Krushna’s father and mother before the 10th each month.

“Perhaps for the first time a court has awarded lifetime relief,” said the petitioners counsel Amulya Kumar Budhia.

“In such cases courts generally award a one-time compensation,” he added.

Holding jail officers prima facie guilty for the death, the court said that the state was duty bound to protect the fundamental rights of prisoners.

Krushna was stabbed by Pratap Khatei, a lifer, with a broken steel utensil (karchuli) used to serve food. He was found bleeding from his stomach near a jail lavatory in ward number-19 around 8.15pm on June 9.

The lifer was shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital after preliminary medical attention and was declared dead around 9.05am in the emergency ward. He had suffered lung ruptures. Later, unconfirmed reports of a tiff between the two surfaced.





Justice on a roll in Dumka

– 11500 cases in 21 days in mobile court SUMAN K. SHRIVASTAVA

Ranchi, Aug. 27: When justice was wheeled into Dumka, more than 11,000 petitions were filed with the mobile court in 21 days and most of them were to seek wages that remained unpaid because of faulty implementation of well-meaning government schemes, including the one under National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

An initiative of Jharkhand State Legal Services Authority (Jhalsa), that was unveiled in Ranchi on July 5, the swanky air-conditioned bus, armed with a judicial team, is equipped with pinewood tables and swivel chairs for magistrates and advocates to use while hearing and deciding on cases.

It’s first real stop for imparting justice was in Dumka between July 21 to 31, and Santhal tribals, always reluctant to making frequent trips to courts in towns and losing a day’s wages in the process, found it to be a useful tool.

As many as 11,500 petitions were filed with the mobile court in the 21 days the van toured villages and blocks in Dumka district — between July 21 and July 31 and between August 16 and August 25.

Interestingly, land disputes or criminal cases were few. “Most cases related to recovering dues under the central schemes like NREGA, Indira Awas Yojana, maintenance and welfare of parents, Prevention of Witch Practices Act etc,” pointed out P.K. Srivastava, the Dumka district judge-cum-chairman of the district legal services authority (DLSA).

Between July 21 and July 31, the court received 3,243 applications and that was because, as Srivastava pointed out, awareness was poor about judicial intervention in social schemes. “But, grievances poured in when the court hit the road again on August 16,” he said.

After its launch in Ranchi on July 5, the mobile court first went to Deoghar during the time of the Shravan Mela (from July 8 to July 20) to spread legal awareness among kanwarias.

On July 21, the mobile court shifted to neighbouring Dumka where it began hearing cases and then went on to tour the district till July 31. Then from August 1 to 14 it shifted to Deoghar where it heard cases.

Again from August 16, the mobile justice van was back in Dumka and till August 25, it had logged as many as 11, 500 applications.

The DLSA chairman pointed out that 10 per cent of all the cases (around 1,100) related to irregularities in implementing the rural job scheme.

“The grievances related to job cards not being issued, or work not allotted to those with job cards or non-payment of wages,” he said, commending the positive role of the district administration in ensuring the success of the venture.






Key witness in the 26/11 case goes ‘missing’

Mumbai, Aug 28, PTI:

A key witness in the 26/11 attacks case who had deposed against accused Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed at the trial failed to appear before the court on Friday with the prosecution saying that he was “missing”.
The witness, Nurudin Shaikh, on Thursday told the court that the accused — Faheem and Sabauddin — had met him in Nepal and in his presence they discussed about the maps of some locations in Mumbai, which were later targeted by militants during the November 26 attacks last year.

The court had called the witness on Friday for cross-examination at 11 AM but he failed to turn up.

Special public prosecutor Ujjawal Nikam told the court that crime branch officials had gone to Goregaon residence of the witness to fetch him but his wife had said that Shaikh had left home early morning, saying that he has to go to the court.

“This is a serious matter,” judge M L Tahaliyani observed and said he would decide later on what steps the court should take in the matter.

Nikam also said that the identity of the witness had been kept secret earlier and was disclosed to the defence lawyer only on Thursday for cross-examination.

According to crime branch, the witness is a childhood friend of Faheem and is staying in the same locality where Fahim stayed in the city.

Faheem and Sabauddin, both Indian nationals, are facing trial along with Pakistani national Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab.

Shaikh on Thursday had told the court that maps of some locations in Mumbai were made by the duo at the instance of wanted accused Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.

Shaikh had gone on a holiday in February 2008 to Nepal where he met his childhood friend Faheem in a market, the witness said. Faheem then took him to his guest house for a chat, the court was told.

Faheem , however, disputed the version of the witness that he was his childhood friend and said he had never met Shaikh before.

The case of the prosecution is that Pakistan-based Lakhvi, chief of LeT operations, was one of the masterminds of 26/11 terror attacks.

On the instructions of LeT, Faheem had drawn maps by hand after conducting a recee and these were handed over to Sabauddin who in turn gave them to 26/11 conspirators.





Hizbul Mujahideen man gets life term for sedition

Hyderabad, Aug 28, IANS:

A city court Friday sentenced Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Mujeeb Ahmed to life imprisonment and six others to 10 years on charges of sedition and collecting arms with intention of waging war against the country.

The first additional metropolitan sessions judge pronounced the quantum of sentence for the accused who were held guilty Thursday.

