LEGAL NEWS 28.09.09

Anti-doping regulations & privacy

Soli J. Sorabjee

Posted: Sunday , Sep 27, 2009 at 0232 hrs

Doping in sports is unpardonable. It is the worst form of cheating. Doping is a scourge which has afflicted sports, including cricket, and undoubtedly it must be eliminated. The objective of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations to achieve this end is certainly laudable. The problem lies in some of its provisions and especially the whereabouts clause as a result of which a cricketer who is included in the International Registered Testing Pool (IRTP) has to provide several details of his/her whereabouts prior to the first day of each quarter ie 1st January, 1st April, 1st July and 1st October respectively including periods where the cricketer is not participating in any sports competition. In addition, a cricketer must for each day during the following quarter provide in writing one 60-minute time slot between 6:00 am and 11:00 pm each day where the cricketer will be available and accessible for doping test at a specific location. International cricketers have a packed tour schedule every year and spend approximately nine to ten months of every year playing competitive cricket much of which is outside India. This leaves a very short period for out-of-competition testing.


The fatal flaw is that during “out-of-competition” periods of rest and time with friends and family, which are few and far between, it is unreasonable that players have to disclose their precise whereabouts and schedule for three months in advance for each and every day of such period. Besides they are subject to random testing at any time and place between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., as required by the whereabouts clause. As a consequence the players are virtually kept under surveillance from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. throughout the year.

That is clearly violative of the players’ right to privacy at least for the limited period when they can spend time with their family and friends. Privacy is one of the most cherished rights in a civilised society—“the right to be let alone—the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilised men”. The requirements of the whereabouts clause are overboard, excessive and impose disproportionate burdens. The breach of WADA regulations is visited with drastic consequences to the players. Besides, in case of a player like Tendulkar who has Z-category security, the mandatory disclosures may cause severe security concern. No doubt, the end of WADA regulations is commendable but laudable ends can be achieved only by legally permissible means.

Humour is dead

Sadly, we have lost our sense of humour, the capacity to laugh at ourselves. Shashi Tharoor’s twitter as the Prime Minister rightly said, “was just a joke” seen in the context and the circumstances in which it was said. Some persons may not relish a joke. However, to read sinister meanings and insinuations into it and to demand his resignation as a minister or for other disciplinary action against him is the height of absurdity. It betrays a lack of sense of proportion which is the mark of humourless persons. Poor Shashi probably did not anticipate such a hysterical reaction. In future, he may well observe a self-imposed restriction on his freedom of expression. One of the yoga practices for maintaining good health and preserving mental balance is to laugh loudly in company with others. Some ministers and others who were outraged by Tharoor’s twitter could do with a bit of yoga. I recall another incident which caused a ruckus. Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, the hero of the Bangladesh war, could not resist giving vent to his mischievous sense of humour, when asked by a journalist as to what would have happened if he were commanding the Pakistan Army. Sam said, “Well, I would have defeated India”. There were demands for depriving him of his Field Marshal-ship and for disciplinary proceedings against him. Manekshaw did go over the board but the reaction was disproportionate. We should have laughed away this irreverent statement instead of accusing one of our greatest and most loved military heroes of harbouring anti-nationalist sentiments.







Expedite disposal of maintenance cases: Guj HC to judges

Updated on Sunday, September 27, 2009, 19:42 IST

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court has directed all the district judges and family court judges to dispose expeditiously the cases under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) which deals with maintenance for wives, children and parents.

The order was passed last week by a division bench of Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice A S Dave while acting on a PIL (public interest litigation) filed by an NGO Yogkshem Foundation for Human Dignity (YFHD).

Section 125 of the CrPC enables divorced or deserted women, parents or children to claim maintenance amount from husbands, children and parents respectively.

Based on the PIL, which stated that there is delay in cases of maintenance and sought appropriate directions, the High Court had asked for records from family courts across the state last month.

After assessing records Court ordered, “since several cases are pending for more than nine years, we are inclined to direct the concerned District Judges and the Judges in-charge of Family Courts to take appropriate steps to see that cases under Section 125 of CrPC are disposed of expeditiously after completing the process.”

The Court has asked the district judges and family courts judges to call for meeting of the Re-Vamping Committee within a period of one month from the date of its order and ‘take appropriate steps’.

