LEGAL NEWS 10-11.09.2009

Remove manpower, machinery from construction sites: Supreme Court

September 11th, 2009 SindhToday

New Delhi, Sep 11 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday firmly told the Mayawati – led Government to vacate all the manpower and machinery from seven construction sites within six hours of its fresh order.

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice B.N. Agarwal and Justice Aftab Alam, ordered the Uttar Pradesh Government to stop all construction of all the memorials, parks and statues in the state.

“ No further construction would be done at the site until the matter was decided by the court,” the State Government replied in its undertaking.

The court warned the state administration of taking severe action if it failed to follow its orders.

“You are playing a hide and seek game. Your are playing with fire,” the bench said in its order.

The court also said “Nobody except the security guard should enter the construction sites”

The court also issued a show cause notice to Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary for failing to obey its order.

On Thursday, a section of the media had reported that the Mayawati Government continues to disobey the Supreme Court’s directive, vis-à-vis construction activity at Ambedkar Park, one of Mayawati’s dream projects in Lucknow.

The apex court has also asked media organizations, to furnish all material in support of their claims.

In its supplementary Budget presented before in the state assembly the Uttar Pradesh Government had allotted a sum of Rs 550 crore for statues and memorials of Kanshi Ram, B.R. Ambedkar, and Mayawati. (ANI)









HC acquits Pandher in Nithari killings case

PTI 11 September 2009, 10:54am IST

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court on Friday acquitted businessman Moninder Singh Pandher in one of the Nithari serial killing case, setting aside the death sentence awarded to him by a lower court, but upheld the capital punishment handed down to his domestic help Surinder Koli.

The order was passed by a Division Bench comprising Justice Imtiyaz Murtaza and Justice K N Pandey which observed that “no evidence has been placed on record to show that Pandher was guilty”.

Pandher and Koli were awarded death sentence by a special court in Ghaziabad on February 13 this year for the murder of 14-year-old girl Rimpa Halder at his house in Noida.

Significantly, CBI, which was investigating the Nithari episode, had given a “clean chit” to Pandher, a Noida-based businessman, in its chargesheet.

Pandher’s son Karandeep Singh, who was present in the High Court, expressed delight over the acquittal of his father and said he was now looking forward to “justice in the remaining cases related to this matter”.

“There is God, and there is justice in the country,” Karandeep said.

The High Court, he said, had sustained CBI’s chargesheet and “we are quite happy about that”.

Pandher’s lawyer Monisha Bhandari said that she will try for bail for her client in view of the verdict.

G S Chaturvedi, senior counsel and amicus curiae in the case, hoped that Koli would file an appeal against the high court verdict in the Supreme Court.

Regarding Pandher, he said the trial court had adopted a procedure which was not scientific and “had thrown legality and caution to the winds”.

“Secondly, there was no evidence against the man (Pandher),” he said noting that the businessman was in Australia when the girl was murdered.

He also said that this verdict may have a bearing in some other pending Nithari cases as the evidence was similar.

None of the family members of Koli, whose death sentence has been upheld, or that of the victim Rimpa, was present on the occasion.

The trial court had awarded death sentence to Pandher and Koli for the murder of Haldar, who had gone missing from her house on April 27, 2006.

The CBI had given a clean chit to Pandher on the basis of the fact that he was out of station while the alleged incident had taken place.








Gujarat HC gets India-Tech Excellence Award

Express News Service Posted: Friday , Sep 11, 2009 at 0119 hrs Ahmedabad:

The Gujarat High Court has bagged the eighth India-Tech Excellence Award 2009 for the application of Information Technology in administration as part of the e-governance initiative.

“The High Court has received the India-Tech Excellence Award, instituted by the India Tech Foundation (ITF), for its information and communication initiative in the state judiciary system,” said P P Bhatt, Registrar, Gujarat HC.

He added that ITF had invited nominations for the most progressive state government in three categories — IT in administration, power sector reforms and initiatives in development of urban and rural infrastructure.

The High Court has been awarded for measures such as computerisation of records at state level as well as in district courts, setting up of e-courts, introduction of district court websites that give status of a case, SMS for getting status of a particular case and other initiatives, including training of officials for use of new software and IT system.

The award will be presented during a ceremony to be held in November.








HC admits two PILs filed by Jet pilots’ union

TNN 11 September 2009, 04:11am IST

CHENNAI: Brushing aside preliminary objections from Jet Airways, Madras High Court on Thursday decided to entertain two public interest writ petitions filed by the airline’s pilot union, National Aviators Guild (NAG), and issue notice to the Jet management.

One of the petitions sought to cancel permission given by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to Jet to engage foreign pilots while keeping experienced and senior Indian pilots out of jobs. The other plea was to direct the DGCA to monitor Jet’s operations on a “day-to-day and flight-wise basis” to ensure safety of passengers. The NAG also sought to do away with the discrimination between foreign and Indian pilots on the parameters of experience and health check-ups. Indian pilots are required to undergo medical tests once in six months, no such requirement had been stipulated for foreign hands, the union said.

Jet’s senior counsel PS Raman argued before a division bench comprising justice D Murugesan and justice M Jaichandren that the PILs could not be maintained as they pertained to a “service matter.” Senior advocate V Prakash, representing the pilots, told the court that he was not pressing for an order restraining the management from terminating the services of pilots on its rolls. Listening to the arguments, the bench said the petitions were maintainable and fit for hearing if the pilots did not insist on the termination issue. “We hold that the writ petitions are maintainable, as they do not relate to service matter.”

Ordering notices to the Jet management and DGCA, the judges posted the matter to September 16 for further hearing. They also permitted NAG to serve notice on the additional solicitor-general M Ravindran, who would be representing the centre.

In his petition, the NAG’s authorised member captain JS Krishna said the Jet management was issued Foreign Aircrew Temporary Authorisation (FATA) by the DGCA and permitted to hire foreign pilots “to make up for the shortage of experienced pilots in India.” But he said it would amount to unfair labour practice if the management terminated the services of experienced senior pilots and invoked the provisions of FATA.

Such termination would have an adverse impact on safety standards, he said. Representation from the NAG against the FATA had not evoked any response from authorities, he added. He sought a direction to DGCA to take appropriate action to cancel the permission issued to Jet management to engage the services of foreign pilots.

In the other petition, Krishna alleged that a Jet Airways flight — 9W226 — from Chennai to Brussels was operated on September 8 with only two foreign pilots though the rules require three pilots. He pointed out the instance in reference to the alleged discrimination between foreign pilots and Indian pilots.

“Therefore, the discrimination between foreign and Indian pilots in the matter of medical tests/health checkups and experience requirements is ultra vires Article 14 (Fundamental Right to Equality) of the Constitution,” he submitted.








HC stern on violation of PP ban by MU doc

TNN 11 September 2009, 04:05am IST

LUCKNOW: Taking serious note of violation of ban on private practice (PP) by the teachers of the Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (CSMMU), the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court (HC) comprising Justices Pradeep Kant and Rituraj Awasthi on Thursday asked Dr AK Sachan why he should not be tried for perjury for submitting a false affidavit that he is not into PP.

Dr Sachan is a faculty in the pharmacology department of CSMMU and also runs a private hospital in the city and is associated with a private medical college as well. The court has asked Sachan to submit his reply on October 1. The bench has also directed the CSMMU authorities to submit all details of the 11 teachers who have been found prima facie guilty of violating PP ban.

Dr Sachan is said to be running a private hospital whose ultrasound machine was sealed by the health officials last year in a raid after finding certain anomalies. He filed a petition in the court for relief. However, the HC bench took cognizance of the fact that Sachan is a faculty member in CSMMU and at the same time he is running a private hospital, which violates the ban on PP.

As per the directions of the court in the previous hearing, Dr Sachan came in person on Thursday along with a senior advocate SP Gupta to put forward his defence. Sachan admitted before the court that he teaches in the pharmacology department, CSMMU. He said that he opened the hospital in 1991, whereas he joined CSMMU in 2002 and since then he was not taking any money from the hospital.

Dr Sachan also admitted before the court that he had submitted an affidavit earlier declaring that he is not into PP. He also pleaded that he is only managing administrative work of the hospital which is actually being run by his wife. He also admitted that the appointment letter he got from CSMMU specifically states that association with a private hospital and PP is banned.

At this, the HC bench asked Dr Sachan why should he not be tried for the perjury for submitting a false affidavit. The court also directed CSMMU DK Upadhayaya to submit details of the 11 teachers who have been found prima facie guilty of violating ban on PP. The CSMMU has been asked to produce affidavits filed by these teachers declaring that they are not indulging in PP.

The CSMMU authorities said that they will act as per the court direction in cases related to PP. The ban on PP was imposed in 80s following complaints that teachers neglect their official work for PP. But teachers continued PP. A PIL was filed in 2007 seeking strict implementation of ban following which the HC directed CSMMU and government to take action against teachers violating ban.









Blame game on between two senior cops over HC violence

A Subramani, TNN 11 September 2009, 03:45am IST

CHENNAI: As a side-show for the unprecedented violence on the Madras High Court campus on February 19, a serious blame game has erupted between two senior IPS officers who were at that time occupying two top positions in the city.

Earlier this week, then additional commissioner of police A K Viswanathan had filed his counter-affidavit before the court, stating that he and other senior officers suggested to then commissioner K Radhakrishnan that it would be prudent to withdraw the entire police force from the court premises. He also said Radhakrishnan insisted that the entire force remain on the campus as necessary clearance had been obtained from the then acting chief justice SJ Mukhopadhaya.

Denying the statement, Radhakrishnan filed an additional affidavit on Thursday saying he never talked about “any clearance” from the then acting chief justice to arrest the advocates, and that no official, including Viswanathan, told him that it would be “prudent” to withdraw the force from the high court.

Describing the allegation as incorrect’, Radhakrishnan said, “withdrawal of a force from a serious law and order situation is a tactical decision which can be taken only by an officer present in the spot and handling the situation, and no officer, however great he may be, sitting at a different place can give orders through remote control.”

Noting that Viswanathan, in his capacity as additional commissioner of police, was the chief operating officer of the law and order machinery, Radhakrishnan said Viswanathan must have the moral courage to own up the responsibility.

“Viswanathan being the seniormost police officer present at the spot at 4 pm by his own admission, during the first lathicharge, should have the courage to own up the responsibility for ordering the lathicharge, which in my estimate is justifiable. “As a senior officer he was authorised and was under duty to deal with the situation. The situation was so grave, the ordering of lathicharge against the unruly mob of advocates initiated by Viswanathan was imminent, necessary and justifiable. As commissioner of police, I would have also done the same thing or, for that matter, any responsible police officer would have resorted to the same action,” Radhakrishnan said.

Accusing Viswanathan of being factually incorrect, Radhakrishnan said the allegation that the commissioner commanded the entire operation’ is “totally baseless and incorrect” because he was not in immediate on-the-spot command of the operation before he arrived. He also said Viswanathan was wrong in alleging that the commissioner had arrived with more than 100 personnel at 4.45 pm and ordered tear gas to be fired, followed by lathicharge.

“I sincerely hope that his (Viswanathan’s) version was not for the purpose of avoiding individual and collective responsibility for the decisions taken,” Radhakrishnan said.








HC takes state to task over `rescued’ child labourers

Swati Deshpande and Shreya Bhandary, TNN 11 September 2009, 01:34am IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday got tough with the state government and directed it to produce within 24 hours the list of 670 child labourers it claimed to have rescued. A bench, headed by Justice Bilal Nazki, said the treatment being meted out to children after they were rescued was “a terrible thing” and told the state: “We are not sure you have rescued them.”

The HC was hearing a suo motu PIL on the plight of rampant child labour. After asking the government lawyer whether the rescued children were being educated and on being told that they were getting vocational and informal education, Justice Nazki said: “Are you giving them proper education? Every child has the right to education.”

The court, exhibiting tenderness in its approach, said: “If you are teaching them candle-making or other vocations after rescuing them, then they are perhaps better off outside.” Justice Nazki was at his critical best when he told the struggling government lawyer that “the child worker at an auto garage might go on to become a wonderful mechanic but, at the state remand homes, it would be worse for him than it was outside”.

The state lawyer kept repeating that the state had sent the rescued children back to their parents or homes. But she could not give the names of 10 children who were rescued and sent back to their parents in Mumbai despite seeking urgent instructions from the officials present in court. “We shall take Mumbai as a test,” the judges said.

The state lawyer kept asking for more time to get the information and present it in court. But the court said: “Will you manufacture the list or do you have it?”

Justice Nazki lamented that “no service is done for the children under the various state schemes (meant for them)”.

According to the court, children could be seen employed everywhere. Data submitted by the state earlier showed that children were employed as domestic workers in upscale Colaba and Lokhandwala and were more likely to be toiling in gold jewellery units in Bhuleshwar; and, in Dharavi, they could be found straining their eyes over intricate hand-embroidery in zari factories. The PIL, the court was hearing, was based on a letter written by former high court judge G S Patankar.








HC overturns ruling to keep drug dealer under house arrest

Friday, September 11th, 2009

High Court yesterday overturned the Criminal Court’s ruling to release Hussain Mohamed Manik of H. Rehi from jail to house arrest, following appeal from Prosecutor General on Thursday.

The High Court verdict gives clearance to home ministry to keep Hussain Mohamed imprisoned for a period of 15 days in a place determined by the ministry.