Mujeeb, the self-styled commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, and his associates were  planning to carry out subversive activities in Hyderabad with the arms and ammunition smuggled from Kashmir, the prosecution said.

In December 2005, Rajasthan police had seized a cache of arms including Kalashnikov assault rifles, 229 cartridges and 15 detonators hidden in a truck carrying marble to Hyderabad.

Mujeeb, a resident of Hyderabad and a life convict in the killing of a police officer, pleaded not guilty.

All the accused including Mujeeb’s female companion Zohra Nishat and  brother-in-law Jahangir Khan were found guilty under sections 122 and 124 (A) of the Indian Penal Code and 23 (ii) of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
Considered to be a close follower of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, Mujeeb was also convicted under section 6 of the Indian Wireless Telegraph Act for possessing a satellite phone, which he allegedly received from the Hizbul Mujahideen leader.

The court also imposed Rs.10,000 fine on Mujeeb alias Ahmed Bhai.
Truck driver Shabbir Ahmed, cleaner Ravindera Kumar, Mohammed Yasin and Shaikh Awadh were the other accused sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. The court imposed a fine of Rs.2,000 on each of the six accused.
Seven accused including Mujeeb were arrested in the case while nine others still remained at large. The trial began in 2007.

Mujeeb, known as Amer-e-Deccan among Hizbul Mujahideen circles, was earlier sentenced to life imprisonment for gunning down additional superintendent of police Krishna Prasad here in 1992. The Andhra Pradesh government released him on remission on Independence Day in 2004.
After release from prison, he allegedly reactivated his links with Hizbul Mujahideen  and other terror groups. Police claimed that he also produced several CDs in which he appealed for funds for his terror operations.





Thirty VIPs removed from X-category security list

New Delhi, Aug 28 (PTI):
After dithering for five years, the Home Ministry has removed X-category security to 30 individuals, including former Chief Justice of India Y S Sabarwal, triggering concern among protectees who are now making all out efforts to retain their police cover.
Home Minister P Chidambaram, who himself has refused to take any security, took the decision as he is of the opinion that security should be provided only to those who either face credible threats or are holding Constitutional posts.

With this, the list of X-Category protectees has come down to 20 after a detailed review by security and intelligence agencies, Home Ministry officials said.
The X-category protectees are given one personal security officer for eight hours, which means sparing three policemen for an individual.

The drill will now be followed for VIPs enjoying Y, Z and Z-plus category security, they said.
As the news of security withdrawal of X-category protectees spread, the Home Ministry was flooded with requests of VIPs to continue their police cover.

“VIPs from various backgrounds and mostly politicians are trying all possible connections to prove the genuineness of their security cover before the Home Minister,” a senior official said.

During a high-level review meeting convened by the Home Ministry, withdrawal of elite NSG cover for some VIPs including UP Chief Minister Mayawati, former Union Minister Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi, Samajwadi party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi was recommended but a final decision was to be taken by Chidambaram.

However, this triggered a massive protest from the political parties and the Government said in the Lok Sabha that no hasty decision would be taken in withdrawing security of VIPs.
The withdrawal of X-category security is seen as the first step taken by Chidambaram in the direction of rationalising of security cover for VIPs.
Security of nearly 200 VIPs who are central protectees was reviewed during the meeting. These VIPs are guarded either by NSG or personnel of some other para-military forces.

The meeting felt that security of former Ministers Shivraj Patil, Ram Vilas Paswan and Jagmohan be downgraded while in the case of former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh, there should be a complete withdrawal.
The meeting had recommended that NSG security to BJP leader L K Advani, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anti-terrorist forum leader M S Bitta should remain, the sources said.
The expenditure incurred due to the VIP security was also a constant financial burden on the Ministry, they said.
In some of the cases, it was observed that VIPs were enjoying state security more as a status symbol and not due to any threat perception, they said.





SC to commence final hearing on Ambani gas row on Oct 20

New Delhi, Aug 28, PTI:
The Supreme Court on Friday decided to commence final hearing on the high-profile gas dispute between the group firms of Mukesh Ambani and his younger brother Anil from October 20.

The government’s petition on the issue and those of various power producers, mainly from Andhra Pradesh, and the Fertiliser Corporation of India would also be heard on that day.

A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan posted the matter for final hearing after RNRL mentioned that the matter, which was originally scheduled for September one, may not be taken up that day by the bench as the Chief Justice would be leading the Constitutional Bench.

RNRL is fighting to get RIL to supply gas to it at USD 2.34 per mmBtu, the Mukesh Ambani group company has maintained that the price of the fuel needs to be approved by the government.

The government has filed a Special Leave Petition seeking to assert its right on the national resource. It has also sought to declare as null and void that part of the Ambani family MoU that provides for dividing natural gas from KG-D6 fields between RIL and RNRL.

Counsel for all the parties, including Mukesh Ambani-run RIL and Anil Ambani group firm RNRL, said that they were ready for daily hearing of the matter from October 20.
While senior counsel Harish Salve, representing RIL, suggested the date, the counsel for both RNRL as well as the government said that they do not have any objection.
“We will start on that day and will finish as soon as possible,” Salve said.