According to Rajendra Shukla president of YFHD, a family court or magisterial court has to complete proceedings and decide on an application filed under CrPC section 125 within 60 days of issuing notice.

“But there are cases pending since 1995. A delay of more than a decade in dispensation of justice is nothing but to deny justice to a person,” Shukla said.

He said that the committee would ensure quick disposal of petitions filed by deserted or separated women seeking maintenance amount from their husbands or other kin.

The YFHD in its PIL had cited some cases pending for a couple of years even after issuance of notice.

“But when the High Court enquired with courts, the issue appeared much more serious,” Shukla said.

Bureau Report






Allahabad HC judges decide to declare their assets

Vijay Pratap Singh

Posted: Sep 28, 2009 at 0609 hrs IST

Allahabad After the Supreme Court judges decided to declare their assets, the Allahabad High Court judges have decided to tread the same path.

The rider: they will only declare it to the chief justice.

The decision, which has not been made public, was taken on September 12 in a full-court meeting, presided by Chief Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad.

The judges unanimously agreed to declare their assets, but they were not in favour of disclosing it on the official website like some other high courts have done.

Registrar General Dinesh Gupta said: “A resolution was passed unanimously by the judges in the meeting.”

Asked if the assets of the judges would be made public, he said: “The judges will declare the details of their assets to the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, not on the official website.”

As for the decision not being made public even after a fortnight, Gupta said confidentiality has been the main ingredient of the full-court.

The high courts of Kerala, Mumbai, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana have reportedly decided to put the assets of their judges on their respective websites.







Go door-to-door to find disabled children denied education: HC

Krishnadas Rajagopal

Posted: Monday , Sep 28, 2009 at 0233 hrs New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court has asked the state’s Education department to knock on every door in the Capital to identify disabled children who are denied their right to go to school.

“Map Delhi to find out disabled children. You have to take a home-to-home account of the number of disabled children who are not going to school,” Chief Justice A P Shah directed Education Secretary Rakesh Mohan, who was summoned to the court for the hearing recently.

The Bench clarified that mere counting the heads of disabled children enrolled in government schools would not suffice to give a complete picture of how many such children are denied education, the “Constitutional right of every child in the country”.

The court said that a door-to-door survey is a necessity as many parents have a “tendency to not disclose the disability of the child”.

“What is to be done immediately is to give us a plan,” the Bench told Mohan. “Explain what we need in infrastructure for the disabled. Ascertain how many children require transport facilities to reach school and back — give us a complete picture of what is needed to be done to have disabled children in school,” the Chief Justice said.

The government is to prepare a proposal by October 21, the next date of hearing.

The court also added that it understood that it would be difficult for the government to equip all schools in Delhi with disabled-friendly features, so the state would do best by picking certain sample schools to begin with.

“Remember, innovation is necessary for these measures. Experiment with sample schools, may be by next year you can start with other schools,” the Bench said.

A government report filed before the High Court in May this year said over 10,000 disabled students in government and the MCD schools do not have even a single special teacher.

None of the 650 Delhi government schools or 1,800 MCD schools employ a teacher specially trained to teach disabled students, though a government status report filed before the Delhi High Court on Wednesday identified 10,065 “children with special needs” studying in schools run by the Directorate of Education, the MCD and the NDMC.

The government admits that of the 10,065 disabled students, 7,523 need 1,505 special educators at a ration of 1:5. Again, the MCD alone has 2,087 disabled children in its schools.

A training programme for orienting 51,000 teachers in “inclusive education and various issues related to children with disabilities” in May and June 2009 could not take off owing to then Lok Sabha polls, the report had stated.










Follow Executive Council norms to recruit teachers, HC tells DU

Express News Service

Posted: Sep 28, 2009 at 0217 hrs IST

New Delhi The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi University to shortlist applications for the posts of lecturer and professor as per the criteria laid down by its Executive Council and not according to that of the Screening Committee.

The court passed the order while considering the applications of two persons for the posts of professor in Chemistry. The university had earlier rejected the applications on the ground that they did not fulfill the eligibility criterion of having at least 10 published works in internationally reputed journals.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Manmohan set aside the rejection order passed by the Screening Committee last year against Doctor Ramakant and Doctor Shrikant.