Prosecutor General’s office appealed to High Court to overturn the Criminal Court’s ruling to release Hussain Mohamed, considered by the state as one of the six top drug dealers in the country.

At the trial held on Thursday, Deputy Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem said since the arrest of Hussain Mohamed in April this year, Criminal Court issued 9 orders to keep him imprisoned , expressing the dangers to the society if he were to be released.

Shameem said one of the court order issued by Criminal Court expressed that if Hassan Mohamed were to be released there was a danger of losing evidence and another order states that there was enough evidence to keep the accused imprisoned.

Shameem argued that while none of these circumstances have changed Criminal Court’s order to release to Hussain Mohamed to house arrest was against all judicial and legal principles.

Shameem further referring to Article 49 of the constitution said the article clear justification to keep Hussain Mohamed imprisoned. Article 49 of the constitution states that no person shall be detained in custody prior to sentencing, unless the danger of the accused absconding or not appearing at trial, the protection of the public, or potential interference with witnesses or evidence dictate otherwise. The release may be subject to conditions of bail or other assurances to appear as required by the court.

Shameem further informed the court that a court order issued on 4th July gave the authority to home ministry to keep Hussain Mohamed locked up in a place determined by the ministry until the trial is concluded. He asserted that Criminal Court cannot go back on its own order without first appealing the order. He therefore asked High Court to revoke the lower court’s order to release the accused Hussain Mohamed to house arrest.

The accused lawyer Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim said the Criminal Court’s order to release Hussain Mohamed to house arrest should not be a matter of surprise as three people arrested on charges of smuggling drugs was acquitted within 3 months. He also said the normal practice of criminal court was to release a person arrested on accusation of an offense after three months.

Whaeed accused PG office and Police of trying to alter the facts and conceal the truth. He noted that the appeal form submitted by PG office stated that the accused was released but the truth was that accused was still under house arrest.

Lawyer Waheed alleged that the whole case was politically motivated and ever since the President made a reference to a six top dealers, police and PG office had worked relentlessly in include his client Hassan Mohamed in the list.

Responding to deputy PG’s claims that Hussain Mohamed, if released, may try to abscond or interfere with evidence, Waheed said so far the accused has never made any such attempt.

Hussain Mohamed Maniku of Henveiru Rehi, first drug dealer to be apprehended from the six major drug dealers in the country has been released for house arrest, after a ruling by the Criminal Court. The court ruling also said that the investigation should be completed within a week.

The man who trafficked more than 1kg of drugs through an old couple, who went for a medical treatment to Trivandrum, was red-handed during the investigation of the case on 9 April this year. The man is now under house arrest as per the court ruling.

Police said that Hussain Mohamed Manik’s investigation is being conducted as a very serious one, in close collaboration with several foreign governments, international agencies AG Office and PG Office.

Police had already arrested 2 of the six major drug dealers in the country and they are 33 years old Hussain Mohamed Manik and a man who had been hiding drugs in a farm in Addoo Atoll. Later, 39 year old Adam Naseer Aboobakuru of Henveiru Reendhooge was apprehended in a police special operation. Police also recovered MRF 5,390,000 and USD 43,400 from his residence.








Work underway on draft legislation to restrict judges privileges – AG

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Work is underway on drafting legislation to restrict the privileges and powers granted to the judges to extend detention periods of people detained on suspicion of various offenses, Attorney General (AG) Husnu Suood has said.

AG Husnu Suood made the statement speaking at the inaugural ceremony of Justice Association of Maldives held on Tuesday night at Social Center.

Speaking at the ceremony, Husnu Suood said that the privileges of Judges to extend the detention period of various people accused of various crimes is not excised in the best possible manner.

He said unless the privileges of the judges are restricted, justice may not be upheld. Noting that judges rule differently on similar types of cases on different occasions, he said if the judges are unaware how best to utilize their privileges to uphold justice, then a law needs to be in place to regulate the process.

Referring to Criminal Court’s ruling to release Hassan Mohamed of H. Rehi, one of the top six drug dealers in the country, from jail to house arrest, AG said the constitution is very clear and that it stipulates that a person accused of an offense shall be kept in detention or in custody, prior to sentencing, if there is a danger of the accused absconding or not appearing at trial, or if the protection of the public is in danger, or is likely to interference with witnesses or evidence.

He said judges must issue verdicts after careful consideration to individual rights as well as the rights of the society and that if judges were to issue verdicts with any order offenders will get encouraged.
He said draft legislation on judges and courts have been completed sent to judicial institutions including the courts for comments and opinion. He said, so far, only Civil Court has provided any response and urged all concerned to provide comments soonest. He further said draft legislation on evidence has also been sent but has yet to receive any comment.

He said that it is regrettable that no comments, expect from Civil Court, has been received. It shows the level of interest of officials appointed to uphold justice to strengthen and improve the country’s judiciary.

AG also said three bills are now ready for submission to People’s Majlis.







Issues of judicial independence

T.R. Andhyarujina

There are two sides to the issue of the right under the RTI to information from the Supreme Court.

There has been an odd twist of events in the matter of public disclosure of assets of judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts. On August 26, 2009, the Chief Justice of India (CJI), in consultation with his colleagues of the court, announced that the declaration of assets made by individual judges of the Supreme Court in accordance with the court’s resolution of May 5, 1997 would now be made public on the website of the court. This put an end to an acute contr oversy on disclosure of assets of judges in which the Supreme Court put itself on the wrong side of public opinion by appearing to be indifferent to transparency and unaccountability by refusing to accede to the demand to make public the declaration of assets of judges.

Scarcely seven days later, the High Court of Delhi, in a judgment by Justice Ravindra Bhat, while holding that the CJI was a “public authority” under the Right to Information Act, 2005, held that the CJI was still not obliged to disclose the assets of the judges in public, unless a case of clear public interest was made out to disclose the assets of an individual judge.

This crucial finding of the High Court has gone unnoticed in the lengthy 73-page judgment, and has been overshadowed by the important holding of the High Court that the CJI was a public authority under the RTI Act contrary to the CJI’s contention that he was not, and further that the declaration of assets was not given to him by the judges in a fiduciary capacity. In the high traditions of an independent and fearless judiciary, Mr. Justice Bhat did not hesitate to set the law right even though in the process he had to differ with the CJI. It reminds one of Thomas Fuller’s statement centuries ago: “Be you never so high, the law is above you.”

It is important to note that the case considered by the High Court did not pertain to any demand by the applicant for the public disclosure of the assets of the judges of the Supreme Court. The applicant had made a very simple demand of asking the CJI as a public authority to disclose whether the judges of the Supreme Court had in fact implemented their own resolution of May 7, 1997 to declare their assets to the CJI. This was, inexplicably, denied to the applicant. The entire public controversy could have been avoided by the Supreme Court by providing this innocuous piece of information. Apparently the CJI believed that this demand would trigger a demand for public disclosure of the assets of judges and for other confidential information with the CJI. The High Court, therefore, rightly concluded that this very limited information sought by the applicant was information that he was entitled to get from the Chief Justice of India as a pubic authority under the Act, and ordered its disclosure.

This by itself would have disposed of the case before the High Court, but the court went on to consider the more controversial aspect of whether there was a right to obtain public disclosure of the actual assets declared by the Supreme Court judges to the Chief Justice of India in compliance with 1997 resolution of the court. It is here that the High Court held that under the provisions of Section 8(i)(j) of Right to Information Act, 2005, there was no obligation to give information which the judges had given of their assets as that was “personal information” which if disclosed would cause an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual judge. The applicant was not entitled to such information unless he satisfied the Central Public Information Officer of the court (CPIO) that a larger public interest justified the disclosure of assets given by the individual judge.

Mr. Justice Bhat observed: “Rhetoric and polemic apart there is no reason to undermine the protection provided by the law merely because some of the public believe that judges ought to permit unimpeded disclosure of personal assets to the public. The obligation to give access or deny access to the information is today controlled by the provision of Right to Information Act as it presently exists. Nowhere does it oblige disclosure of assets of spouses, dependents and children of judges.”

It thus turns out from Mr. Justice Bhat’s judgment that on this part relating to a general duty to make public the declaration of assets of judges, the CJI was not wrong in law in resisting their general disclosure. However, on August 26, under great public pressure and high publicity given to the action of two judges of two High Courts to voluntarily disclose their declaration of assets, the CJI and his colleagues decided to end the unseemly controversy by disclosing the declaration of assets of judges of the Supreme Court to the public on the court’s website. Had the High Court given its decision earlier, the CJI may have derived some support for his stand.

Nevertheless, in such a situation the law must take a back seat to public perception, and the CJI did well to correct an image of judges of superior courts resisting transparency and accountability. Mr. Justice Bhat notes the CJI’s voluntary decision in his judgment, but says that his own findings would place everything in their legal and contextual perspective.

The High Court’s finding that the CJI is a public authority who is bound to give information relating to the work, documents and records of the Supreme Court will have far-reaching implications for the Supreme Court and the High Courts. Does it follow that there is a right to obtain notings made by the CJI and the collegium of judges in the selection and rejection of judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts which they are obliged to make in accordance with the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Second Judges Appointment case? If such notings are made public, will the collegium of judges candidly express their views on the merits of individual judges in their notings? Is there a right to obtain the notes of judges, drafts of judgments and minutes of discussion before a judgment is pronounced? Is there a right to the communications between the CJI and Chief Justices of High Courts or with the Prime Minister or the President? These are troublesome problems and there are no exceptions to these demands for information under the RTI Act. It seems that the framers of the Act did not advert to the consequences of such public disclosure.

The CJI rightly spoke of his apprehensions if he is to be a public authority under the RTI Act. In the public clamour for transparency and accountability of judges, there is a real danger of undermining the independence and efficient functioning of the higher judiciary.

(T.R. Andhyarujina is a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court and a former Solicitor-General of India .)







In a higher court

J. S. Verma

Posted: Friday , Sep 11, 2009 at 0420 hrs

Let me begin by commending Justice S. Ravindra Bhat of the Delhi high court for his excellent judgment of September 2, 2009 in the judges’ assets case, the quality of which would do credit to anyone at the highest level in the judicial hierarchy. It is remarkable also for the reason that it was prepared (evident from the postscript) when the Supreme Court judges (led by the CJI) were still dithering on the issue, before finally reiterating the full court’s earlier resolution of May 7, 1997 to this effect. Once again the high courts have shown the right path when the Supreme Court dithered, as it did during the infamous Emergency in the Habeas Corpus case. In that case, the later amendment of Article 359 of the Constitution to protect the non-derogable rights in Articles 20 and 21 even during an emergency corrected the aberration of the Supreme Court judgment, approving that of the nine high courts. In the present case, the strong public opinion, including eloquent support from within the judicial fraternity, shows Justice Bhat to be right. I wish the judicial verdict is accepted by the Supreme Court (led by the CJI) in good grace without any reservations.

The basic premise of the judgment in paras 46 and 47 is worth mention. It says: “It would be highly anomalous to say that in exercise of the legitimate jurisdiction to impact people’s lives, property, liberties and individual freedoms, as well as (to) interpret duties and limitations placed upon State and non-State agencies, barring the institutional accountability standards in the Constitution, judges have no obligation to disclose their personal assets, to someone or authority… All power — judicial power being no exception — is held accountable in a modern Constitution. Holders of power too are expected to live by the standards they set, interpret, or enforce, at least to the extent their office demands. Conventions and practices long followed, are known to be legitimate sources, and as binding upon those concerned, as the express provisions themselves.”

These principles are unexceptional. It would be a pity if the judgment is not accepted in good grace and it is challenged in appeal by the Supreme Court, ultimately before itself! Any such course will further damage the judiciary’s image. This is not a matter in which the “doctrine of necessity” can apply.

Media reports quote Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati saying that the judgment would be challenged in appeal. As counsel appearing for the Supreme Court, his statement is assumed to be on instructions from the CJI. If true, it is unfortunate. I wish the Attorney General had drawn inspiration from his illustrious predecessors (names exclude the living) like M.C. Setalvad, C.K. Daftary, S.V. Gupte and Lal Narayan Sinha (who refused to argue for the Union government in the Habeas Corpus case during the Emergency) to candidly advise the CJI against any further reservations or challenge to the above judgment. That remains to be seen.

In my view, the only surviving issue now relates to the modalities and the procedure for declaration of assets by these judges, the custody of the declarations, and furnishing the information sought under the RTI Act. The judgment of Justice Bhat deals with this aspect also. The form of declaration and its custody are simple matters to be worked out by the concerned authorities. Section 8 of the act provides the manner of dealing with the request for information. If need be, that can be elaborated for clarity without destroying the object of the enactment — maximum disclosure, minimum confidentiality. These details need not detain us.

The one area of concern voiced by many judges who are in favour of disclosure needs mention. They want a safeguard against harassment by unscrupulous persons and disgruntled litigants who are known to make false and scurrilous allegations even against some honest judges for ulterior motives. Even though the apprehension is genuine, it has to be accepted as an occupational hazard, which is common to all public functionaries. Moreover, the additional contempt power is available to the judges as a deterrent. In any case, this aspect can be taken care of, and can not be a justification for not declaring the assets subject to public scrutiny for legitimate reasons. In the current environment of waning credibility of the higher judiciary, with specific allegations of corruption based on prima facie authentic materials even against a few of the highest, it is in the judiciary’s own interest to be fully transparent and above suspicion.