The bench also directed that all the parties to file all the documents including responses and rejoinders by that date.




Bangalore law school shuts over swine flu fear

Bangalore, Aug 28, IANS:
The National Law School of India University (NLSIU) here has shut down for 10 days to prevent the spread of the influenza A H1N1 virus that has killed 20 people in Karnataka. The decision to close down the famous law school follows several educational institutions here closing down for a few days.

“The decision was taken as a precautionary measure. The university decided to close for 10 days, so that the entire campus can be fumigated. The fumigation process has already started,” NLSIU Vice Chancellor R. Venkata Rao told IANS.
The university decided to close in the wake of a swine flu death in its neighbourhood Nagarabhavi here last week. The university will reopen Aug 30.
However, none of the university students have tested positive for the virus during their screening recently at the Mallige Hospital.

“We don’t want to take any chances. When the university reopens, students will be asked to bring their medical certificate. We may further screen the students,” said Rao.
Due to the “forced” closure, the academic calendar of NLSIU has suffered. Few mid-term internal exams that were scheduled for next week have been postponed.
But students are not complaining and have welcomed the decision of the authorities.
“It’s a pandemic and the authorities have taken the right decision to keep the university closed for 10 days. The health of the students is important and should be taken care of,” said a second year student of the university.

Moreover, with the death of 16-year-old girl due to H1N1 virus in Bijapur district Wednesday night, the fatalities due to swine flu in the state has gone up to 20, health officials here said.
The victim, Sunanda Kandawal, was admitted to the Al Ameen Medical College Hospital in Bijapur Tuesday with pneumonia. She tested positive for H1N1 Thursday evening, said health officials.
The city Thursday reported 21 confirmed cases of swine flu.





NDMC notice to Olive bar at hotel stayed

Ruhi Bhasin, TNN 28 August 2009, 05:42am IST

NEW DELHI: The Olive Beach and Bar functioning out of Hotel Diplomat on Sardar Patel Marg was served a notice last week by New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) for unauthorised constructions. The hotel has approached Delhi High Court and got a stay.

A D Singh, who is running the restaurant for the hotel, told TOI: “This matter has been on for two years now and we have approached the court on the issue. I cannot say anything more on this since it is sub judice.” Incidentally, Singh this week reopened the famed Olive in Mehrauli which has an elite clientele.

According to the general manager of Diplomat, Sham Sunder: “There is nothing illegal about Olive Beach and Bar. Earlier, another restaurant was functioning in the lawn area. As per permission given by the excise department, we can serve alcohol outside the premises also. Our hotel has been functioning for 40 years now without any problems. We have the relevant clearances from NDMC’s health department. We have made no unauthorised constructions and had replied to the showcause notice served by NDMC earlier. But when they sent us a notice for demolition on August 19, we decided to get a stay on the matter on August 24.”

NDMC spokesperson Anand Tiwari confirmed that a self-demolition notice has been served on Olive Beach and Bar and the matter was now in the high court. When asked what unauthorised constructions had been carried out according to the NDMC, he said the bar, shed, stove and gazebos were illegal.

The hotel is located in the Luyten’s Bungalow Zone and has residential properties on either side. While no loud music is played by the restaurant, Sunder said some complaints to that effect have been made by people residing in the area.

“We play only piped music and our restaurant is open till 1 am as per permission granted to us by excise department. There are many restaurants functioning from the lawn areas of hotels,” said Sunder.





HAL airport: Cases adjourned to Monday

TNN 28 August 2009, 12:21am IST

BANGALORE: The high court on Thursday adjourned to Monday the hearing on a batch of petitions seeking reopening of HAL airport.

B C Thiruvengadam, counsel for the Airport Authority Employees’ Union, said they have a stake in the airport as their organization was created with a profit motive.

He explained that the Airports Authority of India Act has no provision on closing any airport that had been functioning well.

Earlier, the court had directed stakeholders connected to Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) to place before the court a re-negotiation report. This report, the court added, should deal with reopening of HAL airport, which was closed to commercial flights simultaneously when BIA was inaugurated.

The counsel for BIA replied that a tripartite meeting was held and no re-negotiations was held after May 23, 2008. BIA, however, was not a party to the meeting.

The Centre’s view on the issue through a notification on May 16, 2008, was that it would not disapprove reopening HAL airport for civil and commercial operations but only after a consensual agreement.

BIA was opened on May 23, 2008. On the same day, while refusing to stay the notification relating to closure of HAL airport, the court had asked the Centre to hold re-negotiations in 12 weeks to reopen the old airport.

Also, On April 16, 2008, after refusing to pass any interim order on the closure of HAL airport, the court directed the Centre, state government and AAI to re-negotiate with BIAL immediately. This meeting was supposed to deal with two key aspects suggested by the 131st report of the Parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture.

TOI’s Lead India winner R K Mishra, advocate G R Mohan, Bangalore City Connect Foundation, AAI Employees’ Association and others had filed the petitions, which also challenged a concessional agreement entered between BIAL, Centre and the state government on July 5, 2004.






Blame game on over HC violence

TNN 28 August 2009, 12:43am IST

CHENNAI: A blame game is apparently on over the February 19 violence on the Madras high court premises. Senior police officers have sought to distance themselves from the incident, saying the then city police commissioner alone was commanding the entire operation.