“The university is directed to ensure in future that shortlisting is done either in accordance with the criteria stipulated in advertisements or, if it is not so mentioned, then in accordance with the criteria determined by the selection committee (Executive Council) and not by the Screening Committee,” the Bench said.

“Delhi University is directed to forward their names to the Executive Council for appointment to the posts of professor in Chemistry,” the Bench said in its judgment.

According to a joint petition filed by the lecturers, they had applied for the posts of professor in Chemistry in March last year through the open selection procedure.








SC/ST forum slams Shanti Bhushan for anti-dalit

Express News Service

First Published : 27 Sep 2009 04:03:00 AM IST

Last Updated :


BANGALORE: The Karnataka State Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes Advocate Forum attacked former law minister and Supreme Court senior counsel member Shanti Bhushan for his alleged anti-dalit remark against Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan and the Karnataka Chief Justice PD Dinakaran.

The forum president M Kumbaiah told reporters, “Bhusan has virtually accused the CJI of having a soft corner for Justice Dinakaran because he, like Justice Balakrishnan, is a also dalit.”








Justice Dinakaran issue: CJI’s authority and independence of judiciary

Sunday, September 27, 2009

In recent years, the issues of appointment and that of accountability of judges have touched off storm in the legal and political circles. The two are inextricably liked together and the Prime Minister had rightly suggested to improve the quality of appointment to overcome the problem of corruption in the judiciary. The controversy surrounding the proposed elevation of Justice D. P. Dinakaran, chief justice of the Karnataka high court, to the Supreme Court, is the latest body blow to the credibility of the judiciary. He has allegedly amassed huge wealth and grabbed several hundred acres of land. As per press reports, Dinakaran met the Chief Justice of India and rebutted all charges levelled against him. This raises a third issue whether the CJI is the boss of other judges. It is also related to the other two issues. Recently, Justice Shylendra Kumar of the Karnataka high court created sensation by questioning the authority of the CJI to speak on behalf of all judges in regard to declaration of assets.
So, it will be desirable to examine the authority of the CJI vis-à-vis other judges of the higher judiciary as it has serious implications for the independence of the judiciary. Justice Kumar’s stand that the CJI is not authorized to speak on behalf of all judges amounts to questioning the status of the CJI as the head of the judiciary. Constitutionally speaking, the high court is not subordinate to the Supreme Court. On this premise, Justice Sabyasach Mukherjee, then a judge of the Calcutta high court, had rebuffed the Supreme Court which had directed it to dispose of Indira Gandhi’s petition within the stipulated time period. He clearly wrote in the judgment that the Supreme Court has just got an appellate jurisdiction over the high courts, but has no right to direct them. In a way, it is true that high courts do not become subservient just because their orders can be challenged before the Supreme Court. Even in the high courts, Letters Patent Appeals lie against the order of a single judge before a division bench of the same court. It does not mean that the single-judge bench is subordinate to the division bench. In the Supreme Court also, the larger bench overrules the smaller bench. It is a method of correction as individuals may go wrong.
However, the Supreme Court is not just the apex court in the normal hierarchy of courts, but is much more than that as it has original, appellate as well as advisory jurisdictions. Further, Article 144 clearly mandates that all authorities, civil and judicial, shall work in the aid of the Supreme Court. The term, judicial authorities, also covers high courts. Moreover, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is called the Chief Justice of India (Art. 24 of the Constitution). This nomenclature is meaningless if he is not the head of the judiciary. So, by convention, he is the paterfamilias of the judicial fraternity even though the Supreme Court has no supervisory jurisdiction over any court.
However, in matters of appointment and transfer of judges, the CJI plays the most crucial role. Under Articles 124 and 217, consultation with the CJI is a must for the appointment of judges. In 1993, the Supreme Court, in its controversial decision in the Second Judges’ case, ruled that the recommendation of the CJI would be binding, but clarified that the opinion of the CJI means the opinion of the collegium consisting of the CJI and two senior most judges. The Third Judges’ case upheld most of the formulations of the Second Judges’ case but ruled that in case of appointment to the Supreme Court, the collegium would consist of four senior most judges besides the CJI. In fact, the snatching of power of appointment and transfer of judges from the hands of the executive and transferring it to the collegium by judicial interpretation has virtually made the high court judges subservient to the CJI and other members of the collegium as they have to keep them in good humour for getting promoted as chief justices of high courts and elevated to the Supreme Court. Justice Dinakaran has made the position of other judges more vulnerable by meeting the CJI to explain his position.
This is not a healthy trend for the judiciary. Fear of supersession is bound to affect the independence of judges. Here again comes the question of the independence of the judiciary which faces threat not only from without but also from within. A high court judge has the same protection as the CJI under the Constitution. But the fear of being left out makes high court judges feel insecure. In the words of Milton, ambition is but the last infirmity of a noble mind. Judges also nurture the ambition of promotion and elevation. Earlier, if the CJI visited a state, the chief justice of high court did not go the airport to receive him. If both, the CJI and the chief justice of the high court, were invited to some party, the two would enter from opposite doors at the same time so that none of them would receive each other. But the situation has undergone a colossal change after the introduction of the collegium system. Independence of judges must be maintained, and obviously then, the CJI cannot speak on behalf of all judges, even though symbolically, he may represent the judiciary as its head.
Earlier, the Standing Committee of Parliament attached to the Ministry of Law and Justice in its 21st Report made many recommendations for making the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts accountable. But the members of the Committee felt that for it the system of the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary has to be rectified first. So the crux of the problem lies in the process of the appointment of judges. If competent and honest people are appointed judges it will address the problem of accountability, overreach and delay. The Committee has recommended that the power of appointment of the judges should be in the hands of the executive as was the position till. In 2006, two Parliamentary Committees made the same recommendation to restore the pre-1993 position.
Justice J. S. Verma, who is the author of the majority judgment in the Second Judges’ case, recently wrote to the Chief Justice of India that the system of collegium had failed and a new system needed to be invented. The Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Veerappa Moily has recommended the constitution of a National Judicial Council (NJC) for the appointment and removal of judges. The previous National Democratic Alliance government had introduced the Ninety-Eighth Amendment Bill, 2003 for the setting up of an NJC which lapsed.