In addition, I have a suggestion for consideration. To decide any dispute about the age, Article 217(3) provides the machinery in respect of a high court judge, and Article 124(2A) is the corresponding provision for a Supreme Court judge. A similar provision can be enacted to decide finally any controversy relating to the assets of a high court or Supreme Court judge by the President of India after consultation with a body constituted for the purpose. The composition of that body can be decided after a wide debate to obtain the distillate of public opinion, keeping in view the significance of the independence of the judiciary. My view is that the body should comprise only of judges, because adjudication of disputes is primarily a judicial function. If considered necessary, the vice president could chair that body, since that office is not identified with either the executive or the judiciary. The myth that judges cannot be trusted to decide against their own fraternity has been exploded in the removal proceedings against Justice V. Ramaswami, wherein the judge’s committee found him guilty but Parliament let him off, and now by Justice Ravindra Bhat in the present issue, uninfluenced by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan’s contrary view voiced consistently through the media.

It is also necessary for the proposed legislation to provide that the final determination made in this manner in every case considered fit for inquiry by the President of India, as also in the cases rejected as not fit for inquiry, should be published to end the controversy. This procedure will protect the honest judges from vilification, while identifying the wrong ones, if any, for the logical follow-up action. This, in my view, is the way to ensure judicial accountability, with protection of the honest, which constitute the large majority.

The writer is a former Chief Justice of India






SC directs CBI to file fresh status report in GPF case


The Supreme Court directed the CBI to file a fresh status report regarding the progress of investigation in Ghaziabad District Court GPF case involving fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 7 crore from the court treasury.

A bench comprising Justices DK Jain, VS Sirpurkar and GS Singhvi adjourned the hearing of the case till the first week of November.

Thirty-four judges, including a sitting Supreme Court judge, and 12 Allahabad and Uttarakhand High Court judges including the retired and district judges are facing allegations of being beneficiaries of the scam.

It is for the first time that CBI has been permitted the investigation against the sitting judges.

The permission to carry investigation into the scam was granted by the apex court when Ghaziabad police expressed its inability to investigate the case because of the alleged involvement of the judges.

Earlier, the suggestion of the Chief Justice of India for judicial inquiry was strongly opposed by the petitioner who contended that judges should also be subjected to police interrogation like other public servants if they are facing allegation for corruption.

A bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat agreed for a CBI investigation after CJI KG Balakrishnan withdrew from the case.

FIR was lodged against 85 people by the Special Judge Rama Jain on the basis of the statement made by the main accused Ashutosh Asthana under section 164 CRPC.










Contempt notice to irrigation deptt superintending engineer

TNN 10 September 2009, 11:07pm IST

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has issued contempt of court notice to superintending engineer of the irrigation department Manvendra Singh, who is working at the 18th circle, Allahabad. This order was passed by Justice Sabhajeet Yadav on a contempt petition filed by the employees of the irrigation department.

The court has further directed the superintending engineer to comply with the order passed by the court in the writ petition and file a compliance report. The court said that in case of non-compliance of the HC order, superintending engineer will be present in person in the court to show cause, why the charge may not be framed for punishing him under the provisions of the Contempt of Court Act.

Arvind Tripathi, counsel for the petitioner had submitted in the court that earlier 27 employees of the irrigation department claimed their regularisation with retrospective effect but the same was not considered for which they had filed a writ petition before the High Court. The HC had disposed of the writ petition of the employees of irrigation department with a direction to the superintending engineer to decide the representation of the petitioners for their regularisation in accordance with law within a period of six weeks.

Arguing the contempt case, filed by Ram Nihal, the counsel said that despite HC order, superintending engineer failed to comply with the direction of the court. The court has fixed to hear the case on October 23 next.










Woman moves SC for probe into ‘custodial death’

TNN 10 September 2009, 02:50am IST

AHMEDABAD: The city police are in a spot after a writ petition accusing them of custodial death was filed in Supreme Court. The petitioner has sought thorough probe into the case and constitution of a judicial commission to investigate all such custodial deaths, including fake encounters.

The petitioner, Mariam Kasim Jaffer Hussain, has claimed that the city police carried out a raid on a Hotel Royal on April 13, 2006 and detained 18 persons, including her husband Kasim who had a tiff with police officer JM Bharwad.

After being taken to Shahibaug, Kasim was brutally beaten up and taken away from the detention centre. “Other people who were with my husband were conveyed that Kasim had escaped from police custody. On April 17, his body was found in Shahibaug area. A note was issued that an unknown person has been killed in an accident and persons who know him should approach police for identification,” Mariam said.

She claimed that when they found the body, a bullet wound was found in Kasim’s head. She has alleged that her husband was killed during police custody.

Mariam said she along with an NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace filed a writ petition in the SC and urged the court to join them as party in an application pending by Javed Akhtar demanding probe in all Gujarat encounter killings.








Madras HC dismisses the plea to restrain Indian cricket team tour to Lanka


The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court (HC) dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition seeking to stay the participation of Indian Cricket Team in the Tri-nation cricket series to be held in Srilanka for the genocide of innocent Tamil people in the Island nation under the guise of eliminating terrorists.

A division bench comprising Justices P Murugesan and C S Karnan dismissed the PIL stating that the Court cannot interfere into the Military affairs, internal security and External policies of the government.

The counsel K Karuppan for the petitioner Jel Paul Antony, a practising advocate of the High Court, pleaded that ‘thousands of innocent Tamil speaking people in Lanka were killed for the past five decades, especially for the past five months under the guise of eradicating militancy. The international community had condemned the same. At this juncture if Indian cricket team is sent to Lanka, the world community will not accept the Indian stand.










PIL against prayer song in album

Express News Service

First Published : 10 Sep 2009 04:21:00 AM IST

Last Updated : 10 Sep 2009 07:44:03 AM IST


CUTTACK: Indecent portrayal of the one of the most popular prayers in Oriya,`Ahe dayamaya biswabihari’ that is integral part of every Government school in the State, in a music album has come under judicial scanner with a PIL moved in the Orissa High Court today.

Filed by city-based Utkal Bidyarthi Abhijaan through its secretary advocate Nishikant Mishra, the petition has sought directions for regulation on use of devotional songs and prayers in the music albums and taking action against those involved in distorting them to the extent of vulgarity.

Petitioner Mishra stated before the court that the prayer has been written by poet Ramakrushna Nanda and published by Sahitya Sopan during 1933-34. The devotional song was inspired by Utkalmani Gopabandhu Das and Mahatma Gandhi.

After Independence, the song was adopted as the prayer in Government schools in the State and generations after generations have grown up with this prayer in their hearts. It is also sung as the only Oriya prayer in Sabarmati Ashram today.

He alleged that recently a cassette company has portrayed the prayer, held in deep reverence by the multitude of the population, in an extremely inappropriate manner. This has hurt the sentiments of the people.

Making the Culture and PR Department along with Doordarshan as parties in the case, the petitioner alleged that despite protests the Government has not taken any action against the producers.

He has pleaded the Court to direct immediate action against the production company and prohibit telecast of the song in any TV channel and ban sales of the VCDs of the album.

The Government should also be directed to formulate laws to regulate use of religious and devotional songs and prayers in commercial albums.









Election time heralds a glut in poll-related PILs

Kartikeya , TNN 10 September 2009, 01:30am IST

MUMBAI: Election time is usually also Public Interest Litigation (PIL) time. Be it the Lok Sabha polls or voting for the Maharashtra assembly, the Bombay High Court (HC) sees a number of PILs filed on the eve of every election.

Petitioners rush to the court to argue that some or the other aspect of the polling process is flawed and needs judicial intervention.

On Monday, the Bombay High Court dismissed one such petition where a social worker from Pune demanded that the recently announced schedule of assembly elections be postponed on the grounds that the swine flu scare would keep voters at home.

The petitioner, Moreshwar Ghaisas, claimed he was worried that the fear of contracting the H1N1 virus was playing on the minds of people. He argued that the common voter was unlikely to participate in the election process leaving it to become a “mere formality”. Justices A M Khanvilkar and R G Ketkar, who heard the plea, observed that election dates had already been announced and the model Code of Conduct was in force for polling on October 13. The judges also said that matters concerning conduct of assembly elections were best left to the Election Commission (EC).

Ghaisas argued that the polling percentage in Maharashtra was likely to drop by as much as ten per cent on account of the H1N1 pandemic. The judges, however, pointed out that people had come out of their homes in huge numbers during the Ganpati celebrations and Ramzan, and dismissed the plea.

Case dismissed

Courts usually refuse to entertain PILs against elections citing a Constitutional bar on intervention in the election process until it has been completed. The HC has often pointed out that the EC is the correct body to conduct elections and exercise superintendence over the entire process. Yet PILs continue to be filed almost every time elections are announced. A few PILs that have been dismissed:

-Earlier this year, a PIL demanded that elections to the 15th Lok Sabha and Maharashtra assembly elections be held together and not on two different dates

-In March 2009, a PIL asked the court to prevent actor Sanjay Dutt from contesting national elections

-In July 2009, a PIL sought the inclusion of neo-Buddhists among Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and accordingly increase the number of Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly seats reserved for backward classes









High court takes state govt to task on mob vandalism

Shibu Thomas , TNN 10 September 2009, 12:49am IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Wednesday questioned the state government’s contention that the damage to public property, including buses, in more than 140 incidents of mob violence since January 2008 amounted to only Rs 66.33 lakh.

The court was hearing a suo motu PIL on the basis of a letter written by former Mumbai police commissioner Julio Ribeiro on the government’s failure to act against vandals who destroy public property during protests.

A division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar has now appointed senior advocate Janak Dwarakadas as amicus curiae (friend of the court) to vet the procedures framed by the state to recover the damages from the perpetrators.

P K Jain, principal secretary (home), said in an affidavit that there were about 140 such attacks across the state. Over 1,192 persons were arrested and close to 114 chargesheets were filed. While probe was pending in about 26 matters, the court had disposed of the remaining nine cases. The state had quantified the total damages at Rs 66.33 lakh.

The court, however, questioned whether the amount could be this low. The judges pointed out that in many mob attacks one of the very first targets were public transport, and a bus would cost at least Rs 20 lakh each.

Assistant government pleader Niranjan Pandit told the court that despite an amendment introduced in the law (Bombay Police Act) to make vandals pay for the damage they cause, the problem was the lack of any procedure laid down for recovering the damages. Following Supreme Court guidelines, the state in July 2009 had drawn up the procedure to be adopted in cases of mob attacks.

In the event that violence occurs during a pre-announced agitation, the political party who called the protest would be liable to pay the damages. If the vandalism was a spontaneous event, the district magistrate-who is the designated authority to recover the loss caused to public property-would calculate the damages after viewing video recordings and press photos.









‘1.85L seats vacant in jr colleges’

Swati Deshpande, TNN 10 September 2009, 12:25am IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday was told that there were 1.85 lakh vacant seats available for first-year junior colleges across the state. Advocate-general Ravi Kadam said these seats were enough to accommodate all students who might have been allowed to keep term after their Std X board exams this year.

The HC will now hear the matter next Monday, when the state will give an update on the seats available and filled in. The state had last week informed the HC that it had taken a policy decision on allowing Std X students to keep term and join first-year junior college.

The formal decision would, however, be taken by April 2010.

The HC was hearing a PIL filed by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad challenging the ATKT scheme for students joining junior college after appearing for board exams.









HC dismisses PIL filed by farmers welfare association


Wednesday, September 9, 2009 21:42 IST

Madurai: Madurai bench of Madras High Court today dismissed a PIL filed by the Madurai Mavatta Vivasayigal ala Sangam (Farmers’ Welfare Association) against acquisition of lands for the Special Economic

The bench said that the statistics provided by the district Collector showed the lands were rain-fed and the acquisition did not affect any person as projected by the petitioner.

Justice Chitra Venkatraman and Justice M Duraiswamy rejected the contention of the petitioner that acquisition would throw ‘marginal’ farmers out of employment by accepting the Collector’s statement that the interests of the farmers were taken care of by the state.

The economic policy of the state government to provide ITP in Southern districts, which were lagging behind in industrialisation was something in which court had no Jurisdiction. ITP opened socio-economic benefits. “In the face of comprehensive study and statistics provided by the district
administration, we cannot accept the petitioner’s contention that comprehensive evaluation has not been done on the benefits of the project.” The petitioner himself had not denied the fact that water bodies get water only during rainy season.

On the argument that the area did not get environmental clearance, the Judges said even as per government order the question of Environmental Clearance would come only after the acqusition was over.







HC stay on ‘deemed’ university tag

TNN 10 September 2009, 04:40am IST

CHENNAI: A University Grants Commission (UGC) communication to private universities

asking them not to use the word university’ and instead revert to the earlier term of deemed to be university’, has been stayed by the Madras High Court.

An interim order to this effect was passed by justice P Jyothimani, on a writ petition filed by the Shanmuga Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy (SASTRA) registrar SN Srivastava on Tuesday.

Similar writ petitions were filed by some other private universities such as Vellore Institute of Technology, SRM and Sathyabama. Justice Jyothimani granted similar relief to those institutions also, on Wednesday.

In his petition, Srivastava submitted that the institution was started in 1984 and it became a deemed university in 2001. On September 13, 2006 the UGC permitted all deemed universities in the country to use the term university’ instead of deemed university.’