“The then commissioner of police, K Radhakrishnan, was commanding the entire operation on February 19,” said A K Viswanathan, who was the then additional commissioner of police.

In an affidavit filed before a division bench comprising Justice FM Ibrahim Kalifulla and Justice R Banumathi, the officer also said that though he himself and two other joint commissioners of police told Radhakrishnan that it was not necessary to arrest advocates inside the court premises and wanted permission to withdraw the operation, the former commissioner insisted that the entire force stay put on the campus.

“I contacted the commissioner over intercom and told him that it was not necessary to arrest the advocates and that it would create problems. The commissioner informed me that the arrest was already cleared by the Chief Justice and therefore the officers incharge of the high court police station should arrest the advocates. Though I had my reservations, in view of the stand taken by the commissioner, the officers present at the high court police station had to obey his orders and arrest the advocates,” Viswanathan said in his affidavit.

Detailing further, the officer said that when there was tension after arrest, “I contacted the commissioner and told him that it would be prudent to withdraw the entire police force from the court premises. The commissioner told me that the police force should not be withdrawn and that the force should remain on the high court campus and protect the police station. Ramasubramani, joint commissioner of police (north zone) and Sandeep Rai Rathore (central zone) also wanted the withdrawal of police from the HC campus.”

Advocate-general PS Raman, on his part, told the court: “At the end of the day everybody is trying to save themselves. Let us wait and see what is going to happen.”

During arguments, denying government pleader J Raja Kalifulla’s submission that officials totally unconnected to the incident had been arraigned as respondents, the Tamil Nadu Advocates Association president S Prabakaran said about 30 names had been given to court on the basis of the officials’ affidavit before the Supreme Court. He also alleged that the CBI was giving the investigation details to their counterparts in the state police.

The Madras High Court Advocates Association president RC Paul Kanagaraj said top officials named in the case should not be given any administrative responsibilities.

Advocate R Vaigai created a flutter in court when she submitted a list of mobile phone details, complete with the location details of the then commissioner, and claimed that the details reached her office through an anonymous person, who had slipped an envelope under her office door. Claiming that the evidence was doctored before being submitted before the Supreme Court, she said, “he (Radhakrishnan) should not be allowed to continue in a position from where he can wield administrative control over his subordinates throughout the state.”

The judges, who at one point deprecated some advocates who tried to shout down the government pleader, adjourned the matter to September 9 for further hearing.






Update on domestic violence cases, HC to govt

TNN 28 August 2009, 04:02am IST

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court has asked for details from the state government regarding status of cases filed under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act after a PIL was filed by an NGO demanding proper implementation of this law in the state.

A Dangs-based organisation, Asil Manch, filed this PIL through advocate Shilpa Shah complaining that the state government has not taking proper measure to implement the Domestic Violence Act. After conducting a survey across Gujarat, the petitioner has claimed that the government has not appointed any NGO as service provider to help out the victims, which is a primary provision in the law.

The PIL has brought to the notice of the court that the shelter homes to be notified by the government for victims of domestic violence are not enough. There are only 21 shelter homes in 16 districts, while the other 10 districts do not have them at all. Besides this, the NGO has claimed that appointment of protection officers is not satisfactory.

“So far as provision is concerned, the state government has miserably failed in making individual appointments of protections officers. The district social defence officers in 22 districts are given additional charge of protection officer for the purpose of this Act. No preference has been given to a woman for the post,” the petition read.

Moreover, the PIL also blamed the court for unnecessary delay in disposing of the cases. Against guidelines of completing the case within two months, only 6 per cent cases were disposed of in the given time frame, while 82.5 per cent cases are still pending. Even the protection officers are slow in reporting the cases to judicial magistrate, as they could not submit 24 per cent cases to courts even after 90 days.

The court has kept further proceedings on this PIL after two weeks.





Whiff of scam in Kalinga Nagar forest land deal

Hemant Kumar Rout, TNN 27 August 2009, 10:45pm IST

JAJPUR: The alleged sale of forest land in the steel hub of Kalinga Nagar to an Andhra Pradesh-based company has put the Jajpur district administration in a spot of bother.

Collector (Jajpur) Dhiren Das said he has received a complaint that forest land worth around Rs one crore was sold to a private company after alleged fudging of records. “It seems that the plot was illegally converted into agricultural land by doctoring the deeds. The land falls in Danagadi tehsil and I have asked the tehsildar to investigate the matter. We will take action against the guilty after receiving the report,” the collector said on Wednesday.

The Andhra-based company had purchased 26 acres of land from one Manmath Kumar in Duburi revenue circle area. The deal only came to light when the company cleared a sal forest on the land and built a boundary wall.

“The company claimed it had bought a piece of agricultural land. But the truth is that it’s forest area and some official violated the Orissa Land Reforms Act to change the plot’s status. Someone must have received a huge kickback for fudging the record,” an official said on condition of anonymity.