Posted by SUDHANSHU RANJAN at 8:14 AM











No villages in Gujarat, declares CM Modi

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN 28 September 2009, 09:48am IST

NEW DELHI: It’s unimaginable in a predominantly rural set up of India. But, there are no villages in Gujarat, if one believes chief minister Narendra Modi.

This is recorded in the minutes of the “Conference of chief ministers of states and chief justices of high courts”. Though the conference was held last month, the minutes prepared by the judiciary and vetted by the law ministry were recently uploaded onto the official website of the Supreme Court.

Modi’s remarks find mention under the heading “Operationalization of Gram Nyayalayas”, a project very dear to law minister Veerappa Moily, who feels it is one of the finest ways to reach the justice delivery system to the doorsteps of poor litigants.

Only two chief ministers — Sheila Dikshit of Delhi and Modi — pointed out that there were no villages in the territory under the administrative control of their governments.

Dikshit may have been correct when she informed the conference that “in stricto senso (strictly speaking), there is no rural area within Delhi” as the villages in Delhi have been consumed by rapid urbanization.

But, what was attributed to Modi in the minutes appeared unbelievable. It said: “The chief minister of Gujarat, while agreeing, in principle, with the establishment of Gram Nyayalayas, stated that there is no village in the state of Gujarat and, therefore, operationalization of such Nyayalayas may not be a viable proposition.”

“He, however, emphasized need for mobile courts for effective dispensation of justice instead of Gram Nyayalayas at the grassroot level,” the minutes showed.

Moily had recently told TOI in an interview that he wanted to operationalize the first lot of Gram Nyayalayas (village courts) on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2. It’s only a paradox that the chief minister of the state where the Mahatma was born, had a different idea on implementation of the Gram Nyayalayas.






Shopian rape and murders: CBI exhumes bodies of victims

PTI 28 September 2009, 11:27am IST

SHOPIAN, J&K: A special CBI forensic team on Monday exhumed the bodies of the two women allegedly raped and murdered here, nearly four months after the incident that sparked massive protests in the Kashmir Valley.