However, last month the UGC told the Delhi High Court that it had decided to withdraw the permission for deemed universities to call themselves universities. On August 19, a UGC communication to the SASTRA said that the earlier notification of the UGC permitting the use of the term university’ had been withdrawn. “You are advised not to use the word university”, it said.

Assailing the decision, the SASTRA said that having permitted the deemed Universities to use the word University’ after due deliberation it is not open to the UGC to alter their position, particularly after the deemed universities have started using the word university’ and known throughout the world by the said name.

Srivastava wanted the court to stay the operation of the UGC communication dated August 19, and forbear the authorities from preventing SASTRA from using the word university’.








Midnight closure: HC seeks records from police

TNN 10 September 2009, 03:36am IST

BANGALORE: The high court on Wednesday directed Bangalore police to place the records with regards to the May 19 notification, stipulating midnight deadline for restaurants.

Earlier, the government advocate told the court that as per section 31(6) of the Police Act, previous publication is dispensed with and the police commissioner can issue such notifications.

The division bench headed by the Chief Justice adjourned the hearing to October 10, asking the police to file objections to the writ appeal filed by the management of Empire Hotels.

Empire Hotels challenged the July 3 single Bench order upholding the commissioner’s directive on midnight closure.

On August 27, the court was told that the police commissioner had rejected the application filed by the management of Empire Hotels, seeking permission to operate their six establishments from midnight to 3 am.

Police had cited law and order as the reasons for refusing permission. However, they permitted operation of the hotels between 3 am and 6 am in view of Ramadan.








HC quashes BMC action against firms for installing coffee machines

Express News Service Posted: Thursday , Sep 10, 2009 at 0200 hrs Mumbai:

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday set aside Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) action against two companies for “installing coffee vending machines without licence”. It also rubbished the corporation’s claim that the companies should get licence before installing a coffee/tea vending machine at their offices as it is business.

The issue in the present case was whether an organisation can have a vending machine, though only for the benefit of its staff, without a licence to sell coffee or tea.

Northern Marine Managament Private Limited and Basell Polyolefines India Private limited, two Powai-based companies moved the court after the municipal corporation had issued notices to them for “illegally selling coffee” at their offices, though they had only coffee vending machines.

Citing the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, the civic body claimed that a licence is required for running a tea or a coffee shop.

The BMC also filed a complaint with the magistrate, who issued summons to the two companies. However, Advocate S G Gokhale, appearing for the petitioners, argued that machines were meant for the supply of coffee/tea to staff and guests and not for sale.

A division bench of justices Bilal Nazki and A R Joshi observed that even the notice issued by BMC did not mention that coffee was being sold on the premises.

The court observed that the notice did not mention what the offence was. The court also hauled up the Metropolitan Magistrate for not applying his mind while issuing summons.

“Surprisingly, the magistrate has not applied his mind,” the court observed. “It’s not unreasonable for offices to have coffee machines for its employees and guests,” the court said.

Therefore, the court quashed the civic body’s notices and complaints.









Lawyers’ assn seeks notice to judge on HC violence

A Subramani, TNN 10 September 2009, 04:26am IST

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Advocates Association (TNAA) on Wednesday wanted the Madras high court to issue notice to Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya, who was the acting chief justice during the February 19 violence on the court campus, to ascertain whether he gave any permission for the police to enter the premises.

When a batch of petitions relating to the violence came up for hearing before a division bench comprising Justice FM Ibrahim Kalifulla and Justice R Banumathi, TNAA president S Prabakaran said that though a full bench headed by Justice Mukhopadhaya said the police had no permission to enter the premises, the top officials in their individual affidavits said they had permission to enter and arrest some advocates.

In view of this discrepancy in claims, it is necessary for the bench to issue notice to the then acting chief justice, he said. Referring to certain “contradictions” in the submissions of the then commissioner, additional commissioner and the joint commissioner of police, Prabakaran said he was entitled to put them in the box and examine.

Likening the February 19 violence to Operation Blue Star at Amritsar Golden Temple in Punjab, Prabakaran said similar preplanning preceded the campus violence, which was code-named Operation Black Coat’. Denying the allegation, however, Rajiv Dhavan, senior advocate for the police officials, said the averment was not present in the pleadings and that the officials should get an opportunity to file a counter for the allegation.

Prabakaran further said that an invisible hand’ inspired the operation and directed the officials and their subordinates during the violence, and added, “the same invisible hand is now protecting all the personnel involved in the violence from criminal prosecution.” In this regard, he said that though grave injuries were inflicted upon many advocates, about 200 cars and two-wheelers were damaged and court halls were ransacked by the rampaging police force, not a single case has been registered against even a constable. “The invisible hand is protecting them. It is for this court to expose the nexus,” he said.

As for the police claim that they were forced to take action against an “unlawful assembly” of advocates, Prabakaran said it was natural for advocates to assemble in the court. “If that was unlawful assembly, then what made the police to chase down advocates and ransack their offices on NSC Bose Road, Thambu Chetty Street and Lingi Chetty Street?” he asked.

The then joint commissioner (Central) Sandeep Rai Rathore filed a counter, saying he was not involved in any of the decision-making process since he was not the jurisdictional officer. “No instruction was given to me to lathicharge the advocates, nor I gave any instructions in respect of the chasing or lathicharge of advocates,” he said.

Arguments will continue on Thursday.








HC orders ‘gurdwara owner’ to stop solemnising marriages


Posted: Thursday , Sep 10, 2009 at 0135 hrs Chandigarh:

To ensure that commercialisation of weddings is brought to an end in the city, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday ordered the owner of a “so-called” gurdwara to stop solemnising illegal marriages.

The owner, Gurmeet Singh, has been directed to give an undertaking to the court that in future he will not solemnise any marriage from his living room, which he had converted into a gurdwara. Singh has been given two weeks’ time to give the undertaking.

Justice L N Mittal was shocked to learn that Singh had installed Guru Granth Sahib in his living room, which he was using to exploit runaway couples and issue them marriage certificates.

Justice Mittal pointed out that such things are taking place with the help of advocates. Supporting the observation, senior standing counsel for UT Administration, advocate Anupam Gupta said: “It is a professional network. There is a racket for solemnising marriages in Chandigarh. Lawyers are exploiting runaway couples and charging commission from them.”

Expressing surprise over the modus operandi used by Singh, Justice Mittal said: “Can he run a gurdwara from his house and issue marriage certificates?”

Gupta, meanwhile, said Guru Granth Sahib can be installed for worship but not for solemnising marriages.

Singh not only used to get quick marriage certificates but also wedding clothes for the couples. The charges varied from Rs 4,000 to Rs 10,000, as per the demands of the runaway couples from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

The clientele of Singh, who originally belongs to Haryana, increased so rapidly that on an average, three to four petitions filed in the High Court by runaway couples carried marriage certificates issued by him.

The marriage certificates had come under the scanner of the High Court in November last year when it issued notices to the Chandigarh Administration directing it to find out whether this place is actually a gurdwara or a commercial shop turned into gurdwara.

Babla case: Complainant seeks transfer of Bail Plea hearing

Raising apprehensions of not getting a fair, impartial and speedy trial, Suraj Parkash Ahuja has filed an application in the UT district courts seeking transfer of the hearing on the anticipatory bail plea filed by Municipal Councillor Davinder Singh Babla.

At present, the case is pending at the court of UT District and Sessions Judge K K Garg.

Ahuja is the complainant in a case of alleged forgery against Babla. A resident of Panchkula, he has also questioned the bonafides of the proceedings under which Babla was granted interim bail by the sessions court.

“In this case, the due process for entertaining bail applications and hearing them have not been followed,” alleges the transfer application filed by Ahuja on Wednesday.

Ahuja said that Babla’s case had not appeared in the cause list of the cases listed on August 26 (when Babla was granted interim bail) and only later an entry by hand was made in the list. “Babla is accused of fraud and fabrication and misuse of authority as chairman of the market committee. It is a fit case, wherein it is expedient in the interest of justice that the case be transferred to some other court,” reads the application filed by Ahuja.

Ahuja also alleged that for the last two date of hearings, his application challenging the interim bail granted to Babla is not being heard as the judge concerned is on leave.

On August 19, the police had booked Babla and Rakesh Saini, president of the Arhtiya Association of the Sector-26 grain market, for allegedly allotting platforms in the market to 10 non-eligible persons.

According to the police, Ahuja, owner of shops 9-10 in the grain market had lodged a complaint alleging irregularities were committed during the auctioning and allotting of platforms on July 24.








HC registrar asks Surat lawyers to call off strike

Express News Service

Posted: Thursday , Sep 10, 2009 at 0059 hrs Surat:

Lawyers in Surat continued with their strike on Wednesday, with all the senior and junior advocates remaining outside the court building to press for their demand to transfer district judge RP Dholaria.

Senior and junior advocates remained present at the entry and exit gates of the court to ensure that not a single advocate enters the building. Only litigants and police personnel were allowed to enter the court premises.

Legal proceedings have come to a standstill with not even a single bail application hearing taking place since the last few weeks.

Gujarat High Court Registrar General P P Bhatt had sent a letter to the Surat court on Tuesday evening, requesting the Surat District Bar Association (SDBA) to call off the strike and clarifying the allegations made against Dholaria.

SDBA members have alleged that Dholaria had not invited SDBA president and secretary during the family court proceedings.

The advocates also claim that the district judge has a soft corner for Saurashtra advocates, a fact which has been proven by the bail applications.

They have also accused Dholaria of referring bail applications to other sessions judges in the court.

Surat District Bar Association In-charge President, Babu Rayka, said: “We have gone through the clarification given by the Gujarat High Court Registrar General, who, it seems, favours the district judge unduly instead of acting as a mediator.”

He added: “We are preparing a counter reply to these clarifications. We have not stopped any litigants or police officers from entering the court. Only advocates are not allowed to enter the court premises.”










BBMP violates HC orders

BBMP violates HC orders
Bangalore: Sep 9, DHNS:

Violating the High Court orders, the BBMP authorities are replacing the concrete structures removed from a park at Sanjayanagar here, following a direction way back in June 2009.

Following a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by the residents of Sanjaynagar, the division bench comprising Chief Justice P D Dinakaran had on June 8, 2009 directed to remove the concrete structures below the 66 KV lines at Sanjaynagar opposite RMV Hospital.
The orders directing to remove concrete structures and play equipment for children, shifting of a gym and opening of a library were adhered to immediately.

However, now the order seems to be forgotten as the residents here are complaining that work has begun to remove the lawns and to replace it with concrete slabs. “We found that they had removed the lawns. It is a clear violation of the High Court order. We have learnt that they are planning to conconcretise this portion for a club. It is dangerous considering the electrical lines,” said a resident from the area.

Vijay Kumar, a local resident, said “Earlier, when we had asked the BBMP to remove the concrete structures as it was wrong as per rules to let people congregate under high tension wires, the BBMP officials had turned a blind eye inspite of requests from three local associations and more than 150 local residents. We had no other option but to go to the court to bring the order to get it cleared. But now following pressure from a local leader, BBMP officials are digging up a beautiful garden and destroying the serene view of the park,” he said.

posted by The Bangalorean @ 9/10/2009 03:46:00 AM









Govt to amend NHRC law to allow SC judge & CJ of HC to head it

Published: September 9,2009

New Delhi, Sep 9 The Centre today told the Delhi High Court that it is considering amending the law to allow a retired Judge of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice of High Court to head National Human Rihghts Commission which now can be chaired only by a retired Chief Justice of India.

Appearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah, Additional Solicitor General A S Chandiok informed the court that the Centre was contemplating to bring an amendment in the Human Rights Act in view of difficulty in getting a retired CJI to head the Commission.

The government&aposs submission came on a PIL seeking a direction to it to appoint Chairperson of the Commission, a post which had lying vacant since since June after former Chief Justice of India S Rajendra Babu demitted the office after reaching superannuation.

The petition filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation claimed there are two retired Chief Justices of India eligible for the post but the government is reluctant to appoint them.

Source: PTI









Shopian Case: J and K High court grants bail to four cops

September 11th, 2009 SindhToday

Srinagar, Sep.11 (ANI): The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday granted bail to four policemen who were accused of having a role in the controversial Shopian murder case.

The policemen — Former Superintendent of Police of Shopian Javed Iqbal Mattoo, Deputy Superintendent of Police Rohit Baskota, Station House Officer Shopian Shafiq Ahmed and Sub-inspector Gazi Abdul Rehman — were released on payment of a bond of Rs.50, 000 each. The four had been accused of destroying evidence related to the case.

Last month, the Jammu and Kashmir Government had decided to hand over the controversial rape and murder case involving two women to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The State Cabinet unanimously took the decision hours after opposition parties created an uproar in the State Assembly alleging tampering of DNA test reports in the case.

Friday’s granting of bail came almost a month after the same court rejected an earlier bail plea.

The court had then rejected their plea under the Section 497 of CRPC (discretionary powers of the judge to grant bail or not).

The four had also moved a petition in the Supreme Court against the ruling of J and K High Court, to arrest these officers and also to collect blood samples to prepare the DNA mapping of these officers.

An apex court bench headed by the Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan had asked the Shopian sessions court to expeditiously consider the bail pleas.