According to the law, a forest land can only be converted into another class after getting clearance from the Union government’s s forest and environment department. “In this case, no such permission was taken,” the official alleged.
Vyasanagar tehsildar Subrat Behera, who is accused of giving the conversion certificate, denied any wrong doing. “The sale deed mentioned the land to be Biali (land used for agriculture purposes) and I issued the certificate. There was no kickback involved. We charged a premium of Rs 8.11 lakh for the deal and the amount was deposited with the state exchequer,” Behera said. “After the Estate Abolition Act came into force, previous occupants of lands were given pattas. Manmath Kumar was one of them. Now, he has sold the land to the company,” he added.

The collector, however, said that his office had received complaints about as many as 1274 cases of illegal conversion. The land leases have been cancelled in over 500 cases till now, he added.






Lucky’s wife discharged in shoplifting case

TNN 28 August 2009, 02:51am IST

CHANDIGARH: In a major setback to UT police, the district court has discharged Harneet Singh, wife of former deputy mayor Harinder Singh Lucky, from the case of theft registered against her in April 2006.

Sources said Harneev Singh was arrested for allegedly stealing branded clothes from Sweet Girls Station in Sector 17 C with the connivance of salesman Raju. A case was registered on the complaint of Alok Jain, owner of the showroom at Sector-17 police station.

The involvement of the wife of a Congress leader in the crime had made headlines and suspension of then SHO of PS-17, Moti Ram, for negligence. Sources say that after sometime the complainant filed an affidavit in court, claiming his salesman Raju had handed over the clothes to Harneev for alternation and he had mistakenly lodged a theft complaint.

On the statement of Raju, Harneev Singh and his friend Jaspal Kaur were also made accused in the case. Both managed to obtain anticipatory bail from Punjab and Haryana High court.

A police official said though crime branch had recommended cancellation of the case, then ASP (central) forwarded an untraced report, which was accepted in court.






Lyngdoh committee rules the roost at PU

TNN 28 August 2009, 03:05am IST

CHANDIGARH: With Panjab University finally endorsing UT administration’s go-ahead for students’ council polls on September 4, Thursday saw recommendations of Lyngdoh committee getting enforced till election day. Imposition of rules also meant an end to the fun over extravagant campus roadshows and liberal use of posters, banners or hoardings.

Making a formal announcement of elections, dean, students’ welfare (DSW) Naval Kishore, handed out a set of instructions to be followed through campaigning and voting with immediate effect. “For rallies with over 500 people, student bodies will have to inform university authorities, who in turn will pass on the message to the area police. In the wake of repeated violence incidents, authorities have decided to conduct police raids in all hostels, where two constables will be stationed round-the-clock to check illegal entries,” said Kishore.

While carrying of licensed weapons was also banned, UT reportedly wrote to PU about checking free flow of liquor in hostels. With directions about disallowing outsider students from campaigning, the administration also demanded that canvassing should end 72 hours before polling and discouraged beyond 9 pm in girls’ hostels and 10 pm in boys’. Moreover, recommendations of Lyngdoh committee also restricted party expenses to Rs 5,000.

Even as records put voter count at 10,000, PU officials said all those enrolling in the university before August 31 would have the right to vote.






Dead woman walks into court to husband’s rescue

Rajinder Nagarkoti, TNN 28 August 2009, 05:24am IST

CHANDIGARH: A dead woman surprised the Punjab and Haryana High Court judge, who was hearing the trial of her husband — arrested for her murder —by walking in to tell him that the accused had been falsely implicated in the case.

The incident happened on Thursday, when justice L N Mittal was holding the court and Charanjit Kaur, the wife of murder accused Chamkaur Singh, entered the premises to accuse the police of frame-up. Shaken by the allegations levelled against him, she had rushed to her husband’s rescue from Amritsar, where she had been staying at the Darbar Sahib following a tiff with him. She demanded that the case be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and an FIR lodged against those Punjab police officials for acting in this manner.

Taking cognizance of her statement, the judge issued notices to the secretary, department of home affairs, Punjab, CBI, SHO Bhupinder Kaur, DSP Gurdarshan Singh, Dharamkot municipal councillor Mehar Singh and Krishan Kumar, a resident of Dharamkot, for September 9.

The police had picked up Chamkaur around 9.30am from his residence in Jalalabad village of Moga district on August 14, telling his father Jora Singh that he was required for some enquiry.






Municipal bill passed, more power to local bodies, women

TNN 28 August 2009, 04:08am IST

JAIPUR: The women in the state will finally have an equal share in management of local bodies as the Rajasthan Municipal Bill, 2009, was passed in the state assembly on Thursday. Reservation for women also coincides with the reservation for youth and will be applicable in all existing categories.

Though similar to the Ordinance passed by the previous government, the Bill, which would replace the Rajasthan Municipal Act, 1959, is amended to provide more rights to the local bodies. Provisions have been made to provide more independence to the local bodies and enable them to provide self-governance in real terms.

“Municipalities will be able to implement local tax and could sanction their own budget, providing more autonomy to these institutions,” said local self-government minister Shanti Dhariwal.

Local bodies will now be able to impose fines up to Rs 50,000 on encroachers while there shall be no upper limit for the fine to be imposed by these bodies on violation of other norms.

They have also been given the power to seize any building that is being constructed in violation of building norms. These bodies will now also play a role in management of traffic in their respective areas.

The powers of elected representatives have also been raised. The operation of municipalities will now be highly influenced by the elected representatives.