The team, which comprised senior doctors of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, began the process of exhuming the bodies at 7am after the necessary approval of the family of the victims — 22-year-old Neelofar and her 17-year-old sister-in-law Aasiya — was obtained.

The village, about 51 km from Srinagar and famous for Ambri apple, was agog with activity since midnight with police erecting screens around the graveyard and para-military forces setting up barricades that kept the general public and media away.

The team had brought some modern equipment that would help determine anti-mortem and post-mortem injuries on the bodies, officials said.

Bodies of Neelofar and her sister-in-law Asiya were recovered from a stream on May 30 after they went missing in town the previous evening.

Their deaths had led to 47 days of protests in this town with locals alleging that security personnel were responsible for the crime.

Ahead of the exhumation, a doctor, who was part of the second post-mortem team from neighbouring Pulwama district hospital and had prepared the vaginal slides of the victims, had told CBI that no samples from the duo had ever been taken.

The doctor broke down during questioning and narrated the entire sequence of events to the CBI officials, official sources said, adding she claimed that the samples were taken from gloves used in the gynaecological ward of the district hospital and the slides prepared.

The CBI took over the investigation into the case on September 17 and a team headed by deputy inspector general Satish Golcha has been camping here since then.

The agency’s special director S C Sinha had also visited the village recently and taken stock of the situation.

It had come to light last month that the vaginal swabs of the two victims sent to Central Forensic and Scientific Laboratory did not match with that of Neelofar and Aasiya.

Ahead of the CBI investigations, the state government had appointed one-man commission headed by Justice (retd) Muzzafar Jan which among other things had recommended a detailed questioning of the relatives of the victims including Neelofar’s husband Shakeel Ahnger and her brother Zirar Shah.










Woman fails to prove 3-decade marriage

Kartikeya, TNN 28 September 2009, 02:57am IST

MUMBAI: A division bench of the Bombay high court has rejected the claims of a village woman from Kolhapur who said that a school teacher from Mumbai had married her three decades ago but left her to fend for herself. Instead, the court said that the man’s assets would go to another woman he married when he moved to Mumbai in 1982. The woman from the village had no evidence to back her word of marriage.

Justice P B Majumdar and R V More heard the case of Radha who said that Ramesh Patil, who worked as a school teacher in Mumbai, married her at a village called Sarvade in Kolhapur in June 1978. Subsequently, Patil moved to Mumbai but Radha never came to the city. The court was told that Patil would go to the village during vacations and Radha gave birth to a daughter in 1990.

On the other hand, Shreya, a resident of Borivli, said she was working as Patil’s colleague at a school in Mumbai and married him in December 1982. They had two sons and Shreya lived with him until 1999 when Patil left home because he had contracted AIDS. He was traced to Virar and Shreya said she looked after him until he died in July 2002.

Radha said that it was eight days after Patil’s death that she came to know of it in the village. She then wrote to the school where he worked, asking for his gratuity and pension. Shreya, too, asked for the same and the dispute reached the court.

Radha’s advocate said she was an “illiterate village lady” who would “not tell lies” about her marriage to Patil. He placed on record statements by two brothers of Patil who said Patil had married Radha in 1978. Thus it was argued that by virtue of Patil’s first marriage to Radha, his subsequent marriage to Shreya was void.

However, the court considered that there was no material evidence to show that Patil and Radha had been married. There were no photographs of the marriage ceremony and there was no evidence that Patil ever sent money to his village for Radha’s maintenance. The priest who had suppposedly performed the marriage was also not brought as a witness. Moreover, there were no letters or correspondence between Patil and Radha to show that they were a couple and in touch all these years.

The high court observed that scanned copies of some photographs that were shown as evidence of Radha’s relationship with Patil seemed like “trick photographs”. Radha could not even point out Patil in a photograph given by Shreya’s advocates despite claiming that he was her husband. The judges felt that attempts had been made to “create evidence” to show that Patil had married Radha.

In contrast, Patil’s marriage to Shreya was well documented. While marrying her in Mumbai in 1982, he had clearly stated that he was a “bachelor” and later named her as his nominee for getting his retirement benefits. Thus on the basis of all the evidence, the high court held that Shreya, and not Radha, was the lawfully wedded wife of Patil and thus the true claimant of his property and assets.