During the hearing, the bench had said the High Court should have left it to the superior police officers to investigate the case and should have entitled the police officers to move for bail before the appropriate court.

The bench had also expressed surprise that only because of agitation the investigation was handed over to the Special Investigation Team (SIT).

The J and K High Court, hearing a Public Interest Litigation Petition (PIL) filed by J and K High Court Bar Association in connection with alleged rape and murder of Neelofar and Aasiya Jan in Shopian ordered for the arrest of four police officers who were suspended in the same the case. The court also ordered to constitute SIT and DNA mapping of these officers. (ANI)









NHRC seeks report from Haryana police in honour killing case


The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a report from the Haryana police in connection with an alleged case of honour killing of a young couple recently in Hisar district of the state.

The NHRC issued the notice to the state police chief and gave four weeks’ time to respond to it.

Sandeep (22) and Monica (16) were killed by unidentified persons and left hanging from a tree outside Subana village in Hisar district after they had eloped.

The commission took cognizance of the case on the basis of a complaint filed by a lawyer and social activist Parbir Kumar Das, who had sought its intervention to ensure that justice is done.

Media reports alleged that the parents of the young couple were against the duo’s relationship which was socially unacceptable because the couple belonged to the same village and were neighbours.

Five days before the couple was found dead, Monica’s family had lodged a complaint with the police claiming that Sandeep had abducted their minor daughter.








NHRC directs IGP to order probe against Gangireddy

Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 and filed under General.

BANGALORE: The State Human Rights Commission, which has responded positively to the request made by The Canara Times and Karavali Ale Chief BV Seetaram to investigate into the case of atrocities on a Dalit woman by the Belthangady Circle Inspector Gangireddy, has directed the Western Range IGP to order for a thorough probe into the case.
Consequent upon the publishing of a report in Karavali Ale dated August 15, under the heading “Charges of atrocities on Dalits and caste abuse against Belthangady inspector : Dalit assn complains to IGP,” BV Seetaram had in a letter addressed to the SHRC Chairman Justice SR Nayak, had drawn his attention towards the case.
It was earlier reported that the Belthangady Circle Inspector Gangireddy had not only abused a Dalit woman of Belthangady who had come to the station along with her son, to lodge a complaint against the land lord, but had even spoken in favour of the accused.
The SHRC Chairman has now voluntarily directed the IGP to order for a probe into this case.
The Commission has also directed the IGP to submit his report within the next two months.







Tehsildar case: Bains, 6 others denied bail

Rajneesh Lakhanpal,

Ludhiana, September 10
Additional Sessions Judge Munish Singal today refused bail to Akali youth wing president and councillor Simarjit Singh Bains, prime accused in stripping and assault on tehsildar GS Benipal.

Six co-accused Gurpreet Singh, Sarabjit Singh, Jaspreet Singh, alias Sahil, 
Roopinder Singh, alias Honey, Satnam Singh and Jasbir Singh, alias Jassa, were also denied bail.

Disallowing their bail pleas, the judge said : “The investigation is in progress and many of the accused are yet to be arrested and if the accused persons are released on bail they may hamper the investigation and influence the witnesses”.

Perusal of earlier complaints of the tehsildar makes it clear he (tehsildar) was many times forced by these councillors (Bains and Karwal) to do illegal registries and on refusal they had threatened to kill him. In those complaints, the complainant had even sought police protection, says the court.

“It is matter of record Bains is facing trial in four criminal cases. The allegations , the two councillors instigated the public in furtherance of their illegal acts with the intention to kill the complainant are very serious in nature. The councillors are custodians of law and the public look up to them for protection of their rights and development of the city,” remarked the court.



Bittu’s remand extended
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, September 10
Chief Judicial Magistrate Lachmman Singh today extended police remand of Daljit Singh Bittu, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Panch Pardhani) for a day. The court also extended police remand of co-accused Jaspal Singh Manjpur, spokesman for the party, Palwinder Singh Shatrana and Gurdeep Singh Raju for a day.

Additional Public Prosecutor Sukhchain Singh had sought extension of their police remand pleading they wanted to know the identity of persons funding the accused for reviving militancy.

Meanwhile, supporters of the accused persons blocked the Ferozepur road for an hour. They lift the dharna only after SDM Prem Chand received a memorandum from them.



Murder of DGP’s Father
2-day police remand for NRI
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 10
Indian-born Canadian citizen Jagdev Singh, who faces charges of murdering former MLA Nachattar Singh Gill, the father of Paramdip Singh Gill, DGP, was sent to two-day police remand by a local court in a case of corruption registered against him a few days ago.

He had surrendered before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Karunesh Kumar Kakkar on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday.

The police demanded a seven-day remand of the NRI for further investigations.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Lakhvir Singh argued the NRI’s custodial interrogation was necessary so as to find out modus operandi of the corrupt practice adopted by him to procure police clearance certificate for getting Canadian citizenship.

Defence counsel Ramesh Grover pleaded before the court that the contents of the FIR registered under Sections 7, 13 (2) and 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act-1988 against his client were almost the same as in the previous FIR registered against him on August 4 under Sections 419, 420, 465, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC.

“He has already remained in police custody for 12 days in the previous FIR and there seems to be no need of police custody in the fresh FIR as the police has nothing to recover from him accept for verifying the documental evidences,” 
he added.

However, the court passed directions to the police to take the NRI to the bhog of his mother on Friday from 12 noon to 4 pm for four hours.



SHO, 2 others get life term 
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 10
After 12 years of trial, the district and sessions court of Faridkot today sentenced SHO of Kotkapura and two other persons to life imprisonment for burning a woman dancer to death.

SHO Hardip Singh, who was then ASI, along with his colleague ASI Gurcharan Singh (retd) and a local businessman Subash Chander murdered 18-year-old dancer Jaswinder Kaur by burning her to death on June 14, 1997. 

Gopal Singh, the father of the dancer, had alleged DSP Gurmail Singh, Hardip, Gurcharan and Subash came to his house with the intension of developing physical relations with his daughter, but she refused. They poured kerosene on her and burnt her. She died at a government hospital. 

Gopal’s younger daughter recorded her testimony before the court against the accused. DSP Gurmail Singh was acquitted of the charges in the absence of any solid evidence against him.









HC comes to 4 minor sisters’ rescue

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
A “murdered” mother, a “murderer” father and sold-off land! Things could have been worse for four minor girls, but for the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which has come out with an ingenious order.

Deploying the law as a leverage to bring about collective justice for the hapless girls, Justice Surya Kant of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Kurukshetra Deputy Commissioner “to evolve some mechanism to ensure crops are timely sown (on the land), looked after and harvested, as the crops alone are the source of maintenance for the minor girls”.

“If the petitioners (land purchasers) show any reluctance against the sowing, the land can be auctioned on a yearly contract basis and the auction proceedings be deposited in the trial court for disbursement to the girls”.

From the perusal of the petition and the previous orders, it transpires FIR number 173 for the murder of their mother was registered under Sections 302 and 120-B of the IPC on December 29, 2003, at the Ismailabad police station; and the father is confined to jail.

The minors moved an application for maintenance, and for the attachment of land owned by their father. Directions were also sought to restrain the father from alienating the land. The civil court, on February 8, 2005, permitted father Joginder Singh to alienate the suit property, subject to the condition that the maintenance of his daughters “will be the first charge on the suit property”. The civil court also passed orders granting Rs 3,000 per month to the four minor daughters out of their father’s property income. But not even a single penny was paid.

Joginder Singh sold the suit property to Manjit Singh from whom the petitioners claimed they purchased the land. The petitioners, Vijay Kumari and two others of Pehowa, then moved the court for setting aside the orders dated March 3, for attaching the property.

Before parting with the order, Justice Surya Kant also directed “the sale proceeds of the crop harvested may be disbursed to the minor girls by the civil court”.








Lawyer fined for filing ‘baseless’ suits

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
The Punjab & Haryana High Court has, perhaps for the first time, held a lawyer accountable for filing “frivolous” litigations. Imposing a cost of Rs 20,000 on the lawyer, Justice Mahesh Grover said: “Counsels are expected to play a more responsible role and cannot be permitted to file baseless petitions, which are not in consonance with the provisions of law and procedure. They are supposed to be trained persons with adequate legal acumen, which should be reflected in the pleadings and the remedy availed, and not show ignorance and stubborn indifference to the procedure”.

Taking up a petition filed by city resident Kewal Krishan Sharma, Grover observed: “Two similar petitions filed by the same person and through the same counsel with the same prayer had come up earlier, both of which were dismissed as withdrawn. This court on an earlier occasion had also specifically put a question to the petitioner as to how the petition, filed under provisions of section 482 of the CrPC, was maintainable for quashing a notification (on section 506 of the IPC, relating to criminal intimidation being a cognizable offence)”.

“Now the petitioner has once again filed a criminal writ petition with a similar prayer seeking quashing of an FIR and of a notification. The case has been called twice but no one was present on behalf of the petitioner. Obviously, the petition is frivolous and has resulted in sheer wastage of the court’s time…The petition is dismissed with costs of Rs 20,000, which shall be recovered from the counsel who filed it”.

He added the costs recovered shall be deposited with the state legal services authority and the UT chief judicial magistrate shall ensure compliance.

In his petition Sharma had sought the quashing of FIR filed on February 5 last year under sections 504 & 506 of the IPC at Thanesar police station in Kurukshetra. Directions were further sought for quashing the Haryana government gazette notification dated September 23, 1986 wherein section 506 of the IPC was made a cognizable offence in the state.









BA in law on anvil, says Sibal

R Sedhuraman
Our Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 10
Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal today said his ministry was considering proposals for introducing new law courses such as BA in law, besides offering it along with medicine and engineering courses.

The HRD ministry had set up a committee to consider these proposals and its report was expected soon, Sibal told reporters at the Supreme Court complex.

While the BA law course would be like any other three-year graduation degree, the inter-disciplinary law course would be made part of the syllabi for the four-year engineering or five-year medical degrees, he said.

The proposals would be part of the ongoing educational reforms. Acknowledging that vested interests were trying to prevent legal reforms, he said since such courses were not intended for those who wanted to practise law he did not anticipate any resistance.









Contempt notice


New Delhi, Sept. 10: The Supreme Court has issued contempt notice to an 87-year-old for accusing several sitting and retired judges of corruption in a case of financial dispute stretching back decades.

“Punish me if I am lying. But please inquire into what I am saying,” Nirmaljit Singh Hoon, owner of Singapore-based Hungerford, an investment trust, yesterday told a three-judge bench headed by Justice B.N. Aggarwal.

Hoon has been battling court cases since 1945 for the ownership of Turner Morrison Conglomerate Limited.

He claims he won the case right up till the Supreme Court but was defrauded with the “active connivance” of several judges, including a sitting Supreme Court judge.









HC push for pandal rules


The high court on Thursday junked the fire department’s permission to a Kasba puja and asked the government to frame a fresh guideline for road-hog pandals by September 15.

The new guideline, Justice Sanjib Banerjee pointed out, should factor in inputs from all “agencies concerned”, such as the fire department, police, civic authorities and CESC.

The judge, after cancelling the permission to Kasba RK Chatterjee Road Adhibasi Brinda Durgotsab Committee, asked the director-general of the fire services to “inspect the pandal thoroughly” and decide afresh whether the puja could be allowed.

The court glare and a sustained campaign by Metro against road-hog pandals jolted cops out of their slumber, with officers from Maniktala police station forcing 14 Palli Sadharan Durgotsab in Maniktala to leave 4 feet free.

The pandal, as reported in Metro on September 9, blocked an arm of Maniktala Main Road next to the Bagmari flyover. “We inspected the pandal on the basis of the report and asked the organisers to leave 6 feet open,” said an officer of the police station. “We are carrying out the order,” Ajoy Ghosh, a puja committee member, said on Thursday night.

Justice Banerjee’s order followed a report by special officer Rishav Medora that the Kasba organisers had not left 4 feet of the road free, as mandated by the fire department (the original requirement of 6 feet was modified).

Medora told the court on Wednesday that the gap between the pandal and the nearest house on one side of the road — that of petitioner Ishita Chakraborty, who had dragged the puja organisers to court for alleged violation of rules — was about 3 feet. The gap with the nearest house on the other side was just 6 inches.

A day before Medora’s submission, the fire department had informed the judge that the Kasba puja had abided by its norm of leaving 4 feet space.

Fire services director-general Gopal Bhattacharya, present in the court along with advocate-general Balai Ray, was silent when the judge asked what had prompted his department to give the go-ahead to the Kasba puja though it was violating its norms.

Earlier, Bhattacharya’s lawyer said: “My client was asked by the court to inquire whether 4 feet had been spared beside the petitioner’s house. The fire service did not consider the other side of the pandal as there was no complaint from the other residents.”

The judge shot back: “That does not mean the government will not look into the matter….”

The judge then said: “Durga puja is a national festival and should be performed smoothly. We have to consider the public sentiment… but at the same time the government will have to ensure safety, security and right to free movement of the common people…. Permission should be granted only after ensuring that the organisers are abiding by all norms.”

The need for a fresh guideline has been highlighted by the case of the Kasba puja, with loopholes in norms and permissions.

Thursday’s court ruling was followed by a meeting of all deputy commissioners of police to discuss ways to ensure that pandals do not flout the road rules.