“The previous government had sidelined the opinion of elected members in disciplinary action against the municipality employees. Now, only on approval of the chairperson, the CEO will be able to take action against any official,” the minister claimed.

“However, to make these members more accountable, they will now have to submit records and statements to the investigating officer in case of a judicial inquiry,” he added.

The selection process for the administrative officers of the municipalities will also undergo a change as their selection will now be made through Rajasthan Municipal Administrative Services (RMAS) and Rajasthan Municipal Technical Services (RMTS), generating more career advancement opportunities.

Even as the changes in municipal norms were proposed earlier during the previous government, the minister denied much credit to the preceding Ordinance as large numbers of changes have been made in the recent Bill.

“The recent Bill still contains nearly half of the provisions of 1959 Act, which are still relevant. In the remaining 30 Sections of the previous Ordinance have been deleted while nearly 120 amendments have been made in constituting the Rajasthan Municipal Bill, 2009,” he added.






Six bills passed in third session of assembly

TNN 28 August 2009, 04:09am IST

JAIPUR: The third session of the Rajasthan assembly reconvened on Thursday passed six bills, including the bills making marriage registration mandatory in the state.

All the bills were passed by voice vote without any debate as the opposition has boycotted the session on the issue of the suspension of its three MLAs. The session, which resumed after a month-long recess, got over in less than two hours, as main opposition BJP, CPI-M stayed away.

Moving the Rajasthan Marriage Compulsory Registration Bill 2009, home minister Shanti Dhariwal said the bill has been moved in tune with the decision of the Supreme Court. It would help the prevention of child marriage, and getting alimony for estranged wives and children. Besides, it would come to the aid of widows to get right on the property of their late husbands. Marriage registration has ben made compulsory barring those solemnised under the Indian Christian Marriage Act, the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, or the Special Marriage Act.

Dhariwal also moved the Rajasthan Nagar Palika (Amendment) Bill 2009 providing more autonomy and discretion to the nagar palikas(municipalities) in imposing new taxes to make them more self-reliant . Besides, nagar palikas have been given powers to make master plans and development plans. The bill also provides for effective management of solid waste, fixing individual responsibility of officials in case of misuse of public money etc. It also makes provision for reservation for youths (21-35) in the local bodies.

Another bill, moved by minister of state for agriculture marketing Gurmeet Singh Kunner sought amendment of the Rajasthan Agriculture Producers Cooperatives 2009 Act to provide for increasing the reservation for women from 33% to 50%.

Panchayati raj minister Bharat Singh moved the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Bill (Amendment ) 2009 seeking delimitation of the of the panchyati raj institutions to bring in more uniformity. It will remove the anomalies of overpopulation in wards and panchayats and panchayat samitis.

The Rajasthan court fees and Suit Valuation Amendment Bill was passed by the assembly to make the law in tune with the Central Court Fees Act.

The House also passed the Appropriation Bill 2009 for Rs 49,33,17862 crore for the additional demand for the financial year 2005-06 before adjourned sine die on Thursday.






Showcause notice to SI for evading court appearance

TNN 27 August 2009, 11:22pm IST

KANPUR: The additional district and sessions judge XIII of Kanpur Nagar, Ghanshyam Pathak on Thursday issued a showcause notice under section 350 of CrPC against sub-inspector, Jang Bahadur, and ordered to stop the payment of his salary till further order.

The presiding judge also issued bailable warrant against the SI and asked the SSP to ensure his presence before the court on September 9, 2009. He took the stern view when he came to know that the SI, who was a prosecution witness, was not appearing in the court to adduce his evidence in a narcotics case styled as State v/s Sravan Yadav despite the serving of summons and notices.

The judge in a copy sent to station officer Barra asked him to ensure the serving of warrant on SI and his presence before the court on next date.

Sentence : The additional district and sessions judge VI of Kanpur Nagar, Amarjeet Tripathi on Wednesday convicted a rapist named as Chandra Shekher and sentenced him to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 18,000.

According to additional district government counsel, Vijay Agnihotri, who had conducted the case, accused Chandra Shekhar, a resident of Chainpurwa in Ganga Katri, had enticed a 14-year-old girl of Lathewali Kothi area and kidnapped her on September 3, 2007. He kept the girl with him for one week and in that period he repeatedly exploited the girl physically. The police recovered the girl from his possession from Kanpur Central railway station while he was trying to leave the city.

The defense counsel had pleaded that since accused was not a criminal hence, court should take a lenient view. But the presiding officer observed that he had committed a heinous crime with a minor girl hence, he should be given harsh punishment.

Meanwhile, additional district and sessions judge V of Kanpur Dehat, V K Srivastava, convicted one Nanhe Lal alias Behari, a resident of Aryanagar Rania, under the Electricity Act and punished him to rigorous imprisonment of one and half year.

According to case file, Nanhe Lal had cut the power cable on January 8, 2008. The police arrested him three months later and recovered 50 kg aluminium wire from his possession.

Legal Literacy camp: A micro-legal literacy camp was held by the district legal cell, Kanpur Dehat, under the chairmanship of district judge, S N Dwivedi at Choubeypur town of Bilhour tehsil here on Tuesday. Besides judicial officials, station in charge of Choubeypur police station, village pradhans of several villages and prominent persons of the locality were present in the camp. The people were informed that any person who belonged to SC/ST, women, handicapped, freedom fighters should apply for legal help free of cost after presenting the certificate. General category persons whose income was upto Rs 1 lakh would also get free legal aid.