Fresher course to help law grads ‘argue’ better

Ajay Sura, TNN 28 September 2009, 02:23am IST CHANDIGARH: Legal rookies’ first step into the profession would soon constitute a freshers’ course that would aim at sharpening skills before their entry into the courtroom. The Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association has prepared a blueprint for the module, which new entrants would have to attend for becoming its members.

“The course is aimed at removing the initial hesitation that beginners feel while entering the profession. It will also boost their confidence,” said bar association president S S Bahal. He added the activity would serve a two-pronged purpose. “Not only will we be able to welcome the new members formally but also solve their basic problems,” Bahal said.

Besides attracting newcomers to the practice, the course would also disseminate tricks of the trade, knowledge about HC proceedings and courtroom behaviour. A placement agency would also be constituted to help freshers find senior lawyers of their choice. “The cell will keep a record of advocates who need junior lawyers for assistance,” Bahal said.

Around 40 to 50 lawyers apply for bar body membership every month. With Punjab, Haryana and UT having a combined HC, most of the fresh graduates come from remote areas, making it difficult for them to make a confident entry. Approximately 500 starters stop practising after a couple of months due to the initial hiccups.








Panel to probe child worker deaths in Gujarat

Rao Jaswant Singh, TNN 28 September 2009, 05:42am IST

JAIPUR: Taking serious note of deaths of tribal child workers in Bt cotton fields of Gujarat, National Commission of Women and National Commission of Protection of Child rights have constituted a high-power committee to look into the issue.

The Times of India first reported the death of five tribal workers in the cotton fields in its report Life is cheap in the killing BT cotton fields of Gujarat’ dated August 28 and death of five more Bt cotton field workers in the second report Five more die in Gujarat Bt cotton field’ dated September 6.

Gujarat High Court advocate Ami Yagnik, one of the four members of the committee, said that the panel has been constituted after several cases of child labour and death of minor workers were reported. The committee members would visit the affected areas in Rajasthan and Gujarat and submit their report, she said.

Around 1.5 lakh tribal children from Dungarpur and Udaipur districts of Rajasthan go to work in Bt cotton fields in Bansakantha and Sabarkantha village of Gujarat. Around 75% of them are below 14 years of age and the rest below 18. Nine children and one adult worker died while working in the Bt cotton fields in Gujarat during August. There were around 15 deaths in 2008.

Yagnik said the panel would visit Dungarpur and Udaipur districts, from where maximum number of child workers migrates to Gujarat every year. The committee, apart from meeting the family members of victims in Rajasthan, would also visit the Bt cotton fields in Gujarat and study the working condition.

The panel formation has left the Bt cotton farm owners red-faced and they running from pillar to post to find a way out. They are raising voice against government agencies claiming agriculture as a whole cannot be put in the list of hazardous occupation, as all the processes are not hazardous and children might work in their own fields.









‘Judges should actively participate rather being a spectator’

TNN 28 September 2009, 06:16am IST

LUCKNOW: It is the duty of the judges to introspect over various problems being faced by the judiciary because they (judges) discharge divine duty in dispensing justice to the aggrieved persons, said Justice B S Chauhan, judge, Supreme Court of India. He was delivering keynote address on the second day of the ongoing 3-day regional conference of the National Judicial Academy, Bhopal on `Enhancing timely justice: strengthening criminal justice administration’ at the Institute of Judicial Training and Research, UP here on Sunday.

Stressing on the need for timely administration of justice, he said that in the ancient past the king used to observe fast for a day if he failed in delivering justice to any person. Quoting several instances of delayed delivery of justice in criminal matters, Justice Chauhan emphasised that speedy trial of criminal cases is the constitutional right of an accused and reminded the judges of the trial courts not to be silent spectator to the proceedings in their courts but to actively participate during the trial of the cases to elicit truth from the accused and the witnesses.

Expressing concern regarding the taking up of criminal appeals after 25 years for hearing at the Allahabad high court when many convict appellants were already dead, he cautioned the judges that patience of society should not be tested.