“We have made it clear to all organisers that they cannot erect pandals in violation of the court order. We will keep a close eye on all pandals,” said joint commissioner (headquarters) Jawed Shamim.






Batla and Ishrat

The Indian Express

Posted: Friday , Sep 11, 2009 at 0408 hrs

The Union law ministry’s reported decision to initiate action against a law officer who filed the Centre’s affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan case reeks of the kind of politics that is irresponsible and has the potential to communalise the UPA government’s policy on tackling terrorism. In the Gujarat high court, the Centre had filed an affidavit agreeing with the state police that Ishrat and her three accomplices had links to the Lashkar-e-Toiba. But the case has since acquired political overtones, with Law Minister Moily more or less agreeing with a magistrate’s report — which has since been stayed by the high court — claiming that the encounter was staged. Now, even though the home ministry stands by the affidavit, Moily’s law ministry has begun action against Assistant Solicitor General P.S. Chamapaneri for failure to apprise the ministry of the contents of the affidavit submitted by the home ministry.

This amounts to political opportunism by the Centre, a craven disregard for the sanctity of intelligence inputs. As the Union home secretary has pointed out, the affidavit only stated that the Intelligence Bureau believed that those killed were terror suspects; it had no view on the genuineness of the encounter. But the law ministry has other ideas. By trying to discredit the Centre’s own affidavit, it risks choosing politics over national security. The practice of killings-for-awards violates the due process that our legal system affords everybody, even those accused of terrorism. If found guilty, the sternest action must be taken against the state police officials involved. But by making this is a Modi versus UPA brawl, sending out conflicting signals, and trying to discredit a neutral input given to the Gujarat state police, the Centre is putting at risk the kind of intelligence sharing that counter-terrorism so badly requires.

The flip flops by assorted Congressmen over the Batla House encounter in Delhi in September 2008 had created political confusion, which was only quelled by the Centre’s more coherent post-26/11 strategy. Now, to have the spectacle of two key ministries in disagreement, with one of them clearly showing that its focus is more political than procedural, against raises disturbing questions.







Wearing belt below waist: HC asks school to lift suspension of student


Posted: Friday , Sep 11, 2009 at 1926 hrs New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Friday asked a school to allow a minor child, who was suspended by the school authority for allegedly wearing uniform belt below the waist, to return to the class from Monday.

A Division Bench of Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Reva Khetrapal said this type of issue should not come to the court and directed the Mount Carmel school to accept the apology tendered by the father of the 13 year-old boy for violating the school dress code.

The Court said the boy’s father in the apology assured that his son would not repeat the mistake and the school should allow the boy to continue his class from Monday.

The Bench was hearing a petition filed by the boy seeking quashing of the suspension order saying such an action by school is violative of the fundamental right of the boy.

On July 27, the school management suspended the boy for a month and later extended the suspension indefinitely.

Appearing for the school, its counsel Ashok Aggarwal admitted the Delhi Education Act did not give power to the school to take such an action.






SC questions prohibition on Muslim students sporting beard

Agencies Posted: Friday , Sep 11, 2009 at 1858 hrs New Delhi:

Questioning the logic that prohibited Muslim students from sporting beards, the Supreme Court on Friday directed Nirmala Convent High School in Madhya Pradesh to reinstate Mohd Salim, a 10th Class student, sacked after he refused to shave insisting it was part of his religious belief.

“Merely because you have a beard, they removed you? So if you are a Sikh, you will not be able to sport a beard.

Tommorrow they will say you are not fair complexioned.

“Nowadays, it has become a fashion for some people to pierce their ears for putting the ring. So such persons will not be allowed to study?”, a bench of Justices B N Aggrawal and G S Singhvi said, issuing notice to the missionary school authorities on Salim’s fresh petition.

The direction and remarks by the bench assume significance as this is the third time the issue has cropped up before the apex court and an earlier bench had dismissed the student’s plea with the controversial observation by Justice Markandeya Katju that the country cannot be “Talibanised.”

Salim had subsequently filed a review petition objecting to the observations and expressed apprehension over Justice Katju’s impartiaility, forcing the bench headed by Justice R V Raveendran to recuse (withdraw) and request the Chief Justice of India to refer the matter to another bench.

Salim’s fresh Special Leave Petition (SLP) was taken up formally today by the bench of Justice Aggrawal and Justice Singhvi.

Puri said almost USD six billion private equity fund was also likely to come in the six to eight months time to the domestic real estate market.

“Private equity funds which have raised the money from the Indian market and the management are Indian and also those which might have raised fund outside are now investing in the Indian market,” Puri said.

However, he said private equity funds raised overseas and managed by non-Indians are still not coming into the Indian real estate market.

Puri, meanwhile, cautioned that the price of the residential properties should not go up drastically as the industry was still on the thin ice.

“A minor 5-10 per cent hike is fine, but anything beyond that will take away the confidence from the consumers,” Puri said.

The court had also said if the student was not interested in following the rules, then he has the option of joining some other institution.

“You can join some other institution if you do not want to observe the rules. But you can’t ask the school to change the rules for you,” Justice Katju had said.

Appearing for the student, senior advocate B A Khan had, during the arguments, said Article 25 of the Constitution guaranteed protection to Salim to pursue his religious practice of keeping beard and the regulation providing for shaving it was violative of this provision.

He said the act of the principal to force the student to leave the school for keeping beard was against “his religious conscience, belief and custom of his family”.

Pointing out that Sikh community members were allowed to keep a beard and sport a turban, Salim alleged there was a clear discrimination by the school to force him to be clean shaven and this rule was violative of his fundamental right.







HC orders expunction of adverse remarks by trial court

Agencies Posted: Friday , Sep 11, 2009 at 1630 hrs Allahabad:

The Allahabad High Court, which acquitted Moninder Singh Pandher for want of evidence in a Nithari killings case on Friday, also ordered expunction of adverse remarks made by the trial court against the counsel for the CBI and two of the prime witnesses whereby “impartiality” of the probe agency was “impeached”.

“The Sessions Judge, before reckoning with the incriminating circumstances against Pandher, had made certain observations which in fact have the complexion of adverse remarks against the Investigating Officer, the Magistrate (who recorded the confessions), and the counsel for the CBI,” a Division Bench comprising Justice Imtiyaz Murtaza and Justice Kashi Nath Pandey noted.

“We may sum up that the Sessions Judge was harsh in criticizing the conduct of the witnesses and the counsel for the CBI. In our view, the comment and criticism was neither called for nor justified as there is nothing on record to show that the witnesses were helping Pandher and therefore it will be too much to impute motive to the witnesses,” the court said.

The observations came in the wake of certain remarks in the judgement of Addl Sessions Judge/Special Judge (Anti Corruption) UP, Ghaziabad, on February 12, 2009.






Land laws are anti-woman but we can’t set it aside: Delhi HC

Agencies Posted: Friday , Sep 11, 2009 at 1835 hrs New Delhi:

Can a law which violates the fundamental right of non-discrimination on the basis of sex be valid? The Delhi High Court says ‘yes’ but expressed its inability to quash it as the law has been put beyond judicial scrutiny under ninth schedule of the Constitution.

A Bench of Justices B D Ahmed and Veena Birbal found the provision of Delhi Land Reforms Act of 1954, which says the property would be first devolved to male lineal descendants and the female would be given property only when there is no male descendants, as discriminatory but refused to set it aside saying its hands are tied.

“The said Act in as much as it is heavily loaded in favour of male descendants of a bhumidhar and this may appear to unfairly prejudice the rights of women and may be construed as discrimination against them solely on the ground of sex but in the wake of the Constitutional provisions as interpreted by the Supreme Court, this court’s hands are tied,” the bench said.

The court made the remarks on a petition filed by a widow and her daughter challenging the constitutional validity of Section 50(a) of the Act which deprived them rights over the property of her husband and father.

The laws which have been put under the ninth Scheduled of the Constitution before 1973 cannot be challenged in courts on the ground that it violates basic structure of the Constitution as the theory of “Basic Structure” was propounded by the Supreme Court in that year.







Judge seeks advice on separate trial

Express News Service Posted: Friday , Sep 11, 2009 at 0057 hrs Ahmedabad:

Disagreeing with the order of a Sessions Judge to try Muslims and Hindus separately in a 2002 post-Godhra riot case, Additional Sessions Judge R H Sharma on Thursday wrote to the Gujarat High Court to guide him as to how to proceed in the case. The case is listed for trial in Sharma’s court.

Acting on an application filed by Additional Public Prosecutor (APP) Rekha Trivedi, Sessions Judge P R Patel had in April this year ordered to file two separate chargesheets for Hindu and Muslim accused.

On March 30, 2002, two persons — one Hindu and one Muslim — were killed in a communal violence in the Gomtipur area of Ahmedabad. In this connection, the police had arrested 44 people, of which 13 were Hindus and 31 Muslims. The police had filed a single chargesheet against all the accused. One of the accused is former BJP MLA from Shaherkotda, Jitu Vaghela.

In her application requesting separate trials, APP Trivedi had stated that since the two groups had formed unlawful assembly separately to fulfill their common objective, they cannot be tried jointly. While defence counsel of the Hindu accused did not object to the application, the lawyer of the Muslim accused, Asmita Palkhiwala, had called the application politically motivated and opposed it since the court had even started examining the witnesses.

However, Judge Patel had granted APP’s prayer and ordered to file two separate chargesheets for the Hindu and the Muslim accused and ordered to trial them separately as well. The case subsequently came to judge Sharma for trial. But disagreeing with Patel’s order, he wrote a letter to the High Court.

According to Palkhiwala, judge Sharma has sought to know as to under which legal provision the order was passed since the court had already framed charges against all the accused jointly and had even started examining the witnesses and that these procedures were not set aside before passing the order.

Palkhiwala said that in case of two separate chargesheets, how will the court divide the witnesses for the two, as there were common witnesses in the case.







Shiney’s bail rejected for the second time

Mumbai, Sept 11 (Agencies):

A sessions court in Mumbai on Friday rejected for the second time the bail plea of Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja, arrested for allegedly raping his domestic maid at his residence in suburban Oshiwara.
The court rejected Ahuja’s bail on the grounds that it is a “serious offence” and there is a prima facie evidence against him. Earlier, the court had rejected his bail plea on July 8 on the same grounds.

The 36-year-old actor had filed for a bail for the second time on September 5 after the city police filed its chargesheet against him.

The actor’s bail plea, which was pending before a Mumbai sessions court, had been transferred to a fast track court last month, said his lawyer Shrikant Shivade.
Shiney has been accused of raping his domestic help at his Andheri West home June 14.
The charges against the actor will be framed Sep 23 before fast track court judge S.R. Trivedi, Shivade said.
After the charges are framed, the trial – in which the prosecution would examine around two dozen witnesses – shall commence on a regular day-to-day basis by month-end.

The prosecution does not intend to examine all the witnesses who are lined up and it expects the trial to be completed within two weeks, according to a prosecution lawyer.

Shiney, who will continue in judicial custody at the Arthur Road Jail, faces a minimum seven-year jail sentence if the charges against him are proved in court.







Law panel suggests ways to cut pending cases

New Delhi, Sep 11, DH News Service:

The Law Commission has submitted suggestions to the government for initiating steps to reduce the 3.1 crore pending court cases in the country.

Commission chairman A R Lakshmanan said, “There must be full utilisation of the court working hours. The judges must be punctual and lawyers must not be asking for adjournments, unless it is absolutely necessary.”

Grant of adjournment

In its report submitted to Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily, the commission said grant of adjournment must be guided strictly by the provisions of Order 17 of the Civil Procedure Code and unnecessary adjournments should be avoided.

Many cases are filed on similar points and one judgment can decide a large number of cases. Such cases should be clubbed with the help of technology and used to dispose of other such cases on a priority basis; this will substantially reduce the arrears, said the commission.

Another vital suggestion is that vacations in the higher judiciary should be reduced by at least 10 to 15 days and the working hours should be extended by another 30 minutes.

The strike by the lawyers in any place should be banned in accordance with the ruling by the apex court in Harish Uppal (ex-Capt.) vs Union of India case.

With regard to time management in the courts during the arguments, the Commission said oral arguments should be curtailed to one-and-a-half hours and lawyers should be asked to give written submissions rather than wasting time in repetitive arguments.

10-year jail for negligent driving

The Law Commission has recommended to the government to enhance the punishment from two years to ten years for culprits causing death due to negligent driving on roads, reports DHNS from New Delhi.

In its recent report, Commission chairman Justice A R Lakshmanan said Section 304A of the IPC should be amended to make the offence of rash and negligent driving punishable with a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment, instead of two years.

“It has also been recommended that anyone causing the death of any person by driving under the influence of drinks or drugs should be punishable with a minimum term of two years’ imprisonment. We have also recommended various other legal measures to combat road accidents,” said Lakshmanan. The report submitted to Minister Veerappa Moily said more than 100,000 Indians were dying every year in road accidents and at least a million injured or maimed. The Commission said it was probably due to lack of proper provisions in the law that travel through Indian roads had become a tryst with death.







HC order on law school reservation

Bangalore, Sep 10, DHNS:

The High Court has observed that the benefits of Schedule Caste (SC) and Schedule Tribe (ST) cannot be extended to candidates from other states by ignoring presidential orders issued in relation to Karnataka State.