Thereafter, they apprised them about pre-litigation Lok Adalat, counselling and reconciliation centre. Information regarding matrimonial disputes, criminal cases, bailable and non-bailable warrants, summons of criminal courts, mutation, will and the Motor Vehicle Act was also given to them. According to Harvindar Singh, secretary, district legal cell, the next camp would be held at Bhoganipur Pukhrayan on August 29, 2009.






SC gives man 35 years for twin murders

TNN 28 August 2009, 02:21am IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has saved a double murder convict from the gallows but sent him to an unprecedented 35 years in prison, with the caveat that he cannot be set free after the mandatory 14 years.

This is the first time that the apex court has quantified a lifer’s prison term. Aware that the state government has the power to grant parole after 14 years, the apex court said in this case, Haru Ghosh would serve a minimum of 35 years behind bars.

A bench comprising Justices V S Sirpurkar and Deepak Verma said it was tempted to send Ghosh to prison for the rest of his life like in the Swamy Shradhanand case but it was not doing so because the convict had two minor children.

Ghosh had brutally murdered Amina Pramanik (30) and her 12-year-old son Subhankar in Nabadwip on May 7, 2005, because her husband stopped him from drinking liquor in the locality. He even chopped off Subhankar’s hands and critically injured a neighbour when he came to the rescue.

Ghosh was then on bail, having already been sentenced to life imprisonment in another case.

The trial court sentenced him to death for the double murder, which was upheld by Calcutta High Court.





Lawyer assaulted for seeking adjournment

TNN 28 August 2009, 01:33am ISTPUNE: A lawyer, who sought an adjournment in a property dispute case, was allegedly attacked by a litigant outside the civil court on Wednesday.

The incident has shocked the lawyers practising at the district and sessions court here.

The Pune Bar Association has condemned the incident and demanded action against the suspect, Rajmani Singh, of Koregaon Park.

Lawyer Amod Vora of Rambaugh Colony and Singh have registered cross complaints against each other with the Shivajinagar police station.

According to the police, Singh had come to the court to attend a hearing in a case filed by Yashwant Samaj Kalyan co-op housing society. The case filed against Vijay Kakade and others pertains to ownership of a piece of land at Wanowrie

When the case came up for hearing before civil judge (senior division) A N Sontakke, lawyers Eknath Javir and Vora, representing the defendants, moved an application seeking adjournment. When Vora walked out of the court, Singh accosted him and thrashed him for seeking the adjournment. The police have registered complaints of non-cognizable offence against Vora and Singh, under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.







4 years’ RI to 10 in fodder scam

TNN 28 August 2009, 05:53am IST

RANCHI: A CBI court on Thursday awarded four years’ rigorous imprisonment to 10 convicts in a case of the multi-crore fodder scam that rocked undivided Bihar in 1990s.

The CBI, which probed the scam, had chargesheeted 42 persons in the case (RC 56A/96) which pertained to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 13.79 crore from the Gumla treasury (now in Jharkhand) between July and December 1995.

While two accused — Sunil Kumar Sinha and Ajay Verma — were acquitted by special CBI judge AH Ansari for lack of evidence, 30 others were awarded imprisonment, ranging from three years to seven year, on Tuesday and Wednesday. The court also imposed fine on them, ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 25 lakh.

Special prosecutor SK Lal on Thursday said besides the four years’ RI, the court also imposed fine on the ten convicts, all traders who used to make supplies to the animal husbandry department. While the minimum fine was Rs three lakh, the maximum fine of Rs 10 lakh was imposed on S S Gandhi.

Others sentenced on Thursday included S N Singh, M S Bedi, D K Sinha, Samir Walia, M K Kundan, K Kumar, S S Guian, N K Prasad and Rajesh Verma.

Of the 53 fodder scam cases, 32 have been disposed of, resulting in conviction of 400-odd accused. The remaining 21 cases, including the ones in which former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad is an accused, are in different stages of trial.

CBI sources said efforts are on to expedite trial in the remaining cases. “If everything goes well, the hearing of cases involving Lalu will be completed by the year-end,” a CBI official said.






Valsad gangrape case: 2 held, remanded for 13 days

27 August 2009, 10:53pm IST

VALSAD: Two men, who were arrested for the gangrape of a 16-year-old school girl on her way to tuition class near Dungri village early morning on August 14, were granted 13 days of police remand by a local court on Thursday.

Fahruqh Lambat of Rankuva village of Chikli taluka of Navsari district and Munaf Shekih of Navsari were arrested by Valsad police on Wednesday after their whereabouts were traced from the stolen cell phone of the girl.

Valsad superintendent of police D J Patel said, “The accused have confessed to their crime, which they said they had committed while returning home from Vapi. We have got them to reconstruct and retrace the entire incident. We have also seized the vehicle used by them and the cell phone of the girl.”

“All the scientific tests, including Narco analysis and lie detector tests will be conducted on the duo as we suspect their involvement in other crimes of similar nature,” Patel added. He also said that within 90 days police will prepare a foolproof case like Surat police did so that it will be easy to get such criminals punished.