Justice S B Sinha, former judge of the supreme court speaking on the occasion said that the role of courts is to protect the rights of citizens at all levels of proceedings and exhorted the judges that erosion of faith of society must be checked. Justice Devi Prasad Singh, judge, Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court said that the courts should be cautious in awarding adequate sentence to the convicts, particularly to those convicts who are found guilty of commission of heinous crimes. Justice S N Shukla, another judge of Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court said that the qualities of a noble judge are: To hear patiently, to behave soberly, to consider wisely and to decide impartially.









UN set to treat caste as human rights violation

Manoj Mitta, TNN 28 September 2009, 06:10am IST

NEW DELHI: If the recent genome study denying the Aryan-Dravidian divide has established the antiquity of caste segregations in marriage, the ongoing session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva looks set to recognize caste-based discrimination as a human rights violation. This, despite India’s opposition and following Nepal’s breaking ranks on the culturally sensitive issue.

Nepal has emerged as the first country from South Asia — the region where untouchability has been traditionally practiced — to declare support for the draft principles and guidelines published by UNHRC four months ago for “effective elimination of discrimination based on work and descent” — the UN terminology for caste inequities.

In a side-event to the session on September 16, Nepalese minister Jeet Bahadur Darjee Gautam said his county welcomed the idea mooted by the UNHRC document to involve “regional and international mechanism, the UN and its organs” to complement national efforts to combat caste discrimination. This is radically different from India’s stated aversion to the internationalization of the caste problem.

Much to India’s embarrassment, Nepal’s statement evoked an immediate endorsement from the office of the UN high commissioner for human rights, Navanethem Pillay, a South African Tamil. Besides calling Nepal’s support “a significant step by a country grappling with this entrenched problem itself”, Pillay’s office said it would “like to encourage other states to follow this commendable example”.

The reference to India was unmistakable especially since Pillay had pressed the issue during her visit to New Delhi in March. Pillay not only asked India to address “its own challenges nationally, but show leadership in combating caste-based discrimination globally”. The granddaughter of an indentured labourer taken to South Africa from a village near Madurai, Pillay recalled that in 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had compared untouchability to apartheid.

Adding to India’s discomfiture, Sweden, in its capacity as the president of the Europeon Union, said, “caste-based discrimination and other forms of discrimination based on work and descent is an important priority for EU”. If this issue continues to gather momentum, UNHRC may in a future session adopt the draft principles and guidelines and, to impart greater legal force, send them for adoption to the UN General Assembly.

The draft principles specifically cited caste as one of the grounds on which more than 200 million people in the world suffer discrimination. “This type of discrimination is typically associated with the notion of purity and pollution and practices of untouchability, and is deeply rooted in societies and cultures where this discrimination is practiced,” it said.

Though India succeeded in its efforts to keep caste out of the resolution adopted by the 2001 Durban conference on racism, the issue has since re-emerged in a different guise, without getting drawn into the debate over where caste and race are analogous.









Mahato charged under UAPA

Sukumar Mahato, TNN 28 September 2009, 02:55am IST

JHARGRAM: People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) leader Chhatradhar Mahato, who was arrested on Saturday, has been charged with sedition and remanded in five days’ police custody. He also faces charges under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

A grim looking Mahato was produced before the Jhargram assistant chief judicial magistrate on Sunday, along with eight suspected Maoists arrested from Kantapahari and Kumarbandh on Saturday. No civilians, including journalists, were allowed into the court premises that was ringed by heavily armed securitymen.

Koushik Sinha and Prashanta Roy, counsels for the accused, claimed police had tortured Chhatradhar and the eight others so badly that they were unable to walk properly. The prosecution, however, argued that they were injured when they ‘‘fell down while trying to escape’’. Chhatradhar has been charged under various of the UAPA and is accused of raising fund for a terrorist organization, attempting to murder members of security forces and conspiring against the state to create terror. He also faces charges under IPC like sedition, waging war against the state, etc.

Some of these cases relate to ransacking and setting fire to Ramgarh police camp on June 15, and the explosions at Dalilpur and Kantapahari on Saturday, soon after his arrest. The other eight — Gorachand Hembram, Sajan Murmu, Subir Hansda, Hiralal Murmu, Baburam Kisku, Sagun Murmu, Ranjit Murmu and Sambhu Soren — have been arrested for allegedly triggering IED blasts after Mahato’s arrest.


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