The petitioner, Lokesh representing his minor daughter Preethi, of Mangalore has moved the High Court, challenging the denial of admission to National Law School of India University (NlSIU) in the City. He has also sought to quash the second provision list of selected candidates of selected Law Universities in Karnataka, Kerala and Gujarat.

The petitioner’s daughter, who  had appeared for Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) and had secured 3,288th rank in merit and in category she had scored 54th rank. While she preferred NLSIU as first preference, National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), Kochi and National Law University,(NLU) Gujarat as second and third option. preference.

Hailing from Mundala community, she is categorised as SC as per President’s order of reservation list for the State dated 10, August, 1950. After the results were announced on June 15, 2009, she was allotted seat at NUALS Kerala, but was denied admission stating that she does not belong to SC community in Kerala.
On June 29, 2009, the provisional list allotted her a seat in NLU, despite her request for NLSIU, while students from other states were considered in her category.
Counsel for petitioner contended that an SC candidate migrating from original place to other place is not entitled for the same benefit.

Justice B S Patil allowing the petition partially has said that NLSIU cannot extend the benefits to students of other state by ignoring the President’s order issued in 1950 in relation to Karnataka State.

The institutes have been directed to admit the petitioner’s daughter after considering her eligibility and without disturbing admission of others.






SC/ST Act brings little relief to victims, say Dalit activists

Special Correspondent

JAIPUR: Dalit activists attending a State-level dialogue on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, here on Wednesday suggested several amendments to the Rules of 1995 framed under the legislation to ensure a prompt and fair probe into crimes against Dalits and render speedy justice to the victims of persecution.

Speakers at the dialogue, organised by the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights and other Dalit groups, expressed concern over the abysmally low conviction rate under the SC/ST Act and noted that no change in the condition of Dalits had been witnessed during the past 20 years of the statute being in force primarily due to its “weak implementation”.

The participants demanded that all offences under the Act be declared non-bailable and a statutory provision be made for time-bound investigation into the cases without any interference by the dominant castes, besides strict compliance with the rule to hold regular meetings of district-level vigilance and monitoring committees.

National Dalit Movement for Justice general secretary SDJM Prasad said though 3,000 cases were registered under the SC/ST Act in 2005 and 3,950 in 2006, none of them was accompanied by charges under the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, which deals with untouchability. Besides, the provision for giving immediate compensation from a separate fund in the registered cases of Dalit atrocities is generally not complied with.

Centre for Dalit Rights chairperson R. K. Ankodia regretted that dignity of life and equal opportunities were not available to Dalits even after the enactment of the SC/ST Act “because of the anti-Dalit mind-set of those responsible for its implementation”.

Justice I. S. Israni, former judge of the Rajasthan High Court, said the senior police officers who should themselves go to the scene of offences under the Act for investigations, often send their subordinates: “This practice leads to shoddy probe and weakens the cases in the court, which gives the benefit of doubt to the accused.”

Supreme Court lawyer P. L. Mimroth said police investigations into offences against Dalits were heavily influenced by the perpetrators of atrocities belonging to higher castes, while the victims were intimidated and forced to withdraw their complaints.

The activists said the police should be instructed to register FIR under correct sections of the Act and extend protection to the Dalit victims and witnesses. The investigating agencies should also apprise the complainants of the progress in the case, filing of charge-sheet and trial in the court.

Former MP Than Singh, People’s Union for Civil Liberties State president Prem Krishna Sharma, Kathumar MLA Babulal Bairwa and educationist M.C. Khandela also addressed the dialogue.






Dowry case: George Chakravarthy remanded

Staff Reporter

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Fourth Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court on Thursday sent Baru Chakravarthy alias George, who is accused of torturing his wife Madhurima for dowry, to 14 days judicial remand.

In a related development, the Family Court also ordered the accused to pay maintenance of Rs.10,000 a month to his wife. Half of the amount was towards medical expenses and the remaining towards maintenance.

Parents to be held

Police Commissioner N. Sambasiva Rao said that the whereabouts of the parents of George Chakravarthy have been found out and they will soon be arrested.

George Chakravarthy had allegedly tortured his wife Madhurima for dowry and drove her to the verge of death.

He had surrendered to the police on Wednesday.

“They were aware of their son’s first marriage but had concealed the fact from Madhurima’s parents and hence they will be arrested,” Mr. Sambasiva Rao said in an interaction with the media on Thursday.

Property offences

Referring to the growing property offences in the city, he said that the offences seem to be committed by the same gang.

The police have some definite clues and the accused would soon be arrested, he said.

The Police Commissioner appealed to people going out of the city on tour to write the date of going on tour, date of return, address and their phone numbers on a piece of paper and keep it in a sealed cover.

The sealed cover should be handed over to the Station House Officer at the police station concerned so that extra vigil could be kept at their house.







Court seeks correct value of seized forest produce

Kochi: The High Court on Thursday directed the Chief Conservator of Forests to issue appropriate directions to all the forest rangers that in cases involving forest offences appropriate market value of the forest produce seized should be shown in the relevant records.

Justice K.T. Sankaran passed the direction while dismissing a bail petition of two persons arrested in connection with a forest crime. The court pointed out that in many forest cases the valuation given by forest officers for the seized produces was very low.

The purpose for giving such value was not known. It was a matter to be looked into by the government and the Forest Department.

The correct valuation of produces seized was necessary for proper disposal of cases.

Statutory appeals

A full Bench on Thursday held that while disposing of statutory appeals and revisions, the decision need not be taken by the official who had earlier heard the matters.

The Bench comprising Justice K. Balakrishnan Nair, V.Giri and Justice C.T. Ravikumar said that in fact, such decisions were taken in accordance with the Rules of Business.

The order might be signed by secretary or additional secretary or joint secretary or deputy secretary or under secretary in the matter. But the decision might not be taken by the officer who signed it.

The principle of natural justice could not be invoked in such matters.

Marad appeal admitted

The court on Thursday admitted a criminal revision petition filed by Shymala, mother of two victims in the Marad massacre case, against the acquittal of 73 accused persons by the Kozhikode Additional Sessions Court (Special).

She also pleaded that death sentence be given to 63 persons who were found guilty by the session court.

According to her, the sentenced imposed on the accused were not severe.







Court order to stop quarrying

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Thursday ordered that quarrying activities on the areas near the Mukkunni Mala which was used for giving training in shooting to defence forces and the police be stopped forthwith. Justice P.N. Raveendran directed the Thiruvananthapuram Collector to ensure that the order was implemented in its letter and spirit. The order came on writ a petition filed by the Union government and Station Commander, Army Station, Thiruvananthapuram.






Court orders bus owner to compensate accident victim

Staff Reporter

He was thrown out when the driver suddenly applied brakes

PUDUCHERRY: Second Additional District Judge E.M.K.S. Siddharthar on Tuesday ordered the owner of a private bus to pay a compensation of Rs.2,21,000 to the victim of a road accident.

T. Dharmaraj (55) of Shanmugapuram had filed a petition under the Motor Vehicles Act, seeking compensation from the bus owner and United India Insurance, for injuries sustained in the accident in May 2003.

Dharmaraj, who was standing inside the bus while travelling from Shanmungapuram to Vazhudavur, was thrown out when the driver suddenly applied the brakes. One of the rear wheels of the bus ran over his right thigh, which had to be amputated.

Dismissing the petitioner’s claim for compensation from the insurance company, the judge ruled that the bus owner must compensate for the disability, loss of income and mental agony suffered by the petitioner, caused by rash and negligent driving.






HC seeks reasons for denial of visa to Israeli

Swati Deshpande, TNN 11 September 2009, 01:53am IST

MUMBAI: An Israeli businessman, denied a visa extension three years after he sought one, got a reprieve of sorts on Thursday when the Bombay high court directed the authorities not to put him in custody and sought reasons for the denial from the ministry of home affairs.

A bench, headed by Justice Bilal Nazki, after hearing Israeli national Hillel Shapira’s counsel Ram Jethmalani, said he should not be confined to Pune or Mumbai. Jethmalani expressed outrage over the government’s actions in denying the 50-year-old “legitimate resident” a visa extension without giving him any reason or hearing him.

He said even a foreigner was entitled to protection under the right to life and equality under the Constitution but here was a case where the authorities were taking away the “livelihood” of a man they “had invited and allowed to set up business in 1996”.

Jethmalani said the authorities’ earlier stand that the foreigner, who ran a health food business in Pune, earned less and paid less tax was most “irresponsible”. He said the visa denial and deportation order, which came in 2009 though the extension application was made “responsibly well before the visa was to expire in June 2006”, was “wholly without any authority of law”. He was kept in inhuman conditions and even had to shell out money for being allowed “to use a toilet”, Jethmalani said.

Darius Khambata, additional solicitor-general, said he would point to Supreme Court rulings which said there was no need to give him a hearing. He said the government had “unfettered right” to decide but promised to return any amount the Israeli was made to pay for his bowel movements.

The court had earlier directed the state and the ministry of home affairs to file detailed affidavits. The state did but the Union ministry is yet to do so.







CBI to submit another report on adoption centre

Swati Deshpande, TNN 11 September 2009, 01:54am IST

MUMBAI: The CBI on Thursday informed the Bombay high court that its earlier inquiries and reports against Pune-based adoption agency Preet Mandir were “incomplete” and that it would submit a report after another probe.

The court is hearing the matter following allegations of irregularities and illegalities committed by Preet Mandir in inter-country adoptions.

Two petitions were filed on the basis of some sting operations; one was filed by Advait Foundation and the other by voluntary group Sakhi and activist Anjali Kate in 2006. The court in 2007 stayed the inter-country adoption activities of Preet Mandir and ordered a CBI inquiry against them. The stay was lifted after the CBI submitted its report.

Darius Khambata, the new additional solicitor-general, said he would take a fresh look at the issue when the matter comes up for hearing. He represents the central government and its organisations.

Khambata told the court on Thursday that the CBI inquiry was not complete and it planned to submit another report. A bench headed by Justice Bilal Nazki said this only meant that the agency “took the court for a ride earlier” as the court orders were based on the CBI reports. He also asked for action against the CBI officer who submitted the report and was told that he had since opted for a voluntary retirement. “Find him,” shot back Justice Nazki.

The CBI admission comes well after its earlier reports, which found nothing wrong with Preet Mandir.

Preet Mandir had been consistently denying that it committed any illegalities in adoption procedures. Advait Foundation counsel Jamshed Mistry said its stand was now being vindicated.







Flouted SC guidelines on building safety and exits

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN 11 September 2009, 05:29am IST

NEW DELHI: Be it buses or buildings, schools and governments continue to breach the Supreme Court guidelines on safety of children often resulting in the death of innocent, like the incident that happened in a government school in Delhi on Thursday.

Five girls died of suffocation and head injuries as they got caught in a rumour-engineered stampede in a government school in north-east Delhi. Chief minister Shiela Dikshit has ordered a high-level inquiry into the stampede.

But, not only Delhi but other state governments as well appear to have paid scant regard to the apex court’s April 13, 2009 judgment laying down guidelines for fire-safety measures in schools, which should have buildings that are safe for children.

The tragedy at the Delhi school could have been avoided if the government had taken note of an SC judgment mandating implementation of the National Building Code of India (NBCI), 2005, that envisaged spacious entry and exits for safe evacuation of children during emergencies in schools.

The guidelines came as the SC was apalled by lack of safety measures in government schools, a primary factor that had resulted in several accidents in the past — the tragedies at schools in Kumbakonam and Dabwali where hundreds of children were killed in fires.

If the flouting of SC’s guidelines relating to safety of children in school buses had resulted in several tragedies in the past, many more are waiting to happen as the authorities have turned a blind eye to the 2009 ruling of the SC holding that students had a fundamental right to education in a “safe” building.

“Majority of the schools do not have emergency exits,” a Bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and L S Panta had said while giving the judgment on a PIL filed by one Avinash Mehrotra.

While detailing the fire safety measures that needed to be installed in all schools, the SC had also given a fair stress on school buildings adhering to the National Building Code of India (NBCI), 2005.

It had focused on wide staircases in schools. “The staircases, which act as exits or escape route shall adhere to the provisions specified in NBCI to ensure quick evacuation of children,” it had said, adding, “The size of the main exit and classroom doors shall be enlarged if found inadequate.”

It had rested hope on the state governments, which showed enthusiasm and egged on the SC to issue directions. It had recorded: “States have also expressed enthusiasm for reforms and some have asked this court expressly for directions.” It all stands belied right in the national Capital.







HC: Experience over degree for school job

TNN 11 September 2009, 05:31am IST

NEW DELHIi: The Delhi High Court has said that the experience of an applicant should be counted over qualification during selection as physical education teacher. The high court on Thursday directed the Centre to appoint a former Indian Air Force man for the post of physical education teacher (PET) in Kendriya Vidyalaya within a month after considering his 20 years experience in the force as equivalent qualification.

Giving preference to experience over qualification, a division bench of Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Reva Khetrapal set aside an order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) upholding the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan’s decision rejecting the application filed by Girish Ahuja for the post of PET.

Ahuja served as ground training instructor for 20 years and obtained a certificate from the Central government in order to apply for the post in August 2007.

The Bench rejected the association’s argument that his experience in the Indian Air Force could not be considered as equivalent qualification for the post of PET since it was not equivalent to diploma in physical education or BPED.

After Ahuja retired from the Indian Air Force, he later applied for the post of PET in Kendriya Vidyalaya, under the ministry of human resource development (HRD), in August 2007, but his application was rejected by the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan that runs the schools on the ground that he was not holding a degree required to be a physical training teacher in a school.

Ahuja claimed his experience was certified by the ministry of labour as well as the ministry of personnel, public grievance and pension.







Move to derecognise Coimbatore Stock Exchange stayed by HC

TNN 11 September 2009, 04:01am IST

CHENNAI: Scuttling a move to de-recognise the Coimbatore Stock Exchange (CSE) and close down its operations, the Madras High Court has stayed a resolution passed to that effect

Justice P Jyothimani granted interim injunction restraining the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) from derecognising the Coimbatore Stock Exchange Limited, on a writ petition filed by Ellen Venkatesalu Securities (P) Limited, Coimbatore.

According to the petitioner, the SEBI framed guidelines on December 29, 2008 to permit companies seeking de-recognition as recognised stock exchange so as to enable them to carry on o their business activities and not function as a stock exchange.

However, even before the issue could be notified and communicated officially, the CSE convened a general body meeting on December 31, 2008 and adopted a resolution to get de-recognised.

Claiming that the resolution was adopted with an ulterior motive, the petitioner said an extraordinary general body meeting held on July 3, 2009 was attended by a majority of members who had defaulted on payment of annual subscriptions.

Besides restraining the board from giving effect to the resolution, he wanted the board not to convene any more meetings without furnishing the complete membership details.






Life sentence for stabbing grandmom

TNN 11 September 2009, 04:04am IST

A man who stabbed his grandmother to death for not transferring her properties to him was sentenced to life on Thursday by the Thiruvallur district magistrate.

Vasanth Kumar a resident of Bakthavachalapuram, Avadi, had stabbed his grandmother, Radha Ammal, in February 2008. He had repeatedly urged her to transfer all her properties to him and he killed her when she refused.

After hearing the case, the Thiruvallur district magistrate sentenced Kumar to a life term and imposed a fine of Rs 1,000.







Sexual harassment case: 6-month jail term upheld

TNN 11 September 2009, 02:48am IST

PANCHKULA: In a matter pertaining to a teacher’s alleged sexual harassment by a school principal, a local court upheld the six-month imprisonment awarded to the latter by a lower court.

Additional district and sessions judge Ritu Garg on Thursday turned down the appeal filed by accused Satish Kumar, then principal of Government Middle School in Jagrot village in Pinjore. Presently, the accused is posted in a government school in Raipurrani area.

According to police, the schoolteacher had got a case registered under sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC against the accused on November 28, 2004. The victim had alleged that the accused had tried to take advantage of his position and had tried to sexually harass her.

Earlier, the cops were reluctant to take action, but on the court directions, the police had registered a case against the accused, a relative of the complainant said.






HC asks advocate to submit report on Sec-22 encroachments

TNN 11 September 2009, 02:58am IST

CHANDIGARH: In the matter pertaining to encroachment in Sector-22 market, Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday appointed an advocate as local commissioner to inspect the sector and submit a report on encroachments.

A Sector-22 Welfare Society had filed a PIL before high court, alleging that despite several representations to the municipal corporation and UT Police, the encroachments are not being removed from markets of sector-22 C and D.

Filed their reply on Thursday, UT police stated that they have no direct role in clearing these. The police submitted that a total of 6,972 challans were issued by traffic police from January 1 to September 7, 2009, on account of traffic violations at Sector 22 light point.







Court refuses narco test of suspects Realtor’s kidnapping

Rajinder Nagarkoti, TNN 11 September 2009, 03:00am IST

PANCHKULA: The police have to start from scratch in the three-month-old case of kidnapping of a city-based realtor after a local court turned down its application to conduct a narco test on three suspects.

Additional district and sessions judge Shiva Sharma turned down the application for a narco test on three suspects – Rajesh Thapar, Brajesh Kapoor and Vinay – for the alleged abduction of realtor Deepak Rai Sagar on June 1. Panchkula SP Amitabh Dhillon said they were probing the matter and would now move the high court in this regard.

Sources said the three suspects had earlier agreed for the test but did not give their consent before the court, which led to the dismissal of the cop’s plea.

Meanwhile, kidnapped realtor Deepak Rai Sagar’s son Sameer Sagar said they were feeling helpless and the police had failed to deliver.

“We are consulting our lawyers and family members to decide upon the next course of action,” he added.
Sagar also alleged that the police were siding with the suspects as they were financially well-off.

Fifty-four-year-old Deepak Rai Sagar, had left office in his car to meet his friend Vinay at Maheshpur village in Panchkula on June 1, and was reportedly abducted on the way.

Later, a case of kidnapping was registered at the sector 5 police station.







35-yr-old gets2 yrs jail in drug case

TNN 11 September 2009, 03:33am IST

PANAJI: The special NDPS court at Mapusa recently convicted and sentenced one Chandrabhan Prasad, 35, to two years rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 for possessing charas.

On February 15, 2008, sleuths of the anti-narcotic cell, who were acting on a tip-off, caught the accused, hailing from Uttar Pradesh, red handed in front of a chapel at Calangute.

When Prasad arrived at the spot, the police surrounded him and conducted a search. The contraband, weighing 448 gm, was found in his possession.

During the hearing, the defence lawyer contended that there were impurities in the drugs and prayed for a lesser punishment.

The public prosecutor on the other hand argued that impurities in charas cannot be determined and that stringent punishment be handed down on the accused.

Special judge Bimba Thaly held the accused guilty on the basis of evidence produced by the prosecution and directed him to undergo imprisonment for two years and pay a fine of Rs 20,000 or in default undergo rigorous imprisonment for another three months.






Wife’s life term for murder upheld

TNN 11 September 2009, 03:31am IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa upheld the sentence of life imprisonment handed down by a trial court on one Monica D’Souza for murdering her husband at Carona, Aldona, in 2004.

Public prosecutor W Coutinho argued that the accused, who appealed against the trial court’s verdict, had failed to explain the circumstances in which her husband had died.

The accused had concealed the knife after the murder, and her clothes were stained with blood, the PP pointed out.

The court observed, “When the appellant was alone with the deceased in her flat, burden was upon her to explain any of the circumstances which provoked her or made her to lose her self-control. There is absolutely no such circumstances brought on record even indirectly.”







HDMC pulled up again: RTI

TNN 10 September 2009, 10:43pm IST

HUBLI: Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) has once again pulled up the Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) for providing incomplete information to an RTI applicant.

Hubli-based doctor M C Sindhur had filed an RTI application to the HDMC seeking copies of catalogues and the list of files maintained as per section 4(1) (a) of Right to Information Act-2005, in electronic format.

After getting no response from the HDMC within the stipulated 30 days, the latter lodged a complaint to the KIC. In its interim ruling, KIC served a show-cause notice to HDMC, asking why it should not be fined for the delay.

In reply, the defendant told KIC that it had given a CD free of cost to the applicant. But the applicant submitted that not only the CD was sent to him after 48 days, but it contained incomplete information. He requested it to provide him with correct information.

Seriously noting that the CD contained no information about the 12 zones of HDMC, KIC asked the civic authority to put the list of files in order as per section 4(1)(a) and provide the same to the applicant free of cost within 30 days.

Taking objections to HDMC for not preparing the catalogue and the list of files as per section 4(1)(a) of RTI Act even after four years of the Act being implemented, KIC directed the defendant HDMC assistant commissioner (administration) B S Sangresh Koppa and commissioner P S Vastrad to complete the files and give them away in electronic format within 30 days.

The next hearing is on November 12.








SHRC asks govt to pay deceased’s wife Rs 2 lakh compensation

Bashi Kant Choudhary, TNN 11 September 2009, 02:09am IST

SAHARSA: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has decreed that Mahendra Sharma died of starvation and directed the state government to pay a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to his wife within four weeks.

SHRC has taken strong exception to what it described as a casual approach of the then Supaul district magistrate who, instead of conducting a personal inquiry into the case, chose to rely on a report of a block animal husbandry officer without having the facts verified by some superior officer and arriving at findings of his own.

“We understand that in a case of death by starvation, the DM concerned is to be held personally responsible, and therefore, regarding the allegation that the deceased died of starvation, the DM should have shown better discretion and caused a proper inquiry before submitting his report (to the commission),” said SHRC chairperson Justice S N Jha and sought the proceedings of the case to be sent to the Bihar chief secretary for information and necessary action.

The SHRC proceeding was initiated on the application of two independent journalists from Singheshwar (Madhepura) who had complained that Mahendra Sharma of Bharatpur village under Lalganj Tilathi panchayat of Chhatapur block in Supaul district died of starvation on January 2, 2009.

In the aftermath of the 2008 flood, employment opportunities had reduced drastically and hence, Sharma, a daily wage-earner, after spending two months at a relief camp, returned to his village. As there were no means of employment, he was forced to beg.

According to complainants, 900 people of Lalganj panchayat were denied the first instalment of government relief as their names figured neither in below poverty line (BPL) nor above poverty line list.

Sharma did not have any land for cultivation or residence and nor was he a BPL cardholder. Owing to the non-disbursal of relief, he could not get food even two times a week. Gradually, he became weak and by the middle of December 2008, Sharma was in no position to move. Finally, he died on January 2, 2009. His family had to bury him as it could not arrange wood for his cremation.

SHRC had sought a report from Supaul DM and secretaries of home and relief and rehabilitation departments. The commission has noted that no inquiry was made by the DM, who had merely referred to and enclosed the block AHD report, addressed to the BDO-cum-anchal adhikari. In this report, government officials claimed that Sharma had asthma and he died as his condition got aggravated by the high humidity during the flood.

Barring a denial that he did not die of starvation, there is not a single positive statement that food and other relief items had been given to Sharma, SHRC has observed. It added: “We are inclined to accept the applicant’s version that the death was due to starvation and therefore, the government is liable to compensate the family members properly.”

SHRC, in its order dated August 17, 2009, has directed the state government through its home secretary to pay Rs 2 lakh to Sharma’s widow within four weeks and to report the compliance.







HC admits criminal appeal of Surajbhan

TNN 11 September 2009, 02:10am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Thursday admitted the criminal appeal of former MP Surajbhan Singh, challenging the life term sentence awarded to him by the Special Judge, CBI, Patna, in connection with the murder case of former science and technology minister Brij Bihari Prasad.

A division bench, comprising Justice Chandra Mohan Prasad and Justice Dharnidhar Jha, called for the case records from the court of the Special Judge, CBI, Patna, for perusal.

Surajbhan also sought grant of bail after the division bench admitted his criminal appeal for hearing. The court, however, made it clear that any order on the bail plea would be passed only after the perusal of the case records which have been sought from the trial court.

According to the prosecution, Surajbhan was among the assailants who shot dead Brij Bihari Prasad on the campus of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences where he was being treated under judicial custody.

Madrasa Board: A division bench comprising Chief Justice P K Misra and Justice Anjana Prakash directed the state government to file a counter-affidavit to a PIL filed by one Jabbar Alam, wherein it was alleged that the chairman of the State Madrasa Board does not have the requisite qualification.

The petitioner added that even the panel, which appointed him as the chairman of the Madrasa Board, had not been constituted in accordance with the rules.








Q&N: ‘Need judicial commission to probe J&K disappearances’

11 September 2009, 12:00am IST

Human rights violations in J&K hardly create a ripple outside the state. New Delhi-based academic Uma Chakravarti has been associated with the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and has worked to mobilise public opinion about forced disappearances in Kashmir. Humra Quraishi spoke to Chakravarti in the context of the Shopian rape case controversy:

What prompted you to campaign about forced disappearances in J&K?

I’d met Parveena Ahangar of the APDP and was deeply moved by her search for justice. Parveena embodied the tragedies of others like her: mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers and sons. I have never been able to forget her persistence in trying to get at the truth and her determination to hold the state accountable for its actions. She turned her own suffering into a cause with all the others like her, keeping track of all reported cases of disappearances and travelling to meet the families of the disappeared…

Human rights violations in Kashmir don’t spark outrage outside the state. Why?

Part of the problem is the uneven information available in different parts of the country. I have been struck by the segmented nature of the real news published in newspapers. But it is also because the middle classes want to believe that the people’s participation in elections had solved the Kashmir problem. No one wants to address the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the immunity it gives to the security forces, and that rapes, custodial killings and forced disappearances will continue unless there is legal redress for violations of people’s rights. So the easiest thing seems to be to not react or to pick up an item for a little while and then drop it.

What’s been the response of the central government?

The government keeps talking about dialogue and confidence-building measures but has done little in terms of action. The first thing it should do is to set up an independent judicial commission into disappearances so that the average Kashmiri and the individual families that have been pursuing the cases of the disappeared can have a sense of closure. This has been done in Sri Lanka to investigate the large number of disappearances in the 1980s. It will be the first step in pursuing state accountability. It will have a tremendous impact in Kashmir. It will demonstrate the government’s commitment to a rule of law.

Are human rights groups sufficiently vocal about rights violations in Kashmir?

Right from 1990, democratic rights groups and women’s groups have investigated violations and produced numerous reports. Unfortunately, these have a small circulation amongst a particular constituency. Human rights groups have been focusing on state accountability, the rule of law and the right to information. But many more voices need to be raised to make a critical impact. There is not enough outrage outside Kashmir and that is an inescapable fact.


One Response

  1. nice posting

    nice collection

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