The duo was arrested after 11 days of the incident as police chanced upon their location by tracking the cell phone stolen from the girl. “We caught Lambat from his village home. At first, he kept denying the incident and said he had picked up the cell phone from the road. Later, he confessed and lead us to his associate in the crime, Shekih.”

While Lambat, a rickshaw driver, has two wives and three children, Munaf works in a plastic unit of Surat. Both had gone to Vapi to meet Lambat’s girlfriend there and spotted the 16-year-old victim near Dungri on a scooter. The duo chased the girl on a motorcycle and threw her off balance by kicking her vehicle and pulled her to a nearby orchard where they raped her.






SC rules about School Buses will be followed

Kistu Fernandes, TNN 28 August 2009, 02:47am IST

The Thane Regional Transport Office on Tuesday issued guidelines regarding the rules to be adhered to by school buses. The step comes close on the heels of the Panvel school bus tragedy. If applied explicitly, not many school buses would be seen plying on the roads, as not many of the rules are being stuck to by them.

The Supreme Court has issued these guidelines and the Thane RTO plans to strictly impose them. “We will make sure these rules, as laid down by the SC, are followed strictly as this is a very important issue,” said the Thane Regional Transport Officer Sanjay Raut. In a press release the RTO has provided the 10 must-follow rules; now only time will tell how effectively they are implemented by the schools as well as the RTO.






‘NTPC case: Oilmin must intervene’

TNN 28 August 2009, 12:41am IST

NEW DELHI: Striving to keep up the heat, Anil Ambani’s ADAG on Thursday expressed surprise over the haste shown by the oil ministry in defending the costs incurred by Mukesh Ambani’s RIL in developing the Andhra gas field and asked it to intervene in the case over gas supplies to state-run generation utility NTPC.

Pointing out that the ministry issued a statement justifying the escalation in the Andhra offshore costs a day after RIL wrote a letter defending the figures, RNRL said the government’s statement did not answer ‘‘legitimate public apprehensions’’ over a decline in the Centre’s share of profit from the field.

RNRL also said the ministry should follow a uniform policy and become party to NTPC’s case against RIL to save electricity consumers from paying additional Rs 30,000 crore for the benefit of ‘‘private monopoly’’ gas producer. “In contrast to hands-off approach in RIL-NTPC case, the ministry has chosen to actively intervene in a similar commercial dispute over gas supply between two corporates (RIL and RNRL), even though the government’s interests are fully protected as per judgement of Bombay HC.”

“Yet, the petroleum ministry is not considering intervening in the court case between RIL and NTPC. Indeed, fears are now being expressed that the ministry’s recent statements in Parliament may harm the interests of NTPC in its legal battle against RIL,” the RNRL letter said.






Comment: No Exemptions Please

28 August 2009, 12:00am ISTThe unanimous decision by Supreme Court judges to make personal assets and liabilities and those of their spouses and dependents public is a step in the right direction. This move by the apex court judges must spur their compatriots in high courts to follow suit.

However, the caveat that no queries will be entertained on the judges’ disclosures is a dampener. Judges must not regard themselves as an exceptional category and seek exemptions and privileges that are not available to other public officials, including legislators. The principle of transparency and accountability demands full measures. The fear that interested parties could misuse the disclosures to embarrass the judiciary may be valid, but that ought to be addressed by incorporating stringent penalties in the law as a deterrent against any possible mischief.

Earlier this month, the government had to withdraw the Judges (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities) Bill in the Rajya Sabha after MPs objected to a provision that sought exemption for judges from being subjected to any query over disclosures. Their objection that the exemption clause violated the principle of equality before law spelt out in the Constitution was justified. Hopefully, the judiciary will recognise the sentiment. The government must now make necessary changes to the Bill and introduce it in Parliament. In the absence of a law, disclosure of assets will remain a voluntary option whereas it ought to become mandatory for all public officials.

Transparency and accountability form the bedrock of good governance. The legal architecture to facilitate good governance must include a law to protect whistleblowers in the system. The government reportedly is now ready with a draft law to protect whistleblowers. As per the draft law, a complaint of corruption can be made against a central government employee or any other central government-backed institution to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). The CVC can withhold the identity of the complainant, order an investigation and, if necessary, provide security for the complainant.

Unfortunately, the draft law, prepared after public uproar over the murder of brave officials who exposed corruption in public works, is not without loopholes. One, the draft law’s scope is limited to the public sector. Two, ministers will be exempted from investigations carried out under complaints registered under this law. These exemptions ought to be removed. Corruption can be an issue in the corporate sector as well: witness Satyam. Many corporate scams like the Enron scandal were exposed by whistleblowers. Similarly, ministers are at the apex of the public sector and an integral part of the decision-making mechanism. To exempt them from an anti-graft law is nothing but a subversion of its intent. As in the case of judges’ wealth, exemptions and half-measures are unacceptable in this case too.


2 Responses

  1. […] legal news 28.08.2009 Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Marad: plea for probe dismissedDisrespect to dead body: KPCC begins probeCorruption prevails in all departments: Thettayil […]

  2. Excellent site

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: